Gordon Brown tells the truth

According to one theory, there is an infinite number of universes, which in turn means that all possible things which can potentially happen do in fact happen somewhere in the infinite multiverse, no matter how implausible or unlikely.  There is a universe where there are actually more Tory MPs in Scotland than pandas, it’s one of the Hell Dimensions.  There’s also a universe where Reporting Scotland is a really good news programme, although quantum physicists consider this less plausible than the universe where the Daily Mail publishes an editorial begging the UK Government to allow in more asylum seekers from countries which Westminster has invaded.

However yesterday we discovered we reside in perhaps the most singular universe of all, the blessed land where Gordon Brown actually tells the truth for once.  No really, it did happen.

Gord has now admitted that he’s an ex-politician, something the rest of us have known for quite some time.  You have to phase these things out gradually you know, so he’s still drawing his MP’s salary, and his expenses, and gaining contributions to his pension pot and pay offs.  He gave up doing any work himself a long time ago.

But we must not be harsh on him, he’s really just practising the message that he preached while in high office.  He’s privatised his constituency work by farming it out to office staff he pays for out of expenses.  So he’s really a job creator and not a parasite.

Gord has lied for years on just about everything, mostly to himself, but also to the rest of us.  He was the Labour Chancellor who proudly stuck to Tory spending plans and Tory attitudes to the jobless.  He had a moral compass but it was really a device for telling the direction in which to sling some mud.   He was the man with a plan who was going to put the Labour back into New Labour, but it turned out the only plan was how to get his paws on Tony Blair’s job.  Gord approached politics like an obsessive Monroe bagger, once he’d reached the highest peak he didn’t know what to do with himself.

The blessed land where this miraculous truth telling occurred was not Scotland, that’s too ridiculous for any universe in which we’re not yet independent.  It was Qatar.  Gordie was doing what he does best when he’s not got a book to plug or an after-dinner speech to make for nothing more than his food, travel, lodgings and a very fat cheque.  He does it all for charidee you know.  He was punching above the weight of the constituents of Kirkaldy at an international summit on something terribly important, held at a posh and lavishly appointed conference and hotel centre. Conveniently somewhere warm where people think he’s the former prime minister ingliziya.

Removing themselves from being subject to difficult questions is the only demonstrable skill possessed by Scotland’s Labour politicians.  They are experts in disappearing, world class in fact.   It’s surprising that they didn’t demand hide and seek to be added to the list of Olympic sports when the games were held in London.  Between Gordie Broon, Johann Lamont and Jim Murphy they’d have snapped up gold, silver and bronze.  It would have given them an excuse to wrap themselves in Union flags and pose on the front of United with Labour leaflets.  Only there aren’t any leaflets.

United with Labour is the invisible campaign for invisible politicians.  Despite being launched with a fanfare of “that’ll show thae nats a thing or three” puffery from media hacks, Labour’s own campaign to save the Union in a way that doesn’t involve being photographed with Conservatives has managed to garner just 6 friends and 47 likes on its Facebook page.  I almost felt sorry for it.  Even Gary Glitter’s got more people who believe him than that.

Johann Lamont has learned well from Gordie, many would say she now surpasses the old master in the vanishing arts.  It’s much harder for Johann to hide, since she’s rarely invited to international conferences in warm countries.  No one in Labour’s London office seems to have heard of the supposed leader of the party in Scotland, she didn’t even figure on the CC list for the report into the goings on within the Falkirk constituency party, so it’s hardly surprising no international conference organisers have heard of her either.

After briefly emerging to have a wee gloat over a predictable Dunfermline by election result,  chicken Johann has gone back into hiding in order to avoid being asked any questions about the flustercluck that was the role of Labour and the Unite union in the Grangemouth crisis.  Labour and Unite spent the past few months attacking one another with the single minded fury of battery chickens on steroids determined to establish who ruled the roost.  They forgot all about the Ineos fox intent on devouring Grangemouth’s wee chicks in high visibility jaickets.

For all that they preach that Scotland should demonstrate solidarity with workers in England, Labour’s pretty poor at showing solidarity with workers themselves.  Grangemouth showed that Labour’s sole interest is Labour.  Unite’s sorry role in the Grangemouth affair is nothing to be proud of either, but at least their basic point is correct.  The Labour party was established by the union movement as a vehicle for workers’ rights.  But the Labour party has transformed the union movement into a vehicle for the Labour party.

Now the Labour party rails against the evil inquities of avaricious foxes, but when in office Labour embarked on a fox breeding programme with all the enthusiasm of their Tory predecessors, and cut down the chicken wire protecting the coops saying it was a barrier to business.  They muzzled the guard dogs and sold off the chicken sheds.  They created the conditions that allowed Grangemouth to be so vulnerable.

