Arts feature

Alex Salmond has already lost — if the Edinburgh Festival is anything to go by

23 August 2014

9:00 AM

23 August 2014

9:00 AM

Scotland’s on a knife-edge. Like all referendum-watchers at the Edinburgh Festival I grabbed a ticket for The Pitiless Storm, a drama about independence, which attracts big crowds every lunchtime at the Assembly Rooms.

The play draws its inspiration from the passion and fury of Red Clydeside. David Hayman, an actor and lifelong leftie, plays a Glaswegian trade unionist who reflects on the troubles of Scottish socialism as the referendum approaches. Some of his rhetoric captures the best of the independence movement. ‘We’re not leaving the union, we’re joining the world.’ And he flavours his optimism with a dash of local irony. ‘We don’t know what the weather’s going to be like in half an hour, let alone what kind of country we could be in ten years’ time.’ But he also indulges in self-pitying nostalgia. He sees independence as a rite of exoneration and atonement, a chance for Scotland to acquit itself of its involvement in the Blair government, and in the subsequent policies of the coalition. All the blunders and compromises of the past — from the Iraq war to the bedroom tax — will be purged in the fires of liberation.

The Edinburgh audience seemed to tolerate and perhaps even to endorse this misty-eyed revisionism. After the show, David Hayman invited questions from the floor, and the first contribution came from an Englishwoman who spoke in a jaunty Radio 4 accent. ‘Britain will be sorely diminished if you leave,’ she declared, as if opening a fête. ‘Please don’t go.’ The audience, rather than hooting with derision, broke into warm and prolonged applause. Then a hoary old Scots Nat climbed to his feet. ‘The yes campaign has made the better arguments…’ he began. He was stopped in his tracks. ‘But we’ll lose the vote.’ This interruption came not from the stalls but from the stage. It was David Hayman himself, admitting defeat in front of a thousand of his compatriots.

In the New Town, I visited the yes campaign’s headquarters, which occupies a beautiful suite of rooms on North St Andrew Street. ‘Register to help,’ said the poster outside. ‘Collect campaign materials.’ In the corridor there were tables loaded with stickers and leaflets. Plastic buckets overflowed with ‘Yes Scotland’ badges. The place was deserted. A door creaked open and a nice old chap with a white moustache bustled into view. ‘All alone?’ I asked. He explained that the front-line troops were out on the streets whipping the populace into ecstasies of patriotic defiance. ‘And who are you, by the way?’ he asked. ‘Just a journalist.’ He folded his arms across his chest. ‘Then I can’t tell you anything.’ This seemed a curious opportunity to pass up. I was quite ready to annotate and publicise whatever propaganda he cared to feed me: the last-minute surge; the rising support from the middle classes; the rock-solid pensioner vote; the thirst for change across the Highlands; the rebellious fervour of the young; the toxic negativity of the no campaign; the deadly impact of Alistair Darling’s scrubbing-brush eyebrows; the cheerful rivalry between Glasgow’s foundries as they compete for the honour of casting a celebratory bronze statue of Alex Salmond smirking over a prone and whimpering David Cameron. But instead he exuded suspicion and embarrassment. ‘Feeling confident?’ I asked. He gazed downwards and moved his hand to left and right as if trying to put an old banger into gear. ‘Well, it’s a race. But I think we’re coming up the home stretch now.’ I took a badge and pinned it to my lapel as I left. I felt sorry for him.


The yes campaign is in trouble because its two secret weapons — Alex Salmond and the youth vote — have misfired. Salmond was supposed to be the redeeming angel whose sword would slay the arrogant plotters of Westminster. And behind him stood an army of juvenile hotheads with nothing to lose and everything to gain from a year-zero insurrection.

But nobody consulted them first. The Royal Mile teems with youngsters handing out leaflets for shows, and each time I accepted a flyer I asked for a referendum forecast. Here’s what I heard. ‘I’m voting no. Is that bad?’ ‘Salmond’s an arse.’ ‘I like it the way it is.’ ‘The currency’s a problem.’ ‘Salmond has no answers.’ ‘What’s going to happen about the EU?’ The currency issue recurred constantly. A lad in his early twenties told me he wished fervently that his generation had been able to deliver independence, ‘but it won’t happen’. ‘Why?’ ‘There’s no more oil.’ ‘Salmond says there is.’ ‘Well, yeah, he would…’

Mistrust of Salmond has risen to the point where he’s become a liability to his own campaign. The Scots have grown tired of his jowly smirk on their TV screens. A fringe comedian, Vladimir McTavish, gets a big laugh from this gag. ‘People ask the question, “What if Alex Salmond fell under a bus?” Well, Midlothian buses today issued a statement confirming that “no vehicle in our current fleet is strong enough to withstand such an impact”.’

