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Wings Over Scotland


2012: WTF? Of The Year

Posted on December 31, 2012 by

We must admit, we thought Ian Davidson would be a shoo-in for this particular award after his unforgettable implosion on Newsnight Scotland in August. But then we read something twice as mad and half as comprehensible. It was a piece from STV News in October, based on some comments by unfortunately-named Scottish Labour “deputy” leader and hereditary MP Anas Sarwar. We’ve read it eight or nine times now, and we still have genuinely not the slightest clue what he’s wittering on about.

We’re going to step through it line-by-line and see if we can get it to make any sense. Feel free to join in if you’ve got any ideas, because we’re stumped.

“SNP proposals for establishing a new public service broadcaster in an independent Scotland would lead to a higher licence fee, fewer programmes and fewer channels, the deputy leader of the Scottish Labour Party has warned.”

Righto. Let’s hear the argument, then.

“Anas Sarwar, MP for Glasgow Central, argued it was “simply living in a fantasy world” to suggest the current range of BBC TV, radio, website and iPlayer content would be available to viewers in an independent Scotland.”

Not sure we follow this one. The BBC is a commercial organisation. It licences its content to pretty much anyone who’s prepared to pay. Indeed, the most comparable nation to Scotland – the Republic Of Ireland – has a crossborder partnership with the BBC to allow BBC channels to be viewed in the Republic on a free-to-air basis. It’s hard to imagine a similar arrangement not being agreed with Scotland, but even if it wasn’t, it’s all but inconceivable that the BBC wouldn’t be prepared to SELL the rights. It certainly doesn’t seem like a “fantasy”.

(With TV viewing becoming increasingly internet-based, it’d be close to impossible to prevent Scots from accessing BBC shows anyway, even if the corporation wanted for some unfathomable reason to actively shut itself off from millions of potential viewers and a source of much-needed revenue.)

“Mr Sarwar told MPs during a Westminster Hall debate on Scottish separation and the future of the BBC that First Minister Alex Salmond intended to break up the BBC and establish a separate licence fee-funded public service broadcaster in Scotland.”

Alex Salmond would of course not have the power to “break up the BBC”, let alone the desire. The BBC would clearly continue to exist even if its Scottish offices were to close – though it would find itself a little lighter in the pocket, as it’s currently subsidised by Scottish licence-fee payers to the tune of around £100 million a year, over and above what it spends in, or on making programmes for, Scotland.

“If everyone paid the full amount for their licence fee in Scotland, Mr Sarwar said, it would generate £320m, but allowing for discounts it was close to £300m – compared with the current UK wide BBC budget for all platforms of approximately £3.5bn.”

Um, yes. That sounds about right. And?

“Sport spending alone by the BBC he said currently stood at £479m a year.”

Clementines and satsumas are both kinds of orange. But what does that have to do with anything? The BBC certainly doesn’t lavish anything within a million miles of £479m a year on Scottish sport, so the relevance of the statistic escapes us.

The corporation closely guards the amount it spends to broadcast Scottish football on radio and in TV highlights, for example, perhaps out of embarrassment – on the basis of the SPL’s accounts we’d be astonished if it was as much as £3m a season. One need endure only a single weekend of watching Match Of The Day then Sportscene to measure the BBC’s respective levels of commitment to English and Scottish football.

And what other Scottish sport does it spend a lot of money on? A few rugby matches a year? The Camanachd Cup? It seems extremely unlikely we’re getting our fair 8.4% share – which would be £40.2m – of that sporting expenditure at the moment.

(An independent Scottish broadcaster could take just a third of that sum, comfortably outbid Sky for live SPL/SFL coverage – bringing the game back to a mass audience, putting extra cash into the pockets of our hard-pressed clubs and saving fans money on subscriptions – and still have over £25m left every year for sport alone.)

“Programmes potentially under threat in the advent of a separate Scotland and the break-up of the BBC, Mr Sarwar warned, included ratings hits Strictly Come Dancing, Frozen Planet, Holby City and Match of the Day.”

Why? Any particular reason for that specific selection? Why wouldn’t Scotland want to buy those shows in? Why would the BBC refuse to sell them? Doesn’t he in fact just mean “all BBC programmes of any kind would be blocked from transmission”, but realises that saying so would make him sound like a lunatic?

