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Wings Over Scotland

An open invitation

Posted on July 26, 2013 by

We just had to have a lie down after wading through Tory councillor Tom Kerr’s speech in Bathgate last night. We don’t know if we dare inflict the full incoherent horror of it on you, to be honest. But something quite interesting happened after it.


A local activist stood up and asked Blair McDougall if David Cameron was prepared to debate Alex Salmond on independence, and his answer was enlightening.

The “Better Together” campaign director fairly unequivocally rubbished any notion of a First Minister vs Prime Minister showdown, on the claimed justification that the PM doesn’t have a vote in the referendum. But he also said this:

“I’m pretty old-fashioned about this. I think one side gets to decide who debates for them, and the other side gets to debate who decides for them.”

In the interests of scrupulous accuracy we’ve quoted what he actually said, rather than what we assume he meant to say, but the meaning appears to be clear enough: if both sides get to choose their own participants rather than the opposition’s, Alistair Darling will publicly debate with whoever the Yes camp chooses to represent it.

Logically, that would include Darling’s direct counterpart, the Yes Scotland chairman Dennis Canavan. The gauntlet would seem to have been thrown down. We’re pretty sure that Dennis Canavan will be up for it. If need be we’ll hire the hall ourselves, and call on the BBC and STV to broadcast it to the people of Scotland.

We’re sending out an invite to both sides just as soon as we’ve finished putting this post up. We’ll let you know who accepts, or who stays silent.

[EDIT: done.]


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177 to “An open invitation”

  1. turnip_ghost says:

    Small fundraiser to rent a hall…? 😀 I’d lob more than £20 at it to see Darling in a live debate!

  2. Tony Little says:

    Get ready for the obfuscation, delay, misdirection and absurd excuses.

  3. Robert Kerr says:

    Yes please, money here ready, TV coverage please, STV, RT AlJ for starters.
    Go for it
    Hail Alba

  4. HenBroon says:

    I am willing to bet the UKOKs will find an escape route. They are interested only in disseminating lies negativity and propaganda, nothing else. The proof of that is the fact that all of them block anyone who exposes their lies and asks them difficult questions. Their bluff has been well and truly called, they will bottle it.

  5. Cath says:

    Darling and Canavan would be an ideal debate.

  6. Macart says:

    Oh this’ll be good. (breaks out chocolate raisins and pours a glass of shiraz). 🙂

  7. Jimbo says:

    Denis Canavan is too street smart for Darling. Darling wouldn’t accept – probably (and arrogantly) on the grounds that he’s too senior to talk to a minion.
    Also; we’re talking here about a genuine socialist politician against a London bubble pseudo-socialist politician. Darling wouldn’t stand a chance. It’d be great to watch Canavan tearing Darling into lavvy paper.

  8. Count me in to back any fundraiser for this!

  9. Juteman says:

    I’ll donate £100 to Darlings charity of choice if he agrees.

  10. Great idea. 🙂

    And is @togetherdarling really the name of AD’s twitter account? 😮

  11. ianbrotherhood says:

    “I’m pretty old-fashioned about this. I think one side gets to decide who debates for them, and the other side gets to debate who decides for them.”
    I had to read that five times before I could make any sense of it.
    If this is how the guy expresses a relatively straightforward idea, what does it say about his thought-processes? Does he automatically turn everything back-to-front because that’s how he’s been taught to ‘spin’?
    The sooner this guy is debagged by quality questioning – preferably from the public – the sooner he’ll have to resign. It’s inconceivable that BT funders will renew whatever contract he’s on – £100k a year, for this gibberish?

  12. Cath says:

    Canavan is a very popular, Scottish politician, the  sort of Labour type people up here like and warm to. Darling is…well, the opposite. I used to quite like him, as he always appeared polite and decent in that kind of educated Edinburgh way that always used to be quite a good contrast to the more fire-in-the-belly West coasters. Better Together has really shown a different side to him though. It was already on show over Iraq and expenses, but this is out-and-out lies, black propaganda and doing Scotland down.

  13. Arbroath 1320 says:

    No matter who has the gall to turn up for the Better Together crowd I hope you remember to organise an ambulance to take the Better Together participant straight to hospital afterwards Stu. 😆
    I can’t see the BBC being interested in doing a one versus one debate, they’d want an open, fair and balanced debate. So unless you invite Darling,McDougall,Lamont,Davidson and Rennie for the Better Together side and Dennis Canavan for the YES side they would not consider the debate to be balanced. Mind you I don’t think I’d like to clear up all the blood left on the floor after the Better Together crowd were rushed off to hospital. 😆

  14. Beastie says:

    Hah… Darling would run a mile at the concept. Canavan is an old, blooded in the bearpit type of politician. He’d eat Darling for whichever meal a lump of useless gristle would be suitable.

  15. Macart says:

    On the strength of Mr Canavan’s speech and how it was received at the SNP conference? Well if he’s anywhere near that kind of form Mr Darling may be as well handing in his sick note now. 😀
    Also begs another question. Would Blair be willing to debate with Blair publicly? Wonder if he would be willing to put his money where his mouth is?

  16. Albalha says:

    Regardless of what BMc said I’ll wager we won’t be seeing New Labour debate with Old Labour, that would take one mammoth shift in current Labour Party thinking, can’t see it myself.
    What about the two Blairs?

  17. Cath says:

    “And is @togetherdarling really the name of AD’s twitter account?”
    Yes. I think by the time he arrived at Twitter a lot of nasty cybernats had already had any sensible combinations as fake accounts 😀 Shocking, disgusting lot, the cybernats…

  18. Paul Martin says:

    Ha ! You’ve earned your money today Rev, for that bit of work alone… McDougall has painted #ProjectFear into a tight corner there. Its game on for Flipper v Canavan !

  19. Linsey Young says:

    True labour vs blue labour? Bring it on!

  20. ianbrotherhood says:

    The two Blairs did appear on something together a wee while ago, maybe Scotland Tonight?
    Someone will have a link…

  21. Doug Daniel says:

    Canavan versus Darling… I would quite literally pay to see that.

