Spin and Smear

hipster-lies-quote-tv-Favim.com-539160_largeKicking off a regular column for Bella Caledonia, Robin McAlpine looks at the extraordinary double-standards at play in the referendum.

The BBC did a pretty long interview with me yesterday. I wanted to express my amazement at how they were covering the breaking story about Labour being caught out trying to pass off a member of their Shadow Cabinet as an ordinary member of the public. I asked if I’d be allowed to get on record criticisms of how Better Together has behaved. They only use a short, anodyne excerpt in the final broadcast. Purely because I have a need to get this off my chest today, this is (more-or-less) the stuff they didn’t use.

The Better Together campaign has been one extended smear operation and the permanent attacks on Yes supporters as abusive and aggressive has been part of that campaign from day one. They have sought to portray the independence debate as a nasty, hostile and scary one because they are actively trying to put people off from getting involved. It is a fundamentally anti-democratic practice and is beneath what is a wonderful and inspiring campaign.

I would defend anyone’s right not to join the Scottish Labour Shadow Cabinet. I would speak out for anyone’s right not to get onto a platform at a national political event and make their children the subject of a political speech. But once you’ve decided that you’re going to do these things then I will defend everyone else’s right to respond – in a civilised way.

It seems to me that Better Together believes that the role of the people of Scotland is to stand aside in silence while they lecture us. This is an amazing conception of democracy and it is remarkable that the people of Better Together think that they are a privileged elite whose right to free speech trumps everyone else’s.

I have been involved in politics in Scotland for over 20 years (longer as a co-opted child) and this campaign is certainly not particularly nasty. I can just remember the Miners’ Strike. I can remember the Poll Tax campaign, the campaign to abolish Clause Four in the Labour Party, the anti-globalisation campaigning of the 2000s and much more. They were all much more hostile than this campaign.

It would be lovely if there were no personalised attacks in politics. I would love it if Johann Lamont didn’t call nationalism a ‘virus’, if she didn’t make jibes about her opponents being childless, if she didn’t call all her opponents liars. I’d love it if Ian Davidson wasn’t threatening to give female politicians “a doing”, if Anas Sarwar wasn’t accusing the Scottish Parliament of being an anti-democratic dictatorship, if Alastair Darling didn’t keep equating support for Scottish independence with fascism. Unfortunately, in politics as in life, people don’t always behave like they should.

Labour behaves as if it has installed a switch in Ms Lally which enables them to switch her on and off as a politician as they see fit – now she’s a politician, now she’s not. Unfortunately, once you’ve appointed someone to your Shadow Cabinet you can’t switch it off again. If Ms Lally is not able to cope with the job she has been given as part of a Shadow Cabinet, if she was not properly told what such a position would entail, then Labour has failed in a duty of care to her. It is nothing whatsoever to do with the Yes campaign. It is worth noting that technically Claire Lally as a member of the Labour Shadow Cabinet is senior to Alastair Darling who is only a backbench MP – such are the ridiculous outcomes of political gimmicks. But shallow, content-free stunts in which you use the mother of a disabled child to give the impression that you’re a party with a strong grass-roots backfires when it amounts to nothing more than the cynical use of a woman as window dressing.

I wish I didn’t get nasty things written about me on the internet and I don’t write abusive things about other people on the internet. But if we are to start a national search for nastiness can we begin with the broad No movement. It contains within it fascist groups like the Scottish Defence League, racists like the British National Party, bigots like the extreme end of the Orange Order, nutters like UKIP and hundreds of individuals who are more than happy to write the most vile things about Yes campaigners. Since the only research done on the campaign so far showed that a big marority of the nasty things written on social media come from the No campaign, why can’t we start by asking Alastiar Darling and Blair McDougall to crack down on that? They might also want to have a word with Tory MSPs who attack pensioners like the Weirs, their rabid media partners who have demonstrated no bounds to their bile and ‘satirists’ on their side who write about the violent deaths of gentle Scottish artists like Alasdair Gray.

Once this campaign is over, each and every one of us will have to answer for what we did and what we said. I am absolutely confident that I will be able to look back at my deeds and words with pride. I can say the same of almost all the people who are campaigning beside me. We have gone door to door, town hall to town hall, and we have told a positive story about Scotland’s future without telling lies about our opponents or trying to scare the people of Scotland with vague threats.

Better Together and their media partners seem to believe they are the Spanish Inquisition, that they alone can determine guilt and innocence, that any base act on their part is simply a necessary evil in a campaign to protect their privilege. I too believe that they have behaved like the Spanish Inquisition. Then again, I was kind of expecting it.

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  1. Ken MacColl says:

    Well put, Robin.

    I watched the various current affairs programmes last night flitting between recording, real time and I-player version.
    Intrigued to see Alan Cochrane under the impression that he held a devastating piece of evidence , flourishing a copy of the e-mail sent to The Telegraph, sent by Campbell Gunn, although the content is not disputed and the message was signed. It might appear that Campbell Gunn was not a very sophisticated troll if that was his iontention! Cocky described the e-mail as “a smear” and yet it contained two elements one accurate and the second mistaken.
    The lady featured as an “ordinary mum” and introduced at the rally as such is in fact a member of a Advisory Group to the Shadow Cabinet-undoubtedly true-and that she was related to a former Labour Lord Provost of Glasgow – not true and attracting an unconditional apology as soon as it was pointed out. I am at a loss to see that any connection with a former Labour Lord Provost can be construed as “a smear” and although the reaction from Cocky and Telegraph readers might interpret such a relationship in those terms I have difficulty in understanding that Labour people -even New Labour people – would think along those lines.

    1. Absolutely, Ken. And is is a disgrace that this is the focus of debate when there are so many important issues to be discussed as we draw closer to September. I suspect this might just be the last straw for some No voters.

    2. Usual Labour, lie and smear those that caught them out.

    3. Bernard By says:

      Hi Robin, Well argued.

      The chase is on to convince women voters as they hold the election in their hands so accusations of misogyny really count at this stage of the game. You asked for proof of abuse about JK. I’ve no idea if these are genuine Indies or UKOK, UKIP or Westminster plants (why has no one asked that question; the enemy are masters of the black arts), but for what it’s worth find below one source and something I wrote in response:

      We don’t need are numpties like these. Get with the plot guys. They are the nasty party, We are the nice guys, or are you agent provocateurs planted by the Tory press to substantiate Darling’s fantasies of evil cybernats.

      1. Adam Neilson says:

        Looking at those 18 foul, ignorant, and semi-literate comments, there’s absolutely nothing I can see that can define them as ‘Scottish Nationalists’ – but that’s the headline ! The comments that follow seem to say the same thing, and it looks like even rational Yes Supporters now believe the media/unionist lie that all offensive comments must come from ‘Scottish Nationalists’ (specifically). Have a read of the 18 comments again, and show me anything that could point towards support or even membership of the SNP.

        Let’s not forget the lengthy list of similar allegations from people like Anas Sarwar, Alistair Carmichael, and Edinburgh Labour MP Ian Murray. The people they named as ‘cybernats’ turned out to be English-based EDL supporters and activists who hate Scotland and it’s people just as much as they hate gays, Asians, immigrants, asylum seekers, women, socialists, and liberals.

        In Murray’s case the ‘Yes supporters’ who vandalised his office doors turned out to be a local gang of youths who had been ‘tagging’ the area with the letters ‘OE’ (‘Our Edinburgh’) for years – and that’s what had been scratched on Murray’s doors !

        When the truth came out, there were no apologies or retractions – so the lies persist. As they were expected to.

      2. Michael says:

        Most of us don’t have time to provide a detailed and rational critique of every statement produced by one side or the other in the campaign and most frequently folk produce heartfelt and instant responses sometimes using language that may give a misleading impression of the author and his or her complex personal views and character. Rowling’s statement was, however, a carefully crafted and calculated deception aimed at hoodwinking voters into believing something about politics which is patently untrue, namely that giving up all your negotiating cards is the best way to achieve your aims. That is insulting, patronising nonsense and she must know it. Nonetheless she is prepared to purvey it because it suits her agenda and because she believes that mere fact of her saying it will give it the authority that it doesn’t otherwise deserve. In the face of that it’s entirely predictable that some folk will respond emotionally – why shouldn’t they, it’s grossly insulting to the voters of this country to imagine they are gullible enough to fall for such a fiction? The desperate desire to police other people’s language (and emotions) that so many express here and elsewhere online is disturbing – conform to the norms of bourgeoise discourse randomly established by me or you will be judged defective politically and morally. It’s a form of bullying in itself designed to silence people who disagree with you.

