Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Not in the News - Early August Edition

Welcome to the ninth of our bi-monthly series looking back at the stories which the main stream media in Scotland didn't offer much attention to, and comparing them to those that hit the front pages. Our last edition covering late July can be found here.

Don't make the games political, or we'll make it personal
The Commonwealth Games were a fantastic event for Scotland. There were numerous trade deals signed which will generate more wealth and jobs for our country, and we proved to ourselves that we can produce a fantastic squad of athletes capable of competing with anyone.
Unfortunately, some of our athletes received bullying from UK organisations.
With a Yes vote, no Scottish athlete will ever be threatened for taking their own flag onto a podium (whether they choose to represent Scotland or the UK). This is one of the key aspects of independence: independent nations are equal nations. There are no second class national flags amongst independent countries.
Statistical Gymnastics (the BBC in Scotland is full of nincompoops!)
When it comes to manipulating figures, the BBC deserves a gold medal! We mentioned in our last edition of 'Not in the News' that the BBC had quickly altered figures on their website which originally showed Scotland as a net contributor to the UK. Now, thanks to Scott Minto of Wings over Scotland, we know how they are 'justifying' this change.
The scam starts like this: the actual export figures for Scotland in 2012 (the most recent year for which figures exist) were £98,100,000,000 (ninty eight billion, one hundred million pounds). With this figure, Scotland is clearly an net contributor, which is why the BBC had to change it. But how do you change reality? The BBC followed 3 easy steps:

1) They excluded oil and gas from Scotland's figures (but not from the UK's). This is immediately biased as the equivalent action of removing funds generated by financial transactions in the City of London are never done or considered. The excuse offered is that there hasn't been a formal agreement yet between the Scottish and Westminster Governments regarding marine territory, although this type of thing is covered extensively in the 'Delimitation of the territorial sea between States with opposite or adjacent coast' and other international agreements. It is also Westminster who refuses to pre-negotiate. The BBC's solution is to assume that Scotland will have no rights anywhere (which is ridiculous).
Despite removing one of our most valuable revenue streams, Scottish exports would top £73,700,000,000 per year, which would still show us as net contributors. Something else needed to be done to talk us down.
2) The BBC excluded all exports from Scotland to the rest of the UK. No reason is given for this. The total affect of this change is to artificially lower our exports by £47,700,000,000 per year (down to £25,900,000,000). Yet even this figure would be too high for the BBC to use, so 1 more excerise in statistical gymnastics was required.
3) The 2012 figures, which are the most up-to-date, were replaced with the lower 2010 totals. The only possible reason for selecting 2010 and not 2011 or 2012 is to artifically put down Scotland's economic performance to fit into the BBC's narrative of lies.

Three unjustifible changes - assuming that Scotland has no oil or gas whilst predicting full UK control and no adjustments to the more volitile City money, the exclusing of all Scottish exports to the rest of the UK (but not the same in reverse) and the misleading of people by selecting out of date figures from a previous year - have been made by the BBC.
Yes Scotland is not competing against a no campaign, it is competing the Westminster mouthpiece known as the BBC. They are lying to you and have done so for quite some time. Don't trust the BBC.
Sidestepping parliament and the people
On the 29th of July, CND (the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament) reported that David Cameron had signed a secret, decade-long nuclear agreement with the Government of the United States.
This was done without the opportunity for Parliament to discuss the terms which will not be disclosed to the public or MPs. This is how democracy works at Westminster. You can read more about this story at Newsnet Scotland.
The Times they are a lyin'
The Times newspaper: Making up Usain Bolt quotes so the no campaign doesn't have to. The Main Stream Media: Mo power, mo power, mo power, mo nonsense!
According to unionist newspapers, this is someone who doesn't like Scotland
Do you hate or despise independence?
On the 11th of July popular independence site 'Wings over Scotland' revealed the 16th questions being asked of Scots ex-pats living in the United States. These included such balanced questions as: "Do you think that the Scottish Government has any real idea of the financial and economic costs of ending the Union?" and "Are you more persuaded by the analysis and concerns of The Banker magazine or assured by the statements of the Scottish Government?" (you can look at each of the questions, along with their preambles, here).
The poll was organised by The Friends of Scotland who claim to be non-political organisation. They sent the survey to just 300 people. With the biased nature of the questions revealed in advance only a desperate rag would try to present their results as any kind of serious analysis.

