‘Ello ‘ello

I’m getting awfully confused about my identity for a proud Scottish Nationalist. I was just getting used to being a Nazi, courtesy of the Scotsman, a newspaper on which I began my career 45 years ago, and was busy pressing my uniform when I found that actually our nationalist leader is really a Putin puppet and now I’m to be regarded as a Russian anti-democracy thug. And there was me applying for my Euro election postal vote with a feeling of anticipation at the democratic process ahead.


Now, I thought Nazis and Russians were on opposite sides during the war, but maybe that part doesn’t matter so long as some of the dirt sticks by association. But wait! I was no sooner practising my accent – tovarish…toVArich – when I discover, again via the Scotsman that, in the eyes of the composer James Macmillan, I am probably a fascist. I’m beginning to spin now.

What does a fascist do? I know, I’ll do my Italian accent and my Il Duce turned-down mouth with chin up and appear on the balcony. (I can’t do Italian. It just comes out like ‘Ello, ‘Ello.)


All of this, mind you, via the mainstream media, not the uncontrolled blogosphere. But it is perhaps time I owned up. I do have a direct link to fascist Germany and the Nazis – my dad fought them in the war. Yes, it’s true. He even escorted one in handcuffs to Edinburgh Castle. And here’s the clincher for all you Scotsman columnists with a Nazi fixation. Sergeant Major Graham Bateman of the King’s Own Scottish Borderers, Commando and Paratrooper, came home with a genuine pair of German jackboots. Jackboots! They sat in our garden shed for 50 years so I literally grew up in the shadow of the Nazis which must have had a deep and lasting impression on my political outlook.

Such is the fantasia of smear in our daily Press. Weird? Silly? Undergraduate? Imbecilic? Or deliberately vicious in order to generate hate?

Personally, I try not to regard myself as a victim of this, although, it has to be said at one level, I literally am.

(When I wrote a torrid satire in reply and in keeping with the tone of a piece in the Guardian* lampooning Scots’ imagined shortcomings in the eyes of the English – and I advertised it as such at the begining – one or two quotes were taken out by the Express and reprinted in an attempt to justify calling me an anti-English Salmond acolyte. Thanks to Kerry Gill – once, like the Express itself, engaged in proper journalism, now reduced to toilet-wall daubings to justify the cheque. If you’re a student of hate journalism, try this http://www.express.co.uk/scotland/462123/COMMENT-Sneering-Alex-Salmond-s-shock-troops-resort-to-class-warfare He didn’t even have the courage, or is the word courtesy, to make contact to check with me. Nor, you’ll notice, did he repeat the anti-Scottish jibes from the Guardian. My quotes were repeated, again without any check, in the Telegraph – thanks to Tom Gallagher – where they were read by friends in England. Is the answer a) let the detractors get away with it b) only write if you keep it anodyne c) give as good as you get?)


But rather than feeling victimised which is pathetic, I regard myself as a player. (Which is why they attack). I have a voice and use it. I am, in a blogging sense, able to look after myself and don’t shirk from being direct and tough when appropriate. I never want it said that I missed and hit the wall. But I do try to argue the case when I attack. For example, I don’t say a Scottish Unionist isn’t Scottish or is somehow less Scottish. I regard that as ridiculous. But I do struggle to understand how they can claim to be proud, unswerving Scots who would nevertheless deny Scotland its nationhood. I have yet to hear anyone justify that in terms other than they regard Britain as their mother state, not Scotland and to me that is contradictory. Does it mean you’re proud, just not proud enough? Or can you be a committed Scot who doesn’t think nationhood is important?

I also get driven near insane by what has been nothing more than a campaign of contempt telling us we can’t live without English subsidy, our shipyards will close, we will be foreign, nobody will sign up to defend our country, we’ll be barred from Europe, kept out of NATO, we’ll not contribute to the third World, will encourage the Forces of Darkness, can’t manage our own oil and our country was absorbed into greater England. All this backed by ‘proud Scots’. Doesn’t that justify some withering contempt? Or is there another country on earth you can name where people would smile benignly as the insults fly in?


There is a pantomime of the grotesque parading across our conventional media on a daily basis, in there among the fair and the enlightening and the inspiring. I don’t subscribe to the idea that all the media is irredeemably biased. It isn’t. If you want pro-independence sentiment, if not outright support, read Macwhirter, Bell and Hugh Reilly in the Herald, Kerevan and Joyce Macmillan are in the Scotsman, Kevin McKenna in the Observer, Andrew Wilson in the SoS. Those voices are there but given the entire weight of publications and words produced daily in Scotland, they are islands of dissent. The problem doesn’t just lie in commentators, but in selection and placement of stories and, of course, their treatment. A lot of our broadcast output doesn’t help to provide perspective, I’m afraid.


