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Ancient and modern

Ancient and modern: Aesop on Alex Salmond

12 May 2012

2:00 PM

12 May 2012

2:00 PM

In Aesop’s fable, mother frog threatened to explode by puffing herself up to a size big enough to take on the ox that had accidentally trodden on one of her young. It’s all so Alec Salmond, puffing himself up to save tiny but heroic Scotland (5 million) and its plucky welfare dependents from being crushed by its tyrannical neighbour (52 million).

In a Politeia pamphlet, Lord Fraser has proposed that it would be better for Scotland to become something like a Roman ‘client kingdom’. Such kingdoms were monarchies or their equivalent, on the edge of the Roman Empire, serving mutual interests. Rome would protect the monarch’s position against local rivals, and the monarch provide manpower, resources and local knowledge if problems in those difficult, distant outposts arose. But Lord Fraser rightly acknowledges that Rome’s army ultimately held the whip hand over any client kingdom that stepped out of line. So the relationship would not be equal. Mr Salmond would self-inflate and ‘demand’ nothing less.


Mr Salmond, in fact, looks more and more like a wannabe leader of those useless Caledonian tribes that Romans decided were not worth the effort of flattening, largely because they had nothing Rome wanted. Hence the various northern walls Rome experimented with, to keep them out of their hair. Every time legionary numbers fell, the tribes would attack, only to scurry back to their bogs and dens when the legions returned, having achieved nothing. It never occurred to any of them that since the Romans had no interest in Scotland, it might have been worth seeing what advantages an agreement with them might offer.

It was all bluster — just like the slippery Salmond, heroically ‘liberating’ his country while threatening an ‘independence’ referendum he knows he will lose. So to avoid having to call it, he is simply testing what further concessions he can wring out of Westminster, while exploiting his free-at-last fantasy as an excuse to centralise as much power as he can into his own hands in ‘readiness’ for ‘liberation’, cheered on by Scots hallucinating about free bags of gold.

Puff, puff, puff — quick! Stand back! POP!


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