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Wings Over Scotland

London calling

Posted on September 21, 2013 by

[We’ve got something special for those of you who can’t make it to the march in Edinburgh today (or are reading en route). Julie McDowall pens the Herald’s brilliant online dating blog, but there’s a lot more to her writing than that.]

There is a groove on my skull. I can run my fingertip along it.

On your first day in a call centre they present you with a headset. You might chuckle when you first wear it, pretending to be Madonna or a helicopter pilot. But the chuckles die at the end of the shift when you lift the metal band and ruffle your hair, feeling the dent on your head.


And it can hurt, so you start to unclamp the contraption between calls and hang it round your neck, but a manager is soon gesturing wildly at you with the ‘hood up’ signal. Get that metal band clamped back onto your head. You may not remove it.

After a few years, a permanent line is engraved on your skull. You are branded.

Other ridiculous rules abound in the demeaning world of the call centre. You may only take impossibly short toilet breaks, and these are measured with humiliating accuracy. It seems the manager is keen to encourage those who skip to the toilet without washing their hands, but what of those who wish to wash and dry their paws, and then perhaps stop to say a pleasant hello to someone in the corridor? What of these who desire a drink of water?

What of these civilised people? They’ll be made to explain what they are doing in the toilet that takes so long. Don’t they know that skipping  the cumbersome hand washing stage would save the company 19 seconds. And must you stop to dry your hands? Can’t you just swish them about as you return to your desk? That would have you back, clamped and ready, within 3.8 minutes.

Neither may you stand up. Some people, when engaged in a difficult or abusive call, naturally stand as it helps them project their voice and sound more confident. Others are simply standing to stretch their back, but standing is forbidden and will provoke flapping and frowning from your manager.

What’s more, white paper is banned! White paper, which has been used for centuries, is now a security risk. If you must write something, it must be scratched onto red paper – a dark, crimson paper which makes the writing all but imperceptible. Yes, the etching of inky marks onto white paper is now a disciplinary offence.

But why, you rage? Why can’t I be allowed time to dry my hands? Why can’t I stop and say a civilised ‘how are you’ to a colleague? Why can’t I stand up to stretch? Why is white paper illegal?

They won’t tell you, because there must be distance. The little folk may not ask how or why. This forest of rules has sprung up to keep you small, restricted, infantilised and insulted. To keep you in your place.


The company I refer to above grew massively while I was with them. They started life as a small employer who were non-profit and heavily involved in local charities and community projects. They had the word ‘Scotland’ in their name but decided to chop that off incase it made them look small…

Once they had a new, corporate, un-Scottish sobriquet, they were taken over by a bigger company who kindly bestowed their name and patronage upon the wee Scottish folk. This company were duly swallowed up by a colossal global organisation. So, the original company’s values of non-profit, local recruitment, charity and community work was annihiliated. The global company imposed their one value, which was profit and profit alone.

And so our little branch of this corporate monster began to decay as it had lost its original purpose. When you don’t exercise you grow fat and that’s what happened here: there was no longer a need for the goodwill of the community or a mention in the local paper, so the charitable side dried up and our company gladly effaced itself in the gargantuan capitalist folds of its new master. It no longer had a purpose other than producing pounds. Its identity evaporated.

Nature abhors a vacuum and so, it seems, does a call centre and so it rushed to fill the whistling gap with layers of idiotic rules and that ubiquotous scourge of common sense, the middle manager. More and more posts sprang up to reinforce the new regime:  an influx of new team leaders, supervisors, lead advisors, a parcel of rogues, all of them, with fancy acronyms you can’t question. People you see once then never again. All purpose and identity sold and gone.


The UK in its present form is such a massive, gross organisation: it has no role anymore, so grows groggy and ineffective under the weight of its own self-importance and redundant history. And Britain’s history, like it or not, was proud! We ventured all over the globe, the sun never setting on us, leading the fight against Nazis, forming the NHS and the Welfare State, slaying the five giants.

I would truly be proud to be British – yes, I would lovingly wrap myself in the Union Flag – if it was 1945.

But our Empire is gone. Our enemies are now our trading partners and our holiday destinations. Our magnificent NHS is assaulted daily, whilst Need and Want come slinking back thanks to the despicable Atos.

We have no purpose now. We are not claiming to civilise the globe. We are not defeating fascism. We don’t protect our NHS. We don’t defend the poor, sick and unemployed. With no new purpose to replace what we’ve lost, we grow groggy and ineffective and redundant.

So, the tiny employee is trapped in the machine and told when they may sit, stand and go to the toilet. They are ground by the massive organisation who humiliate and belittle them. Layers of gross incompetence sprout and froth whilst underneath it all is the individual encased in a nightmarish Russian doll.

A vote for independence is our chance to smash our way out of the doll.


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    181 to “London calling”

    1. Andrew Morton says:

      Julie, I love your Herald blog and now I love your independence blog. Who knows, a kinky splittist may come your way . . .

    2. Doug Daniel says:

      Best article on Wings ever?

    3. Chris Knowles says:

      Superb writing!

    4. Andrew, even I may shy away from a kinky splittist, but who knows?

    5. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “Who knows, a kinky splittist may come your way…”

      Compliance Department has been notified of the sexual harassment of contributors.

    6. Andrew Morton says:

      OK, a splittist clown then.

    7. cadgers says:

      That is a very good article. I think more people should read George Orwell’s ‘1984’.

    8. Andrew Morton says:

      Good luck on the march today. I’d have loved to be there, but I have to go to a christening in Leamington Spa. I’ll be with you in spirit!

    9. PRJ says:

      All I can say is; 1984!

    10. call centre worker says:

      I’ve worked for two of the largest call centre employers in Scotland and neither of them were like that. I still work for one of them. I support independence 100%, but this call centre analogy is pish. If you end up with a mark across your head, your headset is way too tight. Try adjusting the damn thing. We are actively encouraged to get water, stand up, communicate with colleagues. Call centres are a vital employment source for Scotland. This piece could be very damaging.

