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Wings Over Scotland

A sense of proportion

Posted on February 28, 2014 by

Standard Life, about which the entire Scottish media got incredibly excited about yesterday when they made a rather unremarkable statement which could be spun as a threat to leave Scotland if it voted Yes, employs around 5000 people north of the border. The aviation business, on the other hand, underpins the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of Scots. Does it have a view on the subject?

That’s Willie Walsh, head of International Airlines Group (which owns British Airways), responding to a rather loaded question from BBC News by saying he’d regard independence as “a positive development”. That’s pretty interesting in itself, given that airlines are much more important to the Scottish economy than one insurance company, yet we have a strange premonition that it won’t attract the same headlines.

But it ties into politics a bit more directly than that too.

A week ago today, the Herald carried a story entitled “Labour leader facing revolt by MPs”. Surprisingly it turned out not to be about the Labour leader Ed Miliband, but branch manager Johann Lamont.

“Scottish Labour leader Johann Lamont is facing opposition to her devolution plans from English MPs within her own party.

A number of Labour MPs are understood to have protested against proposals to give Holyrood control over air passenger duty (APD).”

Air Passenger Duty is worth about £3bn in the UK a year, and as we can’t find any specific stats for Scotland we’ll just attribute a standard 8.4% share to give us a very rough ballpark figure of £250 million. That’s very small beer in terms of the Scottish budget (somewhere in the region of 0.4%), yet even that has caused a “revolt” among Labour MPs unwilling to grant Holyrood that much power.

In today’s papers, Douglas Alexander is making his bi-monthly “significant intervention” (copyright: Kenny Farquharson of the Scotsman) in the independence debate, insisting that Labour must pledge “radical” new powers for Scotland after a No vote. His speech (which as far as we can tell is basically identical to the last one) calls on the party to “act boldly”.

But the reality was made plain a week ago. Faced with giving Scotland even fairly tiddly and trivial powers which might actually make even a slight difference to anything, UK Labour shrieks and stamps its feet angrily.

It’s in that context that the party’s tentative proposals to devolve income tax should be viewed. If they’re ever put on the table at all (and that’s pretty doubtful), it’ll be precisely because they’ll be useless.

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103 to “A sense of proportion”

  1. Macart says:

    Oh Jeez, that lad will be hauled into the DGs office for a thorough beating later. 😀

    Loved the matter of fact delivery from Walsh.

    First class.

  2. orica macdonald says:

    tut tut, Willie Walsh drops the ball.

  3. mogabee says:

    I watched that piece with Willie Walsh this morning and thought to myself:


    This will get as tedious as all the other scary tales we’ve had before, as bosses of major companies are prodded for their views on Scottish Independence.

    Can’t wait to see if Johann can rein in “her” MP’s enough to make a policy decision over future tax etc. following a no vote.

  4. Gary says:

    The opposition/protests/splits are entirely manufactured in the attempt to lend credibility to Mrs Lamont. Dismal failure. Cynical attempt to make voters think that Devo Max will be granted if they vote no. BT supporters actually believe this. If they wanted to grant powers they’d have done so. If they wanted to have Devo Max as an option, they would not have specifically removed it from the ballot paper.

  5. HandandShrimp says:


    Dropped or booted straight into the groin of the BBC interviewer?

    Douglas alexander and significant intervention are oxymorons. That chap could speak for two days non stop and still not actually say anything. That said Wendy was a lot more capable than any they have let near the reins of power in recent years and she did say something and she still seems to be in the wilderness fo doing so. I surprised to find she is still an MSP.

  6. Annibale says:

    If devolved income tax should appear, it will be because it is destructive rather than useless, and will be accompanied by a cut to the block grant to force the SG to raise income tax.

    This in turn will lead to dissatisfaction with the SG, and, hopefully as far as SLAB are concerned, back on the gravy train for them!

  7. Schiehallion! Schiehallion! says:

    Full BBC “marks” to the numptie presenter for immediately deciding not to ask for further information on that unexpected but fascinating point of view.

    The BBC is despicable.

  8. bookie from hell says:

    Alexander Calls for Radical new powers

    London calling (the clash)

  9. TheGreatBaldo says:

    Could someone send/scan the Rev a scan of Page 34 of todays P&J.

    Executive of CNR (Canadian Natural Resources) puts the boot into the way Westminister is running the North Sea.

  10. HandandShrimp says:

    The BBC is despicable

    A real journalist would have said “now this interesting and pursued it” They don’t do real journalism in the BBC anymore. Talking heads that stick to the script and look utterly terrified if journey goes off the agreed path.

  11. James123 says:

    Just checked the BBC website fully expecting the headline “BA backs Scottish independence” to be emblazoned over the page yet it is nowhere to be seen, very strange, must some kind of glitch. Ah well, sure it will be up there soon.

