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Wings Over Scotland

Meet the new year, same as the old year 94

Posted on January 05, 2016 by

As politics wakes up from the holidays, any readers still bothering to gaze at the pages of the Scottish media could be forgiven for a crushing sense of deja vu.


In more senses than one.

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An absence of clarity 307

Posted on December 04, 2015 by

On Wednesday the Daily Record ran this story:


It didn’t have to wait long for the “questions” to be answered.

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Tiny Correction Watch 144

Posted on October 21, 2015 by

The SNP MP for Dumfries and Galloway, Richard Arkless, made a post on Facebook last night in relation to this article in the Scottish Sunday Express three days ago.


You can read it below.

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A sour taste 223

Posted on September 23, 2015 by

Alert readers may recall an incident last year in which the Scottish media got itself very worked up about some independence supporters threatening to boycott holiday company Barrhead Travel after its owner sent a barking-mad letter to staff about how the company would go out of business if Scotland voted Yes.

The Telegraph, Express, Times, Daily Mail and Scotsman were among those covering the story at length – with the latter going so far as an extraordinary comparison to the Nazi atrocity of Kristallnacht – and someone called Jim Murphy opined that it was “a new low” and “the worst type of negative politics”, despite the SNP having discouraged and disassociated itself from any boycott.

So we’re sure that you won’t be able to move later today and tomorrow for newspaper articles about something similar, but significantly worse, that happened this weekend.

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Different kinds of news 123

Posted on July 16, 2015 by

Last night we ran a piece about a story in last week’s Daily Record in which a Scottish Labour official was given free rein to make an extended political attack on the SNP in the guise of a “business student” from the University of the West of Scotland, without his Labour identity being revealed, on the flimsy basis of a petition about college cuts with a few hundred signatures.

As it happens, another UWS student also has a petition doing the rounds at the moment. But it got treated rather differently by the Scottish press.

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In your media today 390

Posted on June 24, 2015 by

We’ve noted on more than one occasion that the spectacular SNP surge since the referendum appears to have completely unhinged much of the Scottish and UK press. Having pumped out a vast avalanche of hysterical coverage which utterly failed to stop the Scottish electorate returning 56 SNPs out of 59, the papers have responded to the rebuff by simply turning the volume up.


But even by those standards, today has been special.

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The side of the thugs 129

Posted on May 04, 2015 by

Amazingly enough, the Scottish press today ISN’T wall-to-wall with stories about Baron McConnell of Glenscorrodale, UK peer and lawmaker, endorsing the “f***ing booting” of Conservative supporters at the weekend, in a striking contrast to when a young SNP candidate said similar but less offensive things some months ago.

(Lord McConnell’s friends were talking in the future tense about something they would do. Mhairi Black was talking in the past tense, about things which she HADN’T done.)


As far as we’ve seen, the small piece above in the Scottish Sun is the only coverage. (The Daily Record, as well as not reporting the McConnell comments at all, actually has another go at Mhairi Black instead.)

But we were having trouble recalling any “hate-filled violent mobs” (McConnell’s actual full quote) on the Yes/SNP side. And so was an alert reader who had a dig through the papers from the last couple of years.

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Friendly help for Kezia Dugdale 164

Posted on April 23, 2015 by

At today’s First Minister’s Questions, the Scottish Labour deputy leader Kezia Dugdale launched into an ill-advised attack over an SNP candidate who’d made some foolish (but not especially outrageous) comments on Twitter in 2012. Rather than simply issuing the standard generic condemnation of abusive remarks, Nicola Sturgeon did so but also drew Dugdale’s attention to the beam in her own eye.


Labour activist, blogger, lawyer and regular BBC pundit Ian Smart (he hasn’t been seen on STV since accusing them repeatedly, without any evidence, of letting the SNP pre-approve all interview questions some time ago) is well known to readers of this blog. Bizarrely, however, Dugdale feigned ignorance of his activity.

To help her, we’ve compiled some of Mr Smart’s greatest hits.

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Telling good journalism from bad 245

Posted on April 05, 2015 by

As alert readers will already know, this site’s core long-term aim is to eventually render itself redundant, by showing people how to read between the lines, spot what isn’t being said and understand the various tricks that newspapers use in order to get the public to believe things that aren’t true without ever doing anything so crass (and more to the point, legally-actionable) as directly lying.


Today’s papers provide an especially clear-cut example.

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Leesten varry caurfelly 245

Posted on April 04, 2015 by

…we shall say zees only wance.

That clip (from just past midnight on the BBC News channel) isn’t a bad starting-point summary of last night’s extraordinary story, except by our count the Telegraph’s piece was fourth-hand rather than third-hand.

(First-hand would have been Nicola Sturgeon. Second-hand would have been the ambassador. Third-hand would have been the consul-general. The civil servant – who doubted the story him/herself – is fourth-hand.)

This is also a pretty good primer. Now let’s get to the fun stuff.

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What passes for subtlety 171

Posted on September 12, 2014 by

Former Labour spindoctor Charlie Whelan in the Strathspey & Badenoch Herald:


Click to enlarge as Whelan segues seamlessly from terrible Scottish “nationalism” to racial genocide in Auschwitz, because, you know, Yes voters are all basically Nazis*.

*George Galloway’s comments (made in his capacity as a nominated representative of “Better Together”) from yesterday’s BBC “Big Big Debate” were edited out of the broadcast version. We’re sure it was just to keep the running time tight.

If you can’t say something nice 502

Posted on September 04, 2014 by

…you probably write for the Express.

Yesterday we posted a couple of tweets observing the fact that the Scottish media had conspicuously ignored the phenomenon that is The Wee Blue Book. (We’d have made more of the total blanking had we been even a little bit surprised.)


Despite having extensively reported almost every other document published about the referendum debate (such as Sir Tom Hunter’s almost-impenetrable digital-only effort), the press saw nothing at all newsworthy about a 72-page book that’s been downloaded over 400,000 times online and which a small team of complete amateurs had managed to fund, print and distribute more than 250,000 physical copies of in a matter of days, with demand still far outstripping supply.

But it turned out we were being a little unfair.

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