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Wings Over Scotland

Rushing to judgement

Posted on December 21, 2012 by

When we wrote a story earlier today about another piece of embarrassing evidence falling off the Scottish Labour website, we thought it was nothing more than the latest in a long line of attempts by the party to clumsily cover its tracks over policy U-turns. But when we did a little digging, we found something altogether more interesting.

Because when we typed the page’s address into The Internet Wayback Machine for fun, we fully expected to find that the line about continuing free prescription charges had been deleted yesterday, or at least in the weeks since Johann Lamont made her infamous “something for nothing” speech.

Instead, however, TIWM listed only one previous version. While it’s not the sole factor, pages tend to show up on the archive site when they’ve been amended, and the only time the Wayback Machine had been called on to notice this particular page since its creation in November 2010 was on Friday the 6th of May 2011 – the day after the Scottish Parliament election delivered a historic landslide victory to the SNP, and an unprecedentedly humiliating defeat for Labour.

Results were still coming in on the 6th of May, but Scottish Labour had clearly already decided to eradicate mention of their promise to maintain free prescriptions. Now, it seems rather unlikely that the party convened a meeting of its executive committee, debated the policy, decided on a change and dutifully edited a page of its website while everyone was still digesting the scale of their defeat and/or catching up on some much-needed sleep after a long night of results.

(Indeed, it’s possible that the web page was changed even earlier than the 6th.)

The only reasonable conclusion it’s possible to draw, then, is that the policy was already internally a dead duck before election day. The party’s manifesto pledge (which can be found on page 41) that “with Scottish Labour, there will be no reintroduction of charges for prescriptions in Scotland” must therefore have been a deliberate and cynical lie, set to be abandoned even if the party won power.

It took almost 18 months from that day before Johann Lamont announced her “review” of policy to consider whether universal benefits like prescription charges would be retained under a future Labour government at Holyrood. The review isn’t due to publish its conclusions for almost two more years, and some prominent Labour MSPs have already suggested that free prescriptions will “probably need to stay” (despite the same member also describing them as a “right-wing policy”). But in the light of this evidence, we think it’s a reasonably safe bet what the final verdict will be.

Were readers to further conclude that it’s rather unwise – and perhaps even literally damaging to one’s health – to accept a word of anything Scottish Labour ever says at face value, we’d find it hard to disagree.

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26 to “Rushing to judgement”

  1. Oldnat says:

    I’m not saying it’s easy for you, or NNS, or the Scottish Review to find these things out. I’m rather impressed!

    I believe it’s part of the ancient art of “journalism”. It would be interesting if the MSM resurrected this practice.

  2. Arbroath1320 says:

    Congratulations on your SUPERIOR journalistic skills Stu. Just a pity the BBC/STV/SKY/MSM alleged journalists were NOT up to the same journalistic standard as your good self! ūüėÄ

  3. And now we discover just how SLAB were able to find and delete their ‘redundant’ policies from the web. They hired the Cybernats to help them.

  4. Dramfineday says:

    What an absolute shower!

  5. JLT says:

    It’s absolutely shocking at the levels that Labour have sunk too. They really have no game plan for this referendum, and are instead, running about like headless chickens, or ostriches sticking their heads into the sand.
    I really, really hope that if Scotland does become independent that the Labour, the Liberals, the Tories and the¬†Media have a good hard¬†look at themselves. I mean …what would they do after the referendum if they lost it¬†…whine like f*** and campaign to re-join the Union once more! – This¬†would NOT surprise me in the least!!¬†
    And as for the media itself. I hope …somehow …that they will clean house in all the major newspapers as well as the BBC. Get those¬†that lied openly out of that industry once and for all. We need to! We¬†can’t continue with the¬†culture of ‘bare faced lying’ in a new¬†Scotland –¬†especially when a¬†majority of the country voted for independence and for change.¬†

  6. Yesitis says:

    In recent times, isn`t it strange to think that in Scotland there are people who voted, and will continue to vote for Labour? I guess they`ll be voting No in 2014, and will proudly wear their “I voted No to independence!” t-shirts down Sauchiehall Street on some future Saturday night out in 2015?

