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Conspiracy theory and conspiracy practice

Posted on January 24, 2013 by

We should get one thing straight from the start: the only thing on Earth more tedious than a conspiracy theorist is a conspiracy denier. For every swivel-eyed nutter you find shouting hysterically that the government and royal family are 12-foot-tall shape-shifting lizards from space, there’ll be an equally (but differently) dim-witted Pollyanna at the other end glibly sniggering about “tinfoil hats” and rubbishing the mad notion that a group of people might ever get together and covertly seek to achieve an aim.

Because the history of humanity is the history of conspiracies. From Guy Fawkes to various military coups, revolutions and civil wars to the burning of the Reichstag and right up to the present day, mankind’s records are littered with events which, had anyone actually warned of them before they happened, would have been dismissed by smug idiots as the deranged fantasies of the comically paranoid.

As recently as last year we saw one right here in our very own country, when the South Yorkshire police were found to have perpetrated a co-ordinated, decades-long cover-up over the Hillsborough tragedy. Yet like moths which keep flying into lightbulbs over and over again in the irrational hope that THIS time they’ll turn into the moon, we stubbornly refuse to entertain – indeed, openly mock – even the abstract possibility that anyone in a position of power might ever be up to no good.

So, then, to the Scottish media.

Last October, the Scottish Government got into a spot of bother over an independent Scotland’s membership of the EU. Though the events were widely and uniformly misrepresented in the press, there was certainly a legitimate news story somewhere underneath all the hype, and the media leapt on it excitedly.

The most notable piece of coverage saw Nicola Sturgeon hauled into a BBC studio and given the third degree by Newsnight Scotland’s Gordon Brewer in a one-on-one interview afflicted by very strange “technical problems” which saw the Deputy First Minister’s microphone repeatedly silenced when she was trying to speak and which somehow eluded the show’s production team before broadcast.

Nobody from any other parties was called upon to discuss their own position in a broader debate – the focus was trained entirely on the SNP and the whole story was that the SNP had been misleading voters over Europe. But so far so fair (mysterious equipment failure notwithstanding) – it is, after all, wholly and properly within the remit of current-affairs programmes to grill politicians on the electorate’s behalf.

But then yesterday, the anti-independence parties, and particularly the Tories, got into their own spot of bother over Europe. It turned out they too had been misleading people about Europe, pretending that Scottish independence represented the most serious danger of Scotland finding itself shut out of the EU when in fact one of the UK’s two parties of government plans a referendum on the subject just a few years from now, which current opinion polls show would see a clear majority taking us out.

The announcement by the Prime Minister ripped the “Better Together” organisation asunder, right down the middle. Its official Twitter account went into an unprecedented day-long silence as it desperately tried to cobble together some sort of statement unifying its three member parties and their diametrically-opposed positions on Europe. Satirists had a field day pointing out the absurdly colossal hypocrisies the No campaign had spent the last three months gleefully pumping out.

Impartially-minded viewers, then, might reasonably have expected to see a prominent Tory, or BT chief Alistair Darling, put well and truly under the spotlight by Scotland’s newspapers and nightly politics shows and made to explain the enormous, yawning contradictions in their stances, account for their blindingly-exposed double standards and to face up to the reality of which vote in the referendum stood the greater chance of throwing Scotland out of Europe.

And yet, that wasn’t what happened.

Where the SNP had been singled out for solitary interrogation, last night saw both Newsnight Scotland and Scotland Tonight* conduct cross-party discussions, which spent large chunks of screentime demanding that nationalist MSPs Fiona Hyslop and Humza Yousaf defend the party and the Yes camp’s pro-EU views and offering opportunities for them to be attacked by their opponents.

*(Highly unusually, last night’s edition of ST – normally available within an hour or two of broadcast – isn’t online at the time we write this, around 11am on Thursday.)

The insidious aspect of this approach is that neither the October coverage nor last night’s can be criticised in isolation. As we noted, Sturgeon being aggressively quizzed on Alex Salmond’s comments was in itself perfectly legitimate journalism. Nor is there anything wrong, clearly, with having a studio debate where both sides of an argument are represented.

The problem arises when you take the two things together and thereby see how the rules are different for each side – the SNP get in trouble and they face a full-on solo inquisition, the Tories and Labour get in trouble and it’s an all-party free-for-all where somehow the SNP are under accusation as well.

At least, however, Newsnight Scotland led with the Europe story and devoted the bulk of the programme to it. Both current-affairs shows went with identical subject choices and discussion formats, but STV actually made their headline feature an “opinion poll” which both of Scotland’s  newspapers also chose as their front-page splashes this morning (a decision which both publicised on Twitter just before the show started).

We put “opinion poll” in quote marks there because the Scottish Social Attitudes Survey isn’t a snapshot like most polls, but an ongoing study in which participants are surveyed over lengthy periods (on this occasion five months between July and November 2012) on questions which have remained the same for 14 years. That’s all very fine and proper in its own right, but the media spin put on the subject last night and this morning was dizzying, and strangely consistent across the media.

To illustrate what we mean, let’s look at the SSAS’s findings over those five months.

The first thing you’ll note is that there doesn’t appear to be an actual question as such asked – or at least, we’re not told what it was. A bit of digging reveals that it was apparently based on the proposition “Scotland should become independent, separate from the rest of the UK” – a formulation which will bear no resemblance to the eventual ballot paper, not least because it includes what the Scottish Government regards as the highly pejorative word “separate”.

But more to the point, the range of possible responses to that proposition which are offered to the survey’s participants are, to put it mildly, somewhat vague. The “middle of the road” option is described simply as “devolution”, and therefore encompasses everything from the status quo to so-called “devo max”.

This fact alone renders the survey almost useless as a guide to the referendum vote. It’s a long-held view (though not a 100% accurate one) that “devo max” is by far the most popular choice of the Scottish people, but it’s an option the Unionist parties have excluded from the ballot paper. A “No” vote is technically a vote for “devolution” simply because devolution is the status quo, but the word itself is extremely ambiguous in context, and no polling company worth a light would phrase a question about the referendum in a manner so comprehensively misinterpretable.

It’s nevertheless perfectly appropriate for the media to note that within its own internal frame of reference, the 2012 SSAS does indeed indicate a drop in support for independence during the summer and autumn of last year. (Immediately after the Jubilee, slap bang in the middle of the Olympics and taking in the aforementioned giant media frenzy over Europe. Who could possibly have imagined, etc?)

What clearly WOULDN’T be fair, though, would be to present those statistics as a drop in the “Yes vote”, because the SSAS’s multiple-optioned findings on an obsolete 14-year-old form of a “constitutional preference” poll bear no relation whatsoever to any “Yes/No” question that’ll be asked in 2014.

Step forward, then, Magnus Gardham of the Herald.


The latest findings of the SSAS are an entirely valid news item, and we look forward to more detail on them. But they’re nuanced statistics that require very careful analysis before translating them to any sort of pointer on the referendum.

