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The second-class nation

Posted on January 11, 2015 by

Labour, and Gordon Brown in particular, were greatly preoccupied in the days after the referendum with the thought that greater devolution to Holyrood could lead to Scottish MPs at Westminster becoming “second-class” members, should the move lead to restrictions on their voting rights in the Commons.


As yet we don’t know what will become of the drive for “English votes for English laws”. But it’s something of a moot point, because we know that as far as politics (and much else, but we’ll get to football another day) goes, Scots are second-class citizens in the UK already.

We know this because this week the broadcasting regulator Ofcom issued an initial judgement which asserted that the SNP – the party of government in Scotland, with six MPs currently at Westminster and a large lead in current opinion polls – should not be represented in any televised leader debates. The organisation also suggested that UKIP, which currently has two MPs, “may” be considered a “major party” and therefore merit inclusion, but that the Greens, with one MP, wouldn’t.

It’s difficult to know where to start on the issues arising from all of this.

The debates, if they happen, will be several hours of prime-time coverage likely to be watched by tens of millions of people. The participants will effectively get free airtime worth millions of pounds, and the parties excluded will be put at a massive and obvious disadvantage in the election.

Not only will their policies and arguments get less exposure, but their credibility will be damaged by not being seen as serious contenders – a significant drawback in a First Past The Post election where everyone knows that votes for “fringe” parties are normally wasted votes, and that if you’re not one of the big boys there’s no point voting for you.

The definition of a “major party” appears to be either one that stands in all parts of the UK, or one which could plausibly provide the Prime Minister. Yet on the first of those definitions there are NO “major parties”, and on the second the Liberal Democrats would have to be excluded too.

Britain hasn’t elected a Lib Dem PM – or come anywhere close to it – in the party’s entire 27-year life, and the last Liberal one, David Lloyd George, left office in 1922. The party’s best-ever election performance was a decade ago, when it took just 62 seats – 136 short of second place, let alone anywhere near to being the biggest – and it’s expected to struggle to win half that many in May.

As for representing the whole country, none of the “major” parties stand in Northern Ireland, and Tory participation in Scotland is largely for show, as is Labour’s in great swathes of England. Not a single party can legitimately claim to politically encompass the entirety of the country whose parliament Westminster is.


More to the point, though, why does it matter? As the Unionist parties haven’t ceased to gleefully remind us, after the No vote in the referendum, Scotland is still part of the UK. So there in fact aren’t any such things as Scottish MPs or Welsh MPs or Northern Irish MPs. There are British MPs (by which technically-inaccurate looser definition we’re including the geographically-separate Northern Ireland), and that’s that.

With 59 seats, Scotland in particular could have a very much greater say in who eventually forms the next government than any entity outside of Labour and the Conservatives. While by no means certain, it’s absolutely possible on current polling that Nicola Sturgeon will command more seats in the Commons than Nick Clegg, and it’s extremely likely that there will be more SNP MPs than UKIP ones.

So even if we leave aside whether Scottish voters deserve to hear as much from the biggest party in Scotland as they do from three less popular ones, don’t the people of the UK have a right to hear from the party that could well have the decisive say in who ends up as Prime Minister?

Ofcom’s stated justification for including UKIP but excluding the Greens is on the basis not of current seats but opinion polls. Yet if opinion polls are the benchmark, the Lib Dems have no place on the stage. In some recent polls they not only trail the Greens but are only a single point ahead of the SNP in the whole UK. (They also have far fewer members.)

The regulator can’t have it both ways. If polling is the guideline, polls have for months now predicted the SNP capturing 40-50 seats. (We remain sceptical about whether than can or will happen in reality, but it’s what the figures say.) On that criterion they will be the third-biggest UK party and probably key to who forms the government.

If current Parliamentary representation is the rule, clearly UKIP have no business in the debates, having had no MPs at all until a matter of weeks ago and being unlikely to reach double figures in May. They certainly shouldn’t be getting precedence over the SNP, who have three times as many.

And if being a significant force nationwide is the primary factor, then in truth Labour would be debating itself. It at least has significant numbers of MPs in three of the UK’s four constituent countries. The Tories are overwhelmingly an English party, with just nine out of 117 seats – that’s a miserable and scarcely believable 7.7% – in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland combined. Even the Lib Dems have more, with 14, or 12%. (Labour has 56% of non-English seats and 36% of English ones.)

Ofcom has to get off the pot and decide what constitutes a major party in a UK election, and therefore who should feature in the debates. It has several options, and for each we’ll list the parties who would get to appear in the debate under that criterion, in order of the merit of their inclusion.

NOTE: These aren’t our predictions but the outcomes suggested by current polls.

1. Parties which could provide the next Prime Minister:


2. Parties which could decide who forms the next government:

Lib Dems

3. Parties with significant UK-wide representation:


4. Parties which contest seats in every part of the UK:

An empty room

5. Parties which may have >10 seats in the next Parliament:

Lib Dems

6. Parties with seats in the current Parliament

Lib Dems

By any measure, then, there are NO defensible grounds for any debate which includes the Lib Dems or UKIP but exclude the SNP. The only reason to bar them is that they’re Scottish. In other words, Scotland’s MPs are worth less than MPs from other parts of the UK, and therefore by extension Scottish votes are worth less than other people’s votes.

Welcome to the second-class carriage of politics, readers.

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5 Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. 11 01 15 16:40

    The second-class nation - Speymouth

  2. 11 01 15 17:07

    The second-class nation | Politics Scotland | ...

  3. 15 01 15 13:15

    Should the SNP and Greens be included in leaders’ debates?

  4. 17 01 15 02:54

    Greens overtake UKIP and Lib Dems! | Scottish Statesman - Scottish News, Opinion & Comment

  5. 07 09 15 05:58

    Greens Overtake UKIP and Lib Dems | Modern Scot

199 to “The second-class nation”

  1. 4. Parties which contest seats in every part of the UK:

    An empty room

    NI Green Party.

  2. Murray McCallum says:

    If the United Kingdom is a union of nations then surely the correct basis is to look at each nation individually and see what are the main parties within each.

    The SNP and Plaid would both be represented as each are a significant part of their nation’s politics.

    People across the entire UK should be better informed of each nation’s individual politics. Otherwise how do we politically educate ourselves and understand each other?

  3. Scott says:

    Taken from an article in the Herald (, an Ofcom response:

    “It stressed that the consultation relates to party election broadcasts, not the proposed leaders’ debates. The decision on which leaders are represented in any possible election debates is an editorial matter for broadcasters in agreement with the political parties taking part, not Ofcom.”

    So basically what they’re saying is that they have nothing to do with election debates?

  4. Dave says:

    Also Plaid Cymru and the northern Irish parties have seats in parliament.

  5. Simon Chadwick says:

    Why don’t labour or conservative stand candidates in nI?

  6. Simon Chadwick says:

    Cynicalhighlander, I believe the green parties are seperate independent parties, sharing only the name and broad political flavour. Not mere ‘accounting units like some ‘Scottish’ parties.

  7. Jamie says:

    Just a tweak – the reason they’re excluded is because they’re not English. Or, even more to the point, they aren’t part of the London metropolitan club. If you’re not in with the London crowd then you’re not a real party, in their eyes. I have a relative involved in a major political party in London and, let me tell you, the circles in which he moves are incredibly clique-ish. It’s not just Scots who get shafted (though of course we do); it’s anyone from outside the London club, because the Establishment is extremely navel-gazing and can’t take them seriously.

  8. orzel says:

    The irony is that skip contest seats ukip contested seats in all constituent countries at least they did in the euro electionsin the euro elections

  9. G H Graham says:

    We’re all, right Charlies.

  10. Dcanmore says:

    Part and parcel of reducing Scotland and its people to regional status, thus the SNP become a regional party like the Catalans and Basques in Spain. If the Scotch become shouty then just ignore them and they’ll go away, meanwhile on the BBC The Great British …

  11. Alex Clark says:


    From the Revs link to the Ofcom article:

    4. It is the responsibility of broadcasters to determine the structure, format and style of election coverage such as leaders’ debates. The decision on which leaders are represented in any possible election debates is an editorial matter for broadcasters in agreement with the political parties taking part.

    So, it would seem that any debate between party leaders is at the discretion of the broadcasters.

    The point though is surely that this decision gives the broadcasters an excuse to exclude SNP and the Greens as they can point to the fact that Ofcom have ruled they are not “Major Parties” so must be excluded.

    It’s another stitch up by a government quango to stifle democracy.

  12. Dennis mclaughlin says:

    Now come off it Stu, we cannae huv ‘insurgents’on national television….remember Maggies mantra on the oxygen of publicity….

  13. msean says:

    Seems to me it is all gerrymandering to retain control.

  14. Kenzie says:

    Televised debates for the upcoming GE will be like tits on a bull – non-existent.

    Cameron doesn’t want them; he’s terrified of them for the simple reason that they will expose him as the vacuous oaf that he is. Just like last time and he’s not going to take that risk.

  15. Geoff Huijer says:

    One Nation eh? Better Together and all that…

  16. msean says:

    They can afford to ignore Scotland.I voted YES,but, we as a nation voted NO and shot ourselves in the foot in the process,can’t expect any less. Getting what we voted for it seems.

