An Inaudible Mumble

Alistair Darling at the Better Together rallyToday we hear that Ed Miliband’s main response to the Queens Speech is to decry the fact that there isn’t another immigration bill. What a dereliction of an entire history of social struggle for the Labour movement. As Humza Youssaf says: “His pandering to UKIP is as shameful as it is disappointing as it is dangerous”. Why is this important? Whilst Alistair Darling stokes the accusations of ethnic nationalism, Salmond remains the only mainstream political leader to openly advocate more immigration (see his interview with David Torrance at Dundee University here ‘5 Millions Questions – Ceud Mìle Fàilte’) yet is accused of ‘ethnic nationalism’ by a party engaged in dog-whistle politics.

The Kim Jong-il jibes are the least of it. This is standard Salmond Dictator Bingo, the tired effortlessly cynical utterances of politicians with little to contribute to public debate. Jeremy Paxman called him “Robert Mugabe” and kept his job, David Starkey called him a “Caledonian Hitler” and Labour MP Denis McShane compared Salmond to Serbian war criminal Slobodan Milosevic, amongst others.

It’s routine. Now we’re told apparently it’s all Alex Salmond’s fault.

The SNP probably know they are winning the argument if their opponents are reduced continually to these ad hominem attacks. It’s pathetic and Salmond was entirely right to criticise the relentless promotion of Farage through the BBC and the issues it raises about broadcasting, devolution and democracy. It’s worth reading Gerry Hassan’s take on the crisis at pacific Quay on Scottish review ‘A profound absence of leadership, courage and vision’.

But the expression “blood-and-soil” (‘Blut und Boden’) is a term associated with the Nazis and takes us into new territory. This is the leader of the Better Together campaign. It’s not some rent-a-gob TV pundit, some over-reached (and over-paid) current affairs host or some ignorant enragés back-bencher.

The New Statesman has attempted to clarify the ‘error’:

Clarification, 22.36: Owing to a transcription error, Alistair Darling was incorrectly quoted using the words “blood and soil nationalism” to describe the SNP’s non-civic nationalism. The phrase was raised in conversation but not used directly by Mr Darling. This is the disputed exchange:

NS: Salmond has successfully redefined the SNP as [representing] a civic nationalism . . .

Darling: Which it isn’t . . .

NS: But that’s what he says it is. Why do you say it isn’t? What is it? Blood and soil nationalism?

Darling: At heart . . . [inaudible mumble] If you ask any nationalist, ‘Are there any circumstances in which you would not vote to be independent?’ they would say the answer has got to be no. It is about how people define themselves through their national identity.

Is it terrible journalism or terrible politics? Would you print an entire magazine run on the basis of an inaudible mumble? Maybe the New Statesman can clarify? Presumably the audio tapes are available and can be made public.

The attempt to characterise the independence movement as ‘ethnic’ is hopeless and fundamentally dishonest. As Salmond himself said in interview to Jason Cowley:

“One of the great attractions of Scottish nationalism is that it’s very much a multi-layered identity. It’s never been sensible to tell people they only have one identity and that they have to choose . . . People in Scotland are Scottish and British, English and British, Irish and Scottish, and Pakistani and Kashmiri and Indian and Chinese and whatever nationality I’ve missed out. A fact of the SNP is that in the 2011 election we had the support of 45 per cent of the population as a whole and more than 50 per cent support among the Asian community in Scotland.”

Mud sticks but soil crumbles. This pathetic attempt at a smear illustrates only the paucity of Better Together’s failing campaign and will further undermine Darling’s already weakened position, a leader who seems to veer from ‘comatose’ to dangerously abusive. There may be more than an inaudible mumble for his position today. He should apologise or resign.

Comments (43)

Join the Discussion

Your email address will not be published.

  1. manandboy says:

    Losing it.
    19th. Lost it.

  2. The New Statesman appears to have saw fit to publish an article that smears 45% of the Scottish voting public as “blood and soil” Nazis. They have done this a few days before the D-Day commemorations.

    The New Statesman need to release tapes and make a public apology.

