The world's most-read Scottish politics website

Wings Over Scotland

Friends like these #2

Posted on February 01, 2013 by

We hadn’t previously bothered commenting on the Guardian cartoon by Steve Bell that had a lot of independence supporters hot under the collar this week. We’d assumed, as seemed the most likely explanation, that it had actually been a comment on what David Cameron was alleged to have mouthed to Angus Robertson at Prime Minister’s Questions, and that Cameron was therefore the main intended target.

We worried that the nationalists who beseiged the paper with angry comments were perhaps being a little oversensitive and looking for offence where none had been meant. Ironically, the cartoon happened only days after we’d highlighted our own habitual inability to understand what Bell’s cartoons were supposed to be about, and that comment turned out to be prophetic, because we had indeed called it wrong.

We learned the truth from a report on the furore around the image in today’s Scottish Sun. It revealed something which genuinely surprised us, in the shape of an official quote from a Guardian spokeswoman:

“It’s a commentary on Alex Salmond’s vision of an independent Scotland and reflects Bell’s view it would be against Scotland’s interests.”

Turns out those “humourless cybernats” were right all along. Thanks for your thoughtful and considered input, Mr Bell. Assuming the word obscured by the First Minister’s head was of course “rule”, we’ll get on with that just as soon as we can.

Print Friendly

    69 to “Friends like these #2”

    1. Doug Daniel says:

      “Do you agree Steve Bell should go and **** himself?” 

    2. Steve says:

      The proverbial Bellend.

    3. redcliffe62 says:

      Play the waste QT comment and the Cam comment saying England does not respect Scotland, thinks we are too stupid to stand up for ourselves. Should we let England give us the right to vote? Show them where it hurts, at the ballot box.

    4. andrew_haddow says:

      I thought it was the F word – “free”

    5. balgayboy says:

      yes, I agree that Scotland should be a Independent Country and yes I think Steve Bell should go and stick his cartoon right up his unionist arse. Has he the balls to explain his meaning of his work or is he like the rest of the pro-unionist cowards and hide behind the curtain of propaganda? come on mr bell show your balls…thought not….p***k

    6. Iain Gray's Subway Lament says:

      Sad that Bell turns out to be such a reactionary old bigot though hardly a surprise given the the Guardian is merely a more pompous Daily Mail going by some of the complete idiocy that gets ‘reported’ there and posted on CiF with regards to scotland.
      Martin Rowson is the far better cartoonist these days.

    7. RandomScot says:

      I believe Bell is of the Trotskyist Internationalist viewpoint, this means he would rather see Scotlandshafted than any part of the UK improve

    8. Seasick Dave says:

      Good to see the cartoon getting a bit more exposure in the Sun.

    9. benarmine says:

      There will be much more of this and the Question Time “jokes” in the months ahead in the British broadcast and print media. Every time you feel the disgust remember a few more just moved from undecided or No to Yes.

    10. MajorBloodnok says:

      Isn’t it amazing, during this debate, how many of the intellectual left have fallen by the wayside in their inability to perceive their own absolute presuppositions about the true nature of the British state, British exceptionalism, that British Nationalism actually exists and that it incorporates an instinctive distrust and even agression towards foreigners and those who may become foreign.

      You’d have thought that those on the left would have a social conscience and be more empathetic and self aware than most, but there appears to be a massive blind spot when it comes to the British dealing with foreigners (so much for internationalism!).

      Maybe this is why foreign language teaching has such a low priority in the UK generally – keeps us all ignorant of others.  But ignorance breeds arrogance and you can see it right there in Steve Bell’s work.

    11. Seasick Dave says:


      I think you sum up Steve Bell best in that one word – arrogance.

      He is disdainful of Scotland and doesn’t care who knows it.


    12. Alastair Hutchisn says:

      I have to admit I was one to defend the cartoon.  I thought it was actually rather clever.  Having a go at Cameron and at the idea of Scottish Independence at the same time (something that would appeal to most Guardian readers south of the border).  And although I agree with Scottish Independence 100% I did not take offence at the cartoon.

      However……. the statement from the Guardian blows my arguement out of the water!  

      We live in strange times when the SUN actually has the moral high ground over Guardian.


    13. douglas clark says:

      If that is also Steve Bell’s own interpretation of his cartoon, then hell mend him.

      I was willing to allow him some slack, but it seems I was wrong.

      The Guardian has a great line:

      “Comment is free, but facts are sacred”

      A thing I happen to believe in.

      It is noticable that both The Guardian and The Observer take an, ahem, less than neutral view on Scottish Independence, rather overturning their credo.
      Just saying.

    14. creag an tuirc says:

      OT Magnus Llewellin is now the editor of The Herald. Is this good or bad? There was a strange tweet.

      @MorayMP Strange e-mail are you eluding that @magnusllewellin is in the #snp pocket & @TheHeraldPaper will stop holding you to task #indyref

    15. balgayboy says:

      Let us use mr “saint george cross” bell’s own encrypted cartoon language and reply by stating that he is a racist unionist bigot who despises Scotland and their people…come on mr bell let  us have your  “john bull spirit” and reply to your reasons and justification for your  slight on the people of Scotland.

