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Crybaby Nation

Posted on November 15, 2012 by

It’s hard for any remotely aware and rational person not to be a misanthrope. If you can watch the news for any extended period of time and not come to the conclusion that humanity as a whole would be greatly served by a bird-flu pandemic or alien invasion, you’re a better person than we are (which is very likely the case anyway).

But even by our low expectations of humanity, it’s been a bad couple of weeks.

We don’t know if it’s possible to trace the phenomenon back to the litigation culture of the USA, but we’re finding it harder and harder to stomach just how whiny a place the First World has become these days. Everywhere you look someone’s being loudly offended by something and demanding that everyone involved gets either fired and/or sent to jail, or paid vast amounts of compensation. Sometimes, even the people who get fired or sent to jail get compensation too.

The mere act of disagreeing with someone now appears to be classed as “bullying”, even if perpetrated by the powerless against the powerful. It seems that it’s no longer possible to have someone express a counterpoint – or even simply politely question you on your own views – without the “victim” flying into a tantrum and furiously bemoaning such “intimidation”. The list of people who block us on Twitter without our ever having been the tiniest bit rude to them is as long as your arm.

The last few days have seen some high-profile examples of the condition. George Entwistle, the Director General of the BBC, resigned in disgrace because one of the Corporation’s thousands of programmes committed a small failure of standards. Newsnight did the exact thing that everyone had been angrily demanding it did for most of the preceding fortnight – that is, believe the word of a victim of child abuse on trust – and then got in trouble because SOMEONE ELSE ENTIRELY wrongly named an alleged perpetrator as a result of its doing do.

(It seems to be constantly overlooked that Newsnight DIDN’T at any point actually name Lord McAlpine, the innocent man in question. We still don’t, to be entirely honest, quite understand how the programme can be held responsible for what people said on Twitter afterwards. After all, what people say on Twitter is total bollocks a large degree of the time, and anyone believing Twitter rumours without doing their own fact-checking is an utter moron.)

Ever since the fateful episode aired, the BBC has been convulsed in an orgy of self-flagellation, day after day, the chief result of which is that Lord McAlpine is perhaps the world’s most high-profile NON-paedophile. No human being on the face of the Earth is more widely known to NOT be a child-abuser than he. Yet on this morning’s news he was still weeping about how beastly it all was and how determined he was to sue everyone he could get his hands on.

Here’s what should have happened: the BBC should have issued an apology for a minor individual failure of fact-checking on the Newsnight team (indeed, the programme should have apologised for cravenly allowing public opinion to push it in that direction), and made absolutely clear that Lord McAlpine was not a paedophile. End of story.

If anyone called for George Entwistle to resign, he should have told them to piss off and stop being so ridiculous. Lord McAlpine should have issued a public statement accepting the Corporation’s apology, pointedly noting that only an idiot believes unsourced Twitter rumours in the first place, and then gone back to doing whatever it is he does all day, which is DEFINITELY, DEFINITELY NOT sodomising children.

(Of course, this wasn’t the beginning of the story. The BBC had already suffered resignations over the pulling of another edition of Newsnight, one investigating claims of child abuse by Jimmy Savile. These, too, were wholly unnecessary over-reactions. Since there was – and indeed, as yet still is – no definitive proof of the allegations against Savile, the Corporation was well within its rights to be wary of making the allegations. That caution has been massively vindicated by subsequent events – look, after all, what’s happened when it DIDN’T even name Lord McAlpine.)

Scotland isn’t by any means immune from the Newsnight Disease either. This morning we were catching up on a couple of missed episodes of Newsnight Scotland, and had the misfortune to endure the one on the Kirk Ramsay affair.

In short – for those of you who don’t read the Scotsman, which is becoming obsessed with the situation – Mr Ramsay recorded a meeting with Mike Russell, the Education Secretary, without telling anyone he was doing so, and then shared the recording with a number of people who hadn’t been at the meeting.

Such an action isn’t technically illegal but is certainly highly discourteous, and Mr Russell expressed his displeasure in rather heated terms. He said the incident undermined his trust in Mr Ramsay – which is an entirely fair and reasonable view for someone to take about being covertly recorded – but also called for him to resign, which is a somewhat overblown and unhelpful reaction.

After a couple of days, however, rather than simply telling Mr Russell to piss off and stop being so ridiculous, Mr Ramsay DID resign, at the same time insisting he’d done nothing wrong. (To which the obvious retort is “So why the hell are you resigning?”)

This outwardly mature, experienced man of the world in a senior position of authority and responsibility then went onto Newsnight Scotland and gave an extraordinary interview in which he affected the tone of a sobbing, petulant teenager, claiming that he’d been effectively “forced” into this course of action, even though Russell had absolutely no power to eject him from his position and all Ramsay was ACTUALLY being “forced” to do was tough out a little public criticism.

At no point did it appear to even occur to anyone that Mr Ramsay should have simply apologised for his plainly discourteous act and promised not to record another meeting without informing the participants in advance, Mr Russell should have accepted this apology and assurance, and both men should have got on with doing their damn jobs.

We could list more examples all day, and so could you. They cover not only the political sphere but just about every aspect of life and culture, from sport to music to videogames journalism. The default response to any kind of slight or challenge nowadays seems to be to shriek that you’re being bullied or persecuted or defamed or disrespected or discriminated against, and demand – often via the courts or the threat of the courts – that nobody should ever dare question or criticise you in any way. And as a result, the default position of the media is to cringe in fear and instantly back down in the most abject way imaginable if anyone complains.

(Of course, we’re no better. We were originally going to call this piece “Does nobody have any balls any more?”, but we just couldn’t face the inevitable barrage of whining from militant feminists about our disgusting testosterocentric prejudice.)

Perhaps our occasional fondness for a little bit of robust polemic is colouring our judgement, as it seems there will be no place in the world of the future for anyone ever getting angry about anything, no matter how justifiably. Nowadays, if you so much as express a controversial and unpopular opinion about something (a concept more traditionally known as “freedom of speech”), you’re likely to swiftly and suddenly find yourself staring at the inside of a prison cell.

Are we alone in wishing people were allowed to shout at each other a bit when they felt strongly about something, without everyone being arrested or sued? It’s starting to look increasingly like we are, and that makes us both sad and angry. Does anyone know a good lawyer?

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    128 to “Crybaby Nation”

    1. Irish Al says:

      You’re right in that the UK does seem to err on the side of knee-jerk firings and resignations these days. There have been a few cases where I’ve thought that the person in the firing line should have stood up and said “that’s the position, you’d all still be whining if the situation was reversed, shut the fuck up, I’m going nowhere.”


    2. squidge142 says:

      Whining? Whining?  As a militant feminist I am offended and I am going to tell the police, the papers and the whole damn world about how terrible you are.  Demand an apology and ensure that this page is shut down with immediate effect.
      Seriously though people if people got as worked up about the problems in our society today as they do about their own egos then we would live in a better world.  There are serious allegations which need to be refuted and people held to account and I would suggest that out of all the instances that you have listed Lord Macalpine is the only one with any real cause to complain so publicly.  The rest should think the way I always try to think – that if someone is saying something nasty about me then at least they arent saying something nasty about someone who would be hurt by it – cos I dont really give a shit!

    3. Ronald Henderson says:

      We are swiftly becoming a Nation of fannies. Last year my wife and I popped along to collect our grandchildren from school. It was the last day of term before the summer holidays and so a lot of the kids would be moving up to secondary level. We couldn’t believe the amount of hugging and tears and sobbing among those kids. Even among the boys. It was like watching some kind of American Teen movie. I believe that the kids had been stirred up by their teachers regarding the end of term situation with the forthcoming move to other classes and their hysterics (I can’t think of another word that accurately describes their emotion) were a result of that. Thankfully our own grandchildren just ran out to meet us as usual with big smiles.

    4. Mchaggis says:

      The same situation now completely undermines politics. Opposition parties in particular shriek for a resignation at every possible opportunity. No longer is it necessary to advance alternative, better policies in opposition, just wait until a minister or adviser slips up by stepping on a crack in the pavement and whine for weeks they should do the honourable thing and resign.

      The UK as it stands is, to put it mildly, a complete socio and economic train wreck. 

    5. Cuphook says:

      I have to disagree with you on Lord McAlpine. The journalists in question didn’t follow proper procedure and the failure to show the victim a photograph is so astoundingly stupid I can’t begin to understand why not. And didn’t a reporter say that the name was on Twitter and the internet? Not on the initial programme but over the weekend.
      At this moment in history being named as a paedophile is the worst of stigmas yet the BBC, a voice of authority, said, one of a very small group of men is a paedophile but we won’t tell which one.
      George Entwistle was in charge of one of the world’s biggest news groups yet, on the two occasions that I heard him being interviewed, one of them several days later, his excuse was that he hadn’t seen the news on either day. If management structures are in place he has people to inform him, and he has overall responsibility to ensure that those structures are in place and effective.
      I’ve worked for several large organisations and senior management deliberately shield themselves from the actual working environment and are seemingly never culpable.
      On the whole I agree that the call to resign is too prevalent and that people take offence too readily. Keep offending them though.
      Isn’t the joke that the best lawyer in town is your ex-wife’s?

    6. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      I absolutely agree that Newsnight made a mistake. Even though they had no reason to disbelieve Mr Messham’s account, they should have made some sort of effort to verify it. Nevertheless, the fact remains that Newsnight did not name or identify Lord McAlpine, and is not responsible in any way for the people on Twitter who did.

      They should have issued an apology for the failure to check and made it absolutely clear that Lord McAlpine was innocent – both of which they did – and conducted internal disciplinary proceedings and that should have been the end of it. All that’s being achieved by this epic bout of flagellation is that the BBC has become the focus rather than the paedophiles.

    7. Kenny Campbell says:

      I’m offended by people taking ‘Offence’….even in football we see it happening with Hibs DJ getting the boot for taking the piss out of Hearts by playing taxman by the Beatles.

