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Wings Over Scotland

The conversation killers

Posted on January 23, 2013 by

There are some questions that are guaranteed to bring a sudden end to any internet discussion. (In real life it’s harder for people to just vanish into thin air.) One always effective on Labour supporters, for example, is the classic “Would you rather live in an independent Scotland governed by Labour or one in the UK governed by the Tories?”

Of course, more strictly speaking that’s actually a near-certain way to ask someone to choose between Option A and Option B and every time get the answer “Non-existent Option C”. Other questions, though, are sure to solicit no response at all.

Last year, when occasionally debating with Rangers supporters about whether The Rangers International PLC (or whatever it’s called today) was a new club or not, I must have asked this one at least 60 or 70 times of 60 or 70 different people: “If they’re the same club they always were, why are they in SFL 3? They were neither relegated on the field nor demoted as a punishment, so why aren’t they still in the SPL?”

I’ve as yet never had a single response – even a bad one – to that, just instant and complete radio silence or, at the best, an abrupt change of subject. And recently I’ve discovered there’s a holy water for the Tory type of vampire too.

Because every time a new opinion poll comes out that shows a large majority for No, the air is thick with gloating Tory (and Labour, but we’ll get to them another day) politicians, activists and commentators proclaiming that the referendum, still nearly two years distant, is a done deal. Should you ever find yourself on the wrong end of such tiresome premature crowing, you might find this handy:

“Presumably you also believe the Conservatives are going to win the 2015 election too. But given that polls show you can only do one or the other, not both, and that you’re apparently so keen on the infallibility of polls, which one do you think you’re going to lose?”

You don’t need to thank us. All part of the service.

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67 to “The conversation killers”

  1. orkers says:

    If Rangers FC were a new Club why do the ECA acknowledge 
    that Rangers have a ‘history’ and are indeed founding members of the Association?

    Although your Blog is really excellent and my first port of call of a morning this attitude continues to be a persistent blot in it’s pages.

    Did a big bad Rangers fan shout at at you sometime in the distant past? 

    Anyway keep up the good work and perhaps you might attract more Rangers supporting folk to your Blog?

    You should be canvassing votes from as many bods as possible not turning them away with venom. It doesn’t turn me off, but I thought I would mention it.

    Keep up the good work otherwise ……..always an interesting read. 

  2. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    Just reporting a fact. I notice you haven’t answered it either.

  3. MajorBloodnok says:


    Guy Gibson’s dog.  I just thought of it.

  4. orkers says:

    What ‘fact’

    I’m a reasonable Rangers supporting contributor, but not member of the SNP.

    Why the hostility? 

    BTW the Club were ejected from the SPL by a vote of the other member Clubs.

  5. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “BTW the Club were ejected from the SPL by a vote of the other member Clubs.”

    No they weren’t. They were refused admittance, which is a very different thing. (As demonstrated by the fact that the old club actually had a vote on it, something that pretty much proves they’re different clubs by itself.)

    And I’ve demonstrated no hostility. I’ve merely pointed out the true fact that I asked that question of literally dozens of different Rangers fans last year and never once got an answer.

  6. Kenny Campbell says:

    Just cannot help yourself, would you rather Scotland were independent or Rangers didn’t exist. You and your shit club that cannot even rumble up a decent crowd. I am an SNP member so no excuse there. 

  7. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    So you can’t answer it either?

    My answer to your question, incidentally, is that I’d rather Scotland was independent, by a million miles, seven days a week and twice on Sundays. I’m genuinely enjoying The Rangers’ Diddy-League Odyssey, on both sarcastic and non-sarcastic levels.

  8. Seasick Dave says:

    I’ll hold the jackets.

  9. pictishbeastie says:

    Hopefully in an independent Scotland there will be none of the sectarian shite associated with the game of football. I’ve never really understood why there is anyway,it is only a f’n game after all.  

  10. Boorach says:

    I’ll take the independence….. we can sort diddly div 3 teams by referendum thereafter!!!

  11. dadsarmy says:

    Mmm, Six Nations starting soon 🙂

  12. orkers says:

    Rev you’re splitting hairs.

    Of course they were.

    To deny it is a failure to face facts. You say that no one has come back to you on this, but I have and you are taking it badly. You can’t continue to make statements that you can’t back up.

    You are pro Independence and so am I and I fully support what you say on your Blog …….mostly anyway.

    I receive shit from Rangers supporters for my standpoint and from people like your good self, but I stick up for my beliefs that an Independent Scotland is the way forward.

