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The beam in your own eye

Posted on August 20, 2013 by

The Scotsman goes big this morning on a story revealing that John Swinney has admitted accidentally misinterpreting a report from Lloyds Banking Group which said that the oil and gas industry would create 34,000 new jobs in the UK over the next two years. A Scottish Government paper in July originally said the jobs would all come to Scotland, but the error was corrected within three days.


While most papers give the issue a couple of short lines, the Scotsman runs the news twice, once in a substantial article of its own and also (for some reason we can’t quite fathom) as a sizeable addendum tacked onto its lead story about Henry McLeish criticising the relentless negativity of the No campaign.

The Scotsman is quite right to highlight this embarrassing clanger. After all, what sort of hapless bumbling idiot could have published something which misinterpreted the Lloyds report as referring to solely Scottish jobs?

“More than 34,000 jobs will be created in the oil and gas sector in Scotland over the next two years, according to a major report looking at the future on the industry.”

Whoops. (The Scotsman has not yet corrected its error, now over five months old.)

The piece carries a quote from the Scottish Government which doesn’t actually mention the 34,000 figure at all. But the Scotsman also notes of the study’s findings:

“Scottish oil and gas firms are more likely to expect growth than those south of the Border – with 83% expecting to see more business.

Scottish firms were more “expansionist” than English companies, it said, and were more likely to embrace diversification.”

We have no idea whether that means that 83% of the jobs are likely to come to Scottish companies, but with by far the biggest share of oil and gas industry employment being in Scotland, it certainly seems reasonable to assume that a large number will. The Times, for example, said of the report (our emphasis):

“Up to 34,000 jobs could be created by Britain’s oil and gas companies in the next two years, with most of the employment being created by companies based in Scotland, a survey of the industry has found.”

But by highlighting a weeks-old mistake which was almost immediately fixed – and which the Scotsman and others had also made – the paper has managed to turn an unequivocally positive story about increased investment and employment in a revived North Sea sector into an opportunity for the opposition parties to line up to attack the integrity and honesty of the Scottish Government, which they’ve gleefully seized.

Readers can arrive at their own conclusions.

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50 to “The beam in your own eye”

  1. rabb

    I think we’re at the stage now where we don’t have to read a single word in a newspaper to arrive at the conclusion that they are now on an all out attack on independence & the Scottish Government.

    I think the public clearly see that now. The media attacks are a toothless tiger.

  2. Dinnatouch

    If this is what The Scotsman is like now, I dread to see their output in the month before the referendum. 

  3. Luigi

    What’s the big deal, Scotsman?
    The Scottish government make mistakes, just like any other government.  At least they quickly own up and apologise.  The big difference between the current SG and previous (unionist) ones, is that the people now in charge have the interests of the Scottish people at heart.  The MSM may not yet understand this, but the Scottish people do.  The 2011 election result clearly shows this to be the case.

  4. Iain

    @ Dinnatouch
    ‘If this is what The Scotsman is like now, I dread to see their output in the month before the referendum.’

    I’d like to say that with a bit of luck they won’t have an output at that point, but I suspect they’ll be propped up with whatever it takes until then. The month after however…

  5. Gordon Hay

    @ Iain
    Perhaps they’re already being propped up. With JP making cuts elsewhere in the group and the share price bottoming out, how could they afford to “snap up” the subbies made redundant at the Herald?

  6. ianbrotherhood

    McLeish does a splendid job of highlighting No Scotland deficiencies, but ‘still believes in the Union’?
    Okay Henry, why not help out your BT buddies by outlining your vision? If you don’t have one, perhaps you should join LFI? 

  7. faolie

    @ianbrotherhod Agreed.
    If I was on the fence or thinking of voting no, after reading Henry’s apocalyptic piece on the future of the Union, I’d be seriously thinking of voting yes. The No future looks like a scary place.
    Here’s his piece:

  8. Macart

    The usual friends in low places spinning like tops. They’re not worth the candle anymore.
    As for Westminster parties? When was the last time they apologised for anything? I don’t count Clegg’s laughable effort. When they can front up to their own carnage, lies, misrepresentations, then I might (no promises mind), start paying attention to their offerings. They however, lack the common courage or decency to do so.

