Live From the Gazebo of Hate

Thank you for so many kind messages after yesterday’s blog Tough Love. It’s quite moving to hear people express their thanks and say it is what they would want to write too. We really are in a mutually supporting movement. I appreciate it.


I see David Cameron was being supportive of Alistair Darling’s campaign leadership too. How could he not be? They are peas in a pod in this campaign and I’m sure the Prime Minister felt he was doing the diplomatic thing but this is all a world away from the real Scotland where Tory leaders heaping praise on Labour is the equivalent of handing a mop to the neighbour and saying: It’s your turn to wash the stairs.

There is already widespread dismay at the Lamont leadership. This is from last December…41% have no idea who she is, four times as many people liked Alex Salmond as liked Johann Lamont, 70% had no view on the Labour leader. Of those who said they either liked or disliked her, over 75% said they disliked her.

Among her own party supporters there is little sense of affection or loyalty. She is a head-below-parapet leader, emerging only when necessary and posted missing until dragged into the light. Her invisibility over the Falkirk constituency Unite fiasco – her party, her union – disappointed the local members, the wider union movement and Labour people looking for decisive leadership and a challenger to Salmond.

I’m even developing a sense that Iain Gray offers more than she does. Now there’s irony for you.

I haven’t heard either a Scottish Labour figure genuinely explain the strengths of Ed Miliband and why he connects with the Scottish working class and how he will serve them. Neither Ed nor Johann are rallying leaders whose very presence excites the followers and energises the movement.

My point is that Cameron coming to Scotland, as he absolutely should, does no favours to Labour whose backers recoil at the reminder of who they are in bed with and what he represents (not to mention who the backers are of the Tory Party and the Better Together campaign, sometimes the very same).

It has of course also reminded us that Cameron won’t debate with Salmond – oops – and now we know there is virtually no chance of legislation for more powers in the first Queen’s Speech if he wins the British election. Quite a result for Yes. This also plays into the theory – expressed here often – that there will be an anti-Scottish sentiment sweeping England after the next election which will make it difficult for any party to help out Scotland. If Cameron gets away with waiting a full four or five years, we will slip into oblivion again and all the complaining we can muster as Osborne’s next round of £25bn of cuts will count for nothing. ‘You had your chance,’ they say. And they’ll be right.


I was reading my Herald yesterday in the Gazebo of Hate (see above) when I fell upon Catherine Macleod’s latest efforts to dissuade us from doing what every other nation does and claiming our self-determination. I recommend this column. As I wrote previously, if you want to know what’s going on in Alistair’s head, read Catherine. Forget the quality of writing, focus on the content and it is revealing indeed.

For at least the past 25 years, constitutional issues have skewed the political debate while there has been a desperate need for any political energy to be expended on improving the economy and public services. To change the tenor of the debate in Scotland is another good reason for voting against separation.

Now I don’t know about you but that reads to me like a criticism of the devolution years and the build-up to the parliament. The debate was skewed away from what really mattered – the economy and services – so we could all indulge ourselves with devolution, she says. I don’t recall Donald Dewar saying that. Funnily enough, since her 25 years takes us back beyond his death, neither did John Smith. In fact it wasn’t the view of any senior or ground campaign Labour folk I dealt with at the time. Whatever cynicism nationalists have about Labour and devolution, I’m in no doubt that everybody I dealt with then saw it as the issue of the age and that it would help to drive the economy and improve services, both of which were proved right.

So, who in Labour circles thinks the devolution years were wasted pondering the constitution when there were bigger fish to fry? Who could Catherine mean? Well we could start with her other Unionist campaigner friend Brian Wilson whose putrid views on devolution pervade Labour. This is possibly his most revealing diatribe

In it, he berates Labour’s decision to legislate for a parliament,  patronises Dewar and makes clear that Scotland to him is merely a platform for Labour winning at Westminster. Devolution it seems, is not a means to democratise Scotland and improve its government.

