stooges of the Kremlin

Wings Over Scotland


Who hates you, baby?

Posted on May 07, 2013 by

Somewhat to our surprise, the tabloid press at least hasn’t been able to avoid covering Labour activist, election candidate and BBC pundit Ian Smart’s astonishing brainfail outburst of Sunday night. (We’ve just noticed a Herald piece too, leaving – surprise! – the BBC and Scotsman as the only media not to consider it worthy of note.)

[EDIT 7pm: Scotsman now belatedly also covering.]

smartrecord

Smart himself has attempted a hasty damage limitation exercise, claiming that his comments, which presented Scotland as a nation of violent racist bigots suppressed from attacking minorities only by (relative) economic stability, were in fact directed solely at a small faction of independence-supporting “cybernats”.

But that isn’t true.

Here, once again, is Mr Smart’s tweet in its full original context:

polespakis

Colin Quinn is referring to a post on Mr Smart’s blog suggesting, very sensibly, that Labour would struggle to win the 2015 UK general election with Ed Miliband as leader. (So the idea that Mr Smart is simply a hopeless mad buffoon incapable of rational analysis is nonsense.)

There is no mention of “cybernats”, nor of independence supporters or even Yes voters. If any single group of the electorate is under discussion, it’s those who are planning to vote No in 2014. (“Can you urge others to vote No knowing [the] likelihood is [a] Tory decade?”, asks Mr Quinn.)

The inescapable implication of Smart’s response is that Scotland as a whole would “turn on” ethnic minorities. After all, if we were only talking about a tiny handful of crazed “cybernats”, that wouldn’t bring about a dramatic increase in racist violence, especially as said “cybernats” – and social media users in general – are routinely depicted as cowardly anonymous “keyboard warriors” hiding in their bedrooms rather than rampaging through the streets looking for foreigners to beat up.

It’s certainly hard to see how the hypothetical activities of this tiny handful of people (Mr Smart himself talks of “a small group of Nationalists… I suspect with multiple twitter identities”, downplaying their numbers even further) would be sufficient to make it worth imposing an entire century of Conservative governments on the people of Scotland rather than take the supposed economic risk of independence.

Smart’s attempted justification of his comments is based on the premise that there is currently an epidemic of anti-English violence in Scotland, which would be redirected to ethnic minorities in the event of independence bringing about economic failure, as Scots would no longer be able to blame the English for their problems.

Quite aside from anything else this demonstrates a rather touching but bizarre faith in the rationality of racist bigots, but there’s another problem with it too.

Late last year, the Unionist media made great play of statistics which appeared to show a rise in anti-English violence in Scotland. (Though such accusations are a pretty constant presence the rest of the time too.) When further analysis of the figures in fact showed there had been a DECREASE in such attacks in all areas where they were measured, not one newspaper could find the time to update its reporting.

In fact, if any form of intra-national hate speech is on the rise in the UK, it’s that directed by the English towards Scotland. Anyone reading the Telegraph, Mail or Express since the SNP’s victory in 2011 would have no difficulty in picking out scores of articles referring to Scots in terms like “rotten sporran-danglers” or “work-shy dole scroungers and skag-addled prostitutes”.

(We have a whole file of these. Don’t make us show you.)

And these, remember, aren’t lone internet nutters cowering in anonymity. These are journalists and columnists on some of the UK’s most august “quality” newspapers, displaying their prejudice loud and proud and doing their damnedest to provoke anti-English sentiment, which the Scots rise above with almost heroic forbearance.

Ian Smart, whether he pretends otherwise or not, is on the side of these people. He too regards the Scots as vicious racist brutes kept in check only by the wise dominion of Westminster. This lifelong diehard left-wing Labour activist would gladly surrender Scotland to Conservative governments for four generations, so terrified is he of what the thuggish Scots would do without their London masters to restrain them.

The chilling thing is that Ian Smart unquestionably (and indeed, basically by definition) speaks for a huge proportion of the No/Labour movement in Scotland. We don’t think Mr Smart and his British-nationalist friends in the “Better Together” camp hate Poles or Pakistanis. But the evidence that they despise the Scots is pretty conclusive.

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    1. Indy says:

      It is in Herald too – page one, focussing on Jack MccConnell’s involvement. Not online yet but in paper.

    2. bunter says:

      Story is in the online herald now.

    3. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      Yeah, had already spotted and edited that in. But cheers.

    4. mogabee says:

       
       Should be known as the “Better Together Sneer”.

    5. Craig P says:

      Thanks for bringing to attention the lie about anti-English racist attacks. This deliberate misreporting of the facts infuriated me at the time, and I overheard at least one person using it as a stick to beat the indepedence movement. Job done for Better Together black ops, and the truth dragged through the mud.

    6. Patronsaintofcats says:

      Well, this episode has certainly provoked an anti-Ian Smart sentiment in me.  Good news is Twitter seems to have a nasty rebound effect, hope Mr. Smart (lol) bears the full brunt of it.

    7. Jack says:

      It’s here too:

    8. James 2612 says:

      I have re-read the original tweet:
       
      Better 100 years of the Tories than the turn on the Poles and the Pakis that would follow independence failing to deliver.
       
      It is an awkwardly-constructed sentence. Most interpretations seem to suggest that this is aimed at a post-independence Scotland turning on the racial minorities and holding them responsible for any failures of independence.  Bad enough in itself, but the grammar of the tweet would indicate that ‘turn of’ may have been intended.
       
      In this scenario perhaps he envisages a Scottish Parliament full of P … And P…
       
      Perhaps he should be asked to clarify.
       
       

    9. pmcrek says:

      Everywhere it goes the British State sows discord and strife amongst the populous to maintain its tenuous control:
       
      http://www.sudantribune.com/spip.php?article25558
       

    10. The Man in the Jar says:

      The sun is shining, the birds are singing, the plants are blossoming and now this.  🙂  What a nice day! I’m off to take the dog for a walk.

    11. John Lyons says:

      Aaaaahhhhh!!!
       
      I feel better now.
       
      I’ve long thought independence is inevietable. The implosion of a rainbow coalition of Unionists who hate each other coupled with an all pervading negativity is likely to bring us Victory. The fact that they bring out their top guns on a regular basis and can’t even best our number two means our best man is still sitting on the sidelines waiting to get warmed up. The univrsal anti-independence media was a concern, but like the sun when the SNP won the election in 2007 I always thought they’d smell which way the wind was blowing and switch sides.
       
      Better No reek of fear and the press can smell it.
      The tide has been turned.

    12. Having read the stories, the thing that strikes me is that his use of language seems to be being focused upon, but that isn’t the most insulting part of the tweet. Its the fact that he seems to seriously think that Scotland is a hive of barely restrained racist rancour, held in check solely by existence of the Union and the focus upon ‘the English’ as the enemy. Its a thoroughly reprehensible viewpoint.

    13. Macart says:

      I’ll be stunned if this ever makes the Scotsman or Beeb. They have a positive knack for ignoring something which contradicts their own narrative.

    14. Roddy Macdonald says:

      Rev Stu:
      It’s here too and, since you feature highly, I’d be grateful for any comments / feedback particularly on my recollection of your twitter exchange with Ms Calman.
      http://logicsrock.blogspot.co.uk/2013/05/the-perfect-storm-shit-storm-and-der.html
       
       

    15. Tim says:

      The article is currently “404 Not Found” on The Herald.

    16. Steve McKay says:

      Looks like the Herald piece has been taken down…

    17. Douglas Gregory says:

      Bad link ‘herald piece’
      It is crystal clear what he intended to tweet – being pissed up on a Saturday night is no excuse – a generous dose of truth serum me thinks

    18. Indy says:

      I think we need to be really clear about what is so wrong with this tweet. It is not just the language – although that was shocking – or the allegation about Yes supporters being racist, which is clearly unwarranted and offensive.
      It is simply that race should not be an issue in the independence referendum or indeed in any other aspect of Scottish politics.
      One of the reasons – only one but I think quite an important one – that the BNP,UKIP at al have failed to gain any traction in Scotland is that the other parties haven’t given them any traction. By and large they have maintained a united front against racism. So. for example, debates around immigration have been about immigration, not about the ethnicity of migrants. And debates around affordable housing have been about affordable houses, not about the colour of people who live in them.
      This is really important and, while I think Ian Smart’s tweet was appalling, what saddened me most was actually Jack McConnell’s interjection. We all understand the appeal to personal loyalty and if any of us saw one of our friends being attacked we would probably feel the same instinct to defend them. But the issue of racism is simply too important to be used as a political tool and I sincerely hope Jack McConnell now recognises that.

    19. ronald alexander mcdonald says:

      It’s out and out hysteria. Not the language or content that a campaign who are confident of victory would use.
      I suspect that the BNP would think twice about writing such bile. Not only are we too poor and stupid to run our own affairs, buy according to Smart we are a nation of Ku Klux Klan supporters.  I don’t think I have read anything so insulting in my life.
      Better together? Wonder what ordinary Labour voters think of this?  

    20. SCED300 says:

      The links to the Herald don’t seem to work. URL not found.

    21. Indy says:

      I should perhaps say that I do not think Ian Smart is a racist and he may sincerely hold the beliefs that he has stated. But that does not alter the fact that it was wrong to bring race and racism into the discussion of the referendum. In my opinion it was a terrible misjudgement whichever way you look at it.

    22. Doug Daniel says:

      Ian implied that people were getting angry at being called racist because he was calling them out on their true colours. The reality is we’re just sick to death of the constant jibes, be it “subtle” ones like “oh, you’re nationalist & socialist are you? Where have we heard that one before…?” or more straightforward “neo-fascist” type slaggings. I recently saw someone on Twitter being replied to by the creep that goes by the name “It’s Obvious” with a simple one-word tweet: “Nazi”. The person wasn’t even saying anything in the least bit controversial.
       
      This seems to be the mindset of the average unionist Labour supporter. They simply cannot understand why people would support independence, and assume it must be racial somehow. Or at the very least, they tell themselves that in order to justify their continued support for the institution which has been destroying any semblance of social justice and workers rights on these isles for the past 30 years.
       
      It’s time the media started paying attention to this though. This cannot be ignored any longer. When a politician uses inflammatory language, like that utilised by Ian Davidson, Anas Sarwar, Jim Murphy and Margaret Curran, that just gives the green light to the idiotic element of your supporters to follow your lead and push the boundaries just that little bit further. It’s even been empirically quantified by Dr Mark Shephard of the University of Strathclyde that unionist abuse is far more prevalent than the abuse coming from indy supporters – and far more savage as well.
       
      Interestingly, there appear to be no newspaper articles on Dr Shephard’s study, or none that are easily retrievable anyway. That should have been the starting point for all this stuff about trying to raise the debate, and perhaps that would have nipped things in the bud before Ian Smart came out with this nonsense.

    23. Barontorc says:

      Rev Stu – It’s highly possible that we, the Scots; ‘… puir wee coo’erin timorous beasties all…’, are more than enured to the slap-about stuff from some English torags.
       
      But, if as you say, such as – ‘…scores of articles referring to Scots in terms like “rotten sporran-danglers” or “work-shy dole scroungers and skag-addled prostitutes”…are common-currency – and you do have a whole file of these written by journalists from august ‘quality’ UK newspapers, please print the lot.
       
      Name and shame them. This just wouldn’t come from any other source but here on WoS, so go for it big time and see it then go international.
       
      Get the bu**ers branded for what they are

    24. HighlandMartin says:

      My parents have an ‘old friend’ who used the the word paki.  He was asked not to use it as it’s a racist term but once he tried to qualify it by saying ‘Well its not as if I’m outside’. 
      Ian Smart isn’t as his name suggests.  He is just an ignorant guy and it’s depressing to see an individual just dig a hole deeper instead of just apologising.  I noticed that the Herald story has been pulled,
       
       
       

    25. Morag says:

      Herald article appears to have moved –
      http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/home-news/jack-mcconnell-dragged-into-labour-strategists-tweet-row.1367920406
       
      Ah, it’s a lot longer now and it has lost its previous comments – including the one from OBE declaring that there was nothing wrong with it because Paki means pure and Pole is a simple description of natinoality, nothing offensive at all.

    26. Doug Daniel says:

      James 2612 – no, it’s quite clear that he was saying Scots would turn their ire on people from ethnic groups after independence. Trying to suggest he might have been saying something else about the parliament filling up with ethnic minorities does no help to anyone. Let’s leave the twisting of words to BetterTogether, and retain the moral high ground as much as possible.
       
      And it’s a good idea to remember that he’s a lawyer, and not one that would be shy about suing folk for misrepresenting what he said.

    27. Peter A Bell says:

      Seems The Herald came under some pressure from Jack McConnell – https://twitter.com/LordMcConnell/status/331707462858203136

    28. Douglas Gregory says:

      Doug Daniel
       
      Do you have a link to that study please?

    29. James Morton says:

      The irony is that throughout all this bile and poison they think we’re “Better together” – who exactly is this message directed at I wonder. It can only be for them surely – it certainly doesn’t endear one to their belief in the Union.

    30. turnip_ghost says:

      It’s worth noting he said he was quoting the word p*ki but everyone knows they use shorthand on twitter. I counted 119 characters out of a possible 140 so he could have easily fit in two quotation marks.

    31. Doug Daniel says:

      Douglas Gregory – the only mention of it in the media is by Jennifer Dempsie in the Scotsman, and that’s only because she’s a former SNP media adviser (and in Yes Scotland, I think).
       
      http://www.scotsman.com/the-scotsman/opinion/comment/jennifer-dempsie-online-there-s-plenty-of-stupid-to-go-around-1-2280223

    32. Mac says:

       
      So let me get this straight, over the past few weeks Scots have been accused of being  subsidy-junkies, online abusers, tramps and violent racists, and that we should laugh at ourselves for being characterised in this way.  
       
      Is that satire?

    33. orpheuslyre says:

      I read it a couple of ways. The first is theological, not political. He thinks that people are essentially evil and weak, they cannot control themselves, and will destroy each other given the occasion. It is an ultra-conservative view on human beings but it does not extend to the people of the British State, only Scottish people. And it is a permanent condition.

      The other way I read it as a classic colonial attitude: the natives are emotionally and mentally incapable of mature self-government. They will never evolve and rise to ‘our’ superior level of development. They need to be controlled for their own good. Left to themselves they sink into unimaginable savagery.

      These attitudes are not mutually exclusive – they can both be accommodated within the one mind-set, and in colonial days they did. What is slightly surprising is to see them aired so casually. Very revealing, very inferiorist, and of course, even without the racist language he actually uses, racist in its own way. What a poor mixed-up fellow!

    34. Albalha says:

      Does anyone have the original Herald story to compare with the updated story? What has been changed re Jack MC?

    35. Bill McLean says:

      Doug Daniel – Dr Mark Shephard’s finding are in an article by Jennifer Dempsie which appeared in the Scotsman (retch) on 8/5/2012.

    36. Albalha says:

      In answer to myself I’ve just had a look at the updated story and think this sentence has been added to the original
      Lord McConnell said today: “I abhor racism, whoever is the target and whatever the context. I wish others were as consistent.”
      If that’s the case who/what is he talking about in terms of consistency? Journalism this most certainly is not.
      I thnk someone above said the original is in the hard copy so will get that.
       

    37. Stuart Black says:

      @Albalha: basically it was just the first three paragraphs – sentences really – when I first read it, ending at ‘prominent blogger of his party’s affairs’.
       
      The body of the article was added later.

    38. Stuart Black says:

      @Albalha: and I believe the change regarding ‘Lord McConnell’ was triggered by a twitter exchange.
       
      Damage limitation, what’s it like? Phew!

    39. Morag says:

      Of course McConnell immediately jumped in to support Smart, suggest that this was all a cybernat pile-on, and then tried to divert the issue to one of there being nobody in the SNP who was trying to change the party from within which was terribly sad and so of course anything Ian Smart said was perfectly acceptable.

      No, I don’t get that logic either.

      If McConnell doesn’t want the papers to criticise him, he should watch his tweeting finger.

      What I have to keep reminding myself of is that these people, lords and MPs and all, are just ordinary bods who managed to ride the gravy train to the top of the hill.  They’re just as liable to get carried away on Twitter as anyone else.

      It seems to me that McConnell thinks he can behave like anyone else, but then when he’s criticised he can just pull rank and bully the journalists into submission.

    40. pmcrek says:

      @Morag
      Yeah. personally I’m deeply suspisious of anyone who claims to be a “Baron”, its even worse if they also claim to be a Socialist.

    41. Morag says:

      Really, this is yesterday’s news anyway.  Ot the day before’s.  Today’s Better No headlines were about a Scottish academic from Aberdeen who says there is no hard and fast law about who gets the oil after independence and Westminster have studiously avoided making any comment on this.

      He seemed to be promoting the view that it isn’t Scotland’s oil and we’ll be lucky if Westminster concede a drop.  He didn’t seem at all outraged, he was merely warning his fellow-countrymen of the legal position as he sees it.

    42. AmadeusMinkowski says:

      @McCart
      Sometimes things slip through the cracks at the “Scotsman” that work against there narrative.
      See Prof. Christopher Harvie article of today (07/04/213): “the impact of the 1979 devolution referendum
      Well worth a read, especially in conjunction with Hamish Mitchel’s 1997 referendum blog
      .html" onclick="_gaq.push(['_trackEvent', 'outbound-comment', 'http://atschool.eduweb.co.uk/hamish/("Tractor" - Ed).html', 'Labour Betrays Scotland in 1979 Referendum article']);" title="Labour Shame of 1979" rel="nofollow">Labour Betrays Scotland in 1979 Referendum article
      http://atschool.eduweb.co.uk/hamish/virtind.html
      above; for those who want to go deeper, that is!

    43. SCED300 says:

      Having read the article in the Herald, I can see the Unionists were working on the principle of “Whatever we say is OK, what you say is wrong” But in this case they have lost control of the agenda. The context in which he used the word leaves no room for doubt. He is a lawyer and will be aware of what he is saying, but I would say he thought all the control of the tweeting exchange was in his hands.

    44. lumilumi says:

      @morag (12.02)
       
      The BBC website (Scottish section frontpage) headlined it: “Legal wrangle warning over Scots oil”. The story http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-politics-22433249
       
      The first part of the story is the BBC’s take on Prof John Paterson’s opinion that dividing the resources might not be all that simple. About half-way thorugh there’s the response from the Scottish government:
      International law makes clear that fields generating about 90% of the UK’s North Sea revenues will be in Scottish waters and the Scottish government will respect the well-established principles of international law.”
      Prof Paterson said he would not “greatly disagree” with the government’s position.
      However, he added: “The lion’s share of resources are going to lie north of the border. On the other hand, I suppose what is an unknown quantity is the attitude of a future government of the remaining UK in the event we are dealing with independence. “
       
      So there you have it: the prof is warning about rUK’s attitude.

    45. David McCann says:

      @Tim.
      The link does not work for me. It comes back -Not found.

    46. Craig says:

      Smart’s own brother Alan has called him out on it now too.

      https://www.facebook.com/CitizenSmart?fref=ts

    47. Lokti says:

      Glad Mr Smart has clarified that anyone can say or write anything they please as long as the offensive/racists terms are adequately accompanied by inverted commas.
      Mr Smart then goes on to ask the SNP to call him a racist so he can sue them! Am I correct in thinking that, going by Mr Smart’s own views on punctuation, any statement decrying him as such would be acceptable as long as the accusational word was accompanied with inverted commas?
       
       

    48. Chic McGregor says:

      Roddy Macdonald says:
       
      7 May, 2013 at 10:55 am
      Rev Stu:
      It’s here too and, since you feature highly, I’d be grateful for any comments / feedback particularly on my recollection of your twitter exchange with Ms Calman.
      http://logicsrock.blogspot.co.uk/2013/05/the-perfect-storm-shit-storm-and-der.html
       
      As someone who has not had the usual amount of time to follow all the ins and outs of this saga, thanks for what seems a largely fact and reference filled summary of it.  
       
      One little cautionary note though, and something which is an understandable mistake a lot of folk with ordinary levels of legal knowledge often make on the internet.  It is this, while in normal life, it is common place to describe something which is untrue stated by someone,  ‘a lie’, in the legal world there is a clear distinction.    ‘Lied’ is a statement that the person making the assertion knew it to be untrue when they did so and something that they could, if they so wished. sue for defamation about.  This is a very difficult thing to actually prove.  So even if this is commonly seen, and especially from the U side and ‘lie’ and ‘untrue’ are generally mutually interchangeable in common speech, it is prudent to use the term ‘untrue’ or ‘was untrue’ instead of ‘lie’ or ‘lied’.
       
      I am not a legal expert by any means, but I once got in trouble with someone for just saying that what they had said was lies, which I didn’t even think implied they were themselves aware of the untruth.
       
      It does seem to be ‘OK’ to use the term generically, e.g. ‘more unionist/cybernat/media/political party x lies’ and that kind of statement is even more common, but again that I am not sure of.
       
      It is getting ridiculous that social media in Scotland is moving in the direction that a social network user might need the equivalent of a law degree to participate, but that is a danger and quite a likely one since it suits the Brit Establishment control freakery agenda.  They would far rather that ordinary society in Scotland be denied participation in social media.  And any clamp down effort will only be applied to one side, i.e. those with the temerity to advocate normal levels of self government for Scotland.
       
       
       
       

    49. handclapping says:

      If they are having to call in favours with 500 days to go it’ll be a case of the emporere’s nude clothes by the time of the referendum. What a stupid man 🙂

    50. Iain More says:

      I guess UKIP will sending out Mr Smart a membership form for him now! He might be a bit too extreme for Nick Griffin? Nick I think actually likes the Scots????

    51. Jiggsbro says:

      Nick I think actually likes the Scots????
       
      He does. In his view, we’re almost as good as the British.

    52. John Lyons says:

      Racism and Anti-English sentiment is just like Braveheart. It’s always the Unionists that bring it up.

    53. Stakhanovite says:

      Ouch, Alan Smart didn’t miss and hit the wall. Not a lot of sibling accord there…

    54. Jamie Arriere says:

      I don’t quite get the idea that Jack McConnell was ‘dragged’ into the twitter row – looks to me like he jumped in with boots on, with particular relish!

    55. bunter says:

      Ms Burd on BBC lunchtime news just cheerfully stated that Aberdeen Uni academic called Paterson states that its not clear that an independent Scotland would be entitled to the bulk of the oil as its so far out to sea…I kid you not..

    56. Richard McHarg says:

      The only Scots I see that may exhibit the tendencies articulated by Ian Smart are committed Unionists.
      They shouldn’t judge us by their own standards.
      Right, off to have a coffee with an English friend!

    57. Chic McGregor says:

      Jamie Arriere says:
      7 May, 2013 at 1:35 pm

      “I don’t quite get the idea that Jack McConnell was ‘dragged’ into the twitter row – looks to me like he jumped in with boots on, with particular relish!”
       
      Pickle?

    58. Chic McGregor says:

       
      Craig says:
      7 May, 2013 at 12:45 pm

      Smart’s own brother Alan has called him out on it now too.
      https://www.facebook.com/CitizenSmart?fref=ts
       
      Wow!

    59. Geoff Huijer says:

      Mr Smart’s attempts to backtrack & claim ‘I’ve been misunderstood’
      are, frankly, pathetic.
       
      I always use my full name (except Newsnet who don’t allow it for some
      reason) on forums as I have nothing to be ashamed of and more to
      the point I am adult enough to apologise where I cause unintentional
      offence (although some people can take offence at the slightest thing).
       
      A belief that communication is the response you get means that I take
      responsibility for my words and actions; ‘it’s your fault you didn’t
      understand me’ does just not cut it with me. It is actually MY fault
      if you don’t understand me!
       
