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Wings Over Scotland

Seventy-nine percent

Posted on December 30, 2013 by

79%. That’s how far into the referendum campaign we are, assuming we take the start date as 6 May 2011, when the SNP secured the historic majority that ensured the people of Scotland would be given their first-ever vote in over 300 years on whether their ancient nation should be incorporated into another.


We don’t know about you, readers, but for all the woeful bleating from the parties of the Union about the length of the debate as they woke up to the full reality of their defeat, for us it’s flown by. We can scarcely believe that nearly four-fifths of the allotted time have already passed, and as 2014 looms just a few dozen hours away we’re about to enter the final 20%.

2013, though, was the year Wings Over Scotland became our full-time job, and it would be remiss of us not to use this last bit of quiet time to take a wee glance backwards over the momentous 12 months that are just ending.

Rather than ask you to digest dozens of articles again, we thought it’d be fun to do the highlights of 2013 in quotes. Here, then, are the words of the wisest, the weirdest and the worst from this January.

“No campaigners must publicise the fact that this is as good as it gets […] With a No win little is going to change. Right here, right now you can see the kind of country we are going to be living in.” – Michael Kelly in The Scotsman.

“Whether one likes it or not, it is in the interests of the unionists to lower the tone.” – Simon Pia, former Labour spin doctor unusually tells the truth.

“Taking an average of the Scottish Government’s own figures since devolution, instead of being £500 better off, Scots would be £1 worse off.” – Danny Alexander, Chief Secretary to the Treasury.

“Scots will be the laughing stock of every stand-up comedian in Britain if they bottle out of self-government.” – Iain Macwhirter, Herald columnist.

“As the Labour party engaged in the rebranding of social security as ‘welfare’ and its ministers raged against ‘benefit cheats’, something poisonous was being embedded at the core of our national life.” – John Harris, the Guardian.

Given the demographics in Scotland, pension funding generally is a very difficult problem. It’s much easier to face these pressures as part of a country with a population in excess of 60 million people rather than 6 million.” – Alistair Darling, “Better Together chairman, creates 700,000 extra Scots out of thin air.

“The idea of the political independence of England and Scotland leading to conflict, hatred and distrust is the mindset of opportunistic status-quo fearmongers and gloomy nationalist fantasists stuck in a Bannockburn-Culloden timewarp, and deeply insulting to the people of both countries.

Swedes, Norwegians and Danes remain on amicable terms; they trade, co-operate and visit each other socially any time they like. They don’t need a pompous, blustering state called Scandinavia, informing them from Stockholm how wonderful they all are, but (kind of) only really meaning Sweden.” – Irvine Welsh, author.

Scottish Labour leader Johann Lamont has been accused of rank hypocrisy after Labour torpedoed a Holyrood debate on universal benefits, despite Lamont regularly accusing the SNP of trying to stifle debate on the subject.” – Tom Gordon, the Herald.

“You’re the deranged maniac, who (ironically) gives your own side a bad name.” – David Torrance passes the time of day with us on Twitter.

“We have a majority SNP Government in the Scottish Parliament, but that is not a democratic place in the conventional sense; it is a dictatorship of one man sitting in Bute House, who will do not what is in Scotland’s interests, but what is in his own or his party’s interests.”Scottish Labour “deputy” leader Anas Sarwar memorably raises the level of debate.

“The referendum will be timed to take place after the anniversary of the battle of Bannockburn, which is celebrated mainly because Scots slew large numbers of English people. 

We thought that Scotland in the 21st and 22nd century would be looking forward, and would be progressive and positive. Celebrating the murder of hundreds or thousands of English people does not necessarily provide the best base on which to move forward.” – Labour MP Ian Davidson, classing up the joint as ever.

“Four people died in Glencoe tonight. Within an hour Salmond saw it as an opportunity to get his name in the papers. Hope he’s proud.” – Labour activist and BBC pundit Ian Smart joins in.

“What I see at Westminster now is not an alternative politics that avoids the pitfalls of nationalism, but an instinctive, backward-looking British nationalism that is even worse: a farrago of double standards about Westminster and Holyrood, and of reactionary nonsense about the nature of national identity in the 21st century, combined with a complete vacuum of progressive policy, and an instinctive willingness – on the part of the Labour Party – to side in this debate with what is perhaps the most privileged and reactionary government the UK has seen in a century.

The truth is that the tone of the No camp’s response to the independence debate has – in too many cases – been so reactionary, so negative, and so fundamentally disrespectful of the Scottish Parliament as an institution, that I now find it hard to think of voting with them, no matter what my views on the constitution.

