Unfashionable Causes 156

Most of the states existing in the world – including pretty well all of Africa bar Ethiopia, much of Asia, and the former Soviet Union – achieved independence in my own lifetime. In virtually every case, it was – almost by definition – illegal at the start of the process for the country to break away. All of the most famous liberation campaigners did jail time. Within the European Union, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia did not obtain Independence by a process negotiated from the start with the Soviet Union. The actions which initiated their Independence were illegal.

So it is a meaningless truism to say that it is illegal for Catalonia to hold a referendum on Independence. The idea that the right to self-determination of a people can be alienated by pre-existing constitutional arrangements, is rejected by international law. It is truly pathetic to see the Establishment throughout Europe hiding behind the miniscule fig leaf of the Spanish Constitutional Court to state that Catalonia cannot secede, and therefore the gross repression in train by the Spanish government is legitimate. The argument that the post-Franco settlement perpetually alienates the Catalan right to self-determination is, frankly, risible. It is simply embarrassing to see media outlets that once had some intellectual capacity, such as the Economist and the Financial Times, fall in behind it.

But the desire of Western governments to accept the brutal muscling aside of democracy in Catalonia by Madrid’s Francoist government, tells us something about the level of insecurity the Establishment feels. Scottish nationalists like myself have an instinctive sympathy for a similar movement in one of Europe’s other ancient nations. But in truth, there are serious differences. The Yes movement in Scotland is essentially socialist and is broadly looking to substantial economic and social reform to be initiated after Independence to create a more communitarian society. The Catalan movement is coming from a different place; of course it contains divers elements, but there is much less challenge to neo-liberalism in it. In fact there is a significant rather unattractive streak in popular Catalan nationalism that feels they are being held back by much lazier and less productive societies in the South. Catalan Independence is not really a threat to neo-liberalism. Yet, so insecure do the Establishment feel about their position in this time of rational popular discontent, any change is to be resisted.

The silence of the international community and the Establishment’s NGO’s on the repression of democracy in Catalonia is shameful.

I am currently in Ghana, and there is in West Africa a liberation movement which is even less fashionable, an oppressed people whose cause nobody espouses – the Anglophone Cameroonians. This week several hundred young men in South West Cameroon have been arrested and taken away by security forces, with real brutality in many cases. I wrote in The Catholic Orangemen of Togo about the torture, discrimination and deprivation of liberty suffered by the Anglophone Cameroonians over decades, about my own visit there and my thwarted determination to focus the FCO on the issue.

Very occasionally, NGO’s pay limited attention to this injustice. The International Bar Association protested against the arrest of a barrister, Agbor-Balla, who was charged with terrorism before a military tribunal for helping organise a human rights demonstration. He was released last month after six months harsh imprisonment, together with other community leaders, but a much larger wave of arrests is now under way, aimed at preventing a pro-Independence demonstration by Anglophone Cameroonians this weekend. There is, of course, an obvious parallel with events the same weekend in Catalonia.

Why has the international community ignored the plight of the Anglophone Cameroonians? Well the UK, as the former colonial power, finds the whole subject embarrassing and has no interest at all in interfering. African governments are notoriously unwilling to call each other out on human rights abuse. Plus the entire colonial legacy of the divide between Anglophone and Francophone West Africa is a neuralgic point in the region, affecting many relationships between rulers and states. Persecution of an Anglophone minority by a Francophone government is an issue that, if raised within the remit of the regional organisation, ECOWAS, would cause a very large can of worms to be opened. Without any powerful voices speaking up for the Anglophone Cameroonians, the United Nations is under no pressure to be involved.

Let me know of any good websites with inside information on events in Catalonia, as we will not get a true picture from mainstream media. I will try and get you a clear picture of the events in Cameroon this coming weekend.


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156 thoughts on “Unfashionable Causes

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  • SA

    Syria is not yet done. The danger from Daesh may be waning but it is now very clear where the endgame is: to deprive Syria of a large part of its eastern oilfields and to insert another state friendly with the west and Israel, in the form of Kurdistan. This would still achieve some of the aims of the empire and Syria and for that matter Iraq , will never be the same.

    • giyane

      USUKIS also want to simplify their dealings with the Middle East by imposing the Muslim Brotherhood version of Islam. The Muslim Brotherhood is the political wing of Islamist extremism like Sinn Fein to the IRA. Why would the people of the Middle East agree to settle Syria by accepting the source of all their miseries in power, while at the same time it releases all their natural resources free of charge to the US empire?

