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Wings Over Scotland

After the watershed

Posted on March 20, 2013 by


If yesterday isn’t a turning point, we don’t know what will be.

We don’t want to over-dramatise, but yesterday saw the effective end of both the rule of law and democracy in the United Kingdom. Faced with a court verdict it didn’t like, the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition simply rewrote history to change the law retrospectively so that it won, penalising thousands of the poorest and most vulnerable people in the country as it did so, and Labour rolled over meekly and couldn’t summon up so much as an impotent protest vote.

If you think we’re exaggerating the implications of the workfare vote, don’t take our word for it – listen to the respected and sober liberal thinktank Civitas’s analysis:

“The precedent is a terrifying threat to civil liberty, and because the UK has no codified constitution, it’s entirely within Parliament’s prerogative. If government can simply rule on actions ‘ex post facto’ (after the event) then nothing is sacred. You could be walking your dog in Doncaster, completely legally, on Monday, and on Tuesday find that your perambulation was illegal and carries a life sentence.

True, criminal cases would be subject to the European Convention on Human Rights, but thanks to Parliamentary sovereignty, the government can ignore such trifles. The entire concept of ‘Rule of Law’ is undermined as soon as the government starts to cover its back like this.”

A big story, no? The BBC News website, at the time of our originally writing this post (1.45am, around seven hours after the vote) didn’t even consider it worthy of a passing mention. Waking up this morning, we scoured the newspapers fruitlessly for word of it, to the point where we started to think we’d dreamed the whole thing.

Most bizarrely of all, even the Civitas piece had been mysteriously pulled, replaced with something far less contentious.

The Guardian? Nothing. The Independent? Nothing. Total silence. A complete news blackout worthy of Soviet Russia or North Korea, for a government retrospectively rewriting the law to eradicate the verdict of a judge. You’d think someone would consider that mildly interesting. But perhaps after the events of last week, the journalists of our free press are simply too scared to report anything any more, lest they find themselves hauled up before a secret court.

And democracy? Well, that was pretty much shot in the UK already, but yesterday nailed down the coffin lid. If Labour wasn’t going to even stand up and be counted over this, what WILL it stand up for? What’s the point of its existence? The tweet below was typical of dozens in our timeline:


We could have filled this feature with them without scratching the surface. The gutless, useless abstention of over 80% of Labour MPs (including 83% of Scottish Labour ones) followed within hours of the party’s Holyrood MSPs doing the same thing in the Iraq debate – refusing to even vote against the motion condemning the war, so that the only people left actually defending a Labour war were the Tories – and in the middle of a pitiful charade of pretend opposition to the Bedroom Tax.

(The Iraq debate at Holyrood, which the opposition parties tried to prevent taking place, was a hideous spectacle – impassioned, thoughtful speeches from both the SNP and Lib Dems on one side and the Tories on the other, with Labour in the middle offering up a series of pathetic, whining complaints about how awful the SNP are, and how unfair it was to point out that maybe it would be nice in future for Scotland not perhaps to get involved in illegal wars with illegal aims* in which hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians end up dead and the country is left in chaos and ruins.)

*See 20th March 2003 entry here.

Shadow work and pensions secretary Liam Byrne made a grim, craven defence of the whipped non-vote in the Commons, claiming abstention was necessary in order to extract a couple of minor concessions from the UK Government and score some meaningless political points while one of the most basic tenets of British civilisation was pulled down and burned to ashes, for which even the friendly audience of tore Byrne to shreds.

It remains to be seen if he gets his “concessions”. We can’t for the life of us think why the coalition would bother, since it can pass the vote comfortably whether Labour abstains or opposes it. The only reason we can imagine is that David Cameron wants to be able to say that the bill passed without opposition, ensuring that the British public is left in no doubt whatsoever that there is nobody it can vote for to escape he and his cabinet of millionaires’ savage ideological attack on any last vestiges of compassion and humanity in UK society.

The lesson that I hope we will draw is that the Opposition will go into the election with a clear mandate to move from a means-tested welfare system, in which people think that they have a right to benefits, to one in which people gain entrance to welfare because they have paid contributions.” – Frank Field (Labour), 19 March 2013 (column 895)

If Liam Byrne is prepared to rob the British electorate of even the last, faintest glimmer of hope for the sake of such a dismal prize (for we can be certain that any concessions he does extract will be toothless, and that the Tories will just retrospectively repeal them anyway), we can only throw up our hands and howl at the sky in wordless, incoherent rage and despair at the inadequacy of language to convey our contempt for his worthless soul. We pray that his torment is eternal.

“Both [Iain Duncan Smith] and I believe sanctions are vital to give back-to-work programmes their bite.” – Liam Byrne, 11 March 2013 (col. 18)

All in all, then, a pretty bad day for the Union and its apologists. But there’s still a way out for Scotland. This week we should find out the date of the independence referendum. Scotland voted Yes for devolution in 1979 (but was cheated by Labour and the Tories), and Yes again in 1997, a choice which has now provided the option for a third and conclusive Yes to self-determination, responsibility, decency and dignity.