    8. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      God yes. Should have worked that one in too, along with the Rangers fans who moaned about the Falkirk announcer in similar vein. In fact, I might replace the Levein link.

    9. sneddon says:

      “disgusting testosterocentric prejudice.”  you need to grow a pair:)

    10. CJ Cairns says:

      Spot on Rev – though it has seemed to me over the last couple of weeks that the Nats have gone to the other extreme in the face of the torrent of mendacious crap flowing from the unionists and their bugle blowers in the press. Surely there’s a sensible middle ground between screaming like a three-year-old Calpol addict going cold turkey and taking a vow of silence in the hope the world will see through the lies and distortions all by itself?

    11. James McLaren says:

      Rev Stu
      “All that’s being achieved by this epic bout of flagellation is that the BBC has become the focus rather than the paedophiles.”

      Do you not find that terribly convenient for some people?

      The official inquiry into the Hexam Care Home allegations seem to be have posted verbatim on the web and with respect to the Noble Lord, he was not identified. His family is a large one and one member of it, who seems to fit the description that Meashan allegedly identified, is now dead.

      The  TBIJ (The Bureau of Investigative Journalism) who supplied to the story to Newsnight, it was bought in, seems not to have checked the identity of the “named” person by showing Measham a photograph of him. Moreover neither the TBIJ of Newsnight bothered to telephone the now litigant to ask him if he had anything to say.I am not sure where was the source leading to the web named MacAlpine but as I said it seems to have been a valuable way of deflecting the story from the real victims and as a bonus setting the legal hounds onto the internet.Very convenient displacement, one could almost suggest worthy of an episode of In the Thick of It?


    12. Cuphook says:

      While not naming him they did say that it was one of several people and then let the witch hunt commence. He does have a stronger case against Twitter users etc. (and, for reasons that are little more than schadenfreude, I relish the case against Sally Bercow) but he still has an argument that the actions of the BBC led to him being incorrectly identified as a paedophile.
      Saying that it’s one of a select group and knowing that the name can be Googled is irresponsible.
      At the moment the BBC has made itself the story but I’m sure we’ll get back to the paedophiles soon and in the hysteria forget that in the vast majority of cases the abuse occurs at home.

    13. pa_broon says:


      The entire BBC thing is a farce, they’ve turned into one of their own soap operas.

      The moany agenda is a side effect of the drive for equality, since we’re not allowed to talk about any minority groups (lest we offend them, or more usually people who are offended on their behalf*) we aren’t allowed to offend anyone any more.

      People have forgotten that offence is a form of communication, if you’re ignoring them, no communication is taking place.

      * ‘professional offendees’ are possibly the most annoying people I can think of, with the exception of one John Deighan who I find intensely irritating, it bothers me that such a man roams the same plane of existence as I do.

    14. Jeannie says:

      Amazing!  In a conversation with Mr. Jeannie this morning, I spent 10 minutes bemoaning the fact that all everybody seems to do lately is moan and whinge (no irony). And then this appears! I prefer to look on the bright side.  It keeps you healthier.

    15. James McLaren says:

      It seems the original Twitter info came from the TBIJ, or at least a member thereof, before the Newsnight edition was aired.
      This letter was published in the Times on November 13 2012.
      We would like to clarify issues raised in your leading article (Nov 12) which mentioned the Bureau of Investigative Journalism in connection with BBC Newsnight.
      We, the trustees of the Bureau, are inquiring further into what happened and may comment more fully when our investigations are complete. But we can underline that the BBC did not ‘outsource’ its reputation to the Bureau. The BBC required, and had, full editorial control throughout the production of the Newsnight film transmitted on November 2 about the North Wales child abuse inquiry.
      We regret that a tweet by the Bureau’s managing editor in advance of the programme helped to feed inaccurate speculation about the identity of a political figure who was not named by either the Bureau or by the BBC.
      The managing editor of the Bureau, Iain Overton, has resigned. We recognise his achievement in establishing the Bureau as a source of excellent and original investigative journalism at a time when the resources available for such reporting are dwindling. The Bureau’s work has won awards by disclosing important information in the public interest and, with only this recent exception, by maintaining high standards of journalism. The Bureau remains absolutely committed to that aim.
      James Lee (chair), Sir David Bell, George Brock, David Potter, Elaine Potter
      London EC1

    16. Macart says:

      Giving offence – I suppose most people have a natural line they don’t cross, for others no line exists whatsoever. There is no scale to measure offence either given or taken and what would be considered an apt response legal or otherwise. I’m sure we’ve all had the urge to reach through the screen and tear the head off of some thoughtless twat causing what would we would consider gross hurt or offence online, but would we take someone to court over it? What offends some may not offend others. I suppose it really is down to how personally close to home it actually hits.

    17. Doug Daniel says:

      It’s just pathetic, isn’t it? Of course, the reason it happens in politics is because the quickest way to beat your opponent is to discredit them. Also, the newspapers love a good “ACCUSED” story.

      People are just so desperate to be the “winner” of an argument that they’ll use whatever means necessary to do so. And of course, people are so bloody obsessed with how they’re perceived on the internet as well. Someone posts a link to a story on Twitter and says “ooh, this isn’t quite right.” Next person posts it saying “oh god, this is bad.” A few tweets later, it’s “OMFG HOW CAN U SAY THAT?? YOU SHUD B STRUNG UP 4 THAT, EVEN THO I DON’T BELEEV IN HANGING COS I LUV HUMAN RITES.”

      This also leads to actions the other way, with increasingly ridiculous shows of emotion. Before the internet, people bought a poppy and put it on their jacket for a week or so. Now, folk go on Facebook and post messages basically going “I luv our brave boys bcos I am so patriotic, and if u dont show that u luv our brave boys, then u r scum.” Or a child goes missing and everyone’s going “OMG IM SO SAD ABOUT TEH KID WHO IS MISSIN” “YEA WELL NOT AS SAD AS ME, I AM THE SADDEST” “WELL I CUT MYSELF LAST NITE BCOS I AM SO SAD ABOUT THAT KID” “IM GOIN 2 KILL MYSELF IF TEH KID DUSNT GET FOWND.”

      The main problem is people who back down. For example, look at what you did when Duncan Hothersall went apeshit at that anti-war image you made up once. Most people would have crumbled, but you just told him where to go. What happened? Nothing. Does he even bother trying to get you to “apologise now” for things any more? Not that I’ve seen. You’ve taken away that “power”.

      On the other hand, such people DO get others to back down from positions, and so such internet police fannies continue shouting people down, demanding everyone conforms to what they’ve dictated is correct.

      Remember when the SNP first got to power and Labour were forever trying to get people to resign? They kind of gave up a bit after a while, having tried to get every cabinet minister to resign (including the FM himself), although managing to get Stewart Stevenson to resign gave them fresh hope.

      Politicians should basically say to journalists “no, of course I’m not resigning, so grow up and stop being an idiot.”

      It’s all about the dumbing down of society. Most of these people are too stupid to be able to get their head around the fact that there are two sides to every story, especially when you’ve arrived at a certain stance purely because everyone else is saying it’s how you should feel. People don’t think for themselves, they read the paper or watch the news, who tell you how to feel. “THIS THING HAPPENED AND IT MAKES YOU ANGRY, OKAY? IF NOT THEN YOU MUST BE A DOLE-SCUM IMMIGRANT PAEDO!” Conform or be shunned. Dissent is not tolerated. Everything is black or white.

      I pretty much blame the media entirely, be that the print media sensationalising stories for their own benefit, or broadcast media putting on TV shows that show people how Americans act, thus showing us that this is how we’re supposed to act. I know a lot of people my age who clearly learnt how to act in relationships etc from programmes like Friends.

      If only they’d started showing Scandinavian TV a lot earlier… 

    18. Cuphook says:

      On the subject of people taking offence. I was in a coffee shop one day and a man ordering coffees to go said to the barista ‘and don’t be niggardly with the cream’. He was immediately brought to task by another man in the queue who claimed to find his language offensive and then whipped the coffee shop patrons into a frenzy of righteous indignation. I intervened, as I hate stupidity, and pointed out that niggardly and nigger did not mean the same thing and come from different linguistic routes. At least that’s what I tried to say. As soon as I said ‘nigger’ I was accused of being a racist.
      It was actually really interesting seeing the villagers reach for their pitchforks.


    19. Peter A Bell says:

      See me? I’m furious!

    20. Cuphook says:

      And on a similar note. What the hell is going on at FMQ?

      The quotes are from the BBC reporter.

      AS says ‘Ms Lamont’s line of questioning was tweeted before question time, and so came as no surprise.’

      JL says ‘it is a disgrace to trawl through tweets as a response to her questioning.’

      Labour Tweet their leader’s question beforehand and then take offence that AS read them. JL is an idiot.

    21. maxstafford says:

      I’ve come to the conclusion that my time is better spent with my dog than with wider humanity.

    22. John Lyons says:

      Sorry, but if I had a job were I’d worked for 2 months and recieved in the region of £80,000 wages already and had it written into my contract that I’d get £225,000 when I resigned, I’d jump at the chance to resign. Hell, I’d pick a fight with the tea lady on my first day for £225,000 for doing nothing!

      This will be the downfall of Western society.
      When there are more WAGs than plumbers we’ll all be in the shit.

    23. Alex McI says:

      Well I’m bloody well offended That no one has offended me recently. I mean what’s wrong with people.

    24. douglas clark says:

      There used to be a few UK Libertarian sites floating around t’internet of old. Perhaps the only thing I admired about them was that they took the issue of their own free speech very seriously indeed. Apparently Devil’s Kitchen added the phrase ‘swear blogging’ to the lexicon.
      Having cut my internet teeth on American sites, I find ours quite incredibly overmanaged. This being a very honourable exception.