They offer three options where the referendum will only offer two. One of those options (the total dissolution of Holyrood, favoured by 11%) is not supported by any party and is not and never has been part of the constitutional debate since 1999. Another encompasses two very different options within it (the status quo and any number of versions of enhanced devolution), one of which will not be on the ballot paper and whose supporters are likely, at the very least, to split between the Yes and No camps for want of being able to have the thing they really want – substantially increasing the Yes vote from the 23% the Scottish media has chosen to blare across its headlines.

For experienced professional journalists and broadcasters to portray them in such mistakenly black-and-white form, then, is something beyond mere clumsy ineptitude. It is, at the very best, a cavalier disregard for honesty. At the worst, and particularly in the eerily uniform fashion we’ve seen in the last 12 hours (combined with the subtly unfair tactics applied to the EU debate) it’s something else entirely, whether individual or institutional, co-ordination or coincidence. You can call it whatever you want.

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  1. 19 11 14 19:22

    Of Course It Was Rigged | A Wilderness of Peace

101 to “Conspiracy theory and conspiracy practice”

  1. Training Day says:

    “You can call it whatever you want.”

    Think it was Pilger (Chomsky?) who coined the term ‘management of consensus’ – a helpful one in that it illuminates that there is no backstreet conspiracy conducted by men in cloaks, because there doesn’t need to be.  Everyone (in this case the ‘Scottish’ media) is already on board with the putative ‘consensus’ and doesn’t need to be coerced by dark forces.

    “It is, at the very best, a cavalier disregard for honesty”

    I know you have standards of decorum, Stu 😉 – so I’ll translate – They are lying to us.

    Excellent post, btw. 

  2. Edulis says:

    I have to say that I thought Gordon Brewer was at his bullying worst. When Humza Yousef was answering, Brewer simply talked over him. Jackson Carlaw was robustly questioned to a point but, given his earlier comical performance in the Garden Lobby, which displayed his hyprocasy and that of Better Together over Europe, you do have to marvel at Brewer not fllowing up on that open goal. Aye right!  

  3. Albalha says:

    It also states

    An alternative measure, (which has been asked since 2010) secures rather higher levels of support for a proposition that implies independence without actually using that term – that ‘The Scottish Parliament should make all the decisions for Scotland’. However, support has dropped on this measure too during the last year – from 43% in 2011 to 35% in 2012.

  4. Hetty says:

    Yes I saw the rather big headline this morning about a supposed fall in numbers voting for independence, sigh. I just don’t get why the people of Scotland don’t want to think for themselves and decide what happens in their own country. What’s to lose? Digging deeper what are they scared of? A right wing regime in place down in London who don’t give a care at all for Scotland or its people perhaps? Perhaps, like Ireland we will be so desperate as to allow the UK gov to plonk super massive wind turbines anywhere it chooses instead of carefully managed investment in renewables to suit the environment, maybe this isn’t even enough to put them off and to vote yes.
    Much work to do…

  5. Robert Kerr says:

    Conspiracy theorists shall have a field day if anything serious happens to either Mr Salmond or Ms Sturgeon. 

    In the case of the former there has been much comment re his weight and fondness for curries. Laying the groundwork for a cardiac incident ? Surely not !

    The headlining of the “poll” by the media I find discraceful. An insult to anyone with a modicum of intellect.

    Keep up the excellent work.


  6. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “In the case of the former there has been much comment re his weight and fondness for curries. Laying the groundwork for a cardiac incident ? Surely not !”

    In fairness, if the big tub of lard would lay off the pies for a while they wouldn’t be able to.

  7. Iain says:

    @Training Day
    ‘I know you have standards of decorum, Stu – so I’ll translate – They are lying to us.’
    Or to paraphrase Paxo, why are these lying bastards lying to us. Except we all know why.

  8. Albalha says:

    @Training Day

    Noam Chomsky, ‘Manufacturing Consent:The Political Economy of the Mass Media’


  9. creag an tuirc says:

    There’s dozens of articles on BBC Scotland reagrding independence and EU membership doubts (at the time they got top billing), yet the UK government who will remove any doubts with an in/out question does not appear. This “a smell shite” poll does get top billing though.

    Another thing Rev and you may want to cover this is the Buisiness leaders reaction to Camron’s EU referendum anouncement It will be interesting to hear what the CBI have to say and if any ministers will be telling us that leading businessman have told them (I won’t tell you who they are though) that the EU referendum is not causing uncertainty 🙂

  10. Melanie McKellar says:

    The media can report and say all they want but one thing is clear from both the questions asked and the responses made- Devo Max would have been the most popular vote in a referendum, Westminster have removed that option from the Scottish electorate so the survey is void!
    Blair Jenkins is correct the campaign has moved on since Jul-Nov 2012, there is no ‘option (b)’ on more powers, it is all or nothing.

    the most interesting questions in this survey were the ones on Welfare and Taxation …results speak volumes on who should be making the decisions, neither of which are in Scotland at present.

  11. mogabee says:

    I believe there will be a fundamental shift in people’s attitude in Scotland.
    The only bogey men are Westminster and the “welfare reforms”. They are biting now and before very long will be difficult to hide the effects, even with a pliant media.
    Surely the massive increase in charities providing food parcels to working families is pricking the collective conscience?

  12. steven luby says:

    I believe i’m correct in saying that if the tories win the next general election,they would persue a referendum to re-negotiate the U.K’s position within the E.U. As for coverage from the press,it is they who say it is a clear ‘in-out’ vote,not the present tory led government(but hey,I could be wrong). As for quoting polls,it may be wise not to be seen too keen in quoting what suits when polls stand for very little these days.

    Finally,there is no MSM journalism within Scotland or the UK,for that matter.As you have pointed out yourself,creating a headline to suit statistics with no relevant connection to the headline says it all.

    Truth no longer has a place within politics,media,history no matter what country we look at. 

  13. Ghengis says:

    It’s all so blatant. An anti Scottish media supporting a hostile foreign government to deny democracy in a resource rich country. It’s what the British ruling class has always done.
    Talking about propaganda and Britishness 1 – I see that Mcvites biscuits are currently emblazoned with the declaration: “Proud to be British since ….” and a swipe of union flag.
    2 – Did anyone else see BBC’s report on how the union flag is a popular fashion accessory in Cuba, since the whole limp iks? Nauseating it was somehow.
    It might be time to claim back our brand of Britishness. After all Scots, put the great in Great Britain and invented the modern world.

  14. Philip says:


    I was just wondering, isn’t it time we own the word separation? Scotland wants to separate from the rest of the UK and their right wing, welfare attacking ways. Scotland wants to separate from the Westminster Europhobia. Scotland wants a separate and fairer future for its citizens…..etc etc.

    Just a thought. 😀 

  15. pmcrek says:

    Great article Rev, I am so very weary of the msm in Scotland.

