stooges of the Kremlin

Wings Over Scotland


Archive for the ‘debunks’


The gloom hunters 292

Posted on April 11, 2018 by

The accountancy firm Price Waterhouse Coopers – last seen charging the taxpayer an eye-watering £20.4m for just eight weeks’ work during the collapse of Carillion – today published a report into the declining number of high-street retail outlets in the UK.

BBC Scotland was keen to put a regional slant on it.

According to the article, Scotland had put in the worst performance in the country. But that didn’t appear to be what the report said at all.

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Unmuddied waters 106

Posted on February 05, 2018 by

We’ve had extremely poor internet at Wings HQ since Thursday of last week, which our telecoms company is trying to get to the bottom of. (We’re typing this on an iPhone via very flaky 4G.)

We’ll be back with you ASAP. In the meantime, we’re being baffled by this assertion from the Financial Times that’s been doing the social-media rounds again recently.

Um, that isn’t “difficult” at all. That’s what maritime borders are for. That’s why the UK took the precaution of stealing (or reclaiming, depending on where you’re looking at it from) thousands of square miles of Scottish waters in 1999.

But other than any possible attempts to renegotiate that boundary, there’s nothing to debate. One side of the line is ours. The other side is yours. The end. We’re not at all sure why the FT would ever try to pretend otherwise.

Scottish Lib Dems Fact Check 210

Posted on February 01, 2018 by

The claim:

Let’s check that against what really happened, shall we?

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Replacement bollocks service 343

Posted on January 31, 2018 by

Alert readers may recall some articles last August in which we highlighted the total pig’s breakfast Scotland’s media had made of reporting ScotRail punctuality figures, centred around mistaking the “on time” figures (trains arriving within 59 seconds of their scheduled time, ie at the advertised minute) for the “PPM” figures (trains arriving within five minutes) which are the basis of official punctuality targets.

Several newspapers, including the Herald, Courier, Daily Record and Daily Mail, had to publish corrections after our articles, so we can be pretty sure they won’t have made that mistake again with the latest stats.

Can’t we?

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Fakers gonna fake, fake, fake, fake, fake 213

Posted on January 26, 2018 by

The very strange man who is David Leask, chief reporter at the Herald, has been hard at work with a shovel ever since we ran a couple of stories on Monday.

Accusing this site of publishing “an implausible blog about our paper this week, based on some unchecked &, well, weird assumptions”, he curiously neglected to specify what those assumptions might have been, while embarking on a long, rambling and bewildering rant about what does and doesn’t constitute “fake news”.

Leask’s argument, at least in so far as we can make any sense of it at all, is that even deliberately and knowingly made-up lies printed in mainstream newspapers are not, and can never be, “fake news”.

That’s a term which he insists only applies to spoof sites pretending to be real news outlets, which we’d presume – although it’s by no means clear – means the likes of The Onion or the Daily Mash.

Which is an odd angle.

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The father of the thought 184

Posted on January 01, 2018 by

In the Guardian today:

If only we had some data on that oh wait of course we do.

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The Year That Perished 95

Posted on January 01, 2018 by

The latest Wings Over Scotland annual readership stats are in:

2017 average monthly unique visitors: 303,719
2016 monthly average: 286,162
2015 monthly average: 290,522

(pre-2015 stats from different provider not comparable on a like-for-like basis)

That’s a 6% increase year-on-year, which is pretty respectable going for the dullest 12 months in Scottish politics since this site started (and particularly given the challenging circumstances we had to operate in for the whole of the autumn).

We also found out we were by some distance the most popular website of the Scottish Government, which was nice:

Thank you for all your support, your financial backing, your tip-offs and your company. 2018 is shaping up to be somewhat more interesting, so we hope you’ll stay with us.

Alex Cole-Hamilton Fact Check 137

Posted on December 24, 2017 by

The prissy, easily-upset and extravagantly-funded Lib Dem MSP Alex Cole-Hamilton tweeted this this morning:

Now, we’re not sure “you’ve had the government you’ve voted for about half the time in a two-horse race” would be all that great a selling point in the first place, but shall we see if it’s actually true, readers?

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Please think of the millionaires 124

Posted on December 17, 2017 by

This week’s Scottish budget threw the opposition parties and the media into panic and disarray. Evidently having expected considerably more swingeing tax hikes than the extremely modest increases that were imposed on higher earners, they’d built up a head of steaming fury that had nowhere to go, and have been reduced to frantically scrabbling around for extreme (or flat-out wrong) examples to try to generate outrage.

Today’s politics lead in the Scottish Mail On Sunday is a case in point.

By going through all the numbers with a fine-tooth comb, the SMoS has managed to pick out a tiny anomaly around National Insurance thresholds, and portrayed it as hitting people on a very healthy but not exactly super-rich salary of £45,000 with a total tax-and-NI rate of 53%.

The small print, as ever, is rather less dramatic.

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Tory Liar Of The Week (11-17 Dec 2017) 170

Posted on December 15, 2017 by

Because to tell you the truth, readers, we’re not sure the word “idiot” is accurate any more. The tweets you’re about to read are far beyond simple stupidity and well into the shadowy realms of deliberate falsehood. (Delivered in the secure knowledge that the media won’t challenge it, and in fact will probably exaggerate and amplify it further.)

So let’s start with one of the better-known dum-dums.

That’s serial bonehead Jamie Greene there, demonstrating that he can’t count up to two, because what he evidently meant to write was “two pictures say eleven words”.

This should be good.

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The art of escalation 87

Posted on December 15, 2017 by

The Tories kicked off yesterday’s reaction to the budget with a straight-up lie.

No promise has been broken. The basic rate HAS been frozen, at 20p, and low and middle earners HAVE been protected. Nobody who’s on less than £33,000 – which is considerably higher than the average (£23K) or full-time median (£28K) wages – will pay a penny more tax, and the large majority of Scots will in fact see a small tax cut.

(The weasel-wording justification is of course that pretty much everyone who pays tax pays some of it at the basic rate, and are therefore in a sense “basic-rate taxpayers”. But “nobody will pay any more tax” wasn’t the promise. Indeed, the manifesto pledge is a pretty clear implication that better-off people WOULD be taxed a little more.)

But the numbering was interesting. In order to try to obscure that fact that most Scots would be paying LESS tax as a result of the budget, the Tories went with a nicely vague but high-sounding “hundreds of thousands” for the number of people who’d lose out a little. And then the Scottish media went to work.

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Minor roadworks alert 406

Posted on November 30, 2017 by

Scotland has 2,174 miles of trunk roads, of which 1.7 miles (that’s just under 0.08%) comprise the Queensferry Crossing. For the next few days those 1.7 miles are going to be subject to some partial lane closures on the southbound side for maintenance.

They’ll cause almost no disruption, because as it happens there’s another very similar bridge conveniently located just a couple of hundred yards away – linked directly to all the same roads – that traffic will use instead.

Not much of a story, is it? We don’t know how many miles of Scotland’s roads have roadworks on them on any given day of any given week, but we suspect it’s quite a lot. It tends not to make the news beyond a few seconds on the traffic bulletin at the end, but today was different.

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