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Wings Over Scotland

The courtship dance

Posted on September 03, 2012 by

We’re quite cynical folks, especially when it comes to Scottish Labour. We expect little from them, although even then we’re still sometimes surprised. But a couple of pieces today from two of the Scottish party’s most prominent – well, let’s use the word “thinkers” and keep things civil – raised our eyebrows good and proper.

Right-winger Tom Harris, on his suddenly-reanimated zombie blog LabourHame, and the increasingly-barking Ian Smart on his blog, have both come out with pieces essentially advocating Conservative governments. Smart’s apologism for his supposed blood enemies is particularly overt:

“Of course a Tory Government is not ideal but it pays your wages if you’re in the public sector. Maintains law and order. Guarantees your pension or state benefit. And even when it is making a mess of the economy, it can still afford to do so. Anyway, we’ve had Tory Governments before, even Mrs Thatcher, and we’re not actually starving.”

So there you go – as far as Labour are concerned, a Tory government is merely “not ideal”. It’s no major issue to have the country run by their supposed deadly ideological opposites, because as Smart points out in the next line, at some point it’ll always be Labour’s turn (to implement Tory policies) again. But it’s the bit following that sentence that takes the breath away.

“And, finally, Tory Governments can always be voted out. Once freed from the restraints of ‘British’ civilised norms who can be sure Eck would be prepared to take that risk? And who’d be there to stop him? The Queen?”

No, you didn’t misread that. Mr Smart just suggested that in an independent Scotland, Alex Salmond might abandon democratic elections and run the country as a dictatorship. You’d assume he was joking, but there isn’t a shred of evidence anywhere in the post to indicate humour, and earlier passages suggest he’s deadly serious (if utterly insane) about the prospect of a Nazi-esque fascist Scottish state:

“And then there’s the cultural and demographic effects. A National Broadcaster where you only see what Alex Salmond wants, and even then only if he can afford it. A National Cultural policy that in its promotion of Scottish literature and music makes De Valera’s Ireland look like Renaissance Florence. A massive brain drain as any young person of ambition, having escaped compulsory Gaelic in every school, will still have the portable skill of speaking English, at least for the moment, and will, if they’ve any sense, leave the Country at the earliest opportunity.”

(We take no responsibility for the repeated inappropriate capitalisation of words that aren’t proper nouns, like “national”, “broadcaster”, “cultural”, “country”, “referendum” and “independence”. It would be petty to note that such behaviour is a noted characteristic of several debilitating mental conditions, as anyone aware of Charles Linskaill’s contributions to the Scotsman’s comment section will know.)

It should be noted, of course, that these comments come in the context of Smart’s revelation that we ought to expect the Unionists to fight a dirty, negative and dishonest campaign. But if you’re going to fight a campaign on dirty, negative lying, is it wise to put the lies on the same page as the bit where it points out you’re lying?

Perhaps, as an experienced lawyer, Mr Smart is operating on an advanced level of complex meta-lying that simple hacks like us just aren’t equipped to understand when he says things like this immediately after telling us he’s prepared to fight ugly even at the expense of the truth:

“Worried about benefit cuts? At least your still getting benefits. It’s difficult to see how anything other than subsistence benefits could be paid against the background of the mass unemployment Independence would create.”

That said, we’re still a bit confused as to his suggestion that such scorched-earth campaigning is deployed because it works. (“Never forget, the reason that negative advertising is so prevalent in American politics is because…”) After all, Labour’s last attempt at that strategy didn’t work out too well for the party, and Mr Smart himself decried the tactic as a failure:

“The only consolation is that since we clearly intend to fight the 2011 campaign again in 2016 we might be able to save some money on literature. So, don’t throw out these inspiring ‘Vote Labour if you don’t want to be stabbed’ leaflets. They may be needed again.”

But anyway. The core of Smart’s argument, if we might generously depict it in such elevated terms, is an earlier passage:

“It is taken as a given that the worst possible form of government for Scotland is a Tory Westminster Government. And nobody is to make any attempt to suggest otherwise.”

