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Wings Over Scotland

Briefings abroad

Posted on April 28, 2013 by

We stumbled across this quite by accident yesterday. We think you’ll enjoy it.

The clip is from last year, and was aired on Canadian national news channel Sun News. Douglas Murray is a British writer who claims to be half-Scottish on account of unspecified links to Unionist breeding ground the Isle of Lewis, popular haunt of No-camp luminaries like Alistair Darling, virulent Labour anti-devolutionist Brian Wilson and controversial “Better Together” donor Ian Taylor.

Murray studied at Eton and Oxford and writes for august UK journals like the Spectator and Guardian, as well as appearing on numerous BBC political shows. For some reason, the Canadians consider him an expert on Scottish politics, qualified to inform and enlighten their viewers. See what you think.

We particularly enjoyed the explanation of how the Acts of Union took place in 1701 and his bewilderment at the growth of the “incredibly sectarian mini-national identity” exploited by the SNP (and also the apparent belief of the show’s host that Scotland and Canada speak different languages), but our favourite bit comes right at the start.

“Scottish nationalist politics in recent years has been incredibly volatile, and is subject to really very swift change. I mean to take, as it were, the absurd example, when the film ‘Braveheart’ came out – in 1998 I think it was, the year of, or around the same time as devolution – the Scottish National Party’s share of the vote rocketed up on the basis of that strange and strangely racist anti-English movie.”

If you can stop giggling for a second, let’s just check that assertion.


What we see, in fact, is that the release of ‘Braveheart’, if anything, instantly arrested a sharp rise in the SNP vote (which had increased by 25% in 1987, then by a massive 51% in 1992), turning it first into a small 1% decrease and then a precipitous 25% plunge (followed by a further 11% drop in 2005). So top research there, Professor.

We’ll be keeping a keen eye out for Mr Murray’s next BBC appearance. But in the meantime, perhaps we should be watchful for what else British nationalists are telling the world when they think we’re not looking.

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57 to “Briefings abroad”

  1. Adrian B says:

    Jings, this ones been taking too much white powder in the john
    “Acts of Union took place in 1701” LOL
    Not very up on his 1701 acts of settlement either. Does he have any qualifications?

  2. Linda's back says:

    Canadian viewers will be no less informed than TV  viewers of BBC/ SKy / ITN South  of the Border.
    With a few exceptions “National” political pundits are years behind in their understanding of the SNP and the campaign for independence.
    Problem for the Yes campaign is that most voters in Scotland get their political information from “National” news bulletins at 10 p.m and  front page headlines in English right wing newspapers or Labour’s Daily Record.

  3. Al Ghaf says:

    I have heard better researched and reasoned arguments on a night bus.

  4. Barney Thomson says:

    Adrian B said –
    “Does he have any qualifications?”
    No idea, but if he is from the Henry Jackson Society as stated he has a lot of interesting chums –

  5. Doug Daniel says:

    Wow, that’s really quite incredible. I’m not even sure where to start because there is so much wrong with it. You really have to laugh at the way Murray has gotten his definitions of unions confused when comparing the UK and the EU. We were asked if we wanted to be in the EU in the 70s, yet he calls this a forced union. Conversely, the public weren’t asked if we wanted to be in the UK, and it has taken over 300 years to give ourselves the opportunity to say whether we want to be in it or not. And talk of “severing” ourselves “completely” is, of course, not emotive hyperbolic bollocks at all.
    Oh well, it’s good to have another think tank to put on the List of Think Tanks to Ignore. Henry Jackson Society, eh? I’m sure it’s just as reliable as every other neo-conservative think tank.
    Kudos to the TV station, they appear to have found a presenter who is even more biased against independence than Jeremy Paxman. I wonder if a Canadian presenter would have been quite so dismissive? Personally, I’m getting a bit tired of seeing English men debating how frightfully silly the idea of Scotland becoming independent is – although I suppose you could argue he at least he had the decency to only IMPLY the tight-fisted Scotchman joke, rather than actually say it…

  6. Mathew says:

    Worth noting that Sun News is considered a joke in Canada. I don’t think I know anyone that has watched even a second of it.

