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Wings Over Scotland

Meltdown man

Posted on August 08, 2012 by

When the history of the independence movement is written, and should the 2014 referendum result in a Yes vote, last night may be celebrated as one of those iconic “Portillo moments” about which the victors ask each other “Were you there?”

Like the Sex Pistols at the 100 Club, in the future the number of people claiming to have been watching last night’s episode of Newsnight Scotland may one day eclipse the population of the country. The BBC programme featured perhaps the most spectacular on-air implosion of a British politician that we’ve ever seen, wherein a senior Labour MP and Commons Select Committee chairman embarked upon a suicidal and sustained diatribe of thuggish, juvenile petulance the likes of which – well, let’s not spoil the fun if you didn’t see it. Take a look for yourself, from 1m 44s.

We’ve painstakingly transcribed the entire incident for posterity below, just in case you don’t believe the evidence of your own senses the first time. We’ve also added some analysis of our own, in red, because there’s a lot to take in and it’s easy to miss bits. (Regular readers will recognise this Labour tactic.) See you down there.


ISABEL FRASER: Well I’m joined now by Ian Davidson, who chairs the Scottish Affairs Select Committee. Thank you for coming in, Mr Davidson. It is a matter of fact, legally, that there is no knock-down argument on either side, and you could lose this if you go to court.

IAN DAVIDSON: No. I don’t think that is the case, actually. The overwhelming balance of legal opinion that we received, and I must admit I’m not a lawyer, was that it’s absolutely clear that the responsibility for the constitution, the relationship between Scotland and England, lies with Westminster, and that was quite specifically in the Scotland Act that was agreed by the Scottish people in the referendum in 1997.

[BZZZT! Hold on there, tiger. The referendum was NOT in fact on the Scotland Act, the Bill for which which wasn’t even drafted until 1998 – that is, the year after the referendum. So anyone claiming the 1997 vote was a mandate for the Act’s specific contents, as Mr Davidson expressly does here, is empirically and indisputably lying. The referendum offered devolution on a limited and exclusively take-it-or-leave-it basis. There was NO option for constitutional responsibility to be given to the then-prospective Scottish Parliament, so the fact that voters chose the only form of self-government available to them on the ballot paper cannot be deemed an expression of support for that particular form as opposed to others.]

Now, I do understand of course that if you pay lawyers enough, they will argue a contrary case.

[Which lawyers are currently being paid to offer a contrary opinion? Mr Davidson’s assertion borders on libel against those legal professionals who have published views on the subject which are at odds with his interpretation.]

No lawyer that we have come across at all says that the Scottish Government has got the power to conduct a referendum on their own. The most that they will say is that it’s an arguable case, as your speaker there said [Andrew “Lallands Peat Worrier” Tickell, in a short recorded segment preceding the interview], which means that it would end up being disputed in court.

IF: Right… that is quite an astonishing proposition, to say that the lawyers who are engaging in this who give the alternative viewpoint are doing it because if you pay a lawyer enough they’ll say anything. But two of the names –

ID: Your audience would agree, your audience would agree that if you hire a lawyer to fight a case for you he will fight that case, that’s the point of paying lawyers.

[Again, we’re not aware of any lawyers who have been hired or paid to present the view opposing Mr Davidson’s. To the best of our knowledge, all of those doing so have done so of their own free will and without payment. And of course, if lawyers simply say whatever their clients want them to say, why doesn’t this equally apply to the lawyers supporting Mr Davidson’s position?]

IF: Well, the point of the law in all of this is, there isn’t case law, we don’t know, you have eminent lawyers – Neil Walker at Edinburgh, Aileen McHarg at Strathclyde – you know, both saying “Actually, this could go the other way, because we don’t have the case law in this”. The point is, if you do not –

ID: But none of them say that it wouldn’t end up in court if the Scottish Government tried to do it on its own, that’s the point. None of them –

IF: Well, no, it WOULD end up in court if someone triggered that action, obviously, but that’s not the point. The point is whether you would win or lose in court.

ID (continually trying to interrupt): Well no it’s not, you see, no it’s not. Because the point is we want to have a speedy referendum. My side want to get this resolved, we want to have a referendum, because we think we’re going to win, quite frankly.

[Sound of tens of thousands of Newsnight Scotland viewers spluttering in their seats, perhaps imagining for some unfathomable reason that Mr Davidson’s “side” had in fact spent the 14 years since the establishment of the Scottish Parliament doing everything in its power to prevent a referendum on independence taking place, and stood for election in 2010 and 2011 on a policy of flatly opposing one.]

IF: Okay…

ID: And we believe that having an agreement between Westminster and Scotland through a Section 30 notice, where there is no dispute about the legality, is by far the best way forward. What we’re opposed to is unilateralism.

IF: Right. Well, if you want that, then legally there is nothing to stop you, tomorrow, putting in process the Section 30 permission. There is absolutely nothing to stop you doing that –

ID: That’s right. I think we should do that. Our committee –

IF: But will you attach conditions to it?

ID: Oh, of course! We will specify, we will specify –

[We never do get to find out what conditions would be “specified”, sadly.]

IF: But why “of course”? You must here separate out – before you explain that, you must here separate out the law, in which you could do that, you could get the Section 30 order through at any point, immediately, or you could attach conditions which then – that political decision to attach conditions – is where the problem lies legally. So what you’re doing is, instead of going ahead with a legal solution you attach conditions to it, which is a political decision.

ID: No, I understand that, I mean, I understand that Newsnat Scotland’s position is that the powers should be given to the Scottish Parliament and the SNP should do as they wish, we understand that. The reality is –

IF (plainly outraged): Mr Davidson, that is a ludicrous – I cannot let you continue – that is a ludicrous proposition to say –

ID: Well, I don’t believe it –

IF: I am asking you –

ID: And I’m about to answer you if you won’t interrupt. Let me answer. Let me answer.

IF: I am asking you a perfectly reasonable question that I’m entitled to ask –

ID: Of course. And I’m entitled to answer. And I’ve answered it partly in the way I wanted, and I’m now –

IF: And you’re suggesting that I’ve predicated my question on a preconception about what’s an appro-

ID: Well of course! I mean, that’s a general political view, that Newsnat Scotland is biased in favour of the Scottish Parliament handling all these powers themselves.

[Blimey! It is? Can you point us to any recorded examples of this “general political view”? Also, “Newsnat Scotland”? Really? That’s what you’re going with as a grown 62-year-old man in a senior political position, is it? Righto.]

Now, our position is not that, you see, our position is that we believe that Westminster have been given powers to deal with this matter by the Scottish people in the referendum. That’s where our legitimacy comes from. Our legitimacy comes from the Scottish people in the referendum. We have therefore got a responsibility to decide how these matters could be, should be dealt with.

[Eh? The 1997 referendum dealt with whether some powers were to be given to Holyrood. It did not “give” any powers to Westminster, because Westminster already possessed all those powers. And the referendum, as we’ve already noted, provided NO options by which the powers in question could be given to Holyrood, so there is no democratic legitimacy in their being retained by Westminster. In fact, that’s arguably what the 2014 referendum will ask the Scottish people to decide, for the first time in 300 years.]

We have the opportunity if we wish simply to hand over our powers to the Scottish Parliament, but we choose not to do so, and what we are saying in the committee is that the Scottish MPs, and the Scottish Affairs Committee, should have the responsibility for reviewing and supervising and assessing any Section 30 notice that is proposed.

[Did you get that, people of Scotland? These are not your powers, they are “our” – ie Westminster’s – powers. You might have voted in a majority Scottish Government which stood on a platform of conducting a referendum, but you’ll get whatever Westminster chooses to give you and you’ll lump it.]

