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Wings Over Scotland

The case as it is

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.

It’s a long listen, but an intriguing document of the event, at which a majority of the packed crowd seem strongly inclined to a Yes, with most of the questions (and a considerable amount of barracking and booing) aimed at Donohoe and Richard Leonard of the GMB trade union, the other No speaker. Donohoe can rarely have had a rougher ride from the public in what’s a super-safe Labour seat.


There are several telling moments, including Donohoe insisting oddly at 51 minutes that Norway doesn’t actually have the high standard of living and public services that everyone else on Earth thinks it does, but for us the most revealing was 28 minutes in, when an audience member asks, referring to Atos and welfare reforms, “What’s going to happen to the sick and disabled if we vote No?”

Donohoe’s response is garbled but unequivocal:

“Nothing will change as far as the disabled and the people who are handicapped are concerned. Nothing will happen in terms of a vote that will say that you maintain yourself and the strength of the Union. That’s clear and that’s the case as it is.”

So there you have it. Vote No and nothing will change. If you think, in the words of another senior Labour figure from the west of Scotland, that the current state of the UK is “as good as it gets”, by all means reject independence, and abandon all hope.

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    1. 23 03 15 19:38

      The Devo Files: Brian Donohoe (Central Ayrshire) | A Wilderness of Peace

    71 to “The case as it is”

    1. Taranaich says:

      It takes a truly spectacular brass neck to announce that there will be no changes “as far as the disabled” are concerned in a week where a man with Autism starved to death after his benefits were cut to £40 a week.

    2. Brian Powell says:

      It was interesting listening to the Irvine debate from Friday.
      One question was the GMB rep talking about being in CND and getting rid of Trident. I’ve heard him before saying if you want to get rid of nuclear weapons join CND.

      Labour have also said the want nuclear disarmament, but we can’t just get rid of it in Scotland.

      It would have been good to hear from the Labour MP and the GMB rep how they thought nuclear disarming would proceed as Labour has recently fully endorsed nuclear weapons (Trident) going forward for at least the next 30 years.

    3. cynicalHighlander says:

      The most telling thing is that both Labour and GMB don’t belive in democracy when 80 officials make decisions for 60,000 members by endorsing the no side.

    4. galamcennalath says:

      That really is the offering from BT …. this is as good as it will get in the UK. When YesScotland present the case for a future with a fairer and more just Scotland, it really makes you wonder what the Unionists want? They don’t want fairness and justice, we have to assume.

      Or am I stating the obvious … BT is London Tories and of course they don’t want a more fair society. So my next problem is, why are mainstream Labour part of this BT campaign to prevent Scotland having a better future? Perhaps the idealists among them believe someday, somehow they can build a better society throughout then UK. No chance! Too many people down South will time and time again return the Tories.

      Labour in Scotland needs to see this and move away from London values.

    5. Paul says:

      The GMB are about as much use as useless USDAW I have been a member of both these dinosaur unions and both of them let me down badly they think more about getting Labour elected than they do in representing their members. I am at present a member of Unite and as Grangemouth showed as well as the way council employees have been treated they are now impotent,they sat back in the vain hope that Labour would repeal the anti trade union legislation but instead Labour embraced them. Many workers are deserting the unions as they are full of self serving stewards just like the party they foolishly hang on to. It is time to start again with a new party that represents the majority of us and not just an elite few, wait a minute we have one it’s called the SNP.

    6. David says:

      Brian Donohoe is the secretary of Rangers Supporters Club.

      Says it all.

    7. smac says:

      I found the whole thing all a bit messy.

      Badly chaired and the barracking from the room will not help the yes side as far as more moderate voters go.

      The debate must be kept rational. Passion although important must be controlled.

    8. CameronB says:

      Taranaich said:
      2 March, 2014 at 4:28 pm

      It takes a truly spectacular brass neck to announce that there will be no changes “as far as the disabled” are concerned in a week where a man with Autism starved to death after his benefits were cut to £40 a week.

      I think Mr. Donohoe perhaps covered that concern with practical ‘on yer bike’ advice;

      “Nothing will change as far as the disabled and the people who are handicapped are concerned. Nothing will happen in terms of a vote that will say that you maintain yourself and the strength of the Union. That’s clear and that’s the case as it is.”

