Monday, August 17, 2020

A few miscellaneous points

First of all, congratulations to the poster 'Unknown' who has stolen away Tam the Bam's title of Scot Goes Pop Precious Union Contemplation Diviner after just one day.  He/she correctly spotted that I was contemplating the value of Our Precious Union at the Ness of Duncansby, midway between John O'Groats and Duncansby Head lighthouse.  That's the first time I've been up that way since the age of 10, and one thing that surprised me is that you don't really get the same sense of being at the 'end of the world' that you do in a place like Cape St Vincent in Portugal, because there's land immediately beyond John O'Groats in the form of Stroma, and there's also land not far beyond Stroma which I presume must be Orkney.

Just as I did when I was 10, I went on to walk the coastal path to see the Duncansby Stacks.  I thought it might not be as impressive as I remembered from childhood, but quite the reverse.  Why that walk isn't better known, better advertised, better signposted is beyond me.  You often hear of people going to John O'Groats and being underwhelmed by what they find there, but most of them are probably oblivious to the fact that Scotland's equivalent of the Cliffs of Moher is just a stone's throw away.

Anyway, as you'll have gathered from the last few posts, I've been away for a little while, and one consequence of that is there's been a backlog of emails I haven't got round to responding to.  A couple of people asked about the possibility of making recurring (monthly or quarterly) donations to help support the blog.  I don't have any facility set up for that, but the good thing about the GoFundMe crowdfunders is that they remain open for donations indefinitely, so if you have a sudden random urge to make a contribution you can do so at any time HERE.  However, bear in mind that I'll probably run a proper 2020 fundraiser at some point over the coming months.  (I know I've run two crowdfunders this year, but those were specifically to pay for our exclusive opinion polls.)

There was also a well-meaning email trying to organise a reconciliation between myself and Stuart Campbell, on the basis that we're all on the same side and we need to be pulling together.  What I would say to that is there wouldn't have been any dispute in the first place if we really felt that we're still on the same side.  Stuart's attitude to independence seems much more ambivalent now - it might be useful to ask him whether he'd still want independence if, for example, it meant not getting his way on self-ID and other related issues.  He'd probably evade the question by saying the cause of independence is doomed anyway unless the SNP drop self-ID - but I suspect if he was being honest, his answer would be "no".  (And, by the same token, there are now prominent figures in the SNP who regard their support for self-ID as far more important than independence - it's a really unfortunate situation on both sides.) 

Stuart also has an unrealistically hostile attitude to Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP, which can only be harmful in the long run.  And yes, I know the SNP is not the independence movement, but that's really not the point.  Look at it this way - even if a credible new pro-indy party is set up, and even if it's successful (two very big "ifs"), the most it will be able to do is gain leverage over the SNP by holding the balance of power at Holyrood.  That will still leave the SNP as by far the predominant pro-indy party, which means that whoever is SNP leader will effectively lead the Yes campaign in any referendum that occurs over the next couple of years - and that probably means Nicola Sturgeon, unless she voluntarily opts to stand aside.  If we get to that point, Wings will self-evidently be damaging the cause unless he at least massively tones down his antipathy towards the First Minister.  Is he capable of doing that, or has it all gone too far?  Again, he would probably argue that it's not a valid question because there isn't going to be a referendum if Nicola Sturgeon remains leader.  But that kind of black-and-white thinking is somewhat divorced from the nuances and complexities of the real world.

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  1. The SNP has completely lost its way (coronavirus notwithstanding) and is only so apparently popular because there is no credible opposition in Scotland and the London government is utterly incompetent. It would be difficult for Sturgeon's administration not to look competent IN RELATIVE TERMS.

    However, they are lurching from policy disaster to policy disaster right now. This says it all about the unhealthy state of Scottish politics: Named Person; OBFA (actually a good, popular policy); self-ID (laughably bad legislation); school testing; CfE; class sizes; hospital building failures; exam results (although last week's situation was lose-lose, regardless of what system was used); Orwellian 'hate crime' legislation; and the inner workings of the SNP itself (i.e. 'Keep Cherry out').

    The SNP seems to be the least-worst option right now, and it seems to have become too used to power. That's not good enough. It wasted three years trying to save England from itself when it should have got on with the campaign for independence (which was promised and yet failed to materialise). And in that time, it has done more to appear 'woke' than for independence. It's already introduced self-ID by the back door anyway, in the Gender Recognition on Public Boards legislation.

    I've lent them my vote since 2011, and I was even a member for a couple of years, but I simply don't trust the SNP right now. I WANT independence for my country. I'm not prepared to vote for them only on that basis,and nor should I be expected to 'get behind them' if I don't agree with their policy agenda. To say otherwise is to fall into exactly the same trap that has left Labour where it is right now.

    1. I get this, but there is no doubt the SNP are way more trustworthy / transparent than this new list party we are supposed to vote for.

      We don't know who runs this new party, who is backing it financially, who its candidates are, and what its policies are. Yet we are supposed to put Scotland's future in its hands?

      The public will vote 'better the devil you know'.

    2. The public will vote SNP, unaware of all this supposed doom surrounding them. The polls are very clear, as are my own experiences outside of the bubble.

      I don’t like the Cherry stitch-up either (I gladly voted for her as my MP and want to do so as my Edinburgh Central MSP next year) but this stuff is not cutting through to the general public. Maybe the inquiry will change that, but then again you know how useless the opposition is at Holyrood!

      Beware echo chambers. Stu’s deep down one himself. I wish he’d talk to more Scots. And not just those on Twitter.

    3. It's just a bit cringe when your name's actually.............yeah.

  2. "Awizgonny": Comment deleted, and please don't attempt to comment on this blog again. That kind of mindless abuse is exactly why I ended anonymous commenting the other day, but if anything the problem just seems to have got even worse since then. At this rate I may have to take even more drastic measures.

