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Alternate Reality Month

Posted on March 17, 2014 by

Well, this is the month of the Mad March Hare, we suppose.

First we had Bernard Ponsonby telling us that the referendum was a choice between independence and a completely imaginary “more powers” option. Next up was Hamish Macdonell in the Spectator, oddly hallucinating that David Cameron had announced “devo max” when in fact he’d announced devo nothing at all.

At the weekend (and, we suspect, all this week) there were journalists insisting that Johann Lamont was offering Scots major advances devolution when in fact she was essentially offering the 2009 Calman Commission with a new ribbon tied on it.

But the winner is surely David Torrance in today’s Herald.

“This was the first Scottish Conservative gathering I can remember in quite a while where there were visible signs of political life. Ms Davidson made the best conference speech of her leadership, actually connecting with her audience, while usefully the venue, Edinburgh’s shiny EICC, didn’t conform to type by being dusty and half-empty.”

Our emphasis. But, um…

DAVID CAMERON, UK PRIME MINISTER

cameronconf3

THERESA MAY, HOME SECRETARY

mayconf2

PHILLIP HAMMOND, UK SECRETARY OF STATE FOR DEFENCE

hammondconf4

hammondconf

RUTH DAVIDSON, SCOTTISH PARTY LEADER

ruthconf20

ruthconf12a

DEVOLUTION SESSION

devosession1

scc14a

devosession2

Now, it’s all very well for observers to have conflicting opinions about the quality of people’s speeches – our view differs from Mr Torrance’s with regard to Ruth Davidson’s tired old “Armed forces! Union Jack! Ra, ra, ra!” routine, but he’s probably looking for different things in a Ruth Davidson speech than we are and that’s fine.

But expressly telling people the conference hall wasn’t half-full, when the evidence to the contrary was broadcast in glowing colour all weekend on national TV – when even the Prime Minister could barely get it to 50% – is the kind of flat-out inexplicable falsehood that makes us convinced we must be living in another dimension of reality.

(And we’ve given it every chance. Above we’ve shown what were surely the four biggest names on the bill – Cameron, May, Hammond and Davidson. Only one of them even came close to half-filling the Pentland Suite in their chosen configurations.)

If you’ll excuse us, we’re going to pop up onto the roof and see if we can fly.

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    97 to “Alternate Reality Month”

    1. You’re being unfair, Stuart. For most of the week the conference hall was three quarters empty. I imagine the organisers dreamed of getting up to half empty, even with their imaginative kettling exercises. So Torrance is not lying as such.

    2. HoraceSaysYes says:

      Now, to be fair, I can’t see any dust in those photos!

    3. Calgacus MacAndrews says:

      And what’s with the dusty bit?
      Fusty I could understand.

    4. Big Jock says:

      I used to think David Torrance was ok. However since the referendum was called. He seems to have reverted to Scottish Media Type. I.E Deny,Tell outright falsehoods and make statements without actually saying anything. I would be very embarrased if I was Ruth Davidson. The Scottish people have spoken …no to Cameron and right wing nationalism!

    5. HandandShrimp says:

      Hammond must be as dull as dishwater.

      If delegates go to a conference and they are all present and correct for the PM’s speech where the beep do they all disappear to the moment he is finished?

    6. Claire McNab says:

      Ah, foor goodness sake, go easy on them.

      It’s not their fault that the pandas didn’t turn up to triple their numbers

    7. Dr JM Mackintosh says:

      @Vincent McDee
      I do not think the BBC response to the Marr program is good enough and I think we should expect more of our national broadcaster.

      I just do not think we should accept this as the BBC is not the MSM – We fund them!

      Here is the link if you would like to complain…

      http://www.bbc.co.uk/complaints/

      The more the better.

    8. beachthistle says:

      It’s not before time that Torrance has undone himself/been foond oot. I’ve been mystified for a while why he is given (and paid for!) so many media platforms (including pro-Yes ones, such as NNS) when he is just a unionist shill, and a superficial lightweight one at that.

      At an event last summer discussing Indyref media behaviour where he as a speaker, he, without any apparent self-awareness, never mind irony, started spinning away (i.e., er, lying) about the visit to NATO HQ by Scottish Government officials. I was astonished.

