The world's most-read Scottish politics website

Wings Over Scotland

Stupid, stupid, stupid

Posted on December 18, 2012 by

Supporters of independence often level the accusation at Unionists that they think Scotland is “too wee, too poor and too stupid” to thrive on its own. Unionists generally affect great insult at the suggestion, and have taken to being much more circumspect about the first two, nowadays tending to claim that Scotland could survive without Westminster control, just that it shouldn’t, because of all the positive aspects of the Union such as [SUB FILL IN LATER PLEASE].

Accordingly, the “too wee, too poor” element of the argument against independence has taken something of a back seat in the last year or so, and the “too stupid” part has been correspondingly pushed to the foreground.

Firstly, we’re simply told that – for some reason – Scotland does better if all its big decisions are taken in London, leading inescapably to the conclusion that we’re not as bright as our betters to the south. But more crudely, we’re also shown on a regular basis just how bad independence could be.

A month ago we put forward the theory that the appalling performances of the Scottish Parliament opposition, particularly Labour, might actually be some sort of deliberate ploy aimed at undermining the confidence of the Scottish people by terrifying them with the thought of a stupendously incompetent future Holyrood government led by Johann Lamont and her D-team front bench.

That’s not an entirely partisan view, either. On this week’s “For A’That” podcast, Labour activist Ian Smart predicted an SNP victory in the 2016 election regardless of the outcome of the independence referendum, offering this admirably candid opinion of the state of his own party (at 19 minutes in):

“Being honest about it, I don’t think Johann is a credible candidate for First Minister, and I don’t think that the current Holyrood group has anything like the talent necessary to form an administration. There are able people there, but there are very very few of them.”

We were half-joking with our “scorched earth” theory, but on watching Lamont’s appalling car-crash of a performance on Monday’s edition of Scotland Tonight, the idea is becoming much harder to dismiss.

Lamont was interviewed by Bernard Ponsonby on the occasion of having given a speech in Glasgow to mark her first anniversary in notional charge of the Scottish branch of her party. The speech chiefly concerned the future of Scottish education, so you might imagine that Lamont would have been well briefed for questions on the subject. You can watch the interview for yourself for as long as it’s active on the STV Player, but some of her answers really need to be seen in cold black and white, so we’ve set ourselves to our least favourite task – transcribing – in order to preserve them for easy reference. Buckle up, readers.


BERNARD PONSONBY: On the issue of funding for universities, you said in the speech that “a no-change system is essentially regressive”. Can I take it from that that whatever Labour proposes at the next election, it will involve a graduate contribution?

JOHANN LAMONT: Well it’s very hard to see how it could be otherwise. We have said that we’re not in favour of upfront tuition fees, but currently we’ve got a situation where a policy of no tuition fees in higher education is essentially being funded by cutting college funding, with the consequence that has actually for the quality of education. That’s unsustainable, and I recognise in these tough times it may be those with the broadest shoulders can bear… bear the cost.

BP: You were asked a specific question by a Labour student, I didn’t think that you gave him a straight answer. He said “Are fees on the table?” Are they?

JL: Not upfront tuition fees, but a graduate contribution, a way of funding higher education, is being examined. This is part of the review process, testing policy against both its benefits and its consequences. We’ve, as I highlighted before, this is something that we want to do. What we have currently got is a closing down of that debate, and not a recognition that there are consequences, and I want to open that up.

BP: In a sense haven’t you been guilty of perpetual oppositionism in the last year? I mean, you’ve constantly pointed out that the government have been cutting the college budget – 24% over the last two years – but you haven’t actually been making firm pledges. Are Labour committed to restoring the cuts which you say the SNP are making?

JL: Well we will certainly argue in the budget for them to be restored. We know that the, the, the Education Minister is presiding over a situation where £75m a year is funding access to Scottish education for free for students from across Europe. We know that they’re making other funding decisions too, and we will certainly argue –

BP: 24% amounts to approximately how much?

JL: Well, I won’t give you the exact figures just now, but what we would certainly want to do is to highlight the fact that, that that cut should be restored.

BP: What would you cut to restore that?

JL: Well, we’re fortuna- unfortunately not in government, we don’t have access to the figures –

BP: No, but you’re “a politician of tough choices”, and therefore what you want to do is to say, if we’re not going to cut the college budget, you’re going to have to tell the government what they’re going to have to cut in order to protect college budgets.

JL: No, no, no, we don’t have to tell the government, the government has produced a transparent budget, which has not been properly scrutinised, and what we’ll say to them, we believe it is possible to restore those cuts. They should be looking at, you know, end of year monies and so on –

BP: But where should they cut elsewhere?

JL: They should be looking, well, they should be look within their budgets to see what can be done.


We can’t bear any more. The remaining minute or so of the interview was more of the same incoherent, evasive, meaningless noise, in which Lamont identified the high point of her 12 months of leadership as being the local council elections – in which the SNP recorded its highest ever vote, its first-ever victory in the popular vote, and healthily extended its lead over Labour in terms of council seats.

But it’s nothing short of astonishing that Scottish Labour should be happy to send out its “leader” in front of the nation so completely unprepared to deal with the most obvious questions. It’s understandable, if utterly dismal, that Lamont didn’t want to be pinned down on what she’d cut or what policies she’d adopt if she was in charge. But that she didn’t even know how much the cuts she wanted reversed amounted to – a straightforward published fact – must have had Labour supporters weeping in shame and embarrassment in front of their TV screens.

Unless, that is, they really ARE deliberately preparing to make the ultimate sacrifice – of letting the SNP win the 2016 election as the price of making Scotland so frightened by even the tiniest possibility of First Minister Johann Lamont And Her Incredible Cabinet Of Hopeless Numpties that it’ll vote No out of sheer terror.

Scotland Tonight called the evening’s episode “Political Reality Or Political Suicide?” In the light of performances like Lamont’s last night, on top of the party’s recent adoption of massively unpopular Toryesque policies and language, the latter notion – namely that Scottish Labour is deliberately rendering itself unelectable until at least 2020 in order to save the Union – is growing more believable by the day.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

1 Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. 01 01 13 16:52

    Another Review | laidbackviews

109 to “Stupid, stupid, stupid”

  1. cadgers says:

    Thank you for that transcription, I really could not bear to listen to her. 
    “that Scottish Labour is deliberately hurling itself in front of a train for the Union – is growing more believable by the day”
    Surely this is true, if not what?

  2. Aplinal says:

    Hi Rev.  As I can’t get the STV either (what is it with UK broadcasters that it seems EVERYTHING is ‘copyright restricted outside the UK?) I can not see the train crash.  But I can imagine the way it went from the transcript.
    Is it too paranoid to ascribe to your theory?  Maybe it is, not because it isn’t a valid one, but that in this case I think it is not so much conspiracy, as simple, pure incompetence.  Remember that the Labourites were so confident in 2011 that they didn’t give themselves the safety net of the List vote.  So what we are seeing now is a direct consequence of their sheer unbridled arrogance to assume that Scotland would never “turn her back” on the Labour family, that has done SO MUCH good for Scotland in the last 40 years. <irony>
    It is not good for Scotland to have such an inept opposition,  Holyrood should be a more consensual Parliament, and I suspect if the Labour “first team” had been represented, perhaps a few more saner voices would have been heard.  But then I am an optimist!
    I look forward (sic) to FMQs

  3. Seasick Dave (sailing home for Christmas) says:

    There’s an article across on the Herald about Lamont’s ‘leadership’ but I can’t bring myself to click on it or provide a link.

  4. Macart says:

    Oh dang that wasn’t a car crash, more of a train wreck.

