By a Newsnet reporter
Last week the latest circulation figures for the Scottish newspaper industry were published.  As expected, and in keeping with latest trends, the figures were worse than disappointing.
That the newspaper industry in Scotland is in crisis is not exaggeration – and this has nothing to do with Leveson.

The internet has much to do with this demise, but also lurking in the shadows is the cancer of falling standards – and this affliction isn’t confined to the printed press.

Running through Scotland’s media is a corrosive inability to adapt to a changing Scotland.  A hitherto hidden network of commentators, reporters and politicians with an agenda are destroying journalism, and with it any iota of balance in the run up to the independence referendum.

There are a few sparkles of ethical light in this dark and dingy place – but like a long disused goldmine any seams of hope have long since been exhausted.

The problem was no better evidenced than the EU letter story front paged by the Scotsman last Thursday.  The story was a virtual clone of similar anti-independence inspired pieces based around claims that an independent Scotland would have to re-apply for EU membership.

At the centre of this latest incarnation of EU apocalypse was a claim of a letter sent from the European Commission to a House of Lords committee.  The Scotsman newspaper had, we were told, seen the letter - the contents of which were published by the newspaper.

Taken at face value it appeared a very decent scoop by the paper – notwithstanding similar scare stories.  That it gave it significant prominence was in keeping with the paper’s pro-Union editorial stance and perfectly legitimate. 

Labour peer George Foulkes, not slow to display his anti-independence credentials, was quoted in the article and the package was presented as a ‘blow to independence’ – or as the Scotsman described it “a separate Scotland”.

Newsworthy without a doubt, however alarm bells started to ring when at 6 o’clock on Thursday morning Radio Scotland afforded the story a profile normally reserved for events of significant importance.

When Raymond Buchanan appeared on Good Morning Scotland in a very lengthy item, it heralded a day where the BBC would go into overdrive.  Throughout the day and into the evening the story went from the pages of a Scottish newspaper to the airwaves of the whole of the UK.

The BBC had decided that this story would be promoted – and how, as the corporation threw significant resources thus ensuring as many people as possible were aware of the EC letter, its apparent contents and the now ubiquitous anti-independence narrative.

There was one snag though – according to the European Commission the Scotsman story was incorrect.  No letter had been sent and no decision had been taken on what any letter would contain.

Newsnet Scotland revealed this rather uncomfortable fact when a team member decided to contact the office of the EC President himself.  The reply we received at 17:02 on Thursday was clear and unequivocal and rather uncomfortable for both the Scotsman and the BBC.

In a statement, an EC spokesman for José Manuel Barroso told Newsnet Scotland: "President Barroso has been invited to contribute to the House of Lords inquiry on the economic implications for the United Kingdom of Scottish Independence.  The President has not yet replied.

"The Commission position is well known and set out in the series of responses given to European parliamentary questions.  The Commission has been very clear that we do not comment on specific situations but can only give a view in general".

He added: "So to be clear – no reply has been decided or sent by the President yet so the Scotsman story is incorrect."

No reply had yet been decided and no letter had been sent, the charade had been exposed.

It begged the question: how had an unconfirmed story by a known Unionist leaning newspaper merited such widespread coverage and apparently significant resources by the BBC? 

There’s no question that the story deserved acknowledgement of some sort, but the willingness of the BBC to promote it in the way it did was disproportionate in the extreme.  Why did the corporation not wait until the EC had officially confirmed either the contents of the letter or the sentiments reportedly expressed?

Throughout the day the BBC’s reporting changed as the facts emerged.  Initially the BBC’s online article blithely reported the Scotsman claim that the letter had already been sent.

"The European Commission has yet to confirm the details of the letter, which was sent to the House of Lords economic affairs sub committee." it said. [Our emphasis]

This claim was dropped in later versions.

The BBC's broadcast media was little better.  On the UK wide Daily Politics Show, Unionist leaning presenter Andrew Neil took the Scotsman story at face value when questioning SNP MEP Alyn Smith about the ‘letter’.  Incredibly, when confronted with the truth that no letter was sent and that all that existed were provisional drafts – Neil defended the Scotsman article as “original journalism”.

On Radio Scotland that afternoon the truth began to dawn that there were significant inaccuracies in the earlier versions of the story.  The narrative changed to claims that the letter did indeed exist but simply hadn’t yet been sent.

At exactly two minutes past five that afternoon BBC Radio Scotland was reporting bizarrely that the EC had confirmed the letter existed but that the contents were different from that reported by the Scotsman.  It appeared to escape BBC Scotland's notice that if the contents did not match then the letter, clearly, did not exist.

