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Wings Over Scotland

A mental exercise

Posted on March 09, 2014 by

We’ve commented before on the odd way that newspapers can reveal their bias in the way they phrase their reporting, rather than in the actual content of it, which can be entirely factually accurate. As we noted, a particular giveaway is the angle from which they view statistics, and especially opinion polls.

A poll showing 35% of people backing independence will almost always be reported as “ONLY a third back Yes”, whereas one with the exact same numbers for a different question might be presented as “OVER a third distrust Alex Salmond”. The proportion “one third” is in such a manner portrayed as being both a small and a large one, to suit whatever position the publication wishes to promote.

It’s in such a context that we invite readers to ponder today’s Mail On Sunday.

The paper runs selected details of a Survation poll of businesses, revealing some of their views on independence.  It finds that 40% would NOT consider relocating their operations outside Scotland, compared to just 34% who would consider it. Note the “consider” in the question – it’s not a statement that they WOULD leave, just that they’d take a look at the situation.

(Frankly we’re surprised the response wasn’t 100%, because most businesses would study the ramifications of any major change.)

So here’s the Mail’s headline:

“Scottish firms prepare to get out before vote as exclusive poll reveals giants worth billions on verge of fleeing”

The Daily Mail: never knowingly out-hysteria-ed.


Interestingly, over 70% of the firms surveyed also stated that they considered continuing EU membership to be either “Important” or “Very important” in the event of Scottish independence. One presumes that, like Shell this week, they would also consider it important for the UK in the event of a No vote. Yet the Mail for some reason chooses not to highlight that aspect of the findings.

(The EU aspect of Shell’s statement, which was more prominent than the part about independence, was either played down or completely ignored in most of the media reports, such as those in the Financial Times, Reuters and the BBC.)

The next time a poll finds support for independence at 34% or 39%, we’re going to go ahead and predict with some confidence that the Mail’s take on it WON’T be “An astonishing 38.6% of Scots are on the verge of fleeing the UK”.

But there’s something else.

It’s highly likely that there will soon be a UK referendum on membership of the EU, in which polls consistently show a majority of UK citizens would vote to leave. With an overwhelming majority of businesses opposed to that course of action, we invite readers to think about whether their opinion is likely to sway the views of the public.

And if the answer to that question is “No”, why would Scots be any more likely to have corporations dictate their position with regard to independence?

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116 to “A mental exercise”

  1. Cankert Callan says:

    “An poll” surely not?

  2. balgayboy says:

    Listened to this same article being discussed on Sky news paper review and the consensus of the misinformed reviewers was that it would put the final nail in the coffin for the quest for Independence.

    Time to cancel my Sky subscription methinks.

  3. heedtracker says:

    So these charming people get what they want. Scotland will not only have to live with the world wide embarrassment of voting NO because we are too poor, stupid, small, we’ll also be pulled out of Europe by same Condem/UKIP middle-England Mail readership. If Daily Mail etc actually get their way in the next 3 years, we really will deserve to become a planet sized laughing stock.

  4. Angus says:

    The typo aside in the wings article, this headline is what my partner read out to me ten minutes ago, quoting it from the Herald online (presumably reporting the Survation poll) and I said exactly the same as Stu: that ‘considering an option’ isn’t the same as 100% backing that option but might be sensible, and that the headline and article would emphasise any number contained within as proof that firms are set to abandon Scotland en masse.

    Except a lot of swearing on my part to colour the sentiment making it unfit for publication no doubt but it made her laugh.

  5. Robert Peffers says:

    Let us put THAT one to bed. In the event of a YES vote every company, or just a one man/woman business, that does business across state lines must have a registered office in each state. How else do they pay tax on that cross-border business? This is often just an accommodation address/phone number/P.O.Box number/answering service. Check it out for yourselves. Here’s an on-line cite for just such arrangements. It only costs £14.95

  6. K1 says:

    Ah find ma genetic programmin disnae allow fur that newhonest reasoning that yoo ur oan aboot…dis it mean that as the uk don’t gie a monkeys tail wit the curprats think afore they vote tae leave yoorope, why would we gie a flyin f^ck a boot wit curprats dae the other side o’ a yes vote? Aye…a thought so! Yur right a boot wan thing tho’, ah um beginnin tae feel mentally exercised by aw this shite that’s emanatin fae the dark star, a thought thon star wis meant tae suck aw the crap in…no quite the sooper nova it makes itsel oot tae be, is it!

  7. Harry says:

    balgayboy says:

    Listened to this same article being discussed on Sky news paper review and the consensus of the misinformed reviewers was that it would put the final nail in the coffin for the quest for Independence.

    Time to cancel my Sky subscription methinks

    The “final nail in the coffin” comment was also used last night on the BBC late night paper review, in fact it was that exact phrase that I heard as I turned over to it. The woman went on to say that she couldn’t understand why Scots living outside of Scotland could not vote and the presenter even said something about possible legal proceedings, as if that had been a story in one of the paper. As I said, I only caught part of it.

  8. Roll_On_2014 says:

    Aye Stu I know what you mean.

    Both the following articles are obviously taken from the same source but with entirely different outputs.

    Andy Murray keeps quiet on Scottish independence

    Andy Murray serves up blow for Scotland split bid

  9. Vronsky says:


    An Poll is a hill in Coigach. I’ve climbed it. In the company of a very beautiful woman. Perhaps best to stop this story now dot dot dot…

  10. RogueCoder says:

    It’s even more underhand than that, Rev. Consider each of the questions being asked:

    “If Scotland did become independent, would you company consider relocating outside Scotland, or is that not something you would be considering?

    In addition to the Rev’s comments about the word “consider”, the implication of the last clause to the reader is that it is something they should consider, thus pointing them towards the “would consider” option. This question is quite simply rigged.

    I suspect many of the respondents spotted this and deliberately ticked the “would not consider” option, which might account for the lower than expected figuring for “considering”.

    In complete fairness, the Nats could be accused of the same thing with the original proposed referendum question:

    “Do you agree that Scotland should be an independent country?”

    I doubt they ever seriously thought this would get on the ballot paper, but it gave them a negotiation lever.

    Anyway, back to the MoS “survey”:

    “Would an independent Scotland be beneficial or harmful for your business, or would it make no difference?”

