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Wings Over Scotland

An idle pondering

Posted on October 28, 2012 by

Most people, it seems fair to say, expected more resignations from the SNP over the NATO vote at conference just over a week ago. As passions ran high, some Scottish political journalists went so far as to name the next expected departure (supposedly list MSP John Wilson). Yet no more transpired, and it seems reasonable to suppose that any who were going to would have done it by now. So why haven’t they?

There are numerous possible explanations, of course. Perhaps everyone’s just calmed down after the heat of debate and accepted that they lost a democratic vote and independence is still more important than any single policy, or that it still represents a vastly better chance of a nuclear-free Scotland than staying in the Union. Perhaps nobody wanted to be singled out as the person who cost the party its majority in Holyrood, even if only technically.

But it occurred to us this morning, as we watched Scotland On Sunday embark on a determined and multi-pronged attempt to keep the EU-advice row alive in the minds of a largely-disinterested public, that it might instead be the case that Labour’s hysterical, overblown handling of the matter has served to concentrate SNP minds away from internal disagreements and on the wider good of the party, and to have them close ranks in protection of a First Minister who’s still by a distance the most popular and trusted politician in Scotland (if not the entire UK).

Napoleon famously once said “Never interrupt your enemy when he’s making a mistake.” Scottish Labour waded into Alex Salmond at a time when his party seemed in danger of being seriously split for the first time since he regained the leadership, and in doing so may well have pushed his dissenters back into line for him. Not for the first time, the FM may have cause to thank his opponents for the blind tribal hatred that so often seems to drive them into sheer blundering ineptitude.

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132 to “An idle pondering”

  1. Juteman says:

    Your post raises the question, did AS know this would happen? Was it a deliberate action to stop the party splitting any more, knowing that the Unionists would lose the plot?

    AS is a very shrewd politician.

  2. Colin Dunn says:

    . . largely-disinterested public . . ”


    Sorry ;} 

  3. Marcia says:

    I think you have made a good point. When the last time the SNP had a substantive vote on NATO membership way back when most of your readers  were not born, those who voted to be in NATO, including myself,  didn’t resign in a hizzy fit. I would think most members of the party don’t consider it the number one issue of being a member. Independence is. Just my thoughts on the matter.  

  4. Pat Mackie says:

    I’ve lurked on this site for quite a while. Can I just say you are my first port of call now to find not only a very good topical blog, but also very good comments, Thank you!

  5. Jim Campbell says:

    The SNP is a broad church that can utilise many different opinions.   If the circumstances change then the opinion can change too.     The Tories and the Labour Party like to draw llines in the sand  – but they keep forgetting that the tide goes in and out every day and washes their silly propaganda away.

  6. Bill C says:

    I have said it before here and elsewhere, I consider the actions of the two individuals who resigned from the SNP over Nato to be selfish in the exterme and to be anything but principled.  The Nato two gave ammunition to the enemies of Scottish independence and I would therefore argue the enemies of Scotland! I have chosen my words carefully, as I still live in hope that the two people concerned will reconsider their decision. With regard to principle, if these two had also resigned from the Parliament as well as the SNP, then I think they could claim to have made a principled stand.
    I hope the whole Nato debate has focused minds within the SNP and the independence movement in general, as there can be little doubt that the unionists have declared gloves off.  We are already under sustained and bitter attacks from all quarters of the unionist establishment and we can expect much, much more. The dirty tricks department have still to deploy their considerable skills in the black arts. The last thing nationalists need is internal division.

    The Nato two should either rejoin the SNP or do the principled thing and resign from Holyrood and let two people who will put party and country before their own individual cause represent the Highlands and Islands.  


  7. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “. . largely-disinterested public . . ”


    Sorry ;} “

    You are of course entirely correct. Consider my head to be now hanging in appropriate and richly-deserved shame.

  8. Dorothy Devine says:

    Have to agree Bill.
    They should stand down and allow others to take their place.
    Surely there is no party on earth which agrees on absolutely everything therefore compromises have to be made and democratic votes honoured . 

  9. Very well said, Bill. Our entire focus over the next two should be on Indepenence and equally, we should accept that the Establishment will do anything, and I mean anything, to ensure we do not acheive our aim! 

  10. Taighnamona says:

    I love this forum. I have been a lurker for a very long time but have only plucked up the courage to post yesterday. Thank you for allowing my contribution.
    I would not like to second guess the First Minister’s long play towards Independence but do think we need firmer rebuttals and insistent demands for apologies when the unionist forces continue to plaster their dirt tricks over the media propaganda outlets.
    I do not think that the presiding officer is doing an effective job for a start.  The abuse was horrendous and made for uncomfortable viewing. Both opposition leaders deserve to be banned from the proceedings.

    Regarding the self referral by AS, there is more mudslinging on the horizons. According to this article,…/… fraser so called ‘lard’ has been stood down from participation in the enquiry by Peter Housden and given his (fraser) biased comments quoted in this article, not a moment too soon. 

  11. Aucheorn says:

    These MSP’s who resigned were elected on a party list, NOT as individuals, therefore the principled thing to do would be to resign their seats and allow the next 2 in the SNP’s Highland list to take their places.
    I’m not sure what their legal status is, but I do think there is a moral issue in them hanging on as basically unelected politicians.

  12. muttley79 says:

    If any confirmation was needed that the unionists main strategy is to attack and try to undermine Salmond, then the Sunday Herald confirmed it.  Basically they are trying to portray Salmond as untrustworthy and they think if they can discredit him then they will have discredited independence.  Unfortunately for them this is just another example of their negativity and that they have clearly learned nothing from 2007 and 2011.  Are they not aware of Einstein’s famous quote about the definition of insanity?  Also, the Yes campaign has people like Dennis Canavan and Blair Jenkins.  Are they going to be negative about them as well?  As Ian Bell wrote today, where is the positive case for the union?

  13. Davy says:

    Some good points there Rev, but the main thing about all this was the MSM & BBBC’s willingness to jump onto the bandwaggon and scream with the rest of the banshee’s about the evil of AS and the SNP. There did not appear to be one journalist willing to say ok lets look at this from the SNP’s side ?? instead it was just straight off slagging of the First Minisiter and the Scottish government followed by allowing any opposition member to rant away to their hearts content without querying either their information or where they got it from.

    Roll on independence, Roll on the return of integrity within our own state broadcaster.  Vote Yes.

  14. An Duine Gruamach says:

    Auchoern – it’s the same situation as when Solidarity were formed – there was an entirely new party in Holyrood made up of two MSPs who’d been voted in solely as members of the SSP.  There’s nothing that can really be done about it – and it wouldn’t be good to create two different ranks of MSP depending on constituency/ list status.

  15. Davy says:

    A strong welcome to Taighnamona, and I have to agree with you regarding the abuse on Thursdays FM’s QT, with Ruth Davidson really beyond the pale with her comments, also I agree that the presiding officer needs to take action against that level of abuse to our First Minister as it also disgraces our whole country. 

  16. scottish_skier says:

    I’m quite happy that the SNP are letting all this smear stuff happen, even encouraging it. The fact that Tricia et al. are not cracking down on e.g. unionist serious misbehaviour in the debating chamber kind of confirms this to me. They want the public to see the nastiness of unionists.

    By the time we will be voting EU status etc will have been fully confirmed making those who kicked up a fuss about such things, lied and threw insults etc look like the idiots they are.

    As muttley noted from Ian Bell, there is no positive case for the union. Have a look at the better together site; it is becoming an anti-SNP/anti-Scotland site. The most positive recent news is how someone who made a lovely union cake didn’t win a bake off. I can’t see how anyone other that hardline unionists would like the site. Certainly, I can’t see it helping persuade the unsure to vote for the union.

    Oh and welcome to the new posters. Note Rev stu lets all posts through, from both independence and union supporters. Only if you are really pushing it troll-wise are you likely to be turfed out following warnings. This refreshingly contrasts many MSM and pro-union political party sites.

  17. douglas clark says:

    As I understand it both these MSPs will still do the right thing in relation to independence issues. If that is the case are we not all just better letting them get on with it? The Independence caucus already includes the Greens in Hollyrood and the SSP. We should perhaps adopt a broad church approach to gaining our objective?

  18. Training Day says:

    Who needs Gottlob Frege and his principles of logic when you have Jackie Baillie and Labour?  As Muttley says above, in the absence of a positive case for the union the argument of the dependence parties is that a) Salmond can’t be trusted THEREFORE b) independence can’t work.  Socrates, it turns out, was not a mortal after all..

    And the BBC STILL punting the untrustworthiness line today, apparently oblivious to the irony..

  19. Clarinda says:

    The consistent onslaught of lies, defamation, stupidity and boorish behaviour from the usual unionist suspects over the years is perhaps a calculated but risky drawing of fire by the SNP. I have long admired the concept behind the Rev’s Napolean quote as a strategy in itself to enable the ‘enemy’ to self-destruct or at the very least produce self-inflicted wounds.  Risky perhaps, but when such a dearth of intellect, political sophistication and self respect abounds throughout the ‘Opposition’ benches, perhaps it is a well measured risk. 