  7. Oldnat says:


    Fear not for the wee souls! We’ll buy a Big Issue, or sports socks, from them – out of charity for the afflicted.¬†

  8. antmcg says:

    OT  Norway do not think the oil here is running out anytime soon

     * Peak production seen at 55,000 barrels per day
    * To start producing in 2017
    * Could recover more than 250 mlb barrels of oil
    OSLO, Dec 21 (Reuters) – Norway’s Statoil has taken a 31-year old British oil discovery off the shelf, approving a $7 billion development that could produce more than 250 million barrels of oil over a 30-year period, it said on Friday.
    Statoil approved a $7 billion plan to develop the Mariner project, Britain’s biggest offshore hyrdocarbon development in over a decade, and hoped to start production by 2017.
    The field, 150 km southeast of the Shetland islands, will have peak production of around 55,000 barrels of oil per day between 2017 to 2020.
    Discovered in 1981, Mariner was left dormant because its low well flow rates and other technical challenges would have made development prohibitively expensive.
    But technical developments and oil prices in excess of $100 per barrel improved the project’s economics.
    Mariner is the second decades-old project Statoil has revived in two days.
    On Thursday, the company approved spending $5.4 billion on its Dagny field in Norway, which was first discovered in 1974.
    Mariner, consisting of two shallow reservoirs, is expected to create more than 700 long-term full-time jobs, Statoil said.
    Statoil holds 65.11 percent of the project, JX Nippon Exploration and Production has 28.89 percent and Alba Resources, a unit of Cairn Energy 6 percent. (Reporting by Balazs Koranyi, editing by William Hardy)

  9. mogabee says:

    In the region of political websites, ToryHoose appears to have it’s account suspended. What gives?

  10. velofello says:

    I visualise a Keystone Cops styled movie of Scottish Labour with Fibber Baillie and Flubber Lamont  hanging off the wagon policy ladder as it swerves around another direction change and SLAB script writer Paul Sinclair scrambling behind  trying to catch up with the runaway policy fire wagon.
    SLAB’s mission statement: ” Trust us. We will say and we will do whatever it takes to be elected”.
    Oh for truth-seeking press and broadcasters.
    Well done Wings.

  11. Lawrence says:

    If you click the beta version button on the wayback machine you will get more results. And if you enter other web addresses (url’s)you also get more info.


  12. redcliffe62 says:

    Someone needs to ask SLAB why they took the policy off the website and by definition their manifesto before the election.

    Simply verbalising SNP policies to try and minimise damage in the last few weeks so people said they were almost the same so might as well vote labour as usual was a desperate measure, and we can expect more of the same except on independence matters just prior to elections to muddy waters.  

    Clearly Scottish Labour has little or no difference in policy to London, it cannot be allowed, even if the impression has to be given. Weakness or strength in having an opinion to push Scottish interests?
    I am waiting for that paragon of journalism Magnus Gardham to show the light and ask Lamont on this matter, as well as a number of other searching questons on policy.
    Asking “What policies do you have in Scotland that are now different to those in London” would cause choking I suspect.¬†
    Trident, well no, NHS, well no, Tuition fees well no, prescription fees, well mibbe aye mibbe no. 
    That would however require Gardham to leave his political tramlines and SNP accused puff pieces.
    A sad situation really.

  13. redcliffe62 says:

    I note that the Scotsman says the majority of Catalans oppose leaving Spain IF it means they have to leave the EU. Now we can see the Barroso line in action in the Scottish media; no doubt the same line will be used when the majority support independence in Scotland…..

    They need this to somehow continue to link this to Scotland as well; that the majority in scotland support staying in the UK if it means leaving the EU. Leaving NATO and the security of weapons of WMD failed to inspire fear so EU is the next rung on the ladder. Desperate measures but this fear and ignorance is the key. 

