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To infinity and beyond

Brian Taylor | 10:49 UK time, Monday, 20 April 2009

Went to the theatre after the SNP conference on Saturday. To see Copenhagen by Michael Frayn at the Lyceum. Great show, powerful stuff.

It concerns a meeting between Eisenberg and Bohr, their impact upon the development of the atomic bomb - and, among many other things, controversy over mathematics.

Perhaps I should have viewed it prior to the SNP event, rather than subsequently.

As noted elsewhere by respondents to this blog, I committed a mathematical solecism during my webcast interview with the FM.

I can only blame inattention, lassitude or, just possibly, the fact that party conferences tend to translate one to an alternative dimension where ordinary laws don't work.

Whatever, I made an unaccountable gaffe.

The first minister wasn't remotely discomfited. Indeed, as usual, he gave every appearance of thoroughly enjoying our exchanges.

At the close, he clasped me warmly by the hand, eschewing the customary throat.

However, it would appear that several of this site's more eager and persistent contributors were upset. Which won't do.

To one and all, 3.14159265 apologies.

Comments

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  • 1. At 11:05am on 20 Apr 2009, Barbazenzero wrote:

    Brian,

    Perhaps a complaint to the Press Complaints Commission concerning the misleading headlines in the Scotsman and elsewhere following your gaffe would come better from you?

    You'll find full details of how to make the complaint on the previous thread.

    Complain about this comment

  • 2. At 11:22am on 20 Apr 2009, NCA999 wrote:

    Well said Brian.

    Somehow I doubt it will silence the group of individuals on this forum that think the whole world is out to get them but it is a good attempt.

    The 10 billion cries of conspiracy that happen on this blog on a daily basis are pathetic and thoroughly annoying.

    Clearly this was not an attempt to make Alex Salmond look stupid, this was unbelievably obvious. It was a mistake, one which frankly made me laugh more at Brian (no offence mate) than at Salmond, and probably was the same for most intelligent individuals.

    Brian evidently tries hard to do a good job, to be a grilling political correspondent. The Q&A with Salmond was exactly that, him reading out a sample of questions raised by the viewers. You can bleat all you like about the BBC being anti SNP, but so are the public (2/3 of them voted for other parties).

    The Labour party got plenty of stick when they were in office, however in my opinion if the SNP are actually getting it worse, this is just because the BBC is getting better at doing it's job.

    Given that the SNP made a large number of campaign pledges and have not kept to most of them and only half kept to some of them.

    Given that they won by one seat, an example of one seat being my local seat where the MSP in question misled the local population and is I suspect in the 99-100% guaranteed to get booted out next election category.

    It's a little big of you guys to criticise others for misleading the public.

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  • 3. At 11:23am on 20 Apr 2009, Crawford Macneil wrote:

    Brian,

    Good call to go into journalism; you'd never have made it as a politician.

    Imagine - apologising for getting something wrong!

    Which of our MPs wouldn't have just gone on claiming to be right - albeit according to some new definition of 'right' which requires neither accuracy nor precision?

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  • 4. At 11:26am on 20 Apr 2009, Diabloandco wrote:

    An excellent written apology!
    However , the original was broadcast and remains for all to see.
    I find it discomfiting when there is a broadcast inaccuracy and a teeny written apology.
    It hardly makes up for the Paxman berating of the SNP on Newsight about " all these businesses which don't want the SNP to win" or indeed the lovely , but mistaken , Ms Wark over the Megrahi case.
    And of course all this brings to my mind the first interview by the lovely Sally Magnusson of the new SNP leader , "What would you say to those who are afraid tonight?" (because of an SNP win understood!)
    A question which would NEVER have been put to a leader of any other party.
    Neither do I enjoy the cretinous ,mealy mouthed , cover all responses to a complaint!

    So , make a gaffe , tell a lie or in any way dissemble during a broadcast and I believe one should make a very loud ,broadcasted apology immediately.

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  • 5. At 11:30am on 20 Apr 2009, crazyislander wrote:

    Heaven rejoices at the repentant sinner.

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  • 6. At 11:34am on 20 Apr 2009, sid the sceptic wrote:

    i would suggest that most of us knew fine well that you would apologise , well you come across as that kind of guy , but the point or damage depending on your view point had already been made .

    will every publication or media company carry your apology with as much gusto as they covered the original moment??

    I THINK NOT

    The fact that the first minister did not challenge you about it says more about the first minister than it does about anything else.

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  • 7. At 11:34am on 20 Apr 2009, greenockboy wrote:

    Not good enough Brian, I had already predicted such a response from yourself.

    The 'gaffe' has been picked up by national and local newspapers and resulted in articles ridiculing the First Minister's mathematical skills.

    As an economist of note this is unhelpfull to say the least. It would be similar to a suggestion that a BBC political journalist was less than partisan in his reporting. Of course, your apology will not be headlined by any national or local newspaper in Scotland.

    That is why there now needs to be an apology from the BBC acompanied by a acknowledgement that your error and their dithering has now led to mis-reporting in the national and local press.

    It leaves a question or teo though though:
    Why was this 'tricky' mathematical question deemed appropriate when no doubt there were other far more serious and interesting questions posed?

    What was it's purpose?

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  • 8. At 11:53am on 20 Apr 2009, greenockboy wrote:

    A comment of mine dealing with this subject on the previous blog has been censored immediately by the mods.

    What did the comment contain?:
    Nothing that contravenes any guidelines, no links nor any copywrited text.

    It basically explained why a complaint to the PCC, on articles in newspapers, suggesting the First Minister was stumped over a maths question may not elicit a response as the papers might simply state they were reporting what they believed to be the truth.

    It is the BBC who need to apologise for allowing such an on air gaffe to go unchecked for so long.

    Why was my comment censored?
    I have no idea.

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  • 9. At 11:54am on 20 Apr 2009, bighullabaloo wrote:

    Brian -

    We're not the people who have had our reputation damaged by the "gaffe" and so your apology to us is irrelevant. You're apologising to the wrong people.

    You might apologise and discover - to your horror shame - that he was offended but had too much class to show it.

    An apology is due to Salmond - but as I predicted it is not forthcoming. Salmond deserves the apology whether you believe he was offended or not.

    More seriously, as greenockboy has pointed out, an apology is due to all the people who have now been misled into believing Alex Salmond got the answer "wrong" - as stated by so many newspapers in the aftermath of your now admitted blunder.

    Since you are now admitting that Salmond didn't get it "wrong" all of those newspapers now also owe Salmond and their readers an apology.

    As to whether your gaffe was "unnaccountable" or not - you may not be able to account for it but it's not difficult to see the sort of motivations that would lead to such a "gaffe" and not all of them are free of malice.

    It appears to be a new variation on the old "Henry McLeish" - ""I'm not a thief I'm a numpty". All I will say is this is not the standard of journalism we expect for the compulsory tax we're all paying.

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  • 10. At 12:03pm on 20 Apr 2009, greenockboy wrote:

    Poster number 2 wrote:
    "Somehow I doubt it will silence the group of individuals on this forum that think the whole world is out to get them."

    There are no posters on this forum who believe that. You suggest a mass paranoia, yet the evidence stares you in the face.

    Read my comment on why the BBC should now broadcast an apology. Their are many national and local newspapers who have ridiculed the First Minister as a result of this error by Brian.

    The error was not corrected by anyone at the BBC immediately, this despite many people informing them of it. They could have simply broadcast a light hearted piece at the end of Reporting Scotland correcting Brian's gaffe - but didn't.

    The resultant articles in newspapers was as predictable as it was preventable.

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  • 11. At 12:06pm on 20 Apr 2009, bighullabaloo wrote:

    # 7 greenockboy

    "Why was this 'tricky' mathematical question deemed appropriate when no doubt there were other far more serious and interesting questions posed?

    What was it's purpose?"

    Obviously you're not going to get an answer to that and I know you know that already.

    Taylor is already having one of those "blank out moments" where he can't explain why he got the answer wrong.

    What's the chances of him remembering why he asked the admitted "tricky" question in the first place? Let me tell you: NIL.

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  • 12. At 12:12pm on 20 Apr 2009, dubbieside wrote:

    NCA999

    You can bleat all you like about the BBC being anti SNP, but so are the public (2/3 of them voted for other parties).

    Yes we can bleat all we like about the BBC. Have a read of its charter, particularly the bit about impartiality, and you will find out why we do not like the way the BBC portrays the SNP.

    We can also bleat about the fact that we have no option but to pay this TV tax, wither we watch the BBC or not. Just the fact that you own a TV set irrespective of what you watch, you must pay this compulsory Tax.

    If I do not like the guff The Scotsman prints, that is no problem, I can just laugh at its circulation falling off a cliff, and refuse to buy the paper.

    How many people voted for the SNP is irrelevant. How many people did not vote Labour in the UK? More than your two thirds.

    If you follow your logic, the BBC nationally should be anti Labour on the basis that most people did not vote for them.

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  • 13. At 12:13pm on 20 Apr 2009, greenockboy wrote:

    This comment has been referred for further consideration. Explain

  • 14. At 12:15pm on 20 Apr 2009, sid the sceptic wrote:

    by the way , disappointed in you Brian.

    the question everyone is talking about is the kind of daft , rabid ,anti -nationalist ,garbage that your colleague Glen "I'm not biased" Campbell has made a career out of asking!

    although you work for the state mouthpiece , i thought you were a bit better than this , hope it is just a wee slip and not a trend.

    Sid

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  • 15. At 12:17pm on 20 Apr 2009, Crawford Macneil wrote:

    With everyone apparently agreed that prison is a costly response to, particularly non-violent, crime, it seems perverse to see that US-style community courts are ditched, ostensibly on cost grounds.

    Even if the targeted offenders had been wholly dependent upon assiststed earnings (benefits), the amounts paid to them would be less than the finance required for any period of incarceration.

    Personally, I was always against importing New York-style justice into the east end of Glasgow, but its rejection should have been on grounds other than cost.

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  • 16. At 12:25pm on 20 Apr 2009, Crawford Macneil wrote:

    #9, bighullabaloo:

    "... this is not the standard of journalism we expect..."


    This is precisely the standard of journalism I EXPECT, based upon experience, albeit not that which I believe we all deserve!

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  • 17. At 12:31pm on 20 Apr 2009, forfar-loon wrote:

    To one and all, 3.14159265 apologies.

    Well done Brian, that looks to me to be a sincere apology and a good dose of humble pi :oD

    As others have noted, I do hope you'll apologise to Alex Salmond rather than just to us here though!

    Ditto for the assorted papers that picked up the PA piece and re-ran it without stopping to check the content first. No wonder Scottish journalism is in such trouble if elementary checks are not made as to the veracity of an article.

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  • 18. At 12:32pm on 20 Apr 2009, Crawford Macneil wrote:

    #10, greenockboy:

    "There are no posters on this forum who believe that [the whole world is out to get them]."

    Have you not yet encountered deanthetory?

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  • 19. At 12:35pm on 20 Apr 2009, bighullabaloo wrote:

    #11 greenockboy

    Bowing to your clear knowledge in this area - and in the hope that your reply will not be censored by people motivated by nothing more than covering their own....er, interests - is there any effective independent regulatory machinery available to a private individual to ensure that proper accountability is taken for this "gaffe"? Or is it another case of "toothless tigers" and a waste of a year getting blanc, non-responsive fob-offs?

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  • 20. At 12:40pm on 20 Apr 2009, Crawford Macneil wrote:

    I would like to think that the readers/viewers of any 'publication' which regurgitated the error would themselves have noted the gross error and have discounted the import of any comment regarding the FM's arithmetic.

    It's a pity that the matter has been so widely discussed, since it would have been interesting to hear the responses to a similar question by the Great Bear and his Charlie (as in "Charlie is [his] Darling").

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  • 21. At 12:41pm on 20 Apr 2009, Neil Robertson wrote:

    Having missed the original gaffe not clear why Brian is now eating humble Pi ..........
    but 'Copenhagen'? Isn't that in Denmark:
    country of 5.5 million people which has no
    problem being "independent in Europe"?!

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  • 22. At 12:41pm on 20 Apr 2009, forfar-loon wrote:

    #12 dubbieside: How many people voted for the SNP is irrelevant. How many people did not vote Labour in the UK? More than your two thirds.

    If you follow your logic, the BBC nationally should be anti Labour on the basis that most people did not vote for them.


    Spot on. Indeed, by NCA999's warped logic the BBC should be anti-everyone, as no single party has most of the vote!

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  • 23. At 12:51pm on 20 Apr 2009, snptacticalvoter wrote:

    Well done Brian, you've done the honourable thing as Liam Byrne would say.

    I won't be as churlish as Guido Fawkes to say 'mission accomplished' but, well...


    http://snptacticalvoting.blogspot.com/2009/04/still-hasnt-said-sorry.html

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  • 24. At 12:58pm on 20 Apr 2009, bighullabaloo wrote:

    #16 Crawford Macneil

    I take the view that whilst people rarely get what they deserve - Susan Boyle being an admirable exception - we often get what we expect.

    Thus, I always expect the best. I will continue to do so. I regard that as a healthy view and not at all the "paranoia" some here would portray it.

