Archive for the ‘comment’
It’s important to note, firstly, that the version of Sadiq Khan’s speech to the Scottish Labour conference he tweeted on Saturday morning simply flat-out said that Scottish nationalists were the same as racists and sectarian bigots. Its meaning was as clear as crystal to the Daily Record, a newspaper which is hardly hostile to Khan’s party.
“No difference” is a stark and unambiguous phrase. The speech did not contain the hastily-added qualifiers about “in this respect” and “of course I’m not saying the SNP are racist” which suddenly appeared when he read it out onstage that afternoon.
But which version did he really mean?
I first moved to Scotland from North Yorkshire in 2007 with my husband and baby son, after getting a job with Highland Council. I hope my first impressions of Scotland as a place to live, and how my connection with our new home developed over the years, may shed light on how a lot of English people on both sides of the border feel about Scotland and the prospect of independence.
Yesterday afternoon, Scottish Labour tweeted some comments from Kezia Dugdale’s keynote speech to the party conference that might be the most self-evidently idiotic thing ever said by a Scottish politician.
Now, whether you support independence or not it’s a plain, measurable, empirical fact that it IS all of those things. Saying it’s not “an alternative”, in particular, is roughly on a par with asserting that the Earth doesn’t revolve around the Sun.
We were about to go on a rant about the jaw-dropping stupidity of the claim when it struck us that it might be a bit more interesting to see how the speech, and indeed the conference, had gone down with its intended audience – Scottish Labour delegates.
And as it happened, we had some data on that.
No.4: file under “Hell actually froze over”.
Almost a year ago we ran a short piece mocking a Scotsman headline which claimed that “THOUSANDS” of people had signed a Tory anti-referendum petition, when the actual number was a strictly-accurate-but-pathetic TWO thousand.
We didn’t think that could ever be beaten for technically-true hyperbolic exaggeration, but we’d reckoned without the bold boundary-pushing ingenuity of the Daily Express.
Hundreds of thousands? How many hundreds, exactly?
We don’t normally run rumours on Wings, but this one was too good to pass up. We offer it to you on the clear basis that it IS just gossip, but it’s from a source we trust.
Our source says that “he’s selling himself – to any influential figures who’ll listen – as a PR chief for Better Together 2. In my personal opinion I don’t think they will be silly enough to let him back in, frankly, but he seems to be indestructable.”
They also gave us a quote from what they described as “a well-placed insider”:
“McTernan is itching for a comeback.
He’s sniffing around both in London and among Scottish contacts to see if he can carve out a senior role in the inevitable indyref2 campaign, which everyone’s having to pretend isn’t inevitable at all.
Given his track record there’s a fair degree of concern, to say the least. But he still holds sway with some senior figures in London especially. He is disliked by many in Scottish Labour but seems to have charmed some of the Tories. Given the number of lives he’s had few will be surprised if he manages to worm his way in to the upper echelons of Better Together 2.”
We’re crossing ALL our fingers, folks.
We thought you’d like a wee cross-tabbed update on yesterday’s Trident poll news:
Of all the people who wanted to retain the UK’s nuclear weapons, just over HALF of them (56%) were prepared to have them kept in Scotland. 15% did a total U-turn when confronted with the thought of having them in the same place they’ve been for the last 30-odd years, and nearly a third suddenly weren’t so sure nukes were a great idea when they were reminded they’re kept about half an hour from Glasgow.
It’s an interesting stat to keep in mind when the subject is debated.
The Scottish media has today leapt all over the front-page lead story from yesterday’s Sunday Times, in which “top economist” Douglas McWilliams of right-wing thinktank the Centre for Economics and Business Research made an apocalyptic prediction of a huge deficit turning an independent Scotland into “a Third World country”.
The Express’ customarily restrained coverage is pretty typical.
We wondered if Mr McWilliams used to have a more optimistic view.
As it turned out, not so much.