United Kingdom is Staying United



Glenfinnan Viaduct
Glenfinnan Viaduct

The United Kingdom is Staying United!

… by Michael Shrimpton


The EU in Brussels
The EU in Brussels

It’s official. The German-backed Scottish Nationalists have been defeated, and we in the UK are staying together. The final vote was 2,001,926 ‘No’ to 1,617,989 ‘Yes’, a crushing defeat for the divisive Alex Salmond, or ‘von’ Salmond as we fondly refer to him in England. 

As I pointed out last week, the ‘Yes’ Campaign did not want an independent Scotland at all. They wanted to join the EU.

The priority now for the UK is not further devolution, but national independence, i.e. the longed-for break with Brussels. We have suffered under the European (i.e. German) yoke for far too long.

This morning’s victory for the forces of unity turned into triumph this afternoon, when Alex Salmond announced his resignation. I predict that Nicola Sturgeon, who seems a very nice lady if I may say so, will be the new SNP leader and First Minister of Scotland.

The margin of victory was greater than the polls predicted, over 10%. No single poll in the last week gave the ‘Noes’ a lead over 8 points. We saw a similar phenomenon in Quebec, when the French were trying to break up Canada. ‘No’ voters tended to keep their counsel. The YouGov poll which caused such panic in the financial markets turns out to have been a rogue poll. Since Peter Kellner, the pro-EU founder of YouGov, is a bit of a rogue himself (I am sure he will not mind my saying so!), perhaps we should not be too surprised.

Hopefully this victory will see an end to Germany’s campaign of breaking up those states she sees as her enemies. It’s a tactic the ‘Hun’ has been trying on since he backed the South in the Civil War (your Civil War, that is). The only way to stop ‘neverendum’ nonsense is firstly to emphasise (as I did before the Edinburgh Agreement to the Presiding Officer of the Scottish Parliament) that only the Imperial Parliament at Westminster can sanction the break-up of the UK, or any step leading thereto.

The second is to have safeguards, as there were in 1979. There should be a minimum requirement of 2/3 of those voting and 50% of the electorate in favour in any constitutional referendum. To have broken up the world’s longest and most successful political and economic union on a 50% plus 1 majority would have been an obscenity.


Allegations of Vote-Rigging

I see that our distinguished editor, Gordon ‘Duff of MacDuff’, who unlike me has a splendid Scottish ancestry (I only have English, going back to Anglo-Saxon times, Irish and Welsh) has teamed up with that nice man Robbie the Pict to suggest vote-rigging. I think there was some rigging, but in favour of the ‘Yes’ side, indeed at least one incidence was proven.

The SNP, absurdly with respect, pressed for the inclusion of schoolchildren aged 16 and 17, then set up a secret register for them. The abuse only came to light when parents found that their toddlers had been registered to vote. It did not affect the outcome, obviously, but it has caused enough concern to end the idea of 16 and 17 year olds getting the vote.

Since the vote was under the control of the pro-Yes Scottish Executive the idea of vote-rigging in favour of the ‘Noes’ can safely be excluded. Every poll on the eve of poll (elections in Great Britain, sensibly, are always held on Thursdays) predicted a ‘No’ win. The underestimation of the ‘No’ vote by several percentage points can readily be explained, as in Quebec, by poor methodology, which failed to take into account a known psephological phenomenon.

Robbie the Pict, a great character, was actually a client of mine a few years back, in the famous speed camera test case. We had to agree to differ on devolution and ‘independence’! I have never let political differences get in the way of relations with clients and I don’t intend to start now. The English (and Scottish) Bars operate a cab-rank rule, whereby we are duty bound to act for any client in our area of expertise, for a suitable fee, regardless of their ethnicity, political opinion, gender or sexuality. Long may it be so.

Barristers will act for mass-murderers, dictators, paedophiles, Cabinet Office officials and even Liberal Democrats. There is no one so evil that we will not represent them. We leave the judging to the jury.

If I may say so, Robbie was actually one of my nicest and most sensible clients. He happens to live on the beautiful Isle of Skye. If you have not visited it, you really should, and sample the local brew (Talisker – it’s as smooth as a pebble in a Highland stream) whilst you’re there.

