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An embarrassment to journalism

Posted on April 17, 2014 by

The Scottish media displays such a remarkable uniformity of thought when it comes to the independence debate that you’d think it’d be the easiest thing in the world for them to at least all get their story straight when they launch a smear campaign against a prominent Yes figure.


That, however, would presuppose that they weren’t also incompetent.

Their latest target is Alan Bissett, and it’s not hard to see why.

“Media bias has been an issue bubbling away in the background throughout the last few months – the accusation that British papers’ Unionist tendencies colour their coverage. But on Saturday, political hacks came face to face with the level of animosity that really is felt in some Nationalist quarters.

The moment came in a pro-independence play that debuted at conference just before Salmond’s big speech. During an imagined debate over the referendum, an actor playing a thinly veiled version of David Cameron clung to his lectern and declared angrily: don’t you know we own the media?

The hall erupted, with delegates jumping up to stamp their feet in agreement. As the rickety constructed steps trembled under the force, the circle of journalists shrunk into their seats and peered round nervously. ‘I thought they’d lynch us,’ one reporter admitted late[r], only half joking.”

Those lines come from a report on the SNP conference by Ben Riley-Smith in the Telegraph. We’re sure they’re an accurate account of events. So it shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise that when the Scotsman got one of their political hacks to write a “theatre review” of the play, their fingers could barely reach the keyboard past their petted lip and nose out of joint:

“Before last weekend’s SNP conference, the last time I had been to the theatre was to see a musical adaptation of Neil Munro’s Para Handy Tales. Needless to say, it was “chust sublime”. Sadly, the same cannot be said of the sneak preview of the new Alan Bissett play performed before Alex Salmond’s speech in Aberdeen on Saturday.

Called The Pure, the Dead and the Brilliant, it struggled to live up to its title – despite Bissett’s intention, uttered in all seriousness, to produce “one of the best Scottish plays of all time”.

Playing to a sense of grievance and infused with chippiness, it seemed an odd choice of entertainment at a gathering of a party which in recent years has taken pains to promote itself as paragon of grown-up, civic nationalism that embraces a ‘social union’ with the rest of the UK.”

So far so ho hum. Bissett can hardly have expected a warm reception from the targets of his ire. But it’s what follows in Tom Peterkin’s “review” that sticks in the throat.

“Bissett’s notion of Scotland as an oppressed nation was also in evidence in his attempt to lampoon the No campaign’s Project Fear: ‘They have been bred as a nation to feel inferior in their status to their southern counterparts. All we need to do is exploit these insecurities.’

Plucked out of thin air, and then ridiculed, was the idea that No campaigners believe independence supporters are anti-English.

Wait, what? Peterkin is suggesting that the concept of Yes supporters being painted as anti-English by the No camp has been “plucked out of thin air”? Are we reading that properly? We don’t think we’re on LSD, but it’s hard to explain it any other way.

To be honest we kinda feel like we’re insulting your intelligence even by pointing out some evidence, but evidence is the way we do things here so needs must:

“Former prime minister Sir John Major has claimed Scottish nationalists deliberately use anti-English sentiment to irritate and enrage.”

“Police asked to investigate Alex Salmond’s ‘anti–English’ jibes”

“Alex Salmond is exploiting Scotland’s reservoir of anti-Englishness. Don’t be surprised if it overflows”

“Senior Nationalists are risking a ‘dangerous’ rise in bitter, anti-English sentiment by suggesting that Scots are different from or better than their UK neighbours, Willie Rennie, the Scottish Lib-Dem leader, warned yesterday.”

“The broadcaster Andrew Marr has warned that anti-English feeling is still ‘entrenched’ in Scotland and can be ‘toxic’.”

“Councillor claims she faced anti-English racism on Wings Over Scotland website”

“Fears that independence referendum could be sparking rise in anti-English racism in Scotland”

“A retired couple are turning their backs on Scotland after 40 years — because they’re afraid the independence referendum could spark anti-English discrimination.”

“The Scottish independence movement is anti-English and the SNP is bent on fostering English nationalism to secure the break-up of the UK, according to a former Conservative Cabinet minister.”

“MP slams ‘anti-English abuse’ at Clydebank debate”

“Yes or no: are you in the anti-English tribe?”

“If you think about it, Alex Salmond is a democratic Caledonian Hitler, although some would say Hitler was more democratically elected. [For Salmond] the English, like the Jews, are everywhere.”

That’s probably enough to be going on with. But Peterkin’s attack on Alan Bissett comes in the wake of not just the independence movement, but very specifically Bissett himself, being tarred with such Anglophobia. On Monday an extraordinary piece by David Torrance for the Herald shamefully called the playwright an “ethnic nationalist”, a charge Torrance didn’t bother to support with any sort of evidence.

Labour troll and BBC pundit Ian Smart – often a bellwether for what the Unionist press will be pushing in the way of attacks on the Yes camp – had already been punting the same smear, including a slightly menacing apparent threat (now deleted) that the play made Bissett “fair game”.


Alan Bissett doesn’t need us to defend him. He did an excellent job by himself on Bella Caledonia yesterday. But for Tom Peterkin to try to excuse his transparently petulant assault with the idea that the No camp doesn’t regularly hurl “anti-English!” slurs at independence campaigners is the journalistic equivalent of someone urinating on your shoes and telling you it’s raining.

It’s a crude slap in the face not just to Yes campaigners (who we assume Peterkin entirely meant to slap in the face), but also to everyone reading the Scotsman. Luckily, that’s fewer and fewer people with every passing week. Tick tock.

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    An embarrassment to journalism | FreeScotland

135 to “An embarrassment to journalism”

  1. Cath says:

    I’m struggling to cope with the multiple layers of irony.

    In Bissett’s poem, Vote Britain – which Ian Smart linked to as anti-English – the only line that mentions the English is, “Vote for any argument you construct in your defence being ‘anti-English’.”

    Now Peterkin is coming over all aggrieved at it being pointed out what the No camp and media doing. They really, really don’t like having a mirror held up to themselves, do they?

  2. yerkitbreeks says:

    Read Alan Bissett’s piece in Bella yesterday and didn’t quite get the vitriol being thrown at him. This completes the picture nicely and is a proxy for the media generally.