    11. Excellent piece! I once worked in a software house that worked on the software that runs these centres and measures the toilet breaks etc. A nightmarish vision that had me vowing never to get a job in one of these Victorian Workhouses with Wigglyamps.

    12. moujick says:

      What a piece…absolutely brilliant

    13. JnrTick says:

      Superb clarification of our general demise from the author of this piece.
      Have not yet read 1984 but intend to as wife says best book bar Animal Farm she’s ever digested.
      So down about not making the march, won’t miss the third and final one for anything.
      Be loud and extremely proud of your efforts folks

    14. scotbud says:

      Wonderful writing Julie truly heartfelt,hope every one has a great day at the march. Wish i was with you all but first grandchild,s birth is imminent.

    15. Murray McCallum says:

      Great article Julie. Why do we accept the extraction of decent values in our companies and the injection of homogeneous, morally bankrupt, uncaring crap? It surely doesn’t have to be this way.

    16. Soda says:

      Excellent writing Julie.

    17. Alan MacD says:

      All the best today troops.
      From Russia with Love.

    18. Alasdair Reid says:

      Great blog ! We need more creative thinking to get the message across 🙂

    19. Gordon Bain says:

      Where are you all?

    20. The_Duke says:

      Superb article Julie!
      Can I wish all those at the rally today the very best. I wish I was there.
      Houston, Tx

    21. Andrew Morton says:

      Is there a big crowd there?

    22. Macart says:

      Outstanding post by Julie McDowall. The punch line well worth the read through.
      Have a great day everyone, looking forward to the pics.
      Oh and don’t forget to bring back some Edinburgh rock for the rest of us. 🙂

    23. art1001 says:

      Watching abroad on Webcam. Looks a lot of people – fantastic colour and flags. Any idea of numbers? So so wish I was there. One of my colleagues has made the trip over especially – shows how Scots internationally are starting to respond. All I am doing at the moment is hitting the donate button instead.
      Best wishes to everyone. We can win this. Just imagine how the bad guys are feeling right now watching this and enjoy. Next year we start the process of running them out of town.

    24. Andrew Morton says:

      Where can I find the webcam?

    25. ewen says:

      Hope you all have a great day on the march. I will be with you in spirit but can’t be with you in person. I’m sitting here, in Dublin, in a call centre………..
      Doing my Saturday turn ………as a manager…….

    26. Breastplate says:

      My sister was at the front but joined the back of the march. It took an hour for them to pass by.
      I would say that’s a lot of people.

    27. Marker Post says:

      Great post. Reminded me of Robert Cunninghame Graham’s maiden speech in the House of Commons in 1886:
      “The society in which one man works and another enjoys the fruit – the society in which capital and luxury makes Heaven for 30,000 and Hell for 30,000,000… that society whose crowning achievement is… the glaring social inequalities…that society we call London, that society which, by a refinement of irony, has placed the mainspring of human action, almost the power of life and death, and the absolute power to pay labour and to reward honour, behind the grey tweed veil which enshrouds the greasy pocket of the capitalist”.
      If he had been able to speak on Calton Hill today, the message would still be the same, 130 years later.

    28. themadmurph says:

      Was on the march, and had the pleasure of meeting rev stu, briefly! He was late! Just got back to Waverley, couldn’t stay for rally. Awesome crowd. Lifts your heart and gives you hope for the future. According to the BBC, 3 men and a dug there! 🙂

    29. Ruby Tuesday says:

      Andrew Morton
      Recording from webcam taken at 12.29
      Fingers crossed this works.   I have another couple of recordings done earlier.

    30. Andrew Morton says:

      Thanks Ruby, that worked. BBC are claiming around 8,000 which seems low if it took an hour to pass.

    31. themadmurph says:

      8000 is very low. Police told me they were restricting the crowd in the royal mile to 12000. I don’t know Edinburgh well but the back of the march was at the mound.

    32. lumilumi says:

      BBC saying “more than 8,000 people”
      Scotsman’s digijournalists Patrick McPartlin tweets of estimates of at least 20,000 people.
      20,000 is of course more than 8,000 but…

    33. Training Day says:

      I am here. The BBC are lying. Polis estimate 30k

    34. patronsaintofcats says:

      Police are now saying 30,000 and Scotsman photographer tweeted 20,000.  So that means 40k+ I’d wager

    35. Ruby Tuesday says:
      Recording from webcam at 11.39. 
      The marchers you see in this clip didn’t get on the move until approx 12.25
      I didn’t manage to get to the march however I did manage to do some filming.  Modern technology is great!   
      I have another couple of clips but I’d better concentrate on the day job for now. 

    36. Andrew Morton says:

      And to think that tartan Labour this very morning accused the BBC of bias in favour of Yes Scotland! Typically of course you can’t make comments, so people from England and abroad will assume it was a tiny crowd.
      As a football fan I know that you can clear a football stadium of 30,000 people in about 20 minutes.

    37. themadmurph says:

      We were near the front but by the time we got to the gates of Calton Hill there were people already at the top and the back of the march were still on the mound.

    38. Shinty says:

      BBC saying “more than 8,000 people”
      At least they have increased their figure from last year 🙂

    39. Andrew Morton says:

      Scotsman now saying:
      14:10 Police estimate around 8,300 participants at today’s event, while organisers’ estimates are between 15,000 and 20,000.”

    40. Shinty says:

      Sorry for multiple posts, but I’ve just checked BBC (in) Scotland online
      quote -‘Speakers at the rally include Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond’ (my emphasis) Surely if this is from ‘BBC Scotland’ it should be ‘our’ or ‘the’
      or am I nit picking.

    41. Davy says:

      What a cracker of an article, keep them coming Julie.
      Vote YES, Vote Scotland.

    42. Training Day says:

      Nicola says 30k. I’ll go with her figure rather than the MSM one.

    43. gillie says:

      From what I’ve seen my estimate is about 25,000+. FANTASTIC

    44. Morag says:

      I’m here! No idea how many others, but its awful crowded.