Only in Scotland do you realise how well Cameron’s indifference to the campaign has played out. The SNP had hoped all along for a clumsy intervention from No. 10 that would restore Salmond’s position as a glamorous outlaw opposed to London’s evil schemers. By keeping quiet, Cameron has turned Salmond into the very thing he once opposed. The First Minister represents authority. He is now a vested interest. He has become the self-serving power base that seeks nothing but its own survival.

His supporters exist, if you can find them. On North Bridge I was accosted by a friendly old chap inviting passers-by to take a ‘Free Stress Test’. ‘Has Alex Salmond tried one?’ I asked. ‘He’s not been along this way yet.’ I followed the stress expert into an office where he seated me beside an oscilloscope wired up to two metal cylinders. I grasped one in each hand. ‘Concentrate on something that’s on your mind.’ I did so. The needle leapt to the maximum. ‘What were you thinking of?’ he asked. ‘Alex Salmond. A smart politician but he’s heading for the biggest disappointment of his life.’ This seemed to stir the old guy’s memories. Last time, he said, in 1979, Scotland was robbed of devolution by James Callaghan and his ‘corrupt tactics’. And now? ‘Salmond’s being very canny about it, very canny about it,’ he said darkly, as if the SNP’s faltering strategy were a brilliant prelude to a last-minute ambush and victory.

He was the only Scot I met who believed the yes campaign would win. He was also, I should add, a devotee of L. Ron Hubbard.

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Show comments
  • jdmank

    Well thats two minutes of my live I’ll never get back.

  • Andrew Morton

    As an example of No friendly propaganda this probably rates as the most pathetic I’ve come across. Take a bow, whoever you are.

    • The_greyhound

      Another disappointed nationalist having a bilious attack. I should buy a very large pack of antacids if I were you – the indications are that you are going to need them.

      • Wessex Man

        erm, according to the latest research by Edinburugh and Cardiff Universities, the SNP can win the Independence Referendum.

        We must all enjoy and celebrate and ban the Edinburugh Fringe from English media after Scottish Independence!

        Rejoice rejoice rejoice!

        • Michele Keighley

          Yes they did – but the rider was, I believe, IF the vote was taken in England!

        • John Lea

          Blimey, you have a tiresome opinion on everything! Is there any thread on this site which you have not contributed to? I fear there is a pub somewhere missing a bore.

        • Kennybhoy

          Er you might want to read that research again Maister W…?

      • Kennybhoy

        Amen. Actually this is the best article I have read on the issue in the Speccie and it’s on the Arts page! 🙂

  • Gm clarkson

    What Planet is this guy on ?,to quote a bard “there’s non so blind as those that canna see…total tripe

    • The_greyhound

      Another nationalist not coping. There seem to be a lot about at present.

  • Tern

    It’s sourced from public events and spaces where large numbers of folks can check on the experience. That’s good and not pathetic at all.

  • AB2014

    All polls on the youth vote, before the franchise was expanded to include them and throughout the campaign has shown a slight lean to the No and that they oddly are more hesitant to change.

    The youth vote was never intended as a secret weapon or a sly move on behalf of the Scottish Government. The inclusion of the young to vote stems from the current administrations long standing belief that anyone asked to pay tax or who can be sent to war should have a say in how that tax is spent and who it is that may be sending them to die.

    Even John Curtice said in a recent interview on Sunday Politics that it was a demonstration of a Government acting not with their own self interest in mind but because they genuinely believe in something.

    To try to spin otherwise is quite unbecoming.

    • HJ777

      You can no longer be sent to war until you are 18.

      • AB2014

        Very true, but if you have joined the army at 16 and there is an election that year, the Government who get voted in will be the ones making the decision on foreign policy during the period of your service.

        Regarding passing the tax threshold, it may be rare but the principle doesn’t change.

        • HJ777

          If you join the army at 16 you are free to leave when you are 18.

          You can pay income tax at any age. Would you allow toddlers to vote on principle?

          • AB2014

            I think this discussion is starting to miss the point made in my first comment. Namely that the youth vote was not a sly tactic by the Sco Gov, as implied in the article, but a long held belief.

            The argument regarding that belief is another conversation.

