Book Review – Flight of Evil: A North British Intrigue

Book Review – Flight of Evil: A North British Intrigue

by Murdo Fraser
article from Saturday 23, June, 2018

THE SCOTTISH academic Professor Tom Gallagher has written an entertaining novel that nevertheless contains a serious message, warning of the dangers of political extremism. 

Set in the near future Flight of Evil describes a dystopian Britain, where a far-left authoritarian government has come to power in England and provoked a civil war, forcing a moderate Scottish government to declare independence to protect democracy. 

As the demagogue Clive Sutton and his True Vanguard Party torture and eliminate political opponents in England, and oppress and impoverish the older generation, Scotland is faced with a refugee crisis as thousands head north across the Border seeking sanctuary.

Meantime, the moderate Scottish Prime Minister, Gavin Ogilvy, faces his own internal battle with the radical nationalists SNAP (Scottish National Action Party), led by the sexually voracious folk-singer-turned-politician, Clova Bruce. 

Ogilvy faces a fight on several fronts; trying to deal with the extremists at home who increasingly resort to terrorist tactics, while maintaining a dialogue with Sutton’s extremist government in London in an effort to find diplomatic solutions to the various crises that have been created. 

Ogilvy also has to involve himself in international diplomacy, with a sympathetic US Government supporting the resistance against Vanguard in England. Scotland stands as a beacon of moderation and democracy in contrast to what is happening elsewhere in the British Isles, but even that stance is under threat at home. The plot twists and turns, with a myriad of characters introduced, and there is no shortage of action to keep the attention. 

One of the joys of this book comes in trying to identify the real life public figures who appear thinly disguised: the SNAP Culture Secretary is a “bosomy and bossy lady”; one of Vanguard’s leading champions is the former UK Prime Minister Tristram Pannell, a populist charlatan with a “trade mark ingratiating smile”; and we have the firebrand former leader of SNAP Fergus Peacock, once the great white hope for the cause, who lost his North-East seat in the 2017 General Election; and his successor, the hard-working but shrill and tactically inept lawyer Janey Snodgrass, whose “star soon faded”.

The principle message of this book is a warning of the dangers of extreme nationalism. 

On her retirement from politics, a reflective Clova Bruce observes of her Party: “Far too many of our activists see nationalism as a hobby. It became a magnet for obsessives and egotists who wanted to strut their stuff. In a quieter age, they might have been train spotters or stamp collectors. The new noisy era of self-dramatisation turned them into folk who imagined they could somehow create a new country”. 

For all those of us who lived through the 2014 independence referendum campaign, these words have a certain ring of truth.

This is not a book that is going to win any literary awards, but for anyone interested in Scottish and UK politics today, it makes for a lively read.

Flight of Evil: A North British Intrigue by Tom Gallagher is published by Scotview Publication. It has been reluctantly withdrawn from Amazon after numerous negative reviews were posted even before the book became available to the public. It is available in Glasgow at Hyndland Books and Waterstones and in Edinburgh at Blackwells or online here. Attempts continue to be made to persuade the bookshop of the Scottish Parliament to stock copies.

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