I hate to sound like an apologist for Salmond because I recognise his shortcomings, hear unattractive stories about his behaviour and disagree with him on policy areas and campaign approach, but, just as I did with Jack McConnell, I accord him the respect that his office demands. McConnell never impressed me – or many in Labour – as FM material but one thing a grounding in politics and life in the BBC teaches you is that each politician represents a section of the Scottish people. Every MSP comes into a studio with the backing of the majority of voters and it is to those Scots that you owe respect when you interview their chosen representative. The First Minister is the political embodiment of the Scottish people, if you vote for him or not. His office, his job and title, carry the full majesty of the people. It doesn’t mean you genuflect, on the contrary, as a journalist you question and challenge but you never forget that at his back stand the entire Scottish nation whether he’s SNP, Labour, a bumbling idiot or, (for the Scotsman,) a fascist.

So when he goes to Bruges to make a speech about our future in Europe, given our current constitutional position just weeks away from the referendum vote, it is, of itself a news event. It is impossible to avoid the conclusion from most of our media that it’s just another version FMQs, in which they look for the Holyrood tripwires of controversy. That is part of the job, of course it is. But, unless he says he’s going to war with Brussels, the event and his message about our planned role in Europe IS the overriding news story, as it would be if Cameron went to Bruges. The questions over content and meaning follow on from the main event and form part of the analysis. Other countries recognise the difference when their leader is representing them abroad and don’t just take a parochial news line that omits the main point. The Scottish media seems never to have grasped the meaning of a national government in their own country and sometimes treat it like Strathclyde Region Mark Two.

I think the references to fishing are a real story but they are only part of the Bruges event. When Scotland is trying to gain entry to the EU in controversial circumstances and is creating a Europe-wide interest, it looks small-minded not to recognise the overall implications of his intervention. The conventional media treatment of discounting the main point of his speech fits with the long-time strategy of Unionist parties to pretend it is not really a national government in Edinburgh, just a sub division of the really important one elsewhere – hence the initial resistance to calling it a government not an ‘executive’.

(I thought the point of the fishing remarks was, if not actually a threat, a long-awaited reminder that Scotland has a hand to play. If you follow the normal commentary, you’d think Scotland went into EU talks naked, utterly dependent on the whim of others. This was a small and pointed reminder that is not so. We have a full deck of cards of our own.)

The fascist references above, by the way, derive from James MacMillan being given space in the Scotsman to give us his views on the referendum. Puzzlingly, he is coy and says he doesn’t want to (that’s when the Scotsman should have said OK, No Thanks) but goes on at length to try to link the Yes movement to fascism by the tired story of the brief dalliance of Hugh MacDiarmid to the creed when he regarded it as a movement of the Left. You might as well link a British Communist like John Reid to Stalinism. Then, through a serpentine maze, Macmillan ropes in Alan Bissett and to me implies he may be afflicted by the forces of evil (fascism) along with other Yes-minded artists (?) Convoluted and bizarre and distinctly nasty in implication.

It demonstrates that some with a popular badge – artist, musician, professor – have absolutely no idea who the people of their country really are and what they believe. This is more of the forced fantasy that can only comprehend independence through a twilight filter of hate while the massive body of the grassroots Yes movement is composed of civilised, polite, humane (and often Christian) Scots committed to democracy and fairness. MacMillan displays no understanding of his own country or what is happening in it and reveals his own dystopian obsessions…as he has done previously on sectarianism. Have a read  http://www.scotsman.com/what-s-on/theatre-comedy-dance/scottish-independence-essay-arts-and-the-referendum-1-3393306 and ponder what he is bringing to the debate because I see contrived division, outdated metaphor and another misuse of the mainstream media to express imagined grievance. (Macmillan this week accused me of stirring up ill-feeling! I’d be famous if I had his gift for dividing people first on sectarian grounds, now suggesting democrats are fascist.) He writes a good tune, though.

*Try some of the jokes in the Guardian piece especially towards the end and ask yourself if they stop being funny/satirical and edge into insult. In other words, do they deserve an equally biting response which is what I gave them, merrily ignored by the Express propagandists.


I suppose the point is to be constant, refuse to be moved, remember what you believe, who you are and what you stand for – a democratic, egalitarian, multi-racial, tolerant, open nation, independent within the European family and looking out confidently to the world.

Just don’t expect our own media to tell you that.


For the record I am disgusted by the actions of Vladimir Putin. He manipulated the constitution to keep himself in power, he implicitly endorses the killing of journalists, he supresses gays and is both flouting international law and threatening a European war over Ukraine. If I were asked today for my view, that is what I would say with the caveat that his style of leadership plays to an instinct in the Russian psyche that warms to ‘strong’ leadership and feels more confident with him in the Kremlin.

Salmond may have slipped when he tried for balance in his reported remarks to GQ but does anyone think Salmond is anti-gay – having just brought in gay marriage – that he supresses opposition, silences journalists or threatens war? This retrospective tirade sounds like the last one…what was it?…his hotel expenses. I suspect that people who haven’t even read what he said are baying for blood because ‘he’s siding with Putin’.

