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Wings Over Scotland

Picking up a buzz

Posted on May 01, 2014 by

Yesterday, we discovered a rather curious anti-independence “listicle” on the popular viral-meme website Buzzfeed. Entitled “Scotland. The UK. 10 Myths. 10 Facts.”, it describes itself as “myth busting” by an author identified only as “YouDecide2014”.

It was shared or retweeted by a variety of Conservative Party special advisers, the 10 Downing Street Facebook account, and even the UK Ministry of Defence.


The crude, extremely biased article gives no indication that it’s written by the UK government. The closest it comes to doing so is right at the end, where it says “Get the facts at The Buzzfeed account page makes no reference to the UK government, and the layout makes the piece look like any normal article on the site, although in fact it’s posted on Buzzfeed Community, which is an area where users can post anything they want to without censorship.

We decided to find out more.

The first clue to the government’s direct involvement was that the author page sent readers to @YouDecide2014, a Twitter account which has a link to the Scotland Office home page, but otherwise presents itself as a source of neutral information, saying only “The Scottish Referendum on 18th September 2014 is a massive decision that needs proper thought. You Decide is here to give you the facts ahead of the vote”.

It gives its location as “Edinburgh”, and offers no indications that it’s in any way connected to the UK Government or is on one side of the debate. As the story developed on Twitter, an alert reader noticed something strange:


You can’t get a verified Twitter account except by arrangement with Twitter.


Therefore, @YouDecide2014 must be an official account of the Scotland Office. That certainly explains why Tory special advisors were tweeting the Buzzfeed article.

Curious, we visited the Scotland Office website. The most recent press release is headlined “Scottish Independence Referendum: myths must be debunked”, and links straight to the BuzzFeed page.


So it’s official: the UK government has attacked the Scottish government on Buzzfeed. Is this a first in international (albeit intrastate) relations? Will it set a precedent? Will the next Ukraine crisis negotiations be carried out in the medium of ironic animated GIFs or viral video?

The absence of any clear statements of the UK government’s involvement looks like an attempt to mislead the public. But there are even more serious issues.

Presumably, someone at the Scotland Office wrote the article, as it’s been released through official Government channels. They couldn’t be an ordinary civil servant, who would be bound to impartiality – and if there’s one thing that’s had Unionist politicians and media in a froth of outrage throughout the independence campaign it’s the thought of civil servants being made to act in an improperly political manner.

So this kind of work would have to be carried out by a special adviser. Could it have been one of the special advisers who tweeted the article? Surely not, as that would breach their code of conduct:

“Special advisers should conduct themselves with integrity and honesty. They should not deceive or knowingly mislead Parliament or the public.

Special advisers should not use official resources for party political activity.

They are employed to serve the objectives of the Government and the Department in which they work. It is this which justifies their being paid from public funds and being able to use public resources, and explains why their participation in party politics is carefully limited.

They should avoid anything which might reasonably lead to the criticism that people paid from public funds are being used for party political purposes.”

We’ve already asked the Scotland Office for clarification of who wrote the article and whether they were paid for it with taxpayers’ money. We’ll keep you updated.

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3 Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. 01 05 14 13:15

    Bias on Buzzfeed | Bigmouth Strikes Again

  2. 01 05 14 13:17

    The curious case of YouDecide2014 – Tories in ‘neutral’ clothing | Alistair Davidson

  3. 15 03 16 23:22

    2014 – Scottish Referendum – State Subversion Denied Scots Their Freedom – Next Time We Will Be Wiser | caltonjock

169 to “Picking up a buzz”

  1. manandboy says:

    “In his speech to business leaders Mr Alexander claimed there was “more evidence for the Loch Ness monster” than facts to support the SNP’s economic case for independence.”

    How can anyone take Mr Alexander seriously with a comment like this.

    He said this to business leaders!

    This is the Chief Secretary to the Treasury.

    The mind boggles.

    Even Joanne Lamont . . .

  2. Murray McCallum says:

    Great summary Alistair. Good to see “ordinary” people doing the job of what a critical but balanced MSM should be doing.

  3. Smith says:

    Nice one Rev. I have a feeling this story could grow arms and legs …

  4. galamcennalath says:

    Well, BT are a top down ‘astro turf‘ outfit. It’s not as if there is any on-the-ground movement to promote their cause.

    However, the issue of civil servants breaching their code of conduct is a serious one.

    Freedom of Information request?

  5. Lanarkist says:

    Their policy statement sort of undermines their underhand tactics;

    “Facilitating a legal, fair and decisive referendum in Scotland”

    Brass necked and flush with tax payers cash!

    If SPAD, they should be sacked.

  6. heedtracker says:

    All the buzzfeed vote no sucker Scotland links are to official propaganda online which was all very weird, and then you read this. Another wizard wheeze from the chaps/chapesses in Whitehall and all with their “we” collective, for extra truthiness.

    Fact: Labour, Conservatives and Lib Dems have all made clear if we leave the UK we’ll also leave the UK pound. A currency union would not work for Scotland or the rest of the UK – it will not happen.
    Sources: Scotland analysis: currency and monetary policy, April 2013, Scotland analysis: assessment of a sterling currency union, February 2014

  7. hetty says:

    You just couldn’t make this up, its like getting more like a Bond film everyday, full of fantasy, bully boys and machismo. They need to debunk their own myths and stop lying to the Scottish people.

    And where are Flipper and Jo-la-la these days?

  8. Mary Bruce says:

    I’m still waiting for any sort of response from the Scotland Office to the claim that Scotland will be unable to keep the pound.

    I have asked if this claim refers to keeping the £ in a currency union or if it means under any circumstances. As they know the latter is a lie, they can’t legally stop any country using the £ if they want to and they know it.

    I have yet to receive an answer. Anyone shocked that the Scotland Office is promoting blatant lies? Not me any more.

  9. I’ll look forward to reading about this one in the MSM.

    Therein lies the problem: when they do get caught out how does Joe Public find out? A bit depressing when you think about it.