            I support it, you I assume (apologies if I’m wrong) don’t and I shake hands with you and offer you a virtual beer. Cheers

          • The_greyhound

            Long held belief? Forgive our scepticism, but one-issue parties don’t do long held beliefs.

            NATO membership? Definitely not. Surely will.

            Monarchy? Scotland will be a republic. Now it will be a monarchy.

            Currency? It will be the Euro. It will be sterling with a currency union. It will be sterling without a currency union. Sterling will be a transitional currency (to what?).

            The SNP will say, and do, anything to hijack a slice of the United Kingdom. They won’t succeed.

          • AB2014

            I think if you are going to go down the path of looking at what issues political parties have changed their opinion on over the years we are entering a murky pool in which we’ll find just about all of the parties lurking.

            Some of the most recent examples that spring to mind even do it between telling us what they’ll do if they get into power and what they actually do when they get in. Even when they’ve promised really sweetly that they’ll do the opposite.

            Regardless, complaining that a party may have changed their position on certain issues isn’t really an argument against them following through with a position that has never changed.

          • The_greyhound

            But other parties change policy in response to practical circumstance – the SNP merely in order to win a one off referendum. A week since I watched an extreme right wing nationalist deliver a droolingly compassionate tax and spend exposition of what the SNP would do for the poor, the health service, the young unemployed &c. His body language suggested he believed what he was saying rather less than I did,

            Why would anyone believe what the SNP says on any score? For them all policy is a means to an end. In the mainstream of politics, whether it’s Michael Gove or John Cruddas, policy is an end in itself..

          • Jambo25

            You can also marry without parental consent at 16 in Scotland. Have been able to do so for virtually ever.

          • HJ777

            And how is that in any way relevant? Getting married does not imply any level of responsibility or obligation towards others – it is effectively a personal matter.

            The age of criminal responsibility in Scotland is 8 (or 12 for criminal prosecution). Does anyone argue that 8 or 12 year-olds should be allowed to result because of this?

          • Jambo25

            Mmm!. Marriage “does not imply any level of responsibility or obligations towards others.” Strange view of marriage; morally or legally.

          • HJ777

            Then you’ll be able tell me what moral and legal obligations are implied by marriage, to those outside the marriage.

            People get married because they want to get married, not because they have chosen to make, or are committed to, obligations to those outside their marriage.

            It’s you who has a strange view of marriage, morally or legally.

          • Jambo25

            You are obligated to the one you are married to. To any children and to the wider family circle. Families are the basic building block of society. It is one of the basic tenets of traditional British conservatism.

          • whs1954

            True, true enough; but in no way does this constitute a reason why 16 and 17 year olds should vote.

          • Jambo25

            Added to the fact that you can be in full time, pay income and other taxes and join the armed forces at 16 it certainly points to the fact that we expect a level of responsibility from 16 year olds which would tend to point to them being given voting rights.

          • HJ777

            Then you’re also arguing that they should be able to drink and also to drive at 16.

            You can pay income and other taxes at any age.

          • Jambo25

            You can certainly drink wine and beer with meals up here. I seem to remember you could get at least L licences at 16 or 17 in the past.

          • Kennybhoy

            Sound man.

          • Kennybhoy

            “Getting married does not imply any level of responsibility or obligation towards others – it is effectively a personal matter.”

            Och man …

          • Kennybhoy

            Irrelevant.

          • Jambo25

            Not really. It imparts a level of responsibility to young people at least as much as the ballot.

        • Ron Todd

          OK let anybody in the military vote at any age and let everybody else vote when they start earning a living.

      • N Choozy

        Increasingly less rare.

        • HJ777

          “Increasingly less”?

          You mean decreasingly.

          • Vera

            Is that a double negative?

    • Shinsei1967

      18 years haven’t been able to fight on the frontline since 2003.

      • AB2014

        Very true, but if you have joined the army at 16 and there is an election that year, the Government who get voted in will be the ones making the decision on foreign policy during the period of your service.

        • Michele Keighley

          … Are you saying that a 16 year has more ability to predict what will happen in the future – if so, I want more of them in the army at that age, because in my experience they lose that predictive ability by the age of 18!!

    • DrPlokta

      Five-year-olds pay VAT. Does that mean they should get the vote as well?

    • Ron Todd

      Voting at 16 would have made more sense in the days when a sixteen year old would be starting to earn his own way in the world if not fully independent at least contributing to the family income.

      • HJ777

        No, because you are free to leave at 18 if you joined before you were 18.