  17. fred blogger says:

    exactly right, the snp are excluded because they are the only UK wide party that will fight the imp establishment in UKWM’s own back yard.
    so who will represent the country of scotlands voice, in the UK?
    if there is an m/t room re ‘Parties which contest seats in every part of the UK:’ then another solution is available!
    the snp wouldn’t have to win any seats in, just stand for election.
    there is no such thing as bad publicity.

  18. turnip_ghost says:

    Rev you missed Option 7 : Anybody but ruddy separatists

  19. fred blogger says:

    ‘there is no such thing as bad publicity.’
    well ok on 2nd thoughts, saying that is a bit rash!

  20. iain taylor (not that one) says:

    Scotland voted to be 2nd class. 55% are happy with it that way.

  21. Alastair Wright says:

    There is another measure they could use. Any serious, major political party will have been formulated for a significant period of time – so that would be oldest first;
    1) Labour
    2) SNP
    oh! that won’t work either……

  22. Lollysmum says:

    Murray McCallum says at 3.20pm

    ‘People across the entire UK should be better informed of each nation’s individual politics. Otherwise how do we politically educate ourselves and understand each other?’

    This is absloutely the last thing WM wants. Educated electorate means people see through their lies. This artificial separation is there by design. Give SNP, Plaid or Greens a national platform & all of UK electorate will become aware of possibilities/alternatives to current policies being rammed down our throats.

    Before the referendum the debates were being televised but not shown here in England. There was uproar online, in social media & MSM. So much so that plans had to be changed to show the following ones in England as well.

    People here were genuinly interested but were being denied access to that information. The denial of access was blamed on BBC decisions but they were the scapegoat on this occasion. Yes BBC agreed with the decision but Better Together made that decision & were forced to back down by rUk electorate.

  23. Doug Morrison says:

    I’m genuinely a fairly peaceful chap, but there are times I feel like murdering somebody (don’t worry, it’ll pass). Just who do these bloody superior toffee nosed bastards think they are? Our overlords? Ah, right, now I understand. Silly me.

  24. Jimbo says:

    It’s the establishment, isn’t it?

    The SNP are not seen as, or ever becoming, part of the London establishment.

    France is the cradle of true modern republican democracy. England on the other hand, and by default, Scotland, is still run by the aristocracy and the rich elite. The SNP, because of their intention to set free the Scottish golden goose from their captivity, will never be part of this establishment.

  25. Luigi says:

    If the SNP are to be excluded, then the debate should not be broadcast in Scotland. Have seperate debates for the four nations, if necessary.

  26. Derek says:

    6. Parties with seats in the current Parliament

    Lib Dems

    …and the Northern Irish ones, presumably?

  27. Lollysmum says:

    Democracy, participation & free speech at it’s finest. Argyl & Bute

  28. Craig Murray says:

    Rev, you missed the actual criterion. Parties with male leaders who support Trident and are based in England.

  29. wingman 2020 says:

    Check these links out.

    Massive multiple responses required.

  30. wingman 2020 says:

    Stu has given us the ammo…. Lets all fire it!

  31. Alex Clark says:


    Now that is a solution I could just about live with.

    Cameron, Miliband, Clegg and Farage even, can come up here and be shown exclusively on a television debate in Scotland.

    Same for the rest of the UK, they can have their own debates. If Westminster want to rule Scotland they have a duty to defend their position on Scottish matters in Scotland.

    All the other debates that might take place don’t matter to me.

  32. Marie clark says:

    @ Luigi 4.30. Agree sir, if SNP excluded the debates should not be shown in Scotland. But those slippery bastards at PQ are sure to find a way round it, as in just ignore us and carry on.

    It’s a bloody disgrace the way we are being treated.

  33. Legerwood says:

    There are currently 12 political parties represented in Parliament plus 3 independent MPs. The whole idea of having debates which exclude parties which have MPs is ludicrous and every reason advanced for excluding/including one party and not another has been shown to be based on dodgy logic.

    It would be far better if each party leader was subjected to an extensive interview – but even that idea is flawed because it puts parties without MPs at a disadvantage eg The Scottish Green party. They came close to getting an MEP and if they had got the same TV exposure as UKIP in Scotland they might have succeeded.

    Perhaps there is far too much concentration on leaderrs, or at least some of them, and their personalities rather than on policies and individual candidates in the constituencies.

    Debates reduce the whole business to the level of a beauty contest – form over substance.

  34. Jimbo says:

    @ Lollysmum

    The Labour/Tory coalition in Falkirk did the very same thing back in 2010.

    Since they didn’t have the number of activists equal to the SNP they decided the best policy was to circumvent democracy.

  35. Bob Mack says:

    We are a FIRST CLASS NATION, with a first class Holyrood government but a third class Westminster government.

  36. BrianW says:

    Business us usual for the Political Scene in the U.K then.

  37. Taranaich says:

    The SNP and PC aren’t just second class, they’re considered active enemies of the state. After all, their entire reason for being is to gain Scottish and Welsh independence, which the Westminster parties perceive as “breaking up the UK”. How many times have we heard some commentator mock SNP candidates for daring to want to hold Westminster to account when they want to break up the UK? Therefore not only do they not want the SNP & PC to get airtime, they are actively working to prevent it from happening.

    Back in the ’90s, it was easy to just put Alex Salmond or whoever on TV for a bit of fun and colour: the “Nats” where just fringe loons then, no serious danger of upsetting the apple cart yet. Now they’re the dominant party in the Scottish Parliament, and it’s very possible they could end up the dominant party of the Scots’ contingent of Westminster MPs.

    The Westminster parties know they cannot afford to let the SNP look like legitimate contenders and players on the UK stage, because the SNP will varnish the floors of Whitehall with their brains and hang their worthless hides on brambles. If they didn’t dare have the First Minister debate with the Prime Minister during a referendum where they commanded a healthy lead for most of the campaign, then there’s no way they’ll put every Westminster party leader in the line of the SNP’s fire, or the Greens or PC.

    We won’t see the SNP in any of these debates, and we surely won’t see any SNP party political broadcasts. It’s lose-lose for Westminster: either they let the SNP past the castle walls, or they keep them out and make their case even stronger. All they can do is batten down the hatches and hope to survive the SNP surge.

  38. Stoker says:

    Does anyone know of any way either the BBC or Ofcom can be reported?

    The UK’s third largest political party is being shut out in favour of a minority political party.

    This has to infringe on some form of European Human Rights or at the very least it has to break rules somewhere.

    This is pure and simple gerrymandering in its rawest form.

    Scotland is deliberately being denied a voice, and they wonder why we don’t want to be a part of their filthy “UK democracy?”

    I take it, since the devolved Scottish Government will not be allowed to have representation in these debates, that BBC Scotland will not be televising them in the interests of BBC “balance” claims and standards?

  39. Cuilean says:

    THis is another stitch up by the British Establishment. Look at who sits on Ofcom’s Board of Directors, ex-BBC & Channel 4 Directors, a former House of Lords tory whip, in short all have close ties to the status quo ‘Big Two’ poltical parties. On OFCOM’s website they are ‘engaging’ with the public and asking for YOUR views on political broadcasts so let’s all get cracking and tell them what we think of their second-class treatment of all Scots! Another periphery Ofcom uses to decide who is a ‘major party’ is the number of people who are party members. Well, the SNP is nudging 95,000 (or may have exceeded it by now) whilst the Liberals for the whole UK have 44,000 members, UKIP has 42,000 members, The Green Party of England & Wales has 32,000 and the Scottish Green Party (quite separate from the English & Welsh Green Party) has 7,500. So, to OFCOM, an English & Welsh Green vote is worth three times more than an SNP vote (Scottish Greens are excluded as well as the SNP, because, yes, you’ve guessed it, they are Scottish); and a Liberal and UKIP voter is worth double an SNP voter. Thank you NO voters, once again. YOu should be happy, this is what you voted for; being a complete irrelevance to the running of your country.

  40. desimond says:

    Is there a 4 letter word missing before the OF in Ofcom?

    We will get Murphy and Nicola along with 1 seat Ruth debating on bbc2

  41. Sandra Wilson says:

    I was brought up never to hate. Sod that I hate the establishment. They are rotten to the core

  42. gerry parker says:

    @ Jimbo and Lollysmum

    North Lanarkshire too.

    I’ve a freedom of information request in regarding the background to the decision.

  43. liz says:

    I know it wont make the slightest bit of difference but have emailed my response to the BBC using a combination of this article and Scot goes Pop.

    I finished by saying it could be seen to be discrimination for excluding all the parties with female leaders.

    They will deny this but since it’s against the law to discriminate on the grounds of gender, it was worth sticking in.

    The establishment in this country gets more arrogant by the day, what with the Royals now excluded from FOI and Andy buying a £15m ski lodge during times of austerity.

  44. heedtracker says:

    Non existent nation more like. Here in England, now the evil and cruel AlicSamin has been crushed, their Scotland has been saved for them, Scotland is never mentioned much at all, apart from the weather or maybe a dog is in peril somewhere. Its extremely creepy the way England focused so hard in trying to stop Scotland existing in the run up to 18th Sept 2014. Now its all over, it really is all over, they think.

  45. Patrick Roden says:

    If Ofcom are saying it is the broadcasters who will decide who attends the Leaders Debate and the SNP are excluded, there must be a full scale campaign for Scots to stop paying the BBC Licence Fee as well as boycott STV, or any channel who excludes our political representatives.

    This I believe, will present the SNP/Scottish Government with the ideal and justified opportunity to call out the BBC for their continued and blatant bias, and for laws to be introduced in which Scottish Courts can be instructed not to pursue Scots who stop paying the licence fee, and who indicate that they are doing so due to a perception of Inadequate political representation from the BBC.

