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Wings Over Scotland


Becoming the story

Posted on June 14, 2014 by

The story in yesterday’s Scotsman carrying outrageous and defamatory slurs against me has today vanished from its website. There’s nothing by way of an apology or correction in the paper’s usual page 2 corrections column, however, and there’s been no reply to either my email of yesterday morning or the letter our solicitor sent yesterday afternoon. Be assured, readers, that the matter won’t rest there.

But today things are even more interesting.

Firstly, it seems we’ve come to the attention of jobbing actress Frances Barber, who we’re told once appeared in Doctor Who. Ms Barber drew the ire of some nationalists a few days ago, but wasn’t highlighted in the papers as a victim of “vile cybernat abuse” to the same extent that Labour activist Clare Lally and author JK Rowling have been this week, perhaps because she provoked the anger at her with a fatuous and offensive attack on Alex Salmond and was a rather less sympathetic case.

It seems she’s not a fan of mine either.

barber1

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Just for the record, I didn’t laugh at 9/11, I don’t want anyone to get AIDS and this is the full text of my vile misogynistic abuse of JK Rowling:

wingsrowling

So, to cut a long story short, Frances Barber’s a bit of a swivel-eyed mental case and that’s all good for a chuckle. Knockabout fun, no harm done, because her rants are so deranged that no reasonable person could ever take them seriously. But talking of swivel-eyed mental cases brings us, inevitably, to Brian Wilson of the Scotsman.

wilsongunn

Campbell Gunn’s in the headline, but the story isn’t really about him.

“Mr Gunn is a cog in that ever-active wheel of threats and bullying which now pervades Scottish life. If the referendum campaign has taught us anything, it is just how small a country Scotland is and how relatively easy it has been to create a climate in which so many people feel it safer to ‘say nothing’.

Let’s take the relationship between the official independence campaign and the Wings over Scotland website which acts as a vehicle for the worst elements among the Cybernats. Incidentally, if Alex Salmond’s claim that they are only a ‘few mindless idiots’ was true, they must all be on 24-hour shifts with 100 aliases apiece.”

An impressive start. A slur not only against Wings, but quarter of a million ordinary Scots. You, dear readers, for no specified reasons and with no evidence offered in support of the smear, are “the worst elements among the Cybernats”. Congratulations!

“Around 10 o’clock on Tuesday, that website ran the original ‘revelations’ about Ms Lally in order to discredit her credentials as the ordinary mother of a disabled child who did not want to see the United Kingdom broken up.”

The fact that Clare Lally is the mother of a severely disabled child has been used constantly by Unionists and the media as if it in some way means her politics are above any criticism. David Cameron used to have a severely disabled child – now tragically deceased – but we’re reasonably sure that we recall Labour still criticising Cameron’s politics while his son was alive.

“In the paranoid world of nationalism, it was not enough to let her have her say, disagree and leave it at that. Half an hour later, Campbell Gunn sent his e-mail echoing the website misinformation.”

We at no point said or implied that Clare Lally shouldn’t be allowed to have her say and disagree. We quibbled with a description of her in the Times as someone who wasn’t involved in politics, because she’s very heavily involved in politics, and we suggested in a comic manner that she MIGHT be related to an esteemed and well-liked former Labour grandee. As soon as we found out that wasn’t the case, we added a clarification to the story pointing that out.

“It seems reasonable to conclude that Mr Gunn did not start the story but, once aware of it, was somewhat over-eager in disseminating it without checking a word of fact – a hazardous approach given the source and its pedigree.”

This is defamatory on its own. The clear implication is that Wings Over Scotland is in some way an unreliable source. In fact, we back up all our assertions with sources and links, and to the best of my knowledge we’ve NEVER published a single factually-inaccurate statement in over two and a half years of existence.

We weren’t certain of Clare Lally’s relationship to Pat Lally, so we deliberately avoided stating it as a fact for that very reason – a step Campbell Gunn should have taken, and which he’s apologised for failing to do. But our “pedigree” is that of a site which backs up every factual statement it makes, and it’s indisputably libellous for Brian Wilson to claim otherwise.

“The guy who has made a business out of Cybernattery through Wings over Scotland, Stuart Campbell, operates from Bath which is what any unsuspecting visitor needs after wading through the comments which his outpourings attract. As a shock-jock blogger, Mr Campbell has an appalling record on every subject from the Hillsborough disaster to 9/11 which he ‘laughed all the way through’.”