    The gradualist approach tempered with the redoubtable Scottish reserve of ‘caw canny’ may yet find it’s critical tipping point.  This, when those, who support Independence (that’s Scotland’s Independence for the ridiculous Mr G Brewer’s sake), need only to point out gently to those in Scotland who still crave habituation and subordination that their unionist apparatchiks in Holyrood and their Westminster leaders have failed by their own hand to produce a sustainable defence and rationale for the union status quo. I suppose this risky SNP strategy doesn’t unnerve or mock the anti-independence electorate who we need to ensure the Yes vote carries decisively with democratic authority.

  20. wullie says:

    The yes campaign and the SNP could have the best rebuttal department in the universe nothing will ever get published by the MSM or the BBC. What has to be found out is who is meeting who where and when. How often are unionist MP,s MSP, councillors etc meeting with editors of newspapers and TV programmes. The anti Scottish stories are to similar they must be meeting to decide the agenda,its odd that the same story crops up in parliament, TV programmes and newspapers, all at the same time.

  21. Aplinal says:

    I am beginning to think that I am missing a far deeper Machiavellian plan that appears on the surface.  I mentioned elsewhere that I can see a plan to allow the pro-dependency parties to “shoot their bolts” early, and allow the negativity to go unchallenged.  This will have diminishing returns over the next 2 years, and make it difficult for the UKians to ‘win over’ the undecided nearer the time.
    Now I am thinking that allowing the PO to NOT challenge the personal bile of the “opposition” leaders is part of the plan.  they are increasingly looking vindictive, stupid, childish, and unfit for their positions.  Can it be that AS will let this kindergarten stuff run until AFTER the White paper, and only then to start to assert the position of the Government, and the rules of Holyrood?
    AS just knows how the pro-dependents will act even before they do. 
    Or am I just getting TOO paranoid?

    Edit: I see s_s got there first

  22. YesYesYes says:

    It’s been clear for some time what the unionists’ strategy is – scattergun FUD. It doesn’t really matter how little substance there is to their claims, or how outlandish they are. This isn’t about noble aims like truth, democracy or justice, it’s about the unionists doing whatever it takes to discredit independence.
    But this scattergun FUD approach is itself revealing. What it tells us, for anyone who still needs confirmation, is that the unionists’ words don’t match their actions. In words, they tell us that a No vote is a shoo-in (after all, as they constantly remind us, isn’t that what all the polls tell us?), our one-man Scottish Labour think tank, Ian Smart, even tweeted yesterday that, “Anyone suggesting that independence, after this week, is off the agenda deludes himself. It was never on the agenda”.
    Their actions, however, betray this outward confidence. They wouldn’t be taking this scattergun FUD approach if they really were confident of winning the referendum, if the polls were correct and a No vote really was a ‘shoo-in’. There’d be no need. Up to now, the unionists have been giving every impression that they are panicking, which is why they have to resort to increasingly absurd arguments in their attempt to discredit independence.
    The EU is a good example. No-one seems to have pointed out yet that, in the last decade, the EU has admitted 10 new members, countries in Eastern Europe. To put it bluntly, many of these countries had very little to offer the EU, some of them were economic basket cases. Yet the EU has welcomed them with open arms and still, today, there are other Eastern European countries who are lining up to join the EU and they, too, will be welcomed into the EU.
    Given this ongoing expansion of the EU why, on earth, would the EU reject Scotland? We have much more to offer the EU than most of the other countries that have been admitted into it in the last decade. We have most of the EUs oil, we have 25% of the EU’s renewable energy (a fact that will be increasingly important to the EU in future decades, given its objectives on climate change), we have some of the richest fishing waters in the EU (which many European fishing fleets and communities depend on and need access to in the future). Not only that, but Scotland exports less to the EU as a proportion of its GDP than any other EU member, so the potential for an independent Scotland to increase its trade with the EU is certainly there, at a time when the EU is desperate for any good news on trade. On top of this, in 2013, Scotland will celebrate (if that’s the right word) its 40th anniversary of its membership of the EU. In these circumstances, can anyone provide one good reason why the EU would not do everything in its power to keep Scotland in the EU after a Yes vote in 2014? 

  23. Holebender says:

    Sorry for OT… was anyone else incensed by the BBC politics show getting away with stating that the rUK would be in a position to veto Scotland’s EU membership unchallenged? Jamie Hepburn should have stomped on that from a great height rather than let it stand.

  24. Elizabeth Sutherland says:

    As a long time reader here at “Wings” can I say hello to all who post. Yesterday(Sat. 27) I attended the Yes Scotland innaugural meeting in Inverness. The theatre was full which happily surprised me, as I went out of curiosity. After the initial video of how “Yes” will be  supporting the volenteers over the next 2 years the audience could ask questions. Most of the questioneer’s wanted to know how can they access fact’s and figures to give to the public who are hungrey for immformation to rebut the fear and smear by the U pack. Too my mind We who support the campaign have to get into the the village hall,  communitty clubs for the elderly, the golf club, the Rotary club, any event at all in the area where people meet and are open to debate. We cannot rely on MSM, TV, to give the public honesty as that is not their agenda.  Rant over

  25. KOF says:

    YesYesYes says:October 28, 2012 at 2:58 pm

    “It’s been clear for some time what the unionists’ strategy is – scattergun FUD.”

    Apologies for the lack of knowledge, but what does “FUD” mean? I’ve seen it used a few times here and there, but I don’t know what it stands for.


  26. YesYesYes says:

    Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt (in the minds of enough Scottish voters in the attempt to secure a No vote).

  27. Marcia says:

    Labour under fire for exaggerating job losses:

    yesyesyes, thanks for explaining what FUD meant as I was wrong in what it meant.

  28. Luigi says:

    Think of the battle for Scotland like a gigantic, two-year long game of chess. The grand master is taking on a bunch of rank amateurs. The game has barely begun, but a few decisive moves have already been made. The outcome is already pre- determined. The amateurs have eagerly snatched at a few pawns that were dangled before them, still unaware that in their rush to gain a few sacrificed pieces, they have been skillfully manouvered into position. Their long-term prospects for 2014 are now inevitable. Checkmate.

  29. Adrian B says:


    Completely correct, or to put it another way..

    Done up like a Kipper 

  30. Ysabelle says:

    I haven’t commented here before, though I’ve been reading the site for a while, and it’s a great place both above and below the line.

    I think for me, the Guardian crossed a line this week in its reporting of events. I expect this rubbish from the BBC and others, but the Guardian had a brief improvement in journalistic standards, when a certain journalist was off recently. Less biased articles appeared at that time. Sadly, we’re back to the Unionist PR machine. Consequently, I don’t really feel remotely interested in commenting there anymore, though I shall probably force myself to do so at some point. 

    I don’t care about the people who resigned because of NATO, though they must have known how it would be exploited by the media and the opposition. 

    And still we’ve heard no positive case for the Union. None at all. I find it incredible that they can’t come up with something, anything other than the scaremongering rubbish they’ve been spouting so far.  If the media were completely impartial, the NO campaign would be torpedoed by now. 

  31. Ron Maclean says:

    I’ve emailed the Scottish Government asking why the Presiding Officer allows the boorish and abusive behaviour of some MSPs (e.g. Johann Lamont and Ruth Davidson) to continue.  I’ll let you know the response.

  32. YesYesYes says:

    What an excellent analogy. That young upstart, Doug Daniel, now has a serious challenger for the title of ‘King of the Analogies’ on Wings, IMHO.J
    I do get a little nervous, though, when I hear supporters of independence suggest that it is “inevitable”. Obviously, I want to believe it but, like others on this site I’m sure, I’ve waited an awfully long time for this conjuncture to come around in Scottish politics and I’m (over-) anxious that we don’t get ahead of ourselves or allow ourselves to be overtaken by wishful thinking. But maybe you shouldn’t listen to me. After all, I’m of the opinion that if, in eighteen months time, the opinion polls were to show Yes on 70% and No on 30%, I’d be on this site arguing that all of us should work tirelessly to increase that 70% to 71 or 72%, or even higher, just to make sure that we leave nothing to chance.       

  33. Kenny Campbell says:

    Anyone who thinks last weeks onslaught was planned by the SNP is dreaming.  EU legal advice debacle regardless of rights or wrongs  of the situation has been damaging, for SNP, YES Campaign and Salmond.

    Opposition missed a chnace at FMQ but press are doing a job on Salmond.  

  34. Ronald Henderson says:

    It beggars belief that Tricia Marwick should allow the opposition such freedom to insult the FM. I simply don’t understand her attitude at all. I wrote to her some time ago asking her to explain why she constantly allowed Johann Lamont to refer to the FM as ‘Eck’ as I believe that is a ridiculous way to refer to the leader of the Scottish Government, and ought to be roundly condemned by Ms. Marwick as abuse of Parliamentary privilege and incendiary language.
    I received a bland reply some time later that outlined her responsibilities as Presiding Officer, but it didn’t answer my question as to why she allowed these insults to happen. And then last week when terms like ‘liar’ etc were bandied about by both the Tories and Labour; it was infuriating watching it happen.
    I frankly don’t trust Tricia Marwick. She’s far too much of a ‘British Lefty’ for me. Let’s not forget that it was she who moved that Gordon Brown be given the freedom of Kircaldy. This simply infuriated her local SNP councillors who, like me, were angry that she should be so stupid as to give such an arch-unionist so much publicity. I wrote to her to protest about this and she emailed me back with the words ”Sometimes you have to do the right thing”. Oh yeah?
    Gordon Brown, in case anyone has forgotten, is the same person that refused to congratulate Mr. Salmond on becoming First Minister when the SNP won the election back in 2007. Was Brown doing the ‘right’ thing in your opinion Ms. Marwick?