  3. Brian Fleming says:

    Alistair Darling has always been a sneering twat as regards the SNP, At least he was when I was (foolishly) a member of the Labour Party in Edinburgh back in the early ’80s. He should both apologise AND resign. A waste of space…

  4. James Dow A voice from the diaspora says:

    Oh Alistair is our Darling, our Darling, our Darling
    Alistair is our Darling for YES he has no peer

    For YES he can reverse the tide
    By driving voters to their side
    And after all of this is done
    He’s surprised for YES has won
    For no he tries to plant the seed
    For something that we have no need
    We really should pay him no mind
    Along with others of his kind
    He’s the leader of his own campaign
    They’d like to flush him down the drain
    But that would be a change of heart
    showing that they’re not real smart
    For all the children of the clans
    The time is now for joining hands
    It’s quite a simple thing to choose
    There’s nothing real for us to lose
    Add your own words its the melody that counts, and darling Alistair of course
    Remember I’m a piper and poet not a songwriter.

    1. Les Wilson says:

      Excellent post, well done!

  5. Apologise or resign, Mike? We all know there is more chance of Partick Thistle winning the Champions League than that happening. These “proud scots”, traitors in my speak, are the people I despise most in this campaign. At every opportunity, and by god with every assistance from a compliant media, led, of course by their cheerleader, the B.B.C, they take every opportunty to denigrate their own country. Well, I for one, whatever the outcome of the referendum, won’t be forgetting, or forgiving this bunch of liars.

  6. Flower of Scotland says:

    My late Father worked in Lothian Region transport Dept. when Alistair Darling was head of Transport and chairman of the Transport Committee. My late Father regularly castigated Darling for being a numpty and not being able to do his job properly! That was 1986 to 1987. Things don’t change!

  7. yerkitbreeks says:

    The Blut und Boden jibe reminded me of a discussion I had with a German friend when we were at the University of Aberdeen in the 60s. She and her friends seemed so politically aware and were addressing their skeletons while us the “British” ( and still today ) march around trumpeting how we won the war(s), not just the two in the 20th century, by the way.

    My father, who fought in the Somme in the 1st war refused to march around proudly with his medals since he said they were awarded for killing fellow human beings.

    The Civic Nationalism debate is politicising Scots in a way which outsiders ( including recent BBC incomers ) are having difficulty catching up with. So, these people simply won’t know the offence the ethnically related term could give to those Scots ( many Inde YES voters ) whose relatives died in the 2nd war. I’m not sure if the proportions were the same as in the 1st ( 14% Scots ; 5.5% English & Welsh ).

  8. deewal says:

    I was born in Liverpool which is another nationality AS left out. My mother was from Russian /Jewish Stock and my father was from French/ Cornish Stock. This apparently makes me English. I am a member of the Scottish National Party. I am not a Nationalist. The French and The Russian sides of my family were somewhat depleted during the period 1933/1945. I know about “blood and soil” Nazis. I have visited Dachau and Bergen/Belsen. If you want to see what is real Blood and Soil Nationalism is look to Westminster.
    My mother didn’t tell me I had Jewish blood in me until I was 21. She told me not to tell anyone as it would happen again. She appears to be right. I left England when I was 20 and when i came back lived in London until ’78 when I settled in Scotland. Scotland is my Country of choice and I support Scotland’s only genuine Political party as it is the only Party that believes passionately in it’s People of whatever part of the Globe they were born in. AS is the most Statesmanlike Politician in the UK. That is why the others hate him.

    1. setondene says:

      My mother is of partly Jewish descent (her granny). She was very proud of this and kept telling her children that Scotland was the only country in Europe never to have had a pogrom against the Jews.

  9. JOhn Gourlay says:

    liars can be forgiven if they are found out and corrected in time. Tony Blair is a good example of a liar whose past will always haunt him. Both sides of the referendum debate should be careful to correct lies because they will leave an undercurrent of resentment. I mean if £14.4 billion is invested in the North Sea because oil is running out. Does not make sense. Somebody is lying

  10. Robert Tyler says:

    Wales’own Ukipper, first to be rumbled.

    Much more to come, by the way.

