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Wings Over Scotland

Stacking chips for the rainy day

Posted on March 09, 2013 by

Poe’s Law, which we only discovered on Wikipedia this morning, says that “without a clear indication of the author’s intent, it is difficult or impossible to tell the difference between sincere extremism and an exaggerated parody of extremism”. Or in other words, there’s a name for when people are so batshit crazy you can’t satirise them, because you simply couldn’t invent anything madder than what they say for real.


It’s in that context we invite readers to consider a recent story in the Scottish Sun.


SNP warned over decision to throw Trident subs out of Faslane
Andrew Nicoll

“BRITAIN should NOT retaliate if an independent Scotland is hit by a nuclear strike, top defence experts claim.

Wait, what? Who’s going to nuke us? Have we upset the North Koreans?

The UK Defence Forum insists we would lose our missile “umbrella” if the SNP throw Trident subs out of Faslane following a Scots vote to go it alone.

So hang on, let’s get this clear – the UK would retaliate if, say, Belgium or Holland were attacked with nuclear weapons (by who?), but would stand idly by if it happened to Scotland, with which it has an actual land border and where over 400,000 English people live?

But the forum’s report yesterday said removing the protection would have to be kept secret — or it would put England in danger too.

Eh? So we wouldn’t have the “umbrella” any more, but everyone would still THINK we did, which in practice would mean we DID have it (in so far as it exists at all)? This story isn’t making any more sense as it goes on.

The forum — which includes former Lib Dem leader Sir Menzies Campbell, ex-Defence Secretary Lord King and Field Marshal Lord Guthrie among its patrons — claimed taking subs out of the Clyde is “not credible”.

It even suggested ‘bribing’ Scots to keep the bases.

Ooh, a bribe? Let’s hear the offer, then.

The report says: “Scotland’s share of North Sea oil and gas, its share of the national debt, ongoing aid and subsidies are all factors that can be leveraged to incentivise a favourable outcome.”

Pardon? Scotland’s share of oil and gas is covered unequivocally by international law, and it receives no “aid and subsidies” from the rest of the UK – in reality the exact opposite is true. So good luck “leveraging” those.

We appear to be being “bribed” with stuff that’s already ours – what will Westminster say, exactly? “Agree to keep Trident in your country or we won’t accept the £4.4bn you send us every year in return for Tory governments”?

It adds that if Holyrood refuses to go along with the deal, Westminster should make it clear Scotland will no longer benefit from the rest of the UK’s nuclear deterrent.

Well, we wouldn’t want to become like all those other non-nuclear nations that have been bombed off the face of the Earth since 1945, would we?

The report says: “If the Royal Navy is forced to move as a result of a Yes to the Independence vote and subsequent implementation, HMG could make clear that Scotland must lose the protection afforded by Trident’s nuclear umbrella. Any first strike on Scottish soil would therefore not constitute grounds for WMD retaliation by the rest of Great Britain.”

Oh no! If we get incinerated in an atomic apocalypse (by who?), we won’t have the comfort of knowing that millions of innocent civilians in another country will be killed afterwards!

It added: “To withdraw the umbrella is to expose Scotland and England to increased risk. To admit to having withdrawn the umbrella publicly is to court great risk.”

Oh, except everyone will think we still ARE protected (from who?) by the nuclear umbrella, so nothing will actually be any different at all.

The report comes after it emerged the SNP said it wants nuclear subs out of Clyde bases at Faslane and Coulport after independence.

But the forum insists the Clyde is the only suitable place. It says the subs could not be moved south of the Border “without surrendering critical strategic advantages and incurring vast cost”. And it warns: “No other military issue is as critical or has such potential to affect long-term strategic security.”

In other words we’ll pretty much have the rUK over a barrel in the independence negotiations? To let Trident stay in Scotland even for a few years while the UK spends billions on a replacement base we can demand – and expect to get – more or less anything we want? Sounds good from here.


This site’s sincere view is that at some point between now and autumn 2014, the Scottish Sun will come out in favour of a Yes vote, and that stories like this are a subtle part of its positioning.

To have a senior sitting Scottish MP and knight of the realm actually threatening that Scotland could be devastated by a nuclear strike (by who?) if it votes for independence is such Olympic-level barking-mad insanity that by reporting it with a straight face the Sun can only be deliberately inviting ridicule onto the No campaign, as well as quietly and implicitly disseminating the REAL story – namely that Scotland will have an extremely strong position in the negotiations with the rUK.

We apologise if we’re blowing their cover.

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  1. 16 04 14 23:09

    Keep watching the skies | FreeScotland

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    See No “Wee,” Hear No “Poor,” Speak No “Stupid” | A Wilderness of Peace

89 to “Stacking chips for the rainy day”

  1. Don McC says:

    Okay, how can the UK make it clear that Scotland’s umbrella will be removed but keep it secret at the same time? Answers on on the back of a post card to “Bitter Together, Tory House, London”.

  2. BrianMcC (@bmc875) says:

    If you keep this up Rev, I’m going to have to make another donation. I will always pay that little bit (extra) for quality.
    Oh tae hell wi it!  Here’s a tenner.
    Well done Sir(s).

