Newsnet Main Articles Alex Porter

Petition For Divorce

Why should the Scottish constitutional debate be turned into an unedifying “car boot sale haggling session”? Remaining inside the union or opting for independence is a question of preference, not finance. As Janice Joplin once said: “Don’t compromise yourself. You are all you’ve got.”

The answer to why this happens can be found by examining the tactics of those resisting constitutional change. Why? It makes sense that those who want change will stand an equal chance with their adversaries if a fair debate takes place but that the objectors stand to gain if no real debate is had at all. Unionism benefits from doing all that it can to wreck the debate. Does it stoop to such tactics? Without question.

If the debate was about Scotland’s nationhood and place in the world as expressed through independence or the union with England then it would indeed be one which would engage the Scottish population in a truly democratic conversation over the country’s destiny. Such a debate would be decided on the strengths and merits of each case as presented honestly and openly by all ‘stakeholders’.

Scottish nationalism loses when the debate is reduced to a financial spat. The cause of independence relies on Scotland exuding a national self-confidence where it sees itself just as capable as any other nation. In order to defeat the nationalists unionism has resorted to undermining that confidence instead of the nationalist case itself. A strong thread running through unionism’s core message is an ugly stereotype of a Scotland too small, weak and incapable to cope with the burdens of an independent reality.

This is where unionism’s claims to internationalism melt away like snaw aff a’ dyke. The implied notion that Scotland should not directly participate in the world’s community of nations because its inhabitants are inferior is truly disgraceful and an insult to the dignity of all Scots - dead, alive and unborn. Not all unionists employ such devices to advance their cause and there are many examples of unionists who desire to see Scots exhibiting more ‘get up and go’. They too then should recoil at unionism’s predominant political strategy which is underpinned by such corrosive themes. I suggest to them that they go one step further and consider this strategy to be the cause of these apathetic tendencies.

When unionism elevates the issue of affordability to the centre of the debate, by exercising its media privileges, it clearly does not do so out of principle or economic pragmatism but out of a clear visceral desire to intimidate the population for political advantage. Voters may prefer independence but when you introduce the existential fear of financial ruin that dynamic changes: the debate is no longer wholly driven by dignity and preference but by fear and impotence.

Only Scottish unionism benefits from this debate descending into a “haggling session”. Economics is also an inexact science and voters often feel alienated from the debate and so depend on commentary. Having reduced the debate to one of affordability, unionism corrupts the constitutional debate further by suppressing data which undermines their case or by presenting information in such a manner as to frighten the population.

A good example of this is describing the prospect of national independence as a ‘divorce’. The strategy is obvious: instil in the electorate’s minds a parallel which evokes images of wrecked families and fear of an uncertain future. Indeed, many divorces are avoided owing to the financial uncertainty caused by ‘separation’.

As unionism benefits from control through fear so nationalism loses. Nationalists are guilty of being unduly concerned by such characterisations of independence. The SNP will distance itself from the ‘divorce’ narrative not realising that its awkwardness and discomfort is perceived as further evidence of unionism’s charges.

If nationalism seeks to instil confidence in the Scottish population it must lead by example. Instead of running away from such epithets thus lending them potency, nationalists must deconstruct and neuter them piece by piece.

Divorce may indeed be “a messy business” but is it always an undesirable outcome? The SNP has identified that women are less likely to vote for them than men. Not tackling the ‘divorce’ epithet is perhaps an example of why. In any dysfunctional marriage the partners will contemplate life beyond: rediscovery of self and of life, improved self-confidence, realised potential, overcoming financial fears, healthier relationship with the ex-partner and so happier children etc.

The divorce epithet is perhaps a legitimate challenge to nationalism in that it must clearly demonstrate why independence will improve national self-confidence. Shying away because of focus groups shows a failure of leadership and engenders distrust.

I am not suggesting that the SNP adopt the divorce epithet as their own but it is surely naïve to imagine, when the right to the referendum on whether or not Scots want a union at all is finally exercised, that unionism will not resort to the divorce imagery. It would then be wise to pre-empt the assault well in advance.

One avenue that nationalists might explore is the case that union marriage was enforced or there was deception to achieve consent, that at least one attempted annulment was scuppered and that no referendum has taken place and so the vows were never taken. These are grounds for an annulment of the marriage i.e. it is null and void. The language of union as the ‘break up of Britain’ draws on divorce imagery. The use of the highly loaded term ‘seperatism’ by mainstream unionist political journalists such as Tom Gordon also hones in on the divorce analogy.

Nationalism must introduce threads of annulment in its argument as clearly, with the divorce epithet, unionism thinks itself onto a clear winner. Instead of talking simply about how independence would confer benefits it must emphasise that Scotland would be free from abuse and so be a healthier, more self-confident country if the ‘enforced union’ was never entered into in the first place.