IF (heroically calm): Right. Mr Davidson, before we continue, it perhaps might be appropriate at this stage if you would like to apologise, to me, for suggesting –

ID: Oh, certainly not!

IF: – for suggesting that I have come into this interview in any way biased against your argument and pro- one political party or the other. Nobody on this programme works in that way, and it is offensive that you should suggest that.

[Aside: can anyone recall the last time a British political interviewer was so angry with their guest that they actually asked for an apology during the interview? We’re struggling to think of one.]

ID: Well I have to say I don’t believe that. I have already complained, as has the Labour Party on a number of occasions, about the way in which Newsnat Scotland behaves, and I think you are clearly biased, and have been for a long time, against the Unionist parties, and if that causes you concern then I’m afraid you’ve just got to recognise that politics is about people exchanging views, and you’re not above the fray, and if you want to stand for election, do so, otherwise try and be more neutral!

IF: Well, Mr Davidson, I absolutely reject what you’ve said there, and I think there’s plenty of evidence to refute that, but let’s move on because we don’t have a lot of time. Are you suggesting you derive your mandate from the ’97 referendum?

ID: Yes. I think –

IF: Okay. Let’s then say, your argument is that people going into the ’97 referendum had in their mind whether a future referendum conducted by the Holyrood parliament would be intra- or ultra-vires, and they satisfied themselves to the fact that it would not be. I mean, how then can that referendum possibly relate to –

ID: No. No, no. No no, not at all, I mean, no no no, no, I mean, what, no no –


IF: – the mandate?

ID: But you’ve got to remember that in ’97 there was a whole number of things being proposed, one of which was the establishment of the Scottish Parliament, one of which was the ongoing relationship between Scotland and England – or Scotland and the rest of the United Kingdom – and responsibility for constitutional matters. And it was quite clear, because it was debated in Parliament at the time, that responsibility for constitutional matters should lie with Westminster.

[Just a second. So Westminster debated whether Westminster should retain Westminster’s power in constitutional matters, and decided that yes it should. Who exactly put the opposing case in this “debate”? The half-dozen or so SNP MPs out of the 650 in the House Of Commons and hundreds more in the Lords, where there’s no SNP representation at all? Well, that seems super-democratic. Carry on.]

Now that was what was in the Scotland Act, and that was what people voted for in the referendum. And therefore it’s quite clear that moral authority in this matter does lie with Westminster.

[Huh? Weren’t we talking about LEGAL authority, rather than MORAL authority? And exactly how do you get moral authority from a “discussion” process in which one side has over a thousand votes while the other side has six votes?]

IF: Canon Kenyan Wright, who obviously chaired the Scottish Constitutional Convention, he’s writing tonight that “If the Union’s unwritten constitutional claim to have the last word is so inflexible that it proves incapable of recognising Scotland’s constitutional claim, then they are in effect saying that the only way in which Scotland’s people can be sovereign is by independence”.

And that IS the logic of your position.

ID (sighing and shaking head sorrowfully as if explaining a simple principle to a particularly stupid child for the sixth or seventh time): No, that’s not actually, no no, that’s not the logic of my position at all, I’m afraid. My position, and the committee’s position, is that we want to see an agreement between Westminster and Holyrood on how the referendum should go forward, because we believe that it’s in Scotland’s interest to have this resolved as quickly as possible.

We want to have all the issues hopefully debated and agreed between the two Parliaments, but if it’s not possible to get an agreement then ultimately responsibility does lie with Westminster, and we ARE worried that those who fear defeat in the referendum will try and spin this out, either by taking it through a process that will result in legal action or by delaying through a number of other mechanisms.

[So that’s clear. If the SNP doesn’t come round to Westminster’s way of thinking during this “debate”, Westminster WILL lay down the law. This process sounds less like two parties reaching an agreement than blackmail at gunpoint, a “discussion” where the outcome is pre-ordained and to be imposed by force if consent is not forthcoming. We think we begin to understand how Eilidh Whiteford must have felt.]

IF: Ian Davidson, we have to leave it there, thank you very much indeed.


And that was that. We’ve criticised Isabel Fraser on occasion for not always keeping a grip on TV debates, but last night she deserved a medal for retaining her cool in the face of truly outrageous and offensive provocation from a boorish, arrogant imbecile who we wouldn’t have been able to stop ourselves from climbing across the desk and punching to the ground.

Transcribing the interview for this piece it only got more astonishing in its heady blend of mindboggling rudeness and incoherent hubris, as we noted segments that on first viewing had been obscured by the sounds of horrified gasps and the loud clang of our jaws bouncing off the floor. (Mr Davidson’s peculiar grasp of “moral authority” being a particularly striking example.)

But there’s little point in telling you what you’ve just seen and heard with your own eyes and ears. The truly staggering thing revealed by last night’s show is that the Unionist parties thought that (a) such a man was a suitable candidate to head a select committee in the first place, and (b) someone with his track record of crude misogynistic bullying was the right person to go on a political show and be interviewed by a woman unlikely to put up with it.

As nationalists, we are of course delighted that such a galactic-class halfwit is the face of our opponents. We can barely imagine the damage Mr Davidson’s appearance will have wreaked on his case among any undecided voters who witnessed it. We keenly await the damage-limitation exercise that will doubtless be launched today, although in fact we suspect it’s most likely to take the form of a tightly-observed radio silence from Unionist politicians and activists – even the most satanically adept spin-doctor would find it almost impossible to salvage anything from these nine minutes of televised slow-motion car-crash.

(Yesterday, without an inkling of what was to come, we suggested that “The choice of Ian Davidson as the Committee’s chairman… may turn out to be a disastrous error on Labour’s part”. We couldn’t have imagined how eerily prophetic those words would become, or how incredibly quickly.)

What we’ll be watching closely for, though, is whether the Scottish media whitewash it in the way they’ve done with countless other gaffes from those on the Unionist side, such as Iain Gray’s crass insulting of the people of Montenegro or Johann Lamont’s disgraceful fabrication of a non-existent rape case. This time, with one of their own in the firing line, they may not be so eager to hustle the story quickly into a corner.

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  1. 08 08 12 07:56

    BBC Accused | laidbackviews

  2. 25 03 15 21:50

    The Devo Files: Ian Davidson (Glasgow South West) | A Wilderness of Peace

100 to “Meltdown man”

  1. Iain Gray's Subway Lament says:

    Ian Davidson is crazy in the coconut. A bully, thuggish, ignorant, blustering, yes, all of these things. And yet even with all that going for him he is now destined to be remembered as the Labour MP who went more than a wee bit loopy on Newsnight scotland.

    It was Labour’s brainfart heard around scotland.
    Ian Davidson will now join that pantheon of joke politicians who are sniggered at behind their backs and never taken seriously again.
    That he is an MP is indeed staggering. That he was given such an influential posting on a select committee is so improbable it could almost  have been a deliberate act of sabotage by someone in Labour with a grudge against Davidson. Someone who knew full well that his despicable ‘personality’ and manifest lack of brainpower and sense would inevitably cause him to self-immolate in the spectacular fashion he now has. 

  2. redcliffe62 says:

    I am not sure Davidson understood the questions as some involved words with three syllables.

  3. megabreath says:

    and the mask slips.thus the foul nature of Mr Davidson is revealed and not a little of the paranoia of the party he represents.”Newsnat”?Yes,this is the sort of nickname that is bandied around political parties but not in public son.remarkable.I dont think I’ve ever seen anything quite like this although I’m glad I did.You know,I wonder how a certain Ms Lamont is feeling this morning?I wonder if any journalists,Newsnats or not,will ask her views on this matter and will the “Scottish”(sic) Labour Party issue an official statement on this “BBC Bias” that clearly exercises them so much?I’m not holding my breath either.Full credit to Isabel Fraser for her restraint,although I think there may certainly be a complaint winging its way to Labour HQ shortly,and full credit to the Rev Campbell for getting this up so quickly.As you say this mornings media will bear some examination.Surely they can’t ignore this-can they?

