The world's most-read Scottish politics website

Wings Over Scotland

Priorities in order

Posted on March 21, 2014 by

Rob Shorthouse is the Head of Communications for “Better Together”. This week he took part in a debate in Dunoon. The paper’s account of the event, published today, is fascinating and unusually candid, but this bit stood out for us in particular.


We think that’s his coded way of saying he’ll be voting Yes. Would explain a lot.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

53 to “Priorities in order”

  1. galamcennalath says:

    “pays my mortgage” is all that Head of Communications for BT can offer on the subject! A defeatist, a realist, or a separatist?

  2. Morag says:

    Jings, I hope I’m never that hard up.

  3. Jim T says:

    Another Yes then …

    Well done Dunoon 🙂

  4. stonefree says:

    “We can’t help wondering if that’s Blair McDougall’s view too.”….judging by the look of him , he’s got a hell of a shortfall

  5. Murray McCallum says:

    Wow, better together have a “Head of Communications”.

    Where has all their money gone?

  6. Jeannie says:

    Oh,the irony! He’s Head of Communications and nobody can figure out what he meant by what he said.

  7. Scott Douglas says:

    Do parents always provide ‘security’?

  8. desimond says:

    Maybe he just didnt want to upset any of his football going mates?

  9. Michael says:

    Interesting that Yes was ahead at the start and further ahead at the end but that because some people didn’t vote the result was considered to be uncertain. Oh well, good to see No getting another beating in a week when they have been on the losing side so many times.

  10. Juteman says:

    I actually find his statement very shallow. At least others have claimed in the past they were ‘only following orders’.
    He is saying he will do anything for money.
    I don’t want to sound melodramatic, but I would give up more than money if it helped to secure my children, and my grandchildren, a better future.

  11. Dick Gaughan says:

    Jeannie says:
    Oh,the irony! He’s Head of Communications and nobody can figure out what he meant by what he said.

    Allow me to translate his words of wisdom:

    “I know what I’m peddling is pure pish but they’re paying me a small fortune for doing it and anyway when this is all over I’ll be off to a well-paid job as a marketing consultant in London so I couldn’t really give a thimbleful of midge’s effluent.”

    Don’t mention it, a pleasure.

  12. Ian Brotherhood says:

    Good article – nae bawbaggery.

    But why no surname for the author? ‘Gordon’ deserves proper credit.

  13. muttley79 says:

    Rob Shorthouse is I think a former member of the SNP. Does not sound as if his heart is in it, and who can blame him…

  14. Alfresco Dent says:

    Juteman says:
    21 March, 2014 at 4:51 pm
    I actually find his statement very shallow. At least others have claimed in the past they were ‘only following orders’.
    He is saying he will do anything for money.
    I don’t want to sound melodramatic, but I would give up more than money if it helped to secure my children, and my grandchildren, a better future.

    You and me both brother. This is why we will win.

  15. Jeannie says:

    @Dick Gaughan

    See – that must be why he gets paid all that money. He said what you said, but he said it in only 6 words. He must get paid in inverse proportion to the number of words he uses 🙂

  16. Archie [not Erchie] says:

    This is normally the add-on you would give after moaning about your job.

    eg: I get daily abuse, I hate the boss. My skills are varied but nobody supports me. What can I do? At least it pays the mortgage. 🙁

    Well Mr Shorthouse, you could always apply to Wings for a loan to help out with power/food/fuel and a lubricant of your choice. To ease the pain of course.

  17. Jamie Arriere says:

    I wonder how he would have got on if he’d had to crowdfund to justify his existence.

  18. Big Red Machine says:

    Spoke to a friend who was present that night. She told me that one of the questions posed to him was about the Herald’s recent report about the MOD wanting to pollute the Clyde with radioactive waste. A member of the audience asked him that knowing this, with Dunoon on the banks of the Clyde, how could Rob honestly convince him to vote No in September. His comprehensive, convincing response to sway the voter?

    Rob: ‘The story isn’t true.’

  19. mogabee says:

    The Gordon in question is Gordon Neish.

  20. CameronB says:

    A rather buccaneer attitude towards Scots and their constitutional future, if you ask me.