  22. Albalha says:

    Well how about the two Blairs on tour throughout Scotland? In front of real people not studio cameras.

  23. Jiggsbro says:

    Darling wouldn’t accept – probably (and arrogantly) on the grounds that he’s too senior to talk to a minion.
    I don’t know. I think he’s old-fashioned enough to decide to debate one side gets for them who, rather than debate the other decide who gets for them.

  24. Macart says:

    I’ll take a wild guess at which one came out as articulate, knowledgeable and coherent… 🙂

  25. Doug Daniel says:

    Ian – aye, the two Blairs were on Scotland Tonight together. However, Darling is the interesting one. He’s refusing to debate against anyone that isn’t Alex Salmond, because all his arguments are based on “Salmond this” and “the nationalists that”. It was revealed at the Yes Aberdeen launch last year that he’d already pulled out of several attempts to get him on TV when his opposite number was Blair Jenkins, because he wouldn’t debate against a non-politician, meaning he couldn’t use his SNP-bashing arguments. Imagine pitting him against a true Labour politician!

  26. Jimbo says:

    “I don’t know. I think he’s old-fashioned enough to decide to debate one side gets for them who, rather than debate the other decide who gets for them.”
    Aye, Jiggsbro,
    But is he old fashioned enough to decide who’ll debate to decide, and who’ll debate to decide to debate?

  27. Tattie-boggle says:

    Rev you just get more fun to read everyday.
    The only problem I would see is Alistair getting carted off in a straight jacket Whilst foaming at the mouth as though he had just eaten a box of Alka-seltzers

  28. Jiggsbro says:

    But is he old fashioned enough to decide who’ll debate to decide, and who’ll debate to decide to debate?
    That’s what Johann Lamont is for.

  29. Neil MacGillivray says:

    I’m ready to pay £50

  30. Albalha says:

    Found this of Jenkins and Darling on EU membership, so they have appeared together, as it were.

  31. turnip_ghost says:

    Well, Here’s a cheeky question…we smashed the fundraiser for the poll so, besides starting a kitty for the pub for a post-yes result party, whatever money is left over could be used for other things?

    Offer to hire a hall at no cost to either yes/no campaign…Point out to them that they are constantly wanting “open debate” so here’s their chance. People taking charge. People wanting debate. People wanting answers. They keep telling us that’s what democracy is about so let’s ask them to walk the walk.

    We are providing the platform, they just have to turn up.

    But then again…who am I kidding?

  32. Albalha says:

    And here the two Blairs on Scotland Tonight, after major donations were declared

  33. Jimbo says:

    “That’s what Johann Lamont is for.”

    Oh, right. I thought she was BT a paperweight.

  34. Tattie-boggle says:

    you need at least £10,000 to get Alistair for an hour

  35. Marker Post says:

    The quality of debate by No Better Together has always been low, but it continues to plumb new depths. No vision, no ounce of creativity unless it concerns their expenses or double-counting attendances at their meetings. Can’t believe the shallowness of their arguments and their negativity and, frankly, their lies. Scotland deserves better. Come on McLeish, you’ve been urging them for months to raise their game, you surely know by now it’s not going to happen.

  36. Juteman says:

    OT, but has anyone read OpenUnionisms theory on why the Unionists don’t have a big online presence?
    I was pishing myself laughing. Just a pity you can’t comment anymore.
    I haven’t figured out how to do links from my phone.

  37. Cath says:

    “He’s refusing to debate against anyone that isn’t Alex Salmond, because all his arguments are based on “Salmond this” and “the nationalists that”.”
    They are surely digging very big holes for themselves on that one. Partly on the entire SNP/Salmond bashing strategy – what’ll they do if he decides to retire before the referendum for example? But also party on the fact they’re building a great wall of propaganda around what Salmond is and thinks which just doesn’t stand up to a moment’s scrutiny. But they and their supporters believe it entirely. Seems to me all that can do is leave them with a lot of nasty surprises in store.

  38. Sneddon says:

    Juteman you mean this
    Amazing explanation why there is little on line unionist activity.Lots of assertion and bare faced lies.  Basically there is no activity because 1) the wee darlings are to feard of on line abuse from those nasty cybernats and 2) because the NO vote is so obviously going to win so why bother going online.  I would suggest a third; there aren’t that many of them  compared with the YES side.

  39. Geoff Huijer says:

    Well done Rev – neatly backed into a corner which will
    see them squirming to get out of despite constantly
    harping on about ‘more answers’…
    Would love to see it happen but doubt it will.

  40. Jeannie says:

    “I’m pretty old-fashioned about this”  I like that phrase.  I’m going to preface everything I say from now on with that phrase. For example:
    I’m pretty old-fashioned about this……I always used to think Darling was an opportunistic sleaze and I still think so now.

  41. NorthBrit says:

    Open Unionism.  “Comments have been disabled”.  Irony presumably unintended.  
    There are virtually no intelligent unionist commentators (Alex Massie an occasional exception) because no-one with any self respect would want to be associated with the sewer tactics and stupidity of the anti-independence argument being presented.  There is no pro-Union argument as such.

  42. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “I haven’t figured out how to do links from my phone.”

    What kind of phone?

  43. rgweir says:

    Alex would wipe the floor with any of them and they know it.

  44. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “whatever money is left over could be used for other things”

    Aye, we’ve got a couple of grand spare, surely that’ll hire most function rooms holding a few hundred folk?

  45. Juteman says:

    Cheers Sneddon.
    Have a look at the black bags under Blair Mcs eyes. This constant negativity and lies is taking a toll on his health.

  46. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “the two Blairs were on Scotland Tonight together.”

    Not actually in a debate, though.

  47. iain taylor (not that one) says:

    Whatever date is suggested, Darling will have a prior commitment with his expenses chits. 

  48. Albalha says:

    If you watch the link I posted higher up they are sitting side by side making points, is that debate, is this semantics? So they were in open discussion may be more accurate?

  49. Juteman says:

    Galaxy S3 Stu.
    I’ll ask my kids later, as i”m enjoying the sun in a beer garden at the moment. 🙂

  50. Tony Little says:

    I consider debate to be more on the lines of Nicola/Michael.  Maybe not that exact format, but able to answer questions from the audience/moderator AND pose questions to each other.

