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Beneath the headlines

Posted on April 10, 2014 by

With the Scottish Parliament on a two-week break, it appears to have fallen to the Telegraph to take on the role of Johann Lamont this Thursday.

Scottish Labour’s regional manager has recently been under the curious impression that the most pressing issue on the minds of the people of Scotland is the fine detail of the First Minister’s hotel bill during a trip to America to promote the Ryder Cup in 2012, and the Telegraph seems equally obsessed.

telegraph3k

But that dramatic splash isn’t quite what it seems.

Now, some readers might not think it was particularly astonishing that a national leader would stay in a nice hotel on a major foreign trip anyway. Unless you want the country to be run from a tiny desk squeezed into the corner of a box room in a Travelodge, it seems reasonable that the FM would shack up somewhere fairly plush.

But then the Telegraph mumbles the reality:

“But The Telegraph can disclose today that he spent £3,000 for four nights with his wife in a ‘grand deluxe suite’ at the hotel, which included a marble bathroom with spectacular views across the city.”

Wait a minute – “for four nights? So this “£3,000 suite” is really a £750 suite? By that logic the smallest room in the B&B round the corner from Wings HQ is a “£20,000 accommodation complex”, just so long as you stay in it for 15 months.

We consider ourselves pretty left-wing by any rational measure. But in a week in which it’s been revealed that the House of Commons champagne bill has soared by 72% to £275,221 – paid for, of course, by the taxpayer – since the current government took over, we find it awfully hard to object to Scotland’s representative on the world stage having a £750 hotel room when on official government business.

£275,221 would put the FM up in the Peninsula Hotel for more than a year, working and bringing tens of millions of pounds and thousands of jobs to Scotland, or it could be used to get MPs drunk. We know which we’d regard as the better investment.

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    115 to “Beneath the headlines”

    1. Grouse Beater says:

      The No’s Plan B is, attack Scotland’s First Minister in all cases, insuring the public associate yearning for greater democratic powers as a subversive attack by an untrustworthy egotist on their nation’s democracy.

    2. Desimond says:

      This is yet another example of BraveGate…when they complained of £7m was being spent on a daft wee Disney movie, that then won an Oscar and generated hundreds of millions in Tourism for Scotland.

      I can just picture Johann Lamont watching Flight of the Conchords and seeing Murrays poky wee Office and saying “Thats still too good for Salmond!”

      BTW…Remember Labours Tartan week?…where did Jack McConnell stay?, Im guessing it wasnt a cardboard box under the Brooklyn Bridge?

    3. Morag says:

      These headlines pretty much always go “a £xxxx-per-night suite”. The “per night” is conspicuously missing from that headline, as if they’re trying to imply it but didn’t quite have room maybe?

      You know, he’s the FM. I wouldn’t actually cavill at £3000 a night if that was the going rate for the grade of accommodation required. What sort of hotel accommodation does Cameron make use of, tell me that?

      But then it seems that the truth, that it was a £750-a-night suite, wouldn’t have looked so good for their little spin.

    4. Murray McCallum says:

      The Telegraph don’t see Scotland as a country and therefore the position of FM as internationally credible. They believe the position of FM, like any council leader, should not cross their regional borders.

      On the subject of cost, I once stayed at a campsite that cost £4.4K. Mind you it did have excellent facilities and hot showers. That is the real cost if you stay there for a year.

    5. Craig P says:

      How DARE Salmond stay at a posh hotel whilst on official business. He should be following the example of his betters and dossing on a park bench in pish-stained breeks like Lord George Foulkes.

    6. theycan'tbeserious says:

      As a Scottish tax payer I see Alex Salmond as excellent value for money and worth every penny. I can’t however say the same for the “troughers” that knowingly and regularly screw the tax payer.

    7. Jeremy Watson says:

      The whole cost of the jaunt was of course inclusive of travel etc etc, but while he had left Scotland in able hands at home, he was nevertheless still running it as our head of state and needs everything that makes that possible. And he was also actively promoting Scotland on our behalf while enjoying the event. Person to person contact at high level. Now compare that cost to a static full page advert in an international newspaper for just one edition. (£ks). I would imagine his jaunt was value for money. Insist on him using a Travelodge instead and what do you convey? That was the subject of the news item, but of course that was skewed through the manner in which it was reported as you so well point out.

    8. No No No...Yes says:

      The No campaign and its supporters have lost the argument and are embarking on a course of smear, misinformation, deceit, deflection and personal attack.
      So much for putting the positive case for the UK.

      However, the people of Scotland will pass judgement on their antics in September.

    9. Peter Macbeastie says:

      Ah, Telegraph.

      It is another of these smug self important publications (we can all name a few others, I’m sure) who are so sure their opinions are more important than anyone else they don’t really seem to realise that only a few people believe them.

      Funnily enough, these kind of trips only seems to inspire the ire of the MSM when it’s the First Minister. David Cameron? George Osborne? Boris ‘Floppy’ Johnson? All examples of politicians who, at tax payer expense, jet off around the world on trade missions intended to bring investment into the UK. Are they criticised for the costs of their accomodation? Are they shite. They’re simply reported as acquiring x amount of further investment into the UK. Meanwhile Eck does the same kind of trade mission, they barely acknowledge what he’s doing there, there might be one wee line saying investment has been gained, but the screaming that drowns everything else out is ‘look, he stayed in a nice hotel… and he took his WIFE!”

      Fancy that, eh? He took his wife with him. Apparently we’re meant to be annoyed about that as well.I find it extraordinarily difficult to be worried about a senior political figure staying in a good hotel, with his wife, during a trade mission. Tax payers money? Aye, true. But not so much when you compare it to the Westminster gravy train which seems to do very little to benefit the country.

    10. Doug Daniel says:

      There are no circumstances where “£3,000 hotel suite” could be argued to mean anything other than “£3,000 per night hotel suite”. This is isn’t simply misinformation or spin, it’s just downright lying.

      And what a surprise, it appears on the day of First Minister Questions. How terribly convenient…

    11. kininvie says:

      These days it’s quite hard to find a smart hotel without a marble bathroom. It’s probably even harder in Chicago.

