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The grave of journalism

Posted on August 21, 2012 by

We were frankly staggered today to see that the Herald is still determined to flog the dead and rotting horse that is the Martin Sime “scandal”. It had seemed that the paper had slunk away with its “exclusive” between its legs after the widespread contempt generated by the first story, but incredibly it seems doggedly insistent on destroying the remaining shreds of its journalistic integrity by digging the hole even deeper.

The original piece was written by the Herald’s new political editor Magnus Gardham, until recently a faithful servant of the staunchly Unionist and staunchly Labour-supporting Daily Record. Entitled “Salmond in secret push to obtain a devo max option”, the story didn’t present a scrap of evidence of Salmond doing anything, secretly or otherwise. In fact, it was fabricated almost entirely from empirical lies, from the headline down. Let’s take a look at some of them.

“FIRST Minister Alex Salmond is promoting a ‘more powers’ referendum option in a secret operation to ensure a second question appears on the ballot paper, The Herald can reveal.”

LIE. The only thing the story reveals is that Alex Bell, a man employed as an adviser to the FM, sent an apparently-unsolicited email to Martin Sime of the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, alerting him to a poll showing that members of the trade union Unite supported a second question in the independence referendum. Nothing in the story subsequently demonstrates any personal participation in, knowledge of or approval of Mr Bell’s actions by Alex Salmond.

The next paragraph says that “Mr Salmond’s office” was responsible for the email, immediately casting the dishonest headline in a more accurate light. But we can’t even be sure that that’s true, because the Herald doesn’t disclose where the email actually came from. Was it sent from an official address, or by Mr Bell personally in his own time from his own email account? We’re not told.

“Evidence of the First Minister’s active involvement in moves for second question last night angered political opponents and will dismay many within the SNP, who favour a straightforward Yes/No vote on leaving the UK.”

LIE. Having briefly skirted around the outlying edges of the truth, the story lapses straight back into defamatory falsehoods. There is no “evidence” whatsoever of “the First Minister’s active involvement”. There is evidence that someone working for him sent an email to someone else. There is not a shred of evidence to support the assertion that the First Minister himself had any knowledge of Mr Bell’s actions, let alone active involvement.

“However, an email obtained by The Herald shows the First Minister has been working behind the scenes to generate such support. The message was sent from Mr Salmond’s special adviser Alex Bell to Martin Sime, chief executive of the Scottish Council for Voluntary Services (SCVO) and a leading proponent of a two-question poll. “

LIE. Again, you can’t say “the First Minister has been” doing something just because someone who works for him did. By that logic, “the First Minister” has also been sleeping with Alex Bell’s wife, since Alex Bell has presumably been doing so.

“Details of the SNP Government’s clandestine assistance emerged as the row over a possible second questions threatens to explode this week.”

LIE. “The SNP Government” has done absolutely nothing, clandestine or otherwise. Alex Bell is not a member of the Scottish Government, and the story presents no evidence that any government minister had any involvement.

The rest of the story is smear, innuendo and quotes from Unionist politicians based on Gardham’s lies. While Willie Rennie at least had the basic presence of mind to attack “Alex Salmond’s henchmen” rather than the First Minister himself, Tory constitution spokesman David McLetchie lacked even that rudimentary animal intelligence, libellously proclaiming “this shows how Alex Salmond has been trying to manipulate matters”, when it plainly showed no such thing.

The SCVO responded angrily and witheringly to the completely baseless attack on its chief exec, but the Herald – recently downgraded to a “regional” newspaper by its owners in an attempt to disguise plummeting circulation figures – wasn’t prepared to let go. This morning’s paper carries another desperate smear against Martin Sime, this time penned by the paper’s “Scottish political editor” Tom Gordon.

(We’re not entirely sure why a struggling Scottish regional newspaper needs both a political editor and an explicitly Scottish one, but we’ll move on.)

Once again, even the headline of the story is a deliberate falsehood.

“£10,000 SNP grant paid for charity chief’s global trips”

LIE. The money referred to in the subsequent story is a grant made to SCVO by the Scottish Government, not the SNP. The SNP is an entirely separate organisation to the Scottish Government, with its own finances. Tom Gordon knows this full well, and knows that the SNP using government money for party-political ends would be a serious offence. Inexplicably, he goes ahead and tells the lie anyway, though the opening paragraph then makes a crude attempt to slightly muddy the untruth by using the term “the SNP Government” instead.

