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Wings Over Scotland

Archive for the ‘snp accused’

With a weary sigh 219

Posted on March 27, 2018 by

This is a grim and dispiriting time to be monitoring the Scottish political media, even by its normal low standards. So little is happening that Unionist newspapers desperate for any kind of SNP BAD story are scraping the residue from the scrapings from the barrel that they scraped away to splinters months ago.

A case in point is today’s FRONT-PAGE piece in the Herald containing the shocking revelation that someone connected with the SNP registered – in their own name, not even the party’s – an internet domain called last summer.

Even though the domain is still unused eight months later and there isn’t a shred of evidence about what it might ever be used for, a couple of opposition benchwarmers speculating that a private individual registering a web domain must somehow prove that the sneaky SNP are plotting a new independence campaign was considered by the Herald to be not just news, but front-page news.

(It’ll certainly come as a massive shock to everyone in Scotland who assumed that the SNP had given up on seeking independence after pursuing it as their primary reason for existence for a mere 85 years or so.)

And alarmingly, it wasn’t even the stupidest piece of Nat-bashing to appear in the Scottish press in the last 48 hours.

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The problem with positivity 95

Posted on May 06, 2013 by

There’s more to the campaign for independence than merely putting forward a good case for independence. People in general are afraid of change – they avoid it if possible and need not only good reasons to change, but also reasons why what they have at present isn’t working.


If a salesperson were to try to sell you a car, would they succeed if you already owned a car that you liked and felt performed the function it needed to perform? They might try to highlight the increased fuel efficiency, smooth ride, warranty and additional extra features that your current vehicle doesn’t have. They could offer options on financing to show that you can afford it.

But what if in addition to pointing out the positive benefits of a new car, they also begin to highlight where your own car was serving its purpose poorly? The fortune you’re paying in petrol, the discomfort you suffer as you drive, the constant breakdowns and repair fees, and so on. Would you start to be more interested in changing then?

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FAO the Scottish Conservatives 59

Posted on January 02, 2013 by

The Scottish Tories have issued a rather pompous press release today, seemingly based on the curiously mistaken assumption that their 15 Holyrood MSPs out of 130 are in a position to give orders to the Scottish Government

“The Scottish Conservatives demanded in early October that Finance Secretary John Swinney outlines exactly how policies such as free prescriptions and free buses passes for over 60s could continue in the face of an ageing population and tightening budgets. But the Scottish Government has failed to provide any information, with that deadline passing on Monday.

Scottish Conservative finance spokesman Gavin Brown MSP said:

“It should have been straightforward for John Swinney to present a 10-year plan, especially with him having most of the information to hand. Scotland is facing a demographic timebomb, yet the SNP seems determined to provide free prescriptions and travel to those who can well afford it.

Unfortunately, it is completely unwilling to show how this would be paid for, which can only lead us to the conclusion that it will be funded through vastly increased taxes and borrowing.”

As others have noted, it’s interesting that the Tories appear to assume the SNP will be in power at Holyrood for at least the next decade. But while we can’t speak for the Finance Secretary, perhaps the reason he didn’t waste any of his valuable ministerial time answering the Conservatives’ demand was that he knew Wings Over Scotland had already done it for him two-and-a-half months ago – and in fact for 20 years of “demographic timebomb”, not just 10. If there’s anything else the Tories would like to know that we’ve already comprehensively established, feel free to point them our way.

Once again: we’re more than happy to accept the Unionist parties’ assertions that Scotland couldn’t afford to pay for universal services if it stayed in the UK. But there’s an alternative to staying in the UK, under which we CAN afford them. We are, as always, grateful to the anti-independence campaign for pointing the fact out.


Posted on June 18, 2012 by

We think our brains may have been completely fused by a story in today’s Daily Record, which is based around comments by Rutherglen Labour MSP James Kelly, pictured below in a scene from the particularly bad acid headache he’s just given us.

Here’s the bit that’s been making our minds spin round and round and round in circles this morning until we’re dizzy trying to make sense of it:

ALEX Salmond was accused of “double standards” yesterday over his efforts to woo Rupert Murdoch. Labour raised further questions about the First Minister’s links with Murdoch following claims the media mogul lobbied Tony Blair to wage war in Iraq.

Former spin doctor Alastair Campbell said in the latest volume of his memoirs that Blair “took a call from Murdoch who was pressing on timings, saying how News International would support us, etc”.

Salmond won plaudits across Scotland for his outspoken opposition to the war which he described as “the most disastrous foreign policy decision of recent times”. But it did not stop him from trying to get closer to Murdoch to win The Sun newspaper’s backing for the SNP.

