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Wings Over Scotland

The country that wasn’t

Posted on September 19, 2014 by

Last night, everyone in Scotland lost.


45% of the electorate in the highest turnout in modern UK political history voted for hope and for change, and didn’t get them. 55% voted in terror of change, but will get it (for the worse) anyway.

The No campaign desperately abandoned all pretence of being an alliance and turned into a red-and-yellow-branded Labour one, only to lose in Labour’s core Glasgow heartland and doom the party to all but certain defeat in both 2015 and 2016. The SNP will likely take advantage at the ballot box, but win only a poisoned chalice.

The Tories will triumph in the next UK election as saviours of the Union, then be forced into an EU referendum only a demented minority of them really want, and which will result in a disastrous exit from the EU. And of course, the Lib Dems were dying no matter what.

So it goes.

The 10-point defeat is closer than anyone had imagined the Yes movement would ever get until the final few weeks. As it turned out, the polls were too optimistic.

In the Yes strongholds, home to the “missing million” on whom the campaign’s hopes were pinned, turnout bucked the trend and was lowest. 25% of the people of our biggest city simply didn’t care. The unprecedented surge of electoral engagement and participation was mobilised mainly to prevent something from happening, not to make it happen.

Scotland, it pains us to say, will get the reward it deserves for its gutlessness. Having voluntarily surrendered the only bargaining chip that it’s had for the past few decades and scorned the chance to be the richest country in the world ever to declare independence, a harsh new “devolution settlement” will be imposed that will rob it of most of the gains of the Scottish Parliament, and the parties of the Union will be able to say truthfully that in doing so they’ve delivered exactly what they promised. The theatrical protestations of numerous Tory MPs in recent days will vanish when the reality is spelled out to them.

(It’s surely the bitterest irony of the entire independence debate that Scotland’s only faint hope of avoiding brutal fiscal evisceration in the coming years is to pray that all three Westminster parties DO break their promises.)

But that’s it. The battle is over. Let there be no doubt that the result was a fair and accurate reflection of votes cast, the odd isolated incident aside. That the odds were stacked against Yes by the massive vested interests of billionaires, gravy-train MPs and a uniformly hostile media is neither here nor there – with the exception of the BBC, all of those interests were perfectly entitled to act to their own benefit, not that of the Scottish people, and if the Scottish people willingly allowed themselves to be frightened and cowed they have nobody but themselves to blame.

While entitled to its bias, however, the Scottish press has beyond any reasonable dispute disgraced itself in terms of professional journalistic integrity. We suspect that without the referendum that it covered so abysmally poorly to prop up sales, its ongoing decline will accelerate rapidly. We will not mourn it.

(On a purely personal level, I’ll be cancelling my BBC licence fee on Monday. This clip was the final straw – its breathtakingly audacious, brazen, jaw-dropping dishonesty would have made employees of Pravda shuffle awkwardly and stare at their feet in shame, and there can be no possible defence of it. It’s not necessary to break the law to dodge the licence fee. In the modern age, fewer and fewer people watch TV live anyway, and it’ll be a minor inconvenience well worth enduring for the satisfaction of knowing that I’m at least no longer paying to be insulted and lied to.)

As for Wings Over Scotland, we’ll be taking some much-needed time off before coming to a decision about whether the site will carry on or not. Right now it’s difficult to think of any useful purpose it can serve. The brave new Scotland we could all have built is lost. The Scottish people can bring no meaningful influence to bear on politics for the forseeable future – whoever they elect at Holyrood will be crippled by budget cuts as a result of the new tax “powers”, and Scottish votes will be as impotent at Westminster as they’ve always been. We cannot envisage the UK government allowing there to be another independence referendum in our lifetime.

But decisions shouldn’t be made in haste in the depths of defeat, so we’ll take some time to consider it. And whatever happens, we owe you, our incredible readers, thanks that can’t adequately be expressed in words.

Over the last three years you’ve supported this site in ways beyond our dreams. In the month before the referendum, thanks to your donations and your tip-offs and your links and tweets and shares, we reached over 820,000 readers, and your donations and your work helped us distribute well over 1 million copies, in digital and print formats, of the Wee Blue Book. Not one Scottish voter has the excuse of ignorance. The information was before them if they wanted it.

That we all terrified the elite and the establishment more than it has ever been frightened in living memory is not in doubt. In the end they were too strong, and all of the UK will suffer as a result.

