The Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey Reel

Danny Alexander yellow budgetBy Mike Small

Will Danny Alexander’s big yellow briefcase become the lasting symbol of his time at the Treasury? It has the same comic value as Mitt Romney’s magic underpants. Will he tour clutching it?

He appeared like a 70s kids tv presenter with his Big Magic Yellow Box the other day outside No 10. “What’s in the box today Danny?” Absolutely fuck all. “What’s in the box today Danny?” A tissue of lies. “What’s in the box today Danny?” £1260 billion of debt.

Confusingly he exclaimed: “I’ll be back” at the Lib Dems conference in Aberdeen. A disconcerting rallying cry for the party faithful bound to provoke the question ‘Where have you been?’ or possibly worse, ‘Where are you going’? Unfortunately for Danny everyone knows the answer to both those questions.

With all the focus on the Labour collapse it’s important not to overlook the Lib Dems meltdown too. If the Survation and Curtice analysis is right they face being reduced to a single MP at Westminster and a handful of MSPs Holyrood in 2016.  That puts them, appropriately, on the same footing as the Conservative Party.

This isn’t petty vindictiveness, but part of a deeper wider shift. Remarking on the failure of neither Labour or Tories to capture the public imagination, Andrew Marr, writing in the New Statesman (‘British Politics is Broken’) suggests: “We had two grand political narratives offered to us in the postwar Britain and they have both gone pop…”. He believes Scottish politics has become utterly detached from the politics of the English South, and that a UKIP/Tory driven anti-EU exit will open the door to a second referendum:

“There comes a time when the decay of political parties is inevitably followed by the decay of the power structures they inhabit and give life to.” As Chief Secretary to the Treasury Alexander is one of four men who run the economy. They call themselves the Quad. From this position, there’s no hiding. He took office at only 38 and it will be a short-lived political career.

But are we, as commentators are beginning to agree, at a significant moment? Gerry Hassan writes in Open Democracy:

Scotland is at a seismic moment with huge implications and long-term repercussions not just for Scotland but the UK – as what increasingly looks like a tartan tsunami could sweep away scores of Labour once impregnable bastions north of the border. Viewed from Scotland, so much has changed and shifted that it is almost impossible to convey – politics, society and attitudes, but more critically how things are perceived, felt and what is now deemed possible or not. The reference points in Scottish politics and public life have dramatically changed. This extends way beyond the SNP’s massive influx of members, away to hit 100,000 in the next couple of weeks, or the flatlining of the Scottish Labour Party. Society feels different. The referendum has produced a dramatically different political landscape which is disguised by many of the institutions, players and language being the same as before.

CAvKS2LWEAAnOmFThis is largely true, even, given more skeptical voices. But there are problems, the two biggest would seem to be a general atmosphere of contempt, and a marked lack of strategy. As we can do little about the former we should focus on the latter. But first, the contempt.

The Times this morning has a new twist on the Scotholm Syndrome, portraying Salmond as a kidnapper, holding Labour to ransom. And, in a piece that is crude even by the standards of the Telegraph, Bruce Anderson writes:

The divergence is absolute and could prove fatal. In England, many voters are already bored with the election campaign, which has hardly begun. But large parts of North Britain are in the grip of religious mania. Scottish friends of mine, who thought that they understood their own country, now feel bewildered, marginalised – and threatened. The Scot Nats’ concept of Scotland is totalitarian. If you do not agree with them, you are no true Scot.

“Cunning Nats have always planned to irritate the English in order to convince them that Scotland is more trouble than it is worth” he continues. Somebody might need to offer the entire Telegraph team some smelling salts.

The anger management is not confined to our southern neighbours. Allan Massie, only a few days ago compared any agreement between Labour and the SNP to “a pact between the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany.” The newspapers editors duly published a photo of Uncle Joe signing with Hitler. If you want to take a measurement of the political atmosphere the fact that Massie actually wrote that and the fact that the Scotsman published it, is a fair reflection on where we are. It’s a febrile atmosphere.

So is this ‘seismic’? Is Britain Broken? Why are they so angry?

First, there is an incredulity at having ‘won’ the referendum and it all now just not going away. This is the consequence of having won the vote but lost the argument. The No victory was based on such a dodgy premise, conducted in such a hopeless manner, and balanced on such a precarious demographic, that its hold on Scottish society is loose. It’s a very fragile mandate.