  51. pmcrek says:

    Good luck getting a response out of them instead of blocked 😉

  52. Angus McLellan says:

    Comments may be disabled at Open Unionism but there are comments under the Slugger reprint:

    The last comment’s a wee gem: “unionism is generally content with it’s leadership”. Viewers in Scotland have their own programmes. 

  53. Melissa Murray says:

    They can’t debate when all they have are lies and obfuscation on their side.  They’ll end up looking really silly in a debate.
    I give you example #1, the debate a few months ago between Nicola Sturgeon and Michael Moore. That was a car crash for Better Together.

  54. Albalha says:

    So a debate has to have a moderator, STV employee did that surely …… it needs to have a public audience and questions from the floor to count?
    The only point I’m making is they have appeared together at the same time in discussion. It’s not unusual for two opposing side to demand they do not appear in discussion together when they’re asked to do the media, that’s my point. So let’s just say then they were in open discussion, or jointly interviewed …….I can’t imagine the leap to a properly defined debate would be so difficult. 

  55. HeatherMcLean says:

    “Jiggsbro says:
    26 July, 2013 at 4:22 pm

    But is he old fashioned enough to decide who’ll debate to decide, and who’ll debate to decide to debate?
    That’s what Johann Lamont is for.”
    Sounds suspiciously like Johann speak!! 😉


  56. Marcia says:

    They might put up Cllr Terry Kelly. If so make it part of the Edinburgh Fringe.

  57. Juteman says:

    Or is it a beer in a sun garden? 🙂

  58. Albalha says:

    Hope you’re wearing a sun hat.

  59. Tony Little says:

    I’m saying that’s more alone the lines I would want, not just two people answering questions from an interviewer.  Sheesh, it’s not critical what the format is – let’s get them together somewhere. 

  60. Gaavster says:

    I can just see it now…
    {Voiceover man}
    “As we approach the climax of the independence debate where you, the peoples of Scotland, will get the opportunity to decide your constitutional future and be asked to make potentially the most important political decision you’ll ever be asked to make for the first time in your history…
    Are you fed up with the campaigns already?
    Uninspired by what you have seen and heard so far?
    Wings over Scotland, in conjunction with <insert TV channel of choice> brings to you the first in a series of proper old-fashioned debates between the leading protagonists on both sides of the argument
    The public have spoken and have said they want answers…
    Here tonight, by special invitation, they finally have their chance to provide their visions for the future of Scotland….
    Let the PROPER debate officially begin…..”
    {Queue musical crescendo}
    {Queue butterflies}
    {Queue Squeaky bums}
    {Queue euphoria….:)}

  61. MajorBloodnok says:

    Alternatively, beer hats are more functional (and fun too).

  62. Marcia says:

    My format would be a public debate in the same format as the SNP Conference debate on NATO. That would make an interesting programme. We don’t want any TV presenter interrupting all the time. Let the debate flow. Equal time for each side.

  63. Albalha says:

    That’s interesting a debate without a moderator, other than the person who states who’s up next, that would be interesting, how about questions from the floor though?
    I’m not an SNP member but did watch the whole of that ‘debate’, could work.

  64. Atypical_Scot says:

    I want electrodes attached to lie detectors.

  65. David McCann says:

    To get round this, why not invite two from each camp, one of whom should be chair and the other to be campaign director?
    BTW a wee bit of topic but readers of Wings might like to support the Fringe event on 12th August being run by the pro indy group Scottish Independence Convention. 70% of proceeds will go to them.

  66. Jamie Arriere says:

    And Bathgate gets hit with this kind of bad news, with Muller Wiseman threatening to close at Whitburn, and they still think the Union’s working for them?

  67. Albalha says:

    Sheesh, when is a debate not a debate. Lots of different ways surely. Are two people with opposing views in a live radio interview, for example, in debate, discussion, chat, witter etc etc.

  68. velofello says:

    Canavan vs Darling? As Johann would say, in Labourspeak, “this will have to be tested”, interpreted in everyday speech as “file it deep”.

  69. Edward Longbottom says:

    I was thinking that it would have been good to have a Conservative MP from London to debate, after all, we (well the UK) are trying to hold onto Scotland.  In many respects a better argument would be had between the party in power in the south and the party in power in the north. 
    I also think (and please dont all jump down my throat) that it should be an English MP.  The reasons being that the Scots claim we don’t understand them, and we claim that there is fairness and equality and the Union is better than Independence.
    But to be fair, Darling is virtually conservative and acts like a London MP, so perhaps he will be able to defend the Union as well as any Conservative.  

  70. ianbrotherhood says:

    I wonder how much the likes of Bernard Ponsonby or Eddie Mair charge for a gig like that. Say, a two hour session. I’m sure they have agents representing them who could tell us.

  71. Albalha says:

    Having worked with Eddie Mair he does indeed have an agent, very much a bona fide freelance at the BBC, I’ll e mail and ask if he’d be vaguely interested.

  72. Training Day says:

    I think Project Fear will try and avoid any live debates full stop.  Far too risky.  Instead, they may try and badge a tame Q and A session with a cowed, compliant ‘journalist’ like Andrew Kerr as a ‘live debate’ (if only on the grounds that both participants are ostensibly alive). 
    ‘sides, Darling ain’t got the baws for it.

  73. MajorBloodnok says:

    Edward Longbottom says: But to be fair, Darling is virtually conservative and acts like a London MP, so perhaps he will be able to defend the Union as well as any Conservative.

  74. ianbrotherhood says:

    What about Cosgrove and Cowan to ‘moderate’ it? Any waffle or pish would be pounced upon.
    Or Jerry Sadowitz?

  75. Lobeydosser says:

    @ Ian brotherhood.Google says Eddie Mair’s agent is.

  76. ianbrotherhood says:

    See Albaha above – curious to hear whatever response there is.
    Didn’t know Mair is a Dundonian.

