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.
Reblogged this on pictishbeastie.
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Outstanding. I’m an expat in NZ and I am going to write to the British High Commission in Wellington about this. I don’t expect much of a response though, I worked there once and a high ranking member of the diplomatic staff harped on a length about a work visa for ‘England’.
Even this UK paid staffer didn’t seem to know much about the constitutional nature of the UK.
Better Together indeed.
Really quite bad when a UK paid UK HC staffer can’t get that right. Yet somehow a fairly low paid TSA agent in LAX eye ball scanned and finger printed me on the way to NZ, got my accent right, told me I was from Scotland and then typed in British into her form filling PATRIOT app back in 2005. I would maybe have expected this level of accuracy on the eastern seaboard, NY, Boston….maybe Chicago, but LA? And the British High Commission in Wellington get this wrong, pretty disgraceful stuff.
Like it. A lot.
Small point (I know, I’m a fussy bastard). The Devolution Unit was officially created to coordinate FCO / overseas embassy dealings with and on behalf of Scotland, Wales and the Northern Ireland – the UK government didn’t just set up a campaign, they hijacked an organisation specifically created to work for the devolved nations and used it against one of those nations.
I hope that there is a good response. If this applies to you please help. We in Scotland are crying out for a fair and honest democracy. Nothing more!
Maybe starting a Change.org petition would be a good idea, to get all those signatures to a well worded letter, like this one regarding BBC bias –
Maybe even one in Spanish to get all those Basques and Catalans on board – https://www.change.org/es
An online petition would be useful, but it’d probably be more useful if UK embassies have to deal with a large number of individuals and organisations whose submissions need to be responded to separately.
Whilst a petition has only one message and would be identified solely with the pro-independence movement for Scotland (whom the UK government is happy to offend), whereas a letter from, eg. ‘Californians for Scottish Independence’ (to use one organisation mentioned in other comments) would require individual attention, care and diplomatic time to avoid angering Californians in general. And a Public TV filmed hand-in of such a letter at the offices of the Californian Fair Political Practices Commission, or other such imaginative media-directed actions, could generate even greater positive outcomes.
All that said, if anyone produces good text for such a petition, I should be able to guilt-trip a translator into producing a good version in German and Welsh.
Hi Dug – just to say I’ve posted a link to this article on the FB pages of Californians for Scottish Independence and INTERNATIONAL SUPPORT FOR SCOTLAND’S INDEPENDENCE. Hopefully some folks will take action.
Grand idea altogether.
Just a wee thought. We have a large Polish community in Scotland and I understand, correct me if I am wrong, there is a Poles for Scottish Independence group? Anyway if they exist they could be contacted and asked to contact the Polish Consulate in Edinburgh and the UK embassy in Warsaw in order to agitate along the lines you have suggested.
What a simple, yet brilliant idea.
I have just contacted a website called Migrant Voice . The Glasgow branch contact is : Anne Stoltenberg. I have referred them to the website and encouraged them to act on the idea.
good luck with those letters to all of you and thank you for caring about our wee country and our right to make democratic decisions. bless you!
Reblogged this on nosuchthingasthemarket.
I’m utterly opposed to this idea of chopping up Britain, in fact I wonder if Alex Salmond wrote the screenplay for Braveheart.
Here’s my letter published in The Scotsman on Sunday:
Those of us who paid attention at school can be in no doubt why there remains, in Scotland, a powerful anti-English bias but, in a world where the most urgent need is for the creation of a global family of mankind, why would anyone wish to take a country such as Britain, which would fit easily into some American states, and chop it into smaller pieces unless the reasons are based on outmoded and immature tribalism?
Alex Salmond faces an opportunity to further his own political ends in a similar way that MP’s representing inner city areas once realized they could advance their careers by waving the race card. The sad thing is that many who should know better are taken in.
Scotland, please stay with us. When the chips are down Irish, Welsh, Scottish and English close ranks and pull together because, when we do work together, we are a formidable force. (This got me an accusation of ‘love-bombing’!)
Yesterday, I also wrote to The Scotsman:
Why do so may people in Scotland not realize that all over Britain people are fighting the Westminster Elite and yet the perception is that only Scotland suffers? Staying together gives us the best chance of opposing a Tory government that has always divided the nation, as it does to this day, and of bringing to an end a London-centric view of Britain ….. Please don’t listen to the bribes from both sides that are degrading this crucial issue and please, please vote NO before it is too late.
Sorry John, I feel your pain but you are desperately out of touch. Plus you kinda lost your argument before you even started, when you made the Braveheart reference. In the context of Scottish independence, bringing Braveheart into it is a bit like getting “Ignore me because I have no idea what I’m talking about” tattooed on your forehead. Braveheart’s Law is the Scottish referendum equivalent of Godwin’s Law.
This debate is not about “outmoded tribalism”, and it’s most certainly not about “anti-English” sentiment – as the recently bereaved partner of a Yes supporting Englishman I take particular offence at that suggestion. Your argument essentially boils down to an assertion that Scottish voters are immature, backward looking, and lacking in the all-seeing perceptiveness and wider vision granted to those like you who live elsewhere in the UK. Being patronising is not really love-bombing is it sweetie?
Bringing an end to the London-centric view of Britain is a great idea. Do you have concrete proposals for how to achieve it? Can you offer any guarantees that it’s going to happen anytime within the next 5 years? Praying for Ed Miliband to get a majority in 2015 is no solution. Ed has signed up to Tory austerity plans. The problem with UK politics for Scotland is not that we only get the governments we vote for when England agrees, it’s what the Westminster system has done to the Labour party.
You are in effect begging Scotland to act as an airbag to protect you from England’s Tory car crashes, but you’re not proposing any means of ensuring that the car crashes stop happening. If the progressive left in England is so weak that it requires assistance from Scotland, then the problem lies squarely with the English left. Get your own act together – self-organise like we did, and do something about it instead of pleading with Scotland to save you from yourself.
If there is a No vote, the Westminster parties will breathe a collective sigh of relief, they will make noises, they will announce conventions and committees, and the entire issue will be kicked into the long grass. You know this to be true. The only way that the momentum for change can be maintained in the rest of the UK is for there to be a Yes vote. Sadly, all you offer is wishful thinking and fond hopes.
You miss my point, which is probably my fault. I agree with most of what you say but it only requires enough bigots and Braveheart fans to push this vote the ‘wrong’ way and there are plenty of those which, if you’re honest with yourself, you must already know. This mess is definitely England’s fault, both historically and in view of the embarrassing bribes now being offered but we have to look beyond the narrow cross section of history in which we have become embroiled and look to the future. As a keen (amateur) follower of physics I’m well aware of the intellectual prowess of Scots from James Clerk Maxwell (whose ancestors, like mine, belonged to the Clan Douglas) until the present day. Please try to be less simplistic, it merely aggravates the problem.