    45. proudscot says:

      If the BBC are “estimating” the attendance at the pro-independence gathering as “over 8000”, then we can safely double that figure and still be under the actual numbers present! I heard a presenter on the STV midday news bulletin, on the back of reporting the then impending march, quote a Better Together spokesperson who claimed they (i.e. BT) were handing out leaflets, and that was the best way to persuade the “don’t knows”! I couldn’t help wondering how many “don’t knows” were more likely to be impressed, and perhaps persuaded, by the obvious enthusiasm and positive attitude of the many thousands of marchers?

    46. annie says:

      Here’s a suggestion why don’t the marchers finish up at Murrayfield  we all know the capacity there and then there would be no doubt about “how many”

    47. mogatrons says:

      Just got back from my 2nd Independence Rally … met our man Stu (and stood him a drink  …it’s the least I could do in exchange for a badge .. :)) … and many other WoS members.
      I can categorically state the numbers were at least 3 x the BBC estimate and those of last year… as of course the Beeb know … but do we expect anything else from mother propaganda??

    48. Andrew Morton says:

      Needless to say the trolls have been out in force at the Hootsmon spinning the numbers like crazy. Doing my best to hold back the loonies but would welcome some help!

    49. gillie says:

      GREAT DAY, GREAT DAY what can I say ……. GREAT DAY.

    50. mogatrons says:

      Andrew Morton says:

      Needless to say the trolls have been out in force at the Hootsmon spinning the numbers like crazy. Doing my best to hold back the loonies but would welcome some help!
      …. tempted as I am, I feel the wiser policy is to leave them under the bridge talking to themselves…. our time is more wisely spent with don’t knowers. 😉

    51. Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus says:

      The police are saying 8,300, Sturgeon is saying 30,000.

      Let’s assume the police figure is more accurate shall we?

    52. Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus says:

      “I can categorically state the numbers were at least 3 x the BBC estimate”

      Were they 3 times the size of the police figure of 8,300?

      Should we believe the estimate of someone who was been on the march, is swept up in the excitement, has an interest in presenting the march as having a massive turnout, and has no official experience of estimating crowd sizes?

      Or the police, who are neutral and have considerable experience of estimating the size of crowds?

      Its a rhetorical question.

    53. Andrew Morton says:

      Depends what you’re counting. For all you know, the police may have counted those assembling in the High Street whereas, those there have confirmed that the queue of those waiting actually stretched down the Mound.

    54. Annibale says:

      Got away from the billygoats again, Scipio?

    55. Andrew Morton says:

      I have spent many a frustrating afternoon at Tynecastle and a crowd of 8,000 woul only just fill the Wheatfield stand and half the away end. Coming out in that crowd you’d have no problem in catching a bus. I suspect the cops only counted part of the crowd.

    56. Yodhrin says:

      Anyone know if there’s any coverage of the event online? Just switched on BBC News channel and the headlines/story for the hour are; hostage standoff in Kenya, Milibungler pledging anemically to roll back the bedroom tax, a couple of typical time-filling human interest wanks….and that’s it. Not even a mention of the march.

    57. Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus says:

      “I suspect the cops only counted part of the crowd.”

      Why would they do that?

    58. Indy_Scot says:

      It amazes me how pathetically sad are some individuals are.

    59. Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus says:

      Catalonia independence rally 2012: lowest estimate 600,000, highest estimate 2 million

      Scottish independence rally 2013: lowest estimate 8,000, highest estimate 30,000

    60. Fiona says:

      On the train back to Glasgow. Great day, lovely atmosphere.

      Had the pleasure of meeting Stu briefly and shaking his hand 😀

    61. tartanfever says:

      Scotsman journalist Patrick McPartlin says on twitter:
      Police reckon up to 15k folk on #indymarch #indyref
      then followed by:
      Now hearing at least 20,000 folk on #indyrally #indyref

    62. Fiona says:

      I don’t really care how many people were there (answer: shitloads) but I certainly don’t think anyone should feed the troll
      FGS ignore!

    63. mogatrons says:

      To our resident troll;
      Last year the beeb claimed 2000, police 5000, and photographic evidence demonstrated more than 10,000
      Why would the Beeb underestimate the numbers ?
      Don’t bother answering … it was a rhetorical question.;)
      You can post your apologies once the photographs demonstrate my accuracy.:)

    64. themadmurph says:

      @Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus
      I’m not personally calling the police lying bastards, but we all know sometimes they tell porkies, like Hillsburgh, or they act as the governments storm troopers like the miner strikes.  So you go ahead and delude yourself they are the correct figures.  As someone who was there today, I was proud to see so many of my fellow travellers out to for a public show of support for independence.  It gives me great hope for next year.  So you toddle off and play with your nice little Better Together friends, there’s a good chap!

    65. Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus says:

      “Had the pleasure of meeting Stu briefly and shaking his hand”

      The cult-like adoration some of you have for the ‘rev’ on this site is rather worrying.

      He’s not a god.

    66. Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus says:

      “photographic evidence demonstrated more than 10,000”

      Which photographic evidence showed that there were more than 10,000?

    67. mogatrons says:

      Troll, … jealousy does not become you.

    68. themadmurph says:

      @Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus
      He’s not a god, but a very insightful man.  You my friend, are a troll, now jog on!

    69. Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus says:

      “I’m not personally calling the police lying bastards, but we all know sometimes they tell porkies”

      Why on earth would the police (who let’s not forget now answer solely to the Scottish Government) lie about the turnout?!

      If anyone’s going to lie about it then its those who have a vested interest in either boosting or lowering the figures – so Sturgeon and the march organisers, and the BBC and pro-unionists respectively.

    70. Baheid says:

      Sitting in the bar at Waverley station waiting for train,had a great day at the mound. 
      Great crowd, great speakers. ,

    71. The Flamster says:

      PCSA – STFU x 30,000

    72. Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus says:

      Does anyone know whether the march organisers spoke to their equivalents in Catalonia before arranging this march in order to get some ideas about how to drum up support for it and to get more people to turn out?

      The Catalans obviously did something right if they could get (at least) 600,000 people to march for independence. 

