The world's most-read Scottish politics website

Wings Over Scotland

The scorched-earth chamber

Posted on November 22, 2012 by

On watching today’s FMQs, we’re more and more coming to the conclusion that the Holyrood opposition’s chief campaign strategy is to make people so utterly scunnered with all politicians that nobody will ever vote for anything or anyone again, and that that way the Unionist parties might get at least a turn at power on the drawing of lots. From the bottom of our heart, readers, we’re struggling to explain it any other way.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

1 Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. 24 11 12 08:37

    Tales of the Playground | laidbackviews

106 to “The scorched-earth chamber”

  1. mato21 says:

    Ruth Lamont called to speak today again by the PO She obviously sees them as one.

    Mr McMahon to make a statement today re his suspension from the chamber  2;30pm on their favourite TV channel I wonder if they offered him a platform


  2. Archie Guevara says:

    Don’t worry, there will be a few 1200-word blog posts along soon, dissecting every aspect of it in minute detail.  Meanwhile, the 30 seconds shown on the telly will be all that the man on the Lochee omnibus gets to see of it. (Why Dundee? Dunno)

  3. smallwhitebear says:

    Agreed. The mission is to make Scottish Govt. appear a rabble and a guddle, incompetent and a waste of space. Divide and conquer…

    We will then NEED Westminster to provide “a voice of reason” and to sort us all out.

    The Presiding Officer PO has to take charge and call out those who seek to destroy and bring into disrepute the efficient flow of Government. This Westminster bearpit mentality should not be encouraged week in, week out.
    We are mostly fair minded, rational and reasonable people in Scotland, resorting to mud slinging, baiting and frank abuse should not be tolerated in the Chamber.   

  4. cynicalHighlander says:


  5. Scoatland could be as preposterous as Norway, so it could.

  6. Training Day says:

    The one remaining discernible tactic is the ‘Salmond is untrustworthy therefore indpendence can’t work’ one – a logical absurdity, of course, but one which Labour deployed before in their drive to embody an entire country, with all its variety and diversity, and a country which was literally the cradle of civilisation, in the person of ‘Saddam’ or ‘the evil dictator’.  How much blood-letting was justified through that piece of chicanery..

  7. Seasick Dave says:

    Who is the glaikit guy who sits next to the PO?

  8. mrbfaethedee says:

    It’s what comes of a basic lack of respect for democracy in and of Scotland.
    The Scottish Parliament is the seat of our democracy as a nation. For elected representatives to be unable to override their personal feelings about individuals or parties with simple respect for the offices they hold and the institution they inhabit is either a sign of how low they will go, or simply naked contempt for genuine democratic institutions in Scotland.

  9. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    Lamont, Davidson and Rennie can’t – simply can’t – be thinking that ANYONE is watching that and shouting “That’s the leader I want for my country!”. So the only possible rationale is that since they can’t ascend to Salmond’s level, they must try to discredit and muddy him so much that he sinks to theirs in the eyes of the public. However legitimately angry their antics make him, he HAS to rise above it.

  10. scottish_skier says:

    I’ll say it before and I’ll say it again…

    Unionist strategy of continuously attacking the SNP on everything down to the smallest things which matter little to the man on the street are destined to failure. It has been failing for years now yet still they persist. 

    It will only decrease their vote share further in the long run. People vote for policy; if you have none or what you do have is unattractive, you will not get votes. It’s really that simple. Only a complete fool with think that that people might change to voting for NHS privatization and tuition fees etc because e.g. Mike Russel was out by 1.7% in a figure which is constantly being updated/changed.

    There is no positive case for the union. What the unionist parties are doing with their current strategy is making this very obvious to the electorate. I’m surprised they can’t see this for themselves. Well actually, no, I’m not really.

  11. Doug Daniel says:

    I just can’t be bothered watching it any more. It’s completely pointless. I actually think it’s Ruth’s long-winded speeches that have turned me off the most, because at least you get a laugh from Johann’s dire public speaking skills.

    Yesterday marked a low point for Holyrood. The braying from all sides of the chamber have been tiresome for months, but McMahon’s outburst crossed the line. I’m glad Marwick actually did something, but I think she needs to say “right, this is getting beyond a joke and I’m doing something about it.”

    Of course, the media’s depiction of yesterday isn’t “what a disgrace McMahon is”, it’s “was McMahon harshly treated?” Does anybody seriously believe it would have been treated as anything other than an outrage if a Labour MP said “you’re out of order!” to the speaker in Westminster?

    Holyrood is being treated as a joke. Calling the Prime Minister a liar is a big story, but calling the First Minister a liar is just fun and games. This attitude has to stop.

  12. muttley79 says:

    I think a problem in saying that they are doing it deliberately (in Foulkes’ phrase), is that they are just both awful, awful politicians.  Lamont is just a typical Glasgow Labour unionist activist; inarticulate, no drive or ambition for Scotland, hates the SNP, and Salmond with a passion, and refuses to see any other party as a legitimate governing party.  She is so out of her depth it is not true, and she is always girning.  Davidson is obviously out of her depth as well.  She should never have been elected as leader of the Scottish Tories.  Davidson is far too inexperienced to be a leader of a political party in Scotland, and that even includes the Conservatives!  She is also one of those unionists who seem to hate their own country, witness her ‘performance’ at the British Conservative conference. Rennie is as bad as the other two.

  13. megabreath says:

    you know,just for once,in answer to the usual opener of “what engagements he has planned for the rest of the day” I wish Salmond would say “well after I,m finished here,which shoudnae be long,I,m away for a pie and a pint.”:-)

    well it at least might raise a laugh although no doubt Lament would would soon ruin that with her interminable whining.

