Get the Claymores out the Thatches…

Damn! I’ve been trying to keep to my own agenda and not be side-tracked by others. But when I read the Guardian with mounting disbelief, I realised I was off chasing someone else’s hare again.

Here is a key sentence from Martin Kettle’s column… ‘Nationalist opinion could become more militant if the talks become bogged down. Even acts of violence are not inconceivable in certain circumstances or places…’

He’s talking about a post-vote scenario in which things, he suggests, might get nasty. Well, it’s a theory. But that word ‘violence’ hit me like a slap in the face. Where did that come from?


We can all postulate and theorise but when someone in the mainstream starts to talk about constitutional politics turning to violence, he steps into very tricky territory. Journalistically, I expect that to be based on something – anything. And, of course, it is – the Irish Treaty of 1921. Yes, modern, democratic Scotland will resort to civil war if we’re not happy with the settlement. How do you draw the comparison? Who are the Provisionals and who the Republicans? Who is Collins, who is de Valera? Where are the guns? Where is the hatred? Do we have a militant, hardline cadre of nationalists with explosive dumps in the Campsies?

This is reaching to the bottom of the barrel for justification and it isn’t credible. As a professional, Kettle should be able to say words to the effect… ‘nationalist insiders are worried that extremists might’ etc…or ‘police suspect a handful of hardliners are prepared to’ etc…or ‘academics fear the possibility of trouble’ etc. In other words, he should quote anything that can purport to be a source of such a statement. For the author to assert this himself is downright irresponsible.

Our campaign has been democratic, transparent, constitutional and peaceful throughout. I can’t think of anything in the current debate which has hinted at trouble or who might cause it. I do remember sporadic acts of explosives in use in the seventies when nationalism was still largely incoherent and diehards copied the efforts of Irish nationalists. The last time anyone seriously mentioned violence to me in the Scottish context was in the 1980s when Adam Busby was claiming responsibility for bomb blasts in Ireland on behalf of the Scottish National Liberation Army (him) and a senior Tory told me he’d believe there was demand for devolution when Scots started knocking in the windows on Princes Street.


Modern Scottish nationalism is unblemished in this respect and there is nothing in the current legal arrangements for the referendum to leave any room for doubt. This is democratic. So where is Martin Kettle getting his information that leads to the suggestion we might fall upon each other if, for example, Trident takes longer to remove than we thought?

I think this is a silly, unresearched, desperate little reference which insults the movement and Scotland itself. He has a long-term, trusted and knowledgeable correspondent based in Edinburgh. Did he consult Severin Carrell before writing this?

He says it isn’t beyond the bounds of possibility and of course he is right. It isn’t beyond the bounds of possibility that David Cameron might declare a Yes majority insufficient, either. It just is very far down the scale and to drop it into the debate is to offer encouragement to any deranged idiot and to add a frightening element to a fair debate that doesn’t need this type of ill-informed intervention.

He also uses this piece to suggest strongly that there will be nastiness after a Yes vote, that people are just pretending to be nice right now but it will all kick off immediately afterwards.

‘Salmond talks as though the negotiations following a yes vote would be straightforward, respectful and informed by mutual trust. Why should that be so? They would more likely be devious, antagonistic and riddled with mutual suspicion, as well as largely meaningless until after the 2015 general election.’


Why not mutual trust? What is it about the British that everything is fine until they lose. This strain of unpleasantness runs through everything they do. They smile and say ‘of course, we’re happy to discuss it’ and then threaten us, unilaterally withdraw access to joint resources and hint at retaliation. Is this really a Union at all? It increasingly sounds to me like master and servant and master will tolerate independent thought from servant only so far and then, by god, watch out – they’ll turn nasty.

This, remember is the Guardian, not the colonially-minded Telegraph.

However, I also think Kettle completely misunderstands what will actually happen after a Yes vote and it isn’t just Scotland and the Scots he doesn’t understand – it’s Britain and the metropolitan elite he himself inhabits.

The moment a Yes is declared, the entire British machine moves into diplomatic mode. The first act is to be magnanimous by accepting the result with good grace. The second is to set the tone by appearing reasonable and, even while doing their utmost to get the best deal they can, they will present to the world an image of refined Brits maintaining their dignity. To be brutally frank, the loss of Scotland is the last vestige of a once ‘great’ country slowly sinking below the horizon. They must at all costs pretend the opposite is true, that this is a blip and nothing more. It will be the confirmation of an historical truth, that Scotland is returning whence it came and that the game of empire is over. Rule Britannia.