      No disrespect meant to the deceased or their family, but I think this is the scary future offered by a ‘small state’ Westminster (both red and blue).

    9. Paula Rose says:

      @ smac – just as well Donohoe refused to let it be filmed then! (wee winky smiley thingy)

    10. Peter Sneddon says:

      Still giving a voice to bigots and Rangers haters in particular I see. See David above.

    11. liz says:

      I’ve just finished listening and I have to disagree with smac – I thought it was well chaired as everyone got an opportunity to speak and it was good they allowed written questions as well.

      I thought Tommy Sheriden was going to have a heart attack with his opening speech – it’s obvious he has been desperate to get back into politics – apparently LfI think he is too disruptive to invite to their meetings.

      The union guy was useless – he didn’t seem to see the irony in saying we had to stay together to make things better for the workers by talking about the letter from Australia – in case he is unaware Australia is independent.

      The problem with the No campaign is that it is illogical.
      Unions can fight and work together even if they are from different countries.

      Do they really believe that the Scots would not campaign to help folk from different countries obtain better rights?

      It’s more about the size of their own power base.

      Overall a good night for Yes.

    12. steviecosmic says:

      He’s a real piece of work. I urge all to watch the video link above (refused to give his permission – hyperlink) to see this guy’s attitude. Deplorable behaviour for an elected representative.

    13. cynicalHighlander says:

      The other heartening thing was the increasingly awareness of the blatant bias on the BBC and the big cheer when Donohoe that with a yes there would be no BBC. Not a lot of love for that institution.

    14. bunter says:

      No Celtic or Rangers stuff here plz. Theres a Celtic for indy site and a Rangers for indy site and a Rangers and Celtic for indy site. All are welcome no matter your hobbies or interests.

    15. twenty14 says:

      @Peter Sneddon – is that it Peter ? – Is that your input to the Irvine YES/NO debate ? or do you have a meaningful point re: the debate

    16. Taranaich says:

      No disrespect meant to the deceased or their family, but I think this is the scary future offered by a ‘small state’ Westminster (both red and blue).

      Well, given that Labour are on record saying they will not change the Coalition’s austerity measures, that they will commit to Trident, and just recently that they will not repeal any of Gove’s ruinous changes to the education system, I suppose it’s too much to suppose that Labour would lift a finger to stop IDS’ monstrous destruction of the welfare system.

      Oh, and Atos found this man fit to work as well. It’s times like this I just want to grab the English electorate by their collective lapels and scream DO SOMETHING. YOU HAVE THE POWER TO STOP THIS. JUST DO SOMETHING.

    17. Bill McLean says:

      David – for goodness sake don’t give ammunition to those such as Peter Sneddon to call us “bigots and Rangers haters in particular” – don’t put yourself in a position of being called a “bigot” by someone else who clearly is! That is the unionist game – divide and rule, imagine superiority. I’m no bigot neither are ninety nine point nine % of the people who post on here, nor do I hate Rangers – frankly I couldn’t care less about the tribal emotionalism that is football. Unionists do care – it is another way of fooling Scots into continue being part of those who imagine they are a “super race”. Ignore bigots – they tend to go away when they don’t get a rise.

    18. Gayle Smith says:

      The current leadership of Labour’s Scotland section are beyond farcial. If they have their own way we will have a new national anthem within hours of a no vote. The song of choice will be that Del Almitri classic Nothing Ever Happens.

      The thing is that whilst Del Amitri vocalist and songwriter wrote the song as a protest against the UK society of the day, Labour see the title as a statement of fact and indeed future intent.

      It is with a mixture of sorrow and anger I ask the question is this what the party of Keir Hardie has become. They are no more than hired hands for a corporate organisation which to distance themselves from their customer or should that be voter base and we will remain loyal and not ask any questions. Something tells me they are in for a very rude awakeing and may live to regret being in bed with the Tories on the morning of the 19th September.

      Best Wishes
      Gayle X

    19. alexicon says:

      O/T David Taylor, former SFA chairman, has come out in favour of Independence.

