Friday, 31 May 2013

Another Country / Tog Orm Mo Phìob

It never entered our little Scottish heads that prayers should be said in every Anglican parish the following Sunday, nor English clergy or lay-people be paraded on TV to say it wasn't in their name. There weren't 3 days of rolling news coverage and there wasn't a week of wall-to-wall press coverage.

We didn't go fire-bombing English village halls or Anglican churches, nor did every Scotsman with an IQ  under 90 change his Facebook profile picture to a Saltire and take to the streets.  There were no calls for either the First Minister or Prime Minister to return from their holidays nor for yet other folk to be sent 'home'. 

 No Morris Dancers or their wives were assaulted in the street in reprisal, no supermarkets were boycotted nor charities' names hijacked. 

No merchandise was marketed, nor did any tone-deaf, wannabe pop stars try to cash in. No War Memorials were plastered with tacky tributes nor YouTube tribute videos made.  Only one Facebook memorial page was created. At the time of writing, one has 114 results on Google News Search and the other 70,600.  Another similar murder on 29th April returns 504 results.

But then, we are another country. Rest in Peace Piper Craig HepburnDrummer Lee Rigby and Mr Mohammed Saleem.

Tog orm mo phìob is thèid mi dhachaigh
Is truagh leam fhìn mo lèir mar thachair;
Tog orm mo phìob 's mi air mo chràdh,
Mu Ruairidh Mòr, mu Ruairidh Mòr.

Tog orm mo phìob, tha mi sgìth
'S mar faigh mi i thèid mi dhachaigh;
Tog orm mo phìob, tha mi sgìth
'S mi air mo chràdh mu Ruairidh Mòr.

Tog orm mo phìob is thèid mi dhachaigh
Is truagh leam fhìn mo lèir mar thachair;
Clàrsach no pìob cha tog mo chridhe,
Cha bheò fear mo ghràidh-sa, Ruairidh Mòr.

Cybernat Abuse Terror Scare Panic Again

The news, plastered over various outlets today, that His Most Britannic Knight of the Realm Sir Chris Hoy has been subjected to vile abuse by those Evil Cybernats is only worthy of comment because a false allegation of cybernat abuse is what got me started on this blogging lark.  

Why anyone should give a tuppenny toot what someone whose only claim to fame is the ability to ride a bike round an oval very fast thinks about Scotland's future governance escapes me. However, we have the Daily Mail to thank for actually producing some evidence this time, unlike the utterly contrived Susan Calman abuse and death threats tosh.

I'm sure Sir Chris was horrified and felt abused, and irony is just a ferric adjective. While we redefine what may be characterised as "FOUL ABUSE" (I imagine a single mum might have some thoughts on what constitutes Daily Mail foul abuse), it's worth noting how one-sided this Cybernat Abuse Terror Panic Scare is. The fact that pro-indy comic Frankie Boyle, whose purported address had previously been published with an invitation for Cyberbrits to go round and give him a kicking, was again having to call the police was barely reported

See also: Wings Over Scotland - The Triple Standard.

Fortunately we have historical precedent to fall back on.  I was minded of this when the Calman tosh first reared its head and it can be awkward to find all the episodes on YouTube.  As a public service, I give you, all in the one place and necessarily in the right order, the chronicle of the terror that gripped Victorian Britain that was:

The Phantom Raspberry Blower of Old London Town

By Spike Milligan and a Gentleman.

 Episode 1

Episode 2

Episode 3

Episode 4
  Episode 5

Episode 6

Episode 7

Episode 8

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Wednesday, 29 May 2013

The Tory Case for Scottish Independence

Tories believe in small government, do they not? Let’s see: 


129 MSPs legislate on agriculture, fisheries and forestry, economic development, education and training, the environment, food standards, health, home affairs, Scots law, courts, police and prisons, fire services, local government, sport and the arts, transport, tourism, research and social work.

1,500 MPs and Lords legislate for us on broadcasting, the constitution, defence, drugs policy, the economy, energy policy, foreign affairs, the national lottery, social security and transport safety regulation. Scotland also returns 6 MEPs.

So how are the 1500 in Wasteminster doing? Constitutional affairs which aren’t governed by our EU membership are nigh-on negligible, UK defence policy has been decided in Washington since 1956, they’ve failed to keep abreast of energy demand largely due to nimbyism, foreign policy is decided in Brussels and Washington and most economic and social security policy is decided in Brussels. No one in Wasteminster has the cahones to adopt anything approaching a workable drugs policy, even if Washington would let them.

So effectively we have 1,500 MPs and Lords, all on fat salaries and obscene expenses, governing broadcasting, the national lottery, and transport safety and bits of the economy and social security. Oh, and they want to spend £3Bn (which means £6Bn) refurbishing their building. 

 All while folk like this trougher who deigns to turn up for work once in a blue moon have been off 'earning' £1.37M doing other things.

Can anyone else see where the cuts should fall?

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Tuesday, 28 May 2013

NHS Lanarkshire Braces Itself for Larkhall Suicide Increase

This will cause some congnitive dissonance in Larkhall, where even Subway have to change their corporate colours.

See also Wings Over Scotland: Introducing the Union Jocks.

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Saturday, 25 May 2013

Just Who Hates The English?