  16. DS says:

    I believe 5 options were actually offered in the survey rather than 3. The questions asked can be found here:
    According to this participants were asked which of 5 statements “comes closest to your view”. The options were independence in/out of Europe, devolution with/without some tax raising powers and no devoultion within UK. The table reproduced in your blog was derived by merging the two independence options and the two devolution options.
    The exact wording of the options can be found in the link – the word “separate” was included in the two independence options.

  17. JLT says:

    It’s a load of nonsense, Rev.

    David Cameron finally realising that UKIP area force to be reckoned with, finally gives into his hardliners and issues his EU referendum announcement. His Unionist ‘opponents’ cry out in despair as it seems he had given the SNP a wonderful piece of ammo to beat the Unionists with.
    Then what happens? a few hours later, a piece of media is released to say that those wanting Independence is down to 23% – it’s lowest ever! Bloody strange that this ‘poll’ is released on the same day as Cameron’s announcement.
    This is just the media snatching a low figure from the air, and saying it is fact. I honestly believe that the figure is higher – way higher than that (I’m talking at least 40%).
    Who the hell did they ask …the students at Fettes College, or George Heriots, because, I know no-one – NO ONE – that has been asked to participate in one of these polls!

    Absolutely appalling from the media…    

  18. Marian says:

    The Labour plants in the BBC and newspapers are manipulating and censoring the truth and it is about time they were outed.

  19. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “I believe 5 options were actually offered in the survey rather than 3. The questions asked can be found here:

    Also, that gives the two independence options as scoring 8% and 16%. Um, isn’t that 24%, rather than 23%?

  20. DS says:

    “Also, that gives the two independence options as scoring 8% and 16%. Um, isn’t that 24%, rather than 23%?”
    I assume that is accounted for by rounding – say 7.6% + 15.7% = 23.3% ~ 24%

  21. Albalha says:


    Thanks for the link to the questions, have you come across where the alternative statement, used since 2010, referred to in my post above fits in? It gives considerably higher results.  

  22. Oldnat says:

    Rev Stu

    “Also, that gives the two independence options as scoring 8% and 16%. Um, isn’t that 24%, rather than 23%?”

    Pedant Alert!

    Nope. The 8% and 16% numbers are rounded to whole numbers 7.8% + 15.6% = 23.4%, which we would be rounded down to 23%.

  23. Doug Daniel says:

    Training Day – are you perhaps thinking about the Chomsky & Herman book Manufacturing Consent (also the name of my ex-band’s not-hit EP)?

    This certainly fits in with the Propaganda Model detailed in that book. We have the five filters:

    1. Size, Ownership and Profit Orientation – simply put, this is about how media organs must pander to the whims of their owners. Most people agree News International papers follow the editorial line that their Murdoch would put down (his tweets may look like someone just giving an opinion, but in reality his editors etc will take that as a cue to go down that path). It’s hardly inconceivable to think that the large corporations that own the Scotsman and the Herald etc, who own large numbers of local newspapers in England, are fundamentally unionist. Therefore, it’s not much of a leap to suggest that their influence would lead to their newspapers putting forward a broadly unionist line.

    2. The Advertising License to do Business – the argument is that, as newspapers are now mainly funded by advertising rather than sales, then newspapers have to please the corporations that pay their bills. This has led to working classes losing their voice, as corporations are inherently conservative, leading to the near universal support for neoliberal economic and social policies trumpeted by the media. Again, it’s not exactly controversial to point out that conservative folk are likely to support the status quo, hence media organs find themselves under pressure to toe the line.

    3. Sourcing Mass Media News – This is possibly the most important element in regards to Stu’s article. The media all get their news from the same places, and with media organisations constantly cutting back on journalist resources, they invariably have to cut corners where they can. That includes taking press releases at face value. Since the media relies on a constant stream of things to write about (no one visits a website that isn’t regularly being updated), they need to keep their news providers happy. The vast majority of news is not sourced by journalists “going out and getting the story” – it is given to them through press associations and from “trusted” providers, such as governmental PR departments. There is a pressure to keep such providers sweet, because if you piss them off, they can cut off the flow of “news” (hence why the UK government is happy to have the Leveson proposals hang like the sword of Damocles over the media). This is basically what Nick Davies (the journalist who exposed most of what led to Leveson) calls “churnalism” in his excellent book, Flat Earth News. Anyone who doubts this clearly hasn’t paid attention to the closeness between politicians and journalists thrown up by Leveson. It’s very, very real.

    4. Flak and the Enforcers – the negative responses to media statements etc. Ian Davidson provided an uncharacteristically visible example of this when he accused Izzy Fraser and “Newsnat Scotland” of being biased in favour of independence (quick note – has anyone else noticed Izzy’s lack of presence lately?) But as mentioned before, there’s also more subtle things like the government keeping the Leveson proposals alive as a constant threat to give the media a big kick up the arse.

    5. Anti-communism – since updated to War On Terror, but in our case, it’s Scottish Independence. This is essentially about an external threat. During the Gulf War it was headlines about Saddam Hussein, but today, during what you could dub the War on Independence, it’s headlines about Salmond. MP jibes about dictatorships feed into this and help shape the narrative of the Evil Separatists being a threat to everyone’s lives.

    So yeah, there’s no formal Council Against Independence  that meets every Monday to discuss the strategy for the coming week; it’s all part of the self-censorship process induced by the corporate takeover of the media. And it’s all documented through research by respected academics.

    (If anyone wants a good laugh, look up Andrew Marr Noam Chomsky on YouTube and see Andrew Marr completely torn apart by Chomsky’s calm arguments.)

  24. gerry parker says:

    “In fairness, if the big tub of lard would lay off the pies for a while they wouldn’t be able to.”
    Ah the rough and tumble of political debate. 

  25. Oldnat says:



  26. Cuphook says:

    Surely if the survey shows 23% for independence and 35% for Scotland taking all decisions, including defence, it puts the Yes campaign in a comfortable lead before they even get off the ground. Or am I missing something? As I just lost a fight with a piece of clingfilm this might be the case.  

  27. muttley79 says:

    The problem arises when you take the two things together and thereby see how the rules are different for each side – the SNP get in trouble and they face a full-on solo inquisition, the Tories and Labour get in trouble and it’s an all-party free-for-all where somehow the SNP are under accusation as well.

    This sums it up.  The media are biased almost beyond belief.  Lets be honest, this is not a level playing field, and it never has been.  They are little more than an adjutant partner of the No campaign.  There is a high level of collusion going on.  They will not, and cannot treat the two sides of the referendum campaign equally.  BBC Scotland in particular are very poor, their disdain for the Yes campaign is almost tangible.  It is good that we have Wings over Scotland, Bella Caledonia, NNS etc to highlight the traditional Scottish media’s behaviour.  

  28. Doug Daniel says:

    Incidentally, can anyone remember the SSA results EVER being released in January up until now? 

  29. zedeeyen says:

    Am alone in hoping that the polls remain dreadful for about the next year, at least? I’m quite comfortable with a situation where the Yes camp feel they need to try harder and the No camp think what they’re doing is working splendidly.I have little doubt that the polls will swing at some point, I’d just it was later rather than sooner.