  12. Jim T says:

    There was a lad called (I think) Grant Buchan on BBC GMS around about 0725-0735 representing the views of the Scottish Engineering companies and when asked what he thought about the SL “position” he was less than forthcoming with either support or ridicule. Tried to tread a middle path but ended up sounding a bit negative.

    Once it’s available on-line I’ll track down the segment and post details.

  13. caz-m says:

    BBC NEWS 24 have already cut out the part of the interview were Willie Walsh thinks Scottish Independence would be a positive thing.

    Sky News have done the same.

    Blatant Bias anti-independence reporting.

  14. inDEEpendant says:

    inDEEpendant says:
    28 February, 2014 at 8:13 am
    As I posted this before you had managed to do your blog Rev Stu I thought I would repost it on the right page.

    Keep up the great work.

    Sorry O/T but just watching Business interview on BBC Breakfast time with Willie Walsh CEO of IAG ( B.A / Iberia )
    BBC lackie finishes with gleefull prompt about Standard Life and asks Willie what his take is?

    Willie says they will still fly to Scotland and that it would be a boost for his airlines if Scotland were to be Independant as the SG would bring down the crazy landing / fuel duty tax.
    Cue STUNNED SILENCE!!!!!, paper shuffling by interviewer as he realises what an own goal he has just scored.

    The two on the sofa are equally stunned and look at the interviewer as if he is a condemned man for going off the company line.

    Ya DANCER!!!!!

    p.s. I bet it gets pulled.

  15. Jim T says:

    I really must develop a better short term memory …

    It was a Brian Buchan chief exec of Scottish Engineering and the interview starts at 1:41:57 into the programme.

  16. Clootie says:

    We must “act boldly” and keep slurping at the trough.

  17. iheartscotland says:

    I suppose we can’t cope with the extra revenue because we are not genetically pre disposed to dealing with our ‘sorta promised pocket money’ like adults (thanks jola, the gift that just keeps giving)

  18. bjsalba says:

    I was steaming mad at GMS and wanting to hit something hard, so I went into the kitchen and flattened two cutlets ready for filling (with Haggis Onion mix) for turkey Balmoral.

    I accomplished it in record time and wielding the rolling pin with vigour made me feel much better!

  19. James123 says:

    Here is the page on the BBC website regarding BA, no mention whatsoever of Walsh’s views on Scottish independence.

  20. G H Graham says:

    If Scotland votes NO, there will be absolutely no new meaningful devolved powers coming to Holyrood.

    If Labour won’t even support competition by Scottish airports to attract more business/tourism travel by reducing the costs to them to get here, they are unlikely to support more complex matters such as income/corporation tax.

    It is shocking that passengers coming to Scotland via London have to pay air duty tax twice. We are not better together at all.

  21. heedtracker says:

    So this week alone the BBC in Scotland or England will NOT report Standard & Poor’s triple A rate for Scotland or this economic endorsement by the CEO of the World’s Favourite Airline. Its time for the Holyrood to act. Get the idiots that think they own Pacific Quay back infront of the Scottish government now.

  22. Grouse Beater says:

    Checked the Blair McDougall interview – first time I’ve seen him in the full fat flesh.

    If I was casting a Mafia movie he’d be third banana from the left. He has no leadership qualities. He doesn’t give an impression of sincerity and concern, more da family agenda is wat counts da most … Tony.

    Her also exaggerates – an exaggeration is a lie.

    A good thing the campaign has unearthed and made plain to the public is the non-existnt amnd the counter-productive policies of the Labour party in that they don’t actually relate to Scotland in any meaningful way.

    Their entire argument amounts to this: devolution is all Scotland needs. They have no vision at all, not to offer.

    This flies in the face of the majority of people demanding greater powers. The SNP must be one of the few political parties on the planet advocating greater empowerment for its nation’s population.

    SNP – change for the better.
    Labour – change but it’s called abolition.

  23. jimsie says:

    Does Douglas Alexander have JoLas permission to make these sorties into Scotland in order to make his profound pronouncements?No? is she not the boss in Scotland?.Just who is running the Labour party in Scotland?

    I understand that Douglas Alexander played the bugle in the Boys Brigade.Well practised in sounding off then.

  24. dodecostanza says:

    O/T What a comeback from Paolo Nutini, check out the lyrics and the imagery, and the speech at the end.
    He’s definitely on our side….Who needs Bowie!

  25. Greannach says:

    I suppose Willie Walsh was off-message because he knows that places other than the UK exist, like Germany, France, Belgium and Italy, some of which BA fly into and out of, even though they are in the scary situation of being independent outside the greatest union known to history. Funnily enough, the sky hasn’t collapsed in on them.

