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Wings Over Scotland

A tonic for the troops

Posted on November 29, 2013 by

As a living embodiment of the posh, braying public-school Tory-boy stereotype, Fraser Nelson of the Spectator used to reside in our “Zany Comedy Relief” links bar until we kicked him out for rarely lowering himself to write about Scotland.


But his guest appearance in today’s Telegraph we enjoyed at least parts of.

“It was way after the watershed but there was still something indecent about the way Scottish Television broadcast coverage of a man being eaten alive on Wednesday night. It was supposed to be a debate, between the SNP’s Nicola Sturgeon and Alistair Carmichael, the Scotland Secretary.

Instead, viewers saw a genteel Liberal Democrat being disembowelled by a ferocious and merciless nationalist. She seemed to quite enjoy it. This gruesome spectacle was only beamed into Scottish households – a shame, because David Cameron really ought to have seen it. It would have shown just how much trouble the Union is in.

When it was Sturgeon’s turn to cross-examine the Secretary of State, it was as if her political career had been a preparation for that one, sadistic moment. Carmichael looked stunned, as if he’d expected a fireside chat and found himself in a boxing ring.

Three times, he pleaded for the debate chairman to intervene and save him from Sturgeon’s blows. He was shown no mercy. It was a pitiful spectacle – and yet Carmichael’s bewildered, slapped face is the one that Cameron’s Government is presenting to Scots as the face of the Union.”

Sadly, the intellectual content of the article didn’t live up to the standard of the rhetoric. It was a confused mish-mash of random jingoistic Tory rants, from blaming “devolution” for the state of Scottish education to the ludicrous statement that “Spain can be expected to wield its veto” over Scottish EU membership, which suggests either that Nelson’s expensive education was a waste of money or that he’s lying on purpose without the skill or guile that you’d hope for from the nation’s elite schools.

But its conclusion is nevertheless intriguing:

“Officially, Cameron’s Government is making no contingency plans for Scotland’s secession. But unofficially, the mood is bleak. Some of the Prime Minister’s chief strategists now argue that the battle is lost and that a Yes vote is not only possible but probable.”

Now, we’d caution readers against taking anything Fraser Nelson said at face value. Such comments could simply be part of an effort to keep London-based Unionists from succumbing to complacency, as signified by Alistair Carmichael’s recent pledge to “put the fear of God” into David Cameron over the possibility of Scotland voting Yes.

But we’ve been highlighting for some time now the increasingly shrill, angry tenor of the No campaign, which is odd behaviour for a side that’s still well ahead in the polls. It’s a tone that turns voters off, so we have to assume that something is driving “Better Together” and its many friends in the media in that direction.

The tale of the last six months hasn’t been one of dramatic strides forward for the Yes camp, but rather one of the No vote softening, edging towards Don’t Know, and we know from our own survey that Don’t Knows tend to lean quite heavily towards Yes.

So the twin strategies being deployed by the Unionists at the moment could suggest two things: that they want to galvanise the hardcore section of their vote into turning out, while at the same time turning undecided voters off completely with ugly, aggressive negativity (including wrecking tactics in televised debates, which make voters think “Oh, they’re all as bad as each other”), so that they stay at home rather than completing the journey to Yes.

It’s just a theory, of course. But keep your eyes open.

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    125 to “A tonic for the troops”

    1. Thomas William Dunlop says:

      Stu says “But keep your eyes open.”
      And your ears as well. Be aware of everything and keep calm
      It is possible that Mr Nelson is fishing for something or planting a notion as you say. However it is best to say that to keep honest and not lower ourselves into the gutter to fight the unionists is still a good strategy. The folk respond better to polite enagement rather than hectoring and frichtinin stories of Doom & fear. Thats not to say you can’t point out the negative consequences of staying in the union, just keep it straight & simple, like the WIzard of WoS does here day in day out

    2. HG says:

      I would agree to some extent. Since the publishing of the white paper the few uber-unionists I know have really ramped up their seethe on social media. Previously they were content to ‘like’ BT and make the odd comment (as seen on the sidebar). The last few days it has been out and out anger, posting back-up (Telegraph, Guardian) comments and generally showing that they are seriously unsettled. It pleases me immensely.

    3. HandandShrimp says:

      Alistair Carmichael’s recent pledge to put the fear of God into David Cameron over the possibility of Scotland voting Yes.
      and if his performance on Wednesday night didn’t do that nothing will.

    4. I think up until now the unionists expected quite a different kind of campaign.  They expected the braveheart, bagpipes and haggis stuff as they have no idea of the kind of nation Scotland has become since devolution.  The debate from what I see apart from the fact we’ve had to spend so much of this first year rubbishing the scaremongering, now we have a prospectus, the blueprint and no longer can they say there’s just too many unanswered questions – there are 650 answered ! They have to put forward their +ive case, and as we know, there isn’t one. 

    5. Marcia says:

      I wouldn’t be surprised if there was a slight panic in Downing Street. Also an own goal is to not turn up to a media contrived event you organised. The St Andrews Day bash was a mistake in the making from the word go.
      Interesting what you find on the internet. Is it in the stars?

    6. David S says:

       Does anyone think there could be a link between “Some of the Prime Minister’s chief strategists now argue that the battle is lost and that a Yes vote is not only possible but probable.” and Mr Carney’s willingness to discuss a Sterling zone? 

    7. JasonF says:

      Without a doubt the ‘there as bad as each other’ effect is part of what No is going for, which is why Salmond has pushed the issue of positivity, and why that needs to be taken on board; it helps prevent people turning off, which is exactly what two negative campaigns would do.
      On Question Time last night: the woman who was asking Eddie Reader about what helped her make up her mind wasn’t interested in the pure democratic reasons for voting Yes – she needed to know what difference it would make to people’s lives. That she was also basically saying that people like her weren’t clever enough to take on all the wider ideas was very brave. Sturgeon seemed to get exactly this kind of person’s importance in the referendum.

    8. Oisín Murphy-Lawless says:

      On a related note, on my way into work this morning, I saw a headline outside a newsagent stating that the Bank of England was to help with Currency Union negotiations.And now I find that Mark Carney said yesterday he’d welcome the opportunity to chat with the Scottish Government regarding this:

      It did have me thinking back to the second Wings Poll, and wondering whether internal polling is painting a bleaker picture than the ones being commissioned and publicised independently. At the very least, the institutions involved are setting up for the possibility of a yes vote, which is only sensible.

    9. Ian Sanderson says:

      OT but ….
      a friend tells me that he got a telephone call from our local (Lib-Dem) MP enquiring as to his voting intention in 2014….

      Is this allowed?

    10. Adrian B says:

      Does anyone think there could be a link between “Some of the Prime Minister’s chief strategists now argue that the battle is lost and that a Yes vote is not only possible but probable.” and Mr Carney’s willingness to discuss a Sterling zone? 

      Its actually more likely to be happening because Mr Carney sees a genuine benefit to Scotland being in a Sterling zone and Better Together/Media/Westminster parties are causing uncertainty about Scotland propping up the pound. This uncertainty will have investors worried. It is not good news for Cameron.

      Keep up the pressure on the UK leaving the EU & make lots of noise about Scotland keeping the pound.