    You are free to go on expecting the worst as that is your right. I hope you don't find it only serves to fuel cynicism rather than maintain your faith in humanity.

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  • 25. At 12:59pm on 20 Apr 2009, greenockboy wrote:

    Hmm, censorship rearing it's ugly head on this blog.

    Let's see what has spooked the mods:

    Is it the excellent article by Guido Fawkes in todays Times that holds a mirror to political hacks in Westminster and by extension the unhealthy relationships between Scottish journalists and Labour?

    Here is the link to the article:
    Read it here

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  • 26. At 1:01pm on 20 Apr 2009, greenockboy wrote:

    Could the censorship be down to my mentioning the former Herald journalist, now employed by the BBC, who labelled online critics as 'vermin' and 'sewer dwellers'.

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  • 27. At 1:03pm on 20 Apr 2009, greenockboy wrote:

    Could the censorship be down to my highlighting the gusto with which Scottish journalists embraced every smear and allegation made against the First Minister when the Trump story was all the rage?

    A parallel with what was exposed by Guido Fawkes.

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  • 28. At 1:04pm on 20 Apr 2009, bighullabaloo wrote:

    #18 Crawford Macneil

    "There are no posters on this forum who believe that [the whole world is out to get them]. Have you not yet encountered deanthetory?"

    deanthetory believes "we're all out to get him"...and he's right.

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  • 29. At 1:05pm on 20 Apr 2009, Diabloandco wrote:

    Crawford, where did the bit about us style prisons fit in, or did I miss a previous blog?

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  • 30. At 1:06pm on 20 Apr 2009, greenockboy wrote:

    Could the censorsship be down to my highlighting that Labour smears continue to be embraced by Scottish journalists.

    Recent targets include Sir George Mathewson, Brian Souter, Sandi Thom and of course promotional material for The Homecoming.

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  • 31. At 1:25pm on 20 Apr 2009, bighullabaloo wrote:

    #23 snptacticalvoter

    "Well done Brian, you've done the honourable thing"

    Sadly, not true. No one here asked for an apology and none was due.

    The injured party is Salmond. But no apology is forthcoming to him or - we are supposed to accept without question - even expected. I am becoming more amazed by Brian Taylor's ability to read Alex Salmond's mind by the day!

    I'd like to hear someone explain to me why just because Salmond "gave every appearance of thoroughly enjoying our exchanges" we can be certain that he was not offended? Has he issued a statement to that effect?

    And even if Salmond was not "discomfited" by the initial incident how do we know the same applies to the subsequent claim that he got the answer "wrong" that appeared in several national newspapers? Are we expected to believe Taylor has read Salmond's mind on that too?

    It remains the case Salmond is due an apology. Sadly it looks like he isn't going to get one. Nothing honourable about that as far as I'm concerned.

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  • 32. At 1:27pm on 20 Apr 2009, greenockboy wrote:

    Comment 11 bighullaballoo:

    One of my censored comments pointed out that the unintentional side-effect of this gaffe was newspaper headlines. This ploy was used extensively throughout the Trump 'get Salmond' campaign.

    The tactic used was simple:
    A statement accusing the First Minister of 'sleaze' is uttered, no evidence is proferred nor sought.

    The media run with the unsubstantiated allegation, both print and broadcast. The circle is complete when the shear volume of articles themselves are presented as proof that there was substance to the original allegation. Like a pyramid scheme there was never any substance, with each allegation feeding off of another.

    Indeed what was even worse with Trump was that certain allegations were headlined even when there existed proof that they were inaccurate !! One of the first such was the way in which the original story of Salmond meeting with the Trump team was presented, as though it was a hitherto unknown revelation that had been uncovered when in fact it had been reported in the Press and Journal days previously.

    On the point of accountability:
    Stories such as this one on the face of it seem unimportant. Brian has after all admitted his gaffe, surely that is that?

    Well, no it isn't. The PCC have been informed already of the inaccurate headline and article by one Scottish newspaper. I have already anticipated the defence, and it isn't at all unreasonable, that they were merely reprinting part of an interview between Salmond and Taylor.

    The next step is to comlain to the BBC, not however for the gaffe itself, but for the unfortunate misreporting that has resulted.

    This is where your complaint should concentrate, the BBC and Brian will already have prepared their response to complaints. Indeed Brian has alluded to it already, the First Minister didn't complain at the time of the interview !!

    However, if the complaint is regarding the large volume of articles that have appeared both locally and nationally around this erronous transmission then I believe the BBC must issue some sort of clarification.

    At the end of the day, one of their broadcasts has resulted in many, many Scots being mislead - albeit unwittingly.

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  • 33. At 1:41pm on 20 Apr 2009, theoldnat wrote:

    Appreciated Brian.

    And agreed it's a good play.

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  • 34. At 1:50pm on 20 Apr 2009, Angusblogg wrote:

    Just after the last Holyrood election, Alex Salmond, stated that his aim was to demonstrate to the people of Scotland that the SNP Scottish Government could operate effectively for the benefit ALL the people of Scotland.

    I believe that he has set out his stall and halfway through the term of the parliament, despite being a minority government, has fulfilled around half of his promises.

    More importantly, and it was very evident during the BT interview last week, he appears to have decided that it is important for him to project the demeanor of a 'proper' leader . (Not for him the politics of lies & smears which have been the cornerstone of successive Westminster leaders).

    At no time over the last week, during or since the BT interview, has Alex Salmond demanded apologies from BT and various Scottish newpapers, in an attempt to win political Brownie points.

    BT has issued an apology for his gaffe, let's all move on.

    The time for SNP to come out fighting is at the next elections, and by the time of Holyrood 2011, when Gordon Brown is long gone, the SNP will, i'm sure, have demonstated that there is an competent alternative to the Brown/Blair/Thatcher (et al) divisive method of running a country.

    A new blog tomorrow please Brian!

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  • 35. At 1:55pm on 20 Apr 2009, talorthane wrote:

    Brian

    I don't think it was a case of certain regular posters being upset.

    I think it was more a case of everyone who understood what transpired as being a bit embarrassed for you.

    Where some may have suggested an ulterior motive is probably down to the assumption that you are your research team would not take on a trick question from an unknown contributor without checking out the accuracy of the answer provided by that same unknown emailler.

    The fact that a situation arose where the FM's perfect answer was automatically interpreted as incorrect suggested a, temporary, gullibility.

    The obvious question for many was why.

    The moral must be, when asking a trick question check out, beforehand, who is being tricked.

    And as for the Scotsman, the have been extremely silent on the matter since they followed up on your analysis.

    Their only, potential, saving grace is that the "journalist" credited with their story was apparently Joe Quinn.

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  • 36. At 2:13pm on 20 Apr 2009, bighullabaloo wrote:

    #32 greenockboy

    "Brian will already have prepared their response to complaints. Indeed Brian has alluded to it already, the First Minister didn't complain at the time of the interview!!"

    No wonder you're using exclamation marks!

    As my #31 asks: how does Taylor know Salmond wasn't offended, other than by his apparent outward lack of discomfiture?

    Let's allow that Salmond did brush off the initial incident. Does that mean the subsequent repeating of the erroneous claim that he was "stumped" by the question also caused Salmond no concern whatsoever? How do we know that? How does Taylor?

    As you rightly point out, the damage to Salmond's reputation is being done by the cumulative effect of a damaging and untrue smear being rapidly picked up and repeated over and over again until it takes on a completely undeserved aura of truth.

    Okay, so the initial untruth may have been "accidental" but how many times are we going to be asked to believe that? If this were the first and only time it would not be a problem. But you have cited (#32) several valid examples of this exact same same thing happening with other issues and - surprise, surprise - they always turn out to be in some way damaging to the SNP - never to the Labour Party.

    The initial "harmless gaffe" is followed by the repeating of the "error" until it is having a very real and very damaging cumulative effect on people's reputations. Apparently we are not supposed to be intelligent enough to see this same cowardly and manipulative (hidden) tactic being repeated again and again.

    It now appears any accusation of malicious intent is to be dismissed by the BBC with the ultimate trump card of: "I'm not a propagandist - I'm a numpty!" The problem there, as it was with McLeish, is that being a numpty isn't acceptable either.

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  • 37. At 2:29pm on 20 Apr 2009, bighullabaloo wrote:

    #34 Angusblogg

    "BT has issued an apology for his gaffe, let's all move on. "

    When Taylor issues an apology to the person his "gaffe" actually affected it will be time to move on. Until then, the matter remains rightly unresolved.

    That applies no matter how quickly you would like to shut it down due to its clearly embarrassing nature for BT, the BBC and supporters of parties opposing Salmond and the SNP government.

    Who do you think you are? Lord Mandelson?

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  • 38. At 2:32pm on 20 Apr 2009, Crawford Macneil wrote:

    #29, Diabloandco

    I'm in good company: I made a mistake.

    I forgot which blog I was on (at the time).

    Oh, dearie me....

    --

    Wouldn't life be boring if we cut out all of the mistakes!

    Of course, weekend tea-time television would have to be improved - since its staple is glorying in the inexactitudes of others...

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  • 39. At 2:51pm on 20 Apr 2009, rabbiehippo wrote:

    When i watched the interview, i got the impression Brian had been told to give his final response. If you watch it again you will notice that Brian appears to be embarresed when he says 'well actually zero is the answer' like he didnt want to say it.

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  • 40. At 2:53pm on 20 Apr 2009, bighullabaloo wrote:

    #35 talorthane

    "a situation arose where the FM's perfect answer was automatically interpreted as incorrect"

    I for one am heartily sick of being asked to accept that this "automatic interpretation" reflex can be attributed to ignorance, gullibility, or lack of research.

    If journalists are incapable of impartiality then is it really too much to ask that they make a good job of it?

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  • 41. At 3:04pm on 20 Apr 2009, dubbieside wrote:

    Like Greenockboy I am more concerned by all the follow on to Brians question, and the fall out from it. To my mind it gives an indication of what we can expect from now until 2011.

    Is the next big target devolution its self?

    The following article is in The Times.

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/columnists/guest_contributors/article6108549.ece

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/columnists/guest_contributors/article6108549.ece

    Same article, but generating two different headlines, just in case you missed the first one.

    The period of reporting is up to 2007. So what the article actually points out devolution was not working under the Lab/Libdem administration. The way the article is written tries to leave the impression that this is happening on the SNP watch.

    Are we, I wonder, getting "softened" up for Calman to announce that in their view devolution is irrelevant, and we should get back on our knees to Westminster.

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  • 42. At 3:11pm on 20 Apr 2009, dubbieside wrote:

    Re my post at 41.

    I have just found another anti devolution article.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/politics/scotland/5183343/Devolution-is-failing-Scotland-thanks-to-populist-policy-agenda-says-study.html

    Its starting already and the Calman lunch club is months from reporting.

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  • 43. At 3:22pm on 20 Apr 2009, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    Better late than never Brian.

    All Whitehall offices to fly St George flag as Minister orders 'patriotic' symbol this is liable to cause a stushie.

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  • 44. At 3:38pm on 20 Apr 2009, talorthane wrote:

    Bighullabaloo

    "I for one am heartily sick of being asked to accept that this "automatic interpretation" reflex can be attributed to ignorance, gullibility, or lack of research.

    If journalists are incapable of impartiality then is it really too much to ask that they make a good job of it?"


    I agree with you entirely.

    In general terms, it is unlikely that this pattern of behaviour across a number of media sources can all be explained by "ignorance, gullibility, or lack of research".

    However, on a specific occasion, we can only take them at their word.

    If the excuse here was, it was a mistake, then it borders on ineptitude. And for any professional jouranlist or political commentator, that embarrassment cannot be repeated.

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  • 45. At 3:44pm on 20 Apr 2009, jimthe2 wrote:

    When you ask a question ,know the answer beforehand. Not only can you make a fool of yourself , but also of the victim of this question.If you do know the answer ,double check it ,finally,JUNK THE QUESTION.HAVE YOU NOTHING BETTER TO DO WITH YOUR REPUTATION?

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  • 46. At 3:53pm on 20 Apr 2009, salmondella wrote:

    #37 bighullabaloo

    and "Who do you think you are" Alex Salmond?!

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  • 47. At 4:04pm on 20 Apr 2009, Crawford Macneil wrote:

    #43, cynicalHighlander

    So the Scotland Office will be flying an English flag? Talk about showing the true 'colours' of the current PM!

    Anyone would think there was an election looming large....

    Oh, there is!

    (And if Labour does well on 4th June, does anyone think we won't be going back to the polls within a couple of months? After outgoing MPs have managed to splash out on flashy foreign summer holidays, at the taxpayers' expense, that is!)

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  • 48. At 4:05pm on 20 Apr 2009, GregorAddison wrote:

    Hi Brian,

    My problem wasn't with the math problem but with the fact that the Scotsman used it to try and smear the First Minister. The intention was clearly to suggest that if he can't answer a math's question, he can't be capable of running the country.

    So in the end the problem isn't a maths problem, it's a problem relating to the propaganda generated by those with access to the media who share an almost pathological hatred of all things Salmond/SNP.