      BTW Peter A Bell has not caught the disease if his latest comment on his own site, in reply to a Grahamski character is to be taken at face value. More power to Peter’s elbow!

    25. muttley79 says:

      FMQs is well worth listening to, if only to hear Lamont almost physically exploding with rage at Salmond.  I reckon she does it most when her pre-prepared scripted question is answered and she then does not know what to do.  Lamont then gets very angry, it is most amusing.  Listening to Lamont you can tell she is still trying to work out why Scottish Labour is not automatically in power. 

    26. AndrewFraeGovan says:

      Davidson is even funnier. Today I was half expecting her to run over and bite Alex on the ankle!

    27. John Lyons says:

      Not heard FMQs, but just read the blow by blow account on the BBC and Lammont is guilty of exactly what Rev stu is talking about. Screaming like a Harpy for Mike Russell to resign or be sacked FOURTIMES is a scandalous waste of opportunity when she only gets Four questions a week. Disgraceful.

    28. smallwhitebear says:

      This whiny, cry baby, moaning behaviour is being fuelled by the media.
      Taking offence over trivia and giving “as good as you get”, is standard fodder for the masses.

      Every day in media-land we get ridiculously nasty behaviour and verbal put downs over cups of coffee and glasses of red wine in “normal” situations. It is a “reality” that so many see as the norm. 
      Relationships are hard, we all have spats, but those in soap-land and the rest of media-land take nastiness, selfishness and narcissism to a new dimension.
      We all learn by mimicking the behaviour of others and we are all becoming increasingly isolated from normal social contact, so our “real” experiences are reduced.  Is it then a surprise that when “offended”, we are more likely to mimic Phil Mitchell, than emulate a rational, “real” human being?

      That overreaction to normal living is being played out everywhere. So instead of growing up and taking everything in our stride, we overplay our perceived distress like toddlers. Society is being filled by people who have just not grown up, and will not ever grow up, into reasonable adult thinking people. The peer pressure to act like an idiot is present everywhere.

    29. muttley79 says:

      Alex Salmond is like the cheeky wee winger you sometimes get in football, he will  beat the opposition’s full-back three or four times, just for fun.  When the opposition fans give him abuse he just laughs.  I get the feeling Salmond has a wee chuckle to himself, before or after FMQs, at the prospect of outwitting the opposition. 

    30. Craig P says:

      Cuphook, your man in the coffee shop got his just desserts for setting foot in a coffee shop in the first place, full of fandans pretending to write novels on their Apple laptops when in fact they are just surfing the Guardian, and getting mugged into buying giant custard creams for £2. He should have been in the pub instead, then none of that nonsense would have happened.

      It would also have been very slightly amusing if he had been asking for a black coffee.

    31. dadsarmy says:

      I remember working with this Aussie, and he was quite often critical. It so happened that one day everyone else was at a meeting, and it was just the two of us working, and he said something again. I nearly hit him – and I’m not particlularly aggressive. “Well, dads”, he said, “what you see is what you get. At least I’m not saying it behind your back”. I knew who he was talking about right enough, and after that it was just fine. I like Aussies because that’s the way most of them are – in your face!

      As well as being in Ramsay’s face, however, Russell went behind Ramsay’s back and undermined him with his colleagues. Russell abused his power, and probably left Ramsay with little option to resign – Russell strikes me as the sort of person who would have held a grudge, and done Stow bad stuff at any excuse. As I said in the Herald just now:

      1). Russell says colleges must merge including Stow.
      2). Ramsay as chairman of Stow, refuses to merge Stow.
      3). Ramsay commits minor indiscretion.
      4). Russell calls for his resignation.
      5). Ramsay resigns.

      Job done. Nobody goes against the “wishes” of a Minister.

    32. Nellie Scot says:

      The sooner people realise that offence cannot be “given” but can only be “taken”, the better. I advise all my grandchildren that if someone is trying to wind them up the most infuriating response is to appear not to notice. I think the way AS waves off JL’s childish and unseemly playground name-calling probably accounts for her fury, and would advise her in all seriousness to have better regard for her health by learning to manage her emotions in a more mature way. It would be just too cruel if she were to need the services of the NHS only to find that due to her parties policies they were no longer avilable to her.!

    33. dadsarmy says:

      Mmm, I saw FMQ today for the first time for a while, and had a different view. Whereas before JL would shout the odds, and make a fool of herself, now I couldn’t see the difference between JL and AS. Both were shouting, and both were laughing at their own jokes.

      Before AS used to reply to JL, having picked out whatever question she might have been trying to ask. Now he responds to her, like for like. The SNP are rapidly becoming as negative as Labour – and Labour largely lost the 2011 election because they were obsessed by SNP, and totally negative. It’s getting hard to see the difference. Apparenly opinion polls back me up, by the way. The SNP are losing their popularity, as is Alex Salmond. I can see why.

      Something else, while I’m being controversial and not toeing the party line. I’m also seeing more and more Independistas doing the same as the Unionists – SNP good, Labour bad. Well, it’s not so, both do bad, and I think us Independenistas would do better for “the cause” by being just as openly critical of the SNP, as we are about Labour, rather than instantly rushing to defend what is, at times, the indefensible. Sorry folks.

    34. Iain says:

      ‘Apparenly opinion polls back me up’
      Which polling? I’m not saying it isn’t the case, but afaicr from the last Holyrood poll. the SNP is still comfortably trouncing SLAB.

    35. TheGreatBaldo says:

      Completely OT and my apologies if this has been coveredd before…

      But I’ve just been going thru the latest edition of Private Eye and an ongoing readers spat about whether Irish Companies mentioned in an earlier article are ‘foreign’….

      A John Kershaw of London writes in….

      “…He clearly didn’t check very hard, Section 2 part 1 (which is still in force) of the Republic of Ireland Act 1949 provides that “notwithstanding that the Republic of Ireland is not part of his majesty’s dominions,the Republic of Ireland is not a foreign country for the purposes of any law in force in any part of the United Kingdom or in any colony, protectorate or United Kingdom trust territory’….

      As Mr Kershaw rightly points out there is a difference between legal and ordinary usuage but if his interpretation is correct then……

      THE IRISH HAVE NEVER BEEN (AND ARE STILL LEGALLY) ‘NOT FOREIGNERS’...a mere 63 years after they left the UK…

      Has anyone told Captain Darling….?

      Though on the upside it does now mean he can upload U2 and Bewitched onto his iPod without worrying about infecting it with that horrible ‘foreign music’


    36. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “Mmm, I saw FMQ today for the first time for a while, and had a different view. Whereas before JL would shout the odds, and make a fool of herself, now I couldn’t see the difference between JL and AS. Both were shouting, and both were laughing at their own jokes.”

      I have to query what FMQ you watched. Many weeks that assessment would be true, but Salmond was notably calm, quiet and restrained today.

    37. Aplinal says:

      Power to your elbow.  I am an SNP supporter and member (for just over a year) but there ARE things I wish they would do better/differently.  I am ‘just about convinced’ that the long term strategy of letting the pro-dependents blow off steam for the next 12 months until publication of the Government’s White paper is sound politically.  But I DO worry about letting the media, especially the BBC, get away with blatant lying and (dis)misinfomration is not sound.  
      Re your main point about FMQs, I did not perceive AS as following JLs ‘lead’.  He was certainly more forthright than usual, but I am genuinely amazed that he manages to keep his cool with the inane ‘questions’ being asked by JL and JD, for that matter.  What is the guy supposed to do?  I think it is past time that AS tells it like it is.
      The overall quality of FMQs is dropping, but who’s fault is that?  The FM can only respond to the questions (sic) asked.  And WHEN will the PO (or in this case her deputy) start insisting that the opposition leaders ask FREEKING Questions, and not make long speeches in stead – it is getting seriously tedious.  We DO NOT want Westminster politics in Holyrood.

    38. muttley79 says:

      I can’t agree with you there at all.  I have never seen, or heard of, a leader of a major party in any parliament, have to come and ask questions to the leader of a state, or devolved state, with a pre-arranged script.  This is because she does not have the ability to think on her feet, which is the mark of any good politician.  Lamont is so out of her depth in is unreal. 

    39. TheGreatBaldo says:

      Hi Dad’s

      Regarding the decline in Alex Salmonds personal poll ratings they are still positive (rare for someone who’s been in situ for over 5 years) and still well ahead of Lamont, Davidson etc….

      I think the 2011 result was in many ways a freak result , even more so when you consider the SNP were heading to electroal oblivion 8 weeks out from poll day according the the Polls.

      I suspect privately even the SNP expect some sort of correction in 2016 (on election night Angus Robertson seemed as shocked as the Labour Party at some of the gains) and that they will not be returned with a majority.

      I also suspect that some SNP voters prefered them as a minority Govt which had to work with the other parties than as a Govt with a majority  

    40. dadsarmy says:

      Iain – a recent one, don’t ask me where sorry, I browse a lot. Yes, they’re ahead of Scottish Labour, but slipping. AS is still ahead and popular, but also slipping. it could be blamed on “mid-erm”, but I think bad handling of the EU thing (not a lie, but definitely economical with the truth), and other factors.

      Rev – the FMQ today. I wasn’t impressed. The Russell and FE thing, first question mostly. Another thing he’s doing wrong is that he’s not making the point that Scotland is doing better than it can expect with the budgets, he’s too busy saying how bad it is in the rest of the UK. It’s the same point, but he’s not doing it right – before he’d have done it positively, now he’s doing it negatively. And that’s because – semantically – he’s responding, not replying.

      To be honest, the only reason the SNP are escaping is that Lamont and Co are just so bad. They could have reamed AS and the SNP over the EU thing, (and reamed him over the Russell thing), but in typical style they went too far: “Liar, Nixon”, etc. So AS and the SNP (And MR) largely escaped. But that’s also a factor in the AS and SNP slippage.