It is clear that the idea of divorce will be a central theme in proceedings and so to indulge the unionist camp a divorce petition should be brought forward.

If it can be shown that unionism does indeed use underhand and abusive conduct to undermine the self-confidence of Scots, then nationalists might argue that instead of winning a debate on the merits of independence a divorce should be granted on the grounds of psychological and emotional abuse, unreasonable behaviour and that cohabitation is not possible.

The divorce petition of course can be denied if unionism can prove that its conduct is in keeping with the vows of the British marriage. It is for nationalism to simply to prove that the said unionist conduct is not the result of provocation but done out of malicious self-interest.

How have both parties behaved then?

Scottish nationalism draws on the merits of its case. It points to similar facts and precedents relating to other nations similar to Scotland to demonstrate the case for independence based on the cogency of its argument. Regardless of political desire, independence will require a self-confident electorate and so the SNP forwards an inspirational and positive narrative which points to parallel cases of success.

Scottish unionism on the other hand, draws on the principle of ‘Murphy’s Law’. It exploits media and other institutional privileges to distort or suppress information, which is in the Scottish public’s interest, for the purposes of maintaining the status quo. It seeks to thwart independence momentum by sapping national self-confidence and employs any rhetorical device available to psychologically pressure an electorate, which may wish to consider the independence option, into submission thus binding the partner to the relationship.

First Appointment

In October 2008 Jim Murphy MP, Secretary of State for Scotland, described Norway, Iceland and Ireland as the ‘Arc of Insolvency’. Now, two years later, the prestigious Prosperity Index – launched this year by Lord Mandelson – shows all three nations outstrip Britain.

Released recently by the Scandinavian think-tank behind the annual survey, the Legatum Institute, the Prosperity Index ranks Britain 13th in the world which is 12 places behind Norway who come out top and behind both Ireland and Iceland who rank 11th and 12th respectively. The Prosperity Index looks at prosperity not simply on economic terms but based on wider factors such as happiness and educational achievement.

One question which must now be posed to Jim Murphy, in light of these findings, is that if Norway, Iceland and Ireland are the ‘Arc of Insolvency’ what does that say about Britain?

Jim Murphy was Scotland’s representative to the cabinet in October 2008. He was a member of the British government and headed up the Scottish Office. Yet, here he was intervening in the economic debate of foreign sovereign states – a cardinal sin in international politics.

Murphy’s ‘Arc of Insolvency’ epithet was an attempt at mocking First Minister Alex Salmond’s ‘Arc of Prosperity’ – the SNP leader’s models for what Scots could look to when considering Scotland’s future as an independent country.

His quip though does raise questions over what was dominating his thoughts. Was Murphy so pleased with his ‘Arc of Insolvency’ epithet and the ridicule that would be heaped upon his political rivals that he overlooked the diplomatic consequences of his argument? Or did he calculate that the benefit of the epithet to unionism’s cause outweighed the importance of Scotland’s good diplomatic relations with the other countries involved and beyond?

It is perhaps the same outlook that led Labour MPs to cheer upon hearing the news that the Bank of Scotland would be sold. Public service and national dignity are clearly of lowly import compared to the over-riding desire to and occasional euphoria of revelling in Scottish failure.

The Labour Party must always protect its international credibility and Jim Murphy’s cringe worthy blunder did have repercussions for his career. His gross neglect of international protocol has led the Labour Party to reconsider his future. Party leaders decided to utilise his skill set in the post of Shadow Defence Secretary.

It fell upon the Scottish mainstream media to hold Jim Murphy to account. No calls for a retraction, resignation or even clarification were forthcoming.

And so the all important pincer movement principle of Murphy’s Law comes into play: don’t worry about being held to account for diplomatic outrages or any ugly unintended consequences arising out of the act of attacking Scottish aspiration because Scotland’s mainstream media is captured.

This tenet of the pincer movement is absolutely central to Murphy’s Law – without it, political discourse in Scotland would have to be on a level playing field. In reality Scotland’s mainstream media exerts excessive or contrived scrutiny of the pro-independence position whereas acquiescence to the anti-independence strategy is the default position.

Without thorough media scrutiny of unionism’s lines of attack on independence and the SNP, political reality in Scotland is often contorted beyond credulity owing to a journalistic bias, which - since the SNP won power in Holyrood in 2007 - has become pathological.

This raises serious questions of democracy in Scotland and especially so in respect of the public broadcaster, the BBC, which is duty bound to political impartiality but which draws down license fees in Scotland only to act in symbiosis as unionist partners in an anti-independence or anti-SNP attack force.

Recently, Newsnet Scotland used a series of video and sound recordings to support their charges of BBC complicity. To access that report follow Newsnet Scotland V. The BBC.