      Maybe the Salmond biography he wrote was alright, but he has surely by now used up all the benefit-of-the-doubt too many people have given him in seeing him as a ‘reasonable’ ‘No’ voice/commentator, and not an undergraduate-level-politico/propagandist.

    9. Murray McCallum says:

      Theresa May’s border controls speech must be getting a bit dusty by now. It’s done the rounds for quite some time.

    10. Muscleguy says:

      I was one of those who ripped into Torrance on his last outing on Newsnet:
      http://www.newsnetscotland.com/index.php/scottish-opinion/8887-left-right-walking-towards-fantasy-politics-and-tory-castles

      For a piece that was vacuous and a perfect example of the taking a lot of words to say very little type. Yet again he was trying to dine out on his biography of Salmond. I wonder if he has read any decent books since?

    11. thomas William Dunlop says:

      Don’t forget Wee Wullie Rennie saying last week that a Yes vote would be the end for more devolution of powers.

      I put it all down to high amounts of Carbon Dioxide & air pollution inside the M25.

    12. jake says:

      second last picture above…there’s a guy just top and right of centre who looks like davros, either that or he’s been photoshopped in.

    13. Training Day says:

      I understand BT has employed Torrance to be the official head-counter at their next ‘event’.

      In that way, one septugenarian with an attitude problem is transformed by the power of Torrance into a seething multitude of thousands.

    14. heedtracker says:

      Torrance is just one more hard right Tory boy aiming for the big BBC, Murdoch, Dacre jobs down south. The harder he attacks Scottish democracy, the more they like it. So watch out Marr, Wark, Neil, that really creepy one that edits the Spectator and so on.

    15. the penman says:

      Well, maybe he meant to write: “…by being dusty and half-empty, the EICC didn’t revert to type”.

      That would at least have been accurate.

    16. colin mccartney says:

      Im afraid I’ve broken away and complimented the BBC this morning – on Hayley Millars superb filleting of Jim Murphy on GMS just after 7 this morning. Be interesting to see how they cope with faint praise.

    17. Stevie says:

      David Torrance suggests he counted perhaps more than 1000 people in attendance… he either drank a little too much, can’t count or attended a different Fringe conference in that parallel dimension of which we speak.

      He is good sometimes and at others he’s batty – he needs to mind that his writing is his credibility or lack thereof.

    18. Gordon SMith says:

      Is it me, or is Cameron in a different hall from Ruth?
      Different Podium as well?

      Was it last year?

      Cheers

    19. Appleby says:

      Second Devolution Session photo, four seats down from back and four seats in, you can see someone out for the count, leaning back and snoring with their mouth gaping open! 😀

      Why are the BBC deliberately making the Tories look better? This is not part of their duty. Why are the rest of the media helping them in this and trying their best to cover up the embarassment of this almost empty hall?

      When the media is constantly and automatically trying to do their best to back up the government in all things and make them look good then your “democracy” is in dire straits.

    20. desimond says:

      Surely loads of folk turned up for Alasdair Darlings Speech…thats always the Tory Conference Highlight.

    21. keef says:

      If you look at first picture of Cameron, to the very back is a section of seats that are virtually empty. When you look at Davidson’s pic this section of seats are missing.

      Have they closed this part of the hall off as it was not needed and was making the hall look ‘truly’ empty?

    22. ronald alexander mcdonald says:

      More devolution isn’t on the ballot paper. It’s Westminster’s to give, not ours to take, unlike Independence.

      They’ve had 3 years to agree and legislate for more devolution. Why haven’t they?

    23. keef says:

      Gordon Smith you noticed too.

    24. CameronB says:

      sleekit
      of Scottish origin: to describe somebody as being of an extremly oleaginous nature: slimy, sly, weasel-like (Tony Blair to give a current example)
      “That Tony Blair, he’s too sleekit for my liking”
      by Vin Rhinocelot October 21, 2006

      http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=sleekit

    25. Erchie says:

      There appears to be an attempt by Unionists to paint Lamont as competent & into social justice in a big way.

      At the moment the firm this takes is to flat out lie and say Alex Salmond/SNP don’t support the Labour 50p tax rate suggestion.

      We know this is a lie, I suspect the hacks, including Mr Torrance know this to be untrue, but who in the press is going to pull them up on it?