    16. cath says:

      Someone mentioned this on another thread, but I can see a point where the Yes campaign run an advert simply mashing together all the NO campaigns propaganda and abuse with “this is what you’re voting for if you vote NO”. 
      I never bought that stuff people were saying on the Gruan thread about Cameron and PMQs, simply because the idea any English-based commentator would have noticed that small thing, which only really attracted a few twitter comments from die-hard independence debate followers up here seemed laughable. These are people who neither understand Scotland, know anything about the debate, or care.

    17. Bill Fraser says:

      It appears that the ethnic nationalism that is espoused by the BNP may also exist in the bowels of some of England’s newspspers. 

    18. Craig P says:

      Was it Kevin McKenna who made the point that the no campaign was so vitriolic and lacking in understanding it had pushed him into the maybe camp? Here’s (literally) an illustration of this very trend, in the same newspaper no less!
      A wee youtube video collating a number of such things would make a powerful impact. The Sun ‘noose’ headline from May 2007, footage of Angus Robertson being heckled in the Commons, Ian Davidson ranting about ‘newsnat’, Ian Davidson shouting ‘who cares’ during Scottish question time… Dewar snipping out ‘an independent Scotland as poor as Bangladesh’, various question time comments, a few choice words across the screen about the Dear Leader, Mugabe, fascist, dictator, nazi, etc… finally Rowson’s cartoon of Salmond walking away from the playground into the sunset (or maybe even Chris Cairns’ balloon cartoon?)…

    19. douglas clark says:

      MajorBloodnok @ 11:10 am,
      I have had relatives that became BritNats. They squirm with embarrasment when they hear a Scottish accent. The worst of us are sell outs.
      I refer you to a link above to the somewhat amazing magical thinker that is Councillor Terry Kelly. Who is, apparently, content in sitting in his own, err, mess. That is just how aspirational the Labour Party are for the likes of you and me.
      Vote ‘Yes’.

    20. Robert Kerr says:


      “bowels” is very apposite.


    21. balgayboy says:

      Bell is fond of parodying famous paintings. Examples include his parody of Goya‘s The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters (in an editorial cartoon about the UK Independence Party); William Hogarth‘sThe Gate of Calais about the ban on UK meat exports following outbreaks of foot-and-mouth disease and bovine BSE; and – before the 2005 General Election when it briefly seemed as if the Liberal Democrats might seriously threaten Labour – J. M. W. Turner‘s The Fighting Temeraire, in which a chirpy Charles Kennedy as tug-boat towed a grotesque and dilapidated Tony Blair to be broken up [1].
      This might be the answer to his cartoon!!! what kind of mind/man hides behind drawings?

    22. Albalha says:

      These are people who neither understand Scotland, know anything about the debate, or care.

      It’s interesting to note that the Guardian ran only the Severin C’s two news pieces on the day, relegated them to the lesser read pages fairly swiftly, Channel 4 News didn’t even mention the EC.

      I’m guessing that thoughout London media newsrooms it’s ‘oh no not bloody Scotland again’, much the same treatment Irish politics has had and of course Iraq when they got bored with that. 


    23. Stuart Black says:

      DavidWFerguson posted the Guardian spokeswoman’s statement at the top of the current Bell thread, to which I added a reply but, by the time I had posted it, DWF’s post had been deleted, for not conforming to community standards.

      But of course, the cartoon did? Ah well… Friends like these right enough.

    24. Hetty says:

      Does S Bell live in Scotland? He’s maybe just a bit jealous…he’d be better concentrating on the total and utter destruction of any notion of a civil, forward looking, equal and modern society ever existing under the con-dems. 
      England is a sinking ship sadly Mr Bell, better get a very big paddle.

    25. Indy_Scot says:

      If this type of anti-Scottish sentiment does not make Scottish people see why they should be Independent, I don’t know what will.
      And this is the type people who have the cheek to call us internet sewer rats. Absolutely disgraceful.
      I believe this type of reference to Scotland along with the comment made on Question Time, will become more common as the English begin to grudgingly accept that they are losing their power and control over Scotland.

