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Wings Over Scotland

And finally… #11

Posted on February 05, 2013 by

Well, one out of three isn’t bad, we suppose.

We’re a bit confused by point 3, though. “It’s no wonder the SNP support the Government’s plans”, it notes. But hang on a minute – didn’t the No campaign director Blair McDougall tell us just days ago that the SNP “opposed” devolution in 1997? Who to believe? We just don’t know what to think any more.

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53 to “And finally… #11”

  1. MajorBloodnok says:

    I thought twice and voted YES, twice.  And in fact I am looking forward to voting YES thrice.

  2. Castle Rock says:

    Well at least when you call someone a liar you back it up with proof.

    I wonder what the British Labour Party representative, George Foulkes, will now do…

  3. Doug says:

    I never voted yes, being only 14. Not letting the next one slip past!

  4. Mister Worf says:

    Wait, so 16-14 years, Four First Ministers and three Prime Ministers is the fast track according to this? Why do I have a feeling these same people who wrote this went onto, or already had, jobs in the Ministry of Defence and the Department for Transport.

    Still, Blair McDougall will like this positive bit of campaigning I expect. Especially the bit where it positively makes him look like either a liar or an amnesiac. Must be the crazy pills. 

  5. beachthistle says:

    2 yes votes from me that time around too. As I recall it was reported that it was the first time that a majority in a modern referendum had voted deliberately and knowingly  for the ability to be taxed more! 63% of us.
    I think next year we are going to have to become another first – the first to vote for something which ALL print and ALL broadcast media in a country holding a referendum is against!
    My main memory of the 97 referendum is an item during the last edition of BBC GMS before the broadcast ‘purdah’, maybe on the 9th or 10th.  In a prime 8-8-30 slot there was a 4 or so minute package where various BBC-in-Scotland Glasgow staff, some of them GMS presenters, told us, the Scottish voting public, that an issue we should consider/take into account before voting Yes is that BBC and STV staff would have to move to Edinburgh. Several of them went into great detail about the ordeals they would face moving city/house/kids’ schools etc. Not only was it not true (i.e they didn’t move from Glasgow despite the 74% Yes  vote)  scaremongering even, but it was so ridiculous in its conceit and contempt: I still find it hard to get my head around the editorial judgement/decisions involved in even thinking that this might have  been an appropriate piece of staff thinking to speak out loud about to strangers never mind actually broadcast to the nation!.
    Anyway it revealed to me (and I’m sure many others) the ridiculously high regard these BBC staff had of themselves,  and what they knew they could get away with, as individuals, at a critical moment during a very important  national political process. The memory of it has helped me understand why we are seeing such blatant disregard for balance and contempt for all the supposed broadcasting safeguards from BBC-in-Scotland these days. WE should not forget that enough of us ignored them then – and I’m confident that we will do so again next year!

  6. M4rkyboy says:

    I was 16 in 97.I cant say i remember it being a big issue at school.I cant remember it being discussed at all in fact.
    For the referendum, do the SNP have a plan to engage those youngsters eligible to vote through the schools?This has to be done carefully in a non-partisan way IMO or we risk accusations of ‘brainwashing’.

  7. Angus McLellan says:

    The 1997 referendum. I was just thinking about that the other week.
    Given the number of people you might suspect of voting the way Think Twice wanted who claim to have actually voted No-Yes, it’s a bit confusing that the historical record shows fewer people voted Yes on the second question than on the first one. There must be a simple and obvious explanation for that. Can’t see what it is myself though.

  8. Seasick Dave says:

    Just watched Willie Rennie put in the most awful performance on Newsnicht.

    His major concern was that a Scottish squaddie in the British Army will be forced to choose which regiment to be in. FFS.

    Patrick Harvie put in a measured performance and left Brewer spluttering for pejorative terms a couple of times.

    Gordon Banks was a grumpy old tw*t.

    Stewart Maxwell did what he could in the circumstances. 

  9. albaman says:

    O/T Rev,
    do you know  who are on this Thursdays panel on the B.B.C.`s Question Time?,
    Micky Moore, D Alexander?, surely not L Foulkes or Wullie Rennie!!!.
    If anyone of the Westminster M.P`s come out with  their well worn saying
    “I am passionate about Scotland” my foot goes though the T.V.!!.  