    11. ayemachrihanish says:

      What a week for the wider undecided. They can now watch and consider  
      1. Channel 5 – The Wight Show – the imaginary feudal superior event. Where Madeley/ Edwards/ and Katie Hopkins are full on BNP racist. 
      2. Nicola Sturgeon’s cross-examination demolition job.  
      3. That the Nation State of Scotland – who’s Parliament Reconvened 12th May 1999 (think about it – it’s massive) – can’t therefore be considered a region of a an EU Member State.  
      4. The White Paper- brilliantly launched and also comprehensively exposing the No campaigns baseless stupidity 
      5. The Governor of the Bank of England now saying he would welcome the opportunity to enter (preliminary discussions) on SG plan to create a sterling currency union.  
      6. And St Andrew’s day not until tomorrow…

    12. Green Giant says:

      From that Fraser Nelson article (in the Telegraph) “Carmichael was backed by the combined might of the British government machine – so it should have sent him into that debate armed to the teeth with examples of the White Paper’s most egregious defects.”

      Maybe the defects are in Whitehall and not in the White paper.

    13. Gillie says:

      The tables have turned with the publication of the White Paper, voters are now asking what does voting NO mean.
      Does it mean new powers for the Scottish parliament, does it means Scots have more powers over taxation and spend, especially on welfare, does it mean an end to the Barnett Formula, etc?
      Alistair Carmichael got filleted on TV because he was unable or unwilling to answer any questions on what a NO vote means. Unionists know that they cannot hold the line on this, it will give way under increasing pressure from Scots.
      We know now we all have a right to know.

    14. Ken500 says:

      It’s amazing how Thatcherites, since the Banking crash (caused by Thatcher laissez faire deregulation) have changed their tune about ‘right wing’? Socialist Nordic policies.

    15. Marcia says:

      Ian Sanderson
      Of course it is allowed. It is called canvassing. You don’t have say.  We have people out knocking doors doing the same. Your friend should have kept the MP on the phone for ages.

    16. bannock hussler says:

      It’s so important to put the kind of comment Anne with an e makes to the people mentioned by JasonF. That you are not a stereotyped and powerless adjunct to Westminster (see A Carmichael) but someone with an identity which in thinking about it and not swallowing the usual drivel, you can determine for yourself (see Yourself). But certainly having good role models as for example Eddi Reader (see Reader) is a great help.

    17. Ken500 says:

      Cameron might be using the YES vote to take the rest of the UK out of the EU. If Scotland had to negotiate, Cameron might try to do the same holding Scottish membership to ransom. They have done it before with Scottish EU interests. It might prove difficult and unpopular because the UK is split 40/40 on EU membership.

    18. John McKay says:

      I remain very relaxed about where we are now in the progress towards ‘Yes’. There really is very little new to say at this point. It’s all about keeping cool, distributing the facts and exposing the lies. Most importantly, it’s about boots on the ground, now, and in the final weeks if the campaign. There are very few ‘No’ campaigners on the street, posting leaflets and chapping doors. The ‘Don’t Knows’ are ours for the convincing. Get the economic facts at And I cannot say this loud and long enough-get the voters to the polls. The ‘No’ constituency will stay at home in large numbers.

    19. Ellie says:

      Is it really bad that the only thing I can think about reading this column is that I think Fraser Nelson watched your little visual representation of the debate yesterday, what with all his talk about disemboweling…

    20. Graeme Purves says:

      Fraser Nelson’s accent was hand-tailored in Jermyn Street.  A tweedier version can be made up for country weekends.

    21. MajorBloodnok says:

      You need to add last night’s Question Time to that list too.  Independence is normal now; it’s the Unionists that have to explain what a NO vote will mean and how they will deal with that ‘uncertainty’.
      Carmichael in the head to head with Nicola earlier in the week was saying that it is all in the discussion papers that Westminster has been publishing periodically.  But those are all about the (alleged) downsides of independence and are clearly NOT setting out what would happen in the event of a no vote.
      Mind you judging from the discussion and audience reaction on QT last night it might be too late for the Unionists to come up with something.

    22. desimond says:

      Complacency…well according to This Week last night….Boris talking to Thatcherites and the Londons house price bubble is far more important than Scotlands referendum.  

      Apparently the White Paper is nothing bar an admission from Alex Salmond that he is scared to run an independent Scotland and wants Independent Lite, control without the risks. Rory Bremner ( back living in Scotland) tried to paint a balanced view but Portillo, Neil and Abbott and the Lib Dem Adviser(sigh) all deemed it little more than a waste of time.

      When you hear such utter pish, you get a warm glow remembering this is exactly why you want to be in total control.

    23. TheGreatBaldo says:

      Anyone remember the film ‘Zulu’…..
      There’s a scene where the Zulu King is inexplicably sending his men to run at the British lines and their death….
      A baffled Stanley Baxter and Michael Caine turn to the experienced Boer and ask ‘What are they doing ?’….
      The Boer looks up and says ‘They are counting your guns’……
      A look of absolute terror crosses Baxter and Caine’s faces as they realise what a terrible situation they are in……
      A perfect analogy for what has happened to the Unionists since Tuesday…for all their confidence and superiority complex they now realise they are surrounded and helpless and they have nothing to do but fight from the positions they’ve dug themselves into.
      As slowly but surely the locals are burning down all the straw men they were using to frighten them only the week before……
      and this time the British forces won’t be saved by a Welsh Male Voice Choir belting out ‘Bread of Heaven’.

    24. Robert Louis says:

      You know, it is time for Westminster to grow up a bit, and I would include in that their near moronic, cloying, unionist cabal in Scotland.  in the REAL world, no sane European expects the EU, on the day of Scottish independence to say, ‘right that’s it, all Scottish residents have just lost their right to EU citizenship, and we must immediately demand that ALL EU citizens currently in Scotland must leave Scotland.  It is absurd.  It is just so, so very stupid.  Scotland is the largest oil producer in Europe, FFS.  the EU might be many things, but it is not THAT dim.
      The other point in relation to the EU, is this, Scotland is a country in its own right.  the member state, the UK, is a UNION of several countries.  The very notion, that because one of those countries chooses to run its own affairs, following a fully democratic decision, would somehow be booted out of the EU, is just mince.  Independence is the ending of the treaty of union between two countries, Scotland and England.  Scotland is not a freaking ‘region’.
      The real problem for both Westminster and their unionist chums, is this, there is NO good strong case for the union, none.  If there was, we would have heard it by now.  Cameron and Darling would be shouting it long and loud.  That is the nature of the problem.  
      Just consider, the treaty of union has been in place for just over three hundred years, so Westminster has had all that time to make it work well for Scots, but they haven’t bothered.  Time and again, they have merely sneered at Scotland, and still do in the house of commons, every time an SNP MP speaks.  If the union is so freaking good, i, Alex Salmond and ,many, many other Scots would not even think about independence.
      So, Westminster really needs to grow up, get their head out of the sand, and realise, this IS going to happen.  They can either make it a mess for rUK, or they can get their finger out now, and start talking properly to the first Minister.  Oh, and they might start showing a bit of freaking respect for him, too.

    25. JasonF says:

      Having mentioned those less intelligent earlier, it’s perhaps worth also thinking about those who don’t have that excuse for their seeming inability to understand the issues.
      A short, true story:
      A woman (clever, with a masters education, interested in a wide range of subjects, including politics, is anti-Tory, etc.) who grew up in Scotland later went to London to work and now still lives there, has a family and has no intention to return to Scotland. When asked by her English colleagues what she thinks of independence issue she replied that she thinks she should have a vote because she’s from Scotland (despite others having explained why she shouldn’t).
      Even clever people who are interested in politics can fail to grasp very basic issues if they aren’t fully paying attention to what’s going on. While it may seem they are stupid, they possibly aren’t; they may be ignorant about issues, but it shouldn’t be expected that everyone is as engaged in politics as others – especially given that many people have been turned off politics in recently years.

