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Fine-tuning the news

Posted on April 07, 2014 by

The image below depicts three of what have been at least four different versions of the Scotsman’s story about our latest Panelbase poll. (So far, that is – who knows what might happen in an hour’s time?)

scotsheads

They show a fascinating evolution of editorial line, wouldn’t you say?

The first version of the story, which had no byline, was headlined “Yes backing hits 41% peak”. It opened with two straightforward factual statements:

“A NEW poll suggests support for independence has reached a campaign high.

The Panelbase poll commissioned by pro-independence website Wings Over Scotland puts the Yes vote on 41% and No on 46%.”

Those lines survived the first revision, when the headline was replaced with the slightly less positive “Yes support rises in poll”. But they evidently didn’t impress the paper’s Westminster-based correspondent David Maddox, who was credited as the author by the third version of the piece – the one that appears in the print version – when readers had been furnished with a little more detail about the poll’s commissioning party:

“The Panelbase poll – which was commissioned by pro-independence blog, Wings Over Scotland, run by Bath-based Stuart Campbell, who supports independence but claims to be separate from the SNP – puts the Yes vote on 41 per cent and No on 46 per cent.”

We’re not sure we can recall the residence of anyone else ever being quoted with regard to a poll, nor entirely scurrilous insinuations made about their party allegiance, and we didn’t miss the subtle, petty downgrade from “website” to “blog” either, but nonetheless nothing in the paragraph is factually false. The new lines which preceded it, however, couldn’t make the same claim.

“The credibility of a poll which has put the referendum campaign neck and neck has been questioned.

Except it hadn’t. The piece contained the same quotes from Professor John Curtice as they had before, but this time framed as doubts over the poll’s “credibility”, which the psephologist had not expressed.

(We contacted Prof. Curtice, who told us he thought the headline and introduction were a reference to Alistair Darling’s comments at the end of the piece, which they clearly weren’t. Those were preceded by a “Meanwhile”, which unequivocally indicates something tangential to the headline.)

The article had also become dramatically shorter, shrinking from almost 700 words to just over 300 – quotes from Nicola Sturgeon had vanished entirely, as had references to the poll Panelbase previously conducted for Newsnet Scotland which drew almost identical results.

The original quotes from Blair Jenkins and Alistair Darling – which included Mr Darling seemingly contradicting himself about the poll being an “outlier” but also “exactly the same” as previous ones – had also been drastically cut to just a few words.

By this time Panelbase had already been in touch with the Scotsman to ask for an explanation, and shortly afterwards the fourth substantially-altered version of the piece appeared, this time with the line about questioning the poll’s credibility taken out and replaced with a less-pejorative one:

“A leading polling expert has said that a poll giving the Yes campaign its highest rating ever should not be taken as evidence that polls are relentlessly moving towards a Yes vote.”

The new headline, however, was arguably the most pejorative yet:

“Expert warns over poll showing highest Yes backing”

“Warns”? Anyone reading that is likely to take that as a barely-coded suggestion that the poll is in some way unreliable, where in fact Prof. Curtice merely observed that it didn’t show any further closing of the Yes/No gap.

It will come as no surprise to experienced Wings readers that the Scotsman makes no reference anywhere to these significant edits. All the previous links now point to the latest version. But apparently the paper is STILL convinced, despite numerous previous embarrassments, that it can get away with this sort of thing without being found out.

We salute its determined attempts to avoid the issue in future by ensuring that there are fewer and fewer eyes watching it. Tick tock, Scotsman. Tick tock.

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    94 to “Fine-tuning the news”

    1. HandandShrimp says:

      Maybe there isn’t an editor, perhaps one of the many cuts at the Scotsman, and instead they have a random anti-indy generator which simply re-casts everything on an hourly basis.

    2. Calgacus MacAndrews says:

      I blame the Cybernats myself …

    3. Chris Darroch says:

      Excellent journalism Rev. Very well done.

    4. crisiscult says:

      We salute its determined attempts to avoid the issue in future by ensuring that there are fewer and fewer eyes watching it.

      LMAO! Yes, the Scotsman is taking a clever long-term strategy. They’re thinking, once we have no readers, there’ll be nothing to stop us just completely making stuff up and also we can’t get done for defamation.

    5. Seoc says:

      Padding out the indivisible?