    The 4rth Estate is an integral part of a true democracy and to continue being treated like this by the broadcast media is an affront to Scottish democracy and something that the SNP AND LABOUR (who now claim to be Scottish again) must make a stand against.

    So any SNP MSP’s /MP’s looking in (as we know you do) please look at introducing a law in Scotland that excludes Scots from any prosecution for non-payment of the licence fee, who write a pre- written letter to the BBC sighting the exclusion of Scotlands biggest political party from leaders debates and a lack of commitment from the BBC for fairness in Scottish Political reporting.

  46. R-type Grunt says:

    It was ever thus. It’s Brits v Scots and always has been, all the rest is just for decoration.

  47. Effijy says:

    Would SNP qualify if we sent one candidate to stand in England?
    Perhaps East Sussex where they were going to burn that effigy
    of Alex Slamond?
    Maybe in the Westminster ward where the richest Tories
    could vote SNP to rid themselves of the plebs before they catch
    something other than their Fish, Whisky and Oil?

  48. Effigy says:

    The very next person to sign up to the petition demanding a
    Public Enquiry into BBC Bias will be Number 86,000.
    14,000 more guarantees that the Enquiry must take place!

  49. Alex Clark says:

    In the end democracy and freedom of speech will win out. It cannot be denied forever.

    Like Poe’s story, “The Fall of the House of Usher” the crack in the establishment is widening just as the House of Commons and House of Lords crumble.

    Let’s hasten their demise, Red Tory Book another weapon in the armory.

  50. ScottieDog says:

    This is why I no longer have a TV licence.

  51. ScottieDog says:

    Just what I was thinking. These English TV debates shouldn’t be televised up here. Simple.
    Why should labour, Tories and fib dems get twice the air time of scottish parties?

  52. Robert Kerr says:

    Rev Stu

    Obviously the Labour Party are considered to be part of the “Establishment”.

    How did this happen? When was the party gelded and tamed?

    Perhaps reference to Dr. Gordon Brown’s PhD thesis may help…. or perhaps not.

  53. ScottieDog says:

    Kind of ironic that David Cameron has gone to Paris to defend freedom of speech.

  54. Lollysmum says:

    Jimbo & Gerry Parker

    Thanks for that info. I find it unbelievable. Here in Bedfordshire we still have LibDem posters up from 2010 General Election. Didn’t get them anywhere though-Labour incumbent has been sitting for years!

  55. Luigi says:

    If the broadcasters insist on showing a political debate excluding the SNP in Scotland – could this be challenged legally in some way in order to prevent it?

  56. muttley79 says:

    Luigi is right, if there is no SNP presence in the debates, then it should not be broadcast in Scotland. They cannot have it both ways.

  57. muttley79 says:


    The SNP went to court on the issue in 2010. Unfortuantely they left it too late. Hopefully they are going to do it sooner this time.

  58. davidb says:

    Aye but.

    In a real democracy the participants would be sufficiently confident of their positions to be happy to debate those with competitors. That we have establishment gerrymandering going on shows they are scared.

    If televised debates do take place what will we see? Cleggie defending a position nobody believes? He has demonstrated his fresh alternative voice last time out was hogwash. So I doubt if anything he says will cause a Libdem revival.

    If Farage gets on he will be the Cleggie2015 model. He’ll say lots of populist stuff that scares both Ed and Dave, influence the more extreme supporters of both sides, and ultimately is unlikely to set the heather on fire in Scotlandshire. Besides, what is he going to tell us that is new? But because of his rhetoric, Ed and Dave both fear him.

    So what’s the main attraction? The Ed and Dave show? Dave might be a pompous, smug chap, but Ed will be like Student Gwant in the Union Debating Hall. He will come off badly, talk mince and Dave will outshine him.

    So the upshot for Scotland will be what? Tories ain’t going to win here however Dave does. Labour won’t improve their poll ratings by Ed’s performance, and IMHO that will prevent people switching to Labour near the finish line. The Libdems are spent, its a rearguard action from them. And Farage is really going to take SNP votes alone?

    A bigger menace to the SNP is not the inclusion or otherwise from any debate, rather its the State Broadcaster being an extension of the Labour Party. Surely there is some Human Rights law being broken by those bastards?

    So complain yes, bitterly. Its an affront to democracy. But I doubt it will matter a jot. We should have the boots on the ground ( I hope ). Doorstepping. Relentless canvassing. A plague on the MOT. If anything, their deliberate efforts to silence us should be pointed out to voters. They are so frightened of the truth we speak they try to stop you, dear voter, from even hearing it.

  59. Chiterinlicht says:

    This is pure pish. Quite angry! What to do?

  60. Lollysmum says:

    @ Taranaich

    Precisely. You said it much more eloquently than I could.
    SNP is a threat & in concert with Plaid & Greens even more so in WM. They can’t afford alternative voices being heard because it threatens their gravy train.

    There is no way that Cameron will debate anyone-he is absolutely useless in such gatherings. Alex would have wiped the floor with him at Indyref. Nicola does have them worried as she can be a scrapper & is happy to mix it with any of them. She wiped the floor with Galloway & he was certainly better than all the current crop of party leaders.

    Millibland-well what can you say-he’ll turn up but won’t be comfortable in that setting. Debates really aren’t his thing-takes him too long to think (hello, Bedroom Tax). He can’t fly by the seat of his pants unlike AS & NS & always runs the risk of making himself look a prize idiot.Murphy is even worse as he can’t answer any question when pressed.

    SNP has the two leading politicians in the land (UK) & the WM based crew are very aware of that. They won’t put themselves in any position where they have to face either unfortunately because an unintended outcome would be that they would wake up the English & Welsh electorates too. Huge compliment really to SNP but means there is no chance of them debating in main debates.

  61. Clootie says:

    We can rave all we want but the Imperial Masters were never going to permit our inclusion in the debates.

    Ofcom has too many members already with title or seeking title to go against the wishes of the establishment.

    I wonder how they will exclude the SNP in 2020 with 40 seats (Although I hope we have another referendum by then)

  62. caz-m says:

    The Establishment are treating this the way they treated the Referendum. They want the SNP Scottish voice taken right out of the equation, they will lie to the electorate, making all sorts of promises, until the GE is over, THEN they will lets us out of our box, when it will too late, again.

    The SNP has to become more aggressive towards Westminster, stop rollin over to these bastards, you can set the agenda. No SNP, then No debates, full stop.

  63. west_lothian_questioner says:

    desimond says:

    “We will get Murphy and Nicola along with 1 seat Ruth debating on bbc2”

    Wullie Rennie and Patrick Harvie too, not forgetting Colin Fox and maybe Tommy Sheridan. I’d watch that, even on the BBC

  64. muttley79 says:


    Agree with your post, but the SNP can only really take the issue to court(which I expect them to do shortly). Beyond that there really is not a lot more they can do. The problem is not the SNP, it is the British state and their cheerleaders.

  65. wingman 2020 says:

    The National will be running with this story I presume?

  66. Scott says:

    @caz-m There isn’t actually much the SNP can do at present, especially considering that broadcasting is sadly a reserved matter.

    On a UK-level the SNP simply don’t have the influence to set the agenda. Ironically they will do after the election if the polls are accurate though.

  67. Tam Jardine says:

    The leaders debates represent a complete subversion of democracy and should not take place (public appetite regardless).

    The ballot paper you are presented with, regardless of whether you are voting for a policy or who should be prime minister, or because your dad always voted labour or whatever, you are voting for a candidate to represent your constituency. So why should one or two or three or even five candidates have an advantage.

    It is completely undemocratic. It’s not a presidential election. And if the people demand it surely some publicly funded body has to govern it, rather than sky ITV or BBC, none of whom are impartial organisations, least of all BBC!

    If this goes ahead we should do the mother of all protests.

  68. wingman 2020 says:

    Online response page is now under maintenance? Really? Are they kidding?

  69. Anne Meikle says:

    If UKIP are to be beamed into Scottish homes as a major party, while the party of Government in Scotland is not represented, then that is the absolute end game for democracy. Who are the broadcasters anyway to decide who and who will not be heard. The day of multi parties is here and we demand representation on tv debates.

  70. wingman 2020 says:

    @Tam Jardine

    If this goes ahead we should do the mother of all protests

    Something that grabs the Worlds attention

  71. Valerie says:

    @scottiedog 5.58. I was watching Paris on Al Jazeera most of the day, and was thinking the same thing of Cameron. He mentioned freedom from oppression, and yet their attack on welfare benefits alone has been successfully fought in the EU courts, by various groups.

    What about their current attacks on trade union rules, insisting on 40% turnout, and yet it is repeatedly said a mere few in the UK parliament got their seat on that figure.

    I live in Nth Lanarkshire, and the Labour council has decreed we cannot put political signs on the lamp posts now, following the referendum. A decision taken for spite.

    This govt. Is attacking so many of our basic freedoms.

  72. Tam Jardine says:

    wingman 2020

    Agreed. PQ x 100 for each of the debates. And with SNP official support there is no reason why we should not get every able bodied member out.

    It’s going to come to pass – the debate is deliberately on whether the green party should be involved ie SNP involvement is not a remote possibility.