The piece goes on to reveal that the grant was awarded in 2008, a time when there was in fact no prospect of an independence referendum taking place at all, as the SNP had no majority in the Scottish Parliament and the Unionist parties were united in their intention to block any referendum bill. The relevance of it to the campaign for a devo-max question is therefore difficult to ascertain. But that barely even gives the article pause, as it then claims that “the revelation Mr Sime was the direct beneficiary of an SNP Government grant has raised fresh questions about his position”.

The word “beneficiary” isn’t a lie (well done, The Herald!), but its use is highly questionable. Mr Sime’s sabbatical wasn’t a jolly holiday undertaken for fun, but an unsalaried fact-finding trip he undertook on his own, and during which he published a blog and subsequently a number of reports and a public lecture. The journey started in New Jersey in the USA, travelling on to New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington before leaving the country for Ecuador, Canada, South Africa, Mozambique, Ireland, India, the Philippines, New Zealand and Australia, before returning to the US in Los Angeles and finally coming home.

While we have no access to Mr Sime’s records, we seriously doubt that travel and accommodation for a six-month trip covering destinations across six continents (let alone other expenses) would be covered by £10,000. We have to conclude, therefore, that Mr Sime would have contributed substantially to the trip out of his own pocket, while receiving no salary for months.

The SCVO has existed in its current form for 26 years, of which Martin Sime has been chief executive for 21 years. He served in that role for eight years under a Labour-led Scottish Government, and now for five years under an SNP one. Since the establishment of the Scottish Parliament, every administration has funded the SCVO with public money, totalling millions of pounds, to perform its work. It seems safe to assume that some of that money has been spent on travel for the organisation’s executives. We’re not sure why this trip is significantly different.

Sorry, now we’re doing it too – that last sentence is a LIE. We know perfectly well why this trip is different. It’s different because since employing Magnus Gardham to head its political coverage, the Herald has lurched dramatically towards the Union, and these palpably ludicrous smears are aimed directly at defaming and discrediting any body which opposes the Unionist line on the referendum.

Mr Sime has done absolutely nothing wrong. Alex Salmond has not been shown to have any connection with the actions of his adviser Alex Bell (who hasn’t either). But such trivial facts are of no interest to the Herald, a once-respectable newspaper which is now seemingly reduced to the role of publishing naked lies as propaganda. And make no mistake – these allegations, particularly the ones in the Magnus Gardham story, are not “spin” or “interpretation”, but simple, bare, factually-wrong lies.

You can’t say that Person A did something when Person B did it, just because the two are known to each other. You might as well say that the guards at Ian Brady’s secure mental hospital know where Keith Bennett’s body is buried, because Brady does and they’re often in the same room as him. We look forward to the Herald’s surely-imminent campaign to have them sacked for withholding the information from his poor dead mother. It’s just about the only way the paper could sink any lower.

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74 to “The grave of journalism”

  1. Rolf says:

    The Herald and Scotsman are being used to fight the No campaign’s battle. They will be used and then, when of no use, they will dumped – when the Yes campaign wins in 2014.
    It’s sad that all the good, hard-working writers and staff on these papers are being undermined by the propagandist agenda of a few bad men at the top.

  2. Juteman says:

    They know full well that AS himself would end up looking petty if he decided to sue.

  3. MajorBloodnok says:

    Surely plummeting circulation figures must provide a clue to these bastards as to where they might be going wrong?  And if sales are falling then surely so must revenues?  It would be interesting to know how much the Herald and other papers are ‘supported’ by interested parties (by which I include past and present governments), though ‘advertising’ fees and whatnot (might be an FoI opportunity?).  Anyway, I’m now looking forward to Alison Elliot’s next letter as the last one was smashing.

  4. Bugger (the Panda) says:

    Was Magnus Gardham not part of the Friday afternoon drinking (and snuff stuff) club which also included the former Leader of the Glasgow Labour Group, Stephen Purcell?