    By relegating the neutral response to the 3rd clause, this gives the reader the impression that it must be beneficial or harmful to their business – and given the hyperbole over currency recently, most folk would probably naturally opt for “harmful” without thinking too much about it.

    “If Scotland did become independent, how important would it be for your business that an independent Scotland remained in a currency union with the rest of the UK?”

    This is a no brainer – pretty much everybody is going to say it’s important. But by using the word “independent” twice, they are linking the issue directly to the referendum – i.e you can’t have independence and keep the pound.

    If Scotland did become independent, how important would it be for your business that an independent Scotland was part of the EU?”

    Again, they are linking EU membership to the referendum. This one has been pretty much debunked already, but it’s important for the Bitter Together campaign to paint the nationalists as being the ones “opting out” of the EU when their stance is actually completely the opposite.

    So basically we’re left with the old adage “lies, damn lies, and statistics”. You can get pretty much whatever poll results you want simply by phrasing the questions to lead to those results.

  11. Meindevon says:

    Re the possible EU in/out referendum, I thought the House of Lords had put the mockers on it. Is that not the case?

  12. Simon says:

    Robert Peffers, “every company, or just a one man/woman business, that does business across state lines must have a registered office in each state” What rubbish. Are you deliberately scaremongering or just a bit silly?

    Given that an independent Scottish economy will boom and everyone will be significantly better off I would think any sensible Scottish business would be delighted at the prospect of more domestic sales after a Yes vote.

  13. Arbroath 1320 says:

    Harry says:

    balgayboy says:

    Listened to this same article being discussed on Sky news paper review and the consensus of the misinformed reviewers was that it would put the final nail in the coffin for the quest for Independence.

    Time to cancel my Sky subscription methinks

    The “final nail in the coffin” comment was also used last night on the BBC late night paper review, in fact it was that exact phrase that I heard as I turned over to it. The woman went on to say that she couldn’t understand why Scots living outside of Scotland could not vote and the presenter even said something about possible legal proceedings, as if that had been a story in one of the paper. As I said, I only caught part of it.

    Harry I saw the same paper review last night and it was on SKY, not that it makes much difference BBC…SKY…BBC…SKY…they’re both as useless as each other. 🙂

    You are right though about the presenter going on about possible legal proceedings though, it is a story down the bottom right of the Sunday Times. To save you buying a copy here’s a link to it. It’s just another version of the good old “same shite different day” storyline.

  14. G H Graham says:

    In the USA, I’ve conducted business across multiple states. And you don’t need an address in any of them except the one you are based out of.

    All each state requires is that you pay the sales tax you collected and send it to them. And for that, you usually need a license to sell.

    Thankfully, in many states, it costs nothing except a few minutes spent on line filling in a form. Those that do charge, levy a small fee of about $30.

    But no matter where you are based, the Feds want their cut too.

    So a business in Scotland would pay the usual taxes to the Scottish Treasury & presumably the rUK would want its cut of VAT or whatever tax is levied at the point of purchase.

    And, er, that’s it.

    Having said that, only those business owners who are completely belligerent or stupid would pack up & move to England, especially of their customer base was largely in Scotland. It makes no economic sense whatsoever unless the tax rate differential was so huge, it would be worth the cost of relocating & the additional shipping/trading costs.

    Once again, this is all scaremongering rubbish.

  15. MajorBloodnok says:

    All we hear about is companies considering their options and some now registering companies in England. To the Unionist press and the BBC this is clearly the prelude to all Scots firms of note about to up-sticks and flee the country.

    But what about the converse, i.e. companies setting up in Scotland? If we as independent Scotland would be such a bad bet then surely there would be very few new companies being set up here. But, what’s this:

    A 19% increase in new companies registed from 2012-2013? That can’t be right…

    From tis it would therefore be interesting to know how many companies registered in England have set up Scottish companies for reasons of ‘contingency’.

  16. stonefree says:

    It is inept journalism,if it can be even classed as journalism,simply put there is nothing either wrong or sinister in a Scottish company setting up an English company, Simple search RBS and see how many they have remembering that it was the English ones that caused the problems that we’re paying for.
    They are just too stupid

  17. Onwards says:

    I wonder what the results would be if it was proposed that business taxes would be lower in Scotland?

    This is where the SNP should start running their own manifesto, separate from YES Scotland.

    We will have plenty of savings from the UK debt it seems, if we don’t get to use the pound 🙂

    Why not make a few pledges of what the money would be spend on instead?

  18. M4rkyboy says:

    What a joke this supposed legal challenge is.
    The franchise was set in the Edinburgh agreement,signed by the Prime minister and also in the referendum bill.
    You need to be registered to vote in Scotland.

  19. Arbroath 1320 says:

    Sticking with the idea of a ‘mental challenge’ but probably O/T, some folks might enjoy this. 😉

  20. Les Wilson says:

    We ARE in the middle of a Unionist conspiracy against Scottish Democracy.Strange how so few of us recognise that nor want to discuss it, we see and hear it daily, it can be the only conclusion to make.
    The press, the TV ( all channels )Westminster orchestrated fears and lies daily, manipulated statements as shown in this article is only one way they do it.

    While they preach to the world about democracy, none is allowed for Scotland.

    They truly fear a YES vote, but do not be mistaken that is driven by their love of us, it is driven by what THEY will lose, and that only.
    We need to wake up and speak more about it and declare we see it everywhere.We need to make it known everywhere we can, calling it by the name it really is, a shameful conspiracy against democracy, here in our little country. We need to confront it in every way we can.

  21. JLT says:

    Since the announcements from various Financial companies that ‘they would leave’ in the event of a ‘Yes’ win, I have been querying with various people in different parts of said sector.

    Make no bones about it. The VAST majority of people who work in the Financial Sector DO NOT believe a word of it! They agree that these companies have registered in England, and that ‘some’ operations would need to move south, but in ABSOLUTE NO WAY …are these companies leaving. This is from Investment Trading Staff, IT Staff, Managers, etc. No one believes a word of it!

    In fact, the word from all of these folk within the Financial Sector is that if it is a ‘Yes’ vote (…and wee Danny Alexander better get ready to fall upon his sword at that moment), that these companies will be straight on the blower to Osborne and will snarl at him to ‘get around that f****** table and get this sorted! Get the Currency Union implemented now!’

