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A joke and a lie

Posted on May 22, 2014 by

Last night, in our 10pm “And finally” comedy slot, we ran a picture of a Labour election leaflet we’d slightly altered in order to make a joke about the party’s well-documented historic predilection for postal-vote electoral fraud. Readers can form their own view about whether the gag was funny or not, but it was at least clearly flagged as an “And finally” and we also pointed out that the pic was a fake in the comments.


We’ve been searching this morning’s Scotsman for a similar disclaimer regarding its front-page headline, but as yet we’re not having a lot of luck locating it.

Because even in a world where newspapers commonly distort headlines to provide a more dramatic impression than the story warrants, the screaming banner above the struggling broadsheet’s lead article today stands out for its complete lack of connection to anything resembling the truth.

While the headline says “Scots are ‘happy to pay extra tax after Yes vote'”, with the latter eight words inside quote marks, nobody is being quoted and no Scots have been asked for their opinion on the subject. The whole thing is a reference to comments made by Yes Scotland chairman Dennis Canavan before a Holyrood committee yesterday, and the paper goes on to reveal that they said absolutely no such thing:

“Mr Canavan, the Yes Scotland chairman, told MSPs he wanted to see a ‘much, fairer, more progressive form of taxation’. He said: ‘That means for me that the rich should pay a bit more and the not-so-rich should pay less and the poor should not pay anything at all.'”

Not a single word of Mr Canavan’s testimony quoted by the paper talks about an overall higher tax take. He speaks only of redistributing wealth, by taxing the rich slightly more but the “not-so-rich” less and the poor not at all. Readers will scour the story in vain for (a) any mention of an overall increase in the amount of taxation, (b) any reference to the fact that Scots would be happy about it, or, indeed, (c) any mention at all by the Yes Scotland chair of Scandinavia.

Mr Canavan further clarifies his view slightly later in the piece:

I do think there is a will within the people of Scotland to accept a fairer, more sharing society, rather than what we have at the moment where the gap between rich and poor is getting wider.”

Again, he talks only of the people of Scotland being in favour of more fairness (who, after all, is opposed to fairness?), not more taxation. The Scotsman’s headline is a complete fabrication on every empirical level. But there’s one more thing.

The leaflet we satirised last night contains another interesting line:


Dennis Canavan, while chair of Yes Scotland, is not an MSP and has made no suggestion that he intends to stand for election as one. He has no political power whatsoever to influence tax policy, and the SNP is quoted later in the Scotsman story saying unambiguously that it has no plans to raise taxes in the event of a Yes vote.

Labour, however, has explicitly promised to do exactly that should Scotland vote No. The lead pledge in the election leaflet it distributed this week is precisely the tax hike the Scotsman presents as a danger of a Yes vote, even though the only party saying it will do it proposes to do so after a No vote.

Indeed, Labour is not only pledging to increase taxes on the rich, but to increase taxes overall (since it has published no plans to reduce taxes on the poor or the middle while increasing the top rate). The Scotsman’s headline isn’t only a lie on a straightforward factual analysis, it’s also a lie in a much bigger sense.

Labour is the only party with any realistic hope of forming a Scottish Government other than the SNP, and of the two possibilities on offer to Scots it’s the party campaigning for No which is openly standing on a platform of higher taxes than the party advocating a vote for independence.

Normally even the Scotsman is a little more subtle with its untruths.

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  1. 22 05 14 09:14

    A joke and a lie | Scottish Independence News

126 to “A joke and a lie”

  1. Dervheid says:

    First reaction: Unbelievable!
    Considered reaction: Total lack of surprise at the increasingly blatant, outright LYING by the Bitter Together camp.
    I suspect this will only increase as the referendum nears.

  2. Brotyboy says:

    Well filleted, Rev.

  3. jon esquierdo says:

    Things are about to turn a lot nastier

  4. Grouse Beater says:

    A sad, bad, mad rag.

  5. Macart says:

    Stick a fork in them, they’re done. 🙂

  6. MJ says:

    Never let the truth get in the way of a good story!

  7. Clootie says:

    I didn’t like the spoof Labour election leaflet. I prefer the quality standard of accurate facts and the good work done by this site in undermining the false claims of the unionist fear campaign.

    This is the type of article I prefer. One which picks apart the poor reporting standard of the MSM.

  8. Training Day says:

    I have increasingly sour visions of some hapless old duffer from the Church of Scotland offering to act as a ‘reconciliation broker’ between supporters of self-determination and the Scotsman and the rest of the MSM after the disaster of a No vote.

    Reconciliation ma bakookie.

  9. Big Red says:

    If we are able to develop Scandinavian levels of employment and wages, then paying taxes for improved public services is nothing like the problem it currently is for Scots. And of course collecting the taxes from business that is currently avoided, evaded and uncollected will help a great deal.

  10. Training Day says:

    ‘Bahookie’ even..

  11. manandboy says:

    At the Scotsman, those responsible for headlines like the above, have sunk beneath the level of any civilised society.
    And they’re still sinking.

    Meanwhile, Better Together continue with it’s sleight of hand on the actual referendum question.

    Darling, Brown & co. continue to say, agreed BT policy presumably, that what we are being asked to decide is
    whether we want to stay as part of the Union or
    separate completely from the UK.

    A clever change in the wording designed to play with the mind and feelings of the voters.

    BT have sought to change the whole meaning of the Referendum in the minds of the electorate..

    They have rewritten the ballot question to mean
    ‘should Scotland leave the comfort and security of being part of the UK ?’.

    Time to debunk this head on.

  12. packhorse pete says:

    On the verge of hysteria, aren’t they? Once the YES campaign gets going at full pace, they’ll make mincemeat out of this puerile nonsense from a marginal rag like this tabloid.