  5. UkFacepalm says:

    I see Tom Gordons twitter timeline on Sime/SCVO is now attracting all the well kent unionist bluebottles like Foulkes, Susan Dalgety etc
    Flies feasting on shite.

  6. Gaavster says:

    If ever there was a reason to report an ‘article’ to the PCC then surely this is it….

    Not a shred of truth or evidence to substantiate their smears

    Can they be brought to book over this, or can they pass it off as ‘opinion’? 

  7. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    A passing side note: a while ago I contacted the Herald with a tip for a story. They were interested and got back to me to ask if I wanted to write it up myself for the paper. I declined, as the fee they were offering was the exact same word-rate that I was paid as a novice videogames journo starting out in 1991. They told me that was what all freelancers got. It’s perhaps not surprising that they’re evidently having trouble attracting quality journalists.

  8. Cuphook says:

    The articles are a concatenation of lies and innuendo that deserve to be highlighted and ridiculed, not least to defend the reputation of Martin Sime.
    However, the more that the Unionists keep up this line of attack the more obvious their contempt for honest political dialogue becomes, and their hostility to Devo Max, their own preference, causes more people to question their integrity.
    The Unionists have indulged in this sort of political activity for several years and their electoral success has diminished accordingly. I’m happy for them to make the second question so toxic by association that the only choice is independence or dependence on the whims of discredited shysters.

  9. MajorBloodnok says:

    If the Herald is so interested in supposed ‘corruption’ then I look forward to all those investigative pieces on the various goings in Glasgow….

  10. James Morton says:

    I have made comments on other forums that I regard this as a growing phoney war, with the SNP keeping their powder dry until their consultation is over and Westminster has finally made its deal. So I expected that there would be a great deal of posturing & swagger from boths sides. Yet I was events unfold I am struck with the notion that what we are seeing from the Unionist side “is” their campaign. They’ve decided to strike early it seems, unable to hold anything back. They’re in the process, right now imho, of transforming themselves from the parties of “No to Independence” to the parties of no decency, no common sense, no new ideas, no conception of honesty or fairness, and no respect for the traditions that they profess to stand for. For example, listen to Brown wax lyrically about the Union, then listen or read what their future policies are. There is a huge gulf between what the claim the Union stands for and what they intend to do with.
    Unless they have a secret weapon stashed somewhere until the campaign begins in earnest, they’ll have found that the cupboard is empty. Thats the point I expect it to descend in something truly nasty, vile and idiotic.

  11. Scottish republic says:

    The Herald had a brief moment where its journalists were les Brit nat — no more apparently and under the Union flag underpants wearing Gardham, the Herald will now be the biggest Labourite voice there is.

  12. ronlad alexander mcdonald says:

    What a dire business model to persue. Clearly The Herald needs new customers to survive. I don’t think alienating potential new readers as well as some existing ones represents sound business practice.

    I stopped buying The Scotsman because of their lying political bias. I switched to The Herald. For a while they were marginally better. Now I’m voting with my feet again. Magnus-you’ve lost another reader. Just going to email to inform them. Not that they’ll give a toss!     

  13. Embradon says:

    “We’re not entirely sure why a struggling Scottish regional newspaper needs both a political editor and an explicitly Scottish one..”

    Then there is Rob Dinwoodie “Chief Scottish Political Correspondent”.
    They seem to me to be pretty heavily overstaffed for a small, self proclaimed regional newspaper.
    Maybe they could trade the three of them in for one individual with integrity.
    Dinwoodie is, today, trying to keep up the criticism of the SNP for having a democratic debate about NATO.
    Perhaps one of their large political desk might ask Ms Lamont what Labour-in-Scotland’s policy is regarding the replacement of the Trident system. Surely one of them could spare a few minutes to phone the Party Leader – but maybe she has not been told.

  14. ronald alexander mcdonald says:

    Points by James Morton. James I entirely agree with you. All they have is scaremongering. It’s going to get even uglier, fully supported by their MSM puppets.

    How that will play out in two years time I don’t know. Hopefully, the majority of Scots will see through it. Everyone has their breaking point. My fear is that too many people will be overcome by fear and vote No. Better the devil you know.    

