Scottish independence referendum, plus jokes.

Wings Over Scotland


New information

Posted on December 16, 2013 by

This is from today’s Guardian (our emphasis):

“A spokesman for Better Together said their donations strategy, which allows any UK voter to gift money, was crucial because the Scottish government was devoting significant official resources to campaigning for independence, far outstripping the spending by civil servants in Whitehall.”

Now that’s odd. How would this spokesman know that, given that the UK government refuses to release details of what it’s spending on the anti-independence campaign? If we send in another FOI request claiming to be a No supporter, will we get an answer this time? Maybe we should give it a try.

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105 to “New information”

  1. turnip_ghost says:

    Well, somebody must know….slip of the tongue?

  2. Dave McEwan Hill says:

    If any “UK voter” is allowed to donate to a purely Scottish referendum campign I can’t see how donations from any other place outside Scotland can be refused. 
    Otherwise this is tantamount to allowing the English alone to affect the result .

  3. Wayne says:

    I think you are missing the point here.  People within BT will know how much the government has spent, they will have access to that information.  Whether they wish to share that information with the plebs is another matter, rather than just the the word in the ear of their pro-union media chums.
     
    Not really one rule for one, and another for us.  Just the perks of privilege and access.

  4. Extreme0 says:

    I assume that even if you do try to act as a one-sided unionist. I doubt they would give out information. Even if you do sacrifice your intelligence, they would pat you on the head and make you go eat your sprouts.

  5. Ian Brotherhood says:

    Captain Caveman’s an approachable sort – in the spirit of openness and transparency, perhaps he’d be happy to submit the request?

  6. turnip_ghost says:

    Apologies for going off topic but I was listening to “The news quiz” and found it very interesting when one of the guests, didn’t catch which one tbh, had a rant about the NHS being privatised…got a very good reaction from the audience

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/i/b03kvd55/ from 6minutes 40 seconds….

  7. Maybe Project Fear aren’t lying and they are indeed just stupid? After all, they and their Tory bosses believed this 28 year old plooky lardarse was a retired Colonel and Peer and made him deputy Chairman of the Falkirk Tories: http://www.kernelmag.com/features/report/7256/meet-the-fake-earl/#

  8. lumilumi says:

    A govermnent is supposed to spend money on white papers and other reports and leaflets and online resources etc. to inform the electorate on government policies, which the electorate presumably voted for on the basis of party manifestos at general elections.
     
    Except for electors in Scotland.
     
    The Scottish Government is accused of not providing enough information, and when they do, they get slammed for spending taxpayers’ money to inform the taxpayers.
     
    Westminster/Whitehall spend millions of taxpayers’ money producing their guff. Funny how they don’t get slammed about it in the MSM…

  9. Morag says:

    A spokesman from Better Together relaying out-and-out porkies?  Say it’s not so!

  10. sneddon says:

    Wayne- BT staffwould have would not have access to that information.  Possibly a high up tory member of the BT board may have access to that information but I can’t imagine even Darling having access.  My experience suggests that even in alliance depts won’t give information to non govt parliamentarians unless its a written or oral PMQ even then it’ll be spun like a tumble drier.

  11. HandandShrimp says:

    I see there is a story in the Guardian by Severin which repeats the BT claim that the Scottish Government is spending hundreds of thousands and they need to be able to raise money anywhere to be able to counter this.
     
    Now it seems to me that Westminster and Whitehall have spared no expense on this matter and have produced numerous papers and tasked and paid the IFS to produce “independent” reports.
     
    It is a shame that there are no comments allowed because I am sure many of us would like to challenge the assertions made by BT. Nevertheless, the nub of the story that the GMB have decided to remain out of the Yes No debate because of the heavy involvement of Tory money in the No campaign is significant. That is not the Yes camp saying that this is a Tory funded campaign fronted by few Labour faces for hire. Aslef are apparently going to support Gordon’s outfit instead of Better Together….wasn’t aware UWL was still on the go. It had a launch and I don’t think I have heard a peep since. I can’t recall the last time I saw Gordon say anything on any subject come to think of it.

  12. A2 says:

    mon wayne  the chances of it being true are slim so they don’t need access to anything  the point is that they can say any old pish they want even if it contradicts something they have already said.

  13. David Agnew says:

    I would agree with Roddy – BT are stupid but they are also playing a very dangerous game. To infer any criminality or wrongdoing for something they themselves are doing is going to blow up in their faces. Next year they are going to have to present a coherent campaign that is going to have to stand up to scrutiny. This sort of quite ridiculous approach of saying we need rich English peoples money is just not going to wash. 

  14. Paula Rose says:

    I know we were having fun a day or two back about ridiculous BT claims, but is there anything left that they could use that would be new and serious?

  15. Davy says:

    If scottish labour supporter’s cannot see their party’s support for the union is being paid for by the tories and is not disgusted by it, well it just confirms they are all tories at the end of the day.

    I really dont understand scottish labour, they have a real chance to help change the whole of Scottish society into a more equal and fair society for all its people, but rather than do what they are supposed to, as their type of political party. They do exactlly the opposite, instead lead by their leadership, they jump straight into bed with the tories.

    And they are so embittered against an SNP lead government, they would rather encourge the tory partys vile policys upon their own people, than doing something positive for their own country.
    Honest I really really don’t understand the scottish labour supporter.  

  16. Marcia says:

    Westminster will be spending money producing their report to the Electoral Commission due on the 20th December, only four days now or will they fail to meet this deadline? Yes side have the White Paper. It will be interesting to read what a No vote actually means.

  17. Boorach says:

    Since when has any BT spokesperson needed to know any facts or figures to put out a story to justify their being funded by the types of low life they seem to attract so naturally?

  18. caz-m says:

    @HandandShrimp

    GMB are firmly in the NO camp. I cancelled my membership a few months ago and I would encourage others to do the same.

    GMB, Unite, EIS and so on, are a mirror image of the Labour Party. They are full of self serving individuals who think eff all of their members.