(Also, we suspect that highlighting “You wouldn’t be able to see English football” as a particularly disastrous consequence of independence is a symptom of the Caledonian Cringe that so many Unionist Scottish MPs seem to pick up in Westminster.)

“He added: “It is inconceivable that the quality, quantity and breadth of output could be maintained with just 10% of the current available resource.””

What? Sarwar appears to be suggesting here that a Scottish broadcaster would for some reason have to reproduce the entire UK output of the BBC – catering to over 50m non-Scots and including dozens of English regional stations plus Welsh and Irish broadcasting – with Scottish revenues alone. That’s… odd.

Remember, the total budget of BBC Scotland – both TV and radio – will be just £86m by 2016/17 under current BBC spending plans, not £3.5bn. So should an independent Scotland raise Mr Sarwar’s suggested £300m from a licence fee, it’d be able to completely replicate all the work of BBC Scotland and still have £214m left in the kitty to buy in whatever shows it wanted from the rBBC or elsewhere with.

“Mr Sarwar said 910,000 Scottish people watched Strictly Come Dancing every week, 39% of the audience share in Scotland, while Frozen Planet received 750,000 Scottish viewers, 28% of the audience share in Scotland.”

Er, okay. So we’d probably want to buy those in, then? That might cost a few quid, but as the BBC’s top five brands put together only made around £300m from being sold outside the UK in 2010/11 – to the entire world, and including DVDs, live events and magazines as well as broadcasts to an audience of billions – it seems fair to say that the teeny little 5m population of Scotland wouldn’t have to blow all its cash to put them on on a Saturday night. Realistically, not even the corporation’s biggest flagship series would cost more than £1m a year each to show in Scotland.

(Particularly as all of those top shows were on BBC1 and BBC2 anyway, which – alert readers will recall – the BBC already broadcasts to neighbouring Ireland for free.)

“He said: “Why on earth would you want to break up the BBC and then spend money buying the exact same programmes back again?””

Because, as we’ve just seen, it’d be a lot cheaper that way?

A few hundred other obvious answers spring instantly to mind. Here, Anas Sarwar appears to be suggesting that the replacement of BBC Scotland with an independent public-service broadcaster is in fact the primary reason for Scottish independence – rather than, say, getting rid of Trident, protecting the poor and sick from the destruction of the welfare state, ending the insanity of PFI, keeping education free, investing in a renewable energy industry, creating a more equitable society etc. Which is strange.

“Mr Sarwar warned this ability to purchase programmes from the rest of the BBC, with funding being available was “yet another assertion, not fact”.”

We’ve already established that such funding – to the tune of over £200m, by Mr Sarwar’s own statistics – would be available. So unless he’s suggesting the BBC would turn down money out of sheer spite, it in fact seems a pretty sensible assertion.

“He said it was “ridiculous and fanciful” to make the claim that nothing would change, adding the position being followed by the SNP was “not only not credible, it is downright misleading”.”

We’re not sure which bit isn’t “credible”, let alone misleading. Mr Sarwar himself suggests that a Scottish licence fee would bring in £300m a year. It’s a publicly-documented fact that BBC Scotland’s budget will be just £86m by the time an independent Scotland would be holding its first election. It therefore stands to reason that the Scottish Broadcasting Corporation with £300m a year in its coffers would be in an extremely healthy financial position, both when it came to making its own programmes and to buying in those it wanted from the rBBC and elsewhere.

The rest of the piece is given over to a series of weird non-sequiturs from Ed Vaizey, controversially declaring himself to be pro-the UK, with Anas Sarwar presumably having been led off to a dark room with a damp flannel. But Sarwar’s bizarre stream of disconnected gibberish has in fact demonstrated the precise opposite of what he presumably intended it to.

Entirely irrespective of the state of the country generally, Scottish broadcasting would by any reasonable assessment be better off independent, even by Sarwar’s figures. £214m buys you a LOT of Frozen Planet and Holby City even if you’re having to pay for it. And obviously, other TV suppliers like Sky, who supply the vast majority of current channels, would be unaffected by independence. They already pay to broadcast to Scotland and they get their money directly from customers. In fact, an independent Scotland could probably afford to cut the licence fee in half and still be quids in.

In other words, then, what we’ve learned is that everything in the story’s opening paragraph is complete and utter rubbish – we WOULDN’T have a higher licence fee, we WOULDN’T have fewer programmes and we WOULDN’T have fewer channels.