    41. dadsarmy says:

      Thanks Alpinal. But as far as FMQ is concerned it takes two to tango. Yes, it must be difficult for AS with JL, but he is up to the job – he needs to stick to the cool, calm and collected approach and reply to whatever question is there – maybe even stating: “are you asking what the figures are for blah blah blah? Well here they are:”.

      My take on this is that we have the S30, and though it’s not signed by the Queen yet, as the tqo recent articles from the SCFF say, it’s exceedingly unlikley that they won’t be as it would severely damage the UK’s reputation abroad – and the UK cares about that.

      I’ve been sittng in my hands before, not wanting to rock the boat. My take is that now we have a lull, two years to go, now is the time to rip the SNP, AS, and the YES campaign to shreds – where it needs it. And hope that SNP activists, or anyone in the YES campaign, carry our criticisms back – whether fully justified or not, if we think them at all, then the populace at large may feel the same and vote NO.

    42. Cuphook says:

      @Craig P

      Whenever this fandan goes to a bar he orders his beer in a dirty glass. That fucking hard.

      A fight actually started in a bar because someone at the next table took offence at what I was saying to my friend and rose to his feet after I pointed out that I didn’t really care. The funny thing was that the table on the other side took offence at this aggressive posturing and the bar staff had to separate them after a scuffle broke out. They all got thrown out and we got complimentary drinks.

      And one of the coffees was black. It’s something we discussed afterwards. He wondered if that had compounded the problem. I actually meet up with him a few times a year now and have never heard him say niggardly again.

    43. AndrewFraeGovan says:

      @ dadsarmy
      “mid-erm” Is that not Lamont’s situation?

    44. TheGreatBaldo says:

      Worth remembering Dads the reason Labour in particular are so woeful was their front bench got completely wiped out (and their then Leader only held on in a recount) and as a result of them not also putting them on the list vote like every other party were kicked out of Parliament.

      As a result almost all Labours MSP’s are consultants and advisors who’s main role was to fill out the list andd who were never supposed to get intended elected anyway… 

    45. Cuphook says:

      Watching FMQ today I remembered that when Labour lost in 2007 they actually asked that they be given Civil Service support to do their job of keeping the Government accountable. Five years ago they knew that they were incapable and they have got worse.

    46. dadsarmy says:

      Sorry, to put another thought in at random.

      Shortly before the SNP conference, I was saying on Guardian CiF that the SNP had moved from being a party of protest, to a party of opposition in parliament, to a party of government.

      Almost exactly that was said in the conference – possibly AS’s speech I can’t remember. Almost exactly, but with one small but absolutely vital difference. Instead of “party in government” it was “party in POWER”.

      No – Whitehall is all about POWER, I want Holyrood to be about GOVERNMENT.

      I’d say that represents what has happened to the SNP – they’ve gone a little power-mad 😉

    47. dadsarmy says:

      Yes, this is true, Labour don’t have their best people. What cuphook says is interesting – I’m with Labour. The opposition party should have full access to the civil servants, and perhaps even a set budget to commission reports. I think that would be a good feature.

      Oh aye – “mid-erm”. Yes, that does unfortunately describe Lamont – not the best at thinking on her feet.

    48. Cuphook says:


      I don’t think that you can blame the failure of the opposition to effectively counter the Government on the SNP.

      It struck me that that problem might stem from the opposition parties adopting a stridently Unionist approach. The SNP is a broad church and as the issue of independence has crept up the scale of possibilities they have welcomed many of the brightest and articulate campaigners leaving the ranks of the Unionists depleted. Just an idea.

    49. Cuphook says:

      You have to remember that Labour only thought of this after they lost. I’m happy to let them suffer at the moment and look at the idea again after independence. 

      Sitting MSPs by constituency rather than by party is also an idea worth looking at.

    50. dadsarmy says:

      Oooh, spiltting up the MSPs. What a great idea! Yes, Holyrood was designed better than Westminster where they stand opposite each other and shout. But unfortunately, human beings being adaptable, they seem to have learnt in Holyrood how to achieve the same just by half-turning sideyways.

      Mmm, I even like the idea of Salmond having Lamont on his left, and Davidson on his right, with Rennie and Harvey behind him. What a laugh! Presiding officer needs to be non-political, or perhaps retired politician.

      I liked the minority SNP government the best of all the terms. There had to be some concensus, and that’s disappeared largely, though there are still efforts at times – damn few though. Perhaps there should be a meeting between the leaders where they decide to restrict the Independence politics to set times or debates though.

      Ironically I was thinking of asking Rev to set up a thread where such stuff could be discussed. Some innocuous article and title, with a few posts on general stuff. My feeling is that there are a lot of uncommitted voters who would be pleased to see Independence supporters with some of the same fears and doubts as they have. But it’s not easy for us as we do indeed feel we’re “letting the side down”. And so in the likes of the CiF, there’s fierce defence of what is at times the indefensible or at best, dubious.

      I still feel though that “the Truth will set you free”. As far as I’m concerned that’s the best way to get a YES vote for Independence.

    51. Juteman says:

      I disagree with a lot of SNP policy. Thats why i vote for them, but am not a member. I wouldn’t criticise them in public though, not whilst we are at war, and make no mistake, this is a war for our country. If we lose, there will be casualties.
      After the referendum is the time to discuss things more openly. Don’t give the enemy free ammo. 

    52. dadsarmy says:

      Juteman – likewise, but at the moment I don’t think it matters giving the enemy ammunition, as long as nearer the referendum the target’s moved and their powder is damp, and the barrel of their weapons rusted up and filled with gunk.

      What I think is more important is for the SNP to get their act together – unless the STUC and enough Labour supporters, members and MSPs support Indy (and maybe form that new party), the SNP is still the main game in town.

      “Even” the SIC have seen fit to publicly dress down the SNP, and I have to presume that they’ve all tried in private, and got nowhere. I have a feeling that the SNP has formed itself an inner circle, and has shut the door to any sensible criticism. That door needs to be broken down, and the walls demolished!

    53. Morag says:

      I still feel though that “the Truth will set you free”. As far as I’m concerned that’s the best way to get a YES vote for Independence.

      My absolute hot-button issue on SNP behaviour is the repeated stonewalling of the calls for an independent inquiry into Lockerbie.  The original train-wreck of an investigation occurred on Thatcher’s watch.  The kangaroo court in Holland occurred when Labour was in power in Westminster and the Labour/LibDem coalition in power in Holyrood.  The one party that had no involvement at all with any aspect of the scandal, and could have shone some light into the murkiness, and what happened?

      Megrahi’s appeal was delayed for nearly two years before it came to court.  Once in front of the court it was subject to more delays and adjournments, apparently with no concern that the appellant had been diagnosed with aggressive cancer and had only a short time to live.  Then some sort of politics was played around the application for compassionate release, with Megrahi apparently being kept in the dark and fed shit so that he came to believe he needed to drop the appeal to have the hope of going home.

      At that point Kenny came out with a load of sanctimonious claptrap about compassion, and closed his mind even to the very real doubts the SCCRC had highlighted about the conviction, never mind all the rest of the doubts they somehow managed not to mention.  Anyone with a reasonably open mind and an IQ into triple figures can see that Megrahi had nothing to do with that atrocity, but Kenny, Alex and the rest of the cabinet don’t want to know.

      How can we have confidence in our justice system when an injustice like that is repeatedly swept under the carpet?  Many people hoped the new brooms of the SNP would clean up the Augean stables, but they’ve just stirred the shit a bit more.

      OK, rant over.

    54. Aplinal says:

      Fully agree – it’s one of the big issue I have with the SNP government.  They wouldn’t have been able to do it pre-2011 as they were a minority, but I hope (expected) that there would be a change once they won that unbelievable majority. 
      Now it’s not too late, but the moral ground has been lost on that one.  Maybe there are still too many skeletons in the cupboards and they (SNP) are waiting until Scotland is Independent to do the honorable thing?  I am not sure what the legal position is on this one either.  Is it purely a legal issue, or are their other “UK-Wide” (i.e. Reserved) issues here as well?

    55. dadsarmy says:

      I don’t know. I’m sure I read somewhere that McAskill had doubts about the conviction. He did urge Ken Clarke to release the SCCRC Megrahi report, which implies his heart is in the right place. There’s more to this, I think, than “just” a dubious conviction. Probably involves stuff locked away for 50 years, or even shredded and burnt.

      Anyway, it’s ironic I chose today to check out FMQ, with my remark about AS responding not replying. If AS had replied by asking JL what figures she had to base here allegation that college funding had fallen, or had taken the opportunity to say he’d check the figures and get back later, he wouldn’t have had to apologise later for misleading Parliament. What gets me though is that Russell was nodding his head vigorously behind AS as Salmond was responding in a CiF-style smart arse way how £546 million was greater than £545 million.

      Just like everybody else, the SNP make mistakes – like the EU thing. What they need though is to be more humble, and quicker to admit it. Luckily this time they found the mistake quickly, and were just as quick to own up. That’s good. May it long continue.

    56. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      PS Morag: still planning to run your piece, just waiting for some sort of topicality to bring it in.

    57. R.Louis says:

      I agree with your point regarding newsnight, and indeed the thrust of your article.  I watched the hoo-ha about newsnight in amazement, as the sheep of this country followed blindly along with disgust at a programme that didn’t actually name the person.  Truly incredulous.

      I think there is muck at very high levels regarding this, and the faux outrage over newsnight is nothing but a diversion and smokescreen.  It was all getting uncomfortably close to the government, then suddenly, BOOM!, horror and outrage at newsnight.

      If I remember correctly, a few days ahead of the newsnight shock and horror, the ITV programme ‘This Morning’ had been ‘condemmed’, for handing the Prime Minister a list of names found on the internet.  Again, another smokescreen and diversion.  I mean seriously, unless I’m missing something, what on earth is wrong with handing the prime minister a list of names from the internet?????

      I’ve been around long enough to know, that whatever they are trying to get you outraged about, it is nothing compared to what they are trying to hide. 