    Love the pics Rev. Smiling all the way through coffee break. 🙂 

  5. Training Day says:

    ‘Scottish’ Labour (at least in its publicly represented form) is primarily composed of careerists who will say and do anything to advance themselves (there are plenty of examples of this type in the Labour list intake at the last election) or eejits who have got this far simply by dint of them being part, until recently, of the ruling, static party of favouritism, cronyism and corruption for decades (there are some, like Lamont, who can effortlessly combine the two categories).

    In short, I don’t think there is a Machiavellian conspiracy on the part of Labour to deliberately look bad – they really are that bad, utterly denuded of idea, principle or wit.  I witnessed the debate on ‘Scottish Studies’ in Holyrood at first hand last year and the contributions from Labour were breathtakingly awful, to the extent that Mike Russell’s boredom with their puerility remains the strongest memory of the ‘debate’. 

  6. Sword says:

    Hi Rev.  great article. just one wee picky point.  when asked about the “high points” of her first year in office.  before pointing out the Cooncil elections ,
    JL said , I think it was “still being here…”. Says it all really.

  7. velofello says:

    But but, following independence Labour’s big beasts will return to Scotland you see:
    Curran, Harris,Davidson,yon big lanky Shadowy Defence  guy whose name I’ve forgotten. You know the one, the Herald was forever printing colour photos of him smiling or playing football.  Murphy! That’s his name. Then there’s that wee lassie frae Cumnock, Cathie Jamieson. Looking quite dolled up these days is Cathie, must cost her(?) a bob or two.
    Of this D+ team I do enjoy Curran’s TV performances. Much better prepared than Ms Lamont. At least Curran has gone to the trouble of memorising some Economics terminology, arguably impressive if you haven’t studied economics. And Curran has the appetite “we have big decisions to make” is her mantra.
    Lets be honest – oops that word again – D+ is near to a pass isn’t it? 

  8. Morag says:

    We’re not too wee or too poor, but if we vote no in 2014, we’ll definitely have proved we’re too stupid.

  9. Jeannie says:

    Lamont is questioning the concept of universal benefits and states that benefits should be means-tested and targeted, rather than available to all.
    Yesterday I was wondering why bin emptying is available to all and not means-tested and targeted when clearly some people can afford to pay for it themselves.  And this got me thinking…..bin emptying is a service provided by the local authority and paid for through the council tax. But local authorities get most of their money from government grant.  Well, what exactly is the difference between a “service” provided by government and a “benefit”? At the end of the day, all of it is paid for by our taxes anyway and there will always be some things that some people can afford and others can’t.
    Another example is primary and secondary schools – paid for  and administeredthrough local government and deemed a “service”.  Higher education – paid for by national government is deemed a “benefit”.  Why is higher education not a service?
    NHS treatment is paid for by national government and deemed a “service” (clue is in the name), but the prescription part of that service is deemed a “benefit”.
    The armed forces are paid for by national government and are a “service”, so we don’t need to pay twice for that. Social Work provide a “service” but sometimes you do have to pay for some of their services.  And now back to the bins – now I come to think of it, it’s a “free service” unless you require a bulky uplift, in which case, you pay twice. So is the weekly bin uplift actually a “benefit”, and not a “service” after all?
    Honestly, I haven’t been breaking into the Christmas sherry early this year, and I’m not trying to be obtuse, I’m just wondering what exactly the difference is between a benefit and a service, who decides which one is which (is it because of statute or is it arbitrary) and why.
    How exactly do you differentiate between a service and a benefit? If you can’t objectively define these terms, how can you insist that some should be universal and some should be means-tested?

  10. sneddon says:

    I would agree with Training Day I think scottish labour are that bad,  there is no strategy behind their awfulness..  In the event of a YES vote I  cannot imagine the current lot(here or westminister) being elected to govern.  Best bet for ‘scottish labour’ is to form a new labour party ideally from those nice folks at Labour for Independence.  You know the ones with real values and aspirations for all the people living in Scotland and it has to be  totally seperate from rUK labour.  And they can show the rUK labour what a real labour party looks like.  I think the phrase I’m looking for  is ‘git it right up them’

  11. Craig P says:

    I can’t hold to your theory Rev, for the following reason. If they had the brains and discipline to follow such a course of action, then they would be good enough to provide a potential alternative Scottish government, which surely would be preferable from Labour and the union’s point of view?

  12. Pa Broon says:

    Lamont is not looking at the big picture, possibly because in terms of independence she can’t or won’t.

    In terms of paying for university tuition and all the other stuff Jahann thinks we can’t afford, I’m not thinking in terms of cuts to college funding to pay for uni funding, I (and I think many others) are talking about cutting things like trident, air craft carriers and the running costs there-of.

    This is why Lamont can’t win this and it should be pointed out at every opportunity. We can afford these things as long as we cut the right things, and in this instance its the unaffordable aspirations of Westminster we need to be shot of.

  13. Training Day says:

    @Pa Broon

    Spot on , Pa, and it highlights the essential mendacity of the likes of Newsnight Scotland last night which attempted to ‘normalise’ Lamont’s ‘something for nothing’ drivel (with the aid of someone from ‘Taxpayer Scotland’ which was based in Southampton!).  The question should not be ‘can we afford free higher education/free prescriptions etc.?’ but rather can we afford not to stop funding Trident, foreign wars, quantitative easing etc..

    A question I expect to be asked by BBC journalists any time soon.. it’s coming, honest..

  14. Macart says:

    @Pa Broon

    Spot on Pa. Re tasking a budget to suit our own requirements means easily affordable benefits, education and healthcare. Invading Jura for its very nice whisky resource and bombing the crap out of new and interesting foreign climes will not be high on a budgetary ‘to do’ list. 🙂

  15. Doug Daniel says:

    “her first anniversary in notional charge of the Scottish branch of her party”


    Johann: “Well, we’re fortuna- unfortunately not in government”

    Oooh, almost let the mask slip there, Johann! Lucky you’re so quick-witted, eh?

    Labour seem to be choosing college funding over university funding. I just see that as the sort of lowering of expectations that is so typical of Labour. People should be aspiring for greatness, not settling for second-best. “Hey, university is too expensive, but at least you can do a college course!” The idea that back-end fees are somehow okay is a nonsense, because the punitive graduate endowment fee was abolished for good reason – it was a ridiculous situation to get to the stage of graduating, only to be told “oh, you have to pay a couple of thousand to actually graduate.”

    An educated populace makes for a better society. Many of the social ills we have in Scotland could be improved with education, yet right-wing ideologues would rather keep education as the preserve of the already-privileged. The idea that graduates add nothing to wider society and must thus be taxed extra is just wrong – I already pay more tax than I would have if I hadn’t gotten a degree, and the idea that doctors, nurses and teachers should be taxed extra because they went to university to learn how to do their jobs is so short-sighted. Of course, the likes of Johann would probably say “oh well we could have exemptions for certain degrees”, but then you get into a situation of defining which degrees are “worthy” and which aren’t – creating yet another artificial split in society for politicians to later expose for turning sections of society against each other when pushing through “controversial reforms”.

    It baffles me that this stupid woman a) is a former teacher (would YOU want your kid being taught by her?!?) and b) somehow got an MA in English & History from Glasgow University. The only relevance she has to a debate on education is to highlight that our systems are not perfect, since we clearly allow some right turds to get through.

  16. Jeannie says:

    @pa broon
    Yes, I would agree.  It’s nonsense for her to suggest that colleges are losing out because of funding going to the universities.  There’s plenty of money to fund the colleges once you cut out the things most of us do not want funded, like Trident.

