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My vile BritNat assault ordeal

Posted on August 17, 2014 by

I’d waited a long time for an official independence meeting to take place in my home town of Stonehaven, so when I read on Monday morning that Better Together (or No Thanks or SNPSNPSNPBOOO! or whatever they’re calling themselves this week) were holding just such a thing at the town hall that evening, I bounded along Allardice Street with all the enthusiasm I could muster.


Why had it taken until just five weeks before the vote to have such a meeting? I wasn’t sure. But since the Commonwealth Games I’d seen a rise in the amount of Yes signs, posters, car stickers and flags in the town. Maybe Better Together decided it was time to do something. Which side would take claim Stonehaven’s finest creation – the deep fried Mars bar – as their own?

Considering I only found out about it on the day, I thought there’d be hardly anyone there, but to my surprise the town hall was bulging with comfy chairs. Maybe two thirds were full. I felt like I was back at school as almost everybody refused to sit in the first couple of rows for fear of… well, it turned out most of these people were feart beyond belief already.

As I looked around for people I recognised while taking my seat (I maybe knew around 6 or 7 folk), I missed the name of the chair. I wasn’t really fussed, but later on he did say he was appointed Lord of the Shire about two weeks ago. Or it might have been Laird. Or Lollipop Man or something. An old couple sat to my right (although they left a space between us) and nobody sat in the four seats to my left. The Lollipop Man offered us the one rule of the evening – don’t speak unless told to.

No Better Together Thanks had arranged two august speakers to perform a rap battle (I wish) of 15 minutes each. First up was ordinary voter Tommy Pennington. Tom – full title Professor Thomas Hugh Pennington CBE FRCPath FRCP FMedSci FRSE – introduced himself by saying he’s from England, and the only reason he came to Scotland for work was that he couldn’t get his first-choice preference of a job in The Gambia. Good start.

Prof Pennington continued his introduction and, in what seemed to be one long continuous sentence, managed to talk about Bonnie Prince Charlie, people who speak German, border wars and King James before ending it with “So – that’s my background.” Evidently the academic was a lot older than he looked.

The second speaker stood up and introduced himself. Alex Johnstone, Conservative MSP for the area, pointed out he was Stonehaven born and bred, a “Stoney loon” as it were. He knows the area like the back of his hand, and loves it dearly. I was almost expecting him to declare himself a proud and patriotic Stoneyonian, or Stoner as we’re never called. But instead he sat back down for the Prof to begin his speech.

“I’m certainly not a Stoney loon”, Pennington snorted, weirdly. The professor, with a background in microbiology, focused the first part of his presentation on science funding in the UK. He confirmed that Scotland has some of the best scientists in the world. He pointed out that Scotland gets fantastic funding in scientific research. He explained that funding ignores borders, doesn’t care about borders. And then he confirmed that after a Yes vote, all funding will stop.

Wait, what?

But there was no elaboration forthcoming, and Tommy quickly moved onto the other thing he knows a bit about – being on the telly.

“The BBC is the best in the world,” Pennington exclaimed, without saying exactly what it is he meant by “best”. In fact it turned out that he only picked the BBC as a topic because the founder of the corporation, Lord Reith, was born in Stonehaven. If he’d been anticipating some sort of applause, it never came. Pennington told us that the BBC has improved over time, and that it would simply be too complex to start again.

“I dread to think what will happen if we don’t have the BBC,” he summed up. Having used, I’d estimate, a bare seven minutes of his allotted 15, the professor sat down for a little nap. (Well, he’s 350, after all.)


Alex Johnstone, being a politician, had a bit more to say for himself. “Let us talk about passion,” he began. Now there’s an unsettling thought.

“The Yes campaign like to think they have a monopoly on passion, but I passionately believe that our side, the right side, is as passionate as the Yes campaign, if not more passionate.”

The following sentence contained “passion” another four times. Johnstone said he wasn’t just British, but very British. As many on the Yes side (including myself) have pointed out, the idea that Scotland governing itself means your Britishness – whatever that is – vanishes or is stolen from you is absurd.

“The nationalists fail to give numbers,” Johnstone continued. “But I have numbers…from the nationalists’ own figures no less!”

Johnstone quoted some GERS figures, admitting that he was being selective. The atmosphere wasn’t exactly electric to start with but the room seemed to get more lost the more Johnstone went on about selective numbers. He told us that if Scotland was independent in 2008 “we’d not have been able to bail out our banks”.

I wasn’t shocked by this blatant lie. I was shocked, however, when he said, clear as day, “Scotland can be a successful independent country.” He didn’t just say it once. He said it at least four times. He’s on our side! I relaxed a little, and picked up the Better Together leaflet on my lap.

“The Facts You Need”, it said. “Scotland will not be allowed to use the pound”, it said. “Scotland can use the pound it if wants to and nobody can stop that,” Alex said.

Wait, what?

Contradicting the literature his own campaign had provided for the meeting, Johnstone offered to “clear up confusion” over the currency issue. Hilariously, he said any confusion over currency was the fault of… you guessed it, Alex Salmond. I let out a “Ha!” as the woman next to me looked over to me with a stern face. Whoops.

Johnstone confirmed that John Swinney would be the first Finance Minister of an independent Scotland (apparently having conceded the 2016 election on behalf of all the other parties), before moving onto the main event of his speech – the dreaded Plan B. He referred to Plan B even more than he referred to being passionate. He was very passionate about Plan B.

“We simply don’t know what Plan B is,” Johnstone thundered. “But I can tell you – Plan B is something called sterlingisation.”

Wait, what?

Johnstone ended his speech by saying we just can’t vote Yes if we don’t know the answer to every single question anyone has on the issue. “I can understand why some people would want to vote Yes. But until we get the answers we need, now is not the time.” So presumably if you vote in June 2015 or something, that’ll count.


The exciting Q&A session was next. First up was a timid but curious lady who was sitting just behind me.

“I was interested in the bit about science. We have these great bodies and charities such as the British Heart Foundation, UK Cancer Research, and companies like British Telecom. Scotland won’t have these after a Yes vote. What would happen to these things with British or UK in the name? I asked the Yes campaign and didn’t get a reply.”

To his credit, Prof Pennington pointed out most charities or bodies requiring substantial funding are remaining neutral and will wait until after the vote to act in any particular way, but also added that England funds these things the most. Pennington acknowledged that Scotland has some of its own charities, but repeated his earlier nugget that funding doesn’t respect borders except for the imaginary future one between Scotland and England.

“The world is getting smaller, and Scotland only has five million people!” squealed the next lady. She rambled on and on for a few minutes, mainly criticising Better Together. “There’s complacency in the No camp,” she believed. Bloody hell, don’t let Blair McDougall hear you say that. “The Yes campaign are everywhere. When are we actually going to DO something?”


Johnstone and the Prof had a couple of boring thoughts on that, before The Laird Of Somewhere leapt into action. The chairman seemed quite angry at the criticism.

“The Yes side are only ahead in funding and marketing because of a couple of lottery winners,” he ranted.

“Folk are reluctant to come out for a No because they are scared, but I know from these two weeks in my new position that many people are quietly signalling to me that they are voting No. Sometimes they walk past and just, you know, give us the thumbs-up.

So we’re attracting more people. More people are taking No Thanks stickers from us, for their cars, and they say they don’t care if they get a brick through the windscreen because of it.”

There must have been some sort of secret signal or code because our chair sprung back down as quickly as he’d sprung up. Another audience member spoke up.

“I am siding with a No vote, but I also want Trident removed from Scotland. What do you say to that?”

Johnstone told the crowd that the argument over Trident nuclear missiles was a bogus one, for two reasons. First, the vote is about structure of government and not policy. Secondly, if there was a Yes vote, Scotland can ask for negotiation over Trident but would no longer influence UK policy. Johnstone said if the UK wants to do something (like keep Trident where it is), Scotland could do nothing about it. Righto. Let’s have another question.

“The Yes campaign thinks Norway is great! Well – that’s just silly, isn’t it?”

Prof Pennington stood up. “I’ve been to Norway, I can tell you a bit about that place. It’s nothing like Scotland. For a start, their microbiology infrastructure is tiny.”

Well, that’s my Yes vote in the bin, then. Why didn’t you say something before? Other differences included Norway not being in the EU, and its being pummelled by the Germans nearly a hundred years ago. “The only way we’ll be the same as Norway is if Salmond gets his way – then our taxes will be sky high!”