To read further examples of substantiated charges related to the BBC dereliction of duty, see:

Joan McAlpine V. The BBC

James Kelly V. The BBC

Gerry Hassan V. The BBC

Part 2 tomorrow

Published with special thanks to Kevin McCourt and Stephanie Gough.


# Dougie Douglas 2010-11-10 08:52
Thank you Alex, another first class piece, I look forward to part 2!

The SNP faces a united front of unionisists who are obviously terrified of a fair and reasonable debate - the BBC seems to be at the vanguard of this ideological front.

The actions of the BBC are clearly undemocratic, I wonder if this story - the BBC hindering democratic debate and process would be taken up by overseas/competitor media outlets. The story would then (hopefully) filter through into the British/Scottish media.
# Robert Louis 2010-11-10 09:04
I agree, it is also interesting when looking at some of the comments that have been posted in response to some of the other articles referenced above by Alex Porter.

In particular in response to the Gerry hassan article, 'Dougthedug', really hit the nail on the head;

QUOTE "..David Dimbleby is not a new creation, he is a direct descendant of that, “patrician, gentleman’s Britain”, and what has changed is not the outlook of the establishment but that the cultural sensitivities they used to trample on have now become hardened into political sensitivities and the cultural boundaries they crossed have now hardened into political boundaries."

(my bolding of the quoted text)

This really is the point. Political aspirations and feelings have shifted considerably, yet the BBC and the likes of Dimbleby (who I will treat with utter contempt following the sturgeon affair in the video above), have not realised.

It is the old mindset of Scotland being a quaint place in 'Northern Britain' - a concept which even most Scottish unionists would now agree is offensive.

Politics across the UK, but especially in Scotland have changed.

Sadly the BBC are still approaching Scottish politics, like it is 1920.
# Marian 2010-11-10 09:06
Its quite simple really - the unionists have clearly completely lost all the arguments against Scotland and Wales going independent and so have resorted to orchestrating a last ditch dirty tricks campaign against independence through the unionist controlled main stream media.

The reason why they want to hold on to Scotland is that Westminster has lost its empire and dearly wants to hold on to something that gives it a feeling of self-importance in the world, and added to that is the fact that England has always had a primeval fear of sharing these islands on an equal basis with the other nations that occupy them.

Have no fear, time is on the side of the movement for independence as the UK sinks deeper and deeper into obscurity in the world, whilst Scotland regains its confidence to go it alone.
# Robert Louis 2010-11-10 09:36
I often say to people, take a look at a globe, and look at the size of England compared to other countries.

When you think about it, because of past colonial conquests, 'Britain plc' punched above its weight, but those days are gone now. You might even say, the Falklands were the 'last hurrah'.

I watched recently, as the new Queen Elizabeth cruise liner had its naming ceremony in Southampton. It is a truly magnificent, beautiful ship. The queen was there, military band, three cheers, and so on. Whilst the ship carries the queen's name, the rest is NOTHING to do with Britain (or England). The ship is owned by an American company and was built in Italy. The only connection is that it will be based in Southampton.

Even the Queen must have questioned what the ceremony meant. She launched the last great British ocean going liner, the QE2 from the Clyde herself. That was a 'british' ship (Clyde Built), owned by a 'British' company.

It seems nobody has told the 'London establishment', that Britain (or England) really isn't all that great anymore.

The world has changed and the London mindset, especially amongst politicians has not grasped that Britain, but especially England is no longer a world player. This explains why they cling on mercilessly to four nuclear missile subs based on the clyde. The last wheezing, leaky, pointless vestiges of power.

For some people, the concept of Britain may have worked, but I genuinely don't think it has ever worked for Scotland.
England and Scotland NEED to control their own affairs. Such a move would not diminish our joint links, rather by setting both these great countries free, it would enhance our common purpose, and perhaps re-kindle joint cultural enthusiasm. A new kind of healthy relationship built upon mutual respect.

As things stand, and in terms of the article above, Scotland is in an unwanted arranged marriage. It is in an abusive relationship, by a larger stronger partner.

It is unhealthy. It needs to end.
# CapnAndy 2010-11-10 14:57
Thankyou Robert Louis.
'It is unhealthy. It needs to end.'
You have summed it up well.
# springy 2010-11-10 09:57
Did anyone realise that the Sunday Post carried a full page article about a whistleblower from BBC Scotland who said that Radio Scotland has been breaking rules over news broadcasting for months!!!

I don't know the actual details but it has something to do with the amount of quality news items on radio Scotland. The article had a huge picture of Kaye Adams on it.

I think I'm going to start buying this paper.