    6. westie7 says:

      Nearly as good as the P&J front page today
      Boss of AMEC Samir Brikho saying that Independence would damage NorthSea oil and gas industry

    7. I’m really glad you’re here. I posted a tweet about this last night but you do it so much more thoroughly and better.

    8. Bobby Mckail says:

      Are you sure that loony Labour #DevoNano division hasn’t taken over the ‘Scotsman’ asylum?

    9. ronald alexander mcdonald says:

      What exactly are “the doubts” in the middle hysterical one?

    10. Grant Cruickshank says:

      What’s black and white and red-faced all over?

      The Scotsman.

    11. George McC says:

      I remember around 8 years ago a friend saw me with a copy of the Scotsman and said “What are you doing reading that fascist rag?”. I laughed it off, thinking he was just some embittered old cynic. It’s telling that I still remember the comment to this day and with each day that goes by I wonder who was right?

      I used to buy the Scotsman on a daily basis but now can no longer even bring myself to visit the website. And it’s not just because of the anti-independence rhetoric, it’s beyond that. I just can’t relate to it any more – I don’t know what the paper would consider to be its ‘values’ but they sure as hell aren’t mine.

      Thankfully we can keep up to date with the latest flawed reporting from the Scotsman via Wings without having to buy it or look online!

    12. Helena Brown says:

      @ bobby Mckail, those will be the only ones they can afford as they will probably work for nothing, cause according to them they have been, no more money in the kitty.

    13. Nana Smith says:

      Mr Salmond delivering for Scotland. Lamont and pals won’t be pleased. Statesmanlike unlike BT’s Darling

      http://www.msnbc.com/morning-joe/watch/why-now-for-a-vote-on-scottish-independence-219038787849

    14. Calgacus MacAndrews says:

      I think tomorrow might be a big Aye-Right-cards-inside-Scotsmans-in-shops day.

    15. Ravelin says:

      The reality is, whatever the headline, whatever the content, it doesn’t change the result of the poll. All it does is highlight the desperation in trying to spin it away, much the same way that Darling attempted to do on Marr yesterday. Long may they continue to live in denial!

    16. Doug Daniel says:

      westie7 – don’t worry, Wings has eyes and ears in that particular organisation just in case he tries to “do a Bill Munro”…

    17. Grouse Beater says:

      It is a blatant manipulation of fact and statements.

      There is no other interpretation.

      The implication Panelbase is in any way or manner an unreliable polling company is actionable.

      What a sad rag the Scotsman has become.

    18. G H Graham says:

      Of course, the disappearance of the North British Scotchman could be accelerated even further by totally ignoring it.

      Even visits to its online pages generate income via click throughs & directly from advertisers.

      I know it’s hard but if you want to get rid of this rag, best advice is to not read anything they publish or wait for an archive copy to appear on line.

      The owners Johnston Press continue to struggle with crippling debt & falling print sales so not long now before this newspaper is shut down.

    19. fairiefromtheearth says:

      Grouse Beater so do you think the police should get involved?

    20. john allan says:

      JOHN ALLAN.
      The continuing saga of a phoney war.
      We wait for the storm to break.
      At some point Better Together have to start campaigning for the up and coming EU elections and the LIBDems have to start thinking about how they win back voters who like me have left them never to return.
      The labour party has to figure out how to fight the next general election on two fronts.
      The Tories set the ground work to split labour in half.
      If those scrounging Scots want to go their own way let them, shouts Mr Cameron
      Hurrah hurrah shout the English press, no more subsidizing the jocks.
      The labour party in disarray
      We campaigners will carry on telling the people of Scotland. That 93% of their taxes could be much better spent if we spent them on Scotland. We carry on telling them that they should be spent on the priorities they decide by a government they elected. We carry on telling the of the 308 billion that’s been wasted and the 1.4 trillion that’s still owed.
      We keep on telling them that Scotland is hugely rich even without oil.
      Rich on talent on enthusiasm, and rich on concerns to do rich by our fellow man.
      Be off good cheer in this phoney war period and wait for MR Cameron to through the cat among the labour ranks, because if little old me can see a huge big gap in labour credibly on what they are saying north and south of the border, THEN YOU CAN BE DAMMED SURE THE TORIES CAN.
      VOTE YES FOR A BETTER, FAIRER. FREE SCOTLAND.
      KEEP ON CAMPAIGNING AND REMEMBER WE HAVE THE MORAL HIGH GROUND, LET THEM SCRATCH BIT AND SCREAM TO TRY AND DEFLECT US. WHILST WE GO ABOUT OUR TASK.
      Like · · Share

    21. Andy-B says:

      It appears to be news tailored to suit the newspapers take on the poll, and not the whole story, a kind of customised version,aimed at playing down the significance of the move towards a YES vote.

