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Wings Over Scotland

Counting With Mr Gray

Posted on December 29, 2016 by

Several papers today carry a desperate story about education that’s sourced straight from a Scottish Labour press release, which pulls some figures out of thin air without providing any sources and appears to have left out at least one significant factor.


But that’s not the funny bit.

Two of the stories – the Herald’s (left above) and the Times’ (right above) – lead with the claim that the number of pupils leaving without a maths qualification has “almost doubled”. The Courier actually makes it an ironically ungrammatical headline.


The claim is from Labour’s education spokesman Iain Gray, who’s quoted saying:

“Now Labour can reveal that the number of young people leaving school with no significant maths qualification has rocketed in recent years – close to doubling.”

Labour can’t actually reveal any such thing, since its numbers are highly questionable and the means they’ve used to produce them haven’t been disclosed and can’t be verified. But taken at face value the headline figures in their “report” are these:

2012/13: 1,890 pupils (3.8%) left without SCQF Level 3 or higher

2014/15: 3,228 pupils (6.1%) left without SCQF Level 3 or higher

Measuring percentages, the more recent figure would (if true) be a 60.5% increase on two years previously, whereas measuring absolute numbers of pupils it’d be a 70.8% increase, so let’s take a generous average and say that Scottish Labour are claiming the increase is 66%.

Describing such figures as “close to doubling” is the sort of thing that – not to put too fine a point on it – sees you leave school without a maths qualification.

(In doing so Gray has in fact exaggerated the size of the alleged rise by a whopping 50%, which is close to quadrupling it to a thousand.)

Iain Gray used to be a teacher. While we’re grateful that someone who thinks 66% is near enough 100% is no longer employed in educating Scotland’s young people, we can’t bring ourselves to say that he’s moved to a job he’s any more capable at. We’ll forgive readers a shudder if they imagine him actually being put in charge of their children’s schools.

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  1. 29 12 16 19:56

    Counting With Mr Gray | speymouth

103 to “Counting With Mr Gray”

  1. Dan Huil says:

    Maybe Ian’s still suffering after-effects from his notorious vist to Subway. Veggie Patty anyone?

  2. Capella says:

    The two articles mention that more pupils are attaining a “more advanced level”. The Times says more are attaining Level 4. So is Level 4 higher or lower than Level 3? I’m confused.

  3. crazycat says:

    Iain Gray used to be a teacher

    A maths teacher. Oh dear.

  4. Gary45% says:

    Methinks a retraction round about the 18th sept 2017 will appear in the said toilet paper.
    Iain Gray the original “haud it AND daud it.” but in an annoying whiney voice.
    Any trolls out there, please tell Numpty Gray to keep on being a “QUALITY???” politician.
    On a serious note,thank the biby jeesis he “USED” to be a teacher.

  5. Hamish100 says:

    So the Herald and their Education Correspondent just made it up.

    2 out of 10 or 50% according to liebours ejucayion exxpert!

  6. Malky says:

    I don’t know about anyone else, but I’m focussing on the “if true” bit.

  7. gus1940 says:

    Yesterday we had a Scottish NHS bad news story from the Leader of Scotland’s GPs which was joyously splashed all over our wonderful media.

    Given today’s announcement by his English equivalent of a really disastrous situations re GPs in England I suppose yesterday’s Scottish NHS story was released as some sort of spoiler in anticipation of today’s English story to remind us that ‘the Scottish NHS is in a disastrous state under the SNP government’.

  8. Gary45% says:

    Mibbes 75% against 61% which in my Slab calculations make 3%, can I be Slabs new finance minister?
    Looks like the GUTTER press are carrying on with the same old SH*TE into 2017.
    Oh aye,100% behind the SNP, that’s 100% in old money.

  9. Bill Hume says:

    It’s unrelenting….just fucking unrelenting. How do we, as people who wish to see Scotland an independent nation, combat this torrent of misinformation?
    I honestly wish I could see a way forward.

  10. Jim watson says:

    This is rubbish as 85.6% of political statistics are wrong…

  11. Donald Cameron says:

    Ian Gray is a bitter old has been, his hatred for his personal demise can be heard in every sentence he utters in Parliament.

    He has no shame regards some of the garbage he comes out with, he either has poor researchers, staff who feed him lies or he himself can’t determine what’s true / false.

    No loss to man-kind when he leaves parliament, he’s worse than Foulkes if that is humanly possible?

  12. Simon says:

    AM I just being stupid?

    (from the courier article above)

    “The analysis of Government figures showed that 3,228 pupils left Scottish schools with a pass of SQF (…) Level 3 or higher in 2014/15 compared to 1,890 pupils in 2011/12”

    Is that not a good thing?

  13. Jockanese Wind Talker says:

    You know it’s bullsh*t when the P&J stick it in a sidebar on page 11 rather than a full page around 2, 3 or 4.

    They quote the Scots gov spokesman as saying “This analysis does not recognise the increased proportion of school leavers attaining in maths t SCQF4+ and its assumptions about class sizes do not stack up.”

    Still on education so not O/T nice letter regarding Aberdeen Cities BLiS Yoon Loons education policies from Doug Daniel.

  14. Ian McCubbin says:

    Having heard Ian Gray speak many times and been in his company once I too wonder how he survived in a school as a teacher.
    I totally agree with his maths skills would last 2 seconds with a national 3 class.
    Probably not suited to MSP job either given he cannot get a factual report together. Well reported Stuart.

