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Lies on Marr

Posted on August 17, 2013 by

Below is the headline of a story from this morning’s Independent.


We’ve read the article in question several times now looking for the supposed “bad news” for the Scottish First Minister, and we’re having no luck at all. Perhaps you can help us out with it, readers.

It’s maybe worth noting, before you start, that you’ll search the text in vain for any mention of Alex Salmond’s name, or even that of his party. Andrew Marr’s only actual references to the FM, which were reported in several other papers, were some way short of anything you might normally expect to be described as “bad news”:

“‘I think [Alex Salmond] is some kind of political genius,’ Marr said. ‘On the whole he is a brilliant politician. He has now been in power for quite a long time and he is struggling with the gilt rubbing off a little bit. All I (am) suggesting is don’t write him off, he has a plan for next year. We haven’t heard much of it yet, but we will do.'”

(In fairness, he did also make some comments about Mr Salmond not being thin any more, but we’re not sure that strictly counts as news.)

Back at the Independent piece, there’s more:

“[Marr] openly dismissed the American polling expert Nate Silver, who four days ago said the Yes campaign had “virtually no chance” of winning next year’s referendum. ‘I think it’s going to be much closer than the polls would suggest,’ he said, ‘and certainly than Nate Silver suggests. There’s a huge undecided vote, a lot to play for.'”

So, let’s just recap: Andrew Marr called the SNP leader “brilliant” and a “political genius”, said he shouldn’t be written off, and that the referendum was going to be a lot closer than polls currently indicate. He also noted that people in England hadn’t really thought about the effects of Scottish independence on the remnant UK.

We’re not sure which part of that constitutes “bad news for Alex Salmond”. If anyone knows who writes the Independent’s headlines, could you ask them for us? Cheers.

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65 to “Lies on Marr”

  1. DMyers says:

    In vain, not vein.  Tsk tsk tsk 😉

  2. Webcraft says:

    There no longer seems to be any requirement – if indeed  there ever was – for a newspaper headline to bear any relation to the story beneath it.
    The problem is, newspaper headlines are designed to be visible from a distance and are consequently read by many, many more people than ever read the actual articles. They are read by people at petrol stations as they fill up or wait to pay for fuel, by people loitering round supermarket entrances, by commuters heading for their morning train.
    It is a quite insidious practice. Are instances like this worth reporting to the Press Complaints Commission?

  3. Graeme Purves says:

    Was this some sort of Freudian slip?  Did they mean that they would try to make it bad news?

  4. Jiggsbro says:

    In vain, not vein.
    I await the correction with baited breath.

  5. les wilson says:

    Give the guy a break! there are far bigger problems we face.

  6. Seanair says:

    He might just be conflating two stories–the Marr return(front page headline in the Herald!), and the other story in the Herald that someone objected to AS mentioning independence in his talk with William McIlvanney at the Book Festival, and “was cheered” for doing so. Imagine going along to an event thinking AS WOULD’NT mention independence!
    Otherwise I’ve no idea what Matthew Bell is talking about.

  7. HandandShrimp says:

    Thanks Stu, that is pretty much my reading of a similar piece in the Guardian and I have said so over there. Marr gave a reasonable and balanced interview and there were a number of positives that I am pretty damned sure that Better Together won’t be putting on their website.
    Marr I think was wrong in his analysis on the Farage incident and over states current Anglophobia in Scottish society as a result. However, I do agree with him that the independence debate can get a bit nippy. I think that is inevitable and it isn’t just one way traffic. The Better Together crowd seem to think it OK to cast any name they like our way from Stalin to Mugabe but throw a shit fit if they get called tossers.
    Marr did talk about the roots of Anglophobia pre-dating 19th century Home Rule calls and that is probably an interesting historical and academic study but I’m not sure it much informs the current civic nationalism of modern Scotland. I also don’t think it necessarily follows that someone who utters an Anglophobic sentiment is necessarily an SNP Yes voter either.

