The world's most-read Scottish politics website

Wings Over Scotland


Filter feeders

Posted on October 24, 2013 by

With the sickening developments at Grangemouth understandably dominating the news, readers perhaps won’t have fallen quite so far off their seats with surprise at the Scottish media’s total failure to so far breathe a single word about “Better Together” apparently running an illegal fundraising lottery.

(After all, you can’t have two stories in one newspaper – that would be madness.)

And besides, the revelation – which merely, after all, involves several prominent MPs and MSPs on the board of the No campaign in what would be criminal activity, and not for the first time – is so trivial that it’s the kind of thing no self-respecting newspaper would bother running even on a slow day anyway, right?

It’s around this point that we usually like to cue an alert reader.

paisleysheridanfee

That’s a page-high story in June this year from the Paisley Daily Express, a sister paper of the Daily Record, reporting how Labour MSPs Jim Sheridan (also a PDE columnist) and Mary Fee kicked up a big fuss when Yes Scotland offered people entry into a free prize draw (£30 total in shopping vouchers) for filling out a canvass card.

Now, that’s a perfectly legal thing to do. Unlike a lottery where there’s a monetary entry requirement, you don’t need a licence to hold a free prize draw. And Mr Sheridan and Ms Fee weren’t alleging otherwise. Their objection was that people would feel obliged to falsely identify themselves as Yes voters on the canvassing card (for fear that anyone saying they were a No voter wouldn’t win a prize), and that this would misleadingly inflate the true level of Yes support.

(What they don’t seem to have considered is why Yes Scotland would want inaccurate canvass results. The whole point of canvassing is to find out what people really think so you can adjust and focus your campaigning accordingly. False results are counterproductive – they lead to either wasted time and effort convincing people who are already on your side, or worse, complacently neglecting to talk to people who might have been persuaded because you think the job’s already done. It’s a very poor trade for a fleeting local-newspaper headline that nobody would believe anyway.)

And yet, this ridiculously petty and illogical complaint is currently still well ahead in coverage terms of the revelation that a former Chancellor of the Exchequer and several current members of two Parliaments appear to be heading a campaign with a growing list of criminal offences under its belt, on top of its many other unpleasantnesses.

Maybe our news radar is just a bit wonky.

Print Friendly

    65 to “Filter feeders”

    1. Pedro says:

      Grangemouth dominating the news? 
       
      The BBC is telling me that Angela Merkel demanding an apology from the USA is top of the billing tonight. 

    2. Pedro says:

      Oh, wait. It’s on now. 

    3. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “In Scotland” was implicit, I felt.

    4. Jen says:

      The Scottish MSM are unionist leaning therefore any thought of fairness is not on their radar for reporting.  I don’t think Yes Scotland and independence will ever get a fair hearing.  No wonder the Scottish Cringe is rife. 

    5. Murray McCallum says:

      I see they continue to run their possibly illegal lottery, despite being alerted to their lack of a license.

      If it comes to it, I hope Blair McDougall and Alistair Darling have the common decency to go and personally apologise to the dozen or so people who has been unwittingly dragged into this activity.

      Alistair Darling seems to have a recurring problem with rules, regulations and money. He also never seems to apologise.

    6. GP Walrus says:

      OK, so if it is illegal, has someone made a complaint to the police?

    7. Kevin Lynch says:

      Perhaps the news isn’t covering the illegal lottery because nobody entered it? You can’t run a lottery without entrants. 😉

    8. joe kane says:

      So far, so Chomsky.

    9. fairiefromtheearth says:

      Grangemouth,OIL such a curse nobody seems to want it and nobodys making a profit,the MSM is always telling us. Time for the Scottish Goverment to buy inos share for a quid,sack the managment,upgrade the facility,and sit back and reap the rewards.

    10. The Man in the Jar says:

      I have seen Blair McDougal being bundled into the back of a polis motor with a blanket over his head.
       
      Well I can dream cant I?

    11. Marcia says:

      According to some on twitter the latest Panelbase poll has when you strip out the d/k Yes at 46%.
       
      I presume commissioned by another organisation.

