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Wings Over Scotland


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Posted on March 07, 2013 by

We think the Scotsman may finally have jumped the shark this morning. A piece by Scott Macnab (which we’re not going to link to, but have made a local copy of) on the No campaign’s year-old “decoy dossier” from yesterday is so extraordinarily, laughably biased and transparently dishonest that it couldn’t see even the most distant edges of decent, honourable journalism with the Hubble Space Telescope.

crawls

It is, however, just the most nakedly partisan of a series of Scottish newspaper headlines and lead stories this morning that once and for all give the lie to the notion that the country is served by anything remotely resembling a fair and balanced media.

We’ve spoken a few times of the “swarm of wasps” approach to large-scale lying that’s frequently deployed by the anti-independence movement. But this week’s desperate, co-ordinated, all-fronts onslaught on truth is more akin to a sudden mass infestation of hundreds of nasty, disease-ridden little bugs, trying to be too many to stamp on.

To exterminate them, we’re unfortunately going to have to make some notional attempt at taking seriously the ludicrous tissue of drivel issued by “Better Together” yesterday as their supposed doomsday weapon, whose only real purpose was to distract attention from the extremely healthy GERS figures – an aim which was enthusiastically embraced and facilitated by the Scottish press.

That the document is a badly-photocopied, embarrassingly-spelled, and innumerate concoction of misrepresentations, false extrapolations and flat-out lies probably, by this stage, goes without saying. But for the purposes of illustration we’re going to take you through it piece-by-piece anyway.

brewerdossier

Gordon Brewer couldn’t contain his mockery of the file’s “James Bond” front cover (which uses the Scottish Government logo over a title referring to “a separate Scotland” in what we’re not sure isn’t some form of illegal passing-off) on last night’s Newsnight Scotland, but if anything the contents – some fake Post-It notes attached to the atrocious blurry monochrome Xerox of the original report – are more comical.

dossier1

We don’t even get to the document proper before the gibberish starts. “Better Together” spend the introductory passage insisting on the one hand that the SNP “publically pretend [oil] will pay for everything”, while simultaneously accusing them of refusing to tell the public “that their budget plans are based on oil”. Huh?

(In fact, less than one-sixth of Scottish public-sector spending – £10.6bn out of a total of £64.5bn – is currently provided, indirectly, by oil revenue.)

dossier2

The lies are already coming thick and fast. The SNP have repeatedly acknowledged that an independent Scotland would accept a share of the UK’s debt.

dossier3

The SNP discussion document at absolutely no point details “plans” for public-sector job cuts or reductions in the old-age pension, nor indeed even mentions either at all.

dossier4

We can only assume that the No camp missed last autumn’s SNP conference, which featured a lengthy debate broadcast live on BBC TV at which the party agreed an extremely specific policy of having a £2.5bn defence budget in an independent Scotland. This is £1bn less than Scotland contributes to Westminster for defence currently, but significantly more than is actually spent IN Scotland.

In budgetary terms it would be the best of both worlds – a saving of £1bn in revenue, while at the same time increasing the amount of money actually put into the Scottish defence economy. (The use of the term “would HAVE to” in this context is particularly curious.) But what it CERTAINLY isn’t is any kind of secret.

Those 21 words in the “Better Together” document, impressively, contain no fewer than three separate lies, at least two of which directly contradict each other. The SNP (if elected) would in fact be spending around 25% MORE on defence in an independent Scotland than the UK does currently, while still SAVING a billion pounds (which is currently sent from Scotland to London and spent in England), and it has been absolutely open and direct in public about the fact.

dossier5

We’ll digress from the direct politics for a moment here to take a look at the document’s use of language. This paragraph is a misinformation classic. There is of course no inherent contradiction between something being expensive and it being cheaper than something else – if Thing X costs, say, £800m, Thing Y costs £600m and Thing Z costs £400m, the cost of any one of them is still “huge”.

The point of passages like the above is to create an impression in the reader’s mind of evasiveness and untrustworthiness on the part of the Scottish Government, by providing a single figure bereft of any context or comparison.

But we’re still just on the intro. Let’s get to the real comedy gold.

dossier6

You can click all these images to enlarge them, but “Better Together” has – we suspect entirely deliberately – reproduced the SNP internal discussion paper at a poor and fuzzy resolution, presumably to discourage people from seeing what it actually says rather than the No camp’s spin on it.

We’re not sure we recall the SNP ever denying that the price of oil is volatile, as doing so would be akin to them coming out and claiming that the sea wasn’t wet. Again, the dossier invites people to assume deception and evasion where none in fact exists. So the first big headline “revelation” is something that everyone in Scotland has already known for 40 years and which to our knowledge not one living soul has ever disputed.

dossier7

This is another example of the “denial fallacy” we discussed a few paragraphs back. There’s no actual contradiction between stating the fact that Scotland is better off than the UK now, and accepting that it MIGHT be (“marginally”) worse off in the future, assuming an independent Scotland adopted the same spending plans as the UK.