  30. Oldnat says:

    The SSAS is a very useful piece of academic research, which allows analysis of movements in attitudes over time. It’s a great resource for historians.

    It’s just wholly useless for reporting current opinion on anything.

    NatCen (ie BritNat Cen in this context) tweeting and giving media releases as if it is current opinion, is quite uprofessional.

    Future historians will be able to point to the 2012 data collected at the height of Jubilee/Olympic fever, and demonstrate the effect of that flag waving.

    In January 2015, they will be able to report the data from Summer 2014, and show the huge change. 

  31. FreddieThreepwood says:

    Re The Newsnight programme – I take your point entirely about the lack of fairness. However, I don’t think the Nats are doing themselves any favours sometimes by their choice of representative on these programmes. Last week (was it?) we had Rob Gibson droning for Scotland (and missing gaping holes in Jackson Carlaw’s sneering arguments on the constitution). Last night it was Humza Yousaf who, thanks to Cameron’s speech, had an open goal right in front of him and contrived to miss the ball altogether. Yes, Brewer was bullying but Yousaf was faltering, defensive and weak.
    Come on SNP – step up the plate guys! 

  32. Oldnat says:

    Doug Daniel

    Yes, the NatCen analysis process is slow, and results dribble out over a long period.  There’s usually a January release.

  33. Doug Daniel says:

    Oldnat – I did wonder, because it looks like they tend to get published in May or August usually, but I’m also fairly sure the one from a couple of years ago was released nearer the end of the year.

  34. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “I don’t think the Nats are doing themselves any favours sometimes by their choice of representative on these programmes”

    That’s true, but last night they sent in Humza Yousaf, who’s normally one of their most assured performers. Brewer went for him so hard and interrupted so much that he did indeed, as you suggest, lose his composure a little and perform well below his usual standard.

    More to the point, I’m not really sure why they put anyone forward at all. If they’d just declined to send anyone to either show – and they had an entirely legitimate reason for that – it would have forced the discussion to be about the Unionist position. It was just needlessly asking for a kicking.

  35. Dcanmore says:

    It’s manipulation, pure and simple. Ask ‘whatever’ to get a desired low result, then attach said result to your opponent to make them look bad. It’s a fantasy constructed to avoid a certain reality… Q: How many of the 60%-odd of Devo-Max supporters will back Independence if Devo-Max option is not available? … A: Most of them.
    Continuing to include Devo-Max in questioning only produces a smoke-screen. Unionists (ie Labour) need the deception because they’re terrified of the hopelessly poor support for Westminster, so they try to manipulate YES support by including Devo-Max supporters as a NO vote (remember Tories 1979, no-shows mean a NO vote). Utterly shameful that people who write this drivel call themselves journalists. They are nothing more than Better Together Press Officers.
    The pill will be sugared by dressing up Independence like Devo-Max and 70% will quite happily take the placebo knowing they will get an NHS, public services, free education, written constitution, oil/gas/green energy, BBC, monarchy, re-investment/industrialisation and more out of it. When all is said and done and the Scottish people will know exactly what they are going to get, the decision will be YES!

  36. Oldnat says:

    Re my earlier comment re NatCen’s tweets. Here’s the latest

    “Scots who think independence would mean that more pride in their country has fallen from 67% in 2011 to 55% in 2012”

    Numbers are correct, but note the use of “has” instead of “had”.

    Conspiracy, or illiterate at NatCen? 

  37. Albalha says:


    It’s weighing up the ’empty chair’ statement or taking part, and at the end of the day politicians and the media need each other, but I don’t think. as has been said above, that the SNP put up their best performer on this.  

  38. The_Duke says:

    Is it not starnge that from 1999 to 2006 and average of 29.6% wanted full independence and when the SNP came to power in 2007 until the latest survey that has dropped to 26%.
    Read into that what you want.

  39. scottish_skier says:

    Propaganda invariably increases exponentially in intensity and level of fantasy as the downfall of a regime approaches.

    We’ve all seen it, e.g. just recently in Iraq, Libya etc.

    Very interesting to watch it here in the UK. Really fascinating stuff. Of course it means the Yes is winning; otherwise no need for it.

  40. TheGreatBaldo says:

    The upside of the SSAS report is that it shows…in the words of Prof Curtice the word ‘Independence’ is ‘toxic’… ‘The Scottish Parliament should control all of Scotland affairs’ got 35% whilst any direct references to independence got 23%

    Presumably then in the upcoming stooshie on the Electoral Commission advice the good Prof will have no problem declaring that the prefered question is indeed fair as it contains words/phrases that encourage both a YES and a NO vote……I mean surely he cannae argue against the evidence in his OWN research 

    Unless of course, ‘cognitive chutes’ only apply when there is a perceived bias towards the YES campaign…..


  41. Morag says:

    Gong back to what zedeeyen said, above, I also worry a bit about what will/might happen if we get a poll that shows a YES vote solidly over 40%.  They’re vitriolic enough right now, but they also seem a bit complacent.  If they start to see a significant chance they might lose, I dread to think.

  42. Dcanmore says:

    ‘Independence word is toxic’

    Do you agree that Scotland should be a fully autonomous country?

    au·ton·o·mous (ô-t n -m s). adj. 1. Not controlled by others or by outside forces; independent.

  43. Davy says:


    I have to agree with you, we need more of the Alex Neil manner as heard yesterday on the radio Scotland show in the morning. He hammered the presenter and her replies, and did’nt leave anyone in any doubt as to what he thought of the shoddy reporting by the BBC.

    So cool.

    Alba Gu snooker loopy!, vote yes

  44. Cuphook says:

    When ever I’ve met someone who’s active in the No campaign (three people) they’ve been quite nasty upon discovering that I’m a Yes. By this I mean a change in tone and making snide remarks. And that’s not even getting involved in a political discussion. It’s a rather odd way of presenting yourself.

  45. Bill C says:

    “it’s something else entirely. Individual or institutional, co-ordination or coincidence. You can call it whatever you want.”

    I would call it a black propaganda campaign by the British state to thwart the legitimate right of the Scottish people to govern themselves.  It is a campaign which would do Goebbels proud. Tell the big lie often enough and the masses will believe anything. It is a campaign orchestrated, organised and run by black ops agents deep within the British secuity services. Anyone who has researched independence movements within the British Empire can identify the tactics used. From Ireland to India the tactics are the same. Introduce doubt and create uncertainty, divide and rule, bribe decision makers, control the media, threaten economic meltdown and create fears for national security. This is not just about independence, it is about our very democracy which is being undermined by forces that most people do not know exist. A fact acknowledged by the Queen in conversation with Princess Diana’s butler Paul Burrell.


  46. Jeannie says:

    So only 23% of Scots are in favour of independence? No, I don’t think that figure can be right at all – because it would imply that 77% of Scots are completely and utterly stupid. And I have never found that to be the case.
    In 2014, Scots will be asked to decide whether to keep their own resources and use them to make the lives of their families and friends better or to give them away to somebody else and continue to watch their families and friends struggle.  That will be the choice. Are 77% of Scots really that stupid? Do 77% of Scots hate their families and friends that much?  Somehow, I don’t think so.

