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The Hollow Heart 192

Posted on August 25, 2023 by

Yesterday we took an extensive tour of all the red flags in the SNP’s 2022 accounts, which show a party in very deep financial trouble. But there was one part we left out because it deserves a post of its own.

The picture above – which was posted by then-CEO Peter Murrell during last year’s SNP conference – is a revealing one in all kinds of ways.

It starkly exposes how a party chose to hold an event for around 800 members in a venue with a capacity of 15,000 and then went to a lot of effort to disguise how empty the space was, rather than, for example, just hiring somewhere of an appropriate size (and cost) in the first place.

(Look how far into the hall the stage has been placed, leaving half the arena vacant, to then be hidden behind a giant screen and curtains and banners in order to give a false impression of how full it is.)

But what’s more symbolic is that there are almost no people in it.

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Fun with words 61

Posted on June 30, 2023 by

This is, strictly speaking, semantically, true:

It is, however, as the famous phrase goes, not the whole truth.

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Astronomical numbers of boots 131

Posted on March 19, 2023 by

The SNP having a fondness for lying about their membership wouldn’t have come as quite such a shock to the Scottish press if they paid a little more attention to this website. Because we were pointing it out two and a half years ago.

It was in October 2020 that we told you how the SNP’s 2019 accounts revealed the party’s true membership figures weren’t the claimed 126,000 but more like 87,000.

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For English Gold 185

Posted on December 06, 2022 by

The SNP has for quite some time been a hollow shell of a political party. Like the Conservative Party, its members have been systematically stripped of all policy-making powers, with decisions of conference on major issues simply ignored and other policies pushed through (most notably “gender reform”) which have never been put in front of conference for debate at all.

The party is now primarily a vehicle for processing cash and funnelling it to carefully selected and ideologically vetted activists, mostly from the fundamentalist youth wing, who are given well-paid jobs working for MPs and MSPs or parachuted into council seats in return for their unquestioning loyalty to Nicola Sturgeon.

And at this, it must be admitted, the SNP is still a highly effective operation. Which is fortunate, because without UK government money it would be bankrupt.

Above are the Electoral Commission’s donation figures for the third quarter of 2022. They note that 100% of the SNP’s reportable income for that period came from the UK government’s coffers – a trait shared with Plaid Cymru, the SDLP and the DUP.

Given that three of those four parties are nationalists committed to removing various constituent parts of the UK, one might almost be tempted to commend Westminster’s generosity. But perhaps it knows exactly what it’s doing.

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The whole rotten structure 198

Posted on October 28, 2020 by

It was my birthday yesterday, readers. (Late presents still accepted. The cheapest one is fine.) I got taken out to lunch and there was someone’s new kitten to play with, but mostly what flooded in wasn’t birthday cards but new scandal about the SNP.

It’s hard to know where to even start tackling the avalanche of new information. There were extraordinary revelations from the Salmond inquiry. There were other shocking revelations about the investigation. There was Alex Salmond’s request for the separate independent inquiry into Nicola Sturgeon to determine whether she lied to Parliament (which it should have been doing in the first place).

We’ll get to all that stuff in due course. But because there’s nothing like a good delve through some data, we’ll kick off with the SNP accounts.

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Stealing a wage 89

Posted on June 10, 2020 by

We’ve often said on Wings Over Scotland that we really don’t mind if journalists are biased. Everyone is biased, including us – we’d just rather people stopped pretending to be impartial when they weren’t. But what we do really hate about the Scottish media is just how astonishingly bad at its job it is.

A particularly striking example arose recently.

Pretty much every newspaper and broadcaster in the country carried the sad story of former Labour MP Paul Sweeney‘s fall from besuited lawmaker to skint benefits claimant. And yet not a single one of them asked the question that literally every single reader of the story would have been shouting at their screen.

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The Betrayer 521

Posted on January 31, 2020 by

So that’s it, then. That’s the grand plan.

We’re sorry, but we’d say the game’s a bogey, gang.

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The eternal mystery 141

Posted on August 27, 2018 by

It’s around this time of year that we always enjoy a delve in the impenetrable enigma that is the membership of Scottish Labour. (As gathered together in the picture below during Jeremy Corbyn’s last trip to Edinburgh.)

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Motes and beams 148

Posted on September 02, 2017 by

The Times today carries an article sparking the annual revival of one of the evergreen mysteries of Scottish politics: just how many (or more accurately, how few) people are in the Scottish Labour Party?

The piece sees leadership contest avoider Alex Rowley crowing about a fall in the SNP’s membership income, based on this year’s party accounts as just released by the Electoral Commission.

So we thought we’d take a look at some numbers.

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More questions than answers 130

Posted on February 24, 2017 by

We were very pleased to hear Gary Robertson challenge Kezia Dugdale on the curious matter of Scottish Labour’s membership and income figures on today’s Good Morning Scotland. Dugdale flapped and dodged and waffled for as long as she could before diverting the topic onto federalism, and eventually managed to wriggle away from the subject without any sort of proper answer (through no fault of Robertson’s).

(Good Morning Scotland, BBC Radio Scotland, 24 February 2017)

But what she said just made the situation MORE confusing, not less.

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Kezia Dugdale Fact Check, Part 678 141

Posted on February 22, 2017 by

There’s an interesting story in the Herald today about Scottish Labour’s finances.


It reveals that the party’s income from donations plunged from £600,000 in 2015 to £100,000 last year, which in the article is blamed on Jeremy Corbyn’s UK leadership (even though Dugdale opposed him in the leadership election).

But there were a few comments in the piece that we thought needed scrutiny.

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Inching towards the truth 321

Posted on December 14, 2014 by

We remain perplexed, readers, by the apparent total lack of interest in the mainstream Scottish media about how many members the Scottish Labour “party” has.

Membership levels are a topical subject in the light of the extraordinary explosion in SNP and Green membership after the referendum, and with a general election just months away in which the make-up of Westminster’s 59-strong Scottish contingent could be crucial to the shape of UK politics for the next five years.


The number of members the main Unionist party north of the border can call on to knock doors and deliver leaflets will therefore be a very significant factor in the outcome. Yet on this morning’s Sunday Politics, when presented with an ideal and pertinent opportunity to question new Scottish “leader” Jim Murphy on the subject, Gordon Brewer didn’t even try to ask. What’s with that?

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