Oh dear. We don’t even have the time to go through everything that’s false about that paragraph. We can only assume the Scotsman’s editor was on holiday yesterday and the paper was in the hands of the sandwich guy or something. To wave through a column making the same allegation that you’d just had to pull a matter of hours before is either astonishingly incompetent or deliberately malicious.

“This is a chap whom any respectable political organisation might steer clear of, one might think? Even Blair Jenkins, head honcho of Yes Scotland and former BBC Scotland news editor, seemed to have cottoned onto that last September over some particularly noxious outpourings. He was quoted as saying: ‘We don’t have any direct contact with him. He is not part of Yes Scotland.”

I’m not part of Yes Scotland. That’s just true. Blair Jenkins isn’t responsible for me.

“In retrospect, that appears as a more carefully qualified disclaimer than it seemed. There is certainly a high degree of cross-fertilisation between the site’s wares and leading figures in the nationalist movement. And, of course, every time they share its postings, they also multiply the audience for the truly awful stuff – as in the case of Clare Lally – which is appended to them.”

This is a weird statement. We said absolutely nothing – nothing whatsoever – abusive about Clare Lally. We attacked “Better Together” and the Times for presenting her as something she wasn’t. By “appended” we can only assume Wilson means the comments, but we’ve seen nothing “truly awful” in the comments on our story either.

(Some people had quite strong opinions, particularly about the use of her child, but there’s no law against strong opinions. Nobody wished any harm on her, and if anyone had we’d have banned them immediately. I’ve repeatedly asked anyone to identify any comments they consider abusive, and had no valid responses.)

“If Salmond wants to distance himself from the worst excesses of the Cybernats, this is one clear-cut action he could take. Tell his MPs, MSPs and other Nationalist apparatchiks not to distribute the content of websites which are most frequently and offensively used by the people he supposedly disapproves of.”

Ah, the crux of the matter. Brian Wilson, and the No campaign in general, is terrified of this site. We calmly debunk lies from both Unionist politicians and the media, and expose spin and hypocrisy with evidence. The defenders of the Westminster state really wish we wouldn’t do that, and so they attack Wings Over Scotland ten times as much as every other pro-Yes site put together.

Unable to rebut our arguments and unwilling to debate the facts, they focus instead on playing the man – on discrediting the site, but mostly me personally, with smears and lies, knowing that the smear is far more powerful than the tiny apology you have to print the next day.

I’m an easy target – in more than 20 years as an often-outspoken journalist and also someone with a fairly black, Jerry Sadowitz/Frankie Boyle-type sense of humour, I’ve said all sorts of things that have offended all sorts of people. But it seems that people don’t much care about my countless appalling personal shortcomings, because I’m not standing for election anywhere. What they care about are the arguments and the facts we marshal on this site, and those are a lot harder to sling mud at.

On Wednesday I wasted several hours dashing back and forth across Bristol at the BBC’s behest, filming a piece for Scotland 2014 on the Clare Lally incident which ended up not being used. That in itself isn’t an uncommon occurence – Patrick Harvie was also bumped from that night’s episode and Robin McAlpine of the Jimmy Reid Foundation had almost all of his contribution dumped on the cutting room floor.

What DID make the show, however, was not only an extended interview with Clare Lally (in which she made untrue allegations about the content of our article) and statements about abuse which were entirely unsupported by evidence, but two Unionist figures – Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson and Scottish Daily Express editor Ben Borland – who were both allowed to attack and smear Wings Over Scotland with no challenge whatsoever.

(The entire edition was perhaps the most staggeringly unashamed display of unbalanced broadcasting we’ve yet seen on the BBC. The show’s presenter Sarah Smith – who of course actually IS related to a former Labour figure, being the daughter of ex-leader John Smith – openly ganged up with Unionist guests throughout the show to attack Wings, Campbell Gunn and the Scottish Government using sympathetic leading questions, but was far more aggressive in her grilling of the SNP’s Annabelle Ewing and Women For Independence’s Carolyn Leckie.)

