sentiment without action is the ruin of the soul

Wings Over Scotland

It’s Britain’s Oil

Posted on January 25, 2013 by

We’ve pilfered the files of the tremendous Scottish Political Archive before (you’ll have seen one here, for example), but in the light of today’s earlier post and a comment on it from an alert reader directing us to this fantastic piece about the 1979 No campaign, we’ve been rummaging around in there again. We particularly enjoyed this image (click to enlarge) and its contents, from a campaign group called “Scotland Is British”.

There’s pure gold in almost every line (we particularly enjoyed the description of independence as “ultimate separation” in section 4, and how everything predicted as a dire consequence of devolution in section 3 happened anyway without it), but the most familiar of the many top-drawer zingers was in section 6.

“The claim that North Sea Oil belongs to the Scottish people alone has no stronger basis in international law, than that the major fields east of Shetland belong exclusively to the Shetlanders.”

We suspect that most people in 1979 knew a lot less about “international law” than they do now in the age of near-universal internet access and social media, so it’s understandable that the anti-devolution movement would reckon it could probably get away with such blatant lies. What’s amazing is that 34 years later various Unionists, journalists and supposedly impartial “think tanks” still regularly suggest that an independent Scotland might only get a “population share” of “UK” oil.

Modern-day lying is a much more subtle art, of course. It’s rarely stated that a population share is a likely outcome of independence negotiations – the figures are just thrown in casually alongside the proper geographical ones to sow a seed of fear, uncertainty and doubt. But the underlying strategy is exactly the same now as it was three-and-a-half decades ago, and it’s six words long. Too wee. Too poor. Too stupid.

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86 to “It’s Britain’s Oil”

  1. Andy Connelly-Nimmo says:

    I love the whole ‘it’s not your oil’ line. 

    Is it not?  On what basis?

    Of course, we’ll be entitled to 8.7% of all natural and profitable resources inside the geographical boundaries of England, Wales & Northern Ireland…

    Oh, you weren’t proposing that? Just a one-sided theft? Ah, I see! 


  2. Doug Daniel says:

    By rights, any undecided voter (and many a NO voter as well) should see things like this, and instantly realise they’ve been lied to by BetterTogether. And even some NO campaigners should suddenly think “oh my, is that really how we sound?”

    Shame things aren’t quite that simple… 

    Incidentally, Iain MacWhirter did an excellent job of rebuffing the “Salmond won’t offer Scots an EU referendum” nonsense being peddled by some Scottish Daily Mail hack (probably Alan Roden) on GMS today. It’s increasingly baffling that he’s not an all-out Yes supporter yet.


  3. Christian Wright says:

    Prediction block on second paragraph seems to be right on the money. Wonder if the analyst who wrote it is still around?  

    If so you should interview him and get him to tell us what is in store under either scenario  Indy or continued union. 


  4. An Duine Gruamach says:

    Actually, I’m all in favour of a population-based distribution of all assets post independence.  So… how many of the Stonehenge stones are we getting?  


  5. Macart says:

    Actually their arguments haven’t changed much, have they? Wonder if Forsyth had any hand in drafting that wee gem. Unionism for beginners – a seven point guide. :)


  6. Marian says:

    The unionist strategy has always been about undermining the self-confidence of the people of Scotland in the hope that doubt will persuade them to stay attached to Westminster’s chains.

    What they forget is that devolution and return of the Scots Parliament has given Scots sight of what they can achieve when the chains are loosened.


  7. muttley79 says:

    We will have our proportion of the White Cliffs of Dover…


  8. Melanie McKellar says:

    Point 3 more or less came true without the Assembly and before devolution all we needed was Maggie! Makes me wonder if an Assembly in 1979 would have slowed down the industrial decline and built on our new industries or if would have occurred regardless….


  9. TamD says:

    The nice orange band at the bottom says it all for me. This is a party political message paid for assorted Heidbangers, Unionists & Nutters (HUNs for short)


  10. dadsarmy says:

    and indeed Vera Lynn!


  11. Garve says:

    An Duine Gruamach says:
    25 January, 2013 at 11:21 am

    “Actually, I’m all in favour of a population-based distribution of all assets post independence.  So… how many of the Stonehenge stones are we getting?”
    I’m looking forward to manning the toll gates at the start of Scotland’s 2.5 miles of the Channel Tunnel! :-)


  12. dadsarmy says:

    Mmm, an interesting diagram would be for NO Campaign highlights, with stuff down one side and a column for 1979 and one for 2014. A column for 1997 would be handy but – was there a NO campaign then led by the Tories perhaps?


  13. dadsarmy says:

    Wouldn’t that mean we would have an 8.4% control over the Thames Barrier? 😉


  14. Pa Broon says:

    It seems Better Together (etc) are doing their bit for the environment by recycling old policies, political argument and hyperbole.

    Next thing we’ll hear is, a Yes in 2014 will see Scotland set back 30 years. Oh, hold on…


  15. Robert Kerr says:

    It wasn’t Scotland’s Oil. It was and is Britain’s Oil.

    And there is nothing to show for it ! Pissed against the wall by Westminster !

