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Sailing away from the truth

Posted on November 05, 2016 by

There’s a very interesting blog by Douglas Fraser on the BBC website today, pointing out exactly how vague and non-committal yesterday’s “announcement” by UK defence secretary Sir Michael Fallon regarding the long-awaited order of a reduced number of Type 26 frigates for the BAE shipyards in Govan was.

It might explain this extraordinary interview Fallon (alongside a very bad-tempered and unnamed PR goon), gave to Bernard Ponsonby on the evening’s STV News.

What actually happened yesterday was the removal of the threat of blackmail against a Yes vote that had been made against the yards in 2014, and endlessly exploited by the No campaign. The UK government stalled desperately to keep the orders as a bargaining chip in the indyref, not anticipating the prospect of a second one.

But they can’t be delayed forever, and once the orders are in place any possibility of cancelling them is effectively at an end, for a whole slew of mainly extremely obvious reasons. After Fallon had scurried away from him in fear, Ponsonby revealed what the Secretary of State had tried to avoid admitting:

“BAE confirmed to STV News that there is nothing in the contract that would prevent work continuing on the Clyde in the event of a Yes vote in another referendum.”

But Fallon’s toe-curling evasiveness, which finally saw him reduced to hiding behind the skirts of a sour-faced PR woman, had already made that fact clearer than any straight answer could ever have done.

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    1. 05 11 16 15:58

      Sailing away from the truth | speymouth

    212 to “Sailing away from the truth”

    1. Craig says:

      THe look of relief on his face said it all when he got saved by his big “sister”.

      Bernard was brilliant at how he kept up the pressure on Fallon.

      Bernard disnae hate the Yessers does he?

    2. Grouse Beater says:

      Any resident voter in Scotland voting ‘No’ next time to full self-governance reinstated, is saying “I am ignoring the consequences of my vote, happy to be shafted again by the colonial mindset of Westminster and Whitehall. I do not want real democracy for me or this nation. I want lied to as often as possible.”

      Put simply “I am a fool, and wish to remain so.”

    3. Betty Boop says:

      Aye, it’ll cost them now if they muck about with BAE and they could end up with nothing.

      Did I hear Ponsonby ask PR woman if she wanted to do the interview?

      It was good to see the terrier come out in Ponsonby again.

    4. chris kilby says:

      What. The. Fuck?

      Who was that woman? What gave her the right and the power to dictate the terms of that interview? And more importantly, who voted for her?

      I certainly didn’t.

    5. chris kilby says:

      PS: How often does this sort of thing happen in interviews with elected politicians? All the time? Is there always some shady, unelected and therefore unaccountable official just off-camera dictating what can and can’t be asked and, more importantly, what the answers are?

      If so, shouldn’t the reporters be interviewing the organ-grinders instead of the monkeys?

    6. Mark Fletcher says:

      Arrogance in action from both Mickey and Goofy.

    7. One_Scot says:

      That look on Bernard Ponsonby’s face says, ‘if you can’t see they’re taking the piss, then I don’t know what more I can do’

    8. Croompenstein says:

      Where the fuck is her poppy???? Slacker.. get some pitchforks and torches

    9. heedtracker says:

      He should have kept going. It would interesting to see how she could stop the interview, hand covers camera lens style, swatting him with that folder.

    10. Tattie-boggle says:

      That’s Bernard aff the Christmas Card list noo

    11. Proud Cybernat says:

      Someone was late with the get-away car. Arses will be kicked in Whitehall.

    12. Lord Baheid o Fittie says:

      He should of told her to take a hike, and he would continue to question the organ grinder.

    13. Scott Borthwick says:

      I couldn’t believe it when the soor ploom told Bernard not to be so aggressive. He was doing his job. Very well, as it happens. I’m curious about what her (taxpayer funded?) job actually is.

      Well done to both Bernard Ponsonby and Douglas Fraser. It’s about time our media started asking the tough questions.

    14. Macart says:

      Kudos to Mr Ponsonby. He certainly wasn’t for taking any guff from Fallon or his minder and kept the pressure on throughout. As for the Gawdawful PR wonk? All you need to know about the breed and their profession right there for anyone to see. She came across as a fully paid up member of the awkward squad with the look of someone with a perennially bad stench under their nose.

      More importantly, no more axe hanging over one of our YES cities. One less appalling threat to be used as leverage against Scotland’s electorate. You can see why they rolled out Brown and his federalism bullshit mid week. They’re fighting a campaign which hasn’t even started yet.

      Their slip is showing.

    15. Stoker says:

      Rev wrote: “Ponsonby revealed what the Secretary of State had tried to avoid admitting:

      “BAE confirmed to STV News that there is nothing in the contract that would prevent work continuing on the Clyde in the event of a Yes vote in another referendum.”

      Yes, but lets hope the Shipyard workers are fully aware of that.
      Thanks for this btw Rev, it’s vital ammo for Indyref2….saved!

    16. heedtracker says:

      It is tricky. BBC Politix dude out in south London 1.30m in, “un-“elected judges deciding” Brexit, is that a good thing? It’s not the un-elected judges, its the Law. The judges are the Law. But why let constitutional realities get in the way. Unless BBC liggers don’t know the difference.

    17. Meg merrilees says:

      The closing 5 seconds of that interview summed it up perfectly:-

      ‘This is the voice of England telling you to get back in the box and stop asking difficult questions. You’ve had the crumbs from the table so go away and do as you are told! Or…’

      Equal partners in a bi-partite Union? Doen’t look or sound like that! Fell sorry for the guys/families on the Clyde.

      Well done Mr. Ponsonby. Time we had a few more like him.

      Does anyone know where we can watch/listen to Andy Murray’s match this afternoon?

    18. farrochie says:

      Some may remember the interview that John Pilger had with Thatcher-era Foreign Office lackey, Lord Brabazon. Brabazon was asked about the “reasonable” people in the Khmer Rouge, and the PR man stopped the interview.

      I can’t find a clip but here is it described in Pilger’s book.

      Younger readers may recall the Thatcher interview on Blue Peter when the ” more reasonable grouping” in Khmer Rouge were described with little interruption.

      Check Youtube for “Margaret Thatcher: Blue Peter interview on Kampuchea”

    19. K1 says:

      Well done tae Bernard for doggedly removing a fundamental plank of the No side’s argument before Indyref2.

      BAE workers take note! They cannot threaten to take your jobs away if you vote Yes.

      Let’s make that crystal clear, they cannot use the threat of impoverishing Scotland by taking away contracts for frigates, putting up prices in our supermarkets or remove the obligation of the rUK to provide pensions to those who are retired/retiring if we are an independent country!

      Only bully’s use threats to intimidate those they wish to dominate…if they are using threats it’s because they are losing control. In other words their unspoken mandate ‘to’ dominate is under threat.

      Vote Yes without fear.

    20. Sweep says:

      Is it just me then? I got the distinct impression that the SOS was emphasising that the work would come to Scotland only because it was in the UK (whether that’s just bluff or not).

      The mention of what may or may not be in the “contractual arrangements” – saying there is nothing to say the work will not remain if Scotland votes for independence – is irrelevant, as it equally appears there is nothing to say that it will.

      Since we’re not likely to see the actual contents of the BAE contract, I don’t see any reason why they won’t try and pull exactly the same ‘jobs threat’ stunt next time as they did last.

      So to me it kind of feels like a non-story, though kudos to Mr Ponsonby for an excellent interview.

    21. Adrian B says:

      Just wait until those Brexit talks start kicking in. A Westminster government looking to make cash savings and secure trade deals in the far east could well offer some further ship building contracts as sweeteners to get a quick deal in the bag.

    22. Krackerman says:

      He’s not answering the question on what’s in the contract because it’s not been signed….

    23. snode1965 says:

      Not very subtle from our London overlords. The day after their high court bitch-slap, that seriously threatens their grip on Brexit, and we get the old carrot and stick treatment on a contract that’s still not signed…This is getting tiresome.

    24. yesindyref2 says:

      YES, the tide is turning.

      I don’t think the UK / RN can actually afford any more delays, because the T23s are running towards their decomissioning date, the last due in 2035 – same date as the last T26 should be commissioned, or at least launched.

      There’s a £1billion plus rolling refit program in place including propulsion systems for the T23s, but there is a limit to how much they can be refit – the hull is one such item, though hull life prolongation can be done (not cheap).

      So basically though in theory the UK could switch building to the rUK, practically and economically it can’t, that’s even if BaE retained interest, and patiently waited for even more delay to get a return on its investment.

    25. Proud Cybernat says:

      Murray now world #1 as today’s opponent pulls out of semi-final.

    26. heedtracker says:

      Does anyone know where we can watch/listen to Andy Murray’s match this afternoon?

      Raonic scratched. Should be fun watching Pacific Quay liggers in particular running it all down as per usual but,

      The best tennis player in the world is a Scot.

    27. SkewedPerspective says:

      I guess I am being dumb offer cynical, but I can’t see how this is the removal of the threat of blackmail.

      With no contract actually signed what stops the threat being brought out of its box again?

    28. yesindyref2 says:

      YAY, Murray world number 1, thanks Proud Cybernat and confirmed on BBC website as Eaonic pulls out.

      Yay, well done Andy Murray!

    29. Kevin meina says:

      Question time from Stirling a week on Thursday should be a hoot .The BBC will go to every lengths to pack it full of unionists and brexitters .The SNP better put someone up who is capable of arguing against Dimbers and the whole panel because they will be running solo so no idiots please .
      I am an active SNP member and campaigned for remain but voted exit because I thought we would get indie quicker.

    30. heedtracker says:

      I’m curious about what her (taxpayer funded?) job actually is

      Wont she just be a SPAD like Alistair Campbell? He’s some guy. Thatcher had a really nasty tory thug from Yorkshire, who was more than just physically intimidating called Bernard Ingham. He’s still on the go. Poor old Crash Gordon had one who set him up with that “bigoted woman” and left his mike on in the car, as he walloped the passenger seat head rest, Thick of it style. Poor old Crash.

    31. gordoz says:

      Just as well we don’t have smell-avision …

      Cause it certainly sounded an awful lot like a good old arse collapse to most of us.

      Mr Ponsonby doing his job even with the Imperial Masters there.

      Felt off camera Ponsonby might drift into …
      Hen, dae wan gonnae ?

    32. Lobbey says:

      The whole scene plays like something from ‘in the thick of it’….. particularly the over aggressive female aide

    33. John Walsh says:

      The threat game is up in a indyref 2 withdrawing the work from Scotstown if Scotland become independent. But the MOD know the concern remains as to how expensive it would be for the Ministry of Defence to withdraw its business from Scotland.

      The lower risk alternative, to give Portsmouth the contract, would incur extra investment costs and the relocation of skilled staff (the design team are in Scotstoun), which would increase the cost of the Type 26.

      Problem 2 might help Scotland get a special deal re Brexit because
      MOD could not use Article 346 to favour shipyards in Scotland because they would no longer be within the UK. (Paragraph 19)

    34. K1 says:

      Actually think I’ve been a bit ‘previous’ myself on this having read Douglas Fraser’s input…so this could in essence be construed as a pre indyref2 sweetener?

      How can they hold this over the head of the workers? Is it to get the Unions on side for a No vote…then they will have been bought and sold surely?

      How many other ‘sectors’ will they have to secure with sweeties to ensure a guaranteed result.