The implication is that such a claim is somehow untrue. Yet, as a member of Scottish Labour, which plausible election outcome could ostensibly be worse for Smart than a Tory Westminster government without a Scottish mandate? The only conclusion than can be drawn is that – despite constant angry denials whenever such a proposition is put to them – as far as Labour are concerned, a Tory Westminster government is better than a social-democratic independent Scottish Government under the SNP. In short, they hate the (relatively left-wing) SNP more than they hate the Tories.

Nationalists have known this for years, of course, but it’s intriguing to see it finally start to come out into the open, and Harris’ piece for LabourHame scuppers any thought of Mr Smart merely being dismissed as a lone lunatic.

One long sneer, it represents perhaps the first time that we’ve seen an elected representative of the Labour Party use the term “leftie” as an insult. Harris pours scorn on the idea that an independent Scotland would elect left-wing governments as a matter of course, asserting – quite correctly – that a strong opposition is vital to a healthy democracy. However, the post then takes a dramatic swerve away from sanity.

“None of this is envisioned by our nationalist compatriots. Their utopian vision of Scotland’s future is one where the right is frozen out in perpetuity, where left-leaning governments are re-elected with the certainty of day following night.”

All parties, by their fundamental nature, envisage a future where they win elections. But that’s not the same thing as having weak or no opposition. It’s called democracy. You win by appealing to the electorate, and there’s no barrier – either in existence now or proposed, to our knowledge, by the SNP as a facet of independence – to the Conservatives winning elections in Scotland, should the people of Scotland suddenly decide that that’s their wish.

Harris’s argument is that an independent Scotland would by definition be an unhealthy place because it never had Tory governments. Or put another way, that the people of Scotland are idiots for continually voting for left-leaning (or in Labour’s case, notionally left-leaning) parties for the last 50 years.

It’s a radical departure from the orthodox Labour argument that we need to stay in the Union to help our English brethren get Labour governments – Harris is actually saying that we need not just strong opposition, but specifically strong Tory opposition. And by definition, a strong opposition is one that wins sometimes. Scotland, according to Tom Harris, needs not only to risk having Tory governments by staying in the Union, but also to actually have them at least some of the time.

Since there’s no sign of an upsurge in Tory support in Scotland and hasn’t been for over quarter of a century, and with the Lib Dems now dead men walking, there’s only one logical extrapolation of Harris’ position – the Unionist parties in Scotland need to merge into a single anti-SNP opposition. They already function as a coalition in the No campaign, so the doors are already open and the fledgling alliances in place. The final step is not only possible, but rational.

Harris, of course, resides on the far right of the Labour spectrum, and his ideas don’t yet represent the party’s mainstream view. But these are more than tentative soundings, as demonstrated by Smart’s echoing of the same line. (We very much doubt that the timing is coincidental, given that the previous post on LabourHame was one of Smart’s.) We can expect the lines dividing the three Unionist parties, already largely cosmetic, to become even more blurred over the coming months and years.

Much of Labour’s anti-independence campaigning so far has been openly premised on the curiously-defeatist assumption that an independent Scotland would be governed in perpetuity by the SNP. But these latest positionings point even more directly at a party thinking about a post-independence future, which many believe will see a massive realignment of Scottish politics, with the SNP splintering into factions only currently united over independence, Labour utterly discredited and shattered by serial defeat and the Tories rendered meaningless by the destruction of their core reason for existing. The 2020 Holyrood election could be contested by an entirely new set of parties.

We’re making no predictions about the outcome of the referendum. It’s going to be a hard fight, and two years is an eternity in politics. But make no mistake: even if only as a contingency plan, the Unionists are preparing to lose.

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    55 to “The courtship dance”

    1. RandomScot says:

      Smart misspelled “you’re” it should be “you’re still” not “your still”

      So much for whoever educated him! 

    2. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      I saw, but having already picked up on the capitalisation thing, I didn’t want to pick any more grammatical holes lest it gave him another excuse to call me a fascist…

    3. Kenny Campbell says:

      Maybe just Tom will defect to the Tories…..He seems to be saying we need a good dose of Tory policy now and again to keep us healthy and honest….nice

    4. Training Day says:

      After reading of the ravaged, investment-less, cannibalistic, Dystopian nightmare Smart envisages post-independence can I recast my vote in Madman of the year?

    5. morag says:

      Oh for the return of Spitting Image. I can already see Tom Harris snuggled up in Maggies pocket with Mr Smart walking incessently backwards and forwards…..head down muttering dark thoughts!