In reality, though, nobody has the faintest idea what either nation’s economic status will be by 2017. Every UK growth forecast of the last five years has been massively wrong, and the OBR’s forecast for the price of oil over a SINGLE year was out by around 20% in 2011-12 (see paragraph 2.58 and others). The notion that anyone can accurately predict the oil price (or production levels) four years in advance is ludicrous.

dossier8

See above. Nobody in either the SNP (so far as we’re aware) or the YesScotland campaign has ever denied Scotland would start independence with some debt, like almost every other nation on the planet. But hang on – this comedy document is supposed to be full of things the SNP “say privately but won’t admit in public”, so pointing out that it contains “no analysis” of interest rates isn’t much of a smoking gun, as it seems they don’t discuss that one privately either.

dossier9

Things start to get desperate by this point. After repeating itself for a while about debt ratios, the dossier moves on to make a series of entirely spurious assumptions. The word “implies” in the upper note is a dead giveaway. As we saw in the previous paragraph, the No campaign is by now reduced to commenting on things that AREN’T in the SNP paper, rather than what actually is.

The note below, however, is a much less subtle flat-out lie. The paper says “these pressures COULD reduce the resources available to provide ADDITIONAL public services” (our emphasis). It’s a very big leap from there to a plan to cut existing jobs – specifically, the leap from truth to complete and utter fabrication.

dossier10

The next section is another festival of spurious assertions. The demographic difference between the Scottish and UK populations in terms of ageing is tiny, and in any event largely attributable to higher immigration of young people from the EU south of the border – something both main London parties are now frantically pandering to right-wing Tory voters to reduce, in the light of the rise of UKIP.

The second note highlights only one half of what John Swinney’s report says. The paper does indeed note that the UK dilutes the risk of a demographic timebomb for Scotland, but also points out that the fluctuations of costs could work to Scotland’s advantage as well as its disadvantage. Curiously, we don’t hear that part.

dossier11

Actual discussion paper: “Scotland would decide on the best overall fiscal stance which is appropriate for the Scottish economy.”

“Better Together” translation: “London would have a veto on Scotland’s budget.”

The No camp is, of course, entirely free to claim that a monetary union would mean a budget veto, even though it would mean no such thing. It’s something else entirely, however, to claim that that’s what the SNP document says, when it plainly says nothing even remotely close to it.

dossier12

There is no suggestion, indeed no mention at all, of cutting pensions in the SNP paper. Any country’s exchequer must “consider the affordability” of every aspect of its programme. Ironically, Labour angrily protests at anyone who says its commission currently “considering the affordability” of universal services is in fact talking about cuts. It can’t have that both ways.

dossier13

Now we’re really scraping the barrel. A document purportedly revealing the things the SNP refuse to tell us is by this point admitting to simply listing the “obviously true” things the SNP is telling us. And have they “always talked down the costs of setting up a new state”? We’re given no evidence for the statement. We wonder why.

dossier14

Except it clearly IS possible, for the reasons detailed earlier in this post – Scotland currently contributes £3.5bn to defence but only gets £2bn in expenditure in return. A budget of £2.5bn after independence would represent a saving of £1bn while still increasing spending by £500m.

(The SNP paper makes no mention of a figure of 15,000 troops. Current UK armed forces presence in Scotland is around 11,600.)

knowmore

And that’s the end. As we’ve seen, the “dossier” is a wafer-thin collection of nonsense based on a year-old paper already overtaken by events. It reveals absolutely nothing the SNP has been keeping secret – everything that isn’t a completely made-up assertion is open public knowledge, much of it (like the SNP’s proposed defence budget) in fact broadcast on national television and discussed endlessly in the media for months on end.

But such a mere trifle as the document being a load of half-baked floor-sweepings is no discouragement to the feverish Scottish media, itself already plumbing new depths in its attempts to smear the Yes movement’s main participant. Faced with an overwhelmingly positive story – and one with the merit of being empirically, measurably true – Scotland’s press has instead, like a plague of cockroaches, embarked on a feeding frenzy on a giant pile of camel-droppings.

“SNP’s secret plans to cut spending revealed” (The Scotsman)

SLEEPWALKING TO A DISASTER” (Scottish Daily Mail)

Leaked paper shows SNP fears over cost of benefits” (The Herald)

SNP dossier reveals pensions could be cut to plug £28bn oil black hole in independent Scotland” (Daily Record)

(The Record’s piece contains the sentence “The bombshell report by Finance Secretary John Swinney says Scotland’s spending deficit will reach £28 billion by 2015”, suggesting that everyone on the Record is also an illiterate buffoon who doesn’t know the difference between a debt and a deficit.)

If you do want to know more about the finances of an independent Scotland, the only conclusion it’s rationally possible to reach from the evidence is that you probably shouldn’t rely on the Scottish media to enlighten you.