  14. james morton says:

    It seems that Labour policy is simply “get Salmond” and thats about it, the others act like the creepy kids who always hang about with Bullies and join in. Its an utter disgrace. Now Lamont is following her masters tune and is trying to triangulate the conservative vote. While that might work for Miliband in the South, its not going to work up here. Any politician trying to claim the mantle of “that woman” as some sort of badge of honour is quite simply moronic.  One of the reasons I switched from labour to the SNP in 2011 is precisely this moronic behaviour in opposition – they clearly have learned nothing.

  15. scottish_skier says:

    I’m also puzzled by the unionist emphasis on negative stories about Scotland, e.g. we die earlier, unemployment worse than the UK, roads in bad condition (today)…

    These seemed to be published with relish by the MSM, presumably with the intent of saying ‘Look how crap Scotland is – you can’t vote for independence’ whereby decreasing support for the latter. However, we know historically that bad news such as the above has the opposite effect. We only need to go back to 1997 where we had a Scotland ravaged by 18 years of Tory rule; high unemployment, crumbling infrastructure, mass emigration… and clear majority support for independence.

    In fact it was the (housing) boom times of the early New Labour rule that took the edge off the support for independence in addition to devolution. If things are looking good economically, people are less inclined to vote for radical change. In contrast, if things look grim, they want change and more control over their country’s destiny. The same thing is driving the growing anti-EU sentiment in the UK.

    If unionists wanted to attempt to dampen support for independence, they’d hide the negative stories and focus on all the good ones; make it seem as best as possible that Scotland was really doing well as part of the union. However, it seems being positive about Scotland is something they just can’t do. 

  16. muttley79 says:

    @James Morton
    No, they have learned nothing from their defeats.  If anything, they are getting even more negative.

    They always come back to their default Nat-bashing.  That this has become a failed tactic does not stop them in the slightest. 

  17. Ron says:

    Yup, as I said last week … it’s as if they want the whole basis of devolution and Holyrood to be discredited, not just throwing mud at the FM. If people think Holyrood is a poor quality rabble, a town council as one of my relatives sadly said today, then what are the people left with?

  18. scottish_skier says:


     If people think Holyrood is a poor quality rabble, a town council..

    That tactic only works if all parties have largely the same policies and are just as bad as each other; then you only have smear and character assassination left. However, this results in a low turnout/turning people off politics rather than them specifically voting a different way.

    If you have another party which is perceived as different with good policies, then the above tactic fails in the face of them. This is exactly what is happening in Scotland; Westminster tactics don’t work here against the pro-independence parties.

    It may be hard to take at times watching the relentless negativity, but rest assured it is harming the no campaign not the Yes. We’ve been through nearly 2 years of it (or negative max at least since the last election) yet polls show e.g. the SNP to be on largely the same share as they got in May 2011.

  19. albaman says:

    F.M.Q.s, told you so, and it aint finished yet!!.
    regarding the opposition parties, not only do they not know not to continue
    to “flog a dead horse”, they cant even smell the rotting carcase!.  

  20. Doug Daniel says:

    There’s a danger of it harming the Yes campaign if they get caught up in it, though. For instance, I’m getting very tired of seeing SNP MSPs using the #BitterTogether hashtag on Twitter. We’re supposed to be embarking on a positive campaign, but that just seems like nonsense when elected representatives are using negative language. I’m also not a fan of “anti-independence”, which sounds clunky as well as negative, but I’m apparently in a minority with that one.

    If all people are seeing is Salmond and others playing the unionists at their own games, then they have no reason to think things could be better if they vote for independence.

    The SNP need to start acting as if they’re being interviewed for the job of being Scotland’s government. After all, it’s effectively what they’re doing anyway. Perhaps they think that by allowing the unionists room to rant and rave that people will say “urgh, I’m not listening to anything this shrieking idiot says”, but instead, they’re showing people what things might be like under independence (although that’s not actually true – but it’s the perception created).

    They should leave the insults and needling to us ordinary plebs. As much fun as it is to wind up Labour in the chamber, they should rise above it. FMQs is utterly pointless. It does absolutely nothing to help the Yes campaign, so the best thing the SNP can do is make it so dull that it becomes neutralised.

  21. John Lyons says:

    Ach, I think Lamont got her papers mixed up and took in last weeks script again, then didn’t know what to do. She’s rubbish.

    Skier is bang on though. Everytime the Unionists say “This is rubbish, that’s rubbish…” they forget that they’re in charge of the UK and it’s thier fault it’s rubbish. Thier message should be “This isn’t great but it’s getting better because the Union cares about you!” but it’s not, because the union doesn’t care. 

  22. Aplinal says:

    @Doug Daniel
    Agree with you here.  We pro-Independence supporters need to rise above the gutter that appears to be inhabited by many – certainly not all – of the pro-dependency parties. It is hard to remain aloof when all about you there is flying crap and mud!  But we have to try harder.
    I despair when reading some of the comments below articles in the Herald or Scotsman, not just from a small number of rabid Unionists (who hardly ever back up their “opinion” with facts or evidence, and fall back on ad hominen attacks) but also a smaller band of rabid Independence supporters who fall into the same trap.
    We ARE better than that, so let’s keep plugging the facts, supported by proper citations, and let the undecided decide.
    Hail Alba

  23. Arbroath 1320 says:

    Nice to see A.S. pulling Lamont and co. up on their lies and lack of apologies, sort of. Add to that the usual put down of Lamont and my day has been brightened up tremendously.
    Davidson is just boring, droning on for so long you end up forgetting what her question was or in deed if there ever was one.
    Rennie is useless. He is totally out of his depth, it is almost a shame, note I said almost, to put him up against the F.M.
    I have come to the conclusion that the weekly F.M.Q.’s should be renamed the Holyrood comedy half hour. The antics and questions of all three opposition parties are pathetic at best and dire at worst. For people who are, allegedly, intelligent individuals their behaviour is much more suited to a wee kiddies fight at prep school than a grown up debate in the chamber at Holyrood.
    Ever since the Scottish government reconvened I have been of the opinion that each successive Labour (Holyrood) leader was worse than their predecessor, to the extent that I thought Ian Fray was scraping the bottom of the barrel. Oh if only that were the truth. Lamont has brought a new meaning to the phrase of scraping the bottom of the barrel.
    It is unfortunate that the three “leaders?” deem it necessary to bring their level of debate?? down to the mud at the bottom of the gutter. Unfortunate because I do believe that you can still get some honest respect between M.S.P.’s and the F.M. at F.M.Q.’s. Unfortunately you have to wade through all the leaders? mud slinging before you get to the respectful, or at least the more respectful, part of F.M.Q.’s.
    Why do9 we have to endure ages of nonsensical blurb from the three leaders? before getting to their inane questions, why can’t we just have a straight question, without any fluffing up, from them. At least then we would get through their dross a hell of a lot quicker and then get more members questions which on the most part are more sensible and respectful.