  9. Murray McCallum

    Is there another country in the World where such a significant proportion of its inhabitants would talk down such a great, long term economic success story?  They just do not seem to like Scottish success stories of any kind.
    It would be great if all politicians admitted their errors, apologised and corrected them as soon as possible.

  10. Barontorc

    Honestly don’t know why Henry McLeish is given such regard. If you were doing an assessment of his judgement and discernment qualities, his continuing support for Scotland remaining in this dud union would score very poorly. So what’s the attraction?

  11. beachthistle

    @Gordon Hay @Iain
    I’d like to say that with a bit of luck they won’t have an output at that point, but I suspect they’ll be propped up with whatever it takes until then.
    Perhaps they’re already being propped up. With JP making cuts elsewhere in the group and the share price bottoming out, how could they afford to “snap up” the subbies made redundant at the Herald?

    A presentation  of Scotsman owners’ Johnston Press PLC’s latest accounts (slide 13) shows
    Other revenue” of £14.7m for 2012.

  12. Cath

    They just can’t help themselves. This morning’s story on Radio Clyde about a fairly significant decrease in the amount people are drinking started off with “Scots are still drinking too much, a report says” before going on to mention the large drop in intake.

  13. Davy

    To make a mistake is normal we all do it in both our private and working lives and the public know this, so to see your government make a mistake and then correct it asap, honestly makes me anyway regard them in a far better light, than if they just had ignored it.
    The media can jump up and down to their hearts content about it, but nobody but unionist trolls are going to give a shite about it.
    Just read Henry’s McLeish’s article, and for all unionists reading this !!! OOPs.
    Alba Gu snooker loopy!

  14. Bugger (the Panda)

    Am I missing something here.
    They have  borrowings Reduced in 2012 to £320 millions and a interest / finance charge of £38.5 millions?
    Are they having to pay over 11% for the overdraft?
    They really are a high risk business.
    I note they are trumpeting their increase in online advertising not in absolute financial terms but as a percentage increase £100K to £139K would be pretty abysmal but £100 millions to £139 millions would be trebles alround.
    I suspect that if it were of that magnitude the real figure would be broadcast far and wide.
    They are dying, so what is keeping them alive?

  15. gordoz

    Newsnight Scotland does it again
    O/T What a scoop on Commonwealth ?? You lot might not get in !
    Wheel out Lord Flukes / Big F’n wow.
    Talk over Kerrevan; then onto a ‘love in’ with Cameron & Glenn Campbell (a lifelong ambition apparently)
    Jesus !!! boak what waste of money  – serious journalism ???  Political dynamics ??
    2 seconds on hacking at YES Scotland at end ???
    Saw the Hardtalk interview – thought the guy Little did a decent job of making Captain Darling look like a bumbling fool (yet again).

  16. ianbrotherhood

    Thanks for linking to the McLeish essay.
    McLeish, perhaps unwittingly, answers the same questions he raises – the ‘perfect storm’ he describes is already upon us. He deserves credit for speaking so plainly, but simultaneously undermines his own credibility by not doing anything about it.
    If he has any genuine faith in what he’s saying then he should support those Labour ‘comrades’ who are currently being smeared as ‘fifth-columnists’. 

  17. gordoz

    ianbrotherhood says:
    20 August, 2013 at 10:29 am@faolie-

    ‘Thanks for linking to the McLeish essay’.
    Spot on with your comment

    O/T  : but important maybe

    As someone pointed out Negative Scotland seem to be hammering on about  ‘YESNP indoctrination of School kids’? on their BT blog site.
    And since we have the continual moaning in Aberdeen about the FM School visit.

    Was made aware by a friend, that  Lord George Robotson of somewhere, has  recently donated  a school prize for Modern Studies (Politics ), to Dunoon Grammar School (apparently he was a former student). Where also the head of Modern Studies at the School is a Mr Stuart Clark (Labour party councillor for Renfrewshire & activist) who also happens to be the deputy convenor of the  Renfrew shire Council Education board.

    No surprise then that the local paper then trumpeted a unanimous victory for No vote amongst the school pupils during a debate that the good Lord attended.

    No indoctrination by Labour in the schools of Argyll  then ??? Or is it just me ??
    I know it’s not against the law but it is a bit contradictory surely ?
    Is this a trend ? Has anybody else heard of such recent intrusions at schools by Labour ?