    They see it as they start of a journey that takes them all the way to the House of Lords.

  19. fairiefromtheearth says:

    Paula yes they could say the sun wouldent rise after a yes vote.

  20. caz-m says:

    @HandandShrimp

    Who is “Gordon” ?.

  21. Dave McEwan Hill says:

    Completely O/T
    Gobsmacked
    I am watching the news and I see we are cutting and running in Afghanistan. Out by next year.
     
    Thousands of deaths later with a country more insecure than it was when we entered it on a farrago of lies,after nearly 500 British deaths and thousands of Afghanistani deaths, with the Taliban more powerful that it has ever been, with a massively increased annual heroin crop and a corrupt puppet regime (which will bale out shortly after we do) Cameron is talking of “mission accomplished” 
     
    This is too much even for the BBC which is tearing him to shreds
     
    The excuse (among others) was that we were there looking for Bin Laden (whom many people believe was dead long before that TV drama we all got to watch) but better informed sources suggest we went in there to keep a corridor open to the oil rich Central Asian republics which have now come to an accomodation to supply their oil to Russia so there is no point in the US or the UK being there anymore. Afghanistan will be abandoned to the sort of murderous chaos we have inflicted on Iraq. 

  22. scottish_skier says:

    Westminster will be spending money producing their report to the Electoral Commission due on the 20th December
     
    We’ll need to wait and see on this one. Is supposed to be a joint UK-Scottish Government negotiated plan. Will be a test of SS’s wild theory which I’m still not convinced of. 
     
    What makes me think it’s important, potentially very important, is the fact that it’s been mentioned here and there, but not given much air time.

  23. AnneDon says:

    I noticed ASLEF’s claim that they had consulted with their Scottish membership. More accurately a few Labour Party placemen elected to positions to enhance their own careers.
     
    Better Together is to be abandoned by GMB to work with Unite For Labour – the irony! It burns!

  24. fairiefromtheearth says:

    I think its the heroin we went for and the death,the year before we invaded afghanistan the poppy fields had been destroyed by the taliban and they had said it was illegal to grow poppy,the drug trade is a very profitable buisness to the city of london thus our boys went in and got the poppy growing again job done.

  25. Jeannie says:

    I find this assertion utterly ridiculous.  The bottom line here is the role of the Scottish Civil Service.  It exists to support the government of the day to carry out its manifesto commitments.  A referendum on independence was contained within the SNP’s manifesto.  The SNP won the election and therefore has a mandate from the electorate to carry out its manifesto.  The role of the Civil Service is to support them to do so, as they would with the policies of any elected government of the day.  It’s as simple as that.

  26. gillie says:

    The people’s party has hitched its skirt and is now whoring itself to rich Tory donors.

  27. BuckieBraes says:

    @Davy
    Let’s address what you are saying directly to any Labour supporters who may be reading this:
     
    Why oh why (as they used to say on Barry Took’s Points of View) do you lend your support to a party that has to make itself Tory in order to be electable in ‘middle England’, and would rather see Scotland subjected to hostile right-wing government from London than play its part in the growth of an independent country that would have every chance of being the kind of progressive social democracy to which the Labour movement is supposed to aspire?
     
    Likely answer? ‘It’s just that I don’t like that Alex Salmond.’
     
    Dearie, dearie me!

  28. Iain Lawson says:

    It does confirm that the Labour Party has been bought and sold with Tory gold. How the tiny rump of Conservatives must be enjoying moving their little socialist pawns around the board as they get them to say anything, do anything in the sureknowledge that a no vote would deliver Scotland into the hands of the Tories for generations to come.

  29. Erchie says:

    The Money spent by Westminster will probably be charged to the Scotland Office, be part of Scottish expenditure and therefore part of the SG’s spending by a weird quirk of double-think

  30. A2 says:

    “The GMB union, one of the UK’s largest, said union members and Labour activists would be alarmed . . . ”

    sigh. are they really that blindfolded that this will come as some sort of shock to them?
     

  31. Bobby Mckail says:

    Or maybe they just lied, they’re good at that. ‘Look at what the Scottish Government are spending’ whilst filling their boots with Tory money with Government backing them in Whitehall.

  32. Arbroath 1320 says:

    Sorry I’m O/T here and apologies if this has already been linked to but folks might find this site interesting. :P:
     
    http://www.scotlandsvote.com/dundee-city-east

  33. lumilumi says:

    @ Jeannie, 10.37pm
     
    Exactly!
     
    The NO mob seem to take issue on the SG actually spending money on a manifesto commitment and informing the electorate about it. Shock, horror!
     
    Maybe keeping manifesto promises is so unknown to the unionist parties that they just cannot get their heads around to this perfectly democratic process.
     
    O/T For anybody interested in “Nordic levels of taxation”, I did some numbers on Finnish income taxation. I tried to keep it simple but I’m afraid it’s still a bit messy. Anyway, I posted it in the “Deal or no deal” thread. (Last post so far, 16.12.2013 at 11.58pm)
     
    http://wingsoverscotland.com/deal-or-no-deal/

  34. lumilumi says:

    @ Arb, 12.00am
     
    :-D I like the 100% :-D
     
    OK, so maybe not many, maybe only one person, has voted when I followed your link, but it looks nice. :-)
     
    I wonder what the referendum question’s results would look like, say, 5 or 10 years after independence, in 2021 or 2026. I’d imagine them to be pretty close to 100%.
     
    (I’m imagining asking Finns today: Should Finland be an independent country? and it’s such a no-brainer that I just cannot imagine anything but nearly 100% YES.)

  35. Morag says:

    Or maybe they just lied, they’re good at that. ‘Look at what the Scottish Government are spending’ whilst filling their boots with Tory money with Government backing them in Whitehall.
     
    My thoughts exactly.  For goodness sake, Occam’s Razor anyone?