  7. pmcrek says:

    If I might do a quick commentary on the graph:
     Thatcher, Thatcher, Thacther Thatcher, Major, Oh Labour might win, Blair, Blair Blair….  followed by some 900,000 votes for the SNP in 2011 and just over 87,000 votes for the Greens and  nearly 19,000 for Margo.

  8. silver19 says:

    It was a nice cosy interview to suit the TV Station political agenda. The TV interviewer basically agreed with everything that tory-Murray said. The TV interviewer (@2:40 in the video) even agreed that we could not afford to be independent as the economics did not look good for Scotland.

  9. LeeMacD says:

    And so, the ill informed dinner table chat of London becomes ‘informed’ opinion.
    Sometimes I regret not going to the right school so that I can earn easy money pretending to know things.
    His problem with Scotland’s ‘mini identity’ existing in the EU is typical of many Unionists, particularly those on the Right who dislike the EU. I think that they see it as a struggle which only ‘Great’ Britain has the strength to win. The UK is their real country, and Scotland, ‘mini’ Scotland, a parochial backwater.
    Look at this tweet from the Vice-Chairman, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, for instance. The subtext is obvious: Holyrood just isn’t as good as Westminster. 


  10. Adrian B says:

    @ Barney,
    He is an Associate Director of the Henry Jackson Society.
    The Scotsman link is interesting:
    Minuses Too clever by half. Can you match him for intellectual chit chat over dinner?
    One of my friends, has a four year old daughter named Cloe – She would have had him for breakfast at the age of two. No contest.

  11. squarego says:

    This is possibly the most ill-informed twit I’ve ever set my eyes on. Even a cursory glance at unionist newspaper headlines would leave a person with a better idea of what independence is about. And that’s saying something.

  12. DanTDog says:

    Rev Stu…any chance of sending this forum line to the Canadian TV Station and requesting their comments…? Might be doubly enlightening…;-)

  13. Ghengis says:

    Oh right, too poor. So the 3rd richest country in the EU and the 7th richest country in the world by GDP per capita when we are independent is too poor.

    And it’s all about hating the English rather than choosing to end Westminster’s malign rule over Scotland .. The suppression of the McCrone report shows that Westminster very deliberately holds back our economy so that they an continue to squander our wealth up Westminster’s walls. Not for the benefit of the people, no, only for the benefit of politicians, the bankers, the Lords, the Labour party, the Tory party.

    At least the EU will not actively suppress our economy (being out of the Eurozone). Moreover they take less than one percent of our revenues compared to the UK which takes it all and decides grudgingly and with insults how much we should have, meanwhile piling on the debts and using Scotland as a nuclear waste dump.

    Being part of the union allows idiots like the people in the interview make lazy insults and erroneous judgements about Scotland. Their ignorance will be revealed to all in due course. Or we will forget them and get on with building a fairer, more prosperous Scotland.

  14. Nairn says:

    Trust me, I know of nobody who will admit to watching Sun News, not even here in Calgary. By ratings, it comes in fourth for news channels in Canada, which is brilliant, because there are only three Canadian news channels. It was conceived as a direct Canadian version of Fox News, and can barely get 20,000 viewers, even two years after it was launched. If the world of cable news were Britpop circa 1996, Sun News would be Menswear. No – forget that – if cable news channels were Doctor Who companions, Sun News would be Kamelion, a shape-changing robot from two stories in 1983 that literally no-one remembers.

  15. Doug Daniel says:

    “If the world of cable news were Britpop circa 1996, Sun News would be Menswear.”
    Hey come on, it can’t be THAT bad…

  16. Jiggsbro says:

    I thought it was diplomats who were sent abroad to lie for their countries.

