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Wings Over Scotland

EU cannot be serious! 173

Posted on May 27, 2016 by

There’s been a lot of nonsense from both sides of the EU referendum campaign, but of all the terrible arguments for voting one way or the other, the worst has to be that the UK is not currently independent.


For supporters of Scottish independence, watching people claim the UK is not independent is like someone in Aberdeen who just had their disability benefits cut listening to a middle-class couple on a joint income of £100,000 moaning about paying a few hundred pounds a year more in council tax for their band H mansion in affluent Rubislaw Den South.

It’s particularly loathsome seeing the genuine arguments for Scottish independence being re-purposed by people who claimed they were invalid two years ago – no more so, perhaps, than in the case of George Galloway, the man who wants independence for every country in the world except his own.

The idea that the UK’s situation is comparable to Scotland’s is simply laughable, and since laughing is good for the soul, let’s look at a few points in detail.

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England’s Dreaming 366

Posted on February 22, 2016 by

It’s quite incredible that someone with Jim Sillars’ political experience should be so naive about the tactics surrounding the EU referendum. Regardless of your feelings on the EU itself, there’s absolutely no point in any supporter of Scottish independence voting Leave this June, and here’s why.


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The limits of solidarity 64

Posted on July 18, 2015 by

Since Germany decided to punish Greece for daring to try to exercise democracy and national sovereignty, there’s been something of an upsurge in commentators on the British left questioning whether the EU is really the progressive institution they’d assumed it to be, leaving their vote in 2017’s EU referendum potentially up for grabs.

(Unlike Scotland, of course, at least Greece didn’t have to ask permission to hold its plebiscite on austerity, even if it appears to have counted for nothing in the end.)


Coming hot on the heels of the European Parliament ignoring concerns over the highly secretive TTIP negotiations, the European dream is turning into a nightmare for many.

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How not to lose the EU referendum 162

Posted on May 27, 2015 by

The UK’s forthcoming referendum on EU membership was enshrined in the Queen’s Speech today, and it seems likely that the “Yes” side will be those arguing for the UK to stay in the EU.

That’s a good thing. However, it’s difficult not to get flashbacks to 2011 when various unionist idiots were insisting that the Yes option should have been “Yes to the UK”, effectively holding a referendum on whether people wanted things to remain the same.


For us pedants, holding a referendum in order to ask people if they’re happy to leave things as they are feels instinctively odd, because if nothing else, it implies that there might be something wrong – a bit like someone randomly coming up to you and asking if you’re okay sitting where you are, making you suspect someone must have done something to the seat.

But it’s just as well, because the pro-EU side is going to need all the help it can get to avoid falling into the same pitfalls as the pro-UK side did last year. And unlike the “Better Together” campaign, the pro-EU campaign won’t have a 30%+ buffer in the polls to insulate it against being led by incompetent buffoons.

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The Great British Elephant 276

Posted on February 05, 2015 by

One of the most interesting things about the recent Ashcroft polls is the flurry of articles they’ve provoked in the media, as London-based political commentators try to outdo each other in displaying their complete ignorance of Scottish politics.

It’s eerily reminiscent of the sudden surge of activity when the gaps in referendum polls reached margin-of-error levels, and metropolitan journalists suddenly realised that Scotland was taking the referendum far more seriously than they were.


Two of the most revealing have been in the Spectator, with James Forsyth saying the Unionist collaborations in the No campaign “marked a recognition that Great Britain is far bigger, and far more important, than party politics”, and Fraser Nelson becoming Scottish Labour’s most unlikely cheerleader, saying “Finally, a confession. I’d like the Tories to win the next election, but not as much as I want Jim Murphy to do well”.

But amid all the outpourings of grief and befuddlement, it’s startling how little analysis there really is into why the UK is in the situation it currently is. And it’s odd because the answer isn’t the least bit complicated.

