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All the small print

Posted on December 19, 2013 by

Ask anyone who knows about such things and they’ll tell you that not only is the headline the most important aspect of an article, but often it’s the only part of it that people read at all. It’s a fact worth bearing in mind when you scan the media coverage of the main Scottish politics story of today.





The reality, of course, is somewhat less clear-cut. Dig down into any of the pieces and you’ll find that what Cameron actually said was that Barnett was safe until 2015. As he made very explicit in a letter to the First Minister (tweeted by Nicola Sturgeon yesterday), his promises – even should one choose to believe them – are only good until the next UK general election.


As we’ve noted recently, every statement made by a UK politician on the subject contains the same disclaimer. Barnett, and the billions of pounds in spending it brings to Scotland (albeit funding we pay for and then some), won’t be going anywhere while there’s still a referendum to be won. After that, all bets are off and Scotland’s bargaining chips will be in the bin.

Scottish Labour, of course, are deeply concerned and taking the danger of a massive reduction in the Scottish block grant, and the attendant huge cuts in services, with the grave seriousness it merits.

Perhaps we should be generous. Maybe these distortions of the facts aren’t the result of a Unionist agenda, but simply a journalistic one – everyone already knows that the UK government isn’t going to be stupid enough to abolish Barnett before the referendum, so there’s no actual story here, but pages have to be filled with something so they need to puff it up into “news”.

Readers can make their own judgement about that particular context. But they’d probably be wise not to read anything else into the contents.

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    Canon Kenyon Wright Interview March 07 2014 | Aye Right Radio

38 to “All the small print”

  1. Gordon Smith says:

    But what is good in these headlines, is it raises the Barnett formula in the minds of the public, and that  “This thing” can be changed, and Scotland  might loss £4bn if a no vote. Which we know will be clear either way, as soon as the question is answered in September Next year.
    No such things as bad publicity on this at the moment. 

  2. MajorBloodnok says:

    …oh perfidious Albion.

  3. FreddieThreepwood says:

    You make the point I’ve been banging on about for months – yes, newspaper circulation is failing, of course ‘intelligent’ people say they don’t believe what they read anyway … but headlines and billboards scream the lies and distortions from every newsstand and shop window day and daily and are thus absorbed almost subliminally by even the most news-averse person. We therefore live in an environment of fear, doubt and suspicion.
    … and then, of course, editorials slag off the Yes campaign for not doing enough to set the agenda. You couldn’t make it up.

  4. Horacesaysyes says:

    The issue with the Barnett Formula is that outside of us political anoraks, very few folk have any idea of what it is and what it does. So these stories are basically designed to support that ‘Vote No and everything will stay exactly the same’ idea that BT are trying to put out.

    However, if it makes a few extra people wonder about what this Barnett business actually is, and to seek out more details, then its all to the good.

  5. Murray McCallum says:

    Fears over Barnett therefore remain. This is clearly a huge risk to any future Scottish Government trying to conduct policies in accordance with its voters priorities, e.g. tuition fees and care for the elderly.
    The video clip also prompts me to query why UK tax payers subsidise the cost of alcohol and food sold (£7 million) within the Westminster Parliament They are just so out of touch.

  6. Marker Post says:

    Agree with Gordon Smith – it raises the consciouness. Even the Scotsman headline ‘would remain’ in quotes sows seeds of doubt.

  7. pmcrek says:

    Reading the MSM you could almost be forgiven for believing the Barnett formula doesn’t completely shaft us enough.

  8. setondene says:

    We’ve had the threats and scares, and they’ll continue till next September.  As D-Day approaches the bribes will take their place in the MSM headlines. If you can call retaining Barnett an inducement (I don’t).  It should be fascinating to observe the churning out of new of OBEs, MBEs, baronets, lords and ladies etc.  Unionist luvvies like David Tennant will get their immediate reward through high levels of media exposure and TV work.  I wonder if they ever think, ‘wait a minute, what’ll happen to me if my side loses….?’

  9. Training Day says:

    Congratulations to the poster yesterday who accurately predicted the headlines in the ‘Scottish’ MSM today.  The definitive news – from the Prime Minister, no less – that there were no guarantees about Barnett was indeed translated into ‘Barnett guaranteed’ by our objective media.
    The ‘Scottish’ MSM strategy is clear from now until 18 September.  Black is indeed White, Freedom is Slavery, and you, dear reader, are an ignorant fool.