I am I suppose being an apologist for him since, on reading his remarks, it is clear to me what he was trying to impart but you have to try to find the real meaning first. And the truth as we know is that across our media there is virtually no one prepared to do that. However, when that bias extends to ignoring George Roberton’s call for Putin and Russia to be included in NATO in order to treat them as a friendly nation in a formal defence alliance, you have wonder why not. Robertson is going much further than Salmond’s off-the-cuff remarks and proposing sharing our national defence so much do we trust Putin.

Why is there no mention of the British approach to Putin to back their fight against Scottish independence? That too goes much further than Salmond by proposing a political alliance with Putin. Are neither of these points relevant?

And in case you’ve forgotten, other leaders have been happy to endorse Vladimir more heartily than Salmond.

Tony Blair said he was ‘open and forward looking and a moderniser’. Obama says he did ‘extraordinary work’ for the Russian people. Sarkozy said he was a ‘courageous, determined man capable of accepting and understanding.’

And, sorry Vladimir, but here’s George Bush: ‘I looked the man in the eye. I found him to be very straightforward and trustworthy. We had a very good dialogue. I was able to get a sense of his soul, a man deeply committed to his country and the best interests of his country…I wouldn’t have invited him to my ranch if I didn’t trust him.’

What the current torrent of criticism reveals is a lack of even an attempt to understand what he was trying to say and in so doing further reveals the implied suggestion that Salmond agrees with Putin. Did anyone suggest that was the case with any of the above incidences of praise or requests for help from other people? Of course, not. They were just doing what statesmen do. But Salmond doesn’t qualify for membership of that club. In fact that’s exactly what Magnus Linklater wrote…not the words of a statesman. So, Magnus, George Robertson IS a statesman?

I think Salmond is the victim of his own success. If he wasn’t so good, they wouldn’t try so hard to bring him down. Nobody really bothers attacking Johann, do they? They just let her do it all by herself. The underlying message to Salmond is Do Nothing. Don’t Speak. Ignore the Media. Turn down Interviews. In other words, take the Russian option and suppress all opinions. Whatever you say becomes ammunition even as it leaves your mouth. Pitiful, really.




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74 thoughts on “‘Ello ‘ello

  1. There are fewer and fewer relying on our traditional media these days. Too many Scotland haters of the ”proud Scot” variety. They say we are anti English and everything else under the sun. I am not of course, but I have to admit that I am anti ”proud Scot”.

    The best we can do is abandon them and their vile musings and spread the word via here and of course Wings etc.

  2. Derek. Why dont you send a piece for inclusion in the next run of the Yes campaign newspaper, pointing out the lies and deceit of the MSM?
    At least, you will be sure that over 2 million readers will see it, surpassing the combined circulation of the unionist press.

  3. The SNP are aw Fenian/Orange basturts. Tartan Tories and Commie basturts, Fascists and Stalinists.

  4. As Chomsky points out (Manufacturing Consent) , these people rise to positions of influence in the media precisely because of their pro elite outlook, nurtured as it is through years of education and training. If they were of independent mind they would be sidelined as “not a team player” or “a bit of a maverick”. A comment piece by Fiona Laird in today’s Guardian laments the fact that the YES vote is gaining ground when she has no vote and no say in the matter, being a London theatre director. But of course she could easily have a vote. Just move to Scotland.

  5. Those of us who don’t support the great state of Mammon aren’t real human beings. We are considered to be sub-human. After all, how could anyone in their right mind prefer self determination to being a subject of the great state of Britain? We wouldn’t be able to pretend to be a world power. We would lose the guiding light of the glorious House of Lords including the Lords Spiritual who ensure our path is always the good one.Goodness, we might even fall into the dark ways and decide to become a republic.

    No, no, we should listen to our betters and ditch all these fanciful ideas of running our own country.

  6. Another excellent piece Derek and so true about the First Ministers Bruge speech which I thought was excellent. And Monday was the last day after over 30 years that I’ll buy and be reading the Herald.

  7. Can you explain the reason behind the “(and often Christian)” line? Cheers.

    • James is devout, I believe and mentions his catholicism. I thought it relevant

      • He is indeed a devout Catholic, and it informs his music as well as much of his rather cock-eyed writing. Ironic that someone who has on more than one occasion tried to pin the Fascist tail on to the Indy donkey seems able to happily ignore the relationship his own church had with Fascism and Nazism. That’s why it’s called blind faith I guess.

        • Sorry – ‘Iain’ – that is a gross generalisation from you about Catholicism. Your remark here is offensive to many ordinary people in Scotland. Lets get back to the main argument. MacMillan is devout, yes, Derek pointed it out but didn’t make a big thing of it.

          Derek has written an excellent article and you do yourself no favours with your bigotry.

      • OK, thank you.

      • Does he seem to you to be practising Christianity at all…??

