The world's most-read Scottish politics website

Wings Over Scotland

We’re confused again

Posted on August 05, 2013 by

We were forwarded this email today from a reader who’d contacted “Better Together” to express their concern about the deeply troubling recent events where UK Border Agency police have been harassing non-white people at tube stations and elsewhere, and wanted to know their view on it.


This was the reply they got.

“From: Better Together <info [at] bettertogether [dot] net>

Date: 5 August 2013 18:09
Subject: RE: Immigration spot checks
To: […] <[…]>
Dear Mr […],
Thanks for getting in touch with us.
We are a campaign which brings together a wide range of individuals, some from political parties and many who are not. As a result we refrain from taking positions on matters that are not directly related to the Scottish referendum. However, if you want to contact the parties that are part of our campaign directly I am sure that they will be able to give you their positions on this important issue.
Kind Regards,
Better Together
t:  01412256288
Have you read Alistair Darling’s lecture on why we’re Better Together in the UK yet? You can download the pamphlet here

So that’s all fine, then. Referendum campaigns don’t talk about other policy matters. Such things are for individual parties to decide on, and voters at elections.

Except, um… in that case, why do they keep demanding to know what “the Yes Scotland position” is on policy matters like the monarchy or corporation tax or the size of the army or the level of pensions or the price of a stamp? Yes Scotland isn’t a party any more than “Better Together” is.

We’ve probably misunderstood something again. Can anyone explain?

Print Friendly

    64 to “We’re confused again”

    1. Angus McPhee says:

      Damn I can’t tell that pamphlet off… you should try runnning 3 or 4 at the same time.

    2. handclapping says:

      If you were a ordinary punter and didnt have a friendly blog to explain it to you you would remain confused. Job Done.

    3. Angus McPhee says:

      Turn, turn it off I meant turn it off.

    4. Marcia says:

      To quote the Postman in the 1930’s film ‘Oh! Mr Porter’ ‘Your wasting your time.’
      Do they ever give you a straight answer? Perhaps we should flood them with questions.

    5. MajorBloodnok says:

      About 500 should do…

    6. scaredy cat says:

      Uhu, but nobody in the MSM ever challenges them!
      So annoying.
      This, on the other hand, is wonderful.

    7. scaredy cat. says:

      Apologies this is O/T but I wanted to ask people’s view on an e petition that’s doing the rounds.
      The clue is in the title. 

    8. HandandShrimp says:

      The difficulty the No campaign have is that they have fundamental divisions on policy lines and dare not speak of them. As we approach Sept 14 we will be ever closer to the UK election and the likes of Darling will be in an increasingly invidious position trying to hold ranks when every instinct will be telling them to go for the Tory jugular (or vice versa). They will either fall apart or simply become ever more opaque.

    9. Hetty says:

      Well wouldn’t it be just dandy to know exactly what the so called better to f’g gether parties’ position is regards harassing people going about their daily business, er just like in the old days before human rights and protests about racially motivated murders. They are all in it together are they not this shambles of a union. Urgh,pah, urgh. Sad thing is it’s for real and in 2013, scary stuff.