    When broadcasters decide who gets punted in elections it is time for the populace to take to the streets

  73. Dr Jim says:

    Westminster is racist towards Scotland we know that but they only get away with it because we’re mostly white people, if we we’re mostly black we’d have a better chance at human rights, it just goes to show no wonder black people have felt disenfranchised for so long, now i’m not saying all English are racist far from it but it makes me wonder that if i were something else i might get noticed more, so i suppose i’ll just have to be content to be a Sweaty Sock, a Jock, a Thieving Paddy, a lazy Taff and i’m sure there are many more Nicknames for us provincials but a Nickname for them escapes me, Funny that…
    No offence to anyone is inferred by this Particular Citizen

  74. heedtracker says:

    Last week I was watching the news with an English chum at work and it came up that “we lost the referendum,” so belt up basically. It wasn’t me that said it, but it angered the dude a lot so with that alpha male Rule Britannia full flow he came back with “what do you mean, you lost?!”

  75. Tam Jardine says:

    wingman 2020

    As for being a stakeholder- we each held a stake on the 18th September… We needed just over 1.8 million of us to drive it in. Came up a couple of hundred short but I’m sure next time the vampire state will die!

  76. caz-m says:

    Re. muttley 79 6.37pm

    If the SNP do take the broadcasters to court, does it not put a halt on the whole process. Are the debates not deemed illegal until the courts clarify who is right and who is wrong.

    I hope I am right here, but would like to hear your thoughts on that. I am really up for all Parties to be included in all the debates.

    This is nothing more than the Establishment slapping down those uppity Scots, again.

    “No your limits Scotland”

  77. Charles mc says:

    The snp should put a candidate in every constituency in the uk.

  78. Alex Clark says:

    Who says that Yes id dead? Many are wringing their hands in dispair. There is still work to be done.

    “What can I do?” well, you could do worse than coming along to Dundee this Sat 17th Jan for the Alliance for Scotland “One Convention One City” event.

    Taking place at Dundee University, four separate meaningful debates will take place between 10:00 and 17:00.

    Speakers include, just some of whom I’m sure you will know of:

    Allan Grogan – SSP

    Cat Boyd – Radical Independence

    Robin McAlpine – Common Weal

    Gordon MacIntyre-Kemp – Business for Scotland

    Not forgetting Lindsay Jarret, climber of Edinburgh Castle post referendum which possibly had the most posts ever for an article on Wings.

    From the other side, we have the likes of:

    Professor John Curtice – Psephologist

    David Clegg – Political Editor Daily Record.

    David Torrance will be chairing the debates.

    There will also be a few stalls from various groups including Wings. So if you do make it, mind stop by and say hello.

    Tickets cost £5.50 each, I guess the Uni has to be paid and any travel costs for the debaters. Anyhow details here, you can print your ticket at home and just turn up when it suits.

  79. Mealer says:

    It all reinforces a THEM/US situation in Scotland.At a time when the unionist establishment claim to want to heal any division,they are actually accentuating it.They intend excluding from debate the spokesperson who represents the aspirations of nearly half of the Scottish people.

  80. Calgacus says:

    They can’t have the SNP on a national debate because they might catch a virus from the sweaty socks. Bastards.

    We are now entering the post democratic phase.

  81. Jimbo says:

    @ Wingman 2020

    We could make our voices heard here:

  82. mogabee says:

    If a multi-party debate of SNP, Greens and SSP were to be held online with publicity via posters, billboards etc. Could that not achieve some measure of notoriety similar to the “Imperial Masters” video?

    I know it’s not an answer but…

  83. Calgacus says:

    Dr.Jim, I believe that their nickname is Cunts

  84. Les Wilson says:

    This all boils down to containment, stifle the SNP in a nutshell.
    No democracy for Scotland, and they will bend any rules to ensure it.
    It is Scotland v Unionists, again. Or if you prefer, Scotland v Westminster.
    Make your own choice!, but it is real, and it is happening, again!

  85. wingman 2020 says:

    It was said before on here and I am just repeating it.

    It is time for a Scottish Trust funded by our annual £145 licence fees.

    Imagine 200,000 households x 145 per annum…

    We really could do something with that. My money is available to start.

  86. David Anderson says:

    My complaint has been sent to OFCOM, their reasoning and actions are a complete bunch of erse. Inexcusable and adds insult to the democratic deficit injury already sustained by the electorate.

  87. Alex Clark says:

    @Tam Jardine & wingman 2020

    100,000+ pro Independence party members plus their family and friends would soon put the wind up these state broadcasters and their political masters.

    We demand an answer on this soon else we start to organise.

  88. muttley79 says:


    No, only a verdict that was favourable to the SNP would affect the TV debates. They tried in 2010, but left it too late. I would expect them to launch a court case (or whatever the legal term is for a challenge) very soon.

  89. Dr Jim says:

    Aye, canny argue!

  90. Dave McEwan Hill says:

    Calgacus at 7.21
    Ah. Campaign Urging No To Scotland.
    I got flung oot of Newsnet for that wee joke.

  91. De Valera says:

    Scandinavian countries and Eire include all party leaders in their televised debates as mentioned by Munguin here
    As stated below the picture, the Irish are probably just cleverer than we are, after all 55% of them don’t think they can’t govern themselves.

  92. pipinghot says:

    @ Clootie 6.23pm

    Soldiers on the streets?

  93. Lollysmum says:

    Wingman 2020
    Excellent idea-that would raise a good sum towards an Independent TV channel. I’m in-got my refund from EBC -anyone else?

  94. Tam Jardine says:

    Re the SNP’s response I would like to see a bit of creative thinking – a legal challenge doomed to failure is one thing but if they simply acquiesce all the time the establishment wins as it did again and again during the indyref.

    Public information ads in newspapers on this assault on democracy would be a start. Dragging broadcasters over the coals in the Holyrood committees? Withdrawing access for journalists of broadcasters who are subverting democracy?

    I don’t know what they can get away with but we cant let the elite subvert democracy again and again. What will happen if ukip, lib dems, labour and tories are beamed in during this election against the principles of democracy is that the parties exposed will receive a bounce, just as ukip enjoyed due to the endless coverage during the euro election.

    I did read a Commons (or Lords?) paper on this issue some time ago that went into this in some depth – if anyone has a link that would be useful to re read

  95. liz says:

    @Effigy, I mentioned this before, if the petition is from 38degrees, the government can ignore.

    Only official petitions on the UK Gov website are accepted.

  96. Effijy says:

    Please take a few moments to read the esteem with which Westminster politicians and their Military has held the Scots.

    Highland Clearances and the The Jacobite Rising of 1745-46

    Piper James Reed, a rebel piper, was taken prisoner of war at the battle of Culloden. His plea of not carrying arms and of merely being a musician was believed spurious and the case of armed rebellion against the crown was proven. It was in the experience of the court that a highland regiment had neither marched nor fought without a piper being present and therefore the bagpipe in the eye of the law was an instrument of War.
    James Reed was then hanged, drawn and quartered
    at the gates of York.
    Parliament then past a law ending the old highland way of life,
    including the playing of bagpipes.
    Proscription made it illegal to wear tartan, speak Gaelic
    or wear a kilt. Many were executed for such acts.

    In the Great War, over 20% of all “UK” Soldiers killed were Scottish, even though they represented less than 10% of the population.

    The McCrone Report suggested that newly found Scottish Oil reserves would make Scots the 2nd or 3rd richest nation on earth, if they were to claim Independence. The Report was locked away for 30 years to ensure the Westminster elite filled their pockets

    Thomas Hamilton, responsible for the Dunblane Massacre, had links to Senior Politicians, so Tony Blair classed the related information as an official secret and we can all access it in 100 years time?????

    The Tory Party proposed that the Scots were to be treated as guinea pigs in introducing the Poll Tax.

    The night before the Scottish Parliament was formed, the Labour Party redrew the maritime boundary between Scotland and England giving the English 6,000 square miles of Scottish territory!

    The referendum Purdah was broken just a couple of days before the election, but no action was to be taken on this illegal act?

    Tory Ruth Davidson inadvertently claimed to have seen opened samples of the Postal Ballot Papers prior to the election?

    Treasury Representatives agreed to confirm that the RSB would
    relocate their brass plaque to London in the event of Independence. The Treasury are obliged to inform the Stock Market before anyone can hear of such activities. Actions taken against them, absolutely nothing?

    Joanne Lamont (Labour) assures that there is no Scottish Labour party as they must take instruction from Westminster. Dud Smurphy
    says that he now decides what policy is in Scotland, but has to ask Westminster Labour for funds? His latest statement, They now
    put Scotland first, is another way of saying that they never did it before, although they say that they did.Sounds like they Lie!!

  97. Cag-does-thinking says:

    O/T anybody notice that poor shrinking violet Nick Robinson bleating that he needed bodyguards when in Scotland in today’s Sun? Maybe the BBC would lose impartiality to carry the story …..

  98. robertknight says:

    About time the SNP fielded a candidate in South Berwick. Who cares about the result – they can’t then be accused of being a Scotland only party.

  99. frazer allan whyte says:

    When the natives in a colony get uppity don’t expect their “imperial masters” to give them a voice – it just encourages them. They must learn their place in the order of things and keep to it.

  100. Sinky says:

    The Sunday Times reports

    that SNP to be offered debate by STV but this will just be a Scottish leaders debate and suits Murphy’s agenda to attack the SNPs Scottish Parliament record rather than Westminster issues such as Labour not voting for the Bedroom Tax etc.