  47. ronald alexander mcdonald says:

    I take all of the polls with a pinch of salt for a variety of reasons, highlighted by various contributors here and other blogs etc.

    Slightly off topic, the question I would like for the Indy referendum is:

    Do you agree, that concerning Scotland, all of the powers held by The Westminster Parliament should be transferred to The Scottish Parliament?

    The above defines Independence.   


  48. Keef says:

    The Scottish meeja is biased in favour of the union!?

    Who knew?

  49. Jeannie says:

    @Bill C
    That sounds like an interesting article in itself.  If we could produce concrete examples of these tactics being used before with other countries and show how they’ve been reproduced in the current debate?

  50. Embradon says:

    DS at 12:31
    Is there any explanation as to why the sample size reduced significantly after 2010?
    I wonder if this sample is from a fixed panel with a weighting process which may be excluding some of the number,  e.g. if it’s weighted on UKGE voting behaviour.

  51. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “Is there any explanation as to why the sample size reduced significantly after 2010?”

    I noticed that too. A 20% drop seems quite a substantial change.

  52. scottish_skier says:

    As support for independence rises, support for devolution falls
    R2 = 0.7 (clear correlation)
    As support for devolution rises, so support for Westminster rule falls
    R2 = 0.5 (apparent correlation)

    (R2 = linear regression coefficient)

    No clear correlation between support for independence an support for full Westminster rule

    No clear correlation between don’t know and support for full independence.

    The first one is the point of interest. Where we see an obvious correlation it is in a swing from devo to independence. That’ll be yer devo maxers….

  53. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “Do you agree, that concerning Scotland, all of the powers held by The Westminster Parliament should be transferred to The Scottish Parliament?”

    That’s my favourite of all the other alternatives so far, except for the unnecessary first comma. Though it’s still a bit ambiguous. Does defence “concern Scotland”, or the whole UK?

  54. Rabb says:

    I’ve had a cursory glance at the comments above (busy day in the office today) so it may have already been mentioned.

    An interesting comment was made by an Israeli political commentator (name escapes me) on BBC radio last night on the Israeli general election.

    By all accounts the government were taken by surprise by the polls. The election did not go as they predicted.

    His answer to this, “Like the UK, most polls in Israel are carried out using landline phones, however, the masses have now moved over to mobiles and social media”.

    In a nutshell, the pollsters are out of touch with the masses. Governments and political parties are still relying on these outdated forms which is why we see the results we do.

    I have every confidence the masses believe in independence. They’re just not being asked!

    They will in 2014 though 🙂

  55. TYRAN says:

    Rev, you might want to write about this rubbish from Better Together.
    They have a graph showing 72% for “Devolution Within The UK” on their site and social.
    11% of that figure is actually for “No Devolution” as clearly mentioned on page 2. So this would make 61%.
    Even then, Better Together has visually lumped the 50% for “some tax powers” as something they support. I am not aware Better Together are campaigning for this.
    The no change, ie: Better Together figure, is 11%, as per page 1.

  56. dadsarmy says:

    Mmm, I think conspiracy theorists are out to get us.

  57. Oldnat says:

    scottish skier

    Your “devomaxer” theory is also backed up in this month’s Angus Reid poll

    On a simple question on voting intention to “Do you agree that Scotland should be an independent country?” 61% said No compared with 39% voting Yes.
    In the absence of a “2nd question” in the referendum, they also asked (not very clear!) questions as to what the preferred option for Scotland’s future would be.
    The responses were –
    1. “The status-quo: Scotland as part of the UK, with a Scottish Parliament that has the power to pass laws and limited tax-varying capability” – 42%
    2. “Scotland having some additional powers, including the introduction of a new Scottish rate of income tax” – 19%
    3. “Scotland having many additional powers, such as full financial autonomy from the UK” – 18%
    4. “Scotland’s full independence from the United Kingdom” – 21%.
    If we aggregate options 1&2 and 3&4 that gives us exactly the same 61%/39% split! 

  58. cath says:

    “If we could produce concrete examples of these tactics being used before”
    Not quite the same, but one comparison of arguments against change mentioned by a blogger a while back (maybe Kate Higgins?) was that of votes for women. I looked it up after reading that, and the patronising, dismissive, disbelieving arguments given against by an establishment who feared losing their powers have a huge ring of familiarity about them!
    At first, the idea that women should have the vote was seen as so ridiculous that no one attempted to oppose it.   When the suffragettes began to win support, those opposing them had to take them more seriously. 
     These are the arguments they came up with.
    – “Women and men have ‘separate spheres’.”
    – “Most women do not want the vote.”
    – “Women’s role is in local affairs.”
    – “Women are already represented by their husbands.”
    – “It is dangerous to change a system that works.”
    –         “Women do not fight to defend their country.”
    “most working-class women laboured under disabilities which were much more urgent than not having the vote, and which would not be automatically removed by the right to vote.”
    And my personal favourite
    “If women became involved in politics, they would stop marrying, having children, and the human race would die out”

  59. Craig P says:

    A(n) historical perspective, reading up on the Labour movement in the early 20th century, the press was almost uniformly hostile and socialists had to produce and distribute their own newsletters and pamphlets. Wind back 100 years to the end of the Napoleonic Wars and the weavers discontent and radical rising, the press was even more firmly arrayed against anything that smacked of democracy, and the only outlet for liberal views were the various magazines and periodicals, often published anonymously.
    The mainstream press championing the status quo and advancing the cause of the rich and powerful is not a new thing: it is as old as the press itself. We are fortunate in that we can provide an alternative view via the internet without the inconvenience and expense of producing physical magazines and pamphlets.

  60. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    Tyran: Great spot, I’m on it.

  61. Morag says:

    So, since that poll was taken after the one they’re all on about, when can we see the headlines “Support for independence up by 16%”?

  62. Craig P says:

    cath, looking back, it amazes me that there were women campaigning against women getting the vote. I wonder if future generations will look back on today’s Scottish unionists with a similar sense of astonishment?

  63. ronald alexander mcdonald says:

    All powers concerning  Scotland would surely cover Scottish defence only, would it not?

    Concede the first comma though.    

  64. scottish_skier says:

    Straight Y/N running average May 2011 to date (23 polls):
    Y = 40%
    N = 45%
    DK = 15%

    No majority support for the union.

    Swing needed for independence = 2.6%

    Swing excludes DK’s which do not like the union. Otherwise, they’d say ‘N’.

    = Why unionists bricking it.