      I suppose the good thing about this whole mini saga, its given Wings and the YES camp a bit more coverage in the papers, than we’d normally have gotten.

    22. Ed Taylor says:

      It is a pity that there is no Scottish newspaper able to support a democratic movement for Scottish independence…..but hold on, isn’t there one called The Scotsman, nearly on its financial knees I hear. A change of tack needed?

    23. No No No...Yes says:

      The parent company of the Scotsman, Johnson Press, refers to Scotland as a REGION:

      http://www.johnstonpress.co.uk/locations-brands/

      They have numerous local papers in Scotland and I wonder if there is any bias in their editorials?

      Interestingly, they also have 3 printing centres and none of them are in Scotland. Does that mean all the newspapers are imported?

      To finish, here are a few anagrams of “The Scotsman”:

      SHAM CONTEST
      A STENCH MOST
      SCOT MEN SHAT
      THEN TOSS CAM

    24. Clootie says:

      I’m going to act on the suggestion we ignore the unionist press. I will stop reading and commenting on their articles. From today no visits to the Herald/ Scotsman/ P&J/ Daily Record etc

      Let them die and in their final days as they thrash around who will read them !

    25. westie7 says:

      Doug,

      Nae worried mate, Especially after the good feeling that was goin around after the canvassing in Ellon recently. its just that the P&J gets off the hook too often with its blatantly obvious Pro Labour and Pro Union stance. The guys strikes me as a Peer-Hunter anyway, I’ve no doubt hes been knobbled

    26. fergie35 says:

      Used to be a regular at the Scotsman, I got sick of the paper’s online controler, the Colonial Toff and his dozen or so different user names

    27. Ananurhing says:

      Stu

      Have you tried placing the Metro ad in the Hootsmon? Or another ad for Wings without reference to Scotland’s newspapers?

    28. ronald alexander mcdonald says:

      The Poll, commissioned by the unionist supporting Scotsman newspaper,that denies links to The Conservative Party …..

      Will that be the introduction the next time the Scotsman publish the next poll they commission?

    29. Grouse Beater says:

      @ fairiefromtheearth

      Police?

      Unless you have a magic wand that sprinkles fairy dust on dishonest eyes to make them see truth and speak it, then it’s a matter for Panelbase to confront.

      Judging by Wing’s report Panelbase made representation to the Scotsman and can now judge whether wrongs are righted, or if it’s good name is still egregiously impugned.

    30. Ian Brotherhood says:

      That’s Ronnie’s Raffle dosh staked on 55+% at 5/1, Ladbrokes.

      The manager came across when he heard what I was asking about, looked up the details for himself, and treated us to five minutes worth of unsolicited guff about SNP cloud-cuckoo-land childcare policies, the sheer ‘wrongness’ of 16-yr olds being allowed to vote, and finished off by announcing that ‘they’ll get independence by hook or by crook’.

      By this time his colleague had counted the dosh and given me my slip, so I bid them farewell and said I’d be back on Sep 19th. I hope with all my heart he’s working that da – I may have to ask him to count out the £456 winnings as I’m a bit slow and can’t do it myself.

    31. iain taylor (not that one) says:

      @nononoyes

      Johnston Press publishes my local – Fife Free Press. In some ways an admirable local, but can’t get past the idea that local SLab folk have to be sucked up to – or juicy tidbits will cease.

      Of course a Slab council in Fife and the dishonourable Gordon Brown as local demi god.

      I stopped buying when the FFP produced a “24 page free souvenir supplement” just after the birth of the latest royal benefit claimant.

    32. Grouse Beater says:

      You know, Stuart, you’re doing a great service to truth.

      George Orwell would be proud of you.

      Having read the first Scotsman version I’d never think to revisit the story and so would not know they had altered it to suit a certain non-neutral slant.

      What “experts” claim the Panelbase calculation unreliable, enough that they warn the public? I can’t find any.

    33. fairiefromtheearth says:

      Grouse Beater someone mentioned Gordon Brown the man who stole sorry taxed 100 Billion off of pension funds now he is going round Scotland telling pensioners their pension wont get paid if Scotland goes independant, what is the job of the police? should they not get involved when someone is telling blaitant LIES?