  13. galamcennalath says:

    Oddly commiting business suicide. If the Scotsman started telling the truth and being impartial they would undoubtedly increase circulation. Go a stage further and switch to Yes and perhaps they might even survive!

  14. Paul says:

    I love the way you guys are able to BS filter the medias crap 😀 I think to be fair most folk would be happy to pay higher taxes for improved public services as the do in Scandinavian countries. The key difference there though is the smaller gap between rich and poor and the higher average wage in Scandinavian countries mean overall they have a fairer and more equal society. Higher taxes cannot be simply raised without real terms increase in income for people as is evident with current Tory policies despite increased growth and productivity doesn’t help social mobility if all the gains go into the pockets of the super wealthy. Ordinary folk continue to struggle while the rich get richer.

  15. caz-m says:

    Dickhead, Gordon Brewer, of Newsnight Scotland, put this headline up last night as the closing image/statement of the programme.

    It is all tied into the Euro elections today.

    Labour good. SNP bad

    It’s the same as the Alex Neil non-story yesterday.

    Also, the top headline story today on BBC Scotland tv news, is that the Scottish government and the NHS must do better when handling complaints. Then next on the bulletin is to remind viewers that it is Euro polling day today.

    ALL these headlines are designed to make the SNP look bad just before Scots go to the polls.

    If you noticed last night’s STV Scotland Tonight ran with the Alex Neil story and it finished at 11pm, just in time to turn to turn it to Newsnight Sotland and you were treated to another battering of Alex Neil.

    It’s another example of a joint attack by the Scottish Media on the SNP and the YES Campaign.

    I just hope that Scots are not as stupid as the Media think they are.

  16. Bigbricks says:

    If the Scotsman is still being published come 18th September, it will be as a result of a decision by pro-union owners to accept the losses, whatever they are, in order to print heavily weighted (and also inaccurate and misleading) articles on the referendum campaign. I finally stopped taking the Scotsman (after 43 years of daily readership) this year. Anyone still reading it is doing it because it represents their view, rather than for accurate or incisive writing. There are a few exceptions, (e.g. Lesley Riddoch), I assume published to try to make the paper appear neutral, and also because it means there is some competent journalism on show. Stu might well be the only Yes supporting reader. I doff my cap to his willingness to suffer reading this on our behalf!

  17. Roll_On_2014 says:

    I look forward to the day when the Hootsmon says Goodbye.

    Perhaps there are some arty types, on here, who could knock up a goodbye for them.

  18. Grouse Beater says:

    I’m off to vote, place my “X” next to the SNP candidate’s name hoping Labour’s propensity for wins by unaccountable postal votes doesn’t recur in my ward this election.

  19. Marcia says:

    I don’t think truth and facts come to mind when you think of The Scotsman and Scotland on Sunday.

    – o/t someone has set up a satirical hashtag #WhyImVotingUkip – a good giggle.

  20. Wayne Brown says:

    O/T BT spotted at polling station in Kinross – is there anybody in the area who can go along to represent YES ?

  21. desimond says:

    Talking of elections, i got this in email and the ambiguous subject line made me laugh

    ‘Vote SNP today and let’s send Tasmina to Europe!’

  22. Grouse Beater says:


    Vote SNP today and let’s send Tasmina to Europe!’

    Yes, an unfortunate contraction of … “send to Europe as our representative.” Mind you, a local SNP flier had 15, yes, fifteen, stray apostrophes, plus some clunky grammar.

  23. MD says:

    Rev, many rich people are opposed to fairness. There would be much less resistance to Independence if the rich people behind the No campaign felt it would reduce their tax bill. They are not interested in progressive taxation.

  24. chalks says:


    Picked up a BT leaflet in the train station today….was only one there which I took, was going to speak to the lassie at the ticket office about it, but the queue was too large and I would have missed my train.

    Anyone else found their shite in amongst the tourist leaflets etc?


    Uk doing brilliantly.

  25. caz-m says:

    Or the Scotsman could have ran with a headline,

    “Vote NO and get charged £25 to see your GP”

    If this charge happens in England, then it is only a matter of time before Scottish GP’s start charging £25 a visit.

  26. Alfresco Dent says:

    Have you all clicked through to the Scotsman story and read the comments below? Who are these people? Are they Scots?

  27. Grouse Beater says:

    Have you all clicked through to the Scotsman story and read the comments below?

    Life is too short, Alfresco.

    If self-governance is not about raising standards in everything then there’s no point in doing anything.

  28. desimond says:

    I feel you may be stretching the fabric of reality here Rev

    ‘Labour is the only party with any realistic hope of forming a Scottish Government other than SNP’

    I know, i know, but deep down, I reckon most folk now see Labour as dead in the water. Theyre like a frog being slowly boiled and the sad thing is is Labour themselves who have gradually increased the temperature causing demise.

    With every passing generation, Labour sadly only seems to get worse and its attraction wanes. The people who hope that Labour somehow reinvents itself post a YES vote are being very very optimistic in my view.

  29. seanair says:

    Denis Canavan should write to the Scotsman refuting their headline. I know that a large headline can be easily read and a letter doesn’t carry the same weight, but the Chairman of YES Scotland calling the Scotsman a liar would make some people sit up. I’m fed up with the silence from top figures in the YES campaign on smears like this.

  30. BigSteveChisholm says:


    I doubt the Scotsman will get a ‘Thanks & goodbye’ cover.

    One day soon the banks will refuse an overdraft extension, the presses will be shut down and the propagandists will clear their desks and book train tickets to London.

    Newsagents will have empty spaces in the racks the next morning. Nobody will even notice. Not with a bang, etc.

    (hey, we can all dream)

  31. Brendan says:

    Rev, we need to get you a knife and butter, because you are on a roll!

