Sounding off: UK’s Pyrrhic victory (Brian Nugent)

Retired lecturer BRIAN NUGENT, chairman of the Scottish independence campaign group Yes Shetland, alleges that people were “conned, bullied and panicked” into voting no in September’s referendum.

There was a no vote on 18th September, so how can we explain what has happened since in Scotland? Where has the rocketing membership of independence supporting parties come from? How can the opinion polls be so consistent over the four months since the referendum in showing, first a huge jump, and then consistent high support for the SNP?

Locally in Shetland, SNP membership is up by nearly 600 per cent, and the Scottish Greens membership is up too.
I did hear David Mundell, the lone Tory MP in Scotland, claim, rather lamely, that the Scottish Tories had had an increase in membership as well of 200.

The SNP has become the third biggest political party by membership in UK, never mind Scotland, at over 93,000.
Given the result, should membership and opinion polls not be going in the other direction? Independence is not going away; if anything it is more centre stage than during the referendum.

I believe that the UK scored a Pyrrhic victory in the last week of the referendum campaign. With 10 days to go and after two years of scare stories, one opinion poll showing a lead for yes of 51 per cent produced an initial panic and then the UK went into overdrive. Supermarkets, banks, insurance companies were all “persuaded” to speak out against independence.

The big thing was the “vow” in the Daily Record. The wording is mainly meaningless waffle. Somehow, the implication was that “devo max” was on offer although not in the wording.

The timing of the vow, on 16th September, showed sheer panic, sheer cynicism. One quarter of voters were postal votes, and had probably voted at that stage, so this was no planned entry into the campaign.

But, the vow, and the rest, had the desired effect. At least some of the no voters were conned, bullied, panicked into voting no. And that is why, I believe, the political situation today in Scotland is the one that we have. A lot of no voters woke up on the 19th and regretted their no vote.

How many opinion polls have shown since the referendum, since the dust has settled on the vow, that a majority would now vote yes?

The first ballot box is emptied at the count in the Clickimin Complex.
The first ballot box is emptied at September’s count in the Clickimin Complex.

Independence is not going away.

We have had the Smith Commission, and now we have had a “command paper” and now we have had the UK Parliament on Monday 26th January fall at the first fence when it had a chance to implement a Smith Commission power, listed as clauses 69 and 70.

During the fracking debate in the House of Commons an amendment, to amend the Scotland Act, was voted down by 324 to 231. The amendment would have given the Scottish government responsibility for licensing and mineral access rights for onshore shale gas extraction. Scotland would have had control over fracking.

And our MP, home rule’s great advocate, if you listen to his bombast, voted against as well.

He welcomed the home rule that he saw being implemented in the “momentous” draft legislation command paper report published the previous week. As Mandy Rice Davies said, well he would say that, wouldn’t he.

Devo max, home rule, Smith Commission; what is on offer? Is anything worthwhile on offer or is it really just the devo minimum that that UK parties and politicians think that they can get away with?

In the vow, three UK party leaders agreed that “the Scottish Parliament is permanent and extensive new powers for the Parliament will be delivered”.

Extensive? What was missed in the proposals of the Smith Commission is extensive, and have since been watered down further in the command paper.

Among the missing are powers over the minimum wage, pensions, employment law, equality law, National Insurance, housing benefit, universal credit, broadcasting, corporation tax, inheritance tax, capital gains, renewable energy and oil.

What the UK parties should do is list the powers in the command paper, explain how they match “extensive”, and how the powers can be made to work in the Scottish Parliament.

There are further problems with what is on offer. One is that we get bits of powers, the appearance of power. Scotland can collect income tax but cannot alter rates or bands. Scotland will get half of the VAT take but cannot alter rates.

Another is that some of what has been reserved to Westminster and some of what might be devolved to Edinburgh will lead to conflict, a real mishmash of powers that do not appear to have been thought through logically, about how different powers work together.

Yet another is that a new benefit could be researched and modelled but not implemented by the Scottish Parliament because the secretary of state at a UK level would have to give permission for this to go ahead. Is this devolution of powers or is it just there to emphasise who is really in charge?

What chance is there of getting a future parliament to vote through extra powers for the Scottish Parliament when the current one declines its first chance?

The intemperate discussion on the BBC’s Question Time on powers for Scotland gives further clues as to how low down the priorities powers for Scotland is.

The UK parties have set a trap for themselves with their miserly approach to giving powers to the Scottish Parliament.

Had they been generous or, at least, logical in their distribution of powers they might have had a case. But they have none and everyone, whether a yes or a no voter, can see right through them and should vote accordingly in May.

• This article first in appeared in The Shetland Times, 30th January edition.


Add Your Comment
  • J R Wilson

    • February 2nd, 2015 13:59

    Thank god people had sense to vote against independence, with hindsight the fall in value of oil it would have been a total disaster but you still have people supporting the SNP? amazing!

