Divide and rule

A guest post by Alisdair Buchanan

First practised by the Roman Empire “divide et impera” was a strategy to gain or maintain power. Simply explained as creating division, whether by chaos, tribal, religious, or ethnic hatred and then it becomes easier to divide and rule . This age old strategy made it possible for an insignificant northern European island nation to rule the world. Firstly through shipping and trade closely followed by Empire. Divide and rule was, throughout the 18th, 19th and early part of the 20th century, Britannic colonialism’s single most successful tactic in the creation of global domination and the British Empire.

Scots and Scottish companies played an immense part in building this empire through establishing trading companies, building ships, supplying sailors, colonial governors, administrators, military and naval personnel and of course the hundreds of thousands of souls, many from the Highland Clearances, seeking a new and better life in the colonies and dominions. This was smash and grab on a global scale. Rules were waived in order to divide and rule and thereby reap the rich rewards from natural resources, commerce and  the immense riches accruing to Glasgow merchants through the slave trade and tobacco.

The Empire has long since faded but Britannia still clings onto its imperial past through its creation of the Commonwealth which, through the tireless work of our present monarch is a source of much goodwill between nations. It is fitting that Glasgow, once the second city of Empire, will in a few weeks time be the centre of this Commonwealth of nations.

Divide and rule in the 21st century should be long forgotten but in practice this is not the case. These very tactics which underpinned and managed an empire, created in no small part by Scots, are now being used by our Westminster government to undermine the case for Scottish independence. Mistruths are common and freely distributed through a compliant media. Statistics and economic arguments are dismissed as unreliable and unachievable. Statements are taken out of context and misrepresented. Our finest politicians and leaders are subject to minute scrutiny and media derision. Our hopes and aspirations are belittled or dismissed out of hand. Political enemies join forces in order to protect their position at Westminster and that of the Establishment. Our expert opinions are according to Westminster invariably wrong or unreliable. Our campaign funding is suspect and may be subject to investigation. The list is tedious and seemingly endless. The pressure is immense and all by way of creating a friable atmosphere of division, mistrust and doubt in the mind of the electorate.

The recent narrowing of the polls would indicate that these tactics are not achieving the objective of creating division although the mass media will doubtless continue to indicate otherwise. A Yes result is within our grasp but only by remaining calm, staying on message and, above all, the multifarious Yes campaign not fracturing.

This is no time for random or virtuoso performances which could well be misinterpreted as a weakening leading to disagreement, as is the hope of Westminster and their divisive divide and rule tactics. Then they win and we stand to lose this once in a generation opportunity of independence for Scotland. Let’s consign divide and rule to the scrap heap and take our rightful place amongst the Commonwealth of nations.


22 comments on “Divide and rule

  1. JimnArlene says:

    The only division we seek, it the division of Scotland from Westminster rule. I know YES can do it, sure there’ll be “loose cannons” but, I don’t think “we” will shoot ourselves in the foot.

  2. Bamstick says:

    I get it, keep the heid! be nice, don’t appear like nutters.

    • Bamstick says:

      What am I saying. I’ve done that all my life and look where it got me.
      What about fight fire with fire? An eye for an eye?
      Scotland, like me, has done what it’s been told to do for too long now.
      We need to be heard, not with violence or with separation among the ranks but maybe we do need some one to stand up for all of us?

      • Illy says:

        “An eye for an eye will leave the whole world blind”

        We have the moral high ground of a nonviolent campaign, no demonisation of ordinary people, and an “official” campaign that is barely doing anything (yet we seem to be well on the way to a Yes vote).

        If we keep to the truth, and the facts, we can win this.

        (Personally, I think we will win this, I’m sure the polling companies are doing their best to not let their results show Yes at greater than 49%, because if they do that, then they’ll alienate their customers)

        • weegingerdug says:

          I don’t believe the polling companies are deliberately misrepresenting the figures, however they are clearly struggling with their methodology – which is why there is a wide difference between polling companies in the levels of Yes/No support they show.

          There may be a form of bias, for example in reports that some polling companies are weighting their results to account for what they believe is a “shy No” factor. I’m not so sure there’s such a factor. The (relatively few) banged on No voters I know personally are all quite loud about it. But there is probably a “shy Yes” factor which is not being accounted for in the polls. Yes voters are the ones being demonised in the media.

          Weighting results according to previous voting habits is also probably distorting the results, as I don’t believe previous voting habits are any reliable guide to how a person will vote in the referendum. Most of the Yes voters I know are not SNP voters – they vote Labour or don’t vote in elections.