  17. Patrician says:

    This shows a problem for the London chateratti and is not only heard in discussion of Scottish politics on TV but in anything that happens outside the M25 barrier. If it hasn’t happened in London or America then they make up an answer to what is happening as they go along or they just ignore it as it can’t be important. 

  18. Gordon Bain says:

    I only managed to watch half of that before “the boak” set in. Weasel.
    Hail Alba!

  19. Nairn says:

    @Doug Daniel.
    Oh, but it can…
    A violation of the Code occurred on December 22, 2011, when Ezra Levant, in a commentary on The Source, blasted Chiquita Brands International and its ethical record after the company stated it would discontinue using oil produced from the Alberta oil sands. In his on-air comments, Levant delivered, in Spanish, a term to a Hispanic Chiquita executive telling him to, roughly, have sexual relations with his mother.

  20. Laura says:

    I agree Gordon, only managed about 60 seconds myself – knew what was coming and decided to save my sanity and read the comments instead.
    I have no problem with Unionists if they have something to sell, but have no time for this kind of shite.

  21. Heather McLean says:

    I’m reading this on my phone and the video clip doesn’t work for me but judging from all the comments posted, I’m not actually missing very much. It would probably only raise my blood pressure anyway! 

  22. Bugger (the Panda) says:

    I didn’t know that SUN had a TV channel, nevermind a news one. If they are connected with the SUN newpaper they must be genetically crap as the only thing the print job is worth buying for is to line the parrot’s cage; which, metaphorically speaking, takes us back to Douglas Murray.
    Unionist symmetry can be such fun.

  23. Macart says:

    Aaaaand cue HIGNFY attitude. This eejit’s views seem to be what informs everyone south of the Watford gap. Mind you there’s always room on those panels for one more Braveheart expert. If we’re looking for motivational talks at YES campaign meetings reviewing vids like this would work wonders. 🙂

  24. uilleam_beag says:

    Yikes. Whatever you do, don’t delve into the other YouTube vids featuring Douglas Murray. This guy is an out-and-out neo-con with some deeply worrying views on race-relations. I can’t believe he was given airtime on the BBC’s Daily Politics show to spout such a paper-thin veiled racist agenda as this:-
    Then again, maybe I can.

  25. mogabee says:

    “..oppositionalism..”  Honestly, is that even a word?

  26. Baheid says:

    “..oppositionalism..”  Honestly, is that even a word?
    Must be, an ‘expert’ said it

  27. Tobias Smollett says:

    “…the apparent belief of the show’s host that Scotland and Canada speak different languages”
    Small point of pedantry. The host referred to Quebec regarding languages:

    I think he was correct enough.

  28. GP Walrus says:

    This is the same Douglas Murray some readers will remember as belonging to the infamous Any Questions panel where he, former BBC Governor Baroness Deech and other panellists indulged themselves in some anti-Scottish diatribe, impartially chaired by BBC’s Eddie Mair:

  29. MajorBloodnok says:

    Mr Murray is displaying a clear case of ignorance breeding arrogance, which is consequently the default position of these jumped-up public schoolboys when they don’t know what they’re talking about.

  30. Breeks says:

    I’m extraordinarily glad that Douglas Murray supports Unionism. Imagine how embarrassing it would feel if he was a YES supporter.
    As for the Henry Jackson Society? I’ve never heard of it, but if Mr Murray is an exponent of Henry Jackson principles, I have no particular desire to hear of it again.

  31. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    ““..oppositionalism..” Honestly, is that even a word?”

    It’s in common usage, yes:

  32. Vronsky says:

    Murray is a piece of work.  As a proselytising  neo-con, it’s no wonder that he’s panicked at developments in Scotland.  He’s a leading light in several neo-con groups and has very strong links to Zionism and militant (and militarist) anti-Islamicism.  If people like Murray don’t like us, we’re getting something right.

    If you’re not of a nervous disposition, check out his entry in Source Watch and the onward inks from there – the Gatestone Institute sounds particularly sinister.  The Sun TV channel may be silly and irrelevant, but this man is dangerous.

