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Wings Over Scotland

Losing the rag 204

Posted on August 03, 2014 by

Here’s an extraordinary display from Labour’s Jim Murphy, still standing on an Irn Bru crate and drawing crowds of up to a dozen people (several of whom sometimes aren’t even Labour staffers) in 100 locations across Scotland. This one’s apparently Ayr.

Not only does the former Secretary of State for Scotland spend most of his time bellowing furiously despite already being the only person with a microphone, but the demented rant he embarks on when asked a question by a lady in the crowd about Gordon Brown’s disgraceful lies over organ transplants will have readers used to Mr Murphy’s normal TV persona blinking and rubbing their eyes.

Most striking, though, is his complete refusal to meet the woman’s eye at the end of his extended “SNP BAD!” outburst, in which he’d completely ignored her simple and reasonable question. Several times at the end you can see him consciously turn away from her so as not to catch her gaze, presumably out of shame.

Vote No and trust him with Scotland’s future, readers.

Sometimes you wonder 232

Posted on July 13, 2014 by

To be fair, the article in today’s Sunday Mirror isn’t shy about setting out its position.

“In the end it will all come down to two little words. One of which will save our 300-year union with Scotland. The other will rip it to shreds. If Scotland’s Bravehearts vote YES on September 18 it will tear apart that union which has seen both countries’ men march shoulder-to-shoulder in two world wars.

Which is why YES seems such a small a word to bear responsibility for dismantling one of the world’s oldest democracies and for cutting a centuries-old umbilical cord that has kept us joined to Scotland since 1707.”

It’s all in there – “tear apart”, “rip to shreds”, Braveheart, two world wars, Rule Britannia blah blah etc – inside the first 100 words, so you know what’s coming. Although we’re pretty sure you’re not supposed to leave umbilical cords attached for centuries.

But as it turns out, that’s the most sensible part.

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Positive case finally unveiled 160

Posted on June 24, 2014 by

And this time we’re not being sarcastic. We were bemused yesterday when a number of people on Twitter started swapping referendum-based jokes about Stanley Baxter, who for younger readers used to be some sort of pantomime star and vaudeville performer. The jokes were explained today when it was revealed, to our considerable surprise, that Mr Baxter was in fact still alive and urging a No vote in the referendum.


Baxter, who left Scotland 55 years ago and told the Times that he now returns only for “the odd funeral”, nevertheless felt able to assert from these occasional visits that support for a Yes vote was founded in hatred for the English from simple-witted Scots who “don’t know any better” caused by “Braveheart” and hey, stay awake at the back there because we’re coming to the important bit.

And that’s that the comedian, who made a career out of telling TV viewers that the people of Glasgow had hilarious incomprehensible accents in need of translating into proper English, also went on to (no doubt impeccably) articulate the real reason, never previously spoken aloud, that the No campaign wants Scotland to stay part of the UK.

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A pure coincidence 50

Posted on July 02, 2013 by

London-born, Los Angeles-resident singer Rod Stewart in today’s Scottish Sun:

“Proud Scotland fan Rod Stewart revealed he’d hate to see the break-up of the Union. Rock idol Rod, 68, hopes Scots will snub independence by rallying behind the ‘No’ push in next year’s referendum.

But the veteran singer fears many young voters could be swayed to say ‘Yes’ because of stirring Mel Gibson blockbuster Braveheart.

Rod, whose dad Robert was from Leith, Edinburgh, said: “I’d hate to see the Union broken after all these years — and I don’t think it will happen.”

(We note with passing interest and without comment the paper’s own description of Rod as a “Scotland fan” rather than a “Scot”, and that a few lines later in the same piece he says “as I don’t live there I shouldn’t comment on independence”. Whoops!)

Hmm, what could have brought that on all of a sudden?

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The triple standard 116

Posted on May 30, 2013 by

When UKIP’s Nigel Farage was recently made rather unwelcome in Edinburgh, a whole slew of Unionist politicians and commentators – most notably Scottish Lib Dem leader Willie Rennie – took to the nation’s airwaves and newspaper columns to piously condemn the protestors who peacefully but loudly voiced their disapproval of Farage’s policies. Angry online No supporters, as is their wont, were less measured in their fury at the “suppression” of Farage’s free speech.


Today, the subject of the media’s blanket outrage – there are sizeable stories in the Daily Mail, Telegraph, Scotsman, Herald, Daily Record, The Times, Express and many more – is the saintly British Olympic cyclist, Sir Chris Hoy. The unfortunate sportsman has been the subject of what the Mail calls “vile abuse” for some comments in yesterday’s papers in which he ostensibly refused to take sides in the independence debate (but in reality could barely have made his position any clearer).

But another similar (and rather more serious) story, about online abuse directed at a Scottish public figure every bit as well known as Hoy, inexplicably gets only a microscopic fraction of the coverage.