  17. David McCann says:

    I too watched the interview with Ponsonby. Train crash describes it perfectly. I also watched the follow up on Scotland Tonight with so called experts discussing her speech (two unionists apparatchiks). They missed no opportunity to slag off the SG, until John MacKay intervened to say that nobody was here to defend the SNP. So why not? Why choose two journalists to discuss universal benefits, on the day the Jimmy Reid Foundation published a document outlining just why we should retain them? Why not have Prof Mike Danson or Prof Paul Spicker one of the four authors of “The Case for Universalism”? Is that too much to hope for from our broadcasters?

  18. Ally says:

    I think Training Day has been on the festive sherry already!

    If Lamont thinks education is expensive, try ignorance! (Or perhaps that is her tactic & she is more intelligent than we give her credit for – heaven forbid!)  

  19. Seasick Dave (sailing home for Christmas) says:

    The thing that I don’t get is she is attacking the well off for getting something for nothing when, in fact, they have already paid for it through their taxes.

  20. Training Day says:


    The photos of Lamont above were enough to push me into an early libation or two, ’tis true 😉

  21. james morton says:

    If this is the plan – then could it not also backfire to such an extent that people will think “Bloody Hell! – these are the morons who want us to stay in the Union? Don’t Forget folks, that Ed “Think of me as Thatcher” Milliband is operating on the same level as Lamont.

    In the end, I think there is nothing here but rank incompetence, Belligerent Imbecility, mandacity, outright stupidity and cartoonishly inept bungling, by a party of 2nd rate toon cooncilors who got promoted 2 levels to high than their limited abilities can cope with.

    I see no plan here. I think that they thought they’d get Salmond to back down over the single question issue. I think they thought they would get to dictate the acutal question and when it would be asked. I think they thought the scare tactics would have worked by now. They thought leveson would finish Salmond and they thought the EU issue would have dealt the death blow.

    They are flailing around arguing for the status quo. But the status quo is being undermined every single day to such an extent, that the status quo is really asking for people to accept regressive policies and cuts to services. The NO vote really is a vote for nothing whatsoever.

  22. Jeannie says:

    If Lamont thinks education is expensive, try ignorance
    Well said, Ally.

  23. molly says:

    Like many, I cannot listen to this woman and laughed when the commentators in the studio suggested she needs to raise her profile. It is interesting that ‘political  pundits’ throughout the year,have praised her and feel she is making some headway in regards to Alex Salmond-come out your bubble,cos thats not what the ‘ordinary people (the voters ) say to me.
     I have half expected J Lamont to hold the fort ,then someone with some credibility to step forward to take the Labour Party forward in Scotland but at the moment, I can’t think who that would be?
     It does raise several questions about the mindset though, bearing in mind, it was the ‘unions’ who got this woman elected, ah democracy..oh what tangled webs we wieve etc
     The Labour Party in Scotland reminds me of the middle manager who has neither read the new policy or understands the concept but will at all costs harass,cajole and basically jump up and down until the workforce acknowledge it. They in prime preservation mode  and haste to ‘think/feel they are a mover and shaker are blissfully unaware that they are being played.The senior manager above them could’nt care less how its implemented or the repercussions only that the chosen policy is implemented. Throw in the mix ,for goodwill ,they’ll even write your script thus being able to keep the message right for the senior manager and the middle manager on track,this is basic management not how potential Government bodies with the responsibility that entails, should be operating -scary scary stuff.
    As one below the parapit,I also am beginning to seriously question ‘the vision’ of union officials who think Mizz Lamont is First Minister material or as I have thought a few times recently,there is a large swathe of people in Scotland who are now more vocal or their views are more obvious who have woken up and are saying –whit !!!
    A ‘ caretaker’ is no longer good enough ,(as has been has proven since 2007), Scotland requires/deserves a First Minister who puts Scotland first. The worrying thing for Mizz Lamont is,if for some strange reason she was to become FM, these people would not just disappear and neither would their expectations !
     More power to the likes of Allan Grogan ,you stick by your values and you can only go upwards and onwards !

  24. Training Day says:


    Molly, Lamont has to be talked up by the Unionist media and Unionist pundits, even if in their heart of hearts they feel she is a disaster.  All their eggs are in her basket. 
    That is why her something for nothing speech was reprinted verbatim in the Daily Mail, and she has been the subject of repeated puff pieces in that same organ (not least from the pen of the now ludicrous John MacLeod).  The sight of a Labour ‘leader’ being extolled by a newspaper which supported Mosley’s Blackshirts says more eloquently than anything else how far the Labour Party have degenerated.

  25. douglas clark says:

    Quite an astonishing collection of BTL comments over on Magnus Gardham’s article about Lamont’s Damascene conversion. Quite a few from ex-Labour supporters.
    If that is typical then OGH may have a point. Labour actually want the Scottish Parliament to be reduced to a colonial administration doing what London wants. I think that that is the role and the shape of the Parliament that Johann aspires to. She could probably handle that.

  26. Macart says:


    Well we’ve got two things to remember Molly 1. There is no Scottish Labour and ergo no Scottish policies 2. Mr Ed is determined to win through on his push for middle England votes on his shoogly peg of ‘One Nation’. One nation does not require multiple national policies or solutions only one set of policies fits all. Aaaaand thereby hangs another problem – Labour has no policies on pretty much anything. They have become perpetual moaners in opposition as ably demonstrated by Johann and highlighted by Mr Ponsonby last night.

  27. Juteman says:

    It is a puzzling situation. If Labour was really serious about the Union, wouldn’t they have made sure a ‘big hitter’ was in place as leader at this time in history?
    As we’re on the subject of conspiracy theories, how about this.
    Maybe some Labour bods actually want independence, and see Lamont as the best way to get it? 🙂

  28. ronald alexander mcdonald says:

    The Labour Party branch in Scotland is in a terrible dilema. It’s orders are to maximise MP’s for Westminster. Everything else is secondary- including what’s best for Scotland. 

    That’s why they can’t propose real fiscal powers for the Scottish Parliament, aka Devo Max, as there would be no/minimal requirement for MP’s from Scotland.  I don’t think their masters in London are that bothered about an SNP govt. in Scotland, providing there’s a NO vote. 

    Therefore, they are unelectable as a Scottish govt, hence Ian Smart’s comments. All they will propose is to devolve existing fiscal powers to local authorisites. Brown Bags all over the place?     

  29. Vronsky says:

    If you’re right that utter incompetence is in fact the Labour strategy (playing to their strengths, I suppose) then it’s a risky one.  I recently got into conversation with an English woman who had spent most of her working life in Africa before retiring to Scotland.  My wife asked her how she meant to vote in the referendum.  ‘I’ll probably vote yes’ she said ‘if only because of the ineptitude of the others’.  I’m sure she won’t be alone in that judgement.  Jeez – they’re not even good at being incompetent.

  30. AndrewFraeGovan says:

     Not all trade union members are Labour supporters 😉 😉

  31. muttley79 says:

    A decent article by Harry Reid in the Herald:

    ‘At the end of the year, where do we stand in the Great Scottish Independence Debate?

    I admit straightaway to being very sympathetic to the Yes campaign. Yet I hope I am open- minded enough to allow myself to be persuaded, against all my current instincts, to consider changing my mind if the Better Together campaign can come up with some genuine, realistic positivity about Scotland’s future as a constituent part of the UK. Unfortunately what we are getting right now is relentless, unremitting and very tedious negativity. I suppose a No campaign is by definition going to be negative, but even so some of those making the case for the continuation of the Union might allow themselves to look, just occasionally, for a brighter perspective.