  15. Doug Daniel says:

    Why does a SCOTTISH paper need a SCOTTISH Political Editor/Correspondent/Whatever? Do German papers call their political journalists “German Political Correspondent”? Do Irish newspapers call theirs “Irish Political Editor”? More to the point, do English regional newspapers feel the need to call theirs “English Political Editor”?

    If you’re in favour of independence, I would urge all readers to find their closest Better Together event this Saturday and, if you can, attend and force them to answer the tough questions they try to ignore. Don’t let them lie to people.

  16. sm753 says:

    Oh dear.
    As I’ve said elsewhere, nobody sends an email saying “READ THIS” unless it’s part of an ongoing, off-the-record conversation.
    And nobody in the office of “The Boss” sends out emails to senior recipients without “The Boss” knowing about it.
    “The Boss” should be subject to the same level of scrutiny as Liam Fox and Jeremy Hunt were over the actions of their advisors.
    Magnus is doing a good job, isn’t he? This is known as “mood music” and “playing the man not the ball”. Trustworthiness is Salmond’s weak spot; nail him on that and we’ve nailed the referendum too.

  17. Doug Daniel says:

    “Magnus is doing a good job, isn’t he? This is known as “mood music” and “playing the man not the ball”. Trustworthiness is Salmond’s weak spot; nail him on that and we’ve nailed the referendum too.”

    Ever thought it might be better to win the referendum on the merits of the union, rather than through character assassination? Or is this an implicit admission that the No campaign can only win through nefarious means?

    I think this is quite literally the only time I’ve ever seen someone saying “playing the man not the ball” in a non-critical sense. Everyone knows if you’ve resorted to that tactic, you’ve lost the argument.

  18. MajorBloodnok says:

    The Unionists can only win if they manage to smear everyone down to their level. It’s going to take them quite a while obviously, so they’ve started early.

  19. Jeannie says:

    Have I got this right?
    The e-mail from Mr. Bell to Mr. Sime was pointing out that the Unite trade union supports a second question.  The Labour Party is not in favour of a second question. Unite is the Labour Party’s largest donor. 
    I’m not sure what it is that I don’t get, but I certainly don’t get something!

  20. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “And nobody in the office of “The Boss” sends out emails to senior recipients without “The Boss” knowing about it.”

    Says you. Prove it, or don’t put it in the headline of a newspaper article.

  21. John Lyons says:

    I’m busy this weekend, which is a damn shame, but is there something wrong with this tool or have they really only organised 11 events?

  22. MajorBloodnok says:

    @ Jeannie
    Clearly Unite are actually SNP stooges (obvious really because they are openly in favour of Devo-Max), which means that if they fund Labour….then Labour, by the same irrefutable Unionist ‘logic’ worked through in the Herald article, are SNP stooges.  They ought to denounce themselves forthwith.

  23. Uilleam MacDiarmid says:

    If I were Martin Sime,  I would be demanding an apology for gross misrepresentation from the Herald and referring the whole thing to the Press Complaints Commission despite their insipid code of conduct. It is in everybody’s interest to raise the level of debate and Martin Sime would be doing a public service by taking action.

  24. pa_broon says:

    I send emails from work all the time and my boss hasn’t got a clue, and its just as well…

    You’re right about Magnus, he is doing a good job, but not for the cause he or you imagines.

  25. Scott Minto (Aka Sneekyboy) says:

    “Trustworthiness is Salmond’s weak spot; nail him on that and we’ve nailed the referendum too.”

    @Michael McKeown (sm753)

    So no aspirations for Scotland to achieve? Just a desire to “nail” salmond???

    Its exactly because of this type of BritNat attitude that Scotland needs out fo the Union.

    Still, why would you care about Scotlands future given you (apparently) live in the West Midlands?

  26. Jeannie says:

    Ah! So it’s the old bluff and double-bluff, then.  A cunning plan, indeed!  Yet so cleverly hidden in plain view with the phrase, “We’re all in it together”……..innit?

  27. Scott Minto (Aka Sneekyboy) says:

    “is there something wrong with this tool or have they really only organised 11 events?”