  36. Thepnr says:

    @Arbroath 1320
    Just voted, seems like the No vote haven’t heard of this site.
     
    Back on topic, basically it is now obvious the BT crowd can make any statement they like and the media will print it and headline it on the six o’clock news without any challenge whatsoever.
     
    I can’t believe that for most of my adult life I actually believed the media would be fair and balanced excepting for times of war when the government had to get a message across for obvious reasons.
     
    Now though I find myself on the “opposite” side of the governments message and am finding it very hard to stomach. I truly believe this will backfire on those that seek to destroy democracy in our country. The establishment is waging a war against it’s own people.
     
    Their have been a fair number of posts tonight that are anti Labour Party and that is perfectly understandable because their is now no Labour Party it died in 1996. I do not agree with all the policies that the SNP propose for an Independent Scotland though I agree with most I would like a new Scottish  government to go even further where it benefited the majority and not a few.

    Why stop at bringing Prestwick Airport and the Royal mail back into public hands? What about the energy providers who run an oligopoly and fix prices amongst themselves. Sure profits have to be made but this should be for reinvestment in better infrastructure not to line directors pockets.
     
    All this noise about MP’s getting an 11% rise to £75,000/annum is nothing compared to the article in the Guardian a couple of days ago that stated the average wage for a director of an FTSE 100 company was £86,000/week.
     
    Focusing on the small stuff can make you lose site of the bigger picture. I’m sticking with my values and remain true to those that were originally written by the Labour Party of the early 20th century. They were relevant for then and they are still relevant today.
     
    The goal hasn’t changed, those leading the party have sold out. I’m voting Yes and desperately seeking a clear out of all self servers and removal of the trough from under the pigs snouts.

  37. TheGreatBaldo says:

    Damn insomnia….
     
    The ‘highly respected independent think tank’ the IFS have come out with a pretty damning study on what awaits everyone in the UK born after 1960….
     
    With the benefit of hindsight, it was a very smart move by the Scottish Govt, that when the IFS came out with their ’50 year projections‘ they did not to attack the IFS rather focused their disagreements on methodology but not with the main thrust of their conclusions.
     
    The findings on the actual results of the last 50 years of Union are far more depressing and of course according to George Osbourne there is still worse to come……
     
    You know I suspect going forward BT & co will make less and less reference to the IFS projections because the SG can now trump it with the IFS report on the UK in the last 50 years….
     
    After all a highly respected independent think tank can’t be right about one and wrong about the other in the space of a few weeks surely ;-)
     
    http://www.theguardian.com/society/2013/dec/17/living-standards-survey-institute-fiscal-studies

  38. Alba4Eva says:

    Thepnr you are correct, “The establishment is waging a war” against the people of Scotland… and it is being waged through the establishment media. That is why I have bitten the bullet and cancelled my TV licence.  I have gone a couple of weeks now and honestly, I don’t miss it.  I still get to watch ‘Pointless’ when I get in from work… I’m just a day behind on catch-up, but you don’t notice any difference.  I keep up with the news on here and other websites.  I would urge everyone to stop watching TV as it is being broadcast live and simply plug a PC up to your TV to watch catch-up.  Scrimpers will even be happy with a £145.50 saving each year.  ;o)

  39. James Kay says:

    O/T, but confirms what we have suspected for a long time:
     
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-25411182
     
    Half of the Lords clock-on just for their expenses.

  40. Craig M says:

    OT, I see Glenn Campbell is doing one for the team over on the BBC news site digging up the Lockerbie bombing again. In time honoured fashion Glenn gets in a dig via Robert Mueller against Kenny MacAskill.

  41. Fergie 35 says:

    It is at last starting to come out that others are involved in the Lockerbie bombing, and Dr Jim Swire has rightly dug his heels in that they convicted a Patsy.
     
    Back to topic, the No campaign has the media, this will cost money, from the British government, and it is the most powerful weapon against us.

  42. Holebender says:

    Instead of moaning that Whitehall is spending unknown sums of money on behalf of Better Together, why doesn’t someone ask an SNP MP to ask for the information in Parliament? I don’t think Freedom of Information hampers MPs from asking questions, does it?
     
    I’ve already asked the question on Twitter, btw.

  43. Bunter says:

    Seems Boris Island may yet make the shortlist for another London airport expansion and spendathon It is costed in excess of £60bn, but the decision to put it on the shortlist may be delayed till next Autumn, which would probably time it for after the referendum. Looks like no matter which way you look at it, London is looking to spend on itself in excess of £100bn on infrastructure, if you include HS2, while we cannae afford to dual a road.

  44. Macart says:

    You have to ask yourself what the deal is with the Labour doorstepper or the ordinary working class Joe Public voter in terms of BT? I mean they do realise that their cause is being bankrolled by gangsters, barons, the elite right? They do realise that the country which, lets face it isn’t in the best shape right now, was brought to its knees by this same establishment and its system of preference and governance?
     
    Do they hate the idea of independence so much that they are willing to work with the very people who have created such real life pain and misery for the poor and disenfranchised? Or is it down to the old tribal hatred of the SNP alone? Just because they’ve made the big jumps in protecting the public and stolen our thunder kinda thing? I’m at a loss to understand it personally. There used to be a working class movement that swore to bring down class borders, to change the system, to make a fairer society.
     
    Wonder whatever happened to them?

  45. Training Day says:

    The Scottish Government Civil Service is there to enact the mandate of the democratically elected government. Alun Lewis, the Whitehall civil servant charged with the production of the Scotland Analysis papers, and therefore charged with thwarting the ambitions of the SG, is in a far more dubious, not to say partial, position. I struggle to see the bits in the manifestos of the UK coalition parties which talk of being elected to work against the programme of the Government of Scotland.

    The media, natch, say nothing about this. In fact, Lewis has had several puff pieces about the righteousness of his task appearing in the MSM.

  46. Morag says:

    It is at last starting to come out that others are involved in the Lockerbie bombing, and Dr Jim Swire has rightly dug his heels in that they convicted a Patsy.
     