If its people instead choose No, they will reap the final extinguishing of hope which looks set to befall their cousins south of the border. Because bereft of any meaningful democracy and bereft of the protection of the law, the UK now stands for nothing. And if you vote for nothing, you get what you deserve, and deserve what you get.


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86 to “After the watershed”

  1. DonUnder says:

    I have NEVER been so disgusted with the Westminster system and the Labour party in particular.

  2. Chris says:

    Re the lack of bbc report I suggest complaining to the BBC

    On basis bbc are in breach of their own guidelines to give due weight, be impartial (which failure to report would indicate otherwise)
    News in whatever form must be treated with due impartiality, giving due weight to events, opinion and main strands of argument.  The approach and tone of news stories must always reflect our editorial values, including our commitment to impartiality.

    We must treat matters of politics and public policy with due accuracy and impartiality in news and other output. 

  3. Adrian B says:

    It’s just the start.

  4. Tasmanian says:

    What hope is there for the 90% of British subjects who don’t have the chance of becoming Scottish citizens?

    This is just awful.

  5. Adrian B says:

    The LibLabCon rainbow alliance of rich wealthy London bankers playing fast and loose in their Westminster Parliament have completely missed the fact of any possibility of a backlash could have arisen over the events they created over the last few days. They gambled on it being swept under the carpet and any opposition blowing over in a couple of days – we passed that point at least two days ago even although the only MSM outlet reporting any of this looks to have been “The Guardian” – a fitting name if ever I saw one on this occasion.
    Large swathes of Labour supporters, activists and members have cancelled their Labour Party Membership or at the very least declared that they would never again vote for the party. Losing support from these quarters is something that Labour can ill afford in an age of already drastically reducing membership numbers.
    A round of English Council elections are due in early May, Eu elections in 2014, a Referendum on Scottish Independence in 2014 and a General Election needing to be fought in 2015. A Scottish Election in Scotland 2016, with all this to be contended you would expect that Labour would have their strategists maximizing the number of activists on the ground for the political terrain laid out before it – apparently even at this early stage, someone is asleep at the wheel and the leadership are the ones responsible for this mess of their own making. 
    The law was changed in Westminster yesterday, for a moment in time we can think about the enormity of what that change means – it means that civil liberties in the United Kingdom will never be the same again, a Government can if it wishes find a way to further these changes at some point in the future to further erode values and decency to pursue its addiction in reducing the state. It can’t happen some will say – well we have got this far pretty easily and most people on these Islands are non the wiser. Complacency has a habit of surfacing when you least expect it, so perhaps its time for some to stop scoffing.
    In Scotland supporters of Independence have long been mocked for wishing to change the state. What we are striving to achieve however is a written constitution to protect the nation and its inhabitants from events not that different to what we have witnessed this week – a Government undermining the people of the nation to suit it’s agenda. Supporters of Independence have been warning about Governments in Westminster making bad decisions that effect negatively on the inhabitants of Scotland. The opposition scoff at these ‘Cybernats’ as if they were the crazy ones, clearly the opposition have again been complacent, not only with their own actions, but also the reaction of the public and their own members.
    Scotland wants to be run by Scots for Scots – a handful will not want to change, some will think it to difficult or that it might never happen. For thousands this week Westminster has made survival under the existing system that much harder. That is wrong here, just as it is in England, Wales or Northern Ireland.
    As Scots we are badly represented in Westminster – a Scottish Government like the one we have at present would never get elected in Westminster, so we cannot help our friends, neighbours and family who are South of the border directly through Westminster. We at least realise this. The best we can achieve is to lead by example, improve things for ourselves as a nation first and then see if England wishes to change towards what we aspire to today. 
    I will leave you with these words from Frank Field – Labour MP, posted by BrightonBeachcomber, from yesterdays Guardian:
    19 March 2013 11:06pm
    From today’s debate in Parliament:
    Frank Field: The lesson that I hope we will draw is that the Opposition will go into the election with a clear mandate to move from
    a means-tested welfare system, in which people think that they have a right to benefits
    , to one in which people gain entrance to welfare because they have paid contributions.

    So, no benefits at all for school leavers, or even university graduates who haven’t built up a contribution record, under Neo-Labour?

  6. Adrian B says:

    Broken News:

    Changes to housing benefit which have been dubbed a “bedroom tax” could cost Scots council and housing association tenants £53m a year, a study claims.

    No mention of UK wide demonstrations, no mention of any political meltdown, Nothing, even this will get lost with ‘The budget’ reporting later today.