  65. Jeannie says:

    Thanks for the link, Cath.   Couldn’t help but notice that the tone of some of the arguments was quite similar to what I was hearing on the vote about ordaining women bishops in the Church of England – in particular, “men and women have different ROLES in the church”, (so we don’t need women bishops).  It never fails to amaze me when people vote against increasing or enhancing their own rights and opportunities and then try to vilify the people who are trying to facilitate said enhancement.
    If there’s a “No” vote in 2014 and we wind up in a bankrupt UK outside the EU, I wonder how some of these “journalists” will be able to look their children in the eye when these children realise that it was their own parents to actively colluded in the undermining of their democratic rights and who campaigned to give away their right to live in a prosperous, independent country. Somehow I don’t think the Nurnburg defence will wash.

  66. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “Straight Y/N running average May 2011 to date (23 polls):”

    Got the source data for that? Could be worth a post.

  67. Training Day says:


    Yeah, think it is indeed the work to which you refer, Doug – thanks for the exposition too, point 3 is particularly telling.

    Slightly O/T – Mind our media told us that Salmond was desperate for a Devo Max fallback question (although now they’re telling us – reinforced by Rennie’s input at today’s FMQs – that Salmond’s refusing to engage on a Devo max option in the lead up to a No vote which is really, really undemocratic of the tyrant)?  Have the No campaign suddently, belatedly, woken up to the fact that disenfranchised Devo Maxers could win the referendum for Yes, backed up by the results of this survey?  Surely they’re not desperate to concoct a jam tomorrow halfway house because their private polling is worrying them?  After all, didn’t the No campaign’s man in Whitehall Alun Evans say that Westminster had ‘won through’ on its non-negotiable stance over the inadmissability of a third question? 

    All very strange

  68. Adrian B says:

    Training Day

    Expect more on this Devo with added ‘bits’ story tomorrow.

  69. Doug Daniel says:

    Cath:  Those are amazing. I’ve amended them for use by our unionist friends.
    – “Women and men have ‘separate spheres’.” (Scotland and Norway are totally different scenarios)
    – “Most women do not want the vote.” (Most Scots do not want independence)
    – “Women’s role is in local affairs.” (Scotland’s role is as cannon fodder and a nuclear storage facility)
    – “Women are already represented by their husbands.” (Scotland is already represented in the EU by Westminster)
    – “It is dangerous to change a system that works.” (Why change a 300 year old union?)
    – “Women do not fight to defend their country.” (85% of Scots contribute nothing to the economy)
    “most working-class women laboured under disabilities which were much more urgent than not having the vote, and which would not be automatically removed by the right to vote.” (Most Scots are more concerned with the economy and jobs than with the SNP’s vanity separation project, which won’t even lead to an instant land of milk and honey)
    And my personal favourite
    “If women became involved in politics, they would stop marrying, having children, and the human race would die out” (If Scotland becomes separate, it’ll have to bail out the banks yet again, the oil will dry up, and all businesses will leave Alex Salmond’s fascist dictatorship)

  70. cath says:

    “I wonder if future generations will look back on today’s Scottish unionists with a similar sense of astonishment?”
    I’m sure they will. I already am looking on them with that kind of astonishment, and I’m a relatively recent convert! Nicola Sturgeon made a great speech at the SNP conference in which she imagined visiting a primary school ten years on from independence, and meeting 8 year olds who have never known anything different from independence, and who would see it as absolutely natural. They would no doubt be utterly bemused by the opposition to it.
    Re polls, btw, there were a couple at the beginning of last year that showed a small majority for independence

    “A referendum on Scottish independence, currently scheduled for autumn 2014, may still be a way off, but public opinion is moving in the right direction for the SNP if a Sunday Express poll is to be believed. It found that 51 per cent of people in Scotland back independence. This follows a New Statesman poll earlier this week which found 44 per cent of the Scottish public in favour.”

  71. cath says:

    “Those are amazing. I’ve amended them for use by our unionist friends.”
    They are, aren’t they? It’s fascinating how the basic wording and psychology behind them are identical to the anti-independence campaign. As is the tone of them.
    It could be fun, some rainy Sunday, to write a mock Scotsman comment piece on the folly of these few deluded and dangerous women seeking to undermine the entire fabric of British society against the wishes of the vast majority of their more sensible peers.

  72. scottish_skier says:


    My own analysis of 23 polls collected on an excel sheet in front of me.

    Numbers are, for e.g. Y:

    (Average all polls Y + ((min+max Y values polled)/2))/2

    Reform Scotland
    Ipsos MORI
    Angus Reid

    Shouldn’t be too far away as long term (back to 1998) the values are 42Y/44N for a straight Y/N held tomorrow. Aye tomorrow. Quite amazing how many folk if put on the spot are ready to go out and do that. Wonder what’ll happen once they’ve a decent idea what’ll happen after a Y.

  73. Doug Daniel says:

    @Training Day – I don’t think BetterTogether have woken up to anything. The fact is they were always going to try and paint their position as the Devo Max option, which was one of their reasons for ensuring it wasn’t on the ballot (the other reason being that it’s easier to back out when voters are voting for “No” rather than a specific “Devo Max” option). Everyone knows the side that wins is the one that gets the more-powers-but-not-full-indy folk on board.

    Nothing has changed. The Devo More proposals are just the 2013 version of Devo Plus. It’s still a pig in a poke, and the idea that no = more powers will continue to be a pig in a poke until there is a bill tabled and an act put through parliament setting out what these “extra powers” would be.

    That the media is trying to portray Devo More as something new is just the latest in their long line of lies to the public. Nothing has changed, least of all BT’s tactics.

  74. Jeannie says:

    @Doug Daniel
    That’s exactly the sort of thing I was thinking of.
    I’d add “Because past legislation show that the interests of women are perfectly safe in the hands of men” = Because the evidence of the most successful union in history shows that the interests of Scots are perfectly safe in the hands of the Tory Party at Westminster.

  75. DougtheDug says:

    Training Day:
    (although now they’re telling us – reinforced by Rennie’s input at today’s FMQs – that Salmond’s refusing to engage on a Devo max option in the lead up to a No vote which is really, really undemocratic of the tyrant)?
    It’s kind of hard to get your head round that one.
    The unionists are complaining that Alex Salmond is refusing to help or endorse the main plank in the No Scotland campaign which is the Jam Tomorrow strategy.
    If this was a TV series it would be pulled for implausible story lines.

  76. TootsCapoot says:

    @ Doug Daniel @ 12.50pm
    Nick Davies was very impressive in both appearances he made during Leveson; articulate, informed and genuinely trying to engage with the issues.
    He was very good at describing the differences between the functional imperatives of various newspapers and it intrigues me that, as he explained, The Guardian being a trust is generally subject to less market pressures, having no proprietor looming large and no dependency on cover price/sales to bring in income (basically just maintain some core advertising revenue and  then potter along as you like) so why, given this, is The Guardian such a wash out on the Scottish Referendum stuff do you think?  Is it an editorial issue (Rushbridger’s been in that post for how long now?
    It’s an odd thing to read these days; a UK broadsheet that doesn’t appear to want to seriously understand what that actually means nowadays, combined with an incessant amount of US filler pieces (that should more logically be taking up space in its US version).  I think it could be doing with a new Editor who might at least try and work out what it imagines it’s audience to be. 
    As Nick Davies is freelance I’d been really interested to see him undertake a two part piece on:
    (a) the Scottish Ref generally (setting out how we got here with more analytical heft and less bias than others seems able or willing to do) and;
    (b) on the distortions in its coverage as an aspect of current journalistic behaviour, particularly within a broadsheet that is not having to operate under quite the same constraints as most other news outlets.
    Would be interesting stuff.

