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We made a mistake

Posted on November 30, 2013 by

This morning we’ve been double- and triple-checking our story from last night, because we were so sure we must have missed something. Even given the low esteem in which we hold the integrity of the hapless “Better Together” campaign, we felt that they surely couldn’t have made such an idiotic and fundamental error, and that instead we must have misinterpreted a word or a sentence somewhere along the way.

btfbsf

But no. We were wrong in that assumption. They really ARE that dim.

Here’s what their blog post from Thursday claims:

“This week the SNP published their manifesto for breaking up the UK. It ran to six hundred and fifty pages and gave us answers to many questions. We now know that an independent Scotland would enter a team in the Eurovision Song Contest. We know that English would be the official language and we know that we will not change time zones if we choose to go it alone.

However, what we didn’t get much detail on was the financial case.

In all of those six hundred and fifty pages, only one table on one page was devoted to the financial facts and figures that the SNP claim prove their assertion that we would be unimaginably rich if we vote to leave the UK. Not only that, but that one table only included figures for one year.”

(A “team” in the Eurovision Song Contest? But anyway.)

We’ve added emphasis so there can be no possible mistake about what they meant. The table which “Better Together” analysed is, they claim, supposed to be the SNP’s evidence that independence would make Scotland “unimaginably rich”.

So let’s see what the White Paper actually claims about it. This is page 72 of the “Scotland’s Future” PDF file (the table itself appears on page 75).

sfpt2

Well, it’s hard to miss. The last two paragraphs explicitly and unambiguously point out that the table represents the financial position that an independent Scotland would inherit from the UK on the first day of independence.

It is NOT any kind of projection of what will happen AFTER independence, let alone a claim that Scotland would be “unimaginably rich” as a result. Indeed, you’d have to be sort of galactic-class moron to interpret it that way, since it clearly predicts that Scotland would be starting its independence with a multi-billion pound fiscal deficit, no matter how its share of UK debt was calculated.

So here’s what the White Paper says the table shows:

“[a] challenging fiscal position that will require careful stewardship in the years immediately following independence”.

And here’s what the No camp says the table shows:

the financial facts and figures that the SNP claim prove their assertion that we would be unimaginably rich if we vote to leave the UK”.

(Hilariously, just to hammer their error home and eliminate any possible ambiguity, “Better Together” even pick out a single line from the table – the one on tax receipts – as being “based on Scotland as part of the UK, not as an independent country”.)

fcheck2

…when in fact the entire table is based on Scotland as part of the UK, and even helpfully says as much in its own title bar.

We can’t wait to see how this plays out. Will the entire post mysteriously vanish without acknowledgement? Will it simply be shamelessly left in place, despite having been comprehensively exposed as a gigantic lie, with that fact ignored by the Scottish media? Will Blair McDougall somehow try to brazen it out, pretending that it means the exact opposite of what it says?

We all know what happens, after all, if Alex Salmond makes an inaccurate statement about something, even by accident – you can’t move for headlines. So it’d be hard to concoct any kind of plausible justification for the press not covering it when the official No campaign is caught propagating a lie this big on all its websites.

The tragedy at the Clutha bar last night will of course take up a lot of newsprint, and properly so. But not the whole of every newspaper. The entire future of Scotland is at stake in the independence referendum, and its media has a responsibility to inform people when that debate is being conducted on the basis of enormous falsehoods.

It’s our job to monitor when that doesn’t happen. We’re watching.

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    69 to “We made a mistake”

    1. blunttrauma says:

      Lies, damn lies and BT propaganda.

    2. tartanfever says:

      Damn you Rev ! 
       
      Nearly gave me a heart attack with that headline. This is great, in one epic failure of biblical proportions BT have given us the opportunity to write off every single piece of propaganda they produce.
       
      Just point everyone you know to this article, get it bookmarked in your browser window.

