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Wings Over Scotland

32 alert men and women

Posted on July 19, 2014 by

The referendum is now just two months away, and things are starting to get serious. Yesterday we received notification from the Electoral Commission of the procedure and deadline for appointing “referendum agents”. These are people who can:

– attend the receipt and opening of postal ballot papers and/or appoint postal ballot agents to do so on their behalf.

– attend polling stations on polling day for the purpose of detecting personation and/or appoint polling agents to do so on their behalf.

– attend the counting of votes and/or appoint counting agents to do so on their behalf.

There are 32 local counting areas, and we’d like to have a Wings representative at each one to keep an eye out for any shenanigans. This is too important to be another Glenrothes, so please only put your name forward if you’re sure you’ll be able to do it.

If you’d like to volunteer, see below.

Get in touch via the Wings contact form. Please use the subject line “REFERENDUM AGENTS”, and include the following information:

– Name

– Address

– Telephone number

– Area you’d like to attend

The 32 areas are:

Aberdeen City
Argyll & Bute
Comhairle nan Eilean Siar (Western Isles)
Dumfries & Galloway
East Ayrshire
East Dunbartonshire
East Lothian
East Renfrewshire
Edinburgh City
Glasgow City
North Ayrshire
North Lanarkshire
Orkney Islands
Perth & Kinross
Scottish Borders
Shetland Islands
South Ayrshire
South Lanarkshire
West Dunbartonshire
West Lothian

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    1. 19 07 14 15:08

      32 alert men and women | Scottish Independence News

    157 to “32 alert men and women”

    1. Brian Doonthetoon says:

      Hi Rev.

      Will you keep us up to date, here, as to which areas you get covered?

      I could attend the count in Dundee but not sure on opening of postal ballots, etc.

    2. handclapping says:

      Having done all 3 jobs:-
      Postal counting agent is incredibly boring expecially if the clerks have been properly trained in opening the envelopes with discretion however you can get a power trip out of accepting or rejecting contentious signatures and you may be able to see enough ballots to get a feel for how the postal vote is going. Postal opening is done daily except for the weekend for 8-10 days prior to the 18th as well as on the 18th. You can get in severe trouble if you let slip any information on how the postal vote is going / went before 10 pm on the 18th
      Polling agent is up before 7 to be at the polling station to attend the showing and sealing of the boxes and to check there is no inadvertent No propaganda in the polling station, checking the number of votes cast throughout the day and attending at 10 to see the closing and sealing of the boxes and the bagging of all the associated bumf. A long day but if coordinated with your local Yes group can be very useful.
      Counting agent is a long night but you are right in there for the declaration. Again if coordinated with your council Yes group can be very useful to the Yes campaign

    3. schrodingers cat says:

      do they announce each area seperately?
      and when? the 19th?

    4. Scott Minto (Aka Sneekyboy) says:

      Dibs on Aberdeen.

      One question though…

      If you’re a rep are you still able to vote?

    5. Garry Sexton says:

      I will be doing These duties for my local Yes group as I feel it is a necessity, and I will also take my own pen to the voting booth, good shout rev, after all it is the British government we are dealing with, also loved the way you handled yourself on Scotland tonight.

    6. Votadini Jeannie says:

      Are you only allowed one rep per area? I think teams would be good if you can get the volunteers – the more eyes the better.

    7. handclapping says:

      If allowed by the CO local results will be announced at the area count
      It is expected that there will be no announcement of any area on the 18th. It will be a long night.

      Yes, it is wise to get a postal vote as you could be very busy on the day

    8. Scott Minto (Aka Sneekyboy) says:

      Some info on Referendum Agents:

      Registered campaigners can appoint a referendum agent for each local area.

      The referendum agent is responsible for appointing representatives in their area to attend:

      • postal vote opening sessions

      • polling stations

      • the counting of the votes

      How to appoint referendum agents

      How you appoint referendum agents is up to you. However, you must notify appointments to the relevant Counting Officer by midday on 14 August 2014. The notification must:

      • be made in writing

      • give the name and address of your organisation, and of the referendum agent.

      Business addresses can be used

      • be signed by the ‘responsible person’ or someone authorised in writing by them

    9. handclapping says:

      The Rev is allowed to appoint all his allowed agents in all three classes himself in each area or to appoint one person in each class with authority to make further appointmants in that class up to the permitted limit for that area

    10. Scott Minto (Aka Sneekyboy) says:

      From that advice on the EC site it seems that the Referendum Agent can appoint other representatives to attend postal vote openings, polling stations and counts…

      Doesn’t that mean you need 32 ‘Head honchos’ and more to assist then?

    11. Archie [not Erchie] says:

      @ Scott Minto – Go halfers with you. Split the days of postal vote counting with you? 🙂

    12. David Mackintosh says:

      I can attend either North or South Lanarkshire all day without any issues

      Have filled in your contact form

    13. Scott Minto (Aka Sneekyboy) says:

      Sounds like a plan.

      I’m just keen to help out, but it looks like its a coordinator for the area they need + others, so anythings fine by me.

    14. gordoz says:

      Might want to follow boxes from the polling stations to the council counting sites.

      Just a thought. (Dont trust Team GB one bit)

    15. ronnie anderson says:

      Used my sunday name when registering, Spam filter caught me oot

    16. Vestas says:

      @ handclapping

      I’ve seen no signs of “serious trouble” for NuLab candidates who have disclosed postal voting prior to polling day in other campaigns (2011, 2010, 2007, 2003).

      They got a slap on the wrist.

      I honestly think that the biggest mistake made so far was permitting the UK Electoral Commission to become involved.

      You can’t trust them.

    17. Gizzit says:

      @Short Changed

      There is a specific “contact form” to use for registration. Check the “Contact” tab at the top of the page.

      @Rev Stu

      A pity there couldn’t be a means of coordinating this with other Yes groups registered as official participants – too late to contact Yes Scotland to ensure sufficient and robust coverage, but not “overkill”?

    18. Mark Coburn says:

      Profuse apologies for the side entrance here.

      My fundraiser for the Maryhill foodbank and the yes groups still has 17 hours left to run. If anyone would like to donate, please do so here: I’m £127 short of reaching £10,000 which means that £5,350 will go to ten local yes groups for campaign bases and the rest will go to the Maryhill foodbank.

