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Soft landing

Brian Taylor | 13:13 UK time, Tuesday, 1 December 2009

She had to go. Multiple factors.

On Fiona Hyslop's watch, teacher numbers had dropped substantially: a development she herself described as "unacceptable" - although that epithet was aimed at local authorities, whom she blamed.

It was becoming difficult for Alex Salmond to defend her in the face of such statistics. In such circumstances, the first minister has to bolster his own reputation - and sacrifice that of a colleague.

Another factor is the Scottish government has now embarked upon a review of educational provision which will explicitly question whether local authorities are the right delivery vehicle.

Ms Hyslop announced the review on Friday, buried within a substantial attack upon councils for their record in spending resources supposedly provided for teaching.

But Alex Salmond believes that thinking is needed to pursue that review. Hence, well-merited promotion to cabinet for Mike Russell.

And one more motivation. The Liberal Democrats were about to pursue a motion of no confidence in Ms Hyslop.

Team refresh

They were planning to take that to Holyrood's business bureau this afternoon, with a debate scheduled for Thursday.

Government aides insist that wasn't the prime factor in this demotion for Ms Hyslop.

They say Alex Salmond was considering refreshing his team anyway in the light of the disappointing teacher stats.

However, at the very least, it will have concentrated minds.

On previous occasions, when opposition parties have talked of confidence motions, Mr Salmond has let it be known that an attack on one of his team would be interpreted as an attack on the whole government.

This time, he decided against such an approach. He has concluded Ms Hyslop should be moved, rather than defended at all costs.

She is consequently demoted - and faces a cut in salary.

Talent admiration

However, it is a notably soft landing. She remains a minister, taking Mr Russell's portfolios of culture and external affairs.

She will continue to attend cabinet regularly - although no longer a full member.

That reflects three elements: Mr Salmond's admiration for her talents; his belief that she did a good job in elements of her previous brief, such as further and higher education; and his understandable reluctance to concede complete victory to those opposition critics who were demanding her sacking.

This is, self-evidently, bad news for the Scottish government. It speaks of vulnerability and poor performance in an area which is important to many voters.

Looking ahead, three challenges.

Can Team Salmond restabilise after this: a demotion enforced by ministerial failure?

What happens to that review of education provision? Councils will complain, fearing a loss of their power.

Limited resources

But, starting from first principles, are they the best to deliver education?

Could that be done by central government? Or trusts? Or by giving more power to individual head teachers, under central supervision?

Local authorities should not presume that Scots will automatically endorse their role.

They will have to defend it, explain it, justify it and, above all, prove that they are spending limited resources in the most efficient manner.

In truth, that may be the outcome: that councils feel obliged to review and upgrade their own performance in the light of an explicit threat from central government, albeit one that may be elegantly expressed by the new cabinet secretary.

And, thirdly, what happens to Mr Russell's constitution brief, now assumed personally by the first minister?

Independence cause

I think change derives partly from necessity. Mike Russell will have enough on his hands with education.

However, it also reflects where we are on the constitutional issue.

Mr Russell has published the white paper.

It appears the referendum will not happen next year.

The next stage, then, is political, rather than governmental. It is about strategic positioning to advance the SNP cause of independence.

One for the FM.

Comments

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  • 1. At 1:45pm on 01 Dec 2009, Astonished wrote:

    In my opinion the real cause of the problem Mr Purcell will be pleased.I think Ms Hyslop will be a great loss to the education department.

    In light of the glencampblly media reporting I think the SNP reckoned this was one they couldn't win.

    Mr Purcell's labour run Glasgow is responsible for over half the drop in teacher numbers.

    Brian - Could you find out if Glasgow has enough schools to cope with predicted pupil numbers in the next five years ? And enough teachers ? Thought not. They most definitely had enough money to pay for the schools and teachers - so where did that money go ?

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  • 2. At 1:47pm on 01 Dec 2009, Tom wrote:

    I believe that Alex Salmond thinks opposition led councils, especially Glasgow City Council are damaging education for political gain. Hyslop is seen as the problem in the public eyes, failure should be tolerated, so her time has come but she is not gone for good which I beleive demonstrates Salmonds own beleif.

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  • 3. At 1:48pm on 01 Dec 2009, Astonished wrote:

    "It is entirely right, indeed essential, to ask awkward questions and expect answers." Brian without a hint of irony.



    Mr purcell and his labour chums will be pleased you didn't mean your quote to be taken literally.

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  • 4. At 1:49pm on 01 Dec 2009, northhighlander wrote:

    Think this episode clearly highlights the SNP governments instinct to centralise, the review will look at central government running education. Why would anyone think central government would be efficient at running anything?

    The review should look at what we spend money on in education, not who spends it. It should look at the effectiveness of the McChrone deal and the extra funding in pre-school education and see what each has contributed.

    I feel a little sorry for the hapless Ms Hyslop. She was tasked with implementing a policy that is impossible, class sizes of 18 are just not going to happen.

    Again we have a fixation with a policy that expensive, far better put effort into teaching quality.

    This review will also pressurise further the concordat. In times of strife people need to work closer together not drift apart. We are in danger of falling at the first hurdle here in recovering from the recession.

    It also shows the lack of planning for the future. It took last weeks story on teacher numbers to prompt a rethink on education. In terms of reducing public spending why hadn't the government started this already?

    Interesting how a party hell bent on independence is so attached to centralisation.

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  • 5. At 1:51pm on 01 Dec 2009, Online Ed wrote:

    Online Ed Here

    I've written a comment on the previous thread.

    Basically the reasons for council's like Glasgow not recruiting have been ignored by the media, much like Catriona Renton's broadcast that led to a BBC apology.

    Hyslop was a competent minister but when the opposition politicise education and decide to endanger the education of children for party advantage then the game canges.

    This is good timing by Salmond, get the white paper out of the way then put your best people in the trenches.

    Mike Russell will not only deal with the portfolio but will now also deal with Glasgow Council and Purcell.

    The gloves are coming off, the white paper has been published and the SNP are ready to take the fight to Labour.

    No more mister nice guy - the SNP will do the media's job for them.

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  • 6. At 1:53pm on 01 Dec 2009, sid the sceptic wrote:

    typical - spot someone who is doing a better job than any education secretary in the Scottish Parliament has ever done ,someone who actually cared about what she was doing and out of pure spite and hatred of the party that she represented push and push until there was no where else for her to go . unionist politicians at there best!

    look forward to GMS tomorrow wonder what wee ditty they will use to "celebrate" the demotion of Ms Hyslop they have already used "another one bites the dust"

    Sid

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  • 7. At 1:53pm on 01 Dec 2009, Wee-Scamp wrote:

    I'll bet they'll be gloating in Glasgow City Council offices today but I have a feeling they'll be wiping the smile off their faces pretty soon.

    Fiona Hyslop is a nice person but not a bruiser and the political thugs in Glasgow and other councils that conspired to try to embarrass the SNP and bring down Ms Hyslop have now got Mike Russell to contend with and he doesn't take prisoners...... Labour may rue this day.. As always they have difficulty in thinking strategically....... !

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  • 8. At 2:01pm on 01 Dec 2009, Roberto calico wrote:

    I think this reflects more than the success of her tenure in Education. The public spat with fellow Party members in COSLA over policy and a failure to engage on political issues at local level showed her to be a relative lightweight and thus expendable.

    A pretty shrewd decision to bring up Mike Russell. He knows the job, is a heavy hitter and probably should have been there 2 1/2 years ago.

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  • 9. At 2:09pm on 01 Dec 2009, SuperJulianR wrote:

    It is a shame that Fiona Hyslop's demotion has coincided with the far more important issue of the White Paper on Scotland's future. It is a mere distraction compared to the SNP's main task of achieving getting a referedum and then ultimately achieving independence.

    Although I am English I regularly visted your blogs, Brian, because (unlike most English) I like to keep abreast with the debate in Scotland. Amongst other topics, independence is heavily debated on your blogs -so could someone please explain why, when the issue appeared on Nick Robinson's blog last Friday afternoon, with an excellent interview with Alex Salmond, the site was closed for new entries after just one hour and 20 posts?

    Is the BBC anxious to ensure that Scottish independence is not debated too thoroughly south of the border for fear that the English might actually AGREE with the SNP, and support independence for Scotland?

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  • 10. At 2:43pm on 01 Dec 2009, corporationtax wrote:

    Out of interest, did Paxman interview Alex on proper Newsnight last night? We got the dumbed down version with wee Glen trying to get one over as usual.

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  • 11. At 2:48pm on 01 Dec 2009, Diabloandco wrote:

    SuperJulian, I think you got it in one!
    The establishment does not want to debate this , it just wants to shut it down.
    I suspect that the Nick Robinson blog got a few pelters for its obfuscation and spin, could'nt take valid criticism so closed.
    Same thing happens in the ridiculous "quality" press of Scotland, and its all those threatening " cybernats" and " internet vermin" who call these poor journalists rude names and show them up as liars - lets not be mealy mouthed about it!
    So part of the " quality press" has closed comment altogether and the eastern version of the "quality press" is doing a bleat about how nasty the SNP supporters are and how the SNP should apologies.
    Its always the " nasty nats" and all others of a unionist persuasion are charming and so upset by name calling by these evil cybernats.
    Interestingly ,I have saved a few posts over the last few months - personally insulting ones for our FM and generally insulting ones , racist ones and some that could be considered actionable, and I know you'll be surprised to hear but they were made by those who apparently support the Lib/Lab/Cons!Astonishing!

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  • 12. At 2:52pm on 01 Dec 2009, hamish42 wrote:

    I hereby request a motion of no confidence in the Liberal party!

    On second thoughts I prefer to let them mogre on to self destruction and they are doing a good job on that by themselves.

    If 'review' is synonymous with 'enquiry' then that's fine. It should demonstrate where the problems lie and if there are silly games being played by Purcell, expose them for what they are.

    Fiona Hyslop was genuinely committed to her job and it is sad to see her go being moved.

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  • 13. At 2:55pm on 01 Dec 2009, R campbell wrote:

    I see Labour have their party political broadcast out early for the general election:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bUWkj6AP7B0

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  • 14. At 2:56pm on 01 Dec 2009, Florence wrote:

    Fiona Hyslop should have gone some time ago. She's a nice enough woman but a lightweight and didn't come out well in interviews and debates. What is needed is a bruiser who can deal with the obdurate councils backtracking on their education commitments. Mike Russell, I think, might just be the man and he certainly won't be shouted down by anyone. Glenn Campbell can vouch for that.

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  • 15. At 2:58pm on 01 Dec 2009, Jeannie Mackenzie wrote:

    Fiona Hyslop was set an impossible task - not her fault she could not get it done. SNP won the teacher vote by making promises they could not fulfil. Worse, their campaign pledges were based on smaller class sizes - popular with teachers but not supported with any scientific evidence as effective in raising achievement.

    Time for SNP to embrace what IS supported by scientific evidence - that is promoting learning in the home through family learning approaches.

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  • 16. At 3:00pm on 01 Dec 2009, kenstor wrote:

    why is it that when anything goes wrong for the scottish government, its everybody else's fault. only a matter of time before we get "a big laddie did it, and ran awa".

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  • 17. At 3:01pm on 01 Dec 2009, aletheiascotia wrote:

    I realise that this is probably not a time to overly criticise Ms Hyslop given that she has been sacked but to call her "a great loss to the education department" beggars belief.
    Yes, she was tasked with implementing something that could not be achieved and was duty bound to give the appearance of actually trying to do it however no amount of misplaced sympathy can hide the fact that she was grossly under-equppied for the job.
    She had no background in education, no grasp of her brief and continually hid behind false claims to have given councils enough money to hire teachers, build classrooms, reduce class sizes etc etc rather than do anything of practical use to help the situation.
    Perhaps now we have someone who can actually get to grips with the problems - mostly financial - that beset education in this country. Let's hope so.

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  • 18. At 3:03pm on 01 Dec 2009, ribber wrote:

    Let get this straight.
    Hyslop has shunted out because her government has supplied an extra £110m to local authorities to implement their manifesto commitment to smaller class sizes. These authorities have not only chosen to use this money in other areas, they have cut back on existing education expenditure.

    The main offenders, Glasgow City Council, is the council that screeched about the cancellation of the GARL despite being unable to give any indication as to where the £500m should come from, and Glasgow Airport cutting back on its existing facilities.
    The council who after messing about with the working conditions of some of its lowest paid worker, the refuse collectors, is embroiled in an work-to-rule dispute with them resulting in rubbish being uncollected for up to 4 weeks (winter of discontent anyone?).
    The council that keeps a fleet of Volkswagen Phaetons (incl.3 top-of-the-range £80k jobbies)and a pool of chauffeurs for the 'convenience' of its councillors and officials.
    The council that has presided for decades over areas with the lowest life expectancy and the highest drug addiction, cancer, heart disease and mental illness rates in Western Europe.
    The council whose controlling party has produced such luminaries as ex-Speaker Michael 'fill yer boots' Martin and the previous incumbent of Glasgow East, David 'expenses' Marshall

    You couldn't make it up.

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  • 19. At 3:05pm on 01 Dec 2009, Blind_Captain wrote:

    #9 SuperJulianR

    You won't get an answer from the Beeb re your questions :)

    But here's a stab from my perspective; it's a mantra that I've highlighted before, so apologies to those who have seen this before.

    I completely believe that UK plc is bankrupt, just look at the debt that has been run up by the Westminster government. The economies of the individual components are broken, with the exception of Scotland, however Scotland does not see the benefit as our surplus is used to prop up the rest of the UK. Now the compassionate view would be that this is the good thing to do, but long term it doesn't fix the underlying issues.

    I am of the opinion that Scottish independence is an absolute requirement for the economy of England/Wales to be fixed. Take away the prop and these economies will have to reinvent themselves. The place of England/Wales (should I call it Waland or perhaps Engales?) in the world requires to be reviewed. No more big boy pretentions; no foreign adventures; no seat at the big UN table. Sort the economy, society, infrastructure and become Scotland's main trading partner. To the benefit of all.

    I believe that the media and various interests in the current UK are terrified that people south of the border might start asking hard questions. Blow away the media spun smokescreen and I think the people of England/Wales will be very angry indeed about the lies that they have been subjected to over the decades.

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  • 20. At 3:18pm on 01 Dec 2009, Stephen Glenn wrote:

    Wee-Scamp you have clearly not come across Fiona when she is out campaigning, yes she is a nice person but she also can be a bruiser when she wants to be.

    As for SuperJulianR the demotion of Ms Hyslop shows a severe issue in the SNP's policies of Education and providing funding to the local authorities to be able to provide. It is a failure of delivery on Education not just in Glasgow but in some SNP run councils like her own home base of West Lothian that is the issue. Replacing four years of any child's education if there is no change in policy or delivery from the SNP is of far more importantance that a referendum bill.

    A referendum bill can fail and won't damage much, but a childs education fails and it has life-time ramifications.

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  • 21. At 3:19pm on 01 Dec 2009, Harry Stottle wrote:

    I think Purcell will rue the day he he started running smear campaigns to the media.
    He's never done a real job in his life but has leeched of the taxpayer all his days.
    Be afraid Purcell. Be very afraid.
    Big Mike is on your tail and hopefully Scotland will soon be rid of you and your likes.

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  • 22. At 3:21pm on 01 Dec 2009, hadrianswall wrote:

    #4 Northhighlander.

    Correct me if I'm wrong but haven't you repeatedly asked the SNP government to repair/rebuilt Wick Academy and haven't the SNP government agreed to that? Has your council done anything in this respect?

    Freedom

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  • 23. At 3:26pm on 01 Dec 2009, hadrianswall wrote:

    Shame to see Hyslop go. But I reckon Alex has lined up Mike Russell to have a go at Glasgow and Purcell. Let's get this out in the open so that Glaswegians can fully understand what Labour are doing to the education of their children. The SNP government give Glasgow the money for education and Glasgow spent it on what?

    Freedom

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  • 24. At 3:26pm on 01 Dec 2009, corporationtax wrote:

    Re Newsnicht, caught Alex on Iplayer, 11 minutes worth of fairly sensible questioning of a statesman by a respectful interviewer.

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  • 25. At 3:33pm on 01 Dec 2009, tamO wrote:

    Well I wonder how anyone employed at the BBC can make any comment regarding the rights or wrongs of the education system here in Scotland when the organization which they are employed by makes next to no contribution to the country they are based in.

    I was as usual underwhelmed by the BBC in Scotland St Andrews night fare for viewers in Scotland. I appreciate the great effort and thought that must have went into avoiding anything to do with Scotland on that day

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  • 26. At 3:35pm on 01 Dec 2009, ronreagan wrote:

    #Ribber - I was going to rant on about Glasgow C.C. and Liebour but u have put it better than I could have. Well said.

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  • 27. At 3:42pm on 01 Dec 2009, NCA999 wrote:

    Don't get me wrong, I wasn't the biggest fan of Fiona Hyslop (entirely aside from my views re: Independence) but, honest answers here, does this not seem like a really dumb move by Alex Salmond? He's shifting the spotlight away from his main agenda less than 24 hours after getting it onto the subject.

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  • 28. At 3:45pm on 01 Dec 2009, Dunroamin wrote:

    16. Every party new to power uses this excuse. The SNP are just flogging this particular dead horse for a little bit longer.

    24. corporationtax: "Re Newsnicht, caught Alex on Iplayer, 11 minutes worth of fairly sensible questioning of a statesman by a respectful interviewer."

    How are His tonsils?

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  • 29. At 3:49pm on 01 Dec 2009, FatherMacKenzie wrote:

    24.

    I'm just having a look at iPlayer now that you mentioned it (The piece on Scotland starts at about 25 minutes and 20 seconds in)

    Is it just me or does Paxman say:

    "Now the Scottish Nationalists made good on their promise (or threat)of a referendum to let the Squats say whether its time to cut the link with the rest of the UK today."

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  • 30. At 3:55pm on 01 Dec 2009, Tom wrote:

    NCA999,

    I don't believe it was silly. It's never popular for the person incharge to change the cabinet, Salmond is limited and picked the moment well since the white paper will still be in our minds.

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  • 31. At 3:56pm on 01 Dec 2009, Dunroamin wrote:

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

  • 32. At 4:06pm on 01 Dec 2009, Dunroamin wrote:

    This comment has been referred for further consideration. Explain

  • 33. At 4:11pm on 01 Dec 2009, Chris Paton wrote:

    @drumoyne - I agree that BBC Scotland is really the BBC in Scotland, but I'd list Brian's blog as an honourable exception.

    On Mike Russell versus Glasgow City Council - you have to pity the little man in the trouble ahead. That would be Glasgow City Council...

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  • 34. At 4:12pm on 01 Dec 2009, Dunroamin wrote:

    This comment has been referred for further consideration. Explain

  • 35. At 4:13pm on 01 Dec 2009, Dunroamin wrote:

    This comment has been referred for further consideration. Explain

  • 36. At 4:36pm on 01 Dec 2009, sid the sceptic wrote:

    RE - #34 AND #35 oh dear and what prey tell us have these 2 posts got to do with Fiona Hyslop or the Education portfolio ???
    I take it #31 was more of the same?
    I look forward to #32 if it ever gets passed the mods.

    Sid

    ps keep an eye on your blood pressure

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  • 37. At 4:48pm on 01 Dec 2009, handclapping wrote:

    #34 RE
    Ah yes, duck houses. How many Tory MPs have been asked to stand down?
    And of course you fail to mention that it was the Mother of Parliaments that allowed her children to trough at the expenses bonanza started by the sainted Maggie to hide her need to keep her MPs loyal.
    Is it hard being a Tory boy? I suppose not, if you don't think. Rather like being a Glasgow Labour councillor.

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  • 38. At 4:51pm on 01 Dec 2009, uk_abz_scot wrote:

    I feel slightly sorry for Ms Hyslop. The SNP policy on class size was always a bit unrealistic for the simple reason that education is the responsibility of the local council. If a local council decides to spend money on fixing up the roads or services for old folks instead of primary school teachers that is their right.

    Was Ms Hyslop unfairly treated? Perhaps some should note the treatment of Ms Alexander a couple of years ago.

    Apart from that Mr Salmond has now ridden to the front of his army to take control of the Independence Referendum. Any slip ups and Mr Salmond maybe facing his Waterloo.

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  • 39. At 4:53pm on 01 Dec 2009, handclapping wrote:

    #28 Reluctant-Expat
    16. Every party new to power uses this excuse.
    Well, fancy you having the forethought to get Call-me-Dave's excuses in before he's actually done anything.
    Respect.

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  • 40. At 4:54pm on 01 Dec 2009, Jim Jones wrote:

    I qualified as a teacher 3 year ago - got my probation year, and since then have been on short-term contracts and supply. I have practically lost everything. Since August I have had 3 weeks work, and I am one of the lucky ones. FH had to go. She blamed everybody but herself. Now Mike Russell needs to put the councils in their place. Glasgow City Council is acting like a separate state within Scotland. They have not advertised a single job in schools for months. There are 1000's of teachers sitting about on the dole, watching their careers and lives go down the pan. Supply is even closed down on most councils. FH was right in saying that the councils have spent allocated teacher money on other things. I really hope Mr Russell can kick some proverbial butt and get myself and my colleagues, who have studied for up to 6 years to get our qualification, working again.
    Control of schools should be taken away from authorities - but that is a long-term prospect. Just get the immediate problems fixed first.

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  • 41. At 4:59pm on 01 Dec 2009, Dunroamin wrote:

    Y'see, this is why I don't provide links in my posts.

    #31 & 34 was a response to this: "Interestingly ,I have saved a few posts over the last few months - personally insulting ones for our FM and generally insulting ones , racist ones and some that could be considered actionable, and I know you'll be surprised to hear but they were made by those who apparently support the Lib/Lab/Cons!Astonishing!"
    detailing the revelations around the Wardog and Universality of Cheese SNP bloggers who have been shut down for libellous tales.

    #32 & 35. was asking about the seven SNP MPs claims and whether they've been repaid plus a list reminding us of the claims made by SNP Westminster leader Angus Robertson.

    All linked. Tut.

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  • 42. At 5:01pm on 01 Dec 2009, NCA999 wrote:

    I find it funny that nats on here rant so much about how the BBC is biased against them, mainly cos I often feel that the BBC is too pro SNP at times myself. Good reporters have a way of making you feel like they're always against your side I think.

    An example I would highlight is yesterdays reporting scotland. In it they had a report which discussed what "an independent scotland would look like". His answer to this was that we would be a country with "low corporation tax, no nuclear weapons" and something else I can't remember. This is patently wrong. Assuming that an Independent Scotland would last for more than one parliament, assuming even that the SNP won't automatically continue to exist after independence/be elected as the first govt of Scotland, we have no idea what policies a Scottish government would go for. You can't describe an Independent Scotland as being "a country in which there would be low corporation tax". How does anyone know what the policy of the first elected Scottish government would be let alone every other one forevermore. How does anyone know that some future scottish government in 100 years time might not decide to build nuclear weapons?

    Independence is about a change of institution, not a change of policy. Salmond is quite wisely trying to paint it as being about policy because he knows he can get more support that way. For the BBC to be peddling that however is, in my view, misleading the public and doing so in a pro SNP way.









    re: Thomas. Maybe you do genuinely believe that, I don't know. I find it odd that you seem to support every decision ever made by the SNP (particularly given that the SNP are a group of multiple political persuasions who only unite for one reason and so the chances of all of their policies representing your political persuasion are quite slim).

    But I would say this. It strikes me as quite daft to throw the limelight away from your big issue the day after its launch. Why didn't Salmond sack her the day before? That way it would have been a story for a day then we would have forgotten it to have the argument over whether we should focus on a referendum or on fixing the country.

    What will be interesting to see is whether it was an intentional move, perhaps one of many to come to play down the Independence referendum now that it doesn't look like he'll get it. It's possible, I don't know, that Salmond may have calculated that if he spends the rest of the year campaigning for a lost cause rather than spending time on things like education and the economy that he'll come off badly in the eyes of the voters.

    It's equally possible that he only decided last night to fire her and so the timing was just an unfortunate and unavoidable coincidence on his part.

    I don't know but it will be very interesting to see how the SNP play out the next few weeks on this issue in public, whether they focus on talking about Independence or onpolicy issues.

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  • 43. At 5:11pm on 01 Dec 2009, Lenathehyena wrote:

    Can't see Mike Russell getting on well with teachers. Education has been run down for years - cuts here, cuts there in funding and staff but not in what's piled into the curriculum. Labour's complaints about young teachers not getting jobs was sheer hypocrisy - teaching graduates have been finding there's no permanent jobs for years - under Labour. New teachers used to spend years on the Supply lists - under Labour. No security. No regular income.
    Not particularly sorry for Hyslop, she didn't reply to my email. Do any politicians reply to emails and letters?

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  • 44. At 5:16pm on 01 Dec 2009, aletheiascotia wrote:

    #40
    I agree with a lot of what you say but Fiona Hyslop wasn't quite right to say that "the councils have spent allocated teacher money on other things". Sure they have done that in part but that they could do so was down to the administration that she is part of. They removed the ring-fencing on education and then feign outrage when, given the opportunity, the councils spend it on something else. They can't have it both ways.
    As you say, removing education from local authority control - whether a good idea or not and to be honest who can really tell - would take years. Teachers and children need the mess that is our education system addressed now and not in five years time. It's not about who is to blame, it's about fixing it. And that's going to take proper money spent in the proper areas.

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  • 45. At 5:17pm on 01 Dec 2009, Harry Stottle wrote:

    Labour calling for Fiona Hyslops resignation over nothing yet neer a word against Marshall, Devine, Martin etc.

    What a sad pathetic bunch.

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  • 46. At 5:26pm on 01 Dec 2009, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    43. ellow
    "How does anyone know that some future scottish government in 100 years time might not decide to build nuclear weapons? "

    You mean that Scotland might pay the US of A to house their WMD in our Lochs. Your starting to look like RE's double.

    Revealed: how UK’s nuclear bombs are built by America

    "“This is another deceit of the British public by Westminster,” declared Dan Plesch, director of the Centre for International Studies and Diplomacy at the University of London.

    “It’s another smoking gun in the arsenal of evidence that shows that there is no such thing as a British bomb. The weapon will become unusable should the Americans withdraw their support,” he said.

    “We can’t use it if they don’t want us to. The Westminster village’s delusions about Britain’s importance in the world prevents them from accommodating this reality.”"

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  • 47. At 5:28pm on 01 Dec 2009, Tom wrote:

    NCA999,

    I believe its possible. Politics is dirty and I expect a small minority of individuals will play politics, no matter the result.

    The SNP originally started as a mixed party, but has moved more to the left of centre thesedays. I consider myself right leaning, socially Conservative. However I personally support the SNP education policy. I was in quite a large and distruptive class and I struggled, I felt partially held back because I needed help, which was not always available. Jeez, look at my grammer and you can see that I did and perhaps still do need help ;-)

    If Salmond wanted her gone, I see no other events in the coming months for the opportunity especially close to the general elections. Perhaps public opinion is/was too strong and Salmond couldn't risk supporting Fiona because the opposition appear more willing to support the idea of early elections. Education is a local issue and I don't see the benefit for swapping minsters. The SNP agreement with councils allows those councils to fund different services with the extra cash. Maybe we will see the SNP becoming for forceful with councils since its the SNP that gets the hassle for apparently 'failing'.

    I guess we'll see in the coming months.

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  • 48. At 5:28pm on 01 Dec 2009, Jim Jones wrote:

    #43

    Agree with that. Labour have been horrendous on education as well, but at least there was the supply route - even that has gone now. I got a reply from one of FH's support staff, in her name, telling me everything was just magic. Bless.

    #44

    Bang on as well - it needs sorting now - not sometime way ahead.

    Loved the fact that myself and my colleagues were guaranteed lots of work by the Unis and Lab/SNP. The job situation is now the worst it has ever been. Can they please stop mucking around with education?

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  • 49. At 5:36pm on 01 Dec 2009, Cate wrote:

    I am a teacher and agree that FH had to go. She has ignored years of teachers calling for a cut in the numbers of probationers and a lack of work prospects. There appears to be very little money for some schools and a lack of equipment. Is this the fault of the councils? Head teachers? This needs to be investigated and delt with before any real changes or improvments in education will take place.

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  • 50. At 5:40pm on 01 Dec 2009, Tom wrote:

    Jim Jones,

    Do you suggest education budgets become ringfenced?

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  • 51. At 5:48pm on 01 Dec 2009, oldnat wrote:

    Bringing Mike Russell into Cabinet is a good move. To do that someone had to go. Fiona Hyslop is a reasonable choice. In fact it's difficult to see who else it could have been.

    As to the governance of education, we have debated that here many times. To those who want it left with LAs, I'd just ask why? We're stuck with the last mess up of LAs by the Tories. It would be quite wrong to suppose that they are best people to run schools.

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  • 52. At 5:59pm on 01 Dec 2009, NCA999 wrote:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/8388871.stm

    This I think is actually quite a fair article on the situation. I don't think Fiona Hyslop was gods gift to politicians but at the same time I think she was partially handicapped on all sides by the fact that her party made promises they couldn't afford to keep whilst at the same time the councils refused to do what they said because it was never actually in her power to keep said promises.

    I, and many other graduates along with their families, have a lot of anger to the SNP administration for lying to us in their manifesto when it came to student funding and teacher numbers but I don't think it's fair to say that she has been fired for a lack of competence. She tried her best in difficult circumstances, and this firing is far less worse than other examples in history of ministers getting fired for actually cocking something up.

    Also, it's not fair for Labour to claim any sort of moral superiority in the education debate. The SNP may have carried onwards in our downward spiral of education (maybe even accelerated it by breaking their promise to keep building new schools) but we shouldn't forget that we were in a mess long before they came into power. Education has been a mess under Labour and the SNP. Serious change needs to happen to solve many problems that we have.

    I don't happen to believe that centralisation automatically solves all problems. Personally I would argue that giving schools more autonomy is the way forward as big centralised policies are the reasons why some schools succeed and others fail, because they only work in some places. Class sizes of 18 are the perfect example of this. I think the SNP belatedly realised that, whilst this made for a great vote-winning promise, it wasn't the most sensible of ideas. In some places reducing class sizes was good. In others there were bigger priorities like simply increasing the quality of teaching, or increasing the quality of the facilities.

    There are evidently a lot of views on how to solve these problems, I would personally argue for more de-centralisation rather than less but I think that the most important thing should be that we don't declare some sort of disaster and make rush decisions without thinking them through.










    The SNP is definitely a mixed party. They speak with one voice because they all care more about independence than they do about education/jobs/economy etc but the majority of the membership has wildly different political viewpoints on most issues. Alex Salmond is center-left yes, but under John Swinney the party was much further to the right. In contrast Kenny MacAskill seems positively Stalinist in his politics. I don't know how we got onto this but as an observation I would definitely say that the SNP are not a unified party when it comes to their personal politics (and I would imagine that in their fictitious future Scotland they would see themselves breaking up as a party). As I said though this is off topic so we should get back to bashing Fiona Hyslop :)

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  • 53. At 6:02pm on 01 Dec 2009, northhighlander wrote:

    22. hadrianswall

    When is new school not a new school? When the SNP are building it. The announcement was trumpeted as a new school but in reality it was only 2/3rds of a school. The council have to find the rest from existing budgets, something that is becoming more and more difficult and we are far from certain of a result.

    Typical spin, indicative of why politicians are held in such low esteem.

