Scottish independence, plus jokes.

Wings Over Scotland


Corrections and clarifications

Posted on October 14, 2013 by

Alert readers will have noticed that the mainstream press has been rummaging through its Greatest Nat-Bashing Hits again over recent days, trying to flog one last turn around the track out of the year-old “EU advice” story. The Herald, Telegraph, Express and others have all dredged it up again to excoriate the Scottish Government for “wasting” just over £19,000 (or in newspaper arithmetic, “£20,000″) trying to uphold the principle of law officers being able to give advice in confidentiality.

But wait a minute – when this story first did the rounds, wasn’t it a lot more?

(Though for perspective, incidentally, £20,000 represents 0.00007% of the Scottish Government’s block grant for 2013. It’s the equivalent of having £15,000 and losing 1p.)

Here was the Herald’s view at the time:

For months the Nationalists have attempted to close down debate on the issue by insisting it was done and dusted. Unexpectedly yesterday, Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon revealed no specific legal advice had been sought. 

If this is the case, taxpayers are entitled to know why the Government has spent £100,000 of public funds going to the Court of Session in an attempt to prevent the publication of whether or not such advice had been sought.”

And here was the Huffington Post:

“Mr Salmond – a man who hails the virtues of transparency and government that reflects the interests of the Scottish electorate – has essentially responded by sticking two fingers up at that electorate while handing them the bill (which will be upwards of £100,000)

And this was Liberal Democrat MP Mike Crockart in the House Of Commons:

“Would you promise today that unlike other leaders in other parliaments in the UK, you will never spend £100,000 fighting the release of legal advice that you don’t hold and never asked for?”

Of course, Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson had to inflate it still further:

“Alex Salmond is presiding over a Government which, time after time, is spending taxpayers’ hard-earned cash on denying them information to which they are entitled.

He has already spent hundreds of thousands of pounds of public money on costly court cases to maintain his culture of secrecy.”

The Herald’s page has since been quietly edited to now say “£12,000″, with no acknowledgement that it ever said anything else. The Huffington Post piece still has the original claim, and Mike Crockart has never retracted his assertion. (Poor old Ruth Davidson, meanwhile, continues to merrily pluck ludicrously exaggerated numbers out of the air at random to this day.)

Careful what you believe, readers.

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ORIGINAL SOURCES: [1][2]

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65 to “Corrections and clarifications”

  1. Gillie says:

    The Sunday Post were forced to ‘correct’ an Andrew Picken’s claim that over £400 million had been spent on the Gaelic language when the number of Gaelic speakers have fallen.

  2. pmcrek says:

    Stewart Lee once quipped that a person who reads nothing would, in the modern world, be more intelligent than a person who had read everything ever written. Certainly true in the context of the Scottish newspapers it seems..

  3. Iain Hamilton says:

    And just to put this in perspective, Darling costs how much for an after-dinner speech?

  4. wee jamie says:

    classic press tactic ,banner headlines , BIG words, BIG numbers to stick in peoples minds, any retraction /correction /apology is usually on page 17, in tiny print, next to a double glazing advert, and only as a last resort !
     

  5. HandandShrimp says:

    I have come to the conclusion that Ruth is innumerate and can only count 1,2,3 …a lot (probably billions). Ian Davidson is little better and manged to transform Bannockburn into the full duration of the Somme.  

  6. cirsium says:

    Where did the original £100,000 figure come from?  Was it a plant?

  7. Andrew Morton says:

    OT as usual but I cried with laughter at this letter in the Herald today:
    “Harley J Cameron (Letters, October 12) makes the point of the Union flag structure very clearly. Perhaps the symbolism could be taken further. Subtract the Cross of St Andrew and you are left with a double cross.
    Phil Blanshard,
    The Old Schoolhouse, Berriedale,
    Caithness.”

  8. raineach says:

    As Ruthie only has to count the number of MPs she has, she usually manages to get by…
     

  9. Roboscot says:

    If all these newspapers have resurrected this issue at the same time isn’t this proof of collusion?

