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Wings Over Scotland

Personalising the debate 118

Posted on March 11, 2014 by

We’ve just watched three hours of the Education and Culture Committee at Holyrood discussing the report on media bias by Professor John Robertson of the University of the West of Scotland, which featured the good professor himself and senior BBC Scotland executives including Ken McQuarrie and John Boothman.


The contrast between Prof. Robertson’s absolute frankness and candour – openly discussing his political views and his mild autism – and the BBC men’s evasion and obfuscation was quite something to behold. We’ll have some analysis this week.

One finding of Prof. Robertson’s report was that the anti-independence media (or for short, “the media”) had a strong tendency to personalise the Yes debate in the form of Alex Salmond, and a piece in today’s Scotsman provides us with a handy illustration.

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My cyber shame 119

Posted on January 24, 2014 by

Tell you what, readers – say what you like about the Daily Mail, but you certainly can’t accuse them of not really going for it once they get an idea into their heads.


These are all just from the last week or so, and there’s more to come. The paper has been going around doorstepping random pro-independence tweeters for what we presume is going to be quite a sizeable feature any day now (we declined their offer to send a hack and photographer round, but answered a few questions by email, as much for the sheer curiosity of seeing how they’d twist them as anything else).

And the “Cybernat Watch” column is now our favourite start to the day.

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The classic double whammy 145

Posted on January 18, 2014 by

Step 1: Write an offensive, provocative piece of trollbait for the Daily Mail, describing your opponents as “kilted bum-barers who bellow ‘freedom’ whenever an English person hoves into view” and suggesting that a Yes vote is an abdication of morality.

(If you can then somehow get the Guardian to reprint it, bonus!)


Step 2: Whine like a baby when you get the response you wanted all along.

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Organisation does job 166

Posted on October 13, 2013 by

This is the front page lead story from today’s Sunday Post:


There’s a curious line there. Can you spot it?

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At one remove 66

Posted on August 31, 2013 by

Saturday is notionally our comedy day, but it’s nice to see the Scotsman joining in with the fun this week. We’re rapidly coming to the conclusion that the failing paper is now being operated as some sort of elaborate ironic prank, and the lead home-news story this morning does nothing to dispel that theory.


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The beam in your own eye 50

Posted on August 20, 2013 by

The Scotsman goes big this morning on a story revealing that John Swinney has admitted accidentally misinterpreting a report from Lloyds Banking Group which said that the oil and gas industry would create 34,000 new jobs in the UK over the next two years. A Scottish Government paper in July originally said the jobs would all come to Scotland, but the error was corrected within three days.


While most papers give the issue a couple of short lines, the Scotsman runs the news twice, once in a substantial article of its own and also (for some reason we can’t quite fathom) as a sizeable addendum tacked onto its lead story about Henry McLeish criticising the relentless negativity of the No campaign.

The Scotsman is quite right to highlight this embarrassing clanger. After all, what sort of hapless bumbling idiot could have published something which misinterpreted the Lloyds report as referring to solely Scottish jobs?

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Letters from the Editor 53

Posted on April 15, 2013 by

We recently received the same letter from the Radio Times as many other people did, in response to our complaint about the magazine’s misrepresentation of respected Scottish historian Dr Fiona Watson last month. The problem related to an article about the film “Braveheart”, which made some deeply unpleasant implications easily read as saying the SNP were xenophobic racists encouraging anti-English violence.


The reply didn’t address the very specific issues we’d raised about what Dr Watson did or didn’t say, so we wrote back to the mag’s editor Ben Preston seeking clarification on a couple of important points. His reply is below.

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Vote ‘Yes’ for global rape 81

Posted on April 01, 2013 by

We like to jest at some of the more hysterical and ridiculous scare stories put out by Unionists about independence, but sometimes the joke just isn’t funny any more.

This week we listened to the “For A’That” podcast, which featured a range of bloggers including the pro-indy Andrew “Lallands Peat Worrier” Tickell and the rare beast that is a right-wing Green, in the form of new member and Liberal Democrat defector Douglas McLellan, once seen many moons ago around these here parts.


The last guest was ultra-loyal Lib Dem activist Caron Lindsay (above), tireless defender of Willie Rennie and front-bench policy in general. She provided much of the heat in the otherwise good-natured discussion, with a succession of furious tirades against the SNP, including several (eg on the “unanswered questions” about pensions in an independent Scotland) which could in fact have been easily cleared up with a few minutes’ use of the Wings Over Scotland search box.

One in particular, though, stood out as perhaps an all-time low for the No camp.

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Richard Baker is a liar 60

Posted on March 11, 2013 by

It’s nice to see Scottish Labour taking turns. Today it’s Richard Baker who’s been wheeled out to spout idiotic and instantly-disproveable untruths at the Scottish public.


Shall we?

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Careless Torc tells lies 63

Posted on March 11, 2013 by

When the Daily Record lost Magnus Gardham to the Herald, they made sure to call on a like-for-like replacement. Torcuil Crichton, the newspaper’s self-styled “man in Westminster” (and who has never approved a single comment on his political blog in almost five years), is Gardham’s only rival as the most virulently and overtly Unionist staff reporter – as opposed to opinion columnist – in the Scottish media.


A story under Mr Crichton’s name today, though, is unsubtle even by his standards.

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Quoted for truth #11 18

Posted on March 07, 2013 by

The Scottish Sun Says, 7th March 2013:

“Here’s a radical idea for the Better Together campaign.

Just once, just for a change, let’s hear something positive about why Scotland would be better staying part of the United Kingdom. Because frankly, the scare stories are wearing a bit thin.

The latest is over a leaked SNP document that’s cue for a doom-laden warning about slashing pensions, cutting defence spending and shedding public sector jobs. Strip away the hysteria and what you actually have is a sensible Government prepared to make sensible decisions about spending. A Government aware they are operating in a tough economic climate where there is no bottomless pit of money.

And that’s whether you’re an independent country or part of the UK. Is there a single household in Scotland that doesn’t have similar conversations about what they can and can’t afford? It would be a shambolic Government that didn’t behave in the same responsible way.

Bear in mind, too, this document was written a year ago in different economic circumstances and that oil prices and revenues have risen. The net effect and the hard fact is that the finances of Scots are £863-a-head healthier than the rest of the UK.

Or isn’t that scary enough to tell folk?

Would you like to know more? 71

Posted on March 07, 2013 by

We think the Scotsman may finally have jumped the shark this morning. A piece by Scott Macnab (which we’re not going to link to, but have made a local copy of) on the No campaign’s year-old “decoy dossier” from yesterday is so extraordinarily, laughably biased and transparently dishonest that it couldn’t see even the most distant edges of decent, honourable journalism with the Hubble Space Telescope.


It is, however, just the most nakedly partisan of a series of Scottish newspaper headlines and lead stories this morning that once and for all give the lie to the notion that the country is served by anything remotely resembling a fair and balanced media.

We’ve spoken a few times of the “swarm of wasps” approach to large-scale lying that’s frequently deployed by the anti-independence movement. But this week’s desperate, co-ordinated, all-fronts onslaught on truth is more akin to a sudden mass infestation of hundreds of nasty, disease-ridden little bugs, trying to be too many to stamp on.

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