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  • 54. At 6:02pm on 01 Dec 2009, Lenathehyena wrote:

    46. cynicalHighlander
    Are you talking to me!

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  • 55. At 6:05pm on 01 Dec 2009, NCA999 wrote:

    The point someone made above about how the SNP removed ring fencing on funds, and thus allowed councils to take their own decisions about funding levels, didn't fit exactly with delivering on their promises re:class sizes.

    I actually think the SNP have (arguably wisely) realised that class sizes aren't the only priority and so not focused on them, and Fiona Hyslop has been the fall person to allow them to justify not meeting all of the promises that they got elected on.

    I have to say I'm impressed though, I've been away a few weeks and not following the news much. I came back the other day to hear Iain Gray demanding her resignation and thought, this is what's wrong with politics in Scotland, as he sounded like he had no credibility when he said it. As such i'm surprised that this has happened as frankly listening to said news broadcast it came across more as - Iain Gray demands a resignation = a good reason to make sure that said person stays in their job!

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  • 56. At 6:05pm on 01 Dec 2009, Kuredu06 wrote:

    For a minority Government to get this far without a casualty has been impressive. Alex Salmond has proved to be an effective First minister with John Swinney and Nicola Stugeon performing very well. Fiona Hyslop has alsways been a weak link and this was inevitable, it was a tue between her and mcaskill who is another one who I feel is out of his depth with a poor performing department. It will be interesting to see how long he lasts.

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  • 57. At 6:06pm on 01 Dec 2009, Jim Jones wrote:

    #50 Thomas Porter

    Probably a good idea. But I am not a politician. Education is in a total mess at the moment, and this has been allowed to happen by Labour, then the SNP.
    Unfortunately, cash is very limited at the moment, and we need to get our priorities correct. We can afford new trams in Edinburgh, and the Commonwealth games in Glasgow, yet we have trouble supplying our schools with jotters, textbooks and pencils. All the new fancy schools have been built on the never-never. 1300+ less teachers than last year.
    To be honest, and this is probably quite selfish, I want the job which I have trained for, as do the rest of the unemployed teachers.
    This has been on the cards for a while now. Let's stop pretending everything is rosy in the garden and fix the education system.

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  • 58. At 6:06pm on 01 Dec 2009, Dunroamin wrote:

    46. That nonsense has been torn to shreds on many occasions.

    Long story short; This myth has grown around the confusion of the ill-informed (an apt collective term) in that there are very few scenarios where we would launch nukes unless it was part of a NATO 'Article V' response, which would obviously involve the US as well. One exception was during the Falklands War with the placing of an SSBN on stand-by for deployment should we lose capital ships from the Task Force.

    More nourishment for this myth is that the Netherlands, Belgium, Italy and Germany do possess US-sourced nukes which they can only use with US permission.

    Furthermore, the US nuclear programme is a long-running joint programme with the UK, which was started in the late 1950s after a UK decision to abandon the costly UK-only Blue Streak programme and start a joint effort with the US instead.

    There's more....Due to the forward-position of the UK within a European war, a system was designed that would allow RN commanders to launch without government authorisation (in the event of the UK command structure being destroyed), something that has not been extended to USN commanders.

    However, keep repeating the myth as this is just one of the many reasons nationalist support is crumbling.

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  • 59. At 6:06pm on 01 Dec 2009, Harry Stottle wrote:

    Tavish Scott was crowing about how it was he that brought down Ms. Hyslop.
    Before you get carried away, Tavish, don't you think you and your party should be apologising to the Scottish people for colluding to build sub standard schools that's going to take generations to pay off and create vast profits for a few individuals to the detriment of the taxpayer.

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  • 60. At 6:08pm on 01 Dec 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    9. SuperJulianR
    "Is the BBC anxious to ensure that Scottish independence is not debated too thoroughly south of the border for fear that the English might actually AGREE with the SNP, and support independence for Scotland?"

    An excellent question!

    It's too bad you won't get an answer.

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  • 61. At 6:20pm on 01 Dec 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    42. NCA999
    "I don't know but it will be very interesting to see how the SNP play out the next few weeks on this issue in public, whether they focus on talking about Independence or onpolicy issues."
    Independence is one of many policy issues albeit a main one. And are you SERIOUSLY proposing that the SNP only just now noticed that they didn't have the votes to get it through parliament. They've always known tht and that it might well take another Holyrood election to get it through. This is no news.

    They've brought out the white paper. Now it's time to let people absorb a paper that surprised many people in various respects--an excellent one, by the way. I suggest actually reading it. Then you might be able to discuss it without knee-jerk prejudice.

    Now there are plenty of other issues that WILL be dealt with in the meantime. So much for the "Scotland's government can't consider a referendum and other issues at the same time" argument that they've tried to beat the SNP with for ages. It looks like they can.

    There is nothing too bad about it except that she took the heat for a lot of problems not of her creation. Still they need someone in that post who can handle a rough situation and I suspect Mr. Russell is a good choice.'

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  • 62. At 6:23pm on 01 Dec 2009, northhighlander wrote:

    51. oldnat

    Do you really believe a new government agency, based in Edinburgh or Glasgow will manage education more efficiently?

    Will they understand the subtleties of education across remote and rural Scotland?

    Why would anyone think central control would be better? Surely the answer is to stop the bluff and counter bluff by injecting some honesty in relations with the councils? Before the relationship is damaged beyond repair. Even the most blinkered amongst must see the faults on both sides of this debate.

    The real question here is why after pouring millions into education since devolution are we still seeing declining standards. Surely that is the real question, not who is in charge.

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  • 63. At 6:27pm on 01 Dec 2009, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    54. ellow
    "Are you talking to me!"

    OOPs sorry wrong post it was meant for #42NCA999 apologies scrolled too far to respond.

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  • 64. At 6:32pm on 01 Dec 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    58. Reluctant-Expat
    "a system was designed that would allow RN commanders to launch without government authorisation"

    Oh, I'm just sure I find THAT comforting. You're BRAGGING about such a thing... in Scottish waters at that!

    However, since it's OUR hardware you'd be using--ummmm Don't count on being about to fire it without our OK. ;-)

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  • 65. At 6:33pm on 01 Dec 2009, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    58. Reluctant-Expat

    Like the oneway extradition treaty!

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  • 66. At 6:40pm on 01 Dec 2009, Online Ed wrote:

    Online Ed Here

    So, Megrahi wore a white shell suit and there are 61 less police officers this month than last.

    These are insignificant stories yet they are given prominence by the BBC. Are they more significant or less significant than the news that Scottish Secretary Jim Murphy has removed alleged defamatory comments from his website after being threatened with legal action?

    I would argue that the Murphy story was more significant and indeed relevant given that the BBC decided, along with the Scottish press, to make alleged defamatory and or abusive online material an issue.

    I would also suggest that the second rebellion of a senior Labour minister seriously undermines Iain Gray as leader of Labour MSP's and ought not to have been yet again airbrushed from the political picture.

    Taylor could not wait to run a blog on Hyslop's demotion - yet twice we have seen Gray seriously undermined and the result from Taylor is silence.

    Double standards and hypocrisy are being exhibited.

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  • 67. At 6:42pm on 01 Dec 2009, handclapping wrote:

    #51 oldnat
    There are other ways of cutting this cake. For instance as local authorities have planning and borrowing powers, then they should provide proper premises in appropriate locations. Government should appoint non-denominational headteachers and provide funds for their pupils. Anything else should be in the private and / or charity sector.

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  • 68. At 6:45pm on 01 Dec 2009, Dave McEwan Hill wrote:

    Why do people trained to be teachers always seem to imagine they are guaranteed a job?
    I wasn't guaranteed one when I came out of Teaching College over forty years ago and I attended several interviews before I got one. Some of my friends waited a lot longer.
    If school rolls fall -which they are doing fairly drastically at the moment - there will be fewer jobs for teachers. If cash is tight LAs will employ fewer teachers. If it is a Labour controlled council it will employ fewer teachers to frustrate the SNP. It was ever thus and there is always also a glut of teachers when other areas of the economy contract.

    I wouldn't think that Fiona Hyslop is being moved because she was doing a bad job.
    The shuffle will have been done to set Mike Russell on the Labour pygmies and let him establish that Glasgow in particular is playing politics with childrens' education.

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  • 69. At 6:48pm on 01 Dec 2009, Lando wrote:

    Message to SNP spinbots from Spinpot Control:

    Hyslop situation critical - blow smoke by blaming Glasgow. Repeat - blame Gla - oh, I see you're there already.

    Interesting that none of the spinbots have mentioned the appalling situation in Edinburgh, where there are proposals for schools to be closed, leading to huge P1 class sizes and such over-crowding that, according to the Scotsman, council officials are suggesting PE lessons in the corridors. Edinburgh council is, of course, run by those champions of small class sizes, er, the SNP.

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  • 70. At 6:52pm on 01 Dec 2009, akava77 wrote:

    It's good to see Alex Salmond has brought one of his big hitters into the cabinet, and from what I've seen of Mike Russell in action, he clearly does not suffer fools gladly.

    Labour should be very worried. What they have reaped in getting a decent, honourable person like Fiona Hyslop sacked through Labour councils' cuts (mainly Glasgow), cover ups and lies, they are surely bound to sow at some point in the future.

    Disgracefully, on Reporting Scotland tonight, Gray even called for Ms Hyslop to be sacked as a minister outright. While he may have been within his rights to call for her replacement as Education Minister, by calling for an outright sacking he turns the whole thing into a personality issue, and on this occasion Gray has overstepped the mark of acceptable behaviour by a long way!

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  • 71. At 6:53pm on 01 Dec 2009, sid the sceptic wrote:

    evening , and welcome Jim Jones, it is always good to actually get some real information that has not been spun by anyone.
    BUT
    the actions of some District councils or indeed their inability to spend the money they are given:
    A. On what it is supposed to be spent on and
    B. Their inability to spend it wisely
    leads me to suggest that ring-fencing is not the long term answer.
    the answer lies in something we were discussing 5 or 6 threads ago.
    do we need 30 plus education directors when all they produce is the absolute shambles we find ourselves in right now.
    NO ,whilst I am not usually a great supporter of centralisation ,NEEDS MUST - Jumped up little councilors have shown once again they are not fit for purpose . they should be removed from every little "extra" they have created for themselves like the police board ,the health board etc etc until they can actually deliver good services on the core job that they are elected to do!
    Sid

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  • 72. At 6:57pm on 01 Dec 2009, euan0709 wrote:

    Noticed that Reporting Scotland once again mentioned the now ex SNP blogger and his relationship with the new Education Secretary. But of course has never once mentioned Skelators wee fib on his web site and the threat of legal action by Paul McBride QC
    Still Iam sure they will get round to it one day !!!!!!!!!

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  • 73. At 6:58pm on 01 Dec 2009, Florence wrote:

    27 NCA999: I disagree. The White Paper was published yesterday. That's done and dusted for the time being. Time to move on and, let'sface it, there isn't much more of importance than our children's education. An account has to be given by those councils who are not spending the funds they were given for schools, teachers etc., and I hope Mike Russell is the man to get answers.

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  • 74. At 7:02pm on 01 Dec 2009, Online Ed wrote:

    Online Ed Here

    42. At 5:01pm on 01 Dec 2009, NCA999 wrote:
    I find it funny that nats on here rant so much about how the BBC is biased against them...

    Newsnet Scotland covered the BBC apology to Alex Neil - the BBC refused to publish or broadcast the apology.

    The reason for the apology was Catriona Renton attributing views to Mr Neil that he had not expressed - ponder that for a while!!

    You may find the manipulation and fabrication of political news funny, it most cetainly is not, where does it stop?

    This is even more serious than a lone individual blogger, it is more serious than Jim Murphy's alleged defamatory remarks.

    This is the state broadcaster yet again willfully ignoring it's charter and using our money, yes yours, mine and everyone elses in an attempt at misleading Scottish viewers.

    Since the SNP came to power I believe that the BBC have apologised either publicly or privately no fewer than four times. The fabricated poll results used by Jeremy Paxman during the 2007 election isn't included.

    Comment 33 suggets:
    I agree that BBC Scotland is really the BBC in Scotland, but I'd list Brian's blog as an honourable exception.

    Taylor may well sound balanced on the subjects he decides to blog on, however take a look at the ones he 'misses'.

    Too many to mention - I said a while ago that I had lost respect for him as a political commentator and I stand by that view.

    Gordon Brewer and Bernard Ponsonby are pretty much all that is left - Gary Robertson is still to choose between a lucrative career/pension and MacWhirter style respect.

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  • 75. At 7:15pm on 01 Dec 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    The SNP still hasn't made 3/4 of the MSPs ministers unlike Labour's Shadow throng. I seem to recall Mr. Gray going absolutely mad with promotions that far back. Mr. Gray might not want to bring the subject up in the FMQ--but experience dictates he probably will and open himself up to receiving his weekly slap up the side of the head.

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  • 76. At 7:17pm on 01 Dec 2009, NCA999 wrote:

    cynicalHighlander

    I had read your post and laughed at the level of ignorance you showed but didn't respond as I hadn't realised it was directed at me.

    Once again on here I made an ACTUAL point and one of the nationalist ranters responded with a cynical anti-uk slight that was both a) incorrect and b) nothing to do with the point I had raised.



    As I think somebody already pointed out to you above you obviously don't understand the situation re:nuclear weapons but no, we don't need the United States' permission to fire them. You're story, had you actually read it, is that the government several years ago bought a large number of a particular component from the US. This is not to say that we could not produce them ourselves, just that it was evidently decided to buy it from someone else as that was cheaper. There are many thousands of components in a nuclear weapon, many of which are probably not produced in the UK. That has nothing to do with,
    a) our ability to produce them if we chose to, or
    b) our ability to fire our nuclear weapons.

    Since you obviously aren't the brightest of sorts I'll give you an analogy to your argument to try and help you understand it.

    I'm typing this message on a laptop. Several of the components were manufactured in Japan say. According to you this is proof that I am lying to you about owning the laptop, and that I don't have the power to use the laptop without the permission of the Japanese government. In fact I have to phone their foreign office every time I post a message on here to ask permission.
    Back in the real world we all know that this isn't true and that you just aren't very bright. But keep trying and maybe you'll get there eventually.


    Until then it would be nice if you actually engaged with arguments rather than making cheap irrelevant points. If you don't know the answer to a challenge somebody lays down then either don't answer it or acknowledge that you don't know the answer. Stop pretending.

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  • 77. At 7:17pm on 01 Dec 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    69. Lando
    "blow smoke by blaming Glasgow."
    Yep, Glasgow hasn't been demolishing schools and laying off teachers AND proposing to stop school lunches for their pet tram project...

    Oh, wait...

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  • 78. At 7:18pm on 01 Dec 2009, Lenathehyena wrote:

    cynicalHighlander

    No problem - sometimes we all scroll a wee bit too far. Anyway I is one of you. I agree with your posts - aye, the ones I've seen - don't get too carried away.

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  • 79. At 7:19pm on 01 Dec 2009, Online Ed wrote:

    Online Ed Here

    68. At 6:45pm on 01 Dec 2009, sneckedagain wrote:
    I wouldn't think that Fiona Hyslop is being moved because she was doing a bad job.
    The shuffle will have been done to set Mike Russell on the Labour pygmies and let him establish that Glasgow in particular is playing politics with childrens' education.


    I said as much myself, this move wasn't due to threats by the Unionists although it has spiked their guns to a degree, this is a strategic move by Salmond in order to counter the use of Glasgow Council by Labour as a battering ram - Labour don't care about collateral damage.

    A comment earlier suggested that Glasgow Council is being treated by Labour as a kind of separate state with Purcell the emperor. They have revealed their hand too early and the SNP are now able to adjust in time for the general Election.

    Labour have made a tactical blunder by revealing their hand in order to gain some votes in a by-election they would have won anyway.

    They have also attacked the online community who will be wiser for it.

    The Ali v. Foreman fight springs to mind.

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  • 80. At 7:20pm on 01 Dec 2009, Florence wrote:

    I am an ardent supporter of the SNP but classes of 18 is an aspiration too far and practically unachievable. If they can keep class numbers to 25 I feel that is more realistic and should be acceptable to most people.

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  • 81. At 7:20pm on 01 Dec 2009, Lenathehyena wrote:

    Somebody saying something about BBC Scotland?
    See http://lenathehyena.wordpress.com

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  • 82. At 7:41pm on 01 Dec 2009, Jim Jones wrote:

    #68

    Here we go again - same old story from employed teachers. "When I were down pit"
    So 500 teachers going for one job is fair? No it's not - it's ludicrous. So getting in £10000 debt is acceptable when there is no job to actually pay the debt back? No it's not. What would make a real difference is for the ones who have amassed a tidy pension, to move over, and give the rest of us a chance. That would be a start.

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  • 83. At 7:51pm on 01 Dec 2009, oldnat wrote:

    62. northhighlander
    "Do you really believe a new government agency, based in Edinburgh or Glasgow will manage education more efficiently?"

    No, and I wasn't proposing that. The National Priorities for education are set by the Education Minister under Lab/LD legislation. The secondary curriculum is largely determined by the SQA. The broad strategy - as in Curriculum for Excellence are centrally determined. Standards are essentially set by HMIe.

    The current role of LAs is essentially to provide school buildings, to appoint staff, to ensure that schools are compliant with appropriate legislation and to ensure that schools have quality assurance procedures in place.

    Are all these functions being exercised at the correct level? Should the whole system become more decentralised on the Finnish model? Should Primary and Secondary schools be managed in the same way? Should we be enforcing a standardised management model on all the disparate communities anyway?

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  • 84. At 7:54pm on 01 Dec 2009, oldnat wrote:

    62. northhighlander
    "why after pouring millions into education since devolution are we still seeing declining standards"

    Not true. Standards are rising - but at a slower rate than elsewhere.

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  • 85. At 7:58pm on 01 Dec 2009, enneffess wrote:

    I think she was moved because of the issue with COSLA. Not a big issue, but Pat Watters is a heavyweight in his own right, and commands a lot of respect in local government. I believe Alex Salmond moved Hyslop not because she was doing badly, but was ineffectual and he does not want a major rift with COSLA to develop.


    #69 does have a point, even if he goes about it in a strange way. If it is true about Edinburgh City Council shutting schools, then if Mike Russell starts pointing the finger at Glasgow CC then things are going to escalate. Not defending Glasgow, but they are not the only council closing up.


    Quick point on nuclear weapons release authority. The British Prime Minister has authority to launch without permission from the USA. He/she still needs confirmation from another designated member, normally a cabinet level minister or military CoS. The simple reason is communication. In the event of a nuclear exchange, communications are the primary target. It also covers the incapacitation of the US political leadership. There are multi-layered command structures in place. That certainly covers defensive posture, I'm unsure about offensive. But if nukes start flying about we're all toast anyway.


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  • 86. At 8:00pm on 01 Dec 2009, enneffess wrote:

    81. At 7:20pm on 01 Dec 2009, ellow:

    The blog police are outside right now........

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  • 87. At 8:08pm on 01 Dec 2009, Roll_On_2010 wrote:

    9. SuperJulianR

    With regards Nick Robinsons blog.

    I have been a regular poster on that blog for almost two years and over recent weeks his blog has been closing down each Friday between 17.00 hrs and 18.00 hrs. That is except for the previous weekend were it remained open all weekend. He normally starts his blog up again on the following Monday or on one occasion Tuesday.

    I do not believe there was anything sinister on this occasion.

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  • 88. At 8:21pm on 01 Dec 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    85. Neil_Small147
    "But if nukes start flying about we're all toast anyway."

    That's quite true, however, as far as I'm concerned that makes such a statement worse!

    I very much doubt that ANY RN commander has the ability to make preemptive nuclear strikes and if there aren't limits on the ability to USE such equipment in such a way, as an American citizen I WANT TO KNOW WHY.

    Believe me, I do NOT trust some RN officer with the future of the whole world and do NOT expect to turn over unlimited and unsupervised use of nuclear weapons--most especially ones powered in part by equipment the US sold you--to some unknown RN officer.

    I seriously doubt that is the case--on the other hand, I don't trust either of our governments.

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  • 89. At 8:36pm on 01 Dec 2009, troquhain wrote:

    When the devolved Scottish political entity was established, the voting system was designed to avoid the tendency toward political monopoly and the system was characterized by its main progenitor as limited to a situation akin to a parish council. It is understandable that a party in power for the first time is rather likely to make mistakes, not least because elected members have demonstrated wannabee qualities and find themselves out of their depth. Frustration certainly leads to expressions of views that suggest that local authorities are too parochial. If an education minister takes on a whole mixed bag of COSLA education authorities, it is more suggestive of naivete than mere inexperience. However, if the government is led by a first minister who publicly states that people will get used to policies imposed on them by the centre but fails to pick up on the fact that many people will be so badly affected by such policies that they may do more than just vote with their feet, then opposition begins to mutate like swine 'flu and is liable to take hold as a raging epidemic.

    Concern about consultation on important issues is fine, but one of the problems is that the government party is likely to be mustering its supporters in favour of a given objective and not enough attention is or can be paid to opposing voices. Analysis of the results of consultation can rarely be seen publicly to have been discussed if a more balanced analysis itself is not also revealed before the political choices are made. The issue of independence is of this order for there is no doubt that in spite of the lengthy 'national conversation' there can be no compromise over the ultimate objective. How many times have we heard the question being posed: what part of 'no' don't you understand ?

    At the heart of the matter is the problem of long-nourished ideological fanaticism coupled with the obsession with the traditional view that the centre must supersede over the periphery even if those who hold the centre are a minority. How often in Scotland's history have the views of the minority been foisted on the periphery whether they liked it or not and how often have the majority be content with that perception ? The current contradiction between centre and periphery will be rather readily resolved if these signs of discontent are magnified by resort to the bad habits of the centrist past.

    As northighlander pointed out, nothing will change if there is no genuine search for constitutional consensus about what the vast majority of the population would be content with. The fact remains that Scotland remains a relatively large country with a small and very diverse population for which one single size does by no means fit all. Having been presented with the maxim that Scotland should pursue solutions of the kind that allegedly brought propsperity to Ireland, we can all see that such solutions are no solutions at all and would ineluctably deliver Scotland's population nothing but tragedy - far exceeding the unfortunate outcomes of political life over the last millenium. Is it not time that we abandoned the chimera of 'independence' which is one of the most backward-looking and most parochial of political notions in the contemporary world. What is needed is to concentrate on the notion of freedom in its fullest sense and people are likely to feel more free if they are no longer trapped by the cliches of representative democracy of the kind that has evolved in Europe and produces the kind of impasse that can be seen in 'Calman v. Salmond'.

    Centralism based in Edinburgh is no more attractive than centralism based in Westminster. We have to think out of the box and have to consider other approaches such as federalism which caters for the greater diversity of language, culture and toleration and discourages the more outrageous forms of dominance and oppression that invariably attends the polarization of party political animus.

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  • 90. At 8:50pm on 01 Dec 2009, Online Ed wrote:

    Online Ed Here

    85. At 7:58pm on 01 Dec 2009, Neil_Small147 wrote:
    I think she was moved because of the issue with COSLA. Not a big issue, but Pat Watters is a heavyweight in his own right, and commands a lot of respect in local government. I believe Alex Salmond moved Hyslop not because she was doing badly, but was ineffectual and he does not want a major rift with COSLA to develop.

    You almost got it - something had to be done about the councils, Glasgow in particular. This is strategy, Hyslop gave the Glasgow Labour Councillors a deliberate swift boot in the nethers as a warning, then left the scene - it was planned.

    Enter Mike Russell, not involved in the previous skirmish you understand but Purcell and the others still nursing a couple of sore ones from Hyslop. The media noticed the accusations about Glasgow council at last.

    The Unionist fools like Tavish Scott actually believe that they forced Salmond to do this - even Brian Taylor amazingly suggested that Salmond was somehow protecting his own reputation with this.

    The country has now been primed for a referendum and it isn't going away, that job is done - today the issue is teacher numbers and Glasgow Council. Glasgow councils political games were being ignored by the media - they aren't any longer.

    Watch out over the coming weeks as Russell returns the 'anti Glasgow' lies with interest. Dare Purcell come on TV and take Russell on over this?

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  • 91. At 8:53pm on 01 Dec 2009, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    76. NCA999

    If you honestly believe that the US would want us to be able to launch these anomolies without their finger to do the pushing it is highly unlikely, friends fall out.

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  • 92. At 8:58pm on 01 Dec 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    85. Neil_Small147
    "The British Prime Minister has authority to launch without permission from the USA."
    Now that is a somewhat different situation than giving the ability to an RN officer but the fact is that neither of us actually knows what agreements are in place because our governments aren't going to tell us.

    Think about what it took to just get out the information about WHERE the equipment used by the UK came from. It took numerous FOI requests culminating in the US. What we do NOT know exceeds what we do on some of these issues.

    Now I'd prefer that no one had the ability. You are probably right that the PM does, of course.

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  • 93. At 9:05pm on 01 Dec 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    89. troquhain
    "Is it not time that we abandoned the chimera of 'independence' which is one of the most backward-looking and most parochial of political notions in the contemporary world. "
    Yep, no nations want independence any more. That's why all the nations that achieved it are eagerly giving it up and numerous nations in the past few decades have decided against pursuing it.

    Right?

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  • 94. At 9:18pm on 01 Dec 2009, enneffess wrote:

    90. At 8:50pm on 01 Dec 2009, U14094468 wrote:

    I think you're right about the move being deliberate, in the same way Linda Fabiani was moved. Both ministers have proved ineffectual, and Salmond does not want something to be dragged out which could be more damaging in the long run.

    Re COSLA, Pat Watters certainly did not make a huge issue out of things, and that is actually more serious than a rant. Salmond dare not upset COSLA as that group is quite capable of serously damaging any government.

    Mike Russell is more effective, but education is, like health, a high risk political arena. But he has to be careful how he deals with Glasgow, since fingers will immediately be pointed at SNP run councils. I do have concerns that if the Scottish Government is not careful, they will be dragged into a "anti-Glasgow" argument. That is highly dangerous for them.

    Things are going to get bloodier. The primary targets for the opposition are education and justice. Looking at it from a totally neutral perspective, both have been damaged, whereas health, treasury and the fm have rebutted all attacks so far. The FM has made a couple of judgemental errors but nothing oversly serious.



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  • 95. At 9:22pm on 01 Dec 2009, enneffess wrote:

    92. At 8:58pm on 01 Dec 2009, JRMacClure wrote:

    The only RN officer who would have authority to launch is a 3 or 4 star who is on a list. A ship's captain is unable to launch on his own even if he had the release codes. It requires at least two officers.

    This is standard across all nations who possess nuclear weapons.

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  • 96. At 9:30pm on 01 Dec 2009, oldnat wrote:

    The Ipsos-MORI weekend poll on attitudes to Independence actually contained questions on voting intentions (though not for the SP list) and other items which the Sunday Times chose not to publish. Details on the Mori site.

    Voting Intention
    Party, GE, SP Const
    SNP, 34%, 36%
    Lab, 32%, 32%
    Con, 15%, 12%
    LD, 12%, 12%


    SNP ahead in both.

    Satisfied/dissatisfied with Alex Salmond?
    Satisfied, 47%
    Dissatisfied, 42%

    5% lead in a 4 party system!

    “The UK General Election next year is likely to result in either a Conservative or Labour government in Westminster.
    Regardless of how you intend to vote, which do you think would be best for Scotland, a Conservative government in Westminster, or a Labour Government”

    Based on their voting preferences for the SP constituency vote Westminster preference breaks down as -

    WM Pref, Con, Lab, SNP, LD
    Con, 79%, 6%, 27%, 19%
    Lab, 17%, 92%, 58%, 67%


    Clearly even many Scots Tories see that party at UK level as unrepresentative.

    No wonder the Sunday Times buried these details.

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  • 97. At 9:37pm on 01 Dec 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    95. Neil_Small147
    "The only RN officer who would have authority to launch is a 3 or 4 star who is on a list. A ship's captain is unable to launch on his own even if he had the release codes. It requires at least two officers.

    This is standard across all nations who possess nuclear weapons.
    "

    It's something I have to do some research on before I can discuss. I'm not sure of what is released about the protocols. Having line officers with the ability to begin a nuclear war that would be the end of all civilization would be a SERIOUS problem in my eyes. It is bad enough having heads-of-government who can do so.

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  • 98. At 9:42pm on 01 Dec 2009, Gary Hay wrote:

    I see call me Dave has been hitting the headlines.

    He'd chose to scale back health and safety practices at work - because the Mail ran a few stories about kids not being allowed to use conkers and cancelling school trips because of bad weather.

    Is this man for real? Are any of the HYS posters who are complaining so bitterly about this for real either? Health and Safety isn't the culture creating jobsworths - it's local authorities and overzealous parents.

    I mean seriously... The legislation is there to be applied - but how it's applied is left to the discretion of the enforcers.

    We all know how toilet paper works, does David Cameron propose to create a government body that can advise us how to do it properly - in case we don't understand it ourselves?

    Hundreds of ordinary people - some I knew personally - have died in disasters like the Alexander Keilland, the Piper Alpha and more recently the Bond helicopter crash, each snuffing out the lives of people that David Cameron, with his priviliged life would never deign to meet.

    No, this man is a prize fool... with an attitude like his, when the Tory's get in - I'll give the union a month.

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  • 99. At 9:49pm on 01 Dec 2009, LuxDon wrote:

    The fact that Council's in Scotland choose not to spend money on education reflects the state of Scotland's begging bowl grant from London and the short sighted approach to local taxation we have inherited from UK focused parties. This is exactly why we need full independence. Also, the notion that something as vital to the future wealth of the nation as education can be used as a political football is ridiculous. This won't change in the near future, so the Scottish Government must do something about ensuring Council's spend their money with greater transparency. The public would soon let them know if their difficult decisions were acceptable.

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  • 100. At 9:49pm on 01 Dec 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    96. oldnat
    Very definitely no wonder.

    Am I right that plugged into Electoral Calculus, that predicts the SNP going over 20 in Westminster?

    I'm never quite sure what to make of SP constituency only polls and how that would work in predictions. Does that make any prediction without regional figures? It is an improvement over 2007, obviously.


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  • 101. At 9:55pm on 01 Dec 2009, Gary Hay wrote:

    On Nuclear Weapons;

    The single greatest evil we as a race have ever committed.

    I care not for the argument of some that Japan deserved it, or it somehow saved lives in the long run. I've seen the extent to which the Hiroshima bomb left its impression on Japan and it's people.

    It was slaughter, and not even clean slaughter. Children cooked alive in thier beds, Men and women disintegrating into dust - and why? and for what? Revenge? Scientific Curiosity? Someone tell me - but don't justify it by saying it saved lives.

    War is War - The Japanese attacked a military installation at the height of diplomtic tensions with America. What possible reason would a country have to drop atomic bombs on civilian cities - and then have the audacity to tell the world they deserved it?

    America is the only country who stands out as evil and self centred enough to justify the murderous, brutal way that it carried out those attacks, and then for decades after refuse to ackowledge it as an act of pure, unadulterated evil.



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  • 102. At 10:05pm on 01 Dec 2009, oldnat wrote:

    100. JRMacClure
    "I'm never quite sure what to make of SP constituency only polls"

    I suspect they ask only for the constituency vote because they're not interested in predicting 2011, but in looking at people's core political identity - many Scots still see the list as a vote for their "second choice". Also they include the Greens as an option for the constituencies (3%) when they only stand for the list.

    As for Westminster, depending on the predictor that you use it would give 13-16 SNP MPs. I'd like to see handclapping's analysis.