    These are the money men. The men who can break governments as well as political careers. Osborne will be annihilated by them if the markets go south (in more ways than one!) They know that the costs of having to move their entire HQ’s will crash their companies. Any announcement to say ‘we are moving our HQ to England with the loss of 5,000 jobs, on top of the 40,000 redundancies already in the Scottish Financial Sector’ will result not only in the severe nose-diving of their share prices, but also on Sterling too.
    Foreign investors will pull out big time rather than watch their investments burn in the mother of all divorces. Who wants to see their investment portfolio with one of these companies flounder, as the investment won’t be in managing the markets, but is being used to cover the costs that will be incurred with buying and moving premises, mass redundancies, hiring of new staff on London prices as well as trying to combat bad publicity, and pacify a very wrathful Scottish public.

    Plus, the word also within these companies is that the EU referendum in 2017 is of grave concern …seriously, grave concern! Many of these companies have setups and HQs in quite a few Western European companies. The last thing they need is walls to go up between themselves, and their holdings with Europe.

    My overall opinion from the last two weeks is that even the workers in the Financial Sector are not walking in fear of their jobs. They are not blinking. They are not being cowed into a ‘No’ vote.

    As said …we Danny better make sure that that sword is nice and sharp for his hari-kiri. A blunt sword might be very painful to fall upon…

  22. Famous15 says:

    Jane Merrick ,political editor of the Independent on Sunday has written a surprisingly fair article today on the referendum campaign..The heading is”Scotch broth becomes more savoury as YES campaign grows”

  23. Soda says:

    O/T but i’m usually quite a calm guy who doesnt resort to the use of frequent and colourful language when confronted by outrageous and unfounded rubbish (aye, right says the wife!) however a letter by a Richard Mowbray in yesterdays Herald had me simmering in rage and i must admit a few wee sweary expletives and adjectives were used. It went thus:

    “Let us put behind us the debate about a currency union between an independent Scotland and the rUK. It is not going to happen, as the evidence of Dr Angus Armstrong to the Holyrood Economy Committee makes clear (“Economist warns that currency union is not in the interests of rest of UK”, The Herald, March 6). By hitherto aligning themselves too closely with the First Minister’s “having his cake and eating it” option, the members of the Fiscal Commission Working Group have not done their professional reputations any favours. They can redeem themselves by formulating a proposal for a new currency or one for eventually joining the euro. The choice in September is independence, with all its flaws and upheaval, OR a currency union: the one we already have. Final!

    However, if there were to be a Yes vote in September, the current Westminster Government would have to address the new political circumstances. Its priority should be to bring forward a bill to rule out any election of MPs from Scotland at the May 2015 General Election. This would have several advantages. First, the next Westminster Parliament must be representative of only the rUK. Then, and only then, would negotiations begin with Mr Salmond. In the meantime Scotland would just have to stew. Second, Labour and the Liberal Democrats could hardly vote down such a bill. They would be damned if they did by incurring the odium of the rUK electorate, and they would be damned if they did not, for the result of the election would be an overall Conservative majority, reinforced by the certainty of a referendum on EU membership.

    The Westminster Parliament should also put pressure on Mr Salmond to give an undertaking to hold a second referendum on the results of any independence negotiations, citing “the sovereignty of the Scottish people” as the justification. The Scottish Government, at great peril to itself, could of course refuse. But If Scotland were allowed second thoughts and voted No, then the Union would be restored, and the whole sorry and divisive business could be consigned to history.

    Richard Mowbray,

    14, Ancaster Drive,


    Is he the same arsehole who said this:

    And was he a Labour candidate who defected to the SDP way back in the 80s?

  24. Ian Kirkwood says:

    I presume if Scottish based companies require to register in England then English based companies will require to register in Scotland?
    Not to mention foreign and multi-national companies currently HQed south of the border.

  25. Iain Hamilton says:

    Great article.

    Is it just me or is is strange that so many companies with over £25M turnover “don’t know” how all the different trading circumstances would affect business?

  26. Clootie says:

    We are winning 🙂

    Why else would they be working so hard. The MSM is the Better together campaign. They have no activists on the ground.

    No matter what you read – just smile and think of the fun we will have on the 19th. September posting on their web sites (hangover may delay this)

  27. caz-m says:

    We all know this new “Operation Dambuster” was a co-ordinated all out attack against the YES Campaign.

    But what we don’t know is who is at the back of it.

    Who are the central players behind this.

    There must be a central office somewhere in deepest London that is contacting all these Businesses, Newspaper headquarters, Television studios and Radio stations.

    Because it is no coincidence that EVERYONE of them attacked the YES Campaign on the days that big businesses let us have both barrels.

    So where is this central command and who are the people running it.

    I remember Carmicheal letting slip that we were not to be surprised if even more companies came out against Independence in the coming days.

    How did he know they were going to come out. It has to have all been pre-arranged with this central command.

    This is not paranoia, this is fact.

  28. Lindsey Smith says:

    O/T I know but today I was told by a FB poster that the referendum”is everything to do I with Salmond and SNP”. The spreading bile and vitriol from any No supporters is disturbing, as is their inability to see beyond Salmond to the real problem of WM. Or perhaps, they are the wealthy timy minority living in Scotland who do not suffer from the WM austerity drive.

  29. David Agnew says:

    just another dreary plate of school dinner mince served up by BetterTogether and its chums. Each once announced in mock serious tones. Each one seen as a Vulcan neck pinch of death that can kill the indy argument dead. When it fails and it will fail, they just wander off to find another one, and another one….

  30. Dal Riata says:

    The Daily (and Sunday) Mail: A terrible, poisonous presence to (almost) all who make their home in Scotland and the rUK. A cancer in, and to a society that finds so much difficulty of curing and ridding itself of. May that day be soon.

    And why would independence be “harmful” to almost 40% of “Big business” and 50% of “Small business”?

    What is meant by “harmful”?

    Which businesses were asked?

    And, well, if that is truthfully the attitude of certain businesses – and let’s be fully aware of how the meaning of the word ‘truthfully’ compares with that found in a dictionary compared to its Better Together meaning – they can GTF right now. Why wait?

