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The false starters

Posted on June 16, 2018 by

Although this site is blacklisted by the press regulator IPSO and therefore unable to file complaints about inaccurate and misleading newspaper articles, our alert readers sometimes pick up the baton from Wings articles and do the job themselves.

We reported one such example a week ago.

But the reader who took up that complaint has furnished us with a bit of interesting background to the story, and also news of a rather more alarming outcome.

Because the Mail’s eventual concession and correction that the front-page lead about potholes was nonsense wasn’t forced on it by the regulator, but by the Mail simply deciding to admit it had been wrong.

IPSO had, in fact, bizarrely rejected the matter out of hand.

Our source had had to file an appeal against that decision, whereupon five weeks later the regulator grudgingly accepted the appeal and reopened the case, at which point the Mail – magnanimously, in the circumstances – admitted their error without IPSO making any adjudication.

But it didn’t go so well for our source in another complaint a little while later.

In May we reported a ridiculous article in the Scottish Sunday Express claiming that a “HUGE loophole” enabled people to circumvent minimum pricing for alcohol.

We found that the prices quoted in the story were fantasies, only available to £80-a-year Amazon Prime subscribers – something which wasn’t mentioned at any point in the piece – and that even then you’d have to drink three times the recommended maximum for an adult to save any money, and that even then you’d only save pennies.

But once again, IPSO weren’t impressed.

And their reasoning was startling.

IPSO claimed that, in an article solely about the price people were being charged for something, how much they had to actually pay was an irrelevance. The cost of Prime membership was totally discounted, because some people might have it already and therefore it was effectively free. (Even though, remember, the Express had made no mention of needing Prime at all.)

And the logic of that, if you apply it to anything else, is remarkable. We’re planning a piece tomorrow, for example, in which we’ll be boasting that we can definitely beat Usain Bolt in a 100-metre foot race (neglecting to include the words “so long as you let us start 15 seconds before him”).

We’ll be headlining our shock revelations that it’s possible for even small children to scale Mount Everest in less than five minutes (information not supplied: so long as they’re delivered by helicopter to a camp 20 feet below the summit first).

And we’ll be drawing in vast numbers of readers with a huge banner front-page splash promising to explain “HOW EVERYONE CAN GET A BRAND-NEW LAMBORGHINI CENTENARIO FOR JUST £5”.

It’s just that we probably won’t have room to include the line “assuming that they’ve each already got a spare $1,899,995 in their pockets.

And we’re sure IPSO won’t mind, because this time our diligent reader’s appeal failed, and that was the end of the matter.

That, readers, is what the staff of the Herald would have you believe is “one of the most heavily regulated” medias in the world.

We wonder what you can get away with in the less regulated ones.

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543 to “The false starters”

  1. Archbishop of Dork says:

    Corbyn is struggling these days and the confidence is waning. He’s now taken to wearing his tie in the conventional way instead of his previous habit of deliberately putting the knot off centre.

    In the words of the great Gerry Rafferty ‘you used to think that it was so easy, used to say that it was so easy, but you’re trying you’re trying now’.

  2. Ken500 says:

    Aberdeen City. There is also a statue to Robert Bruce outside the notorious palatial council offices Nothing but the best, extravagance. Now £Billions in debt for gross mismanagement.

    Labour+ unionist colluding to keep good SNP governance out of office. A disgraceful situation of ignorance and intolerance. The only time the City was well round and the budget balance was at the time of the SNP coalition. A show of good balance and support of essential service and harmony. A contented balanced, caring community. Looking out for one another.

    Robert Bruce left a legacy fund to the City still in place today benefiting the City, if it is administated properly. Debatable.

    Lands in Northamptonshire?, Stirlingshire and Aberdeenshire at the time. Bruce’s vast land estate. Legacy to the City.

    However at the time of the question of appontment of leader in Scotland. Upon the death of Alexander the 111 and Maid of Norway. The Bruce suggested carving up the lands of Scotland and division into three for legacy. To solve the inheritance crisis. Not undertaken.