    26. kininvie says:

      Here’s another foaming right-winger in a fury….
      The immediate recipient of his wrath is Cameron for engineering a betrayal, but he goes way beyond that in his thinking (if it can be called such). Right back to Edward I if you ask me, and to the concept of feudal overlordship which is essentially what lurks behind so much of the anger. ‘How dare they? Who allowed them to get loose?’

    27. msean says:

      See Mr Major gets his shovel worth in in the piece above.Don’t worry Mr Major,we Scots are taking stock…

    28. JasonF says:

      Another short, true story:
      A woman in Scotland who despite having been fairly interested in politics years ago was automatically against independence (in a knee-jerk kind of way) a few months ago, mostly because she has become very negative about politics. She’s now trying hard to make a proper decision after finding out that someone she knew was pro-Yes, and this person then gently encouraged her to remember to think. She’s now glad to be better informed, at least.

    29. Ken500 says:

      Mr Carney has to discuss a Sterling zone. Even to discuss Scottish debt repayments. Scotland is paying £4Billion a year in debt repayments and the non discussed sale of Scottish assets. Post Office etc. Are the rest of the UK paying the £32Billion loan repayments equivalent.?

      Wonder what he makes of the UK funding arrangements? FFS.

      Scotland raises £57Billion+(9%) Spends £63Billion The UK raises £572Billiion (less pro rata). UK Spends £693Billion (more pro rata). The UK Treasury takes £12Billion including £Billion debt repayment from the Scottish taxes raised. Scotland pays £17Billion for Pensions/Benefits. Pension funding comes from general taxation in Scotland.

    30. Bugger (the Panda) says:

      Full Steam Ahead it is then.

    31. ayemachrihanish says:

      The PLANNED fresh blow that never was!  
      Last night Sir John Major, the former prime minister, used a speech in London to warn that the Bank of England “cannot – will not” carry out a currency union role.  
      Yet, while the coffee cups were being tidied away this fresh blow was meticulously blown away because…  
      The Governor of the Bank of England – said that he would welcome the opportunity to begin discussions” with the Scottish Government on its plan to create a sterling currency union.  
      Observe this weekend’s MSM gymnastics as Andrew Neil and the BBC try to get those worms back in the can!  
      The PLANNED fresh blow that never was – what will the BBC do now for fresh propaganda content? 

    32. Jim Mitchell says:

      It’s not a problem, we just keep on working what ever anybody or any poll says!

    33. msean says:

      I too watched this week,and i am still amazed how many still think The FM doesn’t want Independence.Deluded.Was no representation from the yes camp available?

    34. Gillie says:

      Breaking News from Dundee:
      “Douglas Alexander bottles Five MillionQuestions event a Dundee University. “
      PLEASE NOTE: Due to unexpected changes to parliamentary time table, Douglas Alexander will no longer be able to take part in the 5 Million Questions event on the 29th of November. Douglas Alexander sends his apologies and we are in the process of rescheduling the event to Spring 2014.

    35. Training Day says:

      A pall of gloom will have descended over Pacific Quay this morning thanks to Carney’s intervention.  Naughtie and Hayley Millar showed immense – what we’ll call ‘professionalism’ – in soldiering on with the Major story, telling us that this inestimable figure really, really says No we can’t, and he’s an ex-Prime Minister an’ all, dontcha know, so we have to tremble before his pronouncements.
      The fact that no one will gie wan will not penetrate the bubble on the Clyde..

    36. callum says:

      I sat next to Fraser in English class at school.  Needless to say, I imagine a lot of the output of Dollar Academy ended up matching the tory/public school stereotype – but it’s not all like that.
      At that time in the 80’s half the school were military brats because of the huge expansion in families being sent to West Germany and other places – I understand now that the number of boarders has shrunk to less than 10% than that of the 80’s.  I, for example, couldn’t get into the miltary school in Dunblane (QV) because it was overcrowded.
      I seem to remember his family were from up north somewhere, Nairn area I think.  I imagine public school was more of a necessity than opulence.

    37. Jimsie says:

      @ MajorBloodnok  Re Question Time.  I thought that Magrit took a real pasting. The two older ladies in the audience ( one in red and one in white ) put in some telling comment. Very heartening indeed.  I am not a fan of Eddi Reader ( she commits the cardinal sin of singing the wrong words to Burns songs ) but there is no doubting her passion and sincerity. On balance she is an asset to the YES campaign. Patrick Harvie is a very clever politician and is a great asset also.

    38. Dorothy Devine says:

      I know lovely kids who attended  Dollar  and absolutely none of them have strangulated vowel sounds.
      I also hail from the North East and spent a few happy holidays with my proxy auntie in Nairn and heard no strangulated vowels there either.
      Where did Mr Nelson acquire his peculiarity of speech?

    39. Ian Brotherhood says:

      Had a bit of a ‘Shooting an Elephant’ moment t’other day, catching a glimpse of ‘The House of Commons’ on a shop telly. It looks so old now, feels very distant, as if it’s already in the past. Doesn’t help that they have dudes sitting around in wigs and tights, with daft face-hair, as if they haven’t been allowed out since the seventeenth century.
      Then you see the Scottish Parliament: the light; the layout; the public gallery in view. Way things are going, the House of Commons (what an offensive name it has too) will become an anachronistic irrelevance to our weans and grandweans. Perhaps Blair really was sincere when he assured Whitehall mandarins that what he was ‘permitting’ in Scotland was little more than a ‘parish council’, but he may find, a year from now, that he’s made a whole new raft of very powerful enemies.
      I’m sure we’ll all wish him well securing his place in history, while we get on with building our future, the way we want to. Cheers Tone!

    40. desimond says:

      Regards This Week….a long time ago Tommy Sheridan did a piece and told them “YES will win” and got the standard dismissal. It really is like the last days of the Raj.

      As for the positive case for the Union.. on Question Time all we kept hearing from Annabel, Wee Zelda and Alastair (I voted for bedroom tax, and reducing workers rights because I represent the whole of the UK!) Carmichael is “We have the best of both worlds”..sadly those worlds are Alderaan and Gallifrey.

    41. Dorothy Devine says:

      P.S Crap alert on the Herald website re John Major.

    42. Ian Brotherhood says:

      Brian Taylor’s All-Star Roadshow today, from Townhead, Glasgow :
      Blair MacDougall
      Blair Jenkins
      Anas Sarwar
      Linda Fabiani

    43. MajorBloodnok says:

      Re, Carney and Major and ye cannae hae the poond – “You’d think that after all this time they’d get their story straight.”
      Funny how the patronising phrases of the Unionists once aimed at the SNP come back to bite them.

    44. steviecosmic says:

      I’d like to suggest that the very last thing the Tories want is a ‘shock Yes’.
      The MSM have for years been hammering home the point that the polls indicate only  25% – 30% support for indy, and Westminster are only too happy to repeat that. If Yes prevails next year, and they continue as they are with the obstruction and fear-mongering, not only are they going to look spectacularly stupid for not being able to foresee the result, it may also have serious consequences for the rUK economy and it’s government’s ability to enter any negotiations with a strong hand.

