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Wings Over Scotland


The Unionist Commandments

Posted on October 07, 2013 by

As we watched the remarkable events of last month at Abertay University in Dundee, we were struck by something about the speech from Labour peer Lord Robertson, who was speaking against the motion “It is time for Scotland to become an independent nation state”. (Click image below for audio.)

abertayrobertson

His 15-minute address to the audience of 200+ students, we gradually realised, was a sort of compact distillation of the entire argument that’s been put forward by the No camp over the entire last year-and-a-bit.

If you ever needed to direct an undecided voter to the complete case for the Union, in the words of its own advocates, you couldn’t do much better than the couple of thousand words that Robertson put to the young people of Dundee.

To that end, it seemed worthwhile to get it down in writing for posterity and reference purposes, and to break it down into its constituent parts in the process.

“Thank you very much for the invitation, thank you all for coming here today – I understand that this is the first day of teaching in your course, so I wish you well in the studying that will be ahead of you.

It’ll be a tough grind but it opens your mind, it opens your futures very much and this university, which in my day as well as in Stewart Hosie’s day was the technical college Bell Street Tech, now a full university with its own great reputation, it’s a good place for you to be.

It was, I have to tell you, 50 years ago next year that I came to Dundee as a student. I lived in digs just up at the top of Constitution Road, and I well remember what it was like to be in first year as a student in Dundee. I thought Dundee was a great place, I graduated in 1968, my wife, who previously worked in this college, comes from Dundee, and it was a rich student experience that I must say that I had, and I still have great memories of the time that I was here.

“Hello [venue name]! [venue name] crowds are the best crowds of all!”

I believe passionately that this debate, that is now going to take place over the next year, and in which you will have a vote, is really more than just about a vote on the 18th of September next year. It’s about the future of this country – your future, and your children’s future, and your children’s children’s future. You have a vote and you’re not just voting for yourself, you’re voting for future generations, so it is an immense responsibility that is in your hands.

This is pretty much where the true stuff ends.

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There won’t be any going back if people vote to make Scotland an independent nation state, a separate state.

There won’t be any going back from it, 51 to 49 is, can be a vote that will determine the rest of your life and of your future generations as well, so bear that in mind – that we’re not simply talking about the economy of today, or the government, Scottish or national government of today. 

Whatever their benefits, whatever their attributes, however much you feel strongly about it, you’re talking about the constitution of your country and whether we become a separate state and we break up the United Kingdom as we actually know it.

Now I want to say it right at the very beginning, because Stewart eloquently has give you the case for breaking up the United Kingdom, but he’s done it on the basis of a number of assertions that I don’t accept.”

COMMANDMENT 1: KEEP IT PEJORATIVE

Always use negative terms like “separation” and “break up” rather than “independence”. It’s vital to imply isolation and/or xenophobia, rather than positive feelings like self-determination and taking responsibility for yourself.

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“I’m a proud and patriotic Scot”

COMMANDMENT 2: TAKE PRIDE IN NOT BEING PROUD

Unionists should always point out their “pride” in being Scottish, something you never hear advocates of independence proclaiming. This is because if your political view is that another country should control all the important aspects of your own country’s management, most people would regard that as neither proud nor patriotic.

At least, not patriotic towards Scotland.

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“For four years I was the shadow Secretary of State for Scotland, the leader of the Scottish Labour Party, and during my four years we put together the component parts of what was to be the Scottish Parliament.

[We’re a bit confused by this. Robertson was Scottish Labour chairman, not leader. Wikipedia’s entry for the structure of the Labour Party in Scotland names as the current chair someone we’ve never heard of – a Victoria Jamieson – and on further investigation even that information turned out to be five months out of date.

So we have to assume it’s not a very important or prominent role, and certainly not one that could in any meaningful sense be described as “leader”. The Scottish Labour website doesn’t, as far as we can ascertain, mention the position at all.

vjamieson

Indeed, Labour in Scotland didn’t actually have anything called a “leader” until Johann Lamont took on the job at the end of 2011. Previously its public face was denoted as the leader merely of its group of MSPs in the Scottish Parliament, not its Scottish MPs or councillors or party workers.]

“The first Parliament in Scotland for 300 years. There’s nobody who can accuse me of being “anti-Scottish”, or not being patriotic enough, and Stewart Hosie, who I know is a decent man and represents constituents in this great city of Dundee, says he’s going to be temperate in his language, and won’t use some of the words that have been used.

Well, I’ve had some rough times in my political life, which started at the age of 15 – actually in the SNP, would you believe, for a year. And one of the current members of the Scottish Cabinet once called me a ‘Quisling’.”

COMMANDMENT 3: ALWAYS PLAY THE VICTIM

Pesky cybernats spend a lot of time documenting the astonishing hypocrisy of Labour (in particular) with regard to smears and abuse. The party’s elected members continually make outrageously offensive comments about (mainly) the SNP, with its most senior officials regularly throwing around words like “fascist”, “dictatorship” and “virus”, yet never fail to act like fainting violets if some anonymous internet loony says something mildly rude back to them.

Provocative political bruisers like Tom Harris should suddenly become as sensitive as a maiden aunt and cry “bullying!” if anyone delivers the mildest dose of their own medicine. Lord Robertson, then, should still affect to nurse the dreadful wounds of something a political opponent said to him in 1996.

“The guy called Quisling was a Nazi traitor in Norway during the war, Lord Haw-Haw, who broadcast to the British people on behalf of the Nazis at that time.”

[Wait, what? Vidkun Quisling wasn’t Lord Haw-Haw.]

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“And that member, that current member of the Scottish Cabinet, has not in any way apologised to me for what he said at the time, although I believe that he regrets it now.

But I believe that we need to argue this case on the basis of fact, not of the basis of assertions. I don’t believe that Scotland is too small. I don’t believe that Scotland is too weak. I don’t believe that Scotland is welfare-dependent.

I’ve seen countries – Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovenia, Slovakia, Montenegro, Serbia – countries that have all become, in the last few years, independent nation states. If they can survive, of course my country can survive.”

COMMANDMENT 4: CONCEDE INDEFENSIBLE GROUND

It’s vital, when you’re about to argue why Scotland couldn’t possibly be a successful nation, that you pretend you believe it could. Your job is to make people think that we’re too wee, too poor and too stupid, but without actually saying so.

The effect of this tactic is seen in polls – despite both sides being adamant in public that an independent Scotland would thrive, a staggering 37% of Scots still don’t believe they’re as good as the people of the nations Lord Robertson lists.

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“Of course we’ve got the economic vitality, and we’ve got the people and we’ve got the resources. But why do we want to make a separate nation state at this point?”

[One might more logically say that if we’ve got all those things, why on Earth WOULDN’T we vote to be a nation state? Why would we condemn ourselves to being ruled needlessly by brutal governments we didn’t vote for, six years out of every ten, if we’ve got everything we need to make a go of things?]

“The case that has been made, you will hear, is that actually our economy is stronger than most of the United Kingdom, and indeed it is. Recent surveys have shown that this Scotland of ours is actually the second-richest part of the United Kingdom after the south-east of England. That’s inside the United Kingdom, not as a separate state.

So I don’t take any of these assertions at face value, but I believe that the argument can be made for a better Scotland once we’ve got rid of this preoccupation with the separatism that the present government is obsessed with.”

COMMANDMENT 5: UNDERMINE YOUR ENEMY’S LEGITIMACY

The SNP won an unprecedented majority at the last election on the absolutely unambiguous manifesto promise to hold an independence referendum. But a government openly pursuing its manifesto commitments is too “normal”, and it’s crucial that independence is not seen in that light.

reelect

You must present it as an “obsession”, something unnatural that they shouldn’t really be doing. Implicitly and explicity deny their mandate whenever possible.

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“I want the Scottish Parliament to focus its mind on education. I want them to look at how our education is going to be fitted for the 21st century, how you and your children will get the skills that will actually go on and take you through into the difficulties and challenges of the world that’s ahead. I want a better health system.