Labour MSP and chief whip James Kelly said: “This could make the conversation a little uncomfortable the next time Alex Salmond has Rupert Murdoch round to Bute House for tea and biscuits. Alex Salmond was against the Iraq war but that didn’t stop him cosying up to Rupert Murdoch. This is classic double standards from Alex Salmond who is prepared to put his party’s interests ahead of any issue.””

Let’s try to talk our way through this slowly: LABOUR is attacking the SNP for not being sufficiently critical of RUPERT MURDOCH when he backed LABOUR Prime Minister TONY BLAIR over going to war in IRAQ in 2003? What, seriously?

That can’t really be it, can it? Labour, who instigated the illegal war that left hundreds of thousands dead, attacking an opposition party who voted against that war (and which actually tried to impeach Blair for it) for not being critical enough of a newspaper proprietor whose papers enthusiastically backed Labour at the time and who made Tony Blair godfather to one of his children, because when subsequently in government it had a couple of meetings with that newspaper proprietor (also one of Scotland’s largest private-sector employers) the best part of a decade later?

Are we dreaming this stuff? Please tell us we’re dreaming it.

Salmond, Murdoch and Occam’s Beard 35

Posted on June 14, 2012 by

It’s been remarkable watching the awkward reactions of Alex Salmond’s detractors to his appearance at the Leveson inquiry yesterday. Over two hours of questioning didn’t manage so much as a scratch on the First Minister, with even ardent Unionist hacks forced to admit that Salmond was “skooshing” the proceedings and describing it as an “effortless stroll” for the SNP leader. Even the Herald’s Iain Macwhirter, a normally-intelligent commentator recently driven half-demented by hatred for Murdoch, was forced to concede that Salmond had sailed through unharmed.

With opposition politicians and activists (and even some supposedly-loyal nationalists) having long been forecasting a humiliating inquisition for Salmond at the hands of Robert Jay, there’s currently a great deal of sour muttering and embarrassed shuffling of feet going on in Unionist ranks, personified on Newsnight Scotland last night by Labour’s unfortunate Paul Martin, who didn’t seem to quite know what to do with himself except mumble some vague waffle about there having been no conclusive proof that the Scottish Government maintaining cordial relations with one of Scotland’s largest private-sector employers would likely be beneficial to Scottish employment.

The depressing thing about the opposition’s reaction is its sheer petulance and intellectual bankruptcy, typified by a thoroughly dispiriting argument we had yesterday. It doesn’t matter how comprehensively, how often or by whom the SNP are cleared of any sort of wrongdoing, or how many rational, logical, sensible explanations for things are offered – Labour and the other opponents of independence simply turn a blind eye and a deaf ear, flatly refusing to accept any reality they don’t like and endlessly repeating their demands for “answers”, even though they’ve just been given them.

For the record and easy reference, though, we’ll quickly run through them again below.

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Labour gets its story straight 1

Posted on March 21, 2012 by

Ed Miliband's speech to the Scottish Labour conference, 2nd March 2012:

"If we believe in the idea of Scotland as a progressive beacon, why would we turn our back on the redistributive union – the United Kingdom?"

John McFall, Baron of Alcluith, Scottish Labour MP until 2010 and ex-chairman of the House Of Commons Treasury Committee, on BBC News at 8.46am, 21st March 2012:

"The North-South divide is getting bigger, not smaller."

When Labour ask you to vote for the status quo of the "redistributive Union" in 2014, readers, remember which direction it is that the party – by its own admission – wants to keep redistributing the UK's money in.

Kettle, meet pot 8

Posted on February 11, 2012 by

It’s almost like they don’t even know they’re doing it, the poor loves.

“The First Minister was selective in his definition of a ‘gauleiter’ in the Holyrood chamber on Thursday.”

That’s Ruth Davidson, quoted disapproving of the FM’s shady behaviour in a Scottish Conservatives press release today. And it’s a strong point – there’s nothing worse than using definitions selectively to support your own case, right? But wait, what’s this?

“Alex Salmond described it as the kind of decision made by a tin-pot dictatorship populated by ‘gauleiters’ – which, according to the Chambers dictionary is a Nazi official.”

That’s the very same press release, just a few lines earlier. And unless we’re very much mistaken, what it’s doing is… you guessed it, readers. It’s selectively quoting from the dictionary definition of a “gauleiter”. Oops! Our wife’s going to kill us, etc.

But in fact, it’s rather worse than just selective – as the Collins definition quite clearly notes, “Gauleiter” in a Nazi context must have a capital “G”, because all German nouns are capitalised. If you write the word all in lower-case (as the Tory press release attributes to the FM) you’re explicitly citing the non-Nazi definition, which means that according to the Tories themselves, Salmond’s usage is correct and theirs is wrong.