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  • 49. At 4:08pm on 20 Apr 2009, EphemeralDeception wrote:

    The main lesson here for everyone is that it shows, once again, what a crass newspaper the Scotsman is.

    There is an argument that the bbc should officially clarify the error but I think Brian has sufficiently apologised.

    Personally I think the BBC should rectify showing several minutes of the apologist
    Jonathan Ross in their SNP conference video clip. Now that is insulting!

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  • 50. At 4:11pm on 20 Apr 2009, Diabloandco wrote:

    Thanks Crawford , I thought I had missed some relevant information, and I do hate to do that!

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  • 51. At 4:30pm on 20 Apr 2009, Angusblogg wrote:

    #37 Bighullabaloo

    I fully accept that the apology has not been made personally to the FM, the person affected by the gaffe.

    However, it may have escaped your notice that the the FM has not asked for an apology, or resorted to the Labour/Tory tactic of setting paid lackey's on the case.

    I suspect (but obviously can't prove) that the FM has decided to take the moral high ground here, calm in the knowledge that if there was a mathematical munchkin on the the programme, it was Brian. The truth was always going to come out, it did, and the only ones with red faces are BT, the BBC and certain sections of the Scottish press.

    As I have alluded to, in my #34, Alex Salmond is big enough and astute enough to stand up for himself and fight his own battles at the time of HIS choosing.

    I personally think that the FM's tactic of standing back and letting his opponents tear themselves apart is working perfectly well.

    A mistake/gaffe/whatever has been made and admitted to, and despite everything that has happened since, the FM has come through the episode looking more statesman-like than if he had resorted to Labour's tactic of setting the REAL Mandelson on the case.

    I repeat, chalk one more victory up to AS and let's move on to debate some real issues.



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  • 52. At 4:47pm on 20 Apr 2009, bluelaw wrote:

    Thanks for that Brian. Appreciate that. Good to see you're not possessed of that hard headed arrogance that so many in the public eye insist upon when a simple apology is all that is needed - and all the positive energies that arise from such admissions.

    Btw there is an excellent film version of Copenhagen starring the current James Bond Daniel Craig (not a patch on Big Tam Connery of course) and respected Irish actor Stephen Rea:

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0340057/

    It's been shown on BBC4 a few times so maybe a trip to the archives would be all that's required in your case, if you were so interested that is. Regards.


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  • 53. At 4:47pm on 20 Apr 2009, bingowings87 wrote:

    Congratulations folks!

    In just 6 hours you have outstripped the total number of posts on this blog relating to the recent helicopter tragedy!

    Who says we Scots have no sense of perspective?

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  • 54. At 5:02pm on 20 Apr 2009, Florence wrote:

    37 - bighullabaloo: Alex Salmond being relentlessly insulted and dumped on by the press and the Scottish BBC with untruths, half-truths, innuendo and downright nastiness will be, I am sure, par for the course as far as he is concerned. No matter what impertinence he is subjected to by interviewers he is unfailingly polite, good-humoured and never loses his cool. This must be of extreme irritation to Glenn Campbell et al. I often think that, even if they dislike the man, surely they could at least respect the office of First Minister.


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  • 55. At 5:13pm on 20 Apr 2009, ForteanJo wrote:

    #47

    So the Scotland Office will be flying an English flag? Talk about showing the true 'colours' of the current PM!

    It's interesting that every since Expat made his claim that Unionist politicians would never wrap themselves in a nationalist flag, it's seems that Unionist politicians from both Labour and the tories are doing exactly that. I wonder if that's why Expat seems to have disappeared off the face of the planet again.

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  • 56. At 5:22pm on 20 Apr 2009, dear_wendy wrote:

    A decent apology Brian, and as oldnat says, "appreciated".

    I remain convinced of a cultural bias against the SNP from within the BBC, and throughout the Scottish Media, but you are not the worst, and have at least had the decency to issue your apology in the medium I assume to be most directly accessible to you.

    How much your hands are tied on such matters is a mystery to me! Look forward to the memoirs.

    That other "publications" went on to print such copy as fact, then in my opinion, it is for them to apologise rather than yourself.

    I do however hope that you have offered a personal apology to Mr Salmond. Something I am confident you will have done.

    The whole episode is a positive one for me as an SNP suporter, as it only reaffirms Mr Salmond's class.

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  • 57. At 5:39pm on 20 Apr 2009, bighullabaloo wrote:

    #51 Angusblogg

    "it may have escaped your notice that the FM has not asked for an apology"

    It may have escaped your notice that it's possible for a person to realise they owe someone an apology without having to be asked. It's called being a man.

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  • 58. At 5:57pm on 20 Apr 2009, Diabloandco wrote:

    Bingowings, since the helicopter tragedy should never have been the subject of a blog , then perhaps you could reconsider your post.

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  • 59. At 5:59pm on 20 Apr 2009, handclapping wrote:

    #53 bingowings87

    Glad to see that the spirit of Damian McBride lives on in your post.

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  • 60. At 6:04pm on 20 Apr 2009, forfar-loon wrote:

    #53 bingowings87:

    Oh dear. That's low even by your standards. If you've any decency you'll refer yourself to the mods before your shame is seen by too many more people.

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  • 61. At 6:09pm on 20 Apr 2009, gedguy2 wrote:

    As to the posters who believe that Brian should apologise to Alec, I believe that he has already done so by publishing it on this blog. More of a man than I thought.

    To all those conspiracists who believe that some posters on here believe that there is conspiracy against the SNP I say to them: 'Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean to say they are not after you.'
    Do you really believe that the English 'establishment' are going to allow the break up of the UK without doing everything in their 'black ops' power to stop it. Now who is being naive? Personally, I don't believe that the Labour party are using smear tactics, through their contacts in the media, against the SNP solely for the defense of the realm; I suspect that they are more firghtened about the potential loss of MPs in Westminster should Scotland withdraw from the UK. Then they will be thinking of the Labour MPs they would lose if Wales was to follow suit. No, the main insidiousness is going to come from the 'establishment'. The closer Scotland gets to independence the greater the 'black ops' will be. Britain did not get to be one of the greatest empires on earth by being nice to the people they were about to rule and those same empire administrators are still around, because today's administrators are still the product of decades of the old boys network.
    I forecast that there will be smear tactics against people in the nationalist movement, dodgy constituency voting results, unfair financial interference in nationalists personal finances and if that doesn't do it, then possibly 'accidents'. I also suspect that these tactics will not only be used against nationalists but also against 'others' to keep them in line. The 'black ops' have already started, it is only going to get worse.
    If I was a Unionist then I would expect the 'establishment' to do everything in their power to maintain the status quo; that is, England ruling. After all, the English government's foreign policy for centuries has been to divide and conquer and I would expect nothing less from them, considering that they see the nationalists as a threat to their God given right to rule over these islands and beyond.

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  • 62. At 6:14pm on 20 Apr 2009, bighullabaloo wrote:

    #54 Florence0131

    I agree, and I realise Salmond has to be above it all.

    But I don't and it's great to occasionally make a dent in the media's arrogant disrespect as we have managed to here in the last couple of days!

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  • 63. At 6:20pm on 20 Apr 2009, theoldnat wrote:

    #53 bingowings87

    That post was not only crass, but unforgivably so.

    It is not the custom on this blog to make political points on a thread related to tragedy.

    Nor is it the custom to make more than dignified comments relating to a tragedy.

    Dragging that into a thread that concerns a nicely worded acceptance by Brian that even the mighty (him) can fall is unworthy.

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  • 64. At 6:27pm on 20 Apr 2009, bighullabaloo wrote:

    #61 gedguy

    "As to the posters who believe that Brian should apologise to Alec, I believe that he has already done so by publishing it on this blog."

    That's wonderful but I'm not sure what you're basing your "belief" on.

    For the rest of us, could you just point out where Brian Taylor published his apology to Salmond on this blog? I must have missed it.

    I can feel one of those "inability to read and understand English" moments coming on, so I won't hold my breath waiting for your answer.

    There's nothing like a good-old fashioned bout of word blindness to make you feel as if you're in the right!

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  • 65. At 6:45pm on 20 Apr 2009, gedguy2 wrote:

    # 64 bighullabaloo
    I'm not too sure what it is that you are trying to say but I believe Brian's apology was obvious in his statement: 'Whatever, I made an unaccountable gaffe'. I hope that clears up your question.

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  • 66. At 6:47pm on 20 Apr 2009, Angusblogg wrote:

    #37 & #57 Big Hullabaloo

    You have twice now chosen to quote me without taking my comments in context. That is a Labour tactic which I think does you no justice.

    I suggest you try to display the same sort of class that Alex Salmond has displayed throughout this episode.

    We are both, in suspect, seeking to win the same 'war' - an independent Scotland! My take is we have already won this battle, let's move on to the next.

    I understand your desire to get an even bigger apology and I respect your opinion. Please also try to respect mine.


    #54 Florence0131

    Very nicely put - my sentiments entirely (but your comments are far more erudite than my attempts!)

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  • 67. At 6:48pm on 20 Apr 2009, bighullabaloo wrote:

    #53 bingowings87

    Trying to use a tragedy like that for cheap political point-scoring is utterly crass.

    I'm still trying to work out why the tragedy was brought up on a political blog in the first place.

    It has nothing whatsover to do with politics. And whilst it's natural to have a place where people can express their sympathies this isn't it.


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  • 68. At 6:50pm on 20 Apr 2009, kaybraes wrote:

    I take it you're referring to Pi with an E at the end Brian. They used to slow up greyhounds with them, so I assume that's what slowed your mental processes and led to your mathematical error, too many pies.

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  • 69. At 7:02pm on 20 Apr 2009, dubbieside wrote:

    If anyone doubts the possible long term damage to Alex Salmond because of the inability of Brian Taylor to issue a full apology, there is a precedent.

    There was case of a politician who could not spell potato.

    If you can remember the politicians name, and remember we are talking years ago, people might just begin to realize that BTs failure to act is not worthy of him.

    A short note to the editor of The Scotsman, remember it is their local newspaper empire that have taken this story and run with it, would raise BTs standing with a lot of people.

    You asked Brown to do what you will not do yourself.

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  • 70. At 7:04pm on 20 Apr 2009, forfar-loon wrote:

    Just saw this in the Scotsman: World's biggest clan gathering "to drum up an extra £8m for Scots economy".

    So it looks like Homecoming might not be the disaster some of the nay-sayers were predicting. And whisper it if you dare, but maybe, just maybe that much-maligned advert has helped attract the higher than expected visitor numbers.

    Any of the previous critics want to take a leaf out of Brian's book and admit their pessimism might have been misplaced? Or would they rather whine about some other aspect of Homecoming instead? We're dooooomed!!

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  • 71. At 7:16pm on 20 Apr 2009, bighullabaloo wrote:

    #65 gedguy2

    "I'm not too sure what it is that you are trying to say"

    And there's the "inability to read and understand English" appearing right on cue just as I predicted it would!!!

    What I am "trying" to say is that you can't point out where Brian Taylor apologised to Salmond on this blog because he didn't apologise to Salmond on this blog.

    And the proof of that is you aren't able to point out where Taylor did apologise to Salmond on this blog.

    Just for your benefit, since you seem to be unacquainted with the idea, that's called "perceiving reality".

    What you have pointed to is Taylor's statement that he can't account for why he made the mathematical error. How that qualifies in any way as an "apology to Alex Salmond" is a total mystery to any rational person.

    So it appears as if your "belief" is based on complete fantasy.

    Sometimes I wonder why I bother asking since I knew before I asked that you couldn't possibly back up what you're saying. And such has proven to be precisely the case.

    p.s. It's not "Alec" it's "Alex". Try reading things properly.

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  • 72. At 7:25pm on 20 Apr 2009, bighullabaloo wrote:

    #66 Angusblogg

    "I understand your desire to get an even bigger apology"

    I am not demanding a "bigger apology".
    In order to demand a "bigger" apology there would first need to have been a "smaller" apology.
    There has been no apology so far - big or small. Not to the person who's due it.
    That's my point.

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  • 73. At 7:35pm on 20 Apr 2009, A_Scottish_Voice wrote:

    Brian you have impressed me no question. Respect.

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  • 74. At 7:40pm on 20 Apr 2009, gedguy2 wrote:

    # 71 bighullabaloo

    First of all, my apologies for the typo. You are indeed correct.
    Secondly, what is your point in attacking people who are willing to accept that Brian's blog today is an apology? I don't understand your reluctance to make allowances for other peoples' point of view. If you don't want to accept Brian's blog as an apology then you are entitled to take that stance; as I am entitled to my own stance. Take a chill pill and have a nice evening.

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  • 75. At 7:41pm on 20 Apr 2009, GrassyKnollington wrote:

    " it would appear that several of this site's more eager and persistent contributors were upset."


    lol, the power of words.


    I've heard some choice language used by political columnists and bloggers in Scotland to describe their commenters but that is gloriously understated.


    Not an anorak hood, yellow incisor or scaly tail in sight. Douglas and Iain, watch and learn.






























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  • 76. At 7:42pm on 20 Apr 2009, bighullabaloo wrote:

    #74 gedguy2

    Sorry, I draw the line at replying to people who are not capable of perceiving reality.