    4. TheBabelFish says:

      I can only assume the accusation of a smear means Ms. Lally, and Mr Cochrane, have an extremely low opinion of Pat Lally. It’s the only logical conclusion.

  2. Chris Foster says:

    An excellent piece. Would that it could be mandatory reading for everyone in Scotland …

  3. Douglas says:

    Good stuff Robin, but what can anybody expect from New Labour? They invented spin and smear, their most lasting contribution to British politics, that and the banking meltdown, and the never ending war in Iraq (copyright Blair, Brown and Darling: all rights reserved.), the latest chapter of which has just hit our screens.

    The carefully orchestrated hysteria campaign about online abuse is a direct tactic used to silence people on the side of yes.

    When there actually is some real abuse, and there doesn’t seem to be nearly as much of it as at your average Scottish football match on a Saturday afternoon, which is taken for granted, let alone your average London news stall on any day of the week, it is blown entirely out of proportion.

    In more general terms, the philosophy which underpins all the cant about people behaving badly online is that everybody is rational all of the time, ie, Homo Economicus, the rational, narrow self-interested individual upon which the capitalist model is based and insists everybody conform to.

    Almost nobody is rational all of the time, and some people are generally more emotional and less rational than others.

    The bankers rob us all blind, New Labour starts a catastrophic, illegal war which has killed a million people, the poor are punished by the rich, UKIP preach the gospel of racial hatred and are rewarded with BBC license fee bought air time….

    But somebody spoke out of turn about J.K Rowling, and that’s what makes the headlines…

    Britain is a nasty, petty and ugly little island most of the time.

  4. mhairi says:

    Yes, elements of the NO camp are vile, but there is a nasty tendency simply to point out how much worse the NO camp is rather than actually addressing some of the issues within the YES movement which are leading to this.

    The sexism and misogyny aimed at Clare Lally and JK Rowling over the past couple of days is completely out of order, but there seems to be a “few bad apples” narrative being invoked by the YES camp rather than a determination to actually address it.

    But perhaps thats a bit much to expect from someone who shared a platform with a celebrity misogynist.

    There sure are double standards going on.

    1. “But perhaps thats a bit much to expect from someone who shared a platform with a celebrity misogynist.”

      Who was this, please?

    2. Illy says:

      Care to point to some actual evidence of sexism and misogyny aimed at Clare Lally or JK Rowling over their political activities?

      Links would be best.

      Then we can compare those links to the videos of Alistair Darling, et al. being offensive and insulting to large chunks of the Scottish population.

      1. Tartanfever says:

        Mhairi –

        I’d also be interested to hear precisely what

        ‘the issues within the YES movement which are leading to this.’

        I understand that Mr Gunn has made an error for which he has unreservedly apologised thinking that Claire Lally is related to Pat Lally. A mistake sure, but hardly abusive when compared to:

        Iain Davidson MP – ‘all that will be left is bayonetting the wounded’ (talking about Independence supporters after a No vote)

        A. Darling MP – ‘ blood and soil’, ‘Kim Jong Il’

        J Lamont MSP – ‘ nationalism is a virus’, ‘Scots are not genetically programmed’ and the fabricated rape case she used in Parliament and never apologised for.

        Can you please name any Independence supporting politician who has come up with any comments to match the level of hatred displayed by these Labour politicians ?

      2. mhairi says:

        I’ve seen JK Rowling being called both a whore and a slag on social media. The vitrol aimed at Lally is less sexualised, but based around generally rubbishing her as someone who speaks from her own perspective and assumes that a man is putting words into her mouth.

        Tartan fever – yes,the vitriol on the NO side is far greater, and all of the physical assaults have been no supporters to independence supporters, but pointing out that that guy over there is nastier is no good. There is an unaddressed streak of misogyny running through the campaign.

        Incidentally the rape case wasnt fabricated, it was real, it just took place several years prior…under a labour administration.

      3. Illy says:


        If it’s on social media then you can provide a link, even if you have to rely on the wayback machine. So if you can’t provide a link then no-one should logically believe you.

        Rowling is a plagurist and a bad writer, and if I hear right, only got her publicity because it was her dad’s publisher. So she’s just another rich inheritor as far as most people are concerned.

        Lally is getting slagged off because she misrepresented herself, and can’t seem to handle being called on it. Nothing sexual about that.

        What rape case? (Link please)

        And can you *PLEASE* provide just one link to an example of misogyny from the Yes camp? Just one link is all I ask. if it’s as rampant as you claim, then one singular link should be easy, right?

      4. James Coleman says:

        “The sexism and misogyny aimed at Clare Lally and JK Rowling”

        Lally misrepresented herself as just a simple housewife and mother and was economical with the truth about her relationship with SLAB from the word go. It was just unfortunate from the YES point of view that an error was made over her kinship with another Labour activist. The rest of the criticism she received was entirely justified. She IS a Labour activist and member of the Shadow Cabinet and no amount of spin and lies by UKOK is going to change that.

        JK Rowling entered the political arena NOT because of her donation but because she made it with an accompanying statement which was right out of the text book of Project smear, fear and sneer. (Probably written for her by it) She didn’t have to do that, but having done so she should put up with it like any other politician who is willing to open his mouth and talk nonsense. So I have no sympathy whatsoever for her and it ill becomes her to go whining to the press about it. The Weirs were roundly abused by BritNatz trolls but they didn’t complain publicly about it.

      5. mhairi says:

        The rape case was in 2002, her name was Lynsey Armstrong


        Most of the misogyny is occurring in social media. Comments on facebook pages, tweets etc.

        Misogyny is rampant in social media, its not just a problem for YES, but its *our* problem and one that we need to tackle, but few actually are. And promoting, endorsing or tolerating a celebrity misogynist is not sending out a message that it is unacceptable.

      6. Illy says:

        Oh, that’s where all the crap about removing corroberration came from.

        If something is on “social media” then a link is the easiest thing in the world to provide. Yet you still don’t.

    3. When somebody lies and tries to deceive all of us by claiming to be an ordinary mum,then gets caught out,well she is a big girl in the big world and part of the Labour scamming and lying brigade Lally knew what she was doing when she pretended ,no not pretended, lied like a Labour politician which she is,she sought to cause the problem and a lot of those in the yes side fell into the trap of Labour by answering their deception with the usual thoughtless bite back and get even ideas,we have to get smarter and not reply to Labour con tricks.Labour got what they wanted which was another smear on a good person.

      1. “… lied like a Labour politician …”

        Charles – with respect, that’s the very kind of demonisation that damages our cause. I agree that the Lally thing has been spun by Labour spin doctors and the MSM, but you’re stereotyping all labour politicians by putting it like that. There are many eminently decent Labour politicians out there, not least, the ones we hope to persuade of the merits of voting for Scottish independence.

        I’m very wary of calling anybody a “liar”. It seems to me that Clare Lally has herself been spun by her own party machinery. After all, there’s no reason why she shouldn’t have presented herself as an ordinary mum as well as being an advisor to Labour on care issues. The two are perfectly compatible. The problem is when the one (the mum) gets spun out of balance with the other (the political advisor) in order to ensnare the other party (the Yes campaign). That is where Robin McAlpine expresses things so well.

        Political spinning is a form of lying. It deviates from the standard of sincere truth. At the same time, the word “liar” is particularly strong, personal and prejorative. I would suggest that we on the Yes side are best not using it in nuanced situations. To do so only smears our own camp. Furthermore, I suspect that some of the most obscene tweets aimed at Lally and Rowling – especially those using the c*** word towards women – might not be coming from within the Yes camp at all. As such, I am wary of strong utterances from any user of social media who does not operate under a verifiable real name.

    4. Clootie says:

      Regarding your views on Mr. Sheridans personal life – what has that got to do with the referendum or online comments?

