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Readers’ Question Time

Posted on October 20, 2015 by

Okay, so we’ve tried everything. We’ve read all the papers, we’ve been through all the emails, and we’ve even gone out for a walk, which usually never fails to trigger some cataclysmic political upheaval or animal-sex scandal.

But it didn’t work. There’s still no news, which is probably why the papers – including the FRONT PAGES of the Scotsman and Telegraph – are on an incredible second day of the astounding revelation that someone told someone to f**k off on the internet.

As spectacular and mindboggling as some of the coverage undeniably is – most notably Alex Massie’s barking-mad, lie-filled howlatribe “J.K. Rowling and her heroic attack on the wicked cybernats” (whose title, remarkably, does not appear to be ironic) in ultra-right-wing loonzine CapX – even we’re fed up of reading people going on about us, so to pass the time we’re going to do something else instead.

We’ve still frankly got too much money in the Wings Fighting Fund after last year’s wildly over-successful fundraiser, so we’ve got another poll in the pipeline. It’s been a while since we got you to suggest questions you’d like to ask a representative sample of the Scottish population, so we’re throwing open the floor for ideas.

We’ve got a few pencilled in already, covering most of the obvious constitution-based stuff, so think a bit wider. We’re trying to garner useful information that might help the independence cause, not score some cheap points, so loaded questions like “HOW TOTALLY BIAS IS THE BBC?” are no good.

Stuff that’s not directly about politics but would just be really interesting to find out is also very welcome. Beyond the above there are no rules, so speak your brains, folks.

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520 to “Readers’ Question Time”

  1. Petra

    @ Cuilean says at 10:24 am ”On the daily anti SNP Govt propaganda broadcasts last night, both STV & BBC were gleefully pointing out that winter deaths among the old in Scotland had peaked last winter to a 15 year high. Both unionist propaganda outlets were, again,casting aspersions at the Scots Govt; ie that the Scots Govt is failing NHS Scotland. The BBC & STV were keen to point out that this spike took place during avery mild Scottish winter (so again the implication from them is that NHS Scotland is failing).”

    Did they bother to mention that research (Age UK – 2013 / 14) has shown that one elderly person dies every SEVEN MINUTES in England and Wales due to choosing between ‘eating and heating’ (whilst people like Jim Murphy have been claiming for energy bill payments)?

    That ‘Better Together’ pensioners are some of the worst off in the EU with countries like Romania, Poland and Latvia having a lower percentage of pensioners living in poverty. The UK is the second richest country in the EU (one of the richest in the World) but Germany, Austria, Spain, Denmark, Poland, Ireland, France, Norway, Slovakia, Luxembourg, the Czech Republic, Hungary and the Netherlands etc etc are all performing better than the UK when it comes to treatment of pensioners (International Longevity Centre (ILC-UK).

    Pensions expert Ros Altmann states that “The UK state pension is just about the lowest in the developed world. We rely heavily on private pensions but those who don’t have the chance to save, who maybe lose their job or, like many women, don’t have the chance to generate a larger state pension, are left living in poverty.”


    Did they mention Gordon Brown at all? THE ‘duped you with the Vow’ Brown who also frightened many Scottish pensioners to death by stating that their pensions would be negatively impacted upon if they left the ‘Union’. He lied of course, again, as per UK Pensions Minister Steve Webb May 2014.

    When Gordon Brown became Prime Minister in 2007 UK public debt was 44.1% of GDP. When he left in 2010 it was 148.1%.

    He sold our off our gold for peanuts losing the UK 6 billion, robbed / raided the pension pots, against the advice of his senior economic advisor Derek Scott, of billions ….. reducing the value of personal pension retirement funds by at least £100 / £150 billion …… leaving pensioners paying a “heavy price for many, many years to come”.

    When he stood down as Prime Minister he left us with a deficit of £156 billion, PFI liability of £301 billion and an EU Rebate loss of £9.3 billion. All of which has impacted on the level of State Pension paid out ….. and then along came the Tories !!!!!