But let’s not engage in vainglorious denial. This is a story of failure. Our best efforts fell short. Our nation region bottled it. Whether there’s any point in continuing the fight is a choice we’ll all have to make for ourselves. Good luck.

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  1. 25 09 14 20:02

    Some rest for the wicked | FreeScotland

1040 to “The country that wasn’t”

  1. SqueuedPerspextive says:

    For years you have been checking facts – check the facts on my lies above

  2. SqueuedPerspextive says:

    Ok truth is that Alex used Murdoch to ransom over the paper on polling day. No had been doing its worst and the SUn retaliation would reveal the awful truth. but luckily both parties agreed a new contract

  3. David says:

    ONE THOUSAND comments says that we are not going away! The struggle to achieve independence will continue, outside of the mainstream media.

  4. SqueuedPerspextive says:


  5. Dear Stuart,
    First off, BRILLIANT summation of the sad result for Scotland’s Independence.

    Many MILLIONS here is the USA were pulling for YES voters, young and old. Believe me, we ADMIRE you all.

    You words criticizing the BBC are well understood here. I penned a recent column entitled “The American Media is The Enemy of The American People,” and your denunciation of the BBC rings true.

    Please do not give up, give in, or quit, Stuart. WRITE even if it of the tragic yet brave fight to come.

    As we old Vietnam era vets say: “Keep on keepin’ on.”

    God with you,

    Douglas Alan Herman, Phoenix Arizona

  6. David Craig says:

    Well done Wings for your insightful and hopeful reporting along the way! You have done so much to bring another perspective to the debate, the perspective that everyone else missed.

  7. Jamie Kirkwood says:

    I hope the yes movement carries on. We must not give up. Surely 1,500,000 people are not just going to go back to business as usual. I think it’s important that all alternative media stay mobilised and hold the big three to account once their promises are broken if we huff and puff enough we can force another referendum.

  8. Falwall says:

    The site should remain; continuing the fight as we will. There is a huge opportunity to keep this going and to have YesScotland representatives stand for election in May 2015 and 2016. This does not end here.

  9. Macmeister says:

    Being a member of the ’45 Rebel Alliance I feel that I am entitled to comment here:
    Hubris is the enemy that we fought against and lost to. It has us in its maw and we despair, as it gets ready to chew on us and swallow us down. Times ahead will be tough for Scotland, as the Westminster establishment fall upon us for our ‘treachery’, and they will want to humiliate us and try to bring us to heel. We must be strong and stand against the torrent that will rage against us, and we must be able to strike back.
    Scotland will need a free press/media that is not tied to the establishment, and I believe that Wings Over Scotland should be a part of that process. It will be a long road, but Scotland’s interests must be protected and the insipid lies and hateful rhetoric from Westminster must be countered.

  10. STEVE ANDREWS says:

    Quebec went twice – we can do the same, but next time we will be forearmed as we now know the full extent of the enemy’s armour, their camouflage came off. Maybe we could start an independent newspaper – there are at least 3000 businesses on Business for Scotland could help to fund it, also surely we have one or two millinonaire backers on YES side. We would need to resolve the currency issue so that there is no doubt. Nicola Sturgeon would be a good leader – cannot see the MSM demonising her as they did Alex. There are glimmers of hope for a renewed longterm fightback – we owe it to all the young people who voted YES.

  11. tommyboy says:

    Im sorry if I sound like a conspiracy nut, But I definitely think this vote was rigged. Has anyone seen the reports by Russian observers. There is no way that the no vote had that much of a lead. It was too close to call even by the government controlled polls. I have a bad feeling about this….. Am I alone in thinking this ??

  12. marge says:

    you MUST continue. this is just the start. even more than if it were a YES vote, we positively need intelligent journalism to reveal the truth behind the lies to come. We NEED the voice of the people to carry on and maintain the HUGE momentum gained. without your site and the others that have emerged like flowers from the dungheap of shitty partisan crap that is the press…we will not have a voice!! keep it coming!!

  13. Jay says:

    From a Scot living in England I’m saying with all my heart please, please do not stop fighting for independence. Cameron forced Salmond into an early referendum thinking that people would never be won over. Instead, 45% of the country and a majority of young people came out in force and voted for change. It wasn’t enough but it was much more powerful than Westminster expected. They expected an easy victory and they didn’t get one.