  33. Iain says:

    Murray is a Neocon careerist who knows the appetite for his barely veiled Islamophobia and Fortress Anglo Saxon scaremongering is virtually limitless. Getting a few digs in at ‘parochial’ Scotland is just a bonus for him, good for burnishing his establishment credentials.

  34. Bill McLean says:

    any comments on the poll in the express this morning? – something smelly about it!

  35. Iain More says:

    Where can I get some of what he is smoking?

  36. Les Wilson says:

    What can you say? just another jumped up ignorant asshole, all this crap is tedious as it was in Canada, because the Nationalists there got all the same treatment.
    What they found however was eventually everyone got fed up with all the doom and gloom and paid no notice. Where Quebec failed ( just ) was an error in not targeting anyone but the Nationalist sympathizers. They did not canvas for others in other parties who may have voted YES with a little more convincing.
    Something the SNP have learned from,  from their error, thus the cross party approach that IS now paying dividends.Hopefully much more as Sept 2014 approaches.

  37. megz says:

    Braveheart came out in 1995, i remember as i fell pregnant a not long after going to see it.  What i will say tho is that i dont hate the english or have anti english feelings driving me to want independence, I do, however, have some anger towards the so called Scots that are holding Scotland back, they are the ones i blame. the only thing standing in the way of Scotland being a better place as an independent Scotland are the Scots that have vested interests in keeping it in the union.

  38. DMyers says:

    I have no idea why Douglas Murray gets the platform that he does.  His performances on Question Time are like a grumpy, spoiled child, and he only seems to be there because he’s written a few inflammatory books and is a lover of the Neo-Conservative project.  He doesn’t strike me as being particularly bright either, so goodness knows who he’s been boffing in order to get his material published.  He was also the director of something called the Centre for Social Cohesion, whose main message appeared to be “We hate Muslims.”  Not great for any sort of cohesion, really.

  39. Eilif Gustafson says:

    You have to laugh! Especially if he can’t tell you the correct year Braveheart came out!

  40. Eilif Gustafson says:

    One of the very reasons we need independence is so we can complete the goal George Robertson wanted devolution to achieve – killing nationalism stone dead!
    When we are independent there will be no more nationalism. No Scottish Nationalism. And no British Nationalism. Just people able to get on with their every day lives without dwelling on constitutional imperfections.

  41. SCED300 says:

    Alex Salmond and other members of the Scottish Government were in The US and Canada a couple of weeks ago for Tartan Week. So they would be putting a positive case. I wonder which Channels they were on.
    Glenn Campbell for BBC Scotland twice tried to get US officials to say there would be  negative  diplomatic consequences concerning the al Magrahi release. They refused. i think that was a few weeks before Tartan Week.

  42. Marty says:

    What a complete Fudd this guy is.

  43. Hi,just thought I’d use this broadcast for my rose’s as horse-shit is great for the garden,and this program is full of horse-shit.

  44. roboscot says:

    I remember a pretty awful interview last year on CNN with an English commentator with the same grasp of the independence issue. On the other hand, I remember an article appearing in the Chicago Tribune a few years ago which was very tuned in. We’re not the only country with a crap media that misinforms its audience.

  45. Christian Wright says:

    He channelled John Cleese well. Surely this character is the very definition of the British up class twit?

    Dare say he was born in Scotland by accident (At least I hope so).
     Parents down from London (“down” as in up) for a spot of shooting at a chum’s Scotch estate when his father’s better half just popped out the little blighter. Complete surprise. No idea thing was in there.

    Now what kind of education must this dolt have had that ommitted reference to that Act of Union that CREATED the United Kingdom of Great Britain he loves so well?

    What particular mental deficiency would lead one to appear on a programme like this to discuss this topic, without first ensuring one had a grasp of the most basic facts related to it?

    What kind of Slone Ranger media whore would shoot from the hip, and risk their rep by pulling wholly spurious “facts” about correlations between the release of Braveheart and SNP assencion, straigt from that most intimate orifice wherein the sun don’t shine?
    it would be a dufus like Douglas Kear Murray of course.

