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Wings Over Scotland


Empty chairs

Posted on July 27, 2013 by

As yet we’ve had no replies from anyone to our invitation to the Yes and No camps to conduct a public head-to-head independence debate. Dennis Canavan is on holiday at the moment, but none of Blair McDougall, Alistair Darling, Blair Jenkins or the official Yes and No campaigns have bothered to respond at all, despite both regularly proclaiming that they want to get the public more involved in the discussion.

emptychairs2

It’s a dismally poor show from both sides. We’ll keep you posted.

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    68 to “Empty chairs”

    1. Doug Daniel says:

      Might have more luck writing an email instead? That’s harder to ignore than a tweet.

    2. Alasdair Stirling says:

      Don’t rush to judgement.  It’s a weekend and if the idea (which I think is a good one) is to receive the consideration it merits, then their answers will take a little time.  However, if you don’t have an answer early next week.  Also, I suggest that you propose the idea in formal written letter sent by recorded delivery.

    3. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      Aye, I’m allowing for the fact that the message was sent on a Friday and am planning to follow it up with more old-school communication methods, but it’s worth starting to build up a little pressure first.

    4. The Man in the Jar says:

      I predict a deafening roar of silence from the pro union side. It seems to be their way of dealing with anything at all awkward “Ignore it and hope that it will go away and if it won’t just lie about it”

    5. Jimbo says:

      I think the NO camp prefer to tour the country, holding meetings here and there, to lie to and scaremonger the uninformed. I think they’d rather do that than go head to head with some-one who can put the lie to their witterings.

    6. Juteman says:

      Looking at that photo, the audience will learn more than they would at a NO meeting.

    7. Marker Post says:

      I really don’t understand why people are calling for Blair McDougall to be involved in any debate. No-one had heard of him prior to his appointment as Campaign Director, he has no track record, no biography worth speaking of except as a Labour Spad. He would simply be free to spout the nonsense that he spouted on his BBC interview with Raymond Buchanan back in February.
      Any debate format with the unionists will need a method for the Yes campaign to dissect and rebut the lies that are spouted, in real time. As the Rev has pointed out on so many occasions recently, you often don’t know where to begin in dissecting the nonsense, but they need to be challenged during the debate, not afterwards when the lies have already been inserted into the subconscious.
       

    8. Davy says:

      Give them the weekend to digest what is being proposed and then we will see who has the balls to stand up for their campaigns.
       
      Vote YES, Vote Scotland.
       

    9. Albalha says:

      @markerpost
      Good point, who would you suggest?

    10. handclapping says:

      I’m not sure about having more than one a side. They had a debate at the college with Murdo, Willie Rennie, Lesley Riddoch, Alan Grogan, somebody from the SNP and, as a last minute entry, Claire Baker with questions from the floor. It was pretty dire, not so much the speakers but no-one ever got a chance to get going and tell us something. Willie was the revelation for me, he’s not nearly as useless as he’s made out to be, but that is maybe because of the format he never came under pressure.

    11. Rod Mac says:

      IMHO Rev the sun will have melted the rocks before you get a positive reply from BT

    12. Juteman says:

      If we do get a debate, can it be on Independence only. No party politics.
      Simply present the case why a country should or shouldn’t be independent. Party politics are for the first election.

    13. Paul Martin says:

      I think its a great idea. Only minor comment on the speed of response from Yes Scotland is that they are permanently swamped by emails,  web and FB requests, tweets, letters, phone-calls etc Give them a few days breathing space at least before we all get too uppity about not having heard anything !

    14. HandandShrimp says:

      Handclapping
       
      Most of those selected and elected to MSP/MP are relatively good public speakers. It comes with the job. What really makes things difficult for them is trying to defend a half-baked policy, an outright lie, or being asked to talk about something when they are not sure what the party line is. Margaret Curran and Johann Lamont have a couple total car crash interviews trying to tip toe between what they think, what they think the electorate expect and whatever the hell the current London position is. The result of that sort of verbal gymnastics is not pretty to watch. Willie is Mr Lib Dem in Scotland and is happy to give a quote even if he isn’t up to speed on the topic. Consequently he does say some completely ridiculous things that he himself must hope don’t get subjected to too much scrutiny.

