Sunday, January 8, 2017

A belated right of reply to Kirsty Strickland, James McEnaney and David Clegg

Further to the post about the confected John Mason controversy the other day, I've just been made aware of a thread on Twitter that was partly about little old me.  It involved CommonSpace columnist Kirsty Strickland, James McEnaney of both CommonSpace and RISE, Vonnie Sandlan of the NUS, Jenni Gunn of RISE, and the Daily Record's political editor David Clegg.  It's from three days ago, and I would never have even been aware of its existence unless someone had just kindly pointed me in that direction, because no-one involved in the discussion bothered alerting me to what was going on at the time.  Kirsty Strickland rather strangely used a screenshot (since deleted) of some of my tweets to kick the exchange off, as opposed to using Twitter's in-built reply or quote options - presumably that was a deliberate choice to make it more likely that I would be kept in the dark, and wouldn't have a chance to reply.



(Click each image to enlarge.)

Now, for the avoidance of doubt, I have no complaint in principle about the failure to alert me.  We're all voluntarily engaged in public discussion and argument, and it's totally unrealistic to imagine that elaborate 'cricket rules' are going to apply every time one person criticises another.  For my own part, I frequently make criticisms of people without going out of my way to attract their attention to it (indeed I'm doing so right now).  However, I think it's perfectly reasonable to point out that at least two of the people involved in the discussion, namely Ms Strickland and Mr McEnaney, do believe that very extreme cricket rules should apply to public debate, which ultimately is the entire basis of their condemnation of me.  Mr McEnaney in particular seems to devote half his life to self-righteous rants on social media about other people's supposed lack of civility.  Ms Strickland, as you may remember, wrote at length a few months ago about how upset she was (and perhaps with some justification in that particular instance) that people had gossiped about her brief association with the BBC without taking the first step of privately contacting her to establish the facts.  It does seem extraordinary that someone with that track record would use a carefully-edited set of tweets to cynically brand an ideological dissenter as some sort of beastly harasser of women, while deliberately taking steps to conceal from that person what she was doing.  When I pointed out the blatancy of her double-standard, she just seemed to think the whole thing was quite amusing.  The only conclusion I can draw is that the 'civility warriors' on the radical left imagine that the rules they seek to impose on others should cease to apply to themselves as soon as someone takes issue with a particularly sensitive part of their ideology.

There's probably not much more I can say about Mr McEnaney that you're not already well aware of, but it's certainly worth pointing out that, contrary to his claim in the above screenshot, it was he who blocked me.  It's true that I blocked him straight back as a matter of personal pride, but the correct sequence of events does put a rather different complexion on things.

As far as David Clegg is concerned, it seems to me he allowed his disdain for Stuart Campbell to cloud his judgement, and as a result I don't think he covered himself in glory on this occasion.  It looks very much as if he only glanced at Kirsty Strickland's edited screenshots, and concluded on that ultra-casual basis that I was guilty of some sort of unspecified 'behaviour'.  If he had actually bothered to read the much longer thread that the screenshots were drawn from, he would have discovered that a very angry individual (not Ms Strickland - someone else entirely) was transparently trying to incite me into saying something that would give her a pretext to report my Twitter account, and I was refusing to play along with her little game.  Instead, the exchange descended into a sort of extended 'ping-pong match' in which each of us was using almost identical words to repeatedly ask the other to stop posting critical tweets.  (The point I was making was that she self-evidently wasn't practising what she was preaching, and that my requests were exactly the same as hers, and were no more or less important than hers.  In contrast, her own purpose in prolonging the exchange seemed to be simply to try to get my account suspended.)  I would still be extremely keen to hear an explanation from Kirsty Strickland, James McEnaney, David Clegg, or anyone at all really, of how it's possible to read that completely 50/50 slanging-match and come to the conclusion that I was somehow the 'aggressor' and the other person was a 'victim of sexist harassment'.  Nobody has even attempted to explain it so far, and I think if they were being honest it would just boil down to "she's a woman, you're a man, and different rules apply, sunshine".  I'd suggest some on the radical left really need to step outside the bubble and reflect upon how that sort of nonsense damages their credibility with what I'm tempted to call 'real people', both female and male.

Of course, the other enormous howler Clegg of the Record made was in branding me a "Wings acolyte", without even bothering to check whether Stuart Campbell and I even follow each other on Twitter.  We don't, and in fact Stuart has only just removed me from exactly the same Wings blocklist that Clegg is complaining about.  Standards of basic journalistic research do seem to be slipping all round these days...

