To the Editor

The Editor

The Scotsman

Conference House

152 Morrison Street




Dear Sir,


I saw on Twitter mention of your section Referendum Debate as it Happens including a post from my blog Derek Bateman, an Ongoing Dialogue.

The blog is free, is open to all and is part of the campaign. But I would have expected at least a courtesy request for permission for use from a profit-making organisation. It seems a bit presumptuous to reprint without asking since your company would certainly object in similar circumstances.

Is it company policy now to hoover up everybody else’s creative efforts, assume ownership and reprint regardless? Do you think we are all spellbound by the name of the Scotsman and will acquiesce in gratitude for your exposure?

I neither want your publicity nor your money. In fact I want no association with you of any kind. I do not want my material appearing in your newspaper with or without my permission.

I regard that association as a stain on the reputation of my work and that of the Yes campaign. In my view you have done nothing to further the cause of democracy in Scotland, you have slavishly pursued a Westminster agenda, misled readers, treated Yes and the 40 per cent of the Scots who support it with contempt and along with the rest of the old media, let down the country at a crucial moment in its history. The contrast with the paper I joined in 1968 and the role it played in Scottish life and more precisely in the movement for devolution under men of integrity in Alastair Dunnett and Eric B Mackay, couldn’t be more marked.

You have been a national embarrassment throughout the campaign. Your belated attempt at being open-handed by reprinting material from the other side only highlights how you have been spoon-fed by the Unionists.

Please desist from printing any more of my work in your (failing) newspaper.


Yours for (a new) Scotland

Derek Bateman

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101 thoughts on “To the Editor

  1. ouch. Don’t pull your punches Derek 🙂

  2. Was it something they said ?!

  3. You tell ’em Derek – but the word principles and The Scotsman are a gulf apart.

  4. I would try not to be so circumspect in the future Derek. They might find ways to misunderstand you

  5. I sense you were a touch restrained. I would have loved to have seen your first draft 😀

  6. “You have been a national embarrassment throughout the campaign.” – ain’t that the truth.

    As have the majority of the other MSM tabloids/TV networks in Scotland throughout the entire referendum period.

    Shame on them all – an unforgivable & intentional act .


    Keep up the sterling work my friend. Nice to know there are still some journalists out there who treat their profession of choice with integrity and diligence.

  7. Oooft! Nae missin them and hittin the wall there, Derek. Well said.

  8. This needed said. I only hope they respond

  9. Elizabeth Fairgrieve

    You’re on a roll Derek, now go get the rest of them.

  10. Expect no courtesy from that source Derek.

  11. The Scotsman?
    isnt that a wee four page pamphlet published out of a bedsit in Orchard Brae House?

  12. Enjoying your work

  13. The Scotsman what a misnomer, tho the majority of the media aren’t any better. As far as I’m concerned we cannot claim to have real democracy with such a poorly informed electorate! one of the main changes I’d like to see in an indy Scotland is better education with a bit of focus on civic responsibility and a media that isn’t just an establishment propaganda machine

  14. Could have been better it could have been an outfit like wings over Scotland using your blog without permission. Then at least people would then know what rubbish it was before reading it

    • Only to anti Scottish bigots

      • Are you seriously suggesting that just because someone thinks your blog is”rubbish” they are an “anti Scottish bigot”? You seem to equate a judgement on the quality of your writing with whether someone is anti-scottish.

          • No I’m not an anti-scottish bigot. And the very fact you seem to suggest I am (without ever having met me or knowing anything about me) is very revealing about your particular brand of nationalism. Just because someone disagrees with you doesn’t make them anti-scottish, could you please acknowledge that fact. Like everyone else, I love Scotland and want what is best for it. We may disagree on how that is best achieved, but disagreement is healthy in an open democracy.

            I was an undecided voter, but reading your blog posts and comments from your clearly loyal readers has certainly turned me towards a no vote.

    • Bodger, are you one of the imported ‘Plastic Jocks’, or one of our own ‘I’m a Proud Scot but…’?