      Syria will never be settled until the gangsters who have raped them in exchange for promises of power have been removed. That means at the very least the total destruction of Islamic State, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the Muslim Brotherhood, and Al Qaida, Taliban and other enemies of Islam who have fought for seven years against the Syrian Muslim people. if these criminals working for the West in exchange for promnises of power are not removed, they will continue on through the Muslim world until they are attacking Russia and China.

      The mineral resources of the Middle East are not the real goal. USUKIS want to subjugate all Muslims to the authority of an insane sect created by the British in 1918, and control the whole world through their policy of creating instability. Russia and China will not permit USUKIS to achieve their hegemony. They will continue destroying the apparatus of the Muslim Brotherhood, which first spawned the philosophy of political terror, and if they won’t, the Muslims of the world will.

      • Resident Dissident

        It was in part a genuine question – we know what you are against but we know very little of what you are for. You used to be supportive of the Kurds, but now some of them are on the verge of getting their own country at long last that seems to change. Or are you one of those people whose politics are purely defined by what you dislike?

      • Paul Barbara

        @ Resident Dissident September 30, 2017 at 09:54
        I too supported the Kurds, while they were in cooperation with the Syrian Government and under attack by the ‘head-choppers’ and the Turkish forces, but now that they are cooperating in I*rael’s and America’s plans to ‘Balkanise’ Syria and Iraq, I no longer support them.
        I*rael even has plans to send 200,000 of ‘Whos’ to Iraqi Kurdistan, should they break away from Iraq, a further major step in their ‘Greater I*rael’ plans.

    • giyane

      October starts tomorrow, harbinger of winter, and my imagination – or is it a piece of undigested cheese?- sees the ghastly strained face of Mrs Thatcher in the folds of the curtains, eyes staring, nose pointing, and rattling the chains of old imperial follies like the Falklands to warn us.

      The ghost shows us first a cold,sour post Brexit relationship with Europe, frozen with grey icicles where once was Brueghrelian dancing and merriment, then a deserted Middle East where the population cowers in tents while tanks and army convoys criss cross the desert in perpetual conflict. Colour returns when we enter India and China, but then we are hauled back to the present where politicians, dressed as clowns with blonde wigs and whited faces, pretend to exist, like Johnson and May, and everything they touch falls to pieces like a society infected by a cross between dry rot and syphilis.

      no. Wake up! it doesn’t have to be like that. There is still time to chuck out the neo-liberal establishment that grew out of the Mrs Thatcher’s sexual revolution. We don’t have to always do the opposite of commonsense.
      The curtain twitches. I’m sure I hear the cackling of Maggie descending into her flaming pit. in the new world order there is obviously a direct vertical lift= shaft connection between hell and mad world of modern politics and endless lies we now inhabit.

  • Sharp Ears

    Col Ruth wants Boris to be restrained.

    Boris Johnson under fire from Ruth Davidson on eve of Tory conference
    Scottish Conservative leader attacks ‘overoptimistic’ Brexiteers
    September 30 2017

    Ruth Davidson backed the statistics watchdog that rebuked Boris Johnson for repeating claims that Brexit could allow an extra £350 million a week to be spent on public services

    Ruth Davidson has called for “serious people” to take charge of Brexit in a renewal of her attacks on Boris Johnson on the eve of the Conservative Party conference.

    Ms Davidson, tipped as a future leader of the party, says in an interview with The Times today that “overoptimism” about the future of Britain outside the EU “sells people short”.

    Her intervention means that the Tory conference in Manchester will begin tomorrow with two of the party’s most popular and charismatic figures at odds.
    Ms Davidson backed the prime minister to lead the Tories into the next general election

    Mr Johnson issued a direct challenge to Theresa May last night by making four Brexit demands and telling her to increase pay faster. In his second challenge in as many weeks, the foreign secretary told The Sun that she must lift…


  • Sharp Ears

    Also in today’s Times.

    Nazi scion Beatrix von Storch takes up her seat in Bundestag

    She is one of the most senior members of the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, the granddaughter of Adolf Hitler’s finance minister and a distant cousin of the Queen.

    Beatrix von Storch, 46, born Beatrix Amelie Ehrengard Eilika, Duchess of Oldenburg, will soon join other AfD members in taking up her seat in the Bundestag after last Sunday’s divisive election in Germany. Like the Queen, she is a (seven greats) granddaughter of Friedrich Karl Ludwig, Duke of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Beck, who lived from 1653 to 1728.

    It appears that Angela Merkel foresaw the AfD’s success and acted to make sure that it would not enjoy one of Germany’s top democratic honours — the right to open the new Bundestag.