      Do it for the foodbank guys. It’s a damned disgrace that we live in a country/society where these things not only exist but are on the rise. We’ve even got them in Bearsden and Inverurie. It’s not just the predictable areas of Glasgow and the West of Scotland.

    19. Helen says:

      Garry Sexton can you use a pen? I thought it could only be a pencil!

    20. Patrician says:

      Count me in for North Lanarkshire

    21. Vestas says:

      @ Gizzit

      I would hope the other registered campaigners are planning seperately as they each have the right to send their own representatives.

      NuLab have form both north & south of the border for manipulating postal votes so its going to require a LOT of people to ensure the same doesn’t happen here.

    22. G H Graham says:

      The British State is at risk of losing 1/3rd of its landmass, about 1/10th of its population, at least 10% of its tax income & it’s much treasured nuclear deterrent.

      If YES prevails, there will be diplomatic chaos, a political tsunami & an economic earthquake which will permanently diminish Britain.

      Rest assured then, that every possible means, overt & covert will be deployed to undermine the referendum process & especially those voting YES in order to preserve the status quo.

      Expect anything to happen.

    23. turnbul drier says:

      Hey Rev.. Will be available for Midlothian. If you are still in need.


    24. turnbul drier says:

      Sorry.. Just noticed the contract form.. Please delete the above.

    25. horseboy says:

      This is great spoof of Bitter Together!
      Just superb, and laff your socks off.
      It speaks the truth

      Cameron plays Hitler in his Westminster bunker plotting against the Scots and YES Scotland:

      ps. As good as Mel Brooks/Charlie Chaplin parody of Hitler.

    26. Brian Powell says:

      It would need more than one per station so that the watcher can vote too.

    27. Brian Mchugh says:

      Free Palestine Demo live right now…

    28. Tartan Tory says:

      Folks, if you are going to reply to this request from Stu, at least do him the good service of actually reading what he has asked you to do. 😉


    29. Papadox says:

      @ G H Graham 3:17

      Totally agree with your faith in the establishment, that will be zero. Have been saying the same thing for a long time now. NOTHING will be excluded from retaining the Westminster establishment in its ivory tower, absolutely NOTHING!

    30. Haggis says:

      Is it confirmed it doesn’t prevent someone from voting themselves, etc.?

    31. Juteman says:

      Maybe i’m being paranoid, but surely some kind of vetting will be needed?
      The last thing we need is a Britnat ‘spoiler’ pretending to be a WoS agent to cause problems on the day.

    32. handclapping says:

      Absolutely you can vote, it is usual to ask for a postal vote as you can be very busy on the day and it has been known for agents to forget or be stranded far from their own polling station.

    33. Ladybird says:

      I wish I could volunteer but I’m pregnant and the expected delivery date is the 13th Step. I would ask anyone who can spare the time to volunteer if not for Wings then for your local Yes campaign. I can’t tell you how much I want my son to grow up in an Indy Scotland, thank you in advance for your efforts. I’m positive they will be needed.

    34. Jill P says:

      Haggis, yes you can also vote.

    35. I’d be very, very happy to cover Renfrewshire and I’m sharp as a tack. Let me know if I can help. Thanks for all you’ve been doing, Rashelle

    36. wilma lavery says:

      Hi stu,
      what happens when the votes are placed where do they go from there and who goes with the boxes so they dont get tampered with.

    37. Helena Brown says:

      Juteman I do concur, I recognise there are many people here who would be very suitable, and we all know, I hope who is not. I would like to see some of Stu’s regulars, those Wingers who have paid their dues doing this.

    38. R-type Grunt says:

      The game’s afoot!

      I’m on duty – following the ballot boxes from my locale to the counting station. I also don’t trust the bastards.

    39. Bugger (the Panda) says:

      We can still have irregular followers who d who are not present at the counting but follow the boxes to the count and make sure they are not substituted.

      Old Labour trick.

      I hope the Scottish Government have a security marker on the ballot papers to ensure no substitution?

    40. Bugger (the Panda) says:


      R-type Grunt

    41. Bugger (the Panda) says:

      I am getting ready for Paternity Leave.

    42. goldenayr says:

      Helena Brown

      That’ll be me ruled out then?

    43. goldenayr says:



      Where do we send the cards and is it pink or blue balloons?

    44. RogueCoder says:

      “Maybe i’m being paranoid, but surely some kind of vetting will be needed?”

      There will be a test. Oh yes.

      First one is to watch the SNP conference video. First sign of frothing at the mouth and yer oot as a SLAB sympathiser. 😀

    45. Bugger (the Panda) says:

      one of each and not a red balloon between them.

    46. goldenayr says:


      Red wine will be permissible instead though I take it?

    47. izzie edgar says:

      Angus will be well organised I believe we have been returning SNP councillors MP’s and MSP for years I take your point about the ballot boxes and postal votes though

    48. Bugger (the Panda) says:

      already taken

    49. IcySpark says:

      Sorry O/T

      Anas Sarwar MP getting booed and heckled at Palestine protest in Glasgow today.

    50. muttley79 says:

      Probably be best to get those most experienced in the political process to act as referendum agents. People like Morag, Dave McEwan Hill, Marcia, Sneekyboy etc if they are available. Then there can be more added as onlookers, to check for cheating etc. Make sure thought that Wings sends people who are self disciplined, level headed, and not prone to outbursts. That should rule out more than a few of us on here.. 😀 😀

    51. wilma lavery says:

      Will they have a matching copy of the count for each so the figs match at the end.

    52. goldenayr says:



      Anas deserves everything he gets.

    53. Nikkii says:

      OMG – so available – I booked 18th and 19th September off ages ago lol! Would rather be occupied than spend the day trembling, puking, or drinking myself into a stupor!!!

    54. Illy says:

      I would love to help, I can get the time off easily enough, but a bit more info on what’s required in terms of time, transport, etc… would be nice before I register as “I can definitely do it”.

      Can someone who’s got experience with these things do a guest article on what this entails?

    55. Simon Chadwick says:

      horseboy, is there a Youtube of that spoof video? Facebook doesn’t play nicely with my antique machinery.