  77. Robert Bryce says:

    If for some freak reason no one is available to take up your offer from the Yes side to debate Flipper Darling; I have an out of date Muller Rice in the fridge which will be adequate to see him off.

  78. Albalha says:

    He’s very much a Dundonian, grew up in Whitfield, went to Whitfield High, left school, joined Radio Tay, then onto BBC Scotland before heading South.
    Like many on here I’m a fellow Dundonian. We Rock!! Couldn’t resist.

  79. turnip_ghost says:

    I would think it would be fairly simple. There would be say 5 topics:

    <insert one of your choice>

    Each speaker gets two (or 2.5 for ease of timings) minutes (The person that goes first would be decided by a coin toss) with no interruptions. Then the rebuttals/corrections.

    Then move onto the next subject. No question, so no setting up for answers. The host would simply say “Currency” and then they talk. Total of 8(or 10!) minutes per subject. Could be increased allotments of time if you want a longer debate…No need for a “moderator” interrupting, nor audience questions setting up the potential “plants”

    (Maybe have a text in poll after each subject with opinion on who came off better?)

  80. The Man in the Jar says:

    Careful now! I was lounging on my sitootery the other day and I forgot that I had my tinfoil Tam O` Shanter on. Gave me a nasty burn on ma heed so it did!

  81. twenty14 says:

    It must be true, I’m sure I heard it on the radio – Alistair Darling will debate with Denis Canavan ” head to head ” in a public venue, with cameras allowed, and posted on youtube – spread the word
    Think I’ll start with FB ( not on twitter )
    Remember – if you tell fibs to enough people it may stick )

  82. Juteman says:

    There are Dundonians, and there are Dundonians.
    Not for nothing did the old Dundee Labour Council earn the name  ‘the Chicago of the north’, when it came to corrupt politics.

  83. Albalha says:

    Oh come on now the likes of JL Stewart, T Moore, et al were Labour before Dundonian. Remember ‘we’ kicked Churchill all the way up the rail line.
    I’m only saying there is, in my belief, a free thinking attitude that ultimately will show bull shitters the door, including corrupt Labour Councils. Glasgow, where I currently live, hasn’t even got to stage 1.
    I grew up in a wholly dominated Labour Dundee and yet it will overwhelmingly vote YES next year.

  84. twenty14 says:

    now on fb

  85. DMW42 says:

    Darling would shit hedgehogs at the thought of a debate with AS, NS, JS, DC or BJ.
    The only way he’d ‘win’ a debate on independence would be if he was against Lamont, Davidson, Rennie, McDougal or Cameron.
    Sums up the opposition….

  86. Juteman says:

    Baillie Stewart?

  87. Marcia says:

    All us Dundonians are no doubt proud of the city and thankfully that episode is thankfully is in the past. The main man behind all this was never a councillor but a local businessman now deceased. The local paper knew who was calling the shots but were frightened to expose the shady deals in case they lost readership from the then Labour voting public.
    A good idea to have Eddie Mair as moderator.

  88. Albalha says:

    @marcia @juteman
    I think Moore/Stewart/Maxwell were all at it. Only two did time. Anyway time has moved on and Fawlty Towers is no longer.
    I have e mailed Mr Mair with the general request, fingers crossed.

  89. muttley79 says:

    I am aware that this is not going to be popular, but is Dennis Canavan that good a debater?  I know he is popular, is a good communicator, has a lot of integrity, is honest, was a very good constituency MP.  However, is he a good debater?  I can’t remember hearing or watching a debate where he has taken part. 

  90. Albalha says:

    I agree and I’m not convinced by Blair Jenkins as a debater either. Personally I’d favour high profile YES supporters taking part who’re not part of the YES campaign furniture.

  91. kininvie says:

    O/T (as ever).
    A fascinating report commissioned by councils in NE England suggests that closer collaboration with Scotland, indy or not, may be the answer to the problems of the NE.
    You can read it here:
    There’s lots of ammunition for the ‘social union’ in it.

  92. EvelynSezAye says:

    hahaha! Brilliant! Let’s see if there is a reponse. I await with baited breath! 🙂

  93. Juteman says:

    I can remember a lot of money going missing from the Labour Party in Dundee at that time.
    Some folk went on to have a gorgeous time in London afterwards.

  94. muttley79 says:


    I agree and I’m not convinced by Blair Jenkins as a debater either. Personally I’d favour high profile YES supporters taking part who’re not part of the YES campaign furniture.  
    Somebody like Ruth Wishart, Pat Kane, Lesley Riddoch, Alan Bissett?

  95. Tony Little says:

    Pax, OK?  I couldn’t care less what the format is, but I think it would be better if the ‘protagonists’ debated with each other rather than simply discussing things through a set of questions.  The format with Sturgeon/Moore was I thought a more interesting one that the staid studio “discussion” which is usually anything but.  The “moderator” in the format I was thinking about is there to facilitate the discussion and NOT to comment in their own name. 
    As I think someone said, limit it to 4/5 topics, allow the two presentations, allow counter questions, and perhaps audience Q&A either after each segment or a more general one at the end.
    But I will watch whatever version becomes ‘live’.  We are on the same side 😉

  96. Ann says:

    I heard him at the Yes Dunfermline meeting in May and I thought he was fantastic.
    You could tell when he was speaking that he believed and made the people  listening believe that anything is possible.
    He may be Labour through and through, but he wants what is best for Scotland and for future generations and has put party politics aside.
    He’s like and old fashioned preacher full of spirit and fire.  Get him out in the streets on his soap box and he’ll certainly grab the attention of any doubters.

  97. Albalha says:

    Yes certainly folk like Riddoch and Kane, Wishart not my cup of tea but each to their own and all that. And Mr Bissett had a very peculiar post on the Guardian recenty, of course there are I’m sure others. Mr Boyle and Mr Welsh would add colour for example.
    Not that it’s my opinion that counts of course! Whatever they’d need to be engaging and reasonably well known, to some constituency of voters, people need to come along.
    As is well rehearsed here the MSM isn’t really up to the task.

  98. Right, since there seems to be a few fellow Dundonians on here, I’ll ask –
    When are we getting a Yes Group meeting, or have missed one already?