  10. Ally says:

    @ Training Day
    The ‘Scottish’ MSM strategy is clear from now until 18 September. Black is indeed White, Freedom is Slavery, and you, dear reader, are an ignorant fool.
    Perhaps it is this attitude that has led to the diminsing sales month on month.
    Optimistically speaking, this could well backfire to the benefit of the YES campaign. The Scottish people aren’t as “too wee & too stupid” as the MSM or condem may have us think!

  11. Thomas William Dunlop says:

    I’m sick fed up of the MSM. I hope it all crashes and burns. There is no need for it if all it does is print propaganda

  12. Jamie Arriere says:

    Just google “Scrap Barnett” and you’ll see the long list of people, parties & organisations that want Barnett scrapped, and for how long they have wanted to do it – Tories, House of Lords, Carwyn Jones, English Local Govt assoc, bloggers, columnists etc.
    There is no way that it will survive after 2015! These reassurances should fool nobody.

  13. proudscot says:

    Played the video clip of Separashun Davidson’s sneering contribution at Scottish Questions. What a shameless little lickspittle this man is! How can any decent Labour supporter vote for this anti-Scottish, pro-Westminster toady? I know Alex Salmond has emphasised the point that our independence debate has not even caused anyone a bloody nose, unlike other more violent independence struggles elsewhere in the world. However, if anyone ever deserved a “bloody nose”, I can think of no better candidate than this stomach-turning little ("Quizmaster" - Ed) Davidson.

  14. Mealer says:

    Well,there’s a scare story every day.If it wasn’t this it would be something else.But folk take it all with a very large pinch of salt.Didnt the WoS poll find that very few people believe what their newspaper tells them about politics?And that they trust the London government less than they trust OUR government?WoS Does a great job of providing us with info.Its up to us to tell the public.Sometimes loudly and more often quietly.Whatever works best.People are more likely to believe a message from a friend or colleague than from a London Tory.A wee bit every day.l

  15. Macart says:

    Here’s one for the ‘proud Scots’.
    If you believe Scotland to be a country, regardless of whether you are voting no or are undecided, just why do you require a formula of any description handed down from a ‘higher power’ to spend your own cash?
    When you work that out you’ll know why most of us here are voting YES.

  16. scottish_skier says:

    UK ‘was inappropriately involved in rendition’
    There is evidence Britain was inappropriately involved in the rendition and ill-treatment of terror suspects, an inquiry has revealed.

  17. Jingly Jangly says:

    Ive heard 2nd hand of “Islamic” people wearing orange boiler suits chained together in the hold of c130 aircraft at Prestwick,  Planes in for a quick service stop, clean and refuel.

    This was several years ago , don’t know if still goes on.

  18. It struck me yesterday that The Hootsmon’s reporting of the Fitch rating non-story was classified merely as a Blow for Independence, not a Major Blow as usual.
    It seems they are now employing some sort of Beaufort Scale of fellatio in reporting independence scare stories, which is rather appropriate: Erstwhile regular readers from the Linklater days and before have thought that the paper had sucked ever since Brillo-pad Neill’s editorship.

  19. creigs1707repeal says:

    “…his promises – even should one choose to believe them – are only good until the next UK general election.”
    Precisely. What an MP SAYS and what s/he DOES are two quite different things. Clegg / Student Fees anyone?

  20. Derek says:

    There’s a headline in today’s Herald (page 6):- “MPs claim independence would reduce Scotland’s influence”. This is to do with aid to foreign countries; the missing words at the end are “ part of the UK”, as it’s about how much the UK gives. An odd story.

  21. Croompenstein says:

    Typical of the Tory’s – do as I say not as I do !!! Perfect answer for the BT brigade though to all their thoughtless diatribe and never ending cycle of the same shit – ” your request for guarantees in perpetuity about the future is quite astonishing “. Now fuck off to your tory paymasters and play with your WMD

  22. MochaChoca says:

    @Jingly jangly,
    Google maps show 3 USAF galaxy transport planes sitting in the (what was then) quieter locations of the airfield. The imaging is from the early to mid 2000’s.

  23. Papadocx says:

    O the twisted web they weave when they spin their yarn to deceive!
    Add to that the twisted, biased and distorted MSM “analyses” 
    Pass to the media to add its distortions, and transmit to the slow, thick jocks as facts!
    Lull the daft jocks into thinking it’s yes for uncertainty and danger, and a no vote then nothing will change! 
    The day after the NO vote the knives will be out and they will be out to hack the biggest most repressive changes to the DAFT jocks. Just look at the sneering and contempt displayed by the unionist politicians at PMQ’s yesterday to the Scottish people, Aye and led by some treacherous Scots MP’s. 