    58. muttley79 says:

      On Lord McAlpine, although Newsnight did not name him, a quick check on google did.  Also, it was soon carried by Twitter. 

    59. Westie7 says:

      Crybaby, what an apt title based on the dross that was FMQ today, beginning to wonder if Rosa Klebb has naked photos of someone at BBC Scotland. Really, show me some punter on the street who thinks she’s wonderful and I’ll knock on their forehead to see if anyone is in.

      Also today marks the day that NNS is removed from my Top Sites desktop, read something today that convinces me sumthink isnae right there 

    60. Jeannie says:

      Why does it have to be about money?  Is there no other way these days for honour to be assuaged?  Wouldn’t it be enough for the Tory peer to accept an apology with an explanation – and for him to remember that although a mistake was made with respect to wrongly naming him, and acknowledging the distress caused to himself and his family, at the same time a greater good was also involved, in that an opportunity was created for the abuse of these children to be re-investigated.  There is an opportunity here for this man to step up to the plate and assure his reputation is now associated with uncovering the truth and securing justice for the people who really were abused, if only he would realise it.  Instead, he will be associated with hurt pride, a bruised ego and taking money from public that he just does not need.  If he insists in being financially compensated, he might want to consider donating the money to groups which support survivors of abuse.

    61. James McLaren says:

      Jeannie @ 8:23 pm
      Could it be that he prefers to shut this whole episode and investigation, police and press, down rather expose the paedophiles. 

      If so, why would he possibly do that?
      See my post earlier at 12:98 for one implausible answer.

    62. Jeannie says:

      Don’t usually watch FMQs anymore, but wondered what everyone was talking about, so had a look.  I’ve decided not to be offended, but am genuinely concerned that the leader of the Labour Party doesn’t seem to know what a point of order is.  She also doesn’t seem to know what a simple question to the First Minister at FMQ is – she seems to think everything is an opportunity for her to give one of her boring speeches.  Yet again, I’m embarrassed at the poor standards of our Parliament. And, yet again, I notice it’s not just her.  The Presiding Officer did try to pull her up for it, but should have cut her off much more quickly instead of allowing her the opportunity to have a rant.

    63. Jeannie says:

      And now I’m moaning again as well!

    64. mrbfaethedee says:

      O/T – 
      Slow, leaky, rusty: Britain’s £10bn submarine beset by design flaws
      Good to know that the UK’s diplomatic phallus is laughable…

    65. Alex Grant says:

      A couple of points on this thread…
      RE both the EU legal issue and College budgets issues – the fact is the EU (or NATO) are not going to discuss ‘Scotland’ whilst the UK is the member. That is normal diplomacy, the Unionists know it (and won’t publicise any advice themsleves) but the SNP cannot say it! And whilst the SG have held spend and kept free tertiary education something still had to give. And I think it was part time FE courses. If the SNP don’t say it they will continue to be attacked by one party who would charge £9k (and start to talk about snobbery for God’s sake!) and the Labour Party who I presume say they would charge £4k (?). The SNP mistake is not to get it into the open and say what’s your policy alternative?
      And re Megrahi, get a life! I’d put my house on the fact that the Yanks have told the SG “touch that subject and we will crucify you and your independence campaign”!!!

    66. Ronald Henderson says:

      Dear me, but what a load of trash has been posted here today. Almost all of you went completely off topic and began ‘soul searching’ regarding the SNP. It’s high time a lot of you woke up and smelled the coffee, black or effing white. The Scottish Government is engaged at the moment in Real Politic with some of the leading European politicians and their governments. This is actually happening. Don’t you realise that this weekly nonsense with Johann Lamont and the rest of the opposition rabble is just something that has to be endured? It’s all smoke and mirrors and the opposition knows it. They got kicked out of Government because they were, and still are, completley crap.
      Someone actually posted something like ”I preferred it when the SNP was in minority government’. Have you lost your marbles? They couldn’t get anything decent through the Parliament. Everysingle thing was blocked by the unionists on the most feeble of excuses and the benefits that are only now slowly starting to trickle through are purely the result of the SNP attaining an absolute majority in the Scottish elections and praise be for it. Grow up for Heaven’s sake, or go and rake the leaves in your garden. At least you’d be doing something useful instead of this carping about the best thing that has happened to Scotland for over 300 years.

    67. Iain Gray's Subway Lament says:

      There’s a tiny bit of a difference between real public concern and the inevitable loss of trust caused by that and ‘crybabies’.
      I trust nobody here is going to pretend that Entwistle and Newsnight’s actions did anything other than make it harder for those real victims of abuse to get heard while causing self-inflicted damage to the BBC when it was already losing public trust due to the Savile case. A very real case which has seen arrests and has been described by the police as one of the biggest child abuse investigations ever mounted.
      It really is of no consequence that the usual suspects on the right are jumping all over this since they habitually do so with the BBC regardless of whether any given case they get upset about has merit.
      What matters is that the public are quite right to have real concern over this serious issue and that the BBC’s incompetent actions have had the precisely opposite effect of restoring that trust so far.
      Entwistle was not powerless. He was in charge of one of the largest  broadcaster  in the world by number of employees and has personally seen himself fall on his feet with a nice fat £450,000 pay-off.
      When the public trust in politicians and the media are already at catastrophic lows I’m rather in favour of having a competent people doing a competent job and that clearly is not the case right now at the top of the BBC. It’s one of the reasons the SNP hammered Labour.
      The Iraq War.
      The expenses scandal.
      News International and Hacking.
      None of those were the public being crybabies and neither is this.

    68. scottish_skier says:

      O/T but Greetings from Oslo. Here with work again (meeting with Aker Solutions the morn). I must admit to feeling a sense of shame about Edinburgh (a city I love) and what the union has done to it/Scotland when here.
      Every wavering Scot should be sent to Norway for a day ahead of 2014. 

    69. velofello says:

      Well said Ronald Henderson.

      It is best to recognise a good thing when you have it rather than lament once its gone.


    70. Appleby says:

      For me the turning point or milestone that showed we were beyond the point of no return into stupid mass hysteria land was the outpourings of shite over a certain Diana dying in a car accident. Masses of rotting vegetation and soggy mouldy soft toys had to be cleared up at expense from the national coffers because of the mouth-breathing public of Britain deciding that a Crybaby Nation was just the ticket.
      All this is only to be expected. It will get worse as the hysteria constantly escalates.

    71. Bill C says:

      Well said Ronald Henderson, FMQ’s is just a bit of fun (usually) it’s not serious politics. As Ronald says the real work is happening everyday behind the scenes. Big Eck’s civil servants made a mistake, he apologised, big deal!

    72. Cuphook says:


      While I understand what you’re saying about the death of Diana (and the ‘Peoples Princess’ nonsense made me want to post my sick to Downing Street) I do wonder why you said ‘Britain’. I was living in Aberdeen at the time and witnessed none of it, however, a friend in the south of England was emailing me and describing people weeping and meetings cancelled due to the ‘suffering’. I’ve since seen ‘Children of Men’ and imagine the death of Baby Diego to be similar. Out of curiosity, and the hope that we’ll soon be living in a republic, did you witness any of that in Scotland?

    73. Morag says:

      RevStu said:
      PS Morag: still planning to run your piece, just waiting for some sort of topicality to bring it in.

      You’re quite right.  The topicality didn’t happen when it was scheduled to happen, because a bunch of journos showed up to a press conference and then went away and wrote articles about two SNP MSPs resigning and Salmond “lying” about legal advice about the EU.  Only a couple of foreign outlets ran with it.  It would have been pointless to run my article then.

      Something will happen, though.  What wasn’t reported is that formal allegations have been made to the police regarding various criminal actions which are believed to have been committed by various people and bodies involved in the Lockerbie investigation and trial.  Eight allegations in total.  Attempting to pervert the course of justice features prominently but perjury and breaches of the Police (Scotland) Act are also involved.

      Someone said (saving your presence), “bear in mind the average journalist has the attention span of a goldfish”.  That seems to have been true in this case because they totally failed to pick up on the fact that most of the allegations related to new stuff not thrashed to death already, and assumed it was about stuff they already knew about.  The one bit they did report they got wrong.  Colin Boyd’s was the only name not redacted in the material they were given, for the very simple reason that he wasn’t directly accused of anything.  So Reevel Alderson and a few more intellectual giants managed to run snippets saying that Boyd had been accused of a criminal offence.

      There’s a fair old scandal brewing here, but it seems to be the one “SNP accused” story nobody wants to run with.  Something will have to happen though, as they can’t ignore these allegations indefinitely.

      I was thinking I might rewrite the article, but I might just leave it.  If topicality happens and I haven’t done anything about it, just run it as it is if you want to.

    74. Peter A Bell says:

      FMQs should be serious. Unfortunately, it has been debased by a massively incompetent opposition.

    75. Bill C says:

      Exactly Peter.

    76. mrbfaethedee says:

      I agree with Ronald Henderson’s comment, the problem is that FMQs are no-lose scenarios for the (keystone c)opposition. Most of the electorate never see it anyway, and though it can take them weeks to land anything (whether real or just spinnable as such), when they do it allows the news cycle to be driven against the Scottish Govt.
      The unionists could spend a dozen Lamonts, Davidsons, and Rennies in the course of this campaign, trying to land blows – it doesn’t matter to them. They just need to keep loading the media.
      Balanced media coverage for the Scottish Govt is essential for the Yes campaign, so whatever real-politicking is going among the big-boys, the real-real-politicking finally comes down to the electorate who, in the main, have only the lens of the media through which they will have informed their opinions.
      So, for all that it’s grounded in fairly trivial stuff, it’s still important IMO.

    77. dadsarmy says:

      @Alex Grant
      Totally agree

      @Ronald Henderson
      Disagree. You are entitled to your opinion about the SNP and its majority government, though not about me or my right to have a different opinion. But don’t worry son – you’ll get the hang of politeness. One of these days. Must try harder though.