  99. Albalha says:

    Never a question of war, sorry don’t know the Latin term off the top of my head, so Pax indeed.
    All I want to see is a Scotland wide touring debate that doesn’t mean a sterile battle between the YES and NO campaigns. I so deeply believe that if people really could get beyond the same old shite they’d be willing to go for it in the full knowledge it won’t be easy and that all questions cannot be answered.

  100. Marcia says:


    Yes Dundee will have a stall in Baxter Park on Saturday 3 August at the Celebration in the Park event from 12noon to 4pm.

  101. Tony Little says:

    😉  No probs.  I agree, which is why it would never happen.  As you say, once both sides of the argument are put, without distortion or manipulation by omission or commissions voters will see exactly what the potentially far greater future is in store with a YES vote.  Hard, not a “quick” fix, but with effort and stamina a far better future for the generations to follow.
    I predict that if the vote is NO, and after a 2/3 year period when all our worst fears become a reality, you will suddenly find that when people are asked about 2014, in fact “no one” voted NO after all!  

  102. jim mitchell says:

    Although I agree with those who say that Darling won’t show, i think that this is the kind of ‘threat’ we should keep hearing about from Alex Salmond, John Swinney, Blair Jenkins and Nicola Sturgeon as well as Dennis Canavan, because I am pretty sure that unless they can arrange debates to their liking as in the where , the when, who chairs and how many can be lined up against a YES spokesperson etc, they will keep on refusing, which will in turn make great propaganda for our side!   

  103. jim mitchell says:

    Why can’t some of our crowd challenge the fool McDougall  to a debate?

  104. Albalha says:

    I’m staying optimistic that there can be a YES vote. I never fail to be amazed by the people who’ll be voting YES, all walks of life and backgrounds. It’s there to be won but more needs to be done to get us over the line.

  105. Sneddon says:

    jim mitchell – Do you think McDougall will debate with anyone who’s not anyone or even in a place not of his choosing and outside his comfort zone.  I don’t.  When I have seen him he’s a typical new labour spinner, all weasel words and deflections.

  106. Richard McHarg says:

    Rev, just a correction to your article: the guy that stood up and asked the question was actually a Unionist, albeit quite disgruntled with the haphazard nature of the Better Together command structure.
    He was concerned that they had no-one going toe-to-toe with the FM and was anxious to know who it was likely to be, in the event of a live televised debate.
    He was clapping along with the rest of them throughout the meeting.

  107. Horacesaysyes says:

    @marcia – cheers for that, I’ll need to see if I can pop along. 🙂 
    But what I was really meaning was some sort of public meeting. I’ve seen folk like Blair Jenkins and Dennis Canavan have been doing talks and discussions in various places, but nothing like that here. Has it just not been our turn yet?

  108. ianbrotherhood says:

    @jim mitchell (8.58) –
    Good idea. If Rev invited Blair McD on our behalf, we could have a virtual interview where he explains the BT case and we’re all on our very bestest.
    Isn’t that what BMcD is being paid for? To take on us nasties in our own lair with the trusty sword of truth etc etc? Imagine how brave everyone will think him?
    Go on Rev – make BMcD the very first WoS ‘An Audience With...’ 
    It’s a winner!

  109. HeatherMcLean says:

    HoraceSaysYes says:
    26 July, 2013 at 8:21 pm

    Right, since there seems to be a few fellow Dundonians on here, I’ll ask –
    When are we getting a Yes Group meeting, or have missed one already?”
    The Yes group usually meet on the second Tuesday of the month at the university tower block. There is a Yes stall organised for Baxter Park on 3rd August and I’m in the process of organising a “Yes Cafe” type coffee morning ( along the lines of the successful Inverness one) on Saturday 7th September in Dundee.. venue, speakers and entertainment still to be confirmed! Any suggestions or help with that would be welcomed! I don’t want to post my phone number on here but if its possible for the Rev to pass on my email address to anyone who thinks they could contribute .. I’d be more than happy to hear from them! 🙂

  110. The Rough Bounds says:

    There is one thing that concerns me slightly about Mr. Canavan and that is this ”I’m not a nationalist; I’m an internationalist” stuff that he enjoys spouting.
    I’ve found in the past that Labour/old Labour/new Labour/left wingers/socialists etc. that purport to believe in Scottish self government have great difficulty when posed the question: ”If England were to go socialist tomorrow would you still support Scottish independence?”
    They usually flap and say that it’ll never happen or something similar. I’m not convinced that Dennis Canavan would be any different.
    I asked Jim Sillars that very question in the early eighties and he said simply ”No.” His honesty left me surprised for it’s been the only time I’ve ever heard that kind of candidness/candour.
    Nationalists like me don’t have that problem. I couldn’t give a Monkey’s if England went Socialist or Liberal or even Green tomorrow; I will always support Scottish independence because I’m in this thing for Scotland’s long term future; not short term political advantages of one colour or the other.

  111. Jeannie says:

    A fascinating report commissioned by councils in NE England suggests that closer collaboration with Scotland, indy or not, may be the answer to the problems of the NE.
    Thanks for that link, Kininvie.  Believe it or not, I’ve just spent the past hour reading that report from beginning to end.  Fascinating.  Had to do a wee bit of reading between the lines as they can’t be seen to be endorsing independence and upsetting the UK government.  However, collaboration along the borderlands makes sense.  It’s just that I can’t see the UK government allowing them to take things forward.  Was also fascinated to see the difference in per capita spend on transport in London and the South East compared with other parts of the country.  Defo worth a read.

  112. Jeannie says:

    By the way, just for general interest, the ANEC report I mentioned before indicated that the per capita spend of transport per head in the North East of England is £5.00, but in London, it is £2,731.00. 