    15. Albalha says:

      The more I think about this I doubt it would work with the familiar ‘political’  faces. How about as a piece of touring theatre.
      Verbatim arguments are played out, interjection from documents, other players etc. Engaging actors, maybe a Q and A follow up.
      I know it’s sounding all a bit 7:84 but why not?
      Other than that how about a traditional debating set up as played out in schools and universities. Don’t know much about how they work but could it be adapted? Again teams of well known types perhaps. I think people need to be really engaged.
      Or there’s always in the style of a jury trial.

    16. Atypical_Scot says:

      As there could be many obstacles to declare a no show, what about the two of them debate it on an organised social media debate? 

    17. Shinty says:

      In the interest of fairness, let’s give both sides time to respond.

    18. Caroline Corfield says:

      I once chaired a debate between the Young Conservatives and Labour Youth at Paisley Town Hall. I got a book out the library on chairing a debate. I had two speakers. Each was given ten minutes then there were questions from the floor, which the speakers were encouraged to answer succinctly. It went quite well though I say so myself. The biggest thing to come out of it was the realisation amongst the Labour Youth of what Tories are actually like. Socialists can often exist in their own bubble and get caught up in minute semantics. The audience were made up of activists from both sides, if a similar spread plus members of the public or a broadcast live to public, it could expose BT quite significantly. 

    19. Juteman says:

      Ah, 7:84. That’s a blast from the past. Good idea, but maybe one for others?

    20. Rod Mac says:

      he biggest thing to come out of it was the realisation amongst the Labour Youth of what Tories are actually like. Socialists can often exist in their own bubble and get caught up in minute 
      =========================================================
      Caroline I hate being pedantic  however you have used Labour and Socialist in the same  description.
      Are we talking about SLAB or was it a Labour Party from outwith the UK?

    21. Albalha says:

      @carolinec
      Interesting, how about all different types of head to heads as you describe.
      So, okay the ususal political heads but then Mr Aberdeen Asset Management up against Mr Baxter on YES/NO business ……. Elaine C Smith against the Texas woman …. young NO against young YES……Kemp against any number of oil doomsayers ……think you’ll get the idea! 

    22. Ivan McKee says:

      Business for Scotland will take one of the chairs, it you’ll invite us.
      http://www.businessforscotland.co.uk
      We’ll provide speakers to debate with anyone from the NO side on the economics of Independence / why it would be good for business.

    23. Caroline Corfield says:

      It was in the early 80’s we were all in Militant so technically we were socialists in Labour. I can’t see the same thing happening today. 

    24. Caroline Corfield says:

      And yes that makes me a Trot. 

    25. Caroline Corfield says:

      A debate between business leaders would be good, the public would not see them as party orientated, everyone expects a business to be in the business of making money first and having a political view second. The business case would swing a lot of soft Nos.

    26. Juteman says:

      Not a real Trot Caroline.
      I was a member of the Workers Revolutionary Party. 😉

    27. Albalha says:

      @IvanMckee
      One half of one debate sorted, very good. In all seriousness I would be willing to coordinate a series of debates on the lines outlined along with anyone else who’s interested and has the time. I’ve a fair few contacts to get going. If WOS is keen on the idea as I’m sure costs would be incurred, venues, paying speakers, publicity etc.
      Live online streaming wouldn’t be a problem and maybe they could take place in different parts of Scotland.
      What do people think?
       

    28. Sneddon says:

      ‘Workers Revolutionary Party’  Splitters! 🙂
       
      RCP for my sins in 1980’s, what was I thinking 🙂

    29. Barontorc says:

      It has to be an absolute joke that most comments on this issue feel NO will not turn up, or at best just not reply to the invite.
       
      What has happened to their notion of hustings and democratic choice. If their persona is so paper thin, do they think people will be engaged enough to vote for them? I suspect that they’re just going through the motions and they know the games up.
       
      If it comes to a debate between YES and NO I would get Bernard Ponsonby to chair it and offer it to STV, whether they take it or on or not, it’s one in the eye for auntie Beeb!
       
      Good fun init!

    30. Rod Mac says:

      If we could get this going it would really change the dynamics thus far.
      This really is grass roots from the bottom up instead of other way around.
      We the great unwashed getting the debates we want ,not what they want to give us

    31. Juteman says:

      @ Sneddon.
      And i’m a real journalist. I had articles published in News Line, and everything! 😉
      Youth, wasted on the young.