60 comments:

  1. Jeez, I thought I was the only idiot still up and posting at this ungodly hour.

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  2. What do you expect from the idiots at RISE/CommonSpace?

    They're no different from SLAB, just another bunch of hypocrites purely interested in themselves.

    They're the enemy of indy just as much as SLAB & the "Ruth Davidson No Surrender to the SNP" party.

    Ignore the twats James, 99% of the rest of us do.

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    1. "They're the enemy of indy just as much as SLAB & the "Ruth Davidson No Surrender to the SNP" party."

      Aye, that's right. The pro-indy, left-wing website Commmonspace is as bad as the Tory party. With all that research they've been publishing from Common Weal on how to improve the case for Yes in indyref2, they truly are the 'enemies' of the independence movement. Good to see you've got perspective on the situation, bud. Best of luck winning over No voters with this patter.

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    2. The far left discredit independence and ensure that wealthy, middle class and rural areas will never vote for it. If the tories, lib dems etc are the external enemy then RISE, Socialists and Greens are the enemy within.

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    3. Oh god. Do you not even realise how that sounds?

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    4. I'm not an independence supporter. But I am able to recognise that the association with the radical left harmed the last yes campaign. Tommy Sheridan, the Common Weal and the Greens' 60% taxation wont win many votes in Edinburgh, Dumfries or Newton Mearns and places like them. It's just a fact.

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    5. Aye, harmed it so much support for independence went up by 20% during the campaign and Yes pulled ahead a week before the vote!

      I'm sure those Undecideds who crossed No at the last minute went into the booth angry about Patrick Harvie and Robin McAlpine, instead of ruminating on the Salmond v Darlind debates, for example.

      If you ask almost anyone why they voted No - including those same voters in Edinburgh, Dumfries and Newton Mearns - they will point towards perceived issues with the SNP, the White Paper or the currency plans, none of which have anything to do with socialists, the Greens or Common Weal.

      Salmond was in favour of a corporation tax cut. Did that win over Scottish business? No.

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    6. Support for independence in late 2012 was actually at or around 45%, with don't knows excluded. So there wasn't a great leap upwards, certainly not on the scale that is often claimed. It's a myth.

      Perhaps Salmonds appeals to the business community were offset by Tommy Sheridan shouting about brothers and sisters and talk of the minimum wage being doubled or trebled.

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    7. "Support for independence in late 2012 was actually at or around 45%"

      Baws.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opinion_polling_for_the_Scottish_independence_referendum,_2014#2012

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    8. Do you honestly think Undecided and soft No's were more concerned with what Tommy Sheridan had to say about independence than Alex Salmond? I think you've stretched this thesis to breaking point now.

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    9. I'm saying the yes campaign was too lefty, in part thanks to organisations like radical independence. In fact, it was so left wing that I remember calling it 'Yes Socialism' as it was more about implementing lefty politics than self determination for Scotland. It may come as news to you but wealthy people, aspirational people and rural people generally do not like socialism and that's why yes took a drubbing in all the areas populated by those types of people. You only won in welfarist shitholes. If you want to expand beyond that, you need to ditch socialism.

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    10. The reason No polls strongly in the areas you describe is very simple: people benefiting from the status quo rarely want to change it. Independence is change. That's pretty much what it comes down to. Conservatives - whether large or small 'c' - will always be extremely unlikely to fall in behind independence, no matter what the pitch, not least because so many of them experience their core identity as British.

      It's perfectly feasible for us to win next time by appealing to those who nearly voted Yes but lost their nerve at the last minute, as polling shows they're enough to take us over the line. Few of those people were put off by the apparent 'left wing' nature of Yes - indeed, the more Yes spoke about combating austerity and protecting the NHS the higher we polled - but by the perceived deficiencies of the currency and economic arrangements.

      There's simply no need to attract the sort of people who view Scotland's cities as 'welfarist shitholes', no matter what story you tell yourself, as it's clear the narrowness of their worldview makes them unlikely to ever view independence as a serious option, however it's framed.

      Based on your lack of knowledge about the polling figures in 2012 - plus your obvious agenda - there's also no real reason to give credence to your 'advice' in this area.

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    11. "Based on your lack of knowledge about the polling figures in 2012 - plus your obvious agenda - there's also no real reason to give credence to your 'advice' in this area."

      Aldo is well-known for getting things wrong. It's kind of what he does.

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    12. Look, it's not my fault you can't work with percentages. But there is a poll from around the time the Edinburgh Agreement was signed - 2 years before the referendum - that shows 55% No, 45% Yes. That means that from 2012 to 2014 there was no real progress and, going by current polling, no real progress either from 2014 until now. Yet you expect to win by doubling down on the statist, leftwing guff that lost you the last referendum at a time when EU membership, trade and currency are all up in the air and the oil is still worth bugger all. This is not a recipe for success - fortunately.