  18. Luigi

    Henry McLeish may be preparing us for an anouncement.
    If so, he will make it at the right time.
    HM could make a significant contribution to the independence campaign.  We should give him until Christmas.  After that, it’s too late Henry, the independence train will leave without you.

  19. Baheid

    Read a few pieces a in the last year or two where it was said that Johnston Press were paying 11% interest.
    If you are high risk you pay more interest and the banks know they are high risk.
    Basically the banks are getting as much as they can before the proverbial hits the fan.

  20. Murray McCallum

    I quite like Raymond Buchanan on Newsnight.  He lets people answer questions while he politely reminds them of the facts, e.g. the actual membership rules of international bodies.
    I though Lord Foulkes made his personal view that Scotland was incapable of achieving anything whatsoever on its own very clear indeed.  He is identical to Darling in that respect.

  21. Dcanmore

    Johnston Press are currently profitable but the profits made is servicing their debts. Lloyds TSB know that JP are not going to payback that £320m owed to the bank anytime soon (if ever) so the debt remains high. The bank then gleans the interest charge on the debt from the profits. This situation suits Lloyds at the moment as long as JPs profits are not lower than the interest charge. A soon as the profits nosedive again and the interest on the debt can’t be paid, then I think that’ll be curtains for JP. Hence over the past 12 months JP have went all out to restructure the company and its titles to at least keep paying the interest on the debt. They are effectively in limbo.

  22. Gordon Hay

    @ orkers
    Also interesting that the Scotsman piece, published more than two hours later, is practically word for word – especially this :
    “The development follows a series of setbacks for Yes Scotland in recent weeks. Both Jacqueline Caldwell, the director of operations, and Susan Stewart, the director of communications, announced last month that they were quitting their posts.
    Blair Jenkins, the chief executive, was also embroiled in a row when it was alleged that the so-called Labour for Independence group included many SNP members.
    Photographs of the “Labour” group, which were featured in several Yes publications, featured several SNP activists.”

  23. proudscot

    On the subject of highlighting mistaken statements by politicians, perhaps the Hootsmon will now print an article prompting the likes of Jackie Baillie to apologise and correct her quoting of C Diff figures from 2006, in a failed attempt to attack the SNP Government. Or how about an article prompting Johann Lamont to apologise for and correct her false rape allegation, repeated from an Evening Times story, actually made up by a journalist?
    Better still, how about the Hootsmon actually making an attempt to print articles which do not have either an anti-independence or anti-SNP Government slant? Oh look, another squadron of pigs just flew past my window …

  24. Training Day


    Labour’s apparatchiks in the classroom have been punting Unionism for decades.

  25. gordoz

    proudscot says:

    Is that Jackie ye know, ye know, ye know Baillie who Majored in ‘Ecomomics’ (with the truth that is).

    From BBC News Scotchland website
    Hacking at YES headquarters
    The Daily Telegraph reported that police advised Yes Scotland to call in BT after the pro-independence campaign group received a media inquiry.”
    So now the Polis are in it way BT campaign . (Am gettin’ paranoid aboot ma paranoia!!!)

  26. Murray McCallum

    Yup.  Looks like British Telecom were a front for Better Together.  Very cunning unionists.

  27. MajorBloodnok

    I can just imagine Blair MacDougall in a British Telecom boiler suit, driving a white van and leaving manholes open for YES voters to fall into.

  28. les wilson

    I was not taken in with Glen’s statement last on Newsnight, when saying that some people may think that David Cameron’s visit to Islay had something to do with the referendum, he went on to say that it was not, and there was much more to  it than that. WHAT A LOAD OF RUBBISH !
    I could see what the BBC were doing and it became obvious when, they stated he had asked to do this interview a number of times in  the past.
    BBC hard at it yet again. They are sneaky beyond belief, sooner we have SBC, the better. They make me sick.
    Also I would remind posters that Henry McLeish is another sneak, remember please, he was involved with  Dewar in ceding 6,000 sq miles of Scottish seas to England….. Something he has never been asked to explain, thanks to the MSM.

  29. Luigi

    I’m prepared to give Henry McLeish the benefit of the doubt, at least until Christmas.
    If he doesn’t stand up by then, he needn’t bother.