  3. Iain says:

    So that’s why all those bankers walk around London with umbrellas! I would never have guessed they were such an important part of our nuclear defence.

  4. Shirley says:

    Please Rev. Stu,  edit to read “by whom” “from whom” etc. Let’s maintain grammatical standards, especially if we’re criticising journalists who never had them in the first place.
    Otherwise very good and enjoyable as ever.

  5. Matt says:

    Seconded Shirley!

    I wish I’d never learned about that particular grammatical rule – it’s just one more thing for me to get anal about.

    Great work again Stu!

  6. wullie says:

    Poor auld ming, his greatest accolade in life is to have become a second class englishman, ah the dizzy hieghts. !!!!

  7. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “Please Rev. Stu, edit to read “by whom” “from whom” etc.”

    I’m often nagged by a writer friend about this, but I still don’t understand the rule and on this occasion I decided it sounded better the way it was.

  8. Adrian B says:

    Here is something from Greg Moodie, over @National collective which is a little related to this article.
    “Bidding, beginning at 99p, was robust, but sadly the seven-day auction was cut short by around five days and twelve hours when another eagle-eyed viewer, this time Ebay, decided my fleet wasn’t really ‘Collectable’ at all and pulled the plug.”

  9. BeamMeUpScotty says:

    I belive that sir Mingin also claimed that an independent Scotland would have it’s airports bombed by England should they feel threatened by a “foreign” power.He portrays a picture of England as a hostile neighbour who wouldn’t support Scotland should we be attacked and wouldn’t think twice about bombing us if they felt it in their interests.He definitely makes the case that Scotland is in a subservient,abusive and bullying relationship with England….do as we say or you will get a doin.

  10. turnbull drier says:

    I wrote this a couple of days ago:
    Turnbull Drier says:
    7 March, 2013 at 3:36 pm

    Is this, perhaps, due to Murdoch being more sympathetic towards the SNP, and therefore Independence in general?
    I might, suddenly, be becoming perceptive.. I think I need a lie down.

  11. Morag says:

    I’m often nagged by a writer friend about this, but I still don’t understand the rule and on this occasion I decided it sounded better the way it was.
    Just to give a contrary view, the way you have it is grating on me like nails on a blackboard.  I cringe.  I was debating whether to say anything, but if you’re taking votes, please fix it!

  12. Morag says:

    BeamMeUpScotty, I could be wrong but I think it was Peter Fraser who was advocating bombing our airports after independence.  I know, it’s hard to tell them apart.

  13. vavatch says:

    Shirley, Matt: whom do you think you are trying to impose such unnatural language choice?
    rev: Please ignore all the whom/who moaners. There is absolutely nothing wrong with your usage, unless you are an awful pedant who believes writing should be a a worrying, fraught affair full of utterly pointless, made up latin derived “rules” wholly invented by prescriptivists such as Shirley.
    If you believe that English is irregular, and further that usage of English is defined by how it is actually used – well your usage is completely correct and in alignment with 99% of written and spoken English. Whom is an ex-word and you are correct to just choose words based on whether they sound right, rather than whether it confirms to wholly invented internally inconsistent “grammar” invented by ignoramuses in our public schools 150 years ago.

  14. muttley79 says:

    I belive that sir Mingin also claimed that an independent Scotland would have it’s airports bombed by England should they feel threatened by a “foreign” power.
    No, I think that was Lord Fraser, an old Tory.

  15. Marian says:

    Proof if ever we needed it that Westminster is full of puffed up windbags with the likes of Ming Campbell and his chums who still fancifully dream of a British Empire where the sun never sets.
    There is nothing gets them more worked up than the thought that the natives might revolt against the empire and throw them out.
    Rev Stu’s conclusion that “we’ll pretty much have the rUK over a barrel in the independence negotiations?” is absolutely spot on and the unionists very much know it.

  16. Heather Wilson says:

    As the saying goes, ‘you couldn’t make it up could you!’. They’ll try anything and everything.
    In todays bbc online tabloid, report that Michael Moore is depending on Brazil ( with it’s population of, 190 million) to create jobs in Scotland, he says that ‘the UK’s international clout works for Scotland and other parts of the UK FAMILY’. Sounds like the lager advert! The way things are, it’s a very dysfuntional, old fashioned and outdated family then isn’t it, bashing the kids around and all that, not looking after them properly!

  17. tartanfever says:

    @Morag. Indeed it was Peter Fraser, sorry Lord Fraser. I’m sure you’d be interested to note that Lord Fraser is a member of the Parliamentary Committee on Human Rights ! How apt.
    Sorry to go O/T, but has anyone been reading the article on Bella about ‘Sex and Power’ ? One of the comments posts a link to recent happenings at Glasgow University. It’s seemingly caused quite a stir and has been reported on BBC Radio 4 ‘Woman’s Hour’ programme. You can read about it  here:

  18. cath says:

    “This site’s sincere view is that at some point between now and autumn 2014, the Scottish Sun will come out in favour of a Yes vote, and that stories like this are a subtle part of its positioning.”
    I’d hesitate before coming to that conclusion to be honest. I don’t trust politicians or the media one inch. They are all about power, wealth and what is right for them. OK, this could be the Scottish Sun having the freedom to go with what they believe their readers want and making an assessment that being pro-Scottish, and open to the independence debate, hence setting themselves aside from the rest is in their commercial interests.
    But it could as easily be Scotland being used as a pawn in a far bigger game where Murdoch and the British state are facing off over Leveson and all that corruption between NI, politicians and the UK state we now know existed, and possibly still does.
    In other words, Murdoch could be using Scotland to send a message to Westminster of what he could do if he chooses to. I’m pretty sure the UK state has enough resources, corruption, power and everything else to make it well worth his while reigning in the Scottish Sun.
    By all means give credit where it’s due to any media willing to engage in the democratic debate. But don’t get excited about any position taken by any of them at this stage. All will be susceptible to who they think will win, what power the potential winners can wield, and what power they can offer.
    Or am I just totally cynical?

  19. Chic McGregor says:

    If there ever is a nuclear war, the first place in the UK to be obliterated will be West Central Scotland BECAUSE of Trident.
    Not saying Scotland, or anywhere else for that matter, would survive in the long term if we did not have it; but if there are to be any surviving areas, without Trident, Scotland would have a good chance of being one of them.

  20. Hwanofbute says:

    Agree with the Rev about the Scottish Sun likely to come out in favour of independence. In the Alice in Wonderland debate on independence and the nonsense that gets spouted by the No mob, it is interesting that the Scottish Sun makes the occasional (but significant) comment debunking this stuff. It’s one of the reasons that I don’t get too gloomy about the MSM at the moment. I’m not complacent, but if the Sun does break cover, it will light up the sky (excuse all the puns). I’m no fan of the paper and have never bought a copy, but if on the day of the Yes result the headline is “It was the sun wot won it!”, I might just buy one.

  21. Morag says:

    Tartanfever, why the “sorry, Lord Fraser” bit?  I certainly chose the form of address I used with deliberate intent.

  22. ronald alexander mcdonald says:

    Well this is the best yet. They’re trying to scaremonger people who LITERALLY don’t know what day of the week it is.
    I do agree that the rUK would not retaliate. That’s because they wouldn’t be able to. Half of England would be taken out and the other halk would be scampering to get on ferries to France to escape the fall out. 

  23. Dcanmore says:

    Not only are they windbags that have lost all perspective but they don’t realise how absolutely anti-Scottish they are, you just know they’ve been bought sold.
    O/T … just listened to Off the Ball on BBC Radio Scotchland (the only programme that I listen to there) and Tam Cowan said to his guest Keith Ferguson (Chairman of Disabled Football Supporters group) …
    TC: “So Keith here’s your chance to say something to Alex Salmond, if he is listening, or whoever, about these awful welfare reforms.” A real implication that it was Alex Salmond’s policies.
    Keith replied “eh, Alex Salmond? Well it’s the UK GOVERNMENT that’s imposing these atrocious policies and …” and so on. So well done to Keith for mentioning several times on the show they are UK GOVERNMENT policies not Scottish Government ones. I nearly spilled my lunch when Cowan came out with that.

  24. tartanfever says:

    @Morag – just remembering my place when addressing one of our ‘exalted’ un-elected elite. 
    ‘Lord’ forbid I should ever question his stature !

  25. Juteman says:

    Cowan has previous for that.

  26. Nairn says:

    Hmmm, if only there were a precedent out there of a northern country that had left Britain, is located right next door to a neighbour with ten times the population and large nuclear weapon stockpiles, holds significant oil reserves, and is so averse to having nuclear weapons that the letters C, N and D make up fully 50% of that country’s name?
    Answers on a postcard please…

  27. Dan Simmie says:

    I heard Cowan make that remark as well.Now he certainly isn’t stupid and probably knew what he was doing. Stuart Cosgrove did say in the background “whats it got to do with Alex Salmond”

  28. Tamson says:

    Ming Campbell and Malcolm Bruce are the most notably vociferous anti-independence speakers in the Scottish Lib Dems, and it’s very easy to see why. Both are on the threshold of receiving that ultimate reward for any Scotttish Lib Dem MP, given for keeping those awkward Scotch folk (especially in the Highlands) from getting too uppity: a seat in the House of Lords.

    You know, the No campaign could put before me plain solid facts, proving beyond doubt how an independent Scotland would be poverty-stricken and bankrupt within a week – yet I’d still vote Yes, just to see the faces of these two characters in particular as the ermine was snatched from their grasp.

  29. Juteman says:

    Most folk on here are too polite, but there is a name for people who actively work against their own country.