Second, there is the asymmetry of the union. It is absolutely fine and proper for England to dominate by sheer force of numbers. We can and should pt up with decades of rule by a government we didn’t elect. But for us to have sway or influence in the other direction is simply appalling and unthinkable. The Union only works one way.

Third, the loathing of the SNP is deeper than we imagine. We may know them as the reasonable, cautious and, for some, too conservative. They have been our government. For many English tv viewers they are a marginal and faintly comic trio of Scots in a parliament of 650.

Combined and this poll surge is both distressing and inconceivable. Ian Bell writes:

“Why has the Scottish National Party built a massive and apparently impregnable lead in opinion surveys? Because, comes the reply, its supporters are the political equivalent of the Moonies; because they are ill-educated or none too bright; because they have been lied to time and again. It’s a complicated yet crude way to explain away the collapse of three Westminster parties. It’s not, at first sight, the perfect formula for a hearts-and-minds campaign. A few Tories aside, no one talked like this was when Labour was picking up 42 per cent of the Scottish vote in the 2010 election. Hysterical rancour is the language of the lost cause.”

There’s nothing so annoying as losing when you think you have just won. Many of the political elite presume victory and a right to rule. Structural change, real change, is simply not allowed to happen. So the prospect of constitutional change on the horizon is provoking a visceral fear in the established order. If you throw into the mix Salmond, who appears to know no humility, and those damned Celtic Harpies Sturgeon and Woods and you can see the blood pressure of the body politic rising as the patient reaches new stress levels. This is hysterical stuff. Us Cunning Nats from North Britain must be sorted. To vote for a moderate social democratic party is to be ‘totalitarian’. To agree electoral pacts is to be compared to Nazis. The problem for the Unionists is that they have still not shifted away from arguments of fear. We are still looking for the positive case for the union. I don’t think it’s in the big yellow box.



Categories: Commentary

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40 replies

  1. It’s shaping up to be a re-run of last autumn’s media hysteria-fest. The department of dirty tricks and manure spreading is gearing up and forests are being felled in anticipation of future tabloid and broadsheet sales. Thanks, BC for this and all your posts. We need this kind of coverage more than ever now.

    • I agree they’re gearing that way, Debi, but Project Fear will be operating in a much more complicated and diffuse field than last summer.

      Sure the media will harp on with the “Miliband in Salmond’s pocket” narrative, and ramp up hatred for the SNP, but it’s so crude I cannot see it playing with the majority of English voters. I suppose they’re hoping it will queer the pitch in England for any post-election co-operation between Labour and the SNP, but I’d argue it has precisely the opposite effect up here and merely strengthens the SNP hand. For a start little or no distinction is made between Scots and the SNP plus, however much they make Alex Salmond a hate figure, Nicola Sturgeon comes over so clear and so well she’s a far more difficult target, and the lurch into sexist, even misogynistic language and imagery we’ve seen so far does not play well down south anymore, apart from perhaps UKIP supporters who want to live in a 1970s Carry On movie anyway.

      This May the tectonic shifts in the political landscape of Scotland and the UK will, I think, precipitate the tidal wave to come. Reading these commentators is like watching the wild animals flee for the hills.

      The days of the union are numbered and history may yet record it was all because of one little word:

      Yes.

  2. There are times when you do think it was the NO camp that had lost. I have seen sore losers, but this is the first time I have seen sore winners. Almost from the get go the vow was unraveling before our eyes. Cameron decided to make it a political football that wrong footed Miliband. The smith commission was, to quote Lincoln: “a thin homeopathic soup that was made by boiling the shadow of a pigeon that had starved to death.” Even then Labour felt even this feeble broth needed watering down, desperate to head off EVEL at the pass and save labours precious “one nation labour” vision.

    Also lets be honest. It was a narrow win for the No camp. It was never going to settle anything for a generation, in fact it seems it won’t even settle it beyond the General Election. The Better together campaign and indeed Westminster, did nothing to reach out and reconcile yes voters with a reason to stay.
    Subsequently the yes camp kept going. Gordon Brown didn’t reset Scottish politics anymore than he imposed an Iron timetable for extra powers on Westminster.