Wording from the Scottish government was also being very subtlely manipulated with Radio Scotland’s Bill Whiteford reporting that First Minister Alex Salmond had insisted that an independent Scotland would “gain automatic entry”.  In fact gaining entry is something Scottish government ministers have denied Scotland would require, given that Scotland is already a member.

The “gain automatic entry” phrase would be used throughout Radio Scotland’s evening news show.

In a further blow to the narrative which was quickly falling apart it emerged that the Scottish government were about to complain to the EC over the episode.  The BBC response was to begin scrabbling about looking for ‘evidence’ to keep the story alive.

Appearing on Radio Scotland’s Newsdrive at 17:15, the BBC’s Tim Reid altered the corporation’s approach – the Scotsman letter was still being cited but was now being bolstered by apparent remarks made by Mr Barroso earlier this year that Reid claimed supported the newspapers claims.

Referring to the newspaper claim that an independent Scotland would have to re-apply for EU membership, Reid said it was true, telling listeners: “We know because they [the EC] have made their view known before”.

The day also saw the BBC with reporters based in Brussels make the same claims as the Scotsman.  In addition to BBC Scotland Radio there were several other news and current affairs programmes also reporting the story – all of course attacked Scottish independence which was almost universally portrayed on the defensive.

Even when it became apparent that the original story contained significant inaccuracies which were confirmed by the EC, the direction of flow did not alter.  The news that the Scottish government was to complain to the EC about briefings apparently given by EC officials was given nothing like the coverage of the original incorrect claims.

At the end of the evening Newsnight Scotland, clearly unwilling to change its pre-arranged programme, covered the issue in a manner that all but ignored the now firmly established new story – which was the EC statement that no decision had been taken on how to respond to the House of Lords, and that the Scotsman story was incorrect.

In an intro item for the programme viewers were simply told again “The letter has been written but not yet sent”.  Unsubstantiated claims peppered the item, including that EC officials had told a BBC reporter that an independent Scotland would need to re-apply.  The officials were not named and no evidence was produced to support the claims - the day ended as it had started.

Gordon Brewer's half hearted attempt at questioning Lord Foulkes about the origin of the incorrect Scotsman story followed a quite appallingly ignorant and gratuitous opening remark to SNP MEP Alyn Smith.

The next day the Scotsman newspaper issued a correction – the BBC carried on as though nothing untoward had happened.

The BBC had been caught out.  It had poured significant resources into a story that an EC official statement, as reported by Newsnet Scotland, had all but destroyed.  Despite the new development emerging, the corporation paid scant regard and ploughed on with their anti-independence narrative.

Claims that an independent Scotland would be forced out of the EU are in fact all but impossible to support.  There exists no mechanism for removing a country or territory that is already a member.  Indeed one example where an existing member, Greenland, requested an end to its own membership took fully two years.

However it isn’t the spurious nature of the claims by opponents to Scottish independence that are the concern – scare stories and apocalyptic predictions are part and parcel of the anti-independence rhetoric.  The Scotsman newspaper’s pro-union line and the emphasis it placed on what it believed was reliable information is understandable.

What is more worrying is the eagerness with which the BBC picked up an unconfirmed newspaper article and gave it a prominence it ill deserved.  That the state broadcaster now feels it appropriate to promote unconfirmed pro-Union articles from newspapers should worry us all.

To its credit, the Scotsman newspaper issued a correction the following day and admitted its original claim that a letter had been sent was untrue.  It still remains unclear though what letter the newspaper claims to have seen – given that we now know it is currently a work in progress.

Alex Salmond asked who was behind the original story run by the Scotsman?  We may never know.

Whatever the truth, Scots deserve to be told who at the BBC took the decision to give this story such a high profile and why hasn’t the subsequent revelations that the original story was incorrect not received the same prominent coverage? 

It may in fact come to pass that the EC does indeed draft a letter that Unionists will claim supports their assertions that an independent Scotland will need to re-apply.

Expect more of the same coverage if that is the case.

What though will be the reaction of the BBC if no such letter is ever sent?


# Onwards 2012-12-09 20:52
Scotsman circulation is in freefall - partly because of their unbalanced unionist propaganda, but also because of the natural trend to online viewing.

What would it take to see headlines from a pro-Scottish publication like NNS featured on Google News, or on BBC links?

Does an online publication also have to have a print-run, however small ?
# maisiedotts 2012-12-09 21:01
Well done NNS it's about time someone exposed BBC for the charlatans they are. I just wish someone would take them to the Court of Europe.
# oldnat 2012-12-09 21:08
BBC Scotlandshire gave grudging acknowledgement to NNS.

"However, separatist cybernat reporters at Newsnet Scotland pushed the boundaries of decency by indulging in the archaic practice known as "journalism"."
# IXL 2012-12-09 22:07
you DO realise, don't you, that bbc.scotlandshire is a spoof website and totally on the side of the "Saltire Angels"

# oldnat 2012-12-09 22:12
What? Never!

It's clearly a wholly genuine site - with never a trace of satire in its very being!

