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Wings Over Scotland


Politician For Beginners

Posted on February 14, 2014 by

In our public-funded role of monitoring the Scottish and UK media, readers, there is but one major frustration. Time and again we find ourselves figuratively – and occasionally really – screaming at newspapers or TV screens, unable to understand why we’re the only people who can actually hear what politicians are saying.

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In a world full of seasoned political reporters, it seems inconceivable that we’d be the only people who understand their special language of evasion and obfuscation and code, yet over and over, journalists and broadcasters seem unable to pick up on comments that couldn’t be any clearer if they were written out in neon tubes, taped to a hammer and smashed into the interviewer’s face.

We’ve seen it when Unionist politicians talk of bringing more responsibilities to Holyrood, and dopey hacks robotically report it as an offer of more powers. We’ve seen it in the way that nobody’s apparently able to understand what Labour’s plan to “pool and share resources” actually means if you’re the one with the most resources. And we’re seeing it again today.

We made a prediction in our piece yesterday about George Osborne’s speech:

“You’ll read thousands and thousands of words today about the speech, and we’ll wager that few or none of them will address its true meaning. The UK wants Scots to vote with a gun to their heads – the threat of expulsion from the EU, no matter how much the rest of the EU wants to admit Scotland, via a UK veto.”

Sure enough, there’s been barely a mention of it. The media is talking entirely about currency and currency unions, a subject on which Osborne said basically nothing new whatsoever, and totally ignoring the not-very-hidden subtext that was the Chancellor’s real threat to Scotland. And then we said this:

“But what was actually revealed by the speech is that the UK government is absolutely terrified of Scotland refusing a share of debt.”

And that’s the real meaning behind today’s front-page Herald splash.

Again, it’s not even very well hidden. The Herald actually manages to pick it up, in a single line it casually tosses out then doesn’t bother to explore further or highlight:

“Dismissing the SNP Government’s 18-month timescale for completing negotiations as ‘totally unrealistic’, the source said: ‘A Yes vote in the referendum would be the start of a process, not the end of one; we would start negotiations. But if Alex Salmond made impossible demands, we would not just roll over and agree to everything he wanted. If we could not reach agreement, the status quo would be the default option.’

The senior Coalition figure said one such impossible demand would be the First Minister’s threat, repeated yesterday, that Scotland would not pay its share of UK debt if it were denied a currency union by Whitehall.”

It’s as if the politicians are sitting at a table ostensibly having a conversation about the weather, while actually cryptically negotiating the end of the Union by carefully moving the condiments and cutlery around, and the headlines are “RATHER WINDY OUT THIS MORNING, SAYS CHANCELLOR”.

Because the short version of what happened yesterday is this:

OSBORNE: You’re not getting a currency union.

SALMOND: I don’t believe you. But fine – we’ll use Sterling informally*, but if you’re not going to share the UK’s assets with us we’re not taking any debt.

OSBORNE: We really need you to take the debt. So much so that if you don’t, we’ll freeze you out of the EU and NATO.

SALMOND: You and I both know you can’t pull that off, George. You think the Americans will let you put us outside NATO, given the incredibly important strategic position we have in the North Atlantic? You remember what the “NA” bit in “NATO” stands for, don’t you?

And the EU would have a blue fit – it hasn’t a clue how to go about expelling a country that’s already in and wants to stay. And that’s even if it wanted to kick Scotland out, which it doesn’t.

OSBORNE: Okay, then here’s the big one. Walk away from the debt and we’ll just flat-out refuse to accept the referendum result. We’ll stall and obstruct the negotiations right up to 2016, and then you have to win an election on the basis of constitutional chaos. Fancy that?

(*Nicola Sturgeon all but screamed the Scottish Government’s “Plan B” on currency into Andrew Neil’s ear on the Daily Politics yesterday. Once again, Neil and the rest of the nation’s media either just weren’t listening, or didn’t understand basic Politician. Anyone still telling you we don’t know what “Plan B” is is a slack-jawed halfwit.)

The UK government knows full well that being stuck with 100% of its own debt could be the tipping point for an economy that’s already lost its triple-A credit rating. Losing North Sea oil from the balance of payments, seeing the debt and deficit increase as a proportion of  GDP as a result of the UK getting smaller by 5 million people, and then damaging business and industry by spitefully imposing trade barriers between England and Scotland, would set the recovery back years.

(There was a very good reason why Osborne dodged questions yesterday on what the cost of refusing a currency union would be to the UK.)

We said in our piece yesterday that in the shape of the debt, the Scottish Government held the best hand, and last night’s development is the proof of that analysis. When Salmond held his nerve and refused to immediately fold to Osborne’s intimidation, he panicked and went all-in with a threat to abandon all pretence of democracy and fly in the face of one of the most fundamental principles of modern civilisation – Article 1, Clause 2 of the United Nations Charter. From here, he’s got nowhere left to go.

The Herald’s story is a big one alright. It just hasn’t fully grasped why.

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    122 to “Politician For Beginners”

    1. Surely any self-respecting tabloid would have headlined this story, “I like it both ways,”- Osborne.

    2. misteralz says:

      Powerful stuff, Rev. I’m loving watching this more than the Olympics right now…

    3. Macart says:

      They are so panicked. 😀

      I honestly don’t they expected the reaction they are seeing. Which kinda beggars belief, but I’m sure they expected the FM to fold and folks like us to be in deepest despair today.

      OFFS 😀

    4. Peter Macbeastie says:

      I can only assume journalists, political reporters and the like are all of the same ilk; taking their pay to do what they’re told to do. Barely an original thought between any of them because their bosses don’t like that kind of thing.

      It is remarkably hard to believe that so many apparently intelligent people are actually almost criminally stupid.

    5. The result of the Westminster parties imposing 1707 threats and controls on Scotland again is simple:

      Voting No brings severe punishment down on our heads.