  8. proudscot says:

    I often wonder if these sub-editor headline writers ever actually read the articles they are composing the headlines for. On this morning’s Bateman/Izzy Fraser radio programme, it was reported that Andrew Marr also humorously commented that he had known Alex Salmond for a long time by saying he had “known Alex Salmond since he was thin!”
    This is almost on a par with the late lamented Grouch Marx’s comment, “Doris Day? I knew her before she was a virgin!”

  9. MajorBloodnok says:

    DMyers says: In vain, not vein.  Tsk tsk tsk
    Och, the Rev just left that in to see if Morag was paying attention.

  10. Macart says:

    In the Guardian they had a slightly different tack.

    I think handandshrimp had reasonable take on it. It will take a few by surprise as initially it certainly gave me a bit of a shock until you read it through a couple of times.

  11. Ivan McKee says:

    I got the kindle version when it 1st came out. Read the 1st chapter. Found a raft of factual errors and then posted a review on Amazon giving it 1  star – see link :

    Haven’t bothered to read the rest of it yet for fear of finding more howlers. Has anyone been all the way through it ? Is it worth it ?

  12. Angus says:

    Maybe the ‘bad news’ part for Alex Salmond was redacted or deleted-sounds more like praise than scorn from Marr.

  13. jim mitchell says:

    Our friends in the press. don’t you just love them?  I see the rebirth of Ian Grey continues in the Record, talk about flogging a dead horse!

  14. Rgweir says:

    I tend to sort of speed read articles so I made a point of going over it line by line just to be sure i did not I miss a bit saying AS is the devil in waiting.
    Now for something to get you talking.The yes vote just manages to get over the finishing line by a few hundred votes and westminster calls for the vote to be void.Unknown to westminster or the msm AS has had secret talks with with Police Scotland,Scotish Regiments and the civil service in Scotland and aso the main HMRC officials in Scotland.Keep with me,The SG make a statement in Holyrood informing the people of Scotland that the SG are declaring UDI because Westminster are not recognising the referendum result.What would happen next. DISCUSS.

  15. Vincent McDee says:

    I think is just another sample of the Ghost Sub-editor dirty work.

  16. Rizzla says:

    @ rgweirhe – If the NO vote gets over the finishing line by a few thousand votes, I would hope that the SNP would tear up its manifesto and stand on one promise: immediate UDI!

  17. Jiggsbro says:

    What would happen next. DISCUSS.
    I’d wake up. There is simply no way the Scottish regiments would be having secret talks with the Scottish government. It’s unlikely that HMRC, would either. The police and civil service will have had talks, but not about UDI (if they had, they wouldn’t have remained secret).

  18. Dave McEwan Hill says:

    The intersting thing about the rebirth of Ian Grey is the absence of Ms Lamont. Has she handed in her pail and chucked it, perhaps, and they’re trying to manage the problem.
    The Herald has a predictable Magnus Garham distortion of Andrew Marr’s thoughts on the front page But I think the story has no traction whatsover. No sensible person in Scotland sees anti-English bile emanating from the SNP whose members are generally well liked across the country.
    Morre to the point. Hardly anybody in Scotland reads the Guardian, the Independent  and the other English broadsheets (and our own broadsheets it has to be said). The Sun or the Record easily outsell them all put together. While I do not doubt the broadsheets’ abilities to disproportionately affect political debate I suspect what the Record says has as much affect in an immediate context.
    It is at out peril that we ignore what they put up in their letter pages for instance. Yesterday’s £20 “Comment of the Day” in the Record was a corker.
    Allow me to quote the words of serial offender Hamish Leishman of Kilsyth.
    “The Scottish Government should hang their (sic) heads in shame following the disclosure that the number of 16 to 24 year olds who have never had a job has risen to 640,000.” 
    640,000. There isn’t 640,00 in total in that age group in Scotland though if there was none of them are in work!
    Yet that is exactly what it says in a letter that got £20 for publication in the Daily Record yesterday.
    Takes the breath away
    With Scottish youth unemploment at a UK best of 15% (England is over 20%) and only four countries in the EU with better youth employment figures than Scotland I have written to the Record asking them to put the correct figures in their paper and suggesting that Mr Leishman be asked to donate his £20 to an appropriate charity