    26. beachthistle says:

      Here’s the (last-ever) posts I made on Guardian CIF yesterday and this morning – with some of the responses:
      A sad, sad day for me. Steve Bell has been one of my heroes and political educators longer than I can remember. I have lots of well-loved and well-thumbed copies of his books from 80s and 90s, which I will now ponder what to do with now. My immediate reaction on seeing this cartoon is to put them in my kindling basket – I’m sure I will calm down and won’t, but this is the end of the road for me with him – and the Guardian.
      The failure of what’s left of the Left in England to realise that the Left in Scotland are only trying to achieve many of the things they aspire to, in the only way which appears to be feasible, is frustrating, to say the least. Do they not realise in taking this position they are aligning themselves with, and abetting, the ‘Establishment’ they claim/consider themselves to be critical of?
      Tony Benn, now Steve Bell. Sad. But obviously time for me to move on, find new political guiding lights and leave them basking in futile dreams of a Left of centre government in Westminster.
      And time to leave the Guardian. Severin Carrell’s politically myopic  ‘reporting’ was driving me to distraction, but this has driven me to log off, no more sales and now no more clicks….apart from possibly for the Observer, for Kevin McKenna (in fact if  Steve Bell is interested in knowing why some of us are so offended and disappointed by this cartoon he should read Kevin’s last 2 columns).
      A response:
      Alex Salmond is not really part of ‘the left’, is he?
      It may appear that way because the SNP are exploiting the feelings of most people about conservative policies: ‘defence’, public service cuts, NHS, unemployment, education etc. However, what is he trying to present those genuine concerns as? A nationalist party who will swap conservative policies for the even more distant economic control of conservatives in the EU? 
      Me again:

      I’m not an SNP member, but I reckon that Alex Salmond is further to the left than the leader of any other party in power in the UK.
      Anyway, how far or not to the left Alex Salmond is doesn’t really matter, as it will be irrelevant after a Yes vote in 2014. As has been made clear by the SNP themselves, all bets will be off, the election in 2016 for an independent Scottish parliament will be a chance for all parties, even a proper, genuine Labour party, to be elected.
      We are not voting in 2014 for Alex Salmond to be the leader of an independent Scotland – in fact for some people it will be the chance to have someone other than Alex Salmond as our First Minister/leader that will be one of the reasons they vote Yes!
      As for the EU stuff, I’m agnostic, but am sure I will value the opportunity that Scotland will have (if Yes wins) to decide for itself if it will, or won’t be, part of it.
       Another response:
      You could have just typed:
      For most of my life Steve Bell has taken the piss out of things I don’t like.
      Now he’s taking the piss out of me, and I don’t like it.
      Me again:
      On 1 (albeit superficial) level that’s quite a fair point – if, if, I felt he was taking the piss out of me, personally, and/or my political views.

      But my perception, and my consequent disappointment, is that he (along with several of my erstwhile political heroes/mentors) is guilty of the political myopia of the London-centric left to the whole ‘Scottish liberation’ movement: I remember all the lefty bookshops in London I’ve been to over the decades with whole sections/shelves dedicated to Ireland/Northern Ireland – yet nothing at all re Scotland (despite there being many, probably equal quantities of, lefty publications about both) – in fact I popped into a ‘radical’ bookshop in London recently and it is still the case.
      A London-centric world where ‘northern’ means Yorkshire etc., (and incidentally, where ‘west country’ means Bristol and beyond despite Edinburgh, never mind Glasgow etc. being further west than Bristol). Where Scotland is by-and-large invisible/ignored on London media apart from during the Edinburgh Festival. Overall, my country, and its culture, slighted (if not dismissed) in classic imperialist ways, by the left in London, never mind the right! So for one thing this issue and its depiction is beyond being ‘personal’.
      And in any case this cartoon isn’t taking the piss, not to my mind anyway. As others on here have said, replace ‘Scotland’ with another country (England or Palestine for example) and the Guardianistas would have been shrieking in outrage. It is megaphoning the (lazy, narrow and wrong) ‘nationalist’ narrative that passes for analysis amongst a group of left-minded people in the London and its media who normally think, analyse and debate everything to the nth degree.
      It seems to me that because the Scottish liberation struggle hasn’t been, and isn’t planning to be, violent, it doesn’t seem to ‘count’ to the left. Because we are trying to do it peacefully and democratically (with all the flaws and compromises (e.g.aspects of Alex Salmond’s political style) that that involves, we are not deemed by the London left to be worthy of their recognition, never mind their support/empathy. In fact, most of what we get from them is derision.
      So that is how I look at this cartoon: being ignorantly dismissive of a peaceful democratic liberation struggle (normally Guardian positive defaults). No matter who Steve Bell was taking the piss out of over the decades, I never ever thought he was ignorant. I do now, and I can listen to and read all the ignorance I want to from all the Scottish press and broadcast media these days without coming to Guardian for it.
      Me again, this morning:
      And now we know we were right to take offence:
      A Guardian spokeswoman said: “It’s a commentary on Alex Salmond’s vision of an independent Scotland and reflects Bell’s view it would be against Scotland’s interests.”
      and, this morning, feel a bit betrayed, have a ‘Et tu Brute?’ ish vibe about it all. Not just dissing the only currently feasible Left-to-power movement he could actually help, but actively trying to sabotage it.
      Anyway, when I think about it, I had sussed a few months ago that The Guardian were telling us we could go fuck oursleves – by having one lightweight, out-of-his-depth Scottish correspondent. So be it. Severin Carrell, Steve Bell and Alan Rusbridger can go fuck themselves. Ta ta. Enjoy being shafted by right-wing Westminster as your business model collapses around your ears…

    27. Tris says:

      I was wrong too. I thought they were poking fun at Eton Boy who can’t control his temper when being bettered by ordinary people.