    Look to say, Kuwait, for infrastructure spend. I lived there for five years.

    And petrol is still 13 pence (60 fils) per litre ! 


  16. sneddon says:

    An Duine Gruamach says:

    Actually, I’m all in favour of a population-based distribution of all assets post independence.  So… how many of the Stonehenge stones are we getting?
    Customer collection only  :)



  17. dadsarmy says:

    I can’t remember the name of the place, but driving down the A81 to go to Switzerland from Germany, there was this thrivng busy border town, with dozens of petrol stations on the German side, because fuel was cheaper in Germany than Switzerland. You’d fill up on the way out, and arrive back as empty as you dared.

    A lower fuel duty in Scotland would do wonders for the border towns of Scotland, let alone our whole economy.


  18. balgayboy says:

    Sorry to be O/T.. but just watched a magnificent performance by Scotland’s Andy Murray victory over a legend in Roger Federer to reach the finals of the Oz open. Looked a winner all the way. Congratulations to a great role model for the younger generation of our country. We as people need to grow from his acheivements.


  19. Cuphook says:

    The internet really was the dawning of a new age. I’ve looked at the Archive before and been surprised at how amateurish everything looked and sounded. And yet, as is pointed out, the No campaign continue to use the same arguments.
    And fast forward to something that they’d never had countenanced in 1979.
    Does anyone know if Scottish MPs will be voting on the Westminster Marriage (Same-Sex Couples) Bill which is published today?
    It seems to be agreed by the media that when it comes to the vote it should pass by about one hundred votes, but there are already voices being raised on the Right about the unfairness of the 77 non English and Welsh MPs voting. They do have a point.
    It would be a shame to see equality legislation defeated but, other than to wind up the English Right, has it got anything to do with us? It will be interesting to see how Milliband deals with it.
    And one final question. When equal marriage is introduced in Scotland and friends want to convert their civil partnership, do I have to upgrade the toaster that I gave them?


  20. EdinScot says:

    Seconded balgayboy.  Andy Murray put in an incredible performance especially after losing the 4th set in a tie break.  He raced away with the 5th set in amazing fashion.  What a credit to Scotland he is.  Andy Murray – the pride of Scotland. 
    Back on topic, i have often wondered what Scotland would look like today had we got our parliament away back in 1979.  A very different landscape would exist i suspect.  We need to get this message out about their jam tomorrow promises back in 79 to the younger generation in particular to stop lightning striking twice.

    O/T again – been brought to my attention that the ‘Scottish Sun’ is going on all out attack on Cameron and wee Ruthie over their shambles over Europe.  This comes the day after the ‘Daily Retard’ slating the tories over Europe.   And yet apparantly theyre on the same side and better together!!


  21. Ally says:

    “In the event of separation, the home market for many Scottish manufacturers will reduce by 90%.”

    It’s such a shame that we can’t sell our whisky abroad nowadays eh? 

    “The future of Scotlands uneconomic coal mines will be in doubt” 

    Phew – just as well we didn’t go for it then eh? 


  22. Cuphook says:

    Somewhere in the Archive there’s an election leaflet for a George Foulkes who wanted your vote so that he could abolish the House of Lords.


  23. Cuphook says:

    In fact, here it is.


  24. Seasick Dave says:


    In fact, here it is.

    Lord Foulkes, if you are reading this, look away now.



  25. Doug says:


    Good find!  Is there any stock footage of Mr Darling during the 1979 campaign saying’no’?


  26. Cuphook says:

    To be fair to George, I think that his new tactic is to bankrupt the institution by claiming exorbitant expenses, thus revealing the bankrupt nature of its soul.

    George Foulkes – The People’s Lord.


  27. Taighnamona says:

    Thanks Cuphook, I’ve posted the link on my FB page.


  28. dadsarmy says:

    You’ve got to feel sorry for the NO campaign, back-stabs by the UK Government are coming thick and fast. Soon there’ll be no more planks (or mixed metaphors) in their rapidly sinking ship.

    Deal signed to import Irish wind power south of the border


  29. Dal Riata says:


    6. What about North Sea Oil?
    ‘You poor ignorant schmucks don’t know anything about the McCrone Report, do you? Ha, ha, ha! 

    2005 onwards…

    ‘Oh, …shit!’



  30. muttley79 says:

    We should get 8.4% of Big Ben and Westminster as well….


    Has anybody read Joyce McMillan’s article today?  It is howlingly bad.  Apparently the Yes campaign is already beaten, Salmond wanted a third question (I thought it was a second question?), he was “doomed” to hold a referendum, the turnout will be very low, apparently the most popular option (more powers) is being denied the people of Scotland (despite the results of the consultation) etc.  It is a absolute shocker of an article.


  31. Macart says:


    Beat me to it. :)

    Cracking result. C’mon Andy! 


  32. cath says:

    “Has anybody read Joyce McMillan’s article today?”

    I’m confused. Wasn’t she having a go at the No campaign and saying she was being pushed towards yes just last week?


  33. muttley79 says:


    Yes, she was. Her words “condemning us, in all likelihood, to a massive No vote, followed by at least a decade of stagnation.”


