Scottish independence referendum, plus jokes.

Wings Over Scotland


The head of the hydra

Posted on October 13, 2013 by

We must confess, we’ve never quite understood the No campaign’s longing to turn the independence referendum into one on Alex Salmond. The First Minister certainly divides opinion, but his personal ratings are consistently more impressive (and by a considerable distance) than poll figures for Yes.

fmv

The latest one we could find (from a month ago) suggests that if the referendum question was “Do you want to entrust Scotland’s future to Alex Salmond?”, the Yes side would win by an 11% margin on an 85% turnout.

So it makes stuff like this, from today’s Sunday Herald, all the more puzzling.

“In the first foreign policy initiative launched in Edinburgh since 1707, senior SNP figures have begun an intense round of behind-the-scenes meetings with foreign dignitaries as they prepare the ground for next year’s indyref.

Led by Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and fronted by External Affairs Minister Humza Yousaf, the diplomatic campaign is firmly aimed at pitching the independence project to a sometimes hostile international audience.”

That’s not the puzzling bit. The “Better Together” spokesman contacted by the Herald was clearly so desperate to get a Nat-bashing quote out that they didn’t have time to actually bother reading the story first:

“People in Scotland will be appalled to find out that rather than devoting their time to dealing with the issues they were elected to deal with, Alex Salmond and his ministers are off round the world trying to sell their independence dream.”

Alex Salmond isn’t mentioned at all in the piece, either by name or by implication. There’s no suggestion whatsoever that he’s gone off anywhere. It clearly identifies Nicola Sturgeon and Humza Yousaf as the people directing the initiative.

Yet the Unionist campaign simply tramples over the inconvenient facts in order to personalise the story and attack a man challenged only by his own deputy for the title of “most trusted politician in Scotland”.

It IS weird, isn’t it?

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ORIGINAL SOURCES: [1], [2]

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99 to “The head of the hydra”

  1. Stuart Black says:

    They’ve nothing else, Stu.

  2. IainB says:

    Hostile international audience ?? where exactly?

  3. Murray McCallum says:

    As a country that actually seeks to export physical goods, I am personally glad someone is out promoting Scotland to the world.
     
    Scotland talking to the world doesn’t sit well with the unionist dependency, nothing to contribute, message.

  4. jim mitchell says:

    I can’t wait to see what spin is put on the above picture, any guesses playmates?

  5. Holebender says:

    Maybe Alex should jet off to North Korea to give them lessons in dictatoring and stuff. Our impartial press would love that.

  6. McHaggis says:

    Listen, its simply to give Mr MacIntyre OCD his daily opportunity to re-arrange a limited set of adjectives into another “Alex Salmond” rant.

    The Herald must love him, given the same inane and repetitive ramblings would certainly be moderated if presented from a ‘Yes’ perspective.

  7. AnneDon says:

    Surely wee Jock McConnell was accused of the same when he launched his bid to help Malawi? Or was that okay cos it was sLabour?

  8. Graeme Purves says:

    What is it with poor Mr. MacIntyre?  It seems a decidedly unhealthy obsession.

  9. Erchie says:

    I think they are BT are trying to create a atmosphere of “no-one likes Alex Salmond”
     
    You get Wetnats and others decrying him, but not saying what it is about him that is supposedly so objectionable.
     
    The nearest thing I can find is “He’s smug”. So. That seems to date from his days when the Tories were in power and the SNP leader was running rings around John Smith and Ian Lang. He as obviously enjoying himself.

    But you look at him now and he’s generally serious in debates and Holyrood, though he is not about sending himself up.
     
    WHat is his evil crime?

  10. scotty says:

    that puir wee man isnae weel!

  11. handclapping says:

    I see it as self reflection. If the “Scottish” Labour party lost Paul Sinclair there would be nothing left, the LibDems are already down to Willie Rennie, only in the Torys are there any signs of ability should Ruthie be defenestrated. The SNP have Nicola, John Swinney, etc. already in Government and able to continue the good work if the First Eck should fail so this personification of the battle has to be because of the Unionist belief in “the great leader”.
     
    Ironic in that their parties are “led” by Brave Dave, whathisname and Red Ed.

  12. pmcrek says:

    IainB,
    You must be forgetting about all of those international folks that didnt tell the BBC that Scotland would be a pariah state like North Korea but they reported it as such anyway!

  13. McHaggis says:

    There was a story on ‘The Register’ just on Friday about the 20k the Scottish Government spent on protecting privilege. For those that don’t know, “The Register” is an online IT magazine and journal.

    1 – why did it bother with this story which had no IT angle?
    2 – the author included the line – “The walrus-like Scottish National Party (SNP) leader”
     
    It led to a 50:50 split from those pointing out the physical attack was unwarranted and those who hate independence because of Alex Salmond!
    bizarre.

  14. MJB says:

    Hey Alex,see that photo,that`s Yes Aberdeens patch,go find your own one!  ;-)

  15. HulloHulot says:

    “People in Scotland will be appalled to find out that rather than devoting their time to dealing with the issues they were elected to deal with, Alex Salmond and his ministers are off round the world trying to sell their independence dream.”
     
    Better Together: where political parties aren’t elected to deal with the issues they campaign for.
    Better Together: where the public are appalled at the delivery of manifesto pledges.

  16. creigs17707repeal says:

    I think it is no bad thing that Scottish Ministers are doing this.  In my line of work I meet and talk with people from all over the world and many from Europe. Curiously many (particularly Europeans) seem to be against what they perceive as the break-up of the UK. When I ask why they hold such a view I am told – almost without exception – that it looks to them like a fragmentation and that – generally speaking – countries are better and stronger together. It is also linked to ‘changing world syndrome’ which many people naturally have an aversion to. 

    None of them I should add are against Scottish self-determination – they are just uncomfortable with change. However, when I point out that Scotland wishes to remain in the EU but could be dragged out on the coat-tails of an anti-Europe vote by England, their attitude changes and they see Scotland’s dilemma. In this scenario most of them feel it better that if it comes to a choice between the UK or the EU, they feel that Scotland would be stronger as part of the EU and the EU would be stronger with Scotland (assuming the UK voted to exit the EU).