      PS I can understand why people do not use real names; Frankie Boyle
      had his address published on Twitter & no doubt bitter Unionist bosses
      would give employees a tough time.

    60. JLT says:

      Rev,
      And these, remember, aren’t lone internet nutters cowering in anonymity. These are journalists and columnists on some of the UK’s most august “quality” newspapers, displaying their prejudice loud and proud and doing their damnedest to provoke anti-English sentiment, which the Scots rise above with almost heroic forbearance.
      ———————
      Primarily, the reasons why the Scots have not ‘bitten’ are twofold.
      The first being, is that the Scots understand …perfectly well …that it is not the English who have given us our grievances …it’s Westminster. Even quite a few of my Unionist friends know and acknowledge that.
      The second reason, is that for the vast, vast majority of us, we have many English friends, as well as English relatives. To turn on the English, would be to turn on our friends and family. Therefore …No chance! …never going to happen, and if it did, then I would turn my back on the whole movement for good.
       
      So, when I read statements from Ian Smart, and Jack McConnell (who should know better, for God’s sake), then it speaks volumes of how low the Better Together mob are sinking too.
      Keep a quiet dignity, and just get on with it, and for most of us, that is exactly what we are doing.

    61. Macart says:

      @Amadeus
       
      Cheers for the link, that was unexpected from the Scotsman.

    62. HandandShrimp says:

      That OBE chap is the most remarkable apologist for anything anti-Nat. I have seen a few of his posts now and he has the credibility of a fox in a chicken coup saying “What chickens?”. I can’t anything he says seriously.
       
      Not surprised this made the papers…that really was an ill considered Twitter whichever way you look at it. Not just the language but the notion that the only reason we don’t turn on the minorities is because there are English to hate and that the US, India, Australia etc are all examples of failed separations hence the treatment of blacks, indigenous peoples, Muslim/Hindus etc.,
       
      It was intellectual incontinence of a spectacular order.  

    63. G. Campbell says:

      Albalha said:
      “Does anyone have the original Herald story to compare with the updated story? What has been changed re Jack MC?”

      Front page of the paper:
      A leading Labour strategist has been condemned for tweets referring to “Poles and Pakis” during an online spat over independence which brought former First Minister Jack McConnell to his defence.

      Updated version on HeraldScotland.com:
      A leading Labour strategist has been condemned for tweets referring to “Poles and Pakis” during an online spat over independence which has also involved former First Minister Jack McConnell.

      Front page of the paper:
      Former First Minister Lord McConnell backed long-time ally Mr Smart and suggested his critics may be “feeling guilty”. This brought one response: “You are a former First Minister, don’t get into this ****”.

      Updated version on HeraldScotland.com:
      Former First Minister Lord McConnell commented on long-time ally Mr Smart and suggested his critics may be “feeling guilty”. This brought one response: “You are a former First Minister, don’t get into this ****”.

      No McConnell response in paper.

      Updated version on HeraldScotland.com:
      Lord McConnell said today: “I abhor racism, whoever is the target and whatever the context. I wish others were as consistent.”

    64. HandandShrimp says:

      Lord McConnell said today: “I abhor racism, whoever is the target and whatever the context. I wish others were as consistent.”
       
      I wish others were as perfect as me, that will be then?
       
      Jack, as you will recall was damned quick to point out he hadn’t seen the original post. To which I think we can deduce he did see it and decided to put clear water between himself and the offending post if this went pointy bits up.  
       

    65. Albalha says:

      @GCampbell
      Thanks very much for that. When you think how difficult it is for an ordinary punter to even get a published apology on page 32 in point 6, weeks after the event, this is remarkable.
      No legal issues I can see, you wonder who took the call, what was said. This is the sort of parochial, mates of mates, Scotland I want to move on from.
       
       

    66. G. Campbell says:

      Looks like Ian will have to get his backing elsewhere.

      George Foulkes @GeorgeFoulkes
      @NewsnetScotland @ianssmart Ian Smart is one of our best lawyer & was a great Law Society President. More than we can say of his critics.
      https://twitter.com/GeorgeFoulkes/status/331451275659067393

      George Foulkes@GeorgeFoulkes
      @TheHeraldPaper I see the Herald is competing to be the House Magazine of the SNP.
      https://twitter.com/GeorgeFoulkes/status/331674659374391296

    67. Peter A Bell says:

      As a rule of thumb, I reckon that if you’re annoying George Foulkes you’re pretty much on the right track.

    68. John Lyons says:

      Is this Jack McConnell who is taking the moral high ground the same Jack McConnell who took an elderly neighbour to court for using his coal bunker?
       
      http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/scottish-news/former-first-minister-jack-mcconnell-1118095
       
      Such a nice man…

    69. SCED300 says:

      From now on, anyone being charged with making racist remarks can use the “Get a life” defense.

    70. Laura says:

      George Foulkes@GeorgeFoulkes
      @TheHeraldPaper I see the Herald is competing to be the House Magazine of the SNP.
      This is just another version of Ian Davidson and the Isobel Fraser, NewsNat debacle amongst others.
      I think BT should change their motto to: If at first you don’t succeed, lie, lie and lie again,
       

    71. Albalha says:

      @Laura
       
      For the ‘journalistic’ equivalent this Scotsman take is right up there …….I just wish the SNP etc could be rather more nimble, I don’t engage in Twitter but the idea that everyone commenting was an SNP bod is patent nonsense, they need to call it as it is. The BT lot, and Labour in particular need to portray this as an all out war between them and the SNP. There are many Labour folks who will never support the SNP, I’ve said here before the YES campaign needs to get cuter about who appears for interview, makes comments etc.
      http://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/top-stories/independence-top-lawyer-s-tweets-spark-race-row-1-2921925?utm_medium=twitter&utm_source=twitterfeed

    72. HandandShrimp says:

      Foulkes was bitching about Bateman being too even handed the other day too. It seems anyone in the media that dares stray from the Labour Party fold is suspect and should probably be sent on a rendition flight to Guantanamo Bay (a much favoured New Labour gulag)

    73. Doug Daniel says:

      John Lyons – I take it you know who his lawyer was for that dispute?
       
      It’s mentioned in the BBC version of the story: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-tayside-central-17357394

    74. Erchie says:

      Lord McConnell also stated he had not seen the original tweet. He defended his pal, irrespective of the rights or wrongs of it

    75. muttley79 says:

      O/T  Ruth Wishart has written a good article on the National Collective site.
       
      http://nationalcollective.com/2013/05/07/collective-thinking-a-time-for-visionaries-by-ruth-wishart/

    76. Clancheif says:

      Smart by name
      FUD by nature

    77. thejourneyman says:

      Just read the stuff on cellargate in Stirling, how did this man ever rise to be First Minister of Scotland. He was a political lightweight, fashion disaster and now we find also a neighbour from hell. I suppose when you add it up all the criteria for a Lordship not in an independent Scotland though!
      Role on September 2014.

    78. Patrick Roden says:

      Terry Kelly of the Labour Party is supporting Ian Smart in the comments section on the herald online story. He says his 40 years experience in politics has taught him that Ian Smarts comments about us being a bunch of racists are ‘bang on the money’ or words to that effect.
       
      So we have a prominent Labour activist/blogger, Two Labour Lords, and a Labour party politician, all saying that the Scottish Nation is racist and that we will turn on Pakistani’s and Poles, once we are independent cos we won’t have the English to blame any more.
       
      If Johann Lamont isn’t availiable for comment on this story, she needs to resign immediately.  

    79. Malcolm says:

      Did anyone hear Call Kaye this morning?
       
      Someone phoned in about footballers as role models and tore into Kaye & the BBC for not covering this. She sounded really shaken.

    80. Andy Ellis says:

      A number of people on twitter have been talking about making a complaint about Ian Smart’s comments to the Law Society. I imagine the more people who do this the better on the grounds of professional misconduct, bringing profession into disrepute and use of intemperate and racist language.Link for the process here:http://www.scottishlegalcomplaints.com

    81. Inbhir Anainn says:

      O/T
      Common Weal
      This is a discussion paper on the development of a vision for Scotland. It is a starting-point for discussion but outlines the spine of an idea on how Scotland could be transformed. We want to know from as broad a range of people as possible whether they support this kind of vision and how they think it can be achieved.
      http://reidfoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/The-Common-Weal.pdf
       
       
       

    82. kininvie says:

      I was trying to think whether the Scots have ever hated anyone much.  Sure, they had plenty of reason to hate the English for a few hundred years, and a wander round the border abbey ruins will remind you why. But the folk of Northumbria and Cumberland can’t have loved the Scots much either at that time, and we all seem to have settled down OK since. I suppose we weren’t too fond of Norse either, back at the battle of Largs (1263), but we don’t seem let that bother us now.

      Other than that, I can’t think of anyone we dislike. In fact, we’ve been better at hating ourselves, from Bruce and the Comyns, through the Covenanters and on to the Jacobites. So I do wonder where this idea of a country full of pent-up hatred comes from. A ‘heat-oppressed brain’ maybe?

    83. Jim Mitchell says:

      About 3 weeks ago i went on one of Labour’s/better together site, I posted 5 questions.
      The following morning my daughter told me that my questions, which btw were politely phrased had not been answered, but i had been called a ("Tractor" - Ed) who wished to destroy his country though independence!
      Fortunately as one who has been working for independence since around 1973, which means of course that i have been insulted by experts, i ignored it as the usual unionist sour grapes, however using terms which many consider racist, is a new low even for them, however these things help to show up not just the Better Together lot but many in the media as well who would rather have had their bias remain a little more less obvious to the casual observer.
      Judging by the responses to the SNP poll as published yesterday voters are not being fooled, i suspect that this counts for more than just a little of the unionist hysteria displayed in many of their posts in the press today 
      These responses to the poll should remind any on the YES side, who perhaps a little new to campaigning, were maybe getting a bit concerned over what was really happening out there, that in the main our opponents are not of the brightest and that’s why they have depended and will continue to depend on the media outlets to put forward their desperate case.
      It remains for us to stay calm,  although i believe that we could be putting direct questions to Westminster to high lite how petty and mean they and their supporters are, for as everybody knows that if a YES vote is returned  that Westminster is the body we will be doing the most negotiating with, lets ask them NOW, for instance, how much oil they thing that rUK will be entitled to.
      Osbourne was too frightened to come clean over monetary union when it was put to him direct, time therfor to do some more direct questioning, but not of the monkeys, but the Westminster organgrinders

    84. Yesitis says:

      This is the comment left by Terry Kelly on the Herald article regards Ian Smart`s Twitter comments.
       
      I have been involved in politics for approx. 40 years. I base my opinions of the snp on personal experience and Ian Smart has got it spot on.

    85. alexicon says:

      Malcolm says:
      7 May, 2013 at 5:36 pm

      “Did anyone hear Call Kaye this morning?
       
      Someone phoned in about footballers as role models and tore into Kaye & the BBC for not covering this. She sounded really shaken.”
       
      You need to thank Gordon Bain for that.
       
      Gordon Bain says:
      7 May, 2013 at 9:23 am
      On Call Kaye right now they’re discussing whether footballers should be held up as Role models. I thought I’d try to highlight the disparity between treatment of Leigh Griffiths for an offensive Tweet compared to Mr Smart. 
      Sorry, had to cut this short as Kaye actually spoke to ma. I say spoke to when I should say talked over. I’m not much of a public speaker though but the point has to be made.
      Hail Alba!

    86. Morag says:

      I wonder if there would be legal risk for Stu to put up a post with the original (dead tree) wording compared to what Jack the Lad made them change it to, complete with screenshot evidence showing the original version was bang on the money?

    87. Erchie says:

      I am worried that Better Together are copying Rev Stu’s stages of the struggle. However they seem to be stuck on “First they laugh at you”

    88. AmadeusMinkowski says:

      Malcolm says:
       
      7 May, 2013 at 5:36 pm
      Did anyone hear Call Kaye this morning?
       
      ******************
      You can hear Kaye panicking and shutting down debate on (non)Smart’s offensive tweet by listening in from 10m15s to 12m30s .
      It was a great piece of footwork from the caller to inject the Ian Smart tweet scandal into the discussion, and Kaye was not only certainly rattled, but coudn’t shut down the debate fast enough. And so she should be, given the blinkered, irrelevant BBC piddle that generally gets aired; apparently the big story for Kaye was wether a Motherwell footballer should worry about being a role model for children or not. Sounds like a parody of BBC output, but sadly no.

    89. Barontorc says:

      I also heard Call Kaye this morning and was not in the least surprised at her response to the guy. The fact that it does not cause surprise shows to what depths this Kaye Adams show has reached. Even when arch- anti-SNP-ist KIrsty Wark was standing in at least her material was not a festering presentation, doom and gloom, moan and groan-fest. If it’s about the SNP and independence knock-it down fast is Kaye’s dictum.
       
      If this racism had come from an SNP politician it would be going on for weeks. The thing is we all know that very well – yet she’s allowed to continue with it. BBC – don’t make me laugh!

    90. Malcolm says:

      Ah right. I am a bit confused though. Sure perhaps being surprised into discussing Ian Smart was a bit of a shock (I imagine Gordon maybe didn’t mention that bit to the researcher before going on) but I mean she sounded almost tearful.
       
       

    91. AmadeusMinkowski says:

      Malcolm says:
       
      7 May, 2013 at 7:10 pm
       I mean she (Kaye) sounded almost tearful.
      **************************************
      I agree. One might view that emotional reaction as an expression of a guilty and conflicted conscience. BBC’s 30 pieces of silver might look good to some at first blush, but the impact of loosing ones integrity and honor is hard to hide.

    92. Give me strength, the Guardian has promoted the Green Goblin to Britannia.
      http://www.guardian.co.uk/stage/2013/may/07/susan-calman-scottish-independence

    93. scottish_skier says:

      One side is winning.

      Doesn’t take a genius to see which.

      No peaked in October 2012 and has fallen 5-6% since. 3-4% rise for Yes.

      Then we had the past few days; they have changed everything.

      Labour projected share of the vote 2015 based on council elections = 29%. No chance of a majority on that.

      UKIP + Tory = 48%. They’ll work something out.

      Scotland leaves the UK. rUK leaves Europe. N. Ireland and Wales? Disintegration of Britain. The empire comes to it’s final end.

      The panic has now set in.

    94. Braco says:

      Scottish Skier,
      Amen, (but 499 days still to go!)

    95. AmadeusMinkowski says:

      @Roddy Macdonald
      circa the guardian’s highly tenentious spin on Calmangate, there is a very interesting comment from
      The Great Baldo
      said “Police scotland have confirmed they have received NO such complaint.”
      Rev. or any fellow travelers want to follow up on this?

    96. Yesitis says:

      Scotland Tonight is discussing the raising the tone of referendum debate with Labour blogger Ian Smart and SNP`s Natalie McGarry.

    97. Max says:

       
      Ian Smart “the rhetorical racist”

    98. Eva says:

      and now Mr Smart is a guest on Scotland Tonight? 

    99. Max says:

       
      Every media outlet has covered the story now except, you guessed it, BBC Scotland.

    100. @AmadeusMinkowski
      Newsnet Scotland confirmed that last Thursday I think it was.

    101. Hazel Lewry says:

      @Turnip Ghost: 
      Let me see. Restricted to 140 characters per tweet. He chose to go with 15, instead of 10 if he had used the generic word immigrant, or 12 if he’d place parenthesis around that word. 
      And it was an accident of grammar ….
      Aye, right.

    102. AmadeusMinkowski says:

      National Collective and David Officer challenged Scotland Tonight on their allowing a platform for Mr (not)Smart.
      <blockquote class=”twitter-tweet”><p>@<a href=”https://twitter.com/davidofficer”>davidofficer</a> @<a href=”https://twitter.com/wearenational”>wearenational</a> would you be against open discussions and holding people to account on current affairs shows?</p>&mdash; ScotlandTonight (@ScotlandTonight) <a href=”https://twitter.com/ScotlandTonight/status/331843919077863427″>May 7, 2013</a></blockquote>
      <script async src=”//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js” charset=”utf-8″></script>

    103. Morag says:

      Hazel Lewry said:
      Let me see. Restricted to 140 characters per tweet. He chose to go with 15, instead of 10 if he had used the generic word immigrant, or 12 if he’d place parenthesis around that word.
      And it was an accident of grammar ….
      Aye, right.

      Never mind the P-word, the plain statement was that without the English to to hate, the Scots (as a people) would turn on the immigrant community.  And he would rather have 100 years of the Tories than see his own country independent.

      Let’s focus on the message here.

    104. Morag says:

      AM, gonnae no dae that?

    105. AmadeusMinkowski says:

      National Collective and David Officer challenged Scotland Tonight on their providing a platform for Mr (not)Smart:
      https://twitter.com/ScotlandTonight

    106. AmadeusMinkowski says:

      @Morag
      I’ll try! Not sure why the attempts to embed a “tweet” keep backfiring!
      Rev. or others. Help!

    107. Morag says:

      Smart’s own brother Alan has called him out on it now too.
      https://www.facebook.com/CitizenSmart?fref=ts

       
      Could someone post some extracts and a summary?  A can’t get anything but his front page.

    108. muttley79 says:

      What time is Smart on?

    109. Morag says:

      I’m sorry, I’d rather rip my own fingernails out with rusty pliers.

    110. Kirriereoch says:

       
      @muttley79 says:
      What time is Smart on?
       
       
       
      About 1963 AD?

    111. AmadeusMinkowski says:

      @Morag
      Citizen Smart wrote the following his face-book page:
      “Is this really my brother? How sad and pathetic. What 40 years membership of the Scottish Labour Party does to you, Ian, just apologise and then chuck it,”
      He also tweeted
      ” ‘Better 100 years of the tories’ – the true outlook of the labour unionist. Better for who? Them…and the Tories #iansmart”
       

    112. Morag says:

      Thanks, AM.  Appreciated.

    113. the rough bounds says:

      Racism? Look no further than BBC Scotland. On the John Beattie lunchtime programme yesterday they were talking about wedding disasters. They brought up the story about the guy wearing his kilt ‘commando’ (who doesn’t?) and who consequently left a ‘mark’ on the bride’s dress causing a riot and punch up among the guests.
      This didn’t happen folks; it’s just an urban myth, and an insult.
      I sent three texts to the programme asking them to make it clear to their listeners that it had never happened. It was simply a disgusting story that was denigrating the Scots and their national dress.
      They never read out a single one of my texts, preferring instead to let the calumny roll on.
      Good ol’ dependable BBC Scotland.

    114. BillyBigbaws says:

      Off-Topic: Interesting piece on STV News tonight about a man who intends to challenge the record for living on Rockall – the record is currently held by an SAS guy who suceeded in staying there for four days.

      The challenger has all the necessary equipment for his attempt, and proudly showed it off for the camera – a custom-made living capsule, fresh water stores, harness vests, Union Flag…

      Looks like we can expect news soon that Rockall has held a referendum and wishes to remain a dependency of the UK.
       

    115. the rough bounds says:

      His name is Nick Hancock and I reckon that’s all he’ll be doing there.

    116. john king says:

      Terry Kelly • 5 hours ago

      ?

      I have been involved in politics for approx. 40 years. I base my opinions of the snp on personal experience and Ian Smart has got it spot on.”
       
      I think its past time the gloves came off

       20 

      Reply

      Share ›

    117. Kenny Campbell says:

      I do laugh at this whole premis from Smart, if we vote no and get Tories/UKiP what does he expect to happen then…..all mooth and nae troosers

    118. Kenny Campbell says:

      kelly, the same man who said Ireland deserved independence as they fought for it……

    119. Bill C says:

      Re the Rockall story.  I watched the story and noticed the guy referring to the “union flag”.  Seems to me there could well be a unionist motive behind this for a couple of reasons:
      a) Rockall is bang in the middle of the Atlantic Contnental Shelf where there is thought to be more oil than ever there was in the North Sea. New technologies are now making extracting said oil much more realistic.
      b) The Republic of Ireland have laid claim to Rockall in the past for the above reason.
      I would like to know more about this guy and his reasons for wanting to stay on a rock in the Atlantic which is covered in bird shite.
      Re the BBC story on the Aberdeen university professor and Scottish oil. Wonder if his intervention has anything to do with the David Hume Institute report which is to be released this week which will say that Scottish oil reserves have been vastly undervalued and could in fact be worth up to 4 trillion pounds!

    120. HandandShrimp says:

      Bill
       
      Paterson’s comments as reported by the BBC have a certain spin on them. The Scottish Government responded that as maritime law stands 90% of the reserves fall in Scottish waters. Prof Paterson responded that his position was not far from the Scottish Government’s but that his point was rather given the extent of the reserves Westminster might well try and make mischief in the international courts. Ultimately, most likely unsuccessful it would nonetheless sour relations between the two countries and cause instability.
       
      He might be right but I am not sure that Westminster would be quite that bitter and twisted, after all they keep telling us that 1) oil isn’t that important to the UK economy and 2) there is hardly any ;eft.
       
      I wouldn’t read too much into an ex soldier taking the Union Jack with him – he is doing the British explorer thing. It has no relevance pre-independence. Now if it was the St George’s cross that might be a different matter 😉

    121. Jim Mitchell says:

      @ HandandShrimp: that’s why I think it would be an idea to put Westminster on thespot by asking them now how much, if any of the oil do they reckon they should get to keep!

    122. Bill C says:

      HandandShrimp – Thanks for that, yeah I just discovered he is apparently doing it for the Help for Heroes charity, if so and that is all, I wish him all the best.
      Re the prof. story, I think he may have a point, after all they have already pinched 6000 square miles and got away with it, what’s another few tens of thousands of square miles?
      Cheers

    123. HandandShrimp says:

      Jim
       
      They will just run and hide behind the skirts of old mother won’t negotiate. We will get no assistance from Westminster other than their gaffs.

    124. Albert Herring says:

      Cable already admitted the vast majority of the oil reserves are in Scottish waters.

    125. Kirriereoch says:

      @ bill c
       
      Re the prof. story, I think he may have a point, after all they have already pinched 6000 square miles and got away with it, what’s another few tens of thousands of square miles?
       
      And by pinching 6,000 thousand square miles of sea Westminster was also accepting (perhaps inadvertently) that there is such a thing as Scottish Waters.
       
       

    126. Morag says:

      Albert Herring said:
      Cable already admitted the vast majority of the oil reserves are in Scottish waters.

      So did McCrone….

    127. Bill C says:

      I think there is little doubt that under international law, approximately 91% of the oil is in Scottish waters (94% if we get our 6000  square miles back!). However, you will forgive me if I remain suspicious of Perfidious Albion?
       

    128. AmadeusMinkowski says:

      @bill @HandandShrimp
      As I recall, the infamous UK government McCrone Report (1975), courtesy of Whitehall, conceded that Scotland’s territorial claims over the oil are beyond dispute, and that there is nothing that rUK can do about it. It was the subsequent conclusion of said report that there would be a massive oil-wealth that would have accrue to Scotland which led UKplc to rig the outcome of the 1979 referendum.  The report itself was marked as TOP SECRET and hidden away with the Official Secrets Act for 30 years; it was only resurrected in 2005, and is now thankfully readily available on line.

    129. AmadeusMinkowski says:

      @Morag
      You beat me to it!

    130. Barontorc says:

      Kirriereoch says:

      @ bill c
      Let’s not be the patsy in this and worry about their scam. Wait for external judgement on the position of the proper maritime border of Scottish waters. The fact that McLeish, McConnell and others contrived to gift our Scottish waters to Westminster will not matter a whit when the proper border is reconfirmed. Shame on them for trying it on – parcel o’rogues right enough.

    131. BillyBigbaws says:

      @ Bill C and the rough bounds,

      Sorry, I missed the bit of the report that said Nick Hancock was doing his Rockall attempt to raise money for Help For Heroes.  I wouldn’t have suspected his (or his backers’) motives if I’d known that.
       
