By Gerry Hassan, Open Democracy, January 25th 2012
January 25th 2012, Burns Night, will be remembered as a historic, watershed day for Scotland and the UK.
Alex Salmond announced to the Scottish Parliament his government’s proposed question for the autumn 2014 referendum on Scottish independence, ‘Do you agree that Scotland should be an independent country?’ This was he said ‘short, straightforward and clear’ (1).

The Scottish Government consultation paper, ‘Your Scotland, Your Referendum’ (2) is a cogent, thoughtful document, offering the vision of a modern, progressive Scotland at ease with itself and its neighbours. Alex Salmond even states in his forward, ‘Scotland is not oppressed and we have no need to be liberated’ (3).

The ‘Braveheart’ Nationalism of the British State

Those are important words because of the caricatures of Scottish nationalism which its enemies have. This can be witnessed in the widespread misinterpretation of the most famous exchange in the film version of ‘Trainspotting’ where the main character Renton invokes that Scotland has been colonised but not by an oppressor you can respect, proclaiming that, ‘we, on the other hand, have been colonised by wankers’ (4).

This was meant by writer Irvine Welsh as satire of a certain, ahistorical take of the Scottish predicament, but sadly it has become the view of many unionists and non-nationalists of Scotland, its culture and nationalist movement.

This has seen such opinion buying into the ‘Braveheart’ stereotype of Scottish nationalism; of seeing the SNP and self-government as romantic, irrational, sentimental throwbacks and ultimately, anti-progressive and unmodern. It is a view which flies in the face of the realities of the modern SNP and wider Scottish nationalist movement (which are two different entities). Alex Massie, always a thoughtful, considered voice, understands this, writing:

This is not a give me liberty or give me death type of struggle, far from it. In general, you see, Salmond wants to strip emotion from the debate, not pour it onto the pyre. (5)

A strange switch has happened in which the SNP have become thoughtful, pragmatic nationalists as far as you could imagine from ‘Braveheart’ and ‘Trainspotting’ sentiment. Instead, the romantic, fantasyland nationalists are those defending the British state and Westminster world: Gordon Brown, David Cameron and the unionist parties in Scotland.

They are romantic nationalists because they are letting their emotional attachment to the idea of the UK drive how they think of things. They tell themselves and the rest of us a selective, implausible, sanitised version of British history where we only did good things: brought ‘civilisation’ to the Empire, abolished slavery and beat the Nazis, and never address the complexities, nuances and darkside of having been an imperial power. In short, the new romantic nationalists defend an idealised, fictionalised United Kingdom, a world of in the words of Michael Moore, Lib Dem Secretary of State for Scotland, ‘a generous welfare state’ (6); the parallel universe of Gordon Brown’s land of liberty, tolerance and dissent (7). Alex Massie notes this significant change, commenting that ‘increasingly it is Unionism that tugs the heart’ (8).

Alex Salmond’s Hugo Young Memorial Lecture was one part of the choreographed bigger picture that is SNP strategy (9). Salmond had many audiences to address in this, the most important of which weren’t in the room, namely the domestic Scottish audience. SNP thinking, from al-Megrahi to Salmond’s visits to China and Dubai, is about Scotland taking a more prominent international profile and its place on the global stage.

There were different London Guardianista audiences, first, those who cannot get over the idea of an independent Scotland, gripe about nationalism, and feel threatened by the possibility that England may be left governed, god forbid by the English. Second, there are the others who Salmond can if not make common cause with, establish a dialogue with, many of whom see in Scotland an idealised centre-left community, i.e.: all that England and the UK isn’t. There is a bit of romanticism in that view too.

Salmond’s official story of progressive Scotland paints a powerful picture:

The Scottish Government’s policies attempt to protect many values which would be dear to any post-war social democrat in these isles. For example, we have promoted what we call a living wage – £7.20 an hour. And we have made a conscious decision to provide certain core universal services, rights or benefits, some of which are no longer prioritised by political leaders elsewhere – such as free university tuition, free prescriptions, free personal care for the elderly and a guarantee of no compulsory redundancies across the public sector. (10)

This is a selective account of social democratic Scotland, its achievements and how it feels which takes little account of the distributional consequences of these decisions. But as positioning it is masterful.

This moment requires a calmness and consideration to allow Scotland and the UK to have a reasoned debate and discussion. So far both the British political classes and media, and a large part of unionist opinion in Scotland has shown no indications that it has the capacity or qualities to do so.