    Lastly – the hatchet job Better together did on Scotland’s reputation within the union is beginning to bear bitter fruit. Gleefully telling us how we were all subsidised by the rUK, it never occurred to them that the rUK would be listening and getting outraged. If you were English and didn’t know much about Scotland, it would not look like “best of both worlds” to you, but a diabolical liberty that cannot continue. What are they going to do now? Start love bombing the English? Come clean about the whole subsidy junkie thing? No they seem content to just – join in.

    Whiskey Tango Foxtrot! UKOK

  3. We in Scotland are more intelligent than Westminster would like to give us credit for but they will not take the piss for much longer.

  4. We the public in Scotland are more intelligent than the Westminster parties give us credit for, but they will not take the (PISS) for much longer

  5. On the demographic; I pointed out several times to Labour unionist commenters that the Yes vote represented centre and left of centre Scotland and the ‘productive’ age groups. (95% of Tories voted No and 70% of over 65s voted No).
    And that this would be significant in what happens next; it was.

    They became very shrill and unhappy, simply repeating that the vote was 55% No.

  6. “He believes … that a UKIP/Tory driven anti-EU exit”

    He’s wrong though, isn’t he, though it suits your narrative to parrot this line.

    In Scotland, antipathy towards the EU is about 35%, support for the EU is about 45% (i.e. less than half), with about 20% don’t know

    http://whatscotlandthinks.org/questions/if-there-were-a-referendum-on-eu-membership-tomorrow-would-you-vote-to-stay

    In England, antipathy is higher, about 45%, support slightly lower, about 40%, with about 15% don’t know.

    Scotland (nor England) are nations of Europhiles. Stop parroting this line that ‘England will drag Scotland out of the EU’ (and trigger another referendum etc. etc.). If there was an EU referendum tomorrow, Scotland would walk out with England hand in hand, as willing partners. (Social attitudes surveys of course also show that Scottish people are only slightly less hostile to immigrants and benefit claimants as English people).

    “As Chief Secretary to the Treasury Alexander is one of four men who run the economy”

    If you think there are four men who ‘run the economy’ and indeed that Governments ‘run economies’ you are seriously deluded and living in a world of your own.

    “The No victory was based on such a dodgy premise”

    Maybe. Any more or less dodgy than the ‘premise’ of “SCOTLAND’S FUTURE” that the SNP used as the basis of their case for Independence? (Never mind the assumptions about Oil and Gas. Let’s not even waste time on the fiscal arguments. Just the assumptions and assertions about fundamental issues that neither the SNP or a government in an independent Scotland has any power or authority to decide or have influence over).

    “its hold on Scottish society is loose. It’s a very fragile mandate”.

    Sure. IndyRef 2 now, I say.

    “To vote for a moderate social democratic party is to be ‘totalitarian'”

    Do moderate social democratic parties don’t advocate reductions in corporation tax and other corporatist approaches and policies (until 5 minutes ago, when that didn’t get you over the line in the referendum. Now it’s all ‘an end to austerity’ and socialism. Nothing totalitarian about ‘state guardians’ for every child (more authoritarian than ‘ID cards’) or holding increasing amounts of personal data about every citizen, oh no.

    “To agree electoral pacts is to be compared to Nazis”.

    Calm down. Only polemicists writing for newspapers are calling you Nazis. Even I’m not calling you Nazis. I know you hate the ‘mainstream right wing media’. Maybe you should stop reading it. Maybe Scotland and its independence movement should form its own online and print media ….

    “We are still looking for the positive case for the union”.

    Indyref 2 now.

    • oh i was about to question your rant but in the end the chance of many people reading it are well as about as slim as reading mine you have a nice day now

    • Maybe I should have said the four men ‘responsible’ for running the economy. As you’ll know from our critique of the role of big business over the last eight years I have no illusions about Danny Alexander’s influence.

      I know you like to think that Scotland and England are identical in all ways but you should read this released by YouGov today

      https://commonspace.scot/articles/778/scotland-to-the-left-of-the-rest-of-the-uk-on-almost-every-issue-according-to-new-yougov-poll

      • I have never said that “Scotland and England are identical in all ways” nor have I ever said “People in Scotland and People in England are identical in all ways”.

        You will of course find that I have said that in many ways around attitudes, and on perspectives on many issues that people living on either side of ‘the border’ are not entirely dissimilar, or are not fundamentally different (as some Nationalists and their memes would have it).

        https://commonspace.scot/articles/778/scotland-to-the-left-of-the-rest-of-the-uk-on-almost-every-issue-according-to-new-yougov-poll

        Right, first of all, this graph is completely meaningless and entirely useless, on its own.

