Manipulating the Media

The media has been positively bursting with bad news stories about the SNP government over the holiday period. Expose after expose has covered the front pages and filled the bulletins with a wearying persistence. You’d think the country was going to the dogs what with single-staffed ambulances, Scots missing out on tax credits and violence against shop workers on the rise – stories often based on Freedom of Information Requests and always contriving to make the SNP the culprit.

What has been striking is the repetitive nature of the day-by-day shock horror output, all written with similar phrases and all with the same simple narrative of SNP bad.

You’d almost think it was planned. Well, it was.

The Labour Party has been doing the media’s job for it by spending the summer preparing a long list of negative news stories to feed out daily to the journalists. In keeping with the cosy friendship they enjoy, it is called the ‘Scottish Labour Christmas Box – Stories for the many, not the few.’ Ha, ha. Merry Christmas, comrades.

As you’ll see below the entire holiday is mapped out for the journalists of the brave Scottish media so they can fill their papers with politically-motivated news without having to lift a finger. And, in some cases, that’s exactly what happens. They don’t even bother to rewrite or check the information – just bung it in. It’s called journalism. If you read down to the bottom of the page you’ll even see the stories you’re about to read in coming days.

I write every Christmas how stories appear in the media from interest groups like the teachers and the doctors. This works by the press office of each organisation, recognising that reporters go off on holiday and news is tight, arranging weeks in advance with journalists to release ‘stories’ (always in the interests of that organisation, obviously) on a pre-arranged day. They are guaranteed space and uncritical coverage and the journalist gets a story without trying.

This year Labour has taken this to a new level. It may be that this is now common practice among the parties but it is certainly revealing. It demonstrates how utterly corruptible our media in Scotland is by self-interested bodies who plan, invest a little time and mimic basic journalistic style. Essentially it means that political parties can write the newspapers while the journalists we pay to disseminate, dissect and define the news, abrogate their responsibility.

Below is a planning grid created by the Labour Party and utilised widely by the Scottish media with whom they are complicit. It isn’t the newspapers or broadcasters who are deciding what news you will get. It’s the Labour Press Office.

It doesn’t of course mean we shouldn’t know of the stories and there is no way a guilty government should escape responsibility but it does colour your perception when you know this is all politically motivated and the news outlets you trust are allowing themselves to be used as patsies. In fact, the real ‘story’ here is one that will never be written – except here of course – that Scotland’s once proud media is now merely a conduit for partisan politicking instead of a defender of truth. No editor can buy into this organised charade and maintain his professional integrity.

Knowing what he does, it is incumbent on him to add to every such article: This story is part of a political campaign by the Labour Party and was largely written by Labour Party staff.

Offering the media an embargoed story is one thing. Lining up an entire two week news agenda in which journalists conspire is quite another. It makes them puppets.

Such is the poor staffing levels and dismal quality of so much of the media today that they are prone to this kind of corruption. (I have to say to Labour – Well done. You’ve scored a real coup and made monkeys out of the media).

Lastly there is another issue here that should concern real journalists. Some of the information gleaned is so old, it is out of date and was only relevant at the time of the FOI, therefore it is likely to be misleading readers. But, hey, checking facts and independent action – that’s just old-fashioned journalism.

(This is a very long list…)


Story to run on Story
Saturday 23-December 2017 Winter Fuel payments worth nearly £4billion to Scotland’s pensioners
Sunday 24-December 2017 Richard Leonard’s Christmas Message
Monday 25-December 2017
Tuesday 26-December 2017 Scots trapped in insecure work
Wednesday 27-Decemder 2017 Small firms held back as SNP late to pay the bills


SNP cuts risk rural disaster

Thursday 28-December 2017 Scottish economy isn’t working for disabled people


UK Government must commit to build in UK shipyards – Sweeney

Friday 29-December 2017 Scottish students sitting on a debt mountain
Saturday 30-December 2017 Real living wage would deliver a pay rise to 270,000 women


Violence and abuse against shop workers at 10-year high

Sunday 31-December 2017 Richard Leonard’s New Year message
Monday 01-January 2018 Scots miss out on more than half a billion in tax credits
Tuesday 02-January 2018  

Scottish kids miss a million days of school on holiday

Wednesday 03-January 2018 Over 17,000 rejected cases for child mental health support


Rail fares rising faster than wages

Thursday 04-January 2018 ‘Culture gap’ growing between Scotland’s richest and poorest
Friday 05-January 2018 NHS bereavement counsellors


Scotland lagging behind rest of UK on reducing emissions

Saturday 06-January 2018 Matheson missing for miners


Labour calls for urgent action on teacher pay in the New Year

Sunday 07-January 2018 More than 1,000 delayed discharge deaths since 2015
Monday 08-January 2018 More than one in ten Scottish children from families ‘on the financial edge’




The Winter Fuel Payment, introduced by the last Labour government, has been worth nearly £4 billion to Scotland’s pensioners.

Analysis from Scottish Labour, confirmed by the Scottish Parliament Information Centre (SPICe), shows that the total value of the payments to Scotland’s pensioners has been worth £3.7 billion since they were introduced.

Labour highlighted the value after a year in which the Winter Fuel Payment had been threatened with the axe by both the Tories and the SNP.

Theresa May’s manifesto for the General Election included a commitment to means testing the payment, forcing Ruth Davidson into a pledge that the Tories would keep it universal in Scotland.

The Tories eventually had to drop the commitment completely following their confidence and supply arrangement with the Democratic Unionist Party.

Meanwhile, the approach of the SNP in drafting laws for Scotland’s new social security system leaves the door open for means testing. Labour have now instructed Parliamentary officials to draft amendments which would prevent the Scottish Government from means testing the payment.

 Labour Social Security spokesperson Mark Griffin said:

“The Winter Fuel Payment has been worth billions to Scottish pensioners since it was first introduced by the last Labour government but we cannot take for granted that the payment will always be protected.

“The SNP government has drafted legislation to set up a social security agency that leaves the door open for means testing, and only Labour can be trusted to protect it under Scotland’s new social security system.

“Meanwhile the Tories were planning to mean test it in the rest of the UK before Theresa May’s disastrous campaign backfired.

“Labour’s better deal for pensioners means we will protect the winter fuel payment, the triple lock on the state pension, and the free bus pass. People who have paid into the system all their lives deserve something back.”




Winter Fuel payment worth a cumulative £3.7 billion to Scotland since it was introduced, based on labour analysis of figures available at                                                                                                                                                                        

Concerns raised over potential for means testing of winter fuel allowance being introduced by the back door – December 24 2017


Christmas is a time of reflection but should also be a time of resolution, Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard said today.

In his festive message, Mr Leonard also said he hoped for a world that works according to the principles of welfare and not warfare.

Scottish Labour leader, Richard Leonard, said: “I want to wish everyone a happy and peaceful Christmas.

“I hope that over the festive period those in work are able to have time off to enjoy time with loved ones; that the homeless have shelter and respite from the cold; and that those living below the poverty line and dependent on food banks are able to eat well.

“Those of us who are fortunate enough to celebrate Christmas with our loved ones should spare a thought for those who are not so lucky – the elderly in our care homes and hospitals, children who are separated from their parents, those who have suffered bereavement.

“We should think of those who cannot take time off, those who work in our emergency services over Christmas, those who devote their lives to public service, to taking care of us all, from hospitality workers to nurses, firefighters and all emergency workers, to the people keeping the lights on.

“And we should think of those refugees who have come to Scotland for sanctuary and to build a new life, and all those who are fighting to survive in too many countries riven with war or internal unrest.”

Mr Leonard added: “Christmas is a time of reflection. We look on the year past and wonder what lessons we can learn. Which is why for me it’s also a time of resolve – to ensure that in the coming year Scottish Labour fights even harder for the real and radical changes that Scotland needs to eradicate poverty and to end the inequalities which blight so many lives.

“That is why, what I would like most of all for Christmas, is a reawakening of hope, and a new dawning that we make our own history so that we can build a world that works according to the principles of welfare and not warfare.”


EMBARGO: 00.01 26 DECEMBER 2017




Over a quarter of a million Scots are trapped in insecure work, new analysis has revealed.