  10. Ken500 says:

    Danny Alexander cost Scotland £5Billion+ a year. In 2011 Budget Scottish Grant £1.Billion a year and increased Oil tax 11% (£2Billion) a year to 80%, while supporting multinationals tax evading in the City of London. Danny Aexander has no economic experience. The Royal Mail sell off made £millions for Osbourne’s best man and brother in law.

  11. Doug Daniel says:

    There’s going to be more and more of this sort of stuff as the referendum draws closer. No Borders is dodgy as hell, as is their “Flowers of Union” band, which is actually a private limited company set up last year by Fiona Gilmore.

    We’re all going to have to become masters of Googling and trawling various company directories, because as today’s fluff pieces for No Borders show, the media certainly isn’t going to do it.

  12. Bugger (the Panda) says:

    Black Ops R Us

  13. cynicalHighlander says:

    That Buzzefeed link takes ages to load so I have kept a record for posterity.

  14. The Man in the Jar says:

    Very interesting!

    Looking forward to this running.

  15. Greannach says:

    I saw a link on this to the British military. That’s a bit scary if unsurprising. Glad to see mention of Danny Alexander ‘monstering’ business leaders. It’s the first mention I’ve seen of his game-changing speech yesterday or whenever. I’m missing Flipper badly these days but it seems he was in the Western Isles, possibly exchanging ideas with a former UK government high-flier on how to keep the nose in the trough after collapse of Westminster career. As for Lamont, maybe calling out the numbers at bingo somewhere.

  16. DougtheDug says:

    Just for info @youdecide2014 and are both referenced at the bottom of this HM Government branded Document.

  17. dennis mclaughlin says:

    I think our side of the Referendum debate (YES),should be a bit more proactive in these shady U.K. Govt /MSM practices.
    surely we cannot be treated as a punch-bag until September….are we not allowed to fight back at all in the terms of the Edinburgh Agreement?.
    6 million human beings were destroyed in WW11,by turning the other cheek.

  18. Neil B says:

    “You Decide is here to give you the facts ahead of the vote”

    Right, that does it – I’m voting Yes. I hate this use of ahead of when they mean before (or afore if you prefer).
    Tut, honestly!

  19. heedtracker says:

    Sorry its with all links to and all paid for by me and you

    So for this kind of “fact” about Scottish government Fact: “The Scottish Government assumes that oil and gas can be produced at zero costs (so rigs and pipelines can be built and run for free, and oil workers don’t need to be paid),” they link that gibberish up to

    Maybe Whitehall civil service thinks everyone is Scotland is 3 years old

  20. Jack McKenzie says:

    Did George Orwell have a crystal ball when he wrote ‘1984’?

    If he did, then his description of Big Brother rather flatters Danny Alexander. I’m not sure if Danny could make up the concept of ‘doublethink’ all on his own.

    He’s more at home in ‘Animal Farm’ anyway.

  21. DougtheDug says:

    As a follow up to my last comment, who is being paid to maintain the website?

    Is it a salary coming out of Scottish Office funds?

  22. Mosstrooper says:

    The other day one of my grand bairns told me excitedly (well he is just 10) that it is possible to get paper “made out of sheep poo ”

    The sheep link illustration seems to indicate that paper is not the only thing made out of “sheep poo”

    What a prescient child is my Grand son.

  23. Bugger (the Panda) says:

    @ Jack McKenzie

    “The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.”

  24. haud on the noo says:

    Fiona Gilmore has been employed at FLOWERS OF UNION LTD since 19 December 2013 currently as a Director.
    Company address: FLOWERS OF UNION LTD
    Fiona Gilmore has been employed at NO BORDERS CAMPAIGN since 18 March 2014 currently as a Director (DIRECTOR/COMMUNICATIONS ADVISER).
    Company address: NO BORDERS CAMPAIGN

  25. Macart says:

    Oh dear.

    UK gov caught out again. 😀

    Can hardly wait to hear the explanation.

  26. Ken500 says:

    Galloway spouting rubbish on RT. What a hypocrite.

    The Oil revenues have been spent on London S/E and illegal wars etc, not on the poor in the UK.

  27. Papadox says:

    The secret intelligence services? They ain’t very secret nor are they very intelligent, However they have all the resources of the state at their back to protect them. Mmm that’s a good point who or what is it they are protecting?

    The corrupt rotten system (establishment) from the population they monster and control in whichever way is required to keep the peasants on message and compliant while the establishment pillage and plunder and line their pockets at our expense.

  28. Bugger (the Panda) says:

    @ Ken500

    and the reptile’s salary

  29. MJack says:

    Greannach, if Flipper is in the western isles he’ll be trying to drum up support for the islands to stay with Ruk if Scotland goes indy! I wonder what Westminster will be offering the islands?

  30. andrew>reid says:

    Jack, you’re right -the time of George Orwell’s Newspeak has well and truly arrived at Westminster, the economic market rules all in the UK, and morality along with democratic control by the people is confined to the dustbin of history.

    It has been written of Newspeak: “As we have already seen in the case of the word free, words which had once borne a heretical meaning were sometimes retained for the sake of convenience, but only with the undesirable meanings purged out of them. Countless other words such as honour, justice, morality, internationalism, and democracy had simply ceased to exist. A few blanket words covered them, and, in covering them, abolished them. All words grouping themselves round the concepts of liberty and equality, for instance, were contained in the single word crimethink, while all words grouping themselves round the concepts of objectivity and rationalism were contained in the single word oldthink.”

  31. heedtracker says:

    @ Bill Fraser, thanks for the link and its hard to argue with an honest fasttracked civil servant but holy shit what a bunch of berks.

    “I worked for the Constitutional Policy team at Scotland Office, predominantly on the Scottish independence referendum.

    The referendum is a hugely important vote and it is a completely different situation to a general election. Before a general election, civil servants prepare for all possible outcomes, however for the referendum, the UK Government has a clear policy to keep the United Kingdom together and as a UK Government civil servant, I worked to support that Government policy.