  17. Jimsie says:

    The enemies of Che Guevara never seemed to know where he was either, maybe thats why he won most of the time. Incidently, I am related to Ernesto as he had an Irish granny named Anna Lynch and I had an Irish granny named Mary Lynch who was a distant cousin of Anna ( no kidding ). Viva la revolutione !!!!

  18. Tris says:

    Got to be better than your head of government being a greasy, spivvy weapons salesman, which is what Cameron is.

  19. Erchie says:

    McHaggis
    Not the first anti-SNP story the Register has put out.
     
    The author of that piece writes for the Herald.
     
    The Register has become a right-wing Climate Change denying, only buy American Military kit over the last year or so. They are getting very selective about what articles they allow comments on as well

  20. Training Day says:

    It’s a well worn tactic from our London-based MSM. With the hard of thinking, it can be effective. Imply that the attitudes of an entire country (regardless of the complexities and contradictions within that country) can be distilled in the person of one individual and the MSM can justify pretty much anything. Case in point: Saddam Hussein is a brutal dictator therefore the country of Iraq and everyone in it is a threat to ‘us’.

  21. kininvie says:

    Thing is – the ‘we hate Alex’ campaign has traction on the ground, especially among Labour voters. A vote for independence is a vote for Alex Salmond. You can point out until you are blue in the face that Scotland will be independent long after Alex is reduced to being a wee bronze statue on the Mound, but there are a lot of people who simply won’t see it.

  22. Les Wilson says:

    I absolutely agree that Scotland should be projected everywhere we can.

    Scotland is and will be a trading nation, we need contacts everywhere to further our aims and our economy. I actually find it exciting that we are having that “can do ” attitude, and where it will lead us when, our natural entrepreneurial is set free to blossom.

    Forget the naysayers , we will be a success when we gear up fora myriad of opportunities.

  23. david says:

    a heartfelt honest speech from the first minister closer to the referendum will swing many thousands of voters who claim not to like him for personal reasons when they realise he is a sincere honest man.

  24. FreddieThreepwood says:

    It’s actually quite straightforward and it has everything to do with what you/we have been describing in great detail here and elsewhere over the last year or so – the hand in glove relationship between the No campaign and the MSM.

    Newspaper editors – especially in London – have long since lost the ability to think of politics as anything other than a personality-driven business. Not since New Labour made the great leap to the right has there been much actual political, never mind ideological, ground between the two main players in British politics. So for two decades at least ‘political’ coverage in the media has focused on such weighty matters as Brown and Blair’s feud, Cameron’s wealth and previously Ed’s nose, now his dad.

    This is the stuff they are comfortable with, that they can sell to a by now completely cynical, anti-political population who have lost the ability to view their lawmakers as anything other than grubby contestants in some real-life reflection of a so-called ‘reality’ TV show in which nothing more than the least despised wins a go at running the country.

    Enter Eck. The press – particularly the London based press who realise their readership know little of Scottish politics and care less but who have at least heard of Salmond – simply will not engage in the actual debate up here. Issues such as democracy, constitutional fairness or – good Lord – the potential for a new, responsive and responsible political ethos, are so dull, worthy and wishy washy they’d be committing career suicide by devoting so much as a NIB to them. But Eck’s fondness for pies, his waving of flags at sporting events, his well-known dishonesty and low cunning … now that’s stuff they can get their teeth into.

    And in a closed, reinforcing loop, the No campaign joins in. So the MSM and Better Together in all its guises from Lamont to Darling and now Carmichael continue month after month to take turns at kicking Salmond while the actual debate, the actual issues are being discussed elsewhere. 

    They’ll find out soon enough what a monumental mistake this is. I for one would just leave them to it.

  25. beachthistle says:

    The non-stop attacks on Salmond are one of London’s default anti-independence (‘Get-Ghandi’) propaganda tactics. It is annoying but has diminishing returns in a long campaign like ours and in the age of social media, real-time opinion polls and 24 hour rolling news media it has less impact and is doomed to fail..so let’s hope the No-Scotlanders keep it up!

    The other reason it has less impact is the quality of those around Salmond: as well as Nicola Sturgeon and Stewart Hosie I continue to be impressed by Humza Yousaf: he opened an international meeting (with participants from 20 countries) for the charity I am chairman of the other day and the content of his speech, the interest he took in the subject (climate justice) and his relaxed interactions created a really positive buzz – very different to that created by any UK government minister/politician I have worked with…

    I spent the rest of the week in Brussels at an EC meeting – in all the conversations I had over 3 days with delegates from all continents there was a positive interest, in most a lot of support and goodwill – and in none of the conversations any mention of Alex Salmond!

  26. annie says:

    Interested to read one of the comments under the article stated that in the EU the referendum was the “talk of the steamie” and in a positive way.

  27. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “This is the stuff they are comfortable with, that they can sell to a by now completely cynical, anti-political population who have lost the ability to view their lawmakers as anything other than grubby contestants in some real-life reflection of a so-called ‘reality’ TV show in which nothing more than the least despised wins a go at running the country.”

    Man, that’s insight right there.

  28. john grant says:

    Come up against this shite regularly  butnoone can tell mewhy they feel that way just shows how the press can create a bogeyman 

  29. GP Walrus says:

    @McHaggis
    “The walrus-like Scottish National Party (SNP) leader”
    I knew there was something about him I liked :-)

  30. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “Imply that the attitudes of an entire country (regardless of the complexities and contradictions within that country) can be distilled in the person of one individual and the MSM can justify pretty much anything.”

    “I think they are BT are trying to create a atmosphere of “no-one likes Alex Salmond”

    Yes, I get all that. But the point is that according to every poll ever, Salmond is more popular than independence. So if you’re against independence, why try to shift the ground from the latter to the former, where your enemy is stronger?

  31. msean says:

    They don’t like Alex because he delivers on his promises,also because he delivers a wee something else, self belief and belief in Scotland. YES.