The audience finally made a noise. They liked that one. Johnstone wanted in on it:

“Yes, Norway has this massive oil fund. But if Scotland was independent since oil was discovered and had an oil fund, it would all be gone by now because the SNP would have used it on things like maintaining roads and propping up the shipbuilding industry.”

On maintaining jobs and protecting industry? Those bastards! He continued:

“The nationalists say Scotland would be something like the 8th, or 14th richest country in the world after independence. Well, in one way using this other ranking system I’ve seen, Scotland would be the 47th richest country in the world – ahead of Kazakhstan and behind Algeria. All Salmond does is pick and mix his stats to suit his argument.”

We didn’t get to hear which ranking system this was. More questions.

“Why couldn’t Alistair Darling say on television that Scotland could be a successful independent country?”

“The answer is yes – of course Scotland could be as successful as Kazakhstan and Algeria,” Johnstone smirked, “But I don’t want to impose a Yes vote on my children or grandchildren.”

“The Scottish parties are really, really bad right now. I’m as big a No voter as you’ll get but even after No, the SNP will probably win a landslide.”

That wasn’t exactly a question, but Johnstone still had an answer – “Politics in Scotland has been hijacked by the SNP’s referendum”. Yes, apparently it’s the SNP’s fault Scottish Labour is so useless. After some more Nat-bashing, Prof. Pennington told us that he thought Margaret Thatcher was great.

The next question was a little strange. A well-spoken man in a tweed suit appeared from nowhere and asked a question about Rosyth shipbuilding. It was like the sort of question/statement you’d read in a Better No leaflet. It wasn’t very relevant to the location but that was okay, because Alex Johnstone had a belter of a reply.

“Shipbuilding has faced some difficult times, for several reasons. The main one being that Norway started building ships…”

Wait, what? The same Norway you’ve just been trashing? The same Norway who stupidly decided in 1905 to vote for independence even though they were the second-poorest country in the whole of Europe at the time? It can’t be.

The Professor popped up.

“I used to live in Faslane!”

He popped back down.

There was time for one final question. A young lad at the other side of the room began talking. I couldn’t see him, but the words were timely.

“I have listened to a lot tonight – a lot about history, but not one thing about the future whatsoever. There has been nothing on rising poverty, illegal wars, the UK government wasting billions here and there. There doesn’t appear to be a positive case to stay in the Union. Do you have one?”

It was worded so well, compared to most of the other speakers, that I thought this was a plant too. It gave Johnstone an opening for a final speech, in which unfortunately he mainly talked about the past. Syria was mentioned, and the indication that Scotland ruling itself would mean situations like the one in Syria would get worse. Things have been rocky in the UK, but together we can overcome the difficulties, he insisted.

Thankfully, after some applause for Johnstone, Professor Pennington got a final say. I was hoping for a peach and I got it.

“Look. We haven’t had a civil war in the UK, but this Yes vote malarky is dangerous. It’s a very dangerous situation indeed. And what we’d end up with is almost like a one-party state.”

There was a “hear hear!” and applause. I shook my head and smiled and stood up to leave, thinking the event was over, but the chair wanted a few more words. After his last interjection, I decided I needed to hear them.

“Before you go, I want to encourage you to get out there and spread our message. I’m a proud Scot. They don’t own my flag. They don’t own my kilt. Don’t get suckered in to their propaganda – the propaganda you get through the door is absolutely ridiculous.”

Haha! I laughed out loud. I was finally happy. I was so glad to hear a couple of proper batshit-mental pieces of gibberish to make this whole dull affair worth sitting through. I stood up and tried to shuffle my way quickly past the couple next to me, to get out of their way. And that’s when it happened.


I was yanked back. The old woman grabbed my jacket arm. I thought I’d accidentally stood on her toes or something. I turned to look at her – her male companion said nothing. She scowled at me. She looked back at my chair, back to me, then hissed:


I went back to my seat. It was comfy so I didn’t mind.

“What were you doing?”

“I…I was listening to the speakers.”

“No, what were you doing with your phone?”

“Oh! I was taking notes.”

“Are you a reporter?”

“Ha, no, sorry.”

“So – you’re in the SNP.”

I stood up and chuckled. “Never voted SNP in my life,” I replied, with a truthful grin. She grabbed my arm a second time. The man was still looking elsewhere. I was beginning to think he was a closet cybernat too.

“What you were doing was very distracting, I was trying to listen to the Professor and you kept using your phone.”

“But… but my phone doesn’t make any noise. It’s silent.”

“No, it wasn’t noisy – it was the light. The light distracted me from the speakers up there.”

“Why didn’t you just nudge me and tell me?”

“You…should…have…KNOWN,” she seethed. Bloody hell.

I began to say “Well next time just nudge…” when I realised this was the only time I’d ever be at the same type of meeting as her. I shrugged. “I’m sorry.”

She pulled me closer one final time. “You’ve not been very nice.” She let go. Shaking with fear from the traumatic episode of vile abusive nationalist intimidation, I fled into the night, never to return.

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    1. 17 08 14 15:01

      My vile BritNat assault ordeal | Scottish Independence News

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    138 to “My vile BritNat assault ordeal”

    1. Stuart Black says:

      Enjoyed that, Ray, thank you. I wish I could find one to go to. Pointless, I suppose, Ronnie had tickets and a neck brace and even that didn’t get him in. Fearties. 😉

    2. Jim Thomson says:

      I decided to NOT go to wee Ruthie’s event in Troon on Friday. I was sure I’d make a spectacle of myself by having a seizure or some other medical emergency.

      Better half is made of sterner stuff and she toddled along (dressed to the nines – I think she wanted to look Toryish).

      Came back somewhat smugly with a serious pile of Vote No trinkets and placards, all of which will be recycled/pulped/set on fire/sent to landfill etc.

      The local faithful seemed a little disappointed at the shortness of the event (about an hour) and the lack of “ammunition” to use against us vile cybernats.

      Onwards and upwards 😉

    3. Yesvote2014 says:

      Danny Alexander had a No meeting in Carrbridge last wednesday. 16 people turned up, a good number of them Yes voters.

    4. Abaron Nomore says:

      So No campaigners are telling their supporters that it would be jolly good to display a No Thanks sticker but that, if they do, they are liable to get a brick though their window?

      Not sure they’ve thought that one through.

    5. dennis mclaughlin says:

      A wee spellbindin’ story there Ray !.

      Thought you’d stepped into Sleepy Hollow, no Stonehaven!.

      I’m regularly in the place and always find it a charming wee town, but look whit happens at town hall meetings with mobile phones……

    6. R-type Grunt says:

      That was good. These people are so far out there that it’s becoming very difficult to either engage or ignore.

      As an aside, I was up that neck of the woods yesterday. We went via Glenshee to Peterhead then back down the coast to Yes City. The only No propaganda we saw was to be found in rural Aberdeenshire. Everywhere else was Yes. The further south we drove the better it got. Aberdeenshire Yes groups have work to do.

    7. ailsa craig says:

      What a great piece of writing to cheer up a rainy, windy Sunday. Enjoyed every last dig at this crew’s so-called arguments. Not a lot of these comedy shows down here in SW Scotland.
      Sadly roads closed or flooded Tuesday when I had hoped to get to Stranraer to hear Yes meeting in the Ryan Centre.

    8. Wee Jimmy says:

      I’d you hadn’t told us right at the start it was a BT meeting, I would have assumed you were at a Scientology “gathering” 😉

    9. call me dave says:

      I enjoyed that very much Ray. Just how I imagined a meeting like that would be. Lies perpetrated as facts and an audience who, dislike change, are feart of the future and are just hoping for the best.

      Let’s hear another tale of your excursions into better together territory if your hard enough.


    10. geeo says:

      Unbelievable stuff!

      But then again….maybe not.

      Daily mail story…
      “Smarmy cybernat on day release from the internet forces old lady into defensive mode by trying to rudely push past her at meeting”

      The old woman claims she felt threatened by the sneering Yes voter, “i thought he was going to swing his keyboard at me” explained the terrified pensioner..

      Another witness sensationally claimed..”he had sat near the front the entire time saying nothing, just sitting there, listening, i was deeply concerned for my safety, we all know, the quiet ones are the ones to worry about”.

      DM..The organisors say that they were deeply upset that their meeting had been hijacked by the actions of a clearly deranged Yes supporter and promised that security will be stepped up at the next meeting of BT at the bus shelter along the road next to the lollypop man.

    11. panda paws says:

      Oh dear God the tears are running down my face. That was priceless. Did that really happen or have you exaggerated for comic effect?