  26. Boorach says:

    @ Rev Stu

    Apologies for o/t so early but have just donated £20 as contribution to Ronnie’s badge but couldn’t find anywhere to associate it on indigogo

  27. Kev says:

    Ofcourse, if he had instead said independence would be a negative development it would be headlining the news every hour today. I honestly now can’t remember when the BBC last showed any positive comments on independence, if at all…Its almost becoming like the state media of North Korea, but at least they try to paint a positive picture of their country!

  28. Lee Rogers says:

    A refreshing touch of realism from a non-aligned business leader. 🙂

  29. MajorBloodnok says:

    GMS this morning after 0800 news: Douglas Alexander was surprised to get a bit of sceptical questioning from Hayley Miller (I think it was).

    It was pointed out that he was just SNP bashing and surely Ian Davidson amongst other MPs were against any more powers (understatement). It was pretty much nailed that this was all about Labour appearing to offer something.

    He actually said that he felt that Labour had lost it’s way a bit, hastily changing that to ‘before 2011’ so that sticks it into Ian Gray then.

    He was also challenged when he said it was a ‘fact’ that we wouldn’t be able to use the pound after independence.

    Still, the BBC needs to ask – if more powers are proposed a) why isn’t there a referendum question on this then b) why are you leaving it so late to propose them and c) how will you actually implement them?

    Also, no mention of Standard Life in the GMS news bulletin at 0800 at all.

    Overall, I’m glad I tuned in for a change.

  30. ronnie anderson says:

    This is going to be the norm, big business threatening to pull

    out of Indy Scotland,ie political affiliation,s,high profile

    shareholders ect,we going to see this Mth after Mth.

    I might change my mind on Indy if the Olde Worlde Sweete Shoppe

    threatens to leave.

    I could,t live without my weekly sweete fix,Mmmm Pear drops,

    Lemon drops,licorice twists, ( noo they give they us aulder

    yins added benifit )Mint imperials,( every G/Wain likes a

    mint kiss )but I most defiantly vote no, if they take away

    ma HUMBUGS. Bhah Bhah.

    Morning all another day at the pit face, an that,s sayin

    something as a non miner, but we,re being treated like

    Minors. Bhah Humbug. ( an its no even C/Mas )

  31. Molly says:

    Last week, according to the Evening Times, a consortium including Strathclyde pension fund and (according to ET)supported by Gordon Mathieson (Glasgow Council) and Mark McMillan ( E Renfrewshire council) wanted to buy Glasgow Airport.

    Do you think we should all email Gordon to ask , does he support the transfer of Airport duty?
    Or does he want to the consortium to own the airport but but leave the duty still to be paid to the treasury?

  32. Doug Daniel says:

    I’m puzzled by that Daily Record article. It puts “act boldly” in quotation marks, which implies that he will specifically say those words. Yet they also print his speech in full, and he doesn’t say it. Interesting, huh?

    Note also that he doesn’t mention a single power that he would devolve. The entire speech is just his usual “my dad was a minister and I grew up in Paisley” pish, leading up to a single line:

    Further devolution of tax powers could strengthen the accountability of the Scottish Parliament, which today raises only 12 per cent of its expenditure.

    Then it’s back to the usual pish, including a quote from a Rabbi, blatantly intimating towards his self-perceived role as Scotland’s greatest thinker.

    Douglas Alexander in one word: arsehole.

    If Willie Walsh doesn’t get the same media coverage as Standard Life were getting (and he won’t), it proves once again that the media is biased against independence.

  33. msean says:

    Looking forward to what slogan/ keyword is used this month.Surely the word ‘deeply’ must be on the agenda this month,hasn’t been used for a wee while.

  34. Calgacus MacAndrews says:

    @Greannach says:
    I suppose Willie Walsh was off-message because he knows that places other than the UK exist, like Germany, France, Belgium and Italy

    Are these the places where the “foreign”* people live?

    * (c) Margaret Curran

  35. Desimond says:

    Give it 48 hours and somewhere an un-named Government source will be quoted as saying Airport Duty is due a review UK WIDE!

  36. Desimond says:

    @Doug Daniel

    Well put and even more enjoyable was hearing your words spoken in a Victor McDade from Still Game accent. I cant read the word ‘Arsehole’ without thinking on Victors critique of John Wayne.

  37. balgayboy says:

    Noted and laughed at the interviewers facial expression at the very end of the video. It’s like “oh f**k” that response was not in the script.

  38. memaw says:

    We have just attended a Senior School Referendum debate in our district. It was dire. The 2 pupils on the panel came out with three astonishing statements: one young man said, in response to a question about a No vote,” When we vote No the
    Barnett Formula will be increased and there will be more powers devolved to Scotland. Everyone will feel the benefit.”