  77. John Lyons says:

    I don’t buy into conspiracy theories much, but The McCrone report, Hillsborough and the Saville Scandal just always make me think, what else are they hiding?

    I can’t remember what it was the SNP asked for recently, I think it was papers on Devolution as that was fifteen years ago, but they were refused. Clearly the British Government are hiding something. What else is buried under Westminster?

  78. dadsarmy says:

    Thanks Rev, for the article and others too. Having for instance Table 2 extracted in such a highlighted way, even though I’d read both reports 2011 and 2012, makes it much easier to put together competent and responsive postings in other forums, such as the Guardian and the Herald. Thanks again, it makes my “task” easier.

  79. Doug Daniel says:

    @TootsCapoot – yeah, I’d love to see Nick Davies lift the lid on the truth behind reporting of the indyref.

    As to the Guardian’s reasons for falling into line like the others, I think it’s quite simply a case of going for the same flawed logic as people like Owen Jones, who can be excellent when he’s talking about the damage the Tories are doing to the economy, but like many well-meaning left-wingers has a complete blind spot when it comes to a country seeking self-determination.

    Either that, or they just simply think Scotland is part of their country. 

  80. Christian Wright says:

    “Conspiracy theorists shall have a field day if anything serious happens to either Mr Salmond or Ms Sturgeon. 
    In the case of the former there has been much comment re his weight and fondness for curries. Laying the groundwork for a cardiac incident ? Surely not !”

     Of course there is always an induced rare cancer a la Arafat and Chavez..

    Then there is the hate-filled daily diet of bile directed at the First Minister, serving to dehumanize him. All that would be required would be an unbalanced malcontent  to do the dirty of his own volition or with the help and encouragement of Union clandestine institutions. 

    Maybe a knife, or  handgun, or a hammer, or a fertilizer bomb. 

    Would be too complicated and liable to be discovered? These guys are professionals after all and would not do anything stupid. Course not. Being too fanciful? Tinfoil hat? Hyperbole? 

    Ooh, now there’s a word . . . at that reminds me . . . it appears in this first article. If they can be this stupid, they can be that stupid.

    Recall Gorgeous George had his office or home broken into amid allegations of government attempt (or elements thereof) to smear him .

    What is interesting was the contrast between the first eye-rolling piece in the Gruniad and a second piece two months later. Here we see active pooh-poohing in the first article, and if the reporter had egg on her face in the second article, you’d never know it by reading it.

    You may recall that  Afiz Khan, an officer with the Met’s SO15 anti-terrorism branch prints were found on a stolen laptop.

    The Guardian had a piece where one accused scoffed at all this, and that it was all a mistake, coincidence really , move along, there’s nothing to see here, and that anyway Galloway is a rat. Turns out they were also feeding stuff to the Guardian itself, but of course that was of no moment.

    This contrasts with a factual piece in the same paper two months later that reveals that the two suspects, well, they’d been arrested and charged, written be the same reporter.


  81. dadsarmy says:

    Oldnat (from the survey)

    ““Scots who think independence would mean that more pride in their country has fallen from 67% in 2011 to 55% in 2012?

    This is as ambiguous as the devolution v independence question.

    Perhaps some people are so rpoud of their country they find it hard to imaging being more proud (apart from football and rugby!). And people might be so satisfied with Devolution, they want that to be recorded, more than their vague wish for independence.

    That’s why a multi-question survey can NOT be used as a poll. All the questions are interactive, and cause later questions to be leading questions. Curtice is being disingenuous, or worse.

  82. Amanayeman says:

    To me it seems quite plain. The British establishment are lying bastards. The mccrone report, WMDs in Iraq, the denial of the sinking of the Shefield, The oil will run out in 10- no we meant 20 no sorry 30 years and anyway there is only 800 million £s worth (this from the late 1960’s) . Just understand that they will lie, prevaricate,obfuscate and generally try to F-ck Us UP. Let us do an Alex Neil on them. Where they lie CALL THEM LIARS. And will the SNP get the finger out stop pussy footing around and lead the charge. Now going off for a glass of Ozzy red and to stop my big puddens eating my wee puddens.

  83. Bill C says:

    @Jeannie – There is ample evidence of how Britain employed ‘dirty tricks’ and ‘black ops’ to strangle (literally in some cases) independence movements. The following may be of interest:
    Yemen’s Useful Tyranny – The Forgotten History of Britain’s Dirty War by Mark Curtis
    Brtain’s Gulag: The Brutal End of Empire in Kenya by Caroline Elkids
    Histories of the Hanged – Britain’s Dirty WAr in Kenya by David Anderson
    Britain’s Dirty Colonial War in Ireland – A very British Jihad by Paul Larkin
    The Dirty War by Martin Dillon
    and of course our very own Britain’s Secret War – Tartan Terrorism and the Anglo American State by Andrew Murray Scott and Iain Macleay. This book devotes a chapter to the murder of Willie Macrae.
    My interest in the above was stimulated by conversations with friends and colleagues who were either involved or had witnessed first hand some of the subject matter of these books.
    Britain’s involvement in fighting dirty wars against pro-independence movements is well documented, it is a history that no one in Britain should be proud of. 
    Similar tactics have been used, are being used and will be used against the independence movement in Scotland, anyone who thinks otherwise is guity of being a conspiracy theorist.

  84. Dal Riata says:

    @ Doug Daniel at 12.50pm
    Thanks for those excerpts from Manufacturing Consent re Propaganda – really fascinating and interesting. It’s like reading the UK MSM’s Mission Statement!

    @ scottish-skier
    Keep up the detailed analysis work, especially on polls. Your posts keep the spirits up while the present-UK Establishment tries to grind us down!

  85. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “As Nick Davies is freelance I’d been really interested to see him undertake a two part piece on:”

    I have a crazy plan lined up for the end of this month that might even make that a thing that actually happened.

  86. Jeannie says:

    @Bill C
    Thanks for the references, Bill.  Glad I got a Kindle for Christmas!  It makes my blood boil the way some people think they’ve got more right to walk the face of the earth than others and are therefore entitled to make all the rules.

  87. Bill C says:

    @Jeannie – No problem, I’m afraid most of the material makes for grim reading. It is a murky, horrible world, alien to decent people; however it is the reality of taking on the British State!