    56. ronnie anderson says:

      @ muttley 79, ah see ma name wizna included in your post, am I not worthy o exalted wan hee hee hee.

    57. Brian Doonthetoon says:

      Hi Nikkii.

      I booked the same two days as holidays at the start of the year, then promptly put them into the “dealt with” pigeon hole in my brain.

      A couple of months ago, I had to stick in my last full week off so, instead of the usual October, I picked the last week in September, in the hope of an Indian Summer.

      Then I found out that it was the week following the referendum vote. So I’m off from the evening of the 17th, right through until I go back to work on the 29th.

      I sincerely hope I will be in a fog of celebration for the whole week!

    58. Count me in for helping in North Lanarkshire.

    59. lumilumi says:

      It’s a sad reflection on the UK “democracy” that WoS has to strump up election (referendum) monitors.

      I know a couple of people who’ve been election monitors for the OSCE in Russia and Eastern Europe. OSCE monitors cannot come to Scotland unless the UK government ask them. Which it will not do, to preserve their image (fantasy) of “the oldest Western democracy” or whatever.

      The UK system of postal voting is wide open for electoral fraud. Apparently the (Scottish) Labour Party are the experts.

      I’m glad Rev Stu and WoS are registered participants with the Electoral Commission so Wossers can monitor the referendum. I suppose other YES-minded entities registered with the EC will also have their monitors, thereby minimising the risk of electoral fraud.

      I have no doubt that the UK state and the Labour Party will resort to anything, even electoral fraud to win the referendum.

      We must do our best to prevent it, and if it happens, to expose it.

    60. Robert Peffers says:

      Mind you we really should have as many actual polling stations covered too. My very first duty on that score was an eye opener.

      Labour stronghold and they were bringing in the old folks by minibusload. First sitting them down to tea/coffee and sandwiches/cakes at the local miner’s institute, next door to the school that was the actual polling place.

      It was like the local pensioners Christmas treat. They’d been doing this for decades and, being a mining village there had never been enough Tory of Liberal folks around to bother with and the SNP were contesting the seat for the first time.

      They even had the hard neck to complain because we were holding an exit poll. Back then we SNP guys felt like voices crying in the wilderness. I’ve never seen Labour so thin on ther ground in the village this time though. In fact, except for paid delierers of leaflets, I’ve seen none. Local SNP lass has flown a large Saltire on her house since she got elected.

    61. This is too important to be another Glenrothes

      Apologies for my ignorance but what’s the story behind this? Some dodgy ballot rigging?

    62. goldenayr says:

      Gregory Beekman

      Do you not remember the records of postal votes that went missing from the council offices?

    63. Brian Doonthetoon says:

      Hi Simon Chadwick.

      You’ll find it here:-

    64. Sorry no. Lived down in England for a while so some of the Scottish political scene passed me by.

    65. kestral says:

      If you’re a rep are you still able to vote?

      yes you are entitled to a vote

      you are there at a count to watch each vote being tallied, nothing to do with your right to vote

    66. Robert Peffers says:

      @Gregory Beekman says: 19 July, 2014 at 6:09 pm:

      “This is too important to be another Glenrothes.
      Apologies for my ignorance but what’s the story behind this? Some dodgy ballot rigging?”.

      Got it in one Gregory Beekman. Whole Ballot Boxes vanished into fresh air and there were reputed to be postal vote rigging with tales of voters with address in local churchyards and in vases on mantlepieces.

      The opinion polls and doorstep surveys all had it down as an easy SNP victory. To this day the missing ballot boxes have never come to light. here’s a link.

    67. lumilumi says:

      @ Gregory Beekman

      Glenrothers was a by-election Labour really, really wanted to win sometime before the 2010 Westminster GE. Polls were favourable to the SNP, but, lo and behold! Just at the last minute, a deluge of postal votes – all for Labour – poured in to the push the Labour candidate ahead of the SNP candidate. Apparently long dead people postal voted Labour.

      The electoral rolls and ballot papers or whatever are the official records and actual physical evidence, mysteriously disappeared. So, many think it was a Labour rigged election, the SNP would’ve won a honest election.

    68. goldenayr says:

      Gregory Beekman

      Some sites to refresh your memory.

    69. Brian Mchugh says:

      Well worth a couple of minutes of your time…

    70. handclapping says:

      For a retired person it will be easiest and most useful to be a postal agent as it takes place in office hours during the working week and a bit prior to the 18th when the younger, fitter peeps are busy earning a crust.

      To take Fife as an example, it will take place in Fife House in Glenrothes probably from Tue 9 excluding 13, 14th right up to the last box in on Thursaday 18th. The first day is a scrum as everybody is presenting their credentials, being signed in and, if a bigwig, having your picture took for the FFP, GG etc as its the first real public sign of the referendum taking place. After that you can generally get a seat and there are toilets and a canteen available to signed in members of the public.

      The job entails watching to see the opening of the outside wrapper, the removal of the contents and the independence of the vote envelope from the declaration. The declarations are then shipped off to the computer thingy that compares the signatures with the one on the application and those that dont match are sent to the verification desk which has you on one side and the verifier the other of a two sided screen where both of you get to compare the two signatures. The objective is always to allow the vote in case of doubt. The real killer is when you see a signature has just gone doddery and you’ld pass it but they’ve got their birthdate wrong. There is no leeway on that and the vote is rejected.

      The vote is rejected by removing the appropriate vote envelope from that batch of votes. When a batch is all okayed then the ballots are removed from the envelopes, bundled and placed in a ballot box. Its at the removal of the ballots that you may get a glimpse of the mark and by keeping count of those you happen to see get an idea of how the postal vote is going.

      This probably takes place from 10-3 on the first two days and the Monday and 10-1 or so on the others. On the 18th they are hand working the votes that are handed in at polling stations which is why the postal vote staff are on duty up to the last ballot box returns from the last polling station

    71. Robert Peffers says:

      Meant to mention that the election registers at Glenrothes also went missing. These record the name & code number of everyone who voted but doesn’t say how they voted.

      If the ballot boxes go missing the register can trace who’s votes were not counted by cross-reference. With no register there is no way to know how many votes had gone.