    • Well bodger9, I don’t know if you’re a cardboard cut-out “proud Scot but”, or a GCHQ troll but if you want to talk about rubbish did you see the Sky newspaper review this morning ? One regular commentator raved on about “devolution” presumably because he can’t countenance the word independence whilst the other smirked about handing Scottish banknotes back to Marks and Spencer staff. Better Together ? With these people ? I don’t think so.

  15. roddymacdonald2014

    Bravo and here here.

  16. Just one point of correction Derek – I don’t thnk the Hootsmon is actually profit making, is it?

    Tic Toc, Tic Toc.

    • I believe the circulation figures are due out soon. When I first started looking circulation was around the population of Inverness, then it was Dumfries. Any guesses on this years comparison town? I’ll plump for Alloa. Any takers for other towns?

      No aspersions on any of these towns, by the way.

  17. Very well said.

  18. The Scotsman editor would be turning cartwheels down Princes Street if the paper’s daily sales equalled the number of daily readers of this blog. I find it hard to believe anything I hear or see on radio/TV news – I certainly think we need to be sceptical of what we’re fed. My Scotsman subscription is long cancelled. Well done Derek – please keep this up.

  19. Derek – great letter but come on – support for Yes is way over 40%!!! Don’t believe the polls – they are run by pollsters which rhymes with mobtsers!

    • Found this poll on
      Check it out

      Thank you for voting!
      No 7.65% (9,628 votes)

      Yes 92.35% (116,150 votes)

      Total Votes: 125,778

  20. Well done Mr Bateman. I stopped buying the Scotsman after the Klan Alba headline!

  21. kenneth Meldrum

    Well said
    made me smile, f them
    we need a yes paper

  22. Well done Derek. A Cease and Desist request should pull them up smartish.

  23. Since the Scotsman merely links to pages talking about the referendum and dont just copy stuff, I would have thought you would have appreciated the extra traffic, especially if you were wanting to convert people to your point of view, rather than just agree amongst yourselves.

  24. Jings, Derek, you didn’t miss and hit the wall there.

    Well done!

  25. Derek , Derek, Derek in over excited Jerry Springer audience stylee. Clearing your throat now Derek, getting more forthright I like it and dare say so will many others.

  26. I don’t read “news” papers or watch TV. I rely on your work, Derek, along with that of many other pro independence writers to keep me informed. The comments are extremely informative too….and compared with the dreary MSM offerings there’s so much fun and laughter to be enjoyed. WGD, for instance, is a tonic and NNS has more meat than any paper I know…..not forgetting Wings, Caledonia, BFS and dear John Jappy. You are all fantastic.

    You must all keep working hard after the 18th. What a worthwhile Scottish MSM we’ll have then!

  27. The Scotsman? That’ll be the one no-one ever confuses with a ray of sunshine.

  28. well said Derek. they really have let Scotland down and I hope their ad revenue shows it after we get Independence

  29. And these truths exposed to our people shall set us free.

  30. fantastic! – I do hope that the
    remaining Scotsman readers get the chance to read this in print……they might find this enlightening……..I think The National Embarrassment could be the ideal rebranding for the paper… that it has relocated to humbler premises as its readership falls away….

  31. The Hootsman is being given away with a free bag around the streets of Edinburgh just now. I wouldn’t touch it. Thanks Derek.

    • There was a guy selling it from a stall around Princes Street Gardens and he called me and said £1.85 (or something) and you get this bag, I said no you’ll have to do better than that pal, I cant do much with £1.85, the yanks nearby were pissing themselves.

  32. I actively resist all temptation to click on their links.
    My bounce rate must be 1.5 seconds the times i do connect to them.
    The comments boards used to have a Yes contingent and the top comments were consistently pro-Yes but some point last year it all changed and the boards are exclusively no now.

  33. George S Gordon

    Stonking & excoriating Derek! The writing and spelling quality has become pretty poor as well as the content.