    28. balgayboy says:

      @Albalha says:
      I’m guessing that thoughout London media newsrooms it’s ‘oh no not bloody Scotland again’, much the same treatment Irish politics has had and of course Iraq when they got bored with that. 
      Yup, but fortunately this debate is not about the pretentious, pampered, money for nothing  chattering classes of imperial london who have no idea of the reality outside of their comfortable bubble. mr bell and his ilk will soon understand what being a small insignificant country feels like when Scotland decides to leave their shitty union. Let Scotland fuck off and watch them squirm with their bankruptcy.

    29. Alex Grant says:

      Beneath the veneer of civility our friends in the south hold most of the rest of humanity in this regard. question Time comment last night about giving an independent Scotland their nuclear waste another case in point!

    30. Commenter says:

      I have just discovered that if you hover over the image the following comment appears …
      “Photoshopped versions appeared almost instantly with the word “Scotland” replaced by “England”. An intended consequence, aimed at providing ammunition for those who would paint independence supporters as anti-English?”
      I don’t know who has provided the comment. But it is another sign of the intrusion of a form of political correctness developing in the Scottish media and blogs, ie, that it is racist to criticise England and the English. It is not and such ideas must be resisted. They have no qualms about criticising us and I have no qualms about criticising them. And good on the Scottish Sun for headlining it racism.
      And more to the point where can I see examples of the cartoon with Scotland replaced by England?

    31. pmcrek says:

      Ironically Trotsky was obviously very vocal in his opposition to British Imperialism, scathing in his condemnation of the petty bourgeois British Labour party and displayed utter contempt for the political centrism that prevailed amongst the left & right in Britain.
      It is rather ridiculous that certain people who support the union also manage to describe themselves as Trotsky-ists, with a straight face.

    32. Stuart Black says:

      I had a mild and friendly disagreement over the interpretation with a poster I very much respect, LightACandle. She argued the Cameron line, as did many others, but it was clearly just plain wrong. I too, like beachthistle enjoyed Steve Bell (many years ago, to be honest) and it feels very disappointing to discover the feet of clay, ocht, what beachthistle said above, far more eloquently than I am capable of.


    33. Training Day says:

      Hear, hear, Beachthistle – The monolithic response with regard to Scottish independence of what passes for ‘the left’ in England, be that Benn, Bell or Owen Jones is ironically – and profoundly – revelatory of their absolute bondage to Westminster.

      Or you might just call their response effing tedious.

    34. balgayboy says:

      Where is Silvertay, Juteman, Willie C these days? just a thought

    35. muttley79 says:

      I think we are seeing the start of the British establishment lashing out at Scotland for having a referendum on independence.  I suppose it was always going to happen.  All the countries that have gained independence from the British state will have gone through a similar process.  I don’t think we should generalise about the English people though.  We should maintain our critique solely on Westminster and the British establishment.  Remaining positive under provocation is the key to success in my opinion.

      P.S. Where is Arbroath 1320?

    36. Craig P says:

      Looks like the scales are falling from the eyes of a few Scottish Guardian readers in the last couple of days. 
      Years ago I lost faith in the Daily Record. But recently (roughly since the Sun overtook it as the biggest selling daily and since Magnus Gardham moved to the Herald) it has become much less the monolithic Labour cheerleader than it was in the past. It still prefers Labour, but doesn’t spin every single instance of political news Labour’s way, as it would have in the past. Unbelieveably, it seems that the Record is now a more neutral paper than the Herald or Scotsman.

    37. Spout says:

      Typical Guardian pseudo-left posturing, stick to the Labour/Tory false dichotomy comfortable punch & judy …frightened stiff by ideas that involve actual self-determination and wrestling political power back into the hands of voters from a bloated neo-con Westminster…steve bell runs screaming back to warm beer, cricket and British Unionism….and pens a puerile piece of reactionary ‘satire’.
      Roll on 2014.

    38. Melissa Murray says:

      I’m one off those “sensitive” Cybernats who took immediate offense. Even if it was meant to poke fun at Cameron’s “potential” slur, I still found it offensive.

      After reading the Sun article, it just appears as if Steve Bell is another angry Englishman who believes Scotland has no right trying to punch above her weight and go it alone.

      It just adds more fuel to the YES campaign.   

