A Big Boy Dun It And Ran Away

Looks like word has gone out around the Better Together network to report anything that can be sexed up into a cybernat scandal to feed to the media. Today’s story about a Labour MP having to hide his face in the street and undergoing threatening behaviour in his constituency office looks like a version of this tactic.

It is being conflated by Darling with criticisms of bosses telling their staff how to vote based on dodgy information to construct what the lawyers call a tissue of lies to defame the Yes movement.

It is the clearest sign that they have lost the argument and have nothing to stop the inexorable – we hope – rise in the Yes vote. I thought Cameron’s claim to be more interested in the outcome of the next election than the referendum played into the Yes hands too. It contradicts his earlier statements about fighting with every fibre for the Union, it makes it easier for him to refuse to debate with Salmond and, crucially, may be the first indication that losing the referendum isn’t such a massive deal for him after all – he’s preparing the ground for defeat.

I saw Darling on the Marr programme when he was asked a perfectly fair summing-up question about us all being Scots together when this is over. It is what every constitutional politician should regard as a gift – a chance to be conciliatory and statesmanlike. Darling failed. He struggled to sound reasonable and couldn’t stop himself suggesting that could only happen if everybody was reasonable and the nationalists weren’t. It is was a pitiable performance that sounded like the words of a bad loser.

But I think the question – a great way to rise above the acrimony – threw him because he’s already in the next stage of the BT slander game. They are now using the media to denigrate the reputation of what is one of the most respectable and democratic movements we’ve ever seen with hundreds of thousands of activists from every walk of life and every political hue engaging with their communities in a great national cause. To Darling and his propagandists they are cybernats. This process, of identifying and denigrating will take off big time, I suspect as voting day nears.

The MP didn’t have the guts to stand up to intimidation by naming himself. But given that he has been careful to make sure the rest of the story is publicised, the result is it smacks of smear to me. If someone is shouting at him and his staff and issuing warnings, what is the evidence it is someone connected to the SNP or Yes? This individual sounds like a nutcase to me, not an activist. (I’m sympathetic to the idea that an MP’s staff must be protected but 1) I can’t see how not naming him helps when the abuser knows where they are and 2) a chat with any MP’s staff will elicit all sorts of stories of weirdoes who turn up. This perpetrator sounds like he will be easily apprehended. Perhaps then we’ll find out if he has a connection to the campaign…and who the MP is who is afraid to walk up the street without covering his face! God help us from the heroes of today’s People’s Party.

Darling hasn’t yet apologised for the pantomime complaints of Ian Murray who tried to whip up anti social feeling about a sticker on his window. Murray’s attempt to claim it as vandalism is another example of what we must watch for. The position appears to be that no Yes person can criticise or condemn anyone from the No side for saying something detrimental to their country’s independence or else they are threatening cybernats. This may play in a pliant media and with Marr’s English audience but, like the rest of the BT case, it will do nothing but turn Scots off. It simply isn’t true that cybernats run the Yes campaign anyway. The blinding truth is that it is people driven in a way that is beyond the comprehension of No.

I’m away to threaten and abuse the people of Argyll now for a few days in my secret holiday hideout www.garmoransquare.co.uk  and I intend to inform the police if I see any of those Yes stickers that are so frightening.

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46 thoughts on “A Big Boy Dun It And Ran Away