        It doesn’t even have a key or any kind of scale on what those bars actually represent or mean. Where is the dataset?

        And even as the link says itself, other academic studies undertaken using slightly different methods yield slightly different results.

        Without some kind of representation of what those bars in the graph actually mean, it’s difficult to even get started.

        Notwithstanding that, I take the point, and yes, taken as a whole across the piece, people living in Scotland are ‘on average’ more to the left of the people living in England.

        ‘How much’ to the ‘left’ is a moot point, but taking into consideration a number of different studies (using different methods) the margin of variance that the results sit within is a fairly narrow band.

        (This graph doesn’t help as there are no numbers and no scale attached).

        But then, lo and behold, and the end of the article itself:

        “The findings do show Scots tend to be AT LEAST SLIGHTLY TO THE LEFT of the rest of the country on most of the issues that shape British politics”.

        There is no evidence to suggest that the people in Scotland are ‘substantially’ more to the ‘left’ than the people in England.

        Sure, it is absolutely the case that ‘mondeo man’ in middle england / home counties (who Tony Blair managed to capture by convincing him he wasn’t a ‘threat’) wants very different things – low taxes, small state, minimal interference – than what public sector / low skilled manual worker in the NW wants.

        I see you’ve ignored everything else I’ve said, as usual, particularly the point re. support for the EU Scotland Vs England.

        Or about ‘state guardians’ for every child, or centralised holding of increasing amounts of personal data about citizens. Particularly on ‘state guardians’ I find the lack of kerfuffle and protest there’s been in Scotland over this, particularly given that there is a substantial ‘liberal’ tradition, baffling. Why does anyone think this is ok?

        Honestly, now that I have a family, for as long as that’s in place, that would be a deal breaker for me ever returning to Scotland (not that I have any plans to).

        (“Good!” …. “Don’t come back!” … “You have made your bed in that neoliberal hell, lie in it” … etc. etc.)

    • Sometimes moderate social democratic parties do advocate reductions in corporation tax. It’s quite normal for responsible governing parties and those who seek to govern to consider a range of measures aimed at stimulating or dampening down economic growth. Only the most infantile of observers believe that one position or other on corporation tax should be considered to be definitive proof of ideological correctness. Setting corporation tax at levels which suit economic circumstances is what governments of all complexions do.

    • Why so bitter? I agree totally with my namesake above, this is a rant worthy of Cochrane, Massie et al.

    • ‘Calm down – people are only calling you nazis’.

      That’s funny.

      I don’t accept for a moment that state guardians are totalitarian.

      You can only really believe that if you’ve already swallowed whole load of codswallop about the SNP – try Dictator Bingo.

      We can – and I’m sure will – exchange polls and data on attitudes to Europe and immigration.

      Today Alberto Nardelli writes:

      “What is happening in Scotland, just like what hit the Conservatives back in the mid-1990s, should not be cast aside as volatility between elections. The SNP’s optimistic tone on issues such as immigration is particularly popular with younger voters, and in remarkably stark contrast to the stance most parties south of the border have taken on these same matters.”

      See here:

      http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/immigration-as-a-votewinner-the-two-fastestgrowing-parties-are-positive-about-it-10109651.html

  7. We just need to keep the heid, as Project Fear mkII, gets into gear. Yesterday, was a plethora of delights, with the new Tory animation, although I must admit I smiled, and Alex must have too.

    Then we had mini milk snatcher Soubry sitting next to Alex on the Marr show, with badly concealed repulsion in word, and body language. Then we had JimforScotland parroting the largest party tune, with Neil giving him a bit of a ragging.

    It’s an incredible pantomime, which I hope some canny academics are recording as a study in hysteria.

    I suppose this time around, as opposed to indyref, many of the liars and fearmongers are in real danger of being ripped from their place at the trough, and they absolutely know it.

    Anyhoo, it’s light relief from leafleting for my SNP branch.

    • I agree Valerie, it is a bit of a pantomine,but i do have a niggling worry about Alex.I have studied geopolitics for 15 years now and have a fear for the safety of Alex salmond taking a sudden case of heart attack/car crash syndrome.Don’t underestimate these people in power especially with the trident link to the USA.

