Scotland Referendum: Hold Tight And Enjoy The Ride

I bought the Sunday Telegraph today and read Andrew Gilligan’s piece on the SNP conference in Perth. In fairness, Gilligan conceded that, “Fiscally, there is no question that an independent Scotland could afford to go it alone”, which, I suppose, is progress. Because it wasn’t so long ago that Unionists like him were insisting an independent Scotland would be a pauper state. However, the rest of the piece was the usual combination of slapstick and scaremongering.

By line five of the article the respected leader of the SNP had become “Tubby” Salmond, a condition he was trying to remedy with a diet devised for him by, wait for it! – an Englishman. I found myself asking, ‘Is the dietician’s nationality important?’ and the only answer I could come up with was ‘no’. Maybe it was all too subtle for me, and this was Gilligan’s way of telling us that the Scots need their benevolent neighbours to look after them.

Gilligan introduced more humour (but unintentionally, this time) by reminding us that Scotland’s only oil refinery, at Grangemouth, had suddenly been closed by “its Swiss-based multinational owners” leaving the prospect that Scottish oil “would have to come ashore in England” with all the revenue and other implications for Scotland. Plus the more immediate possibility of fuel shortages in Scotland. Possibilities that may have had Disgusted of Tunbridge Wells salivating over his kedgeree this morning, but if you think about it, then the very idea is silly. An independent Scotland could either buy or take over Grangemouth, or just build a new refinery.

Gilligan conceded though tGrangemouthhat whatever was happening at Grangemouth looked like a “cooked-up dispute” over pay and conditions. Half true (as he may have known). The dispute is definitely contrived, but the pay and conditions angle is a red herring and a pretext. It might help if we look at exactly who owns Grangemouth refinery. The company is called INEOS which as Gilligan says, is headquartered in Switzerland, but he neglected to tell us that its registered office is in the canton of Hampshire. The company was founded by the very unSwiss sounding Jim Ratcliffe, and the only others mentioned in the ‘Leadership’ section of the website are, Andy Currie, John Reece and Jim Dawson. So, while INEOS might operate in many countries it is most definitely an English company.

What we appear to have here, then, is an English company playing politics and possibly trying to influence next September’s independence referendum. With oil figuring so large in an independent Scotland’s projected finances INEOS could be saying, ‘And how are you going to get the oil ashore without the Grangemouth facilities – that we own?’ If so, then the only question remaining for me is whether the UK government, or any of its agencies, put INEOS up to this stunt, and perhaps even agreed to underwrite the company’s losses. With your money.

Now there will be many reading this who’ll dismiss me as a conspiracy theorist. If I am, it’s because there are a lot of nasty things going on out there, and some of the worst of them are done by loveable, fluffy democracies that spend so much time castigating regimes that are more openly corrupt and repressive. This, added to a certain experience of how the bastards operate, leads me to confidently predict that between now and the Scottish referendum we shall be entertained with dirty tricks, black propaganda and downright lies that would make a propaganda chief in a totalitarian regime blush with embarrassment.

What am I talking about? Well, let me give you one of my favourite examples. What comes into your head when you think of Cananda? Wide open spaces, Mounties  . . . not a lot really; truth is, Canada comes over as dull and boring – ah, yes! but a model democracy, surely? Well, yes, until that is the Frenchies start being awkward, then the Canadian federal government, helped by big business, media and Uncle Sam pulls out all the stops to frighten the Quebecois into rejecting independence and / or parties promoting independence.

We’ve all heard the ‘money will flood out of the country’ argument against independence. Well in 1970 it was played out on the streets of Montreal, in what French speakers call a coup de theatre, and in this case, le coup de la Brink’s. (Link to article in French. Difficult to find anything in English on this incident. Hardly surprising.) On April 26th, in the hope of deterring people from voting for the Parti quebecois in the upcoming election for the Quebec parliament the Royal Bank of Cananda – on the instructions of the federal government – sent a convoy of nine Brink’s armoured carsQuebec result to Montreal where they were loaded with bonds and securities before heading off to Toronto.

Maybe it worked. Certainly the PQ vote was not as high as had been expected, or feared. Further, given the skewed electoral system then operating in Quebec the PQ got just seven seats despite winning over 23% of the vote. (Still think Canada is an ideal democracy?)

You want a Welsh example of underhand behaviour by a government? OK, try this. At the first Assembly elections in 1999, under the leadership of Dafydd Wigley, Plaid Cymru came very close to getting more votes and more seats than Labour. There was, understandably, panic within Labour ranks, so the Labour government in London had words with its friends in the media. One result was the arrival of the Welsh Mirror newspaper, nothing more than the English Daily Mirror with articles slagging off Plaid Cymru and regular scare stories and borderline racism from Paul Starling, who also wrote for the New Statesman. Soon Dafydd Wigley was removed, Labour came back strongly in the elections of 2003, the Welsh Mirror went back to being the Daily Mirror, and Paul Starling seemed to disappear.

Which is why I confidently predict that the Scottish referendum campaign will serve up a feast of dirty tricks, black propaganda, psycops and all the side dishes, maybe even some ‘false flag’ stunts. And if it looks like there’s going to be a Yes vote, then it’ll be a real blow-out. It should go without saying that the groaning board I anticipate will not be provisioned by the Yes campaign.