  3. Bugger (the Panda) says:

    then they come to fight you

    and you know you have won.

    I wonder if we are seeing the death rattles of the No campaign?

    They seem to have lost the plot, big time.

  4. X_Sticks says:

    Looks like total panic in the nasty camp.

    Slowly but surely they are losing and as their precious union sinks their cries become ever more shrill and deranged.

    Kettle, Riley-Smith, Peterkin et al are desperate to find a reason other than their broken unionist society for Scotland wanting out. Therefore it must be anti Englishness. It simply can’t be that they are just plain wrong. Can it?

  5. scottish_skier says:

    Excellent. An article on the origins of ‘shy yes’.

    Postcode / address?
    Number of kids?
    Job type. Salary?

    Right, now that we know just about everything about you, please tell us the following:

    Are planning to break up Britain? Are you anti-English? Are you so stupid to vote Yes to economic disaster? Do you watch Braveheart every day?

    Sorry, I meant, in the indyref, Y or N?

    Was that a No? You seem unsure. So it is a no then? Ok. Thanks. Bye.

    Hmmm. No ostensibly ahead but only ~30% committed to it (latest TNS and many others)…

    Wonder why.

  6. Papadox says:

    To the proud NO voters:

    The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing! (Mahat Magandhi)

  7. Desimond says:

    May I suggest, Gaviston!

    Imagine living with such inner bile?, their insides must be rancid.

  8. Tommy says:

    The play preview was good and funny enough for me to send some money to the fund but you knew by the anger in Torrance’s face he would be writing some nonsense-Cochrane wasn’t a happy chappy either

  9. Murray McCallum says:

    Alan’s article is Bella is a solid response to this rubbish.

    I wonder if the various people smearing him are just a bit jealous – you know, Alan knowing more words than them and that?

  10. Grouse Beater says:

    “A democratic Caledonian Hitler” – since when was Hitler a democrat? Maybe the hack was referring to the way Hitler treated dogs well. A man who likes dogs can’t be all bad.

    No one should be shocked.

    We knew the opposition would fabricate, smear and libel. That’s always been their way. For decades the SNP was depicted as a small, eccentric rabble.

    Any movement for genuine democracy is bound to be put down by force or by defamation. But first you must manufacture consent in order to move in, seen doing the right thing on behalf of the will of the “majority.”

    Stuart –

    Have you caught Lord Major Tom Robertson’s wailings at being criticised for his ludicrous ravings? I love the way the newspaper use portraits at least 20 years out of date.

  11. Edinburgh Quine says:

    I was at Conference and the bit about the media was magic. The hall did erupt into laughter and applause, so I’m glad the media got the message. But if they felt threatened, just think of all those people they’ve pilloried over the years on their front pages, both celebs and ‘ordinary’ people. Get over yourselves

  12. HandandShrimp says:

    The Unionists do own the media and this is simply


    I am more than happy for Scotland to be a beacon for the rest the UK and if that attracts English, Irish and Welsh people (and further afield) to come and live here I am delighted. It would mean we are getting it right. 8% of our population are English born and I don’t think would be the case if this was an unpleasant place live.

    They can take their anti-anybody squirrel and shove it.

  13. @ Bugger(the Panda). Oh aye, they sure have lost it big time, (see George Robertson), but never fear, it will continue to the 18th, and beyond.

  14. patronsaintofcats says:

    As it happens my husband and I ended up sitting in the press rows at conference due to our limited mobility. We were literally in their midst and you could have not picked a more dour bunch. Cochrane looked like he had a mouthful of wasps. Most of them looked like they absolutely loathed being there, though I did have a nice chat with Mandy Rhodes of Holyrood Magazine about Margo and their special issue. She, however, was the exception. If the press pack perceived it as hostile territory I think it was down to their fevered imaginations.

    The snippet from the play was well received, but there was (in my view) some uncomfortable seat shifting by the audience during some of the ‘debate’ speeches. Hard truths. Either way, Bisset doesn’t take any prisoners with the play and it was very well done IMHO.

  15. Taranaich says:

    “Plucked out of thin air, and then ridiculed, was the idea that No campaigners believe independence supporters are anti-English.“”

    I… I just….

    Thought it couldn’t get stupider than Robertson’s “Forces of Darkness.” Then I thought it couldn’t get more deranged than Hammond’s “threats from space.” Now we get people claiming that by far the single most common strawman thrown at the Scottish independence campaign since the beginning of the movement was plucked from thin air!?!

    There’s urinating on your shoes and telling you it’s raining. This is urinating on your shoes and telling you your feet aren’t even wet.

    And you’re not even wearing any shoes.





  16. Doug Daniel says:

    Clearly Peterkin has never read the comments on any of his articles, otherwise he’d have seen plenty of unionist dimwits accusing us of being anti-English.

    The lines quoted from the Telegraph article are indeed an accurate account of the play. It was rightly applauded and cheered throughout, but the place went absolutely fucking nuts when they did that pop at the media. If I had been a unionist journo, I’d have felt like I was suddenly stuck in the middle of No Man’s Land with the enemy approaching from all sides.

    One thing that wasn’t accurate though – it wasn’t a “thinly veiled version of David Cameron”, because he didn’t put on an English accent or anything like that. It reminded me far more of the likes of Ian Davidson or Brian Wilson.

  17. Robert Louis says:

    Shameful hubris from those defending the union as usual. Do these so-called ‘Scottish’ journalists actually get paid salaries for this kind of ill informed hateful tripe??

    I guess Alan Bissetts play at the Fringe will be a sellout now. Excellent.

    As for David Torrance, I used to have a modicum of respect for his work, albeit it rarely chimed with my personal viewpoint on politics. I find it sad to see a descent into the mire of recent work from him.

    In the past I have come on here to defend (to an extent) Newsnet Scotland, but I cannot for the life of me, fathom why they choose to use their limited funds to pay Torrance. It truly is beyond me.

  18. mogabee says:

    One big problem with all these journos and false reporting is that they are attracting the seriously weird and deluded to comment.

    Is that what these journos want?

  19. Papadox says:

    They sow the wind, they’ll reap the whirlwind.

    Where are these muppets + EBC going after the referendum win or lose. They have burnt their bridges.