    72. kestral says:

      Mind you we really should have as many actual polling stations covered too

      totally agree

      Having spent a number of years being an “activist” being at a polling station is great

      and is going to be even greater for this vote

      you know being an snp supporter 24 years ago age 18 canvassing for jim sillars in govan when the party was just a joke as far as ever ever looking after scotland

      and where are we now, smiles, back then we were lucky to get 8% of the vote

      but every one of us believed, I used to drive by a little hut on the motorway from Edinburgh to Glasgow

      someone had spray painted free Scotland on it(little daft hut actually)

      does anyone have a picture of that hut, it was near Glasgow, coatbridge area

      I think it’s quite famous as I did see it on newspapers articles years ago

      and it did affect me, was something about that little brick hut with free scotland on it


    73. David Smith says:

      Since I live in Carlisle just now it might not be permissible but I would be willing to assist in Dumfries and Galloway if acceptable.

    74. Thanks for those sites – tho ignorance is bliss, sometimes. Scares the hell out of me.

      As an Airdrie resident, this is worrying:

      4. DESPITE a massive 15.2% swing to the SNP, Labour’s Karen Whitefield has held on to the constituency of Airdrie and Shotts. Labour’s majority in Airdrie and Shotts is 1,448. The number of rejected ballot papers is 1,506. Labour hold Airdrie and Shotts despite huge swing to SNP

    75. handclapping says:

      Forgot to mention that you can also ask how many votes have been returned which can be useful if you have people who are willing and able to chase up postal voters favourable to your side.

    76. Redrockg11 says:

      Please be nice, first comment on this site.

      Having done polling duty and been a candidate a couple of times I can, perhaps shed some light on a polling agents role in keeping elections fair.

      You have the right to free access of the polling station so if you suspect someone has already voted or do not have a vote at this station you can draw this to the attention of the polling station staff. Who should then carry out identity checks.

      You have the right to ask, throughout the day, and at the close of count how many votes have been cast. This allows you to check the clerks are not stuffing the boxes when nobody is about.

      You are also allowed to be present when the boxes are sealed and picked up. If you are well organised and get the count ahead of the boxes you can see is the seal is intact and the box contains the correct number of votes.

      At the count you can monitor the papers and see that they are being processed correctly and that the numbers all tally.

      Obviously one person cannot do this by themselves and its customary to have four or more agents per polling station.

      I’m a fan of low tech. paper based election as they require a lot of work to rig them and its not hard to detect. Postal votes are a concern I feel they are far to easy to obtain and are very easy for the unscrupulous to manipulate.

    77. Andy-B says:


      With the western media machine in full flow regarding the downing of Malayasian flight MH17, which firmly blames Putin and the Russian rebels in the Ukraine, this info tells a completely different story of who’s to blame.

    78. iclare says:

      Sent details whizzer fast, super excited…High Viz eh?

    79. YESGUY says:


      Thanks for that i did laugh all the way through it.

      Nice one

    80. tornface says:

      Hi, Is anyone else inputting canvassing returns?

    81. iclare says:

      Been a long long time

    82. ronnie anderson says:

      @Gregory Beekman. Alex Neil is the Sitting MSP for Airdrie & Shotts as if you did,nt know or were you having a bad dream about Karen Whitfield.

    83. Andy-B says:


      Is this why polls on Scottish independence, are skewed towards no.

    84. muttley79 says:

      @ronnie anderson

      I don’t know if you were being serious or not. I was not meaning to exclude people in my post.

    85. YESGUY says:

      I hope this is just us getting a wee bit paranoid. Although i don’t blame anyone.

      I hope it is a landslide and try and hide that.

    86. muttley79 says:

      Sadly it will almost certainly not be a landslide. It looks to close to call at the moment. Could go either way style cliché from me.

    87. ronnie anderson says:

      @ muttley 79, did i do as muttley does hee hee hee, of coarse i wasent serious I registered as soon as the thread appeared hee hee hee.

    88. Sanz1820 says:

      Hang on! Why only 32 alert men and women? One person cannot possibly cover the whole of the Highlands.

    89. Paula Rose says:

      I prefer the seaside to a landslide.

    90. Paula Rose says:

      (do I need to explain the multi-lingual pun?)

    91. handclapping says:

      @Paula Rose
      ( serves you right for punning 🙂 )

    92. lumilumi says:

      handclapping @ 6.35pm

      Thanks for your insight and inside knowledge on the actual counting process.

      I have a couple of problems with the procedure you describe.

      1) Postal votes are beginning to be counted days before the polls close on polling day?

      2) votes are verified by “signature”?!?!

      Let me explain why I’m so shocked.
      (And apologies to long-time WoS readers, I’ve explained this two or three times before. 😀 )

      In Finland (a western PR democracy) polling day is always a Sunday (most people have a day off on Sunday) but there’s also “advance voting”, starting about three weeks before polling day and running for about ten days (i.e. ending a week before the actual polling day.)

      “Advance vote” polling stations are all over Finland. Town halls, schools, libraries, post offices, shopping malls. During the advance vote period you can go and vote anywhere in Finland. All you have to do is present photo ID. Most people show their driving licenses. If you haven’t got a driving licence, show your passport. Few people don’t have a driving license or a passport but they can get an official photo ID card from their local police.

      The point is that nobody in Finland is allowed to “advance vote” without ID. After they’ve voted, they’re “crossed off” on the electoral roll (i.e. the real-time computer system) as having voted, so you can’t go and vote a second time at some other advance polling station.

      We have no postal vote. You must vote in person at either an advance polling station or at your designated polling station on polling day (on polling day, you can only vote at your designated polling station).

      That said, the election officials can go and set up advance polling stations in hospitals and old peoples’ homes and people don’t have to dodder to polling booths. But NOBODY votes by post.

      On the actual polling day, you also have to present photo ID to vote. Finland has such a terrifyingly efficient database of citizens that they’ll know right away if you tried to vote twice.

      You win some, you lose some.

      Nordic people are generally OK with all the state databases because it means more streamlined, efficient (i.e. less costly) governance and it makes life easier for the individual. In countries where the citizens and the state still have an implied “social contract” this is acceptable.