    Edward 1 – Hammer of the Scots. After many troubles and turmoil adventures. Vast Constitutional problems. Edward 1 defeated. Set homeward to think again, subsequently defeated. Finally died in ill health at Alnwick on another murderous campaign. Warlike warrior of a lifetime of campaigns, crusades and conquest. Subsequently lost vast lands. estate and territory in Normandy, France. Illegal wars which had to be funded.

    The people of Scotland revolted under this unreasonable and unnecessary burden on the society, causing hardship. Totally outnumbered. Rates levelled and ‘raggy rolls’. Poll tax. William Wallace. History repeats and mirrors life. (Tommy Sheridan) A working class hero.

    Normandy. Britain Invade by the Normans. The over publicised date. 1066. Previous to events.

    Wars in Europe. 1WW – 11WW which could have been prevented with universal Suffrage and an EU community united and determined.. EU founded to prevent wars iand starvation in Europe has worked out very well. Bringing in its wake more well being, equality and cohesion which make people happier, Not deviant and anxious. Pity about the Westminster unionist position of self harm for the population,

  3. mike cassidy says:

    1)I found these two footnote references to John Steill.

    [John Steill], Scottish independence: letter on the necessity of dissolving the union between England and Scotland, and on restoring Scotland to her ancient supremacy as an entire and distinct nation (Edinburgh, 1844

    John Steill, Scotland and her union with England (Edinburgh, 1854

    2)Thanks to google book search,I found this quote from the Letter in

    “Happy Endings In Hollywood Cinema” James Macdowell Edinburgh University Press 2013

    The context is the proposal to build a monument to William Wallace.

    “The mid nineteenth century nationalist John Steill denounced the inclusion of the nobility in the planned tribute.’The ancestors of these men were the bitterest foes Wallace had to contend against…No, it is the peasantry, mechanics, and the middle classes of Scotland who ought to take this matter in to their own hands. They alone fought under Wallace’s banner. It is for them he laid down his life.’ “

  4. Petra says:

    @ ronnie anderson says at 11:19 am

    Go to 34min 28 sec will will freeze frame at 43 min 22 sec move it on 10sec it should start again. Worth watching.


    Thanks for that Ronnie. Worth watching right enough. In fact it’s a ”MUST WATCH”, imo, for us all.

  5. stewartb says:

    On John Steill:

    From the book: ‘ANGUS and FORFARSHIRE: THE LAND AND PEOPLE, DESCRIPTIVE AND HISTORICAL, BY ALEX. J. WARDEN, F.S.A. Scot. published in five volumes in 1880.

    This from Volume 5:

    “The lands of Baldowrie were owned by a family named Steill before the
    Geekies acquired them. John Steel of Baldowrie had a monument in the
    graveyard of Kettins. This tombstone was removed a number of years ago
    by his son, also John Steill, to the Howff of Dundee. He had been engaged
    in literary work, and died in Edinburgh in 1871, leaving about £4000, subject
    to the liferent of a female who died in 1877, for the erection of a bronze statue
    at Aberdeen to the memory of Sir William Wallace. We are informed that
    John Steill had no special interest in Aberdeen, and that he left several poor
    relations unprovided for. It would have been more natural to have left his
    means to his needy relatives than for a memorial of Walllace, who needs none,
    there being a memorial to Wallace in the heart of every true Scotsman.”



  6. Socrates MacSporran says:

    Being an experienced sub-editor, I copied the Stiell letter, then set about putting in paragraph breaks, it then reads a lot better.

    I am sorely-tempted to do a re-write, replacing some of the now obsolete words with more-modern alternatives, and maybe doing a bit of judicious cutting; at 3972 words, it would never get published these days.

    That said, I reckon there is a case for the National working on it and printing it as a “long read.” It still resonates.