  32. GP Walrus says:

    I was at a Scottish IT industry event in Edinburgh recently. There were world-renowned speakers present and a very positive can-do attitude. While independence was not overtly mentioned, speakers talked of a strong positive buzz in Scotland, new beginnings and even “Enlightenment 2.0″.

    Independence is being increasingly seen by many as the tremendous opportunity for a new start that it undoubtedly is. The wave of enthusiasm is building strongly. Against that tide of opinion, attacks on Alex Salmond by unionist Cnuts are utterly irrelevant and ineffectual.

  33. Marker Post says:

    “First foreign policy initiative since 1707″? Have the unionists been sleeping?
     
    The First Eck has been doing a marvelous job promoting Scotland in various places over the past few years, including the States, China, and Dubai.This has been a long time in the planning.

  34. Robert Kerr says:

    The problem with Mr Salmond as far as the “newspaper” editors are concerned is that there is no sleaze or scandal to be found. Be certain that if there was any it would be splashed on all the front pages in very large type. A politician with clean hands. Surely some mistake!

  35. Shinty says:

    Hostile international audience ?? where exactly?
     
    Spot on. Scotland will be welcomed the world over of that I am certain. What’s not to like:)

  36. Brian Powell says:

    If Minsters of the Scottish Government weren’t speaking up for Scotland around the world, who would?

    Carmichael? He is here to oppose Independence, plain and simple.

    Lamont? Nobody would know who she is, even if she could be found.

    Anas Sarwar? They would wonder why he only speaks about the SNP, regardless of any question he is asked.

  37. velofello says:

    Out street leafletting yesterday, none of the public i spoke to mentioned Alex Salmon, nor any other politician. An English couple,now living here, were very concerned of the effect on rUK in the event of independence.A year ago they may well have believed that independence would mean an end to the UK subsidising Scotland, that most certainly is not how they view it now.

    I find the Aye Right leaflet really useful to offer as an arguably non-political source to information beyond MSM and the BBC.

  38. HandandShrimp says:

    A lot of the time the No camp looks and sounds as if they have just got out of bed. I hope they continue to be so complacent for another 11 months.

  39. uilleam_beag says:

    I fear that they struggle to see beyond “We hate him so therefore everyone else must be equally repulsed.”
     
    Sadly, the entire debate is debased by such a mentality. 

  40. Scaraben says:

    @Erchie 
    The Register has become a right-wing Climate Change denying, only buy American Military kit over the last year or so.

    I used to read The Register on a daily basis, and I agree with your assessment except that it has been that way, I think, for more than just a year or two; it is also irritatingly immature in its choice of headlines and the tone of some of the articles. When it published a previous nasty anti-independence article, I deleted it from my bookmarks without any hesitation or regrets.

  41. HandandShrimp says:

    On the hostile thing I think perhaps that is a reference to the vested interests of Von Rompuy and Barroso and their ilk rather than ordinary citizens and politicians around the world. There is a need to meet head on some of the EU Nay Sayers. I’m neither a Euro sceptic nor phile and don’t much care if we are in or out but accept that the lean in Scotland is to stay in. I am of the view that the moment a Yes vote is secured the EU including Rompuy and Barroso will say to Westminster “you lost live with it” and Scotland will be in the EU before you say Commissioner.

  42. beachthistle says:

    @GP Walrus
    Really like the Scottish Enlightenment v2.0  ‘badge’ re Yes – hope you don’t mind me nicking and tweeting it?
     

  43. Macart says:

    No, not surprising at all. Stupid, but not surprising.
     
    They’ve now invested several years and no small amount of effort in attacking the man. The fact that their strategy has been a complete and utter failure makes no never mind. The only people who actually believe the myth tend to inhabit Labour party committee rooms or read the Mail, Express or Telegraph. The people who matter however, the people whose opinion really counts have already made their feelings known in 2007 and 2011.
     
    I don’t think the FM minds attracting the flak though, its what he set himself up for in this campaign. The fact that he hasn’t led the YES campaign and handed the responsibility for the SGs input over to Nicola Sturgeon leaves the opposition scrabbling for purchase on a very slippery slope. They are panicked now and desperate for anything which will damage the YES campaign. As long as the FM keeps drawing their attention and the mud slinging to which they’ve committed themselves, the YES campaign are free to do their job. The other shoe will drop in November when the SG get serious on the campaign front with the release of the white paper. BT will then have their hands full on two fronts and they know it.
     
    They’ll really need their good friends in the media at that point. How long though before we see the odd crack appearing there I wonder?

  44. proudscot says:

    The more gaffes the NO Campaign make, e.g. sending UK politicians the likes of Hammond up here to “lecture” the restless natives on how disastrous independence will be; or how our oil is a liability for us, but conversely an asset to the UK economy, the more I am reminded of Napoleon’s military maxim, “Never interrupt an enemy when he’s making a mistake!”

  45. Papadocx says:

    Just saw A carmichael on Sunday politics, dear dear me. Any question immediately caused a  loss of signal to his ear piece.  He’s as sharp as a tennis baw. However he seems a nice boy if a little slow and so proud of himself, pity about the politics.

  46. wee jamie says:

    Heard on the news that chancer , sorry chancellor, George osborne is in china with the begging bowl oot, trying to solicit multi- billion pound investment in the U.K ( England ), and Cameron is invited next month, perhaps if he takes home secretary Theresa May wi him she can pick up some tips on how tae deal wi aw the undesirables, immigrants , and scroungers when she gets her way and abolishes the human rights act, as china has great expertise in this field.

  47. GP Walrus says:

    @Beachthistle
    Be my guest. It’s not my phrase but certainly sums up what I think is happening.

  48. crisiscult says:

    I put a comment on another thread about the ‘lure of ambiguity’ perhaps helping to understand why Alex Salmond bothers people more than Tony Blair or David Cameron. Even if I can put a fancy label on it, it doesn’t worry me less. I have a feeling that hating someone will more likely influence a no vote on independence than liking is to influencing a yes vote (I’ve seen that guy OBE’s comments on the herald for example – if he’s for real, then proof personal hatred is like a duracell battery). I think there’s mileage in the anti Salmond approach and maybe the SNP are doing the right thing keeping his part lower profile. By September next year people may have grown tired or suspicious of it. That’s assuming some serious dirt can’t be manufactured before then though.