    • Tom M

      Surely it was just that, a sly move on behalf of the Yes vote. It was certainly spun as the long standing belief as you say. But it was simply because Salmond thought that the young Scots would be more Independence minded (they were in my Scottish youth) than older voters. Apparently he was wrong about that too.

      • AB2014

        Tom M as I said, there has never been a shown trend in any youth polls conducted in all the years before the Edinburgh Agreement was signed that would support what you say.

        As John Curtice said it is an example of a Government acting not with their own self interest in mind but because they genuinely believe in something.

        I’ve managed to find a link to the interview – http://youtu.be/-VEQFyiMfRM

      • Kennybhoy

        “…they were in my Scottish youth…”

        Indeed. Mine too…

    • Fergus Pickering

      How many sixteen year olds pay tax? They are all at school, the poor dears..

  • FF42

    I am a firm NO voter. That’s mainly because I can’t bring myself to vote for the deep and long lasting economic depression that is the inevitable consequence of removing ourselves from the internal market that is bedrock of our prosperity.

    Nevertheless I know many normally sensible people who will vote YES. It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity to indulge in serious wishful thinking. They are going to take that opportunity.

    • The_greyhound

      Presumably in the confidence that there is no chance of yes winning?

      • FF42

        It would be a false confidence. There’s nothing magical about 50% in vote share terms: 51% is just as likely as 49%, except the former would mean independence whereas the latter would mean keeping the Union.

        • john lyttle

          William Hill say NO.

        • Kennybhoy

          Personally I favour super majority for constitutional change that cannot be undone at the next election…

    • rjbh

      A firm No voter that believes he is a Subsidy Junkie.

      • FF42

        I don’t. I believe in getting prosperous through making things and selling them to people who want to buy. For that you need markets.

  • OskarMatzerath

    Most of the audiences in Edinburgh aren’t Scottish. To extrapolate the pulse of a nation from that is beyond ridiculous. No confirmation bias there, at all. You’ve just foghorned another diatribe down into the Spectator’s echo chamber, like a semi-useful little acolyte.

    • john lyttle

      Oh dear Re-read the piece. All the people spoken to were Scottish. The writer makes a point of pointing it out but apparently not clearly enough for the slow and faux superior.

      • OskarMatzerath

        Oh dear. Re-read what I wrote. He quoted audience reaction to a play, the first comment to which was provided by someone English. He then sought to extrapolate a few chance encounters into the pulse of an entire country. His piece was conceived and written purely from a confirmation bias perspective..

        I understand it may be difficult for some people, such as yourself, to offer fair responses to comments which do not concur with their own world view, especially given the constrictions of the leash and helmet your carer no doubt insists you wear at all times, but please, in the name of at least having a smidgen of ambition, do try. Who knows, one day you may even have that whole walking-and-talking-at-the-same-time thing within reach.

        • john lyttle

          Your intellectual insecurities are showing.

  • The SNP have supported votes at 16 for over a decade, long before the referendum became a possibility. It would be hypocritical for them not to give 16yo the vote in one of the very few elections in which they have the power to do so. They can’t do in Holyrood elections for instance, as the power is reserved to Westminster.

    To suggest that it was some sort of secret weapon only shows an ignorance of Scottish politics.

  • Guest

    I’m constantly amazed at the utter garbage which is written when it comes to this referendum….

    There are plenty of arguments to make by people who believe in the UK, some based on emotion and identity some based on logic and economics – instead utter twaddle like this is served up, it’s almost unreadable and an insult to anyone interested in this subject’s intelligence……

    I’m also amazed at the Punch and Judy like rhetoric, trying to make out the position to be charlatans or bogeymen – real lowest common denominator stuff, it’s embarrassing how far we’ve come with regard to political coverage and journalism…..

    The issues are clear, both sides have decent points and concerns, address them or fuck off….

    • john lyttle

      This was tedious the first time. Three times is a wrist slashing offence.

    • Bonkim

      What an idiot.

  • Guest

    I’m constantly amazed at the utter garbage which is written when it comes to this referendum….

    There are plenty of arguments to make by people who believe in the UK, some based on emotion and identity some based on logic and economics – instead utter twaddle like this is served up, it’s almost unreadable and an insult to anyone interested in this subject’s intelligence……

    I’m also amazed at the Punch and Judy like rhetoric, always trying to make out the opposition to be charlatans or bogeymen – real lowest common denominator stuff, it’s embarrassing how far we’ve fallen with regard to political coverage and journalism…..

    The issues are clear, both sides have decent points and concerns, address them or fuck-off….