And this, for me, is a new experience in politics – to enter a debate with a strongish view on one side of the argument, and to find myself so repelled by the tone and attitudes of those who should be my allies that I am gradually forced into the other camp.” – Joyce McMillan in the Scotsman, with what would become a familiar refrain.


– Labour councillor Terry Kelly really selling the benefits of the Union.

“I admire those countries and they are friends of ours – but they are very different from us. Norway sits on the biggest energy reserves in Europe, and has a sovereign wealth fund of over €500bn.” – good point, David Cameron.

“Pro-independence parties will be able to spend £1.494m compared with £1.4m for the pro-UK parties, an advantage of £63,000.” – Magnus Gardham on top of the facts and figures as always in the Herald.

Finally, one that was actually said in March 2011, but which we discovered in January.

“Deprived of government power after our longest period in office, there is something almost therapeutic about finding new ways to make change happen. Unless you are lucky enough to be a Welsh minister, Labour council leader or (after May’s elections) a Scottish Labour minister, you are unlikely to wield executive power any time soon.” – Labour’s Blair McDougall, now director of “Better Together”, shows off his prediction skills.

Join us soon for the best of February!

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    47 to “Seventy-nine percent”

    1. desimond says:

      Saving the best till last there….Blair McDougall…always that little ray of sunshine shining on another wet Glasgow day!

    2. Pin says:

      Me and the good lady just agreed our New Years resolutions last night. Both of us to get our fingers out and do more to help win this referendum. We know it’s going to happen, we just want to be part of it!

    3. gordoz says:

      Best read of the year so far – what a collection of calamities for No !
      Brilliant coverage Rev Stu – keep informing the congregation in this way and we will all keep the faith going !!

    4. Richard says:

      i decided to make it a December resolution and have been out leafleting in my area twice now. Going out again tomorrow afternoon and plan on hitting local transport venues in the rush hours to and from work very soon after the festive season. I might need to invest in a dongle for the iPad so that I can show interested or confused people the issues

    5. Appleby says:

      The 2011 elections still warm my heart and put a smile on my face when I recall their flabbergasted reactions. That and the damage control and total and utter denial by the spin doctors and the Labour blind fanatics like Duncan.
      Another surprise like that for that nasty bunch would be worth a great deal. Only too happy to donate to that cause.

    6. Wee Jonny says:

      Wings for me has been the best site I’ve came across. Informative doesn’t do it justice. I am soon to change the signs on my car from my wife’s massage business to my own window cleaning business signs but I feel it would be far better to have big, bold, blue Yes Scotland signs. With Wings, Bella, Newsnet, Business For Scotland and a couple o other signs plastered all over it. The Yes message definitely needs to be seen as normal instead of the pish in newspapers and on t.v. so that’s part of my contribution as well as wearing my Yes clothing everyday for 2014. 

    7. sionnach says:

      And that’s just January! What a negative, ill-informed year those poor NO people must have had.
      Keep up the fantastic work, Stu – and all the other excellent occasional contributors. The best is yet to come!

    8. Tamson says:

      On the subject of Scottish Labour and universal benefits, I see Ed has just pledged preschool childcare to be available to all if Labour wins in 2015. Will Johann and her shower be denouncing that as a cheap election bribe? 

    9. Les Wilson says:

      Yes Wings stands out, it is much appreciated, REV has ( I hope ) found his forte, and we are glad for it, he does a great job as does his helpers. However, the MSM will be more outlandish, manipulating and desperate as time goes on. We have no room for complacency. I also have made a resolution to double my efforts to help get a resounding YES, so folks, it is in our hands, we all have to do more, and win !

    10. cjmasta says:

      I really hope to see in the coming year some prominent figures in Scottish politics come out for Yes. I think there`s at least a couple of definitely maybe`s out there. I hope to see a lot more of Business for Scotland. I watched a four part debate they had on youtube last night which was good but couldn`t help think instead of a small hall they should be speaking to the whole country on our TV`s.

      On a personal note, as soon as i`m back from my new year holiday I will be going to the YES office on Hope street in Glasgow to buy some Yes clothing and offering help in the coming year.

      I hope this Hogmanay is a good one for all but lets make it one where we talk to friends and family about the opportunity coming our way and the fact that it may be our only chance for real change.

      It could be many years until we get another chance but I think the next time it will be after we`ve been bled dry and we`ll getting kicked out by our neighbours instead of an amicable divorce this time round.