      • I hear what you are saying, I’m sure those around him would not underestimate what you are saying. Its a sad pass when the Civil service are fully exposed in their chicanery, and no-one is really batting an eyelid. That whole episode just vindicates what so many have said about the validity of the referendum, but the Establishment don’t care, its only the Jocks that are insulted.

        Their disdain for democracy really makes me sick.

  8. Not since Neil Kinnock’s “aright” rap at the Sheffield rally, has a politician made such an utter dick of himself (amongst a list that includes Farage, Curran & Murphy as competition).

    In the late 60’s me and my pals used to play in the back garden at being astronauts – this is like Danny playing at being important. At least we could say, about our astronaut game, that we were just kids.

    Why on earth did nobody say to him.. ” but you’ll look like an utter chump if you take that yellow thing out onto the street “? The man had a precious few grains of credibility left before he threw them away. This was just so ill judged, that in years to come he will cringe with every recall of it, as Kinnock must of Sheffield.

    What we require and are increasingly demanding from our politicians, in Scotland, is a sense that they are not self interested dick heads. That they have conviction and can articulate that intelligently.

    Scottish Greens, SSP and SNP offer that. The others hold up bright shiny empty boxes.

    • The intelligent articulation of the convictions of the Scottish Socialist Party:

      “Public ownership and democratic management of the construction industry”.

      Centralised delivery and control of all development by the state. Think how splendid your great cities would look with that. Deluded.

      “Free bus, rail, underground and ferry travel within four years to cut carbon emissions, enhance social inclusion and save public money by reducing congestion, cutting road accidents and slashing the roads repair bill”

      Notwithstanding how the suggested outcomes of the proposed policies are utter twaddle, (and there would be a different set of consequences, unintended or otherwise) the taxpayer would be neither willing or able to fund this (regardless of how ‘egalitarian’ they are). How on earth would you manage demand for any of these modes?

      “A fully democratic and decentralised NHS”

      The NHS is not, cannot be and must not be ‘a democracy’. If you made it a ‘democracy’, stand back and watch people die. From the person just brought in on a stretcher from the ambulance who’s just gone into cardiac arrest, to what expensive new treatments are approved for use for Cancer etc – someone in authority with the power to do so has to decide.

      “Confiscation of the assets, including factories, offices and equipment, of multinational companies which shift production from Scotland to low wage economies elsewhere”.

      Good Afternoon Mr Mugabe.

      This is just a few, I could go on.

      Fortunately (just like in England), only a small number of bitter malcontents, losers and nutters (<1% of the electorate) votes for bitter malcontents, losers and nutters like these.

      • “This is just a few, I could go on.”

        Yes – you hit the nail on the head there – go on and on and on…

        I am beginning to think you are becoming unhinged worrying about your soon to be SNP MP which you can do nothing about it.

        It is democracy – you won the referendum but you lost the argument.

        We will win next time and free our country.

      • Wow . . .

        These are really helpful posts from ‘Corporatist Hell’.

        It is really helpful for the rest of us to be reminded of the extraordinary bitterness and hopelessness ‘Better Together’ and their ilk offered and offer still, getting more bitter the more they try and convince us that there is no alternative, and that trying to make a better society is a waste of time.

        They just don’t get it (and that’s not surprising if they live down south, although so many down there do – just watch audience responses to Salmond on Question Time, or even more tellingly, peoples surprised and positive responses to Nicola Sturgeon’s straight speaking on gender equality and a whole range of issues).

        What they don’t get is that, for most of us, this isn’t just about Scotland and England and Wales and Ireland and Europe, this is about having the chance to make a better society wherever you draw the boundary and wherever you are.

        It happens that those who struggled for so long for Scottish independence made the space for us to have a Parliament where we can vote for the party we want, not for the party that is slightly less bad than the other one.

        THAT is the democratic basis of our push for independence, that is the basis for the SNP having a positive influence on a defunct British democracy.

        The establishment is running scared but they have nowhere to run to because we are not scared any more, we’re not stopping until e get there. And the journey is full of hope and real relationships of trust, not full of bitterness.

      • @hossmackintosh:

        “Worrying about my soon to be SNP MP”.

        What? SNP candidates are standing in England now?

        “We will win next time and free our country”.

        Sure. IndyRef 2 now, I say.

        I think you should be lobbying hard for the SNP to get the date set.

      • @Justin Hendrick.