    39. beachthistle says:

      Yes I agree that we are the beginning of the British (or should it be UK?)  state finally waking up to the reality of the referendum: to (in their eyes) the diplomatic embarrasment, the loss of face/credibility –  never mind the loss of the source of most of their easy and vital petro-dollar hard currency.
      However I think that unlike, or perhaps more accurately in addition to, the propaganda and divide & rule dirty tricks that that were the UK state’s default first reaction to independence/liberation movements last century, I think we have the following things to contend with: a larger ‘Establishment’ to deal with, i.e. Westminster plus the multinational-corporation-driven detached London city state; and a huge hostile media machine based and controlled there, with tremendous reach to all parts of Scotland and unlimited financial resources.
      Whilst we (probably) won’t get the gunboats etc. that our post-colonial predecessors had to endure/fight off, i think it is likely that we will be subjected to a much, much higher level of media-based propaganda and destabiliasation tactics, probably with behind-the-scenes ‘official’ (e.g.MI5/6) assistance/connivance – or to quote Darling, they will “use the full apparatus of State” (with Scotland paying for some of their wages for doing so).
      It is because of this reactionary and probably aggresive backdrop and threat that the Guardian’s (if not the Observer’s) editorial position and Steve Bell cartoon feel so hurtful and  ‘Et tu Brute?’-ish. It also means that we know from an early stage that, as far as London-based media is concerned, we are more-or-less on our own – which whilst not a good place to be, is good to be aware of so we can strategise accordingly…

    40. Keef says:

      Beachthistle this piece will resonate with you I think. As it will with many readers here.

    41. Jeannie says:

      I think, at the end of the day, we need to thank Mr. Bell for his input.  The more inflammatory the English press, the harder it will be for Westminster politicians to manage the spin in the run-up to the referendum, with the UK election a matter of months later. For this reason, I think the SNP should hold off on the referendum till the end of November. Because, it will be so near the Westminster election, that the London media will be banging the drum for screwing over Scotland to garner support for the parties in England and this won’t play well in Scotland in the run-up to the referendum.  So I say, go for it Mr. Bell.  More power to your elbow!

    42. Jeannie says:

      Just a thought…..does anybody know what UKIP’s view is on Scottish Independence?

    43. Al Ghaf says:

      The Guardian apologist actually makes it worse. Probably because it was a reasonable cartoon, driven by ideology and party loyalty, stepped in arrogance rushed out in a knee jerk reaction to a provincial issue.

      Seriously Steve Bell is not that subtle; Labour party teat sucker who can draw, publishing in a Labour party supporting paper that sees Scottish Independence along party lines rather than principle.

      But I do like the addition to my political phraseology, : “Do yo agree that ___ should go and ____ itself/themself/themselves” 

    44. Al Ghaf says:

      “Just a thought…..does anybody know what UKIP’s view is on Scottish Independence?”

      @ Jeannie

      UKIP are against Scottish Independence. They are the ideological equivalent of painting yourself into a corner.

      They are the unthinking wing of the Tory party that is prepared to state its mind. 

    45. Ken says:

      I actually think this is a great development!

      Mr Bell, go on, tell us again to GTF.. QT, tell us again how amusing it would be to dump nuclear waste in Scotland.
      I want everybody in Scotland to hear and read these, all day and every day, so that when the day comes when we finally get to choose, we can all have an image of their sneering faces in our heads.    


    46. Al Ghaf says:

      “Bill Fraser says:
      1 February, 2013 at 11:43 am
      It appears that the ethnic nationalism that is espoused by the BNP may also exist in the bowels of some of England’s newspapers.”

      And political parties, universities, media outlets, think tanks, and chip shops…….

      There is a tectonic fault in British identity that the papers/media are clearly agitating. I personally think that is wrong and dangerous, but that does not change the fact that I see an identity tidal wave on its way. 

    47. Jeannie says:

      @al Ghaf
      That’s probably very good news then.  It might mean that Labour and the Tories have to worry about losing votes to them – though I’m not sure how that plays in a first past the post system at a general election – but if UKIP make Scottish independence or increased powers an issue and the London MSM choose to highlight it, then the other parties will have to respond accordingly in order to avoid losing votes. In the context of an upcoming general election, they won’t be able to refuse to discuss it, and they’ll have to keep both sets of voters happy, so I can only see that they’ll try to outdo each other on either hammering Scotland and risk losing the referendum, doing as the electoral commission have suggested and negotiating in advance of the referendum but with concrete legislation in place (which they’d have to get through the Westminster Parliament prior to the referendum) or just continue slinging mud and lies in the hope that the Scottish electorate will be too stupid to figure out they’re being conned.
      The media is a two-edged sword that takes no responsibility for what it sets in motion and then cannot control.  The slings and arrows THEY’re firing today could turn out to be OUR best weapon come 2014.

    48. beachthistle says:

      Thanks @Keef  for pointing me to this.
      Aye, a very good, thoughtful  piece byRob Connell which does indeed resonate. Hope it gets the wide readership it deserves.
      In the old days, or if was about Nicuaragua or Timor Leste, it might have ended up as a comment piece in the Guardian, even the (early days) Scotland on Sunday!
      Maybe the Observer isn’t a lost cause though. In the old days they tended to be pro-Africa self determinism, and with the amount of interest and traffic they got from Kevin McKenna’s last 2 columns, maybe that has got them thinking….