  24. dadsarmy says:

    Glad to see this thread. @DougDaniel I’m totally with you, and another comment I saw earlier in the thread.

    Salmond has to rise above it all, keep a calm voice – and a calm face. He is the First Minister, his Ministers are the Cabinet, and his members are the Government. The rest are all “just” opposition members, and can get away with slightly worse behaviour – that’s almost expected of Opposition really.

    One of the reasons in Guardian I changed my avatar from Private Walker was to show I was Indepenndence Yes, while criticising hell out of Alex, the SNP and even the YES campaign. I’d started doing that – and getting attacked by “my own side” as a Unionist!

    If anything, over the next few months, I intend getting harder – far harder – on my own side. And Alex Salmond – as the figurehead – neeeds to be of impeccable demeanour, answering nasty criticisms with a smile and humour, rather than shouts and an angry face. Perhaps, as the Herald I think said, he is knackered – well, it’s less than two more years, he’s spent nearly 40 to get this far.

    Just another 5%, Alex ….

  25. mogabee says:

     Come on guys! Stop being so negative!! lol

     S S is right you know, try being negative and miserable and defeatist for even a short time and what happens? People either tell you to cheer up or start to find someone else to be with. Being as negative as the NO’s is counterproductive.
      Besides, most folk really aren’t taking much notice yet. Alplinal has the right of it “..small number of rabid Unionists…”

  26. smallwhitebear says:

    the problem is that so many of the average population do exist on “sound bites” and not on facts or rational and reasonable arguments. Their only means of debate is to make ad hominem attacks.

    Their upbringing, their education, their standing in the community, their personality, their mood, their level of understanding of political events, may all preclude them from making pronouncements with facts and citations on Comments pages.

    However we will need ALL voters if we are to accomplish independence. We will need the irrational and unreasonable, just as much as we need the well informed and the deep thinking. Realistically, we will need people who will rather tell you to F.O. than invite you in for a cup of tea.
    We also NEED the “Bravehearters” and the “over-emotional” patriots.

    This dismissal of some of the core support for Independence just plays right into the hands of the Unionists, who wish us to disassociate ourselves from the “Bannockburn” brigade and the “vile”, angry “cybernats”. However by doing so, we may risk alienating a loyal and real, section of support for Independence.


  27. Ron says:

    If you have another party which is perceived as different with good policies, then the above tactic fails in the face of them.
    I do agree, and the negativity didn’t work before, but I wonder if this is a different tactic. Or at least at a different level. Bringing the competence not of one party or the government into question, but the parliament itself. A plague on all their houses, as a deliberate tactic.

  28. scottish_skier says:


    Bringing the competence not of one party or the government into question, but the parliament itself.

    Possibly, but then Scots will not choose Westminster over Holyrood as the latter is the picture of incompetence and they have no ability whatsoever to change that as their votes largely don’t count. In Holyrood the electorate can and have influenced both policy/public services and the future of Scotland. This is why only 5% support a return to Westminster rule vs up to 70% for all but independence.

    Remember, the scottish unionist parties are seen as exactly that; largely undifferentiated from their Westminster party. Scottish Labour have made a huge mistake by reversing the differences between them and Ed’s London group, one which will result in a slow erosion of what support they have left. Ed is doing a great job of assisting here with his now open admission that Labour are a right-wing party. The more we hear about ‘one nation’, the more we see Ed with the jacks flying behind him, the more he admires thatcher… the closer Scotland will come to independence.


    I agree with Doug D on pro-independence people steering away from name calling etc. Keep it positive. No harm in we jibes about policy reversals etc (e.g. AS at FMQs) but leave name calling to the unionists.

  29. sneddon says:

    I like FMQs as it reminds me of the type and quality of person we’re up against.  As their services will doubt not be required after 2014 I wonder what they’ll be doing after we get independence?  I do worry.  Ruthie sods off down south, (don’t let the door hit yer arse on the way out dear).  Joey Lamont gets a nice wee joab as COSLA  wi the rest of the former strathclyde soviet, Willie ends up being a Mr Potato Head impersonator.  Who knows but the futures brighter without them.

  30. Aplinal says:

    I realise that we will need all the votes we can.  Although s_s seems more confident in the eventual result (IIFC 65-70% YES).  Certainly the YES campaign needs some good ‘sound bites’ that is clear, and I also think that in the next 12 months – before the White paper – Alex Salmond will have a more and more reduced ‘role’ in the campaign as the non-politicians start to push it forward. 
    So I do find FMQs rather tedious right now (can’t these political leaders actually LEAD a discussion on POLICY and IMPACT rather than mindless, boring, pathetic ad hominen bile), and I still maintain that the SNP (and other pro-Independence parties) politicians especially need to be ‘squeeky clean’.  In many ways the pro-dependency cabal’s attacks on the MAN will not actually divert from the YES Campaign.  In fact the opposite. 
    As bloggers, being professional, factual, assertive (without being abusive) constructive about the challenges ahead, and accepting these challenges will, I think, do more to hang on to the “Bravehearts” as well as demonstrate to the waverers that Independence is nothing to fear.  We don’t need to be the same as the pro-dependency lot to achieve that.