      I know polling figures suggest far more Catalans support independence than do Scots, but nonetheless you’d think there must be some things the march organisers in Scotland can learn from them for the next march next year?

    73. callum says:

      We arrived a little late and started at the high street at 1, arriving last at the entrance to carlton hill where even at 1.30 we had to wait to funnel up the wee road.  Quite jovial, mix of rich, poor, old, young, families, first timers, old hands.  We couldn’t get within sight of the actual stage so we watched the big screen for a while, bought stickers and went for a late lunch in town.  Fabulous.  My 4yr old boy had a great time as well.

    74. Taighnamona says:

      Got there too late for a badge but didn’t mind so much when I saw the hundreds gathered around the wings flag….we marched near the front to Calton hill …but sadly, for personal reasons were not able to stay for the rally. On the way back we passed thousands stretching all the way back to the start at High Street. As the one o clock gun went off the last of the marchers was just leaving High Street….that was a lot of people today.  Awesome sight standing on the bridge watching the last few hundreds starting out on the march and in the distance seeing the wave of saltires trailing round the mound. 
      Stu, i’d love it if you could sell your badges ahead of next years march 🙂

    75. Wee folding bike says:

      ? 2:59? 2:59
      25 Apr 2012 – Uploaded by TheBacmaster
      “Badge” is a song performed by Cream, written by Eric Clapton and George Harrison. It was 

    76. Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus says:

      “mix of rich, poor”

      Out of interest, how could you tell those on the march who were ‘rich’ and ‘poor’?

    77. mogatrons says:

      …. in the same way we can tell a troll …. common sense. 😉

    78. Roboscot says:

      The police don’t estimate the number. The city council staff estimate the number then pass it on to the police.

    79. Famous15 says:

      Home again…tired but happy. My rich brother in law and my sister and my poor wee grand bairns and my moderately poor wife and my breaking even daughter had a fantastic time on the hill…very uplifting and reassuring that not all scots are perhaps too poor or too stupid…Ach it all went well…the police inspector told me that their estimate was over 30,000 but the bosses might round it down!

    80. Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus says:

      “the police inspector told me that their estimate was over 30,000 but the bosses might round it down!”

      30,000 to 8,300 is a significant rounding down…..

      Why would the police bosses ’round down’ by such a significant amount?

    81. Famous15 says:

      The bleating of the Cartaginian clown pbSA confirms that it was very successful otherwise why does he come on here to diminish our obvious popularity?

    82. Seasick Dave says:

      Fantastic turnout today and wonderful to see so many different flags.
      Surprisingly, hardly any SNP flags on display at all.
      The tide is definitely turning for a YES vote.

    83. Annibale says:

      Did the police report 8300 directly to you, or did you get your figure via the media?

    84. Seasick Dave says:

      Haven’t you declared on previous threads that you are a supporter of Independence?

    85. Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus says:

      “why does he come on here to diminish our obvious popularity?”

      I’m not diminishing anything, I’m merely trying to dampen down over-enthusiasm a wee bit in order to stop people getting carried away and complacent.

      While at the same time suggesting ways in which the next march can have even more people attending – such as my suggesting earlier that the march organisers should speak to the equivalents in Catalonia about how they managed to get so many hundreds of thousands more people to attend their independence march.

    86. Famous15 says:

      To the Carthaginian….because that is what we do!

    87. Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus says:

      “Haven’t you declared on previous threads that you are a supporter of Independence?”

      I am a supporter of independence. What gives you any indication otherwise?

    88. callum says:

      @pubiccornelius above.
      It was a sweeping generalisation statement to suggest that people from all walks of life, shapes and sizes were there.  I was at an anti-CJB demo in 1994 which got ugly and you could not say it had a diverse attendance.  I’m not a journalist, so I don’t need to add high quality thought through posts – i just posted from the heart, which a lot of fellow attendees seemed to be speaking from today.  (Ps, I’m socio-ecomomic A, which may annoy some who think yes voters are all C2DE.)

    89. Since the Beeb were to busy repainting John Smith house to even be present at the march they resorted to A Darling counting skills to get the numbers.

    90. Seasick Dave says:

      Does anyone have a good site to go to for photos from today?

    91. Seasick Dave says:

      Sorry, Julie, I should have said first that that was a very good article!

    92. Morag says:

      We’re in a pub at the bottom of the hill. Stu has just left to meet another group. It would be interesting to know exactly how many people were there, but it’s not that important. The place was heaving.
      Catalonia is a different matter entirely. They are marching for the right to hold a referendum. We have that right already. We were marching for fun. We had fun. We had nothing to prove. We’re going to win, but the number of people showing up today isn’t a factor in that.

    93. Erchie says:

      the clown’s nom de plume is Roman, not Carthaginian
      interestingly the only other person I saw trying the Catalonia tack was the Unionist Lawyer Loveandgarbage.
      of course in Catalonia at least some of the Press gives the Independence Movement a voice, unlike here.
      Loveandgarbage pretends a studied apathy, the mask slipped today. Trying to inculcate apathy is part of the BT tactic 9f shutting down debate.
      underestimating the crowd, barely acknowedging it, another part, as much as trying to paint advocates of Independence as  nutters.
      It is interesting the reaction to the Panelbase poll where the question got asked after several questions that led people to think on the policies at Holyrood.
      The voices decrying that are saying “you can’t let people think about thus, they might overcome their fear and vote ‘YES”
      The Union is an oligarchy, its only argument is fear

    94. Famous15 says:

      Sorry but I forgot the banner which indicated the marriage with Darling was over. I am still singing “Do not forsake me Oh my darling on this our wedding dayaaaaaa” You had to be in the Aberdeen YES group to see the humour…..I am still chortling.

    95. Erchie says:

      does Stu still have “the hair”?

    96. gillie says:

      YES campaigners marching => 25,000
      NO campaigners marching = 0
      Proof positive that Yes Scotland is a grassroots campaign. Proof positive that Better Together are just crass.
      Everyone should be proud what they did today.

