Get out there, David Cameron, and save the United Kingdom

Apr 17, 2014
Crispin Black

Or go down in history as the man who lost Scotland and left England’s backdoor open to danger

Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images

DAVID CAMERON is in danger of going down in history as the prime minister who “lost” Scotland, and paved the way for a rump UK to leave the European Union; remembered in the same way as Lord North, the prime minister who “lost” the American colonies.

There are many similarities between the two men: Eton and Oxford; adjacent Oxfordshire constituencies (North sat for Banbury, Cameron sits for Witney); both respected as devoted family men – one of the reasons George III appointed North was that he admired his regular family life, unusual in an age of whoring, gambling and hard-drinking.

There is an additional melancholy connection: the last prime minister to lose a vote on a matter of war and peace before David Cameron lost the vote on military intervention in Syria was… Lord North.

However, there is one really important difference: North never had his heart in the conflict with the American colonies. Whereas David Cameron has said repeatedly that he is a passionate supporter of the Union between England and Scotland and wants us to remain in the EU, albeit under new rules.

Yet the prime minister and his advisers, caught in the headlights of the cargo-cult of “representative diversity”, have decided that on the question of independence only a Scotsman can appeal to other Scotsmen  - and therefore he cannot perform his job and his duty and campaign actively to preserve the Union.

I tend rather to agree with PG Wodehouse about Scotsmen (except of course my brother guardsmen in the Scots Guards): "It's not difficult to distinguish between a Scotsman with a grievance and a ray of sunshine."  

Part of me couldn’t care less about Scottish independence. But the primary argument against separation - looking at it from the English interest - is that for the first time since 1603 England will have a land border with a foreign power. It’s what kept Elizabeth I and many of her predecessors awake at night – the country is a giant and dangerous backdoor into England.

An independent Scotland will almost certainly be viscerally hostile and quickly bankrupt.  Spain will veto its membership of the EU and it will quickly debauch its currency – whatever that may be.

If you want an idea of what the relationship between the two countries is going to be like, look at the Irish Republic from its foundation in 1921 until recently.  

A narrow-minded elite dominated the political system, enforcing a rigid and exclusionist sense of Irishness. Irish seamen were observed rejoicing in the bars of Singapore as the city fell into the hands of the Japanese and a brutal occupation for all who did not enjoy “neutral” status.  Not that neutral if you remember.  The ghastly Eamon de Valera, then prime minister and later president, infamously signed the book of condolence at the German embassy in Dublin when Hitler died.  Protocol apparently demanded it.

It has taken the Irish more than 90 years to emerge from their puerile anti-Britishness – the journey from a bigot like de Valera to the current president Michael Higgins whose erudition, wit and warmth were so uplifting on his recent state visit.    

Salmond’s Scotland is going to be like de Valera’s Ireland – hostile and chippy and not much different if he narrowly loses the referendum. The only way to ‘scotch’ his nationalist fantasies is to ensure that the Scots vote against independence, convincingly. And that means the prime minister of the United Kingdom campaigning hard to preserve that United Kingdom.  

Coolness by a leader under fire can be impressive – think of the Duke of Wellington at Waterloo, impassive as his young aides de camp, whom he loved as sons, were killed and wounded around him – one of them shot dead as he was trying to persuade the duke to put more distance between himself and the French.  But it’s a military not a political virtue – useful on the battlefield not in the bear pit of politics.  

Get out there, Mr Cameron  you are cleverer than Alex Salmond, better on your feet.  Don’t be frightened.  Your opponent was once an economist for the Royal Bank of Scotland – like being a lookout on Titanic; and unusually for a Scotsman he looks absurd in a kilt.  Lock horns, go for the jugular – make the case for the Union.

The same goes for Ukip, essentially a party of protest - not just about the EU, but about an arrogant political elite and uncontrolled immigration. Both these matters could easily be put right.  Next time, sack Mrs Miller on day one.  But the real way to scupper Ukip would be to get a grip of our borders.  Dramatically reduce immigration and put in place a system whereby criminals like Mafia dons wanted by the Italian authorities can’t get off the deportation hook thanks to an activist left-wing judiciary.  

If a mainstream political party would actually do these things many Ukip supporters, including Nigel Farage I suspect, would happily return to their golf clubs.    

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Delightful contributions like this are exactly why the Yes campaign is on a roll. Keep up the good work.

Your cries of "make the case for the Union.." assumes that there is one. In that unlikely event, it is fascinating that you think Cameroon could make it, even using plasticine.

'Lost' the American colonies? Perhaps you should brush up on your history. The British Crown was engaged in the systematic plunder of its North American territories, and richly deserved to be booted out.

"An independent Scotland will almost certainly be viscerally hostile and quickly bankrupt. Spain will veto its membership of the EU and it will quickly debauch its currency – whatever that may be."

Oh Lord! How can anyone read this tosh and not squirm with embarrassment? It's so ugly that it makes me want to pick up the phone and complain to the police.