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  • 103. At 10:08pm on 01 Dec 2009, handclapping wrote:

    #96 oldnat
    Now that would make one exciting election, 12 seats with tiny majorities one way or the other, or the third or fourth ways, right down to 44 in Stirling.

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  • 104. At 10:09pm on 01 Dec 2009, Gary Hay wrote:

    #90 Online Ed

    That actually makes a lot of sense and when I heard that Mike Russel was getting a shuffle up to the top table I knew it was planned.

    Mike was Salmonds big opponent for the party leadership a few years back - he's a remarkably smart and capable man. He was given the independence / constitution brief a few years ago by salmond - a sort of do or die - and really - I think no-one was better prepared to construct that document better than Mike.

    Now that the jobs done, as you say - his tenacity and force of character been given Purcell and his cronies to deal with. Russel is a heavyweight by holyrood standards - I don't see much of anything getting by him on the run up to the referendum / election - which is exacttly the strategy you'll see from now until hustings.

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  • 105. At 10:10pm on 01 Dec 2009, handclapping wrote:

    #102
    Your wish is my command 1:33:4:21.

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  • 106. At 10:14pm on 01 Dec 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    102. oldnat
    Not sure why Electoral Calculus is giving me a higher number than that. I must be making an error in entering the figures.

    Anyway, much better looking than previous polls for the SNP.

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  • 107. At 10:15pm on 01 Dec 2009, impartial_lm wrote:

    What about the Teacher Numbers and Education Cuts that have been made in SNP councils like Renfrewshire. You will be hard pressed to foind a Secondary School in that Authority that has not suffered cuts in teacher numbers - and the resulting increase in class sizes. In one school where children in S5 cannot get a subject in their timetable - they are sent out on 'work experience' - and if they cannot get a place they are simply hanging around the school or at home.
    SNP cuts in an SNP council!!

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  • 108. At 10:19pm on 01 Dec 2009, oldnat wrote:

    105. handclapping
    "Your wish is my command 1:33:4:21."

    Hey! It's nice to have such power :-)

    Change in vote share since 2005

    Con -1% : Lab -7% : LD -11% : SNP +16%

    That's the second poll in a row showing the LDs on a disastrous 11% loss. Tavish Scott and his unholy alliance with Con/Lab in Calman seems to have been an appalling mistake. Go Tavish!

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  • 109. At 10:21pm on 01 Dec 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    101. GAberdeen
    "merica is the only country who stands out as evil and self centred enough to justify the murderous, brutal way that it carried out those attacks, and then for decades after refuse to ackowledge it as an act of pure, unadulterated evil."
    While I agree that the act was evil, I dispute that America is UNIQUELY evil. We're pretty much human like everyone else.

    Are you REALLY SO SURE the UK wouldn't have used it in one of its innumerable earlier wars--had it had the weapon? This, let me remind you, is the country that went to war TWICE in China to force them to allow their people to be addicted to opium.

    I am not so sure. But then I don't think the UK is UNIQUELY evil either.

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  • 110. At 10:22pm on 01 Dec 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    104. GAberdeen
    Let me mention--when you hit me, I tend to hit back.

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  • 111. At 10:30pm on 01 Dec 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    107. impartial_lm
    IF they had the funds for teachers and used them for other things, they should answer for it. One does have to know the financial situation before saying though, and I don't.

    But you are saying what?

    That it is all right for Glasgow to do cut teachers (and want to end free lunches in an area of Scotland where children are showing up in hospitals with MALNUTRITION to use the funds for GARL) if Renfrewshire did?

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  • 112. At 10:31pm on 01 Dec 2009, handclapping wrote:

    #106 JRMacClure
    Too rich a diet is not good for you. The "bad" polls contain clues to what you are doing wrong, as in Call-me-Dave not reining in the rabid Torys when their polls were giving them 18% leads and now what are they, 10%, hung Parliament territory.

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  • 113. At 10:38pm on 01 Dec 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    112. handclapping
    "Too rich a diet is not good for you. The "bad" polls contain clues to what you are doing wrong, as in Call-me-Dave not reining in the rabid Torys when their polls were giving them 18% leads and now what are they, 10%, hung Parliament territory."
    that went right over my head.

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  • 114. At 10:40pm on 01 Dec 2009, impartial_lm wrote:

    107
    I am only making the comment regarding education cuts in Renfrewshire as it is just not Glasgow that has had to do this - but SNP led councils as well.
    How Councils spend their budgets is the problem.
    SNP or Labour - they are all guilty of cutting education.
    The only authority that has not drastically cut Education Budgets is East Renfrewshire. However Education has always been their priority.
    Other Authorities saw the Education Budget, under the concordat, as an easy target.
    Labour SNP Liberal they have all done the same!

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  • 115. At 10:46pm on 01 Dec 2009, dubbieside wrote:

    Oldnat

    I am like you wondering how the Sunday Times forgot to publish these results from their poll. The unionist press would never censor things like that would they? If this is the result achieved in The Times it is no wonder that they have gone into overdrive with the anti SNP stance.

    The pleasing thing was the trend, still upwards and onwards.

    On a far more serious note for the unionists out there this poll was taken before the unionist nailed their colours to the mast with with no to the referendum.

    How will the people of Scotland react to being denied a vote. If reporting Scotland last night at 6.30pm is any guide, badly I think. Even the BBC with Miss Renton in charge there were still more people who were interviewed who said they wanted a referendum, than said one was not necessary.

    Happy days, bring it on as they say.

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  • 116. At 10:49pm on 01 Dec 2009, dubbieside wrote:

    This comment has been referred for further consideration. Explain

  • 117. At 10:52pm on 01 Dec 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    114. impartial_lm
    "Labour SNP Liberal they have all done the same!

    "
    That's a valid point. Maybe education should be ringfenced? I'm not sure the solution, but it's obviously in need of immediate attention. Hopefully, that will happen now.

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  • 118. At 10:54pm on 01 Dec 2009, oldnat wrote:

    115. dubbieside
    "On a far more serious note for the unionists out there this poll was taken before the unionist nailed their colours to the mast with with no to the referendum. "

    It's the effect on the LD support that I want to see. Shouldn't think it'll make much difference to Tory support. There might be a little anti-Labour movement, but not much, I imagine. Tavish Scott's hostile rejection of a vote on the position his party is closest to might finally drive the last of the old Liberals out of his party.

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  • 119. At 10:55pm on 01 Dec 2009, Roll_On_2010 wrote:

    #96 oldnat

    This is the article in the Sunday Times that covered that poll:

    Support for referendum at new low.

    What a misleading headline. This looks like the state machine rolling into action.


    The Scottish Government has proposed a referendum on Scotland’s constitutional future. Which of the following statements comes closest to your own view about the referendum?

    25% Referendum should be held as soon as possible
    50% Referendum should be held in a few years time but it is not a priority at the moment
    20% There should be a referendum on this issue

    So 75% of Scottish people want a referendum, its just a matter of timing. We discussed 2012 a couple of threads ago.

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  • 120. At 10:56pm on 01 Dec 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    I have to mention that someone who shall remain nameless so as not to start another argument pointed out that a more thorough analysis of the vote in Glasgow NE showed a 7% slide in the Labour vote.

    Just saying...

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  • 121. At 10:56pm on 01 Dec 2009, oldnat wrote:

    116. dubbieside
    "Some mistake surely. It must be stay Tavish stay."

    LOL - the guy is the best recruiter the SNP has.

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  • 122. At 10:58pm on 01 Dec 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    115. dubbieside
    "Even the BBC with Miss Renton in charge there were still more people who were interviewed who said they wanted a referendum, than said one was not necessary.

    Happy days, bring it on as they say.
    "

    Ha. I saw interviews (don't recall which show now) where several people said, "Oh, I won't vote for independence but I want a referendum." In fact, they had great difficulty finding anyone who didn't.

    How embarrassing when you're trying to say Scotland doesn't want one. =)

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  • 123. At 10:59pm on 01 Dec 2009, X_Sticks wrote:

    9. SuperJulianR
    Welcome, and its very refreshing to see that not all our English cousins are rabid, ranting, Scottish hating Unionist thugs. Absolutely correct. The "establishment" is keeching its breeks! I wish someone would explain why the cowardly wee nyaff over on the Enlgish political blog chose to chuck a granade into the works and then run off after 20 posts. I was livid at his blatant propaganda.
    47.Thomas_Porter
    What you may lack in grammar you more than make up for in passion. I may not always agree with you, but I can't fault your passion ;)
    52.NCA999 I'd suggest that the SNP care about independence because they do care about education, jobs and the economy. Until we run our own country there isn't going to be much hope for any of these things.
    59.U14153624
    Tavish is also responsible for the madcap "back of a fag packet" plan for the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route which, if it goes ahead, will cost in the region of £800m to 1Bn. He's especially dangerous because he thinks he's clever.
    108.oldnat
    Tavish, eh? What a leader! Illiberal and undemocratic. We're so lucky to have him.

    I'd love to be a fly on the wall at the first meeting of Russell and Purcell. I know where my money is. Not before time.
    Bring it on.

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  • 124. At 11:12pm on 01 Dec 2009, enneffess wrote:

    Another thought on reshuffles.

    A possibility is that early on in government, Salmond identified areas where he could have problems with policy, so he placed a less effective minister knowing he could have a "fall guy". Then he places a strong character into the role. Had he placed Mike Russell into education early, he may have had similar problems as now, but in having Hyslop in it means he keeps a stronger minister. I'm not saying the Hyslop has been useless, but she certainly has not been effective in education. There have been no significant or even visible changes, and I have kids at primary and secondary.


    118. At 10:54pm on 01 Dec 2009, oldnat:

    I think the Lib Dems are a spent force, regardless of their policies. I'm betting on them losing half their seats next year, which will destablise the party followed by a rapid disintegration. They will of course re-invent themselves, but possibly as back to a Liberal party.

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  • 125. At 11:16pm on 01 Dec 2009, NCA999 wrote:

    JR

    It's sort of the case that the commander of a missile sub has the authority to fire the nuclear weapons by themselves, or at least I think with confirmation from other officers onboard. The circumstances are if there has been a nuclear attack on the UK and all contact has been lost with the government that they are allowed to act. I think there are standing orders that they're issued on what to do in said situation although i'm not sure.

    Regardless the point is that cynicalhighlanders jabs, as an attempt to deal with the fact that he didn't know how to participate in the actual discussion, were factually incorrect.



    I really liked the point that somebody made above that centralisation from edinburgh is no different from centralisation from westminster. Salmonds whole independence campaign rests upon the crux that somehow Scottish ministers better understand the needs of Scottish people than those in Westminster. But that fundamentally misses the point which is that it doesn't matter whether they are based in Edinburgh, London, Brussells or New York, the problem isn't where the power is centralised, it's the fact that the power is centralised.

    Different places need different solutions. When the SNP told all of their lies to get elected, the ones regarding education were designed to sound good but evidently don't work in practice. National class sizes aren't the priority everywhere, in some places maybe, but not everywhere.

    What's happening in Glasgow is that the people there are realising that "Scottish independence" doesn't really mean power to Scotland, it means power to Edinburgh. Now the Labour SNP spat over Glasgow isn't going to benefit either party frankly. The SNP have cut off glasgow in an attempt to make the labour council look bad, and thus screwed their chances of getting elected there in future. Labours problem is that by coming out so publicly pro-glasgow they're equally screwing themselves in several constituencies in Edinburgh. I think the Libs and Cons are going to be the big winners from the spat currently going on, but that's something we'll have to wait and see.

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  • 126. At 11:28pm on 01 Dec 2009, Roll_On_2010 wrote:


    Interesting Guardian article:

    Carwyn Jones elected Welsh Labour leader.

    Carwyn Jones was tonight elected to succeed Rhodri Morgan as leader of the Welsh Labour party.

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  • 127. At 11:28pm on 01 Dec 2009, mrbfaethedee wrote:

    The concordat gave the local authorities the chance to demonstrate that they could provide efficient, responsible governance - it was a big opportunity to demonstrate that it was a well functioning tier of governance. Not looking so good now though, it deserves some very hard scrutiny now. Interesting times.

    So, the Education Secretary has been moved. The opposition leaders offer up their vapid commentary.

    So - the libdems, the tories and labour, who have demonstrated more than once that they can act in concert when they have the will. Have done precisely what on education? On anything?
    The power to change things is in their hands, they can exercise it when they have the will.
    They only have the will to block the SNP.

    Negativity, desperation. It's almost comical - like 'Stop the pigeon', constructing absurdities and wrecking everything including themselves to try and stop that pesky pigeon.
    But they can't catch it.

    It's just a pity that Scotland is one of the things they're wrecking in their desperation.

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  • 128. At 11:30pm on 01 Dec 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    125. NCA999
    "I think the Libs and Cons are going to be the big winners from the spat currently going on, but that's something we'll have to wait and see.

    "
    You might take a look at the above polls. Your dislike (if I may put it so mildly) of the SNP isn't mirrored nor your admiration for the LibDems. Something to think about.

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  • 129. At 11:32pm on 01 Dec 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    125. NCA999
    "I think with confirmation from other officers onboard. "
    And I want THE MILITARY making such a decision because they've lost communication? I don't think so!

    In fact, it is every argument I have EVER given about why nuclear weapons are no deterrent and a horror for humanity. Some military officer wiping out the remaining 10% of humanity because murderous politicians have wiped out 90%?

    THIS makes sense to you? Well, it doesn't to me.

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  • 130. At 11:35pm on 01 Dec 2009, snowthistle wrote:

    NCA999,
    I'm sorry, how exactly have the SNP "cut off Glasgow in an attempt to make the labour council look bad"? (frankly the labour council in Glasgow can do that all by themselves). Glasgow receives very generous funding from the government in relation to other councils and the government is putting in a substantial sum to the Commonwealth Games.
    There is no room in Scotland for this east/west antagonism and I find labour's stirring for purely poitical gain, without a thought of how this affects the country, abhorent.

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  • 131. At 11:52pm on 01 Dec 2009, NCA999 wrote:

    "putting in a substantial sum to the commonwealth games": Like cutting the funding for the Glasgow Airport Rail link that was integral to Glasgow winning the commonwealth games in the first place?

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  • 132. At 11:55pm on 01 Dec 2009, makinghistory wrote:

    It is a shame to see Fiona Hyslop demoted but I have confidence in Mike Russell. As a teacher I can see why education is such a tough remit. The political pressure is for rapid and continual change but schools are like oil tankers - they take a long time to change direction. Teachers know that they are in a marathon rather than a sprint and this makes the job of Education Minister very difficult.

    In Scotland local councils have a huge hold over the way schools work and the priorities they push forward - they are the filter through which Government policy arrives in school. Fiona Hyslop was correct to point out that it is the local councils who determine teacher numbers not central government.

    For central government to try to run schools directly would be a disaster of enormous proportions. Giving schools more autonomy and professional freedom is a necesary step but within a public sector framework. Handing us over to private bodies would be equally catastrophic.

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  • 133. At 11:58pm on 01 Dec 2009, Harry Stottle wrote:

    131.NCA999

    'Like cutting the funding for the Glasgow Airport Rail link that was integral to Glasgow winning the commonwealth games in the first place?'

    Can they no walk?

    They're supposed to be bl**dy athletes.

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  • 134. At 11:59pm on 01 Dec 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    131. NCA999
    "Like cutting the funding for the Glasgow Airport Rail link that was integral to Glasgow winning the commonwealth games in the first place?"
    So you like the idea of taking food out of the mouths of children to pay for it, do you?

    Or maybe Labour SHOULDN'T have forced through the Edinburgh Tram over the strong opposition of the SNP. Then there MIGHT have been the money.

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  • 135. At 00:02am on 02 Dec 2009, Dave McEwan Hill wrote:

    #125 NCA999

    It is a matter of public record that the Scottish Government spends more per head on Glasgow than it does on any other part of Scotland.
    It would be useful of posters here didn't imagine making up nonsense or repeating the nonsense Labour uses instead of constructive policies is the way to engage in political debate.

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  • 136. At 00:42am on 02 Dec 2009, enneffess wrote:

    One thing happened today which has caught my attention.

    One of my kids has brought home his reading book. But it is a PHOTOCOPY.

    And he's not the only one.

    I have never seen this happen.

    South Lanarkshire Council might like to explain why the school is so short of money.

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  • 137. At 01:05am on 02 Dec 2009, oldnat wrote:

    136. Neil_Small147
    "PHOTOCOPY"

    You might have got your kid's school in a lot of trouble with that post!

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  • 138. At 01:24am on 02 Dec 2009, oldnat wrote:

    Anyone get the idea that Iain Gray is being hung out to dry by Brown on the subject of referenda?

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2009/dec/01/electoral-system-reform-referendum-plan

    "AV could replace first-past-the-post Westminster system
    Re-elected government would hold vote by October 2011"

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  • 139. At 01:29am on 02 Dec 2009, Harry Stottle wrote:

    More vomit inducing stuff in the Hootsman.

    I thought they couldn't get any lower but...

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  • 140. At 01:46am on 02 Dec 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    139. U14153624
    "More vomit inducing stuff in the Hootsman."
    Well, if it's any comfort:

    Hootsmon Headline

    I laughed so hard it brought tears to my eyes.

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  • 141. At 01:47am on 02 Dec 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    138. oldnat
    "Anyone get the idea that Iain Gray is being hung out to dry by Brown on the subject of referenda?"

    Labour plans to guarantee referendum on electoral system reform

    But... but... It's a recession! One can't think of constitutional matters during a recession!

    That's what we've been told and it MUST be the truth.

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  • 142. At 01:49am on 02 Dec 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    136. Neil_Small147
    And has that school every heard of copyright laws? I think those do apply in your part of the world.

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  • 143. At 02:18am on 02 Dec 2009, oldnat wrote:

    142. JRMacClure
    "And has that school every heard of copyright laws? I think those do apply in your part of the world."

    Indeed they do! It's normal practice in Scottish schools to have a copyright warning notice beside every photocopier. Not only is copyright breach immoral and illegal, but it attracts punitive fines.

    Were I working for South Lanarkshire Council, on reading Neil's post, I would have been checking the computers first thing in the morning for his name, and identifying the school. I'd then send in a team that day to search for illegal photocopying, identify the guilty party and have them on a disciplinary charge straight away. This is such a gross act that it might well lead to their dismissal.

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  • 144. At 03:31am on 02 Dec 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    143. oldnat
    I don't like to see people fired, but as someone who makes her living writing, I also take copyright laws seriously. As I'm sure you're aware, someone is being robbed every time copyrights are violated. I understand the pressure on severely underfunded schools--but that's NOT the way to solve it.

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  • 145. At 03:39am on 02 Dec 2009, Roll_On_2010 wrote:


    Appears that there has been an hiccup in education down south also:

    Labour’s £30 billion annual spending on schools fails to boost standards.

    Statisticians said that the cost of hiring large numbers of support staff to ease teachers’ workloads, combined with falling pupil numbers, in effect cancelled out the benefits of improved exam results. As a result, productivity in the education sector had been on a downward trend for eight years and last year fell to zero.

    I wonder if Duff Gordan has the balls to demote Ed Balls?

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  • 146. At 03:48am on 02 Dec 2009, oldnat wrote:

    144. JRMacClure
    "I understand the pressure on severely underfunded schools"

    Photocopying is actually more expensive than buying the damn book! I think most teachers have "bent" the 5% copying rule at some time or another. I know I did when there was a small section of a book that I wanted the kids to have access to, but it exceeded the 5% limit - bad I know, but I couldn't justify buying sets of books for part of one chapter. I found Neil's post incredible though that they photocopied the whole book!

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  • 147. At 04:17am on 02 Dec 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    146. oldnat
    "Photocopying is actually more expensive than buying the damn book! I think most teachers have "bent" the 5% copying rule at some time or another. I know I did when there was a small section of a book that I wanted the kids to have access to, but it exceeded the 5% limit - bad I know, but I couldn't justify buying sets of books for part of one chapter. I found Neil's post incredible though that they photocopied the whole book!"

    I suppose whether it's more expensive or not depends on the textbook. Some textbooks are absurdly expensive--although that's probably more on the university level. But when you look at the supplies, the time, the effort--and breaking the law...

    I wouldn't complain about the 5% rule being bent if what's copied is only one chapter. That isn't what I consider a "substantial" portion of the work and is within the spirit if not the letter of the law.

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  • 148. At 06:32am on 02 Dec 2009, Diabloandco wrote:

    I can remember removing some of the stuff I had photocopied to the boot of my car prior to inspections, I suspect there were a few of us in the same car boot!

    Never, in all my time teaching have I heard of anyone photocopying an entire book - nor anyone stupid enough to let the world know!

    Ah well Mr Small , you have just dropped a teacher and a school in murky waters!( Possibly court!)

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  • 149. At 06:37am on 02 Dec 2009, Wansanshoo wrote:

    Nuclear Deterrent.


    Sir Rodric Braithwaite, former head of the Joint Intelligence Committee:

    "The systems which guide them and the intelligence on which their targeting depends are all American. We could sink the Belgrano on our own. But we cannot fire a cruise missile except as part of an American operation."

    So,you decide who is disengenuous,Sir Rodric Braithwaite the former head of the Joint Intelligence Committe, or, the unionist flag bearers who post here.

    Wansanshoo
    Nationalist & Anti Theist.

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  • 150. At 07:03am on 02 Dec 2009, Diabloandco wrote:

    "Sometimes one has to try not to laugh, purely out of good manners, or in observance of our parents' injunctions to us not to mock the afflicted. However, anyone not splitting his sides at the spectacle of the First Minister of Scotland using
    St Andrew's Day to promise his brethren a referendum on independence, knowing that the other parties at Holyrood would outvote his own on the question, must have a heart of stone. "

    Anyone read this delightful piece by Mr Heffer? No comment open, just a sneer full as usual.

    Did anyone have the misfortune to read the " Scottish" Daily Mail yesterday? Yes,yes I know I should'nt have tarnished my eyeballs in such a way, but there on the front page was a similar attack on the SNP as the Sun treated us to in 2007.
    Within its pages were even further attacks - a full page spread, little of which was true but since when did the media in Scotland specialise in truth?

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  • 151. At 07:06am on 02 Dec 2009, Online Ed wrote:

    Online Ed Here

    A glance through the Scottish papers this morning and one can see just why they are in dire straits.

    The rabid anti-SNP agenda is perhaps best exemplified by the paper that is deteriorating faster than most - The Herald.

    Cornered Salmond sacks Hyslop from his Cabinet

    A wounded Alex Salmond was forced to sack Fiona Hyslop from his Cabinet as the opposition at Holyrood scented blood in a gathering plot......

    There is little political news of note today in Scotland, just a series of over dramatised headlines, smears and Labour soundbites.

    Tucked away though in The Herald politics section is this:
    Labour MSP criticised for not declaring he is brother of Lockerbie lawyer

    Now that is what I call a real scoop - The Herald though don't see it that way at all, a Megrahi story is only headline news if it is potentially damaging to the SNP.

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  • 152. At 07:07am on 02 Dec 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    149. Wansanshoo
    "Sir Rodric Braithwaite, former head of the Joint Intelligence Committee:

    "The systems which guide them and the intelligence on which their targeting depends are all American. We could sink the Belgrano on our own. But we cannot fire a cruise missile except as part of an American operation."
    "
    Fascinating information.

    Speaking of Braithwaite, here is a rather interesting article which discusses that subject in part, but I think the entire article is of some interest, especially the disparity of the extradition treaty and reasons for it:

    Client State?

    Worth thinking about, it seems to me.

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  • 153. At 07:29am on 02 Dec 2009, Wansanshoo wrote:

    Rt Hon Robin Cook PC MP, the Guardian 29 July 2005 stated:


    ''Dan Plesch documents in an impressive forthcoming report
    that all levels of the Trident system depend on US cooperation''


    The late Robin Cook was clearly in a position of strength when commenting on nuclear detterents.


    Wansanshoo.
    Nationalist & Anti Theist.

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  • 154. At 07:47am on 02 Dec 2009, Tom wrote:

    It should not be unusual for the United States of America to seek advantages in the world.

    Great Britain used to do that in the past, look at the Empire we once had.

    If we mock Britains attempt of playing the world power, should we not expect that we will pay a price for simply getting by?

    The world is getting smaller as larger alliances are formed and I don't believe things will be different either as an ally of the Americans, or ally of the European Union.

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  • 155. At 07:58am on 02 Dec 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    154. Thomas_Porter
    I think the difference is in what one's goals are, Thomas.

    Are the UK's goals achievable? Are they ones that people really want to achieve anyway?

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  • 156. At 08:01am on 02 Dec 2009, ScotInNotts wrote:

    #114 impartial_lm wrote:

    "I am only making the comment regarding education cuts in Renfrewshire as it is just not Glasgow that has had to do this - but SNP led councils as well."

    Hailing from that part of the world it was news to me that we had a SNP led council!

    Here are the election results for the Renfrewshire Council election held on 3 May 2007:

    The total number of councillors elected and the parties they represent are as follows:

    Labour 17
    SNP 17
    Liberal Democrat 4
    Conservative 2

    Total 40

    Don't think that we do have an SNP led council in that case.

    East Renfrewshire isn't the only council that has education as a priority. Gryffe, Park Mains and the Grammar had always had good results with regards pupils exams, I've even heard tell that they're supposed to constructing a new building to replace the existing structure at Park Mains.

    It was ever thus with certain subjects as there were only ever a limited number of teachers depending on the subject, with pupils having to go to another school sometimes to be taught by the subject at a particular level i.e. Advanced Higher (or SYS as was).

    My brothers partner is a primary teacher, and after her complusory first year employment has struggled through with supply teacher work to keep her hand in as she wishes to get a job in the local area.

    It would seem that naturally school tachers would like to be employed in the area of their choice be it Edinburgh or Glasgow etc. whereas the vacancies may be further afield.

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  • 157. At 08:04am on 02 Dec 2009, ScotInNotts wrote:

    NCA999

    Glasgow airport is in Renfrewshire. Doesn't fit in with your whole 'cutting off' Glasgow spiel.

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  • 158. At 08:56am on 02 Dec 2009, Florence wrote:

    150 DIABLOANDCO: Yes I did. But have you seen today's offering? I'm beginning to fear for the sanity of Alan Roden & Co. They seem to have an obsession about Salmond and the SNP.

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  • 159. At 09:17am on 02 Dec 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    158. Florence0131
    The only good thing you can say is that the attacks are so extreme that they may well have an effect exactly the opposite of intended. If you want to attack and smear someone, it's always wise to give them at least some appearance of credibility which they left behind long ago.

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  • 160. At 09:40am on 02 Dec 2009, A_Scottish_Voice wrote:

    From what I have seen from First Ministers questions on several occasions, it is clear to me even thought it is not explicitly stated, that Glasgow led City council have put party political point scoring before the careers of teachers and education of children.

    This is a disgrace.

    I hope one day when Ian Gray, his poodles and his Cyberlabs, including his labour led media are wiser and more mature, they take a good look at themselves and realise that they are damaging our children’s futures, and that they at least have the decency to hang their heads in shame.

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  • 161. At 09:51am on 02 Dec 2009, GrassyKnollington wrote:

    The vile internet comments and messages which have appeared on the likes of the Daily Mail, Guardian and Guido Fawkes this week attacking the nationalists and suppoting the union/status quo have trawled new depths.

    When are Iain Gray and Jim Murphy going to take responsibility for these people ( who may be Labour party members or supporters) and weed them out?

    I think we should be told.

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  • 162. At 09:52am on 02 Dec 2009, sid the sceptic wrote:

    #156 Scot in notts, morning,
    what we have in Renfrewshire is the labour party spitting the dummy and refusing to accept that they are no longer in "charge" in renfrewshire, whilst conveniently forgetting about the damage they caused in the previous 20 years!

    the more council's who fail to deliver simply give more credence to removing their powers and centralising them at Holyrood.
    this saves us on 30 plus education chiefs wages and also increases the chance of government policy actually being implemented both of these points would increase the chances of more teachers actually gaining full time posts

    Sid

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  • 163. At 10:09am on 02 Dec 2009, Diabloandco wrote:

    Florence , I can't go back there , my ulcer plays up at the very thought!

    I have to thank Subrosa for information that I somehow missed ,

    "As of midnight (5 minutes away) we are no longer Scotland in the eyes of the European Union. We will be known as Region 9 and later in 2010 renamed the North Atlantic Tranche (can't get away from the acronym). As of midnight we are Europeans. Above is our new flag."

    So "Hello" BBBC and the entire Scottish media from Region 9

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  • 164. At 10:13am on 02 Dec 2009, Dunroamin wrote:

    Oldnat,

    Shame on you for such blatant and very selective spin!

    Shall we go through this poll? Yes, let’s.

    Satisfied/dissatisfied with Alex Salmond?
    Satisfied, 47%
    Dissatisfied, 42%


    (First point is that ‘dissatisfied’ was actually 43% but ‘tis a minor point.)

    But just what is the relevance of your subsequent comment, “5%[sic] lead in a 4 party system!” mean?

    All well and good but you also didn’t mention that Salmond’s ‘Satisfied’ rating has dropped 8% in this poll, while ‘Dissatisfied’ has increased 6% in the last few months? Why didn’t you mention that?

    You also curiously missed out this set of results:

    What do you see as the most/other important issues facing Scotland today?
    Unemployment/factory closure/lack of industry 42%
    Economy/economic situation/'credit crisis’ 37%
    National Health Service/Hospitals/ Health care 24%
    Education/schools 24%
    Scottish Independence/constitution/Devolution 18%


    Again see how low a priority a referendum is.

    But why didn’t you mention this? Why, oldnat, why?

    And then, bizarrely, you also missed out this set of results, surely the most relevant!:

    Which of the following statements, if any, comes closest to your own view?
    Scotland should remain part of the UK with the same devolved powers it has at present 32%
    Scotland should remain part of the UK with increased powers 46%
    Scotland should become a fully independent country, separate from the rest of the UK 20%


    I mean, look at the preference for the ‘Status Quo’ over ‘independence’; 32% to 20%! It’s not even close!

    Why didn’t you mention THIS? Why oldnat? Why?

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  • 165. At 10:38am on 02 Dec 2009, Wee-Scamp wrote:

    #164

    Yes yes all very clever..... Now tell us whst the unionist master plan is for coming up with proposals to satisfy the 42% that think Unemployment/factory closure/lack of industry is the most important issue facing Scotland and the 37% that generally believe that its the
    Economy/economic situation/'credit crisis’ issue..

    Still scratching your head? Well let me give you the answer.. It doesn't exist... There is no master plan beyond helping the banks, allowing house prices to rise and making new proposals on climate change that mainly involves higher taxes. Oh and then adding even more taxes and cutting back on public expenditure to try to do something about the appallingly high public sector debt Labour has run up.

    So whilst you're disparaging the SNP the Labour party are continuing to wreck the economy along with our children's prospects. In fact if they carry on the way they are there will be little point in having an education policy at all because whatever any party does the younger generation is faced with an appalling future.




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  • 166. At 10:42am on 02 Dec 2009, enneffess wrote:

    164. At 10:13am on 02 Dec 2009, Reluctant-Expat wrote:


    "I mean, look at the preference for the ‘Status Quo’ over ‘independence’; 32% to 20%! It’s not even close!"


    Well, they did sell out at the SECC and I've got a ticket!

