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Battleship in the harbour

Posted on April 24, 2012 by

The following is a transcript of an interview broadcast on last night’s Newsnight Scotland, between the BBC’s presenter Glenn Campbell, the Labour MSP Jenny Marra and SNP MSP Linda Fabiani.

GLENN CAMPBELL: What, Linda Fabiani, would be a “win” in the referendum that you hope to have? What’s a majority?

LINDA FABIANI: I think it’s quite clear: 50% is what we always look at for that bridge over into a majority, so it’s quite clear – those who vote, if you’re over 50% that’s a majority.

GLENN CAMPBELL: Even if that’s a minority of those entitled to vote, a minority of the Scottish people?

LF: Well, when you start talking round these things you’re back in the realm of 1979, when Scotland was stymied and then it was 20 years down the line before we got anything. So I think it’s very plain, very straightforward in a transparent process – as the referendum was carried out for devolution in 1999.

GC: If 50%+1, Jenny Marra, say yes to independence, is that enough in your view to end the Union? A simple majority?

JENNY MARRA: Well, I think we need to have, I think the real message of Angus Robertson’s visit to Canada, is that the process points of this referendum are critically important. The question is important, whether there’s one question or two, the size of the majority, the clear majority. [Our emphasis.] Now these have been written into Canadian legislation but they’re still not clear and the issue of independence just rumbles on and on and on in Quebec. This is something we don’t want in Scotland – we want a clear and decisive result, and then we can move on with the priorities of our country that [end of sentence indistinct].

GC: Okay, but can you spell it out? Because the Clarity Act in Canada doesn’t actually spell out what a clear question or a clear majority is, but we do know that a narrow win for the federalists last time around has not settled the question. So when it comes to the Scottish referendum, is 50% plus 1 enough to end the Union?

JM: Well, Glenn, that’s not a decision for me, Jenny Marra, to-

GC: What’s your VIEW?

JM: That is a decision for – well, we need to represent the views of the Scottish people and what THEY would want as a clear majority, so we need –

GC: And what do you think, what do you think that would be?

JM:Β  – we need to have that discussion with all civic society in Scotland and we all need to come to a consensus on what the process points of this referendum will be, and only once we’ve had that discussion will we then be in a position to move forward.

GC: Would you agree, Linda Fabiani, that if the result IS that slim it’ll certainly open the result to question, in the way that perhaps it has when the federalists won in Quebec?

LF: No, I think there should be a clear agreement amongst all parties that we judge this the way we judged the referendum in 1999, the way that people think of a majority. It should be clear, it should be straightforward, that’s what we want.

GC: Linda Fabiani, Jenny Marra, thanks both very much indeed for coming in.

So that’s pretty unequivocal. As far as Linda Fabiani’s concerned, the normal rules of arithmetic apply – the side that gets the most votes wins. 50%+1 was good enough for the 2011 AV referendum, good enough for the Common Market referendum in 1975, good enough for the 1973 Northern Ireland sovereignty referendum and good enough for the 1999 Scottish devolution referendum, so it’s good enough for independence.

Jenny Marra’s position, on the other hand, is rather more concerning. Asked directly three times by Campbell, she declined three times to answer whether a simple majority would be accepted by Labour as a win for the Yes camp, and refused to even express a personal opinion, inevitably raising the prospect that the Unionist parties might try once again to pull a fast one as they so infamously did in 1979, putting effectively impossible obstacles in the way of the Yes campaign.

The whole idea is, of course, a non-starter. We feel confident in saying that Alex Salmond would sooner move the UK’s Trident submarines to the stream at the bottom of his garden than be party to a 1979-style stitch-up. So what can Labour possibly hope to gain from refusing to concede even the most basic of mathematical realities?

Can they conceivably be hoping to manoeuvre themselves into a position whereby accepting that the side with most votes is the winner is considered some sort of compromise on their part, to be used as a bargaining chip? Frankly we think they’d get extremely short shrift on that one. And as a ploy to try to force the SNP to withdraw/boycott the referendum it’s a bit too transparent.

The only thing that makes any kind of sense is that the party is positioning itself on the premise that it might win the UK general election in 2015, and – unthinkable as it sounds – is accordingly preparing the ground to give itself some sort of basis on which to obstruct the process of dissolution, or even outright reject a narrow victory for independence, should they be in government at Westminster when the negotiations with the Scottish Government would be taking place.

If you’ve got any more convincing ideas for Labour refusing to publicly acknowledge that 51 is more than 49, do share them with the class.

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    72 to “Battleship in the harbour”

    1. MajorBloodnok says:

      If Johann Lamont is doing the sums for them it's not beyond the bounds of reason that she isn't quite sure whether 51 is more than 49.