Research, commissioned by Scottish Labour, from the Scottish Parliament Information Centre (SPICe) shows that an estimated 274,000 Scots are in some form of insecure work, with


  • 160,000 Scots in low paid self-employment
  • 43,000 Scots in insecure temporary work
  • 71,000 Scots on zero hours contracts


Labour said the figures showed that precarious work was too widespread in the Scottish economy, and said a proper industrial strategy was necessary to build the high skill, high wage, secure jobs that Scotland needs for growth.


Labour Shadow Cabinet Secretary for the Economy, Jackie Baillie said:


“Too many jobs in Scotland are insecure, without guaranteed hours or income. That insecurity then flows through our economy holding it back – from the stress it puts on working people, to the pressure it puts on family finances.


“People can’t plan ahead if they don’t know what next month’s pay cheque will be – if it turns up at all.


“The reality is that, after a decade of SNP division and seven years of Tory despair, people are more likely to be working for poverty pay, with no guarantee that a job will keep their heads above water.


“The next Labour government will ban zero hours contracts, and we will press the SNP to stop handing taxpayer money, in the form of public contracts and grants, to companies who use them.


“But there is a wider issue here around the quality of jobs in our economy. We need a move towards high wage, high skill jobs that can only be delivered by a proper industrial strategy and an end to austerity.


“That is why Labour isn’t just about fair work – we’re for better work.”






Estimates of insecure employment in Scotland, April-June 2017

  Estimated number (‘000) Source(s) Methodology                
Low paid self employment             160 SMF; LFS SMF estimate of % of self-employed on low pay applied to Scottish estimates of number self-employed (49%)
Insecuretemporary work               43 LFS Numbers in temporary work, excluding those on fixed contracts and those on zero hours contracts  
Zero hours contracts               71 ONS                      
Total             274        

Source: SPICe estimates for Scotland, based on TUC methodology’.


This is SPICe analysis with the following caveats:

  • The figure for low paid self-employed workers is takes an UK wide estimate from a report by the Social Market Foundation applies it to Scottish estimates of the number self-employed
  • Insecure temporary work excludes those on fixed contracts and those on zero hours contracts as the former have different employment rights and are therefore excluded in the TUC analysis and the latter are counted separately.
  • All the figures below are based on the April-June 2017 Labour Force Survey. 





The SNP government’s record of paying bills on time is getting worse, with almost 1 in 4 bills not paid on time.


SNP Finance Secretary Derek Mackay has admitted that almost a quarter of undisputed invoices were not paid on time by the Scottish Government and the bodies which share its finance system between April and October this year. The number of undisputed invoices paid within five days has fallen from 81 per cent in 2011/12.


Labour said late payments have a major knock-on effect for firms that need the cash flow to keep trading.


The SNP government’s Business Pledge scheme, designed to encourage the private sector towards ethical business practices, includes a ‘prompt payment’ criteria.


Labour’s manifesto for the 2017 General Election pledged to declare war on late payments by using government procurement contracts to ensure that anyone bidding for a government contract pays its own suppliers within 30 days.


It also pledged to develop a version of the Australian system of binding arbitration and fines for persistent late-payers for the private and public sectors.


Labour Shadow Cabinet Secretary for the Economy, Jackie Baillie said:


“Late payments can stop our small businesses from growing, and it is simply ridiculous that the Scottish Government is so bad at it, with nearly one in four bills not being paid on time.


“This has a real knock on effect for small and medium sized enterprises on government contracts which need the cash flow to keep trading.


“The SNP government should set a new target to have 100 per cent of undisputed bills paid within five working days. This would set good practice for business and make sure organisations on government contracts are getting their payments on time.


“Ministers should also ensure no public contract or taxpayer grant goes to a company that fails to pay the bills on time. This is taxpayer money – we should lay down the rules.”






4 December 2017


Jackie Baillie (Dumbarton) (Scottish Labour): To ask the Scottish Government what proportion of undisputed invoices to each (a) of its directorates, (b) of its agencies and (c) non-departmental public body was paid within five days in each year since 2011.


Derek Mackay: The Scottish Government does not hold this information broken down by directorate or agency, nor do we hold this information for non-departmental public bodies. However, we have provided in the following table, combined figures for The Scottish Government and bodies who share its finance system.


Financial Year Number of undisputed invoices paid within 5 days
2011-12 81.3%
2012-13 79.9%
2013-14 80.3%
2014-15 77.8%
2015-16 79.6%
2016-17 79.6%
2017-18 (April-October) 77.4%




EMBARGO:00.01 27 DECEMBER 2017




SNP cuts to the rural services budget risk devastating Scotland’s farming communities, Scottish Labour has warned.


The Nationalists’ budget has slashed funding for services such as vets and animal health by £4 million.


That cut is part of 21.1 per cent – or £10.2 million – cut to the whole rural services budget.


Scottish Labour has warned the proposed cuts could leave rural Scotland and farming businesses more vulnerable to potentially devastating diseases such as foot and mouth.


The cuts follow the SNP’s persistent failures to deliver CAP payments on time, amid an £178million IT foul-up, while the Nationalists have also faced criticism for their failure to properly deliver for rural communities.


Labour Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy and Connectivity, Colin Smyth said:


“SNP cuts to the rural services budget run the risk of devastating Scotland’s farms.


“Veterinary and animal health services play a vital role in ensuring Scotland’s livestock is healthy and free from disease.


“A cut to this support risks leaving our rural communities vulnerable to potentially devastating diseases such as foot and mouth.


“Even small declines in the health of Scotland’s livestock could damage the already fragile rural economy under the SNP.


“The SNP must reverse these misguided cuts to the rural services budget and ensure Scotland’s rural communities are protected.”






Table 12.04: Rural Services Spending Plans (pp 155, Rural Economy and Connectivity)


2017-18 Budget £m 2018-19 Draft Budget £m Cut in cash terms (£m)  
Rural cohesion £1.0 £0.6 £0.4m
Agri and horti advice and support £9.5 £4.4 £5.1 m
Veterinary surveillance £5.2 £4.2 £1m
Animal health £18.2 £15.2 £3m
Food industry support £6 £5 £1m
Fisheries grants £14.2 £14.1 £1m
Total cut to Rural services budget £40.8 £32.2 £10.2 m





The Scottish economy isn’t working for disabled people, Labour said today.


New analysis from Scottish Labour reveals there is a widening gap in employment for disabled workers.


The gap between disabled people in work and not-disabled people in work has grown from 31.5 points since the Tories came to power in 2010, to 37.3 points in the most recent set of figures.


Labour said the figures showed the failure of the Tories and the SNP to develop an inclusive economy that works for everyone, and said that only Labour has developed an industrial strategy for Scotland which gives everyone a fair chance.


Labour Shadow Cabinet Secretary for the Economy, Jackie Baillie said:


“The Tories claimed they had a long term economic plan – but the gap has grown in terms of disabled people finding work compared to others. That’s a complete failure to develop an inclusive economy that works for everyone.


“Only Labour will develop an economy that allows everyone a fair chance, with an industrial strategy to put working people first and investment to end austerity.


“This is not a problem that will only be solved at Westminster. The SNP government should be considering what steps they can take to cut this gap. They could start by attaching inclusive employment conditions to procurement rules and taxpayer funded grants.


“Disabled people have been hit the hardest by Tory austerity; both of Scotland’s governments need to be doing more to deliver a fairer deal for disabled people who want to work in Scotland.”






Disability Employment Gap, Jul 2010-Jun 2011 to Jul 2016-Jun 2017, Scotland

Disabled Employment Rate Not Disabled Employment Rate Disability Employment Gap (percentage  points)
Jul 2010 – Jun 2011 46.4% 77.9% 31.5
Jul 2011 – Jun 2012T 46.2% 78.0% 31.8
Jul 2012 – Jun 2013**
Jul 2013 – Jun 2014 40.8% 78.7% 37.9
Jul 2014 – Jun 2015 41.2% 79.7% 38.5
Jul 2015 – Jun 2016 42.9% 80.0% 37.1
Jul 2016 – Jun 2017 43.4% 80.7% 37.3


Source: Annual Population Survey, July-June datasets, ONS


  1. Employment rates cover those aged 16-64.
  2. Proportions are calculated on unrounded figures.
  3. The disability employment gap is calculated as the Not Equality Act Disabled Employment Rate minus the Equality Act Disabled Employment Rate.
  4. The Annual Population Survey data collection started in 2004.

