Monday, September 15, 2014

Journalists Are Not Above Criticism

A lot of journalists are getting very prissy about the above banner which was paraded on Sunday as Yes supporters staged a march towards the BBC’s Scottish headquarters in Glasgow. Many have taken to Twitter muttering support for Nick Robinson and that this bodes badly for freedom of speech if the SNP win the referendum. Given the SNP have been in government for years with no noticeable damage done to a free press, this is a bit of hyperbole. That Charlie Whelan, formerly Gordon Brown’s bruiser spin doctor, could tweet that he was frightened is laughable. New Labour’s tough operators Mandelson, Campbell and Whelan himself were not above bullying the media and calling for firings of journalists on a regular basis. That is one of the many ways they pressurised editors – particularly at the BBC.  

The suspicion of an imperial BBC amongst Yes supporters is pretty much universal and has become focused on Robbo after he asked a tricky question of Alex Salmond based on a briefing from the Treasury. Fair to say Salmond didn’t like it one little bit…

The personalistion aside, the feeling is that the BBC is a partial propagandist is inevitable given the British Broadcasting Corporation is seen as institutionally biased in favour of the British status quo. The clue is in the name…

bbc-scot

Journalists are remarkably thin-skinned when it comes to being on the receiving end of what they dish out – that is why they invariably hate unfiltered comments below their articles and the feedback of the mob on Twitter and the streets. Tough, freedom of speech is for everyone, not just journalists…

Rich’s Monday Morning View

irn-bru

Sunday, September 14, 2014

No Campaign Pretends Union Jack Will Disappear

fact-checking-project-fear

No campaign supporters are claiming that there will be gun towers and guard posts along the Scottish border – given they don’t exist along the Northern Ireland / Irish Republic border this is another far fetched figment of a Downing Street spinner’s imagination. The Mail on Sunday claims the Union Jack flag will have to alter.

union-flag

Independent countries can put whatever they like on their flags, Australia and New Zealand still choose to recognise their British heritage on their flags. The UK without Scotland will be able to keep its flag unchanged. If the Irish flag can have the orange of Ulster represented on it…

 

Read Guido’s Column in the Sun on Sunday Online

Guido was in Uxbridge with Boris as he was selected on Friday. After a night on the town, BoJo is unmoved. How much of their part-time Mayor/part-time candidate will local Tories really see? Find out in Guido’s Sun column.

  • Guido also spoke to Nadine Dorries this week, who blasts Cameron over Devo Max: “Why are we paying for them to eat deep-fried Mars bars?”

  • The Tories have a new strategy for dealing with UKIP: Don’t mention the F-word or the C-word
  • Team Ed increasingly irritated by Burnham’s less than subtle leadership posturing
  • Osborne’s new safety gear
  • Where is David Axelrod?

Click here to read Guido’s column for free with a free 30-day trial…

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Willie from the The Simpsons Says “Yes”

Currency Options for a Free Scotland

fact-checking-project-fear

“Project Fear” is the anti-independence No campaign’s negative strategy to put doubt into the minds of the voters. Sowing economic uncertainty is key, with confusion their best ally. Downing Street has correctly determined that if enough authoritative voices can be made to sound objective and pessimistic, uncertainty and doubt will push voters towards maintaining the status quo. Fear of an unclear future is key. 

The core economic argument about the currency is confusing for voters. The governor of the Bank of England has weighed in on the side of the No campaign saying a currency union is incompatible with sovereignty. A statement which is true insofar as it goes, as the smaller countries in the €urozone have discovered, a nation is not completely sovereign if it does not control its own currency.manx-notes

Irish PuntThere are of course options open to post independence Scotland to negotiate with Westminster. Ireland post-1922 independence operated a  Saorstát pound at parity until 1978 when it switched to shadowing the Deutschmark before entering the ERMThe most obvious conveniently nearby example is that of the self-governing Isle of Man, which operates a one-sided de facto currency union with the United Kingdom. The Manx government has made the UK currency legal tender on the island, and backs its own independent currency with Bank of England notes. They even have the Queen pictured on the notes…

This arrangement has operated smoothly for some 300 years. The Isle of Man is, like Edinburgh, a financial centre with a GDP per capita (according to IMF figures) of $53,800, putting it slightly behind Switzerland and slightly ahead of the USA. This is even more impressive when you realise that their wealth is despite the Isle of Man having no oil resources…

An independent Scotland could, like its near neighbour the Isle of Man, operate a one-sided de facto currency union with the United Kingdom without asking the permission of the governor of the Bank of England. Scottish pubs will after independence as readily accept English pounds and Scottish poonds at parity. The Yes side should wave Manx pound notes at their opponents – they’re as safe as the Bank of England…

Saturday Seven Up

Friday, September 12, 2014

Hugh Muir No More

Hugh Muir’s Guardian diary has been discontinued after seven years:

“It’s been a glorious responsibility, but it’s time to shoulder another. Our diary will also take a rest. In its place from next week, the world seen through different eyes in a new column.”

It is a little known fact that perennial Boris basher Muir was in the pay of Ken Livingstone back when he was Mayor. Guido however prefers to reflect on his more amusing scoops, such as Nick Boles “creating photoshopped pictures of Labour politicians”, “when ministerial duties allow”, which came much to the surprise of the well-known parody @GeneralBoles. Bring back Marina Hyde…

Lebedev in North Korea

Never seen without his beard, the Hacked Off backing publisher of the Indy and Evening Standard, Evgeny Lebedev, has travelled to that bastion of press freedom, North Korea. The AP’s former Pyongyang bureau chief ponders:

His search for a buyer for the Indy continues…

Friday Caption Contest (A Week From Now? Edition)

Entries in the comments please…


Seen Elsewhere

It’s Time to Speak for England | John Redwood
It Was Me Who Taped Howard Flight | John Woodcock
Indy Editor: We Will Stay Afloat | Press Gazette
English Don’t Want Scotland to Stay at Any Price | Dan Hodges
England Must Have Self-Government Too | Mark Wallace
Next Year’s Election Will Be the Dirtiest Ever | Speccie
Chicken Salmond Runs Away From Sun Cabbie | Sun
Scary No Messages Don’t Add Up | Sun
Feminist War on Children | Laura Perrins
An English Parliament is Inevitable Whatever Happens | Alex Wickham
Union All But Over Even if Scots Vote No | Janan Ganesh


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Gyles Brandreth writes in his memoirs:

“Sunday, May 10, 1998

Early start: appearing on Breakfast With Frost, to be broadcast from 11 Downing Street. The Chancellor [Gordon Brown] is grouchily amiable, but so earnest — and still biting his fingernails to the quick.

After the show, he took us upstairs to his flat. He lives above No 10, while Blair and family are in the No 11 duplex, which is bigger and more like a proper house.

I was intrigued that, when he took us into his bedroom, the Chancellor rather ostentatiously opened the built-in wardrobes, as if he wanted us to see the women’s frocks that were hanging in there.

They looked quite large, but I don’t think they belong to Gordon. I assume they belong to his girlfriend [Sarah Macaulay, who he later married].

I presume he was keen for us to know that he has one — and that she’s not a ‘beard’. I don’t think he does anything without calculation.”



The British media are Hunts says:

Now the SNP know how UKIP voters feel all the time.


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