Couple of weeks ago we found out that there were a record number of complaints against the NHS in Scotland. That’s a devolved matter, and I want more attention to be paid to that. I want more attention paid to transport. At the weekend I was in the Western Isles, one of the remotest parts of the United Kingdom. I want those areas, like my native island of Islay, to be given a bit more attention than they get at the present moment.

I want to see successful agriculture – that’s what I studied when I was at university in Dundee. I want to see a fairer legal system and I want to see a better, an improved local government system that works, and works for the people of Scotland.

All of these areas are in the province of the Scottish Parliament, but yet we’re obsessed, and we seem consumed at the moment, solely and simply with this constitutional issue.”

COMMANDMENT 6: UNDERMINE SCOTLAND’S COMPETENCE

Imply that the Scottish Parliament is incapable of handling even the limited areas it already controls, let alone the much more important ones it might be charged with.

(NB A helpful strategy in this area is to ensure that the voting public has as little confidence as possible in any of the potential alternatives to the current administration. So when selecting an opposition, send in your biggest diddies.)

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“There are huge issues out there that you will have to face in this world – an ageing population with a diminishing workforce, the mixture between the private and the public sector, incentives for people to grow companies and entrepreneurships. How are we going to give people the skills and the talent that will fit them to deal with emerging markets?”

COMMANDMENT 7: WE CANNAE DAE IT

Education has of course been independent for centuries. So however we give people skills and talent, it won’t be affected by the referendum outcome. But that doesn’t mean you can’t plant a few seeds of doubt and fear along the way.

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“These are all big issues that will affect you and the future generations on whose behalf you’re going to make a decision – an irrevocable decision – on the 18th of September next year.”

COMMANDMENT 8: NO WAY BACK

While no nationalist we’ve ever met would ever want to return to the UK after independence, and no country on the planet that we know of has ever sought to go back to its “parent” after achieving self-determination, it’s nevertheless crucial to the maintenance of fear, uncertainty and doubt that we insist it simply wouldn’t be possible, even though that proposition doesn’t stand up to a moment’s scrutiny.

After all, if we’re better together, and Scotland is a valued and important member of the Union, then it must follow that that would still be the case post-independence. If the rest of the UK doesn’t want Scotland to leave, why wouldn’t it want to take it back if Scots decided independence was all a terrible mistake?

(And since the UK’s infrastructure currently includes Scotland, the blueprint for any such “re-absorption” would be already written.)

NOTE: It’s important to get our story straight on this one.

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“So I resent those of us who say ‘Don’t break up Britain’ being called ‘anti-Scottish’ as I have been. Every time we ask a question, we’re told we’re talking down Scotland. I think that’s wrong, and it’s unfair.

It’s not anti-Scottish to keep the country that we know together and working together and not fragmented. It’s not anti-Scottish to see the waste involving, involved in creating new embassies and new ministries, the Ministry of Defence, new social security institutions, as well as the DVLA, the BBC, the CAA – a whole host of organisations that will have to be created.

It’s not, it’s not anti-Scottish to highlight the transition cost, the huge transition cost, of going from being part of the United Kingdom to being a separate state with stamps and uniforms and anthems and all of the rest of these things that would have to come with separation.”

COMMANDMENT 9: THERE’LL BE FORMS TO FILL IN

The next best thing to telling Scots that they’re too inept and hopeless to run their own affairs is to tell them that they could do it if they wanted to, but that it simply wouldn’t be worth all the hassle and paperwork.

(That Lord Robertson appears to believe the Scottish people will be frightened away from independence by the need for new “stamps and uniforms and anthems” is as telling a glimpse of the Unionist mindset as you’ll ever get.)

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“It’s not anti-Scottish to ask the basic question about what currency would we have in an independent Scotland.

10 years ago the leader of the SNP said that Sterling was a millstone round Scotland’s neck, but now he wants a fiscal union with the Bank of England taking the decisions on behalf of the independent Scottish state. But of course, in between he was in favour of the Euro.”

COMMANDMENT 10: REACTION IS WEAKNESS

Any change in SNP policy – because the SNP and the entire wider independence movement must at all times be depicted as one and the same – is prima facie evidence of untrustworthiness and unreliability, rather than the sensible and rational response to altered circumstances that characterises all good governance.

keynes

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“When I debated with him in 1996, he said the Euro was the way through, that was the way in which a Scotland would go, but suddenly after the Eurozone crisis it’s not there, so we don’t know whether it’ll be a currency union that would depend on the rest of the UK agreeing, or whether the pound would be used unilaterally, or whether it would be the Euro that we would be obliged to sign up to, and some people say if we were to be part of the European Union, or whether it would be a separate Scottish currency.

A fundamental issue, and we don’t know the answer to it.”

Disclaimer: throughout this transcription, we regret that we cannot accept any responsibility for Lord Robertson’s garbled and sometimes incomprehensible script.

“It’s not anti-Scottish to ask about the thousands of Scottish jobs that are, the Scottish people employed, in for instance the defence industry, when most of the market is going to be down south. Hundreds of thousand of jobs involved in financial services, when we would have to have a separate financial services regime applying in different parts of the United Kingdom.”

COMMANDMENT 11: FOR THE MILLIONTH TIME, KEEP EXAGGERATING

The actual number of jobs in Scotland’s financial services sector is around 85,000. Not scary enough, so ramp it up by a few hundred percent. (We call this “Faslaning”.)

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“It’s not anti-Scottish to ask whether we would automatically be in the European Union, as is sometimes asserted, because practically everybody in the European Union says no, a new separate state would have to apply for membership, and the SNP say we would have to negotiate anyway, because we want better terms.

But a negotiation implies gains and losses. What would we lose – the British rebate, perhaps our fishing limits. What would we gain in the process of these negotiations? We don’t know, and we won’t know until after you’ve cast your vote on the 18th of September next year.

It’s not anti-Scottish, indeed it’s quite patriotic, to ask whether Scotland would be a member of NATO, the organisation I as a Scot led for four years. The self-defence alliance, the pillar, the, the cornerstone of our security and that of 25 other nations in Europe, when it’s been made clear by the SNP that Trident would go, the British independent nuclear deterrent would go, which is part and parcel of NATO’s policy, irrespective, so they make that a condition of membership, knowing that that condition would not be acceptable to the other members.”

COMMANDMENT 12: MISREPRESENT THE VIEWS OF OTHERS

In fact there’s no reasonable doubt whatsoever that NATO would be extremely keen to have Scotland as a member, for what are mostly startlingly obvious reasons, and politicians from existing member states have repeatedly made that clear.

This, however, is an area where the Scottish and UK media can be relied on to have the No camp’s back, and any coverage of their comments to that effect will usually be restricted to small regional newspapers.

Indeed, the media can often be relied on to distort such comments out of all recognition, rather than merely suppress them.

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“And of course, it’s not anti-Scottish to ask about pensions. Now that’s in the distance from you, but not of your parents, and certainly not of your grandparents, and that’s a big issue that’s being talked about today because they’ve made a promise, it would appear, that the retirement age would not go up to 67 – in 2026, remember – in an independent Scotland.

Another, another uncosted promise that’s been made in the run-up to this referendum campaign, and frankly, you know, you’re going to hear a lot more of these promises. There is no doubt at all about that.”

COMMANDMENT 13: MAKE LIKE A MONKEY

In fact the Scottish Government’s pension proposals have been costed at some length and in some detail. But when your campaign hinges on endlessly demanding answers to literally hundreds of questions, it’s understandable that you don’t have time to listen when those answers are given over and over again.

monkeys

Short version: Hear no truth, see no truth, speak no truth.

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“So why should we create an independent Scottish state? We’re not a colony. Most of the countries that have become independent since the war were colonies. We’re not oppressed.

Nobody believes that we’re oppressed – I’m sure there are, there are people here from other countries other than Scotland here, this, is, Scot, uh, you are, Scotland’s not oppressed inside the United Kingdom.

