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Wings Over Scotland


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Of no materiality 350

Posted on May 27, 2020 by

We’ve just learned that we’ve lost the appeal over our defamation by the then-Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale, when she repeatedly and publicly made the appalling, damaging and wholly untrue smear that I was a homophobe, even though the appeal judges all agreed with the original sheriff that the smear was false and defamatory.

But when it comes to deciding the verdict in a defamation case, it seems that the fact that absolutely everyone agrees I was definitely defamed is, to borrow a phrase from later in the judgement,“of no materiality”.

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Always keep in touch with your friends 301

Posted on May 15, 2020 by

As overt direct interference by unelected, unaccountable foreign media corporations in national politics continues to intensify, readers of Wings will be aware that it’s now considerably more difficult for us to even let you know when we have a new post up.

(Obviously this isn’t quite so much of an issue when we’re on holiday – which despite the flurry of activity in the last week or so we still officially are, since the coronavirus has knackered everything up and unavoidably delayed the decision we’d planned to make last month – but the general principle remains alarming.)

So here are some things you can do.

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Suspicious activities 288

Posted on May 07, 2020 by

Alert readers may have noticed that this site is once more under attack from Twitter. Following the suspension of the main Wings account last December, and one we set up for the prospective political party – suspensions which Twitter has never justified, because the Wings account did not break any of its rules – it has now suspended my personal account (@RevStu) and the account of old spinoff site The Sealand Gazette, both supposedly for evading the ban on the @WingsScotland account.

This allegation is clearly a nonsense, because the RevStu account predated the Wings one by years and was in constant use from its creation up until this morning, and the Gazette account was only used briefly as an emergency backup for the RevStu one when it was temporarily locked at the weekend for unspecified “suspicious activity”, which is a technical security issue rather than a suspension for supposed wrongdoing.

The actual reason for the suspension of all four accounts is this site’s opposition to controversial and massively unpopular transgender ideology, which Twitter supports and which is currently the subject of some hotly-contested and important lawmaking.

(It’s the same reason why Twitter has banned scores, probably hundreds of feminists for the most absurdly innocuous of tweets perceived as challenging trans ideology.)

In other words, these actions are direct censorship and deliberate interference in the political affairs of a country by an unaccountable and unelected foreign corporation serving the interests of a massive right-wing pharmacological lobby.

And even people who despise Wings Over Scotland should be alarmed by that.

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Feeling this 95

Posted on January 30, 2020 by

Just a matter of hours to go. Want it to be like:

But it’s more like:

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The Silence 291

Posted on December 17, 2019 by

As some alert readers have already noticed, our Twitter account has been suspended again, three and a bit years after the last time. The ban is supposedly permanent. To save a lot of repeated explaining in emails and direct messages, a brief record of the pertinent events follows.

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The Panel 426

Posted on November 19, 2019 by

This, frankly, is something that we should have done years before now. But it’s never too late to start.

One of the most annoying and undemocratic things about modern politics is the ease with which MPs and candidates can simply ignore the electorate. I’ve attempted to politely ask my own MP, Wera Hobhouse of the Liberal Democrats, a question on several occasions and had only dead air in response, and many readers report similar from their own representatives.

What that means, among other things, is that it can be impossible to have any idea what someone stands for on a given issue before you vote for them. And that’s plainly unacceptable in a democracy.

However, when there’s an election on, there’s something you can do about it.

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Going down a bad road 57

Posted on September 27, 2019 by

You now have less than 24 hours left to secure your copy of our intermittent cartoonist Mr Cairns’ latest beautifully-crafted volume of biting political satire featuring a cute lion. (No, not the one pictured below.)

For the love of God please don’t upset him or we’ll get more like this.

The Screw 658

Posted on July 08, 2019 by

We’ve just received the verdict in the hearing over costs in our court case against Kezia Dugdale, and it’s an incomprehensible one. The sheriff has awarded costs in full to Dugdale, plus a 50% “uplift” mainly on the grounds of the “complexity” of the case, despite Dugdale having employed the services of perhaps Scotland’s highest-paid specialist defamation QC.

