A few months ago, a friend in the USA asked what she could do to help the cause of Scottish independence. “Nothing much,” was my reply, before going on to explain that this is a debate that has to be held within Scotland. However that is not the view of the UK Government, despite Cameron’s protestations that he cannae debate Alex Salmond because he doesn’t have a vote in September. But it turns out that there is something my friend can do after all.
In January, the Sunday Herald published the news that the UK Foreign Office is heading a campaign to enlist support for Better Together in foreign countries. Wee Wullie Hague wants to hear from you if you have bad things to say about Scottish independence. According to the Herald, the Foreign Office has contacted the governments of China, Russia, New Zealand, Australia, Canada and the 28 members of the EU in a desperate search for viagra to bolster the flaccid Project Fear.
The Foreign Office has set up a “Devolution Unit” to co-ordinate their campaign. UK Embassies, High Commissions, and Consulates around the globe have received instructions to pass on any communications from individuals, organisations and businesses about Scottish independence. However, since of course the civil service is supposed to be politically neutral, the UK Government can’t come out and admit openly what you know, I know and the dug knows they’re up to. They must maintain a veneer of neutrality.
But two can play at that gemme. So if you are a Scot abroad, or a citizen of another country who sympathises with Scottish independence, write a formal letter to the UK Embassy or High Commission in your country. What you tell them is of course up to you, but something along the lines of expressing your disgust that the British Government is actively seeking foreign intervention in order to prevent Scottish independence wouldn’t go amiss. And there was you as a person in furren pairts extolling the Mother of Parliaments and the rigorously democratic system in the UK.
You could point out to them that it’s now impossible for you to present the UK as a model to follow, when its government is engaging in underhand tactics to influence a democratic debate, and these tactics are creating significant and lasting damage to the UK’s image and standing in your country. Make sure you point out that you have sent a copy of your letter to your member of Parliament, senator, congressman or congresswoman, or diputado, asking them whether they support your view that Scotland should be allowed to debate its future without foreign interference, and requesting that they condemn the actions of the UK Government.
However since the UK Government is actively seeking the opinions of foreign citizens and foreign residents, it is only right and proper that you give them your opinion too. Tell them why you think Scottish independence is good for Scotland, good for the rest of the UK and will likewise be good for your country. If you can, get as many people as possible to sign your letter before posting it off to the British Embassy or High Commission. Even better, if you are a member of a club, group, or association, speak to other members and get their consent to send a letter on official headed notepaper.
If you are a business person, a letter on company headed notepaper saying that you believe that an independent Scotland would be a better investment opportunity for your company would be just fine and dandy.
Insist on a reply, tell them that you expect your letter to be forwarded to the Foreign Office’s devolution unit – and also tell them that you’ve copied the letter to your local newspaper.
Then send a copy of the letter to me at the following email address
(I’ve written the email address like this to avoid automatic spam bots. Please replace [at] with the @ symbol in your reply.)
If David Cameron can use UK diplomatic staff to engage in politicking, then so can we. This is not a campaign organised or inspired by the Scottish Government, the SNP, or Yes Scotland. It will be co-ordinated by me, Paul Kavanagh, and Pilar Fernandez from Galicia. We are not members of the SNP or any other political party whether in Scotland or elsewhere, and we were not put up to this by Alicsammin. We are doing this on our own initiative and no one is paying us to do it. Though if this wee campaign takes off, that probably won’t stop the UK media from claiming otherwise.
We will collate all the replies, and will publish the anonymised statistics closer to the vote. We would also like to publish extracts from selected letters. If you do not want your name, or the name of your company or organisation, to be published, please let us know in the email. Scots in Scotland will then know that we do have friends and allies abroad, and with a bit of luck, the negative responses received by Cameron and Hague’s “Devolution Unit” will be swamped by the positive ones.