The wider story about Clare Lally and Campbell Gunn will be budgie-tray lining soon enough. We’d be amazed if the Scottish Government backed down and fired him, and it seems the public couldn’t give a monkey’s about it:

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But it’s revealing that it’s being used as an excuse to ramp up attacks on this site. Make no mistake, readers – you scare the living hell out of them, precisely because you’re NOT easily-dismissed raving “cybernats”. Let’s keep it that way.

There will be more smears. I tend to keep most of my personal skeletons out on display, but as we’ve seen, that’s no barrier. If the British media can’t get true stuff to work, they have no compunction about completely making something up – as we noted earlier, the lie lives on long after the tiny 50-word correction.

But we have no intention of letting the Scotsman off the hook on this one. Stay tuned.

[EDIT: The Scotsman settled out of court for over £6000.]

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    3 Trackbacks/Pingbacks

    1. 17 06 14 03:39

      A Message To Scotland | An Sionnach Fionn

    2. 25 06 14 17:07

      Westminster’s Psychological Warfare on Scotland |

    572 to “Becoming the story”

    1. X_Sticks says:

      Thepnr says:

      “Get in there with the head down.”

      Get in there with the head up!

    2. Big Jock says:

      Nicola Sturgeon talked about 2 polls.I wonder if there is another to come tomorrow!

    3. Lesley-Anne says:

      If there is a second poll B.J. then it must be in the SOS or something. If it is and it is NOT good news for the B.T.S.C. then there is no way we’ll hear about it until tomorrow. 😉

    4. Macart says:

      Cracking front page to the Herald.

      In other news Mr McKenna spreading some sanity in the Observer.

      http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/jun/14/better-together-mistakes-scottish-independence

    5. Rock says:

      Papadox,

      “very dangerous times” indeed.

      The British Establishment will stoop to depths which even by its own standards it has not stooped to before to prevent Scotland becoming free.

      Would they be fighting so bitterly for Scotland if we were scrounging subsidy junkies, too wee, too poor and too stupid?

      No, they are doing it because rUK will be reduced to junk status without Scotland.

      Like you and many others, I too am very concerned about Stuart’s safety and wellbeing. I suggested yesterday that he should move to Iceland NOW.

    6. Rock says:

      Gordon E,

      “It is obvious that they are not to be trusted one wee bit.”

      Agree totally.

    7. call me dave says:

      http://scotgoespop.blogspot.co.uk/
      Two poll results here.

    8. @ Thepnr : Thank You, the event will still go ahead (providing I can find a PA system in time)

      @ Ian Brotherhood : Yes I have contacted SSP and RIC also

      @ Mary Bruce : No, I’ve not contacted UKIP. They would just drone on about the EU and immigration

    9. Lesley-Anne says:

      I think the second poll must be in one of the union supporting Sunday papers B.J. We will not get to see what it says until someone buys the paper. No matter I’m guessing that it must be showing something similar to the Sunday Herald… a RISE in support for YES and a FALL in support for NO. 😛

    10. Marcia says:

      James Kelly has all the poll details on the link above.

      Here is a summary;

      Pro-independence campaign close the gap to just 7% in dramatic poll from “gold standard” ICM

      The second referendum poll of this evening is now out, from the pollster that is often regarded as the UK’s “gold standard” polling organisation. It shows the No lead almost halving from 12% to 7% –

      Should Scotland be an independent country?

      Yes 36% (+2)

      No 43% (-3)

      With Don’t Knows excluded, it works out as –

      Yes 45% (+3)

      No 55% (-3)

    11. Rock says:

      Martin Sinclair,

      “No, I’ve not contacted UKIP. They would just drone on about the EU and immigration”

      That is the point – it will help our cause quite a bit. They will be asked difficult questions about Scottish independence.

      Even ‘Better Together’, I mean ‘No Thanks’, are staying away from them because they know they will damage their cause.

      Go for it.

    12. Iain says:

      Just a warning, there’s a piece in SoS by Gordon Aikman, a Better Together bod, who has contracted motor neurone disease. It’s been trailed heavily by McDougall, Shorthouse etc on Twitter; if I was a cynical soul I’d be imagining them rubbing their hands in anticipation of some vile cybernattery in response – thank goodness I’m not that cynical.

      Be careful out there folks.