    35 official events according to the site

    4 in Edinburgh
    1 in Tranent (outside edinburgh)
    1 in Stirling
    1 in Dunfermline
    1 in Kircaldy
    1 in Inverness
    1 in Elgin
    1 in Peterhead
    1 in Aberdeen
    1 in Stonehaven
    1 in Banchory
    1 in Leven
    1 in Dundee
    1 in Perth
    1 in Oban
    1 in Airdrie
    6 in Glasgow
    1 in Clydebank
    1 in Paisley
    1 in Johnstone
    1 in Greenock
    1 in Kilmarnock
    1 in Troon
    1 in Prestwick
    1 in Ayr
    1 in Dumfries
    1 in Castle Douglas
    1 in Annan

    No events on Skye, Orkney or Shetland islands

  28. Jeannie says:

    Oops, previous post in reply to Major Bloodnok…otherwise makes no sense at all!  Apologies

  29. douglas clark says:

    Oh dear indeed, sm753,
    Who is this ‘we’ of which you speak?

  30. uilleam_beag says:

    @Scott Minto

    It’s even worse than that — nothing on the isles whatsoever, and nothing on the mainland north or west of Inverness. On the west coast, there’s nothing beyond Oban, effectively making anything the other side of the Great Glen terra incognita as far as the Unionists are concerned. That shows just how far we’ve progressed since 1746, I suppose!

  31. Andrew says:

    @Scott Minto
    That’s funny, they said they were having a “blitz” in every Westminster constiuency. Wonder what happened to the other 24?

  32. uilleam_beag says:

    Did they really use the word “blitz”?

    There was I thinking the Unionists had decided Nazi-inspired loanwords in general parlance were a no-go zone . . .

  33. Scott Minto (Aka Sneekyboy) says:

    Ooops… I seem to be upsetting Councillor Terry Kelly over on the Herald…

    Terry Kelly, renfrewshire

    For Scott Minto.
    What is actually happening is the Salmond regime of fear and duplicity aided and abetted by his sycophantic cronies Swinney, Sturgeon, Russell, Neil etc. is beginning to crack. The anti English glue which he has used to keep them in line and his own personality cult is running on empty. Still 2+ years to go as well, it’s crumbling.

    Delusional stuff indicative of a break from reality and textbook denial.

    I wonder if he really believes that, or just really needs to believe it?

  34. Scott Minto (Aka Sneekyboy) says:


    They could probably not get enough coaches up from London…

    Or when they said “Blitz” were they actually referring to Westminster economic and social policy?!?

  35. Tearlach says:

    @uilleam_beag – Looking at the locations of the Better Together gigs, I suspect they map quite neatly onto locations where the Labour and Tory parties still have some local activists, which explains the concentration on urban Scotland, the rural SW and other parts of rural Scotland where a few Tories are still out there despite the wholesale swing to the SNP over the past 20 years.

    The interesting bit is the lack of any events in the traditional Lib dem heartlands of the North and H&I. Wiped out by the SNP in the Scottish election last May, and still subdued after their hammering in the local elections, it looks like the Lib dems are washing their hair when the Better Together party is on next Friday night.  

    The fact their are no events at all in the Northern Isles does tend to pour cold water over the entirely fanciful and spurious claim that the aboriginal inhabitants of these isles are clamoring to ditch Scotland and return to the Mothership of Westminster.   

  36. sm753 says:

    A few points:
    – I am not “Michael McKeown” (who he?)
    – I don’t work at any newspaper, so I have no influence over any headlines and I don’t have to prove anything. Salmond is generally known to have a controlling management style.
    – Elections and referenda are not won on the details of facts and policies. (If they were, the SNP would not have won in either 2007 or 2011, given the long list of policies which turned out to be fraudulent. SFT, LIT, class sizes, etc etc). No, we’re going to create an atmosphere of distrust, arrogance and unreality about Salmond and the SNP. That’ll do the job; the fact that we’re ALSO right about the facts and policies is just a bonus.

  37. uilleam_beag says:


    Aye, a-Thearlaich,  I concur that the distribution seems to match the Unionist parties’ remaining outposts fairly closely. Your last point about the Northern Isles is very telling. 