  7. Thomas Dunlop says:

    I can see it now
    The Labour party as the latter day toom tabard,
    Westminster as Edward Longshanks and
    Sillars as Wallace.
    The big question is Salmond, the Bruce? (both did go awaa for a while to think about things)

  8. Vronsky says:

    The UK is moving towards the American system, where one party campaigns under two different names.   This system has proved very durable – it’s lasted a long time in the States because it fools most of the people most of the time.  My American wife thinks it matters that she’s a Democrat, and believes that it matters who is president.
    It looks as if the English are in for a bad time.  The Scots too, if we are not sensible in 2014, and I’m seeing no convincing signs that thte people can resist the daily bludgeoniung from the MSM.  There might be some hope in that the Engliush are more capable of anger than the Scots: we rolled over for the poll tax, they rioted in the streets.

  9. Luigi says:

    The crunch will come with union funding for the Labour party. Are the unions still willing to fund a closet, neoliberal party with nothing more to offer than soundbites? To think that it was the unions that ensured the election of Ed Milliband and his yes person in Scotland, Johann Lamont. Regret will soon turn to anger. It is time for the unions to look elsewhere for political support – form a new party? There are alternatives in Scotland, but a dangerous vacuum appears to be opening in England for the disaffected. Worryingly, there are already signs in the poor areas of England that UKIP and BNP are benefiting from the demise of Real Labour.

  10. Dcanmore says:

    I live three miles away from Westminster and I’ve never felt the place to be so far away as I do now, it might as well be in another galaxy like the Kremlin felt to me during the 80s. I can only hope that many Labour supporters in Scotland will now turn to Labour for Independence because this shower in Kremlinster has overnight abandoned them, and everybody else for that matter. Shameful and disgusting!

  11. Silverytay says:

    Luigi  The unions will continue to fund labour ‘ you only have to look at how many m.p,s & m.s.p,s have came through the trade union ranks to know nothing will change .
    The only way the trade unions will change their stance is if their members refuse to pay the political levy which goes to the labour party .
    I did read somewhere last year that the G.M.B were considering putting up candidates against labour candidates who were not representing the union interests .

  12. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “I will leave you with these words from Frank Field – Labour MP, posted by BrightonBeachcomber, from yesterdays Guardian:”

    I can’t find those words anywhere in Hansard, or anything remotely close. I can’t even find any evidence that Field spoke at all. Any source?

  13. Rod Mac says:

    the problem being that the MSM and Broadcasters are not running with this story.
    Only the political anoraks like us are aware of these events.
    Meanwhile they carry more anti Independence and anti SNP stories every day.
    Us wringing our hands on here and bleating is not going to make an iota of  difference to those journos in thrall of Westminster.
    They can write and say anything with impunity.
    During the troubles in Ireland the  media  were too scared to lie as much as our media.
    The Paramilitaries would pay them a visit .
    It is difficult to reconcile that  the Provisional and Real IRA got fairer treatment in the media than the democratric  SNP.
    We however are a democratic movement and therefore they can treat the truth with total disregard.
    As yesterday’s disgusting actions in Westminster show ,our democratic system is no more ,the rule of law is no more.
    What chance of a fair Referendum?
    Once people feel their democracy has been taken away you end up with a Provisional IRA type situation.
    Our London masters and their sheep in Holyrood should be very careful before they with their actions cause something that will damage all in our nation.
    I really do worry  that Scotland could one day explode into open violence due to the actions of our press and corrupt politicians

  14. EphemeralDeception says:

    Given the total lack of media coverage + The UK Gov stating that emergency legislation was needed due to the perceived risk to the UK economy…
    It seems plausible to me that the UK Gov had issued a press blackout for ‘national interest’. Note that in parallel the media currently has a sword of Damocles over them re: freedom of the press
    Anyone know how this can be checked?

  15. Jiggsbro says:

    The government was found to have illegally taken money away from some of the poorest people in society. It had a choice: give up the money it took illegally, or discard any pretence that it is bound by principles of justice and fairness. It chose – and I have no idea why this should surprise me – not simply to change the law so that it could take food out of the mouths of the poorest in future, but to rip the arse out of the justice system and retrospectively declare their illegal actions legal. Because fuck you, that’s why. And the opposition helped them. A handful of MPs were prepared to vote against this egregious abuse of power.
    If they can do this to those few benefit claimants, to save a piddling £130m – what percentage of the bank bailouts is that, I wonder? – then they can do it to anyone, for any reason. If you remove justice from one person, you remove it from everyone, because it becomes arbitrary. If you flout democracy, even temporarily on one issue, such as this, then you no longer have a democracy.
    Westminster decided yesterday that they are not our elected representatives but our rulers. They decided that democracy and the rule of law can be discarded when they are inconvenient. Why, then, should we not follow their lead?

  16. mrbfaethedee says:

    Sorry to spam two threads (I’m catching up chronlogically) – I think Civitas have regrettably changed their page now.