  49. The Man in the Jar says:

    Thinking about this article and the previous one “Sub: please check” I am beginning to see Better Togethers outbursts to be more and more akin to barking dogs. If a dog is sleeping and it hears an unfamiliar noise it will immediately jump up and start barking. There is absolutely no thought process involved, it is pure instinct nothing else. A dog doesn’t stop to think “I have heard a noise I wonder what it is? I had better bark out a warning” Similarly if a dog hears another dog barking it will join in without having any idea of what the original dog is barking about in the first place.
    P.S. I love dogs so apologies in advance to all dogs everywhere!

  50. beachthistle says:

    @GP Walrus
    Cheers. Don’t think the link to my tweet worked: here it is:
    Is #IndyRef #Yes Scottish Enlightenment v2.0? ‘A rejection of any authority that can not be justified by reason democracy?’

  51. Albert Herring says:

    Wouldn’t it be interesting if Alex was to announce shortly before the referendum, that a Yes vote would be the culmination of his political career, and that on attaining it he would immediately retire from politics.

    Of course if the result was No, it would be his duty to carry on the fight.
     
    The sound of unionist heads exploding would be absolutely deafening!

  52. Alex Taylor says:

    @Albert Herring
     
    I’ve often considered myself whether this would be a good idea (I’ve called it the nuclear option). I’ve not quite made my mind up about it, but I do wonder if it has been considered.

    When I ask  British nationalists for the positive case for the union, by the end of their first sentence it has invariably descended into an Alex Salmond ad hominem. They have nothing else. And the criticisms of him have no substance (I ask for examples) and consist of wee fat, smug  lying dictator.

    And yet as Stu says the polls show him to be very popular. It’s a  paradox.

  53. Oneironaut says:

    Like I’m sick of repeating to people, I’d rather have Salmond ruling over my country than some little Eton toff suffering delusions of imperial grandeur and an archaic desire for ‘oppressing the peasants, just like we used to do’ sitting in a city miles and miles away.

    And even if we don’t like the way he’s running things, then our votes will actually count for something, so we can give him the boot and stick someone else in there instead.  Then repeat until we find someone who can actually do the job properly.
     
    I think the problem is that so many people get so fixed in their own opinions that they refuse to even listen to an opposing point of view.
    Even if said opinions are merely the result of absorbing all the Project Fear propaganda and somehow mistaking that for information relevant to the Real World.
     
    If someone can give me a good reason for why they’re voting No that’s actually grounded in truth, fair enough.

    If said person has actually ignored all the propaganda and done their own research, they’ll also earn themselves some respect from me for that.
    So far, I’ve yet to meet a No voter who hasn’t just quoted the newspaper headlines at me to the point where I can actually feel my IQ dropping just from close proximity to them…
     
    As for the Alex Salmond/Walrus comparison…  Hmm…
    http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/media/images/45676000/jpg/_45676313_salmond.jpg

    http://cache2.allpostersimages.com/p/LRG/26/2688/14LUD00Z/posters/rosing-norbert-whiskers-and-tusks-adorn-the-face-of-an-adult-atlantic-walrus.jpg

    Not sure on that one…
     
    I would however accept a walrus as prime minister.  He’d do a much better job of it than Cameron ever could…
    http://www.yourecards.net/ecard_cardmedia/id123724/walrus-11×14-archival-art-print-by-animalcrew-on-etsy.jpg

  54. Murray McCallum says:

    It IS weird, isn’t it?  Maybe not, and am sure it’s been quoted many times:
     
    “Any fool can criticize, condemn and complain – and most fools do.”
    Benjamin Franklin

  55. Luigi says:

    The next time someone announces their dislike of AS, politely ask them who they would rather see running the country. 
     
    And please do not laugh if they try to answer.

  56. Andy-B says:

    Lets face it, there isnt one from that motley crew, Tory/LibDem/Labour, that could be considered even the slightest bit popular, Rennie, Lamont and Davidsons, mug shots would bring tears to a glass eye.

  57. muttley79 says:

    I think the extent of the No campaign’s stupidity was highlighted by Blair McDougall, when he was asked about what was the worst mistake his campaign had made, during the ‘year to go’ TV coverage.  The bold Blair said that BT’s mistake was not being more aggressive against Salmond!! :D  Now bearing in mind that Salmond has been likened to genocidal dictators on a fairly regular basis since 2011, it is just a bit amusing to think how they can possibly get even more aggressive towards him… :D 

  58. Edward says:

    Correct me if I’m wrong but aren’t the foreign dignitaries visiting Scotland this week to attend this weeks SNP conference. In an observational and note taking capacity in view of the forth coming referendum

  59. Keith Gilchrist says:

    It seems I’m compelled to admire Alex Salmond more and more every day. The man must have the psychological strength of a lion and the patience of a saint, to be able to smile in the face of such adversity. Not only is he attacked relentlessly for anything he says or does with his elected purpose on behalf of Scotland, but to be constantly pursued with such a deeply personal agenda must be a truly awful thing to suffer. It’s got to the stage where the attempted bullying and manipulation against such an upstanding man has now become deeply offensive to ME personally, and I expect – to many other right thinking Scots. I don’t just see these constant lies and false accusations as “spin”, “posturing” or propaganda any more – I see them as a direct attack on ME and my fellow Scots. 

  60. Ronnie says:

    Nice to see Alex giving the ‘Yes’ salute!

  61. Holebender says:

    Whenever somebody starts on the “I hate Alex Salmond” schtick with me I just point out that the man will be 60 by the end of 2014 (the year of the referendum) and is bound to have retired from public life within the next few years. (He’ll probably stand down in 2016.)
     
    I then ask if it is worth basing a decision on Scotland’s long term future on their personal feelings about a man who will be drawing his pension before this decade is out.