    13. Big Jock says:

      I will not rest until the polls show yes 10% ahead.I couldn’t stand the nerves going into the vote with maybe only a 2% lead.If it was really tight there would be danger of deliberate miscounting.From memory did Quebec not have a recount after there was a suggestion of government interference.

    14. Mary Bruce says:

      Excellent panelbase and ICM poll results. It looks certain now that the gap has closed 5% since the Euro elections. I hope all those labour people on twitter who said they voted UKIP to stop SNP getting the third seat are feeling sick to their stomachs. That UKIP win in Scotland appears to have shifted a huge number of people towards independence. 5% must be equivalent to about 200,000 people.

      Very good news too that all the celebrity interventions have had no impact whatsoever. And the insulting devo nano offers have been rejected by the electorate too. Good for you, Scotland!

      Wonder what Better Together will do now? They must be quaking in their boots.

    15. Marcia says:

      Interesting data appearing from the DR poll this week;

      http://news.stv.tv/politics/279152-holyrood-three-times-as-trusted-as-westminster-poll-reveals/?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter

      Three times as many people trust Holyrood to make decisions in the interests of Scotland as opposed to politicians at Westminster, a poll has revealed.

      When asked who they trusted most to make decisions in Scotland’s best interests, 52% of Scots said Holyrood, while 17.3% said Westminster, according to the study by Survation.

      When the 30.7% who said they did not know were excluded, 75% trusted Holyrood more while 25% preferred Westminster.

      A total of 1004 people were questioned for the research, which was commissioned by the Better Nation political blog in partnership with the Daily Record and Dundee University’s 5 Million Questions referendum project.

      Amongst those who voted for the SNP in the 2011 Scottish Parliament election, 82.3% said they trusted Holyrood more to make decisions in the best interests of Scotland.

      More than half (51.9%) of Labour supporters also preferred the Edinburgh parliament over that in London.

      Almost three-fifths (57.9%) of those who backed the Tories in 2011 said they trusted Westminster more to make decisions in Scotland’s best interests.

    16. Big Jock says:

      Incident my the no side are not even original.They took their latest no thanks message from unionists in Quebec.They went from non to non merci.They were advised putting a positive after a negative might alter peoples decision.Incidently it was also when they looked like losing.It worked but hopefully our fellow citizens will see through it.Also if you want to see what’s next for no.Go to Quebec referendum non merci campaing.They have almost followed it like a Haynes manual!

    17. Big Jock says:

      Incidently the no side are not even original.They took their latest no thanks message from unionists in Quebec.They went from non to non merci.They were advised putting a positive after a negative might alter peoples decision.Incidently it was also when they looked like losing.It worked but hopefully our fellow citizens will see through it.Also if you want to see what’s next for no.Go to Quebec referendum non merci campaing.They have almost followed it like a Haynes manual!

    18. geeo says:

      Findlay Farquaharson says:

      14 June, 2014 at 11:10 pm

      my mums a scouser, i want england to win

      They might have been better with your mum playing…?
      (no offence)

    19. Lesley-Anne says:

      I think this might explain why the polls are the way they are B.J. Like Thepnr, I do not trusat the polls that keep coming out and I think this will explain why.

      In any event, most pollsters apart from Ipsos MORI attempt to overcome any risk that their samples are biased by adjusting their data so that the number of people they interview who say they voted Labour, SNP or whatever at the last Scottish Parliament election in 2011 reflects the actual outcome on that occasion.

      This piece comes from here.

      http://tinyurl.com/p9w2qlv

      This is a piece by everyone’s favourite pollster, John Curtice, but still worth a wee read I think. The important point is that he clearly points out that most of the pollsters use the voting intentions of people in the 2010 General Election to equalise out irregularities in their polling results. This methodology has, in my very naive view, a major flaw. That is the simple fact that it takes into no account the simple fact that there a loads of Labour, Lib Dem and Tory voters from 2010 who are voting YES.