  35. Ronald Henderson says:

    Yes, I know…it’s Kirkcaldy and not Kircaldy.

  36. Holebender says:

    When will WOS join the rest of us on GMT? (The WOS clock hasn’t gone back an hour yet.)

  37. Silverytay says:

    Like others on here I think that A.S and the S.N.P are deliberately setting themselves up as targets for the unionist rent a mob and m.s.m brigade .
    While the bitter together mob are concentrating on A.S and the S.N.P the yes campaign are quietly getting on with the job at hand .
    What we have to ensure in the next two years is that the public dont confuse the fact that the yes campaign is not the S.N.P and vice versa .
    Once the unionists find out that their lies and smears against A.S and the S.N.P are not working they will turn their attention to the yes campaign by stating that it is nothing but a front for the S.N.P . 
    The S.N.P was the vehicle that has got us to the position we are at today , the yes team are the multi party / no party group that hopefully will take us over the finishing line .

    The one thing I do worry about and I know that at least one other poster on this site has the same fears is that the establishment have had 80 years to infiltrate the S.N.P with members of their dirty tricks brigade /black ops .
    When the polls show that the yes campaign are winning with less than 6 weeks to the polls I would then expect the dirty tricks team to show their hand .
    I would hope by that time that the yes campaign are so separate from the S.N.P that no matter what dirty tricks they play against the S.N.P it will not impact on the polls .
    The one good point about having the yes campaign fight the good fight is the fact that the establishment have not had the time to infiltrate it .

  38. Tearlach says:

    Even being in Nato will not save us from that Zombie invasion. –

    Oh, and perhaps the worm is turning in the SLAB camp – oor Kevin McKenna has written a sensible Sunday article in the Observer two weeks in a row. Now the Britnats who lurk there are calling him an SNP mole…….



  39. muttley79 says:

    I think as we ponder the events of last week, we should look at the methods used and the reasons behind the attacks on Salmond.  When the two MSPs resigned from the SNP, the press and the opposition brought up an interview of Salmond’s from over 6 months ago.  It was almost like the NATO issue was used as a signal to bring up another issue.  That Salmond defused it later is now clear (when he referred himself in regards to the minsterial code).  However, he appeared to let it linger for at day and a half after Sturgeon spoke in the Scottish Parliament on Tuesday.  Why did he do this?  Was it because it is in his interests to draw the media and opposition’s fire as much as possible before the referendum?  Was it because he knew the issue would be forgotten about in a few weeks time?   Salmond gave an interview on Wednesday night and looked serene.  Remember the 2011 elections and the media speculation on a Labour win.  Salmond and the SNP did not pay any attention and kept on camapigning until the end.

    Another event happened last week which has received very little, or no media attention.  This was the disclosure of the consultation on the referendum.  The majority wants a single question.  We have been told endlessly by the media and the No parties that Salmond wanted a two question referendum.  But the consultation was supposed to validate this position.  However, he did the deal before the consultation was released.  Have the media and the No parties now realised that they have been played for a fool?  That Salmond wanted only one question and what he said in public was what he always intended.  Not only that but he will get to put the question he likes and they can only moan about it.  If they have realised that they themselves have now been boxed in, and not the other way around, would that explain their anger this week? 

  40. Luigi says:

    I agree we shouldn’t be complacent. I just wanted to remind people that the unionist amateurs are up against a formidable politician (himself supported by a team of formidable politicians). Do they really believe that one of the most astute politicians of this age would carelessly set himself up like that? No, watching FMQT on Thursday, it all went rather  too smoothly, as if it had been planned well in advance. Something is brewing! Even that will not guarantee a YES victory, however, so your balanced review is appropriate. We still have lots of work to do. I have along way to go before I can match the famous DD, but thanks for the comparison!

  41. Ronald Henderson says:

    The SNP has been infiltrated with fifth columnists and agents provocateur since its inception in 1934 and probably before that in 1928 when it was the National Party of Scotland. It would be naive, if not madness to believe otherwise. They are there, working in the background, delaying emails, deliberately losing contact addresses and telephone numbers, not forwarding information and messages, spreading rumours and using every delaying tactic in the book. And the Yes campaign is full of them. Ever wonder why your messages don’t get relayed? Ever wonder why your enquiries don’t get answered? Ever wonder where that big bundle of leaflets/pens/badges/flags etc went to or why there are misleading mispellings in the leaflets that are published? Who do you think the people are that wander around nationalist rallies and ceilidhs taking pictures of you with that big cheesy grin on your face? You don’t know them but they’re wearing an SNP badge so you in your innocence think they’re ok.
    The British are excellent at fifth column work and we must never forget it.

  42. Luigi says:

    OT: Christmas list – I would like to compile a short list of suitable books for the following categories: 1) Confirmed YES voters, 2) Undecided, 3) Inclined (soft) NO voters. Can anyone recommend titles? I have a few friends and relatives (targets) that I would like to reach in this way. For example, my father is a confirmed YES, if I buy him a suitable book on the cause for independence, then my mother (inclined NO) will also read it – get the idea? Sneaky, yes but hey it’s Christmas. There is also a fourth category – hardline NO voters (bless them), and yes I know a few of these also. I will probably buy them a pair of jubilee (reduced price) union jack socks, or if they really annoy me, a pair of tartan ones. Any suitable book titles?

  43. Dual_Intention says:

    Napoleon famously once said “Never interrupt your enemy when he’s making a mistake.”

    He also famously once said: “If you wish to be a success in the world, promise everything, deliver nothing.”    

    So far Alex has promised everything. If he doesn’t work out a way to turn this around soon he’s going to end up delivering nothing.

    I take it you didn’t see this earlier today Rev Stu:   

    I hope Humza can quash the potential repercussions of this before it takes a grip on Asian voters in the central belt.


  44. DougtheDug says:

    The clever thing for the LibLabCons to do would have been to try and get the SNP to tear itself into bits over NATO with an occasional poke to keep it going and just when that was dying down to suddenly “discover” the Andrew Neil video. They must have had it in reserve anyway because they came out with it very, very fast on the day of Nicola’s statement.

    However they hate Alex Salmond and the SNP so much that the idea of saving ammunition for a rainy day just doesn’t occur to them. 

    I don’t actually think that NATO was going to cause anymore MSP’s to resign but having the LibLabCons and the North British press slavering at the door did concentrate people’s minds on the real issue of independence.

  45. velofello says:

    I’m sticking my chin out here for multiple corrections, but anyway;

    Somewhere circulating in my grey matter circuits is a story of a Highland regiment facing an onslaught and the commander holding his men saying, “Steady Lochaber(?) steady’, and waiting for the moment to counter attack. Anyone know the correct tale?
    And that’s how I see the current situation.Hold firm, and wait for the signal.
    i’ve never met Alex Salmond. My impression is of a decent honest man, and very intelligent.I have faith in him to act honourably. The personalised attacks on him are a disgrace.
    Just what is wee Ruthie going to say at next week’s FM Question Time? Indeed will she turn up? Is she so crass not to be hugely embarrassed by her cringing performance last Thursday. Think, following last week, would you employ her?
    Johann Lamont voted as Scot-Lie-lab leader I reckon is an accident of natural selection. The more photogenic and plausible McIntosh should have been selected. Alas he has an air of complacency about him and an inclination to mis-speak the truth in TV appearances.
    Rennie needs a makeover – spikey hairdo and a bucket. Otherwise, of no consequence.
    To conclude. The Yes campaign has no need to resort to fear, nor untruths, nor smearing decent peoples’ characters. Sign up to your local Yes Campaign group and work to get the truth out to our people. I’m no politico yet i’m going to stand firm, get out among the people, and campaign for Scotland’s independence. 
    Finally, that Liebor blond MSP at FM Question Time, was she having wan “o thae organics or sumthin? She wis fair on a high yin. 

  46. AndrewFraeGovan says:

    In what way is it legitimate to ask a parliamentary question which the questioner knows full well cannot be legally answered?
    Surely the PO should intervene when someone starts demanding information that is clearly subject to the ministerial code.
    This sort of questioning is blatant mischief-making and should be banned.