    PS Taking into account that the Gordon Brown ‘you’ll lose your pension’ fiasco seemed to have influenced many individuals, young and elderly, into voting NO what do you think Stu of running an article, some time in the future, on ‘pension facts’, such as that Holyrood has no control whatsoever over the level of state pension paid out or retirement age?

    Statistics highlight that up to £5bn in pension credit, housing benefit and council tax goes unclaimed by 5m pensioners each year (30% of entitled recipients). Many pensioners are confused with the complexity / amount of paperwork relating to for example claiming Pension Credit, Savings Credit, State Second Pension, Winter Fuel Allowance, supplementary cold weather payments, Christmas bonuses, Council Tax benefit and Housing benefit.

  2. Neil Anderson

    Hamish (and others) a Scottish ‘BitCoin’ called ‘ScotCoin’ already exists and has done for some time – see

  3. Stoker

    caz-m wrote:
    “The Community Union, who are the major Union behind Scottish steel workers, encouraging it’s Lanarkshire members last year to vote NO in the Independence Referendum.”

    And then caz-m wrote:
    “The Community Union rep on the tranny(radio)this morning, complaining that the energy bills to run these steel plants is far too high. Energy prices are controlled by the UK Government, who the Community Union advised it’s members last year to stay part of. They pushed for a NO vote in the Referendum, so watch out for “SNP Bad” coming from their direction. Surely people have better things to spend their money on, rather than keeping English based Unions afloat. In 2012 I told my Union, the GMB, to go and take a hike when I found out they were backing a NO vote in the Referendum.”

    And just to confirm what caz-m has been alerting you all to –
    this from the Revs Twitter feed yesterday:

  4. K1

    Yes Fireproofjim…

    Perhaps the question regarding Scottish history being re introduced into the school curriculum can be preceded with:

    Are you aware that Scottish history is Not taught in schools in Scotland?

    This would give an indication of how many are aware of this and it would also highlight and inform.

    O/T Some good news re Pauline Cafferkey, her condition has gone from critical to ‘serious but stable’. Apparently she is suffering from meningitis brought about by the Ebola virus, ‘hiding’ in her immune system. She’ll have a long recovery period but she is talking and interacting with the staff etc. Good stuff.

  5. Chic McGregor


    You have your facts wrong.

    The UK is already a net energy importer even if you just consider electricity which you seem to be doing, and to the tune of over 15 terrawatt hours in 2013, mainly from France.

    Scotland, however, is a net exporter of 15 terrawatt hours and 90% of that to England.

    Without Scotland, England would need to have 30 terrawatt hours defecit on it’s balance sheet to keep its lights on.

    To put it in simple terms, Scotland produces around 26 units of electricity per person per day whereas England only produces around 13 units of electricity per person per day.

  6. Onwards

    gerry parker says:
    21 October, 2015 at 2:16 pm

    I have submitted a request to the Scottish Parliament to ask the Scottish Government to consider a re-branding of NHS Scotland to The Scottish Health Service.

    It has been sent to the Public Petitions Committee clerking team.

    If approved it will be an online petition, will keep you posted.


    Nice one. I think rebranding would be a very good idea, and avoid a lot of confusion and misrepresentation.

    On UK news programs there is usually an attempt to distinguish between the different NHS areas, but the main problem comes during normal conversation. Most people simply refer to “The NHS” – for example in UK TV audiences or voxpops, and all over social media, internet comments, and simply in everyday life.

    The confusion actually causes a lot of harm to the Scottish Government and NHS Scotland, especially when people in the rest of the UK complain about the privatisation of the NHS.

    There are other important differences in what services or treatments are available, and similar names also gives the false impression there is an element of common UK funding.

    We saw one of the reasons given for the renaming of the Southern General was the geographical remit – so there is a very prominent example from an NHS board itself as to why this is important.

    If any rebranding is eventually done, it could take place gradually over time to save money. I imagine staff uniforms have a relatively high turnover rate anyway.