  34. Well said derek they need an awakening
    Scotland we have it all to play for,

  35. Pure dead brill….

  36. With G.A. Ponsonby over on NNS urging a media boycott, with the possible exception of the Sunday Herald (on probation) this seems to be the latest zeitgeist. It’s SH for me or nothing.

    What are the proprietors of these rags going to do after a Yes vote? Don’t answer that, we have seen what the Hootsmon did after devolution: inserting snide digs at the Parliament in every story, no matter how wee or irrelevant. They will go under spitting defiance at the Scottish people. It is so sad.

  37. Yes voters have always been so bitter. Let your hatred go and embrace the inevitable.

    Better Together.

    • Oh shut up Barry Shane and get a reality check you moron !

    • Barry Shane I do not want to better together with people who hold Foodbank existence up as a mark of civilization thank you very much. As for the hatred and loathing it seems that it comes from your side, yet another excellent reason for staying well clear.

  38. It is good to know that real journalists still exist

  39. Go get them Derek….well said..

  40. Bravo! Now let’s see if The Scotsman has the balls to publish it.

    • Of course they won’t !
      Then the squirming after the yes vote with back tracking and hole digging !
      My family and I now trashed this toilet paper rag (there is 4 copies less per day too)

  41. I read the scotsman online it passes the time every time I am asked on my opinion I tell them its mince but they still ask perhaps more should do the same just say mince to the Scotsman it brings back the story about Campbell Christie in the 70’s before phone tapping became and everyday event

  42. Agree with Jan, you and the others and many more would be extremely welcome writing in the new Independent Scotland.
    I will ( without your permission !) be copying your piece above to my old retired journalist pal who once worked for the Scotsman. He is a confirmed YES supporter.


    Derek working up a full head of steam.

    The Hootsmon is the worst of all the rags, well said.

  44. You are getting more and more feisty Derek and I like it! It must have been as enjoyable to write as it was to read. (Except for the Hootsman that is. Hope it stung!)

  45. In view of the exodus of many of its former readers does the Hootsmon actually make a profit. They see to forego commercial consideration in order to promote its Unionist politics.

  46. Katrine Paterson

    It’s so refreshing to read your ongoing dialogue Derek. You are doing a first class job of informing the public leading up to September 18th.
    I don’t expect the Scotsman will have the guts to reply or even apologise.
    I haven’t bought a ‘newspaper’ in years! They have no scruples when it comes to politics. Why do millions buy the Sun? Why does anyone buy the Mail?

  47. Speaking to a very nice woman at Women for Independence staff on Byres Road, Glasgow, yesterday who told me that Glasgow’s voting intentions are now on the YES side. Can’t believe my ears.

    As for Wings over Scotland, there is a really intelligent debate going on over there, as well as yours Derek.

  48. The No side seem to have no regard for Yes people. You can see it in the abuse heaped on our First Minister, as well as in the way they treat respected journalists such as yourself, Derek. Time to throw out the rotten and make a new future.

  49. Monumental cheek they have to steal your work like that. But you can sympathise with them for wanting a real journalist to be published in their rag. I boycott the press too except for the Sunday Herald and I’m pretty circumspect about that as well. Life’s too short to waste it on being hypnotised by unionist shills. My time is taken up with reading your excellent blog (and Wings, Wee Ginger Dug, Newsnet etc – it takes most of the day!) and listening to the podcasts.

  50. Derek,
    To say the the Scotsman is spellbinding is an understatement. I was spellbound after they published a letter from me and was insulted royally on their pages in a reply that contained the old get out clause of ‘You hate the English.’ I was so spellbound I asked for a right of reply. Nae chance. If it shuts down I’ll be cheering, and, I’ve read some interesting posts on Wings.

  51. Interesting how the propaganda pushed by the likes of the Scotsman, Herald and Beeb has lowered our expectations to the point that the Sunday Herald is welcomed for printing some pro-independence articles, albeit some very good ones, such as today’s from Iain MacWhirter.