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  • 77. At 7:46pm on 20 Apr 2009, ubinworryinmasheep wrote:

    #68 I to thought about that gag ... but after my post about possibly too much chinese food a couple of blogs back,i thought id better not for being banned from the blog for being cheeky ;o)

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  • 78. At 7:47pm on 20 Apr 2009, enneffess wrote:

    63. At 6:20pm on 20 Apr 2009, oldnat


    Well said.

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  • 79. At 7:54pm on 20 Apr 2009, bighullabaloo wrote:

    #74 gedguy2

    What is my point?

    My point is clearly stated in virtually every post I've made on this topic.

    My point was last made only five minutes ago in #72.

    For you here it is again for the umpteenth time: "There has been no apology so far - big or small. Not to the person who's due it. That's my point."

    People who are trying to tell me that this blog article is an apology to Salmond are asking me to deny reality. I'm not going to do that for you, Angusblogg, or anyone else saying "an apology has been made so let's move on."

    There has been no apology. It's a disgrace.

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  • 80. At 8:07pm on 20 Apr 2009, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    #76.bighullabaloo

    Brian has admitted his mistake and I don't think we need to have him go down on bended knee and pour out his misdemeanor to us, his conscience will get him to apologise to Alex and that doesn't have to blazoned over all media for all and sundry.

    The culprits in this are the papers and authors who used it for their own kudos (which is zilch) to fill there empty pages. It is these papers who need to put a written apology for their own blatant error and surely it's a case for the press complaints commission if they sit back and ignore any complaint to themselves over this.

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  • 81. At 8:11pm on 20 Apr 2009, ubinworryinmasheep wrote:

    #79 bighullaballoo ... how do you know that Brian has not appologised to Alex in person. As other people have said the idiots have shot themselves in the feet without Alex making a big deal about it. Id have thought most of the folks on here would know not to argue with you but there you go ..... cheers

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  • 82. At 8:14pm on 20 Apr 2009, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    Pi

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  • 83. At 8:17pm on 20 Apr 2009, bighullabaloo wrote:

    #80 cynicialHighlander

    Don't try to pretend I've demanded that anyone "go down on bended knee".

    That's the worst sort of twisting of fact. it's the last refuge of people who've lost the argument.

    I am simply saying Salmond deserves a sincere apology on this blog. He hasn't had one so far. I mean a genuine apology. Not one couched in snide humour that makes it clear there is no real sincerity in it.

    If that is asking too much then so be it, but I'm not going to give people credit for having been big enough to apologise when there has been no apology.

    I don't think it's asking much. Not of a true professional. In fact, any true professional would have issued the apology without having to be asked.

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  • 84. At 8:21pm on 20 Apr 2009, bighullabaloo wrote:

    #81 ubinworryinmasheep

    I don't know if Brian has apologised to Alex in person. And neither do you. Therefore you also can't say that anyone here has "shot themselves in the feet making a big deal about it."

    The wrong was done in public. A sincere apology would also have to be made in public for it to have any genuine validity.

    If you can't see why that's true there's not much point in asnwering you.

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  • 85. At 8:27pm on 20 Apr 2009, forfar-loon wrote:

    To one and all, 3.14159265 apologies.

    If I was trying to wind you up bigH, I could argue that Brian's "one" could refer to Alex Salmond. And if not he must surely be included in the "all" ;o)

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  • 86. At 8:29pm on 20 Apr 2009, Angusblogg wrote:

    #53 Bingowings87

    It may just have slipped your memory, that as a mark of respect, there was a general agreement that political discussion was incompatible with a topic on real human tradedy.

    Within a very short time, all political discussion reverted to BT's previous blog.

    I am sure it is a genuine memory lapse on your part.

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  • 87. At 8:31pm on 20 Apr 2009, bluelaw wrote:

    I don't think this is the place for Brian to apologise to Alex Salmond. I think it's perhaps the place he could tell us that he has apologised - if he has apologised that is.

    I am prepared to give Brian the benefit of the doubt here. I will like others though still watch keenly how he words his 'criticisms' of the SNP in future. I was personally appalled at some of the entries by Brian around the time of the Dunfermline collapse when Brian's response was that the Nationalists needed a new dialogue. And as others have also said talking of bandwagon jumping by Salmond over the Susan Boyle success was IMO another low blow. I would be far less precious about these things if I genuinely thought Nulab would be treated similarly but they simply wouldn't have been.

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  • 88. At 8:32pm on 20 Apr 2009, ubinworryinmasheep wrote:

    #84 you've mistaken that bit about shooting themselves in the feet ... it was referring to the incorrect stories in the press about Alex being wrong..... none of them will appologise.... im not talking about people on here .... the only person ive seen shoot themselves in the feet (with a large cannon i must add) on here is RE and even hes not present much nowadays.

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  • 89. At 8:38pm on 20 Apr 2009, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    #83. bighullabaloo

    "Whatever, I made an unaccountable gaffe.

    At the close, he clasped me warmly by the hand

    To one and all, 3.14159265 apologies."


    We all have different ways of admitting our errors and those lines say it for me as admission of guilt, no hard feelings and to us an apology although I prefer 22/7 as its easier in mental arithmetic.

    Its up to the print media now!

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  • 90. At 8:43pm on 20 Apr 2009, Scotlandact wrote:

    A meeting between Eisenberg and Bohr? Might that perhaps be Werner Heisenberg? Didn't expect Mr Taylor to drop his "H"s like that. Heisenberg's doctoral thesis was on turbulence, so he might be at home here.

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  • 91. At 8:50pm on 20 Apr 2009, bighullabaloo wrote:

    #85 forfar-loon

    There would be no reason to be "wound up" by your post because it's crystal clear to anyone capable of understanding written English that Brian's "3.14159265 apologies" are being offered to "several of this site's more eager and persistent contributors" and not to Alex Salmond.

    If I were trying to wind YOU up I'd refer you to the first few sentences I wrote on this blog (#9): "We're not the people who have had our reputation damaged by the "gaffe" and so your apology to us is irrelevant. You're apologising to the wrong people."

    Can't really make it any simpler or clearer than that. Unfortunately there are some people here who don't like to see or hear the truth - so they won't allow it past their blinkers.

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  • 92. At 8:54pm on 20 Apr 2009, bighullabaloo wrote:

    #87 bluelaw

    "I think it's perhaps the place he could tell us that he has apologised - if he has apologised that is."

    I'd find that acceptable, but of course it in no way describes what's happened so far.

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  • 93. At 8:58pm on 20 Apr 2009, Caledonian54 wrote:

    All a bit of a storm in a teacup if you ask me (no, you didn't, but hey...). Brian made a mistake in his math and has handsomely admitted to the fact. That's all that's called for here.

    An apology is only necessary if he has given offence to somebody. In this case our Mr Salmond clearly has neither been offended nor hurt. He has made no complaint or demand for an apology. Whether of not Brian may have privately apologised at the time or afterwards is none of our business.

    Simple as that.

    As for the rest of the media out there, the Scoysman clearly seems intent (for the moment at least) on mending its fences with the government. Not only was there that very positive piece about the Homecoming clan gathering, and even more positive coverage of the FM's intervention in the immigration case, but the latest pathetic attempt by a Labour man to trot out the perennial cry of the government failing to meet its manifesto commitments was "laughed off" in very short order, instead of getting the big coverage it might have done a couple of months back

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  • 94. At 9:07pm on 20 Apr 2009, bighullabaloo wrote:

    #89 cynicalHighlander

    "We all have different ways of admitting our errors and those lines say it for me as admission of guilt"

    I agree entirely that there has been an admission of error. But admitting an error is not a "different" way of apologising.

    In a situation like this the only way to apologise would be offer sincere words of regret, definitely including the word "sorry", and not couched in snide humour that casts doubt on its sincerity.

    I know it's decades since anyone in public life had the decency to do that, but it's very disappointing to find that so few people appear to remember what an apology is and how it should be delivered.

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  • 95. At 9:12pm on 20 Apr 2009, aye_write wrote:

    Brian,

    An apology about one of your blogs that ended up discussing nothing!

    Very good ;-)

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  • 96. At 9:14pm on 20 Apr 2009, bighullabaloo wrote:

    #93 Caledonian54

    "An apology is only necessary if he has given offence to somebody. In this case our Mr Salmond clearly has neither been offended nor hurt."

    And how do you know he hasn't?
    The fact that Salmond did not demand an apology at the time doesn't prove he was not offended.

    As some here have rightly pointed out, even if he was offended, as First Minister he has to rise above it and not show it.

    It also doesn't mean an apology isn't due, no matter how much you try to make it sound like some sort of categorial fact, which it certainly isn't.

    Pardon me if I make my own mind up and don't take your royal proclamation as the final say on the matter.

    As to whether there has been a private apology, what good would it be? The wrong was done in public. A private apoligy would carry no vailidity at all in these circumstances.

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  • 97. At 9:16pm on 20 Apr 2009, forfar-loon wrote:

    #91 bigH:

    There would be no reason to be "wound up" by your post because it's crystal clear to anyone capable of understanding written English that Brian's "3.14159265 apologies" are being offered to "several of this site's more eager and persistent contributors" and not to Alex Salmond.

    Glad you weren't wound up, I was just being mischievous :o)

    If I were trying to wind YOU up I'd refer you to the first few sentences I wrote on this blog (#9): "We're not the people who have had our reputation damaged by the "gaffe" and so your apology to us is irrelevant. You're apologising to the wrong people."

    Ooh, that would wind me up good and proper, you rascal you. Especially given what I said in my #17: "As others have noted, I do hope you'll apologise to Alex Salmond rather than just to us here though!"

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  • 98. At 9:20pm on 20 Apr 2009, DougtheDug wrote:

    e pi gum Brian, you certainly had an f(x) on the posters and zeroed out your maths credibility.

    I've got to add this to the conversation even though you might take it as a minus and it may multiply the magnitude of your irrational fears and Bohr you into taking Poisson.

    For you, here's the example which led to Bart Simpson's infamous failure to understand pirate maths from the episode "Bart The Genius" (7G02)

    y = r**3/3
    dy/dr = 3r**2/3
    dy/dr = r**2
    dy = r**2 dr

    It's Pirate Maths because dy = r dr r

    Me Hearties!

    Unfortunately Bart was constantly as thick as a Planck and never got the joke.

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  • 99. At 9:32pm on 20 Apr 2009, portcharlotte wrote:

    Well its an apology but isn't it a bit disingenuous. Brian suggests that his mathematical error was an unaccountable gaffe. More likely he never knew the right answer in the first place. A degree in English is hardly a foundation for dabbling in mathematics as Brian demonstrated. The degree may have provided the arrogance to try but not the mathematical skills to succeed. The Scotsman and other papers that joined in the erroneous ridicule of Salmond display an equal lack of numerical skills. Sad comment on the media.
    Credit to Salmond.
    But I think the deal is Brian has apologised, we accept that, pretend that it wasn't lack of knowledge just a mistake and he won't get into numerical subjects again. The only losers are Salmond who was ridiculed in the press and Brian whose numeracy has been seriously undermined and he won't be able to comment on anything numerical again so the next discussion on the budget will be wordy rather than numerical.

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  • 100. At 9:33pm on 20 Apr 2009, enneffess wrote:

    I can't believe about half of this topic is an argument as to whether Brian should apologise to Alex or not.

    #93. Caledonian54 is right in what he says.

    Bottom line - has Alex publicly stated he wants an apology?

    He is not going to put himself into a position where he appears to be petty.

    I'm rather more interested in what is going to be cut - sorry offered - at the Budget.

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  • 101. At 9:34pm on 20 Apr 2009, theoldnat wrote:

    New ICM poll being reported in the Grauniad.

    UK figures C 40% : L 30% : LD 19% : Others 11%

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  • 102. At 9:39pm on 20 Apr 2009, bighullabaloo wrote:

    #100 Neil_Small147

    "Bottom line - has Alex publicly stated he wants an apology?"

    Bottom line - should Alex need to ask for one?

    You live in your "other people don't deserve respect" society if you like but I for one won't be joining you.

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  • 103. At 9:40pm on 20 Apr 2009, forfar-loon wrote:

    #98 DougtheDug: Nice work! :o)

    Reminds me of the Uxbridge English Dictionary definition of a logarithm: a lumberjack's method of contraception!

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  • 104. At 9:45pm on 20 Apr 2009, bighullabaloo wrote:

    #99 portcharlotte

    "I think the deal is Brian has apologised, we accept that"

    No YOU accept that. I don't. He has not apologised to the person due the apology. It doesn't matter how many wrong-headed people gliby state he has. As you point out, Salmond is one of the "losers" in this situation. He has suffered a wholly unjustifed public blow to his reputation as a result of this so-called "gaffe". I can't see why it's asking so much to expect an equally public apology. But apparently very few people here understand what an apology actually is. Maybe some of them have never seen one uttered by a public figure in their lifetime, which might go some way to explaining it.