      We know they need Scotland’s resources, is this the start of ensuring the workforces are bought off before even the starting gun gets fired for indyref2?

    35. DerekM says:

      lol Bernard has always been a handful i wonder if this is his way of getting across how protected these tories are from scrutiny.

      And where is all the usual wave of PR that follows one of these tory faked on location interviews,aww looks like Bernard torpedoed it before it could fire up its engines.

      That look he gives the camera is priceless lmao

    36. Dr Jim says:

      It took three Unionist leaders a newspaper and the BBC for the last Vow, now we a get a nobody and a staffer who nobody’ll remember to bring us the promise of a Mibbees Aye Mibbees Naw

      But you know what, the shipbuilding Unionist mugs will fall for it again and pretend it’s all about their granchildrens futures then cross their fingers behind their backs as they say it

      C’mon “Daily Stupit” back them up then, or are you a different lodge

    37. Vestas says:

      @ chris kilby 2:06pm :

      Yes that’s entirely normal for this sort of PR junket – the politician will have spads/pr/civil service bods all over the place & unless the interview is live then they will generally “offer advice”. Said “advice” may be to suggest to the interviewer that their current behaviour is likely to affect future access.

      What’s really NOT normal is for the interviewer to use the sections where the spad/whatever is shoving their oar in.


    38. Alex says:

      Aye, top Tory taken to task for failure to answer any feckin questions.
      Bernard Ponsonby did a good job of exposing the Westminster foreigners who deign to visit their fiefdom and distribute largesse.
      But where, oh where, was the Viceroy? Surely it can’t be that he doesn’t count…

    39. Richardinho says:

      ‘Where the fuck is her poppy???? Slacker.. get some pitchforks and torches’

      Well spotted! Says it all really: ostentatious displaying of poppy in public, then soon as they’re off camera it’s in the bin.

    40. sarah says:

      @Macart 2.35p.m. and K1 – the campaign HAS started by the establishment etc as we see from the constant bias in the MSM, the lack of support for Scottish renewables and Longannet, this Fallon “contract-what-contract?”. I’ve heard from an exMSP that the Scottish Office has taken on NINE new “communications officers” to slip weasel words out into the ears of business and other high heid yins.

      I think it is desperately urgent that we all, in whatever way possible, enlighten our communities about the lies being spread, and the solution being “restoration of self-governance” as Macart said – the word “independence” perhaps frightens the horses.

    41. sarah says:

      “self-governance” was Grousebeater, not Macart – sorry.

    42. sarah says:

      Grousebeater, not Macart, said “self-governance”.

    43. DerekM says:

      Just noticed that is the edited news version Rev here is the full thing for anybody who has not seen it yet.

    44. Vronsky says:

      To be fair, wotsisface actually answered the question. English warships are built in English colonies. Ergo, if Scotland ceases to be a colony then the war canoes must be built elsewhere. Like Koreashire, for example, because those Koreans are all about warm beer, cricket on the green and afternoon tea with the vicar.

    45. Cuilean says:

      Fallon would have primed his side kick that if questions becone to uncomfortable that she would step in. There is no way that a backroom girl would have dared interrupt a Minister of State’s press interview unless Fallon had arranged that she do so beforehand.

      But having a ‘big sister looking after wee brother’ intervention, while he smiles smugly and actually shuffles away, really makes Fallon look dreadfully weak and downright shifty.

      I’ll believe an English Navy frigate is being built on the Clyde when the last rivet is welded. Til then, dream on.

      Look at the workers’ faces at the beginning of that clip! Did they look happy? Did they look suspicious?

      ‘Please move on now’ translates as ‘Get back in yer box sweaty socks’. The contempt is palpable.

    46. heedtracker says:

      ‘Please move on now’ translates as ‘Get back in yer box sweaty socks’. The contempt is palpable.

      It must feel like Custer’s last stand, coming up several hundred miles north of the home counties.

    47. Ken500 says:

      Fallon incredulously losing the phoney smile on being questioned. The total arrogance of these people. Out of touch and out of date. Scotland pays nearly £4Billion (Defence) a year to build these boats and Trident. Scotland could be building ferries, supply boats and wind turbines etc. Thatcher stopped commerce on the Clyde because of Faslane.

    48. Robert J. Sutherland says:

      John Walsh @ 15:07,

      The “lower risk alternative” of Pompey? It’s not as if multinational BAE operating in an independent Scotland would somehow fail to deliver quality vessels, is it now?

      This “must buy UK” was just a cheap political stunt right from the start. The Navy’s precious Trident missiles aren’t “made in the UK”, are they? Neither are the (S.Korean) oilers.

      Post-Brexit, who knows where UKGov would buy future ships in its Brave New Trading World?

      No wonder Fallon was evasive.

    49. Vronsky says:

      I’m just s-o-o-o-o-o scandalised. Didn’t anyone else notice that the wee PR hooker wasn’t wearing a poppy?

    50. Scott says:

      This reminds me of a certain Carbuncle “Help me Rona”someone will find out who the PR is I wonder what the Mail and Express will have to say about it.
      Good on Mr Ponsonby really show up the likes of them on BBC.

    51. Gary45% says:

      I must admit this raised my hope a wee bit on the STV player.
      Mr Ponsonby WELL DONE, but it will take much more of this sort of interviewing before I give ANY of the media credit.
      This will always EXCLUDE the BBC for obvious reasons.
      As far as the bint goes, a future Tory backbencher? probably her first trip past Watford, and realises us sweaties are actually human beings.
      Time for tea and scones,(deep fried obviously).

    52. Thepnr says:


      “Look at the workers’ faces at the beginning of that clip! Did they look happy? Did they look suspicious?”

      No they didn’t look happy, did they. The Scottish shipyard workers know fine well that they can never trust a Tory.

      They know this through experience, most will vote Yes IMO.

    53. Proud Cybernat says:

      “They know this through experience, most will vote Yes IMO.”>/i>

      Exactly. ‘Cause ONLY by voting YES next time can they ever have REAL control of their lives, of their future. Not something they will ever have with WM in control.

    54. Proud Cybernat says:

      “They know this through experience, most will vote Yes IMO.”

      Exactly. ‘Cause ONLY by voting YES next time can they ever have REAL control of their lives, of their future. Not something they will ever have with WM in control.

    55. Tinto Chiel says:

      Noticed the Spadette had been quite well trained, though: “Stop being aggressive!” when BP wasn’t, he was simply asking a difficult question. So if the reporter persists with the reasonable question some viewers may subconsciously accept the line that he is aggressive and consequently poor, nice Mr Fallon is the victim: job done.

      On this occasion I don’t think it worked: Fallon just looked evasive and weak as Tory Girl had to extricate him from a difficult situation of his own making.

      Loved Bernard’s side-long look to camera, as if to say, “Jeezo, can you believe this yin?”

      If only this happened more often.

      Has Bernard become a secret vile sep/political pustule?

    56. Liz g says:

      Tinto Chiel @ 4.26
      I had actually thought that the woman was trying to make out BP was being aggressive towards Her?

    57. Stoker says:

      Krackerman wrote on 5 November, 2016 at 2:44 pm:

      “He’s not answering the question on what’s in the contract because it’s not been signed…”

      Precisely! I get the strong feeling all this carrot & stick palava on tv is just another version of fishing.

      To the uninitiated i shall explain. Depending on what type of fishing the angler is doing he/she is sometimes required to propel a ball of bait out into the area where his/her lure rests.

      The purpose of this action is to increase the anglers chances of catching a fish, preferably a whopper, by attracting all the fishes towards his/her lure.

      I believe this farce shown by the Rev in this article is another deliberate attempt at ‘testing the waters’ and gauging where all the little fishes will come from.

      Having monitored the reaction from sites such as WOS they will then fine tune their weaponry for when it truly matters further down the line.

      Don’t be surprised if that fine tuning includes a ‘vote no’ type conditional clause, and that’s just for starters. And if the unions support the signing of any such contractual arrangements then shame on them.

    58. Jockanese Wind Talker says:

      Aye @ Thepnr and @ Proud Cybernat says:

      “The Scottish shipyard workers know fine well that they can never trust a Tory. They know this through experience, most will vote Yes IMO.”

      The IndyRef2 campaign should make a really big deal of iScotlands Navy/Customs Cutter/Merchant Marine vessel requirements

      And SG could publish minimum orders which would be placed on Independence Day +1 to be built in Scotland’s yards.

      Woner which way the Unions would lean then??

    59. Arbroath1320 says:

      I admit I have thought oor Bernard to be a bit lacking in his questioning of Unionists in the past. (sometimes) However I am pleased to give him credit where it is due and boy did he do a great job yesterday on Fallon. 😀 Well done Mr. Ponsonby kudos to you for sticking with the line of questioning about the frigates and independence.

      Yon Fallon fella is nothing more than a blowhard COWARD who runs and hides behind his wee girl “protector” every time he gets a difficult question to answer!

    60. Dave says:

      Why bother with them. Independence means we need ships for the Royal Scottish Navy – Frigates, Patrol boats, Customs boats, Fishery protection boats, Submarines etc. – worth more jobs than 13 sorry 8 possible maybe’s T26s from the “sorry we’re skint Royal Navy.

      Scottish government has to announce the orders that will be forthcoming for the Scottish MOD re Ships, Aircraft and Army equipment. Then people can see the work that will be created after we are free.

      As an aside to this. Brexit has now meant Morrisons in Derby no longer stock Scotch Pies as the English seem to be going xenophobic on steroids. It took me ages to find that they stocked them now they’ve gone. Back to food parcels from home again, unless someone knows of another supplier in east midlands.

    61. Ray Melville says:

      His minder looked like she was chewin’ a waasp!

    62. CameronB Brodie says:

      Is that what waterboarding by TV looks like? Thanks for that one Morag and thanks for flicking my post-colonial literature and theory switch. 😉

    63. Thepnr says:

      @Jockanese Wind Talker

      Also we should never forget that their skills are extremely valuable in other industries too.

      Such as offshore renewables and oil platform structures, the vast majority of which are now being built overseas despite being destined for the North Sea in Scotland’s waters.

      Like Norway does, we should be demanding that a minimum % of this work is allocated to Scottish companies if they want to exploit Scotland’s resources.

    64. Lochside says:

      In microcosm our relationship with England: Colonial glove puppet being over-ruled by his Imperial mistress minder. Who then proceeds to attempt to intimidate and curtail a colonial journalist’s legitimate questions.

      Back in your box sweaties, you don’t count!

    65. galamcennalath says:

      My take is that basically Fallon was trying to lie by implying the work would only take place if Scotland stayed in the Union. The truth was probably that the work would continue if there was a Yes vote, followed by Indy. He wasn’t willing to say that and wanted to keep the threat alive.

      That interview wouldn’t have gone down the road it did, including the intervention, if no IndyRef2 was on the cards. Fallon is probably privy to the general Brexit ideas the government has, and that must imply IndyRef2 seems to him inevitable.

    66. CameronB Brodie says:

      P.S. That’s a very accessible introduction, don’t be scared by the apparent impenetrability of the subject.

    67. Macart says:

      Came across this quote by the Roman historian Tacitus recently. Seems to sum up the ‘United’ Kingdom today.

      “The worst crimes were dared by a few, willed by more and tolerated by all.”