    34. Desimond says:

      @Ian Brotherhood

      Aye but what currency will your winnings be in?..yet again Mr Salmond offers no comment on such matters!

      You should actually ask the manager to give you Bank of England notes, just to watch his head explode ala Scanners movie!

      🙂

    35. msean says:

      Who reads this paper among poor yes voters? It doesn’t matter what it says,because I think we may be edging ahead soon.Of course,we’ll have polls telling yes they are 25 points behind,but they will be outliers.

    36. Helena Brown says:

      @ Clootie, I second that, no more publicity for them. Don’t mind the Archive, but I need to be stopped commenting. I get my news here anyway. I know the truth when I see it.

    37. HandandShrimp says:

      I get the distinct impression that although Wings isn’t exactly flavour of the month in Blythswood Square and the bunker under George Square, it is fast becoming compulsory reading for them all.

      A rare thing for a blog. Even my favourite blogs I tend to only dip in and out of to catch up with the latest pieces, reading the most recent few in one bite.

    38. CameronB says:

      “The Panelbase poll – which was commissioned by pro-independence blog, Wings Over Scotland, run by Bath-based Stuart Campbell, who supports independence but claims to be separate from the SNP – puts the Yes vote on 41 per cent and No on 46 per cent.”

      Twigged it. I reckon they are bowling a spinner to paint the Rev. as some sort of agent provocateur working to on behalf of an enemy power to undermine the sovereignty of a democratic people. A little like Rami Abdulrahman in Coventry, with WoS as the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. Oh the numpties.

      http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/10/world/middleeast/the-man-behind-the-casualty-figures-in-syria.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

    39. kendomacaroonbar says:

      Stu, is this constant rehash of copy and headline normal for a newspaper or just the hoots man in general ?

    40. kendomacaroonbar says:

      @Cameron

      Nah, more like T2 in the terminator except he’s our T Stu ? ( made me laugh :-))

    41. Robert Kerr says:

      The “Reichstag fire” 2014.

      The Iconic Scotsman building in Edinburgh catches fire early in September.

      Arson blamed on extremist “Nats”.

      Johston Press claims insurance.

      Referendum lost.

      Union saved.

    42. rog_rocks says:

      Funny how they didn’t gradually change the name of the paper while they were at it…

      The Scotsman… The Britman… The anti-Scotsman… or maybe just ‘The Shite’ would be appropriate.

      In my view they’ll manipulate any story until it follows a British nationalist & anti-Scottish agenda and this is typical, I also recall they once fashioned our national flag into a swastika for a headline, a real rib tickler that was!
      Now they wonder why Scots don’t buy their horrible ranting rag anymore, I very much doubt it’s all to do with internet competition in their case BUT am sure that the dark & pasty lord will be pleased with their work… perhaps David Maddox will be well rewarded!

      Bend over Dave 🙂

    43. CameronB says:

      kendomacaroonbar
      I’m pinching ‘your karma running over your dogma’, for a t-shirt. Hope you don’t mind. 🙂

    44. jake says:

      They put a picture of Alex Salmond in the article, although what he’s got to do with the opinion poll or anything else in the article is anybody’s guess.
      Having done that though they then needed to get negativity like “doubt” and “expert warns” somewhere in the headline.

    45. Laurie says:

      @john allan

      I enjoyed this analysis so much that I copied, pasted to email and sent it to everybody in my address book and asked them to pass on, if they agreed. We must keep sharing.

    46. kendomacaroonbar says:

      @CameronB

      Absolutely ! I can’t recall where I heard it from tbh… it’s stored in a wee grey brain cell along with such belters as ” what else have you forgot to remember ” 🙂

    47. Flower of Scotland says:

      Another D.O.S. Attack ? I couldn’t get in through the web site or this post on Facebook but got in through a previous post!

      The constant mentioning of Rev from Bath is probably in the hope that people will hate him because they will think that he is English! They don’t get Scotland! We don’t hate anyone! We DISLIKE WESTMINSTER ,WHITEHALL and the way that the NO camp is going. YES it’s going to get nasty , but leave that to them!

    48. Macandroid says:

      Surely we’re not suggesting that us evil Cybernats would stoop so low as to boycott ‘The Scotsman’, one of Scotland’s most respected and upright organs.

      I’m certainly not going to be involved with these outrageous stunts. (Is “stunts” correct? – Ed.)

    49. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “Stu, is this constant rehash of copy and headline normal for a newspaper or just the hoots man in general?”