    The next pupil, on the subject of the benefits of the Union said,”I definitely want to stay part of the United Kingdom because I was abroad very recently and nobody knew where Scotland was but everyone knew where England was.” He also said he didn’t want to lose the right to a British passport

    A gentleman from the floor in response to a question about whether Scotland was a Nation or not said that of course we are a Nation and went on to say something about our history. The pupils in the audience started to snigger and a boy on the panel said,” I am not interested in history, that is all in the past. I am only interested in my future.”
    I had already made a complete idiot of myself by trying to refute EVERYTHING said by the Lib Dem and Tory members of the panel but when I heard the last comment about our history meaning nothing I got up and left.

    I could weep.

  39. Dave McEwan Hill says:

    Could Standard Life be scared of a more rigorous financial services regime under a Scottish Government.

    Plenty of evidence that many in Scotland would be happy for Standard Life and RBS to f*ck off to London and take their dubious money fiddling practices and huge debts with them while we concentrate on building up a productive Scottish economy.

    Looking forward to what Iain Mcwhirter has to say in tomorrow’s Sunday Herald. He certainly got pretty aggressive on Newsnight

  40. heedtracker says:

    Walsh and British Airways know that Scotland has Prestwick sitting waiting for development and most Scottish airports are badly let down by decades of Scottish transport infrastructure poor planning and underfunding. Oil capital Aberdeen Airport has never had a rail link from the city or the whole of the North East, just the odd bus or taxi. Labour in Scotland have more than horrific social inequality to answer for.

  41. john king says:

    Bsjalba says
    “I was steaming mad at GMS and wanting to hit something hard, so I went into the kitchen and flattened two cutlets ready for filling (with Haggis Onion mix) for turkey Balmoral.”

    Wow erudite political comment AND cookery tip all in one post,
    only on wings 🙂

  42. Jason F says:

    There seems to be a tactic with these questions to drop them in at the end, so that once they have the quote – hopefully, for them, a negative one – they can cut and run without bothering to get a bit more detail.

  43. Ian Brotherhood says:

    What’s the bottom line here?

    Does ‘Scotland’ have to tart itself up to catch the eye of jet-setting bankers and their buddies in the ‘ratings agencies’?

    Do we take ourselves along to the global market and stand there, grinning, hoping that they’ll come along and check our teeth?

    We have a highly educated, versatile and savvy workforce – if anything, we should be able to pick and choose which companies we’re prepared to work for, not t’other way round. And if we’re too ‘uppity’ for their liking? Tough. We create our own businesses to compete with theirs.

    The prospect of the boot being on the other foot is what frightens the bejaysus out of them, and they’re right to be afraid – UKplc going down the lavvy doesn’t suit them one wee bit.

  44. annie says:

    Dodecostnza – I remember a few years back when Paulo was first starting he got a gig with one of the Rolling Stones “last ever tours” and apparently Mick Jagger, when he met him and heard his accent said if he had known he was Scottish he would not have hired him. Good job he was talented.

  45. ronnie anderson says:

    Did anybody see that interview on This Week, with Pat Kane.

    Andrew Neil having to ask Pat what World business register he

    referring to. I don,t think they expected a musician / actor

    to be that informed. Weil done Pat,yer ma Manny.

    An you don,t need tae apologize, tae a Airdrionian,as

    a Coatbridgeian, kettle,s on fur you any time Pat.

  46. balgayboy says:

    I reckon that SL and probably many other financial companies are preparing for a move to the City of London on the basis that there are plans that it will become an regulation free independent world financial centre outside the EU once all the EU/UK financial negotiations collapse and an UK OUT vote in 2017.

  47. Ghengis D'Midgies says:

    Have you noticed how much sickening fawning there is by the BBC and other MSM over Douglas Alexander?

    He is the Manchurian candidate. (ref film), but in this case he will be London’s stooge in Scotland in 2016 when he tries to become our First Minister. If however we are still trapped in the UK then he will carry on with his shout in the trough in London.

  48. moray loon says:

    Interesting addition to the debate by Willie Walsh but let’s put it in perspective. No one on either side of the debate believes that air traffic volumes will vary much as a result of the referendum decision. Consequently there is little impact on a post independent Scotland.

    On the other hand, should SL or another big financial service company leave, then that is worrying as it effects jobs and tax revenues in Scotland. We’ve got to face up to it as a real threat and accord it the importance it deserves. Clearly monetary union is important for the financial services industry and is it any wonder rUK are against it if in doing so it benefits from the flight of businesses such a situation will potentially bring. Can’t really blame rUK for that.

  49. Macart says:

    Yeah, Douglas Alexander and further powers…

    This can be summed up in one word.