  34. Seasick Dave says:

    Joyce McMillan is an anagram of Jolly Mac mince.


  35. Commenter says:

    slightly O/T.
    I’ve just read a really good article by James Maxwell in the New Statesman which should be required reading for the YES campaign organisers and Independence supporters.
    The nub of the piece is that if the YES campaign doesn’t get its finger out and start to campaign more vigorously the Independence Referendum is going to be lost. I agree with the article. It is time that the YES started to hit back hard at the NO-Men with negative stories of its own, and God knows there are plenty of targets available under this Tory Government, and the Bitter Together set up. We can’t afford to wait for the autumn White Paper. It is really ridiculous that an own goal by Cameron about an EU referendum in 5 or 6 years can be turned against the YES campaign. What is the latter doing?


  36. muttley79 says:


    I read the article yesterday.  I had a few problems with it.  Firstly, what is the point in risking the Yes campaign peaking too soon?  If there was a lot of activity now, the electorate would soon get bored of the subject itself, let alone the arguments.  Secondly, there is no mention of the media bias at all, and no hint that the scare stories will soon hit the diminishing returns factor.  We have around 20 months to go.  You cannnot sustain a political campaign, going at full pelt, for that long a period.  It has to be measured, with a gradual build up until the White Paper is published. 


  37. Seasick Dave says:

    I’m with Muttley on this one.

    Its all under control and just bubbling away nicely.

    The NO lot have just used up all of their ’97 campaign material and now don’t have a Scooby what to do.

    The big scare was that we wouldn’t get into Europe and now it looks like its more likely that Scotland will be in Europe than England.

    I think that they are at the point of kicking the arse of the the barrel and using it for firewood. 


  38. cath says:

    Just read that Macmillan article. It’s a re-hash of one she had just after new year except a bit more negative drivel filled.

    I’ve heard Salmond say that research shows if there is a negative campaign and a positive campaign, the positive will win. But if there are two negative campaigns, the most negative of the two will win.
    I’m not sure where that comes from, or if it’s entirely true, but it has a ring of the plausible to it. If it’s true, the No campaign have a very real vested interest in dragging the Yes campaign to a negative level.

    I do think the Yes camp need to be putting out plenty of “truths”, such as McCrone, the dangers of a no, history of what’s been done and the negative things that are happening in Westminster and how we could do them better. That, imo, is not negative campaigning: it’s perfectly legitimate and positive. Negative is where everything is doom-mongering, scaremongering, and attacks on individuals and supporters in general on the other side.


  39. cath says:

    Articles like that one don’t help at all, and if Joyce is serious and believes what she’s saying, she should come no board with the Yes campaign positively – she’s an opinion writing journalist in the Scotsman, ffs: these are the people that shape the way the campaign sounds most. If she doesn’t like the sound of it, change the record.


  40. Holebender says:

    The last thing we want to do is go negative! In the past week we have seen journalists publishing articles about how the naysayers’ negativity has pushed them towards the YES camp. Do you really want to throw that away so soon?


  41. cath says:

    Exactly holebender – which is why I suspect there may be some unionist wolves in sheep’s clothing out there with siren songs about how “the yes campaign is just not negative enough and needs to start upping the negativity”.


  42. John Lyons says:

    Forget Stone henge, forget the white cliffs of Dover, I want Throne room from Buck House and that’s well less than our 9.6%

    And I’m not talking aout the Cludgie.


  43. muttley79 says:


    Yes, it was a very disappointing and negative article.  I am not sure why anyone would not just predict the result, but basically say that there is going to be a massive No vote.  It sounds a bit odd saying that, particulalry when the media in Scotland got the 2011 elections so wrong.  I don’t think she is a Yes voter, at least not yet, because she seems to support greater devolution.  We now know the unionists blocked this option in the referendum.  I agree that the Yes campaign does need to start getting over the consequences of a No vote, and continuation of Westminster rule over Scotland (EU, NHS, Welfare cuts, block grant etc).

    Although I disagreed with Commnetator, the Yes campaign does need to maintain momentum over a long campaign.  They also can’t be nice all the time, there will have to be home truths into what kind of a society we can expect if the No campaign wins.


  44. Holebender says:

    Cath, snap! You must have been reading my mind.


  45. Commenter says:

    To all those who have responded to my earlier comment. I would say firstly that I am NOT in the Unionist camp. On to the argument. I didn’t say we should start serious campaigning now I am well aware of electoral fatigue but we cannot allow the NO camp to drive the agenda without any riposte. That was why Mitt Romney lost. We need to reply robustly to the NO camp stories and to set some rolling ourselves criticising Westminster and the No-Men. Currently the YES camp seems to be doing nothing. When members appear on TV they don’t seem to be briefed to expect attacks off topic and flounder when it happens. They also let presenters talk over them without response.  
    Some people on this site are far too complacent, thinking Independence will all happen as they think (hope more like) because our arguments are more positive than theirs. The trouble is the people who will vote don’t know our arguments because they do not visit blog sites. So we need to give newspapers and TV simple stories which criticise the NO-Men. If the stories are interesting the media will publish them. Just remember there is only a 25% to 30% solid YES vote at the moment. Doing nothing is not an option.