    68. Jockanese Wind Talker says:

      Agreeing with you once again @ Thepnr says at 5:07 pm

      “Also we should never forget that their skills are extremely valuable in other industries too.”

      Also subsea pipeline (SURF) construction, subsea cable laying and especially offshore decommissioning works going forward.

      Take the Transocean Winner which ran aground on Lewis recently as it was heading to Turkey for decommissioning.

      Norway definitely have it sussed in more ways than just an oil fund 🙂

    69. Tinto Chiel says:

      Liz g: quite. She was claiming that, so she may have established in the mind of the Unalert Listener that Bernard is a nasty man. It’s a great way to close down an argument and play the victim card in one.

      Poor Mr Fallon, having to answer questions from this Scottish brute……

      Except he just came across as a shifty plank.

      Always risky coming north o’ the dyke.

    70. Fairliered says:

      Tinto – Ponsonby was just being professional and doing his job well. Something we are not used to in Scotland – especially from BBC Shortbread. I dont want Bernard Ponsonby to be soft on any side – just equally professional. That’s why we get our TV news from STV, and avoid the unprofessional BBC.

    71. north chiel says:

      ” Arbroath 1320 at 0500pm ” , the ” wee girl protector” trying to help Fallon
      avoid answering the question wouldn’t be a ” Rona” by any chance??

    72. Tinto Chiel says:

      “Ponsonby was just being professional.”

      Yes, and I am pleased to see his persistence here and hope that he’s probing but fair to all when the Indy2 begins, Fairliered.

      Frankly, when I used to watch TV, STV were not significantly better than The State Broadcaster, “I’m John MacKay” an’ aa.

    73. Undeadshaun says:

      I think what he says in his expression told a thousand words, when Bernard Ponsonby, asks if there is a clause in the contract.

      Fallons face went from smile to scowl.

      Another no argument now demolished.

    74. Marco McGinty says:

      Aye, the unionists were cast adrift from truth and decency a long time ago.

      In relation to the poppy issue, and in all fairness, the PR yoongoon does wear one, of the two-petalled variety, which means that she probably owned it before her trip north. It can be seen briefly in the longer clip.

      However, Fallon appears to be wearing the Scottish version, with four petals, perhaps suggesting a panic buy?

    75. Jock McDonnell says:

      Ah, BerNard
      I recall him as a young dapper lib dem v NaeFear & knuckleheid Boab
      I still have hopes fur the lad

    76. Robert Louis says:

      But you know you really have to ask yourself, why? Why does London go to such inordinate lengths (and has done for as long as I can remember) to deceive and manipulate the people of Scotland, just to keep us under London rule?

      Surely, if people like Ruth Davidson, the smiley happy clappy face of the rabid vicious English Tory party are to be believed, Scotland is a basket case, subsidised by English taxes.

      Honestly, it is bizarre the many ways in which London goes about trying over and over again, to basically blackmail Scots into keeping London colonial rule. Can’t they see how much easier their lives would be, if they just gradually ‘let Scotland go’?

      I just don’t get it. So much deceptive effort, and for what? English ego? A feeling of ‘ownership’. Seriously, it really makes no sense. Somebody needs to ask, just WHY does England feel the need to keep a hold of Scotland?

    77. Robert Louis says:

      i have to say, Ponsonby was utterly excellent in the interview above. THAT is how to question a cabinet minister up on an awayday from London.

      Well done Mr. Ponsonby.

    78. Legerwood says:

      Watched the ITV news tonight and noticed that Jeremy Corbyn seems to have taken a leaf out of the Tory book by getting his PA, female as per Tories, to run interference for him with the media. Reporter asked about a possible GE and all hell broke loose.

      He really does not like being questioned by the media.

    79. yesindyref2 says:

      Yes, Ponsonby has always been fair and dogged in my opinion.

      Something to be aware about Fallon’s announcement though, the Autumn budget is coming up and the cabinet will be competing with each other like there’s no tomorrow for either more budget or less cuts. Fallon has put out his marker and making it more difficult for Hammond to murmur about the defence budget. So it’s not all Indy Ref 2, and quite possibly that’s a minor consideration for Fallon. We’re really not that important to the UK.

    80. robertknight says:

      It’ll be nightclub bouncers in suits next, a-la UKIP, never mind the PR poodles snapping at the journo’s heels.

      Welcome to Belorussia folks.

    81. HandandShrimp says:

      Once the keels are laid it would be highly impractical and expensive to build them elsewhere. There are only eight being built so to all extents and purposes these frigates are being built on the Clyde.

      Noticeably Fallon made no commitment to build the smaller and cheaper Type 31 frigates on the Clyde and they could easily be given to the smaller Portsmouth facility or even abroad. So yes, this particular axe no longer hangs over a future Yes vote. Indeed, an independent Scotland would also need frigates and patrol vessels and that work would add to the order books.

    82. CameronB Brodie says:

      Marco McGinty
      He was connecting with the people. Was he wearing it when he started his journey north? No. That’s intentionality folks.

    83. yesindyref2 says:

      Goof grief just read Douglas Fraser’s article which I had in a tab and forgot about. He’s got it, completely accurate. Nice to see the BBC on top of this at last, their reportage was dismal and quite ignorant during Indy Ref 1. But I bet he was kicked into alertness a bit by Bernard all the same. Now that would be good if BBC Scotland have to compete with STV for future viewers with some reality in their “reporting”.

      Perhaps too the billboards campaign is already forcing them to be better, even without one single billboard up yet (presumably). It got a whole load of publicity, one way or another.

    84. Gary45% says:

      The UKok is FCKUD, it has been for generations, it kind of goes along the lines of mumble mumble, WAR, mumble, mumble WAR, election, rattle the sabres, mumble colonial empire.
      The UK has to be the most divisive, racist, bigoted, inbred place on earth.
      The UKok blame EVERYTHING on anyone who doesn’t cow tow to their agenda.

      I truly hope the EU tell the UKok to get to FKCU, Indy has to be a winner for Scotland, as England has nailed its colours to the racist mast.
      There are many decent English, Welsh and Northern Irish who will sadly be dragged into this situation, but they had the chance at the last election.
      Had England had the balls to vote Labour with an SNP coalition we would not be in this mess.
      The only future for Scotland IS INDEPENDENCE,(no surprise) I am sorry for the wee rant, and am genuinely sorry for fellow UK country folks, but you had your chance and could not and never will stomach Scotland having any say in the running of the UK.
      Scotland WILL be Independent, everyone is welcome, but we will not accept Rule Britannia and the rest of the bollocks that goes with it.
      Scotland has EVOLVED. ( you down south stop dragging your knuckles)

      The likes of Fallon and his counterparts hope that they will drag us into the mire with them.
      Message to the Yoons FCUK OFF we can make our own scones we don’t need some shi*ey EBC cookery programme telling us how to make them.
      We invented the Scone.(also football? and some other wee useful things)and Bernard Ponsonby.

    85. mr thms says:

      If BBC Scotland’s Douglas Fraser is correct in his blog about there being an ‘agreement in principle’, then Bernard Ponsonby’s report, about there being a ‘contract’ would read as ..

      “BAE confirmed to STV News that there is nothing in the ‘agreement in principle’ that would prevent work continuing on the Clyde in the event of a Yes vote in another referendum.”

      Or does a ‘contract’ and an ‘agreement in principle’ both mean the same thing?

      I’m confused…

    86. Liz says:

      Croompenstein says:
      5 November, 2016 at 2:09 pm
      Where the fuck is her poppy???? Slacker.. get some pitchforks and torches

      Sorry to disappoint but if you look closely you will see her poppy with leaf partly hidden by her scarf.

      Workers look like they’ve been made redundant not just promised work! Perhaps they are finally beginning to realise they can’t trust WM and the tories.

    87. Valerie says:

      @Gary45%, completely agree.

      Mr thms

      BAE would say that. They need to play this one to look as if the contract is coming, and Indy won’t interfere.

      We know that’s bollox. The contract is being dangled for signing for next year. It’s clearly bait. A50 will be triggered next year, and as creepy Fallon indicated, warships being built on the Clyde are a benefit of the Union.

      They know the SG will most likely trigger the referendum only when A50 is triggered, so they will ‘agree in principle’ only – that’s worthless, until the contract, and detail is signed.

      BAE are simply trying to box in the UK govt, so that if the contract is contingent on being in the Union, BAE can scream foul.

      I actually doubt these ships will ever appear.

    88. Andrew McLean says:

      Bernard could have said, why can’t you answer that question, are you frightend of talking in front of your government minder, or is it you are just a hear today gone tomorrow politician?

    89. heedtracker says:

      When Scottish democracy and the SNP get it, every day now, its all fine. But when the some judges get a UKOK media monstering this week, its the end of days.

    90. heedtracker says:

      US journo Gina Miller got monstered by the usual Great British UKIP foamers on her twitter line by mistake. She was on BBC r4 teatime news and she said that even though she tweeted that they had the wrong Gina, the Britnat monstering got even worse. She took it pretty well though, said its like this in the US now too. Wonder why UKIPers like Farage are over there.

    91. patch bruce says:

      How weak does this make a supposed minister of state look. Should be shared far and wide, a weak performance from an obviously weak dependent stooge.

    92. Thepnr says:

      If the contract does materialise that will be great for the workforce in the yards and their suppliers. Up to 6000 jobs in Scotland could be protected for many years.

      Compare that though with The Fraser of Allender Institutes report predicting a Hard Brexit will cost Scotland 80,000 jobs and £2000 a head.

      We all must keep our eye on the bigger picture too.

    93. Al Dossary says:

      Apologies uf this is a double post – my smartphone is testing me.

      So, allegedly 8 new warships will be built on the Clyde. Is that to be at Yarrow’s on South St or at Govan just up the Clyde on the other side? Will a bone be thrown to Rosyth or are they flat out on the carriers for the immediate future.

      Yet these are the self same Tories who tried to weasel out of the deal for the 2nd carrier when they came to power. THe only reason they went ahead with it was tgat due to contractual clauses with BAE it would actually have cost them more NOT to build it.

      Also let us not forget the fact that when the ink had dried on the Good Friday agreement in NI, shipbuilding ceased in Harlands shipyard, albeit down to the Red Tories.

      A yard that possess dock large enough to build two 300m+ FPSO’ simultaneously. The yard that built the Schiehallion for BP. No doubt it was a political decision to build it there. Such a shame that free market forces meant more to the UKOK govt than looking after their loyal subjects in Belfast when it came to its replacement.

      Maybe we can throw them a bone whilst we are sorting our own fleet out after independance.

    94. Valerie says:

      The other unknown here is, will Fallon be around, if there is a contract to be signed? Mays gov’t is in trouble, in terms of lack of any plans, and obvious internal fighting breaking out.

      However, the Tories will no doubt rally, they don’t want to let the kippers into more seats, which is what the Brexiteering, pitchfork mobs are desperate for.

      Remember, previously this contract was disputed by the Sea Lord, Zambellas? He wanted the contract to go abroad.

      So this nonsense has been going on for a number of years now, and in 2014, Fallon definitely used the term ‘Union dividend’.

      They are such fecking liars, they won’t hesitate to pull this away.

    95. Thepnr says:

      @Al Dossary

      Don’t forget the replacement FPSO for the Schiehallion field delivered this year was built in…You’ve guessed it Korea.

      £3 Billion worth of work for the North sea once again sent overseas.