  7. KiltySir

    Do you believe that community councils in Scotland should have more say over decisions made by local councils?

  8. Breeks

    I think the SNP missed a golden opportunity in the immediate aftermath of the Indyref.

    With all the Unionist parties engaged with woolly definitions of what “more powers” actually meant, I think the SNP should have taken the brave step of instigating a plebiscite which had the people of Scotland deciding which powers should be devolved and which should not.

    With the Unionist “commitment” to delivering more powers in one hand, and the declared will of the Scottish people in the other hand, I believe Scotland would ostensibly be an independent country in everything but name.

    The opportunity was missed, a chance to seize the initiative was lost, and the Unionists were given the chance to weasel out of their mealy mouthed so-called commitments.

    I know of course the media would have gone into a frenzy, but I think the essential framework would have endured the hostility and given our Westminster Nationalists a tremendous amount of ‘clout’ if you will pardon the Britnat expression.

    As a survey for curiosity, not the plebiscite it could have been, it would be interesting to ask people which powers, or even better, government portfolios, should be determined in Scotland and which in Westminster.

  9. Andy the pic

    Hi Rev, what about asking a question about taking gas and electricity into public hands if Scotland was Independent, would that be a game changer for many?.

  10. Onwards

    I think a question over whether the Scottish Government should have more control over energy.

    And a question whether people agree that the Scottish Government should set up an investment fund to save for future generations.

    Wind power is getting cheaper and more efficient and it seems like the Scottish Government and Scottish people should be able to benefit more directly with a stake in a public energy company.

    After all, they are the ones giving planning permission for wind and wave projects in the first place which adds half the value.

    Oil is in a slow decline, but wind and wave will last decades before cheap nuclear fusion comes along.

    Also, the steel mill closure shows the importance of companies here having access to cheap energy. It should be a selling point for this country and a way to compete better with the South.

  11. Duncan Gray

    1) What do you believe is the real reason David Cameron wanted Scotland to remain within the UK?

    a) He really loves Scotland and its people and wants only the very best for them, otherwise he would be ‘heartbroken’
    b) He is the political figurehead for established wealth within the UK which ensures that all wealth generated is retained by a tiny 1% of UK population, and therefore has no interest in the welfare of the ordinary people. The idea that a part of the UK would want to produce a fairer way to run a country is a threat to that iniquitous system
    c) ‘other’, please specify

    2) When broadcast or print media have been shown to be deliberately lying about a public figure, such as conspiring to smear a politician who’s policies they might disagree with, what punishment do you think would be most fitting;

    a) a large 5 figure fine
    b) a fine plus imprisonment
    c) a punitive tax which increases with every offence, like a point system on a driving licence. As the tax gets to a certain level it is no longer economically viable for the media company to exist and they are effectively banned from operating.
    d) nothing, smearing innocent people in public is perfectly fine
    e) ‘other’ please specify

    3) What is the real reason Alex Salmond wants Scotland to be independent?

    a) He genuinely wants the very best for Scotland and its people and believes that a completely autonomous country where decisions are made by the people of that country is the fairest way and leads to the best democratic outcome
    b) He has been striving his whole life for Scottish Independence so that he could see all the wealth concentrated within him and his friends whilst the majority of the country lives in squalor
    c) Its part of a conspiracy between him, Donald Trump, and Rupert Murdoch to turn Scotland into one big golf course sponsored by Sky, with the remaining population which had not fled the country wound be enslaved to act as adoring crowds clapping at every shot he made whether it was good or not
    d) Its all just a joke to divert us from the fact that none of us are here at all, that we are just gaseous clouds of electricity communicating alternate realities to support a consciousness which could not handle the truth of its own existence.
    e) ‘other’ please specify

    4) It was David Cameron’s decision to hold an in/out EU referendum, but he claims that he wants the UK to stay. With opinion polls showing the result in England to be neck and neck, which of the following renegotiated terms do you believe represents a good deal for the UK to agree on remaining in Europe?