    6. Embradon says:

      Can this be anything other than a late bid by Iain Smart to wrest the “Madman of the Year” title from Michael Kelly?
      Like Training Day above, I am tempted to ask if I can revisit the cyber polling station.

    7. Gabe Neil says:

      The SLP are beginning to really scare me. Before I just thought they were incompetent careerist buffoons, now I’m beginning to think they are anti-democratic (or at least have anti-democratic elements). If we win independence I really hope people will save these little diatribes and wheel them out from time to time just to humiliate these craven, unprincipled fools with how wrong they were.

      Reading Ian Smart’s post you would think the last few months of debate never happened, the way he goes on about how there will be economic collapse and dictatorship post-independence – even Labour have mostly moved on from that crap. I wonder, can he really believe this guff, or is it the Big Lie tactics? 

    8. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      Harris is just a standard right-wing New Labour drone who loves the sound of his own voice, but Smart’s piece is properly jaw-dropping. Mass unemployment (on the sole basis of the Clyde shipyards, apparently), a government paralysed by poverty abandoning democracy, welfare and pensions… it’s somewhat at odds with the official line of “Scotland would be fine as an independent country but it’s better in the UK”. Smart really is going totally doo-lally.

    9. Adrian B says:

      A good piece Rev. Thank you.

      One small minor point that I picked up from Tom Harris’s piece on Labour Hame was that it was posted in the Westminster section rather than the Holyrood section.

      I was wondering if that had something to do with Labours refusal to see an Independent Scotland as ever being a possibility. Labour have long had their collective heads in the sand regarding the possibility of a ‘YES’ vote by the electorate.  I find it strange that his piece largely, criticising on-line “Nats” is not in the Holyrood section, surely that would be the correct place for it?

      I read this piece yesterday and looking at it today it looks heavily edited. Can anyone remember Tom writing about complacency from Labour in the run up to an election when Neil Kinnock was the leader were he claimed the London arm of the party was giving instructions to claim that Labour would win the election. Labour lost.     

    10. Barontorc says:

      Having read this pap courtesy of your blog, I have to say its a very sobering thought that these two “jock-ers” were actually elected to represent Labour constituents by presumably labour lefties and what must they be thinking of it all – or, do they not think – just vote for the rosette?

      These statements simply beggar belief and would be an open and shut case for defamation if levelled against anyone of the Keir Hardie mould.

    11. scottish_skier says:

      Labour have good experience of running a dictatorship. After all, they ran the UK from 2005-10 even though 65% of the electorate voted against them in the 2005 GE. Iran, Zimbabwe and Yemen favour the same FTPT system as used in the UK; gives the impression of democracy to dictatorships.

      I’d imagine Tom would not be keen for me to mention that on Labourhame.

    12. Peter A Bell says:

      I responded to Tom Harris on Labour Hame making what I thought to be a very pertinent point about British Labour hardly being more appealing to the Scottish electorate these days than the Tories. The comment was, of course, deleted.
      I hadn’t read Ian Smart’s latest offering. Forgive me if I don’t thank you for bringing it to my attention. I’m on the verge of concluding that Mr Smart should be placed in the same category as a certain George Laird – Nutters Best Ignored.

    13. CW says:

      Yep, if these people had been born in England, they’d probably be Tories. Or Blairites. It’s the same thing really. It’s all about power rather than principles. Smart is totally losing the plot in quite spectacular fashion, and, characteristically, he probably thinks its rather clever. Of course, at the root of this argument lies the idea that all the development that we see in Scotland that makes it a modern country only came about thanks to the magic wand of the Union. It wasn’t Scots that did that – it was the Union. We could never have done it on our own. Which is really quite insulting when you think about it. 

    14. CW says:

      Yeah some time back I went to quite a lot of effort putting together a long argument and posting it on Labour Hame in response to a post on a historical matter – it involved a bit of thought and required me to check a couple of things. It was all historical content; there were no insults, no sarcasm, there was nothing even remotely strident about it, and it never appeared. However, I did notice that quite a few less well-informed, shall we say, pro-independence posts were published right away. Which is a neat trick to make us all look like the stereotype that they’re desperate to create. It’s a waste of time trying to discuss politics with Labour politicians. Listen to the way their senior figures – Jim Murphy, Anas Sarwar – talk to the electorate. It’s like they’re talking to children. They’re only interested in the ‘I don’t really care about politics I’d rather watch the X-Factor’ vote – partly because they have no intellectual hinterland themselves, but mostly because it’s easier to lie to these people.