This morning GMS seemed to be running a recording of a shopkeeper who was against minimum pricing all morning - they are a joke.
# sid 2010-11-10 10:14
morning , radio Scotland hit an all time low this morning with their call Kay with an e programme yes Kay with an e was there but it was actually the Dr Richard Simpson show despite the fact that the majority of callers,texters and e- mailers proved him to be wrong. they did not have anyone from the tory's or lib dems never mind having anyone from the government god plus would be that the other doctor on the show did say Simpson spent any time he was not actually speaking telling her not to say that this was purely political!
# cynicalHighlander 2010-11-10 10:07
Independence:Yo ur Choice:
# tom 2010-11-10 11:02
Internationalis m is also a notion implanted in the soul of good people who have been raised in a diehard (old) Labour community. Hence you have people like Jim Kelman spurning the nationalist cause because it seems grander to claim to be an internationalis t. In the day of James Maxton, when the world socialist revolution seemed a real prospect this might have been understandable, but it's a bit silly now. If you're insecure about your own national status you won't have much to offer the rest of the world community. Note Norway's significant contributions to world affairs.
# rgweir 2010-11-10 11:47
First class alex,cant wait for part two.
When i sawhow long your article was i thought i better make a coffee before i started to read it,bad decission,,i had to have a break half way through as i was getting a little tipsy,but i managed to finish it and look forward to part two.
As for kay with an e,i thought i had stumbled on to the dr simpson show on another station.
# pinkrose 2010-11-10 11:58
This is an excellent article thank you Alex.

Whatever happens in the election in May, we must keep this up, keep telling the truth and keep the pressure up.

At the moment we are denied a proper debate, a really mature proper debate about the advantages and disadvantages of the union, and I believe that this must be our aim, to get people thinking and talking about this properly in a mature way. We have to work round the very immature and London worshipping media that we have and have a proper debate about our future.

Scotland can and will be a fantastic place to live once we throw off the sycophants who are only interested in London and their own careers and start to think properly about how we want to shape our future.

It's time for some of our journalists and broadcasters to be brave and turn against the flow so we can have a mature debate.
# Barontorc 2010-11-10 12:06
Excellent analogy Alex and spot on diagnosis.

The problem is there is no "marriage counsellor", no intervention body, no arbiter to take the problem to and it looks like the only way is to walk out of the house, but you then have to go back for your "things" and that needs legal support.

So I hope you develop the analogy into an action plan that leaves the offended party of the "marriage" with the opportunity and recourse to recover goods and chattels and self-respect.
# Richardmci 2010-11-10 12:09
I see another 130 odd people have signed the B.B.C. poll in just one day, look here...
# Nautilus 2010-11-10 12:12
I totally agree that ‘Scottish Nationalism loses when the debate has been reduced to a financial spat.’

Scots have far more to contribute to the world than military imperialism, the inequalities of multinational capitalism the attitude ‘our culture right – yours wrong’, Big Brother surveillance, the use of fear to control us and freedom from press censorship. Scots do not take kindly to cravenly bowing down to any nation’s wishes, even if they be rich and powerful. All Scotland wishes is respect in the world for her humanity, fairness and respect, both for her own citizens and all other nations and cultures. To hold to these values will give us status in the world instead of the fear, disdain and hatred incurred by the British State currently.

Just ask any citizen from the Republic of Ireland, even going through the financial privations that his country is suffering right now, whether he would wish to rejoin the union.
Scotland needs to engage with the world on her own behalf from Edinburgh.
# RaboRuglen 2010-11-10 12:20
Hi Alex,

Congratulation on another excellent article. More power to your elbow.

One of the reasons why the economic argument is so important is that if you ask any WC Scotland Labour voter their opinion on Scottish Independence you will get the inevitable response "We couldnae afford it." If you respond that even government figures show that Scotland would be a wealthy nation you are greeted with incredulity and outright scepticism. Go on an explain that they have been lied to and deceived by successive governments, and you just sound daft. I have taken to saying that "In less that 100 years of becoming independent, Norway went from being one of the poorest nations in Europe to being one of the wealthiest in the world and that was BEFORE OIL", and, "WITH OIL could we not do something similar?" and have been getting a better response.

I would love to go on and argue that by removing the dead hand of London we would free the Scots entrepreneurial spirit, boost Scots small businesses, develop our inner cities, revamp our transport systems, increase Social Benefits, improve the Health Service and develop green energy creating thousands of jobs in the process, but frankly the WCS Labour voter just does not seem to be interested, or lacks the sense of vision to appreciate what is potentially on offer.

I will grant that the sense of hostility to Independence from that community seems to be lessening, but there is still a long, long way to go.

My partner and I have been having much greater success in speaking to friends and acquaintances who say they do not vote, in persuading them that they should and that it is in their interests to vote SNP. Here is a constituency where there is all to play for and which could make a huge difference to the result in May. Referral to Newsnet to determine what is really going on in their own country has helped several change their opinions and firmed their intention to vote. No wonder the Unionists are worried.