Dearie me, Crispin; do you know anything of Scotland? The archetypal pig ignorant Englishman discussing Scotland

"Crispin Nicholas Black MBE (born 1960) is an intelligence consultant and commentator on terrorism and intelligence, after a previous career as a British Army officer. He is a veteran of the Falklands War and is retained by the BBC as an expert on terrorism"

"Part of me couldn’t care less about Scottish independence" Shame you didn't use that part to write an article on something else, This is merely hyperbole riven with nostalgic, pseudo-historical nonsense.

A much appreciated contribution to the debate. I was a wee bit disappointed with the Radical Independence Campaign's canvas returns in Glasgow's Castlemilk last night. The figures collected by over 100 activists were, excluding the don't knows, YES 73% No 27%. Articles such as this will surely have YES over the 80% before long. Thank you

Good grief,and you wonder why we want to get out from under. A wee bit of advice son, and I would take it if I were you. Shut the hell up or you will find David Cameron on your doorstep with one of those men that our Sean portrayed so well, from MI5/6.
You have done well for my side though, just another nail in Project Fear's coffin. (Their own name, by the way)

This is why Scotland will vote yes. The English media (like the Westminster government) still haven't grasped that Scotland is not Cameron (or anyone outside of Scotland)'s to lose.

With a name like Crispin I shouldn't be surprised. A perfect example of the type of Englishman the country can ill afford; the public schoolboy with a colonial worldview. Or more succintly, an arsehole.

On Ireland's "puerile anti-Britishness", you should know about puerile Crispin, judging by this juvenile, ranting fantasy of an article.

Ha Ha Ha Oh ma sides what a load of twaddle. Vote Yes!

Wow. Thank you for that. All we need in Cameron to come up to Scotland and tell us off for daring to exercise our political rights. Another 5% onto the Yes vote. Please ask the Scotsman or the Herald to carry your piece.

Every little helps.

LMAO,funniest uninformed article I've read for ages,try writing for a kiddies comic and thanks from Alex for the votes

Do you ever stop to wonder why Scots are viscerally hostile to the likes of you?
Try to imagine a nation of people who are being told they are 'Too poor, Too wee, Too stupid' and then add in that they represent a threat to security of the world, will be bankrupt etc, on the basis of mere opinionated commentators say so.
You are wrong about the outcome of Scottish Independence, wrong about the security, the viability and especially wrong about the emotive aspect.
We in the 'Cargo-cult' won't hate you. We'll just pity your desire for the negative outcome you've written about.

God I love this kind of thing coming out into the light of day. Just love it.

This is pure bollox , scots actually can think for themselves. Usual tripe too thick, poor, incapable
of looking after OUR resources .

Thanks for cheering me up with that closing line.
I needed it after reading that depressingly mis-informed and patronising article.

What a remarkable article. If, as a Yes voter, I had sat down, donned a pith helmet and tried to channel a 19th century colonial adventurer as a satirical exercise I doubt I could have surpassed this effort. The article displays a complete lack of empathy for Scottish (and Irish) politics that I suspect even the No side must inwardly die a little when they read it.

oh dear where do we start with this diatribe, Mr Black your article is a vile hate filled rant

Whit a haver! Ill-informed Anglocentric rants of this kind merely serve to push the undecided towards voting Yes. I never knew so many "Daily Mail" soundbites could be packed into one article - so please, keep it up!

My word there are a lot of Scots nationalists reading this article.

With articles like this one maybe this publication should be called 'The weak'.

I do feel sorry for Crispin though, he seems to be in complete denial that Britain is no longer an Empire.

This Ireland that Uncle Cripsin is talking about, is this the same Ireland that even after the 2008 banking crisis which hit it really hard, still has a GDP per capital $2k per annum higher than the UK does?

Sounds like hating on the English makes you richer than them. As clearly Uncle Crispin thinks they have done nothing else since 1921

Oh lordy lord help ma boab throw anither peat log on the fire, the vitriols
needing heated up,ah like ma bile boiling hot enough to fry Crisps.
no wonder news papers are loseing money, theres nae truth in them,
www.Wings Over Scotland beats the MSN/TV oot the park for truthful unbais reporting.

This is because the articles are re-posted on pro-independence web sites - keep them coming - the more more racist and condescending the better.

These show why we need independence from England and why we need democracy in our own land.

We will win in September.

I am not Scots and I can clearly see how insulting is of the piece of writing. It's like hearing a racist explain to an African man why he is so inferior to a white Englishman, then when the inevitable angry response arrives claiming to be the victim of abuse.

Particulary nasty is blaming Irish people for being anti-English. I doubt most of the English population is not ashamed of the treatment of the Irish people by the British Government. They understand the any bitterness has long since faded. It only survives now with this example of ethnic loony who wrote this piece of nonsense.

As I said I am not Scottish, but I will most certainly be voting YES. Not as this man claims for anti-English feel (why would a Lithuanian care) but for the economic facts. As a professional trade economist from another small country I am very well satisfied that Scotland has the capacity to do quite well.