  10. Adrian B says:

    Willie Rennie using Newsnight as a portal into every home in Scotland.

    Does he not realise that you need to be politically engaged to watch a politics program?

    I have to say one of the drawbacks of large screen TVs is having Willie larger than life so close. 

  11. beachthistle says:

    @ M4rkyboy
    I heard there are plans to provide 14-16 year olds in State schools with balanced information and an opportunity to discuss the referendum as part of their Modern Studies course/classes – confirmed in a parents’ night conversation I had with my 14 y.o daughter’s Modern Studies teacher eariier this evening. This won’t be of much use for those 14 -16 ers who don’t do or opt for Modern Studies.
    There is supposed to be a ‘citizenship’ component in  the Curriculum for Excellence which might be a better way to approach it, make it more likely that all/more 14-16 ers will get a chance to engage. But that would be a lot more effort/work for Heidies etc., so likely they will take the easier sub-optimal Modern Studies route…

  12. Doug Daniel says:

    The gap between Willie Rennie and Patrick Harvie can only be described as a chasm. Rennie was childish and made spurious remarks (his “ooh the SNP love this stuff” remark was just contemptible for a man who is supposed to be an elected representative), whereas Harvie cut through the crap with surgical skill and gave his usual measured, fair performance.

    Both are massive assets to the Yes campaign… 

  13. Ron says:

    I was a ‘Yes’ in ’79 and vividly recall the bitterness I felt at the way we were cheated then. I also voted ‘Yes’ in ’97, and am impressed with ‘beachthistle’s’ detailed recollection of the BBC-in-Scotland’s feeble staff efforts to persuade us to vote ‘No’. No doubt the current batch at PQ will be trying a similar stunt when they realise it’s just not going their way. I have to force myself to watch the likes of Brewer, Buchanan, etc. just so I don’t forget how low they can go. ‘Snake’s belly’ comes to mind.
    Like ‘M4rkyboy’, I am also concerned at what Scottish schools will be teaching/telling/advising our youth about what it really means for them come Referendum Day. I would not be surprised to find that the teaching unions are already working on this issue.

  14. David Robertson says:

    Has been explained to me a number of times that due to the fact that the SNP did not join the Scottish Constitutional Convention they did not/do not support devolution. Should point out that when I’ve asked why they didn’t join, I did raise point about indy not being in remit, well never did get response. Also ignore SNPs role in campaigning during the referendum.

  15. Bill C says:

    I’m feeling like a geriatric on here! I voted YES in ’79 and although we voted 51.6% in support of Devolution, we were screwed because a ("Tractor" - Ed)ous little Labour MP called George Cunningham introduced a 40% rule.  I voted YES, YES in ’97 and I will vote YES in 2014, (it is interesting that some unionists are already asking if a majority YES vote will be enough!).

    However, to go slightly o/t, I have just witnessed Willie Rennie on Newsnight Scotland and for the second time today (on here and elsewhere) I declare the man to be national embarrassment.  His “paperwork” comment earlier today was cringeworthy, his performance tonight was toe curling. How Stewart Hosie, Patrick Harvie and some Labour bod from London kept their faces straight is beyond me.
    I am no fan of Oliver Cromwell and not particularly religious, but in the words of Cromwell I say to Willie Rennie “You have been sat to long here for any good you have doing. Depart, I say, and let us have done with you. In the name of God, Go!”

  16. FreddieThreepwood says:

    Re Newsnicht – I amused myself by imagining what Ian ‘Doing’ Davidson would be throwing at the telly watching his Labour colleague walk uncomplainingly into a hypothetical put by Brewer about a post Yes vote. Because (and he’ll probably be boiled in oil for this) he surmised about ‘the people of Scotland deciding they want to be in an independent country’ – not ‘the people of Scotland deciding to believe the SNP’s separatist propaganda and voting to rip up the United Kingdom’ as, of course, it is phrased in SLABs official crib sheet.

  17. Bill C says:

    Re my earlier post, I should have said Stewart Maxwell instead of Stuart Hosie, who is hopefully recovering from his recent illness. My apologies to both gentlemen and all on here.