    The problem with liars is half the lies they tell ar’nt true!

  20. Training Day says:

    Ben Riley-Smith, by his own admission, has just learnt that ‘nationalists’ seriously distrust the British Press.

    And yet the Telegraph would have us believe this Johnny has his finger on the pulse of Scottish opinion.

    And Alan Bissett, as the Rev points out, is more than capable of demolishing stooges like Torrance and Peterkin.

  21. gavin lessells says:

    Surely a fine example of the Press shooting the Messenger?

  22. Grouse Beater says:

    David Torrance is a seriously buttoned up guy.

  23. TD says:

    My partner works in mental health services and she tells me about the behaviour of the poor souls she has to work with. They swear that black is white, they obsess, they do not (will not) see what is obvious to everybody else, there is no question of persuasion or reasoned discussion and if you confront them with the truth the response is often an outburst of vitriol, sometimes violence.

    I see parallels with the No campaign and the media (I see them as one). I’m not suggesting that they are all mentally ill, but there are parallels. People with mental health problems are often so fixed in their view of the world that they really cannot see it in any other way and it can take years of empathic support to change their behaviour (if it ever changes).

    Although the No campaign and the media are no more likely to be mentally ill (so far as I am aware) than any other group, the behaviours are similar and have a similar genesis i.e. an entrenched way of thinking and a refusal to entertain any other perspective, no matter how persuasive the arguments.

    It’s not illness that causes them to have these entrenched perspectives – it is the result of a lifetime of brain-washing, indoctrination and reluctance to admit that they might have been wrong all these years.

    The attacks on Alan Bissett are just the latest example of this and as the momentum builds for the Yes campaign expect to see more hysteria from the No side (which includes the media).

  24. Mat says:

    Damn. I’m English. This means I have to stop wearing my Yes badge, correct?

    Bugger. Took my man simply ages to get it fixed to the Pearly King suit.

    I love the smell of panic and sheer disbelief of a morning.

  25. Macart says:

    Oh dang! They really don’t like being brought up to the coal face do they?

    Its kind of all out there in public record. The media and politicians using the media have left a snail trail of this clap trap a mile wide. Too bad if they’re forced to see themsels’ as ithers see them. 🙂

  26. gordoz says:

    Anybody up for a march against our hostile media ?

    They hate YES anyway; but dont think the public fully realise how much distrust actually exists.

    I still believe the best way to make public would be to march.

    Seriously what harm could it do. foreign press might pick up & publish. Think of harm this could cause UK Govt ?

    Bastion of the free world and people challenging their own free press ?

  27. bobdog collie says:

    Seems the media elsewhere other than Scotland is better informed than our own foreign owned press–by-Jim-McCluskey-Choice_Culture_Independent_People-140416-626.html

    This most interesting article ought to get out to our swithering voters and UKOK

  28. Grouse Beater says:

    I’m godfather to a little English boy who lives in Exeter. The boys parents are English, English crafsmen. “Should I not be around I want my son educated by a good man.” Now, there’s a compliment if I ever heard one, a rabid nationalist to some, described a “good man.”

    My family belong to, are elected and elevated by, various English institutions … the nasty wee snivelling hacks who do their master’s work for free entry to the gentleman’s at the bar really need to join a better club.

  29. Kenny says:

    That Torrance piece is atrocious. I usually quite like the guy (he was a vague acquaintance at uni) even when I sharply disagree with his political leanings, but that article is just rotten. Are we not meant to be proud of Burns and Scott? Presumably Britain should be appalled at the crude, insular British nationalism of Geri Halliwell’s Union flag dress!

    Also ridiculous: Alex Salmond IS the “man who led Scotland to this moment” – that doesn’t mean independence is about him; to wit, it is, in part, about the party that HAS fought for it for 80 years and, having finally got to that point, it’s fair to use the party conference to celebrate it; and just because the Better Together campaign is awful and Salmond gave it a slagging doesn’t mean that it’s about Yes Scotland either. Three non sequiturs in one sentence must be some sort of record.

  30. wingman 2020 says:


    ‘Our media is biased’ march is a great idea.

  31. HandandShrimp says:


    A march they certainly would not report…unsurprisingly

  32. Heather says:

    I was at the event and was fortunate to have front row seats. When the statement ‘don’t you know we own the media was said’ the response was indeed instant, unanimous and powerful but in no way threatening unless laughter and clapping is somehow now perceived as an act of violence and intimidation. Although I do admit that I too thought the seating in the stalls would collapse with the foot stamping during the applause it was that intense.

    I had a fleeting glance at the photographers and wondered how they and the reporters felt at that moment. Were they proud? I doubt it. The feeling in the room was incredible and the play was hilarious and thought provoking. For being wee stupid Scots there were a number of large words so it’s it a wonder a) Alan knew them and b) we all understood them lol. He did mention that the full play will be staged at 2 pm daily for the duration of the Fringe festival. I can’t recommend it highly enough. It was excellent.

    In addition there was a young folk band called Mancanta who were fantastic. Well worth a listen and you can find them on YouTube and Face book (I especially liked their Referendum themed song including a line about finding the Better Together face book page and promptly being kicked off of it lol. I just wish the name of the song didn’t escape me right now).

  33. Bigdrone says:

    Alan defends himself very well in Bella. I’ve heard him on a number of occasions and have always been more than impressed!

    As for the BT tribe – whatever is coming next? I thought Lord George had found a new barrel to scrape with his catalysmic pish but new depths are being gouge out. The attack on Alan, the Aliens, the Clyde shipbuilding (is this now the 3rd attempt at this scary
    angle) how the rest of the planet will crumble into Armageddon with Scottish independence etc.

    How I wish that this will stop – it’s nae funny ony mair!

    It is painful and sad that there is so much hatred, YES, that’s the word I want to use, not coming from the Scots towards the English or any part of rUK, as purported by some of the above comments, this is hatred coming from those who are pro-union towards the Scots because we deign to show up the futile, negative, childish non-arguments that they bray at us.

    Sadly, we have 6 more months of this to put up with. Will it get any worse – Oh dear God YES!