  19. Murray McCallum says:

    I am a fan of Mr Marr’s history programmes.  I distinctly remember him making the powerful (History of Modern Britain *) point that Scotland’s oil revenues funded Thatcher’s UK non-industrial policy and switch to financial services.
    * Made the point while on a boat in the North Sea as viewers could not visualise what the sea looks like,

  20. HandandShrimp says:

    If the vote is won then it is won. We have Cameron’s signature on a document honouring the outcome. I seriously doubt therefore that this would happen. However, I think it would be next to unenforceable because as you point out Law is delegated to Scotland and the Police work for Holyrood. To put English troops (they wouldn’t be so daft as to put Scottish ones) on the streets of Edinburgh and Glasgow would be insanity.
    Don’t get me wrong, if it is a narrow squeak and it may very well be, then people like Foulkes will go purple screaming for it to be declared void but I think legislation as encapsulated in the Edinburgh Agreement will win out. Also many Tories might very well be already looking at what is likely to be a tight 2015 vote and say “You know what, not what we wanted but it isn’t all bad let’s just go with it”.

  21. Robin Ross says:

    Marr did talk about the roots of Anglophobia pre-dating 19th century Home Rule calls and that is probably an interesting historical and academic study but I’m not sure it much informs the current civic nationalism of modern Scotland.

    Historically speaking, the Union as it was engineered ( throught the agency of people like Daniel Defoe and the Duke of Hamilton) was designed to meet English needs, and once the Treaty was signed articles of it were breached whenever it suited English purposes. As time passed and Scotland prospered (thanks in great measure to the trade in sugar and tobacco made possible through slavery) wholescale opposition to the Union abated, but there have always been sections of Scottish opinion which have been dissatisfied with elements of the relationship – not least because the roots of the Union were not planted to enable both nations to flourish as equal partners.
    Now when we complain of being treated as second class citizens by Westminster we run the risk of being labeled as ‘whinging Jocks’ etc. but this must not prevent us from pointing out that the Union, which was flawed in its conception as a vehicle for the partnership of two nations has evolved with significant shortcomings which cannot meet the needs of modern democratic polities. The past history of the establishment and continuation of the Union informs and illuminates the present critique of its weaknesses.  
    This may seem arcane, but I believe it is an essential element of the debate in which we are constantly urged to engage in a more profound way. It challenges politicians on points of principle rather than points of policy.  

  22. Jock McDonnell says:

    Rev, the bbc were just excusing the media by trying to denigrate the poll. Like Marr & Naughtie they are unionist stakeholders.

  23. HandandShrimp says:

    I see BBC Scotlandshire have covered the broadcast in their usual satirical manner
    (Who was it that said there is no satire in Scottish politics again….Oh yes those humourless numpties over at BT  😉 )

  24. Iain says:

    ‘In vain, not vein.  Tsk tsk tsk ‘
    The Rev did say he was spending the poll leftovers on heroin and chips, so the double Scottish whammy of smack and cholestrol is probably weighing upon his mind.

  25. HandandShrimp says:

    Don’t disagree with any of that. It would actually be a fascinating study to go through the annals and journals of the 18th and 19th centuries drawing those strands together. There was a fair bit of Scotophobia on the other side too and they were not afraid to commit it to paper. It was as I said an age when people wore their prejudices with disconcerting pride.

  26. Bob Howie says:

    I am sorry, but you are missing the point here….it is a newspaper, it has to tell lies, spin the truth and spread innuendo, it’s the law don’t you know

  27. Murray McCallum says:

    To be fair to BBC Scotlandshire their headlines are at least consistent with the robust detailed analysis in the article.

  28. HandandShrimp says:

    and much more fun to read too. I particularly liked the old Yes Minster clip.