    • john lyttle

      This was tedious the first time it was posted. Three times is a wrist slashing offence.

    • Vera

      We heard you the first time.

  • Barzini

    I’m constantly amazed at the utter garbage which is written when it comes to this referendum….

    There are plenty of arguments to make by people who believe in the UK, some based on emotion and identity some based on logic and economics – instead utter twaddle like this is served up, it’s almost unreadable and an insult to the intelligence of anyone interested in this subject……

    I’m also amazed at the Punch and Judy like rhetoric, always trying to make out that the opposition are charlatans or bogeymen – real lowest common denominator stuff, it’s embarrassing how far we’ve fallen with regard to political coverage and journalism…..

    The issues are clear, both sides have decent points and concerns, address them or fuck-off….

    • The_greyhound

      Actually it’s a rather astute article that reminds us that people are reacting against the grinding boredom of the SNP’s misconceived marathon campaign by laughing off the nationalist proposition – and so this mad rubbish ends in farce.

      There are few clear issues, and fewer clear answers. The SNP is unable even to say what currency we would use, and on what basis, and daren’t even broach the hornets’ nest issue of re-applying to join the EU. Everyone’s heard enough claptrap, motherhood and apple pie speeches, and coxcomb claims from the nationalist minority to last a lifetime. The SNP will be the butt of jokes for years to come, and salmond will just be remembered, if he is remembered at all, as a noisy self serving pest with a curious physical similarity to the late Peggy Mount.

      • Barzini

        your reply is a perfect example of the point I was trying to make about the calibre of debate (from both sides) on this issue….

        • The_greyhound

          You didn’t have a point. You were merely whingeing.

          The nationalists never managed to come up with a semblance of a case, and now the yes “campaign” is paralyzed by the spectacle of its odious leader opening and closing his mouth like some dumb fish while the Scots studio audience boos the clown. Indifference or derision are the appropriate response to the salmonds of this world – there is no need to take them at their own preposterous valuation of themselves.

        • john lyttle

          His reply is intelligent and informed. All you’re doing is bitching and whining.

        • Jambo25

          You are wasting your time on this site trying to get anything other than prejudice and insults from some of the lot who post on here.

          • HJ777

            On the contrary, there are many interesting and well-informed posts – not everyone is prejudiced and insulting like you.

          • Jambo25

            I certainly cannot manage the level of crudity in my insults and bile that you seem to manage effortlessly.

          • HJ777

            You can more than hold your own for crudity and bile.

            For whinging and hypocrisy, you are peerless.

            Mind you, what else have you to offer?

          • Jambo25

            Crudity and intellectual childishness I leave to you and your confreres.

          • whs1954

            And here in a nutshell is why ‘Yes’ is going to lose, but that there will be sour grapes after – the Scottish referendum is turning into the AV referendum, with the ‘Yes’ side convinced of its own righteousness, its own nobility, its own intellectual superiority, and convinced that the ‘No’ side represents some sort of Machiavellian evil and that ‘No’ voters wanted to vote ‘Yes’ really, they were just so easily confused by the nasty ”Noes’.

            You have shown yourself capable of crudity and childishness, so don’t pretend you’re not in the mud with the rest of us.

          • Jambo25

            On this site I definitely am as I get little which is rational or polite from other posters. If people deal in ad homs and insults all the time then that’s what they’ll get back and on this site I do not apologise for joining in. ” Are you trying to suggest that the lying little toad isn’t fat?” “You didn’t have a point. You were merely whingeing.”. Not me but someone else and fairly representative of a lot of the Unionist material we get on here.
            It doesn’t have to be like this. If you look at the on-line discussions which take place in publications like the Herald, Open Democracy , Spiked etc : there is far less of the ‘ya boo’ stuff which is common on the Spectator and the Telegraph. People like Barzini and myself comment on the Herald, Open Democracy and Spiked. Other people don’t. Perhaps there’s a connection with that.

          • The_greyhound

            Whinge, whine, moan, groan.

            Once more, and in words that you can understand.

            The article sets out clearly the journalist’s view that the people he encountered at the Edinburgh fringe weren’t interested in the guff the SNP was peddling, and weren’t going to satiate salmond’s vanity by voting yes.

            Cue a couple of posts from rent-a-gob SNP trolls, insulting the journalist and squawking their demented messianic crap. One or two sensible souls, myself included, take these time-wasters sharply to task. You then appear and insult all and sundry.