    Two days ago I read a piece by the leader of Better Together, Alistair Darling, which consisted of a sustained, swingeing attack on the SNP. But Mr Darling is a model of discretion and good manners compared to some of the others trying to make the Unionist case. Take Lord Lipsey, who last week accused John Swinney of acting like a scoundrel. I cannot think of a more honourable and decent politician than Mr Swinney; he is manifestly no scoundrel. On the other hand, if the good lord were to take a look round his own environs in the south, I’m sure he would soon find many who could validly be called scoundrels, although it’s a very forceful term of abuse.

    So the big problem for those on the No side of this extended debate is this: How can they get away from all their loose slanging and name calling? How can they escape the shackles of dismal negativity in which they are currently trapped? I wish somebody – Alistair Darling, Lord Lipsey, anyone at all – would present an exciting, coherent and credible view of the Unionist future. I’m sure that such an uplifting, persuasive vision exists in someone’s mind somewhere. Why has it not been shared with the rest of us?

    Of course there is still time – nearly two years of it. But that raises another serious problem for the No campaign. The Scottish referendum will take place when the next UK General Election is looming. This election could well be one of the most rancid and divisive in recent history. Okay, that sounds negative, and I’m criticising Forward Together for negativity.

    But seriously, is the next UK General Election going to be fought in a climate of sweetness and light? Will it be notable for positivity, optimism and respect for opponents? Hardly. Labour and Tory politicians will be at each other’s throats and the Liberal Democrats will be desperately trying to disassociate themselves from the Tories. So how on earth will these three parties manage to drop all their differences and divisions and present a united and friendly front as the Scottish independence debate reaches its climax? Will that not seem somewhat hollow, even phoney? As the months roll on, Better Together will be promoting a very peculiar kind of togetherness.

    The current campaign is leading to a referendum; if Scotland votes Yes that will not be the end of the matter, just another stage, albeit pivotal, on the journey. There will follow a crucial period of two or three years before Scotland can become effectively and formally independent. Much will have to be thrashed out in that intervening period. This renders a lot of the current scaremongering and slanging so much hot air and acrid, obscuring smoke.’



  32. Commenter says:

    Off topic. I haven’t been able to access Newsnet Scotland these last two days. Is anything the matter with it?

  33. AndrewFraeGovan says:

    Strange. I’ve not had any problems with Newsnet. They have gone on holiday, but the site’s still up with comments enabled.

  34. Edulis says:

    #David McCann

    I too was totally unimpressed with Simon Pia in particular. His first thought is to attack the SNP at all costs, but last night he got his nickers in a twist, by first of all saying that universalism was priveleging the priveleged, then going on to say that what governments should be doing is increasing general taxes. Is it not the mantra of New Labour to specifically not increase taxes, because of their need to appeal to middle England? How does he envisage this cherished aspiration to come about?

    Rememberr this is the guy who fed Ian Gray his punch lines – nuff said.    

  35. muttley79 says:

    I did not see Pia on Newsnicht as I have given up on it.  I have seen him before.  He strikes me as a Scottish Labour bitter ender, someone who is either unwilling or unable to deal with the change in Scottish politics in the last two decades.  All Pia is doing is becoming more and more Conservative.  That they are now supporting the most extreme Conservative agenda has increased the bitterness of those remaining loyalists in Scottish Labour to unprecedented levels.  They have moved away from everything they held, or professed to hold, dear.  No more talk about opposition to nuclear weapons, social inequality, constitutional change, socialism or even social democracy.  They have only succeeded in becoming the New Tories.

  36. AnneDon says:

    While I am worried about Labour’s scorched earth policy in Scotland, what about Scotland Tonight? I thought it was going to present, at least, a balanced view of Scottish politics, compared to Newsnichts relentless unionism.
    I asked them (ironically, I admit) via Twitter if the Lamontable one would be present in the studio for questions, but received no answer.  The presence of two unionist stooges in the studio – or are we supposed to forget ‘journalist’ Simon Pia’s past – suggests impartiality is not a consideration.
    Do these tv presenters and journalists live in such a bubble that they think this is the way to do things? Coming on the heels of falling Scottish newspapers sales, I would suggest that, even if they do, the Scottish public do not. I can’t wait for the public to connect the dots between these media dolts and the unionist politicians they serve.

  37. Commenter says:

    AndrewFraeGovan Thanks.

  38. molly says:

    No thats a fair point AndrewfraeGovan,just unfortunately the couple of union ‘officials’ I do know are kind of old school and still seem to think somehow the Labour Party is the only party in Scotland.

  39. Yesitis says:

    If only Scotland had a reasonably unbiased media, with equal and impartial coverage to Labour as well as the SNP; we would all see just how useless Labour are to any concept of a modern Scotland. Any kind of TV exposure offers Labour enough rope to hang themselves; they duly oblige.
    After the Johann Lamont interview on STV last night, we were treated to two Unionists discussing her first year in charge of Labour in Scotland. Healthy debate? Over on Newsnight, the rise in Scotland`s population became an excuse to show Scots that Johann Lamont really was brave (and forward thinking) to start the dehbate on how we really can`t afford to do things the SNP way.
    Oh deary me.

  40. muttley79 says:

    The pattern of the Scottish politics since the opening of the Scottish Parliament has been the rise of the SNP and the fall of Scottish Labour.  The traditional media have tried their utmost to hide this development.  Unfortunately for them the 2011 Scottish elections meant that they could no longer even do this.  The scale of Scottish Labour’s problems could not be hidden anymore, particularly with a referendum on independence on the way.  BBC Scotland and the newspapers have now got themselves into a position where they have to pretend that Lamont and Scottish Labour are on the right track and are credible.  However, the reality is completely different, Lamont does not have the basic articulation, intelligence, and vision necessary to be a leader of a major political power.  This disconnect between what the traditional media are trying to convince the Scottish electorate is happening and the reality is becoming ridiculous.  It is like the ramblings of the Iraqi Minister of Information during the Iraq war. 

  41. Cuphook says:

    If I was a Scottish journalist I’d be annoyed at JL’s and Labour’s contempt for my career. She wants to be First Minister but can’t be bothered learning the basic facts regarding any argument. She’s had an easy ride for too long.

    I thought that the queen’s attendance at the UK Cabinet meeting today was a joke of some sort, but, no. Yet more symbolism to placate those having a ‘great’ Britain. Surely this wee visit signals the direction that the government hope to take the country in – the divine right of posh boys to rule.

    And what of the bizarre naming of a chunk of Antarctica after the queen? Is this country a Ruritanian joke?

    Okay, I admit to partying last night and having a long lie in – but how did I wake up in a light opera?

    Seriously, am I missing something? 

  42. Doug Daniel says:

    You know when you want to give an example of media bias, but you can never quite remember any precise examples off-hand which characterise the bias you know exists?

    Well, remember when the media went crazy over the one-year anniversaries of Willie Rennie and Ruth Davidson’s leaderships earlier this year?

    Nope, me neither.

    incidentally, in regards to Scotland Tonight last night, they were definitely wrong to choose the guests they did, as they were clearly never going to get a balanced discussion about Johann’s leadership. However, they did at least highlight the fact that Simon Pia was a former Labour spin doctor, which is more than can be said of the BBC the many times they introduce Lorraine Davidson as a “journalist” rather than “former spin doctor with a history of relationships with elected Labour politicians”.

  43. Boorach says:

    Noweveryone knows why anus sewer has been sent up north  to be the dummy’s ventriloquist!! 😆

  44. The_Duke says:

    This just in from the SNP wesite;
    Blair will “play a part” in ‘No’ campaign

    Welcoming reports that former Prime Minister Tony Blair said at a Press Lobby lunch at Westminster today that he is “happy to play a part” in the No campaign in the autumn 2014 referendum on an independent Scotland, the Scottish National Party said that it was his “illegal” war in Iraq which demonstrated the need for the Scottish Parliament to have the powers of independence.