Like much of Scotland, the scenery is glorious. I was last there in April, but sadly had no time to call on Robbie (my lady friend and I were on a rail tour of Scotland and it was a flying visit). The best way to get to Skye, IMHO, is by rail, via either Mallaig, from Glasgow/Fort William, or Kyle of Lochalsh, via Inverness. The famous concrete viaduct in the Harry Potter movies (Glenfinnan Viaduct) is between Fort William and Mallaig.


Constitutional Tinkering

Sir Alex Douglas-Home, 1963
Sir Alex Douglas-Home, 1963

Our fool of a Prime Minister (no offense), who conceded the idiotic terms of this referendum (after I dropped that e-mail round to the Presiding Officer and the Scottish Executive, advising that their proposed UDI would be as unlawful as that nice man Ian Smith’s) has been blathering on about devolution for the English. We do not need any more tinkering with our Glorious Constitution, thank you very much. Every change in the past 40 years, from EU membership, to House of Lords ‘reform’ and devolution has been a disaster.

What we need now is a long period of stability. Coupled with EU withdrawal that will help grow the British economy and create jobs.

Speaking of British Prime Ministers, half of them in my lifetime have been Scottish. I have been privileged to meet more than half, and only three (Ted Heath, Maggie Thatcher and John Major) were English. The most decent of them all, perhaps the most decent man ever to have been PM, was the late Earl of Home. He was a Scottish gentleman of the best sort. After his long and distinguished career of public service (he was also Foreign Secretary) he was only too happy to go home to the Hirsel.


Response to Jonas Alexis

Captain Wallace B. Binghamton of McHale’s Navy
Captain Wallace B. Binghamton of McHale’s Navy

I see that Jonas does not like my book! I hope he will not mind my saying that, judging by his comments this week, I am not entirely convinced that he has actually read it, although I am sure he has read bits of it. Perhaps a more thorough read-through would help to convince him of the sophistication and cogency of my arguments!

He complains that I offer no ‘evidence’ that the Islamic Republic of Iran is a terrorist-sponsoring state. With respect, I would have that proposition to be self-evident. Res ipsa loquitur, as we lawyers say!

He also seems to be unhappy with my idea that we need to get boots on the ground in Iraq. Frankly, as a military strategist President Obama is in the same class as Captain Wallace B. Binghamton, of McHale’s Navy. Sadly there is no Lt-Cdr McHale to come to the rescue.


MH17 Update


Word is going around Whitehall that there is nothing on the CVR tape. This means one of three things – they’ve cut it off before the good bits, the Cabinet Office are lying, again, or they’ve asked the French to knock up another dodgy CVR tape. It would have to be the French, as they’re the experts in knocking up fake CVRs and FDRs. Why go to an amateur, when you can ask an expert? It would be like asking Del Boy in Only Fools and Horses to distress a ‘genuine’ Queen Anne computer desk.

Thank goodness those nice people the Russians got a copy of the real thing. I hope they’re saving it up to really embarrass Cameron and the White House, if they step even further out of line on MH17.

Judging from a conversation with a half-bird Air Force colonel this week not everybody is grasping the point about the cannon holes. Nobody sensible is saying that the Su-25 shot down the 777, or that it was a stern, chasing attack (it’s too slow). The -25’s role was to force the target into the kill zone, so that that Chinese Buk battery could shoot it down, so that the mass murder could be pinned on the pro-Russian rebels.

As the 777 tried to turn away from what her pilots correctly took to be Injun territory, not least after their radios and ACARS were jammed, the -25 opened up, killing one or both pilots. That cannot have been more than 25 nautical miles from the interception point, i.e. the plane was only in the air for about three minutes at most (I am assuming approximately 500 knots true airspeed for the 777).

If you kill the pilots of a modern airliner, which will usually be flying on autopilot, if its engines and control surfaces are not damaged, it will probably continue on its way, at least for a few minutes. It’s not going to drop from the air like a brick.