  15. yesindyref2 says:

    Yeah thanks, used that. You’ve got to be careful using it though, because someone would ask “Yes sure, so it’s 66% rather than 100%, so what, it’s still bad”. TO which the answer is actually (SG Spokesperson): “This analysis does not recognise the increased proportion of school leavers attaining in maths at higher SCQF levels and its assumptions about class sizes do not stack up.

    It’s a tip by the way for forums, if you get into an argument, always make sure you know your next step – or exit strategy!

  16. yesindyref2 says:

    I’ll probably get told off for this, but here’s a simple “lesson” for fractions (not percentages) in case it’s useful.

    If you want to add 1/3 + 1/6 + 1/2, you find the “lowest common denominator” (LCD). This is the lowest number all the bits on the bottom of the three fractions can all divide into. In this case it’s 6.

    Then you multiply top and bottom of each fraction by the SAME figure to get the bottom number equal to the LCD. So you get: 2/6 + 1/6 + 3/6.

    Then you add the top bits and divide it by the bottom, so you get 2+1+3 = 6 divided by the LCD which is 6m to get 6/6 = 1.

    Apologies to the 100% of you, nearly double, who knew that anyway.

  17. robertknight says:

    P & J: Pish & Jobbers (Esp. of the Yoon variety)

    Thankfully Gray can’t do any harm where he is now – Labour in North Britain is about as effective a political force as the LibDems, and that’s being generous towards Labour.

  18. Dr Jim says:

    There’s a 99% chance Iain Gray’s an idiot
    But there’s 100% certainty he’s a liar

    I’ve run out of percentages for newspapers there are too many

  19. Thepnr says:

    “But taken at face value the headline figures in their “report” are these:

    2012/13: 1,890 pupils (3.8%) left without SCQF Level 3 or higher

    2014/15: 3,228 pupils (6.1%) left without SCQF Level 3 or higher”

    Of course you will not find these figures in the official statistics at the scots gov website, the actual figures in Numeracy for those obtaining level 3 or higher in 2012/13 was 96.9% and for 2014/15 96.3%.

    Or put another way:

    2012/13: 1,601 pupils (3.1%) left without SCQF Level 3 or higher

    2013/14: 1,942 pupils (3.7%) left without SCQF Level 3 or higher

    These figures are for numeracy only. See Table 7, Pg 18 for more detail.

    Who knows how Labour obtain their figures and would be nice of them to release their full report for scrutiny rather than just the propaganda SNPBAD part.

  20. An Gille Ruadh says:

    “A former aid worker and teacher of maths and physics, Gray was first elected to the devolved Scottish Parliament in 1999 as the MSP for the Edinburgh.” Mmm?

  21. Iain More says:

    It begs the question as to what schools those Yoons went to.

  22. Iain ( where will the money for the oil fund come from ) Gray !

  23. galamcennalath says:

    Would I be correct in saying that the only identified source of ….

    2014/15: 3,228 pupils (6.1%) left without SCQF Level 3 or higher

    … is a Labour Party press release?

    One of the many complaints about newspapers is nowadays they regurgitate information without verifying it. Has anyone anywhere independently sourced and checked this so called statistic?

    It might be true, but no one seems sure!

    Is there a real journalist left in Scotland?

  24. Fred says:

    Well done Val McDermid leading her team to victory on University Challenge tonight. A working class product of the Scottish education system tae & Fred’s fav’ crime writer.

  25. winifred mccartney says:

    Can someone explain to me what the journalists who put their name to these articles are being paid for -are they not capable of research or analysis and if not why not. Or do they just take dictation from labour party sources and stick their name on it, take the money and run, because that is what it seems like to me.

  26. heedtracker says:

    Dr NO! piles on. It is disappointing to see even SLab uni academics descending into daft SNP bad spin. Maybe that’s their point, we’re shite because Scottish democracy’s shite, and we don’t UKOK care.

    Scott Arthur Retweeted
    Scott Arthur ?@DrScottThinks 12h12 hours ago
    Let’s make education in Scotland great again.

  27. Del says:

    Spoken (authoritatively of course) as an ex-Maths teacher covering ages up to 18, I’d make a very non-mathematical response. Gray and his ilk can FOAD.

  28. Les Wilson says:

    It is a labour source from a bitter old man,a proven stupid one at that. Remember at Holyrood FMQ’s, ” an oil fund, where’s the money going to come from?” Yes, he said that,idiot.But we already know ANY story, or non story from them can never be trusted.

    Sky news at 6pm had a head doctor on about the English NHS, saying they cannot cope, and people may soon have to wait a MONTH to see a doctor. Wow, and they try and denigrate our NHS over, well anything. You maybe able to catch it on BBCS, but then again, probably not.

  29. Robert Peffers says:

    @gus1940 says: 29 December, 2016 at 6:49 pm:

    “Given today’s announcement by his English equivalent of a really disastrous situations re GPs in England”

    Well not according to the BBC News, gus1940.

    The BBC reports it thus:-

    Britain’s leading GP says she is “profoundly concerned”, about how Doctors will cope with demand over the busy winter period.

    Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the Royal College of GPs Council, said general practice was, “skating on thin ice”, warning, “Something has to give.

    Some people wait weeks to see a doctor, with potentially serious results, the Staffordshire-based GP said.

    NHS England said GPs would be getting extra funding to extend services.

    Now I may be wrong but I would have thought that the lady is only speaking about the English NHS and is not in any way authorised to speak on behalf of the Republic of Ireland GPs or indeed the three non-UK Crown protectorates or the independent Scottish NHS GP services.

    I conclude that either the lady doctor is overstepping her mandate or the BBC’s reportage is deliberately misreporting what she actually said. The BBC has a long history of telling the World that England means the whole of the British Isles.