  62. gordoz says:

    On the Alex Salmond thing shows you where the real BT fears are !
    Aspiration, Leadership, Egalitariansim, X factor  
    Successful, Altruism, Libertarianism, Method, Oratory, Natural, Dynamic.
    Maybe its in the name; who knows.
    But it clearly gets under the skin !!!

    Keith Gilchrist – I agree and the same goes for the MSM nonsense of only representing one side shocking and something I will never forget.

  63. Mosstrooper says:

    On a couple of occasions when the “I don’t like Salmond” is voiced to me I have answered in an Innocent tone ” Oh, do you know him personally?” when the inevitable reply is “Eh No” my follow up is “well I do, and I’ll thank you to stop attacking a friend of mine” Now the fact that I do know Oor Eck gives me some gravitas and it is a treat to see the back pedaling which takes place.

    I too am sick and tired of the ill informed Sharn which is directed toward this man who’s herculean efforts have resulted in a Nationalist Government against all the odds and now an opportunity to regain Scotland’s  place in the world community.

    You don’t like some of his traits? well I am quite sure you wouldn’t like some of mine nor me some of yours. Who gives a Fek. It is independence we are fighting for here, not a mutual admiration award. 
     
    Another comment to throw at the nay sayers when the “I don’t like AS” comes forth it to reply “well that’s strange, he speaks very highly of you”

    Step back and watch collapse of stout party, as they Punch magazine used to say

  64. fordie says:

    Personally I do not wish to see AS retire – either with a Yes or No result. He is an outstanding politician of this age and his personal contribution and commitment to the fight for Scotland’s Independence is immense.

  65. AlexMci says:

    I don’t fully understand all the EU stuff and what we get from it or what it costs us. But I can tell you for a fact that I have never on a building site heard anyone have a good word about staying in it. In my opinion everyone I work with has swallowed the UKIP stuff about the EU. If they think it’s costing tax money they would rather out than in. Although there has never been any one of them even thought about the bigger picture in any way. Most of us are not getting great money now so if you said to any of them , pull out the EU and you will have an extra tenner on your wages a week, I’m betting the EU would be history.

  66. Yodhrin says:

    You might have an extra tenner on your wages, but the odds are there will be far fewer of you drawing any. The EU is a major trading partner, our membership is the only guarantee of human rights we have under the Westminster system, and we get back most of the cash we put in in the form of subsidies to certain industries. Pulling out of the EU is a surefire way to put this country right back into a recession, and I’m sure your colleagues will have sharp memories of exactly what those do to the construction industry Alex – something to point out to them.

  67. AlexMci says:

    @Yodhrin, yes I totally get it, but I’m lucky enough to have been reading Wings and sites like this for a few years now, to be honest I felt like that a few years ago. Until I started to take an interest in what was really going on I knew nothing about how the EU benefits us. But as I say most of them don’t care, you try and explain anything about it but it seems to be in one ear and out the other.

  68. Big Al says:

    Could someone ease my confusion? I am fairly certain that just recently His Eckness was described in certain quarters as being an insufficiently prominent leader.

    I would hardly describe the photograph above as that of a wallflower.

    Also am I to deduce from the article that those in opposition to independence are embarrassed that not just one but two Scots are capable of fulfilling their duties as Scottish Parliamentarians while also furthering the cause of Independence as well? Good grief! who would of thought from Better Together’s diatribes that some Scots can multitask thus completely negating the idea that we are too stupid? help ma boab!

  69. Taranaich says:

    Ahoy folks: since we’re talking BT’s campaign, guess what my great aunt got through the post the other day! She was going to bin it, but ever eager – desperate, even – to find something of substance, I decided to read it. A couple of things I thought I’d check with you guys. I just want to get this off my chest.
     
    Our Scottish Parliament makes decisions on the issues that matter to us here in Scotland. We also benefit from the security and opportunity that comes from being a part of the United Kingdom. This gives us the best of both worlds. It is the best choice for the future.
     
    So far, so inoffensive. Of course we in the Yes movement disagree on the idea that the UK provides anywhere near the “best” security and opportunity for Scotland, but that’s a matter of opinion over whether you’d prefer an actual standing defence force or a wee tub from Portsmouth.
     
    “The Scottish Parliament is getting more powers, all the main political parties want to strengthen it further, but we can do this without losing the back-up of being part of the UK economy.”
     
    I count two outright lies in that sentence: that the Scottish Parliament is getting more powers (as opposed to the usual waffle about getting more tax responsibilities), that all the main political parties want to strengthen it further (since “Scottish” Labour, LibDems and Conservatives are not independent from the Westminster parties, and the Westminster parties don’t seem to be interested in strengthening it). The third, that it can be done without losing the back-up of the UK, is more a case of extreme optimism than anything else – and doesn’t mention that further devolution would likely see the rUK have the power to veto.
     
    They have the Public Spend per Head thing (UK:10,600 vs Scotland: 11,800, naturally not bothering to mention tax per head):
     
    Our Scottish Parliament has full powers on health & education backed by public spending that is 1,200 higher than the UK average. As part of the UK we don’t risk our school and hospital budgets on volatile oil prices.
     
    No, we’re much happier risking our school and hospital budgets on costly illegal wars and pointless nuclear white elephants. And as part of the UK, we’re all too happy to sink billions of pounds into things which have negligible effect on Scotland like a high speed rail line that doesn’t come within miles of Scotland, the London sewer system, and other things which aren’t so much volatile as a definite drain on social resources.
     
    A quote from Hamish: Bridge of Allan:
     
    I’m very proud to be Scottish. For me this is about what is best for Scotland & that means keeping the strength of being a part of the United Kingdom.
     
    There’s that “proud Scot” again, and I notice much reference to “strength” as part of the UK: what strength? We’re in an economic crisis, we’re haemorraging money, our armed forces are being slashed to ribbons, foreign policy is a disaster. What “strength” are we talking about!?!
     
    Scotland’s biggest trading partner is the rest of the United Kingdom. Even the SNP government admit that Scottish businesses sell more to customers in the rest of the UK than to every other country in the world combined.
     