  17. Clydebuilt says:

    Rod Mac says:
    20 March, 2013 at 8:58 am
    “the problem being that the MSM and Broadcasters are not running with this story.
    Only the political anoraks like us are aware of these events.

    email this article to your contacts ask them to forward to theirs

    get the message out

  18. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    Yeah, oddly Civitas have pulled the piece. I have a saved copy, will have it uploaded shortly.

  19. CameronB says:

    “Why, then, should we not follow their lead?”
    I do my best not to comply and deliberately break at least one law every day. Might not achieve much but helps me feel human.

  20. Les Wilson says:

    This utter deceit on all of the people of the UK, democracy was almost dead, now it has been dealt the death blow.
    My concern is, can they rewrite the terms of the referendum if they can do what they want, they will do just that. Given my opinion that they will no doubt, go bust without us, will they either disregard the result of the referendum, or fiddle with the rules in order to defeat any yes vote.
    Follow also, that if in 2015, following a yes vote and before Independence day in 2016, if labour win, they COULD not recognize the referendum result? 
    They could do this anyway, as they would not be bound by the rules of the previous government, at least that is my understanding. However, with this new measure to hammer democracy, they would have a more confident wind in  their sails. Scotland beware, the most treacherous party of all, LABOUR . There is no level to which they will not go.

  21. Shirley says:

    I can’t understand why people aren’t taking to the streets.

  22. Albert Herring says:

    “I can’t understand why people aren’t taking to the streets.”
    It often doesn’t get reported when they do

  23. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    Or they all get kettled.

  24. Jiggsbro says:

    I can’t understand why people aren’t taking to the streets.
    Cyberspace is the new street.

  25. Marcia says:

    It is like that a ‘D’ Notice has been issued to the publishers and broadcsters.
    I now see that they numerous links on twitter and the internet to the video that the National Collective put out yesterday that Better Together had removed from Youtube claiming copyright infringement. As this video was criticism then there was no copyright infringement.

  26. The Man in the Jar says:

    @Rev. Stuart Campbell
    Your suggested soundtrack of Carter usm” After the watershed.”
    I suggest Kaiser Chiefs “I predict a riot.”

  27. dundee bloke says:

    Scotland, The Labour Party, Independence.

  28. ronald alexander mcdonald says:

    The collective MSM are becoming more like Pravda every day. They promote a right-wing agenda that causes  real  hardship and institutional neglect of the poor and vaunerable. Scottish Independence can reverse that trend. Their response is to lie, ridiclue and undermine such an agenda.
    Well fuck them! AS should legislate the McCluskey proposals. Freedom of the press they cry! Freedom  my arse. They are all bought and sold for a few bob. Make the bastards investigare and report the truth.  

  29. Jiggsbro says:

    In a free society, we get the free press we want. Unfortunately, as a society, we want to find out whether a soap star has cellulite, why people different to us are evil and why human rights mean some humans we don’t like have rights we would rather deny them.  We’re not interested in that boring political stuff.

  30. The Man in the Jar says:

    Yesterday I posted this. On “The law is what we say it is” thread.
    “I genuinely feel very sorry for people living in England. Imagine going into the poling booth, looking at you ballot paper and looking at your viable choices. (With apologies to the Greens.)
    Lib Dem.
    Only one answer. NONE OF THE ABOVE”
    CameronB responded with this.
    CameronB says:
    19 March, 2013 at 9:31 pm

    @ The Man in the Jar
    Not much of a choice really. (Again, apologies to the Greens)

    I would now like to take the opportunity to add. (With apologies etc.)



    Don’t get me started!

  31. Jiggsbro says:

    Alternatively, we could simply ask “Whose lies do you prefer?”
    The Sun
    The Mirror
    The Guardian
    The Mail
    I can’t read.

  32. Holebender says:

    Labour: if they don’t stand for something they’ll fall for anything. (Author disputed.)

  33. CameronB says:

    Of course, this follows closely behind similar Westminster collusion in passing the justice and security bill earlier this month. They now have the tools to implement a police state and have shown an alarming willingness to disregard the very principles of democracy and civil liberties.
    Vote Yes in 2014 FFS.

  34. Cath says:

    “I genuinely feel very sorry for people living in England. Imagine going into the poling booth, looking at you ballot paper and looking at your viable choices.”
    Don’t feel sorry for the people of England. At the moment, our choice is identical. OK we have the SNP we can choose for Holyrood, but Holyrood is powerless over most things, especially given the budget is dictated by London, and power over Holyrood itself lies with London.
    It’s all of us that are in this bind. Scots are lucky in that we have a possible escape route next year, but those in power are, and will be, doing everything within that power to block off that route and ensure we can’t take it.

  35. The Man in the Jar says:

    At least we in Scotland have hope.
    When that goes all is lost.

  36. douglas clark says:

    Seems to me that the unwritten constitutional idea that no legislation should be retrospective has been taken for a ride. Or maybe I just made that bit up. The things you think you know turn to ashes before this bunch of complete incompetents.

  37. Robert Kerr says:

    Dum Spiro, Spero.