Nigel Farage being unceremoniously ejected from The Canons' Gait pub on Edinburgh's Royal Mile after bizarrely disturbing the afternoon trade by bringing in a press pack and Student counter-demo, has opened up the question over whether the desire for Scottish Independence is inherently anti-English.

This morning, on the BBC's Good Morning Scotland we had Margaret Curran MP, Labour Shadow SofS for Scotland hammering home that the opposite is the case, peppered with the usual Britnat self-loathing.

The Yes campaign's view of of our future relationship with the remainder of the UK is that they will be our neighbour, friend, EU and Commonwealth partners and NATO allies.  The No Campaign's view of rUK is that they will be foreigners who will put every conceivable impediment in the way of Scotland's future success.  Who has the most positive view of the English?


Yes: We'll share Sterling as the UK did with Australia, New Zealand, Ireland and many more independent countries and still does with Man and the Channel Islands.

No: We're not sharing, so there! We'll even persuade the UK Chancellor to say he'll cut his nose off to spite his face.


Yes: We'll share specialist resources with our friends and neighbours to our mutual benefit, just as is planned with NI and Ireland at the moment, free of charge to the patient.

No:  You Scots will have to pay lots and it'll be too complicated for you to be seen at Specialist Centres in England and we'll not be sending our Geordies to your Beetson Centre. We're not sharing, so there!

Citizenship and Borders.

Yes: We'll be EU Citizens with open borders with our neighbours as we have at the moment, just like the Irish whom the UK do not regard as foreigners.

UK / Ireland Border
No: rUK will be Johnny Foreigners who will erect barbed wire and machine-gun posts at Carter Bar to keep you Scots out.


Yes: Scottish shipyards will continue to bid for contracts from the rUK Royal Navy etc.

No: We Labour and Tories would rather have ships built in Korea as we do at the moment. Scots are a security risk.

It is becoming patently obvious that it is the Yes Campaign which has a positive, mature view of our English and other rUK neighbours whereas the No Campaign view them as future foreigners with an immature "It's my ball and you can't play with it" attitude who will put every conceivable impediment in the way of Scotland's success.  

Not only do the No campaign appear anti-English, their wish for every impediment to be put in Scotland's way displays a fair amount of self-loathing as well.

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Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Wargames, Strategy and Keich Ma Breeks

I appreciate I'm a newcomer to this Cybernattery game, indeed I've only been at it for 2 weeks and only joined Twitter (@logicsrock) a couple of days ago. However, I've rapidly discovered that the BritNat game is to wind up as many Cybernats as possible, driving as much traffic (and revenue) as possible to their sites. Furthermore engaging in any attempt at discussion is impossible on forums or newspaper comment applications, often leaving the Cybernat exasperated and tending to look as much of a swivel-eyed loon as his Britnat adversary is.  The Britnat pronouncements are so ludicrous as to be almost beyond parody.

For example, as wisely predicted by Wings Over Scotland, we've just had 2 days of Banks being too big to be bailed out by Scotland followed by they'll all run away South - I'm looking forward to tomorrow when they explain why we'd still be liable to bail them out after they've become English banks. Today's Scotsman is warning Scottish independence: ‘RBS and HBOS may leave’ whereas yesterday's Telegraph warned that UK exit from EU would be 'loss/loss scenario', warns Goldman Sachs, Perhaps RBS should buy the East Coast Main Line and decamp to a train permanently running between Europhile Scotland and UKIPLand.

My point is that there is absolutely no point in engaging with this kind of tosh.  However, as we found with the Europe issue which is now an absolute embarrassment to Fettered Together, it's worth tracking these stories for when they come back to bite Fettered Together on the bum.

There have also been (partially justifiable) complaints from Britnat politicians of being assailed by a swarm of Cybernats whenever they venture into the online arena.  I say partially justifiable because it is also hypocritical because they wanted to ruffle Cybernat feathers in the first place.  What ensues, whether it be on Twitter, on a discussion forum or on a newspaper comments board, does not look edifying at all to the singularly most important observer - the undecided voter.

I've come to the conclusion that the best thing Cybernats can possibly do to a Britnat is not to engage with them. Remember the film Wargames where a computer threatening global thermonuclear destruction is taught that nuclear war is a no-win game by playing itself at noughts and crosses? The relevant clip is below.

The sole strategy of the No campaign is fear. Engaging with them in real time does nothing whatsoever to dissipate any inkling of fear in the only person that matters - the undecided voter.  Indeed, it's often Cybernats publicising the tosh that draws the undecided voter's attention to it.

I therefore thought of a strategy which would allow us to log the ludicrous scare story, register our disagreement with it and, most importantly, deploy that most devastating of weapons - take the mickey out of it.

I propose that the first Cybernat on the scene of a Britnat pronouncement online, be it on Twitter or wherever, comments only with the ironic hashtag #keichmabreeks. Nothing more.  Other Cybernats on seeing that the scare story (for that is all Britnat pronouncements ever are) had already been tagged with the suitably derisive hashtag should then refrain from entering the fray.  The blogosphere could then hunt out the hashtag and dissect the scare story in slow time, suitably backed by evidence and peppered with derision and humour as necessary.  Yes Scotland's hands can be left unsullied to promote the positive message, the scare story gets no publicity from us, voters will soon come to understand what #keichmabreeks on a 'story' or tweet means and, above all it will drive the Britnats up the wall if we just don't engage with them other than a single #keichmabreeks tag.