Anas Sarwar can’t possibly be a complete moron. So for allowing himself to issue such an inexplicably ridiculous rant, he leaves Ian Davidson trailing helplessly in the dust and grabs himself our 2012 WTF? Of The Year award. Congratulations, Anas!

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53 to “2012: WTF? Of The Year”

  1. JLT says:

    The guys an idiot. He’s definitely a shoo-in to replace Lamont when her end of time comes. You’ve seriously got to ask …where do these people come from? and where do they get their facts? Utterly bizarre conversation!!

    Rev, your quite right. I work in the IT and the Communications Services Industry. I can tell you right now, that even if Scotland poo-pooed the idea of buying services from the BBC (which would be nuts!!), every bairn in the land can tell you that you can watch BBC programs through iPlayer on your Smartphone, your PSP, your Wii, your X-Box, interactive TV, Satellite TV and Freeview. Sarwar is talking utter p***.
    At worst, you could buy your favourite programs from the BBC on DVD as you rightly said…or at worst …cough-cough….download them from bit-torrents on the Internet (which once again, just about every bairn in the land could tell you how to do it!!!)

    But as the BBC need money to survive, I have no doubt …in fact, Rev ….I would take that £1000 that you and I were going to bet on last week, and I’ll take that money to Ladbrokes and bet by saying that the BBC will throw so many services at an Independent Scotland, that whoever is in charge up here, is going to feel like a kiddie in a sweetie-shop, and the toy-shop!!! 

  2. JLT says:

    In fact …think of the inane drivel that we could get rid off if we were independent. Lets play a game on the last day of the year. Top 3 programs to buy in, and Top 3 programs to get rid off!!

    Buy – Scottish Football, David Attenborough Docs, Match of the Day (I’m a big footie fan)
    Rid – Deadenders (hate this with a passion), River City (awful), The One Show

    Maybe we can compile a list, and then hand it into the BBC the day after Independence is declared. Off to a great start, I would say !!!   

  3. Triskelion says:

    When I’m on the web and find these articles I just close the window….I don’t read them, let alone analize them. I’ve spent too much time reading gibberish, pulling my hair and wondering whether I seriously lack reading comprenhension skills when I read most pro-union articles. Now I just ignore them.
    I’m sure it’s their strategy however, since they don’t have any real arguments they just rant on with something completely uninteligible so that we mortals think that they are saying something that is ‘very profound’ something that we just can’t grasp. In consequence we will just end up accepting the heading of the article as fact.

  4. douglas clark says:

    There is also more than a slight possibility that the BBC would try to do a side deal with the new Scottish Government to continue ‘as is’. Y’know, retain the licence fee in a future independent Scotland with a ‘branding’ operation to make it look separate. The BBC is not going to give up the cash cow of Scottish license fee payers without a fight, even after independence. Indeed, their current tactic of supporting the ‘status quo’ may be no more than self interest.
     
       

  5. FreddieThreepwood says:

    Re Douglas’s comment – absolutely. And, of course, it fits in with Eck’s desire not to scare the horses. For all the recent controversies, “Auntie” is as loved up here (Reporting Scotland notwithstanding) as it is in England. Promising a “continuing BBC” post independence would fit in nicely with the pound, Brenda and all the other trappings of Britishness we seem doomed to endure.
     
     

  6. Christian Wright says:

    What a wonderfully dull blade is this young prince. Born with a silver foot in his mouth, and raised to lead, he has effortlessly carried the burden of office passed to him by his late father, and shoulders well, the high expectations befitting his lineage. 

    He demonstrates in this interview great dexterity in the fine arts of blundering obfuscation  and unaccomplished mendacity. He has been anointed Labor-leader-in-waiting and will before long I think, replace his placeholder, the redoubtable apparatchik Sadie McCludgey, who will no doubt be rewarded by a peerage for being such a good sport and doing as she is told.

    Of course the truth is that the boy prince is just another mediocre Labour pol unencumbered by scruples , who owes his reputation for probity to a compliant and complicit media who will not ask him the sort of interrogatories proffered herein.  

    The central threat to a successful outcome of this struggle is not Labour’s carnival barking incompetents, or anything else in that anti-independence dog and pony show. The issue is and has always been, the weight of a hostile media arrayed against us .