  47. YesYesYes says:

    I’ll leave the Napoleonic references to others but, in your own words: “If he [Salmond] doesn’t work out a way to turn this around soon he’s going to end up delivering nothing”, then, on the words of Napoleon that you quote, wouldn’t that make Salmond a “success”?
    Alternatively, maybe we shouldn’t cite Napoleon as an authority on twenty-first century politics. In politics, of course, if you wish to be a failure in the world, promise everything, deliver nothing.
     Not being an SNP member or cheerleader myself, I nevertheless don’t think Salmond should shoulder all the responsibility in the event of a No vote but, equally, I don’t think that anyone could accuse him of delivering “nothing” up to now or that the criterion for assessing his ability to “deliver” anything should be based on a Yes vote in 2014.
    On the main subject of your post, I don’t know enough about the politics of the Asian community in Scotland to say whether Adil Bhatti’s resignation from the SNP will do harm to the Yes campaign but if the Record has reported this accurately, I don’t find his arguments very convincing.
    For example, he seems to have left the Labour Party in 1997 and the Record reports that, “he [Bhatti] quit the party later that year over Tony Blair’s move to the right”. But Labour didn’t “move to the right” in 1997, it moved definitively to the right in 1992, after the completion of its Policy Review. It was in 1992 that Labour, among other things, officially ditched Keynesianism, ditched its previous commitment to unilateral nuclear disarmament, accepted the Thatcherite trade union reforms of the 1980s and so on. Further, it was in 1995, one year after Blair became leader, that New Labour ditched Clause IV. And even before the 1997 general election, the then shadow chancellor, Gordon Brown, argued in the campaign for the 1997 election that, if elected in 1997, a Labour government would follow the previous Conservative government’s public spending plans.
    The point I’m making is that Bhatti’s reasons for leaving the Labour Party in 1997 are no more convincing than are his reasons for leaving the SNP. I think he’s confused, or perhaps playing personal politics, and the article gives the impression that he was already looking for an excuse to leave the SNP. Certainly, if he now returns to Labour, the reasons he has given for leaving the SNP apply with much more force to the Labour Party, which will leave Scotland’s Asian community to reach its own conclusions. We’ll see.  

  48. scottish_skier says:

    Dual intention seems to be patiently awaiting a Tory revival in Scotland. Certainly, if that doesn’t happen, then union is screwed. Which means the union is screwed. The entire SNP could resign and Scotland will still vote yes at the prospect of the Tories. 

    Hence the Scottish and UK governments working it all out amicably. Dave wants to win in 2015 and the price is Scotland. And win he will.

  49. AndrewFraeGovan says:

    “William Hague, UK foreign minister, has kept Madrid abreast of developments in Scotland and he provided Mr Garcia-Margallo with an official UK government analysis of the EU legal position if the country voted for independence.” (FT)
    Perhaps Hague might like to share this legal advice with the rest of up plebs.

  50. Colin Dunn says:

    @Kenny Campbell 
    “Anyone who thinks last weeks onslaught was planned by the SNP is dreaming.”
    Don’t necessarily disagree with that, but there’s certainly something is going on behnd the scenes. For the last couple of years Stephen Noon (who formerly worked on strategy for the SNP, and is now strategist for the Yes campaign) has been doing his PHd on what? You guessed it – new countries in the EU. I’ve a sneaky feeling that Noon has examined this in exhaustive detail and has told the SNP that he’s certain that Scotland will be regarded as a successor state, and EWNI too. For some reson the SNP are sitting on this. Maybe to let the No campaign waste time on it?
    You can see some info about Noon’s work here. It’s out of date, but clearly shows what he’s been working on and at what level. I suspect that by now he’s more expert on this than just about anyone.


  51. James McLaren says:

    AndrewFraeGovan says:
    October 28, 2012 at 6:58 pm

    In what way is it legitimate to ask a parliamentary question which the questioner knows full well cannot be legally answered?
    Surely the PO should intervene when someone starts demanding information that is clearly subject to the ministerial code.
    This sort of questioning is blatant mischief-making and should be banned
    Hammer, Nail.


  52. muttley79 says:


    On Tuesday Nicola Sturgeon read out the results of the consultation to the Scottish parliament.  The media certainly did not cover that subject extensively.  Was there a reason for this?  Have they now realised that that they were fooled by Salmond all along?  Who knows, but it could explain the hysterical reaction of the press and the No parties.  Maybe it was not to do with the EU issue after all. 

  53. Marcia says:


    I have to saw the headline on that newspapers article is rather misleading in that if he was a leading activist, I have never heard of him, I am sure no one in my Branch will have heard of him either. Maybe in the Glasgow area.

    On the same website. I see that Canon Wright maybe voting Yes.


  54. James McLaren says:

    muttley 79
    I think it was just a schoolboy gang fight. They piled in without thinking or trying to work out the consequences if they were wrong. It never occurred to them to do so because, like Bank Managers, they no longer serve their constituency / clients. They have to demonstrate to their “masters” that they are loyal beasts.

  55. YesYesYes says:

    Thanks for that information. I suspect that you may be speaking for a lot of people in the SNP.
    Trading Adil Bhatti for Canon Wright? Sounds like another good day for the Yes campaign to me!

  56. Angus McLellan says:

    @Luigi: The late Stephen Maxwell’s Arguing for Independence came out recently and has had a couple of favourable reviews. Haven’t yet read it myself – still waiting for my copy to turn up – but I’ll ping you when I finish it. Paul Henderson Scott’s A Nation Once Again is good in parts but I couldn’t honestly recommend it. Andy Wightman’s The Poor Had No Lawyers is a good read, but it’s not quite what you’re looking for.

  57. James McLaren says:

    Me too, it looks as the first print run(s) were not up to the demand.
    I hope so.

  58. muttley79 says:

    @James McLaren

    Yes, it is very difficult to know what is going on in the minds of Scottish unionists at the moment.  As they are as short of political acumen and ability as you can get, explanations for their behaviour are bordering on the impossible side.  You just need to point to the recent ‘outpourings’ of Ian Smart for confirmation. 

    Regarding Kenyon Wright, I don’t know how influential his support for independence would be.  He is a well-known figure in Scottish politics, but I am not sure how many present voters would be aware of the role he played.  However, it does sound like he is going to support independence, though he will not be able to vote for it.  I don’t believe that he expects the No parties to give specific guarantees to voters on further powers.

  59. Marcia says:

    @muttley 79

    Canon Wright will chime with the older voters and that should be welcomed, just as Alex Douglas-Home’s empty promises chimed with the older folk in 1979 but much to our disadvantage.   

  60. muttley79 says:


    I meant that I am not sure about how many under 30s will have heard of him, and also those with only a passing interest in politics.  Kenyon Wright was influential in the Constitiutional Convention, but the media these days seem to focus relentlessly only on party leaders.

  61. douglas clark says:

    I wonder how well the activist support in the Unionist Parties is standing up? Could that be the cause of their panic? It would also be interesting to know how much recruitment they have managed to their Better Together campaign. It seems to be all sound and no fury. The photographs they publish of their events look like the wedding party of a jilted groom.

  62. Clarinda says:

    Sorry to repeat myself, but I think those who are not in the definite YES camp require consideration and not alienation by the SNP in spite of the unionist toot spewed from the usual variety of naysayers.  It’s surely realpoilitiks that not only does the pursuit of Independence require policy, vision and straightforward answers but also the gradualist pragmatism and courtesy of convincing the sceptical No/Maybe electorate without overtly mocking their traditional beliefs. A tricky balance to put down those who were voted for on the ‘Opposition’ Holyrood benches but not those who voted for them? 


  63. muttley79 says:

    @douglas clark

    Difficult to say, it could be that their private polling and the number of activists they have recruited is giving them serious levels of concern.  Also, essentially their argument is that their own nation should not take on the full powers that independence entails.  If you think about it, this is a difficult stance and argument to promote.  It implies that it is bad for some reason.  Where is the aspiration, the vision in this?  In the content of Europe, how many small independent countries are there?  There are loads and Scotland has substantial resources.   

  64. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “Sorry to repeat myself, but I think those who are not in the definite YES camp require consideration and not alienation by the SNP in spite of the unionist toot spewed from the usual variety of naysayers.”

    Absolutely. But I think there’s something we need to come to terms with. Around about a third of Scots are almost certainly going to vote for independence no matter what happens between now and 2014. Around a third are going to vote No whatever happens between now and 2014. It’s the other third that matter.

    We really need to stop wasting our breath trying to reason with the likes of Duncan Hothersall and Tom Harris and George Foulkes and Ian Smart and whoever, because we will NEVER change their minds. Those people exist to serve only two purposes.

    One is to swallow up as many person-hours of independence campaigners as possible in futile argument that could be far more productively spent. The other is to irritate us into acting angrily out of frustration and alienating the middle group.

    People need to stop rising to the bait and being provoked. Ignore them, and talk to the people whose minds aren’t irrevocably made up. It’s the single most important thing we have to remember in the next two years. As Margo said – if each of us convinces just one more person, we win. Every minute spent playing Punch and Judy with Tom and George and Dunc and Ian is a minute wasted.

  65. Dual_Intention says:

    Yes Yes Yes

    on the words of Napoleon that you quote, wouldn’t that make Salmond a “success”?   

    To a degree. He’s delivered 16/17 year old votes, wording of the question and the date of the referendum. So that’s something at least.

    He’s too smart to only have ever wanted one question (I admit I’ll be outnumbered here voicing that opinion) knowing that, on current evidence and current economic conditions, you will never shift middle-Scotland to take such a radical step as a vote for independence.  On the balance of probabilities it’s going to fail.

    At best, the current stushie is colossally embarrassing, at worst it’s a significant blow to the Independence cause.

    As for the Asian vote, it has helped the SNP make sizable inroads in certain areas of Glasgow, including oor Nicola’s constituency. Why else do you think she would send a written appeal to a sheriff to be lenient on a guilty serial benefit fraudster’s behalf? Well founded rumours link said fraudster to the party’s auction of SNP paraphernalia some time back.

    You might not have heard of Mr Bhatti, but he was a key adviser, mover and shaker for Nicola to so strongly resonate with the Asian vote in Govan. Humza needs to step in to help quell any whisperings or groundswell against the SNP re: the pro-NATO stance. Govan Asians abandoned Labour in droves due to Iraq. NATO is viewed with deep suspicion (rightly so) by Asian Muslims.