  32. Jim Marshall says:

    caz-m 8.53

    “I just hope the Scots are not as stupid as the media think they are”

    Problem is they vote Labour in their droves. That seems really stupid to me. After 100 years of Labour we have one of the most inequitable societies in the world.

  33. faolie says:

    Most people don’t take the Scotsman so, in a way, who cares what a fading, desperate, sad old shadow of a newspaper says?

    Of the people that do take it, they’re intelligent enough to read the article, look back at the headline, and exclaim ‘eh?’. Then wonder why on earth they continue to take it and eventually join the ranks of those who’ve junked it.

    Tick tock right enough.

  34. X_Sticks says:

    Bigbricks says:

    “If the Scotsman is still being published come 18th September, it will be as a result of a decision by pro-union owners to accept the losses, whatever they are, in order to print heavily weighted (and also inaccurate and misleading) articles on the referendum campaign.”

    Funny you should say that Bigbricks:

    “Scotsman Owner Closes In On £140m Share Sale”

    “Ashley Highfield, the former BBC and Microsoft executive who runs Johnston, is understood to have been pressing for a deal that will resolve the issue of the company’s financial security after years of uncertainty about the impact of its £300m debt burden.”

    “Rothschild, the investment bank, is advising the publisher on the restructuring.”

    So, is the Scotsman being supported by tory money through the Rothschild bank? Don’t forget Osborne (and Mandelson) is very pally with the Rothchild family.

    I think you may have hit the nail on the head there.

  35. X_Sticks says:

    Am I on the naughty step Rev? Comment in moderation?

  36. Gillie says:

    The Devo runes say

    Labour Devo-Tax proposals: an ability for the Scottish government to increase tax above UK thresholds, but not below it.

    Tory Devo-Tax proposals: an ability for the Scottish government to decrease tax below UK thresholds, but not above it.

    Can you imagine these two parties sitting around a table and trying to cut a deal on Devo taxation powers?

    It ain’t going to happen.

  37. a2 says:

    It’s even worse than you suggest rev given that the headline appears directly below the half page image of a bombed Nigerian marketplace in what seems to be an attempt to link the two concepts.

  38. a2 says:

    “Most people don’t take the Scotsman so, in a way, who cares what a fading, desperate, sad old shadow of a newspaper says?”

    It dosn’t matter what the article says or who buys the thing, this is on the news stands on the front page, on open view to the passer by.

    Bombmed market, Indi tax rise is all they want to register, that’s way better than people reading the story below.

  39. Free Scotland says:

    Scotland needs one new newspaper which prides itself on telling the truth, instead of a huge number of rags which have no conscience about peddling lies. Any entrepreneurial types out there? Now’s your chance.

  40. Morag says:

    Maybe not many people take the paper, but the headline was shown and read out at the end of Newsnight Scotland last night. With no clarification or explanation.

  41. HandandShrimp says:

    If we had Scandinavian living standards and Scandinavian salaries and Scandinavian distribution of wealth levels I would be more than content to pay Scandinavian taxes. I think most people would opt for that package.

  42. Morag says:

    Where do I sign, HandandShrimp?

  43. Blair paterson says:

    So once again more lies from the media and what will happen probably nothing as usual ,we are going to lose this referendum unless we start to do some fighting back we can complain all we like to each other but that will not change anything we will have to get the s.n.p. and the yes parties to do something rather than say nothing as though they they do not exist surely there is someone out there who has the the power and the courage and the ability to strike back I strongly appeal for you to do so before it is to late I myselfe am 75 years old disabled and partially sighted so all my fighting I am afraid must be online but they say the pen is mightier than the sword lets hope so vote yes

  44. john king says:

    @Marcia 09.07

    Brilliant, the best one is
    “Im voting UKIP to stop the introduction of shakira law, and sometimes my hips do lie”. 🙂

  45. heedtracker says:

    Newsnight Scotland is watched much either. Cant wait for their corrupt hysteria on the 17th Sept. Gordon Brewer in his union jack suit shouting vote no ya stupid bastirts at the last of his viewers.

  46. Helena Brown says:

    Roll_on_2014, I too look forward to that day. That organ should have gone to the scrap heap a long long time ago. We gave up reading it sometime in the 90’s then went on to read the Herald, sometime ago we stopped purchasing the dead tree press and saved a fortune. It is bad enough to pay the BBC to lie and scheme against the people of Scotland because when they no longer give an impartial viewpoint that is what they are doing.

  47. Dave McEwan Hill says:

    desimond at 9.50

    I agree with you entirely. The Labour Party in Scotland is facing the abyss. For the past decade the SNP has not been beating Labour it has been steadily replacing it.

    Its a blank sheet we face after independence. I can see a broad coaliton forming round the SNP, especially as n independece negotiations proceed and I can see no place in Scotland’s future for the sorry collection of self-seekers
    and political yes man that make up the present leadership of Labour in Scotland.

    It is entirely practical to have a National Party of Scotland which accommodates a very wide political spectrum and such would be very useful to provide stability in the first years of independence

  48. Davy says:

    Tasmina is cool

  49. troushers says:

    I done wrote a poem for you all. I call it “The Scotsman”

    This is why paper media
    Is in its
    “And finally”

  50. X_Sticks says:

    heedtracker says:
    “Cant wait for their corrupt hysteria on the 17th Sept. Gordon Brewer in his union jack suit shouting vote no ya stupid bastirts at the last of his viewers.”

    That’ll be next week, when Newsnicht is replaced by the “New improved” programme fronted by Sarah Smith.

    It will be interesting to see what will happen then. I don’t hold out much hope for improvement. The increase in general BBC hysteria as we get closer will be fun to watch.

  51. Nana Smith says:

    Did anyone else get an email from Gordy? [see below]
    I have no idea why I was targeted as I have never been a member of the labour party and in its present form would not want to be.