    Most of the listings appear to be pretty low-key affairs — come join us for leafleting on the High St/our street stall outside Asda, that sort of thing. I’m painfully aware that we shouldna underestimate the enemy, but if this is their big push . . . let’s wait and see what happens on the weekend, eh!

    I can’t make it, but I’d quite fancy seeing the reaction at the Banff&Buchan event in Peterhead!

  38. Holebender says:

    I might try to get along to Banchory and give them a hard time.

    Oh, and that spot in Aberdeen, outside Marks & Spencer… the YES campaign have been setting up there every Saturday for the past couple of months now! I wonder if they’ll be there this weekend?

  39. Arbroath 1320 says:

    “I don’t work at any newspaper, so I have no influence over any headlines and I don’t have to prove anything.”
    You don’t have to prove anything, is that right sm?
    Well perhaps you should remember that the next time you try and get others to give you proof of statements they make! Always remember what’s good for the goose is good for the gander.
    Just remember the nest time you dare question the viability of anything anyone posts on this, or any other site, accept it, don’t go off on one demanding references after all you don’t give any proof to anything you spout so why should we give you any proof of anything we say!
    I suggest you best get back to digging the rabbitesque bolt hole, I reckon your leader will be getting rather tired digging on her own!

    If you can’t get back to your bolt hole perhaps you’d like to provide us all with your answer to this, if you dare.

    Alternatively hI’m sure we could have achieved something similar!ow about explaining, in detail, why Scotland could NOT have been as successful as Norway had we started an oil fund in the 1990’s similar to Norway. Let’s face it if Norway’s Oil fund is now sitting at $600 Billion, yes sm that’s right $600 Billion I’m sure Scotland could have achieved something similar!

  40. Ken Mac says:

    sm 735
    ”the fact that we’re ALSO right about the facts and policies is just a bonus.”

    You have facts and policies? Excellent! What are they? 

  41. McHaggis says:

    schmmmeeee – ” No, we’re going to create an atmosphere of distrust, arrogance and unreality about Salmond and the SNP. That’ll do the job”

    Just the kind of delightful ‘Better Together’ campaigning we are actually looking forward to. If you think this is what will get you votes then I am more than happy.

  42. MajorBloodnok says:

    Your principled democratic instincts just can’t help shining through can they?

  43. Jeannie says:

    Who are you suggesting WOULD have won in 2007 and 2011 and would you be so kind as to identify the policies proposed by that partyor parties that you think the electorate was wrong not to vote for?

  44. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “No, we’re going to create an atmosphere of distrust, arrogance and unreality about Salmond and the SNP. That’ll do the job”

    Yeah, it worked brilliantly in 2011 with that “100 broken promises” schtick…

  45. MajorBloodnok says:

    C’mon, the opposition had brilliant policies, it’s just that the public weren’t listening.  Well, that’s Labour’s story and they’re sticking to it.


  46. scottish_skier says:

    “No, we’re going to create an atmosphere of distrust, arrogance and unreality about Salmond and the SNP. That’ll do the job”

    This is excellent news. Certainly this type of tactical approach has proved it’s worth in bringing the SNP/independence movement to heel over the past few decades. Worked in 1979, again in 1997, showed good results in ’07 and delivered the goods big time in ’11. I’d give it the thumbs up for ’14.

  47. molly says:

    Now ,if I was a betting woman I’d say SM is not doddit but the other, hoddit.More his style of writing ,you “ken ” whatI mean?

    Young Michael got up everyday,
    To see what the newspapers say,
    A  persistant young man,
    He does what he can
    to keep things 
    the old British way.

    But poor Michael alas was forlorn,
    He noted a rival was born,
    Master Kelly he noted ,
    Was often well quoted 
    and this caused poor Michael much scorn.

    For the paper they fought over was doomed
    All neutrality neatly subsumed,
    And as readers then fled,
    Michael noted instead
    that a crisis in confidence loomed

    So now on the newspaper blog,
    Two men and their message they slog,
    Voices echo and flail
    and too often do fail
    they’re preaching to one man and his dog.

    No one listens or reads it no more,
    It abandoned its readers,its core
    When it comes to the crunch 
    for this feckless bunch
    Your stories are all just folklore

  48. Jeannie says:

    @Major Bloodnok
    Yes, and we still weren’t listening at the local government elections this year either.  What’re we like?