    15. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      As I said the other day – all ostensible Labour attempts to engage in debate are essentially a trap, intended only to waste our time. They’re best avoided, like most sites that pre-moderate comments.

    16. Doug Daniel says:

      See, you’re all feeling pretty silly about voting for Michael Kelly or Alan Cochrane as Madman Of The Year now, aren’t you? Should have listened to me!

      Ian’s rantings are pretty stunning stuff. We’ve heard the “Alex Salmond is a fat Nazi dictator” stuff from the more slack-jawed unionist elements for years, but it seems that the main NO campaign tactic is to paint Alex Salmond as an actual dictator. This bizarre idea that Alex Salmond will personally decide what we get to see on TV is totally unbecoming of Smart, and any other Labourite who tries it. There’s simply no basis for it. As for the thing about youngsters fleeing Scotland to escape compulsory Gaelic and saying that this is what happened in Ireland, that’s pretty much beyond contempt.

      But keep it coming, Ian. A lot of people still trumpet the “we can’t afford it” mantra when you ask them why they don’t want Scotland to be independent, but when they hear the actual details behind this idea and realise how daft the details sound, they’ll start to realise they’ve been taken for fools all along. Surely no one (other than foaming-at-the-mouth unionists) truly believes independence is somehow going to lead to a total collapse of public funds, complete unemployment and an actual dictatorship?

      Methinks Ian has just finished reading The Road and mistakenly believes it is a truthful account of what Cormack McCarthy saw when he travelled through time to see what Scotland looks like post-independence.

      Oh, and don’t forget that it’s all for nothing anyway, as there apparently still won’t be a referendum. 

    17. Jeannie says:

      The way things are going, I think there’s a strong case for revising your poll from Madman of the Year to Madman of the Day.

    18. MajorBloodnok says:

      After reading Ian Smart’s musings I’m worried now that I’ll end up as unemployed cannibal if I vote Yes.

    19. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      Hilariously, our old pal Dunc Hothersall is describing Smart’s column as “telling it how it is”.

    20. Dal Riata says:

      When these guys put this stuff online are they doing it to be deliberately offensive, outrageous, etc. so as to provoke  reactions from supporters of Scottish independence? What else can it be for? They don’t actually believe that guff they come out with, do they …Do they? … They do? ….

      “Delusional disorder is an illness in which a person cannot tell what is real from what is imagined. The main feature of this disorder is the presence of delusions, which are unshakeable beliefs in things which are untrue. A person with a delusion will hold firmly to the belief regardless of evidence to the contrary. A person with a delusion is absolutely convinced that the delusion is real.”

      Pity them?..Yes, because …

      … “To show pity is felt as a sign of contempt because one has clearly ceased to be an object of fear as soon as one is pitied.” (Friedrich Nietzsche)

    21. Peter A Bell says:

      Having now read Ian Smart’s latest demented offering, I fear I must concede. He’s got Poor Old Cockers well and truly beaten. And even manages to make Kelly look almost rational.

    22. John Lyons says:

      How easy does this guy think it is to toss aside democracy?

      Well, given that over 50% of people in power are not elected (Either peers or list seats!) I’d argue we don’t have democracy anyway, but isn’t it more likely David Cameron and Ed Milliband will merge their two right wing parties and tell the Limp Dems were to go creating a British Dictatorship than it is that a vote for independence will create a Scottish one? Surely those in Westminster could do it much more easily than a party that has only just started as a majority Government 12 months or so ago?

    23. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “When these guys put this stuff online are they doing it to be deliberately offensive, outrageous, etc. so as to provoke  reactions from supporters of Scottish independence?”

      As I said, it’s mainly a time-wasting tactic. There’s an easy way to tell if a blogger is interested in genuine debate or not: do they answer below the line? If not, they’ve got no interest in discussion, and their motives can therefore be legitimately questioned.

    24. Dal Riata says:


      Good assessment re motives.