  8. Some of the regular posters in The Herald seem to have disappeared today. A sign of the times.

  9. Jackboots? You should never have admitted that, Adolf. All credibility doon the pan.

  10. Genuinely, I did speak to a Catholic lady who was concerned that voting Yes would return Scotland to the days of Catholic persecution. I am an atheist so it is difficult for me to relate to that and it is not something that I see in my circles; both social (limited) and work. I sincerely hope that it is not a widely held view since I do not believe that it would ever be the case.

    • I was brought up as a Catholic went to Catholic school and eventually taught in one and in my experience there are a very small minority of folk like the lady you spoke to.

      I think most of people like that tend to be regular church goers and Celtic supporters with an Irish background and have been brought up to think that there is discrimination throughout Scottish society against Catholics- I’m not saying it’s the case with her but I truly believe this will not occur.

      Whenever I encountered such a view I usually asked the person – in what way have you been discriminated against and most of then could give no examples but it still didn’t stop them from thinking in that way – there nowt so daft as folk.

      This is the category in which I put James MacMillan – here is someone who is at the top of his field and was asked to write a composition for the opening of Holyrood – if he was asked the question just exactly how you been been discriminated against, could he give a valid reason?

      • As someone closely associated with the Church of Scotland all my life, I’m often puzzled by comments from a few Roman Catholics like James MacMillan that non-RC Scotland is virulently against them. That’s never been my experience. However, I’ve led my life in the East of Scotland and it may be that James is extrapolating nasty personal experiences in Greater Weegieland to cover Shetland, the Borders, Moray etc etc. I’m not trying to be gratuitously insulting, but perhaps James is just a wee bit paranoid? Anyhow, I think he’s a fascinating personality, alongside Billy Connolly, and look forward to his next composition.

      • There’s no doubt that in the past, Catholics were discriminated against, particularly in West and Central Scotland. Some of the older generation experienced it and that experience is valid. It’s also handed down. Thankfully this type of discrimination is now largely historical. But we need to hear and respond to these fears.

        Note also that there is Yes Christians for Independence group. I directed a family member to it recently.

  11. Keep the good work up Derek. Greatly appreciated.

  12. Donald you missed out separatists, splittists Yawn!

  13. Annoyed the Empire you have ! (apologies to Yoda).

    Great blog, keep it up.

  14. What is the difference between the English nationalists and the Scottish nationalists?

    The Scots variety just want to run their own wee country as they choose!

    The English variety want to run England NI, Wales and Scotland as England chooses!

    Sounds ok if you are an English nationalist I suppose. Now therein may lie the crux of the misunderstanding or the problem.

    • Actually I think you may be mixing up British nationalism (with all the baggage of empire, etc.) and English nationalism.

      Now whilst there are different forms of English nationalism, there is a strand which is similar to Scottish nationalism who want a fairer, more democratic country for themselves. I think an example of one person who has these kinds of ideas is Billy Bragg who does support Scottish independence as he thinks it’ll shake up the English political system for the better. The problem is, however, they have no mainstream political party to articulate and take forward those ideas.

      • I take your point. But I do specifically mean British. That’s what the Unionist Scots believe in and from my perspective it is the British state and establishment, not England or the English people, I disagree with. I’d love to see a modern version of English national belief and its political manifestation without the nutcase extremists who has appropriated it. Derek

        • Kafflicks are devout. Prodistents are staunch and Jimmy is a bam.

          Afeists are Partick Thistle Supporters.

          • I was taught that Prodistents were staunch but that Kafflicks were bitter. Fortunately, I have learned that only Better Together supporters are bitter – regardless of faith, and that everybody else – of faith or of none – are generally good guys.

  15. I share your horror Derek at the attitude of so many so-called democrats to the idea that a small country might want to run its own affairs. When the USSR started to split up there was encouragement from the West for these brave people reclaiming their countries. In the end it seems that fewer obstacles were put in their way by Russia than are being touted at Scotland. Hypocrites!
    Re Kerry Gill, I’d never heard of him until. I picked up an Express in a cafe, and couldn’t believe how rabid he was. Don’t go to that cafe now.

  16. “You dear Scot, are worthless and will do as you are told. You have nothing and you will never admit to having anything. If you dare suggest otherwise (or indeed exhibit any kind of irritation or dare show an anger anyone else from any corner of the world would show at our constant, arrogant framing of you as worthless) you will be immediately branded as aggressive, awful, rude and condmned forever etc. Behave yourself. Sit down and accept your lot which is to do only as you are told when you are told. Don’t dare stand up or speak again. Never forget your place again.”

    I’ve seen this behaviour. I’ve seen it in Scots’ workplaces, universities and in day-to-day life when the plebs of Scotland dare refuse to accept the shoddy, impovirished, silencing, crushing life and conditions imposed on them by the managerial classes of Scotland. I’ve seen this behaviour repeatedly over the last 40 years. Scotland as a nation and now the dessenting wing of the Scottish Establishment are being herded around like farmyard cattle in exactly the same way middling Scots believe they are entitled to herd around the poorest and weakest Scots.