  29. Robin Ross says:

    The Duke of Hamilton kept his prejudices very close to his chest – so close that he was hailed as as the foremost opponent of the Union while he was preparing the way for it. One aspect which is directly relevant to this web site is the fact that then it was easier to say one thing in London and another thing in Edinburgh while now the scrutiny of the press and politicians through WOS will catch out anyone trying to sing two contradictory tunes.
    While it may have drawbacks, the internet is an amazing vehicle for democratising the fourth estate in a radical new way. One of the aspects of the radio interview with Stu was the tone of respect in which the questions were asked and listened to. A glimpse of the way that active citizens such as Rev Stu can enable the MSM to acquit itself well. 

  30. Jimbo says:

    Witty, lucid, sharp: Andrew Marr’s back…
    “We’ve read the article in question several times now looking for the supposed “bad news” for the Scottish First Minister, and we’re having no luck. Perhaps you can help us out with it, readers.”
    There’s obviously something written on Andrew Marr’s back that the reporter forgot to divulge.

  31. G. Campbell says:

    “A MAJOR protest against the so-called bedroom tax at next month’s Liberal Democrats conference is to be banned by police on safety and security grounds.”

    “A Loyalist parade, by a new group called Regimental Blues which describes itself as a “pressure group standing for the Protestant Loyalist Community of Scotland”, is also scheduled for the city centre at the same time.”

  32. G. Campbell says:


    What our demands are on this Campaign:

    – All Republican Parades to be banished from our streets.
    – All Republican Celebrations regarding the IRA and their Terrorists banned.
    – All Republican Propaganda to be banned from our Streets
    – All Tri Colours removed in Scotland with the exception of the Irish Embassy in Edinburgh.
    – All infringements of Protestant Culture and our Community to stop immediately.


    Our Targets:

    – Alex Salmond
    – Nicola Sturgeon
    – The SNP
    – Other political figures who are in the Vote Yes camp
    – All Yes voting campaigns (Campaigners)
    – All businesses backing the Yes Campaign.

  33. G. Campbell says:


    Rangers Legends Signed Ball £80.00
    Walter Smith Signed Programme £15.00
    David Templeton Signed Programme £15.00
    Red Hand Commando Printed Framed Artwork £25.00

  34. HandandShrimp says:

    At the risk of sounding crude Thank fuck they are on the Better Together side. That is their problem not ours.

  35. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “‘In vain, not vein. Tsk tsk tsk ‘”


  36. Erchie says:

    I am at the World Pipe Band Championships today. on the big screen is the giant girning face of Archie Graham (not Matheson!).
    Brave of him to do thst instead of searching for his poor missing wife

  37. Alfresco Dent says:

    @ G Campbell
    Some astonishing grammar on that website.

    O/T Avatar works a treat, much easier to navigate now.

  38. Derick Tulloch says:

    maybe it should be renamed “The Dependent”?

  39. Jimbo says:

    “At the risk of sounding crude Thank fuck they are on the Better Together side. That is their problem not ours.”
    We’ll all be waiting with unbated breath for the announcement from Better Together condemning this section of their radical supporters.

  40. Vronsky says:

    Having coffee with an old (Catholic) pal from the Labour Party, he told me that another client at his favourite watering hole is a prominent member of the Orange Order.  This person had proposed to him that they should join forces to ‘defeat that bastard Salmond’.  ‘It’s only once we’ve done that’ he said, ‘that we can get back to hating each other’.   

  41. HandandShrimp says:

    I expect they will dis-associate themselves. For a Better Together side they have a hell of a lot of untogether support. UKIP, BNP, Ulster loyalists, OO SDL, EDL and probably this lot too.
    It is quite funny, just about every political and social/artistic group I like are in favour of independence and just about every group that I don’t like are in favour of the Union, (sadly also including Labour.)

  42. Archie [not Erchie] says:

    @ Jimbo – Totally agree with you. I just watched the video on the RB website with musical soundtrack. Lets see how Bitter Together wriggle out of this? I can visualise their morning meetings already with much handwringing and ‘how do we get rid of this lot’. Not that I am suggesting a connection between BT and RB of course.