    2. Peter A Bell says:

      Or it could just be that Jenny Marra doesn't have a clue.
      But I note that, while she was wittering about the "Scottish people" and "civic society" and "consensus", she never once mentioned the consultation. So just who does she imagine is going to make this decision?

    3. douglas clark says:

      Well, they could apply it to normal elections too. If Jenny Marra is the sitting MSP why should she lose her seat merely because a majority of those that voted wanted her out. Surely incumbancy should carry a premium? Perhaps she would agree that if, say 100% of the electorate voted for another candidate then she would demit office gracefully?
      It is interesting, is it not, that they are already conceding that the Yes vote may well get 50% + 1? We haven't even started campaigning yet! These folk are worried.
       

    4. Al Ghaf says:

      Not sure I would credit Jenny Marra with having a part to play in Labour strategy. I suspect her replies are more to do with her media training i.e. only make the points that you have been told to make and even then do not make any commitments that you could be held to.
      I have little doubt that there will be multiple attacks of the legitimacy of a 'Yes' result and much stock placed in a 'No' result. If the 'No' vote gets 51% can we still become independent?

    5. Angus McLellan says:

      I'm with Peter Bell and MajorBloodnok.
      Hanlon's Razor is what's needed here: Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.
      I was surprised watching the Ignatieff interview. I'd never have had him down as an inevitablist. Funny old world.

    6. Bugger (the Panda) says:

      I actually read this directly from my e-mail box and wanted to post something but, bugger, Al Ghaf has beaten me to it.
       
      I think that Jenny Marra said nothing about % results because she had nothing say, because she hasn't been told what to say, because London hasn't decided that yet.
       
      I suppose someone with a bit more wit than me could do a parody on the Rumsfeld "known unknowns" speech about the unionist line.
       
      Any takers out there?

    7. Bugger (the Panda) says:

      I was windering why the BBC was running the SNP consulting with PQ in Canada about the referendum story when it happened last year.
       
      So, here is the answer Glenn Cambelly wheeched over to interview Michael Ignatief, Canadian, former academic in the UK, Guardian columnist and haunter of the BBC politics progammes of that era.
       
      The subject was how the whole World was watching Scotland now.
       
      The interview in my opinion was a masterclass in common sense and diplomacy which must have put oor Glenn's gas at a peep.
      http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-17819102
       
       

    8. Kenny Campbell says:

      The can't say what would justify a majority as they don't know what the result is. Once the result is in then you'll get the requirement as being Result + X%……..either directly after the vote or based on opinion polls prior ot the vote.
      Every single tool in the box will be utilised in the debate until the unionists see one that works, then it will be wielded with monotonous regularity, to become the rally call for want of a better expression. Till now nothing has stuck but I await its arrival with as much anticipation as a visit to a cack handed dentist.

    9. Scott Minto (Aka Sneekyboy) says:

      @ Bugger (The Panda)
       
      What Jenny Marra's problem is…
      is that there are known knowns (like 50% +1 is a majority),
      and there are Known Unknowns (like can they gerrymander the vote somehow),
      and then there are Unknown Unknowns (like what to do with all those useless Westminster MP's and hanger ons),
      Now the Known Knowns and the Unknown Unknowns cant have anything done about them but the Known Unknowns are being worked on.
       
      Hope that cleared that up for you!
       

    10. Scott Minto (Aka Sneekyboy) says:

      @ Bugger (The Panda)
       
      Great Link.  I will use it often.

    11. Doug Daniel says:

      I also suspect that this is just Jenny Marra being a female version of Richard Baker more than anything. She's inexperienced yet keen to move up the ranks, so she's doing her best to avoid sharing her opinions, in case it should rankle with peole further up the party. That's assuming she actually HAS opinions…
       
      As for the question at hand, I don't care what wheeze unionists have up their sleeve, if 50%+1 vote for independence then we are independent. If there is any attempt to spike the referendum with thresholds, I would encourage the Scottish Government to ignore them completely and declare UDI.
       
      Alternatively, if thresholds start becoming a realistic process, then the question must be reversed, so that staying in the union requires 55% of the voters and 40% of the total elecotrate to say "yes" to staying in the union. See how they feel about THAT.

    12. Doug Daniel says:

      Process? Prospect.

    13. MajorBloodnok says:

      @ Scott Minto (Aka Sneekyboy)
      And then there is the unknowning gnome that is Johann Lamont.  Sorry JL, it's nothing personal.

    14. Robert louis says:

      Make no Mistake, whether it be Labour or some other unionist grouping, a YES vote will be challenged endlessly.  I also do not doubt that the BBC will be the vehicle for such nonsense.
       
      If the result is 50% + 1, then in my book it is a YES vote.  If the unionists tried to obstruct it in ANY way, the Scottish Government should immediately declare UDI.
       