But remember too how Alistair Darling ignored calls for him to demand the release of cabinet papers from the Blair government when devolution was discussed? Over 30 files were held back from publication at the request of the Scotland Office because, it was said by a source, they were a gift to the SNP. What could they reveal that would be so contentious? Might it be Alistair arguing that there were more important issues than devolution, that it was ‘skewing’ the debate away from the economy and reform of public services, or that too much was being awarded to Scotland, that tax raising powers would reduce Westminster influence…? She knows what Alistair thinks and as she has written herself, a minister has to trust a spad… ‘absolute trust had to be at the heart of the relationship between us. I was his eyes and ears inside and outside the Treasury’… ‘An effective special adviser has to be close to the Secretary of State and crucially has to be seen to be close’….etc. There is a continuing strong relationship between them, so she opens up the idea that it isn’t just extra powers that Darling is worried about but that he believes Labour and the Union is in this pickle now because they didn’t listen to him at the time. Clearly, she implies we have to stop this obsession with Scotland’s constitution after a No vote. Does that sound to you like the basis for an improved Devo Max settlement? Let’s face it, the British state has been shaken to its core by this debate and will look for any means it can to prevent a repeat, by removing certain powers if necessary.

Catherine Macleod is peeling open the lid and I think we should all peer inside.

(Incidentally, anyone who thinks a No vote will make this go away, as she does, is living in denial. It is because the wish is never fulfilled that it remains constant. If you want people to stop bleating about powers, you vote for independence.)

On another point, the Lords committee report suggests that Scots MPs couldn’t represent the UK in negotiations, I think, rightly, as their obligation is to their constituents. I’m slightly surprised as I thought they’d say their loyalty was to Crown in Parliament or some such nonsense. But I think the message is also that they can’t be trusted to do the right thing by the British state interests if they inveigled their way into the rUK team. Bit of a slap down for the Britnat Unionist MPs, no?

But it also highlights what I mentioned a few blogs ago, that there is an element of trust required in the negotiators. I said there would be many Scots suspicious if they saw MPs, especially Labour, who had fought bitterly and with dubious assertion against independence invited on to a Scottish talks team. I absolutely believe Labour must be represented as the party is a key component of civic Scotland but it stands to reason that if you go out of your way to denigrate and belittle, that afterwards, doubts remain about your commitment to the cause you have just criticised. This was described as hateful by one John McTernan. Seems I was right, though, according to the Lords and Ladies of the Upper Chamber, whom I’ve always admired so much and feel such a natural affinity with. I think the message from the peers is: You can’t trust Scottish MPs! (But you CAN trust the unelected).


After the global sensation of the Gazebo, I include another shocking example of the dark side of nationalism…the Wheelie Bin of Hate!

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43 thoughts on “Live From the Gazebo of Hate

  1. Independence is Devo Max! Scotland and Rest of the UK can go their different ways in a new relationship, this time it really will be as equals, not the sham that unionism is

  2. Another excellent blog Derek. I think that for me there never was to be a Devo Max settlement, this would play into those right wing hands in the South with Nigel Farage using it to say that the Scots were getting more than their fair share. I never liked the idea of leaving control over Defence and Foreign Affairs in the hands of our neighbours, we have seen what they do with them.
    As for Alistair Darling and his fellow travellers, they are looking after themselves. I seriously consider that they have ever cared about the voters who give them the opportunity to feather their nests. I said elsewhere that how many have entered Parliament with nothing, to leave, enter the House of Lords as millionaires. They did that on the backs of people who have never benefited from putting them there.

  3. Sorry to disagree erruanne, but they, Westminster, will never see us as equals. In their mindset, they are still running the World, or at least the British Empire which is long gone. Poor, deluded fools, but still dangerous, as the news from the chamber of crooks, The House of Lords, proves. Even after a Yes vote, interference and obstacles will be put in our way, make no mistake. The struggle is only begining.

