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Wings Over Scotland

Fear Factor Five 137

Posted on February 05, 2014 by

We do hope none of these shock troops get caught up and hurt in the lovebombing.

Scottish independence: Cable warns of VAT on food

Caroline Flint warns that independence would mean £875 on energy bills

Warning of risk to transport links after Yes vote

No camp in grocery price rise claims (NB unrelated to VAT)

RBS would move to London if Scotland breaks away

That’s all just today. Anyone sound frightened to you?

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Panic stations 115

Posted on January 18, 2014 by

When we started the week with news of the UK government’s statement on debt, we wondered aloud whether it would be a game-changing moment. Judging by the No camp’s reaction since then, shrieking and flailing and lashing out blindly in all directions simultaneously, our question’s been answered.


It’s been hard to keep track of it all, but we’ll have a go.

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Taking our best shot 126

Posted on January 13, 2014 by

This is going to be tough. Alistair Carmichael’s list of the “top 20” reasons for staying in the UK, issued today, is a document so farcical it’s actually quite hard to analyse.


It’s difficult to react to it in a rational manner, because the rational response is a torrent of angry invective at having one’s intelligence so heinously and crassly insulted. And going for the satire angle isn’t easy either, because it’s quite tricky to think of anything more ridiculous or idiotic than some of the claims the Secretary of State for Portsmouth makes. Striving as ever for balance, then, this is the best we can do.

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How things change 98

Posted on December 04, 2013 by

Well done to the alert reader who spotted this 2006 Q&A with Jack Straw MP, former Foreign Secretary and then Leader of the House Of Commons, on the BBC website:

Question from Stephen, London: As Leader of the Commons, how can having two Scottish MPs as the front runners for PM be democratic? Powers for most agencies including health, education etc have been devolved in Scotland, yet Mr Reid or Mr Brown would set the agenda for solely English matters when they represent Scottish constituencies.


Jack Straw: English MPs control all the money which Scotland receives – is that ‘fair’? England constitutes 85% of the UK’s population and 87% of its wealth. It was English MPs who agreed to devolve some powers to Scotland in a Westminster Act of Parliament; but year by year controls over public spending levels for all of the UK continue to be exercised by Westminster. And power devolved is power retained, not ceded.

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By their works shall you know them 135

Posted on November 16, 2013 by

Something rather odd happened over on our Facebook page this week. It’s the most sparsely-populated outpost of the Wings empire, (because it’s mostly just links to articles here), and the average post there is doing well if it’s seen by 2000 people and gets five or six comments.

But yesterday, after running this article, we thought it might be fun to turn the two maps into one of our celebrated series of “leaked Better Together posters”, so we quickly knocked up this image and posted it on the Facebook page accompanied only by the words “Another Union dividend”:


And then things went a bit mad.

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The bully’s gospel 353

Posted on October 15, 2013 by

Alistair Darling is in full Private Frazer mode over on the “Better Together” website today with his campaign’s latest variant on the timeless “too wee, too poor, too stupid” theme. Allow us to save you some time by stripping the entire 1000-word rant down to its three core paragraphs:

“Scotland has run a net fiscal deficit in 20 of the past 21 years. This suggests that over this period North Sea Oil receipts would have been required to fund public services in Scotland rather than being invested in an oil fund.

Faced with the fact that Scotland’s oil taxes are needed to fund Scotland’s public services, John Swinney made a decision that alter the terms of the independence debate forever. He made it clear on Good Morning Scotland that he favoured borrowing money to pay into an oil fund.

Borrowing to save is such a daft idea that it leads you back to the conclusion that to set up an oil fund they would have little choice but to raise taxes or cut spending. “

Contained within those few short lines is so much misinformation that it’s going to take rather longer to pull it all apart and see what the former Chancellor is trying to conceal, so let’s get straight to it. We don’t even have time for a picture.

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A change of heart 102

Posted on October 07, 2013 by

The new Scottish Secretary, Alistair Carmichael, in Holyrood magazine in 2010:

“Getting rid of the Scotland Office is a ‘job waiting to be done’, says Liberal Democrat MP Alistair Carmichael, dubbing the current Scottish Secretary Jim Murphy as a ‘tax-funded campaign manager for the Labour Party in Scotland’.

In an interview with Holyrood magazine, Carmichael said that if his party got into power there would be no Scotland Office, asserting that he would instead head up a department of the Nations and Regions.

 He continued: “I think there is a job to be done but having the Scotland Office is not the right way to do it because it should be the clearing house between government in Edinburgh and government in London but now it is just a focal point for conflict.”

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The hope of the future 151

Posted on September 14, 2013 by

This is a leaflet distributed to pupils at Ellon Academy in Aberdeenshire this week. It was put together by “the school’s Better Together team” as part of the lead-up to a mini-referendum this Tuesday and sent to us by a concerned parent.


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Later than you think 364

Posted on July 24, 2013 by

In an extraordinary outburst on TV last night, “Better Together” campaign chairman Alistair Darling accused Alex Salmond of exaggerating the amount of extractable oil in the Scottish sector of the North Sea by 1,200%.

The former Chancellor (who we learned a few weeks ago thinks the population of Scotland is six million, creating an impressive 705,000 imaginary Scots) suggested that rather than the 24 billion barrels currently estimated by the oil industry – and commonly cited by the UK government – there were in fact just 2 billion barrels left.


As BT are a tad wobbly with numbers, let’s do a quick bit of arithmetic on that.

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Bananas republic 140

Posted on July 15, 2013 by

We’ve noted recently how the No camp likes to huffily deny that it ever portrays Scotland as incapable of thriving as an independent country. Here’s a fairly typical example from the Scotsman back in April (our emphasis):

“SNP Westminster leader Angus Robertson has claimed the ‘No’ campaign is based on the idea that Scots are “uniquely poor”, “stupid” and “incapable” of self-government.

Last night, Better Together rejected Mr Robertson’s claim. A spokesman said: ‘The only people who peddle this line are the Nationalists. No-one from Better Together thinks that Scotland couldn’t go it alone.’

We know they’re not great at counting, but they might want to check that figure.

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Do you agree? 57

Posted on July 12, 2013 by

Alistair Darling’s gremlin-plagued “positive case for the Union” speech in Glasgow yesterday, even leaving aside the weakness of its tired, reheated arguments (basically the same old “We cannae dae it” doom and gloom resprayed with an atom-thin coat of All-New Positivitrex!) might be the most boring thing we’ve ever read.

It drones on for a soul-sapping 26 pages and we can’t imagine how long it must have seemed when you were stuck in the room hearing it in Darling’s querulous, vexatious voice, but there’s one saving grace: the graphs. There are no fewer than 23 frequently-incomprehensible boxes, charts and diagrams, of which this is our favourite.


We’re not sure they’ve quite grasped how polling works.

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We couldn’t have put it Better 73

Posted on July 03, 2013 by

Who says there’s no satire in Scottish politics? We’re indebted to the alert reader who sent us a link to this magnificent website from the ever-delightful Orange Order.

(“British Together is a campaign group set up by the Grand Orange Lodge of Scotland to assist the mainstream Unionist groups leading up to and including the independence referendum in 2014.”)


Why the Union? Want to read the positive case for the most successful political union the world has ever known? Just click the “Find Out More” button! Okay, try it again. You might have to click it quite a lot of times. Oh well, maybe one day.

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