    It has emerged that Mr Gill, who lives in Anglesey, was a director of a number of family businesses that owned property and provided care services on contract to Hull City Council in Yorkshire.
    He yesterday confirmed he had employed “dozens” of immigrants from new EU countries like Poland and others from the Phillipines. He also said he had provided “bunkhouse” accommodation for employees and others who had migrated from eastern Europe.
    One of Ukip’s major campaign policies at the recent election was its opposition to unlimited migration from other EU countries.
    Mr Gill said: “We employed people from overseas because we could not find local workers to do the jobs. We had a care home of our own, but mostly our workers were employed on home care contracts we had with Hull City Council and other organisations. The workers were paid more than the minimum wage, but not massively more.
    “The amount we could afford to pay was determined by the amount of money we received from the council.
    “Working in care is quite tough and we had a big turnover of staff. The bunkhouses were temporary accommodation we offered to people coming from overseas until they could get something more permanent. We charged £50 a week inclusive of electricity to people who would be earning between £200 and £300 a week. I wish I had that proportion of spending money left after paying my mortgage.”

  11. Les Wilson says:

    Excellent article, said as it is, Bella happily is raising it’s bar ever higher.( by the way, I think your links to new articles by email is excellent. Well done all. ( Bella vision is great too ) Rather than a visitor I am now a real fan!

  12. macart763 says:

    No excuse. This is an experienced parliamentarian and should be well aware of the language he is using.

    His behaviour and his language toward this debate and those who support the YES campaign can only be described as deliberate, shameful and reckless.

  13. Martin Booth says:

    I still don’t know of Alister Darling is, from what I’ve heard of him, I probably don’t want to. I’m 46.. I’ll be voting Yes for Independence from the slavery of Westminster. I love england and the english people, but I love scotland more.

  14. Deewal said, “AS is the most Statesmanlike Politician in the UK. That is why the others hate him.”

    Absolutely. Darling has smeared and derided a large percentage of the people who stay in Scotland. Never a wise strategy for a politician as he may someday want their votes or at least their support.

    He rails against nastiness form the Yes side, then comes out with these little gems. The New Statesman, though is hardly any better. There has been little comment about their Kin Jong Il manipulated photograph. Both should give apologies, and Darling (if he hasn’t already been swept aside in all but name) should resign.

    Scotland wants a reasoned discussion of its future. It doesn’t want people like Darling (what a misnomer!) spreading his party’s brand of bile. There is too much at stake for that.

  15. ronald alexander mcdonald says:

    Well he is Darling of the Tories. He received a standing ovation from them at a tory conference. The fact is they’ve used him and spit him out. Such is their style.

    Alas, his ego can’t handle it, especially when you consider Labour can’t win elections in Scotland. Hardly surprising when they stick red rosettes on monkeys.

  16. Tog says:

    Darling’s remarks were ill advised but not I think a matter for resignation. The Kim remark is at least in part a joke. I thought I had lost the infamous “Scottish cringe” until Salmond appeared on the Euro election programme with his bizarre, and pre prepared I think, Star Trek remarks and that really invites this sort of comment. Again though it does show most politicians should avoid comedy. I think Mr Salmond gets compared to dictators because of his continually attacking manner, his lack of a sense of humour and great sense of self regard and strong self belief. To the neutral he does come across as a somewhat ridiculous figure with traits you might associate with a Bond baddie or minor dictator.

    The blood and soil remark would be more serious if it had originated with Darling but he either mumbled or repeated what the interviewer said. These things come up because the SNP are so anxious to emphesis they are civic nationalists. The party policy might be but they do rely for core support on some feelings of ethnic nationalism and the two are linked. The SNP need to be more relaxed about this, The No side know that any reference to ethnic nationalism will rile the SNP and this is politics.

    Storm in a teacup and another distraction, I wish both sides would resist the temptation to carry around a high horse and jump up on it at the slightist provocation, They are not the sensitive souls they pretend to be.

    1. Douglas says:

      Togo, I can´t accept your comment about Darling´s remarks. You see, Salmond, whatever you or I may think of him, holds the office of First Minister of Scotland, represents Scotland in numerous ways, and has the democratic legitimacy to do so.

