By Martin Kelly

A key financial backer of the anti-independence campaign once branded the SNP "deeply dangerous" and "hostile" to England.
Author Christopher Sansom was this weekend named as one of several people who had donated significant sums of money to the Better Together campaign.

The Edinburgh born writer gave £133,000 to the campaign which is headed by Labour MP Alistair Darling.  Sansom had previously donated £161,000 to Better Together.

However controversial comments from author Sansom are sure to be a source of embarrassment to Better Together.

Speaking to the Herald newspaper in October 2012, Sansom linked the Scottish National Party to extremism and accused it of being motivated by anti-English sentiment.

Sansom accused First Minsiter Alex Salmond of "creating a new culture of hostility and bitterness".

He wrote: "I find it heartbreaking – literally heartbreaking – that my own country, Britain, which was less prone to domestic nationalist extremism between the wars than most, is increasingly falling victim to the ideologies of nationalist parties."

He added: "Like all nationalist parties the SNP define themselves against a hostile 'other,' which in the case of the SNP has always been England, although when Salmond's mask of bonhomie slips, as it often does, he talks of Scotland being unfairly treated by 'the UK'.

"The SNP like to present themselves representing a new type of politics, but nationalist populism is actually a very old and mangy European beast."

Sansom also accused the Scottish Government of trying to "gerrymander the referendum" and of planning to create an independent Scotland that might be ruled by the SNP "perhaps forever".

Sansom's name was amongst a list of Better Together financial backers which also included a former spy, a Highland laird, a stockbroker involved in the Barings bank collapse and the chairman of an English Premier League club.

Publication of the list has led to Better Together being labelled a 'Tory Front' organisation after the SNP claimed that several of the latest raft of big-money donors are also financial supporters of the Conservative Party.

Responding to the list of donors, the SNP has said it highlights the Tory roots of the Better Together campaign.

"This list of donors to the No campaign is further proof that the anti-independence campaign is Tory to the core.

"It is led by a Tory Prime Minister and bankrolled by leading Tory party donors." said SNP MP Angus Robertson.

Figures published by the anti-independence group showed others to give six figure sums included Argyll businessman Donald Houston who gave £100,000.  Houston also gave a further £500,000 through two of his companies.

Investment banker Andrew Fraser donated £200,000 and Alan Savage, chairman of Inverness-based recruitment group Orion, contributed £150,000.

Mr Robertson added: "No wonder traditional Labour supporters and grassroots members are turning their backs on the No camp which is simply a Tory front organisation funded by the same super-rich individuals who fund the Conservatives.

"Only a Yes vote offers a better future with the opportunity to build a fairer and more prosperous nation."

Asked by Newsnet Scotland whether Better Together condemned the comments from Mr Sansom, their communications director Rob Shorthouse replied with one word and said "No".


# proudscot 2013-12-15 18:27
If Mr. Sansom wishes to see real evidence of racism and ugly nationalist sentiments, aimed incidentally at his country of birth (Scotland), he need look no further than the comments sections of the Daily Mail, Telegraph and Daily Express - none of which are owned by supporters of the "dangerous" SNP, nor by Alex Salmond!
# neoloon 2013-12-15 19:01
Mr Sansom gives money to an outfit called Project Fear then has the gall to criticize the SNP and its supporters for wanting to free Scotland from such odious organizations.
# Cyprover 2013-12-15 20:07
I have enjoyed reading Mr. Sansom's historical novels but, since I have discovered his perverse and unjustified attacks on the very concept of Scots having the right to self determination, I have neither bought, nor read, another. Nor will I do so in the future.

It would stick in my craw to think that I was contributing to someone who would use this income to support Project Feartie.
# Davy 2013-12-15 20:38
To my mind its nice to see 'better together' campaigners waste their money.

Vote YES, Vote Scotland.
# bringiton 2013-12-15 20:48
Since this gentleman is in the small minority of Scots whose identity is British then the only way he can influence the debate is by trying to buy it.
This appears to be standard operating procedure for Westminster,whe re "lobbyists" can influence outcomes in a similar way e.g. through party funding.
The BT lot will probably spend most of it on salaries and expenses anyway and maybe that's why the Tories are getting so miffed with Darling.
# Mac 2013-12-15 21:01
Derek Bateman calls it right when he says the Better Together is bankrolled by the, "wealthy, the greedy, the seedy and the undemocratic"

There is nothing these people won't do to prevent Scotland from becoming independent.
# weegie38 2013-12-15 21:10
I'd never heard of Sansom before reading of his donation to BT, and I've certainly never seen his name mentioned as a significant Scottish writer. Looking him up on Amazon, his biography states:

C. J. Sansom was educated at Birmingham University, where he took a BA and then a PhD in history. After working in a variety of jobs, he retrained as a solicitor and practised in Sussex, until becoming a full-time writer. He lives in Sussex.

So, obviously someone with a life-long finger on the pulse of Scottish affairs, and well-qualified to be pouring hundreds of thousands into the Unionist campaign coffers.
# Leswil 2013-12-15 21:17
It shows how deep Westminster is prepared to go to stop any thought of democracy in Scotland.They will of course be in the main "Proud Scots !".
Sansom is just another who is thoroughly Anglicized and resides south of the border, with no real sense of what it means to live here. No doubt all of these people will have some or other vested interest in keeping the Union. Just like so many others.
We can do without any of them and find a better way.
# theycantbeserious 2013-12-15 21:17
I wonder how the workforces of these companies that are bankrolling the "NO campaign" feel, when they hear/see that the profits for their efforts are being given to "project fear" to lie to them in order to deny them their right to self determination?