Johann doesn’t want to answer any questions about this.  And it’s terribly unfair of us to think she should.  After all, it’s not like a Unite sponsored MSP and nominal leader of the Labour party in Scotland could possibly know anything about a major bitch-fest between Labour and Unite that ended up being the blue touch paper on a powder keg of petrochemicals.

Labour doesn’t want us to think about its role in leaving Scottish industry a sitting duck for any passing capitalist predator, a legacy of the ex-politician on a freebie to Qatar.  Instead we must allow Johann to get back to doing what she does best.  Lying down in a darkened room until she can think of something to accuse Alex Salmond of.  It’s her only apparent purpose.  She’s a fat lot of use for anything else.

Scotland’s Labour politicians have been known to submerge for weeks and months on end, only finally surfacing for a brief period, usually in order to accuse Alex Salmond of something.  It’s a skill in which they are rivalled only by Nessie, except for the accusing Alex Salmond bit, although it is fair to say there are more plausible sightings of Nessie than Gordie or Johann.  It’s also probably true that Nessie would be capable of giving a far more coherent account of herself, but that’s by the by.

However the similarities far outweigh the differences.  All are elusive cold blooded reptilians, all have a reputation that is largely mythical, and all are easy to confuse with lumps of dead wood floating at an odd angle.

Johann Lamont is an ex-politician too, she’s just not admitted it yet.  Perhaps in an independent Scotland a real Labour party can rise from the ashes of despair created by the current incarnation.  It’s unlikely that Johann or Gordon will have any role in it, then perhaps they can disappear forever.

Cross words about independence

If you believed some of the coverage in the UK press, the independence campaign is all about cross words.  Of course that’s nonsense, but being a kindly soul and wishing to help them out of their embarrassing lack of knowledge of Scotland and its campaign for self determination, I thought I’d give them some real cross words.  So here’s an independence themed crossword – although not all the clues and answers relate to the indy campaign.

I spent a couple of hours wrestling with a wee widget that promised to allow an interactive crossword to be embedded in this post, but I couldn’t get it to work and life’s too short to faff about with computery stuff. If you want to complete the crossword you’ll have to print this page off and do it the old fashioned way with paper and pen and a nice wee cuppa. Mair civilised that way anyway.

The answers will be posted tomorrow. Enjoy.


1. Jessica’s Gaelic homeland. (4)
3. The 18th of September’s big event. (10)
9. Ancient Scot. (4)
10. Stage rungs to read high shelf. (10)
12. Colossal dint makes huge contribution to national economy (9, 3)
15. UK was AAA, but not any more. (5)
16. Objective to change No to Yes (9)
18. Tunnel man manufactures cancellation of Westminster marriage. (9)
20. Better Together ends in anaesthetic for Scotland. (5)
21. The key to unlocking a better future (12)
25. Iain Duncan Smith’s crazy mad ex robot evicts council tenants. (7, 3)
26. See 17 Down
27. Choice address in Scotland decides outcome of vote. (10)
28. Paradise is blocked away by Aye denial. (4)
1. Confused, a raw ass ran as Labour PM (4, 6)
2. A student with much time in slag heap for casting votes (10)
4. Broad, comprehensive, and sizeable, just like Scotland’s resources and potential. (9)
5. Exhibitions are former mail without time. (5)
6. Avoiding the issue is what you get when asking Better Together a question. (7)
7. Bird as extinct as Danny Alexander’s career after the next election. (4)
8. Out of touch London Scot who thinks debate is anti-English. (4)
11. Radiators, veins, and Scotland’s resources all got drained. (4)
13. Angling for Mr Stewart? (5, 3)
14. Better Together press release is false revolution. (6, 4)
17, 25 acc. How you should drain a bottle of good whisky after a Yes vote. (2, 3, 4, 4)
19. Left house after period before Easter and acted like a library. (4, 3)
20. Means goals. (4)
22. Wost the ewection when he wan away down the subway (5)
23. Aye we can, because we’re this. (4)
24. Tory employment policy lied confusedly, making thousands this. (4)

Adventures in forensic linguistics and the art of sock puppetry

The key to a well balanced and sane life is to have multiple obsessions.  Apart from boring the arse off my relatives about the need for Scottish independence – a project in which I’m making slow but steady progress – I’ll also bore the arse off you about obscure languages spoken by 5 elderly folk and a parrot up a valley somewhere in the Andes.  I’m a geek, an anorak, a nerd, the linguistic version of the guys who stand on the ends of station platforms obsessively jotting down train numbers.

