It used to be called gunboat diplomacy. In the days of the British Empire, if one of the colonies started kicking off, the Navy would sail a gunboat into the country’s main port and sit there until the locals got the message and calmed down. The trouble in Scotland is that the gunboats are here permanently and we’ve got used to them. So they had to take another tack to send a message to the pesky Scots voting 58% in favour of independence.
Today, on Remembrance Sunday of all days, what did the Herald print on its front page? A nuclear submarine. And an article to go with it, telling us we weren’t going to get rid of them. (No, we’re not linking to it. But the picture above was the picture used.)
It’s hard to put into words how inappropriate, how obscene a gesture this is. Remembrance Sunday is a day of mourning, of contrition. It is a day when we remember all the lives cut short in war. To flaunt this on a front page of a national newspaper on Remembrance Sunday is the most appalling and vulgar way in which to rattle a sabre that Westminster could have picked. And it is absolutely deliberate.
Yet, in its twisted way, maybe this is what we should remember today. That these boats are in our waters. That the peace that those young soldiers sought in their deaths has not been reached.
Today, the world breathes a sigh of relief as a reactionary, dangerous man is put out of office in the USA by virtue of the rule of law and democracy. It’s time Scotland took a leaf out of the USA’s book and took control of its waters, its country and its future.