    12. Adrian B says:

      It would be nice if someone has a three/four year old child that could write a letter to the Telegraph about their arithmetic error. If that letter was leaked on twitter it might be amusing to watch it going viral. Just sayin’.

    13. Craig P says:

      Doug – no First Minister’s Questions today due to the Easter holidays. I guess this story just couldn’t wait another couple of weeks.

      (And apologies to Lord George Foulkes who pished his breeks in a *private* capacity and not as part of an official government engagement – I am sure we have all done similar in the past.)

    14. Alfresco Dent says:

      It’s that journalism has become a game of one-upmanship rather than incisive, forensic examining of the truth and then delivering a piece of work that shall be forever to their shame.

      That they should fanny about when their brothers & sisters approach what could, for many, be the most important decision they’ll ever have to make is forever to their shame.

    15. kalmar says:

      ‘grand deluxe suite’ at the hotel, which included a marble bathroom with spectacular views across the city.

      Genuine LOLs at this story. They’re really through the bottom of the barrel with this one.

      Having stayed in a few big city hotels, £750 is nowhere near the top of the pricelist. Trying to make this into a scandal is hilarious given recent news about Westminster MPs.

    16. Desimond says:

      @Craig P

      Bravo…You win the Wings Mental Picture of the week award!

      As for this non story. My brother stays in Auchterarder and was saying the other day how he has to allow an extra 30 mins travel in morning as there is so much work being done in upgrading roads, railways etc for the Ryder Cup.

      Improved infrastructure!…look at the sort of madness Salmond was inspiring with his so called Chicago jolly?

    17. galamcennalath says:

      Does anyone north of London actually read the Telegraph?

      Or, perhaps the point is, BT-BBC will dutifully propagate this negative drivel!

    18. Jimsie says:

      It has been reported that the UK government has squandered £500,000,000 on Tamiflu vaccine which would be useless in the event of a flu pandemic. Yet here we have the Daily Tory trying to smear our First Minister over perfectly reasonable accommodation expenses.

      This rag clearly has its editorial priorities wrong.

    19. Morag says:

      Seems if was “almost” £3000. So less than £750 a night, then? And was that just the basic B&B price, or are you including dinner and other extras as well?

      My God, what a frugal and sensible FM we have here!

      Now go away and find me the bill for the hookers and the porn channel. What, you mean it doesn’t exist? Well shut up then, because you don’t have a story here, Telegraph.

    20. Grouse Beater says:

      A Minister needs a “suite” that includes an office where he can meet officials and dignatories, plus keep in touch with colleagues back home, in some privacy. And it needs to be accessible in a city-central area.

      Does the Torygraph expect a nation’s main representative to book into a hostel on the outskirts of town and hold meetings in the nearest Starbucks?

      The waterfall of black propaganda gushes on …

    21. Morag says:

      Tamiflu isn’t a vaccine, it’s an anti-viral drug. Big difference.

      /pedant

    22. Mosstrooper says:

      What a pathetic “news” story. I can only add my support to all who say that Alex. Salmond is the democratically elected First Minister of one of the richest countries in the WORLD.

      He is required by us, his constituents, to do his utmost to continue that prosperity and if possible increase it. To do this he will have to seek out those Nations, businesses and people who we can do business with to aid or people.

      Where should he entertain these giants of industry and commerce, Aggies B&B? Where should he wine them and dine them, The Greasy Spoon?

      God give me strength. The small mindedness of the opposition and of some of my fellow countrymen appalls me.

    23. Gillie says:

      Either the First Minister got an absolute bargain on the Peninsula’s Grand Deluxe Suite (usual rates from USD 1950 per night), or the Daily Telegraph is telling porkies.

    24. Jimsie says:

      Morag

      Vaccine or anti-viral. Half a billion is a lot of dosh.

    25. Macandroid says:

      Here’s Nicola’s reply to JoLa at FMQs 03/04/14:

      “In 2006, when the current First Minister was not in office—I believe that it was one Jack McConnell—the bill for tartan week was more than £1 million. The bill for Scotland week in 2013—the most recent year that we have available–was £326,000. I think that the First Minister is right to promote the country in the United States this week. I think that he is right to do that and to get much more value for money than was perhaps the case on the part of the previous Administration.”

      Rather puts things in perspective does it not?

    26. Desimond says:

      Okay, a few things..

      The Ryder Cup will generate £100m with people from 75 countries applying for tickets.

      http://www.scotsman.com/lifestyle/scotland-eyes-100m-prize-as-host-of-ryder-cup-1-3255319

      The Telegraph were pimping this story since 2012..has it taken them 2 years to find hotel room pictures on TripAdvisor?

      http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/scotland/9709606/Alex-Salmond-spent-468580-on-Ryder-Cup-visit.html

      BTW..My brothers friend is renting their house out for the Ryder Cup and charging £15000. The VAT on that is £3000. Thats Ecks room paid for there and then. Everyone elses rental money is pure profit. Kerching!

    27. Cath says:

      I wonder what price of hotel we all paid for Lord Robertson to stay in when he was over there? And Alistair Darling, who was also stateside?

    28. Bugger (the Panda) says:

      AS would have needed a suite for two simple reasons

      a) As the FM he would have needed a private reception room for entertain representatives of companies and organisations he was hoping to entice to invest in Scotland. Doing that at the bar or in the Coffee Shop would not have set the right tone.

      b) As the FM he would still been responsible for leading his Government and would need a private area, along with his advisors, to do so.

    29. Desimond says:

      @Macandroid

      Brilliant. Exacly what i was thinking of earlier. You have to wonder if Labour have ever heard the phrase “Judge not lest ye be judged”. For a party who claim to be all about
      ‘accountability’ these days, it seems that ethos doesnt quite apply to the past.

    30. caz-m says:

      And we haven’t even started on Gordon Brown’s globetrotting bill.

      And he is only a local Fife MP.

    31. velofello says:

      Robertson fae Islay on Darf Forces; UK Energy minister Fallon declares that the Scottish Government taking an interest in the Hinckly Point nuclear power station proposal would be a “hostile act”; Savid David that devolution was constitutional vandalism; Ed Davey visibly squirming whilst discussing energy policy with STV.