    There are faults on both sides and really I say this from the heart, in this instance, you aren’t helping the cause. 

    I will continue to read your Blog, because I believe in what you’re trying to say, but remember there others out there that need persuading.

    P.S. I wouldn’t admit it on other boards that I frequent, but I would take Independence before all else and that includes Rangers FC

  13. Marcia says:

    Shakes head in disapproval.

    Can you post football discussions between 3 and 5 on Saturdays? 🙂

  14. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “Of course they were.”

    They simply weren’t. Go and check any report on the vote. The club failed to exit administration and ceased to exist, automatically being removed from the league. A new club was formed with the assets of the old one (including, allegedly, the “history”), which applied to take the old club’s place. The old club voted in favour, Kilmarnock abstained and everyone else said no. They were NOT “voted out”. They were already out. They failed to get voted IN.

  15. Jocko says:

    Rangers were thrown out of the Premiere league for not paying their tax bill by the SPL To play in Scotland in the other leagues  to apply to the SFL who would only let them into the bottom league.  

  16. murren59 says:

    Please, please let’s keep fitba’ ooty’it furr’fuk’seks!
    If we have two Indy Gers fans – GREAT!!! – that’s two more than I thought we had!

  17. Marcia says:
    23 January, 2013 at 10:03 pm

    Shakes head in disapproval.

    Can you post football discussions between 3 and 5 on Saturdays?
    And only ones when a blue moon shines.

  18. Peter says:

    You can’t let facts get in the way of the delusion for Sevco fans.

    The real question is why the bbc still persist with the lie about them being the same club?  Is it through fear or just support for their fellow unionist bigots? 

    And anybody claiming that rangers or sevco supprters are not in the main unionist bigots really needs glasses and a new hearing aid. 

  19. NorthBrit says:

    If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then is it not a duck?

  20. orkers says:

    Rev it’s becoming a pantomime ………..’Yes they were ….No they weren’t’

    Stop the analogies and I’ll be reasonably happy.

    You’re verging on the obsessional with this stuff. Why continue with it?

    I’m with you all the way on Independence and I can assure, so are other Rangers Fans.

    I don’t give a damn about the Orange Order, or the Masons, or Opus Dei or the Knights of Columba.

    All I want is Independence no matter where the ‘Yes’ vote comes from and so should you. 

    Try and concentrate on that to the exclusion of all else.

    I was heartened when you said recently you hadn’t banned anyone yet. 


  21. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “Rangers were thrown out of the Premiere league for not paying their tax bill by the SPL”

    No they weren’t. They still haven’t actually been punished on the disrepute charges.

  22. orkers says:

    Peter you are beyond redemption.

    I am a Rangers supporting contributor to SNP funds on a monthly basis yet I don’t exist?

    I’m off to bed to tell the wife ………..I’m sure she’ll be amused.

    Good night folks and vote ‘Yes’ in 2014. 

  23. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “Stop the analogies and I’ll be reasonably happy.”

    I haven’t made any analogies, only cited known facts. You’re getting angry about a slight that only exists in your imagination. I mentioned the question as an illustrative example of a phenomenon – the post isn’t even about Rangers, it’s about the Tories. I didn’t mention any religious organisations anywhere, or even hint at them.

  24. deerokus says:

    The ECA isn’t a formal governing body, it’s more like a union, and they took their advice on whether to consider sevco a new club from the SFA.  Secretary of the SFA being one Mr Campbell Ogilvie.

    Ultimately, though, if Rangers fans consider it the same club it’s their club, so it is up to them… just as the rest of us will make fun of them forever. 

  25. orkers says:

    I’m still here, for my sins Stu and I can assure you I’m not in the least angry.

    Robust conversation is to be applauded and indeed sought. 

    If you don’t ban me I’ll be back ……..any others of my ilk that crossed your path must have been faint of heart indeed. 

    I really must be off.

    Toodle Pip! 

  26. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “Ultimately, though, if Rangers fans consider it the same club it’s their club, so it is up to them”

    Absolutely. At the end of the day if they believe it’s still Rangers then it doesn’t really matter. But they do need to stop trying to “prove” it, because it isn’t actually true.

  27. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “If you don’t ban me I’ll be back”

    You’re in no danger of being banned.

  28. Stevie Cosmic says:

    All very well guys, but the Guardian article has been pulled….
    Now there’s a story, and an argument.
    Meaning, they published information they shouldn’t have. I await Stu’s deft handling of this.