  38. Doug Daniel says:

    The left in England need to get their act together. Their refusal to acknowledge what Labour has become merely enables Labour to continue its lurch to the right, safe in the knowledge that the left will continue to vote for them, like obedient little slaves.
    Why does the Grauniad continue to stick by them? Why does Owen Jones refuse to ditch them, despite his whole family doing so? Why are they not trying to promote the Greens?
    Let’s get out of this sorry mess. The idea that we can reconfigure the UK from within is absolutely ridiculous. It needs shock therapy.

  39. Luigi says:

    At last, New Labour have found another name: SLAVE LABOUR PARTY

  40. Ron says:

    O/T – Apologies.
    The P&J is being boycotted by the Labour group on Aberdeen City Council. This is because the paper described as an ‘activist’, a student who admitted drug-dealing. His solicitor said that the accused had campaigned for Labour in the last two elections. Group secretary Willie Young said that councillors would not be responding to requests for comment from the newspaper until further notice.

  41. annie says:

    Thought the politicians were supposed to be frightened of the newspapers now it seems it’s the other way around – hope the P&J are making it very public.

  42. Holebender says:

    I wonder if the P&J’s unofficial political correspondent (Wee Dickie Baker MSP) knows about the boycott?

  43. muttley79 says:

    @Doug Daniel
    The left in England need to get their act together. Their refusal to acknowledge what Labour has become merely enables Labour to continue its lurch to the right, safe in the knowledge that the left will continue to vote for them, like obedient little slaves.
    Why does the Grauniad continue to stick by them? Why does Owen Jones refuse to ditch them, despite his whole family doing so? Why are they not trying to promote the Greens?
    The Trade Unions in England should be withdrawing their funding from the Labour Party, and giving it to the Greens and Socialists.  They are very small forces at present but with proper funding they would reflect the interests of union members more.  In Scotland the Unions should fund the SSP/Greens at the expense of Scottish Labour.

  44. Yesitis says:

    So, let`s just say, in 2014, Scotland votes Yes to independence by a margin of 61% to 39% against. The morning after the referendum the media announce a No victory by 64%, with just 36% in favour.
    Scotland votes Yes, but we are told Scotland has voted against independence. If Westminster doesn`t like the way the referendum turns out, who`s to say a No vote is guaranteed regardless.
    The unionists seem unreasonably confident?

  45. Scaraben says:

    A common theme of the comments on this and other pro-independence sites is the lack of any real difference between the main unionist parties, certainly as far as their actual policies are concerned – there is a slight difference perhaps in their rhetoric. This is a problem which also afflicts the USA, a country which the UK often seems determined to copy and follow (into Iraq, for example), and one which some say has the best politicians that money can buy – it seems that some corporations like to give ‘campaign donations’ (aka bribes) to both Republicans and Democrats.
    It could be argued that the role of the Republicans and the Tories is to push through radical right-wing policies, while that of the Democrats and Labour is to give people some hope that they might be able to get a better government one day through the ballot box without actually hindering the development of a corporate fascist state, run for the benefit of the corporations and their billionaire owners and their cronies. (What the role of the LibDems is I do not know – perhaps it is to give people somebody to laugh at?)
    My personal term for this state of affairs, where there are the trappings of a democratic system, but no real democracy as there is so little difference between the parties which have any chance of forming a government, is a shamocracy. (My apologies to anyone who thought of the term before me.) In my opinion, the UK has been a shamocracy at least since Blair and his cronies took over the Labour Party.
    Ken Livingstone (for whom I have much more respect than I have for the average Labour politician) wrote a book titled “If Voting Changed Anything They’d Abolish it“, which is apparently an old anarchist saying. Let us hope that the referendum proves an exception to that rule.
    Incidentally, I see that Ken’s replacement as Mayor of London has aspirations to be Prime Minister, a truly excellent reason for voting YES.

  46. John says:

    @ Rev Stu “I can’t find those words anywhere in Hansard, or anything remotely close. I can’t even find any evidence that Field spoke at all. Any source?”
    Frank Field Labour “The lesson that I hope we will draw is that the Opposition will go into the election with a clear mandate to move from a means-tested welfare system, in which people think that they have a right to benefits, to one in which people gain entrance to welfare because they have paid contributions.”

  47. Morag says:

    Yesitis said:
    So, let`s just say, in 2014, Scotland votes Yes to independence by a margin of 61% to 39% against. The morning after the referendum the media announce a No victory by 64%, with just 36% in favour.
    Scotland votes Yes, but we are told Scotland has voted against independence.
    Never actually been to a count, then?

  48. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    John: brilliant, thanks. I looked in the entry for that very debate this morning, but it looks like the full transcript can’t have been added by then.

  49. CameronB says:

    @ Morag
    Why not try to educate, as opposed to cut down and ridicule?

  50. orkers says:

    Well if anything deserves another £10 then that article does.
    I could feel your rage and agree with you in similar fashion.
    Well said, doing what you do best.