    The same issue of the SH contains article after article by one Tom Gordon, who relentlessly performs his propaganda duties for NO. I have tried to read his articles over the years and he never misses a chance to do Scotland down, nor to put a negative slant on a topic.

    For example, on page 5 of the SH, with the heading “Unionists sense blood after wounding over currency”, Gordon writes “The First Minister repeated his veiled threat to walk away from Scotland’s £120 billion share of the UK national debt if there was no currency union.” Well Mr. Gordon, where to start? Your heading, emotional and negative, no doubt designed to play up the currency issue, but the section I quoted above, paradoxically on the opposite page to Mr. Salmond’s actual words, shows just how biased your “reporting” is. First of all, you describe his words as a “veiled threat” – most people would consider the actual words used to be a statement of fact. Secondly, you use the phrase “walk away” as if Scotland would be reneging on a legal obligation, no matter what. Perhaps you would like to revisit the UK Treasury Statement assuming all liability for the UK debt. Again, you put a figure of £120 billion on Scotland’s “share”, no figure was mentioned by Mr. Salmond, a trained economist. Have you considered the Net Present Value of the excess contributions which Scotland has made, even since 1979 and how this would reduce the debt? Have you taken out Scotland’s share of the BoE or of the near £400 billion of Quantitative Easing which is owned by the UK as a whole? Have you allowed for the interest on projects which are wholly undertaken to benefit the South East of England? Putting a figure on any proposed “share” is a matter for negotiation, and remind me which side is determined not to pre-negotiate, except by bully boy tactics such as “there will be no currency union”? No Mr. Gordon, this is not reporting, this is propaganda.

    Sorry, Sunday Herald, this is not balance, this is betrayal. The entire MSM is full of NO propaganda, To have the supposedly “YES” SH full of opinion and judgmental negativity dressed up as fact is even worse than having the whole paper full of it. Why? Because negative articles in a “YES” paper (the only YES paper) are more damaging because they are given credibility by the “editorial” stance. “If they are saying it, how bad must it be?”

    We must continue to campaign face-to-face and through blogs such as Derek’s. Waiting for a “game changer” or support from the MSM is pointless. We have the people on the ground, we have the positive case, logically and emotionally, We will be independent.

    • I was going to comment on the SH coverage too, but you beat me to it, Blizzard. I agree with what you say, particularly in the penultimate paragraph. “Because negative articles in a “YES” paper (the only YES paper) are more damaging because they are given credibility by the “editorial” stance.”

      Tom Gordon has fully six pages of commentary and opinion today which proffer the same verdict as the other MSM on the currency issue and Alex Salmond’s performance. The political editor’s opinions are now dominating the pages of the newspaper and over-shadowing the supposed editorial position. Today,Tom Gordon was in overdrive and the SH has now exhausted my patience. Cancelling order.

      I had previously accepted the argument that the SH could not be expected to be a pamphlet for the independence movement but on the other hand, to fill up so many of their pages with Tom Gordon’s opinions is just too much. Iain McWhirter’s column is almost edged off the page by the expansive Mr Gordon today! I wasn’t very impressed by the editor’s lukewarm interview on Derek’s podcast some time ago either. It feels like a market-positioning exercise rather than a real shift in editorial policy.

      I will be able to access contributions by Iain McWhirter and Ian Bell without buying the newspaper. I only got the newspaper for their columns anyway and to show willing. I’ll revert to not buying any newspapers at all. I didn’t miss them anyway in all the years when I didn’t buy them.

      • @JGEdd, Was good to meet you at CH2 some while back. I too was underwhelmed by the SH Editor’s interview. Wee Ginger Dug, Wings, Derek are the media. Newsnet and Bella provide alternative views, and Business for Scotland lays out the economic case. Keep on talking to people and providing them with information.