      No one, so the lies continue

    26. heedtracker says:

      Union jock bonkers tweet from Torrance @WingsScotland “we’re going round in circles: the hall wasn’t half-empty for PM speech: you’re judging by pictures, hardly reliable.”

      Stoopid unreliable photos of reality. Give that man Marr’s job, now!

    27. MarkJ says:

      Colin, I agree, Hayley Millars did a very good job of interviewing Jim Murphy on radio Scotland this morning. It sounded as if she had gone away, done her research, and realised what bunk he was talking. Well done radio Scotland. Probably be taken off air next week though!

    28. Jamie Arriere says:

      I am pretty sure it wasn’t dusty (I am sure the cleaners there do a great job) and it wasn’t half-empty (more like two-thirds empty most of the time), so technically he wasn’t wrong. But ‘visible signs of political life’…ahem

      We don’t need to call Mr Torrance a shill, or other names – just deconstruct his statements. He is a well-known Conservative, despite his pseudo-impartial writing style, so of course it was a ‘great’ conference to him, but when all their great visions & solid promises on the eve of a historic referendum amount to charges for prescriptions, the gravitas he is afforded will fall off him like shite off a shovel!

    29. Molly says:

      I always get the impression with those two, two more highly ambitious people would be hard to find. I always wonder if Miss Davidson when sitting at her desk at Pacific Quay calculated which way the wind was blowing . Not Labour,SNP or Greens, (too many weel kent faces ) so Tories it is and my hasn’t she progressed quickly?

      As for David Torrance,I don’t get the reliance by the Scottish media to refer to him.His big claim to fame was’utilising a raft of published and unpublished material about Alex Salmond – so maybe he’s psychic and can put people ,numbers and stour into context?

      Alternately he maybe sees himself in a Paul Sinclair role with the Tories or the go to for a Tory perspective.Mind you , be careful what you wish for David,look how bitter Alan Cochranes ended up?

    30. Kate says:

      This is why I stopped donating to Newsnet, they gave this man a platform to rant his SH*T, sh*t that never made any sense. HE is a PRETENDY in my books, he pretends to be with us, (for Independence), he just will go where he gets the most coverage for his stupid ramblings in my opinion. He is NO journalist that is for sure, intact he is the WORST blogger I have ever read also. And NO it is NOT just because he goes against Independence, it is because he makes it up as he goes along depending on who he is writing FOR.

    31. desimond says:

      @CameronB

      There is also the “Sleekit Monkey” which is the opportune fella waiting for the Alpha male to dismount and then immediately jumping in to try his best to be the one to procreate.

      In a way, seems rather apt.

    32. MajorBloodnok says:

      Torrance is right – it wasn’t half empty, it was two-thirds empty.

    33. tartanfever says:

      How could Torrance get it so wrong ?

      It’s not as if his specs aren’t big enough.

    34. fairiefromtheearth says:

      Exactly what i was thinking it was only 1/10 full so wasent half empty,its called spinning the truth,political spin.

    35. Dorothy Devine says:

      Don’t shout at me Rev , I don’t know how else to present it – granted I am a numpty.

    36. tony o'neill says:

      Methinks ne better get his arse aff tae specsavers fur a new pair,lol.

    37. tony o'neill says:

      Methinks ne better get his arse aff tae specsavers fur a new pair,lol.

    38. Brian Powell says:

      On the whole issued of ‘new tax powers’ there must be real Labour people, I don’t mean Labour journalists and commentators, who have looked at the implications for Scotland and come to the same conclusions on the bleak future they hold.

      It’s unfortunate there aren’t insiders who would be willing to speak about it, and the if there is a level of awareness within the Labour movement in Scotland.

    39. Kev says:

      I wonder if it was a similair sight at Copenhagen Uni the other day where Carmichael was lecturing the Danes on why their wealthy, healthy, happy, equal society can only be achieved with dirty big tax takes, (which ofcourse makes it all a complete waste of time), and totally unattainable for his own daft, wee, poor, useless country…what a fcking disgrace that man is.

    40. Dick Gaughan says:

      Claire McNab says:
      It’s not their fault that the pandas didn’t turn up to triple their numbers

      Yes it is. Pandas are cute’n’cuddly and photogenic and were banned as they’d have upstaged Dave’n’Ruthie.