  31. Luigi says:

    The SG certainly need  to stay calm and focussed. Are they becoming distracted? It is very difficult to let go something held so dear, but the SNP now need to hand the referendum over to the capable hands of Blair Jenkins, Denis Canavan, Alan Crogan and others, and really focus on that other thing (that more people probably voted for) – running a competent Scottish Government. This is crucial. Politicians have to lay aside their big egos for two years for the future of Scotland. A combination of an effective SNP majority government and an non-party, grass roots YES campaign over the next two years could be a winning combination for 2014.

  32. patronsaintofcats says:

    I don’t know if this is of interest, but we all talk about how people don’t always have access to the internet to get information about things like the McCrone report.  With the right content, this could be really useful if it was distributed properly.  An online fundraiser to fund it?  10,000 units (4 pages) for £1000: 

  33. jake says:

    In the event of a yes vote in the referendum there are only 3 realistic possibilities thereafter
    1) an SNP majority government
    2) a Scottish Labour majority government
    3) a minority or coalition government, with the principle players being SNP and Scottish Labour.

    The prospect of possibility 3), does not make my heart sing. It looks like a recipe for chaos. If this perception of the visceral hatred that exists between the parties is encouraged and enhanced it will put people off voting “yes”, simply because this chaotic and unattractive outcome is a very real possibility. To encourage a “yes” vote paint a picture of a future where the various parties can work together. To encourage a “no” vote, paint a picture of cross party enmity and the impossibility of them ever being able to work together. The “no” campaign have been very successful in achieving this. The “yes” campaign have not only been unable to counter it, they have facilitated it.

    The prospect of possibility 2) is also very real. For many this might be an attractive possibility. To encourage a “yes” from those who might find this possibility attractive the strategy should be to paint a picture of a capable and competent Scottish Labour Party in waiting. To encourage a “no” vote, the strategy should be to paint a picture of an incompetent Scottish Labour Party in waiting. The “no” campaign have been spectacularly successful in achieving this.

    The prospect of possibility 1) exists and it too is real. To encourage a “yes” vote, that party must be perceived as capable and competent. To encourage a “no” vote, that party must be perceived as incompetent or untrustworthy. The “no” campaign are currently working on this leg of their strategy.

  34. scottish_skier says:


    All those three possibilities also exist in the event of a no vote but on top of that you get Tory/One Nation Tory rule from London as a bonus. Labour etc being crap will not be detrimental to a yes vote referendum in any meaningful way IMO. More likely to encourage a yes as they represent the union. If they keep this up then they will cease to exist as a party in Scotland post independence. 

    I’m still confident of splits developing in the pro-union parties as the big day approaches. Some out of principle, some to save their own skins. This is quite typical historically in such situations.

  35. Air adhart. says:

    During the Irish rising of 1916 it was noted that the fiercest fighting against British Rule seemed always to take place in those regions that in the past had shown little or no interest in the political games of Irish independence. Please draw your own conclusions.

  36. mrbfaethedee says:

    @doug daniel
    I’m as guilty as many of snide labelling of the ‘campaign to preserve the union’, but I agree with your general thrust and am trying to use more considered language (honest).
    As far as anti-independence goes as a label – the problem is that in addition to being a label, it is a very accurate, concise description (which is just about all you can ask for in a label/name)of the current state of the ‘campaign to preserve the union’.
    Perhaps we could all ‘crowdsource’ a less negative sounding label amongst ourselves? If we get more than one decent suggestion we could put it to an onsite poll (Rev willing).

  37. Air adhart. says:

    A label? How about: Free Scotland!

  38. velofello says:

    At FMQ to day I did enjoy the bit when the camera focuses on Lamont frantically reading up on the next response provided to her!
    I enjoyed Alex Salmon’s performance today. He roared like a bull.  
    In the face of the incoherent hostility coming from Lamont if he was consistently calm and polite some might perceive him as a bit effete. If he adopted a superior intellectual tone that would offend some people. So he has to mix his response style. Sometimes witty, sometimes reasonable(!), and sometimes roar like a bull.
    i’ve noted that when he does get a ‘unloaded” sensible question from the opposition he answers it politely and with respect towards the individual.

    Joan Lamont Davidson has comfortably stepped into her role as being of no consequence, 

    And what is Mr Brian Taylor’s role at FMQ? To show off his braces? What is he for?  

  39. Juteman says:

    O/T, but the third comment down on this drivel from Open Unionism should be required reading for anyone thinking a No vote means things will stay as they are. Put down anything sharp before reading.

  40. mato21 says:

    A former world bank consultant who is a convert to yes I think the negativity did it for him

  41. Aplinal says:

    I have taken to always referring to them as the “pro-dependency” parties, or sometimes, pro-Westminster dependency
    It’s as accurate description as any I think.

  42. Juteman says:

    What’s wrong with calling them what they are, Unionists?
    Johann Lamont = Ian Paisley.

  43. Arbroath 1320 says:

    What universe did that post beam down from Juteman?

    Yet another example of a unionist looking at everything through union jacked specs. 

  44. Juteman says:

    Some of the Unionist thinking is pretty scary Arbroath.

  45. Juteman says:

    Shocking coverage of todays events on Grampian/STV News. It was basically a story of McMahons harsh treatment by those nasty lying SNP ministers. Full coverage of his press conference, but no government reply. 

  46. macdoc says:

    I prefer the term British Nationalists myself. After all they have tried to make nationalism a dirty word. They have yet to see the irony and hypocrisy of there behavior . If we can get them to admit they are British Nationalists this would be a good first start into a proper debate. 

  47. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    I do quite like “BritNats” as a term. It’s accurate, telling, punchy and not abusive. Not appropriate for all purposes, but a good default.

  48. AndrewFraeGovan says:

    At least McMahon didn’t need to have his insult written down for him to read out, like his leader does.

  49. Adrian B says:

    Has anyone read this today yet?