    Should it indeed be the case, there will be plenty other businesses, big and samall, more than willing to come to an independent Scotland. In fact the flood of applicants would be overwhelming.

    A newly independent country, forward-looking, friendly, resource rich, both in its products and its people, open for business to all parts of the world…?

    So, I’m a businessperson, and I get the offer to go there to do business, and I’m like that: “Naah, cannae see it masel’… Gonie gie tha’ a bodyswerve… Nae chance….”

    ‘sake! Aye, right!

  31. Elaine says:

    I read somewhere (here? – I can’t remember or I’d link) that without women’s votes included a poll/polls indicate that if the referendum was tomorrow it would be a Yes result.

    That *is* encouraging. We can persuade these women, many of whom are not engaged in politics, and so not informed enough. Once they are…

  32. This is the problem for newspapers they could present their views without fear of contradiction
    Putting whatever spin suited their agenda
    now thanks to wings and others they no longer get away with it
    More power to your elbow you have played a major part our struggle

  33. Marcia says:

    Andrew Tickell on the spurious legal challenge by a non resident of Scotland.

  34. frazer allan whyte says:

    I’m sure that wingers can come up with appropriately ludricous counter “statistical” headlines. Here’s my contribution “More than 95% of Westminster Labour MPs support Irradiating Glasgow.” Oops that one’s true. This lying with statistics business might be harder than it seems. I guess practice makes perfect and must bow to the professionalism of the MSM and friends.

  35. SquareHaggis says:


    In the world of Mrs Haggis, image means everything. Interestingly says she loves watching young Alex Salmond footage (not obsessively – I hope) and respectfully requests more of such footage for the ladies.

    Sez she quite funcies a young firebrand Alex which I’m nae too chuffed aboot but then if it’s a vote winner among oor vote winners ah’m willin’ tae concede.

    SH on b-half O MrsH

  36. James Kelly says:

    I’d like to see John Curtice speak out strongly against this sort of poll and the way it’s been spun in the media. It reminds me a bit of a YouGov poll commissioned by Archie Stirling in 2007 supposedly showing that 20% of the electorate would “consider” voting for his vanity Scottish Voice party in certain circumstances. If the question had asked “WOULD you vote for Scottish Voice in those circumstances”, the number would have been a tiny fraction of that, and of course would have been much more in line with what actually happened.

    Of course leading words like “consider” are bound to produce wildly inflated figures – after all, I might “consider” going on holiday to Belgium this year, but I also know that I probably won’t actually do it. Can you imagine what the response would have been to the opposite question – “Would you consider staying in Scotland after a Yes vote?” Almost 100% of businesses would have said Yes. And what about asking businesses outside Scotland if they would consider relocating here after independence? That might have produced some interesting results.

  37. Robert Whyte says:

    Ok this is off topic but my friend is very anti yes voting and i have been trying to make him see reason. The latest is a rant he posted on facebook. What is the best reply to this? his post is this, 1 – He’s said he doesn’t want to join the Euro so that doesn’t matter – he’d rather use the £ with no formal agreement and no lender of last resort, I assume using commodities to trade for foreign currency over which there is no local control of the value, 2 – doesn’t take into account oil related industry once the oil runs out (oil service industry is almost as big as the oil industry itself) 3 – does Scotland have a bank based solely in and with the interests of Scotland? since (H)BOS is not, Clydesdale is owned by Nat West and RBS is owned by the UK gov’t there isn’t much there so who’s going to print the groats in the event of independence since he doesn’t want the Euro and won’t have the capacity to produce Sterling without a currency union… 4 – can’t be bothered to look up = no answers. Founder member of NATO, kind of a big deal, Founder member of the UN and permanent member of the security council also kind of a big deal, member of the G8. None of these would apply to an independent Scotland and power would be ceded to Brussels in the event of entry to the EU meaning someone with even less interest in Scotland would have power over the country. 5 – Also kind of a big deal – wind power is a white elephant and a joke. the turbines are made of plastics and metals requiring fossil fuels ffs. they can’t operate when it’s too windy or they catch fire and they are massively inefficient. Scotland has no other natural resources and oil has maybe 100 years of diminishing production left. The infrastructure is mainly aging and in need of massive investment and there is a colossal skills shortage due to a lack of recruitment through the 90’s and 00’s.

  38. john macdonald says:

    Confirming Simon’s earlier comments about cross-border offices – just a load of bollocks. I run a company in Dubai and deal with clients from Afghanistan to Australia, Scotland to Sweden, and all points in between. I don’t have branches or brass plates in any of them. Just do the job, invoice, and collect payment. As far as I know, there must be hundreds of Scottish companies doing the same. It used to be called exporting, I think. If I relocated my head office to my Skye birthplace after independence would I have to set up new companies in every country where I trade? Maybe even Stornoway? We’ve always thought of the Leodhasaich as a wee bit on the foreign side. Islay was deemed one of ours, but enduring the demented rantings of ‘Lord Nato’ whatisname who claims to be from Port Ellen makes me reconsider.

  39. helsbels says:

    The really weird thing about this survation poll of businesses is that they only surveyed 100 businesses and then presented the findings as percentages, some of them with decimal points?!

    Per cent means per hundred. They could just have said 36 big businesses would have considered moving or whatever. They could be presented as numbers instead of percentages.

    I don,t get where all the point something decimals come from either.

  40. an_observer says:

    Because ‘only’ 1/3rd of voters voting Yes means that the referendum will return No hence its insufficient for a Yes vote..

    1/3rd of business leaving the country should the referendum return a Yes vote would be a major cause for concern.

    Do you even think about these things before you bang out another ill-considered blog post?

  41. Vincent McDee says:


    says the front page of the “Scottish Daily Express”.

    More than 500.000 people have been threatened out of their wits, nobody dares to speak in public about the ref., groups of coordinated nationalist thugs roaming the streets and forcing innocent bystanders to sing “Flower of Scotland”, et caetera.

    Don’t really know which more idiocies are printed inside (wasn’t carrying any spare chemical warfare gloves) and still had to do my shopping.

    Guess their source for that information?

    An undisclosed poll.

  42. Vincent McDee says:

    Found it: (Usual health warnings apply)

    Mind: The Survation survey of 1,002 voters, carried out on March 6 and 7, found that 13 per cent – which would extrapolate to around 550,000 Scots – have been on the receiving end of such vile abuse, either online or face-to-face.

