scotland 2014

For the Umpteenth Time…

I am not a member of the SNP but I am an independence supporter.

This is just a short post to show for the umpteenth time how the supposedly unbiased Scottish media tend to think about these things. This is from Lindsey Archibald of STV, who later removed the tweet but not before someone had done a screen grab….

Alasdair Campbell once called the Scottish Media “unreconstructed w@nkers” and some of them seem to wear that comment as a badge of honour.

However, as the above shows neatly enough, they have certainly been constructed in a way that supports the United Kingdom state,  even if they stick some tartan frills around the Nuclear sh*te that gets dumped in Scotland.

I probably prefer to use this picture that I made for them….

Maybe A Wee Tad Underreported

Despite not having anything legally binding to it, I think this was hugely important in a symbolic sense.

MSPs have for the first time voted in favour of Scotland becoming independent.

First Minister Alex Salmond hailed the vote, by 69 to 52, as a “milestone” in the country’s history.

• Alex Salmond hails ‘milestone’ as MSPs vote in favour of independence by 69 to 52

• Pro-Union motion tabled by Scottish Labour leader Johann Lamont defeated in Parliament

Although in a parliament where the SNP have the majority this result is not a surprise, it is still a victory by quite a large margin too.

While most media have reported on the importance of the jubilee, which is in nature a symbolic event, this one seems to have passed by with little or no comment.

I wonder why that might be?

No Real Case for Listening to the Archbishop of Canterbury

The Archbishop of Canterbury has been quoted as saying there is ‘no real case for Scottish Independence’. You can imagine how this immediately made me change my views on the subject.

He was speaking to the Church of Scotland, those other well-known modernist reformists.

I don’t want to get into the argument about the relevance of the church(es) in the modern world. I’d rather look at what may be some of his real-world reasons for saying some of this.

And of course it doesn’t come as a surprise that he should have an opinion of this sort. His position is an anachronism of the British State (or more specifically English state) – all that stuff with the lovely King Henry if you remember (I know they trace their history to much earlier than that).

I’m not saying he isn’t entitled to his opinion, merely that it should be clear on which side his loaves and fishes are buttered.

The quote above was in the title of the article in the Scotsman but not in the body of it. What he went on to say was…

“As it is, there is an increasing amount of devolved power in both Scotland and Wales, which I think has been broadly a healthy development. Whether it would help us to be separate states I really don’t know. I’ve still to be persuaded about that.”

“If you want devolved parliaments to have some effective control over let’s say educational and health policy I think you’re bound to have some higher level of fiscal independence built into that – how you raise money and how you spend it. There is a case for that.”

That last bit is in bold because you might want to drop the words “Arms Investment and the Church of England” in at that point if you wanted to be ungodly. That however is old news and it appears the C of E took its money out of some arms companies a few years ago, but not before they had received a god-fearing rogering from Mark Thomas on the issue.

Even now though, the policy of the C of E on this leaves a little room for military manoeuvres. This is from the C o f E’s stated policy on the matter...

So the Church does not invest at all in the defence industry?

Investment is allowed in companies that have exposure to the supply or manufacture of non-offensive military equipment where this does not constitute the main business.

What does the Church mean by non-offensive equipment?

By this we mean suppliers of avionics, radar, sonar, instrumentation, components, military IT and software, as well as refit and commissioning of military systems.

So what we have here is that the leader of the official state church, whose church was and may still be invested in some of the skullduggery of the official state, comes out and says something to defend the official state.

As it is Towel Day today I think Douglas Adams should have the last word…

If it looks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, we have at least to consider the possibility that we have a small aquatic bird of the family anatidae on our hands.

When Duty Calls

I wrote this article for Bella Caledonia last week…



We have now sunk to a depth at which restatement of the obvious is the first duty of intelligent men.

George Orwell

A while back someone posted on twitter (if it was you, let me know and I will update this) that the London Scottish Conservative Society’s “Five Reasons Why the Union is Better Off with Scotland in it” were exactly the best reasons for Scottish Independence so I thought it might be an idea to go through them.