    Once promises are broken, once we end up feeling the full force of another Tory government, once people realise that no was really the big gamble all along and it didn’t pay off, there will be a lot of people in Scotland who regret that no vote and we have to keep pushing for another chance. It’s over right now but the idea can’t be put to bed. It’s Scotland’s only hope of ever creating a fairer society.

    Don’t give up, not a single one of you. 1.6 million people stood up and voted for change and that desire can’t be allowed to die or be defeated.

  14. Michael Conrad says:

    you all have done extremly well.
    you have lost a battle, not the war.
    so keep on going.
    michal conrad, mainz germany

  15. John Strachan says:

    On your feet soldier, your job has only just begun, so few of us find our vocation, but as a Speaker of Truth unto Power, you are magnificent. That was round one, where you learnt your craft. Now is the time to expand. It can’t be Wings Over, it must be Wings over Westminster

  16. Pauline Geddes says:

    The dream is definitely not over!
    I feel as gutted as anyone but I am cheered that our young 16-17 year olds, showed energy and passion and a knowledge of what the referendum was about, that would shame most of our electorate.
    They will not forget this year. They have been inspired.
    It was our over 65’s electorate who let us down, who are maybe understandably afraid of change, who are comfortable in their ways, as well as selfishly thinking of themselves.
    But in 10 years time when a lot of them will not be here our youngest voters will be prime age to show their strength.
    As for the main parties and their promises, let the same press who fought the Yes team all the way, turn against them, as on a daily basis they publicly squabble amongst themselves and break the promises they made.
    I have faith in our young.
    The dream is not over!

  17. Elaine says:

    Quite so

  18. Heather says:

    Rev, thank you for all your work for Scottish Independence. If it wasn’t for you, the “No” vote would have been much, much more. As it is, the “Yes” voters have given a strong message to the powers that be, and we need you more than ever. Please continue the good work, because we’ve only lost the first skirmish. Now we all know where we stand, and it is up to all of the supporters of Scottish Independence to work together to bring the timid and fearful “No” voters and those who didn’t vote at all, to the truth. We can’t give up now.

  19. Michael says:

    Stu, please carry on, you are doing something extraordinary. We will all continue to support you and your work. many thanks. Michael

  20. biggpolmont says:

    THE YES Movement will carry on. The first What happens now? meeting in Falkirk is in two week time. There are almost a million people who claimed their right to vote in the referendum and sadly had their hopes dashed. They would consider it a betrayal of their trust if we did not continue with Yes> We have to carry on!
    Please Stu keep WoS going too you can be rightly proud of all that you have achieved And the numbers you have inspired must be astronomical not even mentioning the WBB These unionist cretins will not be able to help themselves they will not put through the changes. lying and deceit are second nature to them. We need a vehicle such as wings to give focus and pass on the information , so have a break we are all nackered but come back soon Do not let the bas##ards get you down!

  21. Daibach says:

    I have not been able to comment until now Stu,
    I like many others am devastated by the result.
    My adopted country has chosen to stay with a corrupt union 🙁
    Please keep up you work, if and when you feel able, I would like to thank you and everyone on here for the extraordinary insight into politics the media and heartfelt passion that I have experienced.
    Best wishes
    David aka Dai
    ps Welsh, but live in Scotland for 35 years since 17.

  22. John says:

    Stuart, we are not going away. This is merely “the end of the beginning”. Please continue with the site. We need you.

  23. Euan says:

    “The dream will never die”

    It would be great if this site continued to highlight the rank hypocrisy of the unionist parties. The mainstream media will not cover it. People will not vote no again when they see the ‘promises’ for what they really are but, if all we have is the mainstream media, then they will not see it. We need sites like this alongside the medium of social media if we are to continue to expose the lies so that people never vote no again. This site will have an incredibly useful purpose!

  24. John says:

    Hi Stu

    I have been working for Yes Scotland over the last 3 weeks , and am bitterly disappointed by the result.

    Reading your above article i can feel your pain and disappointment too .

    Our Yes team have been trying to come to terms also with the the tragic outcome . We met last night , and already there are positive ideas coming forth , we can all see that right now the Yes Scotland network is the most powerful political campaign team on British soil .

    I know we have all just taken a real beating , but it is only 12 wks till Christmas , and 4 wks after that we have the opportunity to unleash a campaign for the Westminster elections.

    I know strategies , objectives , goals would have to be thought through , but surely there is a huge potential to fight the election under a Yes Scotland umbrella . How do you think the 3 separate unionist parties could fight such a movement ?