You utter foul calumnies sir (or madam)!
# G. P. Walrus 2012-12-10 12:40

Maybe you have been confused by the spoof-site BBC Scotland,

BBC Scotlandshire is a high-quality broadcaster of international repute, in fact it is a measure of its impartiality that its anti-independence bias is clearly stated on its main page.
# Balefire 2012-12-10 08:23
I had a good chortle at the article on Scotlandshire. Liked the fact it mentions BBC Scotland as the true spoof site, pure class:)
# sneckedagain 2012-12-09 21:13
As I am confident that an independent Scotland will cope adequately in or out of the EU that probably should be our position on this issue - while pointing out that that choice will be given to the Scotland after independence - ie whether to remain in (as we will be)or negotiate withdrawal.
# clootie 2012-12-09 22:13
Well it's working........but not as they planned. Even more "neutrals" have acknowledged to me that my comments on media bias appear valid.
The BBC have lost credibility with a large section of fair thinking people who will now start being more open to the positive case for independence.
They are still trying to use the media tools of the past to manipulate the population - thank goodness!
# Marian 2012-12-09 23:34
Excellent NNS article confirming that the BBC and Scotsman are nothing more than unionist stooges.

I read this quote recently which is reputed to have come from the evil mind of Josef Goebbels, and which is frighteningly accurate in describing what the unionists are up to:-

“If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.”

Congratulations to NNS for their excellent journalism exposing the truth - keep up the good work!
# rodmac 2012-12-09 23:55
Excellent article Thank You!!
Only one slight quibble....You conclude by saying "To its credit, the Scotsman newspaper issued a correction the following day and admitted its original claim that a letter had been sent was untrue. It still remains unclear though what letter the newspaper claims to have seen – given that we now know it is currently a work in progress."

Well We do know! The Scotsman admitted that too!

# rodmac 2012-12-10 00:58
Can I also submit that the best way to combat them is to follow the YES Campaigns Initial advice!

# clochoderic 2012-12-10 03:15
Given the Guardian's willingness to publish a " humourous" Steve Bell cartoon based on the lies published in the Scotsman we should be quite clear about what we are up against.

The unionists are willing to do whatever it takes to keep Scotland part of their gangster economy - the fact that so-called "progressive" press like the Guardian and the Independent, as well as the usual suspects in the BBC are willing to propagate these lies should tell all thinking Scots all they need to know about this rotten kleptocracy and their intentions.
# ahumscottish2 2012-12-10 08:08
Hi all

Great article I would still like to remind people we believe there is bias in papers and especially the BBC but as I commented before the "YES" campaign believe no such bias exists as stated at Adrossan meeting. What can we do about this?
PS on another issue I have ways said about oil and it potential revenue I would rather have a 5 millionth share on whatever the value compared to a Barnett formula handout on 65 millionth share.
# rodmac 2012-12-10 09:06
Not sure that the YES campaign really do believe there is no bias in the media..
I suspect that for them to say that they do, would be to embroil them in a negative distracting argument,which they wish to avoid.
YES campaign is focussing on the positive viewpoint on independence,an d are keeping to that line. It would suit the Better Together Side perfectly if they could disrupt that positive message, by arguing over a side issue of Bias.
I think that there Is absolutely no question whatsoever any more that there is bias..It Is becoming blatant now....Except it is backfiring on them, because the public are now looking out for it...So the bias becomes counter productive as the penny drops.
# WRH2 2012-12-10 08:16
O/T: I heard the item on BBC GMS mentioning Alex Salmond's letter to the Washington Post. At the end of the item, it was announced there would be a discussion later in the programme questioning why political parties feel the need to court public opinion in the USA. This isn't about courting any opinion, its about having a fair hearing and putting the other side of the argument and also correcting errors.
They just can't help themselves!
# UpSpake 2012-12-10 08:22
More fools we. Paying for this trash to be stuffed down our throats by the subversive BBC. At least with a publication that dares to call itself a newspaper, we can simply refuse to buy it.
# sword 2012-12-10 10:19
Just saw on BBC News 24, "breaking News"...Independent Scotland will have to apply for EU membership confirmed by European Commission.
# chicmac 2012-12-10 10:22
Even the 'correction' clip repeats the lie of the letter's existence and plays inappropriate background music which says 'what this man is saying is not to be taken seriously'. Especially the bit at the end which rejoins at the point where the FM uses the word scaremongering and sounds like a spoof scream.
# GrassyKnollington 2012-12-10 10:37
I suppose the BBC could be described as hiding their bias in plain view.