      Scotland is ripped off in more ways than one. BP of course was privatised by the Tories.

    96. One_Scot says:

      I like this,

      It’s time to take our own path, not be dragged along someone else’s.

    97. Robert Peffers says:

      Well I, for one will only concede Bernard is getting a little better for he had an opportunity in that interview to blow the whole Westminster scam right out of international waters.

      When that numptie Fallon sneeringly hinted that the vessels would be built in the United Kingdom if Scotland became independent the quite obvious retort to that should have been an immediate statement that Fallon had no way out of except to make a statement that could have been challenged in the international courts as well as both the English and Scottish legal systems.

      Ponsonby should have challenged Fallon to stare exactly how the ships could be built in a United Kingdom that had just dissolved the union by one of its only two legal signatories leaving the union.

      There is no way that anyone can argue that there are more than the two original signatory kingdoms in the Union.

      Furthermore, as the Treaty was signed in 1706/7, and All Ireland had been part of the Kingdom of England since the Crown of Ireland Act of 1542, there was no Kingdom of Ireland thereafter to unite with and Northern Ireland was, and is, an English Province.

      Similarly Wales is, to this day, an English Principality and it has been since The Statute of Rhuddlan in 1284. Is not the first born son of the English monarchy always crowned Prince of Wales and his first born son will become Prince of Wales upon the death of the Queen and Charles becoming King of England.

      If nothing else the glaringly obvious fact is there are only two kingdoms signatures on the Treaty of Union and they are not those of a kingdom known as Wales, Ireland or Northern Ireland.

      Then there is the real clincher – The so called Treaty of Union of 1800/1801 is factually an Act of the Westminster Parliament and not a Treaty with anyone. The use of the term Treaty of Union simple is not born out by the evidence but was just adopted by Westminster.

      So Bernard’s report card is marked with an, “E”, (for excellent, but a wee note at the side says, “Could have done better”.

    98. Thepnr says:

      Also this year, BP Clair Ridge modules make their way to the North Sea from…Korea. Another £4.5 Billion worth of work sent overseas.

    99. Proud Cybernat says:

      Theresa May is playing a blinder.


      The majority of MPs in WM do not want Brexit and, I suspect, neither does May. The banks fund the blue Tories and they will NOT be happy if Brexit really does happen.

      So–she talks up “Brexit means Brexit”. She gives the impression that this is her government’s course. The people have spoke – blah-de-bloody-blah.


      She’s playing the game. And I just hope Nicola realises that is precisely what TM is doing.

      TM played the Brexit EXECUTIVE DECISION card in the full knowledge that it would be challenged in the courts and, as a result, Parliament would have to be consulted. She totally knew this all along. BUT–it helps her to be seen as the ‘defender’ of the British people’s decision but that she was ‘usurped’ by the courts (which we know, of course, she wasn’t–as does she).

      But the IMPRESSION suits her. When Brexit stalls (as it most certainy will when the Supreme Court upholds the High Court decision) she can turn round and blame everyone else but her own government. The courts, the SNP, the banks–whatever. They are to blame for Brexit not happening. Divide and rule.

      She’s no’ as daft as we think. She’s all there and the some. She is just waiting and PRAYNG for the SNP to ‘take the bait’. When the Supreme Court concords with the High Court decision and Parliament is involved and it ends up tied in knots, TM can hold out her hands and say “We tried but those pesly SNP MPs [and others who will not be names] are to blame.”

      Where that will end is anyone’s guess. Independence I hope.

    100. Thepnr says:

      Not forgetting the Culzean field where fabrication work has just started…In Singapore.

      Work has started on building platforms to exploit the biggest discovery of oil and gas in the North Sea for more than a decade.
      Danish firm Maersk Oil was given government approval for the Culzean project last year, despite the oil price being close to its lowest.
      From 2019, the platform is expected to supply about 5% of Britain’s gas need.
      Much of the work for the $4.5bn (£3.2bn) project is being carried out in the Far East.

    101. CameronB Brodie says:

      I just realised my P.S. appears as if directed at yourself. It wasn’t.

    102. Gary45% says:

      Cheers Thepnr,
      Funny how the Yoons still bang on about overseas steel being used on the new Forth crossing, easily forgetting it was the Yoons who shut down the suitable steel production in Scotland.
      Message to the Tories. We will never forget THATCHER and its minions.( you can polish a turd but at the end of the day its still a turd).

      Congratulations to SCOTLANDS World No 1 Tennis Champion.
      Wee Andy fae Dunblane.

    103. yesindyref2 says:

      Yes, Zambellas was a bit of a dick. Stanhope before him was much better. The new guy Jones (Peter?) has more promise though, but who knows?

    104. yesindyref2 says:

      The next Astute is going to be built with French steel (Industeel). Probably the same with T26.

      (Slow down – no!)

    105. Thepnr says:

      That’s over £10 Billion of work that an Independent Scotland is capable of building, yet it went overseas.

      If it had been Norway than 70% of that work would have stayed in the country unless proven that there were no Norwegian companies capable of delivering.

      The UK failed to invest in it’s industry, it’s shipbuilding and steel making. Nah, the Tories chose instead to run them into the ground.

      There is a better way possible. An Independent Scotland will show you that way.

    106. Thepnr says:

      One last point on building overseas.

      When we bring these oil platforms to the North Sea. Then it’s an import and skews the trade balance of payments.

      We collect no income tax from the people working on these jobs, we do not tax their business profits, the wages earned benefit the small businesses in the local communities where they are being built. Just not our local communities

      I just want to know WHY we do such destructive business?

    107. Socrates MacSporran says:

      I watched the clip – oh how I wished Bernard had turned to the PR and said, in his best Glesca accent: “Shut it Hen, ah’m speakin tae the organ grinder, no the monkey”.

      I reckon she’d have flipped. He might not have got any more of an interview, but, he’s be a genuine, 24-carat Scottish hero.

    108. carjamtic says:

      Thepnr @8:49

      You worry too much….what can go wrong ?


    109. Fred says:

      Nice work by Bernard, eat your heart out Pacific Quay!

    110. Ian Brotherhood says:

      I suspect we’ve all been spoken to like that at some time. Not easy to forget.

      It’s a great wee clip though – sums up the overall relationship between ‘us’ and ‘them’ very nicely. She spoke to Oor Bernard as if he was a Scottish beggar outside Kings Cross Station.

      Condescending cow.

    111. Big Phil says:

      @ Proud Cybernat 8.16pm.
      I think you might be right ,lot of truth there me thinks.

    112. Tinto Chiel says:

      Socrates MacSporran @8.55: that made me laugh.

      I doubt if the Spadette would have understood, though.

      Their education ablaw the dyke seems a tate deficient. As in a wee tate, as my dear old dad used to say.


    113. carjamtic says:


      P.S. If I ever unlucky enough to meet Mr Malloy or Mr Martin re: their recent comments on SG and low paid overseas workers,working on private ferries….they will be told….they can GTF.


    114. galamcennalath says:

      Sounds like Corbyn is belatedly following in Nicola’s footsteps.

      “Jeremy Corbyn will force Theresa May to hold an election in the spring unless she caves in to his Brexit demands on trade and worker rights. …. Labour would vote against Mrs May unless she adopted the “Brexit bottom lines”.”

    115. G H Graham says:

      I’m predicting that only 2 ships will be built on the Clyde before Westminster pulls out some political/economic excuse and moves the work overseas.

      They will be proof of concepts, assembled by 2019/20120 so Whitehall can figure out the cheapest way to make the remainder of the order, after which somewhere like Australia or Canada will be invited to bid for the work to build them.

      That will be the punishment for a successful independence referendum.

      Fallon’s refusal to answer Ponsonby’s questions only proves that he cannot pull the plug on the first ships at this early stage as BAE Systems have already made financial commitments to build them.

      But it won;t be the first time the terms of a long term contract are not adhered to. A tax sweetener will be made to BAE by London so I still forecast that no more than 2 of these ships will be built in Scotland.

    116. Iain More says:

      It is bad enough that my taxes have to pay his salary but who in the fuck is that soor skelpit faced bitch? I bloody hope ma taxes are not bloating her bank acoont!

    117. Auld Rock says:

      20 tears to build 8 Frigates – thank God this current bunch were not around during WW2. Fallon also said that these 8 Frigates were to protect the new carriers without aircraft, remember Fox sold off the jump jets 2nd hand before replacements had been sourced. If anybody has any doubts about how many ships are required to provide an adequate protective screen then Google this question, “What ships comprise a Battle Group?” You’ll find that it would require every ship plus the 8 new ones and that would still not be enough.

      At this point you’ll realise Fallon hasn’t got a clue.

      Auld Rock

    118. Achnababan says:

      Almost OT

      I have always had the greatest respect for Mr Ponsonby since I overheard him mutter in a theatrical whisper ‘Wit nae pies left!?’ in my local pub, the Machar

      (It was the year the Parliament convened at Aberdeen University in a building that was once dedicated to Robert Maxwell but hastily un-dedicated when his debts were called in).

      All that week the locals had to rub shoulders with some real dodgy characters – almost all of the from the DTP sporting manly beer bellies

    119. Dr Jim says:

      Once we’re out of the EU and become Independent we rejoin the EU single market on the same terms as Norway that means we don’t have to follow the EU rules of tendering for contracts and build whatever we like by who we choose and we get to keep freedom of movement, the Erasmus programme, EU farming subsidies and all the other EU goodies, OK we pay for the privilege but it’s a dang sight better than what we have now so..

      Maybe that’s why Alex Neil was designated to be the SNP Brexiteer scapegoat and it was really the SNP and FMs plan all along….if true…I like it…I like it a lot

      This could definitely work

      If any MOD warships were still going to be only built in the so called UK, if Scotland were still in the Commonwealth there could be no excuse for the English to have them built in Australia which is an Independent country and a dash sight further away than Scotland

      One foot in One foot out and we can shake it all about

    120. Brian Doonthetoon says:

      Hi Dr Jim.

      You typed,
      “Once we’re out of the EU and become Independent we rejoin the EU single market on the same terms as Norway that means we don’t have to follow the EU rules of tendering for contracts and build whatever we like by who we choose and we get to keep freedom of movement, the Erasmus programme, EU farming subsidies and all the other EU goodies, OK we pay for the privilege but it’s a dang sight better than what we have now so..”

      With respect, maybe I’m totally up the wrang dreel without a luggie but I thought that the whole point was to trigger Indyref2 while we Scots are still EU citizens so that continuing membership is more likely for our independent nation, rather than waiting for a messy UK exit, then having Indyref2, then applying to the EU for membership – either full membership or membership of the single market?

      What if it all goes pear-shaped and either, we don’t vote for independence AFTER Brexit, or the EU plays hardball?

      I believe we need Indyref2 in the next year to ensure a saeamless transition to both independence and EU membership. Once we’ve achieved these two goals, then we can revisit the question of EU membership, if that’s what we Scots want to do.

    121. Meindevon says:

      Scottish Secretary David Mundell said: “This is a momentous commitment for Scotland that will strengthen and secure our shipbuilding industry on the Clyde for the future. From the DM Online.

      So there you go. What’s there to worry about? Mr Mundell has said its a ‘momentous commitment’. You can’t get clearer than that surely. What’s not to believe?

      You can’t back out of a commitment, and definitely not a momentous one. Even if it’s in the DM.