  29. Stevie Cosmic says:

    ….no, really. This survey was a joke, a huge joke that backfired so much the Guardian had to pull it. The link above still works, as it’s linked through a google cache, but you cant see this article through normal hyperlinks.
    I don’t know about anyone else, but I find that highly unusual.

  30. dadsarmy says:

    Live and postable. I’ve already made my responses … no answer yet!

  31. ianbrotherhood says:

    They don’t make memory-holes like they used to…but don’t ask me exactly when.

  32. Neil says:

    Scotland’s Independence Must come first and foremost petty rivalry over footy can wait till after the votes are counted. C.O.Y.S

  33. Angus McLellan says:

    The full data from the SSA questions on constitutional preferences (Devomax, that’s like the moon on a stick right?) are at

    So no need to rely on the quality press to filter the number for you.

    The boring but accurate headline should be “Confusing answers from SSA polling”, just like last year. And the year before. Still, margin of error changes really and the answers to the who-should? questions make happy enough reading. So long as Devomaxists would rather, in the end, have defence and foreign affairs in addition to what they want instead of much less than they want, things look pretty good.

  34. Stevie Cosmic says:

    Hot dang you’re right dadsarmy.

    Wierdness abounds. It available directly, but not from the links I’m using from elsewhere, so perhaps the original address changed? I get a message using the above link that says it’s cached by Google, and that the original content changed or moved. On FB, it says the article has been embargoed?

  35. scottish_skier says:

    Lowest since 1999 my erse. Was that in 2010 apparently.

    I see little change within inherent variability. See John’s slide 4.

    Multi-option survey offering devo max (which has massive support).

    The only clear trend is a steady loss of support for Westminster rule.


  36. Cameron says:

    Football is always good for the ratings and so is a punch up.

  37. M4rkyboy says:

    I dream of a football match where a punch is a legal challenge.Scotland might win something.

  38. Keef says:

    Such a huge news day in terms of ramifications for the Indy vote. Imagine my disappointment when I learned that NNS had chosen to run an article by the Rev’s ‘favorite’ tweeter buddy- d. Torrence.

    That will keep their mod. Stasi busy for a while.

  39. Angus McLellan says:

    @skier: Where did all the No/No voters from ’97 go? No/No got about 25% of the vote (we know that at least one person voted No/Yes, so the total is less than the 25.7% who voted No on Q1). Now turn back the clock gets only 5-10% of the vote, depending on how the question is phrased. Have they become, to steal a phrase from history, devolutionists by conviction? Or have they fled the country or died?

  40. Cameron says:

    @ M4rkyboy
    Isn’t that what the other game is all about? You know, the one with the funny shaped ball. 🙂

  41. scottish_skier says:


    lies damned lies and statistics

    Nuff said.

  42. Yesitis says:

    Scottish_skier is, of course, right.
    All UK media is anti Scottish independence; don`t expect an easy ride. Expect to be offended.
    John Curtis is being wheeled out and falsely offered by the BBC in Scotland as The voice of authority. He looks the part – must know what he`s talking about then, eh, no, eh? What`s your favourite Genesis album, John?
    S_S – I`m predicting a 60-64% Yes vote in 2014, although, to be honest, anything below 65% is a bit of an embarrassment. 
    By the way, I`m Dundee United, born and bred. I know, eh.

  43. Cameron says:

    @ S_S
    “lies damned lies and statistics”
    I once worked as a researcher for the Central Research Unit of the old Scottish Office. I can confirm your statement is 100% factual (within + or – 25% error).

  44. Semus says:

    Fitba, you big boys are rerr. OT FITBA especially in these times.Och I am away to the opera.

  45. scottish_skier says:


    Agreed on predictions.


    Aye, that’s about the error on ‘the latest indy poll’ if the MSM is to be taken seriously.

    Jeez we’re a chop and change lot the Scots. One morning indy, then westminster rule later that day. Maybe devo for afternoon tea, before max for dinner 😉

    A yes is the most likely outcome as far as I can see anyway.

  46. Angus McLellan says:

    @Skier: Well, yes. But what I was thinking was that while Jam Tomorrow might move some devomaxers to No, it might also move some of the 20%-ish who still support No/No and Yes/No to the increasingly-popular Did Not Vote/None of the Above camp on principle. If you want No, why vote Yes-but-not-yet?

  47. Cameron says:

    @ S_S
    The vote is still a long way off and I know just how the Civil Service has become a bitch to their political masters. A lot of shit can still happen between now and then, but the momentum does appear to be in our favour. Conservation of momentum theory does state that objects will continue to move unless an equal and opposite force is applied. 🙂

  48. squarego says:

    I love statistics. Really. Drilling down through the numbers, you can also find these…

    74% of people said an Independent Scotland’s voice in the world would be equal to or stronger than it is now.