  18. Clarinda says:

    My father had a wonderful saying about those who were unaware of their intellectual shortcomings that “if their brains were dynamite, it wouldn’t blow their hat off”.  No more deserving recipient of this slight yet again proved on Newsnicht his unwavering determination to remain liberally hatted.

  19. pmcrek says:

    “We just don’t know what to think any more.”
    Should be Westminsters motto I think 🙂
    Quick OT, found this interesting:

    So essentially 22 Labour MPs voted against the gay marriage bill for England & Wales tonight, however 7 of them (almost 1/3) represented Scottish constituencies not effected by the legislation… and a word to describe them springs immedietly to mind.

  20. creag an tuirc says:

    @Seasick Dave

    “Gordon Banks was a grumpy old tw*t.”

    I thought he was initially, but as the debate continued I thought he lost conviction (didn’t believe his own pearls of shite that trickled fae his gub) and even nodded in agreement with something Stuart Maxwell said.

  21. Barontorc says:

    Gordon Banks – Labour MP isn’t the only Labour MP to be studying his navel at this moment in political time.

    The writings on the wall and these guys know it. 

    Still it was good to see him accepting valid points  – they ain’t all bad!

  22. Angus McLellan says:

    @Freddie: You’re describing the BBC Scotlandshire version of Ian Davidson there, not the real one. I’m not a great fan of his. And nobody can accuse Davidson of being neutral or loveable. That doesn’t mean that during his Separation Inquiry he has tried to keep witnesses from talking about after-a-Yes-vote. Or to railroad them into being negative. (Encourage, yes, railroad no. On one occasion Davidson challenged a witness who seemed to be saying that Scotland – or rather the SNP’s hypothetical Scottish Defence Force – would be Too Wee to have an “SAS” by pointing to New Zealand. No public evidence session has ever raised New Zealand in evidence on defence, so that’s a sign that Ian has access to other research and has studied it in some depth. Don’t underestimate him!)

    In his last session, with Stuart Crawford and Richard Marsh, he wound up by saying that he wished that there were far more people out there writing studies on other subjects like the one Crawford & Marsh did on defence. So whatever else Davidson is up to, he is not actively avoiding the (from his perspective) “nightmare scenario” of a Yes vote. If we take his comments at face value – and we might as well do that – he’s looking to encourage more people to think seriously and to write about after-a-Yes-vote.

  23. M4rkyboy says:

    Aye,as much as i disagree with Davidson i actually like the hard bastard style of politician.I wish he were on our side.

  24. Craig Evans says:

    I see the Herald article on Foulkes’s comments in the House of Lords yesterday has disappeared!

    We cannot have the Labour Party being shown in a bad light can we? 

  25. Keef says:

    If Independence day should happen to fall on the 15 th, will we be calling it the ‘ayes of March’.


  26. Boorach says:

    @ Seasick Dave

    Is that the same squaddie who won’t have a room to spend his leave in at his mother’s new wee house. The new wee one that Oor wullie’s bedroom tax has driven her to? 

  27. Grahamski says:

    “..didn’t the No campaign directorBlair McDougall tell us just days ago that the SNP “opposed” devolution in 1997?”

    In a word, no.


  28. Doug says:

     I am impressed. You have included the link that proves you erong as part of your response. That is a new level of incompetent trolling and I salute you 🙂

  29. Tearlach says:

    Ah but @Doug – remember 79, when Yes meant No! 

  30. Grahamski says:


    Mr McDougall said Mr Salmond had thrown the pizza jibe in 1997 not that the SNP had opposed devolution in 1997.

    As you are no doubt aware the SNP opposed devolution and refused to sign the claim of right for Scotland then when they realised that the Scottish people were unimpressed by their posturing they did a humiliating volte face on devolution – this was before 1997…

  31. Grahamski says:


    “..when Yes meant No! ”

    Like when you say, “We have, yes..” and mean “We haven’t, no”? 

  32. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    But presumably after 1979, when they called for a Yes vote in the devolution referendum just like they did in 1999. So can you pinpoint for us the specific dates in between those times when they “opposed” it?

  33. Seasick Dave says:

    Like when you say, “We have, yes..” and mean “We haven’t, no”? 