      Next week are we back to UK love bombs?

    32. galamcennalath says:

      Telegraph circulation. I was wrong in my comment above. Apparently it sells 18000 copies a day in Scotland. I’m genuinely surprised. Though, I suspect most readers will be unbending No voters anyway.

    33. velofello says:

      Darf Forces! And that’s me with new specs! In fact Daft possibly fits best!

    34. cagers says:

      Wings…you are good!

    35. Morag says:

      Vaccine or anti-viral. Half a billion is a lot of dosh.

      Indeed. I wondered at the time if it was all a monumental waste of cash with drug companies laughing all the way to the bank. And yet, the way the danger of infection was being hyped up, they were arguably in a no-win situation.

      My point is, a vaccine prevents infection. You give it weeks or months before the patient is exposed. You don’t stockpile it for use in the event of exposure.

      Tamiflu is a a treatment for someone who is already ill. Therefore it has to be kept in reserve for use in that eventuality. It is extremely important to understand the difference.

      Read about the Nome serum run to get a treatment through to an Alaskan town struck by diptheria in winter, and how it led to the promotion of vaccination (Iditarod sled race) so that emergency panics would be a thing of the past.

    36. hetty says:

      The thing is we could all rage at this forever, but once these rags have put the story out, and the dim readers see the headlines, job done! We are up against the big shots and have to find a way to counter their lies, as one poster said here yesterday, they know a number of people who don’t like A Salmond, but they cannot say why. They are brainwashed day in day out, like robots.
      It is sites like this that expose these lies, we just have to shake a few people in Scotland to wake up and, I hate the term but smell the coffee before it is too bloody late! Sorry it just makes me angry that people take the lies by the msm as fact, what planet are they on?

    37. Old Dotch says:

      True story. Back in late 2008, or early 2009, can’t recall exactly, I had just boarded a flight to Heathrow in Baltimore. I was seated in premium economy, which is a kind of half way between business class and economy class with slightly more leg and elbow room. After taking my seat, on board the flight came Alex Salmond who I had a quick chat and handshake with; he had been on some promotional visit. He then walked past me into economy class, along with all of his entourage, where they took their seats for the eight hour plus flight. I wonder if Jack McConnell chose a similarly priced ticket when he went to the States?

    38. ronnie anderson says:

      Ah would hope that the Lanark Tomato Grower Association don’t invite Johann Lamont to visit their Greenhouses{check her pockets 1st} ah love a Lanark Tomato.

    39. Ian Kirkwood says:

      £3,000 for four nights at a top Chicago hotel seems like a very good rate to me. Having spent quite a bit of time traveling in the US and staying at pretty poor value hotels in the big cities and paying $450/ night some years ago. Must get the contact details for AS’s travel agent or does any one have good recommendations?

    40. Desimond says:

      Haud oan a second, I just realised…the Telegraph are actually trying to claim the moral high-ground when it comes to a Taxpayers-money issue?

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_and_Frederick_Barclay#Tax_exile_accusation

      When asked if he was a tax exile, Sir Frederick stated that he lived abroad for health reasons

    41. Jim T says:

      @galamcennalath 12:02

      You need to factor in the freebie papers that hotels and airports/airlines/others give away. That will hammer those figures down a fair bit I’d imagine.

    42. call me dave says:

      I think Cochrane has had to mumble what seems to be a grudging apology, but didn’t quite get round to actually saying it today…

      As a result we are happy today to provide details of the hotel suite enjoyed by Mr and Mrs Salmond, details that, in an extraordinary fashion, the First Minister has sought to withhold for many months.
      Why he has chosen to behave in such a fashion is for him to explain but for the record – and whilst others will have a different view – I don’t think that the cost involved was especially high.

      Seven or eight hundred quid a night for a hotel suite is a lot of money but is, frankly, peanuts nowadays for politicians and their officials when they’re travelling abroad. But lest we forget, Mr Salmond has “form” when it comes to taking his time about accounting for his spending of taxpayers’ cash – “Eckspenses” they might be called.

      🙁

    43. Alan Mackintosh says:

      Rev, not even £750. From the article, and they even got themselves a discount for block booking.

      ” Mr Salmond’s suite currently costs guests at least $1,950 (£1,164) per night but his civil servants managed to get a deal with the hotel because the Scottish Government block booked some rooms.

      The Peninsula Hotel confirmed the First Minister was charged $1,195 per night for his suite, which was the equivalent of £740 using the exchange rate at the time. This meant his total bill amounted to nearly $5,000, or £2,956, for the four-night stay. ” [Ah the beauty of rounding up, converting currency, and rounding up again…]

      Tamiflu’s main ingredient is Star anise. You’d be as well having a chinese every few nights

    44. jingly jangly says:

      galamcennalath

      They increase sales by offering a free bottle of water which to buy itself costs more than the paper!!!

      In the past when travelling by train, I would buy the torygraph , bin it without reading it and drink the water.

      However now I would rather pay the full price for the water.

    45. rab_the_doubter says:

      Someone remind me please, how much do the Lords claim in expenses just for turning up?

    46. rab_the_doubter says:

      Ian Kirkwood

      I very much doubt its Barrhead Travel

    47. steviecosmic says:

      As someone who’s very well traveled, having stayed in both shitholes and many 5 star hotels all over the world, 750 quid a night is the cheapo option in a true 5 star establishment. They can embellish it all they want with ‘grand deluxe suite’ pish, but the fact remains that this is not lot of money at the luxury end of the market.

      Amongst other things, I’m now a travel agent specializing in niche travel, and naturally some of our wealthier clients want 5 star experiences: 750 a night is pocket change in that bracket.

    48. galamcennalath says:

      @Jim T ….. Very true.

      To go off topic a little, but still within the scope of fear tactics. YesScotland’s approach is one of ‘can, should, must’. Looks like we are somewhere within ‘can’ and ‘should’ at the moment.

