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Wings Over Scotland

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Posted on November 29, 2013 by

With our compliments and best wishes.


The Scottish Parliament
EH99 1SP

Dear Johann/Willie/Ruth, [delete as applicable]

It is with deep regret that I am writing to let you know that I am resigning the party whip with immediate effect. I have hitherto been a loyal member of the party, as you know, and used to be eager to support its efforts to secure a future for Scotland within the United Kingdom.

When the referendum was proposed and the Edinburgh agreement signed, I looked forward to being able to put forward our case clearly and rationally to the Scottish people. I welcomed the formation of the Better Together campaign as a platform from which to advance our arguments, regardless of party interest.

However, I have become entirely disillusioned by the utterly negative tone of the campaign. Rather than advance arguments about how Scotland had a prosperous future as an equal contributor within our union of nations, we have concentrated entirely on the difficulties an independent Scotland would have outside the UK.

We could have emphasised that, even if the Scottish people decided upon independence, the Westminster government would cooperate fully in helping Scotland to take its place among nation states, and in doing so forge a new, strong relationship between the people of these islands. Instead, we have emphasised nothing but the problems of independence, and we have threatened non-cooperation at every turn.

I believe this does a disservice, not just to the people of Scotland, but to the people of the UK as a whole. I believe there are many reasons why we are indeed better together, but they are becoming increasingly hard for the Scottish people to discern, such is the barrage of negativity we are inflicting on them daily. People outwith Scotland are equally being led to believe that they would be better off without Scotland, and are being fed a pantomine portrayal of the independence debate.

I fear that, whether or not we go our separate ways, relations between our peoples will take a considerable time to recover from the hostile tone which has characterised our position. This is deeply to be regretted, since there is much that we have achieved together as nations, and if that is to be jeopardised during the course of an ill-tempered campaign, future generations will have cause to wonder why we could not have acted with more maturity.

I shall continue to sit as an independent member of the Scottish parliament, and shall of course continue to support party policies where these do not conflict with what I have expressed here. I shall not be supporting the Yes campaign directly, but I shall be reconsidering how I shall vote in the referendum in the light of what I can only characterise as an unalloyed failure of reason, generosity, and democratic responsibility.

Yours sincerely,



Shouldn’t be too long now.

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    69 to “For use as required”

    1. WND says:

      I feel a sweepstake coming on.
      Bags Chisholm.

    2. david says:


    3. Andrew Morton says:

      I saw him first!

    4. twenty14 says:

      Moore !!

    5. Frost says:

      I’m not convinced about Chisholm to be honest. I used to think he was a prime candidate but still seems quite pro-UK on Twitter.

    6. Elizabeth says:

      Murder Fraser mibbe?

    7. Doug says:

      Beautifully put. I would love this to presage a real defection (defections?).

    8. Doug Daniel says:

      I have dibs on Hanzala Malik. I think his silence speaks volumes.

    9. Edward says:

      Lamont – cause Paul Sinclair tells her (yes she is that stupid)

    10. Juteman says:

      I’m trying to think of a Labour party MSP that would sign that, without an offer of £50,000 tax free for life.
      I may yet be surprised.

    11. Adrian B says:

      Could it possibly be this man?
      He was all over the news this morning about something or an other – wasn’t listening as the message is never worth listening to.

    12. Castle Rock says:

      Doesn’t leave a lot to choose from.
      I think Neil Findlay will jump ship into UKIP, Kezia Dugdale will join the Tories, Iain Gray will jump into the nearest Subway and James Kelly is already negotiating with the Monster Raving Looney Party (even though he’s been rejected twice).
      Cara Hilton could be a possibility though given her support for all the Scottish Government policies during the by-election…

    13. signed all unionist parties

    14. turnip_ghost says:

      I don’t know who I’d love to see switch…Goldie haha!

      I presume i’m late to the party of pointing out that BBC QT on twitter mentioned wings over Scotland and put a link to an article…?

    15. Doug Daniel says:

      There is allegedly a current Tory MSP who intends to vote Yes, but I’ve no idea who it is. 

    16. Ray says:

      Charles Kennedy 🙂

    17. Macart says:

      An outside bet on Aunty Bel.
      Ah’ll get ma coat. 🙁

    18. gerry parker says:

      They can defecate all they like, I’m not buying it.