      Westminster has demonstrated it does not wish to allow Scotland genuine democratic powers.

      It must keep the nation subservient.

    6. John Bannatyne says:

      OSBORNE: Okay, then here’s the big one. Walk away from the debt and we’ll just flat-out refuse to accept the referendum result. We’ll stall and obstruct the negotiations right up to 2016, and then you have to win an election on the basis of constitutional chaos. Fancy that?

      In response to above surely the UK govt have given Scotland the legal means to hold the referendum i.e a section 30 order in the Scotland Act and as such they are making sure it is legally binding and is less likely to be contested in the courts

    7. Sandy says:

      All of this is just proving to the undecided how petty , self centred and greedy the Westminster government is and always has been.

      Most damning of all is the refusal to answer questions, choosing to come up here and lecture us then vanish in a flurry of bodyguards.

      I believe it is a technique known as “Seagull Management” where managers swoop in , dump a load of manure, then swoop out again.

    8. James123 says:

      No updating of articles for me on Chrome or IE, I have this article on Firefox but no updating of comments. As a last resort I’m using Safari where it seems normal for now but I guess that won’t last long. I guess I’ll have to start clearing cache on browsers to view Wings?

    9. Marcia says:

      Can I pay a tribute to those who have penned the articles in the past couple of days. Very informative reading. The next step might be to crowd fund a newssheet/downloadable leaflet for those who don’t have internet access that we can pass around.

      Keep up the good work. Will be glad to see the site fully functioning again soon.

    10. Robert Louis says:

      Excellent summary of what REALLY happened yesterday. All this talk of ‘Salmond must reveal plan B’ etc.. is utter tosh. The Scottish Government Fiscal commission in its reports put forward FOUR possible currency arrangements for an independent currency and analysed ALL of them. That Fiscal commission, containing two Nobel Laureate economists finally recommended that sterling in a currency union, would be best for iScotland AND BEST FOR rUK.

      (For any poorly educated hacks reading this, who cannot even be bothered to read the fiscal commission reports (which they really, really should), they need only look to page 110 of the recent Scottish Government white paper on Scottish independence, where ALL four currency options are listed.)

      As for the Scottish Government response to yesterday, I think once again our First Minister has played a blinder by NOT being drawn into the trap of coming up with an alternative currency plan. That is what ALL of the broo ha ha of yesterday was designed to do, force the FM’s hand. In effect, Westminster was trying yesterday to bully Salmond into pre-negotiating the terms of independence, but all they have succeeded in doing is alienating even more Scots, and helping the YES vote.

      London knows full well that given that Scotland is rUK’s second largest trading partner, with exports to Scotland greater than to Brazil, South Africa, Russia, India, China and Japan put together, rejecting a currency union would be economic suicide for ANY London chancellor.

      Alex Salmond and the Scottish Government are right to stick to what they have proposed, no matter what London says right now, as even a donkey could tell you anything but a currency union would damage London more than iScotland. If following a YES vote, London foolishly decides to damage their own economy by rejecting a currency union, just to spite Scotland, then Scotland can walk away, debt free and use the pound anyway. In essence, the way the cards are stacked it is win- win for Scotland, no matter what London does.

      So, in reality yesterday, as pointed out in the article above, was all about trying to bully Scotland, and force the FM’s bargaining hand. In my opinion, however, members of the Westminster aristocracy Tory government such as millionaire George Gideon oliver Osborne, towel folder extrordinaire and heir apparent to the Baronetcy of Ballentaylor and Ballylemon, will need to get out of bed very early indeed, if they think they will ever outsmart Alex Salmond.

      I fully expect a surge in YES votes.

    11. MD says:

      As mentioned yesterday, it would be pretty irresonsible of Treasury analysts not to have performed a calculation of the cost to rUK of rejecting a currency union. Can this information be ferreted out wither through an FOI request, some serious journalism or a parliamentary question?

      (Or did I miss something and the Treasury report got published somewhere public?)

    12. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “The next step might be to crowd fund a newssheet/downloadable leaflet”

      The big fundraiser is coming before the end of this month. There is a plan for printed material. Stand by, and save your pennies.

    13. Steven M says:

      This, right here Rev. Worth every penny raised last year. Keep up the great work.

    14. Flower of Scotlanf says:

      Good one Rev ! Ever thought about coming home and standing for the Parliament in a new Independent Scotland ?

    15. Helena Brown says:

      Reading the newspapers from England, and reading what is being said on the comments leaves me wondering how we have any don’t knows. This using Alex Salmond and demonising him, they may think it is working but surely if you live in Scotland you know some of the truth’
      I would say that it is not that the newspapers do not know the truth, they prefer not to tell their readers.

    16. I pinched this from wikipedia, summarising Antonio Gramsci. Guy Debord in ‘The Society of the Spectacle’ [1967] argued along similar lines. What we are seeing is the usually invisible ‘hegemonic discourse of power’.

      “The term Cultural Hegemony describes the domination of a culturally diverse society by the ruling class, who manipulate the culture of the society so that their ruling-class worldview is seen as natural, inevitable, perpetual and beneficial for everyone, rather than as artificial social constructs that benefit only the ruling class.”

    17. Calgacus MacAndrews says:

      Wings has been working fine for me yesterday evening and this morning on Firefox.

    18. Misteralz says:

      DDOS attacks again? Thought I had the first comment here, the homepage says there’re three. Now there are none. Same deal in Chrome and Firefox, even after a machine restart and a whole pile of Ctrl F5-ing. 🙁

    19. Jim Mitchell says:

      I don’t know if it will help much, if at all, but I have just placed a petition on the 10 downing street site calling on the British Government to recognise the decision made by the people of Scotland in the September Referendum as being the democratic will of the people of Scotland (even if it is a decision that they, the British government disagree with)

      It takes however 7 days for the petition to be ‘checked’ folks, so I will get back to you.