      He won a massive majority, and with it he called a democratic referendum, enshrined in the Edinburgh Agreement, which specifically refers to the need for BBC impartiality in the campaign, a clause which has been studiously ignored by the BBC in Scotland.

      Darling has compared Salmond to one of the most notorious dictators of the twentieth century, and he is a man with no legitimacy, nobody voted for Darling as head of Better Together. He has brought the referendum into international disrepute, and he has brought the office of First Minister into disrepute.

      I don´t care what side anybody happens to be on, this is simply unacceptable behaviour.

      And you´re right, Darling shouldn´t have to resign , he should be forced out – just like his war warmongering pay master Blair was after Iraq – by decent people on the other side of the debate.

      There are plenty of decent, intelligent and nice people on the side of the Union who believe in devolution or even devo max or the status quo. Whey should they have to suffer a man who will score any political point he can, without scruple or moral, even when it strikes against the office of the First Minister of Scotland? Darling is misrepresenting most Unionists I know. They may not like Salmond, but they would never compare him with a bloodthirsty dictator.

      Darling should be removed because he has brought the quality of the debate to a new low, grossly insulted all of the people of Scotland, and just as importantly, been frivolous with the terrible suffering of the people of North Korea under a tyranny for its human rights atrocities.

      This is simply too much. Who is this ghost of the past to use the suffering of the people of North Korea to score a petty point? It is, frankly, outrageous.

      1. Douglas says:

        By the way, the answer to the question I posed above at the end of my comment is….

        We are talking about one of the architects of the war in Iraq, the illegal war in the Iraq, the most flagrant example of contempt for democracy and human rights in living memory ‘- so why not just trivialize the suffering, murder, torture of the North Koreans, they´re not British after all – we are talking about one of this privileged, over indulged and frankly mediocre privately educated schoolboys – what do they put in the water at Fettes I wonder? – who think they have a God given right to bring the office of the First Minister of Scotland into disrepute because they have been indoctrinated into thinking they are born to rule, which means London of course, and Alex Salmond was only brought up in a council house after all, who does he think he is?

        I want to hear from all of those voices who whine on about the quality of the debate and post referendum healing. I want to hear from Alex Massie, from David Torrance and from The Church of Scotland.

        Does David Torrance think he was interviewing somebody who behaves like a lunatic, mad dictator the other day in Dundee, and if so, why did he interview him? Enlighten us, David.

      2. Tog says:

        He compared the remark Salmond made with the kind of remark a dictator would make about ‘foreign’ propaganda being broadcast in his country. He did not compare the two men, It was a joke, not a good one, but a joke and does not question his democratic credentials. This kind of you let yourself down, ,me down the whole school hyperbole is over the top.

        It is not an insult to the nation or to the office of First Minister or to the poor suffering people of North Korea. Salmond kind of has it both ways with respect to the office demanding respect and then agreeing to interviews with GQ and similar and I suspect the poor suffering people of North Korea are indifferent.

    2. JGedd says:

      Are you trying to pretend that you are a neutral observer in this? You are excusing a ridiculously inept remark from an over-heated Alistair Darling and then come in with your own snide and decidedly inaccurate remarks about Alec Salmond. Alec Salmond is a highly competent politician and your silly and puerile insults are evidence of your prejudice. Your description of Alec Salmond is not recognizable but is the negative caricature of the anti-independence side of the debate..

      As for Alistair Darling making a joke, he is the joke. He has demonstrated a childish inability to contain his rage and I’m afraid you are exactly the same. The No side continues to demonize Alec Salmond and the supporters of Yes, and then you accuse your opponents of the same traits. Considering the vituperation which has been directed towards Alec Salmond from the No side he has shown remarkable sang-froid. He hasn’t stooped to the kind of immature name-calling emanating from your side.

      I think you need to adopt your own advice and calm down. Your intense dislike of Alec Salmond shows through and identifies you quite clearly as an opponent of independence. You can’t think that it is going to change the mind of anyone on the side of independence so why do it? Unless it’s the immature thing of simply throwing your own personal spit(e) ball.

  17. Sooz says:

    NS: “Salmond has successfully redefined the SNP as [representing] a civic nationalism.” .

    Darling: “Which it isn’t . . .”