          I suspect, but have no evidence to prove it, that the reason there is such a disparity between what the polls show and what door to door canvassing shows is because there are large numbers of people who will be voting who don’t usually vote and who are invisible to polling companies.

      • strathedin says:

        We’re doing it…just hang in there a wee while longer… 😉

  3. oldfella69 says:

    I must say, I think the YES campaign has been a model of restraint, especially when replying to the more hysterical claims of the other side.

  4. Jan Cowan says:

    An excellent piece and good advice……….whether we think we need it or not.

  5. Capella says:

    I agree that the divide and rule tactic is being played. The traditional divide between the Central Belt and rural Scotland is divisive. The Orange card is about to be played again. The planned Orange Order “Save the Union” march in Edinburgh highlights the problem. The police are happy for it to go ahead, This throws the focus back on the Councillors who have to make the decision. But if it does go ahead, let’s hope a fleeting display of outdated sectarian arrogance doesn’t succeed in dividing us.

    • strathedin says:

      I really think this march/”demonstration” will actually highlight the antiquated, totally out -of-touch Establishment…we all know the best way forward is not to look back…

  6. setondene says:

    Onion Johnnies were Bretons who got out of France whenever they could after the War for two reasons: firstly to make a living in hard times, and secondly because people who spoke Breton were being attacked and sometimes killed by the French for trying to establish a separate state. Unfortunately a handful of Bretons decided that ‘my enemy’s enemy is my friend’ and supported the German occupation force. I remember them well. They used to arrive on push bikes draped with strings of ingins and my mother was always glad to see them.

    • weegingerdug says:

      The Breton language suffered a demographic collapse after WW2. Prior to the war over 1 million people spoke Breton, but after the war parents stopped using it with their children as it was seen as anti-French. Breton now has around 200,000 speakers, who are largely in the older generations. It is estimated that only 35,000 use the language on a daily basis. The language is now severely endangered.

      The good news is that the number of children in bilingual French-Breton education has increased by 33% since 2006, but absolute numbers are low. In 2012 only 14,700 Breton children were in bilingual education.

  7. setondene says:

    Sorry! My post should have been appended to David Kelly’s piece above. I really must wake up.

  8. Morag says:

    Have been aware of the divide an rule tactic since ma daddie sat me on his knee and told me the ways o’ the world. Sometimes it’s difficult though to keep the heid, especially when you come across YES voters who are racist, bordering on fascist. Anyway I will rise above it and leave that fight for the ballot box in 2016 after we gain independence!

    • strathedin says:

      There are eejits/fanatics/noisemakers in every camp…let’s just keep the heid and get he job done. We can aye fa’ oot aboot it later… ;-)….Aye..!!

  9. arthur says:

    The Yes campaign has been brilliant thus far. We need to hold our nerve in the face of the barrage of lies and deceit from No. We need to be seen as the side of maturity, calm and future. I think our women are the key to success. I am more and more impressed every time I hear our women speak. They have a way, like the dug, of presenting the case simply and clearly. We men should stand with them, take example from them and respect them as they just naturally deal the hammer blows. Our women are too grounded to be divided.

  10. arthur thomson says:

    The Yes campaign has been brilliant thus far. We need to hold our nerve in the face of the barrage of lies and deceit from No. We need to be seen to be seen as the side of maturity, calm and future. I think our women are the key to success. I am more and more impressed every time I hear our women speak. They have a way, like the dug, of presenting the case simply and clearly. We men should stand with them, take example from them and respect them as they just naturally deal the hammer blows. Our women are too grounded to be divided.

  11. KayBee says:

    “Our women are too grounded to be divided.”

    N’er truer words spoken.

    Our women will also be most prominent in leading this nations ‘healing process’ after the 18th Septembers vote, regardless of eventual outcome.

    I don’t think even the No voters would disagree with that last statement.

  12. Bamstick says:

    Wait a minute. So us women are healers, we are grounded and the men have all the passion.
    What a load of rubbish. Sounds like we should all be nurses and you men can all be soldiers.
    This is 2014!!!!!!
    I could get upset and call this sexist, but I see it as been such generalised, simplistic rubbish that it doesn’t deserve to be called that.
    There are just as many calm, mature, simple and straightforward men out there as women.
    There are just as many passionate and explosive women too.
    After we vote YES on 18th September we will all have a part to play, whether men or women in the calming process to a successful Scotland.
    Just don’t give me it!!!!

  13. Dey Magdalene Mawuena says:

    good work than it has helped me in knowing about the concept of divide and rule in relation to the trans atlantic trade

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