  7. Meg merrilees says:

    ronnie anderson @ 11.19

    Fascinating link, thank you.

    If WM says the Scottish Parliament is pretendy, it only exists because WM passed an Act of Parliament and so that limits its powers, can we not argue back that that decision is not based on Scots Law. By the standards of Scots Law, the people of Scotland are sovereign and we have elected our representatives, thereby bestowing legitimacy, our sovereignty, on them?

    Fascinating to hear how Lord Keen’s weasel words are being unpicked and washed in public.

    Presumably this is the argument he will use in the Supreme Court in July when the Continuity bill will be challenged by WM.

    ronnie anderson says:
    19 June, 2018 at 11:19 am

    Go to 34min 28 sec will will freeze frame at 43 min 22 sec move it on 10sec it should start again.

    Worth watching .

  8. HandandShrimp says:

    It is a recurring theme fro the Scotland in Union loons that Scottish Nationalism is not real that is simply a hatred of the English. It is defined not by what people aspire Scotland to be but merely an atavistic hatred from a time gone past.

    The difficulty with this argument is that there is a singular lack of such posts. So much so that every now and then we get some McGlashan on here foaming at the mouth in a barely credible way. A more cynical person than me would think that such posters are in fact Daily Heil reporters desperate to ferment discord and hopefully spark off some temperament rants. The ill considered jibes when this fails is a sight to behold.

    On people like Steill, Keir Hardie and others from the 19th century they do articulate beautifully a vision for a better future for the working class and improvements to democracy but social attitudes to marginalised groups, be that women, Irish immigrants, gays or whatever will struggle to pass muster by the light of modern thinking. Does that negate everything they said if you listen to some you would think so? However, in my view that would be a foolish position to take. Follow that course and no one is worth listening and anything we say today will undoubtedly be critiqued in the light of the mores of the future. If worthless tomorrow why bother saying anything today?Read what people said in the past without deifying them. They will have something worth listening to and opinions on other issues that we would disagree with. Use that of value and discard the rest.

  9. call me dave says:

    Petra says:
    19 June, 2018 at 12:11 pm
    @ ronnie anderson says at 11:19 am

    That’s pretty scary stuff indeed.

    Thanks for the link.

  10. Proud Cybernat says:

    BREAKING: The petrochemical giant Ineos has lost its legal challenge to overturn the Scottish Government’s ban on fracking.

  11. Robert Peffers says:


    Here is some contact details for anyone, (not just Colin Alexander), who wants to complain about the SNP as a Party or about any specific MSP of any political party at Holyrood or indeed to compliment them for their performance.

    Here is the details to contact the SNP as a party:-

    Scottish National Party
    Gordon Lamb House
    3 Jackson’s Entry
    EH8 8PJ
    Tel 0800 633 5432

    Here is how to contact any specific MSP from any Political Party at Holyrood:-

    From that webpage above you can find the details to make a complaint or complement the MSP directly or even seek their help or advice.

    By using these forms of communication you avoid posting derogatory comments on open forums that obviously harm the party or MSP concerned. It has the big advantage that your complaint or compliment goes to the person or party that you are directing it to.

    If it is a complaint you get to make it directly to the party or person that has upset you. If it is a complement it has the effect of boosting the party or person concerned.

    Just what harm posting derogatory comments on open forums is designed to do is quite obviously the prime objective that the commenter hopes to achieve.

    The point being that open forum complaints are meant to influence the readers and commenters on the forum and harm the movement towards independence. They are not meant to seek to improve the matter complained about but to lower the moral of the supporters of independence and they do harm the movement towards independence.

  12. Desimond says:

    Ken500 says:
    19 June, 2018 at 9:09 am

    No wonder such a lot of people get so fed up with football. The terraces are empty.

    to quote McYoda..”Pish, lot you there talk”

    Scottish football is up there with the highest watched per head of population. It IS the national game.