      However, there is another important aspect to Quebec which many, including the likes of Glenn Campbell of the BBC miss out.  Scotland is run from Westminster due to an international treaty between both Scotland and England, as such either country may withdraw.  It is very, very different to the situation in Quebec.  Quebec was not an independent country which entered into a voluntary treaty for union like the 1707 treaty of union between Scotland and England.  Indeed, Quebec has never signed the Canadian constitution, and still refuses to do so.
       
      I am not trying to diminish the claim of those who seek self determination for Quebec, merely highlighting the simple, oft overlooked fact, that the situation between Scotland and England via the union treaty of 1707, is very, very different to that of Quebec.
       
      Of course the anti independence BBC will try to conflate the two, but factually, legally and constitutionally, they are like chalk and cheese.

    15. Erchie says:

      I don't think we should listen to RevStu any more
      that nice Mr Farq at the Scotland on Sundays says he is a cad and a bounder!
       
      Lol
       
      I don't think SLab CAN admit a limit that would constitute a win for Independence since they might have to stick with it If achieved
      instead, they want to deny legitimacy before during and after

    16. Longshanker says:

      @RevStu Asked directly three times by Campbell, she declined three times to answer whether a simple majority would be accepted by Labour as a win for the Yes camp,

      Fairly standard political tactic when faced with an unknown unknown – basic stuff, she hasn't been briefed so she doesn't know. But do you seriously expect your average ambitious politician to actually express an opinion on their own initiative? Come come, that's asking for banishment to the political wilderness. Plus, I don't think there are too many independent political thinkers in the Labour ranks anyway.  

      "pull a fast one as they so infamously did in 1979"  

      A known known, and it was indeed a fast one.  

      "So what can Labour possibly hope to gain from refusing to concede even the most basic of mathematical realities?" You, apparently, can 'absolutely guarantee' unknown unknowns – so please tell us.  

      "If you've got any more convincing ideas for Labour refusing to publicly acknowledge that 51 is more than 49, do share them with the class."  

      I think you're onto something there.   The known unknown is that the Canadian clarity act is unclear on what a "clear majority" actually means and this will become yet another neverendum, tediously pedantic, known knowns versus unknown unknowns, debating points.  

      If the vote is as close as the 95 Quebec result, cue constitutional litigation till the cows come home and a sizable proportion of Scots end up wanting to kill themselves for ever having dared to vote either way.   The frisson of anticipation – I can hardly wait.  

    17. RevStu says:

      "she hasn't been briefed so she doesn't know"

      Then she shouldn't be there. Labour chose her as their representative to go on and talk about that exact subject, she's got no business being in the studio if she's not going to answer questions. But the issue is that there's any doubt about it at all. Labour shouldn't have to go away and consult on what a majority is.

      And I've made the position on link-spamming to your "satirical" blog pretty clear, I think. If people want to read it they can click on your name, a fact you're welcome to draw attention to. Consider this an official warning.

    18. The referendum result is not an issue for Westminster, the UN Charter on Human Rights (of which Westminster is a signatory) is clear in the case of independence or withdrawal from a political treaty is up to the electorate of the nation state seeking to break away, there can be no outside influence and the people's decison is final.
      The recent AXA et al judgement in the Supreme Court had this telling line, '…the court can not overturn a bill of the Scottish Parlaiment as it reflects the will of the (sovereign) Scottish people.'
      It follows that if the SNP bring forward a bill immediately after the referendum to declare Scotland an independent nation, and the bill is passed, then no matter what the 1998 Scotland Act or its asinine ammendment bill states about reserved powers no longer has effect. As any challenge through the UK Supreme Court by the Westminster Government would fall foul of the courts previous stance on the standing of bills of the Scottish Parliament – the court can not over turn any bill, as they represent the will of the (sovereign) Scottish people.
      This is the very situation that Micheal Forsyth made clear in his opposition to Blair's 1998 Scotland Act. This leaves Labour and Jenny Marra in a very difficult position as to agree a simple majority is enough means they loose. For the Unionists to try and mess around with the referendum means they will be censured by the UN, Council of Europe and the EU because this time the SNP have laid the ground work to prevent a 1997 re-hash. Ms Marra said nothing because she and her party have nothing to say.

    19. RevStu says:

      "I don't think we should listen to RevStu any more
      that nice Mr Farq at the Scotland on Sundays says he is a cad and a bounder!"

      Weirdly I've noticed a sudden influx of arrivals at the blog today through searches for "scotland on sunday farquharson revstu". Has he been talking about me behind my back, the cheeky monkey?