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  1. Angus McLellan says:

    “The SNP paper makes no mention of a figure of 15,000 troops”. Swinney’s doesn’t but this one does: http://www.moraysnp.org/2012/07/snp-defence-policy-update.html
    “Current UK armed forces presence in Scotland is around 3500 and is planned to rise to 4000, rather than the 8500 previously promised by former defence secretary Liam Fox.” This is confusing “army” with “armed forces”. There’s an air force and a navy too! In October 2012, the numbers comparable to the SNP’s 15K were – according to http://www.theyworkforyou.com/wrans/?id=2013-01-07a.134260.h -11650, so perhaps just over 12K as a result of rebasing.

  2. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “This is confusing “army” with “armed forces””

    Yes, I wondered if I might be doing that, but was wary of taking anything in the Record at literal face value…

    Cheers for the clarification, will edit.

  3. southernscot says:

    Very apt aligning this article with Starship Toopers. Loved this film by Paul Verhoeven a man who was lived through german occupation of the Netherlands of WW2.

  4. ianbrotherhood says:

    The atrocious quality of the copy is surely deliberate, to reinforce the impression that this ‘Top Secret’ document was fiendishly difficult to obtain. Reminds me of the charges trumped-up against George Galloway, when someone happened to enter a bombed-out office in Baghdad, found a paper folder with ‘Inglind’ and a badly-drawn Union Jack on the cover, then opened it to find half a dozen documents (incriminating Galloway as the conduit for massive black-market oil deals), all of which had been assembled with out of date letter-headings, Pritt-stick and a John Bull kit.
    A.S. could quite easily present the Scottish Parliament with exhaustive analysis, from here, NNS and elsewhere, showing in forensic detail how this non-story is just the latest in a series of cack-handed propaganda fails by the BT/BBC: I’m sure Rev Stu and NNS would be more than happy to provide legible copy.

  5. Ghengis says:

    “the document being a load of half-baked floor-sweepings”
     
    The better together version of course

  6. Gordon says:

    I used to look at the Scotsman and I may still to see some of the arts and music coverage.  But for me it is now all over.  I do not even go to the website. 

  7. Bill Fraser says:

    Ok, I give in. Independence will be worse than a nuclear holocaust. It’s obvious really, after that we wouldn’t have to put up with the inane drivel,  utter nonsense and poisonous lies and doom laden outbursts from Bitter Together and the MSM. All our problems with be solved at  stroke.  They seem to wish to poison the collective psyche of the entire population. Now what was that song again? Oh yes Suicide is painless :/

  8. FreddieThreepwood says:

    Excellent analysis as always, Rev. It only serves, however, to highlight once again the paucity of the SNP’s response to date. Certainly, MacKay’s performance on Newsnight was particularly poor, veering as it did between defensiveness and an aggressive determination to not answer specific questions.
    We would hope our government has more resources to hand than that of a holy gamer sitting in his underpants in his attic in Bath. What was to stop them from being as up front, bullish and proactive as this?
     

  9. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    I really couldn’t make up my mind about MacKay on Newsnicht last night. Half the time he was jumpy and evasive, but the other half he was focused and combative. He’s at least partway there. Whereas Ken McIntosh was just a useless wet rag as usual, neatly skewered by Brewer on whether Scottish Labour was the boss of itself or not.

  10. MadjockMcMad says:

    If you watch today’s FMQ’s what you discover is: this is a copy of Lamont’s script for today. She is actually holding this document in her hand and clearly it was released under embargo to the usual media suspects.
    Lamont actually tried this on during FMQ’s and was soundly tanned on the arse …

  11. Training Day says:

    Outstanding article, Stu.  And what a curative after being exposed to the shitstorm of… well.. shit from the BBC and the propagandists of the majority of the MSM.
     
    I will be making a further contribution to the fund as a result of this article alone.

  12. Swello says:

    Firstly – I can’t help laughing every time I see that Top Secret logo – it’s totally embarrassing, high-school project level stuff.
    Today’s press shows that any piece of positive news regarding independence, no matter how significant, will be buried and the No side will view this episode as a real success in that regard. The glee with which the usual outlets have leapt on this is a bit depressing but hardly a surprise. My view is that the significance of the GERS report yesterday is not about 1 day of headlines but that it provides very compelling (and continuing) evidence about the economic viability of Scotland and that will be of use to the YES side long after the “Dossier” is forgotten.

  13. Sunshine on Crieff says:

    I has a quick flick through the document and it looked just like the sort of discussion paper a cabinet should be using to discuss and plan for the future (I’d love to see the Westminster cabinet’s version, they’re the people slashing pensions, for example).
    It would be a very irresponsible government that did not consider any pitfalls or obstacles in terms of finance.
     