    3. Feil Gype says:

      ‘The tragedy at the Clutha bar last night will of course take up a lot of newsprint, and properly so. But not the whole of every newspaper. The entire future of Scotland is at stake in the independence referendum, and its media has a responsibility to inform people when that debate is being conducted on the basis of enormous falsehoods’ 

      …it will be viewed as a good day to bury bad news by the media so i’d nae expect this BT mistake te be published.

    4. Dorothy Devine says:

      Wouldn’t  it be nice if some newspaper actually printed this with a forensic analysis?
      Distorting Scotland could do a feature.
       
      OT but my Google logo has suddenly developed a wee picture of lochs, mountains and fluttering saltires .

    5. tartanfever says:

      Saw that Dorothy, what a nice wee surprise this morning.

    6. Murray McCallum says:

      Thorough piece of work.
       
      It seems better together are simply stuck in slag off mode – even about their beloved union. When they have meetings to discuss things* everyone must be frightened to suggest anything for fear of being verbally set upon.
       
      * was going to say new ideas, but that is obviously beyond them.

    7. Barontorc says:

      It’s getting exceedingly tiresome dealing with compulsive lies and mis-truth from the BBC, MSM and BT – at some stage, one wonders when, would it be possible to legally challenge it all? Hopefully before we all lose the will to live! Democracy? Don’t make me laugh!

    8. MochaChoca says:

      It’s still on BTs facebook page, with nearly 600 comments, not read them all but there doesn’t seem to be any mention at all of the fact that the table describes finances under the existing arrangements. You’ve got to presume the admins must be aware of this by now, so seems bizarre that they haven’t removed it already. From our side the more who see it before it gets exposed* as moronic the better.
       
      *assuming it does actually get exposed by our trusty MSM.

    9. Juteman says:

      Brilliant. What a bunch of incompetent plonkers. 🙂

    10. The Man in the Jar says:

      Could Cara Hilton be moonlighting at BT media office? 

    11. seoc says:

      So, when asked to give clarity, NO’s view of a Scotland ruled by outside interests will instead give us exaggeration, distortion, lies and avoidance of uncomfortable facts.

      Do they actually expect us to sign up to THAT? Are they mad?

      Perhaps in the same vein they could project a RumpUK’s position and prospects after Scottish Independence?

      Ah go on, now. You know you want to.

    12. john king says:

      Feil Gype says
      “it will be viewed as a good day to bury bad news by the media so i’d nae expect this BT mistake te be published.”

      Saying it doesn’t help our cause though does it,
       we’ll leave the cynical calculation to them thanks.

    13. bannock hussler says:

      So that’s why they were worried about no Dr Who – they wouldn’t be able to go back in time and change this sort of rubbish later on. They are more to be pitied than scorned. Ach, correct that. Pile on the scorn.

    14. Les Wilson says:

      They need to be exposed in a massive way, “wings” is invaluable but we need much bigger exposure. We never seem to get from our MSM. So how is about some crowd funding for a full page showing up as many of their lies as possible in any national papers that we could get on, failing that, local papers, the Courier and the like.
      They need cash don’t they all! So maybe we could cover enough in a full page to make people take notice. The more affronted Scots are, the more they will vote YES.
      I would contribute, would the rest of us? 

    15. Les Wilson says:

      Ref my other post just done, if we did that would it not be a world first ? ie by crowd funding?

    16. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “Ref my other post just done, if we did that would it not be a world first ? ie by crowd funding?”

      Maybe. But in truth it’d be a lot of money that we could put to better use. We’ve got well over 100,000 readers here, more than we’d reach in most papers.

    17. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “It’s still on BTs facebook page, with nearly 600 comments, not read them all but there doesn’t seem to be any mention at all of the fact that the table describes finances under the existing arrangements.”

      There are comments near the end from a couple of Yes folk pointing that out, surprisingly haven’t been deleted yet.

