Sleep well Scotland – London is in control!
When you are a supporter of an independent Scotland, you get used to the daily dose of scaremongering stories from unionists. Some are bizarre, some are laughable, some are just plain daft – and some are blatant and outright lies. Enter stage left Home Secretary Theresa May.
On a visit to Edinburgh during which she launched a UK government paper on counter-terrorism issues, the Home Secretary claimed that Scotland was a major terrorist target and that leaving the union would leave an independent Scotland vulnerable to terrorist attack. Claiming Scotland would automatically lose automatic access to UK intelligence (contradiction in terms?), Ms May claimed threats from organised crime gangs, cyber-criminals and global terrorism “are best confronted with Scotland inside the UK”. She continued, “I don’t think it is possible to guarantee that the threat would diminish with a separate Scotland. I don’t think it is possible to guarantee that the threat would diminish with a separate Scotland. But what
would change would be the scale of capability that
Scotland would have access to.”
Claims require evidence, and I would like to know just upon what evidence Theresa May bases her claims. For as far as I can see, the role of London-based security services has been anything but effective north of the border. Where was this great wealth of intelligence before PanAm 103 was blown up over Lockerbie in 1988? Where was the security before the attempted bombing of Glasgow Airport in 2007? On both occasions MI5 and MI6 singularly failed to prevent terrorism, and failed Scotland to boot.
Astoundingly, the Glasgow Airport bombing is mentioned in the government report, despite the appalling failure of Whitehall to prevent it happening – or the fact that they were completely unaware of a pro-Al Queda terrorist cell in Scotland at all. The report also mentions that Scots were among those caught up in Amenas gas plant attack in Algeria in January of 2013. The latter not only smacks of desperation, it is positively clutching at straws.
Neither is there any evidence that Scotland is a serious terrorist target. In all the years of ‘The Troubles’ in Northern Ireland, one letter bomb once went off in a Glasgow sorting office – and that, bound for London, detonated prematurely. Irish paramilitaries instead tended to attack cities in England, mostly London.
In 2005 the G8 summit of world leaders took place at the prestigious Gleneagles Hotel in Scotland. As any such event would be an obvious terrorist target, extra police from English forces, including London’s Metropolitan Police, were brought north of the border and sworn in as Scots officers. One may think then that international terrorists would have attempted at least something in Scotland. Indeed they did not. Instead on 7 July 2005 a pro-Al Queda group carried out bombings on London buses and the London Underground, when the English capital for once had let her guard down.
Terrorists are simply not interested in Scotland. It would benefit them little or nothing to attack us. Even despite having the UK’s nuclear deterrent (which has never deterred anyone) in our waters, there has never, not once, been a terrorist attack upon the Royal Navy submarine base at Faslane. The only arrests there have ever been of unarmed and nonviolent peace protestors – whom the UK government describes as “terrorists”.
And apart from anything else, Scots Law is already devolved, as it always has been. Theresa May’s words therefore were little short of a slur upon Scotland’s finest. The Justice Secretary of the devolved Scottish Parliament, Kenny McAskill MSP was absolutely correct in his reply to the Home Secretary; “These claims are wrong – not least because Scotland is already an independent jurisdiction when it comes to policing and justice issues, and current cross-border cooperation shows how well that can work to combat terrorism and other threats.”
He was also never more correct when he described the cross border – and international – efforts which are already in place to protect us all “An independent Scotland will have first rate security arrangements to counter any threats we may face. And we will continue to work in very close collaboration with the rest of the UK and international partners on security and intelligence matters, which is in everyone’s interests.”
Perhaps the Home Secretary has never heard of Interpol. Perhaps she has never heard of intelligence sharing, which happens not only at the European level, but between the UK and the USA. What exactly is Theresa May saying here? That Whitehall would throw a strop at an independent Scotland and refuse to share intelligence with us? If an independent Scotland and the remainder of the UK were both members of the EU, I am not even sure of the legality of that. And in the unlikely event that Scotland were targeted, would the Home Secretary refuse to release information which may prevent an attack and ultimately save lives? Only someone with no moral compass whatsoever would ever do such a terrible thing.
But then, the Home Secretary did also say that an independent Scotland may pose a terrorist threat to the remainder UK, and therein lies the rub. Given that London is and always shall be the major terrorist target in these isles, that is what this report and Theresa May’s words are about. They have little to do with potentially saving Scots lives, but more than plenty I suspect to do with the tub-thumping, jingoistic, insular, little Englander views of the Home Secretary and her London-centric Conservative views.