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Wings Over Scotland

Chasing the game

Posted on October 31, 2012 by

Poor old The Herald. The paper’s political editor Magnus Gardham must have felt today was a safe day to keep piling attacks on the SNP about an independent Scotland’s status within the EU. So he went ahead and penned “Further Blow For Salmond Over Europe”, a front-page lead concocted out of comments from an obscure European politician about Catalonia, which observant readers may be aware is not Scotland.

Yet even as Gardham (and colleague David Leask) thundered about how a mandarin from Luxembourg’s personal opinion about a situation almost entirely incomparable with that of the United Kingdom could nevertheless be extrapolated to dire consequences for Scotland (with a Yes vote in the referendum leading to Scots being ejected from the EU and forced to apply for membership as a new nation), a document published by the UK’s own Parliament came to light offering exactly the opposite view.

The document, dated 24th September and 17th October this year, is a submission to the Foreign Affairs Select Committee by Graham Avery, who is identified as a “Senior Member of St. Antony’s College, Oxford, Senior Adviser at the European Policy Centre, Brussels, and Honorary Director-General of the European Commission”, and whose CV notes that he spent “40 years as a senior official in Whitehall and Brussels, and took part in successive negotiations for EU enlargement”. Sounds like a chap who might know what he was talking about in this field.

You can read the whole thing here. But a few passages leap out. (Our emphasis.)

“Scotland’s 5 million people, having been members of the EU for 40 years; have acquired rights as European citizens. For practical and political reasons they could not be asked to leave the EU and apply for readmission.”

“For practical and political reasons the idea of Scotland leaving the EU, and subsequently applying to join it, is not feasible. From the practical point of view, it would require complicated temporary arrangements for a new relationship between the EU (including the rest of the UK) and Scotland (outside the EU) including the possibility of controls at the frontier with England. Neither the EU (including the rest of the UK.) nor Scotland would have an interest in creating such an anomaly.”

“From the political point of view, Scotland has been in the EU for 40 years; and its people have acquired rights as European citizens. If they wish to remain in the EU, they could hardly be asked to leave and then reapply for membership in the same way as the people of a non-member country such as Turkey. The point can be illustrated by considering another example: if a break-up of Belgium were agreed between Wallonia and Flanders, it is inconceivable that other EU members would require 11 million people to leave the EU and then reapply for membership.”

“In respect of EU policies and legislation, Scotland’s citizens have a legitimate expectation of the maintenance of the status quo in terms of economic and social conditions.”

The short version? An independent Scotland would retain membership of the EU automatically. Well, glad we got that all cleared up. Someone nip along and tell the Herald, eh? They’re only a 229-year-old newspaper with a well-staffed professional news desk packed with full-time experienced political journalists, you can’t expect them to keep up with this sort of thing AND bash the SNP as well.

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    99 to “Chasing the game”

    1. Tearlach says:

      Yep – its the “the EU has no mechanism to remove the rights of EU membership from citizens” bit that kind of undermines their argument. Proof? Well that one time at a “territory” left the EU in comparable circumstance – Greenland, following a referendum – it required a specific treaty, called the “Greenland Treaty”, which took two years to negotiate, and lots of issues around fishing rights.
      Sound familiar?

    2. Swello says:

      It will be interesting to see which Media outlets pick this up at all, as given the very accessible way in which the document is written, quotes can be taken from it verbatim and easily understood by a “normal” person. 

      I don’t think it would be too much of a stretch of credibility to say that if a document was produced by such a well qualified & “neutral” expert giving the opposite view, it would be a very prominent story indeed on the BBC and elsewhere… 

    3. James McLaren says:

      You would think that they would have a Westmister correspondent who would, if he was up to job, have been following such submissions, committees and startling findings?
      Naw, truth and honestly along with other journalism tenets went out the door in The Herald, the Scotsman and the BBC ( pioneer status)
      Elsewhere, in the real business World, somebody would get their jotters for this.
      Has the BBC a slush fund to subsidise the inky fingered Unionist press in Scotland?
      Somebody has to be. This is economic suicide.

    4. Dual_Intention says:


      All we need then is a legally sound statement from the Union to endorse this high powered opinion.  Encouraging as it is, it’s still only opinion. Unfortunately! 🙁


    5. Scott Minto (Aka Sneekyboy) says:

      Its troll central on that story today in the herald. Been ramming home the Westminster publication though. 🙂

    6. cadgers says:

      And they’re now charging extra to be able to read such tosh!
      Are the high heedyins related to lemmings?

    7. R.Louis says:

      How can it be, that Revstu, has managed to clear this issue up (albeit with help from a comment last night), yet so-called ‘professional journalists’ at The Herald, The Scotsman, and even the propagandist BBC seem unable to uncover such documents.

      The question needs to be asked, what are people such as Magnus Gardham getting paid to do all day???  Is it merely to re-draft Labour and Tory party press releases attacking the notion of Scottish self rule??

      Could somebody in the NUJ in Scotland, not realise how their profession is being quite literally trashed on a daily basis by the bilge and lies coming from the Scotsman, Herald and propagandist BBC at Pacific Quay?? 

      I’d say this document pretty much nails the issue. 

    8. Macart says:

      I’ve posted that link on four sites already and emailed it twice. Looking forward to some squirming from the msm as it gets about.

      They’ll be twisting in knots to spin the outcome of that report. 🙂 

    9. R.Louis says:

      Someone should post a copy recorded delivery to Brian Taylor at Pathetic Quay, so he has no excuse for not having seen it.  While we are at it, the same could be done for the party ‘leaders’,  Lamont, Davidson, and the other one.

    10. James McLaren says:

      Scott Minto
      I posted the link earlier this morning and it was only published because you, Sneakyboy that you are, slipped it in. Well done.
      I must really be on their No Fly list

    11. gnohbdi says:

      “The short version? An independent Scotland would retain membership of the EU automatically.”

      That’s the too-short version.

      The short version is “it is politically inconceivable that an independent Scotland would not seamlessly continue to be in the EU”.

      In other words, although it’s not automatic, any alternative scenario is a laughably unrealistic scary story, peddled by unionist numpties who think our heids zip up the back.

    12. Scott Minto (Aka Sneekyboy) says:

      @ James,

      Usually they delete links in the herald (as they might show the article up to be tosh)… but yours is up and the full link is posted too.

      It depends on who’s articles you post.

      When I was debunking the Trident Jobs malarky I couldnt get the link to the CND report on “Trident, Jobs and the UK Economy” to be allowed on Gardhams articles… but another Herald journalist let them stand on a related topic.     

    13. scottish_skier says:

      As I said before, I’m starting to like Dave.

      Sending Hammond up was a masterstroke, leaving e.g. the BBC desperately trying to sell the benefits of a new load of 10’s of billion £ WMDs on the Clyde, while doing their best to pretend Tories saying Scotland is too cowardly to vote for independence is just fine and dandy.

      Then this nice wee document is released basically agreeing with the Scottish Government’s stance on the EU.

      Scotland will not remain in the UK under the Tories. The Tories and SNP know this fine. The panelbase poll will not have been the only one – it’s just the first we saw published which asked the right question. So both governments are working it out amicably together with the Tories helping things along where they can in their own special way. After all, they want it done and dusted ahead of the 2015 rUKGE so they can set about winning that. Which they very likely will.

      Hence the headless chicken behaviour of Scottish unionist parties.