‡ – In January-March 2010 there was a change in the reporting behaviour of survey respondents, mainly reflecting a change in the wording of the survey questionnaire, which is believed to result in more accurate estimates. Consequently data pre and post Jan-Mar 2010 are not directly comparable.

T – In January-March 2012 there was a change in the way those who did not respond to the question on disability were recorded, with those who did not respond no longer being automatically coded “not disabled”.

** – In Apr-Jun 2013 there were significant changes to the questions relating to disability and long-term limiting health conditions to reflect the Equality Act 2010 legal definition of disabled. This has led to a discontinuity in the series and no data is currently available for Jul 2012 – Jun 2013 due to the change mid-year.

EMBARGO: 28 December 2017

UK Government must commit to build in UK shipyards – Sweeney

Shadow Scotland Office Minister Paul Sweeney is calling for the UK Government to commit to build all naval service ships in UK shipyards and that includes building the new Royal Fleet Auxiliary tankers in Scotland.

Mr Sweeney will push for a parliamentary debate on the government’s shipbuilding strategy in the New Year.

The strategy guarantees that complex warships will be British built, but not larger support vessels.

Labour say the pledge fails to make the best use of Scottish naval shipbuilding expertise and capacity while raising serious questions about national security by opening the bidding process up to international competition.

Shadow Scotland Office Minister Paul Sweeney said:

“The Tory Government is undermining confidence in our defence industry, with the new National Shipbuilding Strategy failing to commit to build these vital ships in the UK, as jobs and capacity across all British yards cannot be sustained by the Type 26 and Type 31 frigates alone.

“I will be pressing for a Parliamentary debate on its decision to put British jobs and national security at risk by inviting bids from overseas.

“The defence shipbuilding industry supports thousands of skilled jobs in the Glasgow area and at Rosyth, yet the Tories seem more interested in a quick saving than they are in actively supporting that world-leading sector.


“They are already planning to sell off the huge Goliath crane used to assemble the aircraft carriers at Rosyth which could readily be used to build the new RFA vessels and secure jobs there for decades to come.

“We should not expect foreign powers to support our defence industries if we are not willing to support them ourselves.”



National Shipbuilding Strategy document –


National Shipbuilding Strategy factsheet –

EMBARGO: 00.01 29 December 2017




Scottish students have been abandoned on a debt mountain, by the SNP Labour said today as new analysis reveals the extent to which the SNP has tilted student support away from grants towards loans.


Meanwhile, the SNP Government has still to respond to its own independent review of student support, which reported in November.  It has also so far failed to implement a manifesto promise to raise the salary threshold at which loans become repayable, and is still only promising to raise it to £22,000.  In the rest of the UK this threshold is rising to £25,000.


Analysis from Labour shows that the average support through bursaries and grants has fallen by 36 per cent since the SNP came to power, while the average loan has doubled.


The average non-repayable bursary is now worth £1,344 compared to over £2,092 in 2007. Meanwhile the average student loan – which adds to the debt of graduates – is £5,303 today compared to £2,741 in 2007.


The SNP came to power promising to abolish student debt, but instead have increased the dependence of low income students on loans. The knock on effect of that is low income students leaving higher education because they aren’t getting proper cost of living support, or they graduate with significant amounts of debt.


Labour Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Education, Iain Gray said:


“These figures show again that too much of the student support package is weighted towards loans rather than grants and bursaries. Rather than abolish student debt as the SNP promised, it is saddling the poorest students with even more.


“This SNP government has slashed grants and bursaries which forces students to turn to higher loans.


“The SNP has repeatedly let Scottish students down, dumping their debt promise, cutting grants, ignoring their own independent review, and failing to raise the repayment threshold.


“Today in Scotland those who start with the least end up owing the most. That’s unfair and stops far too many young people gaining a degree. Labour supports free tuition but it has to be backed up by proper cost of living student support.


“We need to start taking steps on this now – starting by immediately increasing the salary threshold at which graduates begin to pay back their student loan to £25,000 as it is in the rest of the UK.”





Real terms (2016-17 prices)


  2007-08 2016-17 Change % Change
Bursaries and grants – average per student per year £2,092 £1,344 -£748 -36%
Loans – average per student per year £2,741 £5,303 £2,561 +93%


Source: Labour analysis of figures available at:

EMBARGO: 00.01 30 DECEMBER 2017






Labour’s real living wage would deliver a pay rise to 270,000 low paid women in Scotland and close and unacceptable gender gap in low pay.


Fresh analysis of low pay in Scotland reveals 112,000 more women than men are paid less than the living wage.


It means 22 per cent of working women in Scotland make less than the living wage, compared to 14.3 per cent of men.


A UK Labour government would increase the minimum wage to a real living wage of £10 per hour by 2020.

Labour has also committed to ensuring companies comply with gender pay auditing, which is aimed at tackling the gender pay gap.


Shadow Secretary of State for Scotland, Lesley Laird said:


“The next UK Labour government will give hundreds of thousands of Scots a pay rise with a real living wage of £10 an hour, and close what is an unacceptable gender gap in low pay.


“It’s not right that over 100,000 more women than men make less than the living wage. One of the reasons for this is low paid professions like caring, cleaning, retail and hospitality to employ women than men.


“2017 was the year we saw controversy about the pay gap between male and female celebrities at the BBC – but this issue isn’t just one for the media bubble, it impacts on almost every workplace in the country.


“We need to transform our economy so that it works for the many, not the few. That means boosting pay, cracking down on zero hour contracts and getting tough on companies who think a woman’s labour is worth less than a man.”






Employees (18+) earning less than the Living Wage by Gender 2017
Number Proportion
Male                                            159,000 14.3%
Female                                            271,000 22.0%
Difference 112,000 6.7 percentage points


Source: Analysis of figures available at

EMBARGO: 30 December 2017



Rates of violence and abuse against shop workers are at the highest levels in ten years, according to a survey from the British Retail Consortium.


The survey also shows a 363 per cent increase in the number of violent or abusive incidents against retail workers since 2011-12.


Trade union USDAW has campaigned on the issue of retail worker abuse, and previously revealed in a separate survey that 70 per cent of Scottish shop workers have suffered from verbal abuse.


Labour MSP Daniel Johnson will outline plans in the New Year to introduce legislation which would offer additional protection to shop workers.


Labour MSP Daniel Johnson said:


“Nobody should have to deal with abuse of any kind in their place of work.


“Yet sadly these statistics show it is increasingly becoming just part of the job, with 70 per cent of retail workers in Scotland suffering from physical or verbal abuse.


“It is clear that action must be taken to prevent the mistreatment of shop workers.


“That is why in the New Year I will be bringing forward plans for legislation to offer additional protection to shop workers.”






Data extracted from Retail Crime Surveys undertaken by BRC from 2005 – 2017


Number of incidents of violence or abuse experienced per 1,000 staff
2011-12 11
2015-16 51



Interim results of the Usdaw’s 2017 survey from Scottish shopworkers, based on 339 responses, show that over the last 12 months: 70.8% were verbally abused, 42.43% were threatened and 5.01% were assaulted. The final results of the 2017 survey will be published in the New Year.



EMBARGO: 00.01AM, DECEMBER 31, 2017



The New Year should mean a new start for the Scottish Parliament, with a renewed focus on economic transformation and radical change to tackle growing poverty and widening inequality across Scotland, Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard said today.


In his Hogmanay message, Mr Leonard said that all parts of society need to come to tackle the poverty and inequality which diminishes us all, with the priority of lifting 260,000 Scottish children classed as living in poverty, out of hardship.


He said the focus of the Scottish Government needed to shift to a properly resourced Scottish industrial strategy to sustainably develop Scotland’s economy and deliver the well-paid, secure jobs which people need to improve their quality of life.