      Mind you although he was sitting next to her I think you meant closet cybernat rather than closest 🙂

    12. Black Douglas says:

      I think your meeting and story sums up both sides quite well.

      The Yes side are positive and forward looking while the No side are insular and “WHATS IN IT FOR ME”

    13. Edmund says:

      So all the charities who happen not to have ‘British’ or ‘UK’ in their name will be just fine then? Thank God we’re keeping the Queen, so the RSPCA and the RSPB and whatnot will continue to work across the border!

      How do people think the world works?! It’s like some people went to sleep in 1912 and have only just woken up. I’ll just get in my airship and take a week’s trip to New York, will I, sponsored by those nice people at Greenwich.

      As for bashing Norway, you must be kidding. We should be so lucky to be Norwegian. And to bring up shipbuilding in the week where there were more job losses on the Clyde, without the UK lifting a finger to help – surely that argument is all Yes, by now?!

      All very secret society, what with covert filming and interrogations about being a ‘reporter’. Isn’t more publicity a good thing?!

      The attitude of the politicians seems to me to be all about looking at the ground lost to the SNP and trying to rationalise it away. No self-awareness or reflection on why it was lost in the first place – just hatred and resentment and confusion. Never mind any acknowledgment that independence is about more than the SNP.

    14. yerkitbreeks says:

      Tommy – I like that. I would have gone along if I lived near Stoney just to see his facial impressions. And of course the bonus of seeing what sounds like a relic of the Lord Lieutenant system in the chair.

    15. Les Wilson says:

      All these wee stories are good, simply because they reflect on the whole.NO, real grass roots campaign at all and appear to be in disarray, Clueless speakers and even those who SHOULD know something, cannot really back up anything.

      Anti SNP is all they can muster, overlooking that YES has taken on a will of it’s own. They only have their considerable media supporters to try and stop Scotland from being a free Democratic Country, and it is not enough.

      Yes is getting an ever bigger steam of head, we are going to win this. Despite all the MSM help and all the Elite money, it is slipping away from them, and they know it.
      The smell of their panic is spreading.

      As my old Mum would have said, yea reap what you sow!, that is about right, and here it comes……

    16. Ray says:

      Thanks for the nice words, and thanks to Stu for tidying the piece up a bit, my laptop troubles meant it was a bit rushed.

      To clarify, I’m not exaggerating any of the quotes, or sentences which seem to contradict…erm, earlier parts of the same sentences. You folks know by now that nothing said by Better Together needs exaggerating!

      I tried and tried to keep quiet but I realised towards the end I was constantly shaking my head, smirking and going “pfft!” at some of the stuff I was hearing.

      I’m still a bit shaken over the whole thing, but if you all want to follow me on Twitter @Ray_McRobbie, I think that might help me get over it… 😉

    17. Gary says:

      Every tired cliche but no substantial facts and information. They’re hanging their hat on ‘plan b’. They’ve nothing else.

    18. Ron says:

      Well, I’m another Stoney loon (living in exile in darkest Italy so don’t get a vote I’m afraid) and I’ve seen my share of strange behaviour in my hometown. Grew up with everybody and their pal complaining about english rule (assume they actually meant Westminster) and yet if polls are to be believed, the NE is a NO stronghold. Recent years have brought in some SNP voters in the airts, but I think that is largely because they can’t bring themselves to seriously vote labour after Alec Buchanan-Smith held the area for so long. Funny thing is, practically all my friends and family I’ve managed to get to fill out the ‘who you should vote for’ on land well away from condemlabs whatever and well into the socialist spectrum, but for some reason continue to support NO and the right wing. People are strange.

    19. Ron says:

      I mislead, and apologies to my friends and family who are staunch YES supporters, they know who they are.

    20. Hugh Wallace says:

      Nice one! I was through Stonehaven today with the Freedom Convoy (before stopping for an ice cream down by the harbour) and while there were several Yes signs in windows and Yes stickers on cars I only saw the one No Thanks in the town.

    21. Dan Huil says:

      Interesting account. Zero positivity from the No side even when talking to a mostly unionist audience. Ray,your patience, when encountering the phone-hating lady, was commendable.

    22. Doug Daniel says:

      Ray, you don’t do nearly enough articles for Wings. That was very entertaining.

      Nice to see Pennington’s still using the same crap banter he used in the Better Together Aberdeen launch. I take it he slagged off Irish TV etc?

    23. Brian Mchugh says:

      It’s becoming clearer and clearer that there are swathes of no voters, who are driven purely be fear and fear alone… and they are willing to believe any old rubbish in order to allay their worries. Its a comfort thing for them, but ironically, it is that very willingness to believe anything that keeps them from doing proper research and finding out what the facts are.

      On the other hand, people who are moving or have moved to Yes can generally talk for hours about all aspects of government, finance, society in general. They are informed.

      With the polls so close and all to play for, the undecideds are so important. Those who are undecided have no disabling fear… they clearly have concerns over this issue or that, but are not suffering crippling fright, evidenced by the very fact that they are considering the options.

      The Wee Blue Book can play a significant role in this respect.

    24. G H Graham says:

      I chuckled at the stupidity of people supposedly well educated & briefed. And you can see clearly the utter confusion in their argument.

      Conditioned by decades of British propaganda that is rarely questioned by the BBC Establishment, they have been caught like a herd of deer in the headlights, totally incapable of understanding the rapid developments in their own back yard.

      Having ignored the SNP as a fringe, protest party, for years, they now find themselves completely overwhelmed by the massive, groundswell of people, unleashed from the stale, status quo.

      The referendum has encouraged people from all over the country to engage with each other, especially those interested in independence.

      Meanwhile, the traditional NO voter is still trying to construct a solid, rational & reasonable argument for retaining the current constitutional arrangement.

      The meeting that Ray describes above, shows that with just 4 weeks to go, Better Together/NoThanks/VoteNoBorders/UKOK have completely failed.

      All they had so far is scaremongering rubbish & it looks like that’s still all they’ll have, all the way til the 18th September.

    25. Ray says:


      Don’t remember there being anything on Irish telly. But yeah, I’m sure the stuff he was coming out with resonated somewhat with the older members of the audience.

      I was surprised how muted the whole thing was. Everyone just sat there, listened, took it in. Either everyone was super nice, or believed what they were hearing and felt no need to even mumble about it.

    26. Kenny says:

      On a semi-serious note, how big a crowd-funding exercise do you think could be managed to raise cash towards nationalising Ferguson’s? We’ll need them to build new CalMac boats pretty soon. And what a tribute to the Yes campaign if we got off our arses and DID something to save our last civilian shipyard!

    27. KT says:

      Absolutely brilliant, mate. Witty, intelligent, entertaining and thought-provoking.
      Thoroughly enjoyed that!

    28. heedtracker says:

      Prof Pennington also writes a lot of vote NO letters and sends them to the Press and Journal, mainly to get on my tits nae doot. In one he sent lately, he said that it’s thanks to the UK Loggie. Baird invented penicillin or so such unionist nonsense. I wish Prof’s like this would stop patronisingly talking down to simple Scottish villagers like me.

    29. G H Graham says:

      Ferguson’s needs customers. You can prop it up all day long with subsidies but unless there is a market for the type of ships is has the capacity to make, it’s a dead duck.

      It took a huge gamble making two hybrid ships, hoping perhaps that it would lead to more similar orders. But the demand for these types of ships comes from commercial shipping operators & it looks like no one wanted to place another order.

      Alternatively, you find customers for the ships you can build outside Scotland, build a different type of ship that customers’ here want or you shut the yard.

    30. Yesitis says:

      Nice one, Ray. A very revealing glimpse into a the ‘I`m voting No’ mindset and outlook.

    31. Flower of Scotland says:


      I saw the YES convoy in Gateside FIFE just after 1pm. It fair made my day! I was waving out of my car window feeling absolutely delighted! Well done you guys!

    32. Findlay Farquaharson says:

      doesnt surprise me a jot this incident has been ignored by the media, if you had defended yourself, and you would have had every right with a flying drop kick followed by a frogsplash rupturing her spleen i bet the media would have been all over it, bloody hypocrites, i salute your calm response to her dispicable attack on you.