    There is no devolution journey. Its a myth, a mirage, a sop to keep restless natives appeased. FFS if anyone swallows this devolution is the only way guff they thoroughly deserve to have Alexander as a representative. Devolution = power retained.

    If people honestly want more accountability from their governance and they honestly want more say in what shape that governance takes? Then there is only one (singular) sure fired way for that to happen.

    Independence. Your government, your powers, your say, on your doorstep.

  50. Testing says:

    Win some, lose some

    Gain much more than you lose.

    Aberdeen Airport terminal is at the opposite side of runway from the railway station. Crazy. The Terminal could still be rebuilt to beside the railway station. It is an hour+ taxi/bus journey at busy times , into the City Centre.

    Glasgow Airport has the best airport bus service in the world. Every 10 mins. 20mins into the City centre even at busy times. Reasonable fare.

  51. Desimond says:

    That Chaplin Speech in full…I know its long for a post, but its truly wonderful and so very apt for Wings:

    The Great Dictator’s Speech
    I’m sorry, but I don’t want to be an emperor. That’s not my business. I don’t want to rule or conquer anyone. I should like to help everyone – if possible – Jew, Gentile – black man – white. We all want to help one another. Human beings are like that. We want to live by each other’s happiness – not by each other’s misery. We don’t want to hate and despise one another. In this world there is room for everyone. And the good earth is rich and can provide for everyone. The way of life can be free and beautiful, but we have lost the way.

    Greed has poisoned men’s souls, has barricaded the world with hate, has goose-stepped us into misery and bloodshed. We have developed speed, but we have shut ourselves in. Machinery that gives abundance has left us in want. Our knowledge has made us cynical. Our cleverness, hard and unkind. We think too much and feel too little. More than machinery we need humanity. More than cleverness we need kindness and gentleness. Without these qualities, life will be violent and all will be lost….

    The aeroplane and the radio have brought us closer together. The very nature of these inventions cries out for the goodness in men – cries out for universal brotherhood – for the unity of us all. Even now my voice is reaching millions throughout the world – millions of despairing men, women, and little children – victims of a system that makes men torture and imprison innocent people.

    To those who can hear me, I say – do not despair. The misery that is now upon us is but the passing of greed – the bitterness of men who fear the way of human progress. The hate of men will pass, and dictators die, and the power they took from the people will return to the people. And so long as men die, liberty will never perish. …..

    Soldiers! don’t give yourselves to brutes – men who despise you – enslave you – who regiment your lives – tell you what to do – what to think and what to feel! Who drill you – diet you – treat you like cattle, use you as cannon fodder. Don’t give yourselves to these unnatural men – machine men with machine minds and machine hearts! You are not machines! You are not cattle! You are men! You have the love of humanity in your hearts! You don’t hate! Only the unloved hate – the unloved and the unnatural! Soldiers! Don’t fight for slavery! Fight for liberty!

    In the 17th Chapter of St Luke it is written: “the Kingdom of God is within man” – not one man nor a group of men, but in all men! In you! You, the people have the power – the power to create machines. The power to create happiness! You, the people, have the power to make this life free and beautiful, to make this life a wonderful adventure.

    Then – in the name of democracy – let us use that power – let us all unite. Let us fight for a new world – a decent world that will give men a chance to work – that will give youth a future and old age a security. By the promise of these things, brutes have risen to power. But they lie! They do not fulfil that promise. They never will!

    Dictators free themselves but they enslave the people! Now let us fight to fulfil that promise! Let us fight to free the world – to do away with national barriers – to do away with greed, with hate and intolerance. Let us fight for a world of reason, a world where science and progress will lead to all men’s happiness. Soldiers! in the name of democracy, let us all unite!

  52. Ian Brotherhood says:

    @memaw –

    Where was this?

  53. ronnie anderson says:

    @Handandshrimp,9.53, re Wendy Alexander, she is not a current


  54. Barontorc says:

    Yes, there you have it in black and white from Memaw@10.49 – these youngsters, no doubt who could be drafted into a UK war machine if matters arose, have been so poorly informed and deliberately confused by the education authority, head teacher and teaching staff at their school, they don’t know which way is up!

    As a succeeding ‘fully UK nation. after NO – God forbid – these manipulators will feel ‘terribly pwoud’ of what they have managed to do. Whereas, I would jail the whole bloody lot of them for child abuse on a grand scale.

  55. CameronB says:

    For those of you who insist that you watched an interview with Willie Walsh this morning, where he was positive re. the prospects of an independent Scotland. You didn’t.

    I don’t mean to be alarmist, but these are typical of the hallucinations common to late-stage carriers of the iVIRUS. This is a serious risk to the British public and must be stamped out at all costs.