    • Alex Beveridge – ‘Even after a Yes vote, interference and obstacles will be put in our way…’ I completely agree with you and have said as much on other blogs. To general derision from the left wing of the independence movement I might add. That was because I said that, as a result, there will be a need for the SNP to protect Scottish interests from English interference after independence. It seems, though, as if many expect Labour to just pop up and replace the SNP at that point. Pigs will fly…

  4. This is something that they’re trying hard to not let people think:

    The end of the road for Devolution is full Independance.

  5. When it comes to the crunch Scottish unionist politicians will always put Westminster’s wants above Scotland’s needs.

  6. Couldn’t agree more Derek.

    By all accounts Blair had to be dragged toward devolution and the current party still carries much of his stamp. There are just far too many in parliamentary Labour who frankly couldn’t give a stuff about Scotland or Wales as national entities in their own right. Project UK is the be all and end all and attaining career success at Westminster is their benchmark. They’d happily piss away entire histories and cultures to suit their own world view.

    These people aren’t proud Scots and neither are they proud Brits. They are proud professional politicians intent on creating a new PR friendly, hip and happening, punches above its weight, sits at big tables country called UKania. This new country will rise pheonix like from the ashes of the countries they left behind for the bright lights. They simply forgot to tell the public, that gave them their shiny shot at the big time, that they were the pyromaniacs who are attempting to create those ashes in the first place.

    • They’re not patriots, they’re not even politicians, they’re businessmen intent on using the country for feathering their own nests.

  7. Surely there are at least one or two Labour politician`s out there with a conscience who can see what is coming to Scotland in the event of a NO vote and who may be considering jumping into the YES camp? A NO vote will be a disaster for Scotland, on so many different levels too. I think they would be a hero to many whatever way the vote goes if they stood for what they truly believed in rather than followed the party line. Anyway, back in the real world. Did I not read that one of Bliars and one of Cameron`s children wanted a CAREER in politics? God help us! I still can`t get my head round the fact that George Galloway has bought into Westminster being the best option for Scot`s, how bizarre!

  8. Thanks Derek. My current vote for Euro elections, Westminster Elections and Scottish Parliament elections is SNP for both candidate and/or party. I am happy that they are running their devolved part of Scottish governance effectively but the main reason for my vote is that I am already voting for independence. If any other parties want to court my vote then, barring any cataclysmic changes in policy and direction, my vote stays with SNP until we get that independence. I think that I am one among many.

    If we get Yes my vote may well stay with SNP in the early stages but I am confident that I will become much more undecided when our independence is secured and, to quote D Cameron from yesterday’s compulsory TV appearances, “There is no going back”.




    • Complete agreement with you here David. I have voted SNP all my life because I want independence and, to date, I have been pleased with the SNP in positions of political power. Post-indy I wonder who I will end up voting for? Probably Green. But until then I am SNP all the way.

      No going back? Who on earth would want to?

  9. Great article again Derek.

    I think this fallacy about getting more powers after a No vote should be countered by every Yes campaigner. Every time a Unionist spouts this drivel on TV or in the press there should a be chorus of countering voices.

    It doesn’t take much countering – basic political logic would indicate the following:

    1. Scotland has only around 9% of electorate as such electorally it means nothing to the Tories, and if truth be known, not too much to Labour either if the SNP are taking ex-Labour seats. Therefore why is any politician going to pay attention to the requirements of people from whom he doesn’t rely on for votes?

    2. As Derek says, there may be a anti-Scotland backlash in England after the referendum (whipped up by the press) – so it could actually be detrimental to an English politician’s career to vote through extra Scottish powers.

    3. If the threat of independence recedes (politically and / or through referendum powers being taking away from Scotland) – what leverage has Scotland or any Scottish government going to have ever again on the rest of the UK?

    What I was trying to say in a long-winded way is WHY on Earth would any UK government put itself out of kilter with its supporters in granting extra powers to Scotland? What politically or tactically would they have to gain? What would be in it for them?