    Ms von Storch’s grandfather, Lutz Graf Schwerin von Krosigk, with Adolf Hitler. He served as his minister for finance from 1932 until 1945. Photo


    How about the connection to Her Maj? LOL

  • giyane

    Res Des
    As you know Kurdistan was partitioned and placed under 4 neighbouring nations by Winston Churchill in 1918? because they refused to agree to the terms set by the British Empire.
    The incumbent leader has no connection whatsoever to the Kurdish people. After the US, which controls the whole of Iraq, realised they had made a big mistake in using democracy to place the Shi’a in power in Baghdad, they decided to wrest power from Baghdad by force using Islamic State, whom they armed, and supplied with vehicles, diplomatic cover and weapons.
    They obtained the complicity of Al Qaida in Kurdistan and also the Regional Government by 1/ permitting Barzani to remain in office after the end of his mandate!!! 2/ Allowing Barzani to take Kirkuk from Baghdad while Daesh attacked Baghdad and 3/ recruiting to Islamic State the members of the Islamic groups and the hard core of Saddam’s army, that were refused entry to Baghdad and Kurdish cities when peace was imminent. The Islamic groups had been serving US interests by poking Saddam Hussain for them. These rejected military individuals were invited by the US into Islamic State. Obama’s last word on Daesh was that they would be used by the US for another 20 years for their strategic regional aims.

    This disgusting politics has nothing whatsoever to do with the ordinary Kurdish people.
    They would prefer to negotiate rather than have war and they are brilliant negotiators. It is the USUKIS France and Germany that created the war in Syria and Iraq. Their purpose
    is firstly to inflict the civilian Muslim population with the same taste of horror and homelessness as the Palestinians, Somalis, Libyans, Pakistanis and Afghanis and secondly replace the fantastically honest and generous version of Islam that exists in Syria, Kurdistan and Iraq with a much more oppressive model, who will also exchange power for mineral resources of the region.

    Put it like this, if the Kurdish nation wanted to make a Football Match peaceful show of their contempt for USUKIS and Barzani they would have to grovel in the dust and play dead. Barzani cares as little for his compatriots as USUKIS. What kind of leader signs for a violent army of Islamists to come to his territory and then poses in front of the world’s cameras with the Peshmerga who are losing their lives defending Kurdistan?

    Doen’t that remind you a little of the callousness of Saddam Hussain?

  • BrianPowell

    OT, but you may need to be quick with your history of Culloden. Unionist, history revisionist and Brit lapdog, Neil Oliver, is in charge of National Trust for Scotland.

    • Sharp Ears

      Groan. Not the loquacious Neil Oliver. He’s had a good run with the BBC licence fee payers’ money. all of those dreary Coast programmes included. His most annoying habit? Flicking his long hair out of his face.

      Will he be paid at the same rate as the NT DG, Dame Helen Ghosh? She is leaving to become Master of Balliol, taking a £75k pay cut from her NT screw £185k pa, poor dear. She does have a house thrown in with the new job though.

      There is always a niche for these types. Like Ghosh, Ben Cowell was a civil servant and also worked for the NT. He became the DG of the Historic Houses Assn.

      Tristram Hunt became Director of the V&A when he resigned from the HoC.

      • Ba'al Zevul

        But answer came there none. You might enjoy reading Le Carre’s Our Game which is based on a conflict of two opposing nationalisms, one largely ignored by the West. Mind you, the losers had been viciously, systematically and intentionally oppressed throughout their recent history. They weren’t the richest region in a depressed country, and their nearest neighbours’ idea of trade was to take what they wanted and burn the rest. Russia doesn’t come out of this too well at all, indeed.

        Background reading:


      • Republicofscotland

        Ah, so I’ve to laud a wannabe BBC pretendy historian, on his return to Scotland, I think not.

        However, I didn’t reach the depths you
        plummet to such as, calling him a brown shirt/black shirt or Nazi.

          • Republicofscotland

            I never said he did, if you read my original comment, I said that many people would now cancel their NTS subscriptions or donations.

            The black/brown shirts quote, is aimed at you Fred, it’s a favourite old chestnut you use to describe nationalists.

          • fred

            It’s a term I use to describe people who behave like Blackshirts, just as Nazi is a term I use for people claiming to be Nationalist and Socialist because it describes what they are.

          • JOML

            You’re right, RoS, I cancelled my membership today (I’ll undoubtedly pay more over the course of the year, but worth making the point).

          • Republicofscotland

            No Fred I think not, as much as I dislike Neil Oliver, I didn’t label him a black/brown shirt.

            You on the otherhand have no problem, pigeonholing independence supporters with those nasty monikers.