  4. Macart says:

    Ohhhhh that was just too good. He’s a deep cover SNP plant surely?!?!?!

    What a gift, bullying Isobel Fraser on national TV, accusing SG advisors of being mercenaries, laying claim to court decisions which haven’t happened yet. It gets better, accusing the BBC (oh jeez) of bias, effectively telling the world that YES we will be fixing the result of this referendum by placing political conditions on a legal constitutional order. The capper being dusting off Canon Kenyon Wright’s concerns and questions on the committee and basically having a dig at Civic Scotland.

    I wonder if they’ll still be behind secure autonomy today, or will they be re-thinking their debate stance in favour of independence just to get shot of Mr Davidson???

    What a howler of a performance. 😀 

  5. peter says:

    isabel fraser’s facial expression, 5mins into the clip, is priceless.

  6. Juteman says:

    I’m going to work with a smile on my face this morning.:-)
     What a clown!

  7. RandomScot says:

    Interesting that he frames it as “Westminster versus Scotland”

    His loyalty is obviously to Westminster rather than Scotland, but should hs handlers allowed him ou?

    What wil Johann Lamont say? Will she back her MP? 

  8. Holebender says:

    I would just like to point out the historical sequence of events here:
    The Labour Party won a General Election on the First of May 1997, giving them a mandate to introduce devolution. A referendum was held on the Eleventh of September 1997, asking Scotland’s electorate whether they wanted a parliament, and whether it should have tax varying powers. The Bill to set up that parliament was introduced at Westminster in 1998, after the referendum!
    Mr. Davidson needs to explain how Scotland’s electorate agreed to hand powers to Westminster when no member of the public knew the contents of the Bill (let alone the final form of the Act) at the time of the referendum. What we voted for was the principle of whether or not there should be a devolved parliament. The specific powers (or lack of powers) of the parliament were unknown at the time.
    Some of us have longer memories than Mr. Davidson appears to believe, and there are no buttons at the back of my head.

  9. Scott Minto (Aka Sneekyboy) says:

    3 congratulations are in order:

    1. Well done RevStu for staying up all night to transcribe this
    2. Well done Peter Curran (Moridura) for posting the clip so quick that no thoughts of “editing” could go through the BBC’s mind. (Nice to see him still in the Indy fight after earlier this week)
    3. Well done Holebender for digging out that important wee fact on the timing of the “mandate from the scottish people” Scotland Bill – POST VOTE

    But the part I am going to quote far and wide is this one:

    “We have the opportunity if we wish simply to hand over our powers to the Scottish Parliament, but we choose not to do so” Ian Davidson – Labour MP – Chairman of the Scottish Affairs Select Committee

    In other words, theres no reason we cant just give you further powers now, BUT WESTMINSTER WANTS TO KEEP CONTROL. They will never devolve more power.

  10. Tearlach says:

    Radio silence this morning, literally. Nothing on GMS. I suspect (for both Labour and the BBC) its like waking up after a wild party and thinking “He/I said what!!!!!!”, and then just pretending it did not happen.

  11. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “I would just like to point out the historical sequence of events here:”

    Lumme, of course. It was gone 3am when I was transcribing the interview and that small fact just slipped right past me. Piece amended accordingly. Nice one.

  12. McHaggis says:

    There really is just too much to say and not enough time..!

    A cretinous, misogynistic oaf of a man who insulted just about every person in Scotland either directly or on a broad brush basis with that performance. 

  13. I wasn’t there, because I refuse to be dictated to by the man. I watch Newsnicht at my time of choosing rather be cowed into submission by mere tv schedules. I spit on your watershed rules, besides I was close to being tucked up by then.
    Davidson = Dobber. Says it all really.
    All hail Peter Curran for recording these to YouTube, we should have a whip round for him.

  14. Theuniondivvie says:

    I thought it was also rather delicious that ‘Doing’ Davidson said ‘Now, I do understand of course that if you pay lawyers enough, they will argue a contrary case’, immediately followed byNo lawyer that we have come across at all says that the Scottish Government has got the power to conduct a referendum on their own.’

    For Labour to employ such a charmless, mysogynistc, wee nyaff may be regarded as a misfortune; for him also to be an idiot looks like carelessness.

  15. TheeForsakenOne says:

    When I heard talk of it last night I was hoping someone would post it up.In Davidson’s defence, he must have been very tired dragging his knuckles up from London to Pacific Quay and that probably made him more irritable than normal…

    I’ve never seen Isobel Fraser angry before but clearly she was very upset by his remark. I could practically see thunder and lightning when he said ‘Newsnat’ the first time.

  16. McHaggis says:

    The suggestion that all lawyers would argue black is white if you just pay them enough is incorrect and would suggest offensive to the legal profession.

    In my experience, the legal profession will quite rightly present arguable cases but they are very much against making fools of themselves presenting a nonsense argument, simply to pull in a fat fee.

    Is Davidson not aware that lawyers will advise clients NOT to proceed with a case because it stands no chance?

  17. Doug Daniel says:

    As some have said on Twitter, it may be that this was an orchestrated attempt to deflect attention from SNP criticism of the BBC. I imagine if Labour come out of hiding to try and give us their own spin on this, they’ll use such excuses. And by putting out such an obvious “big lie”, we’re now talking about how Newsnicht is NOT biased, rather than about how it IS, but just in the other direction.

    But if that was indeed the intention, then they should have used someone else. We all know that Davidson is an aggressive thug who despises being taken to task by a woman, but this was still a shocking thing to watch. If there was any level of pre-meditation on Davidson’s part, Fraser’s decorum soon triggered his misogynistic tendencies.

    This is a man with a long track history of showing he is unfit to be an elected representative. Davidson called the SNP neo-fascist, and got away with it. He threatened to give a female MP “a doing”, and got away with it. He showed a similar level of disrespect to Mandy Rhodes of Holyrood magazine a few weeks ago too. If he gets away with what he did last night as well, then the Scottish media is in an even worse state than we thought. That was absolutely disgusting, and it needs to be addressed or else the guy is going to think he can do whatever he likes and threaten any woman who tries to stand up to him.

    You know those signs in buses saying bus drivers deserve to be able to do their job free of intimidation? I think every woman involved in Scottish politics needs to have one of those whenever they have to deal with Ian Davidson.

    As for Izzy Fraser, she’s long been my favourite BBC journalist, but last night just highlighted what an outstanding professional she is. She may be a bit shaky when it comes to controlling groups, but she can be devastating when it comes to a one-to-one situation. She almost makes up for Gordon Brewer, Raymond Buchanan, Catriona Renton, Kirsty Wark, Gary Robertson, Glenn Campbell, Seonag MacKinnon and James Cook. Get that woman on Twitter!!!

  18. Dave says:

    Newsnat Scotland!  Genius!  Domain name registered.  I’ll have some fun with that one.
    You can just imagine the papers this morning were an SNP minister to lose it like that and start throwing the bias accusations around.

  19. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – I won’t have people accusing Brewer of bias. My view is that he despises all politicians, but he certainly doesn’t give the SNP a harder time than he does anyone else. Have we all forgotten who was in the chair when Iain Gray tried to defend Wendy’s referendum brainwave?