[Nope, sorry, us either.]

We’re not discriminated against. You turn on your radio in the morning, you get the voice of Jim Naughtie. if you’re interested in current in current affairs you go to bed listening to Kirsty Wark on Newsnight. Every Sunday morning, the main starting point for the week, you’ve got Andrew Marr, who came from Invergowrie just outside of Dundee.

There are Scots at every level of government, on public and private sector in the United Kingdom, all of them, few of them, perhaps, going to have a vote in this referendum, but all of them proud Scots who’ve never been held back by the fact that they were Scots inside the United Kingdom.”

COMMANDMENT 14: IT COULD BE YOU!

…although most of them had to leave Scotland and make their careers in London. If you have to emigrate from your homeland to be a success, that’s probably not a very compelling argument that your homeland is doing well from the Union, so puff ’em up for all you’re worth and hope nobody notices.

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“We’re not disadvantaged inside the United Kingdom. For whatever, for ever statistics we hear, um, we hear from ah, from, from the nationalists, actually what Stewart said was Scotland’s economy’s actually doing quite well. Lowest level of youth unemployment, you said. You’ve highest level of employment.

We’re the richest part of the United Kingdom outside of the southeast, and we’re in the United Kingdom, so, we’re not being disadvantaged by being part of a single market, part of a single country, and that’s really worth your bearing in mind when it comes to any decision that you take.”

COMMANDMENT 15: CORRELATION IS CAUSATION

It is of course axiomatic that any successes of Scotland must be attributable to it being in the UK, not to the efforts of Scots within the country, and that it could not possibly have done any better were it to have been independent.

It’s inconceivable under any circumstances that any positive aspects of Scottish life might be DESPITE Westminster rule, rather than BECAUSE of it.

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“There’s no linguistic differentiation, no great cultural, eh, discrimination that might argue for it, like it does in some other countries, you know, in Flanders in Belgium they say “Why can’t we become an independent state?”, or Catalonia and Spain, where a million and a quarter people marched in the streets. They say they want to become an independent state, but they’ve got language, and culture, and all these sort of things. We don’t have any of that.”

COMMANDMENT 16: SCOTLAND WAS EXTINGUISHED IN 1707

Did you hear that? Read it again, just to make sure. “Catalonia and Flanders have language and culture. We don’t have any of that.” He really said those words. Ooft!

Media commentators, particularly those on the right, diligently attack any notion that the Scottish people are unlike those in the rest of One Nation Britain, cherry-picking snippets of poll data to try to cover up the massive elephant in the room that is Scotland’s unbroken sixty-year electoral opposition to the Conservatives.

Scots must not be allowed to believe that they’re different, because if they were different they might demand to be governed in accordance with their democratically-expressed desire at every election, rather than just during the minority of the time when England’s wishes happened to coincide with theirs. The Scottish identity, therefore, must be denied and belittled at every turn.

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“And we’ve got, in addition, in Scotland, a Parliament of our own, handling all those domestic arrangements that matter to us and to the people of Scotland.

Education from nurseries to universities. Health, housing, local government, transport, tourism, agriculture, fisheries and more. And indeed, next year, under the Calman reforms, more powers will come to the Scottish Parliament.

And not only that, we’ll have power over income tax – a big chunk of income tax, and stamp duty, and extra powers to legislate in areas like the licensing of airguns.”

COMMANDMENT 17: LET THEM BE IN CHARGE OF THE PAPERCLIPS

Seriously. Our research suggests that we should be able to buy them off with airguns and speed limits. Yep, that’s what they’ll settle for! Man, those old missionaries who actually gave away perfectly good shiny glass beads were fools to themselves.

“The Scottish Parliament after the Calman reforms coming will raise 30 percent – 30 percent – of its own revenue in Scotland. All of these things have happened as well.”

Vote No and we’ll give you a lot more busy-work, but no more power.

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“Now Stewart and the nationalists keep going on, and you’ll hear it relentlessly repeated, that we don’t, we wouldn’t get the government we want. That we don’t get the government that we voted for. And that’s perfectly true, because the votes are spread throughout the United Kingdom. It’s not always true – the English sometimes resent the fact that they get governments voted on Scottish members of Parliament.”

COMMANDMENT 18: LIE BIG AND LIE OFTEN

The assertion above, as well as being a grammatical car-crash, is of course untrue. Since World War 2, Scottish votes have only once – for a handful of months – imposed a government England voted against.

But if we make it sound like the system’s unfair to everyone, who can complain?

samsa

[Lord Robertson would go on to repeat this falsehood in more detail later in the debate, asserting that Labour’s 2005 majority depended on Scottish MPs. But Scottish seats in fact contributed just 23 to Labour’s majority of 66 that year.]

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“But bear this in mind – at the last election Stewart’s party got 45 percent of the vote in the Scottish Parliament elections. Only 50.1 percent – a whisker more than half the Scottish electorate – voted in these elections. So that means that 23 percent of the Scottish people voted for the SNP, only 23 percent of those eligible to vote in Scotland voted for the SNP.

And if you actually take the ones – heh! – the ones who voted, 55 percent of us who voted in the Scottish Parliament elections didn’t get the government we wanted. We got an SNP government that more than half the Scottish people didn’t get the government that they chose.”

COMMANDMENT 19: THERE IS NO BEAM IN OUR EYE

The Scottish Parliament is vastly more representative and democratic than the UK one. Parties have secured huge working majorities at Westminster on as little as 35% of the vote, something that would be completely impossible at Holyrood, and UK election turnout isn’t THAT much higher than Scottish, despite UK elections being far more important in terms of the powers being determined.

(Labour’s 2001 victory, for example, came courtesy of just 59% of the electorate.)

In a multi-party system, it’s almost unheard of for a single party to secure over 50% of the popular vote. The SNP’s 2011 vote share was higher even than that of Tony Blair’s 1997 landslide. So the “percentage of the total possible electorate” gambit really is the last refuge of the desperate. Deploy only if all else fails.

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“Now that’s the way the electoral system works. I helped to construct the electoral system for the Scottish Parliament, so I least of all can complain about it, that’s the way it works. But let nobody tell you that we’ve get the government that the overwhelming majority of the Scottish people voted for.”

COMMANDMENT 20: NEED A FISHY SMELL? TRY A RED HERRING

If you don’t care enough to go out and mark a ballot paper, even in a proportional electoral system where every vote counts, then you’ve implicitly agreed to go along with whatever everyone else chooses. So in reality, the SNP government of 2011 was accepted by around 73% of the electorate – almost three in four, and more than any UK government in living memory.

Again, this line is for last-resort use only, because it only works on people who don’t look even a micron below the surface.

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“So when you come to cast your vote on the 18th of September next year, I hope you will spend your time interrogating those who say it’s a simple, easy step for Scotland to go from part of the United Kingdom to being an independent nation state. It’s not risk-free, it’s not going to be easy, and it certainly isn’t going to be cheap.”

COMMANDMENT 21: STRAW MEN DON’T FIGHT BACK

As far as we’re aware, nobody in the Yes movement has ever suggested that independence would be “risk-free”. It isn’t. But then nor, by any stretch of the imagination, is staying in the UK. There’s no such thing as a risk-free future. That’s the nature of the future.

But if you can’t handle your opponent’s actual arguments, it’s always worth shooting down the ones you wish they’d made, in the hope that the unwary won’t check.

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“But the decision, at the end of the day, will be yours. Ask the questions by all means, take a sober decision, and remember all the time that you’re not just deciding for yourself, you’re deciding for the future as well. Thank you very much for your attention.”

“I salute any of you who actually made it to the end of this cobblers still awake.”

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  1. 09 10 13 12:07

    Lord Robertson speaks! | The Science of Independence

112 to “The Unionist Commandments”

  1. Angus McLellan says:

    Some idiot has updated Wikipedia to reflect Jamie Glackin’s version of reality – Tom Gordon and Paul Hutcheon in the Herald agree with him here – which is that Jackson Cullinane is the current chair of the SLAB SEC. But this is not so much who knew? as who cares?