    However, I deduce this actually may be very good news for Scotland’s independent NHS GPs if English NHS funding carries Barnett Consequential then the Scottish GP practices will get a Barnett Consequentials boost.

    So there it is – either the English GP Chair of the Royal College of GPs is authorised to speak on behalf of Scottish GPs or the BBC has really dreadfully poorly educated reporters, (or perhaps both), or it is actually bad news in England but good news for Scotland.

  30. Christine Kabashi says:

    Didnt he make the most hilariously bad film for his constituents years ago? Probably as an excuse to purchase some expensive and about to be obsolete video camera on expenses. I tried to find it but he will have deleted it by now, I guess. I did share it on my facebook page at some time. Anyway it defined him as an idiot then and he has never done anything since to change that opinion. Please someone find it!

  31. davidb says:

    Ah, but how many left without a significant Latin qualification? I think we need to know.

    So what if a coupla thousand kids don’t get significant maths qualifications. Like the majority of the populace, most of them will never use maths again the rest of their lives.

  32. Robet Peffers says:

    @Bill Hume says: 29 December, 2016 at 6:56 pm:

    ” … I honestly wish I could see a way forward.”

    Cheer up Bill. I believe that the problem is actually sorting itself out.

    I see a relationship between the opposition’s unrelenting torrent of misrepresentation and downright lies, the BBC’s audience figure decline and the dead tree press declining readership.

    The more they lie and misreport the sharper the decline in their credibility and a resultant direct loss of revenue from the loss of customers.

    In effect these Westminster Propaganda outlets are forging their own decline and ultimate downfall.

    It will work like this and may well be quite sudden – The advertisers who are now their largest source of income will suddenly realise that the returns from their advertising revenues are NOT getting effective returns for the sums spent.

    Business, both large and small, have Business Associations and the word will spread like lightning. All it takes is one to stop paying for advertisements and noticing there is no corresponding dip in sales.

    Their competitors will see this as them gaining a financial advantage and the media’s advertising revenue will stop faster than a Formula I car hitting a barrier on a Grand Prix lap.

  33. John Young says:

    O/T Just a wee story about my personal experiences with Scottish NHS over the last 24 hrs. By the way I’m absolutely fine so please no comments re. my health.

    I collapsed on the way to the loo about 3am, my wife heard the thump, she phoned 999 answered immediately and explained the situation and they said an ambulance would be with us within 10mins. I said I did not want that and my wife was advised to phone 111.

    As she was doing that I got up, went down again but eventually made it onto a chair. After a short wait, under 2 mins, I spoke at length to a triage person who was kind and professional and questioned me for about 15mins and at the end said a medical professional would phone me within two hrs.

    An hour later the phone rang, another 15mins of questions, reassurance and I was advised to go and see my GP in the morning.

    When I phoned at 8.30am I was offered two morning time slots and was seen on time and was with my GP for about 30 mins. He knew all about what had happened during the night and I said I was impressed. Yes he said our systems are good and work well. I then had a very thorough examination.

    During this time I asked if he would mind responding to a few questions.

    Are you busier than you were say 10 yrs ago? Quite a bit.

    Why is that? Simple demographics, people are living a lot longer and also a lot of middle aged persons are on very complex drug regimes that need careful monitoring.

    Are you well resourced? Can’t complain things are tight but we are not short of anything.

    Why is there a shortage of GPs? It’s the same all over the UK, hospitals are seen as a better career option. Also so many young GPs choose to work part time so their partners can continue with their careers. We never used to have young male GPs working part time.

    I came home and remain very impressed with our wonderful Scottish NHS.

  34. frogesque says:

    Just on the basis of a quick Google search it appears the dyscalculia, akin to dyslexia but related to numeracy, is thought to affect somewhere in the region of 5% of the population. Research is poor however and what little there is comes from America.

    This should be the baseline of assessment ie. not 100% pass rate but a 95% pass rate for basic understanding of numeracy. On this basis, Scotland seems to be doing reasonably well.

  35. Tackety Beets says:

    Ian M @ 8.00

    Can’t tell you it’s a secret ! Smiley fing!

    Actually IG was in my year / class at school and to the best of my recall he was not in top class @ Maths.
    Infact I cannot re-call if he was in top class(A) in any subjects?
    Aye, an he wisnae much cope at fitba either. Despite his best attempts on a Sat mornin with the BBs

    I’m pleased to add that many of our year FP’s still carry “YES” on their FB page.

    Sorry IG but you were far from popular in our year , you have had over 40 years since then and you are doing your best to maintain your popularity,…….or your adamant to continue on that downward spiral.

  36. Robert Peffers says:

    @davidb says: 29 December, 2016 at 8:57 pm:

    ” … Like the majority of the populace, most of them will never use maths again the rest of their lives.”

    The fastest guy I ever met at mental arithmetic was hardly able to read and write. A total numptie who was as lazy as anyone I ever met.

    Yet he could calculate complex betting odds and even more complex roll up betting returns in his head in a flash.

  37. Bob Mack says:

    All the while, Scotlands budget is being strangled and reduced by Westminster to create a scenario where such headlines can exist. Everybody and their aunt knows it,apart it seems from some Unionists.

  38. davidb says:

    @ Mr Peffers

    Arithmetic and Maths are still I believe, 2 different subjects. Did this scion of the bookies have a latin qualification? And did he find his algebra came in handy working out the odds?