Not that any of this has ever proven of much practical use in daily life, although when watching Pointless I did once get 3 pointless answers when the category was “official languages of India”.  Mind you, it’s not that hard really.  You can also get 3 spectacularly pointless answers when the category is anything to do with Westminster politics.  Just yell at the telly “Magrit Curran, Ian Davidson, and Jim Murphy” and you’re sorted.

But back to linguistics, forensic linguistics to be precise, and its usefulness in the Scottish independence debate.

Forensic linguistics is the science of gleaning information about people’s backgrounds from their linguistic patterns.  Language is like fingerprints, it follows repeating patterns, but each of us have uniquely identifying traits.  In certain Sherlock Holmes stories, our pipe wielding cocaine snorting hero is able to say with confidence that a particular suspect comes from the north side of a particular street in a small district of a particular town.  In real life, you can’t be so precise, but people’s speech and language patterns do reveal a lot of information about their background.

I’ve posted previously about watching Unionists who post obsessively in the comments sections of newspapers.  I’ll mock them en-masse, but wouldn’t ever single out an ordinary individual who seems to be who they claim to be.  They’re just opinionated punters like the rest of us, they have no more power or influence than anyone else, and they’re entitled to their wrong opinions.

But there is a significant, albeit small, minority who are clearly not who they claim to be.  Suspiciously well briefed, they post lengthy comments.  They’re sock puppets, party hacks who have created false identities in order to manipulate a debate in their own interest.

I’ve searched for similar examples amongst Yes supporters, but have failed to find any.  Those Yes supporters who are also SNP activists are up front about it.  The Yes campaign has genuine, and massive, popular support online, it has no need for sock puppetry.  Sock puppets are a Unionist phenomenon.  What’s interesting is that the Unionist camp has so little confidence in what it has to offer that it feels the need to lie about the sources and providers of their message.

Better Together has form for this sort of behaviour.  Wings Over Scotland has highlighted a particularly staged looking leafleting session Better Together held in Edinburgh on the day of the Rally for Independence.

Better Together does the same in the online comment sections of newspapers.  One poster who pops up regularly in the Herald and the Guardian claims to be a disinterested foreigner from a small European country, who is simply concerned enough to point out all the terrible problems with the practicalities of becoming independent, and so we really shouldn’t do it.

If you click on a poster’s user ID in the Guardian, you can see their posting history.  This individual only ever posts on threads about Scottish indy.  Never on the (few) threads relevant to the small European country from which they claim to come.  That’s interesting all by itself.

And this is where forensic linguistics comes in.  This person’s posts are lengthy and copious.  Actually they’re bloody tedious, but they do form what linguists call a comprehensive corpus.  I read through it.  See how I suffer for the cause?

What was interesting was not the content, it was the total absence of a single grammatical, syntactic, or semantic indicator which would point to the writer’s mother tongue being that of this particular small European country.  Anoraks who jot down grammatical information at the ends of train platforms know what to look for.

I noticed another person in the Guardian had obviously pointed this out to our mysterious European, only to be subjected to a rant.  It was racist to assert that people from this small European country could not learn English properly, apparently.  But it’s not racist to point out the universals of human linguistic behaviour, and speaking as a former professional translator, I can assure you that professional translators only ever translate INTO their mother tongue.  You never translate into your second language, you never write for professional publication in your second language.  Those who do have the assistance of native speaking sub-editors.  No matter how fluent you become in your second language, there are always tell tale signs that give you away.

The reason for this is that many of the rules of a language are triggered by some words but not others, and there is often no logical basis for deciding which is which.  You just have to know.  So in English the words ‘leaf’ and ‘herb’ are count nouns, and must appear with a determiner, you have to say “a leaf”, “a herb”, or “an herb” if you’re American and talk funny.  But the word ‘grass’ is a non-count noun, and can appear without an article, it’s just “grass”, not “a grass” – unless you mean a wee clype.  I’m a grass just now, because I’m grassing this poster up.

Definite and indefinite articles in English are used differently according to whether a noun is a count noun or a non-count noun.  There is no logical semantic or grammatical reason why leaf is count but grass is non-count.  It’s just one of the many wee quirks of English.  All human languages have wee quirks like these.  Learners of the language just have to learn them individually, and it’s impossible not to make the occasional mistake because there is no rhyme or reason to them.

So you can imagine that if your mother tongue doesn’t have definite or indefinite articles, learning how to use them correctly 100% of the time in English is no mean feat.  This person claims to be a native speaker of a language that lacks definite and indefinite articles.

