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Stop the Civil Service Being Used to Break Up Britain

AFFG Activists at our London Town Unionists launch. Pic AFFG 13-11-17.

Following the publication of this article, we wrote the precise law which needs to be passed in order to "Stop the Civil Service pushing the Indy Agenda".

Since the SNP took power in 2007, the Civil Service in Scotland has been roped into doing its work. That's OK when it's just promoting the necessary day-to-day policies of the SNP administration.

But it is highly questionable, and controversial, when the Civil Service in Scotland, which is part of the wider British Civil Service, and which is paid for by people throughout the UK, is being used deliberately to promote separatism; when it is being used deliberately to find ways to break up the British State.

For example, the Civil Service was used to research the massive White Paper of November 2013 entitled Scotland's Future (which was also, quite prophetically, an anagram of "Fraudulent Costs") and which was available, for free, to anyone who wanted a copy prior to the 2014 Referendum.

To this day, the Civil Service in Scotland is still involved in promoting research into the deliberate destruction of the Union, on a regular basis (see the Telegraph article quoted in full below).

There is no way that we, as unionists, can compete with the entire money and power of the British State working against us!

Think about how absurd that is!

Here in Scotland, we have an arm of the British State – the Civil Service in Scotland – working effectively to promote the break up the British State, and promote the separation of Scotland from the United Kingdom.

That is crazy!

The fact that hundreds of civil servants in Scotland should be employed by the British Taxpayer to work out the best ways to break up Britain is a political farce that needs to end.

Now, some may say...

"But the Civil Service is often used to promote various policies that you or I may disagree with, so what's the difference here?"

Sure, depending upon your point of view, it may, arguably, promote policies which do not help the UK. But hitherto the coming of the SNP administration at Holyrood, it did not promote policies which are deliberately and openly intended to separate Scotland from the United Kingdom and break up Britain!

We are objecting to the Civil Service being used deliberately to destroy the UK itself. That is surely wrong. That is surely something in which the British Civil Service in Scotland should not be getting involved.

It is nothing less than taxpayer-funded separatism.


Furthermore, the Civil Service should not even be getting involved legally in such "constitutional" matters in Scotland since "The Constitution" is reserved to Westminster, as per the Scotland Act 1998 (Schedule 5) including specifically "the Union of the Kingdoms of Scotland and England" (Para 1(b)).


It may just be that there has been no government at Westminster with the determination and stamina to stop it. There has been no government which has the guts to say: "That is not legal! It is not appropriate for our Civil Servants to be engaged in such seditious work! And we're not allowing it!"

Or perhaps it is a consequence of some sort of twisted interpretation of the "Devolution Settlement" where it might be argued that such actions of the Civil Service were not specifically written down as reserved, therefore, they can now be considered to be devolved.

We don't know for sure. But if so, then that's another reason why the Devolution Settlement has to be changed so that everything is considered reserved, except that which is written down as devolved.

What we do know is that unionists cannot go into a second independence referendum with the combined forces of the Civil Service, paid for by the British Taxpayer, mounted against us (nor should we be facing it on a regular basis today)!


a. It must be stated, as soon as possible, that the Civil Service will no longer be used to promote the separation of Scotland from the rest of the United Kingdom, and that it will be considered seditious and illegal for it to do so.

b. If necessary a law must be instituted which declares that no arm of the Civil Service will be used to research or promote policy intended to separate Scotland from the United Kingdom and break up Britain.

c. If necessary, the UK Government in Scotland (the Scottish Office) must take full control again of those elements of the Civil Service which the SNP continues to abuse for its own ends.

Please consider bringing this matter to the attention of sympathetic MPs and MSPs.

Find the precise law which needs to be passed in order to "Stop the Civil Service pushing the Indy Agenda" here.


The Daily Telegraph journalist Alan Cochrane summarised this matter in his article below.

(Article begins>

The Civil Servants Working to Break Up Britain

The Scottish Government is wrong to order them to work on policies aimed at Scotland's independence

Alan Cochrane, The Daily Telegraph, 26-10-18.

At the height of the EU disputes about who runs Britain, how incredible does it seem to the ordinary voter that teams of British civil servants are working to provide their political masters with the ways and means of dismembering Britain?

This is nothing whatsoever to do with the current Brexit debate. It is a process that was going on before the EU referendum result and has continued apace in the subsequent two-and-a-half years; in fact it has been going on, to a greater or lesser extent, ever since the Scottish National Party became the elected government of Scotland in 2007.