He again stressed Scottish Labour’s opposition to the SNP’s draft budget, which will see a £700 million cut to lifeline services provided by local authorities – services on which many of those in poverty depend the most – while at the same time by tinkering with tax bands people on £50,000 a year will receive a tax cut.

And he said that Scottish Labour remained on an election footing with a potential General Election in 2018, with Scotland being key to sending Jeremy Corbyn into Downing Street.


Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard said: “2017 marked the 20th anniversary of the devolution referendum, so it is time to take stock on whether it has met all the aspirations those of us who campaigned for it, set it.


“The Parliament wasn’t designed as a talking shop – it was to be a place which offered the people of Scotland a different path if we felt we needed to choose one. The last seven years of Tory austerity have made the need to do things radically differently, an increasingly acute one.


“But the SNP has been a timid, managerial government, content to be a conveyor belt for Tory austerity rather than a bulwark against it.”


Mr Leonard added: “Scottish Labour’s focus on using the powers of the Parliament has won the argument but the Scottish Government needs to be more radical to make the real change the people of Scotland need.


“The coming year will see Labour push the government even harder to make those desperately needed changes and make the Parliament work in the interests of the unemployed, the dispossessed, the homeless, those struggling in poverty, and all those whose lives are currently pre-destined because of where they’re born.


“2018 is also the Year of Young People and it is a year when we will demand more action to turn the lives round of young people with experience of care.


“Tackling inequality and poverty, particularly child poverty, is at the heart of Scottish Labour’s mission – and should be at the heart of Scottish society too. That’s about the development of an industrial strategy to kick start sustainable economic development. It’s also about a fresh look at the distribution of wealth in Scotland which is fuelling widening inequality.


He added: “Scotland, like the rest of the UK, desperately needs a Labour government to deliver the radical change we need to see – and it will be Scotland that delivers a Labour government for the whole UK at the next General Election.


“We know that inequality, injustice and poverty are not inevitable and that they diminish us all. We know that austerity is a political choice not an economic one.

“Scottish Labour will never apologise for putting those with the least at the heart of our plan to change Scotland. In 2018 we will bring that message into the Parliament and out into Scotland.”



EMBARGO: 00.01 1 JANUARY 2018




Scots are missing out on more than half a billion in unclaimed tax credits according to new research.


The independent experts in the Scottish Parliament Information Centre (SPICe) found that £545million worth of working or child tax credits went unclaimed in Scotland according to the most recently available figures.


Labour said the UK and Scottish government must do more to ensure people get the tax credits they qualify for.


Labour said now is the time to set ambitious binding take-up targets to compel both governments to act, help boost family incomes and lift the Scottish economy.


Labour Social Security spokesperson Mark Griffin said:


“Scots are missing out on more than half a billion worth of tax credits. At a time of soaring child poverty and falling wages, both the Scottish and UK governments should be doing more to make sure people get what they are entitled to.


“Making sure, in law, that cash goes to the people who are entitled to it could make a huge difference. Thousands of families across Scotland are one big unexpected bill away from really struggling. In 2018 we will push the Scottish Government to set ambitious targets to ramp up take up and provide the vital support needed to help families claim.


“This should be one part of a serious anti-poverty strategy developed by the SNP government, including increasing child benefit, tackling the housing crisis and developing a proper industrial strategy so Scotland can be a home to high paid, high skilled jobs.”






Benefit Estimate of Unclaimed Benefits in Scotland (£m)
Working tax credit +

child tax credit



Source: SPICe analysis of DWP figures.

EMBARGO: 00.01 2 JANUARY 2018




Scottish pupils missed nearly a million days of term time due to unauthorised holidays in the last year – the highest figures on record.


Labour’s analysis also reveals that all forms of unauthorised absence from schools, including truancy, see absences reach almost two million days.


Labour said the sharp increase in recent years should be a cause of concern for the SNP government and may undermine attempts to close the attainment gap.


The party also said the figures highlighted a cost of living problem in Scotland, with parents pulling children out of school to save potentially hundreds of pounds on holiday travel.


Labour Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Education, Iain Gray said:


“These figures should be a cause of concern for any government that wants to close the attainment gap on our classrooms, a huge amount of school days are being lost.


“Policy makers in the Scottish Government should be asking themselves why there has been such a sharp increase in these unauthorised absences and the knock on affect that will have on young people getting the skills they need.


“We know the pressures families fall under as the Christmas and summer holidays approach – airlines hike up the price of flights forcing families to choose between the last week of school or being able to afford a holiday or travel to see loved ones.”





Attendance stats show that parents pulling their children out for unauthorised holiday added up to almost a million lost school days


  1. Also almost 2m lost to absences including truancy.
  2. Both these numbers have risen, and are at highest levels ever.


2005/06 2006/07 2007/08 2008/09 2009/10 2010/11 2012/13 2014/15 2016/17
Unauthorised absence 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.5 1.8 1.9 1.8 2.0 2.4
   Unauthorised holidays 0.4 0.4 0.4 0.4 0.4 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.7
   Unexplained absence, including truancy 0.7 0.8 0.9 0.9 1.2 1.3 1.2 1.3 1.5



Reason % of days lost Total school days Total pupils Total school days lost
Unauthorised holidays 0.7% 190 684,415 910,272
Unexplained absence including truancy 1.5% 190 684,415 1,950,583


Source: Table 7.1

EMBARGO: 00.01 3 January 2018




Almost 18,000 referrals for child and adolescent mental health treatment have been rejected since the SNP government established an 18 week waiting time target for treatment, new research from Labour reveals.


The Scottish Government set a standard for the NHS in Scotland to deliver a maximum wait of 18 weeks from December 2014. Since then 17,843 referrals have been rejected.


There is a lack of understanding of what happens to these cases, why they are rejected and what happens next to the children


In March 2017 the SNP government finally gave in following years of Labour pressure and commissioned an audit of rejected referrals. However, there has been a lack of clarity since then of what progress that audit is making, or if it has even started.


Labour Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Health, Anas Sarwar said:


“Thousands of vulnerable young people are being denied the help they need. The vast majority of these referrals will be from health professionals and it raises questions about whether our NHS is getting the resources it need to cope with demand.


“Labour pushed the SNP government for years to review the system, to find answers as to why some children are being denied help and what happens to them next, but ministers have been dragging their heels ever since.


“If these numbers were replicated in acute services it would be seen as a national scandal, thousands of children and young people are being denied mental health treatment and the SNP government has shown no urgency in finding out why.


“That isn’t treating mental health and physical health with parity of esteem – it’s failing vulnerable young people.”






Labour analysis of figures available at ISD Scotland shows.


Referrals to Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (All Health Boards)
Time Period Number Referrals Referrals (less Referrals Rejected) Number of rejected referrals
January to March 2015 7,966 6,472 1,494
April to June 2015 7,383 5,988 1,395
July to September 2015 6,732 5,502 1,230
October to December 2015 8,450 6,892 1,558
January to March 2016 8,896 7,194 1,702
April to June 2016 8,218 6,557 1,661
July to September 2016 7,161 5,511 1,650
October to December 2016 8,563 6,671 1,892
January to March 2017 8,730 6,892 1,838
April to June 2017 8,330 6,441 1,889
July to September 2017 7,199 5,665 1,534
Total since review announced 15,529 12,106 3,423
Total since target introduced 87,628 69,785 17,843


January 15


April 15 – April 16


July 16 – July 17

EMBARGO: 00.01 3 January 2018




ScotRail fares have risen faster than wages over the last five years, Scottish Labour can reveal.


As thousands of Scots go back to work today, real terms pay has increased by just 1.8 per cent since January 2013 – but regulated fares have increased 12.7 per cent over the same period.


The price hike comes despite growing dissatisfaction with the ScotRail service amid delays, cancellations and overcrowding.

Scottish Labour has called for ScotRail to be taken into public ownership so that commuters and families get a fair deal.


Labour Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy and Connectivity, Colin Smyth MSP said:


“The SNP seem to think passengers in Scotland are getting a fair deal. They’re not.

“Passengers in this country already pay some of the highest fares in Western Europe and now ticket prices are going up again.

“Rail fares have increased faster than wages over the last five years and that is unacceptable, particularly given the ongoing delays, cancellations and overcrowding rail users experience with ScotRail.