    Dear Nana Smith,

    I am writing to invite you to the first event following the official launch of our “No” campaign under United with Labour. Please click here to register to attend.

    On Thursday 18th September we all have a vote in the referendum to decide whether we stay as part of the UK or separate from our 300 year old partnership. I believe in a strong Scottish Parliament making decisions on hospitals, schools and policing but enjoying the strength and security that comes from being part of the United Kingdom.

    On the evening of June 3rd we will press ahead with our campaign to show we have a vision of Scotland’s future that is wholly different from the SNP and totally different from the Conservatives.

    Register your details by clicking here.

    We have taken over a venue in the centre of Glasgow for the event that starts at 7pm. This will be the first of many opportunities over the next few months to show Labour not nationalism represents the best hope for Scotland.

    Our leader in Scotland Johann Lamont MSP will address the rally, and I count it a privilege to be asked to take part.

    While I know there are many demands on your time, I hope you will be able to respond positively to this invitation and support Labour’s campaign to keep Scotland as part of the UK.

    Best wishes

    Gordon Brown MP

  52. Cod says:

    “(who, after all, is opposed to fairness?)”

    I think we all already know the answer to that particular question.

    It does make me wonder though, if we do win independence, what all the editors and reporters – and I use that word grudgingly, since they don’t seem to be doing much in the way of reporting – of these papers will do.

    Will they be willing to apologise for their rubbish, or will they simply pretend it never happened and move on to not-reporting other news. Do they expect that people will forget their actions in the run up to the referendum (although, actually, the answer to that one is most likely “yes” and most likely correct – people do seem to have short memories).

    Then again, I suppose the question is whether the majority of people realise that these papers are leaning in one direction so much it’s a surprise they haven’t fallen over already. Certainly, many of the No voters (although, to be fair, not all) seem to not only be unaware of bias, but actually agree with the nonsense these outlets are producing. Which is a bit of a sad indictment of the general level of knowledge in our society 🙁

  53. Betty Boop says:

    @Clootie, 22/5/14, 8.29am
    I don’t like the spoof election leaflet

    I about that spoof from the point of view of possibly deterring new readers who are unused to “Wingers’ culture”. I am sure it takes some folk a wee bit of time to get used to the sense of humour which abounds on these pages amongst the serious, analytical stuff.

    The main purpose should be to inform, but, I wouldn’t like to stifle amusement where it can be found in this very intense campaign; just a few more pointers perhaps to alert readers – some may not have read as far as Rev’s comment about it being fake.

    Changing the subject, the Daily Record (online in any case) trying to put people off voting UKIP in the European elections, makes an awfully good case for independence, whether they wanted to or not! 🙂

    Hey, remember to take a break from reading Wings today and go out to VOTE!

  54. Betty Boop says:

    Last post – meant to say “I agree about…”

  55. Harry says:

    O/T but still press related.

    There was a ridiculously ill-informed letter in last week’s Hamilton Advertiser, where the person stated that a Yes vote would see “the NHS as we know it would no longer exist”. I felt sure there would be a few replies to put him right but I sent in an e-mail the next day, pointing out that the NHS in Scotland has been independent since its inception in 1947, pointed him in the direction of Philippa Whitford on youtube and that if folk wanted to save the NHS in Scotland they should vote Yes. Not published or any other rebuttal. But they do find space for a letter from some Labour councillor with the4 headline that a vote for the SNP in the local elections is a wasted vote.

    Why am I even surprised? The editor is seemingly a red hot Labour man and it’s from the same stable as the Daily Record. Needless to say it went straight back on the newsstand and I will be buying it less and less if at all from now on.

  56. muttley79 says:

    @Training Day

    I have increasingly sour visions of some hapless old duffer from the Church of Scotland offering to act as a ‘reconciliation broker’ between supporters of self-determination and the Scotsman and the rest of the MSM after the disaster of a No vote.

    Reconciliation ma bakookie.

    Speaking of the Church of Scotland, wasn’t it funny that a week or so after their call for reconciliation after the referendum vote, Douglas Alexander should come up and address one of their meetings. Given his fathers’ and Gordon Brown’s connection with the establishment church in Scotland, it could be seen as an admittance of just how badly the No campaign intend to conduct themselves in the run in. Is this to cynical?

  57. Graham Hughes says:

    I think the majority of those who still read print newspapers do so more to have their prejudices confirmed than for objective reporting. At least when they keep publishing stuff like this it gives us more chance to write in the comments section to show it up for the unfounded nonsense it is. Keep posting factual rebuttals on all this stuff. We will never convince the die-hard unionists but at least it presents a more balanced view for those who take a more objective factual approach.

  58. donald anderson says:

    Just taking a break from the Polling Station. The Janny says I wasn’t allowed to use the toilets. I saw the Labour election agent coming out of hoose earlier.

    One wumman telt me she would rather put her feet in the fire that vote SNP. I told her I was non smoker and couldn’t oblige her. She apologised on the way back out Another was raving at me “Do the maths.Do the maths”. Must have been a Hootsmon reader.

    Most seemed sympathetic though. Off back oot again shortly.

  59. Jim Marshall says:

    Nana Smith 10.50

    Must be a very strange feeling getting a letter out of the blue from a war criminal. I note the venue is being kept secret, just in case court officers from the Hague appear !

  60. chalks says:


    Forgot to mention, the Better Together leaflet I obtained is all about a local meeting in Aberdeenshire.

    Anyone who is around the area might want to attend, it’s at Logie Durno Hall, Friday 23rd May at 7:30pm.

    The list of speakers is:

    Dr James Milne CBE (Balmoral Group)
    Richard Baker MSP (Labour)
    Christine Jardine (Liberal Democrat)
    Dr Ian Lakin (Local Businessman)
    Sir Peter Graham (Gordon Highlanders)


  61. HandandShrimp says:

    Voted at 7.30 – the SNP chap at the door said it had been very quiet so far. I hope people do go out and vote. A low turnout will favour the oddball parties…of which there were rather more than I expected. It seems that there is a fair bit of competition for the anti-EU vote.