      Plus they look like St Mirren supporters after a trip through the car wash.

    41. Linda's Back says:

      Good article by Lesley Riddoch in Scotsman to-day

      I was called by a London BBC researcher last week, asking my views on problems and uncertainties associated with independence. When I asked if his flagship network programme will also examine problems associated with the union, he said there wouldn’t be time and the difficulties of independence are interesting to voters.

      They are. But voters are also interested in the downsides of the union – London-centricity, economic stagnation, austerity and inequality as the measure of civilisation, failure to invest in Scotland’s green revolution, leaving Europe etc, etc.

      If the BBC reduces the independence referendum to a confidence vote on the problems associated with only one of two voting options, that constitutes bias.

    42. dave sharp says:

      As a point of reference, the hall capacity is 1200.

      I’ve been to snp fringe meetings with a larger attendance

    43. dramfineday says:

      It’s articles like this one that remind me why I gave up on the Herald and have not a scintilla of faith in the “Scottish” press or their “reporters”.

      Hat tip to all off you who continue to read and report on the drivel, lies, misdirection’s and outright fawning unionism that they continue to churn out. You must have iron constitutions.

    44. Oneironaut says:

      Is the hall half-empty or half-full?
      In their minds, it’s half-full, but in their hearts, it’s half-empty…

      Probably shouldn’t mention events like that public meeting putting forward a positive case for Independence in the Ayr Town Hall last week I was at, where empty seats were rarer than brain cells at BT headquarters!

      The momentum is growing… 😀

    45. bunter says:

      You would like to think that the YES campaign will have a wee Labour ”name” behind the scenes ready and waiting till after the end of the North British Lab conference, to come oot for indy.

      It would be such a great tactical spoiler, quite obvious, at least to me anyway, that surley they do.

      Aaah just dreaming of all those ”Blow to Lamonts Devo plan” headlines.

    46. dramfineday says:

      Apologies Rev – mistake in my email address for a previous post.

    47. frazer allan whyte says:

      “Ms Davidson made the best conference speech of her leadership, actually connecting with her audience, …” So she was donating blood directly then was she? Some of the audience in yesterday’s photos looked desperately in need of a transfusion.

      The lack of attendees for the ‘punching above their weight’ bunch from London was encouraging but were there really no hecklers in attendance? Was this get-together so irrelevant that it couldn’t even inspire a crazed cybernat or two to abandon the ether for the blather?

    48. Big Jock says:

      So you present photographic evidence and he still says the hall was full. Can you imagine him as a police witness.” Mr Torrance 100 people say the hall ws 1/3 full.Yet you state that it was pretty full. Are the photographs incorrect Mr Torrance and are the 100 other witnesses imagining things” Good god is this what we are up against. How can we argue with someone who is dillusional.

    49. Andrew Morton says:

      Just listened to the interview with Jim Murphy. The sense of outrage felt by Jim that anyone should dare to ask him a real question instead of listening admiringly was palpable. One wonders what has been going on at BBC Scotland to produce this sort of interview. Perhaps Messrs. McQuarrie and Boothman were more shaken than we thought by their grilling at Holyrood.

      It could be that they’ve decided to have a few real interviews (albeit really early in the morning when fewer people are listening) so as to be able to respond to criticism by saying, “Look, here’s an example of how tough we can be on the Better Together mob.”

    50. Clootie says:

      David Torrance

      I don’t blame Torrance for writing shit articles.

      We must accept the responsibility having read it – the name should have been enough of a warning!

    51. Linda's Back says:

      Ken Clarke is quoted in Hootsman as saying Scotland would have the same clout as Malta without being part of the UK.

      Interesting comment which I have since verified stated that
      tiny Malta is an interesting example for the North British Labour Party.

      The Malta Labour Party campaigned for integration with the UK and lost the subsequent two elections in 1962 and 1966 and boycotted the Independence celebrations in 1964.

      The Malta Labour Party led by Don Mintoff was returned to power in 1971 and re-elected in 1976 with a clear majority.