  51. Yesitis says:

    Thanks for that. I hope you don`t work for Yes Scotland; remember, we want to win this thing 🙂
    I was hinting at the trust factor. No-one can be at all the counts and witness every vote being counted. The unionists seem overly confident and it worries me slightly. That`s all.

  52. Brian Ritchie says:

    The unionists seem overly confident and it worries me slightly.
    They don’t seem confident at all to me; their continually screeching and ridiculous scare stories seem more redolent of panic.  If they were really confident there would be no need for all of that.

  53. Morag says:

    Yesitis, I think you may want to lighten up a bit.

    Someone will be at every count.  Someone will be watching every ballot box opened, and every teller counting.  People will be keeping score over their shoulders.  Running totals will be maintained, and any strange anomalies highlighted.

    That happens already.  It may be possible to fiddle a few votes here and there, maybe even make a difference in a marginal seat or at a by-election, but it’s small beer.  Making a significant difference to a national Y/N referendum which in reality has a 61% Yes vote is not within the realms of possibility.

    You seemed to be suggesting that this could be accomplished not even by actual electoral fraud, but simply by releasing a false result to the press.  A moment’s thought should reveal what a ludicrous idea that is.  Thousands of people are going to know the results for themselves, as they come out of the boxes, and if the press says anything different, they are hardly going to keep quiet.

    If you post alarmist, paranoid mince, then expect to be called on it, frankly.

  54. Jiggsbro says:

    Thousands of people are going to know the results for themselves, as they come out of the boxes,
    Well, no. They’re each going to know a small section of the result. And if it’s fiddled, and they all get together and realise it’s been fiddled, there will be plenty of people standing by to dismiss their claims as alarmist, paranoid mince.

  55. FreddieThreepwood says:

    Hear, hear. The credibility of WoS and similar pro-indy sites is in part down to the standard of commentary they attract and generate. I don’t know about the Rev but I for one am less than comfortable sharing threads with anything even remotely barking.
    No offence Yesitis, but we’ve really got to keep these discussions on this side of sane. We live in a democracy – an imbalanced, malfunctioning one but a democracy nevertheless. Though Westminster be increasingly distant and capricious and though our press and broadcast media institutionally biased, the fairness, openness and transparency of our national ballots is simply not in doubt. To suggest otherwise is to invite the scorn of those we are seeking to either persuade to our cause or beat in a fair fight.
    We do not live in a banana republic. We live under a bananas constitutional monarchy. That’s bad enough.

  56. Holebender says:

    The ballot papers are kept in case there’s a challenge, and there will be a challenge if the result announced is so obviously different from the result witnessed at the counts.
    Please try to remember that the referendum will be under the control of the Scottish Parliament and Government. Do you really think they will allow such a massive unionist fraud to go unchallenged? Really?

  57. Jiggsbro says:

    We live in a democracy – an imbalanced, malfunctioning one but a democracy nevertheless.
    We live in an elected dictatorship. When our government – with the support of the opposition – can retroactively declare their illegal acts legal and overturn the judgement of an independent judiciary, when the government seeks to repeal human rights legislation, when we have an unknowable constitution which can be changed retroactively to suit the government over the people, when the vast majority of votes do not count, when those that do can only be used to choose between different people with the same policies, when the disabled are demonised, when the unfortunate are punished for their misfortune, when our representatives can steal from us without penalty, when law and policy is framed for multinational corporations rather than voters, when the media kowtows to government, when the government covers up police misconduct, military misconduct, illegal rendition, torture, child abuse and who knows what else, when there is no real hope of changing any of that other than leaving it behind, then we do not live in a democracy as I understand the term.

  58. CameronB says:

    “Please try to remember that the referendum will be under the control of the Scottish Parliament and Government”
    Thanks Holebender, that’s a relief. I am now better educated, even uplifted, and might sleep more easily tonight. 😉

  59. Morag says:

    Jiggsbro, there is already a well-honed party machine scrutinising every election count.  Well, at least four party machines actually.  It’s not down to a few individual activists getting their heads together the next day and thinking they smell a rat.

    There is a lot of TV coverage from election counts already available.  You can see the place swarming with party representatives with clipboards and clicker-counters, actually looking over the shoulders of the tellers.  Who are themselves ordinary members of the public, many of them bank tellers in their day jobs.

    In any individual count, there are lots of people monitoring how every ballot box is looking as it’s being counted.  They are in contact with people in contact with party headquarters.  Anyone in there is empowered to complain to the returning officer if they think there’s any funny stuff going on, in real time.

    I don’t think you realise just how open the count is, and the opportunities for scrutiny at every level.  Just think about what you see on TV during an election count before you enter the realms of paranoid fantasy.