  1. Enjoy your well-deserved break, Derek – we’ll still be here when you get back!

  2. The MP in question in the front page story in today’s Scotsman (I flush with embarrassment to admit I have a copy in the house) makes him clearly identifiable from the description of a previous “vandalisation” of his office. The article is simply a list of assertions and accusations by this MP, with no evidence presented to support these assertions. As an exercise in regime propaganda, I suppose it would be lauded by someone like Josef Goebbels, but as a piece of substantiated and accurate reportage, it would get 1/10.
    Interestingly, this same MP has on his online biography a statement that he “ran the largest arts festival in Europe for 7 years”. That would be the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, and try as I might, I can find no record of a current Labour MP ever having that responsibility. Perhaps the Scotsman would like to give us an expose of this story?
    The failure of print journalism to understand what is going on here is well illustrated by an ad in the Scotsman last week for a conference sponsored by them on Digital Journalism (on 30th April). A cursory look at the agenda indicates that only one speaker out of 9 has an online blog/website (BurdsEyeView). The others include such luminaries of balanced free speech as Brian Wilson and Douglas Fraser. The Scotsman seems to be speculating on what it visualises the future of digital publishing to be like. Your excellent blog, and others too numerous to name (but several worthy of a namecheck such as Wings Over Scotland, Newsnet Scotland, Wee Ginger Dug) have actually been doing this for years. Of course, there needs to be a grassroots readership willing to support these efforts, and the grassroots movement involved with Yes Scotland encompasses a wide breadth of political views and a wide range of individuals. This genuine grassroots movement for significant democratic change is the greatest weapon Yes supporters have, and I see no evidence of such a broad and vigorous movement on the Better Together side, nor can I imagine that Alistair Darling is capable of firing up such a campaign. The most cheering news I’ve heard recently is that the big guns in the BT armoury (e.g. George Foulkes, George Robertson) are to be wheeled out to show us the way. I look forward to an entertaining few weeks.
    I imagine that most journalists in print media use this and other blogs to find accurate information relating to the referendum so I have a question for them. Aren’t you embarrassed by what you’re being forced to write for a living, and the selective and unrepresentative stories you write? Is this really why you went into journalism? I’m not asking you to write pro-Indy propaganda. I am, however, asking you to write well researched, evidence based, accurate articles. That’s all that is required.

    • Your last few paragraphs say it all really, Bigbricks. It’s not that they, the so-called journalists, don’t understand the referendum, as I believe they do only too well, but that the ones who pay their wages, in other words the owners of the print media, have decreed that they must follow the Westminster establishment line that Scotland is the cash cow for the U.K, and it must not be allowed to depart. So the lies will continue right up until the 18th, September, led of course by their big brother that is the B.B.C, and if we think just because the opinion polls are going in our favour it’s going to be easy, think again. It’s all very well us laughing at the No campaign’s scare stories, but, unfortunately, for a lot of folk, the M.S.M is their only source of information, and that is no laughing matter. That’s why this year, despite my advancing years and for the first time in my life, I am out on the streets, trying to get the word out that the only was is Yes, not for me, but for my great-grandson whom I want to live in a fair society, and that can only happen if we are an independent country.

      • Things are a wee bit less sophisticated in Spain. 3 senior newspaper editors recently fell at once, 2 for questioning the ruling party and one for supporting the Catalan referendum. A 4th has taken a right-wing, anti-Catalan lurch due to new ownership.

        The national (BBC-type but paid through taxation) TV channel RTVE was openly purged with the start of the new government. Yesterday another journalist lost her job for opposing central government policies on chat shows.

        Even so, the rough but intense and varied media scene here makes the UK and Scotland look like a media desert – it just depends if you fight it out in public or exercise quiet control behind the scenes, but post-dictatorship Spain and the UK don’t essential seem much different.

    • These so called journalists should take a look at what BT supporters are actually putting up on Youtube as acceptable comment. Not only is this KevMilne guy a nutter, he is a dangerous nutter!

    • James Coleman

      Based on a leak from the highest authority I can tell you categorically that the Hero of the Labour Party who wanders the streets dressded like a hoodie is Iam Blurry.

      • I had gathered it was that individual and the chances must be remarkably high that it is his wholly misleading handling of FoH that has brought forth the ire of people on the street and not wild separatists…

  3. They may be trying to goad the YES campaign into being negative. Too much sunshine blinds the denizens of the dark sewers. This is why the expression “gutter press” was invented.

  4. They’re lashing out as cornered animals do. Doesn’t make it any easier to counter though. But people look around and they notice their neighbours who are supporting YES are ordinary and active.

    It’s those ordinary folk who are winning this referendum…not the NO camp!

  5. Derek, I thought you were due to show up in Midlothian on Thursday? Is this a very short break, or is the Midlothian gig abogie?

    • Yes, I was planning to go to that meeting and I saw a Twitter ad for it with Derek as the MC only yesterday.

    • Hi Morag, Derek will not be in Midlothian on Thursday and has informed me. The flyers we are using were printed before Derek emailed me with apologies. We here in Midlothian did discuss this before deciding to deliver it and make Derek’s apologies on the night of the meeting. Unfortunate but it will be a good meeting and hope to have Derek speak at another meeting sometime in the future.

