I know we’re not supposed to go in for personal abuse, what with it being monstering and everything. But sometimes – well OK, daily – a Unionist politician utters something so gob-smackingly arsewipiferous that yer average human being turns into a special effect from Jurassic Park and is overcome with an urge to bite his head off. Dear reader, that politician is George Robertson.
Within 24 hours of Anas Sarwar calling on the Legends of Labour to save the day, Georgie has demonstrated his legendary ability to make idiotic statements which will come back to haunt him – like his claim that devolution would kill Scottish nationalism stone dead, or his belief that Scotland doesn’t need independence because we have no language or culture of our own.
Georgie’s latest is a warning that Scottish independence would be a cataclysm for the West. It would collude with the forces of darkness, make only Vladimir Putin happy, and he called on the US government to intervene and tell us to say naw. Like we’re going to listen to American politicians. Independence would indeed be cataclysmic, but only for George’s career and his rapidly plummeting public standing.
He repeated the lie, and he knows it’s a lie, that NATO would refuse membership to an independent Scotland if we get rid of Trident.
First off, I should say that along with many in Scotland, I’d be delighted if NATO wouldn’t let us in. I’d prefer Scotland to be neutral. We are a nation which is blessed by geography in many ways, nature has seen fit to put Scotland on top of an ocean of energy resources, and blessed us even more by putting us in a quiet corner of the planet. We don’t need to be a member of a military alliance that is as offensive as it is defensive.
That’s my opinion, but unlike George I recognise that my opinion is not necessarily the one shared by most of Scotland. An independent Scotland will have choices. I choose for Scotland not to join NATO, but that may not be the choice of the government elected by an independent Scotland. The policy of the current Scottish Government is to join NATO. And despite what George says there is no reason NATO will refuse us membership.
The claim is frequently repeated, and was repeated again by George, that NATO would veto Scottish membership if we get rid of Trident. This is bollocks. And George knows it’s bollocks. He reason he knows it is bollocks is because he was once the secretary general of NATO, and as such ought to know the organisation’s history. He should know that an almost identical scenario played out before. Another country got rid of nuclear weapons and another country’s nuclear submarines from its territory, then went on to join NATO. That country is Spain.
During the 1950s, the dictator Franco was isolated in Europe. In an effort to make friends in a continent which was now dominated by democracies and not the fascist dictatorships he was more comfortable with, Franco agreed to sook up to the US and allowed America to base Polaris nuclear missiles and their submarines at a naval base in Rota in Andalusia. Spain could not become a member of NATO, because Spain was not a democracy. Hosting US nukes was the next best thing for Franco.
The decision was unpopular in Spain, and only grew more unpopular after a series of accidents and incidents – the most serious of which occurred when a US plane carrying nuclear warheads crashed into the sea off the Spanish coast. After Franco’s death in the mid 70s, a key demand of the pro-democracy parties in Spain was the closure of this base and the removal of US nuclear submarines and their missiles.
As Spain began the transition to democracy, negotiations were opened with the US for the rapid removal of the nukes. A treaty to this effect was signed between Spain and the USA in 1976, and the missiles were gone within a couple of years.
At the time, Spain did not want to join NATO. But just a few years later a Spanish Government went back on its election promise to keep the country neutral, and held a controversial referendum on NATO membership. Spain joined the alliance in 1982, just a couple of years after the American nukes were evicted from the country.
Spain rejected another country’s nuclear submarines, then went on to join NATO. It’s happened before George. Now explain to us why it can’t happen again. The former secretary general of NATO is either ignorant of the organisation which he once led, or he’s lying through his teeth in a transparent effort to save his own sorry airse and that of his pathetic bunch of fellow travellers in the Labour leadership.
The only forces of darkness in this referendum campaign are those which George represents.