      Never knew he was an ex-soldier either.  That’s what I get for not paying enough attention to the TV, and then jumping on here with only half the story.

    132. Lurker in the Wings says:

        Labour performed at their usual high standard when they moved the sea boundary ; they neglected to change the legal jurisdiction. Scots law still pertains from the old boundary north. 
        http://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2012/01/scotlandengland-maritime-boundaries/

    133. Morag says:

      Oh not Craig Murray again.  Honestly, if he’d told me the sky was blue today, I’d have gone to the window to check.

    134. AmadeusMinkowski says:

      @ HandAndShrimp
      a propos your two comments regarding UKplc position on oil.
      1) oil isn’t that important to the UK economy and 2) there is hardly any left
      ****************************
      2) Baloney! Why? Well £4 trillion value in North Sea (Hume report of this week), and unexplored reserves on the Scottish Atlantic Sector which are expected to be substantial.
      i) Well they would say that, but it is an untruth. UK’s economic survival in the 20’th century had depended time and again on oil, generally by exploitation and theft; BP in Iran, Scotland’s oil, and now a move on Argentina’s oil; 5 London based companies are exploring for oil in the 250 mile “exclusion zone” around the Falklands. UKplc lodged dominion over this seabed with the UN in 2009. Note that the UK’s dominion claim holds that this sea bed doesn’t belong to the Falklanders, but rather to UKplc!! WOW! Welcome to modern colonialism; claim minerals from the seabed.
       
      Footnote: It is commonly known that nuclear-armed UK submarines regularly cruise the waters off the coast of Argentina. Last time I looked, Argentina doesn’t have nuclear weapons. Certainly puts paid to the euphemistic “Defence/Determent” myth UKplc puts around its possession of Trident. Who would have thought it, UK uses its nuclear capability as a weapon of threat and aggression; North Korea anyone? 😉 This also adds a sinister tone to PM Cameron sailing up the Clyde on a Nuclear Sub.

    135. Laura says:

      No one with an ounce of integrity would use the ‘P’ word or others on social media, unless (a) they are racist bam pots (b) are totally familiar with the term/terms in private.(c) are deliberately provoking hatred. (d) know the BBC & MSM will cover their asses however inflammatory their tweets.
      (d) also applies to Jack McConnell in this instance and most of the labour party in others.

    136. AmadeusMinkowski says:

      @Morag
      Why the scepticism in relation to Craig Murray’s comments?

    137. Morag says:

      Because he has a very unenviable reputation going back years as a fruit-loop conspiracy theorist, which I was trying to bite my lip about considering all the lionising he’s getting on WoS, but until his latest nonsensical claim.
       
      http://wingsoverscotland.com/ramping-it-up/#comment-399763

    138. Indy_Scot says:

       
      Man, just watch Mr Smart (ironic name I would suggest) on STV Scotland tonight. If that’s the best the No campaign has to offer, then they might as well give up the ghost now.

    139. HandandShrimp says:

      Billy
       
      Yes, I read in one report or another that he had done a stint in the army but I see it makes no mention of it in the Guardian..although he is definitely doing it for Help for Heroes. He also has a history of doing extreme challenges so it isn’t a one off stunt and I guess would suggest this sort of thing is in his blood. Rather him than me…that podule looks a tad cramped.

    140. Inbhir Anainn says:

      Just watched the live stream of the STV Scotland Tonight programme no apology forthcoming from Ian Smart.

    141. Linda's back says:

      Smart’s excuse on STV this evening is Everyone knows I am not a racist   This is trotted out by everyone who is accused of racism .
      Still no coverage by our State broadcaster but if its any consolation Scotland To-night on STV gets more than twice the number of viewers than BBC’s Newsnicht Scotland.
      By contrast BBC dragged out the Calman coverage for three days on TV and Radio milking it for all its worth.

    142. Morag says:

      I think this business of accusing him of racism is distracting from what he actually said, which is that he’d rather see a Tory government for 100 years than an independent Scotland, and that if we were independent we’d turn on our own immigrants because we wouldn’t have the English to hate any more.

      And he wasn’t just talking about a small handful of nutters either, he was talking about Scots in general.  Is that what he thinks of his own compatriots?

      I’d have challenged him about the 100 years of Tory rule thing, and the turning on ethnic minorities, and offered him every opportunity to [retract and apologise] (hey the strikeout tag doesn’t work) dig an even bigger hole for himself.

    143. HandandShrimp says:

      To be fair to Smart he probably isn’t a racist. He just thought he was being very clever and instead made a complete twatter of himself.
       
      His political points
       
      Independence fails and results in racism he cites the US, India and Australia
       
      Scots only avoid rampant wholesale racism because we have the English to hate
       
      100 years of Tory rule are better than a left of centre Scottish Government running its own affairs.
       
      The man is a pillock of the first water. Those three points alone declare it. His clumsy attempt to project racist terminology onto Nationalists just backfired horribly. One must assume he was utterly pished when wrote all this crap.
       
      McConnell and Foulkes’ attempted rescue was cackhanded and just added to the general merriment. Douglas Alexander must be face palming at a 100 to the minute.

    144. Manic Monday says:

      Highland shrimp
      We need you to land on Rockall on 20th September 2014 and plant a Saltire thus claiming the rock for Scotland as several countries will be claiming it for the potential oil lying off its coast.
       
       

    145. AmadeusMinkowski says:

      @Morag
      “fruit-loop conspiracy theorist”
      ******************************
      People who believe that Aliens run planet earth might fit in the category of “fruit-loop conspiracy theorists”. i would suggest that you carefully reflect on what you are saying there.
      I mean, wouldn’t you say that Craig Murray’s experience as British Ambassador to Uzbekistan from August 2002 to October 2004 provides him with a fairly unique perspective on the behind the scenes modus operandi of governments. Whereas, others without such experience only see the government and media sales pitch on the consumer end of things?
      Of course, if on the other hand, you also have personal experiences of government functioning at the highest level, I would be interested to know why your disposition is sunnier that Craig’s.
       
       
       
      and Rector of the University of Dundee from 2007 to 2010.

    146. Inbhir Anainn says:

      Scotland Tonight is discussing the raising the tone of referendum debate with Labour blogger Ian Smart and SNP`s Natalie McGarry.
       
      Would there be any chance of getting an online transcribed version?

    147. Morag says:

      AM, I know all about Craig Murray’s CV.  And more.  Having been a civil servant is no guarantee of infallibility.

      I’m advocating caution.  The sky was blue today.  I just wouldn’t have believed that on Craig Murray’s say-so.  And after the rubbish he was propagating last week, sorry, no.

    148. HandandShrimp says:

      Manic Monday
       
      Could we not just paint a Saltire on it
       
      A permanent habitation even if only a scientific station on St Kilda might serve us better though.

    149. Bill C says:

      Just watched Ian Smart on Scotland Tonight, he appeared to be attempting damage limitation but failed miserably.  His comparison with some examples of racism happening after countries had achieved independence was totally irrelevant, odious and had more than a hint of black ops type propaganda. Listening to Ian Smart tonight, I have a feeling that he knew exactly what he was doing when he tweeted his racist comment. For me it was just a variation on the insidious drip feed of shite coming from the unionists, the BBC and the Hootsman etc. Of course some on here might think I am just another “fruit-loop conspiracy theorist” like Craig Murray. If so, I would consider myself to be in good company.

    150. Linda's back says:

      Unionist alert. Kaye Adams live now  on Sky Papers Review

    151. AmadeusMinkowski says:

      @Morag
      i wasn’t claiming infallibility, just not agreeing with your pejorative “fruit-loop conspiracy theorist” assertion.
      As for vote rigging via the postal ballot, I was glad Craig highlighted concerns about this, since personally I hadn’t been aware of issues with it. Now I note that Chris Game, senior lecturer at Birmingham University’s Institute of Local Government Studies, stated that
      The Birmingham cases show how the vote can be undermined very, very easily by postal vote fraud
      and that was the general message I took from Craig’s post on the matter that you refer to above.
      Do you disagree with Chris Game’s stated view on this as well?

    152. Morag says:

      Look, the Birmingham situation was real.  It was also very different from what Craig Murray was alleging.  It is absolutely true that postal voting is open to fraud, and a referendum more so than an ordinary election too, so we need to be doubly vigilant.

      However, Craig Murray was alleging something so outrageously blatant and obvious it is simply not possible he was telling the truth.  I do not think it helps to “highlight concerns” by telling absolutely preposterous porkies.  On the contrary, that sort of ridiculous hyperbolic claim could militate against proper concern being taken.

      I just wish people would stop believing every word this guy says, without question and without checking. Past record shows this to be very unwise indeed.

      If someone is prepared to tell such a falsehood about the South Shields by-election (and other matters), then I don’t take his word for it that the legislative boundary didn’t change. If I want to know if it did or not, I check, and seek a more reliable source.

    153. AmadeusMinkowski says:

      @Bill C
      You are right to not put anything below what UKplc will be willing to try in order to stop Scotland gaining its Independence.
      As for the fears of racism being peddled by (not) Smart towards Poles and Asians living in Scotland, it is worth noting a message posted on Citizen Smart (Ian Smart’s brother!) by Chris Law, http://www.facebook.com/freewheelinchris.
      Chris stated that:
      “West Lothian Better Together group were telling a polish community they will be deported post-independence”
      Meeting: On 6/4/2013
      If true, this is of course OUTRAGEOUS, but it would therefore also fit with (not)Smarts peddling of racism. Also, such co-ordination can only stem from decision makers at the highest levels.

    154. HandandShrimp says:

      Amadeus
       
      That is pretty shocking especially if they vote No only to see Cameron cede to UKIP’s request for a referendum and take the UK out of the EU. Then BT will have persuaded people to vote for the very thing they were trying to avoid.
       
      There are no guarantees with a No vote. The status quo isn’t going to be there.

    155. kininvie says:

      @ Morag
      What you said.
      Long spoon desirable.

    156. Morag says:

      Chris stated that:
      “West Lothian Better Together group were telling a polish community they will be deported post-independence”
      Meeting: On 6/4/2013
       
      I’d be wary of believing that without corroboration, but when you consider that Labour canvassers have been telling Catholic voters for years (sorry decades) not to vote SNP because the SNP will close the Catholic schools, I wouldn’t dismiss it out of hand.

    157. AmadeusMinkowski says:

      @Morag
      Corroboration is key, I agree.  You’ll note I was careful with my words, stating
      “If true, this is of course OUTRAGEOUS”
      It certainly is worth investigating further.

    158. AmadeusMinkowski says:

      @kininvie
      Thanks for the introduction to the “The Allegory of the Long Spoons“. I hadn’t come across that before, and love it! Very wise.

    159. Morag says:

      kininvie said:
      Long spoon desirable.
       
      That’s a good way of putting it.  I think it’s particularly difficult to remain appropriately sceptical when someone is telling you something you want to hear.  But it’s probably when it’s needed most.  It’s also wise to remember that just as Peers of the Realm can be drunken, foul-mouthed hooligans, people who formerly held diplomatic posts can be, well how do I put it, a bit imaginative.

      I get particularly annoyed with responses where someone cites a real situation which is only superficially similar to the fantasy being peddled, or a perfectly sensible piece of advice someone sensible has given, based on a similar basic premise, and shouts, so don’t you believe that either???

      Of course postal vote fraud is a danger, and it is a particular danger in the referendum.  I do worry about it a bit.  But someone in effect alleging that there was an incredibly low “real” turnout in South Shields last week, and that UKIP would have won but for a massive Labour fraud which manufactured over 7,000 postal votes, catapulting them up to double the UKIP vote – sorry, that’s fantasy island, not a helpful contribution to the effort.

    160. AmadeusMinkowski says:

      @HandandShrimp
      Shocking for us, yes, and indeed for anyone with a solid moral foundation.
      But, from the frame of reference of BitterTogether’s approach, one might, I dare say, imagine it being viewed as some sort of normal! 😉

    161. Morag says:

      Thanks for the introduction to the “The Allegory of the Long Spoons“. I hadn’t come across that before, and love it! Very wise.
       
      I don’t know about that.  The usual connotation attached to references to a long spoon is that that’s what you need if you’re going to sup with the devil.  Nothing more complicated than that.

    162. Betsy says:

      @Morag,
      Or canvassing in Pollokshields, Glasgow and telling Asian voters that the SNP are just a Scottish BNP and want to deport them but as a starting point will be going for an all-white Pollokshields. They’ve been doing this for at least 20+ years. 

    163. Bill C says:

      @AM – I cannot say whether what Chris Law is alleging is true, as I have no information (apart from your info.) of who said to what to who. However, what I do know from personal, bitter, experience, is that there are elements within the British Establishment whose job it is, is to keep Britain Together (if you’ll excuse the bad grammar and awful pun). Anyone who thinks that this is a straightforward, democratic tussle for the governance of Scotland is quite frankly a “fruit-loop conspiracy theorist”.

    164. Morag says:

      AM, yes, I was agreeing you about the deportation thing.  We don’t know yet that it’s true, but it’s not prima facie false (in the way 7,000 fake postal votes at South Shields are prima facie false 😉 ).  In other words, I wouldn’t put it past the bastards.

    165. Morag says:

      Bill, you need a sense of perspective here.  Genuine concerns are genuine concerns.  However, telling ridiculous lies on a regular basis is something else, and should not be defended just because you like the lies in question.

    166. Bill C says:

      @Morag “I’d be wary of believing that without corroboration, but when you consider that Labour canvassers have been telling Catholic voters for years (sorry decades) not to vote SNP because the SNP will close the Catholic schools, I wouldn’t dismiss it out of hand.”
      I agree and confirm, witnessed by my mother (who has since passed away) and who told me that I should not be in such an anti-Catholic organisation as the SNP. A tale she was peddled by Labour supporters within her parish.  (circa 1968).
      Wonders will truly never cease!

    167. kininvie says:

      Ahem – the Ian Smart business – (it’s another storm in teacup like Calman thingy, designed us wear us out with outrage) – but if you are interested, his brother posts this : http://ayewecan.blogspot.co.uk/2013/05/my-brother-ian-smart-is-not-racist.html

    168. Doug Daniel says:

      Tonight’s Scotland Tonight was just begging for a line-by-line dissection by Stu tomorrow.
       
      Let’s hope the weather is crap down the Bath way tomorrow!

    169. Morag says:

      Funnily enough, Bill, I had the information in credible form from my mother too.

      After the 1987 election a bunch of the old biddies were talking, well her and a couple of neighbours who were twin ladies living together.  One said to Mum, “did your man get in?” which is a well-known way of speirin who you’ve voted for.  Mum said something a bit evasive.  The other twin said, correctly as it happened, “she’s SNP.”  The first twin looked shocked and said, “you wouldnae vote SNP would you, they’ll close the Catholic schools!”

      Why she thought my Mum would care, since we’re Church of Scotland (and my Dad a minister) I have no idea at all.  Mum actually asked me what the policy was, because she thought it would be a damn good idea, though probably not wise to be doing it given the difficulties.  So I told her what the actual policy was, and also that she’d just confirmed for me the persistent rumour that Labour canvassers were telling that particular lie to Catholic voters.

    170. Bill C says:

      @Morag – Am I to retract my “wonders will never cease” already? I have never knowingly defended a lie in my life. However, you are quite right, “a sense of perspective” is needed, the only problem is your “sense” and my “sense” are obvious merging into ‘nonsense’. Hence I wish you and your “sense” good night as me and my “sense” are off to our kip.  Wee smiley thing!

    171. Bill C says:

      @Morag – P.S. Your last post? Brilliant! Night, night.

    172. pmcrek says:

      @kininvie
      Thanks for the link, couldnt agree more with the sentiments.

    173. Morag says:

      Goodnight,Bill.  Bear in mind that all I have said is that Craig Murray has a very unenviable reputation as a fruitloop conspiracy theorist.  In saying that, I am merely reporting fact.  I did not give him that reputation, it is simply a thing that he has, and has had for a long time.  I am also pointing out that what he claimed about the South Shields by-election count was obvious, preposterous nonsense.  Clearly a blatant lie, and not even a credible one at that.

      So, as kininvie said, sup with a long spoon.  If he says something you want to highlight, check it from another source first.  And make sure that source isn’t itself quoting Murray.  If he says the sky is blue, look out of the window.  It might be.  But you can’t trust his word for it.

      I don’t know how else I can put this.  People here seem dazzled by the guy, as if he was a Lord or something (see what I did there?).  I’m just pointing out a few things.  Don’t shoot the messenger.

    174. TheGreatBaldo says:

      As the Rev alludes to in the piece above…..
       
      If we follow Mr Smart’s logic regardinng Scots blaming everyone else for our own shortcomings thru then right now there should be Anti English pogroms occuring round Scotland ……
       
      Thankfully for all of us the Great Anti English Pogroms during the Great Depression of 2008 only actually exist in Ian Smart’s mind….
       
       

    175. muttley79 says:

      What I do not understand about Smart’s argument about the SNP and independence supporters being anti-English (blaming England for our problems) is that if this was actually the case why would we want independence in the first place?  Surely independence means that we would be taking full responsibility for our own mistakes, and not seeking to blame external forces.   

    176. squarego says:

      From Citizen Smart for any who missed it.
      https://www.facebook.com/CitizenSmart?fref=ts

      Ian Smart, My Brother
       

       

       
      My brother Ian Smart is not a racist. He is worse than that. 
       
      A racist is normally someone with a grievance, who out of ignorance, and fueled by urban and media myths, wrongly blames ethic minorities who have absolutely nothing to do with whatever their problem might be. My brother Ian has few problems, is rather well healed, well educated and mixes amongst the very highest echelons of the Scottish establishment. So when he asserts that there will be some sort of pogrom against the Polish and Pakistani communities (and presumably others) in a post independence Scotland, he is not doing this out of ignorance or prejudice, but out of political calculation. The calculation that if he asserts it loudly and often enough Scotland’s ethnic communities and others can be scared into voting No.
       
      This is called playing the race card. It is one of the most dangerous things an individual can do in any context, and of course normally done by politicians of the far right. But for a Labour blogger to do it in Scotland, where there is a hard worked for  and commendable cross-party and cross-society consensus against racial prejudice, and inject it into the highly charge debate on independence is despicable.No better that Enoch Powell in 1968: Allow fair non racial immigration into the UK and there will be “rivers of blood” he predicted, with no evidence and no basis in reality as events have proven. Vote for Independence in 2014 and my brother predicts something similar for Scotland.
       
      And what has been the reaction of the Scottish Labour establishment to the gratuitous playing of the race card by one of their own? At best silence, and in the case of old chum Jack McConnell supportive. Because sadly, Ian, the leading Labour blogger in Scotland and a regular TV pundit on this basis, is an outrider for more than a few of them.
       
      Apologise and retire. All the advice I can offer.And Ted Heath sacked Enoch Powell, Johan and co please note.

      A Postscript: This is my first blog post here for near on a year, My last one below is on a similar theme. A response to George Galloway playing the Green Card in a near identical context. Same time warped and unsupported bullshit from a washed out “lefty” And hear that silence from the Laborites on both occasions.

    177. AnneDon says:

      I watched the discussion on Scotland Tonight. I thought Natalie McGarry did well to call out McConnell, and point out that anti-English racism was not an issue.
      Ian Smart’s defence seemed to be: Do you know who I am?
      I wasn’t impressed he was given this platform at all;  if Scotland Tonight did it so he could apologise and ‘draw a line’ under the issue, they must be disappointed.  Whether that will stop him from being invited onto their cosy discussions is, of course, another matter.  However, at least the audience have a clearer idea of who, and what, he is.

    178. AnneDon says:

      @Morag – I am a Catholic, and I know my gran had a real belief in the old “They’ll take oor schools off us”.
      A popular card for Labour to play in the WEst of SCotland. Plays well with both sides, in fact. When there was a rumour that Inveralmond Community School in Livingston was to be made multi-denominational, a neighbour came to my mum’s door to sign a petition, “To stop they Catholics getting intae oor school”. My mum signed it, of course!

    179. Morag says:

      The whole thing is worse than mediaeval, and a whole lot of people need their heads banging together about it.  But I don’t have a solution.  I’ve listened to Catholic SNP members passionately defending Catholic schools, and I thought they were indulging in special pleading on an industrial scale, but there was no way I was going to argue with them.

      A confrontation for another day, I think.

    180. Titler says:

      “And these, remember, aren’t lone internet nutters cowering in anonymity. These are journalists and columnists on some of the UK’s most august “quality” newspapers, displaying their prejudice loud and proud and doing their damnedest to provoke anti-English sentiment, which the Scots rise above with almost heroic forbearance.”
       
      “This seems to be the mindset of the average unionist Labour supporter. They simply cannot understand why people would support independence, and assume it must be racial somehow.”

      Parts bolded just for illustrative purposes. As someone who comes from the Old Labour tradition, let me say for a moment that yes, you are somewhat right on that; And it’s hard not to feel that way when so much of the argument for Independence seems based upon the idea that Scotland is just qualitatively so much better than the rest of the UK. I might even be sympathetic to that argument in the abstract, considering you’ve rejected Toryism so long and so consistently. Would that England did the same. But the claim comes wrapped with so much that I find ideologically unsettling; with images of lions and bagpipes and Saltires and things which suggest that it’s because the Scottish as a race are able to make that choice, that it’s ingrained into you as a people. And that worries the internationalist in me.

      Especially because I know from personal experience the debate is being biased on the English side too. Amongst all of the reporting about the rise of UKIP, any results that didn’t match the narrative was simply ignored. Did you hear about the results for Bristol, for instance?

      http://www.bristol.gov.uk/LocalElectionViewer?XSL=main&ElectionId=67

      UKIP hold no seats at all. There was a rise in Indepenents, Greens and Old Labour. When the EDL came to Bristol, the centre was shut down by protests (I know, I was kettled with them opposite the hippodrome and then by Castle Park.) We are talking about one of England’s largest cities here; Are we somehow “Less English” for reacting so? The narrative being forced is that we’re certainly unrepresentative of the “English Mood”. But are we really? Certainly at our local level, absolutely not. And if that’s what being “English” is supposed to mean, then I’d rather be a just a “Bristolian”…Except I always wanted to believe in a shared communality of mankind. What was the Agenda 21 motto again? “Think globally, act locally.” But the first part couplet is increasingly being rejected. Now it’s all “Think and identify locally.” But what if you don’t fit in locally?

      That’s the worry about Scottish Nationalism for people like me. Like all nationalisms, it’s a myth, a lie, at best just a set of common symbols but nothing more, especially if behind those symbols the polity is unconcerned with the people it rules. Who wrote these words in a review of Lemmings 2, do you recall? “You know, if DMA weren’t Scottish themselves, I’d have knocked about 20% off for all this Nessie-and-whisky-and-bagpipes stuff.” So I know many of you are smarter than that too. Likewise, being English isn’t about being white and beer bellied and watching football. Or at least it shouldn’t be. Many of us here are equally smarter than that, and reject EDL “Englishness” when it comes to town…

      So I’m open to the argument; Ok, tell me how Scots won’t turn on immigrants. Show me how your electoral systems will allow more accurate representation post-Independence; how your public won’t see their parties pulled out from them by a home-grown Blair. I’m not interested in Scottish Lion imagery, but the actual good you can do.