    Our survey was commissioned after one Scottish Sunday Express reader revealed he had been sent hate mail as a result of his letters to this newspaper.

    Speaking yesterday, the reader explained that he immediately threw the letter in the bucket in case his wife spotted it and became scared

    The 75-year-old, from East Lothian, asked not to be named in any?future?correspondence?after receiving vile and threatening messages to his home address.

    One scrawled note read: “You’re a ("Tractor" - Ed) to your country, you treacherous scumbag. I hope you get cancer.”

    Speaking yesterday, the reader explained that he immediately threw the letter in the bucket in case his wife spotted it and became scared.

    “My stomach just turned as soon as I read it,” he said. “I knew immediately that it was a foul rant about my opinions.

    “That’s the thing, if you scratch the surface, you are faced with stuff like this. The scary thing is that these people have a vote.”

    we can also reveal that another man, Alexander McKay, has had his life threatened for declaring his pro-Union views.

    The 69-year-old from Edinburgh, who writes to several national newspapers, has received “dozens” of hate-filled letters to his home
    address, leaving him and his family scared and shaken.

    In one sinister message, the sender cut letters out of a newspaper and glued them on to a piece of A4 paper to call him a “("Tractor" - Ed)” among other extremely distasteful comments.

    But the most worrying correspondence read: “McKay will be the first to go – beheaded as he faces upward so he can see the blade coming.”

    The retired engineer said: “I have received dozens of these letters over a period. I’m stunned and it terrifies me to think that people like that walk our streets. At one stage I was treating every package with suspicion, believing they could be explosives.”

    Despite his serious concerns, Mr McKay, like our other anonymous reader, decided not to involve the police in fear of aggravating the situation further.

    Determined not to give into the bullies, he continues to write letters but admits he no longer reads the views of others online.

  43. Nuada says:

    Tomorrow’s Headline –

    Unionist Media Crooked Shock

  44. M4rkyboy says:

    I really like the Lallands peat worrier.He is an excellent writer,he has a real velvety prose that makes me feel marginally less of a scruffy oik for enjoying it so much.

  45. Thepnr says:

    O/T Has taken me all day but apologies to Boorach, the Rev and all readers of Wings especially new readers for my rant on one of yesterdays articles.

    If I can’t articulate my point of view without resorting to swearing then I shouldn’t be posting at all. Self imposed ban at least for a week or so until I remember where I am and what I’m about.

  46. Paula Rose says:

    The advert for trainee journalists says

    BBC Scotland is on the hunt for trainee journalists to assist in its coverage of next year’s referendum vote on Scotland’s constitutional future.

  47. Paula Rose says:

    So we should be hearing from them now.

  48. lumilumi says:

    Newspapers and other media outlets present “reality” according to their editorial line. It’s important to know what that editorial line is. It’s called media literacy.

    I was taught “media literacy” in my school in Finland back in the 1980s though it wasn’t called anything fancy like that back then. Just teacher bringing in a host of papers and telling us about their connections and affiliations. Political parties, business etc. and urging us to use our own critical faculties when reading/seeing/hearing anything in the media. We were even advised to take YLE (Finnish pubic broadcastig company) with a pinch of salt.

    I think a lot of Scots are a lot more media literate than the BBC and the MSM believe. The growth of online alternative media, of which WoS is a prime example, is testament to that.

    I posted this in the previous thread but I’ll do it again. Reporters Without Borders produce a World Press Freedom Index. You might disagree with them and their various and varied criteria but I think they’re broadly right.

    The United Kingdom is at 33. The top ten is taken up by small independent countries. As a Finn I feel uneasy about the map. Our pale blue (=freest) bordered by a mass of maroon (=not very free).

    I wonder if the supine “Scottish” MSM drag down the UK’s ratings in this index. Hmm…

  49. Dan Huil says:

    Vincent McDee. I think we can expect more stories of a similar vein. Wee Zinoviev Letters.

  50. Flower of Scotland says:

    Really annoyed with Gordon Wilson and Jim Sillars ! Just been interviewed on Channel 4 news , Gordon Wilson said Alex Salmond was sleeping and worked with Devolution to the detriment of Independence . This is the SNP leader whose name I can never remember, so inept was he as leader of the SNP ! Two griping old men ! Why can’t they forget old animosities and work together with the people of Scotland towards Independence !

  51. Flower of Scotland says:

    O/t as above

    Still annoyed! We would never have been in the position of having the chance of voting for Independence if it hadn’t been for Alex Salmond and his SNP group . We certainly wouldn’t ever have had the chance with Gordon Wilson as Leader of the SNP! What is wrong with the man! Is his jealousy coming out or to do with his anti gay stance! Get over it!

  52. Vincent McDee says:

    I’ve suddenly realised the absence of a recurrent threat among the actual array of frighteners, which the establishment will now be free to inmediately execute, once the victorious Yes has been announced:


    Can visualise it perfectly. Time guards at the border stopping all passers-by, cars, vans, buses, even planes and demanding to check that the ("Tractor" - Ed)ous Scottish time is not smuggled into England.

    Remind me please, are they going to be earlier or later than us?

  53. hetty says:

    A friend told me today that he had read the D Express death threats story and that there is quite a big article inside which claims lots of folk have received threats of all kinds, evidence? How bizarre not to report serious threats to the police? Might it be that there is no evidence in which case they would wasting police time? Also it would be very easy for the bt camp to plant extremists just to up the game and make pro Indy folk look like thugs. I hope that the ‘debate’ can stay civilised and that bt are not so desperate as to try to whip up violence. Stranger things have happened as they say.

  54. lumilumi says:

    @ Paula Rose (6.22pm)

    Trainee journalists to cover the referendum. Hmmm…

    First the BBC in Scotland get rid of experienced journalists with professional integrity (Izzy Fraser moved somewhere invisible and early retirement for Derek Bateman springs to mind) and then they replace years of experience and a deep understanding of Scottish politics with young hopefuls desperate for a “media career”. Of course the young hopefuls will do anything, anything their boss and boss’s boss tells them just for a shot at a media career. Media careers are a diminishing resource in the era of the Internet.

