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Here it comes again 468

Posted on January 02, 2017 by

It might only be the 2nd of January, but it’s already pretty clear what we should expect from Scottish politics and the Scottish media in 2017.

Yesterday saw an absurdly petty response from Scottish Labour to the SNP’s “baby box” initiative, sourly carping at a dirt-cheap measure with a proven record of reducing infant mortality and providing vital help to the poor.

Today’s Herald, meanwhile, leads on a meaningless story about people being opposed to having a second independence referendum in 2017 – something nobody has proposed and which has no prospect of happening barring wildly unforseeable events.

hpindypoll

But compared to the inside, that’s hard news.

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The final surrender 233

Posted on December 30, 2016 by

From a remarkable front-page lead in today’s Herald.

image

Never mind running local services better. All that Scottish Labour now care about is existing in order to go into coalitions with the Tories, to prevent a left-of-centre social-democratic party with which they agree on almost everything except the constitution from wielding power in an area that has no impact whatsoever on the constitution.

We remain of the firm conviction that at some point in 2017 Labour will poll in single figures in Scotland. It might be a lot sooner than we think.

Counting With Mr Gray 104

Posted on December 29, 2016 by

Several papers today carry a desperate story about education that’s sourced straight from a Scottish Labour press release, which pulls some figures out of thin air without providing any sources and appears to have left out at least one significant factor.

maths1

But that’s not the funny bit.

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Towards a better, kinder 2017 93

Posted on December 29, 2016 by

A few people objected to this post when we first ran it a year ago, then came to regret their decision. So for their sake we’re putting it up again, in a new and updated form, in the interests of civilised and productive discourse about Scottish politics.

twitteroff1

It’s the most constructive contribution we can think of to make Twitter a less toxic place over the next 12 months. It’s our block list.

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It’s not them, it’s you 302

Posted on December 28, 2016 by

The National has an interesting-sounding front page lead story today.

natbbc

Donalda MacKinnon’s immediate predecessor Ken McQuarrie has been a hostile and toxic presence at the top of BBC Scotland for many years now, so we were naturally intrigued to hear if a change of heart at the Corporation was on the horizon.

We didn’t build our hopes up, obviously.

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Cops and cobblers 244

Posted on December 26, 2016 by

While its pages are mostly filled with toadying drivel about the Royal Family, today’s Scottish Daily Mail does manage to squeeze in a bit of supposed politics news.

3kpolice

We say “supposed” because as alert readers may have already suspected, the story quickly disintegrates under inspection. The figure of 3000 police officers leaving the force since it became Police Scotland (buffed up with a hysterical editorial on page 14 talking about the “truly alarming scale of the mass exodus”) is presented without any context as to whether this is a higher number than one would normally expect.

And sure enough, a few paragraphs in we find out that the vast majority have quit after 20 to 30 years of service, which is entirely normal – the article notes that “most officers retire in their late forties or early fifties”.

The line that caught our eye, though, was this:

“Last night, Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson said: ‘Officers seem to be leaving Police Scotland in their droves.'”

Last night? You mean on Christmas Day Ruth Davidson had nothing better to do with her life than offer vacuous quotes to justify meaningless non-stories in the Daily Mail? For the love of God, someone get the poor woman a Netflix subscription.

The Scottish Brexit FAQ 888

Posted on December 20, 2016 by

We’ll be honest with you, readers, we’re not looking forward to 2017 one little bit. It’s going to be the most tedious year in Scottish politics since we started this website, and perhaps since the advent of devolution.

Other than the mild distraction of the council elections in May – which are likely to be a bit of a damp squib due to the deadening effect of STV and the propensity of Labour and the Tories to do deals to keep the SNP out of power – pretty much nothing even a little bit interesting is going to happen.

scoteumap

All we ARE going to hear about is Brexit and the EU, over and over and over and over again, and everything we’re going to hear is the same empty, pointless, space-filling speculation we’ve already been hearing since June. So let’s just get it down, and then we can link to it every week and go and do something useful with our time instead.

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The eternal opposition 134

Posted on December 19, 2016 by

The chap in the picture below, holding a placard with his name on it so that he doesn’t forget it, is Scottish Conservative MSP Jamie Greene.

jamiegreene

He could probably do with writing a few other things on there too.

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News just in 134

Posted on December 19, 2016 by

This is a picture of the Sun, which reports confirm became visible in the skies above parts of the Northern Hemisphere earlier today.

sunclouds

A similar event is widely expected to take place around the same time tomorrow.

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In your free and fair press today 246

Posted on December 16, 2016 by

Let’s have a quick round-up, shall we?

budgetmail

This is a lie. There are in fact no “tax hikes” in the budget at all. The threshold for the higher rate of tax is increasing with inflation, ie in real terms it’s staying the same as it is now. Councils are being ALLOWED to raise Council Tax but not FORCED to.

But the Mail lying is a reflex action. What about the rest?

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All news is bad news 339

Posted on December 14, 2016 by

Figures released yesterday indicated that the number of full-time teachers employed in Scotland had risen by 253 over the past year, despite budget cuts imposed by the UK government’s austerity programme. This obviously presented the Scottish media with a dilemma: how could such statistics be presented as an “SNP BAD” story?

Luckily, we’re dealing with experienced professionals here.

teachernumbers

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The missing numbers round 261

Posted on December 13, 2016 by

We often say here on Wings that our job is to teach people to instantly recognise the sneaky tricks used by the media to try to create false impressions without saying things that are technically untrue. (Because despite the tiny size they’re allowed to print corrections at, they’re still rather embarrassing.)

A key technique is to look at a headline or story and immediately ask what you’re NOT being told. So here’s an easy example from today’s Scottish Daily Mail.

65trains

What’s been left out there, readers?

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