To date we reckon that between us and Newsnet, we might have persuaded as many as 5 people to vote SNP who would not have voted otherwise.

# cjmasta 2010-11-10 12:23
Nationalists need to bring to attention the way that the unionists continuelly use the arc of insolvency as some kind of fear factor on us but in actuall fact these countries still do much better than the UK.
We need to blow apart the myth that we would have soly had to bail out so called Scottish banks and point out how unionists called them british banks before they were seen as a burden. Maybe talk about the English banks that we are all paying for too.
# pinkrose 2010-11-10 12:33
Another thought, and I really feel strongly that this is what we need to do. We should have a campaign for a mature debate about Scotland's future.

Forget the BBC and the SMS and our continual whinging about them, and instead focus our energies on campaigning for a proper debate about our future, in the process of course, campaigning for the BBC and SMS to take part. The SNP tried to start the National Conversation but the BBC and SMS managed to kill it by ignoring it. Could we campaign for it's reinstatement or at least for a proper debate in the public domain?

Would this be something we could petition for at the Scottish government site?
# km 2010-11-10 13:42
Can't we counter the 'divorce' epithet by emphasizing some much more positive term such as 're-birth' or 'renaissance' or 're-emergence' or 're-arrival'...

The unionists have even managed to cast the word 'independence' as being somehow negative, managing always to bring it back to the financial argument.
# ahumscottish2 2010-11-10 13:44
Another great piece Mr Porter.

Can I get a few thoughts does anyone out there think that we as a country are being "asset stripped"?
# loveme2times 2010-11-10 13:47
Does anyone know how much it would have cost for that full page advert regarding minimum pricing for alcohol???

If it wasn't to much could we not all chip in for a page to advertise mature debate about Scotsland future at Newnet Scotland???

Off topic but I see Jim Devine will be tried in a court of law.
# Legerwood 2010-11-10 14:06
An excellent article and lots of food for thought.
There is an article on Go Lassie Go about an upcoming conference at the University of Edinburgh. It is highly relevant to what has been said here in this article and the posts about the media.

Quote from the article: Quote:
“The non-aligned Northern Irish blog Slugger O'Toole is inviting Scottish bloggers, political activists and ‘hacktivists’ to a conference on social media and politics at Edinburgh University’s ‘School of Informatics’ on Saturday 13th November – 10-4pm. It is for all political persuasions and none, and the organisers are particularly keen to get people along who want to find out more about social media and campaigning.”

Worth a look. Will Newsnet be represented? It seems like a god opportunity to raise this site’s profile.

Does anyone know how the conference in Glasgow went?
# Jimbo 2010-11-10 14:42
They're looking for suggestions for discussion. If enough people suggest the same they'll go for it.

I've asked: Due to the lack of honest reporting by BBC and Scottish MSM how can blogs get truth to the masses?

There seems to be a restriction on the number of letters you can use for your suggestion.

# 1971Thistle 2010-11-10 15:21

An eloquent piece, and I agree with your sentiments. However tactically, when you suggest that "Instead of running away from such epithets thus lending them potency, nationalists must deconstruct and neuter them piece by piece", you actually illustrate why the debate degenerates to a "haggling session". It is by design this happens.

By deconstructing and rebutting, you actually waste energy and lend credibility to your opponents arguments. It's not a debating society, where each side is given equal time - in the real world, politicians, and political debate, does not work like that. The more you can deny your opponent a share of voice, the more you neuter them; dragging them down to the level of detail is an effective way to do that. If a canvasser from the Labour party comes to your door, do you invite them in or send them packing? You invite them in, because if they're talking to you, they're not talking to someone who can be swayed.

What is really required is breakthrough arguments, which can force Unionists to try to rebut your arguments; thus you have the lead in the discussion. Admittedly not easy when media denies you a platform, but that's what you need to do. The SNP seem to have a little crisis of confidence at the moment, and look to justify their agenda to an audience which has no interest in learning, and use it to torment. It's time to stop, it's not working.

I am not suggesting soaring rhetoric about Culloden and claymores; you yourself have provided eloquent arguments around peak oil, etc. This is what we need to use; stop being defensive and talk the big picture and make the opposition play catch-up.

I'm sorry if I sound harsh - in a bit of a hurry. I don't say this as red-blooded Nat, I do this stuff for a living. I don't live in Scotand any more, but I do care a lot, and would like to think I will go back there eventually, but to a country where national pride is a given, and shills who support cheap drink as a vote-winner are shown up for the shysters they are.
# ScotlandUnspun 2010-11-10 15:42
Hi Thistle,

I'm not saying rebutting, I said neutering.