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Conflicting opinions 92

Posted on May 16, 2013 by

Never let it be said we don’t do balanced reporting.

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The phantom menace 215

Posted on May 01, 2013 by

We’ve spent a fair bit of time over the course of this website’s existence documenting the multi-media witch-hunts that invariably arise in the Scottish media whenever some obscure and/or anonymous independence supporter on the internet says something slightly intemperate (or even just expresses an unpopular opinion).

We especially enjoy contrasting it against the way that the elected, taxpayer-funded representatives of major political parties can get away unremarked with comparing the First Minister to dictators and genocidal mass murderers (of the sort “Better Together” donors like to give hundreds of thousands of pounds to).


The vast difference in the amount of media weight given to abusive behaviour from British nationalists and that from the independence side (the infamous “cybernats”) has long been a feature of Scottish political debate, but over the last 12 hours the phenomenon has seen an intriguing new twist.

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Briefings abroad 57

Posted on April 28, 2013 by

We stumbled across this quite by accident yesterday. We think you’ll enjoy it.

The clip is from last year, and was aired on Canadian national news channel Sun News. Douglas Murray is a British writer who claims to be half-Scottish on account of unspecified links to Unionist breeding ground the Isle of Lewis, popular haunt of No-camp luminaries like Alistair Darling, virulent Labour anti-devolutionist Brian Wilson and controversial “Better Together” donor Ian Taylor.

Murray studied at Eton and Oxford and writes for august UK journals like the Spectator and Guardian, as well as appearing on numerous BBC political shows. For some reason, the Canadians consider him an expert on Scottish politics, qualified to inform and enlighten their viewers. See what you think.

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Letters from the Editor 53

Posted on April 15, 2013 by

We recently received the same letter from the Radio Times as many other people did, in response to our complaint about the magazine’s misrepresentation of respected Scottish historian Dr Fiona Watson last month. The problem related to an article about the film “Braveheart”, which made some deeply unpleasant implications easily read as saying the SNP were xenophobic racists encouraging anti-English violence.


The reply didn’t address the very specific issues we’d raised about what Dr Watson did or didn’t say, so we wrote back to the mag’s editor Ben Preston seeking clarification on a couple of important points. His reply is below.

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We paid for this 111

Posted on March 30, 2013 by

The Radio Times was funded by the licence fee until the government sold it in 2011. We don’t remember receiving a cheque for our share. The extract below is from a feature about William Wallace in this week’s edition.


Let’s read that carefully. “Braveheart” has allegedly been “a gift to Alex Salmond and the SNP”. In what context? The context of “fuelling anti-English sentiment”. There’s no mention of winning elections, no mention of making people feel more positive about Scotland, no ambiguity whatsoever – the specific end to which the film has served the SNP, according to Dr Watson, is “the justification of anti-English sentiment”, and the associated perpetrating of violent assaults on young children.

We’ll run that past you again – the SNP love “Braveheart” because it helps them in their cynical aim of fostering xenophobia and getting little kids beaten up.

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Good nationalism, bad nationalism 180

Posted on February 14, 2013 by

Unionists never miss a chance to sneer at “Braveheart”, a film which won five Oscars and tells a true story (very heavily embellished by Hollywood) about a people’s fight for self-determination. Only last night, Scotland Tonight retweeted one eager young No voter using it as an explanation for the increase in support for independence among the 18-24 demographic, even though the film came out almost 20 years ago.

This sort of thing, though, is fine:


That’s because nationalism is great, so long as it’s British.

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Into the arms of Yes 143

Posted on January 18, 2013 by

I’ll make a confession: I don’t think Scotland needs independence. I’m not certain full independence is the most desirable option. At this stage in the debate, on Wings Over Scotland, that might be a quite contentious assertion. But last year, on numerous talkboards and comment threads, starting with that statement frequently saw me being called a “cybernat”, an “SNP stooge” or in one instance, “Salmond’s stormtrooper”.

That was because the statement always came with a “but”: “…but we do need control of welfare” or “…but we do need fiscal autonomy”“. And the “but” never went down well.

Full fiscal autonomy was the reason I voted Liberal Democrat in 2007. It had much to recommend it over the SNP’s full independence policy, both for Scotland and the rUK. It would have been a gradual approach that wouldn’t have scared many horses, north or south of the Tweed. It was an “I do want independence but am too polite to say so, in a very British way” kind of option.

It could have passed barely noticed by the UK media. Friends and family in England would have responded to your declaration of being a “full fiscal autonomy supporter” with a weary eye-roll and “Do shut up about Scottish politics, dear”. Independence, even if virtually synonymous in the detail, instead attracts “What? You want to rip my country apart, literally destroy 300 years of history and rob me of my entire identity, you evil separatist nat bastard?”

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