Oh Daily Record, who included it on their Scotland now site. Oh Scotsman, who advertised their rival's website just to let their readers see the results (but not necessarily the questions). Oh Press & Journal, who decided to ignore journalism and follow their tabloid peers.
It's hard to keep track of London's expenditure
Keeping up-to-date with all of the non-Barnett expenditure that the UK lavishes on London and the South East of England can be quite tricky (see one of our attempts here), but considering that this one project alone is likely to cost Scotland over £19 billion we thought we would mention it.
"Once the Galactic Railroad is complete in London, we'll consider replacing the broken 'give way' sign near Tomintoul."
'Plans afoot for £200bn orbital railway!' was the headline in the Mail online. Unsurprisingly, similar plans for cities and towns in Scotland have not been announced. But don't worry, London expects another £1,300,000,000,000 (with over £120,000,000,000 coming from Scotland). And there are suggestions that they are going to get their wish.
Plans to have 39.7% of all UK state investment spent where just 13.14% of the people live are being made. If we're independent, then we can prove to those outside of London that there is an alternative.
On the Bonnie or Fracked Banks of Loch Lomond
The international media recently highlighted the expansion of fracking licences across the UK to include national parks and places of outstanding beauty. We now have confirmation that the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs national park is going to be targeted.

Those opposed to fracking, which is also known as hydraulic fracturing, do so for both environmental and economic reasons. It triggers earthquakes, poisons water supplies, causes illness and loses money (lots of money). Fracking isn't required in an energy rich country like Scotland but will be forced upon us anyway if Westminster remains in charge.

And Westminster isn't likely to change their minds over the process. The blue side is being paid by the fracking companies, and the red side are happy to expand fracking further. There is only one certainty: vote no and Scotland will be fracked!
Crude attempts at silence
BP have been examining the potential for vast quantities of oil in the waters west of the Shetland Isles for quite some time. They announced in June that they were excited about the Clair field in particular.

Following an analysis of the initial (but as yet not publicly announced) results, Prime Minister David Cameron hurriedly visited the Shetland Islands (something that his predecessors had not done in over in over 30 years). He said little to the press and no further comment has been offered by No 10. Workers are not due to return to the site until after the referendum.
This has led to speculation that BP may have found one of the largest deposits of oil in the world.

We know from past experience that Westminster has lied to the people of Scotland about our resources. From the McCrone report which was classified for decades as 'top secret', to the cover-up of oil discovered on the west coast of Scotland, and mis-information regarding a future's fund similar to that which Norway has. Even international magazines recognise that the UK Government is lying.
Questions remain as to just how much wealth Scotland has. But the UK Government don't want you to know before you vote. Perhaps because the answer would guarantee a Yes.
What was once deleted is now un-deleted
Anti-independence comedy troope the Confederation of British Industry were embarrassed yet again in August (just as they have in April [twice], May, June and July). Emails which were thought to have been deleted have been uncovered by the Electoral Commission and finally revealed.
For context, here is a quote from a spokesperson for the confederation from earlier this year:
"The early conversations that took place between the EC and the CBI were at relatively junior official level and confined to narrow compliance issues," CBI statement

So let's take a look at who the 'relatively junior' officials were:
Iain McMillan, Director of the CBI in Scotland
David Lonsdale, Assistant Director of the CBI in Scotland
I guess the CBI consider a director (and his assistant) of its (admittedly very small) Scottish branch to be nothing more than a junior official. For once I think I may have to agree with them.
But where is the BBC in this story? As paying members of the anti-independence group they would have better access to information than most. Why is there no mention of this story on their news website? It's not as if they haven't highlighted the CBI in the past or stressed the importance of the views of these junior officials...
I guess they will keep us waiting until Friday the 19th of September.

No vote guarantees a raid on our troops' pensions
The UK Government will tax service personnel more for their pensions as a result of changes to the tax system from April 2017. The rules surrounding the introduction of a flat rate pension system means that those on a second state pension will no longer receive a rebate on their national insurance (potentially affecting anyone who is a state employee). This will cost the average Army private £162 a year in additional tax.