    Face Reality: We could be a prosperous as Norway 

    Written by Iain MacWhirter, who has spent the last week over in Oslo finding out about how things work over there.

    Well worth the read, even if you don’t like visiting the Herald site. 

  50. Marian says:

    The shenanigans we see each week at FMQ will continue unabated for as long as the unionist parties at Holyrood continue with their long established practice of providing an inexhaustible supply of humanoid drones masquerading as leading politicians.


  51. Doug Daniel says:

    I tend to go with Unionist, because they’re in favour of the union, so it’s completely accurate. I don’t see how they can complain about being called a Unionist either.

    I like BritNat too, because they clearly view Britain as their nation. If they have a problem with that, then perhaps they need to ask themselves why.

    Both terms avoid sounding like clunky negative PR terms. The very first time Salmond said “anti-independence parties”, I thought “urgh, I hope that doesn’t catch on.” Hmmm… 

    They need to call us “separatists” because they have absolutely no arguments – supporting the UK is completely illogical. We have no such problems, thus shouldn’t be dragged down to their level. 

  52. G. Campbell says:

    “Recreations: supporting Celtic FC”

    Unusual to see a Celtic fan crying conspiracy.

  53. muttley79 says:

    They are never going to admit that they are British Nationalists, although it is undeniably true.  They prefer to be called unionists, although even Jim Murphy does not want to be called this anymore! 😀   I think for them to admit they are BritNats would be an acknowledgement that they have been fulminating against the SNP, for promoting Scottish Nationalism, for over 50 years on a false pretense.  Therefore, this definitely can’t happen.  They would lose their smug, wholly undeserved, air of superiority over not having been involved in supporting nationalism as a ideology. 

  54. Juteman says:

    Going by a previous post on his blog, methinks Mr Smart is suffering from a backlog of fluids.

  55. Boorach says:


    The problemwith ‘Britnats’ is that it is pertinent to a geographical area rather than the political union which we would like to see broken up.


  56. pmcrek says:

    Quick history lesson on Labour legend Dennis Skinner MP’s parliamentary history, just for the Scottish Media…

    Dennis Skinner MP, suspended from Westminster Parliament in 1992 for referring to John Gummer as “slimy” and a “wart”.

    Dennis Skinner MP, suspended from Westminster Parliament in 1995 for calling the Government crooked.

    Dennis Skinner MP suspended from Westminster Parliament in 2005 for joking that the Government front bench were on cocaine.

    Dennis Skinner MP suspended from Westminster Parliament in 2006 for accusing the Deputy Speaker Sir Alan Haselhurst of leniency towards Theresa May “because she’s a Tory.”

    Notably the last example implies anyone calling into question the integrity of the P.O. in the chamber, is deserving a suspension for bringing parliament into disrepute also.

  57. Luigi says:

    Ach, let’s avoid the niceties. They are all essentially British imperialists, relics of a long-gone age.

  58. cath says:

    ” I wonder if this is a different tactic. Or at least at a different level. Bringing the competence not of one party or the government into question, but the parliament itself. A plague on all their houses, as a deliberate tactic.”

    I think that’s exactly what it is. They want to turn everyone off politics, make us think “they’re all the same and nothing will change so what’s the point of even joining the debate, far less voting yes”. And, of course, to make sure Scots and Scotland all look incapable, incompetent and small.

    I’ve notices the unionist pages using things like the Edinburgh trams as a reason to prove Scots could never go it alone!  Despite that being entirely a Labour project the SNP government was totally against. They basically want to make us look incompetent. 

    Of course, this could very much backfire, as right now all 3 Westminster parties are simply making it look like Westminster’s general incompetene is infesting even the Scottish parliament and certainly making me feel even more strongly that we need rid of the whole useless lot of them.  

    One worry though is, if trying to make Scotland look rubbish is their tactic, what will Glasgow Labour will try to do to undermine, for example, the Commonwealth Games in 2014? Because that tactic will clearly involve making Scotland look like a disaster and embarrasing us on the world stage then and whenever else they can. 

  59. NorthBrit says:

    I think you are wrong to suggest that your unionist opponents are BritNats.  I am a BritNat – if you must use such terms – because I actually do prefer being British.  

    Most of the opponents of independence are SLab types who claim to be “proud Scots”, who if the SNP didn’t exist, would be whinging about evil Tories from the south of England.

    Their motivation is not love of Britain, but hatred of the SNP, which is interfering with their god given right to govern Scotland like a particularly humourless and incompetent Warsaw Pact era government.  

    This is why you never hear the positive case for the union – because they don’t really like or understand Britishness (and they’re not helped by the world’s most reasonable journalist suggesting that it’s in some way linked to Les Dawson and the Beatles).

    Unionist is technically correct.  Anti-independence probably gets to the heart of the matter.

  60. Castle Rock says:

    Aren’t we just seeing the death throes of the British Labour Party in Scotland?

    Johann Lamont is just an old political dinosaur who hasn’t moved on with the times, she is clearly out of her depth and is lashing out hoping to land a punch but instead she is just constantly making a complete and utter fool of herself.

    I think it fairly clear that part of the Labour Party strategy is to try and demean and undermine the Scottish Parliament to try and weaken the SNP.  However, with each new slur, false accusation and smear they are actually creating the opposite effect thus doing their own cause more harm than good.

    Labour Party supporters must be cringing every time she stands up to speak.

  61. cath says:

    This, however, looks like a very good development

    Five MSPs have decided to form a technical working group to assist them in their Parliamentary duties.

    Patrick Harvie and Alison Johnstone of the Scottish Green Party have reached an agreement with Independent MSPs Margo MacDonald, Jean Urquhart and John Finnie to establish a working group under the Parliament’s Standing Orders.

    This grouping will give the MSPs representation on the Parliamentary Bureau which decides Parliamentary business, in turn providing the MSPs with further opportunities to contribute to debates in the Chamber.