      Do we now need to conform to some moral code and if so – yours?
      I think BT accepting blood money from a very unpleasant person who ruins peoples lives is a far bigger issue than Tommy’ private lifestyle.( if true)

      1. Clootie says:


        Please accept my apology for the note above. I had jumped to the conclusion that you had assumed Tommy’s viewpoint and opinion inferred by his high profile court case. I had jumped to a response without reading your post fully.

        My response was out of context to the point you were making.


    5. Tartanfever says:

      Mhairi –

      Re the rape case. It was fabricated. The Evening Times reporter made up the story an based some ‘real life’ facts from other cases. The most telling of which was that the victim was asked to hold up her underwear in court. As you correctly point out, this incident had taken place some years prior.

      A story does not become true because some reporter has bodged together a few facts from cases that actually happened.

      Yes, there are some idiots out there on the internet that go too far, however, the examples I’ve given are from elected Labour politicians in high ranking positions of power and influence, not from ordinary members of the public. If that does not make any difference between the Yes and No campaigns then I’m frankly at a loss.

      Your points would be more effective if, as asked by many posters here, you would just link to some quotes/articles etc that would actually prove your assertions, especially to anything that would prove that Independence supporting politicians are as bad as Labour/Unionist ones.

    6. Fordie says:

      The point is that Johann Lamont used this case in an attempt to point score against the SNP Government in Parliament. Stomach turning. Particularly from a woman. And no apology.

      Calling a large part of the Scottish population, possibly the majority, Nazis on a daily basis, because they exercise their right to self-determination, wins it for me on the abuseometer.

  5. alasdair91 says:

    Least we forget Mr McDougall and his charming email sent out this morning to the, presumably, thousands of people who are signed up to receive it: http://lingualoco.wordpress.com/2014/06/12/spin-spin-spin/

    1. Fordie says:

      Are McDougall’s comments not slander?

  6. David Sime says:

    “…Since the only research done on the campaign so far showed that a big marority of the nasty things written on social media come from the No campaign…” what research is this and where can I find it? I would very much like to disabuse many of the whiners on my social media news-feeds of the notion that the only trolling online is coming from the pro-indy side

    1. James Coleman says:

      “Dr Mark Shephard of Strathclyde University at the House of Commons – Discourse on Scottish Independence – Politicians versus Publics” Published 8th May 2012.

      “Dr Mark Shephard of Strathclyde University last month hosted a discussion in the House of Commons- discourse on Scottish Independence – Politicians versus Publics” Published 8th May 2012 – ….
      Findings:- “the majority of posts are anti-SNP/Independence and anti-Salmond rather than anti-English/anti-union. In terms of language, too, comments about the SNP and independence are much more vitriolic than about the union and UK”

  7. Les Wilson says:

    You give what is a good reflection of the Bitter Together campaign, it is what most of us would want to say, something we would desire a free Scottish press to say. Meanwhile they will continue with their fowl deeds in an attempt to squash Scottish democracy, I fear it will get worse yet.

    However, we hold the ultimate payback for them if we vote yes. We need to continue with more passion, keep going in the campaign across the country, a true, grass roots campaign which appears to be unique.
    That is why BT are in a quandary and they are struggling to deal with it, no matter what they say, people are fed up with it. This is what happened in Quebec, their Union equivalent did almost all the same things, people just did not listen in the end. Those seeking Independence made mistakes yet still came within a hair of succeeding, the SG are not making those mistakes.

    Conclusion is that we will have a yes vote, that will be sweet.

    1. Illy says:

      “Meanwhile they will continue with their fowl deeds in an attempt to squash Scottish democracy, I fear it will get worse yet.”

      I *really* want to make a “chicken” joke here, but I’m not a good enough wordsmith to put it together.

      And of course it will get worse. This is the British Empire we’re fighting – They *invented* the concentration camp!

    2. in an attempt to get away from all the nonsense of Lallygate, I started to reread James Robertson’s excellent ‘And the Land Lay Still’. It’s about a period I lived through, about people I knew (or certainly copies of them), it’s about what we’re reliving in the referendum debate. Some scares, smears and spin never change.

  8. muttley79 says:

    I think one of the main problems with Scottish politics has been, and still is, the relationship between the MSM and Scottish Labour. The MSM should have been checking out the background of Claire Lally when she was put forward as an ordinary mother by BT. They did not do this. Neither did they scrutinise Taylor’s donation to BT. Why do they fail to do these things? It is pretty clear to me that it is because they share the same constitutional and world view as the No campaign, particularly Scottish Labour. It simply is not in their interests to investigate unionists in any shape or form.

    The MSM have for years supported the British nationalists in SLAB in portraying internet and social media independence supporters as Cybernats. who are supposedly a threat because they are abusive and malignant. This is just setting up a bogeyman, and has no basis in reality. What they are scared about is the fact that they cannot control the internet/social media like the control the MSM. This is what this is all about. No evidence is ever offered by the MSM or unionists, beyond the example of maybe one or two abusive remarks from complete dolts. Yet they fail to mention Frankie Boyle being threatened, the fact that a 80 year old independence supporters was assaulted, the fact that a person was jailed for threatening Alex Salmond’s life, or the death threats made against Nicola Sturgeon, Unsurprisingly, Sarah Smith did not mention any of this last night. I wonder why?…

    1. bringiton says:

      Couldn’t agree more.
      Labour are getting a free ride from HM right wing press because they represent the best bet of denying us Scots democratic governance.
      As for the “ordinary” housewife from Clydebank,all that their false outrage has done is to expose her as being an active participant in the No hopers campaign.
      Excellent again Robin

  9. Auld Rock says:

    Nice one Robin, I listened to radio and TV over the last 24 hours and my wife had to restrain me from propelling a ‘lump’ hammer through the screen. Anyway it seems that it is OK for the BritNats to lie, to smear and abuse any Nat they choose and MSM sweeps it under the carpet. But I take particular exceptions to Darling insinuating that I am a Nazi, I take exception to Clare Lally calling me a ‘FOOL’ (I was always taught by my parents 60+ years ago, “Never call anyone a FOOL”, some biblical connection I believe) and on behalf of Chris and Colin Weir I take exception to all the things that they were called by the ‘CyberBritNats’. I bet you it was a lot worse than anything inflicted on JKR.

    I’ll just finish by appealing to all those who claim to be helping the ‘YES’ cause to desist from abusing all those poor people, you know ‘Mock Not the Afflicted’. For those that are that blind will probably never see until they waken on the 19th to an INDEPENDENT SCOTLAND.

    Auld Rock

  10. John McGuire says:

    I could be classified as a cybernat. The difference with me is that I share my name and or address with any one I contact to prod or criticise.
    Those who complain about the unwelcome contacts they get, must realise that these contacts are the lost, silent or ignored voices that previously allowed politicians and the establishment to plough on and do what they want. Now we have technology that exposes and illuminates their cant and they just don’t like it at all. They want their control of the media back in their hands and too late as “the genie is out of the bottle”.
    They need to get used to that thought, but wont.

    1. Illy says:

      They’re trying damned hard to put the jinn back in the bottle wrt the internet.

      And I’m not talking about the media, I’m talking about “premium bandwidth” and other funnelling methods.

  11. Doug Daniel says:

    That’s a rather excellent summation of the situation. It’s pretty tiresome that Better Together and the media keep playing the same games. It’s interesting that, having criticised Better Together for their negativity and general awfulness for months, the media suddenly seems to have gotten back into line, just in time for the campaign-proper. As is so often the case, it shouldn’t have been left to online media to highlight the flaw in the “ordinary mother” claptrap, especially as she’s been in so many articles in the papers over the past couple of years. She’s hardly an unknown…

  12. Clootie says:


    An excellent article (as always).

    The BT / No Thanks campaign has never been about selling the benefits of the union it has always been about holding a winning majority.

    You have covered their abuse in detail but what of the media? Why did they not cover the torrent abuse the Weirs received? OR the death threats against Nicola Sturgeon.

    The NO campaign (and their compliant media) are now focused on creating negative stories targeting key elements
    a) The English living in Scotland. Only they mention this group and try to creat division.
    b) Woman – they focus on creating the image of reckless change or connecting it to separation as in family life.
    c) The ill – They ignore the fact that the NHS in Scotland has been independent since it’s foundation in 1948. That it has always had strong reciprocal agreements with the other health services.
    d) The elderly – fear about pensions which they know to be false.