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    13. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    14. Several polls in early 2014 put yes and no both in the forties, before campaigning actually began. So the campaign did not lift the yes campaign by 20 points and, supposing it had done, real life tends not to follow a linear pattern. An increase of x last time doesn't guarantee an increase of x next time. It may be y - or even zero. 'One more heave' will not work. You need a convincing case for independence, a workable plan for it, and enough credibility that people will believe you can carry it out. Just now the SNP is sorely lacking in all areas. Go for one more push if you want, it will just result in more tears mixed in with blue facepaint.

      Oil is 54 dollars a barrel, less than half the minimum value assumed by the shyte paper, and bringing in negligible tax revenue.

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    15. If you look at the link I sent you earlier you'll see that of the four surveys published in the month the Edinburgh Agreement was signed - Oct 2012 - Yes polls at 28%, 30%, 29% and 38%. If you're referring to that last one, you really are cherry-picking to suit your thesis.

      Here's the link in case you need it again: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opinion_polling_for_the_Scottish_independence_referendum,_2014#2012

      Oh and oil has doubled in price from this time last year, and is now pretty much at the median price it's been over the last 40 years. Keep up.

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    16. The surveys in early 2012 you refer to show Yes polling at 30%, 37%, 32% and 33%. Ignoring the fact that the 37% is clearly an outlier, the average of these is 33%, nothing like the 45% you claimed Yes was polling that year.

      The White Paper was going on the oil price as it was after over a decade of climbing. The entire industry and the UK govt was optimistic about oil forecasts at the time of its writing. Its currently climbing again, so who knows where it will end up.

      You may well feel the oil receipts are 'negligible' but we would nonetheless keep far, far more of these receipts than we currently do now. As you said earlier 'It's just a fact.'

      Besides, according to you, voters weren't basing their decisions on the SNP's White Paper anyway, but on the Green Party and Tommy Sheridan's economic plans for independence. This looks like a sudden change of heart.

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    17. The oil tax receipts are negligible. In fact, they have often been in negative territory in recent months - meaning the state pays money to the failing oil firms. Scotland's oil eh? It's just a good job it isn't. Also, as you should be aware, the figures for Scotland's finances include all revenues we would be entitled to if independent. Yet even under that calculation we are still 15 billion in deficit, annually. How will the SNP plug that hole? No answer. There are no answers on anything - just invective.

      I never said the Scottish public listened exclusively to the far left elements of the yes campaign. I said I believed they had a negative effect on the credibility of the campaign as a whole. There is a difference.

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    18. "They have often been in negative territory in recent months."

      'Recent months'? Ha. North Sea Oil was discovered in the 1970s. Had Scotland been an independent country we would currently have one of the most stable currencies and strongest economies in the world, like Norway. You point instead towards a deficit foisted upon Scotland within the UK. So what happened? We were ripped off, that's what happened.

      Do we think this situation is likely to improve given the imminent economic shock forecast because of Brexit, which - again - has happened to Scotland because we are in the UK?

      Here's your 'pooling and sharing':

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/McCrone_report

      Right, that's me done. Blether away, I won't be checking back in.

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  3. "a thread on Twitter"

    I think I may have detected the problem.

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  4. What a spiteful hate filled world you and you adversaries live in James. Such a shame. But you need the last word so on ye go.

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    1. Or defends himself against being publicly described as a, "rape apologist." Whatever that's supposed to mean.

      There's no point arguing with feminists. They're just another form of yoonbat. No capability of reason or logic, just hatred for anybody who doesn't accept their Worldview.

      If it was me, I'd either sue the lot of them or visit extreme violence in retribution. JK's too polite for his own good sometimes.

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    2. "If it was me, I'd...visit extreme violence in retribution."

      And right there is the reason why feminism has to exist. This, from someone who, irony-free, claims feminists feel "hatred for anybody who doesn't accept their worldview."

      I enjoy your blog, James, but jeezo clamp down on this shite.

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  5. Commonspace likes to think IT is the true voice of Scot Indy when In fact it is little more than a shrill (sic) producing guff which although ostensibly YES still always manages to inject some anti-SNP and Wings into the discussion. It is pure envy So far as Wings is concerned because he is so popular; and they presumably now see you as a threat.

    I don't read Commonspace nor will I until they change their cosy little lefty clique into something less smelly.