      To my mind ‘must’ can only mean our own version of Project Fear. From a Yes perspective we must gain independence because the implications of No could be dreadful. Literally, full of dread. I think that needs to be spelt out. However, it does concern me that it might mean YesScotland approaching September on a negative note. Negativity needs to be handled very carefully. It has failed for BT.

    49. John says:

      A minister defrauds 45,000 pays back 6 is forced to resign and get 20,000 severance.

    50. Calgacus MacAndrews says:

      @Desimond says:
      This is yet another example of BraveGate.
      BTW…Remember Labours Tartan week?…where did Jack McConnell stay?

      And who did Jack hang out with at Tartan Week 2006 (the big expensive £700k one)?
      See photo: http://i.imgur.com/oHWQlo2.jpg
      Jack is bottom left.
      The other guy needs no introduction.

    51. pa_broon74 says:

      I don’t wish to sound flippant, but I do think we have to consider in our cost/benefit analysis the relative advantages of subsidising/allowing certain MP’s to drink copious amounts of champagne.

      Its not all bad.

      http://fazzledown.blogspot.co.uk/2013/11/grangemouth.html

      (Just the first half of the post.)

      In terms of the FM’s hotel bill? If he’d stayed in a travel lodge the papers would be calling us all tight-arsed Scots.

      You can’t win.

    52. Grouse Beater says:

      By the way, politicians careful to keep expenses low has a negative side. Some Americans think us mean.

      “You guys are a great nation but heck, you’re sooo mean!”

      To intertain a US Ambassador, for example, to two cups of coffee and a choice of shortbread or Tunnocks appears insultingly parsimonious, especially when you’re asking for their government’s endorsement of your political policies!

      PS:
      Tunnocks might be off the menu – that company is against independence. Perhaps Dunkin’ Donuts is a better choice.

    53. Simon MacKenzie says:

      Looks like it’s the cheapest suite. (Apologies if someone’s posted this already).

      http://chicago.peninsula.com/en/room-types

    54. Les Wilson says:

      We should be very publicly challenging the Media every time the make scurrilous statements. Stu does a very good job of dissecting their bunk and more of this is required.

      It could perhaps be done by petition basis, maybe a poll system on “Wings” this then issued to the offender but also given to the media at large. Some would not comment, some would. In order for some shit to stick, it would be something we could use.
      It might just be a way to bring some pressure on them.

      Whatever A.Salmond did, it was small beer for the Unionists, so some of their costs, should be made known. They know every way imaginable to spend money, the champagne lark for just one thing. There are many more bigger and costlier follies out there.

      That would show them up for what they are, and make their reasons for making such statements rather juvenile.

      I am also getting very fed up with personal attacks on A. Salmond, he is democratically elected.
      It does show up just what a sham democracy for Scotland actually is.
      We need to somehow ramp up our responses in order to let them away with nothing.

    55. muttley79 says:

      The subtext behind these kind of articles of course is that the too wee, too daft, too poor Jocks should stick to their council style politics, and not be so stupid as to think that they can run their own affairs. It is as transparent as you can get. Fuck ’em, vote Yes!

    56. Desimond says:

      Next weeks Telegraph

      Salmond spends £4.29 in Greggs!

      There was outrage today when it was revealed that Alex Salmond enjoyed a Mexican Oval bite sandwich, a Pineapple cake and bottle of Oasis (Blackcurrant) during the SNP Spring conference in Aberdeen.

      Labour MSP Paul Martin slammed the First Minister saying “Whats wrong with the Meal Deal for 3 quid?, People in Shettleston would kill for a Pineapple cake!”

    57. Helena Brown says:

      Exactly where are we supposed to house our First Minister, and that is regardless of party. To put the First Minister of anywhere in some substandard accommodation is to insult yourself and your country I would say. Where does her Grace stay, where does Ed Miliband and David Cameron stay when abroad, I doubt it is in some tatty B&B. Knowing Labour, they, none of them will settle for less than something which keeps them according to how their ego sees it.

    58. Ken500 says:

      Alex and Co will save Scotland £Billions. Independence will mean £Billions better spent.

      Alex Salmond would have earned £Millions more, than as a Politican.

      Most of the Unionists are unemployable troughers, who can’t count. War criminal fraudsters should be in jail.

    59. Ken500 says:

      How much do the UK Foreign Embassies cost?

    60. Desimond says:

      @Ken5000

      How much do the Embassies cost?…best ask the Scottish Whisky companies who have to pay to use them for official events!

    61. Triangular Ears says:

      Are we sure it wasn’t Chicogo the FM was staying in rather than Chicago? I’ve heard that’s a more exclusive place. Maybe John Barrowman can help us out…

    62. Harry says:

      O/T Hamilton Labour MP Tom Greatrex has a diatribe in this week’s Hamilton Advertiser against the SNP campaign, (yes, that’s what he calls it!) I’ll quote some of it.

      “…there are worrying signs of how the debate is becoming both very polarised and, in some examples, quite nasty.

      When a member of a Scottish MP’s staff…is being verbally abused by Nationalist campaigners at work and has had to take police advice on their security, all of us – on both sides of the argument – should be concerned.

      While the SNP campaign can’t control the actions of all of their supporters in person and online – and nor can the parties and groups supporting Scotland staying part of the UK – the debate should be conducted in a much better way, and all the parties should say so.

      Then there is a bit alluding to the abuse of the Barrhead Travel boss. He admits it is right that “those positions and views will quite rightly be robustly challenged” but then says “loudly condemning the right of the people to hold their views via social media to the extent that it becomes sustained abuse is nothing to be proud of”

      He mentions the SNP MSPs “shouting down” the head of the CBI recently at Holyrood then he really loses the plot.

      “When Salmond’s (there we go again, first mention of the FM and not afforded the courtesy of a first name) closest personal adviser, also an MSP, refers to those who do not wish to leave the UK as being “anti-Scottish” that is insulting and degrades the debate. When the SNPs broadcasting spokesman says there will be “consequences” for a BBC interviewer asking a question Salmond does not like, that is chilling and unacceptable.