    It’s not fatal, but this stushie is a significant blow. I dearly hope I’m wrong and I hope it blows away in a few weeks. If not, our best asset will beome our worst liability, with or without the Tories in power.

    So, Yes Yes Yes, Alex Salmond has promised everything and if he doesn’t deliver independence then it will all have been for nothing.   

    Hence the quote. Interpret as you choose. :) 

    scottish_skier says:
    Dual intention seems to be patiently awaiting a Tory revival in Scotland.

    A Tory revival in SCOTLAND!  There’s more chance of a revival of Udal Law in Denmark. :)  

  66. Bill C says:


    “He’s too smart to only have ever wanted one question (I admit I’ll be outnumbered here voicing that opinion) knowing that, on current evidence and current economic conditions, you will never shift middle-Scotland to take such a radical step as a vote for independence.  On the balance of probabilities it’s going to fail.”

    I hear what you are saying Dual, but I can’t agree.  Initially I too thought that AS would prefer two questions and like you, I think “middle-Scotland” is a challenge.  However. there can be litlle doubt that two questions would have split the ‘more powers’ vote and probably let the no vote win by default.  I have spoken to quite a few folk who would have supported Devo something but who are now almost certain to vote YES. Similar to Canyon Wright’s position.
    With regard to ‘middle Scotland’, a challenge yes, an impossibilty no. Many folk in the ‘middle’ were/are folk who wanted/still want more powers. Now that, that route has been denied them they are starting to drift into the YES camp.
    I believe that “middle Scotland” will vote yes in 2014 for the following reasons;
    1) Many of them have been denied a vote on more powers and will vote YES because they believe the status quo is unacceptable.
    2) The no campaign is already running out of steam, there seems little coordination and cooperation between the unionist parties and hence precious few signs of leadership emerging.
    3) The constant negativity, scaremongering and name calling of the First Minister are starting to have a very negative effect on the no campaign. Lamont and Davidson in particular are becoming very effective recruiting sergeants for the YES campaign.
    4) The bias of the media in Scotland against independence is starting to impact on people. When almost every media outlet spouts anti-independence hysteria on a daily basis, even people who are not in the least interested in politics start to suspect that the democracy that they cherish might be under serious threat. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to recognise Pravda type propaganda when you see it.
    As Margo said we just need to convince one voter each to win. The above observations, are not scientific, they are based on everyday coversations with friends, family and colleagues. However, it is dialogue which convinces me that we in the YES camp can win.

  67. YesYesYes says:

    Salmond has delivered much more than that, surely? A minority government in 2007, a majority government in 2011, turning the SNP into the most efficient campaigning machine in Scottish politics, an independence referendum, not to mention a number of policies which, whatever your opinion of them, must be considered significant achievements in extremely difficult circumstances. Considering that, for the first four years of its period in office, the SNP was a minority government, that’s not a bad record.
    I think Salmond always understood that a second question was a non-starter, for the simple reason that only the unionists could deliver devo-max at Westminster and they’ve always made it clear that the issue of a second question was non-negotiable, so to suggest that he “wanted” a second question doesn’t make sense. It implies that he didn’t take seriously the Westminster government’s repeated insistence that a section 30 was conditional on a single question referendum. Salmond also understood that the main reason that the unionists could never deliver devo-max is because they fear that it would lead, sooner or later, to the break-up of the UK anyway. So he took the issue as far as he could in his negotiations with the British government – good politics – and, not surprisingly, pre-empted the publication of the Scottish government’s publication of its consultation by signing the Edinburgh Agreement.
    As I said in my first reply to you, I don’t know enough about the politics of the Asian community in Scotland so I’ll pass on that.
    We’re just going to have to disagree on the significance of this “stushie”. I just don’t see it. Compared to the unmitigated disasters that have befallen other sitting governments, who, in many cases, have subsequently gone on to increase their majorities, this is not a crisis for the Scottish government, or anything like it.
    Similarly, I disagree that Salmond has “promised everything” and that if there isn’t a Yes vote in 2014 he will have delivered “nothing”. He’s done what you’d expect any leader of an independence movement to do and, even I would have to say, for the most part he’s done it very well. But “promised everything”? Again, I just don’t see it that way.
    But if there is a No vote in 2014, that does not mean that he will have delivered “nothing”. Just to be in this present position, which, even a few years ago, seemed unthinkable, is little short of astonishing. And look at what he’s done to the unionists. He’s forced them to make a number of defensive concessions, even in the relatively short time-scale from 1999, and they’re still making them today. I think he must feel pretty satisfied with what he has delivered so far and so he should but, more importantly, he’s always believed that the referendum is winnable, and so do I.

  68. scottish_skier says:

    Dual.. “A Tory revival in SCOTLAND!  There’s more chance of a revival of Udal Law in Denmark.”

    We are in good agreement on this point. If we had a Tory majority right now, we could have the referendum tomorrow and it’d be large majority for yes with no doubt, which is why independence is inevitable. We find ourselves instead in something of a slight impasse due to the coalition. However, as we move to 2014, a UK Tory majority should be looking likely, particularly with boundary changes in place. Add in the white paper detailing pretty much exactly what an independent Scotland will look like initially and things will be looking very interesting.

  69. Bill C says:

    Big story on the bias of the BBC breaking on Newsnet Scotland, tomorrow looks to be very interesting!

  70. YesYesYes says:

    @Bill C,
    It would be interesting to compare the balanced approach that the BBC takes to the Westminster ConDem coalition with how BBC Scotland treats the Scottish government. In spite of the coalition’s unpopularity and even when the ConDems should be in deep trouble over serious issues, the BBC invariably provides a balanced approach, either allowing representatives of the British government to put the British government’s case on an issue (on TV and radio) or, in their absence, ensuring that the presenter reminds the audience what the government’s position is.
    Of course, the BBC in England understands that, if they don’t do this, the Tories would pull the plug on them. Unfortunately, BBC Scotland has carte blanche to undermine the Scottish government and the independence campaign because, unlike the Tories at Westminster, the Scottish government has no sanctions that it can impose on the BBC.
    Moreover, most of the newspapers in England either support the Tories and so the Tories’ case is always advanced in the media. In Scotland, on the other hand, every newspaper, without exception, is lined up against independence and, along with the broadcasting media, lined up against the Scottish government. The Tories’ case is also reinforced on a daily basis, in paper reviews on the nightly BBCNews channel and Sky News, when there are often Tory MPs or journalists/’celebrities’ who are unashamedly supporters of the Tories.
    It’s ironic isn’t it? At Holyrood, Scotland has the most popular government that it’s ever had in its modern history, and all the printed and broadcasting media are lined up against it in their frenzied attempt to discredit it. At the same time, this Westminster coalition government is the most unpopular government that we’ve had in our modern history and we have to watch the daily spectacle of a British media on British TV, radio and most of the printed press, that is largely supportive of it.     

  71. jake says:

    The SNP were always going to be vulnerable* on Nato and EU membership. But, it’s all about timing.
    Best that all this stuff gets aired in public now….it’ll be forgotten about in a couple of weeks……there’s 2 years to go yet.

    * an ECKilles heel, if you will

  72. Laura says:

    First time post although I’ve been lurking for months. Excellent articles and comments.

    Highly recommend Rob Roy by W.H. Murray – puts to bed all the Unionist myths by early writers.

  73. Don McC says:

    I’ve always maintained that Salmond only ever wanted a single question and was playing the bitter together crowd like a cheap fiddle, boxing them in and, when the polls reverse and they become REALLY desperate in an attempt to save the Union, leaving them nowhere to go.  I suspect Wee Willie Rennie’s road-to-damascus like conversion to the inadequecies of the Scotland Bill and the need for real powers (what do you mean the SNP were right all along about the Scotland Bill?) is an attempt to temper this.  After all, it was only last March when Rennie was shouting about how good the Scotland Bill was to anyone who’d listen and that its “package of powers are radical and extensive”.  It hasn’t even been implemented yet and now it’s not enough. 

    I think Salmond has been given a heads up re the legal position of Scotland / rUK post a yes vote (I personally suspect that advice will be that Scotland and rUK will both be in exactly the same legal position, for good or for bad).  At the moment, and as has been commented on extensively, the Beeb is all out bias against the SNP, allowing one side to rant without challenge, asking questions and then muting the mics of the other side when they try to answer, etc. Nearer the referendum date, as per the Edinburgh Agreement, the Beeb won’t be able to do that as both Westminster and Holyrood are obliged to ensure media coverage is fair.  At that point, and not before, the Scottish government will release any legal advice they have.  It won’t be a knock out blow but it will leave the Unionists on the ropes (I actually think Salmond’s advisers will have told him that he doesn’t actually want to deliver a knock out blow as it will leave him living up to his billing as arrogant and triumphant).

  74. Luigi says:

    Meanwhile, a Lesser Spotted Tory has been seen heading north, toward the border. A rare sight these days. Philip Hammond, defence secretary will visit Faslane today to announce the £20 billion replacement of Trident. In spite of the vote in 2014, are we to believe that there is no Plan B? No, apparently not. The reason being, Mr Hammond is supremely confident that the Scottish people will choose to remain part of the United Kingdom in 2014. There are no plans to move WMD from the Clyde. Breathtaking arrogance. The tories are trying to get rid of us and they are doing it deliberately. Now, given the big row over NATO and WMDs, the state of the UK economy (triple dip anyone?), and the overwhelming unpopularity of a continued nuclear deterrent in Scotland, you would expect the BBC to jump on this, but no, very quiet, not even a mention on Union Kaye’s MacChattering show this morning. Another opportunity lost, deliberately, perhaps.