Nothing to do with head to head debate at all.

e.g. Whenever a nationalist says the word union - why not use 'forced union'. This can be backed up by the fact that the referendum everyone wants is continually thwarted.

It's about understanding how unionism works and adapting your language - nothing to do with a debating society at all.

I don't think it's a breakthrough argument that's needed but a breakthrough in terms of the argument being heard that matters. That's were Newsnet Scotland comes in..
# Robert Louis 2010-11-10 15:58
I agree with Scotland unspun and 1971 thistle to varying degrees.

I agree with much of what you have said, regarding it being wasteful to try to rebut opponents arguments.

It just strikes me, that people such as SNP politicians fall for it every time.

They can be getting interviewed about anything, and Labour will off topic just start knocking the idea of independence. Instead of doing what the SNP currently do - which is to respond and try to counter the anti independence nonsense, they should do it differently.

The pro independence people should take the fight to the opponents. Stop justifying independence, and start making people justify the union.

Turn the question around.

I hate to say it, but one person I have seen who is quite excellent at this approach is Ed Milliband. No matter what the question during the election in May, he turned it around into a question to knock the opposition.

In short, stop being on the backfoot, trying to justify independence. Drive it the other way around, get opponents to justify their opposition.

But that's just a suggestion, and I'm not an expert.
# Robert Louis 2010-11-10 16:00
Actually, the above post in a nutshell;

Stop justifying independence, and start making people justify the union.

As simple as that.
# ScotlandUnspun 2010-11-10 16:04
Good point Robert Louis. You'll find that attitude all through the articles on Newsnet.

Changing the imagery we use in discourse as I suggest in the piece will help achieve that aim..
# Bugger the Panda 2010-11-10 16:28

This proactivity of The Message is something that is singularly lacking from the SNP.

They cannot seem to grasp this thistle. They need to examine why they are not getting their message out and what can they do to make it happen. Catalunya has given us a bonny template for one, as have the Basques.

If the blogger can get a handle on this fact what are the SNP doing, slumbering in their Ministerial Mondeos?

That would be one way of pushing our message into WC Scotland where the battle for Independence will ultimately need to be won.
# ScotlandUnspun 2010-11-10 16:30
Quoting Bugger the Panda:

This proactivity of The Message is something that is singularly lacking from the SNP.

They cannot seem to grasp this thistle. They need to examine why they are not getting their message out and what can they do to make it happen. Catalunya has given us a bonny template for one, as have the Basques.

That would be one way of pushing ourmessage into WC Scotland where the battle for Independence will ultimately need to be won.

Hi Panda, sounds good but can you explain a little more?
# Bugger the Panda 2010-11-10 16:52
the parallels between these two re-emergent nations is uncanny.

Catalunya is heading for an election in November for their parliament.

Should the independence movement gain a majority they have a plan for a rolling plebescite on independence which will reach a finale in Barcelona in March 2011.

Madrid says this is illegal.

There is NO provison in the Spanish Constitution for the cessation of any part of the Spanish State and some of the powers ceded to Catalunya by the new constitution have been over-ruled by the Spanish High Court.

There is more than idle chatter for a UDI declaration. The problem with that is that the Spanish Military is officially tasked with defending the unity of the Spanish State.

The Basques are watching on with great interest as they too want to cesede.

Ant to the tactics taken by the Cataland we could copy is

A Catalan (actually more than one) radio Station with an independence agenda, TV stations supporting independence, a Catalan News agency set up to diffuse their position, with high quality articles in Catalan and English. An outreach mission to take the Catalan position to the public outside Spain. This will be held in London next Monday and we need to get someone to it from Newsnet.

I have written to the people organising this event, thanks to Frankly Francophone, and asked them why they never thought of sending it to Scotland too.

They have also have a very slick media machine making viral videos and PPBs that make our Shoutin Up The Mountain look positively amateur, even allowing for cultural d5fferences.

We have a lot to learn from the Catalans

# GrassyKnollington 2010-11-10 17:23
Very good post Alex and could hardly be more timely appearing as it does on the day that the pig headed oppositionism of the numpties takes precedence over Scot's health and welfare.

The interesting thing to observe over the next few hours will be the cynical managing of the news by a shamefaced media who effectively blocked this much needed legislation as surely as Labour did. Their complicity and cheerleading for Labour have brought about the desired result but now they've succeeded, well frankly it's a bit embarrassing isn't it?

Cue a hospital infection story or Ignatius the Ferret switching on the Christmas lights in Pumpherston whilst playing Moon River on his ukelele.

I'm so angry this evening. Thanks Mr.Gray, Ms Baillie, Dr. Simpson and the rest.