      It’s unusual to this sort of extent. It’s not at all uncommon for things to be tweaked – I do it here all the time, if I spot a typo or a “widow” or a clumsy bit of wording – but for features to be overhauled so radically so many times in a few hours, completely altering and even reversing their tone, is very rare.

    50. Flower of Scotland says:

      @Nana Smith. That was a very Presidential performance on American TV. I advise everyone to watch it and learn. DO NOT talk down your opponent! EVER, even if it’s Donald Trump!

    51. Les Wilson says:

      Excellent stuff Rev, dog with a bone comes to mind.

    52. cyril mitchell says:

      I am really beginning to think that The Scotsman is being kept afloat by Westminster as part of Better Together

    53. rab_the_doubter says:

      Looks like my dog-eared well worn copy of 1984 is going to be working overtime:

      “The masses never revolt of their own accord, and they never revolt merely because they are oppressed. Indeed, so long as they are not permitted to have standards of comparison, they never even become aware that they are oppressed”

    54. Pin says:

      It’s actually quite funny. It would be less embarrassing if they’d just let that one, single, positive Yes headline go and then resume their No slant the next day. But if they’d left it they wouldn’t sleep tonight

    55. JLT says:

      They really are all over the place!

      When one sits back, and looks at this logically, then if someone knows that something is right, and they are confident about it, then you leave it! You don’t do a thing.

      What we have here, is someone who realises it’s wrong. Frowns! Changes it. Reviews it. Growls! Gets noted on it publically. Panics!

      Seriously …I know news stories may change over time, but that is when real time events are in play. Did something happen in the poll since the last time they looked at it?

      This is a newspaper that just seems lost! I mean …there must be staff in there who will be voting ‘Yes’, and yet, they must sit there and growl at their bosses, because they can clearly see that they are being led by donkeys …and it’s these asses that may end up costing them their jobs!

    56. Grouse Beater says:

      @ Cyril

      Am beginning to think The Scotsman is kept afloat by Westminster as part of Better Together

      Such incidents can undermine certainty. No wonder the Scots are paranoid! Look how easy it is to alter meningh as I modify your statement, step by step:

      I am beginning to think only The Scotsmen is keeping Westminster’s democracy afloat as part of Better Together’s warning against the SNP.
      Experts warn Scots, Westminster only hope of keeping democracy afloat, say Better Together campaign.
      Scots warned, Better Together is only way to avoid doubt for Scotland’s future.

      @ fairiefromtheearth

      You make a reasonable point, the amount of disinformation tossed at us by those who think to be British is to be Scottish ought to be curbed.

      Brown is capitalising on his status as a former chancellor to make people believe everything he says is true, but in fact, he is deluding himself.

      He is, I contend, universally despised for being Britain’s bag man to the banks.

      A good number of English believe him solely responsible for the near economic meltdown of 1998, a financial doctrine built on nothing but air imported from the good old United States of Amnesia, and embraced here with enthusiasm.

    57. Grouse Beater says:

      meltdown of 1998 – 2008

    58. rab_the_doubter says:

      What is this new madness from BTBC Scotland, Jim Naughtie – tartan week in NY is about promoting business, why are you trying to shoehorn a ‘people arent interested in the referendum’ line in there – truly pathetic.

    59. Grouse Beater says:

      @ Rab

      Jim Naughtie – tartan week in NY is about promoting business, why are you trying to shoehorn a ‘people arent interested in the referendum’”

      I heard it too when in the car.

      Was a US national debate on Scotland’s independence to be part of the Scottish Week celebrations? News to me.

      Had we seen a “march for independence” take place you can bet Naughtie would repeat unattributed claims the march was “seen by few people after it was claimed thousands would attend.”

    60. goldenayr says:

      To all those who knew me as The British Establishment Lie on the Scotsman site.
      Sorry for deserting you,the fact is that as soon as they barred me for one concocted misdemeanour they barred me for every email thereafter.I didn’t desert you,I was not tech savvy enough to get round their highly capable IT guys.They are so capable they can take down servers of any ISP.Making you think Rev?

    61. Dr JM Mackintosh says:

      I think I know what is going on. The Scotsman management have noted their falling readership and have spotted a new market opportunity in England with its larger potential right wing populace.

      All it needs is a re-branding exercise re-using the established “-man” company trademark.

      You can look forward to the newly launched “Englishman” title coming to a newsagent near you soon.