  43. david says:

    the guy from here did good on the radio this morning, well spoken, polite and thoughtful

  44. James Westland says:

    There is some SERIOUSLY deranged stuff on that RB web site. How about this from the blog:
    “The mask of Scottish nationalism has well and truly slipped these past few days.
    Hot on the heels of the republican roots of the independence campaign starting to show, the Tartan Barmy Army descended on the nation’s capital and trashed the place, sang obscene songs about the new Royal baby and booed their own national anthem.


    Then we had the backlash to Andrew Marr’s comments on Anglophobia and racial hatred being well-entrenched in both the SNP and the separatist movement.

    Searing words but extremely accurate.

    Proof of the Anglophobic nature of the drive for independence is that independence itself is always referenced in relation to England, never Wales or Northern Ireland.

    Hatred of the English is the main driving force of the separatist campaign and it’s time we all stopped pretending otherwise.

    The so-called Scottish national anthem is a song sung with gleeful spite about a battle 700 years ago and is anti-English in its intent.

    The hypocrisy in Scotland is staggering when you consider that a song about the Irish famine was ruled offensive and racist because it included lines inviting Irish people to go home because the famine is over.

    Yet we have a “national” anthem that talks about sending a defeated English army home. The same anthem contains words which prove Scotland is not a nation anyway.

    Again, such nonsense underscores the ridiculousness of the separatist cause and that racial hatred is its main argument.

    At a time when unity and union of the people of the British Isles is needed arguably more than ever, how sad that mean-spirited people should gullibly follow a megalomaniac in his drive for presidential power – under the guise of freedom and inspired by a Mel Gibson movie.”
    Its almost impossible to know where to start with this sort of thing. Scotlands Shame indeed.

  45. Tony Little says:

    listened to some of the video, couldn’t stomach seeing it all TBH.  I am guessing that the dozen or so banner holders ARE RB.  Some hate just never dies, does it?  Sad, sad people.
    Isn’t it ironic that in an iScotland, even these numpties will be welcomed, unlike their despicable ‘message’.

  46. Jiggsbro says:

    All infringements of Protestant Culture and our Community to stop immediately.
    I agree with them on the second part. Their community should stop, immediately.

  47. Andy-B says:

    Well broken down Rev.
    Just more journalistic spin doctoring by the Independent.
    It seems (Present company excluded of course) that most Scots who go to England and are commonly in the public eye seem to advocate the Union, why that is is no big secret in my opinion it would probably be damaging to their acting, sporting career etc to come out whilst living and working in England and zealously support independence.
    Though I do feel some not all of them lose part of there Scottishness, and try to conform, with south of the border attitudes.

  48. handclapping says:

    I see they are also going in for crowd funding; they’ve managed £76 so far on their thermometer towards the £5000 target. Maybe they should promise a poll 🙂

  49. Craig M says:

    Re the RB site. I listened to the radio show, moved the slider to “I was born under a Union Jack” and thought of Lee Marvin choking on his beer. I can’t believe this is serious. It’s nothing short of embarrassing. I can respect fellow Scots who have an opinion on Scottish independence which is the polar opposite of mine, but this lot really let the side down. This should be compulsory listening for the soft No vote. I’d vote Yes just to see the back of this collective insanity.

  50. Juteman says:

    Re that bonkers website.
    Can you imagine the uproar if an Indy website used language like that?
    They even have a list of ‘targets’!

  51. Seasick Dave says:

    What about Northern Ireland?

  52. Holebender says:

    Are you sure it’s not a spoof site? Just asking.

  53. Jimbo says:

    “listened to some of the video, couldn’t stomach seeing it all TBH.”
    I note that it was filmed in Glasgow’s Trongate – The ruling party there has been courting the support of the OO. No doubt this group will operate with their tacit agreement too. 