    The world demands, needs more media content across all the different platforms. The problem is: who’s going to pay for it, and how much? Increasingly few organisations and institutions (and ordinary people!) want to pay a fair price for the ordinary media workers who provide the content. Star presenters command seven-figure sums and are “celebrated” but the bulk see their pay and conditions reduced.

    So it’s only logical that the BBC in Scotland replace well-paid, experienced, insightful – and, god forbid, opinionated – professional journalists with biddable, cheap trainees.

    Meanwhile, over here in the cyberuniverse, WoS readers have stumped up enough cash to let Rev Stu work full-time for another year. 😀

  55. Elaine says:

    @ Haggis
    LOL. I’m not sure how many lady voters would be ‘seduced’ to vote Yes by going down that route! (Alex Salmond promises to put out a calendar ‘Young Alex’…err, I’ll leave that story on how to secure the female vote to BBC Scotlandshire.)

    O/T Can we get Alan Bisset’s play fundraiser over the line please? Be great to have this staged at the Festival just before the referendum.

  56. Boorach says:

    @ Thepnr

    Respect my friend and thank you but no need for self-imposed exile. Keep on keeping on 🙂

  57. Flooplepoop says:

    @Robert Whyte 5:20pm
    Just ask your friend to read the responses to that article
    In some cases people do not seem to want to know the truth, they have made an ill judged conclusion on Independence through ignorance and are very hard to be move from that negative stance.

  58. King of Dál Riata says:

    ScotPulse is a trading name of STV.TV LTD, with its registered office at Pacific Quay, Glasgow, G51 1PQ.

    Yer thoughts?

  59. Arbroath 1320 says:

    Sorry for going O/T here but just seen this link from Pat Kane on Twitter. Make of it whatever you will. 😉

    From waht I’ve read over the last year it would appear Scottish government has been paying its ‘share’ of overseas embassies etc and getting nothing in return other than same embassies pushing anti Scottish independence guff.

  60. heedtracker says:

    That Forbes thing is weirdly awful but is it any different from all the rest of UKOK meeja? How are they all going to try and sell whatever devo Lamont and co offer in a couple of weeks time? If it is taxation like Scots PAYE, will they go apeshit as per or will they be just happy that the Union Jack can still maybe fly over Scotland?

  61. Ian Brotherhood says:

    @Thepnr –

    I echo what Boorach just said – hey mister, we’ve all done it, or very nearly done. You’re not the first and won’t be the last.

    I’m long past the point where I trust myself to respond to particular comments, or get involved in discussions on certain subjects, because they’re just too toxic and/or my position on them just isn’t considered ‘reasonable’. It’s not worth the grief.

    At the very least, if you’re determined to self-exile, please come over to Quarantine and have a gab there.

  62. Arbroath 1320 says:

    When it comes to a post YES discussion between the Scottish government and the government of rUK I wonder how long the discussions will last before this topic is brought up.

    I don’t recall any of our Better together ‘friends’ ever mentioning the need to remain together in order to keep this land. I’m guessing that they have forgotten all about Antarctica. Well bless their little cotton socks they were too busy stealing our 6,000 square miles of North Sea at the time. 😉

  63. HandandShrimp says:

    The Forbes article is a shocker. Economic analysis? Shabby, shoddy political nonsense. The cringe is strong with that one. It is actually such a shallow article I couldn’t even muster the interest to respond to it that and that Forbes web site is a complete mess, absolutely infested with annoying pop ups ads and God knows what.

  64. Albalha says:


    Isobel Fraser chose to stop dong TV and D Bateman chose to leave. Sorry if it punctures your theory but I am a fan of facts.

    Indeed BBC Scotland is in a bad way but let’s not get fiction in the way of facts.

  65. Arbroath 1320 says:

    I don’t know who the other 99 ‘big companies’ were that our favourite newspaper ‘spoke’ to but I think this might one of them.

  66. clochoderic says:


    I have just dropped off a batch of the YES newspapers at our local newsagents who has agreed to put them on the shelves with the usual dailies.

    As his is the only shop in the scheme it will be interesting to see what the uptake is like.

  67. Training Day says:


    Funny how Isobel’s decision to ‘leave’ TV coincided with her interview with Ian Davidson eh?

    Not meaning to puncture your world view of course..

  68. Flooplepoop says:

    @Robert Whyte 5:20pm
    Point your friend to the same website but different article

  69. Colin young says:

    Not sure if this is on topic but it is interesting regards US views on Scottish indy..

    Some humour too..

  70. Ian Brotherhood says:

    Has anyone bothered asking Scots how many of them would feel more confident about starting their own business post-Yes?

  71. lumilumi says:

    @ albalha

    I didn’t want to come across as some conspiracy theorist, and I know nothing of the personal circumstances of Isabel Fraser or Derek Bateman (apart from the fact that Derek took early retirement, as he has stated in his blog) but it’s very convenienent for the BBC in Scotland that “heavyweights” like them can be replaced by biddable and much cheaper trainees.

    All good wishes to the trainees and their future careers but something as important as the Scottish indy referendum shouldn’t be handled by new recruits but by journalists with experience and integrity.

    I’m looking at this from outwith Scotland and the UK, and my point of media organisations shedding well-paid, experienced staff to take on trainees and “free-lancers” (who, of course, have no job or pay security) happens even in small independent countries. It’s a sad fact of the times.

  72. Colin young says:

    @Ian Brotherhood.
    Are there any places left on 4th april ?

  73. Ian Brotherhood says:

    @Colin –

    ‘Space’ isn’t an issue – I only ever asked for ‘names’ to get a rough idea of numbers. Nae tickets, nae cash changing hands – it’s just an informal social. All welcome. There’s plenty of room – hope you can make it.

  74. Colin young says:

    Thanks for reply, see you on the 4th..

  75. cynicalHighlander says:

    OT: Scotland and the Union: Can Britain be Rebooted?

  76. Marcia says:

    At the Fosis (Islamic Student) debate in Glasgow this evening the results tweeted were;

    fosisindydebate at the beginning the vote is 52% Yes; 41% No and 7% undecided #indyref At end: Yes 68%; No 28% & Undecided 4%.