    I know the EU/ Pound etc will go on and on!

    We have many people working together to gain the opportunity to build something new and certainly much fairer.

    As a young man in the sixties I would never have believed it would be the Labour Party leading the fight to prevent an improved life for the most needy in society.
    The Labour Party is a very efficient negative( spinning) machine and that may be useful in a normal election. However to use that machine against the very people the party was founded to protect is disgraceful.

    SSP / Green / RIC / SNP / National Collective / Reid Foundation etc on one side and Labour on the other with the Tories!

    We will never achieve a fair society under Westminster because even if Labour delivered on promises given it would all be reversed under the next Tory government – it is just a game of turns each.

    I watched the LibDems dancing to a Tory tune.
    I never expected Labour to be such an eager partner of the Tory machine.

    New Labour is here to stay apparently!

  13. Can anyone give me a link to the study that showed most online abuse is from the No camp? Useful to have in back pocket.

    1. David says:


      The article itself is biased against YES, but it cannot hide the facts.

      “However, our exclusive poll today shows that more people are actually being bullied or threatened in person – and pro-independence supporters are more likely to be the victims.

      The Survation survey of 1,002 voters, carried out on March 6 and 7, found that 13 per cent – which would extrapolate to around 550,000 Scots – have been on the receiving end of such vile abuse, either online or face-to-face.

      In a worrying development for the Better Together campaign, 21 per cent of those planning to vote Yes have received abuse or threats compared to just eight per cent of those planning to vote No.”

  14. Remember that it took 30 years for us to discover that MI5 had plants in the trade union movement during the miners strike. I was young at the time and thought it was paranoia when I was warned then – to the old stagers who had taken part in CND and anti nuclear protests in the 60s special branch were around then too – the old folk’s warnings were borne out to be true. It was a watershed for me to discover that after the 30 year rule released those ‘secret’ documents the depths that the the Thatcher Tory government, the British establishment and the civil service who run the UK, would stoop to, to retain power. They will set dogs on their own people to keep what they have.The dogs will have two legs of course and bark from a square screen. Learn from history, do not respond to agitators, stay cool and calm, the prize is ours as long as we stay focused. They can term me a cybernat – well let them but its nearer to a geriat-nat in reality. Those of us old enough to remember must help the young uns channel their frustration and ire into positive campagning. The thirteen years of Thatcher were the dismal unending history lesson for us the young folk of the 80s. Its all about delayed reward and the reward will be immense. The political education our people are getting is invaluable. We will win.

    1. bellacaledonia says:

      very well said

    1. rabthecab says:

      Sillars makes some very good points, if only we could get everyone to read it.

  15. patrickroden says:

    Mutley79 hits the nail on the head. Without the sordid relationships built up over years between Labour and Scotlands MSM, they would never get away with a campaign that is so dishonest.

  16. Douglas says:


    To say as you do above that J.K Rowling is a plagiarist is totally ridiculous, ignorant and idiotic. Why would you say such a ridiculous thing? J.K Rowling makes a donation to Better Together and you claim she is committing what is in fact a crime? Why not try to make the case for independence instead of making absurd allegations?

    As for mysognism, given that it exists right across society all over the world, it is obvious that it will be found on all sides of the campaign, YES, NO, and DON’T KNOW…

    I don’t doubt that Mhairi is right about that. And she doesn’t need to provide a link, this isn’t a court of law, her opinion as a woman is valid enough for me.

    On the other hand, it’s naive to think something like mysoginism won’t appear in some shape of form during the debate, because it exists in all the offices and workplaces in the land. It is deeply entrenched in society.

    Half the problem is the anonymity of posters. You don’t know who people really are and, increasingly, I doubt that certain posters on Bella are on the side of the debate they claim to be on….

    Anyway, there’s no point dwelling on this aspect of the debate, we need to get back to talking about the issues.

    1. Illy says:

      Rowling: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Legal_disputes_over_the_Harry_Potter_series

      Mysognism: So it should be easy to find a link that demonstrates it, yes?

      No, it’s not a court of law, so what? If she wants people to believe her she can provide proof, or she can get ignored, just like everyone else.

      Psudomemnity is a good thing, as it encourages people to voice their true opinions, that’s why votes and referendums are done that way. If you have a screenname and stick to it, then that’s your name as far as the debate is concerned, and people can take what you say in the context of what else you’ve said. There’s no need to be able to go round to someone’s house with a club if you don’t like what they’re saying. (What other reason do you have for wanting people’s real names?)

      And the issue is that No is making claims that they can’t back up with any evidence, this is just an example of that. Why do you want to divert people from knowing that one side is backing their arguments up with facts and links, and the other isn’t?

      1. Douglas says:

        What does any allegation made against J.K Rowling, something countless writers face in their lives by opportunists by the way, have to do with the independence debate and her view on it?

        Nothing. It’s a personal attack which adds nothing to the debate. That is what Salmond has specifically asked people not to do…maybe you missed that?

        As for mysoginism, open any national newspaper, the world is full of mysoginists…and when a woman says that she feels she is being unfairly treated and attacked for being a woman, 99 time out of 100 she is probably right.

        1. bellacaledonia says:

          Well said Douglas. Let’s try to keep this debate to the issues and not play the man / woman. Let’s rise above that level of debate. Everyone’s view is valid and everyone is entitled to express it. That’s got to be the basis of the entire debate, online and offline. Conduct yourself as you’d like to be seen publicly to do. We will by power of argument not by being abusive. Remember this at all times. We win by logic and leave the smears and the desperate politics of the insult to others.

      2. thisgreenworld says:

        and some of use pseudonyms because we work in public bodies and are barred from publicly expressing views on either side of the campaign (not sure how that works in the BBC though…) but want to have a voice.

      3. Illy says:

        Nothing, which leaves her as just another rich inheritior sticking her oar into the debate.

        And I think I’m demonstrating here that Salmond has no control over the whole of the Yes-supporting community. I don’t particularly care what he thinks, and I disagree with his politics on a number of things. I agree with him that Scotland shouldn’t be governed by Westminster, and I respect that he’s got one of the best records for *following through* on campaign promises of any politician I can name (even if I don’t agree with what he’s done, he has a record of not lying to people to get elected).

        And I don’t really see how stating my opinion of a public figure is a personal attack, expecially when it’s an opinion shared by a large number of people. (I’m also going to point out that I’ve provided more evidence for *why* I think that Rowling is a plagurist that Lally has for why she feels she’s being abused by people online)

        The national newspapers are heavily No-favouring, I asked for a single link that demonstrates mysoginy from a Yes supporter (in the context of the referendum debate). If they’re that pervasive, *surely* it’s not hard to provide *just one* link?

      4. setondene says:

        I’d also like to add that if it’s OK for the Weirs to make substantial contributions to the Yes side it’s surely just as acceptable for JKR to aid the No side. It’s not helpful to demonise her for doing that. Something about pointing out the mote in her eye and ignoring the beam in your own, from the Bible springs to mind here.

      5. Illy says:

        “Everyone’s view is valid and everyone is entitled to express it.”

        See, I’m seeing a lot of people who are claiming that the grass is flourecent pink, and then using that argument to defend them getting airtime to say it, without including a sample of their flourecent pink grass. They aren’t even getting a bit of grass and painting it flourecent pink, they’re just asserting that the grass is flourecent pink, and the media is then going on a week-long bender about how the grass is flourecent pink.

        Then they defend it by saying that “Everyone’s view is valid and everyone is entitled to express it.”

        Lets require a slightly higher standard than “It’s my opinion so it’s as valid as anyone else’s” otherwise I could start claiming that the moon is made out of green cheese, and you’d have to take that opinion seriously.

        1. bellacaledonia says:

          My point is about listening and respecting diversity. The key political task is to enter dialogue with undecided people over the next few weeks and months. The tone and manner in which we do this is absolutely essential to success. That’s the only point I’m making.

      6. joseph O Luain says:

        I agree wholeheartedly with the broad-sweep of your thinking; but having a go at Rowling’s authorial prowess is just pointless in my opinion.