    97. scottish_skier says:

      When will there be a pro-union march?
      In Quebec, these were regular, with the federalists organising a huge one just ahead of the vote saying ‘Canada loves Quebec, please stay’! Some believe it was enough just to swing the vote marginally back to No.
      It’s strange that the pro-union campaign can’t do the same if there’s supposedly a lot of grassroots support for the union?

    98. Sneddon says:

      Pubic  ha, ha, ha Goodbye.

    99. Andrew Morton says:

      Why don’t we crowd fund a No rally under similar conditions and see how many people turn up?

    100. scottish_skier says:

      BTW I was there and it was mobbed. Did they whole March, meeting a few from here (hello all who said hi – was great to put some names to faces), but as was on dad duty had to leave the rally by ~2.30 as wee yin’s legs were giving in.
      Rev Stu looks nothing like that Mail photo. He was god like. At least 7 ft with a huge muscular frame and piercing blue eyes. There was a visible glowing aura around him that was spellbinding. I felt it necessary to prostrate myself at his feet and offer my services unthinkingly.

    101. scottish_skier says:

      Why don’t we crowd fund a No rally under similar conditions and see how many people turn up?
      Oh you’d get a modest turnout. Orange sashes and flutes aplenty. Banners would be ‘BNP North East’ and ‘National Front Glasgow’, ‘UKIP for No’, ‘Borders Conservatives’ etc. 

    102. Andrew Morton says:

      Fairly decent Guardian report here though it puts Alex Salmond out front rather than emphasising the Yes Scotland nature of the event. Accepted a 20,000 figure without any of the  BBC nonsense.

    103. Andrew Morton says:

      Oh you’d get a modest turnout. Orange sashes and flutes aplenty. Banners would be ‘BNP North East’ and ‘National Front Glasgow’, ‘UKIP for No’, ‘Borders Conservatives’ etc. 
      Worth doing then?

    104. Davy says:

      ” Publius C. S. A. ” I have to ask, are you Duncan Hothersall in disguse ? because your style of writeing is very similar with the so-called innocent wind-up bolloxs and Duncy has been known to use other aliases.
      Vote YES, Vote Scotland.

    105. Boorach says:

      Sorry to pee on your parade (apologies for pun) Skier but a pro-union rally is very much on the cards…

    106. Adrian B says:

      “No campaigners have announced plans for a massive show of support for the Union called the Dependence Rally.”

    107. Andrew Morton says:

      I see that the BBC are busily rowing back on the numbers angle as they’re now quotating the organisers’ figures now as well as the police guesstimate.

    108. Delia says:

      “No campaigners have announced plans for a massive show of support for the Union called the Dependence Rally.”

      My mum won’t let me go.

    109. Angus McLellan says:

      @Skier: Rory Stewart (Tory MP for Penrith) is planning to march along Hadrian’s Wall “to alert the English to the dangers of next year’s referendum on independence“. Now call me dim, but Hadrian’s Wall doesn’t seem like an obvious symbol of Better Togetherness. So, not quite what you were after, but it’s as close as anyone has come so far.

    110. Jimbo says:

      Had a great day today. It was good to see so many Wingers turn up. Sent a few dozen photos to Stu via Facebook. The uneven terrain on Calton Hill caused the crowd to fragment somewhat so the crowd pics are not as good as last year’s.
      A couple of photos of the Wings flag in the crowd can be seen here:

    111. Andrew Morton says:

      Would have been interesting to see aerial pics or some from the Nelson Monument.

    112. gerry parker says:

      Had a great day, did the whole route, started just in front of the Catalonian contingent and got a good spot right at the front of the stage.  Missed the Q for badges at the pub but managed to meet Stu on the hill and pass on my appreciation for all he does.

    113. kininvie says:

      @ Andrew Morton,
      I imagine that was what the helicopter Doug was complaining about was up to. We might see the footage….unless it was an MI5 helicopter, of course.

    114. megsmaw06 says:

      Had a great day today, even though we got a bit lost and couldn’t find the WoS gang. I even got my photo taken with Nicola Sturgeon (who seems to have had a new haircut that suits her better).  😀

    115. AlexMci says:

      Great day and about 30000 would be a good estimate. Thought Alan Bisset was tremendous.

    116. Sneddon says:

      SS are you that wasn’t me 🙂

    117. Seasick Dave says:

      I spotted that helicopter latched to the back of a photographer/cameraman outside of the Albannach at the start of the March.

    118. Dramfineday says:

      Julie, you must have almost given up looking for a response to your article this late in the day following the explosion of delight at today’s rally. So please, have patience with us. It was very well written and very scary.
      Once upon a day, I used to work for a rather large telecoms company that had some very large call centres. The director of call centre management demanded (and got a commitment) that all us marketing and project management wallah’s should be sent to work in the call centre nearest to their location – to get a weeks flavour of what his people did. Having a Scottish working location (but pay and rations in Hemel Hempstead) I ended up in Bristol! Aw well.
      To be honest, on the first day I arrived, I thought I’d walked into Terry Pratchett’s disc world. There were witches over there, Romans over there, a football team over there…argh. Anyhow, after four days, the witches wouldn’t let me in (females only) the Romans had up sticks and were now Vikings and the football team wouldn’t let me in because I hadn’t scored highly enough in the sales points. I came away vowing that I would NEVER work in one of those places again – I was shattered.
      Hat tip to the Call Centre director – “you ask my people to deliver against some of the schemes you people concoct -how did you like trying to deliver it?” I did not like it at all! And, judging by your article – what little fun there was has gone out of it. l asked one of the line managers at the time, what was the purpose of the Witches, Romans, football teams etc., She replied, “to try and keep them sane and reduce staff turnover”. Time for a rethink about the whole business.

    119. Andrew Morton says:

      I see that our Roman friend has given up and is trolling on the Hootsmon now.

    120. scottish_skier says:

      More people marched in Edinburgh today than voted UKIP Scotland-wide in 2011.
      Was equivalent to just shy of 1% of the regularly voting electorate.
      Impressive for a political rally.