    – Anas Sarwar MP
    – Humza Yousaf MSP
    – Shabana Naz
    – Yvonne Ridley

  77. AlexMci says:

    @ianbrotherhood, tried posting on quarantine , just keeps crashing the page. I’m a definate for 4th April, but if you get the Quarter Gill thing happening on Friday , we’ll I could be persuaded to pop in for that.

  78. Albalha says:


    Why not just accept the reality re Isobel Fraser and the choice she made. If in doubt call her up yourself and ask.

    I know there are serious problems at the BBC in Scotland but frankly the nonsense that is sometimes peddled on here is irritating.

    Newsnet Scotland bang on about the ‘fact’ she left TV after the ID interview it’s not true.

    I don’t want to live in an independent Scotland that is based on gossip. Had quite enough of spin to do me a lifetime.

  79. Ian Brotherhood says:

    @AlexMci –

    Good stuff.

    Not many takers, yet, for the poss Fri gigs in Quarter Gill, but if we build it, they will come…all that stuff. It’ll happen.

  80. AlexMci says:

    Ah we’ll, I will play it by ear then mate, if it happens I will pop in.

  81. ScotFree1320 says:

    @Arbroath 1320
    In 2012 there was a consultation about the referendum which included the question of the franchise. He cannot say he was not asked.

    In the Edinburgh Agreement, Mr Cameron & Mr Salmond agreed & signed up to the principle that the Scottish Parliament would determine the franchise. The Scottish Independence Referendum (Franchise) Bill is now an Act of the Scottish Parliament.

    At worst his case will reach the UK Supreme Court. There I expect that it will be dismissed on the same logic as Axa’s case: The Scottish Independence Referendum (Franchise) Act is an expression of the ‘Considered Will of the People of Scotland,’ as expressed by the parliament to which they have lent their sovereignty. In Scots Law the people are sovereign (as established in the Claim of Right 1689 and Declaration of Arbroath 1320). Scots Law was protected ‘for all time’ in the Treaty of Union and ‘for all time’ means just that, as ruled in the case of MacCormick v Lord Advocate, 1953.

    It seems to me that this guy has more much time & money than sense and that his lawyer could be exploiting that for all it’s worth! 🙂

  82. Flooplepoop says:

    Everyone should go onto the BBC website and fill in their Survey, you have lots of opportunities to fill in blanks mentioning Bias in Referendum debate towards the No vote.

  83. Dave McEwan Hill says:

    Can anybody give me a link to Macwhirter’s article in today’s Sunday Herald so I can send it round?

  84. Robert Whyte says:

    Thanks Flooplepoop, I have posted links but it still feels im banging my head against a brick wall.

  85. Training Day says:


    You and I agree on much. I recall an exchange where we concurred that getting over the line in the form of a Yes vote was all that mattered, and that we’ d sort out many areas of disagreement thereafter.

    Your consistent defence of the BBC however, is enough to make Derek Bateman blush. It is misplaced, embarrassing, and ultimately risible. Do not treat those of us who can still use our eyes and ears to good effect as fools. You despise spin, you say. Then wake up to what the BBC is.

  86. ronnie anderson says:

    @Ian Brotherhood is Mc Ginns still on for the 4th April

  87. Albalha says:


    I am making one simple point Isobel Fraser was not hounded off TV because of the ID interview, now if that fact is ‘risible’ etc so be it. Like I say check it out at source.

  88. Arbroath 1320 says:

    Sorry for going O/T but just seen this tweet and just had to pass it on.

    We were all discussing recently the probability of YES Scotland having or not having the money to pay for billboard advertising. Well folks ‘read ’em and weep, with joy!’ 🙂

  89. Lobeydosser says:

    @Ronnie Anderson.
    Just been over in quarantine and the venue has been changed to the Counting House just off George Sq. 7/7,30pm. Hope to see you there.

  90. Training Day says:


    It’s not so much that your point about Isobel is risible, it’s your defence of the BBC in general that is risible. But if you have inside knowledge of Isobel’s decision and can evidence it I’ll happily acknowledge it as something that does not contribute to the overall view that the BBC is operating as a propagandist for Westminster.

  91. Arbroath 1320 says:

    Here’s something for those of you who follow the excellent reviews of Anas Sarwar.

    Humza v Anas @ #fosisindydebate @beginning the vote is 52% Yes; 41% No &7% undecided #indyref At end: Yes 68%; No 28% & Undecided 4%

    Oops! It would appear that Sarwar has learnt nothing from the beating he took from Nicola Sturgeon a wee while ago. 🙂

  92. caz-m says:

    @Arbroath 1320

    Looks good, you got any links for that Arbroath.

  93. Cindie says:

    @Dave MacEwan Hill, @Marcia

    This is link for the mobile view, which doesn’t seem to be behind a paywall. It’s an excellent article, in fact the Herald was very good today. I actually went and bought the paper today, it was the last one left in the shop, there were large piles of every other paper though, wonder if that’s a coincidence? 😀

  94. BadBurns says:

    @balgayboy your decisions are your own, butt is recommend that you don’t cancel that sky subscription just yet… Sky is a major Scottish employer (somewhere around 1%). Don’t mix up the editorial decisions (which I agree, seem to share standard London groupthink) of one small part and the talking heads (who tend to be London facing journos, and who’s opinions are their own) with the platform and the people who keep it flying, if you’ve ever phoned Sky, it’s very likely you heard a Scottish accent answering. Sky is already multi-national and will simply adjust operations to suit. Assuming of course that any future Scottish government doesn’t make Scotland a more expensive place to do business, the same as is currently true with their Irish operation, not to mention Sky Italia etc. in the wider group. Follow Sky news on twitter and call out the bullshit as you find it. As a commercial company, Sky respond to and adjust to the opinions of their customers.

  95. Arbroath 1320 says:

    Sorry caz it was a tweet from Christina McKelvie, I couldn’t resist ‘advertising’ the great debating skills of Mr Sarwar. 😉

  96. caz-m says:


    Why is Scotland shrinking on the Sky weather map.

    It’s not as small as the BBC map, but the closer we get to the referendum, the weather maps on both Sky and the BBC will eventually show Scotland as a tiny head on top of those broad English shoulders.

    It’s as if someone is gradually letting the air out of the top of a balloon. We’re shrinking man. We’re shrinking…

  97. ronnie anderson says:

    @lobbydosser, thanksjust accured to me to go to Q/T.