      As for the WMDs. Maybe the lack of contingency is to allow the Tories to drop trident long term? It is hellish expensive and with Scotland gone / GB effectively over, trying to keep a seat on the UNSC is going to be tough even with WMDs. It would be an easy way to get around those backbenchers who support keeping a deterrent with minimum fuss and allow the Tories to focus on turning the SE/London into basically a capitalist city state (think Hong Kong, Taiwan) with some nice large countryside suburbs. Just musing here of course.


    14. Wallace Bruce says:

      The Herald is going through its death throes.  It’s not nice to watch, but we can expect quite a few more spasmodic knee-jerks and twitches from it before the last copy of its final edition ends up in the bottom of a litter tray.

    15. Swello says:

      As always happens when something is clarified fairly decisively,  the argument will seamlessly shift – in this case, now expect to see the scare story moving away from Scotland’s EU membership per se and on to Schengen & forced Euro adoption. The problem with this approach is that as things are clarified over time, the law of diminishing returns kick in to the point that the arguments are over minutiae that are impossible to clarify outside of the actual negotiations.

      If they feel the EU stuff has run out of milage for now, my guess is that the No Side/MSM will move on to Sterling/Bank of England as their “big stick” – as the Yes Campaign don’t yet have a very complete story there so far in my view.

    16. Iain says:

      Rumour that Dave is wooing the SNP, DUP & others in the vote for rise in Euro budget, against Con rebels plus a whipped Labour who want it cut. We are truly through the looking glass

    17. Peter A Bell says:

      I have frequently had cause to wonder why unionists imagine the views of (selected) foreign politicians to be worthy of some kind of special weighting. But that is not the only oddity about the unionists’ case. As I point out in today’s blog, (Same questions. Different answers.  –, there is something distinctly awry with the novel position, advanced by some unionists at Holyrood yesterday, which acknowledges that Scotland will still be a member of the EU after independence but insists that all of the treaties which define membership will somehow be void and require to be negotiated.

      It makes no sense, of course. Scotland can only be a member of the EU by virtue of the treaties signed on its behalf by the UK. It cannot both be a member and not be a signatory to those treaties. And while treating both Scotland and rUK as successor states remains the most credible option – by a massive margin – this can only be done by acknowledging that the status of both is defined by the treaties in effect at the point of independence.

      I think Willie Rennie tried to suggest that there would have to be some interim arrangement while new treaties were negotiated. But whatever this “interim arrangement” might be, it too would have to be negotiated. Unless, of course, there was some other interim arrangement to tide us over during the period of the first interim arrangement. But that interim arrangement too would require negotiation. I feel an infinite regression coming on!

      Then there’s another problem. As the treaties were signed by the UK on behalf of both Scotland and rUK, it is difficult to see how these treaties might be invalidated for one party but not the other. If the treaties cease to apply, they cease to apply to both Scotland and rUK. If Scotland has to negotiate new treaties, so does rUK.
      Gosh! The unionists have got themselves in an almighty guddle with this one!

    18. scottish_skier says:

      @ Iain

      Dave is a fairly ‘liberal’ Tory. Very much like Clegg who is a right-wing liberal; hence they get on well. True ‘liberal’ economic right-wingers/Tories want to remain in the EU due to the free market including freedom of movement which underpins a free market. Same applies to New Labour and the Libs. Basically, for all they’ll talk about an EU referendum, it his highly unlikely there will be one. We may see Westminster try to get more concessions from the EU, using withdrawal as a threat, but they do not want the UK out of the EU.

      As for the SNP voting with the Tories at Westminster. Don’t be surprised at this happening quite a bit over the next two years, e.g. for the boundary changes. The SNP assisting the Tories in return for the Tories assisting them. It is well known that the SNP work with Plaid as they share common goals. It is therefore unsurprising that they might both work with the English National Party, aka the Tories. The Tories may not have wished to become that, but it’s what had happened by 1997.

    19. Ronald Henderson says:

      I have difficulty in understanding why any of you would bother to buy either the Scotsman or the Herald. The sooner they go the better it will be for this country.

    20. Tris says:

      I wonder if Lament will table a question on the subject tomorrow? I’d enjoy that.

    21. One passage that leaps out at me is: “Such solutions would, in fact, be in Scotland’s interest since it could expect to obtain a better deal as a member state with a full voice and vote in the EU than in the pre-independence period.

    22. Iain says:

      scottish_skier says:
      ‘It is therefore unsurprising that they might both work with the English National Party, aka the Tories.’

      Does that mean Labour has become the British National Party?


    23. Embradon says:

      For a week or so now I’ve been asking every unionist I can find whether they thought that Belgium dividing into Flanders and Wallonia would mean Brussels being thrown out of the EU and having to re-apply.
      Strangely there has been complete silence so far.

    24. scottish_skier says:


      “Does that mean Labour has become the British National Party?” 

      Well given that Labour are closest to the BNP on the political spectrum*, Ed increasingly wrapping himself in the union jack while his party becomes the main backer of British nationalism (the union), you might be forgiven for thinking so.

      *Labour 2010 lay directly between the Tories and the BNP, close to the DUP. Not changed much other than openly admitting they are right wing recently with Ed’s one nation Tory speech. 

    25. Morag says:

      Ronald Henderson said:
      I have difficulty in understanding why any of you would bother to buy either the Scotsman or the Herald. The sooner they go the better it will be for this country.

      I like having a paper delivered. I like to support the village newsagent, who (among other things) battled through the snow to get milk and rolls back to us when we were cut off a couple of years ago.

      I keep threatening to stop the Herald.  I have walked into the shop to cancel it, more than once, and chickened out.  I will do it though.  Soon.  Any day now….

    26. G H Graham says:

      The Scotsman reported today that former First Minister Henry McLeish (Labour) said Alex Salmond has not misled voters about not taking legal advice on an independent Scotland joining the European Union.

      He also critises Lamont by saying … “I think our energy, our focus, could be used in better ways because at the end of the day this is unlikely to happen. There are far more important areas where Labour could win many converts from the public and score political goals.”

      Even Labour die hards think that Lamont’s leadership is poor & is failing to focus on the issues she should be able to competently & successfully argue.

      For the record, he resigned as First Minister in 2001 after allegations that he sub-let part of his tax-subsidised Westminster constituency office without it having been registered in the ‘register of interests’ kept in the Parliamentary office.

      And he is a consultant with J. Chandler & Co., distributor of Buckfast Tonic Wine.

      Classy, eh?

    27. Training Day says:

      I’m with Ronald Henderson above.  There seems to me to be very little point in either buying the Herald or engaging with it online.  All logic dictates that it is madness for the Herald to employ Gardham, that it is even greater folly to continue to allow him to indulge his Diary of a Madman-esque fantasies unchecked.  Something therefore must be underpinning this tactic – you would think – whether that be using Gardham as a paid troll to attract independence supporters to the Herald website, or whether the Herald feels it can continue on this tack regardless as it is being financially supported from elsewhere. 

      I haven’t bought the Herald for many years, and apart from turning me into a foaming-mouthed, swivel-eyed cybernat it hasn’t done me any harm.. 😉

    28. Barontorc says:

      James McLaren   “…(is) there a slush fund to subsidise the inky fingered Unionist press in Scotland? – Somebody has to be. …this is economic suicide”.


      I know of no private company that will tolerate operating policy that continuously drives down its share price to a rapidly oncoming unsustainability level, never mind as a profit making enterprise. Does anyone know who the shareholders of the Herald and Scotsman are? Something is far from right about this situation.

      As for Auntie BBC, it has money to burn milking the cash cow of public compliance backed up by a somewhat dubious legality, if facing challenge based on it’s Charter and somewhat ludicrously, there’s no doubt it will toss loads-a-money from this publicly funded source, to counter any such challenge from the very people forced to pay into that very same source. Jeez! 