    12. call me dave says:

      On the BBC live show prof Curtis has stuck his wet first finger up into the wind and declared the averaged out recent polls as 38% YES and 62% NO.  But had the fingers of the other hand crossed.
      If that panel base story is anywhere near true that is a big story.
      http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-24664199

    13. keaton says:

      Jim “in the bag” Sheridan is an MP, not an MSP.

    14. Doug Daniel says:

      Off-topic – Blair Jenkins spoke at the University of Aberdeen tonight. Capacity of the hall was 330, with an estimated attendance of 295. Loads of people asking questions, picking up information leaflets, taking badges and stickers etc. Very successful evening, and having helped set things up, I must say it’s a great feeling to see so many people looking to hear about independence. There was even a queue of folk trying to talk to Blair at the end.
       
      A group of four students from the No campaign were identified by a couple of our volunteers, and were overheard making plans to try and disrupt things a bit. Seems they didn’t expect it to be quite so full, because they chickened out! In fact, the only awkward moments came from a couple of EU-hating independence supporters…
       
      I was very impressed with the way Blair answered the questions. No brushing things aside or conveniently forgetting to answer part of people’s questions because they asked something awkward, and when one guy said he would vote No if the referendum was held tomorrow, Blair seemed determined to convert him right there and then! Some fantastic points from some of the audience members too – including the girl who mentioned Wings Over Scotland’s coverage of the propaganda used in the Aberdeenshire school mock referendums! Wings got TWO mentions, in fact…

    15. The Man in the Jar says:

       
      Rev. Stu would “Bottom Feeders” not have been a more appropriate headline or is that taking it to far? 😉

    16. The Man in the Jar says:

      Cant beleive that she is bringing up domestic abuse in her acceptance speech twice. WTF?

    17. sionnach says:

      O/T Dunfermline result: Cara Hilton won with a 6% swing, majority just over 2800.

    18. The Man in the Jar says:

      Going by her acceptance speech Cara Hilton is straight from the Johann Lamont bitter and twisted school of politics.

    19. call me dave says:

      OH Well!  It was always a tough ask, tainted by Walker, mid term, with a slim majority unexpectedly coming from 3rd place before on the back of a landslide.
       
      In spite of it all to lose by less than 3000 votes not bad.  Lib Dems continue to be in decline.
       
      Thanks to all the SNP team who worked hard on a thankless task.
       
      Do not despair folks could have been worse.  
       

    20. braco says:

      Doug Daniel,
       
      I am coming home in mid January and will be in Aberdeen around then. Would you be willing to meet up for a pint and a chat about where you think the campaign is going in Aberdeen (as well as Aberdeenshire) and any holes you think might need filling?
       
      I am trying to set myself up in a location with the most effective impact. I already have many friends and SNP contacts in Aberdeen but I would really appreciate your much more (personally) neutral view on tactics (seeings as i don’t know you, and you don’t even know ma name yet).
       
      If you don’t fancy it, nae worries min. It’s late and my typing finger has been acting with fully plausible alcoholic deniability for an hour or two now. Would really be interested though.
       
      P.S. I typed that last bit with my other finger. 
       

    21. Marian says:

      So the MSM and BBC and Dunfermline voters think its OK for Labour to claim credit for the SNP’s policies and get elected because they have stolen the credit.
      This is unbelievable in a so called democracy.
      They should be absolutely ashamed of themselves.
      One thing is certain and that is nothing will ever change for the better for the people of Dunfermline for as long as they keep electing useless Johann Lamont clones from the Labour party whose sole interest is in holding on to power by smearing and lying about their opponents.

    22. john king says:

      I am disgusted and ashamed of the people of Dunfermline that they should elect such a palpably dishonest and disingenuous person as Cara Hilton,
      when will these people ever learn?
      my own home town only a few miles away is still stuck in 1960’s style labourite thinking, 
      ten seconds listening to the candidates proved beyond any shadow of a doubt that Shirley-Ann Somerville was the out and out best candidate by a mile and the absolute worst was Hilton she was even worse that that UKIP  nutter 
      someone else said it before me 
      HELL MEND THEM

    23. deewal says:

      Yes Marian but it does show that the MSM’s and Labour’s lies are working and we are pretty much screwed without them because the Dunfermline voters may not be “too wee, too poor” but their well “too stupid”
      I still cannot get my head around Labour voters. They really must think that Labour still exists. I know people who think they are voting for Ed Millipede to stop the Tory’s getting back in.
      They have not got a clue about Politricks of any sort. I have even met people recently who did not know or care that there is an Independence Referendum happening next year. Honest !
      I have also met people who know about it but think it’s a Vote for the SNP to rule Scotland.
      They do not have computers and the few that do are using them for ASDA orders and Facebook and messaging. Their source of News is the BBC or STV which they truly believe to be the Truth. No wonder the Irish blew the masts up.

    24. Craig M says:

      Regarding the Dunfermline result. I find it encouraging that only 10275 inhabitants think that continuing child poverty, attacking the poor in society, threats to the health service and extreme right wing economic policies are acceptable in our society. What is really telling is the 60% that didn’t vote. How many of them would stand up and, with hand on heart, endorse the unfair and corrupt policies of Labour and their Tory ideology?
      Let us allow Cara Hilton her day in the sun. Congratulations to her but I know, as I suspect do a considerable number of that 60%, that Cara, deep down, is an unpleasant person, with no grasp of what is morally right or wrong. 
      It also shows that the SNP need to up their game and better that they learn this lesson now than after September 2014.
      What I do find slightly concerning is that of those who voted, 16044 selected a Right Wing Party. That is an indicator that people are either politically ignorant or, to be frank, morally bankrupt in their thinking.

    25. john king says:

      Criag M says
      “That is an indicator that people are either politically ignorant or, to be frank, morally bankrupt in their thinking.”

      The way I feel just now the answers to those questions is yes and yes
      I am so angry with those voters in Dunfermline right now.

    26. Smudge says:

      Has anyone else seen the better together logo lately and the shameful use of the poppy,

      I was a soldier and am a member of the RLBS riders branch, I find it insulting and offensive for the poppy to be used for a political promotion.

      And I would be saying the same thing if the Yes campaign were using it as well

      Will be asking for it to be removed from their page. I’m sick of politicos wrapping themselves in flags which have  covered my friends coffins and using a symbol that represents the deaths and suffering of millions to show their support for the armed forces that they have let down during conflicts of the last twenty years.

      sorry for the rant

    27. Bubbles says:

      I’m going in to work in half an hour. Two of my colleagues had a vote yesterday, one voted Tory and the other UKIP. I need to win the lottery.
       
      I watched some of the BBC by-election show last night. Why do the SNP continue to take part in rigged discussions. I’ll fight any bully but I’m not taking on him and his mates at the same time. Fiona Hyslop mentioned it but it’s pointless. Most telling moment was when the Tory said he’d be happy as long as a Unionist candidate won, whoever that was. Oh, and the vox-pop where one woman said that yes she had considered the recent events in Grangemouth and that was why she was voting Labour.
       
      Make no mistake, unless we can break the TV monopoly held by the Unionists then the referendum is lost.

    28. Macart says:

      @Craig M
       
      Or afraid, fear of change. Voting for what you know because its all you know is not unknown in Scotland. Some folks still trust in the ‘peoples party’. They can’t imagine a different way of getting things done. They eat up what they are given as the facts because ‘ah knew their mither n’ faither’. I’m sure they’re even aware of how wrong the Labour party have become, yet still hold out some faint hope that if they wait long enough Labour will fall back in line again with their values and it’ll all be just peachy.
       
      For the life of me I can’t get angry with them or even mildly piqued. I grew up with just such a mindset in my own home town. We need to remember where the real problem lies and that is with a Labour party which has become totally morally bankrupt. Their outrageous claims in that awful leaflet let’s us know the level they’ve reached and what’s more just how far below even that level they are prepared to go in support of party not people. As for Ms Hilton I have no congratulations, she knows the hows and whys of her win and made her choice willingly. She and her constituency members basically lied their faces off in full knowledge of the facts. Why would I congratulate anyone for such an act?
       
      But the encouraging fact is one you’ve pointed out yourself, its how many didn’t vote.