    Finally Derek – I hope you shred everything before it goes into the “bin of hate” before the recyclers (AKA Daily Mail) get their hands on it 🙂

  10. Heard supercilious Simon Pia ( Call Kaye) even admit , he’s never in his lifetime seen halls filled to standing room only to discuss politics in Scotland.
    Not sure about anyone else but there’s an excitement and an energy and a happiness in working towards Independence that, however dressed up, David Cameron or Alistair Darling could never inspire whether they offered devo max plus the moon .
    If we vote no, the general election will come along and knock Scotland into the long grass, then the EU in/ out Referendum then Mayor elections and so on because by it’s very nature , giving Scotland more powers would erode Westminsters powers . I wish I could draw, I have an image of Alistair Darling sitting at the ‘ big table’ on a very small chair, while the bullingdon boys eat all the cakes at the next table, as they think they are entitled to do.

    • I’m reminded of the joke about the banker, the worker and the new immigrant sitting at the table on which there are 12 biscuits. The banker eats 11 biscuits and tells the worker…”watch out, that immigrant is going to eat your biscuit”.

  11. Cag-does-thinking

    With every day there comes a new development which makes you realsie this is an empire in it’s death throes. The same House of Lords guff about Scottish MPs not being part of the negotiations also has for me the most hilarious aspect they’ve cobbled together yet. There’s something to the effect that unless their Lordships pay rUK tax then they’ll have to give up their comfy red seat and it’s privileges. No wonder all of those former Labour grandees are uniting behind the No flag. That lovely gravy train departs without them and only calls as far as Carlisle. So much for their tin star for loyalty and unquestioning support that they assumed would be for life and generations beyond. Sorry mate club members only can buy the drinks here. It’s not only Scotland they saying no to, the drawbridge is being pulled up before Danny Alexander has even packed his overnight bag for the south east….

  12. On a side point to the more sensible comments above, I really like the look of the Gazebo of Hate. It seems like a nice place. If I had a garden, I would like one of my own 🙂

  13. Free Scotland

    Tough Love should be made into a political tract for Scotland-wide distribution.

  14. I see David Cameron is warning Scots of becoming foreigners.

    So much for his visit. He gets to meet only soldiers and bairns, being only minutes from the M74 for a quick getaway, and we are none the wiser of what new powers we will get or when.

    If this is supposed to be another relaunch of Better Together then the good ship HMS Britannia has sunk to the depths again with all hands on board.

  15. Well Derek,when I saw the title of this article,I thought you must have been listening to Leonard Cohen…would make a great title to a song!
    Democracy is coming to the rUK and so on.
    Great stuff again and we are so lucky to have people of your calibre on our side.
    Yours sychophantically.

  16. “I absolutely believe Labour must be represented as the party is a key component of civic Scotland but it stands to reason that if you go out of your way to denigrate and belittle, that afterwards, doubts remain about your commitment to the cause you have just criticised.”

    LFI anybody?

  17. You’re looking good beside the Kelpies, Derek.

  18. I don’t want to cause confusion in the minds of the undecided, but we have gone too far with the realisation that the people of Scotland are sovereign at and after 18 September to let this constitutional debate be kicked into the long grass.

    If there is a ‘No’ vote it will be a skin of the teeth victory for the Unionists. Come the GE next May, we have a second chance by returning a majority SNP contingent to Westminster with a firm policy to negotiate for Indendence.

    Much easier to win ‘Yes’ by a landslide on 18 September, but it is not over if we don’t.

    Remember, Scots always do things the hard way but we get there in the end.

    • Don’t you think the Yes campaign are going to be reminding people of the spirit of ’79 closer to the polls? so that it is still ringing in people’s ears as they enter the polling booth.

    • Sorry to disagree, Edulis, but if we don’t take this opportunity the Westminster establishment will make sure we never, and I do mean never, get another chance. We can send all the S.N.P M.Ps we like, it won’t make a blind bit of difference. In fact, in light of recent statements by unionist politicians, we’ll be lucky if the Scottish Parliament survives. Fifteen hours on the 18th September are the most important hours in our lifetime, and we must take that opportunity, because, if we don’t, it will never happen again. The vengance London will wreak on Scotland will be swift and brutal, and they will make sure we will never rise again.