    Does the “N” in SNP stand for neeps?

    • Brian Nugent

      • February 5th, 2015 19:20

      During the campaign the value of oil was described by the Yes side as a bonus to Scotland as Scotland pays its way, so the current value of oil is interesting but no more than that.
      The referendum was about independence, and many folk who voted against independence now feel they were cheated in the last week of the campaign, which has to be the explanation for the on going surge to the SNP in the opinion polls.
      Read the article.
      I am not a member of the SNP.

  • Gordon Harmer

    • February 2nd, 2015 16:24

    Brian asserts, “Among the missing are powers over the minimum wage, pensions, employment law, equality law, National Insurance, housing benefit, universal credit, broadcasting, corporation tax, inheritance tax, capital gains, renewable energy and oil.”

    Brian this sounds a lot like independence, maybe you forgot, but we voted against it, on September the 18th 2014.

    • Brian Nugent

      • February 5th, 2015 19:32

      Your namesake Gordon Brown has come out with the Vow 2. He can see that the Smith Commission powers are minimal and has suggested more.
      The Vow and the Smith Commission were a game of charades to maintain the union, looks like voters are not going to put up with it.
      How else to explain after the defeat in the referendum that the memberships of the pro independence parties (SNP, Scottish Greens and Scottish Socialist Party) have increased dramatically and the unprecedented SNP position in the opinion polls.
      Read the article.
      I am not a member of the SNP.

  • Henry Condy / 12 Loag

    • February 2nd, 2015 17:54

    And Lo with less than 100days to go to the election Mr Harmer has raised his head above the parapet ( again ) no doubt the three wise men will follow spreading lies and confusion, everything I said has came about, Cameron and his cronies giving powers ( Diluted of course ) after all we can all use reduced passenger duty, I said we would get crumbs and we did, my father said son ‘ Son paper accepts anything ( read Harmer, ) l would have more respect for Mr Harmer if he visited as I do old friends in Shetland who sleep in their living rooms with a blanket over them because they can only afford to heat that room, families where two parents work and have to rely on food banks, I donate , these are not scroungers, charities pass out the food, and your Tory government has made this the norm, although it’s their failure in government ( But it saves them money,the oppressed people doing the Christian thing and helping their neighbour out )
    l have no idea how the war generation feel, I think I would be disgusted by today’s attitudes. Whatever anyone says about the break up of the Union. It will and under Cameron if he is voted in,I voted yes for a kinder fairer society, oil price at a low, it will rise again, this can be manipulated for political instability throughout the world, ask farmers about milk prices, same issue, so I will lay down to sleep, thinking of old folk and what remaining dignity they are allowed, then think of the staticticians, who in their world of numbers, things are hunky dory, sleep well you know who you are PS if Alistair Carmichael says we must consult with the UK government, but Holyrood can pass laws any ,why bother consulting, as I said he who has the purse strings has the power, don’t ever forget it

    • Ali Inkster

      • February 2nd, 2015 21:21

      £440 million of grant from Westminster not spent by the SSnp all while they shout loudly about being underfunded by Westminster. We are being deceived allright. Better aff clear o da lot o dem.

    • John Tulloch

      • February 2nd, 2015 21:30

      Manipulation of the oil price has long been the preserve of OPEC who restricted production to push the price up. The problem they have now is that the Americans have discovered new ways to boost their own oil production which they can’t afford to lose market share by cutting production enough to sustain the high price, so they’re trying to squeeze out weaker competition like the North Sea, by letting the price fall in a price war.

    • Gordon Harmer

      • February 3rd, 2015 9:22

      Mr Condy, the next you and the SNP blame Westminster for cuts, remember the SNP withheld nearly half a billion pounds last year and over two billion pounds over the last eight years.

      The SNP allowed the public institutions and the poor to suffer unnecessarily in order to stir up resentment against the UK and try and win the referendum. For the SNP its Independence at any cost even if it means using the poor as levers to gain support for it while blaming Westminster.

      2007 to 2008 £274 million under spend,
      2008 to 2009 £254 million under spend,
      2009 to 2010 £253 million under spend,
      2010 to 2011 £330 million under spend,
      2011 to 2012 £201 million under spend,
      2012 to 2013 £200 million under spend,
      2013 to 2014 £413 million under spend,
      2014 to 2015 £444 million under spend.

      Look at the figures and note the year of campaigning and the year of the referendum the under spend doubled, to make a greater affect of the policy to blame Westminster for the plight of the poor. With the amount of under spend over the past years the SNP government could have eradicated food banks and the plight of the poor in Scotland.

  • Wayne Conroy

    • February 2nd, 2015 18:03

    Here we go again… Mr Nugent on another rant about “scare tactics”.