The worst recent example of this wasn’t the tirades of Melanie Phillips or Simon Heffer, both of who preach to the converted about a ‘subsidy junkie Scotland’. Instead it comes from the BBC ‘journalist’ Jeremy Paxman, who has a track record in wearing his prejudice on his sleeve with regard to Scotland and Scottish independence.

Paxman’s ‘interview’ with Alex Salmond on ‘Newsnight’ was one characterised by Paxman’s condescending, metropolitan media elite disdain for Salmond and Scottish independence (11). Paxman was clearly indignant at the positivity and optimism of Salmond’s Hugo Young lecture, and his call for Scotland to be ‘a beacon for progressives’, using this to invite a comparison between Scotland and Zimbabwe, and then following this, to sink even lower, comparing Salmond and Mugabe.

The whole interview was shaped by Paxman’s scorn and Salmond’s good humour and grace, realising how this would play back home with domestic voters. Paxman went through issue after issue, the UK national debt, public spending, the gold reserves, and challenged Salmond to explain his sheer effrontery in daring to think that an independent Scotland was possible and viable. ‘How would an independent Scotland pay for the BBC license fee?’ he asked, throwing his famously contorted face which had once brought politicians as talented as Michael Howard and Tony Blair to account.

Paxmanesque arrogance, over-reach and machismo could be seen as a one off, unrepresentative of wider currents, but there is a tendency in large aspects of the British political classes to dismiss Scottish nationalism and the viability of Scottish independence in such brutal, demeaning terms.

This can be seen in the Scottish political environment whereby the unionist parties north of the border are still in denial about the SNP, let alone Scottish independence. After Salmond’s statement to the Scottish Parliament, Johann Lamont replied as leader of Scottish Labour, in a nippy, ungracious manner which in three minutes used the pejorative word ‘separatism’ three times; she warned Salmond not to take for granted that ‘he spoke for Scotland’ (12).

What this is influenced by is that the unionist parties are shaped by regarding the SNP as illegitimate, and not part of mainstream, moderate Scotland. Thus they regard the SNP Government as partisan and not the expression of the national will in the way governments the world are. This jaundiced view of the Nationalists makes Labour, Lib Dems and Tories come across as slightly crazed and myopic.

After Salmond’s announcement to the Parliament, he and Nicola Sturgeon, Deputy First Minister, went the short walk up the Royal Mile to Edinburgh Castle to take press questions on the referendum. This is a beautiful site in the heart of historic Edinburgh, and one well suited and used for such occasions, famously, Donald Dewar in July 1997 when he unveiled Labour’s White Paper on a Scottish Parliament. And yet given their partisan view of the SNP what did Labour and the Lib Dems say this time? Labour MSP Kezia Dugdale said, ‘Edinburgh Castle is a proud symbol of Scotland and belongs to all of the people of Scotland – not Alex Salmond or the SNP’; Willie Rennie, Scots Lib Dem leader offered the view that, ‘Things seem to have gone to the First Minister’s head. To use Scotland’s national monument for party political ends will just jar with people’ (13).

Evidence abounds of unionist parties not understanding the appeal of the SNP and independence. One of the well-worn dynamics as illustrated above is that Labour or other unionist politicians get so irritated by the words or actions of SNP politicians that they go over the top. Thus, Salmond’s claim that an independent Scotland could be ‘a progressive beacon’ caused Willie Bain, Labour MP to respond about Salmond that, ‘the man who said Scots didn’t mind Thatcherite economics, demanded lighter bank regulation and backed Fred Goodwin might not know what the word progressive means’ (14). The same observation could have been made of Gordon Brown.

A recent BBC ‘Question Time’ saw another revealing example. Nicola Sturgeon made the calm case for Scotland being able to debate and decide its constitutional future, an uncontroversial point, which caused Douglas Alexander, Labour Westminster frontbencher and former Cabinet minister, to retort that ‘we have had 40 years of debating the border issue’ (15). This was interesting language for no one senior in any Scottish party has ever called the independence debate, ‘the border issue’, a phrase which carries with it not just connotations of belittling, but sectarian strife and Northern Irish associations.

Beyond the Debate of ‘Two Tribes’

These are momentous, challenging times, filled with a mixture of excitement and bewilderment, hope and fear, depending on your political opinions. It is up to those of us who want a serious, mature debate appropriate for the occasion to challenge and demand from all Scotland’s and the UK political parties, media and political communities, that they act respectively and reach out and understand perspectives different from their own.