    If you feel yourself becoming delusional about self-determination, lie down, do not engage with the debate and most importantly, isolate yourself from the community. Family and friends are at greatest risk at this time and should be alert to the dangers posed to their value systems and financial health.

    Remember, iVIRUS carriers may seem like ordinary members of the community, but they must be isolated for the greater good, because we are all Better Together.

  56. john king says:

    “Checked the Blair McDougall interview – first time I’ve seen him in the full fat flesh.”

    Did you drop out of the sky?
    no really!

  57. Dave McEwan Hill says:

    The Standard Life statement is playing two ways and I detect some uncertainty in the media about where it is going.

  58. Lochside says:

    Memaw, what school was this?

  59. heedtracker says:

    When Alexander gets squeezed even gently he flops like a used one. Mind his down with the kids thing about how the kids are networked so they don’t want Scottish democracy and wont be able to watch Barcelona play if they vote Yes jibberish?

  60. Nuada says:

    Probably significant that Willie Walsh is Irish; he doesn’t have a nervous breakdown followed by a schizophrenic rampage through a secondary school with an AK47 at the thought of not being part of the United Kingdom.

  61. Andy MacNicol says:

    BBC News channel has just showed the clip of Willie Walsh.

  62. MajorBloodnok says:


    Yes, he seemed unnerved by the fairly gentle questioning he was getting on GMS this morning. That’s the problem with these intellectual types, no backbone…er… perhaps his system is rejecting the gene therapy that was supposed to allow him to make political decisions. Genotypical.

  63. heedtracker says: Here he is with his the “kids have it all in something BetterTogether bigger”, like watching Motherwell and Barca. Empty speeches puffed by BetterTogetherBBC then one good question shows him to be what he really is, another Labour in Scotland nonentity clinging on to that Westminster golden trough.

  64. Murray McCallum says:

    Very misleading / erroneous article by Robert Peston yesterday still open for comments.

    UK regulated banks are covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme £85k protection (including some foreign banks).

    Some European banks choose to operate in the UK with the “European passport” scheme, ie Euro 100k. This is what Svenska Handelsbanken AB have CHOSEN to do.

    Non-European banks have to be part of UK thing.

  65. Papadox says:

    Much respect Willie for having the spine and honesty to tell the truth as you see it.

  66. HandandShrimp says:


    That is a relief, I thought I was losing the plot when I saw someone somewhere refer to her as an MSP.

  67. Desimond says:

    Just me that thinks Wullie Wide-O Walsh playing the game here and knowingly forcing pressure on UK Govt to relent on Air Duty Tax.

    I wouldnt see that man as a friend in any shape of form.

  68. StevieMcB says:

    Rad Scot. Brians big debate.. all on independence. get yer twitters ready.

  69. Papadox says:

    Penny has just dropped! LONDINIUM is playing the second class English regions (everything outside of SE) against Scotland. DIVIDE & control. EBC London, HMG Westminster, HOL London.
    We and everything outside LONDINIUM/SE is just there to serve and service the CAPITAL and it’s drones. Scotland is a country and therefor has a chance.

  70. Ian Brotherhood says:

    Surprisingly prominent coverage of Walsh’s positive comments on mid-day radio news prior to Taylor’s Roadshow.

    Baillie and Canavan on said show right now…

  71. Craig Brown says:

    I’ve just watched this in work with the sound off and google captions turned on. At 32secs the speaker says;
    ‘If it does happen to Bishops really get to talk to you when you watch that chief’.
    I hope there is a Yes group for the deaf cause I’m pretty sure he didn’t say that.

  72. heedtracker says:

    @ Murray McCallum, Isn’t Peston a disgrace to journalism! Here’s his selection from the Standard and Poor report that totaly excludes their whole point about a UKOK finance sector in Scotland that’s far more a liability than anything we’re supposed to think they are.

    “Here is a relevant quote from a report out today by the ratings agency Standard and Poor’s: “The composition of Scotland’s external balance sheet is as yet hypothetical, but our initial observation is that the Scottish financial sector is unusually large, with total assets estimated at 12.5x GDP [or more than 12 times Scotland’s annual output].”

    What ever the result in Sept, we’re all being given a daily master class in hard core British state propaganda.

  73. Grant_M says:

    Additional BBC News channel piece discussing Willie Walsh’s comments…

  74. G H Graham says:

    IAG’s Willie Walsh says air passenger duty ‘damaging NI economy’

    but inexplicably the BBC failed to make a similar mention of his comments regarding the damaging effects upon the Scottish economy.

    A search on

    was fruitless.

    The BBC just can’t help themselves.

  75. Arbroath 1320 says:

    Gawn yersel Willie! 🙂

    Stick it to ’em!