     

  7. FreddieThreepwood says:

    Christian hits the nail on the head.
    Sadly, it’s exactly the same nail that could be struck at the end of so many of the threads occasioned by the Rev Stu’s promptings. WE can sit here and shake our heads at the obvious nonsense being spouted by Unionist politicians – and we do – but we alone are not going to win this referendum. Not until the MSM is forced to play a straight bat (in, for example, challenging Sarwar AT THE TIME OF INTERVIEW to explain this tosh) will Jock Public get a balanced view of the issues in play.
    Any pro-indy billionaires out there looking for a newspaper or TV station to buy? 

  8. Cuphook says:

    Do the No campaign really believe that dusting off their scare stories from the 70’s referendum will win them this one? Unlike the 70s most people have been abroad and seen that other countries have TV; they even watch highly commended programmes from small countries like Denmark and Sweden in their own livingrooms.

    It’s an analogue argument in a digital age

  9. Caadfael says:

    An ass by any other name ……………!!!
     

  10. CEMarshall says:

    And just think of the looks on the faces of Kaye Adams, Kirsty Wark, Gordon Brewer, et.al. when they realize they’re going to get the chop! If you were the new head of SBC News and Public Affairs, who would you hire in their place? And who else would join them at the Job Centre?   

  11. Scott Minto (Aka Sneekyboy) says:

    Hi Rev,

    The BBC subsidy by Scotland to the rUK is a little light:

    “it’s currently subsidised by Scottish licence-fee payers to the tune of around £100 million a year, over and above what it spends in, or on making programmes for, Scotland”  

    The coalition have reduced the budget to BBC Scotland to £96 million (To be cut further) and Scottish viewers pay around £325 million in licence fees.

    This is from the Guardian reality check series earlier this year (after much prompting BTL) 

    “We asked the BBC for the costs and size of its operations in Scotland. It said its Scotland-only budget is £102m, to be cut to £86m by 2017 because of the licence fee freeze.”    

    “What we do know is that there are 25m licences in force UK-wide, earning £3.7bn in revenue. So dividing that figure by the number of licences, a rough rule of thumb gives an average of £148 per licence, implying that Scotland’s 2,197,000 licence holders raise £325m a year.”  

    So by my count that makes it £229 million at present increasing to £239 million in 2017.  

  12. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    Yeah, but the BBC also makes programmes FOR Scotland that aren’t necessarily made by BBC Scotland. At least, that’s the line.

  13. James Morton says:

    He is a man of straw clutching at straws while his future closes around him like a fist. All we’ll get for 2013 is a repeat of all the old arguments, some with a slightly more deranged or vicious slant, but still the same old arguments.
    This while be as good as you can get in terms of Positive reasons for the Union. Light entertainment & sporting events. Nothing else is left. But the truth is, nothing really would change. Sarwars argument really depends on the belief that Scots don’t contribute anything to the BBC. This is of course absurd, but that won’t stop them making such absurd announcements.
    Like Darling with his staggeringly idiotic assertions of not being able to listen to “british” music, here Sarwar says something similar. Its the argument of a class of person who is so distant and removed from the every day, that they don’t really understand popular culture. They know they should, but have no way to absorb it. So they they name check things; like Brown claiming he listened to the artic monkies.  Basically these are people foolishly wandering into an area they don’t understand. They have been told to, because they their research has told them “voters” like this sort of thing. So off they go down ad hominem lane with their strawmen tagging on behind them.

  14. Ken Mac says:

    ”Anas Sarwar can’t possibly be a complete moron.”

    He can and he is. As I wrote somewhere when it was announced that he would lead Labour’s no campaign, a gift from the gods. 

  15. Davy says:

    “CEMarshall”

    I also would like to look forward to the day that lot get the boot !!! , but I suspect that when the time draws near for the referendum, we will see a lot of our BBC bigshots start to turn and crawl in our direction when they see the ‘YES’ campaign as the winners.

    But we will remember.

    Alba Gu Brath.

  16. muttley79 says:

    I am afraid to say that the Scotsman and Herald’s disinformation, deliberately misleading, campaign against independence is continuing, or should that be intenseifying?  They are running with the story claiming that Stephen Noon said the SNP would disband in the event of a Yes vote.  This despite the fact that his article said that they would continue.  Any objective reading of the article shows this is clearly the case.  It seems they have simply become all out propaganda sheets for the No campaign, rather than once respected newspapers.

  17. Gaavster says:

    Thanks Stu, for me this article sums things up perfectly.