“Scottish Labour would take ScotRail back into public ownership and deliver a people’s railway that puts passengers first.”






Figures from the Scottish Parliament Information Centre (SPICe)

  • Pay increase (real terms):            1.8% for Jan 2013-Jan 2018
  • Regulated fares increase:       12.7% for 2012-13 to 2017-18





EMBARGO: 00.01 4 January 2018




There is a growing ‘culture gap’ between the richest and poorest in Scotland, Labour can reveal.


Figures show a 22-point gap, a two-point increase on 2015, between the richest and poorest when it comes to participating in cultural activity, including reading.


Analysis of the 2016 Scottish Household Survey shows 66 per cent of the least well off group participate in cultural activity, compared to 88 per cent of the most well off.


Labour said these figures show the huge gap that exists within society between the richest and poorest is not just financial, but exists in almost every aspect of life, and that an effective cut of £700million to local authorities would make the problem worse.


Labour Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs, Claire Baker said:


“These figures show that austerity and inequality isn’t just about the money in your pocket, it’s about the quality of life people can have.


“Cultural activity enriches our lives, be it through reading, visiting a museum or seeing a live performance.


“The figures reveal the huge gap that exists in almost every aspect of life between the richest and poorest in society. A further effective cut of £700 million to local authorities will just make this worse.


“It is clear that radical action is needed to address the gap between the wealthiest and the poorest, not just financially but right across society.


“The only party that can be trusted to close the gap between the privileged few, and the many, is Labour.”






Participation in any cultural activity in the last 12 months – including reading (%)
2012 2013 2014 2015 2016
20% most deprived 68 68 69 68 66
20% least deprived 87 88 88 88 88


Source: Labour analysis of the 2016 Scottish Household Survey at (table 12.7)



EMBARGO: 00.01 5 JANUARY 2017




Ten of Scotland’s fourteen NHS Boards in Scotland employ no child bereavement counsellors.


Child bereavement counsellors specialise in providing support to women and couples who have suffered from miscarriages, stillbirths or the death of a baby.


Figures released to Labour MSP Mary Fee under Freedom of Information laws, has shown there is no full-time, specialist counsellor for parents who have suffered a child bereavement in the following NHS boards:


  • NHS Ayrshire and Arran
  • NHS Dumfries and Galloway
  • NHS Fife
  • NHS Highland
  • NHS Lothian
  • NHS Orkney
  • NHS Shetland
  • NHS Tayside
  • NHS Western Isles


In NHS Lanarkshire, there is just one child bereavement counsellor who has had 489 referrals due to miscarriage, stillbirth and neonatal death since 2012.


Scottish Labour MSP Mary Fee said:


“Losing a baby is unimaginably tough for parents, and is one of the hardest things anybody could ever have to deal with.


“It is surely self-evident that the health service should provide specialist counsellors for parents having to go through this kind of tragedy.


“This is the brutal reality of the under-staffing and under-resourcing of our NHS under the SNP.


“Labour has set up a workforce commission, made up of independent experts, which will examine solutions to the staffing crisis in our NHS.


“The truth is it is only with radical action that we can create a health service that works for the many.”






Freedom of information responses available on requestEMBARGO: 00.01 5 January 2018 SCOTLAND LAGGING BEHIND REST OF UK IN REDUCING EMISSIONS


Scotland is lagging behind the rest of the UK in reducing CO2 emissions, figures have shown.


The most recent statistics show Scotland had the second lowest decrease in CO2 emissions of any region of the UK, with just a 2 per cent between 2014 and 2015.


Analysis of local authority emissions show the Highlands had the largest increase in emissions of any council area in the entire UK, at 28 per cent from 2014 to 2015.


The SNP government has cut the environmental departmental budget by 2.3 per cent in real terms in the last five years.


It has also cut the agriculture budget from £10.3m in 2017/18 to £5.6m for 2018/19 despite agriculture being a heavy greenhouse gas emitter.


Labour said the figures show that the Scottish Government is not taking enough action to tackle climate change, and called on the government to drop plans for an air departure tax cut altogether.


Labour Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Climate Change, Claudia Beamish said:


“These are very poor figures on minimising CO2 emissions in Scotland.


“Nicola Sturgeon has previously said she wants Scotland to show global leadership on climate change, yet these figures reveal a disappointing lack of progress on even leadership within the UK on reducing emissions.


“The truth is we are not going to be able to tackle climate change while the SNP is slashing the environment budget and refusing to drop plans to give a tax cut to frequent flyers.


“Labour would cancel this unnecessary tax cut for the airlines and will continue to push the SNP government to set ambitious climate change targets in the forthcoming Climate Change Bill.”






Region Industrial & commercial Domestic Transport LULUCF Total Change from previous year
UK 162.4 107.3 125.8 -9.0 386.5 -4%
Wales 15.6 5.3 6.3 -0.3 26.9 -6%
Scotland 14.2 9.9 10.6 -2.0 32.7 -2%
N. Ireland 5.4 3.6 4.1 0.5 13.6 -5%
England 120.7 88.0 104.8 -5.3 308.2 -4%
North East 13.3 4.5 4.4 -4.3 18.0 -10%
North West 15.6 12.2 13.7 -0.7 40.7 -4%
Yorkshire and the Humber 18.9 9.0 10.8 0.0 38.6 0%
East Midlands 12.9 8.0 10.4 0.1 31.4 -3%
West Midlands 11.9 9.0 12.4 0.1 33.5 -4%
East of England 11.1 9.9 13.8 -0.1 34.6 -2%
Greater London 13.2 12.1 8.0 0.0 33.3 -7%
South East 14.2 14.8 19.7 -0.5 48.3 -2%
South West 9.7 8.5 11.6 0.1 29.8 -5%




Table 2: Local authorities that had the largest changes in missions, 2014-15.


Local authority Percentage change Sub-sector most responsible for decreases and increases
Carlisle 38% decrease Industry and Commercial Electricity
West Somerset 28% decrease Industry and Commercial Electricity and Gas
Redcar and Cleveland 25% decrease Large Industrial Installations
Stockton-on-Tees 22% increase Large Industrial Installations
Highland 28% increase Industry and Commercial Electricity


 £ Million £ Change % Change £ one year Change % one year Change
2014-15 2015-16 2016-17 2017-18 2018-19 14-15 to 18-19 14-15 to 18-19 17-18 to 18-19 17-18 to 18-19
Marine Scotland 50.6 49.7 46.9 52.3 51.2 0.6 1% -1.1 -2%
Research, Analysis, other Services 76.5 76.6 67.5 64.3 64.1 -12.5 -16% -0.2 0%
Environmental & Rural Services 146.5 150.1 149.7 146.1 150.4 3.9 3% 4.3 3%
Climate Change 20.3 20.1 19.7 19.8 21.5 1.2 6% 1.7 8%
Scottish Water 21.4 -15.1 -96.9 24.5 111.8 90.4 422% 87.3 357%
Total ECCLR  315.3 281.6 187.0 307.0 399.0 83.7 27% 92.0 30%
Total ECCLR, excluding Scottish Water 293.9 296.6 283.9 282.5 287.2 -6.7 -2.3% 4.7 1.6%








EMBARGO: 00.01 6 JANUARY 2017




SNP Justice Secretary Michael Matheson has not responded to appeals for an inquiry into the miners’ strike for over a year, Scottish Labour can reveal.


In December 2016, Labour MSP Neil Findlay, alongside Nicky Wilson, the president of the National Union of Mineworkers, Wullie Doolan from the Scottish National Union of Mineworkers and representatives from Thompsons’ solicitors met with Mr Matheson to call for an inquiry into the 1984-85 strike on December 15 2016.


The SNP Justice Secretary pledged to look into the issue – but has not responded more than a year later.


Scottish Labour MSP Neil Findlay has called for a Hillsbrough-style inquiry into police behaviour during miners’ strike, including the convictions of almost 500 miners.


Scottish Labour MSP Neil Findlay said:


“Michael Matheson is treating former miners with contempt. It is an absolute disgrace.


“We need a Hillsbrough-style inquiry into police actions during the 1984-85 miners’ strike.