    19. Tattie-Bogle says:


    20. cath says:

      Beautifully put Sir. I really wish the UK government and no side had seen sense and played it that way. I love the British Isles and can see a wholly different,  better future for of us. But we haven’t been allowed that debate.  Instead we’ve had absolute poison and attempts to create division where there is none. 
      Comments like Major’s today are incitement to hatred and violence. 
      I truly hope there are some decent people on the no side who might think this way. 

    21. Archie [not Erchie] says:

      @ Morag & Doug Daniel – Could it be Mr Mundell?

    22. ShredderIsAlive says:

      I reckon Drew Smith’s giant inflatable rat will come out as a Yes supporter.

    23. Archie [not Erchie] says:

      ok my mistake Mundell is not an MSP

    24. Doug says:

      Well played Mr Parker.
      Such matters usually emit from BT spokespeoples’ mouths. I can understand your confusion 😉

    25. muttley79 says:

      When Nicola Sturgeon fielded questions after her statement to the parliament on Tuesday afternoon, she strongly hinted that she thought that Malcolm Chisholm supports independence.  Whether there is any truth in it who knows?  However, a wee while ago Margo MacDonald claimed some Labour MSPs were going to vote Yes. 
      Incidentially, when Pauline McNeil was being interviewed on the Sunday Politcs programme last week, I noticed she said that she was thankful when Dennis Canavan won the Falkirk seat in the 1999 elections.  Given that he hammered the official SLAB candidate, I thought that was slightly revealing.  It was not picked up on by the presenter.      

    26. Smudger says:

      Aw c’mon guys we all know the first defector (rat to jump the sinking ship) will be that lovable wee scamp Anus Sarwar

    27. Theunicorn says:

      Rev, why don’t you post the letter on and see what kind of protest or reaction you get …just change the last paragraph to suit.

    28. Alex Grant says:

      Chisholm sounded resolutely against in his statement IMHO Normally he keeps a poker face 
      We need to exploit the ” what happens if we vote No factor” and BTW what do you guarantee re the Barnett formula!? That should move Someone. I don’t know how any Labour MSP can answer  the question ” if you get a No vote win and then £4bn gets cut off the Scottish budget will you be happy?”

    29. Vincent McDee says:

      I can perfectly imaging the whole Downton Abbey characters swooning, screaming, reaching for their guns and barricading themselves against the natives after reading this
      Westminster government would cooperate fully in helping Scotland to take its place among nation states, and in doing so forge a new, strong relationship between the people of these islands.
      The British Empire can not do such thing, as the say nowadays, is just not in their DNA.
      More’s the pity. It’s a beautiful idea, though.

    30. muttley79 says:

      @Alex Grant
      It is very unlikely that a SLAB MSP would admit that they support independence in public.   

    31. martin j says:

      martin says
      is it ( Jackie ballie ) 

    32. What is a “parlament”?

      Great letter though.

    33. One of the LibDems would of been the logical choice but I suspect that it would br one of the Tory’s such as the last PO.

    34. Dcanmore says:

      There is allegedly a current Tory MSP who intends to vote Yes, but I’ve no idea who it is. 
      Alex Fergusson, because his website doesn’t have any pish and concentrates his time wholly on local issues and where national ones have impact on those issues. He’s also a farmer and knows shite when he smells it, would not want to see Scotland out of the EU and is well liked by the locals simply because he’s a thoroughly decent bloke. As far as I’m aware he hasn’t attended any Better Together meetings and I’ve just went through his extensive diary (archived on his website) over the past 18 months and there isn’t one mention of Better Together or any talk for/against referendum and independence. 

    35. mr thms says:

      I was watching Newswatch on BBC News24 just now. It will be repeated many times over, no doubt. The subject was about what would happen to the BBC in Scotland, if Scotland votes Yes? During the discussion, it was mentioned by the guest (sorry I cannot recall his name) that Pacific Quay was an asset? Actually, no it isn’t. it was sold by the BBC before it was even built. I cannot recall the use the proceeds were put to, but the fact is the BBC leases Pacific Quay. Hopefully, someone will be in touch with the BBC News24 Newswatch program to ask them to correct the impression the licence fee payers of England, Wales and N.Ireland have a share of the building. While we are at it. I wonder why he did not mention the share Scotland has to the assets of the BBC in London and the rest of the UK, buildings and programs. He ended by saying Scotland gets more from the BBC than it pays for.

