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Wings Over Scotland

This time they really mean it 301

Posted on December 07, 2016 by

Alert readers may have noticed with barely-concealed disinterest that Scottish Labour have announced their intention to have another really hard think about devolution.

With Labour not looking like being in power at either Holyrood or Westminster for at least a decade, and their opinions therefore being about as relevant as our ideas as to who should play in the back four for Real Madrid next weekend, most papers treated the news with the gravitas it deserved, such as this report in the Sunday Post:


But we thought it might be a snappy idea to keep track of all the times the Unionist parties have promised that they’ve come up with the ultimate form of devo-X.

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The Great Devo Con 93

Posted on November 26, 2014 by

Two interesting comments from last night’s Scotland Tonight.

So that’s good to know.

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Every which way but loose 85

Posted on November 23, 2014 by

The talk of the steamie in this weekend’s Sunday papers is that Scottish Labour are set to backpedal on the devolution of 100% of income tax, a position previously described by Gordon Brown – the great architect of “The Vow” – as a “Tory trap” which was “not in Scotland’s interests”.

(Coincidentally, the papers also report that Brown, who said he would personally ensure the safe delivery of the new devolution settlement, will stand down at the 2015 election in order to devote more time to his “charity” work.)


It is, of course, a challenge to keep track of Labour’s position on the move from one day to the next. In 2013 it wanted to devolve all taxation, then in 2014 it decided as its final settled position that it wasn’t a good idea after all, and has flip-flopped on a more or less weekly basis ever since. Just this month the favourite for the Scottish branch office leadership, Jim Murphy, poured cold water on the notion, but now it seems yet another U-turn is on the cards.

We wouldn’t put a lot of money on it being the last one.

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The party of devolution 214

Posted on October 22, 2014 by

Johann Lamont, Scottish Labour conference, March 2014:

“Scottish Labour is the party of devolution.”

And here’s what that means seven months later, in terms of the submissions of the five Holyrood parties to the Smith Commission on devolved powers:


Imagine if they WEREN’T the party of devolution, eh readers?

Professor Curtice, saviour of Scotland 145

Posted on October 19, 2014 by

There’s a rather curious piece in today’s Sunday Times by the UK’s only known living psephologist, the estimable Prof. John Curtice of Strathclyde University. In it he rather blows his cover of impartiality by framing his comments as an anti-SNP warning, but nevertheless raises an interesting point, while adding to the enormous pressure on the unfortunate Smith Commission.

It’s worth taking a moment to ponder the impossibility of its task.

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The opposite of prestige 100

Posted on September 13, 2014 by


Diluting the poisoned chalice 182

Posted on August 28, 2014 by

This story from earlier this month is now the third most-read in Wings history. But there was an aspect of the revelations in the Future Of England survey that we didn’t touch on, and it’s worth picking up now.

“Voters in England are also inclined to support greater autonomy for a post-No Scotland than do the pro-union parties. For instance, 42% of people in England support the idea that ‘The Scottish Parliament should be given control over the majority of taxes raised in Scotland’, something that only 25% disagree with. 

This would appear to place people in England at the maximal end of the various proposals that have been put forward for further-reaching Scottish devolution, and significantly beyond the modest reform proposals put forward by the Labour Party.”

And that’s quite an interesting finding, because it means that Scottish Labour – the self-proclaimed “party of devolution” – now actually wants LESS tax-raising power for the Scottish Parliament than just about anyone else anywhere in the entire UK.

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The growing consensus 141

Posted on June 14, 2014 by


The Common Sense Test 151

Posted on June 02, 2014 by

This morning’s papers are already full of reports about the contents of the Strathclyde Commission report, the Conservative counterpart to Labour’s shambolic “Devo Nano” proposals. Embarrassingly for Johann Lamont, it looks as though the Tories are going to “outbid” Labour, the self-proclaimed “party of devolution”, with what are superficially greater powers for the Scottish Parliament on taxation.


And like much of the media’s coverage of the entire independence debate, the reporting to date is an insult to the intelligence of the people of Scotland.

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The razor’s edge 249

Posted on April 21, 2014 by

We’re still waiting for the full data tables for the ICM/Scotland on Sunday poll that got everyone a little excited at the weekend, and whose findings closely mirrored the Panelbase/Wings Over Scotland one two weeks ago that the same publisher crudely smeared and cast aspersions (which it later retracted) on the credibility of.


In the meantime, even though we’re still technically on holiday, we had a bit of a rummage through the company’s preceding one for the Scotsman papers this morning and picked out some random interesting snippets. We’ll be watching keenly to see if the latest poll has corresponding stats to compare.

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Strong enough is too strong 132

Posted on April 18, 2014 by

The estimable James Kelly of Scot Goes Pop! wrote an excellent blog post the other day deconstructing a laughably skewed and leading poll which was commissioned by “Better Together” this month.

Blair McDougall’s Beleaguered Billy Boys, as hardly anyone calls them, had loudly and bizarrely trumpeted figures which actually showed a 6% swing to Yes, but that wasn’t the thing we found most interesting in their press release.

“In what is another blow to the SNP, just 35% of those questioned by YouGov on behalf of Better Together backed separation over a stronger Scottish Parliament within the UK.”

The poll question had in fact offered respondents a forced choice between two options: independence or “Scotland remaining part of the UK with increased powers for the Scottish Parliament”. (Which meant, among many other quirks which made the findings nonsensical, that the roughly 10% of people who want Holyrood abolished altogether got lumped in with the “increased powers” side as the least-worst option.)

We’ve already learned what BT mean by “increased powers” – the piddly and trivial ones enshrined by the Scotland Act 2012, rather than any dramatic new settlement from any of the Unionist parties, but the jarring part of the release is the twisting of that already-twisted wording to mean “stronger”.

Because a stronger Scottish Parliament is the LAST thing the No parties want, and you only have to spend a minute thinking about it to figure out why.

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For their eyes only 257

Posted on April 14, 2014 by

Alert readers can’t have failed to notice a certain reticence on the part of Scottish Labour to clarify key aspects of their shambolic proposals for further devolution in the event of a No vote.

(In response to our latest enquiries, genetically-programmed Central Scotland list MSP Siobhan McMahon sent a Wings reader a letter at the weekend directing them to the “Devo Nano” report – which doesn’t address any of the issues that were actually raised by her constituent – and saying “I believe that I have now adequately responded to your queries and have nothing further to add.”)


But it turns out there ARE people they’re prepared to tell the truth to.

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