  62. Training Day says:


    “Given his fathers’ and Gordon Brown’s connection with the establishment church in Scotland, it could be seen as an admittance of just how badly the No campaign intend to conduct themselves in the run in. Is this too cynical?”

    Nope. It was clearly a set up (helpfully abetted by Pacific Quay and GMS in particular), couched in the context that ‘reconciliation’ was to be ‘done’ to errant separatists, and that the Church of ‘Scotland’ (arf) was to be the honest broker post a No vote to bring the misguided separatist sheep back into the No flock.

    Makes you want to vomit.

  63. muttley79 says:


    European election turnout is nearly always dismal, you usually get a turnout of around 30 per cent.

  64. heedtracker says:

    @ troushers, Baroness Sarah Smith will be just as vote NO as every other delightful character in bettertogetherBBC Scotland.

    Just listening to the death threatened Susan Calman, scourge of the cybernats, on the Fred Macaulay daily grot show. Holy shit she’s as awful as Fred, and all for only £300+ million a year.

    Or an expensive lesson in how to wee wee away a lot of tax payers money which we really want to pay more for too.

  65. call me dave says:

    @Nana Smith

    Official launch, surely some mistake! Gordon has been launched and refloated at least three times now.

    United with labour is it, well why on the first day was Lamont photographed on the balcony with the other unionist party leaders and Darling? Oh how she must regret that.

    On a local note, Gordon ex-pm and mp has been sleeping at the wheel over the radiation scare on a beach at Dalgety. Looks like the Scottish Government is being asked to cough up the cost of the clean up.

    The worst prime minister we never got to vote for.

  66. IheartScotland says:

    Taking the pish is the best way to nullify to their ridiculous arguments.Take a look at the ‘Wee Ginger Dug’ or ‘Munguins’ websites.(links here on WOS).They put a smile on your face and an idea in your mind.

  67. call me dave says:

    @Training Day

    I see the wee ginger dug enlightens us all on the Church of Scotland debate.

    Put down all drinks before reading.

  68. MochaChoca says:

    If anyone gets presented with the ‘Scandinavian/Norwegian levels of tax’ argument it’s worth knowing that while income tax may be significantly higher, the overall level of taxation is far more similar to here.

    World Heritage Foundation shows total tax revenue as a proportion of GDP is 39.0% in the UK and 43.6% in Norway.

    Those ‘stealth taxes’ fair add up.

    And the higher gross incomes in Scandinavia, even with a marginally higher overall tax rate results in significantly higher disposable income.

  69. David McCann says:

    This from the company offering shares at 3p a share, (one-eighth of their market value) as the company embarks on (another)£300+ million refinancing to pay down debt.

    Here’s hoping they go down the gutter, where they belong

  70. call me dave says:

    This is an interesting challenge to Ms Baillie about remarks she made at a debate in Helensburgh.

    My advice, don’t hold your breathe waiting on a reply
    Also new blog to me but a good read.

  71. Archie [not Erchie] says:

    The Woodside Windae-Hinger has his pencil sharpened after a quick visit to vote. At midday its a bit early to determine who is going into the Polling Station as its part of the City Council offices in Woodside.

    However from my vantage point, keeking over my festooned kitchen windae I spotted an elderly lady with a red umbrella, white stick and blue jeans. Lets call her Molly, because that’s her name anyway. Red, white and blue eh? Lost cause Molly. More later from WindaeHinger

  72. BuckieBraes says:

    @call me dave
    Gordon Brown being ‘launched and refloated’ over and over again: what a wonderful image! There’s a cartoon in that.

  73. Colin Mccartney says:

    O/T, Ive just voted, and Wee Ruthie was arriving as I was leaving, I was sorely tempted to tell her where the UKIP box was on the ballot paper. Not that my cross went there I hasten to add.

  74. Devereux says:

    Anyone know of a one page break-down of which companies own each of the Scottish Newspapers, shareholders’ connections to political parties and political affiliations etc and past careers of BBC editorial teams. I think it would help support a discussion with No’s and don’t knows. I agree it is the ‘drive thru’ headlines doing the most damage at the moment.

  75. misteralz says:

    I voted Green. Was really surprised at the sheer number of hate-based parties on the ballot paper.

  76. IheartScotland says:

    @ call me Dave,
    ‘Don’t hold your breath’
    You’re a master of understatement

  77. Jim Thomson says:

    Just been out and done my civic (Euro) duty.

    Surprised by the level of voter attendance, moderately high (for our wee constituency area). Gentle stream of folks wandering in and out of the polling station. Normally hardly see a soul, even in reasonable weather like today’s.

    Just wondering if all the indyref activity is making people a bit more engaged with the process than they would normally be. Alternatively, the multiple bigot parties are causing an increase in voter turnout, for whatever reason.

    Unfortunately we’ll have to wait until early next week to find out (no counting until rest of EU completes their voting).

  78. Jim Thomson says:


    Here’s one the Rev did earlier:

  79. desimond says:

    Apologies if asking a daft question but with The Honourable Sarah Smith taking up the reins at BBC VoteNoNews, was John Smith truly a heroic figure for Scotland…i note he was in the Bilderberg Group, along with our old friend Denis ‘Tell Scots nowt’ Healey

  80. Elizabeth says:

    I’ve just voted in a wee place in South Lanarkshire. Lass in polling station said it was very quiet with only 12 voting so far (11am).

  81. fairiefromtheearth says:

    Tick Tock.