Number 1 – The Acts of Union created one of the most enduring relationships in the history of the world. Why fix something which isn’t broken?

The Pax Romana created one of the most enduring relationships in the world but there is no doubt about who benefitted most from it.

Additionally, I think the contention would be that it is broken. A system where all the nations incorporated in this union often don’t get the government they voted for and don’t have control of their own financial affairs can’t be said to be working too well. Furthermore, a system where the financial system causes resentment on all sides also cannot be said to be working too well.

Their article also goes on to say that Scottish Independence would provide a “brutal knock to British Identity” –  one of the main problems of the Union is that British and therefore English identity tends to ride roughshod over all the others when it suits.

They also say that the Welsh could be next. Go on the Welsh.


Number 2 – The impending Scotland Act will make Scotland more accountable for its own public spending

Oh no! You mean we could choose for ourselves! The horror of it.

Their article says…

“Splitting up the Union would be a clumsy overreaction to a resolvable problem; by tidying up the devolution settlement through legislation, we can ensure a fair and mutually beneficial relationship.”

Well, it has been 300 years of tinkering and nobody is happy with it yet. I also thought they said the system wasn’t broken?

Number 3 – Scottish independence could mean the UK’s largest trading partner has a different currency entailing greater risk, cost and bureaucracy

There are no current plans to join the Euro and that would seem to close the case here but what is bizarre is that their reasoning for this statement then morphs into something about immigration. The bold is mine…

There is a real risk of an immigration crisis should Scotland’s economy struggle on its own. Faced with a declining population, the Scottish administration is openly in favour of immigration and should times grow intolerably hard it is not difficult to see where those in search of work would head

A couple of problems here. The first is that Scotland’s population is projected to rise, not decline. The second is the last thing I put in bold. If you think that sentence through carefully, aside from the whiff of racism, it doesn’t sound very much like any sort of Scottish society this, does it?

Number 4 – An independent Scotland would entail a significant loss in HMT revenues from the North Sea

They say…

The stakes and the sums involved are sufficient to ensure years of international litigation over revenues which would be central to an Independent Scotland’s budget plans.

This of course would be a loss to the UK account, not the Scottish one. How difficult the litigation has to be depends on how unnecessarily or unfairly greedy Westminster wishes to be.

Number 5 – Scotland’s contribution to Britain’s armed forces is far greater than its population share

I think this is quite clearly something that shows the unfairness of the thing and not a reason to stay in the union.

Finally, in their conclusion keep an eye open for a couple of interesting things. Look out for the bold again…

Those are some of the more logical grounds for why England should want to stay in the Union, but truth be told, the reasons run deeper. Despite the family politics of the thing, most of us believe in Britain and want to be British.  In the words of David Cameron, we are stronger together and weaker apart. They say you can’t choose your family; in 2014 that will be demonstrably disproved.

At least at the end there is a stark admission that these are reasons for England to try to keep a hold of Scotland, not for Scotland to stay in the union, but we also get the strange “can’t choose your family line. I think 100 interpretations could be put on that so I will leave you to decide for yourselves what that one means.


The BBC Video Story

I saw the BBC vids story on Mark MacClachlan’s site on Friday and I saved it but I put off watching them until this morning as I generally find listening to Andrew Marr and Nick Robinson quite offensive.

Unsurprisingly, the tone of the speakers is unremittingly hostile to the idea of independence. This is no more than what one expects from the BBC. I don’t really know where the shock comes from here.

Again unsurprisingly, the BBC has come out and defended itself by talking about the editorial guidelines that have always ensured its (ahem) total impartiality in all matters relating to the British state.

It’s the job of the BBC to defend the British state, despite what they try to tell you.

A couple of years ago I did an interview with Professor and author David Miller (you can watch him handing Paxman his arse on Newsnight over the BBC furore about Iraq here) about the history and origins of the BBC.