First, the pro-union forces have a legitimate argument to put about the merits of Scotland remaining in the union, but to do so and be heard, they need to argue a nuanced case which stresses the positives of remaining in the UK; what they must not do for their sake is retreat into their comfort zone of peddling fear and scaremongering stories about independence.

Second, even more crucially and basically, the union parties have to come to terms with the normalcy of the SNP and Scottish independence. The SNP and independence are part of the mainstream; they are not mavericks, eccentrics, wild men (and women), or even romantics – these are the unionist stereotypes of a Scottish nationalism which has long since passed away. The union forces need to stop girning and learnt to empathise and relate to the modern SNP in front of them which isn’t that different from them or the rest of Scotland (except that they happen to believe in independence).

Third, the political classes and parts of the media in Scotland and the UK need to stop using hackneyed language. Newspapers in Scotland regularly use the word ‘separatism’ without any qualification when this is a pejorative, partisan word. Labour, Lib Dem and Tory politicians love getting worked into a lather taking emotively of Scotland ‘being wrenched out of the UK’ as Nick Clegg did recently. This is the last stand of the romantic nationalists of the British state, and equally a sad story of how Lib Dems north and south of the border, have bought into the once Labour and Tory only Armageddon lexicon of seeing Scottish nationalism as the equivalent of a UK version of the Vietcong!

This brings us to the current political posturing between the Scottish and UK Governments over the nature of the independence question. The Scottish Government has stressed that it is open to two questions, one on independence and one on what is called ‘devo max’, sensing this is where most Scottish public opinion currently is. The UK Government and unionist opinion only want one question, thinking this offers them the best prospect of winning.

The debate between one and two questions is one that needs careful consideration by all sides rather than partisan calculations of what options are most likely to win. What is self-evident is that any referendum has to aid clarity, debate and decision on the part of the general public, and not be about the knowledge of the political cognoscenti. And offering up a multi-option referendum of ‘devo max’ and independence throws up huge challenges, asking for two political concepts to be defined, one of which, the former, has had no work done on it and at the moment has no institutional supporters beyond a self-proclaimed, self-selecting group who claim to speak for ‘civic Scotland’.

A two question referendum as is being currently mooted isn’t in any way comparable to 1997’s Scottish Parliament two vote question on a Parliament and its tax raising powers as it could be understood as a binary choice: for or against a Parliament. Such a proposed vote hasn’t really worked successfully anywhere in the world.

What equally matters is who calls the vote and who is seen to call it. This is about the politics and legitimacy of the vote rather than narrow legality. The best scenario is that the Scottish Government find agreement with the UK Government which allows the former to take the lead, call the vote and ask the question. A ‘Channel Four News’ poll found only 12% of Scots saw the UK Government as being best placed to call and run a referendum (16).

What such a figure reveals is that Scotland has already embraced a de facto independence of the mind, that Scottish politics are increasingly home grown, embrace a home rule politics, and Scottish voters wanting to see more and more domestic policy decisions and priorities made in Scotland by the Scottish Government, and have increasing questions of trust and legitimacy about the British Government’s role in Scottish domestic affairs (17).

All of this is part of a wider set of events which point to a quiet, peaceful and gradual revolution happening before our very eyes, of the emergence of a distinct Scottish public sphere and statehood, which is progressive, generous and about the collective future of its people, more than its past.

This is a Scottish story with major English, UK and European, as well as global dimensions. It is a social democratic story of a people and polity wishing to institutionalise their values and priorities. It is a story of the slow, painful decline of Britain, its state and statecraft, and how people see it. And it is as Anthony Barnett rightly argues the end of the argument for ‘a different kind of British state’ (18). Instead it is the beginning of the conversation of what kind of post-British identities will emerge, what kind of union and co-operation, and what sort of Britain, society and role in the world we want to envisage.


1. BBC Scotland News, ‘Scottish Independence: Referendum Question Set Out’, January 25th 2012,

2. Scottish Government, Your Scotland, Your Referendum, Scottish Government 2012.

3. Foreword, op. cit.

4. Trainspotting, 1996,

5. Alex Massie, ‘Alex Salmond’s Inevitable Strategy’, Spectator Coffee House, January 25th 2012,

6. House of Commons, January 11th 2012.

7. Gordon Brown, ‘Introduction’, in Matthew d’Ancona (ed.), Being British: The Search for the Values that Bind a Nation, Mainstream 2009.