  82. Morag says:

    I got up early and headed to Skirling and Broughton with A-boards for outside the polling stations. Well, one A-board, because our Organiser thinks the world ends on his side of the Tweed and hadn’t provided enough for the West Bank.

    So I used the improvised set-up I’d made for Tweedsmuir at the Skirling polling station, hoping it doesn’t degenerate to papier mache in this weather. Sorry Tweedsmuir, but vote SNP anyway, there’s a good chap. If I’m not given enough materials for the referendum itself, someone will die.

    Skirling – deserted, and no other boards out. Broughton, also quiet, but had Labour and LibDem boards on display. Went back home to vote before going to work. That also had SNP (put out by another local activist), Labour and LibDem boards out and another voter was in the polling station at the same time I was, but the list of people already voted was pretty short. Carlops also looked pretty dead, and there was just a wee LibDem board out as well as the SNP one.

    I hope we get a decent turnout but the weather is diabolical and it’s not looking promising.

  83. chalks says:

    Majority votes after work.

    Let’s hope weather improves.

  84. Robert Louis says:

    I just don’t understand how anybody with the slightest self respect, can write complete lies for a supposed ‘news’ paper. Of course, people are accustomed to facts being interpreted different ways by different newspapers, but here we have deliberate and wilful lying. There is no other description for it.

    I hear people bleating that not all journalists in Scotland are bad, and that they have to do what they are told to do, but you do have to ask, does that include deliberately telling bare faced lies?? Is that what so-called ‘scottish’ journalism has come to?

    In my opinion those in the press and the blatantly biased BBC (which currently funds opposition to independence via the CBI), who go along with this total deception, are just as guilty as their managers. They need to speak up, or forever keep quiet when Westminster introduces policies to damage Scotland, in the event of a NO vote.

    The old saying ‘ all it takes for evil to flourish is for good men to do nothing’.

    It is a slipery slope, which makes politicians wholly unaccountable, and actually (as history shows) really, really does destroy democracy.

  85. Robert Louis says:

    Meanwhile, in more Scottish cringe news, my local Waitrose in Edinburgh, Scotland is running a competition to win tickets to see England play cricket. Seriously.

    Not be shopping there again. FFS.

  86. Jim Marshall says:

    Just in from voting at Eaglesham school. Trickle of voters but certainly busier than previous Euro elections. I got the usual hostile looks from the union jocks ( this area is Tory,both the blue and red variety ) because I was wearing my YES badge.

  87. Sheena W says:

    O/T folks but can anyone give me a link to the poll/article which said 21% of Yes voters and 8% of No voters had been subjected to online abuse – need it for a letter to the press?

  88. Ravelin says:

    I voted at 8am on my way to work and it wasn’t exactly busy. Did see a couple of other people in to vote and another outside walking in the direction of the village hall with a polling card in hand. It was dry then, but wet now so that may put a dampener on turn out if it keeps up.

    Talk over dinner last night in our house was “anyone but UKIP” from the 3 eligible to vote (obviously that will also include BNP & other loonies that I didn’t know were on the ballot paper until this morning)

  89. Macart says:


    Yeah spotted that too.

    Scary stuff.

  90. Lou Nisbet says:


    ‘I’m fed up with the silence from top figures in the YES campaign on smears like this.’

    You overlook two things which the SNP have nailed beautifully.

    1 Give them enough rope and they’ll hang themselves – the MSM in Scotland PROMOTE YES MORE by their ridiculous lies than any amount of fawning positive promotion. The truth WILL out and more and more Scots, particularly Labour supporting Scots are sickened and TURNED by the MSM lies.

    2 Wrongful speech tends to backfire – if you have nothing good to say then say nothing. Although criticising ‘Call me Dave’ seems to fall outwith this precept.

  91. annie says:

    Speaking of jokes I have just received an email from Gordon Brown inviting me to an event in centre of Glasgow on 3rd June at 7pm. This is the first event since the launch of the “No” campaign under United with Labour and will be addressed by Johann Lamont as the Leader of Labour in Scotland as well as Gordon Brown. Any ideas why the No side always have to keep their venues a secret?

  92. Peter Macbeastie says:

    Heedtracker, I would point out, for at least a wee bit of balance, that one person who never claimed Susan Calman had received death threats was Susan Calman.

    That said, of course, she hasn’t exactly gone out of her way to point that out. And yep, she is at least as terrible a presenter as Fred, I cannot argue with that for one second. I understand Fred is a half decent stand up though; I’m not convinced Ms Calman can be similarly described.

  93. Nana Smith says:

    Depressing to think there are so many willing to sign this petition

  94. Craig Evans says:

    To Chalks: Logie Durno Hall BT Meeting

    I’ve checked on the BT site and yes this is listed as an event on Friday evening. However, given the halls location, It’s miles from any major population centre they’re hoping no one will turn up?

    I may go along for a laugh.

    Also BT are planning to meet at Kemnay bowling club car park at 10 am on Saturday morning for a leafleting even.

    Should be a good chance to try and get some answers from BT?

  95. call me dave says:

    Mixed reaction to my YES badge in the polling station, the man official with the ruler and pencil ‘gouged’ across my name on the roll but the woman who checked and handed me my voting paper gave me a nice smile and a wink.

    Of course it might not have been the badge? Aye right!

    PS:First time in 20 years I have not had to go round in the early hours with SNP posters and tie-wrap to hang on the polling stations. I normally did four in and about my locality. Better still I don’t need to do the tidying up stint at the close either. 😉

  96. andy says:

    Saw the the register this morning I was the first in but around 25% on the page I saw had registered for a postal vote

  97. Gillie says:

    UPDATE on the Cara Hilton story;

    “I was the author of his “duplicitous” quote and the letter, Playing politics with our children’s future (Courier, May 12). If I and my fellow citizens can’t criticise our elected representatives like him and Ms Hilton without being smeared for it, what does that say about the contempt they must have for democracy?”