    20. Alec K says:

      I agree Peter. People like David are alienating lots of potential yes voters in order to point score over a stupid game and they need to grow up. They are losing us votes.

    21. Alba4Eva says:

      Only the completely gullible would equate the importance of Scotlands future to the total irrelevance of football.

    22. Findlay Farquaharson says:

      every debate is a win for yes, every one.

    23. This debate may not have been filmed in the end, but luckily there is a (highly accurate) transcript of last Thursday’s FMQs on the BBC.

    24. jingly jangly says:

      O/T was alerted to this poll on the blog site noscotland on facebook, so I went in and added my vote

    25. jingly jangly says:

      Somehow Archive Is didn’t save the actual poll resuts which at the moment are 90% yes 10% no

    26. Calgacus MacAndrews says:

      @jingly jangly says:
      Somehow Archive Is didn’t save the actual poll results which at the moment are 90% yes 10% no

      You can vote and see the result here:-

      A tad embarrassing for a NO website.

    27. Boorach says:

      Pretty rubbish little poll… just voted 3 times without even leaving the site. 🙂

    28. ronnie anderson says:

      @handandshrimp,that’s me sorted.I was on the verge of sniffing

      talcum powder ( perfumed )to get my daily fix.

      Rev, you’ve confused the hell oota me putting they post,s in the

      wrang order.

    29. Arbroath 1320 says:

      There are several telling moments, including Donohoe insisting oddly at 51 minutes that Norway doesn’t actually have the high standard of living and public services that everyone else on Earth thinks it does,

      Hmm…I’m just wondering here but does anyone know if that very intelligent Mr. Donohoe has informed the good people of Norway do NOT actually a high standard of living or public services? 🙂

      Also how did the people throught the rest of the world take it when he informed them about Norway being a pauper I wonder. 😉

      For those who, having listened to Mr Donohoe convince everyone in Irvine to vote NO, would like to hear more from the man of the moment, apparently he is on Brian Taylor’s Big Debate this Friday from Irvine, sorry I don’t have any more details. 🙁

    30. liz says:

      @ jingly jangly – LOL also voted Yes.

    31. Wishy says:

      You might be interested to contact Lanarkshire Forum for Independence for footage of a debate which took place in the super safe Labour seat of Motherwell & Wishaw, where the local MP, Frank Roy, had a similarly rough ride.

    32. Arbroath 1320 says:

      There a few referendum polls you can have a vote in Calgacus. 😉

      The NO Scotland vote has been going for a while but the numbers have never really moved much from where they are now.

      I don’t think the poll code is a fairly new one.

      The Scotland’s vote has been running since December, they restart the figures each month and you can go back through each month by county to see what changes, if any, there are across Scotland.

    33. Calgacus MacAndrews says:

      @Boorach says:
      Pretty rubbish little poll… just voted 3 times without even leaving the site.

      It let me vote repeatedly too, but it looked like the vote-count only went up once, with my first vote.

    34. Charles Kearney says:

      To hear a sitting Labour MP being roundly Booed in a Constituency where normally a Dug wearing a Red Rosette would be voted in, was quite remarkable!

      What was even more remarkable was that the First ‘No’ Speaker was allowed to make his opening remarks for Ten minutes, on an allowed time of Five! When Mr Sheridan and the other ‘Yes’ speaker spoke, they were given One minute Warnings bang on the Four Minute Mark, and same thing on Closing Speeches, except when The Labour MP was closing and getting Booed, again, The Reverend leaped in to help him out with the One Minute Warning, at THREE minutes in!

      That the Labour MP forbade the Filming of a Public Meeting, on the flimsiest of excuses, really says all we need to know of Todays Labour Party! Brought up in a Labour Household, although now SNP, I was ashamed of what has become of Labour!

    35. Arbroath 1320 says:

      Interesting little ditty there about Mr Donohoe. I haven’t read it all just the first few paragraphs which is enough, in my view, to get the idea that back then the Commons authorities were 100% complicit in M.P.’s fraudulent activities. How else can anyone explain the idea that they refused his first receipt because it had his AYR address on it but then let him re submit the receipt with his London address?