    I use maths regularly. Most of the application I have is doing the sums so that others can do their job. That I have a qualification in Maths has been good for my career, but seeing as eejits like me can do the maths for them, I suspect the majority of them found little further use for the subject when they left school. Oh I got a quali in Latin too. I can safely say that it has been of absolutely no practical use to me at all.

  39. Macart says:

    Iain Gray?

    Is he still a thing?

    Remarkable. 🙄

  40. Helsbels says:

    Sorry O.T. Just wanted to give people a heads up. Google ‘My perfect country BBC world service’ all episodes still on iplayer. It’s a fab radio series on utopian ideas from other countries that really work. Ideas for an independent Scotland…..

  41. K1 says:

    ‘Like the majority of the populace, most of them will never use maths again the rest of their lives.’


    Ah’ll huv you know ma partner is ace at discount shopping across a wide range of outlets and has a mind as fast as a hadron collector when it comes tae calculating the best deals in nano seconds. Thon arithmetic/maths learning is futile richt enough…

    *Hops back on thoan light beam thingy…whoosh….*

  42. Sinky says:

    David Cole Hamilton quoted in the Herald article above is the father of the West Edinburgh Lib Dem expenses scandal MSP

  43. BJ says:

    O/T. I was given a small radio at Xmas. All I want is a decent Scottish channel I can listen to in my shed. I would love to hear a real unbiased debate now and then so Radio Scotland is not an option.

    Is there such a thing on the airwaves any more? It’s not that much to ask is it? I refuse to listen anymore to any of the tripe that comes from Kay with an E.

  44. shug says:

    It might be a bit off topic but I would be interested in views on:

    Westminster has moved away from British values!!

    I have listed the British values recently produced by OFSTED and why Westminster is no longer a supporter of British values.


    • Westminster ignored and misled parliament to start the wars in the middle east
    • Westminster takes no account of the democratic wishes of the constituent parts of the UK

    The rule of law;

    • The Justice and Security Act has extended closed material procedures into the main civil courts
    • Intelligence can be introduced by the government but will only be seen by the judge and security-cleared “special advocates”
    • Claimants may not, therefore, be aware of all the allegations made against them.
    •In a chilling move, debated for less than an hour, the House of Commons decided the public have no right to know if their MP is arrested

    Individual liberty;

    • Dizzying’ range of electronic surveillance equipment set to be made available to MI5, MI6 and GCHQ under new laws
    • Proposals give powers to take control of devices through software flaw
    • Allows them to use computers and phones to listen in to things around
    •Britain has a CCTV camera for every 11 people, a security industry report disclosed, as privacy campaigners criticised the growth of the “surveillance state”.

    Mutual respect for and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs and for those without faith.

    • Unionists are not known for tolerating other faiths (e.g. orange lodge)
    • Labour party and anti-Semitism.
    • Governments support faith schools which by definition can exclude those of other faiths

    I know Westminster does not support these values, as I obtained all of the above in the Daily Mail.

    Scotland should move away from Westminster in order to maintain real British values

  45. Swiss Perspective says:

    “If you can do, do. If you can’t, teach.”

    … and if you can’t teach, become a Labour pundit.

  46. Tinto Chiel says:

    Iain Gray? THAT Iain Gray?

    Who gives a Carmichael about Subway Boy?

    If he works very hard he’ll become a nonentity.

  47. K1 says:

    “If you can do, do. If you can’t, teach.” do anything

    … and if you can’t teach, become a Labour pundit.

    You’re welcome Swiss Perspective 🙂

  48. ronnie anderson says:

    O/T Please Share widely on all social media sites.

  49. Clootie says:

    My main concern is not the crap Gray and Co continues to spout but the ongoing ease with which the material is reproduced in the media without even a basic scrutiny of the contents for accuracy.

  50. Thepnr says:


    Yes that is though but one side of the propaganda coin. The other is the “good news” or achievements that the SNP have made since coming to power.

    Until this stupid article today prompted by a SLabour press release i had no idea that from 1998 to 2007 the number of pupils leaving school in Scotland with at least 1 higher remained flat every year at around 43%.

    From 2007 to 2015 that figure of at least 1 Higher has risen to 60%, a massive increase and unreported as far as I know. Now I know that the SNP also do press releases but how many will read them if they are not published by the press?

    Disgrace is what it is, but at least more each day must be becoming aware of this, I’d like to thank Iain Gray and Labour for making me go and look up education statistics for myself. It has left me better educated as to the success that the Scottish Government is making in running Scotland when compared to their performance in Government.

    They only know lies and that just makes me all the more determined to expose their lies. Scotland will be free from this type of politicking and manipulation. They’re helping us on that road.

    Just keep lying SLab and see your vote go below that of the Greens.

  51. Gary45% says:

    Ronnie, just tried to open link, no success.
    Its bedtime so will try again in the morning.

  52. ronnie anderson says:

    @ Gary 45% Thanks we need to get it of this invitation only link

  53. And for this shite, Gray pockets £1200 a week.
    And the Dead Tree Scrolls reproduce this kack.
    They are dying slowly but surely.
    £1200 a week. It is obscene.

  54. velofello says:

    We are not alone, seems that the American public are also disenchanted with their media.

    I’d wager many kids will leave school without formal qualifications and move on to achieve whatever is needed in further education to develop their chosen careers. I did, I was in the A stream, latin etc. yet I hated school, in my day school was a brutal dictatorial regime.

    I never failed a maths exam ever, MSc C.Eng eventually, thankfully retired. I consider the College education route as vital to the late developers/ What’s the point of this reasoners. Uni straight from school is not for every student.

    Ian Gray is simply a timeserving MSP. No political principles.

