From today’s Herald:
Mmm, that’s positive.
From today’s Herald:
Mmm, that’s positive.
Today’s Daily Mail carries a dismal article under a hysterical essay of a headline reading “Homes vandalised, accused of stealing jobs and an atmosphere of discriminatory intimidation: The savage racism turning Scotland into a no-go zone for the English”. (It actually describes a couple of minor incidents, spread over several years, affecting a single elderly couple in Stirling, without a shred of evidence that they were in fact motivated by their Englishness.)
There are undoubtedly small pockets of anti-English racism to be found in parts of Scotland, like there are small pockets of every kind of racism and prejudice found in every country in the world. But why would any Scottish person ever be driven to feel animosity towards the English – our friends, our family and our neighbours?
Not just because of a few isolated nutters on Facebook, surely?
The UK government is about to put another taxpayer-funded leaflet through every door in Scotland, laden with dire warnings about the consequences of independence.
Boiled down to just five bullet points – one of which is the meaningless “best of both worlds” – it presents the case for the UK as amounting to keeping the pound (which Scotland can do either way), higher public spending (omitting the fact that Scots pay over the odds for said spending), jobs with UK companies (which would be unaffected because EU law demands freedom of employment) and lower energy bills.
The latter is based on the oft-repeated claim that fuel bills would rise in Scotland because the rUK would no longer pay to import subsidised Scottish renewable energy. But an article in The Ecologist this week, by two respected academics from Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen, blows that argument out of the water.
Alert readers will of course remember a few short weeks ago in April, when “Better Together” attracted much great hoopla in the press for its relaunched, “more positive” campaign strategy which would dazzle Scots with the feelgood benefits of the Union.
We thought it’d be worth checking in and seeing how that was going.
There’s a curious piece in today’s Guardian about the Scotstoun area of Glasgow, home to the shipbuilding yard of BAE Systems. It typifies what’s perhaps the most successful and consistent strategy that the No campaign has managed to deploy in the entire independence debate. Let’s listen in.
And this time we’re not being sarcastic. We were bemused yesterday when a number of people on Twitter started swapping referendum-based jokes about Stanley Baxter, who for younger readers used to be some sort of pantomime star and vaudeville performer. The jokes were explained today when it was revealed, to our considerable surprise, that Mr Baxter was in fact still alive and urging a No vote in the referendum.
Baxter, who left Scotland 55 years ago and told the Times that he now returns only for “the odd funeral”, nevertheless felt able to assert from these occasional visits that support for a Yes vote was founded in hatred for the English from simple-witted Scots who “don’t know any better” caused by “Braveheart” and hey, stay awake at the back there because we’re coming to the important bit.
And that’s that the comedian, who made a career out of telling TV viewers that the people of Glasgow had hilarious incomprehensible accents in need of translating into proper English, also went on to (no doubt impeccably) articulate the real reason, never previously spoken aloud, that the No campaign wants Scotland to stay part of the UK.
Alert readers will have noticed that we’ve been studying the UK government’s latest independence paper today. The 24-page booklet comes with a foreword from the Secretary of State for Portsmouth promising that it contains “the positive case for Scotland remaining in the United Kingdom”, so we thought it’d be fun to share some of our favourite snippets of positivity.
We could do with some cheering up.
“Sod it”, we thought, “let’s compile a list after all“.
Clearly we’re not impartial judges of how the No campaign is being conducted. To assess its performance with any degree of fairness, we must instead take the widest possible sample of opinion from those on its own side. Here goes, then.
An extraordinary front-page headline in today’s Herald blares “Miliband pledges positive case for Union as No inject love into debate”. (We apologise to any readers we may have just inadvertently upset with the thought of Ed Miliband “injecting love” into them while they’re still digesting their breakfast.)
The article’s rather shy on details of Ed’s positive case, but luckily the Guardian has it.
We’re given to believe that this is real, not a spoof.
Just when we thought our opinion of them couldn’t possibly sink any lower.
The top five most-read stories on Wings Over Scotland in the last seven days. (Which have already broken last week’s all-time record for one-week pageviews, incidentally.)
1. Comical Ali’s perfect game
The “Better Together” mailshot where literally every sentence is a lie.
2. The killer inside
The Madness Of Prince George (Osborne).
3. What you won’t read today
Actual financially-literate people assess Scotland’s currency options.
4. Turn and river
The real meaning behind the currency threat.
5. They don’t care about you
Scottish Labour admit they’ll hurt Scotland to win Westminster.
This week’s theme: the positive case for the Union.
Wings Over Scotland is a (mainly) Scottish political media digest and monitor, which also offers its own commentary. (More)