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Wings Over Scotland

When day doesn’t follow night 177

Posted on July 07, 2014 by

Most people only read one daily newspaper, if that. We, for our sins, read almost all of them, and if you do that you learn stuff that other people don’t know.


Firstly, you spot how many agency stories pop up in multiple papers, repeated almost or actually identical, word-for-word. (Though it can also be fascinating to see which paragraphs sometimes get left out.) And secondly, you find out how many stories aren’t the result of journalism, but of one paper’s hack reading something in another paper the day before, lifting the quotes and presenting it to readers as their own story.

(Occasionally they’ll deign to credit the original source, eg “such-and-such made the comments in the Guardian yesterday”, but more often they won’t bother, and will just write “said in an interview” or similar.)

And as with the agency pieces, it’s interesting to note which stories DON’T get stolen.

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The missing questions 416

Posted on June 19, 2014 by

A number of papers today report a manufactured furore concerning some comments we made on Twitter a couple of days ago about Tory MSP Alex Johnstone while watching Scotland Tonight. The Herald, astonishingly, makes it the second-lead story on its website, with political editor Magnus Gardham gleefully seizing the opportunity to stick the boot in after being the subject of much criticism on this site.


The Times also has a large piece about the tweet and it gets a quarter page in the Daily Mail, while the Scotsman’s coverage is more muted – which is perhaps out of embarrassment at coming on the same day the paper had to grudgingly publish a belated correction and “apology” for two grotesque and utterly false smears about us last week. Even Holyrood Magazine gets in on the act, as does the Courier.

That’s all fine and good. Getting monstered by Unionist newspapers isn’t exactly a new experience for us, after all. But there’s something odd about all of the stories.

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The news less fit to print 257

Posted on May 28, 2014 by

It’s not often that you see the same story on the front page of the i and the Financial Times. It’s even rarer – in fact, perhaps unprecedented – if that story’s about Scotland, because the otherwise-admirable mini-tabloid is barely even aware that there’s a part of the UK north of Newcastle.

(Its parent paper, the Independent, is we think unique among national UK newspapers in not even having a Scotland section, let alone a Scottish edition.)


So when it happens, you know it must be a pretty darned significant story – one which the Scottish press will be all over like a swarm of wasps at a jam-factory picnic. Right?

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What you didn’t read this week 147

Posted on March 06, 2014 by

Remember about ten months ago, when there was a great big five-alarm hoo-ha in the Scottish media about pensions, based on the EU law that pension schemes operating across national borders had to be fully-funded at all times, which we were told would cause all sorts of dreadful chaos if Scotland was independent?


We ask because the Scottish media has now had two full days to pick up on a story which appeared on the website of The Actuary magazine this week, but oddly hasn’t.

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What you won’t read today 151

Posted on February 15, 2014 by

The Scottish and UK press has been packed solid for the last 48 hours with strangely uniform assessments of how George Osborne has conclusively smashed the Scottish Government’s position on an independent Scotland’s currency.


We’ve offered our own analysis, and various politicians and professional activists on the No side have been pouring ugly, borderline-xenophobic scorn and sneering on other nations which use some of the alternative options to a formal Sterling union, which is usually a sure sign that they’re scared of something.

So it seemed worthwhile to collect together the views of some proper financial experts in one place for handy reference, because the cosy consensus in the UK media doesn’t seem to be reflected by people who actually know what they’re talking about. Read the rest of this entry →

Conspiracies of silence 139

Posted on January 08, 2014 by

Yesterday the Labour Party’s representatives in the Scottish Parliament voted against a motion to provide free school meals to all Scottish children in Primary 1 to Primary 3, and to increase childcare funding for two-year-olds. They did so barely 48 hours after angrily demanding that the Scottish Government provide better childcare – an issue which Labour had explicitly tied into the independence debate by using an opinion poll commissioned by the “Better Together” campaign.


Fortunately for Scots, Labour is a totally impotent force in the Scottish Parliament, and its opinions and actions there ultimately count for nothing. Thanks to the SNP’s majority, the motion passed and hungry children living in poverty will get at least one hot, nutritious meal a day, without the stigma of being marked out as poor.

But after the blanket media coverage of Labour’s calls over child welfare, you’d expect that the arithmetic of the vote would merit at least a passing mention when Scotland’s press reported the story. Wouldn’t you?

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