    49. Luigi says:

      It’s amazing the effect the referendum is having on socialists. People are being forced to “come clean”. Genuine socialists, in Scotland at least, seem to be embracing the opportunity for a new society (many have joined the YES campaign), whilst those “socialists” of the nasty, closet Brit-Nat variety continue to out themselves, exposing their dark side to the world. The Scottish independence debate is certainly cutting through British socialism, and sorting the sheep from the goats in the process. Long may it continue.

    50. Al Ghaf says:


      UKIP views Scotland the same way as Labour/Conservatives/Libdems/BBC/Civil Service/The Royal Household/The Military/Quangoes and mushroom farmers.

    51. Jeannie says:

      @Al Ghaf
      Bloody mushroom farmers!

    52. KOF says:

      How does one add an image to a comment?
      I’ve got a picture I drew which I’d like to contribute to the discussion. I just can’t work out how to put it on tinternet.
      Any suggestions gratefully received. 



    53. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “How does one add an image to a comment?”

      It’s very awkward. Best way is to upload it to somewhere like Twitpic or Flickr then post a link.

    54. andrew_haddow says:

      I believe UKIP’s policy is to abolish Holyrood, but life’s too short to actually find out for sure.

    55. TamD says:

      Despite it being in very bad taste, and  the Guardians record on the Scottish issue, everybody is entitled to their opinion. It is up to our side to persuade these people otherwise, because we have the best vision for social democracy on these islands.

      I never won an argument by insulting the opposite side, it just gives them a reason to switch off. I’m sure if Steve Bell was to venture up to Scotland and engaged in discussions, he would find that we are not what he thinks we are.

    56. naebd says:

      I think the thing is that it’s hard to be a proper liberal/leftie – you have to work hard all the time being politically correct about everything.

      But for many English liberals/lefties, there’s one last guilty pleasure which is that you’re still allowed to deride the Jocks and the Taffs. I mean, for fucksake, get a sense of humour guys!

      Anyway, this cartoon isn’t anti Scottish – don’t let the ‘Fuck off Scotland’ message fool you – it’s much subtler than that. It’s actually about that nasty fat right-wing racist Alex Salmon guy.

    57. Malcolm says:

      It is disappointing, if perhaps unsurprising, that it was drawn from an anti-independence point of view. I defended the cartoon, and to be honest  I still do. I disagree strongly with the sentiment but there really is nothing worse than a po faced army on twitter & graun demanding an apology or whatever else. I was chatting to an Irish friend a few years ago who told me there was someone in the Irish government whose job it was to phone up the BBC every time they mentioned the British Isles in a context inclusive of Ireland and demand they apologise. He was maybe winding me up, and I dare say since the good times ended if the job did exist, it doesn’t now – but I thought that taking offense at something like that was a terrible waste of energy. I know wings is very much focused on being an attack dog regarding stuff like this, and that is a necessary part of the spectrum of coverage of the movement but it was just a bloody cartoon. Just like his Netanyahu puppetmaster, or the Danish Mohammed one. Respond, remonstrate etc but keep some perspective.

    58. KOF says:

      Rev. Stuart Campbell says:1 February, 2013 at 3:43 pm

      “How does one add an image to a comment?”
      It’s very awkward. Best way is to upload it to somewhere like Twitpic or Flickr then post a link.

      Ach, I’m not on any of those things. I’ll find a way somewhere. Cheers anyway, Rev.

    59. Juteman says:

      OT, but i tried to post a comment on dear Effies’ piece on Open Unionism, but their site seems to be broke.
      Or am i banned? 🙂

    60. ianbrotherhood says:

      SSP North Ayrshire are having a wee street stall in Irvine tomorrow, near the end of Bridgegate (if the cops and shopowners and construction site managers don’t hassle us away, as has happened before). If you see us, please take a minute to talk to us – we’re nice. Seriously. We are.  
      Richie Venton is the SSP regional organiser for West of Scotland – he got a good article into NNS this week, all positive stuff. Check it out:

    61. ianbrotherhood says:

      On lampooning, satire, caricatures etc…
      Does anyone know for sure whether the ‘See-You-Jimmy’ wig existed anywhere before Russ Abbott? I remember him doing that character when he had his own show, (must be early 80’s?) and I must confess to liking it – it demonstrated how some folk really do ‘hear’ Scottish accents. The way the Tartan Army put that wig on and used it to help win friends worldwide is a great example of how we can turn offensive material to our advantage. Steve Bell’s just doing  his job, and he does it well. (Although we do need to hear from him whether or not the Guardian’s statement on his behalf is accurate.)
      I think he’s just provided us with a wee insight into how many unionists and toty-Englanders really feel about ‘The Scots’, in much the same way as Russ Abbott did. And underlying it all is fear – they’re afraid of people painted blue who live ‘up there’ and might come pillaging at any moment. Just like the laughter in the QT audience when that bawbag made his ‘joke’ about offloading nuclear waste onto us after we’re independent, I’m sure that many giggles over Bell’s cartoon were of the hollow, shuddery, nervous variety.
      They’re scared

    62. BillyBigbaws says:

      @ Major Bloodnok,

      The problem with the British version of international socialism is that it has never extended itself beyond the borders of the UK state, except in theory. Other than a brief fling during the Spanish civil war, what passes for international socialism in Britain would be seen as basic parochial nationalism anywhere else. I mean, we are talking about a place where the head of the Communist Party suggested they might keep the Queen as a figurehead of state after the revolution!