    18. sneddon says:

      Les- the idea is a runner but I would prefer if the adverts/billboards went out closer to the vote to keep it fresher in the public’s mind.  I wouldn’t want to risk doing what BT are doing and shooting all their ammo at once.

    19. Ken500 says:

      The Guardian has turned. Only Independent paper in the UK. Several supporting articles.

      Sunday Herald?

      The tide is turning

      The major ‘right wing’ Press owners, benefit from tax evasion in the City of London.

      The BBC is controlled by Westminster. The WP launch received wide coverage. Some MSM seemed to favour – Why Now? Better attitudes than the Scottish Press.

    20. Ken500 says:

      Resources are being held back till nearer the Referendum date. There is a cap on total spending.

    21. Wayne says:

      I suppose what we all hope is that by informing people, by exposing the lies, propaganda, bias and misrepresentation endemic in Better Together and their pro-union bedfellows the Scottish MSM, that we win the media war through a sort of battle of attrition, that the persistent sound analysis has a cumulative and overwhelming effect as people become more and more informed.  It is having an impact, and blogs such as this, Newsnet Scotland, National Collective, Bella Caledonia, BBC Scotlandshire etc. which day after day expose the intellectually bankrupt nature of the debate, have done a great service, but I just wonder, is it enough?
       
      You don’t have to look far to realise that the people on these blogs are in large measure male (of course there are women here as well), social media savvy, university educated, between about  21-60…the core YES support. 
       
      How do we demonstrate the massive media bias of organisations such as the BBC to those who are not as media savvy and largely rely on the MSM?  I might grump at the written press, but I have no issue with their bias, we live in a country which values freedom of expression, including that of the press.  They have an inalienable right to be as biased and misinformed as they like, that doesn’t mean of course we have to accept it, or agree with them.
       

      But what of the BBC, how do we bring its bias to the forefront? The answer surely has to be a credible documentary released before the referendum vote which takes apart its coverage in the build up and subjects it to painful forensic scrutiny. Ideally you’d want such a documentary on one of the main channels, but they would never run it, even their rivals just wouldn’t go for it, but such a documentary would go viral on social media, and might offer a fresh perspective to some of these young people who are naturally cynical and sceptical.  We need to take the fight to them….
       
      Hopefully the Chris Silver crowdfunded documentary does this, and they gave gone some way with their Fear Factor Series.
       
      The BBC just annoys me, I would love some way to take the b******* down.  Withholding the license fee just doesn’t seem enough. 
       
       

    22. Garve says:

      When I first noticed this on Thursday evening I was sure I must be missing something – I couldn’t believe they’d make such a mistake. So your headline today was a bit of a frightener!

      I tweeted about this on Thursday to a number of people, and included Better Together in some of the tweets, so I’m pretty sure they must have known of their error by yesterday morning.

      Removing the article or amending it with an explanation would be the sensible option for them now. But it looks like they may be intending to use it as the basis of a mailshot.

      https://twitter.com/UK_Together/status/406497657415536641/photo/1

      If this is so, we have to ask are they utterly incompetent, or are they happy to use completely false data to achieve their ends?

    23. Rab collinson says:

       Just checked,post still up on better together site.
       
       Also Blair macdougal claiming 410 activists canvessed (thousands of people) and handed out
      “1 million newspapers” on Thursday.       Who’s telling porky pies noo.  2440 papers each and  
       face to face canvassing. Must be vulcans, talk about outside help.

    24. GrahamB says:

      Ken500:
      Perhaps even STV are becoming a bit more even handed. Rona Dougall at least seemed to be helping out Nicola or rather not helping Carmichael but letting him dig a deeper hole. Amusing treatment of the cross-examination (nearly called it a debate) here http://nationalcollective.com/2013/11/29/alistair-carmichael-stands-up-for-scotland/
       

    25. BuckieBraes says:

      If this is so, we have to ask are they utterly incompetent, or are they happy to use completely false data to achieve their ends?
       