The anti-independence stories are run and are indeed often wrong but by then their work is done as enough people have seen and heard their intended slant on the news.

Grudging corrections or sly alterations may appear later but by that time they're moving on to the next one. We know the details of how these stories developed and how they were manipulated but the average punter isn't really that engaged and tends to believe the BBC.

They can't be changed this side of independence as frankly, who is going to change them?

They ride roughshod over democracy in Scotland because they can.

I'm all in favour of keeping a detailed record of all the examples of their news agenda on behalf of the union but sadly there is no higher power we can take it to apart from the people with a vote in the referendum.
# Breeks 2012-12-10 11:00
I think the answer is the foreign press.

While the BBC manifestly doesn't care about it's integrity in Scotland, it might care a little more how foreign journalists see them.

Cast your mind back to Boogate, when the Unionists tried to smear Alex Salmond with contrived booing. The story didn't have any legs because it was witnessed by a full spectrum of journalists.

I believe we could do a lot worse than restore the Calton Hill Vigil, but make it a hospitable media hub for the public and especially foreign journalists. Make it an internet hub and communications centre.

We should be embracing the interest shown by the Washington Post. If they've got the story wrong, invite them here to see for themselves and get the story right. We have nothing to hide, but the eyes of the international media will make it harder for the BBC to carry out its nonsense. The Catalans can do it.
# BillCo 2012-12-10 11:07
The latest BBC attempt to keep the EU membership question has just been aired by News24. They referred the latest 'Hardtalk' programme in which Jose Manuel Barroso 'apparently' says that Scotland would have to apply for EU membership on achieving independence.

I watched the interview - he emphasises that his comments are not specific to Scotland.

19.25 mins in.

That didn't stop the BBC from hammering the point that it was indeed Scotland he was referring to.

The interviewer, of course, spoon-fed Mr Barroso with the customary leading questions.

Que more histrionics at FMQ's from the Stair-heid Rammy Queen and her Tory sidekick, the 'late' Ms Davidson. Oh aye, and Raymond 'I've got more bad news for you' Buchanan will be honing up his latest slavering contribution to the debate.
# bipod 2012-12-10 12:30
Maybe not, but you can't help but get the feeling that he is refering to Scotland and Catalonia when he talks about "new" independent states.
# Tinyzeitgeist 2012-12-10 11:08
Completely O/T but well worth a read:

An independent Scotland , a better place for us all, that is what I dream!
# spurtle 2012-12-10 11:18
BBC news 24 interviewed EU president Barrosso who says we have to re apply .It's on now.
# Clydebuilt 2012-12-10 11:19
BBC Radio2 ...11am news

Jose Manuel Barroso 'apparently' says that Scotland would have to apply for EU membership on achieving independence.
# mountaincadre 2012-12-10 11:46
If this is correct then i think he is going to have lots of explaining to do among others , spanish/italian fishermen who by his words will not be fishing in our waters after Independance, if Mr Barroso thinks he has any cards on the rights of Scots to self determination then i think he is in for a rude awakening.
# Kinghob 2012-12-10 11:36
Saw a clearly uncomfortable eu president saying Scotlnd would have to 'renegotiate' eu treaties.....the bbc ticker tape has translated this to impose the worf 'reapply' on their ticker tape thing on their 24 hour news.

i feel that there is no legality behind even what the eu president said-it was as if he was referring to another country rather than Scotland as there cannot be a 'successor state' when the union partnership ends.

The president of the eu is implying that people living in Scotland would not be eu citizens somehow and yet England and Welsh inhabitants have stronger rights.........and I don't think that is at all true.
# Old Smokey 2012-12-10 11:46
We should all be very very aware that the EU is only going on what they understand of the UK and that is based purely on wht they are told by Westminster.
They are completely oblivious to the fact that the UK was born out of the Treaty of Union and that a vote for independence would effevctively end that union and end the UK. This is why we always hear pro unionists talke nothing els but 'Scotland LEAVING the UK' The EU really have to be educated ,a s does some of our fellow countrymen that 2014, we are ENDING the union and ENDING the UK.
Only then when its drummed into the EU and others , will the EU commission fully understand
# Old Smokey 2012-12-10 13:11
Its the same miss-information that the unionists play on when it comes to the monarch. There is the 'feigned' surprise that an independent Scotland would keep the Queen. This is all part of the continueing propoganda that we have had for over 100 years! The unionist need to have it drummed into them that the monrachy has sod all to do with ending the political union with England. The ignorance goes back to the even before the coronation in 1953. When the then Archbishop of Canterbury refused to acknowledge that the Queen should also be crowned in Edinburgh. The insistance that piller boxes in Scotland have the 'EIIR' monogram, which was dropped in favour of a plain crown. The unionists could not accept that the Queen is her grace Queen Elizabeth the first of Scotland. To this day it sticks in their throat at the thought of the monarch being the monarch of Scotland
# bunter 2012-12-10 12:55
It would be interesting to see the unedited version, but during the interview, when many serious issues were dealt with, only the 'Scottish' question, was it deemed to be appropriate to treat in a lighthearted and amusing way.
I of course, could not possibly alledge that this was a set piece stitch up, but it is now apparent that Unionist media organisations seem to have a propensity to come up with scare stories on a Monday, to supply the ammo for wee Jimmy and Ruthie at FMQs on a Thursday.
Anyway, I will expect the Scottish Government to go on the offensive regards the EU and its apparent threat to my EU citizenship, If I were to dare vote the 'wrong way' in the referendum.
# X_Sticks 2012-12-10 12:06
So, is Mr Barroso saying that I, as a European citizen, shall be disenfranchised if Scotland gains its independence?

