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Wings Over Scotland


Archive for the ‘analysis’


The flexibility of figures 571

Posted on January 15, 2017 by

It’s a well-known fact, of course, that 87% of all statistics are made up. But as this site regularly observes, if you’re the Scottish opposition and media there’s no need to invent fake ones when you can twist the real ones to present an image completely at odds with the reality.

The Sunday Times today has some fine examples of the craft of massaging figures for the purposes of deception. It carries two separate scare stories on the NHS, both of them using figures which aren’t based on any sort of news, but on opposition spin on existing stats. One comes from the Tories, under a dramatic headline:

privatenhs

The banner is pulling a classic trick – the £685m figure is actually the total sum spent in a decade, not the single year that most people would assume (since there’s no good reason to measure spending in decades, so headlines usually don’t do it). But remarkably it’s just about the most honest thing in the paper’s health coverage today.

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If I’m right and you are sinful 341

Posted on January 08, 2017 by

We’ve never been all that convinced by the political strategy of parties angrily pointing out their rivals have supposedly broken their manifesto promises once in government. After all, since by definition the complaining party was very probably opposed to the policies in question, shouldn’t they be delighted if they haven’t been enacted?

(It’s different, of course, in the event of something like a referendum, where something that all of the parties concerned agree is good – staying in the EU, say, or protecting jobs in the civil service or the oil industry – is promised in return for a particular vote, but then swiftly trashed once that vote is won.)

bteu

It’s even weirder if the opposition was the REASON the policies didn’t get enacted. It’s incredibly bizarre to vote something down (as the Unionist parties did repeatedly to the SNP minority administration of 2007-11 when it brought its manifesto pledges forward), and then huff at the governing party for the fact that you outvoted them.

But today the Scottish Tories have found an intriguing new twist on the wheeze.

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Data without information 192

Posted on January 07, 2017 by

This week a Scottish journalist told us ruefully that over the festive holidays, all parties send the newspapers “Christmas boxes” comprising a load of ready-made and pre-chewed garbage stories, each embargoed to specific days, for them to run in the news desert between Boxing Day and January 3rd with no further effort required.

(This year’s crop had been particularly dismal, our source revealed.)

emptybox

It seems, though, that the media plans to continue the practice all year.

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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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This time they really mean it 300

Posted on December 07, 2016 by

Alert readers may have noticed with barely-concealed disinterest that Scottish Labour have announced their intention to have another really hard think about devolution.

With Labour not looking like being in power at either Holyrood or Westminster for at least a decade, and their opinions therefore being about as relevant as our ideas as to who should play in the back four for Real Madrid next weekend, most papers treated the news with the gravitas it deserved, such as this report in the Sunday Post:

kezpost

But we thought it might be a snappy idea to keep track of all the times the Unionist parties have promised that they’ve come up with the ultimate form of devo-X.

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Kezia Dugdale Fact Check, Part 677 383

Posted on December 01, 2016 by

Here’s Kezia Dugdale at FMQs today.

Just for fun, let’s do the sums again, shall we?

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What they expect you to believe 309

Posted on November 25, 2016 by

For some reason the Unionist community has this week been turning the bullhorn up to maximum on the subject of pensions. Most likely provoked by the publication of Dr Craig Dalzell’s fascinating “Beyond GERS”, the usual suspects have returned to the scaremongering tactics deployed during the indyref, attempting to terrorise the elderly with blood-curdling threats of destitution once again.

mcdougallpensions

It’s a bewildering approach, given that the situation regarding pensions is one of the few around independence about which there is known certainty. The UK government already pays the state pension to millions of people outside the UK, under rules which would apply in exactly the same way if Scotland became a “foreign” country.

But just for fun, let’s look at exactly what the situation would be in the monumentally implausible event that Blair McDougall was telling the truth for once.

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Spotting the differences 263

Posted on November 10, 2016 by

This week, in Snide Troll News, this happened:

torrancefraser

We expect nothing but idiocy of Fraser. But Mr Torrance, who is a ubiquitous presence in the Scottish media, appears – by no means for the first time – not to have the facts at his fingertips. So let’s see if we can help him out.

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New Labour Pundit Of The Year 144

Posted on November 10, 2016 by

Regular readers of this site will be impressed, if perhaps less than astonished, at the new high score achieved this week in the timeless game of McTernan Predicts:

mcternanpredicts15a

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Please be wrong 627

Posted on November 09, 2016 by

It’s 4.36am. I’m going to go to bed in a minute. I’m hoping that I get up in a few hours and laugh at this, delighted at my own unfounded pessimism.

trumpcall1

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The angry saboteurs 281

Posted on November 06, 2016 by

There are three separate articles in today’s Sunday Times on the same subject, all containing the same information, of which the below is the most concise.

timeschina

So let’s recap the events, shall we?

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Sailing away from the truth 213

Posted on November 05, 2016 by

There’s a very interesting blog by Douglas Fraser on the BBC website today, pointing out exactly how vague and non-committal yesterday’s “announcement” by UK defence secretary Sir Michael Fallon regarding the long-awaited order of a reduced number of Type 26 frigates for the BAE shipyards in Govan was.

It might explain this extraordinary interview Fallon (alongside a very bad-tempered and unnamed PR goon), gave to Bernard Ponsonby on the evening’s STV News.

What actually happened yesterday was the removal of the threat of blackmail against a Yes vote that had been made against the yards in 2014, and endlessly exploited by the No campaign. The UK government stalled desperately to keep the orders as a bargaining chip in the indyref, not anticipating the prospect of a second one.

But they can’t be delayed forever, and once the orders are in place any possibility of cancelling them is effectively at an end, for a whole slew of mainly extremely obvious reasons. After Fallon had scurried away from him in fear, Ponsonby revealed what the Secretary of State had tried to avoid admitting:

“BAE confirmed to STV News that there is nothing in the contract that would prevent work continuing on the Clyde in the event of a Yes vote in another referendum.”

But Fallon’s toe-curling evasiveness, which finally saw him reduced to hiding behind the skirts of a sour-faced PR woman, had already made that fact clearer than any straight answer could ever have done.



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