    29. G H Graham says:


      The newsagent makes almost nothing from the cover price of the newspaper, so low are the margins. They make far more on snacks & drinks. And any unsold copies are collected by the distributor at no cost to the agent.

      So I do recommend boycotting The Herald and The Scotsman in order to help accelerate their long overdue elimination from the shelves. They are a disgrace to journalism because they no longer serve the public interest by offering the truth & have a chronic habit of publishing bare faced lies.

      They have both become so besotted & overwhelmed by political hatred of the SNP that they are unable to provide well researched facts and impress upon the reader a balanced, reasoned argument.

      They have become then twisted comics, broadcasting shameless propaganda on behalf of self serving political thugs from the British establishment.

      Let them go & instead enjoy watching these two rags get swept into the gutter of make believe history where they belong.

    30. Cuphook says:

      I was arguing this very point on The Telegraph the other day (everyone has to have a hobby). There are no mechanisms in place to remove Scotland from the EU and the citizenship laws which are in place are for the protection of that citizenship. Not a single Unionist has managed to provide proof of the laws which back up their assertions that Scotland would be banished into the wilderness as punishment for disturbing the status quo.

      It looks as though the SNP strategy of delaying the referendum will be the downfall of the NO side as they increasingly look like hysterical reactionaries with nothing more than an unverifiable belief to defend.
      It’s up to every YES campaigner to rationally argue their case and to get the word out by providing evidence. For every Unionist denier and troll out there there’s an open minded or uncertain person willing to consider the case.

    31. Jeannie says:

      For a number of years during the eighties I lived in Fife and bought the Scotsman every day.  It was a good quality newspaper.  I moved back to the west coast and read the Glasgow Herald every day.  It was a good quality newspaper.  Nowadays, I wouldn’t touch either with a ten foot bargepole.
      I used to comment occasionally on the Herald articles, but have now completely given up reading both it and the Sunday Herald either on paper or on-line.  The standards of so-called political journalism are nothing short of appalling with the possible exception of Ian Bell.  I would call for an all-out ban on these papers, but we still need someone like Scott Minto going on and challenging the propoganda, so well done, Scott, but I just can’t bring myself to look at them anymore.
      Having said that, I followed a link from Scoop It to an article in the Scotsman yesterday advertising a seminar at Glasgow Uni last night on the context for the Treaty of Union 1707.  It was free, open to the public and very interesting. Generally, though, if the article is marked as coming from the Scotsman, Herald, Daily Record, etc., I don’t click on the link.  I’ve also stopped watching Newsnight Scotland and changed back to listening to Radio 4 as Radio Scotland news is just rubbish these days. 
      I refuse point-blank to listen to their propoganda – I find I get a better night’s sleep that way.

    32. Cuphook says:

      Independent Scotland ‘could not be asked to leave EU’

      It’s the Scotsman so some of you might not want to read it. 

    33. scottish_skier says:

      @Cuphook. “It looks as though the SNP strategy of delaying the referendum”

      It’s not delaying per se, but to provide the time needed to plan the referendum and negotiate a post yes vote settlement with all the relevant parties concerned (EU, rUK, NATO, UN etc). That way, the electorate will know what they are voting for – so can make an informed decision –  and all relevant parties know what will happen if Scotland votes Yes so there is no shock to the system if (or better ‘when’) that happens. 

      We have reached stage 1 = The Edinburgh Agreement

      This formally confirms there will be a referendum and both sides will respect the result. It also effectively says Scotland and the rUK will both be successor states in each others eyes. Ergo, the EU will take this line too.

      Next involves NATO, EU and rUK for currency/additional defense issues. The first of these has passed the initial potential hurdle and the Scottish Government can now enter into negotiations with NATO and the rUK on defense. Likewise, with the Edinburgh Agreement in place, negotiations with the EU can begin. In the meantime, currency, fiscal pacts and share of debt will be discussed the George and the BoE.

      In a years time, these negotiations will be largely complete. Some small items will remain to iron out, but other than that everything should be largely ready for the white paper. Then, the initial vision for Scotland immediately post yes vote will be put to the Scottish people and campaigning proper can begin. At this point, with no scare stories really left, it’s going to be tough for better together. They will need a positive case for Tory or one nation Tory rule…

      As I’ve said before, given we are not fighting our way out in an armed rebellion or holding some sort of illegal referendum, but rather doing everything democratically, then all negotiations will be largely before the vote, not after.

      In the meantime, patience is required. It’s all going fine as far as I can see.

    34. NorthBrit says:

      Speaking as a visiting British relic, the quality and lack of bias in the publication referred to in this article are a breath of fresh air.  The independence debate ought to be a rational one about whether people want to be part of two separate countries or one country (where we all more or less get on either way).

      The utter garbage spewed on the subject by Unionist commentators makes it very hard to maintain a pro-Britain approach.

      Even my English father in law (who was an EU employee) is telling me that Scotland should cast itself adrift from “these idiots” now.

      Wings has become the go-to Scottish political news site now, but as RevStu suggests, it’s absurd that the Scottish media has become so wretched that this is possible.

    35. Cuphook says:


      I wasn’t implying that delay is a bad thing, quite the reverse, as I understand that delaying may be appropriate to the circumstances. ‘I delayed crossing the road as a bus was coming’.

      I’ve read your theory before and at the moment I’m ambivalent. I’d need to see more evidence before making my mind up. It definitely can be argued though that Labour are being hung out to dry.


      The Scottish media, in itself, is absurd, but, some of the reasons for this infect MSM everywhere: a lack of resources and the need to publish as events unfold lead to the infliction that is churnalism. This is a perfect example: The Washington Post publishes an editorial based on the output of the Unionist press who then, in turn, publish the fact that ‘one of the US’s leading daily newspapers’ also thinks that Scottish independence is a scary prospect.

      Whatever happened to investigative and thoughtful journalism?              

    36. muttley79 says:

      If you are right and the Tories have given up on Scotland, how long to you think it will be before internal divisions start to emerge in the No parties?  Do you think Labour, who have the most to lose, will start to get suspicious of the Tories?

    37. Jeannie says:

      Not sure how many people read Wings, but I was just thinking, if we all decided to boycott the Herald, Scotsman, Scotland on Sunday, Sunday Herald, both on-line and on paper, say, for a fortnight to a month, including no comments on their articles – in other words, we stop playing with them – would they get the message? Maybe Scott could post one – and only one – comment to restore some balance in the comments.
      If you actually buy the paper and take it home, others in the household might read the rubbish in it, so not buying the newspaper loses them not one, but two, three or four readers, depending on how many people in your household would be inclined to read the paper.
      Falls in sales and falls in on-line hits is bound to affect their advertising revenues, so I’m inclined to think that part of the solution to the problem of media propoganda is in our own hands.  On the one hand, we do our bit to put things right byposting comments,  circulating articles in Wings, etc., but if, at the same time, we pour our money into these newspapers, then circulate them within our households, we’re only helping them to keep going and undermining our own efforts.
      If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.  If you don’t like what you’re getting, you might need to change some of the things you’re doing.

    38. AndrewFraeGovan says:

      It’s not “delaying”, it’s adhering to the timetable.

    39. AndrewFraeGovan says:

      I’d add that in purchasing these “newspapers” one is in fact funding the NO campaign.

    40. Barontorc says:

      If Labour refuses to face reality and change to suit the people – it will keep its head stuck up its backside long enough to go the way of the dodo – much the same as Auntie BBC – “He who will not change and adapt will go under!”