  34. Gillie says:

    The Unionist Media = Forces of Darkness

  35. Molly says:

    Happened to be staying in the Hotel next door and picked up a flyer for the book launch for George Kerevan/Alan Cochrane . Now I know David Torrance was there (on his laptop) but it also looked liked James Cook, Severin Carroll( although I could be wrong) and a man who looked awfully like J Naughtie. I must admit I’m not sure if it was him because I thought he’d be taller.

    I didn’t stay long because , despite reading George Kerevan, it would be too much to hand over any money to Alan Cochrane.

    What did occur to me though is two things, while the Referendum has been a staple for the ‘journalists’ over the last two years(without the Referendum , what would they have been writing about, particularly Mr Torrance) and secondly, leaving out George Kerevan who I’ve mainly seen writing about economics, the Referendum hasn’t half been good in raising the rests profiles. For someone like me to be able to recognise journalists is no mean feat.

    In fact as you ask Rev, with such regular get Togethers, you wonder why they are not getting their stories straight?

    I wonder Ego or wine? Whatever, they should lay off Alan Bissett .

  36. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “Now I know David Torrance was there (on his laptop) but it also looked liked James Cook, Severin Carroll( although I could be wrong) and a man who looked awfully like J Naughtie. I must admit I’m not sure if it was him because I thought he’d be taller.”

    Most people are shorter than you think. I saw David Torrance at Alex Salmond’s New Statesman gig in London, and had been expecting him to be quite tall, but in reality he’s a bit of a shortarse like me.

  37. X_Sticks says:

    You may be a short arse Stu, but you sure walk tall 😀

  38. Iain says:

    I broke my rule not to give the Telegraph website hits to find out what else Ben Riley-Smith has written. Haven’t noticed his name before, but now he’s ‘covering the Scottish Referendum’. Well, for what the Telegraph wants, you don’t have to know much or find out much.

    Riley. Smith. Gosh. Such famous family surnames. Obviously, both lineages had to be preserved by combining them into a double-barrelled. LOL.

  39. Jim Mitchell says:

    When exactly is the NO campaign’s positive campaign actually going to start, I mean times getting short!

  40. Molly says:

    No offence meant Rev, just you know how you hear a voice on the radio and have a picture in your mind…

  41. abystander says:

    The electronic Herald this morning leads with an apologia for, and largely by, George Robertson without any comment from anyone else, in which the noble Lord explains how unreasonable critics of his apocolypse vision have been.

    Why on earth does the Herald feel it must turn over its front page to this man?

    Does it think that someone who rose without trace in the Labour party in Scotland and then was the beneficiary of a political patronage appointment at Nato is some kind of “statesman” whose words of wisdom on independance, though clearly bonkers, must nevertheless be accorded a fawnning respect?

  42. Findlay Farquaharson says:

    i saw torrance at the indy rally and yeah, he is a short guy, bout 5 feet 4 inchesish i thought.

  43. MajorBloodnok says:


    With reference to Riley-Smith, my favourite double-barreled chap is this one:

  44. TheItalianJob says:

    @MajorBloodnok 11.35am


  45. Patrick Roden says:

    I made a comment on Twitter earlier today, in response to a piece about the reputation of Scottish Journalism.

    ‘the reputation of journalism in Scotland is somewhere between ‘being hated and thought of as ("Tractor" - Ed)ous scum’

    One of the things I hope sites like Wings does after Independence, is to be a focal point for a campaign to have a genuinely Scottish media, that is free from the scum that have been part of the disgraceful campaign of fear, smear and misinformation, during this referendum campaign.

    These people must simply never be allowed to forget how they betrayed their own people.

  46. Dcanmore says:

    There is no doubt the media thought they were behind enemy lines at the SNP conference. They don’t hide their hostility and some of that anger is not generated by their loathing of the SNP (although most of it is), it’s also because politics in the rUk has become so anaemic with, effectively, leaderless political parties containing no conviction politicians whatsoever. They’ve spent years writing about porridge pretending it to be a banquet while the country slips down the plug hole of corruption and dubious morality, and like the politicians they seem to laud over, these so-called journalists have no principles nor pride in what they do.

    What a filthy bunch and the company they keep.

  47. Muscleguy says:

    @Robert Louie

    Torrance portrays himself as a Don’t Know which is of course simply pish but that is his schtik. So I think newsnet pay him out of a desire to be fairly balanced or some such.

    I think that as time has gone on he has been unable to keep up the pretence and now he is getting personal over a play which shows the sheepskin is falling off him.

    I expect he may well have genuinely thought of himself as a DK but he started from the wrong place and was in fact a soft No all along but was just unwilling to accept the fact. He pretends to be an academic of sorts so perhaps felt the need to present and open minded rational persona. I’ve felt that pressure myself often enough: only as far as the evidence can support and no further.

    I think he needs to realise his position as a DK is now untenable.

  48. iheartscotland says:

    Latest news from project fear:-‘in an independent Scotland,Molly is going to be in charge of fairground rides’.

  49. Nick says:

    How to tell you are in an abusive relationship? (a guide to the Scottish – UK relationship)

    Have we been lied to / cheated on / abused / misled before? Yes/No

    Yes we have been lied to cheated on / abused / misled before.

    Once or many times ?

    Once – shame on UK
    Many times – shame on Scotland

    Learn from your mistakes – learn how to spot a liar

  50. Clootie says:

    A big mistake attacking Alan Bissett.

  51. Anne Lawrie says:

    “They’re urinating on your shoes and telling you it’s raining.” Actually, I think more accurately, they’ve shot themselves in the foot! Alan Bissett’s play will be a sell-out at the fringe, now that they’re giving it such unpaid-for publicity. Yes, I did see it at the conference, and yes, it was “Pure, Dead, Brilliant”. One of the first things I did when I came home, was to contribute to their cause. Oh, and by the way, I was born in ENGLAND!!

  52. Andy smith says:

    What a great idea,where do you propose it should take place?.

  53. Rod Robertson says:

    Rev ,a brilliant article absolutely spot on ,these swine are a disgrace to the good professional journalists everywhere.
    post Sept 18th they should all be on notice ,the new Scotland has no room for dishonest journos ,or politicians.

  54. Desimond says:


    Good to see its okay to march against the biased media but not complain about Police intimidation when protesting against weak football stadia-based legislation.