    Kenneth Gibson SNP MSP said:

    “Tony Blair’s cack-handed intervention at Westminster that he will ‘play a part’ in the ‘No’ campaign is an early Christmas present for ‘Yes’.

    “Margaret Thatcher’s visit to Scotland in the final stages of the Scottish Parliament referendum in 1997, urging Scots to vote ‘No’, was a big boost to the ‘Yes’ campaign at that time. It was her unfair and divisive policies – imposed on Scotland with no mandate from the people – which made it clear that devolution was essential.

    “Similarly, Tony Blair dragging the country into an illegal, immoral war in Iraq on the basis of false pretences was a compelling illustration of the need for our parliament to have the full powers of independence.

    “Scotland needs a parliament with the ability to speak with our own voice in the world, get rid of nuclear weapons, and build a fair society and strong economy. That is why we need an independent Scotland – and the more often Tory Blair argues for ‘No’, the stronger the ‘Yes’ vote will become.”

  45. Elizabeth Sutherland says:

    I see a that “Tony Blair” may be heading up the No side in that he is happy to help in any way that he can, according to the guardian,s latest hot news. Unionists must be getting desperate. That man will win the yes vote for us.

  46. Oldnat says:

    I love this Better Together photo that they have tweeted

    under the heading “Felicity, one of our volunteers, is helping us with our Christmas delivery.”

    Have you seen anything as sad as that ever? Pair wee lonely sowl. ;-(

  47. Elizabeth Sutherland says:

    Sorry OOOOOOOOOOOps wrong paper “Scotsman”

  48. Jeannie says:


  49. dadsarmy says:

    Elizabeth, thanks – from the Scotsman: “Kenneth Gibson SNP MSP said: “Tony Blair’s cack-handed intervention at Westminster that he will ‘play a part’ in the ‘No’ campaign is an early Christmas present for ‘Yes’.”

    Indeed, and added to the two articles in the Herald about Sir David’s paper about EU membership, it’s shaping up well to wassail around the Christmas Tree, with a glass of Scotland’s increasing export commodity.

  50. Embradon says:

    Sorry, slightly O/T but using the tenuous connection of useless politicians:
    Michael Moore, elected on a mandate to abolish Scot Office, is appointed Secretary of State for Scotland by a government with no mandate here. He is now giving evidence to a self appointed, 100% unionist committee of the unelected House of Lords on Scottish Independence.
    Democracy in action?
    Just how out of touch can Westminster get?

  51. MajorBloodnok says:

    I wonder if they’ll call him a scoundrel?  Cads and bounders every man jack of them (and I should know).

  52. dadsarmy says:

    Rev: “so we’ve set ourselves to our least favourite task – transcribing”

    Thanks a lot. I’m kind of sick of these programs now, but it’s great that people can take the time and trouble to lift highlights, and yes, transcription is a real pain, I tried it on the Barroso BBC interview in September(?) and gave up after an hour of listening to the same same same same same same same same same sentence over and over to get it right. Luckily bitthick had more perseverance than me.

  53. velofello says:

    oldnat ref Felicity:

    No one to talk to, all by myself
    They’ve left me to it, to stack these on the shelf
    Ain’t misbehavin, just doing what they tell me to

    I don’t get out much, got no place to go
    i just sit an’ listen to my BBC radio
    Ain’t misbehavin, boxin all this stuff for you

    Like Jackie Horner, they’re in a corner
    No ideas, an’ no policies,yet
    Your votes they’re counting on
    Believe me


  54. Oldnat says:

    Do try and catch Sir John Grieve’s evidence to the Lords Committee on Scots Indy!

    No one had briefed him not to tell the truth, point out what actually happens in the EU/EEA area already wiith banking, and not to call Forsyth’s scaremongering question “loaded”

  55. Boorach says:

    Wonder if Felicity’s on workfare? 😆

  56. Midgehunter says:

    Download “Expat Shield” and with it you can creat a substitute Brit. IP and can thereafter watch bbc, ITV or STV live or watch “catch-up” programmes.
    Then you don’t get to miss the fun of watching Lamentable in her natural habitat.
    Hope you get this info … :-))

  57. Aplinal says:

    Thanks Midge.  I have been told this by someone else, so will look into it.  I can catch Holyrood live on their TV web site. And sometimes I can find a “stream” online.  But it is inconvenient.

  58. Holebender says:

    For those who wonder why certain “free” services/benefits are not questioned by Labour while others are, I think the key factor is delivery of said services. If they’re under the control of a local council they are sacrosanct. If they are provided by central government they are open to attack. Labour has decided to retrench as the party of local authorities and this is them protecting their turf at the expense of the SNP’s balliwick.

  59. NorthBrit says:

    I couldn’t help noticing that the initials on the poster spelt out
    “A S UK” or “AsS aUK”
    depending on whether you include the lower case or not.
    They should work on their subliminal messaging.

  60. Oldnat says:


    I’m sure that Felicity would be horrified to appear below a poster with the first of suggested acronym! 

  61. douglas clark says:

    I am a bit cheesed off at the Herald right now.
    Someone I disagree with completely asked for a link to the origins of an article, Despite the fact that it was their ‘scoop, they wouldn’t allow me to link to the original source.
    Anyway, without a complete utter apology from them, which I don’t expect in the least:
    This is what I said as a final write off:
    “Just ’cause you had the last post here, I have added this. I apologise that it is certainly off topic, but, as it calls the Herald’s editorial process into disrepute, it will probably disappear in a moment or two. Journalists are not telling you the truth jim.

    Anyway, death of a glittering career as a commentator on here. I said:

    “I hope I was helpful. By a process of discussion we can all move forward. It is a tad worrying that this newspaper refused a link to the original article.


     Can you explain why you did that? And why you removed any criticism of the Herald from the post that you did allow?

    It cannot be because you are taking a partisan point of view. John MacIntyre OBE and I are on completely opposite sides of the debate. It must be because it criticised your newspaper.

    Grow up and learn.

    And why you don’t help us all out here with advice about acceptable and unacceptable posts is the operation of a shower of idiots.

    Just deleting stuff is not on.

    I have seen you do it to others, and, by the way this post has been copied, and will be published elsewhere.

    Answer the question.

    Why did you delete a link to the source of your article?”

  62. Scott Minto (Aka Sneekyboy) says:

    O/T – Toxic ‘cyber nats’ give the Scots a bad name


    We are all Anti-English, Racist, Beligerent, Nasty, Nasty Cybernats…

    If you cant beat your opponents message, demonise them…

    Unionist tactics 101

    P.S Do NOT have anything that can be thrown nearby when reading!!!       

  63. Scott Minto (Aka Sneekyboy) says:

    @Duglas Clark

    I’m back on the Naughty step at the herald for including links in my posts and noting that the Heralds editorial line seems to be anti-independence…

    I may never again be free to post without moderation.

    I have tried to post when I see something wrong with articles but the post goes up days later and the article has been amended in the interim.

    I’m going to keep on though because I do feel that the mis-information needs countered.      