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  • 105. At 9:57pm on 20 Apr 2009, ubinworryinmasheep wrote:

    #104 jeepers man ... you would pick a fight with a fart if it was the wrong kinda smell ... i wonder if you've forgiven the Germans and Japanese yet for starting the war ?....(appologies to Oldnat for being historically incorrect here ;o)} )

    #101 I hope the others 11% is just the SNP eh !!

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  • 106. At 10:00pm on 20 Apr 2009, bighullabaloo wrote:

    #97 forfar-loon

    "I said in my #17: "As others have noted, I do hope you'll apologise to Alex Salmond rather than just to us here though!"

    Right, so when you stated in your #85:

    "Brian's "one" could refer to Alex Salmond. And if not he must surely be included in the "all"

    you were arguing against yourself. My, THAT IS impressive!

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  • 107. At 10:01pm on 20 Apr 2009, aye_write wrote:

    I think it was confirmed that this apology should be aired on BT's blog, as it confined the shouting about it to one predictable area, while "satisfying" those who want to have a shout about it.

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  • 108. At 10:10pm on 20 Apr 2009, Dean MacKinnon-Thomson wrote:

    101. oldnat

    New ICM poll being reported in the Grauniad.

    UK figures C 40% : L 30% : LD 19% : Others 11%

    ---

    Thats an interesting poll finding oldnat. Can I ask everyone whether the Guardian has any trend to underestimate conservative support (like I think all pre-election night polsters have for the last four GE.s)?

    Its interesting in that it totally contradicts the picture painted in the other poll out reciently for _, which showed the Fiberals gaining at Labours expense with polling stats of:

    Con 43% (-1)
    Lab 26% (-4)
    FibDem- 21% (+?)

    Mind you that one presumably had a Tory leaning bias, but still it only showed Lib advances at Labour core vote expense.

    What on earth is the picture at mo! I need more polls to see which are the blips!!!!

    :(

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  • 109. At 10:10pm on 20 Apr 2009, bighullabaloo wrote:

    #105 ubinworryinmasheep

    If stating an obvious fact is "picking a fight" then I'll take it any day rather than listen to a load of farts that can't read ten sentences in plain English and work out what they say.

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  • 110. At 10:17pm on 20 Apr 2009, Tom wrote:

    Brian should not have to apologise.

    It seemed like friendly banter between Brian and Alex, and nothing more.

    It's not like the exchange is making headlines, "Alex Salmond Can't Count.".

    The people asking for an apology should stop making the situation more then what it already is.

    It makes me wonder what type of world you all live in. I was taught that sometimes you have to take something on the chin, no harm, no foul, just get on with it.

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  • 111. At 10:19pm on 20 Apr 2009, aye_write wrote:

    #57 bighullabaloo

    "It may have escaped your notice that it's possible for a person to realise they owe someone an apology without having to be asked."

    Right, yes...

    "It's called being a man."

    Eh, wa-it a minute!
    Men doing something without having to be asked?!!

    ;-)


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  • 112. At 10:30pm on 20 Apr 2009, ubinworryinmasheep wrote:

    #111 Aw come on ... domestic chores are not inbuilt in to us men. Now if the missus wants to leave me a list of chores then thats fine but normally ill easily leave clothes on the floor when i could put them in the washing machine or send the kids off to school without washing the chocolate spread off their faces .... i guess we're just inferior ;o)}

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  • 113. At 10:30pm on 20 Apr 2009, cynicalHighlander wrote:


    #108.dean

    Try looking at the questions in oldnat's link and that will show why the polls differ.

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  • 114. At 10:37pm on 20 Apr 2009, bighullabaloo wrote:

    #110 Thomas_Porter

    "It's not like the exchange is making headlines, "Alex Salmond Can't Count."."

    So the Scotsman's headline: "Salmond stumped by mother's math problem" was what? A hallucination?

    People read headlines and think they respresent reality.

    So the people here asking for a proper apology are not making it "more than it already is".

    It's the people fabricating lies like that headline that are making more of it than it already is.

    Before you come on here making a fool of yourself try checking out a few facts.

    Let me tell you the sort of world I live in: one where people don't have the decency to apologise for blackening people's reputation...accidentally or not.

    Let me tell you what I'm doing about it: taking it on the chin and giving it right back better than I got.

    Let me tell you what the outcome is: they can give it out but they can't take it.

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  • 115. At 10:40pm on 20 Apr 2009, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    #111 aye_write

    Is that not when its called more important!

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  • 116. At 10:51pm on 20 Apr 2009, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    MPs give themselves a three-month holiday poor souls nothing to do but twiddle their thumbs whilst No 10 plots. How can any unionists subscribe to that carry on without saying sorry its not our fault it will be different when were in power, joke.

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  • 117. At 10:54pm on 20 Apr 2009, Dean MacKinnon-Thomson wrote:

    45% think the tories are more trustworthy on the economy over labours 35%, that really is a sea change, however given that we still are unable to lead in the north & Scotland on that specific issue, I'd caution any fellow Cons out there in assuming the Guardian findings tell us we're finaly over black wednesday (or white for my euro-secptical party member fellows).

    Given the flat lining in Scotland in the region of 18-22%, its simply not good enough to make any meaningful breakthrough.

    However 10% can be over come by labour, however given the anti-ed balls briefing outbreak last week I'd be surprised if the internal fighting actually really stops; more just stops being news worthy until another scandal.

    And in regards to brians apology, I'll just say that he's apologised and for me that demonstrates contrition, a recognition he was wrong. Maybe the gaffee should be corrected more publicly or more widely, but in so far as this blog is concerned lets just show good manners and accept a sinner-seen the light.

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  • 118. At 10:58pm on 20 Apr 2009, Tom wrote:

    Bighullabaloo:

    It's a poor show making Brian apologise while the Scotsman will continue to print anti-SNP stories, quite many of them are false anyway.

    So why, why on earth are you pestering Brian while the Scotsman will take advantage of anything to discredit the SNP?

    Brian's not the problem. It was banter, nothing more, nothing less.

    and I do not see why you are saying I am the fool here, because it's pathetic to make this much fuss over such a small issue.

    Alex Salmond appears to not care less about the matter. The SNP page is not protecting Salmond or offering their side of the story, or even offering the mathematics behind 24 divided by 0.

    I have taken alook at my emails, nope. The SNP have not sent an email around asking their members to defend Salmond to assuring us that Salmond can actually count.

    You all may have the best intentions at heart, but there is nothing worse then someone getting involved when it comes to business that does not concern them.

    Alex Salmond can take care of himself, they don't need extra volunteers.







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  • 119. At 10:59pm on 20 Apr 2009, forfar-loon wrote:

    #101 oldnat, #108 deanthetory:

    I was quite surprised Labour hadn't taken a bigger hit in that poll. Although, as the Grauniad points out, it must be a concern for Labour that the Tories are more trusted on the economy and are seen to be less sleazy/more honest. Signs that the Tories are electable again, if only down south.

    #111 aye_write:

    Men doing something without having to be asked?!!

    Hey, some of us come here to escape exactly that sort of talk! ;o)

    #106 bigH:

    Ah bigH, a fine example of selective quoting! Well done you.

    As already explained, and as should have been abundantly clear from the wording of the post, I was merely being mischievous in #85. Continue arguing about it if you must, but 6 months on this quote seems apposite once again:

    "If all else fails, the character of a man can be recognized by nothing so surely as by a jest which he takes badly."

    Georg Lichtenberg

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  • 120. At 11:02pm on 20 Apr 2009, theoldnat wrote:

    Apparently Harriet Harman "argued the case for the Union in the recession" to the STUC according to the Herald.

    It then reports her argument as

    "As well as the strength that devolution has brought, we need to stand together throughout the United Kingdom - Scotland, Wales and England," she said.

    "Our Government is determined to work to protect every part of the UK and take the action which would not be possible if each part of the UK had to fend for itself.

    "Our strength in the United Kingdom is our unity and working together in difficult times."

    Interesting that she seems to have floated Northern Ireland off somewhere else, and that this is not an argument, but a series of unsubstantiated assertions.

    Harman probably has a case against the Herald for making the unsupported allegation that she "made an argument".

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  • 121. At 11:10pm on 20 Apr 2009, aye_write wrote:

    #115 cynicalHighlander

    Whatever can you mean cynicalHighlander!

    ;-)

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  • 122. At 11:19pm on 20 Apr 2009, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    121. aye_write

    I'll be in a minute. (this is more important) as he closes his inner ear flap. pardon.

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  • 123. At 11:20pm on 20 Apr 2009, aye_write wrote:

    #112 ubinworryinmasheep

    #119 forfar-loon

    Heh, heh ;-)



    While I'm on a note of absolutely no consequence....




    #(half of comments) bighulla!

    OMG, what an advert for the saddest blog ever online!

    You have deliberately argued for....several posts, pointlessly, for an apology to be specifically and personally given to Alex Salmond - hearsay won't do it, generic won't do it, wrong-specific won't do it.....????

    He's a politician, he'll likely get over it ;-)
    Gordie didn't phone to congratulate him for winning in May 'til September!

    You need to take up soduku!

    ;-)

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  • 124. At 11:27pm on 20 Apr 2009, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    How about some equality?

    Sorry of to hit sack, g'night all.

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  • 125. At 11:30pm on 20 Apr 2009, theoldnat wrote:

    Gentlemen.

    As a quirkynats colleague of the esteemed aye_write, and a recipient of her advice on myriad occasions on a range of issues, may I offer the following advice.

    Admit defeat now.

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  • 126. At 11:35pm on 20 Apr 2009, enneffess wrote:

    102. At 9:39pm on 20 Apr 2009, bighullabaloo wrote:
    #100 Neil_Small147

    "Bottom line - has Alex publicly stated he wants an apology?"

    Bottom line - should Alex need to ask for one?

    You live in your "other people don't deserve respect" society if you like but I for one won't be joining you.

    -----------------

    What is your problem here? You are dragging this demand for an apology out.

    Why?

    Alex Salmond is not in any danger. It's not headline news. No one I know is concerned. How many people have been "misled"?

    We have probably the most critical budget in modern history about to land on us.

    But all you want is Brian to make a public apology to Alex Salmond. If Brian DOES apologise, will you accept it or just comment that Brian isn't being sincere?

    You made your point very clearly at post #9.

    There is no need to drag it out any further.

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  • 127. At 11:36pm on 20 Apr 2009, greenockboy wrote:

    Brian hasn't apologised, he has issued an 'apology' which is no more than a patronising joke.

    However, that isn't the issue is it?

    Everyone and his dog knows that there are certain newspapers who wait for any perceived 'slip up' by the SNP, especially Salmond, in order to contrive a headline.

    Had this little gaffe happened down South then there it would have ended. However it didn't, it happened in Scotland and we know now that the 'gaffe' has led to national and local newspapers propogating the myth that the First Minister was unable to handle a 'simple' maths question.

    At the end of the day Brian Taylor has caused misleading newspaper articles to be printed that ridicule the First Minister. Did Taylor know that such headlines might result from his live 'correction' of Salmond's answer? Perhaps not, perhaps Brian is unaware of the lengths that some Scottish newspapers will go to in order to undermine the SNP and/or Salmond.

    There is a very serious precedent being set here. We are now in a position whereby false statements can be broadcast by the BBC. These broadcast items can then be picked up by the press and circulated throughout the country, the reporter need only to offer a light hearted acknowledgement of the 'gaffe' and that's him/her off the hook.

    Unless the injured party makes a complaint in person then nothing can apparently be done.

    The PCC (Press Complaints Commission) have refused to accept the complaint against any newspaper running these articles. This is because they operate a policy of not investigating third party complaints.

    Alex Salmond will not complain, to do so will provide the Scottish media with reason to suggest that Salmond is now blaming the media for his woes.

    So, there we have it, the headlines are now history and those who read them are in blissfull ignorance that the First Minister was wronged.

    Why was such a ridiculous question asked?

    I have my own opinions on that, Alex Salmond was never going to be given credit for getting the answer correct - we know that because he DID get it correct.

    One is left with the realisation that whatever answer Salmond gave was going to result in the headlines we saw.

    Someone was caught out here and it wasn't Alex Salmond.

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  • 128. At 11:37pm on 20 Apr 2009, Dean MacKinnon-Thomson wrote:

    AW: "You need to take up soduku!"

    I've never been able to do well in that damn game, chess is more relaxing!

    But yeh, Big-Alex has thick skin, he'd never have led the SNP so successfuly (and for a second time) if he broke down in the face of gaffe's by reporters like our Brian. :)

    forfar-loon: "Tories are more trusted on the economy and are seen to be less sleazy/more honest"

    Oh how times are changing! I sometimes get dizzy reading how my lot are all whiter-than white...I still- and despite my young years- still bite back Amos, Neil Hamilton stories of the past with a wry smile and a quite chuckle over a nice little G&T. I say quitely to my diary, yep- thats all behind us now (but what about whats still ahead of us?)

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  • 129. At 11:42pm on 20 Apr 2009, ubinworryinmasheep wrote:

    #125 I'd bet shes even a match for Chuck Norris ;o)}

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  • 130. At 11:47pm on 20 Apr 2009, ubinworryinmasheep wrote:

    #128 Dean .... good debaters never loose their heads in the heat of the battle, which is why Alex is good at it.

