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Wings Over Scotland


Archive for the ‘reference’


What’s left out 287

Posted on November 21, 2016 by

As alert readers will know, one of the primary purposes of this website isn’t just to tell people when the Scottish and UK media is lying to them, but to teach readers how to spot that for themselves. And one of the keys to learning that is to ask yourself what a story in the press is leaving out as well as what it’s telling you.

So last week, when several newspapers went on an orgy of shock-horror reporting about SNP MPs’ expenses – focusing mostly on aeroplane flights and only quoting figures for a small handful of MPs who’d allegedly been claiming far more taxpayers’ money than their Unionist predecessors – alarm bells started ringing everywhere.

gravytrain

And just as we’ve taught them to, Wings readers leapt into action to do the hard work that Scotland’s professional journalists don’t want to do, in order to provide Scots with the facts that the media doesn’t want them to know.

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The squandered bounty 433

Posted on September 22, 2016 by

It’s long been a bone of contention for Scots – and not just nationalists – that the UK government, by common agreement, wasted the vast wealth windfall of the North Sea on funding Margaret Thatcher’s 1980s programme of deliberate de-industrialisation, mass unemployment, huge tax cuts for the wealthy and bribes to the working class in the form of Right To Buy.

It did so rather than investing the proceeds in a sovereign wealth fund, as demanded by the SNP (and some elements of Labour) and practiced in Norway, whose fund – only set up in 1990 – is now a literal embarrassment of riches.

bennoilfund2

But the reality is even worse than that. Because according to a 2015 report by the National Resource Governance Institute that’s just come to our attention, the truth is that if the UK had managed its North Sea treasure better, it could have done both.

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Junkies, tramps and thieves 342

Posted on September 02, 2016 by

Fear and lies work. Over many decades (and really for centuries) the Unionist parties and the media have succeeded in persuading a large percentage of Scots that they’re beggars, scroungers, vagrants and “subsidy junkies” dependent on the ever-generous charity of England to keep them from starvation.

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And in terms of the facts, that hasn’t always been an easy sell.

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The SIX key facts about GERS 76

Posted on August 24, 2016 by

We originally wrote this article in March, in response to the Government Expenditure and Revenue Scotland (better known as GERS) figures for 2014-15. We’ve updated it to take account of events since that time, of which there’s been one rather major one.

Today saw the publication (just five months after the 2014-15 GERS) of the 2015-16 stats, which are again triggering a convulsive orgy of “BLACK HOLE!” articles across the media, as every Unionist in the land falls over themselves to portray their own country as a useless scrounging subsidy junkie without actually using the exact words “too wee, too poor, too stupid”.

And once again, everywhere you look there’s a “Proud Scot” screaming about how the figures – showing an essentially unchanged “deficit” despite an almost £2bn fall in oil revenue – destroy a case for independence that those same people have spent most of the last four years stridently insisting never existed in the first place.

angryyoon

So let’s recap the truth about Scotland’s financial books. Because for all the complex arguments, mad graphs ludicrously pretending Scotland is a less viable nation than Greece or Latvia or Cyprus or Malta and endless arrays of incomprehensible charts and tables, there are (now) only six things you really need to know about GERS.

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Our Friends In Europa 179

Posted on July 11, 2016 by

If your only source of news was the mainstream media, you could be forgiven for thinking that the consensus in the EU regarding an independent Scotland was bleak. Spain would, we’re told endlessly, veto Scotland’s place in the EU out of hand, and so, allegedly, would France.

And when Scotland’s First Minister went to Brussels after the referendum vote to meet with EU officials in regards to Scotland’s membership, we were told that this bold act of outreach fell on deaf ears.

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The language of the press was hostile bordering on sadistic. The First Minister, acting to secure the democratic will of the people of Scotland, was apparently “running out of friends” and had to “beg” Ireland to help us out.

The reality, readers will be astonished to hear, is somewhat different.

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The Chilcot Report in full 207

Posted on July 06, 2016 by

The short version is “Everything Tony Blair said was a lie”. The full report can be read in 58 sections at the inquiry’s website here, but in the quite likely event that it gets swamped today we’ve uploaded the entire thing as a single convenient RAR file here.

chilcot

[EDIT: individual sections now compiled into the print version’s 12 volumes.]

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The five key facts about GERS 216

Posted on March 13, 2016 by

[EDIT 24 August 2016: This article has now been updated here.]

It’s Sunday, so there is of course one last convulsive orgy of “BLACK HOLE!” articles in all the papers, as every Unionist hack and pundit in the land falls over themselves to portray their own country as a useless scrounging subsidy junkie without actually using the exact words “too wee, too poor, too stupid”.

Everywhere you look there’s a “Proud Scot” screaming about how Scottish revenue this year being 1% lower than it was last year has comprehensively demolished a case for independence that those same people have spent most of the last four years stridently insisting never existed in the first place.

angryyoon

So before everyone moves on to a new “SCOTLAND BAD” next week, we thought it was worth a short recap of what we’ve learned about a devolved Scotland’s financial books this week.

Because for all the complex arguments, mad comedy graphs ludicrously pretending that Scotland is a less viable nation than Greece or Latvia or Cyprus or Malta and bewildering arrays of incomprehensible stats, there are only five things you really need to know about GERS.

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The past is another country 375

Posted on March 06, 2016 by

This week Scottish Labour have been attacking the SNP’s rather timid plans for the reform of Council Tax, which is an entirely fair and legitimate opposition pursuit.

slabctax

But as is their wont, Kezia Dugdale’s branch office just can’t help overplaying their hand and doing it in a highly dishonest way.

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The sands of the times 265

Posted on February 24, 2016 by

Newspaper sales figures in Scotland now come out in a patchy and unco-ordinated sort of way, with different frequencies and at different times of year, so we thought it’d be worth collecting them together for easy reference.

scotpapers1

The numbers below are the most recent figures for each title that we know of – for papers classed as “national” that means November last year, and for those counted as “regional” (which includes the Scotsman and Herald titles) it’s this month.

Figures have all been rounded to the nearest 100, and increase/decrease stats refer in all cases to the corresponding sales for one year previously.

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The SNPBAD Files 318

Posted on February 17, 2016 by

Since the astonishing election of 56 SNP MPs to the UK Parliament last May, the Unionist media – suddenly deprived of a whole contacts book full of friendly Scottish Labour bench-warmers ready to feed it cosy stories over a boozy expenses lunch in Whitehall – has raked through every bin and gutter in the land looking for anything (however pathetic) that it can try to puff up, distort, and rope into service as “dirt” on each of the Nat members, in an attempt to discredit them and the party.

So let’s just have a little look in here and – YIKES!

This could take some time.

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Crunching the numbers 151

Posted on January 15, 2016 by

For ages now it’s been nagging at us that there wasn’t a quick and easy reference point for all the opinion polls we’ve commissioned, listing all the subjects covered by each poll and linking to both our own analyses of the figures and the raw data tables for people who wanted to go delving in amongst the stats themselves.

pollsmaybe

So now there is – it’s here. (And in future you can easily locate it under “Polls” in the menu bar running across the top of the front page.) We’re off for a bit of a lie down.

We are four 236

Posted on November 07, 2015 by

So, it’s our birthday. It was exactly four years ago today, on the 7th of November 2011, that Wings Over Scotland published the first post of what was supposed to be a pretty insignificant spare-time blog picking out interesting politics stories in the day’s Scottish media and challenging any inaccuracies in them.

4yearstats

It got a bit out of control, frankly.

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