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  • 167. At 10:58am on 02 Dec 2009, northhighlander wrote:

    98. GAberdeen

    I work in construction, my family have done so for generations. I am the first in my family to reach 40 and not to suffer serious back trouble. I don't mean a sore back, but injuries that are debilating and life shortening requiring surgery.

    This is in no small part due to the reduction in cement bag size from 50kg to 25kg and the subsequent reduction in block sizes, increased mechanisation, improved scaffolding etc. All H&S issues, driven forward by the HSE. However we still kill 52 people a year on construction sites, the rate has remained stubbornly high despite us having some ofthe best H&S practices in Europe. This statistics can maybe be glibly overlooked by Cameron, but behind that is 52 devastated families, children without fathers.

    Any reduction in Health and Safety would be a devastating blow to the UK, you rightly point out that this idiot really hasn't a clue about real life. I feel this will become an election theme though, does the UK really want an old Etonian in No. 10?

    Health and Safety is not the problem here, it is the idiots who hide behind it and justify stupi decisions by using the H&S card. there is an intersting section on the HSE website regarding myths, it makes good reading.

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  • 168. At 11:02am on 02 Dec 2009, northhighlander wrote:

    161. GrassyKnollington

    I think you make a very good point. Surely you would agree that all political leaders should show leadership on this issue? SNP included?

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  • 169. At 11:09am on 02 Dec 2009, northhighlander wrote:

    136. Neil_Small147

    The problem here is the money is going into the wrong things. It is all being invested in Staff costs, not all teaching posts. My local school used to have a roll of 98 kids. A teaching staff of 4, one part time learning support, a part time cleaner and a cook.

    Today it has a school role of 40 ish. We have 3 full time teachers, 5 part time teachers, a cook, a full time admin, 5 non-qualified learning support posts, part time, a playground supervisor and a part time cleaner. 17 in total. As against 7. For half the Kids.

    Anyone else think this might be an area that requires a look?

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  • 170. At 11:12am on 02 Dec 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    168. northhighlander


    When are they going to fire Jim Murphy for his lies, one wonders. Oh, right the member of the SNP who (although he did not lie) used strong language honorably RESIGNED. So can we expect Mr. Murphy's resignation tomorrow?

    Hmmmmm?

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  • 171. At 11:23am on 02 Dec 2009, Dunroamin wrote:

    170 JRMacClure: "Oh, right the member of the SNP who (although he did not lie) used strong language honorably..."

    He suggested some Labour politicians got a sexual thrill from bullying women, alleged a married Labour MSP visited gay cruising spots, attacked the daughter of Lord Steel of Aikwood and launched foul-mouthed tirades against a series of other targets.

    He didn't lie and he used strong language "honorably"?!

    Hmmmm.

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  • 172. At 11:50am on 02 Dec 2009, Michael Hamilton wrote:


    FINLAND TOPS GLOBAL SCHOOL TABLE

    Finnish pupils spend the shortest amount of time in lessons. Finland's claim to have the best school system has been reinforced by the latest international comparisons. First results from the PISA study of 40 countries put it top overall in the maths, reading and science tests. PISA is a three-yearly appraisal of 15 year olds in the principal industrialised countries, organised by OECD.

    Schools are not controlled centrally or locally. They do their own curricula and trained teachers teach.

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  • 173. At 11:52am on 02 Dec 2009, northhighlander wrote:

    170. JRMacClure

    Get real! Talk about double standards! I think you are somewhat confused, perhaps you didn't read all the information? Or perhaps you are just trying to muddy the water, either way you are completely wrong and making frankly a ridiculous comparison.

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  • 174. At 11:54am on 02 Dec 2009, northhighlander wrote:

    165. Wee-Scamp

    Okay then show me the plan that tells us how independence will make any difference. Equally it doesn't exist.

    That is the real problem with the whole issue. It is stopping debate on the real issue, stopping new thinking developing on how to move forward. No party has developed real and credible plans for moving forward.

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  • 175. At 11:59am on 02 Dec 2009, handclapping wrote:

    #164 Reluctant-Expat
    Shame on you for such blatant and very selective spin!
    In abstracting 103 pages of question and tables of answers it is likely that you will be selective in the items that either interest you or that you think will interest your audience. If you were being totally impartial in your commentary you would just refer to IPSOS Mori and the URL
    http://www.ipsos-mori.com/researchpublications/researcharchive/poll.aspx?oItemId=2523
    But as you have tried to spin lets have a look at some of the figures in context
    % Satisfied: Dissatisfied: Net satisfied +, dissatisfied -: Party leader
    47: ... 43: ... + 4: Alex Salmond
    41: ... 49: ... - 8: Gordon Brown
    36: ... 47: ... -11: Call-me-Dave
    Not a great start for your Tory party

    The actual answers to the most important issues
    24% Unemployment
    20% the Economy
    11% Independence
    Oh dear, not what you said, but then you were only regurgitating the figures headlined by those nice people from Ipsos Mori rather than looking at the real figures and trying to inform us of reality.

    And, just out of spite, given a choice of Tory or Labour for the next Westminster Government which would be best for Scotland
    24% Conservative
    61% Labour
    and your Tory party thinks it will have a mandate to rule in Scotland?

    You asked oldnat "Why?", I ask you "Why bother?" 8-)

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  • 176. At 12:01pm on 02 Dec 2009, Dunroamin wrote:

    172. Totally back that theory of government should step away from schools and stick to examinations only. Politicians are not qualified teachers, they're not even qualified managers.

    Schooling in the UK started to go downhill when micro-managing curricula were introduced.

    Also apply this to health-care and policing.

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  • 177. At 12:06pm on 02 Dec 2009, RandomScot wrote:

    @171 R-E

    Cheap shot old chap, It is obvious that the honourably refers to the resignation not the language or tactics.

    That sort of student trick does you no favours

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  • 178. At 12:16pm on 02 Dec 2009, Wansanshoo wrote:

    Ex Pat.

    ''Scotland should remain part of the UK with increased powers 46% ''

    ''Scotland should become a fully independent country, separate from the rest of the UK 20%''

    Are you asking us to belive that INCREASED POWERS 46% and INDEPENDENT 20% represent the status quo?

    Think again.

    Wansanshoo.
    Nationalist & Anti Theist.



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  • 179. At 12:36pm on 02 Dec 2009, sid the sceptic wrote:

    #169 northhighlander - I agree with you on that .
    the primary school one of my kids attends has on it's list of staff
    A business support officer. anyone like to hazard a guess what exactly that person does ??
    it is now become apparent that Education is suffering from the same disease as the NHS.
    politicians brag about how much money they have ploughed into both area's but forget to mention that not one of them have a clue what they are doing. unless the money is spent on front-line services IE.Nurses &doctors who actually treat patients in the case of the NHS and teachers who actually teach our kids in a building that is fit for purpose,they would be as well not bothering.
    trebling the amount of admin in both the education and health sector simply to record whether the latest idea's are being implemented with fewer and fewer front line staff to do it is in fact a sad state of affairs.
    yet more evidence of politicians believing there own press. politicians are more important than anything else in the world.
    Sid

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  • 180. At 12:54pm on 02 Dec 2009, Dunroamin wrote:

    178. I'm sorry, I thought it was quite clear what I wrote but you have again misunderstood.

    What I wrote about the poll oldnat had selectively quoted from was:

    'Which of the following statements, if any, comes closest to your own view?
    Scotland should remain part of the UK with the same devolved powers it has at present 32%
    Scotland should remain part of the UK with increased powers 46%
    Scotland should become a fully independent country, separate from the rest of the UK 20%

    I mean, look at the preference for the ‘Status Quo’ over ‘independence’; 32% to 20%! It’s not even close!
    '

    In other words, I was highlighting how a large percentage number of people preferred the status quo to independence. 32% compared to 20% to be precise.

    I genuinely don't quite see what line of thought led you to your post.

    To be honest, instead of trying to muddy the waters over poll results raised by another nationalist, if I was a nationalist I'd be more concerned over how such a broad-based and sustained independence campaign has gone so horrifically wrong.

    The level of support for the 'status quo' option used to be relatively insignificant...yet now it is considerably greater than support for independence.

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  • 181. At 1:05pm on 02 Dec 2009, HughEdinburgh wrote:

    Brian,

    I wonder if your first line after the next general election will be:

    "They had to go. Multiple reasons.

    Under Gordon Browns watch, Britain is near bankrupt, etc, etc, etc."

    and no doubt you will give us an equally detailed reason for their departure, rather than the usual "it wasn't really their fault, just the circumstances" where the Labour party are concerned.

    No, really, she didn't have to go at all. She was doing an almost impossible job in one of the worst economic downturns ever, created by Westminster, under which Scotland does not have any powers (at the moment) to insulate ourselves from (although that will hopefully change soon).

    What she didn't do well was standing up to the opposition. They could see that she was more interested in concentrating on getting on with the job, rather than getting involved with their petty squabbling.

    Never mind, the opposition will have to dance to a different tune now.

    Let's see, under Labours watch:

    Holyrood building - massive increase in costs.
    2012 Olympics - massive increase in costs
    Dossiers????
    Expenses
    Bonuses
    Peers, etc,
    Cash for Questions,
    Please add to the list, I'm sure it could be increased by a factor of 4 at least.

    That's the thing, Westminster has access to the big pot of money, which we all constribute to, which they can dip into to fund their pet projects to the tune of billions when they go over budget, and yet an event in Scotland is trashed by the BBC because they had an overspend of around half a million (while still making a profit for the economy to the tune of £44 million).

    Keep it real, BBC.

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  • 182. At 1:26pm on 02 Dec 2009, Online Ed wrote:

    Online Ed Here

    Mike Russell out of the blocks already.

    Labour and their chums still celebrating the demotion of Hyslop but not realising that some councils are still refusing to recruit teachers.

    The public have noticed though.

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  • 183. At 1:28pm on 02 Dec 2009, Wansanshoo wrote:

    180 Ex Pat.

    Based on the figures you have supplied two thirds of scots want change.

    It is what has become known as 'Independence Creep', it is, as it's name suggests, a path to independence. Each day, as your figures suggest, Scotland takes a slow but deliberate step away from the union.

    Wansanshoo.

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  • 184. At 1:37pm on 02 Dec 2009, Michael Hamilton wrote:

    Jonathan Dimbleby would comment - "And now, shall we return to the subject - education?"

    Comments today indicate that many want to debate the Independence / Devolution subject.

    Orra best folks,

    Michael.

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  • 185. At 1:43pm on 02 Dec 2009, northhighlander wrote:

    181. HughEdinburgh

    A wee reality check is required here. This is another nationalist myth, that somehow had Scotland been independent this financial crisis wouldn,t have hit us. Utter rubbish. Wee eck was promoting the same policies of fiscal light touch regulation that caused this, he was up Sir Fred in exactly the same way as the rest.

    So independent or not we would be in the same position. Accept the reality and move on.

    Also you can't really put any SNP building projects on your list mainly because there are none. You could and many have before listed SNP broken promises and pledges. However that doesn't move any issue forward does it?

    Talking about pet projects all governments do that, look at the £9m at least for the referendum.

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  • 186. At 1:48pm on 02 Dec 2009, U14214268 wrote:

    185: North Highlander

    You are talking utter boll... whoops I have just tripped over the plans for the new Forth bridge.

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  • 187. At 1:51pm on 02 Dec 2009, Dunroamin wrote:

    181. Did you know that Liverpool, during its year as 'City of Culture' in 2008, generated £800m for its economy (a 13% boost to the city's GVA)?

    That city council funding was £75m?

    Did you know that 3.5m people came to Liverpool for the various events?

    Did you know that only 100,000 of the 750,000 visitors to the Homecoming events travelled from outside Scotland. And only 23,000 came specifically for the Homecoming (as opposed to already visiting Scotland at the time)?

    Did you know the boost to Scotland's economy of the entire Homecoming year was just 0.03% of our GVA?

    Perspective?

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  • 188. At 1:58pm on 02 Dec 2009, HughEdinburgh wrote:

    #185

    A reality check, indeed.

    What planet have you been on for the past 300 years?

    It's easy to speculate that we couldn't have done this or couldn't have done that, and easy to rubbish any chance that Scotland could have done better under her own steam, given the chance.

    And that's what every self-respecting nation on the planet needs to have - the chance - self-determination.

    The problem at the moment is that there are too many doubters who would much rather rely on Westminsters and the unions failures to point out how bad our hypothetical failures could have been.

    And please don't go on about broken promises - the SNPs promises were broken by Gordon Brown and the opposition in Scotland, not by the SNP.

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  • 189. At 2:03pm on 02 Dec 2009, Dunroamin wrote:

    186. The Forth Bridge, yet another pet project that requires funding of £2-5bn, which is far, far more than would be spent just refurbishing the existing bridge.

    Furthermore, not one building project has been initiated by the SNP. They have claimed credit for hospitals, schools, prisons and roads initiated by Labour...but in 30months, not one solitary brick has been laid on any SNP building project.

    All we have had are a great many unfulfilled promises and pledges.

    "Matching Labour building plans brick for brick"? Clearly not!

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  • 190. At 2:05pm on 02 Dec 2009, HughEdinburgh wrote:

    #187,

    You're very good with these selective statistics, which always "prove" that Scotland can't do this, and can't do that.

    That's the problem with the current constitutional arrangement, everybody can talk Scotland down and down and down, but we don't have the powers to work our way up and up and up.

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  • 191. At 2:07pm on 02 Dec 2009, HughEdinburgh wrote:

    ...and most of Scotlands Homecoming money would probably end up in Westminsters hands anyway, by the time the tax men have taken their toll.

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  • 192. At 2:11pm on 02 Dec 2009, HughEdinburgh wrote:

    #189

    Any building projects which Labour claim to be responsible for, under PPP/PFI, have not yet been paid for.

    It was easy for Labour to spend, spend, spend, when they weren't actually paying for anything, while lumbering future generations with massively overpriced contracts, while lining private pockets.

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  • 193. At 2:13pm on 02 Dec 2009, northhighlander wrote:

    183. Wansanshoo

    76% clearly do not want independence. 76% want change within the union. Seems pretty clear to me.

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  • 194. At 2:22pm on 02 Dec 2009, Gavin Lessells wrote:

    What about Radio Scotlands St Andrews Day programmes? Kicking off with a demolition job by Edi Stark on Homecoming followed by 20 mins further attacks with the young lady responsible for Homecoming hardly getting a look in. Talk about manipulation and bias!!!

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  • 195. At 2:22pm on 02 Dec 2009, U14214268 wrote:

    193: northhighlander

    you can cling on to your union jack / princess diana commemorative plate all you want.

    Independence is coming. It might be gradual, but it is happening.

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  • 196. At 2:23pm on 02 Dec 2009, Michael Hamilton wrote:

    The Scots have proven themselves - ourselves - as one of the most hardworking, inventive and successful nations on Earth. If we all put our minds to it and design an Independence model, and vote for it in a referendum, nothing could stop us regaining our place in the world. Visit the nationalist party web sites and comment there. Try our new one - the Scottish Democratic Alliance. Dot org. Worried whether Scotland could afford to go it alone? Look at our economy section for hard figures that no one has faulted - they are HM Treasury figures.

    Stand up the man or woman who claims that Westminster rules us well to our advantage and who claims that Norway can govern itself but we cannot.

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  • 197. At 2:29pm on 02 Dec 2009, sid the sceptic wrote:

    #189 R-E
    "All we have had are a great many unfulfilled promises and pledges"

    yep how right you are .
    a whole century of them from every unionist government in the UK. the promise to eradicate child poverty has been with us since the start of the last century and now we are in the 21st century SURPRISE SURPRISE child poverty is INCREASING, because illegal wars and ensuring you get maximum expenses are far more important than starving kids.
    Sid

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  • 198. At 2:34pm on 02 Dec 2009, Dunroamin wrote:

    192. And the Scottish Futures Trust was...what?

    Did we see any SFT funding proposals which included full additional charges and interest costs?

    Or did the SNP seriously think the private sector would take on the significant financing risks involved in major projects (such as bridges, hospitals etc.) free of charge?

    http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1P2-20230719.html

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  • 199. At 2:46pm on 02 Dec 2009, ScotInNotts wrote:

    With regards to the numbers being bandied about who with respect to who desires the status quo, independence, or further power under devolution; it seems to me that the majority wish to see Scotland not only more accountable for it's decisions but also to be able to make them unfettered by external interests. That this poll suggests that there is a definite majority for greater power based at Holyrood and not Westminster shows that Scots desire self-determination.

    This would tend to suggest that many desire the benefits of freedom to choose that independence would also bring, while still keeping the veneer of the UK state so that on the face of it nothing has changed. I wonder what, if anything, it will take to cut the mental nurse strings from the UK nanny state, when those that desire further powers realise that any other percevied security and benefits derived from remaining within the union could also be just as well if not better served as an independent nation.

    As others have said, a gradual movement towards the nations realisation that independence is the way forward.

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  • 200. At 2:46pm on 02 Dec 2009, Astonished wrote:

    Unionist drones please stop flogging - the horse is dead.

    I am old enough to remember "an independent Scotland would be as poor as Biafra" in the seventies. People have seen throught the incessant lies from the unionists.

    The proportion of folk wanting independence is increasing, just talk to folk out there. YOU CAN NO LONGER FRIGHTEN THEM INTO BELIEVING WESTMINSTER KNOWS BEST.

    It is to be regretted that the integrity of Scottish journalism has not improved since the seventies.However at least Brian allows comments which is more than the herald/scotsman and he should be thanked for that.

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  • 201. At 2:46pm on 02 Dec 2009, Dunroamin wrote:

    197. Total costs of Iraq and Afghanistan operations through to 2009 = £23bn.

    Total bail-out funding needed by RBS and HBOS = £76bn.

    Perspective?

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  • 202. At 2:51pm on 02 Dec 2009, northhighlander wrote:

    195. GordonBrownsGammyEye

    Keep believing, Santa might come too.

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  • 203. At 2:52pm on 02 Dec 2009, Astonished wrote:

    aletheiascotia @17 : "I realise that this is probably not a time to overly criticise Ms Hyslop" . I would be grateful if you would explain exactly why she should be criticized.


    Purcell and his labour council in Glasgow used the schoolkids of Glasgow for political ends. Glasgow now does not have the teachers or buildings to cope with the projected school rolls. Glasgow kids will have to be educated in portacabins and have maximum class sizes. And even then it is touch and go whether that wiill be enough.


    But don't worry all this led directly to Fiona Hyslop being reshuffled - so, as far as labour are concerned, it is a result.

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  • 204. At 2:54pm on 02 Dec 2009, Michael Hamilton wrote:

    There is a nation that is paying a huge bureaucracy in a foreign country to destroy its fishing industry and its upper hill farming.

    Yes – PAYS millions annually and gets nothing back.

    They must be mad?

    Its time now to get out of the EU and take control of our own country and our own natural resources.

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  • 205. At 2:57pm on 02 Dec 2009, ScotInNotts wrote:

    #201 RE

    How much had that isntitution contributed to the economy prior to the bailout?

    Also, that's a pretty crass comparison to be making, what was the point exactly?

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  • 206. At 3:01pm on 02 Dec 2009, U14214268 wrote:

    "202. At 2:51pm on 02 Dec 2009, northhighlander wrote:

    195. GordonBrownsGammyEye

    Keep believing, Santa might come too."

    He already did. He brought me Iain Gray and Tavish Scott.

    It would be greedy to ask for anything else

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  • 207. At 3:01pm on 02 Dec 2009, sid the sceptic wrote:

    #200 astonishedII, afternoon , the problem the unionists have is they have nothing left to say ! all they have left is doom and gloom. When was the last time a unionist said something positive ?
    they are excellent at putting down Scotland but they have nothing positive whatsoever to tell us about when it comes to why we should stay in the union.
    it is always doom and gloom just as well Ricky Fulton is no longer with us, as the Rev I.M.Jolly would be able to give the Gray man a run for his money!

    Sid

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  • 208. At 3:02pm on 02 Dec 2009, Wansanshoo wrote:

    193.

    Two thirds of Scots wish to transfer power from the union to Holyrood.

    Since devolution the desire for more power in Holyrood has continually evolved.

    Politics dictates that unionism will have no alternative but to continue handing over control, or make way for majority nationlist government in Holyrood.

    'Indepence Creep' is, as long as the desire for power continues, unstoppable.



    Wansanshoo

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  • 209. At 3:05pm on 02 Dec 2009, mrbfaethedee wrote:

    201. Reluctant-Expat
    "197. Total costs of Iraq and Afghanistan operations through to 2009 = £23bn.

    Total bail-out funding needed by RBS and HBOS = £76bn.
    "

    Bailout buys stake in said banks, funding coming back > $76bn?

    More importantly -

    Total UK service personnel deaths in Iraq & Afghanistan : 179 & 236 respectively.

    Perspective?

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  • 210. At 3:05pm on 02 Dec 2009, Dunroamin wrote:

    200. astonishedII: "Unionist drones please stop flogging - the horse is dead.

    The proportion of folk wanting independence is increasing, just talk to folk out there."


    No, it's not! How many times does this need to be demonstrated?

    Support for independence has dropped so much and so fast, it's not even a race any more.

    Salmond's campaign has been a humiliating failure but he just carries on, ignorant to the humiliating reality, as do you nats who continue to cheer his every action and word. The bliss you enjoy must be close to infinite.

    The independence horse is not only dead, the glue has been made and is already holding down photos in scrapbooks.

    On your way.

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  • 211. At 3:19pm on 02 Dec 2009, Phil_Anthropponent wrote:

    38. At 4:51pm on 01 Dec 2009, uk_abz_scot wrote:
    I feel slightly sorry for Ms Hyslop. The SNP policy on class size was always a bit unrealistic for the simple reason that education is the responsibility of the local council. If a local council decides to spend money on fixing up the roads or services for old folks instead of primary school teachers that is their right."

    Is this for real? Money earmarked by education secretray is spent on roads! Lets have a wee think about that now? I've got the answer I think. Education secretary, don't give G.C.C extra money for schools, they'll spend it on roads. Thats' the transport secs responsability.

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  • 212. At 3:20pm on 02 Dec 2009, Dunroamin wrote:

    205. If you just read the post I refer to, you will see this piece of nationalist nonsense:

    "...child poverty is INCREASING, because illegal wars and ensuring you get maximum expenses are far more important than starving kids."

    I'm clearly highlighting that far more vast sums of money have been spent on just propping up two Scottish companies than on any wars.

    I didn't include the £175bn being spent on covering their respective high-risk debts (which would mean a total of £250bn on just sorting out two.......banks!)

    The war in Iraq led to the removal of a genocidal dictator and his regime. The war in Afghanistan has forced a major global threat from their secure home base, sending them perpetually on the run around Afghanistan and Pakistan. (Obviously the armchair generals of this board will disagree...go for it.)

    What have we got from spending ten times more on two disastrous banks?

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  • 213. At 3:23pm on 02 Dec 2009, U14214268 wrote:

    210: Reluctant-expat

    Ahhh, I see you are enjoying "Ostrich Politics". When you finally remove your head from the sand you will see more and more and more powers being transferred from westminster to Holyrood.

    Independence is inevitable.

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  • 214. At 3:25pm on 02 Dec 2009, Astonished wrote:

    210 - Yeah right !


    And that is why the unionists don't want a referendum ?Ha,Ha,Ha,Ha.
    Unionists are sooooooooo desperate - any lie will do - And that has been your undoing.


    Can you think of a single occasion in the last ten years when the unionists have put saving money before political opportunism ?


    No, neither can I. Unionists don't want a referendum because people can no longer be frightened into voting for westminster.Nae luck the BBC.


    I think you are overdoing the metaphor.

    And finally signing off with "on your way" is a tad insulting however no more than I would expect.

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  • 215. At 3:33pm on 02 Dec 2009, Phil_Anthropponent wrote:

    210
    Salmond's campaign has been a humiliating failure but he just carries on, ignorant to the humiliating reality, as do you nats who continue to cheer his every action and word. The bliss you enjoy must be close to infinite."

    Some one told me there is a nasty rumour going about that we all want union. Hmmm, was it you?

    I think you'll find it is not Salmonds campagn but the SNPs. They have been in existence now for a wee while and have put independence top of their list from day 1. They have grown from nothing to the largest and strongest political entity in scotland in a relatively short space of time and you think it's now all going to just go away. They will just get stronger and stronger and bigger and bigger. All the weaklings can do is group hug and cry about it like little children. The spitefulness is clearly demonstrated.

    Dream on. The reality is obviously too painfull for you.

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  • 216. At 3:35pm on 02 Dec 2009, Astonished wrote:

    207 sidthesceptic : You are entirely right - as usual.



    I believe the labourtory party (of rumpole fame) are helping an American/Russian team to salvage the Titanic.

    The Americans want any bullion on the ship. The Russians want to prevent any secrets being exposed....... And the labourtory party want know how they managed to keep the band playing ! :)





    I am away now before I get banned !

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  • 217. At 3:38pm on 02 Dec 2009, Phil_Anthropponent wrote:

    213. At 3:23pm on 02 Dec 2009, GordonBrownsGammyEye

    Wow. That's a fair handle to be driving about with.

    Can't stopp laffing, but I can't help it tweaking at my humanity. Damn my hunamity!

    LOLOLOL!

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  • 218. At 3:49pm on 02 Dec 2009, Dunroamin wrote:

    Wow. They keep coming back for more, don't they.

    Despite ALL the indicators, the nats STILL think "independence is inevitable"...

    ...and they accuse me of "enjoying ostrich politics" (bizarre phrasing but we get the gist).

    Saying that, they do seem to be starting to comprehend that this particular independence campaign is a failure (joining the many previous failed campaigns such as 'Free by 73/83/93!'), so there's hope for their sanity yet.

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  • 219. At 4:01pm on 02 Dec 2009, U14214268 wrote:

    Reluctant-Expat

    Proof that care-in-the-community does not work.

    We were informed by someone of your persuasion that devolution would kill nationalism stone dead.......

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  • 220. At 4:03pm on 02 Dec 2009, tullibardine wrote:

    #212 R-E

    ‘I'm clearly highlighting that far more vast sums of money have been spent on just propping up two Scottish companies than on any wars.’

    Did that include a price per head on the amount of people killed?

    ‘The war in Iraq led to the removal of a genocidal dictator and his regime.’

    There were and are worse dictators than Saddam. Do you honestly think oil had had nothing to do with it? This illegal war was started over Saddam’s alleged possession of WMD – which, surprise, surprise, were a figment of imagination.

    ‘The war in Afghanistan has forced a major global threat from their secure home base, sending them perpetually on the run around Afghanistan and Pakistan.’

    Does this mean the Allies will be ‘perpetually’ chasing them?

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  • 221. At 4:06pm on 02 Dec 2009, Nat_very_likely wrote:

    210. Reluctant-Expat

    You don't sound too confident to me in what you're saying RE.Otherwise why overdo the polemics?

    I think you belong to that school of Unionist thought(which is probably the mainstream one)that takes any opinion poll or by-election result that seems to be unfavourable to independence as irrefutable proof that nationalism is receding.Well it certainly didn't recede in the Scottish Euro vote in June,which is the most recent general election.

    Your post sounds just like Murphy or Gray usually sound when they make public utterances these days.No vision.No analysis.Just claims of an SNP decline in ever more strident terms.

    As I said,you don't sound too confident to me.

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  • 222. At 4:08pm on 02 Dec 2009, Phil_Anthropponent wrote:

    207. At 3:01pm on 02 Dec 2009, sidthesceptic wrote:

    they are excellent at putting down Scotland but they have nothing positive whatsoever to tell us about when it comes to why we should stay in the union."

    They have nothing positive to say about us full stop.

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  • 223. At 4:10pm on 02 Dec 2009, Vakov2000 wrote:

    On the general topic of the unionist parties and what they do for Scotland. It appears all they do is deliberately hold back Scotland at every opportunity. If there is any chance they can sabotage the advancement of Scotland they take it. An obvious example is Calman which could be implemented straight away and Labour says they're going to have it take 6 years! The lack of ambition of these parties, if the parliament had more powers at some stage they could be running that parliament. However basically they tell us they don't want more responsibilty. Why do the Scots vote for people who's aim is to run down the country and protect London's position at all costs even to the detriment of Scotland?

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  • 224. At 4:12pm on 02 Dec 2009, Phil_Anthropponent wrote:

    218. At 3:49pm on 02 Dec 2009, Reluctant-Expat wrote:
    Wow. They keep coming back for more, don't they.

    Despite ALL the indicators, the nats STILL think..."

    Are those the indicators on your car or the ones churned out by the establishment? They're both wrong.

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  • 225. At 4:26pm on 02 Dec 2009, tullibardine wrote:

    From the Times: Brown to force voting reform referendum.

    http://tinyurl.com/yk3r2ep


    Referendums for one but not all?

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  • 226. At 4:40pm on 02 Dec 2009, Dunroamin wrote:

    Superb! they're back again!

    219. I refer you to support for independence being 20% and dropping. You are also making the all-too common nationalist mistake of attributing any support for the SNP as automatic support for independence and nothing to do with the cyclical politics of a two-party state. 'Tis quite telling how nationalists have abandoned polls on independence as a measure of support for independence...

    220. How do you think he killed thousands of Kurds? "Boo!"?

    222. I'll let you into a secret......closer.....don't tell anyone this, by the way....our secret, yeah?......ready?......The serious debates are held on other boards away from this little playground. Everything from a return to a unitary UK state, through federal and confederal structures, to a full UK break-up of all four nations. It's where I became a federalist.

    223/224. Trying to sell that anyone who doesn't toe the SNP party-line is "putting Scotland down" never worked and never will. You do realise you are accusing the overwhelming majority of Scotland, don't you. That's just not very nice, is it. Shame on you. Keep it up though!

    224. Back to the conspiracy theories then? The 'Secret Global Conspiracy Against Scottish Nationalism' now includes the polling companies? You really aren't very popular, are you!

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  • 227. At 4:42pm on 02 Dec 2009, Bandages_For_Konjic wrote:

    "I'm clearly highlighting that far more vast sums of money have been spent on just propping up two Scottish companies than on any wars."

    Oh dear, oh dear . . . not this tired, old nonsense again

    Before I send you to sit at the back, please explain to the class the following -

    1. The difference between funds allocated as a reserve against potential incurred losses and money spent. When showing your working, please make clear the amounts reserved against loss that have actually been spent

    2. How the British Government (via its investment vehicle UKFI) will make a profit on its 43% stake in Lloyds/HBOS and 70% stake in RBS.

    3. How much of the money the UK Government allocated against losses by HBOS and RBS was raised from UK revenues and how was borrowed from overseas?

    4. Just how you expect the British Government to make a profit on any of the money they've spent fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan? (Gentle hint: dodgy oil, infrastructure and security deals for private companies don't count as UK Government Profits)

    Lights on? Anybody home?

    Sigh . .

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  • 228. At 4:48pm on 02 Dec 2009, Diabloandco wrote:

    I have to acknowledge the chap whose blog I have just raided to bring you the news from Harare!

    "But, worse – way worse – is news from Harare. Yes, news from that shining city on the hill that the Zimbabwean economy has also returned to growth. After ten consecutive years of decline. And, yet, they’re still getting out of this supposed ‘global recession’ before we are."

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  • 229. At 4:52pm on 02 Dec 2009, Dunroamin wrote:

    227. Oh, I didn't realise the UK Govt was expected to claw back all the money spent on RBS and HBOS, let alone they could actually make a profit!

    Well, what's all the worry about the national debt if £250bn plus profit is coming back to the taxpayer?! That's 35% of the debt recovered right there! Hurrah!.........