    Proving that he is accusing us of being ethnic nationalists.

    My grandfather was a Scot who dreamed his whole life of Scotland being independent. His father fought in WW1 and he fought in WWII against exactly the kind of vile mindset of which we’re being accused by Darling. Of course, Darling is desperate and his latest smear is indicative of the paucity of his arguments for there to be any benefit to us in Scotland of remaining in the union. The last resort of the person losing an argument is to sink to personal insult.

    Perhaps he doesn’t realise that we understand he’s run out of arguments. Perhaps he believes that libelling us with this kind of outrageous slur doesn’t matter and that all is fair in war, since they’ve given up on any attempt at love bombing. He knows full well that those campaigning for independence cross all party divides and that this isn’t about Alex Salmond; however, by association, Darling libels all of us who support the campaign for self-determination.

    This is what I’m going to do. Write to my Labour MP and press her to condemn, publicly, his libelling of Alex Salmond and all those voters in Scotland who are choosing to vote Yes no matter what their political or social beliefs, and whatever their creed, original nationality or skin colour. We are a diverse mix of people voting Yes. We seek a better future based on mutual respect for all citizens of Scotland, a just and equal society. If Darling thinks his accusation of ethnic nationalism will pass by unnoticed, he’s a fool.

    We will not give the Unionists the satisfaction of losing our dignity or our resolve, but Darling has shown us what our relationship with the rest of the UK is actually based on: Westminster’s self-interest, not friendship. That is yet another compelling reason to leave the union.

  18. qzchambers says:

    View from a pro-indy Anglo-Scot in England: I am not surprised that Alistair Darling is becoming shriller – Wizard of Oz-like- the closer Scots get to independence. He and his fellow Westminster Scots have the most to lose from independence. Where will they live? What will they do? How will they handle the failure of their efforts to persuade Scots to stay in a union they have served their whole working lives? Also, they are still shrouded in the psychological fog of Britishness, which is at its densest in Westminster. It will take time to dissipate but in time, even many rabid unionists (I was one once) – north and south of the border – are likely to see the light.

  19. Douglas says:

    Tog, with the greatest respect, don´t give me your bullshit.

    Salmond has been painted as a dictator, as ;Mike Small explains above, on numerous occasions by various people in the media and outwith the media too.

    It´s not so much as a trend as a craze. And they did the same with Parnell in Ireland a century ago, and Gandhi in India, let nobody forget that,

    Darling is a veteran mainstream politician, which is to say, cynical, calculating, fundamentally stupid unless it involves self’interest and self gain, and totally indifferent to what most people call normal life.

    He doesn´t think, let alone feel: he calculates.

    This was no joke, it was an act of political propaganda and calculation at the expense of the Scottish Referendum and the office of First Minister of Scotland.

    He made his comments tapping into that vast stock of “Salmond the dictator” lines which have been studiously built up, cultivated and rehearsed over the years, in tandem with the mainstream press.

    By the way, a well known Portuguese journalist was recently indicted for bringing the office of La Presidencia de La Republica de Portugal into disrepute, and I would argue that Darling should be indicted, brought before a court, and charged with the many crimes he has committed against British democracy over the years, this merely the latest one.

    1. Tog says:

      Wow! Are you serious? Apologies as I certainly did not intend to get anyone wound up though it is Mr Darling whi has upset you, I just thought some people were going a little over the top about Darling’s remarks. And yes Parnell and Gandhi are more suitable figures to compare Salmond with than Kim Jung Il

      1. Douglas says:

        No need for apologies Tog, I wasn´t attacking you, much less taking anybody seriously, something which should be banned from the columns of all the newspapers of the land by the way…

        Long and short: Darling is the past and is playing a game of the past.
        Better Together would be better together without him…

        Surely Unionists can see he is a deep embarrassment to their own cause?

        But even of they wanted to sack him, they won´t be able to do that without the say-so of London – och, the irony of it.

        The Edinburgh Agreement means Cameron and Co can´t say much, that would breach he terms of the agreement, they just channel all their propaganda through a yes Man – no, not that YES – like Darling.

        Darling is a stooge who every time he speaks for himself, wins supporters for YES.