  24. gillie says:

    The trouble is for the press is that they have all railed against the Barnett formula. Now any thought that the Barnett formula was to be retained would have produced huge amounts of column inches in in protest.
    NOT A WHIMPER, just a collection of news reports claiming the opposite to what we know will happen to the Barnett formula after the referendum. 
    This is proof positive that the Barnett Formula has become a stick to beat unionists with in the run up to the referendum. 
    My advice – just keep the beatings up. 

  25. Hetty says:

    There are many people who do not know what the Barnett formula is at all considering it is not that complicated in terms of how economics works, or rather, works for some!  Some of the folk I speak to really are not sure about the basics of our political system which is shocking, lets hope that future generations will be more clued up. 

  26. Les Wilson says:

    The Welsh First Minister when he came to lecture us recently said in an interview, when asked about the Barnett Formula being reduced or scrapped, he said almost as an aside, ” Oh, that will happen anyway !”.
    Something pre determined within the Labour/ Tory alliance ?

  27. Jingly Jangly says:

    Mocha Choca
    I know the Yanks tend to go overboard on almost everything but doubt if Galaxy’s were used for moving a few people about. What Ive heard Hercs were the biggest and often smaller executive  type jets. No the Galaxy’s would have been moving heavy equipment about, think they use Freight Jumbo’s for bombs and cruise missiles about so the could bomb brown babies.

    Now that things have slowed down in Afganistan and Iraq big drop in number of Jumbo Freighters flying over my house on Route to land at Prestwick. Most normal freight goes via England, only the dangerous stuff comes via us.

  28. MochaChoca says:

    You never know…. the galaxys may well have been on the way back to US after unloading in the middle east anyway. Plenty of rumours about it back then.

  29. A2 says:

    “The day after the NO vote the knives will be out and they will be out to hack the biggest most repressive changes to the DAFT jocks.”

    What’s really f….. up is that those who voted NO (the majority) will suffer just as those who vote yes.
    How apt with Christmas just round the corner.

  30. Greannach says:

    I wonder if Ian Davidson was sober.

  31. Barney Thomson says:

    After watching Davidson’s toe-curling antics and Carmichael’s inane response, I think I’ve worked something out.
    You can’t blame the rest of the Horrible Members for thinking “Gosh! These Jocks are so wee-minded, pathetically poor and really, really stupid”.

  32. creigs1707repeal says:

    So Cameron DOES want to debate with Salmond–just as a pen pal

  33. Craig P says:

    Another classic Iain Davidson clip. A few of the choicest cuts spliced together (threatening Clyde workers, newsnat, bayoneting, etc) would be great new year viewing 🙂

  34. Paul Kelly says:

    In the next election all Ian Davidson’s opponent will have to do is take footage of him door to door, demanding contracts be removed from Govan and doing his Barnett dance in the commons. Landslide defeat for Davidson!
    Morbidly obese, purple men dancing, makes great TV…:) 

  35. faolie says:

    The Barnet formula, for those who have never heard of it, or who think it’s something to do with a government hair restorer:
    Take all the money that you send to the UK treasury’s pot of cash, yes that £1900 a year that you yourself send.
    Get £1200 of your own money back to go into the Scottish government’s pot of cash.
    Consider this £1200 of your cash a subsidy, as it’s more than the English and the Welsh get.
    The Barnet formula change they’re talking about is a new scheme, post referendum, where you get even less of your own money back.
    So yes, you’ve probably spotted by now, that, in spite of what the Daily Mail says, you are in fact subsidising the rest of the UK, and if we vote No you’re about to increase your subsidy big time, to the detriment of your own country.

  36. Ken500 says:

    The Barnet should be scrapped and Scotland should keep all Scotland’s monies raised – £60Billiion, instead of the £48Billion (including £17Billion Pensions/Benefits) Scotland gets back. The £12Billion includes £4Billion debt repayment for monies Scotland didn’t borrow or spend. The £12million would be better spent in Scotland. Vote for Independence for fiscal autonomy

    Instead of the UK Gov trying to scrap the Barnett, increase taxes in Scotland to compensate and keep the bulk of Scottish taxes, Oil revenues etc.

    The latest claim from the Unionsts increased childcare/increased pensions etc will cost £1.6Billion. Scrapping Trident etc will save over £1.5Billion.

  37. crisiscult says:

    a bit late in on these topics today but thought I’d stick this in as the next one relates to the Barnet formula I would assume

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