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Between the whines

Posted on February 13, 2013 by

Fans of TV panel shows will probably be aware of a regular strand on the BBC’s Mock The Week called “Between The Lines”, in which one comedian delivers lines from a speech in the persona of a public figure, while the other translates what they really mean. There’s a chucklesome example here.


For a bit of fun we’ve decided to have our own attempt, with a letter sent out this week to the No campaign’s mailing list by the independence debate’s own Hugh Dennis: “Better Together” campaign director and creative truth interpreter Blair McDougall.


Dear [name of undercover agent redacted],

Finally we have left behind issues of process in the Independence debate and we are getting into the issues that really matter.

“Finally we’ve been forced to stop trying to create uncertainty and doubt about issues of process and get into the issues that really matter.”

Today the UK Government have released their legal advice on what separation would mean for Scotland’s EU membership. However, we are still denied the facts we need by the Scottish Government. Click here to demand Scottish Ministers release their legal advice.

“We didn’t much like the advice we got from ours. Maybe theirs will be better.”

Scots have so many questions about what separating from the UK would mean. What would our place in the world be?

“We would have a place in the world for the first time since Scotland was extinguished and incorporated into England in 1707.”

What currency would we use?

“We would use Sterling.”

How would our jobs and mortgages be effected?

“I don’t know how to spell ‘affected’. And our jobs and mortgages would, obviously, be no more affected than they are when we elect a new government now. Independence can’t change the terms of your contract with your mortgage lender, duh.”

We are determined to give you answers. We think you need all the facts before you make the most important decision in our history.

“Which is why we keep refusing to write to the EU and ask them for the definitive clarification of the membership status of an independent Scotland, even though we’re the only people who can do it.”

You will see in the news that the UK Government have taken the unusual step of publishing normally-confidential legal advice. These independent lawyers give their expert view on Scotland’s place in the world if we decided to go it alone.

“They said it’d be straightforward and realistically achievable within the Scottish Government’s projected timescale.”

They argue that Scotland would have to start from scratch in negotiating our place in the World:

“I think the word ‘world’ is a proper noun for some reason.”

we would need to reapply to join the EU, would lose our membership of important alliances like NATO, and lose our place on the UN Security Council.

“Unbeknownst to anyone, Scotland has a place on the UN Security Council.”

The lawyers are telling us that if leaving the UK is like splitting up a marriage then the rest of the UK gets to keep the house.

“The lawyers made absolutely no mention of ‘marriage’ or ‘houses’ anywhere in their report, but you’re too stupid to understand the clever legal stuff they did say.”

The nationalists won’t give us the most basic facts.

“We don’t listen when the ‘nationalists’ give us the most basic facts.”

Today the nationalists published an economic document that leaves us with more questions than answers. Their own expert group says some things which are common sense:

“Which I’m about to dishonestly misrepresent.”

A separate Scotland couldn’t just decide to keep the pound, we would need to ask the rest of the UK before we could share a currency with what would then be a foreign country.

“Sterling is a fully tradeable currency which any country on Earth can use without getting permission from the UK government.”

There would not be lots of cash to throw around in an Independent Scotland. The money from Oil

“I was taught English by Johann Lamont, apparently. Or I was off sick a lot.”

is already spent on public services in Scotland – we currently receive around £1200 more per person than the UK average.

“The UK is over a trillion pounds in debt, and is therefore perhaps not the best example to cite when talking about fiscal prudence. Scotland’s deficit as a proportion of its GDP is significantly lower than that of the UK.”

Scotland would inherit our share of the UK’s debt of over one thousand billion pounds.

“As a ‘new state’, which is what we’re claiming it would be, an independent Scotland would NOT be liable for any of the UK’s debt.”

What the report doesn’t tell us is what Scottish Ministers plan to do. What if the rest of the UK, having seen the mess of the Euro, say that they don’t think sharing a currency is a good idea?

“Scotland can use Sterling regardless of what the rest of the UK thinks.”

What is plan B? Would we adopt the Euro or set up a separate Scottish currency?

“There is no need for a Plan B, as we’ll be using Sterling. Although a separate Scottish currency pegged to Sterling would be a perfectly viable alternative plan, as was used for decades by the Irish Republic after it gained independence from the UK.”

Given the budget will be tight, how will Scottish Ministers pay for the things they have promised us without raising our taxes? How can they promise higher benefits, cuts to big business like Amazon and Starbucks while also saying they won’t increase tax on North Sea Oil?

