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By Jason Michael
Having a talk show on a Russian television channel has become an act of treason. It was never treason until Alex Salmond did it though – telling us that the real act of treason is daring to give Scotland a voice.
Well wasn’t that something?! Regardless of the unionists and their wee media storm and the friendly advice from the Prime Minister in London, Alex Salmond went ahead with the launch of his show and interviewed – of all people – Carles Puigdemont. Now the cat is very much among the pigeons. As Stuart Campbell at Wings Over Scotland pointed out on Twitter, this was the longest Puigdemont has been interviewed uninterrupted – and in English. It certainly seems Scotland’s former First Minister; the man who brought the United Kingdom to the brink of non-existence, is doing the job the British media has been failing to do for decades.
This game changer is happening all thanks to the support of the allegedly “Kremlin-backed” Russian broadcaster Russia Today, a broadcaster licenced by the British broadcasting authority Ofcom and whose interview hot seats have been occupied by politicians representing every major political party in the Commons. Now, however, that one of Scotland’s most influential “separatists” is hosting a political talk show on it, Russia Today has become a problem.
Not for one solitary moment am I going to waste my time or anyone else’s countering the charges that are now being levelled against Alex Salmond and this Russian media outlet. I have submitted an article for publication in the December issue of iScot Magazine dealing with these charges. Russia’s president Vladimir Putin, we are told, is using his state media apparatus to undermine western institutions. In Russia’s attempts to destabilise the west then Mr Salmond is now being framed as a “useful idiot,” doing Moscow’s dirty work. In taking the time to address this narrative we are playing right into the hands of the British state; putting ourselves, as usual, on the back foot.
Instead of doing this I have decided step with the initiative Alex Salmond and Russia Today have taken. As a voice in the Scottish independence movement I am absolutely in favour of undermining these western institutions; state political institutions in Britain, Europe, and the United States that have conspired and continue to conspire to arrest the march of Scotland on its road to national self-determination. It was these same institutions we have recently witnessed in action in Catalonia, working actively with or as supportive silent partners of Spain in its repressive war against the people and democracy of Catalonia. As these same forces of reaction are arrayed against us and against every small nation right now challenging the hegemony of the statist status quo I will have no more truck with these apparently sacred western institutions.
Our goal – the goal of a growing number of Scotland’s independentistas – is the independence of Scotland as a republic, and there can now be no more denying that our want for this will not be tolerated by the establishment of the state institutions of the west. Our continued subjugation to Britain – like Catalonia’s to Spain – is part and parcel of the international order they have created. Scottish independence is not simply a matter of breaking Britain; it is about challenging and defeating the whole goddamned order of the western world.
Considering all of this, it makes perfect sense that Alex Salmond would have never been offered a comparable platform in the UK, and if we think any of Westminster’s friends in the west would have offered him a platform we are deluding ourselves. Russia was and is the only available option open for Scotland to have a voice on the international stage, and if this helps Russia in its project to undermine these great western institutions – so much the better.
Those in the independence movement currently quaking at the thought of assisting the Russians – like Russia needs or help – should remember the help Russia Today gave us during the 2012-14 independence referendum campaign. While the BBC, every UK television and radio station bar none, and every national newspaper waged a relentless war of threats, disinformation, and lies against us, Russia Today, naturally with its own agenda, gave us a voice and a fair hearing. Are our memories that short?
Russia has an agenda. Russia has a media machine every bit as developed and as cunning as anything produced in Britain, the US, or in Europe. That’s what media is. That’s what it’s about. We are dreaming if we imagine something better – more neutral – is going to come along any time soon. This is the real world, and we have no alternative but to seek our own objectives in the real world, and this means making concessions to the nature of the beast.
Scottish independence has never been a matter for Scotland and Scottish people alone. During the last independence referendum campaign the British government enlisted the help of the European states, the United States, and even tried to get the apparently hated Putin on side. This is a political truth many of us – myself very much included – have had to learn. If we want a voice and if we are serious about having a voice, then we had better make our peace with the fact that that voice will be given to us only when we are willing to play ball with those who do not have Britain’s best interests at heart. Right now that is Russia, and if London sees this as treason I am prepared to be a traitor. We were never British in the first place.
Alex Salmond has gone and given Scotland a voice in the world like it has never had since before the union of 1707. It’s now up to us to get behind him and accept Russian media as our own. Whatever Putin is in Russia – messiah or monster – is not our concern. Let’s not pretend the messiahs and monsters of Westminster are any better. It is time to pick a side. Choosing Scotland without allies is accepting British rule, because we’re not getting out of this without friends.
The Alex Salmond Show – Episode One