      Maybe the UK’s problem is that it doesn’t have a social contract any more, or citizens, only subjects, and the subjugators aren’t going to be giving any freedoms to the subjects anytime soon.

      The Nordic mindset is still very different from the Thatcherite British (English?) one.

    93. G H Graham says:

      I am a long standing postal voter but all that’s apparently required to have 30 fictitious Labour voters living in my household for example, is the correct number of adults & their names entered on to the postal voting application sheet.

      I’ve never been asked for photographic evidence or a NI number or indeed anything that proves that only me lives at the address listed except for an official bill/invoice and only then as the head of the household.

      And before anyone jumps to conclusions, I am not a Labour supporter & only report myself as the qualified person.

      I believe then that the current system is vulnerable to gross & systematic abuse.

      But please do correct me if my assumptions are wrong.

    94. Hardin says:

      You should sticky this.

    95. BuckieBraes says:

      No, I’m afraid a landslide would be a miracle when you consider what we are up against.

      If the media had done their jobs in a fair and decent way through proper examination of the issues, rather than simply screaming every ‘Better Together’ scare story from the housetops, things would be different.

      Even putting aside bias allegations, BBC-so-called-Scotland’s unwillingness to provide any proper, adult coverage of the referendum has been disgraceful. They seem to think putting on a series of dire ‘debates’ as a sop has been somehow adequate.

      But hey, we only need to cross the 50% threshold; and when we do, the serried ranks of naysayers currently representing ‘No’ will need to tell us which side they are now on. Are they going to assist in the process of Scotland’s independence, or will they continue to thwart it?

    96. ronnie anderson says:

      @ G H Graham, the political parties have Electotial Rolls of every address & people registered to vote, then theres the Council Tax Records so there,s plenty to cross refferance material ,but you are correct.

    97. Marcia says:

      The Rev may want to liase with the other Yes groups and avoid all doing the same thing. For polling stations you get access to them to watch and see that all is okay and you can find out what the percentage of the poll is at the time asking. If the opposition are leaving leaflets you can remove them.

      Postal vote openings depends on the local Electoral Registration procedures. Some local ERO’s open and remove the ballot paper once the verification process has been completed for counting with the ballots cast on the day. They tend to put the ballot paper face down so that you are not supposed to see how anyone votes.

      A referendum for the counting of the votes is different to normal elections for a few reasons. Political parties do ‘sampling’, this is for them to see what their strength is in each ballot box in the constituency or ward. Has their percentage of the vote increased or decreased? You can only do sampling if you have experienced agents and records from the previous election. It could be that Yes Scotland have been doing some work on how to sample the votes on the Referendum.

      Observers at the count can challenge any vote that looks dodgy. I got a vote discounted in the 1975 European Referendum as it didn’t have an official stamp on it.

      I know that some council areas have experienced counting agents (mostly but not exclusively the SNP) and maybe a word with some of them and the local yes groups that may offer advice. Dundee is fortunate in having the local SNP with a good local election machine on the ground that will be working with the Yes Dundee group to get the vote out on the day (GOTV).

      I would think it would be good if you could be part of the GOTV on the 18th September.

    98. Loved the “Inside Bitter Together HQ” clip. In particular the insertion of the word “quine£ at the right point, was pure genius.

      It’s good to laugh at all this malarkey.

    99. Hi Stuart. I’d like to cover the South Lanarkshire ballot. Caveat: I don’t drive or have a car. I live in Carluke, ML8. Let me know if useful. Onwards and upwards. Keep up the good work…

    100. handclapping says:


      Perhaps I could explain the present postal voting system.
      Anybody who is entered on the voters’ roll, ie eligible to vote, may request a postal vote at the address at which they are registered. In making this application they must supply their signature and their date of birth.

      Not earlier than 21 days before the vote the Returning Officer, though for the Referendum he will be called the local Counting Officer, may send out postal voting packs to these postal voters.

      A postal voting pack comprises a distictive outer envelope, a numbered and officialy stamped ballot paper and a machine identifiable identity paper attached to a correspondingly human readable envelope for the ballot paper.

      The voter is required to mark (sign with a cross as illiterate people did and still do today when required) the ballot paper opposite their choice and place it in the ballot paper envelope, then sign and write their date of birth on the attached identity paper, fold that over and put that whole package back in the distictive outer envelope.

      This package is fast tracked through the postal system to the office of the RO where it is kept unopened untill there is an opening event at which point the postal voting agent(s) may attend.

      The system is open to fraud principally at the point where you get onto the voters’ roll. The Referendum is the last time this system will be used, for the 2015 Westminster election a person wishing to get on the roll will have to apply individually to get on the roll and then apply for a postal vote.

    101. Paula Rose says:

      Clap hands – I’m on the si side.

    102. lumilumi says:

      Ah, I notice I’ve forgot to explain how “advance vote” is counted in Finland.

      They start slitting open the envelopes during the afternoon of the actual polling day, not before. They’re in total purdah until 20.00 (8pm for those who don’t know the 24-hour clock) when polling stations close.

      Nowadays maybe a third vote in advance so the first released results at 20.01 point the way.

      Finnish election broadcasts are nowadays short and sweet and boring. Everything is done and dusted by 22.30 or thereabouts.

      I feel nostalgic for the times when the hunky pshepologist first took off his tie, then the jacket, then rolled his sleeves… When the election broadcast lasted into the small hours.

      Now the pshepologists and analysts hardly have time to remove their ties and they’re caught with their jackets on.

      One of the downsides of living in an efficient country.

    103. Paula Rose says:

      lumilimi – do you still have hunky psephologists? We haven’t had one of those for many a poll.

    104. Haggis Hunter says:

      So glad you mentioned Glenrothes Rev., the Brit media inaction for another cover up.

    105. Croompenstein says:

      @Paula Rose – We have only got one..Prof Poultice

    106. Haggis Hunter says:

      I was in Finland, fell in love with your country, the people and nature

    107. handclapping says:

      Very nearly correct, an individual application with signature and date of birth is required with an application for a postal vote. Otherwise there is nothing at present to stop you adding 30 to the number of voters in your household. This is to change before the 2015 election.