Their narrow majority back then did not give Alex Salmond pause and he told Scotland's civil servants: "We are the masters now."

He meant of course that his SNP, whose only policy has been the break-up of Britain, was now in charge, even if the 17,000 civil servants working for the devolved Scottish Government are all members of the British civil service and, theoretically, answer to Prime Minister Theresa May, whose onerous responsibilities include being Minister for the Civil Service.

However, the truth is vastly different. Scotland's civil servants have only one master, or now a mistress, in the shape of the First Minister of Scotland, initially Mr Salmond but, since 2014, Nicola Sturgeon.

And as a Freedom of Information request revealed this week, teams of those British civil servants have been working on detailed briefing papers, designed initially to facilitate another referendum on Scottish independence but leading ultimately to the end of Britain as we currently know it.

In an extremely guarded answer, which gave no details of the advice the officials had provided for their ministers, it was confirmed that many such papers had been prepared since the 2014 referendum on independence which resulted in a convincing majority for retaining the status quo and the Union of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. In fact 13 had been prepared in the last year.

Personally, I have always found it to be extraordinary that civil servants, many of whom had spent a lifetime working for successive British government, were now being asked – no, make that ordered – by their political masters to work in opposition to that British government. It placed many, but by no means all, civil servants working at St Andrew's House in Edinburgh and at the other outposts of the Scottish Government in an entirely invidious position.

Some didn't want to work for policies that were aimed at making Scotland independent; others were happy to do so.

But the hard and fast rule that civil servants give of their best, without fear or favour, for whatever government is in power was stuck to rigidly by those at the very top of the British civil service in Whitehall.

Gus, now Lord, O'Donnell, then the cabinet secretary, reinforced this view when he visited St Andrew's House during Alex Salmond's tenure as first minister.

This rule was difficult enough to accept before the 2014 referendum but I find it impossible to swallow now.

Constitutional change, under the terms of the Scotland Act which established the devolved Scottish Parliament, is reserved to Westminster – as the SNP accepted when it negotiated with David Cameron for that independence vote four years ago.

But having had that "once-in-a-lifetime event", why are members of the British civil service, who happen to work in Scotland, still being asked to work on an issue that was decisively rejected by the voters?

We don't know the full details of the 13 policy papers revealed to the Scottish Tories in that FOI request this week because the information was deemed by SNP ministers to be not sufficiently in the public interest.

However, we do know they concerned the holding of another independence referendum, the so-called indyref2.

I have absolutely no objection to the SNP and its leadership working to their hearts' content on plans for another such vote; after all independence is their raison d'etre.

But it's not the job for British civil servants; their very name gives away where their loyalties should lie. Let the extremely rich SNP and its many wealthy backers do that job and foot the bill.

<Article ends)

"Accidental Witness" Report

In the run-up to the 2014 Referendum, the SNP encouraged Civil Servants in Scotland to breach the 'Civil Service Code', as detailed in a Report by Keith Howell.

Howell was an effective spokesman for the pro-UK cause in the run-up to the referendum in 2014 – producing several persuasive videos. Since then, many people will have seen his regular letters in the Scottish press.

He has produced a significant body of work called "Accidental Witness" – relating to the creation of the White Paper of November 2013. It brings together the shocking evidence which leads him to believe that:

"In the early preparations for the Scottish referendum campaign, the leadership of the SNP Government, perhaps convinced they would otherwise lose, decided to go further than ever before in stretching the bounds of what could be done within the rules and then going beyond that. The preparation of the "Scotland’s Future" White Paper, with its misleading and highly politicised content, involved breaches of the Civil Service Code and consequent breaches of the Ministerial Code.

"Such breaches would mean there had been a misuse of public funds and abuse of the levers of power. This was not supposed to be possible, in a British democracy that prides itself on keeping wrongdoing out of the corridors of Government.

"Under the Civil Service Code, Civil Servants are not only required to provide impartial support for the Government of the day, they are equally intended to always be honest and above reproach. Allowing misleading material to appear in a White Paper without proper clarification or explanation is a clear breach of the Code."

In short, the Civil Service in Scotland was inappropriately used to promote the SNP's agenda. He lays out the damning case on his Website.

Article Begins>


Gilligan on Sunday

Sunday Telegraph 24-8-14, p.16.

Scotland's Referendum: Have once-impartial civil servants become part of the Yes campaign?