  10. HandandShrimp says:

    Robo
     
    Probably less collusion and more likely evidence that they are working to the Labour/Better Together dog whistle. Better Together only has to cough and it makes the front page and one must assume tha someone in Better Together (or the labour Spad Sinclair) is co-ordinating their press coverage…the editors going “Yes Sir, No Sir, three bags full Sir”.

  11. Desimond says:

    Its called First Ministers Questions, so maybe its time Eck started asking the Questions and make the people who freely make such erroneous statements answer and apologise for such nonsense.

    We can then change FMQ to FMA when Wee WUllie wants to ask about his nursery places for 2 year olds.

  12. Doug Daniel says:

    Handandshrimp – exactly. With fewer and fewer journalists working at newspapers, the scope for journalists actually going out and getting their own stories is narrowing to almost complete extinction. So newspapers rely on a stream of news content coming to them from their trusted sources – news wire agencies like Associated Press, spokespersons for various organisations and press releases from whoever.
     
    So when we see the same pro-union pish in every paper, it just means Paul Sinclair or whoever has rung round all the papers going “hey, want some news? Here’s some news” and the papers go “oh excellent, that’s one less page to worry about. Hey, journo, go and reword this press release ever so slightly, like when you used to slightly reword your friend’s homework at school because you were too thick to do it yourself, hence why you now work for a newspaper.”

  13. NorthBrit says:

    Perhaps the numbers they’re thinking of are the numbers they spent on their England friendly legal opinion from Crawford and Boyle.

    From Hansard:
    “Mr Lidington: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office, together with the Office of the Advocate-General and Cabinet Office, commissioned work from independent legal experts, Professors James Crawford and Alan Boyle…  It is not standard practice to disclose the cost of any legal advice obtained.

    It would be nice to know what the UK government spent on this attempt to damage the interests of a post independence Scotland.

    Anyone who wants to submit an FOI request feel free but it will be declined.

  14. Macart says:

    Maybe its me, but I’ve kind of tuned out mainstream coverage of the referendum or indeed daily news, almost entirely. Having been lied to, misrepresented and misled for so long, I basically just gave up on them as a source of any information. These days I tend stick to indy positive sites on line or head for an overseas view. When it comes to home grown news I tend to pick up my local newspaper, since that’s what I’m most interested in anyway.
     
    I’m afraid that trust in anything from the big titles or broadcasters is a ship which has sailed long since.

  15. Ken MacColl says:

    The bulk of our Scottish media are reliable and consistent.
    They can be relied upon to consistently lie to you.
    I choked on my coffee when I heard Robbie Dinwoodie plaintively complaining at the weekend that Scottish bloggers generally failed to appreciate the “professionalism” of Scottish newspaper political commentators

  16. rabb says:

    Here here Macart!
     
    That’s exactly where I am with this now. The Scottish MSM is dead to me.

  17. Macart says:

    @rabb
     
    I honestly don’t think I’ve spent money on a daily title in almost two years now. Spend most of my time on SKY channels and only when the odd big debate hits the screens do I venture back to the Beeb. Hell, even now I tend to use iplayer more than watch the telly. I still pay the licence fee at the moment, but there are days…

  18. Albert Herring says:

    BBC Scotland’s investigative journalism these days consists of sending a trainee round to the corner shop for the papers.

  19. HandandShrimp says:

    I still listen to the beeb on the radio but I don’t bother with the TV. TV news is shockingly poor and seems to be designed for three year old children. However, the interwebs are my primary source because it is so easy to cross reference a story and almost immediately obtain first hand commentary (either in support or in correction of a story). It does require a bit of work but one becomes quite adept at it and the more one does this the shabbier and shallower TV news appears. With newspapers you are in part paying for the prejudice. The Daily Mail knows what its core readership likes so it is not going to print many fluffy stories about Labour voting immigrants tending sick kittens and manning soup kitchens.