        He won´t last long but it won´t be a Scotsman who sacks him.

  20. Douglas says:

    Here is clause 30 of the Edinburgh Agreement by the way…

    “The United Kingdom and Scottish Governments are committed, through the
    Memorandum of Understanding between them and others, to working together on matters of
    mutual interest and to the principles of good communication and mutual respect. The two
    governments have reached this agreement in that spirit. They look forward to a referendum
    that is legal and fair producing a decisive and respected outcome. The two governments are
    committed to continue to work together constructively in the light of the outcome, whatever it
    is, in the best interests of the people of Scotland and of the rest of the United Kingdom”

    …so obviously, comparing one of the signatories of the Edinburgh Agreement to a notorious Asian dictator would be a breach of the Edinburgh Agreement.

    Which explains why Cameron and Osbrone are so silent, publicly that is, about the referendum and why Darling is so outrageous.

    And when Cameron says he doesn´t want to come here to debate Scottish independence, why does anybody think that is? Because he has a hasbeen stooge like Darling to do his bidding.

    These people, Cameron, Darling, Brown and co are pulling the wool over the eyes of Scottish voters, I don´t care what side they are on…

  21. Dr Ew says:

    It is the drip, drip, drip of association – Kim Jong Il, Mugabe, Hitler, etc. – a concerted policy to stir fear amongst the apolitical and the undecided. Alex Salmond is a dictator; Alex Salmond commands hordes of evil trolls called “Cybernats”.

    By this stage, Yes supporters are Yes voters – solid. My feeling is there is a hard core of No voters probably equal to the Yes group, but a not insignificant percentage of people of a No inclination are not sufficiently motivated to put their cross in the box – many are truly torn between their sense of nationality and the corrupt reality of the British state, between the risk of a New Scotland and the security of the institution they’ve known all their lives.

    My take from the canvassing and meetings I’ve done is that the majority of the still-undecideds are – I’m generalising here – people who don’t normally engage with politics: “They’re a’ the same… It makes no difference… One’s as bad as the other… They’re all liars.” The No tactic is to keep them apathetic, confused, powerless – low turnouts at elections are no coincidence; the UK political system is designed to alienate and scare people who most need substantial change.

    When I read this latest slur I have to admit I was incandescent with rage, and I’m not even an SNP voter! It is a deliberate provocation that the media would not countenance if it came in the other direction, and it is a clear demonstration of just what we’re up against. There is no attempt to engage in genuine debate – they (rightly) assessed at the outset they would not win the political argument so set out on a campaign more personalised, hysterical and vicious than any in British political history. Over the summer that is going to be ramped up to levels unprecedented in this country, something akin to the venal assaults of American politics. Ridiculous figures will be trotted out and reported without question by a compliant media. Alex Salmond will be vilified to a degree only Arthur Scargill, Tony Benn and Ken Livingstone in the 80s could truly appreciate.

    They have everything to lose, hence the bare knuckles. We have nothing to lose but our chains. Just don’t rise to the bait – keep positive, and keep winning.

  22. Iain says:

    Darling also seems to be slurring traditional Labour supporters who have switched to the SNP or to Yes in general. They may switch back to Labour in the future. Have those lifelong Labour supporters been transformed into ethnic nationalists and if so, when? Was it while they were still voting Labour or only after they voted SNP? And if they return to the Labour fold, will they no longer praise Blut und Boden, given that they will presumably have rediscovered their progressive, radical Labour roots?

    Darling either knows very well what he is saying or his protracted recent break didn’t help his stability any. He seems to be the Justin Bieber of the UKOK campaign.

  23. gonzalo1 says:

    Denis McShane? Don’t hear much from him nowadays. Done with fraudulent claims and jailed> I think he should keep his mouth shut.

  24. The Monarchy
    The Elite
    The Lords
    The Establishment
    The Advocacy
    The Bank of England
    The Financiers
    The House of Commons
    The Three (Two?) Major Political Parties
    Senior Civil Servants
    BBC and MSM
    Scottish Tories & Wealthy
    Better Together
    Scottish Labour
    Local Councils
    Educated Populace
    Political Anoraks
    John and Jane Doe
    The Brain washed
    Scottish Cringe
    The Scottish Unemployed
    The Scottish disenfranchised
    The Scottish scared

    I feel the weight of history.