    78. Appleby says:

      I did indeed, sadly. Workplaces or public places with one or two minute silences (much to my astonishment considering the remarkable U-turns in attitudes or sudden interest where there was none at all), even little “shrines”, etc. with offerings of flowers and so on. I saw all manner of battiness, including endless fretting and discussion of someone who means about as much to them or less as any current reality TV micro celeb until the news media encouraged mass stupidity and the mob effect went into overdrive. Tears shed all over the place. Over someone they’ll never meet or know and often bad mouthed or didn’t care about minutes before they found out she was dead.
      Having had the dubious pleasure of experiencing it down south I can say the peak of madness was far, far worse in England than it was anywhere in Scotland, but it had its reach there too. I’d say I’ve met far more people who didn’t give a damn about it in Scotland than England and now that the mob fever and associated blinkers and blindness has worn off for the most part these feelings mostly linger in that queer SE heartland.
      We see mini versions of the Diana fiasco now whenever a tragedy is publically mentioned. The anonymous ghouls and strangers who seemingly enjoy experiencing these events and grief by proxy like it was a weepy film or TV soap come out of the woodwork to leave piles of pointless offerings cluttering up public places which then need to be guarded for some twisted sense of “decency” until the litter is so filthy and rotten it finally needs to be disposed of. All of which then enables further “stories” and updates by the news media. Great filler material for a minor story to stretch on for days or weeks and pad out air time or inches. All spawned from that past giantic spasm of madness and it most certainly crops up in Scotland. Still, it must keep Clinton Cards and Interflora in business selling their overpriced tat and it gives that strange minority their jollies or whatever.

    79. Appleby says:

      dadsarmy – can you explain in detail what was good and better about the minority set up then? I am genuinely interested in your thoughts on this and I am surprised anyone of the indie frame of mind would think that awkward phase of constant blocking and pettiness by the unionists was somehow a grand thing. Especially as we’d be stuck on the road to nowhere with no hope if the situation remained that way today.
      [Let’s not get into baiting and pissing contests in the comments again, no matter what one “started it”!]

    80. Yesitis says:

      So…is the unionist tactic of divide and conquer starting to kick in? I hope not.

    81. Bill C says:

      @dadsarmy – dads, I think it is time to draw a line under this as we are basically dancing to the unionist tune.  Everbody is entitled to their opinion but there is a greater goal. Lamont and her crew revel in nationalist disharmony, time to focus on the big picture, plenty of time for debate in an independent Scotland.

    82. Bill C says:


      Spot on.    

    83. Scott Minto (Aka Sneekyboy) says:


      It seems so…

      and just to remind people they were warned a while back     

      The reason we all have differing opinions is BECAUSE independence allows for a multitude of options to be explored.

      BUT REMEMBER that only with independence will those options have a possible chance of coming to light.

      True, as Dads says, they need aired now, but it is not the right point to criticise the plans and aspirations of others.

      We put forward options, work for independence and then ONCE THAT VOTE IS SECURED we begin the great bun fight of 2015 for the soul of a new nation.

      The 2016 elections will be a damned sight more interesting than any election in my lifetime.         

    84. Bill C says:

      Scott (Aka) Spot on x 2

    85. douglas clark says:

      Seems to be in the case of dadsarmy. I don’t exactly understand the tenor of his posts. Is it because he frears we will lose a ‘yes’ vote? It is around about now that we should all be seeing how we go about winning that.
      For, as far as I am concerned, nothing else matters.
      So, I don’t know exactly where dadsarmy is coming from. A bit of clarity on that, by him, would be useful.

    86. Bill C says:

      @dougalas clark – Spot on x 3

    87. Scott Minto (Aka Sneekyboy) says:

      @Bill @Douglas

      Dads is a yes voter but wants details. These will not be available until 2013 whitepaper.

      Dads just wants the Scot Gov to say that they dont have all answers now but will do later.

      I dont like that tactic as it leaves the pro-indy side open for a year to constant attacks over nothing… literally nothing, like the legal advice hounding.       

    88. dadsarmy says:

      OK, I’ll try one last time.–Again.aspx

      In relation to the section 30 Order, therefore, this means that the Scottish Government and Parliament will have implied powers to do things which facilitate the holding of a referendum

      If this line of argument is correct in relation to civil service advice, it must surely apply even more strongly to the taking of legal advice.”

      As soon as the Edinburgh Agreement was signed – which in practice guarantees the S30 order – the Scottish Government requested legal advice on EU membership, and commissioned 16 reports from the civil service. It is debatable if they had the power to do so before the Edinburgh Agreement, as that regarded “reserved matters”.

      It’s my belief that’s why the SNP just handed off anything that was thrown at them this year, including their poor handling of the EU issue. Perhaps they didn’t want to alert Westminster via Michael Moore, to the full significance of the S30 – something which now Ian Davidson is uncovering and realising, too late.

    89. Cuphook says:

      @Scott Minto

      And there was me just going to tell Dual Intention to go in balls deep or fuck off. You’re obviously more considerate and eloquent than me.   

    90. Cuphook says:


      I think that it was an anniversary for 9/11 we were meant to be having in our office, which, as usual I was working through, as I won’t have others telling me when to grieve. Afterwards one of the girls criticised me for showing no respect to Yasser Arafat, who had died earlier that week. The poor girl didn’t even know why she was staying silent or who Arafat was – but she dutifully showed her respect and thereafter had me marked down as a heathen.

      As to shrines – I particularly like the roadside ones and am amazed at how Interflora have become the fourth emergency service.

    91. Scott Minto (Aka Sneekyboy) says:


      Exactly Dads. I dont think it was “handing off” rather providing the most probable answer, but now they can indeed do so much more with the S30.

      The Lords realised this and are now having kittens at the prospect.     

    92. dadsarmy says:

      Dads just wants the Scot Gov to say that they dont have all answers now but will do later.”

      Partly yes, “the truth will set you free”. As for being open to attack for a year – so what? The answer is the same every time: “we don’t know, but we’re finding out / writing the papers. Patience please.”.

      But there is more, and comments here highlight it. I’ve seen it in CiF, the Scotsman, The Herald. Anyone who expresses a contrarian view in any way, gets insulted and hounded. And in the case of CiF gets about 328 recommends for the insult. Is this a way to win “Hearts and Minds”? No, it is not, most defintely not.

      Being strong in ones belief about Independence is good, insulting, degrading and putting down people who are “Britnats” is bad. Worse still is insulting those who haven’t made their mind up. It makes their mind up OK – they’ll vote NO.

      I thought this would be a good, half-hidden, forum to discuss rights and wrongs of the various Independence campaigns – with a view to improving them. I was apparently wrong.

      But even in the Herald thread about the SIC report, where Indy supporters like Margo and Denis Canavan hang out – they were condemned by the strident cybernats for not toeing the SNP part line. Well, that’s a losing strategy, and I don’t know about you lot, but I want a YES vote in 2014 for the sake of my kids, and for the sake of Scotland, not to inflate my own ego, nor to get whatever satisfaction there can be gained by needlessly insulting someone.

    93. Scott Minto (Aka Sneekyboy) says:


      I know where you are coming from but you have to remember that its “Horses for Courses” and what you regard as right or wrong will differ wildly to anothers opinion and also to what appeals to the undecided.

      The main point is to get the possibilities aired and discussed and the best way forward TO BEGIN WITH for an Independent Scotland is agreed.

      People have a right to not agree, it happens here all the time, but that doesnt necessarily mean they are being disrespectful.

      The independence campaign is not the SNP, they are only one constituent part. The largest part is you and me! (Metaphorically speaking… of course I mean the public).

      The SNP’s views of Scotland can be tested to destruction post indyref. They will be only one of the parties standing for election.       

      We just need to agree a STARTING POINT and we can shape the future from there.    

    94. Cuphook says:


      I don’t think that you’re being fair to this blog. There have been Unionists post on here and receive abuse but, in fairness, they were little more than trolls.

      I can understand you being upset at one comment directed at you on here but you have to consider the others who have interacted in a positive way. Sure people have differing views; I’m not a member of the SNP and have criticised them on here, but only to an extent as I’m aware of the fact that they’ve got us in this once in a lifetime position, with our help of course, and that there are those who seek to divide and conquer. Ignore the more robust comments and concentrate on the exchange of information and ideas. You can’t expect an online forum to be all good – and you don’t strike me as the sort of person who would mistake such a thing for heaven.

    95. dadsarmy says:

      Yes, But. The SNP are the main campaigners, the reason we got a referendum in the first place (which needed a MAJORITY SNP government). And what I’ve seen from many postings [1], even amongst Indy supporters, is that Alex Salmond and the SNP government are increasingly being regarded as smug and arrogant. That’s a big off-putter for people. As far as they’re concerned Indy = AS = SNP, not just for now, but from 2016 onwards.

      [1] Up till recently, not long before the Edinburgh Agreement, and since mid-January, I read every single post made in all the threads in CiF on Scotland or Scottish Independence, or even a lot mentioning it in other non-connected threads. I’ve also in “real life” asked people WHY they would vote NO, without trying to persuade them to vote YES. People are more open with you that way.

      I’ve done my research, these are some of my findings 🙂

    96. Cuphook says:

      And for anyone interested in good music – I’ve had this song going through my head since I read the post title this morning. Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks.

    97. Barney Thomson says:

      Too late to read all of the comments so sorry if this as been said before but thank you for summarising (?) what I’ve been trying to tell everyone about the BBC’s position in this.

      – they did not name Lord McApine (nor did Steven Messham, who received £40k compensation for abuse at Bryn Estyn)

      – they will pay His Lordship the compensation out of our money that we pay in TV tax

      – they are rock solid members of the British establishment and can take the hit in an attempt to cover up those who were actually involved

      Right, now all that’s settled, let’s get on with finding out who really committed the disgusting offences against the children.  Australia has just announced a nationwide enquiry into who is involved there.