  19. Thanks for the 2008 Brian Wilson article. He gives great insight into the workings of Scottish Labour’s twisted attitude towards Devolution, which obviously reflects his own. I don’t understand how Wilson and others of his like cannot see how little respect they have for their own country. Though I suppose in their minds England/Britain is really their country as it gives them their political status and hideous high earnings at the expense of their own countrymen. I really, really hope that the Undecideds and some No voters wake up their shenanigans by 18 September. I am so looking forward to seeing how Wilson and co will react if (all fingers and toes crossed) there is a YES vote. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE!!!

  20. This is a fantastic blog Derek. Each topic seamlessly delivered in a very emotive and powerful way. Tough Love was a moment where i was moved and it’s still with me today. I think you put to words what many deeply feel. Thats a talent that can take years to perfect and thanks to you , many can quote from your blogs with the same passion.

    A more thoughtful issue today regarding the Labour party . Their stance after the vote on sept will be a precarious one . But i believe the party have already lost the respect and trust of voters both sides of the border. Too many people have long memories and in Scotland in particular they have been a disgrace.

    1) taking sides with the tory’s
    2) Not taking the lead on the BT side with Scots mp’s leading the charge. (They could have and should have had the NO vote in the bag on their own)
    3) The disgraceful way they have spoken down to Scots as being “too wee ” or “too stupid”
    4)The inability to answer questions without spin and empty promises. (jam tmoz)

    I could go on all day but whats the point.

    Labour are finished in Scotland . Which ever way the vote goes they will never have the trust of the Scots. The party will have to re-invent themselves again , the New New labour party ?? In fact if a yes vote won much of the politico’s will have to re-new themselves . We wont need an S.N.P , and although they do have a conservitive way about them they might become the new democratic (labour ) party. I also believe the Scots tories will have a say and will become stronger after a YES and the Green and R.I.C. will also fill any gap left by the labour party.

    I dont wish to sound bitter but it;s just my observation of thing around my area and it looks similar elsewhere.Too much said in negativity has cause a huge feeling of resentment . if they cant be trusted how can they survive. People are really angry with Slab and it wont go away after 18th.

    Maybe the church can help………?

    Thank you again D.B.

  21. I am livid. Did anyone see Sally Magnusson interviewing Alex Salmond on Reporting Scotland tonight. After giving David Cameron the soft almost adoring interview last night, she interrupted Salmond on several occasions and asked him what were the traits that people disliked about him. She gives Kirsty Wark a run for her money when it comes to treating Alex Salmond with contempt.

    She never asked one critical question of Cameron but how could you when you are smiling at him all the time. Did she wink at him, just can’t remember!!!! It was the most jawdroppingly brown nosing fawning interview I have every witnessed. That is the last time I watch Reporting Scotland.

  22. Complaint made to the BBC. Not the best expressed however I think I got my point over:-

    I am livid about Sally Magnusson’s interview with Alex Salmond on Reporting Scotland tonight. After giving David Cameron the soft almost adoring interview last night, she interrupted Salmond on several occasions and asked him what were the traits that people disliked about him. She gives Kirsty Wark a run for her money when it comes to treating Alex Salmond with contempt. She never asked one critical question of Cameron but how could you when you are smiling at him all the time. It was the most jawdropping fawning interview I have every witnessed. That is the last time I will watch Reporting Scotland.

    • Robert Roddick.

      Keep watching Anne, we need people like you to keep exposing them. Strangely last night’s edition carried no mention of Cameron misrepresenting ( I’m being kind here! ) the position of the Bank of England on the subject of currency union, and neither has any of this morning’s Scottish media of which I am aware. STV’s news at six did carry a piece. It’s still available on catch up. Please if you missed it, have a look. Finally always bear in mind that the BBC are members of the avowedly anti independence CBI.