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  6. Never mind, James. As Oscar Wilde once said, the only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about.

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  7. It seems that recently both sides of the constitutional commentariat, or at least elements of both, have decided to try and get as many people involved in these silly, petty, feuds as they possibly can. It is really getting boring now. I would just ignore them from now on James. It looks to me like they are trying to get a reaction from you and others, in order to get publicity for themselves. Self promotion is the name of the game and it is a bore all round.

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    1. I don't think these people need self-promotion - they all have their own platform already. I see it more as of a form of intimidation - it's sending a signal that anyone who steps outside a very narrow range of 'acceptable' viewpoints can expect to get this sort of treatment. (For example, Cat Boyd menacingly mentioning that she was making a note of people who said the 'wrong' things about the John Mason episode for future reference.) To some extent it works - I very nearly didn't express any view at all about Mason's tweet, because I knew what would probably happen if I did.

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    2. James, I'm generally a fan of your writing, but you're kidding yourself on if you think the sort of behaviour you describe is limited to the left. In the comments on this piece alone we've got people threatening 'extreme violent retribution' on feminists. How's that for 'intimidation'? And branding the pro-indy left the 'enemy within'? Talk about allowing only a 'very narrow range of acceptable viewpoints'!

      I'm not saying the radical left have a spotless record either, and I don't think some handled the approach to the 2016 Holyrood election very well, but the sort of comments I'm seeing here are exactly the kind of self-defeating nonsense that gives people concerns about nationalism.

      Everyone needs to calm down a bit.

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    3. Alan, you complained about me not having deleted the reference to violence before I even saw it. There's not much point in deleting it now, because you've already responded to it. As far as I can see, the depiction of the pro-indy left as "the enemy within" came only from Aldo, who is an opponent of independence, not a supporter. He's obviously trying to stir the pot, but he's entitled to his opinion as much as anyone else.

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    4. James, it's not a matter of you deleting the reference to violence or not, it's that you think 'intimidatory' behaviour inimical to the left. That comment is clear indication that it's not.

      And fair enough about Aldo, though I have seen similar sentiments expressed by Scottish nationalists about the radical left on Twitter on numerous occasions.

      I'm not saying there hasn't been returning fire. I genuinely think this is a problem on both sides. Yet both seem to think the other side is the sole fault!

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  8. "Rape culture," belongs in the same category as, "International Jewish Conspiracy."

    Anybody telling you that it exists is either a deranged mentalcase or a dangerous bigot. Best blocked, reported and avoided.

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    1. 'Rape culture' doesn't exist. Oh good lord. I suspect you'd feel very differently if you were able to spend five minutes online as a woman, experiencing the reaction when you express feminist views.

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    2. Rape culture most certainly does exist. We're importing it from the third world as we speak (see Cologne).

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    3. Oh get a grip. Leaving aside the question of the extent to which the Cologne attacks may have been misreported, it's hardly as though white Europeans are incapable of rape.

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    4. No, but we have largely moved on from the kind of backward thinking that reduces women to sex toys and food preparers. Not so conservative islam.

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    5. Aye, we'd never present women as sexual objects in the enlightened West!

      http://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/746578/naked-calendar-2017-sexy-lingerie-pictures-horse-riding-model-equestrian-foxy-hunters

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    6. Positively progressive compared to the vast majority of the Arab and Muslim world.

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    7. Cake. Having. Eating. Chase yersel.

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    8. Are you honestly saying there is moral equivalence between some saucy pictures and the mass, systemic subjugation and degradation of women we see in the middle east? Honour killings? Execution of rape victims? And that's before we even scratch the surface of the hell that is Saudi Arabia.

      Women's rights and LGBT rights are incompatible with conservative islam. If you deny that, you're no friend to womens' rights.

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    9. On the one hand you say Islam treats women as 'sex toys' but a clear example of the objectification of women in the West is just 'saucy pictures'? Ahem.

      At no point did I make a case for Islam as a feminist force. I objected to you saying that 'rape culture' is imported here from the Middle East. Do you honestly think there aren't women who feel 'systemically subjugated and degraded' by white men in this country? Feminism would never have been invented if that was the case.

      I suspect this has a lot less to do with women's rights for you and far more to do with Islam, otherwise you'd be able to quote me the UK domestic violence and rape stats, the anti-LGBT violence figures, and link this in some way to 'British' culture?

      Of course some areas the Middle East have a way to go in regards of human rights, but the logical endpoint of that argument is hardly to claim there's no culture of misogyny in the UK, or that women don't feel under threat from white men here.