    36. martin j says:

      is it ( Mr henry )
      it has to be someone in the labour party
      otherwise why address the letter to J Lamont 

    37. MajorBloodnok says:

      The first to sign will be Willie Rennie, although it will actually be an ‘X’ and a thumbprint in indelible ink.

    38. Dcanmore says:

      uh oh Scot-bashing myths lies and cheap stereotyping on HIGNFY again … Darien venture bankrupted Scotland and England bailed us out … thanks Ian Hislop for being so wrong again!

    39. Surely there has to be some decent people in those party’s who are getting sick of being tarred with the same brush as the doom mongers and having to pedal their nonsense, Jenny Marra 😉 springs to mind, also Murdo Fraser or Henry McLeish.
      Also I wonder how many of them will stay where they are but vote yes, just think as a back bencher, a chance to get rid of the whole front bench, fast track your career and helping to shape the future of a wonderful new independent Scotland, I think there will be a tipping point as YES takes the lead and the above paragraph might just come into play, some of them will definitely be tempted IMO.

    40. Jim Mitchell says:

      Henry McLeish!

    41. twenty14 says:

      I honestly think we just need one to cross over and others will follow. I’d like to think it will happen at the turn of the year

    42. call me dave says:

      Well not Kelly for it contains too many long joined up words and all in the correct order. So K. Macintosh.

    43. Alba4Eva says:

      “I believe there are many reasons why we are indeed better together, but they are becoming increasingly hard for the Scottish people to discern, such is the barrage of negativity we are inflicting on them daily.”
      …Slight flaw in the letter there.  What reasons?

    44. Seasick Dave says:

      I heard that too and the rest of the sneering!
      Do the Proud Scots never cringe when they hear this crap?

    45. Adrian B says:

      “Scottish” Labour Shadow Cabinet
      Chief Whip : Lewis Macdonald
      Deputy Whip : Margaret McCulloch & John Pentland

    46. macdoc says:

      I would like to know how the Rev managed to get a hold of this letter?
      Is it genuine?
      Does he know who sent it in? (You don’t need to reveal)

    47. JLT says:

      I like it Andrew!
      One could say that if any of the Unionist MSP’s are reading this, then it will make them question their own parties motives in this campaign; the negativity; no proposals in the event of a ‘No’ vote; the frightening austerity measures to come in the event of a ‘No’ vote.

      There will be some who privately will believe, that the Yes Campaign, are actually right on so many of the issues, and at the same time, they must be feeling ill to the core, as they know for definite, that Osborne is going to savage the Scots if we should vote ‘No’.

      There will be some who know that they have to protect Scotland and the Scottish people from the on-coming scourging in the event of a possible ‘No’ vote, even if it goes against the party principles, or the BT campaign. They know that only a ‘Yes’ vote can do that.
      Somebody will eventually decide that the greater good has to prevail here and therefore, one must protect the people, for after all, they, the politicians, serve the people.
      Whoever is brave enough to do that …must …be greeted with applause, and not ridicule or abuse. If the people of the ‘Yes’ campaign (and that includes all of its supporters) do that, then other MSP’s will realise that they are not going to be crucified or vilified by the opposition, but instead, warmly welcomed, then they too, will cross over.

      If one person, then so might another, then another, and so on. If this happens …then a belief will sweep the nation, and so, drive us to independence as a more united political spectrum.

    48. The Rough Bounds says:

      Nope! Sorry! But I don’t trust any of them and it’s just a bit of wishful thinking to imagine anything else.
      Chisholm? McLeish? Fraser? Nah!
      Some of them will come on board and work within the framework of an independent Scotland but not before the referendum and a Yes majority is recorded.

    49. kininvie says:

      I was doing a bit of bin-sniffing in my part-time job as a muck-raker for a certain tabloid newspaper, and came across it crumpled up and stuffed inside an empty Marks & Spencer’s bag under a couple of discarded salmon fillets. Knowing that my editor would never publish, I passed it to the most scurrilous scandal-mongering website I could think of in exchange for a well-used fiver, pausing briefly to redact the adressee and the signature, since the potential for increasing my meagre earnings was rather obvious…

    50. Dcanmore says:

      I think there will be a lot of abstentions in the referendum vote. It will be the easy route for those who don’t agree with the referendum and independence but won’t vote against Scotland. This will aid the YES vote of course as these people would be expected to vote no and maybe have voiced their intention to supporting a no vote in public but really won’t on the day (and I’m talking about members of the public too).