  20. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “I choked on my coffee when I heard Robbie Dinwoodie plaintively complaining at the weekend that Scottish bloggers generally failed to appreciate the “professionalism” of Scottish newspaper political commentators”

    I did find myself clawing at the monitor in an attempt to somehow break into the studio and make a forceful counter-argument at that point.

  21. AyeRight says:

    “Careful what you believe, readers.”
    Mr Campbell told me to eff off for holding such a view only last week. Changed days indeed.

  22. Mad Jock McMad says:

    Why the faux rage Rev Stu …. we have seen 140 local job losses at Faslane inflated to 12,000 or maybe 15,000 … then there is the claim we will not be able to use an internationally traded currency of which we own 10% … the latest cracker of Scottish food and drink industry’s collapse if we become independent  … the level of denial that on a Yes vote on the 18th of September the Union Treaty is in abeyance while the original sovereign signatories (the parliaments of England and Scotland) disentangle the Union.  I have not seen any mention of the rude health of the Scottish Economy and its continued growth (BoS PMI today) on which the UK Exchequer is increasingly reliant on for foreign exchange earnings and cash flow.

    The increasing failure of Better Together is in what they are too scared to address, not what they are actually spinning.

  23. muttley79 says:

    @Macart
    Maybe its me, but I’ve kind of tuned out mainstream coverage of the referendum or indeed daily news, almost entirely. Having been lied to, misrepresented and misled for so long, I basically just gave up on them as a source of any information.
     
    Ditto.  I only really watch BBC Scotland and STV if there is a debate (and even those are usually shit).  

  24. The Rough Bounds says:

    @Ken MacColl. 12.39.
     
    Yep, I heard that too and I involuntarily spluttered. Also, as I recall, Dinwoodie tried to cast doubt on the numbers of visitors that Newsnet Scotland (and presumably Wings) are claiming as visitors to their sites.
     
    What a sad wee wanker.

  25. Hetty says:

    I was watching RT news last night, they do cover more world news and Max Keiser’s reports are interesting, he doesn’t hold back, watch the report he made last week following D. Cameron’s idea that ‘profit’ is not a dirty word, episode 509, you can find it at the bottom of the page. Keiser has some great questions and some interesting terms of phrase for said PM! An interesting interview with Naom Chomsky as well…

    I know at least one person who won’t watch RT because it’s produced by Russia, but whatever the politics of Russia, it has a slant on it that the bbc and such institutions just don’t. Naom Chomsky’s talk also reveals the censorship going on in the US media. It is a topsy turvy dangerous human world we inhabit for sure. Just bought a book called, ‘Living off the State, a critical guide to Royal finance’ it was hard to get hold of it, I am a glutton for punishment.  

    Other than that, Newsnet and WOS are the best regards Scotland. If it wasn’t for the internet I would defo want to live in a cave and be a recluse.

  26. raineach says:

    I very occasionally watch STV if they’re doing a special. I never watch the bbc or bother with their web. I listen to Newsdrive until either they p*ss me off, or they report a murder, whichever comes first. I have not bought a Scottish Newspaper for about 5 years [since the Magrahi release]. I suspect my IQ has risen in consequence

  27. The Rough Bounds says:

    Incidentally, I heard on radio something about the Irish Republic emerging out of its financial crisis sometime this December. I listened for more on this but nothing else was forthcoming.
     
    Anybody else heard about this?

  28. Seasick Dave says:

    Robbie Dinwoodie, if you are reading this, I simply don’t believe you anymore.

  29. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “Mr Campbell told me to eff off for holding such a view only last week.”

    No, not for that. For trolling. It still holds.

  30. Macart says:

    @muttley 79
     
    On the upside my blood pressure readings have never been better. I’m a far more relaxed bod now that I’m not spitting ink and a lot better off financially for not having to replace the smashed telly every other week. :)

  31. crisiscult says:

    Did anyone see this from newswipe (think the series was around 2009)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-L6U0ZQE32E
     
    By the way, from my experience in Ukraine and Russia, I usually find that your average citizen (young to middle aged) has a healthy cynicisim about the content and veracity of their media, whereas I worryingly don’t find the same with youngsters in this country.