  62. Holebender says:

    May I just ask people who wish to post links to FMQs or any other Holyrood business to link to Holyrood TV rather than the BBC? Why do we need to go to the enemy’s website when they just use a feed from the Parliament’s own TV service anyway? Archived FMQs can all be found at
    FMQs can also be watched live on Holyrood TV without having to see or hear Brian Taylor!

  63. Holebender says:

    Cath, as that new group has the same number of members as the LibDems will they get an automatic question at most FMQs? They should.

  64. Boorach says:


    I don’t see it as a ploy to discredit the Scottish parliament as, to discredit the parliament they would have to deliberately discredit themselves. This would elevate their actions to the equivalent of ‘political suicide bombers’ and I don’t believe any  of them have the moral courage to be martyrs.

    I reckon that the unionist troika just don’t have the political knowse to debate their case in a reasoned manner and perforce resort to the politics of the playground.  All yah, boo sucks and he/she who shouts loudest etc.

    Let’s not forget that they are effectively their parties third elevens. The first two are troughing it in wasteminster as MPs or advisers etc.

     Someone really should tell them about EMPTY BARRELS! 

  65. cath says:

    “as that new group has the same number of members as the LibDems will they get an automatic question at most FMQs?”

    I believe it will, yes. That possibility was metioned when Finnie and Urqhurt left the SNP. Also, I think they’ll be able to table debates. f so, that will give a sensible, non-Westminster, non-SNP, independent grouping in parliament.

    Is it too optimistic to hope that perhaps some Labour MSPs might be becoming disillusioned enough to cross the floor to a pro-independence grouping that isn’t the SNP?    

  66. Arbroath 1320 says:

    When I’m on my best behaviour I do try and refer to them as unionists (I’m trying Stu, Honest :lol:) but I do admit to also liking the term Britnats. However knowing, as we all do how very much in favour a certain Mr. Murphy is of being called a unionist then I think I’ll stick with that for now.
    With regards to a certain Mr. Smart. What can I say?
    Not very smart is he?
    I must admit though I’m beginning to think that he has a certain desire to become a travel advisor for visitors to Zimbabwe the way he keeps referring to anyone and anything from the S.G. as being better placed in Zimbabwe.
    With regards to Mr. McMahon he is, in my view, yet another fine example of Labour’s finest in their bully brigade. I find it extraordinary that anyone can behave, as he did yesterday with his “your out of order” comment”, and yet he finds his expulsion from the chamber today as going to far. What planet or even universe is this guy from?
    Surely he must realise that no one can behave in the manner he did, showing disrespect to the Presiding Officer, and not receive some form of punishment from the P.O. The penalty that he received is, in my view, the very least that he could/should have expected. As for his “press interview” well that was just puerile and pathetic. His behaviour throughout this whole episode has been childish at best. Is he not intelligent enough to recognise that he just can not disrespect the P.O.’s position and not be on the receiving end of a suspension at the very least.

  67. Arbroath 1320 says:

    Holebender, Cath as I understand the situation in Holyrood with the Lib/Dems their leader? does not get an automatic right to ask his set of questions each week. If I’m right in my recollection here then perhaps we could see the situation where whatisname asks his questions one week, as he did today, and the “leader” of this new group gets to ask their questions the following week. In other words “question 3” alternates between the Lib/Dems and this new group that has been set up.

  68. Doug Daniel says:

    The thing is, it doesn’t matter what us lot call them. We’re just ordinary folk chatting about independence, and I don’t buy this “oooh the evil Cybernats are putting everyone off independence” pish that we get from certain quarters of our own side.

    It’s the politicians. They’re the ones that have to be seen to be rising above the negative language. If I see a normal person going “Look at the anti-independence parties all holding hands #BitterTogether” on Twitter, I don’t bat an eyelid. But when an MSP or MP does it, my toes curl. In fact, I can’t help feeling that the internet would be a much better place if certain politicians just didn’t use it (Angus MacNeil in particular just seems to cause nothing but trouble at times – the recent SirIanBlair howler was just embarrassing, and a recent tweet saying something like “maybe we need a Tax Payers Alliance for Scotland?” was so dire that even an MSP from his own party criticised him for it.)

  69. mrbfaethedee says:

    I don’t like giving ‘british’ to them.
    British is a term that has been coopted by the UK, it exists before and after the UK.
    I’m not fond of Union/ist variants either – it’s got baggage from both unionism and trade unionism.
    ProUK is about as bland as I can come up with, even though it flatters their negativity, but the UK is the thing that will cease when Scotland becomes independent.
    Doug, you’re right about it being more about the politicians – but it mightn’t hurt to toss some options their way just by virtue of general usage – especially for the echo chamber that is Twitter (if we don’t want them tweeting toe-curlers, re-tweets become difficult). Of course it’ll just be another one in the mix, but the act of naming things is often important.

  70. pro-loco says:

    Although McMahon’s dissembling “I did it but this is unfair.” – line is predictable, his “i have a loud voice cultivated by being a true socialist on the factory floor therefore I got caught and picked on.” might be more interesting.
    Would it be okay for him to have made the remark in a quiet voice?
    Is it ok to make disparaging remarks if you are a member of the Labour party?
    Is he furthering the actual insult to the neutral arbitrator by saying they have a particular prejudice against the likes of himself?
    I would suggest he has dug a little bit deeper under the foundations of the good wishes everyone had for a ‘better’ Scottish Parliament. 

  71. scottish_skier says:

    When Scotland becomes independent we will still see arguments between parties and respective supporters.

    There will still be sniping, name calling etc at times between those running things and those in opposition. 

    Difference is, we’ll have elected them.

    We will also be free to vote them out if we wish. 

    That’s the difference. 

  72. muttley79 says:

    NorthBrit says:

    Most of the opponents of independence are SLab types who claim to be “proud Scots”, who if the SNP didn’t exist, would be whinging about evil Tories from the south of England.
    Their motivation is not love of Britain, but hatred of the SNP, which is interfering with their god given right to govern Scotland like a particularly humourless and incompetent Warsaw Pact era government. 