    51. Ian Brotherhood says:

      Poor wee Wullie.
      For some reason, he always reminds me of Norman Wisdom. I know the physical resemblance is slight, but there’s something about him that is just so helpless and sad, it makes me want to embrace him between my, or someone’s, enormous bosoms.
      We shouldn’t laugh at him…really, we shouldn’t –

    52. AnneDon says:

      I wouldn’t be surprised at all if Malcolm Chisholm voted Yes, but I think emotional ties, rather than political loyalty, might prevent him leaving the Labour Party.
      He was my MP, then MSP when I lived in North Edinburgh. A good man, and a principled man;  I always said the worst thing I knew about him was that he was in the Labour Party!

    53. mealer says:

      I cant really see any giving public backing for a YES vote,but I can well imagine some of them shifting to a …”Well,its up to every Scot to consider the question carefully and then do what they think is best for Scotland..” kind of stance.It would leave them with a lot more credibility if they want to participate in the politics of an independent Scotland.Should Jenny Marra have a role in the governance of an independent Scotland if she thinks it should be run by another country?

    54. Linda's back says:

      As most of the Unionist MSPs would be unemployable outside politics I wouldn’t hold my breath unless they are of pensionable age.

    55. Training Day says:

      Not one of the unionist clowns in Holyrood will break ranks pre-referendum.

      After a Yes vote, they’ll be queuing up for office.

    56. The Man in the Jar says:

      I dont care who crosses the floor as long as they don`t leave it to late. There has to be some kind of notional of cut off date after which they are just looking after self interests.

    57. Patrick Roden says:

      It’s funny that Jakie Bailies name should crop up, because I’ve just been wondering what has happened to her.
      Wasn’t she made the Labour Parties anti-independence attack dog, in Johann Lammonts last front bench re-shuffle?
      I remember groaning to myself thinking: Oh great! we are all in for a barrage of lies, smears and scaremongering, from the queen of tubs, but she seems to have  simply disappeared from the front pages!!!
      While I’m on the subject, what happened to Jim Murphy?
      Didn’t Labour claim that Jim would be taking a more central role in the Fight against Independence, after he was sacked from Labours ‘Shadow Cabinet’?
      Just Like Jakie, he has simply vanished from site!!!
      It feels like something isn’t right in the BT camp and some of the more ‘aware’ troughers are repositioning themselves to be able to continue to do one of two things:
      1. Make sure they are not at the fore of the BT campaign and therefore leave space to be able to claim that they started a journey of discovery towards Yes, but just needed a bit more time to make this momentous decision.
      (they can point to the fact that they had previously been in the news banging the drum for BT, but then ask us to look at how they had stopped this, as they began the journey towards Yes)
      2. They are making sure they are not tarnished with the ‘losers’ tag that the media will give to those who lose the referendum.
      A lot of second rate unionists are enjoying their new found celebrity status, as they are wheeled out to be the face behind the latest ‘smear or fear’ headline, but they are to stupid to realise that they are being used as patsies and that this same MSM will leave their reputation in shreds, if BT loses.  
      So JB and JM are making sure they stay out of this and hope to either get a job in an independent Scotland or even use ‘contacts’ to help them find a new career in English politics (that lovely gravy train)
      Whatever the reason, it perhaps points towards the comments by Frazer Nelson (I think) in the MSM the other day, who said that people in Westminster are beginning to feel the vote is slipping away from them.
      There’s none so slippery and sly as JB and JM so if they begin to distance themselves from the BT campaign then their might just be something in this Frazer Nelsons comments.

