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Wings Over Scotland

The pound-shop Ruth Davidson 107

Posted on February 26, 2017 by

Yesterday afternoon, Scottish Labour tweeted some comments from Kezia Dugdale’s keynote speech to the party conference that might be the most self-evidently idiotic thing ever said by a Scottish politician.


Now, whether you support independence or not it’s a plain, measurable, empirical fact that it IS all of those things. Saying it’s not “an alternative”, in particular, is roughly on a par with asserting that the Earth doesn’t revolve around the Sun.

We were about to go on a rant about the jaw-dropping stupidity of the claim when it struck us that it might be a bit more interesting to see how the speech, and indeed the conference, had gone down with its intended audience – Scottish Labour delegates.

And as it happened, we had some data on that.

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The undecided 702

Posted on June 20, 2016 by

Alert readers will already know that the closest thing this site has to a position on this week’s EU referendum is that supporters of Scottish independence living in Scotland should vote Remain.

(And even that view is conditional on whether you consider Scottish independence the most important political goal of your life. If it’s more important to you to be out of the EU than out of the UK then clearly you’ll be voting Leave and there’s nothing we could say that would change your mind.)


But what if you happen to be a supporter of Scottish independence who DOESN’T live in Scotland? What then?

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Amongst the bears 315

Posted on May 28, 2016 by

I was born to be a Rangers supporter. I had no real choice in the matter. My father was a Ger, as was his father and his father’s father. I was accepted that as soon as I was old enough to be lifted over a turnstile I would attend Ibrox, faithfully.


From 1964 (aged 5) I worshipped at the shrine of Rangers for almost three decades. Fortunately for me, my father was the least bigoted man you could wish to meet. His religions were the trade unions and Rangers. Because he wasn’t bigoted our next-door neighbour and dad’s friend used to take me to Parkhead to watch Celtic too, which I found thrilling as I was convinced the “Tims” could see right through me.

This caused me a bit of confusion at school, because some of my family were “Tims”. In fact my favourite aunty was a convert to Catholicism and was as devout and decent a Catholic as you will ever meet. The conflation of football and religion was as normal as the smog-filled air we breathed. It just was what it was. You were either Proddy Ranger or Timmy Celtic. It wasn’t to be questioned.

Except my dad questioned it, loudly and often. He tried to explain the wrongs of the situation to me many times. I remember asking him why he still was a Rangers man if he disliked the whole Proddy/Tim thing that went with it.

“They’re my team, son. The morons can’t change that”, he told me.

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The football under the carpet 188

Posted on May 03, 2016 by

During this election campaign, there’ve been the usual bouts of political sparring, the tit-for-tat point-scoring frenzy played out through a plethora of media. One particular battleground, though, had a special resonance for me – the “Named Person” scheme.


I’m a former “looked-after” child. I’ve suffered the abuse and neglect that this scheme is intended to help protect children from. Having scrutinised the details for myself, I fully support it.

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Better not together 254

Posted on September 16, 2015 by

Dear Blairite MP,

I’m writing on behalf of hundreds of thousands of Labour Party members; some new, and some, like me, who have been loyal party members throughout our adult lives. I’m not writing to any one of you in particular.

The ones I’m addressing will know who they are.


It’s time to talk about us.

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The Tory who voted Yes 211

Posted on August 08, 2015 by

“In an independent Scotland, we’ll never have to worry about Tory governments again”, said the man on my doorstep, his YES badge gleaming in the sunshine.

“I am a Tory,” said I, watching with some amusement as the man’s jaw dropped.


“But I’ll still be voting Yes,” I added.

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Making lemonade 93

Posted on July 06, 2015 by

I started lurking on in the run up to the referendum and enjoyed reading the “robust” debates. A couple of months after the vote I got more actively involved and was immediately puzzled as to why many PBers, commentators, party strategists and – particularly – supposedly infallible bookmakers were all struggling to accept the accuracy of the Scottish opinion polls.


At this point the polls were already indicating that Scottish Labour was going to lose many of its 41 seats and could end up with fewer than five. I started commenting that from where I sitting in Stirling the opinion polls were accurate, the SNP surge was real and indeed that it had not yet peaked.

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The macaroni marriage 119

Posted on July 04, 2015 by

As the petition to save them is dismissed as a “social media experiment” and as Greggs announces it will persist in removing the macaroni pie from its line, I find that my hackles have reached hitherto unrealised heights.

Just who do these people – quislings and traitors to the cause of quality baked goods – think they are? Even the wonderful Nicola (may her name be praised) has expressed ambivalence as to their merits, preferring not to partake at a personal level.

I am no stranger to feelings of righteous indignation, but why does this issue drive me to print in a way that the recent rebuffs to Holyrood’s permanence and full fiscal autonomy did not? Allow me to explain.

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Soapbox: On A Boat 70

Posted on June 28, 2015 by

I was on my way to work in London the other morning when I heard someone talking on his mobile phone. He was a white English man in his thirties, wearing builder’s gear, presumably on his way to work too. We were heading in the same direction, so I listened to his end of the conversation as we walked along.

He was in mid-rant when I first clocked him, complaining about drug addicts and alcoholics living on benefits, while he had to get up and go to work. “I’m on my way to work too,” I thought, and the only thing that bothers me about the thought of drug addicts and alcoholics lying around at home or still asleep on the streets is the utter waste of human lives it involves.


But of course, I was on my way to a job I love, and even though I would happily write comedy whether or not I was paid for it, I’m guessing that my job probably pays a lot more than his does. And from the tone of his voice, I don’t think he was looking forward to his day’s work nearly as much as I was looking forward to mine.

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A time to choose 76

Posted on September 09, 2014 by

Between this, and this.

Once in a blue your dreams come true 317

Posted on August 30, 2014 by

Last week I was working in the tattoo studio and got chatting to a client on whom my colleague was completing a large, Japanese-style sleeve on his upper arm and chest. He was sitting upright in his chair, stripped to the waist, his new ink glowing.

We got talking about the referendum. Unusually, this guy was a No voter. I say ‘unusually’ because the vast majority of our clients in the studio are vocally keen Yes types. Perhaps there’s something in the inked person’s character – a bohemian or experimental quality that naturally favours thoughts of change or progression.


This guy was a very nice, friendly, middle-aged small business owner from North Lanarkshire. As a Yes voter, I try not to get too preachy on the subject in the studio simply because it wouldn’t be professional – I wouldn’t want to get into any kind of heated debate with someone I have to tattoo for hours on end.

Still, I lightly prodded him on some of the independence issues. I was curious to hear his perspective as I rarely encounter it in someone face to face.

“Bad for business”, he mumbled in an offhand way. “I just don’t like the sound of it”

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The story of a soldier boy 101

Posted on August 23, 2014 by

“Soldier boy” was an affectionate nickname given to me by my father before he passed away. It was both said with pride and his way of calling me a dunderheid.


Dad was an intelligent, cerebral, well-read man, anti-war and pro-independence. He tried to convince me in a variety of ways not to “sign your life away”, including leaving a collection of DVDs for me like “Beneath Hill 60”, “Cross Of Iron” and “My Boy Jack”, as well as many war poems. He also highlighted my distaste for authority. But he failed to stop me. I signed up.

Scottish independence was a different story.

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