    1. Trolls, eh? Thanks for standing in their way, James.

      From our perspective as readers, I’m still delighted with the change to logged in comments. We’re debating things besides some tiresome fool’s flame bait for a change. And there’s more of us too, because the dross before was putting most folk off contributing.

      As Skier suggests below, comment moderation can go too far. But the troll problem this blog has was way out of order, and I’ve never seen comments deleted here for opinion alone, unlike some places…

    2. I am sorry to hear this, James. I hope you are reporting offenders to Google. More power to your arm!

  3. I have attempted over the past few days to post some very reasonable comments on Wings. Like back in the old days.

    However, it seems my comments only pass moderation if they can be immediately dismissed out of hand / proven wrong somehow.

    If I was being insulting / abusive / repetitive / trolling whatever, fair enough, but I actually often agreed with Campbell in my comments. Just not on all points.

    Rather sad if that's the case, as some of the output remains very good, such as the new Salmond trial article.

    Mind you, it is his blog so he can select the comments he wishes.

  4. The Salmond trial reaffirmed my faith in the Scottish criminal justice system while the BBC documentary once again confirms that I am right to support independence.

    1. Having just read the article in question and, coincidentally, served on a jury fairly recently (in a case involving the Moorov doctrine no less!), I’ll point out the flaw I see in Stu’s reasoning. (Not that I dare try to post it at Wings!)

      The crucial thing every jury reckons with is whether the given charge was proven *beyond a reasonable doubt*. That is absolutely hammered into you by judge and counsels alike. You’ve got to be convinced by the evidence, and your certainty must pass that high threshold. If you’re in doubt, you must vote to acquit (and yes, Not Proven is another variant of acquittal).

      You aren’t judging characters. You aren’t deciding that the alleged events did not happen. And you certainly aren’t establishing the grounds for suing witnesses for perjury if they later insist something did still happen. You are deciding whether the prosecution’s case passes beyond a reasonable doubt on that specific charge. That is all.

      You’re very tightly limited, and this is by design. The whole point of the trial is to be objective: on that one measure alone. Your work is not to decide which version of the truth won out, just whether the prosecution’s carefully chosen and stated case was proven beyond reasonable doubt. That alone is what decides the defendant’s guilt or innocence.

      Now don’t even get me started on Moorov!

    2. Yes, to be guilty of something, it obviously has to be proven that you actually did it. How could it be any other way.

      As things stand, salmond is as legally innocent as his accusers. The trial found him innocent, but that doesn't mean his accusers are guilty (of making it up). Both parties are legally innocent equally under the law.

      If people start saying 'Well, maybe Salmond is really guilty, it's just not proven', the identical case must apply to the complainants.

      In fact, the evidence more leans towards them being guilty as the jury at least has come to a conclusion on Salmond. We don't know what they'd have concluded if asked about the complainants and perjury.

      So Stu is wrong to imply the accusers are guilty. They are not. They remain legally innocent. However, Salmond certainly comes out cleaner in principle. He has been declared innocent based on all the evidence, they have not. So suspicion still lingers around them. If they were really innocent, they should take those accusing them of perjury to court. I certainly would if someone falsely accused me of perjury. The fact they have not speaks volumes.

  5. Oh dear "unknown" you have not been taking your meds again, so sad. Perhaps with just a little reflection you could consider how pathetic and cowardly it is. Signing up to discussion page anonymously so you can spout the type of mentally impaired foaming at the mouth rant. One would expect to hear from an intoxicated urine stained dosser

  6. Jeezo. Load the page later in the day and I see what poor James has to put up with. Some “Unknown” sock puppet account spamming with dozens of posts of copy pasta guff. Guess the loyal old troll gotta troll. The key is to get him to do it somewhere else!

    Can you get Google to ban an IP address? I’m guessing he’s not wise to workarounds.

  7. Many thanks for the award. I do my best!

  8. Seems your blog terrifies the unionists James.

    They are spending an inordinate amount of time and effort spamming it.

  9. Some very interesting points and very good ones at that, advert on TV about paint and the voice over just said, if you don't like our colour just bring it back and we will exchange it, same should be said comments we make but always too late, (generic) not about anyone in particular.I must say I am split or cant make my mind up if anyone is to blame or is there another mind behind it all. The idea of having a law backdated is not the normal thing to do, to say it is so that Holyrood cant become like cesspit Westminster. It seemed to make sense but then I had another think about it and it seems not to make sense unless you had an idea somebody was already at it and some people were willing to be witness' but there had to be a retrospective law. Lo and behold only Alex was charged and only Alex was the one they went after, and very weak complaints and charges looked suspect all the way. Been reading your blog for a few years now and you started off very good and get even better keep it James makes for happy and interesting days ahead.

  10. BBC Scotland (the 9) report from the Holyrood enquiry only showed comments from Alex Cole-Hamilton and Murdo Fraser. Both the usual attack dog style.
    Other committee members are available., but not on the BBC.
    Chair ruled Fraser was out of order and outwith the remit of the enquiry.
    BBC reported this but inexplicably still broadcast it.
    Salmond was actually aquitted on all charges. Somebody needs to tell the BBC. This enquiry is into the Scottish civil service's bungling of their responsibilities.
    Linda Fabiani will need to stop the likes of Fraser and Cole-Hamilton from hi-jacking this for ANTI-SNP purposes.
    Both of them likely to lose their seats next May. Desperate men.

    1. Hopefully ACH will be ousted but Fraser will top the Tory list and be a list candidate yet again.

  11. Seen this James?

  12. New PanelBase Poll for BfS:

    YES: 55%
    NO: 45%

    yes 51%
    no 42%
    Undecided 7%.

    1. A majority including the don't knows in the mix is significant.