8. Massie, op. cit.

9. Alex Salmond, Hugo Young Memorial Lecture, ‘Scotland’s Place in the World’, January 24th 2012,

10. Ibid.

11. Newsnight, BBC Two, January 24th 2012.

12. Scottish Parliament, January 25th 2012.

13. The Scotsman, January 25th 2012.

14. The Times, Scotland Edition, January 25th 2012.

15. BBC Question Time, January 12th 2012.

16. Channel Four News, January 16th 2012.

17. Gerry Hassan, ‘The Beginning of the Break-up of Britain: The Consequences and Practicalities of Scottish Independence’, National Library of Iceland Lecture, January 20th 2012,

18. Anthony Barnett, ‘Time to Take Britain Out of Our Greatness’, Our Kingdom, January 25th 2012,


Courtesy of Gerry Hassan -


# Hamish100 2012-01-26 09:22
I think we should be asking what the Unionist's view of the UK is over the next 10-20 years?

Will it be a federalist state made up of 4 countries?

Labour has to ask itself is it willing to have the Tories in charge for the next 10 years as a price for their pro-unionist stance?

Are the lib-dem's willing to contiue as part of a coalition (although I would predict that they will be defeated at the next uk general election) to the benefit of the tories?

Are Labour willing to continue with the nuclear weapons base in Scotland?

I suspect that a No vote would result in no substantial powers to Wales, Scotland, NI for a generation.
# Holebender 2012-01-26 09:29
Wow. This is a first - a Gerry Hassan piece with nothing for me to take issue with.
# Arraniki 2012-01-26 10:02
Agree, Holebender.

Gerry, this is really a good piece.

# Macart 2012-01-26 10:44
Good article Gerry.

Lots of food for thought in there, most especially about the SNP. The country needs to see beyond the narrow minded view of the nationalists painted by a scaremongering press. Their approach of recent times has backfired spectacularly and has resulted in huge numbers voting with their membership subscriptions. They don't see braveheart, kilts and misty eyed romantics on the front bench at Holyrood only pragmatic and progressive politicians who daily face an increasingly shrill and wildly inaccurate media, force fed their views by a similarly shrill and desperate Westminster.

If the unionist parties do not come up with their own progressive policies to paint a fairer, more positive future picture of the union then they shouldn't bother turning up. People have access to an entire world of information which was not available even 20 years ago. The old tactics of mis information, lies and fear won't work that well against a determined opponent. Right now the Westminster establishment is quite rightly seen as a bully and a coward, unfeeling and uncaring of its constituent democratic partners and unwilling to listen and amend the union according to their needs and aspirations.

The result of this constant bombardment of fear and negativity?

# GrassyKnollington 2012-01-26 10:54
Enjoyed this article Gerry it makes some very perceptive points about Labour in Scotland as did your piece the other day about civic Scotland.

Particularly liked your description of Johann Lamont's response to Salmond in Holyrood yesterday.

When he'd finished talking I wondered if once , just once she could rise above the reflex unionist sniping but she waded in to have a square go as reliably and disappointingly as usual.

Enjoyed the Anthony Barnett article you referred to although I notice he doesn't really seem to get Devo Max and seems to think the SNP can deliver it for Scotland.
# Jiggsbro 2012-01-26 10:55
I always get the impression from Lamont that she is outraged that these upstart Nationalists have stolen Labour's birthright.
# Fungus 2012-01-26 11:20
That is precisely the problem with the Labour Party. They have had hegemony in Scotland for so long that they took it for granted. That is why their politicians are of such low caliber, being a Labour politician in Scotland was often a reward from the Party, a job for life with the prospects of ermine.