There are no points to be scored in this war and the only decisive battle will be fought on 18 September 2014. The only people that matter are the undecided voters and most of them will make their minds up in the weeks immediately preceding the vote. Let's rise above the disunited negativity of the No Campaign of UKIP, Better Together, United With Labour, Respect, The SDL, The BNP and The Orange Order.

I'd be grateful for the thoughts of my fellow Cybernats.

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Monday, 20 May 2013

United Togetherness

The notions of unity and togetherness in the No camp are rather Orwellian.

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Sunday, 19 May 2013

Our Heroes in Action

The most interesting thing about this video of Nigel Farage in the Canons' Gait is not the Havering High Heidyin of the Little Englanders himself, it's seeing our heroes of the Scottish Press Corps in action. Particularly, front and centre, our favourite Tom Peterkin of The Hootsmon (in the khaki jacket) looking like some nonplussed, overgrown-schoolboy version of General Melchett.

The Political Editor of the formerly august Scotsman in a pub taking shorthand at the feet of of a proto-nazi demagogue? It wouldn't have happened in Magnus Linklater's day.  However, the intrepid General (or should it be Pipe Major?) Melchett of the Scottish Press Corps had pole position in the melee. Did he press his advantage to cross examine Mr Farage?  Your bum in a tin can he did.  All through the video he can be seen religeously note-taking and gaping. Och Nigel, you're meant to send Tom a press release to churn, not expose him to the braying mob and press pack!  Top money-saving tips for the impecunious Johnston Press: Next time send a tea boy and a tape recorder.

Fortunately for the churnalist in Melchett, he could return to normal for today as the UK Treasury had the decency to send a press release for him to churn for the Scarestory on Sunday. Another of those "Next week the Government will ..." stories.  As Wings Over Scotland points out: Not only will we be at risk of a bank crash in an independent Scotland, our Financial industry will pack up and head South over the border, but even after that, for reasons utterly unfathomable, the independent Scottish Government would have to bail out these (now English) institutions if they fail.  Work that scary triple whammy out if you can?

As I observed yesterday, it took the youngsters of the Radical Independence Campaign to challenge Farage and provoke UKIP into exposing themselves for what they really are.  The video above is taken from UKIP's own YouTube channel and the comments and literacy levels of the commenters below it are instructive.

Passing over the contributions of such UKIP luminaries such as 888Valkyrie (definitely no Nazi sympathy there then), The Hootsmon treated us to our own special collection of letters from Disgusted of Tunbridge-Wells types resident in Gifford, Craiglea and other doucer parts of the Lothians.

In terms of real commentary, we how have a live recording of the Premiere at the very same Canons' Gait pub of Steve Byrne's Lament on the predicament of the Member of the European Parliament for South East England.

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Saturday, 18 May 2013

The Blue Blanket Flies Again

The Canons' Gait pub, until Thursday best known as the home of some of the finest accoustic and traditional music available in Edinburgh, was not always known as the Canons' Gait.

Its previous incarnation commemorated The Blue Blanket, the ancient banner run through the streets of Edinburgh to rally the citizenry in defence of their King, their Country and their Own Rights whenever any of these were assailed.  By tradition, it was also flown from the walls of Jerusalem by a corps of Edinburgh crusaders during the First Crusade in 1099.  The silken version of the banner was granted by James III in 1482 to the Hammermen (blacksmiths) of Edinburgh by a grateful King after they freed him from Edinburgh Castle where he had been imprisoned by 2 of his uncles and the uppity nobility.

The Edinburgh Mob has a long and fearsome history. So much so that on 5th April 1603 James VI gey near keiched his breeks on seeing the assembled crowd in the Canongate as he set off to inherit the Crown of England, but was pleasantly surprised to be cheered to the rafters. The Mob had seemingly been in douce retirement for 300 years since the riots following the sale of Scotland by a Parcel o' Rogues for personal profit by the Act of Union in 1707 (save a wee outing to lynch an over-zealous Captain of the Guard on 14 April 1736).  The Edinburgh Mob came out of retirement on Thursday 16th May 2013 and, though Thursday's demonstrators would still have been in their perambulators when the pub's identity changed, I like to think that they rallied to The Blue Blanket honouring the ancient tradition.

The threat to our ancient Rights came when Nigel Farage MEP, in typical condescending Little Englander fashion, thought it would be a good idea to hold an impromptu pub press launch for his party's bid for the North East Scottish Parliamentary by-election in a pub on Edinburgh's Royal Mile rather than a pub in Aberdeen.  Presumably the Head Honcho of the Little Englanders thought any part of Scotlandshire would do (they're all the same aren't they?).  However, could you imagine him even contemplating launching a bid for a seat in Leeds from Birmingham?

Having suffered innumerable, fawning column inches over the previous week since the "Fruitcakes, Loonies and Closet Racists" became "respectable" in the Prime-Minister's eyes by taking @ 23% of the votes in the English local elections, it took the youngsters of the Radical Independence Campaign to challenge Farage and provoke UKIP into exposing themselves for what they really are:

The Canons' Gait returned to its more usual clientele last night for The World's Room / Seòmar an t-Saoghail traditional singing night and Steve Byrne of Malinky fame revived yet another old tradition with an excellent, ex-tempore Broadside Ballad about Thursday's shenanigans.