    When the Scotsman says Catalans are evenly divided you know that means the majority support independence.
    The majority of voters voted for pro independence parties, just as they did in Scotland. 

    Barroso needs EU to be an issue as Spain as a democracy cannot really stop self-determination from people within its borders when Scotland in the EU has a referendum at the same time.
    This EU issue will of course be resolved long before 2014, despite Barroso doing all he can to duckshove the problem away and muddy the waters.¬†¬†Will the EU refuse to meet Catalan and Scots leaders? It would not surprise me…Barroso cannot say Catalans and Scotland will be treated as EU citizens and simply renegotiate. Even if that is the obvious outcome after Greenland and East German issues were resolved amicably.

  14. Barontorc says:

    It is downright crooked to permit a political party – of any hue – to make false statements in its manifesto and go unchallenged. This is what the media in this little country is openly doing.

    WHY, why, why? – Because it suits ‘the big plan’? You better believe it.

    We don’t know what to do about it but we better recognise the fact that Scotland’s independence is under attack from external forces. Not paranoia – it’s laughably fact.¬†

    Thank goodness for the internet and Rev Stu’s digging!¬†

  15. pmcrek says:

    – “When the Scotsman says Catalans are evenly divided you know that means the majority support independence.”

    Yeah and its quite a majority as well, the following is the poll results on independence in Catalonia from the Centre d’Estudis d’Opini√≥:

    Poll —————– yes – no – abstain
    2011 2nd series 42.9 28.2 23.3
    2011 3rd series 45.4 24.7 23.8
    2012 1st series 44.6 24.7 24.2
    2012 2nd series 51.1 21.1 21.1
    2012 3rd series 57.0 20.5 14.3

    The missing 5% odd percents from the above figures are from the “Dont Know/Other/Didnt Respond” categories. The first polls amounts to a 60% yes victory and the most recent poll would be a 73% yes victory. The Scotsman once more can be considered nothing more than utterly ridiculous.

  16. deewal says:

    Barontorc says 
    “We don‚Äôt know what to do about it but we better recognise the fact that Scotland‚Äôs independence is under attack from external forces.”

    Well what did you expect ? They were going to lie down and allow us to leave The Empire ?
    (Cameron and co bought back the MBE last year.)
    Scotland, Wales and Norther Ireland must be the Colonies.
    I hear the sound of gunfire and no fly zones as Scotland¬†erupts into riots as the Unionist Rebels try to¬†free¬†their Country from the Evil Nationalist’s¬†who fixed the¬†Referendum vote and are illegally in Power.

    You think the Tories would allow us Independence ? Really ?   

  17. G H Graham says:

    Peas in a Pod

    The BBC & Labour appear to have the same policy of retrospectively ammending their web pages once they have decided the copy doesn’t suit their twisted, political agenda.


    Just this morning (22nd December 2012) I received a notice by email from the BBC that a post I had made¬†on the BBC website had been removed because it broke the house rules. I had commented¬†on why Shetland was voted¬†best place to live in the¬†British Isles because in my opinion it didn’t suffer from multicultural slums, gangs, drug infested streets etc which is easy to find in and around London. And that it was only likely to be better after Independence.

    Apparently this comment broke the ‘House Rules’, and was likely to cause offence. Some down south have very thin skin¬†but not so thin¬†because the xenophobic comments¬†targeted at¬†whinging, scrounging, benefit dependent¬†Scots remain.

    I’ve seen this behaviour before but¬†what truly¬†amazed me was that the¬†article and my comments were posted 12 months ago !

    Here’s the link to the article¬†published 24th December 2011 …


    Unless someone comes up with a plausible alternative, in my opinion, the BBC is systematically cleaning house; removing all comments that are perceived by them to be critical of London/Union/Britain/BBC.


    The time has arrived to terminate funding this corrupt, criminal, sinister, unaccountable institution.

  18. douglas clark says:

    It is apparently now the case that a dictat is out there. Any criticism of the media you are addressing is verboten. They love themselves more than they love truth or debate about their direction.

