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Wings Over Scotland

A letter from Quebec 227

Posted on June 23, 2014 by

As a French Quebecer belonging to a generation that was deeply influenced by Harry Potter, it was with great interest and concern that I read JK Rowling’s recent letter on why she opposes Scotland’s independence.


Of herself and her fellow Scots, she justly writes that “whatever Scotland decides, we will probably find ourselves justifying our choice to our grandchildren.”

Well, I’m one of those grandchildren previous generations now find themselves having to justify their decisions to, and I can tell you how it went for us.

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How times don’t change 177

Posted on June 02, 2014 by

As we forced ourselves unwillingly through the full text of the Strathclyde Commission report in the name of professionalism this afternoon, it struck us that perhaps in our partisan haste we’d been just a tiny bit harsh on it.


After all, while the extension of tax powers is at best an empty charade and at worst an expensive millstone around the neck of the Scottish Government’s budget, and the proposals for devolving elements of welfare vague and highly unlikely to ever be implemented, there are a couple of recommendations that would, while minor in the context of Holyrood’s overall finances, at least be welcome.

Something nagged at the back of our mind, though.

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Let’s make this simpler 135

Posted on June 02, 2014 by

The Strathclyde Commission report, 15 months in the making and repeatedly delayed, is just 16 pages long. We’re not too sure what the team did for 14 months and three weeks of that time, because in essence the report is the executive summary of Scottish Labour’s “Powers For A Purpose” paper with a couple of numbers changed.

(Luckily they’re fantasy numbers that won’t affect anything, as the powers they refer to can never be used and in fact will be delivered by the Scotland Act 2012 anyway.)

So rather than bore you by going through it making all the same arguments that we made about the Labour report again, we’re going to keep it short.

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The Common Sense Test 151

Posted on June 02, 2014 by

This morning’s papers are already full of reports about the contents of the Strathclyde Commission report, the Conservative counterpart to Labour’s shambolic “Devo Nano” proposals. Embarrassingly for Johann Lamont, it looks as though the Tories are going to “outbid” Labour, the self-proclaimed “party of devolution”, with what are superficially greater powers for the Scottish Parliament on taxation.


And like much of the media’s coverage of the entire independence debate, the reporting to date is an insult to the intelligence of the people of Scotland.

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The Dishface Tapes 147

Posted on May 15, 2014 by

Watch (from 5m 50s) as David Cameron refuses to commit to having a bill for more powers for Holyrood in the first Queen’s Speech should he win the 2015 election.

Vote no, get nothing, and get it never.

Yet another warning from history 87

Posted on May 13, 2014 by

The Scotsman, 24 March 2007:

Brown: I will save the union

Gordon Brown last night revealed he was placing himself at the heart of Labour’s Holyrood election campaign, declaring it was his ‘duty’ to save the Union from the SNP.

In an exclusive interview with Scotland on Sunday, Brown pledged to spend the six weeks before polling day ‘explaining and exposing’ the Nationalists’ ‘disastrous’ plans.

The Chancellor ruled out any plans to give more power to the Scottish Parliament saying it was not necessary.”

How (some) things change, eh readers?

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The razor’s edge 249

Posted on April 21, 2014 by

We’re still waiting for the full data tables for the ICM/Scotland on Sunday poll that got everyone a little excited at the weekend, and whose findings closely mirrored the Panelbase/Wings Over Scotland one two weeks ago that the same publisher crudely smeared and cast aspersions (which it later retracted) on the credibility of.


In the meantime, even though we’re still technically on holiday, we had a bit of a rummage through the company’s preceding one for the Scotsman papers this morning and picked out some random interesting snippets. We’ll be watching keenly to see if the latest poll has corresponding stats to compare.

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For their eyes only 257

Posted on April 14, 2014 by

Alert readers can’t have failed to notice a certain reticence on the part of Scottish Labour to clarify key aspects of their shambolic proposals for further devolution in the event of a No vote.

(In response to our latest enquiries, genetically-programmed Central Scotland list MSP Siobhan McMahon sent a Wings reader a letter at the weekend directing them to the “Devo Nano” report – which doesn’t address any of the issues that were actually raised by her constituent – and saying “I believe that I have now adequately responded to your queries and have nothing further to add.”)


But it turns out there ARE people they’re prepared to tell the truth to.

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Mork calling Orson, come in Orson 118

Posted on April 04, 2014 by

Our email inbox this week has been packed with people sending in their Labour MP’s or MSP’s responses to our questions about the party’s proposals for the devolution of taxation (aka “Devo Nano”) in the event of a No vote.


With the exception of the very first reply – an arrogant, rude, dismissive effort from Tom Harris – until this evening all of them have been the exact same text except for minor variations in the introductory sentences, with some members choosing to insert little digs at this site but others being more polite to their constituents.

But tonight everything changed.

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Through the fog of war 197

Posted on March 29, 2014 by

Some readers didn’t fully grasp the meaning of our post yesterday evening which shed light on the full tangled horror of Scottish Labour’s proposals for “extended” devolution if Scotland votes No this September. We don’t entirely blame them, because trying to make sense of both the proposals and the godawful leaden writing in which the party’s document explained them is no easy task.


So we’re going to see if we can simplify it all a bit.

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The Red Squirrel Papers 78

Posted on March 23, 2014 by

Earlier this week we noticed the curious lack of media coverage of the “Devo Nano” report. As the document spelling out Labour’s “more powers” offer to Scotland in the event of a No vote, its release was ostensibly the most important milestone so far in the independence debate, so we found it very strange to see it get such a muted reception, particularly from the Daily Record.


Two days later the explanation arrived, in the form of the so-called “Red Paper”. Described by some journalists as a “mini-manifesto”, it was a 64-page uncosted wishlist of vague feelgood notions like reducing child poverty. (A brave, daring and controversial step there to be sure.) And this time the papers were all over it.

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Introducing Devo Nano 128

Posted on March 18, 2014 by

So, the wait is over. Two full years after announcing the setup of its “Devolution Commission” (comprising three MPs, three MSPs, one MEP, a pair of general-purpose office wonks and one increasingly-unhinged councillor), this morning Scottish Labour unveiled its final report, strikingly clad in the flag of, er, Shetland.


As we write, only the executive summary has been made available – a slim 14 pages including the preamble, reasoning and recommendations. These are our observations.

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