  32. John H. says:

    I’m sorry to be O/T. Johann Lamont doing her best to destroy the FM’s reputation now at FMQ’s. I’m sure this will rebound on her and the other political dwarfs who pass for unionist leaders at Holyrood.This is truly desperate stuff.

  33. Oor Wullie says:

    PS You may find it hard to believe but I am a “don’t know” at present and come to this site for insights into the debate. However, I believe all of the myth-busting facts are correct as I am not, by definition, a Scottish Nationalist – I want what’s best for the country.

  34. pa_broon74 says:

    If its any consolation, as a counter-balance, I’ve been using eBay to sow anti-establishment messages via the medium of a charity auction for a very special mug.

    Probably not as effective but at least I’m trying.

    People on twitter have probably been getting quite frustrated at my awful self-promotion over it. (Which is a bit cheeky because its what this message is also doing.)

    On topic, I read the buzzfeed thing and I think you’d need to be a turnip to not get that its far from impartial.

    My charity eBay auction (the link for which I can supply) on the other hand is a paragon of fairness & balance.


  35. theycan'tbeserious says:

    @ Jack McKenzie

    Are you suggesting Danny Alexander “loves” animals? wink, wink!

  36. Oor Wullie says:

    Hmm my PS at 12:18 looks a bit strange as the post to which it was a PS seems to have been blocked.

    Not to worry.

    I’ll perhaps try and post it again later, maybe it’s just been held up for some perfectly innocent reason…

  37. Flower of Scotland says:

    O/t Full frontal attack by Opposition Parties on Alex Salmond at FM Questions! He will be fine though! He’s head and shoulders above them all! I hope people in Scotland listen to this as the Opposition parties speak with one voice! Who would have even thought that Labour, Tory and lib Dem are now one Bitter together Party! I can’t understand Labour Folk putting up with this terrible state of affairs! Keir Hardie will be rolling about in his grave!

  38. kendomacaroonbar says:

    @Oor Wullie

    Nothing sinister, I can assure you.

  39. Derek Morison says:

    I thought I lived in North UK not North Korea!

  40. CameronB says:

    I’d put money on “a big lad did it and ran away”. 🙂

  41. galamcennalath says:

    Bill Fraser says:
    Of course Civil Service impartiality is not absolute

    The title of that civil servant’s post ‘Saving the Union’, shows clear impartiality, yes. The civil servant’s role should be to collect data and produce impartial reports for politicians, not embark on a political crusade to ‘save the Union’. Thin ice.

  42. dennis mclaughlin says:

    stop trolling – Oor Willie…….

  43. rab_the_doubter says:

    Oor Wullie
    I dont find it hard to believe, I find it impossible to believe.

  44. bunter says:

    Think that’s the toughest FMQs ive come across and caught something from the BBC commentator that a paper/letter from the Ukranians cited by Salmond as support, has mysteriously been rescinded. Could be more shenanigans but don’t know if I caught it right.

  45. CameronB says:

    What you said.

    For those not familiar with 1984, the removal of words from the vocabulary, was intended to make the conceptualization of particular thoughts and idea, impossible. Once that had been achieved, humanity would be held in perpetual slavery.

  46. handclapping says:

    Why so shocked about finding this on Buzzfeed, its what you get everyday in the Scotsman equally unattributed

  47. Les Wilson says:

    If this proves to be fact, as it does look like. Then we should be raising merry hell. It yet again confirms that they are using our taxes to fund devious ways to thwart our democracy.

    Westminster- Democracy, aye right!

  48. MochaChoca says:

    Oor wullie, if you belive all the myth-busting facts are correct why on earth would you be ‘an undecided’

  49. Malcolm McCandless says:

    No Borders connections:

    Malcolm Offord (Bankrupt Britain);

    Fiona Gilmore, founder of Acanchi (rebranding Israel);

    Amazing what Google digs up

  50. CameronB says:

    Oor Wullie
    This site has been under a constant DDOS attack for months now. It probably wasn’t anything personal. 🙂

    Hope you spotted the reference section at the top of the front page.

  51. Ian Brotherhood says:

    re FMQs: Wee Ruth lost the plot after AS batted away her second question – slammed the pen on the desk and went in a big huff. Woooooooh!

  52. MochaChoca says:

    Can’t help thinking back to the BT facebook donation/raffle/gaming license thing a while back, and this is similar.

    On it’s own and all things being equal it would be a storm in a teacup (almost a case of ‘is that all you’ve got to criticise us with’) and who gives a stuff?

    But the fact is, if the YES side were to get caught out doing something remotely questionable (think Elliot Bulmers £100) then the BBC and every other outlet would be all over it for days screaming dirty tricks.

    No win situation here.

  53. Dinnatouch says:

    Strictly speaking, there’s nothing to stop civil servants doing Westminster’s bidding. This is a constitutional referendum, not a party political election, so Westminster can do whatever they want and still remain within the letter of the law, if not the spirit of it.

  54. Sonas says:

    The comments BTL on the buzzfeed post are making me smile.

    I note that since it was first posted, sources have now been added for all of the “facts”. Strange that all the sources are HM Government Scotland Analysis papers, HM Treasury papers etc.

    They do really think our heads button up the back.

    Thanks for the post Alistair, nice one.

  55. Macart says:

    @Cameron B

    Yeah, it does have a whiff of ‘help me Rona’ about it. 😀

  56. heedtracker says:

    @ handclapping, its not shock, its ridiculous subterfugeeness. And its incredibly patronisingly dumb, like explaining the Telly Tubbies to toddlers by directing them here

  57. bunter says:

    Newsnet said they forwarded a copy of a letter from a UK Ukranian organisation which denounced George Robertsons speech on admitting Russia to NATO to the BBC, so has the BBC or someone now had the Ukranians retract it I wonder.

  58. David Martin says:

    Suggested an edit on the You Decide FB page that it is an unofficial page of the Scotland Office. Lets see if my edit and link to this article on their page stays up.