      But even if that argument is made, and made well (again, I’m sympathetic to the idea that it can be)… I can’t be Scottish in the sense many of you are talking about.  maybe that biases my argument somewhat, but I look at it like this;
      Imagine the Sandy Hook Elemental School massacre. We hailed as heroes the teachers who barricaded the doors, sometimes with their own bodies to protect their classes. And today’s Tory party are the equivalent of Lanza, destroying all it can out of god knows what psychological needs and hatreds. And Scottish Independence is protecting it’s own class. I get that, I really do. But I can’t help but think of the children who were in the wrong class, in the wrong place at the wrong time. Maybe because I suspect I’ll be one of them… but I don’t think you can just forgot them either. We aren’t in an instant-decision, life or death situation. We have time to think. I’d like to see the overall balance for all the children.

      In reality, it’s doubtful the Scots have much sobering influence on the Tory Party within the UK as it currently is, I accept. Hell, the Liberal Democrats ran on that very platform, and then ripped it up as soon as the ministerial limousines rolled into view. Like the teachers without body armour, back up and weapons training, any sacrifice they made for the wider good of the UK is likely to be heroic, but pointless. But still… the alternative to suffer without even the chance of a selfless sacrifice to lift the psychological load… without an example of a better path in-house, it’s terrifying on a gut level. It’s being locked out of the safe room from the school shooter.

      So yes; Ian Smart was unbelievably stupid in his comments…  RevStu talks about avoiding certain words because of their effect, but that’s modern politicians for you; they don’t often have to deal with the effects of their words. Modern media is built on sensationalism and attention now anyway, so he may find his career, such as it is, will improve in the long term for using those terms. But I think here at Wings, where Nationalists talk to Nationalists of a different stripe, you’re missing the dog whistle he was really blowing… that “Scots” will identify “Pakis” (sigh) and “Poles” and some of us see dividing lines being drawn between peoples, lines we long ago learnt to ignore, and start getting uncomfortable.
      You can tell us to be braver; yet as my example of Bristol above shows, many of us truly are fighting where we can… but we’re children going up against assault rifles, and when the teachers are on the side of the school shooters. And there’s a risk that it sounds like that because our school uniform doesn’t include a kilt, the pupils in the class next door are going to barricade us out of their safe hole…  Inaccurate, offensive to you Scots? Quite possibly, but it’s the ideal, the death of internationalism and communality in the modern English “Left” that scares the living hell out of many of us, those who hoped the UK could be an illustration of communal success.

      Maybe in the long run it will be best for both that it ends; I certainly don’t think it’s irrational to run away from a violent, abusive relationship, so I can’t say I’m angry with one partner walking away from it. To the child witnessing it though, it pushes the ideal of the “Happy Marriage” almost impossibly far away… and I don’t want to have to answer which Parent “I love more” in the here and now. Certainly not one as shitty as Ian Smart who claims to be the better one, whilst being utterly, stupidly offensive; And he’s the one who is going to end up with custody of us. An infantile way to express modern politics maybe; but it’s also my honest, emotional one. Just an impotent sense of “Well… fuck, I wish this wasn’t happening like this.”

    181. Weedeochandorris says:

      @AnneDon You’re right. The sectarian thing in Scotland serves the purpose of divide and conquer (rule).   Keep them squabbling amongst themselves so we can rule them how we like.  When you move out of Scotland for any length of time, like myself, you realise that you have had sectarianism indoctrinated into your belief system and have grown up believing thats normal and must be the same everywhere.  Separate schools and so on.  What a relief and breath of fresh clean air when you discover what life without that bigotry is really like.  When you’re outside, looking in, you also then realise how destructive it can be.  This “use” of religion has a lot to answer for and so do those who perpetuate this abuse through generations. Perhaps its time for Scotland to move on and the maybe the youngsters who are travelling much more will be the ones to do it in a new, forward looking, Scotland.

    182. Laura says:

      Weedeochandorris
      Couldn’t agree more. I grew up in a protestant household, but had catholic relations and as a youngster was well aware of the sectarian attitudes. I later worked abroad on and off for about 20 years with many different nationalities from all walks of life and not once was religion nor race an issue.
      Unfortunately, the West of Scotland is still a bit behind the times, (don’t know about other parts of Scotland) but attitudes are changing, the younger generation are not growing up with the same prejudices as perhaps we did. However, I think there are those who deliberately (as noted above) keep the sectarian card alive for their own purposes, but I believe they are a dying breed.
       
       

    183. Patrick Roden says:

      @ Titler, first of all buddy, thanks for sharing, it was good to hear an honest comment from a unionist perspective. I will not attempt to answer your individual points but will just comment on two things you mention, as a way I think to get right to the heart of what you believe.
       
      1. you mention that all forms of Nationalism are a myth, a lie….
      One of Unionisms media/political tactics employed against the rise of the SNP, is to insinuate that Scottish Nationalism has the same outlook as ‘Far Right Nationalism’ this often results in the leader of the SNP being potrayed as a modern day Hitler type figure. least year Tom Harris Labour MP lost his ‘head of media’ position in the Scottish Labour party as a result of a smear linking Alex Salmond to Hitler.
       
      2. You say your open to argument and say “ok tell me how (sic) the Scots wont turn on imigrants”?
      The problem here is that you’re asking us for evidence that racism that isn’t happening now, wont happen in the future. This isn’t a valid question at all and cannot be proven, but it is an interesting question as it follows the same logic that goes to the heart of most of the scaremongering tactics being currently employed by unionists.
      If a social problem does not exist right now, but you claim that it is likely to exist in the future, it is up to you to show evidence to back up this claim or concern.
      The specific claim by Mr Smart is that in a future Scotland that had difficulties, the Scots would turn on the Poles and Pakistanis because we no longer had the English to blame.
      So the evidence required to show that this is a valid claim would be to show evidence of the Scots turning on the English in these very difficult times, and secondly that Scots tend to attack imigrants.
      Since the latest statistics show that the already tini ammount of Anti English racism in Scotland has decreased over the past few years, as well as Scotland having a far less problem with racism than England, then I would think you have allowed the media (none owned by Scots) to missinform you about the core beliefs and aspirations of both the SNP and the Yes to independence campaign.
       
      I hope this help a little.

    184. Indion says:

       
       
      Titler @ 1:34am
       
      I feel your pain.
       
      When you wake up, come back and try again if you wish. Be assured we seek independence and union: ie optimal autonomy all round.  The part you can best play in recognising your own sovereignty with fellow Bristolians is not only to claim it but do it. How? Check-out the Substainable Communities Bill and help submit a request for power from those who rule over whether you get it or not.
       
      You might also wish to check-out Unlock Democracy to assist in our being best together.
       
      Don’t worry, all will be well if we all do as well as we can in playing* our part.
       
      (* hat tip Pat)     

    185. Adam Davidson says:

      OT I’m on my way to a business networking meeting in Paisley Town Hall where Oor Nicola and wee Dougie Alexander will be 2 of the speakers. Any suggestions for a question for Douglas A. should we get the opportunity to ask any.

    186. Seasick Dave says:

      Adam
       
      Ask him if he’s got the answers to the 500 questions if Scotland votes No.
       
      You could also ask him if we are more or less likely to be in the EEC with a No vote especially considering the UKIP and Tory position.

      You could also ask if he prefers 100 years of Tory rule to Independence.

    187. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      Titler, old friend. You and I go way back to World Of Stuart days, so you know fine where I live. I’m just outside Bristol and I know what goes on there. I see both sides of the border – England because I live here, and Scotland because it’s my country. I know only too well the feeling of helpless terror as an unprecedentedly evil Tory government tears apart everything that was once good about Britain while a snivelling excuse for a Labour Party sits uselessly by, refusing to offer a democratic alternative.

      But here’s the thing – Scotland can’t save England from that. There aren’t enough Scots in existence to affect it. I’ve detailed on this site, with all the stats, how incredibly rarely Scottish votes make any difference to the makeup of the UK’s government. It makes no sense for Scots to ignore a well-equipped lifeboat when the ship’s sinking and we’ve spent the last 50 years shouting “ICEBERG! ICEBERG!” to deaf ears. Us going down with it won’t save a single life.

      “But the claim comes wrapped with so much that I find ideologically unsettling; with images of lions and bagpipes and Saltires and things which suggest that it’s because the Scottish as a race are able to make that choice, that it’s ingrained into you as a people.”

      I don’t know what websites you’ve been reading, but nobody’s saying that here. Scottish nationalism is civic and inclusive. The rule is “If you were born here OR you choose to come and live here, you’re one of us”. Nobody is barred. The doors are open. We didn’t choose our flags, they are what they are.

      “So I’m open to the argument; Ok, tell me how Scots won’t turn on immigrants. Show me how your electoral systems will allow more accurate representation post-Independence;”

      Our electoral system does that already. Small parties can get elected, which means if we get a Blair it’s possible to start a new party which has a hope of winning seats, even if its support is spread far and wide. The AMS system isn’t perfectly proportional, but it’s pretty damn close, and it’s a thousand times better than Westminster’s FPTP.

      And why would we turn on immigrants? We’re not doing it now, when the economy’s already pretty comprehensively fucked and ordinary folk are feeling the squeeze more than at any time in living memory. The English are. I haven’t a clue whether the reasons for that are racial (unlikely), cultural (maybe) or simply due to the fact that Scotland is less crowded, but that’s how it is.

      “But even if that argument is made, and made well (again, I’m sympathetic to the idea that it can be)… I can’t be Scottish in the sense many of you are talking about.”

      Yes you can. “Scottish” in a Scottish-nationalist context means anyone born or living in Scotland. If you take flight from Bristol in entirely rational terror, nobody’s going to ask where your grandpa came from at the border. Want in? You’re in.

      If you’ve got a better idea for how to save the whole UK than “Set an example that proves to the voters of England that it CAN be done, both politically and economically, to have a social democracy with humanity in the British Isles”, believe me, as a current resident of Bath I’m all ears. Hit me with it.

    188. tartanfever says:

      Titler –
      It’s pretty obvious you know little about the ‘Yes’ campaign, we don’t hate the English people, we’re just not very keen on Westminster. Thats it. End of story. It’s not a nationalism intent on world domination and it’s none of the following:

      Nothing sinister, no mad men, no ethnic cleansing, no vote rigging, no detention camps, no torture.

      You’ll find us cheering the likes of : nuclear disarmament, proportional representation, a written constitution protecting our resources and basic human rights of our people, land reform, community enterprise, renewable energy – no nuclear, a proper welfare state

      Bagpipes, tartan, shortbread are not weapons of mass destruction either.

      The SNP are not the same as the EDL, BNP or even UKIP. If any of the above topics I’ve mentioned still makes you think that we are in the same league as ‘all other nationalisms’ – which must include the British nationalism of empire, slavery, invasion – then I know a good shrink in Bristol and I’ll happily pass on his phone number. Very reasonable rates, he based up the Gloucester Road.

       

    189. FreddieThreepwood says:

      @Titler
      Like Patrick, I appreciate your contribution to our debate. 

      You will probably notice I used the word ‘our’ – and I’m sorry, but it is our debate. The notion that arguments about Scottish independence run somehow contrary to the principles of internationalism, community and solidarity with people, not just in England, but all over the world is spurious and, when deployed by the shameless SLAB, positively mendacious.

      This is not a nationalism about blood and soil, nor less about bagpipes and tartan. It is about self-determination – nothing more, nothing less. Yes, the boundary where we wish to draw the line is a national one – the oldest in Europe, as it happens – but such is just our luck (or curse). We have a ready made, defined and constitutionally recognised corner of the planet in which we have the opportunity (afforded to how many in the developed world?) to make a fresh start, to stand there in our wee plot (bigger, nevertheless, than you might think looking at the BBC’s weather forecast) and say, ‘Right, now we know how not to do it. Let’s try this way instead.’

      Selfish? Unconcerned about the plight of our friends and neighbours elsewhere in the UK? No, of course not. It is not our fault British politics has become a corrupt, short-sighted and greedy principle vacuum in the last 30 years. Equally, as analysis of every post-war General Election result (given several times here on Wings) shows, there is hee haw we have been and will be able to do about it.

      We are the junior partner. We are outnumbered, as we were in 1707. We may have some minor influence tinkering around the edges but essentially, we are powerless … except in one regard. We have the power to leave, should we choose to use it.

      Wouldn’t it be great if folk in Bristol had the same? Then again, wouldn’t it be great if folk in the Sudan had enough to eat, that folk in Syria weren’t getting shelled out of their homes … etc etc. We would not be turning our back on our friends and neighbours anywhere in the world by standing up for ourselves – far from it. As a small, often in the past poor country, the Scots’ history of alliances, emigration and engagement with the rest of the world is, I would argue, evidence of a tradition of internationalism not found elsewhere.

      So, Titler, please don’t take this personally. And, for God’s sake, don’t believe the state propaganda from the BBC and others in England that there is anything selfish, racist or even racial about independence for Scotland (oh, how the unionists would love it if we gave in to their fraudulent demands for ex pat Scots to be given the vote!). It is a grown up, democratic and civic movement for self-determination aimed at bettering the lives of those who live in Scotland. End of.

    190. Seasick Dave says:

      Tartan Fever and Freddie
       
      Very well said both of you.
       
      We may only have a coo and a calf and an acre of whins but we don’t want Westminster killing the coo, seizing the calf and annexing half the whins.

    191. tartanfever says:

      My question to Titler, and genrerally to all other ‘questioners’ of nationalism out there is this.
       
      Which of these examples would you consider the worse kind of nationalism ?
      A) The nationalsim that in voting in an independence referendum allows votes to all residents of that country, regardless of race, creed or colour – the only criteria is age and living in that country. (YES campaign)
      B) The nationalism that does the above, but also wants to include the element of pure ‘Scots’ ethnicity and blood line regardless of where you live in the world. (NO campaign)
       

    192. Doug Daniel says:

      Titler – “Imagine the Sandy Hook Elemental School massacre. We hailed as heroes the teachers who barricaded the doors, sometimes with their own bodies to protect their classes. And today’s Tory party are the equivalent of Lanza, destroying all it can out of god knows what psychological needs and hatreds. And Scottish Independence is protecting it’s own class. I get that, I really do. But I can’t help but think of the children who were in the wrong class, in the wrong place at the wrong time. Maybe because I suspect I’ll be one of them… but I don’t think you can just forgot them either. We aren’t in an instant-decision, life or death situation. We have time to think. I’d like to see the overall balance for all the children.”
       
      The thing is, if Britain is Sandy Hook Elemental School, then the Tory gunman is already in the school and has already started shooting kids. The options are limited – we can’t get his gun off him, because there’s no mechanism to remove his power. Rumour has it he’s going to run out of bullets in May 2015, but that’s only a saving grace if everyone moves as one to overpower him, and at the moment it’s looking like half the people in the school will stay frozen in terror and he’ll be given free reign to keep shooting once he comes back with another gun. To make matters worse, he has an even more psychotic accomplice waiting outside (UKIP) just itching to get in with a rocket launcher to cause even MORE destruction (and he’ll laugh his head off while doing it). And above all else, May 2015 is a long time away, and a lot of people will be shot by then. Apparently someone else (Ed Miliband) is waiting outside to come in and save us from the shooter when he runs out of bullets, but it turns out he’s actually a complete idiot who thinks the only way to save the school is to do exactly the same thing the current shooter is doing, except slightly slower. Remarkably, there are people inside the school who think everything will be fine if he comes in, because they simply won’t listen to what he’s actually saying.
       
      So as a group, there is but one option – stand together in a big huddle and watch on helplessly as he picks us off, layer by layer. And while that happens, everyone is turning on each other, because he keeps saying “I’m only shooting you folk here because of what those folk over there are doing.” No matter what happens, people are going to die, and the outlook doesn’t look good.
       
      But suddenly, one of the classes realises there’s an emergency exit in their classroom. They feel bad about leaving the rest to their fate, but the only thing they can do to save some people is to save themselves. It’s surely better for some people to survive than for everyone to die as a result of some misplaced “if we’re going down, we’re going down together” kind of solidarity? And who knows, perhaps their escape will inspire a true hero to come to the school’s rescue, instead of the ineffective idiot currently looking to crown himself as the hero?
       
      So yes, we have time to think – two years in fact. But there’s nothing we can actually do in that time. Except for that one class, that is.

    193. YesYesYes says:

      Rev,
       
      Have you seen this?:
       
      http://ayewecan.blogspot.co.uk/2013/05/my-brother-ian-smart-is-not-racist.html?m=1
       
      When the Ian Smart story broke I made the analogy in a few posts between what Smart was doing and what Enoch Powell had done. It’s one thing for me to have made that analogy but for Ian Smart’s own brother to make that analogy is so shocking that, for the first time ever on WoS, I’m lost for words.

    194. kininvie says:

      @Titler
      To take your image of the abusive marriage…. the way I see it is that, for reasons I don’t fully understand, England is turning its back on its family responsibilities and we are simply trying not to be dragged along.
      Why England, with its proud history of resisting real tyranny and standing up for individual freedoms has come to the conclusion that it can’t be bothered any more (I exaggerate, but not by much) I don’t know. I spend a bit of time in Brussels, and many of our fellow Europeans shake their heads in baffled horror. When it comes to drawing dividing lines between peoples, I don’t think that we are the guilty ones….
      But, as Stu points out, there’s nothing we can do about it if England chooses to go down the isolationist path. We are fortunate in that our one-time opportunity to take a different road arises at this point. Are we selfish to take it? If the opportunity were guaranteed to offer itself again, that argument might be made – but there is no such guarantee.

    195. Linda's Back says:

      The SNP and YES campaign has always promoted a civic nationalism. 
      All mothers should vote YES in 2014 referendum for Scandinavian style of social democracy rather than stick to Westminster’s welfare cuts and a UK which is the fourth most unequal country in the developed world thanks to the social and economic policies of successive London governments.
      The Save the Children’s State of the World’s Mothers report for 2012 ranks the best countries to be a mother in are:
      1      1  Finland  2  Sweden 3  Norway 4  Iceland 5  Netherlands 6  Denmark   But the UK is in 23rd place.
      How to switch to ‘Common Weal’ model as suggested by the Jimmy Reid foundation:
      Tax Reform and Inequality
      Critical change is tax reform – a gradual shift in the balance of taxes, with the rich paying more, combined with a healthier economy in which more skilled workers earn higher salaries, moving away from low-skill, low-pay work. A higher minimum wage raises pay. More nationalised industries (Norway has a state oil company) contribute to taxes.
      ‘Folkhemmet’
      A bigger and better welfare state akin to the Nordic Folkhemmet or People’s Home concept, with universal cradle-to-grave benefits, and greater emphasis on childcare, social housing and local amenities. Instead of being seen as the state doling out cash, it is seen as people supporting each other via the state.
      Finance
      Less reliance on finance sector. A national investment bank offers long-term loans to grow Scottish firms, possibly drawing on the billions in council pension funds. This is linked to national strategy for industrial development. Also national lending to community enterprises and individuals, with less speculation. Mortgage lending designed to avoid housing booms.
      Ownership
      Fewer low-pay, part-time jobs from large multinationals and more secure, higher paid work with small and medium-sized business along the lines of the family firms focused on exports and research contributing half of Germany’s GDP. State support for more mutual and co-operative enterprises to help buffer economy against downturns, as they will not pull out of areas during a recession.
      Economic Diversification
      Economy made more stable by moving away from over-reliance on finance sector, low-pay jobs and housing booms, and fostering small and medium-sized businesses and skills. State buys more goods and services from Scottish firms by invoking R&D opt-outs in EU rules. Example: publicly owned wind farms. Councils and government buy these from Scottish firms, helping them invest more in R&D and improve their export ability.
       

      I
       
       

    196. Macart says:

      @Tartanfever
       
      Spot on and well said although my mother’s shortbread as a weapon of mass destruction isn’t out of the bounds of possibility. 🙂
       
      @Titler
       
      The others have pretty much covered it, but think about that constitution for a moment. Popular sovereignty, a government whose powers are kept in check by a rule book we get a hand in writing. A government which derives that power from the populace. A populace whose rights are enshrined. Not bad for a start is it?

    197. Morag says:

      RevStu said:
      I see both sides of the border – England because I live here, and Scotland because it’s my country.
       
      This post is another reply to Titler.  There are several excellent posts above that I hope he will read carefully.  I want to make a slightly different point about what RevStu just said.
       
      There are two sorts of national identity here.  One is the civic identity related to where you live, and the other is cultural.  Stu lives in England, and as such he has the option to become English if he wants to.  I was in the same position, for 25 years, and like him I chose not to.  Is this “ethnic nationalism”?  “Blood and bone”?
       
      It depends on what language you want to use.  It’s cultural.  It’s to do with where and how you were brought up, and what you’re comfortable with and what feels right to you and where you feel at home.  Nobody should be forced to give all that up just because they move to another country, possibly temporarily.  But by the same token nobody should be forced to stick with what they were brought up with if they want to change.
       
      Stu has decided he doesn’t want to change, as did I.  This demonstrates that there is a difference between the nationality you hold to and the nationality of where you live, but as I said it’s a choice, and it doesn’t turn people who value the nationality of the place where they were brought up into jackbooted stormtroopers.
       
      You speak disparagingly about bagpipes and tartan and lions, as if this was something we do consciously to create an identity.  It’s not.  It’s just who we are.  Certainly the tourist trade capitalises on it, and why not, but it didn’t invent it.  I like bagpipe music, and country dance music, and tartan is a valid fashion choice, and why would we not identify with our national symbols just as you identify with yours?  Do we get upset about that bulldog?
       
      The point is that Scotland is a country.  It is not a region or a county or a wee bit on the side that thought it would try to be different.  It is a country, historically and actually.  So of course it comes with the trappings of a country like flags and traditions and fashion choices.  I don’t disparage the flags and traditions and fashion choices of other countries just because I don’t share them, and I don’t see why people should disparage mine.
       
      The choice, now, is whether the country of Scotland, the historical country with its cultural identity and flags and fashion choices and so on, should continue in an incorporating union with a different country.  It really isn’t constructive to wade into this debate denigrating the flags and the fashion choices and the music scene, as if we’re only doing it to annoy.
       
      Stu is right.  There are simply not enough of us to make any difference to what happens in England.  What seems to be being asked of us is complete self-sacrifice, for absolutely nothing.  The ship is going down.  We can’t save the much larger group of people on it.  (They could save themselves, of course, but they won’t.)  So because these people as a group scorn the lifeboats, we should drown too, with our children, out of some sort of solidarity with the dissenters in the larger group?  What good is that going to do anyone?
       
      And why such great concern for just that one group of people, when there are ships all over the place in various sorts of trouble?  What about children in Somalia, or Iraq, or Syria, or Greece?  Why are we being urged to sacrifice ourselves so selflessly for English children only?
       
      There were about 50 countries in the world in the first half of last century.  Now there are about 200.  How’s this “one world government” thing going for you?  I don’t want to be taken over by a global superstate, whether it’s America or China.  I want to be ourselves, with our own part in the world, not swallowed up in a bigger country that denies my country even its name in these online form-filling thingies.
       
      What the hell is so evil about that?
       
      And yes, Titler, you can be Scottish.  You can’t turn the clock back and be born and brought up here.  Maybe you can’t develop a liking for bagpipe or accordion or fiddle music, or shortbread (but I’ll bet you won’t turn down smoked salmon), or tartan.  But that doesn’t matter.  Nobody here cares tuppence what music you like or what food you eat, or what colour of clothes you wear or even what accent you speak with.  It’s a personal choice.
       
      You can be Scottish in the way it counts, by living here and being part of Scottish society and contributing to it and being looked after by it.  And anyone can come if they want to.  Stu and I decided not to be English, even though that was where we lived.  But it was a choice that could have gone the other way.  And it always can.

    198. HandandShrimp says:

      Titler
       
      I did notice that Bristol had spurned the lure of the UKIP dawn. I used to live and work down your way many moons ago and knowing the areal I wasn’t entirely surprised. However vast swathes of England did turn a shade of UKIP. 23% of those who could be bothered to vote to be exact. Despite the austerity and anti EU rumblings of the Coalition large numbers seem to want more not less of this. For Milliband to only get 29% in the face of all this Government has done is deeply troubling. I  am not convinced he is going to do it for Labour. Scotland and England are drifting apart politically.
       
