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The Big-Stats Quiz Of The Year 168

Posted on December 27, 2016 by

So called because doing it makes our traffic figures get larger 😉

jimmycarr

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The Slightly Tubby Quiz Of The Year 567

Posted on December 29, 2015 by

It’s time to find out just how alert you really are, readers.

jcarr

The answers to each of the 24 questions below about Scottish politics in 2015 can be found in Wings articles. But no Googling – we’ll know.

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The Slightly Overweight Quiz Of The Year 144

Posted on December 30, 2014 by

A traditional brainteaser to test your Alert Reader Quotient for 2014. All the answers can be found somewhere on Wings (though not always in the obvious places).

quiztime

Using the Search facility is cheating.

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Why we shouldn’t do walking away 107

Posted on March 04, 2014 by

When former chancellor Alistair Darling said the following during the currency row, he should have known better (and no doubt did):

“The nationalist threat to default on debt if they don’t get their way on currency is reckless. The impact of Alex Salmond’s default would be to say to the world that we cannot be trusted to honour our debts.”

The empirical fact is that an independent Scotland would not be defaulting, reneging on, or walking away from anything. That’s because the UK government has already taken full responsibility for all debt accrued up to the date of Scottish independence.

wienerkongress

So we can just forget about it, right?

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Wrong number 123

Posted on February 23, 2014 by

To cut a long story short, Wings readers, it turns out that by a freakish coincidence I have a fax number only one digit different to that of Alistair Darling’s constituency office. Attached below is a document I unexpectedly found in my in-tray this evening.

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A little bit of history repeating 96

Posted on February 15, 2014 by

Sometimes you have to wonder if the Scottish Wars of Independence are actually over. Throughout many long centuries, Scottish independence was seen by England not just as a threat, but as something that wasn’t actually legal.

balliol

Throughout the medieval period, the argument revolved around homage – which Scottish King had done homage to which English king, hence confirming the fact of feudal overlordship and thus the Scottish monarch’s subordinate position. When that was denied, violence was the usual result. And in his own only slightly more modern way, George Osborne this week declared the same war once more.

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Casting the clout 71

Posted on January 20, 2014 by

The latest in the UK government’s “Scotland Analysis” series of independence briefing papers was released this week on the back of William Hague’s visit to Glasgow.

haguealexander

At 119 pages, the EU and International Issues paper is nobody’s idea of a slim pamphlet, but it’s remarkably light on meaty content.

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The immigration falsehood 111

Posted on January 10, 2014 by

It says something about the baleful influence of the right-wing press (not to mention Tory, UKIP and Labour politicians desperate to seek its favour) that some people in Scotland mention immigration as a reason for voting No.

migration

Of the many scare stories originating south of the border, this one is among the least applicable to Scotland. (But is still perpetuated in the media because no major Scottish newspapers are actually owned here.) Scotland needs immigrants, and without sustained immigration over the next half century, we could be in trouble.

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The Schengen deception 97

Posted on December 07, 2013 by

Whenever the hoary old story about passport checks along the border with England is dug up for another run-around (roughly once a month, as far as we can tell), the Schengen agreement usually features as the justification. Here’s a typical example:

“If an independent Scottish state were required to join the Schengen area as part of its EU membership, it would therefore have to implement the border and immigration policies required by the EU. As the UK has no intention of joining the Schengen area, this would involve border controls between Scotland and the continuing UK in order to meet EU rules protecting the security of the Schengen area.” (III 3.46)

And from there it’s only a small step for Project Fear to get to this:

“Joining Europe’s borderless Schengen area could open Scotland’s border up to mass immigration.”

This, as Theresa May knows full well, is utter rubbish. It relies, as so many of the No camp’s arguments do, on normal people’s lack of knowledge of obscure and complex laws (see also: the currency issue). So let’s cut through all the mumbo-jumbo and jargon and lay the plain and simple facts out for the record.

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For use as required 69

Posted on November 29, 2013 by

With our compliments and best wishes.

djletter

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Fear cuts deeper than swords 81

Posted on November 12, 2013 by

Last month saw a return of one of the No camp’s favourite scare stories – that an independent Scotland would be unable to defend itself against terrorists. (As usual, no consideration was given to the notion that a Scotland with a non-aggressive foreign policy would be far less likely to be the target of terrorism in the first place.)

fearcuts

An unusually balanced and thoughtful piece in today’s Scotsman trashes the UK government report’s findings on purely practical and technical grounds. But there are rather more inspiring and positive reasons for doing so too.

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No place like home rule 164

Posted on October 30, 2013 by

If there’s one phrase that has long bedevilled the Liberal party and its descendants, it’s ‘home rule’. What are we supposed to understand by it? And perhaps more to the point, what do modern Lib Dems understand by it?

grimond

If you go back in Liberal history to the time of the great William Gladstone, ‘home rule’ meant something. It meant the principle of self-governance for Ireland, with certain powers reserved to Westminster.

Gladstone’s idea of home rule was very similar to what we now call Devo Max. And when Gladstone stood up for this principle and fought to drive it through parliament, he was attacked in terms we recognise only too well today.

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