All was quiet for the rest of 1974.
Meanwhile Don and Gerry tried to figure out what the opposition
were doing. Why was it that the Edinburgh police had suddenly
taken an interest and what was a retired policeman from the Isle of
Skye doing on the scene? "X" of the C. I. A. had
told them that the chief of Edinburgh city police had specific orders from the
British Cabinet to catch the Tartan Army and implicate the leaders of
the S. N. P. These orders would put him outside the normal police
work of the Scottish force and give him a free hand. He was
probably working hand in glove with English Special Branch who had
no authority at all in Scotland. Robertson had been seconded as
it were by the English to a Scottish police force. It was also
apparent that the rank and file of the Edinburgh police were not
enthusiastic about this set up. They had in effect become part of the
English legal system and part of the English police force. They
knew that their colleagues in other Scottish police forces would
take a dim view of this. It might be the beginning of the end for
Scots Law and the Scots police. What would happen to their
promotion prospects if the news got out? It was common knowledge that the
Scottish police were concentrating all their efforts on the A.
P. G. , the boys who were making so much noise and nothing else
from Aberdeen to Inverness. Gerry's former boss in
Inverness had hinted that the police had told him that someone had
gelignite and the police were making enquiries about McGuigan.
They had also been making enquiries in Glasgow to "X" of
the C. I. A. Had George Ronald, failing to make any impression on
the Scots police, gone to the English police? Had the English
police taken Ronald's word for it that the 100 Organization and the
Tartan Army were the same? The theft of the Sword and the
bombings had one thing in common; perfection. It was time to
go to ground. Discretion was now the better part of valour and anyway it
seemed that the White Paper was on course.
Northumbria and Cumbria were once part of
Scotland. The Romans had built wall across the North of
what is now England and this defined the "true" border.
However the German invaders had snatched Nothumbria and The Lothians on
the Scottish "side" of the border and eventually the Scots had
surrendered Northumbria for The Lothians. Northumbria is a wilderness
and is now a National Park. Carlisle, the principal town of
Cumbria was once the capital city of Scotland, but Cumbria had been
handed to England by James the sixth of Scotland when he became king
of England in 1603. Unlike the rest of England, neither
of these counties play cricket but they do play the bagpipe and
roll eggs on Easter Monday as do all the Celts. They also
share the predominant "O" blood group of their Scots, Welsh and
Irish cousins and wear the Scottish police cap and not the usual
helmet of the traditional English bobby. Incidentally the main city
of Northumbria shares with Scotland the highest crime rate in
the United Kingdom. In February of 1975, two electricity
pylons were blasted, one in Cumbria and one in Northumberland. Now
who did this is still a mystery. Shortly after the blasts, Gerry
received a message through his door that a note had been found at
one of the blasts, [it eventually transpired that it was in
Northumbria], which had read "An t-Arm Breacan". The Tartan
Army had a rule that it would not venture into England for various reasons.
They wanted all the publicity to be centered on the highly
sensitive North Sea Oil. By staying on the Scottish side of the
border they could come only under the eye of Scots Law and the Scots
police. They didn't want the English to have any excuse to get in
on the act. Should they get caught then they might, having
done their time in a Scottish prison, come out only to be
arrested again by the English. The oil facilities were all within easy
travelling distance of their homes and they always had an excuse ready
for any vigilant cop who might stop them and ask them where
they were going. What could they say to an English cop if they were
far from home up some English country lane?
The news went out from the media that the
Tartan Army had struck again. Nineteen months later at
the "Tartan Army" trial the farmer who owned the field had told
others in the witness room, [he didn't actually appear in court
as a witness], that the same pylon had been blasted in 1951, the
same year that the Stone of Destiny had been retrieved by the
students. Also at the trial, a reporter, [a Scot], of the
"Guardian" newspaper in Manchester England had received a phone call from a
woman who claimed that the Tartan Army had done the job. The
Tartan Army's spokesman was Gerry and he always used the
"Scotsman" newspaper. Moreover, not only did the Tartan Army never put
anything in writing, the Gaelic used was English Gaelic and bad grammar.
Incidentally, that other book, "Britain's Secret War"
states that a "Scottish newspaper" received a "warning of the
explosion". No, it was an English paper, the "Guardian", and according
to the evidence at the trial, it was not a "warning" but a claim that
the bombing had been completed. Who done it? The same students
perhaps, now a bit older, who done it in 1951? Or the
A. P. G. ? Not the I. R. A. ; they never bombed in the Celtic countries.
Perhaps the English Special Branch, the dirty tricks brigade, in
order that they could bring the Tartan Army under English Law? The
reporter at the trial was obviously afraid. Was he part of the
English plot? On the morning after his arrest, McGuigan was visited in
jail by two nice young men from the Northumbria police force.
They didn't ask him if he had blown the pylon, they merely asked
him if he spoke Gaelic and could he spell out Tartan Army in Gaelic.
Looking them straight in the face McGuigan spelled out the
ungrammatical An t-Arm Breacan. The police left without further
question. Eventually the charges of bombing Cumbria and
Northumbria were dismissed by Lord Stott for lack of any evidence. The
false police evidence in this matter is dealt with in a later chapter.
At this time the Tartan Army only knew
that two pylons had been blasted by "person or persons unknown" Yes they
could see that the authorities were in their usual panic; but was
this the preliminary to a frame up? Yes they reckoned that they should
still keep a very low profile. It was February 1975.
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