      In Malta Mintoff is known as the saviour of Malta because he was the man that, from a country that had no money in its box, created a WELFARE state, Pensions, free school meals, minimum wage, help for disable persons by the government and done an incredible task by eradication of all poverty in Malta which no nation in the world was capable .

    52. Vestas says:

      I could never understand why NNS gave Torrance a platform.

      He’s rarely if ever coherent or consistent and is a good example of the paucity of journalistic quality (or integrity) in the Scottish media.

      In terms of interest in the referendum in England/English media – there isn’t any.

      Otherwise rational people (my wife included) seem to vaguely feel that we Scots are ungrateful for all the “help” England has given us but other than that nobody cares what Scotland (or Wales/NI) does. Even when you point people at the facts & figures most simply don’t believe them – they’ve been lied to so often and so long (by the BBC) that what you show them “can’t be right”.

      Things are only going to get nastier from here, I can assure you of that 🙁

    53. colin mccartney says:

      And whoever is coaching Jim Murphy in delivery is taking the piss. His softly, quietly, I’m right and you are wrong delivery, is like Thatcher on Mogadon. Very weird and very creepy.

    54. Roll_On_2014 says:

      I put the following on NNS about a month ago:

      By the way OnlineEd I see your mate David Torrance is over on the Guardian showing his Unionist colours.

      I have been commenting on that site ever since day one, and long before that supported Greenock Boy, OnlineEd on ‘Blether with Braces’. I believe he is currently G.A.Ponsonby.

      Suffice to say my comment disappeared and I was banned.

    55. Macart says:

      Torrance ‘bigging up’ the Tories.

      Who knew?

      All the rhetoric and considered prose in the world can’t paint half as telling a picture as the images ATL. Mr Torrance really, really should be aware we don’t live in the stone age and rely on the toon crier for info. Google and Youtube are friends to the electorate. 😉

    56. Matt Seattle says:

      I didn’t count, and I’m not going to ask anyone else to, but I could not help but NOTICE that one of the most reiterated words in Ruth Davidson’s speech was ‘fight’.

      Err, this is a political campaign for and against Independence, not a war against an enemy who is threatening to kill you – right???

    57. Vestas says:

      Bit OT but this has to be my favourite quote of the day. Its from one of the (many) numpty Vice-Admirals who hail from the Home Counties :

      “Today, we can still say with pride that the Armed Forces are one of the great UK brands”

      Words genuinely fail me…….

    58. bookie from hell says:

      I knew someone who was a Oscar,seat filler

      When someone leaves auditorium,they are ushered in to fill seat.

      was told to smile at all times.

    59. Training Day says:

      As with others, Torrance is the reason I didn’t contribute to the NNS fundraiser.

      Sad that it should come to that, but the thought of my dosh going straight into his pocket was.. well, unthinkable!

    60. Clootie says:

      O/T

      Labour legacy. This is how Labour function with short term promises and long term misery. This is why the parties prefer the turn each policy to hide the real cost of incompetence.

      NewnetScotland
      http://www.newsnetscotland.com/index.php/scottish-news/in-brief/8895–pfi-contract-reviews-to-save-p26-million

    61. Jim T says:

      Looking at the DC (top) photo, there’s standing room only at the door, or was that the crush to escape?

      It does look like two different conf rooms when comparing DC’s with wee Ruthie’s. There would have been very distracting tumbleweed crossing the TV camera angles if she’d stayed in the same room as her glorious leader.

    62. Jim T says:

      @bfh “told to smile at all times.” was that why s/he didn’t get the Tory gig?

    63. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “It does look like two different conf rooms when comparing DC’s with wee Ruthie’s.”

      It’s the same room, but there are two areas to the rear which look, going by the schematic, as if they can be revolved away.

      http://t.co/nnwxfk7ygy

    64. Linda's Back says:

      Interesting article by Lesley Riddoch in Hootsman to-day

      I was called by a London researcher last week, asking my views on problems and uncertainties associated with independence. When I asked if his flagship network programme will also examine problems associated with the union, he said there wouldn’t be time and the difficulties of independence are interesting to voters.

      They are. But voters are also interested in the downsides of the union – London-centricity, economic stagnation, austerity and inequality as the measure of civilisation, failure to invest in Scotland’s green revolution, leaving Europe etc, etc.

