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Wings Over Scotland

Not all information wants to be free 71

Posted on December 13, 2013 by

We got a letter from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office today. We opened it, read it, and – if we might paraphrase for a moment – it said we were suckers.

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Did we miss something? 112

Posted on October 25, 2013 by

We were a little confused as we caught up with our Twitter timeline this morning.


Brilliant result? What?

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Another late entry 107

Posted on October 21, 2013 by

And this one might just take the entire cake stand and banana hanger.


It’s former Tory MP and junior minister Edwina Currie, speaking about someone called “Alex Salmon” on Radio 5’s Stephen Nolan show on Saturday. (From 2h 16m on that iPlayer link.) We do recommend listening to all six-and-a-half minutes. It sets a very high standard from the off, but somehow maintains it the whole way through. Enjoy.

We agree with Ruth Davidson 68

Posted on October 09, 2013 by

That doesn’t happen terribly often.


But on this matter, we simply can’t find fault with her logic.

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A try and a conversion 134

Posted on October 02, 2013 by

This was ex-Scotland rugby star Gavin Hastings in June:

“Former Scotland captain Gavin Hastings says it ‘beggars belief’ some Scots believe they would be better off being separate from the UK.

Speaking to The Scots Magazine he went on to warn about the dangers of complacency in the forthcoming referendum, as polls indicate the ‘No’ vote is currently ahead.

‘The danger comes with people being complacent that independence will never succeed… and people not voting or taking it for granted that we will remain part of the United Kingdom.

If we were independent would we not be doing everything in our power to find the benefits of joining up with England, Wales and Northern Ireland? Why, if we have that, would we be looking to divide it?'”

Heavens. Possibly the only man ever to sound angrier than Alistair Darling at the idea of the Scots having the sheer temerity to want to run their own affairs.

So who’s this daring have-a-go optimist in today’s Herald, then?

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Somewhere in time 98

Posted on September 14, 2013 by

We already knew that Jackie Baillie had a somewhat shaky grasp of chronology. Last week she told Newsnight Scotland that to find some of the £50m required for Scotland to subsidise the UK government’s bedroom tax, she’d magically travel into the past and un-spend £7m (or as she put it, £10m) of tourism investment that’s likely to bring 20 times that much into the Scottish economy.


And on today’s Good Morning Scotland, she had another balletic prance around in the timestream, speaking from the present about how the past was the future.

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Untangling the knots 168

Posted on September 07, 2013 by

We’re still trying to pick through the half-dozen or so completely contradictory statements various senior Labour figures – including Ed Miliband, Liam Byrne, Johann Lamont and Anas Sarwar – have made about the bedroom tax this week. This quote from an article in the Herald illustrates the problem:

“Labour’s Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary Liam Byrne told Good Morning Scotland that, before Labour could make a manifesto commitment they had to prove that the policy costs more than it saves.

During the STV debate, Mr Sarwar said: “If we were in government tomorrow, we would abolish the bedroom tax.””

So, let’s just go over that again – Labour can’t commit to repealing the bedroom tax if elected in 2015 because they don’t know if it costs more than it saves. BUT, if they were somehow to be elected tomorrow, they’d just go ahead and make the decision to abolish it without that (suddenly apparently no longer important) information?

Can anyone walk us through the logic of that one? It’s got us beaten.

Waking up in Madland 72

Posted on August 22, 2013 by

We were up very late last night after a poker game. We think we might still be in some sort of fever dream, because however much we rub our eyes we can’t quite believe what we’re seeing in Scotland’s media this morning.


We’ll get to the bizarre story about the alleged hacking of Yes Scotland’s email and the No camp’s desperate, astonishing, barely believable attempts to whip up a smokescreen around it later. But first we want to take a quick look at something we missed yesterday in all the fundraising excitement, and which one of our indispensably alert readers brought our attention to.

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Yet another Union dividend 97

Posted on August 20, 2013 by

An alert reader (what would we do without them?) sent us this interesting graph today:


It comes from a page on the website of a heating-oil supplier, and had both our reader and ourselves scratching our heads trying to explain it. Scotland is an oil-producing nation, and almost all of the UK’s oil comes ashore and is refined in Scotland. It has less distance to travel to get to customers in Scotland than anywhere else.

So why do Scots, consistently and by a strikingly large margin, pay the most for it?

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Translation mishap 76

Posted on August 15, 2013 by

We were very proud of a terrific performance from Scotland at Wembley last night, in a highly entertaining friendly the national side was unlucky to lose due to a couple of lapses in concentration at set pieces. We also greatly enjoyed the tremendous atmosphere created by both sets of fans, which we read about in the Daily Mail:

It seemed the days of booing national anthems had passed. But old habits die hard against the Auld Enemy so Flower of Scotland got the treatment and God Save the Queen was booed in response. Pretty unsavoury all round.”

And also in the Scottish Daily Mail:

“The sing-off was generally good-natured but the Scottish contingent let themselves down badly at the start as a cacophony of boos drowned out God Save The Queen after respect was afforded Flower Of Scotland.”

Wait, what?

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Wanted: politics nerd 107

Posted on June 21, 2013 by

This is a genuine request for enlightenment, readers. Hopefully someone can help.

When we’re bored, we like to take a look at the Herald website front page and play Spot The Magnus Gardham Headline. It’s not usually too taxing a game – by way of illustration, we suspect you won’t have too much trouble with this example:


The actual story itself, though, has us bewildered.

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Uninteresting news ignored 81

Posted on June 07, 2013 by

Readers will probably barely recall a story from back in January, because it only made the front page of almost every Scottish newspaper and the lead item on most Scottish political TV and radio programmes. It was a Scottish Social Attitudes Survey report which put support for independence – via an extremely old and outdated question formulation – at a dramatic low of 23%.


Almost as forgotten was the “Better Together” campaign’s half-hearted attempt at capitalising on the numbers, by misrepresenting them as meaning something else entirely in order to create a misleading graph. (Perhaps because by now we’re so used to them being somewhat creative with numbers that nobody noticed.)

So it’s only to be expected that the latest poll numbers from the same source, released yesterday, don’t seem to have made any of today’s papers or broadcasts.

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