The cannon shots would eventually have proved fatal, not least if the engines went into flight-idle mode (they were still turning, apparently, when they hit the ground), but the proximate cause of the crash was shrapnel from a Chinese HQ-16 SAM warhead detonated by proximity fuze, after locking on to the 777’s weather radar, which does not seem to have been damaged by cannon fire, as the attacking Su-25 was using a sophisticated fire control system and did not walk fire into the target, Hawker Typhoon style. The Typhoon was a proper airplane, by the way, a wonderful device with a great big 24-cylinder Napier Sabre engine and four British Hispano 20 mil cannon. They killed lots of Germans.


The Alice Gross Murder


This looks like yet another murder that we can chalk up to the EU’s free for all immigration controls. The poor lass, aged just 14, disappeared from a towpath in Brentford London shortly after a Latvian murderer followed her along it. Having murdered his wife back home, he got away with an 8 year sentence and disgracefully was released after serving just 7 years. Obviously they don’t value human life very highly in Latvia.

Officially Alice is still alive. I would love to think so, but I am afraid that the chances of that are very slim indeed. On the balance of probabilities I am calling this a murder. The Latvian is Scotland Yard’s chief suspect. There are no other suspects.

The incident shows up the value of capital punishment. Had the Latvians hanged him, as they should have done after he was convicted of murdering his wife (he thought she was a lesbian), he could not have come here. Of course he might not have done it, there may have been two murderers on the towpath that morning, by coincidence and Alice may turn up in France having run away with her geography teacher, but don’t bet on it. I hate murder as a crime. Not only does it involve the unlawful taking of a human life, it wrecks the lives of victims’ families. If you don’t believe me, take a look at the anguished expression on the face of the poor mother of the young British backpacker Hannah Witheridge, murdered in Thailand this week.

The Brentford incident also shows up what a grotesque farce EU immigration law is. For so long as we remain in the EU we are powerless to stop European killers flooding across our undefended borders. Very tragically, innocent young Alice Gross may turn out to have been part of the blood sacrifice demanded of Britain by the EU.


Classic Bond Movie of the Week – Diamonds Are Forever (1971), dir. Guy Hamilton

Charles Gray and Jill St John
Charles Gray and Jill St John

The last official (i.e. Eon) Bond movie to star Sir Sean Connery, this is many people’s favorite. Charles Gray is excellent as Blofeld. He does evil so well, he could have played Cabinet Secretaries, no offense.

The lovely Jill St John is the Bond girl, Tiffany Case, a name taken from Ian Fleming’s book of the same name, even if the plot isn’t. Space is again the theme, as the diamonds of the title are to be used in a space-based laser.

John Barry’s soundtrack is superb. There are wonderful cameos from Bruce Glover and Putter Smith, as a pair of gay hitmen working for SPECTRE. The car, uniquely for a Bond movie, is a Triumph Stag. Elegant and fast, for their day (even if the small, 3-liter V-8 was liable to overheat – I’d have gone for a doubled up 32-valve Dolomite Sprint engine of say 4 liters) it doesn’t look out of place. Nobody then knew that the car was going to bomb.

The scene at the funeral home is a hoot. Connery, who may have thought that he could kill the franchise by walking out, goes for more humor in this, his final Eon outing. I’ve always liked the crack about “I was just out walking my rat” when he emerges from the pipe in the desert in his tuxedo.

The car chase in Las Vegas has one of the few continuity bloopers in the entire series – Bond’s rental goes in on one set of wheels and comes out on the other!

Norman Burton, who sadly later came to a sticky end in Mexico, is one of the better Leiters, a regular Ronson in fact. Laurence Naismith is good value as the De Beers man and Leonard Barr’s performance as Shady Tree could hardly have been bettered. Fleming named Shady Tree after the notorious German (Abwehr/DVD) agent, Senator Prescott Bush, by the way.

Two sad recent departures: Brian Hutton, the great director, who made Where Eagles Dare and Kelly’s Heroes, and was so good he was forced out under pressure from German-controlled banks, the Germans having made to look silly in both movies, and the great British actor Sir Donald Sinden.

September 20th 2014

Diamonds are Forever
Diamonds are Forever

Editing: Erica P. Wissinger


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