  60. cath says:

    ““Please try to remember that the referendum will be under the control of the Scottish Parliament and Government””
    I don’t think there could ever be fraud as obvious as the media just declaring a different result. However, I do hope someone in the Scottish government and/or electoral commission is keeping a very close eye on postal votes and anomolies. I’ve seen many a scheme for fraud discussed in the NO pages by people based outside Scotland. For example someone asking how many voters he could register at his rented-out flat without detection, and someone on here gave us a detailed description of how you can de-fraud postal votes. If they really want to keep Scotland I wouldn’t put anything past them.

  61. Indion says:

    I do not wish to the exchequer to be out of pocket as a result of the chancellor’s budget.

    At 1p per pint off, how many pints do I need to buy to do my bit?

  62. FreddieThreepwood says:

    Look chaps … London needs Scotland. It needs the certainty of the security council seat, it needs the oil revenue, the EU opt outs, Trident … a really big long list of reasons ending in just the chauvinistic conceit of keeping “it’s” northern territory intact. It will therefore fight tooth and nail and downright dirty to keep a hold of it – the spin and control of the BBC is nothing compared to what it will deploy if it gets squeaky bum for them in the second half of 2014.
    I get that.
    But the British State will not – cannot – rig the actual ballot. As Morag and others have pointed out – and I’ve been to a fair few counts myself – it is simply not possible to do that in this country, certainly on any meaningful scale, and, besides, the consequences of being caught with MI5’s hand in the ballot box is just too bloody awful for them to contemplate.
    Now let’s stop providing paranoid freebies for the unionist monitors of this and other sites. Keep it real guys FFS!

  63. douglas clark says:

    “So, let`s just say, in 2014, Scotland votes Yes to independence by a margin of 61% to 39% against. The morning after the referendum the media announce a No victory by 64%, with just 36% in favour.
    Scotland votes Yes, but we are told Scotland has voted against independence. If Westminster doesn`t like the way the referendum turns out, who`s to say a No vote is guaranteed regardless.”
    Utter pish. Do you have any idea whatsoever the scale of the conspiracy that would have to be conducted to achieve that? I have been involved, in a previous life, at both polling stations and at counts. The people that conduct them act in a non-political manner.  The process is open to public inspection and the massive fraud that you postulate is not a possibility.

    This degree of paranoia does us no favours at all.

  64. Morag says:

    Now wait for Cameron and his acolytes to attack you, old boy….

  65. CameronB says:

    @ Morag
    Why would I attack those that I agree with, yourself included? You need to settle down a bit and try to make a few friends, perhaps. Just my opinion.

    Your second post was excellent, apart for the insults. Why can you not respond as positively, more often?

  66. Morag says:

    Look, is it my fault some people around here have no imagination?  My first one-liner contained the inference of everything I said in the second post.  I paid readers the compliment of believing I didn’t have to say any more.

    All you had to offer was sniping.

  67. CameronB says:

    So why me and can I claim against tax for my acolytes? They’ve been giving me jip.
    Look, I criticised what I took as rudeness in your reply to Yesitis, who also indicated their displeasure. I also suggested how you might make a more positive contribution to the discussion, as I do value you input. How is that snipping?
    Can we not just agree to disagree on some points, and move on? Not everything revolves around our initial meeting, though first impressions do count, I’m told.

  68. douglas clark says:

    I kind of agree with CameronB’s post of 20th inst @11:03am. I most certainly do not agree with Yesitis’s post at 1:48pm.
    We are on a slippery slope when a fundamental principle of no retroactive legislation becomes permissible (permissable in the sense of what permit one wonders?) under our unwritten constitution. That does not mean that all is lost, the centre cannot hold. Indeed, I would expect this piece of legislation might well be appealed to Europe, which will make Theresa May pretendy apoplectic but really ecstatic.
    Note to self: Another element of our naescent constitution is that no Parliament of Scotland will be allowed to enact retrospective legislation without a 90% mandate from the Parliament – the 90% being to allow for genuine errors, and nothing else.

  69. Morag says:

    Cameron, you could simply have let my post stand.  The rudeness was yours, in assuming rudeness in me when no such thing was intended.  You chose to start a row, not me.
    I don’t need or want you to tell me how to make a more positive contribution to the discussion.  If you can’t make the intellectual leap from a short reference to remind people of how election counts are usually conducted, to actually thinking about it, then it might be better to keep quiet instead of picking a fight.

  70. Morag says:

    Douglas, I didn’t indicate the slightest problem with the post of Cameron’s you mention.

    I do have a problem when a six-word post of mine is gratuitously attacked as rude by someone who simply hasn’t figured out what it was intended to convey.

  71. CameronB says:

    Morag – Not everyone who comes here for information is as up-to-speed as you appear to assume. If you can not see how discourteous your reply was, there really isn’t much point in trying to reach an understanding. Please just let it drop and perhaps reflect on what people say to you.