    As for whiter than white ... i'd have kept quiet if i was you .. you have tempted fate ... i just had a vision of some call girls and a tory mp on the front page of The News of The World ... just wait lol .. you read it here first .... just call me Madame Ubinworryinmasheep !!

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  • 131. At 11:49pm on 20 Apr 2009, handclapping wrote:

    #128 dtt

    I thought Master Dean's Diary had been taken off air years ago?

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  • 132. At 11:52pm on 20 Apr 2009, Dean MacKinnon-Thomson wrote:

    @ 130 ubinworryinmasheep

    Yes, I read somewhere (cant recall where, but yesterday) about a lady of the night selling her book on stories about (present) Con MPs who all suffer from, well the formula one cyndrome (trying not to upset auntie Beeb here), like chains and being high on coke. Dont know the truth of it all but thats why I said "but what about whats still ahead of us?"- 'cos I'm agreeing with you, theres stuff on some of my lot that'll make me scarce on this blog when it breaks

    ;)

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  • 133. At 11:53pm on 20 Apr 2009, Florence wrote:

    69 - DUBBIESIDE: I think it was Dan Quale.

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  • 134. At 11:59pm on 20 Apr 2009, aye_write wrote:

    #125 oldnat

    Thanks oldnat!

    You see, you can all be trained... ;-)

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  • 135. At 00:05am on 21 Apr 2009, pattymkirkwood wrote:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/politics/8007482.stm

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  • 136. At 00:06am on 21 Apr 2009, aye_write wrote:

    #129 ubinworryinmasheep

    "I'd bet shes even a match for Chuck Norris ;o)}"

    Yes, I'm very proud of him....! ;-)

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  • 137. At 00:34am on 21 Apr 2009, Dean MacKinnon-Thomson wrote:

    135. pattymkirkwood

    About damn time this government does something to reduce borrowing, just as the Conservatives have been saying. Whether its enough however is another matter, but it does chart the right course: priority one ought to be about reducing the level of indebtedness in our island, not just governmentally but in peoples own private behaviours.

    I would say that public opinion is right to say that the NHS, education and the police ought to be outwith public spending cuts.

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  • 138. At 01:50am on 21 Apr 2009, ubinworryinmasheep wrote:

    #137 Dean ... the torys might start by ditching PFI if they want to get the country back on track, but somehow i doubt they would. The only party i have seen that is looking at whats being spent and going 'whooooaaaaaaa there horsey' is the SNP. Everybody else especially Labour are hell bent on spending a fortune on consultants and other nonsense.... you cant say the torys are any different cos they were teaching at the night classes that nulabour were going too. If i lived in England again i'd be stuck on who i'd vote for !!!

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  • 139. At 02:00am on 21 Apr 2009, Dean MacKinnon-Thomson wrote:

    Thats a bit unfair, not on what you say on PFI (I'm not aware on what our party policy is on it-- and that is sad), but D.C and Goldie have already (as per the recient Osbourne speech) called for public spending restraint. Indeed D.C has a long time ago abandoned his pledge to match current labour spending plans as we already see the need for saying as you so rightly put it "whoooaa horse".

    Our party has always believed in public spending restraint (not to say no public spending, just sustainable levels of public spending growth, not New Labour style of the recient past). After all, as far as I am aware (having seen John Major as PM in 1996 saying so), the Tories always over the Major government gave the NHs above inflation budget increases; but at a sustainable level, not the overspend in the system under the last 11 years where money was the solution to all.

    But I agree that the SNP have been most vocal- in a Scottish context- on public spending restraint, but at a UK level; so have we.

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  • 140. At 02:01am on 21 Apr 2009, pattymkirkwood wrote:

    #137, Dean - the key question is what are they cutting and what are they keeping. If for example this is a budget that sees the intent to renew trident maintained but cut-backs on benefits etc ... at just the time such systems are needed most, I wont be happy.

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  • 141. At 02:16am on 21 Apr 2009, Dean MacKinnon-Thomson wrote:

    Patty I agree, ID cards are an economic as much as moral chop, a reduced (but not abolished) trident (for my reasons see my argument as per:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/nickrobinson/2009/04/worthy_or_waste.html#comments
    *number 48)

    But yes, what shall they reduce (or streamline, as someones Darling will probably say)? The NHS, education and police I reckon are out of the question- no labour or indeed any government would (or at least should) consider radically cutting those public sector areas. So what does that leave us? Well, I reckon the Scottish grant (to the executive & Holyrood) will be reduced over the coming year(s), as will the olympics budget (can they reduce that, it seems to continually rise).

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  • 142. At 02:17am on 21 Apr 2009, Tom wrote:

    DeanTheTory:

    To your #137. It may not be top of public opinion but the military budget cannot be reduced.

    You see, sometimes the public do not understand whats good for them, but we are fighting a stalemate in Afganistan and lowering our budget may increase the chances of our soldiers being killed, or ill equiped for the situations we face.

    If anything the military budget should be increased in order for our forces to eliminate the enemy.

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  • 143. At 02:29am on 21 Apr 2009, Dean MacKinnon-Thomson wrote:

    Thomas I agree that the military budget is already too small in size to adequetly meet our demands upon our boys. However I fail to see any real scope for defence spending rising, but it certainly ought not be cut back further. On that you are absolutely correct.

    But again, what then can we cut, in a meaningful way? For a start, no major tax cuts (no more VAT holidays), and some sackings in the public services (I think of perhaps civil servants) unfortunately will probably have to happen, its simply not sustainable to see private sector job losses (and thats the profitable part of the economy) while as Brown is still presiding over; public service jobs rising. Our Scots public service could do with a reduction in size and scale, Labour for too long have built it up at Scotlands economic detriment, I hope the SNP try and tackle that one the recession can allow them to do that re-orientation of the economy without getting nocked for six (they can say quite rightfully its for the economic good).

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  • 144. At 02:35am on 21 Apr 2009, Tom wrote:

    DeanTheTory:

    #141.

    You'd like to see Trident re-designed to make a smaller submarine...

    The United Kingdom can quite easilly develop Trident again, but easing the recession on the vunerable and increasing the possibilities of individuals finding employment soon can not come any sooner.

    It's about priorities. We don't need Trident at this precise time, and I said earlier the military budget should not be reduced since we are fighting a war.

    I would also like to remind you that the grant we receive, 50 percent of which is spent on Health.

    If you want to see a cut in our grant then expect to see ALL services reduced. Either that, or we wipe out complete services altogether.

    Please don't follow Labour's party line. At this moment of time do not cut back on the grant that we receive.

    To be honest this is the area in which we should be borrowing money from, to maintain services that we need.

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  • 145. At 02:45am on 21 Apr 2009, pattymkirkwood wrote:

    Somewhat simplistic but I have an easy solution to lowering military costs, its called "bringing the troops home". If Alexander couldn't control the Afghanas, the Mongols couldn't, the British Empire at its height couldn't and the Soviet Union couldn't ... perhaps its time to acknowledge that that particular battle is unwinnable. Especially since the supposed "good-guys" are now sanctioning rape (within marriage) and stoning to death now!

    In anycase, as far as I am concerned, Trident is a do nothing waste of money - and while I am sure replacing it would do wonders for Alabama (assuming we are using the same place as last time), it is frankly criminal to consider it in the onset of a budgetary squeeze in a recession like this.

    #141 the Scottish block grant will almost certainly be reduced, but I cannot see Brown's Government transforming the London extravaganza - for which we must all pay through the nose - to some form of latter day "austerity games".

    Incidentally, the Scottish grant shouldn't be reduced Brown should be spreading money to the periphery to protect the economy of localities (as Obama is to States in the U.S.) rather than reigning back spending hard in the UK "regions" as I suspect he will.

    This will be an election budget (a decidely sparse one compared to what we have seen before, but an election budget nonetheless). Whoever wins the next election (presumably a large Tory majority) will have to set about dealing with the problem at a later date.

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  • 146. At 02:50am on 21 Apr 2009, Tom wrote:

    DeanTheTory:

    Scotland is not that bad. In recent years the amount of private employment opportunites have been increasing in comparison to public sector opportunites. Although still large, much is related to British or Scottish Government, given the size of Scotland it's not too shabby.

    Gordon Brown's made a mess of it all to be honest. Everyone had a feeling that we were going to be struck hard, and when we need to borrow to protect our health care, our education system we can not afford too.

    The VAT holiday is a perfect example of where we went wrong. Despite tens of thousands loosing their jobs, Brown believed reducing VAT would get people spending... spending money that they either do not have in the first place or unable to spend because they no longer employed...

    But should we pay for Brown's mistakes? No, certainly not during the recession. I say we should borrow and bite the bullet later on.

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  • 147. At 03:03am on 21 Apr 2009, ubinworryinmasheep wrote:

    #139 Dean i believe your party were instrumental in PFI's birth ... your the daddy as they say. Nulabour just took on what was there. Its sad that the SNP are trying to save us money by trying a new way to fund projects and the three other partys are just saying the Scottish Futures Trust is rubbish.... and by the way its 'whoooaaaaa horsey ' lol .... whoa horse ...fit are you like ?

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  • 148. At 03:05am on 21 Apr 2009, Dean MacKinnon-Thomson wrote:

    I do not see any public service cut backs in the NHS as the way forward, nor in education or defence; therefore the remaining sectors, front line jobs across remaining public service sectors, the Scots grant will all have to be scaled back; either that or we start cutting away at the education and NHS; and given the recient examples of poor hosptial standards in England, and C-diff threats still present in some victorian-like Scots hospitals this is not a public sector that could weather major or even moderate public sector cuts.

    I agree that its not ideal or even desirable to reduce the Scots grant, but what alternative other than undermining NHS standards (and classroom standards) further do we have?

    I do not mean to in any way attack our Scots national interest in the union, I merely am unaware on how to reduce public spending without undermining the NHS, education, defence & still without cutting back on our grant.
    The best solution is fiscal devolution to Scotland, and let our 'chancellor' Swinney actually stear to some degree the Scots economy (however I fail to see any scope for Scots borrowing even if we could given the bad state of affairs our banking sector is still in; perhaps once we solve toxic debt and get lending going again).

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  • 149. At 03:13am on 21 Apr 2009, Dean MacKinnon-Thomson wrote:

    We're the daddie! What, so we tories are kinda like an absent dad, being smacked with a visit from the child saying your responsible for my existence- and we didnt know! Thats a hell of a claim (amusing).

    :)

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  • 150. At 03:21am on 21 Apr 2009, pattymkirkwood wrote:

    #148, Dean the Scots Block Grant is Health, Education etc ... etc ... for us to all intents and purposes.

    Talking about Health and Education as separate from that is effectively talking about spending the largest "region" of all: England.

    Point is now is not the time to cut spending in localities, if you withdraw money from these areas in a time like this the outcome will be badly magnified.

    Britain needs to give up its pretence of being a "Global power", once we have done that it will be possible to assess where we really are and what hard decisions must be made. (Again, Labour wont make any but a handful of them this year).

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  • 151. At 03:27am on 21 Apr 2009, ubinworryinmasheep wrote:

    #149 Dean whats your take on PFI ... good or bad ... and by the way are you coming up to campaign for the tories in the forthcoming council election at Aboyne etc .... ill teach you how to guddle for fash !!

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  • 152. At 03:35am on 21 Apr 2009, Dean MacKinnon-Thomson wrote:

    "Point is now is not the time to cut spending in localities, if you withdraw money from these areas in a time like this the outcome will be badly magnified."

    The biggest threat to hampering the economic recovery in the future is the level of debt, and that must be resolved. New Labour have left us with more debt that any time than the second world war, we need to reduce that to allow for a stronger and healthier recovery. So while I agree that public service cuts in front line services is not nice, and may even make the short term economic hardship worse; we need to think long-term. How to best escape this Brown recession with speed, and that lies not in preserving jobs, or maintaining high public spending in front line services; it means making tough choices, and that means cutting back (sadly) on some front line services; as in the medium-long term it may make the recession recovery stronger and therefore rapidly re-invigorate these areas.

    Not pleasant, but whats more important in my mind is protecting the Sterling from (further) devaluation threats, in keeping a save hold over inflation rates and reducing public debt; and to me this makes our lot better long-term. Some jobs and investment wil have to be scaled back sadly, but New Labour leaves us with no choice (so far as I can see).

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  • 153. At 03:43am on 21 Apr 2009, Dean MacKinnon-Thomson wrote:

    ubinworryinmasheep :

    "Dean whats your take on PFI ... good or bad"

    Expensive, and not actually in line with my One Nationist onservative values. Improving schooling, ensuring equality of opportunity etc cannot come from lumbering my generation with the debts, PFI/PPP seems to be a short term fix to our need to modernise the comprehensive network (or whatever we call the comp network up here).

    Dont get me wrong, I love the utilisation of private capital, but when it is a)to the profit of the consumer, in this case children/families/taxpayers, and b)when private capital can deliver real improvements in services and circumstances, and gain PPP/PFI simply doesn't. I can't help thinking it was a New Labour misunderstanding of Tory belief in private capital involvement, its only good when it will actually provide value for money etc.