  113. ianbrotherhood says:

    @The Rough Bounds-
    Point taken.
    I think Jeannie, in the post after yours, may, via Kininvie’s link, have provided part of the answer to the question you raise.
    For many the whole idea of ‘Internationalism’ is all well and good, but it’s not why some of us choose to align ourselves with Socialist parties. Speaking personally, I work for the SSP because they do stuff, they don’t just talk about it. I understand the SNP reluctance to scare anyone, the timid treatment of issues such as monarchy/currency etc, but I don’t care about that in the slightest – they’ve delivered on their promise to have this referendum, and that’s all that matters right now. Hair and snotters may well be flying after we gain independence, as folk get themselves sorted out, but in the meantime? Steady as we go, and each to their own – we’re on the same side, with a clear and common aim.
    And to answer your question which has befuddled so many over the years? I couldn’t give a FF what the people of Norfolk, Essex or Cornwall decide – that’s their business. And this referendum is ours – if we say ‘Yes’, Westminster becomes a problem they’ll have to deal with in their own way.
    And if we do it? They will. My money’s on Northumbria first, closely followed by Yorkshire, Cumbria. The City of London will eventually stand exposed as a rotten money-laundering tax-haven.

  114. AlexMcI says:

    Go on Rev – make BMcD the very first WoS ‘An Audience With...’ 
    It’s a winner!
     Your just dreaming now mate, there aint a snowballs chance in hell of that happening. 

  115. ianbrotherhood says:

    You’re right, of course, but look at it this way – if there are any genuine BT funders (like Ian Taylor?) who ‘truly believe’ in the Union, and realise how crucial this referendum is, wouldn’t they expect Blair to prove how passionate and committed he is? Why else are they paying him? 
    Isn’t there one BT person who will come on here and try to persuade us of their case? The readership stats for this site make it unavoidable – they’ll have to engage with us eventually.
    And if they don’t?
    We’ll do ‘a Bathgate’ and turn up at their meetings – at least, if we do it here, we don’t have to smell their sweat.
    There’s no-one on this site who likes playing with trolls on a Friday night more than me, but we really need to hear from a ‘genuine’ BT-supporter. Are there any at all?
    BT- ‘It’s Good to Talk’ (Bob Hoskins voice)…aye, right.
    Have a braw weekend mister.

  116. molly says:

    I understand the need for the weel kent faces to be present to attract attention but personally I would like to ask any Unionist how they can justify ‘food banks ‘ when 1 in 29 living in London is a dollar millionaire ? How are we Better Together ?
    Who benefits from the closure of places like Remploy ? Better Together ? 
    Now I’ve just watched the ITN news and a van is apparantly going around with the message on the side ,”are you an illegal immigrant ?” then in a smaller bubble 106 arrested in your area.
    Seriously , all of the above are an affront an absolute affront to decency /integrity call it what you want but its time some difficult questions were asked of the Unionists because they’ll play he said she said til the cows come home.
    We are being offerred what exactly ? Better Together , your chance to continue a system that has lost all sense of purpose .

  117. CameronB says:

    @ ianbrotherhood
    They (the north of England) have already had their chance, but weren’t interested in  regional assemblies.

  118. ianbrotherhood says:

    Understood, but Blair thought he was granting us ‘a Parish Council’ and they had no reason to believe they’d get any different.
    If we vote Yes? They’ll change their tune sharpish. Newcastle will be first.

  119. Caroline Corfield says:

    The north of England were given a chance but it was hardly promoted. The Yes campaign was non existent while a very vocal and mostly Tory led No campaign called the regional assembly “an expensive talking shop” and another layer of government ( at a time when there was parish, district and county council levels in a number of areas under the assembly). They also  targeted the assembly as John Prescott’s ‘baby’ and a thing he would naturally retire to should it be set up. Very much the same tactics as the current No campaign being used in a region with no existing distinct desire for devolved power. Hardly a surprising result. I have since pointed out to people I know who voted No and now complain about the A1, job losses and the stunted local rail network that if they’d voted Yes overwhelmingly they’d have been able to demand greater powers including control over infrastructure spending. And that really I was of the opinion that Hell mend them for voting No.

  120. Sneddon says:

    cameronB  If I remember correctly they were offerd the option of voting for a talking shop with no real powers.  Basically a regional development agency with highers 🙂

  121. ianbrotherhood says:

    Hoskins doing his stuff.
    (Hmmm…wonder who Blair McD’s got on his ‘Friends & Family’ – would Darling be in there?)

  122. Caroline Corfield says:

    Real socialists who believe in internationalism know that national boundaries are a construct, threat are currently used by capitalists, however a socialist world would be built of smaller and smaller democratic units, something Scotland sized is probably ideal, look at how successful that size can be under the capitalist system. Personally I reckon a lot of the imbalance in England is due to its size and the fact that successive governments of all shades have centralised everything on London. The regions need more autonomy and it fits within socialism fine, and it does not obstruct Scottish independence either. What the current SG is proposing around the isles is in keeping with this too. I don’t think Denis is for centralisation when he talks about internationalism, he merely points out that for socialism to work properly it needs to be a global system of government. 

  123. CameronB says:

    @ ianbrotherhood
    I didn’t mean they have had their chance, that’s it.
    The good ship Britannia is sinking and Scotland is already splashing about in the surf. Let’s climb on board the lifeboat of independence, before we start looking for others help.

  124. ianbrotherhood says:

    Hear hear.

  125. CameronB says:

    @ Sneddon
    Sorry I missed your comment.
    Agreed, but that is not our problem. See above post to ianbrotherhod.

    ….before we start look for others to help,

  126. ianbrotherhood says:

    A final thought on ‘The Great Debate’ – have it in Glasgow’s Kelvin Hall, free entry for all citizens, weans included (why not? – it’s their future being discussed) and hire Rock Steady (or whatever they’re now called) to ensure security for all. BBC allowed in, but only for ‘documentary purposes’ – they should have no role whatsoever otherwise. 
    None of that Question-Time pish, everyone sitting on their hands, intimidated, fearful – let people shout and bawl (including the ‘panel’) – so long as no-one’s getting hurt, fair do’s, but we really need to hear some of the passion, anger, that underlies this massive debate. It’s not a fucking game we’re playing here.
    ‘Outside the box’ folks.
    That’s all I’m saying on it. 