    They don’t like it up ’em! (Thanks Jonesy for that line 😉 )

  76. Big bricks says:

    The very abrupt curtailment of the interview after Willie Walsh gave the “wrong” answer leads me to suspect that the interviewer might have needed a break as he had just, as we say in the NE, “shat his bricks” (bricks=breeks) in recognition of the damage done to his future career prospects in the BBC. I guess Willie Walsh just thought he was dealing with a professional journalist, rather than a man on a pro-union mission. Heart warming!

  77. thorkil cretin says:

    Peston is a shill and probably has links to MI5 after all them and Westminster pull the BBCs strings.

    He is just another talking head like Frank Gardner doing the Brit States dirty work via the Tv.

  78. Edward says:

    Just seen reported that the Proclaimers have had a go at Lamont for adapting their lyrics at the recent FMQ’s
    So I take it that Paul Sinclair didn’t bother getting permission then (which I doubt he would have been given)

  79. G H Graham says:

    The Republic of Ireland is scrapping air passenger duty on all its flights from April.

    That will make it £288 cheaper to fly to San Francisco from Dublin rather than Belfast via BA.

    But UK Government is threatening NI to cut £100 million from its block grant if it chose to scrap the air passenger duty.

    So the message is quite clear; any devolved tax raising powers will be matched by a reduction in the block grant from Westminster.

    That means that in principle, devolving tax raising powers, while sounding good are completely pointless.

    The only solution is control all the revenues & expenses and that can only be achieved with independence.

  80. heedtracker says:

    This is just one more reason why WoS is so important to Scottish democracy. Rev quoted Standard and Poor in full-

    “The composition of Scotland’s external balance sheet is as yet hypothetical, but our initial observation is that the Scottish financial sector is unusually large, with total assets estimated at 12.5x GDP. We would therefore likely view the financial sector as a significant contingent risk to the state. At the same time, a large part of this activity could be re-domiciled to the UK.”

    BBC and Peston selected this for his vote no UKOK propaganda of the day-

    “Here is a relevant quote from a report out today by the ratings agency Standard and Poor’s: “The composition of Scotland’s external balance sheet is as yet hypothetical, but our initial observation is that the Scottish financial sector is unusually large, with total assets estimated at 12.5x GDP [or more than 12 times Scotland’s annual output].”

    Anyone spot the difference between non biased reporting and the all out BBC vote spin machine here?

  81. cearc says:

    moray loon

    Actually, it could be quite a big deal if BA start to run linking services from LDN to EDN/GLA to connect to an increased number of transatlantic flights, they could reduce cost of transatlantic flights quite a lot.

    An increasing number of passengers flying in and out of Scotland, even if their final destination is London, would no doubt create an increase in both tourist and business stays in Scotland.

  82. G H Graham says:

    BBC have now put Walsh’s positive case on the web.

    And what did Blair McDougall’s team respond with?

    “…the pro-Union Better Together campaign said APD was not the “strongest argument” for independence, and that jobs would be lost if Scotland voted “Yes”.”

    Correct, it’s not the strongest argument but is one of hundreds. The strongest one in my opinion is getting rid of a corrupt House of Commons/Lords while taking control of all taxation & spending.

  83. Andrew Morton says:

    BBC Scotland leading the headlines with the Willie Walsh story. Guess they thought they should cover their backs after yesterday’s propaganda fest.

  84. Craig P says:

    It occurred to me that maybe the BBC will start vetting interviewees off air, “so chairman X, the interviews starting in 10 seconds, what do you think of Scottish independence, eh?” and depending on the reply they might bring it up at the end of the interview. And then I realised I was being paranoid and should step away from the conspiracy theories. And then I wondered maybe a chairman interviewed on BBC in the next month might leave a note here if they actually were briefed, vetted or otherwise primed for an anti-independence headline…

  85. James123 says:

    I can imagine the conversation at BBC Scotland

    “Wit ur wae gannae dae aboot this BA story”

    “Bin it like wae normally dae”

    “We cannae, the cybernats will go nuts”

    “Ohh aw rite then, wir gonnae huv tae”

    They all bow heads in disappointment.

  86. Appleby says:

    This video should be retweeted, blogged, etc. and shared on TV with all. There will be many businesses feeling the same.

  87. mutters says:

    It is now a headline in both The Scotsman and The Herald online!

  88. Arbroath 1320 says:

    Right now I’m on the right thread here’s what I posted on the wrong thread before. 🙂

    Arbroath 1320 says:
    28 February, 2014 at 2:04 pm
    I know that Willie Walsh is not every one’s favourite person but c’mon you have to hand it to him today folks. He has just caused an untold number of BBC employees to go rushing for their phones to make emergency calls to their dentists. The amount of gnashing and gritting of teeth today at BBC HQ in London, and subsidiary HQ in Glasgow, must have been phenomenal. I reckon the floors of both HQ’s are now knee deep in broken teeth! 🙂

  89. Appleby says:

    @Arbroath 1320

    “I reckon the floors of both HQ’s are now knee deep in broken teeth!”