      Can you?

    122. Tom B says:

      BP was in the first instance partly-privatised by Labour in 1976, under PM Callaghan and Chancellor Healey at a knockdown price, after much public money was invested in the state-run company, as a quid pro quo along with public services cuts and mandatory pay-restraint, for the interest-bearing IMF loan they knew they didn’t need. Playing down coming oil-revenues was already the game for both parties, and having to be ‘bailed-out’ by the IMF keeps the Tory press in meat-and-drink to this day.

    123. Ian Brotherhood says:

      @meindevon –

      🙂 🙂 🙂

      It’s becoming surreal.

      For so long as anyone on WOS mentions David Mundell, I will continue to post the following clip (which is on YT thanks to this site).

      Right here, you can see him lying through his unbearded face about not-knowing something that he clearly did know about. The interviewer knew it, he knew it, the host and pundit back in the studio knew it and everyone watching the ‘show’ knew it.

      That same lying sack of fusty crumbs is, right now, the Secreatry of State for Scotland.

      It’s just not funny any more.

      This dissembling fud has no place in the public life of any sane society.

      He’s got to go.

    124. Thepnr says:

      Tom B is correct in that the Labour government sold a partial share of BP in 1976. I’ll bet that you never knew that the Tories privatised Thomas Cook in 1972! Well I didn’t until right now lol.

      In 1972, the Conservative Government privatised the travel
      agency Thomas Cook, and in 1976, the Labour Government sold some of its stake in British Petroleum (BP) as part of its revenue raising measures introduced following negotiations with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) over a substantial loan.

      A paper well worth a look.

    125. Arbroath1320
      Don’t you remember Bernard catching Osborne trying to run out the back door of the hotel when he had just said Scotland couldn’t share the pound

      Dave at 5.01

      Norway has 42 armed ships in its waters, virtually all built in Norway and also provides the UK’s Antarctic vehicles

    126. yesindyref2 says:

      @Auld Rock
      Yes, if both carriers were to be used in a battle group / strike group, then there would be little or nothing left. 2 DDs for air/missile and 2 FFS for anti-sub, plus 2 subs each. But to get 1 destroyer out on missions basically takes another one, R&R, training, maintenance or refit, plus being on the way to replace another one which doesn’t happen overnight. Same for an frigate, same for a sub.

      Stanhope said that with the 19 escorts, the RN was “running hot”, and said it couldn’t do another Libya – this at the time of the Syria vote.

      I think there’d be 1 carrier on mission, and the other on exercise / maintenance, cutting the escort needs in half as basically the RN don’t have enough fleet escorts.

    127. Dr Jim says:

      @Brian Doonthetoon

      That’s what we voted for but I have a feeling that’s not the long term plan
      I think the plan A was based on Scotland being really angry at the referendum result but it turns out we’re not angry enough to want an Indy 2 so I think change of circumstances looks like a change of direction
      The FM never mentions staying in the EU anymore she only talks about the single market being the priority, which I suppose it is

      I believe we don’t and wont know all the information until it’s over The FM didn’t spend her time in Brussels and Germany just for her lunch and a nice chat, there’s a lot more going on than we know and I’m convinced the EU folks are part of the long term plan to shaft the UK after the way the UKs behaved to everybody not just Scotland

      All this talk of the UK not having a plan or not disclosing it and keeping their cards close to their chest is all a load of guff, I honestly believe that the EU and Scotland between them have the plan and the UK just don’t know what to do about it without screwing it up in public

      I know this all sounds a bit dastardly and devious but when you look at the events so far there’s been too many odd things happening, the immediate resignation of Cameron, was that so’s he’d not get his name tarnished with what he knew was about to happen leaving the bampots and bigots to destroy the Tory party by themselves thus ridding the Tories for a long time of the Nazi nutters when the country forces a general election and Corbyn wins because the UK electorate by that time wont put up with the mad hatters circus anymore
      Theresa May doesn’t want a GE the state things are in she could lose, it could be like another EU ref of no confidence in her and a backlash from remainers

      Corbyn is spouting most of the same policies Nicola Sturgeon was advocating when we fought the GE when Miliband was in charge

      All multi layered conspiratorial stuff but nothing at the moment isn’t up anybody’s sleeves on or off the table or even under it

      Dan d din daan Daaaaaan! with some kettle drums

    128. Artyhetty says:

      So, a ‘momentous committment’ according to Mundell. He really is taking the pish. A committment, is not the same as an actual, real live contract. No contract has been signed.

      Patronising toad, spouting more tosh. No thanks Mundell.

      Still, nice job if you can get it and you are prepared to sell your soul and your country to the devil.

    129. Artyhetty says:


      It could well be, who knows what is going on behind the tea and scones screens, if anything other than panic!

      So Corbyn has nicked Nicola’s policies, he has none of his own so needs to wait a few weeks, then pretend to come up with ideas as being his own. Labour are truly fckd, and thereby england is.

      Love the, dan d din daan daaaaaan!

    130. Tam Jardine says:

      One thing that never fails to amaze me about the UK: for a state with such a proud maritime history and with a navy that was formerly the greatest on the planet we don’t half have problems buying military gear. It is one of the many great reasons not to proceed with the successor programme replacing vanguard- the MOD seems to have no idea when it comes to procurement.

      How can we commit to such a project when we cannot trust the MOD to spend public funds well? We have 2 unfinished carriers with no aircraft FFS. The new type 45s have been having huge issues and the type 26 utility has now changed from being military to political. Every conflict in the modern era seems to be a catalogue of complaints on poor equipment, and every procurement decision seems to be greeted with inevitable complaints on MOD compromises and poor value for money. And yet the UK knows a bit about arms being the second largest arms exporter in the world!

      One aspect of the PFI doc that mysteriously appeared on Cherry’s computer a few days ago and one which amazes me is the amount of Defence spending which is PFI. I had no idea that PFI was used to such an extent by the MOD.

      An interesting example is the Future Global Strategic Tanker project. Labour signed off on the deal in 2005 for a fleet of Airbus A330-MRTTs to take over refuelling mid air and ferrying troops and cargo about. The PFI contract is for a private company to provide 14 of these aircraft (including maintenance and crew) for 27 years at a cost of £10.5 billion.

      Now 9 of these planes seem to be available all the time, 1 is contracted out to Thomas Cook (not making this up, honest) and the other 4 are apparently able to be made available in times of war.

      So these guys have a great deal going- they are leasing out the capability and availability of these aircraft at an agreed price and at the end of 27 years we will have nothing. We could have 27 years of sublime peace descend and the aircraft could have paid for themselves through commercial flights and providing support for other air-forces and the cost £10.5 billion remains the same.

      So our share of the programme is £870 million which seems like a lot of money when you consider one of these Airbus aircraft costs about about £200 million.

      Reading up a wee bit on this there are many question marks over the utility and suitability of the passenger & cargo version of the Airbus ordered and its inability to refuel itself mid-air. There was also an issue with the aircraft not being suitable for use in Afghanistan back in the day due to not being armoured (which seems strange to a civilian like myself).

      Anyway- the French bought 12 of them for $3 billion dollars back in 2014 or $250 million per aircraft and they have them forever. We own not one single bolt and pay 4 times as much for the capability for 27 years whilst the PFI company AirTanker Ltd get to make money from the some (all?) of the aircraft when they are not required by the RAF.

      With the money allocated against Scottish revenues of £870 million over the course we could have bought 4 of these MRTT’s outright although I can’t imagine we would ever need a single one. And if we had bought one outright for £200 million it could be spending it’s spare time taking punters down to Magaluf to pay for crew and upkeep or it could be assisting our allies.

      Long and boring post- not my area so feel free to correct me on any of this. In the union we are saddled with costs of a military which has an ignominious record in wasting money and excels in transferring public money into private hands.

    131. Thepnr says:

      The transferring of public money into private hands seems to be the name of the game Tam. Well at least within the UK/US that is.

      The public get foodbanks and benefit sanctions in return. Bastards.

    132. Effijy says:

      Why does Fallon, a Tory Minister, have a Social worker to speak for him and tell him when to move on?

      Did someone elect this woman?
      Who pays for this woman?

      I think a disabled person needs the money to support a 2nd bedroom for life enhancing equipment, before a Government Minister needs a state Nanny.

      Are Scottish Taxes paying her a high salary, a massive pension, travelling expenses, meals and 5 Star hotel bills to have her mind a Tory Boy in a high security shipyard?

    133. silver19 says:

      OT: Remember that if you voted Yes in 2014 that your state pension was at risk, It’s at risk now :-

      O’Dear Westminster in trouble again, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker warned European firms he would block attempts to cut special deals with Britain ahead of formal Brexit negotiations.

    134. yesindyref2 says:

      @Tam Jardine
      Just a couple of wee things. Scotland could need mid-air refuelling in a couple of cases. One is if our air force was used in any way to support a NATO operation presumably sanctioned by the UN as I doubt Scotland would do the UK thing. This wouldn’t need to be combat, it could be reconnaisance or even intelligence gathering.

      Second is for our own defence, if our fast jets were engaged in a full out airspace supremacy or denial role, where time to get back to base to refuel could be saved by having tankers half-way, or meet jets nearly out of fuel to give them enough fuel to get back to base to fully refuel and re-arm, allowing more time in combat. And that would be needed for training and exercises not just in actual battle.

      T45 problem is greatly exaggerated by the RN unfriendly DT and DM. The overheat problem is in warm seas and warm air at sustained high speed activity. Well, for rapid redeployment that is a bit of a problem, it slows down the redeployment. But in normal operation it’s no problem, they had no problem operating in the Gulf, and is due or is being, rectified by a re-design. I tried to get info before and couldn’t find any, but I suspect it’s to do with the stealthing whereby hot exhause fumes are rebreathed (Canadian kit ordered for the T26 already) to keep down the heat signature. I could be wrong.

      Carriers – there are 3 F35-B I think being used for training and testing, and 42 on order, the carrier takes 24. I think it’s a bit slow, but the QE won’t be undergoing sea trials until 2019 from memory, commissioning 2020, so probably not due to enter service until 2021. Fair chance enough F35-Bs will be ready in time.

    135. Breeks says:

      @ Yesindyref2 2:53

      The QE is designed to carry over 40 aircraft with 36 of them the F35.

      Sailing with 20 and with half the Royal Navy deployed to support in the carrier group is the skeleton crew option.

      It does however give Westminster capacity to fly jets in far away places, and provide air cover at sea; a capability it has not had since scrapping Illustrious and the Harrier. It’s a long reach punch, but a lightweight fist, but in troubled times as a NATO component, who’s to say the numbers wouldn’t be made up by NATO forces.

      It’s wrong to look at this as a numbers issue. It’s all about capacity. Just look at the Vulcan bomber raid on Port Stanley runway. Quite literally wing and a prayer stuff, with the very real prospect of ditching into the sea, but once was enough to get the job done, and the enemy didn’t know how stretched the resources were to do the job.

      The QE might have adequate aircraft for functional deployment, but with nothing in the cupboard to mobilise for a war footing.

      Don’t forget there are two carriers, but at full stretch the UK could only send one to war and hope there’s a NATO carrier group to support it, but Westminster might be perfectly content with that. The US also has its “multinational” passport for going into action.