  46. Seasick Dave says:


    I firmly believe that the SNP Government and the YES campaign have both the long term strategy and the short term tactics worked out and are well able to answer criticisms.

    The planning that went into the last election victory was incredible and I would be very surprised indeed if complacency were to ruin the plans.

    This is a campaign to improve Scotland’s lot and if people believe that’s achieved by being misruled by Tories (or Labour) in Westminster then there’s probably not a lot you can do.

    As the day of reckoning approaches I think that you will see the opinion formers louping the dyke and that’s when the war will be won. 

    McKenna is only the first.


  47. muttley79 says:


    Nobody said you were a unionist.  I am not personally complacent, I have always believed that it will be very hard to get a Yes vote.  However, I do think it is more than possible to achieve a Yes vote.  I agree with some of what you are saying about the campaign.  I agree that the Yes speakers need to be more assertive in interviews with the media.  I think they should be like Alex Neil more often.  They should ask people, such as Gordon Brewer, to let them speak if he continues in the vein he does.  In addition, your point about not being well briefed enough could well be right.  I agree with your point about how  do you reach people who do not read internet blogs? 

    However, the Yes campaign is doing things every week.  I do not think it is fair to say they are doing nothing.  Have a look at their website and you will see campaigning, events going on all over the country.


  48. Holebender says:

    Commenter, what you said was “It is time that the YES started to hit back hard at the NO-Men with negative stories of its own” That is where I have difficulty with your statement. I agree the YES campaign should be countering the scare stories, but not with negativity for the sake of it.
    A couple of things to bear in mind; (1)YesScotland has not been idle, it has been building a grassroots campaign. (2)The news media are universally hostile to YES so how do you know YesScotland hasn’t been fighting back? Do you think the MSN would report it?


  49. Tom62 says:

    Another heading for the article A History of Unionist Lies


  50. Dcanmore says:

    The NO campaign by Labour activists (Darling, Wilson et all) in 1979 was on the basis that, according to their International Socialism ideology, Scotland is NOT a country but a region. Regionalisation was their mantra so the argument about the ‘oil is not Scottish’ is the divide and conquer tactics of Labour (especially Marxists like Darling) which breeds fear into the proles, fear that you can’t do anything (god forbid anything aspirational) without the collective agreement of over-promoted cooncillurs… from cradle to grave we’ll look after your wealth and make sure everyone is equal, equally poor that is. Orwell had them sussed decades ago.


  51. Christian Wright says:

    “The nub of the piece is that if the YES campaign doesn’t get its finger out and start to campaign more vigorously the Independence Referendum is going to be lost.”    

    Two observations: The independence-deniers are runnin around like headless kinkajous. The idependenistas are not .  

    I would expect both sides are polling and focus-grouping pretty well constantly and both have a lie of the land. 

    While I have no doubt the First Minister and his cabinet play a mean game of poker, over this extended period I have not observed a single tell.

    Contrast this with the demeanor of the independence-deniers who act like goldfish with an attention deficit disorder. The contrast is remarkable. It is like comparing apples to moon rocks.

    I suspect that things may be closer than we know. Perhaps one should look to the devo max cohort of the electorate and consider whether the smart money says they will choose to vote Indy en masse rather than abstain (I just don’t see them voting NO). Along with the committed YESers that would be the card game right there.

    Canasta anyone?  


  52. Cuphook says:

    It is incredible how many of the phrases that we hear today from the No campaign are straight out of the 70s.
    SNP accused of ‘wrecking’ devolution. (1979)
    Devolution is the opposite of separatism. (1974)
    Some electors might be tempted by the thought that Scotland on its own could escape the problems that beset the rest of Britain [but think of the emnity (sic) your poor English relatives]. (1974)
    It’s obviously British oil. All lease holders are British registered companies subject to British laws and taxation. (1974)
    And one from the 80s that we don’t hear anymore: A pro-NATO, anti-Trident argument that sounds like it might be SNP policy.


  53. Cameron says:

    Nice and steady does it. If this was a game of poker, I think the third card has just been drawn. Not a time to make too strong a show (if that is the correct term?). The Yes campaign should be countering the scare agenda with facts. I think the possibilities presented by a written constitution is a big selling point, and should be linked to these facts as often as possible.
    @ Commentor
    I do not think Mitt Romney was selected to run as serious opposition to the Goldman Sachs candidate. I think his Mormonism probably played a bigger role in his defeat, than any blunders made by his campaign team. That and popular revulsion at his support for rabid neoliberal policies. The Democratic cool-aid was preferred as a more nuanced neoliberalism. IMO, his defeat wasn’t a total loss for the corporatist agenda though, as the political spectrum itself has once more lurched towards the “right”. If it looks like a Collectivist Oligarchy……


  54. muttley79 says:


    The NO campaign by Labour activists (Darling, Wilson et all) in 1979 was on the basis that, according to their International Socialism ideology, Scotland is NOT a country but a region. Regionalisation was their mantra so the argument about the ‘oil is not Scottish’ is the divide and conquer tactics of Labour (especially Marxists like Darling) which breeds fear into the proles, fear that you can’t do anything (god forbid anything aspirational) without the collective agreement of over-promoted cooncillurs… from cradle to grave we’ll look after your wealth and make sure everyone is equal, equally poor that is. Orwell had them sussed decades ago

    Given that messers Darling and Wilson are not Marxists anymore, 😀 what are they now?  Neo-Cons?


