stooges of the Kremlin

Wings Over Scotland



The gloom hunters 292

Posted on April 11, 2018 by

The accountancy firm Price Waterhouse Coopers – last seen charging the taxpayer an eye-watering £20.4m for just eight weeks’ work during the collapse of Carillion – today published a report into the declining number of high-street retail outlets in the UK.

BBC Scotland was keen to put a regional slant on it.

According to the article, Scotland had put in the worst performance in the country. But that didn’t appear to be what the report said at all.

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The wrong end of the telescope 184

Posted on April 08, 2018 by

This was the front page of yesterday’s Scotsman:

As is often the case with Scottish newspapers these days, the story was based entirely on a fantasy – IF a certain number of people did a certain thing (flee to England to escape a 1p income tax rise), which the story doesn’t provide a shred of evidence to suggest they’re going to do, then a bad thing would happen.

But that wasn’t the weird bit.

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The tracks are always greener 249

Posted on April 02, 2018 by

Stuck for any actual news at the tail of the Easter weekend, today’s Scottish Daily Mail reaches once again into the bag marked “Emergency Barrel Scrapings” and comes up with that old faithful beloved of all newspapers, a shock-horror “OMG LOOK HOW EXPENSIVE THE TRAINS ARE!” story.

It’s always an easy hit – partly because since a shambolic, fragmented privatisation the UK does have pretty much the most expensive railways per mile in the civilised world, but also because regular train users tend to mainly travel in the same area all the time, and are easily persuaded that they have it worse than people anywhere else.

So let’s ignore all the Mail’s ridiculous cobblers blaming the SNP – who have very limited control over the fare policies of Abellio (the Dutch state-owned company who run ScotRail) and who have been prevented by successive UK governments from nationalising the network – and just see if that’s true.

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With a weary sigh 219

Posted on March 27, 2018 by

This is a grim and dispiriting time to be monitoring the Scottish political media, even by its normal low standards. So little is happening that Unionist newspapers desperate for any kind of SNP BAD story are scraping the residue from the scrapings from the barrel that they scraped away to splinters months ago.

A case in point is today’s FRONT-PAGE piece in the Herald containing the shocking revelation that someone connected with the SNP registered – in their own name, not even the party’s – an internet domain called organise.scot last summer.

Even though the domain is still unused eight months later and there isn’t a shred of evidence about what it might ever be used for, a couple of opposition benchwarmers speculating that a private individual registering a web domain must somehow prove that the sneaky SNP are plotting a new independence campaign was considered by the Herald to be not just news, but front-page news.

(It’ll certainly come as a massive shock to everyone in Scotland who assumed that the SNP had given up on seeking independence after pursuing it as their primary reason for existence for a mere 85 years or so.)

And alarmingly, it wasn’t even the stupidest piece of Nat-bashing to appear in the Scottish press in the last 48 hours.

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Spinning down 177

Posted on March 14, 2018 by

So here’s a headline from the (Dundee) Evening Telegraph.

You know how we’re always pointing out how newspapers love to lie to readers without actually saying things that are untrue? Let’s have a quick case study.

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Replacement bollocks service 343

Posted on January 31, 2018 by

Alert readers may recall some articles last August in which we highlighted the total pig’s breakfast Scotland’s media had made of reporting ScotRail punctuality figures, centred around mistaking the “on time” figures (trains arriving within 59 seconds of their scheduled time, ie at the advertised minute) for the “PPM” figures (trains arriving within five minutes) which are the basis of official punctuality targets.

Several newspapers, including the Herald, Courier, Daily Record and Daily Mail, had to publish corrections after our articles, so we can be pretty sure they won’t have made that mistake again with the latest stats.

Can’t we?

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An early failure 277

Posted on January 25, 2018 by

Taking things personally 87

Posted on January 22, 2018 by

Call us cynical if you will, but we were very suspicious when we saw today’s Herald.

We were a little bit surprised that Oxfam would have commissioned a report into Scotland, so we thought we better check and see exactly what it said.

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The art of escalation 87

Posted on December 15, 2017 by

The Tories kicked off yesterday’s reaction to the budget with a straight-up lie.

No promise has been broken. The basic rate HAS been frozen, at 20p, and low and middle earners HAVE been protected. Nobody who’s on less than £33,000 – which is considerably higher than the average (£23K) or full-time median (£28K) wages – will pay a penny more tax, and the large majority of Scots will in fact see a small tax cut.

(The weasel-wording justification is of course that pretty much everyone who pays tax pays some of it at the basic rate, and are therefore in a sense “basic-rate taxpayers”. But “nobody will pay any more tax” wasn’t the promise. Indeed, the manifesto pledge is a pretty clear implication that better-off people WOULD be taxed a little more.)

But the numbering was interesting. In order to try to obscure that fact that most Scots would be paying LESS tax as a result of the budget, the Tories went with a nicely vague but high-sounding “hundreds of thousands” for the number of people who’d lose out a little. And then the Scottish media went to work.

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Reheats and revisions 120

Posted on December 10, 2017 by

Alert readers of the Scottish Mail On Sunday – if any such people exist, that is – will have noticed that the paper has of late been cutting both costs and the middleman by giving Tory MSPs entire pages to spout party propaganda for free rather than paying a journalist to slightly rewrite it.

First Ruth Davidson, and now the party’s finance spokesloyalist Murdo Fraser, have recently had free rein to say whatever they liked to the paper’s readership, and today Fraser chose to go with the topic of “waste”.

(Following on from a bizarre Scottish Daily Mail piece last month about which we’ll have some startling new information for you very soon.)

It seemed oddly familiar, with one rather significant alteration.

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Minor roadworks alert 406

Posted on November 30, 2017 by

Scotland has 2,174 miles of trunk roads, of which 1.7 miles (that’s just under 0.08%) comprise the Queensferry Crossing. For the next few days those 1.7 miles are going to be subject to some partial lane closures on the southbound side for maintenance.

They’ll cause almost no disruption, because as it happens there’s another very similar bridge conveniently located just a couple of hundred yards away – linked directly to all the same roads – that traffic will use instead.

Not much of a story, is it? We don’t know how many miles of Scotland’s roads have roadworks on them on any given day of any given week, but we suspect it’s quite a lot. It tends not to make the news beyond a few seconds on the traffic bulletin at the end, but today was different.

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The missing half of the equation 202

Posted on October 18, 2017 by

Readers will doubtless be startled to hear that today’s Scottish newspapers have taken a somewhat misleading approach to the facts on one of the day’s big stories.

Several of them report the findings of a commission looking into the idea of a Citizen’s (or Universal) Basic Income, a scheme which pays every adult in the country a fixed sum every year regardless of their own income, almost completely replacing the current benefits system.

(We’ll use Universal/UBI, to avoid confusion with the greedy-businessman trade body.)

The idea is that as well as reducing poverty, the administrative costs of social security are massively reduced, as is the problem of vulnerable people not taking up benefits because of the stigma often attached to them by the press.

The downside is that it’s generally more expensive. But have the Scottish press accurately reported the scale of that cost, or have they massively exaggerated it for shock value and to serve a right-wing agenda? Read on for a surprise!

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