  54. sneddon says:

    RB it has got to be a spoof or the spooks are seriously bored and are pushing the envelope to see who bites.  Much like the other bampot unionist organisations the membership must be in the tens of er..tens.  I wonder how many of them are SDL, casuals united and BNP crossover.  Different name same idiots.

  55. K Mackay says:

    Knew I shouldn’t have clicked on that RB link, fucking hell! First line I saw was ‘BRITAIN IS OURS – YOUR DAY WILL NEVER COME!’ It’s helped me make a decision at least, I’m definitely getting that ‘Thig ar latha’ tattoo now, only trouble is, I’m not 100% on the pronunciation and I’ll feel pretty stupid having something written on me forever that I can’t say properly. Can anyone help me out?
    Also their demands for all tri colours to be removed from Scotland has made me want to get one, already got a ‘six celtic nations’ flag flying proudly beside my Saltire and Rampant 🙂

  56. James Westland says:

    K Mackay
    Not too hard: “Heek ar lah” is pretty close IMO (I studied Gaelic at Sabhal Mor Ostaig and worked there for 5 years)
    The Irish version is “Ticofaidh ar la” which is pronounced more like “chuckie ar la” Which is actually quite different form the Scots Gaelic.  Associated with Irish Republicanism. Which presumably hacks off these RB twats more than a tad….

  57. James Westland says:

    Oh yes, you could try the Pan Celtic flag:

    Quite a cheery looking thing, if a little bit crowded. 

  58. Albert Herring says:

    “I’m definitely getting that ‘Thig ar latha’ tattoo now”
    Don’t. You’ll look daft after next September Get a whatever is Ghaidhlig for “Our day has come” tattoo instead.

  59. James Westland says:

    “Tha ar latha air tighinn!”

  60. K Mackay says:

    Thanks for the pronunciation James Westland, that’s just what I was needing 🙂 That’s the celtic nations flag I’ve got flying beside my Saltire and Rampant now, I love the way each nations flag are displayed equally on it, side by side. Unlike the Butcher’s apron which makes it quite clear who’s superior with it’s layering.
    Albert Herring, I totally get what you’re saying but I want to get it before the referendum so I have something on me to remind me when I’m ancient of how I feel now. It’s a beautiful saying, full of hope, patience and determination and everytime I see it when I’m old I can think ‘fuck aye, our day has come’ except hopefully I’ll be thinking in Gaelic by then 😉 (out of choice btw, before any unionists try to use this as evidence of planned compulsory Gaelic)

  61. Tamson says:

    Amusingly, the RB website would appear to think that Scotland is already independent, if their demands include:
    – All Tri Colours removed in Scotland with the exception of the Irish Embassy in Edinburgh.
    You only get an Embassy in the actual capital city: the Irish office in Edinburgh is a consulate.

  62. scottish_skier says:

    Impressive fundraiser on the RB site.

    With a target of £5000, they’ve raised a grand total of £76.48.

    Would probably best be spent on having Morag to a spelling/grammar review.

  63. scottish_skier says:

    I see UKIP are fans of the OO / unionist marches / Irish flag burning etc. This snippet from the RB facebook site.

  64. Morag says:

    Impressive fundraiser on the RB site.
    With a target of £5000, they’ve raised a grand total of £76.48.
    Would probably best be spent on having Morag to a spelling/grammar review.
    I’m much more expensive than that.  However, I’ll correct your “to” to “do” for free…. 😀

  65. gordoz says:

    First things first, can we establish that this is not an official BBC website ??
    Seriously Scary mob this RB –  Are these the Cybernats we keep hearing about ?
    Can  someone for No campaign please explain the difference between Unionist & Loyalist ?? (Pretty Please). Is the thickness of a credit card involved ??
    Surprised  Andrew Marr missed a comment on Scottophobia in Scotland (its clearly here). Someone please forward to him.
    The press & their pals at BBC / BT need to condemn this lot ASAP.
    Alex Ferguson: Still proud, very, very proud ?? (Seriously – Better together ??)
    Must seek a comment fro the No side on this poison. Draw media attention  to such extremism. 

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