    Are you SERIOUS with this, BT? You’re presenting the rUK as a “trading partner” when foreign policy and affairs is WESTMINSTER controlled? Scotland sells more within the UK because the UK isn’t interested in selling Scottish trade internationally: why else do you think whisky’s one of our biggest exports? I love how the SNP “admit it” – because we all know that the SNP hates England, right? I refuse to believe that the demand for Scottish exports is greater in England than the rest of the world combined – and even so, what’s the suggestion that this would change for the worse in independence?
     
    Katie from Carnoustie says:
     
    It is hard enough for young people to find a job at the moment. We should be looking for ways to increase opportunity, not making things more difficult.
     
    I wish I could laugh about this, but I can’t. “It’s hard enough being in prison at the moment. We should be looking for ways to make our time less difficult, not trying to escape.”
     
    Almost 200,000 jobs in Scotland depend on companies selling things like pensions, mortgages and insurance to the rest of the UK. nine out of ten of their customers are in the rest of the UK.
     
    Again: what kind of “trading partner” would let themselves be so restricted like this? And again: how would independence change that?
     
    5,000 shipyard jobs depend on building ships for the Royal Navy. Thousands more jobs in communities rely on the UK defense industry.
     
    Again, can’t even joke about this given the absolute drubbing UK armed forces jobs are getting in this allegedly “strong” United kingdom.
     
    Over 9,000 jobs depend on green energy investment – funded by the energy bills of over 20 million households across Britain.
     
    So what you’re saying is that a country which is positively brimming over with energy – green energy at that – is funded by the energy bills of 20 million households across Britain… and yet we still have people dying of hypothermia due to exhorbitant energy prices and shocking poverty?
     
    Right now the UK pound is our currency. Our interest rates are not controlled by a foreign country, as happens to small countries in the Eurozone. All that would change if we vote to leave the UK. Alex Salmond can’t guarantee what currency we would use. The leaders of the independence campaign say we should join the Euro or set up a separate currency.
     
    God almighty the lies in this paragraph, I can’t even begin.
     
    Louise from Wishaw says:
     
    Keeping the Pound is about more than the money in our pockets. Giving up control of our interest rates to a foreign country means we would have no control over mortgage bills.
     
    This is breathtaking. Not only do we have the “foreign country” bogeyman, but it’s treated as a bad thing that “control” over something which affects our lives is handed over by another country. Forgive me if I’m wrong, but I thought Scotland and England were separate countries, right? You’ve just spent this leaflet talking about the “union” of the UK, and how Scotland is a “trading partner,” suggesting a level of equality. So if it’s not OK for interest rates to be dictated by another country, why is everything else?
     
    If we leave the UK pound or join the Euro our interest rates would be set by a foreign country. We would lose all control of our mortgage rates.
     
    If we stay in the UK, our welfare, foreign policy and defense would be set by another country. We would lose all control of our welfare, foreign policy and defense. WHY IS ONE OF THESE THINGS GOOD AND THE OTHER BAD.
     
    The vast majority of customers for Scottish firms are in the rest of the UK. If selling to them meant changing currency it would be bad for jobs.
     
    One wonders how our international trade functions at all with all the foreign currency we have to deal with…
     
    If we tried to use the pound without the agreement of the rest of the UK it would mean far more expensive mortgages. Our bank would face bigger risks without the back-up of the UK taxpayer.
     
    I… just… We don’t NEED the rUK’s “agreement!” HOW would this mean more expensive mortgages? As for the banks, HA, given the UK taxpayer’s opinion of the crisis I have no doubt that any risks the banks face in future will be on their on back.
     
    OK, finally, there was a wee form you could fill out. It asks on a rating from 1-5 which statement best describes your view on independence (which is commendably neutral), which party you voted for at the last election (as ever, poor old Greens were left out, but more importantly I thought that was a SECRET BALLOT even though they also ask for your name and address!), and a blank box allowing you to fill out “what issue will most affect the way you vote in the referendum.” It took all my power not to write THE FACT THAT I COUNTED A DOZEN LIES IN THIS LEAFLET IS AN EXAMPLE, but there you go. A last quote:
     
    Do you want to keep a successful Scottish Parliament with the back-up of the UK? Or do you want to find out more before you make the biggest decision in Scotland’s history?
     
    As said earlier, remaining in the UK is absolutely no guarantee of keeping a successful Scottish Parliament. The UK doesn’t have our back-up.

  70. Morag says:

    Great analysis, Taranaich.  Glad you could stomach reading that!

  71. Morag says:

    Alex as evil dictator.  Hmmmm.
     
    I had a run-in with a neighbour yesterday who is determined to vote No because of identity reasons.  She doesn’t seem to think it’s possible to have family links on both sides of an international border.  I suspect she’s a lost cause on that one.
     
    However, she also launched into the “I hate that smug egotist Alex Salmond” riff.  She believed this was all about Salmond’s ego.  I pointed out that someone who is all out for personal gain doesn’t join a political party with only a couple of MPs and a handful of councillors as an undergraduate, and stick with it even through being thrown out.  That his contemporaries chose the easy route to political success in the big parties.
     
    She then began to say what a horrible person he is.  I asked her why she thought that, and got an interesting reply.  Apparently a niece of hers had worked for the SNP as an intern, and found Salmond impossible to work with, with a hideous temper.  I have heard similar criticism from others working within the party.  Most excuse it as the perfectionism of a driven man, but it seems to be a genuine problem.
     
    I remarked to my neighbour that many top politicians were difficult to work with in this way and compared the stories of Brown throwing phones at people, but it’s not the sort of tale that helps, when it gets out.
     
    I then asked her what her reaction would be to a Yes vote.  She said, “we’d be thinking of making a move, quite honestly.”  I was surprised, because her identity issues didn’t seem to point to that reaction, so I asked why.  She said, “because we think the whole place would tank, really.”
     
