The world's most-read Scottish politics website

Wings Over Scotland

The shifting sands of thin ice 19

Posted on March 04, 2013 by

It can be hard to keep up with the Scotsman’s constant “finessing” of its news stories. For example, last night we followed a link to an interesting-sounding piece with the headline “UK’s Scots independence claims ‘on very thin ice'”.

It led to a David Maddox article on Professor David Scheffer’s recent comments suggesting that the UK Government’s official position – that an independent Scotland would inherit a worst-of-both-worlds share of the UK’s debt obligations, but none of the UK’s memberships of international bodies – was somewhat less than robust.


So when we saw the same story prominently featured on the front page of the paper’s website this morning, something seemed amiss.

Read the rest of this entry →

The magnifying glass 66

Posted on March 03, 2013 by

The NHS in Scotland is failing. If you don’t believe us, have a look at this graph that’s currently doing the social-media rounds courtesy of our “Better Together” friends (and was forwarded to us by an alert and concerned reader) and you’ll surely be convinced.


The graphs represent cases where NHS Scotland has failed to meet the targets imposed for processing patients through the A&E departments of Scottish hospitals within four hours (left graph) and 12 hours (right graph). If you want to read the full report for yourself it’s on the ISD Scotland website here.

(The figures only go back to July 2007, as previous Labour/Lib Dem administrations didn’t record them – they’re an initiative of the subsequent SNP governments.)

Now, that 323 people in a month had to wait over 12 hours for treatment is factually correct, and it’s plainly a bad thing. (The Scottish Government noted that this winter’s unprecedentedly severe norovirus outbreak was both a major contributing factor in itself and also had knock-on effects, and as norovirus requires extensive cleanup and disinfection procedures in order to meet infection-control standards it’s a valid point.)

There’s a vital piece of information missing, though.

Read the rest of this entry →

Darling warns blah blah something 39

Posted on February 23, 2013 by



We expect we’ll be running this most weeks.

Mad horse disease 22

Posted on February 10, 2013 by

Finally overcome with embarrassment as the entire internet and the rest of the media laughed at it, Scotland on Sunday has pulled its lead story from today’s edition and replaced it with an completely new piece which the old links now redirect to.

The replacement article, written by a “Julia Horton” rather than the previous two-man team of Tom Peterkin and Brian Ferguson, relegates the absurd opposition attack on food standards minister Richard Lochhead to a footnote, and entirely removes the quotes from Labour’s Claire Baker and Lib Dem leader Willie Rennie (below).


As ever, the paper’s attempts to cover its tracks are futile. You can still find a cached version of the original, but in case it vanishes we’ve copied the entire piece here.

Read the rest of this entry →

And finally… #14 57

Posted on February 10, 2013 by

Whoah! We were starting to think SoS had lost its touch. But neigh chance.


Astonishingly, this really is the mane article on the paper’s front page today. Some hack must have noticed there were no “SNP accused” stories in this week’s edition and made something up on the hoof, in an attempt to give those beastly Nats a shoeing and stirrup a shocking tail out of nothing. What a load of old pony.

It’d give anyone who believes in a balanced Scottish media a really long face.

Here’s how this works 69

Posted on January 31, 2013 by

1. Scottish Labour says universal free bus travel for pensioners is unaffordable.

2. Scottish Government manages to reduce the cost of universal free bus travel.


4. Repeat ad nauseam, ad infinitum.

And finally… #3 38

Posted on January 26, 2013 by

There wouldn’t be many people left in the No campaign if these were the rules.

So remember, folks – calling someone a Nazi isn’t political debate. Nazis weren’t comical figures of fun. That sort of poison is “sick abuse and gutter politics”, and must be stamped on if we’re ever to raise the level of debate.

(Another nugget from the Scottish Political Archive.)

“Separatists” reach out to world 41

Posted on January 15, 2013 by

The papers this week have been full of stories about the SNP’s plans for foreign aid from an independent Scotland. The Herald led with a story entitled “Yousaf plans £1.5 billion foreign aid budget”, while the Scotsman went for the slightly more inflammatory headline Scottish independence: International aid budget would soar to hundreds of millions’ with the clear implication that this compared to the modest £9 million the devolved Scottish Government currently spends directly on foreign aid.

The headlines were designed to make people think that under independence the Scottish government would be diverting hundreds of millions of pounds away from Scots, increasing our foreign aid over 100-fold. Opposition MSPs claimed such move would mean spending cuts at home or tax rises in order to fund the increased international aid budget.

You need to delve a little deeper into the articles to find the truth.