    33. Lesley-Anne says:

      Excellent article Ray. I’ve just followed you over on Twitter under my alternate alias … Arbroath 1320 😛

      I think we all sort of knew the kind of experience that you were likely to have when you said it was NO *ahem* event. As many others will attest to anyone who goes along to one of these *ahem* events always leaves with a huge leap in their faith of a YES win and a huge grin on their face having listened to s***e for a couple of hours. 😉

      Jim that’s a pity you missed wee Ruthie in Troon. Never mind though I did read a post on another thread that someone else did go mamage to get along, sorry I can’t remember who, and I believe they may even have got wee snippets of video. I understand they had also been along to the same venue the week before when I think Nicola Sturgeon was present so we should hopefully have a *cough* comparison video of that event to watch as well. Now I wonder which one will ooze confidence and which one will ooze fear? 😉 😛

    34. Nana says:


      Apolitical business organisation N-56 examines the potential of Scotland’s oil and gas sector

    35. Nana says:

      Thanks Ray. The woman sitting beside you sounds frightful.

      The bbc should consider turning this into a situation comedy, sure beats the rubbish they do produce.

    36. Capella says:

      @ R-type Grunt
      Aberdeenshire is home to the biggest landowners in Scotland such as the Astors and Gladstones. They do not want the proposed Land Reforms to be implemented and have been, for centuries, protected by Westminster and, of course, the House of Lords, from any assault on their privelege and wealth. That’s why you will see a number of No Thanks placards in fields as you drive past their land.
      Good article by Kevin McKenna here:

    37. Lesley-Anne says:

      Sorry foliks but I just popped over to check out the latest figures from Stu’s wee fund raiser … WOW £54,244 in 2 DAYS! 😛

      I then thought if this is how much we can raise in two days I wonder how wee Tory Rory is doing. Well folks I have some rather sad news I’m afraid. As we all know he has been on the fund raising trail since July 11th and today he has raised the glorifying total of £11,278. that just leaves him the rather insignificant amount of £43,722 to raise the closing date of 9th September! 😛

      Never mind though folks I’m certain that the *cough* wee event they had yesterday will have added a significant amount to their total. 😀

      Awe bless them, I wonder if the teddy bears were charged entry. 😛

    38. David Stevenson says:

      Funnily enough Edmund, the RSPCA should not fund-raise in Scotland as it doesn’t operate here. We have the SSPCA performing the role here. I recall some argument between the two organisations over on-line fund-raising.

      No UK-wide public-funded medical research charity has indicated that they would cease to fund research in Scotland for the simple reason that they not only spend money in Scotland, they raise money here too. Also, as charities, they already face a different legislative environment in Scotland, so independence would not impact significantly in that sphere. These points were highlighted by the Chief Exec of CRUK in a QnA following a CRUK research strategy presentation in Glasgow.

      There is no reason whatsoever for research charities such as BHF or CRUK to cut links with Scotland. It is a scare story given legs by Paul Nurse who was brought up to Scotland to pimp the danger to medical research line trumpeted by Gordon Brown ( article in the Express can be found in the Wings Project Fear section).

      Wellcome Trust have said they would review funding arrangements in the event of a Yes vote. They are different in that they do not rely on the public for funds but operate using a massive bequest. The new head takes over in October and he previously headed up a Wellcome lab in Vietnam for some years. He might be keen on “international funding”, especially since work supported in Scotland wins funding on a competitive basis (i.e. It is deemed to be of higher quality or more likely to produce results which fit the research strategy than competing project proposals). Quality still counts for something in science.

      Scottish universities do well out of Research Council funding, again on a competitive basis. There could well be a shortfall in that area unless an independent Scottish govt negotiate to keep a “common research area” into which they would have to commit more than an even per capita share. Whatever, it is not insurmountable.

    39. Dan Huil says:

      OT I’m a bit behind everyone here but I have to say it’s excellent news about latest Panelbase poll as reported in Sunday Herald.

    40. Claire says:

      (Edmund, just so you know, you wouldn’t have to worry about the RSPCA anyway, as they don’t actually work in Scotland. That’s just a little fact they omit to mention when they fundraise here, effectively stealing donations from the SSPCA because people don’t understand the difference.)

      Very amusing article, but don’t know how you could sit there quietly and not stand up and challenge the nonsense, even if it got you chucked out! There might have been some “soft nos” there just looking for information/encouragement to firm up their stance, and you could have sent them home to think again. These BT meetings are so rare that it would be wrong to assume that all attendees are dyed in the wool unionists.

    41. Airdrieonian says:

      Well, I attended a football match yesterday. It was a low key affair with not much in the way of atmosphere, and certainly no trouble. Having watched my team ship 2 soft goals, I decided to leave 5 minutes early. I got back to car to find that some manky so-and-so had spat a mouthful of pie all over the “Yes” sticker I had on the rear window. I consoled myself that at least they hadn’t chucked a brick through it.

    42. TheItalianJob says:

      Ray very interesting and well observed article on how the “other side” operates at meetings. No surprises at the topics covered and by whom (Johnstone is our favourite MSP to ridicule and take to bits).

      When you were getting stopped/questioned by the old lady and told to get back in your seat, I thought the meeting was going to close by everyone standing up and singing “God save the Queen”. The picture of the queen at the bottom of the article also led me to think this.

    43. Anne says:

      I agree with David Stevenson’s comments on research funding. An additional issue, that he didn’t touch on, is the loss of EU funding in the wake of a No vote and a UK withdrawal from the EU.

    44. SquareHaggis says:

      Interesting point about Norway.

      We had a similar event in Victoria Hall, Ellon last week with naysayer Charles Ritchie (chairman Score Group) ranting on about higher taxes, everything’s dearer and having to pay higher wages in a Norway-like Scotland.
      This rant went on for some time and at the end he asked “who’d vote for that?”
      To which over half the audience put their hands up!

      Shoulda seen the look on his face, priceless.

      Here’s the stats b4 & after:


      Yes = 42%
      DK = 22%
      No = 36%


      Yes = 56%
      DK = 9%
      No = 35%

      Also present were Christine (waffle, waffle) Jardine Lib Dem 4 No
      And Cllr Richard Thomson and Gillian Martin WfI, bothe were excellent but Gillian really did steal the show.

    45. Edmund says:

      @David Stevenson

      Thanks for explaining some of the details, David. It seems I too fell into the trap of momentarily forgetting that Scotland already has a separate legal and regulatory environment. This fear that organisations such as charities will wash their hands of Scotland post-Yes is just not credible, especially in the modern globalised world.

      I think the people at these meetings could do with some calm, reasonable facts like the ones you provided.

    46. fred blogger says:

      they are clearly rattled, they no longer believe their own arguments.
      and if you don’t believe me i’m passionate about it, so there.

    47. JPFife says:

      Was this meeting filmed? I note photos, perhaps from a phone? Couldn’t you have recorded audio (fair enough you weren’t to know it was such comedy gold) at least? That’s what I did with Brown and his meeting in Lochgelly a few weeks ago.

    48. Liquid Lenny says:

      R-type Grunt

      From afar on the Island of Arran, I keep close tabs on YES Aberdeenshire and I can tell you if there is another as hard working YES Team in the whole of Scotland then I will eat my hat.

      They are doing a brilliant job and I for one salute them.

    49. Lesley-Anne says:

      What’s that JPFufe?

      You managed to get into a speech by the great god of all speeches, the great Gordo and you were not given the Spanish inquisitionesque type examination before entering the *ahem* arena? 😛

      How on earth did you manage it?

    50. Graham Hutton says:

      enjoyed this. Unfortunately it reflects the attitude of a lot of No voters that I know. I used to think of them as being open minded and reasonable thinkers. Not now

    51. SquareHaggis says:

      The Government advisor on all things dis-easy popped up.

      “I used to live in Faslane!”

      Ha ha!

      That figures.

    52. Danny says:

      Great story, that’s the most I’ve read and laughed at the same time. The no campaigners haven’t got an argument so they make up lies and statistics. You know what’s it’s like when you try to argue your point but know you are wrong

    53. JPFife says:

      Sleekit James Bondery, @Lesley-Anne. I sat in the front row and recorded them. They are on YouTube if you want a chuckle.

      “gordon brown lochgelly meeting” on Google search has one video second on the list. (I uploaded all the speeches, there were a few, including Anas Sarwar, but I managed to stay awake)

    54. jaq says:

      I must admit I laughed when you mentioned Hugh Pennington. The man is trawled out as the ‘expert’ in every medical outbreak. He is so out of touch in his chosen field and evidently not much better in matters more recent. If this is all they have then we’ve won hands down. Great article.

    55. panda paws says:

      Sorry Ray, didn’t mean to doubt you. It’s more I can’t believe supposedly educated people can contradict themselves so much and neither they or the audience go “wtf”

      I’m not on twitter or I would follow you. Please write more stuff.