Full costs were awarded despite the sheriff having found that the core complaint on which the case was brought – namely that Dugdale had unjustly defamed me with a damaging and wholly false claim that I was a homophobe – was in fact wholly upheld, and that I had indeed been so defamed.

No explanation was given with regard to the supposed complexities from which the uplift arose. The case was in fact a quite straightforward one in defamation terms: an allegation was made, no supporting facts were provided for it and it was found to be entirely false, but the defender was excused liability on the grounds of honest belief – despite being unable to provide the sheriff with any rational basis for that belief.

That’s just about the bare minimum of complexity that could ever possibly exist in a defamation case, and readers might understandably feel that it ought to have been well within the normal skill set of the defender’s representatives, particularly given that the document comprising the entire core of the case was a single tweet of less than 140 characters.

Apparently if you’re a lawyer who’s been paid tens of thousands of pounds to debate a single tweet you also deserve a 50% bonus by way of extra compensation for all the stress and trauma of, um, doing your normal job.

Kezia Dugdale at no point before, during or after the case apologised for or withdrew her remarks – indeed, after our initial complaint she repeated and expanded them, leaving us with no remedy but to pursue the matter in court, and to compete as best we could with the astronomical sums spent on Dugdale’s defence by external parties and approved by the court even though the sum being sued for was relatively modest.

We don’t yet have a final bill, but we expect it to be in the rough vicinity of £100,000 as previously advised. We’ve already polled readers on their desired response in that event, and received an overwhelming majority of 9:1 in favour of filing an appeal against the substantive judgement on the case.

(The verdict on expenses cannot in practice be appealed itself, but were a substantive appeal to be successful the expenses verdict would automatically be overturned.)

We intend to carry out that decision, but any further views are welcomed.

Imagine our astonishment 242

Posted on July 03, 2019 by

When this complaint got the brush-off from the BBC, flatly refusing a right of reply under Article 28 of the Broadcasting Code to the Corporation’s grossly unbalanced and factually-inaccurate coverage of our court case against Kezia Dugdale:

We now have to go through TWO more rounds of pointless dickaboutery and dismissal from the BBC, taking up several weeks, before Ofcom will take the matter up.

(You may have noted, incidentally, that the letter gives no indication that its response can be appealed in any way. It took Ofcom to tell us it could.)

We’ll keep you posted.

The Achievers 174

Posted on July 02, 2019 by

As we all know by now, the active Yes movement is split into two camps. On one side are the whiners (mainly but not solely from the fringe far left), who are always full of destructive criticism and abuse for their own side while contributing nothing of any value themselves, other than to promote their own media careers.

On the other are the hard workers who actually get things done, quietly producing materials and work that reach out to voters and make a real difference.

These people have no interest in getting their faces known by appearing as tame Nat pundits on TV and radio, no desire to get their foot in the door at the BBC or grab a lucrative seat in Parliament. All most of them care about is bringing about a Yes vote so that they can get back to their normal lives in a better country.

So let’s see if we can help a few of them out.

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The loose end 423

Posted on June 21, 2019 by

Right then. Our 2019 crowdfunder is officially over (the page is actually still live at the moment because several readers have asked it be kept open until the weekend so they can make their own donations, but it’ll be finally closed down on Sunday night).

And good heavens.

The main page alone narrowly beat last year’s all-sources total (ie including donations made via other routes like direct bank transfers) by nearly £600, and the actual final figure for 2019 [EDIT: updated 24 June] is, jawdroppingly, this much:

£171,849

Blimey.

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Call answered 289

Posted on June 16, 2019 by

Our 2019 crowdfunder now has just 24 hours to go, and to be honest it’s exceeded our wildest expectations. Despite the moribund state of Scottish politics over the last two years we’re currently around £3200 beyond the previous all-time record, and that’s just phenomenal. You never stop taking our breath away, folks.

But we’re going to rattle the tin one last time by repeating something we said last year.

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