    20. Arbroath1320 says:

      Following on from Buggers prompting and Scott's update I think the answer is:
      1) we are aware of knowing the known knowns.
      2) we may be aware of knowing the known unknowns.
      3) we may even be aware of knowing  about the unknown unknowns.
      4) the question is are we aware of knowing about the unknown knowns?
      5) would things become any more known, or even unknown, if we were to look at all this knowing or unknowing of knowns and unknowns through clear or muddied windows?
      6) Of course what has not been taken into account with this "in depth" discussion about knowns and unknowns is the question of whether the knowns and unknowns are known or unknown by any one else other than the reader themselves.
      7) If a point is a known known by one reader does this point then become a known known by another reader or is it an unknown known by them or a known unknown or unknown unkown?
      8) How quickly does a known unknown become a known known?
      9) Can an unknown known become an unknown unkown?
      10) Is it possible for a known known to become an unknown unkown?
      Just a few quick thoughts on the subject of known unknown unknown knowns. πŸ˜€
       

    21. Scott Minto (Aka Sneekyboy) says:

      @Arbroath1320
      Well the Unknown Known that you didnt Know, and neither did I till I knew it, was that if you type 8 followed by ) it comes out as 8)
      Now you know what I know.

    22. RevStu says:

      We've been here before, folks πŸ˜€

      Square brackets or full stops if you want numbered lists…

    23. Arbroath1320 says:

      I must admit that that unknown known was clearly an unknown unkown  to me.
      Now all I have to do is try and remember this little unknown known so that it becomes a known known. πŸ˜€

    24. Scott Minto (Aka Sneekyboy) says:

      @Arbroath1320 – And knowing is half the battle

    25. Scott Minto (Aka Sneekyboy) says:

      @ RevStu – Any news on what Mr Farquharson has been saying about you?
       
      Went looking for quotes but no luck.

    26. Arbroath1320 says:

      Ah but Scott the REAL question knowning what?
      Is it knowing the known, knowing the unknown, not knowing the known or not knowing the unknown that is half the battle? πŸ˜€

    27. RevStu says:

      "Any news on what Mr Farquharson has been saying about you?"

      Haven't spotted anything. Weird that people would be searching for it, though, as I can't think what else would prompt such phrases. It's actually the second and third most-common search strings for WingsLand visitors today:

      http://wingsland.podgamer.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/farqsearch.jpg

      I should maybe write a tiny little piece explaining it and perhaps touching on the broader issues, but I don't like using the blog for essentially personal stuff that 99% of readers couldn't care less about.

    28. Scott Minto (Aka Sneekyboy) says:

      @Arbroath1320 – No,
       
      It is Knowing that you Know Nothing and starting from that point in any problem.

    29. Arbroath1320 says:

      But Scott, before you know that you know nothing you must know something otherwise how do you know that you know nothing?
      Once you know that you know nothing then you start to learn to know something thereby learning to know a known as opposed to not knowing that you do not know a known or even an unknown. πŸ˜€

    30. MajorBloodnok says:

      Sounds like a case of the inscrutable in pursuit of the ineffable.
      8)

    31. Macart says:

      I don't know. πŸ™
       
      But I do know that 1 is greater than 0 and that 51 is greater than 49. I don't think it's going to be that close however.

    32. Arbroath1320 says:

      I see the great Jenny Marra has been to hat well known school of media training then. Spend 10 minutes listening to questions and admitting to the fact the she knew nothing, without actually admitting to this fact. Not an easy task I must admit.
      Is it true that the Lamentable one was her teacher? Ach what am I talking about the Lamentable couldn't possibly have been her teacher she was too busy scurrying down her bolt holes. Perhaps the great Miss Marra was incapable of giving ANY answer to ANY question because no one could find the "Great One", el millipedo the first, after all he IS their LEADER is he not?
      I agree with you Macart, I don't think the actual referendum will produce a result anything like 51% / 49%. I just have a feeling in my water, I know I AM taking the pils, that the result will be signifcantly higher than this. Would 70% / 30% be too much to hope for do you think?

    33. Macart says:

      Sorry, sniggering like a school boy at the whole known, unknown track between you and sneekyboy.
      Seriously though? I'd say realistically nearer 60% 40% in favour, possibly even slightly more and certainly more than enough to satisfy any bean counter.

    34. Arbroath1320 says:

      Surprised you didn't get involved Macart, or were you a wee bit unkown about knowing the known unkowns. πŸ˜€
      I think you may be right though, maybe I'm being a wee bit TOO optimistic thinking we might get 70%, still I wouldn't say no to a 60% / 40% split in favour. Hell even 51% / 49% would suit me at the end of the day but as we all seem to agree it will be much, much more than that one. πŸ˜€

    35. Macart says:

      Just came along too late to join in and wound up LMAO instead. It was very Spike Milligan surreal.
       
      If momentum can be kept up by all the independence minded out there and obviously the SNP in particular, then I certainly think low 60s is very much within reach. Regardless of talks on splits on any given area of policy whether within the SNP or between the independence minded parties there is one thing that has remained a constant throughout in terms of reaction by the posters on any site I've visited. Firstly the rank and file are pretty much all still going to vote yes regardless of difference and secondly there is a massive influx of new posters many of whom have a remarkably similar tale to tell (I used to be a labour voter but….).
       