  49. Scott Minto (Aka Sneekyboy) says:


    If you are not indeed Michael McKeown then I apologise for the mix up…

    Its just that you posted an almost identical argument last week (similar wording) and referenced the same government web database as him:

    (A strange and not often used source when debating Scottish Independence and the sovereignty of the people not being given up by the Act of Union) 

    Now I’m no slouch on the old arguments from each side and it struck me as queer that you both should use the same arguments pretty much and cite the same reference sources – on the same day – given that they were so random and removed from normal arguments.

    Now I accept that this may have been a coincidence, or you may be an even stranger creature…      

    A wannabe Micheal McKeown!

    But if this truly was a coincidence then I can accept that…

    It’s just that your arguments are so similar… and the reference material… and writing styles… and BritNat mentality… it’s almost like a script…


  50. MajorBloodnok says:

    Are they cloning them, do you think?

  51. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    Those are spookily similar. Maybe he’s sm753’s twin brother?

    Top tip, btw: if you want to link to specific comments, here or elsewhere, rather than making people plough through an entire thread looking for them, the timestamp is nearly always a permalink. Have fixed the ones above.

  52. Scott Minto (Aka Sneekyboy) says:

    “the timestamp is nearly always a permalink”

    Cool. I was actually loking for that but gave up in order to maintain sanity! 

  53. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    I can’t express how pleased I am that WingsLand has a resident poet, btw. Kudos, Molly.

  54. Scott Minto (Aka Sneekyboy) says:

    “Kudos Molly” X2

  55. DougtheDug says:

    Rev. Stuart Campbell

    Problem is Rev. that if you put a link back to the comment you’re replying to then any other link in the comment itself seems to hit the moderation spam filter.

    Is the moderation rule one link per comment?

  56. Jeannie says:

    Nicely put, Molly.

  57. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “Is the moderation rule one link per comment?”

    To be honest I can’t figure out what Akismet’s rule is. Sometimes it objects to comments with only one link in them, sometimes it’ll let comments with multiple ones straight through. Have jiggled some settings, should be a little less twitchy now.

  58. Iain Gray's Subway Lament says:

    Lord Wallace doing some world class weaseling on Newsnicht with regards to westminster approval and section 30.
    Now he’s talking rubbish about Orkney and Shetland.
    How did this fool ever become advocate general?

  59. Seasick Dave says:

    Is Mad Mental Magnus trying to say that if you receive a grant from the government then you are soiled goods?

  60. Barney Thomson says:

    Smee used to post a comment or two out of about 10 or 20 that actually made sense and had a bit of interest to them. It is sad that he is now reduced to this level of ignorant, resentful vitriol.

    I fear for his health   

  61. Al Ghaf says:

    I was surprised as anybody at The Herald hiring Magnus Gardham. I must have been letting sentimental memories of The Herald being a quality paper cloud my judgement. The only reason I could think of why the paper has hired such a blunt instrument of unionism is the hope that he will attract clicks from Cybernats.

    The Natteratti are far and away the most prolific clickers in Scottish politics, and Magnus was a wasted opportunity to stir them up when he was writing for a Glasgow based footballing journal. Besides Torquil has already shown how easy it to flit between The Herald and The Record. I can only assume that Magnus was cheaper to hire than Alan Cochrane, who would have expected to be rewarded handsomely to frequent Glasgow boozers.

    And I am sure the irony of The Herald policy of not using pseudonymous in order to promote “intelligent debate” then hiring Gardham to write the articles is lost on nobody.

  62. douglas clark says:

    In reply to Seasick Dave,

    The assumption that there is nothing to learn from the rest of the world is a longstanding and, in my view, shortsighted opinion. Scotland requires to be informed by best practice throughout the world on all manner of subjects.

    It seems to me that Westminster is only interested in adopting policies that have been through the wringer of Washington.

    Whilst there is much to be admired about the American people, there is somewhat less to be admired about Washington. Indeed, the more Westminster becomes like Washington, the greater the case for independence.

