The Sunday Herald & The War On Truth

“But our leaders didn’t just lie to us. They terrified us with spectres of mushroom clouds: they attacked our patriotism if we questioned them; they insulted our intelligence if we said we doubted them; they mocked our reservations; they withheld information; suppressed facts; invented threats and deceived us into backing an illegal war which has left tens of thousands of Iraqis, Britons and Americans – who should be alive today and with their families – very, very dead indeed.”

(Neil Mackay – The War On Truth)

Despite the recent experience many Scots will have had for having their patriotism attacked for merely daring to question, Mr Mackay’s book actually deals with the Iraq war, where amongst other things, he explores and displays considerable understanding of the various mechanisms and machinations used by the UK and US governments to sow the seeds of a lie.

In explaining how the lies were told Neil Mackay tells it from the perspective of the US/UK governments and asks the question “So how are we going to twist the truth – some would call that a lie – and make it look as if Saddam was up to his sweaty little armpits in illegal weapons”

I would ask you to bear that quotation in mind for the remainder of this article.

Neil Mackay, author of The War of Truth, is the same Sunday Herald journalist who wrote the following article.


Some of you may recognise some of the phraseology used by Mr Mackay within the article. In fact the “statement on Vanguard Bears website” is not actually a statement at all; it is the re-production of an article I wrote on my blog some days before entitled “2 sides of a coin” – which appeared on some other Rangers forums and was subject of discussion.


Despite the fact Vanguard Bears followed the caveat I asked of any forums publishing my work i.e. that it is reproduced verbatim, without any additions or deletions, you will notice that Mr Mackay has engaged in some fairly extensive and selective editing
Mr Mackay claims in his article “Yesterday it posted a statement online reading: “Our voice is on the rise, we must by actions, not words or political soundbites, ensure our Union is defended.”

There is a particular twist to this however – some may even call it a lie – but allow me to share with you the unedited version which I originally wrote,  was reproduced verbatim, and is still displayed on my blog.

“Our voice is on the rise, we must by actions, not words or political sound bites, ensure our Union is defended, by attacking the root causes of social injustice and poverty within our society.”

Remind me what you wrote in The War on Truth Mr Mackay ?

“they withheld information; suppressed facts; invented threats and deceived us”

Perhaps the original unedited version doesn’t produce the kind of terrifying spectres Mr Mackay was seeking to portray.

I’m sure Scots of whatever political persuasion found the scenes at George Square unedifying, I know I certainly did.

Of course the Sunday Herald, and it’s pro-independence stance has been of considerable financial benefit with the newspaper boasting a doubling in circulation figures.

It seems the truth certainly can be bought at a price, and that has got to be the most unedifying aspect of all.


Something sinister is happening in our country. It is both unhealthy and unedifying. Perhaps as Scots we should bookmark this moment in time. When we ask ourselves in the future how we arrived at such an unpleasant place as a nation, we can look back to this moment as a suitable point of reference.

What was claimed to be a “joyous celebration of democracy” is now tuning into an attempt to usurp democratic process. Amidst Yes supporters claims of “broken promises,” perhaps someone should remind them that they agreed to respect the result of the referendum win lose or draw. However we now have Alex Salmond and Jim Sillars suggesting that an alternative of means of gaining independence should be pursued.


But if the usurping of democratic process was not bad enough, even more unpalatable have been those within the YES camp who have vented their anger for defeat at the ballot box on Scotland’s OAP’s.


Such unhealthy internet bampottery was unfortunately given “credence” today, courtesy of the outgoing First Minister of Scotland, Alex Salmond :

“I mean when you have a situation where the majority of a country up to the age of 55 is already voting for independence then I think the writing’s on the wall for Westminster. I think the destination is pretty certain, we are only now debating the timescale and the method,”

“I think Scots of my generation and above should really be looking at themselves in the mirror and wonder if we by majority, as a result of our decision, have actually impeded progress for the next generation which is something no generation should do.”

This is particularly difficult to reconcile with YES Scotland’s claims to promote a fairer Scotland and attempted sole ownership of social justice. Ask yourself, what kind of society vilifies a section of the population, and a vulnerable section at that, for not agreeing or sharing a particular vision ? Furthermore is Alex Salmond suggesting ageing voters should cast their vote based upon a perception of what the younger generation want ? What next Alex – an upper age limit should there be a further referendum in the future ?

Given that Gordon Brown and the Westminster politicians who vowed to grant more powers to the Scottish parliament have assured Scots that this process remains very much on track, perhaps if YES supporters are looking for those guilty of broken promises, its they who should be looking in that mirror.