      Is it selfish to move on? Is it right that Scotland should attempt to thwart the democratic desires of the people in England. Would that not cause resentment and anti-Scottish feeling in England?
       
      I could understand your concerns about Scotland if the SNP were some sort of Golden Dawn Party or similar. However, it isn’t. It’s candidates represent a broad cross section of Scottish society. It was the first party to have an Scottish Asian MSP and has several MSPS of English birth and it represents all creeds and none. The recent death of the Aberdeen SNP MP was of a chap who was a Mormon. This is not the composition of a racist or exclusive party and no one seriously argues that it is racist party.
       
      Smart’s arguments were nonsensical. There are undoubtedly racists and bigots in Scotland, they exist everywhere, but if one were to analyse how they vote I am not convinced that they would call the SNP their home of choice. For example, the Orange Lodge has firmly come out in support of the Unionist cause not the supposedly anti-Catholic SNP.
       
      In short, Scottish politics and society is multi-layered and complex. It has problems and there are divisions but these are not caused by the notions of independence and self determination nor are they solved by Unionism. For Unionists like Smart to play the race and bigotry cards is unwise, desperate and not a little wicked (in the old school meaning of the word). One has to ask if they really are that bereft of a positive case.       

    199. Seasick Dave says:

      YesYesYes
       
      I am not able to see anything on Alan Smart’s blog.
       
      Does anyone have a cached image or other details?

    200. Robert Louis says:

      I have sympathy with some of what Titler says, but I still support independence for Scotland.  You see the problem which people such as Titler has NEVER grasped, is that quite simply, Scotland has never really been ‘all in it together’ with England/rUK.
       
      That separate identity despite the cultural genocide driven from London since 1746, and for the last three hundred plus years, has not really ended the Scottish identity.  It isn’t about flags or lions or tartan, it’s simply about a country, Scotland running its own affairs.  It is what every country around the world does.  I find it utterly ridiculous that grown intelligent people try to argue that Scotland needs run from London.  It is absurd.
       
      As for the Labour party, they are a nothing party now.  They have abandoned their core supporters many years ago, in their cloying attempts to win over the home counties. Watch TV, and you’ll soon see, it’s all Miliband and Byrne ever talk about – winning votes in the south.
       
      Nothing will change in England, until such times as the people of England get off their arses, sniiff the coffee, wake up and realise just what Westminster truly represents – ‘the establishment’, with a mere veneer of democracy.  The failures in England and English democratic choice are not a good reason for Scots to continue being run in a colonial fashion from a wholly unrepresentative parliament in England, run by people who care nothing for Scotland.
       
      Maybe, just maybe, the day of Scottish independence will be the day English voters finally wake up and demand change.  I wouldn’t hold my breath, though.
       
      Vote YES in 2014, to restore normality.

    201. YesYesYes says:

      @Seasick Dave,
       
      Sorry about that, the link works for me, but here’s the full article:
       
      A racist is normally someone with a grievance, who out of ignorance, and fueled by urban and media myths, wrongly blames ethic minorities who have absolutely nothing to do with whatever their problem might be. My brother Ian has few problems, is rather well healed, well educated and mixes amongst the very highest echelons of the Scottish establishment. So when he asserts that there will be some sort of pogrom against the Polish and Pakistani communities (and presumably others) in a post independence Scotland, he is not doing this out of ignorance or prejudice, but out of political calculation. The calculation that if he asserts it loudly and often enough Scotland’s ethnic communities and others can be scared into voting No.
       
      This is called playing the race card. It is one of the most dangerous things an individual can do in any context, and of course normally done by politicians of the far right. But for a Labour blogger to do it in Scotland, where there is a hard worked for  and commendable cross-party and cross-society consensus against racial prejudice, and inject it into the highly charge debate on independence is despicable.

      No better that Enoch Powell in 1968: Allow fair non racial immigration into the UK and there will be “rivers of blood” he predicted, with no evidence and no basis in reality as events have proven. Vote for Independence in 2014 and my brother predicts something similar for Scotland.
       
      And what has been the reaction of the Scottish Labour establishment to the gratuitous playing of the race card by one of their own? At best silence, and in the case of old chum Jack McConnell supportive. Because sadly, Ian, the leading Labour blogger in Scotland and a regular TV pundit on this basis, is an outrider for more than a few of them.
       
      Apologise and retire. All the advice I can offer.

      And Ted Heath sacked Enoch Powell, Johan and co please note.

    202. AmadeusMinkowski says:

      @Linda’s Back @Titler
      The UK governments 2020 vision
      This week, the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) will publish a report which shows that as a result of the UK government’s changes to the benefit system almost one in three children in the UK will be living in poverty by 2020; see NewsNet Scotland article for details.
      UKplc is holed below the water. Time to save all the mothers and children that we can by launching the life raft called YesScotland.
       

    203. handclapping says:

      As an Englishman living in Scotland its all about Westminster isn’t working.
      Its about male life expectancy in the Carlton of 53 when in Westminster its 83.
      Its about 40% of electors now never vote for Westminster or any government.
      Its about the oil being spent on HS1 the M25 the Dome the Olympics Thameslink Crossrail new sewers for old when we are struggling to dual the A9.
      Its about … the list goes on and on and on.
      We have a chance to get out and I’d rather be in the lifeboat than on the Titanic, at least we will be able to report what happened.
       
      Selfish, yes but then the UK has had at least 60 years to improve the lot of the Liverpool granny and its not happened so given human nature what are the chances of improving her lot by staying rather than improving the lot of the man from the Carlton by going and doing it ourselves.

    204. Morag says:

      Dave, someone already posted what he said, if you scroll back.

    205. YesYesYes says:

      Alan Smart correctly notes that Ted Heath sacked Enoch Powell after his ‘Rivers of Blood’ speech in 1968. But what needs to be understood here, is that Powell made his speech in an era when racial incitement was fairly routine in British society. Comedians routinely told racist jokes, there were racist sitcoms on British TV. Racial incitement was not a ‘crime’, as such.
       
      This is not the age that we live in today, which makes Smart’s remarks even more despicable and, I would argue, even more serious. Smart should not be allowed to walk away from this, far less to laugh it off or try to blame others for his actions.
       
      And those in the Scottish Labour Party who are defending him should hang their heads in shame. Then again, what more do we expect from a Scottish Labour Party who elected a leader who also tried to play the race card (Gordon Brown’s ‘British jobs for British workers’) and then was hypocritical enough to refer to Gillian Duffy as a ‘bigot’.

    206. Barontorc says:

      Some good sensible comments on this issue – and I do believe the veil of straight knock-back is lifting – people are talking, asking questions and getting answers.
       
      On the Ian Smart / STV appearance. This is the first time I have actually seen the guy live. It’s no wonder he resorts to tweets and one-liners, it’s a more comfortable place to be for firing from the hip. He was given every opportunity to retract the impression caused by his ‘paki/Pole’ tweet, linking nationalists with racism and future attacks on immigrants and he was simply hell-bent on catastrophe.
       
      As some poster has already commented – if this is the best BT can muster, we’re in for a bumpy but easy ride home.

    207. Bill C says:

      @Morag – “A confrontation for another day, I think.”  Well said.  I am a product of a ‘mixed marriage’ (how I hate that term, my mother was a Catholic and my father Church of Scotland). I am also a retired teacher (early) with 35 years teaching experience. I attended a Catholic teacher training college and taught in three Catholic schools for 32.5 years, my last 2.5 years were in two non-denominational schools. I think I have a fair bit of experience in Scottish education.  I would make a few comments:
      a) I have no doubt that unionists have consistently played the sectarian card for decades especially in the West of Scotland.
      b) While I respect the fact that many Catholics feel that their schools are somehow ‘special’, my experience is that they are not. They are good, but no better than non-denominational schools. in fact if truth be told, I saw more Christianity practised in my two and a half years in non-denominational schools than I saw in thirty two and a half years in Catholic schools.
      c) I now have no religion and have absolutely no axe to grind other than wishing to see my country being independent.
      d) Religion should be kept at home and schools should be for education.  Dividing children at the age of five on religious grounds, does a lot more harm than it does good.
      However, as Morag says, this is a discussion we can have in an independent Scotland which will have everyone’s right to practice the religion of their choice embedded in its constitution,

    208. Joybell says:

      @ Morag
       
      I’m really just a lurker here and will most likely continue to be just that.  I was born into a Belfast Unionist family and have an English husband (born in Bristol as it happens).  We lived in Stafford for over 11 years…A nice town but I always felt homesick.  Such a different culture.
       
      We got the wonderful opportunity to move to Edinburgh just at the start of devolution.  Best move we ever made.  We have learnt to love Scotland … It was all too easy!  Quite different to England (just our opinion of course).  We will both be voting Yes because we believe its the right thing for the Scotland we both love.
       
       

    209. Training Day says:

      @Barontorc
      “I do believe the veil of straight knock-back is lifting – people are talking, asking questions and getting answers.”

      It is indeed – I nearly fell off my perch this morning when my Salmond-hating, previously flat-out No voting work colleague asked me where he could find some informed debate about independence..

      After some thought I reluctantly guided him towards this place.. 😉

    210. AmadeusMinkowski says:

      Feeding the Unhinged:
       (not)Smart’s playing the race card, and more generally Bitter Togethers efforts to play the race/sectarian card and also to demonise Salmond/SNP,  eerily parallels the Rebublicans playbook for the US Presidential elections of 2008 and 2012. 
       
      Indeed, the Republican/Fox-News attempts to paint Obama as somehow other/dangerous/untrustworthy and what BitterTogether, through their MSM lackies, are attempting to do with Salmond is scary. Such propaganda feeds into the most unhinged in our society and should be halted.
      It is time for influential people to to step-up and confront this. If  one is looking for a role model, look no further than Frank Schaefer’s open letter to John McCain; it calls on him to end playing the race card against Obama. There is also an interview with Frank Schaefer on this.
       
       

    211. velofello says:

      Are there any behavioural scientists reading here? i am genuinely interested in an interpretation of Ian Smart’s behaviour on STV last night. His hand gestures – held together, first with fingers closed as if in prayer, and then the fingers spread wide. His facial expressions reminded me of councillor Mathieson. And of course his spoken words.
      Contrast it with Natalie MCGarry who assumed a relaxed, non-confrontational demeaner.
      @ Morag. a few years back, possibly a decade several people were caught filling out postal votes in a lockup, on behalf of Labour, for council elections. They were prosecuted and the judge opined that postal voting was open to fraud. And of course misgivings have been expressed over the Glenrothes by-election.

    212. The Man in the Jar says:

      @Bill C
      at 10;56
      Well said!
      I am from west central and I have posted similar comments here. It is good to hear my opinions backed up by someone with particular experiences that is more or less up to date since it is a very long time (45 years to be precise) since I have had experience of the Scottish education system.
      Seems that nothing much has changed over that time regarding “Faith”

    213. Craig Murray says:

      Morag,
      It is unfortunate that anybody who does not accept the government narrative on everything is labelled a conspiracy theorist, as though that were sufficient to dismiss their arguments.
      If you can find anything inaccurate in what I published on the moving of Scotland’s maritime boundaries, please tell us what that is.
      On South Shields you argue with a number of Aunt Sallies I did not say.  The major points are these.
      For the first time ever in a British constituency in a parliamentary election, postal votes outnumbered the polling booth votes – undeniably true.
      I am told by an eyewitness that UKIP appeared to have a majority in the polling booth votes, but that the postal votes were overwhelmingly Labour.  I cannot prove that and my witness might be mistaken.  But that they are honest I am confident, and they are not a UKIP supporter.
      I see somebody has quoted an academic study in Birmingham.  There is plenty of evidence of massive levels of fraud by Labour in the North of England around the postal ballot.  There have been criminal convictions – in Blackburn, Birmingham and elsewhere.  What I have personally witnessed with my own eyes, and been told by other eyewitnesses, revolves around intimidation rather than forgery – Labour party enforces entering households and demanding to collect the postal ballots unsealed, so they can check the vote is the right way, before sealing them and posting them.
      If you can give me a convincing theory as to why 7500 people could be bothered to fill in, sign and take to the postbox their postal ballot, whereas only 6000 people could be bothered to go to the polling station – and remember this has never happened before, more postal than booth votes, I would be interested to here it.
       
      Rude comments about my mental health do not constitute an answer.
       
       
       
       

    214. Morag says:

      Velofellow, yes I know.  Postal voting is open to fraud.  It has been tried, more than once.  It is a particular danger in the yes/no referendum, and that has to be recognised.
       
      This does not automatially mean that when someone posts a claim which, on the most superficial analysis, means that Labour must have introduced more than 7,000 forged postal votes into a by-election count, we should believe it uncritically.
       
      What Craig Murray claimed was obviously impossible, on a number of levels.  He is well known for making such claims, over many years,  I’m simply pointing this out, and pointing out that just because a preposterous claim chimes with what we believe or want to believe, doesn’t mean it’s not preposterous.

    215. ianbrotherhood says:

       
      @Titler-
       
      We all have different reasons to look for different forms of ‘independence’.
       
      I’m not speaking for anyone else on this site, but George Carlin certainly speaks for me:
       
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i5dBZDSSky0
       
      ‘Nobody seems to notice, nobody seems to care…’
       
      Independence is a means to an end, and that ‘end’ will be up to future generations to decide. Our immediate task is to ensure they have the opportunity. Simple.
       
      Alex Salmond/SNP promised us this chance, and they’ve delivered. Now, it’s up to us, and if we blow it we’ll have no-one to blame. Fair dos.
       
      You want a similar shot at getting away from the Big Club? Get organised and get on with it.
       
      Good luck mate.

    216. Morag says:

      Craig, I applaud you for coming on here.  I do not applaud you for propagating something you now say “might be mistaken”.  It’s ridiculously impossible.  It cannot have happened.  Maybe next time you need to think through what you’re saying, rather than publicising such nonsense.

    217. Bill C says:

      @Joybell – Lovely story, I really enjoy hearing such positive stories. P.S. don’t just be a lurker on here, you obviously have a lot to contribute, experience etc.

    218. The Man in the Jar says:

      @YesYesYes
      Shame is in very short supply at BT HQ in fact I think that it ran out a long time ago. I believe that they have scoured Johann Lamonts bunker and found to trace of it whatsoever. I have heard that Jackie Baillie and Michael McMahon may have used up the last of it but that was several years ago.

    219. Indy_Scot says:

       
      From my understanding now, it looks like Labour and the No campaign believe they can say whatever they want, no matter how outrageous or insulting and as long as they use the derogatory term Cybernat in their defence, then somehow in their head the world is fine.
       
      Seriously, these peoples are clinically insane and their perception of right and wrong will only become more skewed the nearer we get to the referendum.
       

    220. Craig Murray says:

      To give another example, when I stood at Blackburn against Jack Straw, one flat above a shop had thirteen registered voters.  All of them were registered for a postal ballot.  In canvassing, we discovered that the flat was boarded up, and had not been occupied for years.  Yet those “people” all voted!
      We reported this to both the police and the returning officer, and found them entirely uninterested, because the truth is – and now you can call me a “conspiracy theorist” – in rotten burghs in the North of England the Labour machinery controls everything, and remember the Returning Officer is the Chief Executive of the council.  I despair sometimes that ordinary people still retain some faith in the “system”, when the standards of honour and decency on which such arrangements were established were replaced by lying and conniving some decades ago.

    221. Craig Murray says:

      Morag
      I am sorry, what precisely is ridiculously impossible? 

    222. AmadeusMinkowski says:

      @Titler @ Joybell

      Joybell, you just made my day! Thank you.

      You and your husband’s story may just be one of the best adverts for what the movement for an Independent Scotland is really all about! So, please, don’t be a wall flower.

      Do not hide your light under a bushel

      Shout from the rooftops your truth.

      YeS needs you!

      Also, please consider contacting the YES campaign; I’m sure they would love to hear your story.

      Also, why not consider volunteering for YesScotland? You’ll not regret it! 🙂

    223. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      Morag: I have no evidence on which to judge what Craig has said. But as I explored a while back, almost every conspiracy that has ever been revealed in human history is one which beforehand people called “impossible”. (As, indeed, has been much of human achievement.) Is it maybe just possible that your Lockerbie work has made you a little oversensitive in this regard?

    224. Indy_Scot says:

       
      Craig, I’m with you. I believe the only way to ensure that the referendum will have any chance of being classed as clean is if voting is only in person.
       

    225. Morag says:

      Stu, if I haven’t managed to explain why this claim being made about the South Shields poll is our there with the little green men from Mars, I’ll stop now.  I explained it in detail in a post on another thread.

    226. Morag says:

      Indy Scot sid:
      Craig, I’m with you. I believe the only way to ensure that the referendum will have any chance of being classed as clean is if voting is only in person.
       
      I don’t think that’s what Craig said.  What Craig said was something different, and I’m going to stop talking about it now.
       
      I think it would be deeply undemocratic to have voting only in person.  There are people who simply cannot get out of the house.  I agree entirely that postal voting needs to be far more restricted and far better scrutinised though.

    227. Adrian B says:

      Craig,
       
      Do you have figures for average postal votes at elections? How do these break down in strong Labour, conservative and Liberal areas as a percentage of the vote.
       
      While no one is claiming that all 7,000 postal votes in South Shields were false, I would of expected a couple of thousand at best. It takes time to organise a postal vote, much easier to turn up and vote in person unless you work away or are on holiday at the time.
       
       

    228. Bill C says:

      @The Man in the Jar – Thanks.  I was born, brought up and worked (taught) in Glasgow and have experienced the hate and bitterness caused by sectarianism.  I do not blame religion for the affliction which seems to stalk that part of Scotland, but I do blame those who use people’s fears and prejudices for their own political ends.  The Labour Party in particular deserve to be condemned for its tactic of regularly playing the orange/green card.  Although it could be argued that they learned a lot from the Tories.
      I now live in Aberdeenshire and it is refreshing to live in a society where the vast majority of folk couldn’t give two hoots which church you attend or what school you went to. That is one of my visions for an independent Scotland.

    229. handclapping says:

      @Morag@CraigMurray@velofellow
      There were more than 2000 extra registered electors for the Glanrothes bye-election than there were for the general elections either side of it.

    230. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “Stu, if I haven’t managed to explain why this claim being made about the South Shields poll is our there with the little green men from Mars, I’ll stop now. I explained it in detail in a post on another thread.”

      And as I recall, it was explained in turn that while UNLIKELY – and no claim of certainty has in fact been made – it was nevertheless perfectly POSSIBLE.

    231. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “I think it would be deeply undemocratic to have voting only in person. There are people who simply cannot get out of the house. I agree entirely that postal voting needs to be far more restricted and far better scrutinised though.”

      On all of that, we surely all concur.

    232. YesYesYes says:

      @AmadeusMinkowski,
       
      Well observed.
       
      There is a great deal of irony here with Scottish Labour, the nuances of which shouldn’t be lost on us. Scottish Labour got its idea for its ‘Truth Team’ from the Obama campaign in the 2012 presidential elections (I suspect it was Douglas Alexander who was the conduit here). The Democrats established their Truth Team on the back of their ‘Fight the Smears’ initiative in the 2008 presidential campaign, after many senior Republicans had raised many smears about Obama, e.g. about his race, his politics, his ‘real’ motives and so on.
       
      It would seem that Scottish Labour has got things the wrong way round. For, as we know, it has been Scottish Labour that has been raising the smears about Alex Salmond, the SNP, the Yes campaign and, of course, playing the race card. Having done that, they then, in their typical cack-handed and duplicitous manner, establish a ‘Truth Team’ to counter the opposition to the smears that they themselves have raised. That’s not what a ‘Truth Team’ is for.    

    233. Craig Murray says:

      Morag,
      24,500 people voted
      14,500 people voted by post
      10,000 people voted by ballot box
      Labour got 12500 votes
      UKIP got 6000 votes
      Others got 6000 votes
      It went something like this
      Postal Ballot  Labour 9,000 UKIP 1,800 Others 2700
      Polling Booth Labour 3500   UKIP 4,200 Others 3300
      I really don’t see why that would be “out there with the little green men from Mars”.  It is one of a very great many instances of the postal ballot being disproportionately pro-Labour, which is of course why they brought it in in the first place. 
      I am very worried about the postal ballot in the independence referendum.  I think it should go back to voting in person unless good reason (medical or serving abroad). 
       
       

    234. Morag says:

      Craig has now said his informant might have been mistaken.  I hope that puts paid to the uncritical propagation of this ridiculous story as if it was proven, uncontrovertible fact.
       
      I could go on arguing this all day, because something being merely theoretically possible shouldn’t be enough grounds for assuming it could actually have happened, but I think we’ve all said enough.  Craig agrees his informant might have been mistaken.

    235. Indy_Scot says:

       
      I have read you use this argument before, but what I would say is this, if postal voting is used then I cannot see how it will not be open to fraud. Clearly you are comfortable with the notion of a tainted result, I however am not.

    236. Morag says:

      Oh here we go again.  Craig, I agree that postal voting is open to fraud.  I agree that fraud sometines happens.  I agree that postal voting should be much more restricted and scrutinised that it is.
       
      I do not agree that what you are suggesting happened at South Shields is remotely credible, for reasons I have already gone into in some detail, involving the turnout figures and a number of other factors.  And I think you should stop claiming it did.

    237. Craig Murray says:

      AdrianB
      58.5% of those voting in South Shields voted by post.  this has never happened before.
      The returning officer’s staff mix together the postal ballots with the polling booth ballots BEFORE COUNTING.  This is an instruction from the Electoral Commission.  It destroys the evidence of fraud and it is something which I would dearly like to challenge in court.  There are therefore no official figures on the differential counts.  You are therefore left simply with the eye witness impressions of those at the opening and mixing.

    238. AmadeusMinkowski says:

      @YesYesYes
      Also, well observed! I mean, your observation on the irony of Labour adopting both the Obama’s Truth team, and the smear tactics of the Republicans. You really couldn’t make it up! There are trying to ride two horses at once, so it won’t be long before they fall off!
      * Inspired by Salmond two-horses metaphor for describing Cameron’s position of simultaneously calling for an in/out EU referendum while also playing up the “uncertainty card” on Scottish membership of the EU!

    239. Morag says:

      IndyScot said:
      I have read you use this argument before, but what I would say is this, if postal voting is used then I cannot see how it will not be open to fraud. Clearly you are comfortable with the notion of a tainted result, I however am not.
       
      You know, I wish you would read what I actually said.  I agree that postal voting is a problem, that it is open to fraud, and that fraud has happened in some cases.  I agree that it’s a particular problem that needs to be carefully addressed in the referendum organisation.  I am not comfortable about any of that.
       
      I do not agree that Labour went completely doolally in South Shields and manufactured about 5,000 more postal votes than they would have needed to win the seat comfortably.  Or that the “real” turnout for that election was less than 30% of the electorate, on a day when nearly 6,000 people decided to come out and vote UKIP.
       
      I also require some explanation of how any party, no matter how corrupt, could possibly engineer as many as 7,000 fraudulent votes in one constituency, as a practical operation.  Or some evidence that the returning officer would let all this past without comment.  Ditto the representatives of the other parties involved in the election.
       
      My extreme scepticism on that specific point does not mean that I think postal voting fraud is not an issue, dammit!

    240. Craig Murray says:

      Morag,
      You do argue in a very unpleasant way.  I do not think my informant is mistaken at all.  Of course they might be – any human being can make errors, and that is what I was conceding in the mistaken hope it may make you less shrill.  But they were convinced that there was a UKIP majority in the polling booth boxes; I cannot find it recorded, but I recall from watching Sky News at the count in the small hours a UKIP election organiser said something very similar.
       

