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.