There are other linguistic give-aways, but I’m not going to say what they are.  I’m not about to explain to Better Together how to make their sock puppets more convincing.

The person making all these posts is clearly someone whose dominant language is English.  They do not display any of the signs of a person who has learned English as a second language, and who still resides within the milieu of their mother tongue.  The only possible conclusion is that the person is a native English speaker who lives amongst English speakers.

Even more intriguingly, this person’s user ID is the translation into this south central European language of the name of a gay festival held in the neighbouring (German speaking) country.  It’s a festival which attracts visitors from all over Europe, including Scotland.

Despite the fact that the Guardian newspaper regularly publishes stories of LGBT interest, including stories directly relevant to LGBT people living in small East European countries, this poster has never commented on any of them.  They only comment on stories about Scottish independence.

So I am breaking my own rule here, because this person is not an ordinary punter who is telling the truth about themselves, their background and their motivations.  Jezerna Roza is a Gay festival which isn’t in Slovenia, and neither is “Jezerna Roza”.   “Jezerna Roza” is no more Slovene than I am.  He, and it’s most assuredly a he, is a gay man who is also a Labour party activist.  He is more Lothian than Ljubljana, more Motherwell than Maribor.  I can think of a number of suspects.

Jezerna Roza’s posts deserve no further consideration.  After all, if you’re misrepresenting yourself, just why should we believe anything else you have to say?

This is the lesson that Better Together and the Unionist campaign have signally failed to learn.  Don’t lie to people.  You’ll get caught out, and it will be your undoing.

Lessons in conversational Lamontese

I wasn’t really paying attention to the Sunday Politics show on BBC Scotland.  There are far more important things in the world than listening to Labour politicians attempting to justify themselves.  But adrift amidst a mountain of washing and tripping over the hoover, I caught Johann Lamont declare that she had never said that people in Scotland get “something for nothing”.

Aware that her something for nothing comments had been received like a deep fried cockroach in a bucket of chicken nuggets, Johann has spent the last year alternately back-tracking and being unavailable for comment.  Now she’s trying to pretend that they never happened at all, and it’s all our fault for misunderstanding her.

Johann Lamont has a grasp of fact that’s worse than a Young Earth creationist’s grasp of evolutionary theory.  The crazed creationist at least possesses the virtue of being consistently selective in their treatment of data, Johann just makes it up as she goes along.

In the speech she delivered in September 2012, her exact words were:  “Scotland cannot be the only something for nothing country in the world,” before going on to promise that her new commission would leave no stone unturned in its search for ‘affordable’ policies, and left no doubt that free education and free prescriptions would be amongst those things the commission might throw some stones at.  A report on the speech is still available on the STV website.

This wasn’t an off the cuff remark either, Johann had herself called a press conference to let us all know that “Scotland cannot be the only something for nothing country in the world.”  She had invited telly crews and people who know how to take shorthand and use audio recorders.  We heard her say it and we saw her lips moving.

At times like this we should always be kind, and try to think of an innocent explanation first.  Maybe Johann just forgot, what with her being scared shitless that some of the blame for the Grangemouth debacle is going to rebound on the Labour party and the Unite union for allowing their petty internal politicking to put thousands of Scottish jobs at risk, and her only having her job because she got the Unite vote in the Labour leadership campaign.  She’s struggling to find a way to shift the blame onto Alex Salmond for that one.  So the whole something for nothing stuff just slipped her mind.

Admittedly there are heroin addicts with head injuries who have better recall of events, but this is the Labour party in Scotland we’re talking about here.  They don’t have high standards.  Even so, the only way that Johann would be unable to remember making the statement would be for her actually to be in a vegetative coma.  So come to think of it, it is a plausible excuse after all.

Perhaps it’s also our fault for misunderstanding, what with us being Scottish and struggling to articulate sentences that make any sense, as Johann consistently demonstrates in solidarity with us ordinary folk.  We can’t put it down to linguistic differences though, since another Labour luminary has already told us we can’t have independence because we have no language of our own.  It’s only Johann Lamont who has a language of her own.

So the sentence “Scotland cannot be the only something for nothing country in the world” was not a rehashed Tory slogan from a hash of a Labour politician who’s adopting Tory policies so her party can get elected south of the Border and make a hash of social provision in the process.  It must really mean something entirely different to what it looks like it means to us stupid people who don’t speak Lamontese.

What she actually said was : “Scotland can obey the only summons for nuke gantries in a whirl,” which was really coded advice to tell us to vote yes in the indy referendum so we can get rid of Trident.  Johann’s a closet Yes supporting nuclear unilateralist, who knew?