  30. Lochside says:

    Never mind the Sun, what about the ‘Record’? What about their faux ‘exclusive’ on the dodgy dossier with the ludicrous photo of some dumb hack showing Swinney a copy of their rag’s front page? Then have a look at the responses on the ‘Record Readers’ page of today. Three out of  four responses are negative and totally moronic, e.g. ‘An Independent Scotland is asking for trouble’;’Swinney caught telling the truth at last’;’North Sea is declining’. In other words all the untruths that have been spouted all last week are now being spewed out, Stepford Spouses- like, just as the ‘Union of Bastards Better together’ planned it to be.
    What is to stop the SNP and Yes campaign deluging ‘Lord’ Patten with all this poisonous bilge?What is to stop the proper mobilisation of the Yes movement against the BBC in Scotland, who now make the North Koreans Broadcasts look like a model of liberal democratic media?
    The Yes/Snp response is based on softly, softly, catchee monkee…keep the head down and hope the Greater Scottish Public will eventually see through all the lies. But they forget the 1979 Referendum, where even the 40% rule was not enough to galvanise , a then far more politically active electorate, into wrathful reposte by providing a resounding majority. Indeed, when we actually won, the response to the gerrymandered ‘defeat’ was supine passivity for the next 30 years. A determined and aggressive campaign must start now with first and foremost strong rebuttals of any and all lies being disseminated by the msm. And it must start from the very top i.e. Alec Salmond and Blair Jenkins.

  31. ianbrotherhood says:

    I had Off The Ball on, but missed that remark – Cowan is far from ignorant, so if he’s up to mischief he should be brought to book over it. We’ve discussed Cowan/Cosgrove before, how influential they are, what a prominent role they have in BBC Scotland. I’d hate to think either of them are BT people, but if they are, it’s important that we’re aware of it. Quite depressing actually…

  32. ianbrotherhood says:

    PS To save having to scroll through the whole show, does anyone have an approximate broadcast time for Cowan’s remark?

  33. Marcia says:

    O/T Poll of marginal seats last month was commissioned by Lord Ashcoft with various permutations of marginal seats. We have LD seats in Scotland and Lab v SNP etc battlegrounds.

    If I was a Scottish LD MP, I would be rather worried. SNP chosen over the LD’s who would have thought that?

  34. Juteman says:

    I don’t think Cosgrove is BT. Cowan seems to be one.

  35. Jingly Jangly says:

    Murdoch snr has a hatred of the English /British Establishment, if he keeps on going for the
    next couple of years then the Scottish Sun will come out on our side, if not I doubt it
    Maybe he will suffer a medical/mental condition like Robin Cook, Paul Mcbride
    David Kelly et al..

  36. JLT says:

    I have to admit it, the Unionists are seriously losing it. The delusions are getting grander and grander by the week. God only knows how they will be in the summer of 2014 if things are not going according to plan. I would not be in the least bit surprised if Downing Street isn’t advocating, that Scotland should be added to the list of countries that are within the ‘Axis of Evil’. This is then followed up with a new ‘Coalition of the Willing’ and that an invasion should be considered to put these pesky and rebellious Scots in their place!
    I really do hope that you are right, Rev, and that the Murdoch Empire decide to go with the ‘Yes’ campaign. I kind of wondered what old Rupert and his son, James would get up to after the scourging of his company by the Westminster Leveson Enquiry.
    If I remember rightly, I think Alex Salmond was the only politician that came out of the enquiry with his dignity, not only intact, but also found to have made no dodgy dealings. The plus factor here also, was that Alex actually spoke in Murdoch’s defence, and I like to think, that Murdoch will remember that.
    Therefore, I think that once the Yes campaign gets going later on this year, then this would be the moment that Murdoch and son, would stick it to the UK. What better act of vengeance after the UK tried to dismantle his company and blacken his name, than having the ability to take the UK apart instead. If this comes to pass, then the Scotsman, the Herald, and the BBC will shit itself (excuse my Francais!) as a lot of folk; especially in the West Coast, read the Sun. This could be another one of these key moments that make the difference.

  37. Alan Gerrish says:

    I have been thinking for a while now that we have to take this battle for a balanced media to Europe rather than hope to get any progress within the UK as the latter will never do anything to spoil their “atomic weapon” against Independence.
    If Latvia, Ireland and Luxembourg have declared themselves misrepresented by recent UK reports on their position re Scotland and the EU, there will surely be support already in Europe for claims of bias should we chose to make them as citizens of Europe. 
    I was heartened therefore to see in NNS today an excellent article by Craig Murray outlining exactly how this action might be undertaken, although it is suggested the complaint should be made by the SNP government rather than an individual or individuals.
     But where do we go if AS declines to take the initiative? I would hate to find further down the line that we have left it too late to do anything and the great unthinking public have been totally brainwashed by the unionist propaganda machine.

  38. cirsium says:

    @Lochside – “supine passivity” – great description and it brings back memories of that strange “we’ve won the battle but it’s not a victory” feeling after the 1979 referendum.

  39. Macart says:

    Utterly, utterly barking mad, nothing else could be said. That’s the capper for the press release of the week. There’s been no end of bullshit spread liberally by the media this week in its efforts to stop people from thinking about GERS too much, but that one is right up there with panda napping and Fraser’s bombing of our airports in the event of invasion.

  40. Les Wilson says:

    The possible answer to a lot of our trouble is possibly in sight.
    The article from Craig Murray in may be the real answer to the BBC and MSM, AND the Unionist Conspiracy.
    Sorry REV I Will make another £50 donation, it would be worth it if we can get the point pushed from here also!