    32. ianbrotherhood says:

      I really don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that this discussion, the WoS fundraisers, the whole atmosphere – it’s a foretaste of a completely new media/political landscape. The tide is going out and we can see who’s been swimming in the nude.
       
      This is important stuff, and the whole BT charade is looking ever-more irrelevant. There is, in truth, no ‘opposition’, and defeat can only come from apathy and/or dirty tricks. 

    33. Atypical_Scot says:

      @ianbrotherhood;
      Get in!

    34. Andy-B says:

      You need to show that “Wings over Scotland ” has a bit of clout, let them know how many hits your sites had, that will soon get a response, if not send a few of the lads  round with a big stick.

    35. Dramfineday says:

      Here, there’s an awfie lot of Red’s that weren’t under my bed coming onto this site. I know you weren’t there ’cause I used to look every night, as I was frightened of bogie men. I went to a psychiatrist who said he could cure me of my fears for £5000, but the joiner next door did it for a tenner – he cut that legs of the bed…………….good afternoon.
       
      PS I’m sure you’ll get a positive response in the fullness of time Rev ( he says, running off looking for some chickens to count).

    36. Birnie says:

      Here in East Lothian, representatives of the No campaign from both Labour and Conservative have apparently taken a policy decision not to engage with the Yes campaign in any public discussion or debate.
      When I suggested to a Yes supporter that they must have something to hide, the reply was “We have nothing to hide; we just don’t take you seriously”!

    37. Quick the suns oot says:

      Politicians need to be reminded sometimes that they work for us and are accountable to us. This is our referendum, we should not be content to sit back and let them play it out their usual way. Perhaps they are all in a tizzy and dont know how to respond to this! Has this ever happened before where the electorate has gathered together (online as it is) to demand our representatives appear and explain their respective positions? It is time for us to call the tune!

    38. Juteman says:

      Well said Ian. This is real politics.

    39. velofello says:

      Ideally no politicians.The Business for Scotland offer is a boost. Representing the Yes campaign Dennis Canavan?.
      Too many on the panel may dilute the message.I’d opt for two from each side.
      In the event that Project Fear decline you should proceed anyway.
      In a space of a week WOS has shown the way to counteract MSM and the BBC bias. 

    40. G H Graham says:

      Using Twitter to send an invitation is giving social media too much relevance. Even now, nothing looks more official & serious than an engraved, letter headed cotton sheet hand signed & dated.
      And the weekend is for family & friends.
      Make a trip to John Menzies stationary department, craft your letter and then wait.
      Two weeks seems a reasonable time limit before prompting anyone.

    41. Bugger (the Panda) says:

      Andy-B says:
      You need to show that “Wings over Scotland ” has a bit of clout, let them know how many hits your sites had, that will soon get a response, if not send a few of the lads  round with a big stick.

       
      Big pointed sticks. homage a Jean le Roi

    42. Juteman says:

      I’ve just had a wonderful moment. I’m sitting in the garden enjoying a beer (again), and heard a Polish woman shouting on her kid to behave. I think all the local kids were fighting over paddling pool access.
      This is modern Scotland.

    43. Braco says:

      G H Graham,
      I know where you are coming from, but we are not inviting some dignitary into a club.
       
      We are being forced to organise our own access to publicly funded politicians and organisations, to hear the pros and cons of the most important decision facing our electorate in 300 years.

      This despite already paying for a state broadcaster who’s remit is supposed to cover just such an event, but has proven itself incapable of neutrality on the subject.
       
      I say, make the offer and when it is ignored/refused or underplayed, as it most likely will be, go ahead and make hay with their unwillingness to engage. And I mean that, should either side refuse!
       
      Refusal to engage by either side is totally unacceptable.
       
      The idea that there requires some sort of formal negotiating etiquette or diplomatic dance in order to get something like this agreed to in principle (should both parties be willing) is ridiculous and unfortunately only adds credibility to any pathetic excuses the unwilling participants will inevitably try to spin.
       