      At the risk of being ridiculed again, defence treaties are about mutual support. If you are threatened, I will come to your aid. If countries have no military strength to deploy, they open their chequebook, open their skies and runways, and deploy proxy defences and contribute that way. You wouldn’t think it was very complicated but you’d be surprised how ignorant some people can be.

      If Scotland built its defence force for the protection of Scotland alone, we would need to brace ourselves for a financial cost to NATO and /or the UN without muscle to dictate any action. That’s fine by me, but it’s a different set of priorities and capacity from the current UK philosophy. The UK isn’t insane, (well, Trident might be), it just wants to do things which an Independent Scotland would have no interest in doing.

      Right now however, the way England is lurching to the right, the International community should be making sure the UK doesn’t have anything sharp in its pockets.

    136. Al Dossary says:

      The fact that the UKOK govt & MOD failed to continue with the development of the world leading design that was the Harrier jump jet is nothing short of scandalous.

      The story from a former colleague (ex US carrier force, then US air force) was that when the yanks fist came up against them in the Nevada range the Americans never even got a single kill.

      Every time their fighters got behind the Harrier, the RAF pilots just flipped the VTOL nozzles and jumped out of the way or dropped air speed so fast the Americans overshot and we’re picked off by the harriers.

      Fast forward 30 years and rather than develop our own aircraft and supporting our own jobs we are subsidising the US defence industry.

    137. Lenny Hartley says:

      Al Dossary when the Sea a Harrier entered service, the yanks were queuing up to take them on , after the first lot , one of the top squadrons which was visiting Lakenheath got humped in Trials, they beat all comers, the Sea Harriers had its limitations but dog fighting was not one of them
      If your interested red Shakeys Wards book on the Falklands War. He was in charge of a couple of Sea Harrier squadrons.

    138. Ken500 says:

      8 boats in twenty years. Scotland pays nearly £4Billion a year (Defence), including Trident. Twenty years £80Billion. Norway builds 100 boats a year. Supply boats, ferries liners etc. So does Germany. Thatcher stopped commerce on the Clyde because of Faslane. The Tories have ruined the Oil & Gas sector. Taxing it at 40%. Importing untaxed, fracked Gas from the US. Losing Scotland £Billions and thousands of jobs. Scotland has lost over £20Billion in five years. Scotland could have had nearly full employment.

      Why people vote Tory/Unionist in Scotland is a mystery. The Tories are coming for the pensioners now. Attacking and sanctioning the vulnerable. The Tories are making a complete mess. Still people in Scotland vote for them.

      People voting Brexit to lower their living standards. A minority, especially in Scotland. Westminster has caused the migration problem in Europe by blowing the Middle East to bits for years. Illegal wars, banking fraud and tax evasion. Warmongers. Non Dom tax evading crooks owning the Press. Westminster crisis after crisis. Ruining the world economy.

      May is off to India trying for trade deals, after rejecting Indian students. India retaliated. Visa’s are now needed to sail in Indian waters, affecting trade and commerce. Banking services are sold to India – pensions plans etc. 1Billion pop.

      Vote SNP/SNP May 2017. Vote for Independence.

    139. McBoxheid says:

      So the minister is only to be asked child minder approved questions and then only once, even if he fails to answer?
      What authority does she have to stop the democratic process?
      What authority does the minister have to avoid being held accountable?

      Is this the beta testing of the new Tory human rights bill, or is it the new state control of the double secret journalism control mechanism?

      1. Ministers, or any other party apparatchik are not accountable to anybody. (nothing new there then.)

      2. Journalists will only be allowed to ask a question once, even if it is not answered.

      3. Minders will threaten journalists who don’t comply. (Oh wait, that one’s happening already.)

      4. Citizens of north Britainshire have the right, nay the duty, to eat their porridge and get back in their shortbread tin. (note the generosity, 2 things at once!)

      5. Failure to comply with 3 will have serious results.

      In phase 2 of the Bill we will see the introduction of government approved questions, government approved journalists and the wide spread delivery of shortbread tins. (To be paid for at over inflated prices by the tax payer from a company owned by an approved government minister.)

      Aye right!

      Sharpening the claymore?

    140. Dr Jim says:

      Everybody’s assuming the woman with Fallon is an assistant when in fact she might be the boss and the actual government and he’s just the suit mouthpiece face of the Tory party

      Sometimes the people at the top are’nt the people at the top

    141. Dr Jim says:

      May off to India to get the best trade deal with a country the British bullied and killed into the ground while stealing every bit of wealth they could from it then when that country was on the verge of it’s own Indpendence the British made sure they’d still divide and conquer by ripping it in two with their nasty diplmacy methods

      And they want what now? Sahib
      Well good luck with the Indian folk bending over this time to Britains demands ….Shoe and foot springs to mind

    142. DerekM says:

      Very true @ Dr Jim.

      watched this a few times now and you know i think Bernard asked a different question than Fallon expected,watch his answer he is answering the question he is expecting.

      When the spad tory spook figures it out she jumps right in,very naughty from Bernard showing the imperial masters up as a bunch of actors reading from a script lol

    143. Muscleguy says:

      @Al Dossary

      Why to you think the USMC were so pleased and keen to get the last of our harriers. Which btw deprived our marines of them. I live in Dundee, just down the coast from HMS Condor which was the marines air station. When we moved up here end of ’98 they were still flying them out of there.

      We had tornadoes and then typhoons out of Leuchars over in Fife harriers out of Condor and Chinooks regularly flying to and from Condor. Now there is just the very occasional chinook. Leuchars is gone, the planes have been moved to Lossiemouth, which is often closed by fog.

      It would all be quiet but Barry Buddon firing range is still going and especially if the wind is from the east we still hear them. I’m quite good now at discerning small arms, automatic vs semi, heavy machine guns, canon and of course the crump of mortars.

      I do hope they haven’t housed any war traumatised refugees within earshot though. Sometimes it sounds like we are being attacked from the east.

    144. ronnie anderson says:

      Same sentiments apply from Scotland, to our colonial masters in Westminster.

    145. galamcennalath says:

      How did we get into this mess? IMO it’s because of two badly conceived and run referendums.

      A referendum should always be a choice between change and the status quo. The status quo is all around and there to be seen. People have the right to say that is their choice. The side which proposes change should put up a comprehensive case.

      The 2011 alternative vote referendum did offer a pathetic version of change, but it was still change versus status quo. As a referendum, it worked.

      The 2014 IndyRef1 should have been the case for Indy versus the status quo. It began that way but in order to avoid defeat, WM changed it into Indy versus a vague series of dubious promises of change. It became a clearly laid out Indy case for change versus a set of ill defined proposals for change within the UK. It was bound to be chaos inducing and indecisive.

      The latest EU referendum should have been Cameron’s renegotiation versus status quo. By allowing two options of change, and excluding the status quo, this referendum result was destined to become unstuck. The Leave side pushing for significant change were allowed to proceed without publishing any vision of what their Brexit actually meant. A recipe for disaster. Now we see that disaster unfolding.

      An EU IN/OUT referendum should have been status quo versus a clearly laid out plan to leave.

      So, two indecisive and contradictory (in the case of Scotland) referendums. And in each case the winning side offered change but was allowed to do so without clearly documented plans. Of course chaos has ensued.

    146. Ken500 says:

      Westminster/ConDems gave Nissan £2Billion to invest in electric cars in the NE of England.

      The ConDems spent £2Billion (each?) to build 2 coal power stations near Sheffield (Clegg’s constituency). The Tories have now stopped coal production in the UK. Banned wind turbines in England. They are wasting £Billions on Hinkley Point and HS2. Renewable alternatives are far cheaper, safer and quicker.

      Westminster refused permission for CCS projects at Longannet and Peterhead which were promised. Westminster indecision stopped opportunity for EU renewable Grants in Scotland. Westminster took extra CAP payments intended for Scotland. Scotland as part of the UK receives the lowest CAP payments in the EU.

      Nick Clegg is now complaining about the Press etc. Cameron/Clegg put the Police in to smash up the Guardian mail room and intimidate the Editor, for printing the Greenwald revelations. The Tories let the right wing, non Dom owned, tax evading Press get away with anything. Break the Press code. Not implemented Leveson recommendations. Thatcher illegally gave right wing control of the Press (Murdoch). She lied about it and the Ministerial Code. Without a free and fair Press there is no Democracy.

    147. ronnie anderson says:

      Radio Clyde 2 phone in on the Constitutional Crisis caused by Theresa May’s “Brexit Means Brexit” starts today Sunday at 10am. You can phone in your comments on Brexit whether it’s caused a Constitutional Crisis or not.
      It’s time we were heard demanding a Referendum Independence for Scotland if Article 50 is invoked by May at Westminster, so get phoning. Tune in to the Ally Bally show to get your view heard live.
      The number is 0333 2020 401. Phone this number and they will call you back to get your opinion heard.

      Post by Jim Hume Scot2.Scot.

    148. heedtracker says:

      ronnie anderson

      Andrew Marr show had Nigel Farage and Gina Miller debating Brexit just there and its must watch. Farage populist liar v someone extraordinary. Farage “takes the point” that Brexit referendum act has “its only advisory” clause.

      “What’s the point of having MP’s then Nigel?”

      “What’s the point of the Lords?” says Nigel.

    149. Bill says:

      So it’s good news were building 18 ships.

    150. Bill says:

      It’s good news we’re building 18 war ships.

    151. mike d says:

      Horsey faced condescending cow. (Apology to horses).

    152. Ken500 says:

      Charles sword dancing in Arabia. M & S commercialising Poppies. To commentate Millions killed. IWW caused by interdependent treaties by absolute monarchies ‘divine right to rule’. The European Royals. Victoria’s grandchildren. Cousins married cousins. Ex servicemen should not have to rely on Charity. All companies that supported NO in IndyRef losing money because of austerity. Cutting off their nose to spite their face. Closing branches.

      Farague is finished. UKIP bankrupt. £3/4Billion in debt. The rest of the UK in debt. The ConDem/Tories cut taxes for the wealthy and sanctioned the vulnerable.They cut NHS/Education funding (pro rata). Wasting £Billions on Hickley Point and HS2 to line their associates pockets on consultancies, banking and loan fees.

    153. Smallaxe says:


      Thank you for the links,will peruse when I’m home in comfort.

      Peace Always

    154. Tinto Chiel says:

      Some great links, Nana.

      Re the triple lock pension being “unsustainable”, according to MPs, I thought it a bit rich given their salaries and pension provisions plus all the other nice little perks which will come their way. And of course the possibility of becoming a lord. That’s a big gravy train.

      When the EU ask questions about the Nissan deal, what will WM do? Just tell more porkies? Presumably if the UK were found to have given irregular inducements, there could be serious consequences. Or do they want to pick a fight with the EU and then play the victim card when the EU gets tough?

      Further to The Strange Case of Cherry’s Computer and The PFI Document, I was recently e-mailing a well-known vile cyber-sep and regular on here and mention was made of hotels in Inverness. Within half an hour an advert for hotels in Inverness appeared in my In-Box.

      Is Theresa May rifling through my digital drawers?

      Should I be worried?

    155. galamcennalath says:

      heedtracker says:

      Andrew Marr show had Nigel Farage and Gina Miller debating Brexit just there and its must watch.

      Agreed. Gina Miller made a very convergent case.