  2. Morag says:

    Well done, Stu, that was above and beyond the call of duty.  Are we paying you enough, by the way?
     
    Just one teensy little point.
     
    no country on the planet that we know of has ever sought to go back to it’s “parent” after achieving self-determination
     
    [I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT YOU MEAN….?  😉 ]

  3. Pedro says:

    I hope his Scotland has no language or culture comment haunts him for the rest of his life!

  4. Karamu says:

    I watched the full video of that debate and it was painful. Stewart Hosie was a great speaker. George R, as dissected above (thanks as always Stu) was truly cringeworthy. He talked mince from start to finish.
     
    Well done, a great piece Stu!

  5. Karamu says:

    no country on the planet that we know of has ever sought to go back to it’s “parent” after achieving self-determination”
     
    I spotted that too but let it go this time….

  6. Karamu says:

    @Morag no more clashing avatars btw.

  7. TheeForsakenOne says:

    What happened to the eleventh commandment?

  8. Aww, bless, the dear lord trotted out “independent nuclear deterrent”. That’s always good for a giggle.

  9. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    It’s like you’ve all LOST YOUR MINDS.

  10. Lot of work gone into that Stu.
    The audience (with no disrespect) came over as comparatively naive (heck, we were all that age at one time) but still saw through Robertson’s bluster and bullshit.
    And the vote at the end showed exactly how much they believed him.
    Very impressed with Stuart Hosie – best I’ve ever seen him.

  11. The Man in the Jar says:

    I have already commented on another thread about the “stamps, uniforms and anthems” Reading through this I noticed the airgun legislation mentioned again. Why do the unionists bring this up like they are doing us a huge favour. Yes the legislation is for the good but is hardly critical to the debate on independence. I think that it only serves to illustrate the contempt that they hold us in.
     
    Between Robertson and Hammond who is next on the bullshit tour schedule. Can they send that nice  Mr. Redwood next time, he is always good for a laugh.

  12. Monkeytail2002 says:

    My pedantry makes me have to state that that picture of the chimpanzees doing the whole see no evil bit under the headline MAKE LIKE A MONKEY are not in fact monkeys but great apes.  However other than that, good piece.

  13. Morag says:

    😀

  14. TJenny says:

    Firstly Rev, a big thanks for sitting through the whole thing again in slow time (?) and the handy wee insights. Maybe we should be giving you a wee shiny shiny for services above and beyond:-)
     
    Finally having braced myself, I listened to the vid recording from start to finish, I thought Stuart Hosie’s speech had depth, was statesman-like, full of slightly suppressed passion and commanded attention.
     
    George Robertson, after starting of agreeing with almost averthing SH said, then posed the totally illogical question of ‘Why now’?  Knowng full well that we needed an SNP majority before we had a hope in hell of getting Westmister to agree to allowing us to have a referendum.  (Helped by a Conlib govt as I really don’t believe if Lab were in power in Westmister we would have been granted the right to hold a ref). His speech went downhill after that and seemed to drone on forever.
     
    Oh, and the wee chap, I think he was the third speaker on the vid, what an asset to the cause. Hope he manages to convert a fair few more of his fellow students.
     
     

  15. Patrician says:

    You can say what you like about Mr Robertson but at least he got up and actually debated the matter, that is more than can be said about others on his side of the fence.

  16. Barontorc says:

    I may be mistaken but I listened earlier to the youtube version and was sure I heard GR mention the BBC as being a real benefit to all of Scottish mankind and of Scotland being in no way capable of facing the financial collapse suffered by the RBS and Halifax BOS, like as if Scotland was responsible for the bampots of the City who burnt down the buildings and we would have to have claimed our own insurance for it, but mother union stepped in, in the form of Scotland’s own Unionist Chancellor, Alistair of black eyebrows fame. Gosh, that was a narrow escape!
     
    Incidentally, another GR episode has possibly been unearthed going back to his time as the NATO head honcho; it perhaps points to the potential abuses of a public broadcasting system:-
     
    The Free Library > Date >  1999 >  May >  1 
     
     
    ‘Mr (Harold) Pinter asked whether, given that the Geneva Convention Act states that civilians shall not be the object of an attack unless they have taken a direct part in hostilities, Mr (George) Robertson could really describe the killing of civilians at the Belgrade television station last week as anything else than an act of murder. 

    Mr Robertson, speaking from the Albanian capital Tirana via a video link, hit back, saying: “I deny and reject that absolutely, completely.” 

    He insisted: “The media acts as an extension of the brains behind the brutality, that’s why they have been a target.” 

    In his response to Mr Pinter’s question, Mr Robertson insisted that branches of the media in Yugoslavia were legitimate targets.’
     

  17. fordie says:

    I watched it via WoS link though fast forwarded through for sanity sake. Not unexpectedly, the audience was ‘politics naive’. The Qs were largely those that BT and MSM repeatedly  raise. Which tells me that the No Campaign are still driving the terms of the debate. Yes, these Qs are of interest but they don’t go to the core of the Vote ie where should the governance of Scotland lie. Yes has to get to grips with this.
    Unfortunately, I am of the age that knows Robertson well. He has always turned my stomach so no change there. And is that the best BT can do. To bring out a dinosaur.
    The most offensive thing to me though was to witness, yet again, another generation of young Scottish people being sold a dressed up TW, TP, TS argument.

  18. Edward says:

    Slightly O/T but well worth checking into
    Over on Newsnet, they have a story about the MOD blocking oil exploration and extraction in the Firth of Clyde in the mid 80’s. BP had discovered oil south of Arran, but were told to walk away from further applications by the MOD stating that due to the Nuclear sub activity no further work could take place.
    It also may be the case that there are large oil reserves in an area stretching from west of Shetland all the way south to Northern Ireland, taken in the Western Isles as well as the Firth of Clyde.
    FOI’s have been issued by Chic Brodie MSP on South Ayrshire council, Argyle & Bute council, Dumfries and Galloway council as well as Hammond at the MOD regarding this. The FOI’s are dated March 2013
    If this is true and indeed there is a large amount of oil, could this be a game changer?

  19. Davy says:

    Hi Edward, I just finished reading that article. I always wondered why anyone in their right mind would think it was appropriate to build oil platforms in Argyll for use in the North Sea. Now I know why they shut down Portavadie, the excuses given did not make sense then and they still don’t.

  20. Dcanmore says:

    Thanks Stu, a good piece of work. Robertson is a liar, but of course he is. He and his ilk (Darling, McDougall, Anwar, Lamont, Brown, Murphy, Alexander et al) have only one thing on their minds, the saviour and continuation of the Labour Party, its interests and their position within it. The rest is, as can be read, manufactured rubbish. The Party comes first, that is the ‘country’ they are loyal to.
    When people realise this they then understand the mindset of power, getting it and retaining it, everyone else out with this political bubble becomes collateral damage whether they be poor, unemployed, disabled, disadvantaged or old. Those are the bodies piled high enough for them to climb over to get into office, then the door slams shut: ‘Thanks for your loyalty now fuck off and leave me alone forever.’ How many people did Robertson lift  out of poverty in his constituency when he was MP? NATO General Secretary … he definitely must have been somebody’s useful idiot!

  21. Piemonteis says:

    After watching some of Robertson’s efforts at speaking, it’s really no surprise he was given the job he was at NATO, as he’s the perfect clueless git for being utilized by the U.S.
     
    In this past week, I’ve been catching up on the series of debates of the Edinburgh Royal Society, which is remarkably even handed, drawing together experts from different disciplines who debate in a way that is largely impartial and non-political-party. Needless to say, Lord Robertson didn’t quite catch onto the tone of debate in the Defence and Security debate. The bemusement of the professor next to him and most of the audience is refreshing:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qfb8JNTpsSw
     
    “Lord” Robertson is a great asset to the Yes campaign, and needs to be given maximum exposure to undecideds.