    Brian Macfarlane.

    Anybody got a response from Cara Hilton?

  98. on the day AFTER Scotland says “YES”, the same newspapers you are all deriding will still be there.

    No-one but a fool can believe otherwise.

    Tens, if not hundreds of millions of pounds from “investors”
    (some of them Scots) will not be trashed because we vote for Independence. Get Real.

    Whatever stance they take after “YES” is fore-seeable.

    By being in cahoots with Westminster the MSM must have been promised Tax-breaks or summat to defray their losses.

    Where are they, when they con us all by attacking Gary Barlow whilst ignoring Lord Ashcroft of Belize (formerly British Honduras) who paid zero tax for 64 of 68 years.

    Margaret Hodge of New Labour is Chair of the Public Accounts Committee( a millionairess via family SteelBrokers) has not requested the return of Ashcroft`s Honours. Labour in cahoots with the Establishment.

    P.A.C. is not investigating the horrendous losses of MSM in Scotland – because it has always been RIGGED to be this as an outcome.

    Whether we trust the Sunday Herald or not —IF it is the only Sunday paper we buy — the investors in MSM will Lose ever more money.

  99. Dave L says:

    Here’s a useful link for anyone who feels as stronly about his as I do!

  100. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “O/T folks but can anyone give me a link to the poll/article which said 21% of Yes voters and 8% of No voters had been subjected to online abuse – need it for a letter to the press?”


  101. Kenny says:

    Oh my. I just got an email encouraging me to use my abandoned Twitter account (it’s a rabbit hole I realised I would never escape.) It says that trending today are messages from Labourites asking me to help them end the bedroom tax. What do they want me to do? I’d put them Anas and Doogie in my Tardis and take them back to vote to abolish it, but Tardises won’t be allowed in an independent Scotland…

  102. To enforce a point.

    The Johnston Press have requested a RIGHTS ISSUE at £130 million. Each and every one of us can contact their bankers and request a copy of that “PROSPECTUS”.

    Every multi-billion pound business is required by law to offer (free) their annual Prospectus to “potential investors”. A.K.A. – YOU OR ME.

    RBS., Lloyd`s, SSE., Santander,Iberdrola, EDF.and etc..

  103. heedtracker says:

    @ Peter Macbeastie, “So my private helicopter broke down this morning so I thought, och why not go mad and just get the bus to Pacific Quay, so really I walked to the bus stop and there was an old Glesga wifie at the bus stop so I asked her what time the bus was due and she said, in a few minutes.”

    Oh Fred, you’re pure dead brilliant so you are, what have you got for us today? “the usual, bugger all but I’ll be chatting live with music genius Tom Morton for an hour, he’s got quite a few helicopters”

  104. chalks says:

    @Craig Evans

    Probably be the usual mix of Inverurie unionists at it guffawing at awful jokes at the expense of us Yessers.

    Certainly won’t be outlining a positive case for a No vote anyway!

    Kemnay, I’ll alert the Yes Movement.

  105. Ravelin says:

    Also BT are planning to meet at Kemnay bowling club car park at 10 am on Saturday morning for a leafleting even.

    Should be a good chance to try and get some answers from BT?

    This Saturday? If so they’ll never get parked! It’s the annual kids football tournament run by Kemnay FC this weekend at Bogbeth Park, 9am until late afternoon, beside the bowling club etc. Parking will be heavily restricted due to the numbers turning up and the cones the police normally put out to keep the roads clear(ish).

    I wonder if they know this and that’s the plan i.e. leaflet the tournament. I’ll be there so I’ll keep a look out for them (and probably make sure I’ve not got any ‘Yes’ badge on so that I can have some fun with them if I’ve time).

  106. Jim Thomson says:

    @chalks 1:32

    maybe alerting the cooncil to prospective fly-tippers at that location will get them to fit a few hidden cameras. An FOI request a day or so later will get some free “official” footage 🙂


  107. muttley79 says:

    I just voted in the European election. I only got one ballot paper, both for party and candidates. Is this right?

  108. lumilumi says:

    Robert Louis @ 12.21pm

    … local Waitrose in Edinburgh, Scotland is running a competition to win tickets to see England play cricket.

    I wonder how many Scots would fail the Tebbit test?

    I certainly would because I came to cricket when I lived in Australia and always support them, especially in the Ashes! 😀

  109. Just registered my vote in E.U. Ballot.

    This must be the lowest turnout in electoral history.

  110. crazycat says:


    “I only got one ballot paper, both for party and candidates. Is this right?”

    Yes. We don’t have an open list system so the parties chose which order their candidates will be elected in.

  111. muttley79 says:

    Cheers crazycat. I assumed it would be like the Holyrood election, where you vote for a party and also a candidate.

  112. lumilumi says:

    Glad to hear so many Wossers have voted in the Euro elections.

    I voted last week in one of the “advance voting” polling stations in Lapland nearly 1000 km from where I live – I gave an explanation of our advance voting system in the previous thread. We don’t have postal votes.

    @ muttley and crazycat
    Yes, in the UK the parties decide the ranking of the candidates (closed list). In an open list system the voters decide.

    For instance, in Finland, candidates are listed alphabetically within each party list – which some say gives an unfair advantage to Aarne Aalto over Yrjö Zetterberg because sometimes people just want to vote for a particular party and pick the first candidate on their list. In some countries the candidates are listed in random order. All the candidates from across all the parties are then assigned a running number from 1 to however many candidates there are in total.

    In the booth you then write the number of your candidate (the booths have a list of all the candidates so you can check the number). We don’t mark an X across a party’s/candidate’s name so the voters have to be able to write 😉

    This is what our “ballot papers” (A5 cardboard cards that are then folded in half) look like:

    On the left it says which election it is, on the right, inside the big circle is where you write your number.