      You could tell what Farage’s big fear is. He would like to say Brexit doesn’t mean staying in the single market. If it goes to full debate and vote in parliament then it is more likely to be soft Brexit in the ESM. If it is handled by an inner circle then it more like to be hard.

      As I said at 9:02, the problem is that people voted for a Leave option which was ill defined. (Just like they voted for a woolly NO in 2014).

      Both Farage and Miller agreed that referendum should be binding rather than advisory. However, if they are binding then so should the cases put by each side in the debate. They should publish referendum manifestos defining what each option actually means.

      If the leave vote had clearly defined hard Brexit, then Remain would have won. If leave had been presented, in writing, as remaining in the ESM it would probably have won by a bigger margin,

    156. galamcennalath says:

      ‘convergent’ should have been convincing. 🙁

    157. Ken500 says:

      Westminster Brexiteers totally back tracking. An absolute disgrace. Unbelievable.

    158. Ken500 says:

      Pensions unsustainable? Too low pensions. Most of the welfare benefits go to pensioners to top up low State pensions. Students, pensioners, sick and unemployed are the ones in low incomes (poverty). Some pensioners pay tax.

      Mhairi Black on Preston. Repeated later.

    159. louis.b.argyll says:

      Aye? Warships? We should be building cruise liners and ferries, with our own steel.
      You can stick your warships up your unsustainable arse.

    160. heedtracker says:

      galamcennalath says:
      6 November, 2016 at 10:30 am
      heedtracker says:

      Its a lot like the tories and their RN contracts in Scotland. They’re using them for their ongoing anti Scottish independence campaign and will do for a long time. 20 years at least.

      Farage knows that the England Leave vote is solid and all they want is out of the EU completely. Hard and soft Brexit means very little to them. Look at how Sunderland voted Leave 60+% with the Nissan car plants their biggest and only employer.

      So if May’s Brexit art 50 farce does get kicked out by the Remain Commons, and the Lords too, as is likely, UKIP vote will rocket up and up, in England. Next UK GE comes and there’s a lot less Lab and Con back benchers.

      Farage UKIP double whammy, EU rejects soft Brexit completely. If the EU give tory England a soft Brexit, there’s loads of hard core right wing Leavers across the EU, who will all be wanting soft Exit’s too.

      Voters in the Scotland region of greater England had their chance 2014 but blew it.

    161. louis.b.argyll says:

      As things stand, after independence, Scotland would be a NATO PARTNER of rest/former UK.
      What would be the point of Scotland staying in NATO if we were to be ‘punished’ by the ministry of a member nation.

      Having said that, within, Scotland would have MASSIVE STRATEGIC DEFENCE INFLUENCE.

    162. yesindyref2 says:

      Yes, 40 aircraft max including rotary wing, 36 F35B. It’s expected usually they’d have just 1 squadron of 12, and some reports say the normal in action quota would be 2 squadrons, though there could be up to say 6 reserve.

      Actually when I think of it, in a major action it’s possible the carrier group would have both carriers I think, in case of damage to the flight deck of 1 then the other can be used to land planes returning from sorties. That happened off Malta in the Second World War, I forget which 2 carriers it was.

      @Al Dossary
      Simple asnwer to the Harrier was radar, it was impossible to adapt for the latest radar, and that very sadly just made it obsolete. Taken by the USMC I think.

    163. Orri says:

      Caught the last moments of a report about this on BBC. The alarm bells should be ringing as the reporter said/speculated that only the final assembly and fitting was scheduled for Scotland. He said that would be in the spirit of sharing the benefits of Union. Obviously what you’re going to get is MPs in the rUK bidding to do the initial construction and with the fall of the value of Sterling it’s possible that it might take place in England.

    164. Orri says:

      The mystery woman might be from BAE given they were hosting the interview. Would certainly allow her some input in to it.

    165. Nana says:


      Here’s a couple more links for elevenses

      @Tinto Chiel

      I was hearing the end credits from Soap tv show while reading your comment.

      Is May rifling through your digital drawers….most likely and would probably go through your bottom drawers given half a chance.

    166. Dr Jim says:

      Dr Liam Fox a year ago came up with the removal of the triple pension lock and the removal of winter fuel allowance in a speech to the taxpayers alliance and if somebody can find it there’s a video of him doing it

      He’s a lovely man is Dr Liam fox even without his uniform or dentistry equipment

      Pension…is it safe? is it safe?

      Run for it folks

    167. Ruby says:

      Valerie says:
      6 November, 2016 at 8:58 am

      Loving this.

      EU enquires about Nissan deal.

      Ruby replies

      That’s very interesting!

      I’ve just been reading that any trade deal with Indian would involve more visas & immigrants from India.
      Australia want free movement of workers from Australia.

      Could be the UK will end up the same number of immigrants except that they will not be from Europe.

      More Brexit bad news

      Birds Eye goes to war with supermarkets

      After Marmitegate, fish fingers maker threatens 12% price rise

      Apple Macs cost £300 more after Brexit vote

      I don’t care about the fish fingers although I do like Birds Eye frozen peas I am however really fed up about the iMac going up in price as I had plans to buy a new one.

      None of this will affect MEPs as

      MEPs trouser £1,000 Brexit bonus
      British MEPs, including Brexit-backers such as Nigel Farage, are pocketing almost £1,000 a month extra thanks to sterling’s fall since the European Union referendum.

    168. Liz g says:

      OT sorry
      Re….an older conversation about Fort George.

      Sunday Post reporting it is to close.
      Very last line of article….The money from the sale will be reinvested in the MOD….

    169. galamcennalath says:

      heedtracker says:

      If the EU give tory England a soft Brexit, there’s loads of hard core right wing Leavers across the EU, who will all be wanting soft Exit’s too.

      Good point.

      There are only two Brexit solutions – the deal the EU offer and a dirty Brexit walkaway. Negotiations on minor points are, well, minor.

      So what does the EU offer? I had assumed they would want a soft Norway solution to minimise economic damage to themselves. However, long term integration and security are more important than short term financies. So you could well be right, the UK has to be seen to be worse off by leaving and that may mean the EU wants the UK out of the ESM.

      Fair enough. Then we all know where we stand. The only way to be in the ESM is as a full member. Make your mind up time, Scotland.

    170. Ruby says:

      Dr Jim says:
      6 November, 2016 at 11:30 am

      Dr Liam Fox a year ago came up with the removal of the triple pension lock and the removal of winter fuel allowance in a speech to the taxpayers alliance and if somebody can find it there’s a video of him doing it

      Ruby replies

      ‘Mr Wild said there were two reasons why the Government should make the cuts to pensioner benefits “as soon as possible after an election” .

      “The first of which will sound a little bit morbid – some of the people… won’t be around to vote against you in the next election,” he said. “So that’s just a practical point, and the other point is they might have forgotten by then.

      “If you did it now, chances are that in 2020 someone who has had their winter fuel cut might be thinking, ‘Oh I can’t remember, was it this government or was it the last one? I’m not quite sure.’

    171. heedtracker says:

      galamcennalath says:
      6 November, 2016 at 11:38 am
      heedtracker says:

      It almost doesn’t matter what the EU offers May. Leavers want out of Europe but you cant actually get out of Europe, in this era. So Farage and UKIP cant lose really.

      Most likely Brexit’s going to be end of EU freedom of movement for UK and trade tariffs, with planet torboy desperately trying to pay tariffs, Nissan style.

      In effect, UKIP have already got their next massive election boost because the toryboys have totallly cocked up both the Brexit ref and art 50.

      Farage has such great tory BBC led press, all he has to do is look sane and keep saying, you’ve been robbed of Brexit, they stopped you getting your country back.


      UKIP dude Kassam who said Sturgeon mouth and legs should be taped shut has just been treated like a wise and sage UKOK statesman, by BBC Sunday Politics tv show.

      Why would BBC politicos be desperately trying to turn these UKIP guys into UKOK household names? Because the BBC really weally wuvs democracy.

    172. Fran says:

      @ Heed 11.02
      ” Voters in the Scottish region of greater England had their chance in 2014 and blew it”

      Totally agree and my fear is that they will blow it again because they still don’t get it.

      Not able to cut and paste from Wings as it keeps coming up as Wings not responding.

    173. louis.b.argyll says:

      If there is a ‘change of use’ at a former barracks site or base, ownership should default back to the appropriate local authority.

      Currently, OUR land could well be sold. The 100% profit ‘reinvested’ by UK gov in TRIDENT ‘FEES’ or (fake) advanced weaponry research in the THE HOME COUNTIES. Jobs for the bum-boys.

      If a barracks closes there should be a peace dividend returned to the LOCAL COMMUNITY.

    174. geeo says:

      Was i just dreaming that Gordon Brewer was quite balanced and actually seemed interested in what Mike Russell had to say !!!

      I need a lie down….

      Mike Russell has really impressed me recently, well spoken, not one for taking any crap.

    175. Bob Mack says:

      Ultimately it all comes down to ONE question.
      Are the Scottish people sovereign rather than the UK Parliament ?

      If yes,then we always have an escape route.
      If NO then we are at the mercy of Westminster stupidity.

      That is the one thing that must be decided clarified and recognised. All else is window dressing. I have high hopes that Nicola is going to have this issue addressed at the Supreme Court during the appeal or in the near future.

      I know my views, but ultimately a legal decision is required.

    176. Ruby says:

      Nigel Farage to Gina Miller ‘What part of leave don’t you understand?’ BBC News

      Interesting that the BBC uploaded this to You Tube for those of us who do notsubscribe to the BBC!

    177. Liz g says:

      Louis b argyl @ 11.54
      What I would like to know is how they think it is theirs to sell.
      Who they think they are selling it to.

      It’s a pet peeve I know but the cost of that Fort was paid in full by the blood of Culloden.
      I will be phoning Historic Scotland in the morning.
      Wish me luck!

    178. msean says:

      This is a Tory being rescued by a commissar like person,making sure that the minister doesn’t deviate from the official politbureau line.

    179. Proud Cybernat says:

      Brexit, imho, is heading straight for the long grass. Everyone and their granny is now asking May what Brexit will mean. Nicola Sturgeon even stated TM doesn’t know what it means because she has no plans.

      And I suspect that is only half true. There ARE plans.

      To REMAIN.

      That is what TM wants but, of course, cannot ever publicly state this. So what do you do? You tell no one anything. You make lots of noises to the effect that “We’re out of the EU but not out of Europe”, etc, etc. You even set a date for Article 50 to be triggered. You SAY all the right things, let the Brexiters THINK you are on their side, upholding the democratic referendum vote.

      Phase 1 complete.

      Now you need lay the groundwork to identify the ‘spoilers’, those groups or bodies who will subvert your hard won democratic decision. This was done in TM’s Tory Party Conference speech:

      “All possible because we are one United Kingdom – England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland – and I will always fight to preserve our proud, historic Union and will never let divisive nationalists drive us apart… Our laws made not in Brussels but in Westminster. Our judges sitting not in Luxembourg but in courts across the land.” (my emphasis) – TM, 5/10/16.

      Phase 2 complete.

      Now you just need to set the ball rolling. This is done with incessant talk of ‘Hard Brexit’ even ‘Dirty Brexit’. No halfway house. We’re out and out means out. May knows there is a majority in WM who oppose this. She knows there are wealthy bankers who oppose Hard Brexit. She’s saying all the right, hard things to push their buttons–including the SNP’s. It will be HER EXECUTIVE PREROGATIVE, HER decision alone to make. Another button pushed. And so the bankers and other parties take it to court–and win. WM must have a say. The Remainers are jubilant at their courtroom victory but the one witht he biggest smile on her face will be TM. Her opponents are doing the job for her.

