Its been a week since the first inkling that a poll which showed a less than favourable result to the Better Together campaign had been conducted by the UK government. An employee leak, followed by a clever find of £46K paid to a polling company, confirmed it. The hashtag #publishthepoll was born, demanding that the UK government release the results, while a carefully orchestrated leak to US media confirmed its existance. Yet the UK government is still hiding the findings from the public, a habit of the UK government when confronted with things it doesnt like.
Take the McCrone Report for example. Originally commissioned by Edward Health, it was presented to the newly formed Labour government on 23rd April 1975. It was 30 years later, and only through a Freedom of Information request, that the report was finally made public in 2005. That report revealed that the oil reserves could make Scotland one of the richest countries in Europe and was deliberately hushed up so that they could pretend that Scotland was too poor to ever consider independence.
That wasn’t the only report however that McCrone wrote.. He also wrote a second paper, recommending that an oil fund was established. That too was buried. Instead of investing this resource, five years later Thatcher unleashed economic terrorism upon Scotland, decimating our industry, and using that precious resource as a slush fund to mitigate the full horror of the nascent neo-liberalism which followed.
If we allow this precious asset to be used without leaving something in its place for the future we shall rightly be condemned in the eyes of succeeding generations.
Gavin McCrone, Chief Economic Advisor, Scottish Office, 1974
The following year, a retired police officer revealed that he had been employed to conduct surveillence on Willie MacRae. A Scottish anti-nuclear campaigner, MacRae was found shot in the head in 1985 in his car off road in a remote rural area. The official narrative was that MacRae had shot himself twice with a gun found at the scene, despite no fingerprints on the gun, and no credible evidence that he owned it. The papers that he had on him at the time, documenting plans to dump nuclear waste from Dounray into the sea had vanished by the time his body was found; the only other copies, kept in his office disappeared in a burglary. They were the only items taken. No fatal accident inquiry was conducted and neither were the post-mortem results released.
What was in Willie MacRae’s papers may never be known, but what we do know eventually – again after another FOI request – is that the dumping of nuclear waste in Scottish waters has been going on for over 30 years, indeed since about the time of his untimely death, while the MOD is still trying to block the publication of another report into the health risks from the dumping of radioactive material in Fife.
The death of Willie MacRae has a great many parallels to that of Hilda Murrell another anti-nuclear campaigner who died in mysterious circumstances. Not only the Northumberland Report into her death was suppressed (until it was eventually leaked), but the autopsy report was withheld even from her next of kin. Even her body parts mysteriously disappeared.
But this all pales into insignificance when you start to look on a global scale. Four hundred years of torture and genicide are documented in the archives of Hanslope Park. Over a million files illegally held, which the public did not even know existed until survivors of the Mau Mau genocide forced them to admit that they did indeed hold secret files. Although some were released, which include descriptions of people being burnt alive, the most incriminating ones were burnt and dumped at sea.
Using torture techniques that would have made the Nazi’s blush, the UK colonial authorities imprisoned and tortured over a million people – and that’s just in Kenya.
Interrogation under torture was widespread. Many of the men were anally raped, using knives, broken bottles, rifle barrels, snakes and scorpions. A favourite technique was to hold a man upside down, his head in a bucket of water, while sand was rammed into his rectum with a stick. Women were gang-raped by the guards. People were mauled by dogs and electrocuted. The British devised a special tool which they used for first crushing and then ripping off testicles. They used pliers to mutilate women’s breasts. They cut off inmates’ ears and fingers and gouged out their eyes. They dragged people behind Land Rovers until their bodies disintegrated. Men were rolled up in barbed wire and kicked around the compound.
George Monbiot, Guardian, 23rd April 2012
And then there’s the Chilcot Inquiry, into the role of the UK state in the War in Iraq. A war which left over a million dead, half of them children. A war that continues on even though the troops have left. A war which was justified under claims that Iraq held Weapons of Mass Destruction (like the ones that the UK State holds only 30 miles away from where I live). When suspicions about the veracity of the claim were leaked, David Kelly famously went for a long walk in the woods and never returned. The inquiry is still not published.
So, yeah, #publishthepoll, but publish a whole load more stuff besides.