    63. Dal Riata says:

      I made a number of comments BTL in the Guardian relative to that ‘cartoon’. I was pissed off – but I did write as calmly as was necessary without veering into itchy-fingered-moderator territory. Many on there were saying that it was intended as a subtle rejoinder to what Cameron was supposed to have said in the Commons, and that commentors such as myself were just over-reacting and intentionally not ‘getting the joke’. I didn’t believe that for a minute. 

      When the Guardian put up his next cartoon I left a comment about two hours later asking if Steve Bell would care to come BTL to share his interpretation of his previous day’s effort, whether it did, indeed, intend to read as “Do you agree that Scotland should go and fuck itself?”, and whether the many posts proclaiming it as offensive had been wrong. It was written politely and in a neutral tone. Within a short time, where my post had been was then replaced by, ” This comment was removed by a moderator…blah, blah”!! Oh well, so be it then. Fairly typical Guardian.

      Now, how happy I am to find out that the Sun (the Sun!) has got a response from the Guardian and that there had not been any ‘clever’ humour associated to a supposed remark by Cameron in the Commons at all – Steve Bell’s ‘cartoon’ actually had meant to read as intended ie “Do you agree that Scotland should go and fuck itself?”,  and people were right to take offence! A victory of sorts against that insolent little xenophobe.

    64. deewal says:

      How many Scottish troops are deployed in Scotland ? How many English troops are deployed in Scotland ?

    65. JR Tomlin says:

      Honestly, enemies like that will do the job for the Yes Scotland campaign. If that is indeed the opinion of the rest of the UK, as Mr. Bell seems to think, then it is seriously difficult to think of ANY argument for Scotland remaining in the Union.

    66. Sunshine on Crieff says:

      A bit of a delayed reaction to this one (sorry Steve B., I’m just an ordinary Scottish worker; you know about them, the ones who could do with a bit of solidarity when it comes to creating a new, just society).

      I remember Steve Bell from my younger days, and I do admit that his cartoons helped me through the dark Thatcher-Major years. His outburst at Salmond, the SNP and Scotland, though, disappoints me and definitely places him in the failed ‘radical’ category, joining such worthies as Tony Benn (see recent rant about ‘foreigners’). All that energy, all the posturing, to achieve – nothing.
      And what, exactly, bothers the likes of Bell and Benn (doesn’t that sound like a good idea for a children’s television puppet show)? That Scotland’s quest for self-determination has been, and will continue to be, entirely peaceful? Is it, perhaps, difficult for a pseudo-intellectual to get excited about an independence movement that does not resort to violence? A national movement that doesn’t kill or maim isn’t worthy of anything other than derision? A unified Ireland: good? A nation state for Palestine: better? The Scottish nation making its own decisions and mapping out its own future direction: bad?
      Or is it that we’re behaving like an uppity region of their imagined ‘One Nation’? We are expected to loyally subsidise Westminster Labour with a constant phalanx of MPs, yet, here we are, debating our own future as a nation without reference to the British Left. It makes them feel irrelevent, which, of course, in this debate they increasingly are. 

      For all their bluster, and all their posturing, the likes of Steve Bell and Tony Benn are actually part of the problem that faces both Scotland and the rest of the United Kingdom. They are fully paid up members of the British establishment – and conservative ones at that. They are British Nationalists! 

    67. Macart says:

      Well I am a sensitive wee soul. I’ve been known to burst into spontaneous tears over reruns of Lassie and Ring of Bright Water.

      Bizarrely I’m not so much upset with Bell as I am with the fuckwit who thought it would be a good idea to publish the work. Perhaps some moron in editorial who thought stirring that kind of stooshie was just the ticket for a bit of attention. Get the old viewing figures up a bit, promote a bit of response. Maybe this genius wasn’t paying too much attention to the general tenor of your average CiF thread on independence or the referendum. Anyhoo, the buck stops with that person who could have stopped it all with a word.

      Result? Bookmarked page for any online argument about being better together and the objectivity of the press. You could ‘almost’ thank them. 🙂

    68. Titler says:


      I never bought that stuff people were saying on the Gruan thread about Cameron and PMQs, simply because the idea any English-based commentator would have noticed that small thing, which only really attracted a few twitter comments from die-hard independence debate followers up here seemed laughable. These are people who neither understand Scotland, know anything about the debate, or care.