I think the European court might have something else to say about that.

What a lot of nonsense. More scaremongering, although, saying that I would prefer Scotland to be in EFTA like most of the Scandinavian countries.
# maisiedotts 2012-12-10 13:09
Quoting X_Sticks:
So, is Mr Barroso saying that I, as a European citizen, shall be disenfranchised if Scotland gains its independence?

I think the European court might have something else to say about that.

I agree, whats more is this is obvious external influence being applied to the "self determination" of the nation. Time to call in the European Court.
# Taysider 2012-12-10 15:13
I think the EU commission office in Edinburgh should be asked to explain why the EU think they can ride roughshod over the Treaty of Union, which provides for equality between England and Scotland, in suggesting that Scotland would have to reapply / renegotiate EU membership but EWNI would not. That treats Scotland as a breakaway region which it is not.
# Breeks 2012-12-10 12:17
That's one for the lawyers I think.

Seems to me it's all about definitions about what the United Kingdom is. As I understand it, Scotland and England are equals in the Union, and if breaking that Union means the creation of one new state, then it surely means the creation of two like states. The Treaty of Union also pre-dates any EC legislation.

At least we know what the BBC's Christmas Scedhule is going to be now.

I don't have a problem renegotiating membership, perhaps being outside the Union with our own oil (and no UK debt since we're a new Nation) then we're in a stronger bargaining position to join.

Personally I don't interpret his 'not-specific to Scotland' caveat as cause for optimism. There's no precedent for the circumstances Scotland would create, but he clearly presumes we'd need to re-apply.

I'm a Europhile, but can't quite put my finger on why this doesn't alarm me.
# maisiedotts 2012-12-10 12:31
URGENT BBC have interview with Barroso
# Old Smokey 2012-12-10 18:16
Its very clear now that Barroso really doesnt know the relationship between Scotland and England.
He see's the 'UK' as a singular state and he doesnt realise that its a union of two Kingdom's
The SNP Government really need to go on the attack on this and get in direct discussion with Barroso.
I tell you this, I wouldnt even be surprised if Barroso thinks that all the fishing, oil and gas resources will remain with what he thinks is the UK!
The point has to be driven home to the eurocrats that Scotland and England are successor states to the UK. It has to be driven home all round that teh UK will come to and end. No more talk of 'rUK' or Scotland and the UK. It really has to be forced down their throats that the referendum is about ending the union that created the UK!
# iReferee 2012-12-10 12:48
It is getting me down that the "powers that be" seem so against an independent Scotland. Why are we that important? How do we get the message across that it is the will of the people that will prevail? When will Yes campaign really begin? All I ever hear / see is negative stories and I am starting to hear people I speak to repeating them. Other than trying to persuade them otherwise what can we do? It is very difficult for some people to understand that the BBC (for example) may not have their best interests at heart.

Does anyone know when the big Yes campaign will start because all the negativity is starting to make me worry.
# Jamieson 2012-12-10 13:42
I too am fed up just hearing the constant negative barrage from the Bitter Together mob. And while I realise that the SNP cannot start serious campaigning too early because of the problem with 'Referendum boredom' I do think the YES campaign could do more to PUBLICLY denigrate some of the negative articles.
Alex Salmond did it with his letter to the Washington Post and more of that is required in the English and Scottish media by the YES people. And it really is time SNP MSPs and MPs took the gloves off when they are being interviewed by BBC journalists. They must become more aggressive in the face of being talked over and being presented with lies and misinformation. At the moment they are playing the 'being reasonable' game and it is not working.
# colin8652 2012-12-10 13:45
HI The YES campain is ongoing, but its restricted to facebook and grass roots workers just now as simply the BBC and other media outlets are and will continue to ignore the campaign as they are part of the bitter together campain in all but name.
# Jamieson 2012-12-10 13:59
I have looked at the SNP news briefings on its site and they are excellent and rebut most of the Bitter Together mob's articles. But unfortunately they are seldom published in the media and are unread by the Public, The SNP needs to find, or even fund, an outlet to the Public for its views.
# amfraeembro 2012-12-10 12:50
It's very simple. In 1707 the sovereign people of Scotland and the sovereign English crown decided to delegate certain functions of government, but importantly not others, to the newly set up UK parliament.
One of these functions was the negotiation of treaties.
Therefore Scotland, of itself, is already in a treaty relationship with the EU.
# Rafiki 2012-12-10 12:55
Lost in generalities.

