The “special relationship”
between the UK and the USA
and the prospective disintegration
of the United Kingdom

Malcolm Potter Brown

Auksford, 2014

© Copyright
Malcolm Potter-Brown 2014

The mythical origins of American History
The creation of the United Kingdom and its influence
The American attitude to Britain in the 20th century
The role of Scots in the United Kingdom
The appeal of Alex Salmond
The effects of a vote in favour of separation
Who would approve of Scotland’s separation from the UK?
Who would regret the divorce and breakup of the United Kingdom?
Postscript: The result of the referendum

The mythical origins of American history
    Politicians in both the United Kingdom and the United States frequently stress the “special relationship” between them, but in what does it really consist?  Both are democratic societies and both share an interest in resisting the imperialism of totalitarian political and religious bigotry, but, aside from that, the relationship appears to be that of an over-indulgent parent who supports her child through thick and thin and is unable to see its faults, and a spoilt, wayward and selfish child that takes advantage of its parent’s indulgence whenever it wants.
    The history of the United States is largely mythical, and these myths have somehow succeeded in gaining world-wide acceptance, even in Britain, where we should know better.  The myth alleges that the American colonies broke away because they were heavily and unfairly taxed by Britain.  This is entirely false: American colonists paid lower taxes than people in Britain because Britain wished to subsidise the colonies to ensure their success.  In addition Britain maintained an army on the American continent to defend the colonists from the French who had established rival colonies and would have liked to take over the whole continent.  The casus belli came when Britain asked the colonists to contribute towards the maintenance of the army defending them.  This gave those colonists who wished for independence the excuse they needed, but the real, underlying reason for their desire for separation from the mother country was that the Government of George III had promulgated a policy that all citizens of the empire, whether of British descent or descended from the native peoples of the colonies, should have the same rights.  Many of the colonists regarded the native American tribes as subhuman savages to be driven off their ancestral lands or massacred: the only good injun, they said, is a dead injun.
    Another myth is that the colonists were totally united against the alleged tyranny of Britain.  This too is untrue.  The “War of Independence” was not a war between the united colonists and the British but might more accurately be called the First American Civil War.  When Britain conceded defeat about a third of the inhabitants of the newly independent United States fled to British Canada to avoid vengeful persecution at the hands of the Americans.
    This took place at the end of the eighteenth century.  Throughout the nineteenth century the Americans were undisturbed by any invasion from Europe, and they owed this freedom from interference to the pax britannica, the mastery of the world’s oceans by the British Royal Navy, for Britain, during the nineteenth century was the world’s greatest superpower.

The creation of the United Kingdom and its influence
    In the Middle Ages and the Tudor period England, with its  dependencies Wales and Ireland, was one of the major European powers, but almost always outclassed by at least one of the other major powers: France, Spain, the Holy Roman Empire and later also the Netherlands.  Scotland was politically a poor and insignificant country, occasionally valuable to the French as a base for attacks on England.  During the reign of Elizabeth I England beat off the Spanish attempt at invasion, the Armada, and began to establish colonies in the new world across the Atlantic.  Towards the end of the 17th century Scotland, now ruled by the same, Scottish, King who ruled England but as a separate kingdom with its own parliament, also attempted to found colonies, and bankrupted itself in the process.  Union with England, long desired by the Stuart kings, saved the Scots’ bacon and opened up new possibilities for trade and influence.  The Act of Union in 1702 also created the new superpower, the United Kingdom, in which Scots had as much influence as Englishmen.  The French were outclassed in imperial ventures and the British Empire became the No.1 power, which, among other things, helped to preserve the independence of the United States of America.
    In 1807 the United Kingdom abolished the slave trade throughout the empire, and the Royal Navy made it its business to discourage other nations from continuing it.  The hope was that this measure would bring an end to slavery.  It failed and so a further act was passed in 1833 abolishing slavery throughout the empire.  Slavery continued however in the self-styled land of the free: with even free men being kidnapped and sold, as told in his autobiography by Solomon Northrupp who was enslaved in 1841 and remained a slave for 12 years.
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness,” proclaimed the US Declaration of Independence in 1776, but this noble sentiment did not apply to Afro-Americans, who continued to be enslaved and cruelly treated until the (second) Civil War, 1861-65, almost a century later, and even then black Americans did not have the same civil rights as white ones until a further hundred years had passed.
Despite this America regards itself as the land of liberty and the British Empire as the Evil Empire.  Is this the justification for giving all citizens the right to bear arms – to defend the United States against possible invasion and reconquest by Britain?   Or was it to facilitate the massacre of the redskins?  Whatever the reason, the proliferation of guns has led to the murder of numerous victims, many of them children, often in high-school massacres by disaffected teenagers.