  14. James Morton says:

    I did pick up a pattern yesterday in the MSM. First we had Brian Wilson on the Scotsman employing swivel eyed logic that the Yes campaign is the one being negative. We had commentator Alan Trench inferring that Scotland would mis-manage its oil revenue by posting a link to a story condemning the “Canadian” governments Tar Sand fantasy oil bubble. And then the big reveal of a dossier that actually if you read it without the post-it notes, seems not at all newsworthy.
    Then came newsnight – the pantomime was arse cringingly awful. What they did was not honest, it was simple partisan hackery at its worst. I can only assume its something they do to feel better as Unionists, rather than being something they actually believe. But what was worse, was the glee which they fell on the assumptions made that declare Scotland to be so feeble that it cannot manage its own affairs. The irony is, that this only strengthens the belief in large sections of English scoiety that they pay for everything in Scotland, and if they really had a vote, they’d vote to end the union in a heart beat.

  15. orpheuslyre says:

    Articles like this are why people are so ready to donate to this site and are refusing to spend money on the BBC or other MSM such as the Scotsman.

  16. clachangowk says:

    The only volatility direction for oil is UP

    according to the Wall Street Journal, a report published on Wednesday showed that Asian demand will steer oil prices in the future. Just this week, the US Department of Energy stated that China had overtaken the US as the largest importer of oil, supporting the claim that Asian demand will be a key factor for oil prices.
    The report claims that if demand and supply continue at their estimated pace, by 2020 oil prices could reach as high as $150 to $270 per barrel. This prediction, although plausible, doesn’t account for the change in consumer behavior that would follow such a large price increase, such as a reduction in travel due to its high cost.
     
    Read more: http://www.benzinga.com/news/13/03/3396300/asia-to-drive-oil-prices-in-the-future#ixzz2MruyVOde

  17. tom says:

    I’m terrified that a majority of the apathetic will swallow these headlines whole!

  18. muttley79 says:

    The irony about the Union is that it has produced such negative champions down the years.  This includes Helen Liddell, Michael Forsyth, Alastair Darling, Johann Lamont, Bailie, Curran, Murphy, Willie Ross etc.  These politicians and the MSM generally have produced a cringing, lacking in self-confidence, can’t do society in Scotland.  They are acting in self interest alone.  This is the price of their self preservation and advancement.  To get on in British society they have to constantly denigrate their own nations’ ability to run it own affairs.  How soulless, miserable and lamentable a task is that?  They probably know this is required of them, to act as if Scotland is a basket case, to please their masters in the British establishment.  They will also be aware that they will only be accepted if they don’t rock the boat and if they know their place. They are in effect pet jockneys, to be tickled under the chin by the UK establishment, and be ever willing to denigrate anyone attempting to be positive about Scotland.  Shame on you all! 

  19. kininvie says:

    @ tom – They will be long forgotten by 2014. But I do look forward to getting a bit more excitement into the Yes campaign. Not weary combats with the media, but a bit of genuine fun. Let’s have a few flash mobs, a party or two, a jazz festival…

  20. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “The report claims that if demand and supply continue at their estimated pace, by 2020 oil prices could reach as high as $150 to $270 per barrel.”

    Yep, something coming up on that in 45 minutes or so.

  21. Hermione says:

     
    How exactly would the SNP’s £2.5bn “defence” “budget” result in more money being “spent in Scotland” than at present?
     
    It simply isn’t possible, is it?

  22. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “How exactly would the SNP’s £2.5bn “defence” “budget” result in more money being “spent in Scotland” than at present?”

    Arithmetic.

    And be a good wee soldier and lay off with the “quote” “marks”, eh? They just make you look like a juvenile arse, and we’ve got commenter standards to maintain here.

  23. ianbrotherhood says:

    @kininvie –
    Hear hear to that. Nothing like a good party. 
    It’s really hard to imagine what a ‘Better Together’ knees-up would be like…
    @Hermione-
    What are you bumping your gums about now? Oh look, there’s a squirrel!

  24. Dal Riata says:

    Well done Stu for exposing these black propagandists.
     
    Today’s (Scottish) Daily Mail is almost delirious with glee with it’s giant front page headlines (with “revealed” in red!), page 6 huge headlines of “Independence budget ‘sham'” and a “Daily Mail Comment” of “Warnings that spell disaster for Salmond”.
     
    All that on top of “Scottish Political Editor” Alan Roden’s other misinforming/lying piece “Oil  revenues fail to prevent 7.6 billion pounds deficit”, arch-conservative John MacLeod’s blatantly dishonest full-page article, “Back, and still with a bite, an old dinosaur who makes Alex worry” about ex-SNP leader, Gordon Wilson, “Scottish Political Reporter” Michael Blackley misinforming/lying about how it is the fault of the Scottish government for “20, 000 more on scrapheap by 2014” and “And housebuilding continues to plummet” and Fiona Duffy given a full page to surreptitiously blame the government for Edinburgh’s tram fiasco…
     
    Whew! Even more over the top than usual! I wonder if they got any over-time for putting that lot together? If not, then at least some remuneration from Better Together’s ‘donators’ perhaps?  

  25. The Man in the Jar says:

    Rev Stu.
    I know that this has been a busy newsday but is this the pace that you intend to sustain now that you have moved to your shiny new site. I am having difficulty in keeping up with your output today and I don’t have a job to go to.
    Excellent stuff keep up the good work. Worth another few quid come pension day.
    @Hermione. Can’t you read?