      When Nationalists routinely refer to those who wish to stay in the UK as “("Quizmaster" - Ed)s”, it demeans many who will vote for Scotland to be separate from the rest of the UK. I don’t doubt that there are examples on the other side too. (Cheers, Tom, that makes up for all that then).

      The “anti-Scottish” remark clearly is about Joan McAlpine’s comment in Holyrood a couple of years ago where she was referring to particular actions that were anti-Scottish and not the people themselves per se. Correct me if I’m wrong. I’m presuming the BBC interviewer was Andrew Marr, who was clearly in the wrong to offer his own personal opinion and the MP’s staff is probably Ian “nae mare stickers, I cannae cope” Murray?

      Greatrex tries to be fair but not very hard. No mention of the one very definite act of unacceptable behaviour recently, the grabbing by the throat of a SNP MSP in a Kirkcaldy pub. I think the Advertiser may get a few letters next week putting forward a slightly different point of view.

    63. David says:

      Desimond at 12:14 said: “When asked if he was a tax exile, Sir Frederick Barclay stated that he lived abroad for health reasons.”

      Should that not be: “When asked if he was a tax exile, Sir Frederick stated that he and his money lived abroad for health reasons” ?! 🙂

    64. Doogi Bee says:

      It does’nt matter what we do to justify AS and his wife staying in an upmarket hotel, the damage is done when the majority of undecideds see it in the MSM and take it as gospel and say their just the same as the rest of them..job done..we can complain till the cows come home but they saw in the papers so it must be true…xxx

    65. Macart says:

      Its literally reached the stage where you cannot take anything the media says seriously. Every single thing that appears on their pages or comes out of the mouths of Westminster representation is an attack on either the very concept of independence or the Scottish government. Its beyond farcical now and certainly beyond rational belief. The temptation to laugh in their faces is near overpowering. Hell I had a stitch over Robertson’s Darth Vader moment.

      I simply can’t fathom how they thought this to be a workable strategy in today’s digital age? FFS we can check every damn thing they claim. How many times can you misrepresent or outright lie, get caught doing so and still demand/believe that the viewing, reading public take your word at face value? Or that in fact you won’t severely piss them off.

      Just outstanding logic.

    66. CameronB says:

      This latest attack on Scotland’s First Minister is so transparent you can actually see the mendacity pumping through it’s veins. As character assasinations go, this barely raises an eyebrow though.

      Let’s just cut to the chase. How much is TRIDENT costing Scots every day? How much will TRIDENT 2 cost Scots? How much is London’s CROSSRAIL costing Scots and how much will CROSSRAIL 2 cost Scots, etc……..

      @ The Telegraph.
      Got any spare ‘reporters’ that could take a look at these and come back with some figures?

    67. msean says:

      They all realise of course,that the kind of folk that can bring jobs to Scotland don’t frequent lower budget places,and they won’t even entertain you if you take rooms in these places.

      You would spend the week waiting in their outer office to be squeezed in for 30 seconds on Friday afternoon.I would say the same if this was a Labour FM as well,Scotland is worth more than a desk in a corner of a Travelodge room,being ignored by those who really matter.

    68. gordoz says:

      Guess what the subject of STV & BBC output will be for next 3 days ???

      (So dont anybody ask whats on Scotland Tonight)

      Bet John ‘lazy’ MacKay cant wait to get to grips with this;

      Let me see 1 No in Glasgow Studio, 1 undecided lets say Archie MacPherson ? (I nice try Brit nat to the core) & 1 Yes in States studio & link will fail after ‘Hello can you hear me’.

      Jesus Christ Scotland get a grip.

    69. Kilty says:

      Just the usual then?
      Noticed on Newsnet Scotland that a petition has been started about getting the Scottish Government to approach the OSCE in order to have them monitor the media with regards to the independence debate. Think it’s about time something was done.

      http://www.change.org/en-GB/petitions/the-scottish-government-approach-the-osce-and-request-an-election-monitoring-mission

    70. redcliffe62 says:

      Sorry to those who want to twitter me but banned for 10th time this year after complaints, presumably for being a tad political.
      One or two key things seems to set the suspensions off; I did it twice this week as a test and got suspended twice. Will do it again as a control and see if I get banned third time lucky as twitter do not say why despite asking.
      See how long offline this time…………..

    71. Margaret Ferrier says:

      And according to the news paper,it also had a playstation! A playstation,how very 1990’s.

    72. David says:

      News from Brazil 1: George Osborne is in Rio de Janeiro, visiting social projects in poor areas, watching how the government is using the armed forces to “invade” and “pacify” strategic slums, and trying to drum up more business for the UK. Did he swim here, or did it cost the UK taxpayer money to fly him to Brazil? Is he sleeping on the beach, or in a taxpayer-funded hotel? Is he paying for an interpreter himself, or are YOU paying 8.3%? Hope you are getting your money’s worth.

      News from Brazil 2: Peter Campsie, a Scottish Oil & gas exec who had been working and living in Brazil for 16 years, was killed in an attempted carjacking last week.

      Very sad for his family, and very embarrassing for the Brazilian gov’t, who are trying to convince the world that the World Cup will be supersafe. But one paper had the news that the “police chief was visited by the Scottish Consulate”! So we are already independent, great news!

      It is extremely common here for tv reporters, newspapers, and ordinary people to confuse “English” with “British”. As far as I am aware the consulate never bothers to correct such errors. So, Scotland is already seen as a distinct nation by the Brazilians, and by many other people in many other countries. I hope the Referendum vote makes it official!

      News from Brazil 3: There is a shopping area in Niteroi city(across the bay from Rio) which is built in what used to be a big bus station. Steel beams and girders everywhere. Stamped on them is “Lanarkshire Steel Company”. They are still in excellent condition, better than the more modern parts of the building.

      We could build and export all around the world 100 years ago, it makes me increasingly angry to think that we could still be doing that, if our heavy industries had been given proper investment.

    73. G. P. Walrus says:

      @Desimond

      Not only the Barclays, but former Telegraph owner Conrad Black also ran up expenses, compared to which which Alex Salmond’s hotel bill pales into insignificance:

      http://www.heritageinstitute.com/governance/black/8expenses.htm

    74. a2 says:

      Personally I think £750 a night is far too much and it’s a dumb thing to do given the scrutiny he’s under. It’s handing the no camp an open Goal, I just looked up Chicago hotels, narrowed the search to five star only and couldn’t even find one over £300 a night.