Can we now add yellow eyes, ascites and elevated liver enzymes to that list of union dividends?
# oldnat 2010-11-10 17:41
Did you also notice that the Unionists are so careless about legislation that they voted FOR the sunset clause on the proposal that they had just voted AGAINST.

Being stupidly partisan is one thing - simply being stupid is another matter altogether.
# GrassyKnollington 2010-11-10 18:00
Indeed. It seems our Labour Group of MSPs fell out of the stupid tree and hit every branch on the way down. Just pitiful.
# Robabody 2010-11-10 18:08
Aye GK it would gaur you greet - ah well, moral cowards the lot of them. Unable to face up to their historic responsibilitie s, the dwarfs that now represent the labour giants of auld lang syne, ran away. Just as predicted by myself, yourself and a host of others.

I expected nothing from the tories (and got it) and I'm sure that the gloating rant from one M Fraser regarding the appeal letter will rebound on him. As for the LibDems - another bunch of PHO hidding behind a vine leaf.

Sad, Sad, Sad.
# enneffess 2010-11-10 20:03
Look at successful military commanders in history: they were all PROACTIVE, not reactive. SNP politicians have a tendency to react to criticism of independence policies.

As pointed out above, if questioned on independence, ask what are the benefits of staying in the union. Do not shoot down all of the arguments, because that puts you in the same category of Labour up here, in that you are arguing against everything simply for political point scoring.

Agree with some, but then point out flaws in the argument. Plant the seed of doubt in their minds.
# McGonagall 2010-11-10 20:08
The "British" Civil Service demonstrated that there is no "United Kingdom" when they conspired to deprive Scotland of her oil wealth in England's favour in the event of independence. If the State apparatus was truly "British" there would have been no partiality in their actions. That there was a conspiracy to rob Scotland and transfer her wealth to England shows that the State is England not "Britain".

There is no union and never has been. Scotland was sold as a sex slave three hundred years ago and has been raped repeatedly ever since.
# Crazyhill 2010-11-10 20:58
Quoting McGonagall:
The "British" Civil Service demonstrated that there is no "United Kingdom" when they conspired to deprive Scotland of her oil wealth in England's favour in the event of independence. If the State apparatus was truly "British" there would have been no partiality in their actions. That there was a conspiracy to rob Scotland and transfer her wealth to England shows that the State is England not "Britain".

There is no union and never has been. Scotland was sold as a sex slave three hundred years ago and has been raped repeatedly ever since.

THAT is one of the best analogies I have heard of the state of the relationship which wasn't even an arranged marriage, which used to be the scenario painted.
# Vakov2000 2010-11-10 20:12
A bit off topic but a usefull incite into vile Labour and how it will fight the election. The head of Fife Council has actually managed to get a letter published in a bias local paper. Regarding the fact the council has informed Labour 6 times of it's policy on Care Homes. However Labour is ignoring this and actually sending councillors into Care Homes to deliberately lie about the SNP Council's policy. Spreading fear amongst staff and residents deliberately lieing to them about what the real policy is. That's how that scum is going to fight the election!
# J Wil 2010-11-10 20:37
Haven't they heard about the Phil Woolas court judgement?
# Bugger the Panda 2010-11-10 20:39
They think that they are above the Law as they have been acting for centuries in Glasgow
# Alx1 2010-11-10 22:45

Sadly this is an old tactic by Labour councillors.
Frightening senior citizens into voting for Labour.
I have also noticed that they deliberately drive our senior citizens to the polling station from care homes and senior citizens homes in special housing, in housing schemes, no doubt to put the fear of God into these poor (poor in the sense they have to put up with this) people.
You are right Labour is scum!
Maybe the SNP should make a point of visiting these people and explain to them Labour intend to put up the price of prescriptions up if they into power?
# J Wil 2010-11-10 20:36
Message for Alex Porter and the Newsnet Scotland ed.

As promised I submitted Mr Porter's earlier article (in full) to the EK News, asking if they would consider publishing it. I also suggested it would be useful to see occasional political articles that would be of interest to their readers.

I have had no response and the article has not appeared in today's edition of the News, but that is not unusual. Certainly for letters which may be held back before publication. So there may still be hope.
# ScotlandUnspun 2010-11-10 20:39
Thanks J Wil,

Let me know what happens!

# enneffess 2010-11-10 23:06
I think you will find that the EK News might publish something. They are fairly well balanced, and have published letters from me which upset a few (Labour) councillors, including a response in the paper from a certain M McCann. They do not like open criticism.
# velofello 2010-11-10 21:20
Lots of points to mull over, many thanks.
Change of topic, a satirical piece has been discussed, titled Blether without Brian. Another could be titled Murphy's law?
# Admin 2010-11-10 21:37
We believe that Mr conanthelibrari an suggested he may be interested in doing something but as yet he has not contacted us.
# Bugger the Panda 2010-11-10 21:38
he has a mockup on his website

I'll contact him
# cynicalHighlander 2010-11-10 22:17
# Conan the Librarian™ 2010-11-11 00:56
Heh-more like press ganged.