The American attitude to Britain in the 20th century
Nevertheless, the United States is now the number one scientific and technological power in the world.  How was this achieved?  Britain, the former number one, and Germany, its close rival, suffered the attrition of two long wars in the first half of the 20th century, in each of which the United States joined in only very late.  In order to purchase American support in the fight against the evil of Hitler’s Nazi state, Winston Churchill, himself partly American, gave the USA as a gift the totality of Britain’s scientific knowledge.  After the war’s end the Americans spirited away all the leading German scientists, thus securing for themselves total scientific and technological superiority.  Further, at the end of the war, when the leaders of Britain, Russia and the United States met at Yalta, despite his protestations of friendship, Roosevelt plotted with Stalin behind Churchill’s back to undermine and bring to an end the British Empire – one can only suppose that this treacherous behaviour stems from a belief in the mythical history of the origins of the USA.
Anti-British policies continued throughout the second half of the 20th century, ranging from the pseudo-historical output of the Hollywood dream factory (in which every heroic action in the war was attributed to Americans, every really unpleasant villain had a British accent, and the English were represented as conquerors of Scotland) through to the financing of Irish terrorists who, over the years killed more innocent British civilians – men women and children – than the total number of Americans killed by Islamist terrorists.  The equivalent of this American support for terrorists trying to separate Northern Ireland from the rest of the UK despite the wish of the majority of its citizens to remain British would have been Britain financing Mexican terrorists to plant bombs in Washington and New York to persuade the US Government to cede Texas or California.
The Empire has come to an end, as America wished, but it has been replaced by the Commonwealth, a free association of independent nations, all of which retain, at least to some degree, the democratic values that originated in Britain.  Northern Ireland is still part of the UK, but with a power-sharing agreement that gives the former terrorists a stake in the state.  Under Britain’s worst Prime Minister, Tony Blair, Britain acted as President Bush’s poodle, while Blair’s ill-considered interference with the British constitution, has opened the way for the Americans’ greatest ever triumph: the break-up of the United Kingdom.

The role of Scots in the United Kingdom
    The first monarchs of the united kingdoms of England and Scotland came from the Scottish royal house, the Stuarts: James VI & I, Charles I, Charles II, James VII & II, Mary II (co-ruler with her Dutch husband William III), and Anne.  Thereafter the throne passed to their nearest Protestant relative, George I.
    Since the establishment of the office of Prime Minister in 1721 numerous Scots have held the office.  John Stuart, 3rd Earl of Bute was PM from 1762-63 and George Hamilton-Gordon, 4th Earl of Aberdeen held the office from 1852 to 1855.  In the twentieth and twenty-first centuries numerous Scots have attained the top position as head of the UK Government: Arthur Balfour (1902-05), Henry Campbell-Bannerman (1905-08), Andrew Bonar Law (1922-23), Ramsey MacDonald (1924 & 1931-35), Harold Macmillan (descended from a crofter, 1957-63), Alec Douglas-Home (1963-64).  Tony Blair, (whose father was the son of English actors but adopted by a Scottish couple, and who was educated in Scotland, 1997-2007), was succeeded by Gordon Brown, and the present PM, David Cameron is the son of a Scot who was born in Scotland.
    The  important office of Chancellor of the Exchequer, holder of the national purse strings, was held by the following Scots during the 20th century: Charles Ritchie (1902-03), Andrew Bonar Law (1916-19), Robert Horne (1921-22),  John Anderson (1943-45), Harold Macmillan (1955-57), Iain Macleod (born in England of Scottish parents, 1970), Norman Lamont (1990-93), Gordon Brown (1997-2007), and Alistair Darling (2007-2010), three of whom subsequently became Prime Minister.
    Since 1900 the following Scots have been Home Secretary: Charles Ritchie (1900-02), Arthur Henderson (1924), John Gilmour (1932-35), John Anderson (1939-40), David Maxwell Fyfe (1951-54), William Whitelaw (born in Scotland but educated in England, 1979-83), and John Reid (2006-07).  In the same period the following Scots were Foreign Secretary: Arthur Balfour (1916-19), Ramsey MacDonald (1924), Arthur Henderson (1929-31), Harold Macmillan (1955), Alec Douglas-Home (1960-63 & 1970-74), Patrick Gordon-Walker (son of a Scottish judge who worked in India, 1964-65), Michael Stewart (of Scottish descent, 1965-66 & 1968-70), Malcolm Rifkind (son of Jewish immigrants to Scotland, 1995-97), and Robin Cook (1997-2001).
    Of the 22 British Prime Ministers since 1900 nine have been Scottish or with strong Scottish connections, and of the 37 Chancellors since 1900 nine are Scottish.  A part of the United Kingdom with a population of slightly less than 8% of the total has provided 25% of the Chancellors and 41% of the Prime Ministers and several holders of the other two principal offices of the Government.  Any argument put forward by the separatists that Scots are downtrodden and unable to reach the top in the United Kingdom is obviously false, but the conclusion we can draw is that Alex Salmond is not up to competing on the wider stage and wishes to separate Scotland from the rest of the UK so that he can be the fattest frog in his own little pond.