  41. Shirley says:

    Well, I’ve never been called a prescriptivist before!
    I  actually enjoy writing and find it relaxing and enjoyable. Certainly not fraught or worrying.
    I don’t actually know many grammatical rules. The who/whom thing must be a hangover from my schooldays  I’m also a bit particular about – dare I say it? – apostrophes.
    For someone who claims to be uninteresred in language rules, you write very well. I suspect you use them without realising it.
    I shall try to be less pedantic in future.
    Meanwhile I think this discussion is somewhat irrelevant (yes, I know I started it) given that the subject of the article is WMDs.

  42. Jeannie says:

    That has got to be the funniest article I’ve read for ages.
    Somebody needs to remind the obviously delusional members of the UK Defence Forum that the UK does not have the power on its own to nuke anybody anyway – that would be a joint decision with the Americans.  The UK does not have an independent nuclear deterrent to the best of my knowledge. 
    Still, I enjoyed the laugh.

  43. Dcanmore says:

    I think it was the last 15 minutes when he said to Keith Ferguson “here’s your chance to speak about … “. Gave me the impression that Cowan is BT but Cosgrove is YES. Also going by their home towns as Motherwell would be pretty much Labour and Perth SNP.
    Murdoch was humiliated by Westminster and he won’t forget that. If the polls show a YES lead just before Referendum Day then The Sun will back independence.

  44. Dee says:

    This is the same Ming who said the Scottish navy would consist of two fishery protection vessels and tug based at faslane and he keeps reminding e us he is a true scot, Ming if you are a Scot , am changing ma nationality.

  45. Jeannie says:

    By the way, it’s “whom”.  It would only be “who” if the pronoun was the subject of the sentence.  If it’s not the subject and follows a proposition like “by”, “with” “from” or “for”  or “after” (just to give a few examples) then it changes to “whom”, e.g. For whom is the letter?  With whom did you come? From whom did you get this?
    I know, it’s a bizzum, but to quote Willie Rennie, “What are you gonnae dae, eh?” (Now I’m trying to remember whether that question mark should be inside the quotation marks or outside)

  46. Jeannie says:

    Aw naw – prEposition!

  47. MajorBloodnok says:

    I’m going to have to get every copy of my new novel “For Who the Bell Tolls” pulped now, ain’t I?

  48. Sunshine on Crieff says:

    “PS To save having to scroll through the whole show, does anyone have an approximate broadcast time for Cowan’s remark?”
    Lets’s see. I set off from Crieff Delivery Office at about 12:55 pm, drove to Perth, dropped off my mail collection, set off back and I had just about passed Tescos on my way back. So, it’d be about 1:40 pm.

    Lo and behold, the exchange started at 1 hour, 38 minutes, 30 seconds into the coverage (on iplayer – my transcription).
    Tam Cowan: What about yourself, Keith, on this deal, how’s the ol’ government with the, the disabled…
    Stuart Cosgrove: Well, they’re an absolute disgrace, Tam…
    Keith Ferguson (Scottish Disabled Supporters Association): You’d need to give me another four shows to talk about that one.
    TC: Go on, you can have one hit … for Alex Salmond, or whoever’s listening
    KF: Alex Salmond????
    TC: Go for it, what really sticks in your craw?
    KF: Well. Well, the UK Government’s obviously making a lot of changes just now and a lot of them seem to be negative towards disabled people. There’s a lot of people fighting that… So that’s a big problem just now, but that’s all at UK level(?)
    I’m not sure about Tam Cowan. He well may be a BT, I don’t know, but he doesn’t come across as that savvy when it comes to politics. I can well believe that he is just ignorant when it comes to who is screwing the disabled.

  49. Sunshine on Crieff says:

    ” Whom is an ex-word and you are correct to just choose words based on whether they sound right, rather than whether it confirms to wholly invented internally inconsistent “grammar” invented by ignoramuses in our public schools 150 years ago.”
    So, ask not for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for whom!

  50. Jeannie says:

    Is Dr Whom on tonight?

  51. Matt says:

    On the subject of combating media bias…

    There is an old saying that goes along the lines of “never pick a fight with anyone who buys ink by the barrel.” Now that used to be an important point: anyone who owned a printing press was hugely powerful, as they could distribute information to thousands of households. Now, though, the internet has hugely diminished that power since anyone can broadcast their opinion, but the media are still powerful because people look to them for news and information.
    The media are only powerful because most people trust them, and people especially trust the BBC. The BBC have a reputation for impartiality, and on most subjects they probably deserve that impartiality. But the one source that people trust more than any media outlet, is their family and friends. For this reason, it is important that we keep getting the pro-independence message out there, and also that we gently ease people into the idea that the BBC are not as snow-white as they like to believe.

    Once you start to see them, the lies that we are being told by the media are blatant and ridiculous, and people will turn completely against the No camp once they start to recognise these lies for what they are. So we don’t need to point everything out to people – if we are too aggressive we will seem like crazy zealots – but rather just gently ease them into the idea and then let them see it for themselves.

    That’s my two cents anyway. Happy Yessing folks!