  17. A great deal of the abusive and misogynistic comment attributed to ‘yes’ supporters is clearly BritNat false flag. For the first time in the campaign I must grudgingly respect their professional capability. But not their morality. It’s a difficult tactic to counter except by remaining honest, open and positive

  18. Eilidh says:

    Good on you, Mhairi, for speaking out. I’ve been politically active for over 33 years and what I learned early on is that many (almost always male) activists think women trying to combat sexism should keep quiet so as not to rock the boat. This is despite being encouraged to take part by some because ‘we need more women’ or ‘we need womens’ votes.’ As Douglas says, misogyny is everywhere and for that very reason it’s difficult to confront – so any woman – or man – who names it for what it is should be applauded. If we want a better Scotland, we need to start with ourselves and now.

  19. read the posts above and see how you are succumbing to THEIR divide and rule tactics…time for ‘system restore’ to this time last week. Reboot the campaign and move on. We are all on the side of YES – solidarity is the only way.

  20. Graeme D says:

    May have missed something but Mhairi doesn’t seem to have rushed back with any evidence. In fact not sure anyone has. Oh, am i allowed to say this?

    1. JGedd says:

      Setondene, I don’t have any problem with JK Rowling making a huge donation. She has that privilege, being rich. So, too, did the Weirs.

      However, if JK Rowling makes political statements then I think ordinary voters are entitled to comment Unless you believe that JK Rowling is so privileged and set apart that she is allowed to make her opinions known without any form of criticism. Had she made her donation quietly and left it at that, then that would be different but she chose to add political comment as well. For her views made so publicly to go unchallenged seems ridiculous. If you enter the arena then you must be prepared to be joined in debate. She was given a lot of sympathetic publicity by the complaisant media.

      Of course, anyone disputing her opinions should do so politely. Abuse of any kind is unacceptable. But the opposite is absurd. Are we not permitted to respond to political remarks? The Weirs’ case was different. They were treated recently to unkind and snide media attention even though they had not chosen to make public their opinions when making their donation and were subjected to vituperation from the other side’s supporters.

      To make public statements as JK Rowling has done means that she should have those opinions examined in public discourse, with courtesy, of course. She is given air time to respond and retaliate, a privilege not granted to ordinary people and has made some less than polite observations herself. Unless you think that her wealth and position grants her some kind of royal prerogative then she should expect people to comment on her opinions.

  21. Clydebuilt says:

    Louise White’s Morning Moanin Topic “Have recent events made you Scared to voice your opinion in the referendum debate” listeners were told to steer clear of Politics…..
    Yes supporters therefore couldn’t explain the vilifying tactics being used against them.
    Whilst Unionists were laying on thick the dogs abuse they experience.

    The topic was chosen to
    1. put people off talking about the referendum.
    2. encouraging them to stay away from the Internet the domain of the evil Cybernats.

    The YES side’s main campaigning tools are
    1. personal conversations with voters.
    2. Social Media, Newsnetscotland, Wings Over Scotland and Bellacaledonia.

  22. hutchy says:

    yeah i am inclined to think this is a fony war ,orchestrated due to the fact the no campaign cannot put a positive case for staying in GB , the pretend moral outrage deflects from people like margaret curran sitting alongside a man like farage who was openly racist to a whole country , the labour party is a party that will go with the flow in the hope they will get elected ,they are a party with no moral code , and appear to make policy up on the back of a fag paper

  23. Clydebuilt says:

    “Once this campaign is over, each and every one of us will have to answer for what we did and what we said”
    Westminister doesn’t care about the participants in B.T members of the public, politicians, journalists they are expendible. For Westminister it’s win at all costs. At the beginning of the campaign Iain Bell wrote in the Herald that by the end of the campaign the BBC in Scotland will be fatally damaged.

  24. Hillary Clinton has given the NO campaign the nod. (AP)

  25. Well I’m not speaking to Hilary Clinton – I’m ignoring her. I’m talking to my neighbours in my community, the people that have a vote and who need us to win this vote for and with them. Metaphorical talk to the hand Hilary…

  26. cesira128 says:

    If independence advocates fell into the trap set up by the labour party (viz Ms Lally, shadow cabinet, etc) its because it was a good trap. Not a morally justifiable trap nor a politically defensible trap but a trap that did its job–which is to lure someone into a clarificaiton that is twisted into a villification which the media can then spin, spin, spin. As the ‘no’ campaign is primarily focussed on ‘trapping’ its opponents, perhaps commentary should focus on the reasons to vote yes, should avoid remarks directed at the person or personality and so forth. Last but not least: JK Rowling has every right to support the side she supports with the resources she has; we all do this. I don’t have a million to spare so I stuff envelopes and canvas instead. If indpendence is to have any meaning, it must express the settled will of the people who live here and this will include people who live here who preferred remaining in GB.

  27. ecapella says:

    So Alistair Darling can agree that YES supporters are “blood and soil” Nazis, (see Spectator interview.) JK Rowling can refer to YES supporters as “Death Eaters”.
    ‘The Death Eaters are a group of wizards described as “pure-blood” supremacists led by the evil Lord Voldemort, Potter’s arch-enemy. They are contemptuous of “half-bloods” and human “muggles”.’
    But pointing out that Clare Lally is a Labour Party activist is an intolerable abuse?
    What kind of moral multiverse does the Labour Party inhabit? Johann Lamont’s performance at FMQs yesterday was truly shocking.
    Excellent post, thanks.

  28. Auld Rock says:

    Perhaps we should let the wise words of Jim Sillars sum this up when he said on Bettertogether Broadcasting, “If you fly wae the craws, then expect to be shot at wae the craws”.

    Auld Rock

  29. yerkitbreeks says:

    I wish in my day there had been a Bella. In the 70s I did some cutting edge maternity research in London but when interviewed by the Beeb didn’t have the gumption to realise producers have an agenda, so of the 30 min interview all that was shown was a 30sec clip of a negative aspect.

  30. Bay Rok says:

    To me (as someone who is a normal kind of activist who has served as a footsoldier knocking on doors, done my bit of committee work, and occasionally stood for office where I stood virtually no chance of being elected) – a politician is someone who is paid (or standing for a paid office) to represent others. It is perfectly possible and normal to be both a ‘normal person’ and a political activist: in fact I suspect most of those people reading this are both. It would be silly to imagine that 50 people standing up waving banners for either Yes or No campaigns are not members of a political party or some active campaign or other.
    The fact that Labour appointed Clare as an adviser of Carers issues to their shadow cabinet is to be commended: that does not make her a politician in any reasonable sense of the word. The members are listed here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shadow_Cabinet_(Scottish_Parliament) – they are all professional politicians, and Clare is not on that list. The local newspaper headline that proclaimed that she had ‘joined a political elite’ is frankly, silly.
    The personal attack on Clare Lally was nonsensical and backfired badly because it resembled a witch-hunt. The less that could be ‘pinned’ on her, more more the pack tried to dig into her private life attempting to find some muck that would stick, to an extent that was utterly cringeworthy.

    1. Illy says:

      Care to provide a link to someone making a personal attack on Clare Lally?

      Honestly, I’d like to see with my own eyes what all the fuss is about.

  31. Clydebuilt says:

    The Rev. Stuart Campbell of Wings Over Scotland has been unable to find ant evidence of the smears aimed at Claire Lally


    “We spent much of yesterday evening trying to actually track down the “vicious barrage” of vile cybernat abuse that Labour and “Better Together” activist Clare Lally says she was subjected to after being revealed to be rather less of an “ordinary” member of the public than the No camp presented her as at its recent Glasgow rally, and which has received wall-to-wall media coverage.

    As yet, we’ve drawn a blank. We’ve made repeated requests, including to people who’ve contacted us angrily claiming to be her friends or family members, for evidence of any abusive comments at all. All have been met with an abrupt outbreak of silence.”

    1. Bay Rok says:

      The entire thread was an unwarranted, inaccurate and intrusive witch-hunt, much of which was abusive: just read the thread yourself. If she was your daughter or wife, you would be fizzing too.

      1. Illy says:

        *Still* no link to anything abusive.

        Does it actually exist? You can shut everyone up claiming that it never happened/wasn’t abusive with one link, yet you don’t provide it. That alone is rather telling.

      2. Illy says:

        I’m beginning to feel that we need to do this: http://xkcd.com/285/ a lot more.

      3. JGedd says:

        You said that ” the entire thread was an unwarranted, inaccurate and intrusive witch-hunt, much of which was abusive”.