  101. caledonia says:

    No voters need to be told that pooling and sharing really means England first and the Scots get the scraps

    To simply use the excuse that the SNP is not UK wide would mean that the tories/labour are the same as they do not have canditates in Nothern Ireland

  102. Training Day says:

    A majority of Scots voted to be second class, an addendum to England. We can be sure of that because the referendum wasn’t rigged.

  103. velofello says:

    @ Simon Chadwick – ” why don’t labour or conservatives contest seats in NI?”.

    Well I think that they are not much concerned should NI opt to merge with the Irish Republic, and NI is possibly a drain on their holy of holies – money. Scotland however is a cash cow and a substantial part of the UK land mass and so must be held close.

    The approach to Scotland from a small, by global measures, self-assured England, is to say ” you are too wee too small and too stupid to run your own affairs”. Many Scots are it is argued, are by nature cautious and inclined to be swayed by this.

    In a farm of cows, goats, bulls, – a bluebottle, England, is saying to a fly, Scotland, you are too wee.I chose to omit reference to sheep as I don’t want to offend 55%, allegedly, of our population. And if I mentioned sheep I’d need to mention collies – resourceful, intelligent, and loyal creatures – no need to flatter the +45%, that just wouldn’t be Scottish.

  104. Kilsally says:

    Several points here.

    1) The DUP have 8 MP`s (and probably 9 come GE2015). Sinn Fein have 5, SDLP 3 and Alliance 1 – all are in the NI executive (UUP is also calssed as a major party in NI) – if the SNP is entitled then so are they.

    2) Labour lifted their ban on membership in Northern Ireland about 5 years ago but the STILL ban members from standing for election in Northern Ireland.

    3) UKIP are the only party to stand in all four constituent parts of the UK and have elected reps in all 4 parts.

  105. Tam Jardine says:


    Thanks for posting the times link… it turns out Nicola Sturgeon’s opposite number in labour is apparently branch leader Jim Murphy rather than Ed Miliband?

    Nicola should tell STV to shove their 2nd division debate up their hole – these bastards in Westminster can’t pick and choose when we are part of the UK. They wanted us to stay, did everything to keep us. Well, they kept us so they can bloody well shove over the bed a bit.

  106. caz-m says:

    Can anyone make car stickers and window posters with the words,

    “Red Tories Out”

    I am keen to get these on my car and house, along side my YES car stickers and posters.

    If you can get these made up, can I put in an order for two million of each.

    Also badges, wristbands and flags.

  107. Chic McGregor says:

    Is the real reason not simply that the SNP are Scottish and therefore they don’t count because no-one else is interested?

  108. Chic McGregor says:

    In other words, your British, but your the bit of Britain that has to shut up and sit in the corner.

  109. Iain Gray's Subway Lament says:

    It’s not as if there is a difficult solution to this as you just have the debates with six leaders instead of four or five.

    I also guarantee that a debate that has the SNP, Labour, the lib dems, the kippers and the tories represented would be watched by far more people than the usual bland westminster party stitch up.

    In fact seven leaders could quite easily be put accomodated so we could have the Greens there too. There is no reason whatsoever not to have a debate with multiple leaders on stage at once and they could be extended a bit to make certain everyone has a reasonable amount of time to make their points.

    The fact is that even the likes of question time on the unionist BBC frequently has five panelists questioned and allowed to speak on multiple topics who get their point across. That’s only on for an hour after all. So instead of five you could easily have six or even seven leaders do the same in two to two and half hours with several debates allowing coverage of all the most important topics.

    There would be no trouble at all doing so logistically (the broadcasters could actually cope easily with having six or even seven podiums) so the only possible reason for not allowing the SNP or the greens would be a clear unionist party bias among the broadcasters and westminster parties.

    That obvious and grossly unfair bias showing the usual westminster contempt for so many of scotland’s voters is a complete repudiation of all the “Better Together” propaganda. Something we in the SNP and the other Yes parties will be pointing out to voters on the street and on the doorstep. Count on it.

    Assuming this farce does go ahead and is yet another public schoolboy westminster bubble establishment stitch up.

  110. john king says:

    I haven’t read all the other posts so apologies if someone has already said this but doesn’t the Scottish Government have case to to this issue to the UN,

    The way we are being treated is abominable and cannot be allowed to stand, this is totally undemocratic!

  111. Iain Gray's Subway Lament says:

    I just realised I made a silly error. (oops! it happens 😉 )

    So all we are talking about here is in fact allowing a debate to take place with a mere FIVE leaders to include the SNP alongside the lib dems, labour, tories, and kippers.

    As I said that’s something the unionist BBC question time has done plenty of times so the broadcasters have no excuses not to have a debate with five or even six taking part to include the greens too.

    A five or six person debate is perfectly reasonable and I’ve seen recent hustings with that number (and more) take place with the public not just coping admirably but enjoying that process.

  112. JET JOCKEY says:

    Burns Supper the Dickson Hall Laurencekirk (near railway station) Saturday 17th @7pm tickets £15

  113. Luigi says:

    We don’t have presidential elections in this country, so why the hell do we need televised presidential style debates?

  114. Graeme Doig says:

    Is everyone on board with making representation to the link included by Wingman 2020 ?

    I’ll be trying later when i have time tonight. We all need to do this.

    Also up for any and every protest!

    These bastards are really taking the piss now. I’ve had enough.

    John King @ 8.43

    I should hope the SNP are looking into all options. They really need to get their arse in gear and take the fight to them on all fronts.

    Rant over. Blood pressure still high.

  115. Des says:

    Surely it is a democratic right for any UK based political party, be they large or small, to have an equal right in having their voices heard. It is a nonsense to justify that as we are bigger and have more likelihood to produce a Prime Minister, that only our voice should be heard.

    This Might Is Right Attitude is exactly what is so wrong with our current mainstream politics. We as the public have a right to hear all arguments and make our own decisions based on holistic information! The Public demand Full Disclosure!

  116. Jim Thomson says:

    @Graeme Doig 9:09pm
    @Wingman 2020 6:43pm gives a link to a response form. The relevant document link is

    Seems you need to read it first, and so, it would have been nice for OfCom to have included that link in the preamble to the response form. Why make it easy, eh?

  117. Macart says:

    The better together bit will start any day now.

    Is there some part of the term union which unionists don’t understand? We’re either a partner or we’re not. If we’re a partner we’re entitled to representation. If we’re not, then why are we in a union?

    Simply desperate.


  118. Graeme Doig says:

    Jim Thomson

    Cheers for that Jim.

  119. Rock says:

    This is the second so called ‘regulatory body’ which has been comprehensively exposed as total hypocrites by Stuart in the last 2 days.

    Every single ‘regulatory body’ is like that. The BBC Trust anyone?

    I wonder what The National and The Sunday Herald will have to say about these W O S stories.

  120. Alex Clark says:


    To be fair it’s not really possible to have a debate with yourself so an opponent to your view is necessary. In debate 4 he’s up against:

    Colin Fox – SSP Co-Spokesperson
    Chris Law – SNP & Spirit of Independence campaigner
    Pauline Hinchion/Patrick Harvie – Scottish Greens
    Bethan Jenkins – AM – Plaid Cymru

    So given enough rope, it may be that he hangs himself.

  121. archieologist says:

    These national debates are important and I agree with Luigi and others that if the SNP is to be excluded from a UK wide TV debate, that debate should not be shown in Scotland. Rather there should be a separate debate in Scotland which would include Cameron, Milliband, Greens, Ukip .

    If the BBC say that the SNP are not standing outside Scotland,the SNP should consider putting up a candidate in Berwick Upon Tweed. This town used to be part of Scotland , it’s football team play in the Scottish League and it serves as a centre for much of the Eastern Scottish Borders and Berwickshire which are of course in Scotland. There are folk in Berwick who would like to see closer cooperation with Scotland and Scottish Borders Council.

  122. Rock says:

    Training Day,

    “A majority of Scots voted to be second class, an addendum to England. We can be sure of that because the referendum wasn’t rigged.”

    A good point well made, at least to those who can read between the lines.

  123. call me dave says:

    Herald just posted this headline.

    Ed Miliband has sent a strong signal that he does not want a coalition deal with the Scottish National Party following the general election.

    But, pressed repeatedly in a live TV interview, the Labour leader did not rule out a deal with Nicola Sturgeon’s party if the May 7 poll results in a hung Parliament.

    With opinion polls suggesting the SNP may snatch large numbers of seats from Labour north of the border, and Labour and Conservatives running neck-and-neck in national surveys, many observers believe that Mr Miliband may need support from Ms Sturgeon’s party to form a government.

    Personally can’t see this happening as Nicola has already stated what is required to form a deal. No Trident.

    Been gone for a couple of days but I see on my return all these new threads indicating a real desire to see what’s best for Scotland. Well done all.

  124. jake says:

    The Venice Commission is quite clear on the matter of access to media and particularly state broadcasters. It has either to be done on the basis of strict equality or it’s to be done on a proportional system based on election results.

    On the basis of the Venice Commission recommendations therefore criteria like opinion polls results, contesting every seat, ability to provide the next PM, ability to form the next government, and all such other formula are not based on acceptable criteria… it’s either strict equality or proportional based on election results.

  125. Ken500 says:

    Most of Scotland will not watch the Unionist Debates. They are a joke. The three amigos who made the Vow. After watching most will vote SNP/Alliance. Win Win

  126. bjsalba says:

    Westminster Hour of interest tonight

    No debates.