            If you don’t like scorn being poured on your nasty little political party, the lies and deceits of the independence campaign, and its mendacious egotistical leader, then go back to the Herald, or any other independence-supporting website of your choice, and have a conversation with other like-minded nationalists. Because decent people everywhere are done with this crap – the self-serving fatuity, the blatant dishonesty, the hypocrisy, the dimwitted anti-English rhetoric, the economic illiteracy – in a word the whole stinking farrago of nonsense that is the SNP .

          • Jambo25

            “rent a gob SNP trolls”, “mutual grooming session”. As I noted elsewhere you are probably about the most self aware person on this site.

          • john lyttle

            Remind me. Why are you here. Except to troll?

          • Jambo25

            To try and introduce a note of sanity into what is clearly a right wing lunatic asylum.

          • Kennybhoy

            Oh ffs Maister J you are better than this…

          • Jambo25

            I think I’m being pretty accurate.

      • Kennybhoy

        “Actually it’s a rather astute article …”

        Agreed. As I wrote above – the best thing on this issue that this rag has produced…

    • john lyttle

      You sensitive wee soul. A witty, light and thoughtful piece of writing and all you can do is make a sour, humourless face. The actual vote is going to make your head explode, isn’t it.

    • scotchthistle

      Sorry, pal – I am Scottish through and through, and have lived in Central Scotland all my life. But I have yet to hear one single valid HONEST point made by the ‘Yes’ camp. They can do nothing but come up with lies, false innuendo and scare stories. They are a disgrace to Scotland.

      If you love Scotland and have a vote, vote No

      • Vera

        I can well understand people of Scotland wishing to be independent of England. I’m English and wish wholeheartedly to be independent of the EU. But you have to be sure it is viable. Salmond seems unable to clarify which currency you will use, and there is little point in him banging on about keeping the pound if England doesn’t agree – and why would it, makes no sense. In any case if you rejoin the EU you will have to take the euro. He’s based his case almost totally on your national pride, is it enough? I think not.

    • Bonkim

      You are forgetting the adversarial nature of democracy in Britain. Punch and Judy – the essence of the British system.

  • Peter McCluskey

    You’ve managed to include a fat joke about our democratically elected First Minister. Top quality journalism, you pathetic person.

    • The_greyhound

      Are you trying to suggest that the lying little toad isn’t fat?

      • Iain Macmillan

        How’s life in your mum’s basement?

        • The_greyhound

          I suppose that passes for devastating repartee in nationalist circles. There are probably two words in that sentence you will need to look up in a dictionary. Ask the school librarian for a “dik’shun’ary”.

          • Jambo25

            Better than any of the unpleasant bile you come out with.

          • The_greyhound

            Unpleasant bile?

            The SNP’s trolls, surely the most consistently unpleasant little bullies ever to infest the web, foul mouthed abusive liars the lot of them, have now been roundly trashed and are going back to whingeing victim mode.

            You really are some of the most contemptible cowards imaginable.

          • Jambo25

            Any idea just how nutty you come across as ?

          • The_greyhound

            Your usual pitiful personal abuse.

            Still it’s good to know I’m still riling you. I value your pain.

          • Jambo25

            Seriously. You come across as verging on the sociopathic and obsessional.

          • The_greyhound

            Every single remark of yours in this discussion is an insult to another poster.

            Others will want to make their own assessment of our respective states of mind.

          • Jambo25

            I should have added also totally lacking in self awareness. Go back and read what you actually write on these postings.

          • Vera

            Scottish Independence – he’s selling it to me. Pity I don’t have a vote.

      • Peter McCluskey

        Since when was anyone’s weight relevant to their politics? It’s the sort of thing people attack when they have literally no other coherent argument.

        • john lyttle

          It’s the sort of thing people do when they’re bored with dull and obvious posters they have no respect for. Who’d waste an argument on you?

          • Peter McCluskey

            You, clearly, you absolute imbecile.

          • john lyttle

            Tut, tut Peter. Temper’s showing. Unlike my ‘argument’ – could you point me to it, please?

          • Peter McCluskey

            Not temper, just disappointed pity. At least you admit you have no argument, that’s a start. At least you know you can go away and educate yourself.

          • john lyttle

            Improve your reading and comprehension skills. I didn’t say I didn’t have an argument. I said I wouldn’t waste one on you. I’m still not. Do try and keep up, there’s a dear.

          • Jambo25

            You deserved it. If you dish it out you shouldn’t be surprised when you get it back.

          • john lyttle

            Try looking up sarcasm in the dictionary.