    20. Les Wilson says:

      The SNP have the high ground, they have offered a fair option in the currency union, they are offering to take a portion of UK accumulated debt, for which we have no liability.

      One might say or ask, is to offer this voluntarily actually even in the interests of Scotland, who could opt to start debt free? Nevertheless we have shown that we are fair and responsible. So now we have Westminster including the ” proud Scot division ” saying the will not accept the currency Union, despite the effects on UK experts and the UK GDP.

      They are now utterly desperate to find out what our option B might be, all of them AND the MSM are on about it every in every interview or newspaper article. Now we have the threats to the whole idea of democracy for Scotland. WOW!

      Scots are feeling very angry and outraged at these panic driven events, resulting on very more YES votes/ converts.

      So where are we now, the SG hold the cards, and why should they show their hand to these people?. They are playing the being decent card perhaps more than Scots would really like after all the threats. People are hardening to a separate currency, perhaps pegged to Sterling, the idea of being debt free, a almost completely new start.

      So we have shifting sands due to Westminster’s threats and intimidation, biting them back.

      Long and short, SG should ask that IF they do not want our gracious offer to assist in the debt paying, as part of a currency union. Then have Westminster irrevocably sign that it will be so something that cannot be retracted, a legal document.
      If they refuse, we know it is all bunk!, if the do, then we will be a rich FREE Scotland. Call their bluff and call it now.

      We need concede nothing in this, but can hold the high ground ” we made an offer in the interest of all UK communities, but despite our kind offer to accept a proportion of debt, which of course, again, is not ours.
      It has been regretfully rejected by Westminster.
      Therefore we will now do what option is best for the peoples of Scotland.END OF.

    21. annie says:

      Can’t see comments until I post so good morning everyone.

    22. Calgacus MacAndrews says:

      After George Osborne’s exploits yesterday, I think we are now in the position where in Scotland it may no longer be a good idea to say you were thinking of voting NO when in polite company.

      Many of the dwindling band who were thinking of voting NO will have listened to the twit on Morning Call this morning and thought:

      “He sounded a complete twit. Memo to self: Keep mouth shut and keep views to self, while thinking about this a bit more.”

    23. Gary says:

      supeb analysis. next they will threaten to nuke us…
      file these threats with the rest of them. in the bin

    24. Iain says:

      It beggars belief that anybody in England could actually think that a neo-con cabal of brain-damaged, failed Westminster politicians openly blackmailing the Scottish people into supporting their perverted world view would stop us from voting no in the referendum. This is yet another example of the corruption that passes for policy in the London parliament. Many Unionists will be feeling mightily sick this morning.

    25. Iain says:

      It should be “voting yes” in my last post. Sorry!

    26. Roll_On_2014 says:

      Surely Stu your header should be Politics For Beginners. The current one does not make sense.

    27. Misteralz says:

      It does – [i]Politician[/i] being the language they speak. 🙂

    28. a Supporter says:

      Excellent piece Stu. Says it all really. AlexS was his usual assured self on BIG Newsnight last night where he put Kirstie Wark on the backfoot right from the off. I hope many Scots were listening. I didn’t see the STV equivalent but I assume it was more of the same.
      And if the Currency Union is Plan A in the MSM’s and BT’s mindset he effortlessly drifted into stating that there are three other options available to Scotland, which could be called Plans B,C,D, which are CLEARLY set out in the White Paper, which line can now be used by the YES campaign Surely even Jim Sillars can accept that.

      And he played the WM Government’s game over the debt share, ie just veiled threats that we will not take any if assets are not properly discussed and shared, which has really got the NO boys hopping about like frogs in heat.

    29. Misteralz says:

      Bollocks – wrong code! Politician is the language they speak…

    30. yerkitbreeks says:

      Well, that’s that assault dealt with – wonder which direction the next one will come from

    31. michael says:

      I’m all for salmond calling their bluff but surely he has to highlight more some of the other options available. If we go through the next 7 months with so much uncertainty in regards to our currency then that’s bound to put a lot of voters off independence.

    32. Morag says:

      They are now utterly desperate to find out what our option B might be, all of them AND the MSM are on about it every in every interview or newspaper article. Now we have the threats to the whole idea of democracy for Scotland. WOW!

      They know perfectly well what Plan B is. They would have to be stupider than a really stupid person who has taken stupid pills not to know.

      What they are desperate for is for Alex or Nicola to say what it is, in clear and in public. That’s because the next stage of their operation, now that they have as they believe trashed Plan A, is to trash Plan B. To do that they really need to have the target of a positive statement that this is indeed Plan B.

      I did hear a couple of asides that seemed to be pre-empting this, running through a checklist of doom and gloom that is guaranteed if iScotland simply uses the pound. That’s nothing to the torrent of negativity threat and prophecies of Armageddon that would follow a formal announcement of that being the fall-back position.

    33. Alan Mackintosh says:

      No the header is fine. It implies “politician speak” such like “legalese” refers to legal speak in the sense of what the actual meaning is rather than the assumed meaning

    34. Murray McCallum says:

      I’m not sure whether I can believe or not believe what has happened and been reported the last 2 days.

      Surely David Cameron must make a statement to the House of Commons confirming that they will abide by the Edinburgh Agreement and will recognise the outcome of the 18th September referendum?

    35. ericmac says:

      Scottish Independence is inevitable. It is not a question of ‘if’ but a question of ‘when’.

      When politicians and their spin doctors try to manipulate the Zeitgeist they are playing with fire.

      The human spirit cannot be contained or measured. They cannot cage an idea by trying to frighten it.

    36. Roll_On_2014 says:

      Aye I realised that when I read the rest of the article.

    37. G H Graham says:

      Only one thing actually matters to the British: MONEY!

      All the other guff about NATO, the Euro, EU, defence, immigration, border posts, cell phone bills, etc is just inconsequential noise.