“Almost 500 Scottish striking miners were convicted – a higher proportion than in England and Wales.


“The SNP government should be taking the lead to seek justice for the communities affected by the strike – not ignore them.”





EMBARGO: 00.01 6 January 2017





Pupils face a year of disruption in 2018 unless the SNP reverses ten years of neglect of the teaching profession and delivers significant improvements to teachers’ pay and workload, Labour has warned.


The party said action on teachers’ pay could no longer be put on the backburner by Education Secretary John Swinney.


The Scottish Educational Journal, the in-house magazine for the teachers’ union the EIS, warned this month that ‘industrial action, including the prospect of strike action, may be necessary’ to deliver a better deal for teachers.


Labour’s warnings follow a report from the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) showing that teacher pay in Scotland has fallen in real terms.


The report, Education at a Glance 2017, said that Scottish salaries are below that of England, and fell despite a general trend across OECD countries of rising teacher salaries in real terms.


The report also showed that Scottish teachers have one of the highest teaching workloads in the developed world.


The report followed research carried out by academics at Bath Spa University which said that the working conditions of Scotland’s teachers are ‘extremely poor’.


The Bath Spa University study found that teachers in Scotland face high levels of workload demand, leading to greater stress and reduced job satisfaction.


The research also found that over 40 per cent of teachers surveyed plan to leave their post within the next 18 months.


Labour Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Education, Iain Gray said:


“Scottish pupils face a year of chaos and disruption unless the SNP government deliver improved teacher pay and workload this year.


“Under the Nationalists a teacher is £6,000 worse off, with pay squeezed as workloads continue to increase.  Ten years of SNP government has seen our teachers go from being some of the best paid in the world, to amongst the worst.


“Workload and class sizes are also amongst the biggest in the developed world. This is why John Swinney is presiding over a teacher recruitment crisis.

“What our schools really need are enough teachers with enough time, support and resources to do their job; with a career structure to properly recognise their efforts.


“That means a significant improvement in pay, career structure and workload, properly funded by government to re-establish the Scottish profession as world leading.


“Failure to act will see SNP ministers reap what they have sown over ten years of incompetence in education and neglect of teachers.  But it is pupils who will pay the price.”






From the leader of the December 2017 issue of the Scottish Educational Journal:


‘Industrial action, including the prospect of strike action, may be necessary to support our campaign for a fair pay increase.’



Education at a Glance 2017 –


40 per cent of Scottish teachers consider leaving their jobs in next 18 months –

EMBARGO: 00.01 7 JANAURY 2018




More than 1,000 patients have died while on a delayed discharge waiting list since the SNP government pledged to abolish the practice.


Freedom of information requests from Scottish Labour reveal that at least 1152 patients in Scotland have died while waiting to be discharged from hospital from March 2015 until November 2017.


In February 2015, SNP Health Secretary Shona Robison promised to eradicate delayed discharge from the NHS completely by the end of that year.

A delayed discharge is identified as a hospital inpatient judged clinically ready to leave hospital, who continues to occupy a bed beyond the ‘ready for discharge’ date.


These patients are clinically ready to move on to a more appropriate care setting – but often can’t because a care package isn’t available to them.

Labour said the figures showed the need to stop the cuts to local authorities and deliver more sustainable investment in social care.

The figure is expected to be higher as NHS Grampian failed to respond to the FOI request.


ISD Scotland estimate that in 2015/16 the cost of delayed discharges in NHSScotland was £132 million.


Labour Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Health, Anas Sarwar said:


“In 2015 the SNP promised to scrap delayed discharge in our hospital. Instead thousands of patients have died in hospital waiting to go home.

“Our NHS staff are undervalued and overstretched, and they should be supported by a proper system to help patients out of hospital as soon as they are fit to leave.

“Further cuts to local councils which provide social care will only add to this, and it shows the complete mismanagement of our health and care services under the SNP.

“Fixing delayed discharge will begin to relieve the pressure on our hospitals and NHS staff, allowing for better patient care for everyone – but we can only do that if we invest properly in local services. That means doing more than tinkering around the edges on tax, it means real and radical change.”






Analysis of freedom of information responses to Scottish Labour shows:

Number of deaths while patient was a delayed discharge
Board 2015 (From March) 2016 2017 Total
NHS Ayrshire & Arran 5 5 3 13
NHS Borders* <5 <5 <5 0
NHS Dumfries & Galloway** 10 13 7 30
NHS Fife* 21 5 5 31
NHS Forth Valley 16 19 25 60
NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde 27 31 32 90
NHS Highland** 46 40 27 113
NHS Lanarkshire 67 87 88 242
NHS Lothian 180 214 159 553
NHS Orkney* <5 <5 <5 0
NHS Shetland* 6 <5 <5 6
NHS Tayside* 5 9 <5 14
NHS Western Isles* <5 <5 <5 0
Scotland 383 423 346 1152
* response provided include monthly numbers of “<5” to prevent patient identification meaning annual total is likely to be higher
** response provided only annual total





EMBARGO:00.01 8 JANUARY 2018


More than one in ten Scottish children are from families on a financial cliff edge, new research from Scottish Labour reveals.

Fourteen per cent of children in Scotland are living in material deprivation but don’t come from families classed as “low income”.

The figure is as high as 22 per cent in South Lanarkshire and nearly 24 per cent in Dumfries and Galloway.

These children are living without basic necessities but are slipping through the net because their families are not classed as low income. Instead these families have seen their living standards squeezed due to rising costs, low pay and insecure work.

Labour said its plan to top up Child Benefit by £240 a year would help these families and their children, and others who unexpectedly find themselves living on the edge.

Labour Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Communities, Monica Lennon said:

“Thousands of families across Scotland are one unexpected bill away from being in real trouble.

“These are families on a financial cliff edge – victims of a broken economy that doesn’t work for the many but instead for a privileged few at the top.

“The SNP and the Tories have both failed to make the economy work for these families. Labour has a plan to get more money in their pockets, including increasing Child Benefit by £240 a year.

“That’s the kind of radical action we need to make Scotland work for everyone, not the tinkering around the edges we are seeing from the SNP.”






% of children who in non-low income families in material deprivation
Aberdeen City 6.3%
Aberdeenshire 16.0%
Angus 13.1%
Argyll & Bute 17.6%
City of Edinburgh 7.3%
Clackmannanshire 11.5%
Dumfries & Galloway 23.8%
Dundee City 27.7%
East Ayrshire 12.3%
East Dunbartonshire 5.5%
East Lothian 11.5%
East Renfrewshire 8.3%
Falkirk 12.0%
Fife 9.7%
Glasgow City 12.6%
Highland 11.8%
Inverclyde 13.6%
Midlothian 16.1%
Moray 15.9%
Na h-Eileanan an Iar 14.5%
North Ayrshire 16.0%
North Lanarkshire 19.5%
Orkney Islands 6.0%
Perth & Kinross 8.2%
Renfrewshire 7.2%
Scottish Borders 13.3%
Shetland Islands 9.0%
South Ayrshire 11.7%
South Lanarkshire 22.4%
Stirling 13.7%
West Dunbartonshire 19.8%
West Lothian 18.5%
Scotland 13.7%



Source: Labour analysis of data available at


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50 thoughts on “Manipulating the Media

  1. Well done Derek, for revealing how its done, but shame on the supposed ‘journalists’ too lazy to check fact from fiction, giving rise to the term fake news

  2. Do these “journalists” and “media” include the BBC, Derek? You’ve been reluctant to lay the charge of bias at this entity’s door in the past.

  3. Looking forward to our news organisations breaking this stor…

    Sorry, I haven’t been well recently.

    It’s all the fault of the SNP governemnt.

  4. The thing is, what do we do about this? Can the SNP have a better media unit to put their own press release? Play labour and the tories at their own game?

  5. Jings, this is hilarious.

    I watch the headlines, and the frothing of the commentariat drift by with ever increasing bemusement.

    I had sort of figured out that today’s wee piece in the National about ‘planned EIS strike action’ to restore pay to pre-austerity levels, just AFTER Scotgov ALONE have BUDGETED for up to inflationary public service wage rises was Labour artifical insemination.