  32. Murray McCallum says:

    That’s amazing work by the press and politicians – great cost reduction with zero effort / hardship.  Can they now do the same to the UK’s national debt?

  33. Brian Powell says:

    The Rough Bounds
    Yes, two articles you can checkout on Newsnet Scotland.
    “Ireland’s Taoiseach Enda Kenny has confirmed the country will leave the international bailout programme by December this year.”
    And Scotland’s economy continues to grow:
    http://newsnetscotland.com/index.php/scottish-economy/8179-scotlands-economy-continues-to-grow-at-record-pace
    Sure you won’t be seeing much on these items on the BBC or most print media, at least not without some disparaging, gloomy, caveats!

  34. muttley79 says:

    @Macart
     
    In terms of the referendum debate I mainly read articles on here, Bella Caledonia, National Collective, and Derek Bateman’s new blog (another good article today btw).  I do not read any No articles or look for BT’s internet page).  I have heard it all before, there is too much paperwork to do etc, oil is to volatile etc.  I know some people might think that this sounds like I have a closed mind.  However, I have supported independence since as long as I can remember, and the 500 questions, the Unionists’ rhetoric (Salmond somehow being a dictator, virus stuff, see Bella C’s recent article for more) means that I am as definite a Yes as there probably is (although I have doubts about the outcome next year).  I find almost all the Unionists’ rhetoric and actions as demeaning to Scotland, and our ability to run our own affairs.  It really is awful, turgid stuff by BT.   

  35. David McCann says:

    As someone who has made a living from working in newspapers, I too have reluctantly given up on them.
    Every time the No campaign shout ‘shit’, our great Scottish media jump on the shovel!

  36. Embradon says:

    “As Ruthie only has to count the number of MPs she has, she usually manages to get by…”
    Presumably she only needs to remove one shoe.

  37. msean says:

    £100,000 – they all had the same figure,they must therefore have been at the same briefing,but now that has been back engineered to £12,000. It seems  that Winston Smith may be at work here.

  38. Macart says:

    @muttley
     
    Yep, true that. That’s primarily why I gave up on the press. Their shear unwillingness to question BT or present a different point of view. Their complete capitulation with the BT and Westminster narrative just set the teeth well on edge. That none of them saw any merit in the day to day running of the country by the SG or that the independence camp had anything worthwhile to say just beggared even statistical belief. At that point you have to ask yourself just why we should listen to them anymore.

    I’m no hypocrite, I am now well and truly closed minded, but in all fairness they had more than a hand in making me that way. There isn’t a damn thing they could say to convince me now of voting for a continuance of Westminster governance. No promises, nothing. I’ve listened to lies and misrepresentations about independence support for so long that any sudden change in tack by the press would receive instant suspicion on my part.

  39. desimond says:

    Oil revenue over future period = £1.5 TRILLION

    This sure isnt about 19 grand!

  40. MochaChoca says:

    £1.5 trillion is the potential wholesale value.

  41. Sophie says:

    Having written the Huff Post piece, I hold my hands up – £100,000 was the figure I got from the Times (the first paper to cover the story, if memory serves). But I stand by my main argument – that it was in the public interest to know whether or not Salmond had sought advice on the EU question (i.e. directly challenging Hyslop’s stated reason for declining to disclose the info in the first place). That’s not because I’m a committed member of the media’s pro-Union conspiracy – it’s because I believe in transparency, and the very great need for information to be available to the electorate, not hidden. So in my view, it doesn’t much matter whether it cost £20,000 or £100,000 – its about the public interest in having an informed debate. 

  42. The Man in the Jar says:

    @Sophie
    Please excuse me but I am pretty new to this game. in fact my political anorak sill has the labels on. However even as a novice I can plainly see that upholding the principal of law officers giving advice in confidence far outweighs the public interest in cases like this. Especially when that “public interest” is merely for taking a pop at the democratically elected government of Scotland.
     