  26. ianbrotherhood says:

    A Better Together party would be like a Samuel Beckett play minus the jokes.

  27. Dal Riata says:

    Re above post:
     
    But…! Apart from the Vote No propaganda from today’s (Scottish) Daily Mail, it gets even better! There, on page 7, we find an almost-full-page size article from Michael Blackley headlined, “SCOTS PART OF A BIGGER PICTURE, SAYS BLAIR”…Yes…”SAYS BLAIR”!!! And yes, it is that one, Anthony Charles Lynton Blair, former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom!!!
     
    First paragraph: 
    “Tony Blair yesterday made his first foray into the Scottish independence debate – by declaring that the future is about ‘being part of something bigger, not retreating into something smaller”.
     
    The article states, “Mr Blair was speaking at the event [the National Association of Pension Funds in Edinburgh] as part of his 2-million pounds-a-year role as an adviser for global financial giant JP Morgan.” Says it all, really.
     
    Please, please, please may Tony Blair become even more proactive in the Better Together campaign! Or, please may he even become an ‘official’ spokesman! Please let Better Together be that stupid…Please let Better Together be that stupid…Please let…

  28. Adrian B says:

     
    Here is the ten best quotes from Samual Beckett – from the Telegraph:
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/theatre/theatre-features/9780670/Samuel-Beckett-ten-best-quotes.html

  29. Jiggsbro says:

    This kind of stuff, desperate and comical as it is, still manages to make me quite angry. These are chancers prepared to lie to the people they’re supposed to serve, in an attempt to get those people to vote for an outcome that’s worse for the people but better for the chancers. Naked political manipulation of the truth, assisted by the friendly media to ensure the will of the people matches the will of their ‘masters’. And there seems to be nothing that can be done to effectively challenge it.

  30. ron.mcdonald@ntlworld.com says:

    Oil prices go though cycles, in much the same way as economies do. The important factor is that with Independence we will have control over our economy to deal with short term factors such as low supply of oil, over specific periods. This can be compensated for in a number of ways such as borrowing to create growth and increase tax revenues/ reduce social security payments. Changing tax rates, cutting spending and tax rises e.g wealth tax,tax on booze etc.
    The important thing is to be Independent.
    If there is a reduction from 2016, for a period (I’m not saying there will be) the tax received will of course also depend upon oil price.  Prof Maclean’s mob,that well known politically neutral economist is predicting $89 crude. The average prediction appears to be $130. We could even do what the Danes are doing and increase the tax rate from oil. This could be e.g.  for a temporary period only. 

  31. Ray says:

    @Jiggsbro

    This too made me super angry yesterday. I don’t get angry that often. But this nonsense really pissed me off and I’m really glad Stu took the time to put the above post together with images to accompany it. Better Together are basically insulting me thinking I can’t figure out a documents’ worth without them plastering their horsemeat all over it. It upsets me a little.

  32. Craig P says:

     
    Scott McCabe gets the name check in this article, but they are all at it today. And Mr Tony Blair? Scotland is not smaller, it is just further away from you. 

  33. Paul Martin says:

    Oh joy. I’ll have all this Daily Mail / Daily Express horse-shit hysterically quoted back to me like the gospel truth by my wifes family on Mothers Day.
    And if I react as I should, I’ll get it in the neck from my wife for upsetting her mother…
    Happy Mothers Day eh ! :-0

  34. ianbrotherhood says:

    @Paul Martin – 
    Will be with you in spirit mate. As you get bombarded with complete sentences subliminally absorbed from the MSM, repeated as though they’re newly-minted original thoughts, be calm, and remember – ‘He who laughs last’ etc. Mothers Day won’t be cancelled when we’re independent. I suspect you’ll enjoy it a lot in 2015, and you won’t even have to say a thing.
    Simples!
     

  35. Hermione says:

    Campbell:
     
    “Arithmetic.”
     
    Your “£3.5bn” current defence budget number includes the equipment procurement / upgrade / maintenance budget.
     
    Please specify how it would be possible for an “independent” Scotland – or indeed the current UK – to spend money on the procurement / upgrade / maintenance of tanks, aircraft, helicopters, artillery, armoured vehicles, small arms, ammunition, etc etc in Scotland, when no facilities for such exist.
     

  36. ianbrotherhood says:

    Looks like Hermione is trying “her” level best to get a second yellow card…

  37. scottish_skier says:

    Hermione, was that a pro-union comment? If so, could you please elaborate at bit? Seems like a pro-independence view.

    Ok, putting aside being in the union has resulted in Scotland being unable to produce the most basic equipment needed to provide for its defence (which seems to be the main thrust of your argument), at least under independence Scotland could look for the best deal on such purchases from Scots taxes rather than having the neighbours decide unilaterally to spend it on themselves or overseas as they saw fit.