    29. John Hannah says:

      re Dunfermline …just wait until Cara closes a school and falls in line with Slab and London Lab policy. The peole that voted for her will feel the sting just that wee bit more when they find out her campaign has all been BS.
       
      Might help to swing some Yes votes in September.
       

    30. Steve Duncan says:

      turnout of around 40%, the usual question of how many postal votes made up the numbers.
       
      This ingrained need to vote Labour even with the appalling record of spin and deceit needs to be understood.
       
       Where do you start?

    31. john king says:

      Mcart says
      “For the life of me I can’t get angry with them or even mildly piqued. ”
      I really wish I could say that, because at the moment my fury with those voters is boiling over

    32. balgayboy says:

      The result was a banker, but it still rankles a little why so many voters can be misled by such cheap manipulation.
      Anyhow it does not change anything in Holyrood as the Independence minded party’s and members still hold the overall majority.  
      The BBC team following the election seemed to be in high spirits with “wha ate ah the peh’s” BT singing a verse of the Road and the Miles Tae Dundee!    
      Onwards and upwards to next September then we will see who is singing in jubilation then.              

    33. Juteman says:

      8000 postal votes?

    34. scottish_skier says:

      According to some on twitter the latest Panelbase poll has when you strip out the d/k Yes at 46%.
       
      Any more info on this anyone?
       
      I see Labour got less votes than last time in Dunfermline. Oh dear. That’s not good for them.

    35. Bubbles says:

      @ Juteman
       
      Really?

    36. mealer says:

      “LABOUR” will not appear on the referendum ballot.

    37. AlexMci says:

      Looks like Labour won the Hamilton South by election as well, WTF goes on in some folks heads. 

    38. balgayboy says:

      Almost 5000 less voted in comparison to the 2011 election
      http://www.scottishelections.org.uk/scotland/hby/dunfermline.php

    39. Juteman says:

      Just an early morning joke, Bubbles.

    40. Ken500 says:

      The FibDem supporters are voting for lying Labour

      Will they ever Learn

      Unionists crooks

      Too many crooks spoil the froth

    41. Macart says:

      @John King
       
      I know what you mean and I fully understand. We spent a fair deal of our time looking for the facts, informing ourselves and then coming to a decision after being motivated enough to go look. It really can drive you to distraction when others apparently couldn’t care less and prefer to be spoon fed bollocks by the media. But the plain fact is we’re anoraks now (Jeez I never thought I’d admit that :D). Most people, the majority, aren’t and that’s why the doorstep and new media is our only outlet. Their win isn’t a crushing victory, its a mid term win on a small turnout in ward tainted by a politician who suffered expulsion and public humiliation for his actions.
       
      As mealer has just posted, ‘Labour will not appear on the referendum ballot’.

    42. Linda's Back says:

      Dunfermline was a poor result for Labour with a swing of less than 7% which is less than their swing in Aberdeen Donside.  

      So despite the horrendous circumstances for the SNP in Dunfermline Labour have gone backwards.

      When a Scottish Government election comes along people will compare the stature of Team Scotland of Salmond Sturgeon and Swinney with Labour’s Lamont Gray and who else?

    43. Ken500 says:

      Remember Independence supporters just need to get one other person to Vote YES. Two or three would be excellent

      Screw the corrupt Media.

      When is the Media corruption trial?

      When does the Chilcott Report come out?

      Overdue

    44. Scott38 says:

      8000 postal votes. What would be the chances of most of them being Labour.

    45. redcliffe62 says:

      Straight vote swap from Lib Dem to Labour, with some who voted SNP in 2011 falling to Labour, maybe 1 or 2%. 7% swing is not great. Although Grangemouth a UK energy problem and labour union stuff up you would not know by media coverage.

    46. Derick says:

      Must admit I canna get excited about by-elections.  I mean, they’re fun for us anoraks, but neither here nor there in the grand scheme of things.

      I don’t know if the forces of light will win next September, given what is ranged against us.  I do know the long term trend towards dissolution of the UK state is unstoppable, because it lies mostly beneath politics. See the identity question in the Census.  That’s where it shows.

    47. Kenny Campbell says:

      A win for the SNP would have been very welcome here as the YES campaign seems to be making little visible headway, naturally filtered through the ‘newspapers’ and ‘media’ its usually hard to spot anyway.
       