      Labour should take McLeish’s advice and prepare for independence immediately. That will mean a total u-turn at Holyrood and all the desk-slapping, braying donkey types will change or disappear. Sooner, rather than later please, in the name of sanity!

      Auntie BBC will continue as it is doing with 95% focus on England plus token intentions toward Wales and NI, but will also disappear from public broadcasting in Scotland.

      It should elect now to fragment, to cover the public broadcasting needs of an independent Scotland, as SBC and be controlled within a new operational and valued Charter.

      The SBC should adapt to a pay for view model that offers Scottish viewers the choice to take  or leave what’s on offer from elsewhere on the BBC schedules, and function as a free to air public broadcasting system for Scotland.

      Any such change would advance the complete restructuring of what is a fetid and disillusioned organisation and over time, form into something that logically should be adopted for all other GB viewers.

      Or, Labour and the BBC can just carry on regardless and be as nothing within the next few years! 

      What’s the odds on change coming happily? 

    41. Jeannie says:

      Exactly.  I’m thinking of it as taking strike action in the hope of better conditions.  We’re only looking for fairness at the end of the day and I’m certainly not giving  money and attention to people or publications which treat me with contempt by lying to me.

    42. Cuphook says:


      And the timetable has an inbuilt delay. 

    43. scottish_skier says:

      Sorry, I just think ‘delay’ is not quite the right word, although I know what you were meaning. ‘To provide sufficient time for appropriate planning’ is better!
      The unionists have never wanted a referendum. One of the reasons for this is what is happening right now. With no referendum on the cards, the scare stories (EU, currency, defence) work reasonably well because it is impossible for the Yes camp to provide solid answers. However, it was always inevitable that if it came to a referendum, then negotiations would be before, not after it, whereby many of the scare stories would be put to rest before the ballot. Westminster has always said Scotland can have its independence, it just needed to vote for it (vote SNP). Much of this is to do with the act of union and the fact it is highly unlikely a legal way to stop this could be found if it came to it.
      What is crucial to understand is that Scotland will be territoriality independent effectively the instant it votes Yes. The Edinburgh Agreement confirms this in that Westminster has agreed to respect the result. This means other countries can freely recognise Scotland too; which will happen shortly after the result is declared and the Scottish Government announce independence. At that point, the rUK no longer directly controls Scotland. With it dependent on Scotland for e.g. power, oil/gas, defence (faslane) there is no way it wants to be in such a situation without prior agreements on what happens. No way it can risk this on a no vote, not with the way polls have been. The same applies for the EU (EU citizens in Scotland/the UK, fisheries etc). Basically, without prior agreement you could end up with a mess leading to economic and social shocks. Nobody wants that. Hence all will be agreed beforehand. This is what is terrifying Scottish unionists; they know that soon much of their current scare story based approach is going to be useless. At which point, the polls will not be in their favour. Add in the Tories looking good for 2015 and Robert’s your mother’s brother.
      As for the Tories helping things along…. I know it sounds odd but we are dealing with realpolitik. Just think how quickly the Scotland Bill was dealt with. Then we’ve just had the very amicable Edinburgh Agreement. I know some might find this hard to believe but think about it. Just the recent EUgate is an example. SNP taking stick so Tory response is to talk about ‘crushing Scotland’ in the referendum, then make a big thing about setting up a Tory Whitehall committee to rubbish the concept of independence, then sending up Hammond to that hotbed of Tory support which is Glasgow to big up new nuclear weapons on the Clyde whilst implying Scots will brick it and vote no. Then, to top it off (well maybe there’s more to come), releasing documents supporting the SNP’s EU stance. They are either really stupid or very clever.
      Personally, I’m content Peter Cruddas was not lying….
      However, the Tories can’t openly support independence as it would damage them down south. They must be seen to be sticking up for the union even if that is not the case and they’ve largely given up.
      I wonder who they’ll send up next time to mouth off when the SNP are under sustained attack? We’ve had Dave, George, IDS and now Hammond. Maybe Boris? He could come up and slag off Edinburgh saying how people should invest in London instead. That could work well. Maybe Hague to come up and rubbish Scots soldiers?
      I think Labour already know they are being hung out to dry; hence the increasing panic and ridiculous arguments. The Edinburgh Agreement has put them in a complete state of shock. The ones with common sense (e.g. Chisholm, McLeish) know fine well what way the wind is blowing. 

    44. Angus McLellan says:

      The EU question is worse than Erwin Schroedinger’s imaginary cat. In the thought experiment at least you know the box contains the cat you put into it. You just can’t know if it’s alive or dead until you open the box. Here there’s a tiny chance that there’s no cat when you open the box and a small chance that it will have turned into a hungry lion.
      Sure, a newly independent Scotland wouldn’t be out of the EU. Leaving has a whole row of hoops to be jumped through. The Lisbon Treaty makes that clear, if Greenland’s case wasn’t clear enough, and the provisions which make it easier for semi-colonies furth of Europe to change their status are simply not relevant. Scotland, in EU terms, is not at all like St Barthelemy.
      But on the other hand it wouldn’t be in either. In needs decisions on contributions, opt-outs and European Parliament seats. It needs votes at an intergovernmental conference. And ultimately it the deal has to be signed on the dotted line.
      One way or the other Scotland would be neither in nor out for some time. The FT the other day (“Independent Scotland faces EU application“) called this condition passive membership and claimed that some EU bureaucrats thought it was a jolly clever idea. And so it might be, viewed from Brussels: fudge today (would that be something like a Nutella sandwich?), jam tomorrow. The trouble is temporary fixes – Barnett Formula anyone? – can last an awfully long time. And in the longer run passive membership is in most respects worse than being in the same position as Norway.

    45. muttley79 says:

      I am afraid to say that Scottish Labour’s leadership are almost certainly going to  continue to be negative for the next two years.  They may even intensify their present tactics.  They are principally driven by British nationalism and a hatred of the SNP.  All the radicalism that the party had has been discarded by the leadership in the past two decades or so.  There appears to be almost no limit to the depths they will go in their campaign.  There will probably come a time when there will be a widespread feeling of revulsion at their antics.  Lamont has already used the tactic of saying how much money Salmond and Sturgeon earn in a debate.  Unfortunately, this looks like just a foretaste of things to come.  Davidson and Rennie are the same.  Lamont in particular comes from a Glasgow Labour local government background, where hatred of Labour’s opponents seems to be rife and the feeling that Labour has a divine right to rule Scotland.  
      On the BBC, there is a story in the Guardian website today about a BBC employee committing suicide because of being sexually harassed by a female broadcaster.  These stories are going to run and run.

    46. Embradon says:

      Jeannie says:

      I doubt if your suggested boycott would make much difference – simply because many of us have done just that already.

    47. tartanfever says:

      On the subject of newspapers, just a timely reminder that whilst circulation is reducing, on-line revenue is increasing. The Hootsman’s recent financial reports claimed that online revenue increased by 11% this last year.

      So remember, every visit to that site is another reason for advertisers to spend money with The Hootsman.

      My advice, don’t boost their numbers – don’t visit the site.

      In real terms, if 10,000 people a day visited that site to read news and then read the comments, I would be surprised – but even if they do, whats 10k votes in a voting population of 4m ? – Nothing. It won’t make any difference to the Nationalist cause, a ‘No’ vote will not be secured because of The Hootsman’s online comment facility.

      Another way of looking at it. Visiting their website could actually make the anti- SNP stance worse. The more aggressive the article, the more people will want to have their say and refute the claims, the more people will post comments. This then encourages them to keep going with the ridiculous articles as it brings in the online audience in ever greater numbers.