    11. Arbroath 1320 says:

      Ah dear Blair McDougall, dear dear Blair McDougall. What can we say about dear Blair McDougall, dear dear Blair McDougall. I’ll think of something to say soon about Blair McDougall, dear dear Blair McDougall. 😆
      Does anyone know if Magnus Gardham received that calculator from Santa he was promised? 😆
      More importantly has he received any instruction yet on how to use the calculator?
      Perhaps that very nice man Mr David Cameron would mind stopping his admiration “sit-in” for a wee second and reminding us all in this GREAT peace loving, world saving country of ours how our Sovereign Wealth Funds is doing, if that is not too much to ask? 😆

    12. gordoz says:

      @Les Wilson: Agreed
      “Far and away the best prize life has to offer is the chance to work hard at work that is worth doing; believe in that prize and we’re halfway there”  .. Theodore Roosevelt
      I dont know of anyone working harder than Rev Stuart Campbell in the task of debunking the UK state machine propadanda pedlars and disingenuous journalism that exists within the Scottish system.
      Our work must be to engage with those who still cling to some misguided notional 50-50 allegience to a British history which has repeatedly repressed Scottish interests.

    13. themadmurph says:

      Jesus!  That was just January?

    14. Norrie says:


      Noticed thier spokesperson in the Gaurdian saying it would take 10 – 15 years to impliment, wonder why Johan thinks the Scottish government can do it now.

    15. Doug Daniel says:

      I’ve always kind of thought of 8th January 2012 being the starting point of the campaign, since that was when David Cameron waded in. Up to then it had only really being the SNP talking about it, partly due to Labour taking so long to decide who would be a worthy (chortle, chortle) successor to Iain Gray. Things certainly stepped up a gear then anyway.

    16. ronnie anderson says:

      REV , You spread good cheer, throughout the year, looking forward tae the next one.

    17. Dal Riata says:

      It was only when I got to end there that I was reminded that those were only a sample of the naysayers trash from January! Another eleven months’ worth of Questionable Quotations from Project Fear to come – yay, good stuff!
      I hope these examples of anti-Scottish independence quotes – and who made them –  will be kept in a digital record in an independent Scotland, which can be accessed by future generations of Scots. This will then allow those future generations to know what was said and done – and by who – in their deplorable attempts to stop Scotland from being independent. Let them always be remembered for the villains they are. 

    18. Macandroid says:

      @ Richard 
      You could always stand outside somewhere with free Wi-Fi access 🙂
      Great stuff Rev Stu – awrra best for 2014

    19. Barney Thomson says:

      I see your old chum David Torrance, quoted above, has been invited to contribute articles to Newsnet Scotland!
      What is it with NNS? Duggie the Cringe-Dug, now Torrance, and all behind a comment-censoring policy worthy of the BBC.

    20. Macandroid says:

      @ Barney
      So it’s not just me that thinks the dug is cringeworthy!

    21. Dave McEwan Hill says:

      Two reports today
      1. Andrew Nichol of the Sun has Johann Lamont highest rated at 9/10 of his personal political ratings for the year for the doing she gives Alex SWalmond every week at FMQT. I’m not kidding. Maybe he wants to help us by keeping her there!
      2. Mentioned at the bus stop today in conversation that I could be found most days at the YES shop. Everybody at the bus stop then volunteered to me they were voting YES. That was gent and his wife just moved into Dunoon, an English lady who’s been her for a while but said “We’re voting Yes. Why would anybody agree to have nuclear weapos next door” and a couple of young guys who gave me the thumbs up. I’m meeting lots more of this. It’s great 

    22. Barney Thomson says:

      Aye, Macandroid,
      Cringeworthy, inept, embarrassing, insulting to the intelligence and ineffective.
      Come to think about it, a bit like Torrance.

    23. Thepnr says:

      There is no politician more cringeworthy or smug than David Cameron.

      On second thoughts, George Osborne might just be more smug.

      Wait a minute Miliband and Clegg are definitely more cringeworthy.
      Oh I give up!

    24. Murray McCallum says:

      Dave McEwan Hill
      A colleague at work who was a firm “No” voter volunteered to me a few weeks ago that he was now moving towards “Yes”. Two things moved him (i) endless scaremongering and (ii) the White Paper. He read all the sections he was most concerned about and he liked what he read.
      BTW he is a Rangers season ticket holder and lives in an area heavily dependent on UK defence spending.

    25. Richard says:

      Have just seen milliplods piece on bbc website
      i haven’t listened to it but I note his commitment to free child care. I wonder how JOLA will deal with that!

    26. Graeme McCormick says:

      Thanks Rev for a wonderful year!

      As I understand St Giles Cathedral s looking for a new minister can we nominate you?

      At least give us a Sermon on the Mound!

    27. Patrician says:

      Hi Rev, are you going to repeat this article 12 times with some little changes to the details?  After all it is the same crap we hear endlessly recycled by the No Scotland motley crew.