And the Chambers definition they refer to makes things worse still – it explicitly refers to the Nazi definition as “historical”, meaning the current usage of the word is indeed to describe a petty bureaucrat. It also states that the former definition is only applicable to the period “under the Nazi regime”, which as far as we’re aware ended in 1945. (Germany has no Gauleiters nowadays.) In other words, unless you’re directly referring to specific events that took place in Germany under Adolf Hitler, the ONLY legitimate current definition of the word “gauleiter” is the one the First Minister used.

We’re sure the Scottish Conservatives would be embarrassed at this shocking display of both rank hypocrisy and basic grammatical ignorance, except that looking at what they’re doing to the unemployed, the disabled, and the sick at the moment, we’re forced to conclude that the Tories have no shame at all.

Cause and effect 2

Posted on November 18, 2011 by

All the papers today report on the latest developments over the increasingly doomed-looking Scotland Bill. Perhaps the most telling comment in all of them, though, wanders in unassumingly towards the end of the Herald's piece.

Mr Mundell, the country’s only Tory MSP, said: “I do not believe the Scottish election result earlier this year was a mandate to strengthen this Bill.”

One does tend to get the impression that the Tories still don't see the connection between those two things, and we're going to be so bold as to assert that their electoral prospects are unlikely to improve until they do. Earlier on in the article the Herald's Robbie Dinwoodie notes that "the Westminster Ministers’ repeated riposte was to point to the result of the previous May when the pro-Calman parties won their mandate", which is an underestimation of the Scottish electorate so grave that it all but explains the SNP's landslide in May by itself.

Scottish voters know full well that there's next to no point in electing SNP MPs to Westminster. Even if every single Scottish seat went to the nationalists, they would have almost no chance of achieving or influencing anything, since only twice in the last 50 years (and briefly on both occasions) has the entire block of Scottish MPs held the balance of majority at Westminster. Sending SNP members south serves only to dilute the party's talent base, and while the SNP can never admit this in public and have to put forward a candidate in every seat (because to do otherwise would appear defeatist), it's largely a gesture – the difference in the amount of money and effort the party devotes to Westminster and Holyrood campaigning is huge.

The electorate therefore tends to use its vote tactically against the Tories, and as they can't trust Labour and the SNP to work together against a common enemy – witness Labour's venomous, contemptuous response when the Scottish and Welsh nationalists offered their support for a centre-left coalition in 2010 – Scottish voters in Westminster elections therefore quite reasonably back the biggest of the opposition parties. (It speaks volumes for the degree to which Labour has exhausted the patience of its core vote that even despite this, the SNP have now moved well ahead in the polls for voting intentions at the next UK general election.)

The huffy intransigence of the coalition in the face of the Scottish Parliament's attempts to improve the Scotland Bill – with a cleverly-chosen package of suggestions backed not only by the SNP but variously by all three Holyrood opposition parties – shows how little they've grasped about the reasons for the rise of the nationalists. This stubborn resistance already looks like costing them the Scotland Bill (which in its current form is a sneaky attempt to weaken the Scottish Government by quietly reducing its funding while shifting the blame to Holyrood). If they continue with the see-no-evil-hear-no-evil approach, it may cost them Scotland itself.

Listening and learning, Labour-style 1

Posted on November 14, 2011 by

"Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon said minimum pricing was not a magic bullet, but a part of the solution."
(BBC, 1 Nov 2011)

"Sturgeon said a minimum price was 'not a magic bullet'"
(Alcohol Policy UK, 1 Nov 2011)

"Minimum pricing is not a magic bullet, but it is a huge step in the right direction."
(Nicola Sturgeon, Evening Times, 8 Sep 2011)

"[Nicola Sturgeon] doesn’t and never has believed that minimum pricing is the magic bullet solution."
(Holyrood magazine, 15 Oct 2010)

"We should not see any particular initiative as a magic bullet — we need a strong package of measures. That initiative was simply another tool in the box."
(Nicola Sturgeon, Findlaw UK, 30 Sep 2010)

"While [minimum pricing] is not a magic bullet, it would effectively target problem drinkers and help them reduce their alcohol consumption."
(Nicola Sturgeon, STV News, 31 Aug 2010)

"While it's not a magic bullet, we believe that minimum pricing would effectively target problem drinkers."
(Nicola Sturgeon, Newsnet Scotland, 9 June 2010)


"The SNP seem to think that minimum unit pricing is some sort of silver bullet."
(Richard Simpson, Labour Shadow Health Minister, 14 Nov 2011)



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