    Some of the others you list are clearly not impartial, and have documented Labour connections. There’s also a legitimate fact-based argument for the BBC in general being biased. But claiming that EVERYONE at the Corporation is anti-SNP just makes nationalists look paranoid, and discredits claims of bias when they ARE well-founded.

  20. Erchie says:

    Labour have done this “The BBC are biased against us” before.

    It seems to be either when they are under scrutiny, or the SNP is pointing out unfairness in coverage, and is intended to get the BBC self-censoring back to favour Labour.
    That Davidson repeated the “Newsnat” appellation either means he was out of his mind, using a private appellation in public, or they mean it, they want it to stick and they are going on the offensive (which ever way you take that) in order to cow the BBC

  21. Jeannie says:

    He must’ve managed to give his carer the slip for the evening. 
    I saw a couple of clips on Moridura of Davidson chairing the Defence Committee and it was clear he hadn’t a clue what he was on about.  It’s worth a watch – you can’t help wondering how someone with such a poor grasp of the subject matter is allowed to chair this committee.

  22. John Lyons says:

    Doesn’t he realise that his own statement that if you pay Lawyers enough they will argue anything destroys the strength of his arguemnt that Lawyers told him he’s right? Especally when the lawyer he listened to most was Jim Wallace, a rampant Unionist who had a similarly inept performance on the BBC in one of thier big debates. Davidson looks like a dinosaur. If he’s in touch with the 21st Century it must be the 21st century BC.

    At times like these you can forget policy. You look at the SNP when they appear on these programmes, Nicola Sturgeon, Fiona Hyslop, Linda Fabianni, thay are all calm and serene and in control because they are comfortable with who they are and where they are going.

    In stark Conrast Ian Davidson, the aforementioned Jim Wallace and the downright dire Johann Lamont seem ill at ease even before the difficult questions start. (And don’t get me started on the Feckless Rennie!)
    Forget policy, forget NATO, forget Euro or pound and all the rest of it. Even forget the “Do you agree…” question.
    Simply ask yourself this. Who do you want to run Scotland? the blustering out of touch Unionists who take thier orders from London or the SNP who actually live and work here and know what’s going on.

    Simple, isn’t it?

  23. Commenter says:

    Still can’t get over the fact that this balloon came on national TV and repeatedly used a childish nickname for the program that he was on, like some basement-dwelling internet guy commenting on a blog post.

    If this out-of-touch siege mentality towards Scotland and Scots TV programs is what going to Westminster does to the minds of our MPs, then we definitely need a yes vote in ’14.

  24. Theuniondivvie says:

    ‘I won’t have people accusing Brewer of bias. My view is that he despises all politicians, but he certainly doesn’t give the SNP a harder time than he does anyone else.’
    I’d agree, but the McPaxman act does get a bit wearing after a while. Still, I’ll take it anytime over the passive-aggressive Campbells etc.
    I wonder if last night’s intereview had been taken by another BBC Scotland journalist whether Davidson would have behaved in the same way? If it’s true (rather than a bit of kite flying) that SLAB think ‘Newsnat Scotland’ is pro SNP, Fraser must be right at the top of their hit list. One got the impression there was real venom being directed at IF by him, with her gender just adding a deeper, richer hue to his red mist.

  25. An Duine Gruamach says:

    That was a truly boorish, thuggish performance from Davidson.  Appalling, petty, dishonest, tribal , disgusting.  Nae wunner fowk are scunnert wi politics.

    Is this what the people’s party has skrunkled to?


  26. Appleby says:

    Incredible. I’ve not seen its like in quite some time. I’ll have to watch the video again and read the transcript again too.
    The sad thing is that you just know that if that was someone from the SNP or a pro-independence group then the whole “Yes” vote side would be tarred with that brush and the story would be across every news outlet for weeks (or longer) and cast up by politicians even after that. It will be very telling to see the result of this. Is it so outrageous even the “sweep it under the carpet” brigade will have to comment on it, albeit in a brief and quiet manner? Hard to spin a wreck like that.
    Ian Davidson is a vile man who should not be in politics at all, never mind a mainstream party.

  27. Barbarian says:

    Typical politician to be honest.

    I like the “Newsnat Scotland”. SNP plant? Perhaps it was Oldnat in disguise!

  28. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    Eddie Barnes of the Scotsman and Tom Gordon of the Herald are already on Twitter trying to downplay the incident as no big deal. Angus Macleod of the Times saying Labour should make Davidson apologise for “bonkers” outburst.

  29. andrew_haddow says:

    Can’t comment on Davidson, seeing as I’m not a paleontologist, but I thought Izzy done good.

  30. Morag says:

    Rather then the offensive outburst, I think Davidson should be taken to task for his misrepresentation of the meaning of the 1997 referendum.  That was absolutely egregious, indefensible claptrap.

    I voted “yes/yes” in 1997.  Suppose I had wanted to indicate a preference for the new Scottish parliament to have responsibility for constitutional affairs, how would Mr. Davidson suggest I should have voted?  I would very much like someone to ask him that (not me, because I could not possibly keep my temper with the creature).

    As has been pointed out, the Scotland Act dates from 1998, so nobody voting in 1997 could possibly have known what was in it.  Therefore, the voters cannot possibly be said to have assented to it.  Nevertheless, even if the voters had known the contents of the bill, his argument would still be invalid.  The Labour 1997 proposals were all that was on offer.  Take it or leave it.  There was no possibility for anyone to indicate a preference for “more please”.  To have voted against what was on offer because one desired more, would have been insane.

    I am, quite frankly, incensed that this stupid little man presumes to arrogate to himself my “yes” vote from 1997, a vote which would have been “yes” to any further powers being devolved and also to independence if it had been on offer, and claim that this vote gives him “moral authority” to deny me what I clearly voted for when I voted SNP in 2011.

  31. Caadfael says:

    Is he really that stupid?
    Or is he in reallity a “Deep Black” SNP plant having had a Damascine moment!
    “Newsnat” .. we should make great capital out of that, just as we have with Cybernats!!

  32. KOF says:

    Crivvens! What a performance last night!

    Anyhoo, thinking about what some people have suggested regarding the use of the term “Newsnat”, by Davidson, that it’s part of a deliberate attempt to deflect views of anti-independence bias at the BBC. There certainly have been references to “Newsnat” before, but wasn’t it Newsnetsctotland, that it referred to? I thought many independence supporters called Newsnight, “Newsnicht”. I’m wondering if he, Davidson, just got his thoughts confused? (Easy to do, I’m sure) I wonder if he meant to call it “Newsnicht”, but completely mucked it up?
    I can’t remember who came up with “Newsnat” originally, but I have a feeling it was someone from Scottish Labour, perhaps? Why would they give the same name to two totally different things? Unless, of course, it really is rank stupidity.

  33. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    I don’t think “Newsnicht” has any particular political connotations – I think the BBC even uses it as the show’s official hashtag. It’s just a shorter way of saying “Newsnight Scotland” on Twitter when characters are at a premium. At worst it’s a non-party-specific dig at the show’s perceived parochial nature.

  34. Queen Margaret says:

    Regarding Davidson’s honesty – years ago I went to see him as my MP over standards at a Scottish university.  He called me a liar, and would not look at the documented proof.

    Only recently I discovered he was on the board of the same university, and would have already discussed many of the issues I took to him.  Shortly afterwards two government reports covered many of the same issues (only one was published).

    On a lighter note, each time I see him, his appearance, abilities, and performance massively remind me of…

  35. Doug Daniel says:

    “Some of the others you list are clearly not impartial, and have documented Labour connections. There’s also a legitimate fact-based argument for the BBC in general being biased. But claiming that EVERYONE at the Corporation is anti-SNP just makes nationalists look paranoid, and discredits claims of bias when they ARE well-founded.”