    63% said that the Scottish Parliament should have the most influence in the way Scotland is run.

    And this was before the most recent screw-ups by the Westminster posse.

    In the run up to the referendum, can we all pay to put Cameron on the air more? That’ll do it for sure.

  49. squarego says:

    So the Scotcen briefing is out:

    News just in! Between July and November last year, a lot of people would have chosen something called Devo-max over either the status quo or independence!!

    Break out the headlines.

    Who said ‘a week is a long time in politics’?  I wonder how long half a year is.

  50. Indion says:

    I’ve been off-piste, but getting back to blue runs.

    First, as an aside, like Rangers, UK Plc and it successor nUKo would not be one and the same, albeit by retaining the same short title might reassuringly appeal and acceptingly appear so.

    More to my interest is what the re-negotiated Union would be called: the British or British-Irish Union? Check-out the British-Irish Council’s origin, aim, membership and hence potential as the intergovernmental secretariat (NB not commission) for such a family re-Union of our nations.

    Whatever, overall my preferences remain for a European Union rather than ever a single State encompassing or dominating Europe – and correspondingly for a British-Irish Union rather that ever again a single State encompassing or dominating the British Isles  – as the best way to attain and maintain mutually beneficial, optimal autonomy all round.

    That said, I reckon today’s news (rather than last year’s) from Cameron is primarily about the City being unhappy at the prospect of tighter regulation of financials emanating from the EU and its curbing their more liberal and hitherto toxic anglo-american tendencies. I’m not. 

  51. charlie says:

    Major Bloodnok, to reiieve the situation, could you tell me he name of the canine star of the Lassie movies? And per chance, mention Turnbull’s Tornados? Pip-pip

  52. pmcrek says:

    I posted this on the previous article (apologies for double posting) but as I see Scottish Skier is here, I’ll ask in this one, I checked the 2011 result being compared to 2012 result for the constitutional question and adds up to 101%
    Whats that all about?
    Also. its a 4 option question however it seems to omits devo max and the status quo for just a “Devolution” option? I assume thats why the Severin can get away with saying 60+% support “Devolution” implication being the status quo.
    Finally I’ve been checking the 2011 survey and it only seems to have 4 or 5 demographic breakdowns of the same question so unsure if the 101% is just a typo, or perhaps some agrregation..
    Oh yee powerful gods of the poll (i.e. Scottish Skier) help us in our hour of need.

  53. Melanie McKellar says:

    if Rangers won the Scottish Cup will they play in Europe next year?

  54. deerokus says:

    No, they’re not eligible for Europe until they have filed three years of accounts.  Since they’re a new club.

  55. Doug Daniel says:

    Melanie – nope, UEFA will enforce the three-year rule. See here:

  56. Macart says:

    Curious that Severin dropped that wee article in just after Cameron dropped his EU headache into Ed’s lap.

    Methinks he didnae like the thought of many Scots having a wonder about a further four years of Tory government and decided to help out a bit.

    No, no, no, don’t look over here, look over there…………. (to the steaming pile of ordure). 

  57. Melanie McKellar says:

    Thanks for the link Doug

  58. Training Day says:

    I hope the last few days have shown – particularly, and with the greatest of respect, to those who think that ‘the Herald is getting a wee bit better’ or that ‘the BBC might be showing signs of giving us a fair crack’ – that the ‘Scottish’ MSM en bloc have not behaved and will not behave in an impartial fashion.  From the burying of the Ronnie Saez affair and the costs of the George Square debacle underneath the month old canard about Matheson, to the misdirection from Cameron’s EU speech to the ‘poll’ which has received saturation, co-ordinated coverage in the papers (and it was aired separately no less than three times in a fifteen minute window on BBC Scotland this morning).  One or two three/eighths-arsed circumlocutory efforts from Iain McWhirter or Joyce McMillan do not a free press make. 

    As for the survey (if we lend it significance), it tends to support Stu’s article on the subject of people fearing the ‘i’ word. If two-thirds want Holyrood to control all or almost all powers in 2012 then we are well set for 2014.  The No camp will regard that finding with concern, which perhaps explains why a breathlessly excited John Curtice was urging them this morning on GMS to firm up some jam tomorrow ‘promises’ to try and corral some of the undecideds (while chiding the SNP for saying that attitudes have already shifted since this survey was conducted). 