      The message from the UK government thus far, via a compliant media, is that the markets and other myriad interested parties need not concern themselves over this minor skirmish with a handful of restless natives, and that it’ll all be cleared up pretty soon. If this is the accepted reality right up until a vote that goes the other way for them, it could have devastating effects on all concerned.
      I wonder whether the Tories are really that stupid. Surely a government with any sense of self preservation, advised by a veritable army of ‘expert’ civil servants, would accept that there is a cut-off point at which preparations, one way or the other, need to begin? Not pre-negotiations for independence as such, but the laying of groundwork by altering the rhetoric somewhat.
      All I’m really suggesting, is that beyond a certain point, you must act in your own long term self-interest. If the Tories seriously think Scotland is lost, then they must at some point in the very near future, begin to lay the foundations for the road ahead. We know that Scotland outwith the Sterling zone would be catastrophic for them, that a Scotland in the EU and onside  would actually be of enormous benefit to rUK and that the removal of Trident could be the mother of all headaches….why then, beyond that point of certainty, would you continue to act against your interests?
      Perhaps a leak here or there, a trickle even,  about Scotland being lost and the BoE guy going to the SNP to pre-negotiate is the beginning of that groundwork, a softening if you like. By the time Yes happens, for all concerned parties, it needs to have gone from remote possibility through possible, probable and finally to certainty. If it doesn’t, there could be serious problems ahead for Westminster.

    45. Dave McEwan Hill says:

      My most enjoyable moment in last night’s QT was watching Bella wandering about on the shared sterling issue and then realising she was about to inadvertently support a shared currency union and doing an abrupt abort on her comments

    46. Doug Daniel says:

      Completely off-topic, but my day has been made by Libby McArthur (AKA Gina from River City) confirming on Twitter that she is going to vote Yes, and that she feels like independence is all she talks about at the moment.
      Lovely Gina…

    47. Cymru Rydd says:

      I can’t help feeling that David Cameron is boxing clever on the independence issue, setting up both Labour and the Lib Dems up for a huge fall in the event of a YES vote.

      It really is amazing in one sense that the NO campaign does not seem to feature the Conservatives at all- usually the standard bearers for flag-waving unionism.  The NO campaign is all about Labour( in the shape of a discredited Alistair Darling) and Lib Dems (represented by the hopelessly exposed Alistair Carmichael). Both of these parties can only suffer untold damage over the next few months arguing against self-determination for Scotland, and this is sure to have a wider effect on their morale.

      This suits David Cameron’s agenda down to the ground, since these are the people and parties who can then be blamed for “losing” Scotland, after September 2014. This will surely be used as an election weapon by the Conservatives in the UK Election, some nine months later. It may well prove to be Cameron’s winning hand, since he will then be ideally placed to argue that the loss of Scotland can lead to a new future for England. He can depend upon the complete lack of knowledge amongst most English voters about the relative strength of the Scottish economy to portray it as a “liberation” for England.

      Not an ideal scenario for us in Wales you may think- but then an acknowledgment of the primacy of England in a RUK landscape post 2014 can only ultimately help our own national cause. I’ve always believed that Welsh independence will only happen as a result of a fundamental re-configuration in the relationship between the two bigger nations on this island.  

      There is no way that David Cameron will agree to debate with Alex Salmond since he wants to keep the Conservatives as untainted as possible in the event of a YES vote.  Having said that, it’s still a great line for the SNP to use to accuse Cameron of being “feart” of such a debate, and they should continue to use it on all possible occasions!

    48. wee 162 says:

      I’ve been thinking a bit about the EU stuff, and I’m looking to be persuaded that this isn’t a feasible scenario. It’s maybe getting into the realms of conspiracy theory. It’s this;

      Scotland might have to do a bit of negotiation to enter/ remain in the EU, I think we all accept that. Even if it’s on almost the exact same terms as the UK has now it’s going to require negotiation to some extent. The rUK meanwhile looks like there is a very distinct possibility of leaving the EU altogether in 2017. Scotland would be a loss to the EU obviously, but the loss of rUK would be profoundly damaging to it as one of the bigger and better off markets disappears. But if Scotland remains in a currency union, and as pretty much the main trading partner for rUK, then it’s going to be damn near impossible for them to not still trade massively with the EU. So an independent Scotland would potentially be able to access the rUK whilst the rest of the EU couldn’t. Cameron etc will be quite happy to campaign on the basis that Europe is unpopular, but the economic case for being part of the EU is incontrevertible.
      So my question is; do the tory leadership think Scotland becoming independent would be a safety valve for maintaining European trade whilst they can then go gung ho on “get out of Europe” rhetoric? It’s going to make them more electable, and yet it won’t damage the business which supports them (especially if they can then be immune from potential stuff like a Tobin tax being implemented).
      It’s entirely possible I’m granting the tories powers of cognitive reasoning which are way beyond them here. But isn’t this something from Camerons point of view which is attractive in lots of ways? Is the price for being labelled “the man who overseen the break up of the UK” worth it to get so much stuff that tories want (along with the added bonus of Labour having to end up even closer to their policies to win elections in England)?
      Of course they still have to be seen to be against Scottish independence because their identity demands that, but if they start making noises about re-negotiation of Barnett etc I’m not going to be surprised.

    49. Garry says:

      “turning undecided voters off completely with ugly, aggressive negativity”

      I fear it is deeper than that Stu.  The entire political discourse coming from Better Together and its increasingly fractious constituent parties is designed to bring the entire political process in Scotland into disrepute.

      From the tone of their Referendum campaign to the weekly pantomime at FMQs the over-riding aim is to demean our politics and political institutions.  After all, these are the midwives for Independence – discredit them and the possible results of their labour will be discredited too.

      It is a dangerous game to play but for the “Scottish” Labour Party in particular the calculation is that it will be destroyed by Independence (or rather by its stubborn defence of the Union in the face of Independence) so it must do whatever is required to avert that – even if it means almost destroying itself in doing so.

    50. Horacesaysyes says:

      Gillie says – Breaking News from Dundee:
      “Douglas Alexander bottles Five MillionQuestions event a Dundee University. “
      PLEASE NOTE: Due to unexpected changes to parliamentary time table, Douglas Alexander will no longer be able to take part in the 5 Million Questions event on the 29th of November. Douglas Alexander sends his apologies and we are in the process of rescheduling the event to Spring 2014.

      Couldn’t he find a pair? 😉

    51. Morag says:

      Perhaps Blair really was sincere when he assured Whitehall mandarins that what he was ‘permitting’ in Scotland was little more than a ‘parish council’,…

      Did he really say that? I don’t honestly think he did.

      He did, once, justify the proposal to allow the Holyrood parliament tax-raising powers by saying that even a parish council has some revenue-raising ability so surely the Scottish parliament should have no less, but that’s a different matter.

    52. HandandShrimp says:

      Ha! Gerald Warner was why I stopped buying the Scorsman, a paper I had taken since my Uni days. He was the thin end of the right wing wedge that eventually took over its pages. A complete and utter raving loon of a Thatcherite of the first water.
      However, it is interesting that so many Unionists are starting to throw their toys out of the cot. I was surprised that Scottish independence got such a high billing in Major’s speech last night. There are most definitely cracks in the Unionist edifice.

    53. liz says:

      I haven’t watched QT yet – I gave up watching live as I always wanted to throw something at the telly.
      But although some people seem to think Eddie Reader was a bit rambly – it is possible that she could appeal to those women who are anti-indy.
      I’m not being patronising – afterall I am a woman – but maybe a lot of those women are turned off by fiscal info, the EU, the euro and want a more emotional passionate reason for voting yes.

    54. Oisín Murphy-Lawless says:

      It’s unlikely to be a case of mixed messages. UK Govt has to be seen to uphold the union even if they’re preparing for a yes vote.  That’s a combination of pragmatism and good politics. And the UK Govt can’t be seen to tell the BoE what to do, because, well, they’re independent.