      I am utterly stunned that in the face of the tsunami of negative media attention independence and the SNP have received in the past year that active and participating numbers have grown so drastically in the yes camp. You do get a sense that the wind has changed now and that people aren't going to lie down anymore and just blindly accept the old order of things. They want to do better, they want things to be better and they are willing to make their voice heard. The general turn has been if Westminster won't listen, well we know a smart lad in Holyrood who will. So no, I won't be surprised at even 65% 35%.

    36. Bugger (the Panda) says:

      What happens, you make a post, sit in front of the tele watching Murdoch James wriggling at the H of Commons Media Committee, as far as I can see no keich wheechin A S's way and fall asleep.
      I come back and find this blog has gone surreal from a Spike Milligan / Monty Python way perspective to prove nothing about "scottish" Labour.
       
      I suppose that is quite logical.
       
      Scientifically how can make any deductions beyond nothingness on a self contained contained vacuum?

    37. Bugger (the Panda) says:

      no edit button?
       

    38. Arbroath1320 says:

      I wholeheartedly agree with you Macart, Jeez I sound like Broon the Loon during the "televised debates" ARGH!!!!!! DARKENED ROOM………QUICK! πŸ˜€
      I don't think that it is a question of IF the momentum can be kept up, in a wierd sort of way the "No to Independence" camp are actually doing that for us. As far as splits are concerned then these "splits" are only in the "wishful thinking" minds of the No camp. As soon as SERIOUS talk began about the possibility of a referendum it was perfectly clear that all those in the YES camp were not all going to agree about everything all the time. Off course there are going to be differences, the thing is we all knew that going into this fight, everyone that is except the NO camp. Aparently no one is allowed to have differing opiniomns in the NO camp!
      What the NO camp didn't realise is that there is arather large number of TES voters who wish, at this stage, to remain annonymous. However, as far as the NO camp is concerned they are having to drag every last known unionist out into the sunlight with still two years to go. The net result is that their arguments, when they actually start making them, if they can, will have all been sunk without trace. Meanwhile our PRO independence arguments carry on sailing serenely by.
      I think there is another point to be made here and that is the effect of the likes of Sarkey, the Economist, Cameron's visits to Scotland etc. Every time something like this happens I think there is no question that there ridiculous antics just INCREASES the numbers of voters willing to vote YES. While there is a sgnificant number of "undecideds"  still waiting to be convinced one way or the other I do believe that episodes like those we have witnessed recently can have no effect on them than to turn them into definite YES voters. Long may that continue!
      I think with regards the ever increasing numbers of pro Indepenndence voters despite, as you say , the tsunami of negativity from ALL parts of the media, this is occuring because the people in Scotland are waking up. What is they say about giants and their sleep? Unfortunately for the NO camp the sleeping giant, a.k.a. the Scottish electorate, has been awakened and it refuses to go back to sleep, at least not until Independence is delivered. This, I think, is THE game changer.
      No one from any of the "Big three" has had to deal with a situation quite like this before. They have been quite happy to toddle along with their followers in tow happy in the knowledge that nothing of earthquake proportions will ever happen. Well now that eaerthquake has arrived in the shape of the S.N.P. and their Independence referendum and the "Big three" are left a-shaking and a-quivering in their boots. They have no ideas. All they know is negativity. And we all know what happens when negativity meets positivity…..positivity WINS!

    39. Macart says:

      Well y'know me, ah'm an upbeat kinda guy.

    40. Bugger (the Panda) says:

      Sorry it is the Leveson Inquiry and no, I'm not going to say it.

    41. Arbroath1320 says:

      Wi you, me and the rest o the gang all hanging out together there is only one thing to say.
      Lord help the opposition…….. cause we sure as heck will not! πŸ˜€

    42. Macart says:

      Well Bugger, anyone who can sit through any parliamentary enquiry, far less Leveson, fully deserves a medal.

    43. Kenny Campbell says:

      I see whe have a new prolific poster in Herald comments page, Terry Kelly from Renfrewshire……defending Johann by attacking the SNP. If i don't have enough on my plate reading the madcap rantings from the west Midlands i now need to deal with Terry  'I'm think that being a socialist just means i don't like the SNP'' Kelly.
      Having been thru his 'Blog'…. can anyone tell me how much you get paid to be a Councillor ?

    44. Morag says:

      About £16,000 a year basic I think.

    45. Morag says:

      The general turn has been if Westminster won't listen, well we know a smart lad in Holyrood who will. So no, I won't be surprised at even 65% 35%.