  21. john king says:

    I wonder if his vote was one that added to the increase in yes?

    please someone tell me this is caught on audio or better still video,
    the no’ers leaving with that admission ringing in their ears will cause them some sleepless nights no doubt.

  22. M4rkyboy says:

    A child leaving home?Scotland isn’t a child with a parent ffs.Since when was England our daddy?We are in a supposed partnership.

  23. gordoz says:

    @ Ian brotherhood

    Snippet is from the paper itself

    If anyone is looking for a great pairing of Yes Panellists to surgically expose Better Together, from Left / Right aspects, Younger / Older, Calculated / Passionate, Male / Female perspective, then you can do no better than

    Gordon MacIntyre-Kemp / Business for Scotland
    Sarah Collins / Scottish Youth STUC.

    Both very impressive and ‘cover all the bases’.

    Thought it was a big mistake of BT campaign to put up the local ‘Head Boy’ in a school uniform (a big ask), but fair credit where its due, the boy concerned was brave enough to have a go, (very brave), but big miscalculation from BT.

    People were not there to play games and asked some real hard hitting questions (of both sides), but we all know who won the day with truth and reason.

  24. JLT says:

    Geee… that is one helluva strange answer. It’s deep and hard to fathom. Can be seen from quite a few angles. Is he happy with BT, is he being ironic, is he thinking of voting ‘Yes’, is he playing clever mind games, is he deflecting the question…

    Good answer. Got to give him a kudo for being quite honest though…

  25. Schiehallion! Schiehallion! says:

    It sounds like Rob is the one who hasn’t quite left home.

  26. Dan Watt says:

    Regardless of how he intends to vote, which I very much doubt is Yes, I find it absolutely deplorable that he had the audacity to answer in such a moronic way.

    But maybe my feelings about it are misplaced, seeing as nobody in the no camp could give a better or more meaningful answer to the same question.

  27. gordoz says:

    Forgot to ask.

    Can someone explain (as suggested by the paper who thankfully never foresaw the result), how no matter how many people were there at the start – when Yes recorded a win via a prior show of hans by 15% at the start and 38% via the actual poll; (some people had left as it was so bloody cold), that it can not be taken as a ‘satisfactory scientific result’?

    Why is it when No win a poll then its just reported, but when its a YES win then they muddy the water with such guff as above.

    Either way its a clear YES win via fair questioning arguement fro the general public.

  28. Pin says:

    OT but this is brilliant. Alex Massie’s take on Ed Miliband’s speech today:

    To their credit, the comments under it are funny too. They’re all discussing their special connection to Scotland. For one guy it’s when he bought a tin of shortbread and a Texas CD- hahahaha!!

  29. Robert Peffers says:

    Last night I couldn’t sleep. I had the worst sore throat I have ever suffered. By morning it had developed into a nose running torrent. I was very depressed. I became further depressed by radio reports of the Labour conference. I asking myself why are these unionist parties who fought to remove devolution from the referendum paper now wasting everyone’s time talking about devolved powers. I asked myself, “Who would be stupid enough to even consider any form of devolution in a YES/NO referendum question”? Then, just by accident, I clicked a wrong link and ended up on a Daily Record comments forum. The first big batch of comments were withheld for review. The next few of actually printed comments were full of grammatical errors, spelling errors and utterly stupid claims. These answered my question. Now I know who those voters stupid enough to consider a referendum question already removed from the referendum paper by the people who support dependence upon the Westminster Government are. The same ones who imagine they are being asked to decide between Alex Salmond and David Cameron in the referendum.

  30. gordoz says:

    O/T Rev : If there is no bounce from today for Labour, then can we please refer to their Party Leader as ..

    Ed Moribund ?

    “not progressing or advancing; stagnant: a moribund political party”

    “no longer active or effective : close to failure”

  31. Calgacus MacAndrews says:

    Rob is a gun-for-hire.

  32. Deepest Green says:

    Having spoken to several people who attended the meeting, Sarah Collins keeps being mentioned as the star of the night, gutted I missed it now.

  33. That sounds like even he doesn’t believe the crap BT are spewing out and he’s head off communications, wow, Let the implosion begin 🙂

  34. Rod Robertson says:

    This could explain a lot ,do we have a sleeper in the camp?