  52. ianbrotherhood says:

    @Sunshine on Crieff-
    Thanks very much for doing that. 
    Cowan’s a smart cookie but, as your suggest, that’s not to say he’s interested in politics. However, when you consider some of the great work he’s done in promoting Burns, and his strong views on language-use, I suspect he’s a lot more aware than he lets on. I’d be astonished and very disheartened if it turns out that he’s a BT supporter.
    I’m sure we’ll get further hints as the referendum draws nearer – if Cowan/Cosgrove do decide to throw their weight behind either side it could be very important, and a tricky one for the Beeb to handle. I don’t have any figures, but I’m pretty sure Off the Ball must be one of Radio Scotland’s most popular (and now, long-running) programmes – those guys are in a strong position and they must know it.
    Would they face disciplinary procedures for expressing referendum-related opinions, making observations, or allowing others to do so, when the exchange of ‘petty and ill-informed’ banter has always been their strongest suit? 

  53. Derick fae Yell says:

    And while we are on getting rid of pointless irrelevant so called grammatical so called rules. Can we get shoot, get shot of and put to bed any complaints about so called split infinitives.  We know where you live, pedants….
    As the Man said ‘aa living language is sacred….’

    The Sun? maybe.  If the polls are going the right way, what better way to gain commercial advantage over the Record.  We shall see

  54. Dee says:

    Get the Sun to attack bbc Scotland on our behalf , they re ready to turn anyway, and they detest the bbc as much as us…Vote Yes

  55. scottish_skier says:

    Not sure why grammar pops up as an issue so often.
    English is not the first language of most Scots so I think a few wee mistakes here and there is forgiveable.

  56. muttley79 says:

    Stuart Cosgrove supports independence. 

  57. Albert Herring says:

    To casually split infinitives is simply unacceptable imo.

  58. velofello says:

    Ah Sir Ming, soon to be elevated to the Housr of Lord  no doubt. As Laird O’ Cockpen?
    To paraphrase the words of the Laird O’ Cockpen sung by Kenneth McKellar:-
    The Laird O’ Cockpen, he’s good an’ he’s great,
    His minds ta’en up wi’ affairs o’ the State
    He wanted a berth England’s brae subs tae keep
    but favourin’ wi’ wooing wis fashous to keep
    Doon Scotia’s west coast a fine loch did dwell
    At the heid o’ the loch he thocht subs wid look swell
    Tae London’s elite he hastened wi’ glee 
    Tae tell o’ his plan an’ exchange pleasantries

  59. johnnypict says:

    It’s becoming more and more difficult to work out which of these basket cases is the biggest effing moron. 

    There is a simple way to get rid of Trident.

    Send all the unionist politicians to some distant planet, (no probs with that as they are all space cadets and may even enjoy the journey). Then nuke the feckers with every warhead availble.

    Problem solved. 

    M and S do umbrellas for £2.49

    Sorry but they are effing morons. If there was a moron competition, they’d all come in first.
    Yes they would!

  60. Boorach says:

    Let’s not forget that the mingling Ming is a lawyer to trade. One who is well versed in saying anything to please the piper’s retainer and he is retained by wasteminster.
    Also he has been there so long Stockholm syndrome could well be setting in! 🙂

  61. CameronB says:

    To declare one would do nothing to defend one’s extended family is simply unacceptable. Ming must have forgotten we will still be neighbours tied by blood, come 2015.

    Vote Yes in 2014.

  62. Morag says:

    Ming!  Let me tell you about the time he tried to explain to me how he knew for a fact Megrahi was guilty as hell, because he’s a lawyer and he knows about these things.  Oh and juries are a seriously bad idea because they don’t have the fine appreciation of the law that he has.

    On second thoughts no, you really don’t want to know.

  63. ianbrotherhood says:

    ‘Stuart Cosgrove supports independence.’
    That’s reassuring. If Cowan is BT (which I doubt) people would pay money to hear them debate it. I know I would. If they can charge punters £8 to listen to Wark and Magnusson reminiscing? No danger.

  64. CameronB says:

    Bit cheeky of me I know, but perhaps the Rev. could set up a permanent quarantine, so that OT subjects can be discussed in more detail, without disrupting the thread?
    I would be very interested to know more about one of my betters, trained in law, and what his opinion might be towards habeas corpus.

  65. BillyBigbaws says:

    On a note of clarification, I hope everybody here is aware that this nuclear “umbrella” isn’t actually a protective thing that guards us against nukes. There is no “umbrella” as such – not even America has that, despite all the bumping of gums about “Star Wars” and “Son of Star Wars.” It was never built, and it never worked, but they have somehow convinced their public that it was and does.

    So when they talk about withdrawing an umbrella, all they mean is they would no longer retaliate on our behalf. Which is great news. If myself and everyone I love got incinerated tonight by a Russian H-bomb, I wouldn’t feel any better about it knowing that millions of Russian civillians would be killed in return.

    Of course the biggest nuclear threat to the UK doesn’t come from Russia anyway – it comes from the UK’s own nuclear arsenal. The MoD could protect us all better, at no extra cost, simply by quitting their habit of sticking fully assembled warheads on the backs of lorries and driving them around on public roads, where they’re at risk of terrorist attack, a simple crash, or for that matter a meteor strike.