I think that while they pick over the pieces in private, to the world at large they will be desperate to look statesmanlike and even gentlemanly in keeping with their carefully cultured international image. The eyes of the world will be upon them and the last accusation they want to hear is of bullying and cheating a smaller neighbour who has just done what the UK constantly tells others to do – expressed its democratic wish. That image would be disastrous for the UK and the West in general when viewed from Moscow, Ankara, Kabul, Baghdad, Mogadishu, Tripoli and other theatres where the British like to strut. And imagine the global horror if friendly Nordic countries, or Berlin, or even Washington let it be known London was being nasty and thuggish with the Scots…

Let’s leave the predictions of doom, of nastiness and violence to the London media as another display of their epic ignorance and defeatism.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

41 thoughts on “Get the Claymores out the Thatches…

  1. My concern is that this kind of theme is appearing in the national papers (not really news more propaganda) too much. It would suit the Bitters to paint a picture of unreasonable cybernats (and cabernats even) as threatening and aggressive and something to be feared. I do worry about the direction these mouthpieces of the uk state are taking us.

  2. Dearie, dearie me.
    What’s that noise?
    Ah, just the scraping of the MSM Unionist barrel.

  3. This is just some sick fantasy by the author and says more about what is going on in his diseased brain than about reality, but it adds to the climate of distrust and fear and is not good news. I think it is time the Scottish government got some kind of international monitoring going, to ensure everyone is playing fair.

  4. Kettle’s problem is he views Scottish independence as a defeat rather than a democratic progression. It’s sad to think that so called educated people, knowing the true facts, are willing to sink to such a low level. No doubt we can look for more of the same all the way through to September. But it’s a total waste of time on their part since a majority of people living in Scotland suspect every word and move they make.

  5. Cracking dissection Derek.

    Mr Kettle’s piece is right up there with Mr Robertson’s ‘cataclysm’ speech. You don’t know whether to laugh or cry, feel pity or shock. Simply mindbending conflations and contradictions. Scenarios dreamt up from who knows where and based on the most tenuous of historical links.

    I’d despair but at the end of the day resorting to these frankly stupid tactics tells us something about the electoral plight of the no campaign.

  6. PS I gave my claymore away years ago………once I was too old to dance the Sword Dance!

  7. Introducing the thought of violence and civil disruption after a Yes vote, is just another scare tactic. The whole thing is just too much bother isn’t it…. Salmond is a vile egotistical dictator, his supporters are ignorant haggis munching cybernat idiots and they’ll cause mayhem to the green and pleasant land that ‘Britain’ is. (or they think it is) if we have the nerve to vote Yes. I hate all this, lies, and blatant propaganda. Those of us who can see through it, are fine, many don’t have the resources to see and it’s so easy just to say let’s just keep it all as it is, which is what the entire No campaign is about.

  8. As much as I hope for fair play ,like Churchill supplying munitions to Collins to win the civilwar in Ireland and bring stability. Can I suggest that you take time to read “Don’t tell the Newfoundlanders” it explains how Newfoundland was traded away without a democratic mandate from the people of Newfoundland which is the other side of Westminster deplomacy.

  9. majormacbloodnok

    Och we don’t need guns. I have some rolled up copies of the Scotsman soaked in cat’s urine that’ll do fine. They came that way by the way.

  10. Westminster’s lackeys in the MSM have now really lost the plot when they are resorting to this kind of attack on support for independence.

  11. roddymacdonald2014

    I suspect Kettle is a bit miffed that his armed insurrection was trumped by Hammond’s aliens, though I see Benedict Brogan of the colonial Toryraph was promoting the Guardian article onTwitter. Is there a competition going on in Whitehall and it’s environs for the most ludicrous indyref prognostication?

  12. I really don’t know why we are surprised by these articles since they have been occurring since the start of the independence campaign, and of of course date back many years, in particular in 79′. and 97′. And no doubt they will continue long after we have voted to become an independent country, as these people, all part of the establishment, at least in their thinking, are still guilty, as are unfortunately many scots, mainly the “proud” ones, still believe we are, “too wee, too stupid and too poor” to run our own affairs. We will be amazed when we discover how rich we really are, and I don’t just mean financially, after the 18th, September. In my time on the streets, I have still to meet one person who can articulate a positive reason for remaining in this unequal union, and that is the main reason why we are going to win the referendum.

  13. Why should we turn to violence if it is a YES vote? Wouldn’t those who voted No be the ones to resort to these tactics?