The appeal of Alex Salmond
    Despite his inability to make his mark in the wider United Kingdom as able Scots have done in every field, we must recognise the effective cunning of Alex Salmond.  He has persuaded the UK Government to grant him a referendum on his own terms, both in the vocabulary used and the limitation of the votes to his chosen constituency.
    “Independence” is what is offered, a word that has nothing but praiseworthy overtones, not the far more neutral “Separation” or the openly opprobrious “Break-up”, “Divorce” or “Disintegration”.  One would have thought that after Orwell’s denunciation we would have been wary of newspeak, but it appears everywhere, from the Islamist characterisation of murderous terrorists as “martyrs”, (though a martyr is properly someone who accepts persecution at the hands of others and dies at their hands rather than deny his faith), to the successful renaming by PIE under the auspices of NCCL of those who lust after children as paedophiles instead of the correct form, pederasts, as if their obsession was harmless and even praiseworthy, putting them on a par with bibliophiles, oenophiles or galanthophiles – though, fortunately people soon saw through that little scheme.
    Those who will be allowed to vote are those who currently live in Scotland.  Scots living in England, who might be supposed to be against separation, are excluded.  I have friends who are wholly Scottish, born in Scotland and speaking with Scottish accents but living in England.  They are excluded.  Their son, who is wholly Scottish by descent is excluded.  His wife is approximately three quarters Scottish, her father is half Scottish and her mother, of mixed European descent, is more Scottish than anything else – all excluded, and if Scotland separates from the United Kingdom, all cut off from the land of their ancestors.
    Yet there are those to whom Alex Salmond’s policies will appeal.  Another friend, half Scottish and half English, with a name that is common throughout the Borders, was visited at work by the representative of a Scottish firm with whom he dealt.  Recognising my friend’s name as belonging to the Borders, the rep was extremely friendly and eager to talk about Border history, and, since my friend had just been reading a bit about it, they fell into a friendly conversation – until the rep asked my friend whether he came from the Scottish or the English side.  As his father, and therefore his surname, came from the English side, and as he was born just a mile or so south of the Border, he replied that he came from the English side, but before he could add that his mother’s side of the family was entirely Scottish, the rep coldly ended the conversation and turned away, refusing even to speak any more to him.  It is to this kind of bigot that Salmond appeals: the kind who remembers every last dispute and keeps a feud that should be long dead still smouldering, the kind to whom the myths of the unhistorical American film “Braveheart” are sublime truths, the kind who would never believe that the monarch responsible for killing most Scotsmen wasn’t Edward I or any other English King but Robert the Bruce, the kind who could never appreciate or even understand the words of Ghandi, that the doctrine of an eye for an eye will turn the whole world blind.