  127. Ian Brotherhood says:

    @call me dave –

    Not meaning to be nit-picky, but didn’t NS (at the Hydro) say ‘no new nuclear weapons’?

    It’s not quite the same as saying ‘get yer Trident ootsky pronto, moon-face!’, which I would like to hear her say whilst flaring her nostrils Karen Dunbar-style.

  128. Dave McEwan Hill says:

    Training Day at 8.25

    What admirable trust you show.

  129. Kilsally says:

    In answer to Simon Chadwick – The Tories do stand in Northern Ireland – they achieved a paltry 2000ish votes for the entire province at the Euro election. Labour despite lifting their ban on membership in NI 5 years ago still ban membeers from standing for election or forming constituency associations citing partnership with the Nationalist sister party the SDLP. The Liberal Democrats are affiliated with the Alliance Party in NI.

  130. Midgehunter says:

    I would certainly like to see the SNP be more agressive over the next few months and give just as much as they have to take.

    The SNP, IMO, should put up candidates in all the border constituencies – Carlisle, Berwick and in between. Maybe 3-4 selected places like Liverpool, Newcastle or even Doncaster directly against Ed Millibum. 10 at the most. We’d probably lose some but the publicity/PR effect would be enormous. 😉

    (Isn’t Doncaster still officially part of Scotland – Robert Peffers???)

    We are in the middle of what could be termed as a modern day version of the Jacobite Revolution. The Scots have had the audacity to demand independence or at the very least complete Home Rule and have undermined their claim by voting in and joining a political party which represents their wishes. Holyrood has become the home fortress.

    A Referendum was forced through and despite a huge show of deception, lies and propaganda, very nearly brought the Westminster Establishment and their Scottish bootlickers to its knees. Losing didn’t weaken the Scots, they became stronger. The GE15 is the next battle in the line.

    For this, WM will make Scotland pay very dearly, WM intends to crush the Scots and SLAB is leading the charge.
    This time it’s not going to be another Cullodon, we’re smarter.

  131. Scott says:

    In regards to a separate debate I believe that STV intend to hold a Scottish debate which will include the leaders of the Scottish parties.

    However there is nothing we or the Scottish Government can do to prevent any UK-wide debates being aired here by the BBC, ITV, Sky etc.

    Broadcasting isn’t devolved so they will be aired here if we like it or not. Best that can be done is for the SNP to take legal action so that broadcasters include them in the UK-wide debates. David Cameron has ironically helped with that case by insisting that the Greens should be included.

  132. hopper69 says:

    SNP contesting enough seats in RUK would be a good way to get included in the debates.
    Don’t even have to campaign.I think the deposit is only £500 per seat.The amount required should be chump change with the new members of the party.

  133. Ian Brotherhood says:

    re possible SNP/Labour deal-making?

    Nicola’s first comment to Miliband, when he approaches her, grinning unconvincingly, should be short:

    ‘I’ll write a list of what we want. Meantime, you take Gromit for a walk.’

  134. Joemcg says:

    Did the SNP not lose a court case last election on this very issue? Probably an establishment stitch up again.

  135. Alex Clark says:


    Been reading that document you linked to at 10:29. One thing to note is that it is a “CODE OF GOOD PRACTICE IN ELECTORAL MATTERS” and is not European Law.

    The UK is a signatory though so it must have some clout on decisions made here.

    I was very interested in the following paragraph which would seem to have relevance both for the leaders debates and all those councils that wish to prevent posters going up. It is this:

    19. The basic idea is that the main political forces should be able to voice their opinions in the main organs of the country’s media and that all the political forces should be allowed to hold meetings, including on public thoroughfares, distribute literature and exercise their right to post bills.

    All of these rights must be clearly regulated, with due respect for freedom of expression, and any failure to observe them, either by the authorities or by the campaign participants, should be subject to appropriate sanctions.

    Quick rights of appeal must be available in order to remedy the situation before the elections. But the fact is that media failure to provide impartial information about the election campaign and candidates is one of the most frequent shortcomings arising during elections.

    The most important thing is to draw up a list of the media organisations in each country and to make sure that the candidates or parties are accorded sufficiently balanced amounts of airtime or advertising space, including on state radio and television stations.

    It would seem that you certainly have the right to post bills and should be accorded sufficient airtime.

    Make up your own mind what this means.

  136. Hoss Mackintosh says:

    Berwick, Corby and Cornwall (our Celtic cousins) would be good places to put up SNP candidates.

    Not sure the SNP would do it as it is against their Scotland only policy but it certainly removes the only reason the SNP are barred from the debates.

    Craig Murray is thinking of standing in Berwick so if it against SNP policy I assume he will have to resign from the SNP first?

  137. col says:

    Time to show up this sham democracy for what it is. There must be some means the smaller parties can fight this in Europe.

  138. Alan Mackintosh says:

    @ Hoss, no wouldn’t have thought so. If he stands as an independent, don’t see why he needs to resign his membership. After all he is not standing against an SNP candidate

  139. Cadogan Enright says:

    results of 3rd complaint on this subject – this time they have actually replied to my specific complaint as opposed to the standard reply with no reference to the actual content of the complaint which their earlier and quite unacceptable replies attempted to do.

    I will reply again supplying them with updated info if you guys can advise which of the many posts on this subject is closest to the bone
    On Sun, Jan 11, 2015 at 2:42 AM, wrote:
    Dear Councillor Enright

    Reference CAS-3073982-73PHPS

    Thank you for contacting us with your further comments.

    We note you believe the statistics for Scottish Labour Party membership were incorrectly reported.

    However, the last membership number estimates that were given by the Scottish Labour Party were in the region of 14,000. There may well have been changes to this recently but we have used the most recent figures that are available to us.

    We hope this addresses your concerns.

    Thank you, once again, for taking the time to contact us.

    Kind regards

    Samantha McKay.BBC Complaints,

  140. Chic McGregor says:

    “Not sure the SNP would do it as it is against their Scotland only policy but it certainly removes the only reason the SNP are barred from the debates.”

    Would be cleverer to stand in Wales or NI because then continued refusal would highlight that it has to be in England or it doesn’t count.

  141. caz-m says:

    @Alex Clark

    I sincerely hope you have a great day out in Dundee next week with an equally great turnout. Give my best wishes to Mr Clegg of the Record, tell him he gives the Independence Campaign a boost every time he opens his mouth.

    Are Livestream booked to film it. Should make great viewing.

  142. Training Day says:

    @Dave McEwan Hill

    I’ve had a bitter chuckle many a night since the referendum at all those on here who wouldn’t for a second believe a word the BBC or other organs of the British establishment have to say but remarkably have ineluctable faith in the Electoral Commission and MI5.

    Sorry if my facetiousness wasn’t signposted obviously enough for you.

  143. Ken500 says:

    How can SNP put up candidates in the rest of the UK, when it wants Independence?

  144. Someone posted previously that standing candidates in England would affect the number of party political broadcasts they SNP were given – presumably reducing them significantly. As these are some of the few opportunities the SNP gets to put across it policies on the broadcast media (without interruption), presumably this is a consideration.

  145. Dr Jim says:

    There was a special meeting of our team today SNP that is…. No Agenda Known..Also, Hoss we have no cousins in Corby or at least no more than you could count on one hand, they are as old Labour as you can get no matter the cost to the country, it’s like the Land that Time Forgot down there

  146. ronnie anderson says:

    Ah wee tune wie a message fae Jock.

  147. This is nothing less than a policy of apartheid. So much for the family of nations. No doubt they’ll next argue we are “separate but equal”.

    With this and the coming implementation of 2-tier voting rights in the Commons, each Scots resident’s vote may be worth three fifths of each English vote.

    Clearly the lesson to be drawn is we are better apart and independent than apart as a vassal state of a Greater England.

  148. Hoss Mackintosh says:

    We are not another trying to win any seats in England but just raise some publicity. I think it would be good fun to put some candidates up in these places for maximum effect.

    What about running SNP party political broadcasts in England and Wales – they would be great.

    Unfortunately, I do not think it will happen… A lost opportunity.

    Hi Ally – belated Happy Birthday – forgot again. Hope you had a “blast”!

  149. Betty Craney says:

    On 26th November, Christine Graham said she would consider standing in Berwick-upon-Tweed. This was reported on BBC News on that date .

  150. Alan Mackintosh says:

    Ta for birthday wishes. A blast…? aye, 3am, house shaking with some wild weather outside. Worst I’ve seen, but house mostly unscathed.

    Roch the wind…

  151. Cadogan Enright says:

    @Ken500 why not? Likely to beat the Lib Dems in England. It used to be £200 for a deposit – what is it now? No need to actually campaign

  152. Alex Clark says:

    @Betty Craney

    Correct Betty and I hope she does.

    There is a principle to made there. Scotland needs to be heard. Deny us that at your peril. A potential 1.6 million will march against it.

    You are wrong David Cameron and a hypocrite.

  153. Scott says:

    If 1000 people went to Salford and staged a sit in at the BBC it would seriously muck up their day. Block the road in, sit in the foyer, non-violent resistance. Maybe that day happens to be the day of some debate or other. We can learn from those nice CND ladies in the 80s!

  154. Cadogan Enright says:

    @wingman 2020 – I would pay too

  155. boris says:

    Very relevant in view of his participation in the referendum. The video exposes him for what he is. The labour party today is still very much in his image since Ed Miliband regarded Gordon as the Godfather of British Politics.