I'm afraid I did a mock-up which many people thought was a grab from a real website...
# cjmasta 2010-11-10 21:31
Another sad day for Scotland. I think the BBC gave a more indepth story on the story about a barge sinking 200 years ago than they did about how the unionist parties continue to bash the SNP government at the expence of the nations health.
I think there will be a few in the labour party tonight who are feeling a tad guilty as the realisation of what they have done sinks in.
Is this what British unionism means for Scotland?
I wonder what the worlds media will have to say.
# cjmasta 2010-11-10 21:35
We know what the British media will have to say. triumphantly. SNP lose.

# Vakov2000 2010-11-10 21:42
Does anyone know if Labour lie during an election about their oponents policies. Can't they be sued for slander? Or is their other legislation maybe electoral that covers blatent lying during an election?
# Vakov2000 2010-11-10 21:45
Another suggestion if you Google "Scottish News" there is no mention of Newsnet Scotland. Can you add to the websites metatags "Scottish News" and as many variants as possible?
# velofello 2010-11-10 22:57
By their own words - Rumbles of Lib Dem, his justification for no to minimum pricing " its never been tried in the world!", or words to that effect. We'll see him newsnight.tonight.
A wee story. As a young engineer I suffered much mocking of my accent by our Southern partners " what was that you said Jock?'.. Then as I became more experienced I was sent on overseas projects. There I fpund that other nationalities had no difficulty with my accent. And so the penny dropped. The Jock accent thing was a put down. So thereafter, with particularly Southern English, I'd ask them to repeat themselves as I couldn't understand what they had said. Works a treat, try it sometime.
# enneffess 2010-11-10 23:08
I lived in England for 12 years, and deal with people all over England on a daily basis.

Some of the worst English accents come from London of all places.

I think one problem Scots have is the speed we speak at. I've learned to slow down over the years which helps.
# oldnat 2010-11-10 23:17
"I think one problem Scots have is the speed we speak at. I've learned to slow down over the years which helps."

True. I found it interesting that the Russian friends (of my US based brother) who were visiting found me easier to understand than him - if I slowed down.
# freescotland 2010-11-10 23:04
I've been moderated on Newsnet Scotland? Who's behind this website methinks?
# oldnat 2010-11-10 23:18
Sensible people, I suspect! :-)
# freescotland 2010-11-10 23:46
# freescotland 2010-11-10 23:13
Newsnet Scotland masquerading as?
# oldnat 2010-11-10 23:26

It is an online news site with an independista bias. Why would it want to masquerade as anything? That it doesn't accept every loony post (and I have no idea whether yours was one or not) suggests a sensible approach.

As with any blog site, if you don't like the moderating then you don't need to post. An exception, of course, is a blog where you are paying the wages of the bloggers - BBC blogs come to mind.
# freescotland 2010-11-10 23:38
Look at the truth. Research.
# freescotland 2010-11-10 23:42
independista bias

I don't pay the BBC/MI6 anything. Not even my life is they fancy their chances... they know where I am. Let them come if their hard enough!

Why don't the SNP expose all they know? And they know it all.

Including vote-rigging.
# GrassyKnollington 2010-11-10 23:25
some nights, I only come here for the comedy.
# freescotland 2010-11-10 23:51
If you want comedy listen tae Fred McCauley... oan the English Broadcasting Propaganda channel radio clap-trap.
# GrassyKnollington 2010-11-11 00:01
Hi Scotnotbrit, personally I liked your posts but I appreciate this site has to have moderation to avoid descending into incoherence. You made some very good points before but just have to try and play by the rules and rein it in a bit.
# freescotland 2010-11-10 23:28
Scotland wasn't 'viable' during the 'clearances'... (how many atrocities). Now that Scotland has VAST oil & Gas reserves? Cue: herd the discontent into housing estates. Wealth goes untouched straight to the London Establishment. If this post is removed then question this website.
# freescotland 2010-11-10 23:49
The post that was removed involved The London Establishment/ Black Nobility and other 'dubious' establishments.
# Hugo 2010-11-11 10:44
Voters may prefer independence but when you introduce the existential fear of financial ruin that dynamic changes: the debate is no longer wholly driven by dignity and preference but by fear and impotence.

This reminds me of one definition of a coward - a hero with a wife, family, and overdraft.
# ds12 2010-11-11 12:51
You will all no doubt remember David Cameron a few weeks ago ridiculing any notion of a Scottish air force,flying by the seat of your pants I believe the comment was.
What then would Mr Cameron have to say about this.

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