    Broadcasting in an independent Scotland, will be whatever we want it to be…

    It will be driven by the simple laws of supply and demand… 
     

  18. Barontorc says:

    Talk about being spoiled for choice! This award could have gone to any one of a dozen numpties, though my penchant is definitely for Delectable Davidson as prime looney of the bunch. 

    It’s fun to imagine the scenario facing each of these miscreants when the independence bell tolls. What to do? Where to go? WTF happened??

    But, not to lose any sleep with such worrying for the poor lambs, let’s just take it as given that these are such cynical operators with such pliant voting fodder it would be a quite shameless onwards process to look to continue – so what’s new?

    What’s needed is more of the Clydebank Blitzin given to Baillie and more of the John Gorman labour politics deserving of these loyal voters. Let’s hope 2013 brings all of this. 

  19. Juteman says:

    Surely the WTF moment of the year was Lamonts ‘something for nothing’ public transformation into Thatcher?

  20. AndrewFraeGovan says:

    World of NO, 2012. WTF?

  21. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “Surely the WTF moment of the year was Lamonts ‘something for nothing’ public transformation into Thatcher?”

    Only if you thought Scottish Labour was a genuinely independent political party not controlled by London.

  22. Juteman says:

    Ah, i see what you are saying. 🙂

  23. Vronsky says:

     
    Slaps forehead.  If you keep pointing out that everything the Unionists say is untrue you will drive yourself mad.  This is propaganda, guys. Sarwar may or may not be stupid, but I’ll guarantee that he knows as well as we do that it isn’t true.  Truth is irrelevant in propaganda, only effectiveness matters.  He said it, lots of people heard him say it, some of them will be innocent enough to believe it.  That’s the strategy and it’s a proven one.  If you’d been alive in Hitler’s Germany do you think that pointing out that Jews were actually no better or worse than anyone else would have got you anywhere? 
    I’m sorry I can’t offer any constructive suggestion on what we should do about it and I’ve given it thought.  I note also that the big lies are much more visible than the little truths – we have the blogs, but Sarwar and his mates have all of the mainstream media, most particularly television, and not just the BBC.  It’s what the Americans call ‘asymmetric warfare’.  The lies are projected on a large screen, but the truth is something you’d have to go and find and only an eccentric few, the Winston Smiths, will suspect that what they’re seeing on the large screen isn’t true.  
    Oh, I’m in a gloomy mood.  Happy 2013.  Happier 2014, deo volente.

  24. Edulis says:

    Anas, aka Anus Sarwar is well named. He gave up dentistry in order to make a fool of himself. He is pretty good at that.

  25. dadsarmy says:

    I tried to find Scottish Labour membership and the best I can do is from this:

    http://www.leftfutures.org/2011/12/left-victory-in-labours-scottish-leadership-election/

    “Last year, Scottish party membership averaged just 205 per constituency, lower than any other UK region except …”

    So it’s UK constituency, there are 59, so that makes 12,095 at the end of 2011.

    Interesting comment there about Lamont:
    “she is a centrist who doesn’t believe in universal benefits and who supported housing stock transfers”

    Anyway, Happy New Year to all especially you Rev.

    (ha! playing favourites :-))

  26. dadsarmy says:

    So if Labour have lost over 100 members in 2012, and the SNP are just short of 24,000 members, SNP has twice as many members as Scottish Labour.

    I actually feel sorry for Scottish Labour, with the Union they’re very much between a rock and a hard place. UK Labour at Westminster are the best protection for Scotland against the ravages of the Tories, even now, which is why so many vote Labour for Westminster.

    They are therefore forced to take up national Labour policies to be consistent. But UK Labour it seems, have to move to the right to encourage the more Tory English voter, and so Scottish Labour have to do the same.

    But Scotland voters as a whole are much more left, so Scottish Labour with national UK Labour policies, don’t represent the Scottish voter.

    The only answer it seems to me is to genuinely have two distinct Scottish Labour parties – which apart from fees and membership is perhaps a bit of a nightmare.

    The conclusion quite simply is that for Scottish Labour the only remedy for the resulting “schizophrenia” is – Independence. But to be part of the UK Labour movement, Scottish Labour can’t support this. Very much a Catch 22 situation.

    An answer would be for UK national Labour to support Independence for Scotland ….

  27. Juteman says:

    I’d just like to add, as much as i attack the British Labour Party, i will probably vote Labour in an independent Scotland.