    10. James Morton says:

      What better together clearly don’t want is something as important as this being based on what the Union is becoming. “You can’t possibly base your decision for the referendum on what the Tories are doing”  which is what a certain Mr Hothersall said to me once on a tedious twitter exchange. But this is clearly what you would base your decision on surely.
      Healthcare – BT position “It was the British that gave Scotland the NHS” – currently being dismantled and sold off in penny packets to private interests.
      Royal Mail – You’d have to pay more if you were independent. Current position being sold off, price of stamps expected to rise.
      Immigration – You would have to copy Britain as your borders would not be strong enough to resist us – current position, race baiting vans and UKBA agents intimidating people of colour on the tax payers dime.
      It was Britain that bailed out Scotland’s banks. Actually it was one bank that was bailed, but if we are playing that game, then surely we contributed something to the bailing out of Northern Rock plc. Then A Darling presided over a radical series of mergers and mortgage book sales turning the UK banking sector in a giant game of kerplunk.
      With the union and the Britains AAA credit rating you scots get cheaper mortgages. Current situation is that the UK has been downgraded and could very well face further downgrading causing serious problems for the UKs fiat currency.
      Scotland is foremost in science and technology in Europe, but only with the Union can it be taken seriously. – Implication is that in 2016 an independent Scotland could lead a breathrough in the treatment of cancer, and no one would be interested in it, because it would be Scottish not British.
      England who is our biggest customer would become our biggest competitor. Implication, England, would somehow be able to gather the resources it got from us, from a as yet unidentified county in England, and compete with us in the market place.
      The list goes on and on. But the last thing they want is for you to base your decisions on any of this.

    11. ianbrotherhood says:

      @scaredy cat-
      Thanks for link. Hadn’t seen that before – good stuff.

    12. That there googlemail address still looks to be embedded on a mailto. Is that right?

    13. ianbrotherhood says:

      Not sure if this has been posted on WoS before, but a wee gem that covers much of what we come here to discuss:

    14. Richard Lucas says:

      Of course, Better Together can’t afford to bite the Tory hands that feed them, so they aren’t about to condemn the Coalition’s overt racism on the streets.

    15. Tasmanian says:

      Well, this is nice. A stock answer for Yes Scotland whenever someone demands their answer on monarcy, currency, etc. 🙂

    16. HandandShrimp says:

      That is exactly it, you have to base your decision on what the Tories aredoing because Labour never sodding well repeal anything.

    17. Tris says:

      Well at least they didn’t write and tell your reader to ‘Fuck Off’, like the lone councillor in the park did to someone who asked questions about being Better Together.
      Clearly that’s a move in the right direction.

    18. Doug Daniel says:

      Ian Brotherhood – interesting clip there, and not just for a look at George Robertson in full-on Jimmy Hill chin mode. It’s utterly heartbreaking watching Scots almost proudly stating how Scotland “couldnae go it alone” etc. How on earth does a country get to this stage? How does a populace allow itself to be brainwashed into thinking this pish?
      You can see why the likes of Terry Kelly simply refuse to acknowledge that Scotland is capable of being a successful, modern democracy.

    19. Braco says:

      Aye Doug, but that was then and this is now.

    20. ianbrotherhood says:

      Yeah. I find it hard to get my head around how little has changed in the whole ‘debate’, despite what we now know, and the fact that we can share it so much more easily. 
      You could sense, listening to the older guys in the pub/club, that they knew how dodgy the subject was – the Thames TV crew could’ve parked themselves there for days, but failed to find one man prepared to admit to voting for the SNP. Right now, you have to wonder how many folk are going through exactly the same – keeping the heid down.
      If LFI can get them to break cover? Good luck to them – the sooner the better.

    21. molly says:

      Not sure if its already been linked but Gerry Hassan has a really good piece on NC. He explains in detail why he thinks Labour ,are where they are. One excellent point I think he makes is (and this is only my take on what he says), due to their subsumption of the whole mythology of ‘Britain’ , the rewritten version, while we (the electorate ) can all discuss our thoughts on, say the item above or our hopes and aims,aspirations for Independence, the Labour Party can only ‘snipe from the sidelines’.
      Another good line he has is ,it appears the dead matter more than the living when talking about all the upcoming events, sad but true .
      Got myself in a fankle the last time I tried to link an item bit I think definitely worth a read as he obviuosly puts it much better.