    As for the glorious Tennis you love, fair play to the middle and upper classes…great to see them not having to play with the commoners out there. Im sure Temperament is never an issue in tennis…no sirree bob..never an issue..nope, never.

  13. mike cassidy says:

    More on John Steill.

    From this book

    “Remembering The Past In Nineteenth Century Scotland” James Coleman 2014 Edinburgh University Press

    (nb I can’t copy/paste from google book search so must type in here the relevant part.)

    “..Steill looked upon the worship of Wallace as a focus not only for anti-Englishness but also as a Scottish alternative to the worship of ‘men of “English birth and English ideas”‘…. He bequeathed almost the whole of his estate to the construction of a statue to Wallace in Aberdeen”

    As the book makes clear, they took the money and commemorated a monument in June 1888 the exact opposite of Steill’s intentions.

  14. Macart says:

    @Ronnie Anderson

    Quite the link there Ron, but that is the why of independence in a nutshell. It’s also the why of power resting with the people, not the state. An unaccountable state and establishment with unchecked power… worth a thought people. If it scares you half as much as it scares me, then you know why this needs to change.

  15. galamcennalath says:

    HandandShrimp says:

    It is a recurring theme fro the Scotland in Union loons that Scottish Nationalism is not real that is simply a hatred of the English.

    Paradoxical as this sounds – perhaps that is no bad thing. If their only case for their Union is a clearly utter bullshit personal attack on Indy supporters, then we have nothing to fear from SiU. It makes them look foolish and out of touch. I’d be more concerned if they turned to economic scaremongering in the style of BetterTogether.

    I do wonder why they latch on to that odd approach – ‘English hatred’. It would be an appropriate tactic to try to spread anti Scottish feelings among more gullible English. Again, what would be gained from that?

    Odd folk, SiU. And may they remain so!

  16. Shinty says:

    Robert Louis “This has to stop. It really has. Not next year, not next month, but NOW”

    I’m with you Robert but we need to convince a few more over to YES
    – patience laddie. We lost the battle in 2014, but we did not lose the war.

  17. Proud Cybernat says:

    It is not so much that SiU members think Scots hate the English. The underlying problem with SiU members is that THEY hate THEMSELVES. We call it the ‘Scottish Cringe’ and SiU possess it in spades.

  18. BALDEAGLE says:

    way ot guys check this site out for inks for they printers that dont seem to work when leaflets need printing

    I just bought 60 inks for cannon pixma mp560 for £17 oops here’s the link

    (superstar-cartridges) just put in the name off the printer and away you go look for the special deals

  19. Fred says:

    Edward I was a monster & died at Burgh on Sands!

  20. call me dave says:


    Jings! Thanks for the linky to inky thing. 🙂

    3 sets for my epsom XP-205 £4.75 no postage to pay.

    Worth a shot.

  21. Liz g says:

    Macart @ 12.57 & Ronnie Anderson
    The UK Colum is a right wing conspiracy theory nut job site.
    Its the UK version of Alex Jones…
    Like all conspiracy sites they are interesting only for the (checkable) facts that they dig up in an attempt to prove their theories.
    But I wouldn’t pay too much attention to their claims,they are how the BBC would look if Farage was in charge and Lord Monkton (a particular hero of theirs) was PM…

  22. BALDEAGLE says:

    call me dave

    you are welcome did you not look for the special offers I clicked on one of the inks on offer and up popped 60 inks for £17 try and post it to as many people as you can as the last time I done this the prices dropped even further

  23. Tinto Chiel says:

    Re: John Steill and the National Association for the Vindication of Scottish Rights etc.

    Nana is taking a wee break from all her efforts just now but has asked me to post this for anyone who might be interested. It’s from “Scottish Nationality” by Murray Pittock, an excellent work:

  24. Robert J. Sutherland says:

    Meg merrilees @ 12:20:

    By the standards of Scots Law, the people of Scotland are sovereign and we have elected our representatives, thereby bestowing legitimacy, our sovereignty, on them?