  28. Rabb says:

    vronsky,
    Asymmetric warfare is what will win the fight for us. The unionists have all the media might but they lack people power. It’s the feet on the street and the wonderfull invention (it pains me to say it) of Facebook etc that give us the edge over the government.
    People are distrusting of polititians these days and won’t necessarily believe what’s printed in the Daily Record or The Sun. It’s a different case when it comes from your neighbour or a work colleague though. That’s where we will win the battle to repatriate our sovereignty.  
     

        

  29. Rabb says:

    ditto Jutman but only if they ditch the shackles of westminster policy and return to the core values of the Labour party I was brought up with. Until then I will continue voting SNP. 

  30. pmcrek says:

    @dadsarmy

    On Labour membership, following article may be of interest cited from the Scottish Labour wikipedia page:

    http://politics.caledonianmercury.com/2010/09/29/the-scottish-labour-party-and-its-mysterious-expanding-membership/

    Its from Sept 2010 and suggests a figure at the time of 13,135. This would be more or less in line with the ongoing decline and figure you have linked of around 12,095 by end of play 2011.

  31. AndrewFraeGovan says:

    @Juteman, Rabb
    I reckon that after Indy, the SNP will continue to promote the core values traditionally associated with the Labour Party. It will shed a few right-wingers who will coalesce around a new right-wing group, and some lefties who will join with RIC/Green/SSP types to form a left grouping. I suppose the current Labour lot could join the LibDems in opportunistically offering themselves as coalition partners.

  32. velofello says:

     Me, an aspiring engineering manager. Our chairman in reply to me. “Lies? No they are only words”.
    And that is the mindset of SLabour. Sarwar,Baillie,Lamont,MacIntosh, Baker. They all practise the “only words” strategy. And that strategy works only because MSM and the BBC are not inclined to challenge the strategy. Should the SNP challenge the veracity of “only words” they will be portrayed as moaners.
    I watched the Baillie/Clydebank video but would not wager any one of the attendees voting against SLabour. Some will have vested interests, some mistaken loyalty.Labour plays the trench warfare game with aplomb.Some hopefully will align with Labour for Independence.
    I really do think that to achieve a Yes vote the footsoldiers, Us, will need to get out and about. Recently a Yes campaign leaflet dropped thro’ our letterbox. “Dammit” was my reaction. I should have been round the doors distributing these in my area. 
    And that is my New Year resolution. I will volunteer to be pro-active with the Yes campaign. I had already signed up but hesitated over being actively involved. Not no more.

    Drop off all the zeros in Scot Skier’s figures to bring it into context. You, from your pocket hand over £325 to a “best friend and neighbour” to purchase goods for you.He claims to have contacts in the business that ensure a good deal.Then your skeptical better half checks things out and nags you that the content of this good deal is worth only £98. Your reaction? Lying cheating bastard?

  33. Rabb says:

    AndrewFraeGovan,
    I’m not a Labour member but voted for them all my days based on principle. If they died tomorrow I would shed no tears. The SNP are the closest I have to those principles currently. If they continue to hold that position after indy then I’ll continue to vote for them. If not then we’re all doomed 🙁 

  34. pmcrek says:

    FYI been digging around looking at the other parties:

    Scottish Lib Dems:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scottish_Liberal_Democrats

    The membership figure of 3,080 is from the electoral commission figures in Dec 2011. The new electoral commission figures however suggest that Lib Dem Membership since then has fallen a further 25%

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/liberaldemocrats/9451668/Liberal-Democrat-membership-plunges-b

    This would leave the Scottish Lib Dems on around 2,310 members

    Scottish Tory Leadership ballot:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scottish_Conservative_Party_leadership_election,_2011

    Number of votes cast was 5,400, I am sure reading at the time that some members were sent more than one ballot so the reality is probably a less than this figure. Laughingly the Scottish Tories officially claim around 8,500 members.

    Scottish Greens:

    Finally, Scottish Greens are currently on 1,200 odd members, although I do believe this has increased by a couple of hundred since the figures were submitted in 2010:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scottish_Green_Party

  35. Craig P says:

    Scottish Labour. From being all about the eradication of the five evils of want, ignorance, unemployment, etc, to threatening granny she’ll no be able to watch the dancing programme on a Saturday night. 

    I still think Davidson deserves it for his Newsnat Scotland rant.  