    241. AmadeusMinkowski says:

      @Craig Murray
      “The returning officer’s staff mix together the postal ballots with the polling booth ballots BEFORE COUNTING”
      Stunning!
       

    242. HandandShrimp says:

      I don’t want to get drawn into the whole postal ballot argument but I would agree that when postal ballots are unusually large in a specific constituency and are counter to general trends of voting then the electoral commission should sample the postal ballots for reliability. I would hope the Scottish Parliament, which is in charge of the referendum, takes adequate sageguards to prevent any temptation to fraudulently stuff postal ballots into the count.

    243. handclapping says:

      If you have a postal vote you are 80% likely to vote. If you turn up on the day you are only 60% likely to vote. Is democracy served by more or less people voting? That extra 20% is also why all political parties are keen to have their supporters sign up.
       
      Where the system is wide open is getting on to the voters roll in the first place.

    244. ianbrotherhood says:

       
      There’s no way of knowing who’s right here, but the stat breakdown (by CM at 11.51) looks very fishy indeed – anyone who’s ever attended a count knows that you can usually have a fair guess, just from watching the emptying of one ‘box’, what the eventual outcome is likely to be.
       
      Put it this way – I’ve voted by post for the past five, six years, but no way am I taking a chance when it comes to next Sept!
       
      Back to the booth for me.

    245. Robert Kerr says:

      Last Friday I mentioned this postal/booth dichotomy at S Sheilds. My friend who is a lifelong Trade Union activist and labour man agreed that postal votes can be abused and that abuse didn’t serve democracy well.
      He was nervous that I would mention the labour party.
      I did not. Point scored ! many ways to skin a cat!

    246. Lianachan says:

      I’ve always thought that the most likely outcome of the referendum is a NO vote, delivered by massive postal ballot fraud.  They will win, because they will cheat.

    247. Another London Dividend says:

      The YES campaign needs to get more street wise over postal votes.
      That why we nust knock on every door in Scotland and get YES supporters to
      (a) register to vote if not on the electoral register
      and
      (b) register for postal votes as many will be on holiday in September
      If more people did that sort of work rather than preaching to the converted on blogs or at branch meetings.

    248. velofello says:

      Postal voting is open to fraud seems to be the consensus and so the present system needs to be reviewed. So here is a semi -thought through proposal:
      Persons applying for a postal vote are logged. As close to polling day as resources permit two election officers with a locked election box visit said person with a voting card. The voter marks their card folds and pops it into the election box.The boxes are opened after polling closes.
      Now that does seem a bit old technology. Why not develop a hand held electronic gizmo. The voting card is on screen, the voter selects their preference, is given a means to verify correct entry, and the summation of these postal votes are time-locked until the polls close on election day.
      The hardware looks to be there, you see such things on ScotRail. A bit of software writing needed?
      A problem is all voters may decide to opt for that facility rather than visit the polling station.Maybe a medical certificate from your GP to permit a “postal vote”?.
      For those out of the country,send one of the gizmos to each embassy.
      Fresh eggs and tomatoes only please.
       

    249. Bugger (the Panda) says:

       Votes%±%

       
       
      Labour hold
      Majority: 6,505 (26.3%) ?4.1
       
      Emma Lewell-Buck
      Labour
      12,493
      50.4
      ?1.6

       
      Richard Elvin
      UKIP
      5,988
      24.2
      N/A

       
      Karen Allen
      Conservative
      2,857
      11.5
      ?10.1

       
      Ahmed Khan
      Independent
      1,331
      5.4
      N/A

       
      Phil Brown
      Independent Socialist Party
      750
      3.0
      N/A

       
      Lady Dorothy MacBeth Brookes
      BNP
      711
      2.9
      ?3.6

       
      Hugh Annand
      Liberal Democrat
      352
      1.4
      ?12.8

       
      Alan “Howling Laud” Hope
      Monster Raving Loony
      197
      0.8
      N/A

       
      Thomas Darwood
      Independent
      57

    250. Morag says:

      Fine, have it your own way.  If I am shown some evidence I will of course consider that.  I gather you don’t have any.  If others want to believe you on that basis, that is their problem.

    251. bunter says:

      O/T
      Nothing much in the Queens speech regards Scotland other than we must be retained in the UK to fund Londons HS2, or words to that effect.

    252. handclapping says:

      @Amadeus
      When the legislation, not the Electoral Commission, was proposed the worry was that the few postal ballots would be susceptible to identification if kept seperate. It is the same basis as the requirement to mix any box with less than 200 ballots prior to counting. However as Craig says having a majority of postal ballots was never considered. Just another example of Westminster not working.

    253. Indy_Scot says:

       
      So basically we should all just cross our fingers and hope there is not enough postal fraud to affect the result. Brilliant.

    254. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “I also require some explanation of how any party, no matter how corrupt, could possibly engineer as many as 7,000 fraudulent votes in one constituency, as a practical operation.”

      We should go and ask someone in Glenrothes. They can explain it to us with the aid of the marked official register which safeguards against that sort of fraud and oh wait a minute.

      Remind me, what was the surprise majority in Glenrothes again, when even Labour were telling the Guardian at 11.30pm they expected to lose by around 1000 votes?

    255. Morag says:

      Velofellow, I am very wary of any sort of electronic voting, hand-held gizmos or anything else.  The cross on the paper thing is basically a sound system, it’s the automatic entitilement to a postal vote and the way political parties are allowed to be involved in the process of postal voting that’s the problem.
       
      A few housebound people and a rather larger number of people on holiday aren’t the problem.  Signing up people for postal votes who have no intention of voting, or in extreme cases who may not exist is the problem.  However, political parties have access to the electoral register.  Large-scale fraud is detectable. Small-scale fraud isn’t going to swing it, hopefully.

    256. ianbrotherhood says:

       
       
      This is worrying stuff.
       
      Curious for Scottish Skier’s thoughts.

    257. Morag says:

      RevStu said:
      We should go and ask someone in Glenrothes. They can explain it to us with the aid of the marked official register which safeguards against that sort of fraud and oh wait a minute.
      Remind me, what was the surprise majority in Glenrothes again, when even Labour were telling the Guardian at 11.30pm they expected to lose by around 1000 votes?
       
      Glenrothes should have been looked at.  So where is the report of the lost registers and so on in South Shields?  Where is the evidence for any of this speculation, beyond what Craig says he was told by someone who might have been mistaken?

    258. JPJ2 says:

      What bothers me most about postal voting and the referendum is that it allows votes to be cast well in advance of the actual physical polling date.
      As I expect a late swing to “Yes” after a series of debates in which the weakness of the unionist case will be exposed (there being less opportunity for BBC etc. “interpretations” or biased “analysis”), those who vote early will have missed these debates and those early votes may be critical to the outcome. 
      Essentially I see postal voting giving “No” a head start & “Yes” a handicap.
       
       
       

    259. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/blog/2008/nov/06/glenrothes-byelections-labour-snp

      11pm: A Fife council official has just come past to say that the last ballot boxes are in.

      11.10pm: Latest prediction from the Labour camp – the SNP to win, with a majority of between 500 to 1,000.

      A Lib Dem tells me: “The word on the shop floor [ie, where they’re counting the votes] is that Labour are just going to hold it.”

      But that’s not what Labour are saying now. A Labour source says:

      It’s going to be a lot closer than people expected, but I don’t think we’re going to quite get there. We’ve been catching up, but I think the SNP are going to win by between 500 and 1,000 votes. We’ve certainly put the heat on them, held them to account.

      How will Labour attempt to “spin” a defeat? By saying – with some justification – that they did better than expected.

      11.20pm: Latest snippet (from a Tory): “Labour are up in boxes where they shouldn’t be up.”

      The ballot verification process is over. The proper counting is underway.

      Hinds has just read out the turnout figures – 52%. That’s relatively high – only just below the 56% general election turnout.”

      What do we learn? We learn that a Tory was making judgements about the contents of the boxes BEFORE the official count. We learn that turnout was unusually high. And we learn that Labour eventually won by 7,000. I’ve been asking for years for anyone to provide me with an example where predictions were SO wrong SO close to the final result, and I’m still waiting.

      Of course, a conspiracy is ridiculous. Where would Labour get SEVEN THOUSAND extra votes suddenly out of nowhere? A fraud on that scale is, of course, “impossible”. So it’s lucky that we can check it against the marked register of oh wait we did this joke already.

    260. Bugger (the Panda) says:

      Sorry about the weird post above. I tried to edit it and then erase but was timed out on the first and refused on the second

    261. AmadeusMinkowski says:

      @Morag
      Fruit-loop conspiracy theories:
      i) The UK state would ran concentration camps in Kenya from 1952-61; execution, catrations, torture of more than 100, 000.
      ii) The UK state attempted to destroy all incriminating evidence.
      iii) The UK state would claim that they had lost all the documents
      iv) The UK adopts a form of “holocaust denial”: After evidence was found, the UK state would stand up in a London court and claim the UK state had nothing to answer to because even if they had commited such crimes against humanity, the statute of limitations had passed. Case closed! WHAT!!!!!!
      v) The majority of the UK population is intentionally left in the dark about this dark secret; after all, the 2012 court case would have gotten in the way of narrative of the greatness of being British that was being sold through the Olympics and the Jubilee*
      The Question:
      Which of the above is a fruit-loop conspiracy theory. Most people living in the British Isles would say they are. Sad Truth: They are all true!
      For details, see:
      http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/may/05/mau-mau-victims-kenya-settlement
       
      * An apt aspect of the meaning of Jubilee: “a period of remission from the penal consequences of sin”

       
       

    262. Robert Kerr says:

      Yes indeed Rev.
      The Glenrothes by election HAD to be won by labour and kill the SNP bandwagon dead.
      Cui bono?
       
       

    263. Dan Simmie says:

      We have seen what has happend at Glenrothes in relation to the postal vote.We are about to have a by election in Aberdeen.It is one the SNP should win and even more so now we see who Labour have picked as their candidate.However it does not make me any less concerned given what we have seen in the past.

    264. Training Day says:

      “Remind me, what was the surprise majority in Glenrothes again, when even Labour were telling the Guardian at 11.30pm they expected to lose by around 1000 votes?”

      I well remember the coverage on the BBC that night.  Brian Taylor had told us after the polls had closed that the SNP were going to take the seat.  Around 11.20pm information started to reach him that a ‘surprise’ was in the offing and that all predictions for an SNP victory were premature.  The most noticeable thing in that night’s coverage was the expression on the face of Jim Murphy, who went from resigned dourness to genuine astonishment when the ‘new information’ started to come through.  Even he had no idea of what was going on, or if he did he’s a better actor than I thought.

      After Glenrothes, anyone who is not worried about postal voting certainly should be worried..

    265. Morag says:

      I feel like I’m bashing my head against a brick wall here.  Glenrothes is a different issue.  There, there is evidence.  And the situation was entirely different.  Look at the turnout figures for example.  And the missing register.
       
      Someone produce evidence about South Shields, and it becomes interesting.  So far, no evidence, just speculation and what somebody said who might have been mistaken.

    266. Morag says:

      After Glenrothes, anyone who is not worried about postal voting certainly should be worried.
       
      I am worried about postal voting.  And it might have happened in Glenrothes.  I am not aware of any evidence that it happened in South Shields.  And there are many reasons for being a great deal less credulous that something happened in South Shields.
       
      Mainly, I’ve always been curious why the SNP didn’t push harder for an investigation into the Glenrothes thing.

    267. AmadeusMinkowski says:

      @Morag
      Any thoughts on the 5 “fruit-loop conspiracy theories”?
      Also, if Glenrothes is an identified problem, was an investigation launched?
       

    268. Albert Herring says:

      @Craig Murray
      A technical question.
      “The returning officer’s staff mix together the postal ballots with the polling booth ballots BEFORE COUNTING.”
      How then could your witness tell who won the ballot box vote?

    269. Bill C says:

      @Craig Murray – “I am very worried about the postal ballot in the independence referendum.  I think it should go back to voting in person unless good reason (medical or serving abroad).”
      You are not alone Craig. I think the abuse of postal voting could cost us a YES majority. Hopefully the Scottish Government will be aware of potential abuse and do all in its power to secure the system.
        

    270. Training Day says:

      “Mainly, I’ve always been curious why the SNP didn’t push harder for an investigation into the Glenrothes thing.”
       
      Morag, you know what the BBC/MSM response would have been if they had pushed harder.. ‘SNP attempt to subvert democratic process’ ‘Salmond the Dictator cannot accept verdict of ballot box’ etc. etc…

    271. Ananurhing says:

      There can be no doubt that some Labour Party activists have form regarding widespread postal vote fraud.
      Stu has already covered the unbelievable Glenrothes debacle and the missing register. There were over 50 different criminal investigations on postal vote fraud in 2010.
      http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/election/article-1271457/General-Election-2010-Postal-vote-fraud-amid-fears-bogus-voters-swing-election.html
      Forgive me for sullying this site with a Mail link.

    272. AmadeusMinkowski says:

      @Training Day
      A well noted media angle. Thanks.

    273. Indy_Scot says:

       
      At the end of the day, the unionist are fighting for their very survival, and I have always believed that Labour, the No campaign, whatever you what to call them, will go to any length to win this referendum, and I see no reason to think any different.

    274. HandandShrimp says:

      Glenrothes was an odd result and it was a must win for Labour. That it was so odd, does tend to highlight that this sort of thing is not that common.
       
      Come 2011 the sheer weight of votes on a national level was beyond any individual constituency tinkering. If there is a solid swing to Yes, it will be equally hard for a someone to pervert the outcome. It would require rigging on a scale that would be very hard to keep under wraps with Holyrood in charge of the referendum. If Labour or BT were caught with their fingers in the till I think jail sentences would ensue and the vote re-counted    

    275. Bill C says:

      @AM – I had a close pal who served in Kenya during the period you mention. He was not proud of what had gone on and was very reluctant to talk about it.

    276. Cath says:

      I also think postal votes shouldn’t be allowed in the referendum, unless there are very good, verifiable reasons and stringent checks are made that the person voting is who they say they are, on the voting register legitimately etc. It would be a big job, but the system is far too open to abuse, especially given the comparative size of the UK and Scotland.

    277. Cath says:

      “Glenrothes was an odd result and it was a must win for Labour. That it was so odd, does tend to highlight that this sort of thing is not that common.”
       
      The referendum is even more of a must win, and not just for Labour but the entire British state. It’s the first time we’ve had a vote on it ever, in over 300 years of union, so hardly common. And if there is a big enough no it will be taken out our hands to hold another one for equally as long.
       
      We cannot trust that the Scottish parliament will have power to do anything much after a no vote, far less jail or bring to book those responsible.

    278. ianbrotherhood says:

       
      @Morag-
       
      I know you’re tenacious when you get the bit between your teeth, but you’re not helping your case with statements like this:
       
      ‘Large-scale fraud is detectable. Small-scale fraud isn’t going to swing it, hopefully.
       
      Hopefully?
       
      No, sorry. Too much at stake here. Any form of fraud is totally unacceptable and must be prevented.
       
      It’s like going into a poker game knowing that someone is at it, but they’ve only marked ‘some’ of the cards – ‘I only cheated a wee bit!’
       
      Whatever evidence exists to help us understand and prevent electoral fraud is important – if Murray and others have reasonable suspicion that fraud has been committed  (even if it hasn’t been proven to your satisfaction) it’d be remiss of us not to take those misgivings seriously.

    279. Doug Daniel says:

      Well, since we’re all talking about postal votes in by-elections, folk might be interested to know that the date for the Aberdeen Donside by-election has been announced as 20th June, with Labour selecting the council finance convener Willie Young as their candidate, and Mark McDonald nominating himself for the SNP to turn his list seat into a constituency one. (If successful, his list seat would go to Christian Allard, who’s very active in the Yes Aberdeen campaign, and as a Frenchman, he’s a handy person to be able to point to for anyone who thinks EU nationals are going to be thrown out of Scotland following a Yes vote.)
       
      This is the most solid SNP seat in Aberdeen, which they’ve held since 2003 (the other two were Labour until 2011), so you’d think they’ll be in good stead to hold it. However, take a look at the majority Brian Adam had…
       
      “At the 2011 election Mr Adam received 14,790 votes – 55.4% of the vote – placing him 7000 votes ahead of second placed Labour.”
       
      I for one will be watching the postal votes numbers with interest!

    280. Robert Kerr says:

      Now the circle is complete.
      The mail piece and its comments go to great lengths to identify the democratic deficit with Pakistani voters and labour votes.
      If the referendum is lost by postal votes shall we blame these people?
      Is that what Ian Smart was alluding to in his tweet?
      Surely not
       
       

    281. Doug Daniel says:

      Cath – “We cannot trust that the Scottish parliament will have power to do anything much after a no vote, far less jail or bring to book those responsible.”
       
      Aye, and even if there was proof of shenanigans afterwards, there’d be no re-run or anything like that. It’d be “oh yeah, someone did something bad, but that doesn’t mean we need to re-run the whole referendum, because it would be awfully costly.”

    282. HandandShrimp says:

      Cath
       
      I meant that the Scottish Parliament is charged with the responsibility of conducting the referendum and the EC is answerable to Holyrood not Westminster. Consequently, Holyrood needs to put adequate safeguards in place to ensure that ballot stuffing does not take place. That may well include bringing people like Jimmy Carter’s monitors into the equation. Every step must be taken before the ballot to ensure that it is fair and that includes the police collaring people that are playing dirty.

    283. Albalha says:

      Alleged vote rigging from the archives, before the expansion of postal voting. Featuring Sarwar Snr, Watson, Curran and Dewar –  all within party limits.
       
      When he was elected as the Labour MP for Glasgow Govan at the last election, Mohammad Sarwar made history. He was the first Muslim MP to enter Parliament.
      But his joy at becoming an MP did not last long. Within a fortnight Donald Dewar, the new Scottish Secretary, was asking for a police investigation into allegations of bribery and vote-rigging.
      By the end of June the 46-year-old self-made millionaire found himself suspended from the Parliamentary Labour Party.
       
      http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/304006.stm

    284. Cath says:

      “Aye, and even if there was proof of shenanigans afterwards, there’d be no re-run or anything like that.”
       
      Barely anyone would know about it because the MSM wouldn’t report it, even if there was proof of fraud.
       
      “Every step must be taken before the ballot to ensure that it is fair.”
       
      Absolutely agree. Knowing afterwards will be utterly pointless.

    285. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “Glenrothes is a different issue. There, there is evidence.”

      Well, no. That’s exactly what there ISN’T. A conspiracy theory isn’t a conspiracy theory after it’s been proved, it’s history. There is no PROOF that anything fishy went on at Glenrothes. The loss of the register COULD be innocent coincidence. So anyone raising any doubts about the events of that night is by definition a conspiracy theorist until we know for sure.

      Similarly, we have no proof that anything untoward occurred in South Shields. Labour winning a safe Labour seat isn’t news. But it’s noteworthy that postal votes outnumbered live ones, because it’s the first time that’s ever happened, and Labour has an empirical record of election fraud. So let’s not just dismiss anything out of hand because it seems a bit unlikely. That is, after all, the key to a successful conspiracy.

    286. Morag says:

      AM said:
      Any thoughts on the 5 “fruit-loop conspiracy theories”?
      Also, if Glenrothes is an identified problem, was an investigation launched?
       
      I don’t remember referring to any of these things as fruit-loop conspiracy theories, so I’m not sure why you raise the subject.
       
      I don’t know why more wasn’t done about the Glenrothes suspicions, but I think Training Day made a good point.
       
      Morag, you know what the BBC/MSM response would have been if they had pushed harder.. ‘SNP attempt to subvert democratic process’ ‘Salmond the Dictator cannot accept verdict of ballot box’ etc. etc…

    287. Laura says:

      I have stated previously that I am very concerned about postal voting for the referendum.
      With out sounding flippant, I suggest that anyone who is genuinely housebound, will be needing a wee airing come 18th September, 2014 and arrangements should be made to assist these people to the ballot box. (cost you say – what will the cost be to Scotland if we get a No vote)
      Anyone away on holiday, tough shit they’ve had plenty notice. Alternative arrangements could be made for the armed services and Scottish residents working abroad.
      I do not trust the Electoral Commission and it’s fairly obvious BT, the establishment and their black ops will try every trick in the book to keep Scotland in the Union.

    288. Doug Daniel says:

      Regardless of whether there has been vote rigging in either Glenrothes or South Shields, I find it absolutely staggering that we have a system which is still open to abuse even after several instances where it has been proven to have been abused, and several more where there has been substantial allegations over it.

    289. AmadeusMinkowski says:

      @Bill C
      Thanks for that Bill. You might want to read the Pulitzer prize (2006) winning book on this dreadful history titled “Britain’s Gulag“; it’s the product of a Harvard PhD students thesis.
      You might also want to read the Harvard article “10 Downing Street’s Gulag“.
      I feel for your friend, since many who served there were National Guards, and could not possibly have understood or anticipated what they would be ordered to do. I’m trying to remember the name of one particular UK conscript who woke up to the brutality and refused to continue following orders; I believe he was courtmarshalled. As I recall, in relation to his refusal, he stated something like “I just got fed up with being commanded to execute innocent people”.
       
       

    290. Morag says:

      RevStu said:
      Well, no. That’s exactly what there ISN’T. A conspiracy theory isn’t a conspiracy theory after it’s been proved, it’s history. There is no PROOF that anything fishy went on at Glenrothes. The loss of the register COULD be innocent coincidence. So anyone raising any doubts about the events of that night is by definition a conspiracy theorist until we know for sure.
       
      I seem to have expressed myself poorly.  There is evidence to justify suspicions, as regards Glenrothes.  I don’t know either whether there was any hanky-panky at Glenrothes, but I understand the concrete reasons for people believing there might have been, and being frustrated that it was never properly investigated.
       
      Similarly, we have no proof that anything untoward occurred in South Shields. Labour winning a safe Labour seat isn’t news. But it’s noteworthy that postal votes outnumbered live ones, because it’s the first time that’s ever happened, and Labour has an empirical record of election fraud. So let’s not just dismiss anything out of hand because it seems a bit unlikely. That is, after all, the key to a successful conspiracy.
       
      Conversely, we have nothing concrete of that nature to pin suspicions on in South Shields.  No advance polling indicating that UKIP were in with a shout at a win.  No suspiciously high turnout.  No reports of missing electoral registers.
       
      So let’s ask for a bit of evidence before we run around propagating a story like this.  I dismiss the story because it’s inherently extremely implausible, and because nobody has produced any evidence, not even evidence sufficient to support reasonable suspicion.  And I’m going to regard it as horse-feathers until they do.

    291. Doug Daniel says:

      Laura – “Anyone away on holiday, tough shit they’ve had plenty notice. Alternative arrangements could be made for the armed services and Scottish residents working abroad.”
       
      I was about to say “what about oil workers? I had to use a postal vote twice when I worked offshore”, but then I remembered that, actually, I didn’t – I used a proxy vote and got my mum to vote for me instead.
       
      I don’t know why more folk don’t use a proxy vote instead of a postal vote. I wonder how many people don’t even realise you can get someone to vote for you, rather than posting your vote.

    292. douglas clark says:

      Rev Stu Campbell @ 1;15pm.
       
      On Glenrothes alone, I know nothing about South Shields, at what point does a conspiracy theory (bad) become a conspiracy? I accept, well in principle, that the absence of evidence is not evidence, but how much absence of evidence do you need to have, to at the very least, doubt whether the democratic process has been served?
       