    This is my view. If the “UK constitution” has any legal worth at all, it must recognise that Scottish constitutional principles apply within Scotland at least if not elsewhere.

    The re-convening of the Scottish Parliament, however it came about, automatically re-embodied Holyrood as the locus of the sovereignty of the people, in place of Westminster.

    It’s only now that London (Tories and their Labour willing collaborators) are beginning to realise that, but it’s too late to shut the stable door now. That particular horse has bolted.

  25. Fred says:

    @ Tinto, Murray Pittock has contributed to some new research on the military occupation of Scotland post the ’45, garrison’s etc!

    Can’t find anything online, whit dye ken?

  26. Tinto Chiel says:

    I think, Fred, most of it’s only available in print, eg Culloden, Jacobitism, The Myth of the Jacobite Clans, etc.

    Prepare your wallet for a shock……


  27. Colin Alexander says:

    “The re-convening of the Scottish Parliament, however it came about, automatically re-embodied Holyrood as the locus of the sovereignty of the people, in place of Westminster”.

    How I wish that that were true. It could be made true if the sovereign people gave their democratic mandate to make it thus. But, first they’d need to be asked.

    Westminster domination would be dead. The Union, as it has operated till now, would be dead.

    That was the question that should have been asked in 2014 and should be asked next time. Instead of asking about theoretical independence.

    It’s a pity the obsession is the play-it-safe, failed “Indyref” policy.

  28. Thepnr says:


    It seems that there are a lot more than just SiU that would love to portray support for Independence as solely an anti-English phenomena.

    Well else would Sarah Smith be asking questions of the delegates attending the SNP conference whether they would be supporting England at the world cup. Why was Scott Brown of Celtic asked the same question last night.

    Not just him or the delegates but in the last week or so there have been pools published that have asked the same question. It’s quite pathetic really that failure to find a high proportion of anti Englishness amongst Scots they continue to push that agenda.

    The people attempting to push that same narrative here are failing badly. Wings readers recognise bullshit when they see it unlike maybe Scotsman or Herald stalwarts who might fawn over every letter published in their rags by one of the SiU green ink brigade,

    Whenever I see a post of that type I immediately thing “Green Ink” and that makes me laugh. Green ink is poison and that’s what they hope to spread as they are already infected. It works in places and you just need to look at the comments in aforementioned newspapers to see that this is true.

    The immune system of Wings is far stronger and when a green ink microbe invades the system it is repulsed by the bodies natural defences.

    Unlikely the attacks will ever stop but the defence is strong.

  29. Tinto Chiel says:

    Fred, I think the new research is on the post-’46 occupation and I think Stu McHardy said the forthcoming book will actually be called The Occupation. Misread what you said, sorry.

  30. Tinto Chiel says:

    Queen of Links sent me this, Fred. Don’t think she’ll mind…

  31. Fred says:

    @ Tinto the very thing I was after, will check the Ben Oovi entry, moran taing kid!

    Was hoping to go to Stirling but away north, hope all goes well. Good to realise that the dud green-ink microbes just get shat oot!

  32. Tinto Chiel says:

    Glad I could help, Fred: Nana on the ball as per.

    I hear the each-uisge in Loch Oovi can be a bit restless (and hungry) in June.

    Attention, mon brave.

    Don’t have nightmares.

  33. Fred says:

    @ Tinto, anent this Stennis Historical Society site, a brilliant YouTube talk by a Stuart McHardy which deserves a wider audience. Much of interest herein!

    Thanks to Nana & yersel. Loch Oovi well doon so don’t expect an unexpected visitor. Did U ever hear of Willox the Warlock, a MacGregor who worked his charms with a the bit off an Each Uisge’s bridle. Strathspey late 18th cent.

    Will deffo be at the Edinburgh demo in October!