But that’s about as plausible as the BBC interviewer challenging Johann when she tells a blatant lie.

Dear Westminster: A divorce letter

I originally wrote this article during the lead up to the Holyrood elections, and it was first published in March 2011 in Newsnet Scotland.  It was later published by the Scots Independent as their lead article in the edition published during election month.  (My mammy was dead proud.)   I’ve been writing a new and updated version, but have been unable to finish it as my partner had a bad night last night, and we had to call the doctor out today.  Thankfully it seems like it’s nothing serious.

I thought the original letter was worth republishing.  The new and updated version will be published just as soon as I get time to finish it.  

Dear Westminster,

There was a time when you wooed me.  Once you promised me the delights of India and the magic of Hong Kong, but these days all you do is sit on the sofa with your American pal playing war games.  You’ve squandered all our money on expensive toys and presents for your mates in the City.  Now you tell me you’re cutting the housekeeping money but you’re still buying two aircraft carriers, only there are no planes to put on them.  You even had the cheek to tell me you were doing me a favour by letting me assemble the airfix kits.  And don’t start me on those bloody submarines.

You treat me like you’re ashamed of me.  You never let me leave the house alone.  Are you afraid that I’ll say something to embarrass you if I was to meet up with some other countries without you being there?  I was really upset when you didn’t let me go to Copenhagen to that workshop on climate change, especially because you know how much work I did installing wind turbines in the back garden and got all those books about tidal energy out the library.  It was hurtful and unthinking.  Does the term ‘control freak’ mean anything to you?

I always knew you were never faithful.  I never mentioned your thing with Wales, you know, the other woman, your kidnap victim from a previous relationship.  I was even your biggest supporter when you wanted to start that menage-a-trois with Ireland.  You know as well as I do how much that particular little escapade ended up costing in therapy sessions and broken crockery.  I can’t believe how naive I was.  It’s all water under the bridge now, but I’ll never have a proper relationship with my own family until you stop claiming the right to speak for me.

I bumped into Norway the other day, she’s looking good and doing so well for herself.  I remember her when she worked in the fish factory and didn’t have two kroner to rub together, then she divorced Denmark and rushed into that rebound affair with Sweden which ended in tears.  Well that’s all changed.  She was just popping off to some important do at the UN and was looking very stylish.  And there was me in an auld coat and head-scarf like the depressive suicide risk in an Ingmar Bergman movie because you say I can’t afford nice things.

I see the banks are Scottish again.  That’s nice.  For years you’ve insisted on controlling all the pursestrings, and now the pursestrings are flapping around your ankles like snapped knicker elastic all of a sudden the empty banks are Scottish and a reason I could never look after myself.  You’re like a wean that breaks a toy then gives it back saying it was broken when you got it.  Funny how you managed to play with the banks for years without noticing how broken they were.

You say the oil money is spent and gone, and you always said that it was never a significant sum anyway.  Well now I’ve discovered the truth that you’ve been trying to keep from me for the past 30 years.  For all that time you’ve known that I could be very wealthy, but you kept schtum so you could spend the money on things for yourself. 

I don’t know what’s more hurtful, the fact that you kept secrets from me and stole from me, or that you didn’t trust me enough to be honest with me in the first place.  Just what other dirty little secrets are you keeping?  You know what Oprah Winfrey said, when trust breaks down there can be no marriage.  You’ve ripped up my trust, thrown it away, and trampled it in the gutter.  You’ve only got yourself to blame for that.

Then there was thon weirdo Thatcherism cult you got seduced into joining.  You gave away all the family silver and kept chanting that mantra about obeying the market.   What a nightmare that was.  You went all wild-eyed and starey and really scared me.  Remember Jack Nicholson in the Shining?  I was Shelley Duvall cowering in terror while you took an axe to everything.  I’m still not entirely convinced you’ve got over that little episode, and there is no power on Earth that would force me to endure another bout of it.  You’ve not done a great deal to boost my confidence on that score.

I’m under the doctor now.  You don’t care, you just mutter about Celts and alcoholism and tell me it’s all my own fault because I’m feeble and useless.  But the truth is I have cancer, the media and political parties that you support have turned against my body, poisoning my system.  They make me weak and cause me to doubt myself and lose my self-confidence.  They eat away at me from within.  The doctors have diagnosed it as Unionosis, it’s caused by a loveless and one-sided marriage.