    I expect nothing less from those Scots who hold even the tiniest scrap of decison-making power in Scotland.

    It’s a habit. A bad bad habit. It won’t become a broken habit until that habit is never tolerated again, not in any nook, cranny, workplace, public service building, or our daily lives. Breaking that habit must be the duty of every Scot regardless of the outcome of this referendum.

  17. You would think with all this fascism the Daily Mail would have a substantial readership in Scotland

  18. “c) give as good as you get?”

    You MUST do so. Wings is so influential because that is what it does. It tears their lies apart. I always give MORE than I get and they do not like it.

    And James McMillan is a prize chump with nothing coherent to add to the Indy debate.

    • If you want to know how Kafflicks are specifically oppressed in Scotland follow the ravings of Michael McMahon, Labour and Unionist MSP and his daughter Fiona, Labour and Unionist MSP. “All Kafflicks in Scotland are treated like Arabs on the West Bank and in the 18th Century there were merr Prodistent organisations in Glasgow than Kafflick ones”. This goes down a treat with some sections in Coatbridge and other Sellick fans. McMahon and Janet Findley, Celtic Trust (Labour Unionist) have addressed both the Green Brigade and Blue order in support of bigotry against Independence.

      McMahon, who lists himself as “ethnic”, in the Scottish Parliament, is careful enough not to make such silly utterances in public or in front of educated persons..

      • Oh no not Jeanette Findlay(spelling?) supporting NO! The woman who has spent her life fighting for Northern Ireland and ROI to become a single entity, out of the clutches of London, wants Scotland to remain in said clutches!!
        Absolute hypocrite, especially as she wouldn’t be seen dead carrying a Union flag.

      • I think the sectarian bile is largely a feature of West Central belt culture (if that’s the right word). At least I hope so. Living in the North East I don’t see it. There were Catholic children in my primary school and they could excuse themselves from morning prayers if their conscience dictated. A privilege not extended to we athiests in the class. But I have heard that Catholic children in Glasgow were made to walk to school running the gauntlet of massed protestant protesters. So it is maybe understandable that some are carrying the scars of these experiences.

        • I haven’t heard of that and I taught in a non denominational school in Brigtoon where a third of the pupils were RCs, du to divorces, drug, alcohol, prison, etc.

          Most of these stories are urban myths deliberately spread about that cannot be substantiated.

  19. I think they tend to forget Derek that there are actually human beings involved in this Referendum. There is a tendency to think in the abstract when dealing with what they see as some little matter out with the M25 involving some sort of rebellion. They are stirring up trouble, not the Scottish YES voter, the Unionists who see their little self made empire slipping away. You are more aware than many of the sort of thing our First Minister is exposed to on a daily basis and who deals with it with a smile and a gentle put down though I think he did better with his open letter to William Hague than I have seen other than from you and the Wee Ginger Dug in recent weeks.
    I think you can take it that you made an impression on them, that they chose to only take the bits they could use against you which is similar to the GQ interview from Alex Salmond. I think I said it before, you obviously worry them, that they do so.

  20. Morag MacKenzie

    Please, please have this article published somewhere, where the rest of the outside world will read it. It will counteract some of the venomous bile coming from the fascist press. Mr McMillan might be a reasonable musician but it looks like he needs a bit of publicity just now. He probably thinks it’s time to try & be a bit controversial. He’s done sectarianism to death & knows no-one pays attention to his outbursts on that anymore so decided to jump on the anti -YES bandwagon. Naughty Mr McMillan – failed again – he should calm down & keep taking the medicine.

  21. Douglas MacLean

    Another excellent and thought provoking article from Derek.

  22. Mr B,
    I’ve always known that you were a Fifth Columnist, like myself. My gandfather used to say, ‘She’ll get hung, Annie, she’s one o’ they Bolsheviks.’ Isn’t it obvious in this best of all countries in the world, how anyone who says anything that runs counter to the state held agenda, immediately becomes an -ist or an -obic? The poor souls that do that just don’t have an argument to support their agenda views. You have to keep expressing your view, because theoretically we have freedom of speech in this best of all lands. Theoretically. As for the ‘proud unswerving Scots’ who would vote ‘No’ it’s easy to understand them. They’re in denial about having lost their freedom, and powerless to act, and have developed the symptoms of Stockholm Syndrome. I can’t stress that enough.

  23. James MacMillan represents an old and (I hope out-dated) view. It does seem to be very personal with him, something in his own past or upbringing has coloured his view of Scotland. He does really dislike Scotland and actually wrote at one time that he was happy to have left Scotland, visiting only with reluctance.

