By Ken Ferguson
The furore around the disgusting graphic in the fast sinking Scotland on Sunday of a swastika on the saltire, and the accompanying ‘revelations’ about the supposed fascist content of the movement by a supposedly serious academic study, tells its own story.
The attempt to use the fascist sympathies of a tiny proportion of Scottish nationalists over 70 years ago to forge a link between the thuggish racism of the British National Party and the vibrant multicultural pluralistic Yes movement of today not only shames the credentials of the author – it is beneath contempt.
However those concerned about sniffing out links between fascists, Nazis and British politicians might profit by taking a look at the history of Westminster politics in the same period as Dr Bowd’s ‘study’ of Scotland.
No need to look for obscure members of small time organisations, for this part of the story has an A-list cast including the British Prime Minister, newspaper moguls, titled ladies and monarchs. From Hitler’s ascension to power in 1933 to the outbreak of World War 2, this stellar cast visited, wined and dined and cut deals with the Nazis.
Of course the policy known as ‘appeasement’, which involved compromise and concession to Hitler and Mussolini, is now presented by today’s ruling class as a bit of a mistake by a few misguided individuals – but this is some way from the truth.
The central aim of British policy in the inter-war period was the preservation of Empire and defeat of the Communists in the Soviet Union, and from that flowed a series of events which culminated in the cataclysm of World War 2.
At home substantial sections of the ruling elite cheered on Mosley’s Blackshirts with Lord Rothermere’s Daily Mail running the memorable headline “Hurrah for the Blackshirts” and praising them highly. It is less well known that its rival the Daily Mirror also supported the fascists, and published an editorial entitled “Give the Blackshirts a helping hand”.
The home counties stately home of Lord and Lady Astor, Cliveden House, was home to the infamous ‘Cliveden Set’ who held regular pro-Nazi salons which saw top establishment figures, MPs and the German ambassador Ribbentrop rubbing shoulders and cutting deals.
The insidious nature of the Cliveden crew was brilliantly exposed by leftwing former Times, then Daily Worker, journalist Claude Cockburn.
It went right to the top with the abdicated Edward 8th’s fascist views and it is well known that the wartime government sent him to be Governor of Bermuda to avoid the possibility of him becoming a pro-Nazi monarch if Hitler invaded Britain.
The fruits of this policy – which was overwhelmingly backed by the Westminster establishment were bitter indeed.
At every key point where decisive action might have checked Hitler the appeasers rolled over and let him have his way. So Austria was annexed into the Nazi Reich, the supposedly demilitarised Rhineland occupied by German forces, and most shamefully Czechoslavakia was dismembered and handed to Hitler on a plate.
This shameful record was lauded by the arch-appeaser Prime Minster Neville Chamberlain when he waved the worthless piece of paper with the Führer’s signature and proclaimed he had won “peace in our time” – only to be engulfed in war a matter of months later.
But in this sordid story the most shameful saga is that of Spain where the appeaser pretended to support ‘non intervention’ while allowing Hitler and Mussolini’s forces to defeat the elected government and ushered in nearly 40 years of fascism in Spain.
It is the reality that the British state helped Hitler and arguably paved the way for the tragedy of World War 2 which is the real scandal of UK politicians’ links with fascism, not the machinations of the publisher of a local paper in Forfar.
Unlike the modern SNP however, the heirs of the appeasers still cosy up to dictators abroad and still demonise the poor, immigrants, and so forth at home, with that same disgusting Daily Mail leading the charge.
Like their predecessors in the past they still desperately cling to the idea of Great Britan with nuclear weapons and a seat on the UN security council to validate it.
And of course this ‘great power’ fantasy is why they so bitterly oppose Scottish independence.