    Also may we now assume that the Huffington post will issue a prominent correction regarding the ridiculous claim that the cost of the legal advice was in fact £19.000 and not “upwards of £100,000″

  43. Sophie says:

    @The Man in the Jar
    If that calculation was truly so objectively plain, Rosanna Agnew wouldn’t have made the ruling that she did. On the Huffington Post issuing a grand correction over my bracketed claim that the cost was likely “to be upwards of £100,000″ (based on the size of the last bill received for that kind of appeal) – I don’t know, I’m just a student blogger. I imagine they have ways of absolving themselves of any responsibility if the bloggers not on their payroll make incorrect projections. 

  44. molly says:

    So Sophie just so I understand this , in the interest of transparancy, (whether Alex Salmond received advice or not ), you wrote a piece published in the Huff Post , based on a figure from the Times? So if the figure is wrong , it’s the Times fault , if a correction is needed that’s The Huff Posts problem?Meantime the figure gets quoted  verbatim but that’s our problem. Have I got that right?

  45. Patrick Roden says:

    @ Sophie,
    The biggest part of my issue with the MSM, isn’t the desire for transparency, in fact this is welcomed.
    The issue I and I suspect most of the people on Wings have, is the fact that this desire to get  transparency/minute details/ truth/ expose/ etc, only seems to apply to the Scottish Government or the Yes campaign, while at the same time blogs like yours as well as the MSM completely ignore or turn a blind eye to, clear cases of corruption/dishonesty/lies/etc within the Unionist, No campaign.
     
    If you are indeed an honest balanced journalist blogger. then please begin to apply your skills to finding out the details of where BT funding is coming from and also delv into the cesspit of political corruption that is Glasgow Council.

  46. Danny says:

    Is the editor of the Sunday Post not the same guy who was at the Herald ? The one that was involved in cosy meetings with Labour politicians. 

  47. Sophie says:

    @Patrick Roden
    Agreed, there is not nearly enough of that – if you look at my most recent article, I write about the total inadequacy of the mainstream media’s coverage of the debates and point readers to this blog, as well as others. I don’t ignore the dodgy goings on within the No campaign – I simply haven’t got around to writing anything on it. I’m more than happy to do so though.

  48. so if it wasn’t for the internet, and bloggers like Wing,s we’d all be cowering in our homes feart to vote yes.  So how do we get to the folk who don’t have internet.  How do we get to the young people, one of whom (Iheard last night) still thinks Tony Blair is PM).  Out of our seats and onto the streets.  join local YES group. get message out in the streets, pubs and workplaces.

  49. Sophie says:

    @molly

    It was a projection: lots of projections turn out to be wrong. I will of course ask them to amend the figure, but if they issued a prominent apology for every projection their bloggers get wrong they wouldn’t have much time to do anything else. At the time, I considered it to be a reasonable projection based on the cost of a previous attempted block that the Times cites. 

  50. Morag says:

    I have to say I’m pretty disturbed by the cavalier attitude to accuracy displayed in Sophie’s comments.  Also the comfortable way she slips into the MSM meme of excoriating the SNP and the Yes campaign, while just not quite getting round to writing equivalent criticism of the No side.
     
    Considering the entirety of the broadcast media and the printed newspapers is pretty much a solid phalanx of “SNP accused” and “blow to Salmond’s hopes” articles, I’d have thought that the enterprising “student blogger” might have seen some advantage in going the other way.

  51. Sophie says:

    @Morag

    Sorry to hear you feel my attitude to accuracy is cavalier – I can assure you it’s not, but I’m guessing that that won’t much satisfy you. To be clear, I presented the figure only as a projection, and I have now asked for it to be removed in line with the solid figures having emerged. If you’re curious on getting an impression of me as a writer, do read my other articles and see if you still feel I am so cavalier. 