      The interesting thing about the Glenrothes byelection was that the number of voters on the roll was higher than for the previous and subsequent General Elections to the extent that there were about 1800 “surplus” voters. There was also the willingness of the Tories and LibDems to vote with their Unionist “buddies” to keep out the dreaded Nats as shown by the % votes they (didn’t get) got in 2005 and 2010

    108. kininvie says:

      Covering the polling stations is a big consumer of manpower, but our experience from past elections is that voters really like to see people from their side there.

      In this case, that may be especially important, as there’s the possibility that a few don’t knows who intend to play safe but are troubled by their conscience will find a friendly Yes face a last-second boost to their courage.

      I gather that Yes HQ are not providing rosettes – correct, I think, since this vote is not being about a show pony for your party. I’ve heard there will be something ‘distinctive’ though.

    109. handclapping says:

      The Rev most definitely does not want to liase with any other Yes group or he and or they may be counted as acting in concert and one of their registrations cancelled or their expenses being totalled.

      Of course should a Wings agent think of attending a particular polling place and find it manned by another Yes supporting group being by then an alert reader they would use their common and attend a polling place not manned by another group 🙂

    110. lumilumi says:

      @ handclapping (@8.38pm above)

      Hey, thanks for even more explanations of the dysfunctional UK system.

      The way you explain it, most people who apply for a postal vote are honest, but the system is gaping open to abuse. Has probably been abused before.

      The Labour party, who apparently collect postal votes from dead people, are the most hypocritical, deceitful, duplicitious, two-faced, cynical power-grabbing people that I have ever come across. I won’t even try to discuss democracy with the Labour cult and its acolytes. I have worries about democracy but the Labour Party just isn’t interested. Not many “Britons” are, not even Scots, who’re facing a world-changing referendum.

      Place your (x) next to YES, and the world will never be the same again.

      In a good way. 🙂

    111. Robert Peffers says:

      @G H Graham says: 19 July, 2014 at 8:08 pm
      “I am a long standing postal voter but all that’s apparently required to have 30 fictitious Labour voters living in my household for example, is the correct number of adults & their names entered on to the postal voting application sheet.”

      Actually the main fiddle worked by postal voting is far more simple, far harder to detect and far harder to stop.

      It works like this. Say a shop steward, charge hand or someone otherwise in authority deals with a load of thick numpties, people with learning difficulties or just folks in a institutions, hostils, nursing or retirement home, ships crews and so on.

      He/she tells the folk they want to fiddle to apply for a postal vote. Next up it’s, “Oh! you just sign here and I’ll fill in the rest for you. Who is it you want to vote for again – Oh! Wullie McGlumphie? Right that’s it done, I’ll jist post them aa thegether then.

      Of course if the person insists they fill it in themself then the person doing the fiddling only needs find out their politics and drop the ones they don’t want voted for into the bin.

      The posted ones have valid signatures, comes from a real live persons who are registered for a postal vote. It just doesn’t have the person the genuine person voteed for ticked in the box.

    112. Morag says:

      Bear in mind, as Sneekyboy pointed out in about the third post, that the people Stu is talking about here are the “Area Organisers” for each of the areas. The equivalent of the job the Branch Organiser does in a political party. That person’s job won’t be to do all that work themselves, but to identify and officially appoint a team of people to cover the bases on the ground in their area.

      These 32 areas are enormous, geographically. Each contains many polling stations, many miles apart. The people who take on these jobs will need to be skilled organisers to identify the agents they need, and make sure all these people are properly registered and credentialled before the deadlines. They will then have to manage and co-ordinate these people to make sure the job is actually done on the day.

      This is a big ask, and not something anyone should be naively jumping into without considering first whether they have the organisational skills to do it, and secondly whether they have the time and the contacts.

    113. Brian Doonthetoon says:

      Paula Rose says:
      lumilimi – do you still have hunky psephologists? We haven’t had one of those for many a poll.

      Now, Paula, you can’t be forgetting James Kelly???

    114. Peter says:

      Nice series of revolting smears from JMOBE on the Herald using the deaths of 290 people to attack the FM. And not one of them moderated. Which Herald ,”journalist” is he. No ordinary person can get away with such unionist-slime behaviour.

    115. westie7 says:

      OT. Just turned onto see what this Edinburgh gig is all about. Trying also to figure if its a thinly veiled subliminal BT message. Well must be cos I’ve just seen Fred Macaulay attempt a stand up gig, badly.
      Opened with a comment about September being important for Scotland which nearly drew boos and cheers, only to change the tagline to a Ryder cup ref. Also got in a dig about a Scottish politician commenting on Andy Murray in a derogatory manner.
      Pretty cringeworthy set! I smell shite

    116. CameronB Brodie says:

      As you are here, if you saw the dedication tracks I posted as a thank you, I hoped you appreciated the band was from your home patch, if not the genera. 🙂

    117. @IcySpark

      c27mins in on the pt1(bottom vid) livestream for all off the Anas booing.

    118. lumilumi says:

      @ Redroc11 @ 6.52 above

      Sorry to come back to your post so late, but thank you for the insight you gave on the UK electoral process nuts and bolts.

      Your desciption of the process confirms my fears that the UK is not a functioning democracy.

      It masks as one, and shouts second loudest in the world for democracy – for anybody but their own subjects (English, Welsh, Northern Irish) and citizens (Scots).

      The political construct of the UK is seriously creaking at the seams, and the Establishment don’t like it one bit.

      They don’t want the peasants or the barbarians to change their cushy lives.

    119. Jill P says:


      You seem to have missed the earlier note. Jessie J’s new single called “Keep Us Together”

      Everybody else is doing well known past singles. Jessie has to do something new… aye right!

    120. Roughian says:

      O/T If Live at Edin Castle is for Comm. Games where are the Scottish Acts?

    121. westie7 says:

      @Jill P

      Yeah must have done, but it aff now and no going back on

    122. goldenayr says:

      They’re playing Darlings song “Tears of a Clown” in Embra.