  55. BigCheese says:

    Now you are all just being silly. Of course we can’t take a couple of stones from Stonehenge or part of the Channel Tunnel…… We will have a valuation done by a Sheriffs Officer and then swap them our 8.6% of the nuclear weapons for it all.


  56. cath says:

    I’m very cheered by seeing all the No propaganda from the 1970s. The fact is, the yes vote won that time around, despite the propaganda. This time around we have the internet, a dying-on-its-arse mainstream media no one trusts, a Scottish government to help counter the Westminster one, and a Westminster that is thoroughly discredited and distrusted by almost everyone. Add to that the evidence of what happened in ’79, and we have a lot more to counter propaganda now. It may not be entirely lost on some in the Yes capmaign and SNP that in ’79 the polls started off very high for devolution before being worn down by the propaganda against.

    Also, the comparisons to Mitt Romney miss one crucial thing – he was fighting an election across the US, in a country very much polarised by Republican/Democrat politics, won by a small number on the middle ground.

    With this referendum, it appears – certainly to me, and I doubt I’m alone – to be much more of a Westminster, London, UK establishment against Scotland, Holyrood and the Scottish government split. So the relentless negativity and abuse is actually directed as much towards Scotland and the Scottish people (and our bad taste in First Ministers) as anything else.

    It may well be that many people are not yet convinced by independence. That is perfectly fair. But most do want to hear the debate, and hear what those – in particular the Scottish government and Yes campaign – arguing for it are saying. The media and Westminster elite triyng to drown them out with negativity and abuse will irk a lot of those people, especially if it’s being done to people who seem basically decent, soft spoken, quite new to the public eye, not hardened politically etc, by those who appear to be bullies and have media profile.

    This is very different from a US election. And very different from normal politics too.


  57. Cameron says:

    @ Cath
    “With this referendum, it appears – certainly to me, and I doubt I’m alone – to be much more of a Westminster, London, UK establishment against Scotland, Holyrood and the Scottish government split”
    That is definitely the impression I get on other forums, even from the opinions of non-Scottish posters. Scotland is not the only part of the UK suffering from a democratic deficit, and I am beginning to think that Westminster and the MSM have bitten off more than they can chew, in terms of being able to main a negative propaganda campaign all the way up to polling day. Admittedly, those not living in Scotland are not exposed to the same degree of hypocrisy and disinformation from the MSM.


  58. Commenter says:

    “I agree the YES campaign should be countering the scare stories, but not with negativity for the sake of it.” 
    The YES should not just be countering scare stories but producing its own. For example London stealing all the UK’s wealth, Scotland’s culture, TV and literature, constantly being suborned to English, the oil money squandered for 40 years while Scotland sinks into squalour, and so on … Plenty of ammo there for a good story writer to get their teeth into and if the stories are good enough the MSM will reproduce them. The trouble is that the YES campaign people are ‘TOO NICE’ (just like some people here) and don’t want to ‘scare the horses’. Look at the fiasco over Alisdair Gray. Everything he said about the English being either colonists or settlers was true and was NOT racist yet the YES campaign and the SG to their shame disowned him because presumably … it wasn’t NICE..



  59. Dcanmore says:


    Oh they still call themselves Marxists, as do the Millibands. You know the millionaire variety! It’s a bit like Blair donning a red tie and calling himself a socialist. What they actually are is liars, pure and simple. I wouldn’t buy a second-hand car off any of them.

    Personally I think the YES campaign are doing fine. They’re playing the long game and will do what they have to do when the time is right. The last six months of the campaign is the time that the voters will remember when the Referendum Day comes around.


  60. Dcanmore says:

    This is all fascinating (and revealing) stuff Rev Stu, thanks very much :)


  61. Christian Wright says:

    @cameron – what sunk Romney’s campaign was the 47% comment. It was not that folks inclined to vote for Romney switched to Obama when they heard it, they didn’t, but that it energized Obama’s base like nothing else could and they came out in droves.

    The other main factor  that helped in that participation was the attempt of republican controlled legislatures and governors to blatantly suppress the Democratic vote by impeding registration, curtailing the window for early voting, “underestimating” the number of polling stations required, closing them early, and running out of ballot papers. People stood in line into the early hours of the next morning to cast their vote even though they knew Ohio had been called and that Obama was well over the 270 electoral votes required.


  62. muttley79 says:


    I don’t like the terms “colonists” or “settlers” at all.  The reason is they are loaded terms.  Are Scots who go to live in all the different parts of the world “colonists” or “settlers?”  (and there is plenty of them).  Do you remember a group called Settler Watch?  What is the problem with English people coming to live in Scotland, and Scottish people going to live in England?  There is plenty of both.  