    Aye, but probably from the BBC bosses and editors doling out punishment to their underlings for letting this one slip through when it was no doubt supposed to be part of the pile-on to discredit Scotland! 😉

  90. SquareHaggis says:

    Ronnie ma loon, I dinna ken whit ah’d dae wioot u pittin a brightener oan ma day – yer pure comedy gold 😀

  91. Linda's Back says:

    Re Willie Walsh

    We shall see if this prominently features on prime time TV (although Friday evening’s not the best slot) or is front page news in our fearless principled press

  92. Maureen Luby says:

    Can’t remember who asked but, yes, there is a Facebook group called ‘Sign for Scotland’.

  93. Tamson says:

    I wonder if Willie was being smart here, and has come up with a way of avoiding having to do future BBC interviews. He’ll now be marked down as ‘suspect’ so won’t be asked any more.

  94. David Smith says:

    “…I would jail the whole bloody lot of them for child abuse on a grand scale.”

    Barontorc, sir; you have said out loud something that has bounced around my head for a long time.
    With a public school system that tears youngsters from their mothers and homes at seven and trains them to be sociopaths,it can be construed as the basic building block of the British Establishment.

  95. memaw says:

    Ian Brotherhood
    Tarbert Academy. To be fair I have just heard from someone that the boys on the panel were from Lochgilphead. I have now achieved notoriety as the wee wumman that heckled during the meeting!

  96. galamcennalath says:

    When the new Scottish broadcaster takes over from the BBC, post September, I certainly hope they will only recruit news and political staff who have shown professionalism by remaining unbiased during this campaign period. To my mind Brian Taylor has so far been an example of how to be an impartial and fair political commentator. Some others? They have burnt their bridges.

  97. Arbroath 1320 says:

    Gawn yersel memaw! 🙂

    Just thinking about your earlier comment about those “individuals” laughing at the audience member, perhaps a parting shot might have been called for along the lines of:

    “I suppose with your reaction to the audience member you are all in favour of supporting a total ban on all BBC celebratory T.V. programmes about WWI and Cameron celebrating WWI in Glasgow later this year?” 🙂

  98. J. MacGregor says:

    British Airport Authorities owned 7 airports and it was deemed this was a monopoly!!! No mention ever made when it “BAA” owned 4 in Scotland and it was no accident that inter-continental travel to and from Scotland was stifled bearing in mind Prestwick was a HUB AIRPORT in the early days . It is no wonder MR Walsh has no problem with independence, flights from Aberdeen Glasgow Edinburgh to Heathrow are amongst the most profitable in the world.

  99. memaw says:

    Arbroath 1320
    Thanks for that. I must confess by the point of leaving I was actually shaking with rage. I wanted to shout at the boy who was denying our history that THIS is history! That was when I knew I had to leave.

    The Tory and Lib Dem collaborators spouted all the usual guff of doom and gloom. No pound, no joining the EU, but we must join the euro(?) the oil is running out, too wee, too poor,too stupid, Barroso, Rajoy, no pensions and on and on like a dirge. One man in front of us shouted out, “Ok I’ll just go and slit my wrists now!”

    I must explain that I have no connection to the school and when I was having my rants I knew that none of the kids knew me. So imagine my surprise today when a local shopkeeper asked me if I was the heckler! I asked how he knew about it. He explained that his child was present and when they described what happened he immediately thought of me ! Fame or infamy– at last.
    I did approach the head teacher as I was leaving and he explained that this was the first debate of its kind and there would be more. I suggested that they needed to get a more balanced input before they made a decision that will have repercussions for the rest of their lives. I should state that there was an SNP councillor and a Green Party member on the panel. They are both lovely people, I know them both but I think they each went assuming they would be able to put forward their case for Yes but the format was just question and answer.

  100. Jinnek says:

    Just a thought in the wind.

    Prestwick runway is ‘just’ long enough to take a A380 in and out.

    Airport duty gets cut, people come up from over the border, rather than go down to Manchester ?, would it be.

  101. Rab-k says:

    BBC News online were quick to open for reader’s comments when Standard Life supposedly threatened to quit Scotland in the event of a Yes vote. (The fact that SL had said no such thing was buried way down deep in the article – any move being determined by future economic and regulatory factors in an independent Scotland – not by the vote itself).

    However, Mr Walsh makes his remarks and behold – no reader comments allowed by Aunty!

    But I’ve stopped my Direct Debit for the License Fee, so I guess I’ve no right to complain.

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