Facebook Link.
Update 19/05/13: We now have a recording of the premiere of Steve Byrne's Lament on the predicament of the Member of the European Parliament for South East England from Friday night at the very same Canons' Gait bar.

Aside from the odious nature of UKIP, on returning home I found a report on Facebook from a GP friend who is wont to work up in Wick from time to time which perhaps illustrates why they'll gain no traction in Scotland:
Back in "terra firma" so to speak. There was a big police raid in Wick this week with 12 illegal immigrants arrested. 10 were Indian 2 Chinese. The Chinese restaurant is now closed and the two Indian restaurants just about closed.
Scotland needs immigration. Telling an Englishman who lives in England to "Go home to England" is not a racist gibe - had he been an Englishman domiciled in Scotland then it would have been racist.

UKIP may well be irrelevant in Scotland, but while the union persists it is not irrelevant to Scotland. I salute the RIC's reincarnation of the Edinburgh Mob and their dutiful rallying to The Blue Blanket.

See also:

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Monday, 13 May 2013

Better Together erm Apart, erm United

BBC News reported this afternoon that Better Together have decided they're not Better Together after all.

“Organisers of the ‘United With Labour’ campaign say they’re arguing for a fairer, better Scotland that stands strong within the United Kingdom. They’ll work with the ‘Better Together’ campaign run by the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats.”

Oh my sides!

 #500 Questions: Is "United with Labour" independent of or is it separate from "Better Together"?  Will "United with Labour" get any of Ian Taylor's dirty money in the divorce? Where does this leave Captain Darling?

Do any other factions want to split off from the 'togetherness' of Better Together? I note that they do both seem to be rather fixated on notions of "strength" whereas most Scots would subscibe to a lesser-known passage from the 1320 Declaration of Arbroath:

May it please you to admonish and exhort the King of the English, who ought to be satisfied with what belongs to him since England used once to be enough for seven kings or more, to leave us Scots in peace, who live in this poor little Scotland, beyond which there is no dwelling-place at all, and covet nothing but our own.
The Union may keep its illegal warmongering and its functionally useless and horrifically expensive Trident Politicians' Penis Extensions roaming the World's oceans. Most Scots want no part of their "strength".

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England Will Move To The Right in Threes ... Right Turn!

As shown beautifully on Wings Over Scotland - A Plague on All Your Houses, our English cousins are so utterly disillusioned with mainstream politics that the "fruitcakes, loonies and closet racists" of UKIP are now considered "respectable" by the UK Prime Minister.  Labour is all but unelectable (PDF) in the medium term in England and it looks like Boris Johnson is being groomed by the Men in Suits for a right-wing coup in the Tory Party.

Having got into bed with the Tories, the Lib Dems are finished as a force in UK politics. The most likely outcome for the UK in the 2015 general election now looks like it will be a Tory / UKIP Coalition.

As England marches to the right the choice for Scotland on 18 Sep 14 will not be between independence and the status quo, for the status quo is rapidly disappearing.

How long would a subordinate Scottish Government be able to maintain, for example, a Scottish NHS while the English NHS is privatised out of existence?

The only way to secure the status quo in terms of the society we have and wish to see is now to vote for independence.

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Sunday, 12 May 2013

The Positive Case for The Union

I'm a fair man and thought I'd reserve a space near the top of this blog for the positive, forward-looking case for the union.  As soon as I hear it iterated, I'll reproduce it here.

17 July 2013: Well, we're a year down the line and the (sour) cream of Project Fear politicians have battered us with baseless scare story after baseless scare story, yet the fabled positive case for the Union still eludes them. In reviewing the material put out by Better Together, I can find nothing more positive in tone than Student Wee Ryan of Glasgow's contribution to their launch video. It certainly sounds positive but if there's anyone out there with enough recreational substances inside them to tell me what it means, I'd be grateful.

Wee Dugs & Sausage Rolls

Shamefully, Better Together have tried to airbrush Wee Ryan from history. Time Lord and Social Worker Donald of Edinburgh, however, remains proudly on the Better Together map. Donald's positive contribution is voting No to get the best for his ancestors (and possibly his lice).

Hootsmon on Sunday Caught Out Again

It seems they have no shame, even recycling old 'news' that has been utterly discredited. When I alighted on the Hootsmon on Sunday's website this morning, I didn't initially realise I was reading a  recyled article from 28th April 2013.

Since anyone with half a brain in Scotland would think twice about speaking to the Hootsmon for fear of what would be printed (They could probably even twist any utterance of Alec Salmond-Accused into a diatribe against independence), The Hootsmon on Sunday has had to cast its net wider in search of quotes. Things must have been getting desperate when someone even came up with this as the premise for an article: Let's contact the descendants of the 9 Scots who signed the American Declaration of Independence and see if they are anti-separation for Scotland?

THEIR Scottish forefathers earned their place in history by signing the Declaration of Independence that created the new nation of the United States of America. But two centuries after a band of famous Scots helped end British rule across the Atlantic, their descendants are opposed to Scotland taking the same road to separation.