  55. Training Day says:

    Let’s be clear about Torrance – he is not, and has never been, a ‘don’t know’. He is an opportunist who deems that he can tailor his cliches and stillborn ‘insights’ to audiences gullible enough to lend them even the remotest credence.

    Fortunately the readers of Newsnet appear not to have been fooled by his utterings. Still doesn’t explain their bizarre decision to pay him to spout them though.

  56. Stuart Black says:

    “Still doesn’t explain their bizarre decision to pay him to spout them though.”

    Indeed. Important though Newsnet is to the spread of proper information, I will not channel any more money to them as long as they’re using it to pay this man. Plenty other better uses for it, including funding The Pure, the Dead and the Brilliant! 😉

  57. Grouse Beater says:

    May I humbly direct readers to:

    “The Shame of the Press” – grousebeater.wordpress

  58. G H Graham says:

    The tide has been turning against the print media for some time. Initially it was due to technical innovation; the internet which gave the plebiscite a means to publish almost for free.

    The consequence of that development was a free fall in print sales & a correlated drop in display & line ad revenue; a double whammy.

    But now, we are entering an extension of this phase where individuals have coalesced into teams, groups & associations which gives them a much more powerful voice.

    It also now gives them access to the government & its agencies, once the exclusive domain of print media editors & journalists.

    No longer does print media get to unilaterally decide news themes nor does it dominate the power that comes with access to the apparatus of state.

    They got a frightening peek first hand at the SNP conference when it was they, the traditional media itself who became the news & they didn’t like how they were being portrayed.

    So they did what they do best. They found a victim & rounded on him like a pack of adolescent teenagers for a virtual doing.

    But the old days of print media bullies getting away with their narcissistic behaviour are coming to an end. The online response in support of Mr Bisset has been widespread, yet measured.

    I really do look forward to these print titles like The Scotsman & The Herald disappearing for good because they are no longer fit for purpose.

    And I am now more confident that the online community will replace them & who knows, one day start to produce paper copy if that is still considered a cost effective way of collection & dispersing news.

  59. gordoz says:

    Desimond :

    On message as always, bleat, bleat, bleat, bigger issues than Celtic FC going on. Thought you would kinda know that ?

  60. Coolheads Prevail says:

    Our opponents are like kids in the playground who dish out slaggings but can’t take a slagging themselves

  61. bookie from hell says:

    sunshine strategy needs tweaking

  62. MajorBloodnok says:

    As members of the British Establishment they demand respect and if they don’t get it, the natural bully in them will come out. They still don’t understand the dynamics of this debate and I doubt they ever will.

  63. Desimond says:


    If you think my message was ever about Celtic FC, you missed the point entirely.

  64. X_Sticks says:

    And then there’s this:

    Crispin Black in The Week

    A whole new level of low.

  65. thomas says:

    Ian smart had been travelling about London for the last 3 weeks . He stops off at a brothel in the red light district , hands the madam £500 of party expenses , and says

    “ I want yer ugliest woman and a burnt chop!”

    The madam is astonished.

    “…..but sir! For that kind of money , you could have one of my finest ladies and a three course meal!”

    Smart replies “ am no horny hen……….. Am homesick!”

  66. Famous15 says:

    On 19th September no need for tumbrels for the venal and venomous.Our rejoicing will be enough to show them the error of their ways.

    Time was I thought I would volunteer for consular duties in somewhere warm,now I would be content to volunteer for any mundane task and just enjoy the ambience of hope.

    Just finished delivering a few hundred leaflets including “Further info ” which includes Wings and others website address. I cannot get used to the warm smiles I am getting. Kept checking my apparel but no,genuine warmth to YES. There really has been a line crossed!

  67. Alba4Eva says:

    From reading the posts above, I know my own anger over the media and putting that together with discussions I have had with folk at work & in private life, I will confidently predict that whatever happens in September… Scotland will remember the media more than anything in this whole process… and not for the right reasons.

  68. Helena Brown says:

    I commented on Alan’s piece in Bella Caledonia yesterday. I could find nothing untoward in what he was supposed to have said and I think someone, probably in concert decided to take exception and he was a, having his piece performed in front of an SNP audience so of course he is a nasty racist, and b. we have nothing else to say for Better Together so that will do.
    By the way Stu, you are next to Salmond in being pilloried as seen yesterday in the Scotsman. We, who support Wings are all dupes, just like we are with Alicsammin.
    So take a bow, you are very special to the Better Together’ers, another hate figure.

  69. Alfresco Dent says:

    That Starkey really is an odious wee shite!

  70. Bill C says:

    Sorry X_Sticks didn’t see your post.

  71. iheartscotland says:

    Bill C,
    Wow, that’s a beauty….

  72. caz-m says:


    I mentioned over a year ago that the best way to get your media bias message out is when the Commonwealth Games are in Glasgow.

    The world’s media will be here and they will want to pick up anything relating to Scottish Independence.

    A YES rally could be arranged to start in George Square in Glasgow and finishing in Glasgow Green. You could then mix the media bias message with a day of speeches and music in Glasgow Green.

    I hope someone with the skills of organising a Rally is reading this.

  73. Helena Brown says:

    Must add that having sat within a stone’s throw form Tam Dayell and being able to watch his face during the 1996 Festival performance of the “A Satire of the Four Estaites”. I can imagine that anyone with a strong Unionist viewpoint imagining slights where none were offered.
    Fortunately the author of that play was long dead, but Alan is very much alive to be insulted.

  74. TheItalianJob says:

    @X_Sticks at 12.48pm and
    @ Bill C at 12.57pm

    Just read this and it’s an appalling and insulting article to say the least as the follwing paras describes.

    “An independent Scotland will almost certainly be viscerally hostile and quickly bankrupt. Spain will veto its membership of the EU and it will quickly debauch its currency – whatever that may be.”

    “Salmond’s Scotland is going to be like de Valera’s Ireland – hostile and chippy and not much different if he narrowly loses the referendum.”

  75. X_Sticks says:

    Hey, no problem Bill, as long as someone catches it!

    If I saw Crispin Black as English then I could probably be accused of being anti-English but I don’t, I see him as british.

    His attitude is everything I want rid of. Empirical, colonial and condescending. Everything that is wrong with britain.