  59. Arbroath 1320 says:

    It gives its location as “Edinburgh”, and offers no indications that it’s in any way connected to the UK Government

    I’m sure I read somewhere that the Scottish Office, I think, was planning to set up an office in Edinburgh so that it could counter all those *ahem* nasty claims that were going to be coming from those nasty Nats about how evil staying in the union was. I can’t find any links at the moment but I’m sure I had seen an advert at the time for personnel to *ahem* man the phones so to speak.

  60. haud on the noo says:

    votenoborders is going down a ball…worth a visit.

  61. TYRAN says:

    This Gov UK PDF document states at the bottom of every page…

    To make sure you’re in the know, and to find the sources of these facts, join the debate at:,
    @YouDecide2014,, Referendum – You Decide
    March 2014

  62. Sinky says:

    Worth watching FMQs and the glum faces on the Labour benches when Alex Salmond pointed out that none of the opposition leaders had said a word condemning Putin or Russia before to-day.

    Trust our impartial broadcasters and newspapers will give the same level of coverage to the revelations of Better Together’s main donor, and friend of Brian Wilson, Ian Taylor’s links to a banned Russian company or the UK Government’s secret attempts to persuade Putin to oppose Scottish independence as they did to Salmond’s misreported comments on Putin (a typical Alistair Campbell press release)

    but I won’t hold my breathe.

  63. iheartscotland says:

    This crap makes me so angry, but after making another donation to Wings, I feel so much better. Thankyou Better Together.

  64. Bugger (the Panda) says:

    John H. @12:16

    They know damn fine that AS is sitting, nursing his wrath, until the time that the Yes campaign wheel him out in the last weeks of the Referendum campaign.

    They know that, if left unfettered, he will jack up the Yes vote by XYZ % and they are bricking that.

    So, what to do?

    Smear and dehumanise him; make him an ogre and a liar.

    Desperate stuff.

    AS knows this and it is why he is sitting back not allowing himself to be the focus of the debate rather than the argument for independence.

    From time to time he opens up and blows them out of the water to remind them what awaits them.

    I am a wee bit older than , naw I am like all the buggers on the march and in the Counting House, although I was only there in tissue, so here is an old Coleman Balls (Private Eye ref before it became Establishment)

    and Juantorino (a Cuban runner in a distant Olympics)

    “opens his legs and shows his class.”

  65. liz says:

    Well we knew as soon as their fear bombing didn’t work, they would resort to dirty tricks and there will be worse to come.

    We have to ‘Keep calm and carry on’, with sites like WoS leading the way.

    Just read a shit article by Catherine MacLeod in the herald re AS and the EU fishing rights – she is an ex aide to Darling – the headline was about ‘fishy Salmond’ – that’s the sort of crap that naysayers post when they think they are being both funny and insulting when in fact they are just being thick.

    My 1st comment ‘disappeared’ and then when I posted a 2nd one commenting on it’s removal, it reappeared??

  66. Desimond says:

    Armando Ianucci said he stopped doing The Thick of It as true life was getting even sillier than his invented escapades for pathetic MPs and their hapless grovelling SPADS.

    The Defence rests.

    Bet you Alastair Darling flips when he hears this expose’ ( boom tisch!)

  67. Sinky says:

    The supine Electoral Commission has just let the CBI off the hook by accepting the ludicrous erroneous registration claim that it was it a wee boy who did and ran away.

  68. msean says:

    Lol,how does that line about the treaty re chucking projectiles from balloons become relevant to the indyref?

    I’m quite sure we could negotiate our own treaties about balloons. 🙂

  69. Davy says:

    Nice work Alistair, it will be interesting to hear what the Scottish office reply will be.

    Our First Minister kicked the better together party leaders right out of the park, yet again. Another FM’s questions without anything meaningful being producted by the so-called opposition.

  70. Grouse Beater says:

    Root out the culprit, Stuart, root and branch!

    The acrid smell of black propaganda has an official taint. Will the national press pick this one up and run with it?

  71. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “Root out the culprit, Stuart, root and branch!”

    I’ve sent an FoI request.

  72. Bugger (the Panda) says:

    Dundee joke Davy

    What do you do when you find a trumpet growing in your garden?


    I’ll get ma coat.

  73. John H. says:

    Bugger (the Panda) 1.10.
    I agree with what you say Btp. As for Coleman, didn’t he say (about a cricket match)”The bowler’s Holding the batsman’s Willy”? Or was it the other way round?

  74. Bugger (the Panda) says:


    Grouse Beater

  75. bunter says:

    Aye just checked the comments on that vile Herald article by Catherine MacLeod with the fishy Salmond headline. Lots of unhappy people spending their hard earned cash on rubbish.

    The Herald, sinking fast.

  76. Bugger (the Panda) says:

    HJohn H

    Yes he did

  77. Clootie says:

    …damn they are onto us again!
    bloody wings.

    I look forward to this story developing. However I feel they are more likely to abandon this “name” and pop up somewhere else re-branded, hoping that next time they will have more success.

  78. bunter says:

    There was never any doubt that the Electoral Commission would capitulate. Shouldn’t let the state broadcaster off the hook though.

  79. FortBill says:

    I may have been politically naïve and unaware at the start of this referendum debate, I never imagined for a second the UK government would stoop so low or be so devious, even if all of the scare stories were partially true how can anyone trust or wish to be part of a union that expends so much energy to demean Scotland and deliberately lie in order to derail the democratic rights of our citizens. It’s scary, what lengths will they actually go? We just have to get out of from this damnable union

  80. Bugger (the Panda) says:

    Happy May Day, everyone.

    France is closed for the week-end

  81. ronnie anderson says:

    @Ianbrotherhood 12.42,Aye an if thats a Scottish Taxpayers

    funded pen that she broke, she’ll be held tae account.

  82. Grouse Beater says:

    I’ve sent an FoI request.


    I’ll do my best to disseminate the dirt when you find it – … the cockroach!

    (I mean’t smoke him out – but I didn’t inhale. Honestly)

  83. Bugger (the Panda) says:

    @ FortBill

    never imagined for a second the UK government would stoop so low or be so devious, even if all of the scare stories were partially true how can anyone trust or wish to be part of a union that expends so much energy to demean Scotland and deliberately lie in order to derail the democratic rights of our citizens.