      This after all is Scotland, where parliamentary land deals (eventually funded by the taxpayer to the tune of £750 million +/- ) can be quite easily done, all on a nod and a wink between the right folk, during a 40 min Edinburgh to Glasgow train journey! (For example)
       
      A decision on principle should not take any of the organisations involved two weeks!

    44. Tony Little says:

      @Braco
       
      Absolutely agree.  The possibility that OUR elected representatives, or those charged with presenting both campaigns would refuse to debate in front of the public they are SUPPOSED to represent or wish to persuade is an affront to our common sense and their position.
       
      And I don’t care which side of the debate they represent.  GET ON WITH IT YOU T*SSERS. Start treating US with respect!
       
      Sorry for the mini-rant, been at the pub 8-/

    45. Braco says:

      Tony Little,
      well said and do not apologise!

    46. kininvie says:

      While we’re waiting, anyone who hasn’t seen the Glasgow Uni Union independence debate from back in May might enjoy it…
       
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=swWhEBbz5sk
       
      Duncan Hamilton storms in from 17.22, which is the best bit….but the whole thing is worth watching.

    47. Sneddon says:

      GH Graham –  “John Menzies”  alas you’d have a long search, it is no more, bought out by WH Smith possibly the worse retailer in the UK 🙁

    48. Dramfineday says:

      Juteman says:
      27 July, 2013 at 3:42 pm

      I’ve just had a wonderful moment. I’m sitting in the garden enjoying a beer (again), and heard a Polish woman shouting on her kid to behave. I think all the local kids were fighting over paddling pool access.
      This is modern Scotland.
      Here in the SW of “Soon to have trams” city – in addition to the Chinese, Indian, Egyptian, Pakistani, Polish, Irish and French folk I have as neighbours, I also have my African daughter in law. One thing is for certain, irrespective of place of origin, when the kid’s maw is not a happy bunny, there are no language barriers – I might not know the words but by Jove the tone and volume tells me all I have to know! And what makes me hoot, is the number of times the reply comes back, “Aw Mum!”
      Modern Scotland indeed – what a great place.
       

    49. Albalha says:

      Regards elected representatives Canavan is not an elected MP/MSP nor Jenkins or McDougall so don’t think they can be called to account as representing the people.
      They’re part of two funded campaigns and I certainly haven’t paid into them nor I imagine have most people on here.
      YES, mainly the lottery winners and NO I taylor and assorted others.
       
       

    50. AnneDon says:

      Generally, Yes speakers will attend meetings and hustings if invited. The problem, as stated, is that the Noes won’t turn up.  Good luck arranging it – I hope videostreaming will be considered?

    51. AnneDon says:

      PS, I take the view that MPs or MSPs should be invited directly – they are, after all, paid to represent us.
       
      BTW, I assume Johann Lamont was locked in her usual cupboard after FMQs, and they forgot to let her out when the recess started?

    52. mato21 says:

      AnneDon says:
      27 July, 2013 at 8:16 pm

      PS, I take the view that MPs or MSPs should be invited directly – they are, after all, paid to represent us

      I agree and they should be reminded of this fact when the invitation is made

    53. Robert McDonald says:

      I was at the Scottish Pipe Band Championships today and Blair McDougall was at it with Ms Bailie scaring away the visitors from the bettertogether stall (which had ten times less visitors than Yes – photos to prove it) Had a set to with Ms Bailie about their claim of SNP lowering taxes for Amazon and Google and she didn’t have any idea about how much they actually paid (thanks to Stu I could quote it for her and her reply was that “Anyway the SNP would make it lower”).
      There was even a Yesdog which was brilliant. Well done to all the cheery folks at Yes.
      Oh and our pipe band, East Kilbride, took 2nd overall in Grade 4A – Well done folks, a good day all round.

    54. ianbrotherhood says:

      re: Kelvin Hall.
       
      You’re right enough Rev. Closed for major upgrades. It’s going to be a new museum and publicly-accessible archive etc. Sounds very ambitious and positive stuff.
       
      Anyway, the friend who told me this suggested that the Concert Hall at the top of Buchanan St could be a suitable venue. It’s also Council property. I’ve never been in the place, but he thinks it would fit the bill and will send me details – as and when he does I’ll post them (if he doesn’t do it himself).
       