  55. heedtracker says:

    Whats the difference between maths and arithmetic anyway. Its statistics that’s the real torture. Leave vote hoping for the collapse of the EU disappointment, in stats

  56. Tam The Bam says:

    Can Mr Gray award me a 66% increase in my salary please?

  57. Conan the Librarian™ says:

    British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli: “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.”

    And a British PM should be an expert.

  58. Tackety Beets says:

    I just remembered , way back ooer IG was in SP berating AS for only funding 25k apprentice places and was shouting about it needs to be more…….

    AS smartly reminded IG that SLab manifesto campaigned for 10k funded apprentice places ….. What a tube IG can be.

    You plonker Gray !

    I’m of to YT to see if I can find a link …… I need a laugh

  59. Paul D says:

    Sinky, I wondered if David Cole-Hamilton was related to Alex, thanks for the confirmation. In a country with a functioning independent and impartial media, you’d have thought that was a point worth mentioning in the article.

  60. HandandShrimp says:

    I know that Labour are toiling these days but to nick Trump’s “make xxx great again” is a tad unimaginative.

    It wasn’t desperately imaginative when Trump did it come to think of it.

  61. heedtracker says:

    FT lays down the UKOK law, for the hols. Tories in Scotland are resurgent says FT, which is one way of putting it.

  62. schrodingers cat says:

    so slab press release…


    but only for large values of 1

    ‘s math sin 🙂

  63. schrodingers cat says:

    ian gray says…

    there are 10 types of people who understand binary code..

    those that do


  64. Ruby says:

    He didn’t last very long as a teacher of Maths & Physics in Edinburgh!

    ‘He taught Maths and Physics in Edinburgh before leaving to teach in an agricultural technical school in Mozambique.

    After seven years as a teacher trying to support young people to make the best of their opportunities, and twelve years with Oxfam organising for social justice and against poverty around the world

  65. Thepnr says:

    Labour’s polls show it lagging far behind Tories as party abandons its Glasgow stronghold

    One Labour MSP said the party had calculated that it would achieve 15 per cent of the vote at the local elections in May with the Tories securing 25 per cent and the dominant SNP attracting 45 per cent.

    Labour have payed the price in Scotland for dallying with the Tories, all the Unionist Labour supporters have moved to the Ruth Davidson No Surrender Party.

    It’s time we turned our guns on them for the mean, cruel and absolutely insufferable people they are. There really are only 25% to 30% who are hard Unionists in Scotland, the other 70% are potential YES voters.

    We have helped to destroy Labour but they did most of the work all by themselves, they could have supported Independence or as a minimum real Home Rule, they didn’t and have payed the price.

    There voter base now makes them almost irrelevant, time to target our argument at the Tories, they will be votes there to be won.

  66. Thepnr says:

    Link to the Herald article.

  67. Robert Peffers at 9.39

    You are very correct. When I was teaching in Hamilton in the early 70s I had the “modified” class as my form class. That was those judged the dumplings and the stupid. (That’s what art teachers and PE teachers got).
    I had one lad who could work out a quarter the odds at 15/8 times 2/6d quicker than I could (and I am highly numerate and worked part time for William Hills when the settlers did all the calculations, not computers). I recognised then there were conditions not recognised that many of my guys had. It is only since then that dyslexia and dyspraxia and so on got recognised

  68. schrodingers cat says:

    We have helped to destroy Labour but they did most of the work all by themselves,

    There really are only 25% to 30% who are hard Unionists in Scotland, the other 70% are potential YES voters.

    correct pnr

    but whats left of slab as a party represents the hard unionists and they are deserting to the tories. they have been eviserated, caught between a roc and a hard place. but we still need to scrape the bottom of that slab barrel for another 5 to 10% to the yes camp to win this battle.

    it is difficult to see where slab fits in in todays scotland, let alone in an indy scotland. I think we have won that argument, being a unionist and a socialist is an endangered species

  69. Dr Jim says:

    No matter how much the media bangs on about a resurgent Tory party doesn’t make it so
    The amount the Tories go up is the same amount Labour goes down, so even Iain Gray could count that one reasonably well
    Labour, Tory, one party it’s just at the moment they dislike Kezia more than they dislike Davidsons no surrender party, maybe it’s her pointy KKK mask fashion accessories with the burning cross bracelets, who knows

    The media really shouldn’t let themselves get carried away with the forlorn hope that somehow Davidson will ever be any kind of a threat to Nicola Sturgeon it just wont happen, like ever

    Come the council elections Labour voters will vote Tory making it as clear as day to everyone everywhere they are one and the same team and then they’ll support each other better together style to keep the SNP from total control of the councils

    Trickery and chicanery will be the order of the day also with more than likely many more “Independent” candidates standing who will really be mostly Labour folk with the sneaky plan of fooling the unsuspecting public, they’ve got form for that behaviour

    Comrade Harvie will give it a real go as well ( to make the councils bolder don’t you know) all I can say is if folk are going to vote, and I hope they are, think of all candidates as Unionists except the SNP of course and vote accordingly, eh and watch out for the squirmy Lib Dems sliding in from the side

    You know what to do, but be sure to have buckets of water handy to put out the Tories burning crosses in yer gerdins
    You’ll hear them coming though wae their big drums bangin and flutes whislin like a scene from an American Independence day parade

    (sort of ironic that don’t you think)

  70. Chic McGregor says:

    Even if I accepted SLAB figures without scrutiny, which as a non MSM journo I am want to do, those leaving with SCQF Level 3 maths or higher of 96.2% dropping to those those leaving with SCQF Level 3 at 93.9 % is hardly headline material.