Can you imagine an American referring to the American War of Separation?  The intrepid Derek Lambie spoke on the phone to some members of the association for the descendants of these 9 Scots. I'll bet he didn't use the S word to them!

Anyhoo, the interweb can be a bitch.  Gone are the days when you can print whatever you like about what someone said 3,000 miles away, they're only a mouse-click away now.  Much of the article quotes a Lt Cdr John Glynn.  However, his good lady wife, the redoutable Kathryn Glynn wasn't having any of it and posted in the comments:

I am the wife of Lieutenant Commander John Glynn of Glynstewart and I would like to say I was on speakerphone and heard the converstation between John and Derek Lambie. When we saw the article "Declaration of Independence 'wrong for Scots'" we were stunned. The words Lambie wrote was not what John said. He best go back to his notes or his recording if he has one and rewrite the article. My husband NEVER said he was against Scotland separating from the UK. Those are Lambies words, and he changed other remarks adding his own comments. It is unprofessional and Derek Lambie should be ashamed of contriving such a story. My husband expected an honest story and sadly that is not what he got. My husband did say Scotland should listen to their people and vote what is best for Scotland. We are property owners in Scotland.

Kathryn Glynn of Glynstewart

Both John Glynn and Jim Alexander, another principle contributor gave their side of the story as to what transpired between them and Lambie on Peter Curran's Moridura Blog.

Saturday, 11 May 2013

Where to now for The Hootsmon and Better Together?

We've had the lame attempt to smear the SNP as Nazis at the beginning of April, with an even lamer attempt to resuscitate that stoosie in May, followed by the laughably contrived attempt to turn a few unappreciative crits of a third-rate comic into a Cybernat lynch mob panic at the beginning May.

It's difficult to see where Tom 'Julius Streicher' Peterkin can go after that? Perhaps he shot the Nazi and Klan bolts a bit too early.  But is it just possible that Better Together have a limited strategic sense where The Hoostmon has none at all? 

While The Hootsmon may have prematurely ejaculated its 'big guns'  in smearing your opponent terms, it seems Better Together may be coming to realise they are not going to be able to keep racking up the fear factor all the way to 18 September 2014. Perhaps that's why Better Together's big 500 Days To Go stunt was to issue 507 Questions (but bizarrely call it 500 Questions) for the Yes campaign to answer before the referendum.  

At first, I thought it was just a laughable failure of editing that questions like "What will be the cost of a 1st Class Stamp in an independent Scotland?" and "Who will head an Advertising Standards Agency in an independent Scotland?" (and many similar) hadn't been left out at least to pare the list down to the advertised 500.  Though it was refreshing to see them overestimate a number for once.  Their reporting of attendances at Better Together gatherings are often way over the top.

I'm feeling generous today and am prepared to see an inkling of a strategic sense coming to the fore in Better Together. Perhaps Ian Taylor won't be asking for his dirty money back after seeing their latest stunt universally lampooned with questions like (rather aptly) "Will Daleks be able to go upstairs in an independent Scotland?" 

Having tried to convince us that we would be nuked by North Korea if we stepped out from under the UK Nuclear Umbrella, there was nowhere for them to go, so they've had to step back from the brink.  They now want to start us off with wee questions that might wrinkle a brow or two, like the future cost of a stamp, (what will be the cost of a UK stamp in 2016? - See, even my brow is furrowing!) so they can work their back up to terrorising us with being nuked by North Korea ... in time for the referendum.

Will The Hootsmon too step back from the brink?  Is there anywhere to go after you've tried both the Nazi and KKK smears?  How will they get the nation to Carry on Screaming all the way to the referendum? Alex Salmond-Accused as Oddbod?

With the now respectable loonies, fruitcakes and closet racists coming to the fore down South, the Men in Grey Suits grooming Boris for a Eurosceptic, right wing coup in the Tory Party, and Labour itself coming to the realisation that it is unelectable, Nazis and Racists are the last thing The Hootsmon should be bringing to the public consciousness if they want a No vote. At least, that's the first 16 of Better Together's questions blown out of the water.

The Hootsmon's Daily Mailisation Death Spiral that had them recategorising the paper as Regional (following The Herald) to stave off reporting circulation for 6 months means that it is likely to get even more sensationalist than painting a chat with the Jannie as a briefing by MI5.  Hence it will lose more readers with anything over two synapses that can fire simultaneously and it will be very lucky even to survive until September 2014.  Top Tips: If we wanted the Daily Mail, we'd buy it.

On the plus side of dumbing down, even after more than a few pints of the exceptionally fine Deuchars in Sandy Bell's, a friend and I were able to finish the cryptic crossword in record time.  In years gone by The Hootsmon has run a Haggis Hunt to drum up sales, it seems this year a Cybernat Hunt is deemed more fun.  Hopefully June's thrilling installment of the Cybernat Terror story will have us hunting rather more than the Phantom Raspberry Blower of Auld Glesca Toon.

Friday, 10 May 2013

Salmond Accused - A Triumph of Rhetoric over Substance

A recent article in the Scotsman contained a headline that screamed: 'Salmond accused of ‘false statements’ about detention of You’ve been Trumped film-maker Anthony Baxter.'