  127. twenty14 says:

    Spot on the nail IBH

  128. Roll_On_2014 says:

    CameronB says:
    26 July, 2013 at 11:14 pm

    @ ianbrotherhood
    They (the north of England) have already had their chance, but weren’t interested in  regional assemblies.

    That is untrue… The North West voted for a RA and set one up. This RA is slowly being dismantled by the ConDem government. One of the greatest assets from the NWRA was its strength to obtain grants from the EU to improve a number of areas of development across the NW. Alas they have now been demoted to a mere talking shop.

  129. CameronB says:

    @ Roll_On_2014
    You are correct, I was only thinking of Northumbria.

  130. Roll_On_2014 says:

    By the way Severin Carrell at the Guardian has an article on the Borderlands Report.

    Scottish independence starts to hypnotise north east England

  131. Patrick Roden says:

    This is brilliant!
    If Blair McD gets an offer to debate with, say Nichola Sturgeon, or maybe the rev?
    All paid for by funds raised by members of the public who are desperate to hear the truth from the leaders from both sides in the referendum debate, it will generate great publicity for wings, as well as show joe public that the ‘Yes’ side truly want an open debate, but BT don’t.
    Every time BT repeat the mantra that the Yes side is not answering questions, the response is: excuse me, the Yes side have been asking you to debate them, so both sides can answer any questions, but you have refused….why?
    This one move may just destroy another part of ‘project fears’ narrative. 😉 

  132. CameronB says:

    Re. Severin Carrell’s piece. In the style of the old Del Monte adds;
    “the man with the cringe, he say No”.

  133. Patrick Roden says:

    O/T but very important.
    Magnus Gardham of all people has a good article about secret meetings taking place about the Independence and the aftermath if we vote Yes!

    Is it just me or has Magnus Gardhams articles taken on a far more balanced feel over the past few weeks?
    if you normally ignore him, just look at the past few days input and see what you think.
    I tend to skip over Magnus’s comments, because he is biased to the point of absurdity,  so if he has changed, it can mean only one of two things.
    1. He has genuinely began to change his mind about Scottish Independence and his articles reflect this softening process.
    2. he has been ordered to be less biased in his writing.
    Whatever the reason, if it is true then this can only be a very good thing for the Yes side.
    Have a look and tell me what you all think.

  134. Patrick Roden says:

    @ CameronB,
    Sverin gets slaughtered in the comments section and he himself comments, defending his reasons for spouting his nonsense.
    He then gets his ass handed to him on a plate by one poster.
    Worth a look, it’s brilliant ! 🙂

  135. john king says:

    juteman says @4.34pm 26th
    from open unionism
    “I personally think the level of nastiness faced by anyone brave enough to take on the more doctrinaire wing of Scottish nationalism is also a factor explaining why pro-Union folks leave the online debate alone.”
    what did you say juteman?
    did you upset them?
    or is it that debating online with people who actually KNOW what their talking about 
    is a no win for you people ?

  136. john king says:

    Patrick Roden says:
    27 July, 2013 at 5:16 am

    @ CameronB,
    got a link?

  137. john king says:

    atypical says

    “I want electrodes attached to lie detectors.”
    now thats just plain cruel, 
    AD would end up looking like Einstein but without the brains 


  138. john king says:

    The Man in the Jarsays:
    26 July, 2013 at 6:57 pm

    @JutemanCareful now! I was lounging on my sitootery the other day and I forgot that I had my tinfoil Tam O` Shanter on. Gave me a nasty burn on ma heed so it did!

      sitootery? ha ha ha ha ha ha 
    a want wan, 

  139. Stuart Black says:

    Patrick, just read this, certainly a much more balanced piece than the ones I’m used to ignoring.
    The whole Herald attitude seems to be softening in line with the Sunday edition, or is this just wishful thinking?
    Right, off to the Graun to enjoy Sevvie’s discomfort… 😉

  140. john king says:

    Albalha says:
    26 July, 2013 at 7:59 pm

    @muttley79I agree and I’m not convinced by Blair Jenkins as a debater either. Personally I’d favour high profile YES supporters taking part who’re not part of the YES campaign furniture.

      Peter Bell,
    Doug Daniels,
    lallands peat worrier 
    to name but a few

  141. CameronB says:

    @ john king
    The post from Roll_On_2014 @ 1.14am has the link, if your still looking.

  142. john king says:

    sorry about the cites rev
    CameronB beat me to it when I was editing my post,
    thanks for the heads up though Cameron
    I’ll check it out  

  143. Roll_On_2014 says:

    Just heard it through the grapevine that some Labour party voters have started to call Johann Lamont ‘Wonder Women‘ not because of her political prowess but they just Wonder where the feck she is?

    Perhaps some arty type on here could put her in the frame, so to speak.

  144. Patrick Roden says:

    Just posted on Magnus’s article and was moderated off lol.
    seems to suggest he was pushed rather than jumped into more balance.
    Also moderated off Kate Devlins’ article, so might just be a particularly unionist moderator on duty tonight.
    John King, go onto guardian site and look for his article about how the English are being Hypnotised by our referendum.
    Then enjoy the comments 😉 

  145. Patrick Roden says:

    ‘Wonder Woman’  haha,  Brilliant!
    I get the feeling this is a name that will stick…well it will with me 🙂

  146. annie says:

    With regard to Gradham/Herald comments, I read yesterday in the Drum I think, that the NUJ has balloted for strike action as the Herald is looking for 8 compulsory redundancies as well as a lot more volantary ones.  They are all up in arms accusing  the current owners of Ruining a fine Scottish newspaper.

  147. Roll_On_2014 says:

    Patrick Roden says:
    27 July, 2013 at 7:47 am
    Just posted on Magnus’s article and was moderated off lol.
    seems to suggest he was pushed rather than jumped into more balance.
    It appears there are only two comments currently on the article, one of which is yours.

  148. scottish_skier says:

    BBC has a good advert for Labour for Indy running.

    Scottish independence: Labour Yes group holds conference

    Getting hard to pretend they don’t exist.

  149. Roll_On_2014 says:

    The last line:
    A spokesman for the Scottish Labour Party declined to comment.
    Says it all really.