    56. Muscleguy says:

      Hugh Pennington wants to keep the BBC because like John Curtice is the apparently the world’s only polling expert so Pennington is the only expert on not just his area of microbiology but toxicology, GM plants, epidemiology and any other biological -ology you care to mention. As an expert in various Biological -ologies or -omys that occasionally overlap with one of the things he opines on I can confirm that he will happily spout bollocks to get on the telly.

      Not being a microbiologist (I’ve only ever used bacteria as a technology not studied them and tutted when my cell cultures got infected) I have not idea if he is as eminent in his field as he claims but I know people in other fields he opines on who are very eminent and Scottish or work here who don’t get asked.

      But never mind prof. The nameplate may change but I’m sure the rollodexes won’t. Sadly.

    57. Lesley-Anne says:

      Here is a wee video of Dr Phillipa Whitford speaking at the same Vision for Scotland event as the First Minister. 😀

    58. Hugh Wallace says:

      On the subject of Yes Aberdeenshire’s work – I can’t comment on that personally but what I can say is that the number of No Thanks posters around the Shire is no reflection on the Yes efforts as there are plenty of our posters out too. I recently completed 1100 miles around the Highlands and the ONLY place I have seen No Thanks posters in any significant number is along the Dee and Don rivers. As per usual, Aberdeen and Shire are in a bubble that does not necessarily reflect the reality that the rest of Scotland experiences.

    59. horacesaysyes says:

      Excellent article Ray. It almost makes me want to search out a nearby SNPSNPSNPBOOO! event of my own to ‘enjoy’! 🙂

    60. James S says:

      Clyde2 Radio phone in talk with Alistair Darling and Alex Salmond – two separate segments. AD didn’t want to share airtime with an opposing view.

    61. ronnie anderson says:

      @ Ray that story makes up for the Darling meeting yesterday, that I could,nt get into.Its awe that Revs fault they,re wary of anybody wearing neck collers,even surgical wans.

    62. heedtracker says:

      Sunday Times today is as barking mad as that Stoney No Thanks meeting. Top ST columnist ukok dope of the year kicks orf his bizarre rage against Scots democracy with “The Scots are world champions at whinging. They are lucky enough to be part of one of the most successful and civilised nations in the world, but…”

      Love that “part of” and not worked 12 hour days for decades.

      Also, regular ST upper class twit Gillian Bowditch column starts teamGB jibber jabber with, “What happened to good old Scottish cringe? we didn’t get where we are today without the mobilising of a tartan-trimmed inferiority complex and the pack mentality of the underdog.”

      I cant be arsed actually reading batty old Gillian’s stuff but they have this right in the middle

      “There’s a fine line between pride in your origins and a defensive, chippy insularity perpetuating lazy, misinformed generalisations”

      Never a truer written by and about liggers like Bowditch and her buffoon work mates.

      Sunday Times also guarantee Scottish house prices will “soar under No vote” 23% apparently. Where they get that 23% from is another bettertogether mystery, sneaky though, give them that.

      Can any passing fcukwit be a British journalist or Professor?

    63. BuckieBraes says:


      That was no ordinary being you encountered, Ray. It was the ghost of Barbara Woodhouse.

    64. Viking Girl says:

      Can I say something about this Britishness thing? The ancient Greeks, in about 500 BC, wrote of the islands of the ‘Pritenes’ that later became the islands of the ‘Britons.’ That’s us, friends. We’re the Britons. We’ll always be British. That’s a fact.
      The guff about us not having been able to bail out the banks was addressed by Prof Andrew Hughes Hallet talking to DB and the information is on Go Lassie Go. We would have been liable for £00.8 billion, not the lot as some folk would have you believe.

    65. They don`t like Garlic and they don`t do “thinking” and they dress-up to walk backwards to Dickensian chimney chooks.

      Who wouldn`t Vote for Foodbanks, an ex-soldier in Stevenage Starved to Death by ATOS ( their wing of ConDem Govt) less than 4 x weeks ago.

      Who wouldn`t vote to Punish a lady Cancer patient who, according to ATOS, Self-Infected herself with Bone Cancer.
      Starvation being Helpful in defeating Cancer.??


    66. Kalmar says:

      Excellent read, and the ‘flickering screens’ callback was the perfect punch line 🙂

    67. chossy says:

      That was a fun read, you are left thinking these people are just bizarre!

    68. heedtracker says:

      Aberdeen and Shire are in a bubble that does not necessarily reflect the reality that the rest of Scotland experiences.

      Its only a rich minority on Deeside.

      Aberdeen is very YES with last Holyrood election win for Mark MaDonald MSP who came under spectacular attack, led primarily by the BBC but the Press and Journal knew no depths attacking MacDonald.

      They even dragged up Alex Ferguson to hair dryer everyone in Aberdeen, made no difference. Well not no difference, they cut a big 5000 majority to 2000 but even so, the migjt of teamGB darkest powers flopped in Aberdeen.

      BBC was furious, opponent Willie Young made a fool of himself, every time he opened his mouth.

    69. James S says:

      My impression of the Yes campaign talks:

      * Open
      * Free
      * Accessible
      * Publicised well in advance
      * Taking questions from the floor – from any viewpoint
      * Publicly videod
      * Recorded and distributed for others to access
      * Nothing to fear, nothing to hide
      * Well attended in large venues
      * Supporters happily give way (and places) to people of differing views

      My impression of the No campaign talks:

      * If they are happening, I’m missing when and where they are in advance
      * When there are attendees, the images shared are of the speakers – without showing any audience
      * None appear to have been videod (except by covert attendees)
      * They have a script / speech which is read by a local, then followed by a paid for(?) BT representative
      * Venues are often only small front rooms, which possibly have half the attendees travelled with the speaker
      * Audience does not seem to be engaged or feel listened to – judging by the reactions

    70. David S Briggs says:


      Agree with you. Both the post and the comments have been highly entertaining. Nice to see everyone relaxing with a bit of joviality. You might think that we were going to win. I’m getting more confident by the day.

    71. naebd says:

      Old biddies fuming silently – that is surely the True Soul of the Nothankyouverymuch campaign.

    72. fred blogger says:

      i am really delighted that this message is finally getting out there.
      we’ve been treated like mushrooms, kept in the dark and crap thrown @ us.
      for much of my 60 odd years of life it has been so rare to hear public outbursts of truth.
      many are shocked by truth.
      truth conquers all.
      as rebus says “funny how the truth always makes sense.”

    73. Lesley-Anne says:

      Thing is fred BBC and their MSM buddies are doing their damnedest to make sure that the TRUTH does NOT get out there to the people of Scotland. BBC and MSM are doing what they do best and that is treating the people of Scotland like mushrooms. We are being kept in the dark and fed s***e! Well at least that is what BBC and MSM want to THINK is happening. However, everyone on here and elsewhere knows full well that there is a truly independent source of light out there available to almost everyone, it is called the internet and we, the people of Scotland are using it to OUR benefit. 😛

      We are winning and come the 19th September we will have WON!

      Scotland is on the road to FREEDOM! 😀

      There is NOTHING that the BBC, MSM or Westminster can do now. The genie was set free from its bottle when the Edinburgh Agreement was signed and it will NEVER return. 🙂

    74. On Scottish Land Reform via the above link – Capella.

      Loved the cheek of the 1617 AD Land Prescription Act that allowed lairds and lords to steal Kirk Lands.

      Prescription – take 2 x Aspirin and see me in 400 years.?

    75. fred blogger says:

      we’ve won alright and won big time, just as you say.
      just a bit more winning to do.
      never have enough engagement/democracy, only ever to little.

    76. geeo says:


      I have it on good authority that hugh pennington is indeed extremely effluent in his field…(har).

      Who am i to argue..he’s got an ‘ology !!!!

    77. msean says:


    78. Cindie says:

      I’ve been away for a couple of days to Aberdeen. I went and returned on the train rather than by road and things look very different than from the A96. I saw some massive yes signs just outside Insch and Elgin, and signs in windows etc. Didn’t get to see the Aberdeen yes stall as I was rushing to catch the train, but did see loads of wee flags round the city. Were you giving them out yesterday folks?

      BTW, am stunned at the latest Wings fundraiser! So amazing to have raised so much is so little time. I’ll be donating as always. I really think that the wee blue book will be a game changer.

      Big wave too to the lovely volunteers at the Inverness yes hub, I popped in briefly just before they were closing for some info. The high street in Inverness looks fantastic with yes signs high up on every lamp-post.