    It is frankly insulting to the intelligence of the majority (yes Mr Nugent… the majority) of the public to suggest that anyone was “conned, bullied or panicked” into voting no.

    I, for one, voted no as it was the common sense thing to do. If the SNP had been able to answer even some of the fundamental questions as to what our situation would be after a “yes” vote perhaps they would have faired better – It’s just a shame that the likes of Mr Nugent is too blinkered to see this.

    • Brian Nugent

      • February 5th, 2015 19:43

      Yes, the No side won.
      So, explain why the memberships of the pro independence parties (SNP, Scottish Greens and Scottish Socialist Party) have increased dramatically and the unprecedented SNP position in the opinion polls.
      Seems to me that the article suggests a reason, voters feel conned, bullied…..
      I am not a member of the SNP.

      • Wayne Conroy

        • February 8th, 2015 1:46

        Or how about you explain to me where the comments are from these bullied masses? Where are these conned individuals? They don’t seem to be commenting here either.

        I guess maybe they’re all too busy joining pro independence parties…

      • Gordon Harmer

        • February 8th, 2015 17:16

        With an SNP membership of around 300, which then makes SNP membership in Shetland a mere 1.6 per cent of the total electorate of 18000.

        There were 5,669 yes votes in Shetland, a mere five per cent of which now make up the SNP membership.
        Out of the 4.5 million voters in Scotland a mere 2.06 per cent are SNP members, so hardly the huge jump or rocketing membership Brian claims.

        The SNP membership is obviously made up of the 37 per cent of Scotland’s electorate who voted yes, so Brian’s assertions are just assertions. All that has happened is a few yes voters have joined the SNP, leaving the no voters where they have always been, in the majority.

  • joe johnson

    • February 2nd, 2015 18:19

    Get over it! The majority of Scotland voted no.

    • Brian Nugent

      • February 5th, 2015 20:06

      9 out of every 20 voted for independence, good starting point for the next time.
      The reaction of the unionist parties in neutering the Smith Commission proposals is pushing more voters towards independence.

      • Gordon Harmer

        • February 8th, 2015 17:18

        I think you will find there were 7.4 out of every 20 voters who voted for independence, just over one third of the total electorate, a minority if I am not mistaken.

      • Robert Duncan

        • February 9th, 2015 9:40

        If you’re counting people who didn’t vote (a very silly argument to get in to) the No vote was also under 50%.

      • Gordon Harmer

        • February 9th, 2015 14:20

        You want to dismiss three quarters of a million people from the statistics Robert, now who is being silly? Typical though disenfranchise a group who will make a difference, now people are more involved in politics, not a clever way to make your point. It is not just yes voter who are more energised we no voters are energised and organised and are gaining a massive amount of support for tactical voting to beat the SNP, But unlike you we do not disenfranchise any group, if they are registered voters they count. Don’t think people who didn’t vote in the referendum dont read comments like yours then make their minds up as to who represents them and what they think best.

      • Robert Duncan

        • February 9th, 2015 16:47

        I’m not dismissing anybody. For whatever reason they decided not to vote – entirely their right and not a position I judge at all negatively. However, to use their silence as a political football seems puerile. There is a tendency to ascribe the remainder of the electorate to the No side, but that seems presumptuous to me. If you are going to use the the 37.8% figure in relation to the yes vote, we must also acknowledge that (somewhat worryingly), not even 50% of the electorate felt strongly enough about the continuation of the Union to vote to preserve it.

      • Gordon Harmer

        • February 9th, 2015 17:10

        Robert you are conveniently forgetting that the question on the ballot paper was ” do you think Scotland should be an independent country” and only 37.8% said yes. I gather from that, that the other 62,2 either decided no, or were not convinced that it was a good enough idea to even go and cast a vote for. Or 16% who did not vote were no voters who were so confident the no vote would win any way so stayed at home. They certainly were not yes voters and there is no argument that can say otherwise.

      • Ali Inkster

        • February 9th, 2015 19:09

        Having discussed this with a few folks that did not vote the most common reason for not voting would seem to be even though they wanted an independent Scotland they could not in all good conscience vote for it in the form offered by the SSnp. Casting of westminster just to be a smaller part of a European superstate was “utter madness”.

      • Robert Duncan

        • February 10th, 2015 10:12

        Gordon, I have never suggested they are Yes voters. Nothing I have posted even implies that. I have been very clear, they did not vote, so their votes do not get attributed to either side. If you want to use the 37.8% Yes vote figure, you must also use the 46.7% No vote figure.

        I don’t deny that not enough people wished for an independent Scotland enough for it to happen. I count myself among those who almost swung to Yes but ultimately wasn’t convinced enough to do so. However, we must also acknowledge that, even with polls suggesting a very tight run, less than half of the voters of Scotland cared enough about the Union to actively vote to preserve it.

