But there is a darker, more sinister, side to this kind of nostalgia-propaganda – when it employs real people as instruments of this mythology. Again, to some extent, this is something British propaganda has always done, but in the main this instrumentalisation of people has either been in the abstract – as in the token image of a silhouetted soldier at a comrade’s graveside or the Unknown Soldier – or in its use of historical figures – such as Winston Churchill being voted the ‘greatest Briton of all time.’
So, was Andrew, a “senior member of the royal family” involved in the sexual abuse of minors procured for just that purpose by Jeffrey Epstein’s girlfriend Ghislaine Maxwell – Prince Andrew’s long-time personal friend and the daughter of disgraced tycoon Robert Maxwell – for Epstein and his cronies? Right now, we don’t know. That’s for a court to decide – but we can be rest assured that Andrew will never be in the dock answering criminal charges in a US court.
Honestly, we didn’t think they thought like that – not really, and not so ordinarily. We had our suspicions, but we had no way of knowing just how idiotic and wonderfully deluded the opinion of the average Englishman is. Boasting of empire and the conquest of half the world, taking pride in something analogous to robbing half the houses on Highfield Road, is a special kind of craziness. It betrays the ignorance at the heart of England’s memory of empire, an obnoxious and dark period of British history in which thoughts of racial supremacism led to genocide and ethnic cleansing.
The truth of the Second World War is that Britain was defeated. It was comprehensively defeated on the beaches of Dunkirk. On 15 May 1940 – at the very beginning of the British-German war – Germany’s Army Group A crossed through the Ardennes with 45,000 mobile armoured units, flanked the French and British forces, leaving them encircled and trapped north-east of Calais. On 27 May, under a horrifying Blitzkrieg assault from the air, Britain abandoned its allies to their fate as a mere 198,229 British soldiers fled thanks only to the miracle that was Operation Dynamo.
Murray says that he does not believe the Vow was a deciding factor in the No vote, but he is wrong. It offered people a third option when they had been bullied and harassed into thinking a Yes vote would hurt them and their loved ones. The false promise of the Vow – nothing but an empty and deceitful IOU – saved them from having to vote No against independence, against the prospect of a truly better Scotland, and offered them instead a provisional No in lieu of something better – something that was, from the day it was written, a callous and deliberate lie.
Billy Mitchell is anything but your average member of the public. Certainly, from the look of things, he appears to be doing well from his shady links to the British government, and he always seems to turn up right at the wrong part of the world – that is: Wherever the UK government or elements of it are up to dodgy dealings. His four performances on Question Time tell us one thing for sure, that there are hidden forces at work using him as a tool to make the SNP and the Scottish government look bad. It doesn’t matter that his facts are all to pot.
Had I thought this was the end of the insanity, I was wrong. The next morning, before heading east to Kirkcaldy, I was greeted by an email from Dale Miller at The Scotsman. Having failed to take me down with a rag, the union was upping its game. Miller’s task was to finish the job – I realised that much. On the train to Kirkcaldy I knew a juggernaut was headed my way, but I had no idea quite how vindictive this hack was going to be. He wanted a response by close of business. I told him he’d have it, and, so, after everything was wrapped up at the Kirkcaldy...
The common belief that Britain, acting as the policeman of Europe, went to war with Hitler to stop the Holocaust is an ex post facto justification. The Nazis’ “Final Solution” – the beginning of systematic murder as a solution to the “Jewish Problem” – did not begin until the Wannsee Conference of 20 January 1942. Adolf Hitler’s opinions regarding the Jews were well known long before the war. He wrote a book outlining his antisemitism and his plans to deal with the Jews of Germany. Britain may or may not have been comfortable with this development in Berlin, but it did nothing.