Then suddenly they found themselves to be in the minority, the world view shattered and the prospects gone. So what you see is about all they can muster, anger, bitterness and semi literate debate.
# Albalha 2012-01-26 10:57
Well constructed article, but one point I feel needs to be more clearly articulated is that the SNP and its members are not the only ones who support independence and I don't just mean the Greens and Margo, for the media the independence voice seems only to come from the SNP, there are many others with no party affiliation who support independence and indeed will have a different take on aspects of the SNP's vision for an independent Scotland. I really believe these voices need to be heard as it's more nuanced than the two tribes characterisatio n this article paints. And I reckon the SNP and non- SNP people making a case for independence gives us an even better chance of achieving it.
# UpSpake 2012-01-26 12:29
Albalha. Precisely anticipating the demise on the unionist parties across Scotland was why the SDA was established in 2009. Small, embrionic but filled with emminently qualified people it is a very small voice so far.
When the Lib Dems and the Conservatives are finally wiped out in the local elections next May, there will in reality only be two main parties. Should the Labour Party in Scotland continue to lose support we will then be heading to a one party state all over again.
The threat to pluralist democracy is looming. Sure, new parties must arrise from the ashes of the old but those with a strong unionist bias may not last.
The SDA is a true independence party seeking independence not only from our old union with England but also from our recent union with Europe or that part of Europe that calls itself the EU ?.
# Albalha 2012-01-26 12:44
Just had a quick look at the SDA website on the homepage it states as the first bullet point ....."Supporting the fight for Home Rule and Full Fiscal Automony" but you're saying it supports independence? I think visitors to the site may a wee bit confused. But it's true post independence there will be a new political landscape, let's hope at this stage all those who are pro independence can get that basic message across to the undecided.
# wee e 2012-01-26 13:16
Good piece!
I've always wondered at that strange vision of the UK that oscillates between the greatness and strength of the UK on the one hand and the easily "broken" "wrenched apart" disaster zone that independence shall surely make of it...while also remaining whole as the uk, and just as great and successful...
# jafurn 2012-01-26 13:46
Interesting article Gerry and I do get a sense that you are heading toward the idea of Scotland becoming Independent.

I was struck by this paragraph...

"First, the pro-union forces have a legitimate argument to put about the merits of Scotland remaining in the union, but to do so and be heard, they need to argue a nuanced case which stresses the positives of remaining in the UK; what they must not do for their sake is retreat into their comfort zone of peddling fear and scaremongering stories about independence."

This I think is a true assessment and is one of the most problematic for the unionists post the referendum.
If the result is NO to independence then they, I imagine , will feel that it will be fine to carry on from there as usual. (I doubt very much if that would be the case even if it was NO.)

However if the answer is YES (just for the record I have no doubt that this will be the outcome) where will that leave these same 'unionists' who will have just spent the last 30 months ( of debate as opposed to the last... however many decades) telling the people that somehow they would not be able to run the country without being overseen from westminster. How do they then go on to portray themselves as being in a position to take the country forward post Independence when by their own assertions the country is not capable of running things for itself.
If that is the case then at least I can understand the desperation / determination of the unionist parties to ...lets say 'downplay' Scotlands ambition to be a normal Independent member of the family of nations.
# Stravaiger 2012-01-26 14:36
A masterly article from Gerry Hassan. Contrast this with the condescending drivel from Martin Kettle in today's Guardian, dripping with ignorance and indignation.

"Girning" sums it up.
# Jimbo 2012-01-26 14:38
Good article Mr Hassan.

They are romantic nationalists because they are letting their emotional attachment to the idea of the UK drive how they think of things.

I disagree. I think they are financial nationalists with a vested interested in keeping Scotland within the Union. IMO they're looking out for number one - putting their careers before their country. They look south for their own political advancement and financial gain.

Listening to Lamont and Wallace on the BBC last night was cringeworthy. If this is the best of the Labour and Liberals, then God help us.

Rather than listen to the negative drivel they constantly spout I would much rather see a TV debate on independence with a panel of experts like Joseph Stiglitz, Andrew Hughes Hallet, Jim McColl, et al. who could tell us some facts without the negativity and politicking we are subjected to.
# uilleam_beag 2012-01-27 04:15
Now there's a panel line-up I'd definitely tune in to watch!
# Electric Hermit 2012-01-26 16:25
First, the pro-union forces have a legitimate argument to put about the merits of Scotland remaining in the union, but to do so and be heard, they need to argue a nuanced case which stresses the positives of remaining in the UK; what they must not do for their sake is retreat into their comfort zone of peddling fear and scaremongering stories about independence.

If there is such a thing as a "nuanced case which stresses the positives of remaining in the UK" why has it never been heard?
# Robert Louis 2012-01-26 18:13
Steady on Gerry, with articles such as this, History may show your views as being a reliable barometer of enlightened Scottish thought on constitutional change.

That's a compliment, btw.
# GrassyKnollington 2012-01-26 18:31
Sadly I don't think the love's returned RL.