    Because they always did and got away with it, before there was Wings

  84. Molly says:

    O/t if I heard correctly, the Electoral Commision has ‘ enabled ‘ the CBI to de/ un register . “An honest mistake ” apparently, which throws up a couple of questions.
    1. If it is an ‘ honest mistake’ why did the CBI herald it’s registration ? I think the word mandate was used in some reporting.

    2. Will the EC print their legal advice they received , as this is a precedent?

    3.Has this undermined the publics confidence in the EC?

    Interesting that according to the EC blurb, ( a participant ) ” must make a Declaration to the EC that they wish to be a permitted participant” and “identify the outcome they will campaign for” .

    As far as I can see the CBI did both , getting what they wanted so why is the EC allowing them to unregister?

  85. Edward says:

    haud on the noo

    Please tell me that ‘Stephen Kidd’ posing on that No Borders is not a real person but a spoof character!

    Has to be as no one could be that bad

  86. CameronB says:

    They are on the same team?

  87. Dr JM Mackintosh says:

    O/T – The Electoral Commission are still considering the CBI application to de-register and the CBI still have the biased web Independence factsheets and the biased blog from the Director General, John Cridland, on their website.

    So if you would like to ask the Commission to retain the CBI as a registered No supporter then here is the link…

    I put my complaint about the CBI trying to de-register in a couple of days ago. The fact that they still have these articles on their website means they have no intention of changing their pro-union stance.

  88. Andrew Morton says:

    @JohnH 1:24 pm

    I think it was Brian Johnston who made that remark.

  89. Jock Politicaljunkie says:

    Bugger (the Panda) says:
    1 May, 2014 at 11:46 am
    Black Ops R Us
    Spot on.
    Stu, I think after Independence there will need to be a book written so that history will record all of the lies and manipulation used against the will of the Scottish People. As you will by then have a amassed a huge data base of this, I nominate you. 🙂

  90. dadsarmy says:

    Well, survived the first 24 hours not posting on the Herald, and a good few more. I think a change started to come over the Herald about 2 weeks ago with an article from Catherine MacLeod, ex-advisor to Alistair Darling. A really one-sided article I (first post in) demolished in two small paragraphs. There were another couple of articles that seemed to have the same style.

    Well, another article today by her “Something fishy about Salmond and the EU”, and clicking the name shows she is now a columnist, she used to be a political editor at the Herald.

    So I think there will be less of the reasonable articles in the Herald, ones actually to the advantage of Independence. Alistair Darling has sent in his “big gun”.

  91. Adrian B says:

    As the Scottish Office IS the Westminster government and impartial Civil Servants, then this is a series breach of trust if it is correct.
    This certainly needs looked into as a matter of importance as it appears to be there is something very strange going on. This twitter feed is not impartial, neither are Westminster politicians or former politicians.

  92. bunter says:

    National Collective have picked up on ”buzzgate”.

  93. kalmar says:

    Lots of comments that this astroturfing attempt is crude and transparent, and how strange that they can appear so, well, stupid.

    I don’t think it’s that strange: BT are simply trying to corner (to put it un-politically-correctly) the hard-of-thinking market. So it doesn’t matter how made up or self contradictory or ludicrous the claims are, as long as they sound vaguely like something you should be outraged about, a large number of people will pick it up and run with it. The same people who buy the Daily Mail and so on.
    There’s no fear of being ridiculed by the media, so, so why not?

    I know I’m going to get told off for that but if you assume that is their (cynical) strategy, a lot of the more bonkers stuff makes sense.

  94. Doug D says:

    Could we attempt to force the UK government to register with the Electoral Commission as a ‘No’ backing organisation?

  95. wingman 2020 says:

    Why don’t we crowd fund a PR Marketing person (assistant) for WOS for the next six months… purely to work on promotion?

  96. I went about a little debunking of my own, its here if anyone fancies a wee read

  97. ronnie anderson says:

    FMQs Alex Salmond put JoLo face out of joint by holding up

    the Guardian headline on Putin.

    Wee Ruthie tain the huff on the Ian Taylor being associated

    with Russian buisnesmen £10 bil loan by Taylor, busnesmen

    are on the USA banned list.

    Wee Wullie, a irrelivance.

    Alex should arm himself with a fly swat,smacked each and

    every one of them.

    But its a FMQT not to be missed.

  98. Maid_in_Scotland says:

    Slightly O/T but regarding the attitude of the British Government establishment – I joined my local branch of the SNP in Edinburgh away back in the 1970’s and I clearly remember that one gentleman who used to attend regularly and had been in the Army (I think an officer, but memory fading after 40 years) warned us that the then British Government had contingency plans already in place for military action in case of a ‘takeover by the nationalists’. The ‘ScotNats’ were riding high at the time, of course, and oil was just coming on stream then. I’m sure he said that the HQ would be Edinburgh Castle, but can’t be firm on that. Democracy indeed. But you can’t help wondering just what military action they planned.

  99. bunter says:

    James Cook of the BBC confirms the cancellation of the CBI’s registration as it was an ”honest mistake”.

    Corrupt Britain in action.

  100. HandandShrimp says:

    Their ass is busted. 🙂

    Untrustworthy government does something untrustworthy shock horror. Then they wonder why no one believes them. I would not trust Danny (I love the dark side) Alexander on the time of the day.

    Well sleuthed Stu

  101. bunter says:

    Cheers Ronnie, yer post just lowered my blood pressure a few clicks.

  102. Bugger (the Panda) says:

    @ Jock Politicaljunkie

    Not me, I cannae type far less spele so, need an Englis teacher?

    Johann Lamont?

  103. John H. says:

    @Andrew Morton 1.43pm.
    Thanks Andrew, I couldn’t remember, and anyway I know nothing about cricket. That’s just one of the reasons why I’ll never appear on Eggheads. They always have a cricket question.

  104. Dave McEwan Hill says:

    It doesn’t matter how well AS performs at FMQ the media will misreport it

  105. call me dave says:

    Watched FMQ but later, on hearing the radio news and watching the tv news, I was astonished to discover that I had been dreaming earlier.
    Good old BBC.