What makes it worse is that it’s you who is feeding the disease.  I’m not saying you’re doing it deliberately – that would imply you have a degree of self-awareness I don’t think you’re capable of – but I can’t rid myself of the dark suspicion and you don’t help by refusing to accept that there’s a problem.  It keeps me awake at nights and I’ve been drinking more than is good for a person. 

All you do is to accuse me of having a chip on my shoulder.  Well that’s true, and guess what honey – you put it there.  You aren’t just a chip on my shoulder, you’re a whole fish supper with extra sour vinegar all wrapped up in a copy of the Hootsmon.  And frankly the fish smells pretty rank.  Chip.  I’ll gie ye bloody chip.

Anyway, the only cure for Unionosis is to root out the problem at source, and that means leaving you.

We don’t have any reason to stay together.  The children are all grown up.  Australia and Canada are doing so well for themselves.  I used to worry about Canada living in that bad neighbourhood, but he managed to avoid getting led astray by that neighbour of his.  Such a sensible and level-headed child.  He gets that from me you know.  Even little New Zealand has done us proud, and you know how I used to fret about him being so far away with nothing but sheep for company.  It’s worked out well for him, and I’ve learned not to judge who the children choose to spend their lives with.

I know you’re angry.  No one likes to be told they’re a failure, and it’s hard for you to hear you’ve been a failure as a parliament and a partner.  But you react either by screaming abuse at me or by telling me I’m worthless and would fall apart without you.  I don’t believe you any more.  You’re acting every bit the spurned lover.  You’re acting exactly like you’re always accusing France of behaving, and I only broke off my engagement with him because you convinced me he was possessive and jealous.

We’ll always be close, we still share so much and I want us to be friends.  But until you can learn to have adult relationships with the other nations in these islands, and treat us like equals and not as your harem, there’s no hope for us and there’s no hope for the people of England.  People in England deserve a proper parliament and not the pretendy wee excuse for patronage, privilege and dressing up in fancy costumes that you’ve become.  It’s time you got your fat lazy arse up from resting on your Mother of Parliament laurels and went and took a long hard look at yourself in the mirror.  You’re very good at looking after your own interests,  In time you’ll realise that this is in your best interests too.

Meanwhile I’m taking a leaf out of your book and putting my own interests first.  So I want a divorce.  There, I’ve said it.  There’s not much love anymore, I think you know that as well as I do, and it’s time we learned to live our own lives before what’s left of our feelings for one another turn into hate.  Being in this marriage has made both of us lose sight of who we are, and we need to find ourselves again.  I’ll still stand beside you to defend what we have in common, but I won’t be under your thumb.



Ooops… a correction

One of the problems with launching yerself into a rant is that you rant first and check later.  And that’s what I did yesterday.  As I was writing yesterday’s article, I had a feeling I was missing something bleedin’ obvious.  And it’s now been pointed out to me by readers who are more observant than I am that the obvious thing I was missing is that in the UK, food is zero-rated for VAT.

Food isn’t zero rated for VAT in every European country.  Some of you may know the Dug lived in Spain for many years.  We’ve been back in Scotland for 8 months now, and I had forgotten that food here doesn’t incur VAT.  Easy mistake to make – because food bills are not actually any cheaper in the UK.  And the fish counter in Scottish supermarkets is rubbish too – but that’s by the by.  If you really want a fish counter heaving with the very best of Scottish seafood, much of which is still alive in tanks where it stares back at you and makes you feel guilty for considering having it for tea, you’ll have to go to Mercadona or Hypercor in Murcia.

However the point of the article still stands, even though there will be no tax gains for an independent Scotland on items like Kirriemuir Gingerbread or baked beans which are zero rated for VAT.  There will be tax gains for an independent Scottish Treasury on non-food items, and the total amount which will accrue to the Scottish Treasury across the entire retail sector will still run into billions of pounds.  The money which we spend in retail chains which are not headquartered in Scotland does not currently figure as Scottish revenue in UK Government statistics.  That was the point of the article, it’s just funnier to waffle on about Kirriemuir Gingerbread and baked beans than economic tables.

So sadly we’ll have to say goodbye to ideas of starting a Scottish space programme with a tower of baked beans, and instead think about starting one with a mountain of flat screen tellies, toilet duck and deep clean skin cleanser.  Or maybe Michelle Mone’s bras can be adapted to make a sling shot to shoot Scottish astronauts into space.  Or possibly even Ms Mone herself, as she’s very keen to tell us she doesn’t fancy living in an indy Scotland.

Thanks to the folk who pointed out the error.  It’s good to have a laugh about our indy debate at times, but it’s even more important that we get it right.