    28. Geo says:

      @Barney Thomson & macandroid
      My nine year old daughter came home from school the other week and said I should not vote for independence as we would have no army and we would have to use the euro. This came about after the teacher split them into Yes and no’s then told them to research and discuss the subject.
      I sat down with her and showed her the duggie dug films then asked her how I should vote. She said “vote Yes dad, I knew you’d be right”… One very proud dad!
      What I am trying to say is horses for courses and all that so stay positive. We are all on the one side.
      First post so be gentle with me.

    29. gordoz says:

      Murray McCallum
      Its not Care Bear MacDougall is it ??

    30. velofello says:

      Excellent Rev for a  wee reminder of who said what.But 79%? I think you’ve failed to take account of “time outs”. For me it’s just half-time and instead of sucking on a halftime skliff of orange I’m reading Stephen Maxwell’s book Arguing for Independence. – I recommend it. So I’ll be out there through to September,better informed, with whoever will join me to make the case for independence.
      Great articles and punter contributions through 2013.
      A Guid Year to you all. 

    31. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “Hi Rev, are you going to repeat this article 12 times with some little changes to the details? After all it is the same crap we hear endlessly recycled by the No Scotland motley crew.”

      Now that’s a time-saving idea 😀

    32. Murray McCallum says:

      “Its not Care Bear MacDougall is it ?”
      Ha no. The guy I am talking about is an intelligent human being with a proper job.

    33. muttley79 says:

      Scary how fast time has gone.  Fucking huge effort needed next year folks…

    34. Ken500 says:

      MacDougall comes across as a right Tory. Tory/Labour Unionists all the same.

      NNS is making a big mistake, not many want to fund a Tory/Unionist.

      Never mind, one website’s lose is another one’s gain. Wings Soaring high.

      The relief when the SNP got the landslide, especially when the ConDems reneged. All the tax breaks etc go to websites and the SNP.

    35. Big Al says:

      Thanks for all your hard work Rev, and to the rest of you commentators for keeping my spirits up in the face of the adversity I have with Mail reading, Salmond hating close family.
      Cheers all and a very happy 2014!

    36. “First post so be gentle with me.” And a very fine post it was.

    37. gordoz says:

      Murray McCallum
      The guy I am talking about is an intelligent human being with a proper job.
      Thats the bag o’ air on the Tuba oot then !

      Seriously – know there are a lot of Ibrox followers who are on YES side – its the ‘England top wearing U/Jack numpties that bring the rest of us all down’

    38. Craig P says:

      I like Duggy Dug. My sister reads the Daily Mail and Duggy Dug is exactly the kind of medium that would make the message appeal to her.
      Geo an interesting story. Good for teachers to get the kids interested so young, must be hard for them to keep their own opinions out of it, glad you put the wee one right 🙂

    39. Barney Thomson says:

      I’m glad your daughter enjoyed the Duggy Dug cartoon. It would suit people of her age group. 

      The point is whether we should be inviting nasty (see Rev’s quote in the article) Unionists like Torrance to provide articles to independence supporting sites. Some may think it a good idea – I think it’s going to be hard enough pissing out of the tent without letting the opposition piss in.
      Hope you post more in future. But watch out for drifting a bit off topic as I have.

    40. Doug Daniel says:

      Geo – the thing is, your story kind of proves the point a few folk (myself included) make about Duggy Dug. What’s the point in spending money on something that will convince a section of the population who aren’t allowed to vote?
      A few years back it might have made sense, as we could have been getting at them before their heads get filled with rubbish, and then they’d be reaching voting age, ready to vote Yes. But there’s little point convincing a nine-year-old if their parents and older siblings are all No voters!

    41. Paula Rose says:

      @ Doug Daniel – Aaah, but what about all those parents who listen to their children?

    42. Juteman says:

      NNS seem to have strange spending priorities. The article from Torrance seems out of place, and is full of mistakes.

    43. Doug Daniel says:

      Paula – I suppose if you manage to convince some of those kids who won’t shut up about something until their parents give in and do it…

    44. Albert Herring says:

      Look Mummy and Daddy, if you think I’m bailing you out in your destitute Better Together old age……

    45. Paula Rose says:

      xxx boys xxx

    46. Barontorc says:

      Going on the boy Torrance’s future as a NNS contributor (paid), why not go the full hog and get Cochers from the DT, Warner from the Herald, Gardham from the Hootsman, dear wee Torchill from the DR and throw in Hitchins of the Dear Old Blighty Mail, to add a bit to the NNS’ michtily moderated debate policy and only the mildest controversy limits? But, oh well, bu**er it and damn the cost, get Michael ‘smiles better’ Kelly and Toughie Davidson to offer some sterling advice (paid) too.
      Me thinks it’s a wee bit over-reach perhaps?

    47. Craig says:

      Torrance article on Newsnet today.

      I have made a point NOT to click on any article by him.

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