      They are happy to use completely false data to achieve their ends. As long as this kind of thing misleads enough people, it’s all right by Better Together; and, sadly, it does.

    26. beachthistle says:

      Advice please. I’m at same table at ESRC event as bt’s Gordon Aikman (had to ask who he was, no name badge, guessed from his contributions)- should I tell him about their epic fail? Or not, so  they still do mail shot?

    27. TJenny says:

      Garve – ‘are they utterly incompetent, or are  they happy to use completely false data ?’
       
      I think the answer to both is yes.

    28. Helena Brown says:

      Well Rev, when your enemies are making mistakes it is a shame to interrupt them, not quite the saying but it will do. I often think I should just shut up at let them be stupid and then I realise they are talking to equally uniformed/stupid people and I find myself interrupting.

    29. Allan28 says:

      It isn’t just the graphic that BT should be worried about. Alistair Darling was widely quoted as referring to one page of projections showing ‘a newly separate Scotland’s finances’ in the White Paper. See for example the Daily Record at-
       
      archive.is/aAvKP
       
      He also referred to this in any number of TV and radio interviews.

    30. JasonF says:

      @Ken500
      The Guardian has turned. Only Independent paper in the UK. Several supporting articles.
       
      Those are just opinion pieces, although it’s good to see them; the Guardian itself hasn’t definitively come down on one side or the other, but editorials they have published have given the strong impression of being against, but without any clear reasoning why.
       
      The news reporting (or sometimes lack of) can be assessed on its own.

    31. JasonF says:

      @Garve
      When I first noticed this on Thursday evening I was sure I must be missing something
       
      Ditto. 
       
      Well done for plugging away at this.

    32. Alex Taylor says:

      You don’t have to look far to realise that the people on these blogs are in large measure male (of course there are women here as well), social media savvy, university educated, between about  21-60…the core YES support.
       
      Spoke with Yes group’s stall in Stirling today and they reckon more women than usual have been showing an interest and asking for information. Encouraging, but whether it was coincidence or the effect of the White Paper plans for for childcare, we’ll not know for a wee while.

    33. call me dave says:

      Worth a peek It’s from the independent. also a fashion tip for us over thirties at the end.
       
      http://archive.is/DbenG

    34. Paul Martin says:

      Alex, can report a very similar story here in Yes Edinburgh North and Leith. The majority of new Yes volunteers stepping forward this last week or two are women. 

    35. Mairi says:

      Even better, when I tried to follow the links, facebook threw up this very helpful warning!
      https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=731426776886519&l=7783cbaeaf
      Love it!

    36. Hetty says:

      You don’t have to look far to realise that the people on these blogs are in large measure male (of course there are women here as well), social media savvy, university educated, between about  21-60…the core YES support.
       
      It is also the case that some people either don’t do internet news and do not think it is real news like their tory rags that they buy on a daily basis, if the daily mail or whatever it is, said to them jump off a cliff they would likely do just that. I also know some Uni trained people who are definitely in the no camp, in fact they are the most adamant and least likely to change. 

      It is an uphill struggle with some women and I cannot understand their lack of interest in the economic side of things, after all they are the biggest losers at the hands of the coalition and that will never change. 

      Sorry but the propaganda is definitely convincing some tv addicts, especially older people who don’t get out much, that the SNP and Alex Salmond = bad bad bad. Bit depressing but after visiting my 93 year old friend who has been thoroughly brainwashed and wouldn’t listen to my side at all yesterday, I told him he was being brainwashed, but of course he harks back to the war at every turn, ie we would have lost if Scotland had been Independent! 

      Plenty of time yet for us to reach the DKs though. 

    37. Xaracen says:

      “Maybe. But in truth it’d be a lot of money that we could put to better use. We’ve got well over 100,000 readers here, more than we’d reach in most papers.”
       