    Its going to be a long day. 

    Its like listening to Terry Fuckwitt. 

  34. Seasick Dave says:


    That’s a very good point about the Bedroom Tax.

    Kay(e) will be covering this in great depth later, I’m sure. 

  35. Doug says:

    “SNP opposed devo, labour delivered” Blair McDougall
     On reflection, maybe you are right…

  36. Grahamski says:

    Mr Campbell

    The SNP opposed devolution from 1989 for a number of years before they realised they looked ridiculous.

    Perhaps you would be good enough to pinpoint when Mr McDougall actually claimed the SNP opposed devolution in 1997.

    Admitting error is not a sign of weakness… 

  37. Doug says:

    Grahamski.  And what of the widespread Labour opposition to devolution in 79? Anyway, as I am sure you know fine well, the SNP withdrew ftom the SCC as it refused to consider independence as an option, not out of opposition to devolution.

    Doesn’t detract from you being wrong. Admitting error is not a sign of weakness…

  38. Stuart Vallis says:

    SNP did not “oppose” devolution from 1989. I attended one of the planning meetings for the Edinburgh “Scotland Demands Democracy” March in 1992 (on behalf of the Green party). I think the meeting was in the STUC offices in Glasgow, near Kelvingrove Park. I particularily remember that the SNP and Labour reps traded catty remarks all through the meeting, so they were both represented. The Labour rep was Jack McConnell who sat immediately to my right. I think Jim Murphy was there representing the NUS and sat at the window and supported Jack McC. The SNP guy, whoever he was, was opposite. Afterwards was a press conference and Brian Taylor asked why only the big political parties were going to dominate the speeches at the March, why other smaller organisations would not be speaking (it was a discussion point during the meeting). I thought Brian was a sharp guy then, and I still do.

  39. rabb says:

    On the subject of what kids are being taught in School.
    I am in the early stages of draughting a letter to my daughters head teacher. Apparently they had a discussion in modern studies where her teacher informed the pupils that Scotland was not a country?
    When quizzed by some of the pupils about Scotland having it’s own football team, competing as Scotland in the Commonwealth games as Scotland, having it’s own legal system etc, the reply was apparently “It’s complicated but trust me Scotland is not a country”.

    I find this abhorant and now wonder if this line is being forced upon the schools or simply a teacher indulging himself and going “off piste”. Either way, someone has some serious explaining to do!!


  40. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “The SNP opposed devolution from 1989 for a number of years”

    Provide the source for that claim any time you like.

  41. Grahamski says:

    Mr Campbell

    Provide the quote which has Mr McDougall claiming the SNP opposed devolution in 1997.

    Any time you like… 

  42. Christian Wright says:

    Grahamski says:

    “The SNP opposed devolution from 1989 for a number of years before they realised they looked ridiculous.”

    Come now “Grahamski”, you know the drill, old fruit. Citation required. 

  43. scottish_skier says:

    What I find quite amusing is the idea that the Scots electorate could possibly for one second be convinced that the SNP opposed the reestablishment of the Scottish Parliament.

    Even if it was true and the SNP had campaigned vigorously for years against devolution, organising big protest marches and stuff back in the day, you’d be hard pushed to find anyone who’d believe it today.

    It’s a bit like trying to convince people that the Tories are against privatisation and have a strongly socialist policy agenda.

    Net effect is anyone saying the SNP were against devolution looks – even to the untrained eye – like they’re talking out of their behind. Hence anything else they say will also be taken as guff.

    I’m thus all for the pro-union campaign keeping this stuff going. It’s great.

  44. beachthistle says:

    That is the other reason I don’t think that (only) covering the referendum via Modern Studies classes for 14-16 year olds is a well-thought through idea. It does indeed give the opportunity for off-piste contributions and loose cannon behaviour (both ways) from individual Modern Studies teachers.
    As I said before, the main problem though is that most 14+ year olds are no longer taking all subjects, having had to choose/drop down to (usually) 8. So doing stuff on the referendum only via Modern Studies is going to mean that (I’d estimate) more than 70% of 14+ year old school students will miss it as they won’t be attending any Modern Studies classes in the next year and a half.
    It would be far better, i.e. more transparent and democratic, to do it via classes/activities/assemblies that all students from S3, S4, S5, S6 attend – but as I also said before this would require more work from and participation of head teachers etc., And as it seems it will be up to each school how (and indeed if!) they cover the referendum, it will be up to these headteachers, so not holding my breath for it being more than the sub-optimal Modern Studies route…

  45. Keef says:

    The no scotland website has the referendum date as Oct. 18th  2014.