    123. Capella says:

      Reading through the aangirfan blog and report form the Glenrothes by-election there are a few possible methods of rigging the vote:
      1 Ghost voters, favourite trick of Labour is to register fictitious people in empty properties and vacant office addresses, closed-down homes etc.
      2 Filling in postal votes on behalf of elderly, women (especially in Asian community) and disabled people: another favourite Labour trick.
      3 Disqualifying votes because the signature is “odd” or for some other trivial reason i.e. a high number of “spoiled” ballot papers. The council in each area appoints the returning officer. The returning officer may be biased.the spoiled ballot papers will have to be checked.
      4 Historic trick from the 1979 referendum: conservative students were busy registering fellow students (secretly) in the university town. Each student will have been registered at their home town, so that left an extra vote to negate whatever the student might have voted at home. Same with the dead, still on the register so eligible to vote!
      Might need an army of observers to keep an eye on all of this!

    124. handclapping says:

      Just to give you some idea of the scale of the problem Fife will have some 390 ballot boxes in over 200 polling places and will require about 120 tables of counters for the count.

      Fife RO will probably allow 70-75 polling agents each for Yes and the SNP and 20 each for Greens, SSP and Wings. At the count it will be approximately half so 10 counting agents for Wings. I dont know what they’ll do about postal count agents, as I said before its a total scrum the first day and then its likely to be one or two agents part time for the other days but they’ll probably have to allow 3. Thats a total of 33 Wingers required in Fife which is the 3rd largest, by number of people, area in Scotland

    125. CameronB Brodie says:

      That is a shame. ;(

    126. Graeme Doig says:

      This may be a bit premature and there may, hopefully, be a more organised way of doing this but have taken 18th and 19th off work so would like to offer my services to any agent who works the Fife area.
      I don’t trust the machine. Comments about the process above have been useful. Be delighted to do what i can to make sure there’s no shenannigans (how many n’s in shenannegans … ach who cares)

    127. Jill P says:

      Edinburgh Castle looking magnificent. The mist has lifted in time for their fireworks.

      The huge pity is the way they have “britified” the whole evening. Did we have any Scottish artists?

      We should at least have had a Scottish compere. Having said that, it was better to have a welsh compere than an English one.

      Several of the artists have played at Edinburgh Castle previously. They know how an Edinburgh Castle audience can be encouraged to make their presence felt. There was none of that tonight.

      Are the BBC going to remove all scottishness from the Games as well?

    128. Graeme Doig says:

      How many a’s, e’s, and i’s for that matter. I’ll stop now.

    129. CameronB Brodie says:

      Sorry, I got to having a wee search and found this. Oops.

      I wonder how far he might recognise any contradictions and struggles in his feelings about Palestine and those of his close colleagues, like Jim Murphy who is active in Labour Friends of Israel and obviously represents a large proportion of Glasgow’s Jewish constituents on the city’s southside. “Absolutely not. Not even thought about it, if I am honest with you.

    130. lumilumi says:

      @ Brian Doonthedoon (9.38pm) and Paula Rose earlier

      We, in a “small” independent country of 5.6 million or so (and area-wise thrice or four times as big as the UK), have several phsephelogists.

      It’s a law of nature that some pshepheologist will be hunky. Our public broadcaster YLE uses three, two of which are seriously “smart sexy”.

      Poor Prof. Curtice. He’s apparently the only pshepheologist in Scotland. Extensively used by the BBC in Scotland, instad of younger academics who do proper research and limit their pronouncements to their data, without unionist “interpretation”.

      Yeah, I’d say Finnish phsephologists are sexier. (But then, I’m a political anorak, the only type of a person who’d find a pshephologist sexy.)

      (And I hope I’ve spelled “phsephologist” correctly.)

    131. Paula Rose says:

      lumilumi love – can you post some pics of sexy pshepie thingys so we know what to look forward to?

    132. Capella says:

      “After the election it emerged that the marked register (details of all those registered in the election and whether or not they voted, but not how they voted) had been lost by the Sheriff’s Clerk after it was handed over by the Returning Officer. Andy O’Neill added: “Were concerned at the loss of these documents and welcome assurances from the Scottish Courts Service that they are investigating the matter fully. Access to the marked register is important to ensuring transparency and every step should be taken to ensure this does not happen again.” Glenrothes report on 2008 by-election.
      Does anyone know whether the register was ever found? Without it, it isn’t possible to check whether there are ghost voters etc.

    133. Paula Rose says:

      Like everything else in this revolution darlings – its up to us, we are the monitors, the overseers, the protectors.

    134. Diane says:

      Someone asked earlier how the votes are transported to the count? I usually work as a Senior Presiding Officer at elections (not doing it this time because I am far too biased!)and usually accompany the votes to Meadowbank. Ballot boxes from 4 or 5 polling places in a local area are picked up (used to be by taxi but they have used hired vans and drivers the last few times)and are accompanied at all times by a Senior PO who is also responsible for all the paperwork, Ballot Box accounts (which should tally the total number of ballot papers by polling station to those issued, spoilt and unused). I’d say the system is fairly robust at this point as it needs to be seen to be but I’d also worry about the postal votes. A postal vote can also be handed in to any Poliing Station in the electoral area on the day so it doesn’t need to be where you’d vote. All postal votes handed in are given to the Senior PO but are just put in an envelope to be picked up at various times during the day and are not really accounted for – at the Euro election I had about 25 handed in and that was a really low turn out so many could potentially be handed in. In saying that you would like to think that most Senior PO’s have been doing the job for years and would be honest people. Exactly why I’m not doing it this time in case I’m tempted!

    135. Rock says:

      G H Graham,

      “Rest assured then, that every possible means, overt & covert will be deployed to undermine the referendum process & especially those voting YES in order to preserve the status quo.

      Expect anything to happen.”

      Any Yes supporter here who believes that the ‘democratic’ process will prevail is gravely mistaken.

      The British Empire did not let a single colony become independent without creating major, and in most cases, brutal obstructions.

      It is not going to let Scotland go without doing its dirtiest possible.

      Stuart has made a valid comparison with Glenrothes – only that this will be much worse than Glenrothes.

    136. Paula Rose says:

      I have a dream – we win this by our own efforts, I have a nightmare, we sat at home typing.

    137. Rock says:


      “A pity there couldn’t be a means of coordinating this with other Yes groups registered as official participants – too late to contact Yes Scotland to ensure sufficient and robust coverage, but not “overkill”?”