    Especially given the normal variation in exam question difficulty.

  71. caledonia says:

    I think we need to focus on attacking the tories next elections
    Labour are dead with unionists moving over to tories and the rest supporting snp leaves them dead in the water
    The press will start to really push the tories and ruth as popular because nobody is highlighting the damage they are doing
    Everyone will be arguing about indy2 probably with labour and the tories could sneek a good few votes on the back of this

  72. yesindyref2 says:

    Just been catching up with the Herald and read John McLellan’s article “SNP’s aim is to be a shock to the system”. I know his background but up till now his articles have been readable and interesting, though I’ve missed some of them particularly recently. This one is sheer panic, or at least I guess that’s the excuse for it. David Torrance is balanced by comparison.

  73. Meg merrilees says:

    Slightly O/T

    Yesterday saw the release of a video which shows off the new Queensferry bridge and a review of its construction throughout this year – a stunning achievement and something Scotland should be proud of. A good news story!…

    OH, OH! Can’t have that! Let’s think up a negative slant for one last bit of SNP baad news before the end of the year….

    The ‘i’ Newspaper’s headline today is:

    “EXCLUSIVE: ‘More than 700 incidents on the Queensferry Crossing’

    Over 730 incidents have been recorded, 329 ‘near misses’ since 2011 “…
    (a 5 year period – Shock! Horror!)

    It then explains that “the majority have been minor e.g. a worker slipping on ice in the car park” … (a near miss?)

    ” a labourer was stung by a wasp, an office worker cut their finger on a document, an engineer burned their hand on some take-away soup and a handyman tripped over his own sign”

    “Other incidents were more serious resulting in Ambulances being called on at least 4 occasions” … ( that’s not a lot of occasions in 5 years, nor a lot more ‘serious incidences’)

    Sadly one person lost their life and I do not disrespect that – that is one too many.

    Another person had a suspected heart attack, someone amputated the tip of their finger and another worker was assaulted.

    So, to summarise:-

    “10,000 people have worked on the project, carrying out 20,000 activities over the course of nearly 15million hours” across 5 years and ambulances have been called on at least 4 occasions – possibly fewer than once a year.

    Labour MSP Neil Findlay ( jumping on the bandwagon), is quoted as saying,
    ” There are serious questions to be answered here about worker safety during the lifetime of this project.”
    ( maybe he’s not very good at Maths!)

    What a PATHETIC front-page “EXCLUSIVE” piece of claptrap from a paper that should know better, a complete non-story yet again demonstrating how hellbent the establishment is to try and trash Scotland/ the SG at each and every opportunity and why SLAB is in a complete downward spiral. Gutter press is a very apt description, and sadly, as we know, the ordinary person will only see and digest the headlines – Job done, SNP really, really, baad.

    I despair!…sometimes.

  74. Liz g says:

    Meg Merrilees @ 3.41
    Here is the absolute parodox.
    If the SNP Government at Holyrood.. Actually did anything bad.

    How would we ever know??.

  75. twathater says:

    Meg Merrilees 3.41am

    Very well reported and concise figures, it is my unfortunate situation to inform you that SLAB of the British Nationalists have requested your transfer and are willing to pay a lot of money for your transfer , but unfortunately we would have to accept Ian ( canny coont ) Gray as part of the transfer ,aw naw fcuk it yill jist hive tae stey

  76. Meg merrilees says:

    Sadly Liz g, if the SNP gov at Holyrood actually did something wrong we’d never hear the end of it!

    Unlike now, when we never hear the end of it either!

    You may wonder why I’m commenting on thursday’s newspaper at 3.41 on Friday morning but i had a really busy day on thursday with lots of visitors. Got to bed about 1.00am and then then couldn’t sleep – crazy times! jActually, just practising for tomorrow i.e. ‘saturday’ night.

    A Happy New Year to you all.

    Did you know, Lidl have tubs of coal at their checkout so you can go “First-footing” suitably equipped!

    Good job no-one was shot dead at Faslane eh?

  77. And all the best when it comes to you too, Meg.
    Our ‘Scottish’ Dead Tree Scrolls are now openly sabotaging Scottish institutions.
    Lhe lies printed by HS and P&J are deliberately designed to undermine the morale of our teaching profession; just like the lies about our Police Force and the ‘thousands ‘ leaving on Wednesday, were designed to distort, demean and destroy the morale of our excellent Police Service.
    The poisonous little hacks who churn out this nonsense on the back of New Labour Branch Office lies, are now beneath conrempt.
    They are anti Scottish, hate their own country, and will do anything, say anything, and are obviously doing it willingly, with one aim in mind; to perpetuate Scotland’s subjugation as a colony of England, and the concomitant suppression of the citizens of Scotland to and English dominated London Administration’s will.
    I have never witnessed such an outpouring of hatred , self loathing and lies from our print and broadcast media in my lifetime, which has been long and not without its challenges.
    Is there no one left in the media who actually supports and celebrates Scotland the tremendous small European country that it is?
    Iain Gray of chubby jowls and ruddy face is, was, and always will be, a little New Labour Fourth Division card carrier, who for nearly two decades has warmed his ample backside on the Holyrood benches, and occasionally surfaces to front arrant nonsense and lies like this latest junk.
    He is a waste of space. Education’s gain, was Holyrood’s loss.
    The dark days of 2016 are drawing to a close.
    2017 is Freedom Year.
    No more Mr Nice Guy.
    For the sake of auld lang syne, Meg.