    A really nasty man who will depart politics leaving a nasty odour. In office he sold large amounts of Britain’s gold reserves for a pittance, losing the country many billions and when this didn’t give up enough to fund the largesse of the Labour Party he raided the pension funds of Britain’s pensioners asset stripping, rendering them in danger of collapse. In his unadulterated flannel of a speech to the European Parliament he exposed a nightmare vision of a Labour Party dominated future state. A loathsome man indeed!!

  156. john king says:

    Here’s a quote from the osce in 2010

    “Following an invitation from the delegation of the United Kingdom to the OSCE, ODIHR deployed an election assessment mission on 25 April to assess the general election on 6 May.

    Led by Jean-Pierre Kingsley of Canada, the mission consisted of a team of 10 experts from eight OSCE participating States. ODIHR did not assess the conduct of local elections held simultaneously in several constituencies.

    According to the final assessment report: “The 6 May 2010 general election was administered in a transparent and professional manner and demonstrated an open, pluralistic and highly competitive process. Contestants enjoyed equitable campaign conditions.”

    Contestants enjoyed equitable campaign conditions?
    I wonder what channel they were watching?

  157. CameronB Brodie says:

    If we are going to be labeled ‘insurgents’, we might as well show them what happens when the imperialist mindset attempts to impose itself on a people and takes on a postmodern grassroots movement. Apparently there is already a ‘How To’ manual available in the shops.

    Waging Nonviolent Struggle: 20th Century Practice And 21st Century Potential

  158. Gary says:

    Although galling, this may be a moot point. We’ve had one election where there were “leader’s debates”. The result was a hung parliament. Clegg performed well and may have significantly increased the vote for LibDem. Brown was not media friendly, had the economy nose-diving and Labour had been incumbent for 13 years. An untested Cameron sounded and looked good but STILL couldn’t manage to win and Brown didn’t do as badly as you might have imagined BUT without the increase in the LibDem vote, would he have won? Cameron has effectively ruled out participation and, notably, Labour haven’t pulled him up on it. Milliband doesn’t have the personality for this. Clegg has the personality but has betrayed his supporters once already. UKIP will shout about it only if they are sure it won’t go ahead.

  159. scotspine says:

    It’s clear to me that there is a hidden strategy to deny and frustrate until someone steps out of line in exasperation and does something to tarnish all of us and the independence movement.

  160. Ken500 says:

    The SNP support Independence for Scotland. What happens to any Westminster SNP MP’s who have been elected in the rest of the UK when that is achieved? Are they in no man’s land? Some people are not thinking it through.

  161. Grouse Beater says:

    Sorry, but a great number of Scots and non-Scots voted to keep their country second-class, and those in it, second-rate. Westminster is doing what comes naturally, and feel quite justified in excluding Scotland. We voted ourselves off the political map.

    Tell those who voted No to do the complaining.

  162. Ken500 says:

    The SNP Gov at Holyrood has restored Scotland’s self respect. Without the SNP Gov, no one would know what the Westminster crooks were doing. Westminster secrecy and lies. Covered by the the Official Secrets Act. The ConDem/Westminster liars.

    The SNP Gov has done more for Scotland in four years, than Labour/Unionists did in forty years. The McCrone Report kept secret for thirty years. Thatcher’s secrecy and lies. Osbourne/Alexander’s total incompetence. Liars.

  163. Dorothy Devine says:

    Scotspine , I agree .
    I waited throughout the referendum for someone to swing a punch at a long list of so called journalists and to start chucking bricks at Pacific Quay and pals,
    even block by radio signal any output from the biased broadcaster – but not one incident .

    One cannot really count a gently placed egg on Mr Murphy, once upon a day politicians would have been dodging much more effective missiles.

  164. heedtracker says:

    Jim Naughty on R4 BBC news had long empty question of what to do about AlicSamin and no space for any SNP on BBC debates with Lord Grade and another zoomer but its all swatted aside as complicated. Its weird listening to uber BBC ligger Naughty still UKOK fixating on AlicSamin wants this, AlicSamin demands this but its presumably to duck away from is actually happening in their Scottish region of teamGB. Neat/creepy language choice going on in BBC national news/propaganda rooms though.

  165. Ken500 says:

    After Clegg, will anyone trust what any Unionists politician says in any debate. Unionists politicians are liars. Proven time and time and time again. Along with the MSM.

  166. Callum says:

    The Tory peer Lord Grade effectively said that Scottish politics was a sideshow on Radio 4 Today this morning. He actually said all parties except Tory and labour were a sideshow, but the response was to the drawn out question about “but what about Alex Salmond, er, I mean Angus Robertson” (as jnaughtie said).

  167. Perhaps a more subversive strategy would be for the SNP and Greens to completely boycott the BBC and other channels on the principle that this is not only anti-democratic but also racist, based on the fact that we constitute a minority of the population (and I thought you loved us so much, eh Dan?). Yeah, I know the parties would never contemplate such a thing but honestly what would they really be missing?

    A boycott would really screw things up for the media which needs to at least portray some kind of democratic balance. With the current strength of the SNP/Greens/YES indy movement at present, how much of a handicap would it be, considering that the sheer overload of propaganda over the next few months will have most people switching off or watching Liam Neason in Taken 47? I’m thinking along the lines of peaceful but meaningful, effective resistance to an intolerant state.

    Why play the game, when the rules play against you?

  168. Bob Mack says:

    There is an awful lot of debate going on already over the internet. Sites such as Bella Caledonia and S.N.P., facebook. I am finding that numerous posters with alternative agendas are more and more infiltrating and tryin.g to cause disruption. I personally have utilised this particular site for the predominantly excellent analyisis of the political machinations surrounding our present situation.
    When i visit Facebook, I find many great supporters daily fighting the battle on behalf of the S.N.P., who are not always domiciled Scots. but are just as passionate as myself about our fight for independence. I now try to visit as many sites as I can to lock horns with those clearly intent on sowing the seeds of doubt and division. After what I have learned ,and in fact am still learning on this site, it is like taking candy from a baby.

  169. Macart says:

    Clearly unionist politicians are quite happy with this state of affairs vis a vis meeja debates, but I wonder what the average – soft no voter thinks?

    Is this what they imagined would happen? Did they believe that in better togetherness Broon’s ‘home rule’ (and yes he really did make that promise), would somehow result in greater political involvement/inclusion for all colours of politics in the wider democratic process? Did they believe that our ‘powerhouse parliament and devolution’ would result in significant inclusion in the UKs democratic process? Or was it more simply a hope?

    Do they think it right that the third largest party by membership in the UK is excluded? How about the Greens and the SSP? Don’t they think they have something to say?

    Is this their idea of how democracy works? If so, they can have no complaints on all that comes their way from Westminster.

  170. Tam Jardine says:


    It makes me think that the last thing the unionists want is to expose Nicola Sturgeon, calm, rational and popular Scottish leader to the English public. The danger is that English people may actually start to see through the anti-SNP veil that is cast over them.

    Alex Salmond’s undoubted popularity when he appears on UK wide programmes like question time will not have gone unnoticed

  171. heedtracker says:

    @ Tam Jardine, Naughty’s little piece on SNP or any Scots debate exclusion was a good example of how propagandists like him work this morn, very little actual info, focus almost entirely on evil and cruel AlicSamin, sound mildly amused at this upstart, its all a bit absurd isn’t it listeners, fill the air with little info as possible and no pressure on the Lords present. TeamGB BBC media power in all its glorious power. Its the kind of giant fraud only state broadcasters like the BBC monopoly can get away with, if only because their pay is guaranteed by law.

    Even if their licence fee disappeared, would pay them their yearly billions.

  172. ScottieDog says:

    Having got over my initial rage, I think for the SNP the key here is to keep the heed. And I’m sure they will.
    Should they run in English seats? Absolutely not. The press will destroy them even more. Why use valuable resources to achieve very little?

    The SNP will keep a steady ship. Milliband will be given enough rope to hang murphy due to the press-fuelled anti-scottish sentiment in the Audience then he will have to try to retain credibility in the scottish debates.

  173. Sinky says:

    Yet further evidence that broadcasting has to be devolved but the Smith Commission failed to act despite evidence that the second class nation is suffering from a major democratic deficit that mitigates against all the indigenous Scottish political parties not just the SNP.

    It’s not just the political leaders debates, its the whole “national” news and current affairs coverage including such programmes as Question Time which gives UKIP a fringe party in Scotland with only one elected representative out of 1417 (including 1223 councillors)a disproportionate amount of coverage.

  174. ScottieDog says:

    There’s nothing to stop some of us being at the BBC debates in the south and asking the ‘right’ questions, if we’re given the chance….

  175. galamcennalath says:

    Nicola is our greatest asset right now. Alec was the target of everything from venom to ridicule in the Englisg media, he is a household name down south. They don’t know anything about Nicola and her cool, polite, articulate style is going to be more difficult to target negatively. The London MSM haven’t woken up to the fact that this is certainly not all about AlicSamon.

    As for unfair debates … Take legal action to have them stopped in Scotland.

    England doesn’t need to see SNP or PC representation.

    For that matter, Scotland doesn’t need to see Lab Con Lib UKIP representation!

  176. Macart says:

    @ ScottieDog

    I believe that Christine Grahame intends to stand in the most contentious of border seats in the GE, Berwick. Should Christine take this seat, it should cause more than a few ripples in the commons.