    I thought media welcomed comment, however they do not.
    It is a hard lesson to learn.

  19. G H Graham says:

    Thought Of The Day

    “By the skillful and sustained use of propaganda, one can make a people see even heaven as hell or an extremely wretched life as paradise.”
    – Adolf Hitler ?

    – BBC ?

    –¬†Johann Lamont¬†?

    РThe Scotsman newspaper ? 

    Only one of these actually said it but all of them are experts at it.

  20. JLT says:

    Slightly off topic now…

    Remember a couple of weeks ago, that there was going to be a big protest in Glasgow about a decision made by¬†some part of the Belfast Council (…I have no idea who it was, and to be honest, I don’t care either), but they were¬†no longer going to fly the Union Jack each day, and that¬†it would only be flown now and again.

    Well that protest in Glasgow…does anybody have any idea how many folk turned out for it, because I have heard diddly-squat from the media. I am assuming (and I know…assumptions are the mothers of¬†all f……….), but did the Orange Order, British Sympathisers, BNP, UKIP, BBC, The Herald, The Record, The Scotsman or whoever turn out in mass numbers…. or was there more George Square pigeons at the event than those that want to protect British values…

    Just curious since the story¬†seems to have died on its¬†feet……¬†

  21. sneddon says:

    Cheer up man, no one ‘allows’ us anything we vote for it. You’ve been reading the ‘bitter together’ website havn’t you? ūüôā ¬†In regard to the flag protest estimates are 300-600 turned up, stared at each other for a couple of hours then dispersed. ¬†It may have escaped their attention Glasgow City council doesn’t fly that flag except for designated days either and saturday wasn’t one of those days. ūüôā

  22. Silverytay says:

    O/T  Just getting ready to go away for a weeks fun in the sun after a very busy term so I would just like to take this opportunity to wish the Rev and everyone at W.O.S a Merry Xmas and a Healthy New Year .  Let us hope we are all up to the battle ahead in 2013 for the heart and soul of the Scottish people . With sites like W.O.S , N.N.S , Auld Acquaintance and Munguin,s Republic we can beat the lies and smears coming from the bitter together mob and the biased m.s.m .

  23. Tearlach says:

    Again way O/T but just saw this on Facebook, and thought the Rev and the rest of the WoS gang might enjoy.

    “Just heard the news from Australia that the world did in fact end. However, it has now formed a newco which will be known as The Planet Earth and will retain all its history.”

  24. Juteman says:

    I saw an interesting news item the other day about ‘newcos’.
     Someone bought the MFI name after they went bust, and started up a newco called MFI, using existing stores.  Irate customers were being told that their vouchers for the previous MFI were not valid.
     The new MFI has nothing to do with the old one, they were told. 

    I wonder if any of the irate customers were from Govan, or would that be too ironic?

  25. Davy says:

    “mogabee”, I see what you mean about the tory hoose site being suspended, maybe its something we said ? thats when they can be bothered to print anything thats disagrees with them. They may as well suspend the labour hame site too, as¬†nothing happens on that either also they wont print anything that challeges any of their views.

    Its a pity that the unionist sites dont have the balls for an arguement anymore, I suppose having your lies and halftruths exposed in public was to much for them to explain to their own supporters.

    Still they have the BBBC & MSM to believe them, but hopefully not for much longer.

    Alba Gu snooker loopy!.

  26. scottish_skier says:

    Just stuck me. 

    Labour were well out in front according to polls a few months ahead of the 2011 election.

    Their lead was very soft and it’s collapse entirely predictable, certainly with hindsight, but they weren’t to know that, what with arrogance a factor too.

    Now if you were a unionist party and imagined you were going to win, what might you be thinking to do re all those nice SNP-esq promises you’d made in your manifesto once elected?

    I wonder if the plan was to roll back devolution by adopting UK Labour / Tory policies from the outset? The SNP win in 2007 needed to be nipped in the bud after all….¬†

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