  76. HandandShrimp says:


    “I get angry about the notion that we can have a fairer, more progressive Scotland simply by changing the constitution.”

    Johann upset regarding taking the most straight forward and direct route to a fairer more progressive society. Presumably she feels we should wallow hopelessly towards inequality on the basis that at least all of the UK would be in thrall to the same purveyors of inequality.

  77. X_Sticks says:

    caz-m says:

    “A YES rally could be arranged to start in George Square in Glasgow and finishing in Glasgow Green.”

    There seems to be STRONG resistance to any kind of march from the Yes & SNP camps. I wonder if they fear either trouble or the Kinnock effect? Neither would do us any good.

  78. Minty says:

    I see Crispin’s article in The Week has been warmly received in the comments below the line, all of which say ‘this is a load of utter tosh’.

  79. Training Day says:

    @X_Sticks and Bill C

    The really hilarious thing about Black’s article (apart from the vision of aide-de-camps queuing up to stop a bullet for the Duke of Wellington) is the idea, which this poltroon clearly thinks is viable, that David Cameron, if he stirs himself, is the man to convince the Scotch Colonies to vote No.

    Genuine but ultimately rhetorical question – is there anyone in the metropolitan bubble – including London Jocks – who understands anything about Scotland or the referendum?

  80. tartanpigsy says:

    O/T again but no doubt I’ll be called an ethnic nationalist for the Yes Saltire project.

    Anyway, all Paypal issues are now resolved on the fundraiser, AND we finally have pictures of flags. Not sure how to upload on here. But will be on page asap–11/x/2353157

    Pics are on ‘Yes to an independent Scotland’ FB page

  81. Jim McIntosh says:


    Just read the Crispin Black article. Disgraceful. Not one of the comments agreed with his analysis. I almost spat out my tea when I read the response:

    “….. A perfect example of the type of Englishman the country can ill afford; the public schoolboy with a colonial worldview. Or more succintly, an arsehole.”

  82. TheGreatBaldo says:

    I’m sure I’m not alone in noticing that the Scottish Political hacks are reacting to a few pops at their work is almost identical to the response from their football reporting colleagues when the ‘succulent lamb’ journalism regarding Rangers finances was exposed.

    As I recall the people who exposed their ineptitude and compromised journalistic ethics where described as socially inadequate types hiding behind their keyboards as well.

  83. tartanpigsy says:

    Can I add regarding media marches. It is straightforward to organise.

    As far as I’m aware, and I should be, no one from Yes or SNP is/was against these taking place.

    I can pass all the relevant council contacts to anyone who has the time and wants to organize a march.

    My own preference would be some sort of picket outside PQ, making a direct appeal to the staff in BBC Scotland to walk out in protest at what is going on.

    Static demos do not require permission as such.

  84. Bigdrone says:

    Here is an example of Crispin’s ‘a load of utter pish!’

    “It’s what kept Elizabeth I and many of her predecessors awake at night – the country is a giant and dangerous backdoor into England.

    An independent Scotland will almost certainly be viscerally hostile and quickly bankrupt. Spain will veto its membership of the EU and it will quickly debauch its currency – whatever that may be.”

    Read more:

    Oh dear! – ‘A dangerous giant’ and cybernats to boot!

  85. Dan Huil says:

    O/T Just received my new bank card today. This new card is valid only up to November this year when I’ll receive a new card “which will provide you with additional functionality”.

    A new function for a new currency?

  86. Chic McGregor says:

    “Torrance portrays himself as a Don’t Know which is of course simply pish but that is his schtik. So I think newsnet pay him out of a desire to be fairly balanced or some such.”

    He outed himself as a U on a NNS article a couple of months back, IIRCC.

  87. tartanpigsy says:

    I think Newsnet pay Torrance so that they can’t be proscribed as a campaign tool during the run in.

  88. Craig P says:

    Training Day:
    Genuine but ultimately rhetorical question – is there anyone in the metropolitan bubble – including London Jocks – who understands anything about Scotland or the referendum?

    I had a reunion trip to London recently with old Scottish uni friends (several live there or thereabouts). The ones based in London showed genuine curiosity and feelings of goodwill towards the old country. They wanted information and were aware the media in their neck of the woods wasn’t providing it. It might be that those who moved south after devo do not hold the same negative view of Scotland as those who moved during the Thatcher years.

    Or it could just be that I choose my friends well 🙂

  89. Peter Brunskill says:

    I first met Alex Salmond in 1973. Throughout the last 40 years I have never experienced anti-Englishness from him – as probably his closest friend at University, and English, I think I would have noticed.

    Incidentally being English doesn’t prevent you seeing the sense of Independence and a Yes vote, even if it does lumber us with Tory governments for the foreseeable future. This anti-English scaremongering is just nonsense.

  90. Hugh Wallace says:


    Finally! I have been trying to donate for two days now. 🙂

  91. Molly says:

    Having negotiated long road , roundabout , long road, roundabout all the way from Dundee, driving someone else’s new fangled car which appears to cut out every time you come to a roundabout, I felt I’d already played dodgems by the time I got to Aberdeen!

    To whoevers car that was – dinnae buy it – only kidding!

  92. Bugger (the Panda) says:

    @john McIntosh

    You do arseholes a disservice; they do have a very useful purpose.

  93. kininvie says:


    What kept Elizabeth I awake at nights, as I’m sure you know, was Mary Q of S right to the throne in catholic eyes (since catholics regarded Henry VIII’s divorce as illegal – and hence Elizabeth as illegitimate. Elizabeth was far more concerned with her own domestic plotters than with Scotland (which had plenty of religious troubles of its own).

    I’ve always regarded it as one of the more shameful episodes in Scottish history (of which there are many) that James – Mary’s son, did absolutely nothing to protest about his mother’s long years of imprisonment in England, and even less about her execution. Didn’t want to jeopardise his chance of getting his hands on the English crown…

    It’s not just our times that have witnessed Scottish troughers putting their own interests first!