    Hang on, is this the 'Salmond Economic Model' being used?! Ah, that's a shame.

    Dammit, we were so close! Daaaaaammiiiiit!

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  • 230. At 4:53pm on 02 Dec 2009, Bandages_For_Konjic wrote:

    "The serious debates are held on other boards away from this little playground."

    So the Orange Lodge has a web forum now, eh?

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  • 231. At 5:05pm on 02 Dec 2009, Nat_very_likely wrote:

    #229 Reluctant-Expat
    "Daaaaaammiiiiit!"

    Yes,I can see you must be a star turn in these serious debates held on other boards.

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  • 232. At 5:07pm on 02 Dec 2009, Dunroamin wrote:

    Hang on, still thumping my desk over your national debt error
    [THUMP][THUMP][THUMP][THUMP][THUMP][THUMP][THUMP][THUMP][THUMP][THUMP].......[THUMP][THUMP].......[THUMP]........Sigh.

    Right...[THUMP]...where were we?

    231. Jeez, imagine that board! Mind you, you should check out a certain nat board where several claim of being spied on by MI5, phone-tapping, the works. I'm serious, it's insane on that one! Makes the Scotsman boards look like a bastion of intellect and rationality.

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  • 233. At 5:09pm on 02 Dec 2009, northhighlander wrote:

    208. Wansanshoo

    I know you believe that but the stat that never really changes much is the Independence figure. It remains stubbornly low at 20% ish.

    People may want more powers for Holyrood, but within the framework of the UK.

    They don't want a separate Scottish Defence, foreign office, BBC, Vehicle licensing and the many many other services that we quite happily share with the rest of the UK.

    They don't want the cost, the inevitable waste that will follow.

    People want to see a Scottish Parliament more accountable for the money it spends and accountable for the money it raises. But remaining inside the UK. The reason for this is because the nationalists haven't made decent case for change.

    I would like to see some positive nationalist policies for why Independence would be a benefit. Something real and tangible not the usual "because it is" arguments. Or the it is a "natural progression"argument. Not the "Freedom" argument. Something real and tangible. Or the "everything would be fine if we got rid of the rest of the UK" argument.

    I agree we can if we want. I agree we could given the right plan and leadership make it work. But I don't agree that we should vote for it just because Alec says so. I would at least want a credible plan.

    Negativity typifies both sides of the debate I'm afraid.

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  • 234. At 5:11pm on 02 Dec 2009, Online Ed wrote:

    Online Ed Here

    194. At 2:22pm on 02 Dec 2009, Gavin Lessells wrote:
    What about Radio Scotlands St Andrews Day programmes? Kicking off with a demolition job by Edi Stark on Homecoming followed by 20 mins further attacks with the young lady responsible for Homecoming hardly getting a look in. Talk about manipulation and bias!!!

    It's what we have come to expect from those Scots who rely on the Union for their corn. They are probably not allowed to investigate real political scandals and a kind of self delusion takes over as they convince themselves that they are not simply doing their Unionist masters bidding.

    They aspire to work for the BBC and are well compensated for toeing the line. If they are really lucky then London will deem them capable enough and hey presto - they have hit the jackpot.

    They have no wish to inform, educate or rock the boat in any way - hence no investigation of Marshall's expenses, Bain's residency or anything else of that ilk.

    Their biggest fear is an independence referendum that halts their gravy train and forces them to start working for real.

    Football pundits on Radio Scotland would be the first casualties!!

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  • 235. At 5:12pm on 02 Dec 2009, northhighlander wrote:

    221. mistydougie

    Even the most ultra nat can't take any positive out of the euro vote. 75% of the electorate didn't feel motivated enough to bother to vote.

    Hardly a mandate for change.

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  • 236. At 5:12pm on 02 Dec 2009, Bandages_For_Konjic wrote:

    "Oh, I didn't realise the UK Govt was expected to claw back all the money spent on RBS and HBOS."

    Well, now you do.

    However, I know it's asking a lot but you still don't seem to have grasped the fundamental concepts in play here so - please write out, on the blackboard, one hundred lines -

    The difference between funds allocated in reserve and money spent is . . . "

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  • 237. At 5:18pm on 02 Dec 2009, Online Ed wrote:

    Online Ed Here

    Gents, beware - you are in danger of going 'wabbit cwazy'.

    It's one thing creating the nebulous argument, it's another to apparently enjoy trapping yourself in it.

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  • 238. At 5:27pm on 02 Dec 2009, Tom wrote:

    North Highlander:

    "People may want more powers for Holyrood, but within the framework of the UK."

    For now, but lets be honest, its reasonable to consider that most individuals believe in independence but one step at a time. Devolution is a process, not an event some might say. If you listen to individuals especially the unionists it all comes down to fear of being unable to afford our current standards.

    "They don't want the cost, the inevitable waste that will follow."

    This is nonsense and not sensible. I doubt an independent Scotland would persue nuclear weapons, foreign wars or play the world power, so Scotland could potentially save in the long-term.

    "People want to see a Scottish Parliament more accountable for the money it spends and accountable for the money it raises. But remaining inside the UK. The reason for this is because the nationalists haven't made decent case for change."

    It's not that nationalists have not made a decent case. Individuals prefer the non-risk type situations. Do you believe if we asked the people if we should control everything apart of foreign affairs and defence the people won't take it?

    "I would like to see some positive nationalist policies for why Independence would be a benefit."

    It opens possibilites. I believe that Scotland would be more internally focused instead of internationally. I can't predict policies, though. However the smaller European countries have made some fantastic achievements and I don't see why Scotland would be different in their management.

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  • 239. At 5:42pm on 02 Dec 2009, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    149. Wansanshoo

    Cheers.

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  • 240. At 5:53pm on 02 Dec 2009, Nat_very_likely wrote:

    235. northhighlander

    "75% of the electorate didn't feel motivated enough to bother to vote."

    The SNP came first in 22 out of the 30 council areas and you think they didn't get a positive result!

    As for the turnout.Did you expect people queueing up to vote in a Euro election a few months after the onset of a banking crisis partly caused by the UK Government and a few weeks after the expose of the corruption of MPs?Apathy was obviously going to win out in the short term in that situation.It's what happens to that voter apathy afterwards that matters.

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  • 241. At 5:58pm on 02 Dec 2009, dubbieside wrote:

    At last a decent size Scottish poll

    The Westminster and Holyrood party ratings for the 'Ipsos MORI Scotland' poll reported in the Sunday Times and Mail on Sunday at the weekend have now been published - by the polling company itself - and show the SNP ahead again for both UK General Election and Scottish Parliament voting intentions. The poll is the most recent survey of Scottish political opinion.

    The poll of 1,009 Scots voters (19-23 November) shows that Westminster voting intentions amongst those certain to vote (change from 2005 General Election in brackets) are:

    SNP: 34% (+16)

    Lab: 32% (-8)

    Con: 15% (-1)

    Lib Dem: 12% (-11)

    Other: 6%

    Holyrood voting intentions (change on the 2007 election in brackets) are:

    SNP: 36% (+3)

    Lab: 32% (--)

    Con: 12 (-5)

    Lib Dem: 12 (-4)

    SSP: 2%

    Green: 3%

    Other: 3% (+1)

    http://www.ipsos-mori.com/researchpublications/researcharchive/poll.aspx?oItemId=2523

    Now why the two newspapers!!! did not print that part of the poll. It gives a better idea why the anti SNP venom went into overdrive. They are worried very worried.

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  • 242. At 6:06pm on 02 Dec 2009, Harry Stottle wrote:

    Dear leaders Kim Jong Brown and Kim Jong Murphy tells us that poverty, deprivation, low life expectancy and unemployment are good so it must be true.

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  • 243. At 6:06pm on 02 Dec 2009, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    228. Diabloandco

    Bad in Japan

    "The Bank of England gets no pleasure out of buying up a large part of the market for government bonds. It will stop as soon as it can - possibly February (see my post on 18 November). But the MPC needs the economy, and the bond markets, to cooperate.

    The great dread is that they will get caught in the middle, like the Bank of Japan; forced by the continued weakness of credit to buy more government bonds, even as the market frets over how that debt is going to be repaid. If you think things are bad now - you should see what happens then."

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  • 244. At 6:15pm on 02 Dec 2009, Gary Hay wrote:

    110 JRMaclure

    A present for you, posted on Youtube yesterday before I posted on Brians Blog - show me what stands out

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iqHhqxbXReI

    KaneAlmsivi (my alter ego on YT)

    "While your at it include the British for wiping out millions of Asians in it's pursuit of Opium, The spanish/portugese for massacring the Inca and Aztec for gold and the British / Australians again for murder and subjugation of the Aborigines.

    Nobody comes out of that argument looking whiter than white. The Germans killed less people in WWII than The British Empire has/had/did/doesn't do anymore/(or does it?)"

    As you can see, I have no problems in pointing the finger at the UK for committing acts of atrocity and I'm the first to point out the failings of the British State and the hypocrisy of it's rule. Don't think for one minute your attacking me or my beliefs when you mention the Opium Wars - You are the only other person I know who even uses it as a reference to the greed and evil of the Great British Empire. (the first being me)

    However - we were talking about nuclear weapons and we were talking about FACTS, not What If's.

    America DID Murder hundreds of thousands of civilians with nuclear weapons. There is no denying that. America (the Nation, not the individuals that make up the state) also refuses to admit that it was a savage and disproportionate attack - This is also impossible to deny.

    Giving me a what If scenario regarding the British doesn't cut it - I don't deal in what ifs, I deal in cold hard facts.

    When the subject turns to the subjugation, rape and torture of another race of people - then I'll join in your crusade by agreeing wholeheartedly that the Great British Empire was the most evil of them all.

    And by the way - I wasn' "hitting" you - I was contributing to a discussion, you'd do well to remember that and not to let my rhetoric affect you on a personal level.

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  • 245. At 6:24pm on 02 Dec 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    171. Reluctant-Expat
    "He didn't lie and he used strong language "honorably"?!"
    Do NOT misquote me. I said he resigned honorably.

    One may imply all kinds of things about someone when they open themselves up to derision and lampoon by their own misbehavior. The behavior that got the Labour leader kicked out was bullying and it was of a woman. It is also behavior that had gone on repeatedly.

    Amazing how the newspapers managed it ignore the Labour leader's misbehavior which he should have been severely punished for. However, that didn't mean that for someone employed in a political office, that this kind of lampooning is going to be acceptable although the reaction was ridiculously exaggerated. He resigned--as was the honorable thing to do. And the implications that the Labour leader had any cause for complaint after his OWN miserably bad behavior that brought it down on his own head is more than ridiculous.

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  • 246. At 6:26pm on 02 Dec 2009, Dunroamin wrote:

    238. For now, but lets be honest, its reasonable to consider that most individuals believe in independence but one step at a time.

    There is no evidence for that. You are merely transposing a nationalist pro-independence/anti-UK mindset onto all other Scots without basis.

    If you listen to individuals especially the unionists it all comes down to fear of being unable to afford our current standards.

    Same again. Budgetary considerations are just one aspect of my pro-UK belief. I also like having a voice on the international stage, something certainly not enjoyed by 'small countries' who are mere observers. Europe's small countries very rarely make it onto the UN Security Council due to the permanent status of the UK and France. Then there's our place among the global drivers within G8, G20 and also as the EU's second economy. Then there's the UK's financial sector (don't hope this crunch will affect our place at the top, it hasn't affected Wall Street and a ten-year crunch has not affected Tokyo's place). All go to give the UK a strong voice on the international stage. Nationalists will predictably deny and reject this but when has the world stopped to ask Norway's opinion, or Netherlands, or Ireland's....How often does news from these countries even make it into the UK media?

    It's not that nationalists have not made a decent case.

    Yes, it is. Salmond has repeatedly failed to impress with his pro-independence argument and, on several occasions, he has self-inflicted some serious harm on his reputation ("Arc of Prosperity", "light-touch banking regulation" etc.).
    His claims of some tartan nirvana also regularly fail to stand up to scrutiny. First "Scotland will be rich once it keeps its oil revenue", only to clam up on this with publication of the first SNP GERS which showed we already keep our revenues. Then it was his "Oil Fund" neglecting to add that there is actually no surplus to save and that oil production is falling fast. Then it was the "Saudi Arabia of renewable energy" despite that what neighbours we could sell to can be energy independent from their own renewable resources.

    Then there's that stalwart that we would have a few more MEPs, a strange aspiration considering the EuroParliament is a weak legislature and that the power rests in the European Council of which the UK, as the EU's second economy and one of the Big Four, is a powerful member.

    The Euro? Salmond 'complains' that we are too insignificant to have any strong voice in UK monetary policy and suggests we join the Euro instead. Quite how we would have more influence being a fringe nation (as in not part of the central continental rump of the Euro zone) with 1% share of the population and economy is not explained.

    While a nationalist case HAS been made, it is either weak or badly flawed. Neither inspires.

    I believe that Scotland would be more internally focused instead of internationally.

    This is the hallmark of the 'Little Scotlander'-isolationist side of the independence argument. The world is no longer a collection of nation states with individual voices (that disappeared many, many years ago) and to be able to withdraw quietly into the background is no longer an option if we are to succeed. Size matters.

    Outside the two most populous nations of China and India, the rest of the world is forming extremely quickly into blocs. These blocs are vast (they have to be to compete with China, India and each other) and even the USA is starting to contemplate its own position as a stand-alone nation.

    The UK clearly cannot stand on its own either but its influence within its chosen bloc is assured due to our economy, our population (for voting rights) and also our military. We enjoy a premier place in the wealthiest of blocs with strength in economic wealth, political diplomacy and military force. All necessary to protect us from undesirable foreign influence.

    Salmond's case that we would have a louder international voice and better off generally being an independent country of 5m amongst all this is utterly nonsensical at best.

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  • 247. At 6:33pm on 02 Dec 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    241. dubbieside
    It still looks to me like if you accept the Electoral Calculus swing (which I realize not everyone does) that shows 21 MPs for the SNP.

    I can see that result having some unionist parties beside themselves.

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  • 248. At 6:40pm on 02 Dec 2009, Dunroamin wrote:

    239. Wansanshoo's selective quoting again.

    We do not have nuclear cruise missiles. The context of that quote was NOT about the launch of nuclear weapons, but about the GPS system upon which our conventional cruise missiles depend for guidance to target.

    Not one of you have managed to dig up a single snippet that even suggests the US get to authorise any UK nuclear launch. It just sums up how bitterly anti-UK you all are that you continue to try. No chips on shoulders here!

    241. LOL! Another selective quoter! How about pasting the bottom question of that poll, dubbieside?!

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  • 249. At 6:46pm on 02 Dec 2009, Wansanshoo wrote:

    233.

    ''People may want more powers for Holyrood, but within the framework of the UK.''

    I agree,it's clear people want more, whether it's in or out of the framework is irrelevant,the union will destroy itself by either refusing power which will result in a majority nationalist government,or transferring power until they have no power left to appease the public.


    Wansanshoo

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  • 250. At 6:48pm on 02 Dec 2009, Tom wrote:

    Reluctant-Expat,

    I don't see us agreeing at all because our agenda's are different. However I will make a small point considering your 'little Scotlander' comment.

    I don't see France or Germany as involved as Great Britain abroad. If I am an isolationist I simply am proposing we copy France and Germany, it may not be exciting but it will save resources.

    Besides if resources are drying up, isn't it time to ensure that WE are secure and build up our position in the world before the fight for survival starts (self-sufficency n' all)? It's suitable to form blocks but I personally don't believe it'll be enough. It's time to start thinking for ourselves and criminalise others for failing to control population growth.

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  • 251. At 6:54pm on 02 Dec 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    232. Reluctant-Expat
    "Jeez, imagine that board! Mind you, you should check out a certain nat board where several claim of being spied on by MI5, phone-tapping, the works. I'm serious, it's insane on that one! Makes the Scotsman boards look like a bastion of intellect and rationality.

    "

    Right. Right. Those things have never happened in the past.

    Oops. Actually, they did and it was proven through FOI released documents. There is ample newspaper coverage if you want to do a little research. Suspecting it is a LONG way from insane.

    Incidentally, there is NO British law against MI5 tapping MSPs phones, in case you are unaware of that fact.

    One can HOPE it's not happening any more as it provably did in the past. But if it is, they're wasting a lot of tax payer money on it. All they'll learn is that the SNP is for *gasp* independence. LOL

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  • 252. At 6:56pm on 02 Dec 2009, Michael Hamilton wrote:

    Calman treated Scotland with contempt by not recommending the reintroduction of Dog Licences and by not recommending that Scotland should be given the Power to administer them. Airguns yes - dog licences no.

    Scotland needs more POWER.

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  • 253. At 6:56pm on 02 Dec 2009, A_Scottish_Voice wrote:

    Just watched Steven Purnell commenting on his future meetings with Mike Russell.

    I am so relieved that the Smell-o-vision has not been invented yet, as I could have swore that I heard noises that were not unsimilar to that of a baby filling its nappy.

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  • 254. At 7:01pm on 02 Dec 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    244. GAberdeen
    "I wasn' "hitting" you - I was contributing to a discussion, you'd do well to remember that and not to let my rhetoric affect you on a personal level."
    Try to remember that there are other human beings on the other end of your rhetoric.

    When you say that all Americans are evil murderers you are indeed hitting out at me.

    And it wasn't just rape and subjugation that the British Empire did, my friend. How many did they kill in their wars? Perchance a good deal more than the US has even thought of INCLUDING the nuclear weapons. I don't buy your argument that killing is only evil if it is done with a nuclear weapon or somehow more uniquely evil. And THAT is no "what if".

    Should the US admit that the bombing was evil. I certainly think so because I consider it evil. Should the British finally admit that their depredations were evil and not some kind of favor they did the world--as they still say--yes, I think so.

    Neither are going to any time soon, I fear.

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  • 255. At 7:01pm on 02 Dec 2009, Dunroamin wrote:

    247. JRMacLure: It still looks to me like if you accept the Electoral Calculus swing (which I realize not everyone does) that shows 21 MPs for the SNP.

    21 MPs? Really? Care to share your findings as I get considerably less SNP seats on those figures.

    (Party/Vote/Seats)
    CON 15.00% 2
    LAB 32.00% 33
    LIB 12.00% 8
    NAT 34.00% 16

    And far, far less if you enter the recent YouGov figures.

    CON 18.00% 3
    LAB 39.00% 42
    LIB 12.00% 7
    NAT 24.00% 7

    Where did you get your "21 MPs" from?

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  • 256. At 7:09pm on 02 Dec 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    246. Reluctant-Expat
    "We enjoy a premier place in the wealthiest of blocs with strength in economic wealth, political diplomacy and military force. All necessary to protect us from undesirable foreign influence."
    I think you actually believe that, which is sad. I wonder how much more it is going to take to wake you up to the truth that the UK has not had a "premier place" in anything except their delusions for a VERY long time.

    And just WHAT do you consider "undesirable foreign influence"? Being dragged into an illegal war in Iraq, perhaps? Did your supposed premier place prevent that? No. Desperately clinging to the delusion CAUSED it. We say jump; you say how high.

    On the other hand, I didn't see those small nations you so despise dragged into illegal foreign wars or having people coming home in body bags from Afghanistan or buying nuclear weapons from us (thank you for supporting the US economy--we can use all of your money we can get) OR giving us a treaty that allows us to extradite YOUR citizens WITHOUT showing probable cause.

    Good job "punching above your weight".

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  • 257. At 7:13pm on 02 Dec 2009, InfrequentAllele2 wrote:

    To save everyone else the bother of reading his comments, here's a summary of Reluctant-Expat's arguments.

    North Sea oil actually costs us money, and we're terribly fortunate to have those nice people at Westminster to take it off our hands for us.

    The annual tax-take from Scotland is £3.78 in loose change plus 100 pesetas found down the back of the sofa. Here are some statistics I've ripped out of context to prove it.

    The Forth Bridge cannot possibly be replaced using Scottish resources, we'd have to install a rope swing instead.

    The SNP will fence off Glasgow and spray it with weedkiller. That'll teach Weegies for calling the city the "Dear Green Place".

    The international frontier with England will come complete with death-strip, electrified barbed wire and surly conscripts carrying AK-45s. If you have relatives in England you won't be allowed to cross.

    No other country will recognise Scotland, we'll be a pariah state dependent upon aid from North Korea.

    Anti-English racism from Scottish people proves that Alex Salmond will set up concentration camps for everyone with an English accent. Anti-Scottish racism from English people doesn't exist, mentioning it just proves that you're a rabid nat with no sense of humour.

    Scots are more divided amongst themselves than any other nation on Earth, ever. In fact there's no such thing as Scotland anyway, it was created in a fit of spite in the Middle Ages just to annoy the English.

    Absolutely every government service comes to your courtesy of English taxpayers who keep Scotland in the Union out of the goodness of their hearts. Gawd bless their little cotton socks and the Queen.

    Santa Claus does exist. He lives in the Palace of Westminster.

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  • 258. At 7:14pm on 02 Dec 2009, dubbieside wrote:

    JRMacClure re 247

    I actually think that the position is worse than that for the unionists. The 34% is a national figure, but we also know that in some areas of Glasgow that the Labour figures have held up. The SNP will of course be higher now in the seats they hold.

    It is not inconceivable that if Glasgow was taken out of equation that the SNP lead for the rest of Scotland could be in the 38% to 40% region, given the size of the population in Glasgow.

    If this was the case with the exception of possibly re gaining Glasgow East, Labour would only hold what they have at present in Glasgow. The potential for gains in the rest of Scotland for the SNP could be substantial.

    The other points worth noting are that this poll was taken before the publication of the independence white paper with the three unionist parties denying the people a vote, and also before the sabotaging of the minimum pricing for alcohol bill before the debate has even started. How that will be reflected could be interesting.

    We could find parallels here with the south of England where it is solidly tory, but pockets of greater London remain firmly in the Labour camp.

    I know this is speculation on my part. but it does point to an interesting 6 months ahead of the general election.

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  • 259. At 7:14pm on 02 Dec 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    255. Reluctant-Expat
    They're what I got on Electoral Calculus when I entered those percentages.

    I'm no expert on its use and never claimed to be so I may have made an error. Some people don't even accept it as accurate. 16 or 21... either is let's see... within a couple of TRIPLE their current number.

    However it comes out on a predictor, the SNP is out celebrating is my guess.

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  • 260. At 7:16pm on 02 Dec 2009, Wansanshoo wrote:

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

  • 261. At 7:20pm on 02 Dec 2009, NCA999 wrote:

    Several things,

    Just quickly to the ignorant ranters that keep posting incorrect facts about our nuclear weapons, http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/7758314.stm . If that doesn't explain it to you ask yourself the question, exactly what mechanism is it that you think america has for "giving us permission to use our nuclear weapons. When we press our button do you think another flashes in washington asking for confirmation? Honestly?






    Right, onto the debate.

    #246 Reluctant-Expat puts a remarkably elagant case. Moreover his points actually rely on useful things like, facts, and stuff as a pose to most other posters on here.

    I would like to add to a few comments and deal with Thomas' one response (in which he again acknowledges that he doesn't actually have a response to most of the the actual arguments put against his side).

    With regards to the argument, regularly espoused by nationalists, that Unionists are as such because they are economically afraid. This is not only untrue, I feel when it comes from most top SNP politicians that they know it to be untrue. The SNP spreads lies like this in order to try and give the impression that everyone in Scotland is really as anti the rest of the country as they are and just don't think it would work out well for their wallets. This is untrue. I, as many others regularly point out as well, am extremely proud of my Scottish heritage. I own and wear a kilt, I regularly follow the Scottish national football and rugby teams, I tell every single foreign person I meet that I am Scottish. I however find it ignorant, and frankly disrespectful the way that Scottish Nationalists paint everyone that disagrees with them as being somehow less Scottish than they are. Given that the vast majority of Scots not only don't support them, but never have done, the only conclusion that can be reached is that they don't want an Independent Scotland for the benefit of all Scots but for the benefit of their minority band of followers.

    The assertion that this debate is about patriotism and confidence is not only a lie but an insulting one at that.

    Further to this, whilst such mistruths are regularly peddled by the SNP in an attempt to mislead voters, it evidently hasn't worked. Which brings me onto the second point I wished to add to which was that of whether the SNP have made the case for independence yet. The Scottish public has never voted for the SNP, ever. There has never been a single poll in our history that has shown the majority of the population to support independence, ever, whereas the vast vast majority of them do show us to oppose it.

    Given that there is not a single shred of evidence to support any calling for independence by the Scottish people, the premise behind this referendum is that Alex Salmond is somehow going to persuade us of his cause over the next few months.



    My question therefore is this, what arguments exactly are there still to be made that the SNP haven't had a chance to make in the last 50 years of their existence?




    Finally in response to Thomas' point about wanting a role like that of France/Germany. Firstly, both of these countries are fighting in Afghanistan, in fact Germany has the third largest army there. Further to this they do participate in a lot of overseas action, particularly the French in areas of Africa. Secondly both of these countries are outward reaching political heavyweights, France being on the security council and having nuclear weapons and Germany regularly being involved in global negotiations alongside the 5 permanent members. Both are members of the G8, like the UK and so benefit from the influence which this gives them. Both have actual power in the areas of the EU where decisions are actually made (unlike the small countries like Ireland and Scotland would be).

    In which area of international diplomacy is it that you think Scotland would be able to perform comparably to France or Germany?

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  • 262. At 7:22pm on 02 Dec 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    258. dubbieside
    "I know this is speculation on my part. but it does point to an interesting 6 months ahead of the general election."

    Indeed, interesting days!

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  • 263. At 7:24pm on 02 Dec 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    257. InfrequentAllele2
    "Scots are more divided amongst themselves than any other nation on Earth, ever. In fact there's no such thing as Scotland anyway, it was created in a fit of spite in the Middle Ages just to annoy the English.

    Absolutely every government service comes to your courtesy of English taxpayers who keep Scotland in the Union out of the goodness of their hearts. Gawd bless their little cotton socks and the Queen.

    Santa Claus does exist. He lives in the Palace of Westminster.

    "

    You left out that the English never really fought among themselves--those deposed, murdered kings and civil wars just vicious nationalist rumors--started on the internet by bloggers, no doubt. ;-)

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  • 264. At 7:28pm on 02 Dec 2009, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    257. InfrequentAllele2

    To a tee:)

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  • 265. At 7:32pm on 02 Dec 2009, NCA999 wrote:

    JRMaclure #256

    Again you peddle the SNP lie about what independence means. You pretend that it's about policies and not about institutions. Do you actually believe what you are writing in these posts?


    Re: you're particularly incorrect facts about the Iraq war, being a small country would have nothing to do with being involved or not. There were dozens of nations involved in the coalition including I believe Tonga which has a population of around 100,000.
    You talk about this as if you can be guaranteed that if Scotland had been independent ten years ago that the currently elected government would have had no involvement. You don't know that. More importantly you have no clue what the policies of the first, second or one hundredth scottish government would be post-independence. As such talking about things like the Iraq war as being in any way relevant to seperatism is completely flawed.

    Alex Salmond does it as a means of misleading the voters. Whether you do it as such or just because you're ignorant I don't know but either way it is very annoying.

    Independence is about a change of institution. Individual policies have nothing to do with this as countries last for hundreds of years. The people in Scotland can see this bigger picture, why can't the small minority within the SNP see it?

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  • 266. At 7:34pm on 02 Dec 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    244. GAberdeen
    I know a few people who refer to the Opium Wars by the way. I have a whole list up to some pretty recent events.

    Let me say that when it comes to the evils we've all done, no one can claim to be clean whether it's the US, Britain, France, Spain, Germany, Japan... We've all done our share, some on a pretty darn big scale. Spain MAY be the all time winner, but I wouldn't guarantee that since I'm not sure how much you can ethically include death by disease which they couldn't control after all.

    In more recent events, I do NOT put the nuclear bombings ANY worse, ethically and morally, than the Dresden bombing which was an act of pure evil, in my opinion. I don't think one particular bomb is what makes the act evil.

    But in case it isn't plain, yes, I wish the US would admit it was evil and at least apologize for it. I don't think it will happen in my lifetime.

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  • 267. At 7:37pm on 02 Dec 2009, enneffess wrote:

    204. At 2:54pm on 02 Dec 2009, michaelhamilton wrote:
    There is a nation that is paying a huge bureaucracy in a foreign country to destroy its fishing industry and its upper hill farming.

    Yes – PAYS millions annually and gets nothing back.

    They must be mad?

    Its time now to get out of the EU and take control of our own country and our own natural resources.


    ----------

    The referendum document cleary talks about Scotland being a full member of the EU, something which you quite correctly point out does little for the fishing industry.

    Is the Scottish Democratic Alliance in direct competition with the SNP?

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  • 268. At 7:44pm on 02 Dec 2009, X_Sticks wrote:

    185.northhighlander
    If we had been independent, we would have been hit by the financial crisis, no doubt. But if we had been independent, and if we had managed our resources sensibly like Norway has, we would have had an oil fund similar the theirs. £259bn. That is enough to cover Britain's budget deficit, never mind Scotland's. We would easily have been able to borrow whatever might have been needed to bail out the half-English, half-Scottish banks, if that's what we had chosen to do.
    I don't know how you can reasonably expect the SNP to be able to deliver on their promises and pledges when they are confronted by a Unionist cabal that will stoop to any depths to prevent them. That small mindedness is what has scunnered me with the Unionists. Theirs is a slash and burn policy, and the Scots people are just collateral damage. Broken promises are absolutely all that Labour have deliverd.
    I for one would rather spend £9m on independence than the £614,000 that was wasted on the pointless Calman commission.

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  • 269. At 7:53pm on 02 Dec 2009, albamac wrote:

    226. Reluctant-Expat

    "The serious debates are held on other boards"

    How do you find the time?

    You may recall this from our last exchange, "Y'know, maybe your comment would be more aptly applied to nationalists, such as yourself, who have been blitzing any and every Scottish-related blog for a good few years now, with as much pro-SNP/anti-UK propaganda as you can manufacture."

    I responded to that by calling your attention to the fact that, up to that point, you'd posted 1099 comments on BWB whereas I'd contributed a paltry 88. Of course, there's no way that your mission here would stall simply because your lies, insults and stupidity were exposed!

    So, here you are, as ever, piling on the (John) Bull! Last time I looked, you'd upped your score by 45. I've managed another six.

    Re your comment on 'armchair Generals', how many of those does it take to marshall the forces of wasters like you, Hermann?

    WTF are you? Replace the 'W' with Who, Where, What and Why, the latter pair being the most puzzling.

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  • 270. At 8:03pm on 02 Dec 2009, Wansanshoo wrote:

    Independent Nuclear Detterent ?



    Labour's 2005 election manifesto stated: "We are also committed to retaining the independent nuclear deterrent."

    The deterrent is carried in four Vanguard-class submarines that were designed and built in Britain, incorporating US components and reactor technology.

    The delivery system is the Trident D-5 missile, which is designed, made and stored in the United States.

    The firing system is also designed and made in the US. So is the guidance system.

    The computer software is American.

    The warhead design is based on the U.S. W-76 bomb.

    The warheads are produced by Aldermaston, which is co-managed by the US firm Lockheed Martin and uses a great deal of US technology. Some vital nuclear explosive parts are imported, we now know, from the US, as are some non-nuclear parts.

    The warhead factory is a copy of a facility at Los Alamos, New Mexico.

    The submarine maintenance base is also 51 per cent owned by Halliburton of the US.


    This is the story of the British 'INDEPENDENT' nuclear detterent.