    But they won’t stop doing that, as they are bawbags.

  66. Boorach says:

    Wouldn’t it be wonderful if someone stumbled across the one insult that would raise sufficient ire in the cretinous pleb known as ming (though all good highlanders know it’s pronounced as in ‘McKenzie’) he would raise a legal action against them.
    Now, he’s a lawyer so would possibly wipe the floor with me but the joy, the pleasure of having a day in the witness box enjoying the freedom of speech normally reserved for wasteminster in describing him and his chosen lifestyle to the assembled hacks!!! 🙂

  67. Marcia says:

    Will the Sunday Herald come out for a Yes vote next year?
    The front cover of tomorrow’s edition

  68. cirsium says:

    @ Marcia 11.15
    I wonder if Gannett, the owners of The Herald titles, are becoming concerned by the falling circulation and have decided that it would be advisable commercially if one of their newspapers was less negative towards independence?

  69. CameronB says:

    The Herald does seem to be all over the place recently. Here is what they were saying on Friday. Is this the first “positive” case for staying in the union? We are protected by NATO? Protected from who? (had to think about that last word – probably got it wrong ;))

    Fact check please, on Chairchoob’s figures. (I just did a search for Chairchoob, and guess who the first four listings refer too. I use for my search, as it does not track you. Unlike Google).

    MP: Split will mean Scotland cannot join Nato
    Michael Settle
    UK Political Editor
    Friday 8 March 2013
    AN independent Scotland could not join Nato if it gave up nuclear weapons, a UK Government minister has suggested.

    Andrew Robathan, the Armed Forces Minister, speaking during a passionate debate on the Commons Scottish Affairs Committee report about the future of Trident, told MPs: “Membership of Nato comes with the responsibilities; you cannot join Nato and pretend it is not a nuclear alliance, for it is, and you cannot join Nato and object to the concept of nuclear burden-sharing within the alliance.”

    SNP MP Mike Weir pointed out 25 out of 28 Nato members did not have nuclear weapons. He said; “We will join Nato if we don’t have nuclear weapons on our shores; if Nato insists on nuclear weapons, we will not join Nato.”

    He said the Scottish Government’s position was clear: the “monstrous” and “immoral” nuclear weapons would go from an independent Scotland at the first opportunity.

    Asked about how long this would be, Mr Weir said he did not know precisely but explained: “After Scotland votes Yes, there will be a period of 18 months when we negotiate these matters. Trident will be high on that list and I hope by the end of that period we will be well on the way to see that these weapons will be gone from our shores forever.”

    Ian Davidson, the Labour committee chairman, mentioning the future of employment at Faslane, said: “There is 50 years of job security with the UK, 6700 jobs rising to 8200 with the UK, but with separation the position is unknown.”

  70. CameronB says:

    Sorry, I forgot about the J. D.  Wetherspoon’s 4 day “Burn’s weekend”. Is membership of NATO the second “positive” reason for staying in the union?

  71. CameronB says:

    @ Rev. Stuart Campbell
    Apologies if you’d rather I hadn’t re-posted the Herald article,

  72. BillyBigbaws says:

    Does Andrew Robathan know that Iceland is a full NATO member without even having a standing army, never mind nukes?

    Why is it a member, you ask? Because it’s membership helps NATO control the GIUK GAP, a hugely important strategic naval chokepoint which lies between Greenland, Iceland, and….ooops…Scotland.

    No wonder he was such a disaster as a defence minister. Doesn’t know a thing about it, does he? He got the boot for slagging off the sailors who worked on the Arctic convoys during WW2, saying they didn’t deserve medals as they had not been involved in combat operations. But conditions were so harsh on those convoys that it is scarcely believable, and more of them died making those journey than were killed the majority of our naval engagements.

    I really, really hate that guy. Here he is showing himself up as being the very epitome of what we all need to escape from at Dalgety Bay:

  73. BillyBigbaws says:

    Oops, here is the link:

  74. Grahamski says:

    “..when people are so batshit crazy you can’t satirise them..”
    Tee hee.
    This is indeed an irony-free zone…

  75. lupus Incomitatus says:

    Was Cowan not a mate of Tommy Sherriden as was/is Iain Hamilton QC of the stolen Scone fame
    Thanks for the mention from a Weegiewarbler comment  some time back

  76. lupus Incomitatus says:

    Grahamski says:
    10 March, 2013 at 8:10 am

    “..when people are so batshit crazy you can’t satirise them..”Tee hee.This is indeed an irony-free zone…
    The fact that you are free to post your trolling nonsense here says it all?

  77. Holebender says:

    …pity it’s not a Troll-free zone.

  78. Stevie Cosmic says:

    Front page is gone. 503 error.
    I only got here through the old address and then linking specifically to this article.
    Hopefully a minor technical teething problem that’s easy for you to fix 🙂

  79. ianbrotherhood says:

    @lupus Incomitatus-
    Aye, no bother, but I’m not sure what you’re referring to. Can you remind me please?
    Just read that archived thread – powerful stuff. I didn’t view H’s ‘homework’ as I haven’t yet had any breakfast, but the discussion was, well, ‘robust’!