  30. gordoz

    Wouldn’t it be BT who set up the Hack in the first place ??
    No sorry they couldn’t as they are an arms length plc. They will play it very fair Im sure
    Sending the fox in to see how many chickens were taken ??
    Suggest YES try carrier pidgeons to be safe. (Though I hear Mr McD is a bit partial for poultry).

  31. gordoz

    les wilson says:
    Did newsnight not give you the boak last night – so blatent ??
    Also I would remind posters that Henry McLeish is another sneak, remember please, he was involved with  Dewar in ceding 6,000 sq miles of Scottish seas to England….. Something he has never been asked to explain, thanks to the MSM.
    Forgot Dewar &HMcL was involved in shady ceding of sea area to England.
    Cheers for that

  32. Bunter

    I benefitted from a Renfrewshire education and learned about 1066 at primary school then at secondary it was all post 1707, British this and that. What was mysteriously missing was any Scottish history pre Union. To all intents and purposes Scotland did not exist pre Union. On another subject I had the pleasure of attending the local tennants association meeting a few months back, unusually for me, as its organised by a couple of Labour diehards. We had the pleasure of Hugh Henrys attendance  for 15 mins  where Mr Henry proceeded to have a go at Salmond and his police Scotland re organisation and the devastating effects it would have for our area. That was to be expected, but what was worrying, and considering the folk who were in attendace were predominantly elderly, was the talk from a police sergeant who followed on with a narrative, of I dont want to worry you but…then went on to list a few scares. So it may not just be our ”educators” who have been ”at it”

  33. HandandShrimp

    If Better Together have been up to News Corp style hacking they had better have kept it at considerable arms length or some of them will get their collars felt. Good Grief! have not seen what is happening to Coulsen and Brookes. The collar feeling goes all the way to the top and not just the humble hacks who syphon off the information.

  34. Rev. Stuart Campbell

    “I’m prepared to give Henry McLeish the benefit of the doubt, at least until Christmas.
    If he doesn’t stand up by then, he needn’t bother.”

    If folk change their minds by 17th September 2014, that’ll do me 🙂

  35. ianbrotherhood

    Stumbled into the Fred Macauley show while waiting for the news. No idea who his guests are, but they’re struggling to be funny in front of a live audience.
    Couple of minutes ago an American guest mentioned ‘Salmon’ and referred to him as ‘your prime minister?’, eliciting some boos and grunts from the audience – with the rapier-like wit which made him a household name, Macauley quipped ‘it’s likely not you they’re hissing about’, or words to that effect, before hastily adding a disclaimer along the ‘we don’t do politics, of course’ line.
    It’s this casual, smug snideness which exposes these cynical bawbags for what they are – cultural commissars.
    Fred Macauley. ‘Comedian’.
    Don’t make me laugh.

  36. Hetty

    The article about hacking in the Torygraph focusses on the supposed sinking ship of the YES Scotland campaign. There is nothing positive about the YES side at all in it and the hacking issue is paid lip service, again the headlines defy the actual message of the article.
    Lets hope that people who do read it, see through the lies at the scotsman. British torycon are coveted by the right wing folk who even pay way over the odds for their service, at least the folk I know with bt seem to have a loyalty to them which defies logic.

  37. gordoz

    Bunter says:
    Excellent Point on Police but we still need to keep plugging away and exposing Labours blatant unseen operations to the public.
    They are not as squeaky clean as they like to suggest.
    Im of the same view on McWhirter as Mcliesh having read his book. Gat off the fence Ian
    forget federalism as you say like the Liberals that boat has sunk long ago.
    Jesus he goes round and round but cant admit the YES vote is the only solution – he seems to finally suggest its the right option but he can’t vote for it unless he has to ?

  38. proudscot

    Ianbrotherhood, I seldom listen to the Fred Macaulay radio show these days, except like you when waiting for a news bulletin. On these few occasions I might continue listening if and when his co-presenter is either Karen Mackenzie or Anna Myles, both of whom are bright and cheery. However, this morning when I tuned in to catch the news, I heard Macauley mention that his co-presenter was one Susan Calman. I immediately switched off.
    I was never a fan of Calman, but after her recent stint down south, sneering at and denigrating the independence referendum and folk like me who support it, in order to win a few sniggers from her appreciative English audiences, then subsequently lying about receiving undisclosed (and non-existent) death threats, I will never listen to any programme again which includes her in any shape or form. Not that that will unduly concern either her or Macaulay, but it certainly helps to keep my blood pressure at an acceptable non-lethal level.