  52. Morag says:

    Sophie, I’m referring to your attitude to a possible correction of a figure you now know was erroneous.  As a science writer, I’m quite startled by your apparently laid-back approach to this.  Correcting hard print copy articles is a huge problem of course, but correcting something on the internet is remarkably simple.
     
    I imagine they have ways of absolving themselves of any responsibility if the bloggers not on their payroll make incorrect projections.
     
    It’s not about “responsibility” in the legal sense, it’s about journalistic responsibility to be truthful, and to amend inaccuracies whenever possible, in the interests of truth and fairness.
     
    And as I said, I’m also disappointed by your choice of subject matter.  Does the world need another “SNP accused” story?  Do we need online blogs that do little more than repackage articles from mainstream newspapers?  If you are aware of the unreported “dodgy goings on” within the No campaign, I struggle to see why you choose to join the already overwhelming chorus of negativity towards the pro-independence side.

  53. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “It was a projection: lots of projections turn out to be wrong. I will of course ask them to amend the figure, but if they issued a prominent apology for every projection their bloggers get wrong they wouldn’t have much time to do anything else.”

    A “prominent apology” isn’t needed. A footnote saying “This used to say £100,000 but has now been edited to reflect the true figure” is adequate. But, y’know, if you’re making “projections” (or rather, just copying other people’s), you really ought to be saying “this is what some people think it might end up costing”, not just stating as a fact that it WILL cost that. That’s the real problem here.

    I’ve been a professional journalist for almost 23 years, and I’ve managed to get through that whole time without confusing facts and idle speculation from non-neutral sources. It’s not THAT hard.

  54. Sophie says:

    @Morag
    My point about the Huff Post absolving themselves of responsibility is that if you went to them and said the figure is wrong, their response may very well be to tell you I’m not employed by them and they can’t accept any responsibility for incorrect projections made by me (they may change it, they may not – I don’t know their protocol for dealing with complaints about articles). My point was simply to say that I imagine them to have particularly good protection against projections made by bloggers they don’t pay. I can’t really see how that is evidence of my being cavalier with accuracy (if it was, I wouldn’t have contacted the editors myself and asked them to amend the post).

  55. Morag says:

    I think RevStu has put it pretty well.
     
    Nobody was talking about legal responsibility.  Nobody is seeking legal redress for this inaccuracy.  Nobody is even talking about “grand apologies”.  You yourself brought all these things up, almost as a distraction.  A simple apology in this thread, admitting that the figure was unthinkingly copied from another source, and an assurance that you would have the online article corrected, is really all that was required.
     
    If you’re really implying that the content of the Huffington Post is so riddled with inaccuracies that if they corrected all these inaccuracies they “wouldn’t have much time to do anything else”, I think that’s a pretty sad state of affairs.

  56. Jeannie says:

    @Sophie
     
    Sophie, there’s always a danger in repeating what someone else has written without checking for accuracy.  I was at a seminar earlier this year on the Pictish language and its appearance in Scottish placenames.  What came out loud and clear is that everyone had for years been citing research that had turned out to be erroneous.  Even the original author had admitted his research was wrong, but nonetheless, many researchers continued and still continue to cite it and base their own theories around it.  It’s original work that we’re crying out for in the independence debate, not repetition of other people’s errors or spin.
     
    On the other hand, I have to say, more power to your elbow for having the integrity to come onto this site, answer your critics, defend your position where possible and admit to mistakes.  That’s a lot more than we’ve ever had from established journalists such as Severin Carrell or Magnus Gardham.
     
    Let personal integrity, self-responsibility and professionalism be your guide in all that you write with respect to the referendum.  Your readers deserve no less.

  57. Sophie says:

    @Rev. Stuart Campbell

    Agreed, greater clarity was needed. But it remained a projection – I was estimating something in the future based on present data or trends (i.e. how much it cost the Scottish Gov last time to attempt to block an info request). “It will cost x based on…” sounded better than “I think it will cost x based on” at the time – mea culpa.