    @ Yesitis – none of my comments are directed to yourself

  72. Morag says:

    Look, Cameron, you chose to start a row, not me.  You chose to criticise my posting style, then give me a presumptuous lecture on “how I might make a more positive contribution to the discussion”.  Now you accuse me of discourtesy and tell me to “reflect on what people say to me”.

    I do not need lectures from you, of all people.  If you can’t see how patronising, presumptions and completely unnecessary you are, it’s not my problem.  If you have no sense of humour, and no mental agility, then reflect on that for a change,

  73. CameronB says:

    Have you not spotted that I have been feeding you rope for a while now? If I’m honest, I think you are so far up yourself that you are risking vitamin D deficiency. Do me a favour and just fuck off. Perhaps not the most intellectual way to end a discussion, but there just seems no way through to you.

  74. douglas clark says:

    Jesus CameronB. I wrote the following before your post at 1:15am. I assume it will be deleted and you ought to be grateful if it is. Assuming you care at all about your credibility.


    Cameron B / morag:
    Time out.
    Deep breaths. I read both your comments and admire the fact that you both reply to my questions and criticise the things I say. Sometimes something irritates me about something another commentator might say, and I can be quite short at times, even rude.
    Yesitis is as entitled to comment as anyone else, but has to bear the brunt of criticism under the old Guardian saw: “Comment is Free, facts are sacred.” His/her  comment was fact free.
    We are all on the same side. It is entirely possible that Yesitis has never been to a count. Not many normal people have. There have been fairly detailed answers given as to the checks and balances that apply. It is up to him or her to comment now, not you nor I.
    We do not need to bicker between ourselves when there is a referendum to be won!

  75. CameronB says:

    I don’t like bullies dc.

  76. Indion says:

    Cath’s right.
    Our conception needs an immaculate Indyref, from a free, frank and full deliberation of the pros and cons – wherein the MSM are lagging in their being captured prisoners of the UK state they have the gall to bitch about interfering with their freedom whilst bearing down on ours – via a validated register all the way as else to the double-checked count – for at least 3 reasons:
    1. It’s our Indyref on never accepting second best or handed down ever again.
    2. So we can best move forward together whatever the outcome.
    3. So the watching world can witness, report and take note of our example for democracy being about we, all of the people rather than a self-selecting some.
    BTW, if any of you owls are still up, think of a £number, pick a date for the Indyref before 2:00pm tomorrow and enter your pledge at ‘The Final Countdown’ post with the opportunity to more than double your stake this time!  

  77. douglas clark says:

    In your normal, non-internet life, do you go around telling women to ‘fuck off’?
    I somewhat doubt you do.

  78. CameronB says:

    douglas clark
    I’m all for equal opportunities in almost every respect. I do my best to keep a civil tongue, but think language is there to be used. Perhaps I have offended, perhaps it was due. Thanks for trying to take the steam out of things, but let’s just drop it. winky

  79. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    I think it’s time everyone took a big deep breath. Morag, Cameron, you’re both valued contributors and you’re clearly never going to agree, so how about you both stop jabbing the other with sharp sticks, hmm? We’ve got a job to do here.

  80. Morag says:

    Fair enough, but if that’s what I get for deciding to go with a light-hearted one-liner instead of treating someone to a po-faced lecture on the conduct of election counts which all of us have seen on TV anyway, then it’s a poor show.

  81. Barontorc says:

    Without reference to Morag et al and their wee skirmishes – I am seriously concerned with the possibility of postal fraud. It has definitely happened in previous elections both here and in England and has always ended up in favour of an increase to the Labour vote.
    There are more than enough desperate and feral unionistas backed up by the state’s black-arts department who’ll stoop to any depth to stop independence for Scotland and I sincerely hope the SG will insist on external monitoring of this coming referendum and subsequent elections in 2015 and 2016.
    If this UK Gov and it’s flaccid opposition can contrive to do such as was done yesterday – we would be fools indeed to expect other than the same attitude to prevail against Scottish determination.
    Forget the press coming over the hill in white hats to save the day – they’re well burnt – and no need to even mention the appetite of auntie BBC for saving our democracy if it’s to go agin their establishment state.

  82. Morag says:

    Barontorc, I agree with you.  That’s the danger area, and I would quite frankly be surprised if certain elements in the Unionist camp aren’t already laying plans for some electoral fraud of that nature, quite honestly.  The reputation of Glasgow Labour isn’t just imagination.

    There is a limit to how much of that you can get away with though, so it would only be important if it was fairly tight.  However, it might be fairly tight.  I hope and trust the SG are on the case.

  83. John says:

    Please sign the petition to have this retrospective legislation overturned:
    If anybody thinks that this was a Liam Byrne only issue then read what the Guardian has just reported:
    “Senior members of the shadow cabinet were obliged to follow the instruction to abstain from the Commons vote. Following a briefing from Ed Miliband at Monday’s meeting of the parliamentary Labour party, they had been warned that anyone who stepped out of line would be sacked.”

  84. Baheid says:

    J@ohn says:
    Done, and passed on

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