“Scottish ministers will fund their policies with the billions of pounds they’ll save in every Parliament from the defence budget alone, among other things.”

After months of false statements, cover-ups and flip-flops on their own legal advice the nationalists still refuse to show us what their own lawyers have told them on Scotland’s place in the World.

“I think everyone who wants independence is a ‘nationalist’, even the Greens and the Labour, Lib Dem and Tory voters who also support it.  And seriously, could someone PLEASE explain to me what a proper noun is? Or at least show me how to operate the automatic grammar checker on this computer?”

Sign our petition to help force the Scottish Government to come clean with the facts on a separate Scotland.

“Please don’t let the Scottish Government come clean with the facts about an independent Scotland, or our campaign is REALLY screwed.”


Blair McDougall
Campaign Director
Better Together

“Blair McDougall, Campaign Director, Better In North England”

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    44 to “Between the whines”

    1. Albert Herring says:

      “Blair McDougall, Campaign Director, Better Extinguished”

    2. Angus McLellan says:

      The new state thing, not sure if that’s just wishful thinking or a misreading of the Vienna Convention on debts and assets, but either way it’s not realistic. But as Jim Wallace told us [Telegraph], the Velvet Divorce and it’s roughly per-capita split of debts isn’t relevant here. No, Jim’s poster kids are the breakup of the USSR and the departure of the Irish Free State … haud on a minute!

      Maybe Jim agrees with the no debt line? Why else would he be picking two examples where, yes, one state continued and kept all the treaties right enough, but that state also kept all the debts. In the case of Russia, the “cost” of that decision, if you ignore the rescheduling of debts that happened later, was about $50 billion. That’s an awful lot of borscht and vodka. According to some sources, it was as much as 25% of Russia’s GDP at the time. By comparison, the amount the UK “lost” on the deal with Ireland was – based on what the UK asking forrather than a per-capita share – as low as £6 million at a time when UK GDP was around £4.5 billion.

      This is probably taking Kremlinology just a little bit too far, but there’s no denying that history is full of weird shit happening. But not usually this weird.

    3. BM says:

      He still hasn’t told me how he got the figure of 57% tax in Norway. Mind you, Ruth and the Scottish Conservatives haven’t told me how many people should be planning the Scotland’s post-independence defence force.

    4. CameronB says:

      I am no expert on body language, but I thought that looking up to the left whilst talking to someone, was a dead giveaway that you are lying through your teeth. There are expert who can actually do this sort of analysis. Perhaps the Rev. could hire one if he has any dosh left over from his appeal.

    5. kininvie says:

      O/T Incidentally, The UK’s legal advice is mighty silent on the question of Norway, which managed to avoid being ‘extinguished’ despite being in two separate unions (Denmark, then Sweden) for rather longer than Scotland.

    6. Doug Daniel says:

      Cameron – unfortunately, looking up and to the left is associated with accessing visual memories. Of course, all this means in this picture is he’s trying to remember what was written down on his Blair’s Sheet Of Big Fat Lies.

    7. Doug Daniel says:

      Stu, what are the chances of this becoming a regular feature? I think it’s good to see what the other side are saying and what sort of lies they’re pushing out to their foot soldiers – it makes it particularly amusing when you see certain people parroting these same lines on the internet. 

    8. We are also taking an alternative view of the news today.
      Alex Salmond accused of creating “parallel universe”

    9. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “Stu, what are the chances of this becoming a regular feature?”

      If Blair (or others) keep providing the feedlines, we’ll be there with the punchlines…

    10. Gayle says:

      Doug, it does also indicate recall, however, when involuntary reactions are added it is clear whether a person is lying or not. There are some fantastic sites on how to spot a liar that go into great detail.

    11. Morag says:

      The problem is, of course, that professional liars have also read that site.

    12. Gayle says:

      They can know what to try and avoid but they can’t stop the involuntary reactions, hence why they are involuntary. 

    13. MajorBloodnok says:

      Morag says: The problem is, of course, that professional liars have also read that site.
      They’re just saying that, you know what they’re like.

    14. Morag says:


    15. Betsy says:

      At the risk of incurring the wrath of those Wings readers who take a dim view of references to football here, I think this football related tale worth highlighting for what it tells us about frankly appalling journalistic standards at the Daily Record. Would be interesting to know if there any similar copy approval arrangements between Scottish journalists and a certain political party. 