  177. Nana Smith says:


    SNP politician Christine Grahame’s proposal to contest the Berwick constituency at next year’s General Election has been ruled out.

  178. David Wardrope says:

    2 things come to my mind. Firstly, I can only see the debates greatly benefitting one party (UKIP) due to the debating style of Farage (like a bloke down the pub, trotting out mince with no backup or source while ripping the pish out of the rest), his style appears to appeal to a fair few voters. Based on that, and given that we’ll get Labour or Tory as government (at least in part), it wouldn’t bother me too much if the debates did not happen. I can understand the preference of some that Labour make it instead of Camerons bunch, but I can’t see any headway being made by Miliband on telly.

    Secondly, Labour debating themselves. I think they’d struggle…

  179. Joemcg says:

    Nick Robinson admits he made a “mistake” Must be the new word for liar.

  180. Patrick Roden says:

    @ David Wardrope,

    It’s not Just Farage’s style that appeals to a fair few voters David, it’s his policies on immigration that is chiming with voters in England and Scotland.

    I’ve saw comments to the effect that the SNP will have an open door policy and that Scotland would become swamped with Moslems etc, in the event of Independence.

    This is a genuine fear for a lot of people, yet the SNP Government has never said it will operate this open door policy, rather it has consistently said it would operate a policy based on allowing people with skills that are needed for Scotland, to come under a well run system, something the Westminster parties have never achieved.

    If you remember how much a use the Labour/BT campaign made of the term foreigners, in a negative way, with the claims that we would need hundreds of thousands of immigrants to pay for our pensions, you can see the classic New Labour tactics at work.

    It was and is a lie to say that the Scottish government would allow Scotlands city to be populated with the same ghettos that the UK Labour party purposely created, as they went down the path of Tony Blairs New Labour Neo-Con awakening.

    But it’s a lie that stuck.

  181. Patrick Roden says:

    @Christian Wright,

    I like the idea of making political capital from the term, ‘Scottish Apartheid’

    I also like the fact that making this term stick in the peoples minds, would then beg the question, what is the ‘New Scottish Party’ (labour) doing about Scotland being treated like this.

    After all, the media has told us that since Jim Murphy was side-lined and booted out of the Labour Cabinet in England, he has discovered that he is now Scottish.

    So C’mon ‘C U Jimmy’ let’s see how Scottish you really are, as you demand that Scots get a balanced and fair media.

  182. David Wardrope says:

    @Partick Roden,

    Agreed. There are a lot of people for whom immigration is an issue, as there are also those who have a closed attitude to ‘foreigners’, but I assume (possibly wrongly) that most of those people are already at least aware and maybe atuned to UKIP. Allowing Farage on national TV can only give the impression to the public that this closed attitude has become more acceptable in my opinion, and given that the other leaders will not add much more to their current standing, I wouldn’t mind if this didn’t happen.

  183. Stoker says:

    Joemcg says:
    “Nick Robinson admits he made a “mistake” Must be the new word for liar.”

    Aye, and so did his mother, she gave birth to the dirty lying bastard.

  184. Macart says:

    @ Nana

    That’s a shame Nana, Christine would have made a good MP for Berwick.

  185. Col says:

    Part of me is thinking now why didn`t the SNP see this coming and actually do something about it? What`s the point moaning about being treated in this manner when you know fine well you have to play just as dirty as what they do? Here`s hoping they have something up their sleeve. We should have candidates across the UK for the sole purpose of not being excluded at this crucial time in UK politics. Yes the SNP would be slated but that`s nothing new but if anything it should show up the stitch up that is this “family of nations”. England rules by sheer numbers v`s the Celtic nations.

  186. Cuilean says:

    OFCOM are in an invidious position for which I shed no tears. If OFCOM are seen to succumb to Cameron’s demand to include ‘The Green Party of England & Wales’ as a ‘major party’ this destroys OFCOM’s decision not to include the SNP – as (a) ‘The Green Party of England & Wales contests no seats in Scotland or N Ireland, (b) the SNP has more than 3 x the membership of the said ‘The Green Party of England & Wales’and (c) it would publicly confirm, (what we on Wings already know), that OFCOM is not independent of Westminster. I suspect Labour & Tory have decided, covertly, that the only party to gain significant advantage/traction in a televised leaders’ debate (in this level pegging election result scenario) is Farage’s UKIP (they were never going to allow the SNP). I therefore suspect there will be no televised Leaders’ Debate, as the Westminster Blue & Red Tories are only concerned with safeguarding their own party interests. A televised leaders’ debate would damage/threaten their respective party self-interests. So, there is not going to be any televised leaders’ debate, on the BBC (the propaganda mouthpiece and sock puppet of the Blue & Red Tories).

  187. Stoker says:

    Right, i’m going to make a reference to football here but it’s necessary to get my point across.

    I’ve voted for the SNP all my life and i’m not a member, i see them as the only, and necessary, vehicle capable of bringing me what i desire most from politics, Independence for Scotland.

    However, i’ve lost count at the amount of times they have appeared to just sit back and take all sorts of shite which has been flung in their direction.

    Is it not about time they set up a proper “media office” in the attack dog style, with one of its main functions being to hammer any lies and the liars.

    When the lies and liars are blatantly wrong they slap the culprit with a ‘see you in court’ and when they’re run-of-the-mill guff from the media they issue a press release correcting and condemning the culprits, immediately.

    If Celtic (Paul McBride before his premature death) and the old “Rangers” (with Donald Findlay) could have legal heavyweights on-board i’m sure it’s not beyond Scotland’s largest political party to have some top legal brains fighting their corner.

    This media office would also be responsible for pursuing issues such as balanced tv output and debate participation etc.

    Why haven’t they got this?

  188. Cuilean says:

    Hi Stoker,

    excellent points. I agree that the SNP always takes the ‘upbeat’, ‘positive’ view which I find naive at times. I too feel, we have to be more aggressive in pointing out these lies. I also urge you to join the SNP, you can then attend local groups and raise pressure from within that the party needs to flex its muscle more. We have been ‘the nice guys’ for too long. THis GE is going to get ugly as the MSM pulls out all the stops to save the red/blue tories.

  189. Richard Norton says:

    The main WM parties have no interest in Scotland as they either don’t need our votes or have already written them off as a lost cause. It will be scandalous if there is no SNP representation in the TV debates and should be taken as a clear signal of what we can expect from these parties post May 2015. If the SNP are to be excluded we must counter this with a clear and organised media campaign to highlight this travesty and to articulate that the only response that will be understood by WM is a clear endorsement of the SNP and rejection of WM. Vote SNP!

  190. Wuffing Dug says:

    Let’s face it the rule book was ripped up a long time ago. Yes, we need to support the snp any way we can. I too fear the actions of hot headed individuals but I think something would have happened by now. Look at the yes supporters and the Neo nazi scum in George square. The time for restraint in the political arena is over. Let’s stop asking and start taking – it’s all ours anyway.

  191. Stoker says:

    Wuffing Dug says:
    “Let’s stop asking and start taking – it’s all ours anyway.”

    @ Cuilean,

    Yes, they do try the patience of a saint at times with their seemingly passive stance, however, they’ll continue to get my vote at every level until we become Independent then i’ll see what’s on offer before deciding who gets my vote. Ideally it will be an Independent who shares the majority of my beliefs.

    As for joining, although i’m not ruling it out – i want to be the 100,000th member 🙂 – i’m not really one for party politics and toeing party lines. I’ll see how events develop. Meanwhile, i’ll continue to give them the most valuable contribution i can, my vote.

  192. ronnie anderson says:

    @ Thedogphilosifer sentiments long since before the referendum , what are the SNP afraid of A Hostile Media ha ha.SNP withdrawing spokespeople newspapers/radio/tv would no doubt cause people to question the lack of media coverage,instead of this pantomime (call kaye ), & remove Bbc from Hollyrood Parliament, or is it the case interview/appearance moneys to good to pass up. Do the unexpected remember the VOW/Transplants/Pensions/Alien invasion. Be non compliant SNP,after all its only a Election & a potential Referendum & the Media wont help with either in any respect. We’re oota the box, start thinking oota the box.

  193. Patrick Roden says:

    @David Wardrope,

    True my friend, however Labour have been fighting Ukip for the working class voter who is concerned about immigration, a lot of the concern is based on pressure on public services etc.

    Since a lot of working class people have voted SNP, it was clearly the aim of BT/Labour to claim that uncontrolled immigration would be introduced if the Yes side won the referendum.

    So although people will vote Ukip, they do so not to get rid of immigrants, because this is not Ukips policy, it’s to have carefully controlled immigration, something the SNP have said they will have, but without the nastiness that Ukip, brings.

    Yet again another lie that went unreported by our pathetic MSM, that cost the Yes side many votes.

    It’s very important that this message is got out there for the General election, as many people are genuinely afraid that Scotland would end up swamped by criminal gangs and terrorists, due to this carefully manufactured lie, being put about by the Labour Party.

  194. David Wardrope says:

    @Patrick Roden

    Absolutely, and once again such discussions highlight MSM role in “democratic” politics. It’s all about whose message gets to the masses

  195. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    ‘Get him to stand on the bit of the stage with the trap door on it…”

    For fuck’s fucking sake, readers.

    From now on, no warnings. Post anything that could even the slightest bit be interpreted as an actual threat of violence and you’re banned for life. We clear?

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