      As far as Ramsey is concerned, doesn’t it come down to this? He is a person in a position of trust who has, by his actions, shown himself to be devious and secretive and therefore no longer entitled to retain that position. I think he  realised the truth of this himself and, honourably, resigned. Subsequent toy-throwing may have been suggested to him by others, not far removed from the tools of the establishment I mention above.

    98. douglas clark says:

      It was not my intention to challenge dadsarmy on his independence stance. I had already thought that that was ‘in the bag’ and his own comments at 1:11am confirm that view.
      It was to try to see what he thought was going wrong. I am still struggling to understand exactly what the issue is. His post of 12:56am didn’t really say anything relevant to that at all.
      (Apologies to dadsarmy, I should not be talking about you as if you were not here, clearly you are. It is either my comprehension or your exposition or a combination of both that has caused this communication breakdown.)
      His post of 1:11am suggests a degree of impatience with the SNP’s ‘Instant Rebuttal’ machinery. Or, perhaps, that the SNP should answer Unionist questions with a ‘We don’t know’
      Just for background, whilst I am a member of the SNP I see them, at least initially, as a means to an end. If there are things to be rebutted, then I seem to recall the SNP doing it quite effectively. What they have also done, and this is where I probably agree with dadsarmy, they have been forced to take positions on future policy where they may, argueably, have been better to say ‘you will decide that.”
      For the point of independence is that we will decide these issues amongst ourselves. What appears appropriate may be inappropriate in 2014 or 2024.
      The SNP ought, perhaps, to be telling people that it is they that count, and that their voices will count in the future, if they vote to remove the gag.
      For instance, I am not at all thurled to the idea of a linkage to the English Pound as it will inevitably be called. I am not about to argue against independence on that ground alone. I am probably going to await independence and then suggest that we float our own currency at the same time as we become free. There is a major difference between trusting ourselves to act responsibly and being dependent children.
      It is my belief we can handle that degree of uncertainty / independent decision making.
      To the extent that dadsarmy agrees with that then, fine.  

    99. J. R. Tomlin says:

      As a feminist, I have to say I consider that you are perfectly free to call the article “Does Anyone Have Balls Anymore” and I promise I won’t sue you or even complain about it.

      Perhaps I may sue because you said I would complain though. I’ll consider it.

      ETA: I suppose you realize that’s a joke–

    100. dadsarmy says:

      @Douglas Clark
      It is around about now that we should all be seeing how we go about winning that.”

      Exactly! You hit my point in a one-liner. This is indeed the time to be discussing strategy and tactics, directing criticism where due, and not pulling our punches about it. Largely the posters on here are pro-indy, so it’s not like we’re giving unionists ammunition they can use. Call it the half-way point of the campaign, in a way.

      But even here it should, as in this thread, be buried under a dozen or so early posts. Just in case anyone with malintent looks in.

      Personally I think this is exactly what Alex, Nicola and all should be doing too. And they should invite the likes of SIC to such a discussion, and any other fierce critic they can get their hands on. Not me though, Russell might demand my resignation or hold a grudge …

    101. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:


      Your comment, which has now been moved, is not the first ad hominem personal attack you’ve posted. It contains numerous misrepresentations and outright lies, but I have no intention of being drawn into discussing them here. Acting to protect one’s livelihood is not analogous to acting over one’s hurt feelings, any more than it’s being a “crybaby” to report it to the police if your car gets stolen, therefore it is of no relevance to the original post, and it’s certainly of no relevance to Scottish politics.

      If you wish to discuss my 2005 court case against Future Publishing, you’re absolutely free to raise it somewhere appropriate, such as the forum of my personal blog. Your comment has not been deleted, and I will happily return it to you for that purpose if desired. I will not, however, tolerate irrelevant and untruthful smears about the matter here. This site doesn’t attack politicians over their personal lives, and therefore will not accept such attacks on its editor or contributors.

      Consider this an official warning.

    102. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “Anyone who expresses a contrarian view in any way, gets insulted and hounded.”

      I haven’t seen you be insulted or hounded, dadsarmy. I’ve seen people disagree with what you posted, and some agree with it. That’s the nature of discussion, and while some of it was moderately strongly worded I didn’t consider any of it abusive.

      The most offensive comment was along the lines of “Are you mad?”, and I’m sorry, but in the context of the rest of the comment I consider that well within the scope of exactly what this article was about – a level of disagreement and criticism that grown adults really ought to be able to cope with. It’s not an insult, it’s the way normal people express themselves in debates if they feel strongly about something.

    103. dadsarmy says:

      Another thing which I see a lot of is quoting out of context by people who have the comprehension of a stunted nematode and extremely limited reading skills:

      “Anyone who expresses a contrarian view in any way, gets insulted and hounded.”

      Whereas the full quote was:

      “But there is more, and comments here highlight it. I’ve seen it in CiF, the Scotsman, The Herald. Anyone who expresses a contrarian view in any way, gets insulted and hounded. And in the case of CiF gets about 328 recommends for the insult. Is this a way to win “Hearts and Minds”? No, it is not, most defintely not.”

      But then as you say:

      but in the context of the rest of the comment

      Practice what you preach, eh Rev …

    104. Appleby says:

      dadsarmy, you’ve fair been moaning but what about answering my perfectly reasonable and civil question? If you’re keen on discussing matters then why are you putting more effort into acting like the kind of people illustrated in the article and ignoring more important topics?

    105. sneddon says:

      I like kittens:)

    106. Dual_Intention says:

      Consider this an official warning.

      Kind of overblown reaction considering the subject matter Rev.

      Your blog, your about turn rules.    

      I assume I should consider this blog an irony free zone?       

      Or would that lead to more tears?


    107. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      I’m not sure I see what’s overblown about removing an irrelevant post and suggesting you raise it somewhere appropriate, nor am I sure where any “about turn” has taken place. There certainly hasn’t been any “irony”, because as I noted, the two things you were comparing were in fact in no way even remotely analogous.

      As I’ve said, if you wish to discuss the issue you’re entirely at liberty to do so in the proper and relevant place, and I’m happy to provide you with the original text with which to do so if you want.

    108. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “Practice what you preach, eh Rev …”

      Fair point, although in context you certainly did seem to suggest that the behaviour you described in CiF etc was also what was happening here:

      “I thought this would be a good, half-hidden, forum to discuss rights and wrongs of the various Independence campaigns – with a view to improving them. I was apparently wrong.”

      And, y’know, if you’re complaining about insulting responses, I’m not sure using phrases like “people who have the comprehension of a stunted nematode and extremely limited reading skills” helps your moral case much…


    109. dadsarmy says:

      For me, getting a majority YES vote is the MOST important topic. And how we go about persuading people, rather than calling them “Unionist Trolls” because they ask in all innocence (having read it in the Guardian): “how will we manage Independence when we’re subsided £xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx per year by the UK?”

      That IS the point of my “moaning”. I started on the Scotgov / SNP / Salmond, and took advantage of, errrr, earlier, to move onto my second main concern.

      Anyway, to make the point finally at the risk of being unpopular, though quite frankly my dear, I don’t ……

      When we go out into the outside world, and get surrounded and assailed by what we regard as “Unionist Trolls”, “Britnats”, or any number of other derogatory terms, we should remember that for every posting “Troll” we are severely chastising, there are probably 100 lurkers looking on, some of them undecided, thinking to themselves: “Jeez – if this is what it’s like to support Independence, then thanks, but no thanks. I’ll stick to the Union”.

      No, we need to be diplomats, ambassadors, all full of sugar and spice and all things nice. Firm but friendly.

      Oh – and I was talking mainly about Guardian and to a lesser extent, Scotsman (basically because only a masochist would read the postings there). Herald is quite civilised, and personally speaking, I’d think here would be a good place to let the hair down, and maybe even vent some of the frustration …

    110. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “When we go out into the outside world, and get surrounded and assailed by what we regard as “Unionist Trolls”, “Britnats”, or any number of other derogatory terms, we should remember that for every posting “Troll” we are severely chastising, there are probably 100 lurkers looking on, some of htem undecided, thinking to themselves: “Jeez – if this is what it’s like to support Independence, then thanks, but no thanks. I’ll stick the the Union”. No, we need to be diplomats, ambassadors, all full of sugar and spice and all things nice. Firm but friendly.”

      I completely agree with this, and have said so expressly on several occasions: talk as if an undecided voter is listening. Fewer than 1% of visitors to the site post comments.

      “personally speaking, I’d think here would be a good place to let the hair down, and maybe even vent some of the frustration …”

      This seems to contradict the rest of your comment somewhat, though. Should we vent our frustration, or be sugar-and-spice ambassadors and diplomats?

    111. AndrewFraeGovan says:

      @ dadsarmy
      Good luck venting your frustration on the Herald.

    112. Appleby says:

      dadsarmy…you’ve still not answered the question though…  :/
      I feel like I’m talking to a politician. Nevermind all the meta stuff to do with the comments section here or compared to other places or what the bad man said to you, etc. Lets carry on with the discussion that you claim you hoped would happen here! At the very least I’ll read it with interest, I’m sure others will.