        That is a very worrying state of affairs to me.

  • iantinkler

    • February 2nd, 2015 21:24

    My goodness, grow up man. Salmond got well stuffed. The Scots clearly were not fooled by we Alex nor yourself. Over for a generation to quote we Alex, the most important vote for 300 years to quote we Alex. Now get over it, not a Pyrrhic victory for the Nos but an emphatic defeat for the Yessers,

    • Brian Nugent

      • February 5th, 2015 19:57

      Agreed the referendum was lost by the Yes side (this time).
      And that is the point, the Yes side was made up of folk that are non party, Labour, Tory, Lib Dem, Scottish Greens, Scottish Socialist Party and SNP.
      Making one individual in one party the target of a opposition bile is a tactic but does your side of the discussion little credit and if, anything, makes your side look petty.
      If No had such a triumph, explain why the memberships of the pro independence parties (SNP, Scottish Greens and Scottish Socialist Party) have increased dramatically and the unprecedented SNP position in the opinion polls.
      I am not a member of the SNP.

  • Brian Smith

    • February 3rd, 2015 7:45

    Can I suggest that commentators check text carefully and remove all cliches before pressing the ‘submit comment’ button?

    • John Tulloch

      • February 3rd, 2015 10:12

      Steady, Brian, nixt someen’ll mebby tell wis ta keep skyimp oot o’ wir comments, tuy!

  • Gordon Harmer

    • February 3rd, 2015 13:38

    Can I ask anyone if they know what SNP did with the anti poverty cash mentioned so long ago. Just where did this money go, and how did they manage such a massive under spend.

    • Sandy McMillan

      • February 5th, 2015 18:12

      It went back to Westminster, to help pay of there debt, among other things that the Tory Lib Dem made a mess of, and conned Scotland after the Referendum.

  • Kathy Greaves

    • February 5th, 2015 8:44

    I think it is sick that delusioned Yes voters still continue to try to create disharmony, division and hatred amongst our own people. Don’t they think there is enough hatred in the world already. Leave it. The people have voted.

  • Robert Smith

    • February 5th, 2015 9:53

    Sorry Kathy I disagree, most of the disharmony is coming from the winning side. I voted No, but only because I believe in a federal Scotland, and feel this is the only long term solution if the union is to survive. The claims and counter claims after the Smith commission only remind everyone that the offer made in the run up to the 18th September, were not made for the benefit of Scotland, but the benefit of the existing politicians. I am now if the opinion that the SNP and the Greens are the only parties that will deliver a real federal country, the Liberals interpretation as “home rule” is laughable, and Labour will say and offer anything to get elected. The whole political structure of the UK needs to reinvent itself, how can a country as rich as ours need food banks ?, and for this not to be a national embarrassment.


    • John Tulloch

      • February 5th, 2015 11:15

      Food banks?

      High energy prices lead directly to increasing fuel poverty.
      Fuel poverty brings the “heat or eat” dilemma.
      In the absence of “heat banks”, the fuel poor decide to “eat” at “food banks”.
      Ergo, increasing use of food banks.

      But what makes energy prices rise?

      Making laws (Climate Change (Scotland)Act, 2009)) which force utilities to buy wind power at 2-3 times the price of conventional energy and pass the cost in to consumers’ bills.

      Anything else?

      Yes. Implementing a “moratorium” on shale gas exporation in Scotland thus preventing the availability of cheaper gas.

      That’s what the SNP and the Scottish Greens have brought – and the other main Scottish and UK parties, especially, Labour and the Liberals, are little better on this.

    • Johan Adamson

      • February 5th, 2015 12:49

      I also agree with Robert Smith. SNP could manage things better, but at least they do something, they seem to have ideas worth stealing by the others. Federalism is just a pipe dream, Labour are no longer the labour party, given that they are no longer have any left wing policies, and all parties are in league with the Tories and the status quo. There is no one left to vote for. And if there are more members of the SNP willing to speak out against windfarms and get a better schools budget, then that is what we need to be doing.

      • Ali Inkster

        • February 5th, 2015 14:44

        “And if there are more members of the SNP willing to speak out against windfarms” It is SSnp policy to build even more windfarms so you’re barking up the wrong tree there. And with their pact with the greens (another bunch willing to do untold damage to Shetlands economy to salve the souls of city bound hippies) there is not much chance of that changing.

      • John Tulloch

        • February 5th, 2015 15:09


        Professor Paul Younger, a “Yes” voter and distinguished expert in groundwater issues in the coal industry and a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering, who served – unpaid – on both the UK and Scottish Governments’ investigations into shale gas extraction has written an article in The Times expressing dismay at the Scottish government implementing a “fracking moratorium” in Scotland, ignoring the conclusions of his panel that:

        “The impacts are trivial compared to those I spent my career combating”

        He continues;-

        “…the fuss which has greeted UK shale gas proposals has portrayed it as an apocalyptic development with unfathomable scope for damage. This is simply wrong.