  63. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “What is the problem with English people coming to live in Scotland, and Scottish people going to live in England? There is plenty of both.”

    There isn’t one. But you’d surely agree that there are different types (in both cases) – those who try to fit in and those who don’t?


  64. muttley79 says:

    @Rev Stu

    There probably is, although how much is that down to personality (some people just prefer to do their own thing) or other factors? The problem I have with the terms ‘colonists’ or ‘settlers’ is that it is a essentially negative way to describe outsiders. More specifically, I remember the group called Settler Watch from the 1990s. and also the rhetoric of ‘White Settlers.’ I believe that this was racism, or at least very close to that.


  65. Cameron says:

    @ Christian Wright
    Thanks for filling in the gaps in my explanation, which I hope wasn’t too far of the mark. Are you in the US and do you think Romney was a real candidate?


  66. Braco says:

    Muttley, did you read what Alisdair Gray was saying or are you just reacting to your perception of the language and media response?


  67. Midgehunter says:

    Some of what “Commenter” and others have said are surely right with respect to the YES /SNP campaigns being too tame or well “nice”.
    When you get bombarded day in day out with truely negative bile then the wish to give it back is hard to resist.
    I’d like to see a special team of well briefed spokespeople with strong backbones being sent to the TV/radio broadcasts, people who are not prepared to let themselves be intimidated and who can give the interviewer a damm good pasting if needed.


  68. dadsarmy says:

    24 billion barrels @ 1 barrel – 160 litres = 3,840 billion litres.

    @10 miles per litre, 10,000 miles per year, 60 years for every man, woman, child and baby in Scotland that’s 325 billion litres. Not taking into account hybrids. Vehicles I mean, not the population of Scotland.

    Enough to keep us going for a lifetime, and sell the other 90%.

    Keep it nice, just hit them with facts and figures!

    Back to the accounts.


  69. dadsarmy says:

    I hope I’m not annoying anyone, but I think we need figures that can be used.

    Cost at  pump without Duty or VAT: 53.2p
    Duty: 57.95p
    Nett: 111.15p
    VAT: 22.23p
    Cost at pump: 133.38p doesn’t quite match their 133.66p

    Anyway, to stimulate the economy, cut the duty to 30p:

    Cost: 53.2p
    Duty: 30p
    Nett: 83.2p
    VAT: 16.64p
    Cost at pump to the punter: 99.84p

    Just saying, like.


  70. dadsarmy says:

    If I keep going like this I’ll ban myself, but you know what it’s like, get a bee in the bunnet and it’s all buzz.

    Target price for business like me that reclaim VAT: £1 / litre (99.9p!).
    Cost at pump: £1.20 (119.9p)
    VAT: 20p
    Cost without Duty and VAT: 53.2p
    Duty: 46.8p

    Stimulus to economy, boost to private feel-good factor, reduce fuel duty from 57.95p to 46.8p – a drop of 11.15p, a drop of only 19.2%. The AA reckon sales dropped a lot with the rising price, so there’s a chance there’d be NO loss of gov revenue at all, but instead, an increase in business and consumer confidence.

    These are scenarios I’d like to see run as “choices” for Independence. Same target price for diesel, and both prices kept fairly or completely steady by a fuel stabilisor mechanism.

    SNP might not be able to do this, but YES campaign can and perhaps should – maybe via a think-tank report.


  71. mutterings says:

    dadsarmy, with regard to reducing fuel duty: I had a similar discussion with a friend last week: you could add £££ to people’s pockets by reducing the price of fuel. Everyone would understand this argument (a tangible benefit to most). That would be a vote winner!
    I suspect though, the idea would be torpedoed by the Greens.


  72. dadsarmy says:

    Yes, that’s true. I don’t know what the Green’s bottom line is but increased mileage, presumably emissions and carbon, could long-term be offset by increasing bands for motor tax by carbon, perhaps with a more complicated setup that doesn’t penalise those of us that can’t afford to rush out and buy a new car / van. Plus after 2 or 3 years, a scrappage scheme. The beauty for us is that we don’t exactly have a large car / truck manufacturing base in Scotland now to worry about, so perhaps even greener / hybrid / nextgen manufacturers could be encouraged to start up or move in. A short term loss for the Greens, but a long term gain.

    I also think there’s a fair chance that even in the first year no revenue would be lost, maybe even gained, and that could be traded off for green projects. Perhaps more rail lines, better services, high-speed rail, ah – here’s a good one – putting in more charging points for electric cars!

    It’d need a full paper from maybe combined universities, including a rough economy model, and maybe a 10 year plan.


  73. Christian Wright says:

    @cameron – about 50/50 between the West Coast and my home an hour north of Inverness, though I am in rUK  and Europe quite a bit when I’m in Scotland . . There’s something Irish about that statement.   (that’s correct, Britain was not in Europe, according to my teachers)

    Romney nearly won, and thought he did right up to and beyond the Ohio declaration. The truly did not believe the late polls – right wing group think and illustrates the danger of talking to yourself.

    I watched Fox News on election night deliberately to view the impending train wreck. Nate silver at the Post had convinced me Obama was odds on to win. In fact I had absolutely no doubt giiven the late-late data. 

