monitoring the Scottish political media

Wings Over Poundland


Posted on March 06, 2013 by

To a shiny new home. Please update your bookmarks and RSS feeds (here’s the new one). This version of the site will remain in place for the forseeable future so that old links will work, but will not be updated and comments have been disabled.

EDIT 10th March: This post will also, for as long as this version of the site is maintained, serve as an emergency noticeboard for issues regarding the new site. For example, today we’re having an infuriating technical hitch that means all pages are viewable as normal, except the front page. That means that you can only see stories if you already know their URL, which is obviously less than ideal.

Once again, we urge readers to follow our Twitter account, because it’s the ONLY reliable means by which we can communicate information like this quickly.

Some folks’ terror of Twitter is insanely irrational – it will only bombard you with messages if you CHOOSE to follow hundreds of people. It’s perfectly possible to only use it to follow Wings Over Scotland if that’s what you want, and to only look at it if the site appears to be down and you want to know what’s going on. You need never, ever be bored with information about what Cheryl Cole had for her breakfast or whether Justin Bieber’s had a complete mental breakdown yet.

Please, if only to save our inbox being swamped with dozens and dozens of identical “Hey, your site’s down, what’s happened?” emails, give it some consideration. Now if you’ll excuse us, we have to shout down the phone at our web hosts some more.

GERS between the lines 5

Posted on March 06, 2013 by

According to today’s GERS report, in the financial year 2011-2012 Scottish public-sector revenue including a geographical share of North Sea revenue was estimated at £56.9 billion (9.9% of the UK’s total). As in previous years, Scotland’s 8.4% of the UK population is doing more than its share of generating the country’s money.


The total public-sector expenditure of the Scottish government, local government, money spent “on behalf of” Scotland by the Westminster government and on Scotland’s share of UK debt-interest payments (up £400m to £4.1bn) was £64.5bn – equivalent to 9.3% of total UK public-sector expenditure.

Scotland’s estimated net fiscal balance was a deficit of £7.6bn (or 5.0% of Scotland’s GDP). The UK’s equivalent position was a deficit of £121bn (or 7.9% of GDP), meaning that Scotland is in significantly better financial shape than the UK as a whole.

Read the rest of this entry →

Lagging behind the story 54

Posted on March 06, 2013 by

Students of the Scottish media weren’t exactly surprised when the BBC’s Glenn Campbell published a story yesterday lunchtime (12.07pm) entitled “Scottish independence: Luxembourg warns against ‘going separate ways'” and opening with the more specific line “The government of Luxembourg has warned against Scotland becoming an independent country.”


Experienced observers were considerably less than astonished when the government of Luxembourg issued an angry denial a few hours later (reported at 5.57pm), claiming that their minister’s words had been misrepresented by the UK state broadcaster. News site reported:

“Luxembourg’s Foreign Minister has backtracked on a comment about Scotland’s independence which was quoted in the British media, saying it was misinterpreted.”

So far so standard, then.

Read the rest of this entry →

We’ll pay for this 64

Posted on March 06, 2013 by

There’s a stereotype of Scottish people that their reaction to a sunny day is that of this post’s title – that good weather now isn’t something to be enjoyed, but merely a harbinger of much less favourable conditions to come.

Rather than make hay while the sun shines, runs the old joke, the pessimistic (and stingy) Scots go out to the shops looking for umbrellas being sold at a discount.


Such is the wholly predictable Unionist response to today’s GERS figures.

Read the rest of this entry →

The Nevada-Semipalatinsk Doctrine 25

Posted on March 05, 2013 by

Last week (Feb 28th, to be precise) marked the anniversary of the founding of arguably the most successful mass anti-nuclear protest movement the world has ever seen. We’re talking, of course, of the Nevada-Semipalatinsk Anti-Nuclear Movement, which was active between 1989 and 1991.


If – for some unaccountable reason – you haven’t heard of it, then read on, for it’s a tale of how the ordinary people of a provincial part of the former Soviet Union found that a mass protest movement, well-organised and with right on its side, forced an intransigent, distant government to concede its demands. Are there lessons for the people of Scotland in their story? Let’s find out.

Read the rest of this entry →

A persuasive case 45

Posted on March 05, 2013 by

You’ve got to admit, this is pretty fast work.

Daily Record, 23rd February 2013:


The Herald, 5th March 2013:


Who’s next?

Respecting the electorate, Unionist-style 78

Posted on March 05, 2013 by

We were oddly pleased to discover yesterday that the full iPad edition of the Daily Record is free five days a week. Partly because, regardless of content, reading the actual paper (albeit on a screen) is a much more evocative wee reminder of home than a generic website, and partly because the Record’s online presence carries only a fraction of the stories of the print version.

One such print-only item is today’s small piece – in fairness quite prominent at the top of Page 2 – about last week’s vote of a large Scottish branch of the CWU (the trade union which represents postal workers) in which the branch decided by a huge majority to campaign for a Yes vote in the independence referendum.


Oddly, the vote has attracted far less media attention than the “mock referendum” held at Glasgow University recently, which got near-blanket TV and news coverage. We’re sure the different outcome has nothing to do with that whatsoever.

But in all the reporting and discussion of the Glasgow Uni vote, we’re pretty sure we don’t recall Blair Jenkins or Nicola Sturgeon responding to the result by saying “Well, they’re just a bunch of stupid know-nothing kids, so screw them”.

Read the rest of this entry →

Different reasoning, same conclusion 55

Posted on March 05, 2013 by

We’ve just noticed a report published by Scottish CND on the 26th of February, detailing the likely results of the UK actually using the submarine-based Trident nuclear weapons system in the event of some sort of unimaginable global conflict.


While we share SCND’s revulsion at the very notion of such weapons of mass destruction, the report makes a compelling anti-Trident argument that we’re absolutely certain wasn’t the one it meant to, and which SCND will doubtless find highly distasteful. We have no such compunction, though.

Read the rest of this entry →

Monsters live in the dark 93

Posted on March 04, 2013 by

The last time we checked in on our fundraising campaign, it was going pretty well.


Does the flame still burn brightly?

Read the rest of this entry →

The shifting sands of thin ice 18

Posted on March 04, 2013 by

It can be hard to keep up with the Scotsman’s constant “finessing” of its news stories. For example, last night we followed a link to an interesting-sounding piece with the headline “UK’s Scots independence claims ‘on very thin ice'”.

It led to a David Maddox article on Professor David Scheffer’s recent comments suggesting that the UK Government’s official position – that an independent Scotland would inherit a worst-of-both-worlds share of the UK’s debt obligations, but none of the UK’s memberships of international bodies – was somewhat less than robust.


So when we saw the same story prominently featured on the front page of the paper’s website this morning, something seemed amiss.

Read the rest of this entry →

↑ Top