    So, gratifying to see it was planned well in advance without a clue.

    Labour are doing us a public service. The more they thrash around, the more all Scots get that it’s all just bollox.

    2018 looking good so far!

  6. The yes and other independence orginisers should concentrate on what an independent Scottish
    Government would not spend tax payers money on. Weapons of mass destruction, atomic powered submarines,useless aircraft carriers, cross London rail, the new high speed rail and many more English projects.

  7. Between the leaked document showing SIU manipulating the letters and online comments in newspapers and this latest revelation we now have absolute proof that the MSM REALLY IS THE FAKE NEWS MEDIA!

  8. I have said that the victims of the misinformation, distortion and outright lies supplied by Labour to the papers really, really themselves need to start to stand up to the smearing of the work they do. That’s the SNHS in particular.
    The public won’t always know so those working in the institutions being smeared through the BBC and newspapers by Labour, the Tories and the LibDems need to demand a real voice in the media.

  9. Thank you Derek. Quite bit of dissent in the Labour camp then, if you managed to get the calendar schedule, script and notes to the editor, well done.

  10. Jackie Baillie appears to be at it again with her abacus. The figures in Table 12.04 on rural services spending plans on fisheries grants denote a reduction of £14.2 m to £14.1m or £100,000 and not £1.0m as indicated in the table.

  11. labour have still to come to terms with the blood they have on their hands over Iraq, especially the north british branch office.

    Lying about Scottland’s political, social and economic position and using the uk press and state broadcaster to deliver the message should not come as a suprise.

    I expect the uk owned and run Scottish press to fall into line over the year with stories about Richard the LIon Heart fighting for Scotland and securing the leagcy of John Smith and Bevan, etc, etc….

    Back to my orginal point, “labour have still to come to terms with the blood they have on their hands over Iraq” – eh Messers Finlay and Leonard!

  12. Labour, of course, is going to fix this. Just like they do in Wales. Well, we are truely reassured. Not. Thank you Derek. Excellent work. Real investigative journalism.

  13. An old fashion Scoop, well done.

  14. Great scoop Derek, confirms everything I’ve believed for years now about Scotland’s political media. They are just a disgrace to their profession and all this SNP BAAD is a total convoluted sham.

    OK I’m sure of course the SNP will deserve criticism as who doesn’t but the extent it is taking too is far more likely to turn people off totally and that’s what’s happening with print sales plummeting, TV license cancellations escalating.

    It’s what happens by crying “WOLF” too often, eventually no one will listen even when your telling the truth.

  15. Wow, it’s scary looking into the future like this, seeing what’s going to appear in all the papers over the next day or three. Pity NorthBritLab can’t do the whole crystal ball thing for real, though, otherwise their funding problems would be over. Instead they just have to keep on taking London money and dancing to their paymaster’s tune, aided and abetted by their ever-willing media pals who aren’t fit to be called “journalists”.

    Legitimate opposition is one thing, cravenly doing down your own country again and again while taking money and scripts to do it is quite another.

  16. Wow Derek,
    A lot of stuff to plough through,especially in my advancing years!
    The two main strands of propaganda from the British state with regard to Scotland are:

    Scotland doesn’t have the resources to be a successful independent country.
    Even if Scotland does have the resources,we do not have the ability to manage them successfully.

    Without England,we are nothing (in personal relationships this would be called abusive).

    British Labour in particular need to reiterate this narrative because without it,they are toast.
    Once this is understood,the “news” stories from the British press become clear.
    People also need to understand the nature of the “Magic Money Tree” which passes for
    economic planning by the Westminster establishment.
    The Money Tree magically materialises when funding is required for Trident submarines,aircraft
    carriers and other things deemed to be in the “national interest” e.g. bailing out the NI DUP but mysteriously
    disappears when funding is required for public services (especially in Scotland) when the austerity story kicks in.
    It is and always has been about politics and the necessity for England to hang onto Scotland.

  17. I wouldn’t want to plough through all of these tedious stories, but I did glance at the claim that government business bill payment times are increasing, and purportedly hurting Scottish businesses. The difference between the best full year since 2011-12 and the latest is an increased delay of 0.75%. I.e. barely noticeable and statistically insignificant. Scottish businesses – the near 80% who benefit from this level of turnaround – will be delighted I am certain to be getting paid by the Scottish Govermnent within 5 day’s of submitting their bill. What a load of time wasting rot, in other words.

  18. Jaw dropping, and telling. This is the end of journalism in action, the utter supine Scottish Media.

    Thanks Derek – an eye opener and jaw dropper.

  19. Excellent research. Proof beyond reasonable doubt of mainstream media bias against SNP. Come on Scotland time for change and an opportunity to break away from Government in England.

  20. Aye. But the Scottish Government and the SNP need to find more effective ways of countering this.

  21. Get over this “lazy journalists” idea Derek. It’s more sinister than that. BBC is going to be funding this press. There’s state organisation behind this. WM stands at risk of losing 30% of its land, 60% of its sea territory, Oil, Trident and its seat on UN Security Council with Scottish Independence. Britain is more sophisticated than Spain at oppressing democratic movements but it’s just as motivated. Do you really think it’s not already mobilized its forces and committed a budget for this?

  22. I may have used the phrase “the media and their chain tuggers” once or twice over the years. That right there? That’s yer actual Q.E.D. moment.

    Makes for pretty grim reading Derek and sadly it’s not entirely shocking. It’s merely confirmation of what many folk have suspected for a very long time.

    • The expression “led by the nose” comes to mind, Macart …

      • I see they’re keeping to the schedule then. Sunday 7th Jan bedblocking story released on cue.

        Even after their complicity has been discovered and their collective drawers haven’t been pulled up yet, they still slavishly put Labour’s narrative out there. Mainly because…. reasons and badgers. When you haven’t the intelligence to see you’ve been caught in the act, or the decency to hold your hands up and apologise to the public?

        You really don’t deserve anything in return other than their contempt. Why on earth should the public support the media, when the media clearly neither support or work for them?

        • I suppose the SiU cabal had to work in the shadows since they’d only have at best minority support, but what now of ‘Scottish’ Labour? Who will support them now their cover is well and truly blown? The SNP has effectively stolen most of their ‘socialist’ clothes. There must be a few hard-line dyed (deep red?) in the wool Labourites who put the Union first. A sort of sordid petty internationalism, I suppose. Plus force of habit with some older folks who will vote Lab til the day they die. But setting these minorities aside, the SNP, if they play it right, should have a clear run from now on. Couldn’t have come at a better time, GB, onward and upward 🙂

  23. It’s like Burnistoun.

    Printing tomorrow’s news yesterday.

  24. Am I shocked? Hell no!

    Pretty amazing how many of these stories have no context to give a reader a balanced enough view. The one about no bereavement Councillors in particular, as many areas have access to a councillor if needed but is not necessary to have one full time on standby!

    Lazy journalism leads to lazy uncritical journalists and what journalist starts off their career with that as their goal? Yep, none! But nevertheless that’s what is increasingly happening.

    I have no objection to governments being held to account, but this is definitely not that and you only need to look around the world to see real good solid journalists shining lights on various nefarious practices of governments.

    How telling is it that the UK is dropping in rankings of all indices of good governance, press freedom and human rights.

    Yeah, UKOK is just what Leonard and Scottish Labour are defending. Deep shame on all of them…

  25. Derek Bateman, you naughty little scamp. I see from viewing the Wings twitter feed, you have really upset Paul Hutcheon, shocking behaviour on your part.

    All I can say is: “Gaun yeself Big Man – gerrintaerum.”

  26. Alasdair Macdonald.

    An excellent piece of journalism my Bateman. Clearly based on a leak, about which you have been entirely open and have protected your sources. While that is often used as a cover for mendacity, in this case it is entirely justified, because the amount of documentation you have provided enables the reader to form opinions.

    I think this actually gives the lie to the charge of ‘lazy’ journalism. What we have is complicit journalism. This pretty sophisticated Labour operation has been carried out by pretty competent journalists. These are not risible and ridiculous stories because they strike quite a few chords with most readers, including me and, I am sure most of the readers of this blog. However, the stories are slanted so that readers are being invited to conclude that the SNP, SG, Scottish people in the main are incompetent , not too bright, incapable of standing up for themselves. It is classic propaganda.