    121. Dorothy Devine says:

      Really enjoyed the day   – Cynical ,love the photos though last years sky was better!
      Had a quick word with Stuart and was delighted to meet a few others.
      Derek Batemans blog is excellent and if anyone caught STV news attempting to brush the rally under the carpet by allowing Blair McDougal to witter on about NO Scotland and how it was talking to folk not preaching to the converted, it becomes even funnier!
      Hope Leith served up excellent fish and chips to Conon and Bugger the Panda ( I was a tad alarmed by the presence of two of those bears )

    122. Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus says:

      “Fairly decent Guardian report here though it puts Alex Salmond out front rather than emphasising the Yes Scotland nature of the event”

      Which is exactly what I said would happen and exactly why I said that Salmond should put his ego to one side for once and take a back seat at this rally at least – in order to allow the views of others within the yes campaign to get some attention, prominence and publicity.

    123. Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus says:

      “More people marched in Edinburgh today than voted UKIP Scotland-wide in 2011.”

      Yes, no one in Scotland supports ukip. What’s your point exactly?

      More people were just down the road at Hibs v St Mirren than were up on Calton Hill. 

    124. scottish_skier says:

      Yes, no one in Scotland supports ukip. What’s your point exactly?
      Clearly, you missed it. Sorry about that.

    125. david says:

      wow, that was an amazing turnout for something that wasnt advertised, lots of very different people. sturgeon was awesome as usual

    126. Andrew Morton says:

      Publius, you’ve been outed. You’re on the Hootsmon at this very minute trolling as a No supporter. Why don’t you just burger off?

    127. Andrew Morton says:

      Cynical: loved it!

    128. IainGraysSubwayLament says:

      Pubicus can’t wait to tell us all about the massive No  march that betters today’s one.
      Otherwise it’s hard to come to any other conclusion than that he’s a sad little BritNat twit upset that the grassroots support for Yes is already self-evidently far great than for No. And is only going to grow stronger.

    129. Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus says:

      “Publius, you’ve been outed. You’re on the Hootsmon at this very minute trolling as a No supporter”

      You appear to be lying. You will, of course, utterly fail to come up with one single solitary example of me expressing support for the no campaign or in any way supporting it. 

    130. JamesLSnook says:

      Hibs attendance today: 9,417. Rally: about twice that.
      And if that was 20k out of a population of 5m, then the equivalent in London for an England-only issue would be 200k.
      So doubting the significance of the whole thing, and no attempt to rain on our parade will be any use.

    131. Breastplate says:

      IainGray, you’re right, we are only going to get stronger. That’s why we have the creatures scuttling around in panic belittling everything.
      Well said Skier.

    132. david says:

      shook hands with nicola sturgeon today, as someone who admires and respects her a great deal , im buzzing, christine graham was extremely pleasant and approachable too

    133. For die says:

      Great day. Delight to say hello to stu and what a coincidence that the deputy first minister Nicola Sturgeon was at the albannach!

    134. Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus says:

      “the grassroots support for Yes is already self-evidently far great than for No”

      There’s no doubt whatsoever that grassroots support for yes is obviously larger than that for no – people get inspired by change and by nationalism, its very hard to get inspired by the status quo.

    135. Juteman says:

      Great day. Good to meet a few Wingers. 🙂

    136. Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus says:

      “Hibs attendance today: 9,417. Rally: about twice that”

      According to the official police figure there were 8,300 at the rally. 

      “doubting the significance of the whole thing”

      Let’s face it, in terms of convincing people to vote yes the rally was insignificant – the vast majority who attended are already committed yes voters. 

      Perhaps if Salmond had put his ego to one side for once and taken a back seat in order to allow the views and plans of other independence parties and organisations more publicity, prominence and media coverage then the rally might have succeeded at convincing some of the non-SNP supporters we need if we’re going to win the referendum.

    137. IainGraysSubwayLament says:

      Indeed Breastplate. I find more than a trifle amusing that some Britnat twits don’t seem to have a clue what the purpose of a political rally and march is either.
      We’ve already seen the proof on here that it has done precisely what was intended.
      A great job and congratulations to all involved in organising it.

    138. Juteman says:

      You must have a hectic social life Pubic, if this is your big Saturday night out. 🙂
      What a sad, lonely creature.

    139. Jen says:

      Excellent article, I once worked in the tax credit office some years back and it put me off for life.  These companies want people to deliver good customer service under evil working conditions.   However, it’s not good customer service they are after, its doing the minimal like when you call an energy supplier. 

    140. david says:

      the calibre of the yes scotland people is very high. compare them to the no campaign and it becomes embarrasing

    141. Murray McCallum says:

      Sola creatura triste. Just to be clear.

    142. JamesLSnook says:

      I was there, dear Publius, unlike you, and I know 20k people when I see them. You’ve already been told about police ‘estimates’ of demonstration attendance, though I note you’re not willing to be told. Ah well – your problem. I send you a big, brotherly hug and I hope you feel better soon. xx

    143. Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus says:

      “We’ve already seen the proof on here that it has done precisely what was intended”

      But everyone here is already a committed yes voter. 

      Surely we should be working on things that will convince people who don’t already plan to vote yes rather than simply preaching to the converted?

    144. Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus says:

      “You must have a hectic social life Pubic, if this is your big Saturday night out. What a sad, lonely creature”

      Er……….you know that you’re here posting on Saturday night too don’t you?!

    145. Murray McCallum says:

      Pubicus parva genetals – what model of pilum do you prefer?

    146. jim mitchell says:

      The main worry for the NO’s, the one they won’t admit is that those extra folk must have come from somewhere else, in voting terms at least, and the only places they could have come from to the YES side is from the don’t knows and the No’s.
      That’s why they are so desperate to limit the size that they are bothering to comment on something that they otherwise claim is of little or no consequence.
      Congratulations to all concerned. 

    147. Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus says:

      “I was there, dear Publius, unlike you, and I know 20k people when I see them”

      What specialist technique did you use to estimate the size of the crowd?

