David Leask’s job isn’t to spot lies. He may want to convince himself that this is what he does for a living, but he’s deluding himself. Mr Leask can’t even spot the lies in his own paper. He hasn’t commented on the astronomical number of retractions The Herald has had to publish in relation to its coverage of the Scottish National Party, Nicola Sturgeon, and the Scottish government (see the pattern?). Retractions on page 12 a week later, as The Herald knows, don’t correct the damage done by a lie published in bold on the front page – and that’s how it works.
This has to cause us some concern if we intend to pursue another independence referendum. The British establishment – Project Fear 2 – will cheat and we now know the weapons it has at its disposal. We have to be prepared for these kinds of dirty tricks and we had better be prepared to use some of our own. Whatever shape the next referendum takes, we know it is not going to be a fair or a clean fight. The gloves will be off from the very start, and we had best start disabusing ourselves of any notions of fair play before it begins.
Accounts of this type are not interested in discussion. They routinely insinuate themselves into ongoing conversations pretending to be ordinary people – giving no indication of their political position – and work, if given the chance, to derail the discussion and waste people’s time. When this tactic fails, or when they are discovered and called out, they resort to personal abuse and threats in an effort to drive people away from the conversation.
Hoping to put together an article on the likely activity of the British secret services in Scotland I went to speak with a man who had first-hand experience of the work of Britain’s shady operations. This was coffee with the IRA.
When it comes to the murder of its own citizens and agents these organisations have form. In Scotland there is enough evidence to implicate MI5 and others in the 1985 death of the Scottish nationalist and anti-nuclear activist Willie MacRae; enough at least to warrant a full inquiry.
In the early summer of 2014 Jim Sillars said that he was aware of at least one secret agent who had arrived in Glasgow for the campaign, but he refused to say how it was he came to know this information.