  75. Ronald Henderson says:

    Unionist arguments for keeping Scotland tied to England and for keeping Trident are that if we were to get rid of nuclear weapons several thousand people would lose their jobs. It strikes me that this argument could have been used by the Nazis as a reason for keeping their death camps open. That is, never mind the horrendous cost in human lives; they were providing work for the guards etc, and if they were to close the concentration camps down all those people would lose their jobs.

  76. scottish_skier says:

    This latest stuff from the Tories – Whitehall team to rubbish independence whilst sending a Tory north to say how lucky we are to have WMDs parked on the Clyde – would appear to be Dave helping out Alex after the rough week he’s had over EUgate. This pattern of each time the Scottish Government takes a wee bit of a hit the Tories start mouthing off/send someone north is becoming very familiar. 

    Cheers Dave, you can rely on SNP backing for your boundary changes. Give more devolution to Wales and Plaid will assist too; I’m sure something can be worked out to reduce the influence of Welsh Labour MPs at Westminster.

  77. Luigi says:

    Aye, it seems really strange. This visit north to announce the Trident replacement is just what AS needs, after a bruising week. The tories are either doing this deliberately or they are incredibly stupid. I still think that it’s all going according to plan for AS, although I will concede that he probably did not expect last week’s MSM backlash to be quite so ferocious.

  78. Luigi says:

    Does the arithmetic add up for Dave’s Westminster boundary changes? I expect the Lib Dems will now vote against it, rather than abstain (which was probably the original deal).

  79. scottish_skier says:


    The changes would go some way to redress the imbalance which allows Labour to get a majority on ~35% of the vote but the Tories more ~42%. Labour would still have an advantage after the changes, but significantly less. No gain for the SNP in Scotland, although a Tory win is a gain if you go by polls which confirm that Scotland will no doubt leave if the Tories are looking like winning in 2015.

    The Libs + Labour do not have enough MPs to guarantee they can block it. If the Tories get the support of the SNP and Plaid in addition to ulster unionists (the latter are guaranteed to support it), then it looks like they could get it through even if the Libs vote against rather than abstain.

    The libs should really support it; after all, it makes a very poor electoral system that bit fairer.


  80. James McLaren says:

    Been doing some number crunching concerning boundary changes and the effect on the Westminster mix if Scotland no longer sends MPs there. I wish I could incorporate a spreadsheet  here but…
    A propos the boundary changes, for reasons of simplicity I have assumed that seats removed and thus lost by any party are lost. Of course the transfer of these voters to neighbouring constituencies could well change the balance of that seat and could go some way in mitigating the original losses. That would require a more sophisticated analysis and anyway would be time dependent, that is to say the then current mood of the country in general. N Ireland has been discounted.
    Today we have the following
    Con 304
    Lab 252
    Lib 57
    SNP 6
    The seat losses due to boundary changes  as per The Guardian are as follows
    Con 15 of which none would be in Scotland
    Lab  18 of which 3 would be in Scotland
    Lib   14 of which 3 would be in Scotland
    SNP  no losses
    This would put the Parties, remember the caveat above, at
    Con 289
    Lab 234
    Lib 43
    SNP 6
    Then when Independence is factored in
    Con   289 (no change)
    Lab 192 (loss of 41 of which 3 are already factored in by way of boundary changes)
    Lib   35 (loss of 14 of which 3 already factored in by way of boundary changes)
    SNP 0 ( all six seats)
    Thus Scotland going its own sweet way and the boundary changes gives the Conservatives, with usual caveats a seemingly unassailable hegemony in Westminster for the foreseeable future.  Dave knows this and it is the Joker he keeps up his sleeve and Miliband has just sussed this and signaled a return to “New Labour” policies of stealing Tory policies to appeal to the SE of England.
    Johann is so thick that she does not realise the significance of the above and I am sure the SPADS have been worn to spin any crap they can to stop her working it out.
    Any takers?

  81. Macart says:

    So let me get this right. Last year the Scotland Bill was radical, far reaching and extensive in the transfer of powers to Holyrood according to the Libdems, Labour and that other lot. This year these powers aren’t enough and home rule in Scotland needs redefined with yet another (in a never ending succession) of the Libdems Home Rule commissions. Ditto with Labour and their own musings on further devolution of undisclosed powers.

    Bearing in mind this prior stance of all the unionist parties less than a year ago does that make all them all bare faced liars?

  82. muttley79 says:

    Surely the question has to be, why do the unionist parties not just have one single commission if they were being serious and genuine about more powers for Holyrood?  Do not expect any journalist in Scotland to ask this question of the No campaign.

  83. James McLaren says:

    By the way, I just heard that a LibDem “minister” in Scotland has moved his family to England.
    Would that be Danny Alexander or Micky Moore.
    My money is on Danny as think the Libdems are toast next election and his seat will disappear.

  84. MajorBloodnok says:


    You mean like “Calman MkII”?  Except this time they should get Susan Calman to chair it.

  85. muttley79 says:

    It could be called ‘Calman Strikes Back’,  ‘Revenge of the Calman’, ‘The Return of the Calman’ etc.

  86. Macart says:

    @ muttley79

    They only unite on one thing near as I can tell and that would be the nearest transport to Westminster for the goodies.

    Its no the only thing that doesn’t get pointed out however from the parties of failed devolution. Why no written UK constitution outlining the rights, responsibilities and liberties of the UKs citizens? I am fairly sick to death of these holier than thou, let’s have a home rule commission types constantly asking for the SNPs vision of a future Scottish government and parliament when the *@*!*?les can’t even define citizen rights in the one we have right now.

    This is really, really simple – cut out the middle men, vote YES in 2014 then we know where to go on ANY decision; fiscal, constitutional or political. All powers will reside at Holyrood and be exercised on behalf of the people of Scotland by those elected by the people of Scotland for the good of the people of Scotland. None of this ‘well mibbies wull pursue this power or that power, but we can’t handle all the powers’ bullshit. And the longer they can’t agree on what powers to agree to ‘loan us’ the better. Disjointed and dysfunctional suits them to a tee. :)

  87. muttley79 says:

    I was thinking that one of the problems for the Yes campaign is going to be how to you keep momentum going over such a long campaign?  After the signing of the referendum agreement, we have from now until the publication of the White Paper on Independence in November next year.  It is difficult to see how the issue will not go off the back burner at least a bit until a year’s time.  After the publication of the White Paper we will see proper debates (hopefully) and the most intense campaigning from then until October 2014. 

  88. Macart says:

    I suspect the general dissemination of information via drip, drip is the plan over the next year. That and allowing time for real fear to set in over cuts, tory dismantling of benefits and the threat of next tory govt. voted in on a majority. This should sharpen peoples attention no end when the white paper is released, maybe make them a bit more open to new ideas. It also gives the no camp time to have that argument over new powers mibbies aye, mibbies naw which then can be held up in stark contrast to what’s on offer with independence.

  89. MajorBloodnok says:

    Over the next 2 years I think our aim should be:

    + To get involved with the YES campaign at whatever level;
    + Use the time to help people gradually realise that Independence is normal rather than a weird obsession held by Braveheart-wannabe types;
    + Use our everyday actions to persuade that ‘one other person’ (or more), that Margo Macdonald talked about at the rally;
    + Gradually get the facts out there about Scotland’s true stengths and capabilities;
    + Use what-ever non-MSM methods are available (flyers, postcards, social-media, samizdat, etc.) to spread the word gradually and organically.

    I intend to go to the Edinburgh YES Scotland meeting on Thursday (1 Nov) and I have a few ideas already….

  90. Luigi says:

    I think the best approach is to be polite and extremely patient with people. However, be bold enough to let friends and relatives know that you are planning to vote YES, and always be ready to explain your argument (when asked). Don’t try to ram it down people’s throats, but be willing to keep gently repeating the case for independence when opportunities arise. Some people will need to hear the message many times before they finally accept it. Avoid aggression at all costs – you will be tested as the core unionists become increasingly desperate. The last thing we need is a barmy – our arguments are sound. Remember, what you sow, others may reap and Scotland will benefit! Something you said or did may just persuade that waverer to vote YES in the quietness of the polling booth in 2014. I’m sure you have all heard these tips before, but worth repeating. Now is the time to be bold, get involved – stand up and be counted. Others will follow.

  91. roni17 says:

    I already have 5 people[previously non-voters]asking for advice.I have been gently pointing,to the BBC and asking them to listen reports on the S.N.P.The feedback has been very good,they[all 5] have noticed the bias.I hope & pray that they in turn,will tell 5 others.i have also told all my friends ,if they do not know the answer to questions then just ask.We on W.O.S will be able to provide those answers.

  92. MajorBloodnok says:

    It’s a lot easier to be calm and persuasive when you have the facts.  And thanks to the Scottish Government and sites like this and Newsnetscotland we have most of the facts already.