I put it on vimeo and have included the first part here and the other two on the read more continuation page below.

If you want an mp3 download then it is here.


Unusual Angles

I usually expect that whatever the Telegraph prints will be hostile to the idea of Scottish Independence and that goes for most of the media.

The recent story about Shetland and Orkney is illustrative in that it shows clearly enough the positions of each paper.

True to form, the Telegraph didn’t have an exactly neutral tone. Observe….

SNP attacks Shetland and Orkney ‘troublemakers’

The SNP has accused MSPs representing the Northern Isles of being “troublemakers” after they warned their constituents might not join a separate Scotland.

So, the nasty SNP attacks. This was posted at 6am yesterday, however by 5.20pm the title of the next story on the subject had changed but the tone hadn’t…

SNP admits Shetland and Orkney could opt out of independent Scotland

The SNP’s economic case for independence has been significantly undermined after the party admitted that the oil-rich Northern Isles would be allowed to opt out of joining a separate Scotland.

“SNP admits” is placed next to “economic case yadi yadi ya undermined”. All fair and above board. The SNP response to all of this is placed way down in the article.

The BBC decided to couch it in a conditional with “Could Orkney and Shetland be independent of Scotland?” and follow that up with a less than neutral video on the subject.

Newsnet Scotland decided to stress the democratic rights of the people of the islands quoting the ex-leader of the Scottish libdems and local MSP… Tavish Scott: Orkney and Shetland could secede from Scotland

The one that really came out of left field however was this…

Orkney and Shetland put up brave stand against Independence

The Orkney and Shetland islands, just North of Scotland, have put up a brave front against the SNP, claiming that they will decide whether or not to join an independent Scotland.

Where might this have been? In the uber-unionist Daily Record? In the Mail, the Express?

Nope, all wrong. Strangely, this was in Digital Journal which I had previously heard of but never actually read and didn’t expect it to be hostile in this overt manner.

The Somnolence of the (succulent) Lambs

The supposed revelations about Rangers FC in the Daily Record this morning are in truth anything but revelations. Almost, if not quite all, of the information has been readily available for may months. Thanks to the work of the Rangers Tax Case blog, Phil MacGiollabhain, more recently the Random Thoughts re Scots Law blog, and many others, people have been able to learn about this information for months.

The fact that the mainstream Scottish (sic) media are taking this up now in part speaks to the fact that the Daily Record has been in serious trouble for a while with dwindling sales and recent layoffs.

The more interesting part is why they haven’t taken it up before now. Jokes about the “succulent lamb”  provided to journalists explain part of it. The lobby system has always been an effective control mechanism against journalists and Scotland seems to have had its lobby system working in one of its football clubs more than in its parliament. Furthermore, Rangers supporting journalists have been unwilling to rock the boat (or is that sinking ship) at their chosen club and have therefore kept silent.

On the links I have provided above you will find far more in-depth and for the most part better written information on the Rangers case than you will find in the Scottish media so I have nothing to add on that here.

What I want to ask is this…  if the Scottish media have been covering things up and reprinting untruths to keep one of their favourite unionist institutions intact, with a referendum on Independence coming up, might they be doing it about something else?

Rejected Unionist Referendum Question Proposals

The wording of “Do you agree that Scotland should be an Independent Country?” caused some consternation as being unfair in some circles.

It is therefore only right that we look at some of the alternatives that were put forward by unionist parties…

  1. Would you like all these puppies to be poisoned, or would you prefer to stay part of the union?
  2. Would you prefer to be independent and be subjected to numerous terrorists attacks, meteor strikes, possible dinosaur attacks and financial ruin or would you prefer not to have all those problems if we just sort them all out for you?
  3. When the moon is in the 7th knee and the wimble-wimbles wemble, would you prefer to wash the moon or grembille the runfrunffers? (this was the suggestion of George Foulkes).
  4. Is it better to shut up and f*ck off or shut up and not f*ck off?