        ….Yet the Scottish government has repeatedly refrained from reminding people that the report even exists…….

        ……In the days following the “yes” campaign, I and other scientists watched in dismay as our social networks degenerated into wilfully uninformed anti-fracking lobbies…..”

        Concluding, he wrote:

        “…..when I publish(ed) an academic paper which demonstrated that the UK government’s hastily-introduced rules on fracking-induced seismicity are 40,000 times stricter than the rules for quarry blasting, I ended up with a death threat.”

        The SNP have, simply, demonised fracking, as a stick with which to beat Westminster and they are prepared to continue inflicting fuel poverty and food banks on less well-off Scots to achieve that electoral that purpose.

        In what way does this differ from the conniving in Westminster that the SNP so self-righteously purport to despise?

      • Johan Adamson

        • February 6th, 2015 8:47

        Well, John and Ali, join the SNP and change their policies

      • Johan Adamson

        • February 6th, 2015 9:07

        If this debate is now about fracking then I would say good to have a moratorium on fracking, until we find out more, i would just add windfarms and nuclear to that list. If, with hydro etc, Scotland is already self-sufficient in power, then there is no need for fracking til we find out more. Good, if it can displace the wind industry with less risk and disruption. We dont know enough about it.

      • John Tulloch

        • February 6th, 2015 13:51


        You’re obviously not one of the “fuel poor”.

        We don’t need to find out more, didn’t you read my comment?

        Professor Younger and a panel of other distinguished experts in mineral extraction were brought together by the Scottish government to investigate the potential and possible consequences of shale gas production in Scotland.

        Professor Younger, who is a “Yes” voter, says the “impacts are trivial”.

        Yet the SNP and now, you, are prepared to ignore the experts’ advice and deny cheap fuel to those in fuel poverty, simply, to garner votes from the comfy, middle class “chattering classes” of the Central Belt and beyond, who imagine they will, somehow, be “saving the Planet” by supporting this quixotic act by the SNP.

      • John Tulloch

        • February 6th, 2015 13:53


        If Ali and I joined the SNP, we would be condoning the very energy policies that we find objectionable.

        The way to change those policies is for prople to onject to them with logic and vote against them.

  • John Tulloch

    • February 5th, 2015 11:02

    @Robert Smith,

    I thought the SNP and the Scottish Greens wanted an independent Scotland, not a federal UK?

    I think I’m right in saying that the Liberals, with all their faults, are the only ones who have used the word “federation”?

    • Robert Smith

      • February 5th, 2015 12:25

      John, I am fully aware that the Greens and SNP are pro independence, but to become independant there must be another referendum, and I believe that there will be 3 options next time. Because of the fear of loss, these options will include a Federal Scotland/ Devo Max. So I am lending the SNP / Greens my vote until either a proper opposition party comes to power or we get another vote.

    • Bill Adams

      • February 5th, 2015 19:10

      The Liberals may have professed in the past to support Federalism, but the watered-down provisions of the bill to implement the proposals of the Smith Commission in no way constitute either federalism or indeed Devo Max, despite Alistair Carmichael’s laughable attempts to pass it off as “Home Rule”.

  • David Spence

    • February 5th, 2015 11:11

    I agree with much of what Robert S, has said.

    The United Kingdom is becoming more and more disconnected with the people and the political system is completely ignoring the people for the greater good of the minority and this of business.

    The principles of business itself, like our present political system, is selfish to the extreme, and is causing major fractures within society regardless to the overall impact this selfish ideology is having on the population as a whole.

    This present Government is putting itself first and the interests of the minority are taking precedence over Government legislation, where the agenda is the complete opposite to the function and purpose of what an, allegedly, elected Government should be……………this of serving the greater good for the people and not for itself and a minority to prosper at the cost of the people.

    Capitalism (the love of money) by its very nature, is a totally selfish and highly destructive (in all aspects) ideology, where greed, profit, shareholders take the largest piece of the pie, and care not to the impact they have on the rest of society, as long as they are sitting comfortably (bailing out the banks).

    As long as humanity acts like a selfish capitalist, then the problems of the environment, the destruction of natural habitat, the destruction and pollution of the oceans, rising populations, war and conflict (which the banks love as it brings them huge profits) and many other destructive influences then the future and the issues related to the planet will never be resolved.

  • Gordon Harmer

    • February 5th, 2015 17:05

    Here is something I found posted on a social network site, as it has no link to it I just had to copy and paste as is says it just as it is.