    22. U, R, Haverinweeman says:

      @scaredy cat: Thanks for the vimeo link.
      It’s a cracking wee video, and makes some excellent points which are in need of further investigation.  
      The historical perspective, albeit a wee bit skewed, is a diamond in its own right.
      To be balanced, it also has some sections which seem to have come from the Fiction section of the video library but it’s all the more intriguing for that.
      Thanks a million! Total winnage on getting the old grey matter birlin’.  🙂

    23. naebd says:

      I loved (hated) this little exchange.
      “Hard Headed Scottish Woman Unconvinced by All That Democracy Nonsense”: SCOtLAND?! WHAT HAVE THEY GOT??
      Margo: Who’s *they*?
      Let’s hope we’ve progressed since then, and enough.

    24. Macart says:

      Nothing confusing about it. Do as we say, don’t do as we do. Of course that may look to some that they’re being a tad hypocritical, but surely no? 😉

    25. naebd says:

      Coming back to the post, of course the explanation is that Immigration is reserved, therefore none of our business. Why would BT want to discuss stuff that’s above our station?

    26. scottish_skier says:

      Immigration is reserved, therefore none of our business.

      I wonder why there haven’t been any anti-immigrant vans going around Edinburgh or ‘foreign-looking’ people being stopped and questioned by the UKOKBA at Glasgow underground stations. 


    27. Braco says:

      Yes Scottish Skier, does anyone know the reason for that? I was sure that immigration was a devolved issue too.

    28. Vronsky says:

      I wonder if we’re living in the only country in the world, and in history, where if you ask people if they want to govern themselves, two thirds answer ‘no’ or ‘don’t know’.

    29. Jo Daigan says:

      Think you missed ‘we refrain from taking positions on matters that are not directly related to the Scottish referendum‘ 

    30. Luigi says:

      I wonder if the rUK authorities will start jock-profiling after independence.  Anyone with ginger hair, wearing tartan or smelling of haggis will definitely be a suspect!

    31. scaredy cat. says:

      @ Ian Brotherhood
      Eye opening for me as this was before my time. Fortunately, despite the efforts of Better Together, people in Scotland are beginning to become more self confident. Independence is a possibility now. Not Just a dream.
      I believe confidence is the key. Don’t knows are only don’t knows for lack of confidence. Don’t knows, IMO, want independence deep in their hearts, but are afraid. If they didn’t like the ‘idea’ of independence, they would be firm Nos. This is why project fear exists. They know that only fear can suppress the desire. 
      I hope the fear will be dispelled before the vote but I am quietly confident. The more we talk about it and normalise it, the easier for us to bring the scaredy cats with us 🙂

    32. Famous15 says:

      For the avoidance of doubt…EC citizens are allowed free movement throughout the EC.They cannot be targeted! As a Jock I will not have to reapply because common sense tells me that if that were ever contemplated I could reside in any EC country and the EC would never even dream of that happening so seamless continuance of membership of EC for both rUK and Scotland. Common sense really! I personally do not need legal advice for the obvious.

    33. the pamphlet link takes me to a cartoon on you-tube.  probably more interesting than the pamphlet anyway. 🙂

    34. naebd says:

      I’m sure immigration is a reserved matter.
      The van thing is because there’s hardly any immigration in Scotland, so it’s not something that warrants such a ‘publicity stunt’ here.

    35. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “Think you missed ‘we refrain from taking positions on matters that are not directly related to the Scottish referendum‘ “

      No, I didn’t. The monarchy is not “directly related to the Scottish referendum”. Nor is corporation tax, or pension policy, or the price of a stamp. The referendum is about precisely ONE thing – who chooses the governments of Scotland?

    36. Robert Kerr says:

      When I commuted from the mid-east I usually transited through Schipol but one time I used Heathrow. I was targeted as a Jock flying to Glasgow. My passport was issued by FCO and I was asked by security “Where did you get this?” I replied “at the embassy, is there a problem?”
      I then bit my tongue lest I missed my flight.
      Remember the met shot dead the man with the table-leg as a terrorist. 
      Hail Caesar!

    37. scottish_skier says:

      The van thing is because there’s hardly any immigration in Scotland.

