My father's typescript opened with a brief account of how The Inner Cadre was formed: it emerged that, although not in existence prior to May 1997, the individual members had already forged links with each other during the previous year, predicting that the forthcoming general election would be a decisive win for New Labour.
The Inner Cadre's grand idea was not to see the new administration founder to the extent that would cause its dissolution. Their priority was to slow down, if not prevent, New Labour's constitutional reforms, thereby ensuring the hegemony of Whitehall and Westminster throughout the United kingdom.
Sir Jonothan's narrative now follows, giving an account of events surrounding the demise of the Scottish Parliament in 2002. Throughout, The Inner Cadre is referred to in the first person plural.
An extract from Sir Jonothan's narrative:
... we were not concerned with events in Wales. The Welsh Assembly's remit was so restricted in scope that it became nothing more than a forum.
The situation in Scotland was another matter and we decided to monitor affairs there very closely indeed. Although diametrically opposed to New Labour, we hoped that in the 1999 Scottish Parliamentary elections, they would emerge by far the strongest party: with Lady Maxwell-Duncan as permanent Under-Secretary to Drew Davidson, our influence would remain extant. However, that was not to be.
As you may recall, the percentage of seats per party in the Scottish Parliament was as follows:
|Scottish New Labour||27% |
|Scottish National Party||26% |
|Scottish Conservative Party||24% |
|Scottish Liberal Democrats||15% |
|Independent Labour Party||3% |
|Independent (non-aligned)||5% |
It was the Conservatives' result that surprised us; although in retrospect, their success was probably due to a vigorous campaign highlighting a catalogue of blunders and proven instances of fraud on the part of some Labour-led Local Authorities. We hoped that New Labour and the Conservatives would find mutual agreement on outstanding constitutional issues thereby rendering the SNP ineffective. Unfortunately, the Tories were in no mood for pandering to New Labour in order to protect the latter from the Nationalists' ire despite the fact that to do so would have been in the interests of both parties. The SNP were, in themselves, far from united, with major policy differences between the leader, Alaister Stirling and his deputy, Moira Kyle. The former wanted total severance from the United Kingdom, maintaining that an independent Scotland was economically viable, whereas the more moderate Moira Kyle was prepared to consider an enhanced federal status within the UK.
We tried, through Lady Maxwell-Duncan, to build bridges between New Labour and the Tories, but to no avail: relationships remained hostile. The Liberal Democrats, occupying the ground between New Labour and the supporters of Moira Kyle, became frustrated not only with what it saw as a clash of wills between Drew Davidson, Alaister Stirling and the Scottish Tory leader, Wilson Hogg, but also with their inability to halt this petty bickering. In short, the Scottish Parliament was a total shambles: the televised proceedings became compulsive viewing throughout the land, even eclipsing the comedian Brett Campsie for sheer popularity and entertainment value. Something had to be done.
The chance came in February 2001 when Lady Maxwell-Duncan introduced me to one of her protégées during a soirée at her residence deep in the heart of Tweedsmuir. Scott Brechin was, at the age of 24, a brilliant economic wizard who at that time was a member of the SNP's treasury team. It transpired that in October 1998, she approached Mr Brechin and asked him to infiltrate the party with the objective of keeping herself as fully informed as possible on SNP strategy. Lady Maxwell-Duncan predicted that his phenomenal grasp of economics and business acumen would ensure a rapid promotion within the party: her forecast had been accurate.
Fortunately for Mr. Brechin, knowledge of his murky past had been concealed from potential investigators. From the age of 15 to 19, he had been a member of the British National Unity Alliance (BNUA), an ultra right-wing organisation with rabidly xenophobic beliefs and total opposition to UK devolution. Although no longer a BNUA member - purportedly having left because he had found their credo abhorrent - in truth, Scott Brechin was, as one of the economic advisers to Sander's International Investigations Ltd., still involved with the Alliance: it was Sander's who contributed most of the BNUA's funding.
The SNP Scottish Parliament Member and party economic spokesman, Tom Ferguson, was tragically killed while climbing in the Torridon Hills on 17th February 2002, thus causing a by-election in the constituency of Ross and Sutherland: this was duly held a month later. Scott Brechin was the natural choice of candidate for the SNP and it came as no surprise when, at the end of March, he took his seat in Edinburgh.
The plan devised by Lady Maxwell-Duncan, Scott Brechin and Paul Phillips (Senior Financial Adviser to Melanie Belstone, President of the Board of Trade in London) was to exploit the differences between Alaister Stirling and Moira Kyle on key economic and constitutionalissues, thereby exposing and enhancing the split within the SNP. New Labour would be implicated in the plot to undermine the nationalists and it was anticipated that the Scottish Parliament would collapse ignominiously.
The method used was to produce a document written by Scott Brechin which outlined serious faults in the SNP's financial strategy, concluding with a recommendation that the party abandon any notion of severance from the UK and instead pushes for enhanced federal status - control in all areas of policy with the exception of defence and national security - within Britain.
A private meeting was arranged between Scott Brechin, Moira Kyle and New Labour's Junior Scottish Finance Minister, Murray Irving, in order to discuss the impasse at the Scottish Office with particular emphasis on fiscal matters: this took place in April 2002. The document , in effect an embellished report on the trio's deliberations, complete with the forged signatures of Moira Kyle and Murray Irving lying beside the genuine - yet purportedly false - scrawl of Scott Brechin, subsequently appeared in the newspapers throughout Britain and became known as 'The Tartan Testimonial'.
Particularly damaging were the alleged SNP plans for making up the shortfall once funding from Westminster ceased following independence. Personal taxation increases affecting all but those on the state benefits system (which in turn would require stringent rationalisation); increases in business rates/corporation taxes and soaring labour costs stifling inward investment and forcing some companies to relocate outwith Scotland: these problems could partially be offset by a massive programme of nationalisation, starting with the privatised utilities. The Scots would not disapprove in principle with either modest tax increases or restoring public services to state ownership, but would they be willing to pay the vast amounts of compensation these companies would insist upon? Would they be prepared to fund strategies which were recipes for unemployment on a scale not seen since the early 1980s?
If Scottish secession from the UK had been a reality prior to the Fielder Era, then it could have been a success. However, during "The Corn Dolly's Reign", Scotland's staple manufacturing and raw material infrastructure - essential for a newly-independent country - had been systematically undermined and then dismantled: the costs involved in regeneration would be prohibitive. Surely the SNP could not fail to accept, albeit reluctantly, that belief in Scotland's reputation as a major European industrial power was, by the year 2002, a mere delusion? The proposed 'Landing Tax' for North Sea Oil was as absurd as it was contentious. Firstly, dwindling oil stocks precluded long-term employment prospects. Secondly, England would challenge this in the European Courts and if she lost, the oil companies would cease operations in Scotland and ship the output directly to North-Eastern ports. Finally, if Scotland was able to impose the tax, the unemployment consequences would be calamitous.
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