      If the BBC reduces the independence referendum to a confidence vote on the problems associated with only one of two voting options, that constitutes bias.

      http://www.scotsman.com/news/lesley-riddoch-balancing-act-now-required-at-bbc-1-3342654

    65. Vestas says:

      @Jim T

      Its the same room but there are movable partitions so you can increase/reduce the room “size”.

      Actually that’s probably Torrance’s getout on this…..

    66. Grouse Beater says:

      @ Linda’s Back

      It constitutes more than bias. It constitutes suppression of truth, distortion of facts, and control of public opinion.

    67. muttley79 says:

      This will probably not be a popular view on here, but I think that Torrance’s book on Salmond was fair and impartial. I am reading his book called The Battle for Britain at the moment, and have to say it has been a good read so far. On the other hand, I am not a fan of his articles. Whether it is because of the limited time frame for writing shorter essays, or whether his unionism makes it difficult for him to be non biased in the here and know who knows? Perhaps it is a bit of both.

    68. Andy-B says:

      I suppose the Tory propaganda machine will just say, the halls not half empty, its an optical illusion my dear boy.

      Good piece in the Guardian, about the DWP, and how they’ve shed 30.000 staff,over the last 3 years. It seems that the DWP top dogs are more concerned, about terminology than people, when they’ve reprimanded staff for telling claimants, that they’d refer them to foodbanks, instead of signposting them to foodbanks.

      http://www.theguardian.com/society/patrick-butler-cuts-blog/2014/mar/17/food-bank-referrals-jobcentre-welfare

    69. scottish_skier says:

      It’s the same room, but there are two areas to the rear which look, going by the schematic, as if they can be revolved away.

      Aye. It’s quite cool. Press a button and the 2 x 300 seat sections (Fintry and Sidlaw) rotate away to form two separate mini theatres leaving Pentland with 600 seats remaining. They don’t let you sit in the seats while they revolve though. 🙁

    70. Vestas says:

      @Grouse Beater

      Do you think this is something new? I’m genuinely curious because the BBC has been the voice of the UK govt forever. Churchill suborned it further (both times) he was PM but its been the voice of the establishment since its creation whatever way you look at it.

      What annoys me is that although other states have similar arrangements they don’t criminalise people who refuse to contribute to the establishment’s broadcaster.

      12% of all criminal convictions are for non-payment of the TV license fee. Magistrates have wanted the offence decriminalised for 20+ years in England and yet no political party has done anything about it.

      Got to be a reason for that, don’t you think?

    71. No No No...Yes says:

      David Torrance has his own website:

      http://www.davidtorrance.com

      In the About me tab he reveals that he worked as a Parliamentary aide for a certain David Mundell. That explains a lot…….

    72. fergie35 says:

      I mind when Labour had a conference in Dundee, they had to bus members up from England to make the hall look nearly half full. That was the day when some Dundonian sconned a shoe off the back of Jim Murpy’s heed. I saw it happen, Murphy shit his pants.

    73. Grouse Beater says:

      @ Vestas

      I agree.

      Portraits of HRH Queen Elizabeth adorn most boardrooms. The BBC spends millions broadcasting all major Royal events whether we want to nsee them or not, and employs a journalist, “carrot top”, (“that horrible little man,” – Prince Charles) to report the smallest burp from the Royal Baby, and the grandest inanity from Prince Charles.

      The continuation of the House of Windsor, all it owns and all it surveys, must be protected.

    74. wee162 says:

      Well it wouldn’t have been dusty, and that’s not the only auditorium in it, so it’s conceivable that there were other events on at the same time which were better attended. So on an absolute technicality he might just have been right…

      Nah, he’s talking baws. Also, to me that doesn’t even look like Cameron had the whole of the Pentland Suite opened up. Went to see Ed Byrne there in the same hall during the fringe last year (he sold out about 12 nights iirc)and there was way more space up the back (both sides) than there is for Cameron. And they’ve obviously had a different layout after that further reducing capacity.

    75. Andy-B says:

      Tory vice admiral John McAnally,saying Scottish independence, is the biggest threat to the UK’s armed forces,and his main concern was England’s seat on the UN Security Council.

      McAnally, then goes on to say that both Scotland and England would become minor struggling countries on the periphery of Europe if independence is obtained, by Scotland.