      Erm, ~20% of the population of Scotland are not ‘Scottish’ (in terms of primary nationality, as shown e.g. in the results of Moreno questions in polls/surveys); i.e. they are ‘recent immigrants’ to Scotland. This is made up of ~10% from the rest of the UK (English, Welsh, N. Irish) with the remainder EU and non-EU.

      ~20% is not exactly ‘hardly any’.

    38. Mosstrooper says:

      I also linked to that pamphlet link. I thought it was a Blair McDougal talk but it appears to be a cartoon. Or do I mean I thought it was a cartoon but it was a Blair Mac talk? Me confused

    39. ianbrotherhood says:

      I wonder if, in very simplistic terms, some doorstep conversations go like this:
      ‘Do you want to look after yourself?’
      ‘Why not?’
      ‘Because I’m stupid.’
      ‘Oh. Okay then.’
      ‘Right son. Cheerio.’

    40. Seasick Dave says:

      I’m confused as well after an offshore breakfast ‘conversation’ this morning.
      Four guys at table; two English and two Scots. I was one of the Scots, the other a young Glaswegian with Team GB tee-shirt and Rangers tat on leg.
      English guy: “So are you Scots going to vote for Independence?”
      Team-GB: “Naw, it’ll never happen”.
      Me: “I reckon it will and it makes sense to get away from Westminster rule”.
      Team-GB (wearing semi-stunned look): “Whit’s Westminster got tae dae wi it?”
      I depart table leaving ‘conversation’ to continue…:)

    41. balgayboy says:

      Tris says@11.42 pm
      Hope the same wummin in the linked picture did not use the same language in the latest UK love-in TV show!

    42. DMyers says:

      I can see why you’re seasick, Dave…

    43. Vronsky says:

      “I wonder if, in very simplistic terms, some doorstep conversations go like this”
      Yes, I’m afraid that would adequately paraphrase rather a lot of them.  Once when canvassing tenements the door was opened by a man wearing only underpants.  The hall and room behind him were empty – unfurnished and uncarpetted.  There were no lights on the close landings.  I could hear a dog growling somewhere.  He wouldn’t be voting for independence, he told me, as he reckoned we had too much to lose.

    44. Dee says:

      Independence will give Scots more confidence, we will be more outgoing, that is what the English establishment are dead against, they like their subjects to be their obedient little servants who will accept their pocket money and crawl back under their rock. Even thinking of independence gives you more confidence, so imagine how we will feel when it actually happens. I have just returned from Turkey, and from every possible high point around towns and cities they fly their national flag with pride. Can you imagine trying to fly the saltire in Scotland from similar points in present day Scotland. The BBC in Scotland, MSM and also Better Together, would have you locked up for high treason. They should be absolutely ashamed of themselves. I hope  the up and coming football match at Wembley with England has massive in your face Saltires and of course plenty of Yes Scotland banners. We should be proud of our Saltire, so come on, fly the flag.

    45. Vronsky says:

      ” He wouldn’t be voting for independence”
      The man that is, not the dog.

    46. Morag says:

      I don’t imagine he’ll be voting at all, so who cares, really.

    47. Ivan McKee says:

      @ Seasick Dave
      Anecdotes like that actually give me hope (although it maybe doesn’t seem like that when you’re in the middle of that conversation).
      It shows how soft the NO vote is.
      Next Question : “What do you think its about then if its not about Westminster ?”
      Answer : Probably ramblings about Braveheart / too wee / too poor/ too stupid and / or Alex Salmond
      Followed up with :
      “Best way to get rid of Alex Salmond is to vote Yes, then he’ll retire, otherwise he’ll be around for years”
      or “the Norwegians seem to do OK” etc.
      He might be unconvincible BritNat, but at least it shatters some of his illusions.

    48. Luigi says:

      Aye, BT will have a big enough challenge persuading him to put his trousers on, register to vote and walk down to the polling station next September.  IEven if they get that far, he may even go and vote YES (I don’t want independence) anyway!