      Phase 3 complete.

      You object to the court’s decision but not too loudly. You demonstrate your “Brexit means Brexit” by stating that you will have the court’s decision overturned in the Supreme Court. But you have already consulted–you already KNOW the Supreme Court will uphold the High Court’s ruling. If it seemed that they would reverse the High Court’s decision then you wouldn’t bother going to the SC because TM NEEDS WM to have a say. Tat’s how she plans in having Brexit booted into the long grass. So, just watch as the SC upholds the HC’s decision.

      Phase 4 complete.

      So WM gets to have a say. Time now to divide and rule. A Brexit Bill is introduced. The Bill is worded in such a way as to attract the most number of objections/amendments. It will be batted back and forth endlessly in WM before it even gets to the Lords to do the same thing. Ideally it will finally be voted down by the “divisive Nationalists” (including, for the first time, Sein Fein).

      Phase 5 complete.

      TM, having (happily) lost the vote, will resign and call a general election. Labour, the Tories and the Fibbers will all stand on a ‘Soft Brexit’ platform. UKIP on Hard Brexit and the SNP on a REMAIN platform. UK divided.

      Tories win in England, SNP in Scotland. Job Done.

      Or something like that….

    180. Valerie says:


      I said a while ago, Mike Russell seems like a terrier. Smart, quick, standing his ground, not taking any shit, not flapping.

      I hope some of his colleagues are taking notes.

    181. Flower of Scotland says:

      @Proud Cybernat 12.23pm

      Good comment. I’m sort of thinking along these lines too.

      Too far fetched? Don’t think so!

    182. Liz g says:

      Proud Cybernat @ 12.23
      Ye might be on to something there… mibbi that’s why Sir Tom ???thingy the history guy …the Real one.(senior moment)
      Was saying the other day he didn’t think we would leave the EU.
      He might be seeing the same sort of thing play out and recognise it!!

    183. Liz g says:

      Devine Sir Tom Devine… the minute I hit send ..

    184. Jack Murphy says:

      Nana said at 11:28am:-
      GA Ponsonby ends his piece with this:-
      “….Last week on Good Morning Scotland we had presenters reporting that the indyref pledge was not for 13 Type 26 frigates but for eight. This is a quite deliberate attempt to mislead the public.

      I don’t trust the Good Morning Scotland team. Someone in the team deliberately prepared news bulletins that were false. The show’s presenters read out the falsehoods several times. It is, in my view, inconceivable that both Gary Robertson and Hayley Millar were unaware that the indyref pledge was for thirteen Type 26 frigates.

      Oh, one final note of interest. The clip below shows STV’s Political Editor Bernard Ponsonby pressing Michael Fallon on the issue of frigates and a possible independent Scotland. You won’t ever see anything like this on Reporting Scotland.”

      Absolutely agree,especially about Reporting Scotland.
      Also, thanks Nana.I don’t say much here on Wings,but I do read your links and inform others.

    185. Stoker says:

      Nicola Sturgeon warns Westminster over Royal Navy vessels order

    186. K1 says:

      Also, let’s remember everyone is in the Privy Council Proud Cybernat? Including Nicola, Ruth Davidson and MacIntosh. Do we really think that all of this isn’t being discussed? Deals being cut as we speak?

      There is absolutely no way that HM’s government will be allowed to take us out of Europe. When you watch the Assange/Pilger interview regarding the US elections, one of the key aspects that Julian points out is that all the key sectors: banking, finance, media owners, big business are all in support of Clinton. Trump will ‘not be allowed’ to win. It’s the same here, all of those sectors were for Remain.

      I think this may explain the softening of our (SNP) Remain in Europe just after the vote in June, to remain in the ‘single market’. All the players…have to play their part. What you have outlined fits this narrative.

    187. Bill says:

      So we’re agreed it’s 18 ships over 20 years, that’s almost one ship per year.

    188. K1 says:

      For those who may not have ‘caught’ that link (Assange and Pilger) in the list that Nana posted earlier, well worth a watch:

    189. geeo says:

      Interesting to note from Stokers linked article from 2014 that the 13 frigates are described as “vital” royal navy vessels…

      So vital that they became 8, then ZERO…..

    190. Andrew Morton says:

      I’ve just spoken to someone who used to be a press officer at the MOD and he/she doesn’t recognise the woman. So either she’s new (possible) or she’s a Tory party press officer.

    191. Tinto Chiel says:

      Nana: thanks for your 11.28.

      Even more worried now…

    192. Fred says:

      She was probably under instructions from the minister to shove her oar in if things got tough & conclude the interview!

    193. yesindyref2 says:

      Mike Russell has really come into his own, the right man, the right job, the right day. Come the hour, come the man!

    194. yesindyref2 says:

      It’s not 18 ships over 20 years, it’s 10 ships. 8 x T26 + 2 x OPV.

    195. louis.b.argyll says:

      Liz g says:
      6 November, 2016 at 12:04 pm
      Louis b argyl @ 11.54
      What I would like to know is how they think it is theirs to sell.
      Who they think they are selling it to.

      Good luck n the morn..

    196. louis.b.argyll says:

      Aye, Mike Russell, like Salmond, knows how the system of playing-for-time works.

      It’s not a skill that should be required of our representatives.

      But beating them at their own game is a joy, for those who are able.

    197. yesindyref2 says:

      To clarify this further, the 3 OPV being built currently are not a new contract. The reason for them being built is because of the gap between the T45, carriers and the T26, a gap which was expected anyway.

      Under the 2008 TOBA – Terms Of Business Agreement – between the MOD and BaE, the MOD would have had to pay BaE for having an idle yard, hence the order for the 3 OPV as a fill-in. Though contracts aren’t open to general public inspection, it’s widely thought that the TOBA 2008 is now defunct, in exchange for those 3 OPV and the forthcoming T26. This would mean the MOD would be under no obligation to pay BaE one further penny, not one brown cent.

      Currently there seems to actually be no contract for any ships, though it’s almost certain there will be for 3 T26 as substantial order have been made, for instance from Canada, the rebreathing “stealth” funnels. But the contracts could even go overseas, or of course, down to England. There is no ink on paper. Contracts for parts ordered could be diverted to another location.

      This order for the 3 T26 might appear any time, before Christmas even. But for the further 5 we have to wait till middle next year – at the earliest, same as for the 2 OPV.

      So at the moment the only concrete contract we know about is for the 3 OPV actually being built.

    198. Breeks says:

      yesindyref2 says:
      6 November, 2016 at 11:15 am
      ….Actually when I think of it, in a major action it’s possible the carrier group would have both carriers I think, in case of damage to the flight deck of 1 then the other can be used to land planes returning from sorties. That happened off Malta in the Second World War, I forget which 2 carriers it was….

      You are thinking of the multiple operations to keep Malta equipped with aircraft during the critical months on 1942. There were multiple convoys, the big ones being Operation Calendar, Bowery and Pedestal. Pedestal is the famous one due to the incredible story of the crippled tanker Ohio delivering the fuel. The Carrier Eagle was sunk by submarine during Pedestal too, but the aircraft she was transporting to Malta on that occasion went to the bottom. Desperate stuff, but Malta was held. I would say saved, but it was bombed to blazes by the Italians and the Luftwaffe.

      Worth a read: see Battle of Malta

      Gripping stuff, and I’d recommend much wider reading on it, but I very much doubt any modern Carrier would be exposed to similar risks these days. These early carriers were often WW1 battleships converted to have a flight deck, and carrier warfare was a new phenomenon. Having said that, Malta was a desperate situation, and pivotal to the whole war. The rule book went out the window.

      Perhaps the Gladiator fighters Faith, Hope and Charity might also ring a bell. Obsolete Gloster Gladiators found in packing crates and flew alone in defence of Malta against the Regia Aeronatica until Hawker Hurricanes and later Spitfires could be sent from Britain in support.

      The Malta story truly beggars belief. If you like true war storys, Malta is a good place to start. I’ve mentioned the Ohio… that story will leave a tear in your eye.

    199. yesindyref2 says:

      It was Illustrious and Ark Royal I think, part of Force H from Gib. Illustrious aft deck was heavily on fire but managed to make it to Malta, and I think it was that time the aircraft landed back on the other carrier which I think was Ark Royal. One of those things you find when browsing around, but it rang a bell from the days when I read all about the Malta Convoys.

      Still a possibility even in this age if an aircraft got damaged and blocked the flight deck for a time.

    200. yesindyref2 says:

      Makes you think by the way. Without Malta there’d be no North Africa and Sicily landings, without Gib and Force H there’s have been no Malta. I’ve often wondered what would have happened if Bismarck had managed to join up with the Hipper and Scheer, and the Scharnhorst and Gneisenau. Apart from the Atlantic convoys, they could have devastated the Med including Gib and Force H. It all hung by a thread.

    201. Breeks says:

      The Scharhorst and Gniesenau did sink the British carrier Glorious as it carried people out of Norway as the Germans invaded. Two very brave British Destroyers, Acasta and Ardent charged the German cruisers gave their lives trying to buy time for the carrier to escape. If memory serves, the Gniesenau was damaged by torpedo and laid up for repairs afterwards. Sadly it didn’t work, and the Carrier was sunk too. I believe the Destroyers were condemned, for despite being very courageous, (by chance, the sister Carrier of Glorious) the Destroyers should have made smoke and sought to divert the cruisers rather than engaging them. Seems a rather harsh criticism of some very brave sailors.

      Something curious about it is that the circumstance of the sinking of the Glorius was made an official secret for 100 years. Kinda curious considering even the Enigma decryption and Bletchley was only made secret for 60 years. Maybe something, maybe nothing, but it’s odd.

    202. Breeks says:

      … I seem to recall the German Captains were fullsome in their respect for the bravery of the British Destroyers, who must have known their attack was suicidal.

    203. Legerwood says:

      I am surprised no one appears to have mentioned that Russia has just one carrier, according to the BBC, and is over 30 years old and puts out a lot of black smoke when sailing through the English Channel.

    204. yesindyref2 says:

      There’s some quite sickening post battle analysis by armchair historians, and finger-pointers. A case in point is PQ-17 where they work backwards from the non-arrival of the Tirpitz, and hence try to find someone to blame for the “scatter” command.

      The thing is that if the Tirpitz had arrived with the escorts still there, that would have been an end to the escorts, an end to the Arctic convoys, and perhaps an end to the 2nd / 3rd front – and the war. Intelligence at the time was patchy and conflicting, and decisions were made in the overall best interest, and on intelligence available. In my opinion nobody was to blame, it’s just one of the very sad things that happens in war.

    205. Stoker says:

      For those of you interested in suspicion and secrecy at sea:


      Scotland’s maritime history is full of intrigue but it’s rarely ever taught to the modern generations, and deliberately so imo.

    206. Bill says:

      Thanks @yesindyref2 for that explanation.

    207. Meg merrilees says:

      Interesting article on Yahoo. re MOD 1.9 billion ‘contract’ for Clyde.


      Fallon said “We’re investing in Scotland on the BASIS that Scotland will be remaining in the United Kingdom”

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