    Yes, the second paragraph was what I have been trying to describe for ages, that is a good way of describing it.  Their definitely is a real lack of imagination, and boldness, within the mindset of unionist Scottish Labour.

  73. Ron says:

    And having just watched Scotland tonight with James Kelly mentioning the FM in almost every sentence, my suspicions about Labour being happy to burn Holyrood and Scottish political confidence to the ground just continues to grow …
    … BUT … do we detect the beginning of a mood swing? There does seem to be a recognition that this is dangerous, on twitter, on STV tonight, from journos, and it may well be that the pressure comes from outwith the politicians to be civil. Which might work.

  74. Domhnall dods says:

    I was at a meeting tonight where john mason, willie rennie,  malcolm chisholm and david torrance were speaking. Willie was saying the snp victory was historic but less than half the people voted. Someone asked “why do you think that is?” and he said it’s down to politicians and the way they behave. Calling each other liars isn’t helping anyone he said. Malcolm chisholm wasn’t disagreeing. 

  75. AndrewFraeGovan says:

    @mrbfaethedee says
    Britain, Britannia = England. Ask anyone around the world.
    Scotland, Caledonia, is part of as far as I’m concerned.

  76. mrbfaethedee says:

    That’s partly what I’m saying. I agree that lots of people all around the world use British and English as meaning the same thing.
    It isn’t though.
    I don’t see why I should give ‘British’ to what remains of the UK alone. I can’t stop being British anymore than I can stop being European, or indeed Scottish. Everytime the relationships between the different nations in (the current) UK change, it can affect what ‘British’ is, but ‘British’ is still the thing that sums up all the neighbours who live in this part of the world.
    I’m Scottish – I know it’s been done to death a bit, but the idea that being British is like being Scandinavian is what I’m getting at – Scottishness isn’t affected or diluted by being British.
    That doesn’t mean I ‘call myself’ British anymore than I call myself European or anything else, but that in turn doesn’t mean I’m not.
    Anyway, I was just pointing out why that that’s why I don’t like ‘British’ being assigned to the No camp. It’s not something I normally think much about though.

  77. Bill C says:

    @ Ron – I also saw Kelly’s ‘performance’ on Scotland tonight and I agree there does seem to be a tactic of discrediting Holyrood. Certainly, there is little doubt that every time a Labour politican appears on TV he/she avoids the question asked and then immediately attacks AS and the SNP. It is almost as if they are programmed to discuss nothing else but the alleged dishonesty of the SNP Government.

    On a brighter note, I listened to Mike Russell being grilled by Gordon Brewer on Newsnight Scotland and I thought he was excellent. He dealt with the issues raised by Brewer in a very professional and forthright manner. He emphasised that he had made a mistake and had apologised, end of story.  He was not prepared to be bullied by Brewer. Good to see a nationalist politician on the offensive. 

  78. albaman says:

    Paul Martin`s  for the high-jump!.

  79. Morag says:

    Sorry, why?

  80. AndrewFraeGovan says:

    @mrbfaethedee sa
    I don’t know what happened to my post – the middle seems to have disappeared.
    It should have read:
    Britain, Britannia = England. Ask anyone around the world.
    Scotland, Caledonia, is part of Great Britain i.e. Greater England.
    England is welcome to terms like ‘British’, etc as far as I’m concerned.
    We’re Scottish!

  81. Ron says:

    @ Bill C
    Mike Russell was excellent. Unruffled. It’s Gordon Brewer’s style to pick at something over and over when he thinks there is a weakness, often appearing to pretend he isn’t understanding the answer he is getting, but in all honesty he actually did get the most complete explanation I’ve heard out of Russell, and then seemed happy with it.
    I’m not one of those who dislikes Brewer though. I remember him destroying politicians from all sides, was it Andy Kerr he tore to pieces before the 2011 election?

  82. Castle Rock says:

    I’ve got a wee smile on my face.
    We’ve still got two years to go and they are really, really rattled.
    The more information that people have the better informed they will be.
    Johann Lamont is a gift that’s already been unwrapped before the prize has been given, thank you British Labour Party.

  83. mrbfaethedee says:

    Cheers for the clarity, though I got the gist of your post.
    Fair enough on your viewpoint; I’ll not be part of the ‘we’ though – I’ll never be one thing alone, and I’ll not surrender parts.

  84. molly says:

     To whom it may concern
    That behaviour at Holyrood ,worked for you when you were in the Cooncil behind closed doors but in the full glare of the Country ,quite cringe worthy. However the good news is having  used up the goodwill of many voters ,if you ever get back into power (yes you Miss Lamont at the back ) ,do you really think the Scottish public won’t be watching your every word and normal service will resume?
    Scotland is moving on , I heard a jokey comment a few years ago (no offence to ordinary Glaswegians,this is for the politicians ).
    The Captain announces over the tannoy,we’re now landing in Sydney ,please put your watches back one hour.
    The Captain announces over the tannoy,we’re now landing at Glasgow Airport,please put your watches back to 1970- that about sums it up for me. 

  85. Craig P says:

    Cath, that’s great news. Finally Patrick Harvie will get to ask a question at FM questions, get debates in the chamber going, etc. With 5 members they will also get to be on the body that makes decisions on how the parliament is run. As long as they keep Bill Walker at arms length, this can only be good news for the parliament.  

  86. John H says:

    I decided to give FMQ a try yesterday, and witnessed AS tear a strip off of JL. Then, this morning I listened to Radio Scotland’s interpretation of events at around 6.45. To anyone who hadn’t heard FMQ yesterday, the impression given was that JL bravely launched an attack on AS’s competence, while he struggled to give an answer. We also heard more of what she had to say, compared to only a short snippet of him. There can be no doubt that BBC Scotland is working to an agenda, and the people of Scotland are being let down by this behaviour. They deserve a proper debate, not such obvious propaganda. I don’t think that their going to get it though.