    148. call me dave says:

      Just back home from the march.
      Good turn out and some good inspiring speeches 
      I see the two pandas were there too (excellent costumes) who ever you were.
      Tea time first and chill out later.

    149. Marcia says:

      Sour Puss, as the march was videod from start to finish we will know soon what the true figures were.
      Tried  to meet up at the arranged spot but just couldn’t get near for all the crowds lining the streets before the march. Had to wait over an hour after the march set off to met up with my local lot coming down the Royal Mile. A very good day out.

    150. Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus says:

      “The main worry for the NO’s, the one they won’t admit is that those extra folk must have come from somewhere else, in voting terms at least, and the only places they could have come from to the YES side is from the don’t knows and the No’s”

      What ‘extra folk’ are you talking about?! Is there no chance that the extra 3,000 or so who attended this rally are yes voters who simply couldn’t attend last year’s rally, or didn’t get around to it?! 

      Polls suggest around 35% of the electorate support independence so quite obviously even if the attendance today was 30,000 then there were a significant number of yes voters who didn’t attend – there is no indication whatsoever that any extra attendees today were people who have been converted to the yes cause recently.

    151. Dramfineday says:

      Anent the march and rally, Mr Dram, Mrs Dram, Mr Dram Junior and Miss Dram Junior (age 3 1/2) made it to the event. We even made it to the door of the Albanach but no more progress could be made for the press of the crowd (and this was around 11.30). No banner and no Rev Stu to be seen. So we adjourned to Plan A location – just in case. Two bands, lots of room, photo taken at the gold postbox. The we retired back to the Albanach and spotted, but could not reach a lady with a white wings T Shirt (I had the natty yellow one on). Got on the chat with a lovely young woman and her family who turned to be another winger (scaredycat) on the look out for the boss.

      The march started at 12.00 on the dot and it took us around five minutes to get into it (due to the small access gap in the safety barriers). By the time we had turned the corner onto the bridge, the bands and the initial start crowd were just turning the corner at Waterloo place. What a sight.

      When the Drams reached that same position at the foot of the bridge – the crowds were still coming around the corner at the top end (from the Royal Mile). Brilliant. We then perambulated up past St Andrew’s House where we came to a (safety) stop caused by the bottle necking around the hill entrance . Around that time I recognised (from his pre posted description) our old chum wee folding bike (wings badge holder) and we introduced ourselves and I tried to convince him that he should start a stall in Edinburgh selling Scotland buffs, as around New Year they are as scarce as hobby horse’s doo. I was quite surprised when he declined this wonderful business opportunity.

      We eventually made it to the top of the hill where I went in search of some food and toilets – “what do we want, more toilets, when do we want them, now!” With Mrs Dram  standing for at least 45 mins to get into one (and some ladies quite discomforted) . Ironic then that during our wait Carolyn Leckie was rightly reminding us of the importance of women in the debate and what they could bring to it. Note to organisers – more loo’s at the next event so that our women folk (and men folk come to think of it) don’t get distressed – thank you!

      I managed to meet Bugger the Panda (wings badge holder) and had a chat – just missed Conan and missed the Rev completely – despite wandering around the hill for a look, saw neither hide nor hair. Blast, it’ll need to wait until next year. Meantime the money is in the post.

      We left fairly early, as small person was getting weary, but we had a great day. Nice to meet the people I did and sorry Rev, it’ll have to be another day.

      My estimate of people there? The thick end of 20K.
      PS Anent the wings badge holders – I hate them, stuck up so and so’s

    152. scottish_skier says:

      But everyone here is already a committed yes voter. 
      Do you mean at the rally or readers of Wings?
      In the first case, a majority already committed no doubt, but who knows how many undecided’s went along to listen. In the latter case, no’s and undecided’s could quite possibly massively outweigh committed Yes by a huge margin but there’s no way of knowing. The readership of wings is orders of magnitude higher than those that post after all.
      Have you got my earlier point yet BTW? I just don’t want to clog the comments area with long posts trying to put into detail what I meant given everyone else seems to have understood if it’s not necessary.

    153. Murray McCallum says:

      Pubicus parva genetals 
      quadratum aut rotundum?

    154. John grant says:

      Brill day good to meet you today your reverence keep kicking them in the balls , hey skier met yer mum n dad today proud parents lol I even bought your dad a drink lol

    155. jim mitchell says:

      Now folks you can see that the best way to annoy some others is to totally ignore their point and have a dig at that which you know they really support, they then cannot resist rising to the bait to try and protect that which is closest to their warped ideals!
      Pathetic really. 

    156. muttley79 says:

      Enjoyable day with the march and speeches.  I feel quite tired now to be honest.  It was good to meet Rev Stu and a few regulars on here.  I have to say it is a bit of a shock to meet people in real life (not in a bad way), after spending time on here talking about our important political times.   

    157. IainGraysSubwayLament says:

      As I said, I find it very amusing that a Britnat twit doesn’t have the slightest idea what a political rally is for. When the incompetent ‘concern troll’ Pubic starts castigating No for their massive failure in rallying the grassroots (compared to the obvious  success of Yes) then some very gullible souls might even find his laughable attempts at pretence on here remotely convincing. Sadly for him he’s clearly fooling nobody but himself right now.
      “I was there, dear Publius, unlike you, and I know 20k people when I see them.”
      Quite so James. We already know that Britnat twits in labour are very touchy about downplaying crowd sizes after they tried too for the massive march and rally against Iraq that humiliated their hero Blair.
      I well remember that march in scotland too and no amount of spinning from Blair’s inept little trolls could diminish either the obvious grassroots feeling it tapped into and enthused or the lasting effect it had for those who were there to get involved more deeply in campaigning.
      So it will be with this and the enthusiasm it generated shines through in posts already.
      The Britnat twit still hasn’t explained why his NO side should be given a free ride and no criticism from him for their abject failure to even come close to accomplishing what YES did today.
      It’s all too telling I’m afraid.
      “the calibre of the yes scotland people is very high. compare them to the no campaign and it becomes embarrasing”
      Bang on the money david. They just aren’t very bright when it comes right down to it and the proof is on here for all too see.