    Except for the cricket which was and still is a delight to hear on Radio.

    PS. example.

    Cricket commentator Jonathan Agnew

    His turn to render the commentary box helpless with laughter during an England-West Indies match.

    As Michael Holding ran in to bowl to Peter Willey, “Johnners” noted:

    “The bowler is Holding, the batsman’s Willey.”

    More humour here ‘double-entendres’ a speciality. 🙂

  106. liz says:

    OMG – about CBI’s ‘honest mistake’ – that means the BBC doesn’t need to resign from them now.

    I would email the EC about this but need more information first, I hope BfS get on the case.

    As for the Herald, I think that will be my last post for a while as they are going the way of the Guardian.

    On Bella, Mike Small states:

    ‘You do realise that the majority of comment within both the Herald and Scotsman articles are from internal sources?
    They fill their own comment space not with as you put it “zealous proponents” but with internal staff “agitators” taking both sides of the argument.
    I thought that was obvious for some time now.’

  107. Greannach says:

    Just posted on the Elector Commission’s contact page (see 1.41 above):

    I would like the Electoral Commission to retain CBI Scotland as a registered campaigner, because despite the CBI’s recent statements that the registration was conducted by an office junior, shortly after registration the head of CBI was hailing the organisation’s decision to campaign officially as a bold democratic move. The CBI’s comments to the press of the importance of their participation in the Vote No campaign does not tally with their new statements that it was a mistake. Their claim that registration was a mistake has been made given the withdrawal of around 20 Scottish businesses from the CBI and is an attempt to backtrack. I am sure that the Commission will see through this tactic.

  108. Michael says:

    O/T – apologies, but National Collective are looking for money. Please please be generous fellow wingers. We’ve got to win this and make sure all the bits of our campaign are funded properly. Please, guys and women-guys, give a wee bittie to help them out. Thanks.

  109. caz-m says:


    This is the Russian Oil Baron Igor Sechin who is on the US banned list and who Alex Salmond mentioned today at FMQs,

    And here is the link between Igor Sechin and Ian Taylor of Vitol, who are major donors of the Better Together Campaign.

  110. Jamie Arriere says:

    I think we’ve found another blinker…

    Watch those lids go!

  111. Helena Brown says:

    Never thought for a minute that this would be easy, this is a revolution, a bloodless one we hope but a revolution in the eyes of Westminster. How dare the uppity Jocks do this, they have even got their own people believing it too. Look at the places they have been kicked out of and look how hard they fought.

  112. Molly says:

    Cameron B , I honestly hoped the EC would have some integrity but I m coming to the conclusion – you’re right. Looking at the promise the EC made ‘ gold standard’ , ‘ made in Scotland’ etc, it just appears tainted to me.

    Of course , the biggest joke would be if the Electoral Commision was actually a member of the CBI…

  113. TheItalianJob says:

    @Bugger (the Panda) at 1.10pm

    Exactly my thoughts too. AS is one shrewed politician. He is letting everyone take the debate arguments on and sitting back until he will unleash his own ones nearer the time.

    Can’t wait when that happens.

  114. Jamie Arriere says:

    1200 business registered in Scotland are direct members of CBI. That’s about 700 less than Business for Scotland (albeit smaller businesses).


  115. gilllie says:

    I wonder who will now rejoin the CBI?

  116. HandandShrimp says:

    I thought No Borders were an anti-jailing asylum seeker Amnesty style activist organisation. What is their interest in Scottish independence? Or is this a different No Borders?

  117. haud on the noo says:

    From the EBC:

    A new grassroots pro-Union group called No Borders launches later to make what it says is an “emotional” appeal to voters.

    Its spokesman, Malcolm Offord, is an investment banker originally from Greenock who now works in London and Scotland. He said the group’s aim was to engage with voters’ emotions and promote “ordinary voices”.

    Mr Offord told the BBC: “It is going to allow people to tell their stories. These are not polished political voices but they are from local communities within Scotland and they are going to give the reasons why they want to keep the Union.”

    The No Borders campaign is hoping to raise £400,000 through individual donations and crowd funding and it plans to spend almost all of that before the official referendum period begins on 30 May.


    £400,000 within a month ? Please visit the site as its a scream.

  118. Andy-B says:

    Great find Alistair, I await with baited breath, the Scottish Office’s explanation.

    Meanwhile Jon Snow got in on the act, reporting his Channel 4 news from Stornoway yesterday, Mr Snow said, he had tears in his eyes when Kate Moss, passed on David Bowies message.

  119. caz-m says:

    And did you notice on the BBC Scotland news bulletin regarding FMQs.

    It was all about the GQ interview and Alex Salmond.

    NO mention of Alex Salmond’s comments linking Ian Taylor to the Russian inner circle and donations for Better Together.

  120. Molly says:

    Greannach , sorry to go on about this but I am so angry about this decision. Not only did they ” hail the decision to campaign” as you put it, they defended it day after day as Universities and other bodies were leaving. This stinks , let’s hope Tom Gordon stops playing candy crush for 10 minutes and actually does some political reporting. He could start by asking, who gave the legal advice re the CBI and will the EC come on TV and defend their decision.

    Will this decision be discussed on Scotland Tonight given the implications it has on ‘trust’ from the public?

  121. Michael says:

    haud on the noo

    Yes, indeed, please do as he / she suggests and visit the site, leave your comments, engage in discussions and have a laugh. And remember always call independence Separation and spell it with a capital S to make it look really scary.

  122. TheItalianJob says:

    @FortBill at 1.27 pm

    I’ve expressed the same many times. I know the union has to be preserved by the BT camp, but not at the expense of the voters, who have to decide.

    The last few days attacks on the FM, when previous big statements on Russia and the Ukraine by people like David Cameron, George Robertson etc were quietly squirreled away/ignored by the MSM is utterly deplorable.

  123. John H. says:

    @haud on the noo 2.12pm.
    If they raise £400,000 in a month, I for one will be deeply suspicious. Even we might not manage that.