  22. msean says:

    I’m sure 1000s of  jobs would be created in an independent Scotland. It’s normal that we should do things for ourselves like borders & customs,building your own navy etc. The jobs fearmongering doesn’t wash either.When it comes to trade,well,other countries are available.

  23. Bubbles says:

    I don’t know how you manage your workload Stu but thanks for doing this. its really quite scary to consider the lengths the unionists will go to in distorting the truth. Traitorous scum!

  24. Shame we can’t try out the check-list on the Cameron vs. Salmond televised debate.
     
    I signed the ‘official’ petition to make it an acknowledged Westminster issue but at the current rate of sign-ups the referendum will ancient history before they reach the qualifying number.
     
    http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/55155

  25. Marker Post says:

    Haven’t had time yet to listen to full video or read whole of Stu’s dissection.
     
    But one thing was an epiphany for me, “Unionists should always point out their “pride” in being Scottish, something you never hear advocates of independence proclaiming”….
     
    It’s because they DON’T HAVE TO!!!! It’s ALREADY UNDERSTOOD!!!!
     

  26. James Kay says:

    I looked at the video once, and thaks to Stu for his efforts. after all the points made in the article, one claim was made and not, as far as I am aware, refuted.
    In his summing up, Roberson claims that the Labour/Liberal Executive abolished bridge tolls.
    Was this not one of the first acts of the incoming Goverment in 2007?

  27. Seasick Dave says:

    We’re not discriminated against. You turn on your radio in the morning, you get the voice of Jim Naughtie. if you’re interested in current in current affairs you go to bed listening to Kirsty Wark on Newsnight. Every Sunday morning, the main starting point for the week, you’ve got Andrew Marr, who came from Invergowrie just outside of Dundee.
     
    And that, ladies and gentlemen, is my case for voting YES.

  28. blunttrauma says:

    @Dcanmore
    …Aamer Anwar is on our side!!!

  29. john king says:

    pedro says 
    “I hope his Scotland has no language or culture comment haunts him for the rest of his life!”
    Not even close to being good enough,
    that comment should be written on a piece of stone and mounted in Holyrood for his comments to be seen for generations after he’s and his ilk are mercifully gone from this earth
      

  30. Craig M says:

    Regarding the issue of bridge tolls, well my brother and family live on Skye. It cost me a fortune to visit on a regular basis when the tolls on the bridge were in force and those tolls were in place for years. And the local MP was as much use as a chocolate teapot. Which party was he from? Oh, yes, the Lib Dems. My point? That Unionist MPs are utterly useless in standing up for Scotland.

  31. JLT says:

    I watched this yesterday afternoon, and posted a comment not long after. To be honest, I thought it was a decent debate; decent in the sense that instead of the Sarwar/Surgeon shouting match (with Sarwar shouting, foaming at the mouth, brandishing and waving false documents), I’ll give Lord Robertson and Stewart Hosie their due; the pair conducted themselves brilliantly. Neither shouted, nor spoke over the other. It was conducted in a gentlemanly fashion, and it was done with great respect. That is what I want to see when it comes to these debates. The STV ones have been nothing short of cage-fighting!

    The only daft comment from Lord Robertson, was the ‘some SNP boy called me a Quisling once’ – Was there a need for that?

    Overall though, Lord Robertson spoke well, but he had nothing new to tell us. Personally, it was just Project Fear politely wrapped up in nice packaging. Whatever Stewart Hosie spoke about at first, Lord Robertson would try reverse psychology on it, with ‘Ah, but you must remember, this will be forever if you choose ‘Yes’ in the referendum’ sort of attitude. Good old Project Fear!

    I thought the questions from the youngsters were decent (and I forgive the young lass about ‘Scotland being invaded’; that was the only real daft question). And I was chuffed to bits to see such a big swing around in the percentages at the end.

    Overall, a pretty decent debate, even if Lord Robertson had nothing new to tell us that we already didn’t know.

  32. JLT says:

    The only daft comment from Lord Robertson, was the ‘some SNP boy called me a Quisling once’ – Was there a need for that?
    ——————
    Though I must point out at my own statement, that Lord Robertson, did come out with a helluva lot of other daft statements during the whole debate (all of his ‘facts’ to begin with!), before someone jumps on my previous statement. I believe there was no need for the ‘Quisling’ story. I’m sure Stewart Hosie could tell quite a few stories himself of the abuse that he has probably had to suffer at the hands of Unionists!
    And when I talk about a ‘decent debate’; I am only talking about the manner that it was conducted in. Glad it wasn’t a slanging match or a bear-pit!

  33. Douglas Young says:

    I watched the entire video and the one impression I’m left with was The Lord was talking pre-prepared bollox that he himself did not REALLY believe?

  34. thomas says:

    robertsons right about one thing. There is a nation state without a language or culture , but its NOT  scotland!
    Its his beloved britain. No one speaks british in britain mr robertson do they?

    What british culture ? As a certain mr john major once tried to define it , warm beer by the village lawn watching cricket?
    A culture alien to scousers and geordies never mind the scots irish or welsh!

    Sad sad man . If you believe in the union thats up to you , but to denigrate your own people like this is disgraceful.

  35. Albalha says:

    Just listening to GMS, a couple of observations.
     
    John Swinney on re Grangemouth after 7am, then Patrick Harvie on around 718am, his, a short interview to make way for a very uninspiring crow expert.
     
    Then we’re told we’ll be hearing from M Connnarty, Lab and local MP for the refinery, after 8am.
     
    Would this be order for things at BBC HQ? Can you imagine Today headlining with an opposition constituency MP, (without getting into Westminster vs Holyrood), over the Minister responsible, of course perhaps it was to do with Swinney’s lack of availability after 8, though doubt it.

  36. Molly says:

    Hurrah , just heard on BBC Scotland , Cosla, cooncillors , politicians and
     journalists are to be commissioned to ‘explore ‘ local Govt / further Devolution or Indy.
    Anyone see what’s missing?

    With the  exception of Leslie Riddoch, who has  brought some perspective on local Govt re her Nordic Horizons (along with Andy Wightman ) she also talks about the main component involved in local Govt – people.

     BBC have quoted “it’s not a land grab”.

    No it’s not a land grab , it’s a power grab ! Cosla , councillors  and in particular journalists who have reduced the coverage of the Referendum are certainly not entitled to continue calling the shots, far less shape governance .

    I’ve voting for Independence , for change -not a continuation of the same faces running the show just with different titles . i feel a petition coming on.

  37. Albalha says:

    Talking of ‘land grabs’ and local control, a petition that may be of interest.
     
    https://www.change.org/petitions/the-scottish-government-return-control-of-common-good-assets-to-local-community-councils

  38. Macart says:

    I’m just amazed Stewart Hosie managed to keep a straight face. Well done the students though for seeing through that nonsense.
     
    Mind you its a comedy act in the making there. 😉

  39. James caldwell says:

    “Scotland has no language or culture and I resent being called a Lord Haw-haw”?
    “I was leader of Scottish Labour”!
    “I don’t want to use assertions, I’ll stick to the facts.”

     
    Lord Haw-haw is alive & well. Labour-in-Scotland has always refused to remove our hated tolls And there is no such entity as Scottish Labour and it never ever had a Scottish leader! This speech belongs in the same wacky folder as Lord haw haw’s recent bizarre claims in the herald that NATO would threaten to bomb Scots if they choose to be trident free.

  40. Dougie says:

    Labour & Lib Dems in the Scottish Parliament were against the abolition of bridge tolls. The transport sec at the time was Nicol Stephen. The bold Willie Rennie campaigned against the tolls in a Westminster by-election in Dunfermline, brought on IIRC the death of the sitting Labour MP, and he won the seat even though he was going against his party official line and the man blocking his way was their party leader in the SP. Plus of course he actually had no influence over the devolved matter as a Westminster MP!
     
    The tolls were abolished by the SNP.