        BTW, Nicola Sturgeon in Irvine tonight at 7.30 pm, Tomorrow (Tuesday), perhaps the most powerful speaker for YES, Philippa Whitford in Troon, at the South Beach Hotel, 7.30 pm. Philippa is backed up by Ivan McKee of Business for Scotland, and a certain Jim Sillars. Each one is worth hearing in their own right, but if you haven’t heard Philippa live, especially if you or your family might ever need to use NHS Scotland, then get yourself along to the South Beach Hotel tomorrow.

  52. Good for you, I am passed the stage of being apologetic for wanting the country I live in to be ‘normal’. The Scotsman turns my stomach. A paper I used to buy as a young student in Edinburgh.

  53. Derek ,
    I stopped reading The Scotsman when one Andrew Neil was involved with it,that’s one fellow who would love Scotland to be referred to as “lesser England”, a very dangerous man indeed, I remember him being very anti devolution, I remember thinking at the time ” how can a Scottish reporter be so against his own country?”.

  54. On yersel, Delboy!

    Terrific and just found the podcasts. Listened to 5 on the bounce last night.

  55. The common trait of the Brit Nats……arrogance

  56. Fine words Derek. The print media in Scotland are a shambles.

    On the Sunday Herald issue i still feel that they are baiting a trap here. I think they may switch back to the No camp before the referendum and claim to be doing so because Yes has lost the plot on some issue or because Alex Salmond is Alex Salmond. I don’t trust them.

    Think back to the Herald ( i know they claim to have sepereate editorial positions) front pages at times. The one that sick in my mind relates to Unions coming out for yes. On day one they printed a headline claiming that the PCS union was coming out in support of Yes when the Herald knew fine well that the Union was not coming out as a Yes. On day 2 it prints the headline “Blow to yes as PCS decides to stay neutral.” Again, i don’t believe the Sunday Herald can be trusted. Are we to believe that many of the same staff who spend Monday to Saturday telling lies to the Scottish public can be relied to even know what the truth is come time to put together the Sunday paper?

  57. Very, very, very well said Derek.

    Although I’m with Clootie, I’d love to have seen your first draft. 😀

  58. Have you received an apology from the Scotsman yet. No? Thought not!

  59. Derek they are so absorbed in what they see as their job to prop up the no campaign. They will not even for a minute think they are doing anything wrong. They will just see you as another left wing nationalist nutter. However you are in good company. Sometimes being right and being popular are two very different spectrums.

    • Blizzard and JGedd
      Like you I was horrified at the amount of input by Tom Gordon in a paper allegedly pro-independence, and am considering stopping buying it. WTF is the editor doing allowing this idiot to oppose the avowed cause of the paper? Follow the line or be sacked should be the editor’s position.
      You may also have noticed that the odious Mark Brown started his Theatre review with an attack on Alex Salmond, and this attitude continued throughout the article. This is the guy who was let loose in the middle pages of the weekly Herald some time ago resulting in the loss of many readers,and although he has been relegated to the Sunday magazine he continues to act against the effort to raise circulation. Another one for the chop.
      Did the Scotsman print Derek’s letter today?

  60. Derek you do realise that The Scotsman only ever put a very brief summary and then a link to this page, thereby directing traffic towards it which increases your readership. That can only benefit your cause surely. Perhaps you are so bitter about the “mainstream media” because none of them will employ you?

    • I don’t want their traffic. I don’t want more readers from that source. Why is that bitter? Is it because I’m not playing the conventional game and you can’t grasp something outside the norm? I don’t want employment. I retired – you know, that thing where you ‘STOP WORKING?’

  61. Aye, the Soutar has got his birse up. Could have been cc’d to most MSM editors, together with today’s Wee Blue Book from Stuart.

  62. Amazing complacency on display here. By the way, Hootsman gets 3m hits plus a month. Unlike this blog or DingsoverBath

    • That explains why it’s struggling. Wings, by comparison at app 2m hits last month is doing well and isn’t on the verge if collapse. This blog also generates good bang per buck and is of considerably better value by comparison with the pisspoor Scotsman. Unfortunately, I don’t think the latter will die soon enough.