Barosso has to take into account SCotland, Catalonia and rhe Flemish, who occupy a fair chunk of Belgium where the European Parliament and the European Commission are based.
There is no doubt that the UK is trending away from membership of the EU, so perhaps all the emphasis on this issue will disappear.

Could be that the EC will welcome Scotland rather than the rump of the UK! We have the seas containing fish and oil after all.
# MacSenex 2012-12-10 12:56
While we in the YES Campaign must look forward it is right that we should also challenge publicly how successful the Union has been. I am nearing 60 and I find it hard to consider any major event which has been handled with anything approaching competence by successive UK governments- that's a fifth of the period of the Union. These major events moulded our current economic state: the Suez misadventure; Colonial rebellion and independence and the creation of the Commonwealth; Common Market rebuff then entry; collapse of our manufacturing powerhouses; the Big Bang and the dominance of the City of London; The Fall of the Iron Curtain; European Union; The Iraq War, the Afghan Conflict, The Credit Crunch and the Rise of the Brick states.
# rob4i 2012-12-10 13:25
All this is tame compared to what is to follow from the Unionist camp as we get ever closer to their fearful day by which time the scaremongering articles in the Unionist media will have reached epedemic proportions each more ludicrous than the next.

You have got to feel sorry for the type of Unionist politics being adopted by an obviously frightened and panicking fraternity who cannot find anything better for Scotland other than the status quo, no vision whatsoever, all they see is their own careers and stuff the people of Scotland, but I feel it will be the very same people who will stuff them in 2yrs time!
# iReferee 2012-12-10 13:30
I fear you may be wrong, I can't find anyone other than my wife who also supports independence. How do we start getting through to people? We need some way of drip feeding positive aspects of independence to the masses. I feel we have to get a newspaper on side or we may fail.
# Training Day 2012-12-10 13:52
Courage iRef - i was recently out with six work colleagues and when the discussion turned to 2014 all of them said they would vote Yes. They included a Labour party member and a Labour voter. There is work to do but the majority are there to be persuaded.
# colin8652 2012-12-10 14:03
visit yes to an independent scotland site on facebook and become united with 1000's of like minded scots.
# rob4i 2012-12-10 13:43
Well #iReferee,that was me trying to be
positive but at times I also fear the outcome and may become the laughing stock of the world, not only in Rugby and Footie but found wanting in politics also!
# Morag 2012-12-10 23:24
Fear not Laddie the fight has just begun
We will have our Scotland
The independant one.
Nae need tae rush ahead
For we are no fools
We have the where with'a
And we have the tools.
Just let the scurrilous foe
That plots and schemes sae dirty
Spew forth their venom and bile
And think that they can thwart ye.
Their cards they deal with pitiful woe
Knowing there's naewhere left tae go,
Their rhetoric may make ye
Want tae cry ,but Laddie
The wiseman keeps his powder dry.
# call me dave 2012-12-10 14:02
Is this issue so important to eclipse the reason for voting yes in 2014.
many will see this as an opportunity to make up our own mind which way to go in the world.

'State' or 'Country' what is the technical difference,if any, which is being referred to.

There are currently 196 independent countries or States around the world. Territories of countries or individual parts of a country are not countries in their own right.

For example:
Examples of entities that are not countries include: Hong Kong, Bermuda, Greenland, Puerto Rico, and most notably the constituent parts of the United Kingdom. (Northern Ireland, Wales, Scotland, and England are not countries.)


This sort of information is out there and is easy to find as examples of current thinking.
# chicmac 2012-12-10 15:10
Exactly why, as I have pointed out often before, the term 'independent State', which the Unionists would like to see, is even more biased than 'separate'.

A State is already an independent country (apart from the lower case 's' states of a Federal State like say, the USA).

Therefore to use the term 'independent State' implies extra 'separation' than is normal for independent Countries or States. It implies that an independent Scotland would have a greater degree of isolation from other independent Countries than if it just became an ordinary independent Country. i.e. an independent, independent Country.

North Korea, Albania, Zimbabwe, Haiti etc. all spring to mind as extreme examples.