    36. fairiefromtheearth says:

      Tommy should give up hope of being invited to lead LFI and start a Republican party,would probably win 6 seats through the list vote 😉

    37. Calgacus MacAndrews says:

      @Arbroath 1320 says:
      There a few referendum polls you can have a vote in Calgacus. 😉

      The Scotlandsvote one looks interesting, and they seem to be checking that you probably are a unique voter.
      It is showing 90%+ for YES both at my constituency level and at Scotland level.

    38. muttley79 says:

      This is just a personal plea: can we keep Scottish club football out of the referendum debate for the next 6 months or so? We are trying to win independence for Scotland. Arguments and debates about the political situation and developments are fine. There will be a wide range of views and that is healthy. However, that was a needless comment about who Donohue supports, and is not relevant at all.

    39. Tony Little says:

      I feel urged to (mis)quote Dante. This sign should be prominently displayed outside of every polling station.

      Abandon hope all ye who vote NO”

    40. msean says:

      Listened to the debate.Seems being in the same job for a long time allows you to think it is your job to talk down change.

    41. Marcia says:

      I was trying to understand the Labour MP’s comment about the President of Spain. There isn’t one.

    42. Arbroath 1320 says:

      I think that the Scotland votes site is quite a good one myself. As you say they do actually seem to confirm that you actually have a real address within the county that you have selected to put a vote.

      Interestingly if you look at the total number of votes the site has had since it started in December you get:

      December 2013
      YES 2727 votes 85%
      NO 454 votes 14.1%
      D/K 29 votes 0.9%

      January 2014
      YES 3003 votes 86.1%
      NO 442 votes 12.7%
      D/K 38 votes 1.1%

      February 2014
      YES 841 votes 94.3%
      NO 40 votes 4.5%
      D/K 11 votes 1.2%

      March 2014
      YES 988 votes 93.1%
      NO 63 votes 5.9%
      D/K 10 votes 0.9%

      I’m not sure what happened in February votes cast, but that aside, I think as the site gets more attention the figures will continue to show YES well ahead of NO. This kind of ties up with what I’ve been reading on Twitter. Quite a number of people have been commenting about the way their canvassing is showing, time after time that YES is far outstripping NO. Never mind we all know the TRUTH, as reported by MSM and BBC don’t we? 😉

    43. msean says:

      o/t Seems to be no uncertaincy or doubt that Ukraine will be in NATO and eventually part of the EU,also talk of huge bailout for even though,the will of the people and all that.Just the impression I seem to get watching over the past week.Of course,they will need all the members’ permission …

    44. Jock says:

      Was it just me or did the Labour MP referring to “the President of Spain” twice? Someone better call King Juan Carlos quick and tell him about the coup. That just about sums up the No camps relationship with relaity

    45. Arbroath 1320 says:

      Are you sure about that assessment msean, after all I thought needing the permission of all the E.U. only applied to Scotland. Well at least that is what they keep inferring with all the doom and gloom isn’t it? 🙂

    46. DaveyM says:

      I was struck by the stream of utterly fatuous nonsense issuing forth from the mouths of the Labour MP and the GMB guy. No case at all for the Union.

    47. msean says:

      It certainly is what they have all been inferring Arbroath 1320.Worth keeping an eye on what the heads of these organisations say over the next few days.They never say anything not generally agreed by all before speaking I would think.

      Maybe of interest to Catalonia as well.

    48. Arbroath 1320 says:

      I think I can see another East Germany joining the E.U. here.

      Think we all remember how that worked. East Germany joined West Germany to become Germany, yet no one in the E.U. was asked anything about East Germany joining,separately, or more likely joining with West Germany.

    49. Ian Kirkwood says:

      Why did the SNP not participate?

    50. Ian Kirkwood says:

      Oh, just a wee add on to my post above. Donohoe talks mince, absolutely no coherence in anything he attempts to say. One exception, “that gravy train has ended” re his expenses at WM. Embarrassing to say the least.

    51. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “Why did the SNP not participate?”

      Why didn’t the Tories or Lib Dems?

    52. AllyPally says:

      There has been some tweeting that it wasn’t Brian Donohoe who refused us at Clan Destiny permission to film. I’m here to tell you it was.