    20. TJenny says:

      BJ – maybe the Rev could print up the Qnonmerci campaign strategy/list and shoot them down before they’re used by No side. (well, that is if there are any strategies still unused by them). 🙂

    21. Thepnr says:

      @Big Jock

      You are absolutely right and believe it or not they published this in the HOC in 2013. If you haven’t read this yet then please do. It is an education on the tactics of BT and Westminster.

      http://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/research/briefing-papers/RP13-47/the-quebec-referendums

    22. ronnie anderson says:

      Lets hear it Luciano O`Sol Mio Cmon join in

    23. Thepnr says:

      Calm down Peter, I know your excited but… 🙂

    24. handclapping says:

      Just remember there are English Scots voting Yes

    25. Lesley-Anne says:

      Calm down Peter, it’s only a game. 😉

    26. caz-m says:

      Better Together and BBC Scotland will do everything they can to keep the polls showing a NO lead. They would have nothing left to frighten the undecided voter with if YES went ahead.

      The fall back statement from BBC Scotland and Better Together is always, “well you are still behind in the polls”.

      If the YES campaign was suddenly ahead in the polls, then it would be game over for Better Together.

      Out on the street and at gala days, town hall meetings, in work places, YES is way ahead. The only people not facing up to that reality is Better Together, MSM and BBC Scotland.

      So, all in all I had a great day. Out manning the YES stalls then home to the news of the latest polls and to top it off, my most favourite team in the whole world won their opening world cup game.

      I’m away for a pizza and a wee cornetto.

    27. David Wardrope says:

      O/T a few comments on the game here, have to admit England had a bit of a go and looked dangerous at times there, but Italy are so laid back under pressure it’s unnerving. That is all.

    28. kendomacaroonbar says:

      Fair play to the BBC Motd guys, the anticpated historical rhetoric was gone and the England team played well…it was a good game of football imho

      Well done Italy !

    29. geeo says:

      balgayboy says:

      14 June, 2014 at 11:00 pm

      Right off to watch the match now, got a big bet on Balotelli scoring in an Italy win.

      Hope that is not classed as cybernate like!

      Well done !!

      Great start to the interview with Gerrard…”You forced Italy to play really well” ….

      They (media)just cannot help themselves…fair play to Gerrard though, very fair view of the game.

      Almost forgot…Ya Beauty!!!!!!!!

    30. Jamie Arriere says:

      @Iain,

      If that’s true, it doesn’t matter who it is, that’s horrendous news, and I wouldn’t wish MND on anyone. A load of sympathetic tweets from us nasty cybernats could put their gas at a peep.

      We are human beings after all (on this side)

    31. bunter says:

      Two good polls right enough. Beware social media bait and don’t give them any excuses.

    32. England played well to be honest. They tried. Its difficult for any team to go up against Italy. They’ve brought a lot of young players with them this time round. The experience will do them the world of good, plus the Italians will be more used to playing in the heat. I still think England will be lucky to get out that group. They’ll go far in the Euros in 2 years time. Probably reach the quarter finals, semi-finals at a push

    33. gordoz says:

      England have some very good young players.

    34. Grouse Beater says:

      Don’tcha love the way England used a yellow card foul to stop Italy getting a third goal? It was described as a ‘technical foul.’

      Mendacious politicians lie their arses off to keep Scotland in an unjust union – English historians describe the tactic as a ‘technical foul.’

    35. Iain says:

      @Jamie Arriere

      Oh, I agree absolutely. It’s just that after hearing Better Together & SLAB apparatchiks getting repetitive strain injury from churning out the phrase ‘mother of a severely disabled child’ last week, I know there is no outrage too faux for these people.

    36. Grouse Beater says:

      Big Jock says: I will not rest until the polls show yes 10% ahead

      We went into the last election polled and predicted well behind yet gained a landslide.

    37. Thepnr says:

      England will get to the next round and good luck to them.

    38. HandandShrimp says:

      The young England players are excellent I think they have the makings of an excellent team there. I know Rooney put in a cracking cross for the goal but he didn’t look comfortable playing in that position. I’m not sure any England manger has ever got the best from Rooney.

      On that performance England should beat Uruguay but football is a funny old game.

    39. Marker Post says:

      So, “Wings over Scotland acts as a vehicle for the worst elements among the Cybernats”?

      Been reading this site for 2 years, and seriously haven’t read anything on the independence side that could be even remotely termed abusive.

      Keep doing what you do, Rev, it’s working. Your dedication and perseverance in highlighting the hipocrisy and lies that come out of the MSM on a daily basis is truly remarkable.

      And if you need cash for any legal action, just say the word.