The effects of a vote in favour of separation
    The United Kingdom came into being when Scotland had bankrupted itself, and the Union gave Scots the opportunity of participation in the much bigger and more successful economy of the new UK, of which able Scots made good use, as we have already seen.  The Royal Bank of Scotland has said that if the UK broke apart it would have to move its headquarters to England, leading to the loss of a large number of jobs in Scotland, and Alex Salmond has welcomed this – because he recognises that if an independent Scotland had had to carry the losses made by RBS during the world financial crisis, without the support of the whole UK, Scotland would have again been bankrupt.  There are considerable economic dangers in separation, even if Scotland became a member of the EU, which, given the situation with separatists in Spain, might prove difficult to achieve.
    If Scotland were outside the EU, even temporarily, several major companies might well move their operations to England, and there would necessarily be substantial job-losses as UK military and naval operations were removed from Scotland.  Salmond has already indicated that he would expel British nuclear submarines from Scottish harbours, yet at the same time he appears to expect from the UK a cast-iron guarantee that defence-procurement spending in Scotland would continue at the same level, and presents to his electors the UK Government’s inability to give such a guarantee as a threat – a typical piece of chicanery.
    Another similarly crafty move by Salmond was to announce that Scotland had not benefitted enough from immigration to the UK because immigrants tended to congregate in London and the south-east.  An independent Scotland would, he announced, make immigration easier.  As a result, as he was well aware, it would then become necessary for England to introduce border controls to prevent uncontrolled immigration to the south-east through Salmond’s open-door policy.  This prospect he again presented as a threat made by England to bully Scotland into voting against separation.

Who would approve of Scotland’s separation from the UK?
    Apart from Salmond and the SNP, and the bigots in both England and Scotland who delight in preserving ancient feuds that died centuries ago, who would approve of “independence”?
    The French would be pleased.   A disintegrating United Kingdom, occupied with the considerable complications involved in separating everything that had formerly been integrated – government, defence, health, etc. – would no longer be able to press for the long-overdue reforms needed to transform the EU from an unfair soviet style system with advantages for certain countries but not others, and full of malpractice and corruption, into an efficient and democratic union.
    The Spaniards too would be pleased on balance.  While they would probably obstruct Scotland in every possible way, particularly in its attempt to join the EU, in order to discourage their own separatists, they would take advantage of the ensuing chaos of the disintegration of the UK to press their claim to Gibraltar.
    The dictator of Argentina would be absolutely delighted.  During the catastrophic period of disentangling the respective military and naval forces of the two kingdoms Argentina would be able to grab the Falkland Islands without fear of British intervention.
    Our friends and allies in the United States would scarcely be able to contain their Schadenfreude.  At last the motherland that had given them birth and protected their infancy, the motherland against whom they had consistently worked, siding with terrorists and even with Stalin to reduce her influence, at last they would see her tumbled in the mud, unable to defend herself, unable to carry out her long-held secret ambition to reconquer America – an ambition so secret that the British themselves were unaware of it.
    The wiser among the American people might perhaps have cause to doubt the jubilation of their fellows when they realise who else is delighted at the disintegration of a major western power – the gremlin in the Kremlin, Putin, the macho midget who has already shown himself willing to risk the sacrifice of hundreds of millions of lives for a little bit of self-aggrandisement, whose policy of encouraging and supporting pro-Russian separatists in the Ukraine has already resulted in the shooting down of a Malaysian passenger aircraft and the loss of nearly 300 innocent lives, and whose military aircraft are already sniffing around Scottish airspace and having to be shadowed by the RAF.