      I get worried about comments like this, because worry about complacency and over-confidence.  It seems to be we're all talking to each other in a little bubble, agreeing gosh, isn't it great how the support for independence is increasing, and all these intelligent people are joining the debate on the independence side.
      I worry because there are a lot of people who simply aren't thinking it through, or even thinking about it much at all, who just hear the scare stories and decide they'll vote no and hop it all goes away.  These people's votes count for just as much as the votes of the enthusiasts, and there are a LOT of them. 
      These are the people who need to be engaged in the next two years.  If that can be done successfully then yes, I would hope for 60% yes or more.  But the mood of the country, out on the streets and in the workplaces and the homes, is not fired up to that extent, not by a metric mile.
      There's a long way to go yet, and of course we never forget what happened exactly a year ago, but I worry.  The thought of losing this referendum scares me witless, and at the moment that could easily happen.

    46. Bugger (the Panda) says:

      @Kenny Campbell
       
      I saw that. He used to post as "Baffled" on the old uncensored Herald blogs.
       
      His daughter also sneaks in for time to time. Watch out for a Kelly from Ayrshire as I am certain it is she.
       
      He just thumps out rhetoric and when he gets an answer ignores that too.

    47. Arbroath1320 says:

      I'm not sure how much a councillor gets paid Kenny but methinks a certain Mr Kelly will be looking for a new place of "employment" after May 3rd.
      NOTE: I used the term employment in the loosest possible way with regards to Mr. Kelly. Has he actually done anything positive for his electorate during his term as councillor?

    48. Arbroath1320 says:

      Morag, I wouldn't say that we are complacent or over confident. I believe we are just enjoying the dream of "what is to come." We all know that to achieve the result we all want a great deal of work needs to be done. I don't believe that anyone on this site, or any other for that matter, is taking a YES victory in 2014 as a done deal, far from it. What I think we are doing is have a "relaxing" positive discussion about what has yet to come, namely the referendum victory, we ALL hope, in 2014.
      None of this detracts from the fact that we are all willing and able to do whateveer is required of each and every one of us to "fight the good fight" and do what has to be done to defeat the NO campaign. If it ever gets off the ground.
      We all know that the YES fight will be lead by a tremendous team of people led by Alex Salmond. Unfortunately, we can not focus our fight against the NO campaign until we know who were are up against. At this point there is no one ready, able or apparently willing to take their lead. So far all we have had is the "nasty" Mr. Sarkey and his ilk spouting nonesense along side stupid covers like the Economist and David Cameron making his useless comments every time he crosses the border.
      I believe that A.S. has stated that the YES campaign will start after the council elections in May. This is the time when we will see if the NO campaign have any dry powder left to use. Up till now all we have ever had from the NO campaign is negativity about Independence, they seem incapable of putting forward any positives about the union. The longer this carries on the harder it will be, I believe, for them to turn ANY "undecided" voter over to their cause. In fact the longer they continue with their negativity campaigning the better it becomes for us fighting the YES campaign, and no doubt easier as well.
      I have every confidence in the leadership of the YES campaign that when the current "funny war" is over they will be fighting with a level of confidence and belief in "the cause" that the NO campaign will just be blown away. Remember A.S. is very good at the long game. Never get panicy about what some supporters "might" be doing, saying etc. We all will take our lead from the YES campaign leadership. How they fight the campaign proper will determine how we, the foot soldiers fight down here in the blog sites.
      Don't despair, have the confidence of your convictions.
      BELIEVE!
      Positivity will ALWAYS overcome negativity!

    49. Juteman says:

      Being a newcomer to the world of political blogs, i love finding out that 2 + 2 isn't always 4. Or 51 isn't always more than 49. πŸ™‚
      Excellent blog btw, and keep up the good work in the fight for independance,
      Hopefully this post appears. unlike most of mine on NNS.

    50. Arbroath1320 says:

      Don't worry Juteman,some of us have been there, done that, been banned (I've got a personal record of TWO visits to the naughty step). So far I've managed to stay the right side of the moderator. πŸ˜€
      Just keep your posts clean(ish) and don't get too personal in you attacks and you'll probably start to enjoy this site. As you read the posts you'll start to see there are one or two "nutters" already here. I take pride in counting myself as one of the "nutters".
      I always feel that you need the odd nutter or three to calm down political arguments otherwise they,the arguments not the nutters you understand, may get a wee bit overheated and that's when the "problems" start.
      Looking forward to your future posts, welcome and ENJOY!

    51. Derick says:

      Cllr Terry Kelly is real?  OMG I thought  he was a Nat spoof.  Is he a nat spoof?
      And Morag is right – fear is easy to stir up with propaganda and hope difficult (but not impossible) to engender.  Just pasted the Ignatief interview on fb.  One to spread
       

    52. Macart says:

      @Juteman
      And I'm the other one. πŸ˜‰
       
      @Morag
      Hi Morag, not overconfident, just upbeat. You don't get by in my kind of work by being either complacent or overconfident. Nor do I live in a bubble just chatting to those of like mind. I do believe in positive conversation online though because I know for a fact that many new and casual visitors read through these threads and sooooo I tend to lean to the positive side when posting. You will rarely if ever find me attacking anyone online (don't believe in it) and its counterproductive in terms of the message we're trying to get across.
       