      It’s just a trap as far as I’m concerned and unfortunately, many of us are falling for it. 

    48. Embradon says:

      Scottish Skier
      Another reason for the timing is the proximity to the Westminster GE in 2015.
      Bitter together will be an understatement. It will be more and more difficult for them to stay cosy till Oct 14.  It is already morphing into a Labour campaign bankrolled by the Tory funders.
      Will the financiers be happy to see their money fund JoLa’s incompetence? Can SLAB take funding from these plutocrats and retain any semblance of credibility?
      Davidson bullyboy and David Bulli’boy – delightful bedfellows.

    49. muttley79 says:

      Does anyone know what happened to Peter Cruddas after he made that comment about Scottish independence?  Is he still in the Tory fold or did he get demoted or forced to resign from his role?  If Cruddas is still there and no action was taken against him, it would be interesting….

    50. Macart says:


      Think you’ve pretty much covered it there S.S., the main reason for the frenzied attacks by Labour and their tame msm attack dogs comes down to survival. They were sold a bill of goods by Westminster, they have been stabbed in the back and their only recourse after their very public actions is to destroy independence by any and all means fair or foul (mainly foul).

    51. scottish_skier says:


      Cruddas got the boot as co-treasurer, but for the cash for access thingy. Although I imagine the SNP and Tories were not too happy about what he let slip re many Tories not supporting the union.


      Yes, that’s a convenient thing about 2014 too. Labour and the Tories should be at each others throats by that point, with the coalition collapsing if it had not done so already. The economy may well be on the slow road to recovery, particularly if George gets his capital infrastructure cash injection timing right. UKIPers will be going back to their natural Tory home at the promise of an EU referendum and with the boundary changes going through hopefully, Labour may be looking increasingly on the back foot. If that’s the case, Ed will need to increase his Tory stance to maintain steam, making life even more tricky for Lamont. Certainly, the last thing the UK parities will have time deal with is some convincing jam tomorrow plan for Scotland. With a white paper spelling out exactly what Scots will be voting for in the referendum having been around a while and the prospect of a neo-liberal Tory or one nation Tory government on the Horizon, Yes camp should be looking very good.

    52. Cuphook says:


      You understand what I mean as delay can mean ‘to put off to a later time’, in that sense I could have used defer. ‘To provide sufficient time for appropriate planning’ is management speak and just the sort of language that I will not allow in my house. I bear scars.

      As I said, I’ve read your theory before and while I accept that there is realpolitik involved, hence my reference to Labour being stuffed, I will wait for more evidence before I believe that the SNP and Tories are plotting the disunity of the UK.

      When you say that ‘Scotland will be territoriality independent effectively’ the important word here is ‘effectively’ as Scotland does not become independent until the declaration of such and will return MPs to Westminster in 2015.

      The Edinburgh Agreement is important as it binds both governments to acceptance of the result and therefore allows external parties such as the EU to put forward their legal position. In this respect I don’t see what the Tories get out of any conspiracy other than defining the position of the rUK and making life difficult for their Eurosceptics. How the realisation that the rUK is just another run of the mill country will play to the right wing press is another matter as the Tories could be seen as the party which took the Great out of Britain.

      The rUK is dependent on Scotland for power but, at the moment, Scotland is dependent on rUK as a market for that power. Like most other matters that can be cleared up between 2014 and 2016. Some matters will be more difficult to deal with, Trident being the most obvious. Any obfuscation by the SNP would damage them in the first Scottish elections in 2016 and for the Tories to lose the whanger that gets them to play with the big boys would damage them in 2015.

      Like most people in England the Tories don’t spend a lot of time thinking about Scotland and do not have a grasp of the political situation, and that is required in your scenario. Would you go into negotiations without known the facts? Who’s been briefing them, the Scottish Unionists or media?

      ‘They are either really stupid or very clever.’ My money’s still on stupid. I’ll also give you mendacious, cruel and blinkered by privileged for nothing.

    53. Jeannie says:

      Interesting what you say in terms of on-line revenue increasing.  I think this is likely to increase further as mobile phone technology improves and more people use smartphones.
        For myself, I use my phone for on-line information more than I use my home computer – the only problem is, that although my phone allows me to read on-line, it won’t let me post any comments.  However, when I bought a newspaper, I tended to read it all the way through.  With my phone, my behaviour changes and I tend to scan headlines and if the headline doesn’t interest me, I don’t click on the article, which has now got me thinking about the effect of my clicking habits on the headline writers.  How often do we find ourselves complaining that the headline bears no resemblance to the article below it? But unless it grabs my attention, I won’t click on it at all.  So, what’s a journalist to do?
      Again, I’m forced to confront my own behaviour and wonder if it’s myself who’s fuelling to the problem I keep complaining about.

    54. scottish_skier says:


      Fair enough. Could well be I’m giving them far too much credit.

      But then they did predict back ahead of 1997 that devolution would lead to exactly where we are now, leaving out the caveat that it would be them returning to power which would most likely give things the final push. Which is of course what happened and they must understand that. Likewise, I imagine they have their own unpublished polls showing if they win or look like winning in 2015, then Scotland is gone, i.e. like that panelbase one. They might not like it, but they can’t stop it and reality must be faced. Better to make it amicable and prepare for what most likely lies ahead…


    55. Macart says:

      Jeannie makes a fair point. Are our surfing habits actually helping to keep the buggers going? This leads to one or two other points – If so how do we gather information on the days doings without passing on benefits to the opposition. How can you challenge lies and misinformation without going to where they live in the first place?

      I was a regular on the Guardian site until recently and literally chucked my subscription and user privileges in utter disgust and frustration at the carpet bombing of independence spearheaded by their political staff. Now I’m wondering just how you get any message across that won’t benefit titles one way or another.

    56. Cuphook says:


      The Tory position in 1997 was the opposite of the Labour position; it wasn’t a prediction but a posture to discomfit Labour and, as to the Tories return to power being ‘the final push’, a week is a long time in politics and a decade unthinkable in terms of events. While the SNP have played their game well I don’t think that even they foresaw the perfect storm which has occurred.
      The trouble with conspiracy theories is when pareidolia kicks in and objectivity is lost. I’m not saying that you’re wrong but that I don’t see the evidence that satisfies me. Of course the Tories have a realisation of the situation which they now find themselves in but it wasn’t of their design and the resolution is out of their hands.
      I’m sure that the negotiations over assets, liabilities and obligations will mostly be amicable but we have to bear in mind that the likes of the Mail and Telegraph will be screaming for reparations against the ingrate Jocks. With the UK election being in 2015 we don’t even know which party we’ll be dealing with, and the withdrawal of Scottish MPs could even complicate that, or if we’ll be dealing with a ‘national coalition’.

    57. Scott Minto (Aka Sneekyboy) says:

      “Jeannie makes a fair point. Are our surfing habits actually helping to keep the buggers going?”

      You know the answer to that Macart and its yes

      But here is where I differ from Jeannie in thinking. I believe it is important to go onto those sites and argue the point time and time again.

      I know this is raising revenue for them, but I also know that if we cede that ground and allow the lies to go unchallenged then we will lose votes and an opportunity to get our voices over.

      Make no mistake about it, if we stopped visiting those sites they would still function and be supported by advertising revenue funnelled through by Unionist supporters. They will not fail before the independence referendum.

      So since they will not fail before that date (as they wont be allowed to) we should continue to tackle those lies head on.