  35. Juteman says:

    I wonder if there will be folk going into the voting booth expecting to see a ‘more powers’ option?

  36. Stuart Black says:

    @ Big Red Machine, yes, I was very taken aback by that story, and I also found the lack of feedback disturbing. Arbroath 1320 linked to it on Munguin’s, I believe, but I have seen little else, and it was certainly not pursued on the Herald letters page. Below is an email I sent to my wife, and my pal, the same day.

    “Herald Headline: MoD wants to dump radioactive waste into Clyde.

    The headline is misleading: they are not applying for permission to dump liquid radioactive waste into the Gareloch, and by extension, the Clyde. They are already doing it. They want permission to dump MORE liquid radioactive waste into the Gareloch.

    They are also applying to eject more tritium gas into the atmosphere from Coulport than they are doing at present. Yes indeedy, they are releasing tritium into the atmosphere around the Central belt of Scotland. It’s perfectly safe, of course.

    Two questions leaped out at me (I knew nothing of this until 4 days ago).

    1. Who actually knows this is happening? In the general population I mean? 1 in every 10,000 if we’re lucky. Why do we not know? You don’t need to answer that, we don’t know because they want to keep doing it.

    2. Would Parliament agree to releasing tritium gas into the atmosphere within 25 miles of London? And sanction the dumping of liquid radioactive waste into the Thames? You don’t need to answer that either, I think we all know it already.

    We’re Better Together? Aye right!”

    A further point, the mendacious Ms Baillie has deep concerns for her constituents, and the 11,000 jobs (sic) that she claims will be lost on independence. In her capacity as Health spokesperson, has anyone heard her raising concerns about her constituents regarding this radioactive dumping? And if not, why not? Anyone who participates in a debate in which she is taking part would be well advised to ask her for an explanation. Though I can tell you the answer now, perm any one from two, the Bobby Bungalow approach, “No, it is not true”, or “these releases are within guidelines set out by” – add your own professional body here.

    Shorthouse is wrong, by the way, tritium is a common and standard by-product of work done on nuclear warheads, a less likeable form of hydrogen, and it has to go somewhere. It seems the MoD think it best that that be in Scotland though, eh?

  37. X_Sticks says:


    Word from twitter about the Aberdeen Council anti-independence letters. RIC to have a stall in St Nicolas Square. I believe they are starting a petition.

  38. Doug Daniel says:

    Sums up tge motivation of most No campaigners really.

  39. Jim McIntosh says:

    O/T – just received my response to my complaint about last weeks Andrew Marrs show.

    “Andrew made it clear on air that he had not been intending to express a personal opinion or an opinion of the BBC. He was simply putting forward an argument from President Barroso who, as European Commission President, has an integral insight within the debate and had made his feelings on the matter of Scotland”.

    “He had not been intending” – well that’s allright then, and I’m sure he would have corrected himself if Alec hadn’t pulled him up on it.

    “has an inegral insight within the debate”. – sorry you lost me there.

  40. Mick says:

    Rob Shorthouse the boy who got smashed at school with a silk cut spliff lol!!

  41. Ian Sanderson says:

    Jim McIntosh – SNAP!! I got mine this morning – the same one as you by the sounds of it..

    We believe the BBC’s coverage of the Scottish Referendum debate has been fair and impartial and we will continue to strive to report on the story in this manner.

    “fair and impartial” – my a**e !

    We’d also like to assure you that we’ve registered your complaint on our Audience Log. This is a daily report of audience feedback that’s made available to all BBC staff, including members of the BBC Executive board, channel controllers and other senior managers.

    and I’m sure all the staff read every one of them…

    The Audience Logs are seen as important documents that can help shape decisions on future BBC programmes and content.

    See my first response above…!

    BTW Rev I tried to switch off the bold-face at the end of my individual comments but it disnae appear to be workin’

  42. Abaron Nomore says:

    So, I’ve just spent a frustrating 20 minutes reading btl comments on the Herald’s article from yesterday re the Panelbase poll which degenerated completely once post after post rubbished the poll on the grounds that the Indy question was Q3. Over a few pages they convinced themselves that the unknown first two questions had conditioned responders to say Yes to Indy and the poll was therefore worthless.