  36. Tamson says:

    @pmcrek:
    I wouldn’t be entirely unsurprised if the Tory membership figure was indeed around 8 or 9 thousand. Thing is, though, many of those “members” would be uncancelled subs from ancient old Tories in old folks’ homes. And this highlights something which feeds into the Labour membership numbers too: how many of them are in God’s waiting rooms?

    I think I read somewhere that the average age of a Scottish Tory member is around 70. Can’t back that up with anything, though – it may just have been a joke on a blog somewhere. The fact that it’s just about believable, though, says it all.

  37. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “FYI been digging around looking at the other parties:”

    So it’s realistically highly possible that the SNP now has more members than Labour, the Tories and the Lib Dems put together? And maybe even the Greens too? That’s pretty interesting.

  38. sneddon says:

    In regards to membership of the tories in the UK ot appears membershiphas fallen 60% according to this http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-2179040/How-Mr-Camerons-obsession-gay-marriage-killing-Tory-party.html

    and the average age is 64 according to this article in that bastion of socilaism the DM.  There is no breakdown by country  in this article but things ain’t looking good for davyboy.  Judging by the photos taken by the Rev at thier scottish conference there appears to be a noticable absence of the younger generation of tories to take up the reins.  By the time the baby boomer generation has ‘run it’s course’ I estimate a smaller membership in Scotland (based on nothing just a gut feeling after looking at this years conference) of less than the Greens and Fibber Libbers.  Unless they reform after independence or at all, they’ll be history (the only good ‘tory is history:) )

  39. pmcrek says:

    @Tamson

    Thats a v. good point on the Tory membership.

    @Rev

    Realistically yeah I think that is certainly the case, officially however Labour are still claiming the 7,000 mostly duplicate or disinterested social club members as members of the party and the Tories are for a lack of explanation clearly lying about their membership figures, putting the “official” numbers of Tory/Lib Dem/Labour members at around 31,000 some 10,000 more than in reality. Note as a Green I aint going to include our members with that lots total, I’d rather add it to the SNPs 😉

    The major thing for me looking at this is the SNP and Greens are the only two parties in Scotland whose memberships is increasing at any given time, the Greens average about 10-15% new members a year and the SNP 18%-22% a year. A rather amazing trend imho for both parties considering the other three mainstream parties in this age of political cynicism are losing 10% and in some cases 20+% of their membership any given year.

  40. pmcrek says:

    Sorry off topic, but do you prefer @Rev or @Stu?

  41. cynicalHighlander says:

    @
    pmcrek
     
    Vertus – Artistic quality
     
    I’ll go and get my 12 yr Glenlivet now all the best for the future for all.

  42. Christian Wright says:

    Stuart Campbell wrote:

    “So it’s realistically highly possible that the SNP now has more members than Labour, the Tories and the Lib Dems put together? And maybe even the Greens too? That’s pretty interesting.”
     
    And great PR too, for it complements the SNP’s relative standing with the electorate at large.
    Now you would think from the MSM’s pervasive propaganda, that the Scottish Government was an pariah, staggering from one crisis to another, riven by internal disputes, and made impotent by the pathological lying of its leaders and the corruption and incompetence of its institutions.
     
    On a (somewhat) related note, in his New Year’s message, Alex Salmond delivers the clearest, most succinct articulation of the strategic arguments in favor of independence I have witnessed to date. I thought it a masterful performance from a master politician.
    Bit like Bill Clinton in his role as Explainer-in-Chief across the Pond, Salmond’s performance is an object lesson in how to make the virtues of one’s position accessible to low information voters.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=r4wCcb-YPjI
     
     

  43. pmcrek says:

    @cynicalHighlander

    Sorry I’m not familiar with the term Vertus?

    Happy new year btw!

  44. cynicalHighlander says:

    @ pmcrek
     
    Nor was I until I consulted a nag ram who gave me the answer and all the best to yourself.

  45. Vronsky says:

    Anent the age of Tory & Labour members, years ago we joked that all our (SNP) support was in flats above the first floor – the Unionist activists were too old to get up the stairs.

  46. Pa Broon says:

    Anas Sarwar.

    An unfortunate collision between politics and management consultancy. The words he deploys are from the English language but the order in which they appear make no sense what-so-ever.

    He’s an Asian clone of Ed Miliband right down to the breathy school boy delivery of vapid soundbites and indecipherable hyperbole.