  94. SquareHaggis says:

    Journalistic Jealousy rears it’s ugly head(s)

  95. Arbroath 1320 says:

    Just done my bit for the 10,000 flags project. 🙂

    I’ve been thinking about what a few folks have said about having a protest march against the media and am wondering if we could somehow bring the Boston Tea Party of December 16th 1773 up to date and hold a Scottish version in 2014. Could we perhaps hold a Pacific Quay Party perhaps with newspapers instead of tea being *ahem* dumped into the Clyde as well as the odious BBC T.V. licences. 🙂

  96. Capella says:

    @X_Sticks 1.16pm
    Let’s not call Crispin black “Empirical” because that would mean that he was objective and stuck to the facts. He is clrearly deranged and deluded. I think you meant Imperial?

  97. muttley79 says:

    @Peter Brunskill

    I recognise your name from reading David Torrance’s biography of Alex Salmond. Interesting post, although sadly I do not think most of the mainstream media in Scotland, or the wider UK, will pay any attention to the sentiments you have expressed. They have their own agenda, and it is becoming ever clearer as we approach the referendum.

  98. TJenny says:

    Arbroath 1320 – Unfortunately, I can’t see SEPA allowing the emptying of ordure into the Clyde. 🙂

  99. TJenny says:

    Oops, Sorry Rev, misspelt my email address on last post. 🙁

  100. HandandShrimp says:

    The Crispin Black article is utterly incredible. I really think it deserves more oxygen of publicity to fan the flames. 🙂

  101. SquareHaggis says:

    Here’s a wee dumhinger frae Ireland

  102. Brotyboy says:


    Neither link seems to work. At least, not for me.

  103. HandandShrimp says:


    That is a grumpy wee piece by Patrick West. How very dare we go off and be independent. 🙂

  104. TJenny says:

    Wait! What? Sure I’ve just heard on BBC 24 re the Caroline Lucas court ruling, that BBC read out a tweet from, they said, ‘the Scottish UKIP MEP’!!! Didn’t know we had one of those? Anybody else hear it?

  105. Andy-B says:

    Oh God we’re not back to that old chestnut are we,of “Anti-Englishness”. Anyone with even half a brain, (Excluding the biased press)knows the independence is about democracy and self governing, the right to make our own choices.

    The good people of England, are and shall always be welcome in Scotland, if I were English I’d be pretty peeved about those press comments, talk about stirring it with a big spoon.

  106. SquareHaggis says:


    Loading real slow but 2nd link does appear to work, eventually.


    Grumpy indeed.
    Certainly worthy of tome “an embarrassment to journalism”.

  107. Muscleguy says:

    You are right that was bad, and ahistorical to boot. Scotland was still a separate state in 1603 to 1707. He cited the wrong union. In fact until we are a republic, or we make someone other than he or she who is monarch in England we will in effect be back to the period between 1603 and 1707.

    My money is on a republic sooner rather than later but events may intervene as always. But the point still stands. How does someone as clearly ignorant as that get a column? Is it the surname in this case?

  108. call me dave says:

    Mr Torrance gets the right of reply on Bella. He is not convincing many in the comments column.

    Lots of nasty articles in the last two days about Scots and Scotland. Seems this referendum is beginning to loom large down South.

  109. john king says:

    This (Crispin Black) is the sort of creature we’re apparently better together with

    “I tend rather to agree with PG Wodehouse about Scotsmen (except of course my brother guardsmen in the Scots Guards): “It’s not difficult to distinguish between a Scotsman with a grievance and a ray of sunshine.”

    “An independent Scotland will almost certainly be viscerally hostile and quickly bankrupt. Spain will veto its membership of the EU and it will quickly debauch its currency – whatever that may be.”

    “Get out there, Mr Cameron – you are cleverer than Alex Salmond, better on your feet. Don’t be frightened.

    come on Crispin get off that bloody fence and say what you really mean!

  110. SquareHaggis says:

    How dae ye like yer toast?

    Crisp n black 😛

  111. Craig says:

    Peter Brunskill, yours’ is a personal experience which few if any others would have.

    But the unionist media does not give a damn about the truth. They want to lie their way through to a no vote.

    If it hadn’t been for the internet, they would have succeeded.

    But luck is now on the side of the majority of people in Scotland.

  112. tartanarse says:

    Forgive me if I don’t really care about anything said by a person called Crispin.


    It’s tremendous.

  113. Croompenstein says:

    I knew a guy called Chris Spin….he was a wanker

  114. KOF says:

    From the article Croompenstein linked to .

    “The ‘No Irish, no blacks’ signs that were once displayed by British landlords never applied to the Scots.”

    So, I guess the one I saw in Oxford in the early nineties was just a figment of my imagination then? Phew!

    If someone wants to call some one a “fat w**ker”, then fair enough. If someone wants to call someone a fat Scottish/Irish/English/Welsh/French/American/whatever w**nker, then it’s bigotry pure and simple.

    It can only be deemed “banter” if between between good friends, if it’s a stranger it isn’t, it’s just offensive.

  115. tartanarse says:

    Craig at 9.08

    Lets remember that Scotland did vote Yes in 1979 despite there being absolute Unionism. State telly consisted of only three channels and as is the case today, there were only London newspapers.

    Political parties were all based in Westminster and there was no source of any information which would tell the real situation of Scotland.

    Anyone willing to share the good news of Scotlands’ potential could only be described as a fringe loony, SNP mp or a mixture of the two.

    Amazing then that enough people still voted yes.

    This time we have all of the above but crucially we have access to the truth and a platform for a voice.

    And the SNP aren’t fringe loonies.

    We’ve also had over 3 decades to watch the UK (and Scotland especially) turn into a shithole.

    In this time we have also had the opportunity to decide for ourselves just how much we trust the big three political parties and the MSM. The last decade being the “high” point.

    We have watched with interest as the MSM and big three expressed delight at wee countries gain independence.

    We see how they help the Yanks to “liberate” poor countries from oppressive leaders.

    We can provide countless examples of archived headlines, video and audio in relation to anti French, German, Argentinian(insert your own here…) sentiment from the Unionists.

    Can they really provide ANY of the same in relation to England as they seem to be claiming?

    Given the lack of Scottish media as already highlighted, no they cant.

    In order to do this they would have to quote directly from actual pro independence people. Fortunately pro independence people in the main are a. informed, b. not anti English c. not retarded and d. not sycophantic, horrible forelock tugging non humans.

    Well I could go, and I will. But not now.