Shock, horror! Mr Salmond is accused of "making false statements", "grossly distorting the facts", "hiding behind an utterly discredited report by a Grampian police officer" and now making a "sudden intervention" regarding the arrest, detention and release without charge of film maker Anthony Baxter and a colleague in July 2010.

Before going to the shed to get your pitchforks and heading down to Bute House to lynch the First Minister, perhaps you should read the Scotsman article again to see through The Scotsman's "any chance to bash Salmond" perspective.  One has to read it at least twice to discern any actual facts.
Let's consider the last accusation first. What's brought about Mr Salmond's dramatic "sudden intervention"?

Oh, some of his constituents wrote to him as their constituency MSP after seeing the film and he has fairly timeously replied to them.  So we're actually talking about humdrum, routine MSP's constituency business responding to constituents' letters.  Hardly the histrionic "sudden intervention" alluded to in the article.

Is Mr Salmond "hiding behind an utterly discredited report by a Grampian police officer"?  It may surprise you to learn that, on receiving a letter about an issue from constituents, MPs and MSPs do not don the deerstalker and Inverness cape, cry "The game's afoot!" and set about investigating the case, dispatching any alleged miscreants en route to the truth.

They ask the department(s) or agency(ies) concerned for a response.  They then consider that response and, if it appears sound, forward it to the constituent with a covering letter.  I myself have drafted more than a few responses to Parliamentary enquiries in my time, it's no big deal.

So Mr Salmond has done what every MP and MSP does.  He's hardly "hiding behind" Chf. Constable McKerracher.  Of course, if the constituents to whom he is responding are not content with the response, they are at liberty to point out any apparent holes or inconsistencies in the response and ask their MSP to dig deeper.  That is the normal course of correspondence with an MP or MSP.

So now we come to the alleged "false statements" and "gross distortion of facts".  This seems to centre around the fact that Chf. Con. McKerracher thought Mr Baxter considered the matter of his arrest, detention and release closed.

Did Messrs Baxter and Phinney personally make a formal police complaint to the Chf. Con. about their arrest and detention at the time in July 2010 or shortly afterwards?  It appears they did not.

In September 2010, the NUJ wrote to Chf. Con. McKerracher about alleged targeting of journalists.  Chf. Con. McKerracher investigated the issue and responded to the NUJ in December 2010 conceding that the constables could have handled the situation better, reporting that they had been counselled and assuring the NUJ that journalists were not being targeted.

Did the NUJ or Messrs Phinney and Baxter respond to the Chf. Con. following his letter expressing any dissatisfaction with his actions or conclusions?  It appears not.  I think it's therefore quite fair for Chf. Con. McKerracher to conclude that Messrs Baxter and Phinney considered the matter "closed", and for Mr Salmond to communicate Chf. Con. McKerracher’s views to his constituents.

So, all in all, a non-story.

Are Better Together Closet Scottish Nationalists?

This article was originally published by Newsnet Scotland on 29 April 2013.
The independence campaign is really only the second important campaign I’ve been involved in so far in my life.  The first was for the removal of the ludicrous ban on gay people serving openly in the UK Armed Forces.  As time moves on, I’m noticing a striking similarity between the opposition to the two campaigns.

By the 1990s, it was blindingly obvious that the internal opposition to gay people serving openly in the Armed Forces came not from straight colleagues, who really couldn’t care less. By far the most vocal opposition came from high ranking, self-loathing, closet homosexuals.

There is no prison so strong as the one an inmate constructs for himself; the thought of young, self-confident gay people serving openly among these self-imposed prisoners was absolute anathema to them, and not just because of the risk of their own exposure.  Far from reasoned arguments, the ridiculous notions offered in opposition bore far more relation to the lurid fantasies of sex-starved old queens.

As the fear and (?self-) loathing emanating from Better Together gets all the more shrill and phantasmagorical, is it just possible that they are closet Scottish Nationalists?  I purposely say Scottish Nationalists rather than just Nationalists because we have a long history of nations shaking off rule from Westminster.  However, they seem to have a special opprobrium reserved purely for Scottish people.

For example despite Scots being shareholders in Sterling, a position not held by countries which have previously shaken off the yoke of Westminster, Scots apparently are uniquely to be debarred from using the hallowed currency.  In Ireland, Sterling and Irish Pounds were freely exchangeable on a one-for-one basis from 1922 to 1978.  Despite being independent since 1853, New Zealand used Sterling until 1933, Australia between independence in 1901 and 1931 and South Africa until 1961.  Not to mention that the independent Guernsey, Jersey and Man all use Sterling.  What makes the Scots so singularly unworthy?

Other than the checkpoints set up to combat the troubles between 1972 and 2005, the UK has maintained an open border with Ireland since 1922.  Are the Scots so singularly dangerous, deranged and diseased that we are to have minefields, customs posts and machine guns at Carter Bar?

Cardiac patients in Northern Ireland are to be sent to Dublin for specialist care as a cost-saving measure as there isn’t the population to warrant a specialist unit in Belfast.  It seems Health Service Administrators will be perfectly able to cope with this despite the cost of care in Dublin being charged in Euros. However, the prospect of Scottish patients travelling to an English specialist centre, or Geordie cancer sufferers coming to the Beetson post-independence will apparently cause so much red tape that in both England and Scotland, every Health Service Managers’ head will explode.

