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The Tartan Army
Chapter 9

[good luck is better than skill]

The Tartan Army had been described as "amateurish" by the professionals who couldn't catch them. But what they lacked in skill was made up for by luck; how long could it last? That was the question.  By September 1975, there was still no positive news of the promised White Paper.  The Tartan Army decided that it was time that Westminster got a reminder. They were encouraged to do this by the capture and trial of the men who called themselves the A. P. G.  Some of their number had carried out a comical attempt at bank robbery in Glasgow. They had hired a van.  Witnesses gave the police the description and as a result the whole lot of them were caught. So much for the iron discipline of their leader. The A. P. G.  seemed to work under the principle that it is better to travel in hope than to arrive. They were also found with the gelignite which McGuigan had been warned about whilst working in Inverness. The media told the world that the Tartan Army had been caught and they all got up to ten years in jail. The police,  as it turned out,  also thought that they had wrapped up the Tartan Army even although no evidence had been produced about the Sword or the bombings. However the gelignite and the robbery were good enough; or so they thought. These typical Scots who seemed to prefer glorious defeat to humdrum victory had done nothing for Scotland.  The police could go back to helping old ladies cross streets. The smoke screen had been brilliantly though unwittingly successful. The bad news was that the Tartan Army's smoke screen had been blown away.  If they struck again then the hunt, ["the biggest manhunt in Britain since world war two"], would be on again. What to do? Answer; advance towards the sound of distant gun fire,  as they say. 

The B. B. C. in its map on T. V.  of the oil pipeline had shown some pumping stations and two of them seemed to be on either side of the broad river Tay twenty miles to the North of the H. Q. of the Tartan Army. One day whilst traveling from Dundee, Gerry noticed a structure that looked like an oil pumping station. He and Don went out one night to have a look. They weren't sure at first but the oil people had kindly installed concrete marker posts which told observers,  such as Don and Gerry,  where it crossed under a road and two of these were right by the facility.  They saw that the surrounding fence of steel palings was exactly the same as at Wester Glen and they noted to that all that was required was the usual spanner. Then Curry made a mistake. He had recruited two more people from Menstrie. A quiet Englishman called Patterson and an elderly lady called Lyla Cathie.  They came with Curry, MacPherson and McGuigan to The Crook of Devon.  Cathie and Patterson dropped off the others.  In the field, they unscrewed the steel paling and planted their bomb, timed for 3 a. m.  It went off with a bang and totally destroyed the pumping station. 

The usual banner headlines followed. But their was more than that. There was an after shock. The Government collapsed . It was announced in Parliament that the White Paper would be produced and that a referendum would be held not only in Scotland but in Wales. But the biggest outcome was that they would immediately start to convert the old Royal High School,  standing on the Calton hill in Edinburgh, into a new Scots Parliament building. In other words they had already admitted that the referendum would result in a YES vote for Scotland. The losers at Culloden 230 years ago were about to be revenged. It had taken only a few harmless bombs to do it.  It was September 1975. 

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