      On this subject, I am an agnostic. If any political party or it’s visible or invisible allies were out to subvert democratic will, then I would call it as I see it. In other words, no-one is entitled to cheat.
       
      I am, no more than a tad, concerned that that didn’t happen in Glenrothes.
       
      Proof?
       
      None.
       
      Doubt?
       
      A lot.
       
      I do not think I am alone in thinking that that election ought to be re-run. Though, given general apathy, we would be unlikely to win a second time around.
       
      I am worried that the Better Together campaign can pockle (sp? fiddle) an election result. That would be the worst of all worst outcomes.
       
       

    293. Morag says:

      Ian said:
      if Murray and others have reasonable suspicion that fraud has been committed  (even if it hasn’t been proven to your satisfaction) it’d be remiss of us not to take those misgivings seriously.
       
      Yes, that’s what I’m waiting for.  Reasonable suspicion. 

      I’m not waiting for absolute proof. As Stu pointed out, we do not have absolute proof at Glenrothes. What we have there is reasonable suspicion. We have never been shown reasonable suspicion as regards South Shields.

    294. AmadeusMinkowski says:

      @Morag
      Of course I wasn’t saying you had brought these up; that’s just teeing up an “Aunt Sally” to knock down.
      My point was to look at the category of “fruit-loop conspiracies”, and ask you to reflect on what portion of the UK population would view the 5 cases listed as of that class.

      The point being, the perceptions on what is whacky and what is reasonable is controlled by those who posses the (dis)information. Now, putting the minutae of Southshields aside, Craig M’s broader point was to raise awareness of the scale of threat posed by postal ballot fraud. In this, at least regarding this forum, he has been successful. Indeed, you have also contributed by being so determined to return to the specific details! 🙂
       
      So, job done. Combating postal ballot fraud is a major challenge for the YES campaign. Spread the word!!!

    295. Albalha says:

      @douglasclark
      RE SP? two usual options – pochle or pauchle

    296. Aplinal says:

      Regard postal voting.  Let’s just remind ourselves that this ISN’T a Political party thing, and that if one party in particular has shown ‘form’ in the past, I am convinced (without “evidence”, I know) that they would ALL be willing to participate in falsification if they thought they could get away with it.
       
      I believe that there have been neutral observers who have criticised the postal voting system, and even the EC has, IIRC.  So there is surely enough “doubts” in the system for Holyrood to insist on a revised version for the referendum.   
       
      A number of issues:
      1. Application has to be for a genuine reason.  e.g. health, holiday, overseas posting etc.
      2. Postal vote form MUST be sent to a neutral office in each constituency for storage prior to the count.
      3. Postal votes should be counted separately to the personal vote
      4. NO, repeat NO involvement of ANY political party; or either campaign in collection of votes
      5. Postal votes not permitted more than one month prior to the referendum.
       
      I am sure we can think of other ways to tighten up the system.  But these need to be proposed and in place well before September 2014.  Perhaps something of this ilk will be in the White paper?

    297. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “pockle (sp? fiddle)”

      I’ve always understood “pochle” to be spelled with an “h”.

    298. SCED300 says:

      If the Tores and UKIP prevail in the 2017 vote on the EU then Europeans will be put out.
      Ed Milliband is trying to win the SE of England so he can’t really avoid talking about giving a Referendum on the EU, and as the Tories have already promised one he has already lost.
      Of course all the ‘British’ cars assembled here but owned by German companies will be going too. German workers will want those jobs and any German Government is going to favour their own workers.

    299. mato21 says:

      douglas clark
      I think the spelling you’re looking for is pauchle a guid Scots word

    300. Morag says:

      AM, this is really tedious.  Do you honestly expect that everyone should just cheerfully accept whatever ridiculous scenario anyone proposes, without bothering at all whether they have any evidence to back it up?  Or is it only OK when the ridiculous scenario supports a broader and indeed reasonable point you want to make?  Is it OK to make up ridiculous stories in order to get attention for a sensible point you want to make?
       
      I don’t care what Craig’s broader point was.  He was spinning a highly improbable tale with nothing but hearsay from someone who “might have been mistaken” to back it up.  It doesn’t withstand scrutiny.  It doesn’t have what the American cops seem to call “probable cause”.
       
      A lot of people here seem to like jumping on some very shaky bandwagons.  OK, I don’t.  I want to see the probable cause first.  Othewise, you know what happened to the boy who cried wolf.

    301. Morag says:

      I agree with Mato, I think we always used pauchle when we were fiddling our lab QC results.  I’d understand pochle though, probably.

    302. Morag says:

      Aplinal has made some very sensible suggestions.  In particular that all transactions shoudl be between the voter and the returning officer, without party involvement.
       
      I wonder if there is any chance of getting the Scottish government to take this seriously, though.

    303. kininvie says:

       
      Rev. Stuart Campbell says:
      8 May, 2013 at 1:51 pm

      “pockle (sp? fiddle)”
      I’ve always understood “pochle” to be spelled with an “h”.
       
      You mean ‘phockle’? as in what we’ll get if we vote No?

    304. ianbrotherhood says:

       
      @Morag-
       
      A hypothetical – if, a decade from now (with Scotland still part of the UK after narrowly failing to say ‘Yes’) it is revealed how the Glenrothes and/or South Shields counts were skewed, will it be any consolation to finally know how it was done?

    305. mato21 says:

      Morag
      Pochle has no meaning in Scots
       
      Pockle is from pockful ie bagful

    306. Morag says:

      Ian, I don’t even think that’s a sensible question.  I’m not denying the need for much greater vigilance as regards postal votes.  I just don’t like this tendency to believe any weird rubbish that someone posts without any evidence.  Neither do I like the tendency to then argue that well, it’s possible it might have happened, so we should believe it.
       
      As they said about Cold Fusion, show me the helium.

    307. Morag says:

      Mato, I was agreeing with you.  I’d spell it pauchle.  I was just commenting that if someons spelled it pochle, I’d understand what they meant.

    308. AmadeusMinkowski says:

      Morag says:
       
      8 May, 2013 at 1:57 pm
      Do you honestly expect that everyone should just cheerfully accept whatever ridiculous scenario anyone proposes, without bothering at all whether they have any evidence to back it up?
      ***************************
      No. Aunt Sally number two by my count.
      On the other hand, do you honestly expect that everyone should just cheerfully accept your allegation that Craig Murray “has a very unenviable reputation going back years as a fruit-loop conspiracy theorist” without proof.
      Pot, Kettle, Black springs to mind!
       

    309. Albalha says:

      @mato21
      As I noted higher up both spellings are accepted unless, of course, you think the language folks are wrong.
       

    310. Morag says:

      AM, No, I don’t.  I was kind of hoping it might give them a monent’s pause, and prompt them to check a few things out.  But apparently not.  Such is life.

    311. douglas clark says:

      Albalha
       
      Thanks.
       
      Pauchle, in the sense of fiddle, was exactly the word I was looking for. See when you think you can spell a word and you can’t? It is on STV News as murder 🙂
       
      “A Man in the West of Scotland was unable to spell ‘pauchle’. Police are making enquiries.”

    312. mato21 says:

      Morag
      I realised what you meant I was just clearing up the meaning of the words if anyone else should be interested We will maybe some day reclaim our language along with eveything else
      From someone who started school with a poor understanding of English, having heard very little of it spoken only to have it knocked out of me as it wasn’t considered acceptable to speak Scots

    313. The Man in the Jar says:

      Just checked my Scots Thesaurus;
      Pauchle, pochle. To steal, embezzle, pocket!

    314. Cath says:

      4. NO, repeat NO involvement of ANY political party; or either campaign in collection of votes
       
      Absolutely. At the moment political parties are able to deliver and collect postal votes, as far as I’m aware. That is just not on in any way and entirely open to massive abuse. I’d also curtail the number of postal votes allowed from any one property as votes are supposed to be private, between you and the ballot booth alone. That isn’t the case if an entire family are postal voting.

    315. Mosstrooper says:

      Many years ago before postal voting I stood for the SNP for election to Glasgow City council.  During the count when the counted votes were being put into piles of 100 for each candidate with the name of the candidate on top of each pile I happened to notice that one of my 100 votes had the name of my rival put on top. I called over the returning officer and pointed this out. The error was corrected and the counting was about to recommence when I said but what about the other piles. It was made out that this had been a one off mistake. Nervously I stood my ground (It was my first election and I was quite young. After some discussion it was agreed that the other piles would be checked and low and behold another 5 piles had my opponents name on top of my votes.
      Mistake? possibly (pace Margo) but all for my opponent and this in a local election?
      If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck it’s a fair chance it is a duck.
      I have no Idea if Craig Murray is correct or not but something smells bad and if I may murder my metaphors, at this referendum if we are not eternally vigilant it will be like bringing a knife to a gun fight. 
      The British establishment can fight dirty and it will

    316. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “You mean ‘phockle’? as in what we’ll get if we vote No?”

      KINDLY LEAVE THE STAGE.

      😀

    317. Albalha says:

      Pedant alert
      Pauchle/pochle, both accepted spellings come originally from the Old Scots word pakkald, small package/packet
      Like lost of words the original spelling and meaning changed over time.
       
       
       

    318. Ananurhing says:

      Given the sheer number of allegations of postal vote fraud, and the overwhelming evidence of it happening in many instances, the only uncertainties I have is regarding why so few prosecutions. The reason has to be either something legally technical, or many people have conspired to subvert the course of justice. Either way, the EC have been found wanting, and as a voter I question their effectiveness as an overseeing independent body.

    319. HandandShrimp says:

      Ananhuring
      I agree, by all means use the EC but on something so historic lets have external monitors too. It isn’t that I don’t trust the establishment it is just that I don’t trust them.
       
       

    320. EdinScot says:

      Recent attempts by various independence supporters worried about  the media bias skewing the referendum debate who contacted the OCHR and reported the response from this body that only the UK Government can initiate this process worries and surprises me greatly   I have no idea what the SNP Governments thoughts and policy on dealing with media bias is, in fact ive never read or heard any whiff of them mentioning the OCHR  let alone contacting them, although in light of what this  body  has said  it would appear fruitless anyway.
       
      I have the same fears over the SNPs trust in the Electoral Commission with that bodys’  track record especially on the Wendy Alexander affair and not finding any wrong doing and her subsequent let off despite this slab leader falling on her sword.  I also watched on in shock at the Glenrothes result drama with a sickening feeling in the pit of my stomach that i couldnt shift and a sadness at getting possibly cheated out of a result.  The talk in Westminster circles was of a PM (Gordon Brown) who couldnt take such a blow and still continue to be leader.  If he were to lose the Glenrothes by election with the whole of the  UK looking on, it would mean curtains  for  him as he would  be damaged goods.  So simply put, they had to win.    The rest is history.  Make your own minds up.
       
      This independence referendum is far, far more important than that.    They need our resources no question, especially in these times with the UK on its knees. One attempt at frauding a  result in any election on these islands is one too many.  I believe we will only get one crackat this vote in our lifetimes anyway.  Im desperate for the Scottish Government to bring in outside monitors so no funny business can ensue.  Hindsight is a great thing but as others have said, it will already be way too late as the Unionists will reign supreme over us tightening their iron grip on us with immediate effect.

    321. douglas clark says:

      Mosstrooper,
       
      I can, more or less, assure you that people that count votes at elections are neutrals. I have no doubt mistakes are made, but that does not seem to be the case in your situation. Indeed the staff appreared to have wondered how they could have made a mistake? And fixed it.
      It is less than impressive to claim that that is a bias. Indeed, any bias detected was sorted. You have no complaint.
      I did the job of counting votes, registering votes, supervising elections etc. for a very long time. I never saw anyindication of corruption.
      There are gaps in the theory of electoral honesty. That has absolutely nothing to do with the people that counted your votes. They counted the votes in front of them. A mistake was corrected, get over it.
       
       
       
       

    322. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “They counted the votes in front of them. A mistake was corrected, get over it.”

      From Mosstrooper’s account, it sounds like FIVE mistakes. And in a local election, 500 votes is a pretty big mistake.

    323. velofello says:

      pauchle, a variant spelling of pochle.
      @ Morag: i’d imagine in your day job you are required to deliberate on probabilities. So a person, or organisation found to have pauchled in the past would likely be have a high probabilitiy of pauchling in future unless steps are taken to prevent the the possibility of pauchling.
      Ananurthing refers us to a Daily Mail investigation on postal voting fraud, by the Labour party, and as read it didn’t seem to be circumstantial evidence – reference the Birmingham case I had mentioned earlier. You seem to have conceded that all does not appear wholesome w.r.t. Labour postal voting at Glenrothes. At the South Shields election postal votes are exceptionally high. doesn’t that trigger off your professional probabilities instincts taking account of Labour’s past record on postal voting.
       
      Maybe it is time for us, the voting public to petition for a change to postal voting in response to the proven cases, circumstantial evidence, and weighing of probabilities of malpractise.

    324. ianbrotherhood says:

       
      @Morag-
       
      ‘Ian, I don’t even think that’s a sensible question.’
       
      I didn’t ask a question. I posited a hypothetical, albeit one which I hope never happens.
       
      Every vote is precious. Why else would we all be spending our time here? The very idea that we can be blase about some of them possibly being lost due to a lack of diligence on our part is appalling (and no, I’m not saying you said that, or even implied it).
       
      Craig Murray has raised valid concerns, but you have a bee in your bunnet about him and are actively dissuading people from listening to what he has to say. Do you think that’s helpful?
       
      Come Sep 19th next year, we’ll find out whether or not we’ve paid enough attention to the details of this and many other issues which have a bearing on the outcome – if the weather is going to be a factor and it’s in our favour to have a fine clear day then some of us will be out at dawn on the 18th with the chicken-bones, singing appropriate incantations.

       
      If it turns out that the South Shields count was dodgy then we need to know about it asap, and if Craig Murray has a role in reminding us, or flagging it up for others who may be better-placed to access any evidence,  we should all welcome his interest. This is too important for personal beefs.

       
       

    325. douglas clark says:

      Rev Stu Campbell @ 2:44,
       
      That is what Mosstrooper orignally said. However:
       
      “After some discussion it was agreed that the other piles would be checked and low and behold another 5 piles had my opponents name on top of my votes.”
       
      Nothing happened. Mosstroopers vote was sorted. Do you appreciate the degree of scrutiny and the (normal) degree of honesty that elections are conducted in in this country? Mosstrooper and his supporters were at liberty to point out errors and it was incumbent on the election staff to look at that. They did that.
       
      Do you understand the issue you are addressing here? Either we have a load of bank staff and local government officers that would lose their jobs over dishonesty or we don’t?
       
      Well, do you?
       
      Supporting someone I have never heard of, Mosstrooper, doesn’t increase your credibility.
       
      This is what your new chum had to say:
       
      “I have no Idea if Craig Murray is correct or not but something smells bad and if I may murder my metaphors, at this referendum if we are not eternally vigilant it will be like bringing a knife to a gun fight. 

      The British establishment can fight dirty and it will”
       
      Well, we know that, this is supposed to be an education?
       
      Pfffttt!
       
                                               

    326. Morag says:

      Velofellow, I haven’t “conceded” that there’s a problem, I have always agreed, absolutely, that there is a problem.
       
      What I am not in favour of is credulous acceptance of every wild claim that’s made, without any evidence to support it.  And the South Shields one was pretty wild, and almost entirely devoid of evidence.

    327. Seasick Dave says:

      Morag says:
       

      I agree with Mato, I think we always used pauchle when we were fiddling our lab QC results.
       
      Morag does irony.

    328. lumilumi says:

      I’m appalled by the UK postal voting system, especially the involvement political parties are allowed to have, which is an invitation to fraud for the unscrupulous.
       
      As many have said here, it’s important for democracy that those who are unable to make it to the polling station in person on the polling day have a way of exercising their right to vote but the UK postal voting system is not the way, unless it’s rerormed and improved.
       
      The situation in Finland is quite different. Population records are accurate and up-to date because when you move, you’re required to notify your change of address and that information is shared all across central and local government and the postal service – some might think this a bit orwellian but it started way back in the time of King Gustav Wasa (16th century – old Swedish and Finnish parish records are incedibly accurate!) and this central population register makes it easy and efficient to deal with a number of authorities (welfare, health, tax, vechicle registration, getting married…).
       
      In Finland, you don’t have to register to vote. If you’re 18 or over, you’re sent a notification of your right to vote about a month (or two months? Well in advance, anyway) before polling day. About two weeks before polling day, there’s a period of “advance (or early) voting” for about a week. During this week you can go to any advance polling station anywhere in the country.They’re usually in libraries, schools, even shopping malls. In the last election, my hometown of about 50,000 had three places, larger cities might have ten or so. Special arrangements are made for those who cannot get to the advance polling station (hospitals, care homes, even home voting) but at no point are any political parties let anywhere near the process.
       
      At the advance polling atation, you present your notification of right to vote and ID, go to the polling booth, fill in the ballot card, seal it in an envelope, which is then sealed within another envelope with your signed notification of right to vote and you drop it in the ballot box. After advance voting ends, the outer envelope is opened and you’re registered as having voted but the actual ballot card in the sealed envelope is locked away until the actual polling day.
       
      On the actual polling day (always a Sunday) you can only vote at your own, local polling station and must present ID. If you’ve voted in advance, you’re name has been crossed from the register so you can’t vote twice.
       
      Advance voting is now so popular that I think something like 60% of votes are cast in advance, just in case you want to do something else on the day. Officials begin counting advance votes in the afternoon of the polling day – no politicians or party activists are let anywhere near the counts – but no results are published until polls close at 8pm. They’ve usually finished counting the advance votes by 9-9.30 pm, which makes “election night” tv broadcasts pretty boring: you know the general result then, polling day results only fine tune it. It’s all done and dusted by 11pm – midnight. No all night marathons here!
       
      I seem to have written another essay 🙂
      I just thought that Scots might be interested in how it’s done in other smallish independent countries. And it should be pointed out that the Finnish system of advance voting only works because of accurate population records shared across all branches of local and central government, which some might find an objectionable idea. Reduces duplication and red tape and makes governance more efficient and less costly, though. And we have data protection acts in place, and a very vigorous data protection watchdog (ombudsman).

    329. Morag says:

      Ian, I have a bee in my bonnet about people believing every word that Craig Murray posts, apparently because of some sort of “argument from authority”.  His is a name I am very familiar with from a long time back, and I am cautious in the extreme in that department.  I don’t see any valid concern that he has raised in this case.  He admits to having passed on a piece of hearsay from someone probably not in a position to know much, who might have been mistaken.
       
      I am trying to induce people to question what he’s saying, to check the facts presented, and to ask for evidence.  Yes, I think that’s helpful.  Or it would be, if anyone was listening.  Instead, all I’m getting is “but he raises a valid point”, and “well even if there’s no evidence at all, it’s still possible it might have happened.”
       
      Meh.

    330. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “I am trying to induce people to question what he’s saying, to check the facts presented, and to ask for evidence.”

      You do seem keen to greatly overinflate what he actually DID say, though.

    331. Robert Kerr says:

      This thread started off well in giving a very good positive response to the P and P tweet and evolved to a positive statement of Scottish Hospitality to incomers.
      It digressed to postal vote chicanery, an item of interest for the referendum.
      However I find the spat regarding South Shields postal votes very depressing.
      Freedom and responsibility are two sides of the one coin. The Rev allows us to post freely.
      Let’s not forget why we debate and discus on this site.

    332. Morag says:

      You do seem keen to greatly overinflate what he actually DID say, though.
       
      I was trying to demonstrate the implications of what he said.  In the hope that it might be possible to think it through.

    333. ianbrotherhood says:

       
      @Morag-
       
      I’m sure we’ve all had enough of this. We’re going in circles.
       
      My final word on it – if anyone but Craig Murray had drawn attention to those stats then I don’t think you would’ve reacted as you have.
       
      Your beef with Murray is irrelevant to the larger debate on electoral fraud.
       
      The stats remain, and deserve careful scrutiny, regardless of who draws attention to them.
       
      Toodleoothenoo!

    334. handclapping says:

      It is a worry that so many of you that post on here as Yes supporters do not know how the electoral mechanism works or the system for postal voting or even that the electoral registration system will have changed by 18 Sep ’14. Can I take it from this that Yes has not considered the actual mechanics of mobilising its vote for the postal ballots and/or the on the day ballots?
      I don’t think we can rely on a greater fervour for Yes to get our full vote to the box. I can see that we will need an organisation in each Polling District to chase up our known supporters with postal ballots in the weeks preceeding and the remainder on the day just like any political party fighting an election.

    335. a supporter says:

      I came by for a quick glance and picked up on the ‘debate’ between Morag, Craig Murray et al. It intrigued me very much, so I followed it right back to the beginning of this thread.  I have a few questions. Firstly Morag makes many outrageous comments doubting Craig Murray’s veracity and constantly insults him. But nowhere does she give any evidence to support her comments and why she has this apparent dislike of the man. All she quotes is …  wink, wink, hearsay.
      Craig Murray quotes figures (his post at 11.50 8/5/13) for the election result at South  Shields which if correct are to say the least very curious, and completely outside the norms for UK politics. It may just have been EXCELLENT canvassing by the Labour activists getting their supporters to make a vote. On the other hand … 14,500 postal votes out of 24,500 people who voted? And the Postal and Polling Booth Split figures of
      Postal Labour 9,000 UKIP 1,800 Others 2700
      Polling Votes Labour 3500   UKIP 4,200 Others 3300
      do have an odd aroma about them.
      But whatever it was, postal voting could have a very great bearing on the Referendum. This is because the NO voters (particularly Labour voters) will not be as committed to the status quo as the YES voters are to Independence. Thus the former will be less ready to turn out to vote in a booth as the latter. (And turnout is king). But postal voting led by activists could overturn that norm and get very many more of the Labour NO voters to actually vote.
       
       

    336. HandandShrimp says:

      Both Morag and I partake of the James Randi sceptics forum…there assertions without evidence are disected and if found wanting treated with utter scorn. It does rather introduce an element of intellectual rigour when posting on blogs and once you start it is hard to switch off (indeed one isn’t even inclined to switch off). That particular forum has the most remarkable collection of conspiracy theories under the sun. The quantity and readiness which people throw reason to the wind over them is both fascinating and alarming.
       
      Now questioning whether there was fiddling going on with postal votes is obviously not remotely in the same league as believing that the Queen is a shape shifting lizard alien but the process, what evidence do you have? is it feasible? etc. all still apply when assessing the veracity of such a claim. So I have sympathies on both sides of the fence here. Yes I think vote rigging is a potential issue but any examples should be well documented and understood. Birmingham happened and something odd happened at Glenrothes, South Shields all one can say is the result was not a surprise (although the order of the runners up was a bit). However, there were a lot of postal votes and it merits comment even if it is just to note the changing patterns of voting.

    337. HandandShrimp says:

      PS
       
      I have no idea who Craig Murray is btw.

    338. Barontorc says:

      Morag, Douglas Clark and anyone else who cares to read this. The system of postal voting is wide open to abuse. It has already happened for goodness sake. If it wasn’t Craig Murray who flagged up the South Shields’ avalanche (it seems) of postal votes, would you Morag, think it more likely, or not to have been the case? How many cases have been uncovered? How many have got away with it – most likely including Glenrothes?
       
      And to rebut what Mosstrooper personally attested to, is just crassly ludicrous. The fact that attempted voting fraud was thwarted through Mosstrooper’s perseverance, seems to be as nothing, as it was prevented. The ‘mistake’ was put to rights. Lord preserve us! It was some ‘mistake’ not just one 100 vote bundle, but five bundles with a Labour name on top , where it shouldn’t have been. Wrong, wrong, wrong.
       
      If we sail into this referendum with such attitudes we deserve to be fleeced – and by God we most certainly will be.