        This was what I wrote on that very thread:

        JGedd says:
        10 June, 2014 at 1:51 pm
        The thing is, even though the article and the posts are very clear that they are not attacking Ms Lally, who sounds as if she does admirable work on behalf of carers, it’s what the dark forces of BT spin will make of it. So while Bay Rok may not be a troll it sounds as if he/she has already alerted Ms. Lally to what is being said.

        The minions of BT may be working away in their dark cellars at this moment spinning a sticky spider’s web of illusion and manufactured outrage. Since Ms.Lally is also an activist that will again escape mention in what will be depicted with pretended indignation as a vile cybernat attack.

        Perhaps we should just leave this alone? There will be many other escapades of those scamps in BT which can be scrutinized in coming days and this will not be the worst of them.

    2. Bay Rok says:

      These are the first three down the very long thread: they are far from being the most unpleasant: I am not an archivist: do your own research:
      “There is no end of Labour careerist who will happily pretend to be an ordinary member of the public to climb the slippery pole.”
      “Grassroots ma erse!”
      “Clare has used her daughter’s plight to blatantly lie about the NHS, I think it is you that needs to think about it.”

      1. daviddynamo says:

        LOL at “do your own research” ! We, and hundreds of thousands of others, are indeed doing our own research, and that is why YES is winning and the unionists are losing!

        This referendum has got ordinary people engaged in political issues and discussion, and Scotland is all the better for this.

  32. Bay Rok says:

    Here is another quote from: http://wingsoverscotland.com/voters-less-ordinary/comment-page-1/#comments and if that isn’t the vilest form of personal abuse, then what is, exactly? You campaign to get a better deal for carers and sick kids, are constantly in and out of hospitals across the UK and you get accused of this?
    “It may just be me but to use a disabled member of your own family or to allow them to be used in such a lie, frankly is sick.”

    1. Illy says:

      Lets see, I don’t see any death threats or comparisons to Nazis or eastern dictators.

      None of that seems particulary bad, especially in comparison to what the other side is spewing out, and if you consider those “offensive” then maybe you need to get out more. Or maybe I’m just thick-skinned from actually growing up in Scotland.

      I don’t actually see any personal attacks, I see a lot of comments about how she lied about her connections to the Labour party, and pulling a “for my children” stunt to win sympathy.

  33. Capella says:

    These are not the first three comments Bay Rok. Please see here:

  34. No-one should be in the least surprised that we’re starting to see the dirty tricks being used more and more by the Naysayers. Unfortunately, the closer we get to the referendum date and the longer the Yes side is still perceived as being in with a shout, the greater the pressure on the Unionists, the more desperate they will become, with a commensurate increase on the vitriol and dirty tricks heaped on the heads of those of us on the side of independence/. It’s imperative, that the Yes side gives no hostages to fortune, whilst at the same time being strong enough to vigorously project their views.
    I know that is a virtually impossible position to expect our leaders to take, but to be honest its not good enough to be as good as Better Together, we must clearly be seen to be better. In my personal opinion the Yes campaign has been too willing to let the No’s make the economic running, surely it’d be much better to admit that absolutely no-one can predict what the UK economy will look like in two years time, far less the economy of an newly independent nation.

  35. Graeme D says:

    Bay Rok

    If this is the level of ‘abuse’ you can evidence i think that says it all. If you make public statements you can expect public criticism. BT or is it NT or what’s it going to be next week continues to show contempt for, and insult the intelligence of, the Scottish people.
    The Yes campaign will continue it’s march towards victory by exposing the lies and deceit of the unionists. There is plenty of info to counter the establishment lies. I can only aspire to getting the secret services on my case.
    A day of reckoning coming for the “British” establishment indeed

  36. Bay Rok says:

    Well yes: I think it does say it all, and by all accounts, most people who have a brain agree with me that targeting Clare for a witch-hunt was a really crappy idea from the start. But we are a diverse movement, and all that… anyway if I were the ‘Rev’ I would be sending an apology, flowers, and a bottle of Prosecco…

    1. Illy says:

      Oh come on!

      Witch hunts are defined by a lack of evidence. I see lots of evidence that Clare Lally misrepresented herself, and that she somehow thinks that being mistaken for Pat Lally’s daughter-in-law is a horrible, grave insult. I see evidence that people think that her using her disabled kid as a sympathy-grab is a low move.

      I don’t see anything more than that against her. I do see her making unsubstansiated claims that she’s getting personal abuse, and lots of airtime to make those claims.

      And when you compare the quotes provided of the so-called “abuse” she’s recived against being called Nazies, or recieving death threats, I really don’t see that she has a leg to stand on. The media certainly doesn’t in giving her so much airtime to cry on screen.

      I got worse than what she’s getting in my highschool playground, and I just shrugged it off for years.

  37. JBS says:

    Just vote Yes.

  38. Iain Hill says:

    The No campaign (Better Together? – No thanks!) can huff and puff all it likes. The evidence that it is as bad or probably worse than these evil Cybernats is captured there on the various blogs for all to see. Political bluster cannot be employed to deny it and wash it away in the aftermath of the referendum.

    What the electors will not forget on 18 September is that Labour, which thinks itself indefinitely entitled like a mediaeval monarch to rule Scotland, went into alliance with the Tories to stifle Scottish freedom and liberation (why defies any rational analysis, unless it is to prop up the defunct Labour Party at Yookay level). The day of reckoning inevitably comes, and the ragged band which supposedly constitutes “Scottish Labour” will need to explain publicly why they at this most critical time put party interests before those of the Scottish people.

  39. Bay Rok says:

    I cite Godwins Law: “As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches 1″ [2][3]—​ that is, if an online discussion (regardless of topic or scope) goes on long enough, sooner or later someone will compare someone or something to Hitler or Nazism. Godwin’s law does not claim to articulate a fallacy; it is instead framed as a memetic tool to reduce the incidence of inappropriate hyperbolic comparisons. “Although deliberately framed as if it were a law of nature or of mathematics, its purpose has always been rhetorical and pedagogical: I wanted folks who glibly compared someone else to Hitler or to Nazis to think a bit harder about the Holocaust”, Godwin has written.

    1. Illy says:


      Godwin’s Law got demonstrated in the independence debate ages ago, Alistair Darling is one of the more recent examples.

  40. Bay Rok says:

    Meaning that you don’t have to stick someone in a gas oven to vilify their character. Just make a few pathetic insinuations like those above. You still, absolutely, fail to get the point, don’t you? People have all kinds of reasons to get involved in politics and activism, and they are ALL legitimate, regardless of their loyalties or affiliations. I don’t know why you got involved in politics, maybe your bus was late, or your house was repossessed, or you bought a mouldy pie at a footie match: but I can’t think of a more credible reason than experiencing the welfare state and NHS at first hand as a parent. You know, in the case of people like me, who are parents of children with disabilities, I would use the analogy of bacon and eggs: (you) the chicken is involved, but (WE) the pig are committed for life. Don’t dare to criticise us unless you have walked that mile with us.

    1. JGedd says:

      The NHS in Scotland is already separate from that in England. It is therefore not threatened in the case of independence. Ms Lally did not seem to know that. In England the NHS is facing cuts in services and increasing privatisation. Are you also of the same opinion as Ms Lally that we have to stay within the union to protect the NHS? In defending Ms Lally you appear to be defending her political opinions. Do you agree with those opinions? Here you seem to be saying that because Ms Lally is the parent of a disabled child that her political opinions should not be challenged. I hope you are not saying that.

      I would direct you to Wee Ginger Dug’s blog. He also is a carer and is well aware of Ms Lally’s party’s position on this.

      1. Bay Rok says:

        No, Clare was wrong about the Scottish NHS of course: and I disagree with her opinion on this matter: however we now know that a recent poll suggests that 50% of the ‘ordinary’ electorate in Wales do not realise that the NHS in Wales is fully devolved, and the same may be true here. I haven’t seen any research on this topic. However, let us not attack people who either are wrong through ignorance or hold different opinions to ours, let us calmly meet those Unionist fallacies with the facts.