At best it is tautological nonsense, in reality it more probably and deliberately, IMO, contains a subliminal 'independence plus' message hinting at at least a move towards pariah State status.
# Willie Hogg 2012-12-10 14:30
Given the number of people that are against membership of the EU, it may work in the Yes vote's favour that it is the only feasible way to exit the EU at present. However, I am particularly pleased that the House of Lords have now got the answer they wanted and can accept the Edinburgh Agreement. Until Westminster are lulled into believing that Scotland is leaving the UK, which will remain an international power, they will fight tooth and nail to prevent it. Much has been said about publicising the truth, which I would like to argue for, but it is better that they don't realise that Scotland can rip up the Union Treaty, if we don't get our way in the independence negotiations.
# helpmaboab 2012-12-10 14:51
What's all the fuss? Vote yes, then renegotiate an independent Scotland's terms with the EU and put them to a referendum. While we're at it we can agree tariffs for renewable energy distributed across Europe and better fishing rights. Or not. Whatever.

But a nation having the choice of applying...? Pretty compelling case for independence if you ask me...
# colin8652 2012-12-10 15:13
If the YES campaign thinks about all this Euro nonsence properly it could be the biggest own goal for the NO campaign to date. Turn this around and highlight that we can either renegotiate control of our seas, fish, oil renewables and the likes and a whole raft of dodgy EU rules and regulation or we simply pull out of the constraints of a skint europe we might just find the public are in favour of such a move.
# steveb 2012-12-10 15:33
Renegotiate nothing!
Lets get out of the EU, we shall not and will not be dictated to by anyone, uk or EU.
We will take back our fishing and all of our industry's.
We are the ones who gain they are the ones who lose.
There is a new game in town and it is the scandinavian alliance, that's what we could and should be a part of.
Leave the old guard of Germany,France and England behind, we dont need any of them, it is them that need us.
And once that is hammered into their collective heads we will see a more sheepish and concillatory tone eminating from brussells.
# bringiton 2012-12-10 15:25
I would think that when it dawns on the Tory back benchers that once England is separated from it's Union with Scotland,it will have to reapply for membership of the EU,that they will come out in support of our position.
Somehow I don't see that happening.
# Spirtle 2012-12-10 15:53
Its already been said here but this is a bit of a non issue.

When we gain our independence we can negotiate a settlement which best fits our needs as a nation. We redefine the nation we are under our own terms.

I cannot see Europe ejecting an existing member state. Mr Barrosa has his own agenda and is being drawn into the attempt to make this a point scored for the Butter Together folk!
# weegie38 2012-12-10 16:23
Barroso is a politician. Given his current post, he has to deal with the leaders of Spain, the UK and Belgium. He does not have to deal with the leaders of Catalunya, the Basque Coumtry, Flander, or Scotland. As such, he will say whatever the leaders of the former group will be more content with. If he were to say otherwise, the likes of Rajoy and Cameron would become more difficult to deal with.

The independent advice - legal and in terms of the EU civil service - does not support his position.
# mountaincadre 2012-12-10 16:51
I actually feel quite sorry for them(not that much though)he is damned if he doe's and damned if he dos'nt, as the weegie has stated above he's playing politic with the existing leaders of existing states, when that changes he will deal with the new ones.
# weegie38 2012-12-10 17:42
Quoting mountaincadre:
he is damned if he doe's and damned if he dos'nt

More importantly from his perspective, he is damned right now if he were to suggest that Scotland/Catalunya/Basque Country would remain within the EU. Rajoy in particular would go nuclear, and call for his head. His position would become untenable.

The EU citizenship of Scottish people is enshrined in EU treaties. Is is independent of their national citizenship. It has to be, otherwise how could an EU national from (for example) France work freely in the UK?

To create the scenario Barroso theoretically discusses here, the EU citizenship of 5.2 million people would have to be revoked against their will (implicitly, since they had not expressed any desire to leave the EU). That will not happen.
# Leswil 2012-12-10 16:56
This is an example of the press "Self Regulation" which they had long signed up to, fat chance of that then.
Regarding the EU issue, just watched Barosso , talking about the Referendum and he seems to confirm that Scotland would have to apply for membership, and implied that the UK would remain.

My single question to all this stuff ( note, I have seen Barroso chatting and laughing many times with Cameron, they seem very friendly! )

The question would be " does the EU want Scotland to continue as member state or not, yes or no? "

In this case it would allow us to move on, and consider our further options.
# James01 2012-12-10 17:11
It's a shame someone couldn't set up a Scottish version of a YoungTurks type Youtube channel to highlight the lies and inaccuracies of Unionists politicians and the media. We desperately need some kind of broadcast to get our views across, even if its online.
# scotswhahae 2012-12-10 18:18
# steveb 2012-12-10 15:33
Renegotiate nothing!
Lets get out of the EU, we shall not and will not be dictated to by anyone, uk or EU.
We will take back our fishing and all of our industry's.
We are the ones who gain they are the ones who lose.
There is a new game in town and it is the scandinavian alliance, that's what we could and should be a part of.