  87. Aplinal says:

    I didn’t hear it but am not surprised.  What DID surprise me (although I can see the rationale) was that Blair Jenkins when in front of Ian Davidson MP, (chairchoob of the Scottish Independence Committee for Awful Politicians Arguing Regardless of Clear Evidence Learned Over Frequent Requests and Opening Gambits to Undermine Everything Scottish – thanks BBC Scotlandshire) that he did not see an ‘institutional’ bias in the output of BBC Scotland.
    I hope that this was politics, and he doesn’t REALLY think that!  They (BBC Jockland) are our biggest enemy.  they hide, manipulate, distort and manufacture “the truth” to such a blatant degree that I can not imagine someone who was in the media industry not seeing this.  [Or … I could just be paranoid!]

  88. G H Graham says:

    An article in The Independent today that describes what appears to be excessive quantities & costs of foreign trips made by Westminster MP’s, Sir Alistair Graham, the former chairman of the Committee on Standards in Public Life, said it was important that MPs did not become “little Englanders” but that “serial” trip takers needed to be looked at.

    So there you have it; a British parliamentarian describing other representatives of the British state as “little Englanders”. (I have no idea what this definition actually means)

    This self image though is typical & symptomatic of Westminster; that those in authority view England & Britain as one and the same thing and that the provinces (Scotland, NI & Wales) are somehow, just an anachronistic hangover from the Empire which cause nothing more than an occasional distraction.   


  89. John H says:

    If you’re paranoid Aspinal,then an awful lot of us must be as well. I think I understand what Blair Jenkins is doing. For my own good, I think that I’ll have to change my radio alarm to another station. Getting upset first thing in the morning isn’t good for my health. On the other hand, if I do have a stroke, I’m already lying down.

  90. albaman says:

    Some folk are so slow to realise “tweeting”can be very, very, clangorous!!.  

  91. Aplinal says:

    @John H
    “Aspinal”  Hmmm?  😉  My blog name “APLINAL”is based on mine, my wife’s and my son’s initials.   No worries, as our antipodean cousins might say.
    Yes, I am sure that the YES team are quite well in control.  I look forward to a more “assertive” positioning strategy from the beginning of 2014.

  92. ukp42 says:

    Here’s a word to slip into the conversation today: MUMPSIMUS – A person who sticks to an opinion despite clear evidence that they are wrong. 


  93. MajorBloodnok says:

    The thing is, when I voted in the 2011 election I had never seen FMQ nor had I watched the BBC news for ages – already discredited in my view what with the Iraq war and all their other utilitarian propaganda – but I knew who I wanted the Scottish government to be, based on what they were doing and what their policies were, not what the opposition and their lackeys in the press were accusing them of.  So, I’m with S_S and agree that the long term influence of all this nonsense will be nil at worst and probably beneficial to the YES vote.

    PS – I bought the Herald yesterday at the airport for the first time in months, just to read Ian McWhirter’s piece on Norway.  Great stuff.

  94. Ronald Henderson says:

    What we are witnessing in the Scottish Parliament is Labour behaving in the way they behaved for decades in councils throughout Scotland. Labour stuffed Glasgow and tore the heart out of it to leave us the mess we were left with in the fifties and sixties. It was shite growing up in Glasgow and I couldn’t wait to get out of it. Just a pity I couldn’t take my parents with me: they deserved better.
    Labour can’t help themselves for their attitude as it is within the blood of their culture. They are destroyers, not builders. Small mindedness is endemic to them.

  95. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “I hope that this was politics, and he doesn’t REALLY think that!”

    To be fair, Blair Jenkins came from BBC Scotland and probably doesn’t want to slag off his friends…

  96. John H says:

    Aplinal. Sorry, it was still too early in the morning for me.

  97. Stevie Cosmic says:

    I don’t think any of this juvenile behaviour at Holyrood is anything like ‘scorched earth’ politics. I reckon the answer is much simpler; the unionists are in bed with the MSM, particularly the Scottish Pravda, and in their cosy wee arrangement the opposition supply the drama while the MSM provide the audience….that is all this is.
    Everyone is aware of the second class journalism that’s passed off as legitimate news, and this kind of sub-standard news reporting thrives on sensationalist accusations, allegations and headlines. The opposition and the MSM go together hand in glove in this respect.

  98. AndrewFraeGovan says:

    Surely anyone advocating continued English rule over Scotland must be an English Nationalist.

  99. Aplinal says:

    No problem.  Take it easy and enjoy the weekend 😉

  100. mrbfaethedee says:

    Surely anyone advocating continued English rule over Scotland must be an English Nationalist.
    Please tell me that one wasn’t for me.

  101. AndrewFraeGovan says:

    @ mrbfaethedee
    No, not at all. Your posts would suggest that you do not take the position I referred to, so I can’t imagine why you might think I was referring to you.

  102. mrbfaethedee says:

    Apologies, then and thanks for the response.
    The reason being that I often waffle on trying to explain something (that others seem to do simply), and sometimes don’t quite give a clear account of what I’m getting at.
    Given that we started fom the ‘British = English’ formula, I thought I’d maybe been less than clear about my own opinions, leaving us talking past each other.
    Cheers for the steer.

  103. mrbfaethedee says:

    Also, I should have recalled that we’d been addressing comments to one another by name.
    Sometimes there is no excuse other than that sometimes I’m just a muppet!

  104. AndrewFraeGovan says:

    Nae bother mate!

Comment - please read this page for comment rules. HTML tags like <i> and <b> are permitted. Use paragraph breaks in long comments. DO NOT SIGN YOUR COMMENTS, either with a name or a slogan. If your comment does not appear immediately, DO NOT REPOST IT. Ignore these rules and I WILL KILL YOU WITH HAMMERS.

↑ Top