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Wings Over Scotland

Fear, uncertainty and gibberish 54

Posted on February 08, 2013 by

We checked with a few people on this one to make sure it wasn’t just us. Today’s Herald carries a story – by Magnus Gardham, no less – that on first glance sounds like good news for supporters of independence. But on closer inspection, it’s an incoherent jumble of word-noise that contradicts itself almost every paragraph. We honestly don’t have a clue what they’re up to over there.

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The audacity of tripe 34

Posted on January 30, 2013 by

Your jaw just drops sometimes at the sheer cheek of it.

“I am pleased that this impartial body has […] rejected the nationalist attempts to silence their opponents by setting spending limits that would have given them an unfair advantage.” – No campaign leader Alistair Darling, in a post on the “Better Together” site today.

Remember: the “nationalists” wanted to let the No campaign spend £250,000 more than the Yes campaign –  a funny kind of “silencing” and a quite unusual definition of “advantage”, let alone “unfair”. Instead, the Electoral Commission has recommended that the Yes campaign be allowed to spend more than its opponents. We’re trying for all we’re worth to work out why Mr Darling considers that a victory.

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It’s Opposite Week! 25

Posted on January 27, 2013 by

Readers may recall that a few days ago we highlighted a rather bizarre confusion on the part of the anti-independence movement, which is more commonly known as “Better Whenever” or something like that. Faced with a poll in which 11% of respondents wished to completely abolish the Scottish Parliament and end the devolution experiment, the No campaign decided that such people were in fact “supporters of devolution” and tailored their promotional materials accordingly.

We think we may have solved this baffling puzzle, however, and the key was in a Twitter message posted earlier today by the campaign’s director Blair McDougall.

Unaccountably, Mr McDougall appeared to be under the impression than the SNP had “opposed” devolution in the 1990s. (And presumbly most pertinently around the time of the 1997 referendum on the subject.) That didn’t quite seem to square with our, in fairness, increasingly-fallible memory of the period, so we did a little research.

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When no means yes 34

Posted on January 24, 2013 by

Poor old “Better Together”. We already knew they had some difficulty with basic counting, but today it seems their reading isn’t up to much either. Desperate to deflect attention from the hideous hole they’ve dug themselves into over Europe, they’ve seized on the latest Scottish Social Attitudes Survey showing (depending how you spin it) almost three-quarters of Scots in favour of devolution rather than independence.

There’s only one problem: the cited source for those figures doesn’t say that at all.

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Better Together in the EU 159

Posted on January 23, 2013 by

We’ve got a bit of a dodgy Freeview picture this morning thanks to the weather, but we THINK this is what we just heard on the news from all the Tories (and others) who want the UK to leave the EU, but Scotland to stay in the UK.

Thanks to many alert viewers for sending in some we didn’t quite catch.

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They think you’re stupid 64

Posted on January 21, 2013 by

(We suspect this might become a regular series.) We try not to take any notice of the often-ludicrous propaganda churned out by the official “Better Together” campaign, but today’s was too utterly ridiculous to ignore. We’re not going to deface our nice pages with the image, though you can see it here if you want to without giving them any hits.

The graphic claimed, mind-bogglingly, that the award of £2.3bn in grants to good causes in Scotland by the National Lottery since its advent in 1993 was “another reason we are better together”, as if the figure represented some great largesse towards Scotland on the part of the UK. This, as any reader with an IQ higher than the number on a lottery ball will immediately realise, is such a monumental and obvious misrepresentation of how the lottery works that we can only concur with the Twitter user who enquired “When will the glue-sniffing stop at BT strategy HQ?”

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One more time for the folks at home 6

Posted on January 11, 2013 by

For goodness’ sake. Despite believing we’d laid the issue to rest once and for all, we’re STILL getting comments and tweets from readers who haven’t grasped Alistair Darling’s simple, straightforward explanation of whether Scotland’s decision in the independence referendum would be irreversible and forever, or whether we would instead quickly and inevitably find ourselves back in the Union.

Since you clearly found our previous quotes from the “Better Together” chairman inexplicably ambiguous, we’ve gone back and found a couple more from the same interview that should DEFINITELY clear things up.