      When we arrived the sponsor introduced herself to me and seemed pleased we were there. She introduced the organiser, Sandy Clarke. He told Alistair and I that we could only film if all the speakers and the radio station gave permission. That seemed fair enough, so we readily agreed. If, at that point, he had objected, we wouldn’t have bothered to get the gear out the car. As the speakers hadn’t arrived, we suggested we set up the cameras in anticipation of getting the go-ahead. No objections were raised.

      Tommy Sheridan and Fiona Macdonald were happy to be filmed, and the radio people didn’t object. In fact they gave us a feed from their sound desk.

      I also checked with the Chairman Neil Urquhart, and he had no objections.

      When I saw Brian Donohoe arrive with another man I discovered was Richard Leonard, I went over to ask them. Donohoe said we couldn’t film as the radio had priority. I pointed out that the radio didn’t mind us filming. He then said we couldn’t film as the Irvine Herald had organised the debate and they deserved the publicity. By this time Sandy Clarke had joined the discussion. I offered to him that we wouldn’t publish our recording for a couple of weeks. Clarke looked sceptical. I offered a month. Donohoe said that in any case as we hadn’t had the courtesy to ask in advance, he wasn’t being filmed. I tried to persuade him, but nothing doing. Around this time Clarke left the group. Donohoe said he might do an interview afterwards but we couldn’t film the debate.

      I went over to Alistair to tell him, and found Sandy Clarke telling him we couldn’t film. Alistair asked who had objected, and was told the No camp. Alistair said people would be interested in hearing about the refusal. Clarke told Alistair he couldn’t tell anybody. Answer: “Oh, yes I can.” Clarke said he’d call the police if we didn’t go.

      So we de-rigged our cameras, put them at our feet under our seats at the back and we stayed for the debate and the subsequent interviews.

      And despite what you may hear from other sources, that’s what really happened. Exactly why it happened, I leave to others to speculate.

    53. Arbroath 1320 says:

      I might be wrong here AP but I get the feeling that even had you asked him a month in advance he would still have refused. I find his antics and those like him unbelievable. He holds a, supposedly, public office and as such I thought he would have been desperate to get his face on video, obviously I am wrong.:)

      I guess he knew he was backing the wrong side and hoped that come next year’s General Election all the local electorate will have forgotten his anti independence guff and will still vote him again.

    54. Alfresco Dent says:


      Seems to be a bit of a strands going on right now on Twitter involving a certain Mr.McDougall.

    55. Alfresco Dent says:


    56. Haggis says:

      Legally speaking you don’t need his permission to take photos or video in that situation. It is not his private home and it is not a situation where it can be expected to have privacy (obviously). Legal “protection” from recording isn’t as strong as people imagine it, which is why CCTV is everywhere indoors and out and the papers operate so freely. They shouldn’t have listened to that useless turd Brian Donohoe. He has done nothing for Ayrshire beyond taking money from it in expenses and wages and mindlessly obeying his party bosses. Yet another thing he has tried to ruin. As worthless as Foulkes and I’ve heard a few stories about that one that confirmed nasty impressions of him.

    57. Arbroath 1320 says:

      Does he ever get involved in anything other than a stramash AD? 🙂

    58. SquareHaggis says:


      Thanks for the intriguing inside story, wonders never…

      Had you been disguised as a BBC cam crew I wager the attitude would have been somewhat different.

      CREW: Mind if we film Brian?
      DONAHOE: Sure boys, knock yourselves out, but edit out the bad bits and try to catch me in a good light there’s a good lad.
      P.S. I’ll have my secretary send out the invoice next week. Usual address?

    59. Ken MacColl says:

      In a field where competition is fairly keen Brian Donohoe would surely qualify as one of the least inspiring Labour MPs in Scotland. As JoLo might say it is “astonishing” that such a pedestrian bag carrier has been elected as an MP for more than 20 years and yet lacks the desire to promote his political stance as widely as possible.

      You can see from the account above that he was desperate to avoid the wider exposure that the filmed event would have given and you can hear from the sound recording of the Honourable Member why he was so anxious to stifle wider coverage. His performance was piss poor and thoroughly deserved the barracking he got. Ironically his determination to restrict coverage has resulted in the reverse taking effect.