      Surely the more relevant point is that the papers would be reaching a different set of readers that don’t come here. We’d have to weigh up the numbers to see if it was worth doing or not. If say 80% of paper readers also come to WoS then it pretty clearly you’d be right, it wouldn’t be worth doing.
       
      Do we have any figures that would help us gauge this?

    38. Ken MacColl says:

      They lie to you. They have done  so in the past, they do so today and they will certainly continue to do so in future.
       
      Recognise that essential fact and the rest  is all explained. 

    39. handclapping says:

      … and that instead we that must have misinterpreted …
       
      Huh! I’m left wondering how to misinterpret that to make sense 🙂

    40. rabb says:

      OT
       
      The video below is former SAS soldier Ben Griffin telling it how it is. His reference to patriotism immediately turned my thoughts to the “proud & patriotic” supporters of the Better Together camp.

      The use of this term is prevalent in the no camp. I can’t think of a single yes supporting friend or colleague who has uttered this term.
       
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=53w3XoAdhJA

    41. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “Surely the more relevant point is that the papers would be reaching a different set of readers that don’t come here.”

      Very true, although we also have to bear in mind many of them would be people not interested in listening.

      The bigger issue is that since the success of our fundraisers, folk want to crowdfund everything. And in each individual case that’s perfectly plausible, but you can’t run a fundraiser every week, because people will get fed up of being asked to put their hands in their pockets again.

      It’s less than a month to Christmas, with all the attendant pressures on everyone’s finances, and there are THREE major indy fundraisers going on at the moment (Bella Caledonia, Newsnet Scotland and Yes Scotland), along with a few smaller ones, and between them they’re asking for £100,000. Folk just dug out another £20,000 to get “Scotland Yet” made.

      We’ll need to top up our poll kitty to get another one done at some point (there’s money left over, but not a whole poll’s worth), and come late February it’ll be time for the big one – our second annual “main” fundraiser, which’ll be looking for a sizeable sum because we’ve got a few major projects planned for the crucial last six months before the referendum.

      So it’s grand to say we could fund billboards and newspaper ads and all the other stuff people have suggested, but the problem is that there aren’t enough weeks in the year to do all of them. I’m open to persuasion, but I’m not convinced that print ads are the best bang we could get for our buck – even assuming papers would run ads that said basically “this paper is lying to you, read our website instead”.

      So I apologise if I sound dismissive or anything, it’s just a matter of picking the most productive priorities.

    42. Hetty says:

      O/T
      For some reason started reading a couple of articles in the online newspaper The Scottish Review. Just read this, entitled The Blue Paper, but the part I just don’t get being the claim that, and I hope its ok to quote, 

      “We just do not yet fully know the shape of that Scotland, who will emerge as the winners and losers, and the scale and form of the greater self-government”.

      The article is written by Gerry Hassan and James Mitchell. 

    43. Silverytay says:

      Sorry Rev going O/T    
      My wife was telling me that she was watching someone from bbc Scotland being interviewed about what an independent Scotland would mean to the bbc .
       
      The bbc spokesman replied that they could not comment as they had to be impartial and if they say anything it could impact on the referendum  ( lol at that one )
      What the spokesman did say was that the people of Scotland got more back from the bbc than what they put in. 
       
      If my memory serves me right I am sure that I read either on this site or newsnet that Scotland pays between 300 to 350 million for the privilege to watch t.v but only gets about £200 million spent on Scotland .
       
      Can someone please confirm that I am correct as I told my wife the bbc were liars .

    44. Kipper says:

      Does anyone else think though that these lies still have their impact? It’s like the front page lie or mistake in the newspaper later on having a tiny retraction on page 19 in the bottom corner. The initial shock and impact will stick with people later on as a feeling of ill will. Hence so many people saying Salmond is slimy, cannot be trusted, etc. If you ask them why then they’ve not really got any real reason, it’s just an impression built up by the media constantly saying he’s not to be trusted.