    62. Dunphail says:

      The Scotsman is a lost cause hopefully on its last legs. Maddox and his band of second rate propagandists have seen to that. They are being totally eclipsed by the Sunday Herald and it feels good to know they are so peeved about it.

    63. bookie from hell says:

      The Nawman trying it’s best to get down to one subscriber

    64. rab_the_doubter says:

      Small periods of time in descending order:
      The Minute
      The Second
      The Millisecond
      The Nanosecond
      The Picosecond
      The Femtosecond
      The Attosecond
      The Zeptosecond
      The Yoctosecond
      And shortest of all:
      The attention span of the average Better Together Supporter when faced with good true positive facts about Scottish Independence.

    65. Robert Peffers says:

      “The Scotsman”, seems to work a bit like the system of communications in WWI. Often a word of mouth exchange passing from man to man from the front line back to GHQ. The message was sent back to GHQ, “Send reinforcements – we’re going to advance”. By the time it arrive at GHQ it had become, “Send three and fourpence – we’re going to a dance”.

    66. goldenayr says:

      rab_the_doubter
      I don’t think even the measurements for universal expansion encapsulate the attention span of the die hard,bigoted no voters

    67. Gary says:

      Thank you for this piece. Like many, I was completely unaware that newspapers would change their stories over and over. This could be a case study in the use of newspaper journalism to promote political viewpoints via the destruction of the opponents credibility. Everything surrounding this referendum has opened my eyes to the abuses of and by the media turning facts on their heads.

    68. Grouse Beater says:

      Stuart

      Do you think by naming you and where you live the Scotsman’s deputy editor is reaping some sort of revenge for what he perceived as an insult to the press from your subway advertising?

      Just a passing thought ….

    69. Croompenstein says:

      @rab@6:43 – Totally agree, actually found myself ‘doing a Murphy’ at the TV, at the end of Naughty Jim’s piece I was shouting f*ck off, f*ck off, f*ck off..

    70. Ian Brotherhood says:

      @Desimond (much earlier) –

      Sorry, I missed your suggestion, but I’ll keep it in mind! (Can I have that in used Euros please?)

      It was interesting though, watching the guy as we ‘chatted’. He was looking at his screen (cue Little Britain ‘Computer says…’ sketch) but he wasn’t giving the computer any credit, was trying to make it sound as if the data he was reading was emerging from his own encyclopaedic knowledge of the referendum and all related issues.

      When I mentioned what the odds were last year (e.g. 11/1, which I think some folk here managed to get for 55-65%?) I could see his eyes shifting as he scrolled upscreen, and even though he was still spouting some shite about the SNP, there was a definite concentration, a wee frown, a flicker of surprise…it looked like he was seeing stuff he’d never looked at before, and maybe, just maybe, was realising that something must be afoot for the odds on anything to shift so dramatically in such a relatively short space of time, especially in the past week/10 days.

      I’ve got a couple of bets of my own on in that same shop – when we win, as it stands (Ronnie’s Raffle dosh included) I’ll be asking him to count out over a grand.

      One thing’s for sure – the prospect of losing hard cash makes these people treat the whole subject a lot more seriously. They can be as disdainful as they like, but with every fiver and tenner placed by ‘ordinary’ punters, the reality of what’s happening in this country becomes just that wee bit sharper, harder to ignore, and that realisation is duly reported back to their managers.

      I don’t like to encourage any vices in anyone, but if you’ve any intention of betting on anything at all over the next five months, please consider sticking it on a Yes win.

      Come to think of it – if we planned this properly, decided a day and time, we could all go to our locals, go online, whatever, and place our bets simultaneously: if the industry genuinely reacts to monies being placed, we should see an effect.

    71. Kenny says:

      Did anyone see the piece on the Mail site today about Darling “lashing out” at the cybernats? It mistakenly identified Salmond as leader of Yes Scotland, but otherwise I thought it was remarkably positive. Maybe they realise the game is up and are just lining up Labour as the fall guys…

    72. Morag says:

      “Did anyone see the piece on the Mail…”?

      I’d hazard not, most of us would rather stick pins in our eyeballs. So we’re relying on you to tell us!

    73. Ian Brotherhood says:

      P.S.

      Another positive about doing a ‘simultaneous punt’ (let’s call it ‘The Yespunt’) is that folk in the same area who might never normally talk to one another will be able to identify each other as fellow Yessers.