Under the top civil servant in Scotland, mandarins have been coerced – and state funds diverted – to the nationalist cause

'I know a lot of really good and talented civil servants who have left the Scottish government because... they are not being protected from political pressure,' says John McTernan, a Labour strategist

In the second half of 2010, after the usual struggles with the Edinburgh property market, a recently arrived resident wrote breathlessly about securing his dream "main-door house on the north-western edge of the New Town."

He confided: "It has a foot-scraper on the steps and beautiful streetlights outside – they twinkle."

It's hardly unknown for newcomers to the Scottish capital to be swept away – but this particular Englishman is accused of falling for a lot more than the architecture.

Sir Peter Housden, the top civil servant in Scotland, describes his job as being to "make [Scottish ministers'] political dreams reality."

The SNP government's main political dream, of course, is to break up the country of which Sir Peter is still an employee.

With less than a month to the referendum, and independence lagging in the polls, the charge is that he and they have turned the once-impartial Scottish government machine into a publicly funded adjunct of the Yes campaign.

As this newspaper described two weeks ago, taxpayers' money and civil servants' time has been used to create a website and 17 separate booklets campaigning for independence – one of them, filled with SNP slogans, sent at public expense to every home in Scotland.

"The only way for Scotland to get all the powers needed to make Scotland a better place is through independence," the website says.

In the past year, the Scottish government has spent at least £2.5 million on the effort – more than the amount spent over the same period by either of the formal campaigns.

Nine days ago, government Yes adverts attacking "Westminster control" and proclaiming that "Scotland can be a fairer country" started appearing in Scottish newspapers. There have been at least 15 so far, adding tens of thousands to the bill.

Now Jim Caldwell, Scottish secretary of the FDA, the union for top civil servants, tells The Sunday Telegraph that he has received "more than 30" complaints from Scottish mandarins about issues connected with the referendum – mostly, he says, to do with workload, but a number raising concerns about a loss of impartiality.

"On impartiality, it is less than double figures, but people have come to us to alert us as to their views," he said.

Given that there are fewer than 200 senior civil servants in the Scottish government – and the majority of these will not be involved in referendum work – it is still a striking number.

Sir Peter himself is attacked by the SNP's opponents in terms probably never applied to any other top British official, a sign of just how far relationships have broken down.

John McTernan, a Labour strategist, says: "When we have a Labour government, there will have to be a truth-and-reconciliation commission and people will have to be executed."

Lord (Michael) Forsyth, the former Tory Scottish Secretary, said Sir Peter's conduct was "quite disgraceful". According to a Scottish Labour Party spokesman, he was a "buffoon" who was "rapidly becoming the David Brent of the Scottish civil service".

The David Brent reference was to Sir Peter's slightly Pooterish blog, posted every week on the Scottish government's official staff intranet site.

Amid news of the family cats, how a squirrel ran up his leg in St James's Park and how he was the only person to turn up in trainers on Wear Your Trainers To Work Day, there are some rather more political musings.

"This is a really exciting moment," he wrote just after the Nationalists, previously a minority government, secured an overall majority at the 2011 Scottish parliamentary elections.

"The scale of the victory of the SNP moves Holyrood and Scotland on to a new political trajectory… and now we go to it. This will be a remarkable period in Scotland's history, as we embark on a journey toward constitutional reform… Calman [the British Government's proposals for further devolution to Scotland] and the status quo now seem lost in the mists of time."

In Sir Peter's mind, the destination of that journey seemed in little doubt: "The other side of a referendum… will certainly require a major constitutional Bill in the Westminster parliament to reflect a positive result," he wrote a few months later.

The Civil Service Code, which is almost precisely the same in Scotland as in the rest of Britain, is clear that civil servants must carry out the policies of ministers – in this case, SNP ministers whose policy is to seek independence. But it also demands a certain professional distance, saying civil servants must "maintain political impartiality", not "act in a way that is determined by party political considerations" and make sure that they "will be able to establish the same relationship with those [of a different party] whom you may be required to serve in some future government". It requires them to "set out the facts and relevant issues truthfully" and "base your advice and decisions on rigorous analysis of the evidence."

Some of last year's antics have clearly breached these rules. The Scottish government's White Paper on independence and the taxpayer-funded, civil servant-authored pamphlet sent out this month read like SNP manifestos, with promises that independence would give "greater financial security for thousands," along with a "50 per cent rise in exports" and "100,000 new jobs".