    I don’t imagine there are many who don’t see through his brand of bullshittery.

  47. Simon says:

    If the British Broadcasting Corporation is a British institution, why are its operations in England branded as “BBC” while its operations in Scotland are branded “BBC Scotland”?

    On the same note I never understood why historical mansion houses in England are owned and run by the National Trust, while houses in Scotland are owned and run by the National Trust for Scotland.

    There are others too… I used to be a member of the Council for British Archaeology. When I moved north I discovered that the CBA only covers membership in England and Wales, and there was a different body for Scotland called the Council for Scottish Archaeology. I never really understood that either.

  48. G H Graham says:

    I’ll keep repeating myself until The Herald and The Scotsman are bankrupt; prevent Sarwar and his smug Unionist chums from broadcasting their childish propaganda by not reading, responding or writing to either of these titles every again.

    Almost daily, I read posts here complaining about the lies, bias & fictional rubbish printed by these newspapers yet you continue to finance their existance by acknowledging them.

    Discipline yourselves by ignoring every single word they print and instead, communicate your positive vision to your friends, acquaintances and colleagues in person. This propaganda war cannot be won using the media because the Independence movement has no national print or national broadcast support. Regrettable but there it is.

    Arguing on line via comments pages only serves to distract and continues to help proprietors justify printing more shite. Clicks means money means more of the same.

    Yes, we deserve good, investigative journalism but it no longer exists in Scotland so there’s no point in arguing for it any more. And if anyone thinks the media is what keeps government in check, you are kidding yourself. Westminster might twitch and flinch when the headlines expose grubby behaviour but fundamentally, nothing much changes at all; the same political classes keep doing what they have been bred to do; maintain control, self serve at the till & pontificate to the masses that they know best.

    The way to get rid of opportunists like Sarwar is to change the type of government you want to run your country. You won’t get that by logging in to one of Gardhams fiction columns or beating yourself up because you’ve just seen another one of Lamont’s incongruous pronouncements being slavishly recorded by a mindless, delinquent gang of bar crawling news hacks.

    Do the right thing and help dispatch these dreadful newspapers to the archives of the Mitchell Library as soon as possible. 

  49. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “Almost daily, I read posts here complaining about the lies, bias & fictional rubbish printed by these newspapers yet you continue to finance their existance by acknowledging them.

    Discipline yourselves by ignoring every single word they print and instead, communicate your positive vision to your friends, acquaintances and colleagues in person. This propaganda war cannot be won using the media because the Independence movement has no national print or national broadcast support. Regrettable but there it is.”

    So what is it you propose? Let their lies go unchallenged?

    There is no prospect – none whatever – of someone starting a new print newspaper in Scotland any time in the forseeable future. So the only hope of getting balanced coverage is to change the ones that exist. By constantly highlighting the liars in their employ, destroying their credibility and damaging sales, they might just decide they’d be better off hiring people who’d present a fair picture.

    (They might not, of course, but the alternative is to concede the mainstream ground entirely and pray for their death of natural causes. But that’s not going to come about either if nobody points out their failings.)

    We need a press. Nobody in their right mind is going to set up a new one. So we have to do our best to change the one we have.

  50. TYRAN says:

    Reference: I’m on Youtube homepage and the first thing it presents me is a big picture of “London Fireworks 2013 – New Year Live – BBC One” (user BBC) with 560,000 views. So I search their account for Edinburgh Fireworks and it’s no where. 

  51. Barontorc says:

    If a ‘New Scotsman’ appeared tomorrow with an independent light touch and good journalism it would be supported.

  52. TYRAN says:

    Reference: Better Together still at it. Those in Belgium, Switzerland and Netherlands legally watch the same programmes at the same time on BBC 1. None of those places wish to be run from Westminster. Happy New Year.

    – “Anyone watching Africa on BBC 1? A great example of what is great about the BBC. Why would we walk away from that?”, “our point isn’t that the BBC won’t use Scottish broadcast professionals. It is that we lose BBC output.” (Better Together Facebook entries)

  53. a supporter says:

    “Anas Sarwar can’t possibly be a complete moron”
    I’m afraid you’re wrong. The more I read the shit produced by this guy the more convinced am I that he really is deranged. He is a total fucking cretin. How did he ever manage to obtain a university degree? (Mind you he is in good company since Johann and Margaret both did too. I thought university was supposed to educate a person and widen their horizons.)



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