    The separatist express train rumbles on, it’s cancelled all stops, you hear a constant whine drowning out the sound of the engines as it passes, oblivious to “democracy”… and “the settled will of the Scottish people” which its drivers vowed to uphold, even signed a pledge to honour – at their leaders own demand. It’s only got one destination, but at least half the passengers climbed on board believing it had far more and would stop long before the “end of the line”, no ones told them yet… the drivers are heading for “independence or bust” and all the doors are closed, those trying to climb off are fed a heavy dose of rhetoric and propaganda, least they become a “traitor”. It’s a Scottish Express Train, just for Scottish people, those deemed anything more or less are thrown off, everyone has to have a Saltire and it needs to be tightly wound around their neck, least the blood supply run freely to their brains and logic and common sense wakes them up. Passengers also qualify on their journey in, “Ancient Scottish Nationalist Mythology”, “Modern Scottish Nationalist Mythology”, “Ancient Grievances”, “Modern Grievances”, “Advanced rhetoric for Nationalists”, “Why We Hate Britain”, “Why we Should Hate the English”, revise it well and troll it online 24/7 thank God for wifi!
    Ooo I think I hear it coming now, the Driver’s been changed, but the Fat Controller is still pulling the strings.

  • iantinkler

    • February 6th, 2015 7:21

    SNP , Labour, Greens all a bunch of socialists idealists., Just off slightly different colour and odour. I personally share Churchill’s views on Socialism “”Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy, its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery.” Truly the lessons of recent history so bear out that quotation. It is quite fun watching Scotland’s lefty’s fighting like ferrets in a sack for the left wing vote. I for one, have a dislike of socialism and an utter loathing for divisive nationalism. I fear perhaps the Nationalist agenda is to now to split the UK by making the intelligent Scots voter emigrate in disgust to the rest of the UK, making Scotland a third world socialist state, truly horrible to live in.. Let’s face it, look what a devolved Scottish Health Service has done to Shetlands Dental health Service, next education, then energy perhaps. Well done Nats, your true face is beginning to show!

  • Robin Mouatt

    • February 6th, 2015 19:20

    Where are the comments from these people who are crying into their cereal every morning saying that they feel they were bullied into voting no and are now regretting it? There not here because they simply don’t exist. Where are the people saying the feel they have been conned because Westminster said further powers would be devolved to Scotland? They are not here because the Smith Report has started the process and as promised more powers will be held by Holyrood (the majority don’t listen to the screams of the SNP & yes supporters that it is not enough because we know that anything short of devo max, which was never on the table, they are not going to stop complaining about it). If the yes supporters are so certain that the majority voted no on the basis of Westminster’s promise to give further powers, which any strategist should have been waiting for the no campaign to roll out, then they should commission a real study into the turn around of votes based on this “bullying” tactic – but we all know what the outcome would be don’t we and the yes campaign was never in favour of reality was it.
    Mr Nugent has asked several commenters to explain the growth in political party membership, well we all know that Scotland has never been so politically engaged as they were for this referendum. The people who got behind/ were convinced to vote yes I imagine have largely never been a member of any political party, especially the young people who are meant to have made up a large part of the yes vote. It is pretty self-evident I would say why there is an uptake in membership. But I am sure the retort would be why are the other parties not seeing such growth, well other than nationalists how often do you see Scottish people wearing their political colours on their sleeve? Especially as we come up to a General Election where we have a situation which is unusual for Scotland, Labour are barely an alternative to the Tories and how many Scots are going to admit to considering voting conservative after the great evils they did to Scotland 30 years ago making it still the greatest political taboo in the country. 93 thousand out of a population of around 5 million doesn’t really say much other than people who have probably always largely held nationalistic views and a newly inspired youth are now willing to wear their political colours on their sleeve.
    Also Mr Nugent keeps hinting at his belief that another referendum will happen, do you really think that the circumstances will ever line up so neatly again that will give the nationalists the forward momentum they need to get votes? I don’t think anyone will contest that the no campaign was weak but even so in a time of austerity and political disillusionment still the majority went with the union. The UK economy is slowly recovering, confidence in Europe providing any back up to an independent Scotland is dead, the Scottish parliament is to receive further powers with all the security of the UK and we have all just witnessed what happens when a countries economy is so reliant on oil income. If the vote could not be won at the most optimum time with the weakest opposition it would be pretty foolish to try again and I suspect even the SNP are unlikely to take that risk, not in most of our life times at least.

  • Robert Smith

    • February 7th, 2015 10:44

    Ian & Gordon,
    I think you are both missing the bigger picture, I am not a socialist or a Nationalist, there is a mismatch between the London centric policies of the existing political system and the rest of UK. In my opinion there is something wrong with a system that applauds the 1% owning so much. Is it so wrong to think this needs to be tweaked the other way.
    The movement for change is not a Nationalist one, or a particularly Scottish one, it is about brining democracy back, and making it relevant. No one that I am aware of is suggesting we do away with a system where we elect a government, which seems to be what Gordon is panicking about. Gordon when you compare the Scottish parliament to the Westminster parliament, is it not abundantly obvious that the political leanings are different ?, these differences are what the whole movement is about.

