how prescient to put an item about Home Secretary Theresa May contiguous to one referring to potential Whitehall spies in Scotland (your reports, 9 February).
Ms May, another in a long list of our arrogant southern masters, visits Scotland and tells us that – after independence – we need not expect co-operation from MI5 etc. That comes days after Prime Minister David Cameron does an “info-swap” deal with Algeria. It shows the Anglo-Norman ruling class’s contempt for Scotland.
Covert activities against Scotland before, during and no doubt after the Union by – I choose my words carefully –those in the pay of the English government is absolutely normal. London has always spied within and upon its citizenry.
Indeed, in the time of Elizabeth I, English spies in Scotland came close to accidently starting a war when they reported that foreign troops in uniform were arriving in Scotland. Elizabeth, busy with the Spanish and French, saw Scotland as a potential invasion point, but was careful not to over-stretch her forces by attacking. A later report sorted things out. We now call these foreign troops “penguins”.
At the time of the 1707 Union, English Presbyterian journalist Daniel Defoe was sent to Scotland to meet and send back articles on the Scottish ruling class. His other job was spying for the English government. We have records that show throughout Jacobite times spies and traitors were busy in Highlands, Lowlands and parts of Ireland, England and Wales. In more modern times, the SNP has been spied on and infiltrated from the start. I refer you to your own expose of Whitehall files in your sister paper Scotland on Sunday on 16 September, 2007.
In recent times we have had the Labour government seal files on the SNP for 50 years. It claimed that this was for national security, but the SNP was no threat to the UK. If they were sealed for national security, we are seeing the old trick of hiding info.
We know of MI5 and 6. While Whitehall keeps our thoughts on these two quite open “secret” departments, what is being done by other agencies that we have never heard of? The UK ran an empire for centuries thanks to informers and covert agencies. You can bet that London knows what First Minister Alex Salmond is having for tea before the plate touches the table. Ms May will not be too keen to share intelligence with Scotland because half of it will be about Scotland. Only a fool trusts London rule.
Thomas R Burgess
St Catherine’s Square
Theresa May is the latest, but sadly will not be the last nay-sayer, to demand that the SNP gives agreed answers before the referendum, while making this impossible by refusing to discuss matters of substance, let alone agree on them, until after the referendum.
Are we to suppose that if the Rest of the UK security service knew of a terrorist plot in Scotland it would conceal that information? What would they do if the threat grew? Fire drones at us?
Whatever the No campaign may say, if Scotland does become independent both countries will be compelled to co-operate on defence and security as we will be defending each other’s back door.
The Home Secretary’s assertion that, in the event of independence becoming a reality, a London government would not share vital intelligence on terrorism and organised crime with the Scottish Government beggars belief. It’s really a very silly thing to say.
Would an English government really permit terrorist cells or criminal gangs to establish themselves just over the Border simply because they don’t want to share information? Talk about cutting off your nose to spite your face.
I have yet to make up my mind on which way to vote in the referendum, but I have to say that every successive threat emanating from Westminster – you can’t do this, you won’t be allowed to do that – pushes me further and further towards the Yes camp.
The unionist campaign appears to be entirely negative, based solely on fear. Fear can never be the basis for a happy and successful relationship between two nations and can only lead to smouldering resentment, no matter what the outcome of the referendum.
East Linton, East Lothian
MI5 will not co-operate with a separated Scotland; it is hardly front page news. Why should those protecting the UK from internal subversion and threat be interested in a foreign country with whom they would share a border? Especially a country that has repeatedly expressed scorn and hatred for the presence of the Royal Navy in Scottish waters. A country whose policies are and would be dominated by minority anti-nuclear pressure groups?
It would be front-page news if the UK security services were willing to co-operate with a separated Scotland.
New Cut Rigg Edinburgh