    58. Barontorc says:

      It’s a given that most of us on this site are totally appalled by the standard of debate at Holyrood. The perpetrators being the unionist parties, but surely within the Scottish Labour party, there must be good  socialist people who are more and more shamed and disgusted by the swing their party is taking to the right and all to secure success in middle England.
      Idealism is one thing, but cause and effect is quite another and socialist principles are being whole-scale abandoned to seek power in England at the expense of the poorest in this country and this simply should not be happening in our country, which has so many resources and undoubted self-sufficiency.
      The floor is open to any MSP to say enough is enough and cross the chamber – who will be first will be adjudged to be a charismatic potential leading politician for our new Scotland and my surprise is that it hasn’t yet happened, but it surely will. Political dogma  and innermost driving spirit are two distinct items – the true Scots will cross over, wait and see.  

    59. john king says:

      Kininvie says
      ” was doing a bit of bin-sniffing in my part-time job as a muck-raker for a certain tabloid newspaper, ”
      Last time someone did that I believed him,
      a certain Mr Bateman
      not big and not clever
      but funny 🙂

    60. john king says:

      Ian Brotherhood says
      “Poor wee Wullie.”
      Poor wee Willie my arse 
      I was on a Rennies bus last night coming home from my departments Christmas bash and the bus was absolutely freezing, maybe he should spend some of that heating allowance he gets on heating his flaming buses,
       besides the thought of your ample bosoms has left me feeling a little queasy 
      I immediately thought of the transgender taxi driver (whose face you never saw) on The League of Gentlemen 🙁

    61. Ken500 says:

      Without the PR/list system, many of them would not be there. Gray, Goldie, L. McDonald, Dug(Fifi)Dale. There would be 2 Tories not 15.

      Under the UK Parliamentry system they support, Scotland is out voted 10 to 1.

      The wee exchange between Mr Chisholm and Nicola was enlightening.

      Lamont should take up Eddi suggestion. ‘Go and look on the Internet, find out the facts.’

    62. Ken500 says:

      Definitely Douglas Alexander. His sister?

    63. Ann says:

      C’mon Rennie’s now belongs to Stagecoach and their services in Fife are crap outside the big earning 7 and 19 services.

    64. M4rkyboy says:

      Did someone not have a screengrab from the Labour for Indy Facebook page that showed Hanzala Malik is a member of said group?

    65. Faltdubh says:

      A dark horse here and rank outsider, but what about McConnell?
      Just had a glance (only a week of his timeline) on Twitter and merely mentions something a long the lines of ”and so it begins #indyref”. Not even on his profile has he mentioned BT or that.
      Is this a hoax letter or will it all come out in a few days?

    66. Greannach says:

      Probably a couple of Liberals in vulnerable seats. They won’t like the forthcoming election slogan, “Vote Liberal – Get Tory”, so we might see a few jumpers reluctant to have to face the world of work when they fail to get re-elected. Their death-bed conversion might not convince a lot of voters.

    67. Greannach says:

      I am from Moray originally and looked at the Labour Party’s Moray website. It isn’t possible to contact them and I just wanted to tell them that as a Moray person from an old Labour family (members, activists, donors), I am proud that Labour adopted Thatcherism in the 1990s when they agreed to stick to the Major government’s spending plans; that I am proud to be associated with the invasion of Iraq; that I am proud they said they were ‘intensely relaxed about people becoming filthy rich under New Labour’. As someone who didn’t become filthy rich under anybody, I am also proud that Anthony Blair created another party that would look after the interests of that class of society to which he belongs. I am also proud that the Labour Party has moved so far away from me that they are almost indistinguishable from the Tories who call themselves ‘Conservatives’. 

    68. kininvie says:

      It’s not a hoax. It’s a helpful draft suggestion for any MSP who is having difficulty putting pen to paper….

    69. faltdubh says:

      Tapadh leibh, a´cheann 😉
      Very interesting. I’d love to see a few ‘come out’ so to speak, but fear a lot of them will siit unconvinced yet squeeky ersed and hope for a No (to save their career, pension and that glorious gravy train).
      Maybe I’m reading too much into things, but the likes of McConnell, Fergusson, Chisholm, Malik (didn’t he ‘like’ or ‘attending’ a L.F.I event on his Facebook?) don’t seem to mention much or anything at all about BT on their blogs, social media sites.
      Although both are yesterdays men, it would be some feat if McLeish or McConnell came out in favour of a Yes. It’s more an outside punt at and Jack, but well who knows, and if the wind begins to pick up like it is e.g McKenna’s articles, well stranger things have certainly happened!

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