        I’ve no idea about the relevance of all that stuff about ‘bitterness’ and the establishment is about.

        I’m simply critiquing the article and comments.

        You’ve just gone off on a riff of your own.

      • What happened, Corporatist??!

        You were becoming so reasonable in your language yesterday (or day before..?) that you even garnered a couple of plaudits from surprised commentators, including from me.

        Early bed and a glass of Horlicks for you.

    • Completely agree, I happened to be watching the whole yellow case thing live, and my jaw was hitting the ground, it was like watching a car crash, it was utterly cringeworthy, esp. since I watched the Budget the previous day with Alexander gurning right behind Gideon, on the govt. benches.

      Then on to the HoC where he was slapped across the wrist by Bercow, whilst trying to shout at about 20 people in the whole chamber. The only one there to support him was Ming the Merciless.

      This episode was utterly hilarious, no wait, we are paying this guy, aren’t we?

  9. Didn’t read the whole article yet – just skimmed it – but was struck by the Alan Massie quote. While I don;t agree with the comparison, it’s worth noting that there was indeed a political pact between the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany for the early part of WW2, and it was extremely successful. The Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact almost won Germany the war, and many historians believe that Hitler’s greatest mistake was to break this pact with Russia. Perhaps if we see the SNP as the left-wing partner, and the Labour party as the right-wing partner, a pact at Westminster could be just as successful and might end in the same way, with annihilation of the treacherous right wing partner and substantial gains for the SNP 😉

  10. It should hold back ‘Project Fear 2’ – they have inflamed the sheeple in rUK and must horrify those who think for themselves. All good for the Yes camp

  11. What is it with some Westminster politicians who find the need to appear in Downing Street and wave an overnight case at the assembled press.
    Aren’t they going to be staying long?
    Perhaps a red one means a two night stay and a yellow one one night?
    Who knows?

  12. The UK has the resources to win any pitched battle (e.g. the referendum campaign) but they are losing the guerilla war. If things carry on as they are, then in the not-too-distant future a unionist party running Scotland will be as hard to imagine as a Scottish Prime Minister is now.

  13. I enjoyed your article, Mike, but am increasingly alarmed at the hysteria and bile of the Establishment press which you have cited. Anna Soubry looked as if she would be defiled with pitch if she touched Alex Salmond: priceless, but it shows the fear and loathing a few SNP MPs coming down to Westminster seem to inspire: “How VERY dare they threaten parliament with, em, democracy?” Can’t these people see the total contradiction in their “argument”? I suppose we should be happy they are digging a bigger and bigger hole for themselves by alienating more and more Scots.

    Incidentally, maxi kerr, I share some of your concern. If you can get your hands on a copy of The Douglas Affair by Alistair Mair, you’ll see what I mean. Spookily prescient about what we have just been through and what we may have before us, even down to a nasty George Square incident. The imperialists won’t give up easily if we in Scotland choose the wrong kind of democrac, and we are the last colony, after all.

    • Corporatist Hell must have missed that, and the other performances of the near fascist mob who run England,and their disgusting press allies, to the detriment of the people there and elsewhere!

      • “The near fascist mob who run England”

        If you think the Conservative / Lib Dem coalition currently governing the UK is ‘fascist’ or even close to such a thing, then you need to take a good look at yourself, get our more, study history more closely and maybe even travel a bit.

        Do you even know what ‘fascist’ and ‘fascism’ actually mean? If you’re pointing to what you consider to be ‘right wing’ tendencies, you should really understand that fascism does not sit neatly within any ‘left-right’ spectrum, and really it incorporates elements of both. (In as much as ‘right and left’ mean anything these days).

        Regarding ‘detriment’, I’m doing great, thanks.

  14. My daughter had to get a new lunch box the other day.Or piece poke as I still call it.Anyway,she got a black,techy looking grown up number.It looks quite cool.She’ll be twelve soon.

  15. Reductio ad Hitlerum is always the giveaway that you’ve already lost the argument – and you know it. Allan Massie’s recent foolish, vulgar and inflammatory diatribes have left me very sad indeed. I’m losing all respect for him.

  16. Anti-Scottish feeling from London-based media will only increase, unless, of course, people in Scotland revert to their proper position as obedient little unionists.

  17. Yellow bags are of course used to dispose of hazardous or contaminated waste, usually by incineration.

    How appropriate.

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