  46. John Gallacher says:

    He has a YouTube channel and this video is on it – I sent a message asking what qualified him as an expert on such subjects and got a snippy response saying it was his opinion and he’d express it anyway and time he wanted.

  47. John Gallacher says:

    Response to query on his youtube channel

    DouglasMurrayArchive 2 months ago

    At no point did he say or pretend that he was giving an impartial or balanced view. As a scotsman he was giving his own personal view as he was asked and is entitled to. As usual the Scottish Nationalists have behaved true to form in response to this video, as babyishly as they usually are with people that don’t agree with them.

  48. Christian Wright says:

    “He has a YouTube channel and this video is on it – I sent a message asking what qualified him as an expert on such subjects and got a snippy response saying it was his opinion and he’d express it anyway and time he wanted.”

    Well, to borrow from that great American thinker, Clint Eastwood: That’s the trouble with opinions, they’re like a$$h0les – everybody’s got one.
    While he is entitled his own opinion, he is not entitled to his own facts, and it is statements of fact in this article that reveals Murray to be an ignoramus and a chancer.
    That’s just my opinion of course 🙂

  49. David Smith says:

    Murray is clearly deeply ensconced in the Dark Side, as it were. These really are shadowy and highly malevolent people.
    One minor point of pedantry; it’s inaccurate to describe these as Anglo-Saxon. The establishment is more directly linked to the Norman Overlords who’s presence has darkened these islands for 1000 years. 
    The proof is there in their shared values of privilege, elitism, warmongering and theft of others’ land and resources.

  50. Knob Roy MacGregor says:

    “who claims to be half-Scottish on account of unspecified links to Unionist breeding ground the Isle of Lewis”
    “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they come to fight you, and then you win.” (M.K. Gandhi)
    Ok you’ve had you laugh after just finding out about this guy.
    Any chance of a heads up when you will start gunning for the half scots?

  51. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    We’re not the side that says who’s a “real Scot” and who isn’t, Knob.

  52. Vronsky says:

    “Any chance of a heads up when you will start gunning for the half scots?”

    Sorry old chap – don’t understand your banter.

  53. Taranaich says:

    Jings, I was only kidding when I opined about Braveheart’s treatment of the Bruce and the Scots as damaging to the nationalist cause, I had no notion there might actually be a correlation supported by voting figures!

  54. Semus says:

    THanks Rev for that keech,That is 5 minutes I willnae get back 

  55. JLT says:

    What …a load of sh***!!!
    Douglas Murray …for a reporter, his work is nothing short of shocking. He got the Act of Union date wrong, he got the year Braveheart wrong, he insulted the Nationalists twice by basically calling them racist, he practically said we were money grabbers, he said Europe was getting closer, but fails to mention that England, and I mean England, want out of the EU… I mean, stop me now, I could go on and on.
    Murray’s no a half-Scot; he’s half a***hole / half racist.
    And the Canadian presenter …he really will have to watch his back from the Canadian Scots. I mean, for 6 minutes, it’s practically insult upon insult.
    Was there complaints afterwards from the Canadian Scots. That would be interesting to know!

  56. Peter Herbert says:

    What a ragbag of curious errors, distortions and blatant racism! I must say, as an Englishman, I find it incredible that opposition to independence tries to play race as a card at every turn. For me the issue is simplicity itself: I have lived under Conservative government and the conservatism of Labour all my life, both in England and Scotland. I am sick to the back teeth of both of them. I loathe their centralist greed, their ignorance of ordinary people and the way that they make decisions purely on the basis of some focus group or what Murdoch says.
    I am a Liberal at heart and I see more of that spirit abroad in Scotland than I ever do in London-centric government. My mind is not yet made up but more and more I shall need strong and convincing arguments to vote for maintaining the status quo. The arguments in this interview make me ever more inclined to vote YES and be damned to London.

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