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Wings Over Scotland

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The morning papers 62

Posted on November 27, 2020 by

This week on Wings has been altogether more navel-gazey than we’re comfortable with, as various SNP MPs have mounted a series of all-out personal attacks on the site before the weekend’s crucial NEC elections.

So we’ll have a proper article for you a little later on today, but in the meantime it’d be remiss of us not to tidy up the last fragments of shrapnel, so we’ll direct you to the right of reply to Alyn Smith’s column that The National kindly gave us today:

(Sadly they chose to disable comments, we’d quite have enjoyed the reaction from the few remaining diehard leadership loyalists still posting there.)

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Bustin’ flushes 107

Posted on November 25, 2020 by

Wings Over Scotland marked its ninth birthday earlier this month. To be honest, we totally forgot about it until someone reminded us. Normally we mark the anniversary with a small reflection and taking of stock over how things are going, but this year we couldn’t be bothered – we’d already mentioned readership stats in August.

But today in The National we found out that we were apparently dead.

But reports of our demise have been, as the saying goes, somewhat exaggerated.

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All the jolly boys and girls 375

Posted on November 11, 2020 by

As more and more information fights its way past the Scottish Government’s bouncers into the public domain, and the First Minister’s continued dogged insistence that she knew nothing about the false allegations against Alex Salmond until April 2018 looks more and more ridiculous, lots of things still aren’t clear.

One of them, of course, is who leaked the story to Davie Clegg of the Daily Record in August of that year, when the whole thing should have been confidential and passing it to the press was an unambiguously malicious and criminal act.

(The Information Commissioner’s Office investigated the leak but were sadly unable to locate any evidence. A second investigation is currently in progress.)

So let’s see what we know.

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Agents of fear 288

Posted on November 08, 2020 by

No explanation is given for why “writer at large” Neil Mackay has suddenly conducted a “wide-ranging, exclusive interview” with “one of Britain’s most senior spy chiefs” for today’s Herald On Sunday.

As far as we’re aware absolutely nothing has happened in respect of the UK’s nuclear “deterrent” to make the subject topical. Maybe Mackay just coincidentally bumped into Sir David Omand down the pub or something.

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The telescope’s eye 88

Posted on October 26, 2020 by

Unlike the Hulk, this site very much prefers Andrew Tickell (previously Lallands Peat Worrier) when he’s angry, as opposed to his rather more customary appearance these days as a hearty and affable chronicler of life from the cosy perspective of someone embarking on a lifelong career in Scotland’s well-fed academic/media/legal elite.

He’s on fine fettle as the former in The National today:

The paragraph above is unfailingly true. But if Tories don’t even care about being seen to starve hungry children – just about the most monstrous, inhuman thing imaginable, as Tickell notes in cold, eloquent fury – it completely escapes our understanding why a substantial proportion of people still appear to believe they’ll give Scotland a second referendum out of some sense of morality and decency, just because they’ll have lost yet another election in a country that hasn’t voted Tory in the best part of 70 years.

We’re running out of time. We need a better plan.

Auntie’s Twilight 217

Posted on October 20, 2020 by

Television’s transforming before our eyes, as both what we watch and how we watch it changes. An ever-greater number of programmes shown through increasing mediums. But that doesn’t equate to balanced political coverage being provided, quality product displayed, or distinct countries reflected.

The United States, despite the great wealth and talent available to it in Hollywood and elsewhere, is the worse for the absence of a properly funded and high quality public broadcasting service. Its society is the poorer and its democracy badly distorted by its absence. It’s why Scotland needs a properly funded public broadcaster.

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Services rendered 129

Posted on October 05, 2020 by

Readers, we can’t tell you how much we want to get back to just dissecting Scotland’s hopeless Unionist media for a living. It’s a lot more fun than what the current political circumstances are obliging us to do, so you can hardly imagine our excitement when we spotted what looked like an open goal in yesterday’s Mail On Sunday.

Our ears pricked up immediately at the sight of the words “up to”, which is invariably a sign of dodgy doings on the way, and so it proved. The article contained no solid data at all about the size of Scottish Government special advisers’ pay rises, only how many SpAds there were and which general pay bands they were in, each of which spans a wide range of between £14,000 and £23,000.

But while the Mail had spooned the sitter six feet over the crossbar – because the crude spin they’d put on it was total rubbish – there was still a loose ball just waiting to be knocked into the back of the net.

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Bonfire of the ironies 158

Posted on September 27, 2020 by

Some days it’s not even worth trying to get your jaw off the floor.

Yeah, THAT Neil Mackay.

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Weir’s No Way 119

Posted on September 23, 2020 by

The Electoral Commission appears to have missed yet another deadline for publishing the SNP’s 2019 accounts (we’re waiting on them to return our phone call), so we’ve got a moment to talk about something else relating to the party’s finances.

[EDIT 12.56pm: the Commission now “hopes” to have the accounts published “in the next three weeks” along with those of the other main Westminster parties.]

The Scottish press covered itself in as much disgrace over the publication of the will of lottery winner Colin Weir after his tragic death last year as it had done during his life. Pretty much every paper in the country ran lurid headlines about how he’d “blown” or “burned” (translation: spent) half of his £80m share of the 2011 jackpot in nine years.

Weirdly, the Scottish Sun and the Daily Mail stood out for (mainly) respectful coverage focused on the fact that Colin Weir had in fact used most of the money on good causes and generous support for friends, family and strangers.

(Also, both of the Weirs were fairly old and already in quite poor health when they won the money, so why wouldn’t they spend it? You famously can’t take it with you.)

But the Mail was almost unique in the fact that its headline mentioned something that seemed to stand out as the most obviously newsworthy aspect of the will.

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Liars gonna lie 117

Posted on September 20, 2020 by

Last night on social media a few people raised a semi-interested eyebrow at Scotland On Sunday’s front page, and wondered if the suspiciously unattributed lead story might be something balanced and worthwhile, or if it’d be by Dani Garavelli again.

We have sad news to relate.

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Cracks in the fog 320

Posted on September 17, 2020 by

Over the last year or so, this site’s commentary on matters surrounding the attempted imprisonment of Alex Salmond over false allegations of sexual abuse has attracted a considerable amount of ire from a section of the readership, demanding “proof” of the involvement of the current First Minister.

Such proof has been impossible to provide for legal reasons. But it’s always been the case that the truth could only be suppressed for so long, and events in recent days have brought the first chinks of light through the wall of smoke and mirrors the Scottish Government has been attempting to surround the matter with.

So in our very lightest and softest shoes, let’s tiptoe through what is both a labyrinth and a minefield and see if we can make some of it a little easier to understand.

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By gaslight 200

Posted on August 29, 2020 by

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