Scottish Servicemen and Women exercise regularly with our Norwegian, Danish and Dutch allies for our joint defence, but somehow this will become impossible post-independence.  The details as to why are immaterial, because of course we will be nuked by North Korea as soon as we step out from underneath the fantastically expensive UK Nuclear Umbrella. Irrational though he may be, quite why Kim Jong Un should suddenly acquire such a loathing for Scots on the other side of the world as to nuke them, I’ll leave to the imaginations of Better Together.

It seems that in all areas where we as Scots enjoy civilised relations with the rest of the world, we only do so as part of the UK.  If we become independent, we will become international pariahs: Penniless (literally), defenceless, imprisoned in our own dear little Scotland, derided and shunned by the world.

I have only known such lurid fantasies of the horrors that will befall us should we decide to take our open, mature and honest place in the world once before.  After all, like most gay people of my age I was (for a thankfully short time) a closet queen once.

Are Better Together closet Scottish Nationalists?  I think we should be told.

Addendum:  The article attracted some favourable comments on Newsnet Scotland. My favourite was:

rog_rocks 2013-05-03
"By far the most vocal opposition came from high ranking, self-loathing, closet homosexuals."
LoL Does the Cardinal Keith O'Brien ring any bells? ... Well no noo he disnae!

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Comic Trumps Academic in "Evil Cybernat" Publicity Stunts

As the storm in a teacup that was the utterly contrived Susan Calman "abuse" and "death threats" stooshie was subsiding, Tom Peterkin of The Hootsmon / Hootsmon on Sunday obviously thought he'd stoke the flames of Cybernat Hysteria and get in touch with Dr Gavin Bowd of St Andrews University. On 5th May they published the article Academic Gavin Bowd Calls Police After Online Abuse

This hilarious article which is almost beyond parody kicks off:
AN ACADEMIC has been issued with security advice by his university and has been in contact with the police after independence supporters subjected him to a barrage of threatening abuse on the internet.

The head of security at St Andrews University took the step of advising Dr Gavin Bowd on his personal safety following the vitriolic online reaction to an article he wrote, in Scotland on Sunday, exploring Scotland’s relationship with fascism.

The revelation that the university had taken the precautionary measure came last night as the Yes Scotland chief strategist warned campaign supporters that those who “let poison drip through their keyboards” are one of the biggest barriers to referendum success.
 So we've established that it's those horrible Yes Men that poor Dr Bowd needs protection from.  What advice has the Head of Security given?
Speaking to Scotland on Sunday, Bowd said he received “common sense” tips from the university security chief that included “looking out for people who are looking out for you”.

He said he was told to “look out for pinch points. You might be going to a 
lecture, leaving a lecture. There may be someone who’s waiting to get you. 
So there was all that very practical information on how to look after yourself.”
I wonder if the impressively-titled "Head of Security" / "Security Chief" is SAS trained?  Could he protect Dr Bowd from Salmond's fearsome Guerilla Legions?  Did he issue Dr Bowd with a Personal Protection Weapon (sidearm), give him defensive driving lessons and train him in Kung Fu and anti-ambush drills? Would Dr Bowd be introducing himself in future with "The Name'sh Bowd, Gavin Bowd"? 

It seems probably not because the Head of Security / Security Chief is actually the University Estates Manager (Heid Jannie) Extn 3967.  Maybe that's why the Heid Jannie advised Dr Bowd:
The head of security also asked Bowd if he wanted to get in touch with the police. The academic said he would in order to be “safe rather than sorry”. 
 Were the black Range Rovers sent screaming up the M6 from Hereford brimming with weaponry and SAS men?  Was the Cabinet Office Briefing Room (COBRA) alerted? Not quite:
 He was then contacted by an officer, who told him to alert the police if he experienced anything suspicious.
Can you imagine the bemused conversation in St Andrew's nick when the call came in?  "Sarge, we've got a right one here wanting a bodyguard to protect him from sinister, hard-men Cybernats coming down his internet cable."  "OK, I suppose I'd better call him back once I've had my cup of tea and Tunnock's teacake."

To the University's relief, the poor, embattled Dr Bowd would not be fleeing the country or taking refuge in the basement of the Ecuadorian Embassy, as:
“I am not Scotland’s Salman Rushdie, at least not yet." 
Phew! But hang on, "at least not yet"?  From what quarter does Dr Bowd consider a Fatwah may be issued in the future?  Cardinal O'Brien can't issue one from either side of the closet door.  Is it the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland he's afraid of?  The head-honcho of the Wee Frees or the Wee Wee Frees? Is the Imam of Edinburgh Central Mosque a member of Yes Scotland?  

It must be hellish being a fantasist trying to flog a book!  Yes, dear reader, that's what this is all about.  Peterkin and Bowd cooked up this story together. Bowd gets his book back in the Hootsmon on Sunday and Peterkin gets to try to stoke the fires of the Cybernat Terror sweeping the nation.  Unfortunately for both, the nation was still fruitlessly looking for the alleged "death threats" and alleged "abuse" of an alleged "comedian."  Perhaps they should have waited until next Sunday.  Meantime, as this article from 3rd May shows, Peterkin's hypocrisy knows no bounds.