    Karl Rove was on Fox. He had persuaded Republican backers to give him $300m which he ploughed into a selection of house and senate races. I know he was also raising money for Romney.

    Almost all of the congressional candidates he backed, lost. Then Ohio was called and he suffered a disassociate fugue for a bit, then he had meltdown live on tv. He was in denial and questioned the result saying there was something fishy going on.

    Romney had gone to his campaign headquarters to give a consession speech, watched this, and then turned around and when back to his suite (a la Gore in 2000) to confer with his anoraks who had told him it was over.

    Meanwhile, back at Fox, Charles Krauthhammer, another republican pundit on the panel, who is also a psychiatrist, was trying to talk Rove off the ledge. The cameras followed The retinue into the back office where Fox’s own anoraks affirmed that it was over. Still Karl would not accept it.

    I guess if I’d spent $300m of other peoples money with near zero return, I’d be a trifle worried too. Bets were taken on whether Karl would be sleeping with the fishes before morning.

    Rove just could not understand that all the self-identifying “undecided” the GOP were getting were actually just Republicans. Nor did he get his head around the lethal effectiveness of the Obama ground game. The stunned look on the faces of the assembled GOP cognoscente was priceless. 

    Anyway, I guess you had to be there.

    Wall Street and Corporate were definitely in the tank for Romney, big time. Of course, they gave money to both candidates, but there is no doubting their enthusiasm for Romney from the time of the first presidential debate in which Romney slaughtered Obama (Obama was not fit and clearly had not done the road work and rounds in the ring required of an encumbant).

    It did look for a time as if Romney would win and he went from zero to hero in the eyes of the GOP (until he lost). In the end, Obama crushed him.

    His Mormonism (he’s a bishop in the LDS) no doubt about it, lost him some votes among fundamentalists who do not view it as a religion but as a cult, and certainly not Christian.

    However, they were too few in number to make a difference. The whole of the Right united behind him, not because he turned them on, but becathey’re rank and file see Obama as the anti-Christ while the less certifiable from Corporate and Wall Street, thought he was, relative to Romney, bad for business.  

    He won the nomination though few wanted him because they thought he was the only candidate among that pantomime of numpties who had a hope of beating that Muslim jihadist fracker, Barak HUSSEIN Obama, whom many believe not to be American at all.

    Willard Mitt Romney was very real and a formidable adversary.


  74. Cameron says:

    @ Christian Wright
    “whom many believe not to be American at all”
    That is a really strange one, isn’t it. What do you think he was doing producing a faked ID?


  75. Christian Wright says:

    @cameron yes that is exactly what they think. They believe his birth certificate is fake and that he was born in Kenya.These are the Birthers. Donald Trump is one, though I suspect he does not have principled bone in his body, not even a certifiable one. He is deep in it but believes none of it.

    Many believe Obama is actually Muslim and was educated at a madrasah, which is true in the sense where, as I recall it, he spent time in school in indonesia as a child. Then there are those who believe he is a jihadi who is bent on the destruction of America. They are not a tiny minority, either. 

    Now with him trying to take away their guns and their Second Amendment rights, it ain’t necessarily pretty out there. Still, the sale of AR15 pattern rifles has skyrocketed and prices have gone through the roof. No one can deny that that confluence of guns and profit is anything but good for America! I hope it comes through that I am being ironic . . sometimes.

    The wicked witch of the West, DiFi as some lovingly call her, Diane Feinstein has just published her assualt weapons ban bill in the Senate. There are 157 guns listed, most of them VERY common, and people are looking at it and finding theirs listed  there. They are, in the vernacular, pissed. 

    I don’t think DiFi will get the bill out of the Senate or perhaps even Committee, without severe pruning of her ambition, and I believe no matter how it ends up, it will die in the House, anyway. While she expects the working stiff to go without the means to defend themselves, she enjoys a murder of bodyguards (as in a murder of crows – I thought it apt) festooned with exactly the kind of weapons she says people don’t need and that need too be banned.
    Wayne LaPierre, the VP of the NRA, said in a recent speech in response to the Newtown shootings, that the only (effective) answer to a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.

    All the liberal pols and the Brady Bunch where faux shocked, shocked, that anyone would say that, whilst at the same time they were armed to the teeth with minders with REALLY cool guns. Their life is more important, apparently than that of the law abiding citizens they Want to disarm. 

    This is getting to the proportions and beginning to feel like a Letter from America, and you’ve got to know when to fold ’em, and I’m WAY passed that. 

    Alistair Cooke (deceased)


  76. BillyBigBaws says:

    Another 1979 classic, from the pages of the Herald:

    “No Vote Will Not Kill Devolution, Pledges Thatcher”

    28th February, 1979.


    The No camp’s arguments are very retro. Everyone should watch the 1997 pre-referendum debate on Youtube as well, though it is quite long. The arguments against Scottish self-government really haven’t changed at all. In ’97 Donald Findlay was telling us that having our own Parliament would lead to increased taxes, a flight across the border by business, and sundry other mishaps. Tam Dalyell seemed near tears at the prospect of it. We voted Yes, overwhelmingly, and the sky did not fall.