      Great article btw Ray, have shared it Twitter.

    79. Lesley-Anne says:

      Hong on geeo, I’ve got an ‘ology’, apparently, does this mean I should be voting NO then? 😛

      What NO do NOT seem capable of understanding fred is that with all their constant “you can’t …..” s***e they are not only losing voters from NO but they are actually pushing voters towards YES. THEY are in fact doing half of OUR work for us! 😛

    80. ronnie anderson says:

      O/T I did say some time back that they would go to war to stop the refferendem, seem like Camerons softening up the British people to do just that,stand by for the abuse of the NO camp say as Scotland say NO to that.

    81. Annie Reid says:

      Certainly sums up the meeting very well. I did think it funny that the woman moaning about the lack of presence of the no campaign highlighted the fact that the Yes people even had a stall at the Feein Market. So did the nos, but obviously even their own supporters missed it.

    82. Croompenstein says:

      Wasn’t Pennington one of Rory the Tory’s helpers on the great cairn of unionist pish? I’m sure he was in one of the vids

    83. Grouse Beater says:

      A thoroughly enjoyable recounting of the jumble of contradictory notions, faction, misinformation, and animus that is the No campaign.

      I see one of the speakers is an FRSE – a fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, a person so elected and elevated because of his intellectual standing in the community. By the speech made that you report one must assume the selction committee were all on holiday when his nomination arrived on their desk.

      I also notice you don’t talk of anyone unemployed or plain poverty-stricken attending the meeting. Those you do describe sound as if monied enough to live in the south of France if they feel a democratic, self-governing Scotland not to their taste.

      In that regard I’m very happy for them.

    84. PI3GUB says:

      Good stuff Ray, already following you.

      How did you manage to keep a straight face?

      I’m not accustomed to keeping my piehole zipped, so I’d have spoken without being asked because I’m not in school any more and oh yes, I’m an adult apparently.

      The complacency from the elderly I find truly baffling.

      More power to your patience and good manners despite your abuser.

      looking forward to your next report from the front line.

    85. Archie [not Erchie] says:

      @ X Sticks – Sorry couldn’t chat with you more at the YES stall at Markies, Aberdeen but had family commitments. Keep in touch please re WBB – Thanks.

    86. watty says:

      Great piece of writing. Been to many fine gigs in the Town Hall over the years. Guess you lucked out. Anyway, that Pennington chap is only concerned for world health and well-being. He’s VERY WORRIED about bacteria in SPONGES. Not one of the pro-independence parties has mentioned SCOURERS in their campaigns or in their manifestos. If Scotland becomes independent we may not wash out our dishmops properly, and there’d be BACTERIA, like everywhere. The global community would be distracted from addressing issues like Syria, Iraq, Israel-Palestine. Vote NO THANKS to dirty dishcloths.

    87. Chris Silver says:

      Theres an AD one online watched it filmed on a secret camera, a guy stood up introduced himself as a teacher said he had been to several Yes meetings a few undecideds but couldn’t get to any No meetings and only got an invitation through a friend of a friend. They harassed him for his question, good way to entice undecideds maybe not. He asked what legitimacy such meetings have in a social democracy. Now he could have been a Yesser, but there could have been undecided people in the room and just like the debate with AS and AD sometimes the more shouty you are it may appear to have done better but the appetite for such thing only lays with supporters of each respective camps and the folk in the middle are trying to make some sense to it. So while it had their own zealots left contented the shoddy dismissive way this guy endured would surely do them more harm than good. I contrast to this Nicola Sturgeon was asked a question the other night and the guy just left and she still answered his question if twitter was accurate.

      So there is a real contrast and positions the two futures, one that engages with the public and one that dictates. One thing that puzzles me with this Trident thing I have not heard one person except politicians actually defending its continuance yet they seem to have conducted their own narrative that public opinion is split down the middle. Sorry not exactly accurate I recall one MSP telling me he was talking to someone who was against it but their brother worked at Faslane and they were worried about their job, hardly the most convincing argument.

    88. Grouse Beater says:

      but their brother worked at Faslane and they were worried about their job, hardly the most convincing argument.

      He should worry. Imagine being a Scottish MP with your entire career prospects invested in Westminster forced to talk down Scotland’s ambitions as a matter of policy.

    89. lycro76 says:

      I studied at Strathclyde uni in 2000 and microbiology was part of the course I was reading. Prof Pennington was not held in high esteem and I was told that he was only involved in the ecoli outbreak because all the other micro labs were too busy to do the analysis – makes sense,why would you send micro samples all the way to Aberdeen when the outbreak was clustered around Lanarkshire? I agree with other comments, every time there’s disease doing the rounds, the BBC trundles him out for comment even when there must surely be excellent bacteriologists,virologists and epidemiologists in the country!

    90. Long before RBS.
      Conversation in Better bit of London.

      Mum, can I get a curdy.
      I cleaned every inch of the chimney with my eyebrows, so, can I have a curdy.

      Naw Alistair, darkling, look at all the stoor on the furniture,the carpets, the curtains and the doo-dads because ye forgot to, firstly, cover the grate with the stoor blanket.

      Your dad and I do not reward our Ffettes fuck-up.

    91. khambatta says:

      Love that. She’s scowling, hissing & laying hands on you, but it’s you that’s not been very nice. So very typical.

    92. ErinT says:

      Long time reader, first time commenter here. Kinda felt as though it was about time since I’m leaning towards but sway and swither pretty often – at the moment I like to think of myself as undecided until I actually mark my decision on the voting slip.

      It is interesting to hear a viewpoint on research. I’m in academia myself and so the issue hits pretty close to home, especially as the 18th approaches and there hasn’t been much of an advance on what would happen to funding that comes from EU and the rest of the UK. I’ve read the UK Government estimate that funding from research bodies could be made up by an extra 0.2% of GDP being spent on research (suggesting that Scotland maintains a similar 1.7% of GPD as the UK on research). Which seems entirely reasonable to me.

      I’d love to hear an EPSRC / BBSRC stance on the issue but I believe these bodies have refrained from discussion until after the event. The Scottish Goverment would want a sort of research zone over an iScotland / rUK but as far as I know there hasn’t been any real discussion about this or the plausibility of it. Unless any of the informed here know otherwise?

      I see that the EPSRC is one of the 200 bodies that would be required to be set up following independence according to the UK Government so I suppose at worst this new body could pick up the slack. There is also the transitional question of current research funding – would grants continue as per the proposed asset share?

      For myself, this is the one remaining issue to change my likely yes to a solid yes.

    93. glenfalloch says:

      Nicola Sturgeon at Victoria Halls, Helensburgh Monday night 7.30 – talk about going into the belly of the nuclear beast … come along and support her

    94. Murray McCallum says:

      Ray’s account confirms my belief that the best drains are working on thankless together.

    95. Nicol Hands says:

      Settings, Wallpapers and Brightness, then Brightness slider to reduce brightness appropriately.

    96. Irene says:

      Thanks so much for this, Ray. I haven’t laughed so hard in ages.

    97. Irene says:

      PS. Can’t remember who commented about the RSPCA being able to carry on…tisk…it’s the SSPCA in Scotland!! Take a slapped wrist.

    98. farrochie says:

      Was never very impressed with Pennington ever since, in a public lecture, he slagged off Scotch pies, and he gave a poor answer to my question on bacteriophage.

      Ray did a good job by going and listening and giving us an entertaining write-up. I was briefly tempted.

      On the point about cars and hooses, I think folks around here are certainly reserved about displaying their preferences. I’d urge all Stoney Yessers to get the stickers on their cars, bikes or hooses.

      We have Leslie Riddoch on Tuesday evening at 07:00 at the Indoor Bowling Club, Stonehaven. Hope she gets a good turnout. Spread the word, please.

    99. farrochie says:

      That’s 07:00pm, I should say, or 19:00.

      Blossom, what Scotland needs to flourish.

      Lesley Riddoch is an awarding winning broadcaster and journalist … Tuesday 19th August Stonehaven Bowling Club, 7pm Blossom event free.

    100. Croompenstein says:

      @Erin T – I would imagine the Haldane principle would still be the effective answer to these questions however it does depend on whether the Govt at westminster would choose to try and block this principle through some kind of petty vengefulness. You also have to remember that Scotland would by default on independence have a clearer voice and more of a say in matters of the EU than we have at the moment.