      The loss of the net income (gross income minus expenses) that Scotland provides will have a significant negative effect on the British annual budget deficit.

      But if Scotland refused to pay down its fair share of the public debt, the effect on Britain’s finances would be catastrophic.

      Net debt as a proportion of GDP would be heading for 100%.
      Britain’s credit rating would fall further & interest rates would rise thus forcing the cost of sovereign debt to go up.

      The only factor propping up the British economy right now is historically low interest rates. But many have predicted that if they were to rise back to historical averages, the economy would collapse because the level of cuts that would be needed to prevent runs of the banks would make the Great Depression look like a small nuisance.

      Osborne then had no option but to play his hand now. But he knows the Treasury does not have a strong hand. This is why he refused to answer probing questions in Edinburgh because he hasn’t analysed the cost to the English by refusing a currency union. He hasn’t done the analysis because the British really have no alternative.

      All Salmond has to do now, is hold his nerve & wait until the referendum result is in. If its YES, he can pretty much dictate terms as long as the Treasury believes Scotland might opt out of its debt obligations.

      Never has Scotland been in a stronger position. Steady as she goes then.

    38. gerry parker says:

      Great articles over the past few days Stu and others. Puts a spring in my step as I deliver the Yes newspapers. 2 events coming up in the Iron Burgh. 17th Alex Neil and 25th John Swinney. Looking forward to both.

    39. a Supporter says:

      annie says
      “Can’t see comments until I post so good morning everyone.”

      Same here and I now have to sign in before each post. But it is all on auto so no problem.

    40. faolie says:

      Excellent Rev, I’m a sucker for these pretendy ‘conversations’ and that was a pretty good one.

      The demands for Plan B and the questions on debt are becoming shriller. You could tell Naughtie this morning on GMS was becoming really annoyed, while on the same programme, oor Danny was saying that AS was realising that the penny had dropped!

      Never said a truer word there, Danny. That’d be the penny with ‘yes is winning’ on the reverse.

    41. gerry parker says:

      P.S. Well done Nicola on both Politics Today and the UCL event. Quality.

    42. kendomacaroonbar says:

      O/T

      PEEPS…There are still Wings vinyl rear window stickers available !

      SAE 8.5″ x 4″ envelope to Kendo… full contact details in quarrantine ( Just scroll up the page a few posts )

      No charge for these puppies, but a request to bequeath some loot to the forthcoming fundraiser for Supreme Commander Red Leader Stu’s Death Star iON Cannon upgrade.

    43. fairiefromtheearth says:

      God loves a bluffer but if your up against a Royal Flush and all you have is two pair,well as Kenny Rogers said you got to know when to hold em know when to fold em.I notice they always Know when to run away LOLOLOLOL

    44. jinglyjangly says:

      Alistair Livingston

      Everybody should read Gramsci, he got it spot on and that was nearly a hundred years ago!!!

      Visited his grave in Rome a couple of years ago, same graveyard as English Poets Shelley and Keats. The American Curator was amazed that two Scot’s had come all that way to pay respects to Gramsci.

      Im slowly ploughing though a three volume “Prison Notebooks” heavy going but a must read if you wish to understand how the Brit Establishment use Cultural Hegemony to retain power.

      Folliwng quote from Wikipedia, anybody recognise Cultural Hegemony in action?

      Quote
      Hegemony is the geopolitical method of indirect imperial dominance, with which the hegemon (leader state) rules subordinate states by the implied means of power (the threat of intervention) rather than by direct military force—that is, invasion, occupation, or annexation.[3]

      Unquote

    45. Desimond says:

      In my colourful imagination, i keep picturing UK as a pimp who begrudgingly knows hes losing his best girl…he is playing the “hey its cool” card but all the while hes thinking “Give me One lit cigarette”

      After the last few weeks of total disaster, we can expect a total JAM offensive on its way. Its too late though, as someone hinted the other day, we’ve looked behind the Oz curtain and just see something sad and pathetic.

    46. Midgehunter says:

      Misteralz says:

      “t does – [i]Politician[/i] being the language they speak”

      Pollytician more like – they just parrot what the government wallies squawk.

    47. fairiefromtheearth says:

      Lets get this straight folk SCOTLAND OWES BRITAIN FUCK ALL NOT ONE COPPER PENNY ITS TIME YOU WOKE UP READ WHATS ON THIS SITE TAKE IT IN AND REMEMBER IT,ITS NOT FUCKING HARD.or i will start to think 30% of the people on here are union trolls.

    48. James123 says:

      Comments not updating on any browser for me now, in fact on some they’re disappearing. Tried deleting cache and temporary files but makes no diff. SICK!

    49. Les Wilson says:

      I am curious to find out just who it was that has said that YES does not mean YES. Currently faceless, anyone know who it was?

    50. Alasdair Stirling says:

      The currency union risks that George Osborne talked of yesterday are in the nature of ‘systematic’ risks. That is: it is the risk that a Scottish Bank might collapse independently of the rest of the financial system remaining in good health. This is at worst a contingent risk; and even if we accept – the (implied) Treasury position – that joint regulation cannot sufficiently mitigate this risk, it is no more than once in a lifetime event. On the other side of the account there are ‘specific’ risk to the rUK economy of an increased debt burden and deteriorating balance of payments.

      The Treasury analysis does not set out any detail or data on either the nature or character of these specific risks, which is nothing short of amazing as they are far far more likely to crystalize than is any risk of a systematic collapse of a Scottish domiciled, but jointly regulated, financial institution. The Treasury position seems to be that the Scottish government are bluffing and will none the less take the debt without a corresponding share of the assets.

      Now it not difficult to understand why the Tories are careless of these risks coming to bear on the rUK electorate (after all most of them seem to think that the current austerity policies are heaven sent to remove the crutch of state support from indolent work-shy benefit scroungers) and we therefore have to believe that if the Tories form the next UK government that they will welcome the hardship that rejecting a currency union will impose on voters outside the South-east of England. However, I think that we can safely say the Ed Balls and Danny Alexander are bluffing.