  64. douglas clark says:

    Revised version:

    Apologies Peter, I wanted this to be my last ever post on this ridiculous forum, because forum it is not. I am replying to some guy called John MacIntyre OBE and he and I are about as far apart as you can get. But moderators are the pits.
    After the brain dead morons that administer this site determined that a link to the source of this article was worthy of deletion, they did exactly that. I wrote again, in more circumspect language about the source of this. I made the point that the Herald moderators had made mugs of themselves. If you can’t see the source what are we to believe? That too was deleted. It is the Herald way.
    I am frankly beyond caring about a newspaper I used to read daily.
    Anyway, this was my comment to John MacIntyre OBE:
    “At least you found it.
    I hope I was helpful. By a process of discussion we can all move forward. It is a tad worrying that this newspaper refused a link to the original article.”
    Can you explain why you did that? And why you removed any criticism of the Herald from the post that you did allow?
    It cannot be because you are taking a partisan point of view. John MacIntyre OBE and I are on completely opposite sides of the debate. It must be because it criticised your newspaper.
    Grow up and learn.
    And why you don’t help us all out here with advice about acceptable and unacceptable posts is the operation of a shower of idiots.
    Just deleting stuff is not on.
    I have seen you do it to others, and, by the way this post has been copied, and will be published elsewhere.
    Answer the question.
    Why did you delete a link to the source of your article?
    I don’t know about you, dear reader, but, for me they are the pits.


    Scott, ammended to add thanks! I fear I have done the dangerous thing, trying to bring their moderators out into the daylight. I know I will fail, but it feels good anyway!

    Bit of a learning experience about how absolutely corrupt the press is to a free debate.

  65. Dubbieside says:


    I think that the “journalist” who wrote Toxic cybernats is none other than Mrs Alan Cochrane.

  66. Morag says:

    I have never, ever had a post go through without moderation on the Herald.  At first it was “if we don’t know you very well….” and I thought they would lift the moderation in due course, but they never did.  Of course I have also criticised the paper’s editorial judgements.
    Coincidentally, that’s the reason I was put on permanent moderation on NNS too.  Criticising an article which contained errors the author would not correct.
    I stopped buying the Herald about ten days ago.  I wrote to the editor to tell him why.  I hope he read it, but what good does one letter do?

  67. Dubbieside says:

    Now the good news, the Herald is reporting that Micheal Moore was savaged by the House of Lords committee today.

  68. Morag says:

    Never mind, Sneekyboy.  Sing along with Hazel.

  69. Jeannie says:

    It does seem that more “services” are delivered at local level and more “benefits” at national level, and of course local authorities have a statutory duty to provide certain services, but so does national government, e.g. defence of the realm.
    Thing is, why is anything at all, which is paid for by the taxpayer, referred to as a “benefit”, when it is clearly a service.  We pay taxes to the government to provide us with services, not benefits. If you use the name “service”, it is obvious that it is part of the contract between government and taxpayer and it is something you are therefore perfectly entitled to, but if you arbitrarily change the name to “benefits”, it seems to allow certain politicians, for their own ends, to raise the question of whether you should be entitled to the benefit or not and to define the terms for entitlement to suit themselves.  I think it is the notion that government provides “benefits” which is the canard. If we eliminate the word “benefits” and just use the word “services”, it becomes much more difficult to moralise about who should have access to these services.

  70. dadsarmy says:

    Douglas (and Sneekyboy) I posted a link to SCFF and it stayed up OK.

    A week ago I posted a criticism of the Herald and it was removed, reposted it reworded in two paragraphgs, and the 2nd paragrpah with the criticism (mild) was moderated out, leaving the first paragraph.

    I guess their moderation policy is to accept absolutely no criticsm of the Herald or its journalists or editors, and they just administer that policy 100%. Shrug. I guess it’s their right – otherwise perhasp where do they draw the line and then it gets more and more abusive.

    I’m still post-moderated, so I guess I’ll wathc my step or it’ll be all Michael and John to strut their stuff. Mind you, they do do a good job for the YES campaign …

  71. dadsarmy says:

    I think it is important to post in the Herald though. I get the feeling the reporters do read what we say. I prefer to do my criticism by applauding the good stuff, and errr, not applauding the not so good stuff.

  72. douglas clark says:

    Contrary to you, I have never previously had a comment declined. Err…. to my immediate knowledge. Obviously, this has aleady changed.
    It is the pits to discover that a newspaper you had some faith in is no better than Pravda..
    Frankly their silent and secret moderators are a complete and utter disgrace to freedom of speech.
    I want to know, in an Ally McCoist sort of way, exactly who they are.
    Sorry about that, but I do!
    Without some sort of genuine standards we can all assume that they are just bought and sold for gold.
    BTL is not journalism, it is what people can bring to a discussion. Because, often, they know more about anything than the people that start a topic. Why should anyone be surprised by that? Why would anyone censor that?
    Just because they can?
    Fuck that.
     I am, perhaps, pushing my own agenda too far on a site I love,

    But it has to be said somewhere that we are being marginalised and disallowed to make our case on what, I think, ought to be a free forum, i.e. The Herald.

    That, dear friends, is how it is.

    Decent web sites will either tell you who the moderator is or explain their moderation. The Herald does neither.

  73. Morag says:

    Here’s the full text of the letter I wrote to the Herald last month.
    Dear Sir,

    The Herald was the daily newspaper in our house when I was a child.  My parents took both the Herald and the Evening Times.  When I started to outgrow the Bunty I eschewed the Jackie and its like and graduated straight to the newspapers.  My father cancelled his Evening Times subscription when I was coming up to my Highers because he thought reading two newspapers every evening was interfering with my homework.

    I began to have letters published in the paper, and as far as I recall I didn’t have any letter I sent either rejected or edited throughout the 1970s and 1980s.  In the 1980s I moved to England and tried my damnedest to continue getting the Herald daily, with mixed success.  A postal subscription usually delivered six newspapers together every Saturday, and had to be cancelled.  In the end I was reduced to buying it whenever I was in London and could find it on sale.  In the late 1990s I started reading it online.

    In 2006 I returned to Scotland, and when I was househunting one of my main stipulations was that the house had to be somewhere where a schoolboy could be induced to deposit a Herald on my doormat before 8 o’clock.  Reading the actual paper with my breakfast after all these years was one of the great pleasures of my homecoming.

    It is a source of immense sadness to me (and possibly to my local newsagent and the above-mentioned schoolboy who is an obliging little fellow) to realise that I have to cancel my Herald subscription.  This physically hurts.  I actually walked into the newsagent’s shop to do it about six times and came out unable to say the words, until finally I managed to do the deed.  My breakfast companions will probably be internet blogs now, in lieu of a newspaper that can deal honestly with political issues and actually tell the truth.

    The political bias in the Herald has been becoming too much for me for some time, and since Magnus Gardham’s appointment it has become intolerable.  I have also been aware that if I write to the paper, no matter how short or carefully-crafted the letter, it will be edited to add a spin away from the message I had intended to convey.  I had thought that online commenting might be freer from editorial manipulation but find that not to be the case.

    In recent weeks I have been more and more aware of the intentionally slanted and biassed headlines and news stories, and, more disturbingly, of flat-out lies given front-page prominence then belatedly acknowledged in an inch-long column in a corner of an inside page.  It’s all too much.  If in future I become aware that the Herald is again a paper worth reading, I will be delighted to renew my subscription.  I look forward to that day.  In the mean time, after more than 40 years of readership, I must bid you farewell.

  74. dadsarmy says:

    To be honest Douglas if we can’t discuss our tactics for online posting in MSM media threads openly here for instance, well, where else can we?

    I guess my main cause is to do my best to encourage parts of MSM I feel I’ve got a chance of reaching, to become more impartial and better and fairer in their reporting. The Herald is worth it. For instance the two articles it posted on Sir David’s views – he’s no politician or political party, and so far at least every other outlet has ignored the story – because it doesn’t suit them. As opposed to about 427 articles about Barroso. Well, that’s good for the Herald.