    113. Aplinal says:

      You have my empathy, but don’t take things too hard or too personal.  I think we are all (well … mainly all) after the same thing – a chance for Scotland to decide what’s best for Scotland.  The only way for that to become a reality is through Independence, and to a large extent as we are the ‘change agents’ we WILL be held, unfairly, to much higher levels of scrutiny than the pro-dependency parties.
      We should be prepared to debate concerns openly, and I still have huge concerns over the passive response (is that a contradiction?) of the SNP government to the obvious bias in the media, and the slow response to the “undecided/Devo-maxers” who need the assurance of a financial comfort blanket.  This is not meant as a slight to them, but as I see it, if they are not in the firm YES camp, then their worries are genuine and we must find ways to assuage them. 
      Personally, I will take an independent Scotland and a slight drop off of my financial position – although I am convinced that the opposite will be the case (i.e. Scotland will be richer outwith Westminster interference).   But maybe the doubters are not.  Their concerns are as valid as mine.
      There are many more knowledgeable posters here (and I count dads as one) who have educated me in many facets of the Independence minutiae and we should all have broader shoulders.  The big prize is all important, I dread to imagine Scotland after a NO vote.  It would be a nightmare.
      So, let’s keep civilised, remember the “lurkers” (I hate that expression) and keep to honest debate.  We certainly don’t need to descent to ad hominems here.
      Hail Alba



    115. dadsarmy says:

      Rev and Andrew. No, I meant civilised outside here, you pair of twa..

      For me the Herald is worth posting in, as apart from being now pre-moderated (ha!), I think perhaps because of that, posters are fairly careful and civilised. And I kind of hope the Herald can be converted to the cause of impartiality …

      … having given up on the Gruniad for that. Anyway, Scottish media is more important.

      But yes Rev, I get your point, a lot of lurkers here too perhaps.

      Appleby – this is the discussion I wanted 🙂

      Alpinal – I didn’t really take it personally – more like took advantage of an opening for a difficult subject, with me I guess as the “victim”.

      I think for months we’ve had to act with certainty, especially in the absence of much communication from the SNP etc. (though I think there’s a good reason for that). Largely because of countering the media bias and sheer dumb ignorance and arrogance. And then those who actually believe what fantasies that media portrays as fact.

      Maybe now it’s almost a good idea to express our own uncertainties when “debating” online, to share this with those who are undecided – and also uncertain. As you say, “empathy”. Before the Edinburgh Agreement I don’t think there were that many undecided people posting, but I noticed a lot more in CiF after it was signed. Partly from their postings, but also from the patterns of the “Recommends” which I’d been studying – and trying at times to provoke – or the opposite 🙂

    116. AndrewFraeGovan says:


      “Scottish media is more important.” The Herald is owned by Newsquest, which is based in Weybridge, Surrey.
      Try criticising The Herald’s coverage and see what happens.
      Oh, and Magnus Gardham. I rest my case.

    117. James McLaren says:


      Newsquest is part of a US corporation, Gannett Medias

    118. sneddon says:

      You’re offended! I’m more offended, in fact I’m so offended I’m offended that I’m resigning from myself because I’m so offended and award myself compensation to help my offendedness……er JL for president:)

    119. muttley79 says:

      When we go out into the outside world, and get surrounded and assailed by what we regard as “Unionist Trolls”, “Britnats”, or any number of other derogatory terms, we should remember that for every posting “Troll” we are severely chastising, there are probably 100 lurkers looking on, some of them undecided, thinking to themselves: “Jeez – if this is what it’s like to support Independence, then thanks, but no thanks. I’ll stick to the Union”.

      I use these terms you mentioned above.  However, I am not having a go at No voters.  I am having a go at the politicians and the media, who usually for their own self-interests, support unionism.  Many No voters will have been conditioned into believing that the union is a natural and good thing for Scotland.  They have been brought up believing that we cannot run our own affairs.  This is not their fault.  We have to try and argue that we can run our own affairs, and we can improve our nation.  The Yes campaign needs to be about aspiration.  But we also need to spell out clearly the consequences of a No vote, that the block grant will keep getting reduced, that we will have no control over our economy, or foreign policy, and we will not be able to use our natural resources to benefit our own country.

    120. molly says:

      Following the above and to go back to the original theme, because most of us feel so strongly about Independence and the need for a Yes vote, I get the impression we don’t expect good Governance,we expect miracles.
      A wrong word here,a wrong figure there is pounced on and debated ( on both sides ) ad nauseum and Holyrood has almost become a microcosm of daily life.
       The perceived wrong of the smart arse driver, who obviously deliberately cut in front of you and who offends you in reality is really a tourist trying to make sense of our road signs or the person who jumps the queue to buy her bottle of juice ,who is actually a diabetic and just about to hypo.
      We’re all so easily offended by perceived personal slights yet do physically very little by the offensive sight of housing not fit for humans ,we just don’t drive past there, kids trying to be grown up, spewing out of casualty each week-end ,we just don’t go there ,people making the choice between eating today or heating their house ,well it must be that damn lifestyle choice of theirs.
      We should be offended but not by queue jumpers or the look on Alex Salmonds face.Unemployment rising and according to one report inflation is rising because of the pressure of tuition fees so we’ll all pay more yet live in a country that does’nt have tuition fees,watch our leaders wringing their hands over Syria,while selling arms to other countries ,be asked to donate to an Institution to raise money for kids ,that well, theres just so much with that wrong this year, but hey ho the game of snagging a politician is more important and whether we’re the state broadcaster or the opposition if we’re seen to be doing something,anything , it means we don’t actually have to deal with reality and no one can take offence at that,can they ? 

    121. dadsarmy says:

      The choice I see is between Independence, and the dissolution of Holyrood within maybe 20 years tops, perhaps less. But I don’t see how we can get away with trying to convince people of that – it just seems too drastic to be believable.

      Last poll I saw was that only 5% of Scotland would want to see Holyrood go, then they stopped even asking that question in the polls. A year or two back I think.

      Anyway, enough of the doom and gloom, and that’s just me. What I’m optimistic about is the STUC going for Indy, and a fair chance of a sizeable breakaway Labour.

    122. Elizabeth says:

      I was listening to Magnus Gardham girning this morning (the Shereen prog). The discussion was about the furore over the naming of Lord McAlpine on twitter. MG hopes that something can be done about the vile twitterers that castigate journalists just because they don’t agree with what they write about their particular political party….

    123. Dual_Intention says:

      “Are we alone in wishing people were allowed to shout at each other a bit when they felt strongly about something…”
      Totally with you on this sentiment Rev. Twitter and Blogs such as this are excellent forums for just such a concept. The increasingly heavy handed arrests over burning poppies, anti-soldier comments etc are a genuine worry.
      And this:  “Does nobody have any balls any more?”
      I think you maybe have to grow a pair yourself though, given your reaction to my original post.
      If you think the ‘removed’ post wasn’t analogous to the situations you’re polemicising about here, then may I respectfully suggest you revisit your definition of analogous.
      Just to clear up the context of my original post. It referred to British Justice and crying. The post I read on your other site was indeed a whiningly indulgent ‘woe is me’ moan. Not an issue with me. You got smacked hard and it must have been difficult to deal with.
       I agree with you regarding protection of livelihood etc. But it could be argued that Stow’s chairman was acting in the best interests of the college and its students (I’m not sure about that incidentally, just speculating on a possibility).

       And the same could be argued regarding Lord McAlpine. He’s sending out a strong message to posters who think that they can cross the line of ‘robust polemic’ into libellous defamation of character. The impugning of his character could have cost him business deals, public body memberships, whatever; stuff that could have affected HIS livelihood.
      So, in that manner, my original comment is analagous to this piece.  Hope that clears the intent up. 🙂
       I’m aware that you’ve issued an official warning and I don’t want to get banned from posting. I’m mostly a non-commenting lurker, but given your reticence to provide credentials for your political journalism, you invited me to find out for myself.
      Which I did. I’m not having a go in the manner you seem to be implying. I’m just trying to clarify how much authority your authoritative tone actually carries.    
      Given your replies here, the answer has to be Not Much! Unfortunate and disappointing really.
      Aw mooth, nae troosers some might say. Keep up the good work. You’re nothing if not entertaining.


    124. Iain says:


        Jeez, get yer formatting goggles on.

    125. douglas clark says:

      I am not quite clear how the Herald moderates comments. But my comment, clarifying that I thought that it was Magnus Gardham himself who had made a mountain out of a molehill over the FMs apology, has been disappeared.
      Is anyone at all unaware of the fact that his comment pieces are hysterical, most of the time? Is he protecting himself or his readership from something that seems entirely obvious to me?

    126. scottish_skier says:

      @Dual intention

      “British Justice”

      Sorry, but could you clarify what you mean here? I was not aware of the existence of ‘British’ justice system.

      Thanks in advance.

    127. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “I’m aware that you’ve issued an official warning and I don’t want to get banned from posting. I’m mostly a non-commenting lurker, but given your reticence to provide credentials for your political journalism, you invited me to find out for myself. Which I did. I’m not having a go in the manner you seem to be implying. I’m just trying to clarify how much authority your authoritative tone actually carries”

      Let’s see if I can make this clear, once and for all.

      The opinion of some random pseudonymous internet inhabitant of my “credentials for political journalism” is a matter of the most supreme indifference imaginable to me. If you judge the arguments for Scottish independence by what I might or might not have done with regard to a matter of copyright infringement half a decade ago, you’re a buffoon. I will not, therefore, be drawn into a discussion on the subject, as I hoped I’d already made obvious. It is an ad hominem distraction in the plainest conceivable way.

      “Aw mooth, nae troosers some might say. Keep up the good work. You’re nothing if not entertaining.”

      I’m glad you derive entertainment from the site. You’re welcome to continue to comment on its content. Your opinion of my personality, on the other hand, has not been sought, because it isn’t wanted, and will be met with a rapidly decreasing amount of tolerance. I hope that’s unambiguous. If not, feel free to seek blunter clarification.

    128. dadsarmy says:

      Personally speaking I have absoluely NO journalistic qualifications or experience, nor have had anything to do with politics, but that doesn’t stop me from reading, thinking, researching, exploring, analysing – and throwing together postings. Sometimes I take a lot of time over a posting, to try to get it “right”. I would hope my postings are read for the content, not my lack of qualifications.

      It’s what you say that matters, not who you are, or what you may or may not have done in the past. I’m with the Rev – ad hominems are a waste of everybody’s time, and personally I find Rev’s articles very interesting. Usually 🙂

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