    51. Rod Mac says:

      Cannot see comments till I post so morning my fellow patriots

    52. fairiefromtheearth says:

      oh and ma we rant their,simple if any body agrees thats it all right for someone to take 30% of your wages get in contact with me i will be happy to oblige.

    53. mogabee says:

      Brilliant, brilliant and yet more brilliant!

      Journalists have become lazy, so used to just repeating the press release. Hope some are begining to rouse themselves and start doing what people have been crying out for…

      ask proper questions!

    54. chalks says:

      I can’t wait to have John McTernan or Kelly arguing with Joeseph Sitlitz or Merrlee, both nobel prize winners.

      In fact, the Fiscal Commission is like an economics hall of fame.

      It’s a ridiculous amount of talent to have on one side.

    55. heedtracker says:

      Refusing to accept YES win in Sept is the likely outcome. The whole point of super rich elites is absolute power over their domain but the way they’re going, it’ll be like the fall of Saigon with Brewer and co on the roof of BBC Pacific Quay studios throwing their suitcases into overloaded choppers.

    56. Calum Craig says:

      Btw, is the picture on the cover of chapter 2 of the white paper the same place that Gideon gave his speech yesterday?

    57. Gillie says:

      Is this a sort of union Scots can be comfortable with? One based on fear and retribution.

      Any refusal by the UK government not to accept a YES victory would cause mass demonstrations and probable violence.

      How would Downing Street propose to govern a rebellious nation denied its freedom through the ballot box? Troops on the street, the imposition of martial law, political prisoners.

      We are witnessing dangerous thinking at Westminster. Perhaps the Americans cam be persuaded to have a quiet word in David Cameron’s ear.

    58. Desimond says:

      @fairiefromtheearth

      Poker you say… see 1:20:09

    59. Craig P says:

      The union happened partly because of threats. There was economic warfare towards Scotland’s abortive attempt to start an empire in Panama, and Scotland had been militarily occupied by Cromwell barely 50 years earlier. If these threats still had force today they would be major (negative, but still important) reasons to keep the union.

      But the age of big European powers carving up the world between them is long over. The EU guarantees free movement and trade. NATO guarantees security. Small countries flourish under these post-imperial conditions as they no longer have to worry about being invaded or excluded from markets. Whatever Osborne might think, England is no longer powerful enough to unilaterally force its will on its neighbours.

      Their threats to push us around are empty and we want to remain friends. Somebody should tell them before they embarrass themselves further.

    60. Elizabeth says:

      Long delays on seeing comments using my iPad and Safari despite clearing cache. I’ve just installed Chrome and so far it seems to be working (fingers crossed)

    61. I hate to say it but if the UK will not recognize the referendum result, then we should declare independence on May 24yh 2016 and appeal to the UN, Nato, the EU and of course the Court of Human Rights. The European Court might also have locus here as well. How about it Rev?

    62. MochaChoca says:

      Couple of points that I’ve been wondering about.

      Westminster’s confirmation of 100% responsibility for UK debt seems to prove that Scotland can LEGALLY achieve independence debt-free. So for us to agree to service any of the debt will be for reasons of goodwill/good international relations. So although there is no LEGAL requirement we may take it on anyway.

      (I’m not really convinced of any moral obligation to service the debt given that we would certainly have a healthy surplus had we been independent – and I wonder if the markets may well see it that way too.

      Yesterday’s stance on currency was that there is no LEGAL requirement for Westminster to agree a currency union. So again it’s almost a matter of goodwill/good international relations. And again just because there is no LEGAL requirement doesn’t mean it’s not going to happen.

      Further to Mr Minto’s post about the debt, that Scotland is accounted a full share of interest payments despite over a quarter of that being paid straight to Westminster/BoE). Are they likely to try the same tactic when it comes to negotiating our ‘share’ if we do take it on? after all the GERS figures seem to just accept this anomaly.

    63. Misteralz says:

      Last half hour of comments just disappeared. 🙁

      Message to HMG/GCHQ/MI5/whoever – this tactic isn’t working. It only makes me more determined to get onto Wings. I’m not the only one.

      But keep shooting yourself in the foot if it makes you feel better.

    64. Les Wilson says:

      Alasdair Stirling says

      Alasdair, I totally agree with most of your post, indeed I have previously posted a warning that Scotland could be at the biggest risk in a currency Union.
      It is not impossible that the ever growing UK debt levels will become unmanageable leading to default. I don’t think a Sterling default has ever happened, not yet.

      We are in new territory with massive debts, so the past is certainly not a sign of the future in this case, debt has never been so high, ever.
      If Scotland is in a currency Union, then Scotland will be dragged into the debacle, which will inevitably damage our economy, badly. So it must be wondered, whether Scotland should accept this bigger risk at all, and just go our own way?

    65. James123 says:

      Rev does this attack have anything to do with this?

      http://www.wordfence.com/blog/2014/02/large-distributed-brute-force-attack-underway/

      Seems that the DDOS attack is against WordPress powered sites.

    66. hetty says:

      Helena Browns comment about the media knowing the truth but telling their readers lies might be summed up here, a quote from the writer, Upton Sinclair.

      “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.”

    67. Indy_Scot says:

      I was just saying to a soft Yes voter the other day, “the outcome of the referendum is in no doubt, but it would not have happened without the internet.”

      I would now like to add to that, “without the internet and a lot of talented and very clever individuals.”

    68. fairiefromtheearth says:

      Headtracker i know where im going after i vote,thanks for the tip will be well worth watching live.

    69. Lindsay says:

      On the other hand, all these subtle messages may exist only in your own mind.

      Why on Earth would Osborne offer a formal currency union when informal sterlingisation gives the rest of the UK all the benefits, all the control and none of the costs?