    101. farrochie says:


      Please have a look at the website of “Academics for Yes”. They have considered the future of higher education and research in independent Scotland. A large number of academics, who are normally silent on such issues, are now expressing their views openly and are supporting YES, far outnumbering the Academics Together, but do look at what AT says too.

      Let us know what you come up with.

    102. Anne says:

      Erin T
      I was at a meeting of the RSE on 11 June at which Michael Russell spoke and outlined the SG’s commitment to supporting research funding in a iScotland. The preferred option would be to contribute to an updated version of RCUK, and the SG would negotiate to support such an outcome. But if this does not happen the SG is committed to continuing to support research at similar levels to RCUK. Erin – I am an active, and well funded, researcher but am convinced that, even though there will be details to be ironed out in an iScotland the prospect for research funding is at least as good as in the cUK. (The consequences of leaving the EU don’t bear thinking about). Added to this are the benefits of health and welfare, not fighting in other people’s wars etc. I am also incredibly disillusioned by the Lib Dem betrayal on tuition fees; at least in Scotland education has been prioritized.

    103. Rosa Alba Macdonald says:

      UNFortunately I could not get to the meeting though I see Annie R did (not sure if EncycloP and Spot managed).

      Pity it sounds like it was a riot.

      Holyrood Magazine has an article on how research funding will be protetcted.

      The BT meeting was publicicised by a supporter who hijacked the mailing list for another organisation of which he (the hijacker) has a habit of doing. It is being addressed.

      If you live in Stonie – offer to canvas.
      Harbour Festival Next week with Green Party and we hope Women for Indy stall (have to check).

    104. JET JOCKEY says:

      Anybody know where Prof Kemp is, he used to be the regular guy when the economy of the North sea was being discussed, I always thought he knew what he was talking about, that’s maybe why he is kept out of the debate , or am I wrong , anyone of the same opinion .

    105. Ken500 says:


      The number of NO banners in rural Averdeenshire reflects it is a rural area of landowning estate. Ie One landowner puts up many NO banners on their land. This doesn’t reflect the majority electorate. In many areas YES banners are 10/1, with more going up all the time.

      The NE is strongly SNP and has returned Alex Samond and SNP candidates to Westminster and Holyrood for years.

    106. Betty Boop says:

      @ Erin T, 6.46pm

      Welcome to the club, Erin.

      I can’t answer your particular concerns, but, suggest you have a look at I think there are some references to funding on their page. You can email them and ask questions and they will get back to you.

      Also, Wings have an article about research funding:

      There was an article in The Herald, on 26th March 2014 by Andrew Denholm, Education Correspondent, entitled “Independence ‘will not affect’ university research funding”. I also know of a couple of letters to The Herald on 7th February 2014, one from Dr John O’Dowd and the other from Dr Ross N Gillanders, School of Physics and Astronomy,University of St Andrews concerning this. I am sure there is much more info out there and letters to papers, but, I rarely take notice of newspapers now.

      Page 452-455 in Scotland’s Future also discusses funding.

      BTW, I presume the “200 bodies” to which you refer is the grossly exaggerated number put about by the UK gov.

      Anyway, happy research…

    107. Ken500 says:

      Some Academics receive £Millions of public money from Union supporters, without declaring an interest. This can affect their professional judgement.

    108. The Rough Bounds says:

      Les Wilson. 2.32 pm.

      ”Yes getting an even bigger steam of head.”

      I think what you meant to say Les was ‘head of steam’.

    109. David Craig says:

      Ha ha! Great story! Not much argument against independence at all, what is the foundation that keeps people wanting a ‘No’ vote?

    110. TJenny says:

      The Rough Bounds – I’m giggling like an eejit at that. 🙂

    111. Betty Boop says:

      @ Lesley-Anne, 3.08pm

      Re Ms Davidson’s meeting in Troon, I posted about that one on Friday when answering one of your comments about Nicola Sturgeon in Kilsyth handling a Q&A for 500+.

      I take my hat of to Ray – his experience at the Stonehaven no meeting sounds far worse than Troon and that was pitiful, deceitful stuff. Just hobble home with your no posters and talk to people you know. Just about the last question came from someone who had earlier claimed to be a chartered accountant and had trotted out the usual stuff which amounted to Scotland being too poor and, obviously. too stupid to handle the finances of a country. He opined that an hour was too short for Ruthie to tell them what to say in support of no. Jings, they’ve had all their lives, 300+ years of union, the current evidence before their eyes and they don’t know why they think as they do!

      No filming of the Tory faithful in Troon, I am sure – they don’t want anyone to know…. just in a case someone with more than one brain cell sees it.

      Our Troon Yes event in the same venue a few days before featured Jim Sillars, Ivan McKee and Philippa Whitford and that has been filmed because we want everyone to see it!

      At least the telling of Ray’s encounter with the dark side made me laugh. No laughs at Ruthie’s and despite the PR about her being energetic, she can only last an hour long meet – think she must bore herself.

    112. ErinT says:

      @ Croompenstein, farrochie and Anne.

      Thank you so much for the quick responses!

      Anne, I too am disillusioned by the Lib Dem change of stance on tuition fees. My MP is a Lib Dem and suffice to say the party won’t be seeing my vote ever after the massive about turn they took. If I was to put my stance forward, I would say that you have highlighted the prime reasons I have for voting yes (especially health and welfare) and my only niggling doubt remaining has been what would happen to research. I’d like to eliminate it!

      I’ve seen that RCUK are open to working with the Scottish Government post Independence and I do believe that a common research area would be hugely beneficial. I suppose this might come down to weighing up the uncertainties of cUK against iScotland. Given the poor commitment to the 2.5% of GDP research spending proposed by previous UK governments, I’d be leaning towards siding with the latter. Still a little uncertain about what happens to current funding but I presume it won’t be retroactively removed.

      farrochie, I checked out both of those groups and I am not overly impressed with either but then again I am in a fiendishly picky mood at the moment. I think the case is better argued by Yes, especially highlighting existing cross-border funding arrangements. It would indeed seem strange for something of this likeness not to exist! I would love to be able to read the letter sent to the Herald but I don’t have an active subscription. Time to hunt out the credit card!

      I read Alan Archibald’s commentary and it seemed okay, if a little fear-ridden, until the closing sentence. As a researcher myself I always feel you should close with a reiteration of your strongest argument and suddenly talking about a plethora of other reasons suggests to me that the idea of the transition being disruptive is a little wide of the mark. Just my personal take though.

      Croompenstein, despite having read about independence and the issues surrounding it I was actually unaware of this. It is interesting and at least gives hope that if independence occurs, the matter of research may be discussed and determined by those actively doing it and not policians.

    113. Ken500 says:

      YES Aberdeenshire were out canvassing with Nicola Sturgeon, and officially opened their YES shop in Ellon today. It’s on their web site.

    114. ErinT says:

      @ Betty Boop!

      Hah, yes! That “one of 200” is indeed the exaggerated claim. I thought I would mention that without putting forth my personal opinion aside from noting that it is the UK government’s figure. I’m very, very wary of it.

      I might be able to get in touch with some of the Academics for Yes on a face to face (or email to email) basis so I might make a little note of seeking a chat.

      And thank you for the wishes regarding the research. It should be getting done at the moment admittedly! What is actually happening is I am refreshing myself with the white paper.

    115. Betty Boop says:

      @ Erin T

      🙂 from the mother of a research student!

    116. revjimbob says:

      “More people are taking No Thanks stickers from us, for their cars, and they say they don’t care if they get a brick through the windscreen because of it.”

    117. geeo says:

      “More people are taking No Thanks stickers from us, for their cars, and they say they don’t care if they get a brick through the windscreen because of it.”

      Such self loathing, to smash up your own car.
      Just don’t put the bloody No sticker on the damn thing!

      That is what he meant yes ? har har…al get me coat…

    118. geeo says:


      You got an ‘ology ?

      That’s nearly a genius !

      Unless its kid’ology of course.

    119. Anne Lawrie says:

      I was on the Freedom Convoy today. We stopped at traffic lights beside a pub and one of its patrons (who had obviously been enjoying the hospitality there for some considerable time) took great delight in shouting and making rude gestures to all the vehicles passing by. Amused onlookers were smiling at us and shaking their heads. A little further up the same road, a crowd of “young men” took it upon themselves to halt the convoy by standing in the middle of the road with a large union flag. Whilst these people are entitled to their own opinions, they did little to encourage any undecideds to their viewpoint.

    120. Craig Brown says:

      Brilliant Ray, I hope you write for us again.