  23. smiling vulture

    Interesting how Labour see a NO vote,as a chance to simmer down devolution never mind nationalism,the thought process all along was retain more power for Westminster,it’s moved me from federalism to total Independence.a strong YES @ least or Scotland is doomed

  24. Anne you are one of a long list of complainees to the Beeb.
    Derek done a sympathetic article on the reporting but you could see many disagreed as they felt strongly the bias of the Beeb
    We have also discussed this on Wings . Bella and the rest and have all come to the conclusion that ALL the MSM are pro union bias . It’s so obvious that it takes your breath away and it will continue , frustratingly so, till 18th .

    You are not alone . Check out The Wee Ginger Dug you’ll see his response is to laugh at it all. Derek often throws a wee line to put a smile on our faces.

    Anger and bitterness only make us look like the the other lot. Most believe it will get MUCH worse. Lets face it they have a lot to lose here. But you are not alone. You are part of the biggest grassroots campaign in the history of Scotland . We are unstoppable and can only be defeated by division and anger. They want us angry (vile sneeky cybernats) ha

    The fact they are doing this everywhere in plain site makes me feel they are very very scared. We have shaken them to the core. And it was never going to be easy.

    Keep the faith Anne and laugh at their desperate attempts to win us over. It PROVES were going the right way .

  25. YESGUY, thanks for the reassurance. ‘It’s so obvious it takes your breath away’ totally sums up the Sally Magnusson Unionist bias in the interview with Alex Salmond.

    • Dr JM Mackintosh

      please phone the complaints line on 03700 100 222.
      Tell them you are cancelling your BBC license over Bias against the Yes campaign. Then phone 03007906131 and cancel your BBC licence immediately.

      I found this to be the best solution. The great thing is it frees up lots of time to play with kids, to go leafleting and go to Yes meetings. Also it stops me getting annoyed and angry at the TV. Complaining to the BBC is a complete waste of time and energy.

      So its a win – win and will also lead to a further win on 18th September.

  26. Dennis mclaughlin

    Derek I take it that a gun is still being held against the foreheads of your former colleagues in PL? .
    When are we going to see some impartiality on behalf of the BBC in Scotland in the remainder of the Referendum debate….It seems that the 145 lb gorilla sitting in the corner is being totally ignored by all & sundry in the MSN. ..surely this position has to be challenged at some point this century.
    Online media is a viable alternative source of discussion, but just imagine what Joseph Gobbles would have achieved by wall to wall television coverage…..
    Here in Scotland we’re totally ‘scunnered’ by the sheer one – sided coverage that the Scottish media is getting away with every day without any foreseeable challenge.

  27. Dr JM Mackintosh


    It’s that Brian Wilson again – the one who was the chairman of the No campaign in 79 and was involved with introducing the 40% rule which effectively robbed us of devolution for 18 years.

    I sometimes wonder what would have happened if we had won in 79 and had a devolved parliament that could have stood up to the worst excesses of the Thatcher Government through the 80’s and early 90’s. Things could have been so much better for Scotland.

    Yes – that Brian Wilson – his blind hatred of the SNP and independence has done this country a lot of damage over a long, long time.

    Time to vote Yes and put an end to his influence once and for all.

    • I have a hard time trying to figure Wilson out. He set up the West Highland Free Press in the 1970s and for a while seemed to be a champion of the free. But by 79 he had somehow turned into vinegar and turned his bile on the Nats, and since then nothing positive has come out of the man. I can accept a person who has a difference of opinion, but I can’t understand somebody motivated purely by vitriol. I can understand somebody who is a British patriot, my point is that nobody in power actually is – they have been selling the country down the river since 1979. But that doesn’t seem to be his agenda. It is just sheer nastiness against the ‘other’ and I just can’t figure it out.

  28. Derek, you are right about Darling’s agenda. If you listen again to this now famous interrogation by the esteemed Jon Snow on Newsnight in February, about 6″ 02 seconds in, you’ll hear him say he wants to get the referendum over and done with ‘so we can put devolution away for a generation’.

  29. Derek, there’s a problem with today’s post (Monday 19th) as detailed below…
    500 Internal Server Error
    Please contact the server administrator, and inform them of the time the error occurred, and anything you might have done that may have caused the error.

    Also can’t access the comments on todays post…

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