  58. Morag says:

    Jeannie said:
    On the other hand, I have to say, more power to your elbow for having the integrity to come onto this site, answer your critics, defend your position where possible and admit to mistakes.  That’s a lot more than we’ve ever had from established journalists such as Severin Carrell or Magnus Gardham.
     
    That too.  Absolutely.  I entirely agree.

  59. Sophie says:

    @Jeannie

    The full quote (only half of it is given above) illustrates that the figure is derived from the figure for how much it had cost the Scottish Gov the last time they went through the same process of trying to block the release of info. That seemed like a reasonable measure to me at the time. The projection turned out to be wrong, however, and I’ve held my hands up accordingly and asked for an amendment. 

  60. Jeannie says:

    @Sophie
     
    Ferr doos.  Can’t ask more than that.
     
    I can see that the principles of transparancy and public interest are important to you with respect to the independence referendum, so I was wondering whether the subject of the Westminster government’s blocking of the release of papers relating to the devolution referendum of 1997 might be of journalistic interest to you.  I understand that the blocking of the release of information came at the request of the Scotland office, but can’t be sure of this.
     
    I e-mailed Paul Hutcheon, a professional journalist on the Sunday Herald about this a number of weeks ago.  I chose him because he had actually written the article which advised us of what the government had done.  I haven’t had the courtesy of a reply, though, so am assuming the matter is of no interest to him.
     
    I think it is very much in the public interest to know what was in the thinking of key figures at the time since some of these same figures are presently leading or playing an active part in the Better Together campaign. 
     
    I would like to know the reasoning behind the decisions taken on which areas were to be devolved and which were to remain within the jurisdiction of Westminster as this reasoning may well be pertinent to the arguments put forward by Better Together for remaining within the Union.  The fact that we are being deliberately denied this type of information surely raises questions with respect to the issue of transparancy within the current debate.
     
    It seems clear to me that this is a matter of public interest.  Does it perhaps tweak your journalistic curiosity, Sophie?

  61. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “But it remained a projection – I was estimating something in the future based on present data or trends (i.e. how much it cost the Scottish Gov last time to attempt to block an info request). “It will cost x based on…” sounded better than “I think it will cost x based on” at the time”

    Sounding better isn’t an excuse for saying something that’s wrong. “It could cost” is the short formulation you were looking for. But as noted by others, kudos for at least trying to get it fixed now.

  62. Sophie says:

    @Jeannie
    Definitely interested in putting something together on that – if you have twitter I can DM you my email address (you can find me via the HuffPost page) and we can talk further on it.

  63. Sophie says:

    @Rev. Stuart Campbell
    Whether I said “It could cost x based on…” or “I think it will cost x based on…” is really just splitting hairs.. I’m not convinced there is any real difference there, the message of the sentence remains the same. By pointing to the basis of my claim though (which you leave out from the quote – the brackets don’t end where you suggest they do), I thought at the time that I had equipped readers with some context to let them decide if my projection was reasonable. When you add the rest of the quote, I’d argue that it becomes a less stark claim than “It will cost x.” I should have certainly been more clear and cautious in my wording though. 

  64. Jeannie says:

    @Sophie
     
    Will do.  I know it’s a lot of work if you’re not sure anybody will actualy publish it, but I think it’s worth some exploration and investigation, nonetheless.

  65. molly says:

    Sophie, so far its been projected that border controls will be required, our airports may have to be bombed to protect England and we could never have bailed out the banks. 
     
    Not having a go at you personally, I just want reliable information.

    I must admit to being a bit wearied by policies, decisions and life being shaped by polls, lobbyists, forums and projections from an anonymous office somewhere. If it looks like a duck and walks like a duck etc.

    Personally, I think Alex Salmond was doing what he does best, employing his political skills or if you were a poker player, not showing your hand. Unfortunately, despite being paid to be a politician some of the opposition don’t have enough awareness to recognise ‘politics’ as its not on their script.

    Thanks for taking the time to explain your view,hope your writing continues to flourish and I’ll try to catch up with some of your other articles.



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