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Wings Over Scotland

The Ballad Of Naughty Jim

Posted on October 20, 2013 by

(with apologies to the author of The Ballad of Sir Patrick Spens, and with thanks to Johann Lamont for the virus)  



McDougall sat in Blythswood Square, sipping his Irn Bru

Yon Wings has bust 100k, O whit are we gonnae do?

If it comes tae a spat wi that rabid Nat, I’m gaun tae lose for sure

In any debate he’d be twice ma weight, and he’d smear me oo’er the floor.


Then up an’ spak an eyebrow’d loon that sat at Blair’s right knee,

Jim Naughtie’s the man tae carry the can, right here on the BBC.

He’s a heavyweight choice wi’ his faitherly voice; the people will trust whit they hear.

An’ the pish that we spout – when Jim reads it out, all Scotland will tremble wi’ fear.”


McDougall has written a letter, and sealed it wi’ his hand,

And sent it doon tae Jimmy N, wis walking up the Strand.

The first word that big Jimmy read, a loud laugh laughed he;

The neist word that big Jimmy read, a tear blinded his ee’


‘Tae Edinboro, tae Edinboro, tae Edinboro wi the train;

‘Tis thou maun defend the Union; or ne’er see hame again.’


O wha is this has done this deed, an’ tellt wee Blair o’ me?

And dragged me up frae London toun tae dreich Pacific Quay?


I’ve heard tell o’ a virus, infecting half the land,

‘Tis spreadin fast, but willna last, gin voters understand.

They say it grips your brain wi’ dreams o’ national success,

An’ taks awa the common sense that stops ye voting Yes.

I’ve heard it said this virus has arrived in Glasgow toun,

They say it spreads frae heid tae heid – pray God that I’m immune!”


Big Jim sat in the studio, his script wis full o’ gloom,

How breaking up the Union would lead tae Scotland’s doom,

How poverty would stalk the land, how oil’s running oot,

How there’d nae be ony soldiers, an’ naebody tae shoot.


He hadna read a word, a word, a word nor barely three,

But the virus rolled in a deadly cloud, richt oo’re Pacific Quay

He hadna read a word, a word, a word nor barely four,

But it blew in through the windaes and slid beneath the door.


They’ve brocht a web o’ the silken claithe, anither o’ the twine,

An’ wapped it roun’ the studio door, but the virus still cam in.

It flew through Jimmy’s lugholes, and re-arranged his cells

Wi’ a flash o’ licht (which was awfy bricht) an’ the sound o’ ringing bells.


Then listeners frae Lerwick, richt doon tae Gretna Green,

Frae Stornaway tae Berwick and a’ places in between,

And on the pitching trawlers far out upon the sea,

Heard “This is Jimmy Naughtie, frae the Glasgow BBC.


In September’s referendum, ye’ve got a simple choice,

Stay puir and wee and stupid – or let Scotland find her voice.

Ye needna trust a word ye hear frae the Glasgow BBC,

Jist tak your courage in your hands, and vote for Yes, like me.”


O wae, wae were those guid Scots lords, when they heard the awfy news,

Fareweel tae croons an’ coronets; fareweel tae bargain booze

O wae, wae were those guid Scots lords, in their cloaks o’ ermine fair,

Fareweel tae a’ oor privilege – we’ll never see it mair.


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    37 to “The Ballad Of Naughty Jim”

    1. gordoz says:

      But this guy Lourdes Robotson says we have no culture or poetry n’ that.

      He hates that gaelic stuff your usin’ tae. 

      Nice one Andrew !

    2. Calum Craig says:

      Well, that has certainly brightened up my Sunday night!

    3. SophiaPangloss says:

      Awfy guid Andrew, awfy guid… fantastical, but awfy guid aw the same…

    4. AllyPally says:

      Sir Patric Spens plus a wee touch of Robert Service.  Brilliant!

    5. Marian says:

      The BBC in London are probably quite pleased to to get rid of Naughtie for he isn’t a great interviewer because he is too fond of talking too long himself and listening to his own opinions rather than listening to what the interviewee has to say.

    6. Matt says:

      That wis awfy braw!

    7. Craig Stewart says:

      Loved it, keep it coming! 😀

    8. Anne Smith says:

      My “faitherly voice” says aye.  That’s what I will be voting in 2014.

    9. Yesitis says:

      I like it. I like it a lot.
      Cheers Andrew. Let`s hear more.

    10. scotchwoman says:

      Yon Nauchtie boy’s nae Messiah….

    11. Jeannie says:

      Well done, Andrew.  Better than the original!  It’s not the only corrruption of old language I’ve seen today, though – I was watching the BBC News earlier and I had the sub-titles on (hadn’t turned them off from watching Montalbano).  Anyway, they were reporting on the SNP conference and were finishing with someone on stage leading the crowd in that goo,d old, stirring Scottish anthem, according to the subtitles, “Scots Wahey”!

    12. Liz Quinn says:

      Brilliant! More please!

    13. gillie says:

      Naughtie is a nob-end, end of.

    14. Morag says:

      Love it!