            PS Is it rue that your lips move when other people are reading?

          • Jambo25

            Thank you for making my point for me. No ability to write anything except by slipping into insult mode.

          • Jambo25

            Unionist alert. Immediate personal insult.

          • HJ777

            That does appear to be your modus operandi – when a unionist appears, you respond with an immediate personal insult. At least you’re now being honest about it, I suppose.

            It doesn’t cover up the fact that you have no coherent argument, you know, if merely exposes the fact.

          • Jambo25

            Writes the man who called me a “mental and physical cripple” on-line. Self aware not.

          • HJ777

            But you started the abuse as you very well know.

            Your problem is that you are a hypocrite who can dish it out but can’t take it.

            Why can you never come on a thread and make a reasoned argument? You come on starting by whinging and complaining that those who disagree with you are abusive and you throw abuse at them and then you are surprised when you get it back with interest.

            You are in no position to lecture anyone else about self-awareness. When you start being reasonable then you will get perfectly reasonable replies back. You should try it sometime.

          • Jambo25

            Really. You’ve been doing nothing but dealing in insults ever since you came to inflict yourself on this site. Go back and look at all the wonderful things you have written.

          • Michele Keighley

            HJ777 – I have come to believe that is his deliberate intention. He spouts nonsense to create a backlash then whines about abuse when he has succeeded.

            It is a well known military tactic of ‘provocation, response, reaction’ – I would list the organisations that have used it in the past, but they are not nice people, and I would hate to believe that any national is really that unpleasant.

          • john lyttle

            Glittering retort there Jambo. And if anyone is an offender in that regard… got a mirror handy? See also HJ777’s replies.

          • john lyttle

            The rage of Caliban upon seeing himself in the mirror. Aren’t you the arch hypocrite.

          • Jambo25

            More Prospero than Caliban. I leave the role of misshapen monsters to others. Are you doing anything presently?

        • The_greyhound

          I have many coherent arguments. None lessens my right to refer to salmond as fat, or a liar, or a toad. Like many sectaries of an extremist faith you seem to believe that I should bow down to your tribal fetish. In this country we have a wholesome tradition of showing politicians disrespect. So I spit on your ghastly idol, and urge others to do the same.

        • Ian McKellar

          You are of course quite right. Its not but maybe you should voice your complaint to the BBC about The News Quiz- they’ve made far worse remarks about Eric Pickles

          • Jambo25

            And that’s wrong as well. Criticise his policies not his physical appearance.

        • Fergus Pickering

          But he’s still fat.

    • john lyttle

      Oh, lighten up or grow up. You choose, crybaby.

      • Peter McCluskey

        Hahahahahaha

        • john lyttle

          Hahahahahahahaha. And I’ll throw in a ‘whatever’ chaser.

          • Peter McCluskey

            I wish I was as witty as you 🙁

          • john lyttle

            Honey, I wish you were as witty as me too. It might make this exchange mildly amusing for at least one of us.

          • Peter McCluskey

            Well clearly that’s just not possible, master

          • john lyttle

            The ability to learn. Perhaps there’s hope for you yet.

          • john lyttle

            And don’t forget to reply to Iain below. I don’t see why I should be the only bored person here.

    • Michele Keighley

      So if this is pathetic – including a fat joke about a fat person – what would you call the barrage of abuse hurled at Cameron – our democratically elected Prime Minister? I look forward to your condemnation of your fellow nationals as pathetic people!

  • rjbh

    Pisser

  • edlancey

    I might be more tempted to vote Yes if the SNP and its acolytes weren’t intent on introducing soviet-style politics and population control – Social Workers for everyone in Scotland ?

    Their return to 1970’s socialism without the flared trousers is so pathetic that I just hope that when they get humped they all STFU for the next twenty years.

  • lakelander

    The Yes Campaign winning is about the only hope England has of keeping Labour out in 2015. Not that I’m advocating separation.

    • The_greyhound

      Mr Miliband seems to be doing his best to help.

  • geomac

    The SNP’s is to have power OVER Scotland and not power FOR Scotland. They have already centralised powers – police, fire brigades, council budgets, plannning etc

  • Rocksy

    I’ve been a Nationalist since I was a child. I used to write letters to the BBC. I didn’t even know there was an SNP. I knew only one other Nationalist, a young many who lived one street over.
    But today I would vote NO. Scotland isn’t being promised independence. Just a change of management from Westminster to Brussels and frankly I prefer Westminster.

