As you know, (Sir Jonothan's narrative continued) the uproar following publication of 'The Tartan Testimonial' marked the end of Scotland's parliament. Despite the vociferous denials from Scott Brechin, Moira Kyle and Murray Irving, the credibility of New Labour and the SNP had been irreparably damaged. Accusations of sleaze, inter-party collusion between nationalist dissidents and New Labour, plus counter-claims of a conspiracy involving the Scottish Federation of Commerce and Industry (SFCI), which was generally pro-New Labour, vied with each other for media coverage.
It was the SFCI's announcement during their 2002 emergency conference that a resolution of No Confidence in the Scottish Parliament had been passed unanimously, this coinciding with the disappearance of Scott Brechin which forced Drew Davidson's hand.
The majority of Scotland's parliamentarians realised that Edinburgh had been a disastrous failure and that to continue with the farce was not an option. The public, having lost all respect for the administration, felt that their national reputation had been insulted by the very politicians they elected to represent Scotland. Edinburgh, famed for its splendour and the annual International Festival, had become the laughing-stock of Europe.
The Interim Scottish Council which replaced the discredited parliament at the end of 2002 was initially viewed with hostility by the public, but this reaction soon evaporated when it became evident that the council, far from being a Westminster/Whitehall satellite, made genuine efforts to address Scotland's concerns. Its success was achieved by devolving greater responsibility to the regional authorities, irrespective of their political structures, and in promoting maximum inward investment which resulted in a gradual yet tangible decline in unemployment.
Whatever 'The Inner Cadre' - as we were labelled - perpetrated, I make no apologies for our role in hastening the Scottish Parliament's demise. If that rabble - and I use that word with no qualms - had been allowed to continue, the economic repercussions for the entire United Kingdom would have been dire.
Politicians may find it expedient to extol nationalistic aspirations, and within their ranks there are those who are genuinely committed to such ideals. However, we live in the age of global business consortia: the machiavellian tactics perpetrated in order to maintain their viability and growth do not consider the hopes and aspirations of individual nations. Therefore I feel it is essential that established protocols binding geographically adjoining countries remain extant. Few tears were shed when the USSR collapsed, but you do not need reminding that of the problems still being experienced by the former Warsaw Pact countries.
Scotland now has an effective parliament within a federal Britain: the lessons of 2002 are unlikely to be forgotten. However, the UK is part of Europe. No country is totally independent, just as no man is an island. We continue to live in troubled times.
A footnote to the events of 2002: Scott Brechin's disappearance, although timely, came as a surprise. It is probable that his body is resting at the bottom of a remote loch, suitably enclosed in concrete. There is little doubt in my mind that a terrible retribution was exacted: his reward for betraying the nationalists.
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