  113. Graeme Doig says:

    Strangely enough i would be willing to pay more in tax (from my modest income) to a fully independent Scottish government which was more accountable to the Scottish people.
    At the moment i resent giving a single penny towards that london black hole run by thieves and having to rely on handouts from ‘Barnett’.
    Proclaimer’s ‘Cap in Hand’ says it all.
    Come on Scotland have some pride in yourself !

  114. George Bowie says:

    A lie from a joke. That paper will not survive much longer printing verbal bullsh.t.

  115. TJenny says:

    OK this seems to be the appropriate thread to post this.

    Just back from casting EU vote (for SNP natch), wearing my big red YES badge, and again got slightly cross/bemused at why we’re still using a PENCIL (which can be erased) to mark our ballot papers. Have mentioned this before at ballot boxes but just received a shrug and that’s how it is type comment.

    Anyway, what with the indy ref looming large on the horizon and the dubiety of postal votes, I mentioned it to the 2 lovely ladies in charge and was given a contact number to phone. (I asked the 2 ladies whether they thought it could be that as JoLa had stated that Scots weren’t genetically programmed to make political decisions, we could only be safely given wee stubby pencils and not sharp, jaggey pens? They laughed and asked if I would stay a while as it was only laugh they’d had all day. I didn’t though).

    Duly phoned to get an email address as I want the answer in print, and was more than slightly disconcerted to hear the, very friendly, girl on the phone suggest that maybe pencils were used in case someone put their cross in the wrong place and it could then be rubbed out and replaced.

    Whit? I said that surely you couldn’t do that as it would have to be treated as a spoiled paper. Please tell me that her supposition is wrong.

    I’ll keep you posted on any reply I get from the Elections div of the Council re using pens in the indy ref.

  116. seanair says:

    Lou Nisbet
    I would like to think that the SNP strategy you speak of will work, (if it is a planned strategy), but hae ma doots. I really think we need an “attack dog” to pounce on these smears and lies in local and “national” papers and TV stations. If the referendum is going to be a close run thing we need quick responses to turn the tables rather than hopeful beliefs that non-political readers/listeners will see through the opposition’s tactics.
    In this case it is not an SNP person who has been misquoted, and being a former Labour MP as well as Chairman of the YES campaign should give DC enough clout to turn the tables on the Scotsman and the BBC.
    Time is running out. We’ve got to get tougher.
    No hard feelings, we just differ in how to reach the goal.
    PS. Speaking of goals the mighty Hibees came in for some stick on this site the other day. All apologies will be gracefully accepted!

  117. Graeme Doig says:

    Interesting conversation you had. Strange what happens when you start asking questions.

    I agree. I think campaign needs a bit more bite. Not sure we’re managing to counter the lies swiftly and strongly enough.

  118. stonefaction says:

    Popped into my local polling station in Dundee on my way home from work wearing my YES baseball cap and badge, and got a “I like your cap” from the guy behind the desk. Seemed to be quite a few folk at work planning on voting on their way home, so maybe there will be slightly higher turnout than usual for Euro elections.

  119. Donald Kerr says:

    The whole purpose of the story is to equate Yes with higher taxes for the headline readers. Well done Scott MacNab; job done.

  120. seanair says:

    Robert Louis @ 12.21
    Discovered the reason for Waitrose pushing English cricket. They’re sponsoring the England team (at least for the one day games against Sri Lanka), so it’s Waitrose on the jersey. Agree this is a stupid ploy, from a mindset that thinks everyone in the British Isles supports England in every sport.
    You’re right not to shop there. A letter to the local manager would not go amiss too.

  121. lumilumi says:

    @ seanair

    This obsession from the UK press and some people on the English side that everybody on the British Isles should support England or they’re anti-English racists, I find that puerile, bullying, and basically showing an underlying insecurity and low self-esteem. Desperate for approval, that kind of thing.

    It’d be strange if our greatest sporting rivals Sweden demanded Finns to support Sweden or else… (if Finland isn’t playing, naturally).

    As it happens, I’m quite happy to cheer Swedish teams and athletes if Finland isn’t in the picture. Except never for ice hockey. That’s the BIG rivalry, and Sweden has humiliated us so many times.

    As I write, I’m watching Finland play Canada in the Ice Hockey Wolrd Championship quarter final. Finland won bronze in the Sochi Olympics a few months ago but this is a different team, 15 rookies and they only got to the quarters because other teams played at cross purposes.

    It’s in the third period now and it’s 2-2…

  122. lumilumi says:

    OMG, Finland won Canada 3-2!

    Our rookie team is in the final four!!!

    Playing Czechs next so not too scary.

  123. Ken500 says:

    Noticed that. as usual the headlines reflected nothing in the article. Justba cheap shot to try and draw people in and maybe buy the rag. No chance, judging by the falling readership figures. People want facts not fiction. Male, White, middle class, wealthy ‘journalists’, writing themselves out of a job.

    In an Ibdependendebce Scotland taxes are more likely to go down. No Westminster dross and corruption. Major tax evasion at Westminster. HMRC not fit for purpose. Scotland paying for Westminster projects. Scotland’s tax burden as part of the UK, higher than the rest of the UK, while Scotland spends less, pro rata.

    Norway’s taxes as a proportion (higher wages) would be as an equivalent of 10% in Scotland. The revenues that could be generated in Scotland with no illegal wars, Trident, redundant weaponry, no tax evasion, and a progressive, equal tax system would increase. The Oil sector is being damaged by Westminster tax governance. Helicopters are falling from the sky because of Westminster lack of health and safety compliance.

    Vote YES

  124. Ken500 says:

    Not only one vote for the SNP, but another four with a bit of persuasion. YES.

    Margo said, ‘just get one other person to Vote YES’, and Independence is won.

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