      Ah,  … but they do give the MSM ‘sources’ to quote as they continue to misinform and lie in their daily dirty tricks propaganda campaign against Scotland’s right to self-determination!

    25. YesYesYes says:

      It may be that Scottish Labour is launching a charm offensive to try to persuade us that the Tories aren’t that bad, really. If this is the case, then it means that Scottish Labour, in spite of its protestations to the contrary, really has been stung by the criticisms of its recent public association with the Tories. If this is their reaction a few weeks after that event – BetterTogether’s campaign ‘blitz’ – they’d be sensible to conclude that this is a war they can’t win, given that they’ve got another two years of defending themselves against the accusation that they’re bending over for their Tory pimps.
      We can now better understand why Scottish Labour, in particular, was so desperate for an early referendum. Here, the Tories and the Lib Dems are probably being more honest in their support for an early vote. The Tories are already the pimps of the Lib Dems, so the Lib Dems have nothing more to lose by being closely associated with the Tories in the No campaign. So the Lib Dems, like the Tories wanted an early referendum because, in their eyes, they genuinely don’t want the remote northern outpost of Scotlandshire to cause any unnecessary distraction to the recovery of UK plc.
      Scottish Labour, on the other hand, has a great deal to lose by being closely associated with the Tories for any length of time. So, rather than spend two years defensively balancing on the tightrope of being simultaneously pro-Tory/anti-Tory – this just isn’t tenable as it’s a political space where Humpty Dumpty meets Harry Houdini –  much better to fly the kite that perhaps we’ve all been a little too harsh on the Tories. Throw in an apocalyptic vision of an independent Scotland, with as much graphic detail as readers can bear, and voila, a No vote is in the bag.
      But, with respect to these blogs and associated rants, I think Stuart, in his closing comment here, has reminded us of something that was apparent during Ian Davidson’s infamous appearance on Newsnicht a few weeks ago. These are not the words and actions of people who are confident of a No vote in 2014. They’re in a hole and they know it. Let’s see where their digging leads us in two years time, with a little help from us.       

    26. ronald alexander mcdonald says:

      Now I’ve seen the error of my ways. Independence will lead to mass unemployment. Still get welfare benefits from the tories. Better vote No.

      Wat a minute! Could this possibly be  to do with the fact that Labour voted against Welfare being devolved to the Scottish Parliament. As a consequence, they failed to protect the poorest and most vaunerable members of society by refusing to stop the Tory Welfare cuts that are coming?


    27. cirsium says:

      thanks for highlighting Ian Smart’s article.  The adjective which comes to mind is bad, not mad.  

    28. Peter A Bell says:

      “…Scottish Labour, in spite of its protestations to the contrary, really has been stung by the criticisms of its recent public association with the Tories.”
      Interesting thought. “Scottish” Labour cannot possibly pretend they are not in bed with the Tories – Jim Murphy even boasts of the fact – so they have to maintain that the Tories aren’t such bad bedmates. Not sure that’s going to delight those of their voters who actually think for themselves.

    29. CW says:

      Just as an aside, why does Smart fell the need to have a go at Gaelic and Ireland too? He may think he’s being funny, but by doing this he implicitly endorses the most traditional sources of Unionist xenophobia. Not surprisingly, this is pretty common in a country where people are so clueless about themselves that most will happily dismiss Scots as “slang”, and can’t even pronounce the word Gaelic correctly, never mind make pronouncements on the language itself (although that doesn’t usually stop them). Nobody is suggesting enormous nationwide project of de-Anglicisation like the Republic embarked upon. But let’s not pretend that not speaking English is some kind of economic hindrance either. It doesn’t seem to cause many problems for the Scandinavians. This is the same sort of ridiculous impulse which leads to arguments against teaching any of our own history and literature in our classrooms.

    30. YesYesYes says:

      “Just as an aside, why does Smart feel the need to have a go at Gaelic and Ireland too”?
      We can only conclude that when you’re in a coalition with the Tories, the Orange Order and the Wee Frees, among others, it must be difficult to resist the temptation to demonstrate your solidarity with your new chums. 