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The (very) hokey cokey 33

Posted on January 11, 2013 by

Readers might be forgiven for experiencing a sense of deja vu on watching last night's Newsnight Scotland, which featured a rather animated interview with Alistair Darling. Because not for the first time, the No campaign chief seemed to be experiencing a considerable amount of difficulty in getting his story straight.

Let's examine a couple of intriguing snippets.

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Diff’rent strokes 24

Posted on January 06, 2013 by

Against our better judgement, we found browsing the Twitter feed of the Labour MP for Glasgow South (remember him?) on Friday for the first time in several months, after some irresponsible person (specifically this one) drew our attention to the fact that Tom was still boasting proudly about the Downfall-parody video clip that got him in trouble last year. And a couple of things struck us as at least vaguely interesting.

One was the “biog” entry below the avatar, which is a variant on a well-known chant often aired by fans of defunct Glasgow football club Rangers FC – “Nobody likes us, we don’t care”. It seems an odd, confrontational attitude to adopt for someone who relies entirely on being liked by the public to still have a job.

But it was the rest of the feed that revealed the oddest thing.

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Fury as government withholds EU advice 48

Posted on October 24, 2012 by

The Scottish media is in full-on outcry mode at the Scottish Government for keeping things from the Scottish people with regard to the possible status of the country’s EU membership status in the event of independence, and to be fair it’s quite understandable when you read official statements like this:

“Whilst there is a strong public interest in seeing what legal advice has been provided to the Government on the implications of EU membership if Scotland were to achieve independence, we have concluded that this is outweighed by a strong public interest in the Government being able to seek free and frank legal advice.”

Of course, in the spirit of Scottish Labour’s creative editing of the First Minister’s words yesterday, we’ve deftly removed a word from that sentence so that it suits our purposes better. Specifically, in between “has been provided to the” and “Government”, we’ve removed the word “UK”.

We’re really not sure how the UK government’s actions differ in any way from those of the Scottish Government in respect of the same issue, particularly when a Scottish Office minister goes on to add that “I have not received formal representations on the possible status of an independent Scotland within the EU.”

It would seem, to the casual observer, that in both cases the respective governments have declined to seek out specific legal advice about an independent Scotland’s EU status, but have sought to conceal that information (or lack of information) from voters on the grounds that confidentiality ensures the government receives candid expert advice undistorted by public opinion.

So perhaps someone can explain to us why only one of them is currently subject to a huge nationwide media storm about it.

Terminological inexactitude 10

Posted on October 06, 2012 by

We’re confused again, readers. At its forthcoming conference the SNP will debate whether or not to change its policy on NATO membership, in full public view. After the debate, a vote of the party’s membership will determine what the policy will be. This wholly open and natural political process is of course variously described by the Scottish media as a “split”, a “U-turn”, an “internal battle” and a source of “rebel fury”.

Meanwhile, the Liberal Democrats refuse to allow the YesScotland campaign to take a stall at their conference, and when some members offer dissent, leader Willie Rennie angrily castigates them in a letter describing their actions as a “disrespectful stunt”, on the grounds that the media might have covered the stall’s presence.

(Great work keeping it out of the press, Willie. Just the three stories in a week, then.)

We feel we must have somehow misunderstood the meanings of the words “liberal” and “democratic”. Can anyone point us towards a more up-to-date dictionary?

Lawyer, lawyer, pants on fire 125

Posted on September 05, 2012 by

You tend to expect legal professionals to be a bit more careful with their words than this. Over the last few days we’ve been documenting the bizarre mental collapse of staunch Scottish Labour activist Ian Smart, a practising solicitor from Cumbernauld who’s managed to arrive at the conclusion that there won’t be an independence referendum at all, but if there is and there’s a Yes vote then Scotland will almost instantly degenerate into a poverty-stricken fascist dictatorship with no elections, 100% unemployment, compulsory Gaelic in schools and cannibalism in the streets.

We don’t plan to carry on doing so beyond today, because right now it’s starting to feel like laughing at a car crash while the fire brigade are still frantically trying to saw bodies out before the petrol tank goes up. But the extraordinary breakdown Mr Smart suffered late last night on his Twitter account isn’t an isolated incident among Labour figures at the moment, and we’re a bit worried there could be a toxic leak of some sort in the water system at John Smith House which might harm innocent visitors.

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