      Even then, in betting shops where, let’s say, the local demographics might not be conducive to folk walking around declaring their love of Alex Salmond/Independence, the nature of the business means there’s an obvious excuse:

      ‘Hey big man, let go ay me a minute. I don’t believe in aw that Independence shite, okay? But come on man, a tip’s a tip, eh?’

      The importance of nudge/wink in such places should not be underestimated – today, the Ladbrokes I used was quiet, but if it hadn’t been? And if that manager had spouted forth as he did with the shop busy? I could’ve been in a wee bit of bother.

      Does anyone else think this is an idea worth trying?

      ‘YesPunt’ – on a specific day, at a specific time. No sense asking Rev to get involved as he’d just be accused of allsorts. And no need for anyone to shell out their life savings – if even a fraction of WOS readers did it, with one pound here, a fiver there, we’d be looking at something similar to what the Obama campaign did, and we’d get solid measurable data as a result (as well as the winnings in September). The resultant shift in odds on a Yes win (no matter how small) would be impossible to ignore if attributed to such co-ordinated action.

      Who’s up for it?

    74. Morag says:

      Never been in a betting shop in my life and not about to start now, but don’t let that stop you!

      Right at the start when it was about 11 to 1 or something, I toyed with the idea of putting a substantial chunk of said life savings on it. Maybe if betting was something I’d ever done, I would actually have done it, but frankly I haven’t a clue, I’d be as comfortable walking into a porn shop or something.

      I still have wistful thoughts wishing I’d done it though.

    75. Truth says:

      @Ian Brotherhood

      Sadly the bookies take a dim view of co-ordinated betting.

      They could quite conceivably refuse to pay out on any bet they deemed to have been “co-ordinated”.

      Given that many here have existing bets potentially paying out a pretty penny, I wouldn’t risk giving the bookies ammo to renege on these bets, much as I like what you are trying to achieve.

    76. goldenayr says:

      Morag
      Betting shop or …?

    77. Ian Brotherhood says:

      @Morag –

      You needn’t set foot in any of these places.

      Online betting is easy (IMO, far too easy) and certainly no more complicated than donating to Indiegogo or ordering a book from Amazon.

      But I’m sure you appreciate the thrust of what I’m saying here – if enough of us did it at the same time, the major bookmakers would probably suspend betting. That, in itself, raises eyebrows (especially of the bushy dark variety) and has to be dealt with – they either shorten the odds, or leave them as they were, but the very act of suspension starts alarms with people in the proverbial loop. And bookies don’t have to explain themselves, ever. It’s like shares being traded – how often have you heard a permutation of ‘the share-price on XYZ was suspended today after suspicious patterns were detected…’

      We never find out what those ‘suspicious’ movements were – all they reveal is that the bookie/stock-broker has got the jitters, for reasons real or imagined.

      A co-ordinated ‘YesPunt’ would cause all sorts of jitters, and not just for the bookies.

    78. Morag says:

      Ouch! 😆

    79. Ian Brotherhood says:

      @Truth –

      I hear what you’re saying, but what could they do about it?

      If it’s all upfront, no conspiracy, no dodginess, then the mere threat of it happening might achieve the same result without a penny being placed.

      Is the mere discussion of this some kind of offence?

      Just asking.

    80. Morag says:

      I suspect that this discussion, if it continued, would class as a conspiracy. And that anyone involved might not see a payout.

    81. Ian Brotherhood says:

      @Morag –

      This is a public forum, right?

      It’s like a crowd of folk in a pub, or a community centre, or waiting at a bus-stop, or whatever.

      Nothing ‘secret’ about it. And it’ll be archived for all time. We can be sure of that.

      So, where’s the ‘legal’ beef here? Can bookies stop people discussing anything? Can politicians?

      We can ‘discuss’ whatever we like.

      Right now, I want to discuss whether or not anyone else thinks I’d be wise to wait until the end of this month to stick another tenner on a Yes vote being 55+%. The odds have already shortened so much, so quickly, it seems daft to wait any longer.

      Does discussing this constitute a ‘conspiracy’?

      Me no know.

      But me do know this – I’m going to stick that tenner on, this coming Friday, between 2 and 3p.m.

      If Mr Ladbroke’s boys start chapping my door at 3.15 I’ll let ye’s know (or maybe not, if they catch me!).

    82. goldenayr says:

      Ian
      Stick it on a 75% plus.

    83. Truth says:

      @Ian Brotherhood

      It’s nothing to do with the law, just simply the rules under which they will accept bets.