  38. cath says:

    “Today’s press shows that any piece of positive news regarding independence, no matter how significant, will be buried and the No side will view this episode as a real success in that regard”
     
    They do appear to view today as a huge success for them. Which makes them even more stupid than they look. If I had to make a guess at who “leaked” this document to Better Together, I honestly wouldn’t know whether to plump for a unionist or an SNP spin doctor. Either way, they’ve proved a very big point, not only about media bias but also co-ordination of the media and Better Together – total co-ordination. That may seem like a success for now. By next year? Anyone who was previously in any doubt we were getting the truth certainly shouldn’t be now.

  39. Laird o' Cair Dhòmhnaill says:

    The term Parcel o’ rogues springs to mind.

  40. muttley79 says:

    The SNP have invested an a huge amount of effort getting us to this point.  I believe that they knew the MSM would be like this when the moment arrived.  There must be a strategy to deal with this situation.   

  41. Craig P says:

    Hermione – military procurement is pretty simple if you are buying off the shelf. We *could* spend several billions on airborne early warning aircraft and small arms programmes, then cancel them with nothing to show for it, but I reckon Scotland should follow a more Scandanavian or Dutch approach to procurement than a UK approach. 
     
    Upgrades again are pretty simple when you buy off the shelf. 
     
    Maintenance is a great opportunity for Scotland, there’s empty bases at Kirknewton, Rosyth (used to do maintenance until closed – another union dividend) and runways at Leuchars, Machrihanish and Kinloss, no reason they could not be used again like they used to be, keeping skilled technical jobs in Scotland. 
     
    It’s all about how you see the world Hermione – is your glass half empty, or half full?

  42. JLT says:

    Paul,
     
    One simple question to the family.
     
    ‘What are the advantages of being in the Union?’
     
    It stumps them every time!!!

  43. rabb says:

    Hermione says:
    7 March, 2013 at 6:52 pm

    Campbell:

    “Arithmetic.”

    Your “£3.5bn” current defence budget number includes the equipment procurement / upgrade / maintenance budget.

    Please specify how it would be possible for an “independent” Scotland – or indeed the current UK – to spend money on the procurement / upgrade / maintenance of tanks, aircraft, helicopters, artillery, armoured vehicles, small arms, ammunition, etc etc in Scotland, when no facilities for such exist.
     
    Defence Support Group in Stirling Hermione. Your not going to believe this but they only fix tanks and shit for the MOD. Who would have believed that eh?
     
    http://www.dsg.mod.uk/contact.asp?page=11
     
    You know, the place that Mr Hammond has tagged for closure so he can move the work down south.
     
    Now piss off back to watching the Disney Channel or something.
     

  44. Craig P says:

    I appreciate what the person posting as Hermione is doing, allowing us to practice rebuttals of unionist lines in a safe place, my only criticism would be that it would be nice if they were a bit more realistic in their portrayal. 

  45. rabb says:

    In addition to my post above.
     
    Hermione, I am not one for swearing but based on recent posts made by yourself, you really don’t have a f***ing clue what this country contributes to the rest of the UK do you?
     
    The only conclusion I draw is that you are a tory.
     
    Oh BTW I hear BAE Systems in Govan also have a wee sideline building Navy ships!
     
    So that’s shipbuilding and a defence support group in Scotland of which the later will be closed under your Westminster pals plans 🙂

  46. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “Please specify how it would be possible”

    I’m not sure I could, as you don’t appear to understand words.

    Kindly don’t refer to me as “Campbell” again.

  47. Hermione says:

    Er, who mentioned ships?
     
    I know ships are built in Scotland. Aircraft, tanks, helicopters, APCs, artillery, small arms and ammunition are not.
     
    Therefore to claim that a separate Scotland (see, no quotes) would be able to spend more of its defence budget within its borders is utterly disingenuous. £1bn of the current defence spend would amount to at least £1bn off the current spend in Scotland.
     
    I don’t know why the Nats bother. It’s not a “budget”, it’s just a number plucked from thin air. It wouldn’t provide a “defence”, it would be a militia / uniformed job creation scheme. They may as well admit they really want is to do what the Irish do, which is free-ride on the UK and NATO for their security.

  48. DMW42 says:

    I’ve just spent the day in the world’s capital, whit a hoot! Thanks for all the ammunition Stu, the stunned silence and slack jaws were awesome, they haven’t a clue about the shit that’s being spreabuys the MSM up here.
     
    Anecdotes a plenty but noticeably, no mention of union, British, GB, UK or Better Together. They actually didn’t really recognise the name Better Together, but did, with remarkable insight, refer to “the anti-Scotland campaign” and the “supporters of an English parliament”.
     
    it would therefore appear that, as far as our Commonwealth cousins are concerned, Team Toon Tabbard are neither British or Scottish!
     
    Hermione
    My apologies, I’ve been mispronouncing your name as Airy Moan and, when I read your posts thought that you were rather appropriately named. My colleagues dan sarf have corrected me and advise that it’s actually pronounced Hear My Irony. On re-reading your posts I can see that you’re still appropriately named and that your comments are not cynical denial of facts but feigned ignorance. Turns out you’re pro independence after all. Welcome.