    "are you coming up to campaign for the tories in the forthcoming council election at Aboyne"

    Probably not I'm afraid, this weekend I'll be making the final Bannockburn by-election push. And an update on that: been out canvasing in Labour hearland ex-mining territory and (out of a 1-4 door answering ratio) I'd say a good 60%+ people said either 1. voted labour last time and wont vote at all this time, or 2. will vote but dont know who for.

    I got 1 labour to nat, 1 labour to tory, and three possible tory, and a very low 1 nat probably. I'd say a record low in the Bannockurn by-election council turnout.

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  • 154. At 03:56am on 21 Apr 2009, pattymkirkwood wrote:

    #152, artificially early attempts to "balance the books" contributed greatly to what made past recessions, into depressions.

    I will leave this conversation there for now.

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  • 155. At 07:55am on 21 Apr 2009, fourstrikes wrote:

    I go away for a wee holiday and return to see the blog is as mad as ever ;)

    Mr T's apology seems very fair to me. As he's always hingin' aboot in Parly, he will no doubt see the FM and have a word, if such is necessary.

    Dean, #152 re cutting public sector staff - this is problematic. Which front line services would be for the chop? I'm also intrigued that you have singled out front line services instead of, say, consultants or even the poor benighted backroom 'crats. This is not a popular line of argument, even from a Tory.

    You also blame Brown for the recession, not so I'm afraid. Capitalism 101 - boom and bust. He's undoubtedly taken decisions which made the bust, er, bustier (you know what I mean) but he didn't create the conditions which led to recession in the first place. They are global.

    I don't think any leader in power at this time would come out of it well, and I bet most of them pray they're never in the position of PM during a recession. I hold no brief for the Labour Party or Brown himself, quite the reverse, I think they're a rotten bunch. I'm still holding out for Independence and a Scottish Soviet :) But really, no one would be looking good in Brown's position, Cameron would not either. Like chucking someone in a sewer and expecting them to come out sparkling clean, not gonna happen.



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  • 156. At 07:56am on 21 Apr 2009, captainEd23 wrote:

    I didn't read the interview and rarely look at the Scotsman so have no idea what Brian's 'gaffe' was.

    Brian, you should really say! And I must give Salmond his due - whatever the error was he doesn't seem to be making much of a fuss.



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  • 157. At 08:09am on 21 Apr 2009, gedguy2 wrote:

    I hope that there is no scaling back of the military spending; it is too low already, considering we are involved in various parts of the world. As to withdrawing our troops to save money, I don't think that this is a viable policy. We have committed our troops, not because we believe in this Afghan war, but because our friend (USA) is in need of political help. It would be wrong of us not to come to the aid of our friends even if we think they are mistaken in their course of action. After all, the USA came to our aid twice in WWI and WWII when they believed that we were wrong. We are only paying our debt to them. I also believe the USA gave us valuable information during the Falklands conflict. No, it would be wrong of us to withdraw the troops.
    It is hard to see where the cuts will fall without harming someone. I suspect that those on the bottom ladder will feel the full force of the cuts, as always.
    Civil servants jobs will not be cut (the mandarins will not allow it), but I suspect that their job decriptions will be changed to make it look as if there will be cuts in the civil service.
    The 'grants' to Scotland, Wales etc. will almost certainly be decimated. It may suit Westminster to do this so that they can say that the Scottish government cannot run their financial affairs properly, and possibly a sudden injection of money given to the Scottish government so that Westminster can say that they have come to the defence of the Scots again, therefore, the Scots need to stay in the Union.
    I suspect that the front line services will be cut but this may be hidden by not allowing any increase in the rate of inflation, which is a cut by anyother name.
    Just an aside to the question of Northern Ireland not being part of the UK. I have always taken this stance because of Berwick. If we accept that Northern Ireland is part of the UK because a number of people in 1920 decided that they did not want to be a part of Eire then it follows that Westminster may use this same technique to ensure that Berwick remains in England. It is ridiculous that the capital of Berwickshire is in another country. Until Berwick is returned to us I refuse to accept that Northern Ireland is part of the UK. My apologies to the good people of Northern Ireland.

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  • 158. At 08:36am on 21 Apr 2009, Barbazenzero wrote:

    For reasons best known to themselves, the Scotland News pages of the Thunderer are reporting today an Ian Dale posting from the 13th with their Labour accused of setting up Red Rag-like website in Scotland.

    I'm not going to soil these pages by directly linking to the site named and shamed but the curious can get there via the Ian Dale posting. The Thunderer article could, of course, have been intended to drum up unionist support for the new site. It certainly lacks it currently. One "article" on the home page from February has attracted seven comments - mainly anti - but no other has managed more than one. Even the anonymous author has had the sense to avoid the infinity guddle.

    Post or reactive moderation for all except CBeebies, please!

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  • 159. At 09:22am on 21 Apr 2009, Wansanshoo wrote:

    A link to a man who makes no apology, Littlejohn and the London edition of the Daily Mail.


    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-1172181/LITTLEJOHN-We-need-election--Budget.html#comments



    Wansanshoo.

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  • 160. At 09:29am on 21 Apr 2009, Chiefy1724 wrote:

    I really must call into doubt the veracity of that Ian Dale article mentioned in Brownedov's post above.

    Since when was Tom Harris a "respected" blogger ?

    At least here on BwB we discuss and debate, and over on Quirkynats, well, that certainly isn't an "attack" forum.

    The cyberwar begins.....


    Post or reactive moderation for all except CeeBeebies, please !

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  • 161. At 09:32am on 21 Apr 2009, fourstrikes wrote:

    For some reason it tells me I need to download a Hebrew support pack to read that link, Wan. I'm not really inclined to do that, as I don't read Hebrew.

    Can you summarise?

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  • 162. At 09:47am on 21 Apr 2009, GrassyKnollington wrote:

    158 Brownedov, I was very suspicious of that site from the start as it appeared to be very slickly designed, money had obviously been spent and yet there was no sign of an ordinary person and their opinions behind it .

    I thought from the start that the dead hand of New Labour was behind it and as it's registered in America we'll never find out if McBride, Draper and crew or their eager Scottish equivalents set it up to run alongside red rag.


    It read nothing like the other Scottish blogs with their personal touch and sense of real people talking and was really just scattergun innuendo and Labour poison which could have come straight from the oily spin merchants.

    I heard they did worse to Plaid in Wales.

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  • 163. At 10:01am on 21 Apr 2009, theoldnat wrote:

    Report from Mike Smithson at political betting that Ipsos-MORI April Political Monitor has given figures of Conservatives 41% (down 1%) : Labour 28% (down 4%) : Lib Dem 22% (up 8%) for UK headline figures.

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  • 164. At 10:18am on 21 Apr 2009, Big Hun wrote:

    more hot air my friend!!

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  • 165. At 10:28am on 21 Apr 2009, talorthane wrote:

    #127 Greenockboy

    "Unless the injured party makes a complaint in person then nothing can apparently be done.

    The PCC (Press Complaints Commission) have refused to accept the complaint against any newspaper running these articles. This is because they operate a policy of not investigating third party complaints."


    Is there not a way round this.

    In this case, if the "injured party" is Alex Salmond then it would require Alex Salmond to make the compaint.

    However, if it is interpretted that the "injured party" is the office of First Minister, then the injured party is not just Alex Salmond, but everyone in the country.

    So, will it not be the case that anyone in the country could make a complaint on the basis that they are one of many injured parties as their post of First Minister has been attacked.

    Obviously this would have to be very specific cicumstances where the media were not just doing their job of holding the First Minister to account, but where they were found to be at fault.

    In this occasion, as in others, that is the case.

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  • 166. At 10:28am on 21 Apr 2009, GrassyKnollington wrote:

    who ordered sushi?

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  • 167. At 10:38am on 21 Apr 2009, theoldnat wrote:

    Wonderful phrase from Michael White in the Grauniad -

    "But the wholesome Dr Jekyll side of Brown's's character is stalked by the darker Damian Hyde side"

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  • 168. At 10:45am on 21 Apr 2009, gedguy2 wrote:

    # 167 Oldnat

    Two sides of the same coin.

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  • 169. At 10:52am on 21 Apr 2009, bighullabaloo wrote:

    #126 Neil_Small147

    "It's not headline news. No one I know is concerned. How many people have been 'misled'?"


    FACT 1 - It is headline news when the Scotsman runs a headline saying "Salmond stumped by mother's math question". That anyone could claim that something isn't headline news when headlines exist that categorically disprove their claim is breathtaking in its sheer arrogance. See greenockboy's #127 for an accurate account of reality.

    FACT 2 - Unfortunately the world isn't just made up of "everyone you know". Sick of hearing this shockingly self-centred phrase that betrays your belief that if your circle of friends isn't concerned then something isn't important.

    FACT 3 - No one knows how many people have been misled? So we just say "it's not a problem"? If you don't see why blatant lying of this nature is not a problem then you are part of it.

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  • 170. At 11:41am on 21 Apr 2009, ScaraBraeSingleMalt wrote:

    Hahahaha, I know that I am a little late but I don't care. I was a little miffed at the whole episode of who was correct. After all, we are taught in school that dividing by zero does indeed equate to zero. It is only once we go through university that we find out that dividing by zero creates all sorts of problems, ie, when programming within a computer, dividing by zero is enough to cause a computer crash, or when a youngster makes an eductaed guess that dividing by zero equates to the number that was not zero 'cause if you divide that number by zero then that number stays the same.
    Who cares if divding by zero tends towards infinity or is indeed infinity? We are not making bombs. Lets face it, up here in Scptland we constantly remark on the rediculous. I want to know how Teletext are getting away with their advert, showing rain up North, that is all over Scotland while England basks in the sunshine that clearly shines out of the crack of Westminsters abbey!
    Besides, one last bit of advice. Don't google pi and copy and paste, just type 3.14, you'll be correct and we'll al lunderstand.

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  • 171. At 11:59am on 21 Apr 2009, bighullabaloo wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 172. At 12:01pm on 21 Apr 2009, bighullabaloo wrote:

    Correction to my #171

    a. Divide 24 apples by 4 and you get six groups of four apples.

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  • 173. At 12:39pm on 21 Apr 2009, deadgoatsociety wrote:

    #172

    Don't you mean 4 groups of 6 apples?

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  • 174. At 12:46pm on 21 Apr 2009, gedguy2 wrote:

    I'm interested to know why bighullabaloo's # 171 posting has been moderated. As far as I am aware of it seemed to break no rules. Maybe Bighullabaloo could come back to us on that one if they (the BBC) inform him why?

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  • 175. At 12:47pm on 21 Apr 2009, bighullabaloo wrote:

    The censorship's getting bad when the BBC can't bear to have it pointed out that dividing 24 apples by zero doesn't make the apples disappear! Poor sensitive souls that the BBC are!

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  • 176. At 12:57pm on 21 Apr 2009, bighullabaloo wrote:

    #173 deadgoatsociety

    Yes, I do. My apologies. Unfortunately no one can read the point I was making in #171 anyway because it was obviously a danger to national security.

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  • 177. At 1:06pm on 21 Apr 2009, bighullabaloo wrote:

    #174 gedguy2

    I just read your #174. I note you read what was in my #173 before they censored it.
    We had our differences yesterday but I don't believe anything in #173 warranted censorship. It's a sad day when the BBC sinks to that level. Where is the much-vaunted "free speech" and "democracy"?
    The only positive is when they start to try to shut you up for no reason it's a sure sign you are winning the argument.
    I'm afraid I won't be telling you what reason the BBC gives for censoring it as I'm not stupid enough to waste my time asking them. I already know they show true accountability for nothing.

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  • 178. At 1:12pm on 21 Apr 2009, talorthane wrote:

    #174 Gedguy

    #175 bighullabaloo


    I'd like to add my confusion at the removal of the post.

    Far from being offensive, I thought it was very humourous, while making its point extremely well.

    It would appear that there has been another erroneous interpretation.

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  • 179. At 1:22pm on 21 Apr 2009, bighullabaloo wrote:

    Correction to my #177

    Sorry, I was referring here to my censored #171 and not #173.

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  • 180. At 1:33pm on 21 Apr 2009, enneffess wrote:

    #169 bigh

    What is your problem? Are you Alex Salmond in disguise?

    Your Fact 1: Have I missed something here? has the one o'clock news raised this? Are CNN sending round the reporters to grill Brian? Is Max Clifford going to represent the First Minister?

    Fact 2/3 - Just to be fair, I've asked some colleagues at work - not one person has expressed an interest, in fact all bar one person was even aware of what has happened.

    What you do not seem to accept is that Alex Salmond does not appear offended. And judging by the man if he thought he was being unfarily represented he would be out there all guns blazing, with senior SNP members also making sure they had plenty of air time.

    Those people who are interested in the story will read about it, and then most likely wonder what all the fuss is about.

    I also note that you are resorting to insults. Why am I a part of the problem? I've never once accused the FM of lacking in the arithmetical department.

    Stick to insults if you wish, but all you are doing is weakening your own arguments and detracting from far more serious issues.

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  • 181. At 1:34pm on 21 Apr 2009, bighullabaloo wrote:

    #178 talorthane

    There is a point where the clarity of an explanation comes so close to perfection that it is in danger of educating the masses.