      Look at it this way. You can probably find a fair few statements by Major during the 90s saying that he would never deal with the Provisional IRA.  All the time, they were of course having chats which eventually resulted in the 1st and 2nd ceasefires, followed by the Good Friday Agreement.

    55. MajorBloodnok says:

      Nothing on the Careny BoE story on the BBC website I notice.  I wonder why?
      wee 162 – interesting idea by the way.  That the rUK thinks it can get out of the EU and their interferring ways (bankers behave yourselves!), but still get access to European markets through Scotland.

    56. Cruachan says:

      Apologies if anyone has already highlighted this, but GMS this morning with Jim Naughtie was an absolute disgrace.  Around 8.15 this morning, the discussion on the EU issue was little more than him using the slot as a platform for setting out the ant-independence case.  Iain MacWhirter did his best to give some balance but was constantly interrupted.  Naughtie did not even try to allow some balance in the discussion with the pro-UK speaker. New depths being plunged every day at GMS. 

    57. liz says:

      Re Dougie Alexander no show – he’s been awfy quiet of late – he never used to miss an opporchancity to have his mug on TV.
      I really feel he’s fence sitting and watching the way the wind blows – he is afterall a careerist politician.

    58. gerry parker says:

      OT and sorry Rev but I tried to post somewhere else the tube clip of The Wright Show and got – “This Video is not available in your country”
      I see someone further down the thread posted another site where it worked so here’s the url

    59. Weedeochandorris says:

      “Some of the Prime Minister’s chief strategists now argue that the battle is lost and that a Yes vote is not only possible but probable.”

      I agree that we shouldn’t take things like this at face value.  Guaranteed there’s all sorts going on in the background and we cant be complacent (ever) because the UK govt will do anything to keep Scotland in the union – we definately need to be vigilant when they’re trumpeting headlines like this and the story above.  David Cameron’s St Andrew’s evening last night at no.10 and his last minute ‘snub’ was probably all planned from the get go, irrespective of what excuses they give in the media. It’s the American outfit that won the re-election for Obama that are coordinating things for Westminster on the run up to 2014.  All of the tricks they used in America will be employed here, things the UK population would never imagine could go on in good ol’ UK will and Westminster won’t bat an eye.

    60. Jimbo says:

      “turning undecided voters off completely with ugly, aggressive negativity (including wrecking tactics in televised debates, which make voters think “Oh, they’re all as bad as each other”)”
      Yes, that appears to be their ploy, but I think the voters are starting to take notice of it. I’m sure some-one in the audience mentioned “all as bad as each other” on QT last night.
      The Westminster troughers just don’t get it. What, I think, hasn’t sunk into the Unionists yet is that it is because of their deplorable negative ways, their constant sneering at Scotland and the continual corruption at Westminster that more and more people see independence as a way of being shot of them.
      It was summed up for me last night when some-one on QT asked if we should be allowed to vote to be rid of MPs we were unhappy with – using Eric Joyce as an example. Curran went on a rant about Joyce and how he had let Labour and the electorate down. I thought, ‘What about the likes of Alistair Darling’?
      Darling , a serial fraudster by virtue of his serial house flipping, and many others like him, are still in place with nary a word of condemnation from their Westminster colleagues nor a visit from the fraud squad. I’m not condoning the actions of Eric Joyce, but the message from Curran & Co seems to be, that serial fraud, the misuse and abuse of taxpayer’s money, blatant lying and election rigging (to name but a few) are all acceptable, while getting drunk and making a complete arse of yourself is not – And they wonder why many of us are desperate to be rid of them?

    61. Morag says:

      Naughtie was an absolute disgrace this morning. No control over the discussion, and worse, he waded into the rammy himself with the most partisan attitude.

      MacWhirter was trying to point out the obvious, that there was no possible way Scotland could be ejected from the EU the day of a Yes vote, and that negotiations on the terms of its continued membership would be wrapped up within the following 18 months. Naughtie repeatedly interrupted him shouting forst “NO!” and then “That’s not the point!” It most assuredly is the point.

      Then Naughtie back-tracked to shouting about how all that was obvious but it was the nature and the outcome of the negotiations that was the concern. That’s actually a reasonable point for debate, but it categorically is not the position we’re being fed by the unionist media on the back of the Rajoy statement.

      He was an absolute train wreck, and quite blatantly biassed.

    62. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “Did he really say that? I don’t honestly think he did.”

      The Guardian thinks so:

      “Blair delivered, though there were a series of internal Labour rows in the run up to the 1997 Westminster election, not least when he likened a future Scottish Parliament to a parish council.”

      The Scotsman references it too, while noting that Blair was very lukewarm on devolution:

    63. Andrew Morton says:

      I believe he did.

    64. Vincent McDee says:

      I saw this  and I thought of you Rev.
      A fifth of Scotch want Cyberbastard Rev. Stu in charge
      Survey raises concerns over rise of “brainwashing cult”
      A nasty undercurrent of darkness and threat to the establishment has been uncovered, thanks to the BBC Scotlandshire/YouGuff survey conducted last week.
      People in Scotlandshire were asked for their preference of who should govern the region, which is currently ruled by upstanding MPs and Lords in London.
      The results were astonishing.

    65. Ian Brotherhood says:

      This is always worth a watch – Fraser Nelson returning to his source…

    66. proudscot says:

      The recent negative contributions from the Welsh FM and John Major, having been so quickly contradicted by BoE Governor Carney’s offer of talks with FM Alex Salmond on the subject of a currency union, reminded me of the NO side’s assertion about increased Mobile Roaming Charges in an independent Scotland also being almost immediately rendered redundant! I hope Alex Salmond and John Swinney make contact with Mr. Carney right away to arrange this meeting.

      On the subject of the Spanish PM Rajoy’s apparently negative attitude towards an independent Scotland’s reasonable claim that renegotiation of its inclusion in the EU. Perhaps someone (from the Scottish Government?) should remind him that the longer such renegotiaton lasts, the Spanish fishing fleet will be excluded from the rich Scottish fishing grounds, so long as we are deemed to be outside of the EU!

      Final point, to the GreatBaldo, in Zulu the actor was Stanley Baker, not Baxter, the old guy on the hilltop directing the Impi below was not the Zulu king but an induna, or war leader, and the Welsh defenders sang Men of Harlech, and not Bread of Heaven. Apart from that, maybe you could have made the point that Carwiyn Jones’ recent visit could have been him “counting our guns” for future negative attacks on Scotland’s independence aspirations.

    67. call me dave says:

      Oh Brian’s big debate starting.
      Sarwar on the panel.
      BBC radio has just mentioned the BoE wants a meeting soon with AS.

    68. macdoc says:

      For anyone interested
      25/11 YesScotland Facebook  likes 105,450
                Bettertogether ” ”               95,648
      29/11 YesScotland Facebook  likes 108,138
                Bettertogether ” ”               96,567
      YesScotland has increased 2,688 and Better together has increased 919 in the same 4 day time span.
      Perhaps this shows which way the people are going. 

    69. desimond says:

      As its Black Friday, lets all remember Black Wednesday anytime someone says we should listen to John Major

    70. Seasick Dave says:

      Can anyone recommend a good bookies as I’d like to place a wager on the result?
      My experience extends to the Grand National.

    71. MajorBloodnok says:

      Surely Stanely Baxter starred in the little known production Parliamo Zulu where he massacred the Glasgow patois?