  59. Frances says:
    That’s a link to a John Curtice article in the Guardian.  Comments open…

  60. Munguin says:

    I once got hauled up by Tom Harris (what an honour!) for describing the Westminster Executive as the “English Parliament”. This was when the SNP decided to actually call the thing in Edinburgh a Parliament and not the Executive that the Unionists had called it so far. Tom of course insisted it was the UK Parliament and therefore the legitimate successor to the Scottish Parliament. Even though as I pointed out 75% of its business concerned England (and Wales) alone and that historically the Scottish parliament voted itself out of existence and simply joined the existing English parliament in London thus adopting the history and practices of that Parliament which continued seamlessly. The point I suppose is, is the current Scottish Parliament really the Scottish Parliament because of what the SNP say or what MPs like Tom Harris say or because of what the people of Scotland think? De Jure it may not but de facto it surely is. Does the same not apply to Rangers?

  61. Dcanmore says:

    At first I was about 50% convinced on Scottish_Skier’s theory of the Tories secretly wanting Scottish Independence to happen to solidify their position of power in London at the expense of the Labour Party with Peter Cruddas letting the cat out of the bag last year.
    I am now totally convinced that this the case and Independence dressed up as Devo-Max (FFA, social union, written constitution, Sterling Zone, Public Serviceds, monarchy, BBC etc) will be offered to the people of Scotland with the main negotiations centred around Trident, Oil and a mutual defence treaty. The White Paper due out in November will reveal all I should think.

  62. scottish_skier says:

    Statistically, there is zero significant change since 2007 in the 3(4) option SSAS survey on full indy vs devo vs no parliament.

    Anyone says different they are talking oot their erse. That includes Curtice.

    Looks like this on average since 2007:
    Complete, full, utter independence with an end to the UK (which would mean no queen nor currency union it would appear) / north korean style separation (i.e. a complete break from any relationship with the rUK, which is how the question can be read) = an impressive 26%

    Devo, which generally means devo max based on the other results of the survey = 60%

    We love Westminster = a pathetic 9%

    A bad survey result for the No camp and just confirming existing trends. Absolutely no way directly applicable to a straight Y/N on a yet to be fully defined independence (i.e. EU confirmation, currency confirmation) which looks like devo max but with bells on. That and subject to change due to factors like the EU torpedo thing and the Tory poll boost which should follow.

    That’s all you need to know. 


    Aye. Devo max with bells on is what it’ll look like we’re voting on but it will be independence. Only way the Tories can win in 2015 and allow Britain to save face.

    Scottish Labour are being shafted. First torpedo was the Edinburgh Agreement. Second was the EU referendum. They’re only now starting to realise the ship is truly sinking.

  63. Aplinal says:

    S_S as someone who obviously has knowledge in this area, what is the point of asking a question, such as
    “Scotland should remain part of the UK, with its own elected parliament which has some taxation powers”
    How can you answer without knowing what exactly “some” really means?  So in effect the question and its response are meaningless.

  64. scottish_skier says:


    Yes, quite so. To understand the responses you must appreciate what was asked, in what context, what other questions were asked around the question/in what order questions were asked etc. 

    That SSAS multi-option stated that Scotland would leave the UK under independence. I’m not aware of that being proposed. The UK(s) will remain so long as we share the same monarch. It also implied a very clear cut from the rest of the UK, i.e. implying no currency union or something. That skews the result alongside devo covering devo max. Hence in SSAS full indy has always been much lower than Y/N polls.

    As I said before, lies, damn lies and statistics. 

    However, the MSM is only hurting the pro-union case by trying to pretend it’s all hunky dory and Scotland is going nowhere. Polls don’t decide elections/referenda, people do. All polls do is tell you little bits of information about what people are possibly thinking.

    The SSAS survey tells us 90% of Scots don’t like Westminster rule with the majority wanting Holyrood to run everything or almost everything. That’s just perfect. 

  65. dadsarmy says:

    Ironically one of the best answers to the Severin article was by John Ruddy who pointed out that it is a long-term survey, and the survey showed no change long-term, to independence support.

    Though like others have said, the way it says like “Devolution” 61 % or whatever is sheerly laughable – I think the questions were first formatted in the early 90s and kept the same “to compare long-term trends”. Like Devolution itself in 1999!

  66. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “I see little change within inherent variability. See John’s slide 4.

    Missed this before. But one of later slides puts SNP-voter support for independence at just 51%. That’s got to be wrong. Similarly another reckons that just 53% of people who consider themselves “Scottish NOT British” favour independence, which sounds barking mad.

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