      £ going up again today, I see.

    70. Gillie says:

      There has been a response from Danny Alexander, but there seems to be confusion over this. It would appear that although the UK government would ‘respect’ the result they retain the ‘default’ option to declare the result null and void if negotiations break down.

      We certainly need clarification on this matter.

    71. Morag says:

      Hmmm, I spoke too soon on the other thread. I had a load of comments on this thread showing, including one I posted myself, but now it’s rolled back to 11.03 and everything after that’s missing. I can still see recent comments on the previous thread though.

      I hope Stu and the ISP people can get this sorted out. I think he said he was having a meeting with them today. This site is too important not to have it working properly at crucial moments.

    72. Morag says:

      And suddenly, now I’ve posted, I can see everything again. Most peculiar!

    73. annie says:

      The best part of this debacle of the three parties jointly agreeing to screw Scotland is that it was apparently Alistair Darling’s idea. How sweet is that?

    74. Gillie says:

      annie says: The best part of this debacle of the three parties jointly agreeing to screw Scotland is that it was apparently Alistair Darling’s idea. How sweet is that?

      Well if Darling’s gambit fails and the polls get closer then he is a busted flush. The Tories will dump him fast.

    75. Calgacus MacAndrews says:

      This is a test post at 12:11 to see if posting solves the buffering problem (new postings not showing).

      The last post I can see is 11:16 (despite trying ctrl-F5)

    76. heedtracker says:

      If you’re a titled Eton/Harrow, OxBridge elitist with big companies, country estates and mountains of cash stashed in sunny tax havens, how bad does vote YES for scorched earth retaliation look? Scottish business needs to strap on a pair and get stuck into this tory boy economic brinkmanship game now.

    77. Calgacus MacAndrews says:

      @Calgacus MacAndrews says:
      This is a test post at 12:11 to see if posting solves the buffering problem (new postings not showing).
      The last post I can see is 11:16 (despite trying ctrl-F5)

      Result. The test post at 12:11 made all the missing posts from the last hour suddenly appear.

      I think somebody earlier today said that this method worked.

      So there is still something intermittently wrong.

    78. It won’t make anyone feel better but just to say I’m using IE11 from a home PC and have experienced not the slightest problem with this site.

    79. Silverytay says:

      Apologies , I am just logging in to find out what has been happening this morning .

      I am beginning to get like a junkie without his daily fix .

    80. Dick Gaughan says:

      Peter Macbeastie says:
      It is remarkably hard to believe that so many apparently intelligent people are actually almost criminally stupid.

      Because they all begin with the same mindset. It’s what I refered to in an earlier post about one-way mirrors. When they look at Scotland what they see is their own reflection.

      And because they genuinely believe that we are merely “English with incomprehensible accents and a penchant for cold weather and Buckfast” they presume that there is no difference between how we will react and how they would react in the same circumstances.

      This arrogance cons them into breaking one of the fundamental principles of diplomacy and warfare – understand that your enemy doesn’t necessarily think the same way you do and that therefore they might react in an entirely different way than you would in their position.

      They threaten and bluster, we do not respond in the way they expect, they can’t understand why, so they threaten and bluster even more. We win.

    81. john king says:

      One for the archive
      Andrew Niel
      “you want US to be you lender of last resort”

      US?
      cant wait for someone south of the border to ask him what do you mean us paleface?

    82. James123 says:

      @Misteralz
      Message to HMG/GCHQ/MI5/whoever – this tactic isn’t working. It only makes me more determined to get onto Wings. I’m not the only one.

      From what I’ve been reading on the internet this attack may be on WordPress and not this website in particular.

      Read here:
      http://wptavern.com/large-bruteforce-attack-against-wordpress-sites-starting-to-subside

      Or I may be completely wrong, Rev will clear it up I guess.

    83. scottish_skier says:

      When it comes to high stakes poker, it pays to know the behaviour of players well.

      Salmond and co understand the British establishment all too well. They have decades of experience. More importantly, they also know the people of Scotland well.

      In the latter case, George and pals are clueless (that or quite clued up and are gunning for a Yes).

    84. cynicalHighlander says:

      Re site problems.

      Win7 very intermittent comment and no buttons yet on XP everything is normal so the conclusion to me seems an OS version problem.

    85. Bill C says:

      A very succinct summary of where we are Stu, brilliant. Thank you once again. You WILL get a medal!

    86. Calgacus MacAndrews says:

      I am Firefox and Win 7 with intermittent problems …

    87. chicmac says:

      ” The Scottish Government Fiscal commission in its reports put forward FOUR possible currency arrangements for an independent currency and analysed ALL of them. ”

      https://www.dropbox.com/s/c2wohbyfafsif6b/fiscal.commission.report.pdf

    88. john king says:

      “PEEPS…There are still Wings vinyl rear window stickers available !”

      Not sure if you saw my thanks to you Ken for those stickers so again thank you and I’ll be sure to stick my money on Stu at the end of the month and it’ll not be each way, it’ll be on the nose.
      ps
      Stickers deployed and yes campaign business cards given to selected undecideds (open to persuasion) 🙂

    89. Kalmar says:

      Many of the dwindling band who were thinking of voting NO will have listened to the twit on Morning Call this morning and thought:

      No kidding! What was it ‘Our generous and beneficial partner’? Oooh!
      Even the presenter seemed out of patience with the usual better together bollocks.

    90. john king says:

      “Everybody should read Gramsci,”

      Is he from Falkirk per chance? 🙂

    91. Misteralz says:

      Just commenting to see what I’ve missed in the past hour…

    92. Jamie Arriere says:

      Remember also that at the precise same time as Scotland is negotiating entry into the EU, rUK will be trying to renegotiate their own terms of membership before Dave’s In-Out Referendum.

      Any idea that they will be able to keep their rebate and opt-outs, while at the same time threatening to veto Scotland’s membership will surely not be acceptable to the rest of the EU.