  6. At what point do they realise that this constant negativity and their bare-faced lies are getting them nowhere. The Better Together campaign may be one of the worse political campaigns ever conducted. The inability to even understand and engage with the people of Scotland is incredible. Long may it continue as our positive, grassroots multi-dimensional campaign will carry us to a Yes vote in September.

  7. Smile and the world smiles with you. Cry and you cry alone, especially if you keep crying WOLF,

  8. For David McCann: The video you linked has “been removed by the user’

  9. RevStu has saved it and it’s up on Wings now.

    http://wingsoverscotland.com/playing-with-fire/

  10. Thanks for that, Liz. I#ll still try to come to the meeting anyway. I’m only three miles across the county boundary in Peeblesshire and I think we should touch base.

  11. After the Currency Union debacle all the No campaign have left is smear and innuendo …………… and Lord Foulkes.

    Yes, the person who drunkenly fell over his own feet and then ripped off Hearts fans is being wheeled out, aimed at the opposition, loaded and primed, ready for the big offensive ……….. with offensive being the operative word.

    The problem for the No campaign is that the more angrier they get the more they are being laughed at.

  12. o/t but I think you should listen to the “tribute” thay Louise White paid to Margo MacDonald. Not a single mention that she was a strong supporter of Independence ll her life. A new low even for the BBC.

    • Yes, bjsalba – must be on a par with the Guardian asking Brian Wilson to do Margo’s obituary. Needless to say the man did not waste the opportunity to attack the SNP. The Guardian removed posts objecting to the choice of author.

  13. Derek as someone who has been known to target garden centres on the odd week -end and carry out skinny latte fuelled volunteering, I must admit my role as a Cybernat must appear edgy to some of our more sensitive Better Together representatives. It must be difficult trying to approach a middle aged woman laden with pot plants ,in order to put forward the case for the Union, never knowing if I’m carrying stickers somewhere on my person. Ah these Cybernats, imagine,
    there could be one living near you, receiving messages from central control, while all the while they looked just like a ‘ normal person’ as they say in the papers.
    Enjoy your break

  14. I think the “anonymous MP” is the Ian Murray story being recycled with fewer facts and more hyperbole. Twit!

  15. These attacks are extremely annoying and frustrating, but they are not what people want to hear and are more likely to put them off the No campaign. The public wants facts, answers to questions, and people discussing amicably. People know we all have to live together after September, so Hopefully few will be taken in by smears that have no foundation. Even some on the No side may see these smears as caused by the paucity of their arguments, and decide to come over to Yes.

  16. We can expect much more of the same as polls tighten in the run up to September. As others have pointed out Better Together have little other option; astro-turfing and negativity have to stand in for their lack of the kind of grassroots movement built up by the Yes campaign.

    As one of the “cybernat 7” othered by the Daily Mail in January I find it hilarious that the No camp are now trying to play the victim card, particularly with such laughably slim evidence. The Scots mainstream media in particular have done precisely nothing to critically examine britnat claims of “vile cybernat abuse”. This isn’t to say of course that nutters don’t exist on both sides of the debate; in the context of the independence referendum however the real motives of Better Together and their friends in the mainstream media are clear. They aim to intimidate mainstream Yes supporters, to suggest that any criticism of britnat policy, individuals or campaigning however reasoned is not only illegitimate but actually evil.

    It is a short leap from this of course to the outer fringes of unthinking unionist tin-foil hattery exhibited by online bloggers such as weird stalker Ergasiophobe and his disturbing crusade against Wings Over Scotland and Stu Campbell, or anonymous twitter troll mulder1981 who has sent a number of emails to my employer, identified in the Daily Mail “cybernat” piece, presumably in an attempt to have them take some action against me for daring to have an opinion different from his own. Interestingly both of these brave folk are happy to hide behind their anonymity, whist cheerleading attacks on political opponents with the courage of their convictions.

    It is people such as these, and the baleful example set by leading britnat politicos making outrageous comments which are never queried by supine journalists in the media, who have poisoned the debate around the independence referendum.

    Given how they have behaved when they were ahead in the polls, we can only expect it to get worse over the next few months as the Yes vote increases.

    • Indeed, and the worst case scenario would be an attack on the YES campaign, ie even a violent attack, as some sort of pretend revenge. It could be that the no camp will take things further and fabricate some kind of violence to make out this is a war rather than what should be (and is as far as the yes camp are concerned) a referendum for Independence that is part of hard won but very democratic process.
      The no camp may stop at nothing but all eyes are watching this time round.