    72. muttley79 says:

      This whole thing about Salmond not wanting independence is odd.  It appears to be something of an article of faith among some Unionists.  They were saying it during the second question referendum phase between 2011-12 as well.  The evidence does not stack up.  Salmond joined the SNP in the late 1970s.  He was even expelled very briefly in the early 1980s.  If Salmond really did not support independence, he would have simply walked away from the SNP after being expelled.  He could have joined SLAB at any time.  Instead Salmond has spent all his career in the SNP.  I can only think that the people who claim he does not really support independence are in complete denial.  Hopefully, it lasts for another 10 months or so.

    73. Morag says:

      I know people, including some journalists, think Blair said that.  It is often said that he said it, but no reference is given.  But I’m looking for an actual cite of him saying it.  What were his actual words, to whom, and when did he say it?
      I may be wrong, but I think it’s one of these self-perpetuating myths, where people just repeat what they’ve heard or read elsewhere.  All I know about is Blair justifying the proposal for tax-raising powers by declaring that even a parish council can raise some revenue.

    74. TheGreatBaldo says:

      Final point, to the GreatBaldo, in Zulu the actor was Stanley Baker, not Baxter, the old guy on the hilltop directing the Impi below was not the Zulu king but an induna, or war leader, and the Welsh defenders sang Men of Harlech, and not Bread of Heaven.
      Aye yer right (facepalm)….but apart from getting ALL the details wrong in ma analogy……….. 🙂 
      Actually I’m just imagining Stanley Baxter in Zulu right now :-d…he could of probably played all the roles….granted he would have probably done some of them in drag and worked in a camp song and dance routine……
      Next week, a ‘Zulu Dawn’ analogy involving Burt Reynolds 😉

    75. desimond says:

      @Morag : Brian Taylor pointing out the true story here

      Regards Question Time last night….the biggest problem arising from that Debate is the number of impressed Rangers fans waking up this morning wondering how they can follow the Green party and the excellent Patrick Harvie without telling their mates!

    76. Wayne says:

      Unionists are scared of Salmond, and that fear takes many forms from outright hostility, to demonisation, to imputing to him ridiculous and absurd secret agendas.  He is their one-fits-all bogeyman, the living embodiment of whatever fear and apprehension they currently suffer from him.  Overcome with fear, their paranoia knows no limits.  The sad truth of course is that this is no exaggeration….
      Cameron has an insoluble problem with the Scots.  He can’t get involved personally, because it them becomes an intrinsically Tory problem, one which his leadership will depend upon.  He doesn’t want that, he wants to be able to hold his hands up in the event of a YES vote and act the role of fair-minded democrat, the Scottish people have spoken, we must respect their wishes, etc.  If he did take on the case of the Union as an intrinsically personal mission and it all goes wrong he will have to resign, probably call a general election.  He thus stays clear and leaves it to others, for the moment anyway.
      This is what riles Frazer Nelson and his ilk, apart from Darling, who whilst not the worst, is certainly not a vote winner, everyone BT sends into battle are just not up to it.  They are plain useless, and when you add in the abject lack of talent in Scottish Labour, and the toxic problem of Labour and Tories having to work together, it doesn’t get any better.  Nelson is scared because he looks at who is defending the Union and quivers with fear…and he should be scared, very scared.
      This is all good news for us.  Just keep it this way and a YES vote next year with continued hard work and momentum is possible.  BT are not going to change the balance, the only possible shift in public opinion is towards YES.

    77. Morag says:

      Desimond, Brian Taylor is saying exactly what I thought to be the case.  It was in the context of the tax-raising powers, and it was not a put-down.
      It is said to this day on sundry websites that Tony Blair compared the Scottish Parliament to a “parish council”.
      That is simply not correct.
      He was speaking in the context of a debate about tax powers. He pointed out that it would be curious if the Scottish Parliament were to be denied the fiscal clout currently available to the humble Parish council.
      Exactly as I remembered.

    78. turnip_ghost says:

      Apologies for going o/t but I was wanting to have a look at the lead the BT camp had a year back from now so went to their FB page and couldn’t find a single poll going back to October last year (with the exception of the sudent ref they won at strathclyde uni)…surely they put up paper headlines with their lead…how low the yes vote was etc? Or have they been deleting things….

    79. MajorBloodnok says:

      Carney story now up on the BBC website:
      Not negative enough in this edit though – no doubt that will change…

    80. Morag says:

      O/T, this Parish Council thing reminds me of the oft-repeated legend that Pan Am 103 was delayed leaving Heathrow on the night of 21st December 1988.  You can find countless books and web sites stating that the plane was late.  Jim Swire constantly says it was late and you’d think he would know.
      It wasn’t.  It was on time.  It was so on time it stranded a checked-in passenger with luggage in the hold who was running to the gate at the time – that’s how anxious the pilot was not to miss his slot.  And yet the legend has become so all-pervasive that people won’t even believe it when the precise times are pointed out.

    81. call me dave says:

      Treading treacle on Brian’s big debate.  Fabiani & Blair struggling on the basics some members of the audience to argue the case.
      Sarwar & McDougal getting away with bluster and waffle.
      Need to up their game asap 🙁

    82. desimond says:


      The Carney “Happy to talk” offer could of course be seen by some doubters in a similar fashion to the “Aye I will buy you two” promises my Mother used to make when I would ask for the latest must-have football strip. Sure enough I would never see 1 strip let alone the promised 2.

    83. Cath says:

      This whole thing about Salmond not wanting independence is odd.
      It is, but I wonder if it’s projection. I have a feeling the UK establishment (and I include much of the media in this) are using the idea of an in/out referendum on the EU to effetively blackmail the EU into renegotiating.
      Cameron has said there’ll be a referendum in 2017 on a “re-negotiated” EU, but pointedly not said what side he’ll be on, only that he “hopes” to be on the Yes side if renegotiations have gone his way. This suggests they really don’t want to come out the EU but to pressure them for concessions. 
      So when they were deciding to veto devo-max, did they project their own tactics onto Salmond, assuming he was doing the same? It would explain the idea last year that “if we take devo-max off Salmond will call off the entire referendum!” If they did believe Salmond really didn’t want independence, and that was why they were so sure it wouldn’t and couldn’t happen, they will be waking up now, or shortly to a real shock.
      But could they really, honestly believe that? Are they that far removed from Scotland? 
      If not, another alternative is that the 2017 in-out referendum after “re-negotiation” is a tacit acceptance that Scotland will probably vote yes and both of us will have to re-negotiate with the EU.

    84. Ananurhing says:

      My 16 year old Daughter this morning stated that, if the referendum produces a No verdict she would leave Scotland after Uni. “Because we must be the only country in the world where we have elected representatives telling us every single day that we’re not good enough.”
      Can’t argue with that logic. We can’t lose this. Or I’ll be paying her fare.

    85. Cath says:

      If the Tories seriously think Scotland is lost, then they must at some point in the very near future, begin to lay the foundations for the road ahead.
      I wonder if that’s why Darling has been looking so rattled recently, and has been begging for feet no the ground and people to get out there? It may be that there are set dates and milestones on the unionist side at which point they UK government has to change direction and start planning for a yes. So for example private polls, activity on the ground, Labour party and union members, signs of shifting sands.
      If all those signs are going the wrong way for Better Together, despite the onslaught and total media control they’ve had this past year or two, Darling might well know they’ll be hung out to dry. 

    86. Cath says:

      “My 16 year old Daughter this morning stated that, if the referendum produces a No verdict she would leave Scotland after Uni. “Because we must be the only country in the world where we have elected representatives telling us every single day that we’re not good enough.”
      Good for her. I really hope the rest of her generation are as wise 🙂 (And the rest of the rest of us….)