  41. Albalha says:

    And of course, on GR being called something nasty, it dates back 17 years, I think, it’s truly pathetic. And, as others have said, insulting to the audience.

  42. Craig P says:

    “I am a proud and patriotic Scot”
     
    “Scotland has no distinctive language or culture”

     
    Sniff sniff – what’s that smell?

  43. I seem to remember labour abolished the tolls for the Erskine bridge but refused to do the same for the Forth Bridge.  West of Scotland labour influence?

  44. Craig P says:

    Of course Lord Robertson had to mention the ("Quizmaster" - Ed) quote – his main talent these days – going by the occasions I’ve seen him in print – appears to be taking offence from nationalists. 

  45. Albalha says:

    @Anne (with an e)
    Yes Erskine bridge 2006, Tay and Forth 2008 as per SNP 2007 manifesto. So don’t think it’s about Labour in the West as much as their fear, about potential costs, between the loss of revenue and debts.

  46. Greg Hendry says:

    Oooooooooh it was a debate? I thought it was a Yes meeting with a stand up comedian doing a satirical impression of George Robertson.

  47. Robert Roddick says:

    Dear Stu,
    Thanks for taking the time. This could have been a seminar on ”methods of irrationality”.
    I learned one thing though, Lord Robertson studied agriculture. He certainly knows a bit about muck spreading.

  48. HandandShrimp says:

    They say they want to become an independent state, but they’ve got language, and culture, and all these sort of things. We don’t have any of that.”
     
    For just that alone the No vote deserved to lose. I know Stewart spoke well but I suspect that taking so many No voters and Don’t Knows and subjecting them to 20 minutes of Robertson and the vote could swung without a word from the Yes camp. His words need to be spread abroad far and wide. He is the voice at the heart of the No soul

  49. westie7 says:

    @Molly
     
    Re: COSLA, this is the start of the proof if any were needed that a no vote would mean the circumvention of Holyrood and powers direct from Westminster to Labour controlled Cooncils.
     
    But from the looks of it Mickey Moore wont be involved!

  50. seoc says:

    Lord Robertson’s opening remarks/ scare in presenting a stark choice to Scottish folk as being ‘permanent’ is just utter disgraceful nonsense. Scotland will be bound to the same degree as free people everywhere are – they will choose which way, or if, to bend with the current breeze.

    They will decide at the time whether further political/ economic adjustments are required.

    Simples. 

  51. annie says:

    O/T – Michael Moore sacked, replaced with Alistair Carmichael libdem chief whip, supposedly a bit of a bruiser.

  52. pa_broon74 says:

    Aye. Sat and watched it all, surprisingly good stuff way ahead of some of the arse-gravy coming from STV and the BBC in terms of debate.
     
    Goes without saying Hosie did really well, got the balance just right where as Robertson was just a big old Peggy McNegative – even more so than I expected.
     
    What struck me was, you had one chap (Hosie) who’s going to lose his job if he’s successful in the debate (OK, he’ll probably be sorted out one way or the other – ambassador to England?) Then on the other side we have someone arguing to keep their place at what I think we can all agree is a bit of a trough.
     
    Before either have even spoken, the entire thing falls in favour of a Yes vote.
     
    Its like that ‘report’ published by ‘the Scotland institute’ on Scottish defence, on the page listing contributors, it was as if someone had thrown some scrabble tiles, the letters after the names were manifold. Its a bit like asking the boss of Tescos if you should shop at Sainsburys and being told not to be so silly and go to Tescos instead.
     
    Anyway good job Stewart Hosie and Kudos to the students for providing a decent debate. One hopes the BBC etc are paying attention… 

  53. Gordon Bain says:

    O/T – Michael Moore has been sacked! He is to be replaced by Alisdair Carmichael.

  54. Craig Dalzell says:

    Monkeytail2002

    Sorry to out-pedant a pedant.

    By Cladistic Phylogeny, all apes are monkeys just as all monkeys are mammals.

    …I’ll go away now. 😛

  55. HandandShrimp says:

    That is a pity – Moore was an able spokesman for the Yes campaign 😉  

  56. Martin Donnelly says:

    “Pesky cybernats spend a lot of time documenting the astonishing hypocrisy of Labour (in particular) with regard to smears and abuse. The party’s elected members continually make outrageously offensive comments about (mainly) the SNP, with its most senior officials regularly throwing around words like “fascist”, “dictatorship” and “virus”, yet never fail to act like fainting violets if some anonymous internet loony says something mildly rude back to them.”

    Here’s a concept for them, Arthur Koestler’s mimophant – “a hybrid who combines the delicate frailness of the Mimosa, crumbling at a touch when his own feelings are hurt, with the thick-skinned robustness of the elephant trampling over the feelings of others.”

  57. annie says:

    O/T Just wondering what Alistair Carmichael’s view on Orkney breaking away from Scotland/Britain and if it’s compatible with his role as Scottish Secretary.

  58. southernscot says:

    Excellent article. Just couldn’t bring myself to watch/listen to George. That sir goes beyond the Call of Duty.

  59. Macart says:

    Moore chucked eh? So not the new 007 of Westminster then? Not the hero of the franchise negotiations?
     
    Who knew he’d be stabbed in the back at first opportunity? 😉

  60. HandandShrimp says:

    Carmichael is another “the SNP are evil separtists” in the Davidson mould whereas Moore was more traditional Liberal, so in that respect he respresents a turn key ratchetting up of the nastier low brow side of the No arguments.  Just what it needs from them…more negativity.

  61. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “Resigned”?

  62. annie says:

    Scottish Secretary job description “must be able to tell outrageous lies with a straight face” bet Alistair Carmichael’s month off the booze will seem like a year.

  63. scottish_skier says:

    I might suggest that Alistair Carmichael has been given the position of SoS for Scotland because he’s in the safest Lib Dem seat in Scotland/the UK. 
     
    Moore in contrast is facing the end of his career as a Scots MP whether it’s Yes or No. That could make him a liability and potentially one to jump ship. He has been to date less of an ass than most unionists on the referendum matter.

  64. Barontorc says:

    So Moore has been sacked as SoS Scotland and replaced by another LibDem which points to a hard-won LibDem sinecure involving an official Mondeo and a licence to talk down Scotland. 
     
    Which begs the question as to why Moore was dumped? Was he showing too many signs of progressive logic against the banality of NO, or was he late for his work too often?
     
    Is this a faux gesture in reaction to Scottish Skier’s plausible theory that Cameron has already given up on Scotland and putting the final boot into the ragbag purporting to be  Labour?
     
    What possible role is in mind for Carmichael as the new SoS that Moore couldn’t fulfill, or is it more about something ready to the hit the proverbial fan? I wonder if the ginger rodent had anything to do about it?

  65. Indy_Scot says:

    I take it the Scottish Secretary position is based on a yearly contract.

  66. Jeannie says:

    George Robertson, Johann Lamont and now Alastair Carmichael – what is it about Islay that produces these people?
     
    What always amuses me about Carmichael is that he represents Orkney, Orkney is famous for its puffins and Carmichael actually manages to look like a puffin himself.  He’s like a walking, real-life advertisement for his own constituency.

  67. Barontorc says:

    On the other hand it may be their just passing round the honey-pot.

  68. Horacesaysyes says:

    Surely Carmichael has just been given the job to ensure there’s a role for Ken Stott in the ‘Wings’ film we were discussing last week?

  69. Iain says:

    I wonder if a hacked-off Moore might be tempted to do a little p!ssing into the Unionist tent?

  70. Tearlach says:

    Dont underestimate Carmichael – he has been under the radar as he has been Chief Whip, but he quite a different kettle of fish than Mr Moore. Much more effective,

  71. Kev says:

    O/T but I see that Mickey Moore has just been sacked, Alistair Carmichael taking his place (never heard of him), apparently Dave & Nick want a more “combative” guy to take on Salmond….bring it on I say
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-24427138

  72. Seanair says:

    Poor David Mundell. Overlooked again. What a scunner eh David?