    They’ve had the detailed evidence that Megrahi was entirely innocent since March of this year.  They are simply in denial.

  47. Morag says:

    Or is it down to the old tribal hatred of the SNP alone? Just because they’ve made the big jumps in protecting the public and stolen our thunder kinda thing?
     
    Yes.  Next question?

  48. Stuart Black says:

    O/T, but John Major is managing a much higher profile than Gordon Broon in the clamour to add to Project Fear these days.
     
    He warns that the “folly on a grand scale” would result in the weakening of the UK’s influence (they talk of little else in Possilpark), leave the Security Council seat open to doubt (fucksakes, aw naw!!!), and that it would take ten years to get back into the EU after our undoubted expulsion and, in his piece de resistance, he tells us that – and this really is a game-changer – the boy band One Direction is one of the exports that give us such an enviable reputation in the world.
     
    On the board of the Carlyle Group, isn’t he? So no vested interests there, then.
     
    I’ve got my own view on the UK’s reputation in the world, and the word ‘enviable’ plays no part in it.
     
    So much for elder statesmen, how to utterly miss the point to a quite remarkable degree. Anyway, see for yourselves…
     
    http://archive.is/z5xg4

  49. Stuart Black says:

    @Macart, absolutely spot on, these are questions that have baffled me from the beginning of this campaign. I can only imagine that Stockholm Syndrome is widespread and much stronger than we can imagine. :(

  50. Bertie K says:

    What’s the consensus here on the Scottish Times website?
    Credible, non-credible?
     Anyone?

  51. Macart says:

    @Stuart Black
     
    Yeah, I know it was a bit of a rhetorical post, but every now and again I have to shake my head and wonder what they are seeing in this awful mess that is so worthwhile to them. How they can blithely turn their eyes away from what they are representing, who funds it and just how they imagine things will get better with the same old system?
     
    Just mind bending logic any way you look at it.

  52. Les Wilson says:

    With all the funding crap flying around from BT, while trying to divert people away from THEIR donors I wonder what the views of the Electoral Commission might be ?Do they think it is acceptable for BT to accept donations across the UK rather than just from Scotland ? If so, do they accept the right of rUK to control the referendum? 

    60 million v 5 Million ( approx ) population, would suggest a huge disparity in possible revenues for BT is coming from those outside of Scotland. Is that fair or acceptable in a ” Democratic ” country ?

    Do they think that to allow such donations will directly greatly assist the Unionist side in thwarting the democratic principle in Scotland?

    I think I will write and ask them.

  53. Another London Dividend says:

    Pure comedy gold from Bruiser Carmichael in this morning’s Herald.
    http://archive.is/eYLnb

    Claims firms are scared to speak out for NO Scotland, like the “Paper Tiger” Edinburgh Businessmen on GMS, due to Scottish government pressure and that “media outlets feel constrained in their coverage” also that cowardly Cameron is not a backseat driver.

    Check out http://www.businessforscotland.co.uk/good-morning-scotland-wake-up-to-the-opportunities-of-independence/

    PS and avoid any upmarket drink with the word Aldephi attached as they are donating £500,000 to the NO campaign.

  54. The Man in the Jar says:

    @Stuart Black
     
    :lol:
     
    Good comment. And dont forget his former fancywuman coming out with “Alex Salmond was in the Labour party” The pair of them must be in some kind of competition as to who can talk the biggest load of keech!

  55. Morag says:

    It is at last starting to come out that others are involved in the Lockerbie bombing, and Dr Jim Swire has rightly dug his heels in that they convicted a Patsy.
     
    I didn’t really address the detail of that.  There was never any question of Megrahi having been a lone agent.  In fact, he was only convicted of being an accessory, not of carrying out the bombing himself.

    Two men were charged, Megrahi and Fhimah.  Fhimah was supposed to have been the one who actually put the bomb on the plane.  However, they couldn’t even show that Fhimah had been at the airport that morning.  He was found not guilty.  Not “not proven”, but not guilty.  Nobody else who had been at the airport was ever fingered as being complicit in the alleged act.

    They just left it at that, though.  For over 20 years.  Then as part of the “evil Scottish government releases evil Lockerbie bomber” riff, they started to talk about his supposed accomplices.  When the Libyan revolution started, Lockerbie was used as part of the justification for getting involved on the rebel side.  And maybe now we’ll find proof that Gaddafi was really involved!

    Oh come on, if Megrahi had been the bomber, then he would have been doing it to Gaddafi’s orders, no question about it.  And as I said, he could not physically have done it alone, not unless he can turn suitcases invisible and levitate them, from a distance of a few hundred yards.  But this futile “did Megrahi act alone” conversation seemed to dominate the press for weeks.

    Now, the pointless search for Megrahi’s so-called accomplices is simply being used to divert attention from the fact that Megrahi didn’t do it at all.  Whenever they are challenged on the evidence, they repeat that it is still a live investigation and it would not be appropriate to comment.  Look, everyone, we’re so confident we got the right guy we’re spending loadsa money running to Tripoli to find his accomplices!

    They didn’t just get the wrong guy, they got the wrong modus operandi.  Actually, getting the wrong guy was the result of their being convinced of the wrong modus operandi right from the start.  They had the evidence showing what really happened, and they walked right past it.

    They’ve been told.  It’s been pointed out to them in words of relatively few syllables, and with pictures.  They’re in complete denial.  Actually, they’re Wile E. Coyote after he has run off the cliff and his little legs are still spinning and he hasn’t looked down yet.  It can’t last.