      Even if one person reads the truth and sees through the lies, and misrepresentation of the Unionist press then thats one yes vote….

      That new yes voter may talk to family and friends and convert one more undecided person, or lift the veil of ignorance from a unionist supporter that is unaware of the realities we face.    

      We should look at these scare stories as opportunities!

      We need to get our message across but think about it, if you saw a person rambling in the street saying: 

      “we will be in the EU on independence, our military will be fine, shipbuilding is safe and shetland and orkney… they would be enclaves if they stayed in the UK… although they couldnt stay as that would be partition and the UN wouldnt allow that…”

      Well to be quite honest you would walk away from the rambling weirdo!

      But if you see someone saying:

      “You wont be in the EU, your currency will be worse than zimbabwe, there will be terrorism forcing the bombing of scottish airports, the wind wont blow for 40 years and you will be reliant on importing the miracle of English Nuclear power, losing trident will devastate the scottish economy since 88% of you are scroungers and expect something for nothing…” then followed by a very sane voice going “actually…. your talking balls mate and heres why…”  

      Well, you are likely to listen to the sane voice. And thats what we need to be… the SANE Voice”                 

    58. scottish_skier says:


      I’m not into conspiracy theories and I hope people reading my musings on seemingly strange Tory behaviour takes them as speculation for some fun only!

      We shall see, but whether intentionally or not, the Tories are helping lots 😉

    59. Dorothy Devine says:

      I have just read that the Scotsman estimates one million readers per month via the dead tree and internet.

      That disturbed me.

      Time to fight back with a boycott.    

    60. Cuphook says:


      If I thought that you were a conspiracy nut I’d have ignored you. I know that you’re speculating and having fun doing so but you are speculating about a conspiracy – that two parties have come together in secret to break up the UK fits that bill – hence the reference to conspiracy theory.
      The thing that kills your theory for me is if Labour form the UK government in 2015. If they discovered that the Tories had being doing deals as you describe it would be all over for them. Labour could call another election to increase their vote and cripple the Tories. I know you’ve speculated on the boundary changes increasing Tory representation but Scotland votes YES in 2014 and you have to factor in the UKIP vote (no doubt with a name change) who are already ahead of the Libdems.


    61. Jeannie says:

      I think, now that I’m seeing the negative effects of my own behaviour, I’m wondering what I could do instead. No doubt other posters are breathing a sigh of relief and thinking, “At last, Jeannie, the penny’s dropped!”
      It seems to me, at the moment, that the other side are choosing the place and terms of battle – that is, their newspaper articles, and presently we go there to meet them and engage in battle on their terms, as they can moderate our comments, etc.  This seems to me like poor strategy on our part.  And perhaps the difference is, that they actually have a strategy and maybe we don’t.  I’m not saying we don’t need to engage, we do –  just that it’s not enough and sometimes a total distraction and waste of energy.
      As we’ve said before, it’s the middle, uncommitted third of the electorate that we need to target, not people like Terry Kelly.  So, we need to persuade this middle group to change their opinion and move in our direction.
        In terms of the mindset of change, you have “moving away from” situations and “moving towards” situations.  You won’t “move away” from what you think of as safe unless what you’re moving towards is more attractive.  I think the unionists are doing an increasingly effective job of putting reasonably-minded voters into a “moving away from” mindset, simply by being so incredibly offensive and acting like the school bullies.  People who firmly agree with them at this stage are unlikely to move their position, though.
        So we now need to focus on the middle group and help them to make the shift  into a “moving towards” frame of mind by demonstrating a far more positive alternative for them to move to. Today’s blog is an excellent example of what I mean.  Today, the location and terms of the battle are here, not in the Herald. 
      Now we have the process of the referendum decided, we can focus on the actual issues, research the information we need, get it onto the blog and circulated and increase the readership of Wings. What we produce through Rev Stu’s blog and our comments has to be more interesting, more factual more reassuring and more positive than what the other side do, if we’re to help the undecideds into “moving towards” us.  Hopefully, like us, they will then give up reading the trash of their own accord.  Maybe it’s time we decided for ourselves where the battle is to be fought and play more to our strengths.

    62. AndrewFraeGovan says:

      Milliband as PM seems a lot more far-fetched than the wildest of skier’s speculations!

    63. scottish_skier, going with your scenario, do you see Cameron walking away from our oil  and whisky revenue? To me that is his only source of collateral until the ecconomy starts to pick up. Of course, perhaps he’s banking that the ecconomy will be back to normal by the time of the referendum, but I don’t think so.  

    64. G H Graham says:

      There are only 2 possible outcomes for The Herald and The Scotsman.

      1. Inevitable disappearance

      2. A change in their editorial position/content and a miraculous turnaround in readership thus extending their shelf life indefinitely

      Only the first is likely. But reading their content on line and responding to it, delays the inevitable and funds the die hard Unionists by sponsoring a medium through which their lies & propaganda can be broadcast up to and beyond the referendum.

      The quicker these titles disappear from the shelves, the better for everyone. The print media is a dying industry anyway so accelarating their journey towards death is ethical.

      And they deserve it.

    65. Cuphook says:


      Cameron and Clegg managed it. Is it just because I’m aware of our current crop of politicians or have they always been this useless? Answers to the Daily Mail, please.

      In an alternative universe Milliband is PM, Lamont is FM and I’m upping my dosage.        

    66. cynicalHighlander says:

      I’m off to Dignitas!

    67. velofello says:

      barontorc: If Labour refuses to face reality and change to suit the public – so much for conviction politics.Me, I will have nothing to do with Labour pre or post the referendum.

      Jeannie:  The i paper is only 20p and you don’t get any Scottish news so nothing to annoy you. just confirmation that these chaps down South aren’t much concerned about Scotland. And the puzzles are good. I look at the Herald via Wings, i don’t know if that contributes to the Herald’s on-line income(?).I do notice fewer rabid pro-union punters. The lesser spotted unionist? And Jeannie, please don’t write ‘i was thinking”, it brings on my marital twitch. How about – considering that, or maybe je ponse? And Jeannie your recent piece of your young son going out to sport, and  that could a generation or so back be him heading off to war was so well expressed.

      I reckon SS’s theory on Tory/SNP mutuality has possible validity. Nothing formal, neither group would be so stupid. The Tories, business-minded people, will be pragmatic. 

    68. tartanfever says:

      Re online comments on newspaper websites.

      Remember, no-one reads them. Articles on the BBC website might only receive 5k visitors and readers, with far fewer posters.

      The same could be said for all the newspapers. In the past when I’ve posted regularly, there was the usual 30/40 regular posters, don’t know how many visitors they received but I would bet it’s a tiny proportion compared to the overall number of voters in the country.

      Again I’ll make a prediction that the referendum will not be decided by the online comments page of a newspaper. I’ll also say again that poor journalism attracts posters to those pages, who like most of us, will try and argue the toss with them. Online is the only growing revenue stream of newspapers and the more visitors they get, the chances of increased advertising revenue also rise, so the more people you can ‘piss off’ with your shoddy journalism, the more disgusted readers will visit your website.

      Newspapers are about money, they are not about political integrity. 

    69. Macart says:


      This harks back to a question I posed a few weeks back – Agreed that we should be aiming for the middle ground voter or as skier calls them the soft no vote. Where then do we get the best bang for our buck? Should we post on London based media or concentrate on Scottish media sites? I did note a number of converts on the Guardian site over the past year. My tendency recently has been to post links to WoS, NNS, Peter Bell, AA and Bella Caledonia. This has received positive responses on the whole.
      I’d suggest avoiding the likes of the Mail or the Telegraph personally. I’ve come across what can only be described as the most extreme of views on those sites in times past and I suspect the audience there is not for turning.