    45. handclapping says:

      @Hetty
      I read it as wishful thinking that there may be more Devo after a No. They don’t want to acknowledge that Cameron insisted it was Yes or No, none of the middle way they want. Puts them in a cruel dilemma.

    46. Ron Maclean says:

      @Silverytay
      Think your wife might have been watching Newswatch. Samira Ahmed interviewed Steve Hewlett ( journalist/ex BBC executive/presenter on R4 The Media Show).  He said amongst the usual patronising claptrap that he thought Scottish licence payers are net recipients.

    47. joe kane says:

      Credit where it’s due though, at least the Tory-front of the Labour-staffed Better Together campaign haven’t broken any laws this time round. I’d hate to see Blair McDougall eventually ending up like some of Ian Taylor’s former associates such as Arkan or Saddam. 

      Arkan –
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C5%BDeljko_Ra%C5%BEnatovi%C4%87

      Saddam –
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saddam_Hussein

      Better Together –
      http://bettertogether.net/

    48. Kev says:

      I see the debate yesterday between Humza Yousaf and Johan Lamont, chaired by a STUC representative and held at St Pauls High resulted in 104 YES votes against 81 No…I think this is the only debate so far between 16-17 yr olds that’s resulted in a Yes vote and its been achieved in Johan Lamont’s own constituency..quite a blow indeed to the Debater of the Year and the No side…

    49. Silverytay says:

      Ron , thanks for that information .
      My wife does not normally do politics so for her to comment on it is a first .

    50. gordoz says:

      @ silvertay
      @ Ron Maclean

      Newswatch worth a look / covers SNP & future of BBC

      http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b03jq0xv/Newswatch_29_11_2013/

    51. Xaracen says:

      “So I apologise if I sound dismissive or anything, it’s just a matter of picking the most productive priorities.”
       
      No apology needed, Rev Stu, you just widened the point that I was making, that it comes down to the relevant numbers. Your point about all the crowd-based fundraising is a good one, I’ve contributed to several over the last several months but my pockets aren’t all that deep so I need to judge for myself which ones I support, because I can’t support all that I’d like to.
       
      You’ve fully earned a very high degree of trust from WoS readers, and consequently I’m much happier to support WoS’s efforts than perhaps I might be for some others.

    52. Hetty says:

      handclapping

      Yes it is perhaps attempting to be impartial, but the whole article seems to pander to the idea that they are all the same these decision makers ie politicians, I think A Salmond is of a different calibre and they know that, not perfect by any means, but has more integrity in his little finger than westminster lot put together. 

    53. Xaracen says:

      It might also be worth pointing out that I don’t have 100% control over all my pockets! 🙂

    54. Albert Herring says:

      Scotland pays between 300 to 350 million for the privilege to watch t.v
       
      ….minus of course all those who have stopped stumping up.

    55. Silverytay says:

      gordoz , thanks for that

    56. Papadocx says:

      John major,
      Which rock did he crawl out from under, he spent years putting the boot into Scotland so that London could become bigger, stronger and more corrupt on the backs of the Scottish people, and complete Maggie Thatchers humiliation of a once proud and hard working nation.
      His old partner Edwina Curry was informing the English radio audience last week how Alex Salmond “when he was a labour MP in Westminster” She was definite. 
       
      These and many other great unionist politicians have mobilised to ensure and “Guarentee” to finish of the nasty ungrateful Scots once and for all, at any cost!
       
      Be afraid, be very afraid if you vote no!

    57. velofello says:

      Good points Rev. The Panelbase poll by WOS shook a few foundations. I’m content to drip feed my piggybank for a crowdfund appeal in February in the expectation that your coming projects will be as inspired as the WOS Panalbase poll initiative.  
       