  80. Vronsky says:

    @lupus Incomitatus

    Ian Hamilton is friendly with Tommy Sheridan, no secret, publically documented on Ian’s blog.  I’m not sure if those two characters have much in common although I know they have met socially.  Ian was outraged by the obviously vindictive and political nature of the prosecutions against Sheridan, leaving aside that Tommy is a fool who made several sticks for his own back. 

    Hamilton QC is the Walter Scott of our time, very sensitive about the pure nature of Scots Law and the risk of losing it.  Unfortunately nicking a stone is easier than recovering an ethical and rational judicial system.  May Megrahi’s ghost forgive us.

  81. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “Bit cheeky of me I know, but perhaps the Rev. could set up a permanent quarantine, so that OT subjects can be discussed in more detail, without disrupting the thread?”

    Um, the Quarantine thread IS permanent.

  82. CameronB says:

    @ Rev. Stuart Campbell
    No doubt you have the ability to move comments to a quarantine thread at any time, but is it possible for us to invite one another into quarantine, to discuss OT subjects in more detail?

  83. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    Yes. It’s an open thread, anyone can post in it at any time.

  84. CameronB says:

    @ Rev. Stuart Campbell
    Cheers. I promise I will try not to spend too much time there. 🙂

  85. ianbrotherhood says:

    re Quarantine.
    Morag? A certain ‘Autumn Day’? 
    I would’ve extended an invitation, but am thoroughly hacked-off with her.
    Others have tried right enough… ‘No answer’, came the reply…
    Rev offered the space as a direct result of two threads (on disparate subjects) degenerating into slanging matches (and will surely correct me if that recollection is mistaken). Interestingly, none of those most prominently involved in either dispute chose to take the option.
    Does this mean they only wanted their voices ‘actively’ heard? That they weren’t that bovvered about the actual substance of their arguments? That they feel some aversion to being ‘in quarantine’?
    Me no know. Go figure.
    ‘Quarantine’ should be one of the most interesting places on this site. But it isn’t. Not yet anyway…

  86. CameronB says:

    @ ianbrotherhood
    It has the potential of becoming something of an unruly space, though it will not be without the Rev.’s oversight.
    With regards to Morag, I’m keeping out of it. She is as entitled to her opinion as anyone, and has provided useful information and analysis. I think she might help her case though, if she were to remember that her opinion is of no more significance than that of anyone else. Unless she has particular knowledge that might inform the discussion, that is. What has passed has passed, and is now in the past, where it should stay. I have at least benefited from the experience, as I am now more aware of the space that we share.

  87. ianbrotherhood says:

    Fair do’s, and I understand…
    But wouldn’t it be nice to have an ‘unruly’ place? Just one wee quiet corner where you can go and let rip without worrying that you’re upsetting anyone? That seems, to me anyway, what Rev offered. No-one has exploited that opportunity, and it’s as pathetic as it is depressing.
    Where’s the spirit of ’77? Why aren’t people ranting and raving? Haven’t we the collective intelligence to realise what’s at stake here? If such and such a comment or discussion ends-up in ‘quarantine’, is that such a big deal? FFS, we don’t even have to use our real names!? What’s to be scared of?
    How did we end-up so cowed, fearful, embarrassed about what we really think and feel? This is our weans’ futures we’re discussing here.
    Get real folks. Get fucking REAL. This is no game.
    If Scotland votes to stay in the UK? We will be bent over and relentlessly pounded for decades as punishment. ‘Austerity’ won’t even come into it – we’ll be decimated once and for good, and no comeback, no recount, no second-chance.
    We’re fortunate to have this place, and even more fortunate that it provides a space we can sound-off in – it’s called ‘Quarantine’ and you get it to it by entering that word in ‘Search’ at the top right-hand corner of this page. Go ahead and click it, then use that space to say whatever you want. If you’re out of order I’m sure Rev will let ye know.

  88. Chic McGregor says:

    Can’t remember when I last heard Tam Cowan let Stuart Cosgrove finish anything he was saying or, indeed, say anything remotely witty himself.
    Even Richard Gordon, noted for his unwillingness to proffer opinion, recently said, when Tam was off, that it was amazing what was discussed without his presence.

    Bought and sold for English pies?

  89. Morag says:

    Oh dear, here we go again.

    I thought I had made myself entirely clear, in post after consistent post.  I have absolutely zero interest in discussing 9/11 conspiracy theories in this forum.  None at all.  Been there, seen that, done that, bought the t-shirt and spat the chewed remains on the carpet.  I’m not wasting any more time on that nonsense.

    What I did take exception to was the single-minded determination to hijack a discussion about Lockerbie and turn it into a 9/11 topic.  In particular to strident demands that I should discuss 9/11 rather than Lockerbie on that thread.  I do not think that was unreasonable.

    It is my opinion that Cameron, Ian and Vronsky are so far down the rabbit hole on that one that even Alice would never catch them.  And I am as free to express that opinion here as anyone else is to express their opinions.  RevStu has provided an area where they can go and talk to each other about that or any other off-topic subject that takes their fancy.  If they’re not using it, they really have nothing to complain about.

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