    15. Morag says:

      Reminded me of the weirdness that was Thursday morning.
      I lived in England for longer than was actually good for me.  I have a clock radio with a cute little feature.  You set your “wake-up” station, and that’s what’ll wake you up, regardless of what you were listening to when you went to bed.
      Well in England I had the wake-up station set to Radio Four.  I woke up to the dulcet Naughtie tones  every morning without fail.  Then when I came home, and unpacked my wee radio from the cardboard box, I reset the wake-up station to Radio Scotland and GMS.  Despite serious thoughts of changing it to Radio Three and just opting out of the whole shouty shebang, it’s still there.
      Thursday I was absolutely convinced, for about a minute and a half, that I was back in Sussex again.

    16. Langspoon says:

      Brilliant. Pure genius.

    17. Heather McLean says:

      Love it!! That’s just a perfect end to a brilliant four days at the SNP Conference! Well done Andrew Leslie!!

    18. Bzzzz says:


    19. Embradon says:

      “according to the subtitles, “Scots Wahey”  😉
      Sounds like Cairry oan Scotland.

    20. Morag says:

      The singing wasn’t what it should have been.  Hall was almost full, and I could hear my own voice, quite clearly.  In fact, I had to get into choir performance mode and actively sing out to try to boost the effort a wee bit.  I remember the days when I’d have been totally drowned out by a drill hall full of lusty-voiced Nats.  Things ain’t what they used to be….

    21. tartanfever says:

      Many thanks Andrew, your contributions today are much appreciated.

    22. benarmine says:

      Thanks, brilliant. God I hated Sir Patrick Spens at school.

    23. Morag says:

      I guess we can dream.  I don’t need Jim to turn Nat.  I just need the BBC to give equal exposure, credence and respect to the Yes arguments as to the No arguments.  Assuming No can find any arguments.

    24. Calum Craig says:

      A wee bit off topic I’m afraid but I think we have enough comments to do so.
      I’m sure I read that the UK’s defence spend is the 4th largest in the world? (Correct me if I have got this wrong.)
      If that is the case why then was there a bunch of Royal Navy types out in my local town yesterday collecting money?? It didn’t quite seem right somehow…

    25. The Man in the Jar says:

      This cartoon will appeal to those that like a good conspiracy theory.

    26. Shinty says:

      Much to my shame, I only learned the words last year. Really sad that it’s not taught in school (perhaps it is now, I don’t know).

    27. jake says:

      @man in jar,
      nice one!
      Good to see our mince pies are keeping us safe from terriers.
      Talking of conspiracy theories, I’m wondering how much credibilty to give to the notion that Naughtie was sent hameward less for his ability to assist with some Nat bashing than for his pro Labour/anti Condem mutterings from the heart of the BBC machine.

    28. Heather McLean says:

      “Things ain’t what they used to be….”
      To be fair Morag, the main business of the conference had concluded by the afternoon session which was given over to a rally, lots of people had travelled quite some distance to be at the conference and had to face a long journey home or had trains to catch and the band who played the music played it at quite a slower speed than I would have expected for a rousing rendition of Scots Wha Hae. 
      I al;so has to be said that several people headd off to Dunfermline in the afternoon, to help out canvassing for Shirley Anne Somerville in the by election on Thursday! So all in all, I’m not really surprised that  Scots Wha Hae fell below your usual expectations!

    29. Macart says:

      Big smiley thingy. 🙂

    30. Andrew Morton says:

      I learnt Sir Patrick Spens at my Edinburgh primary school in the 1960s. This version should go into the anthologies alongside it!

    31. Robert Kerr says:

      I also learned this poem at primary school. I take it that the children today do not.

      Too many clues to our history and what might have been, notwithstanding the actual fate of Margaret, the “Maid of Norway”.

      Nevertheless the Scottish Government has an excellent website on our history and if you have time please peruse.

      Know where you are from, where you are now and where you are going.

    32. birnie says:

      I think we have a deserving candidate for the next Makar!

    33. Ken500 says:

      It’s a big ‘IF’ for people to vote down the country that they live in. Psychologically.

      The numbers of ‘don’t nos’ are considering NOT to vote (they don’t have enough information), or vote YES.

      Reflective of the Devolution Vote, YES will win. The majority will depend on the turnout.

      Devolution vote 75% YES 25% NO 60%+ Turnout.

      Vote for tax raising powers 2/3 YES 1/3 NO

      Now 30% NO, 30% YES, 30% Don’t know, 10% NON voters?

    34. Inbhir Anainn says:

      Poetic brilliance Andrew.

    35. Vronsky says:

      Herr Naughtie is no fool.  Find out more about him, his sponsors and his agenda here.

    36. frankieboy says:

      Mr Naughtie, reporting on Friday from Perth, declared on Radio 4 that the independence debate was around the question of independence or devo-max. Somebody should tell him if not only to spare us his ignorance on GMS for a year.

    37. kininvie says:

      Thanks everyone for your kind words…
      I was driving up to Skye & back again on my own inside a weekend, & found that listening to Radio Scotland was only making my driving worse. So I switched it off and started playing couplets in my head…. By the time I was back in Livi, it was more or less complete.

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