    70. Alex McI says:

      O/T John McKay on STV news telling us that on Scotland tonight they are talking about will Scotland be allowed to remain in EU if we vote for independence. I’m getting a bit pissed of with them as we’ll, in fact they are getting just as bad as all the other MSM. why are they still pushing this we will be chucked out of the EU shit. Honestly I’m getting that I have no sympathy for any of the media if their Jobs disappear after 2014 due to their lies. And I was only doing my job just won’t wash. 

    71. DougtheDug says:

      Alex McL:

      A much more interesting take on the question would be to turn the map upside down and ask if Scotland wanted to leave the EU on independence, how easy would that be?

      I suspect the answer would be that it would not be easy at all and that there would be much more difficulty getting out than getting in.

      All these questions on, “Would Scotland be allowed to stay in the EU after independence?”, are an attempt by the media and the unionists to make the electorate think that the default position of the EU would be to kick Scotland out which is the opposite of the truth.

    72. Alex McI says:

      @Dougthedug of course someone asking that question would be interesting, but no one is going to are they? What I don’t understand is why more people cannot see that the media in Scotland are blatantly lying to them. Is it not really strange that in the independence debate, which should polarise opinions, there is not one newspaper , national news programme or mainstream journalist that has said, you know what folks, this independence thing will work. It will be good for the people of Scotland . Why is that. There must be some of them who think its a good idea. What is it that stops them saying so. Cowardice? Feart of losing their job, no job is worth that in my opinion. That’s why any sympathy I might of had for them has gone. I really hope the saying what goes around, comes around is true.

    73. Scott Minto (Aka Sneekyboy) says:

      The only UK site I regularly post on is Guardian. The rest Scottish.

      You need to know your target market. 

    74. Cranachan says:

      Well, that’s funny: the article (Further  blow for Salmond over Europe) in The Herald that caused a storm has disappeared. First, it was one of the main headlines, then as lots of negative comments started to appear it moved to smaller print. At about 4.30 it disappeared altogether to be replaced Independent Scotland wouldn’t have to seek EU place, says expert. Seems to me that lots of comments work, so maybe a boycott isn’t too good an idea. Poor Magnus must be feeling pretty small today.

    75. scottish_skier says:

      Seems this Westminster release EU Story at least made the politics subsection headline on BBC Scotland.

      I guess they had too. Must have been really annoying though.

    76. Macart says:


      Very true. 🙂


    77. Peter A Bell says:

      Somebody pointed out that the original article was irrelevant as Viviane Reding specified a unilateral declaration of independence rather than a mutual agreement.

    78. Morag says:

      The BBC has form going quite a way back, it seems.

    79. Jeannie says:

      There’s some indication that the ABCs are less likely to be in favour of independence at the moment.  I was just CONSIDERING, Velofello :), that some of them might enjoy Wings, if they have’t discovered it already.  I’m a serial attender of lifelong learning classes at Strathclyde and Glasgow Unis.  If I had, say, bookmarks for Wings, I could leave them in the common rooms or put a Wings poster up.  The classes are full of retired doctors, nurses, teachers and similar professionals still of working age, many of whom are very much open to new ideas.  I could produce a basic leaflet/poster myself if someone sent me the wording. Could also put one up in the student union.  As Scott says, just getting that one person, who encourages another one person, etc……but as this site is full of information about key referendum issues, it will give them the information they need to persuade others.  Just another way of indulging in the gentle art of persuasion.

    80. G H Graham says:

      More ammo …

      In his evidence, Mr Avery said of Schengen and the euro: “We may note that although new member states are required to accept them in principle, they do not become members of the eurozone or Schengen immediately on accession, and are not permitted to do so.
      “Joining the euro or Schengen depends on a series of criteria that are examined in the years following accession.”

      So we stay in the EU and get to choose Schengen, border controls etc when we’re ready.

      End of story.    

    81. sneddon says:

      I thinbk most  sane folk in Scotland know the MSM is full of pish.  Look at the coverage of the rangers debacle.  According to the ,edia rangers would not get kicked out the SPL, would be placed in SFL1, their absence would beggar all the other clubs, it wisnae their fault big boys did it.  See what I mean is  if the ‘diddy’  fans believed the MSM nothing would have changed.  But the fans used the internet to organise and protest and out thought and out played the so called ‘professionals’ in the MSM and sfa/spl dogsbodies.  Most fans take the sports media with a huge pinch of salt (let alone the idiots who administer the game)and that goes for the rest of the MSM as well.

      I hope we can all see the resemblance here.  Remember the Rally on 22nd was organised without the MSM involvement.  As regards ‘reader amounts’  how many of them actually are unique viewers or is it the same number.  Also with the introduction of paywalls they are re stricting  casual viewers as well as being easy to circumvent if one is inclined so indeed a stupid strategy..  Advertisers are not stupid.  Once they realise they are the only source of income for MSM I imagine they are getting good discounts.  Clicks and follow through can be measured to give a more realistic picture of the effectiveness of using the online part of the MSM.
      As mentioned before all we what is balanced reporting-facts as well as opinions. 

    82. muttley79 says:


      The Scottish media, particularly the political reporters, have always generally been hostile to SNP and independence. When you said what the media were predicting in the summer about the Rangers situation, it reminded me of what the political reporters used to say. They said that the SNP’s highest point was 1974, with the implication that that result would never be bettered. That snide BBC Scotland Westminster reporter, David Porter, seemed to particularly like that line. They said a Scottish Parliament would not happen, it did, then they said the SNP would never beat Labour and be in office, and they did. They implied there would never be a referendum on independence, there is. The remaining one is that we will not vote for independence. They are sure that there will be a No vote, you only have to listen to folk like David Torrance, Douglas Fraser, Alan Cochrane etc, to see this. With predicting skills of past events like this, who could be confident of them correctly predicting the result in the referendum?

    83. Morag says:

      Apparently Newsnicht is going to feature the Washington Post and tell us how the Americans think we’re all stuffed if Scotland becomes an independent country.

    84. muttley79 says:

      Why does Newsnicht not just say at the start of their program, “We fucking hate independence because it would end the gravy train and our careers in London. Scotland vote No!” Save all this pish about being objective. Rant over…

    85. Ronald Henderson says:

      I’m really impressed by the articles and the postings on Wings over Scotland. I prefer it now to Newsnet Scotland that seems to have lost its fire. Keep going, lads and lassies. This site is a haven of intelligence.

    86. Miles Cooper says:

      Tartan fever and others: My company has in the past advertised in the Scotsman. Interestingly the price has halved over a 2 year period. I have recently taken an advert in a local Johnston Press publication and with thousands of page impressions on The Scotsman website is ‘thrown in’. The main point being the increase in web revenue is BS. Part of the advert cost will be allocated the web costs artificially increasing their income.

      I have dealt with just about every publication in Scotland, from the very professional like the Herald and other specialist publications to some not so professional but I have to say The Scotsman are a complete shambles when it comes to co-ordinating the advert. Their blatant bias and shambolic organisation will finish them off unfortunately, we wont have to do much.

    87. velofello says:

      Thanks Jeannie. And correction to je pense. Do we really improve with age? I was great at spelling until computers came along with Spellcheck.