    They sure wil look daft if the vote is a month before and they miss it.

    Also their online poll is a site for sore eyes.   

  46. mogabee says:

     My daughter’s school is in the early stages of organising a hustings to engage the pupils. Seems like this could be the way forward.

  47. scottish_skier says:

    I’d be all for School kids (maybe ~15-16 when approaching voting age) being taught the basic concepts of the political spectrum, i.e. economic left vs right and social authoritarian vs libertarian.

    The various stances of current parties could then be presented, e.g. Tory = right authoritarian, Labour = right authoritarian, Liberal = increasingly centre-right, increasingly authoritarian. SNP = centrist/left leaning centrist liberal. Green = left liberal and so forth.

    They could get the teenagers to evaluate their own stance (there are tests for this) and consider potential ways they might vote in the future.

    Once again I post the excellent political compass site, as recommended by leading academics/experts in the field.

    I do wonder if many Labour voters realise they’re supporting a cross between the Tories and the BNP socio-economic stance-wise.

  48. cath says:

    It would be good if an impartial body, such as the electoral commission, working in collaboration with the Scottish government and civil service were able to produce materials that could be used by schools, and were able to encourage activities such as debates. Perhaps modern studies students could lead on those wider debates. The current vote going on in Glasgow university could be a good test and template for it.
    Certainly with the Curriculum for Excellence and citizenship, schools and young people have a brilliant opportunity to be involved and for kids to get skills in critical thinking and debating, as well as learning about history, politics, democracy etc.
    It would also be really good – though probably hopelessly idealistic – if the best of debaters could head down south and take the debate to schools in England as well, so kids down there can get some more realistic idea of what the debate is actually about up here.

  49. Morag says:

    I teach college-level students, and devolution affects my subject (animal health) very closely indeed.  Thanks to initiatives from the Scottish government Scotland is drawing way ahead in animal health issues.  While England is cutting back on disease surveillance and is likely to be an animal pest-hole in a few years time, Scotland continues to fund it thought the block grant.  Not only that, we are progressing with the complete eradication of one major cattle disease.

    Here, we look with horror on what is happening in England, and what our English colleagues are having to put up with.  We worry that cuts in the block grant will mean the Scottish government won’t be able to go on supporting the sector, even though the political will is there.  Personally, I worry that if we get a No vote, it will all be centralised again and we’ll be forced to go the way of England.

    I tell my students how great devolution has been for the farming industry and animal heath, because it is a devolved matter.  I’m not allowed to be political and scream at them, “just vote Yes next year or we’re all screwed!” much as I’d like to.

  50. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “Provide the quote which has Mr McDougall claiming the SNP opposed devolution in 1997. Any time you like… “

    No problem. But I asked first, so after you, dear.

  51. muttley79 says:

    The SNP were well represented at the 1992 Scotland United march in Edinburgh, which ended with Salmond and others giving speeches in the Meadows.  That is five years before the referendum.  Another one of Grahamski’s ridiculous interventions… 

  52. Fiona says:

    “The SNP were well represented at the 1992 Scotland United march in Edinburgh, which ended with Salmond and others giving speeches in the Meadows.  That is five years before the referendum.  Another one of Grahamski’s ridiculous interventions…
    I can vouch for that as I was in a bus full from the Carluke branch on that day- I always remember the huge police presence which so went against the feel of the day.

  53. Stuart Vallis says:

    In 1992 there was a meeting of European council in Edinburgh at the same time, which might have something to do with the police presence. Also there was the req from some organisations to make a direct action after the march, which the political party reps argued against at the planning meeting. There was a vote in the meeting which went against the idea. Maybe the police got wind that there might be some problems after the march, although I remember the idea mooted did not involve anything to do with the European meeting.

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