    87. Edward says:

      Macdoc – I’ve been monitoring this since 22nd October and  tracking since
      Have kept quiet about it as don’t want to alert BT that they are loosing on FB
      But now that you have let the cat out the bag, can reveal that based on ‘likes’
      the percentages for Yes and No on October 22nd were 52.20% Yes and 47.80 % No
      This differential has been constant, until recently . The percentages for November 28th were 52.75% for Yes and 47.25%
      Today’s percentages 52.83% Yes and 47.17% No
      This is based purely on the Likes and so is not completely scientific but is a good indicator

    88. MajorBloodnok says:

      Darling’s probably working on a “no win no fee” basis, hence his nervousness.

    89. call me dave says:

      Blair Jenkins retrieved some ground but it has not gone well on the whole.
      Seems Sawar & McDougal are the ‘better together’ star team and they did not break sweat. They never had to work hard except to bluster and our team had a real bad day.
      Poor performance from YES.  🙁              Never won a round so far!
      Some audience members did a better case for YES.
      Another audience member at the end dropped the pension scare  bomb.  Jenkins did not press his answer to a conclusion and was interrupted out, weak stuff
      KO for NO.                              But I’m still voting YES.

    90. MajorBloodnok says:

      @call me dave
      Needed an SNP MP in there to balance things up, clearly.

    91. Edward says:

      Blether with Brian was interesting in that Taylor tended to talk over Fabiani and Jenkins, and let Sarwar and McPoodle to waffle on crap without being pulled up

      Also noticeable a new tactic by BT supporters is for someone in the audience to remark that ‘all I’m hearing is political argument’ then twist it to condemn and question the pro independence panellists . That was also used last night on QT

    92. Cath says:

      One thing that is quite amusing is that the No camp now appear to have two big scaremongering lies they’re trying to get across to the public:
      You’ll not be able to keep the pound and
      You’ll be kicked out of the EU
      As both are patently lies, anytime they’re challenged directly on them they have to say, “of course no one is saying you can’t keep the pound…of course no one is saying Scotland will be kicked out the EU” and take a tone suggesting those suggesting they’re saying it are being thick.
      But they are saying it, over and over. And they rely on people believing it. How they can keep that up for 10 months I have no idea.

    93. dmw42 says:

      You know how you hear something and it bugs the hell out of you and you just can’t put your finger on why that is?
      I’ve been like that for the last couple of days following Carmichael’s demolition by Nicola Sturgeon and then again after last night’s QT.
      What’s been bugging me was when Carmichael was challenged about forming a coalition with the Tories, against the will of the people of Scotland. You’ll all recall his, “I represent the whole of the UK..” nonsense; and that’s what’s just dawned on me.
      Actually Alistair, you represent Orkney and Shetland, and actually Alistair, Orkney and Shetland hasn’t returned a Tory to Westminster since Sir Basil Hamilton Hebden Neven-Spence (yes, really) (Unionist Party) in 1945.
      Your own constituents have overwhelmingly rejected Tory policies for almost 70 years and yet, your selfish, duplicitous actions have imposed a Tory government and its cuts to the detriment of your own constituents. But hey, as you’ve been fond of saying over the last few days, “that’s democracy in the UK”.

    94. Barontorc says:

      Very strange that the appetite for opinion polls seems to have tapered away to ziltch – isn’t it?
      You really don’t need any spurious polls anyway when the writing is going up on the wall in very big letters -‘ The Gov of the Bank of England wants to have a chat’!

    95. Adrian B says:

      @Call me Dave – I think Fabriani did a reasonable job, she was always clear, concise and never rushed which is what is needed to reach many people.

      Sarwar – well you didn’t need to listen to have a good idea how he goes off on his tangents. This wasn’t the knockout result that Nicola got the other night, but it was overall a good result.

    96. faolie says:

      Could be, doesn’t surprise me. I can’t imagine for a second that Cameron and Osborne are worried or care about Scottish EU membership. What they’ll be shitting bricks about is the attitude of the markets to Sterling. If the markets sniff a Yes vote and Osborne is still going around ruling out a Sterling Zone, they aren’t going to wait until September before they start downgrading the pound.
      If the gap in the polls continue to close, the noise about a Sterling Zone is going to quieten sharpish. Maybe that’s why Carney is in the headlines today.

    97. Bill C says:

      @Doug Daniel – ‘Gina’s’ dad was a great friend of mine. He was a Labour man to his very soul, but a real socialist. I would say that his daughter coming out in favour of YES, shows just how far YES is progressing in persuading traditional Labour voters to vote for independence.

    98. Ian Brotherhood says:

      I can’t believe that neither Jenkins nor Fabiani took the opportunity to slap Sarwar about the lugs over his vanishing act when the Bedroom Tax vote was cast – there was more than one clear chance.
      Never mind – he’ll be in Saltcoats a week tomorrow, in the Labour Club, at 11 am, if anyone fancies reminding him. Please bring gigantic ballot-papers and big pencils to wave at him.

    99. Rubberbelly says:

      It seems to me that BT have very few fear stories (if any) that have gained traction. Their tactic has been to constantly recycle with the hope that eventually something will change. Since this hasn’t worked and shows no sign of working in the future, I expect they will throw everything into their “armed forces” day next year and try to play to some peoples emotional attachments. Any objectors being accused of lack of support for our “heroes” in uniform etc.

    100. Papadocx says:

      Brian Taylor radio show
      Anas Sarwa ignorant, arrogant, loudmouth. Waste of space Untrustworthy, furtive.
      Blair McDougal  Nasty piece of work, Sleazy, con artist, not to be trusted, 
      Fabiani out of her depth in this bear pit with these vipers. sincere, honest, genuine.
      Blair Jenkins gentleman, knowledgable, safe pair of hands. sincere, genuine.
      Brian Taylor Not an honest broker, appears to be getting a little fairer?
      Mcdougal & Sarwar Obviously bused in some noise from SLAB support group as spoilers.

    101. big_steph says:

      O/T, but there’s been a lot of ugliness around on both sides this week.  Here’s a link to Hardeep Singh Kohli’s excellent Caledonia:A Love Song to a Nation.  Brought me to tears a few times, and is a reminder that we have to be respectful of all voices in Scotland (even if we don’t agree with them!)

    102. Ally says:

      Somebody asked for a link to The Wright stuff!
      I’ll give you 5 mins TOPS!!

    103. call me dave says:

      “Fabiani out of her depth in this bear pit with these vipers. sincere, honest, genuine.Blair Jenkins gentleman, knowledgable, safe pair of hands. sincere, genuine.”
      I agree, the best of people, but scholarly debating points put across as a matter of fact way with two bruisers is a tough ask.
      They have bruisers , we have bruisers with brains and they should be our first pick.
      First words from Mr Jenkins ‘I don’t speak for the SNP’  that’s OK  but get into the debate. Letting your opponent make his point is acceptable but don’t let them interrupt until you have made your point. Half a step back today.
      Anyhoo!  my wee smiley things no working. 🙁
      OH it is!


    104. Jeannie says:

      O/T but as the heading of the thread is “A Tonic for the Troops”, I thought I might just get away with it.  This is one of the funniest things I’ve read for a long time. 