  17. However dirty and nasty this gets the MSM, EBC are complicit in the whole dirty bussiness, and the misinformation being fed to the voters. They are not impartial reporters of the proceedings they are active in the NO campaigns cause.

    They are playing the propaganda card for HMG, NO GROUP & Establishment they are fifth columnists on the Establishments side.

  18. Please can someone tell me where the Referendum public meetings are being held in Glasgow.

  19. Have a good relaxing break – you deserve it and will probably need it. The next six months will surely see the pace and pressure build inexorably.

  20. I used to think Alistair Darling was called “Flipper” because his eyebrows go up and down when he talks and remind you of the flippers on a pinball machine. Then I discovered this:

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/mps-expenses/cabinet-expenses/5601879/Alistair-Darlings-expenses.html

    • I knew why Darling is called “Flipper” – the sad fact being that more than one MP earned the title – but I’d forgotten that Brown was unable to fire him. The reason could be extremely interesting.

      Have a happy Argyll holiday, Derek. Weather doesn’t matter there. It’s always beautiful.

  21. I don’t think turning his collar up to make himself inconspicuous is going to work when his coat is made up of Union flags 🙂

  22. I reckon BT are preparing the ground for coverage during the six-week no-coverage period — by having the media run stories of “threats” and “vandalism”.

    We all thought they’d not be stupid enough to resurrect the transparent “terrorist” agitation of decades gone by, but nothing would surprise me now.

    The mentality, at London-control level — in government and in media — is that painting a scenario of the kind of tactics used by militant, fringe outsiders will succeed in demonising the YES campaign. They can’t seem to see how daft it is when aimed at a massive cross-section of respectable folk. (Folk whose movement supports their government’s policy on the matter!

  23. Re Lord Robertson and the other equivalent Scots in Westminster’s House of Lords: what happens to them after Scottish Independence? Bet the remaining furry animals whose family and friends were forced to donate their pelt towards all the Lords’ enhancement will be clapping their tiny paws.

    • I understand that the Scots Lords recently sought (and I think received) assurances that their titles and membership of the Upper House would remain after the calamity of a YES vote. I am so glad they can get their priorities right.

      • According to the Unionists Scotland would be a foreign country, so how could Scots Lords as foreigners sit at Westminster on £300 a day plus cheap food and drink voting on matters pertaining to a foreign country?
        Would love to see the Daily Mail headlines on that!

  24. Some allegedly get threatened, some actually are assaulted. http://bit.ly/1oJDuds

  25. Enjoy yer Hols Derek …… but don’t stray too far from the laptop, events are ongoing and your analysis is … “a must read”.

  26. A quite bizarre take on the aggressive victimhood so beloved of the YESnp campaign.

    For a more balanced and nuanced take try:

    http://grahamskisreferendum.blogspot.co.uk/

  27. Don’t worry Derek, you are abusing the people of Inverness-shire instead, Ardnamurchan was annexed by the Ineversneckians in the early 70’s. That is why as an Argyllman we feel for our comrades in the Crimea. Pravda!

    • lachiedamn
      In truth Ardnamurchan was first claimed to be part of Argyll in the early 1630’s by the expansionist Earl of Argyll. (Not long after they expelled the MacIain’s)
      From 1140 to 1490 it was held firstly by Somerled, & then formed part of the Lordship of the Isles that was controlled from Ardtornish, Islay, and Dingwall.
      Ardnamurchan has rightfully re-joined Highland since the mid 1970’s – the Campbell’s held Ardnamurchan only for a short period 1615 to the early 1700’s.
      Garmoran Square is actually on the north side of Loch Shiel in Mingarry, Moidart. and has always fortunately been part of the parish of Moidart & Arasaig in Inverness-shire.

      • kmd26m, All I wanted to know about Ardnamurchan but was frightened to ask!!

        I had not given much thought to the formation of Scotland’s counties, there early evolution, due to the powers of the powerful landowners? Mull, Tiree and Coll came into the hands of the DoA, when he usurped the power of the Macleans and MacDonalds after the Battle of Inverkeithing?
        Thinking about Argyll’s status in the last century, ostensibly it his Highland and was not a good thing that it was run from Glasgow, as part of Strathclyde. They never understood the vicissitudes of island and highland life, thinking that Argyll was Dunoon and maybe, on a good day, Oban.

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