  98. OldHackD says:

    I know I’m being pedantic, and maybe my ageing brain is playing tricks, but it seems that in Daily Mail world, there can in fact be more than 100% in poll results.

    Reading from top left, clockwise, the polls seem to add up to: 100.1%, 100.1%, 100.5% and 100.2%

    Is this some statistical method I am unaware of?

  99. caz-m says:

    Brilliant apt song by Muse called “Uprising”

  100. jingly jangly says:

    Dave McEwan Hill

    This is link to the McWhister Sunday Herald article today, sorry as others have noticed is not working properly any more, if you get the dread you have accessed your five stores, go to private browsing and you will see it ok, on Windows press Ctrl/shift P to open a private browsing window

  101. caz-m says:

    Now read the lyrics to the above song “Uprising”

    Paranoia is in bloom,
    The PR transmissions will resume,
    They’ll try to push drugs that keep us all dumbed down,
    And hope that we will never see the truth around
    (So come on)
    Another promise, another scene,
    Another packaged lie to keep us trapped in greed,
    And all the green belts wrapped around our minds,
    And endless red tape to keep the truth confined
    (So come on)

    They will not force us,
    They will stop degrading us,
    They will not control us,
    We will be victorious
    (So come on)

    Interchanging mind control,
    Come let the revolution take it’s toll,
    If you could flick a switch and open your third eye,
    You’d see that
    We should never be afraid to die
    (So come on)

    Rise up and take the power back,
    It’s time the fat cats had a heart attack,
    You know that their time’s coming to an end,
    We have to unify and watch our flag ascend

    They will not force us,
    They will stop degrading us,
    They will not control us,
    We will be victorious
    So come on

    They will not force us,
    They will stop degrading us,
    They will not control us,
    We will be victorious

  102. Arbroath 1320 says:

    Just got an update caz.

    Here’s a photo from tonight’s debate I quoted the poll results to earlier. The debate was at the Federation of Student Islamic Societies.

    When I looked at the photo I got the feeling that someone was feeling rather cold. 🙂

    I’ll re-post the votes here.

    Humza v Anas @ #fosisindydebate @beginning the vote is 52% Yes; 41% No &7% undecided #indyref At end: Yes 68%; No 28% & Undecided 4%

  103. caz-m says:

    Cheers Arbroath

    What do you think of that Muse song and the lyrics.

    It’s brill isn’t it.

  104. Arbroath 1320 says:

    Aye it certainly says a lot about our struggle to fight for what is our right to run our country our way and not be run by a greedy overlordship such as Westminster. 😉

  105. Flower of Scotland says:

    O/t Sorry! What and where is quarantine?

  106. Arbroath 1320 says:

    Sorry to be going O/T AGAIN! Damn I seem to be doing this a lot tonight. 😉

    Apparently, according to Stu’s bestest mate Duncan Hothersall the recent nuclear accident at Dounreay is nothing to worry about.

    Sometimes nuclear incidents occur which we need to worry about. This was not one. Responsible government should differentiate between them.

    Now we all know, thanks to dear Duncan, what exactly Labour think about nuclear ‘accidents.’

  107. Jack Beck says:

    Ah – so Duncan thinks this is a responsible government?

  108. lumilumi says:

    Sorry to come back so late but Vincent McDee’s contribution @ 6.49pm 9.3.2014 about TIME really gets at me.

    What is time? What is noon?

    It’s when Sun is at zenith, its highest as viewed from Earth. That is an astronomical fact. Don’t take my word for it, see any standard work on Earth science or astronomy. (Of course, if you, like a tenth of Americans, believe that the Earth is flat and all this roundness thing is just a conspiracy to discredit god’s creation… Well, hell mend you.)

    How different peoples choose to divide the time between one noon and another is immaterial. The westerners have divided that time into 24 hours and today the world mostly follows that. We might disagre on details like 5pm/17.00/1700hrs but we’re all on the same hymn sheet.

    Stoopid little Englanders think that selfish Scots are keeping them from light summer evenings. I bang my head on that wall of ignorance.

    The UK, including Scotland, is a long country north-south. It is a geographical fact that Scottish summers are lighter and winters darker than those of the SE of England. Anybody taught any basic geography at school would know that, right? Right?

    Some brainfarts in southern England want to stay with “summer time” the year round. Do they not realise that they’re actually advocating abandoning the proud British Empire time, Greenwich Mean Time, to this day the basis of the global time system? To move clocks to comply with Europe.

    No, they just want lighter evenings.

    The simple solution is of course not to move clocks but to move standard working time. Don’t work 9-5, work 8-4 and you have an extra hour in the evening.

    I hate all this messing about with “time” and obfuscating the planetary connection. I want noon, 12 o’clock, to be when the Sun is at zenith, wherever I might be on the planet.

  109. geeo says:

    I love polls, so accurate and reflective of the views of the nation, so the straw poll taken in my house today should please us all greatly.

    It would seem to some on the face of it that these are in fact great results, but i have to say that unfortunately there was a solitary dont know/dont care which had to be sorted out with a bit of “project fear” tough love to maintain the 100% Yes.

    I am almost ashamed to say that my young grand daughter was refused her favourite teddy bear until she gurgled her approval for me as custodian of her proxy vote (which after careful consideration was a Yes).

    Now while I must confess there is no grand daughter, I thought I would highlight how easy it is to make stuff up.

    Can I get one of these new trainee media jobs do you think ?

    Every day BT present another reason to vote YES, do not let them down.

  110. Roll_On_2014 says:

    @Flower of Scotland

    Quarantine: This is a thread that is entered via a menu on the Wings Home page. Scroll down to the Wings Banner and the Ghandi saying ‘First they ignore you… ’

    Immediately above that banner are the menu items under the heading ‘Zany Comedy Relief’ Off-topic (Quarantine) is next to the last item.

  111. Empty barrels make the most noise says:

    Duncan joined the wrong team and constantly has to justify that decision. Self harming. Not healthy.

  112. gordoz says:

    Arbroath 1320

    Is it just me or does that not look a bit like a hand gesture on the wall behind Anas Sarwar; how ironic?

  113. Flower of Scotland says:

    O/t @Roll On 2014

    Thanks , found quarantine!

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