    This is a very intelligent woman with a husband working in the banking sector in Edinburgh.  I had just explained to her how decades and indeed centuries of getting back less than we paid in taxes had led to long-term unemployment, deprivation, emigration and population loss.  I had quoted Scott about “naebody’s nails can reach the length o Lunnon” to her.  But she still thinks the Scottish economy would tank.
     
    I think she’s a dead loss, but really, I could do without Alex Salmond’s temper tantrums against innocent interns fouling up these conversations.

  72. ianbrotherhood says:

    @Taranaich-
     
    Superb mister, just su-perb.
     
    More power to ye.

  73. ianbrotherhood says:

    @Morag-
     
    Teensy wee toty alteration to your last post might be advisable:
     
    ‘…I could do without Alex Salmond’s (alleged) temper tantrums…

  74. Morag says:

    I think when one has heard the same tale from a number of people who actually work with him, it gets a bit more than just alleged.

  75. The Man in the Jar says:

    @Taranaich
    At least it didn’t use the phrase “Punching above our weight”. Now that is really beginning to annoy me. Who wants to live in a country that goes about “punching” other countries.
     
    @Morag
    I know the feeling. I have tried with a bloke I meet when walking my dog, probably in his late sixties. I thought he might have been be a possible. He said that when he was younger he believed in nationalism as he had worked in small newly independent countries. (He mentioned Jamaica!) But he said no not now. When I asked why not he started going on about amongst other things the battle of Britain FFS! This just about set me off on one. I had to take a deep breath and count to ten. I proposed that we left it at that, which thankfully we did before it got silly.

  76. ianbrotherhood says:

    @Morag-
     
    ‘I think when one has heard the same tale from a number of people who actually work with him, it gets a bit more than just alleged.’
     
    No, it doesn’t.
     
    What you ‘think’ is neither here nor there. When you set such stuff down in words, as you have, it’s becomes a different matter, as you well know.
     
    Stop stirring.

  77. Macart says:

    @Morag
     
    Yeah, I’ve heard the anecdotes of the FMs short fuse too. Amazing how he manages to keep said temper under control in the face of the shit storm he faces in public on a daily basis. Brass tacks? The man’s human and pulls his trousers on one leg at a time same as anybody else, more than likely due to his nature and circumstance, he probably would be an extremely demanding and difficult boss to work for. Is he abusive though? I used to work under some right corkers who would hurl things across a room at you for supposed error and Chargehands who took their title waaayyy to seriously and literally would lead with their hands (ah the memories :) ) and any heavy object within their reach. At the end of the day he’s the leader of a party and a parliament. If all goes to plan he’ll probably wind up being the first leader of his country in centuries. Saint probably won’t be in the job description (although pacifist would be good). :)
     
    If the worst he’s accused of is having a short fuse and being an over zealous perfectionist, I’ll settle for that. If he was the type to chuck stuff across a room or raise hands to the staff it would have been a front page story long since. Let’s face it there’s no amount of bods in the opposition who wouldn’t hesitate to have used information like that long since had the evidence been there to be used. Christmas presents for Bute house this year should probably include a carton or two of Natra calm tablets though and mibbies they could lay off the coffee in favour of some herbal teas. Its likely to get a bit stressful in the next eleven months. :)

  78. crisiscult says:

    My mum met a 20ish girl who was grand niece of an old friend and they were on the train together. This girl had been an intern (in fact she could even be the same girl Morag mentioned) and said the same about Salmond not being a nice man. This was about 3 years ago I think. How true this is, and how sensitive the girl was, and how relative the who thing is, are not particularly relevant. My standard response to anyone who plans to vote no because of Alex Salmond is to ask if they prefer Blair (how many did he kill again?). The result is usually that you just find out that the no voter is a no voter and I hate Salmond is just a badge, like the Edinburgh lady Morag mentioned. 

  79. Mosstrooper says:

    Am I reading this correctly? We go from a neighbour who, against all other evidence, believes that the Scottish economy would collapse come independence who has a neice who worked as an intern in the SNP offices and who thought Alex. Salmond was a horrible man with a hideous temper.
     
    We have absolutely no idea or indication of whether he was “hideous” to her or others or how much of this is anecdotal. We have no idea of any circumstances where these alleged explosions of anger emanated or why
     
    We then move on to these allegations becoming fact and evolving into “temper tantrums ” courtesy of Morag, swiftly followed by someones Mum meeting on the train the grand niece (20 ish) of an old friend. This friend of a friend, who had been an intern, is alleged also to have said AS was not a nice man.
     
    We have no knowledge of what the circumstances were relating to the alleged incidents or of the involved parties.
     
    This is the region of urban myth.
    I have a friend who lives next door to someone who knows the actual person who sat on a train beside the woman who’s daughter heard the story first.

    WTF is going on in your minds? FFS 

  80. Morag says:

    Very perceptive analysis. Macart.  I’ve often wondered how Salmond manages to keep such a calm demeanour in public in the face of the provocation he has to put up with.  I think his coping mechanism is part of why they call him smug.  He turns the attacks aside by laughing at them, and turning it all into a joke.
     
    And you’re right, all the stories about the short fuse and the temper come from inside the SNP, not from shock-horror newspaper stories.  We know that journalists have been digging for years to find some real dirt to smear him with as a person, and nothing has been published.  If they had similar evidence to the tales of telephone-throwing from Brown, no doubt the readers of the Scotsman would know all about it by now.
     
    Which suggests it’s all probably small beer.  Certainly until my neighbour on Saturday, everyone who has relayed a story of that nature to me has put it down to stress and perfectionism and being so driven for “the cause” that he expects 110% from everyone all the time.
     
    I don’t particularly care if he’s not a nice man.  It’s not part of the job requirement.  It’s just that my neighbour’s basis for not liking Salmond was the first time I’d heard a criticism that probably had a basis in fact, rather than sheer blind prejudice.  And there’s no point in demanding we don’t talk about it, because he’s our hero who can do no wrong.  He’s human, as you say.

  81. Juteman says:

    Why are some folk making bullets?
    Have i stumbled into BT by mistake?