          • fred

            I will explain it to you one more time. The only people I label Blackshirts are people who behave like Blackshirts, Neil Oliver hasn’t bahaved like a Blackshirt so there would be no reason for you to call him one. The nationalist thugs who hounded him off twitter did behave like Blackshirts, i.e. bullying and intimidation of someone for having different political beliefs to them, so I would call them Blackshirts.

            Do you understand now?

          • Republicofscotland

            What a load of Jackie Baillie (code for pish if you’ve been paying attention) you type Fred.

            Neil wannabe historian Oliver received no abuse on Twitter. Because non could be found on his account. He conveniently deleted his Twitter account.

            While we’re at it neither did Susan Calman receive any Twitter abuse, for again no evidence was forthcoming.

            Nor did Stephen Daisley receive any odious abuse.


            However the same cannot be said of the prolonged Britnat abuse and widespread threats aimed at those who support independence.


            You see Fred, the real brown/black shirts aren’t on the nationalists side. No matter how many times you repeat your odious black/brown shirt mantra.

  • Republicofscotland

    Meanwhile Spanish police flood into Catalonia and close at least half of the 2,315 schools in the region, in an attempt to thwart people voting tomorrow.


    Spanish police have been ordered to remove anyone attempting to enter the schools to vote tomorrow.

    I think it’s going to get very ugly tomorrow.

    • nevermind

      Will the police cadres be singing ‘Primavera’ when they march into Catalan schools in an attempt to make this rift between Francoists and Catalans last into the next three generations?

      Well done Rajoy, you are a fool to divide Spain forever, and you are spreading unrest in Europe by your aggressive moves.

  • giyane

    Is there some football on or something?
    Good. It is a basic principle of Islam that whatever you back, or support, you get the full reward of the best or the worst of what you support. Islamist terror is hated by God, Nobody loves the Mafia. Terrorism is just extortion by fear, but as with the mafia there are more ways of making money than fear. the political elites are happy for somebody else to intimidate the populace, so in addition to what the terrorists extort by ‘ protection ‘ they also receive weapons, deals, and property in all the criminal fields, drugs, sex, children, body parts from the criminal networks of governments.

    So in Islam the imam in the UK that raises his hands in prayer to support the Taliban, another Islamist terror mafia racket, he gets all of the sin on his shoulders of all the bombings of innocent civilians, extortion and homelessness caused by the Taliban. Anyone in Islam who opposes terror, extortion and refugee crises also gets the full reward for supporting the systems of law and order, peace, safety and security in the world.

    Unlike the invented fatwas of the Muslim Brotherhood and Saudi government, there is no such thing as takfir of another Muslim who has the same idea as the Qur’an. But because the Islamists have no proof whatsoever from the Qur’an for extortion, murder and making people homeless, they have to resort to intimidating anyone who opposes their stupid ideas.

    Good. I’m so glad you were all watching football so I could make that clear.

  • reel guid

    To the commenters here who oppose the Catalan independence referendum by pointing out the illegality of it. Please consider that active opposition to apartheid in apartheid era South Africa was illegal. That did not mean the apartheid system had one iota of moral legitimacy.


      • JOML

        I know where you are coming from, Tony, but, ultimately, Scotland is dominated by England’s larger population and therefore are not in control of their destiny. For example, Scotland doesn’t want nuclear warheads but England does, so the UK has them and stores them in Scotland. I know some will say that Scotland had their chance of self determination in 2014 and didn’t take it, but it is not as simple as that – already debated at length here and here by the Proclaimers
        In essence, Tony, we are similar but we have different goals for the future.

    • JOML

      RoS, “Tell me again how Scottish Nationalism differs from all the other forms of Nationalism” – oh, no need, the links in your post makes it clear! ?

    • Loony

      Oh the shock, some people in Spain are reverting back to the past. What do you expect?

      You people, you anarchists ,have caused all of this and now you decry what you have created as “utterly disgusting”

      The inanity of your argument is mind boggling. On the one hand you agitate for Catalan independence and on the other you decry the British for seeking to extricate themselves from the EU. Whether you understand it or not, this is all about money. This is a graph of GDP per capita in Germany, the Eurozone, Catalonia and Spain.


      Note how close Catalonia is to the eurozone and how far adrift Spain is. Spain without Catalonia simply becomes even further adrift – thus negating substantially every aspect of ECB monetary policy over the last decade.

      People are not prepared to commit economic suicide in order to lend support to your completely contradictory ideology. Hence they assume the role of fascists that you decry and sneer at – never once recognizing that if they are fascist then they are fascist because you have forced them to become so.