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Our man on the scene 900

Posted on September 24, 2014 by

There’s been a lot of talk on Twitter and Facebook of irregularities at the referendum counts, leading to accusations that the referendum was somehow fixed, culminating in a petition to have the procedures investigated, or even the referendum re-run. As with most conspiracy theories, this is largely down to people not understanding what they’re seeing, as the videos flying around the internet showing bits of the count have been removed from their context.


For example, there’s a video showing a counting table with a No sign on it with a pile of ballot papers, with the top paper showing a cross beside Yes. To the uninformed observer, this looks like Yes votes have been dumped on a table of No votes; but in reality, the pile of votes were still waiting to be split up into Yes and No at this point, and if the person making the video had bothered to check, they’d have found this out.

So here’s a quick guide to how the count worked, as observed by one of this website’s own official monitoring agents (specifically me).

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100 hours with Auntie 176

Posted on May 22, 2014 by

On last night’s Scotland Tonight, Labour MSP Patricia Ferguson claimed that a vote for independence would put at risk Scotland’s access to over £3 billion of BBC programming. It’s a curious and illogical straw-man argument rather akin to saying that if you stop being an ice-cream man you’re not allowed to have ice-cream any more, but we’ll let that slide until another day.


£3bn sounds like quite a lot of money, so in a dull moment we thought we’d study a week’s output from BBC One, the national broadcaster’s flagship channel, and see how much of it we could bear to live without.

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While we’re investigating 479

Posted on May 01, 2014 by

Today has seen the entry into the independence debate of the magnificently batty Vote No Borders campaign group – not on any account to be confused with the No Borders campaign group, whose aims are to “struggle against borders and immigration controls and strive for freedom of movement for all” and are therefore the very antithesis of what the British state has increasingly come to stand for.


Various puff pieces in the media have given the group free space to advertise themselves as a “grassroots” campaign that is non-party political. But the funding figures mentioned – £150,000 raised before the group had any kind of public profile at all and hope of raising another £250,000 on top – may well cause more cynical readers to detect a somewhat piscine odour.

As we’ve got our journalism hats on, let’s have a sniff.

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Something fishy 100

Posted on April 15, 2014 by

The chief executive of the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation, Bertie Armstrong, was reported in yesterday’s Press & Journal as saying that a vote for independence would leave Scotland with a weaker voice in the EU, as it would only have seven votes in the Council of EU Ministers, compared to the UK’s 29 votes.


(Which it would likely retain even in the event of losing 5.3 million of its citizens, due to the Treaty of Nice favouring the six largest countries: Germany, France, Italy and the UK all have 29 votes, while Spain and Poland have 27 each; the next largest is the Netherlands with only 13, even though the difference between their population size and Poland’s is exactly the same as that between Poland’s and the UK’s).

But Mr Armstrong seems to be having a problem with his arithmetic.

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Joining the Euro for idiots 113

Posted on February 13, 2014 by

Britain and Scotland’s journalists have set a high bar for stupid today, but this might take the biscuit. Almost every half-cut hack and so-called expert who talks about the currency options open to Scotland casually mentions that Scotland “could join the Euro”. Whether such people are doing so through ignorance of the rules of the Eurozone or through malicious intent is for observers to decide, but either way, this particular piece of witless misinformation just will not go away.


So, let’s make it nice and easy for all the lazy people who can’t be bothered Googling “Eurozone Convergence Criteria”, shall we?

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Free subbing service available 135

Posted on November 29, 2013 by

Alert commuters using Scotland’s railway stations may this week have received a “newspaper” from the official No campaign containing a splendid crossword and a recipe for raspberry brownies, amongst some political rubbish.


We haven’t tried it ourselves, but we hope the recipe was a bit less inaccurate than the political sections, or a lot of people might die of food poisoning.

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The convertibles and the others 107

Posted on September 08, 2013 by

As we’ve already noted today, those who don’t currently support independence can be split into two groups: those who can be persuaded to support it, and those who can’t.


For the purposes of winning the referendum it’s important to be able to tell the difference between the two, so as to avoid wasting time trying to convert the non-convertible, and spend our time instead on those who can be persuaded to vote Yes.

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