    And they don't like that.

    Such was my #171.

    It simply showed why trying to use arithmetic to describe impossible events leads to meaningless answers and that trying to do it repeatedly is infinitely futile, just like trying to win an argument on this blog!

    If that merits censorship then it really is time to call it quits in this country. They might as well just put the shackles on and take you away.

    Disgraceful in my view and I would think disgraceful in the view of any freedom-loving person who read #171, regardless of their political beliefs.

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  • 182. At 1:57pm on 21 Apr 2009, bighullabaloo wrote:

    #180 Neil_Small147

    "What you do not seem to accept is that Alex Salmond does not appear offended. "

    The reason things "seem" as they do to you is that you appear unable to read and understand what I've written. I fail to see how something is not headline news when there are headlines about it in the news.

    I'm not in the slightest worried whether Salmond was offended or not. What I do not like is this outrageous ploy of the BBC making "gaffes" that are then turned into "facts" by newspapers like the Scotsman, thus totally misleading their readers and anyone they mistakenly pass it to. I will concede that the people misled by a headline in the Scotsman dwindles by the day - and no wonder!

    If I was insulting you my posts would not be allowed here as they are moderated. So your perception is letting you down there as well.


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  • 183. At 2:10pm on 21 Apr 2009, talorthane wrote:

    #181 bighullabaloo

    "If that merits censorship then it really is time to call it quits in this country. They might as well just put the shackles on and take you away."


    Don't lose heart, though I'm sure you won't.

    The arguments is being won, on all fronts.

    Unionists seem to have a ongoing confusion between events and processes.

    I think one of the benefits of devolution, especially with different parties in power, is that the conduct of government is no longer completely hidden to the public.

    The Scottish Government expose Westminster when they act in opposition to the Scottish interest, and Westminster tries to do the same in return.

    The result is that there is a growing awareness in the public's eye that Scottish and UK interests are not one and the same thing, and often can be diametrically opposed.

    I am confident that this process will continue and that there will be a tipping point.

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  • 184. At 3:20pm on 21 Apr 2009, bighullabaloo wrote:

    #183 talorthane

    Thanks - and don't worry about me! It takes more than a bunch of reality bending ignoramuses to make me lose heart - a lot more! As to the accusation of "insults" etc, I notice that on Brian's new blog "On Budget" Jim Murphy has just been described as a "jakey tool". Nothwithstanding the obvious defence of "veritas" - if that can get by the BBC censors then I'd expect a mere "self-centred" to pass with flying colours!

    The "tipping point" you speak of is, indeed, very real, very near, and is elegantly encapsualted by GAberdeen's #13 on Brian's latest blog: "David Cameron will become the new Prime minster of the United Kingdom, and with ONE Conservative MP in Scotland, the inevitable end to the union of the crown."

    If, as GAberdeen describes, we have a Tory government ruling Scotland, with one (or more likely "zero" (!) Conservative MPs then the "end of the union of the crown" is an effective reality in all but name.

    Once people get a taste of Cameron's version of turning us all into Poll Tax guinea pigs people will be begging Salmond for his referendum and there will be an overhwhelming vote to get out of the corrupt UK shambles once and for all.

    There can't be a single person here that truly believes life in Scotland under Cameron would be any different to it was under Thatcher - and we are still paying the price for that.

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  • 185. At 3:54pm on 21 Apr 2009, bighullabaloo wrote:

    #183 talorthane

    Sorry, I'm having a bad day on post numbers today!

    GAberdeen's comment description of Jim Murphy was in his #36 on the latest blog - not #13.

    I notice it has now been censored. Are the mods taking my advice now, or are they just having a slow day?

    I think whoever the sad case is who's doing Winston Smith's job at the BBC must be having a nightmare - as they say in the football world.

    Several posters have repeated the phrase that led (one assumes) to GAberdeen's #36 being censored.

    So the reality-censor is going to have to go through all the previous posts on every blog trying to negate the reality that other people have repeated it and those posts are still visible.

    It's a hard life having to run around trying to hide the truth.

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  • 186. At 4:29pm on 21 Apr 2009, enneffess wrote:

    BigH

    I suggest that you write to the BBC Governors and also make a formal complaint to OfCom.


    I would also suggest you read the Daily Bavarian (sorry, Mail). Nothing on there. Metro, nothing there, CNN, nothing there.......

    I understand why you are annoyed with the BBC and Scotsman. But you have practically taken over this blog.

    Brian Taylor is not going to apologise to Alex Salmond now, even if he had intended to do so. Any apology will immediately be shot down.


    I will agree with you about the quality of moderation on this blog. I recently had one blogger directly insulting me (not you) querying my mental health not once, but three times, yet this got through moderation. Yet I put on a general post about possible results in Aboyne which was found to break house rules. No idea why at all.

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  • 187. At 4:47pm on 21 Apr 2009, gedguy2 wrote:

    # 177 Bighullabaloo
    We had our differences yesterday but that is the enjoyment of posting on these types of blogs. It would be boring if we all thought the same way. Don't you agree? ;)

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  • 188. At 4:52pm on 21 Apr 2009, bighullabaloo wrote:

    #186 Neil_Small147

    "I suggest that you write to the BBC Governors and also make a formal complaint to OfCom."

    I have tried both in the past and found both worse than useless. Thus, one is forced to resort to things like, er, "taking over a blog" just to make a simple point. It shouldn't be like that but that's the way it is and I'm not to blame for it.

    Re your comment: "Brian Taylor is not going to apologise to Alex Salmond now".

    According to several of my would-be detractors here Salmond already has apologised to Brian Taylor. Glad to see that you, at least, are not so deluded to think I'm stupid enough to agree with that.

    I think Taylor owes Salmond an apology not for accusing him of getting the math answer wrong, but for the subsquent way in which Taylor's so-called "gaffe" led to a completely untrue news story directly damaging Salmond's reputation.

    Leave aside the fact that damaging Salmond's reputation has political consequences. I know we're not supposed to suggest that Taylor would do anything to damage Salmond's political reputation. (insert rolling eyes here)

    If I'd made a "gaffe" that had subsequently damaged YOUR reputation you'd rightly expect and get an apology.

    If I'd made such a "gaffe" you wouldn't need to make it clear you'd been offended and ask for an apology because I'd offer one unprompted out of basic human decency.

    I'm talking about an old-fashioned concept called "manners" that some posters here seem to be completely unaware of, never mind experience of. I fail to see why Salmond should be denied that basic courtesy.

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  • 189. At 4:54pm on 21 Apr 2009, bighullabaloo wrote:

    #187 gedguy2

    I agree 100% and I can assure you I will continue to do my best at all times to avoid being boring.

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  • 190. At 5:09pm on 21 Apr 2009, bighullabaloo wrote:

    #186 Neil_Small147

    So, I will bring my contributions on this matter to a close with the following observations:

    1. Brian Taylor's credibility as a political journalist has been severely dented by his admitted "unaccountable gaffe".

    2. One more "gaffe" like this and Taylor will have destroyed any remaining shred of public trust in him as an impartial commentator on Scottish politics.

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  • 191. At 5:15pm on 21 Apr 2009, Dunroamin wrote:

    190. I'm sure the man is positively quaking in his boots that you, one of the more delusional of nationalists, has doubts over HIS credibility.

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  • 192. At 5:28pm on 21 Apr 2009, bighullabaloo wrote:

    #191 Reluctant-Expat

    I'll take your obvious need to defend Taylor's honour as definite confirmation I've won the argument.

    Any further comment from you will just be further proof.

    But thanks for the compliment! I appreciate it. It's a great encouragement!

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  • 193. At 5:30pm on 21 Apr 2009, Dunroamin wrote:

    I rest my case.

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  • 194. At 5:34pm on 21 Apr 2009, bighullabaloo wrote:

    #193 Reluctant-Expat

    And thank you for providing the further proof but, really, it's not necessary.

    Everyone knows taht when they start doling out the apologies they're already on the ropes.

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  • 195. At 6:45pm on 21 Apr 2009, Diabloandco wrote:

    I still say a broadcasted ,gaffe ,intentional or not , should have a broadcasted apology.

    It is really too easy to write, " silly me! oops sorry!" while doing damage to someone elses reputation.

    Too easy for the BBC ,after all you have the technology to broadcast!

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  • 196. At 10:41pm on 21 Apr 2009, hadrianswall wrote:

    BigH,

    Re the Brian H 'apology' you are quite right and well done for keeping to your guns.

    As you say it is only good manners to apologise to someone if you make them look silly etc. If you are wrong as Brian was, it is for you to offer an apology. In this case the slight was public so the apology should be public. Anything else is bad form and I can't quite see why other bloggers can't see that.

    Freedom

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  • 197. At 11:22pm on 21 Apr 2009, bighullabaloo wrote:

    #196 hadrianswall

    "Anything else is bad form and I can't quite see why other bloggers can't see that."

    They can see it. What they can't do is admit it. The problem they all have (as usual) is that action (or in this case inaction) speaks louder than words.

    Political point scoing aside, if I'd made a "gaffe" that had indirectly led to a news story that damaged someone's reputation, I'd give that person an immediate apology - not so much for the "gaffe" itself because anyone can make a mistake, but for the damaging consequences that resulted from it. It would simply be an obligation to right a wrong that I'd inadvertently caused. It's the honourable thing to do.

    Now let's look at what's happened here: a "gaffe" was made that resulted in a news story damaging Salmond's reputation. But there has been no apology offered - not here anyway. Some say an apology may have been offered in private, but they neither know that as a fact nor are they willing to accept the obvious truth that a public wrong of that type simply cannot be remedied by a private apology.

    So, no honourable public apology. What does that tell us? At the very least it fails to dispel all doubt that the "gaffe" was indeed accidental. If a sincere public apology had been offered I would be more than happy to accept the "gaffe" was accidental. On top of that, we are asked to accept that no reason can be offered for the "gaffe". It was committed for "unnaccountable" reasons. This makes it more difficult still to accept at face value that it was accidental.

    Now, let's look at the matter in its broader context. Given that Brian Taylor has been the target of numerous accusations of pro-Labour bias on this blog in the past (and not just by me) is it a stretch of the imagination to conceive of the possibility that the "tricky" question was asked with the deliberate intention of embarrassing Alex Salmond, should he get the answer wrong?

    Well, let's think about that for a moment. Salmond didn't get the answer wrong, but was nevertheless (and some might say with rather indecent haste) informed that he had got it wrong, "but never mind". This last phrase seems to suggest the "wrong" answer was a trivial matter of no consequence (for example, not something that would be picked up and highlighted in a national newspaper).

    So, does this insistence that Salmond got the answer "wrong" - even when he didn't - make it more or less likely that the trick question was asked to allow the possibility of embarrassing Salmond? I don't think you need anything more than common sense to answer that.

    Were there other questions in the area of education that might have been a better use of the available time, and that would have better served the purpose of informing the public on such an important topic? Or is whether Alex Salmond can answer a math question really a topic of greater importance to the public? Again, I think common sense provides the answer.

    So, if Alex Salmond's math ability is not a matter of great importance (as some here keep telling me) then why bother asking the question at all? If people have been following my reasoning till now I don't have to answer that question which is just as well because we all know no one would get the chance to read it.

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  • 198. At 00:09am on 22 Apr 2009, bighullabaloo wrote:

    And as a final thought on the matter: why would any parent, even one exasperated that their nine-year-old's teacher had got a sum wrong, have any interest whatsoever in whether Alex Salmond could answer it correctly? We can reasonably ask: did the person who sent in the question have some political motive?

    I can understand a parent being upset if their child's teacher was incompetent, but I can't see what that has to do with Salmond or whether he can answer the question the teacher couldn't. How does that help her or her child? If she was asking Salmond to do something about the incompetent teacher that, to me would make some sense.

    It makes no logical sense at all to ask Salmond the question if the intention is to simply highlight the incompetency of the teacher. No, asking Salmond the question only makes sense if the intention is to possibly embarrass him if he got it wrong which, of course, he didn't.

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  • 199. At 7:03pm on 24 Apr 2009, snowthistle wrote:

    I see that Magnus Linklater is making subtle insinuations about the First Ministers' mathematical ability in his column today.
    I admit that I had thought that bighullabaloo was over reacting a little when the story first broke, but know I tend to agree with him/her

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  • 200. At 09:41am on 25 Apr 2009, Barbazenzero wrote:

    #199 snowthistle

    Very true, and if there have been any apologies is the media, I haven't spotted them yet.

    I suppose Brian should be especially flattered that so much of Linklater's "article", In which we grapple with the Uncertainty Principle and see things both ways at once, clearly written on Thursday, is plagiarised from Brian's text above, published on Monday.

    I suppose it should be some comfort to us all that, whilst they ignore us, the hacks do at least read our bletherings.

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  • 201. At 11:28am on 25 Apr 2009, bluelaw wrote:

    Last post by me on this. I agree with much of what bighullabaloo has said. For me why include such a pointless question anyway other than to try and humiliate the FM. Thankfully the polls seem to prove the Scottish people aren't fooled by such things.

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