      So you can get a really nice Posh hotel room for a third of what’s being paid, totally f’n unjustifiable use of our money. AND totally counter productive.

      Part of my reasoning for voting YES is that it makes it easier to hold our representatives to account and I’m afraid to say this is a good example of when we should be doing just that.

      We are supposed to be f’n tackling inequality and frankly while the biggest barrier to pulling people over to a yes is “I don’t like Alex Salmond” this kind of stupidity just makes our task harder.

    75. Desimond says:

      I was wondering there how much the delegation involving a Royal Prince and David Beckhman would have cost for London Olympics bid and that led me to find this gem from Lord “Pay me my Media Rights” Coe :

      In September 2008 Coe controversially told reporters “Fuck ’em” when asked about the opposition to the creation of a footballing Team GB from Scottish and Welsh supporters as reported in The London Paper.[26]

    76. a2 says:

      And I don’t buy the Osbourne etc’s doing it so its ok argument.

    77. CameronB says:

      David
      IMO, the strategic planning of Britain’s development ended in the 1960s, when the New Town’s movement and political decentralisation ground to a halt. Or so the establishment though. 😉

      The ‘plan’ for Britain over the next period of it’s ‘national development’, appears to rely on concentrating investment and development opportunities in the heart of England (i.e. the HS2 footprint). All efforts are already being made through various UK policy instruments (e.g. housing policy)to protect the value of sterling and encourage continued growth in the south-east. That appears to be the plan anyway, so Gordon Brown might have been wrong when he claimed to have ended ‘boom and bust’.

      House price inflation does not provide tangible benefit to society, so can not be considered to improve or develop the social experience. Unless up is actually down and ‘trickle down’ benefits to society aren’t ultimately found in Auschwitz.

    78. Desimond says:

      @a2

      Was your hotel search for staying during a key sporting event period?

      Was it searching for a room/suite where you can confidently recieve visitors of a corporate and diplomatic nature in the hope of clinching a prestige Global which will boost your countries economy by £100m?

      The fact that a discount was actually asked and bargained for is quite impressive in my opinion.

    79. CameronB says:

      test

    80. CameronB says:

      Am I on the naughty step or are the security measures blocking all sizable posts?

    81. Robert Louis says:

      Meanwhile, at taxpayers expense, William Windsor and his wife, are enjoying a five star/first class luxury, trip to New Zealand, accompanied by their own personal nanny and (for kate, we assume) a personal hairdresser, and ‘dresser’. Neither of them will be holding trade talks or bringing new major investment into UK manufacturing. The Telegraph probably thinks that is just dandy, whilst whinging about the democratically elected First Minister of Scotland spending 750 quid a night in the USA, in order to actually work to bring investment and jobs to Scotland.

      IMHO, Alex Salmond is easily worth a hundred or more of the two holidaymakers above who live off the UK taxpayer.

    82. Morag says:

      I don’t think there is a naughty step. A cuople of warnings, then bye-bye if you’re not listening seems to be the norm.

      Did you spell your email address wrong?

    83. Clootie says:

      Personal attacks over and over. The lack of respect for the role and title of First Minister is an insult to us all.

      If you accept this type of insult from the English/unionist press then you are acknowledging that Scotland is a backwater unworthy of representation abroad.

      If you don’t value your nation then don’t expect other to do so. Enough of the cringe starting walking tall.

    84. Desimond says:

      @A2
      I think the Osborne comparison is that he isnt being quizzed on Trip expenses by The Telegraph rather than “Well if he’s spending our cash on luxuries so can we”

      @Robrt Louis
      William and his family are helping their wee granny out as she jus cant be arsed doing her own Commonwealth tour, bless.

    85. Morag says:

      The more we examine this, the more reasonable the hotel bill seems to be. In fact, quite the bargain.

      It’s true what Murray said at the top. Their beef is that they see Scotland as a jumped-up county council and the FM as having no right to engage in international relations. They see everything like this as no more than a junket, and a further example of Salmond’s puffed-up ego. That’s the thinking behind this ridiculous story.

    86. Robert Louis says:

      a2

      It is easy to think ‘oh the FM should just slum it when abroad’, but in the real world, he IS the representative of Scotland, and I do not want for Scotland to be shamed abroad by forcing our First Minister to invite major corporate guests around to a room in the local econolodge, FFS!

      Very often with business trips abroad, a suite makes financial sense, as the lounge included is used for business meetings. If no such facility were available, then a separate meeting room would need to be booked – probably at more cost. Many, many business people will book suites for that single reason alone.

      Having been involved in major corporate events, I can tell you, that often a hotel will offer additional rooms for support staff etc.. at massively discounted rates, if a suite is booked as part of the package, so the headline room rate is not necessarily all that is involved.

      The other thing you do need to remember is that there is an element of ‘schmoozing’ corporate guests of the FM to invest in Scotland. You or I might not personally like that idea, but that sadly, is the way the world works.

      It isn’t about swanning around in luxury, it’s about getting best bang for the buck. Just for the record, I’m totally happy to have my taxes used to pay for the FM to stay in a very good hotel ANY night he so wants – he is worth his weight in gold.

    87. scottish_skier says:

      Whit. AS stayed in a nice hotel?

      Well, that’s it. I’m no longer a centre to modest left liberal. AS has pushed me to being an extreme rightie and I’m away to Join the Tories and maybe UKIP. And you can forget my socially liberal side too. That’s gone. Bang em up I say! Hang em! Forget any devolution or federalism too – centralised Westminster governance is the way forward!

      Also, having considered my national identity as Scottish my entire life I’m now first and foremost British. I shall burn the saltire in my garden this evening and hoist the union flag to the sound of ‘land of hope and glory’.

      Finally, I have been very convinced on the financial strengths of Scotland, I no longer believe this due to AS staying in a nice hotel. Instead I’m utterly convinced Scotland is subsidised and no way could it survive alone.