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    10. Glasgow Working Class 2January 8, 2017 at 7:41 PM

      Rape is not imported but rape culture and sexual molestation is. Perhaps the Koln experience has passed you by.

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    11. Religious leaders instructing their flock to beat women.

      Governments executing victims of rape and sexual abuse.

      These things at least do not happen in the UK. Yet the left are hell bent on importing people from cultures where these things are the norm and considered acceptable. That includes your SNP.

      Will you at least acknowledge that womens rights and gay rights cannot survive conservative islam?

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    12. You just did it again. I made no claims for Islam being a sexually progressive force. I'm focusing on your insistence that rape culture is somehow alien to the West. That's just not the experience of many British women I'm afraid, no matter how many 'squirrels' you point towards.

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    13. I never said it was alien to the west. But I think we are getting on top of it somewhat. But just as we liberalise and become a safe, open and equal place, more or less, the floodgates are flung open - by parties like yours - to people from barbaric parts of the world where women are viewed as inferior. Now I'm suggesting that this is a counterproductive step. Your response is to draw false moral equivalence between saucy pictures and middle eastern brutality, as if the two are somehow comparable in any sane interpretation of reality. Then you dodge the question - a very straightforward question - about whether womens rights and conservative islam are mutually exclusive. Well, are they? What's your opinion on that? Or are you so bound up by politically correct dogma that you can't even answer a simple question?

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    14. You did say rape culture was alien to the West. You said it was 'imported'. That's unequivocal.

      I don't know where you're getting the idea that the West is a 'safe, open and equal place' for women.

      http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/mass-shootings-2016-domestic-violence_us_586d39abe4b0d9a5945d8941?yyfx465nd39g22o6r

      "Of the 16 mass shootings in the US 43 percent ― involved a male shooter targeting a family member or intimate partner. In those shootings, women and children made up 81 percent of the victims."

      I could find you statistics like this all day.

      I never said there was an *equivalence* with Middle Eastern regimes, no matter how many times you try and insist I have. What I've repeatedly said was your idea that rape culture is imported, instead of part of a misogyny very much rooted at home, is absolute nonsense.

      You want to keep me talking about conservative Islam for one very good reason: the more we talk about the UK's and US's domestic violence and rape statistics the more it disproves the idea that the West is a 'safe, open and equal space' for women.

      And the idea that we are 'getting on top of it somewhat' is laughable in the context of the rise of the alt-right.

      https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/jan/03/ive-left-twitter-unusable-anyone-but-trolls-robots-dictators-lindy-west

      "...so they can inform me, for the thousandth time, that they would gladly rape me if I weren’t so fat."

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  9. Glasgow Working Class 2January 8, 2017 at 7:22 PM

    The main thing is the Nat sis lost the referendum and will lose the next if the cowardly fash have the bottle to call it.
    The Scottish people faced with border controls and the control of Scotland by Herman and the Bundesbank will persuade even Nat sis to vote NAW.

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    1. Same old reheated cabbage from the CyberBrit operative. However, congratulations on sticking to your overlords' script, no matter how swivel-eyed and contradictory it is.

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  10. Glasgow Working Class 2January 8, 2017 at 7:35 PM

    Nat sis ignoring the Istanbul Convention on comprehensive sex education at all levels of education although they led the campaign in Westminster to ratify it.
    Meanwhile in Scotland they allow faith schools to follow their own guidance.. Fookin fash hypocrites.

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    1. Don't you think he looks tired?

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  11. It's intimidation right enough. It's "my" gang is better than "your" gang stuff. So juvenile!

    Has something happened recently, today even? Tittering Tories and loitering Labourites coming out of the woodwork and trying to upset folk on website threads. Dear me :)

    It won't work, never has yet...

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    1. Glasgow Working Class 2January 8, 2017 at 9:09 PM

      It is your failure that upsets you and the truth.

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    2. Hopefully you'll be safe in prison soon.

      May stop you becoming very dead, extremely painfully.

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    3. Glasgow Working Class 2January 8, 2017 at 10:52 PM

      Thats rather threatening for a Nat si!

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    4. Indeed. You sure have a way of getting under their skin GWC. Who would have thought that a bit of namecalling and clumsy comparisons to the Reich could make grown men explode with rage.

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    5. "You sure have a way of getting under their skin"

      Like a midgie, do you mean? One SNP bad - meh. Dozens on the one thread? It's the repetition. The Chinese knew what they were doing when they invented water torture...

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    6. Glasgow Working Class 2January 9, 2017 at 4:39 PM

      Knickerless has been giving us water torture by her constant dribling at the mouth over brexit.

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