  75. Aplinal says:


    Online in the H.  “Moore savaged by Unionist peers”.   It gives most of the quotes criticising him/UK government for refusing to seek clarification on EU position.  I was quite surprised at the headline, and the article.

    As you say, it’s not all bad news. 

  76. Bill C says:

    Just listened to Robin McAlpine of the Jimmy Reid Foundation speak on behalf of the poor, the sick, the elderly and the youth of Scotland on Newsnight Scotland. Robin outlined an articulate case for universalism. He spoke in terms that I suspect most Scots would applaud wholeheartedly.  Jimmy Reid, one of Scotland’s greatest sons has left us a legacy which is invaluable in our struggle for self determination.  It is a legacy which says YES we will look out for our poor, our sick our elderly and the education of our young people and to achieve  these noble ideals; we are going to vote YES to governing ourselves.

  77. douglas clark says:

    I share your experience and, perhaps, your hurt. I do not recognise the Herald, which I used to buy every day and stick in my back pocket to much ridicule. But I didn’t care because what I had in my back pocket contained a lot of sense and  good journalism.

    However, the paper it has become is completely ridiculous. For a newspaper to make it difficult to find this:
    is as stupid and counterproductive as can be. This is a publically available web site which they ought to have made available.

    It was an obvious thing to do. It was, after all, the basis of their article. Why didn’t they?

    Unless they are playing with us.

    I really, really want to know who or what their moderators actually are. I suspect they are inhuman and just bots, adjusted to respond to specific words or word chains, such as “Herald” and “shit” and delete everything else.

    Hereby lies a completely self destructing business model.

    I, for one, will only return to attack, when frankly my wish would to be protect.

    As I remember the good days, when the Herald wasn’t out to be a state organ.

    These days are, apparently, gone.

    Now we have the combination of censorship and denial as the driving forces of their internet ready business model.

    I would ask you, dear reader, do you prefer them then or now? Well, you have already answered, by deserting them in droves……
    Sorry about that Morag. I am just frustrated that what I write doesn’t get a chance to be heard, because of some bot. It is, of course, argueable whether it is worth reading anyway.


  78. Bill C says:

    The Herald, like The Scotsman, like the ‘Scottish’ Daily Mail, like The ‘Scottish’ Daily Express, like the ‘Scottish’ Sun, like the ‘Scottish’ Daily Record is a unionist rag. 

    O/t – The last time a monarch attended a British Cabinet meeting was during the American War of Independence. It is an omen!!!! Let’s hope history repeats itself.  

  79. Patrician says:

    I usually avoid watching the news, I really can’t be bothered with all the doom and gloom but yesterday I was home early and flicking through the channels when I stumbled upon Ms Lamont’s interview on STV.  My main thought is that this really was an example of the Peter Principle writ large.  However, all is not lost for Ms Lamont as it is now panto season and she can now return to her second job as Jimmy Krankies stunt double* where she would obviously be much more at home.  
    *I know this is not the line we should be taking, we should keep it positive.  So I therefore unreservedly apologise to Ian and Jeanette for the unfair comparison.

  80. Jussy says:

    Douglas, I sympathise with your Herald plight and see nothing wrong in citing the source of the article.  I’ve had my problems with Herald moderators too and I’m yet to have a comment published.  Indeed, just on Sunday they never published a comment of mine which merely pointed out that referring to Alyn Smith as an MSP not only undermined his authority on EU matters but in also failing to get simple facts right they made it harder for people to believe their spin.  Alas the article was almost immediately amended and my criticism of their editorial stance never saw the light of day.  Maybe the Scotsman could learn a thing or two having referred to this fictional MSP themselves yesterday and not having corrected it as yet.
     At least we have the Herald’s Michael Moore article to enjoy now.  I might, against my better judgement, try to get a comment published there!

  81. Oldnat says:

    Bill C

    Lizzie’s great great grandmother attended a Cabinet meeting too. As did Edward VII and Geoge VI. While it’s wholly undesiarable, it does happen! 

  82. douglas clark says:

    I am just a bit pissed off about The Herald refusing to allow a direct link to the subject of their article. I do my best to argue an independence case on sites that still allow people like me to comment. Because I believe, and I think you do too, that we have to persuade people to win them over. That is why we have to keep engaging. All this talk about just ignoring MSM and we’ll win anyway is, probably, wrong.
    I suspect I will be banned on the Herald for washing their dirty linen in public, but, if it means they think twice about writing polemically without a link, then it will have been worth it.
    I also find that level of control-freakery a tad overweening and disturbing. But that is just what they do. It is not to subscribe to the Dave McEwan Hill and Bill C conspiracy theories, oh no!
    Just saying.

  83. cirsium says:

    “BP: What would you cut to restore that?
    JL: Well, we’re fortuna- unfortunately not in government [my bold], we don’t have access to the figures”

    A telling Freudian slip.  Thanks for the transcription RevStu.

    @ Jeannie
    “If we eliminate the word “benefits” and just use the word “services” ”  

    Very good idea.


  84. douglas clark says:

    I know this is politically incorrect, but much has been made of Alex Salmonds portliness. Am I wrong in thinking that oor Johann also has a bit of an issue?

  85. Bill C says:

    @Oldnat – Unfortunately not much of a historian, so I bow in recognition of your superior knowledge. Perhaps I should have said that today was the first time that a British monarch had attended a Cabinet Meeting in peacetime since the American War of Independence.

  86. Oldnat says:

    Bill C

    It’s Cameron who isn’t much of a historian (or much else)! It was his comment that the press were slavishly reporting. 

  87. Bill C says:

    @Oldnat – That’s the first and last time I’ll listen to Dave!

  88. Oldnat says:

    Brits were so delighted about Clinton on Scotland. Now the USA tells them to stay European.

    Wait for the “Bloody Yanks won’t tell us what to do!” response. 🙂 

  89. Macart says:


    Sadly Morag the Herald, especially with the addition of Mr Gardham, has become no more, no less than a daily red top. The evidence has become overwhelming: Misleading headlines, poorly researched articles, heavily edited letters and posts and lets not forget the overt bias. Were it not for the contributions of Messrs MacWhirter and Bell I wouldn’t even bother with the online.

    Whilst not quite as dedicated a subscriber as yourself, the Herald for many years was my paper of choice. The very day Gardham’s posting was announced, was the day of my last purchase. It indicated a certain desperation on the part of the Herald to increase sales at any cost. The use of shock and awe, sensationalism, to sell print was the last straw. It signalled a willingness to bin journalism in favour of shifting numbers. I’m sure we’re not the only ones to signal our disapproval by keeping our cash in our piggy banks as reflected by the nosediving readership numbers. Take heart though we’ve simply exchanged one old friend for many new ones. WoS, NNS, Bella, Peter Bell, Auld Acquaintance and many, many more. Good journalism, good forums with good folks. The Herald doesn’t look like so much of a loss. 

  90. dadsarmy says:

    Aye, I think the Herald editorial is mostly quite biased, and the “good” stories get hidden away on the website. But the problem is, out of the two so-called serious papers in Scotland, the Scotsman really is dire.

    See for instance the Herald article on Michael Moore, the headline says it:

    “Michael Moore savaged by Unionist peers over EU row”. The quite long article tells how Moore is savaged because he’s not getting the UK government to check up on the EU, and Lawson – Lawson!: “Former UK Chancellor of the Exchequer Lord Lawson suggested Mr Moore’s position is “totally unsustainable”.
    “Leaving aside, for the sake of simplicity, the rest of the UK, I think you are letting down very badly the people of Scotland,” he said.
    “I agree with you entirely that Scotland is perfectly capable of being an independent nation.