      We all have different styles and interests, some are historical experts, some legal, some pollsters and number crunchers, some economists, some work in the oil industry and some are genuine politicos or commentators with their own blogs. All are very serious politically and can rail off facts for fun. Some can debate or argue as the case demands to olympic gold standard and some like Arb and I like to inject light banter and a bit of fun. But don't mistake that for a lack of determination or complacency. When it comes to it we're there when it counts and we won't pass up a chance to make new friends and new converts.
       
      Keeping fun positive posts is as important as being able to argue points of constitutional law, believe it. Not everyone can argue a point of law but everyone can have a smile or an outright belly laugh at a well turned line.

    53. Erchie says:

      This is probably what started te Kenny Farq based searches
       
      From @KennyFarq
      @WingsScotland Sorry chum, life's too short. Hope you're better at computer games reviewing than you are at human interaction. Yer blocked.

    54. Morag says:

      Good Lord, RevStu, what did you say to him??

    55. Peter A Bell says:

      "Yer blocked" has to be Kenny Farquharson's new nickname. I got the same. Bit petulant.

    56. Arbroath1320 says:

      What happened, our dearly departed Mr. Farquarson couldn't stand the competition?
      Man are you THAT good RevStu? πŸ˜€
      Always the same.
      First you read a little
      then you speak a little
      then you get barred.
      What is cyberworld coming to?
      Are the CyberBrits REALLY that scared, only PRO union posts are to be accepted?
      I never for a minute perceived all us cybernats were THAT scary!
      I better stop taking the wee blue pill and stay out of the "Darkened room" πŸ˜€

    57. Dauvit says:

      "The only thing that makes any kind of sense is that the party is positioning itself on the premise that it might win the UK general election in 2015, and – unthinkable as it sounds –"
      The irony in this is if indeed they did win the 2015 UK election, it is likely that it would be a win backed by around 40% – maybe less – of the popular vote.

    58. RevStu says:

      "@WingsScotland Sorry chum, life's too short. Hope you're better at computer games reviewing than you are at human interaction. Yer blocked."

      Aha, that'll be it. Weird, I didn't get that message. Maybe you don't if you're blocked. But wow – what a pussy, as well as a bully. Guess it's my fault for always overestimating people's ability to have a grown-up debate.

      "Good Lord, RevStu, what did you say to him??"

      I called him a bully for repeatedly calling Bill Walker a wifebeater, but waiting until after Walker was kicked out of the SNP so that there'd be no chance of being sued for defamation over it. I noted politely that there might be a certain amount of irony/hypocrisy at play there.

    59. RevStu says:

      (LOL. I've just seen the message, courtesy of it being retweeted by Kate "Burd" Higgins, who reacts to dissent with even more of a furiously huffy and abusive rage. She's clearly thrilled, though what business it is of hers is anyone's guess.)

    60. RevStu says:

      Wow. And now Lib Dem blogger Caron Lindsay's joining in, accusing me of being repeatedly "rude" on her blog, which is far as I can remember is a completely groundless lie. Throw in a handful of other people I've been inexplicably blocked by for a while now – none of whom I can recall the slightest falling-out with, and two of whom I was genuinely surprised by, having had extended, interesting and extremely civil conversations with them – and Wings Over Scotland is building up quite the list of enemies. Whatever can we have done that's got everyone so upset so fast, except be more popular than – oh, right.

    61. RevStu says:

      In fairness, I did pour out quite the foul torrent of vile abuse here:

      http://carons-musings.blogspot.co.uk/2012/01/how-very-dare-you-joan-mcalpine.html

      I'm surprised I didn't get arrested for this one:

      http://carons-musings.blogspot.co.uk/2012/01/labours-attack-dog-silenced-so-why-does.html

      And this, well, this is just naked hate-spewing misogyny:

      http://carons-musings.blogspot.co.uk/2012/02/all-that-schmoozing-with-rupert-murdoch.html

      To the best of my knowledge and recollection, the above links contain every post I've ever made on Caron's blog. If someone can point out to me just the most extreme and unacceptably rude ones, I'll do my best to moderate my behaviour and become a better person.

    62. Christian Wright says:

       "Hope you're better at computer games reviewing than you are at human interaction.Yer blocked." 
      Wow. And now Lib Dem blogger Caron Lindsay's joining in, accusing me of being repeatedly "rude" '
      It aint no peaches and cream in the 'hood. You gotta watch your back.
      Bad boy, bad boy whatcha gonna do?Whatcha gonna do when they come for you?
      Bad boy, bad boy whatcha gonna do?Whatcha gonna do when they come for you?
       