      I shall now be leaving this site for Conservative Hope and UKIP forums.

      😉

    88. Capella says:

      @Morag 12.10
      Tamiflu was originally developed by a California company which had Donald Rumsfeld on the Board. His shares leapt in value when the bird flu scare caused governments to stockpile it. He can’t help it if he’s lucky!
      http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1176743/Donald-Rumsfelds-controversial-links-drug-company-Tamiflu.html

    89. Robert Louis says:

      Kilty,

      Regarding getting monitors in to check on the referendum, I happily agree. I do not trust Westminster, and the electoral commission have shown themselves to be singularly unable to keep a check on any aspect of the process so far.

      I cannot see a down side. If there is a NO vote, so be it, and if there is a YES vote, then the same, but we will KNOW for sure that Westminster or Labour controlled councils have not been fiddling the process, and that the London propagandist outfit, the BBC, has been kept in check.

      I have real worries about the counts, and postal voting fraud.

    90. Kev says:

      @ Robert Louis,

      Fully agree and in addition, mostly because I can’t stand to watch hours of BBC/STV coverage on referendum night but also to keep an eye on any No side shenanigans, I propose Wings does its own coverage of the night with live streaming and commentary from Wings “correspondents” from polling stations around the country…would be great crack if anything!

    91. CameronB says:

      Did you spell your email address wrong?

      I don’t think so. I try sneaking it in on the back of this one. 😉

      David
      IMO, the strategic planning of Britain’s development ended in the 1960s, when the New Town’s movement and political decentralisation ground to a halt. Or so the establishment thought. 😉

      The ‘plan’ for Britain over the next period of it’s ‘national development’, appears to rely on concentrating investment and development opportunities in the heart of England (i.e. the HS2 footprint). That appears to be the full extent of future planned decentralisation.

      The encouragement of growth in the south-east continues to the detriment of rUK and Scotland and policy instruments (e.g. housing policy), appear to be primarily concerned with protecting the value of sterling. I think Gordon Brown probably knew he was talking mince when he claimed to have ended ‘boom and bust’, as south-east property markets are overheating once more. Stimulating property price inflation has always been the chosen method of drumming up the non-EU component of the HS2 project’s funding.

      IMO, house price inflation does not provide tangible benefit to society, so can not be considered to develop or improve the social experience. Unless up is actually down and ‘trickle down’ benefits to society aren’t ultimately found in Auschwitz. Or does Brazil’s still polarized society and it’s resulting favelas, provide an attractive social model for Better Together?

    92. X_Sticks says:

      @scottish_skier

      Oh, PLEASE don’t go, we need you!

      I’m just trying to get Alex to call you now to tell you how much he loves you and that he wants you to stay. 😉

    93. Paula says:

      This depicting in the mainstream media of Alec Salmond as a wanna-be tinpot dictator is really getting old.

    94. CameronB says:

      Did you spell your email address wrong?

      I don’t think I did, so I checked and tried again, but nothing appeared. Strange.

    95. @Desimond says:

      X-Sticks

      Aye but is Alex making a reverse charge call, typical!

    96. liz says:

      @CameronB – I’m having problems as well.

      I tried to post last night but it didn’t appear.

      There’s no spell check box at the bottom of my post and the wee blue circle keeps spinning at the top left – it’s only happening with WoS.

    97. manandboy says:

      http://newsnetscotland.com/index.php/scottish-economy/9030-westminster-attitude-to-ec-nuclear-inquiry-suggests-wrongdoing-say-snp

      Just a flavour of the energy article on Newsnetscotland.

      “The EC also warned that Hinkley Point will hit consumers the hardest. It concluded that it ‘could hardly be argued to contribute to affordability’ and would ‘most likely contribute to an increase in retail prices’. The power station is likely to cost customers around £1bn per year for the entirety of its 35-year contract.

      The taxpayer subsidy that the new Hinkley Point nuclear power station could receive dwarfs the amount offered to renewables. Hinkley Point could receive an estimated £35bn subsidy – over four times the cost of support to all renewable development across the UK over the last ten years.”

      Hinkley point – just another Tory scam to transfer money from the taxpayer to the wealthy shareholders of large companies – this time a mere £35 billion, which is just a starter of course.

      Vote Yes and be free of tory debt slavery.

    98. fairiefromtheearth says:

      Aye just like that time he turned up at a World meeting in a limo,just like all other World leaders and the sun nearly had a heart attach they must want him to travel to the USA in a 69 bus.just imagine every World leader turning up in a limo then Scotlands man turning up in a yellow cab lol jurnalistic FOOLS.

    99. Jon in Chicago says:

      The next time the First Minister comes to Chicago, he is more than welcome to stay with me and my wife for only half of the Peninsula’s group rate. We’re a nice “L” (elevated) or commuter rail ride away from the Loop, and he’s welcome to use my transit card; and both Innis & Gunn and Irn Bru are available here, so I can certainly stock up for guests. Win-win.

    100. Desimond says:

      @Jon in Chicago

      Im hoping to revisit sunny South Dearborn later this year so you have been warned! I would bring a Lorne sausage but you know what customs are like!
      Swap you a Honkers for an Innes!

    101. Andy-B says:

      Johann Lamont has a cheek when, her husband Archie Graham is one of the highest paid councillors in the UK, the UK press and its major political parties will say and do anything to smear Alex Salmond.

      No mention of the very expensive junket abroad by the SPT board, which was made up of Labour prima donna’s.

      http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/scottish-news/seven-transport-bosses-enjoy-nine-day-3303395

      Also today the British Swimming Championships, are underway in Scotland today, the first EVER they’ve been held outside England. Hmm! I wonder why they’re in Scotland this year, its obvious to a blind man why they’re in Scotland.

    102. Appleby says:

      Really pathetic mud slinging efforts. Obviously the old boys network is leaning on their media outlets to start firing off even the old recycled news as ammo.

      As you pointed out, when the champagne bill in Westminster is soaring and is current news along with an MP stealing tens of thousands of pounds and getting away with it this is absurd. It can only be a deliberate attempt to muddy the waters.

