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Wings Over Scotland

Lowering expectations 101

Posted on March 17, 2014 by

At the weekend we examined the likely outcome of Scottish Labour’s long-awaited “Devolution Commission”, and the media’s extraordinary spin on it. Hyped breathlessly as a “game-changer” by more than one Scottish journalist, the plan is in fact an empty piece of window-dressing, a charade as fake as the shop-fronts which line so many High Streets as the UK government’s “recovery” bypasses most normal people’s lives.


And while Johann Lamont might have fooled the media – always willing to be suckered by any passing devolution conman – she clearly doesn’t fancy her chances of pulling the (painting of) wool over the Scottish public’s eyes, because a piece in yesterday’s Sunday Mail reveals just how low Labour are trying to manage Scotland’s hopes.

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Let’s walk this one through 65

Posted on March 16, 2014 by

Being a journalist can occasionally present some tricky ethical dilemmas. Today’s Scotland on Sunday carries a story about Scottish Labour’s strife-riddled devolution plans, which attributes this quote to the Scottish branch manager Johann Lamont:


Now, that’s an awkward one for any conscientious reporter. We have to presume that the former English teacher MEANT to say “increase” (or “restore”), rather than “reduce”. But you can’t just casually reverse in print what someone actually said on the assumption that they meant the opposite, so the hapless Andrew Whitaker has to resort to the least-bad option, which is just printing it and hoping nobody notices.

It’s the rest of the article that contains the real nonsense, though.

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A new world record for stupid 92

Posted on March 14, 2014 by

Heavens above, readers. Immersing ourselves as we do in the tepid and murky waters of Scottish political journalism for a living – because it was either that or drowning kittens in a bucket and the hours for that are slightly unsociable – we sometimes imagine that we’ve become inured to even the most fatuously cretinous word-vomiting arse-quackery that passes for analysis in the supposedly intelligent press.


And then we read something like the spectacularly, cosmically moronic mind-sewage Hamish Macdonell just strained and heaved onto the electro-pages of the Spectator this afternoon and realise that the abyss of idiocy has no end, or at the very least culminates in a black-hole singularity from which the light of reason can never escape.

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An apology to Gordon Brown 175

Posted on March 10, 2014 by

Earlier today we may have given some readers the impression that Gordon Brown’s six-point proposals for the constitutional future of Scotland within the UK were weak, vague and essentially meaningless waffle.

However, now that we’ve seen the recommendations (in a report rather egotistically entitled “Campbell II”) also produced today by Sir Menzies Campbell of the Liberal Democrats, we’ve realised that by comparison Mr Brown has delivered a masterwork of comprehensive, considered and well-thought-out detail.


Get a load – and we do mean a load – of this, readers.

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The kingdom of the blind 127

Posted on March 10, 2014 by

It’s Monday, so it must be time for Gordon Brown to lumber into the independence debate again. The man who was the least popular Prime Minister of the last 50 years magically transforms into a respected elder statesman when the British left is desperately trying to lend some progressive gravitas to the floundering No campaign in the wake of a series of ill-judged right-wing interventions from Tory ministers and millionaire business tycoons.


So we suppose we’re obliged to spend at least a couple of minutes examining the latest pronouncements of the man who so famously ended boom and bust.

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The Kings Of The South 71

Posted on March 09, 2014 by

We again commend this week’s edition of the Sunday Herald to readers as 69p (for the digital version, or whatever the physical one costs in a newsagent these days) well spent on some interesting and balanced journalism.


Iain Macwhirter’s column is a particularly good read today, unusually incendiary and impeccably argued, but the thing that most caught our eye was a nice piece of investigative reporting on a theme Wings readers will find very familiar.

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The difference a day makes 96

Posted on March 03, 2014 by

Scotland on Sunday yesterday:


The Scotsman 24 hours later:


Rinse, lather and repeat for the next six months.

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The case as it is 72

Posted on March 02, 2014 by

If you missed it live, here’s the audio recording of the debate held at the Volunteer Rooms in Irvine on Friday. (The event wasn’t video-recorded, despite Clan Destiny Films having a high-quality camera team there, because the Labour MP for Central Ayrshire, Brian Donohoe, refused to give his permission.)


Click the image for the two-hour MP3 file.

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A sense of proportion 103

Posted on February 28, 2014 by

Standard Life, about which the entire Scottish media got incredibly excited about yesterday when they made a rather unremarkable statement which could be spun as a threat to leave Scotland if it voted Yes, employs around 5000 people north of the border. The aviation business, on the other hand, underpins the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of Scots. Does it have a view on the subject?

That’s Willie Walsh, head of International Airlines Group (which owns British Airways), responding to a rather loaded question from BBC News by saying he’d regard independence as “a positive development”. That’s pretty interesting in itself, given that airlines are much more important to the Scottish economy than one insurance company, yet we have a strange premonition that it won’t attract the same headlines.

But it ties into politics a bit more directly than that too.

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Jenny Marra’s Nation 163

Posted on February 19, 2014 by

Alert readers may recall a piece from earlier today in which we mused on the curious and perhaps unique unwillingness of the people of Scotland to seek more powers over their own lives. It was in part triggered by a curious moment from last night’s BBC Scotland independence debate from Kelso in the Borders.

A gentleman in the audience had asked the assembled panel of politicians “what they understand by the word ‘nation’, and which nation or nations do you belong to?”, and Labour MSP Jenny Marra’s reply was illuminating and perplexing in equal measures.

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The fake red flag 72

Posted on January 28, 2014 by

The Daily Record’s run a whole clutch of articles of a vaguely positive nature towards independence recently, which is nice. We assume Torcuil Crichton must be ill. But an editorial leader column today commenting on the Yes campaign’s encouraging poll figures and identifying the SNP’s social-justice policy programme as the reason had an intriguing line buried in the middle of it.

“Only Labour can win this battle for the UK and they have to run up a red flag for Scotland and sail under it. If that is a different banner from the rest of the UK, so be it.”

Hang on. What does that mean, exactly?

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A statute of limitations 130

Posted on December 12, 2013 by

The wording of that headline isn’t strictly accurate, because the Claim Of Right For Scotland – signed in 1989 by over 80% of Scottish MPs, and many other politicians and representatives of “civic Scotland” – isn’t a law, and has no binding force.


Nevertheless, it’s a document that carries a certain amount of political weight, as an open acknowledgement by Labour and the Liberal Democrats that the people of Scotland (not Parliament and the monarch, as is the case in England) are sovereign and are entitled to determine the form of government they want.

Up to a point, anyway.

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