Despite the promise to accept and move on together as a nation following the referendum, a considerable number of YES supporters have sought to identify and separate themselves by means of #45. The exclusive and divisive nature of this action and message prompted YES supporter Andrew Wilson to tweet:

Memo to yessers (corrected): to win progress we need to build a bridge between the 45 and 55 not dig a trench.

I would suggest it’s more than a trench Andrew, it’s now a gaping chasm and it’s growing day by day as many Scots see a more sinister face to YES Scotland. The mask has slipped revealing a petulant child throwing a tantrum because they did not get their way, consisting of people who are prepared to vilify the most vulnerable in our society rather than face up to the failings of their own election campaign.

Even the Queen has not been spared the wrath of YES Scotland.


This is the extent of the “intervention” Sillars refers to. The subsequent Buckingham Palace Statement is crystal clear.

Perhaps it’s time clarification was sought, as the respective comments of Mr Sillars and Mr Salmond are clearly at odds with one another.

Of course it’s not the first time the two have appeared to disagree. Salmond realising the damage Sillars’ “Day of reckoning” tweets were causing refuted such claims stating the 19th of September would be “a day of celebration” in the event of a YES vote.

“The day after a Yes vote there will cease to be a No campaign and Yes campaign – only Team Scotland. We will approach the success of Yes with magnanimity to all. The day after a Yes vote will be a day of celebration for the people, not reckoning for big companies drawn into the No campaign by Downing Street.”

Of course, to use an expression Alex Salmond is eminently familiar with, “within the context of the debate” (Remember the EU legal advice that never was) Salmond has a technical “out” given that there was no YES vote. Perhaps that’s why certain journalists faced a day of reckoning by being banned from the press conference announcing his resignation.

Does the entailment of that mean that the promised “Team Scotland” will not materialise either ?

It’s certainly appears that way and our nation will be all the poorer as a consequence.

2 sides of a coin

It was an all-night vigil born neither out of a sense of excitement, nor for that matter a desire to see history in the making. Instead it was akin to an insomnia driven by a sickening, all-consuming fear, an ominous feeling that one’s own concept of nationhood, of both personal and shared identity, was in mortal danger of being lost forever, never to be reclaimed. Sleep was not so much a luxury, but an unattainable state given the depths of our anxiety.

Our fears were allayed, as one by one, or in some cases two at a time, results came in from Scotland’s 32 local authority regions, confirming that Scotland had said no to independence and yes to a continuation of the Union. I suspect I was not alone amongst Unionists in that my first reaction was one of considerable relief rather than elation.

The political post mortem, so loved by political commentators and analysts, following the delivery of the results made for compulsive viewing. We had a very bitter Lesley Riddoch suggesting the No victory on the night was as a result of shock and awe scaremongering, whilst others suggested the opinion poll which indicated a Yes lead had galvanised both Unionist campaigners and voters into action. Conspicuous by its absence however one reason was which Yes Scotland have, thankfully, failed to both identify and understand throughout the entire course of this debate.

That we Scots are as eminently comfortable with our British identity as we are with our Scottish identity. Why choose one when we can have both? The coin which has heads on one side and tails on the other is nevertheless the same coin. The passion Scots showed for Team GB at the Olympics was every bit as fervent as that which we showed for Team Scotland at the Commonwealth Games. Is it really that difficult for them to understand? Thankfully yes.

I mentioned this recently in article during my review of Born Under a Union Flag: Rangers, the Union and Scottish Independence when I commented on the debate in chapter 7 between Alan Bissett and John DC Gow. Bissett fails to not only recognise a genuine sense of British identity within Unionist Scots, he at times treats such a notion with complete disdain by besmirching the very character of Britain and its history. For dual nationality Scots who look upon ourselves as every bit British as much as Scottish, this is in effect an attack on our nationhood, our history, values and beliefs. Britain is not just a chunk of rock to us, it is our country and its values and beliefs have as much to with defining who we are as a people every bit as much as Scotland does.

If Yes Scotland wish to produce evidence of negative campaigning during this debate they should look to their own failure to even recognise what, for many Scots consider, is not only a sense of British identity, but is at the very epicentre of the values we cherish.

Such a failure to recognise the importance of our British identity was as much a hammer blow to Yes’ aspirations as was currency or EU membership. It left us with a choice where there was only ever going to be one winner – did they really expect us to commit to a vote which would exterminate our sense of nationhood forever?