      Normally it is against their rules for co-ordinated betting to take place. This includes groups of people getting together to place a series of bets.

      There can be many reasons for this. One example is to get around maximum payout rules. For example, most high street bookies will not pay out more than £500k on fixed odd football bets. No matter how big your stake/odds were, they will limit the payout.

      One way around this is multiple bets placed elsewhere. If they get wind of this, they will not pay out.

      In my opinion, the odds will move themselves and you will see your desired result anyway, only a bit more slowly.

      I don’t think it’s worth giving them a potential getout for existing bets.

      I’m sure what I am saying is unlikely to happen, but why risk it?

    84. Cactus says:

      An excellent triple capture. It’s said that an original picture speaks one-thousand words.. so what do a further two wildly varying in content pictures say!

      ~ Curiouser and curiouser, isn’t it strange how often the weather changes? ~

    85. Ian Brotherhood says:

      @goldenayr –

      They won’t give a price for 75%+. Or 60+.

      It’s 55%+ or nothing.

      That’s how ‘open’ the betting is.

    86. Ian Brotherhood says:

      @Truth –

      It’s not a matter of them ‘getting wind of it’.

      There’s no conspiracy. There’s nothing underhand going on.

      I’m stating, openly, in a public forum, that (for all sorts of reasons) I intend to stick a tenner on a Yes win sometime between 2 and 3 in the afternoon this coming Friday.

      If other people choose to do likewise, what does that have to do with me? For all I know, thousands of folk across the planet have already made a similar decision.

      Bookies, politicians, journalists and pundits have nothing to do with this – it’s none of their business. They can only deal with the results of what ‘we’ do – they cannot prescribe them.

      Agreed?

    87. Truth says:

      @Ian Brotherhood

      Bookies don’t like to lose money.

      I have just been away to check the rules on Ladbrokes for non sports betting. Did you know their maximum payout is £10k on non-sports betting?

      I believe you got 5-1 on your chosen bet. So just for a moment imagine that a few others followed your example and placed bets totalling £5k at the same time as you. Ladbrokes could decide that instead of paying out £30k to a couple of hundred people, they could lump them all into one co-ordinated bet and limit their payout to £10k. They might use this discussion thread as justification for doing so.

      Don’t get me wrong, I am not “on their side”. I have just heard too many stories whereby people have been done out of their winnings.

    88. Fiona says:

      I don’t understand the point of this discussion about betting. That is because I know very little about it. As I understood it a bookmaker makes a book. That is, he adjusts the odds so that he does not lose money no matter what people do. They are effectively betting against each other and it is little to do with whatever they are betting on. Is that not right? The rules against coordinated betting are based on that mechanism, as I understand it: the problem is that the odds do not change quick enough to take account of such betting, because they can’t.

      What are you hoping to achieve? Can someone explain please

    89. ian foulds says:

      ‘Ananurhing says:7 April, 2014 at 4:02 pm
      Stu

      Have you tried placing the Metro ad in the Hootsmon? Or another ad for Wings without reference to Scotland’s newspapers?’

      I have may have missed events but, who owns the Metro paper (assuming that is what the ‘Freebie is called in Scotland)? Can/have you advertised in it?

    90. GM says:

      I think everyone has missed the point in that what has happened is seemingly oh so offensive because it doesn’t agree with what they think personally, not because of anything else. Wings over Scotland is hardly the least biased of sources as it sometimes claims to be.

    91. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “Wings over Scotland is hardly the least biased of sources as it sometimes claims to be.”

      Um, we have NEVER claimed to be unbiased, because we’re very very obviously not unbiased. The “About” page states very clearly that we’re a pro-independence site.

    92. manandboy says:

      ‘Cataclysmic’ might just become to George Robertson what
      ‘Indefatigability’ is to George Galloway.

      Bi-George!

    93. ppink says:

      Before it all got tightened up the scotsman allowed you the slag off mercilessly egregious, drunk, unionista lords (you know who i mean) and trough slurping royalist politicians, the scotsman drunken cowering sycophantic journalists, and simmering dribblin psycopaths like grahamski and dolphin. And another thing. Stuff the Queen and Bank of England. Is this independence lite or what. I want freeedom. Fuck their trillion pound debt.

    94. wee e says:

      Fine tuning of history on the news: Just heard Glenn Campbell (reading a script) quote George Robertson that “Devolution will kill the SNP.”

      Yes, really. According to the BBC, that’s what he said.



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