  • Gordon Harmer

    • February 8th, 2015 11:02

    Robert, it is you who is missing the bigger the bigger picture; you fail to read between the lines of the SNPs intentions. Which the way I see it are something we do not get a clear picture on because it is painted somewhat abstract for the purpose of political confusion. Their aim to annihilate the Tories, Labour and the Lib Dems, is not only undemocratic and not for the good of the Scottish people but has one twisted purpose. Which is to drive a train right through the middle of the UKs constitutional and political system (against the will of the Scottish electorate) to gain independence via a secondary rout.

    There will be no tweaking if the get the amount of seats they wish for, the political knob will be wound a full 360 degrees, in a direction you and the nationalists will live to regret.

  • Henry Condy

    • February 9th, 2015 14:52

    Dear Mr Harmer, if you take your statistics of the surge in SNP membership and apply the same criteria to the other parties membership, throughout Scotland after the election in May , well it will be goodnight Vienna to a very large number of them, and only because they became bedfellows with the Tories, at the time of the farce known locally as the Referendum, any one feel their jackets on a shoogly nail then Westminster will be an interesting place, Alex Salmond could be deputy Prime Minister, Cameron will break up the Union mark my words my thoughts are with the Shetland milk producers who can’t compete against £1 a litre, from down south, flooding Shetland with cheap milk. I would rather see Shetland only milk in shops , and this would not dent the profits of the huge dairy companies with 65million milk buyers down South, and this would sustain Shetland Dairies

    • Gordon Harmer

      • February 9th, 2015 17:01

      Dear Mr Condy, the other parties came together and defeated the SNP in the democratic referendum which was instigated by the SNP. If therefore it was a farce it was a farce produced, directed and written by the same SNP, who certainly will not get an OSCAR nomination for their pathetic performance.

      The other parties due to efforts by the grass roots activists will come together again and defeat the SNP in their quest for power in May, by instigating a mutual agreement and voting tactically. This agreement is on its way now to make the biggest casualty the SNPs candidate in the Gordon constituency.

      As far as your comments on milk I suggest you go hold a protest outside our local supermarket where the blame really lies.

  • Henry Condy

    • February 9th, 2015 22:58

    Dear Gordon, as you say the other parties, ganged With all the heavy duty press, they printed the famous vow. then finally big business threatening to leave Scotland, then Cameron running out twelve hours after the result saying no Scots votes in Westminster, this with no communication between the three parties the talk about, frightening old folk about their pensions,Gordon don’t worry about another referendum, we are having one in May but it’s called a general election, and after the bare faced lies, the cheating foisted on Scotland by the gang of three , the Scots saw these politicians in their true colours there will be a mass implosion of all three parties, the Scots won’t be conned again, wait and see, I see no comment from you on zero hours contracts, or your statistics and opinions about thousands of old folk dying of the cold after Cameron stole £50 of their money three years ago, and its an ongoing theft or do these issues not matter to you

  • Henry Condy

    • February 9th, 2015 23:05

    As for your casual throwaway remark about milk and local supermarkets, I suggest you go to the local dairy farmers with that comment Say it to them then have a debate on your comments, as it seems you have no time for the Shetland Dairy Producers

    • Gordon Harmer

      • February 11th, 2015 13:39

      THE high profile ‘vow’ made by pro-union party leaders in the final days of the referendum had no impact on the final result, new research has found.
      And the last TV debate between Alex Salmond and Alistair Darling, which the SNP leader was widely deemed to have won, also had little effect, according to the analysis of web search data.
      The study also showed that the more information that people searched for online, the less likely they were to vote for independence.
      Which just goes to show we researched we found the truth we were not conned and we voted no.

      • Robert Duncan

        • February 11th, 2015 15:58

        “The study was undertaken by economists from the University of Glasgow using data obtained from Google Trends Big Data, a real time online search volume service.”

        I’ll take those findings with a large serving of salt, I think.

      • Gordon Harmer

        • February 11th, 2015 21:10

        I suppose if it had been conducted by Panelbase you would have believed it Robert. You can go around as long as you like with your fingers in your ears singing la la la la but one day the truth will slap you in the face and you will wake up.

      • James Watt

        • February 12th, 2015 16:34

        Robert, it’s a bit unfair to dismiss the findings because they were done by economists using Google Trends, I’d be more concerned if the report had been conducted by someone who may for some reason be biased. For instance if one of the economists was Professor Ronald Macdonald, a campaigner for Better Together I would question his impartiality. You didn’t notice who the economists were by any chance?