    As for funding , how many of our ranks would pay a direct debit of £10 per month , if we get 100,000 that is £1 million per month , sign up 200,000 and it’s £2 million per month , for only the price of a packet of cigarettes .

    Or am i just mad !

  25. Honey Georgina Lyon says:

    Please don’t go. We still need you. I will pledge money every month if needed. I’m not sure i have any useful skills if I did I would offer them too.
    This is another Step towards the goal.
    Have a wee holiday.
    but please don’t close this site. You have a worldwide audience too.

  26. Kevin93 says:

    I can only ask that you (RSC) continue this blog and continue the fight with us for a free Scotland. Sadly, it appears that we will have to take this route via some form of devolution, a form that will be determined not by us but by the internal machinations of Westminster. Despite this setback, 45% of the population discovered either that they were nationalists at heart, or discovered that the argument for Scotland leaving the union is stronger than the argument for us staying in it. This is a continuation of a trend that has not stopped since devolution was first and scandalously denied to Scotland in 1979.
    People like yourself, however, are absolutely integral to our getting over the final hurdle. Your fearless reporting on news and issues- and identification of the utter falsities in much of the No campaign’s arguments- in addition to the utterly brilliant publication that was The Wee Blue Book resulted in a better educated public. But this mission is not over. I hope you enjoy what is undoubtedly an exceptionally well-earned break. Like you I have lost some faith in the Scottish electorate- but not all of my faith, and not in all of the people. I hope you will return in due course (both on this and Twitter) and help us turn 45 into 55.

  27. RH says:

    Take your time, wait til you feel ready, but don’t give up. I’m going to be doing more now than I ever did, and it’s people like you that have inspired me. Your site and message needs to keep going. My warmest thanks for everything you achieved for us.

  28. Marco McGinty says:

    Aye, it’s been a difficult period trying to get to grips with what the people of Scotland have chosen. Within hours of the result being declared, we have already witnessed the early-stage unravelling of the promises, and we have seen the far-right element of the No campaign running amok in Glasgow, and I can’t help thinking that racism and sectarianism will increase as a result. That’s what happens when the mainstream unionist parties ally themselves to organisations that appeal to the knuckledraggers of this world. Whether they choose to accept it or not, Scottish Labour stood side-by-side with the Orange Order, the BNP and the Britannica Party. They must not be allowed to forget this.

    Anyway, I am truly grateful to Stuart and the WoS team and the network of allied websites, for their dedication to a positive, independent future, and my extreme gratitude extends to all of those that voted or supported Yes. The cowards, the bottlers, the shitebags and the ("Tractor" - Ed)s have sickened me to the core.

    Through the selfishness and ignorance of the naesayers, every Scottish man, woman and child, has been stripped of their national identity, and been denied true democracy. Weapons of mass destruction were favoured over healthcare, lies and deceit were favoured over truth and honesty, and stupidity was favoured over education. War criminals were favoured over socialist principles, and foodbanks and poverty were favoured over future generations. For the first time in my life, I am utterly ashamed to call myself Scottish, and I do not know if that shame will ever pass. We are, as Lord Robertson, former Labour MP and ultra-fake socialist, has suggested, now a minor entity in the north of Britain.

    As mentioned, we have lost all claims to nationhood, and I now truly believe that anything with national connotations should be disbanded as soon as possible, be they museums, training facilities or sporting teams, and any money saved from these ventures should be ploughed into socially deprived areas.

    As for the Scottish Labour Party, can I make a plea that when they come running for your vote next year, we all use the “if you don’t know, don’t vote” strategy against them. This should haunt the bastards for years to come.

    Ours was a hugely positive campaign, and we must carry this on – that will be evident when the vow turns out to be a lie, the promises are forgotten about, and the cuts begin to hit home. If we were to quit now, that would be the greatest victory for the naesayers. So, in response to this, Yes supporters in Largs had a wee get together this evening, to consider future plans, and a proper meeting will take place on Monday. We will win this.

    If anyone is feeling down, may I direct you to these;

  29. Chris says:

    Thank you for your website. Please do not bring an end to this wonderful source of info. I like 1.6 million people in Scotland am devastated by Scotland voting no-not convinced everything was entirely above board through. We can`t allow this huge support for Scottish independence to fizzle out, we must harness that 1·6 million and build up it, so one day we can achieve the dream.
    “For Scotland the campaign continues and the dream shall NEVER die” Our First Minister, Alex Salmond-well done to him.