      We could really do with a blow the doors off moment to get people’s attention.
       
      It’s a defeat against a rather poor opposition which for me is the most worrying.

    48. gordoz says:

      Dunfermline result – Christ ?
      Idiots elect an idiot; 
      Good luck to them hope they get what they voted for lies and ineptitude, disregard for local issues and sticking to the British Labour party line.
      Well done Cara (finger in the wind) Hilton.
       
      In future when someone does something really stupid we should all ask – ‘are you from Dunfermline ‘ ?
       
      Seriously next time a numpty in a red jacket would be easier and save us all the effort.
      Oh wait –
      Still hurts when you realise how thick Scots folk can be.

    49. Luigi says:

      The people of Dunfermline fell back into their traditional comfort zone and voted Labour yesterday.  Why?  Simply because there was no chance of JL ever becoming First Minister as a result.  No risk, no need to think hard, so it’s back on to autopilot and vote for the red rosette!

    50. Training Day says:

      We need to face a stark truth rather than console ourselves that it’s only a by-election – Better Together MSM are pressing all the right buttons at the moment. Whether we deride the Project Fear moniker matters not – it is working at the moment. The average punter doesn’t give a shit about worthy notions like the Common Weal, or dare I say it, a fairer, greener society. BT are appealing to them because they speak to their fear of change, the notion that, bad as things may be now, those advocating change will make it worse.

      I heard yesterday about a teenager writing an essay on the referendum who concluded a vote for self-determination was too risky. That’s right, a teenager is worried about ‘risk’. That is the prevailing mindset which the MSM have created. There were signs at the conference last week, but we have to start getting across the consequences of a No vote now, ‘negative’ campaigning or not.

    51. Dorothy Devine says:

      It’s the BBBC ,STV and the craven ,lying press “wot done it”
       
      Every time Dunfermline was mentioned on the BBBC or STV they mentioned the ” wife beater”.
      I can really see a time coming when the more hotheaded will take some kind of action against these deceitful , manipulating liars.

    52. Harry Shanks says:

      I am as disappointed at the Dunferline result as anybody else but playing the “blame the electorate” game gets us nowhere.
       
      Fact is the SNP failed to get its message across – for a variety of reasons. Let’s address that failure rather than blaming the voters.
       
      The SNP forms the Government and has done since 2007 – thats 6 years in office and yet it does not seem to have picked up the ability to communicate directly to the public rather than have its message silenced or distorted by what has always been a hostile media.
       
      Weekly FM press conferences, billboard campaigns …… why are these things not being picked up and run with?

    53. gordoz says:

      Cara Hilton is the worst candidate presented by any party in years – thats clear, she will be a hopeless MSP. (Tough shit Dunfermline you voted for her)

      Hate to say it, but I now feel on the evidence, this result in Dunfermline will mirror the referendum for YES side, its not going well enough guys. 

      Sorry for everyone out there – knocking there pan in, but our brothers & sisters in this seem too thick to me to care.

      Scottish journalists & commentators together with the TV & radio media are smashing anything remotely positive towards the YES campaign, while perpetuating misrepresentation, interuption and clear lies, avoiding fair dialogue & debate like the plague and obvious criminal issue breaches within BT, (as spotted by WoS), while running a ‘non story’ on Bulmer for a fortnight.

      Its really not good folks, in fact its too fecking easy for NO side (thats what scares the most).
      To suggest otherwise needs concrete proof and there’s little out there. We’ve just seen what Dunfermline thinks (clearly not much).

      Sorry to all those who votes SNP – just not enough.

      Agree with others something significant has to happen very, very, soon as heads are starting to go down. Only Derek Bateman has come out from media (or over) and it does not look like there are many others to come.

      Other than the streets I dont know what to suggest ?

      Listening to ‘Big Country’ now to try to forget what Dunfermile looks like as of today.
       

    54. Doug Daniel says:

      Braco – we’ll get you along to one of our meetings when you’re here. It’s very informal, usually just in the corner of the Belmont cinema bar, and it’s generally non-SNP folk (or at least non-active-SNP folk) so neutrality’s nae a problem. You’ll get a better idea of what the picture is then!