  88. Cameron says:

    Coincidence or conspiracy? Duh. The MSM’s role is almost solely one of perception management, and it is a central component of the psychological warfare that is being conducted against us here in Scotland, and everywhere else come to that.
    On a global scale, we have a tiny elite who feel threatened by the growing demands for democratic participation amongst the rapidly growing ranks of the poor. These were the same “perceived” pressures that led to the eugenics movement of the 19th and 20th century, which was born of the British establishment, nurtured by the American establishment, before being let loose by the Wall Street and City of London puppet Nazi party. Of course, there have been other ethnically orientated mass murderers, such as Stalin. He didn’t seem to like his fellow Georgians that much, and tough luck if you were of Asiatic persuasion. 
    On our local scale, we have a tiny elite who feel threatened by the growing demands for democratic participation amongst the rapidly growing ranks of the poor. Submission to such demands will irrevocably undermine or undo vested interests that the British establishment have troughed off for centuries. Do you really expect a fair fight?
    Coincidence or not? The Bilderberg Club is widely regarded as the single most influential force behind the creation of what is now the EU. The guest list for the inaugural meeting of this invites only club, was drawn up by US General Charles Douglas (C. D.) Jackson, at the request of Walter Bedell Smith. Before becoming a “Special Assistant” to President Eisenhower, General C. D. Jackson was a psychological warfare expert serving with the US Office of Strategic Services during WW2. For those who do not already know, the OSS was the foruner to the CIA. At that particular time, W.B. Smith was the acting head of the CIA.


  89. Ghengis says:

    Re the the terrible state of Britain:
    I’ve gone right off my biscuits

  90. Baheid says:

    “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.”

    Minister of Propaganda,
    Joseph Goebbels

  91. Jeannie says:

    It’s the subtle way they do it – watching BBC News just now and there’s a report by Eleanor Bradford saying you’re more likely to die if you go into hospital on a bank holiday than at any other time.  And just in case you’ve lived all of your life on some distant planet and therefore have no idea what a bank holiday is, Eleanor provided a helpful visual aid – a clip of the Jubilee celebrations in the form of a streeet party, complete with union flags, etc.
    I must remember that that is what a bank holiday is….it’s when you have a street party and do British things.  When’s the next one due…..I’ll be sure and get my flag ordered.

  92. douglas clark says:

    I am quite interested in conspiracy theories. I used to buy – off the shelf – for fear of subscription getting me into bother – to the paper edition of Robin Ramsays’ “Lobster” which was always a fascinating read. (Sadly no longer available, which ought to be a conspiracy of itself, though the production qualities, rather than the content, tell a different story..)
    It seemed to me, anyway, that the simplest conspiracies are best.
    For instance, the twists and turns that any spin doctor would have us believe are the sort of counter intuitive rubbush that we get fed from the papers on a day to day basis, I happen to know several Pakistanis and Poles and they are just like you and I. Not what the Daily Mail would have you believe, (A newspaper that, incidentally, thought Hitler wasn’t all bad)
    It has been a feature of the comments on this blog that David Cameron is actively helping the ‘Yes’ campaign. Well, that would count as a conspiracy, wouldn’t it?
    I have no evidence that he is actually doing that, but it seems, at the least, credible, doesn’t it?
    Just saying…….

  93. Barontorc says:

    Douglas Clark…’Is David Cameron actively helping the ‘Yes’ campaign? Well, that would count as a conspiracy, wouldn’t it?’..I would think that all his gaffs of late, which totally confound the NO-ists are clear evidence he is actually doing that.

    But, why, is what confounds me? Is he so really so stoopid, or is Labour gonna be toast? 

  94. redcliffe62 says:

    I like words like autonomous, self determination, and all powers transferred to Scottish parliament.
    I think the question also needs to state that the Queen remains Head of State. That is worth 2% to maybe even 5% of waverers at least. Cannot be argued against and allows devomaxers to be fuzzy they are still British-ish. 
    There are many people, including Rangers fans, who believe that the Queen will be removed after indy so the two areas need to be split apart.

  95. Cameron says:

    @ Barontorc
    I was having a on-line discussion with an American historian and political commentator, who regularly appears on media such as RT and Press TV. He was publicly stating that the Scottish “separatist” movement was part of the NWO scheme, to fragment nation states in to powerless micro-states. These could then be more easily controlled through the central banking system. I had to point out to him that such assertions raised serious issues regarding his credibility, and ask if the date 1320 was significant to him. Given his background in medieval history, I thought there would be a chance it might. Anyway, I haven’t heard him come out with that line of “reasoning” again, but perhaps there was something in it. Not that there is any historical linkage between the independence movement and say, the Royal Institute of International Affairs (now Chatham House), or the New York Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). Rather that what we are witnessing the unfortunate confluence of two very different aspirations.
    Since the end of WW2, the prevailing political paradigm in Europe has been that of an expansionist European super-state. This has been the objective of those who support the political outlook often referred to as Atlanticism. This has sought to protect “liberal democratic  values”, and is embodied in the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO). However, the most striking characteristics about what is now the world’s largest trading block, to me anyway, is that the legal framework which the EU imposes over all member nations, is defined by an UNELECTED body (i.e. The EU Commission).
    In light of this, perhaps David Cameron is jumping to the call of the Anglo-American establishment, rather than representing those that voted for him. Perhaps the plan is to lead the UK /rUK out of the EU. This would make further deregulation easier, thus paving the way for membership of the Trans Pacific Partnership trading zone. A bit like the Poll Tax again, as the people will have asked for it (perhaps?). The rUK/UK can become an Airstrip One Free-port, in phase two of the Anglo-American project. Think of the advantages. Low-cost competition to EU industry and with direct access to European markets. The EU has got Europe by the chestnuts, so its time to change track for the Rangoon express. Got to keep driving those costs down, don’t you know.  🙂

  96. Ghengis says:

    If we vote to shake off the chains of Westminster in 2014, both Scotland and England/Wales/NI will be discussing terms with the EU. Therefore this EU referendum is pie in the sky, otherwise known as jam tomorrow. It’s good politicking from the forces of evil because many people are, with good reason, disaffected with the EU. It also hits the right note with British nationalists as it allows them to have a common enemy and to feel better together, god save our serfdom and all that.

  97. Barontorc says:

    Cameron – I am seriously beginning to acccept the NWO school of thought is behind the MSM and BBC’s anti- independence  line via Common Purpose. Sounds bizarre to be even saying so, but what else is orchestrating this activity. There are direct links established right through the BBC and the ownership of the UK/Scottish press and CP. Check it out.

  98. Cameron says:

    Although focusing on the processes of urbanisation, David Harvey’s lecture is essential viewing if one wants to understand the implications of neolibrealism, IMO.

  99. Cameron says:

    @ Barontorc
    Sorry I didn’t reply to you earlier on. I don’t actually like the “NWO” term, as I think it muddies the issue. I think the economic and political interests that are generally referred to as supporters of the NWO, are actually the capitalists and robber barons of the Old World Order. The NWO term has been promoted by these very interests, in order to project a facade of scientific modernity to there unbridled capital accumulation. It should tell you something that our politicians and the MSM have failed to put forward serious opposition to this, for the last one and a half centuries.

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