  39. Luigi

    If folk change their minds by 17th September 2014, that’ll do me.
    Fair enough, Rev, but if McLeish does nothing at all to aid the cause, for an entire year(after all he has said and written), and then joins the expected ranks of timid Labour politicians who will claim that they actually “supported independence all the time” on 19th September 2014, I will be very disappointed.

  40. HandandShrimp

    To be fair to Henry he has raised concerns over BT and in doing so has no doubt given a fair number in Labour pause for thought. This is something far easier for him to do than anyone outside the Labour party. This is good

  41. Edulis

    Forgive me. O/T but I had to share this from the comments on Severin Carrol’s latest fearbomb article in the Guardian.

    20 August 2013 5:04am


    Coming soon in the Guardian:
    “An Independent Scotland will be forced to apply to use fire, the wheel and rudimentary tools”.
    We’d better get friendly with chimpanzees and gorillas, in case our application to join the human race is rejected.


  42. HandandShrimp

    our application to join the human race is rejected.
    Fairly certain that is Severin’s next story. Perhaps this is his revenge for everyone liking Iain’s contribution so much 🙂
    The Commonwealth? Good Grief! Do you know I don’t even think I had that on my mental shopping list of must haves. Would we technically be a Republic if we are excluded from the Commonwealth?

  43. Nkosi

    Sorry for the O/T but
    I see Auslan “Crumb” is at it again spinning a report out of context regarding hacked emails at Yes Scotland. In fact he writes more fabrication about LFI and SNP moles than about the actual headlined story.

  44. callum

    A note about hacking.  EVERYONE who is involved in campaigning or participating in the politics behind the referendum must take measures to protect their data and to assume that all communications that you make online, or in email are being read and possibly copied by other parties.
    yes, there are plenty of technical measures you can take to protect you, your family and your computers but the best way to behave is to write every email, online post etc as if you were being asked in court to back the position that you are taking.
    One note about the Arab Spring was that hacker groups (on all sides) defeated systems (did you know President al-Assad’s email password was “12345”?) – and given that the Alba Spring is turning to the internet then I say that WoS, NNS and individuals who post here will be targeted.  I imagine that the majority of hackers will be politically motivated individuals with the potential for state-sponsored attacks is pretty unlikely at this stage in the campaign – but likely to happen during negotiations after a YES vote.
    So, if you’re not sure about your own family computer, check out sites like:   

  45. HandandShrimp

    If Better Together bods have been hacking and their fingerprints are discovered on the electronic traces then hell mend them. It isn’t like there is not plenty of precedence in the courts as to where this leads.

  46. G H Graham


    1. An instruction manual for an Ikea broom handle
    2. A Domino Pizza voucher
    3. Dunbarton to Clydebank bus timetable
    4. The script from “Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse”, a 1921 silent movie
    5. The Scotsman

    Answer: 5. The Scotsman
    All the others contain sufficiently useful or interesting information which one might coerce one to actually read it.

  47. orkers

    @ Hetty
    The meat of the story is in it’s first few paragraphs. I’ve become practised at passing over the last three or four paragraphs in any article where the unionist propaganda generally kicks in. You get so used to it that you just skim down to the comments.
    Honestly, it doesn’t take away from the impact of the story.

  48. lumilumi

    The double standards are just shocking.
    Anything the BT/NO Scotland lot do receives no scrutiny. Quietly swept under the carpet (to fester there).
    The YES campaign is under the microscope, any mishap will be blown out of all proportion in the MSM/BBC.
    This is another war of independece for Scotland. Not fought with swords or spears or whatever, but a war led by the British Establishment, employing their biddable mainstream media.
    The weakness is that, according to the WoS poll, only 6% of Scots trust the MSM. The grassroots in Scotland are waking up.
    Scotland will be an independent country. If not in 2016, not too much later.

  49. fordie

    @proudscot  Yes, don’t the Scottish sycophants give you the boak. And tuned out permanently now of ‘Have I Got News For You’. 

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