    2. Illy says:

      No, you don’t have to stick someone in a gas oven to vilify their character, sticking someone in a gas oven *kills them*. Comparing someone to people well-known for sticking people in gas ovens vilifies their character, and as far as I can tell, no-one’s done that with Claire Lally, but they have done that to every person who supports a Yes vote in September (Which includes me).

      This hasn’t been done by anonymouse accounts on the internet, but by the leader of the Official No Campaign, and is *very* well documented.

      Which do you think is more important?

      1. Bay Rok says:

        Sorry, but you haven’t given me two options to choose from, Illy. But two wrongs don’t make a right.

  41. Bay Rok is making the most out of a deliberate political tactic.

    Present the public with an alleged ‘ordinary’ hardworking woman with a disabled child who has had a Road to Damascus moment – God spoke to her to vote no, or some such revelation – and if criticism comes her way depict it as vile abuse against a defenceless woman and her vulnerable child.

    Let me tell you – no ‘caring’ mother would put her child in that situation.

    Full stop.

    1. Bay Rok says:

      Clare didn’t know that her decision to voice her (misguided but genuinely held) concerns by standing on a platform with 50 of her her fellow No supporters would result in an cyberattack on her integrity, motives and parentage and a media storm. And to be fair, how could she? The attack made no political sense at all – it was doomed from the start.
      And anyway, why should my own position on this, as a Yes campaigner and Green Party member who actually knows Clare as a totally normal mum and fellow carers campaigner – be subjected to such negative insinuations “a deliberate political tactic” indeed! I want Yes to win this vote, let me tell you this: no competent political adviser would ever attack an ordinary member of the public based on a lie – and thereby damage our campaign: which is why Gunn must go.

      1. JGedd says:

        Sorry, I don’t think that you are a Yes voter. You are too keen to attack one side. Did you feel the same sense of outrage at the dreadful treatment of the Weirs who made no statement of their political opinions yet were subjected to unpleasant, sneering attention from the media and insulting comments on-line? Anyway the NHS in Scotland is completely separate from that in England and that is not a matter of anyone’s opinion, but simple fact. If Ms. Lally doesn’t know that then perhaps she ought to, before she makes any statements.
        No Gunn shouldn’t go. He did not make an attack on Clare Lally. He wrote an e-mail to a newspaper correcting a factual error which was that Clare Lally was an activist in Labour and not an ordinary member of the public.( Better Together have form for presenting people as ordinary members of the public when they are part of the campaign.) His mistake was in saying she was related to Pat Lally, for which he apologized.
        Now again, demanding his resignation and still going on with your own relentless campaign against everyone else on this thread does make you seem very much on the BT side. I’m tired of this subject. You can write what you like, I won’t be visiting this thread again.

        1. Bay Rok says:

          OK folks: I’ll try to ignore the personal insults, insinuations and idle speculations for one moment, and ask you this: why are you defending a highly paid and highly placed SNP official who tried to smear a low-level unpaid Labour activist? What do we pay people at that level for, exactly? I mean, why not just let the trolls loose and save our donations to the cause?
          Actually I’m making an assumption here, and it may be a wrong one. I’m assuming that Gunn isn’t paid out of public funds but donations. Perhaps I should be asking where his pay does come from, and how much exactly he earns? £50k? £75k? £100k? More … any guesses?
          My objective is very simple: we need to be fighting a clean campaign here, we need to gain the high moral ground to win over all those ‘undecided’ women voters in particular, and this case has set us back badly. This isn’t a stupid football match, this is a very serious business, and I for one am damned if I will allow one bunch of corrupt advisers in London to be simply replaced by another lot of dodgy dealers in Holyrood.

      2. You keep dodging truth – and the more you draw attention to that error of omission the more you harm Lally’s insisting she was guilty of nothing more than naivety.If I were you I’d leave it there.
        Her critics deconstructed a false edifice. She is free to continue in her role as a Labour adviser.

        You demand a hanging.

      3. Illy says:

        I’ll ask again: Why do you consider being called the daughter-in-law of Pat Lally a smear?

        1. Bay Rok says:

          Illy: not content with trying to defend the pack-abuse of Clare Lally, you are not trolling me for having the temerity to point out that she was the victims of lies and smears that were instigated by Wings and then gleefully disseminated by Gunn – a senior paid official – the Torygraph newspaper? Is this the kind of New Scotland that you are standing up for? We obviously have very different views about the kind of Constitutional safeguards for ordinary citizens privacy, media controls, and freedom of speech and action. Which is why I will be voting Green and Yes, but never SNP until they wash their mouth out with soap.

          1. bellacaledonia says:

            Could we try and keep this discussion on more civil terms please? Otherwise it will be terminated. Thank you.

      4. Illy says:

        The statement from Gunn contained two things: One true, and the other apologiesed for.

        The one apologised for is that he called her the daughter-in-law of Pat Lally.

        This is the only untrue statement I have been able to find being said about Clare Lally.

        So I can only assume that you believe that being called the daughter-in-law of Pat Lally is deeply, deeply offensive and abusive.

        If you have any evidence to the contraty, please provide a link.

  42. Brotyboy says:

    ‘Don’t dare to criticise us unless you have walked that mile with us.’

    I have had a disabled child. My son died at the age of 3 and a half.

    In making these statements I am using him as a tool. If I was to claim the moral high ground on this basis I would be fairly confident of trumping you. I would also be a complete shit of a human being.

    1. Bay Rok says:

      No, it gives you valuable life-experience and hopefully empathy with other carers and parents who have a long, hard fight to ensure justice, education, and inclusion for their children. That is not ‘using’ our kids: that is fighting for them with our bare hands, against the health and social care professionals, the politicians, and all the other paid people who think they know oh-so-much better what is good for us.

      1. Illy says:

        If you claim that people can’t understand you without having had the same life experiences as you, then you’re claiming that no-one canunderstand you, ever.

        Which is possibly technically true, but a worthless statement.

        Arguments from emotion tend to produce “feel-good” results, that more often than not make things worse inthe long run. You’d do youself a lot of good if you stopped thinking that they are a valid debating tactic.

  43. Angus says:

    The bay rock person is almost identical to someone trolling on the sc*tsman etc for ages changing his ‘name’ there and on wings on occasions until banned.

    Uses the exact same repetitive terms pretending to be pro Independence, ignores the replies and again repeats what are quite farcical ‘attacks’ (nothing like it) alleged on Mrs Lally in comparison to the guy jailed a few weeks back for threatening to kill Nicola Sturgeon a ‘woman’ (is she not?) who has received multiple death threats and called far far far worse than the furore created over Mrs Lally.

    The cry for Gunn to be sacked is pure labour-speak, or tory-speak……anybody who can read and supports Independence (especially but I mean ‘anyone’) would never be calling Gunn’s words ‘an attack’ just the opposition would do this hoping to detract from genuine attacks and threats made by the likes of Darling very recently against a sizeable amount of people in Scotland……..bay rock if he was genuine would be one of those Darling attacked.

    Quite happy though eh?

    Nothing to say because Darling was a proper story a real vile attack, and Claire lally being presented by better together as someone not involved in politics, while being on labour’s shadow cabinet, on a steering committee for their ‘policy’ group etc was also a proper story as it wasn’t an honest portrayal, indeed as was the pretence that NHS Scotland is in any manner safe by voting no as this is not true at all.

    There is a severe lack of evidence of anything close to ‘vile abuse’ when looking at Claire lally, she refused to accept an apology for ‘one mistake’ (a misidentified father in law) but the rest above is true and this is easily seen as a doomed attempt to shut out debate amongst us all by the westminster based mob who have nothing but smear and fear to offer.

    And the polls still steadily improving and moving towards Yes will piss them off………..


    1. Good points well-made, Angus. Thanks.

  44. Bay Rok says:

    This Angus person is almost identical to a Greek waiter I met in a bar in Crete ten years ago who short-changed me out of three drachma.

    1. Illy says:

      What? You don’t like being called on being a Unionist/Labour troll?

      You still haven’t provided any evidence on anything you claim, that would justify the amount of attention this is getting.

  45. goldenayr says:

    Bay Rok

    Hello Doris,Yeah1,Tellen,Indy Now etc.

    Still trying to convince everyone you’re a Green voting YES supporter?

    Your MO is so easy to see and your cover was blown years ago.

    Just trot back to the Scotsman where the moderators and britnats appreciate your contributions.