    58. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “It isn’t just the graphic that BT should be worried about. Alistair Darling was widely quoted as referring to one page of projections showing ‘a newly separate Scotland’s finances’ in the White Paper. See for example the Daily Record at-“

      You read my mind 🙂

    59. Ken Johnston says:

      Hetty @ 1.36
      Bit depressing but after visiting my 93 year old friend who has been thoroughly brainwashed and wouldn’t listen to my side at all yesterday, I told him he was being brainwashed, but of course he harks back to the war at every turn, ie we would have lost if Scotland had been Independent!

      Maybe one could point out that the number of deaths of the volunteers from the Irish Republic (neutral and not long after a war for independence) almost matched the number from the North, 3,600 to 3,900.

      And would we not have done the same, and what about the free French, Czech’s, Poles, et al.

      Without the Poles and Czech’s in the Air Force GB would have on a sticky wicket.

    60. Les Wilson says:

      Sneddon,
      You are right, my anger gets me carried away sometimes. However, it would be better to start a fund specifically for this type of thing. I also agree, we need to pick our moment as to when would be best to do it.
      I also acknowledge what the REv said in response that we could put such money to better use, and he could be right also, but there is a need to put this everywhere we can. All I am saying is that we need some action from as many quarters as we can to countermand these people. Wings and the Rev do a great job and I would not want to weaken that in any way. 
      However, no one could deny that the more we show them up, in every way possible, is a necessity. 

    61. Finnzz says:

      “you’d have to be sort of galactic-class moron to interpret it that way”
       
      I think you have nailed it on the head there. There appears to be no other  explanation for the shear idiocy of some of the comments in the media or online discussion threads.

    62. Titler says:

      So I apologise if I sound dismissive or anything, it’s just a matter of picking the most productive priorities.

      You should all crowd source buying Stu his own Saltire Sweet Shop, to make blue and white humbugs to give out at Yes events. You get to increase awareness in a sweet way, he gets to eat all the seconds, and the newspapers get to run stories about “Evil Scot Nat Forces Saltire Down Children’s Throats” stories… everyone wins!

      But a bit more seriously, policy wonkery is all well and good, but I’ve followed enough elections here and abroad to know it can lead to serious blindness as to the lay of the actual battlefield. The Republicans were convinced right up to the very last few minutes that Mitt Romney was going to win, because everyone they spoke to agreed with them, they had their own websites with “unbiased” poling which indicated they were right, and talk radio which shouted those beliefs back out to the world and re amplified that narrative… the reality was though that whilst Americans are small c conservative, the encouragement to the Tea Party fringe was seriously offputting to the wider American society; they liked the economics but were repelled by the social attitudes. The Republicans thought they were solidifying the extreme wing of the conservative vote, whilst driving it’s centre towards Barack Obama, a moderate Republican with black skin (which, horrible as it is to say, allowed them to vote conservative with a good social conscience) …

      And so it is with Scotland; polls are useful because they address the Media’s love for narrative and mathematics. But becoming obsessed with media “Bias” risks missing the point that Stu touches on, that some votes are simply not there for you to take. You can’t educate them, you can’t get the scales to drop from their eyes etc… it would be wasted money to run adverts in the Sun saying “Don’t look at page 3 in this newspaper!” when the advert is likely to only be run on Page 23, and the audience is only going to associate that post-wank disgust to your advert coming after it instead.

      Likewise here; you’re deepening the commitment of the committed, but missing the importance of the mushy middle. I recommend reading this report of the debates within the Irish Dáil Éireann on accepting the conditions of Irish Independence;
      http://historical-debates.oireachtas.ie/D/DT/D.T.192112190002.html

      Notice mid way the debate gets dragged off into concerns about the bias of the media too; 100 years ago and very little changes… The votes in the end were close, too close and Ireland descended into Civil War afterwards. But the speeches that swung the public vote towards accepting the Treaty we now know came not from the doctrinaire, perfect Republicanism of De Valera… but the pragmatic, democratic views of Collins and O’Higgins who admitted quite frankly that there was explicit threats of violence if they didn’t sign, but that;