    Sorry to disappoint, but we Yessersl be too busy making a go of it

  14. All that stands between the Yes campaign and being branded “terrorists” by HMG in London is the Edinburgh agreement.
    In just about every country ruled from London that has sought independence,that has been the tactic (including the USA who should be reminded of this fact).
    Now that it looks like Scotland will be self governing,the colonial mindset in the London establishment is re-emerging as their last line of defence.
    Fortunately,we have both the Edinburgh agreement and the eyes of the world upon us so they are unlikely to prevail.
    How would the rest of the world view a country who blatantly breaks agreements made in good faith ?
    I am sure Westminster would not want to be compared to Vlad and the Oligarchs so they are going to have to tread very carefully.
    Thanks Derek.

  15. If he’d said there might be violence after a narrow No majority I might have seen there he was coming from, although it’s still a wicked, baseless smear. There are those who have meade various insurrectionist noises regarding how they’ll feel if they perceive a Yes majority has been snatched from their grasp due to the lies and smears of the media.

    But to suit Kettle’s agenda it’s a Yes victory that has to be portrayed as apocalyptic and terrifying. So he conjures up a ludicrous, lurid fantasy of Yes supporters turning terrorist in their very moment of victory. Thus, of course, feeding further the distrust of the media that is causing all the disquiet in the first place.

  16. “Why not mutual trust? What is it about the British that everything is fine until they lose. This strain of unpleasantness runs through everything they do. They smile and say ‘of course, we’re happy to discuss it’ and then threaten us, unilaterally withdraw access to joint resources and hint at retaliation. Is this really a Union at all? It increasingly sounds to me like master and servant and master will tolerate independent thought from servant only so far and then, by god, watch out – they’ll turn nasty. ”

    This , in a nutshell, describes the Scottish landowners we need to rid ourselves of. Imagine a tenant not doffing the cap, or telling him where to put his foxhunting – he’d be out of the tied house by the end of the day. So much for allowing independent thought.

  17. Does Kettle think the Scottish police to be impotent? It would seem he does so. What does he think the police will do at the first hint of even minor outbreaks of violence post the referendum? stand back and watch it happen?

    If you assault someone you can expect the long arm of the law to come after you and quite right too. We live in an era of the rule of law and Mr Kettle should consider that no part of Scotland rioted while many parts of England did so. One silly boy here in Dundee was prosecuted for a tweet attempting to inspire others to do so. That was as close as we got.

  18. I agree that a Yes vote will be publicly hailed as a positive outcome for all sides. Each party will announce positives from the settlement. This is in everyone’s best interests for progress.

    The democratic spirit of Scotland and rUK working together could be captured:

    “… I think that we could agree on what kind of a world we would all want to build. It would be a world of independent nations, moving toward international community, each of which protected and respected the basic human freedoms. It would be a world which demanded of each government that it accept its responsibility to insure social justice.”

    Robert F. Kennedy 06Jun’66

  19. Journalists have to make a living and so finding an angle is an important element in the struggle to get published (and paid). This is a perfectly acceptable practice provided, as you point out Derek, that it can be justified by reference to a legitimate source. In this case, Martin Kettle’s speculations on the independence referendum are simply that, (and deeply irresponsibly ones to boot), but they may reveal a significant development in the view from the metropolis where Scotland is usually of peripheral concern.

    As the referendum is now an established news item and has penetrated our southern neighbours’ consciousness we may expect more speculation pieces as hacks climb onto the bandwaggon in their desperate search for something to write about (and get paid).

    How much these scribblings will be orchestrated and managed by an establishment which is waking up to the fact that it may be losing its piggy bank and playground remains to be seen.

  20. “What is it about the British that everything is fine until they lose. ”

    Puleeeze Not the British, the English.

    • majormacbloodnok

      I would suggest that it is the British Establishment in all its forms that is doing this, not the English per se. Scotland is transforming into the worst possible place – somewhere foreign, and right on their doorstep too. And you know what foreigners are like: inexplicable, unpredictable, prone to savagery and therefore (with any luck) not to be treated equitably or as a civilized society.

  21. I am finding that these Metropollyanna Land Luvvies are writing this type of drivel more and more often. I wonder if it has anything to do with being vengeful after the pasting they usually take from Indy supporters when they come onto Twitter and pontificate about Independence. David Aaronovitch is at it again today in the Times only a few days after his ass was well and truly kicked for his nonsensical views re Independence.

  22. Im getting more puzzled by the minute at all of the mistakes made by the no campaign?
    violence against insurrection is a very english trait

  23. lets be truthful…. Wastemonster ploy ! and we knew this line would be played….history has taught us well

  24. It would seem the unionist media has now taken on the role of defending the union after Better Together made a right-erse-o’-things.