      I think they will realise then how few friends they have there.

    93. Mealer says:

      Great work again,Stu.But we can’t expect the NO campaign,aka the media,to publicise this.A growing number of voters get info from this site,but not nearly enough to win.Its up to us to tell family and friends and neighbours and colleagues that under UN rules London isn’t allowed to bully us into taking on the debt but not getting our share of the assets.And to point them to this and other sites.
      Can a band of ordinary Scots stand upto the bully boys of Westminster and its media….and win their country’s independence?

    94. Mealer says:

      Anyone hear Jim Sillars on the radio? I think others in the YES campaign should take a leaf out of his book and take every opportunity to get the message over that Scotland has a stronger economy than rUK.

    95. Brotyboy says:

      @ Alasdair Stirling

      Quality post.

      Kudos to you.

    96. Jeannie says:

      It totally beggars belief that there could be anyone voting in this referendum that would want Alex Salmond to reveal his hand in advance of negotiations.

      Whether you intend to vote Yes or No, remember that in the event of a Yes vote, he will be negotiating on your behalf to get the best deal he can for you and your family. The cards he holds will be OURS, no-one else’s.

      Who would seriously want him to go into these negotiations having already revealed Plan B, C, or D to the other side? If I were sending someone out to negotiate on my behalf with a tough opponent, I would be insane to insist that my negotiator tell my opponents in advance what my bottom line is. How on earth could I expect to get a good deal that way?

      Just remember, if we vote Yes, the First Minister will negotiate on behalf of ALL of us – so nobody, especially our journalists, should insist on him showing our cards to the other side. You do that, you get hee-haw.

    97. Garryaitch says:

      Ken thanks for the car stickers these have all been deployed!

    98. Bigbricks says:

      Thank you Stuart Campbell for a website which is an oasis of unbiased information, and intelligent analysis, in a vast desert of pro-Union newspapers and broadcast media. The “interview” of Danny Alexander by James Naughtie on GMS today is perhaps the most supine interview of a politician I’ve ever heard. There’s a very interesting (and rather depressing) article in the Hootsmon today by Joyce McMillan in which she highlights the likelihood of those whom a Yes vote would most benefit actually voting No because they’re scared into it. This website is one way of balancing the torrent of misinformation, but we really do need to persuade the “undecided” that the sky won’t fall in if we vote yes, and that in the medium to long term, we will find ourselves living in the sort of society we all aspire to. I’m not sure how that persuasion can best be done, but doing it is essential if the Yes campaign is to win.

    99. Clootie says:

      I’ve spent all day trying to figure what the are up to. What the cunning plan is.

      I’ve eventually come to the conclusion that the reason I can’t figure it out is because they don’t know what their plan is.

      It just appears to be “negative message not working” – let’s make it louder and more negative?

    100. Peter Macbeastie says:

      Dick Gaughan, well said. I think you are absolutely spot on.

      Clootie; I personally believe they have one plan, and much like the Tory approach to the economy it’s that plan or it’s no plan. Never mind that the plan does not appear to be working, they’re just going to plough forwards expecting the same ideas to work anyway.

      Only a fool keeps doing exactly the same thing and expecting different results. I didn’t actually think the Westminster government were fools; but evidence is fair starting to mount up to suggest that I’m wrong.

    101. Bugger (the Panda) says:

      just to see what is going on.

    102. muttley79 says:

      @heedtracker

      “Refusing to accept YES win in Sept is the likely outcome. The whole point of super rich elites is absolute power over their domain but the way they’re going, it’ll be like the fall of Saigon with Brewer and co on the roof of BBC Pacific Quay studios throwing their suitcases into overloaded choppers.”

      What a marvellous image and picture that is. Can you imagine Wark, Naughtie, Renton, Bird, Magnusson, and Douglas Fraser etc in the same room watching a Yes vote in the referendum be announced? 😀 😀

    103. Albert Herring says:

      MacBook Air, Safari. Absolutely no problems whatsoever. 🙂

    104. chalks says:

      Jeannie, it appears much of the negotiating is to be done out in the public eye.

      So therefore, coming out with an alternative (which, in fairness is there for everyone to see anyway) isn’t such a bad idea.

      1. It opens the electorates eyes as to the options available to us
      2. It opens the markets eyes to the catastrophe that might happen if we were to tell them to poke it

      If the 2nd point is true, then you are left with a situation where Westminster has to come back cap in hand asking to have a union ‘we were just joking’

    105. Jeannie says:

      @chalks

      I agree that the currency options are in the public domain, via the White Paper, as is Scotland’s initial negotiating position. The first card has been played. But no need to let the whole world see the rest of the hand.

    106. Gary says:

      The media has no self respect. They’ll print stories on celebrities but when it comes to real news and politics, they take the handouts from the wire, the placed stories and the money from military intelligence and the self interest of the owners will ensure that none will sully their pages with truthful news..

    107. Appleby says:

      Press CTRL + F5 while on the page to refresh it properly and it should display the new comments okay, I believe.

    108. Appleby says:

      Hmmm, seems true enough that the usual key combination isn’t enough and posting does the trick. Oh well, it’ll encourage everyone to get to know each other.

    109. Jeannie says:

      just updating

    110. Davy says:

      I have a question ? if at this moment in time we are all members of the EU under the UK banner, and then with Scottish independence does not both Scotland and England become successor states.

      If that is so, could not the membership of the EU just become equally split between both countrys ?

      As we are already members surely the simple solution will be to continue our membership in both countries with just changes in membership fee’s for both countries and of course all EU responsibilitys being run for each country from each respective parliment (Holyrood & westminster).

      Would that then not eliminate any chance of a Veto by Westminster ???

    111. Thepnr says:

      @Davy

      That I believe is what will happen, the EU will recognise both countries as successor states. If the EU think that the rUK would veto Scotlands application as a “new” state all the more reason for them to rule Scotland is a successor state.