      We had a great discussion, in a West Kilbride pub, about the referendum etc. First time we’ve really had a good gab about it, and delighted to find he’s a definite Yes as are his wife and boys (one of whom will be only-just eligible to vote.) He’s also one of my oldest and dearest friends. Having finally broached the whole subject and determined that we’re on the same side is a major buzz for me – I’m made-up. 
       
      Now, more than ever, I’m absolutely certain we’re going to win next year.
       
      And BTW, Evelyn, here’s to ye!! (takes a right hefty swally of Lambrini…)

    55. Braco says:

      Albalha,
      so we can’t hold the Record, the Sun, the Mail or even the daily BBC to account either, as they have never stood for election? Certainly simplifies the problem.

      If you are able to dominate the media, or it’s reporting, without being elected first then public scrutiny of your utterances are easily and obviously avoidable.
       
      I understand what you are saying and I live in the same world that you do, but can you not see where this attitude has lead us?
       
      Not for me anymore Albalha I am afraid.

    56. john king says:

      “I think the NO camp prefer to tour the country, holding meetings here and there, to lie to and scaremonger the uninformed. I think they’d rather do that than go head to head with some-one who can put the lie to their witterings.”
      Bang on jimbo

    57. john king says:

      Juteman says:

      looking at that photo, the audience will learn more than they would at a NO meeting.”

      o/t you notice noone in the (audience) called that young woman who accused (Blair McDougal) of having as blank a policy as the posters round the hall?
        

    58. john king says:

      jiggsboro 
      finaly worked out the difference between Blair McDougal 
      and Blair Drummond
       one smells vaguely of manure and brays a lot and the other is a safari park 🙂
      oh and Blair Jenkins has and O.B.E.
      anyone told John McIntyre?

    59. Scott says:

      To be honest Twitter isn’t the best method to organise something like this, it’s pretty much as unofficial as you can get (no offence). Best methods would be e-mail & phone.

    60. john king says:

      handandshrimp says
      “Margaret Curran and Johann Lamont have a couple total car crash interviews trying to tip toe between what they think, what they think the electorate expect and whatever the hell the current London position is.”
      Oh for goodness sake, all you had to say was
      Margaret Curran and Joanne Lamont are trying to tip toe between what they think they think, and what they think  Mr Ed (the talking horse) wants them to think , see seasy 🙂
      anyway since when did either of them worry about what the people who elected them think? that’s what they’re for dontcha know?

    61. john king says:

      handclapping says
      “Margaret Curran and Johann Lamont have a couple total car crash interviews trying to tip toe between what they think, what they think the electorate expect and whatever the hell the current London position is.”
      In the words of John McInroe 
      you cannot be serious, his is without doubt (and there a lot of contenders) better together prime candidate for loosest canon, he rolls around the deck in a flat calm, and Like (fogotten who said it)someone else said, regularly shoots himself in the foot, its the tame moneys in the media who dont turn him inside out over his faux paux. 

    62. john king says:

      Albalha says:
      27 July, 2013 at 1:36 pm

      @IvanMckee
      I think Business for Scotland could have a very positive impact,
       very happy to support a venture (financially)

    63. john king says:

      given the potential for continuous need of instant access to funds, would it be worthwhile setting up a fund we could all contribute by direct debit on a monthly basis say a fiver a month as a start line?

    64. john king says:

      ianbrotherhood says
      “The tide is going out and we can see who’s been swimming in the nude.”
      and more importantly, who’s been peeing in the water 😉 

    65. john king says:

      birnie says

      “We have nothing to hide; we just don’t take you seriously”!

        so the no campaign (I think you meant to write no) 
      don’t take seriously a democratically elected governments stated policy (who have a majority in Holyrood) but see no problem with sitting on a tv panel with a a party who have no elected representatives in the UK, now who might that be I wonder?

    66. john king says:

      anyone know what this sounds like?
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TQwGTe_MueM
      it sounds like OWNERSHIP BEING CLAIMED 🙂

    67. Albalha says:

      @braco
      I’m more than happy to ‘man’ the barricades I was only pointing out a straightforward fact which is they’re not publically funded and/or elected in most cases. Call on whoever you want to be more accountable etc but surely it’s best to be accurate. Frankly that’s a big part of the problem as I see it, bullshit.
       

    68. Albalha says:

      Eddie Mair is unavailable for moderation, just heard back.



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