    Will it work? Will it f###!

  25. It’s a habit of thought that has become ingrained down the centuries: Here’s my take..

  26. All those with a vested interest in continued Westminster rule
    seem to do this kind of ‘projection’ more and more these days.

    It really does give you a window to their souls doesn’t it?

    Meanwhile Yessers all over Scotland continue to talk up
    Independence as inclusive, more egalitarian, and an opportunity
    to build a positive future for all.

  27. Derek

    The thing that really gets me in your postings (and even more from your followers/comments) is this constant referall to Scotland as ‘servant’ or basically a colony. Scotland has long been a part of the United Kingdom and has constantly punched above it’s weight. From the Scottish enlightenment to silicon glen and beyond. I’m no fan of Brian Souter, but you can hardly set foot on a bus anywhere that isn’t Stagecoach. A bad thing, but arguably colonisation the other way..

    The process of Devolution continues. It is now inconcievable that the tyrany of the Thatcher years coul be repeated. Unless you belive the scaremongering of some of the YES camp?

    So why do you want to think so small for you nation? Looking inward, raising the drawbridge. Some like Salmond, and the new Scottish Establishment simply want to be big fish in a small pond. Is thatreally where you are?

  28. Excellent article. I would like to print it and send to a liberal minded unionist friend in his 70s who does not use the internet, only last week he reiterated to me that it ‘could end up being a war’ though he did not say who might start this war! He is probably not alone in thinking like this, especially those that lived through ww2, for some bizarre reason.

  29. Gavin C Barrie

    Derek I think you have failed to recognise the romantic, whimsical, and gentle nature of our Southern neighbours, as expressed by Mr Kettle.

  30. Dr JM Mackintosh

    Derek and Jan,

    you will need to get the Claymores out of the attic – for the large Sword Dance celebration on the esplanade of Edinburgh Castle in 2016.

    The one thing that the British Establishment is very good at doing is pulling out of countries with lots of pomp and circumstance. Think India – Think Hong Kong.

    I can picture it now – the band of the Royal Marines playing the last post as that huge Union Jack is lowered for the top of Edinburgh Castle.

    The Highland dancers with their swords and the massed pipe bands playing a medley of marches as a more modest Saltire is raised in front of the TV crews from around the world. I want to be there!

    Oops – just woken up – dreaming again.

    Still a referendum to win first – out with the kids leafleting this weekend.

  31. Tutuanatiaratoo

    Martin Kettle has used tired old clichés from the Irish conflict and the fear campaign to try and create more uncertainty. He is simply a stupid idiotic and pathetic yes man for the union.

  32. Cag-does-thinking

    There is of course history here in that on the run up to the 1979 vote there was an alarming little drama on television where fanatical Nationalists started bombing in a very 1916 Irish way. The author of this piece of nonsense? One Douglas Hurd who then went on to become Foreign Secretary for his imaginative persectives and eventually became a Baron as thanks from a grateful British establishment.

  33. I well remember the atmosphere in the University Staff Club in Aberystwyth in 1976 when – horror of horrors! – Plaid Cymru took the Council seat in which the club was situated. It was like that marvelous scene from “Carry On Up the Khyber” where Sir Sidney Ruff-Diamond and his guests continue to dine with stiff upper lips while the Khazi’s troops besiege the British Residency.

  34. Michael Kettle is not alone. There has been a spate of such articles recently, referring to Scotland as an English possession and talking up Scottish independence as a threat to England’s national security.
    For example, there is this from Crispin Black:

    “But the primary argument against separation – looking at it from the English interest – is that for the first time since 1603 England will have a land border with a foreign power. It’s what kept Elizabeth I and many of her predecessors awake at night – the country is a giant and dangerous backdoor into England.

    An independent Scotland will almost certainly be viscerally hostile and quickly bankrupt. Spain will veto its membership of the EU and it will quickly debauch its currency – whatever that may be.

    If you want an idea of what the relationship between the two countries is going to be like, look at the Irish Republic from its foundation in 1921 until recently.” –

    And it’s not only journalists. Mainstream politicians are also jumping on the bandwagon. Here is former Secretary of State for Scotland, Michael Moore:

    “It is the duty of the government of any state to safeguard national security and to protect its people, territory, economy and interests from internal and external threats.

    If Scotland votes to leave the United Kingdom in September, there is no doubt that there would be major challenges for the national security of both Scotland and the rest of the UK.” –

    A pattern is emerging. A rather disturbing pattern.

  35. Ian PA MacDonald

    Certainly it is true that negotiations will proceed in a dignified and fair manner because the world will be watching.

