Yet another has-been politician has been poked out from beneath their rock, and asked to have a go for ‘No’ with a few sound bites for the media.
With one exception, what he said is of little consequence. It fulfilled the now familiar box-ticking: belittling of Scotland, and warning about its future loss of influence. All the same merry stuff we have become used to, where the sub-text is clear: we don’t want you to go because it will reduce the rUK’s influence. The headlines are duly written and give the game away.
Who he is, or rather, was, is of more consequence. This was The Right Hon. Sir John Major KG CH, the Tory Prime Minister who managed to reduce to zero the number of Tory Members of Parliament in Scotland in 1997. He also managed to have the British pound expelled from the Exchange Rate Mechanism in 1992, and the Treasury spent an estimated £27 billion pounds pointlessly trying to prop this up in what became known as Black Wednesday.
Speaking of 1992, John…
- This is what John Major said in Scotland in 1992, when he was Prime Minister: “Does anyone seriously believe that, if Scotland plunged down the road to separation, the influence for good in the world that we’ve exerted together would remain the same?”
And in 1995: “All of us – Scots, English, Welsh and Northern Irish – would find ourselves citizens of a lesser county, with a smaller voice in the world, and with less chance to influence our future.”
Back then, he was battling the spectre of devolution. 22 years on, the message is the same.
Speaking in 2014: John
- This is what John Major said in Scotland in 2014, when he was Chairman of the Bow Group, a right wing think tank: “The Scottish nationalists are campaigning to replace real influence, living, current, day-to-day influence in the United Kingdom with possible irrelevance in much wider European Union.”
At least John’s consistent. Well, not quite. In 2011, he popped up in Scotland, and argued for ‘devo max’. But that, naturally, was not mentioned this time around.
A new trick from the old dog
Showing he’s not lost his political switchblade altogether, one nasty new twist was the criticism of the Scottish government’s choice of referendum date, in the year marking the 700th anniversary of the Battle of Bannockburn “presumably to maximise the opportunity for any anti-English sentiment that may exist.” Can one therefore assume that the recent 70th D-Day commemoration was designed to maximise the opportunity for any anti-German sentiment? And that the 200th commemoration of the Battle of Waterloo in 2015, for which Chancellor George Osborne announced around a million pounds in funding, is designed to maximise any anti-French sentiment?
A vile, cheap shot
Scotland’s desire for independence is ‘against’ many things. It is anti-Westminster, anti-nuclear weapons, anti-child poverty, anti-welfare cuts, anti-NHS dismantling, and anti-squandering of oil revenue. But it is not anti-English.
The Battle of Bannockburn was a bloody fight for independence. As such, it has always been remembered. But there is a world of difference between a celebration of battle and commemoration*.
However, the facts are of no importance, because, once again, the headlines are duly written by the Unionist media. The steady drip, drip, drip continues, along with the exclusion of narratives that do not fit the message.
The prize is a better country for the people of Scotland. And that’s only 91 days away.
*In August of 2013, The Ministry of Defence chose Stirling, site of the Battle of Bannockburn, to be the venue for their free ‘Armed Forces Day‘. They also chose to hold it on the very same day as the Day 1 of the ticketed Bannockburn Live event, June 28th, the dates for which were set a year previously. Labour-controlled Stirling Council did not disclose to the full council that they had even entered the contest to host this event until after they had been awarded it, despite it costing them an estimated £250,000-£500,000 to host it. So no hint of hijacking, backroom fixing or political collusion at all.
Stirling Provost, Mike Robbins, said:
“Stirling has very close historic links with Britain’s Armed Forces so we are tremendously proud to be hosting this fabulous event. It will be a truly spectacular day out for families – a real highlight of 2014. It is a superb chance for all of us to express our thanks to members of the Royal Navy, Army and Royal Air Force – past and present – for the remarkable work they do for the whole of the United Kingdom.“
Nicely put, Mike. The Armed Forces event will include tanks, several aircraft fly-pasts and displays, and a military parade through the city from Stirling Castle to the event site. And of course it is free, thanks to the Council’s generosity. The Armed Forces Day event logo and website, features the Union flag prominently. Not one Scottish Saltire appears on the Bannockburn Live website.