      The vice admiral ended with a grime warning that the UK could even lose its nuclear deterrent if independence is achieved. Well good to see McAnally has his priorities right, heaven forbid he mentions the plight of the people, in the UK, that just wouldn’t do.

      http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/scottish-independence/10701826/Scottish-yes-vote-will-force-Britain-to-abandon-nuclear-weapons.html

    76. Vestas says:

      @Grouse Beater

      The establishment I refer to are the “quangocrats”, who are mainly drawn from the same backgrounds and have the same vested interests. With a couple of exceptions (swiftly corrected) they couldn’t care less who the govt has been over the last 50 years. They are the same people who run the civil service.

      The “House of Windsor” is expendable as you may remember from the hysteria surrounding Diana’s death – all the media (BBC included) criticised the Queen, like it was her fault or something. The fourth estate effectively forced the sovereign to do what they wanted, or else.

      Shame it isn’t Charlie boy on the throne, pretty sure that would add a few percentage points to the yes campaign.

    77. K Mackay says:

      Stu, I’m not saying you can’t fly, you’ve done a lot that no one thought was possible but for our sake could you test it from the ground rather than the roof?

    78. Peter A Bell says:

      Lying about numbers in the hall is far from the worst of it.

      David Torrance gets full marks for imagination if not for veracity. His portrayal of the Scottish Tories as a resurgent force in Scottish politics is a work of considerable imagination. As is the picture he paints of Ruth Davidson and her boss, David Cameron, as committed devolutionists. But his representation of what they are committed to as meaningful devolution risks crossing the line between self-deluding fantasy and malicious falsehood.

      The decision to draw a discreet veil over the “Unionist” part of the party’s official name stands as a useful metaphor for the deception that it, along with its Liberal Democrat partners and British Labour allies, is attempting to perpetrate. Their aim is to fool the people of Scotland into believing that a No vote is a vote for more powers. This is a lie! Assuming that David Torrance has not himself been taken in by this brazen dishonesty, he is knowingly promulgating a lie.

      No matter how frantically Torrance and his colleagues in the unionist media try to convince us otherwise, the fact remains that neither Cameron nor his lackey, Davidson, have actually promised any new powers at all. In fact, they aren’t even talking about more powers. They aren’t talking about devolution. They are talking about preserving the power of Westminster. They are talking about withholding from the Scottish Parliament powers that the people of Scotland deem that their parliament should have.They are talking about denying the people of Scotland their legitimate right to decide for themselves what powers their parliament should have.

      At best, they are talking about some further constitutional tinkering designed, not with a view to ensuring that Scotland has the government that best meets the needs and aspirations of Scotland’s people, but with a view to entrenching and strengthening Westminster’s control over that government. They are not talking about enhancing devolution. They are talking about sabotaging devolution.

      Note the language! Not “full fiscal autonomy” but “greater fiscal responsibility”! Responsibility without authority is the most corrosive form of powerlessness.

      David Torrance refers to James Graham’s play about the events following a Yes vote in Scotland’s independence referendum. He might do better to reflect upon the aftermath of a No vote obtained on a false prospectus. On second thoughts, he may prefer not to think about how the people of Scotland are likely to feel about the politicians who perpetrated this deception and those who were complicit in peddling the lies.

    79. ronnie anderson says:

      If you canny see, whit we kin see an we,re no wearing big

      windies, there,s a good lad David employ a windie cleaner

      it improves your outlook,or get eyesight laser treatment.

      Rite back tae ma Yucalaily lessons.

    80. Morag says:

      Well, both sides do it. I was at a Yes meeting some little time ago, and I did a bit of fairly obsessive counting because I wanted to be able to say there were over 100 there. There weren’t. Repeated counting of every warm breathing body in the room (including a couple of children) failed to get to 90. If you subtracted the speakers and organisers, it was about 80.

      The campaign report on the meeting said there were 120 there.

    81. Grouse Beater says:

      @ Vestas

      The Forth Estate criticised the Queen for not flying the Union Jack at half-mast over Buckingham Palace. In other words, she did not respond fast enough to falling in line with established tradition and show her grief mirrored what newspapers expected, a riotous piece of hypocrisy from the very people who, we must assume from what we have been told, hounded Diana to to an early death.

