The right man for the job

It is becoming clearer by the day why Alister “Union” Jack was chosen to replace David “Fluffy” Mundell. The latter is a functionary. Dull, plodding, unimaginative, but mindlessly loyal and unthinkingly obedient. He could be relied upon to do his masters’ bidding dutifully and with mechanical efficiency. The ideal person to manage the setting-up of the new apparatus of the British state in Scotland. But not the man to operate it.

Some people design and build racing cars. Others drive them. The same applies to bulldozers. And to the machinery of state oppression. Not the state oppression of old. Not the crude, strong-arm oppression of medieval times. Nor the overwhelming, ‘might and main’ oppression of European imperialism. Nor even the relentlessly menacing oppression of the 20th century totalitarian state. Modern state oppression is more subtle. More efficient. More insidious.

Some will object to the use of the term ‘state oppression’ in this context. But think it through. Oppression is subjugation by means of superior power. Who can sensibly deny that the original purpose of the Union was subjugation of Scotland by the superior power of England. Those who seek to preserve this subjugating Union will insist that it has changed over time. They claim that it is a “partnership of equals”; a voluntary collaborative enterprise for mutual benefit. But is that what we see when we look at the way the Union functions?

Is there anything that has happened in the last decade that looks at all like a “partnership of equals” in operation? Is there anything about current relations between Scotland and England that seems “voluntary” or “collaborative”? From the appalling Project Fear to the impertinence of EVEL; the contemptuous disregard for Scotland’s Remain vote; the exclusion of the Scottish Government from Brexit negotiations; the seizure of repatriated EU powers; the denial of Scotland’s right of self-determination; to the competitive Jock-bashing of the Tory leadership campaign and the emergence of an unelected shadow administration accountable, not to the people of Scotland, but to a British executive wielding powers akin to those of an absolute monarch, nothing in any of this speaks of anything other than the subjugation of Scotland by the successors of those who imposed the Union on us more than three centuries ago.

What distinguishes Unionists is that they are in denial about this subjugation. What distinguishes British Nationalists is that they believe this subjugation be the ‘natural order’. What distinguishes campaigners for the restoration of Scotland’s independence is that we refuse to accept this subjugation, considering it a gross insult to the people of Scotland and an affront to democracy.

As awareness of the true nature of the Union has grown, the British establishment has been obliged to respond. That response has been much as we would expect of an oppressor. It follows the perverse logic that if oppression is failing then the solution must be more oppression.

We are not, of course, talking about overt oppression of the kind that relies on batons, CS gas and prison cells. The British state has had centuries to perfect methods of oppression which are, as has been noted, more subtle and insidious; not to mention more cost-effective. The tools of the 21st century oppressor are media and money. Adroitly deployed, these can be every bit as effective as more brutal forms of oppression – and a lot less messy. Modern oppressors don’t occupy the land with military garrisons. They occupy minds with propaganda. They don’t control the populace by means of physical force. They control the people by means of economic pressure.

David Mundell has served his masters well. Doubtless, he will be rewarded as loyal servants of the British ruling elite usually are, with some sinecure or title. For the moment, however, he has been unceremoniously cast aside in favour of someone considered better qualified to actually run the shadow administration that Mundell has been instrumental in establishing. Someone with a rather different skill set.

Alister Jack is the enforcer. Now that the infrastructure has been put in place, the British state needs someone to make sure it works effectively. This requires a certain ruthlessness. Not the violent mercilessness of the vicious despot. But the cold pitilessness of the business executive. Someone who will move the pieces around the board with the same focus on the bottom line whether they are people or plant. Someone who will be quite unmoved by arguments from principle if these get in the way of the deal.

A faithful old retainer such as Mundell has his uses. But the ‘One Nation’ project requires someone who can act on their own initiative. Someone who can manoeuvre and manipulate on the fly. Someone who can spot opportunities and jump on them without waiting for instructions from head office.

The UK Government in Scotland is, unquestionably, the most important part of the British Nationalist ‘One Nation’ project. It is crucial that the British establishment get the right person to run it. Alister “Union” Jack’s educational, business and political background is such as would, in an earlier time, have fitted him well to the role of colonial governor. It’s not difficult to see why he was considered the perfect candidate to take on the task of dismantling Scotland’s democratic institutions and readying the country for exploitation on a massive scale.



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9 thoughts on “The right man for the job

  1. We have to understand what we are up against, then, when we have the handle on that, decide what we are going to do about it, if anything. We need to assess what waiting till October will allow them to get away with, waiting till 2020, waiting till 2021… It is the waiting to see that is the problem, just as it was in the mid 1930s when waiting to see actually allowed Hitler’s regime to re-arm Germany to the point where they felt able to invade Poland, our ally, and risk our involvement in a global conflict. It matters not a jot that Germany was eventually defeated (by a coalition, not by Britain alone) because it is the cost of that waiting that is the crucial matter. Imagine if America and the colonies had not joined us; imagine if Russia received no help either. The outcome could have been very different.