  56. Stuart Black says:

    Hi TMITJ, yes, the day we start taking advice from a man whose judgment was faulty enough to countenance an affair with the fragrant Edwina at any time, never mind whilst being the Prime Minister, is the day we might as well hammer 6 inch nails into our foreheads. Still worried about our seat on the…
    :)

  57. Holebender says:

    OT. I’ll post this here because I think most people are like me and rarely revisit older threads. I’ve had a reply from Credit Suisse about their Gini calculations. Not very enlightening, but here it is:
     
    The Danish wealth distribution data is strange because so many people are recorded with negative wealth, most likely because student debts are high and are kept well into middle age. Last year we had old data with which we were not comfortable, so we dropped it altogether and estimated the distribution as we do for countries without distribution data. This year we substituted the data for 2009 which became available to us.
     
    The total wealth of the bottom 70% of Danish wealth holders is approximately zero according to these data. Hence the very large Gini, which even exceeds the normal upper bound of 100% which would apply if all wealth holdings were non-negative. It does not indicate that wealth is especially unequal at the top end, but is reflected in the Gini value which takes account of the bottom wealth holders as well as the top.
     
    Other countries also record significant negative wealth holdings, but the Danish data is exceptional (see Databook table 1-5). The survey data appear to be valid, but are probably not produced in a way that is comparable to other countries. We are investigating how to align the numbers with other countries, but in the meantime report the best information available to us.

  58. Stuart Black says:

    “Bertie K: I had not come across this site until curiosity took me there from your comment. I think it looks the business, and the article ‘Denial over Scotland’s EU membership’ is superb. I don’t think you need to be cautious if Murray Ritchie is involved, and I sent them a donation on the strength of this one article. The more voices, the more the perception of normality.
     
    http://www.scottishtimes.com/scotland_eu_membership

  59. The Man in the Jar says:

    @Stuart Black
     
    Whenever I think about that generation of Tories (not that I do very often) I am always inclined to go onto Youtube and watch re-runs of Spitting Image. (Where are Spitting Image now that we need them more than ever?) 

  60. Morag says:

    What’s the consensus here on the Scottish Times website?
    Credible, non-credible?
     Anyone?
     
    Aren’t they basically the SDA?  A bit right-wing for my taste, overall, and some slightly strange individuals involved (like in anything, I suppose), but nothing questionable as far as I know.

  61. Bertie K says:

    Thanks Stuart, wasn’t sure and quite frankly it scares me.
    I read the seven or so articles on their front page and it opens a whole new can of worms I didn’t know existed. Especially the info on the implications for Scotlands’ human rights. Truly shocking.
    Uncomfortable reading to say the least.
    I just hope the Scot Gov have seen that info.

  62. Stuart Black says:

    Strangely enough, that crossed my mind just yesterday. There’s a wealth of material out there these days. You are right, something like that is very much needed. If the people can be made to laugh at the absurdity of some of BT’s positions, it would be worth many thousands of unheeded words.
     
    Perhaps we could start a petition…  ;)

  63. Stuart Black says:

    Thatcher, “I’ll have the steak.”
     
    Waiter, “What about the vegetables?”
     
    Thatcher, “They’ll have the steak too!”
     
    :)

  64. Ken500 says:

    ‘Businesses scared to speak out’?

    Like the Oil Producers? Scotland has lost £2Billion+ a year because Osbourne/Alexander increased 11% (£2Billion) Oil taxes, in the 2010 Budget. (Now 60% to 80%). The Oil Companies cut investment. It will be five years (£10Billion+) before it gets back to the same position. UK business is disadvantaged while multinationals evade tax through the City of London.

    Business people in Scotland can read a balance sheet and know how Scotland is being defrauded by Westminster. All the major entrepreneurs in Scotland support Alex & Co Scottish gov. Unionists like David Murray support Alex Salmond as the best FM.

  65. The Man in the Jar says:

    @Stuart Black
     
    “And what about the vegetables?”
     
    Pure class.

  66. Molly says:

    I’ve sometimes wondered if ‘United with Labour is plan B? Set up but inactive until groups with vested interests see which way the polls are going /opinions , then groups like the Unions will be able to sit behind big Gordie,(still collecting their fees ) or ‘ astute’ Labour members seeing their seats under threat (but still able to collect their expenses) or business people ,still able to continue to trade) ? Will it suddenly spring into life in a convenient way (if required) a couple of months before the vote?

    if it looks like the vote will be Yes, Labour will need a vehicle and having decried LFI they won’t be able to take over there, plus the elite running Scottish Labour will need somewhere to go plus by ‘appearing ‘ to take a neutral stance, such as the GMB last night it would be very convenient to have a wee bolt hole to say (if needed) look we were nae wi the Tories after aw’ , we were here behind big Gordie , encouraging democracy , allowing the people of Scotland to speak and now you conveniently have a group already set up you can vote for,
    Obviously the final line would be to do all this for you, we need funds.

  67. Stuart Black says:

    Pure class indeed, thanks for digging that out. Should have done it myself instead of posting from memory, but, cough, I’m at work.  ;)

  68. desimond says:

    Isn’t Mr Carmichael getting over 100 grand a year to defend the Union? I don’t recall the position of Secretary of State for Scotland being renamed “Secretary of  UK-OK Scotland “

  69. Stuart Black says:

    @Bertie, @Morag, I must confess I made my comment after reading the lead article and the Murray Ritchie piece, but in the light of Morag’s observation I will have a more studied trawl through it after work.
     
    Having said that, I stand by the Murray Ritchie comment and, even if there are some strange folks involved, well that’s what this whole thing is about, isn’t it? For Scottish voices to be heard, even if we disagree?

  70. Molly says:

    Morag you don’t think timing has something to do with it, not yours , the SG? Exhaust every possible avenue, eliminate any possible scenarios and when the time is right call a public enquiry -when the timing is right? 
    From a purely selfish point of view, I want the truth about Lockerbie established as well but I don’t want the next 10 months completely dominated by political wrangling over a situation where the main players are either no longer here to refute evidence or the remaining main players hold the line they have since it happened.
    There is more than one way to skin a cat.