  150. MajorBloodnok says:

    Scottish Labour for Independence were also represented at the Lerwick YES Scotland meeting.
    I liked this very positive article and can only admire how Alex Salmond deftly turned the tables on Tavish and Liam with the “Lerwick Declaration”.

  151. @heathermclean – Thanks for that information. 🙂

  152. Seasick Dave says:

    Good spot, Major. I like the mast header on the paper… Great is the truth and it will prevail.

  153. Dcanmore says:

    We can all be Internationalists … after Independence.

  154. turnip_ghost says:

    So, with regard to who to have debating…I haven’t seen anyone suggest Patrick Harvie? He has been good every time I’ve seen him! He’s part of Yes, not SNP and as such re-inforces that it’s NOT SNP/Yes

  155. Davy says:

    The public call for a debate is a sound idea, so lets expand it.
    Yes campaign V No campaign :
    Blair Jenkins, Denis Canavan, Lesley Riddich -V- Blair McDougall, Alistair Darling, Anabell Goldie.
    Scottish Government V Scottish Opposition :
    Alex Salmond, Nicola Sturgeon, Alex Neil  -V-  Johann Lamont, Ruth Davidson, Willie Rennie.
    Scottish Government V Westminster :
    Alex Salmond, Nicola Sturgeon, John Swinney  -V-  D Cameron, Nick Clegg, Ed Miliband. 
    Also have the other members of the Scottish governments front bench take on their opposite numbers in face to face debates.
    First debate subject :- show your campaign’s case for a “Positive Future” for Scotland under either the Union or Independence.
    I did not mean to miss out the Greens, Labour for indy, Trade unions for indy and other members of the Yes campaign, and they should have full and fair representation throughout these debates, its just easier for me to put it down this way, any changes are welcome.

  156. MajorBloodnok says:

    @Seasick Dave
    Actually I get all my links from Peter Bell’s excellent site so he should get the credit.  That and Wings are my two main sites of a morning.

  157. TYRAN says:

    £100,000 PA to haiver in front of 20 people and post some stuff on Twitter. Any more of these jobs going?

  158. Shinty says:

    Scottish Government V Westminster :
    Alex Salmond, Nicola Sturgeon, John Swinney  -V-  D Cameron, Nick Clegg, Ed Miliband

    Would prefer to see Cameron, Clegg & Osbourne, NOT Miliband

    I’d pay good money to see that, though have to admit the Scottish Gov. & Scottish Opposition would be pure comedy gold.

  159. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “A final thought on ‘The Great Debate’ – have it in Glasgow’s Kelvin Hall,”

    Isn’t the Kelvin Hall closed for refurbishments now? I think Rab Florence’s wrestling match was its last event for a while.

    (Also, that event pretty much did what you’re calling for – Frankie Boyle “invaded” it with a masked team to give a raucous, earthy pro-independence speech, with plenty of booing as well as cheering from the crowd.)

  160. Bill McLean says:

    PATRICK – smashing comment in the Herald!

  161. The Man in the Jar says:

    I notice that the BBC on line news is giving LFI some coverage.

  162. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    I haven’t seen anyone suggest Patrick Harvie?”

    Harvie is indeed very good and definitely should be on any multi-participant debate, but the problem with putting him forward in a one-on-one is, who’s his direct equivalent on the No side?

  163. The Man in the Jar says:

    Re the BBC covering LFI having its first conference. .LFI are getting a positive article is it because it has Labour in its name?
    I do like the final sentence in the article “A spokesman for the “Scottish Labour Party”? declined to comment.”

  164. Dorothy Devine says:

    I have invited a ” British” neighbour to read and post  comment.
    I said that no-one would be offensive as long as his comments were appropriate – I do hope I am right!!

  165. Albalha says:

    It’s also being reported in their news bulletins including the ‘declined to comment’.
    It could be as straightforward as LforI made the contact, gave the details etc.
    Of course will anyone cover the meeting, we’ll see.

  166. HandandShrimp says:

    who’s his direct equivalent on the No side?
    Surely David Cameron – greenest Government ever *cough*

  167. HandandShrimp says:

    I do like the final sentence in the article “A spokesman for the “Scottish Labour Party”? declined to comment.”
    Labour doesn’t seem to do communication these days.

  168. Albalha says:

    On the debates why does it need to based on equivalents? Couldn’t that be left to the MSM?
    Personally I just want people to hear a range of arguments and ultimately the truth that not very much is certain after a YES vote, it won’t be smooth sailing, but in the knowledge that what’s in store after NO is much clearer and it isn’t at all nice. 

  169. The Man in the Jar says:

    I thought that there was no such thing as a “Scottish Labour Party”?

  170. ianbrotherhood says:

    @Rev re Kelvin Hall.
    Yep, I had Frankie Boyle’s impromptu performance in mind.
    I’ll find out about the KH, availability etc. No harm asking, and I know a man who knows someone else…

  171. MajorBloodnok says:

    HandandShrimp says: Labour doesn’t seem to do communication these days.

    No “Wonder”.

  172. Patrick Roden says:

    @Roll on 2014, Yes just noticed it’s now on and my comment on kate Devlins has re-appeared as well!
    @Bill Mclean, thanx bud 😉

  173. john king says:

    rev stu says 
    “Harvie is indeed very good and definitely should be on any multi-participant debate, but the problem with putting him forward in a one-on-one is, who’s his direct equivalent on the No side?”
    Screaming Lord Moncton 🙂

  174. john king says:

    dorothy devine says
    “I have invited a ” British” neighbour to read and post  comment.I said that no-one would be offensive as long as his comments were appropriate – I do hope I am right!!”
    he’s no wan o thon wee shy retirin open unionists is he?

  175. john king says:

    re my reply to rev stu
    in spite of that comment being , shall we say, tongue in cheek,
    I would really like to see Patrick Harvie disassemble  that Marty Feldman lookalike
    and I don’t have an opinion either way on global warming, 
    but the advantages of the use of renewable energy cant be lost on anyone.

  176. Albalha says:

    Re earlier post Eddie Mair not available to moderate, just heard back.

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