  63. Macart says:

    Al Ghaf

    Pretty well known in the trade that the Heralds numbers are faring no better than anyone elses’. Sadly they’re going down the path of shock and awe in order to increase sales. Fiscal trolling along the lines of the Express, Mail and Guardian. Too hard to just win people’s trust by factual reportage soooooo…………’SHOCK HORROR, SALMOND USES PUBLIC PURSE TO BUY CURRY’. Cue outraged pro/anti onsite visits and comments going into the thousands. Big bonus they have a ready audience in YES campaigners who use the social media to get their message out. Win, win for rags in crisis and yes quite, quite cynically playing the reading public…………………. and britnat trolls, in fact the more the merrier. You know, ‘ you’ll turn into a third world ghetto within a year’ – ‘Its UK oil’ – ‘You can’t use our pound’ – ‘Border posts will be up next week’ category.

  64. McHaggis says:

    Pick any given day on The Herald online politics section and you can see it is absolutely dominated by “SNP hit…”, “Salmond Accused…”, “SNP Deny…” etc. headlines.

    If you didn’t already know its political and independence credentials it is pretty transparent to work out from a cursory glance.

    Just bear in mind that if everyone who will definitely support ‘Yes’ in the referendum can convince just one other person to do the same, then we win. I’m working on my 1 person as we speak… a female friend who admitted she would be ‘scared’ of the consequences of going it alone. I am gently bringing her round to the idea that all her fears are groundless and based on decades of spin and misinformation. 

  65. Kenny Campbell says:

    Reason there is no BitterTogether program for Highlands and Islands is that they have decided that the referendum doesn’t cover those parts of Scotland and they’ll be staying in the UK….did you not get the memo ?

  66. Kenny Campbell says:

    You only have to click on the Herald political page to see where the paper’s editorial position lies. All headlines bar 2 are negative towards SNP , Scottish Government or Independence or positive towards Bitter Together. 
    e.g “Glasgow shop base for yes campaign” versus “No campaign plans weekend war to ram home Better together message”

  67. MajorBloodnok says:

    McHaggis said@ I am gently bringing her round to the idea that all her fears are groundless and based on decades of spin and misinformation. 

    On reading your post an unchivalrous thought passed through my mind along the lines of “I hope she doesn’t think that you’re trying to do to her what the Tories have been doing to Scotland.”  Please forgive me. (and also apologies to Woody Allen)

  68. James Morton says:

    I see in todays Scotmans that a group of experts have decided on what the question should be on referendum day…despite being told already by the Electoral Commission that it’s not down to them to choose what the question is.

    They just don’t get it do they? The side that loses an election rarely gets to dictate terms to the side that won. The only opportunity they had to do this was in 2007, and that moment has passed.

  69. Kenny Campbell says:

    I think the problem is that they don’t yet accept that they are not still in charge as losing Holyrood can be dismissed as long as Unionists are still in charge in Westminster and they are ‘United’ in their approach to Scotland.
    I can equate it to a footballing analogy, as a Gers man I still personally feel we’re an SPL club, who have been relegated and its just a matter of time before we’re back in the top tier…. the reality of the situation might change should my optimistic outlook be challenged by real world events, e.g. if we don’t get promoted this year….I suspect Labour are in the same worldview at this point in time.

  70. Davy says:

    HE HE HE, If “ms753 aka 357ms aka maybe michael” arguement was in a boxing match the ring would be covered in towels trying to stop it, its been a while since I have seen such a thrashing.

    And thanks for the poem Molly, put him out for the count just nicely.    

  71. Bugger (the Panda) says:

    For a time I thought Smeeeeeeee was Davidson, his hate for Scotland, but now I just think he is from NornIreland actually living there and has heehaw to do all do all day except run down Scotland

  72. Davey McMahon says:

    [WAH WAH WAH] I guess I’ll be proved right when you deliberately censor me by not posting this comment.

  73. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “[WAH WAH WAH] I guess I’ll be proved right when you deliberately censor me by not posting this comment.”

    Hi Davey. Ever since I started out as a videogame journalist in 1991, every publication I’ve ever worked on had a cast-iron policy that any letter sent in that said “I bet you won’t print this letter” got its wish. I won’t be making an exception for you. If you’ve got something to say, don’t say it like a whiny six-year-old and expect to be treated like an adult.

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