14 thoughts on “Scotland Referendum: Hold Tight And Enjoy The Ride

  1. Alba4Eva

    Let Grangemouth close… Scottish Government step in and buy the ‘loss making enterprise’ for £1… and take it into public hands, as an asset of the Scottish Government and get it back up and running ASAP. Job Done.

  2. Jac

    And while we’re on the subject of dirty tricks . . . One day Plaid Cymru will have the balls to be honest about the removal of Dafydd Wigley, and the motives of those involved.

    For a party to remove its most successful leader a year after he’d led the party to its greatest electoral triumph is insane. To replace him with such a clearly inadequte successor only compounds the mistake. Yet this is exactly what a group of conspirators at the highest level in the party did. Just imagine the SNP giving Salmond the chop in 2012!

    Yet it is exactly the sort of thing the enemies of Wales would have wanted. Those conspirators who carried out MI5’s desires – though I am not suggesting they were working for MI5 – are still influential within the party. Yet another reason I shall never re-join Plaid Cymru.

    1. Bill

      Yes Leigh, That was a real underhand operation. The man was found in his car shot through the back of the head, bullet hole in the back window and he was supposed to have committed suicide. His papers were strewn down the bank beside a stream. Weird thing was that he was flown to Inverness and far from being dead at the scene he was then sent to Forresterhill Hospital in Aberdeen where he was pronounced dead. If he was dead when he arrived at Inverness they wouldn’t have sent him to Aberdeen. More lies and deceit! A secret service hit more like. Its all we can expect from them, dirty tricks and no value for life.

  3. Bill

    I believe that this fiasco at Grangemouth is yet another tactic of the “Dirty Tricks Brigade” operating on behalf of Wastemonster!. They should stop this nonsense now and recognise their workers have a right to improve their standard of living, not to reduce it the way THEY are trying to do at the moment. It is obscene that they expect workers to take a lesser deal with worse conditions while they make huge profits and lie about losses. No one in the oil industry is taking losses these days with falsely inflated prices. The people of Scotland are not stupid, much as these folk would like to think so, and we should take some action on this. I think anyone who is with Ineos should shift to another supplier and leave them with nothing in Scotland for this obvious abuse of power, and for getting involved in the political arena.

  4. sadly we dont have to look too far geographically – or go back very far in history – to learn that the british state are past masters at the so called ‘black arts’ ie dirty tricks, when it comes to dealing with those wishing to break free of the suffocating embrace of the british crown, as the grim example of ireland in the 1970s and early 1980s clearly shows. From smearing its political opponents and disseminating outright lies about them to infiltrating and wrecking opposition groups and parties and even – if the circumstances called for it – indulging in the odd assassination or three…..there’s nothing the secret british state wont do to preserve dear old blighty – and yes it would be highly naive of anyone to imagine that the current generation of british spooks will not be deploying their ‘talents’ in this latest serious threat to the existance of the policial union that is ‘united kingdom of great britain and norhtern ireland’, as it unfortunately says on my passport. Indeed, and as jac hints at with his observation of events at grangemouth, ‘smiley’s people’ may already be chalking up some ‘overtime’ in scotland (overtime we are paying for of course).

    indeed im sure that from the moment the snp won a majority in the scottish parliament and made clear its intention to take scotland out of the ‘union’ via a referendum that the right wing maniacs in the british intelligence services started work on a updated version of ‘clockwork orange’ – the clockwork orange im referring to in this instance of course not being the infamous movie of the early 70s but the infamous dirty tricks operation carried out by right wing maniacs in the british intelligence services in the 1970s in ireland and britain….

    1. Jac

      Everyone should know about Clockwork Orange because it wasn’t confined to NI. The loonies in MI5 and MI6 – Peter Wright et al – wanted to remove Harold Wilson as PM. And mixed up with them was our very own Wyn Roberts, MP for Conwy and Secretary of State for Wales under Thatcher.

  5. Keith Parry

    Have you noticed our own “Eye on Wales” blog? Seems the Welsh Daily Mirror is alive and well. Anti-Plaid and more anti Plaid

    1. Jac

      In his latest post he tries to argue that the voters will punish Plaid for double standards over nuclear energy. Plaid can only gain in the seats where there might be nuclear plants, while the issue won’t resonate elsewhere. What does animate voters across the country is the money being squandered on useless, unreliable, subsidised, foreign-owned and household bill-inflating wind power.

  6. Britnot

    Given the corrupt way the Brutish government dealt with the McCrone report in 1975 I really wouldnt put anything past their dirty tricks department. The older and wiser I get the more difficult I find it to think of any advantage in remaining as part of this corrupt union. I hope the good people of Scotland will listen to their heads rather than their hearts and vote to stand on their own two feet rather than listen to the lies and propaganda of the better off together brigade.

  7. anonymouse

    Well the referendum poses a greater threat to the integrity of the British state than anything since World War II. Check out “british security coordination” for a taste of the massive effort made by the security services to get America into that war. Has anything changed? I doubt it.

    1. Jac

      It wasn’t a lot different in WWI. There have always been those who’ve argued that the Lusitania and other liners were carrying munitions, with the knowledge of the Germans, simply in the hope that a U-Boat would sink one and kill lots of US citizens, thereby bringing the USA into the war.

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