  124. Edward says:

    You really need to have a look at

    Its comments are truly surreal to say the least, to the point that makes you believe they are spoof’s as no normal thinking person would come out with the stuff that’s being stated.

    Like one guy thinks the border will be build down Hawick high street, or someone else believes that Putin will store his weapons and chemicals in Scotland – THAT surreal!

    Getting the pop corn and drinks out

  125. Alan Mackintosh says:

    Just read the EC press release which states that only certain office holders etc can legally sign the registration. But surely the intent of the organisation was to be registered regardless of who actually signed the form. Therefore, I would have thought the CBI should correctly sign the forms and resubmit as they have not withdrawn their intent of campaigning against Indy.

  126. Arbroath 1320 says:

    Sorry I’m not O/T here but think it might be relevant, well sort of. 😉

    As a number of us can attest to, last night turned into a real alternative universe moment as those of us who had watched newsnicht were astounded nay blown away even by the appearance on the programme of a certain couple of websites during their *ahem* papers bit at the end. 😛

    Now far be it for me to suggest that this was just a one off, which quite hopefully it isn’t. 😉 However, just to ensure we get the right message across perhaps for the next week Stu it might be interesting if the top article on Wings from say 9pm was one that, shall we say, raised questions about BBC, CBI, Electoral Commission, No Borders, Better Together etc.

    I’m sure any viewer who saw a picture on Newsnicht of Wings with a rather, how shall I say, interesting headline, might be pushed over the edge to come along and *ahem* visit. I don’t think this would do the site ratings any harm either. 🙂

    Now that, thanks to NNS legalities on the issue of papers and websites, we appear to be in a place with Newsnicht I don’t think any of us really dreamed could ever happen perhaps now is the time to *ahem* play them at their own game. As this is the one opportunity a night we might have from now on to get a free advert for the site why don’t we use it to OUR advantage. After all the press have been doing exactly that themselves for long enough.

  127. CameronB says:

    Yes, the word vote has been added by the unionists. I sent No Borders a link to the VNB About Us page and now I can’t get NB to stop sending me updates every time some posts on VNB. I’m posting on VNB. The mind boggles. 🙂

  128. Ian Brotherhood says:

    Powerful May Day message from the SSP’s Richie Venton:

  129. TheItalianJob says:

    @Martin sInclair at 1.47pm

    Hi Martin. Welcome. Good Blog on debunking the UK myth’s.

    I’ve bookmarked it for future reference. Well done. Needs to used widely during canvessing etc.

  130. CameronB says:

    My second name is Brodie. We are not genetically programmed to make political decisions. 🙂

  131. caz-m says:

    Arbroath 1320

    I would think that if they are going to start showing the headlines from pro-indy sites, then it won’t be from the same sites every night.

    They will probably cherry pick what sites to show on different nights.

  132. ronnie anderson says:

    Fee Fie Foo Fum, Where’s the Big Gun’s Cannonballs.

  133. Molly says:

    Good point Alan Mcintosh if it is the CBI, who have submitted the papers incorrectly , then that’s their issue , resubmit as you say or is it the Electoral Commission who are at fault, should they have checked?

    Either way it undermines any credibility

  134. call me dave says:


    YES event today in Fife. Live music & stovies.

  135. Garry Henderson says:

    Arbroath 1320 @ 2:19

    Taking this a little further or coming from a different angle, now that the BBC is actively reviewing websites during the papers review, how long before this new ‘grassroots’ ‘vote no borders’ website is reviewed?

    All for impartiality of course…

  136. caz-m says:

    Using the pregnancy analogy, the CBI withdrawing from the NO campaign is like them trying to tell everyone that they only a little bit pregnant.

    Let me tell the CBI that they are very much pregnant, about eight months I would say.

    You are in the NO campaign, right up to your rotten necks.

    And by implication, so is the BBC.

  137. Les Wilson says:

    I filled in the address form to sent a complaint to the E. Commission, wrote everything into comments.
    It would not let me post, it comes up with a red box around my second name saying ” Field required” , but the field WAS filled in. I double checked and had done everything right.
    Even reprinted my name in case something had stuck, but nope just the same.

    Anyone getting the same?
    Or is this a way to now prevent comments?

  138. dadsarmy says:


    Same. I’m post-moderated which means my posts go straight up (unless they cancel that!), so I’ll maybe just put in the odd one after a while. I’ve been getting stale anyway, can’t be bothered digging up the same url to refute some ridiculous unionist claim any more, so good idea to take a break.

    CBI is an interesting one. Labour have been quite quiet and no wonder, as the CBO have campaigned against them, err, sorry, haven’t campaigned against Labour, no of course not, just been impartially dead against them and praising up the Tories.

    It will have left an impression with staunch Labour activists, and hopefully more of them will come over to YES

  139. misteralz says:

    The boy taking his passport to get the messages. Wow. A few weeks ago I was in Baarle-Nassau. By his logic I should have been showing my passport to officious officials every few minutes…

  140. Arbroath 1320 says:

    caz-m says:

    Arbroath 1320

    I would think that if they are going to start showing the headlines from pro-indy sites, then it won’t be from the same sites every night.

    They will probably cherry pick what sites to show on different nights.

    I accept you’re probably right caz but I was just thinking along the lines of being *ahem* prepared, just in case Wings is given a second airing. 😉

    I would not be surprised at that at all Gary. In fact it will be interesting to see if THAT site is on every night whilst the indy sites are “rotated”.

  141. call me dave says:

    ‘Vote no borders’ has more YES contributions so far and will probably go the same as ‘labour hame’ which has tumbleweed blowing across the home page since November.

  142. Robert Peffers says:

    @dadsarmy says:“survived the first 24 hours not posting on the Herald, and a good few more. I think a change started to come over the Herald about 2 weeks ago”.

    You were just not paying much attention then, dadsarmy. Several other regular Herald commenters left well before you.

    This after it became apparent their comments were being selectively MODded out while those of, “The Usual Suspects”, featured ever more large.