    121. Croompenstein says:

      @Anne Lawrie – well done Anne the convoy looked fantastic, as for the ‘young men’ we all know them and we will have to carry them with us in our new Scotland as, sadly, there is no way on God’s earth that they will be able to carry us!

    122. Robert Peffers says:

      @ErinT says: 17 August, 2014 at 6:46 pm:

      “Long time reader, first time commenter here.”

      First up – Welcome.

      “For myself, this is the one remaining issue to change my likely yes to a solid yes.”

      It was my understanding the investment in research was on the basis of it going to the institute or persons, considered to be the best placed to get results. Thus it is mainly cross-borders and much of the information freely shared World-wide. That being so why would the funders move to what the considered as inferior sources? They are, after all, seeking truth and advancement in particular fields.

    123. Stewart fae stoney says:

      Alex John45stone had a bit in the local rag the Mearns Leader but I refused to read his drivel but there was a cracking YES car procession through Stonehaven this morning Flags and yes stickers galore and a great Old Fire Engine painted blue with Yes and Independence written over it, very impressive

    124. Leslie Ross says:

      Having just read an interview with Anne Glover, Scottish Chief scientific Advisor to ex-EU president Barroso (coincedentaly a molecular biologist) I would have loved to put her opinion to Prof Pennington:

      “I wouldn’t immediately see what would change in as much as science is a collaborative process. Science which is only of interest to the person on the bench next to you is not normally of great importance. If you look at the scientific effort of Scottish research, this is something I did while I was in Scotland, which was commission the first report to look at what is the impact of the science done in Scotland compared to the rest of the world.

      “Obviously we were utterly delighted at the time, this was in 2007, to be able to demonstrate that by independent analysis, relative to GDP, the impact of science done in Scotland was number one in the world. That is just mind blowing.

      “On the 19th of September I don’t see that changing because if I am in China or in North America, I want to work with the best and if the best are in Scotland, I’m still going to work with the best.”

      Perhaps the link to the intyerview should be added to the reference section –

    125. R-type Grunt says:

      @ Capella says…

      “Aberdeenshire is home to the biggest landowners in Scotland such as the Astors and Gladstones. They do not want the proposed Land Reforms to be implemented and have been, for centuries, protected by Westminster and, of course, the House of Lords, from any assault on their privelege and wealth. That’s why you will see a number of No Thanks placards in fields as you drive past their land”.

      Aye, I figured as much. Kinda ironic that these people’s land is so sparsely populated. I can get more Yes action in a Dundee close.

    126. Dr Ew says:

      Thoroughly enjoyable article, Ray.

      I only managed one No meeting, shortly after I movedto a new area in March. I endured 60 mins of the most puerile Nat/Salmond bashing before they took a question. Of the six asked the first two were plants – spouse and sister of the chairman, I later learned – followed by two were from folk who were (unbeknownst to me) Yes campaigners and one decidedly unimpressed undecided voter the chair got flustered and refused to allow any further questions. I never even got to ask one but had tipped my hand when I corrected some misinformation from Murdo Fraser.

      Good news is I have become firm friends with one of the Yes questioners I met that night, and we’ve both become active in ourlocal campaign. Yes has built many bonds across Scotland, bonds that will endure long beyond next month and help build the New Scotland – whatever the result.

    127. Michael McCabe says:

      @ geeo and Lesley-Anne at 11:01pm Can you get an ap for a ology ? Sorry Vote Yes.

    128. Ken500 says:

      One person owns all the land from Braemar to Perth. The estates on Deeside and the surrounding area are owned by many on Aberdeenshire council. Many in the Unionist Parties (small proportion of the pop) attempt to run it as a fiefdom (to their advantage) pulling the strings behind the scene, and wasting £Millions of public money. They join the LibDems for more political advantage and use environmental issues as an excuse to block infrastructure and progress.

    129. Haggis Hunter says:

      In co. Angus theres a tonne of Yes stickers and Placards, except for the odd Laird with proud to be British banners mounted on straw bales and Tattie boxes. Cross the boundary into rural Aberdeenshire and there is a whole industry for Range Rovers, Tweeds and Barbour jackets. The place is inundated with Lairds, so its no surprise that this is one of the hardest shows in Scotland.
      My Yes signs, legally put up with farmers permission have been getting vandalised, but the problems solved by using telegraph poles instead of posts and clarting them in a mixture of creosote and used tractor oil. Doesnt wash off a tweed jacket!

    130. Ken500 says:

      Banners still 10/1 YES

    131. Hewitt83 says:

      If anyone is in Aberdeen and or the Shire, take a wee drive through Newmachar.

      Yes stuff popped all over the place over the weekend, great to see.

      I was in Nairn at the weekend and the Yes stall was mobbed all day. For the first time in a while, I am optimistic about next month. There is a genuine sense of late momentum.

    132. ErinT says:

      @Robert Peffers

      Thanks for the kind welcome!

      Ideally research grants should be awarded on the basis of merit but quite often things are much more political. Which it really shouldn’t be. My biggest concern (although it doesn’t affect my funding source) is what happens to existing EPSRC / BBSRC and similar grants during any transition period. It is a small worry, but one none the less. Would it be enough to tip my decision in a vote? Not on its own but I would prefer not to have the doubt at all.

      On a happier note, I did some further reading last night and I am quite satisfied about the prospects of research in Scotland after independence so thank you to everyone that pointed out relevant links and sources to check out!

      Going on off on a touch of a tangent, ideally the majority of research should be open access but unfortunately this is not the case. Of my last three publications, none of them are available without paying (boo) and of the current batch waiting to go, we aren’t targeting OA as the impact (which is needed to get that pesky funding) just isn’t there. Maybe one day! Sorry for the very off-topic ramble.

    133. Cath says:

      Nice one Ray!

      I’ve heard this too, in the debate on a post independence economy: “We simply don’t know what Plan B is,” Johnstone thundered. “But I can tell you – Plan B is something called sterlingisation.”

      They’re quite convinced they know Sterlingisation is plan B, even though that nasty Alex Salmond won’t say what plan B is. Then they go on to demand that surely a Scottish currency would be a far better Plan B and point out many on the Yes side are arguing for that, and demand to know why that isn’t plan B, even though that nasty Salmond still hasn’t told us what plan B is.

      The net effect: they are now no longer talking about anything except post independence currency negotiations, which kind of makes it look like they’ve conceded the referendum on whether we should be independent or not.

      Oh, and Scottish Labour, in particular, appear to be tying themselves to supporting Scotland having our own currency post independence, or in other words, arguing only that that nasty Alex Salmond is proposing a kind of independence that isn’t independent enough. Which is an odd position for a supposedly no campaign to find itself in.

    134. Tarry Breeks says:

      Great story, I had a pact with a friend to go to one No Better Together and one Yes meeting. We went to a Yes meeting with Nicola Sturgeon but we’re still waiting for a NBT meeting to materialise near us, there literally haven’t been any.

      Not that it would make any difference to me: I used to be on the fence but David Cameron privatised it and sold it to his mates.

    135. Jim Hagart says:

      God, I’m getting so emotional. What with splitting my sides with Ray’s article then listening to the gorgeous voice of Jackie McGuckian singing Theme for early days of a better nation, then feeling chuffed that Yes is catching up on No in the polls (I’m too cautious to get carried away at the moment with the optimism on pro Indy web sites though I’d love to believe Yes is getting close to the winning post). That means I’ll be a nervous wreck if all those afeard o’ change come out to vote No and ruin my day. Could you arrange for Alex Salmond to publicise a brand new oil field on September the 17th and guarantee them the £500 a year they seem to need to vote Yes. Either that or put glue in their car key holes.

      Sorry, I take that last bit back. It would be downright antisocial and also turn me into a cybersticker. Couldn’t have that. It would probably get reported in the press as cyberstalker.

    136. kininvie says:

      Just a wee thought…

      Isn’t Stonehaven behind the more-or-less fictional setting of Iain Banks novel ‘Stonemouth’?

      (Which the BBC are about to film)

      If so, it sounds a right dodgy place (read the book!)

      It sounds a good place for a No meeting.

      I’m glad I live in peaceful West Lothian :))

    137. Ray says:

      @ kininvie

      I haven’t read Stonemouth yet but not sure how similar it is to Stonehaven (which is south of Aberdeen rather than north, like the fictional Stonemouth is). There’s certainly not a rival gang presence in the area anyway!

    138. Ray says:

      For those who still read comments weeks after the article was posted, there is now a sequel, as today Jim Murphy visited Stonehaven as part of his 100 Streets tour:

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