    55. Tony Little says:

      @John,
      “just wait until Cara closes a school and falls in line with Slab and London Lab policy. The peole that voted for her will feel the sting just that wee bit more when they find out her campaign has all been BS.”
       
      I am sure you are right, and then it will become increasingly hard to find anyone who DID vote labour.  Why are so many Scots so intransigent in their thinking.  It seems to have been a trait of ours for generations.  That circle needs to be broken.

    56. Training Day says:

      Sample in work this morning as a result of Dunfermline:
       
      ‘Independence ain’t gonna happen’.  ‘I was going to vote for independence to wind up my parents – ha ha’.  ‘Alec Salmond’s finished’.
       
      Meantime, we appear to be looking for reasons to deny what is happening out there with the average voter.

    57. msean says:

      Wouldn’t commit to vote for what she campaigned on when questioned post result on tv.

    58. muttley79 says:

      @Training Day
       
      We need to face a stark truth rather than console ourselves that it’s only a by-election – Better Together MSM are pressing all the right buttons at the moment. Whether we deride the Project Fear moniker matters not – it is working at the moment. The average punter doesn’t give a shit about worthy notions like the Common Weal, or dare I say it, a fairer, greener society. BT are appealing to them because they speak to their fear of change, the notion that, bad as things may be now, those advocating change will make it worse.
       
      This.  As much as we staunch Yes supporters laugh at the ineptitude and negativity of the No campaign, this is irrelevant to neutrals and No voters.  Like it or not the No campaign/MSM have successfully got through to many people that voting Yes is the risk, whereas we know that if we stay in the Union and vote No, then we will be hammered by cuts and a vengeful British state.  I am afraid to say that the Yes campaign have failed in my opinion to get the risks over voting No over to the wider Scottish electorate.  It really needs to be done with vigour and urgency now.  The mentality that it will all be okay after the publication of the White Paper appears to be wrong as well.  The No campaign/MSM are going to be ruthless and have only one aim; to win at all costs.  We need to get some momentum going ASAP.

    59. The Man in the Jar says:

      Hamilton south includes Larkhall. Dunfermline includes Rosyth parts of which makes Larkhall look like the Vatican city. A good night for Rangers then! 

    60. Training Day says:

      “Like it or not the No campaign/MSM have successfully got through to many people that voting Yes is the risk, whereas we know that if we stay in the Union and vote No, then we will be hammered by cuts and a vengeful British state. I am afraid to say that the Yes campaign have failed in my opinion to get the risks over voting No over to the wider Scottish electorate.”
       
      Aye, Muttley.  And on the WP, the tactic of the Unionists was articulated by Unionist journo Hamish McDonnell on GMS the other morning, namely that if the White Paper does not answer all questions – and of course it won’t, because you can create uncertainty about any proposition if so minded – then the entire document is invalidated, as no trust can be placed in any of its propositions if there is one tiny, MSM-manufactured loophole.  I think it’s safe to say that the BBC will be in the vanguard of this attack.

    61. The Man in the Jar says:

      @Dorothy Devine
      Listen to Cara Hiltons acceptance speech. Very first item “Domestic abuser bla bla, Bill Walker Bla bla, SNP bla bla.

    62. Ken500 says:

      The non voters will turn out for the Referedum and vote YES. The unequal Union is destroying Democracy in Scotland.

    63. Ken500 says:

      * Oops

      Referendum

    64. muttley79 says:

      @Training Day
       
      Yes, nothing that has happened so far in the referendum campaign has given me any reassurance that the Yes campaign has a credible method to overcoming the MSM’s anti-independence message.  Unfortunately, I just do not see effective media strategy.  The idea that everything is going to go well after the White Paper is produced seems to be wishful thinking.

    65. Tony Little says:

      Anyone have any idea at the size of the postal votes?  Just askin’ like.



    Comment - please read this page for comment rules. HTML tags like <i> and <b> are permitted. Use paragraph breaks in long comments. DO NOT SIGN YOUR COMMENTS, either with a name or a slogan. Ignore these rules and I WILL KILL YOU WITH HAMMERS.




    ↑ Top