  82. Macart says:

    Thirty odd years of work in three countries. I’ve never seen a workplace where someone didn’t have a go at the boss or vice versa.
     
    When you’re talking about your country’s top office, we better hope he’s a bloody perfectionist. :D

  83. Seasick Dave says:

    I thought that Alex Ferguson’s short fuse was seen as an asset in some quarters.
     
    But then again, he is not on our side.

  84. crisiscult says:

    Mosstrooper says: WTF is going on in your minds? FFS
     
    Not sure you got the point. Hope you did.

  85. Ronnie says:

    I’m with Macart on this. Who knows what it feels like to get up each day knowing that there’s a job to be done – and done properly, while awaiting the usual insults and personal denigration that you know will be coming at you.
     
    Besides, I reckon some folk are just a wee bit too precious these days and can’t take a yelling at or telling off, even when they have been guilty of not performing adequately.
     
    On the general point about not voting ‘Yes’ because you don’t like Alex Salmond, Indyposterboy has a neat way of putting it, if I may quote;
     
    ‘Voting ‘No’ because you don’t like Alex Salmond is like refusing to buy your dream house because you don’t like the previous occupant’s choice of wallpaper.’

  86. Taranaich says:

    Thanks Morag & Ian! Being a “proud Scot” I naturally crave validation or my fragile ego will collapse into a deflated souffle.

    @Morag:  I think she’s a dead loss, but really, I could do without Alex Salmond’s temper tantrums against innocent interns fouling up these conversations.

    On the one hand, I wholeheartedly agree that (alleged) temper tantrums aren’t any help to anybody. On the other, as Macart says – and not to be flippant or excuse that sort of behaviour – can you blame the guy given the ridiculous antics he has to put up with at FMQ, constantly having to laugh off accusations of being a fascist dictator, and the like? I’m amazed he hasnae decked someone yet.  And frankly, the fact that these people are willing to vote against indy because of Salmond’s temper tantrums but not the tangible, measurable harm other parties have done to people’s livelihoods and lives is astounding. Again, I’m not condoning that sort of behaviour, but the leaders of the Conservative government have COST LIVES. The preceding Labour government has COST LIVES. Let’s get some bloody perspective here.

    @The Man In The Jar:  At least it didn’t use the phrase “Punching above our weight”. Now that is really beginning to annoy me. Who wants to live in a country that goes about “punching” other countries.

    Funnily enough, I was just thinking about that phrase and how pugilistic it is – and how revealing it is of foreign policy, that it’s viewed as a boxing match.

  87. Morag says:

    Taranaich, totally agree.  The fact that Alex Salmond isn’t necessarily a plaster saint in every aspect of his working life is no sort of argument against independence.  I don’t think the lady in question is persuadable in any way shape or form, and that was just one of the things she came out with when I challenged her to explain her reasons.
     
    Ronnie, have you any idea what RevStu is going to do to you for that formatting?  ;)

  88. Macart says:

    @Morag
     
    Oh bugger, not the pokers again? :o

  89. Muscleguy says:

    “The time has come the Walrus said, to talk of many things”
     
    Lewis Carroll as Nostradamus . . .
    ;-)

  90. Ronnie says:

    OOPS!
    Really sorry about that RevStu, forgot to delete the original ‘paste’.
     
    I’m normally quite fussy about proper presentation, so I’ll go and stand in the corner for the rest of the day.

  91. Muscleguy says:

    ‘The time has come’, the Walrus said,
    ‘to talk of many things,
    of nuclear subs and whisky tax,
    of bedrooms but not yet kings,
    Of why our seas are not our own,
    and what to write on Wings’.
     
    With apologies to Lewis Carroll

  92. ianbrotherhood says:

    I’ve never heard these rumours about AS before. To discover them on this site, and on this particular thread, is mind-boggling and depressing.
     
    And why were they raised? Because someone felt embarrassed while having a chat with a neighbour. Uneffingbelievable.

  93. Mosstrooper says:

    @Crisiscult
    Of course I got the point which is why I wrote the comment.
    All the chatter about AS was alleged and hearsay especially your’s and Morag’s.

    Your Mum, while on a train, met a young girl who was the grand niece of an old friend and this girl may have been the same one as the girl who was the niece of Morags neighbour and it may have been the same person and then this hearsay becomes fact.
     
    I repeat; WTF is going on in your mind that you can relate this bilge.

  94. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “I’ve never heard these rumours about AS before.”

    I’ve read many times about him driving his staff hard.

  95. Rusty Shackleford says:

    Erchie and McHaggis – quite right. I always thought of the Register as the Daily Mail of IT news (serious news with silly tabloid HEADLINES!!! and a sidebar of puff pieces), but they also seemed to have embraced Dacre’s BritNat outlook as well. Shall no longer offer them my clicks.

  96. The Rough Bounds says:

    I was at a Gaelic learners class a year ago and a woman said she wouldn’t be voting for independence because she ”didnae like that Alex Salmond.”
     
    I then said, ”Oh that’s a pity, because he tells me that he thinks you are WONDERFUL.”
    The woman, speechless, simply flushed bright red. Silly person. What a glow I got from that.
     
    Morag and others? Cut Mr. Salmond some slack!

  97. Morag says:

    You might notice that I did cut him quite a lot of slack.  My point was that hostile voters aren’t inclined to do the same.  Generic “smug egotistical Salmond” comments are easy enough to counter.  Specific references to him being difficult to work for coming from people who have actually worked for him are less easy to dismiss, even if we may think the whole thing is probably an over-reaction.

  98. crisiscult says:

    The point, Mosstrooper, was how stupid it is to base your views on the a friend of a friend of a friend said. Seems you agree with me.

  99. Taranaich says:

    @Morag: Taranaich, totally agree.  The fact that Alex Salmond isn’t necessarily a plaster saint in every aspect of his working life is no sort of argument against independence.  I don’t think the lady in question is persuadable in any way shape or form, and that was just one of the things she came out with when I challenged her to explain her reasons.

    To be honest, I’d prefer to be led by a human being, warts and all, than a plaster saint. They’re likely to be lizards in disguise. :P



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