    Wansanshoo.

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  • 271. At 8:05pm on 02 Dec 2009, enneffess wrote:

    Multiple arguments ongoing I see. Nice to see the board so active!


    On the banking crisis: Scotland is not independent so we have no idea whether or not the crisis would have hit. Salmond WAS in favour of light touch regulation but that does NOT mean the crisis would have hit either. But to say it definitely would or not is assumption. Look at the current situation, not what could have been.


    On schools, it is not only Labour councils that are cutting back, so be careful about constantly highlighting Glasgow as this will turn round and bite people on the backside. Mike Russell will not make specifics as he knows the dangers of that. By the way, on the subject of photocopied school books, my council is Labour controlled.


    On more powers for Holyrood, support is definitely growing but full independence still hasn't had the surge of support. But that is still a major possibility. I'd suggest a further term in Holyrood would give the edge for the SNP.




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  • 272. At 8:08pm on 02 Dec 2009, Tom wrote:

    NCA999,

    First of all France is driven by self-interest in Africa, most noticable in formor colonies of France. France and Germany in Afganistan are embaressing, compared to British efforts. Both are capable of feilding armies either to the same amount as Britain or greater but we've seen nothing of the sort, so please spare this nonesense about France/Germany not following an isolationist agenda in comparison to the United Kingdom. I am not suggesting that both France and Germany do nothing, but I am pointing out that the United Kingdom contributes beyond their efforts. It's not exactly an equal alliance.

    The security council seat does not bring direct benefits to Scotland. I believe that England can continue in the chair while an independent Scotland can continue to benefit from their work, without putting in the effort.

    I will also point out that not being a member of the G8, G20 or a major player in the European Union does not put smaller members off from playing a role altogether. If it was an issue I suspect everyone would have opted only for the free trade agreements. Perhaps thats something to think about, but I would also ask what direct benefits has the UK brought for Scotland throught the European Union?

    I was also not comparing an independent Scotland to France or Germany. I was pointing out Scotland should be looking internally instead of internationally and create a country of self-sufficency. I point to France and Germany because compared to the United Kingdom, it does not play the world power games.

    You have to admitt that smaller countries have huge advantages over their larger neighbours over certain issues and you have to argue why Scotland is better off apart of the United Kingdom and not chasing the same dreams as their smaller neighbours.

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  • 273. At 8:12pm on 02 Dec 2009, Michael Hamilton wrote:

    #268. According to Audit Scotland on the Government web site, the latest Government Expenditure and Revenue Scotland (GERS) analysis shows Scotland in budget surplus - with a surplus of some £2.3 billion in the past three years.

    Audit Scotland report
    05/11/2009

    NOT opinion - audited fact.

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  • 274. At 8:16pm on 02 Dec 2009, Tom wrote:

    NCA999,

    #265.

    "There were dozens of nations involved in the coalition including I believe Tonga which has a population of around 100,000.
    You talk about this as if you can be guaranteed that if Scotland had been independent ten years ago that the currently elected government would have had no involvement."

    The United Kingdom was a major contributer to the Iraq war, it cost billions, an independent Scotland may have been involved but I see no evidence for small countries putting huge financial strain on their forces for international politics. The most UK forces in Iraq topped slightly over 50,000. That's a huge percentage of our forces, so is there reason to suggest we'd have done the same? Even the big players, France and Germany have not contributed such large numbers to Iraq or Afganistan ;-)

    "You don't know that. More importantly you have no clue what the policies of the first, second or one hundredth scottish government would be post-independence. As such talking about things like the Iraq war as being in any way relevant to seperatism is completely flawed."

    It's not, unless you've evidence to prove that small countries have contrubuted huge amount of forces and resources to campaigns that the British have fought?

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  • 275. At 8:17pm on 02 Dec 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    265. NCA999
    "Independence is about a change of institution. Individual policies have nothing to do with this as countries last for hundreds of years. "

    As for your argument that the whole world went to war for the US in Iraq, including the small nations, all I can do is snort in response.

    Yes, we did manage to pressure the Albanians into sending a huge force of 70. Made us able to say it was a terrifically multinational force. Moldova sent 24. That Tonganese force you are so impressed with consisted of 55 troops.

    What a lie and a farce on the part of the US!

    HOW MANY UK TROOPS DIED OVER THERE AGAIN? For a war that was clearly illegal and immoral.

    So it is *possible* that the Scots might have been pressured into sending a couple of dozen troops or even a hundred as did Norway. I doubt it--but it's possible.

    You unionists are so funny. Do you really think people can't see past your misdirection?

    When nationalists talk about institutions, you whinge on about that nationalists won't talk about specific policies. When policies are discussed, you go on about how only institutions count.

    I think institutions do count. And the closer they are to the people--which means smaller and more responsive and more democratic--the more likely they are to reflect the will of the people. The institutions of the UK do not represent the will of the people of Scotland from Trident to Afghanistan to any number of other issues and the institutional paralysis of the UK in not reforming (and not likely TO reform) the House of Lords and the electoral process and the fact that the will of the Scots is simply overwhelmed in the face of being a minority in the UK makes that impossible within that institution.

    There. Now we've discussed both.

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  • 276. At 8:18pm on 02 Dec 2009, Tom wrote:

    Off to bed, night all.

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  • 277. At 8:21pm on 02 Dec 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    271. Neil_Small147
    "I'd suggest a further term in Holyrood would give the edge for the SNP."

    I think you have a strong point. After the next Holyrood election, things will start to look very different. But I also think the SNP is right not to look weak by putting off bringing their white paper forward.

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  • 278. At 8:29pm on 02 Dec 2009, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    A People’s Parliament

    "Iain Gray – 2 December 2009"

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  • 279. At 8:30pm on 02 Dec 2009, Bruce wrote:

    This blog is supposed to be about education but that seems to have slipped away into a wider debate of what stats mean and who is bad or not.
    I suppose for myself if the Liberals and Labour were planning a vote of no confidence that I feel would have been a mistake. Education has suddenly not gotten bad in 2 to 3 years under the SNP. The simple fact would appear to be that education has been getting worse for many years. This could be down to Governments of every shade getting too involved when maybe we need to encourage schools to have a far bigger say in what and how they teach based on the needs of children and young people in their local community. Is Fiona Hyslop to blame, I don't know but the politics of blame in education just seem off somehow. Maybe it's all our responsibilities to try and get it right, as a parent and as a society.
    In some ways I would have liked to see a vote of no confidence as it would have shown the Liberals and Labour for what they really are, they just don't appear to have the best interests of Scotland at heart. The constitutional debate has to happen, doesn't matter what side of the fence you are on, it has to happen because it's time for the people to have a grown up debate, hear all the facts and make a decision. This decision is too important for politicians to make and I am sorry if I offend anyone I wouldn't let Ian Gray or Tavish Scott make that decision for me, likewise Goldie and Salmond. It's up to everyone of us to make the decision and the sooner all the politicians stop acting like children and start acting like the people we hope they can be, have the debate and take the issue to the people, then maybe we can move on as a country based on what the country wants.

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  • 280. At 8:34pm on 02 Dec 2009, Online Ed wrote:

    Online Ed Here

    It always amazes me to see journalists hitting the keyboard without applying reason.

    Ruth Wishart has written an article in The Herald here where she positively gushes about Jim Murphy, the artcticle also compares Iain Gray unfavourably with Murphy.

    Now, I'm not Gray's biggest fan but even he could have the profile Murphy has if he was guaranteed never to face scrutiny - in fact almost every poster here could do Murphy's job.

    A boxer can never be considered world class until he has fought decent opposition; in Murphy's case he has yet to face even one opponent. He didn't even have the courage to face Gordon Brewer when he announced Labour's interpretation of Calman.

    So, no - I don't think that Murphy can be considered anything other than a poliitician with limited ability who has lucked out by finding himself with a high profile and no questions asked.

    Iain Gray at least puts himself up in front of Salmond and has appeared numerous times on TV and radio to be questioned - sometimes even proper questions as was the case on radio Scotland over the minimum price issue.

    Wishart even acknowledges that the Secretary of State is a job without portfolio - then completely ignores the fact that Labour have used the title in order to promote propaganda - and we in Scotland get to pay for it.

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  • 281. At 9:04pm on 02 Dec 2009, NCA999 wrote:

    Wansanshoo

    This laptop I'm typing on right now was designed in Japan.

    Which is it that you believe,

    a) That I don't own my laptop?
    b) That I have to phone the Japanese government for permission to use my laptop?

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  • 282. At 9:04pm on 02 Dec 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    279. Bruce206
    "I am sorry if I offend anyone I wouldn't let Ian Gray or Tavish Scott make that decision for me, likewise Goldie and Salmond. It's up to everyone of us to make the decision and the sooner all the politicians stop acting like children and start acting like the people we hope they can be, have the debate and take the issue to the people, then maybe we can move on as a country based on what the country wants."
    If that offends anyone, then they are in NEED of being offended. What poll after poll after poll of the Scottish people has shown is that they want exactly THAT. And it is their right to HAVE that.

    Schedule a referendum, have the debate and let the PEOPLE decide.

    WHAT IN GOD'S NAME IS SO HARD ABOUT THAT?

    People talk about that Quebec had a second referendum--AFTER FIFTEEN YEARS. A new generation wanted THEIR say. Someday, fifteen or twenty years down the road IF Scotland didn't achieve independence the same might happen.

    But now--for the people of Scotland who have never had a say in the matter--they want their say. They want to vote. That is supposed to be democracy, right?

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  • 283. At 9:04pm on 02 Dec 2009, Nat_very_likely wrote:

    LIB DEMS END EU REFERENDUM CALL

    Takes a little of the heat off Tavish.Only a very little.

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  • 284. At 9:05pm on 02 Dec 2009, Online Ed wrote:

    Online Ed Here

    Another fantastic piece of imagination over at The Scotsman by the one and only David Maddox.

    Click Here

    Now, before you read it remember that this paper is supposed to be a quality journal, so it's readers aren't idiots.

    It's a classic piece straight out of the 'Carry On' films - all the regulars are there with their catch phrases:

    Iain Gray:
    "the wheels come off the SNP bandwagon" [honest he did!!]

    Maddox:
    "But it is the manner of her departure that has led to claims that the balance of power is shifting in Holyrood."

    Maddox's 'Ten days that shook Alex Salmond's world' is unintentionally hilarious.

    However this paragraph:
    A delighted Mr Scott headed to the Scottish Parliament media tower to take credit for the first major ministerial scalp since the SNP came to power in 2007.

    ... reveals exactly what we have been saying about the Unionists since 2007. They see their role as sabotaging the governance of Scotland and placing obstacle in the way.

    They think it is a game where the public will see the demotion of a minister due to councils refusing to recruit teachers as evidence that Unionists are the team of the future.

    This is not a game Tavish [and Gray], metaphorical high fives amongst Unionists is not going down well despite what fantasists like Mr Maddox might print.

    Oh, and both The Herald and The Scotsman just weren't happy with the word 'demoted', so they opted for the usual word whenever there is an SNP reshuffle - 'sacked'.

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  • 285. At 9:07pm on 02 Dec 2009, NCA999 wrote:

    275 JRMaclure

    "I think institutions do count. And the closer they are to the people--which means smaller and more responsive and more democratic--the more likely they are to reflect the will of the people."

    So you believe in an Independent nation of Aberdeenshire then?

    If not please do tell us why.

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  • 286. At 9:11pm on 02 Dec 2009, NCA999 wrote:

    On education, since someone rightly reminded us above to get back on topic. As I said above I have a fair amount of sympathy for our outgoing education secretary as she was not only given unaffordable and unsensible policies to implement, the carpet was pulled from underneath her by the rest of the scottish exec by removing the ringfencing of funds (not criticising this as a policy, just saying i feel sorry for her).

    More importantly though, since it's apparently not the SNP's fault that they weren't able to implement their PROMISES, as the power lies with councils, why were they not astute enough to know this before the election and therefore to make PROMISES that were within their power to keep rather than LYING to us for votes?

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  • 287. At 9:39pm on 02 Dec 2009, mrbfaethedee wrote:

    281. NCA999
    "Wansanshoo

    This laptop I'm typing on right now was designed in Japan.

    Which is it that you believe,

    a) That I don't own my laptop?
    b) That I have to phone the Japanese government for permission to use my laptop?
    "

    Now imagine your little laptop is a (very) thin client, that gets all the data it needs from the factory in Japan. Now imagine you want to do a piece of work that Japan doesn't want you to do. Can you use your laptop - yes, but only in an academic and facile way. Can you do the thing you wanted to do with your laptop? NO.

    Imagine you had a bow and arrow that you could fire at will, but I control where the arrow goes. Can you fire the arrow, Yes. Can you hit the target you want to? NO.

    The guidance systems of your shiny and imperial ego boosting nuclear missiles are dependent on data absolutely controlled by a foreign power. You want to lauch a nuclear strike that the foreign power doesn't want you to strike. Can you fire your nuclear throbber without their authorisation? Yes. Can you do what you wanted to do with your fissile-testosterone-substitute? NO.

    So except in terms of the financial burden (and massive imperial-power ego boost, of course) of it, how is this really 'your' nuclear arsenal?

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  • 288. At 9:40pm on 02 Dec 2009, mrbfaethedee wrote:

    286. NCA999
    "More importantly though, since it's apparently not the SNP's fault that they weren't able to implement their PROMISES, as the power lies with councils, why were they not astute enough to know this before the election and therefore to make PROMISES that were within their power to keep rather than LYING to us for votes?"

    Point us to the promises.

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  • 289. At 9:44pm on 02 Dec 2009, enneffess wrote:

    277. At 8:21pm on 02 Dec 2009, JRMacClure wrote:
    271. Neil_Small147
    "I'd suggest a further term in Holyrood would give the edge for the SNP."

    I think you have a strong point. After the next Holyrood election, things will start to look very different. But I also think the SNP is right not to look weak by putting off bringing their white paper forward.



    I think the referendum will only be given the go ahead if the opposition parties are given a guarantee that only a clear majority - that is a majority of ALL votes cast - is the designated result for independence talks to move forward (or whatever the process is). You cannot play around with a standard fptp system - eg 30 percent wins because everyone else has 29 - over such a critical issue. I think Salmond is trying for the 30 percent style, but he has no chance of getting that through. Even if he did, I would expect huge constitutional legal challenges against the result, as it clearly would not be the will of the majority.

    The unionist support is also aware of this, and my view is they are pushing for the 51 percent type vote, in the hope the SNP lose. If the SNP do lose then Alex Salmond like it or not becomes vulnerable within his own party. At present, the only person who could take over his role effectively is Nicola Sturgeon, as she is popular amongst the electorate, and is a strong enough character to take on that role.

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

    On education, the councils have the ball. But what I do not understand is why the SNP councils are not giving it back. From what I gather only one council in Scotland is NOT making cuts in education. But I don't have sufficient information to back that up at the moment.

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

    284. At 9:05pm on 02 Dec 2009, U14094468:

    It's the holiday season and they want to give people a laugh......

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

    283. At 9:04pm on 02 Dec 2009, mistydougie wrote:
    LIB DEMS END EU REFERENDUM CALL

    The problem with the Lib Dems? They will not stick to any specific policy, so no one really understands what they are for. At least with Paddy Ashdown and to an extent Charles Kennedy there was focus. Now look at them: 1mill mansion tax? No, let's make it 2mill. EU referendum? Not now, maybe next year. New leader? Not yet, we can't find anyone the public recognises.

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

    Wansanshoo

    I've already posted the long version, but in the case of a retaliation strike the UK Government can launch nuclear weapons independently. Read up on nuclear warfare tactics as to why.

    By the way, my wife thinks your username is brilliant!

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

    275. At 8:17pm on 02 Dec 2009, JRMacClure:

    On Iraq, almost every serving member of the Armed Forces in 1991 agreed with the war. Few did come round 2, as it was so obvious what the reasoning behind it was - daddy messed up first time.

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  • 290. At 9:44pm on 02 Dec 2009, mrbfaethedee wrote:

    285. NCA999
    ""I think institutions do count. And the closer they are to the people--which means smaller and more responsive and more democratic--the more likely they are to reflect the will of the people."

    So you believe in an Independent nation of Aberdeenshire then?
    "

    Does the set of institutions that you are capable of enumerating consist of a single item - independent nation states?

    There are many institutional arrangements available which are more or less suited to different scales (of people, economics, history, geography, etc...). But I'm sure your aware of that already - so why such a facile rejoinder?

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  • 291. At 9:47pm on 02 Dec 2009, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    286. NCA999

    SNP in massive, unassailable lead!

    "We really must improve education in this country."

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  • 292. At 9:50pm on 02 Dec 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    285. NCA999


    The correct name for that silly comment is a straw man argument.

    You'll need to do better than that.

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  • 293. At 9:56pm on 02 Dec 2009, Online Ed wrote:

    Online Ed Here

    The FT reports that British manufacturing and industry declined more under Labour than during the Thatcher era.

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  • 294. At 9:59pm on 02 Dec 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    289. Neil_Small147
    "On Iraq, almost every serving member of the Armed Forces in 1991 agreed with the war. Few did come round 2, as it was so obvious what the reasoning behind it was - daddy messed up first time."

    I won't argue with you there.

    I was referring specifically to "round 2". I was not enthusiastic about round 1 but it was a totally different situation with a specific and winnable goal, one that one might could even defend although there were more complications than most people wanted to recognize.

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  • 295. At 10:01pm on 02 Dec 2009, mrbfaethedee wrote:

    284. U14094468
    "They think it is a game where the public will see the demotion of a minister due to councils refusing to recruit teachers as evidence that Unionists are the team of the future.

    This is not a game Tavish [and Gray], metaphorical high fives amongst Unionists is not going down well despite what fantasists like Mr Maddox might print.
    "

    This is the only game they can easily play, it requires little wit and no integrity. Where are the policies they could work together to push through? - They have none!
    Instead, in the event of a reshuffle, the opposition leaders scrabble in the media for political kudos.
    The only barometer anyone needs in order to measure Tavish Scott is the performance of his freefalling LibDem party.
    Even saying nothing would improve Ian Gray's profile.
    And Annabelle 'they don't speak for Scotland' Goldie tarnishes herself yet further with her unsubstantiated claims that Hyslop had "lost the confidence of parents, teachers, local authorities and education experts."

    The worst thing about the whole thing is that it is all predicated on the back of an implicit narrative that our children are being badly educated - they are not. The work being done in the education sector is to try and continue making improvements, not keep our heads above water. More doom and fear mongering.

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  • 296. At 10:02pm on 02 Dec 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    291. cynicalHighlander
    ""We really must improve education in this country."

    "
    Hilarious! I love it.

    By the way, why am I apparently coming out with too many seats when I use those poll numbers in Electronic Calculus? Several people have said 16 which is a very good number. I have no problem with that except that it isn't what I get when I plug them in. Any suggestion where the difference may lie?

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  • 297. At 10:05pm on 02 Dec 2009, oldnat wrote:

    Just watched "Scotland's Conspiracy Files" on BBC2. Good analysis of the last 30 years move towards Scottish autonomy. The Unionists will have hated it!

    Maybe the Beeb has decided to redress the balance a bit!

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  • 298. At 10:07pm on 02 Dec 2009, oldnat wrote:

    296. JRMacClure
    "Any suggestion where the difference may lie?"

    Are you putting in the figures for the Holyrood constituencies instead of the Westminster figures?

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  • 299. At 10:08pm on 02 Dec 2009, X_Sticks wrote:

    201.Reluctant-Expat
    Norwegian oil fund. September 2009 £259bn

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  • 300. At 10:12pm on 02 Dec 2009, oldnat wrote:

    POLLING GEEK ALERT!

    I've commented before on several polls reporting a significant decline in the LD support. I've had a detailed look at last month's TNS poll which gives a regional breakdown. While sub-samples are never particularly reliable because of their size and the sample not being demographically balanced, a pattern has been developing in the Highlands which suggests that the LD heartland may have defected to the SNP.

    A Unified National Swing looks as unlikely to be true in Scotland itself, much less across the UK. Details are

    Holyrood Constituency
    Party, Total, H&I, NE, Mid, Loth, Central, Glasgow, West, South
    SNP, 40%, 51%, 56%, 41%, 27%, 41%, 35%, 39%, 35%
    Lab, 32%, 24%, 8%, 41%, 32%, 35%, 36%, 36%, 36%
    Con, 13%, 12%, 16%, 9%, 17%, 10%, 10%, 11%, 18%
    LD, 11%, 11%, 17%, 6%, 15%, 8%, 10%, 12%, 10%
    Other, 5%, 1%, 3%, 3%, 9%, 5%, 10%, 1%, 1%

    Holyrood List
    Party, Total, H&I, NE, Mid, Loth, Central, Glasgow, West, South
    SNP, 37%, 47%, 52%, 38%, 17%, 36%, 37%, 39%, 37%
    Lab, 29%, 28%, 12%, 37%, 26%, 30%, 27%, 36%, 36%
    Con, 12%, 12%, 19%, 10%, 14%, 12%, 10%, 7%, 15%
    LD, 12%, 10%, 12%, 6%, 23%, 11%, 8%, 11%, 9%
    Green, 4%, 2%, -, 3%, 9%, 5%, 6%, 3%, 1%
    SSP, 2%, -, 2%, 1%, 4%, 2%, 6%, 1%, -
    Other, 4%, 1%, 3%, 4%, 8%, 4%, 7%, 3%, 3%

    Westminster
    Party, Total, H&I, NE, Mid, Loth, Central, Glasgow, West, South
    SNP, 25%, 36%, 35%, 32%, 13%, 25%, 25%, 22%, 22%
    Lab, 39%, 35%, 20%, 47%, 32%, 44%, 38%, 43%, 46%
    Con, 18%, 21%, 25%, 13%, 21%, 18%, 15%, 14%, 20%
    LD, 12%, 7%, 12%, 6%, 19%, 8%, 12%, 21%, 8%
    Other, 6%, 2%, 7%, 1%, 14%, 6%, 9%, -, 5%

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  • 301. At 10:13pm on 02 Dec 2009, mrbfaethedee wrote:

    297. oldnat
    "Just watched "Scotland's Conspiracy Files" on BBC2. Good analysis of the last 30 years move towards Scottish autonomy. The Unionists will have hated it!

    Maybe the Beeb has decided to redress the balance a bit!
    "

    Och! Forgot all about it, and iPlayer is 'down for maintenance'. :(

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  • 302. At 10:20pm on 02 Dec 2009, ahumscottish2 wrote:

    Hi All,

    Just watched BBC2 Scotland Conspiracies, can we get Brian to start a blog/comment on this????

    What are the thoughts of fellow contributers????

    Why have these people not been brought to task?

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  • 303. At 10:29pm on 02 Dec 2009, X_Sticks wrote:

    212.Reluctant-Expat
    The war in Iraq has cost over 600,000 innocent Iraqi lives, destabilised the whole middle east and made us a target for Islamic extremists. The only ones who have profited from that war are the American companies who have made $billions out of the suffering.
    The war in Afghanistan has caused unknown thousands of lives - we've never bothered counting - further destabilised the middle east, especially northern Pakistan. How clever are you going to feel when the Taliban take Pakistan and become a nuclear power? Oh, and the long wanted Unocal pipeline from Turkmenistan to Pakistan shuold be finished soon.

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  • 304. At 10:30pm on 02 Dec 2009, Online Ed wrote:

    Online Ed Here

    In The Scotsman tomorrow:
    Iain Gray: Parliament should listen to the people, not the political elite

    This is the same Iain Gray who refuses the people a referendum and also refuses to listen to experts and social groups over minimum pricing for alcohol.

    Oh, The Scotsman also has a go at The Homecoming - twice.

    Till next time .....

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  • 305. At 10:40pm on 02 Dec 2009, Harry Stottle wrote:

    A lot of labours scorched earth policies in Scotland could have been prevented if our spineless Trades Unions had witheld support from arch Thatcherite Gordon Brown and his bunch of self serving hangers on.
    I never thought I'd live to see the day when the STUC are bankrolling the party that promoted Thatchers portrait and statue and advocates a state funeral.
    I wonder if many STUC members are happy knowing that their dues are propping up a man who says his greatest hero was the one who's industrial devastation in Scotland was only surpassed by his own.

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  • 306. At 10:41pm on 02 Dec 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    298. oldnat
    No, I definitely put in the Westminster polling numbers:SNP 34, L 32, C 15, LD 12. And every time I enter them I get 21 seats. Well, just proves I'm not a polling geek. ;-)

    What do you do about the rest of the UK? Maybe that's where I am going wrong.

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  • 307. At 10:42pm on 02 Dec 2009, X_Sticks wrote:

    223. Vakov2000
    "Why do the Scots vote for people who's aim is to run down the country and protect London's position at all costs even to the detriment of Scotland?"
    Lack of education, lack of information and believing all the lies they are told by politicians.

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  • 308. At 10:45pm on 02 Dec 2009, mrbfaethedee wrote:

    296. JRMacClure
    "By the way, why am I apparently coming out with too many seats when I use those poll numbers in Electronic Calculus? Several people have said 16 which is a very good number. I have no problem with that except that it isn't what I get when I plug them in. Any suggestion where the difference may lie?"

    Finall intrigued enough, i finally visited the electoral calculus for the first time, and whatever you're doing wrong - i'm doing it to!

    I click on 'regional predictor' to get to the 'user-defined regional poll', clicked on 'trend values' to set the figures up for the UK, then changed the scotland figures to the westminster voting intentions posted by dubbieside at his #241 -

    SNP: 34%
    Lab: 32%
    Con: 15%
    Lib Dem: 12%

    I got 21 too. Someone put me out of my misery, tell me what fool mistake I'm making.

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  • 309. At 10:52pm on 02 Dec 2009, oldnat wrote:

    306. JRMacClure

    You need to enter the details here and ignore the rest of GB (always worth doing anyway :-) )

    http://www.electoralcalculus.co.uk/index.html?scotland.html

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  • 310. At 10:58pm on 02 Dec 2009, handclapping wrote:

    #306 JRMacClure
    Um, there are Welsh Nationalists too. 8-)

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  • 311. At 11:12pm on 02 Dec 2009, X_Sticks wrote:

    265.NCA999
    You are absolutely right! Independence is about changing the institution. I for one no longer wish to be part of the instuitution that consists of Westminster and its fiefdom in the south. All of the rest of the UK, Northern England, Wales and Scotland have been pretty well excluded from their gravy train. It is time this institution was changed. Countries do last for hundreds of years. Scotland has in spite of the fact that there has been and still is a conspiracy by "the institution" to keep us in our place. That place is under their rule. I want out from under the thumb of Westminster, and I'm not alone.

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  • 312. At 11:12pm on 02 Dec 2009, mrbfaethedee wrote:

    309. oldnat

    Thanks oldnat - can't believe i didn't notice the 'Scotland Pages' link!

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  • 313. At 11:14pm on 02 Dec 2009, NCA999 wrote:

    JR

    I asked a simple question and you're unable to answer it.

    I asked why, if you believe smaller is better, why you don't support an independent state of Aberdeen.

    Surely if it is such a stupid question then it should have been very simply rebutted by you. Except it isn't a stupid point, and you don't have an answer and so instead you resorted to insulting the premise (otherwise known as dodging a difficult question).







    mrb

    Wow, a collection of idiotic posts from you. One is this absurd claim that we're somehow incapable of directing our nuclear weapons because the Americans control the guidance chips on them. You provide no evidence of this and so I'll just take it to be as ludicrous as all of the previous claims.
    Note that the "reason" why the Americans have control over our weapons has been chaned by conspiracy theorists at least half a dozen times on here and never has any provided any evidence that we can't fire our weapons if we chose to, whereas several others have provided you with evidence to the contrary of your blind assertions.





    You asked me to direct you to SNP promises. If you type in SNP manifesto into google you'll find a list of them. The most pertinent for this discussion might be....
    Reduce all primary 1-3 class sizes to 18.
    Although there are plenty of others.





    You asked non-sensical and irrelevant question about my view on institutions. I agree with everything you said, which I can easily do as what you said had no relevance to the discussion which JR and myself were having. He made the argument that smaller states automatically equal better states because the institutions are closer to the people. I could have responded by pointing out that that is just an argument for de-centralisation rather than seperatism but instead I asked a simple and obvious question (to which he was UNABLE to answer) of why then did he not support the breakup of Scotland into smaller nations. Perhaps you can answer that question, but given your confusion regarding what the debate was even about I find it unlikely.

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  • 314. At 11:20pm on 02 Dec 2009, mrbfaethedee wrote:

    300. oldnat
    "POLLING GEEK ALERT!

    I've commented before on several polls reporting a significant decline in the LD support.
    "

    Very interesting!
    What do you make of the electoral calculus prediction of 3 libdem gains from the snp (Inverness Nairn Badenoch and Strathspey, Gordon, Argyll and Bute), in the context of your post about the libdems flaging fortunes?

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  • 315. At 11:34pm on 02 Dec 2009, NCA999 wrote:

    #311 x

    That's fine mate. The Scottish people don't agree with you, but you're entitled to your opinion. You'll keep voting SNP, the rest of us will keep voting for other people and we'll all live happily ever after.

    I'm glad to note that at least you are honest about your reasons for wanting Independence unlike those who try to claim that it's about lowering taxes, not entering "illegal" wars or not having nuclear weapons.

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  • 316. At 11:40pm on 02 Dec 2009, handclapping wrote:

    #313 NCA999
    #285 So you believe in an Independent nation of Aberdeenshire then?
    #313 why you don't support an independent state of Aberdeen.
    If you don't know what you are talking about, how do you expect us to know?

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  • 317. At 11:40pm on 02 Dec 2009, hamish42 wrote:

    #302

    I would now like to see BBC Scotland play the BBC Alba programme on the subject with subtitles.

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  • 318. At 11:41pm on 02 Dec 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    313. NCA999
    "I asked why, if you believe smaller is better, why you don't support an independent state of Aberdeen.
    "

    Tell you what, you come back with arguments for Aberdeen independence and we'll discuss it. There are some very small nations in the world. If Aberdeen wants to be one of them, as far as I'm concerned they have every right, especially if in the past they were or if they are now a nation, to vote on it. Clear enough?

    In the meantime, that is still known as a straw man argument and I won't waste my time on it.

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  • 319. At 11:43pm on 02 Dec 2009, NCA999 wrote:

    mrb regards your queries on constituencies. The one i do know a little about.

    The Lib Dems will almost definitely beat the SNP in Argyll and Bute.

    The SNP I think came 5th in the last UK elections there. They went on to win the MSP seat, a large part due to a single local issue.

    The current MSP stood up and made a promise, with a large number of specifics, regarding the ferries in the cowal area (around a third of the A&B constituency).

    I think in all fairness he wasn't expecting to win, hoping that making a promise would just increase the size of his vote and make progress. Further he probably didn't expect the SNP to win on top of that, and thus actually have to deliver on his promises.


    Either way I would imagine that the SNP won't win many elections in A&B any time soon. It's got nothing to do with support for independence (although given the largest employer in the area is Faslane Naval base it isn't high anyway) and everything to do with a local issue.

    Also of note is the fact that everyone in the constituency that goes to university has to leave home to do so. The SNP gained a lot of votes there with their promise to scrap student debt and, from what I gather, this is another issue of upset.