    31. Kenny Campbell says:

      Maybe for Labour its just that the SNP has challenged the hegemony in Scotland and that now makes them more of the ‘real‘ enemy than the Tories, who in effect are not really the enemy in Scotland with regards to Westminster votes.
        Regardless of the cheery faces guys like Murphy must be feeling pretty bad having to supp with the devil , I at least hope so.

    32. Osken says:

      Will JO Swinson take over as Secretary of State for Scotland? Any clues?

    33. douglas clark says:

      Quite a weird post by Tom Harris. Essentially, politics is just a game called Buggins Turn. Kind of astonished my post got through moderation. 

    34. Peter A Bell says:

      I’m not sure why the matter might be of interest to anyone other than Jo Swinson and Michael Moore.

    35. Siôn Eurfyl Jones says:

      David Cameron kills 32 disabled people deemed fit for work  a week (true).  But Smart and Harris, it seems, prefer to be complicit in that as long as Scotland remains tied to the UK.  Strange logic for people who call themselves socialists. 

    36. James Morton says:

      Meanwhile we all just watch them dig deeper and deeper, plumbing the depths of negativity and the smell of panic wafting upwards. One party state indeed…jesus christ what a bunch of morons. You don’t need a tory party or a labour party or indeed a nationalist party. They’re just names wrapped around an ideology. You need a party that represents it’s country and is willing to fight it’s corner…the popular one…wins.
      The right won’t be locked out anymore than the left. Besides the lines between left and right have blurred to quite a degree with these old parties, making it difficult to know what exactly it was you were voting for. At least with the SNP you knew they weren’t just a side show to a westminster party. They want us to be masters of our own house. I think it that is right and proper.
      nature abhors a vacuum, the old politics will die out – and something new will emerge. Although I still believe this is still a phony campaign for most, I get do get a sense of panic from the unionist camp. They lost Scotland in 2007 & 2011, and they have been acting as petulant spoiled brats ever since. Their sense of entitlement to a scottish vote would make a tory blush.
      I sometimes wonder if it was like this for the old one-nation tories back in the 19th century or the liberal party as their domination of scottish politics became an historical foot note. The poor old tories keep talking about the time they had 50% of the scottish vote once, but ignore the time they had nearly 70% back in the 30’s – ah but then again they also forget they weren’t tories back then either. It’d be interesting to read something about that – any clues anyone?
      The SNP sill remember the kicking they got back in 79 – it’s taken them this long to come off the nations naughty step…oh we Scots know how to nurse a grudge – which is partly explains Slabs attitude. So Slab sneers and snipes, while their precious status quo is unravelling according to Plan A. Some tories want to embrace unpopular policies because they think it makes look principled. Wee wullie rennie shouts a lot….yup thats it. The greens appear to be the only ones to have cottoned on that things have changed.
      I would like to finish by adding, that is rather pointless arguing with these people – they are stuck on the wrong side of history waving the wrong flag – and seem quite happy to be there.

    37. douglas clark says:

      James Morton @ 5:37pm,
      I share your view that the unionists are worried. These folk are professionals and they are acting like children. Perhaps one straw in the wind was the complete lack of interest in their Better Together weekend, which appears to have stopped just after the pubs opened. Convenient if you wanted to drown your sorrows, but not so good if you were trying to convince shoppers, etc. The photographs that Rev Stu provided us with here seemed to me at least to indicate that there weren’t a lot of activists involved, but there were a lot of people who earn a living out of politics. I am not at all sure that this is as much of an issue for the rank and file in the unionist parties as it is for their paid leaderships. Just saying…..

    38. Iain says:

      Kenny Campbell says:
      September 3, 2012 at 5:10 pm
      ‘Regardless of the cheery faces guys like Murphy must be feeling pretty bad having to supp with the devil’

      I wouldn’t imagine Murphy would have experienced a sleepless minute over it, unless to wonder if it may have any effect on his career. His working class and Irish backround, Socialism, Scotland, his constituency, all are secondary to the irresistible rise of the Smurf. For anyone who’s read Anthony Powell’s ‘Dance to the Music of Time’ books, he is Widmerpool.

    39. Adrian B says:

      As Labour seemingly being damaged by their association with the Tories has been   mentioned several times by people commenting on this article I thought that I should share this From National Collectives Facebook page. 