  73. For die says:

    MM has been conspicuous by his absence since the debate with Nicola S. Girl done good. She brought him down! Though to be fair it was clear that he was struggling to tell the necessary lies at the debate. Conscience perhaps getting the better of him.

  74. Tearlach says:

    @Jeannie – in the interests of accuracy – the principle on which WoS is founded – Lamont’s people are from Tiree, not Islay. I think Ms Lamont is Glasgow born however.

  75. Murray McCallum says:

    It makes such a bigger impact seeing Robertson’s arguments on paper. The thin material and negative stances are exposed for what they are.

  76. cath says:

    The “no language and culture” comment is one of the most crass, ignorant and downright offensive things I’ve heard.
     
    America, Canada, Australia etc all speak English, hence don’t have their own language. And arguable none have their own specific “culture”. One of the biggest cultural influences they do have is Scottish and Irish. There is no “British culture” to speak of: all they have is centuries of attempting to suppress the various national and regional cultures that could, and should, make up Britain. Scotland has far more language and culture than Britain, America or Australia, and it’s an ancient, well respected language and culture.
     
    These unionists have a real knack of actually making me angrier as the “debate” goes on

  77. Vambomarbeleye says:

    Vidkun Quisling = William Joyce.

    Entirly different people.

    Im a wee dunderhead that left school age 15. Whats Robertson excuse with his many references to his education. If he can’t get this right then how much of his utterences are we to believe.

  78. JasonF says:

    From Clegg’s dismissal letter to Moore: “Not only have you successfully piloted through legislation to enable Scotland to take a major step towards the party’s long held goal of ‘Home Rule’…”
     
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-politics-24426306

  79. Neilyn says:

    They say they want to become an independent state, but they’ve got language, and culture, and all these sort of things. We don’t have any of that.” 

    It’s difficult to grasp the fact that he actually said that. To think this man was head of NATO. More than anything else he said, much more in fact, this only demonstrates to me the poisonous nature of ‘Britishness’ as promoted by the British state’s governing class. It truly does amount to brain washing. Without wishing to offend anyone, and without wishing to undermine the seriousness of mental health issues in society, that statement seems to me to be the product of something uncomfortably close to some form of mental illness. Either that, or he’s just a brazen, two-faced shite who doesn’t give a damn about Scotland and her people, only his own miserable carcass and his career on the UK stage. Sorry for the language, but his words make me feel extremely angry.

    I’m Welsh and in his attitudes to Scotland’s possible vote for independence I see only too clearly the hypocrisy of a mentality we’re very familiar with here, as currently espoused by David Jones, current SoS for Wales (and hopefully, the last!).
    Best Wishes…

  80. cath says:

    “If he can’t get this right then how much of his utterences are we to believe.”
     
    Quite. Forget Lord Haw Haws – these guys are Lord Hee-Haws

  81. cath says:

    Blimey, that is one garbled, non-grammatical, mistake-ridden opening on that BBC piece:

    Liberal Democrat Party leader Nick Clegg has told Michael Moore that he would no longer be Scottish secretary. The MP for Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk will be replaced by follow Lib Dem Scot Alistair Carmichael. Here, are two letters, one from Mr Clegg to Mr Moore, the other from Mr Moore to Mr Clegg.

  82. Dcanmore says:

    Carmichael (a former lawyer) has been brought in to do a lot of shouting and be a presence, something that Moore wasn’t quite up to. But then, the LibDems don’t have that many to choose from and he has some work to do to get himself recognised in the street. However, going by Scottish Skier’s theory, it will all be Labour and LibDem’s fault come the day.

  83. Jeannie says:

    @Tearlach
     
    Ah, you’re right.  It’s a Tiree background Johann’s from. So, Tiree and Islay.  And they’re all against self-determination for Scotland.  Do you think they’re still angry over losing the Lordship of the Isles or something? 

  84. Braco says:

    “Catalonia and Flanders have language and culture. We don’t have any of that.”

    LIAR!

    We have a Knife culture! We have a Binge Drinking Culture! We have a culture of ‘grievance and grudge’! We have Sectarian Culture (my personal favourite that one)! We have a deep fat frying culture! We have all this Culture! We even managed to win the Internationally acclaimed English Booker prize once, using our ‘Illiterate savage’ language culture!

    All this wrapped up in our most important and powerful culture of all……… Our Dependency Culture!! (Also known as our world renowned, often copied but never bettered, ‘Something for Nothing Society!)

    Them’s the FACTS Mr Lord Baron George of supposed Port Ellen! When, oh when will your obvious smear campaigns stop undermining our achievements!

    One Scotland. Many Cultures!

  85. Shinty says:

    Ok I don’t know Alistair Carmichael, never heard him speak, so I checked out Youtube
     
    Here he is slagging off Labour – (it’s a short clip)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g70UgzmPN3E
     
    I reckon, unless he has improved his speech/delivery, to me he’s a bit of a ‘mumbler’

  86. Frazer Allan Whyte says:

    re: Jason F’s quote – the Liberal’s began blabbering about home rule about 150 years ago – there’s no “piloting” involved in their political manipulations, it’s more like one man paddling a canoe from one side only, the boat goes round in circles while any illusion of progress is down to the pull of whatever wind and currents sucks it along. The “long held goal” may have ben “held” for a long time but to describe it as a “goal” is hardly accurate.

  87. Albalha says:

    Not sure if this video has been posted but it’s George R in 2000 addressing the National Press Club in Washington DC, when we learn he took part in anti US nuclear protests when he was 15, oh and other stuff.
     
    http://www.c-spanvideo.org/program/156378-1
     

  88. edulis says:

    How about a re-match beteen Nicola and Carmichael? That way we would quickly get an idea of how effective he will be for the naysayers. Personally, I think he is a dumpling!

  89. Frazer Allan Whyte says:

    Having lived in the Middle East for the last 25 years I can’t help sharing the local tendency to see all events as plots-conspiracies-machinations and that includes everything from hysteria inducing chewing gum to bird migration/flu. As to whether my suspicions are unfounded or not, use the history of BE de-colonialisation to judge.  So when I read that the new Scottish secretary is the MP for Orkney and Shetland it looks like confirmation of my paranoid suspicions that Westminster has given up on holding Scotland but it is manoeuvring to grab the oil and move the abomination at Faslane to Scapa Flow or the Shetlands. Ask the Chagos islanders about the lengths perfidious Albion will go to to keep what they want.

  90. cath says:

    “the Liberal’s began blabbering about home rule about 150 years ago”
     
    Exactly. Since they started talking about “home rule for Scotland” we’ve seen two world wars come and go, votes for women delivered, the Labour party arrive and morph into something else, the welfare state arrive, thrive then be driven back out again…
     
    “Home rule” even has the ring of the 19th century about it now. Are we really going to allow Westminster to keep talking about it and talking it out for another 150 years?

  91. a supporter says:

    I listened to the whole shebang at Abertay. And it was no wonder the vote was turned around from NO to YES majority at the end. Robertson was hopeless. His stuff was no more than Unionist scare stories and platitudes which were easily shot down by Stewart Hosie’s facts and figures and calm demeanor. In fact Robertson more or less conceded the argument right at the beginning of his speech when he admitted that Scotland was a wealthy, go ahead country with a thriving economy awhich is probably better than that of the UK.

    I was most impressed by Stewart Hosie.

  92. HenBroon says:

    Some on here have referred to these Abertay Students as “naive,” To people of a certain age the opinions of youngsters can often appear to be naive, but they are not, rather they are opinions formed from conversations with a peer group or opinions formed from a family tradition, which as we all know can be very powerful influences on our opinions in early years. Some of these opinions were presented by kids who were first year 17 year olds. It is then to their eternal credit that they were able to sit through Robertson’s patronising waffle and to discern that it was patronising waffle and yes downright lies and to form a different opinion because of it. Full credit must go to Hosie for his clear concise presentation of facts and figures rather than the pejorative fact free and quite frankly offensive guff presented by Robertson. That the students could see this and react accordingly is to their eternal credit. You could not help but see the poison wafting through Robertsons speech, he and his ilk are driven by hatred of the SNP, he did not quite conceal that.