A few Cyberbrits tried to stir up a stooshie:

But, unfortunately for Gavin and his book sales, the nation was still fixated on tracking down the non-existant 'abuse' and 'death threats' not levelled against Britannia's saviour, the Green Goblin:

Uninitiated readers will, of course, be wondering why an academic in sleepy St Andrews is allegedly so worried.  Well, he shares the blame with the Hootsmon on Sunday. HoS for the photo that originally accompanied the article both online and in print, him for the last paragraph of the puff-piece for his new book "Fascist Scotland, Caledonia and the Far Right" on 7th April 2013.  

A JK Rowling book launch doesn't even get anywhere near the front page. So why should a dreary, academic tome of at best minority interest by an unknown author get such a splash as  Gavin Bowd reveals some uncomfortable truths in Fascist Scotland?

So they could put this on the front page:

Dr Bowd played his part with a final paragraph deftly linking the SNP with Fascists. The concept of Civic Nationalism having escaped him, on the facile basis of having the word National in their title, (do NHS nurses in Fife goose-step around giving Hitler salutes?) he dreams up a "Nationalist Family" so he can link the SNP to the Nazi nut-jobs :

Today, the ruling party of Scotland has nationalism as its creed and is suspiciously coy about its own history. Elsewhere in the nationalist family, the BNP, before it plunged into fratricidal warfare, trounced the Far Left in recent Scottish elections and, in 2010, received a respectable 1,000 votes in Alex Salmond’s stamping ground of Banff and Buchan. To this should be added growing sympathy for the agenda of Ukip. The Scottish electorate now appears more receptive to radical nationalism than Mosley’s blackshirts could ever dream of. With fears of globalisation and mass immigration on the rise, and the political “old gang” unpopular, there might still be living space in Scotland for the “Brown Beast”. In this way, we would be very much in line with our European cousins. Wha’s like us? Quite a few. 

It doesn't bode well for book sales that he displays questionable journalistic and academic rigour by  asserting that the SNP "is suspiciously coy about its history." Of the people named in his article, 16 have or had nothing whatsoever to do with the SNP:

  • George Kennedy Young, DD of MI6 and far-right Tory.
  • The Earl of Erroll, Tory.
  • The Duke of Buccleuch, Tory.
  • The Duke of Hamilton, Tory / Nazi.
  • Paolo di Canio, Fascist.
  • Sir Oswald Mosley, British Fascist.
  • WK Chambers-Hunter, Fascist.
  • Alexander Ratcliffe, Scottish Protestant League.
  • John Cormack, Protestant Action.
  • Jessie Jordan, German spy.
  • Derrick Grant, Fascist.
  • Norman Baillie-Stewart, Fascist.
  • Archibald Maule Ramsay MP, Scottish Unionist & Fascist.
  • Thomas Carlyle, Romantic writer.
  • Tsarina Elizabeth, Russian autocrat.
  • President Roosevelt, Democrat President.
The 7 people named in the article who had something to do with the SNP are / were:
  • Hugh MacDairmid, Communist and Scottish Nationalist, not a fascist.
  • Andrew Dewar Gibb, Former Scottish Unionist, Second leader of the SNP, fought in WW1 and argued for appeasement in the 30s, was not a fascist.
  • Douglas Young, SNP leader 1942 -45, Conscientious objector, not a fascist.
  • Matthew Hamilton and Arthur Donaldson, SNP members interned during WW2 for belonging to the Scottish Neutrality League, not fascists.
  • Graham ­Seton Hutchison, former soldier, novelist and fascist who switched to the SNP.
  • Alex Salmond, most definitely not a fascist.
So we have one former fascist who in later life went on to join the SNP and who lived at a time when people were experimenting with all sorts of ideologies. So really nothing for the SNP to be coy about at all.

Needless to say, the baseless attempt to link the SNP with the BNP and other Fascists outraged Scottish Nationalists and fellow Yes Scotland supporters, the gratuitous image of the Saltire defaced with the NAZI Swastika outraged many Scots of all political persuasions, and the caption Klan Alba outraged some more.  Twitter, Facebook and cyberspace erupted.

Before the end of the day the Swastika Saltire was replaced in the online edition with a library picture of Moseley's Blackshirts.  Sometime later as Dr Bowd quaked in St Andrews, probably because of the stooshie their photo editor had stirred up, HoS felt compelled to add another paragraph to the article:
Gavin Bowd adds: In response to comments on this web site, I think it necessary to point out what my book Fascist Scotland is not. It is not a polemical pamphlet directed at any particular individual or organisation, nor is it an intervention in the referendum campaign. The book is an investigation into Scotland’s various entanglements with the ultra-nationalist, racist, authoritarian and militaristic ideology that is fascism. Nationalism in Scotland has been of the overwhelmingly ‘civic’ kind, a country mile from fascism. However, there have been moments in history when Scottish nationalists have had to be vigilant about contamination by a less inclusive and progressive idea of the Nation. Long may such vigilance continue.
So he managed to find one ex-Fascist who joined the SNP in its history.  I don't think the SNP will be insisting on positive vetting for all members on that basis.

I saw no physical threats made against Dr Bowd at the time and, needless to say, if some lunatic fringe did make such threats, I condemn them utterly. If the first Sunday of the Month is to become Cybernat Scare Sunday in the Hootsmon on Sunday, I look forward to next month's thrilling installment.