    105. a supporter says:

      “Carmichael was backed by the combined might of the British government machine – so it should have sent him into that debate armed to the teeth with examples of the White Paper’s most egregious defects.”
      Unfortunately having the facts is only one part of the task. You also need the brains to analyse and the chutzpa to deliver the facts in a debate. Poor Carmichael has none of these. He is a non-swimmer struggling in deep water. I actually felt sorry for him last night on QT,

    106. david says:

      Can anyone recommend a good bookies as I’d like to place a wager on the result?
      best price i could find was william hills at 9/2

    107. a supporter says:

      Fraser Nelson’s accent was hand-tailored in Jermyn Street.  A tweedier version can be made up for country weekends. 

      Come off it. It’s just a weegie accent with a few SE English vowels added. It is very weird. Most Dollar boys just have the weegie accents

    108. Dave McEwan Hill says:

      Adrian B at 1.11
      Agree. We all know that Anas makes a lot of noise and McDougall keeps saying the same thing. They just repeat the stuff that is carried in the media
      I thought Fabiani and Jenkins did fine

    109. david says:

      he was given elecution lessons by annabel goldie so they wouldnt appear to be your average scot. its gross snobbery.

    110. a supporter says:


      QT.  Eddi Reader was a bit rambly but her passion was genuine, and touched a good few of the women. Three women all made the same point you make, ie, they are turned off by the technical arguments about, fiscals, the EU, the euro et al of which they know little and want more down to earth facts and an emotional and passionate reason for voting yes.

    111. john king says:

      liz says
      “But although some people seem to think Eddie Reader was a bit rambly – it is possible that she could appeal to those women who are anti-indy.”
      Bit of coaching, keeping aff the swally would be a start

    112. john king says:

      Major Bloodnok says

      Surely Stanely Baxter starred in the little known production Parliamo Zulu where he massacred the Glasgow patois?”
      anyone for fisticuffs?

    113. handclapping says:

      @john king
      Like the village of Imaf Foot in the Sierra Morra mountains overlooking the Costa Clyde?

    114. Inbhir Anainn says:

      @ proudscot
      Sorry but re the film Zulu.

      “We’ve all seen the marvellous movie, where the heroic Welsh garrison at Rorke’s Drift match the awesome Zulu war-chants with a stirring rendition of Men of Harlech. Come on Ivor, sing something they know …

      Well, it wasn’t quite like that. In fact, the county designation of the 24th Regiment in 1879 was the 2nd Warwickshires; they didn’t change their title to the South Wales Borderers until 1st July 1881 – almost exactly two years after the war had ended. True, the Regimental Depot had been established at Brecon, in South Wales, in 1873, and from that point there was a small but significant increase in Welsh recruits in the ranks. In fact, however, recruits for the regiment – like every other battalion in the British army – were signed on at recruiting depots across the country, and the 24th consisted of men from England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales. The most that can be said is that the Welsh connection had, by 1879, led to a rather higher proportion of Welshman in the ranks than was common elsewhere. Nevertheless, even the most optimistic search of the regimental roll can find only 19 men of B Company, 2/24th, with any sort of Welsh connection – out of a total strength of more than 80. Of course, there were detachments of numerous other units – including Colonial Volunteers – present at the battle, making a total garrison of about 145. So the Welsh contingent comprised no more than 15% of the total.

      And no-one, I’m sorry to say, sang Men of Harlech; the regimental march in 1879 was The Warwickshire Lads.”

    115. Archie [not Erchie] says:

      @ Inbhir Anainn – Sobs at the visual and audio Christmas movie for decades. [Sound of Music permitting]. Welshmen speared singing their hearts out as the fun loving Zulus fresh from casting studios ran amok.

      Oh please dont tell me that BraveFart was not true? Did they really use Max Factor powder puff on their bared asses? Just so they didnt shine in the sunlight.

    116. gordoz says:

      @ Doug Daniel –
      Did you see the piece in the DR Saturday mag ?
      Sent a scan in to Rev –
      Thought it was a good read.

    117. faolie says:

      Just read Fraser Nelson’s article. His conclusion is:
      The case for the Union is far stronger than that for separation – but that won’t matter, if it cannot be articulated with the requisite passion and force. The coming referendum is not about the Barnett Formula, or dividing oil wealth. It’s about saving the most extraordinary country ever created, whose joint intellectual and military endeavours exported the modern notion of freedom and won two world wars. Unless David Cameron’s Government can get this point across, there is a horribly large chance that he will be the last British prime minister.

      Doesn’t get it does he? That’s why the Union should be saved if you’re a London-based Scot, or if you’re the prime minister or maybe if you’re English, or the Queen maybe. What they don’t get is we’re not voting Yes because these things happened. We’re voting Yes, because we’re a country, and we’ve a chance to be a nation-state again. There’s absolutely nothing in that little plea above that says we’re better together. Because we’re not. And if the best that a London Scot can do is to parrot that old rubbish, then Cameron and his government really are lost.

    118. Les Wilson says:

      Having now watched just about every “meaningful” debate, one thing I cannot understand is, the Unionists continually say that Scotland has done well out of the Union. I never hear that challenged, er why?

      Over the last 2 years I decided to really see Scotland, bought a motorhome and off I went with the wife and dogs. What I found was really signs of degeneration almost everywhere. From Dumfries and Galloway, to Ayrshire, to Carnoustie, and everywhere with the exception of top tourist areas. Many places just looked and felt bleak.

      Our infrastructure is rubbish, the main Scottish artery between Edinburgh and Glasgow is an embarrassment for a “Motorway ? ” which is vital. Yes there have been some improvements here and there, but overall our infrastructure needs a whole lot of money spent on it. Just everything is suffering due to lack of funding.

      The poverty levels are shocking, and due to get much worse, and don’t get me started on existing and predicted child poverty.
      Yet, we have or rather ,should have, the money to sort all this out, but our money goes south and gets sucked into the South of England all kinds of projects down there, which are of course part paid by our money. Some of these projects have mind boggling costs, but they can find it, seemingly, easily.

      So given this why, during these debates do we not stand up and ask the question, 
      ” Just how have we, been doing well in the Union, please explain just how ! and not from empire days, that is long gone, but here, in Scotland, right now !” Answer please do not stutter !

    119. Ken500 says:

      Inverness folk can be well spoken, with a slight Highland tilt.

      Who reads the Telegraph?, never might the Spectator, not even an on-line presence.

    120. edulis says:

      Fraser Nelson went to Inverness Royal Academy before he went south. His strangulated vowels are of the Malcolm Rifkind variety i.e. part of the social climbing circuit. He is very much within the orbit of arch-Thatcherite Andrew Neil. Having said that he is close to the Downing Street higher echelons so I don’t think he would say this without putting it past them for checking.
      I think they are worried, not quietly confident as Alister Darling and Blair Jenkins would try and portray. They all know that this is all about momentum and that lies with the Yes vote. 

    121. Les Wilson says:

      The video clip is ” no longer available in your country” they have a long reach. 

    122. Inbhir Anainn says:

      @ Archie [not] Erchie
      Good news is there was apparently at least one Scot on the muster roll at Rorke’s Drift on that historic day.

    123. a supporter says:

      Archie (not Erchie)
      It’s Braveheart you fool. And you claim to be an Independence supporter.

    124. Inbhir Anainn says:

      @ Archie (not Erchie)
      Tad uncalled for Archie and I am nobody’s fool, for the record I am a member of the SNP and will on September 18th next year be voting YES.  Only you didnae type Braveheart in your previous posting.

    125. John Lyons says:

      Genteel? Carmichael? I thought the substitute Secretary of State that wasn’t good enough to get the job first time around was supposed to be a heavyweight bruiser come up to bash the Nats? Cannae even handle a wee lassie.

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