Who would regret the divorce and break-up of the United Kingdom?
    Scots in England and  English people in Scotland would regret it.  Those who believe like King James VI & I that the skills of the Scots and those of the English together make far more than just the sum of their parts would regret it.  Most of all, those who believe, as I do, that to be English is a great thing, to be Scottish equally great, but to unite the inheritance of both English and Scots is to have won the genetic lottery of life would regret it.
    We have already seen that Scots have throughout the last century achieved positions of authority in Government. Today there are several members of the Cabinet and the Shadow Cabinet who are Scottish.  Their position would become impossible and no other Scots could attain such offices in the future.  Throughout national life Scots are in influential positions, holding directorships in industry, business and the financial sector, professorships in the universities, leading positions in the cultural life of the UK, including that of Director of the British Museum (whose equivalent in Edinburgh is English).  Their positions would not, of course, become untenable, but the likelihood of Scots attaining such posts in the future would be greatly reduced, losing talented Scots good career prospects and losing the United Kingdom talent and abilities it can ill-afford to do without.
    Alex Salmond skilfully combines an oddly romanticised view of 15th century history with the unthinking loyalty of the fanatical football supporter for his local club, to create a misplaced form of patriotism that would deny talented Scots the opportunities they now have for advancement in the wider United Kingdom, an arena in which, as he well knows, he is himself unlikely ever to succeed.  He plays on the bigotry of those, who like himself, are governed by ancient hatreds that have long been defunct, to create a little pool in which he can be the fattest frog with the loudest croak – but his only policies are those of bigoted separatism which he turns to his own personal advantage.
    These are some of the reasons why I hope sincerely that sensible Scots won’t be fooled by Salmond, and will preserve the union.

Result of the referendum
    The day before the referendum it occurred to me that quite a few of those who said they would vote for separation might be doing so to increase the apprehension of the Westminster Government, to tease the English with a final twist of their tails, and perhaps even to squeeze out additional concessions.  What I hadn’t considered, and what emerged in the following few days, was that quite a lot of no-voters were anxious to conceal their intentions because they feared intimidation and even violence from SNP supporters.  That in itself might suggest that an independent Scotland run by the SNP would not have been a happy place.
    The supporters of independence made a respectable showing, but the vote in favour of the Union was decisive at 55% pro-Union and only 45% in favour of separation – and this despite the referendum having been held on Alex Salmond’s terms: a slanted question using the term “independence” rather than the neutral “separation”, and an electorate chosen by Salmond, which, although the referendum would decide the fate of the United Kingdom as a whole, excluded voters living in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, even those of Scottish extraction, but extended the franchise to schoolchildren, (presumably in the hope that they would prove more suggestible to the romanticised, football-fan version of pseudo-medievalism peddled by Salmond), and to foreigners living temporarily on Scotland, (for example an Estonian girl who equated Scotland’s withdrawal from the United Kingdom, in which it has been a full and influential partner, with the Baltic States’ liberation from the totalitarian Soviet Russian empire).
    In addition, Salmond and the SNP had used Civil Servants and taxpayers’ money to distribute propaganda for separation from the UK, showing that they saw no distinction between the interests of the Party and the country.  Add to this the threats made by Salmond himself that any company whose directors spoke in favour of the Union would be excluded from all Scottish Government contracts whatever the outcome, and his angry protests, when companies beyond the influence of this threat did speak out, that this was “English bullying” orchestrated by Prime Minister David Cameron.  Even without the even more explicit threats made by another member of the SNP that “a day of reckoning” would take place when supporters of the Union would be punished – even Salmond realised that was going too far – it is clear that what Salmond and the SNP envisaged was a state in which Government and Party were one and the same thing.  It is not a very big step to “fair and free elections” in which the only candidates are those approved by the ruling party.

    Scotland has chosen wisely, and, it appears to me, had a narrow escape from a rather bigoted form of totalitarian government.  Alex Salmond should, as he promised, accept the verdict of the people, as he would have expected unionists to accept separation even if the vote in favour had been only 50.1%.  Will he accept it?  I doubt it.  Within a few hours of the result he was accusing the UK Government of reneging on its promises of greater responsibility for the Scottish administration even though it must be clear even to him that reorganisation on this scale cannot be achieved in 24 hours.
    Salmond!  Admit defeat, and shut up!
    As for the SNP, will its members accept the clear majority vote in favour of the Union and concentrate on the efficient governance of Scotland within the United Kingdom, or will they prefer the hypocritical tactics of the sort of weasel-politicians that infest society at every level, from the upper echelons of the EU right down to the scheming, self-interested academic or the ambitious office back-stabber, and insist on bringing their proposal back in slightly different forms time and time again, no matter how decisively it is rejected and re-rejected, until shifting circumstances, incessant poisonous propaganda and general exhaustion create a temporary situation in which they can scrape an infinitesimally tiny majority that they seize on as “the will of the people”?  Honesty or self-seeking hypocrisy?  Only time will tell?

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