    The point of note is that despite everyone quoting these percentages that doesn't mean anything with regards how the seats will turn out, as it's all about electing the person most representative of the constituency. Now granted in the UK there are a lot of areas where labour have muddied the boundaries to gain favour of the conservatives but I don't know if the same can be said to be true for Scotland.
    I don't know so am interested in peoples thoughts on the issue but it seems to me that the SNP support is very localised, to certain constituencies. In that they get a large number of votes in a small number of areas, which I would argue actually isn't a problem with the FPTP system, at least not in the way that it is currently set up to benefit labour over the conservatives at a national level.

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  • 320. At 11:46pm on 02 Dec 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    313. NCA999
    "If you type in SNP manifesto into google you'll find a list of them. "
    Since when is a manifesto statement a "promise"?

    It is certainly what a party wants to do and sets out to do. I have YET to see any party say that they promise to do it and that circumstances may not prevent it.

    That sounds like a whining child: "Mammy, you said we'd drive to town."

    "The car is in the shop today. I'm sorry. We'll go when another day."

    "But you prooooomiiiised."

    Are you SERIOUSLY proposing that the SNP did not want to achieve those. Now you can legitimately say they did not achieve all their manifesto goals. I have yet to see any political party do THAT either--but it's true that the SNP hasn't and probably won't this term.

    Next term with a larger number of MSPs (possibly even a majority?) it is certainly possible.

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  • 321. At 11:47pm on 02 Dec 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    313. NCA999
    "why then did he not support the breakup of Scotland into smaller nations."

    Ok. Simples. Because they don't want to.

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  • 322. At 11:47pm on 02 Dec 2009, oldnat wrote:

    313. NCA999

    It's rather nice to see you adopting RE's sneering tone. Please continue.

    Even better when you make silly points. Every nation distinguishes between the national and local level(s) of decision making. That's true of both the Brits and the Scots.

    Scotland is an amalgam of various previous nations, who chose to subsume their identity in a larger unit. The UK is the same - but the preservation of national institutions meant that Scots nationality didn't disappear as that of the Picts did.

    Whether the majority of Scots feel that their primary political identity is mainly Scottish or British is what the debate is all about. That proportion will vary from time to time, but both positions are perfectly respectable.

    What seems absolutely clear is that three quarters of Scots voted for our devolved Parliament, and that three quarters of Scots now want to increase the powers of that Parliament.

    As for the provision of further devolution within Scotland, that does need serious study. Currently we suffer from inappropriate structures of local government and other aspects of public administration - imposed by Tory Governments on the model they were using for English administration.

    Serious consideration of such issues is unlikely, while the Unionist parties simply posture in opposing the SNP, instead of seriously engaging with the better government of Scotland.

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  • 323. At 11:49pm on 02 Dec 2009, enneffess wrote:

    305. At 10:40pm on 02 Dec 2009, U14153624 wrote:
    A lot of labours scorched earth policies in Scotland could have been prevented if our spineless Trades Unions had witheld support from arch Thatcherite Gordon Brown and his bunch of self serving hangers on.
    I never thought I'd live to see the day when the STUC are bankrolling the party that promoted Thatchers portrait and statue and advocates a state funeral.
    I wonder if many STUC members are happy knowing that their dues are propping up a man who says his greatest hero was the one who's industrial devastation in Scotland was only surpassed by his own.


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

    The STUC showed their amazing abilities by asking Celtic fans to fly Palestinian flags at the football match.

    What planet are these people on?

    I thought the STUC had cleared out the left wing mob who make Stalin look positively liberal.

    To make matters worse, the ex-provost Alex Mosson joined in the calls.

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  • 324. At 11:52pm on 02 Dec 2009, oldnat wrote:

    314. mrbfaethedee
    "What do you make of the electoral calculus prediction of 3 libdem gains from the snp"

    I presume you mean "losses to" the SNP?

    Gordon seems a good bet. Inverness etc I would have thought would return to Labour as they seem to have made some ground at the expense of the LDs as well. Argyll & Bute is never predictable, and I'd suggest no more than the LDs will lose it.

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  • 325. At 11:53pm on 02 Dec 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    315. NCA999
    "I'm glad to note that at least you are honest about your reasons for wanting Independence unlike those who try to claim that it's about lowering taxes, not entering "illegal" wars or not having nuclear weapons.

    "
    You've been told many times that it can be both. OF COURSE, it is a change in institution. When I pointed that out, you wanted to argue the point. WHY do people want a change in institution? Because they no longer want their affairs run from outwith the nation. You don't decide on a change in institutions for the fun of it. You do it for reasons, generally a number of them.

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  • 326. At 11:55pm on 02 Dec 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    315. NCA999
    "The Scottish people don't agree with you"

    So you speak for all those people who vote SNP and are assuring us that they have promised you that they now see the error of their ways and will never do it again, one takes it. ;-)

    Ah... including the ones who seem (judging by polls) to be switching TO the SNP.

    Aye, right.

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  • 327. At 11:56pm on 02 Dec 2009, oldnat wrote:

    315. NCA999
    "I'm glad to note that at least you are honest about your reasons for wanting Independence unlike those who try to claim that it's about lowering taxes, not entering "illegal" wars or not having nuclear weapons."

    I think that you fail to understand that most independence supporters primarily want the same status as other nations, but also want to distance our nation from the pretensions to world power status and imperial adventurism which is still sadly associated with the British State - and oddly, even more so under New Labour.

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  • 328. At 11:58pm on 02 Dec 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    308. mrbfaethedee
    "I click on 'regional predictor' to get to the 'user-defined regional poll', clicked on 'trend values' to set the figures up for the UK, then changed the scotland figures to the westminster voting intentions posted by dubbieside at his #241 -

    SNP: 34%
    Lab: 32%
    Con: 15%
    Lib Dem: 12%

    I got 21 too.
    "

    EXACTLY what I am doing and the results I'm getting. I don't see what else you can do. *throws up hands*

    Is our version of Electoral Calculus broke? Our brains maybe?

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  • 329. At 00:05am on 03 Dec 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    319. NCA999
    "it seems to me that the SNP support is very localised, to certain constituencies."
    That's all awfully large number of votes and MSPs to have for a party that has, according to you, only support in a couple of places by strange wild-eyed fanatics... the usual from unionists. *shrug*

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  • 330. At 00:11am on 03 Dec 2009, Roll_On_2010 wrote:


    Amusing article from the Telegraph:

    Comparing Peter Mandelson to 'manure' is not offensive says BBC Trust.

    In a ‘flies around a cow-pat’ kind of way.

    You never know they may, in due course, progress to ‘body parts’.

    But at least, for now, we can compare Spud to manure without causing offence.

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  • 331. At 00:12am on 03 Dec 2009, mrbfaethedee wrote:

    313. NCA999
    "
    Wow, a collection of idiotic posts from you. One is this absurd claim that we're somehow incapable of directing our nuclear weapons because the Americans control the guidance chips on them. You provide no evidence of this and so I'll just take it to be as ludicrous as all of the previous claims.
    "
    From written evidence to the House of Commons Select Committee on Defence. When you find it you'll also find such gems as the fact that we can only perform test launches under US supervision. Go and have a look.

    "Note that the "reason" why the Americans have control over our weapons has been chaned by conspiracy theorists at least half a dozen times on here and never has any provided any evidence that we can't fire our weapons if we chose to, whereas several others have provided you with evidence to the contrary of your blind assertions."
    What 'changed' was right at the start of the discussion, cynicalhighlander did not state that the UK could not fire nuclear weapons without permission, rather he implied that the nuclear weapons weren't really our own. It was R-E's then your own contributions which started attacking the assertion that was not made. Ignoring for a moment the technical mechanisms by which the US could control our use of nuclear weapons, do you seriously think that the US would sit by if the UK was about to launch a nuclear strike against a target the US didn't want attacked? That's the real block on UK use of 'its own' nuclear weapons - a combination of political/diplomatic/economic power. The UK would get to use nuclear weapons only on targets the US found acceptable.

    "You asked me to direct you to SNP promises. If you type in SNP manifesto into google you'll find a list of them. The most pertinent for this discussion might be....
    Reduce all primary 1-3 class sizes to 18.
    Although there are plenty of others.
    "
    Excellent, having esablished you know how to find it, now go and read it and rather than looking at the bits you want to pull out of context, pay particular attention to the introduction. Behold! There you will find the context for any of the the little context-free soundbites you choose to highlight. Come back and tell us whether you find something there that says anything like 'this manfesto contains cast iron promises - yesiree! hostages to fortune for all to profit from', or whether instead what you find says something like 'this manifesto contains the things we'd like to get implemented'.
    Go, read, return, tell.

    "You asked non-sensical and irrelevant question about my view on institutions. I agree with everything you said, which I can easily do as what you said had no relevance to the discussion which JR and myself were having. He made the argument that smaller states automatically equal better states because the institutions are closer to the people. I could have responded by pointing out that that is just an argument for de-centralisation rather than seperatism but instead I asked a simple and obvious question (to which he was UNABLE to answer) of why then did he not support the breakup of Scotland into smaller nations. Perhaps you can answer that question, but given your confusion regarding what the debate was even about I find it unlikely."
    No need for any greater understanding than that your question is loaded with the implication that a consequence of the argument is that it is always true at any scale - leading to greater absurdities than you point out - 'the nation of me' for example. That you seek to do this is simply taking an easy to understand general statement of position and take it as the literal truth for all extremes in order to present it as absurd. Not a bad attempt if your a stroppy 10 year old, but pretty lame otherwise.

    You could have had an interesting discussion about de-centralisation versus independence, but you chose to ignore the opportunity for genuine discussion.

    Also just because JRMacClure hasn't answered you doesn't mean she is unable to.

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  • 332. At 00:17am on 03 Dec 2009, Gary Hay wrote:

    #266 JRMclure

    Then actually.. we are in agreement.

    Dresden was vicious - and although a lot of folks of the WWII generation admit they'd have done the same at the time (my late grandfather who I miss dearly included) - they are and were thoroughly decent human beings - regardless of how they felt at the time of war - they admit now that it was too much - too much hate and revenege taking precedence over sanity.

    I can, if I think before I type, apply this to America and the nuclear bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki - Both sites which I've visted and seen the cenotaphs depicting the horrors of said bombings.

    I apologise if you feel offended by my comments, it seems that twice now we've ended up in this scenario. I have a tendancy to be as blunt and as scathing as possible when I discuss or cointribute to a topic I'm personally or emotionally affected by. It doesn't make me a hypocrite or a bad person, just a person who see's something amiss and wants to address it powerfully - sometimes too powerfully.

    The US government has not admitted that Hiroshima and Nagasaki were disproportionate - I accept that - but I can't very well accuse you, a person whom I've never met of being as ignorant to the fact as they.

    Let me offer my apologies once again - as clearly I've managed to encroach on territory best left to Americans such as yourself to sort out. I'm in no position (even as a viciously outspoken opponent of the UK) to point out another countries failings (even though I quite happily point out and conceed my own countries shortcomings - Scotland and Slavery being one of them.)

    If anything - I'd very much like you to borrow a copy of a book I recently bought yet have only managed to skim through. It's called "The Storm of War" by Andrew Roberts. Some say it redefines persepctives of the 2nd World War, but I think it simply lends credence to the popuar myth that America and Great Britain and indeed all allied countries were far from perfect during the 2nd world war.

    Like you say - show me a Nagasaki and I'll raise you a Nanjing and a Manchuria valley. I think we'll only ever achive peace through absolute truth and reconciliation - which might then lead to genuine nuclear disarmamment. If we keep trying - maye one day we'll get there.

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  • 333. At 00:18am on 03 Dec 2009, handclapping wrote:

    #328 JRMacClure
    #306 JRMacClure
    Um, there are Welsh Nationalists too. 8-)

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  • 334. At 00:20am on 03 Dec 2009, oldnat wrote:

    328. JRMacClure

    Don't use the UK version! It doesn't cope with 4 party politics in Scotland. (Actually, even the Scottish version doesn't cope with regional variations within Sotland). Go to the link I gave you and "Make your own predictions for Scotland".

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  • 335. At 00:23am on 03 Dec 2009, mrbfaethedee wrote:

    319. NCA999

    (Correction - i mean libdem losses to the snp, not the other way around.)

    I'm not big on polls myself. I'm sure they provide useful 'steers' for the parties, but it's still speculative (however clever it is), and only the votes count at the end of the day.

    It was the first time I'd been to the site and in the light of oldnat's post on the libdems in particular.

    I have to confess I'm all to keen to see at what point the libdem's abysmal performance starts to hurt their returns to parliament/s.

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  • 336. At 00:26am on 03 Dec 2009, Roll_On_2010 wrote:

    #328 JRMacClure

    When I used the following figures in Electoral Calculus I got the following results.

    SNP: 34%
    LAB: 32%
    CON: 15%
    L/D: 12%

    Using the figures above I got the following result for seats.

    SNP: 16
    LAB: 33
    CON: 2
    L/D: 8

    But interestingly if you leave L/D and CON as they are but subtract 1% from Labour and add 1% to SNP you get the following seats result:

    SNP: 22
    LAB: 27
    CON: 2
    L/D: 8

    So that 1% swing against Labour to the SNP can make a stark difference

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  • 337. At 00:26am on 03 Dec 2009, mrbfaethedee wrote:

    324. oldnat
    "I presume you mean "losses to" the SNP?"
    Oops, yes.
    As i suggested to NCA, i'm curious as to why the libdems aren't yet suffering as (i believe) they should be :)
    I'm wondering if it's starting to kick in now, and the combination of your post and my first look at the electoral calculus site has got my hopes up!

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  • 338. At 00:28am on 03 Dec 2009, NCA999 wrote:

    Party 2005 Votes 2005 Seats Pred Votes Gains Losses Pred Seats
    CON 15.83% 1 15.00% 1 0 2
    LAB 39.52% 41 32.00% 0 8 33
    LIB 22.63% 11 12.00% 0 3 8
    NAT 17.66% 6 34.00% 10 0 16
    MIN 0.44% 0 0.44% 0 0 0


    Those are the results I got from that website people posted up.














    JR, you asked me for the arguments for an independent Aberdeen, again entirely dodging what it was I actually asked.

    You claimed that the reason you believed in an independent Scotland was that smaller was better.

    I therefore asked, if you believe that this is the case, why you don't support an independent Aberdeen. One person responded that it was because "the people of Aberdeen don't want it", although this is obviously absurd as levels of support amongst other people has nothing to do with yours or my personal position. As for your own confusion as to what "the arguments for Aberdonian independence" are, whilst obviously you are simply again just dodging a question to which you don't know the answer I'll point out that the premise of my question was that you had already made the arguments yourself, that smaller is better.

    I hope that helps and await your thoughts.

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  • 339. At 00:31am on 03 Dec 2009, oldnat wrote:

    319. NCA999
    "The Lib Dems will almost definitely beat the SNP in Argyll and Bute."

    One of the many reasons why I don't ever trust the opinions of someone who has local knowledge is that locals interpret events according to their own political bias.

    The % votes in A&B in 2005 were

    LD 36.5%
    Con 23.5%
    Lab 22.4%
    SNP 15.5%

    but the slippage from LD since 2005 is around 10%, and there is an "overlap" vote between LD and SNP in the Highlands. Consequently, A&B could be one of those seats with each of the 4 parties gaining around 25% of the vote, and the winner is unpredictable, and as you say will depend on being "everything to do with a local issue."

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  • 340. At 00:33am on 03 Dec 2009, mrbfaethedee wrote:

    328. JRMacClure
    "http://www.electoralcalculus.co.uk/index.html?scotland.html"
    Apologies if you've already followed it up, but oldnat's 309 provided the link (here - Scotland pages) to right place to enter the Scottish figures.

    16 is the answer it gives (but 1% more from lab to snp, and...)

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  • 341. At 00:44am on 03 Dec 2009, mrbfaethedee wrote:

    336. Roll_On_2010
    "So that 1% swing against Labour to the SNP can make a stark difference"

    Beat me to it Roll_On_2010!
    No wonder the unionista media machine is in overdrive though :)

    i'm off, night all...

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  • 342. At 00:47am on 03 Dec 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    332. GAberdeen
    "It doesn't make me a hypocrite or a bad person, just a person who see's something amiss and wants to address it powerfully - sometimes too powerfully."
    I never thought you were either a hypocrite or a bad person. Like you, I tend to get impassioned and I sometimes also forget there is a human being on the other side of the issue.

    I think we very much agree on this. I don't see the allies in WWII as being anywhere near perfect--in fact, a long way from it. Yet most of them, and I too had family who fought in it, were very good people.

    My family would have done much of what was done, agreed with it and don't apologize for it--most of them. Perhaps had I been alive then, I would have felt the same. The kind of war that was makes some of these judgments difficult, but I can NOT see an excuse for bombing a peaceful city full of civilians out of existence as excusable.

    I'll look up the book you mention. I'm always interested in a new view. Anyway, I wasn't really mad at your comment, just pointing out that sometimes you paint with a large brush. I've been guilty of the same and I admit it.

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  • 343. At 00:50am on 03 Dec 2009, Dave McEwan Hill wrote:

    #319
    NCA999

    I do love these posts.
    They have lfted the level of rubbish we sometimes get on this blog to a higher level. He says he knows a little about Argyll and Bute. I can vouchsafe that. Not a little. A very little in fact and I suspect he is being seriously misinformed if he believes any of his post.
    The SNP was fourth at the last Westminster Election,not fifth but in fact in electoral terms not very far behind the winner. There is always a big floating vote in A7B which ghoes to the candidate likeliest to bea the Tory and at that point with the LibDems on a bit of a high they got it. The LibDem vote is presently as they deserve in freefall.
    The SNP won the subsequent Scottish Election in Argyll and Bute.
    The SNP are in joint control of Argyll and Bute Council with an independent grouping with by far the biggest political group on the council.
    The SNP won the Argyll and Bute region at the recent Euro election by almost ten clear points winning clearly and comfortably in every electoral division except perhaps Islay including the area around Faslane.There is just as much opposition to the base in that area as there is support for it and it actually provides fewer than 1000 jobs of which a considerable proportion are not of local people at all.
    The SNP Governemnt has just given the clearance for solving the Ferry issue at Dunoon as promised.It had to spend a lot of time in Brussels to undo the damge of misinterpreted EU law it was left by the last Labour administration and LibDem Transport Minister.
    My granddaughter from Argyll is doing an Honours degree at Glasgow University. There is no anti SNP issue here though she is very happy the SNP cancelled tuition fees.
    In my judgement - and I am working politically on a continuous basis in Argyll and Bute - the LibDems are now in third place behind the SNP and the Tories.
    The latest Ipsos Mori poll if used as a yardstick makes SNP a very clear winner indeed in Argyll and Bute and underlines the significant collapse in the LibDem vote.
    Electoral Calculus have come up with a Tory win in Argyll and Bute but I have no idea where they got that from (perhaps from the rogue poll published in the Telgraph last week)though I am very pretty sure they (the Tories)are in second place ahead of the LibDem.

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  • 344. At 00:50am on 03 Dec 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    338. NCA999
    "As for your own confusion as to what "the arguments for Aberdonian independence" are, whilst obviously you are simply again just dodging a question to which you don't know the answer I'll point out that the premise of my question was that you had already made the arguments yourself, that smaller is better."
    Are you going to pretend I advocated breaking nations down to the molecular level next? =)

    You're right. I will not bother with questions that are not honestly put. You are trying blatant misdirection which I am free to ignore.

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  • 345. At 00:51am on 03 Dec 2009, handclapping wrote:

    #334 oldnat
    The main electoralcalculus regional predictor gives exactly the same results, you just have to remember that there are Welsh nationalists too.
    I tend just to have a look at the "map" and see how many and where. Then I mumble into my beard about how HEC doesn't give such graphic results.

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  • 346. At 00:51am on 03 Dec 2009, Roll_On_2010 wrote:


    Flash Gordon on his way to PMQ’s

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  • 347. At 00:51am on 03 Dec 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    340. mrbfaethedee

    Thanks. That solves the mystery! I was quite willing to believe 16 was correct but couldn't figure out why I wasn't getting that. LOL

    16 is quite a good result for the SNP.

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  • 348. At 00:57am on 03 Dec 2009, Dave McEwan Hill wrote:

    #313

    As a matter of interst I support an independent Aberdeen if that is what a majority of the inhabitants of Aberdeen want. So does the UN Charter.
    It's called democracy and you decide these issues by offering the people the choice to vote on them. The decision of course is made only by the inhabitants of Aberdeen and what I think of the proposition may be intersting but it is politically and constitutionally irrelevant as I, not being a resident Aberdonian, have no right to take part in any decision on that issue.

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  • 349. At 01:20am on 03 Dec 2009, Dave McEwan Hill wrote:

    For the benefit of NC999 I would point out that at the 2005 General Election, which was the Lib Dem highpoint, they achieved 23% of the vote against the SNP's 17%. Current opinion polls have the SNP on 34% and the LibDems on 12% ie the SNP has doubled its support and the LibDems are halved.
    The Tories took 16% in 2005 and are registering 12% now so where Electoral Calculus gets it bizarre prediction of a Tory A&B win from I have no idea. I suspect Electoral Calculus is a Tory front and I have complained to them before about the odd predictions they come up with always favouring the Tory vote.

    At the last real election in Argyll and Bute (this year's Euro election) the SNP took 30% the LibDems 20% and the Tories 19% though as I say I am confident the Tory has overtaken the LibDem since, but not by far.
    The seat will go as usual to the party likeliest to beat the Tory and that is certainly the SNP

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  • 350. At 07:46am on 03 Dec 2009, Diabloandco wrote:

    Do ex- pats get to vote on the Independence for Aiberdeen issue,Snecked??

    I have worked my way through some of the waffle by a certain contributor.
    I came accross a wee gem accusing the SNP bloggers of misinformation -not to mention the fact you're all paid up members with multiple monikers - and then another saying that a passport would be needed when he/she left to work in England.

    How I laughed!

    Far too much to say for itself and very busy peddling misinformation.

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  • 351. At 07:56am on 03 Dec 2009, Wansanshoo wrote:

    NCA 999


    The independent nuclear deterrent is a carefully constructed political myth designed to provide false comfort to the British people. It is supposed to protect the UK in a re-run of 1940, when Britain stood alone. But Britain would only stand alone today if it were at odds with the US and in that event, Washington would have every interest and ability to remove the nuclear weapons support on which Britain depends. Trident and any similar successor fails the 1940 test.


    In 1962 the US Defence Secretary Robert McNamara revealed that the British force "did not operate independently" to Harold Macmillan's embarrassment. When Macmillan later accepted President John Kennedy's offer of the Polaris missile submarine, his Permanent Secretary, Sir Robert Scott, recorded that the decision has "put us in America's pocket for a decade". Sir John Slessor, the commander of the V bomber force, wrote privately that the deal had been done to sustain the "myth" of an independent force. President Charles De Gaulle of France turned down the same offer and built an independent force de frappe. De Gaulle then vetoed UK membership of the Common Market on the grounds that the Polaris deal had made Britain an American vassal.

    Former naval officers have confirmed privately that the US knows where the British submarines are and that firing the missiles without US supplied data and satellites is almost impossible. Although a British prime minister could theoretically fire the weapons, a US president would have the full range of political and military options to prevent Britain engaging in a nuclear war against Washington's wishes.

    In any longer-term disagreement between London and Washington, the US can remove the illusion of Britain's nuclear status. One former Royal Navy officer who conducted an official study of the dependence on the US concluded that in just 18 months after a US decision to withdraw support, the UK could no longer send Trident to sea.

    The Atomic Weapons Establishment at Aldermaston outside Reading is one-third managed by the US firm Lockheed Martin. The British Government refuses to say how much of the AWE budget goes to US firms. Research by non-government groups, including Basic, Greenpeace and NRDC, show that the nuclear warhead factory was designed and built by a US company as a copy of the one at Los Alamos. The British fuse and firing system is designed and built by America's Sandia national laboratory. Some of the nuclear explosive are imported from the US and so too is the warhead casing and guidance system. The US has been providing Britain with the blueprints of nuclear weapons for more than 40 years.

    President George Bush agreed last year to renew the Mutual Defence Agreement providing nuclear support to the UK until 2014, stating that "in the light of our previous close co-operation, I have concluded that it is in our interest to continue to assist them in maintaining a credible nuclear force". Without Bush's support, the British nuclear force would not be credible and without close co-operation with Washington that credibility will not be sustained. South Africa and the developing world charge that the indirect supply of nuclear weapons to Britain under this agreement is a violation of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, which bans such transfers.

    This myth of the independent nuclear force is the last taboo of British politics. British politicians and civil servants are prepared to tie the UK to US policy as the price of being able to pretend to have the status of an independent nuclear power.

    The real question for the country is not whether to renew the independent deterrent but whether it wants to be independent of the US, for a successor to Trident will be with us until 2060.

    Dan Plesch's report on the Trident successor will be published next month by the Foreign Policy Centre, where he is a senior associate.



    Wansanshoo.

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  • 352. At 08:28am on 03 Dec 2009, sid the sceptic wrote:

    #350 researcher 13885979 - morning, I get this levelled at me all the time, simply because I dislike the Labour party just as much as the BBC dislike the SNP.
    I am not a member of any party and I only have the 1 moniker.
    but at the end of the day if that is the best they can come up with they can carry on if it keeps them happy.
    It just proves they have nothing positive to say about anything and I for one am still waiting on any of them to come on here and give me 1 just 1 positive reason to stay in the union.

    Sid

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  • 353. At 09:42am on 03 Dec 2009, loveme2times wrote:

    NCA,

    I live and have lived in Aberdeen all my life, I do not want Aberdeen to be indepedent and neither does anyone I know, stop making ludicrous claims and spreading mis-information.

    No wonder nobody takes you serious.

    Does anyone else just ignore NCA posts and only ever read what he has written in a reply from someone shooting him down?? I know I do and I would suggest you all do the same.

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  • 354. At 09:42am on 03 Dec 2009, loveme2times wrote:

    352,

    You will be waiting a very, very, very long time then :-)

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  • 355. At 09:52am on 03 Dec 2009, mrbfaethedee wrote:

    What's up with the crazy username substitution by the beeb?
    It's like being in German High Command tracking hte U-boat fleet!

    Online Ed has for some time been U14094468

    there was one other, but I can't recall who.
    Two I don't know are -
    U14109923
    U12381265

    sidthesceptic is now U11746235 ?
    wansanshoo is now U11293195 ?
    jrmacclure is now U14109923 ?

    Does it give the Unumber at the start of the comments where it says 'you are currently logged in as X'?
    We'll need a roll-call soon!

    What's going on beeb?

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  • 356. At 09:54am on 03 Dec 2009, Dunroamin wrote:

    There was a mass nationalist group therapy session last night, wasn't there! Bless.

    328. Strange, following that torturous route instead of just clicking on the 'Scotland Pages' link(!), I get 12 seats.

    NAT 2.22% 8 2.22% 4 0 12

    Are you getting yourself over-excited and transposing the two numbers?

    331. And the ridiculous nationalist obsession with trying to find proof that the US must authorise a UK nuclear launch continue loooong into the night. Yeah, that's normal.

    Yours is a classic one: From written evidence to the House of Commons Select Committee on Defence. When you find it you'll also find such gems as the fact that we can only perform test launches under US supervision.

    That proves it then! LOL! (I'm going hazard a guess here that the true context of the Committee's transcript will be a little different from this nationalist 'summary' too.)

    As to the many self-reassuring posts on that one Ipsos poll, I assume you are choosing to ignore the 20% support for independence (32% for leaving things as they are!)on that poll and also the YouGov poll from just last week which put the SNP behind on all fronts? The YouGov poll that shows a clear trend of the SNP haemorrhaging support? Remember that one? From last week? What's the trend on the Ipsos poll, by the way?

    And there is certainly a pattern of self-loathing manifesting in the American nationalists as we constantly see among the Scottish nationalists. How they all hate their countries. Such misery and resentment. Such a pity.

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  • 357. At 10:10am on 03 Dec 2009, ribber wrote:

    356. At 09:54am on 03 Dec 2009, Reluctant-Expat wrote:
    "How they all hate their countries. Such misery and resentment. Such a pity."


    Oh, the irony!

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  • 358. At 10:15am on 03 Dec 2009, sid the sceptic wrote:

    #356 RE ,morning,don't know about a group therapy session as I am not a member of the SNP , but I did watch "Scotland's Conspiracy Files" an excellent programme. If you didn't watch it, get on the I Player but be prepared for some home truths.

    Sid.

    PS , feel free to help me out with my request on #352 ta.

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  • 359. At 10:17am on 03 Dec 2009, Dunroamin wrote:

    Wansanshoo, as out there as always!

    351. Former naval officers have confirmed privately..
    To you, I assume?

    De Gaulle then vetoed UK membership of the Common Market on the grounds that the Polaris deal had made Britain an American vassal.
    Is that why?

    And in all that, after all that work, over so many many hours, there is STILL no proof, not even Wansanshoo's usual unsubstantiated easily-discredited 'proof', that the US has the final authority on any UK launch. We all know they provide engineering support.

    But don't you stop digging, Wansanshoo. This is incredibly relevant, important and interesting stuff. Take 2 hours off to watch your favourite Mel Gibson film, refuel that bitterness back up to 'Overwhelming' and get back on the net until you reach your goal. (Don't rely on Wikipedia quite so much this time though.)

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  • 360. At 10:25am on 03 Dec 2009, loveme2times wrote:

    352 wrote "It just proves they have nothing positive to say about anything and I for one am still waiting on any of them to come on here and give me 1 just 1 positive reason to stay in the union"

    RE if you support the union with such enthusiasm it shouldn't really take you that long to answer, we await your reply.

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  • 361. At 10:26am on 03 Dec 2009, GrassyKnollington wrote:

    A wee extract for you referring to Mike Russell from an increasingly furious Mr.Maddox.

    "Perhaps symbolic of what some believe is his new role given that he has to go into battle for the organ grinder (Alex Salmond) with Scotland's councils over education in the coming days.
    But, what followed was not a good sign for what is to come, especially if he is looking for good press on a difficult issue for the Scottish Government.
    Instead of facing questions from the assembled journalists of the written media, who had been waiting for an hour, Mr Russell decided that it was a greater priority to do his bit for government propaganda."

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  • 362. At 10:28am on 03 Dec 2009, tullibardine wrote:

    I see Lord Foulkes put his foot in his mouth again. Yesterday at a Holyrood audit committee he likened Alex Salmond to the fascist dictator Benito Mussolini

    Angus Macleod of the Times:
    He (Foulkes) later said it was “a slip of the tongue” but undermined himself by adding: “If the cap fits.”

    David Maddox of the Scotsman:
    However, Lord Foulkes refused to apologise and claimed that his comments were just "a slip of the tongue".

    Being the Scotsman a not so subtle difference.

    The Sun, on the other hand has large photographs, side by side, of Mussolini and Alex Salmond.

    As Kenny Everett used to say “It’s all done in the best POSSIBLE taste!”

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  • 363. At 10:54am on 03 Dec 2009, Wansanshoo wrote:

    359 Ex Pat.

    The Author is Dan Plesch.


    Spewing resentment in my direction will not help your cause.


    Wansanshoo.

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  • 364. At 10:55am on 03 Dec 2009, parisfrance wrote:

    So, what we have is a potential situation where, in next year's UK election - SNP get 34% of the vote and Labour get 32% of the vote

    Meaning that a majority of people in Scotland vote for the SNP over Labour and, yet, this translates in terms of actual representation at parliament as:

    SNP: 16 seats
    LAB: 33 seats

    This isn't right, not by any stretch.

