Pearl of Tyburn: This afternoon I’ll be speaking with Mr. Euan McTurk, Unionist activist. Hello, Mr. McTurk.
Euan McTurk: Hello.
P.T.: So could you tell me a little bit about your self, your background, and identities?
E.M.: I'd prefer not to tell you too much about myself, to be honest. The position I and a lot of other Scottish Unionists are in at this time forces hide our real identities because of the culture of intimidation that has been promoted by the nationalists.
P.T.: Please speak broadly, then, only as much as you feel comfortable telling.
E.M.: I'm a born and bred Scot, with Scottish roots going back generations. I consider myself to be Scottish, British and European, the order of which depends on the circumstances!
With regards to religion, I would have to go back at least three generations to find any churchgoers in our family. I haven't spent a lot of time thinking about it to be honest, if I did I could probably identify both Catholics and Protestants. However as above, I don't associate myself with either. I consider myself an atheist.
P.T.: Are you a member of any one of the major political parties?
E.M.: Yes. The Labour Party. Have been for over 20 years.
P.T.: Can you say whether you live in north or south of Scotland? As in Highlands or Lowlands?
E.M.: The West! Glasgow.
P.T.: "The Rose-Red City as Old as Time...."
E.M.: Yes. Smells like it too some mornings....
P.T.: Ah, city life! Give me the country any day!
E.M.: Or, in the context of what we’re going to be talking about, give me MY country any day!
P.T.: Yes, and to that point, what is your reaction to The Scottish Independence Referendum?
E.M.: I see it as an utter distraction from the proper business of Government. The Scottish Parliament currently has one of the lightest legislative programmes going since it was established, all while the nationalists try not to "upset the apple cart" while pursuing their constitutional objectives.
This means that some of the real things that they are charged with delivering on, such as child poverty, such as employment, such as the delivery of public services, are all being neglected. Which they then turn around as justification for pursuing constitutional change!!
P.T.: As a Labour member, what would you say about the SNP trying to make people nervous about Tory rule in order to advocate independence?
E.M.: I'm more nervous about the SNP. I don't agree with most Tory policies, but a two-party system needs two parties to work. Labour comes in and improves the offer for the poorest in society, the Tories come in and create the conditions for business to generate the wealth that can be used to support the delivery of services. Each has its place in the electoral cycle.
The SNP are like the cuckoos of the electoral system, preying on whatever policy they think will attract support to their constitutional objectives, but not actually believing in any of them. They are a broad-church of opinion whereby the only thing that they have in common is their chip-on-the-shoulder nationalism. As you might have guessed, I detest them!
P.T.: What's your opinion of Alex Salmond? And what do you think are his main weakness?
E.M.: Salmond is a dangerous man who has been in power for too long and now thinks he is untouchable. He is holding his party together on the promise of separation. When that is denied to them on 18 September I would expect the SNP to start a civil war of recrimination, and he will be the first casualty.
P.T.: What do you think of the Unionist campaign thus far? What about Alistair Darling?
E.M.: They always had a hard sell. Life is never going to be perfect and people will always have something to complain about. The challenge has always been about selling what we have - warts and all - vs. the rose-tinted pipe dream that promises everything and anything. Gullible people are always going to be taken in by the latter. Alastair Darling is doing an OK job, although he's not the most dynamic. He shouldn't be underestimated, though.
P.T.: What do you think about historical arguments for and against, regarding historical events like Bannockburn, the Jacobites, etc.?
E.M.: This is 2014, not 1314. The purpose of history as I see it is to learn from our mistakes, not dwell on them. The Jacobite cause is an example of history being corrupted in that it is often presented as a Scots - English dispute, whereas it was a religiously and politically generated struggle with Scots fighting on both sides. Bonnie Prince Charlie died a drunk riddled with syphilis. He would have made some Leader!
P.T..: Do you believe there is any place for romantic historical in national consciousness? Do you think Bannockburn's 700th anniversary should be celebrated at all as a representation of something?
E.M.: I might have taken a mild interest in the Bannockburn anniversary one time, but the fact that this referendum has been designed to coincide with it has put me off. Bannockburn is a word in a text book that took place 700 years ago and was about an English Lord who wanted to be a Scottish King (Bruce) and who spilled the blood of the common man to achieve his aims. It is a quaint aside and has no bearing on what matters most today - jobs, prosperity and equality.
P.T.: What historical characters and events, do you think all Scottish Brits should be particularly proud?
E.M.: I think that's a personal choice for each and every one of us. We've got lots to choose from. As before, history for me is about learning from our mistakes, I'm not one for dwelling on it and certainly not one for hero-worshipping figures from the past, most of whom have been painted one way or the other depending on who was holding the brush!
P.T.: Do you have any that particularly interest you? And aside from hero-worshipping, any that you admire in some way or another?
E.M.: Not really. I have a measure of admiration for lots of people, but I can't think of any who are flawless. Whatever they did, it's done and they'll play no further part. The future is in our hands now.
P.T.: Could you elaborate on the issues of "jobs, prosperity, and equality" in the UK as opposed to a hypothetical independent Scotland?
E.M.: We currently live and work in a growing economy, one that is the 6th biggest in the world and that can justifiably be described as one of the fastest growing Western economies. That has positive implications for jobs and prosperity. Anything the SNP has to offer is a finger in the wind by comparison. On equality, nationalism essentially has discrimination at its heart.
P.T.: How do you think the relationship between Britain/Scotland would change with other nations (such as my own USA) would change after hypothetical independence?
E.M.: It wouldn't be any better. The remainder of the UK would suffer the consequences, too, and would be justifiably upset at having to experience hardships as a result of our selfishness. Negotiations would not be easy. Obama and Clinton have already said that it would be better if the UK stayed together, and they are right.
I can't see us ejecting Trident from Faslane as being appealing to our NATO allies. Scotland would have a minimal defence force and would therefore be unable to join the USA on world peace-keeping duties, etc. As such, we would just be yet another small nation amongst many, and there would be no basis for any sort of "special relationship" with the States.
P.T.: What do you think about environmentalism and the nuclear issue the SNP seem to have quite some antipathy for?
E.M.: Environmentalism is a global issue and a perfect example of an issue that nationalism cannot sort. The SNPs stance on nuclear, like many of their stances, lacks common sense and is simply intended to appeal to as many people as possible while bringing them over to their way of thinking on the constitution. Nuclear power deserves serious consideration if we are to keep the lights on.
P.T.: What do you think the UK represents to the world and to you personally? How would that be lost through independence?
E.M.: We are one of, if not THE, oldest political and economic union in the world. We have had our shot at being a Superpower, we have one of the world's largest financial centres in the city of London, our armed forces are amongst the most highly regarded in the world, and our culture expressed in terms of our history and comedy attracts visitors in large number. We have a lot going for us, and separation puts it all at risk. As the phrase goes, we are Better Together, weaker apart.
P.T.: In the end, what do you think the outcome of this referendum is likely to be?
E.M.: We're on course for a NO Vote. The latest poll published today shows NO leading by 60:40, and that has been fairly consistent for at least the last 2 years. Barring something unexpected, that's roughly where I would expect the result to land in September.
P.T.: What do you plan on doing as the referendum draws closer?
E.M.: More of what I've been doing so far! Campaigning, leafleting, posting on social media, that sort of thing.
P.T.: In addition to your political activism, do you have any hobbies or interests you wouldn't mind listing?
E.M.: Fishing, snorkeling and sky-diving. And caber tossing. And walking in to people who are texting on their phones on the pavement (sidewalk). I particularly like doing that.
P.T.: Thanks for all the help with the interview!
E.M.: No worries.