  71. Morag says:

    Stuart, who’s to say who is strange?  There are oddballs everywhere, and the same charge might be levelled at us.  I just have a bit of an issue with some of the people behind the SDA.  I note that one or two people who post regularly on NNS are vocal proponents of the SDA as well though (I’m thinking in particular of Upspake.).
     
    I seem to recall that the Scottish Times was the result of some sort of internal falling-out within NNS, and someone moved away and set up their own site.  I think.  I wasn’t there at the time and I can’t remember the details, but I imagine someone here can put us straight about it.
     
    I agree with you about Murray Ritchie.  He is highly credible.  In a movement as big as the Scottish independence movement, there are always going to be factions we wouldn’t necessarily align ourselves with wholeheartedly, and yet we’re all working towards the same goal.

  72. Bertie K says:

    @The Man In The Jar
    Just the tonic :-) 

  73. Stuart Black says:

    @Morag. Indeed, I agree with you. I had a quick look at the editorial and it does seem to be sniping a touch at the SNP, but also puts a case for a Scottish currency so, something for everyone. We’re supposed to be a broad church, so I welcome them as another voice adding to the debate.

  74. Holebender says:

    United with Labour (or whatever it’s called) may just be a Trojan Horse to allow the naysayers to spend more money during the last 16 weeks of the campaign.

  75. Morag says:

    Morag you don’t think timing has something to do with it, not yours , the SG? Exhaust every possible avenue, eliminate any possible scenarios and when the time is right call a public enquiry -when the timing is right?
     
    The SG has been fighting tooth and nail against recognising that the conviction is unsafe since 2009 at least, and I suspect since 2007.  The petition asking for an independent inquiry has been before the Justice Committee since 2011 – I think it went to the Petitions Committee in 2010.
     
    They’re not exhausting every possible avenue, they’re revving in neutral to pretend they’re doing something, so they can dismiss challenges as “this is a live investigation so it would be inappropriate for us to comment”.
     
    They have been systematically blocking all attempts to get them to look at the evidence that the cops got it wrong in 1989.  Kenny MacAskill has flatly refused to allow the evidence of Megrahi’s innocence to be scrutinised by an independent party, and handed it over to the same people who got it wrong in the first place to “investigate”.  Unsurprisingly, there’s a lot of denial involved.
     
    I have little idea why they are doing this, and my main thought is that the law officials (Angiolini, Mulholland and their minions) are utterly determined not to admit the entire Camp Zeist circus was a complete disaster, and have been systematically assuring the SG that they are right and we are a bunch of looney tunes conspiracy freaks nothing to see there, just ignore them.
     
    The evidence is incontrovertible though, and can’t be denied or ignored forever.

  76. Holebender, very good point.

  77. Morag says:

    Even if it wasn’t really intended merely for that purpose, it’ll have that effect, so not a wasted effort.  To certain definitions of effort, I suppose.

  78. Dave McEwan Hill says:

    As Morag is aware I believe,as do many people, that there is a lot more to the miscarriage of justice than mere incompetence. I am absolutely convinced that there was a plot a the highest levels to deliberately convict the wrong person in order to prevent the truth,which may well been hugely embarrassing to the US or the  UK or both, of a very nasty conspiracy, coming out.
    Morag  dismisses “conspiracy theories”. As history is absolutely littered with conspiracies this is an unwise position to hold

  79. Holebender, perhaps it should read “to allow the naysayers to spend more Tory money during the last 16 weeks of the campaign.”

  80. gordoz says:

    Spot on point raised Rev – Certainly a bingo moment.
    Go after the lying b’stards.

  81. Morag says:

    Oh FFS, I’m not dismissing conspiracy theories.  Today, however, is an odd-numbered day, and on odd-numbered days I take the view that the whole thing was a foul-up of galactic proportions.  Tomorrow, I will point out that it is mathematically impossible for any group of people to be that crashingly blind and stupid, and what the hell were the CIA up to pray tell me.

    You have to distinguish between provable fact and hypothesis.  It is provable fact that the bomb was introduced at Heathrow.  That gives Megrahi a better alibi for the crime than I have.  My own view is that it is strategically astute to keep hammering this one fact, till it penetrates their adamantium skulls.  I doubt that they are capable of comprehending anything more nuanced.  Also, straying from this one fact gives them the opportunity to obfuscate and change the subject.

    We can all have strong suspicions and theories about what else happened, and why the whole thing was so comprehensively fucked up from almost the get-go, but these are not in the category of provable fact.  First things first.

  82. Dave McEwan Hill says:

    I could add that I wonder if  the patently unacceptable position by the Scottish Government on the Lockerbie issue has nothing whatever to do with the rights and wrongs of the issue but rather more to do with not provoking anti Independence activity from the US  (which may well also have been a factor on our Executive’s determination that we should remain in NATO)

    Needs must, as they say.

  83. Albert Herring says:

    @Holebender
     
    Danish students pay no fees, receive grants of about 67,944 DKK (about USD 11,514) for six years, which can be supplemented with an optional 34,764 DKK (about USD 5,891) in loans. Any part of the loan that has not been repaid after 15 years is cancelled.

  84. Dave McEwan Hill says:

    Morag
    You are perfectly correct. Establish that the bomb went on at Heathrow as it did and the complete case against al Megrahi is obliterated.

    No sensible person I know believes it was him anyway

    “why the whole thing was so comprehensively fucked up from almost the get-go,”

    Exactly. It was deliberate. Cock-ups do not usually have a cast of several eminent judges, vast amounts of  manufactured evidence, testimony that wouldn’t have got through a sherrif court, huge payments to lying witnesses by agents of supposedly responsible governments etc etc.

    There was another sinister agenda. We’ll probaly get to that after 18th September

  85. Morag says:

    Mmmm, there weren’t “vast amounts of manufactured evidence”.  Thank God for that, because it’s the very clearly non-manufactired evidence they guilelessly put out there in reports and photographs which shows the bomb to have been introduced at Heathrow.