    Hosie has to be one of the jewels in the SNPs crown. I would much like to see him presenting his opinions more often. I think he like us was shocked by some of the stuff presented by Robertson. I remember a couple of years ago on a Radio 4 item on North Sea oil, in which they were interviewing Anne McGuire and Stewart Hosie. He was referring to Norway’s successful management of their oil bounty, to which McGuire spat, “ach Norways oil fund has been wiped out by the recession anyway,” there was a stunned silence before the presenter ended the piece. No one ever picked up on that remark. Perhaps it was because it was just to ridiculous for words.

    Well done to this site for the dissection of the debate.

    PS. You missed the bridge tolls.

  93. Seepy says:

    I am puzzled by Robertson’s mix-up between Quisling, an elected leader of a political party who governed under the control of a foreign country, and Lord Haw-Haw, an occasional propagandist acting on behalf of (coincidentally) that same foreign country.  Surely there can be no confusion of these roles in Robertson’s mind?

  94. a supporter says:

    O/T I have always had the feeling that Michael Moore’s heart wasn’t really in the NO camp.

    Also as to the conspiracy theory in re of the Northern Isles. If Scotland becomes Indy an Independent Northern Isles would become an enclave within Scottish Waters with sea boundaries extending to no more than 10 nautical miles. Thus no oil for it. (See United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, UNCLOS)

  95. HandandShrimp says:

    Does anybody have a link to the police contactus confirmation on the rally numbers that was posted recently. The photobucket link seems to be broken.

  96. John Gibson says:

    @Craig Dalzell  “By Cladistic Phylogeny, all apes are monkeys just as all monkeys are mammals.”
    There lies the problem with Cladistics- taken to its logical conclusion all we can say is every species is a descendant of LUCA. I think Evolutionary Systematics is due a revival!
    My turn to go away now.

  97. chalks says:

    Why the fuss with Cameron?  Why can’t Salmond just debate and destroy Darling?
    I know it is supposed to be level v level, but Salmond is our best weapon, not everyone may like him, but most respect him.

  98. I made a wee letter press style poster celebrating Lord Robertson’s knowledge of Scottish culture. Feel free to share it!

  99. HenBroon says:

    Surely there can be no confusion of these roles in Robertson’s mind?”
     
    I imagine, but not from any experience, that moving in the closed elite circles Robertson moves in, that his mind is full of the revised history of the world as seen by his ‘Bridish’ unionists. Those around him whom his ego will feed of will nod vigorously at his every utterance, laugh at his every anti Scottish sneer, and probably roll on the floor slapping their thighs every time he tries to put down ‘Scoddish independence.’ It is  because pf such scenarios that minds like Robertson’s are created.
     
    Right now I am reading “When God made Hell.” by Charles Townsend. It is the documented historical account of the British invasion of the then Mesopotamia and the creation of Iraq. 1914-1921, of which I confess I knew very little. It is quite a staggering explanation of the mindset that created the Empire and the chinless twits who caused tens of thousands of deaths of mainly Indian and Scottish soldiers. Those chaps they had to keep busy lest they become radicalised in the ways of their native lands. It is very similar to events in centuries before when the British tried and failed again to subdue Afghanistan. Of course that was in the days before cruise missiles, depleted uranium and drones. They used expendable colonised cannon fodder.
     
    The mindset of Robertson is easy to recognise, very little has changed since that time in 1914-21. Thanks God Scotland has moved on even if London has not.

  100. Scaraben says:

    Rev Stu, thanks for risking your sanity by studying the rubbish spouted by unionist ‘Lords’ and would-be ‘Lords’, note to mention the gutter press. But I do have a pedantic streak, and so must question your statement that “no country on the planet that we know of has ever sought to go back to its ‘parent’ after achieving self-determination”.
     
    Newfoundland was self-governing from 1855 to 1934, with Dominion status from 1907 onwards, but then economic depression and anger at government corruption led to control being passed to a Commission of the British Government. in 1948 a referendum was held in which 52% voted in favour of confederation with Canada and 48% in favour of restoring self-government as a Dominion. Allegedly, the vote was heavily influenced by sectarianism, with the Orange Order calling on its members to vote for confederation as Catholics backed self-government.
     
    Perhaps this is the exception that proves the rule, although strictly speaking as a Dominion Newfoundland was not completely independent.

  101. HenBroon says:

    Stewart excellent poster it is up on Twitter and Facebook thanks.
     
    Scaraben. Newfoundland has a very chequered history in terms of what it was constitutionally. It was mostly a colony claimed by who ever landed there not least by England in 1583, when Sir Humphrey Gilbert, claimed Newfoundland as England’s first overseas colony under Royal Charter of Queen Elizabeth 1 of England. Thus officially establishing a fore-runner to the much later British Empire. Newfoundland is considered Britain’s longest serving colony. So having joined Canada by referendum in 1949, making it Canadas youngest province.

    Comparing that situation with Scotland or other recognised countries can hardly be considered evidence that refutes the claim that “no country on the planet that we know of has ever sought to go back to its ‘parent’ after achieving self-determination”. 

    Newfoundland was never a country in it’s own right as Scotland was for over 1,000 years pre union with England. And it opted to become a new province with Canada, with whom it previously had not been in union. So the two situations are entirely different. There is no evidence of any country reverting to a previous union, I would argue that is factually correct.

  102. Dcanmore says:

    Regarding the nukes and Orkney/Shetland. The problem isn’t the siting of the submarines, it’s the storage of the nuclear warheads themselves. The subs can be parked in any semi-deep water port in the UK, Barrow, Milford Haven, Devonport etc with ease. But the subs need to be laid up within a reasonable distance to where the nukes are stored, so they can be fitted and dissembled within an acceptable turnaround time. The UK government spent a vast amount of money fitting out Coulport as a nuke storage facility so if that wasn’t available then nowhere in the UK would be suitable until an equally expensive solution was found. The nukes and the subs aren’t going anywhere soon after independence whether Shetland and Orkney became enclaves of rUK or not. Unless of course NATO partners such as France or the USA would be willing to loan out the required facilities to the rUK as an ‘interim’ measure (which could be years).

  103. Scaraben says:

    @HenBroon,
    I did not say that Newfoundland and Scotland were directly comparable, nor did I try to draw any conclusions from the history of Newfoundland. I am merely pointing out that there is one instance where a country, originally under Westminster rule and then self-governing for the best part of a century, chose to return to Westminster rule, albeit for only about 15 years.
     
    If Newfoundland, as a Dominion, was not a country between 1907 and 1934, then surely other Dominions at that time, such as Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa were not countries, nor was the Irish Free State before it chose to become a republic.

  104. HenBroon says:

    Scaraben, all I am saying is that the comparison is not valid. Newfoundland is not and has never been recognised as a country. It was a dominion, the reason dominion is used is to distinguish it from a country as we know it. Other dominions declared independence so they can be known as a country. Scotland will simply be reverting to a country status.

  105. HandandShrimp says:

    Ta Jon

  106. DMyers says:

    I sat through pretty much everything Roberston came out with (thankfully I was assisted by a glass or two of red wine) when I watched the debate on Saturday night.  The phrase, ‘tidal wave of guff’ came to mind…

  107. Jock says:

    While nearly everything Robertson came out with was guff I was shocked at how old and doddery he sounded. Has he had a stroke?

  108. Stuart Black says:

    Impulse post, off topic I know, but I have been sitting here, alone in Norway, (aw, bless) fixating on ‘Lord’ Robertson’s fanny about our lack of kulchur.
     
    Well, out of the myriad of sources to call on, here’s just one, and it’s a good one…
     

     
    John Martyn, sadly missed, and there’s a few weel-kent faces in the background.
     
    Enjoy.



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