When victory is recorded as defeat
Amongst undecided who watched the STV debate between First Minister Alex Salmond and Alistair Darling MP, the Yes side won by 54% to 46%. So who does the newspapers and the BBC declare as the winner? Alistair Darling!
The excuse the controlled media gave for claiming that Alistair Darling won is because of a snap opinion poll by ICM. This opinion poll showed what you would expect - those thinking of voting Yes at the start backed the First Minister and those intending to vote no before the debate supported Alistair Darling. But they asked more people who were already committed to voting no than voting yes.
Our favourite quote came from Wee Ginger Dug:
"But for the most part the currency question is technocratic pseudowaffle. It’s one of those practical problems to which there is a practical solution. And there are several solutions, ranging all the way from a formal currency union to sticking the UK national debt up George Osborne’s arse and setting up a new Scottish currency, and all points in between. My personal favourite is the sticking it up George Osborne’s arse option, mainly because I’d like to see the look on his face. You can probably tell I’m not primarily motivated by economic arguments there."
Which is why you should read sites like Newsnet Scotland, Wings over Scotland, SCOT goes POP! and National Collective.
We don't need Westminster's approval
Contrary to suggestions made by the mainstream media, Scotland does not need Westminster's approval to use the pound or any other currency.
These countries share the same currencies, some officially, others unilaterally
Our most popular blog, 'So who else can't use the pound?', goes into detail about how and why we don't need permission from George Osborne or anyone else from Whitehall. Quite frankly, if you believe that Westminster would hurt businesses in England just to spite us, then why on earth would you want them making decisions over Scotland?
Why my juggling has prevented atomic war
I have been juggling for a number of years. There has been no nuclear wars during that time. Therefore, my juggling is the reason why there has been no nuclear wars.
This is how I learned to juggle
That is the argument put forward by Annabel Goldie MSP. Voting against the removal of nuclear weapons from Scotland alongside her Tory, Labour and Liberal Democrat allies, the representative for the West of Scotland said:
"The fact is that since acquiring Trident, and its predecessor, Polaris, we have had four decades of non-nuclear conflict." Annabel Goldie, presumably being serious
It feels almost embarrassing to point out that non-nuclear states have also avoided nuclear conflict during that time.
We have already looked into the reasons why Trident does nothing to keep us safe and is a complete waste of money. We have also examined NATO membership, and why the power to decide what alliances we make will be up to voters in Scotland. For unionist MSPs to actively vote to keep weapons for mass destruction stored a few minutes away from our largest city (and for Scots to continue paying for the things) is abhorant.
But after a Yes vote, these parties will change and start acting in Scotland's interests.
FREEDOM (of information)!
Our freedom of information request found the the UK Government's leaflet 'What staying in the United Kingdom means for Scotland' had no BSL or audio versions. You can read the full story here.
The BBC, which used the low number of orders for the BSL version of the White Paper to attack the Yes campaign, has, as of yet, not given the same attention to an even worse example by Westminster. We can only speculate as to why...

"I say the BBC is biased!" "And I say the BBC is incompetent!" (at least they agree the BBC is full of nincompoops!)
All aboard the love boat
Love is in the air as 200 people who aren't able to vote in the referendum told us that we should vote no because they care so much about us. You can check out some of their personal messages below.
First on the list - Piers Morgan:
"OK, Scotland, you've had your fun. Now just quietly vote 'NO' and we'll say no more about it." Piers Morgan, 8th of August

David Starkey:
"If we decide to go down this route of having an English national day, that means we become a feeble little country, just like the Scots and the Welsh and the Irish." David Starkey, BBC Question Time
Rob Liddle:
"The only reason any people remain in Scotland is on account of the extremely cheap alcohol available in supermarkets, plus a ready supply of heroin for when the alcohol runs out...Soon Carlisle and Berwick will resemble those awful UN transit camps you used to see in Rwanda; in this case the inhabitants would be millions of displaced, grey-eyed Jocks pleading for a fix of lager or subsidised methadone." Rob Liddle, Sunday Times

"Love us (or else!)" no campaign 'celebrities'
We can't wait to see what plan Ronnie Corbett and Barbara Windsor have to create a more democratic system, what Dan Snow and Dame Vera Lynn proposed to do about the 1 in 5 children in Scotland who live in poverty, or what Mick Jagger and David Bowie think about tax avoidance (I suspect we may have to wait some time for that last one).
Post script - we understand that Mick Jagger will be releasing an album to support the 'no' campaign. Songs include: 'Sympathy for Westminster', 'Tory money is on my side', 'I know it's only child poverty (but I like it)', 'Under our thumb', '19th September Nervous Breakdown' and finishing with 'It's all over now'. The album will be called 'Tax Exile on Downing St'.
The Scotsman is telt!
We just wanted to point people towards the fantastic letter by broadcaster Derek Bateman for the editor of the Scotsman "newspaper". It is definitely worth a read!

Wings gives you no bull!
Popular online blog Wings over Scotland has produced its long awaited 'Wee Blue Book'! Digital versions can be downloaded from its website in an easy read format for laptops and smart phones (click here). On its first day it achieved over 100,000 downloads. A physical version will also be coming soon.

It is a fantastic read and covers the main issues of the referendum campaign. Short and sweet, it is bound to be a big help to those who are looking for more information (and we know they won't find it in the newspapers - as seen here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and above).
Occupancy rates at over 1,000,000%! 999,000,000 people at risk!!!
Another case of the BBC attacking the Scottish NHS with exaggerated figures. The reason why? Newsnet Scotland covered that back in 2012.
Join us again near the end of August for our next look at what's 'not in the news'!
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