  86. Morag says:

    You are perfectly correct. Establish that the bomb went on at Heathrow as it did and the complete case against al Megrahi is obliterated.
     
    Done, and done.  Comprehensive report sent to the police last March.  De Nile is not just a river in Egypt, though.

  87. kendomacaroonbar says:

    @Stuart Black
     
    If I remember correctly the Editor of the Scottish Times (Alex) originally worked with the NNS guys, then had ‘musical differences’ and parted company.

  88. Morag says:

    I could add that I wonder if  the patently unacceptable position by the Scottish Government on the Lockerbie issue has nothing whatever to do with the rights and wrongs of the issue but rather more to do with not provoking anti Independence activity from the US
     
    Maybe, but I also suspect that neither Salmond nor MacAskill realises that Megrahi is innocent.  It’s relatively easy for those who have looked at the evidence with an open mind to realise, as you say, that it shouldn’t have stood up in a sheriff court.  However, for very busy, preoccupied people who are being briefed by and taking their cue from the Crown Office, it’s a different story.
     
    I’ve heard it from Ming Campbell, from Magnus Linklater, and last night from that Bonnington bloke.  They talk a good line about the allegedly overwhelming evidence, and it sounds very convincing until you drill a bit deeper and realise that none of the “facts” they assert stands up to serious scrutiny.
     
    If this is what the SG are being fed by the CO, and I imagine it is, then they are going to swallow it.  It’s in the nature of the senior politician beast, to work from pre-prepared briefings.  If the CO simultaneously succeed in branding those who try to call attention to the actual evidence “conspiracy theorists” and “delusional”, then it works.
     
    Or it’s working so far.  Mulholland will have to look down eventually, and the bottom of the canyon is a very long way off.

  89. GP Walrus says:

    Rather than asking for the spending figures themselves, I would use FOI to ask, given the statement in the Guardian, what contacts HMG has had with members of the BT campaign and whether Westminster spending figures have been communicated to the campaign in any way. Either you reveal that Westminster has been supplying BT with figures they won’t release to the general public or you prove that BT are making it all up.

  90. Molly says:

    Dave mcewan hill you put it far more succinctly, I was trying to be tactful but we all have issues we feel strongly about but there are issues and real politik.

    Have you watched Syriana Morag, maybe just a film but perfectly plausible when vested interests are threatened, whether that be oil, arms or the price of fish and with Lockerbie you are talking international players.

    Ive got no idea what Alex Salmond or Kenny Mcaskill think but having released Mr Megrahi , I presume the Scottish Govt within their remit are as aware of the politics as they are of all the human tragedy involved- as I said , timing ,theirs , not yours , not mine.

  91. Morag says:

    I’m not sure if I’m picking you up correctly, but my overwhelming impression is of a bunch of people sticking their fingers in their ears and humming real loud, without any particular intention of changing that behaviour until and unless they are forced to do so.

  92. Morag says:

    Sitting here doing my work, because that’s what they pay me for, and the word “LOCKERBIE” seems to leap out at me from the paperwork in front of me.  I shake my head, believing I’ve completely lost my mind and the men in white coats were about to come and take me away.
     
    Then I looked again and realised it was the address of the client whose work I was dealing with.  Obsession can be a dangerous thing….

  93. Molly says:

    Morag last week I watched David Owen admit 40 ish years later that one of oor subs , hit one of their subs.’Yes we lied’ he said.Cut to man actually involved in collision -we hit ice.He still held the official line.
    Do I object to Trident ? You bet I do but how many people over the years have campaigned,petitioned, demonstrated against Trident?Are the public aware ,Govts ?For Pete’s sake BT are promoting it as Trident nuclear weapons versus job opportunities!
    Will I see the removal of Trident , well hopefully by using democratic means (voting Yes) I will ensure a Govt with a mandate in a position to negotiate with the International Interests to remove the subs. Are the SG in a position to do so now? With a mandate in an Independent country ? As I said -timing .

  94. bald eagle says:

    morag @10.45am
    i think you are totally wrong  

    1)after the referendum the truth will come out
    2)a whole lot of small things add up to one hell of a smack in the face

    i wish you would open your eyes and mind do you honestly think the sg are covering up for westminster

    as i!ve said before i!ve seen some shit that i shouldnt have and i can tell you one thing the c i a where in glasgow for over 3 years probing everybodys background that was anywhere near the locked rooms

    i know you have got a book out sometime i will get round to reading it and i will let you know what i think tell you one thing one of the guys i was working with has never returned back to work after these bastards finished with him lets see what happens and sometime soon you might get to learn some facts not guesses or assumptions

    the people of lockerbie where not the only victims people on the ground doing work that they should never have been asked to do and the treatment they received later was fucking cruel 

    your book will open wounds that people are trying to heal i know the story must be told but at this time of year when so much damage has been done all i can say is im fucking glad your not santa rub vinegar in the wounds why dont you

    a few guys that was there read this site i wouldnt be surprised if they walk away having to live through that episode again morag have a fucking heart will you

    or will you keep going on about it just to sell another book

  95. Morag says:

    I’m keeping going on about it because the truth needs to come out.  And I didn’t choose this time of year to blow Pan Am 103 out of the sky or this year to be the 25th anniversary.  It’s not me who made the hour-long documentary “Living with Lockerbie” that was shown on BBC Scotland last night, or the 15-minute “Scotland Tonight” discussion on STV either.  This is the time attention is going to be on the disaster, like it or not, and it’s nothing to do with me.
     
    A lot of people have suffered on top of the ones who died that evening.  Kurt Maier, falsely blamed for the disaster.  Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, ditto in a different way.  Lamin Fhimah, lost his business and his livelihood and spent 2 years in jail.  The entire population of Libya, ground down by punitive sanctions for 8 years, thousands died from lack of medical supplies and other things.  Megrahi’s family, branded the family of a terrorist killer.  So everybody should just shut up about it because some people’s feelings might be hurt?
     