      And this is why claims of “Cybernat” stick, because when you have someone who writes here on WoS with reasoned tone and refreshing lack of blind conviction about the Independence question, but then dip them into a deliberately provocative and horribly moderated online scandal-pit like Comment is Free, and they become the very thing they set out to destroy; The above comment is also offensive, disgustingly prejudicial, and frankly verges on conspiracy theories about huge swathes of people defined simply by where they live. RevStu is English based as well; Does he know nothing too? And do you really think, in an age where even Pound Stores are going under in the south due to the Age of Austerity, potential confirmation of the fact that our Prime Minister is an arsehole would have no traction at all, irrespective of who it was directed at?

      As one of the people who aggressively challenged the “Offended Nationalist” side on said thread under my own CiF account (an account that has been put into pre-moderation quite a few times for complaining about the Click-Baiting the Guardian increasingly does) let me tell you how I learned about the Cameron comment at Question time: From closely reading the entire comment thread. No it wasn’t reported widely at that exact point in time; I’d not personally seen it before the moment I’d started my morning trawl of online news. But assuming you actually do read widely, despite Cath’s expressed prejudices, and indeed sometimes even if you don’t, it doesn’t matter how many people see the video originally; it just takes one to read it and post a link (uncensored, something increasingly hard to do at the Guardian) and then awareness of it will slowly snowball out as more people pass that information forward. Now I don’t have a Twitter or Facebook account at all, but I didn’t need too as I discovered link to the video via Steve Bell, what ever his actual reasons for using it, and the debate that followed it in the comments, and was then able to watch it and understand what Bell was at least referring too.

      Does that make me ill informed? Does it show I don’t care? Now personally I’m torn on Scottish Independence, as a son of a mining family from the Midlands (and grandparents Welsh) who is Internationalist in outlook, a politics Graduate who ran like hell from Party Politics as soon as I had the chance to enter it, whilst suffering under a UK Tory Government again just like the 80s so unable to ignore it entirely… These issues just aren’t as simple and one sided as online debate reduces them down too. And I’m also aware that the Art is not always the Artist. Last week I found out that Bruce Dickinson, of Iron Maiden fame, is actually a Eurosceptic Pro-Business Tory in his own words to the BBC, and always has been. And how many decades have I been unable to see that through his Art in turn? So even if Steve Bell himself is a filthy reactionary, that doesn’t mean his cartoon was.

      I’ll tell you what does make me ill-informed though; the Guardian censoring people posting that another Newspaper reports that Bell is anti-Independence. Are they censoring it because it’s a mis-attributed attitude? Not an official quote? It is accurate, but they don’t want to get called to the floor for just Click-Baiting again? Or are they protecting the right of Art to be separate from Artist? In an age where I can still find out from reading here, because I care about the truth, that it’s being reported Steve Bell holds those views, is just another example of the cowardice of The Guardian that it won’t even explain it’s moderation position on the cartoons it runs.

      What makes me enraged is then being told here I don’t care about the people of Scotland because it’s just assumed, in the safe space of fellow Nationalists where you’re no doubt venting personal frustration, that everyone south of the Border couldn’t find a hyperlink with both hands, much less care about what’s in it…  If that were the factually the case, I wouldn’t have had one eye on WoS since the cartoon was published, because I wouldn’t be interested in knowing what the people here had thought of it. What I certainly feel now is that if that’s how I’m seen, if you’re going to publish cartoons depicting yourself as Scottish Lions and talk in comments as if everyone southwards are ignorant John Bulls, why should I even care what you think?

      Which is of course one of the Dark Arts of politics; divide and rule, unleash the mob and drown out the reasonable voices. What then astounds me is why you think dabbling in it yourself is going to help the Pro-Independence movement; the pigs not only enjoy wallowing in this mud, they’re so, so much better at fighting in it than you. And given a choice between two devils, people will pick the Devil they know… that’s the entire basis of much of the traditional Tory vote in fact. “They’re Bastards, but they’re our Bastards”. What would decide me, if I had a vote on Independence, would be whether or not you could be reasonable certain you weren’t just going to get more Bastards again.  Because no Bastard is on my side, what ever flag he drapes himself in, or fluffy or fat stereotype they’re drawn as.

      Being told I can’t have understood what I was reading without being on the side of John Bull was a bastardly thing to say. Steve Bell may be a prat, but his cartoon didn’t make me think less of those on the Yes side of the vote, quite the opposite it pushed me away from Cameron. This thread on the other hand… and that’s a shame.

    69. kalmar says:

      Shrug.  I interpreted this cartoon in the same way Rev Stu did.  The caricature of Salmond is certainly unkind (though again, not half as bad as how he regularly draws Cameron and Milliband) and I think some people need to grow a thicker skin.  “Racist” indeed – Bollocks!
      As for the quote, I’d wait to hear it from the horses’ mouth before declaring a fatwa.  I’d be surprised if that’s genuinely what he thinks too, but he’s entitled to his opinion, and it’s hardly worth trying to harangue someone into changing their mind on the pages of CiF.

    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. If your comment does not appear immediately, DO NOT REPOST IT. Ignore these rules and I WILL KILL YOU WITH HAMMERS.

    ↑ Top