    • Vera

      I understood Scotland would be automatically out of the EU if it become independent, lucky you. It would have to apply to re-join, and there is no guarantee it would be allowed back because Spain in particular would be concerned a precedent is being set. Spain have parts of their country which wish to break away from Spanish control.
      In any case whilst you remain in the UK you are still under Brussels, albeit one step removed.

    • Kennybhoy

      A rational, honourable Nat. I salute you sir.

  • LawrenceinArabia

    I used to be a passionate Unionist until I met so many Scots with chips on the shoulders about the English. now part of me actually hopes they vote yes, particularly as the whole No argument for them seems to revolve around money

    • Vera

      It would have been very interesting if us English had been allowed to vote also. While hoping the Scots remain with us, they make a good case for us to be shot of them once and for all. Would that stop the griping and grudging?

  • Gergiev

    So you knowingly had a stress test from the Scientologists… as they say in metro land, “yeah right”…

  • scotchthistle

    It makes no difference what happens in September – if Salmond loses, as I fervently hope he does, the SNP will still win the next Holyrood election and keep having Referenda until they get one that suits them – and then decide that that result is irreversible. The best we can hope for is damage limitation – this referendum has already divided Scotland, forced a wedge between Scotland and England – and is seriously bad news for the whole of UK

    • The_greyhound

      Happily, you are wrong.

      salmond will lose on the 18th, and resign on the 19th. The SNP will tear itself to pieces in the blame game while the crypto-fascist and the crypto-marxist wings compete for the leadership, and so long as voters actually turn out in 2016, there is no chance of an SNP win in the parliamentary election (remember the poison dwarf only polled 400,000 votes out of an electorate of 3.9 millions in May this year).

      Within a few years the truth of Sir Ian Wood’s warning on the size of oil reserves will be apparent to everyone. And the same nutjobs will be clinging to the Union’s apron strings like a chastened brat.

      • scotchthistle

        Greyhound, I sincerely hope you are right. This is one occasion when I will be delighted to be proven wrong

    • Vera

      Yes I had a feeling that even if SNP lose the vote comprehensively, they will never stop ranting and raging.

      • Kennybhoy

        They have been doing that since they were founded. nature of the beast…

  • The concept of Union has always meant security from outside invasion, the original threat to Presbyterian Scotland and Anglican England being an invasion from either Catholic France or Catholic Spain. What else would bring two such diverse cultures together, the Celts of Scotland and the Anglo-Saxon Normans of England? And the threat of foreign invasion is more subtle today, even unseen, because the enemy is weak in numbers, hence the enemy’s need to conceal its identity. Who is this enemy that threatens Britain?

    The enemy is within and without, and are Marxists who’ve co-opted the political parties of the West, including the West’s leading institutions, from the media to religion. We know this to be true not only because we were warned of the enemy within by KGB defector Major Anatoliy Golitsyn in 1962, but because the West’s institutions failed to warn its populations that the collapse of the USSR (and East Bloc nations) was a strategic disinformation operation, as proved by the West’s failure to not only verify the collapse, but de-Communize the Soviet Armed Forces officer corps (which was 90% Communist Party officered in late 1991), and failure to de-mobilize the six-million vigilantes that assisted the Soviet Ministry of Interior and militia to control the populations in the larger Soviet cities.

    The West’s fate depended on verification of the collapse of the USSR, verification’s absence proving co-option of the West’s institutions. On the Soviet side, there could be no collapse when (1) the Soviet Armed Forces officer corps remained Communist Party dominated; and (2) six-million vigilantes continued to control the population.

    In order for Scotland to decide on Union or independence, Scots must be armed with all the information that’s necessary to make the correct decision. The co-opted media will not present the facts as laid out above.

  • Bonkim

    Cameron would have done better if he said he would welcome decision either way by the Scots and if it is independence help make the transition as smooth as was possible.

  • black11hawk

    Just say naw.

  • David

    They don’t get much more of a ‘No’ voter than me. But up here in Heathen territory, there’s something in the air.
    My scientific polling is nothing more than being amongst it and talking.
    But am continually surprised (and saddened) at number of good folk I meet who are voting ‘Yes’.
    Also think that many ‘undecideds’, (lots of women it seems) far from wimping out at last minute, will cross the Rubicon.
    Regrettably, Edinburgh is not indicative of mindsets in much of the country.

    Establishment journos popping by for an afternoon know less than feck all. This could go either way.

  • Carter Lee

    The vote should be the other way around. England should be voting if they want the Scots to stay. That would surely give the Scot’s a boot out he door.

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