  78. Robert Peffers says:

    @Dave McEwan Hill says: 30 December, 2016 at 12:46 am

    “You are very correct. When I was teaching in Hamilton in the early 70s I had the “modified” class as my form class.”

    I well remember the modified classes, Dave. Although, in Edinburgh the Education Board tended to move the pupils to Special Schools.

    Many of these pupils were far from being stupid while others had very special powers. We had one girl in our class for a short time before she just vanished, (It was WWII war time). We later found out the Government had removed her and taken her away. We later heard she was doing government work at a secret location.

    This girl could just glance at an A4 page of text and figures, then write it all down 100% correctly. She didn’t have a clue what it all meant but could reproduce it all correctly.

    We know now she had what is called, “A Photographic Memory”. I believe she spent the war years at Bletchley Park.

    On the other hand the really stupid numpties were those who inhabited the back row of desks. These people were actually very bright but were more intent upon disrupting the rest of the class. They thought education was just a big joke.

    These were the ones who impacted most upon the entire class’ attainment and those classed for, “Modified”, education were the ones who could benefit most from proper treatment in education.

    Mind you the titles now given to these conditions were generally recognised as, “Word Blindness”, and “Number Blindness”, but ignored by councillors on education boards.

    “I recognised then there were conditions not recognised that many of my guys had. It is only since then that dyslexia and dyspraxia and so on got recognised.”

    These were indeed actually recognized my many like yourself but generally ignored by the Education Boards.

  79. Nana says:

    Theresa May is risking peace in Northern Ireland to pursue the anti-human rights agenda of her Little Englander

    Government ‘withheld’ disabled death reports from watchdog

    TV licence fee strike launched by Welsh language campaigners

  80. Nana says:

    Dad DIES 10 months after Job Centre bosses told his doctor not to write any more sick notes

    Tories ‘masking true scale’ of political cronyism with quiet rule change

    Brexit could lead to breaking point in Whitehall; says head of FDA Union

  81. Smallaxe says:

    Nana: Good morning,

    Thank You for your lovely links, Kettle’s on.

    Thanks for all your links this year, I’ll see you next year.Have a great time and remember to put some water in it.

    Peace and Love to You and Yours xx

  82. Breeks says:

    The scariest thing about Iain Gray is that once upon a time he was a “credible” contender for Scotland’s FM. He seems hopelessly out of his depth as a shadow MSP, nevermind the top job.

    That was only 2008. I think Scotland has done a lot of growing up in these last 8 or 9 years, and the post of First Minister has grown in stature immeasurably on the backs of Alex Salmond and Nicola, to the extent it is becoming unthinkable that a muddle head like Kezia, or Ruth, the angry marshmallow, Davidson should ever be given the job. They wouldn’t pass the security checks, or perhaps be grilled to explain their divided loyalties. Scotland’s First Minister puts Scotland first, and if you balk at that, then you’ve no business even applying for the job.

    I saw a good quote about Mundell, sorry I forget the source, but he is meant to be voice of Scotland at Westminster, when in fact he is actually the voice of Westminster in Scotland. I don’t think Mundell has done that by himself, I think Carmichael, the Secretary of State for Portsmouth set the standard. Wasn’t it even Nicola who skewered him with that accolade? Priceless. I wonder, when do we start formally calling the Secretary of State position the “English Ambassador”?

    Even in a devolved assembly, there is now an air that Scotland’s First Minister has a degree of parity with the UK’s PM, when in strict hierarchical terms that perhaps is not so, but there is a sense of “normalisation” about Scotland being led from Bute House. It’s a Brexit thing, but it’s also something bigger than Brexit too. It is becoming unimaginable that such political progress can ever be reversed, just as it is unthinkable that Scotland should ever lose Holyrood. Full Independence when it comes, will fit Scotland like a glove. In so many ways, the incremental process is already becoming reality. The stature of our FM continues to grow, while the stature of U.K. PM feels more and more detached like a foreign head of state.

    I disagree with Rev Stu. I don’t think 2017 is going to be dull. I think 2017 is the year Unionism realises their propaganda factory isn’t working anymore, and that revelation is going to be fun to watch as it unfolds.

  83. Nana says:


    I’ll take your advice and drink plenty water [flavoured]
    Take care of yourself and have one on me!

    As I won’t be here for a week or so, I wish Rev Stu and all wingers a happy and healthy 2017.

  84. Another Union Dividend says:

    yesindyref2 says: Herald columnist John McLellan is a prospective Tory candidate for Edinburgh Council next May.

    Having voted for The Trams, Tories now complaining about number of empty seats.

    On Ian Gray he was the one who in March 2003 as the then Transport Minister awarded £375m from the Scottish Executive’s integrated transport fund to Edinburgh city council to build tram lines to serve the north and west, “the first to be running by 2009”. Mr Gray also says the money would pay for “at least” the North Edinburgh Loop.

  85. Fred says:

    Nana, many thanks for the past years links, you’re a Trojan & if there’s any justice post-independence you should get a wee monument all tae yersel!

    Heard Lord West on Shortbread anent the Faslane security disclosures & the threat of demonstrators being shot. There was a shooting a while back but that was a rating shooting a submarine officer so mebbes we should justifiably be concerned about these gun-totin nutters defending a WMD which will soon be controlled by another nutter, Donald Trump.

    Fauldhooses Finest, the erstwhile failed brickie, getting exercised over wasp stings on the new bridge, if we consider the death toll incurred building the first Forth Bridge of 57, plus a further 21 deaths which were covered up, the total deaths were 78. There are no figures available for wasp stings!