      “I do not wish to be forced into a stronger advocacy of the Treaty than I feel. I will not call it, as Mr. Devlin called the Home Rule Act of 1914, a Magna Charta of liberty. I do not hail it, as the late Mr. Redmond hailed it, as a full, complete, and final settlement of Ireland’s claim. I will not say, as Mr. Dillon said, that it would be treacherous and dishonourable to look for more. I do say it represents such a broad measure of liberty for the Irish people and it acknowledges such a large proportion of its rights, you are not entitled to reject it without being able to show them you have a reasonable prospect of achieving more (hear, hear).”

      Those kind of arguments would hold far, far more sway for Scottish Independence today too. There are huge holes in the White Paper, it’s not a perfect document outlining a specific path to a better world; You don’t and never have lived in one and it gets wearing to be constantly abused for not having the burning passion of the committed believer. But admit that, show your human side, and that you are going to struggle against terrible opposing forces, and you’ll catch more flies with Saltire sweets than with “bitter together” piss and vinegar; As Collins put it about a similarly flawed but aspirational document;

      “I do not recommend it for more than it is. Equally I do not recommend it for less than it is. In my opinion it gives us freedom, not the ultimate freedom that all nations desire and develop to, but the freedom to achieve it”  

      And that’s a much more realistic sell, and historically proven to work, than assuming Alex Salmond, and selected representatives “from across Scottish public life and Scotland’s other political parties” (pg 71) will go to London and get anything close to their final, perfect program at all.  Still, at least the First Minister has one advantage over the Irish delegation;

      “In 1921, after the announcement of a truce in the War of Independence, Lloyd George, then British Prime Minister, agreed to meet with Eamon de Valera. The leader of the Ulster Unionists, James Craig asked de Valera was he going to see Lloyd George alone. When de Valera said “yes”, Craig replied: “Are you mad? Take a witness. Lloyd George will give any account of the interview that comes into his mind or that suits him.”

      Plus ca change plus c’est la meme chose…. 
       

    63. john king says:

      Garvie says
      “If this is so, we have to ask are they utterly incompetent, or are they happy to use completely false data to achieve their ends?”

      Didn’t see Cara Hilton’s campaign leaflets did you Garvie?

    64. Andy-B says:

      This exactly illustrates my point, YES and the SNP should be attacking not defending, by producing papers to show just what dire straights Scotlands financies would be in if we remain within a debt ridden union.
       
      The emphasis must be changed, showing the BT camp have no forward thinking plans for Scotland, only austerity, foodbanks, bedroom tax, trident,and enforced tory governments, and many other unfair policies the BT camp and westminster lined up for us.
       
      Look how easy it was for wee Nicola when she turned the tables on Carmichael, fight fear with fear, seems to work, your average Scots is mainly concerned with what they’ll lose so the SNP and YES should keep pushing what they’ll lose if they remain in a debt ridden union.

    65. Juteman says:

      A thoughtful post, Titler.

    66. john king says:

      Rabb says
      “The video below is former SAS soldier Ben Griffin telling it how it is.”

      I was totally ready not to listen to that when I saw it was 8 minutes long as my dinners about ready, thank god I did OMG, that mans life is in danger.

      I have never heard a more powerful speech against the vested interests that make up the British establishment, it should be required viewing for all 165/17 year olds prior to the vote.

    67. john king says:

      no doubt the more eagle eyed of you would have spotted I didn’t actually mean 165 year old’s, sometimes I feel that old myself though 🙁

    68. rabb says:

      I did wonder John if you’d found the key to immortality!
       
      On a more serious note, it was a powerful speech. It sums up the British establishment and it’s complicit media in a language we can all understand.
       
      We are what they want us to be if you will. This man isn’t accepting it any more 🙂

    69. Better Together St Kilda says:

      If us ladies told pollsters what we really think they’d have their work cut out.



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