      • giyane

        A small bone to pick …
        You seem to be saying that events in the Middle East, Asia and Africa, which have caused immigration have caused a counter-reaction which is if not fascist, rightist.
        But that can’t be right because we know that those problems have been caused by USUKIS deliberate policy of war-making using proxy bonkers Islamists. so the right-wing reaction has also been deliberate !
        It’s like the large company I recently worked for that is awash with corporate stock market cash, but the maintenance department is totally starved of wage/ manpower and materials resulting in simultaneous salary rises for managers and high turn-around at the roots. A deliberate policy of corporate either mismanagement or criminal negligence, depending on fate. Accidents waiting to happen at the very least.

        If you don’t recognise the deliberate mismanagement / government neglect of their responsibility to manage a safe world environment for all, then you just have to put up with suffering and disaster.
        But I do recognise it. there is now ample evidence online that 30 years of war against the Muslims is a deliberate policy of very far right wing western governments with 2 specific pay-offs ;1/ the poor get poorer and 2/ the rich get richer. Am I going to get used to it/ No, they are going to have to get used to the fact that their plan of controlling us through universal spying – right-wing phenomenon if ever there was one = has back-fired on them, exposed their evil crimes and opened the doors for the world to put these madmen and women into the cage they belong in= the Victorian lunatic asylum of human disgrace.

    • giyane

      Now that might be just the thing to get Vince Cable excited enough to back the Tories. Then we can all go to sleep for a hundred years before it’s worth getting up again.

  • lysias

    I take this opportunity to remind readers of this blog that the U.S. has an important naval base in Rota, Spain (at which I happen to have been stationed). That base has no doubt played as much of a role in causing U.S. opposition to Catalan independence as Faslane has played in causing U.S. opposition to Scottish independence.

    • Sharp Ears

      Not only Rota. Morón too.

      The Spanish–US defense agreement in the era of Donald Trump
      The use of destroyers based in Rota, in southern Spain, to attack the Syrian regime sets a worrying precedent

      A defense agreement signed between Spain and the United States in 1988, amended in 2002, 2012 and 2015, and currently in effect until May 2021, grants the US military support facilities in Rota and Morón, a naval and air base respectively in the south of Spain, and authorizes the use of Spanish land, sea and airspace, both on a bilateral basis and within the framework of NATO. “Any use that goes beyond these objectives,” warns article 2.2 of the agreement, “will require the prior authorization of the Spanish government.”

      US and Spain to sign deal making Morón main base for Africa operations
      State Secretary John Kerry is due to visit Madrid on Sunday and Monday
      The agreement includes a pledge to invest $24 million on the Andalusian airbase

      and never forgetting Aznar going off to the Canaries to meet Bush and Blair to sign up for the Iraq war.

      Aznar’s reward? A job on the board of News Corp.

  • Brianfujisan

    I was Guilty As Charged I Supose ..Cos I KNOW the Woman..Doctors Orders… No Ferry Trip. We had a Hawiian night instead.. of Going to Coll…..But the JOKE is I complained – Almost touch it… Craig’s Interview Brought some of that Back….

    I was Harping On About Not Making it to Coll

    And the Virgin White Beach
    Became out of reach
    As Cancer Reared it’s Ugly Head
    We Drove to Seil insread
    Over the Atlantic Bridge
    To Breathe in The Ocean
    The Cure of a Potent Potion
    And The Mighty Atlantic Waves
    A Pulse That Saves –
    A Life

    • Sharp Ears

      Your oceans are being polluted by the presence of warships Brian.

      Nato’s Joint Warrior exercise begins off Scotland

      One of Nato’s biggest European military exercises is under way off Scotland’s coast.

      Joint Warrior is held twice a year – in spring and autumn.

      The second staging of this year’s exercises involves warships from European navies, as well as those from the US and Canada.

      Many of the ships, including UK casualty ship RFA Argus, gathered in the Clyde ahead of Joint Warrior starting on Saturday.

      Aircraft from Canada, France, Norway, the UK and US will fly out of RAF Lossiemouth in Moray and HMS Gannet at Prestwick in Ayrshire during the exercise, which runs until 12 October.

      Nato army personnel will also be involved.

      The exercise will test battlefield and anti-terrorism tactics, as well as training in anti-smuggling operations and humanitarian missions.

      Joint Warrior overlaps with another Nato exercise, Formidable Shield, which is focused on the Western Isle’s Hebrides Range.


      They just love playing their silly games.

      God save the whales and dolphins from this evil.

      • Brianfujisan

        Been Watching That….. How Many Nations Shap Ears…Can I just Say….Most of My Recent Freinds In Real Life Are From Doon South And Most Of Them Are From This Blog… Get Yirsel To Dune Laday

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