    40. Grouse Beater says:

      Incidentally, Stuart, in your collective topics you have the makings of an excellent book from the UK side of US democracy illustrating how the establishment manufacture consent through lies, black propaganda, character assassination, and, I have no doubt, the ‘confidential’ phone call from a politician asking you to get in line.

      The way the media has manipulated and abuses truth to undermine Scotland’s rights is repulsive.

    41. Chic McGregor says:

      Bugger, I wanted England to win.

      Even after the against-the-run-of-play equaliser, at half time they were starting to revert to the kind of hubris which keeps them under achievers for a European nation of 55 million.

      A victory for them and the ensuing deluge of delusion would have rattled up yes votes.

    42. HandandShrimp says:

      Kevin’s piece in the Guardian is entertaining. They have switched comments off until tomorrow. Probably wise because I have a feeling that the Better Together lot may a tad strident in their questioning of how much gaiety and frivolity we bring to the debate…Kevin can be a rascal at times 🙂

      http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/jun/14/better-together-mistakes-scottish-independence

      I actually agree though, I think that this whole debate has reinvigorated Scottish politics.

    43. Adam Jeal says:

      Bloody hell Stu! – I always thought she was a good actress. Such a shame she’s disgraced herself like this. Barking mad, indeed!

    44. Adam Jeal says:

      and as fer the hootsman, you should take them to the cleaners!

    45. bunter says:

      Yep, Blare McD seems to be promoting a fine young NO voting chap, who has health issues. Its a good cause, be nice.

    46. Thepnr says:

      @HandandShrimp

      Yes I tried yo post there right before it was shutdown. Feart nothing else.

    47. The Man in the Jar says:

      Rev how about starting a seperate thread for the duration of the 22 millionaires ruining a lawn cup.

      You can’t go near a TV pub or supermarket without getting 22 millionaires ruining a lawn promotions rammed down your throat.

      Not all of us enjoy watching 22 millionaires ruining a lawn!

      Pleeeese! 🙁

    48. HandandShrimp says:

      Thepnr

      Yes I was too slow (well watching the footie to be honest but I see over 10% of the posts so far have fallen foul of the mod so they probably though discretion the better part etc 🙂

    49. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “Just a warning, there’s a piece in SoS by Gordon Aikman, a Better Together bod, who has contracted motor neurone disease. It’s been trailed heavily by McDougall, Shorthouse etc on Twitter; if I was a cynical soul I’d be imagining them rubbing their hands in anticipation of some vile cybernattery in response – thank goodness I’m not that cynical.

      Be careful out there folks.”

      Aye. Even if you think it’s being manipulated, let’s stay on the moral high ground, eh? I wouldn’t wish MND on my worst enemy, it’s a total shitbastard of a disease. Anything even remotely nasty on the subject will incur my severest displeasure.

    50. Patrick Roden says:

      Was annoyed at the smears of Rev & us Wingies, so I asked people on twitter to have a read and to Re-tweet that message, last I looked about 150 people had RT’d

      I know not everyone on wings does Twitter so what that means is everyone who follows me (about 300) then sent that same message to everyone who follows them, and then people who followed them can RT people who follow them etc etc. I’m sure People at the Scotsman and Daily Record etc will be delighted to learn about the thousands of people who were recommended to have a good read of wings because their filthy rags were smearing us.

      If you do Face Book or twitter why not do your own little campaign and lets see if between us we can’t reach 1 million people over the next few days.

      This is why they fear us, so lets give them something to be scared about!!!

    51. Willie in Balloch says:

      It is patently clear that PROJECT FEAR has become PROJECT SMEAR. This is the way that the UK operates.

      The mainstream media, be out the tabloids, the BBC, Whitehall et al just pump this out.

      Its an abuse of concentrated power, but who ever said Britain was a democracy.

    52. john king says:

      Lesyley-Anne says
      “I am all up for gardening tips though. What’s a garden and how do I get one? ”

      Bwahahahahah thats it,
      Lesley-Anne is the female me. 🙂

      Paula Rose says
      “Now dears we are being naughty this is a main thread if it all goes quiet I’ll tell you about my adventure with Thepnr.”

