GROWING up in a West of Scotland, Irish/Catholic household you became familiar with the ways of the Devil. Indeed by the time you reached adolescence Satan had become quite a close companion. An early lesson was that the Devil made work for idle hands and that he roamed the earth like an angry lion seeking unwary souls to devour.

He had all the best tunes. He seemed to have noble connections and sported a stylish waistcoat which was black. We knew this because if an action or a chap was deemed to be a bit dangerous they were as “black as the Earl of Hell’s waistcoat”. Our teachers told us we needed a long spoon if we were ever to sup with him and that “needs must when the Devil drives”, which I recall thinking had something to do with toilet habits. This Beelzebub chappie was a bit of a rogue and one whose company ought to be sought rather than shunned.

The one that stuck with me was a lovely catch-all which brooked no argument and thus must have been coined by those wily Jesuits. It suggested that the Devil’s greatest trick was convincing the world he didn’t exist. I think this one was designed to comfort faltering Christians a few years down the line when they encountered silver-tongued heathens. Unable adequately to explain heaven and hell to persistent atheists we were always able to reassure ourselves that they’d simply been conned by the Father of Lies.

I’d never suggest that members of the British establishment were disciples of his satanic majesty but like him they too have specialised in convincing multitudes that they don’t really exist at all, or at least not in that pernicious form we on the left are fond of imagining them. Of course we all know that there is an “‘establishment” or an “elite”, but doesn’t every society and is this not merely a consequence of cream rising to the top? Any notion that its leading members and organisations work together in secret concert to ensure their influence is maintained no matter which party happens to be in power is dismissed as Marxist paranoia. Even to deploy the word “establishment” is to invite scorn from those we might imagine belong to it and those who among their media fluffers who fantasise about earning a nice job at Tory Central Office to top up their pensions.

Long before it became public knowledge, it was suspected among trade union circles that MI5 had placed several moles within the National Union of Miners to help destroy the strike from within. Stella Rimington, the former chief of the spy agency has since confirmed this, justifying it by claiming that the NUM was effectively trying to bring down the democratically elected government of the day. MI5 also succeeded in planting false smears of financial misconduct about Arthur Scargill. These helped bring about his downfall and are still believed to this day. Margaret Thatcher often referred to the miners as “the enemy within”. This was somewhat ironic given that the UK’s long and infamous list of British traitors included a disproportionately high number who were of high birth and belonged to the UK “elite”. Many others, including members of the royal family, worked assiduously and patriotically to save their own skins by urging appeasement to Hitler in the hope that they would be spared and maintain their influence in the event of Britain falling to the Nazi jackboots.

All that would be required to make such propaganda fly was the acquiescence of the BBC and those Fleet Street titles operated and owned by the those much-valued chaps who had been such good sports at the Eton wall game and in the drinking clubs of Oxbridge. The cast of slippery figures who broke UK law and its election rules during the Brexit campaign are already fading back into the shadows, protected by a wall of silence within the Conservative Party and those media outlets whose operators are eyeing gongs, peerages and government sinecures.

During the first Scottish independence referendum every lever of influence at the disposal of the UK establishment was deployed to undermine the biggest existential threat to its influence since Hitler. Even the Queen was persuaded to agitate for the status quo while favoured oil and business tycoons chipped in with predictions of impending apocalypse. Useful idiots in the Labour Party were bought off with a touch of ermine and nice jobs in the finance sector.

No matter what happens before March 29 next year, when the UK formally exits the EU, be assured that the fix is already in and the usual establishment outriders have been instructed.

This will be a bright new dawn for Britain because, at last, they have taken back their borders and their laws.

Manipulation of the media means war

IN last Monday’s edition of The National, my colleague George Kerevan wrote an outstanding column about the work of the 77th Brigade, a recently designated unit of the British Army which specialises in retaliatory media manipulation and psychological warfare. I can’t recommend this piece highly enough. Without giving away the central theme of Kerevan’s analysis, it lays bare the way in which the misuse and deliberate distortion of information is now under military command as a weapon of war.

In the UK any government conduct, no matter how wicked and undemocratic, can be justified if it’s deemed to be a matter of “national security”.

It follows then that if you want to indemnify yourself from anything which might normally be considered criminal or beyond the pale the trick must be to bring it under the umbrella of “national security”.

It’s this argument that Stella Rimington was able to use to justify working secretly in league with Margaret Thatcher to destroy Britain’s biggest trade union. Presumably, something similar was used to justify moving in flying columns of thugs from London’s Metropolitan Police, complete with blacked-out registration badges, to intimidate and brutalise striking miners and their families.

A reasonable person might conclude that the fingerprints of the 77th Brigade are all over several aspects of the Brexit fall-out and the way that it’s been covered by the print media and the BBC. You might also see some of these in the way that Jeremy Corbyn has been demonised on a daily basis by selected media influencers and “moderates” within the Labour Party. That’s moderates spelt S-L-E-E-P-E-R-S.

The National:

Talking tactics on indy

IN Kirkcaldy yesterday afternoon I found myself discussing issues around the secret ways in which the British state maintains its power structures and conceals the machinery driving it. I had been invited to talk to Kirkcaldy Yes group and some razor-sharp media students from Fife College.

As expected, the talk swung round to the tactics and strategy required to win the second independence referendum. My own observation was that if anyone in the wider Yes movement thought that the Unionists’ dirty tricks campaign in 2014 were underhand and sinister then they ain’t seen nothing yet.

The neutral Electoral Reform Society, contrary to Unionist scaremongering, concluded that the first referendum campign had delivered a gold standard of political and democratic engagement. I don’t think the second one will be clean.

The UK establishment bared its teeth now and again but next time around it will be at full-throttle ramming speed. Fresh from its Brexit operations, the 77th Brigade will be in town and the usual lickspittles will have been briefed to say either that it doesn’t exist or that it’s a lollipop patrol group established to assist in road safety. Like the great Clair Ridge oil denial there will be nothing to see here.