Vote Yes, for Kirriemuir Gingerbread

When you’re a full time carer, managing to get out for an hour or so to the local branch of Morrisons to get the weekly shopping counts as ‘quality me time’.  It allows me to stock up on favourite munchies and comfort food.  I like a wee slice of Kirriemuir Gingerbread, slathered with butter.  The other half enjoys a thick slab of it in a bowl, covered in Devon Custard with a dollop of double cream.  Bugger the cholesterol.  But the other week there was none in the usual aisle, just a pile of Christmas cakes – and it was only bleedin October

I asked a guy stocking shelves where they’d moved it to. He apologised, and told me there wasn’t any in stock.  All the ordering is done by Head Office down in England he said, and they’d sent instructions that no more would be ordered until the New Year in order to make space for piles of Christmas cake.  In October.  Who eats Christmas cake in October anyway?

He added that the store manager had been on the phone to them, explaining that cholesterol laden grumpy auld gits throughout Scotland buy a lot of Kirriemuir Gingerbread, and they moan a lot when they can’t get it.  We sell a lot of it here, the shelf-stacking guy assured me.  But Head Office in England was insistent that we really want to eat Christmas cake for the next 3 months.  It’s a Union benefit to shake us out of our provincial Kirriemuir Gingerbread munching ways.

The phrase “Head Office in England” got me thinking.  Supermarkets account for a large chunk of weekly expenditure, especially in low income households, like those of the typical carer and cared for.  Money spent in a Scottish supermarket belonging to one of the large UK chains – like Morrisons, Tesco, Asda, Sainsburys, or, if you’re posh, M&S – generates VAT and other tax revenue for the UK Treasury that is identified as originating from the company’s head office, which is most often in London or the South East of England.

Of course much of what we buy in supermarkets, like many foodstuffs, is zero-rated for VAT, but non-food items like deep clean skin cleanser and toilet duck are all liable for VAT at the standard rate of 20%, as are “luxury” food items like chocolate coated biscuits.

The same holds true for non-food retail chains.  None of the VAT collected on the flat screen telly you bought from Currys before it closed down counted as Scottish revenue, despite the fact it was a tax paid on sales in Scotland.  None of it could be used by a Scottish Government to protect Scottish workers against job losses.

Since it doesn’t count as Scottish revenue, taxes generated by the money Scottish residents spend in most large retail outlets is not credited to Scotland in the UK Government’s GERS (Government Expendture and Revenues Scotland) figures, the figures upon which much of the argument about Scotland’s economic viability is based, and which Westminster uses to tell us how poor we are.  Although on their own figures, Scotland generates 9.9% of UK tax revenues, with just 8.3% of the UK population.

Even on the UK’s skew-you statistics, Scotland is doing better than Better Together would like to acknowledge, but an independent Scotland’s finances would be even healthier, and by a considerable margin.  The truth is that the GERS figures are about as realistic as the financial forecasts Craig Whyte made for the Gers.

As a furrinstance, the sales of toilet duck and choccie biccies in supermarkets mean that the revenues of an independent Scotland would be rather higher than the UK’s GERS figures give us credit for.

In an independent Scotland, tax due on all sales or profits generated in Scotland would be paid to the Scottish Treasury.  The 50p VAT on your toilet duck from Morrisons supermarket is an additional 50p that would go to the Scottish budget over and above the official statistics currently being bandied about by the UK Treasury.  The 50p would no longer be tax income originating from a head office in London.  It would be tax income originating from the company’s offices in Scotland.

A bottle of toilet duck here and a packet of wet wipes there adds up.  So just how much is Scotland being shortchanged?  Finding out the exact figure would take a crack team of forensic accountants on speed, but we can get a rough idea.  Let’s have a wee look at the largest UK retail chain, Tesco.

During the last financial year, 2012/13, Tesco reported UK sales of £48,216,000,000.  Much of this is food which is not liable for VAT.  On my last trip to the supermarket, around 15% of the amount spent was on non-food items, and so liable for VAT.  That’s as good an estimate as any in order to work out some rough calculations.

I couldn’t be bothered adding in the chocolate biscuits.  In what universe is a McVities chocolate digestive a “luxury”?  It could only be in a country where a spare room for the wheelchair, the walking frame and bathroom equipment is a luxury for people on benefits …  Oh.

But let’s lean over backwards to give Georgie boy and the Treasury the benefit of any doubt.  With a standard VAT rate of 20%, and assuming zero-rated food items make up 85% of Tesco’s turnover, this means the company forwards roughly £1.44 billion annually in VAT to George Osborne’s account books.