    63. redcliffe62 says:

      I enjoy this site, it mirrors my thoughts on many matters, but a bit more constructive opposition would be good.

    64. Kenny Campbell says:

      I was going to block you but its so popular now that its not worthwhile…..

    65. R Louis says:

      Re juteman comments regarding Newsnet Scotland above.  I hope this will be published despite being O/T, but I'll understand if it isn't.
       
      Juteman pointed out his comments were not visible on Newsnet Scotland.  When you first start posting there, they pre moderate your comments, so they take a wee while to appear.  Although I personally don't always agree with their strict moderation policy, I do understand why they do it.
       
      Firstly, they are all volunteers with 'day jobs', and moderation of all the messages is very time consuming.  Take a look at their pages, they are running sometimes 20 or more current stories simultaneously, which ALL have comments.  That is a lot of messages to moderate!!  Other 'blogs' sometimes have only two or three stories which are really 'current'. 
       
      Secondly, there is a fear that anything untoward will be seized upon and 'used' by hysterical unionist press.
       
      Despite I personally not agreeing with the moderation all the time, the upside is that it is very rare that the message boards get filled with silly trolls from 'The Scotsman' and its unionist ilk, so detailed discussions are possible, without abuse and insult.
       
      Usually after a few weeks or days, you comments appear without pre moderation.
       
      I should add, these are my own views, and I do not speak for NNS, but I felt they needed defending, as they provide a very comprehensive coverage of political news in Scotland, and not just a single story per day.

    66. Janos says:

      RevStu, if you're getting a bunch of enemies, my theory is it's since the unionists can see that your blog is a threat to the NO campaign.  Which can only be a good thing ^^. 

    67. Scott Minto (Aka Sneekyboy) says:

      @R Louis
      I happen to agree with you. NNS is a valuable tool for diseminating information amongst Independence supporters but it is unlikely that the public at large will be viewing the site. It is up to the posters to take that information and spread it far and wide on other sites.
      The moderation policy may be harsh, but it prevents the site from being shut down although at the sacrifice of insightful comment that may have been close to the bone, but nonetheless leading to a greater truth.
      The independence community needs to pull together, not get bogged down in petty rivalry.  NNS could help on that score if they were to link to decent blogs like Peter A Bell, Bella Caledonia, Gerry Hassan, WoS, Llalands Pete Worrier or weegie warbler but they wont do that.
      Likewise other sites need to stop berating NNS for their stance on moderation. I would rather that NNS continues as a site devoid of humour if that is its choice, as long as its primary function of providing news that the MSM does not wish to cover continues.
      Sites like Wings over Scotland can provide a meeting place to discuss ideas and even have a laugh. RevStu is more thick skinned and can take a little heat so were likely to see moderation policy remain pretty free, with the exceptions of abuse or racism.

    68. Arbroath1320 says:

      Oh dear, the A.I.B. (Anti Independence Brigade) are out to ban RevStu.
      Awe, the pair wee darlings. "It's my ba' an your no getting to play ony mair!"
      Well that will certainly open up the Independence debate then won't it?……….NOT!
      What is it with the A.I.B.? Do they think that they are the ONLY people permitted to make comments on Independence issues?
      I thought I left childish behaviour like this behind when I left primary school. (And that wasn't last year…….Macart!:D)
      All we get in the media is fear and scare stories and we are only permitted to make comments on their websites so long as we agree with their fear and scaremongering. PITIFUL!
      More power to your keyboard RevStu and everyone else.
      We have the will.
      We have the power.
      We have the desire.
      We have the people.
      No matter how negative they behave they will Lose.
      We have the positive case, we will Win!

    69. Macart says:

      Sorry, ah wiz playin' wi ma marbles, whitizzit?
       
      Oh, the Rev bein' blocked! Must be daein' sumthin' right then. πŸ˜‰

    70. Arbroath1320 says:

      Did ye win then? πŸ˜€
      Perhaps we should change the name of this site to "the site of the damned!"
      Oops sorry I meant to say "the site of the banned!" πŸ˜€

    71. Macart says:

      Two waterloos an a catseye. Ya beauty! πŸ™‚
       
      Its certainly a site for opinion, that's fer sure. Lot's very robust threads an' so long as you remember your thick socks and body armour you'll be fine.

    72. Juteman says:

      Thanks folks.
      I understand the NNS moderation policy. My posts were moderated at first, then i was able to post 'live'.
      Since then, posts started vanishing, and now i'm back on pre-moderation. I used the contact form to ask why, but never received a reply.
      It is frustrating if someone asks me a question, and i can't reply. They probably think i'm being rude, or have no counter argument.
      Sorry for going OT, RevStu.



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