    103. Taranaich says:

      @Murray McCallum: The Telegraph don’t see Scotland as a country and therefore the position of FM as internationally credible. They believe the position of FM, like any council leader, should not cross their regional borders.

      Exactly. To them, all the expenses incurred by Westminster are perfectly fine. They’re a “proper” government.

      Folks, if you see anyone bringing this up – and they will, there are a lot of people whose entire problem with independence is Alex Salmond because the papers & Labour tell them – just bring up a few more things bought at taxpayer’s expense:

      £300 – money given to any Lord just for turning up at the House of Lords, for 20 minutes
      £1,600 – price of Sir Peter Vigger’s FLOATING DUCK ISLAND – NEVER FORGET
      £7,604 – the extra money every single MP was given as their 11% pay rise during a time of “austerity”
      £20,000 – severance pay for a minister forced to resign after defrauding £45,000 of UK taxpayer’s money
      £33,000 – cost of chairs for one canteen in Westminster
      £42,401 – salary for the man who carries the Speaker’s ceremonial cloak
      £45,000 – money a minister defrauded from the taxpayer, of which we’re getting a mere fraction paid back
      £250,000 – for a serious of paintings of various MPs given to each other as “gifts”
      £250,000 – proposed price of Westminster’s Gym upgrade
      £275,221 – the House of Commons champagne bill
      £1,950,000 – Spent trying to award a £50 million parking contract
      £7,000,000 – the House of Commons bar & restaurant bill

      God almighty, let’s look at Westminster City Council alone:

      £12,140 – a street survey on what motorists thought of Westminster parking facilities that was so negative it ended up buried by the councillors
      £101,000 – replacement and cleanup of defaced motorcycle parking signs and installation of security devices in the wake of the deeply unpopular bike parking tax
      £675,000 – to set up the Partners in Parking scheme which may be illegal under European Law
      £15,000,000 – money wasted on a CCTV system which was scrapped because the screen resolution was too low to meet regulations
      £17,000,000 – money invested in Landsbanki even after its advisers warned at negative outlook months before it eventually collapsed

      That £3,000 is starting to look pretty good right now, isn’t it?

    104. Croompenstein says:

      @Taranaich – Great post great investigation and put in one place super stuff Taranaich

    105. CameronB says:

      God almighty, let’s look at Westminster City Council alone:

      Sorry for being a pedant, but the correct name for the UK Parliament constituency is the Cities of London and Westminster. As such, the Houses of Parliament are located within a corporately owned piece of real estate, where the corporation has control over who lives there and which way they vote.

      That’s nice. ;(

      http://www.cityoflondon.gov.uk/about-the-city/how-we-work/elections-and-wards/Documents/Business-Leaflet2014.pdf

    106. CameronB says:

      Here is the British/English establishment’s explanation for the good sense behind the continuation of this post-modern feudalistic set-up.

      http://www.gresham.ac.uk/lectures-and-events/the-governance-and-voting-system-of-the-city-of-london

    107. Jon in Chicago says:

      @ Desimond (5:45 p.m.): You’re on, but we’ve got better than Honkers.

    108. mogabee says:

      For those with issues I think this may still be relevant…

      http://wingsoverscotland.com/status-update/

    109. jingly jangly says:

      Andy-B
      Re British Swimming Championships, nothing sinister, its normal to have a “national” championship to test the water of the facilities etc of new sporting venues. This is so that any issues can be ironed out before the big event in July. I think its due to be held in Glasgow next year as well. However, they are moving them about, the Isle of Man has just bid for a future one, they see it as a money spinner.

      Re posts going awol, one of mine went missing last night as well.

    110. Taranaich says:

      Thanks, Croompenstein!

      @CameronB: Sorry for being a pedant, but the correct name for the UK Parliament constituency is the Cities of London and Westminster. As such, the Houses of Parliament are located within a corporately owned piece of real estate, where the corporation has control over who lives there and which way they vote.

      Not at all Cameron, that spectacular and appreciated piece of pedantry only shows exactly the sort of neo-feudal machine we’re up against. I mean my God, WE are paying £40,000 for a man to do THIS:

      http://orderorder.files.wordpress.com/2014/03/bercow.png?w=480&h=318

      (also, to indulge in some of my own pedantry, that should read “series of paintings,” rather than “serious.”)

    111. Stewart Baillie says:

      Just out of interest, George Robertson was spreading the doom in America at the same time. Anyone know what his accommodation / costs were and who payed them?

    112. Muscleguy says:

      @galamcennalath
      I wonder how many of the 18,000 copies are for hotels who are expected to have multiple copies for guests. Then there’s the airports. And then sadly there are places like here in Broughty Ferry which returns not one, but two Tories to the Dundee City Council. Both our now grown up sprogs were paper deliverers and Torygraphs were hardly unknown on their rounds hereabouts. People like that are not very likely to vote Yes anyway, sadly since not only are they Tory voters but they are elderly Tory voters.

    113. David says:

      O/T

      @CameronB, sadly, Brazil is not a good role model for anything, it is basically corrupt to the core, and its politicians make the Westminster lot look like beginners!

      Voting is compulsory, using outdated electronic urns/machines that can be rigged. There are approximately 39, yes, THIRTY-NINE political parties, all getting financial hand-outs.

      The Government spent roughly R$1 Billion (£250 Million) last year on TV commercials, with Globo TV getting the lion’s share. They are the biggest channel, and just like the BBC are beholden to the Government.

      There are protest movements, and allied to the rise in citizen journalism, this is Brazil’s biggest hope for change and progress. Unfortunately I think things will get worse (think violence and repression) before they get better.

      And yes the rich try to live very separate lives from the poor, in bullet-proofed cars and in private condominiums protected by barbed wire and armed guards. But still they get robbed.

      I fear for Brazil, but I hope for Scotland! Sept 18th is our chance to start again.

    114. Juvenalis says:

      Johann Lamont wittered her way through 3/April SFMQ’s, repeating the claim that it had cost 2000 USD per night. Pity she went unchallenged.

      Since BT’s arguments are now demonstrably flawed, it seems like they are going to rely increasingly on personal attacks.



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