The world's most-read Scottish politics website

Wings Over Scotland


Grasping the thistle 91

Posted on July 16, 2019 by

Last night, grudgingly, we watched the whole of the final Tory leadership debate, for a contest in which pretty much everyone believes Boris Johnson has already gathered enough votes to comfortably win even though there are several days of voting to go.

The headline outcome the media appears to be focusing on is that both candidates proclaimed the Irish backstop “dead”, to which the EU’s response will without a doubt be “Is it, aye?”

So where does that leave us? Let’s have an update.

Read the rest of this entry →

The Expert 475

Posted on July 13, 2019 by

Forever England 144

Posted on July 12, 2019 by

Hey readers, remember that time when England went to war with Germany?

You know, just England, under its Union Jack flag. Nobody else.

Read the rest of this entry →

Hitch a ride on the turning tide 167

Posted on July 11, 2019 by

Things were different in 2009.

Of course, they meant if they LOST the first one. But readers might feel that a certain degree of irony has perhaps manifested itself since then, particularly in terms of people knowing “what they would be in for” after June 2016.

So just to recap the UK government’s rules for the Yes movement:

 – If you win, you don’t really win and you have to go again in case things change.

 – If you lose once, that’s it forever, no matter how much things change.

Always remember what we’re dealing with, folks. The rules are always whatever they say they are, regardless of what they might have said a minute ago, and no matter what happens we’re swimming against the sea.

The Screw 653

Posted on July 08, 2019 by

We’ve just received the verdict in the hearing over costs in our court case against Kezia Dugdale, and it’s an incomprehensible one. The sheriff has awarded costs in full to Dugdale, plus a 50% “uplift” mainly on the grounds of the “complexity” of the case, despite Dugdale having employed the services of perhaps Scotland’s highest-paid specialist defamation QC.

Full costs were awarded despite the sheriff having found that the core complaint on which the case was brought – namely that Dugdale had unjustly defamed me with a damaging and wholly false claim that I was a homophobe – was in fact wholly upheld, and that I had indeed been so defamed.

No explanation was given with regard to the supposed complexities from which the uplift arose. The case was in fact a quite straightforward one in defamation terms: an allegation was made, no supporting facts were provided for it and it was found to be entirely false, but the defender was excused liability on the grounds of honest belief – despite being unable to provide the sheriff with any rational basis for that belief.

That’s just about the bare minimum of complexity that could ever possibly exist in a defamation case, and readers might understandably feel that it ought to have been well within the normal skill set of the defender’s representatives, particularly given that the document comprising the entire core of the case was a single tweet of less than 140 characters.

Apparently if you’re a lawyer who’s been paid tens of thousands of pounds to debate a single tweet you also deserve a 50% bonus by way of extra compensation for all the stress and trauma of, um, doing your normal job.

Kezia Dugdale at no point before, during or after the case apologised for or withdrew her remarks – indeed, after our initial complaint she repeated and expanded them, leaving us with no remedy but to pursue the matter in court, and to compete as best we could with the astronomical sums spent on Dugdale’s defence by external parties and approved by the court even though the sum being sued for was relatively modest.

We don’t yet have a final bill, but we expect it to be in the rough vicinity of £100,000 as previously advised. We’ve already polled readers on their desired response in that event, and received an overwhelming majority of 9:1 in favour of filing an appeal against the substantive judgement on the case.

(The verdict on expenses cannot in practice be appealed itself, but were a substantive appeal to be successful the expenses verdict would automatically be overturned.)

We intend to carry out that decision, but any further views are welcomed.

The four estates 234

Posted on July 07, 2019 by

There’s quite an interesting piece in today’s Sunday National detailing the extremely unequal representation of various parties on the BBC’s network politics shows in the last month, in which readers will be astonished to learn that the SNP (and Scotland in general) come off very poorly.

(Five appearances compared to eight for the Lib Dems, 40 for Labour and a startling 143 for the Tories.)

As it happened, it coincided with our coming by a list of people who’ve appeared on the Corporation’s nightly newspaper-review show, so we wondered whether the brave members of the press whose job it is to scrutinise politics independently might have redressed the balance somewhat.

Let’s find out.

Read the rest of this entry →

Field Of Dreams 163

Posted on July 06, 2019 by

The irrefutable argument 140

Posted on July 05, 2019 by

We haven’t done a good old-fashioned Quoted For Truth in quite some time, but on occasion someone else makes a point in a way that just can’t be improved on.

We’ve always known/said that this is THE core case for independence, of course, but sometimes seeing it from another country’s perspective brings the message home.

No-Independence Day 466

Posted on July 04, 2019 by

I went for a very long walk before writing this post, because I wanted to make sure I wasn’t doing it in the heat of anger. But 8.5 miles and 18,753 steps later it still needs to be said and there’s no getting out of it, so batten down the hatches, folks.

Last night SNP MP Mhairi Black tweeted what may be the most ill-advised, destructive, offensive, repellent and just downright idiotic thing that I’ve ever seen an elected SNP member do. (Maybe not just the SNP.)

The video, bizarrely made for the amusement of readers of comedy lad-mag website Joe.co.uk, sees Black reading out a series of supposedly “transphobic” and “mean” tweets – almost all from women and only two of which were in any way rude – and reacting to them with a toxic mixture of arrogant condescension, mockery and insults, alongside a tirade of flatly wrong and endlessly-debunked myths.

It concludes with the smirking, sniggering suggestion that women, including survivors of male violence, who’ve expressed their serious concerns over reforms to the Gender Recognition Act – concerns shared by the overwhelming majority of women, and of the population as a whole – are “Jeremy Hunts”, a piece of rhyming slang that doesn’t need any translation.

The video pretty much speaks for itself, unfortunately, but let’s look at some highlights.

Read the rest of this entry →

Imagine our astonishment 241

Posted on July 03, 2019 by

When this complaint got the brush-off from the BBC, flatly refusing a right of reply under Article 28 of the Broadcasting Code to the Corporation’s grossly unbalanced and factually-inaccurate coverage of our court case against Kezia Dugdale:

We now have to go through TWO more rounds of pointless dickaboutery and dismissal from the BBC, taking up several weeks, before Ofcom will take the matter up.

(You may have noted, incidentally, that the letter gives no indication that its response can be appealed in any way. It took Ofcom to tell us it could.)

We’ll keep you posted.

The Achievers 172

Posted on July 02, 2019 by

As we all know by now, the active Yes movement is split into two camps. On one side are the whiners (mainly but not solely from the fringe far left), who are always full of destructive criticism and abuse for their own side while contributing nothing of any value themselves, other than to promote their own media careers.

On the other are the hard workers who actually get things done, quietly producing materials and work that reach out to voters and make a real difference.

These people have no interest in getting their faces known by appearing as tame Nat pundits on TV and radio, no desire to get their foot in the door at the BBC or grab a lucrative seat in Parliament. All most of them care about is bringing about a Yes vote so that they can get back to their normal lives in a better country.

So let’s see if we can help a few of them out.

Read the rest of this entry →

Live and in pieces 202

Posted on July 01, 2019 by

We suspect that LBC’s Iain Dale might have been reading this morning’s Wings article before he interviewed Jo Swinson tonight.

We can only hope any subsequent Scottish interviewers do as diligent a job, and also pick her up on a few of the blatant lies she did manage to sneak past Dale.



↑ Top