    Now, of course the SNP and the Greens, for example, are perfectly capable of this, too, and, in fact, do practice this. One problem is that they have so few compliant outlets within the msm. The growth of social media has enabled the pro-independence movement to get its message across effectively as we saw with support rising from the low 30% level to 45% by the referendum.

    The release of the SIU documents has shown just how well funded the unionist side is and this enables it to be effective with a relatively small staff (‘Grassroots”????????? don’t make me laugh!)

    The fact that it has become increasingly clear the complicity of Labour with Tory groups is possibly causing a number of philosophically principled Labour supporters to rethink what they expect from the Labour Party and, it is possible that that has been a factor in this leak. It is also possible that the shambles in Westminster over Brexit has genuinely worried decent people across the spectrum and this could have occasioned the splits within SIU and other unionist groups. Of course, in politics there are petty egos at play, too, and it is not unusual for some miffed, conceited partisan who has not got his or her way to say, “Fuck youse, Ah’m gonnae dish the dirt”. (They would probably use more plummy and cultured tones.) We have seen this fromdisgruntled SNPers, too.

    It is to be hoped that revelations like these and things like Momentum within the Labour Party, the shifting sands in Ireland, the ferrets in a sack at Westminster are indicative that the gestalt is shifting. Maybe it is worth reflecting again on Yeats’ two poems: “Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold; Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,” and “All changed, changed utterly: A terrible beauty is born.”

  27. Keith Starsmeare

    Did you actually intend to call this practise ‘churnalism’ rather than ‘journalism’ as you’ve written?

  28. It is frustrating that this stuff is churned out by the MSM and there seems to be little we can do about it, apart from relying on people like Derek and others to expose it, or by ceasing to buy the newspapers which print it. Have these “journalists” no shame ?

  29. OK, by now we know for certain that the absolute majority of media available in Scotland works to undermine the very institutions us Scots have chosen to be held by the SNP.
    What do we do about this?
    Keep moaning on Social Media and friendly websites?
    I suggest we start to go around with red ink stamps and deface all BritNazi newspapers with a cubital “LIARS” on the front page.
    We should start telling shops with newsstands that we won’t shop there if those rags are on sale there.
    This works, as Liverpudlians can testify.
    Shame and shun anyone that buys any BritNazi rag.
    Fingerpoint them. Being seen with stuff like that under your arm should be like if you stepped on a massive shit.
    We can shame those conspirators our of our country.
    Them, and the #GreenInkGang.

  30. Great stuff Derek, All parties undoubtedly try this on – but the abject failure of mainstream media to indicate a planted story, far less provide a smidgen of balance or challenge demonstrates the futility of a “free” press that slavishly punts anti-SNP line at all times.

    It will eventually bite SLAB’s bum – the media are also anti much of what passes for socialism these days, and will ensure that Corbyn gets no free ride in England – while ignoring Leonard’s lack of knowledge/deliberate obfuscation in Scotland.

    That an STV “presenter” thought it ok to ask if someone was an SNP member, yet no right-wing think-tank rep or pro-labour stooge has ever been thus challenged shows that it is not only the print media that is unprofessional.

    The SNP need to get better media managers to at lwast challenge tis crap.

  31. But don’t all political parties, including the SNP, do the very same thing?

  32. Fantastic work Derek. This is a far bigger story than the Scotland in Union data dump.

    Didn’t Labour get a new press guy this summer that worked for the Daily Mail? Looks like he’s been doing the DM dirty tricks.

    I know you will protect your sources but I’m fascinated to know how you came across this!

    • Having this and the SiU leaks come out so close together makes it looks like our ‘unbiased’ media has just neatly shot itself in both feet. So what can they do now? Do they really have many options left open?

  33. This is all very well but find it strange there is no implication of BBC Scotland(once again) Does your pension depend on silence? There have been over 10,000 headlines on BBC Scotland over last 4 years generated from Freedom of Information requests from Tories, Labour and Libdems

  34. Firstly Happy New Year Derik .

    Thanks for taking the time to assemble this depressing and very predictable piece of information into the workings of the scottish media
    Over the last few months the Labour party in scotland headed by a yorkshireman with close links the british unions , have been beavering away , chip , chip , chip at the foundations of our government .

    Firstly it was Labour led councils trying out a wee guerilla war , by withdrawing classroom assistants , school busses , dropping parts of the curriculum all to enrage parents and pupils and trying to blame the SNP for all ills known to man , you name it it’s the SNPs fault .

    The next stage in this war is union’s suddenly developing a grievance , all probably egged on by labour despite having very little control of the scottish economy as everyone seems to believe , well all these unions believe its all the SNPs fault so they should fix all the problems caused by westminster , Labour in scotland seem to think we have all developed a total memory loss , their only game in town PFI deals are costing One Billion pounds a year just in interest payments , add that to all the other balls ups they have bequeathed us , edinburgh trams being one , another Billion pounds down the drain .

    I could go on at length but it become boring , most of us know what labour have done , we need labour and the other parties involved in this unionist Bloc like a hole in the head ,What we have is one unionist party there are no separate political parties just this unionist Bloc acting as one and always having a three to one vocal majority on any media broadcast ,

    Even with every media outfit churning out half truths and sometimes downright lies daily we haven’t went away , we haven’t given up because we know we are right , not virtuous , not saintly , just right .

  35. […] Bateman did one better this year, he got hold of a copy of Labour’s Christmas Box and the correlation between it and the recent news cycle has been […]

  36. Mmmmm… probably the only thing I’d add? Manipulating the media. That’s not who appears be manipulated. The public’s perceptions, emotions and opinions are manipulated for sure. The media though? I’d say Capitulation of the media might be more accurate. When someone willingly participates in a narrative (and that is what the evidence suggests), then manipulation of the poor dears in receipt of the Christmas box is the least of our worries.

    They made a choice. A willing choice. Maybe worth folks remembering that.

    • You’re absolutely right Macart, the media aren’t being “manipulated” they are being complicit. It is an attempt to manipulate public opinion by the opposition to the SNP using the media and they are working hand in hand.

  37. The threat to their livelihoods and the threat to the revenues that our potential independence signifies to Westminster must be closer and more profound than we have really appreciated. Yes we all knew it, but now we have the hard facts. It is ‘only’ by these methods that they have managed to stem the flow toward Yes. They have nothing in essence but the aristocracy and a complicit and supine media to shield their methods.

    Now all is exposed, and ah rather feel…there’s more to come to light.

    Thank you for this Derek and thank you to whoever gave your this information. They have done the right thing, for it is a sick and disturbed view of our country that these labour press releases are keen to promote and disseminate, all lies, all spin. They care nothing for the welfare of our citizens, they are literally trying to encourage people to lose faith in our institutions, NHS, Transport, Economic handling of oor pocket money et al.

    It’s not on that the reality is not being reported, they know only too well if it was, the game is up completely for them. The truth really will set us free…finally…from these despicable bastards.

  38. Treachery uncovered , exposed to the light and there are still folk who would believe what they read in the papers or hear from the BBBC and STV – leaves me dumfoonert!

  39. Isn’t what is being peddled as news a form of pseudo-plagiarism? Especially if sources aren’t properly acknowledged??? Whatever this is a great piece of work Derek. Thank you as always.

  40. I recognise all of this ‘reporting’. What we never see, or hear, is any context. For example, Hunt said last week that he and May would ensure that the NHS would continue to be the ‘best health service in the world’. Yes, he really said that. I am waiting for a reporter to phone a couple of newspapers in Germany, or Belgium, to find out about the winter crisis there. Of course, he/she would find that there is no winter crisis there, as they spend between 11% -12% on health care. It is 9.1% in the UK.. So we have a winter crisis, they don’t.

  41. Surely that is normal politics, as per all parties? Are any of the stories not based on a modicum of truth?

  42. […] of which leads to the kind of woeful situation, lately described in scathing terms by Derek Bateman, in which newspapers become mere conduits for the product of political and corporate media […]

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