  86. Breeks @ 8.15 am.

    Well said, and it’s only part of your last paragraph I disagree with. I think the unionists are only too aware that their propaganda isn’t working, but nevertheless they will plough on regardless, mainly because they have nothing left in their armoury.
    Don’t forget, led by the B.B.C, the M.S.M are vehemently opposed to Scottish independence, and you only have to look to the headlines at the top of this article to get the gist of their attack plan, which is to denigrate the S.N.P Government at every turn.
    It doesn’t matter to them if the story they are publicising is completely inaccurate, it’s the headline that counts, and while their influence is diminishing, they are still, and will remain, a powerful enemy.
    These are the people on whom the unionists depend, the media, because without their support, their political parties are almost irrelevant.
    So they will continue with their propaganda, because they know that is their only hope of trying to derail the inexorable march of the Scottish people to their eventual destination, independence.

  87. Bill McLean says:

    Great idea Breeks – Mundull – the English Ambassadore – maybe it would at least shame the git!

  88. K1 says:

    ‘It is becoming unimaginable that such political progress can ever be reversed, just as it is unthinkable that Scotland should ever lose Holyrood’

    I really hope you are right Breeks, I don’t trust the bastards though, they will try to destroy us in whatever ways possible and imaginable…we must never let our guard down and always count our blessings.

  89. velofello says:

    Mundell – the English Ambassadore, how very apt.

    Ye Gods, Dugdale, Davidson, Rennie as prospective candidates for First Minister!

  90. Ken500 says:

    Scotland has one of the best education systems in the world. 55% go toUniversity. 30% by the time they are 30. 25% mature students. 15% EU students reciprocal agreement. ? Foreign students pay the full cost. Students from elsewhere getting a subsidised cost. More go to College and apprenticeships. Tradespeople earn a comfortable living.

    In China, Japan and Finland 40% of the pop go to Uni.

    Japan has 100 Universities. 100million pop
    China 2200 Universities. 1.3Billion pop.
    Finland 10 Universities. 5million pop.

    Scotland 15 Universities. 5million pop.

    20% of pupils have additional needs. Some with exceptional ability but would never pass a test. Genius level and special talents and ability. Teachers should get training in additional needs. Simple means like timers, cushions, quiet spaces or computers can help. Everything in the world was invented by those on the spectrum. Silicon Valley etc.

  91. Ken500 says:

    Highers should be taken as first application for Scottish University.

    Uni admission depts take A level as higher than Highers. But Highers are based on a broader curriculum of more choice. They are of the same value in a different system. i.e. 3 A levels but 5 Highers can be taken in a year.

  92. Muscleguy says:


    As a biologist with no formal Latin it is slightly relevant to what I do as knowing what some words mean helps you identify the sort of creature you have with just their Latin genus and species name. Squamus is flat, chetae are bristles, that sort of thing but a working memory and paying attention has seen me through.

    Mind you I’m not a Zoologist or a Palaeontologist who has to come up with appropriate names for new species. Though the modern trend to incorporate the local native name for the organism means Latin is actually less useful than it used to be.

    My favourite ever species name though is Vampiroteuthis infernalis. Each sucker has teeth in it and it is bright red.

  93. Stu Mac says:

    @Donald Cameron says:
    29 December, 2016 at 6:57 pm
    Ian Gray is a bitter old has been,

    Maybe so but guys like that get air time on the BBC and column inches in the papers with none of their claims even given the most basic fact checking.

  94. Stu Mac says:

    @Bob Mack says:

    They know it. They just don’t care.

  95. SteveW says:

    Playing with numbers and percentages.
    If 1 in 1M fail an exam. 0.0001% failure rate. (Incredibly small).
    If next year 2 in 1M fail the exam. 0.0002% failure rate (still incredibly small).
    Headline in gutter press: “Number of fails has doubled in one year”.

  96. Swiss Perspective says:

    K1: I stand corrected! ?

  97. ewen says:

    @the pnr

    “Until this stupid article today prompted by a SLabour press release i had no idea that from 1998 to 2007 the number of pupils leaving school in Scotland with at least 1 higher remained flat every year at around 43%.

    From 2007 to 2015 that figure of at least 1 Higher has risen to 60%, a massive increase and unreported as far as I know. Now I know that the SNP also do press releases but how many will read them if they are not published by the press?”

    Thanks for that nugget of valuable info.

  98. K1 says:

    Ewen, here’s the graph that backs up what Thpnr is talking about…always guid tae have a reference and a link tae throw at the liars…

  99. Gary45% says:

    Meg merrilees@3.41
    Expect the headlines in the GUTTER press when the bridge opens.
    “SNP kill innocent sea trout from bolts falling into the water from the SNPs new river crossing.”
    Fish correspondent Bartholomew Wuckfit says SNP and Ms Sturgeon must resign, its a travesty all these plankton died, all because a government with a actual vision for the future of Scotland, went ahead with this crossing, when asked for his intellectual opinion on the matter Labour’s Neil Findlay could only mumble “SNP baad” as his head was so far up his own ar*e.
    Just think if Slab were in charge, their vision for a futuristic Scotland, the new crossing would have been a rope and pulley system.
    “Vote Scottish Labour and turn your clocks back 300 years”, sounds quite catchy.

  100. Fred says:

    Anent the Bridge, sturgeon are not uncommon off the east coast of Scotland, a 700lb specimen was once taken off Alloa so it would be a bonus if one popped up just for the opening!

  101. Greannach says:

    Just when you think Kezia Dugdale is the most dismal leader any political party has ever had to endure, up pops Ian Gray.

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