    How is it possible, how can it be permissible, how can it remain within the boundaries of logic and human decency that the party with the most votes in a country gets less than half the seats of the party that falls in second place behind it?

    This is wrong, no matter how you look at it. Wrong. Not only wrong but absurd.

    But... I suppose that's part of the function of the first past the post system - to keep a rope around Scotland's neck.

    Please don't tell me that Scotland exists in a democracy. It does not.

    PS - What's up with the system for posting comments?! It's all gone wonky!

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  • 365. At 10:55am on 03 Dec 2009, Nat_very_likely wrote:

    Lord Foulkes is a witty,urbane and erudite man.

    Oops.Didn't mean to type that.It was just a slip of the finger.

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  • 366. At 11:02am on 03 Dec 2009, mrbfaethedee wrote:

    356. Reluctant-Expat
    "Yours is a classic one: From written evidence to the House of Commons Select Committee on Defence. When you find it you'll also find such gems as the fact that we can only perform test launches under US supervision.

    That proves it then! LOL! (I'm going hazard a guess here that the true context of the Committee's transcript will be a little different from this nationalist 'summary' too.)
    "

    Go and check it out.

    I didn't attempt to prove that the UK needs US authorization to launch nukes. I provided enough information to anyone who wanted to go and find out, that there is information in the public domain that does show that the UK's nuclear arsenal is not completely independent. If it's not completely independent it's not independent at all.
    The component referred to earlier (and which no doubt inspired NCA's laptop analogy) is not like a screw or chip - it's the neutron generator for the missile ffs! They don't last the lifespan of the nuke, and need replaced - we don't make them, therefore we are dependent on them!
    The comment re: testing was to highlight additional parts of the lifecycle of 'our' nuclear weapons which are also not independent.

    Do you think the US would accept a key component of their nuclear weapons being supplied, not by them but by the UK?
    Obviously not - they wouldn't settle for anything other than a completely independent nuclear weapon system!

    My point is not that there is evidence available that US has direct command & control of the hardware and software in UK nukes, but that it has sufficient control over -
    - the lifecycle of the weapons system
    - the realpolitik of their use
    - the actual operational capability of the weapons system
    to make the UK 'dependent' on the US for Trident. Not independent.

    You claim you found it amusing that the nuke stuff went on 'loooong' into the night, yet you were in it at the start, and here you are rekindling it the next morning.
    Lol! Obvious troll is obvious!

    As much as you desire to keep this topic on the go, I'm done with it, as I'm sure are most others.

    Re: the polls - I don't care, the votes will tell us what we need to know when the time comes.

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  • 367. At 11:03am on 03 Dec 2009, Dunroamin wrote:

    360. [stifled yawn]

    The nationalists absolute and constant refusal to accept the unionist case does not mean it has not been repeatedly made.

    This board is fast becoming tedious again. Shall we drag it back from the precipice and, while it sadly can never be serious, at least make it fun?

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  • 368. At 11:10am on 03 Dec 2009, Diabloandco wrote:

    Anyone got an update on circulation figures for the chip wrapper that the Scotsman has become?

    Last I looked it was 4500, surely that is nearing a very critical stage?

    Should one venture on to the website and glance at the headings in the politics section ,there is a definite clue as to their editorial stance regarding the SNP.
    If it were not so serious it would be funny.

    I wonder if they will ever conclude that the articles therein have contributed to their demise or will they do a Gordon Brown, "it wisnae me , it was the credit crunch wot did it!"

    And one could also amuse oneself with the Times , search its site for the fragrant Mrs Cochrane and read her headings - no need to bother with the articles thereafter!

    And my once excellent Herald!
    Will it , can it survive?
    Or will it too hit the buffers?
    And will it too claim the credit crunch , not editorial policy?

    I have just realised since writing the last paragraph , just how saddened I am by the Herald in its present form.
    Not just angry but sad, bereft of a once balanced window on Scotland.

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  • 369. At 11:10am on 03 Dec 2009, EphemeralDeception wrote:

    The increased vitriol and negative press against the SNP in particular and Scotlands ability to govern itself or even to have an option to choose, is telling.

    The vitriol is directly proportional to the SNPs chance of success and the fear that this generates within the British establishment.

    It is therefore no surprise that the SNP are more than holding their own in the polls despite a tirade of negative press and political attack.

    The vitriol will only get worse as the GE nears. Where can the unionists go? The attacks are already so pathetic people are either becoming immune or concluding that the unionists have completely lost it. If it gets much worse the attacks will resort to complete lunacy.

    All I can see this achieving is people being put off totally with politics in Scotland (it is already happening) but galvanising existing SNP support.

    The unionists can no longer patronise, ridicule and belittle the SNP nor our desirve for increased self governance.
    The unionsts can attack and accuse the SNP on anything they feel like (in Labours case its pretty much everything) but this is a tactic of diminishing returns.

    Finally, if the unionists can not gain through insult and attack they will actually have to have POLICIES the Scottish electorate want AND a leadership we can have a degree of trust and confidence with.

    Clearly, they have neither.

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  • 370. At 11:14am on 03 Dec 2009, Dunroamin wrote:

    That's better!

    364. But... I suppose that's part of the function of the first past the post system - to keep a rope around Scotland's neck.

    Yep, the FPTP voting system, used throughout the entire UK, was developed and introduced "to keep a rope around Scotland's neck". I just can't keep that quiet any longer.

    I think I need to alert the Dark Lord that you nationalists have cracked the Grand Secret Global Super-Conspiracy To Suppress Scottish Nationalism. Oh, why did we think we could have kept this so quiet for so long?!

    [THUMP][THUMP][THUMP][THUMP][THUMP][THUMP]....

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  • 371. At 11:24am on 03 Dec 2009, loveme2times wrote:

    367 (same old answer yawn)

    I have only been on this board for about 8 months but I have seen this question asked to unionists at least a dozen times and nobody not ONCE has ever answered it with a straight answer, it doesn't matter how many times you ask the nationalist the same question they are happy to point out the benefits as they see them, even if you ask them now I am sure some would be along to answer even if they had already answered the question 10 times over.

    So I will try again, pretend nobody else is here and it's just you and me, can you explain to me the benefits of Scotland remaining in the union??

    I am only asking this question because I have never seen it answered and if you want people to join your case for keeping the union then you need to stat persuading people of your argument, if you believe in it so strongly it should not be hard to give some examples please.

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  • 372. At 11:27am on 03 Dec 2009, Wansanshoo wrote:

    I think Dan Plesch may have had Ex Pat in mind when he penned this piece.


    ''Confidence tricks work best on people who want to believe in them, and the British elite and much of the public are desperate to believe that Britain's bomb gives them great-power status. Instead Britain gets the worst of all worlds: weapons that can't be used when the chips are down and a US-led policy that rejects disarmament in favour of pre-emptive war. And now, with Trident becoming obsolete, the government wants to renew the deal - behind the old, dishonest mask of independent deterrence.''

    Wansanshoo.

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  • 373. At 11:37am on 03 Dec 2009, john wrote:

    #370R-E
    I have to warn you that if you keep thumping your head every time you say something stupid, you are going to get severe brain damage very shortly.

    just some concerned advice,

    John

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  • 374. At 11:41am on 03 Dec 2009, parisfrance wrote:

    #370

    But let's discuss the main thrust of my post, RE.

    How is it possible that those potential figures (34% to 32%) can be contrued as acceptable in the context of democracy if the amounts of votes for each party are not proportionate to their parliamentary representation?

    How can it be deemed acceptable that a party who are given a slim majority of votes over all the others are left with less than half the seats of its nearest rival?

    How can you concinvce me that this is just?

    The bottom line is, the signs are that the people of Scotland will express a democratic preference which they're not going to get: ergo, democracy in Scotland fails.

    We should also bear in mind that this is a situation we've never had to consider before given that it is only recently that the SNP have become the biggest party in Scotland.

    I think what we're now seeing is that the UK electoral system is completely inappropriate and unaccpetable from the Scottish point of view, inasmuch as we wish to call ourselves a democracy.

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  • 375. At 11:54am on 03 Dec 2009, sid the sceptic wrote:

    #370 & #367 yet another 2 chances to help me out and yet another 2 missed opportunities. have you watched Scotland's conspiracy files yet ?
    oh sorry i forgot you don't like to answer questions unless you set the questions in the first place.

    Sid

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  • 376. At 12:03pm on 03 Dec 2009, handclapping wrote:

    #374 U13724389
    Of course we can look on the bright side. FPTP starts to work for the SNP as they get past 33% and very soon thereafter, at 36% or more, and depending on how the other 3 poll, they start having 30 seats in their sights and can start booking tickets to the UN in New York to enlist their support for independence. Westminster Rules!

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  • 377. At 12:06pm on 03 Dec 2009, Dave McEwan Hill wrote:

    It is quite amazing how RE picks out issues on which unionist myths and misinformation is easily dismantled then gives these issues a high profile - the myth about the UK's "independent" nuclear deterrent being one of them.
    Does RE give us these open goals deliberately?

    On another tack I note some political commentators suggesting that the LibDem Highland vote is decamping en masse to the SNP. This would bear out what we are finding on the ground around here.
    I suspect the Highland Euro result would bear this out.
    The average LibDem voter most of all does not appreciate his party in a close relationship with Labour/Tory. That deliberate detachment from Labour/Tory is and always has been the basic foundation on which LibDem support has been built.

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  • 378. At 12:06pm on 03 Dec 2009, Dunroamin wrote:

    371. See 246.

    374. Because FPTP is a constituency-based voting formula used within a parliamentary democracy, whereas you are applying a nationwide scenario applicable to a presidential-rule democracy.

    If the SNP are the most popular party within any given constituency, their candidate will be elected to represent that constituency in Parliament.

    However, the case here is that the SNP are not the most popular in the majority of constituencies hence they do not have the majority of representatives. That's parliamentary democracy.

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  • 379. At 12:14pm on 03 Dec 2009, Nat_very_likely wrote:

    #370. R-E

    How about addressing the question of whether you think it fair and democratic that FPTP can result in two parties with a roughly equal share of the popular vote having a 50% difference in seats?

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  • 380. At 12:15pm on 03 Dec 2009, handclapping wrote:

    #378 Reluctant-Expat
    Ah, now I understand why there is only one Tory in Scotland.

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  • 381. At 12:17pm on 03 Dec 2009, Dunroamin wrote:

    379. Just how small is your screen? Scroll up one post!

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  • 382. At 12:29pm on 03 Dec 2009, PickledPete wrote:

    #371 loveme2times:

    "I am only asking this question because I have never seen it answered and if you want people to join your case for keeping the union then you need to stat persuading people of your argument,"

    ------------
    No, he doesn't.

    As ever on this blog the question is being put the wrong way round; it is not up to those who wish for the status quo to make the argument for no change, it is for those who wish for change to convince others of the need for it. At the moment, most people that I know, and opinion polls seem to agree, feel that the argument for such radical change as independence from the UK has not been made. We hear much blether, emotion and passion, but no convincing argument, and certainly not enough detail. There is always room for improvement in political settlements, and that is true everywhere, not just in Scotland or the wider UK, but it usually involves slight adjustments and not complete overhaul of long standing arrangements. If you feel differently, as many on here do, then it is for you to prove your case to convince others, not the other way round.

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  • 383. At 12:32pm on 03 Dec 2009, Nat_very_likely wrote:

    #381

    I don't see any answer to my quetion in your #378.All you've given is an explanation of what FPTP is,which I'm sure none of us needed thanks anyway.

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  • 384. At 12:34pm on 03 Dec 2009, Dunroamin wrote:

    380. Indeed, with nationwide support 50-70% the size of the SNP's, they only have one Westminster seat compared to the SNP's seven.

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  • 385. At 12:37pm on 03 Dec 2009, parisfrance wrote:

    #378

    Yes, I know how the UK system works, thanks.

    But that, of course, has nothing to do with my questions.

    My questions were:

    How is it possible that those potential figures (34% to 32%) can be contrued as acceptable in the context of democracy if the amounts of votes for each party are not proportionate to their parliamentary representation?

    How can it be deemed acceptable that a party who are given a slim majority of votes over all the others are left with less than half the seats of its nearest rival?

    How can you concinvce me that this is just?

    The bottom line is, the signs are that the people of Scotland will express a democratic preference which they're not going to get: ergo, democracy in Scotland fails.

    #376

    True. But neither would I like to see a situation where people voting for parties other than the SNP were disenfrachised the way that the SNP (and others) are now.

    The problem is that the UK electorial system is designed as a system for a single state (instead of four different countries) and necessitates a two-horse race situation where the only contenders for election victory or Tories and Labour.

    This immediately disenfranchises those parties in Scotland and Wales who don't exist in England, in spite of the fact that those parties are either the biggest or second biggest parites in those countries respectively.

    Obviously, if you're a unionist you won't care a damn because you don't view Scotland and Wales, politically, as countries. INdeed, you will much prefer that system because it keeps Scotland and Wales down in the regional position you want them to be.

    Hence, this is one of the reasons why the FPTP system is preferre by the dominant parties at UK level, because it means the get automatic victory over the SNP in Scotland and PC in Wales, in spite of the fact that, in Scotland's case at least, the SNP are the nation's most popular party.

    The UK effectively prevents democracy from occurring in Scotland merely as a consequence of its electoral system.

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  • 386. At 12:55pm on 03 Dec 2009, tryagain wrote:

    382. At 12:29pm on 03 Dec 2009, PickledPete

    In a debate it is customary for both sides to put their point of view supported by any facts ar evidence they choose to deploy. The point that #371 loveme2times is making is the case for independence is repeatedly and fully made time after time on this blog, while the case for remaining in the UK is not made at all.

    In the interests of balance, feel free to pick up any of the arguments for independence in the White Paper and put forward your opposing case in defence of the Union. Go on, beat Reluctant Expat to it!

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  • 387. At 1:09pm on 03 Dec 2009, sid the sceptic wrote:

    #382 - afternoon Pete, your whole argument seems to be based on the assumption that the status quo is acceptable to a large part of the Scottish nation. this was indeed labour party policy last year,until someone pointed out that not a lot of people agreed with them.

    we then got the panic measure of the calman commission which delivered a shambles that may or may not be implemented After the next election but even if it goes ahead it is such a mess it will take 6 years yep 6YEARS to come to fruition.

    The most important thing that Calman showed is that the UK or more precisely England cannot even afford to "allow" Scotland FULL fiscal autonomy ,which would be the next logical step.
    unlike others on this site ,I only talk for myself and my request is simply because I have yet to read any positive type of support for the union from anyone all we get is negativity of every type, apart from anything else it's not healthy.
    Sid

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  • 388. At 1:10pm on 03 Dec 2009, Dunroamin wrote:

    383 & 385. It is very clear that I did answer the question. VERY clear. I'll try again:

    The UK is a parliamentary democracy, not presidential-rule, therefore such nationwide polls only indicate the level of nationwide support.

    However, in a parliamentary democracy, it is the support within each constituency that matters. This poll did not measure support within individual constituencies, only nationwide, which is why the nationwide support/constituency seats ratio will not correlate. It isn't a like-for-like comparison.

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  • 389. At 1:23pm on 03 Dec 2009, tryagain wrote:

    #388 RE

    I'm not sure if you're wilfully misunderstanding this or not. No-one is asking how or why we get this result - we all understand FPTP. What is being asked is your view on the outcome, on whether it is right or fair, and whether it is acceptable in a modern democracy (apologies for paraphrasing others. I am interested in your answer too.

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  • 390. At 1:26pm on 03 Dec 2009, Dunroamin wrote:

    386 & 387: As I have said repeatedly before: "The nationalists absolute and constant refusal to accept the unionist case, does not mean it has not been repeatedly made."

    Thank you for continuing to proving my point.

    Nationalist rule no.1: If you can't win the argument, just pretend there isn't one.

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  • 391. At 1:26pm on 03 Dec 2009, Nat_very_likely wrote:

    #388 R-E

    So you really think that a PR voting system can only be used in the election of an executive president?

    Please list all the European states that use FPTP for their parliamentary elections.

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  • 392. At 1:28pm on 03 Dec 2009, handclapping wrote:

    #382 PickledPete
    At the moment, most people that I know, and opinion polls seem to agree, feel that the argument for such radical change as independence from the UK has not been made. We hear much blether, emotion and passion, but no convincing argument, and certainly not enough detail.
    However there does seem to be a movement towards the SNP / independence / the Nats and if, as you suggest, it is purely driven by emotion, then you will need to deploy some argument for the retention of the status quo or you will loose it to an overwhelming tide of unreason.

    You can dispute whether the movement to the Nats exists, however the results from bye-elections do appear to show a small but steady move towards them even as many people give up on politics. That this is happening when the media is not making the Nats case for them should concern all those who would opt for the status quo.

    R-E has identified that the Nats are a threat and is doing his best to turn the tide by rubbishing their arguments but as you have identified there is no logic in these people and their emotions drive them on regardless of the rubbishing of their argument by R-E and the media. With this tactic not working what can you do? Promote a counter emotion like being British or perhaps a counter argument for the status quo? It would be a sorry thing if Scotland was lost for the want of an argument.

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  • 393. At 1:30pm on 03 Dec 2009, Bandages_For_Konjic wrote:

    #388: Reluctant-Expat -

    "It is very clear that I did answer the question. VERY clear.

    Obviously, clarity begins at home, in your case, and doesn't stray far thereafter.

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  • 394. At 1:33pm on 03 Dec 2009, handclapping wrote:

    #388 R-E
    This poll did not measure support within individual constituencies, only nationwide, which is why the nationwide support/constituency seats ratio will not correlate. It isn't a like-for-like comparison.
    I agree 100%. 8-)

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  • 395. At 1:37pm on 03 Dec 2009, ambi wrote:

    Re.'Scotland's Conspiracy Files', I thought it was pretty good, made a decent effort to be even-handed, great original footage though had my pet-hate, lots of snatches of (admittedly pretty good) pop/rock songs.
    I wasn't really aware of the gravity of the Westminister SNP's decision to go with the 'No Confidence' vote against the Callaghan government, a real what-if moment, though I could see the reasons for their disgust with Labour (plus ca change). If you think cynical, negative Labour Unionism is a recent thing, just look at the interviews with Bruce Milan - what a horror!
    I thought Gavin McCrone came across really well and seemed the most reliable witness in the whole show.

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  • 396. At 1:40pm on 03 Dec 2009, Online Ed wrote:

    Online Ed Here

    369. At 11:10am on 03 Dec 2009, U13925730 wrote:
    The vitriol will only get worse as the GE nears. Where can the unionists go? The attacks are already so pathetic people are either becoming immune or concluding that the unionists have completely lost it. If it gets much worse the attacks will resort to complete lunacy.


    It's happening already, people are turning off Radio Scotland and ditching newspapers. I have anecdotal evidence that suggests people know and actually have known for sometime that the BBC are anti SNP.

    They accept it because they feel they have no power over it and, more importantly, because they feel that it doesn't influence their decision making.

    What they fail to realise is that the more intelligent and mentally capable amongst us can see through it, however it is those who do not readily apply reason that the broadcasts are aimed at.

    Not for nothing did BBC reported Catriona Renton mislead the viewers when she stated that it was Alex Neil's view that the SNP wanted David Cammeron to be the next PM.

    It is however governed by the law of diminishing returns.

    Incidentaly, these episodes of less than balanced broadcasts are never ever addressed by the RE's, NCA's and Northhighlanders - it is too uncomfortable to acknowledge.

    Someone wrote that The Scotsman circulation has dropped to below 5000 - how I wish it were true but sadly I doubt it is that bad.

    If there is some merit to the figures then it could explain why Maddox has been behaving even more rabidly towards the SNP than usual.

    Finally:
    Have the BBC headlined Foulke's statement where he compares the First Minister to Mussolini? MSP's do not behave like Foulkes has just done if they believe their party all of a sudden have acquired the upper hand.

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  • 397. At 1:45pm on 03 Dec 2009, ambi wrote:

    # 367. At 11:03am on 03 Dec 2009, Reluctant-Expat wrote:
    360. [stifled yawn]

    The nationalists absolute and constant refusal to accept the unionist case does not mean it has not been repeatedly made.

    Not by you it hasn't. Ever.
    Amazing that this blog and its many contributors (with a wide range of views even in the Nationalist camp) interested in discussing the political situation in Scotland is dismissed by you as a Cybernat irrelevance, yet as has already been pointed out you are one of the most incontinently frequent posters. Also your leadenly pompous writing style seems to be either the inspiration for a couple of others with your narrow view, or there’s a multiple personality in the house.

    Unionist rule no.1: don't make the argument but keep pretending there is one.

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  • 398. At 1:51pm on 03 Dec 2009, Gary Hay wrote:

    #392

    We've had 300 years to scrutinise the alternative to independence - and while we watch other european countries grow stronger we are forced to watch Scotland's economy falter.

    We don't have the powers or the tools to change anything in our country for either ourselves or our children. It will take the destruction of the Labour Party and an overwhelmingly english conservative government in westminster to snap the apathy out of many Scots.

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  • 399. At 2:07pm on 03 Dec 2009, Bandages_For_Konjic wrote:

    "I've commented before on several polls reporting a significant decline in the LD support."

    It's safe to say that Alex Salmond's a betting man and, I think, this is what he's putting his money on, in the forthcoming Westminster GE, not an assault on Labour seats.

    I think it's already likely that the 2010 GE will see heavy losses amongst the Liberals as the Tories advance in S/W England and the SNP make gains in the North and Highlands of Scotland.

    Possible result - Liberal Democrat MPs from Scotland down by at least 3 and possibly as many as 7. Possible indirect result - panic amongst LD's north and south of the border. LD's seek ways of entrenching and bolstering support - and fast.

    What opportunities do they have in Scotland? There'd be no point aligning themselves with the Tories as (a)That goes against whatever genuinely 'Liberal' principles they have left and (b)The Tories are and will continue to be a minority party in Scotland.

    They'll have nothing left to gain from their continuing alliance with Labour (a) Labour won't have much in the way of credibility left after a heavy defeat in the Westminster GE and (b) Look where ganging up with Labour has got them - to their worst GE results in x long.

    Which leaves - a re-think on their current stance on constitutional change and the adoption of some genuinely popular Scottish policies such as, maybe, real support for fiscal autonomy at Holyrood.

    My belief is, Alex Salmond doesn't want to wipe out Labour in Scotland (Well, he might but he knows that's not going to happen) but he's aiming to eviscerate the L-D's at the Westminster GE because that might go along way to ensuring Holyrood dominance into the next Parliament

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  • 400. At 2:19pm on 03 Dec 2009, Phil_Anthropponent wrote:

    226. At 4:40pm on 02 Dec 2009, Reluctant-Expat wrote



    Yeah, yeah. Everyone that voted snp only did it coz they were sulking with the 2 party system and they all just happened to forget the number 1 priority of the snp.

    Purile......

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  • 401. At 2:23pm on 03 Dec 2009, Nat_very_likely wrote:

    See that the three posts from Nick Robinson on his Newslog since his one on Scotland have stayed open with about 650 comments between them.Come on BBC.Play the game.

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  • 402. At 2:28pm on 03 Dec 2009, Dunroamin wrote:

    397. "The nationalists absolute and constant refusal to accept the unionist case does not mean it has not been repeatedly made.

    Not by you it hasn't. Ever."


    You couldn't make it up.

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  • 403. At 2:28pm on 03 Dec 2009, rolfrae wrote:

    #396 Online Ed re. the drop in circulation of the Scotsman. I had thought that if the paper were to adopt a generally pro-Scottish outlook (no explicitly pro-SNP but pro-Scotland, what it does well and what can be done to make it better) then they might boost their circulation. The same goes for The Herald and BBC Scotland. The latter in particular has an editorial policy that is seemingly entirely driven by being pro-Labour and pro-union. They are unable to sensibly debate any issue, so clouded are they by their prejudices. A good idea is only a good idea if it fits the pro-Labour, pro-Union, anti-SNP agenda, to the detriment of the country and all those paying the license fee in Scotland. The same goes for political thinking of the unionist parties.

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  • 404. At 2:51pm on 03 Dec 2009, loveme2times wrote:

    382 P Pete,

    Do you not beleive that there are still floating voters out there who are not sure which way to vote, if one of them came up to you and said I am thinking about changing my vote from a unionist party to the SNP what would you say to convince them otherwise???

    Would you say "it's not up to me to tell you the benefits of this great union", great policy.

    I hear much back tracking, lack of emotion and passion, but no convincing argument, and certainly not enough detail to convince me the union is serving Scotland best interests, convince me otherwise.

    You would think this question was extremly hard to answer by the way all unionists seem to avoid it, I will easily settle for you just posting one benefit I am not asking for war & peace.

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  • 405. At 3:01pm on 03 Dec 2009, tryagain wrote:

    #402 RE

    Indulge me,I'm new here: what is the Unionist case? Feel free to quote any credible sources or to provide links to evidence you feel is appropriate.

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  • 406. At 3:26pm on 03 Dec 2009, Dunroamin wrote:

    404. Loveme2times: I will easily settle for you just posting one benefit I am not asking for war & peace.

    Aspects of the unionist argument have been stated several times on this page alone yet here we have repeated occasions of nationalists not even acknowledging them, let alone arguing against them.

    The nationalists absolute and constant refusal to accept the unionist case does not mean it has not been repeatedly made.

    Luckily for Scotland, there is a clear majority who not only acknowledge the unionist argument but are seemingly accepting it in increasing numbers, as shown by multiple polls from multiple pollsters showing support for independence is continuing to fall.

    The nationalists are most welcome to stick to their core strategy of ignoring all counter-arguments as it is clearly self-destructive.

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  • 407. At 3:28pm on 03 Dec 2009, Dunroamin wrote:

    400. So you are convinced that everyone who voted SNP also supports independence.

    Go with that and all the best.

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  • 408. At 3:32pm on 03 Dec 2009, Bandages_For_Konjic wrote:

    #402: Reluctant-Expat -

    "You couldn't make it up."

    Presumably not - if you'd the wits to make an answer up, (like most of your other answers) I expect you'd have done it by now.

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  • 409. At 3:43pm on 03 Dec 2009, tryagain wrote:

    #406 RE

    You have been asked a few times now by more than one poster, but you seem to have difficulty in summarising any of the points which make up your (obviously passionately supported) case.

    Instead of attacking specific posters, or supporters of Scottish Independence in general, could you perhaps turn your attention to producing some kind of succinct case to put to loveme2times' "floating voter"?

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  • 410. At 3:44pm on 03 Dec 2009, Bandages_For_Konjic wrote:

    #367: Reluctant-Expat -

    "[stifled yawn]"

    #269: albamac -

    "[U]p to that point, you'd posted 1099 comments on BWB . . . Last time I looked, you'd upped your score by 45."

    Seems you need us more than we need you :-)

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  • 411. At 3:46pm on 03 Dec 2009, Bandages_For_Konjic wrote:

    #406: Reluctant-Expat -

    "The nationalists are most welcome to stick to their core strategy of ignoring all counter-arguments.

    They're awfully easy to ignore if you never make them.

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  • 412. At 3:50pm on 03 Dec 2009, Bandages_For_Konjic wrote:

    #407: Reluctant-Expat -

    "So you are convinced that everyone who voted SNP also supports independence.

    Go with that and all the best."


    So; you're convinced that everyone who voted SNP does not support independence?

    Go with that and, sincerely all the best :-)

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  • 413. At 4:31pm on 03 Dec 2009, NCA999 wrote:

    JR

    Either you believe what you said or you don't.

    You argued that Scotland should be independent because smaller more localised power is better. By admitting that you aren't capable of coming up with an answer to my challenge you highight that you don't really believe the argument you made. Either you support the smallest possible level of governance or you don't. Which is it?

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  • 414. At 4:39pm on 03 Dec 2009, FatherMacKenzie wrote:

    289. Neil Small

    The SNP want to have a single issue referendum but concede that the unionists may want to put another question to the people as well.

    Unless the Unionists try to do it differently, Salmond has outlined two possible ways the referendum will be structured.

    1. A single question on whether or not you want independence. The SNP preference

    2. A question on whether or not you want the Scottish Parliament to have more powers, followed by a question on whether you think those powers should include independence.

    Both would require a 50.000001% to pass (Salmond said in his view a single vote would be enough on Monday).

    U13724389

    By having a fully PR rather than constituency based system for the country you wouldn't be able to have independent - or even local issue candidates stand.

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  • 415. At 4:42pm on 03 Dec 2009, handclapping wrote:

    #413 U11882531
    I'm a great believer in independence for the single person, how about you?

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  • 416. At 4:49pm on 03 Dec 2009, tryagain wrote:

    #413 U11882531

    Are you advocating the Union? Can you provide some reason or argument to convince me that this is the correct course of action?

    Floating voter guys - come and get me LOL

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  • 417. At 4:58pm on 03 Dec 2009, Nat_very_likely wrote:

    If Reluctant-Expat is having trouble writing his spirited defence of the Union then he might like to draw from the following list of reasons usually given for retention.

    We've been British for ages.
    We're all in this together.
    We'd be better off out of the EU,not the UK.
    We're too poor to be independent.
    We're too small to be independent.
    Who wants all the upheavel?
    Och,we don't need border guards and fences.
    We don't want to be watching only Scottish TV programmes.
    I don't like that Alex Salmond.
    There are more important issues to be dealing with.
    We've got a Scottish Prime Minister so why independence?
    The SNP are anti-Glasgow.
    I don't see why it's so important.
    Would an independent Scotland have saved the banks?
    We don't want to look foolish on the world stage.
    We all fought in the war together.
    Och,the SNP would have us dancing to bagpipes.
    The Royal Family are against it.
    We've got by without it before now.
    We'd be parochial.
    We wouldn't have a seat on the UN Security Council.
    I'm an internationalist,not a nationalist.
    They wouldn't let us anyway.

    Finally my personal favourite
    We wouldn't win as many medals at the Olympics.

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  • 418. At 5:02pm on 03 Dec 2009, loveme2times wrote:

    RE,

    I give up with you and won't waste my time asking you any more HARD questions for you to sideswipe, I will just ignore everything you post from now on which is a same as I quite like debating and more so learning facts about unionist and natiolist that I never knew.

    If you can't answer my questions with a straight answer I doubt I can ever learn anything os use from yourself.

    Have a good day.

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  • 419. At 5:44pm on 03 Dec 2009, Diabloandco wrote:

    11 May 2008 ... In figures published last week, The Scotsman's full-rate circulation has fallen to just under 45000; its overall figure, including bulks, ...
    business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/business/industry.../article3907840.ece

    May 2008 , things surely have'nt improved for them!

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  • 420. At 11:07pm on 03 Dec 2009, Dave McEwan Hill wrote:

    #407

    And do you believe that all who support Labour or Tory support the union?

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  • 421. At 11:09pm on 03 Dec 2009, X_Sticks wrote:

    I'm no great expert on education, but reducing class sizes for P1/2/3 to 18 is a laudable ambition. That local councils are playing politics with our children's education is disgraceful. They should be ashamed of themselves.
    Scotland used to have an education system that was world class. Years of first conservative and then labour corrosion have reduced the quality of teaching at the coal face. Not a critisism of the teachers, but definitely a critisism of the bureaucracy and unnecessary "management" (much the same as the health service).
    The education budget whoever it is administered by should be ring-fenced. set percentages of this budget should be allocated to front line services/management. To my mind it should be something in the region of 80/20. New schools should be dealt with on a countrywide basis. school assets should be audited, and a national plan drawn up to deal with our worst schools as a matter of priority as finances allow.
    Education should not be a political football. It's far too important.

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