"And yes I read Bella C and Newsnet Scotland occasionally looking at comments - usually scanning them in horror."

Gerry on the Our Kingdom blog this morning.
# Teri 2012-01-26 19:25
RL's comment and compliment will surprise and delight Gerry then since we are all such nasty cybies.
# GrassyKnollington 2012-01-26 19:47
I was just reading an article of Gerry's from 2002 and came across this somewhat prescient sentence,

"How Scottish Labour reacts to the coming to power of a non-Labour administration will be a defining point for the party."

The rest is here and makes fascinating reading 10 years on.
# manxbhoy 2012-01-26 20:53

Any room left in the darkroom?
I confess to replying to a unionista in the washington press.
# Angus 2012-01-26 21:27
I read Gerry's words... 'And yes I read Bella C and Newsnet Scotland occasionally looking at comments - usually scanning them in horror.'

So what is that all about?
Hope NNS isnt going the same way as Labour hame?
# snowthistle 2012-01-26 21:32
sorry Angus, don't get what you mean
# Angus 2012-01-26 21:54
Quoting snowthistle:
sorry Angus, don't get what you mean

Maybe I m taking Gerry's comment the wrong way, but he said... 'And yes I read Bella C and Newsnet Scotland occasionally looking at comments - usually scanning them in horror.' I m not sure why he reads the comments in horror, strange thing to say, or am I missing something?
Appologies though as I cant see NNS going the same way as Labour hame, that sight is totally controled with very little free speech. Heres the link.
# snowthistle 2012-01-26 22:06
thanks for the link Angus.
I've never thought of Gerry as a nationalist but I find his articles quite interesting and thought provoking. he has different points of view but that's ok.
I think he sometimes upsets people who believe him to be something he is not.
# InfrequentAllele 2012-01-27 00:36
Excellent article Gerry, but the pedant in me feels the need to point out that "independista" is not a word. The word in Spanish is "independentista ".

Admittedly, when speaking English, if you say you're an independentista
people are just likely to ask how much you charge for orthodontic work.
# Jacko 2012-01-27 01:51
Whilst I agree with Gerry's comments ref the framing of the argument and phraseology from the unionist parties I feel the issue is a good deal more basic (for those parties) than Gerry intimates.

Any independence referendum calls into question the continued fiscal support and, ergo, survival of the traditional unionist parties.

Without fiscal and political support from their parent Westminster based organisations where would the Scottish Labour, Scottish Conservative and the Scottish Liberal Democrat parties be?

For these parties it is more a case of turkeys being asked to vote for Christmas than it is of Scottish sovereignty and self determination.

It is for this reason, I would submit, that the unionist parties are (and shall continue to be) stuck with supporting the least popular option and cannot/will not make the case for such as Devo Max.

If not, why won't any of them try to make the case for FFA? They are all agreed that the Scottish government needs to be responsible for raising it's own funds as well as spending?

FFA allows them to promote a fiscally responsible, equitable alternative to full independence that is not 'Devo Max' and therefore avoids accusations of 'dancing to Salmond's tune'.

It also means that they would have to be self sufficient of course!
# Angus 2012-01-29 00:23
Quoting snowthistle:
thanks for the link Angus.
I've never thought of Gerry as a nationalist but I find his articles quite interesting and thought provoking. he has different points of view but that's ok.
I think he sometimes upsets people who believe him to be something he is not.

Thanks Snowthistle, I still dont understand why Gerry Hassan reads the comments on NNS with horror.
I dont see much horror on the NNS, or is there something I cant see?
# mato21 2012-01-29 00:47

I was rather taken aback when I read that too as there are many on this site who you know are smarter than the average bear.(remember yogi?) I cannot make up my mind if he was patronising or that he has a guid conceit of himself
# Angus 2012-01-29 11:22
Quoting mato21:

I was rather taken aback when I read that too as there are many on this site who you know are smarter than the average bear.(remember yogi?) I cannot make up my mind if he was patronising or that he has a guid conceit of himself

Thats what I thought Mato.
I ve read the Daily Mail columns and comments, full of brutal Jock bashing, now that really is horror reading, so where is Gerry coming from as regards NNS?

Paul Kavanagh, on the other hand, is informative, interesting, sometimes very humourous, uses alterier methods for getting a message across, and can hold the reader, one of the main reasons that NNS is an attractive site.

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