    The Herald also quotes Grieve, former Deputy Governor of the Bank of England, who confirmed that an independent Scotland would be able to retain sterling as its currency, but said negotiations would be required over the role of the Bank of England in regulating that currency.

    Whereas the Scotsman: “Scottish independence: Michael Moore says Bank of England will not back Scotland: ….  Sir John Gieve said that any decision “would be up to the UK government.

    Perhaps if the Scotsman goes under and as soon as possible, the Herald will take note and make even more effort. But at least it is making some.

  91. dadsarmy says:

    An idea for the YES campaign if anyone’s in that, would be to collect all these quotes, like Cameron about the EU, and put them on a webpage with date and time and place.

    Kind of a testimonial page: “The following public figures had this to say about Independence for Scotland”.

  92. Macart says:

    I agree dads, the Scotsman is a shocker and its demise may just be a wake-up call to those with still a smidge of credibility left. I still find it quite hard not to check up on the Herald in the hope that its going to see sense and lose those shock and awe tactics, or lose Gardham, whichever comes first.

    On Moore – that is a nice wee festive buzzer. When I saw who came out with the ‘unsustainable’ quote I near choked on my poptart. 😀 Grieve’s admission is another quote worth keeping for a rainy day.

    Pretty good idea on the testimonial page. It’s worth noting from aunty Bella’s admission on Scotland’s fiscal position on down, that the opposition do let slip the odd gem worth keeping and repeating. Maybe the Rev. could look at posting such a running page?

  93. Boorach says:


    I’d subscribe to that one 

  94. Dcanmore says:

    The Scotsman ‘paid for’ circulation figures are actually around 29500 mark, then with about 3000 given away as freebies on airlines, trains etc.

  95. Craig P says:

    There is a story, perhaps on of the Sunday papers can cover it, a story about how poorly served we are with media coverage in Scotland. Example. The release of police figures last week showing white on white racism increasing, was picked up by media outlets (BBC, Record, Scotsman, Telegraph that I know of, probably more) who made a big thing of increasing anti-Englishness – an assumption, because the figure was for ‘white on white British’ with no further breakdown.

    A week later, the damage done, a further breakdown of the figures was released. It turned out that attacks on white Scots had gone up a quarter, and attacks on white English had actually decreased 17%. Black was being reported as white, and in an emotive subject. Yet has any paper, TV station or other media outlet correcting their previously wholly incorrect, irresponsible coverage? I have seen nothing. By contrast, as Sneekyboy posted above, the factually incorrect coverage is now being used by Jenny Hjul as a justification to attack independence.

  96. Jeannie says:

    @Craig P
    Craig – you don’t have a link to that Jenny Hjul article, by any chance?

  97. Jussy says:


    Brace yourself…

  98. Craig P says:

    hi Jeannie – the link was given by Scott Minto above:

    The further breakdown of the white on white stats is given here, note, not a MSM site:

    One of the ironies in the Jenny Hjul piece is that she says she herself has not experienced anti-English racism…

  99. Craig P says:

    Of course, any normal person looking at the stats for racism (and sorry Rev for taking this off topic) would see one thing jumping right out at them, that 44% of reported cases are against Asians. Given that Indians and Pakistanis make up such a small percentage of our population, the conclusion I would draw is that they are the real victims of racism in Scotland.

    But nobody is interested in that, there are vested interests at work whose agenda is to bash the jocks with anglophobia. Not, of course, that we should tolerate it when it does happen – it just happens less than the impression the media is trying to give.

  100. AndrewFraeGovan says:

    It’s the non-reporting, particularly on BBC, of news stories favourable to the YES cause that disturbs me most – people know the papers are full of bull, but many still trust the BBC.

    A couple of recent examples:
    1. Wall to wall coverage of Barosso – none at all (that I saw) about David Edward apart from one website piece.

    2. Lots coverage of Swinney in the HoL, again nothing on TV of Moore’s savaging, (which was great entertainment btw – did you see his beamer? lol) just one piece hidden under a misleading “Trident” headline on the web.

    These are clear examples of bias, certainly breaching the BBC charter if not even the UN charter (article 73), the BBC being an arm of the UK state after all.

    Surely it must be possible to involve European institutions in this disgrace to democracy.

  101. Aplinal says:

    Viz the BBC/MSM bias, I have written to MediaLens to see if they are interested, but no response at all, not even an acknowledgement of the email.  I guess it will need to be a foreign media outlet that will do justice to this situation.  In many ways, I don’t mind if the ‘expose’ is delayed until after the Independence White paper (I can already imagine the headlines about that!!) which in Spring/Summer 2014 might have a salutary impact on the “YES” waverers.

  102. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “Pretty good idea on the testimonial page. It’s worth noting from aunty Bella’s admission on Scotland’s fiscal position on down, that the opposition do let slip the odd gem worth keeping and repeating. Maybe the Rev. could look at posting such a running page?”

    I actually started putting together such a page months ago (in April, looking at the Drafts page), but the fact is I’m just one bloke and I can’t do everything. There are only so many hours in the day and I’ve got to try to earn a living and do all the stuff that normal people have to do too, like go shopping and fill out tax returns and do the washing-up and maybe have a night out once in a while.

    The last time I asked people to help – the media appearance log – from 15,000-odd readers at the time I got precisely three who made any effort at all to simply post a comment letting me know who’d been on Good Morning Scotland or Scotland Tonight that day, so that avenue’s probably no good either. I just don’t have the time to maintain loads of running pages as well as writing multiple daily articles.

    I think it was Nicola Sturgeon who recently tweeted something along the lines of “Don’t look back in December 2014 and wish you’d done more”. I hope as we get nearer the referendum, more people will take heed of her words.

  103. Stevie Cosmic says:

    Thought folks here might be interested in this video that doing the rounds on FB:

    It’s a trade unionist meeting held in Clydebank I think sometime in November. Jackie Baillie is being utterly SAVAGED by the labourite audience in attendance. It really is a sneeky peak at the mechanics of a political party ‘s disintegration. Judging by this video, Labour are dead in Scotland, full stop.
    Apologies if this has been linked to before on this site.

  104. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    Stevie: watching that now. It’s astonishing stuff. Have tweeted it, may do a short post later to ensure it gets the biggest possible audience.

  105. Macart says:

    @ Rev Stu

    You’ve got a life outside WoS??!!?? 😀

    Yer doin’ a fine job as is Rev, home and family first every time. 

    However have you considered taking the laptop to the bog during pee breaks? 😀 

  106. Stevie Cosmic says:

    Happy days Rev. I would urge all to spread this as much as they can. Labour are losing their door chappers and leafleteers because they have deserted their people. I think other die hards would seriously consider the alternatives in the next two years if they knew that this kind of feeling was rampant at the Labour frontlines.

  107. dadsarmy says:

    Yeah Rev, I ran / still run a community website for a lot of years, and I used to get more complaints than I got plaudits. I even had one series of emails – and a phone call to home in the evening – complaining bitterly that my web form wasn’t long enought for them to put their 80 odd character long business name into. Well, bloody tough, but I was nicer in those days – I apologised.

    Apologised? Apologised? It’s BLOODY free, and I don’t earn nor want a penny from it, what do you expect for nothing! Slavery?

    I am anonymising an old website to do something “niche-like” with for Indy, but I was thinking more fairly static stuff as there are times in the year I’m too busy for weeks on end. But that’s a possibility for me I guess.

Comment - please read this page for comment rules. HTML tags like <i> and <b> are permitted. Use paragraph breaks in long comments. DO NOT SIGN YOUR COMMENTS, either with a name or a slogan. If your comment does not appear immediately, DO NOT REPOST IT. Ignore these rules and I WILL KILL YOU WITH HAMMERS.

↑ Top