AMIDST the moving pictures which flit here and there behind your eyes are some which never lose their impact, even several years after the event. One such image dates from the early hours of September 19, 2014 outside BBC Scotland’s Glasgow headquarters at Pacific Quay. A few minutes earlier the result of the referendum on Scottish independence had been called for the No side and I wandered outside to share a cigarette with Andrew Tickell, the law professor and political commentator and a fellow supporter of the Nationalist cause. I was disappointed but not unduly so. I had come over relatively lately to the cause of independence and had been surprised at how firmly it had taken root inside me.

Even so, it was never an abiding passion. There were lots of worse things than belonging to the United Kingdom even though the preferences and instincts of Westminster seemed daily to be following a divergent path from those of Scotland. As the professor and I attempted to rationalise the outcome the doors behind us opened and out flew Margaret Curran, the Glasgow Labour MP. Her arms punched the air and her facial expression was what I imagined a lottery participant’s might be immediately on discovering that she held the winning ticket. Ecstasy doesn’t begin to describe the beatific look on Ms Curran’s coupon at that moment.

Margaret Curran is a formidable politician and one of that anointed generation of Labour stalwarts whose career was built on a sense of entitlement to all Glasgow constituencies. She represented Glasgow East, one of the UK’s poorest constituencies and one where the voters came out overwhelmingly for self-determination. This pattern was repeated right across Glasgow which was one of only four local authority areas to choose in favour of an independent Scotland.

It wasn’t difficult to understand why some of the most deprived neighbourhoods had voted for independence. Each day of their lives had been lived in economic hardship and in the certain knowledge that a privileged few, biding in London, made most of the big decisions that impacted adversely on them. Independence, no matter how uncertain and unquantified, couldn’t be any worse than this.

And yet the Labour members who represented the people in these places chose to ignore the mood change then sweeping through the schemes and opted to campaign for the status quo as if their very lives depended on it. Margaret Curran, Jim Murphy, Alistair Darling, Gordon Brown: each of these highnesses of Labour’s royal household had displayed a fervour and enthusiasm for the United Kingdom that verged on the absurd. It seemed to have become a passion but it was a passion I’d rarely seen them exhibit when fighting against the inequality that blighted the lives of their constituents.

Yet it would be absurd, too, to think that Ms Curran and her Labour colleagues were genuinely passionate about a United Kingdom then, as now, in thrall to a reactionary and xenophobic hard Right which would soon lead us into the chaos of Brexit. It seemed rather that the exultation on the faces of so many Labour people at the referendum result was less about the United Kingdom and more to do with a deep and tribal loathing of the SNP. This wasn’t really about what was best for Scotland but about what was bad for their mortal political enemies.

I doubt very much if the names of Ms Curran and those other Labour grandees feature on a list of donors to the campaign group Scotland in Union but you have to wonder why they united with them in a common purpose. That list was leaked last week to several pro-independence websites and to The National. Concerns over data theft have prevented any of these outlets divulging the names of the main donors to Scotland in Union, a curious band of eccentrics and pantomime acts some of whose members are nevertheless capable of spouting the most ridiculous and eye-watering bile on social media while accusing their opponents of being nasty and divisive.

Less important than the individual names which crop up on this list is the nature and designation of many of them. There are so many members of the British aristocracy on it that for a moment you find yourself wondering if this isn’t the list for Kate Middleton’s latest baby shower. You might even refer to them as the elite but to do so would be to ascribe a degree of ability or honest endeavour to their status. Rather, they are drawn from the ranks of the privileged and indolent few whose fortunes and advantages were begotten through illegal landgrabs a few hundred years ago involving genocide, rape and robbery. As long as the United Kingdom survives unbroken so will their ill-gotten fortunes and influence.

An independent Scotland is a graver threat to their cosy arrangements than anything Napoleon or Hitler had produced. Indeed we now know that Hitler wasn’t regarded by their ancestors as a threat but as an ally. If you can lose a quarter of the kingdom in a night who knows where it will all end? “I mean you can have Wales if you want or Ulster but, goodness gracious me, most of our shooting estates and grouse moors are in Scotland. Those bliddy Nats are worse than communists, by jove; they’ll be taking back the land and sending in firing squads. I mean, look what happened to dear Uncle Nicholas and his family in Russia in 1917.”

These people aren’t interested in what’s best for Scotland; they care only for maintaining their influence and their lands. Yet their huge donations are spent in advertising and marketing campaigns trying to convince ordinary Scots that they are Better Together. Let’s be clear about one thing: if the people whose names appear on the Scotland in Union list really thought there was a danger of us all being Better Together you would see them disappear quickly on a cloud of cigar smoke. Their families have spent the last 500 years ensuring that there is no "together" about it and putting as much distance as possible between them and us.

My heart was glad when I saw that list of donors to Scotland in Union. My flush of enthusiasm for independence had lately waned a little. Now it is refreshed and more fervent than ever. For it would be immoral not to oppose these people and seek their downfall.