Read the rest of this entry →

Positivity vs negativity: results in 24

Posted on January 03, 2013 by

The travel division of American TV channel CNN this week named Scotland its No.1 tourism destination for 2013. In its announcement CNN Travel cited “international buzz, major events, savvy marketing and economics” among the reasons for its decision.

It would seem reasonable to include in that “savvy marketing” the efforts expended by the Scottish Government on a pair of major visits to the USA in 2012, when it sent delegations to the premiere of “Brave” and the Ryder Cup (which is of course coming to Scotland next year and is expected to generate over £100m).

At the same time, it might be instructive to remember the attitude of the four Holyrood opposition parties and the media to the work of those delegations.

Read the rest of this entry →

The shifting goalposts 54

Posted on October 22, 2012 by

The Herald, 25th January 2012 (“SNP ‘will not use new-found wealth for campaign'”):

“The cash-rich SNP will resist the temptation to flaunt its new-found wealth by raising the limits for campaign spending in the referendum, The Herald understands.

The consultation document being laid out by Alex Salmond today is expected to say that the main campaign on each side should be limited to spending £750,000 – as set out in a consultation paper on a draft referendum Bill two years ago.

There will be a similar section in today’s consultation paper and the SNP’s opponents were looking to cast a keen eye on it, given that the Nationalists have received two huge donations in recent months.

If today’s paper had raised spending limits, opponents could have been expected to cry foul. However, The Herald understands the Government is not planning to go down that road”

The Herald, 22nd October 2012 (“SNP threatens to defy watchdog on vote spend”):

“SNP ministers have been accused of trying to rig the independence referendum by imposing tough spending limits on the pro-UK parties. The SNP Government has proposed the two main campaign organisations, Yes Scotland and Better Together, should be allowed to spend no more than £750,000 in the crucial last 16 weeks of the campaign.

Labour’s Shadow Secretary of State for Scotland, Margaret Curran, said: “It didn’t last even a week before the SNP decided to move the goal posts.

“No Government has ever gone against the Electoral Commission’s recommendations and if the SNP doesn’t accept its decision on spending limits in the referendum, then it will be an insult to Scottish democracy.””

Hang on a minute, our heads are spinning.

Read the rest of this entry →

Willie Rennie, suicide bomber 47

Posted on September 28, 2012 by

Ever since May 2007, one of the strangest aspects of Scottish politics has been the poisonous hostility of the Scottish Liberal Democrats to the SNP. The parties sit very close to each other on the political spectrum, and the SNP are sympathetic to some key Lib Dem policies – most obviously a local income tax – which the Lib Dems stood no chance of implementing in coalition with anyone but the nationalists.

(The Lib Dems are also still officially a party of federalism, committed to far stronger devolution than Labour or the Tories.)

Yet a succession of leaders have treated the SNP as little short of pure evil. Nicol Stephen, Tavish Scott (especially) and now Willie Rennie appear to regard Alex Salmond’s party with undisguised hatred, for no immediately obvious reason, and the idea of any sort of co-operation on any issue about as unthinkable as Barack Obama announcing a treaty of friendship with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

In this site’s view, that approach was at least as responsible for the Scottish Lib Dems’ humiliation in 2011 as the UK party’s Westminster coalition with the Conservatives. Most people had expected the Lib Dems to form a coalition with the SNP in 2007, and when they refused we suspect that middle-ground Scottish voters no longer saw the party as serving any sort of practical purpose.

But the reduction of the Scottish Lib Dems to a tiny, embarrassing rump of just five MSPs, without a single constituency on the entire Scottish mainland, has given them a useful role in the service of the anti-independence campaign: that of cannon fodder.

Read the rest of this entry →

To be caught lying once 52

Posted on September 27, 2012 by

…is unfortunate, twice is careless, and three times in quick succession starts to look like a trend. Sober viewers may recall a post from a few days ago, in which we noted the latest example of the Herald’s increasingly-frequent habit of telling outright lies. It turns out that the formerly-respectable publication was being even more economical with the truth than we knew, as a tiny piece in a corner of today’s edition reveals*:

Still, it was nothing too serious. The original piece only exaggerated the number of turbines by around 400%, and the potential area to be covered by the new development by a trifling 3,300%. (In addition to suggesting that the land was to be sold off to private industry whereas in fact it was remaining in public ownership.) Apart from those few minor issues, the story was almost entirely accurate.

The Herald is currently circling the drain. We can’t imagine why.


*We’re indebted to keen-eyed reader “McHaggis” for pointing out the correction to us.

↑ Top