    16. Alan Gerrish says:

      BM says:
      13 February, 2013 at 6:03 pm

      He still hasn’t told me how he got the figure of 57% tax in Norway. 
      Don’t know what JW said on this but Norway currently has 3 tax brackets ranging from a low of 12.55% for those earning under kr456,400 to a high of 24.55% for those earning more then kr741,700 a year.
      The myth of course is that Norwegians pay very high taxes and whereas that may have been true in the past (but didn’t stop them achieving the highest standard of living in the developed world), their sound financial management has obviously paid handsome dividends.
      Take home message Jim:  With decisions are made by poiticians focused on their own people and maximising their own potential free of the urge to spend billions pretending they are an important world power (when they never will be), their society will thrive and prosper.  Now, can you just tell me again: why is it we are “stronger together” in bankrupt Britain when wee Norway out there on its own on the northern fringes of Europe with a population and resource portfolio similar to Scotland, is one of the wealthiest, most equal and democratic countries in the world?  Struggling with a straight answer maybe?

    17. Holebender says:

      A killer question occurred to me earlier this evening; if Scotland was extinguished in international law in 1707 how did the Auld Alliance survive into the Twentieth Century (1906)?

    18. CameronB says:

      @ Holebender
      And why the expense of a three hundred year old political, religious, legal and educational charade?

    19. Angus McLellan says:

      @BM: Poor Ruth. no luck at all with her questions. Even the 65,000 civil servants bit was screwed up. The ONS say that MoD headcount was just 60,500 in Q3/2012 (and it will be less today).  Well, still better than Willie Rennie and his billions of treaties. Or any Jackie Baillie question ever.

    20. Cuphook says:

      I love this The Ranger’s pledge site to join the No campaign. It’s under the Human Rights section rather than Politics and the arithmetic is somewhat bold:

      ‘If 20 of us get 10 friends to take the pledge, we’ll reach our goal of [how many?]’

    21. CameronB says:

      @ Cuphook
      A certain D & P possibly help them with their sums. Can’t see this going down well with other unionists who hate The Rangers though? Might be all it takes to get them thinking about what a No vote would mean to future generations.

    22. Cuphook says:

      I thought, perhaps, that it was an attempt to impress Darling with their sums.
      They’re an odd lot. This one would rather die than be independent. I’m guessing that they’re the sort who shout at the TVs.

    23. CameronB says:

      @ Cuphook
      Perhaps it was Darling that did the sums.

    24. Bill C says:

      @Cuphook – You are right they are “odd”. Some of them are also fanatical which makes them dangerous and unhinged.

    25. Jrewen says:

       First time commenting here
      Tonight news night Scotland, 
      I fell off my seat when  the main line news was that they are so desperate they are attacking the leadership of the snp..?!!  Unbelivable on the day that the bbc admitted they were biased in farour of the no campaign.
      And later on the subject of hillwalking news night guest said ” come to Scotland to die”
      My eyes are going blind  ????!,,!!!

    26. Dcanmore says:

      Welcome Jrewen
      That was hilarious! Laughed my arse off at that page. “Keep Scotland protestant, say NO to Home Rule” … try and get your head around that one! Also apparently we’ve been a United Kingdom for 2000 years! I think their involvement in the  Better Together camp should be warmly welcomed lol!

    27. Holebender says:

      Cameron, education, etc. are domestic matters but treaties are a matter of international law. The fact that a treaty between France and Scotland remained in force for 200 years after the union with England is irrefutable proof that Scotland continued to have an international identity long after 1707.

    28. Craig P says:

      Re body language, it is true that you can train yourself not to display classic lying body language (poker players would find their game much less interesting if you couldn’t), the key to spotting a liar apparently is in the words they use… Fewer and less descriptive words when remembering an experience point to a lie, according to a book called Quirkology. Not sure how that helps spot a lying politician, but there you go. 

    29. I take it everyone read Blair”s stream of consciousness rant in the Gruniad last week? 
      In it, Blair exorcises consideration and asserts his inner child, giving it dominion over cognition. There are now no constraints ameliorating his venality. No ounce of decency burdens him. 
      In this current tribute to mendacity, he displays the sociopathic consequence of that letting-go.
      This ethically challenged unfortunate is deserving of our sympathy rather than our scorn, for who among us would make his blackened soul theirs?
      He will never be enraptured in Heaven’s embrace, nor will he be sustained by the hope of the penitent in Purgatory.  All he will know is the unendurable suffering of the wicked.
      May the fleas of a thousand camels infest his armpits.