    158. Helpmaboab says:

      Well,  I failed miserably to rendezvous with the Wings contingent but I still enjoyed the day hugely. I ended up elbowing my way into the “Yes Montrose” group for no other reason than they were a friendly looking lot.
      I spotted Bugger (The Panda) thanks to his distinctive T-shirt. He’s very distinguished in the flesh. There was also an equally-handsome individual carrying a saltire with a portrait of MajorBloodnok….
      1) Seeing the vast range of people who attended. We’re a VERY broad church.
      2) Shouting “YES!” until I was hoarse during the speeches of Eck and Alan Grogan.
      3) Alan Bisset’s recitation of “Vote Britain”. The effect it had on the crowd was astonishing. Laughing one moment; staring thoughtfully at the ground the next moment.
      4) Exchanging pleasantries with Ruth Wishart. I might be developing an innappropriate crush.
      5) Remembering just how gloriously beautiful our capital is.

    159. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “Polls suggest around 35% of the electorate support independence so quite obviously even if the attendance today was 30,000 then there were a significant number of yes voters who didn’t attend – there is no indication whatsoever that any extra attendees today were people who have been converted to the yes cause recently.”

      I’ve come late to this conversation, but did you have a point?

    160. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      PS Can everyone go and post in the rally thread now rather than cluttering up Julie’s fantastic post? Ta.

    161. gillie says:

      So when are we getting a NO march?
      After all it would be unfair for the unionists to be denied an opportunity to parade their dependency.

    162. Marcia says:

      I have to say that the European groups there today made it quite a colourful event. I liked the tenement on the Royal Mile that had a big spider that seemed to go up and down  – no doubt a reference to Robert de Bruce.

    163. IainGraysSubwayLament says:

      “PS Can everyone go and post in the rally thread now rather than cluttering up Julie’s fantastic post? Ta.”
      Fair point Stu. The article was excellent and deserving of more comment but the great event today were always bound to spill onto the comments as it was occurring.

    164. moujick says:

      Said hello to Stu on the hill – nice to speak to you!! – only other Winger I met was the gent afterwards – forgot to swap names/introduce myself in all the excitement – what a day, fantastic.

    165. JamesLSnook says:

      Sorry, Stu, was going to post some crowd estimating here but just seen your redirection…

    166. gerry parker says:

      Julie, great article, I’ve worked in the call centres, the absolute pits, we only remained sane by being mad, and of course ignoring the management.

    167. GP Walrus says:

      “I’ve come late to this conversation, but did you have a point?”
      Yes he does – right in the middle of his forehead.

    168. Wee_monsieur says:

      Great article Julie. Hope to hear more from you. Stu is good, but he needs the help!

    169. Erchie says:

      it looks like the Helicopter might have been there for press photo, given KennyF of the North Briton on Sunday has been tweeting a pic.
      Typical that PDSA turns up when he reckons RevStu is away from the site admin screen

    170. A2 says:

      call centre worker says:
      21 September, 2013 at 9:44 am
      I’ve worked for two of the largest call centre employers in Scotland and neither of them were like that. I still work for one of them. I support independence 100%, but this call centre analogy is pish.

      Not in my short experience working in one, I’m glad your experience was better than mine , “No Chunky boots” could be sent home for not having your tie except for the last Friday of the month where you got the treat of not having to wear one even though you would never ever have met a member of the public. No talking to your colleges, forced to fill in the “top 100 companies to work for” questionnaire with the implicit suggestion that it wasn’t as anonymous as claimed. A thoroughly dehumanising experience.

    171. CameronB says:

      Stopped off for a pint after the hill, and announced my support for Yes to the whole pub. I was actually having a chat across a horseshoe bar, but there was no music and the discussion became a little passionate. Anyway, all of the mainly young onlookers (early twenties), were all smiling. I’ll not bothered whether approvingly or with pity, but the middle aged couple I was talking with were scarry, scarey Unioooooonist. Salmond is a self-serving wanna be dictator, TPTWTS, we just canny do it. Why would folk with university degrees come out with this drivel?
      Her – working class background who wants a more equitable social democracy. Admittedly ignorant of the issues and the facts, unable to justify her position. Accepted that holding an unjustified prejudice against any thing or person is a bigoted opinion. May check out Wings.
      Him – relatively privileged background, small business owner offering a ‘Mac service’. ‘I’m all right Jack, the Union is working for me’. Will vote no, despite admittedly sharing his wife’s lack of awareness.
      Given the apparent direction of travel capitalism is taking towards a global norm of “capitalism with Asian values”, is this the future we can look forward to? Time an motion monitored to the thousandth of a second, AND extended worker hours?
      A bit clunky in places but interesting read none the less.
      Further to Taylor and the natural imperative of Scientific Management;
      “Taylor was also critical of trade unions as he was opposed to the group activity. He regarded trade unions as unnecessary as the management and workers had the same interests in the spirit of scientific management. Further as optimum work and pay for each worker could be determined through scientific ways there was no scope of conflict between the workers and the management.”
      While I’m on a roll, at least in my own lunch break.
      “HUMAN RESOURCES Social Engineering In The 20th Century”

      P.S. Excellent post J.

      GP Walrus
      Is he a Unicorn?

    172. John Hannah says:

      I wonder …
      Are the cops required to have ‘x’ amount of resource per ‘x’ (estimated) amount of marchers (participants)?
      If so did they cover themselves by estimating their own allocated resource applied rather than the amount of participants?
      Does anyone know if the resource should be allocated by participants? Might be one for watching?

    173. GP Walrus says:

      Not a unicorn but certainly a huge prong

    174. Doug R says:

      Great article. I spent 6 fairly miserable years in a call centre so can totally identify with this analogy! Yours does sound a lot worse than the one I was in though

    175. Luke Stirling says:

      Enjoyed this article so much! I myself was working in a call centre last year, and Julie hits the nail right on the goddamn head. Amazing article.

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