Jim Sillars: We’re strategic necessity to US

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My first reaction to Barack Obama’s intervention in our referendum was to laugh, given that the US Consulate is inviting people to the Sheraton Hotel in Edinburgh to celebrate, guess what, the independence of the United States from the power and control of the British state.

My second was to recognise why he wants the British state to remain as is.

In 2008, President Bush, praising Scotland, noted that the US Declaration of Independence had been influenced by our Declaration of Arbroath; that the US constitution had been influenced by our “strong dedication to liberty,” and “tradition of freedom”.

Of the 56 signatories of the independence declaration one-third were Scots by birth or descent. The main drafter was Thomas Jefferson, proud of his Scottish roots. Bit of an irony to be told by a US president in office now, that we must limit our liberty and freedom, and remain a minority within a state that can offer nothing but the kind of austerity that punishes the poor while the rich get richer.

But, of course, Obama’s principal reason for intervention was based on US state interests, in the “special relationship” that developed during the Second World War. That “special relationship” to which British prime ministers have clung like limpets, has been a lifeline to them for some influence in the world. It has been of even greater advantage to America. John F Kennedy was once asked about it and he said: “Britain is our lieutenant, but we have to call it partner.” The relationship is of wee brother to very big brother, with wee brother Britain doing what it is told.

The UK has proved useful to the US. When America’s nuclear weapons could only be delivered by aircraft, they used airfields in England when other members of Nato, especially the French, were not happy at playing host. They continue to be used.

Last Sunday, two B-2 stealth bombers transferred to RAF Fairford, as part of Obama’s beefing up of US military strength vis-à-vis Russia. When America wanted to wage war on an Arab country, and needed a fig leaf of international cover, the UK stepped forward to provide it. Why is the 
US not only opposed to Scottish independence, but also to the UK leaving the European Union? Because the 
UK is its instrument of influence in Brussels.

Who has most enthusiastically echoed Obama’s call for sanctions on Putin’s Russia? Not Germany or France – both of which have business there – but Cameron in London.

Then there is the UN Security Council. With the UK supporting every move made by the Americans, the White House has virtually two votes whereas China, France and Russia only have one each. If Scotland peels off from London, the size of the UK shrinks, and it becomes more and more difficult for it to remain a permanent member. How, with its 55 million population, can the UK keep a seat in a world of seven billion people when countries like India (1.2 billion), Brazil (199 million) and Indonesia (250 million) are kept out in the cold? What Obama wants us to do is sacrifice our independence so that the Yanks can keep their poodle.

As for his latest ploy, threatening to kick us out of Nato, it is fantasy. If the US is so keen to bring more countries into Nato, such as Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia, why would they kick out Scotland, especially when we are Nato’s unsinkable aircraft carrier? In defending the Atlantic sea lanes through air power, and guarding the Icelandic gap through which enemy ships gain entry to the Atlantic, the airfields in Scotland are a strategic necessity. That Nato would disarm itself over Atlantic coverage because we vote Yes, is something Obama cannot possibly believe in private.

LORDS OF THE JINGS

Why are Scottish members of the House of Lords opposed to independence? They will all be out of a job, of course.

Respect for the power of belief

UNLIKE Professor Dawkins, I am not a jihadi atheist, determined to eliminate ‘magic’ from the world of children by abolishing Santa Claus, because he isn’t based on reason or science.

When our grandchildren were very young and came for Christmas, Margo had me dress up in a Santa suit.

With bell ringing, I strolled past the dining room window, to leave a bag full of presents at the back door. The look of wondrous delight on the faces of the children was, well, magic. When the youngest went to school and a pal said there was no Santa, he told him “wrong” because he had actually seen him.

Let’s tackle the pensions scare

I HOPE every state pensioner is aware that having paid National Insurance contributions, we are guaranteed continued payment of the pension, by law, whether Scotland is independent or not.

Who says? The UK pensions minister himself, Steve Webb, MP, above.