    Now having personal dislike of your place of origin is not uncommon; people do not always leave with sorrow in their hearts and they are entitled to those feelings. There might be reasons particular to them behind their rejection of their place of birth. But usually those people leave it all behind them, no doubt glad to find somewhere else to call home.

    However, Mr. MacMillan feels the need to treat us from time to time to articles which regularly give vent to those feelings of antagonism. His relish in being able to attack things Scottish is evident in these outpourings. I had only known Mr. MacMillan as a composer until he left Scotland to take up residence in England some years ago and so soon after he left, I was taken aback to find him given an extensive spread in the Guardian, in which to air his views, which until then had been unknown to me. To be honest, I was quite shocked at some of the attitudes he expounded there.

    It saddens me that the sectarianism which existed so strongly in West of Scotland has left us this legacy, that someone who is so highly educated and successful in his own field can retain such feelings of outrage and bitterness that nothing can assuage them but to return again and again to lambast Scotland. ( I still listen to his musical compositions by the way. He might find a place in his own ‘ A Scottish Bestiary’ ?)

  24. Thank you derek
    cant say enough,as i struggle with the insults heaped on us by politicians (mostly scots)
    i fluctate between we have won or we are doomed,
    on speaking to many people,i believe the people who dont do politics,will vote yes but make up their minds on the day before
    but there is a rising optimism amongst the ordinary folk that its good to be scottish
    i really feel sorry for the english people who have to choose between 2 parties who both stand for the same ideology…………..at least we may recover a labour party in scotland who listen to the people…………..i can only hope
    if only for a varied and interesting political scene,which after a yes vote i believe will continue to interest the ordinary folk
    although i think there is worse to come from british politics,as its too important for them to lose…………

    • Watched some of the C4 News vox pops last night but no further. The women saying they were torn then wilted a bit in the public glare but I bet that in the privacy of the voting booth their hearts will be in the right place. They seemed slightly giddy with the possibilities, the normalisation of independence is happening and working.

  25. These days, for the good of my health, I neither read newspapers nor watch TV. I rely on people like you, Derek, to keep me up to date with what’s happening in Scotland and beyond. But I could only read as far as number 61 in the Guardian’s supposed joke list. I could stomach no more. The Guardian……of all papers to print such tripe. It’s hard to accept that such a well-respected publication could sink so low. How disappointing that Westminster’s fist has that much clout and can reach that far. BUT it will only help those in Scotland see that it is imperative we govern our country from Edinburgh not London.

    Please keep up the good work. We need your vigilance.

  26. I was, by coincidence, in Brussels on Monday and Tuesday for work. There was certainly a lot of interest in the referendum. From my limited sample I would say there is a default assumption that Scottish independence will cause problems re Catalunya and Belgium itself. Also an assumption that we will be supplicants at the gate with no rights and no cards to play in negotiation, so Salmond’s excellent speech was timely. Having said that, most folks I was speaking with hope we vote Yes and don’t doubt that we will remain members. There is also an assumption that the rUK will remain if it comes to a BritExit referendum which I think is probably a bit complacent.

  27. If some of these hacks would get out from behind their desks once in a while and visit the real world,they would realise that if Alec Salmond dropped dead tomorrow (and I sincerely hope he doesn’t) it would not have the impact they would like to see.
    The independence movement has gone far beyond an individual or even a single party and as Blair Jenkins has said,has taken on a life of it’s own.
    Hence the objections from the anti independence campaign about the number of organisations registering with the EC for the Yes movement.
    These personal attacks on AS just show how out of touch they are with reality and they should stick to editing comic magazines if they seek to entertain us.

    • The main thrust of the NO campaign has been to personalise their assaults against YES by targetting Alex Salmond as they are aware that a large minority of voters ‘dont like AS’ and base their decision on independence on their bias. The same process was successfully used against Neil Kinnock (he fed the detractors ever more ammunition though so maybe deserves no sympathy) but this time it has backfired as most of us now have access to media which supplies alternative versions of ‘the news’.

      • Alex Salmond is demonised because he is the leader of the SNP, as was John Swinney and as would anyone else at the head of the SNP. In football parlance it would be described as going for the ball and not the man. If they had anything real on him they would have had it by now.

        • Yes and the sad thing is it appears to work. I work with a load of guys and their view of the debate is sadly tied to what they think of Salmond. Usual tripe, fat bazzer etc etc. As far as I can tell they are all NOs, it could this is just the usual griping you hear but I am not so sure. Very sad but seems to work and the NO people know it. For all his faults a blind man could see what Salmond was saying, to me it was an accurate critique and was actually quite insightful. The fact that people on the NO side continue to introduce such poison into the waters does nothing for the country, it is appalling.

  28. Derek, you too are a victim of your own success in this campaign for independence. Just like the FM, the Naysayers will attack you because of it. Take for the compliment it is not meant to be but actually is in fact.

    Keep up the good work. If it wasn’t having an effect they would not even notice you. Well done!!

  29. Fearghas MacFhionnlaigh

    Thanks again Derek.