    339. Morag says:

      A supporter, I think you need to realise that what Craig Murray posted there was a hypothetical example that he made up, just as we were discussing a similar hypothetical example in the thread where this originally came up.
       
      And the Postal and Polling Booth Split figures of
      Postal Labour 9,000 UKIP 1,800 Others 2700
      Polling Votes Labour 3500   UKIP 4,200 Others 3300
      do have an odd aroma about them.
       
      They look strange for two reasons.  One is that there is an enormous disconnect between the postal and polling booth numbers.  And the other is that they are all very round figures.
       
      They are round figures because Craig merely invented them as an example, to illustrate that what he was claiming was possible, in theory.  If these figures were real, then I’d be at the front of the baying mob calling for a public inquiry.  However they are not real.  He was simply trying to explain how the votes could have split by his reckoning.
       
      Nobody has an accurate split of the postal/polling station votes because they are all counted together.  The only way to tell is by sideways glances during the verification.  Craig says someone told him that UKIP were winning comfortably on the polling station vote, but this was negated by the postal vote.  It is impossible to know how this someone was in a position to say, because it’s very difficult information to estimate with any degree of reliability, and probably impossible for a single person working on their own.
       
      We’d need far more information, such as exactly what this person saw, and where and when, and what capacity he was attendiong the count in, and whether he had any other people working with him who also observed this phenomenon.  We don’t have any of that.
       
      I’d have reacted the same way no matter who had said this, by the way.  It’s the credibility of the claim that’s at issue here.

    340. HandandShrimp says:

      There are two things
       
      1) Vigilence to ensure fair play
       
      2) It may be that most postal votes are genuine and that Labour are better organised at getting people to apply for them. In which case we need to do likewise and match that level of organisation.
       
      3) It is a bit from column A and bit from column B

    341. Braco says:

      Morag,
      why must the postal and polling booth votes be counted together? Would that not be useful information to have when discussing possible election fraud and its methods?

    342. Indy_Scot says:

       
      Just watching TMNT cartoon on CITV with the kids and one of the lines was,
      “It’s not about fairness, it’s about victory”
      Chilling words.

    343. On reading through the comments on this blog, I find it reminds me of the Scots of the past. We were always so busy squabbling amongst ourselves that the English were able to knock down the front door without the Scots noticing.  I worry about postal vote fraud too. But if, as has been suggested, the postal vote is removed, then YES have lost 2 votes. I care for my elderly mother who is housebound and dare not leave her for even 5 minutes, so how do we vote? How many other YES voters are in this position? It’s better to keep pushing the BBC ‘pretendy’ Scotland news regarding the negative reporting about YES Scotland. Although take care, I once complained about Terry Wogan being racist about Danish Eurovision Presenters and got banned from the then blog, even though the BBC was forced to make a public apology about his comments some weeks later. Better we start a campaign to hijack programmes like Call Kaye , (like the gentleman yesterday), and keep pushing them about their attitude regarding independence and the constant drip feeding of anti SNP propaganda.

    344. Morag says:

      HandandShrimp, I don’t know.  I don’t trust them.  The single piece of evidence that has been produced so far is circumstantial evidence from Glenrothes which suggests it might possibly be that Labour does have a “fraud squad” capable of producing 7000 fake postal votes and getting them into the system without detection.  I’d have been very sceptical that was possible, but without an investigation of Glenrothes to see if there’s an innocent explanation it can’t be ruled out.
       
      The thing that makes Glenrothes pretty unique was that they were desperate enough to try.  They could be that desperate next year too, which is a definite worry.

    345. Morag says:

      why must the postal and polling booth votes be counted together? Would that not be useful information to have when discussing possible election fraud and its methods?
       
      I think it was something that started when there were so few postal votes that there was a danger of individuals and their votes being identified if the postals were counted separately.
       
      It might help a bit to count them separately, but then you’d get the “there was a big swing at the last minute” thing, and he said – she said and so on.  It would be a lot better to have a fraud-proof system.

    346. Jiggsbro says:

      It is a worry that so many of you that post on here as Yes supporters do not know how the electoral mechanism works or the system for postal voting or even that the electoral registration system will have changed by 18 Sep ’14
       
      I hadn’t realised that knowing either was a requirement for supporting independence.
       
      Can I take it from this that Yes has not considered the actual mechanics of mobilising its vote
       
      Given that we’re largely anonymous, individual cyber-supporters of independence and not official representatives of the ‘Yes’ campaign, I don’t think you can safely make any assumptions about what the official campaign group may or may not know from what is posted here. But you might like to consider that the SNP are involved in the official campaign and that they seem to be quite good at getting their vote out.

    347. AmadeusMinkowski says:

      @HandandShrimp
      Craig Murray: Former Ambassador and Human Rights Activist
      http://www.craigmurray.org.uk/

    348. douglas clark says:

      Barontorc @04:31,
       
      You appear to have no idea what I have said here.  I have made the point, and I would like it to be accepted by everyone here, including you, our good host and the amazing  Mosstrooper, that election staff are not dishonest.
       
      Indeed, if OGH is right, five errors, on his or her account were corrected. I seriously doubt the innaccuracy of that count. I know what we did to avoid that degree of inaccuracy, which included checking each bundle to ensure that the vote on the front was the vote underneath. That is standard practice. The issue of the integrity of the votes counted is a pretty pish way to proceed. You are assuming that people like me, and tellers and god knows who-else would deliberately fix a vote.
       
      I am pretty sure that not one of these people would.
       
      Would Mosstropper care to tell us all when, exactly, he or she stood for the SNP, in what election and where? And what exact name they had on the ballot paper?
       
      Unless it was Glenrothes, I have my doubts that this is a true account of what happened.
       
      Just saying.
       
      Caveat, postal voting is open to cheating. On that we have to be very, very aware.

    349. handclapping says:

      @ jiggsbro
      Absolutely not a requirement, just that I assume from their posts that these are people heavily involved in the Yes campaign and if they do not know what is involved in the election mechanisms it will be difficult for the Yes campaign to find organisers for the what I used to know as the knocking up campaign but I suspect there is a PC version of it now.
       
      Do you think that the SNP will allow its campaign secrets to be learnt by all the other parties involved? I understand they have a computer system that not only knows when you sneeze but also what brand of tissue you used. There is no sign of Yes having even a basic one yet and they had said it would be ready in January. Its lovely to read scottish_skier on how the polls will go but if its going to be close then the organisation of postal votes and the on-the-day vote will be critical.

    350. Aplinal says:

      @lumilumi
       
      Thank you.  An interesting post and one that I find quite appropriate to an Independent Scotland.  I am always amazed, no really I am, that no one in Westminster or Whitehall thinks they can learn ANYTHING from anyone else.  It is this ‘superior’ attitude I want to escape from in an Independent Scotland.
       
      But first we need to win the referendum!  And by the sound of it here, there is quite some disquiet about what could happen without some struck controls in place.
       
      Someone mentioned the external monitoring.  From another article, if I recall correctly, the issue was that a “government” had to request monitoring.  I just wonder whether these external organisations would accept the SG as a representative body, especially in view of the Edinburgh Accord, and the agreed devolution of the power to run the referendum?
       
      Maybe we should ask?

    351. douglas clark says:

      Who, exactly, is Mosstrooper? I post under my real name, why would someone who apparently stood for election to GCC post under a pseudonym? I have met GCC’s sole Tory and he is an OK bloke. I know that David would post under his own name, so why the secrecy of Mosstrooper?
       
      I am unimpressed with this:
       
      “If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck it’s a fair chance it is a duck.”

      Electoral staff are not ducks. We are more foxy than that.
       
      Let’s clear up who Mosstrooper actually is. Let us know who you really are.
       
      Over to you Mosstrooper.

    352. Vronsky says:

      @morag
       
      You offer us a choice between Craig Murray’s informed realism and your panglossian fantasies.  Few here will have to think very long about that choice.  Get back beneath your stone.

    353. douglas clark says:

      Vronsky,
       
      I think morag will still vote yes but you are being a tit.
       
      Morag has a right to question postal votes. You have no right to be an insulting arse.
       
      What are you all about?
       
       

    354. handclapping says:

      @Vronsky – Pedant Alert
      Dr Pangloss was the “All is for the best in the best of all possible worlds” daemon in Candide. Panglossian is therefore over optimistic. Morag does not come across to me in that way. Have you mischosen your adjective?

    355. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “Let’s clear up who Mosstrooper actually is. Let us know who you really are.
      Over to you Mosstrooper.”

      Please, not another witch-hunt. They make me so weary.

    356. Aplinal says:

      @Vronsky
       
      No fair!  Morag is simply putting across a request for some realistic appraisal of what is possible, but requires more evidence.  That’s not unreasonable.  Perhaps she used more strident language than normal, but, it’s a sensitive issue, and we need to be accurate in what we propose or suggest. 
       
      Personally, I think fraud IS possible whenever the postal vote becomes a factor in the count.  I do not know how easy it was is South Shields to assess the number of postal votes as the system tends to hide that evidence.  No surprise there.  So on the specific maybe Craig Murray is slightly over egging the pudding.  But on the principles and the need to be constantly aware, he is dead on. 

    357. a supporter says:

      Morag says:8 May, 2013 at 4:33 pm
       

      “hypothetical example in the thread where this (Craig Brown’s figures) originally came up”.

      Can I have a link to that so I can see how he compiled his figures?

      “I’d have reacted the same way no matter who had said this, by the way.  It’s the credibility of the claim that’s at issue here.”

      I doubt that. You appear to have a vendetta against him which makes your criticisms of him have less standing.

       

    358. lumilumi says:

      @aplinal
       
      I wish I knew how these external election/referendum observers worked. I have a couple of friends who’ve been OSCE election observers in Russia but I don’t know whether it was the Russian government that asked the observers to come in or the OSCE sent them after requests/concerns from other OSCE countries (Personally, I don’t think the Russians asked.)
       
      I think Russia have asked OSCE to monitor US elections (via the relevant UN body), in a game of tit-for-tat. (Well, everybody remembers the Gore-W. Bush debacle in Florida.)
       
      Who’s going to ask on behalf of Scotland? Not the UK. Other EU countries might not be willing to rock the boat even though they’d welcome an independent Scotland with open arms. The US? Canada? (Not likely, considering Quebec.) Australia?? China??? Brazil????
       
      Oh, why can’t there be a global fairy!

    359. douglas clark says:

      No, Vronsky is being a tad pollyanaish! That is what he apparently does….
       
      Pretty pathetic, but there you go.

    360. Vronsky says:

      “What are you all about?”

       I wonder what she is all about.  Morag might be questioning postal votes (after a little prompting)  but doesn’t think that Craig Murray can be permitted the same privilege.  If she doubts something, it’s ok.  If Craig doubts it (backed with a good deal of evidence and experience)  he’s not just wrong.  He is a ‘fruit loop conspiracy theorist’, whatever the fuck that is. 

      I’d particularly like to draw your attention to her poverty of language: it’s not so much that Morag disagrees with Craig, what’s clear is that from her point of view it is absolutely impermissable that he could be right.  Debate is irrelevant, evidence of no importance, knowledge counts for nothing.  He holds a point of view different from Morag’s,  and that merits only insult in a gutter vocabulary of labels. She isn’t arguing for what she thinks is true, but what she needs to be true.  She’d like you to agree with her.  Don’t. 

    361. douglas clark says:

      Rev Stu Campbell @ 6:48 pm.
       
      How is asking for identity a witch hunt? You are appearing to be more on the side of the politicians than the people that count the vote. Which is not a good place to be, unless you have evidence, of which Mosstrooper appears bereft.
       
      Your new hero, Mosstrooper appears to think he was cheated. Let’s have his name and let’s have his actual campaign.
       
      We can work it out from there.

      What? Maybees aye, maybees naw?

      Unless you know a heck of a lot more about Mosstrooper than you have shared here previously then think twice.
       
       

    362. Bugger (the Panda) says:

      Four pence worth
       
      I think Morag is a scientist and is applying scientific rigour in her analysis of evidence regarding postal vote fraud. Entirely valid and this would be the level of proof in the legal context, or at least it should be so.
       
      On the other hand we are not all trained in scientific logic and many of us can smell cant and corruption at a distance of more than a few miles off.
       
      As someone said, looks like a duck etc.
       
      If fraud is possible, and past experience proves that it is, from N I to Birmingham at sundry other constituencies in England. So, accepting that, there appears to be more than a slight whiff of ordure from Glenrothes and now Banana Boy’s former constituency in N E England.
      I am sure anybody in the Police will tell you, first look at anything out of the ordinary and then try to see how that could fit into what could be a criminal act. Then prove that it is so.
       
      I think we are at the axiomatic stage of malfeasance and I am beginning to be convinced, by a weight of evidence, not scientific absoluteness, that there could be a criminal conspiracy in place.
       
      Cui Bono?
       
      There could well be up to it and , on past evidence, would not give a Monkey’s about suborning the democratic process to achieve their objective. 
       
      The evidence is much more convincing and goes deeper and is more diffused than just vote rigging.
       
      if they are prepared to corrupt the BBC and all the printed press, lie to their back teeth about Scotland’s contribution to the UK economy, pump out keich deflectionary propaganda etc etc, manipulating the actual votes would be just another justifiable step to take.
       
      After all, it is just a big game for them, for us it is our future.
       
      They don’t give a shit for our future, only theirs.
       
      Sic a parcel etc.
       
       

    363. HandandShrimp says:

      Please, not another witch-hunt. They make me so weary.
       
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_lu5_5Od7WY

    364. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “How is asking for identity a witch hunt? You are appearing to be more on the side of the politicians than the people that count the vote. Which is not a good place to be, unless you have evidence, of which Mosstrooper appears bereft.
      Your new hero, Mosstrooper appears to think he was cheated. Let’s have his name and let’s have his actual campaign.
      We can work it out from there.
      What? Maybees aye, maybees naw?
      Unless you know a heck of a lot more about Mosstrooper than you have shared here previously then think twice.”

      Pretty much every line of that comment makes me extremely angry. “Your new hero, Mosstrooper”? What are you, fucking ten?

      You clearly have a HUGE bee in your bonnet about people who work at election counts and any questioning of their integrity. Fine. We get that. Be careful where it leads you. You have no special right to make demands of anyone else who posts here, and if you continue to act as if you have you will incur my ire to an even greater degree than you’re doing now, which is a lot.

    365. a supporter says:

      douglas clark says: 8 May, 2013 at 6:45 pm
       
      “Your comment to Vronsky. You have no right to be an insulting arse.”

       You are probably not even aware about how ironical your comment is. And no! I am not giving you my name rank and number just because I don’t want to, OK.
      But to go to the point about fraud and postal voting. No-one is suggesting that the returning staff are corrupt, but it is daft to think that a ringer could not be introduced into the counting area. So come down off your high horse.
      Having said that, the most likely source of electoral fraud would be activists filling in postal votes for people who can’t be bothered to do so, or for people who have recently died, or registering mythical people in unoccupied houses; and I am sure there are many other avenues to obtain illegal votes. And today with everything computerised it wouldn’t be too difficult. The YES people just have to keep their wits about them since turnout in the past appears to have favoured the SNP.
       
       

       

    366. douglas clark says:

      Jesus,
       
      OGH has asked Susan Calman to provide a bit of evidence. It is ridiculously pseudo – journalistic to suggest that I am wrong to ask Mosstrooper to do the same..

       
      C’mon, Rev Stu, sauce for the goose, etc!

    367. Morag says:

      A supporter said:
      “hypothetical example in the thread where this (Craig Brown’s figures) originally came up”.
      Can I have a link to that so I can see how he compiled his figures?
       
      He didn’t compile any figures.  He doesn’t have any figures.  All he has is an anonymous “mole” who he says told him that the polling station vote showed a clear majority for UKIP but this was overwhelmed by the huge Labour majority in the postal votes.  That’s it.  There is no more.

      All the figures that have been discussed are merely hypothetical suggestions of how the vote might split to achieve this effect.  The fact remains that the claim implies that Labour successfully forged over 7,000 fraudulent postal votes and got them into the system without anyone else suspecting a thing.  It also implies that the “real” turnout for the election was under 30%, which is highly improbable, especially given how many people were motivated to turn out for UKIP.

      It’s one of these claims that seems simple enough if you don’t really think about it, but it’s a classic for the question, “who says so and how does he know?” (page 1 of How to Lie with Statistics).  We have no evidence at all to support this.  Just saying “it’s not impossible and I don’t trust Labour” is not enough.
       
      “I’d have reacted the same way no matter who had said this, by the way.  It’s the credibility of the claim that’s at issue here.”
      I doubt that. You appear to have a vendetta against him which makes your criticisms of him have less standing.
       
      No, I don’t.  I’m just terminally exasperated by the unquestioning acceptance of everything he says.  The claim is wildly improbable as it stands and I’d have jumped down the throat of anybody who made it.

    368. Albert Herring says:

      Applying scientific rigour, my olfactory apparatus detects the presence of faecal matter at the molecular level.

    369. Vronsky says:

      “The claim is wildly improbable as it stands”
       
      Why?

    370. Morag says:

      Vronsky said:
      Morag might be questioning postal votes (after a little prompting)  but doesn’t think that Craig Murray can be permitted the same privilege.
       
      Oh no, you’re not getting away with that.  I have never declared that postal votes were fraud-free.  Never.  Your “prompting” was actually repeatedly claiming that because I was challenging a particular preposterous claim regarding postal vote fraud, that meant that I didn’t believe such fraud was possible.  That is simply a non sequitur.  Just because I am concerned that postal vote fraud might happen doesn’t mean I have to swallow every hyperbolic claim about it.

      Conversely, I have never denied Craig Murray or anyone else the right to express the same concerns.  However, I question anyone who makes specific claims about specific events that are quite clearly bogus.

      ETA: As regards your last question, I have worn my fingers out explaining why. I’m not doing it again.

    371. velofello says:

      @ Vronsky: How about staying with the discussion and backing off personality observations?
      lumiluni has advised on a Finnish voting procedures which do seem to address the concerns expressed here over postal voting UK style.
      The Daily Mail article reference above indicates a means to cheat with postal voting.
      Richard Bruce above has advised of his need for a means to vote by postal or proxy or whatever.
       So who is going to reassure us, the electorate, that the voting system for the referendum will be cheat-proof, and that those unable to attend a polling station will be enabled to exercise their voting rights? 
       

    372. douglas clark says:

      Thje Reverend Stewart Campbell,
       
      Let’s take a step back here.
       
      Frankly I am just as angry with you as you appear to be with me.
       
      You questioned Susan Calman as to her integrity, did you not? I have questioned Moosstrooper on the same basis. And you go ballistic?
       
      WTF?
       
       

    373. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “OGH has asked Susan Calman to provide a bit of evidence. It is ridiculously pseudo – journalistic to suggest that I am wrong to ask Mosstrooper to do the same..”

      Don’t be stupid. Susan Calman’s supposed abuse and threats happened online, last week, and would be the easiest thing in the world to prove with a link or screenshot. What possible evidence could exist for wrongly-marked piles of votes at a local election years ago, with or without a candidate’s name?

      I should have thought it was pretty clear by now that I do not take kindly to other people electing themselves moderators here. Behave.

    374. Vronsky says:

      ” I’m not doing it again.”

      Again? Again? You’ve not done it to begin with.  I do hope you’re not attempting the politician’s ‘I’ve already answered that question’ schtick. 

      Why is Craig Murray’s claim ‘wildly improbable’?  You’re a scientist (you never weary of telling us) so you know something of Bayesian inference.  Explain, patiently, to your lay audience here why an election by fraudulent use of the postal vote is ‘wildly improbable’ when we all know that Labour have previously been convicted in courts of law for doing just that. Where would you estimate the ‘prior probability’?  We’ve all got the popcorn out!

    375. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      OFFICIAL: I am now tired of arguments about what Craig Murray did or didn’t say or prove. Any useful debate was over about 100 posts ago and all we’re getting now is people repeating themselves. Take it to Quarantine or I’m locking the thread.

    376. douglas clark says:

      Err…
       
      It would be equally easy for Moostropper to provide some evidence? Like where he stood, what the outcome was, etc, etc?
       
      None forthcoming.
       
      You behave…..

    377. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “Err…
      It would be equally easy for Moostropper to provide some evidence? Like where he stood, what the outcome was, etc, etc?
      None forthcoming.
      You behave…..”

      One more. Just one more. Feeling lucky?

    378. Juteman says:

      ” Feeling lucky?”
      You missed out ‘punk’, Harry. 🙂

    379. douglas clark says:

      Of course, where is Moonstropper and where is his evidence?
       
      Fold?

    380. YesYesYes says:

      I’m still waiting to find out what the definition of a ‘fruit loop conspiracy theorist’ is.

    381. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “Of course, where is Moonstropper and where is his evidence?
      Fold?”

      Cheerio.

    382. Vronsky says:

      “Take it to Quarantine or..”
       
      Correct Stu – if it had continued I’d have suggested that.  Interesting, though…

    383. a supporter says:

      “No, I don’t.  I’m just terminally exasperated by the unquestioning acceptance of everything he says.  The claim is wildly improbable as it stands and I’d have jumped down the throat of anybody who made it.”

      You should stand back and read that. I haven’t accepted his figures unquestionably. And he manifestly HAS figures since he wrote them down about 100 comments ago. Whether you think they are wildly improbable is irrelevant, that is only your opinion, and it is obviously coloured by your dislike of him. The reason for which you have not yet given. All you have done in reply is quote,
      “It’s one of these claims that seems simple enough if you don’t really think about it, but it’s a classic for the question, “who says so and how does he know?” (page 1 of How to Lie with Statistics). 
      and again only an opinion with a trite reference to a handy compendium of statistical questions and answers many of which are known to be wrong .

      I asked you to provide the web site whatever, where YOU said his figures were discussed and all I get back from you is obfuscation and more wild accusations against him.

    384. Braco says:

      Oh no, Douglas!

    385. AmadeusMinkowski says:

      The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe*

      has freely available handbooks on Observations of Voter Registration and on Media Monitoring for Election Observation Missions
      Those may be of some use for  YES, and so any one with the expertise, disposition and time, please do dig in and let us know what comes up.* The OSCE is the organization that Craig Murray brought to everyones attention some time ago; in relation to getting observers on the ground now.It seems to me that if someone begins to catalogue violations of their media code or voter registration code in relation to the Referendum, this could be used in any submission to them seeking there support. What do you all think? Any takers?

    386. HandandShrimp says:

      I’m still waiting to find out what the definition of a ‘fruit loop conspiracy theorist’ is.
       
      Someone who thinks 9/11 was carried by termites trained to carry false flags…probably by Greys working in conjunction with the Bildeberg Group.

    387. AmadeusMinkowski says:

      @HandandShrimp
      Brilliant joke!
      @ Everyone!
      A PLEA:
      I do understand the urge to drive ones points through right to the bitter end; that’s human. But for all of us, there is an end which is bigger than that, indeed bigger than any of our own petty personal need to end up on top. That end is an Independent Scotland! So, let’s hear more concrete ideas on ways to proceed in maximizing the chances of that. Sqaubbling amongst ourselves won’t get us to YES in 2014.

    388. Braco says:

      Dear Rev Stu,
       
      This whole thing has been a bit ‘he said, she said’ and embarrassing but could I ask that Douglas Clark be sinbinned for maybe 24hrs and then allowed back on the park. He has a good record (ish) and is not really a dirty player. Surely expulsion should really only be as a last resort for wanton trolling , this was heated (over heated, I grant you) debate and I am sure will be regretted when the atmosphere clears.
       
      Plus he’s one of my very few end of dead thread pals!
       
      Ah, go on?  Please?

    389. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      Okeydokey, evidently didn’t make myself clear. Closed.






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