  49. Baheid says:

    rabb says:
    Oh BTW I hear BAE Systems in Govan also have a wee sideline building Navy ships!
     
    Is that the ones with the big flat decks so aircraft can take off and land on?
    All they to do now is spend a few more billions on planes to use on them.
     
    Mind you we could use them for storage of the £55million spares the M.O.D. has in stock for the decommissioned nimrods.

  50. scottish_skier says:

    Hermione: …do what the Irish do, which is free-ride…

    Some suggested reading:

    http://tinyurl.com/bsoc7ot

    Incidentally, am I right in thinking that, after 10’s of 1000’s of Irish died fighting for Britain in WWI, when the Irish decided they might want to run things themselves at home, the British kindly responded by turning its guns towards them and opened fire?

  51. Hermione says:

     
    The further question which occurs, of course, is how long that sideline in ships could possibly survive if it found itself in a foreign country from its main customer.
     
    Countries usually build mil stuff themselves if they can. There are no EU or WTO rules saying to do otherwise.
     
    Why exactly would an “rUK” order T26 frigates from the Clyde if it’s in a foreign country? Plenty of capacity at Appledore and Barrow. Could even reopen Swans or Cammells if needed.

  52. Hermione says:

    “Some suggested reading:”
     
    The Republic of Ireland free-rides on the UK and NATO for its defence and security. Fact.

  53. scottish_skier says:

    Defence from whom?
    Last country to shoot at the Irish was Britain. Still occupy the northern bit of Ireland. Hence the ongoing troubles.

    One of the root causes of British sectarian problems too.

  54. Jiggsbro says:

    It’s been proven scientifically that anyone who supports a statement with the word ‘Fact’ is just making stuff up. Fact.

  55. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “I don’t know why the Nats bother. It’s not a “budget”, it’s just a number plucked from thin air. It wouldn’t provide a “defence”,”

    It manages fine for plenty other countries around our size, who actually spend rather less. Why would it be uniquely inadequate for Scotland? Who are our enemies?

  56. rabb says:

    Baheid says:
    7 March, 2013 at 8:55 pm

    rabb says:
    Oh BTW I hear BAE Systems in Govan also have a wee sideline building Navy ships!

    Is that the ones with the big flat decks so aircraft can take off and land on?
    All they to do now is spend a few more billions on planes to use on them.

    Mind you we could use them for storage of the £55million spares the M.O.D. has in stock for the decommissioned nimrods.
     
    Not to worry Baheid, they might be able to afford some Typhoon fighters to stick on those aircraft carriers.

    You know, the ones that are partially assembled in the UK then magically turn into aeroplanes without other bits that are made in Spain, Italy, Germany & even Norway.
     
    We could even equip them with US guided Maverick Missiles which we could buy from the USA?
     
    Or perhaps we could make our own light infantry anti tank weapon (MILAN) that we don’t buy from the French or perhaps even buy a shed load of DAF trucks where the profit goes to the Dutch?
     
    Get the point Hermione?

    Even the mighty UK can’t make everything it requires to function.

    So your argument about defence spending in Scotland not being possible also applies to the UK.
     
    Come back to me with a hard figure of what proportion of UK defence spending is spent within the UK and I’ll listen to your argument.
     
    There are countless examples as above where the UK imports and I’m sure there will be countless examples of internal suppliers.
     
    I must warn you that it’s pretty obvious where this argument is headed regardless of what figure you quote.

  57. MajorBloodnok says:

    @RevStu

    Luxembourg?

    (If the BBC is to be believed).

  58. The Man in the Jar says:

    Hermione
    “Some suggested viewing.”
    ?http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uU4rNYqrRck

  59. muttley79 says:

    @Hermione
     
    I don’t know why the Nats bother. It’s not a “budget”, it’s just a number plucked from thin air. It wouldn’t provide a “defence”, it would be a militia / uniformed job creation scheme. They may as well admit they really want is to do what the Irish do, which is free-ride on the UK and NATO for their security.  
     
    Scottish cringe alert.  What a cringing, we cannae dae it, exemplar of a Unionist you are. 

  60. Midgehunter says:

    Getting back to the “document” itself which the bitter boys presented as from the SG, fact is this is tantamount to nothing more than a forgery. Knowingly put together with intent to falsify.  It’s fraud, wilfully deceiving the Scottish public.

  61. rabb says:

    Midgehunter says:
    7 March, 2013 at 11:21 pm

    Getting back to the “document” itself which the bitter boys presented as from the SG, fact is this is tantamount to nothing more than a forgery. Knowingly put together with intent to falsify. It’s fraud, wilfully deceiving the Scottish public.
     
    Midgehunter,
    I am the most committed Yes voter you’ll find but let’s get real. The original document wasn’t forged. If it was there would be arrests by now.