    Yeah, I should really have made it a bit more clearer. I’m not actually accusing all of those folk of being biased (except perhaps those who stood as Labour councillors or are married to people deep within Scottish Labour or who think Twitter was created for tweeting blatant mud slinging to see what sticks against the SNP). I just mean purely in terms of journalistic ability. I actually agree with you that Brewer is capable of giving politicians of all hues a hard time – I just think he’s a bit rubbish because he thinks he’s Jeremy Paxman, and I can’t be bothered with Jeremy Paxman.

    So all I was really saying is that Isabel Fraser’s high level of ability almost makes up for them having such a plethora of second-rate journalists! I actually think the one thing nationalists should take from this episode is how it possibly looks when we’re accusing the BBC of bias all the time, and tone it down a bit.

  36. jafurn says:

    I have just had a look at BBC Scotland website and this incident does not even feature there. This I think gives the lie to Mr Davidsons’ allegation of BBC bias in favour of the Independent side of the argument. Surely if there was any truth to his assertion then this would be all over the BBC this morning.
    How would this have been handled if the culprit had been a SNP MP/MSP…would it have been different?

  37. Doug Daniel says:

    And Tom Gordon’s defence today is reprehensible. It’s not just about the fact Davidson’s opinion was tantamount to lying in the most part, it’s the way he aired it. No wonder there are so few women in politics if that’s the sort of shite they have to put up with on a regular basis.

    Does the guy not understand it’s up on YouTube for everyone to see?

  38. KOF says:

    Cheers, Rev! I don’t do yon Twitterybook thing, so thank you for explaining the “Newsnicht” origin for me. I never knew that. You learn something new every day.


  39. Scottish republic says:

    “””””””””””a galactic-class halfwit “”””””””””””””

    good one

    He is the revolting boil on the backside of Labourite Scottish politics.  Vile — and no, I have never seen an interviewer ask for an apology so directly during an interview.

    He’s crass, rude and a boorish bully.

    In effect it’s all about his personality and his public profile — will the Scots even notice though.  I think not.           

  40. Uisdean Mor Ardnish says:

    Well, A small point maybe–  but Davidson spoke for the committee last night as he is not part of the coalition in any other format – indeed it is arguable as to whether the committee can report objectively to the Westminster Parliament on this matter.
    My point – at which meeting and in what language has the committee given it’s chair the authority to air such views. If that authority has been overreached and if he is also misrepresenting the actual wishes of the Westminster Parliament he should be removed from that position forthwith. Labour stand by and watch the hard won advances wither on the vine as Cameron and Clegg dither. Surely the basic equality issues which dog this bully are enough for Ed Milliband to show some LEADERSHIP.

  41. Alex Grant says:

    What last night’s Newsnight and Davidson’s chairmanship of this committee illustrates is that our friends in Westminster just ‘don’t begin to get it’! They think the jocksneed a nasty wee Jock to sort them out! Davidson has never held any senior position in the Labour Party but I can remember when he was the Chair of the National Organisation of Labour Students where he’famously ‘ ousted the Trots. He is and always has been a Rottweiler and it shows how the leaders of all three parties view the Scots when they see him as the man to sort us out
    Sadly his claiming the BBC to be biased will please some in the hierarchy as they can point to criticism from all sides. All I can say is had it been an SNP politician the BBC and the rest of the media would havecrucified them this morning. That tells me everything aboutthe media especially the BBC Sadly IMHO Issie is one of the few good reporters they have 

  42. Appleby says:

    So mental. NewsNAT? Right there in an interview? I mean…really? Good grief. It’s almost hard to believe my eyes and ears. Save a copy of that video in case they try to do the same as they did with the wee dugs and sausage rolls. 
    I think the chances of him meaning anything other than NewsNAT are slim as he followed it up with accusations towards Isabel about bias. Nice of him to clarify things like that.

  43. OK one problem how do I print it out,I would love to keep it for future reference,if I am allowed that is.I cant add anything except that I am now in a happier mood for watching (I never saw it last night thanks) and the comments all good.Thanks for cheering me up.

  44. jon abroad says:

    First time poster.
    Watching Davidson’s performance made me think of the scene in “Primal Fear” where Edward Norton loses it while being cross-examined by Laura Linney (1.35 mins. in).

    Disclaimer: I’m not suggesting that Davidson’s act is like Edward Norton in any way. Just that he made me think of it.

  45. Jack McNulty says:

    5:50-5:51 IF: “Riiiiiiight…”

    Speaks volumes. 

    Time for Westminster to saddle up as Stumpy the Bean Boiler was just branded with a big fat “L”

  46. Appleby says:

    I get the feeling that Davidson is perhaps showing the nasty side of old Scottish politics, where performances like this would go without raising an eyebrow. The kind of politics and society we want to leave behind. The “golden” days of racism, sexism, bigotry and football violence. We want equality and well educated, well informed people. That’s what can make a country great. Such people we would hope will see no place for such an unpleasant relic of a man or his threats of “doings” in their chosen house of representatives.
    Independence is probably the best chance for “Scottish” Labour, either to reform or to establish a new truly socialist party. Otherwise it is a rotting appendix overdue for treatment. I think that more and more party members are already waking up to this, hence the Labour For Independence internet presence, and it will be interviews and other blunders like it that will drive more people towards the “Yes” vote as the only escape route and alternative to the “Scottish” Labour tailspin. As so many have pointed out before, you dont’ need to vote SNP to vote “Yes”.

  47. Appleby says:

    Charles, do you mean print the transcript? Highlight/copy/pasting the text into your text editor would be the way to do it best as it will let you make sure the formatting remains sensible. I don’t imagine Rev Stu would mind you doing that so long as you aren’t publishing it or hoovering up his efforts uncredited for some other site.
    Perhaps include a couple of screenshots of Isabel looking astonished and Davidson’s gormless napper in full waffle mode.

    You could also try just printing the website off through the browser. Depending on the site and its formatting this can work quite well.

  48. hugh reilly says:

    The man has no morals. When he was chairman of the Glasgow education committee in 1992, he closed Kingsridge secondary school (where I was a teacher), claiming that its roll of 300 made it unviable. A few years later he became MP for Govan and fought to keep St Gerard’s Secondary school – roll of 220 – open. I met Davidson when he popped into my classroom in St Paul’s, Pollok, his constituency. I tackled him about his embarassing volte-face a decade earlier. He just smiled. What a dumpling!

  49. Scott Minto (Aka Sneekyboy) says:

    @jon abroad – Welcome to the site.

    @Charles – Right Click the page and select ‘Print Preview’ then print pages 1 to 5 as a PDF… or you could print all pages if you want the comments too.

  50. MajorBloodnok says:

    Slightly OT, but I forced myself to read Brian Wilson’s appraisal of Labour’s performance at Holyrood in today’s Hootsmon.  It’s full of the usual digs at and cynical misrepresentations of the motives and performance of the SNP, plus the usual (and always encouraging) self-denial about Labour’s prospects; he even makes some guarded recommendations on how Labour could improve (e.g. the need to build on Johann’s strong performance so far (sic)).

    However, one thing that did strike me was paragraph 6 where he says:

    …the independence movement is what it has always been – a noisy minority. The difference is that devolution has given it a parliament to run, ?£30 billion a year to play politics with and the right to hold an independence referendum.

    You know, Labour really should get its story straight.

  51. An Duine Gruamach says:

    People are saying “oh, imagine the reaction if an SNP politician had done this.”  We don’t need to be hypothetical – remember the hoo-ha following Salmond’s “gualieter” remark not long ago.  Stand by for more of the same… surely?