      Oh goody,
      make it the one where you woke up in Tromso harbour with a seal licking your face, 😉
      I’ve always liked that story. 🙂

      Heres the contact Rock in all its horror

      I am aware other Scots have approached the ODIHR for help in combating a completely biased main stream media in Scotland in favour of the country of Scotland remaining within the United Kingdom,
      the main culprit being the British Broadcasting Company,
      this has led to a scenario where although people are obliged under law to pay a license fee to the BBC, they quite outrageously prevent people having a response to biased articles,
      this coupled with vested interests paying for the no campaign but resisting media interest raises the question of a fair and open debate,
      however to reach my point, the other contactors appear (correct me if I’m wrong) to have had responses which imply only the sovereign state can ask for help which suggests your mandate is only to support the oppressor and not the oppressed ,please I would be most grateful if could enlighten me as to the facts,
      yours very sincerely .

      RESPONSE

      Thank you for your message regarding possible observation by the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) of the referendum scheduled for 2014.

      From your message I am aware that you are familiar with the Office’s previous responses to inquiries on this subject, so I will focus here on the specific question you have asked regarding ODIHR’s mandate and the referendum.

      ODIHR is mandated to observe elections in OSCE participating States, and all 57 participating States have committed themselves to invite the Office to observe their elections. The wording of the commitment in this instance refers to “national election proceedings”, so the government of the United Kingdom is not politically obligated by the OSCE commitments it has made to invite ODIHR to observe the referendum.

      That said, ODIHR has been invited been invited in the past by the governments of OSCE participating States to observe local elections or referenda. If the government of the United Kingdom did issue an invitation to ODIHR to observe the referendum, the Office would then certainly consider doing so. Analysing the media landscape and monitoring the coverage of the referendum campaign would almost certainly be part of such an observation activity.

      Best regards,

      Thomas Rymer
      Spokesperson
      OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR)

      Tel: +48 22 520 0640
      Mobile: +48 609 522 266

    53. Josh says:

      Keep up with your quality journalism; there’s precious little of it these days.

    54. Conan_the_Librarian says:

      Oh dear.

      England has lost to Italy, in a ‘narrow defeat’.

      What a shame.

    55. john king says:

      I want England to win the world cup Conan,
      a yes vote would be won at a canter.

    56. punklin says:

      This particular (peculiar? they said/we said activity is becoming just like the newspapers: negative, self-serving, self-obsessed and missing the real point: to help people change society for the better by having the confidence and hope to want to become independent.

      Best way to secure a Yes victory: talk with people in actual not virtual world. As for fighting the dwindling power of the mainstream media – drop it, it’s a pointless (and voteless)game.

    57. ShredderIsAlive says:

      Perhaps someone can clarify this.

      Is the Brian Wilson who wrote this article, the same Brian Wilson who’s been George Galloway’s stooge at his £10 a head glorified Labour Party rallies where he tries to spin the comments of Yes voters as bigoted and racist for his own cheap political gains?

    58. MajorBloodnok says:

      @Gordon E

      Re your comment much earlier about being official observers at the referendum count. I understand that as WoS is an officially registered participant then we do have the right to send people to keep an eye on things and to call out any ballot box stuffing. I quite fancy it myself…

    59. john king says:

      Is that right Major?
      if so I am well up for it.

    60. Chic McGregor says:

      @JohnKing
      “I want England to win the world cup Conan,
      a yes vote would be won at a canter.”

      I’m with you on that one. Provided of course, that the commentators in England do revert to their past behaviour.

      I don’t know if it is because of the referendum, i.e. whether they have been warned, but they have been remarkably subdued up till now.

      Also, not quite sure whether it would be best for them to actually win or for them to just think they can but lose.

      IMO the over optimism of their commentators in the past has contributed to them not doing as well as they should (compared to France, Germany and Italy).

      Mind you, we were guilty of that too when we had a team that had a chance to do something in the 70s.

      I think it is clearer that the worse scenario from a referendum POV would be if they went out with 3 defeats.

      Personally, I would like to see them win it simply because I like Roy Hodgson, he seems a nice man and there does seem to be fewer obnoxious characters in the team itself.

      Footballwise, was very impressed with Sterling, in the same way I was when I first saw Messi and Aguero.