      Their annoyance was not at how much the Royal Family costs the tax payer, or what it is they control in the Union of Crowns, or how much fine art she owns bought from public funds, or how much land and property her heirs and direct family profit from, or why she charges for entry into the palaces that supposedly belong to the state paid in taxes.

      We’re told the Queen does a wonderful job attracting tourism, and don’t we love ritual.

    82. Grouse Beater says:

      @ Morag

      What about those in the toilets?

    83. Edward says:

      Perhaps David Torrance was being ironic?
      or perhaps he wasn’t there, along with many others who were not there.
      Or perhaps he had fallen into an alternate universe

    84. Robert Louis says:

      It strikes me, having read Torrance’s writings on Newsnet Scotland and elsewhere, that in my opinion he either underestimates the intelligence of his readers, or he really doesn’t make much of an effort.

      There are many writers in the blogosphere and the MSM, with whom I disagree, yet they do put forward cogent, well written, albeit misplaced arguments. Torrance on the other hand, in my opinion, singularly fails to do so in any meaningful way.

      With his nonsensical Tory conference ‘hall full’ assertions as described above, however, I must admit that his writing is remarkably imaginative.

    85. No No No...Yes says:

      Screen shot 4- this from our showbiz correspondent,

      “Phillip Hammond appearing on Britain’s got Talent, he’s got one cross and we are just waiting on the rest of the panel to decide if he should remain in the job or be sacked. The audience are beside themselves with anticipation. ( Editor’s correction-they are not beside themselves, as they has to space out to Phill the hall.)

    86. Indion says:

      David Torrance flatters to deceive with his studied partiality. He’s not alone in flattering himself either.

    87. Alastair Naughton says:

      This is par for the course for David Torrance!

    88. TheItalianJob says:

      @bunter

      I always thought that come the hour come the moment that a number of labour MSPs and MPs would see the light and cross the floor in protest and join the cause for Independence.

      Here’s still hoping.

    89. Croompenstein says:

      @TheItalianJob – I’ve been saying this for a while that I’m waiting on one of them breaking ranks but it would need someone with a backbone so not sure but we will see how things turn out at the conference as it could be comedy gold

    90. Gin says:

      Its obviously not just Torrance who has a vivid immagination.

      Ian Smart has blogged his Labour view of Ruth’s resurgence, including gems such as:

      How many of those in the, primarily anti-Labour, “Scots Asians for Independence” might be in Tory ranks had they played their earlier cards better.

      Sure, Murdo is entitled to feel aggrieved as to the “line in the sand” message that got her [Ruth] there but sometimes politics isn’t fair.

      I don’t doubt the ability of the Nats to put up a last ditch fight in May 2016, particularly if they hold back money from the referendum lost cause

      I suspect Murdo Fraser would make a formidable Finance Minister. Well to the left of John Swinney

      If you have the stomach for more, pass the Kool-Aid …
      http://ianssmart.blogspot.co.uk/2014/03/cometh-hour-cometh-woman.html

    91. Claire McNab says:

      Dick Gaughan says: Pandas are cute’n’cuddly and photogenic and were banned as they’d have upstaged Dave’n’Ruthie.

      Sorry, but that can’t be true. The current Scottish Tory leadership would be upstaged by a cold bag of chips, and if upstaging was their criteria they’d be meeting alone behind closed doors.

    92. john king says:

      Anyone notice that Daves lectern was all sexy and curvy,and wee Ruthies lectern looked like two orange boxes knocked together with a few nails?

    93. Alan Mackintosh says:

      John King, I thought there something of a phallus in Camerons lectern…

    94. Ken500 says:

      A dying breed

      ‘Journalists’ talking themselves out of a job.

      On the bright side, think of all the papers and recycling costs being saved.

      Going round and round the houses on wasted gas and hot air. Recycled trash.

    95. Louise says:

      for comparison, SNP conference which as you’ll see was so full to capacity folk had to sit on the stairs – http://www.demotix.com/photo/1532884/snp-annual-conference-continues-amidst-controversy-over-nato

    96. Hamish Burgess says:

      Most Tories were there in spirit. The others won’t be long in joining them.



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