  52. molly says:

    Don’t want to spoil the mood but it would appear somethings never change. An unfortunate Scot tried to pay for his bus journey ,yip using a Scottish fiver,to the London Olympics. Of course the bus driver refused and the poor soul had to scrape together all his change to get on .Poor Alan Cochrane……sorry just wiping the tears of mirth away.Yes Alan ,we’re so better together never mind you can always blame the new folk- oh you did

  53. Erchie says:

    I noticed in the Brian Wilson bit that he said that Labour should be “aggressive” and “seize power”
    I assume winning voters over to your point of view with well-thought out policies is for other parties, Labour are more into taking over by force

  54. Holebender says:

    I wonder how much that well-known mercenary lawyer Robert Black QC has been paid by those nasty Nats to express an opinion contradictory to Mr. Davidson’s committee’s?
    Have a read through the comments after this piece by Lord Jim Wallace ( ) and see what “rblackqc” has to say in comment number 27.
    By all means have negotiations between the Scottish and UK governments for a section 30 Order. But these negotiations (and the resulting terms of the Order) should not be conducted on the basis that a referendum would otherwise be unlawful, which is what Jim Wallace and the Scottish Affairs Committee want to induce us to believe. This is simply not the case. The Scottish Government’s present legal position on entitlement to hold a referendum is a strong one. Any conditions sought to be imposed by the UK Government can therefore be considered strictly on their merits and not as a price that must be paid, however reluctantly, in order to secure authority lawfully to hold a referendum at all. Notwithstanding the restrictions on the Scottish Government’s devolved competence contained in the Scotland Act 1998, no-one disputes that it can lawfully make proposals to, or hold conversations or enter into negotiations with, the United Kingdom Government about (i) altering the constitutional position of Scotland or (ii) widening the devolved powers of the Scottish Government and Parliament (including amending or removing some or all of the matters reserved to the United Kingdom which are set out in Schedule 5 of the Act). That being the case, it is inconceivable that any court would hold that it was beyond the legal power of the Scottish Government to promote legislation to enable it to consult the Scottish electorate (by means of a referendum) about whether the Scottish Government should or should not make such proposals to, or hold such conversations or enter into such negotiations with, the Government of the United Kingdom.That is all that a referendum under our constitutional set-up does or can do, however the question(s) may be phrased. The legality of such legislation is, of course, reinforced by section 101(2) of the 1998 Act which provides that any provision of an Act of the Scottish Parliament is “to be read as narrowly as is required for it to be within competence, if such a reading is possible, and is to have effect accordingly”. That does not, of course, exclude the possibility that referendum legislation might be challenged, as being beyond the Scottish Parliament’s powers, in the courts of Scotland and all the way to the UK Supreme Court. But any such challenge would be doomed to failure.

  55. David McCann says:

    Please, please, please can we have Davidson on Newsnight Scotland every night? And on Question Time, The Politics Show, News at Ten, Coronation Street, Eastenders, Dancing on Ice,  The Simpsons(Simpletons!), Match Of The Day,  The Jeremy Kyle Show, Loose Women………………….
    Anything but a chairman of ANY committee, which involves decision making

  56. Munguin says:

    Quite incredible! Like everyone else I had to pick my jaw up off the floor after having witnessed that boorish oaf’s train wreck of an interview! How to lose friends and alienate people, the entire legal profession and the BBC all in 10 minutes!
    Where do Scottish Labour find these thuggish dinosaurs? It is often said that you could put a red rosette on a cabbage and get it elected to a Glasgow Westminster constituency well today that is an insult to cabbages!

  57. Holebender says:

    I see the Herald now has a report of the incident, but I fear they have worded it in such a way as to make Davidson’s accusation seem valid. I think this will be the approach of the damage limitation exercise; concentrate on the accusation of bias and leave it hanging there.

  58. YesYesYes says:

    For all Davidson’s attempts to inflate the credentials and influence of his Committee at Westminster, everyone knows that the only opinions that count at Westminster are those of David Cameron and the Tories.
    Let’s not forget what this means, in terms of the real argument that Davidson is advocating here. The party that holds less than 2 per cent of Westminster seats in Scotland and which has consistently been opposed to holding a referendum, should, nevertheless, be empowered to impose its own conditions on that referendum. Now if only Isabel Fraser had invited Davidson to defend this position.

  59. Craig P says:

    You have to hand it to Spielberg. Despite our reservations, Jurassic Park 4 is shaping up to be the best yet. 

  60. ronald alexander mcdonald says:

    I was going to write a long reply, but there’s no point as  other contributors   have eloquently provided.

    I will make two points. Firstly, I think Isobel Fraser is the only politically neutral presenter on that programme, hence her professionalism.  Secondly, if we could somehow get Ian Davidson on the telly every week, the Yes vote would go through the feckin roof!

    Well done and thanks  Stuart for your effort.       

  61. Arbroath 1320 says:

    Holy cow Batman, what is there left to be said about this MORON that hasn’t already been said. 😀
    If you have watched his behaviour as chairman of the Scottish Select Committee at any time then I guess you can not be surprised at his behaviour last night. This imbecile behaves in true Labour style, start to talk, raise your voice, start to shout, if all else fails go on a rant! 
    If Davidson had a SINGLE brain cell he would be twice as dangerous so I guess we should count our lucky stars that he he is actually BRAINLESS! I think last night’s “performance” should qualify him without question for his “rightful” place in the chamber of sleeping numpties, sorry I mean House of Lords. 😀
    As for ANYONE from Labour raising their pitiful head above the parapet to defend or otherwise speak about last nights exhibition of why we are “Better Together” I think the answer is forget it. There will be no “star” performance today, particularly from the Lamentable one…. she’s too busy digging out a new rabbit bolt hole to hide in!
    Just a wee thought about his incredulous claims about Lawyers. It is my understanding that there is no Libel or Slander law in Scotland but there is a Deformation of Character law. Perhaps some of those Legal Eagles who have passed comment in the past about the referendum may like to get together and bring a charge of Deformation of Character against Davidson in the Scottish courts. I’d love to see him try and squirm his way out of that charge! 😆

  62. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “I see the Herald now has a report of the incident, but I fear they have worded it in such a way as to make Davidson’s accusation seem valid.”

    I think that’s a wee bit paranoid. The only issue I have with the un-bylined piece is that it’s extremely hard to imagine that had Alex Salmond or Alex Neil been in Mr Davidson’s seat last night, the article wouldn’t have come with a full range of quotes from the Unionist parties, but there’s no quote from the SNP or indeed the BBC. It reports the events accurately enough, but curiously doesn’t seek any reactions from anyone.

  63. Holebender says:

    I’m still chortling at Mr. Davidson starting out by saying all the legal opinion he has received states that the referendum cannot be held without his say-so, then immediately following up by stating you can get a lawyer to say anything if you pay him enough!
    I wonder how much the committee paid for their legal advice?

  64. sm753 says:

    Well this is quite amusing, but I think your triumphalism is premature.
    I wondered whether his “newsnat” comments had been misheard, but no, you are right, that was what he said and meant to say.
    I think it was deliberate and pre-meditated. One of the oldest tricks in the book: if you want the Beeb to give you favourable coverage, accuse it of being slanted to the other side. Job done.
    Oh. BTW Davidson’s statement that the reservation of constitutional matters to Westminster was democratically validated is CORRECT. It may not have been on the actual ballot paper, but it was in the White Paper and all the glossy leaflets we were mailshotted with at the time.

    (Funny how the current Nat administration has deleted that from their website, and I had to go to an external archive…)

  65. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “(Funny how the current Nat administration has deleted that from their website, and I had to go to an external archive…)”

    Or you could have saved yourself some effort and just clicked the link to it in the piece, of course. (Third link in first red paragraph.)