    I am wondering if anyone has a weblink to a video of the First Minister’s complete speech at the College of Europe. I know the text at least is available here:



  30. “the point is to be constant, refuse to be moved, remember what you believe, who you are and what you stand for – a democratic, egalitarian, multi-racial, tolerant, open nation, independent within the European family and looking out confidently to the world.”

    That says it all. Thank goodness you’re there. Please keep writing and we’ll keep reading.

  31. C. Give as good as you get Derek. I wear a Yes t.shirt, Yes jacket and Yes pin badge everyday while doing my window cleaning round. I’ve got Yes stickers on my buckets too. And I have tartan ladders with wee Scotland flags on them. I’ve been called a lot of negative names for doing this but have also been congratulated. At the start of the year I had my car covered in pro Indy signs with a large ‘Scotland should be an independent county’ at the top, a few pro Indy sites for people to check oot in the middle (including yours obv’) with ‘There is no positive case for the union’ along the bottom on both sides and a large saltire map of Scotland and lage Yes sign on both bonnet and boot. I have a large Yes in a speech bubble on all my bills too. I did that to get the message out there that it’s okay to talk about the referendum and to vote Yes but also as a message to the ignorant dooshbags that I will not keep quiet or shy away from bigging up my country.

  32. I think you are being too kind to MacMillan, Derek. He did not merely imply that Alan Bissett is afflicted by fascism. He took deliberate aim and smeared Bissett. After discussing the artistic merits of Bissett and the National Collective he looked at MacDiarmid’s fascist flirting. He then wrote;

    “Some of you may be outraged that I bracket Bissett together here with MacDiarmid. Rest assured though that there is no attempt at false and mischievous equivalence on my part. The latter is a great artist while Bissett clearly isn’t.”

    That is a calculated smear. MacDiarmid was a great artist and a fascist. Bissett is different; he is no great artist.

    That was utterly deplorable and reflects very badly on MacMIllan. It also reflects badly on the Scotsman’s judgement that they chose to print to an unpleasant calumny with no supporting evidence.

    It seems that calling Yes supporters fascist is now seen as fair comment, but to respond with “don’t be so fucking stupid” is unacceptable cybernatery.

  33. Early in my career as a political activist I was canvassing with an older and very experienced man. At one door I had begun to speak to the tenant but stopped when I got a hard nudge from my colleague. As we walked away he said ‘He’s not supporting us, but learn to tell the difference between a reason and an excuse. Don’t waste time talking to people who are just making excuses’.

    Many people just don’t like to think about political questions, and make excuses to vote as they always have done, or not at all. The Unionists know this and are trying to arm these people with a ready-made excuse: Independence=Salmond=BAD. Don’t think about it, just say that if anyone asks.

    In this referendum campaign I think we all have experience of this strategy working – people who say they will vote No because they don’t like Alex Salmond, when you’re gloomily aware they probably couldn’t pick him out of a line-up. However the effectiveness of the tactic is limited. The Unionists fling mud because they know that it sticks, but crucially not all of it. I’m sure there is a physical law about how much, but in terms of the referendum result I think we can approximate this quantity as ‘not enough’.

    The Undecideds are obviously immune to that approach (or they’d already be Nos) so while it’s worth responding to the slanders, it’s probably not worth worrying about them.

    @donald anderson
    I’m told Partick Thistle supporters are the most intellectual football fans, as they only turn to watch the game when they run out of things to talk about.

  34. “Never allow yourself to be called an expert” – James MacMillan does appear to have assumed a “Laird O’ Cockpen” view himself that he can criticise the work of others in art activities than his music writing field. I know little of his music but I do recall my reaction to his music at the opening of the Scottish parliament as awful, just a collection of musical notes. He had done the maths of note and chord inter-relationship but failed to find any melodic merit.

    There is much inter- marriage between the people of the various religious movements that to talk up bigotry and suppression is nonsense. The message of Christianity hasn’t diminished but the power of the organised churches over the people is much diminished.

    • Mr. MacMillan has no small opinion of himself. He is a highly successful composer but somewhere there is a deep psychic wound about Scotland that makes him return again and again to whip and castigate us.

      There is a connection between him and Edwin Muir, the Scottish poet. MacMillan’s piece ” A Scotch Bestiary” is a savage attack in music on various aspects of Scotland based on Muir. For instance in his poem ” Scotland 1941″ Muir talks of Scott and Burns as ” shambards of a shamnation “. Gives you a flavour of Muir’s views on Scotland and its culture. Like MacMillan he had no time for Scottish nationalism.

      Though he intellectualized it, Muir’s deep dislike of Scotland can be traced back to his deeply tragic early life. Born in Orkney where he lived his early childhood, the family lost their farm and were forced to move to Glasgow where one after another his mother and his siblings died. Muir was forced to take on many unpleasant jobs – as others did too – before marrying and escaping. He looked back on his time in Orkney which he saw as an Eden and his time in Glasgow was a Fall from that grace.

