London calling


  By Derek Bateman 
I have to confess that I didn’t read down into the detail of Philip Hammond’s latest insult to the Scottish nation which has been systematically leaked for four days now and rolled out across the media, as Hamish McDonnell outlined it would be on Headlines on Radio Scotland on Sunday morning – otherwise known as “my old show”.  Sorry, Ken. (You’re making a bloody good fist of it.  Have you had your efforts validated by a smear from Foulkes yet?)

I should read on, of course, because I have to take on board what my own government is saying to me and I always profess to be interested in every point of view.  But, you know what? It sickens me to hear someone sneer at my country and belittle it in this way.

The gist of the Hammond pre-meditated humiliation of the Scots appears to be that London will retain the ancient Scottish regiments or what is left of them since they were decimated by Unionist governments and they will not fight for the Scots in future (and, under challenge, suddenly changed his mind!)…We won’t have enough money to pay for decent armed forces and we are such a basket case of a country that our own people won’t want to defend it. 

We are also such a backwater, it seems, with nothing worth defending, that no potential conscripts would bother to take part in a Dad’s Army and would prefer to join up to fight for Glorious Albion.

And this comes from our own government…from the people presenting a positive case for Union…from people who desperately want Scots to stay in Union…from the leadership who regard us as a family of nations united in the greatest union in the history of civilisation.

I know it’s propaganda and I know its purpose just as you do…to make people feel they are exposed, insignificant, dependent and unworthy so they will be grateful to a generous overlord and know their place – firmly embedded in union. (Seems to be working).

But my question is: Where is the Unionist reaction from proud Scots to this scornful, inaccurate drivel?

I have always accepted the concept of what I like to call Principled Unionism and I believe to this day that there is a strong case for two separate countries joining together as equals in a common interest.  But is that what Hammond is outlining? Does that read to you like a dialogue of equals displaying respect and reasonable response to a legitimate desire for self-government?

I know he aims this mainly at defeating nationalists but I am truly intrigued to know what Scottish Unionists make of this? Is it their vision of their country? Is Scotland really such a third world basket case that they agree able-bodied Scots would rather serve in the British forces than the Scottish? Do they think that Salmond is such a charlatan that he would fail to provide the very basic personnel and equipment our country needs for its defence needs?

I know Unionists don’t want independence and are happy to see the Salmond arguments defeated – that all makes sense to me.  But are Scottish Unionists so craven, so nationalistically comatose that they turn their eyes away when a crude belittling caricature of their nation is broadcast in their name? Does Scotland mean so little to them that they can’t find their voice to defend her honour? Is it asking too much that just one of them steps forward and says: “Hold on, London. 

I believe in Union but not at the expense of Scotland’s dignity.  By all means argue the British Army is a better career option and will always attract young Scots, but don’t goad us with childish over-simplification and offensive implications about our national worth, our history and belief in Scotland. 

Focus your attacks on Salmond, not on Scotland, for what you risk is the wrath of a nation.  Don’t take us for granted – there are a large number of Undecideds out there who need little encouragement to turn away from Westminster politics.  All you do with this withering propaganda is confirm in their mind the stereotype of metropolitan arrogance as something they would love to be rid of.”

So where are you, you Unionists? Where is your voice? Does Hammond speak for you? Is this stunted cartoon depiction of Scotland what you believe? Would your forefathers nod sagely at Hammond’s witterings? Is this what the Highland battalions fought for over the centuries of Union? And the Argylls or the King’s Own Scottish Borderers, my late Dad’s regiment?

Or is it time that real Scottish Unionists with intelligence and knowledge of their country’s history and culture, told these London-centric buffoons to pipe down as they are giving the game away…that what is revealed by Hammond – and by Osborne and Balls over sterling – is that they know little of our country, take it for granted and find it too easy to casually insult us because they really do regard us as less than a nation?

Taken together, they present, to my mind at any rate, a paternalistic brotherhood offering to bring us to our senses and rid ourselves of overblown notions of an importance our status and history simply doesn’t warrant.

(I will return in future to this because it’s exactly what the British Government’s legal advice says).

If this assault on national self-respect continues without objection by compliant Unionists, they will vote No with shame on their shoulders.  They will be recorded  by history as the Unionists without the guts to stand up for Scotland even as they opposed independence.  Vote No, if you must…it is your right…but don’t do so meekly with the jeers of British supremacists ringing in our nation’s ears.  Stand up to them first and explain why you make the choice you do. 

Presumably you make your choice for Scotland…it’s just that, to the rest of us, it doesn’t sound like it.  It sounds like you’re being led by a braying cabal of nation-taunters and haven’t the nerve answer back.

Hammond interviewed on BBC Radio Scotland

Courtesy of Derek Bateman