    Your assertion assumes, of course, that (a) anyone reads White Papers, and (b) that the contents of a White Paper can be confidently relied upon to form the basis of the eventual actual Bill, neither of which are remotely the case.

    But in any event, it’s hardly “validated” when it was the only option. Had independence been on the paper, then voting for devolution would be an endorsement of Westminster’s control of constitutional matters. Since the actual choices were devolution or nothing – both of which had identical outcomes in that specific regard – it’s no kind of mandate whatsoever.

  66. McHaggis says:

    And right on queue “Terry Kelly” joins the fray on The Herald comments section with some of the most vomit-inducing opinion I have read on the matter so far…

    Somehow, his name rings a bell… 

    I assume its the same Terry Kelly who I vaguely recall was or is a councillor and has one of the most outlandish blogs I ever had the misfortune to come across. My memory is a little hazy as this was some years ago.

  67. TheeForsakenOne says:

    @McHaggis: He has never confirmed or denied it but considering the posting style and the things he talks about, it is pretty much certain it is the same man.

  68. Scott Minto (Aka Sneekyboy) says:

    “My memory is a little hazy as this was some years ago.”

    Go to the top of the page and a link to his blog is on the right under “zany comedy relief”

  69. R.Louis says:

    Forgetting politics for a moment, this man is supposedly a 62 year old experienced professional, yet last night he behaved like a brattish bully on national TV.

    Last night was a last cloying attempt by the pathetic Scottish Labour MP’s in Westminster to retain a control of Scotland, which they see as their birthright.  It failed.  Their time has come and gone, and all we see left behind is the pathetic, grasping, desperation of Labour ‘dinosaurs’ who know there number is up.

    Someone should put them out of their misery.

    Onwards and upwards to YES in 2014. 

  70. Macart says:

    @ Arbroath1320

    Hell no Arb, sshhhhhhhhhh!!!!!

    I would like to say at this point that Mr Davidson is a fine representation of the Better Together ideal. Further, I believe Mr Davidson should replace the missing Mr Kennedy and front all of Better Together’s TV appearances.

    Anyone second this motion, say aye. 😉 

  71. Jeannie says:

    Davidson said that the Westminster MPs should be the ones to set the question on independence and to decide on the timing “because we think we’ll win”.
    Now, given the fact that if Scotland votes in favour of independence, the Westminster MPs will be out of awell-paying job, their promotion prospects wthin the British Labour Party will be diminished and there will be little chance of elevation to the House of Lords and the accompanying life-long financial and social benefits, I can’t help but question their impartiality on this issue. After all, it’s hardly likely that having put up so much resistance to an independent Scotland, they would have any credibility if they wished to then stand as MSPs in its government.
    It seems to me that vested interest is screaming out of every orifice and it is for this reason, if for no other, that decisions cannot possibly be left in their hands.

  72. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    That’s an excellent point, Jeannie. Might be worth a little piece of its own. Shall investigate.

  73. MajorBloodnok says:

    Meltdown Man and Piltdown Man, the missing Unionist link.

  74. Uisdean Mor Ardnish says:

    @SM753 around 2:53 pm
    See conclusion to white Paper
    12.1 The Government believe that the proposals set out in this White Paper, which are an essential element of and first step in their comprehensive programme of constitutional reform, will be widely welcomed.
    12.2 This White Paper does not aim to settle every detail of how the Scottish Parliament will work. It is right that the Scottish Parliament, once in being, should have the necessary room to evolve in its own way, rather than be forced along a rigid predetermined path. Wherever it makes sense to do so, the Government wish to leave matters open for subsequent decision by the Scottish Parliament itself. The focus of this White Paper has therefore been on creating a framework which will both safeguard the Scottish Parliament and give it room for growth.
    12.3 The Government believe that the establishment of a Scottish Parliament on the basis set out here will be good for Scotland, and good for the UK; responding to the wishes of the people of Scotland for a greater say in their affairs can only strengthen democracy in this country.
    Now where, in this conclusion, does it say that decisions in Scotland must be secondary to “conditions” imposed by a relatively unimportant committee in Westminster. As the reverend says you could have looked at the paper in his link but chose to denigrate those taking part in the debate. And and and finally @ para 12.1 when can we expect the second step from the Westminster coterie of self interest – anything which has been gained since then has been dragged out and usually as a result of some perceived threat from Nats in skirts come to loot the Treasury and make off with the booty. Westminster is shaking and so it should – Scotland will decide.

  75. Alan says:

    I agree with a commenter over on Newsnet Scotland… ‘That it looked staged’. Isobel Frazer is 100% BritNat saturated as I remember her ‘London-Establishment-style’ with regards the SNP over the years… Davidson is a clown and thinks he’s a ticket. He’s isn’t. Frazer is BBC.

  76. Barbarian says:

    On the BBC bias, what happened as these demonstrations that hundreds had said they were going to? I heard there were outnumbered by Lib Dem MSPs………

  77. Prophet_Peden says:

    Can’t add anything to the nutsy outburst of pro-magnon man, but the one thing he repeated throughout the interview was that the decision to go ahead with a referendum could be kicked into the long grass through tortuous court action. (I’m paraphrasing and referring to the mean spiritedness of his argument of course).
    I’ve seen bloggers – Ian Smart anyone – state that this might be what the SNP want as they consider a Yes vote to be unachievable.
    I think this could potentially be a problem and if it happens I think I’ll burn the Scottish Select Committee in effigy.

  78. John White says:

    Johann Lamont apologises, on behalf of Scotland for Ian Davidson………….

  79. James Morton says:

    Wow – colour me gob-smacked.

    Basically what we have is a mealy mouthed na-bob claiming that Westminster has a “moral” authority to decide on the referendum, and this trumps the Scottish Governments electoral mandate to do so. To paraphrase Cordell Hull, I have never seen a performance of a politician that had so many falsehoods and distortions – to sit there with straight face and more or less declare his camps intent to nobble and hi-jack a referendum. To do so with the knowledge that they will place so many conditions and caveats that the SNP could not in all good conscience agree to them. 

    They are despicable scoundrels and piss-ants and they deserve nothing more than contempt and the fate that was meted out to the Tories to be dealt unto them.

    I wouldn’t trust his committee to pour piss out of a boot with the instructions written on the heel.

    You’re dead to me Scottish Labour, get yourself buried! 

  80. Bugger (the Panda) says:

    McHaggis says:
    August 8, 2012 at 3:06 pm

    And right on queue “Terry Kelly” joins the fray on The Herald comments section with some of the most vomit-inducing opinion I have read on the matter so far…
    Somehow, his name rings a bell… 
    I assume its the same Terry Kelly who I vaguely recall was or is a councillor and has one of the most outlandish blogs I ever had the misfortune to come across. My memory is a little hazy as this was some years ago.
    You are right the ignoble Cooncillor was “Baffled” on the old Herald blogsite. He was ritually abused and humiliated on a daily basis by many, including myself (under several earlier incarnations such as Faux Cul).
    It was like shooting fish in a barrel

  81. bigbuachaille says:

    “…I think you are clearly biased, and have been for a long time, against the Unionist parties, and if that causes you concern then I’m afraid you’ve just got to recognise that politics is about people exchanging views, and you’re not above the fray, and if you want to stand for election, do so, otherwise try and be more neutral!”
    It can be argued that Davidson’s first use of “you” in the above quote refers to Newsnight. Certainly the first use of you is open to ambiguity.
    The other remarks, however, are clearly personal, and all subsequent uses of the word “you” are directed at the professionalism of Isabel Fraser.  Many would consider this defamatory.  Isabel Fraser’s reputation has been publicly maligned by a person who refused to offer an apology when the opportunity was made available.  A reasonable person might certainly hope that
    a) Lawyers will be consulted
    b) The BBC will defend the integrity of their employee
    c) Legal proceedings will be instigated against Davidson

  82. Erchie says:

    The anti-BBC bias demo might not have been large, but it happened. The Beeb didn’t cover it even though they covered a similarly peaceful protest outside Ckegg’s house.

