This question is important because it expresses rather succinctly the sense of uncertainty and worry which is right now spreading like wildfire over the independence movement. While support for independence and the Scottish National Party remain high, a growing number of independentistas are arriving at the conclusion that something stinks in the SNP. Most, as yet, can’t quite put their finger on exactly what it is, but something is wrong. Something is rotten, and the rot is spreading.
Behind this propaganda front, behind the open door between a compromised media and the state security services, is active intelligence – the spooks. Britain makes a habit of knowing its enemies, and the SNP is an enemy of the British state. We know MI5 surveilled and infiltrated groups of environmentalists and tiny Trotskyist political parties. So, to think for a moment the SNP is not under constant and intrusive close surveillance is just plain stupidity. It can be taken for granted that every single text sent by SNP politicians is seen by someone in British Intelligence.
It really shouldn’t come as a surprise that we are being spied on by the state. When Jim Sillars said in mid-2014 he was aware of the arrival in Glasgow of British Army intelligence officers from London, we had every reason to trust him. Even if he was lying it would have been the truth regardless; if military intelligence wasn’t watching us and actively working to undermine our campaign, it wouldn’t be doing its job. That is the job of the secret services.
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.
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.