    a) curbs on migrants in the UK claiming benefit, inc UK citizens claiming abroad
    b) exemption from free movement of labour, inc UK citizens not working abroad
    c) agreement to be exempt from the Human Rights Act, which includes the right to; free speech, universal suffrage, life free of persecution
    d) none of these, the only answer is leaving the EU
    e) none of these, the UK is better remaining within EU

    sorry getting tired towards the end, I’m sure I’ve got some more in me somewhere

  12. Angus Coull

    Possible polling question:

    Which one of the following statements do you most agree with? [CHOOSE ONE STATEMENT ONLY]

    A.Scotland should become an independent country within 10 years.

    B. Scotland should become an independent country within 20 years.

    C. Scotland should become an independent country after 20 years.

    D. Scotland should never become an independent country.

    E. I don’t know whether Scotland should become an independent country.

    F. Scotland should become an independent country but I don’t know what timescale that should be within.

  13. charlie

    Does the UK govt deal over Hinckley B, done with Chinese and French state owned compinies:
    a: make you more likely to want an independent Scotland
    b: make no difference already wanted independence
    c: make no difference already against independencemake you
    d: make you less likely to want an independent Scotland

    Supplement to all respomdents
    Would you like all power companies in the UK to be re-nationalised?
    Don’t know

    Pushing my luck…which of these roads is likely to keep basic household bills down?

  14. Will Podmore

    As Breeks writes, “The closure of Ravenscraig was inexcusable, unforgivable, contemptible, disgraceful,…”
    True, so are the closures in Teesside. Our unions must somehow work out a strategy for saving what can be saved, before we end up with no steel industry at all.

  15. David Halliday

    (a) Thinking back to the referendum, did you read part or all of the Wee Blue Book?

    (b) (If yes and of those who voted) Did reading the Wee Blue Book affect how you voted in the referendum? (No; Yes – I was undecided and voted Yes; Yes – I was going to vote No and voted Yes; Yes – I was going to vote Yes and voted No)

  16. David

    Compulsory voting?

  17. Iain

    I have not added Don’t know answers into my questions as there would not be a don’t know option on a ballot paper. This will encourage people to make a decision, instead of giving a lazy ‘don’t know’ answer.

    1.1) How did you voted in the Scottish Independence Referendum

    a) Yes
    b) No
    c) Did not vote

    1.2) If you voted No in the Independence Referendum. Would you still have voted No if there was indisputable evidence, that Scotland would at least be just as wealthy as an Independent nation, as it is as part of the Union?

    a) Yes
    b) No

    2) Does English Votes for English Laws, undermine Scotland’s position and influence, within the United Kingdom?

    a) Yes
    b) No

    3) Would you support the Scottish Governments decision (regardless of which party was running said Government) to raise taxes in order to provide extra funding to the NHS and other vital public services?

    a) Yes
    b) No

    4) Not including the UK Economy as a whole, do you agree that Scotland has a strong and diverse economic framework?

    a) Yes
    b) No

  18. galamcennalath

    EVEL should have just become a big issue, but the compliant CorpMedia and BBC are playing it down.

    Questions regarding EVEL could explore people’s awareness of what it is, and what it means … As much are just what Yes/No opinions voters might have about it overall.

  19. Ian

    Land reform & house prices. Unfair and unsustainable or I’m alright Jack

  20. ebreah

    Rev, as a staunch Scottish independence supporter from Malaysia and outwith of the UK, I personally believe land reform will be the straw that will break the Unionist camel’s back. A poll on the length and width of possible land reforms should be asked. I also think that the SNP is not pushing this agenda to the max. The Unionists’ power base is based on land, money and (political &economic) position. They are entrenched in the countryside and the Highlands. It is time to crush their power base one by one. The easiest is land via land reform. As Andy Wightman has repeatedly said, land is power. Without land one is socially and politically disenfranchised.

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