  34. Sarah says:

    @Bald eagle and call me dave. Can you only buy superstar cartridges from eBay? I can’t find a site for the business itself nor anything other than ebay entries. I don’t use ebay because of some scare stories.

  35. Thepnr says:


    You needn’t worry too much about ebat in my opinion. If you pay through Paypal which is now the same company you will be protected against fraud.

    In other words you will get your money back if a seller tries to rip you off.

    In saying that I’m not referring to the ink that was mentioned here which does sound a bit too good to be true. So if you do chose to buy read the terms and conditions just to be sure. In particular the terms of the seller of any item.

    I’ve bought loads from ebay over the years without issue other than one seller cancelling my order when I guess he got a better offer elsewhere. Negative feedback from me though wouldn’t have helped his prospects of future sales.

    In summary in my view ebay is a good place to pick up something you want at a fair price but as always do your homework such as reading the sellers reviews etc.

  36. Sarah says:

    @Thepnr 10.23: Many thanks for your advice – it is very kind of you to go to the trouble.

    PS didn’t someone say recently that you are a troll? Well, I never noticed in the years that I’ve been reading your posts!!

  37. Ghillie says:

    Thepnr @5.42 pm Aye, well said =)

  38. Thepnr says:


    I’ve only been called a troll once but not under the username Thepnr, it was under my real name of Alex Clark. It was another regular poster on Wings who said that and obviously she didn’t know AC was also me.

    That’s when I changed back to Thepnr to avoid confusion, if you’ve read for years then you’ll know I can be outspoken 🙂

  39. Reluctant Nationalist says:

    Nobody is pushing the ‘narrative’ that Independence is SOLELY about anti-englishness, and it doesn’t matter one bit if they attempt to, because it’s patently false. The bone-headed idea that disliking the glish is mutually exclusive to a broader, deeper concept of independence is fucking tedious, and unsurprisingly expressed by the most tedious individuals.

    However, there is definitely something afoot here, as the sentence/paragraph structure of posts by certain commenters expressing anti-englishness are very, very similar. This particular comment section is a goldmine for spotting this. Never really noticed anything like it before.

  40. Sarah says:

    @Thepnr: LOL!!

  41. BALDEAGLE says:

    sarah as thepnr says pay with paypal and you will be protected I couldnt take it in about this offer either but thought why not give it a try

    first I bought one load to see if it’s a ripoff but had no problems then I ordered the mother load and hello they arrived

    im sure there is a link to the company that you can chat with about you’r worries I will have a look for you

    you put you’r order in and it’s a english company that sends the order out again I will try and find the delivery notes and try and get the company name for you sarah here you go found it give them a call about any worries

    Business seller information
    Rapid Resolutions Ltd
    MU9 Newmarket Hall
    LN11 9PY
    United Kingdom
    Complete information
    Company registration number: 3819202
    VAT number:
    GB 874215028
    I provide invoices with VAT separately displayed.

    you will have to look them up in the phone book post back and let me know how you get on please

  42. BALDEAGLE says:

    sarah why not be bold if you speak to the company deal with them instead

    give them the name of you’r printer mine is cannon pixma mp560 and be cheeky and ask for the cheepest price with the most for you’r money i learnt from a pro well i wont say shes a pro more like how can i say this ONE TIGHT BITCH THAT HAS STILL GOT POUNDS PENNIES AND SHILLINGS IN HER PURSE have to stop now given myself a sore head and will have to stop praising my other half shes tighter than a camels arse in a sand storm

    again let me know how you get on please

  43. BALDEAGLE says:


    go onto ihe ebay page put in the priter name and number if there is one dont forget to put in cheap printer inks

    scroll down to the one that you want click as if you are going to buy do not buy scroll down to the bottom of the page until you get to the company that sends them out and deal with them direct or better still if you can find the phone number give them a call and tell them you’re worries AND DONT FORGET GET THE BEST DEAL FROM THEM TELL THEM YOU WILL BE A RETURNING CUTOMER good luck hope this helps

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