    Now, imagine that Hitler and the Nazis were forced into compliance with international law in the mid 1930s; and imagine that re-armament to the extent necessary to prosecute a war became impossible. How many millions of lives would have been saved? Would Europe’s Jewish population have survived almost intact? Probably. What about civilian casualties – unarmed women and children and old people? Probably. Therein lies our dilemma: do we move now or wait till it’s too late to save most of our people and a new regime is forced upon us, and which we might eventually have to face in armed rebellion before they leave us alone? Think about the cost of that and the untold innocents who will suffer if that were to be the case; and think about the civil war nature that rebellion would have to take, given the divisions that exist now.

    The thing about the Union is not so much that we were corralled into it – we were, no question, and the reasons for it then are no different now – but that we have had the weapons at our fingertips to bring it to an end, but have always stepped back in fear of doing what is necessary to bring it to an end. We have the weapon the English/British establishment/elite itself furnished, and that is the Treaty – an international document (contract) and written agreement between two sovereign nation states which can be resiled, if we can bring sufficient evidence to the table, in the International Court of Justice because it is governed, as are all international treaties, by international law. This, by necessity, takes it out of the hands of the British government. One of our most eminent constitutional lawyers, the late David Walker, Emeritus Professor of Public Law at Glasgow, himself no Scottish nationalist, defended our corner against Professors Crawford and Boyle, who were commissioned by David Cameron to “show” that Scotland “had been subsumed” in 1707. Now, as Professor Walker evidenced, these two eminent gentlemen started from the premise that Scotland had been subsumed in 1707 to prove that Scotland had been subsumed in 1707. No one will need me to point out the circular motion of that argument and its fallibility under powerful legal evidence to the contrary.

    Legally, Professor Walker evidenced that Queen Anne believed absolutely that a partnership political Union had been created between her two Crown (monarchical union) nations, and that, jurisprudential jurists, always looking behind the words to evidence the intention, would have to consider that her actings around the Treaty and her choice of words on opening the “British” parliament, not to mention both the actings and words of her Commissioners, both Scottish and English, could lead to no other conclusion than that the Union was intended to be a partnership and was carried out under international law in accordance to the Treaty and Treaty articles themselves. It was hi-jacked almost from day one by the English MPs, and Scotland made no objections in law, albeit they did protest mildly in the political arena, and that has been the case ever since. What actually happened was that England translated the Treaty articles to its own advantage and created a Union that was never meant to be, hi-jacking the ‘British parliament’ as the continuing English parliament when it was never intended to be so, the Queen’s words proving quite conclusively to my mind, and certainly to Professor Walker’s, that her “new British parliament” was just that and was always intended to be just that. That means that, legally, England has no legality or legitimacy to tell Scotland to do anything or hold anything back from Scotland, but the Treaty needs to be ‘sound’ in international law for that interpretation to be effective.

    In other words, we must make a case to show that the ‘British’ (actually English) governments, from 1707 to the present day, have been acting ultra vires and illegally in relation to Scotland – as an imperial master instead of as a partner. Devolution cannot supersede the Treaty because the Treaty is the founding contract of the legal and political Union, and primary legislation cannot supersede itself by secondary legislation introduced by itself.

    This route will allow us to bring a case on the legality of the Union itself and avoid divisive referendums. If the Treaty is null and void because one of the parties to it has acted illegally, there is no requirement for a referendum to end it; we would be de facto independent following the ruling (which I believe would have to be positive, given the weight of evidence); and a positive ratifying referendum would create the democratic and legal basis for dissolution of the Union. I believe there is little advantage to Scotland in opposing the continuity state status of rUK and a great deal to be gained, but these advantages and disadvantages, particularly in light of our separate dealings with rUK and the EU, need to be weighed in the scales. I can see no impediment to bringing a case for resiling the Treaty alongside a SG advisory referendum either, but they would have to run parallel and complementary, not be either/or, as might be the case if a second Edinburgh Agreement was reached with the UKG, but even that is not certain because the two actions would be very different, taking place in different fields: one political; the other legal; albeit, the Edinburgh Agreement would mean that we have to accept the result unless material changes occur and, even then, no government can bind its successor or the people except by Treaty, and the SG would have to be stark, raving mad to sign another one with rUK.

    Sorry, Mr Bell, not trying to take over your blog, just trying to cover all the bases.

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    1. Oh, and I absolutely agree with your analysis of what is happening and what Mr Jack’s job will be and what awaits us in that One Nation State.