    Perhaps that is why the Unionists seem more rabid, unreasonable and mendacious (to me anyway) because those for independence can be more sure of their ground and call on facts and reason, whilst the Unionists have nothing but fear and uncertainty to work with. 

    It also explains why their prime strategy is to try to discredit Salmond personally, because they can’t be drawn into an argument over facts; but if the Independence campaign is carried by everyone and not just Salmond, they can’t bring us all down (and we can reach places that the MSM can’t).

  93. scottish_skier says:

    I have to say the Tories are growing on me. The BBC Scotland front page story about them saying “You jocks will never have the guts to vote for independence and we’re planning to spend tens of billions on new nuclear subs to foist on you” is so perfectly timed it’s sublime. 

    AS. “Here Dave, Labour are giving me stick on the EU thing, can you give us a wee hand?”
    DC. “Sure Alex. How about trident – that’s really unpopular up there isn’t it? I can send up Hammond this time.”
    AS. “Perfect, thanks”
    DC. “Not a problem. BTW have you received the latest boundary change proposals?”…… 

  94. Macart says:

    Couldn’t agree more MB. The feedback I’ve been receiving from workmates and friends (previously solid Labour voters) has been extremely positive. They are well aware already of the dearth of policy from all the Westminster parties and their hearts are definitely in sympathy with the independence movement. Most especially of recent weeks they have been shocked at the behaviour of the media. Still they hang back from committing to a YES vote from, as far as I can see, sheer caution, a hesitation about the unknown. They did make some favourable noises over retaining an enlarged Faslane as the headquarters of a new SDF.

    I don’t think it will take much for them to make the final choice either. They were initially of the devo max train of vote and todays release by Canon Wright has helped things along no end.

  95. Scott Minto (Aka Sneekyboy) says:


    Give them a link to the Groupthink article to show them that Labour have lost their way and then back that up with the Rev’s Wrong Lizards article to show them the dearth of options within the union and finally give them the how to win independence in one picture article. 

    If that doesnt get them thinking then nothing will…

  96. Luigi says:

    The reputation of the BBC has been shot to hell during the past three weeks. Before they manage to regroup and launch a massive charm offensive, perhaps now would be a good time to raise public awareness of the blatant anti-Salmond bias that was performed last week. Whenever the subject of BBC behaviour comes up in discussions, make sure that their blatant, pro-Labour position is also mentioned. I don’t normally advocate kicking a bully when he is down, or standing on a wounded rat, but in the case of the BBC, it is fully deserved!

  97. Elizabeth Sutherland says:

    I managed to pick up Stephen Maxwells book ” Arguing for Independence” at my local Waterstones. I got fed up waitng for it to come from “Amazon” delivery dates changed twice. ( Possible black ops)? The book is a good read and welll worth the money. I will be passing it on to the maybe’s or don’t knows I can trust. 

  98. Macart says:

    @ Scott Minto

    Cheers Scott, will do. 

  99. Luigi says:

    I am also looking forward to reading “Arguing for Independence”, although I must confess I have not really tried to get hold of a copy yet. A reading list of appropriate titles related to independence (any genre) would be really handy, especially for new converts to the cause and old philistines like myself. Aside from Ian Hamilton’s “Stone of Destiny” and a couple of other short works, I haven’t really read much on the topic. Resolution for 2013!

  100. muttley79 says:

    There is David Torrance’s biography of Alex Salmond.  There is also Winnie Ewing’s autobiography.  There are various books on the SNP.  Paul Henderson Scott has written a lot of books, not sure how good they are.  Independence has not been that well covered in terms of books, perhaps unsurprisingly not many Scottish journalists, if any, have produced books on independence.  I think it is fairly obvious why after last weeks’ events.  By contrast, there have been what seems like hundreds published on devolution over the past twenty years.  

  101. Adrian B says:

    Story in Newsnet with a link to Sunday Herald article is a must read
    “Labour’s attacks coincide with an admission from a Labour strategist in the Sunday Herald that their tactic for trying to secure a ‘No’ vote in the referendum is to launch personal attacks on Alex Salmond.”

    So it’s now official that this is Labour policy whether it’s in a manifesto or not.  

  102. Frances says:

    I’d recommend John McGrath’s The Cheviot, The Stag and the Black Black Oil.

  103. James McLaren says:

    I wonder how we could get this lot involved in monitoring our referendum?

    Maybe we should ask Dr James Wilkie?

  104. muttley79 says:

    @Adrian B
    Surely the whole point of being a political strategist is that you don’t reveal your strategy to the press, and more importantly, to your political opponents? You would think you would want to keep it a secret…

  105. MajorBloodnok says:

    @Adrian B

    This is why the grass-roots approach that YES Scotland is promoting has to be the way to go.  Alex Salmond is the decoy and as it is the Unionists’ stated policy to target him with whatever they can throw, it’s hardly promoting the type of hearts and minds approach needed to win the referendum.  Meanwhile, in the backgroud, below the radar of the Labour party and the MSM, we will have two years to inform, influence and persuade….

    Sounds like a plan, anyway!

  106. James McLaren says:

    Except in the pub with a bunch of fellow traveller press chappies, unfortunately overheard by Cyber Psyops

  107. muttley79 says:

    There is a tiny flaw in the No campaign’s logic regarding Salmond.  A recent poll showed that around 21% of Labour voters support independence.  There is the Labour voters for Independence campaign as well.  When are the No campaign going to acknowledge that the referendum is about much more than one individual?

  108. James McLaren says:

    Muttley 79
    I have no doubt that the “established” public polling organisations are bent as bananas and their results are manipulated to nuance whatever the bitter flavour of the day is. The Yougov polling organisation’s latest attempt at asking their own referendum question again and again, until they get what they want to hear and diffuse is pretty telltale.
    I didn’t realise that YouGov was owned by a certain Mr Ashcroft, husband of a Baroness Ashcroft, of EU Commission fame and a Labour Peer to boot. Who would’ve thunk it?

    I also think that a fair wee bit of the SNP’s war chest goes into that sort of private polling.

    They know the real figures.

  109. MajorBloodnok says:

    Good point about Labour for Independence.  I think they need their profile raised as the MSM are pretending they don’t exist.  Could be an eye opener for quite a few traditional Labour voters.  Another idea to add to the YES Scotland pile…

  110. Angus McLellan says:

    Alex Massie’s Spectator piece today on devolution of Corporation Tax to Northern Ireland has relevance for Macart’s question about Calman. As Massie says, the Treasury –  “Whitehall’s very own vampire-squid department” – is a problem. Or even the problem. Massie’s not alone in thinking that. Alan Trench, in his PSA presentation in Brussels in September, identified the Treasury and HMRC (but that’s part of the Treasury Empire) as the main roadblocks in any sort of devomore settlement. 
    There are some interesting points raised about Whitehall’s abilities by Michael Settle’s “Cameron’s army of civil servants to defend Union” piece in today’s Herald. While the story presents a picture of an elite team of geniuses, actually reading through the list of “key issues” is something else.
    For example, the first item – Trade – states “before their split, the Czech Republic and Slovakia had a great deal of cross-border trade, after it, this decreased significantly”. Well, yes, but … this is based, so far as I know, on a single academic study (Fidrmuc & Fidrmuc, ‘Disintegration & Trade’ in “The Review of International Economics”, Nov. 2003). The findings were a great deal more complicated than Settle’s churnalistic summary suggests. As well as former-Czecho, the data included united-Germany and others. Curiously (see p. 24), reunification seemingly resulted in a decline of former-West German exports to former-East Germany but a rise in trade in the opposite direction. How to explain that? Hmm.
    Perhaps we might suspect that the Iron Curtain, Comecon and planned economies may have had an awful lot to do with the intensity of trade between and within former-East Bloc countries. In other words, a study of the former-USSR, -Czecho and -Yugo would have absolutely nothing useful to say about a former-UK or a former-Spain. Sounds as if someone has been Googling for straws to clutch at. So much for “Whitehall’s full intellectual might”. 

  111. James McLaren says:

    Angus McLellan
    Thanks and Jeeezzz, where have you been hiding yourself?

  112. Ronald Henderson says:

    Am I the only person to experience difficulty in contacting the Yes for Scotland campaign?
    I’ve emailed them but don’t get a reply apart from, ”Thanks for your comments etc”.
    I have tried phoning them but I just keep getting a recorded message saying to leave my number and they will get back to me. It hasn’t happened yet. I’ve left two messages on their recording machine but they just don’t get back. I’ve asked for information when their office/rooms in Hope Street are open as I live in Perth and don’t fancy going all the way to Glasgow to find that they’re not open. I’d like to buy a few lapel badges etc but I’m just not having any success in making contact. If anyone out there can advise me I’d be much obliged.
    PS. I know two other people who have had a similar experience. What the heck is going on?

  113. cynicalHighlander says:

    MajorBloodnok   12th November first conference.


  114. Jeannie says:

    @Ronald Henderson
    Inspired by the comments of the legendary Bloodnok, I decided to become a more active participant in the Yes campaign and tried to e-mail tonight to find out if there is an existing  group in my local area. I signed up to the campaign a while back but hadn’t done anything further.  I noticed a search button on the site and typed in my area and a contact came up, who happens to be our SNP MSP, so I’ve e-mailed her for information about when the group meets, etc.  Don’t know if that’s any help or not.
    I agree with Major Bloodnok – we will all need to take individual and collective responsibility for getting a Yes vote – if we don’t do it, who will?