    30. Angus McLellan says:

      @CW: Newsthump already had the scoop on one Blair getting a clean, new conscience so it would be no great surprise if this Blair had already made similar plans.

    31. Tattie-boggle says:

      Fracking Hell another oily scary gloom and doom story from oor Auntie.

    32. The Man in the Jar says:

      On the subject of whines. This mornings headline on BBC Scotland websight.
      “Fracking could lower oil prices” They never miss a turn!

    33. The Man in the Jar says:

      Sorry Tattie
      I went strait to the comments without looking.
      You have apparently “scooped” me.
      A*******s aren’t they!

    34. The Man in the Jar says:

      Again on the BBC Scotland websight.
      Apparently the Fostering Network (a charity) is appealing for at least 850 more foster parents in Scotland.
      Nowhere dose it mention that the “bedroom tax” applies to foster parents ( a group of people we have to admire) now that they no longer get housing benefit for the spare room required for fostering.

    35. The Man in the Jar says:

      I won’t be holding my breath!         

    36. ianbeag says:

      An interesting comment and a powerful graphic on the growing legacy of the Con-Dem coalition on the working population.

    37. Boorach says:

      @ TMINTJ
      Helen Bloody Boaden the woman who couldn’t find a carpet big enough to sweep the BBC paedophile scandal under is being made a director of said midden…. You couldn’t make it up!
      Coming on top of their declaration that they don’t have to give a balanced view of events makes this particular pensioner want to remove their haemorrhoids orally.

    38. The Man in the Jar says:

      @ CameronB
      The negative comments really are pathetic & straw clutching!

    39. CameronB says:

      @ The Man in the Jar
      Excuse me, you are referring to Blair McDougall, as his increasingly desperate assertions crumble under the weight of economic reality?

    40. Allan28 says:

      It is clearly possible to spin statistics to suit almost any argument, but I thought a very interesting slant on yesterday’s IPSOS-MORI Times information ( ) was the percentage of those polled who could not express a view on the performance of individuals because they ‘didn’t know’.
      These percentages were 49% for Willie Rennie, 39% for Ruth Davidson, 35% for Alistair Darling and 31% for Johann Lamont.
      At the lower end of the scale these were 17% for Nicola Sturgeon, 7% for Alex Salmond and 6% for David Cameron.

    41. CameronB says:

      Looks like caring Wasteminster’s plans are beginning to kick in.

    42. Dcanmore says:

      It’s social cleansing, all London councils regardless of who controls them are doing it. Heygate Estate in Elephant and Castle was ‘cleansed’ of its 3000+, mostly council, tenants that had lived there for generations and are old age pensioners. It is now being demolished to make way for a £1.5 billion regeneration scheme which will include 2400 ‘affordable’ homes (ie two-bedroom flats priced at £200,000-£300,000). The tenants have now been dispersed as far away as Birmingham and Nottingham (now somebody else’s problem). At the town hall meeting where the councillors signed off the deal to developers, only 47 seats were reserved for local tenants, they were chaperoned by over 20 security staff and police.
      “In August 2012 the remaining leaseholders on the estate were served with a Compulsory Purchase Order by Southwark Council. The group of leaseholders have said they intend to object to the Order on the grounds that the redevelopment plan proposes no affordable housing and does not have a provision for renewable energy.” … Wikipedia entry.
      “In October 2012 MP Simon Hughes called for the Heygate planning application to be withdrawn because it proposes just EIGHT social rented homes.” … Wikipedia entry.
      The whole gory story can be found here …
      That’s the vision of Britain today folks, Better Together my arse!

    43. Alan Gerrish says:

      Allan28 says:
      14 February, 2013 at 11:07 am

      It is clearly possible to spin statistics to suit almost any argument, but I thought a very interesting slant on yesterday’s IPSOS-MORI Times information
      Good point Allan28, and the same slant was used by some Conservative spokesperson on Newsnight Scotland last night when he inferred that AS was in serious decline and eclipsed in the satisfaction ratings by JL (7%: 8%) If you take the percentage of people who felt able to make a comment  into account, you find that in a “representative” sample of 100 Scottish people, 28 were satisfied with JL’s performance whereas 46 were satisfied with AS’s performance! See statistics, and see Gordon Brewer who couldn’t (or wouldn’t) challenge this Conservative snakeoil salesman on his fantasy figures discrediting AS !

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