    Buttake place it did, with more there than all the MSPs combined, so another miss for Barbarian. 

  83. Alex Grant says:

    As a grassy knoll man I could suggest the Newsnat statement was an attempt by Labour to help the BBC ? They can now claim everyone criticises them so they must be balanced. Just a thought. Much as Davidson is a bully he is not daft!!!!

  84. mutterings says:

    Thank you for the transcript, RevStu. I can’t stream videos on my internet connection, so this is much appreciated. (Not everyone can get ADSL.)

  85. molly says:

    Erchie,your right .The demos might not have been the biggest but enabled someone like me,a license payer scunnered with BBC Scotlands angle ,to make a point. I’ve never been the type to storm the barricades but neither would I want in 2014 to have to say if only we had’nt let them away with their nonsense.
     None of the demonstrators I spoke to want a pro SNP /Indy BBC ,just even handed reporting.
     In fact ,beside the obvious point of the demo,I met passionate,interesting,creative ,good humoured and determined people and rather than be disappointed by the turnout,I left feeling even more commited to try to do my bit for Scotland to become Independent .

  86. Oldnat says:


    I like the “Newsnat Scotland”. SNP plant? Perhaps it was Oldnat in disguise!

    Wisnae me!  As I explained on Newsnet Scotland (maybe Davidson just cannae spell), “I missed that interview last night. 
    Having taken the toilet pan out in preparation for the builders coming, I was busy sealing up the sewer pipe to stop the stench from entering the house.Having the TV off obviously produced precisely the same effect.”

  87. douglas clark says:

    Can I just add my congratulations to you for the transcript? That was a herculean effort.
    Just to back up what Jeannie had to say, it seems to me it is against natural justice that people who have a financial interest in the status quo should be given a ‘get out of jail’ card on their neutrality. They are not neutral in any meaningful sense of the word. That Ian Davidson has somewhat obviously made a substantial income out of wearing a suit and an expensive watch is actually a disgrace to anyone who voted for him. He has been bought and sold for English gold.   
    I seem to recall Scottish Skier making a similar point to Jeannie’s on Newsnet Scotland some time ago. IIRC it was to the effect that, under International Law, no-one who was salaried to a dominant partner, the UK in this case, could comment – on any independence referendum – without revealing that personal benefit.

    Something like that.
    As Scottish Skier now comments here sometimes perhaps his views on this kinda enormous elephant in the room would add to your deliberations?

  88. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “Just to back up what Jeannie had to say, it seems to me it is against natural justice that people who have a financial interest in the status quo should be given a ‘get out of jail’ card on their neutrality”

    Just finishing off a piece, will be up later today or tomorrow.

  89. Macart says:

    I wonder if the Electoral Commission is paying attention? After all the man stated quite clearly that an S30 would only be given to the SG loaded with political preconditions. Now going back to Ms Fraser’s point on this. If the S30 could be given tomorrow and given that Mr Davidson is soooooo confident of a win regardless, why any preconditions at all?

    ‘Jist because wummin’ (I paraphrase of course), would appear to be the reply to that. Its not in the bag and they know it. They are trying to spoil the game before disillusioned Devo voters are given a chance to think through what happens on a one question ballot. Where will that percentage jump to and how to head that off? Fact is they have a good idea and it scares the crap out of them. So spoiling tactics all round; trash the vote or drag it into courts, attack individuals within the campaign, spread fear and mistrust.

    Better together 

  90. Stinkweed says:

    Firstly, many thanks to Rev Stu for transcribing and deconstructing what was at times a rather frantic interview.  When such “debate” becomes so emotive so quickly I find myself becoming more Desmond Morris and less Thierry Meysann and sometimes pay less attention to the content than I should.

    Certainly Davidson came across poorly.  No amount of labour apologists could muster a reasonable defence of his posturing or thinly veiled contempt for his counterpart.  Fraser on the other hand did remarkably well to retain her composure despite being unable to keep her obvious ire completely buried.

    Arguments of mysogyny against Davidson should be carefully handled though.  There is a risk that we reduce the invalidity of some of his more ludicrous proclamations and patronise opponents in knee-jerk reactions to his anachronistic manner.  Reason must be the weapon of choice as antagonism is Davidson’s armour.  Rock, paper, scissors.

    If this was an orchestrated attempt to deflect accusations of union bias against the BBC then the players were both excellent.  If Davidson is being sacrificed and moved off the board then too much focus on his downfall will only render him a political martyr to some and heighten his appeal to those pre-disposed to unionism.  Time and energies will be spent defending the fallacy that Newsnicht is pro-independence and too many important voices will be diverted away from the main issue.  There’s also the fact that his performance was so cartoonish it may even provoke sympathy should we relish it too long.

    The only thing I believe is that whatever their motives for this performance were, they were purposeful and this was not an accidental meltdown.  The media blackout, save for Kelly’s incredulous ramblings and Tom Gordon’s false analogy about the legal profession, show the MSM are circling their wagons and we should be wary of our own reflexes. 

  91. Morag says:

    Small quibble.  Can people distinguish between the words “incredible” and “incredulous”, please?  That last comment indicates that Tom Gordon didn’t believe what he saw.  I’m not sure that’s what was meant.  If the writer means to say that he personally doesn’t believe Gordon’s ramblings, then the word would be “incredible”.

    “Incredible” is the thing that is not believable.

    “Incredulous” is the reaction of the person being confronted with this incredible thing.  The opposite of “credulous”, which means being too much inclined to believe anything, or gullible.

    I’ve seen this confusion a few times recently, and it’s very difficult sometimes to follow what’s actually meant.

  92. Siôn Eurfyl Jones says:

    As Alistair Daring appears to have lost interest in the ‘Bitter Together’ campaign, maybe this Davidson fellow would be a perfect substitute? Along with Wee JUmmie Krankie, Susan Calman, and the other fellow who  nobody remembers his name.  A comedy/variety  act of some distinction. 

  93. Stinkweed says:

    Sorry Morag but the adjective was attributed to Kelly’s sceptical or incredulous ramblings in the Scotsman.  I think it’s a highly mistrustful piece about Newnicht’s agenda.

    Not Tom Morgan’s false analogy that you wouldn’t pay a lawyer to argue against you. 

  94. Dunc says:

    Meltdown Man? That’s grossly unfair to Nick Stone!
    (I presume the post title is a 2000AD in-joke…)

  95. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    It’s half that and half Piltdown Man.

  96. Katy Scott says:

    Thank you Rev. Stuart Campbell.  I love your work on Wings Over Scotland and have thoroughly enjoyed all the stushie over Ian Davidson’s rant.  Please BBC, can we have more of Ian?  Sad that the MSM has swept this little gem under the carpet but with any luck the Scottish Labour gift will keep on giving. 

  97. David McCann says:

    Couldnt agree more. See my earlier post!
    Compare and contrast Salmond’s interview with Paxman.

  98. David McCann says:

    For some reason the Paxman interview link did not reproduce. Ill try again.

  99. Jocko says:

    A good indication Mr Davidson is not so happy about his pro-union stance will be adopted by the electorate. A positive indication for the yes vote when the negative hard liners lose the plot 

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