  115. Macart says:

    Angus McLellan

    To quote a great sage Jeeezzzz. No too shabby at all and entirely to the point. The amount of times you encounter posters using the fallout from the Balkan states as a negative example of independence acquired and failed trade is quite amazing. 

  116. Bill C says:

    @ Ronald Henderson

    Hi Ronald, I have been in contact with YES Scotland on 4 different occasions by email. You can email them by going to the ‘contact us’ button on the YES site. I don’t know if that is the email address you tried? I don’t think they are quite up and running yet, there shop was not open a couple of weeks back.  They have an online shop for some bits and pieces but I don’t think they have lapel badges, I am also looking for some. I was told that they will be up and running shortly. Hope this helps.

  117. Marcia says:

    @ Ronald Henderson

    The launch of the Perth Yes Campaign group is on 25 November:

  118. Ronald Henderson says:

    Thanks guys, great information from several of you. I’ll have another go. Regarding lapel badges Bill C I’ve actually seen people wearing them, so there must be some way of getting hold of at least one (apart from grabbing somebody’s lapels). And thanks to Marcia for the info on the Perth meeting on 25 November. Moran taing a bhanacharaid agus gu h-uile duine eile.

  119. David Smith says:

    Major Bloodnok, I rather like your analogy of us as a squadron of stealth bombers sneaking up on the U-mob as they fire all their hardware at the decoy!
    Epic! :-)

  120. Marcia says:

    People in Stirling being interviewed about Labours proposed mean testing/cuts.

  121. MajorBloodnok says:

    @David Smith
    The Jam (tomorrow) Busters?

  122. molly says:

    Ronald Henderson, just back from the first ‘official’ Yes meeting for my area.Good turnout and it appeared from the questions( asked at the end),a few ‘not sures’ had come  along with an open mind.Anyway on the way out ,there were stickers, pens AND lapel pins available -free.(The wee blue one with yes ) Maybe theres an inaugural meeting near you soon, failing that I can send you one

  123. douglas clark says:

    Angus McLellan,
    I especially enjoyed this part of your post:
    “In other words, a study of the former-USSR, -Czecho and -Yugo would have absolutely nothing useful to say about a former-UK or a former-Spain. Sounds as if someone has been Googling for straws to clutch at. So much for “Whitehall’s full intellectual might”.
    The problem with “Whitehall’s full intellectual might” is that it has failed against every previous attempt to leave the Empire on which the Sun never used to set. And they used some fairly dirty tricks to keep people in, no more so than in the India that was, prior to partition.
    My hope, rather than opinion, is that we learn that that legacy of disentanglement from a dead Empire is nothing new, and nothing to be worried about.
    Australia, for instance, has proven itself to be neither weak nor stupid (wee would be ridiculous) and is making it’s way in the world without Westminster’s guidance. How do these folk manage without the intellectual giants in Whitehall managing their affairs? Well enough that you’d have to be loopy to advocate becoming part of the Empire again in downtown Sydney, or Adelaide.
    I have a love / hate relationship with this song. It is painfully true and it hurts like hell:
    The Australians were just as much victims of the Empire as we were. Cannon fodder for Lord Snooty’s.
    I will welcome this collection of fools stuck on the 06:45 from Kent showing us what they’ve got. It is going to be fun ripping them apart.
    I will be informed by the fact that no-one else actually cared what they thought and departed.
    It is, if you like, New Zealand no more, Botswana no more, it is a letter to Whitehall.

  124. MajorBloodnok says:

    First Edinburgh YES Scotland meeting is on 1 November.  Judging by the RSVPs noted on the website there will be nearly 200 people there. Should be interesting.

  125. jake says:

    These “yes” meetings all around the country sound great. If you’re going…..remember to take an undecided friend

  126. Angus McLellan says:

    “But what about Ireland Douglas,” the Unionist made of straw who lives in my head wants to ask, “Ireland’s not done well. How do you know Scotland would do well, like Australia, NZ or whatever, and not as badly as Ireland?”
    In 1925, Ireland’s GDP may have been around £200 million while UK’s was around £4600 million. (Those are 1925 pounds, not present-day ones.) And how did things work out after 80-odd years? In 2011, Ireland’s GDP was $187 billion (imaginary PPP dollars, not the ones you get at the airport) and the UK’s was $2287 billion. Clear? No, probably not, so let me try again.
    In 1925 Ireland’s GDP was around 4% of that of the UK and in 2011 it was 8%. So GDP doubled, relatively, but the population of Ireland hasn’t doubled or anything like it. Put another way, Ireland’s gone from being about where Argentina or Turkey is today in relation to the UK in per capita GDP terms to being well ahead. What a total disaster!

  127. G H Graham says:

    In an article called “Angiolini to take no part in Salmond EU probe” published by “The Herald” today it repeated a lie it made last week by writing …

    Labour MSP Paul Martin has called on Mr. Salmond to repay £12,000 of public money spent on court action aimed at keeping the existence of legal advice secret.”

    But it contradicted itself by telling an even bigger lie in another article published last week called “Salmond’s darkest day in government” in which it wrote …

    “Unexpectedly yesterday, Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon revealed no specific legal advice had been sought. If this is the case, taxpayers are entitled to know why the Government has spent £100,000 of public funds going to the Court of Session in an attempt to prevent the publication of whether or not such advice had been sought.”

    If Magnus Gardham ever reads these pages, here’s some advice. As Political Editor of “The Herald”, you would earn respect from your fellow journalists & readers if you at least stuck to one number instead of using figures which might describe what Cheryl Cole spent on hair products last year. You might even reverse the precipitous decline in readership if you actually started reporting the facts.

    Your political choice is of course a free one and our democratic principles permit a vigorous debate from all viewpoints without fear or physical retaliation but you do our country a huge disservice by deliberately telling lies. Leave that sort of behaviour fto banana republics & their tinpot dictators.

    All the servicemen & women who died in those dreadful conflicts to protect our freedom of speech, movement & labour, surely deserve that our media publish the truth, even if its contrary to what many wish to read.

  128. Craig P says:

    We have 2 years. But the way things are going now I predict that we will have reached a tipping point by November next year. A year and a half ago I was surprised and saddened at the vitriol expressed by ordinary people at the SNP majority. But now people are definitely softening up, and we pro-independence folk on the ground are getting smarter. It will only take a question mark in someone’s head about the output of the BBC, they go on the Internet to look for more, they see McCrone and a dozen other things, and a convert is made. 
    Recently I was talking to a visitor from the south of England, he made a jovial remark about the dastardly Salmond, I joined the tone and said “yes, he’s like the monarchy. Just when you think you’d like to get rid of him you realise the alternative is worse.” He looked surprised (it is unlikely he has ever heard anything other than disparaging remarks about Salmond in the media) so I carried on. “Cameron, Clegg, Milliband – no thanks! I don’t envy you guys. No wonder the British media hate him.”
    Now this man has gone away with the seed of a very different idea about Alex Salmond. Now he will be looking at the media with a different eye. He may not have a vote in Scotland but this is the kind of short, undemonstrative conversations I have been having recently. 

  129. douglas clark says:

    Angus McLellan @ 3:32am.
    It is fascinating that the myth of Ireland and Iceland as economic basket cases is apparently a piece of received wisdom these days.
    I have a lot of time for Icelands reaction to the economic crisis. One outcome of which is that the people of Iceland have re-written their own constitution and bankers have appeared in court charged with criminal intentions. IIRC the IMF admired what they had done! How different is that from the puerile reactions of Gordon Brown, et al?
    Our unionist fellow citizens should be made aware of the interesting premise that there is more than a Westminster way to skin a cat. We had the opportunity to destroy these people and as a nation, we bottled it. The consequence of which is that each and every one of us is now paying for their failure. It is quite, quite mad.

  130. douglas clark says:

    G H Graham,
    Could we stop caring about what a pip squeek has to say?

    The day that comments were enabled on newspapers was the death knell for these inflated egos opinions mattering at all. Indeed they are now so embarrassed at their own inadequacies that comments are not allowed, as per the BBC Scotland fiasco. The frightening reality for them is that the people that comment on their articles are usually more sensible and better informed than they are.

    Their sinecure will not last much longer, given that sales of print journalism are falling off a cliff. Why paygood money to have your intelligence insulted?

    Here’s the thing. Magnus Gardham is a small person of no note or merit. Try repeating that as a mantra. Just because he has a position with a declining regional newspaper doesn’t make his opinion or spin worth diddly squat.

    He has one vote in the referendum and, frankly, if the below the line comments are typical, his only allies come from the West Midlands and Madrid.

    Good journalists are hard to find. We are very lucky to have one here.

  131. Ronald Henderson says:

    Molly. I’ve been informed that there is to be a Yes meeting in Perth on Sunday 25 November in Riverside church hall at 2pm. I’ll be attending. Thanks to all who came up with the information. Le gach deagh dhurachd a charaidean. (all the best to you my friends)

  132. Ronald Henderson says:

    I’ve had a phone call from the Yes campaign office in Glasgow. Their office won’t be properly up and running till the 19th November. Their hours at present are 9 till 5, Monday to Friday with the occasional Saturday. They are going to send me out some lapel badges and they only cost £1 each so I’ve ordered five. Great stuff! Things are moving at last. Can you pass this information on please?

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