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    2. @Lorna Campbell

      You are a beautiful soul.
      Your words are full of insight and you makes discussion a better place.

      There are some people with whom I think it would be wonderful to watch movies with, read books with – you are one of them.

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  2. Peter and Lorna,

    Many thanks for such clarity in describing the present situation and drawing our attention to its roots.

    An immediate question arises – What is the legal status of the new UK office in in Edinburgh with reference to the terms of the original Acts of Union? My first thought is that it is a ‘novelty’ which lacks legality and is bound to lead to activity which is ultra-vires. It is certain that its introduction was not preceded by any reasonable measure of consultation with the Scottish peoples’ representatives.

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    1. Thanks for the feedback, Phil. Much appreciated.

      In terms of constitutional matters, what is ‘legal’ can often be very much a matter of what you can get away with. If your actions are not challenged, then they are assumed to be lawful. The Union – augmented by the No vote in 2014 – pretty much allows the British state to do what it will in and with Scotland.. The limitations created by devolution are largely illusory. They are limitations only so long as the British political elite chooses to accept them as such.

      What is important to remember is that this works both ways. The Scottish Government can do stuff that pushes the envelope of lawfulness and, so long as there is no challenge, there is no problem. In a way, that is what is happening with the Referendums Bill. But many, myself included, fear it may be too little too late.

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    2. I have nothing really to add to Mr Bell’s analysis which is spot on, except to expand on it a bit. Legality in constitutional matters is very much about what you can get away with – no challenge, no ‘illegality’. The limits prescribed by articles/terms are also subject to legal interpretation and wily lawyers are always hovering around legal documents like flies to jam. The thing about the wording of legal/political documents is that it is ‘intention’, for want of a better word, that is used to interpret them. What did the draftsmen/women and the legislators, intend, not what are the consequences? When the co-signatories signed a document, did they understand what they were signing? The implications of signing a document should always be subject to scrutiny and the pitfalls pointed out, but, of course, not even the very best legal minds can always foresee all of these at the time. All I can say is that Westminster has pushed the boundaries of the Treaty to breaking point and gotten away with it from day one. I believe, and far better legal minds than mine have believed, and brought evidence to show, that Scotland has been short-changed every step of the way since 1707. Sometimes, just not challenging – omission – is taken to mean acceptance, and that is why, in criminal law, omission can be liable to prosecution just as much as commission. However, it could be argued that we have been saddled with Unionist administrations even in Scotland in almost all of those 312 years, and that is why it is especially galling that a SNP administration continues the practice of non-challenge, of turning a blind eye to flagrant breaches of an international contract, in the case of the Treaty. They have challenged the devolution settlement, but all constitutional rules (wholly English in origin and, therefore, dealt with in the domestic courts) and the Scotland Act (also dealt with in the domestic courts) presume the sovereignty of parliament (essentially, the UKG) and override everything. It is, in its very essence, a situation of colonial master and servant, and the Treaty was never intended to facilitate that, never and the evidence exists to show that. That is why, its being subject to international law, we have a better chance of challenging it successfully in the ICJ, outwith the sticky fingers of Westminster and Whitehall.

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  3. We can all see it Peter. The purge has started!

    You comment daily on what we can all see coming. Yet the SNP offer us no reassurance or hope. In fact they seem to tell the media more than us members.

    We have less than 3 months to act. I am afraid it’s now obvious the SNP will not be acting until after Halloween. In fact I would suggest they might be looking at next April now.

    The damage and power grab that is taking place right now. Will speed up like an angry hornets nest after we leave the EU. A desperate enemy will strike without warning when they need a trade deal with Donald. They will be taking over our NHS and Agricultural sectors. Indeed the agriculture sector is already about 20% there. Each day that percentage grows.

    So all this is going on and our government is watching it. They have also allowed countless good people to be deported recently.

    It seems to me that the SNP talk the talk, but don’t back it up with action.

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  4. Peter

    …”Not the state oppression of old….Modern state oppression is more subtle. More efficient. More insidious.”…

    Don’t believe for a second that the British State won’t go there if they have to. Your main thrust is brilliant, but the warnings about oppression subtly pull your punches.

    State oppression is a sliding scale and never doubt Westminster won’t use EVERY means at its disposal. It is Newtonian in that it only uses an equal and opposite force to achieve its goals. If the bully wants your lunch money, they won’t break your legs everyday…but they will do it.

    Just like the English got caught out by Brexit because they didn’t believe what happened in Scotland and Ni before it would be turned on them…Scotland will be caught out because it doesn’t believe that what happened in NI will be turned on them. Sadly, there is a weird Scottish exceptionalism that thinks “Scotland plays nice” so that horror won’t be visited upon it. History shows exactly the opposite.

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