    49. chalks says:

      What I don’t get is, they were the ones who turned round and said it can’t be about nationality or you’re heart, it’s got to be about fact etc
      Now they are quite willing to admit that their WHOLE argument for a no vote revolves around post Olympic union flag flying…..I watched top gear last night and that was another edition of ‘Britain’s great’ it featured cars from all over Britain…..none from Scotland.

    50. Ivan McKee says:

      The only argument for the Union is the (British) Nationalist argument.
      There is no economic case for the Union (from Scotland’s perspective).
      So its no surprise they will concentrate on the flag waving. We’re going to see a lot more of it in the next year or so.
      Getting that point across to people is very powerful as it kills the myth of Yes = (Brave) Heart; No = Sensible Head. In reality it is the opposite.

    51. Cath says:

      Team-GB (wearing semi-stunned look): “Whit’s Westminster got tae dae wi it?”
      One of our canvassers had one like that. Ranted on for ages against independence, the SNP Alex Salmond, “widnae be votin’ fir that stupit independence, naw”. Then the canvasser asked, “out of interest, what kind of Scotland would you like to see in the future?”
      The answer: “Och ah dinnae ken, hen. Aw I ken is we need tae git as far awa’ fae that Westminster as possible”
      The mind just truly boggles.

    52. Seasick Dave says:

      Ivan and Cath
      I think that you are right, Ivan, their beliefs are based on quicksand and wet dreams about the Union Jack.
      I’m convinced that even the tiniest minds will be brought into focus by what transpires after the publication of the White Paper.

    53. alasdair says:


      You do know you’ve published the persons identity and e-mail address?

    54. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      Whoops. I don’t think they’ll be all that fussed – they didn’t ask me to withhold it or anything – but fixed now. Cheers for the heads-up.

    55. CameronB says:

      @ Tris

      Well at least they didn’t write and tell your reader to ‘Fuck Off’, like the lone councillor in the park did to someone who asked questions about being Better Together.
      Clearly that’s a move in the right direction.
      I would beg to differ, and would suggest that is exactly how BT replied, simply using more words.
      Any true Scot would have seen that. 🙂
      Re. Race based spot checks. If you want to be British, this is how we do things in a civilized country. You can’t make an omelet without breaking eggs, you know.


    56. Seasick Dave says:

      Re my breakfast ‘conversation’, as I was making a coffee, I overheard the other English guy say, “If that Salmond gets his way, you’ll all be flooded with immigrants. Ha, ha!”
      Aye, better together, my arse.

    57. chalks says:

      Yep, WW1 ‘celebrations’ in Glasgow that most men in Glasgow feel is overtly political.  The Queen even venturing out of her slumber…
      Call me daft, or just dripping with positivity, but I can see this backfiring on the better together lot…….

    58. The Flamster says:

      Seasick Dave – Re your breakfast conversation.
      Apart from all the Union flag waving,Queen and Country etc, the majority of Rangers fan believe that the SPL & SFA conspired against Rangers, which in turn makes them against the Scottish Government.  I have people on FB who I went to school with who are now “ABS” Anyone but Scotland – they’ll cheer on whoever plays Scotland.  These people haven’t a clue about Westminister or politics and just spout the usual anti Salmond nonsense – brainwashed or what…

    59. Richard Lucas says:

      I see a new shadowy separatist presence stalks the land: 

    60. chalks says:

      Someone should start a SNP Members Labour For Independence Group

    61. david says:

      where the heck is jimmy krankie for goodness sake ?

    62. Eddie says:

      This one would almost certainly upset some of those Unionists too.
      <iframe width=”640″ height=”360″ src=”” frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen></iframe>

    63. HeatherMcLean says:

      chalks says:
      6 August, 2013 at 2:05 pm

      Someone should start a SNP Members Labour For Independence Group

      an SNP Women Members Labour for Independence Group ! hahaha!

    64. Marcia says:

      Women in Labour Group at every maternity hospital.

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

    ↑ Top