In a recent conversation with collegues, I and two Scots thought the same, Independence was the better option. the last Scot said the status quo was his preference. He couldn't make an economic arguement that satisfied us his workmates and he was forced accept defeat on that issue. He then began to regail us with spurious fancies of the EU, UN and NATO, which I had to contradict on treaty law grounds. It was then that sentimentality about history became all important, which sound comical. It came down to he was willing to sacrifce his own people not to allow Scotland disolving the UK to affect his chances of an important job in London. Self interest for himself the rest was bollocks, just like his fears and Crispin Black's ideas.

No, not nationalists, just people entitled to vote in the referendum. Really, I did not believe that there were people who think like this, it seems such a caricature, a parody. How sad that Westminster accords such minds expert status, seemingly because of the school they attended.

Localised variance is to be expected on any issue. If you went to Anglised Fettes or other posh area of exclusive privately educated Edinburgh I'm sure you'd get 90% against independence.

Weighted statistical models are meant to allow you to randomly sample the population find out social background make a prediction. The problem just now is none of the models based on election data ect are well fitted to Scotland. You may remember the polls predicted a very different result for the Scottish parliament's last election.

The best any poll can do is to predict if support is rising or falling and only if you use the same model and take regular samples.

My English has improved over recent months but I think I just spent 20 lines saying what you said in 4.

You think this idiot is trying to create a new area of work for himself in Scotland.

Is this an ironic comedy article? Is he pretending to have just woken up after sleeping from 1900ad.

Crispy (if you are still standing after reading these many responses - shurley, shome record..?), I've been puzzling for 2 days over Spain will veto its membership of the EU but I can't know what you are thinking, if such mental turmoil can be so named. Wot Be Spain afeared of?

Hey Crisp. I assume you don't mind me calling you Crisp, as Crispin just seems so formal?

This stuff need a much wider audience than just some internet website. You should go up to England's backdoor and do a tour.

Forget all these howwible comments from the jocks, Crisp. Keep fighting the good fight. Eventually the Scotch will knuckle down and know their place.

Just one question... do the British Royal Family get to keep Balmoral Castle once Scotland becomes a sovereign and independent country?

As Salmond wants to keep the Queen as head of state like in the Commonwealth following in the tradition of Canada, New Zealand, Australia etc I would imagine (this is my opinion not sure if it would work out like this) that it would be used as the Royal residence whenever the queen was in Scotland but the Royals wouldn't own it per se rather it would belong to the Scottish state.

Just out of curiousity, besides imperial sentimentality, is there any real reason why we south of the border should be opposed to Scottish independence? Has anyone any where given a mature case for a no vote? If I were a Scot I would wonder about the desperate buffoonery of the campaign to keep them in Britain.

Thanks Donald, that makes sense

Balmoral belongs to the Queen and would remain so - it does not belong to the Crown but is a private residence, purchased by Prince Albert.

The 4 possible #indyref outcomes: Friendly independence; Friendly union; Rancorous independence; Rancorous union...So be gracious in debate and check your comments for unintended irony!

De Valera wanted Ireland to remain in the Commonwealth, so I don't know how Mr Black can claim he was an anti-British Bigot.

Perhaps Mr Black is forgetting that it was Britain who chose to go to war against Ireland, when the Irish people chose to set up their own parliament Dáil Éireann.

De Valera was a Statesman, perhaps if Britain recognised the democratic will of the Irish people, the first state visit could have happened during De Valera's presidency.

"It has taken the Irish more than 90 years to emerge from their puerile anti-Britishness".
No, just no.

"The ghastly Eamon de Valera, then prime minister and later president, infamously signed the book of condolence at the German embassy in Dublin when Hitler died. Protocol apparently demanded it."

He signed a book of condolence, when Hitler was dead.

Britain signed the Munich Agreement, when Hitler was very much still alive, and gave him a small country.

Hmm, which signature was more dangerous and wrong?

De Valera's government opted for neutrality -like many small countries. The Government supported the Allies, and Irish seamen died, in the Irish merchant navy, helping to keep a secure food supply to Britain.

Prior to the war, De Valera's Government introduced the 1937 constitution establishing Ireland as a modern democratic republic at a time when one third of Europe still held millions of people subject in colonies around the world (like Britain); more of it was Fascist or Communist. I believe the 1937 document was the first written constitution which gave express recognition to the Jewish faith.

Clearly Mr Black should examine whether his attitudes towards the Irish for establishing their independence, is a bit, well, puerile.

... Cameron might just be cleverer than Salmond but he lacks conviction, despite his claims to be "passionate" about the Union. By contrast, Salmond IS passionate - whether or not his case is flawed, he presents it from a position of conviction and passion.

I fear that the analogy with Lord North might just be too true. However, whatever the outcome of the vote in September, I wish Scotland well and the best of luck. In the shorter term that country will need all the support that it can muster from England - that would, surely, be the magnanimous and sensible thing to do. After all, like Russia and Ukraine, England can hardly afford to have a "failing" state on its border - otherwise we might just have to "stabilize" the situation by sending in our (non-existent) armed forces!

.......the comments below from Yes supporters appear to confirm the prediction in the article "Salmond’s Scotland is going to be like de Valera’s Ireland – hostile and chippy and not much different if he narrowly loses the referendum"