  30. Pauls7777 says:

    Ranting and raving about how unfair it is/ westminster lies/ conspiracy/ illegal polls is all very well and it is your perogative.

    But sooner or later if you are serious about independence you will sit down and calmly analsye YOUR failings and what you need to alter to make the most of very marginal opportunity you will have in 10/20/30 years time.

    The odds will be stacked against you for a variety of reasons.

    (Low oil resrves, current lack of a figurehead with the charisma/skill to match AS, Scottish vote will help carry pro-EU result in referendum, probability of being in a boom cycle in the economy, etc)

    People will be bored/weary of a Neverendum and will be reluctant to go through that divisive procedure again – unless the wounds have genuinely healed.

    Look at the rhetoric you are using to describe your fellow scotsmen (shitebags, ("Tractor" - Ed)s, arrogant, gutless to name just a few on this website)

    Why? because they exercised their democratic right at the ballot box.

    Is this a typical example of the so-called positive approach
    of the ‘Yes’ campaign?

    You need to sway at least 10% of these voters – you can’t slag them off for 9/19/29 years and expect them to come on board 6 months before the vote……..

    Will you cling to your dogmatic views and blame everything and everyone else?

    Or carry out some rational analysis and act on it to try and gain an edge which by definition you didn’t have this time?

    If you can’t, or won’t, the next referendum is a foregone conclusion

  31. Paula Rose says:

    Paul with lots of 7s – things have moved on darling, you’re a bit behind the times now.

  32. steven stewart says:

    You ain’t going anywhere, mate. Have a holiday. I’ll chuck a few more quid into a holiday fund. You deserve it.

  33. I Know the Truth says:

    I remember being astonished that there was no exit poll outside the polling station. I feel that this was needed as every person who voted yes cold have informed them and we could have gauged numbers fairly accurately. I was informed by the young lady inside the polling station that exit polls were NOT ALLOWED. That in itself is rather strange.

  34. Will Podmore says:

    It’s over. 55/45 is decisive: it settles the matter. When 55 per cent of a nation do not believe that that they are in a national liberation struggle, maybe it isn’t a national liberation struggle.
    By contrast, in 1956, everyone knew that Ho Chi Minh would have won 80 per cent of the votes in Vietnam’s promised election – which is why the USA, Britain and the Diem regime reneged on holding the election.
    In the total vote across Scotland, the separatists lost by a wider margin than forecast: 55.3 per cent to 44.7 per cent, a loss by 11 percentage points. If that were the result in a US election, it would be seen as a landslide.
    In the rest of Britain, 81 per cent of voters do not want Scottish independence, according to a poll taken before Thursday’s vote. So of all those voters affected by the Scottish vote, there is a 79 per cent to 21 per cent majority in favor of unity. That’s the real result — four out of five people don’t want Scotland to break away, and a solid majority of Scots agrees.

  35. John says:

    To Will Podmore

    Round 2 coming up

    Soon !

  36. Will Podmore says:

    John, Quebec had referendums on secession in 1980 and 1995. 1995’s was very close, and many forecast that Quebec would very soon split from Canada, but there have been none since. Independence was always the wrong answer to a false question. It’s not the Union that harms Scotland, it’s capitalism. Now we have to work together to beat the real enemy. As the TUC calls, ‘Britain needs a pay rise’. Let’s work together to win more pay!

  37. Rev. William Steele says:

    I don’t think that we can get rid of Capitalism while in the Union. We’ll have a more favourable context once independence comes.

  38. Will Podmore says:

    Well, Rev. William Steele, I note your opinion, but I couldn’t see your reasons for your belief. A divided working class is weaker than a united one, don’t you think?
    And not to fight capitalism now, but to wait for independence, would suit capitalism just fine, wouldn’t it?

  39. NovaScotia says:

    Thanks Stu. Enjoy the rest.

    Like many I’ve joined the SNP in the last few days. Got an email from them today asking each new member to get a friend/relative to join as well. I hope we can all do this.

  40. Yoda says:

    ‘Rev’ Stu,

    How dare you insult the intelligence of the majority of Scots!!!

    This is a despicable rant that undermines the wishes of Scotland as a nation, that is to stay in the United Kingdom. It is a disgrace that you claim the 55% were duped/tricked when in fact they made a logical assessment of the facts, far more rational than any nationalist hysteria.

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