        Then I would question the logic behind this comment.

        ” The study also showed that the more information that people searched for online, the less likely they were to vote for independence.”

        I can’t be the only one wondering how that statement fits in with what we saw in the real world, throughout the campaign the polls constantly showed an increase in support in independence, from 25% over 3 years ago to around 46% days before the referendum.
        If searching for information online made it more likely you’d vote no, where does the 20% increase in support for independence come from and why did the polls narrow so much in the last few months. It’s almost like they are saying people stopped going online for information as support grew.

        That’s the first issues that spring to my mind Robert, and I don’t think that’s me going around with my fingers in my ears, but I’d rather have my fingers in my ears than my head in the sand anyway.

  • iantinkler

    • February 11th, 2015 20:45

    Robert Duncan, ” just out of interest which way are you leaning now”? just out of interest as I find it hard to take you seriously as I never know with way you are pointing!

    • Robert Duncan

      • February 12th, 2015 12:03

      This can be a reply to yourself and Gordon Harmer, since he too seems to struggle with the idea that somebody can disagree with his points without being a badge-wearing nationalist.

      I voted No in the referendum. Were there another referendum tomorrow I’d still vote No. However, I remain open to the debate and refuse to engage in the partisan histrionics of either side. The confirmation bias both sides seem to engage in upon seeing a poll or piece of flimsy research that backs up their view is a little troubling, in my eyes. Mr Harmer’s comments about Panelbase are both childish and point to a complete failure to understand not everybody is as partisan as himself.

    • Robert Duncan

      • February 12th, 2015 12:06

      I would recommend you decide whether to take people seriously based on the substance of their arguments, rather than whatever identity you prescribe to them. Discussion works rather better if you debate things people have actually said.

      • Gordon Harmer

        • February 12th, 2015 13:59

        Robert, I do not recollect calling you a badge wearing nationalist; I do think think your grasp on reality is somewhat lacking when as a no voter you seem to supporting the SNP, a totally nationalist party. A party who fully intend to drive their loaded agenda train through the UKs constitution and political system by holding Westminster and the UK electorate to ransom to gain independence when the referendum went against them.

        You must know that Panelbase was mobbed by the YESNP before the referendum to give a false impression the polls were going their way. Websites and social media sites were full of SNP and yes activists telling their supporters to register in the beginning with Panelbase and laterally with Yougov.
        My remarks about Panelbase are up to date, factual and out there to be found and if you took my advice you would remove your fingers from your ears, quit singing la la la la and join the real world.

      • Robert Duncan

        • February 12th, 2015 16:47

        Find an example of where I have supported the SNP? Your suggestion above that I would have believed a Panelbase poll and that alone was a clear inference that I am some chest thumping nationalist – don’t play naive now. That I knew what you inferred makes your second paragraph rather unnecessary.

  • Robert Duncan

    • February 12th, 2015 16:53

    I’m actually struggling a bit with what your argument actually is here? I criticised the validity of the Google Trends study you linked, so… what is the relevance of Panelbase exactly?

    • Gordon Harmer

      • February 12th, 2015 17:41

      Robert you seem to somewhat confused I said you “seem” to be supporting the SNP I don’t mind debating with someone who does not spin every comment I make, but as you are constantly doing this I think I will follow your example and wander of with my fingers firmly in my ears; la la la la la la.

  • Shuard Manson

    • February 12th, 2015 22:31

    It seems as if a poll or opinion supports Mr Harmers view it is legitimate. If a poll or opinion dares to waver from his one and only correct opinion it is illegitimate.
    And if you fail to follow that narrative, you are nothing but some kind evil Nationalist.
    Never voted for the YESNP (Really clever, can anybody else see what they have done there?)
    but have always voted despite few of the parties appealing to me.
    Why don’t you answer Roberts question? Or is the answer not available on Wikipedia?

    • Gordon Harmer

      • February 13th, 2015 18:44

      Sorry Stuard even when I take my fingers out of my ears and stop singing I cannot understand what you have said. Having said that if you could show me one thing I have taken from Wikipedia in this thread I will gladly grace your facetious comment with a reply. Or there again I may just treat it with the contempt it deserves.

    • Gordon Harmer

      • February 14th, 2015 5:48

      Shuard, if you have some kind of argument to bring to the table to prove me wrong, please feel free.
      Or you can carry on and use sarcasm and insults, because that tells me and anyone who reads this you have lost the argument before you even start.

  • Gordon Harmer

    • February 13th, 2015 18:55

    Sorry Shuard, not Stuard my fat fingers didn’t let me check my spelling with Wikipedia.

  • iantinkler

    • February 14th, 2015 15:47

    Rational argument from Shuard! would be a first time.


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