Couldn't agree more Steveb, why we are even arguing over the EU is beyond me...

# sneckedagain 2012-12-10 18:29
An excellent exposition
# oldnat 2012-12-10 18:50
Look at the actual wording from Barroso to HoL.

The EU is founded on the Treaties which apply only to the Member States who have agreed and ratified them. If part of the territory of a Member State would cease to be part of that state because it were to become a new independent state, the Treaties would no longer apply to that territory. In other words, a new independent state would, by the fact of its independence, become a third country with respect to the EU and the Treaties would no longer apply on its territory.

Clever politics. Nothing in that statement contradicts the concept that both Scotland and rUK would be "new independent states" in the eyes of the remaining EU members.
# Ready to Start 2012-12-10 18:55
Further evidence of BBC chicanery.

This evening's TV Reporting Scotland News piece on Prestwick Airport cut out the Chief Executive's comments on the UK government's Passenger Air Duty tax crippling airports outside London AND his comments that Iceland and Ireland have far more international connections than Scotland and that independence would be a boost for Scottish airports and passengers.

Go compare the TV coverage with the transcript of Sunday's Business Scotland interview on Radio Scotland.
# Breeks 2012-12-10 19:13
You can take Europe, NATO, the issue of currency, whatever issue you care to mention, take them one at a time, any combination, or add them all together, and you still don't have a reason why we shouldn't back Independence.

Inside Scotland, do we adopt a written constitution, don't we, do we keep the Queen, do we alter or replace the BBC etc....

None of it is crucial. None of it is critical. None of it is pivotal. No permutation of answers is incompatible with securing the all important YES vote.

You cannot steer the ship unless you first have a ship to steer; thereafter we can change course to suit.

We should let nothing cloud the issue of Independence.
# chicmac 2012-12-11 11:37
Excellent point. However, for those referendum level questions, questions of national importance which do not divide naturally along domestic left-right policy lines (party lines), there should exist, in writing, a commitment that in a post independent Scotland, within an appropriate and specified time-frame, such issues will be properly debated and put to public plebiscite.

Note this does NOT mean parties cannot debate these matters now, or arrive at a consensual policy now, of course they can, and should, but they should do so within the context of acknowledging, formally, the ultimate arbiter on these matters must be the sovereign will of the Scottish people, and testing of that will should be done after the new circumstances of independence, new deals etc., have been experienced and fully assessed.

That is the democratically right thing to do, the logically right thing to do and the strategically right thing to do.
# colin8652 2012-12-10 19:17
Well I never. just off the phone to the EU commission office in Edinburgh. After having left a message with a receptionist asking if after the Yes vote we loose our European citizenship, travel rights and all Europeans living here become illegal immigrants overnight. I surprisingly and greatfuly got a call back from the EU commission rep himself. He explained in depth that the E.U. did not want to become involved at this stage but the request for an opinion from the house of lords and UK media pressure had lead to the situation where Barroso was forced quite unwillingly to give the legal position as it stands. Namely any "new" country would have to apply for EU membership. However the EU's position is that the Scotland situation is totally unprecedented and frankly unforeseen in the fledgling EU and as such there is no provision for such an occurrence, and as a result there would be no decision until Scotland votes yes and the EU heads of state are forced to become involved
# Breeks 2012-12-10 23:37
It'll be interesting to see whether the the EU can hold that position, or whether such pressure builds up it needs to be clarified, even perhaps with some alternative scenarios being mooted.

Someone is now staring at a rather undignified climbdown, and largely because the EU is so reluctant to commit itself. Nobody else except the EU can end this increasingly divisive speculation.
# chicmac 2012-12-11 11:53
w.d. you.
# velofello 2012-12-10 20:00
Good work colin8652. A written follow-up from the EU commission rep. would be a clincher.
# oldnat 2012-12-10 21:28
Interesting post from Brian Taylor

Obviously, he isn't presenting just a pro-indy argument, but it's much more balanced between the two interpretations on the EU question.

Add to that, the BBC's reporting of Salmond's trade trip to the US (for trade) as opposed to their Michael Moore story as him trying to boost the Unionist cause.

Could it be that BBC Scotland has started to realise that taking a wholly Unionist position is actually damaging them?
# chicmac 2012-12-11 12:08
He is a wily old codger and well aware of when his pronouncements are likely to come under the scrutiny of international eyes as opposed to the usual cloistered and bubble-wrapped domestic audience scenario.

Don't expect it to last.

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