    Guess what? Now the first 2 questions have been published and they are right!

    Q1: Gender
    Q2: Age

    Well I certainly had no doubt about saying Yes to the Independence Question after being subtly primed by these two seemingly innocuous questions. What dastardly tricks will these scheming nationalists at Panelbase come up with next?

  43. HandandShrimp says:

    It is an incredibly frank statement even if said in jest. Having said that would a communications chap say things in jest at a public meeting?

    I am not sure what jives down at BT central.

  44. Thepnr says:

    Good luck to Rob Shorthouse in trying to find a new job once Scotland says Yes. I wouldn’t like to have a stain so large as “Communications Director for Better Together” on my CV.

  45. Mark says:

    Rob is actually a decent guy. He’s been communications director at the sfa and the police but he is a staunch unionist and rangers fan and definitely not in the Yes Camp. Went to school with him and don’t recall him ever having leanings to the Snp although I may be wrong. He used to put loads of stuff on fb from better together but as their argument has been considerably weakened and pretty much been noted to be a pile of cack then the posts have become fewer amd fewer. Rob is a clever guy and I think he now realises he’s backed the wrong horse however he does.have a lot of media contacts who he can count upon to plant some utter rubbish in the press. Hopefully now though the majority of people are seeing through the blatant lies and spin!!

  46. scottish_skier says:

    Guess what? Now the first 2 questions have been published and they are right!

    Q1: Gender
    Q2: Age

    That’s funny as f**k.

    I read those comments and if there had been ‘leading’ Q’s ahead of ‘Q3’, Prof. C and A.W. @ UKPR would have been all over it like a rash before mere mortals had access to tables.

  47. Dave McEwan Hill says:

    Mark at 7.31

    Rob was a member of the SNP on Dunoon at one point. He mentioned that early on at the meeting.

    We have many Rangers supporters in Dunoon who are voting YES however Rob’s remark may mean nothing other than that he is entirely dispirited by the amount of total cack he is supposed to communicate on behalf of Better Together.

    What was also remarkable at the meeting was the number of people on the NAW side who didn’t appear to know where Dunoon Burgh Hall was initially.

  48. Seasick Dave says:


    Rob is actually a decent guy.

    Aye, right.

  49. Andy MacNicol says:

    “What was also remarkable at the meeting was the number of people on the NAW side who didn’t appear to know where Dunoon Burgh Hall was initially.”


  50. JnrTick says:

    I was at this meeting/debate. Rob Shorthouse was accompanied by a Dunoon Grammar School boy as his partner in crime. Early on when the questions were coming in thick and fast one was directed at the NO duo and RS instead of taking the lead turned and looked to his sidekick in expectation of the boy answering. I thought this was cowardly but typical of representatives of the NO campaign. When faced with the sorts of questions we face daily they are left floundering.

    Tuesday night, another clear example of when the electorate are confronted with both sides of the debate on a level platform and when given good answers to their questions there is rarely any other direction they turn other than towards a ‘YES’.

  51. vulpes says:

    So, basically, Rob Shorthouse is only in it for the money?

  52. Endofdaze says:

    The problem for Better Together at the Dunoon Hustings was that there was nobody from the BBC or STV there to protect them as there normally is when they are questioned in front of the public, though the Chairman tried hard.
    It was difficult for Robert to handle the flack when he knew we knew what he really believed. That probably led to his slip, unless it was deliberate and he has fallen out with them.
    PS I was a yes at the start of the meeting and a yes squared afterwards but I didn’t get a vote before leaving.

  53. James says:

    He is paid 100,000 GBP to run a hate campaign against his own country – there are some jobs just not worth any amount of money

Comment - please read this page for comment rules. HTML tags like <i> and <b> are permitted. Use paragraph breaks in long comments. DO NOT SIGN YOUR COMMENTS, either with a name or a slogan. If your comment does not appear immediately, DO NOT REPOST IT. Ignore these rules and I WILL KILL YOU WITH HAMMERS.

↑ Top