In January, as the SNP launched one of its key referendum promises – free childcare in an independent Scotland – the Scottish government helpfully gave an official endorsement, in the form of a paper claiming that the policy would get up to 104,000 economically inactive mothers of one- to five-year-olds back into work, boosting the economy by £2.2 billion.

This not-so-rigorous analysis fell apart when the research division at the Scottish parliament pointed out that there are only 64,000 economically inactive mothers of one- to five-year-olds in the whole country.

It's not just the government's own employees who have been influenced. In the past six months, tens of thousands of pounds of public money has been paid in grants to organisations controlled by some of the key campaigners for independence – such as the journalist Lesley Riddoch, a frequent pro-Yes talking head on TV programmes and debates, who has received at least £22,000 for her Nordic Horizons project, describing how an independent Scotland could be more like Scandinavia. At least £30,000 went to the feminist lobby, Engender, which campaigns for independence, and £54,500 to Bemis, an ethnic minority group which does the same.

The arts world, overwhelmingly nationalist, has received public money to put on pro-Yes shows. At this month's Edinburgh Festival, the publicly funded Scottish Storytelling Centre is giving some of its most prominent slots to National Collective, a fervently pro-independence group, one of whose key members, Alan Bissett, proclaims that Scotland has been "imperially controlled by London for a thousand years."

Sir Peter, according to Jim Gallagher, a former senior civil servant now advising the No campaign, was directly involved in pressurising public institutions, including universities and government agencies like Visit Scotland, to resign from the Scottish CBI when it publicly came out against independence. "I'm as sure as I can be that that was done on instructions from the centre," he said. "People [in the institutions concerned] have told me that the word went out within hours from Housden's office."

The former public appointments commissioner for Scotland, Karen Carlton, says she knows of at least 22 public appointments that have been made by the SNP government to civil service jobs and public bodies that were not made on merit, or on the basis of effective performance, and were in breach of the code on public appointments. In a letter to Sir Peter, she expressed "grave concern" about these appointments to the Scottish government and about its "demonstrable lack of understanding" of the proper process. Her reward? Her post was abolished and the code on public appointments rewritten to make it "less prescriptive".

Even Whitehall, which has been publicly supportive of Sir Peter until now, seems to be losing patience. Cabinet Office officials were angry about last week's attack ads, sources told The Daily Telegraph, and there would be moves to remind Scottish civil servants of their responsibilities.

McTernan says: "What's happened in Scotland is this extraordinary process where parts of the civil service have adopted the ideology of a political party and promoted it. That's because of the leadership from the top, of the permanent secretary, and because of the weakness of the UK Civil Service in preventing discipline being applied. I know a lot of really good and talented civil servants who have simply left the Scottish government because they are being pushed too hard and not being protected from political pressure."

Special advisers, the political appointees who brief journalists and enforce ministers' wishes, are in many cases the instruments of that pressure. In a pamphlet for the Institute for Government, Sir John Elvidge, Peter Housden's predecessor as permanent secretary, described how SNP special advisers now sit round the Scottish cabinet table and contribute freely to discussions, even as the number of elected politicians in the cabinet has been reduced. "There is no such precedent, as far as I am aware, for special advisers being at the table or allowed to speak as part of discussions at cabinet," he said.

Sir John agrees that there has been what he calls a "redefinition of working relationships between senior civil servants and [Scottish] ministers," saying that a "radical Scottish model of government has developed since 2007," the year of the SNP's initial victory.

Departments have been abolished and the government now functions "as a single institution, working towards a single defined purpose," providing "strategic leadership" not just to the public sector but to other "organisations and sections of society." It works, he thinks.

But as this and Sir Peter's orders to universities show, the move towards greater political control affects all public institutions, not just the Civil Service, and is about far more than just the referendum. Scotland's local police forces, controlled by committees of elected councillors, have been abolished, replaced with a single national force accountable only to ministers. Communities have been subjected to one-size-fits-all policing, with armed officers, for instance, sent to routine incidents in the Highlands, where there is virtually no gun crime.

A new "improvement framework" for public services has tied local councils and other public bodies more directly into working towards Scottish government objectives, even if they disagree with them. The relevant document says: "We want to change Scotland's place in the world, and to do this we must find new and better ways to achieve the outcomes we want."

On September 18, it does not look as if the SNP government will achieve the outcome it wants. But with its erosion of key British values of pluralism and public service, it will still, in at least one sense, have left Britain.

<Article ends)

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