    60. You and My Comb says:

      This CCTV discussion reminds me of recent events in Helensburgh.

      Some notices were put up about a meeting on Wednesday but were cut down. Apparently, it is distinctly possible that CCTV has caught the culprit red Handed cutting down the posters with scissors. However rumours can be damaging and I’ll not say anymore except that this referendum isn’t just bringing out the worst in JoLa! Be safe and positive out there

      Looking forward to Wednesday’s meeting :-))

    61. Arbroath 1320 says:

      Just found this link over on Munguin’s. If anyone has a problem with NO supporting friends, relatives etc perhaps this might help. 😉

    62. ElaineS says:

      Who chaired the meeting? Am I wrong in thinking he was most definitely on the side of No no matter what he said about being on n one’s side?

    63. Kalmar says:

      There are several telling moments, including Donohoe insisting oddly at 51 minutes that Norway doesn’t actually have the high standard of living and public services that everyone else on Earth thinks it does

      Has he not been to Norway? I have, a number of times, and the majority of my customers are there – despite the harsh import duties on equipment I send. Money and taxes just doesn’t seem to be a big concern for the average citizen. Which is nice for them.

    64. Kevin Kenny says:

      At the end of the debate Donohoe tries to score points by claiming to be “disappointed” that the SNP weren’t present and by claiming that this referendum is all about the SNP.

      I think this man is well out of touch with the Scottish electorate. He doesn’t seem to realise that there is a groundswell of non-SNP voters – a large number who are Labour voters, I suspect – who are actively participating in the indy debate and seeing that independence is probably the only way forward for our country and society. The fact that the Yes side was being represented by non-SNP politicians this far down the road should be a massive wake-up call.

      Finally, from the tone of the audience, and from the questions being asked, we either had a good turn out from the Yes campaign that night, or the folks in Irvine have had enough of Scottish Labour clinging onto their Westminster party’s coat tails and are not convinced by Project Fear.

      @ Ken MacColl – I’d say Donohoe has been beaten at the post by the Right Honourable Member for Lanark and Hamilton East, Jim Hood, Labour MP:

      I wonder if Donohoe has ever heard of the Streisand Effect.

    65. A. Strachan says:

      No more change for the poor, diabled and ill health but he argues about paying back expenses he illegally claimed relating to a second mortgage?!?!?!?!?!

    66. Johnny come lately says:

      His comments about Norway are nothing short of ridicules. Living in Denmark we sometimes get news features from neighboring countries. On Friday evening on the news it was reported that every single person in Norway has a pension fund of more than 100.000 pounds thanks to Norway’s oil fund!

    67. AllyPally says:

      The chairman, a local minister, did very well. To my mind he didn’t show any bias. He actually chaired from the floor once the initial statements were over, touring the room with a hand mic and soliciting questions. He was impressive at squashing the loudest heckling and keeping order.

    68. Ken MacColl says:

      Fair does, Kevin, I did not suggest that Brian Donohoe was the worst but merely that he was a contender and that competition was keen.
      His remarks about Norway are simply untrue and can easily be proven to be so. There can be no doubt that they have prudently managed their North Sea Oil bonanza whereas successive UK governments have failed to do the same here.

      On a brief visit to Oslo recently I remarked to my Norwegian host, who has lived and worked in many countries, how expensive goods and services appeared to be in Norway and she smiled and said, “Yes,people from Britain always say that. Our costs of living here are certainly higher but then we do have a much higher and more equal standard of living. I know which we prefer!”

    69. Alistair Wilson says:

      One of Brian Donohoe’s more illogical reasons for not allowing us at Clan Destiny to film Friday’s debate was that we wouldn’t get 8000 views. It gives me some satisfaction to report that Brian was wrong about that too, because we just have. 8086 and counting, to be precise.

    70. awayanbileyerheed says:

      Excellent debate, Just such a shame that filming of it was put to sunder by Donohoe. At the end of his remarks he made a big deal of the fact that the debate would be available electronically, so why was he so opposed to having it filmed then!!

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