  116. Croompenstein says:

    Well I could go, and I will

    Please don’t go tartanarse 😥

  117. taysideterrier says:

    Molly say @2.04pm


    Having negotiated long road , roundabout , long road, roundabout all the way from Dundee, driving someone else’s new fangled car which appears to cut out every time you come to a roundabout, I felt I’d already played dodgems by the time I got to Aberdeen!

    To whoevers car that was – dinnae buy it – only kidding!

    Ahh, If its dundee then there are no roundabouts, only Circles. (-;

    (sorry still no idea how to put the letters into italics or whatever!)

  118. Robert Peffers says:

    Just got my next Youtube effort up and running.

    Had a wee technical problem with YouTube- now sorted.

  119. Croompenstein says:

    @Robert – It’s sayin this video is unavailable 🙁

  120. karina says:

    Sadly I fear that the media down south are promoting the ‘anti-English’ slur even more than in Scotland. My English cousin recently called me racist when she asked about the referendum and a few English family and friends have blocked me from Facebook as they find the articles on independence I share insulting.

  121. Robert Peffers says:

    Try again, there is sometimes a short delay between me being told it’s there and it being available but I’ll check that it is set for, “Publication”.

  122. tartanarse says:

    Croompenstein says:
    17 April, 2014 at 10:21 pm
    Well I could go, and I will

    Please don’t go tartanarse

    Ha ha, I meant, go on. I get a bit ranty when I’ve had my four weekly couple of beers.

    It’s not often anyone asks me to hang around. I’ll take it as a compliment if you don’t mind!!!!!

  123. Morag says:

    One of the things I’ve only recently become aware of is this phenomenon of journalistic entitlement. From Magnus Linklater to Euan McColm, these guys really believe they’re somebody. Somebody whose opinions are far far more legitimate than the opinions of the ordinary punter.

    But – they’re not. Journalists are trained to assimilate and present, to report and to comment. They have no business pontificating on their own account. They’re not experts in these subjects they write about, and they have no special insights. And yet they believe implicitly that their personal prejudices are uniquely valuable and authoritative.

    Indeed some commentators like Ian Bell are so insightful that they carve a place for themselves, and gain respect by writing articles worthy of respect. But way too many of them simply believe that if they can get a newspaper to print it, they’re infallible, and anyone who disagrees is a jumped-up yahoo.

    And some people go along with it. I mentioned Linklater, who is busy penning some stunningly biassed and ill-informed tosh about Lockerbie. But because the Times prints his stuff this rubbish is accorded a ridiculous level of respect while the rebuttals of genuine experts like John Ashton are discounted.

    But what on earth gives Linklater or Torrance or McColm any more right to have their opinion respected, than anyone else? Nothing. Their opinions will be judged on their merits, by readers who not only have a wide range of opinion-formers to read and aren’t restricted just to the published press, they have the ability to put their own opinions out there.

    No wonder some of these irredeemable oiks hate the internet. The days of writing up their poisonous prejudices without challenge are gone. They’re still doing it of course, but they’re being pulled up on it. Their days are numbered though. Social Darwinism will take care of them.

  124. Weedeochandorris says:

    Agreed Morag, spot on as usual. There is so much crap written out there in the hope that a few will actually believe it.

    Why on earth Newsnet gives a platform to people like Torrance is beyond me. I just don’t get it.

  125. joe kane says:

    Peterkin is suggesting that the concept of Yes supporters being painted as anti-English by the No camp has been “plucked out of thin air”?
    – We’re at a crucial stage in the independence referendum campaign, where the unionist news media have run out of anti-independence lies and fears and smears and are now having to invent lies and and mis-represent themselves in order to fill in the largely meaningless blank holes between the adverts.

    There was nowhere else for the pro-Brit blatts to go after the unionist hysteria reached a crescendo of head-bursting paranoia over the past few days regarding Scottish independence unleashing the forces of darkness and an independent Scotland being vulnerable to wee green men from Mars.

    You have to feel sorry for them after all the hard work they’ve put into keeping real journalism out of their newspapers since the First Minister announced the date of the referendum. They’d basically ran out of positive things to say about the UK the second day into the countdown to Referendum Day.

    They could always try practising journalism and investigate and report the truth to the people that can do something about it, the general public (Prof Chomsky’s definition of journalism). That would mean practising the same standards of honesty, integrity and intellectual rigorousness as fellow professionals such as teachers, engineers, lawyers, medical professionals, pilots etc.

    No wonder journalists share the same utterly dismal Ipsos Mori veracity trust poll rating as politicians and sit well at the bottom of the pile on about 20% and less usually.

    Reference –
    Politicians trusted less than estate agents, bankers and journalists

  126. Robert Peffers says:

    Way back in the days when,“The Scotsman”, was a World Class Broadsheet, (Aye! Ah’m quite auld), we knew that the, “Editorial”, would be the views of a publication. That un-named articles were strictly true news reports and that named, “Columnists” gave their own perspective. Woe betide any owner or editor that interfered with the integrity of a member of the NUJ. Then the regulation of the press passed away from the NUJ and everything has been downhill ever since.

  127. Croompenstein says:

    @Robert – I still can’t view the video it says it is unavailable

  128. chalks says:

    Well, wings gives Eric Joyce a platform…

  129. Auld Rock says:

    I too was one of the 1,500 in the AECC last Saturday and boy did the media hate it, I thought that the place was going to come down round our ears, it was like some kind of earthquake. I can’t recall anything like it at Conference before. I think that there were more in the ‘overspill hall’ than listened to ‘WEE’ Johann’s Devo Nano speech at New Labour’s look-a-like Tories conference,LOL.

    Auld Rock

  130. fiona says:

    OT Tartanpigsty, have donated what little I could towards the flags, hope you make your target.

    also ot, how does a person become a woser? I like the sound of the various woser meets.

    Re march/protest against media/tv bias, this I agree with strongly in principle, they are getting off with near-murder and it is rage-inducing at times. But like many others, I am very suspicious that there will soon be moves to frighten voters through ‘terrorism’ and similar, it has been done before as we all know, and what better venue than any YES-supporting gathering. Like Yes in the park, or protests at PQ. The wee laddie shouting his foul mouth of at Yes street stands may well be just the forerunner. Hope I am wrong.

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