    61. Dave McEwan Hill says:

      England played very well and deserved at least a draw.
      Roy Hodgson is the sort of person you’d be happy to have as a Scotsman.
      It’s all the rest of the stuff that’s the problem not the actual team, particularly the assumption that they should be our team which they are not.
      When Scotland’s not playing my support goes to Ireland or Australia or Nigeria (where I lived for many years) and generally the wee team in any match, which is entirely natural

    62. john king says:

      90 odd days to go and Tony Blair’s drums of war are sounding, we HAVE to get out, or those people will drag us into perpetual war,
      We MUST put this out on the doorsteps, do you really want to watch to kids your grandkids and your great greandkids sacrificed on the alter of Washington and London’s desire to rule the world?

    63. john king says:

      “I’m with you on that one. Provided of course, that the commentators in England do revert to their past behaviour.”

      Ha ha ha ,that’s funny, if they reverted to past behaviour it would just about be tolerable,
      No their behaviour will be much much worse as is already the case, all you have to do is turn on the Andrew Marr show right now.

    64. john king says:

      So Marr asks Sajid Javid (culture secretary) about the prospects of the UK being involved in yet another war in Iraq to be told “there are no plans for British warplanes over Baghdad, culture secretary mind not the PM not Phillip Hammond, Sajid Javid for gods sake.
      Plausible deniability anyone?

      How long does anyone think before Darling pulls the loyalty rabbit out of his voluminous hat, and uses a pending conflict in Iraq as an excuse to tell Scots it would be craven cowardice to desert our friends in a time of war?

    65. Chic McGregor says:

      The Andrew Marr show is a pleasure I deny myself.

      The studio commentators on ITV and BBC have been relatively subdued IMO, so far.

    66. dennis mclaughlin says:

      Plucky Engerland will be hame ‘fore their postcards…shame.

    67. Strangely, I don’t recall any Cybernats or other Yessers having a penchant for intimidatory, (illiterate), paramilitary marches through the streets with big drums.

      pic.twitter.com/g3Ner8VdGs

      I’m a bit slow this morning and can’t quite put my finger on it. I’ve been racking my brains to think to who else had such a penchant.

    68. Garry Sexton says:

      I think the vast majority of the people of Scotland can see through this rubbish, and if I come across anyone who doesn’t I will take the time to explain, the only newspaper I buy is the Sunday Herald now and all my energies outside of work are now spent trying my best to secure a Yes vote, whether it’s delivering papers or just taking time to speak to undecideds. There are plenty more like myself and they can label us in whatever way they see fit but the bottom line is we want change and will try our best to achieve this.

    69. Helena Brown says:

      Rev, regarding Motor Neurone Disease, I would be extremely upset also if anyone even lifted their head above the parapet on this. My sympathy to Mr Aikman and his family. My former next door neighbour, a lovely sweet lady refused food towards the end of her illness rather then suffer. I must agree with your sentiments.

    70. Dave McEwan Hill says:

      Come on now Roddy. The OO are a new breed these days. They so respect everybody that they actually wanted to honour the the Catholic Church in Helensburgh by marching past it three times at a recent march application.

    71. Ah, I see. They were revisiting it in an effort to work out what the Pope actually said, or didn’t say this week. ;o)

    72. YaySayerPL says:

      The Westminster elite have watched empires and civilsations die. They have flattened entire nation states for power, influence and oil. They have silenced enemies or enabled those who would do so with neither regret nor care for the consequences of doing so. There ARE no consequences. These people own the courts, these people ARE the courts. They are the multiheaded hydra which at once both directs the state and gives it cohesion, gives it structure. They are every form, process, directive, procedure, rule and law. The only protection any individual has from them is the anonymity of irrelevance.

      You are no longer irrelevant. They have crushed whole cultures. They infiltrated communities and families in the 80s and during the Troubles and were prepared to let whole cities burn in the name of policy. They even inflitrated protests against roads – yet they’ll REALLY just stand back from the fate of the UK and the loss of power abd influence a Yes vote brings? What, then, the fate of a blogger to them?

    73. Rock says:

      john king,

      “If the government of the United Kingdom did issue an invitation to ODIHR to observe the referendum, the Office would then certainly consider doing so.”

      Like I said before, Establishment stooges.

      If they had any credibility, they would have come here a long time ago, whether the UK government liked it or not.

      How can anyone be ‘independent’ if they are patronised by the very institutions they are supposed to monitor.

      The same goes for every single Ombudsman in the UK.



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