Scottish independence, plus jokes.

Wings Over Scotland

New readers start here 358

Posted on March 28, 2014 by

An incredible achievement 89

Posted on October 23, 2014 by

Lord Smith And The Seven Magic Beans 158

Posted on October 23, 2014 by

Today’s Herald carries a report from the initial meeting of the Smith Commission on “enhanced devolution” for the Scottish Parliament. The paper quotes from what seems to be a press release issued by the Commission, in which it explains that it thinks the people of Scotland are idiotic, drooling simpletons who’ll swallow anything.


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Closer than you think 122

Posted on October 23, 2014 by

The Labour-friendly elements of the press made much play yesterday of an Ipsos MORI poll which showed an unusually high level of support in the UK for remaining in the EU (while ignoring one by YouGov that showed a majority in favour of leaving).


But a piece in today’s Times throws the reality into sharp relief, and illustrates why the Yes movement hasn’t simply lain down and died after losing the referendum.

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The party of devolution 208

Posted on October 22, 2014 by

Johann Lamont, Scottish Labour conference, March 2014:

“Scottish Labour is the party of devolution.”

And here’s what that means seven months later, in terms of the submissions of the five Holyrood parties to the Smith Commission on devolved powers:


Imagine if they WEREN’T the party of devolution, eh readers?

Tuesday night and Wednesday morning 216

Posted on October 22, 2014 by

The Scotsman’s lead story last night on the left, and the same page today:


Scottish journalism, there.

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Hearing a different question 218

Posted on October 21, 2014 by

Margaret Curran on last night’s Scotland 2014:

Well, we don’t think anyone can say she didn’t give a full and comprehensive answer on the subject of Scottish Labour’s membership figures there.

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Is that your final answer? 126

Posted on October 21, 2014 by

Rolling no news 155

Posted on October 21, 2014 by

This is a tough time to be writing analytically about Scottish politics, and for once we have a degree of empathy with our fellow journalists in the mainstream press. Very little worthy of discussion is actually happening, yet there are still pages to fill. Perhaps we should have taken a month off rather than two weeks.

That’s not to say that nothing NOTABLE is happening. The SNP more than tripling its membership in a month to the point where it may well be four times that of the three Unionist parties put together, for example, is a remarkable event, but there’s very little worthwhile to be said about it other than observing the simple fact. Nobody knows who these new members are, why they joined or what they want, and anyone speculating about it is just filling space with the sound of their own voice for the sake of it.


Similarly, discussing the Smith Commission report is mostly a pointless exercise. Its conclusions will be based on the submissions of the three Westminster parties – we can all, surely, discount the idea that any significant amount of the SNP’s contribution will be included – and those have been known since March.

And in any event, as we noted at the weekend, the Commission’s report will be an irrelevance. It’ll be followed in short order by a general election, and whichever party takes the keys to 10 Downing Street will not be bound by its conclusions. If the eventual devo package reflects the Commission’s findings it’ll be by pure electoral coincidence – if the Tories get in they’ll implement the Strathclyde Commission, and if it’s Labour it’ll be “devo nano”. (Why would either of them, having just won an election, voluntarily and needlessly compromise on their own preferred plan?)

So what to talk about?

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This is your country, No voters 320

Posted on October 20, 2014 by

Preserved for posterity in case of sudden vanishing, but also because we just couldn’t face writing another post about “The Vow” today.

This is a real thing that you can buy on Amazon and iTunes. If you chose to be British last month, this is what “British” means in 2014. Enjoy it.

Le tricoteur 171

Posted on October 19, 2014 by


A good start 135

Posted on October 19, 2014 by

From a blog post by Hopi Sen, former head of campaigns at the Labour Party.


Scotland is one of the more dramatic areas of Labour decline (it’s now the party’s second-worst “region”), but it’s far from alone. Fewer than 80% of Labour’s 2010 general election supporters now say they’ll vote Labour in 2015. The party is shedding votes everywhere and in every demographic group, as the post notes in detail.

With barely six months to the election, Labour’s average poll lead down to around 1%, UKIP continuing to grow and the expected traditional incumbency effect, it’d be a brave voter indeed who’d put a fiver on the increasingly hapless Ed Miliband taking the keys to 10 Downing Street next year.

Professor Curtice, saviour of Scotland 144

Posted on October 19, 2014 by

There’s a rather curious piece in today’s Sunday Times by the UK’s only known living psephologist, the estimable Prof. John Curtice of Strathclyde University. In it he rather blows his cover of impartiality by framing his comments as an anti-SNP warning, but nevertheless raises an interesting point, while adding to the enormous pressure on the unfortunate Smith Commission.

It’s worth taking a moment to ponder the impossibility of its task.

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