    It is also true that, contrary to what most Unionists, nay most people probably, think, it is in fact Scotland who will be in a position of greater strength in the negotiations from the outset.

    Within common-sense limits, if rUK refuses to play ball over what it has a say in, Scotland can just let the clock run down to independence, and we’ll be the beneficiaries. Of course, we wouldn’t do that – we’d seek sensible alternative arrangements if rUK really were calling our bluff, but it won’t come to that. It’s in neither party’s interest.

    At the moment, Westminster may be able to pretend that it is they who will be calling the shots – that they can make life difficult for Scotland post-Yes if they want to. That seems to be the bargaining chip they are counting on.

    However it will seem a very lightweight one indeed after the event, when it is no longer Scots’ votes they are going after but rUK ones. When the deadline to conclude negotiations approaches, which leader will be seeking a settlement that will let them address their citizens with the message that ‘yes, I know it will impact a bit on your family income, but, by god we gave those Scots a bloody nose’? Of course the prize will be to claim ‘the best deal for rUK we could negotiate’. It always is.

  36. When I read of aggressive and violent nationalists I immediately think of the BritNats, as any aggressive behaviour I have came across has came from the pro union side.Still I will vote yes as its been my lifelong ambition to be in an independent Scotland.

  37. I dunno, I guess Kettle’s view could be predicated on the relentless denunciation of the English? Perhaps Scotland’s choice to discriminate against English students could have something to do with it? Maybe the actions of the street-mobs when Nigel Farage made his way to Scotland was a message?

    Maybe some of this very blog might be seen as verging on race-hate mongering.

    I used to want to preserve the Union. Now I don’t – why should I wish to support a set of people who so obviously hate me simply for my race (I’m English)? But I honestly fear that if (when) you go it alone, you’re going to spend years hunting for ‘traitors’ who are insufficiently patriotic and who might even have voted ‘No.’ I fear you’re going to spend years, decades perhaps, blaming the English other for the disappointments and difficulties of independence. In short, I think that having so gleefully released the toxins in the system, you’re going to have to deal with them. Glad I’m not you.

  38. Well, here we go again. The old saying, “History repeats itself”, comes to mind. Recently the former deputy commander of a very violent and dangerous terrorist organization was 2″Discovered” inside Buckingham palace. he was having dinner with the Queen, alongside the President of his National Republic. Apparently all went very well. Congratulations Martin McGuinness !. He was one of a long line of predecessors from various former British colonies to do so. Most had at some time been held in colonial prisons, ill-treated, etc, and in the end triumphed.
    This has been going on for nearly a hundred years now.

    The difference is that Scotland is going along a constitutional path, of legality, and international law. The Scots also .have a legal agreement with the UK Government. plus the EU backs them on this one, as far as law is concerned. So does the UN, whose treaties on this the UK government are signed up to. Ooops!. The Brits have been cornered. A YES vote really does mean yes. So what will they do?…Lots. The usual nasty tricks, deceit and deception, that we are now seeing in the NO campaign. Also I expect various strange things to happen when the Vote is cast, and counted in American Voting machines that are notorious for their role in the Bush Elections. The same machines that “Lost” 300,000 votes and marked them as “Spoiled ballots”, when the first SNP government was elected, in spite of that. The Machines, and the vote, will, of course, not be monitored by international election observers, from the OECD, as is now often the case. The women who is head of the vote returning operation, who seems to be fundamentally clueless, declines to consider this issue at all.

    That of course is only the first hurdle. “False flag ops” are the second one, with various “Incidents” staged and scandals uncovered to discredit the Nationalists, up to and including violence. There will also be attempts to play the sectarian card. All these things have been a standard operating procedure for the Brits, in every country they have had to withdraw from. This is not “Conspiracy Theory”, it is factual.

    There is also the issue of the “Negotiations”. Much has been made of this. In fact, in international law, a YES vote is legally binding. If negotiations failed, or went beyond the 2016 deadline, the Edinburgh government could legally declare UDI. Negotiations should not be held. “Discussions” based on International lw, based on the rules of international law, are the correct path. If they don’t like it, the London government can simply be told to withdraw all it’s remaining officials and military from Scotland. Of course, there is the matter of the Oil. This is going to be the big reason for all of the above. So I have absolutely no trust, faith, or confidence in the RUK government at all. I expect everything they can do to get a NO vote to happen, and then if it is YES, a program exactly like that used against Ireland in 1921, to damage, limit, and impoverish the Country, and marginalize it internationally. To expect otherwise is utter recklessness.

Leave a Reply to Macart Cancel reply