      I would prefer an “overkill” – these things do not happen every now and then do they? And there is ZERO trust in the Electoral Commission (CBI?).

      Any and every volunteer who can help should do so. Let us outfox the British Establishment and be rid of it once and for all.

    138. Thepnr says:


      I agree that as many volunteers as we can get will be necessary. The scale of what we are asking for though is pretty big.

      Let’s take my area Angus, 8 ward and 68 polling stations as of 2013. Polling stations are open from 07:00 to 22:00 so I see that as three shifts.

      One area then to oversee every station requires 204 volunteers. In angus I know of around half a dozen other Wingers, can we raise another 200? I really have no idea.

      Manning every polling station in Scotland may not be achievable, but manning every count will be and manning every postal vote checking may be? Let’s shoot for the stars and do as many as possible anyway.

    139. Dave McEwan Hill says:

      Capella at 10.38

      Glenrothes was inexplicable – until you found out there was nearly 9000 postal votes (instead of the 2000 or so which was normal)

      Myself and another canvasser from Argyll shared a hotel with Labour activists (most of them from England). They all assumed they had lost. Exit polls confirmed this. SNP reps went on telly assuming a victory. Then it went odd.

      We had heard that Labour folk had been going round the doors with postal vote application ready made up. Some suggestions were made that some of the forms never got near those who apparently were named on them,
      (Similar happened at wee Willie Bain’s election in Glasgow
      Fold turned up to vote to find they had already done so by post)
      The signature on a postal vote has to be the same as the signature on the application for it. This requires careful checking. But what I heard was that such was the volume of postal votes the returning officer only did a random check. One in six I think it was. Even at that he disqualified several hundred.
      Did the postal votes get lost as well? I don’t know.
      But there you have it. A recipe for electoral fraud.

    140. Dave McEwan Hill says:

      Capella at 10.38

      Glenrothes was inexplicable – until you found out there was nearly 9000 postal votes (instead of the 2000 or so which was normal)

      Myself and another canvasser from Argyll shared a hotel with Labour activists (most of them from England). They all assumed they had lost. Exit polls confirmed this. SNP reps went on telly assuming a victory. Then it went odd.

      We had heard that Labour folk had been going round the doors with postal vote application ready made up. Some suggestions were made that some of the forms never got near those who apparently were named on them,

      (Similar happened at wee Willie Bain’s election in Glasgow
      Folk turned up to vote to find they had already done so by post)

      The signature on a postal vote has to be the same as the signature on the application for it. This requires careful checking. But what I heard was that such was the volume of postal votes the returning officer only did a random check. One in six I think it was. Even at that he disqualified several hundred.

      Did the postal votes get lost as well? I don’t know.
      But there you have it. A recipe for electoral fraud.

    141. Rock says:


      “I agree that as many volunteers as we can get will be necessary. The scale of what we are asking for though is pretty big.”

      Well it is a David v Goliath battle.

      We have the grassroots on our side and whatever has been achieved so far is mainly through them. We cannot afford to rest until the closing of polls on 18th September.

      Grassroots v Might of the British Establishment.

      Let the honest, decent, democratic side win.

    142. cearc says:


      I think that resources need to be targetted at the larger polling stations as there is more scope for stuffing and losses.

      When I know who the Highland organiser is (surely it will need more than one for such a vast area), I will offer a few afternoon shifts but it seems a bit unfair to clutter up Stu’s inbox with offers of part-time help.

    143. Patrician says:

      @kestral, 6:37pm

      Just after the Chapelhall/Calderbank cut off, if you are travelling west.

    144. Jim Manclark says:

      Hi, I have been a candidate and counting agent for the SNP in the past in Glasgow. I am not a member anymore but I am happy to help any way I can but would not be able to do all the postal vote stuff due to my work but would be willing to do what I can in the evening and also attend the count if it would help. I am in North Ayrshire now.

    145. Kestral says:

      I gather that Yes HQ are not providing rosettes

      Shame, lovely blue and white with a big yes in the middle would be nice

      anyone know what they plan to do instead?

      it’s really important to be seen

    146. Oneironaut says:

      Tempted to take the North Ayrshire position.

      Though considering I’m wearing a Yes badge, a Wings badge, and an “Alert Reader” badge, they might see me as “potentially biased”! 😉 hehe.

      (After all, as the BBC would have us believe, only Yes people are capable of showing bias!)

      Personally, I’d be extremely surprised if there wasn’t some attempt to rig the voting. Wouldn’t be the first time the Westminster elite have ignored democracy and the rules to make sure they get their way.

      Seems to me like postal votes would be the weak point there. Anyone know if they could be easily tampered with?
      BT seem happy to encourage postal voting at every opportunity, which makes me instantly suspicious…

    147. Brian Doonthetoon says:

      Hi Paula Rose.

      You typed,
      lumilumi love – can you post some pics of sexy pshepie thingys so we know what to look forward to?

      I already gave you a link to a pic to keep you going!
      Unless it’s a case that he doesn’t appeal to your sense of “hunky psephologist”?

    148. Garrion says:

      I just sent Stuart an email on this, but worth posting also.

      Watch out for robocalling, where automated calls on voting day, supposedly from the Electoral Commission, tell people that their polling station has been moved, thence sending them off on a wild goose chase and possibly preventing them from voting.

      Conservatives used this particular wheeze in Canada to great effect. Google racknine.

    149. Brian Doonthetoon says:

      Hi Oneironaut.

      You typed,
      “BT seem happy to encourage postal voting at every opportunity, which makes me instantly suspicious…”

      After reading about the shenanigans at Glenrothes, I think we are right to be suspicious.

    150. Jim Thomson says:

      just checking to see if my current IP address is an issue.

    151. Jim Thomson says:

      Stu, looks like it could be the French IP address after all.

    152. Tony Baregi says:

      In an interview with darling (don’t know whether to trust it or not) he said that a quarter of people had registered for postal voting.
      That is a worryingly high number if true.

    153. Anthony Armstrong says:

      I’m in Tarbolton, I’ll cover South Ayrshire.

      Think this should be pinned if possible

    154. Jim Thomson says:

      @Anthony Armstrong

      I have to agree.

      I see we have an official Agent now based in Minishant.
      Are we expected to contact him, or will he contact us?

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