    1. Bay Rok says:

      Actually I don’t need to: as a former Green Party Candidate both at council and Scottish Parliament level, I am amused that your research is so poor and yet you are willing to make a fool of yourself. But it makes no difference at all to the debate: well, perhaps it does. If you get it so badly wrong about me, then you are presumably cocking up everything else you touch. You know, there are some people who through their clumsy enthusiasm and lack of discipline manage to seize defeat from the jaws of victory, and I suspect you fall into that category. You are still trying to defend the indefensible. On Sunday, Labour MSP Jackie Baillie and Yes Scotland chief executive Blair Jenkins both condemned online abuse in Scotland’s referendum campaign.

      1. goldenayr says:

        Yes they did,although I don’t think one of their party members,soon to star on radio,will be able to defend herself if the Lord Advocate brings charges.
        Get Patrick to confirm what you say,in an email to the site,and we’ll believe you.Until then,it’s just your assertion and attempt to smear.

      2. Illy says:

        It’s indefensible because it didn’t bloody happen!

        You *still* haven’t provided any examples of abuse against Clare Lally.

        And I wonder why Alistair Darling wasn’t the one who made that statement about abuse? Is it because he’s very, very guilty of it?

  46. Angus says:

    I think the whole ally debacle backfired spectacularly and the trolls (or same guy boring the shite out of us by repeating rubbish again and again) can rest assured that a Yes voter that will indeed be hard won will prevail.

    1. Seconded. The No campaign’s endearingly good humoured spin doctor, fresh from his bull in a china shop travails in Australia had a habit there of rustling up trolls to do the day’s dirty work on social sites. We are blessed he has turned over a new leaf here in Scotland – not.

  47. Bay Rok says:

    I haven’t attempted to smear anybody: I have throughout stuck to the facts. Some members of this forum have shown a consistent pattern of ignoring the facts and trying to speculate about my motives for raising them. The facts speak for themselves, and it wouldnt matter if I were Yes, No, or Neutral, would it, so why bother – I don’t think anyone else here is supposed to present credentials? Anyway Patrick is on my friend list on FB and supported my campaign, ask him yourself if you are that bothered. or refer to this: ” 31st Jan 2008 Rob Kay, standing as the Green Party candidate to raise the profile of the environment, gains third place in the local by-election, ahead of the Tories, Scottish Socialists and Lib-Dems. Cavalry Park is a key campaign issue.” http://www.paperclip.org.uk/kilsythweb/Environment/save_cavalry_park_campaign.htm

    1. The facts speak for themselves.

      You finally saw the light!

    2. goldenayr says:

      So all that about snatching defeat etc isn’t smear?

      And explain this sentence if you’re not who I said you are.

      “You are still trying to defend the indefensible”

      I’ve only came across the moniker Bay Rok here and on Wings.Today was the first time I’ve spoken to you and the first time I’ve registered on here.The only reason being your writing style is so familiar.

    3. Illy says:

      You have stuck to the facts? LOL!

      Unless you really believe that being called the daughter-in-law of Pat Lally is a horrid smear and abuse, you haven’t provided *any* evidence of either.

      And if you dispute that, you *certainly* haven’t provided any that is at all comparable to what the leader of the No Campaign is spouting, or what some Yes supporters have recieved.

      Remember that the only violence so far in this campaign is a No attacking a Yes? And the death threats are Nos attacking Yesses? And the comparisons to Nazis and eastern dictators are No Campaign *politicians* againt Yesses?

      Seriously, get a grip!

  48. Bay Rok says:

    Fine: lets agree to differ. You appear to believe that because voting Yes is such a sacred duty, that it is OK for a senior paid official to make up or pass on lies about an unpaid opponent’s parentage and motives, even if it makes the whole campaign look tacky in the eyes of the public and the media and forces the First Minister into wasting a whole session of PMQT trying the cover his back. Furthermore, if anyone objects to your fixed beliefs, you think it is also OK to question their motives, parentage, etc. Am I sensing a pattern here?

    1. goldenayr says:


      Motives yes and the ” First Minister into wasting a whole session of PMQT”(it’s FMQs BTW) was not the fault of the FM but opposition parties trying to create a story where none existed.I believe to fit in with their discrediting YES voters narrative.

      Your comment about it being a “sacred duty” says a lot about your views.Why don’t you just come clean,give up the pretence,and admit,like you did on the Scotsman,that you are doing this for the no side?

      Would far rather discuss any arguments you have for voting no than this attempt at division.

      1. Bay Rok says:

        I have never been anywhere near the Hootsman, and you can stick that in your pipe and smoke it. And speaking of division, as far as I can see it you are pretty much on your own asteroid here: nobody else in the Yes campaign aside from a few dinosaurs we could well do without are supporting the disastrous attempted smear of Clare Lally.

      2. Illy says:

        First off, get your facts straight: No-one is making any public statements about Clare Lally’s *parentage*. They made (and have now apologised for) making statements about her *husband’s* parentage. (And they’re only offensive if you think that being related to Pat Lally is offensive. I’d tread carefully there if I were you, he probably has good lawyers for dealing with people saying that calling someone his daughter-in-law is a grave and horrible insult)

        Someone’s motives are always relevent to the debate, as they inform on what assumtions they’re likely to have made, which can help focus your own efforts. Saying someone’s motives are off-limits is just an argument from ignorance.

        I think you may have slipped there, the First Minister is at FMQs, not PMQT. And all that FMQs seems to be for is so that Lamont and Davidson get half an hour each to attack him over some fabricated or blown-out-of-proportion charge each week. We can normally guess what they’re going to be focusing on the day before, and have normally debunked it thourghoughly before they even stand up.

        Voting Yes isn’t a “Sacred Duty”, it’s simply the only way many of us can see to give Westminster the kick up the arse that it so sorely needs. Westminster quite obviously isn’t working in the interests of Scotland (and to be frank, it isn’t working in the interests of most of England, either, never mind Wales or Northern Ireland. I’ve seen calls for moving the border further south after a Yes vote, one person even suggested the M25 as the new Scottish border!)

        1. bellacaledonia says:

          If this discussion can’t be held in more civil terms it will be ended.

  49. goldenayr says:

    Bay Rok

    Your admission,by default,of being a no voter is accepted.Your reasons for it are dubious however.

    May I also congratulate you on the amount of comments you’ve generated.

    1. Bay Rok says:

      I’ll be voting Yes, according to the blue sticker in my car window. Why are you in denial? Is it because you find it truly hard to accept that all Yes voters aren’t as myopic and pig-headed as you?

      1. Illy says:

        If you really wanted a Yes Vote, you wouldn’t be helping the Unionists with this story they’ve made up. (And they have made it up, you haven’t been able to provide any evidence of abuse aimed at Clare Lally that goes beyond playground heckling, yet there are reams of evidence of abuse aimed at Yes voters that seem to be completely irrelivent to you)

        You say one thing, but they way you act tells a completely different tale.

        I’ve found that a good way to work is the following:
        When planning: assume malice. When forgiving: assume ignorance.

      2. goldenayr says:

        Let’s suppose,for the sake of argument,that I believe you.

        We are under constant attack and subject to abuse on a minute by minute basis by the state media.What assistance do you think your smears on Gunn are having?He pointed out Lally is not the innocent,doe eyed,supermum the state were making out.He made the mistake of calling her a relation of Pats,probably to reinforce his argument of links to the labour party.

        Where is the argument you put forward?
        Where is the evidence of your accusations?
        Why do you not decry the tactics of the state to bring about this slur on all those who will vote YES?

        Myopic? no,my eyes and ears are always open to everything.Pigheaded? yes,if you mean it in the “stubborn,won’t back down when I know I’m right” sense.

        Now,if you really think the best way to secure a YES vote is to decry anyone who disagrees with you,being that you’re in a minority of one.What do you think the state will be doing looking on and seeing the disunity and division you’ve created by misrepresenting the campaigners who have to reign in the worst excesses of state media manipulation?

        I think you have to look seriously at your motives and arguments,I have.

  50. TheBabelFish says:

    Reblogged this on The Babel Fish and commented:
    Robin McAlpine is one of my favourite bloggers and I will endeavour to bring you the rest of this series as he takes on the role of the media in the Scottish referendum campaign.

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