      Sorry to have digressed so far but Muir’s life seems to have influenced his view of Scotland and its culture in which he perceived the Reformation as Scotland’s Fall and a psychic rupture between an older Scotlish culture and what came after. Muir’s prejudice infected Scottish intellectual life in the 20th century and chimed in with the Scottish political cringe. You can see how it might also chime in with Mr. MacMillan’s personal views.

      Fortunately our writers and artists as well as much of the community of Scotland have escaped from that and we have a flourishing, confident artistic scene with the likes of Alasdair Gray, Liz Lochhead et al. Perhaps Mr. MacMillan doesn’t like that? Any more than Unionist politicians like us having the confidence now to see ourselves as a country fit to join others. Not ” too poor, too wee and too stupid ” any more?

      PS Sorry to have hogged so much space but the space Mr MacMillan is given in our press to air his personal prejudices is annoying.

      • Yet Muir was to declare himself a Scottish Republican Socialist. Scotland has moved on from the oppressive Sabbatarian sm that prevailed up until the 60’sm where not only the pubs and shops were closed but public park, even kiddies swings, roundabouts and chutes were chained. Scottish Television consisted of overly sport and religion. The Wee Frees only go a grip because they opposed the Clearances and supported the Gaelic culture, yet imposed another kind of tyranny. Today the Church of Scotland id much more progressive. In fact, a the churches in Scotland are to the left of the Labour Party, Then so are the Brownies. The Churches are against Nuclear weapons and much of the austerity of the combined Unionist parties.

        The C of S are opposed to having their own Church schools and the Catholic Education Act only came about at the beginning of the last century because Lloyd George was more concerned with creating divisions in Scotland than any love of the Catholic doctrine.

        My younger brother and sister attended St Joseph’s RC school in Cowcaddens and attended the non denominational school “hostel”/dining hall without any fuss. I happened to attend that school, Dundas Vale, which was the only Normal school in Glasgow, Of course it would make much more economic and social sense to have the children grow up in the same schools, but no one can expect any church to give up such a privilege. Such a move would have to come from the Catholic community itself and the SNP have no plans to interfere, despite the lies to the contrary by George Galloway and co.

      • MacDiarmid, like many others was fooled by the Italian Fascist Party, which used socialist rhetoric, as did the German National Socialist Workers Party. Mussolini edited a Marxist newspaper. When their full politics became evident MacDiarmid and others soon changed their minds. This in contrast to Mosley and fellow Labour MPs who formed the British Union of Fascists. Today the Bitters have their British Unionist Movement. BUM.

        • Just wanted to say that I had a great deal of sympathy with Muir but we are limited with space and I didn’t want to take up the thread. So what i was doing was picking up on the link with Muir which shows us something of the mindset of MacMillan.

          I think I would have felt the same way as Muir did in 1941 about Scotland – the complacent Sunday Post concept of Scotland and the Kailyard School. I don’t think that I would have found myself sympathetic to the kind of nationalism on offer then either.

          His view of Scottish culture of the past is not one I would necessarily wholly endorse but the significance is that it does seem to have a resonance for Mr. MacMillan and is perhaps part of the reason for Mr MacMillan having appointed himself as the intellectual scourge of the Scottish arts and political scene. For MacMillan I think that Muir’s view of past Scottish culture still prevails and he still thinks of us as a kailyard.

          There, I went on a bit again but it’s difficult to truncate complicated thought. I admire the bloggers like Derek and Wee Dug who can do it so concisely. I ramble.

          Anyway, donald6 i liked your B.U. M. I’m going to steal that.

  35. Did the British press print and support Mosley more than Winston Churchill and what Churchill was saying about the Nazi treatment of the Jews before the second world war. Point being they were wrong then so nothing really has changed with the press.

  36. Katrine Paterson

    Keep up the pressure Derek. You are doing a great job.

    If all the flack gets you down. Just watch FOX news for an hour to see the venom they spew out against Obama, who took on all the dire concequencies of financial meltdown and still managed to give them medicare for the less fortunate people. The Republicans have been slanging him every hour of the day on Fox.

    Bias on a news station at it’s most rancid.

  37. Mr Salmond, unusually, took a pounding from the political pygmies at Holyrood today, in what must have been his toughest FMQs to date, but still landed a couple of blows himself. I think the media are going to drag this out for some time.

  38. I’d go for option c) “Give as good as you get”

  39. And Kaye Adams on Morning Call exceeded her usual bias in favour of the NO campaign in virtually jumping up and down with glee when a caller seemingly nailed Salmond on his qualification of his remarks about Putin. Caller said that Putin had a record of menace going back years. However, Kaye strangely forgot that other more prominent political leaders, Cameron, Obama etc. also praised Yutin a few months ago or last year. So would Kaye jump up and down if this was pointed out.

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