  62. CameronB says:

    Better No and the Beeb guilty of “passing off” the document, perhaps?

    http://www.companylawclub.co.uk/topics/passing_off.shtml

  63. allan ross mackenzie says:

    That parcel of rogues are still guffawing a parcel of mince. Every time they open their gob an extreme odor escapes from their cesspit of lies. Btw, Rev. Fantastic website.

  64. Midgehunter says:

    @ Rabb
    “Midgehunter,
    I am the most committed Yes voter you’ll find but let’s get real. The original document wasn’t forged. If it was there would be arrests by now. ”
    Sorry, I should have made myself a little bit clearer but this is how the bitters rub me up sometimes after a long day.
    I don’t mean the leaked part that came from the SG, that was a perfectly normal working paper for discussion and analysis. Good government with al its pros and cons.
    The rest was shall we say added to and repackaged. The cover for example was deliberately created from nothing with SG similar working and “Top secret”. And then flouted on the airwaves as coming from the SG. That is deceit and a forgery as far as I’m concerned.
     
    I don’t believe in turning the other cheek when dealing with people like this, they think you’re soft and keeps them doing it again because they know they’re getting away with it. I’ll give my heart and soul to stop them in their tracks if I can.

  65. Graham Ennis says:

    Hi, this is a very good bit of expose journalism. But actually, some of that “public expenditure,” Scottish taxpayers cash) is spent not in Scotland,  but just about anywhere else. Billions go on things like the London Olympics, wars abroad, etc……not in Scotland. Real extra expenditure is about 20 billion more when this is added to a sovereign Scottish Government’s budget, spent in Scotland. (present internal budget, about 32 billion of “Pocket money” from London). Ad an average of £10 billion a year in missing oil and gas royalties. Add the sales of Scottish treasury bonds, (all governments raise cash this way) another 10 billion. Add deficit spending, (say another 10 billion a year) other wise a Scottish currency would end up harder than a Swiss Franc, (its all that “Volatile” oil)I make all that about another £50 billion of cash Scotland does not see at the moment. It would then be running a  budget and spending it very like that of Sweden. Except Sweden is a poor country, in internal resources, compared to Scotland. Scotland is more resource rich than all the gulf states put together, (if you exclude Saudi) but has some of the worst poverty and social problems in Europe. Time that the NO people not only stopped telling lies, but told the truth. People are too polite to them.They are ("Tractor" - Ed)s to the people of Scotland. Simple. They are backing and supporting the present system of colonial theft and extortion on which Scotland is run. Thank You. End of rant.

  66. Fergie says:

    “Scottish cringe alert.  What a cringing, we cannae dae it, exemplar of a Unionist you are.”
     
    I don’t think Hermione is Scottish, or even based in Scotland. Her brand of “Scots are too stupid, too wee, too rubbish, cannae dae anything” doesn’t come from a cringe.
     

  67. Sandy Miller says:

    The comments from Mutley re the negative campaigners over the years I would agree with and he lists a number of names. The one odd one out I the Late Willie Ross as whilst he was referred to as the hammer of the nats, many in the SNP respected him and unlike the no campaigners he was a man of integrity

  68. Albert Herring says:

    @Sandy Miller
    Would that be the same Willie Ross that hid the McCrone Report?

  69. Jingly Jangly says:

    RE Defence spending, I notice that the National Convenor of the SNP Mr Salmond
    mentioned on Fmq’s the other day that we are still paying 100% of Trident costs,
    So that would be a saving of about 1.5 Billion pounds per annum on defence costs.
    Unfortunately it will cost us a couple of hundred million to relocate the rusting hulks
    of derelict Nuclear Submarines in long term storage at Rostyth.
    I think there are some vacant docks beside London City Airport which would be
    suitable for storage. Should be no problem with safety as they are currently
    close to Dunfermline and Edinburgh and other towns in Scotland so I cant
    see anybody complaining about them taking it back.
    O/T given that the queen is given UK Govt handouts will she be a victim of the
    Bedroom Tax?
    Re Pensions in an independent Scotland, nobody seems to have picked up on the
    fact that Scotland will not be paying the pensions immediately upon Independence.
    Scotland will pickup apporx 30th share in year two and so on but the UK Govt
    will be liable for the pensions as Scottish Pensioners have paid into the UK Pension
    system.  I have seen a letter from the UK Dept of Pensions confirming this fact and as
    they state in their letter, if a pensioner moves to Spain the pension is paid in full inclluding
    any annual increase. The same will apply in an independent Scotland

  70. CW says:

    Willie Ross was a horrible man, an enemy of his people, a thief of common good land belonging to the people of Ayr, the worst kind of kailyard ‘Wha’s like us?’ Scot, and the man to whom the vicious myth of the dependent, mendicant Scots can be traced. He treated Winnie Ewing like shit when she first went to Westminster. And he repeatedly asked his colleagues the ridiculous question ‘Who needs devolution when you’ve got me?’ when the Labour Party began to think about adopting it as policy in an an attempt to guard themselves against the rise of the SNP. He represented the worst anti-democratic impulses of too much of Scotland’s history under the Union. He thought this country was his personal fiefdom and he was wrong.



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