  25. Clootie says:

    The attacks on our First Minister are dreadful and have been for many years. It tells you much about BT and Mr. Darling that the have to go on personal attacks.

    I’m still waiting for the positive case for the union.

    1. daibhidhdeux says:


      As to “blood and soil Nazis”, that’ll be the British state, and its minions, psychologically projecting their psychopathic/sociopathic demons in order to defend its last major remnant of imperial lebensraum.

      The FM a global statesman in status compared to the attack dog dwarfs of colonialist BT.

  26. The Earthshaker says:

    You should keep quoting Eleanor Roosevelt back at Alistair Darling when he comes out with this nonsense

    “Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.”

  27. west_lothian_questioner says:

    “He should apologise or resign.”

    Sir, I question your use of the word, “or.”
    May I suggest, “and,” as a suitable replacement?

    1. daibhidhdeux says:

      Bang on the money.

  28. A.R. Frith says:

    I first became aware of Alistair Darling’s existence in 1989, when it was reported in ‘Radical Scotland’ that as he lined up to sign the Claim of Right at the Constitutional Convention he muttered to a fellow Scottish Labour MP “You don’t really believe this rubbish, do you?” (or words to that effect) and the proximity of a switched-on microphone meant his opinion was shared with everyone in the hall. Perhaps this story has been debunked? I would have thought, if not, that it somewhat undermines his standing as an arbiter of other people’s political morality, to say nothing of his judgment.

    1. A.R. Frith says:

      Apologies to the mumbler – my memory was at fault. It wasn’t at the Convention, but at the Labour Co-ordinating Committee; and in ’88, not ’89. The story reads: “The Honourable Member for Edinburgh Central’s enthusiasm for the National Question seems to have undergone little change since he was catapulted to prominence last June the 11th [at the ’87 general election]. At a recent LCC meeting held to discuss the subject Mr Darling plonked himself down in the seat next to a well-known long-standing Devolutionist. ‘Hullo,’ said A.D., ‘maybe if I sit next to you people will think that I support all this rubbish.'” (‘Radical Scotland’, No. 31, Feb/Mar 1988, p. 23) The magazine had earlier reported (No. 28, Aug/Sept 1987, p. 23) that “At the first meeting of the Scottish Labour group of MPs after the election, a proposal was made that they should all sit together in the House, to indicate their solidarity against the no-mandate Tories in Scotland. One of the first MPs to junk his plan was the new MP for Edinburgh Central, Alistair Darling. ‘I’m a British [bold type] MP’, he said, and flounced off with Adam Ingram, … “

  29. Douglas says:

    Venga, Darling, que todos los que estamos a favor del SI somos unos cazurros que no hemos viajado, que no sabemos nada fuera de Escocia, que somos de miras cortas, que somos todos unos nacionalistas de “sangre y tierra”, unos tontos en el fondo, no es eso lo que usted quiere decir?.

    Venga ya a contarnos otra mentira gorda, que recato ni respeto tiene usted hacia si mismo, que tras la guerra de Iraq y el descalabro de los bancos es para ir calladito un rato, y mirarse en el espejo, y decirse a si mismo, “Me lo he cagado, soy el rey Midas al reves; todo lo que toque se convierta en mierda!”….pues es su caso, hombre, que le vamos a hacer!!!

    Escocia libre en Europa@2016 / Saor Alba


    El Fantasma de Robert Cunnighame Graham fundador del SNP

  30. florian albert says:

    One obvious reason for Alistair Darling’s comment, and for Alex Salmond’s about Putin, is that both have been involved in marathon campaigns.
    They are in the same position as footballers in the second period of extra time. Exhausted and trying not to let it show.

Help keep our journalism independent

We don’t take any advertising, we don’t hide behind a pay wall and we don’t keep harassing you for crowd-funding. We’re entirely dependent on our readers to support us.

Subscribe to regular bella in your inbox

Don’t miss a single article. Enter your email address on our subscribe page by clicking the button below. It is completely free and you can easily unsubscribe at any time.