    • Not with you. Its my site and I have rules. I want no association with them. I’m not competing. With anyone.

    • Yes l vote up or down according to the truth and drivel spouted on that mouthpiece so you could say l am a hitman.

  63. Its unrelenting, the OAP’s especially who buy the likes of the Express are systematically fear mongered into voting no; tuning into the bbc parliament channel [which l never usually do] l see a ‘Scotsman’ rep more or less saying that Yes are bribing the voters with different amounts of money all the time, but fail to mention the other sides estimate of 1200 or whatever it was. Do we have a hope in hell with all this msm bias?

  64. Derek neither you nor Paul need to compete with that trash, Gave up even for having a poke at Grahamski years ago. The Scotsman is a disgrace and I do hope they apologise but I would not be holding your breath. They regard everyone who does not think their way as scum, how can they possibly wipe out a considerable amount of population but boy the Establishment must have something on them to allow the destruction of a so called Quality Newspaper.

    • They confuse a democratic right to express an opposing opinion as competition. Its quite simple really. We don’t like and have good grounds to mistrust what they have to say. They don’t represent our point of view and we reserve the right to withdraw our support from a press that first abandoned and then proceeded to misrepresent a not inconsiderable segment of the public. They really shouldn’t be surprised that people have set about creating their own commentary and civic journalism.

      They’re a funny old bunch the meeja.

      • According to the ‘Digger’ the Daniels crime family are backing the No campaign and have bought them a shop in Hillfoot St, Denniston, next to the Yes shop. They also received a grant from the Labour Cooncil with the blessing of Tricia Ferguson, Labour MSP to run the local community centre, where they were “done” for drug trafficking. Their Ruchill security firm also receives Cooncil contracts and their other money businesses seem to have no trouble gaining licences.

        The EBC have just announced an interview with Alex Salmond on Tuesday and Alastair Darling on Thursday, giving him 48 hours to reply.

        • They’re doing themselves no favours with this shortsighted approach. Do they fondly think people will forget how they’ve been treated by the media post referendum? How the media reconciles itself with the populace after this campaign is beyond me.

  65. I think the role of newspapers printing headlines and working for the union agenda is contemptible behavior. They could be potentially subjecting the people of this country to more years of Tyranny and oppression- And for what? so they can sit over drinks with their corrupt chums and have a great laugh at our expense for being so stupid as to believe all the rubbish they print!- Shame on you -the Scotsman what a name for such a biased view on this our most important decision in our lifetimes- You and your express and mail should pack up and move to London where your pals reside!

    • Name me the “tyranny and oppression” you have suffered. Language like that is dangerous.

      • Do you have any response to my comment above? I find it offensive that you consider the situation of Scotland within the UK to be equivalent to places where people actually suffer these intolerable situations.

        • In cases of Domestic Abuse legal opinion and public opinion maintains that continuously belittling and demeaning the partner, isolating the partner from family and friends, subjecting said partner to financial hardship and most important of all inflicting the partner to psychological harm, constitutes a form of tyranny and oppression. Thomas Jefferson is quoted as saying that when the people fear the Government you have TYRANNY, when the government fear the people you have LIBERTY.
          Derek’s choice of words were spot on.

          • For the last two centuries Scotland has had the worst slums in Europe, with all the associated health and social issues therein. Scotland has not recovered from the Highland and Lowland Clearances. Scotland has had the worst war casuistries of the two World Wars. Our life expectancy alone is enough to equate is with many third world casualties. Our road and rail infrastructure was once described by the UN a s “Third World”.

            We are a minority in an English Parliament and even if all the “Scottish” parties united for Scotland’s interests they could not outvote the built in English majority. This was tried four years after the so called Union and were told to their faces that they had been bought and sold to be laughed at every time they open their Scotch mouths.

  66. If you extrapolate the Scotsman’s circulation figures it is hard to see how it can survive the next five years.

  67. Margaret Brogan

    Bit late in the day, but Bravo!

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