      This EU debate is surely a phoney war sustained by the unionists. The Tories up here warn that we should not assume membership. The Tories down there want out of the EU. Labour up here see the EU issue as a means to attack Alex Salmon. Does Labour up here want in? Does Labour down there want in or out? Who knows.
      In or out, Scotland has commodities to trade that cannot be manufactured in a factory, cannot be transferred from Scotland to elsewhere. So either in or out of EU, Scotland’s hydrocarbons, renewable energy and fish resources will have a market.
      Scotland ex -EU would have sole rights to the fishing stock in her territorial waters? And what is the commercial value?
      The next stage of the EU debate surely is. Do we want to be members of the EU? does it make commercial sense?
      To catch a monkey a basket is weaved with a handhole just wide enough for the monkey to slide in its fist. A banana is placed in the basket. the monkey inserts its hand and with the clenched fist holding the banana cannot get its hand out of the basket and so is a prisoner even when the means to escape is clear and the monkey could survive on a diet of fruit and nuts, sans bananas.

      On BBC Newsnight i did notice that Heseltine, a decent person I reckon, in his solution to economic regeneration cited solely the English cities. Maybe down there and up here we are talking our way to independence as a given.


    88. clochoderic says:

      Sorry to go OT so early in the thread but having just caught up with the discussion I feel prompted to add to the points made by scottish skier.

      As well as being persuaded, if not totally convinced, of his thesis about some nods and winks going on between Call me Dave and Alex Salmond I am beginning to wonder if the European dimension is not playing a significant part in the realpolitik.

      I wondered why the six SNP Westminster MPs voted with the Eurosceptics and Labour to defeat the government in this evening’s arcane debate about negotiating tactics about EU budget agreements and at first it baffled me.

      In light of the recent stushie about Scotland and the EU yadda yadda and the timely appearance of all sorts of official documents helpful to the Yes campaign,  could we be seeing some choreographed media management and politcal lines being ever more clearly drawn?

    89. scottish_skier says:


      I followed the EU budget debate and wondered which way the SNP might go. Given they are generally quite pro-Europe, then you might have expected them to vote with with the UK Government  If we assume there is some sort of nod wink agreement between Dave and AS, then again you might have thought you’d see SNP support.

      However, even if the SNP (and PC) had voted with Dave, it would not have passed. I’d imagine this was clear before the vote. As the vote was not binding, then what good would it do for the SNP to vote with Dave and still the motion fails. It would give Labour a stick to beat the SNP with for no SNP nor Tory gain. One possibility anyway…

      Of interest to me is what happens when the coalition finally breaks. In Theory, Dave could still get a passable majority with the help of the SNP, PC and the DUP. The DUP take the Tory whip as standard, so will Dave approach the SNP and PC? As noted in the past, I suspect he already has re the boundary changes at least.

      The interesting thing is, back in 2010, while a Lib-Tory coalition gave a majority a Lab-Lib did not, instead it was rather even. Yet there were talks between Lab and the Libs. In that case, they must have been considering involving other small parties, the obvious being the SNP and PC (who have the most seats of the minors). But of course Labour would never agree to working with centre-left parties such as PC and the SNP; they’d rather be in opposition to a Tory government. One might say therefore that we have a Tory-led UK Government thanks to Labour as much as the Libs.

    90. Embradon says:

      scottish_skier says:
      31 October, 2012 at 9:21 pm
      Seems this Westminster release EU Story at least made the politics subsection headline on BBC Scotland.

      Strange that there was no mention of the Foreign Affairs Committee paper on either Reporting Scotland or Newsnicht after all the fuss about “advice” last week.

    91. Tamson says:

      @Tree of Liberty:
      since we’re discussing conspiracy theories around here, I have wondered about the oil/whisky revenues thing alongside the notion of retaining the pound sterling as the Scottish currency.
      It strikes me that the only thing which keeps a currency viable is the ability of the government issuing it to pay the bill. Oil and whisky revenues are, for want of a better term, hard cash, in a way that financial services and shops aren’t.
      As such, what fate would befall sterling without these revenues? A run on the pound would be distinctly likely, followed by all sorts of trouble with the rUK’s credit rating. Not popular things, and not good for Scotland either, having a basket case economy on our border from day 1. So, in my opinion, retaining sterling is the best option in the short to medium term. Once things are a few years down the line and we can see the fate of the euro and such like more clearly, perhaps then time to move on.

    92. MajorBloodnok says:


      I agree – the rUK has needed and will continue to need Scottish exports (particularly oil) to underpin and stabilise the Sterling zone.  The RuK could be a basket case without us – mind you, they’re rather enjoying the hairshirt austerity and class-retrenchment down there (well, those in power are) – so if there are shocks then it’s just more excuses to turn further to the right.

    93. dadsarmy says:

      I have an idea to test Avery’s and O’Neill’s viewpoint, and get an answer.
      The word from the EU is that a member state can ask for the opinion, however as citizens of the EU we surely have exactly the same right, and do not have to wait for our government(s) to do it.
      Something along the lines with 1,000 signatures, of:
      “We the undersigned as Citizens of Scotland, the UK and of the EU, are concerned as to whether we will continue as citizens of the EU after the Independence of Scotland, however that is brought about, in the event our Referendum in 2014 returns a majority “YES” vote for Independence by the People of Scotland.

      Please reply to this petition to …, our appointed representative, with a clarification of under what circumstances we will continue to enjoy uninterrupted, all our current benefits of our citizenship of the EU, and under what circumstances we might be disenfranchised as EU citizens.”.

      Maybe a better word than “disenfranchised”, and maybe 100 signatures would be historically more appropriate 😉

    94. Macart says:

      That might have legs you know dads. My only concern would be timing. As you know politics is a dirty old game. Is it possible the SG are aware of the answer, whatever it may be and are using timing of the release of said answer to achieve best results? It may be that an earnest and well meaning attempt to clarify the waters on our part may inadvertently cause some harm.

    95. scottish_skier says:

      The current premise is that the EU will give its opinion if a ‘member state’ requests it. So, right now we have the story going around that the UK government (representing a member state) has not asked and therefore why haven’t the Scottish government asked the UK Government to ask….

      Well, do they need to? Without going any further, you could probably say the SG could just ask directly themselves. After all, we are all EU citizens etc. However, take a moment to remember the Edinburgh Agreement. The UK government, but signing it, recognised Scotland as a state, one which may choose to leave the UK union if it so wishes. By doing so, it recognised Scotland as an EU member state. Aye. The UK government can ask the EU about it’s position post independence, while the Scottish Government asks about Scotland.

    96. dadsarmy says:

      Yes, it is possible. Maybe to discredit the opposition who have been trying to discredit them, and in the process have been discrediting themselves!

      On the other hand, it could put the cat amongst the pigeons at the EU, make them face their inner ideals and decide what it is they are about. And “we” as in their citizens, might get an answer, and a positive relatively unconditional answer, whereas mere governments might not.

      I tend to think though that the best thing the YES campaign and the SG can do is to be completely open and uneconomical with the truth. We’re not numpties, and we all know that the BBC weather forecasts are often wrong for Scotland, let alone Alex Salmond’s – or Lamont’s!

      That reminds me: another strong plus for independence is having an SBC that gives weather forecasts for Scotland, rather than having the London Weather Centre BBC saying “it’s raining in Scotland”. That’d get the tourism trade vote.

    97. Macart says:

      @ dadsarmy

      Like I said its an idea with legs. 😉

      Perhaps a wee show of initiative by a civic independence minded group would be appreciated. Worth sticking this idea on a few sites and see what shakes.

    98. Tamson says:

      I note that Severin Caroll of the Guardian is engaging in some journatrollism today, punting some old interview with van Rompuy.
      He’s heading for your zany comedy relief section, Stu.

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