      The EU will not be pushed around by England and will do what’s best for the EU.

    112. Krackerman says:

      Not sure that this explanation stands if we don’t know WHY Osborne would say no to a currency union! A CU would resolve the debt question and preserve the current stability of the pound…….. It’s does not compute…

      Unless the secret sauce in the mix is Mr Carney….. just what is it he said to Osborne that’s so spooked him… Something about the UK also having to give up some sovereignty as well perhaps? Control over regulation perhaps and the banks??

      😀

    113. Krackerman says:

      I mean we all KNOW it’s right that a CU is the best option for the UK and Scotland… everyone wins… or do they… what if Mr Carney as honest broker points out that for a CU to work and be stable control of regulation and banking debt levels and practices needs to be in the hands of an “honest broker” … himself and the BOE perhaps… he was at great pains two weeks ago to repeat he was non political and had no axe to grind… Say also that such REAL regulation and control might perhaps impinge on some of the city of London’s more … shall we say “creative” or risky practices?? So who’s the cities man in the cabinet… trick question… nearly all of them 😀 so here we are two weeks later with the chancellor very publicly cutting the UK’s nose off to spite itself… all to save the shady city of London?? I think so 😀

    114. FlimFlamMan says:

      @Krackerman

      Yes, giving up sovereignty is the key, but regulation isn’t the big problem.

      If the rUK entered a currency union Westminster would be unable to finance its external deficit and the rUK economy would suffer badly, just as the Euro nations with external deficits are suffering.

      Has Carney pointed this out? Who knows, but I would hope that he didn’t need to.

    115. Kate says:

      @Rev The big fundraiser is coming before the end of this month. There is a plan for printed material. Stand by, and save your pennies.

      Can’t wait, we have been needing this for sometime now. Bring it on.

    116. Krackerman says:

      That’s a good point FFM – not sure though in a CU external deficit matters at a currency level as it would largely cancel out leaving it fairly neutral. Longer term it would be an issue as Scotland with a trade credit is far more likely to leave the CU rather than continually be dragged down by it’s larger partner.. However things like this invariably level out and frankly mean nothing to millionaire bankers like Osborne and co….. No I keep coming back to Carneys comments … this is about the cash cow that is the city of London and it’s profit making risky practices… CU would threaten the cash cow at heart of the government – the investment banks…

    117. Krackerman says:

      Was going to add that to protect that cash cow and their own power and wealth they will I suspect gladly burn Scotland and England to the ground….

    118. FlimFlamMan says:

      An external deficit matters at a currency level because nations that issue their own currency can self-finance that deficit. In a CU they have to acquire the currency, to genuinely borrow. In the Euro zone the borrowing cost has included not just the bond yields, but forced austerity, mass unemployment and Greeks dying because the government can’t afford to pay for medication.

      On the City and the financial sector, yeah, I’m sure they have fears. London is an international fraud centre. Finance. I meant finance centre. Either way much of the trading that goes on is conducted in foreign currencies anyway, but a CU does constrain a government’s ability to spend in general, and that includes spending to bail out insolvent banks.

    119. dadsarmy says:

      @James123
      Thanks for that link. I’d like it if Rev could let us know what he finds out, but wouldn’t surprise me if this is just a brute force attack to get password / user. Usual tips – password should be mixed uppercase and lower, numvers and special characters. And try to avoid using standard usernames like “admin”, disable guest totally. For punters, never click on a zip file in an email unless 100.000000000% sure you want it, and set your email software not to automatically open enclosures.

      It could well be with wordpress they want to put up their own webpage selling umm, old age goods. Alternatively they want you to click a link to infect the computers of readers – so they can use them for D/DoS attacks – or send out spam.

      My server showed a lot of brute force since before Christmas, sad as I am I removed a layer of defence to watch it, and see which services it was trying – SSHD being the most common for me. I have unique email addies for different things and I can see a few of my correspondents have been infected from the email addy spam gets sent to me from.

      Keep a check on your webpages to make sure they’re not altered – it might just be the underlying link if they’re sophisticated enough – some are. No such thing as “stupid spammers”.

    120. David Abrahams-Edley says:

      There is a bigger issue that won’t be discussed and everyone should understand: The Bank of England. Will do everything in its power to stop this – because all its financial power depends on it. The Bank of England has been the Crown since 1707 when maritime code was incorporated into English and Scottish Law in return for the national debt, which was designed never to be paid back – and for which we are all collateral. If the Acts of Union – which are treaties, are reversed – then the Crown in Law reverts to the monarch and all Acts of Parliament, created under that treaty – are null and void. THAT IS EVERY ACT OF PARLIAMENT, STATUTORY INSTRUMENT AND BYE LAW CREATED UNDER STATUTE SINCE 1707 – Everything that has given the establishment wealth and power – Think about this – maritime code is by consent (although most people don’t know how not to consent to it) – and it is about control and punishment rather than holding society together – as in common law. The Crown as the Bank of England makes interest out of its collateral through the courts – which are built as a vessel (you sit in the dock) the judge sits at the bridge (bench) and a court case is ‘abandoned’ if it cannot continue – just like a ship. When you see the word crown – because of the Acts of Union – this means the Bank of England, as in Crown Estates, Crown Colonies, Crown Courts – the crown v… All of the is overturned if Scotland goes independent. When the Prime Minister, who works on behalf of the Bank of England – his real title is First Lord of the Treasury – talks about the ‘interests of the City of London’ – he is not talking about the benefit of the UK – the whole thing is double talk.

      This is the real reason that the establishment is terrified of Scottish independence

    121. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “There is a bigger issue that won’t be discussed and everyone should understand”

      They won’t understand it if you post it in one giant paragraph full of hyphenated clauses, David, that’s for sure. I gave up even trying to edit that into some kind of comprehensible formatting.



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