    It can be found here:


  77. Commenter says:

    Your Qote: “I don’t like the terms “colonists” or “settlers” at all.  The reason is they are loaded terms.  Are Scots who go to live in all the different parts of the world “colonists” or “settlers?” ”
    I have no problems whatever in calling incomers of any description colonists or settlers. That’s what they are. And the travelling Scots are definitely colonists or settlers. All this stuff about it being racist is nonsense and is just another ploy by the Establishment to demean Scottish culture. The Scots and English are not different races. The relationship is more one of family. The English the elder sibling which thinks it knows everything and thinks it is superior to its younger sibling. And the Scots the younger sibling who KNOWS it knows everything and KNOWS it is superior to its elder sibling who is an idiot. 


  78. Commenter says:

    The many responses to my first post on the subject show just what the problem is with the YES campaign and many of its supporters. It/they seem to think that reasoned argument and fair play is going to win a YES vote in 2014. Well in my view it is not. We need a firebrand of a campaign with planned attacks on Westminster NOW, not in 9 months when it could all be over bar the voting. This is a nasty campaign and is going to get worse. Unless the YES people start to fight fire with fire the YES vote is going nowhere. We need slogans and posters yelling out why it is essential to rid Scotland of the yoke of Westminster. And here’s a subject for some stories. An attack by a senior figure in the YES camp on the Public School boys and Oxbridge clique running the UK and Scotland into the ground for the benefit of their mates in the City who are also part of the same clique. Putting in the odd English adjective wouldn’t go amiss either. Now THAT would be published and toyed over in the media. Just as AS’s ‘Lord Snooty’ comment was.


  79. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “The No camp’s arguments are very retro”

    We’ve got a few more archive specials coming up over the weekend. Will watch that video this afternoon, though, could be worth a piece.


  80. Commenter says:

    Rev Stu
    I don’t know how you do it? If we ever win a YES vote much of the credit should go to you withyour prolific and to the point output.
    Many of the articles you produce are the sort of thing that I am arguing here that the YES campaign should be shouting from the rooftops, although to get them published in the MSM they would have to be ‘sharpened’ up a lot more and be much more insulting of Westminster and the No-Men.


  81. Cameron says:

    @ Christian Wright
    Or should that be Alistair.
    Thanks for taking the time to reply. The way I see it, regardless of the finer details as to which candidate is deeper in the pocket of the banks, America is pretty screwed. That wont be good for any of us.


  82. Holebender says:

    Commenter, you seem determined to destroy the YES campaign, and you’re not being very subtle about it. You are either a poor agent provocateur or you are just a poor thinker.
    Do you want to guarantee failure? here’s how; make personal attacks on your opponents (Public School boys and Oxbridge clique running the UK and Scotland into the ground for the benefit of their mates in the City) and make it about “the English“. Sweep away everything independentistas have worked so hard for in a matter of seconds. You’ve seen all the “independence supporters are just anti-English” remarks and how do you respond? Do you challenge the liars to prove it or withdraw? No, you prove them right! Brilliant.
    A word of advice, don’t become active in the YES campaign. Please.


  83. Juteman says:

    Too many folk don’t seem to have read Alisdair Grays’ essay. :-(


  84. Cameron says:

    @ Juteman
    I read it and it didn’t come across as racist to me. Perhaps some of the language he used was a little challenging, given the No campaigns attempts to turn the referendum in to a question of ethnicity. But isn’t that what good prose does, challenge the reader to think?


  85. BillyBigBaws says:

    Rev. Stuart Campbell:  “We’ve got a few more archive specials coming up over the weekend. Will watch that video this afternoon, though, could be worth a piece.”

    That would be excellent!  I found it pretty fascinating, especially seeing a younger Alex Salmond operating on top form.  The transformation of Jim Wallace from a relatively straight-shooting pro-devolutionist into the man we see today – who bounces about in his seat grinning at the prospect of an independent Scotland being deprived of it’s oil revenue – is striking as well.  What happened to him?  Oh, he became Baron Wallace of Tankerness.  That explains it.
    Didn’t realise you had already posted about the ’79 Thatcher headline.  Looking forward to more from the archives.


  86. Commenter says:

    Holebender says:26 January, 2013 at 4:03 pm
    “Commenter, you seem determined to destroy the YES campaign, and you’re not being very subtle about it. You are either a poor agent provocateur or you are just a poor thinker.”
    What a ridiculous and disappointing response. If you cannot argue your point properly  denigrate the opponent. It is ‘supporters’ like you who will lose us this Referendum. Maybe YOU are the Unionist supporter in disguise? And maybe you should learn to read properly and analyse what is said before taking up pen.
    What I actually said was: “An attack by a senior figure in the YES camp on the Public School boys and Oxbridge clique running the UK and Scotland into the ground for the benefit of their mates in the City who are also part of the same clique. Putting in the odd English adjective wouldn’t go amiss either.” And that would not be a personal attack on anyone it would be an attack on the Westminster Government. Are you saying that IT is off limits to criticism in your Utopian idyll where everyone is driven by pure thoughts and reasoned argument? 


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