    And I don’t know what you’re saying I’m totally wrong about.  I never said the SG was covering up for Westminster.  I think, and that is think, you know, an opinion that might be changed by new information, that the Crown Office in Scotland is covering up for itself, and feeding the SG a line to keep them on side.
     
    The fact I know is that the bomb went into the baggage system at Heathrow airport, about half past four in the afternoon.  Not at Malta in the morning.  That’s it.  Anyone can speculate any way they like beyond that, and most people do.  If you have facts to add that might clarify these things, then say what you know.  Or don’t.
     
    Just don’t demand that everyone go along with a 25-year-old lie because the truth might upset some people.

  96. Morag says:

    Molly, I don’t honestly follow a word of that, and I read it three times.

  97. bald eagle says:

    morag 
    heres something for you to think about 
    when a guy is ripped to shreds and he!s about to give up and you have said everything you can think off try telling him the truth 
    ten years i watched that mans back and one day he asked me why i didnt just walk away 
    all i said was 
    charlie i will never stand in your shadow
    i will walk beside you.
    your pain is my pain
    im now closer to his family than my own family
    you see morag im looking after my mate so cut some slack
     

  98. Morag says:

    I don’t know how I’m supposed to understand any of that.
     
    The media is gearing up to saturation coverage of the Lockerbie atrocity this Saturday.  I’m no part of that.  It’s not me who is raising the issue, it’s the date that is raising the issue, all by itself.  I’m practically below the radar.  If anyone is going to be upset by any reference to the disaster they’re doomed to be upset this week in any case.  So I don’t know why you’re having a go at me especially.
     
    I know the entire investigation was based on a lie.  Based on the assumption, or insistence, that the bomb flew in on the plane from Frankfurt.  It didn’t, it was in the container at Heathrow an hour before that plane landed.
    This is maybe the best chance there will ever be to get this fact into the public domain.  Which is why I gave up most of my summer to write a book about it.  Which is why I paid for the book to be published myself, rather than pass it over to a publisher which might have made me a little bit of money from it.  I’ll probably lose money on it, but if it breaks this log-jam of lies it’ll be money well spent.
     
    It’s not going to make anyone feel any better to hush all that up and go on pretending the bomb came from Frankfurt and Malta, and that Megrahi somehow was involved.  And in any case, I’m not the only one saying they think he didn’t do it.  I’m just saying I can prove it.  Why is that so different?

  99. Molly says:

    Morag is everything in your world so black and white ? David Owen remember him ? The pplitician took 40 years to admit the truth- see the guy actually in the submarine , away from his Family , fearing being caught by the enemy, actually doing his duty ( like thousands of others in various roles) he kept his part of the bargain and lives with the effects everyday -held the official line.

    Now transfer that to Lockerbie. Join the bloody dots . Sometimes its hard to tell who the good guys/bad guys are
    just because you ‘think ‘ the truth should be out there now, doesn’t mean others feel the same way but if we become independent our Govt at least will have a mandate to make a start through politics and negotiation.

    Not all of us Morag work behind a desk some see, hear and yes even do things that don’t fall into a nice moral choice of right and wrong , not highlighted in your contract  when you sign up.

  100. Morag says:

    Jings, two of you.
     
    Large numbers of people, maybe a majority, seem instinctively to believe that Megrahi was innocent.  Mostly they couldn’t actually explain why they believe this, in any detail or with reference to the evidence, but they believe it all the same.
     
    So what so you want to do about that?  Tell them all that they’re wrong and he did it after all?  Or not?  Leave the whole thing in limbo?  Why?
     
    I don’t think he didn’t do it, I know he didn’t do it.  Not because I think or can prove that evidence was faked or planted, but because a fairly simple examination of the evidence the forensics and the police had all along shows that he was innocent.
     
    This is the 25th anniversary of the disaster, the time when there is the best chance to make a difference.  A date like this isn’t going to come along again.  So if you think there’s some great over-riding reason why this truth should not come out, you’ll have to do a bit better than you’re doing in explaining it to me.

  101. Dave McEwan Hill says:

    I really have no idea why Morag is being attacked here. 

  102. Morag says:

    I’m not even sure what they’re saying.
     
    I just saw that bastard Mueller and that even more dyed in the wool bastard Duggan on Reporting Scotland going on about the probability or otherwise of catching Megrahi’s accomplices in Libya.  Something Mulholland didn’t go into.
     
    It’s a complete smoke screen, but like the BT agenda versus the YS agenda, it’s all our mainstream media will report.  That’s what’s in everyone’s faces every night this week when they turn on the telly.  But I’m the bad person for discussing it way down at the bottom of the comments section of a day-old blog post about something else?
     
    Does not compute.

  103. Molly says:

    no one is saying your a bad person . All I suggested was an SG would have more scope after a Yes . 
    David Owen ( politician) tells porkie pies , admits truth 40 years later shocker
    When human beings are involved it is never as black and white as it is on paper . 

  104. Morag says:

    If that’s what you meant, then I agree with you.  I have been very frustrated with certain members of Justice for Megrahi who say they essentially support independence but will vote no and are advocating that others should vote no because the Crown Office is a disgrace.
     
    It’s irrational.  Independence isn’t a good conduct prize.  Also, this mess happened under the union.  There is no sign at all that the union is going to fix it.  While one can’t be confident that independence will fix it, a new start and a government not beholden to Westminster would be a better playing field at least.  It really seems as if these people simply want to punish the SNP for their recent conduct, which is simply cutting off your nose to spite your face, and is in flat denial of the obvious fact that neither Labour, nor the LibDems, nor the Conservatives, are going to sort Lockerbie out either.  These parties were all in the mess up to their necks before the SNP were even in power.
     
    However, I still don’t agree that one should just sit back and wait for the memoirs.  The only way this will ever be fixed is to keep pushing forward the truth at every available opportunity.  The 25th anniversary is a prime opportunity, and it would be absolutely daft to give Mulholland and his cronies a free run at it.



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