    The Herald was always anti-independence biased but much less than all other MSM outlets. They were just a bit more subtle than the other’s.

  143. HandandShrimp says:


    Surely they have breached some sort trade mark thing with the No Borders malarkey. I can’t see the real No Borders lot being too happy.

  144. Michael says:

    If you keep getting updates from VNB just mark their posts as spam. The more people who mark their posts as spam the more they will have difficulty sending out messages because – no idea how this works – servers will identify their mail as spam. Anyway, sign up and then when you get an update from them mark it as spam. This is how a real grassroots campaign works.

  145. Edward says:


    Not a Dundee Brodie, by any chance? 🙂

  146. CameronB says:

    Yes. Don’t tell me we have a feud. 🙂

  147. Bugger (the Panda) says:

    @ Edward

    Not a Dundee Brodie, by any chance?

    I thought they were all called Chick, 1,2 3, 5, etc

  148. dadsarmy says:

    @Robert Peffers

    Oh I pay attention, have for 16 months. Posts get modded our for various reasons, one including legal liability. I’ve seen a few taken out for that reason, as also for direct attacks on the author.

    I’ve had a few modded out which, from memory, seemed to be OK, but there are also problems with disqus, I think it has two “logged in” cookies, but one expires after a bit of inactivity. You seem to be logged in, but the posting is lost – or disappears after appearing. A fault. They also sometimes “clean up” threads, just taking out some deadwood or semi-abusive stuff. Ah well, anyway.

    What I really don’t like is totally changing the headline and the sense of the article, but leaving comments on as though they were about the article as it appears, rather than the original. That’s just sheer dishonesty and lack of integrity.

  149. caz-m says:

    Arbroath 1320
    “I accept you’re probably right caz but I was just thinking along the lines of being *ahem* prepared, just in case Wings is given a second airing”.

    Were you in the scouts by any chance Arbroath.

    “Be Prepared”.

  150. CameronB says:

    Bugger (the Panda)
    My dad really is called Chick (Charles). 🙂

  151. Bugger (the Panda) says:

    Cameron B


    See above

  152. CameronB says:

    Bugger (the Panda)
    I saw and he is, really.

  153. Edward says:

    Believe it or not, I’m related to Brodie’s. Not directly I hasten to add (at least I don’t thinks so). My Dad’s family are from Dundee.
    A cousin in Dundee married a Mary Brodie and my great great grandmother’s second husband was a David Brodie 🙂

  154. Arbroath 1320 says:

    Funnily enough Caz…. 😛

  155. CameronB says:

    I didn’t know there were that many of us. 🙂

    I’m, afraid I don’t recognize the names. Still, I ask my folks as I’m not particularly clued up on the extended family.

  156. Robert Peffers says:

    @Bugger (the Panda) says:
    “Not a Dundee Brodie, by any chance? I thought they were all called Chick, 1,2 3, 5, etc”.

    Nah! There’s some of them called, “Deacon”!!!!

  157. Iain says:

    Re the first above:

    manandboy says:
    1 May, 2014 at 11:26 am

    “In his speech to business leaders Mr Alexander claimed there was “more evidence for the Loch Ness monster” than facts to support the SNP’s economic case for independence.”

    What has happened since the admissions by the Unionist politicians that an independent Scotland would be economically viable? What about the statement by Alexander’s boss, David Cameron, with reference to Finland, Switzerland and Norway, that “it would be wrong to suggest that Scotland could not be another such successful, independent country” (The Telegraph, 11th Septemebr 2007).

  158. dadsarmy says:

    I actually posted a “good luck” message on novoteborders (you win more bees with honey), but forgot what a poster said about getting an email every time somebody posts.

    Quick addition to the Spam Access folder, and anything from there will now get a: 530 You are abusing a forum registration email address

    Silly billies.

  159. orri says:

    Reading between the lines, the CE do not accept that CBI are in any way neutral. The fact that their leadership are on record saying they are pro-union still stands. All that has happened is that they are now well on the radar of the CE and will have their spending checked.

    As to how the “mistake” that allowed them to withdraw on a technicality goes I’d treat that with a pinch of salt. Not that it’s not true but that a sufficiently devious planner might have done it deliberately. As the CE, and perhaps CBI, is a public body it might be an interesting exercise to put in a FoI to see exactly who signed those forms.

  160. Rob says:

    I received an email today at work from Matthew Harvey at the Scotland office with a link to this article. To my knowledge he has not ever emailed me before. Not sure why the Scotland office have emailed me for the first time at work, out of the blue as it were. He also asked if I could forward to friends & colleagues?

  161. wee e says:

    Why don’t you volunteer to give evidence to the commons committee inquiry on the civil service & the referendum?

    Or at least submit a version of this article as written evidence to it, so that it has to be included in Hansard / parliament website

  162. orri says:

    Meant EC rather than CE. Point holds though EC sound as though they’re pissed off about this.

  163. sausage fingered luddite says:

    O/T I’ve been toying with the idea of stopping the tv licence mandate for a while now due to ongoing bbc shambles. Any tips other than just cancelling the direct debit – I suspect the wife and wean won’t be too impressed at the thought of losing the cable channels and ensuing legal process.

  164. Paula says:

    A “listicle” sounds like the sort of thing you wouldn’t want to discover on your genitals.

  165. Vambomarbeleye says:

    And they stood there and shook their lugs.

  166. Findlay Struthers says:

    Please find below complaint I sent to the BBC.
    They are a joke

    “I sent a complaint and it is obvious you did not take the time to read same before sending me a generic response which did not refer to my actual complaint This response quoted Reference Case Number CAS-2687433-JR5876 This appears to be an incorrect reference as your system does not recognize same. My original complaint was in regard to your bias in favour of Pro Union parties in the Scottish referendum. I particularly referred to the OTT promotion of the No Borders Pro Union website and not the CNB fiasco. It would appear that your systems do not work and you are completely incompetent or lazy or both You are not in any way impartial and I repeat again that I wish a refund on my TV Licence as I have no wish to go on paying to be lied to”

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