    40. Silverytay says:

      As the song goes
      B B B B B B B Baby you aint seen nothing yet .
      The closer we get to the referendum , the more hysterical the likes of harris and smart are going  to become .
      Their blog,s are now so O.T.T that only the most die hard unionists are going to take any notice of their hysterical ranting,s .
      As they can not produce a positive case for the union , they are reduced to spreading the usual lies , smears and scare stories .
      I would love to see these people go into one of the old mining villages or meet with some of the steelworkers and explain to them why thatcher and the tory,s were good for Scotland .
      Now that they have finally came off the fence and admitted that they would prefer tory rule from westminster instead of self rule for Scotland it destroys the lie that the S.N.P are nothing more than tartan tory,s .
      Vote tory get blue tory
      vote labour get red tory
      vote yes in 2014 and get rid of them . 

    41. Cath says:

      “it seems that the main NO campaign tactic is to paint Alex Salmond as an actual dictator.”
      If that’s all they’ve got, they could be screwed in the last couple of weeks of the campaign if he resigns.

    42. Angus McLellan says:

      So, I am wondering what Margaret Curran’s chances are of replacing Michael Moore in this reshuffle thingy. Better Together after all.

    43. MajorBloodnok says:

      I was thinking Ian Davidson; he has such a way with the ladies.

    44. Arbroath 1320 says:

      Hark what is that I hear rumbling down the road?
      Why it’s the Wickes truck.
      Hello Mr Wickes driver what are you doing here?
      Hello friendly SDcottish person, I’m looking for the great excavation.
      The great excavation?
      Why yes,I have an order of shovels for some one called Lamont, or Millband.
      Oh THAT excavation. Och thats easy, just follow the road and you can’t miss it. It is a MASSIVE hole in the ground surrounded  by the odd person singing the “Red Flag!” holding placards saying “We are the RED Tories. We are the BLUE Tories. We are the Yellow Tories”

    45. Jeannie says:

      I wonder if it’s occurred to any of these people that in pursuing their own self-interest in such a negative way, they are gradually destroying trust and faith in the political process. 
      Because of the sheer nastiness of the unionist campaign and the constant insults to my intelligence, as demonstrated so ably by Messrs Smart and Harris, I cannot ever envisage voting for any of those parties under any circumstances in the future, whether for Holyrood or Westminster, whether we achieve independence or not.  I just could not vote for parties which have lied and cheated their way to the ballot box.
      Mr. Harris’s current behaviour may be designed to preserve his MP status in the short-term, but his disdain for the intelligence level of the electorate could be sowing the seeds of destruction for his longer-term prospects and those of his party as voters increasingly become disenchanted and cease to engage.

    46. An Duine Gruamach says:

      Of course the Tories will be able to win elections – just as soon as they persuade more of the Scottish electorate to vote for them than any other party does.  They haven’t managed this since before Harris was born.

    47. Bill C says:

      I voted for Kelly, can I please have my vote back?

    48. Cameron says:

      @ MajorBloodnok

      Nice one.

    49. Silverytay says:

      I see that ruth davidson backs both moore and mundell as she thinks they are doing a good job .
      According to ruth , her boss has not consulted her on any changes and she has not made any recommendations .
      I wonder why her boss would not consult with her ? 

    50. cynicalHighlander says:

      Scooped by Peter A Bell
      A very dellusional lady.

    51. MajorBloodnok says:

      Anyone who reads Dostoyevsky in the Russian and finds inspiration in the works of Walter Scott is clearly delusional (and pretentious).  I wonder if Harris and Smart are big fans of the ‘great unread’?

    52. DonUnder says:

      And look what came up as a Captcha code when I submitted my comment on Ian Smarts piece of nonsense
      Either serendipity or somebody somwhere has a fantastic sense of humour 🙂

    53. Iain says:

      Open Unionism? A stonking, big oxymoron if there ever was one!

    54. Caadfael says:

      Efie Deans?
      She’s the Eleanor Rigby of facebook! Nattering away to herself a dozen times a day and coming out with the same old threadbare platitudes time after time.
      One sad lonely wee lass.

    55. Arbroath 1320 says:

      Boy she DOES like her contingent agreements! 😆
      Don’t worry though floks, we are going to get a referendum on E.U. membership. The dear lady says it WILL happen! Oh and the moon is made of cheese! 😆

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