I'd be pissed!!!
# Breeks 2013-12-15 21:41
Why does Better Together need so much money? Seriously, what do they actually do with it? Is it a tax write off? Hush money?

All that money, and they still can't sell any positive case for the Union.

Keep your money. I'd rather have one Saffron Dixon than a treasure chest of Tory donations.
# admiral 2013-12-16 13:15
You'll see when the MBEs, OBEs, knighthoods and seats in the HoL are handed out what these donations are intended to buy (not to mention lucrative UK government contracts for the corporate donors).
# Delboy 2013-12-15 22:02

This should be on TV!
# theycantbeserious 2013-12-15 22:40
Thanks Delboy that was inspiring and will share it! You are right it should be on tv....a bit of crowd funding?

I notice in Edinburgh they have big screens with adverts running, this would be fantastic presented to jo-public directly onto the streets?
# ButeHouse 2013-12-15 22:48
I would think BT will have a slick advertising campaign lined up for the final few weeks of the campaign with some deadly stuff over the least few days making it virtually impossible to counter unless we have an independent European body overseeing the fairness (or current unfairness) of the campaign.

I hope they use Maggie on thousands of billboards telling us all to Vote no

# fynesider 2013-12-15 23:48
"Sansom also accused the Scottish Government of trying to "gerrymander the referendum" and of planning to create an independent Scotland that might be ruled by the SNP "perhaps forever".

I have no problem with this, we'll get who we vote for!
# Cruachan 2013-12-16 02:05
In all seriousness I ask, why SHOULDN'T the Scots who support independence feel animosity toward England? That nation is fundamentally responsible for the unacceptable situation that Scotland finds itself in!

We can put a gloss on it all we like, but the facts speak for themselves... the representatives of English politics have taken advantage of the Scots' generous and egalitarian attitude. To hell with them!

They can bitch and whine all they like, I really don't care. if you think the world owes you a living, hell mend you if the world turns around and cuts you off.

It's not about xenophobia, racism or arrogance, it's about self-preservation!
# Breeks 2013-12-16 08:20
Because it isn't England to blame for the injustice for one thing, but Westminster, and that includes Scots at Westminster and their complicity with issues like the McCrone Report.

I want Scottish independence so we don't sit back in the passenger seat & blame the English for choosing the destination.

England has a great many jewels in it's heritage which we should be happy and privileged to share; not least their knowledge of traditional crafts & how things were done in past times. Much of it is 'their' culture, not really Scottish, but seeing how 'they' do it better informs us how Scotland is different.
Both our cultures are under tremendous pressure, & we are losing age old skills and knowledge at a devastating rate. Many trades now exist as an oasis of knowledge here and there, with a cultural desert in between.

We need to end Neo-liberalism, then salvage what we can, with England, and for both our sakes. They are not the enemy.
# Jo Bloggs 2013-12-16 08:27
Good point Cruachan, but the irony is really that the SNP are probably the LEAST anti-English people in Scotland, because instead of bitching about the countless injustices, they decided to do something about it and take control for the people of Scotland. Hence, no need for animosity anymore.

But people like Sansom refuse to open their eyes. So we should just take their nonsense like water off a duck's back.
# Independista 2013-12-16 12:24
I much prefer to quote the founder of the SNP, RB Cunninghame-Graham.
’The enemies of Scottish Nationalism are not the English, for they were ever a great and generous folk, quick to respond when justice calls. Our real enemies are among us, born without imagination’
# Blanco 2013-12-17 16:22
Because it's not the English that are the problem. It's Scottish unionists like 'Anyone But England' Jack McConnell and our Pravda-like media.

As for Sansom, he seems to be in that extremely out-of-touch minority along with George Galloway and Prof Tom Gallacher who genuinely think the SNP are nazis.
# Macart 2013-12-16 05:12
So mainly bankrolled by the very elitist establishment which appears to have profited most from Westminster's fat cat Neo Liberal ideology.

Who knew?
# Diabloandco 2013-12-16 08:35
How dare he?

I am really upset now as I have just bought his latest book as a present for my sister - wrapped and ready.

Last Sansom I will ever purchase.

And to add a little more acid there is a disingenuous piece on the DT by Ian Martin.

Someone really has to start hitting these back - no more Mr Nice Guy .
Sue some of them ,they are out of their boxes and dancing on the lids , they have free rein to publish whatever lying ordure they feel like.
# John Souter 2013-12-16 09:07
Their hearts bleed with hypocrisy when they claim they want to continue the financial apartheid so beloved by the British establishment.
# Abulhaq 2013-12-16 11:58
Depends on your take on extremism old boy. If restoring real representative democracy in a sovereign Scotland is extremism then count me in. Of course we are well aware the cuddly BritState does not do extremism so you'll be glad when we've gone, leaving you with Nige the Brit Nat and the quitting of that nasty EU to love.
# Signal Rock 2013-12-17 14:14
Samson first made his unpleasant views known in an extraordinary diatribe in a 'notes' section at the end of his novel 'Dominion' which is an alternative history in which the Nazis won WW2, set in 1950's Britain. In his own words "If this book can persuade even one person of the dangers of nationalist politics in Scotland and in the rest of Europe it will have made the whole labour worthwhile". He also said "A party which is often referred to by its members, as the SNP is, as the National Movement, should send a chill down the spine of anyone who remembers what those words have often meant in Europe". An absolutely outrageous slur from someone who should really know better.

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