The silent majority have spoken. But we must continue to speak, and speak with a sense of passion and renewed confidence in what we truly believe in and seek to uphold. Let it now be the Unionist voice which protects our NHS, fights with unrelenting determination to establish social justice, as well as eradicate poverty and it’s manifestations from the shores of our United Kingdom.

Our voice is on the rise, we must by actions, not words or political sound bites, ensure our Union is defended, by attacking the root causes of social injustice and poverty within our society.

Britain expects – let’s be the generation who insist without compromise, that our politicians deliver.

Be Afraid…

Whilst actions may well speak louder than words, there is still considerable merit in evaluating statements of intent. At the very heart of the independence campaign politicians from either side have asked us to buy into and believe their vision for our country. But what is that vision ?

The Yes campaign would have us believe that an independent Scotland would present us with the opportunity for a fairer and more just society, an altruistic ideal any voter would be attracted to. The “fairer and more just society” bandwagon has trundled along throughout this campaign fairly securely until yesterday, when the wheels well and truly fell off the wagon.

The damage of course was self inflicted, courtesy of former SNP deputy leader and Yes campaigner Jim Sillars in a series of tweets, which had at their very heart a poisonous thirst for vengeance, an intention to punish, to openly discriminate against, to act with complete and utter prejudice towards, businesses who had the audacity or temerity to disagree with Yes Scotland

Here are a few examples of the “fairer and more just society” Jim Sillars would have us buy into with our vote.

BP,Bankers,Standard Life etc we shall always remember them, and they us at 10.01pm on 18th #indyref

Don’t get angry with Sky/BBC coverage, get even; use our power and win. #indyref

BP more oil licences after independence? Answer never heard of you #indyref

On road #margomobile. Picking up boycott of orgs forming. First tgts J Lewis, Waitrose BP petrol stns #indyref

Mr Sillars suggests there will be a “Day of Reckoning” for all Pro-union businesses. I wonder what awaits the voters and campaigners who had the temerity to vote or campaign for a no vote – will we also face a “Day of Reckoning” ? Perhaps the salt mines and hard labour awaits us, whilst we undergo “re-education” ?

So what is fairer and more just about a government which openly declares it’s intention to punish and discriminate against businesses which are not on their side, or have the audacity to question or voice concerns over future economic proposals and the security of jobs for their employees ? Ask yourself, is this the kind of behaviour and environment which is likely to attract new business to Scotland ?

Yesterday the mask slipped revealing a particularly ugly, poisonous, vengeful side to those at the very top of Yes Scotland. Their contention and vision of a “more just and fairer Scotland” was destroyed forever by their inability to control their own hatred.

Ironically Mr Sillars Twitter “handle” is NaeFear. I would respectfully suggest otherwise.

Be afraid, be very very afraid; and let that fear of the unacceptable, the unedifying, the unjust, the unpalatable, ensure that on the 18th you vote “No” to the politics of hatred and recrimination.

Border Patrols – Get used to it

The Scottish Mail on Sunday opens today with the “shocking” claim by Ed Miliband that he will be putting guards on the Scottish/English border – in short a border checkpoint. It makes you wonder if some of the “Yes” voters have actually considered in full, the entailment of what their “Yes” vote means. That’s the problem when reality catches up with romantic notion, or more appropriately, what both sides have referred to throughout this campaign as the “emotional vote”.

This is no “Brigadoon” either. Never mind in 4 years or in the case of the former 100 years, this is a one off vote which will determine our country’s destiny forever. There is no going back.

For those of us not casting an “emotional vote” there is a strange logic at work here. We no longer wish to be part of a union with England, Wales and Northern Ireland, with whom we have shared language, shared culture and shared history amongst other things, but are quite happy to enter into a union with Germany, France, Italy, Hungary etc via the European Union. But there is considerable doubt the latter will be the case, despite the claims of the “Yes” campaign.

But like so much within the “Yes” campaign such an assertion is based on hope rather than reality.

Actually I was probably being overgenerous using the term “hope” rather than “misleading” or “lying”.

So perhaps for a generation of Scots both young and old, we better acclimatise to the notion of border patrols. Not just with England mind you, but right across Europe as the impact of a “Yes” vote takes effect. There is a considerable irony that the desire for “Freedom” will actually bring less freedoms to a whole generation of Scots. The legislation guaranteeing us freedom of movement, freedom of work etc will no longer be applicable for a Scotland outside the European Union, and as the saying goes “You can take that to the bank”

Which bank that will be in an independent Scotland is of course, anyone’s guess.