This figure does not include other taxes paid by Tesco to the UK Treasury, such as corporation tax.  The company says that it paid a total of £1.5 billion in direct taxation to the Exchequer in 2012/13, a figure which includes corporation tax, property taxes etc., but doesn’t include VAT payments.

All this money is counted by the UK Treasury as revenue originating from Cheshunt in Hertfordshire, just beyond the boundary of Greater London, where the company’s head office is located and its tax returns are filed.

The revenues which the UK Treasury regards as originating from the company’s head office were generated by the company’s 3146 stores across the UK.  Tesco traditionally has a smaller presence in Scotland than in England, where the bulk of its stores are located.  However Tesco has many more “Express” and “Metro One Stop” outlets in England, these are much smaller than the company’s main supermarkets and therefore do not generate the same amount of revenue for the company or the taxman.

According to the company’s submission to the Scottish Government’s consultation on alcohol, it has “over” 126 stores in Scotland.  Let’s say 128 then.

Getting out the back of a fag packet so we can make some rough calculations, and with the additional assumption that Tesco’s Scottish stores each generate the same average revenue as stores elsewhere in the UK, this gives us a ballpark figure of £1.44 billion VAT + £1.5 billion direct taxation x (128 Scottish stores / 3146 UK stores) – working out at £119 million annually in tax payments to the UK Treasury from sales and profits generated by Tesco operations in Scotland.

Since a higher proportion of the Scottish stores are large supermarkets, and Tesco is also involved in non-food retailing such as financial services, this figure is probably a low estimate.

By way of comparison, Tesco Ireland has 137 stores in the Irish Republic.  The Irish arm of the business is roughly the same size as Tesco in Scotland. Tesco Ireland generates a total of €3.07 billion (£2.64 billion) in sales annually. The standard rate of VAT in Ireland is 23%. Assuming the same 85% figure for zero rated food items, this means that Tesco Ireland forwards around €105 million (£90.3 million) annually to the Irish Government in VAT alone. At the 20% VAT rate in force in Scotland, Tesco’s retail sales in Ireland would generate €92.1 million (£78.6 million) annually in VAT revenues for the Irish Government. This figure does not include the other taxes that the company pays to the Irish Treasury.

Our estimate of £119 million for the total potential Scottish revenues from Tesco is likely to considerably underestimate the true figure, it includes several other taxes as well as VAT.  More realistically, the total due in VAT alone to an independent Scottish Treasury from Tesco operations in Scotland would be similar to the Irish figure, probably greater than £78.6 million annually.

Since the total in other taxes paid by Tesco to the UK Government is greater than our deliberately low estimates for VAT, the true figure for the taxes Tesco would pay in an independent Scotland is certainly well over the £140 million mark.  At the moment, Scotland is not credited with a penny of this amount.

£140 million is a large sum of money, working out at 147 million packets of Kirriemuir Gingerbread at 95p per pack, or 582,758,206 tins of Tesco own brand baked beans at 29p per tin. The contents of the tins would be capable of producing more fart gas than a Better Together press release.  But only by a tiny wee margin.  If laid end to end a half billion tins of beans would wrap around the world almost one and a half times, or form a tower 34,600 miles tall stretching high into geostationary orbit. We could have our own space programme, and we could adapt Michelle Mone’s bras to make a slingshot to get our astronauts to the Moon.  Or possibly even Michelle herself as she’s not keen on living in an independent Scotland.

But remember £140 million is only the hidden Scottish revenue from just one supermarket chain.  What applies to Tesco applies equally to Morrisons, Asda and all the rest.  It also applies to M&S, TopShop, John Lewis, and the other retail chains on our high streets and in our shopping centres.  In these outlets the large majority of sales turnover is liable for VAT.

Few of these companies are headquartered in Scotland, yet together they make sales in Scotland worth billions of pounds annually, and the billions they generate for the UK Treasury are filed in tax returns from their head offices, which are usually in London.  This is how London “subsidises” us.

There are other ways in which Scottish revenues are invisible in the official statistics.  Much of the alcohol duty paid by our whisky industry is not counted as revenue from Scotland.  Alcohol produced in the UK which is exported abroad becomes subject to UK alcohol duty at the point of export, and a large proportion of Scotland’s multibillion whisky exports gets shipped out from ports in England.  The UK Treasury counts the duty levied on this whisky as income from the tax region in which the port is situated.

Billions of pounds of Scottish revenue is magicked away in the official statistics, and doesn’t count as Scottish revenue.  It masquerades as revenue from other parts of the UK, most commonly as revenue from London.  In total, the extra revenues which do not currently figure in the GERS statistics, but which would accrue to an independent Scottish Treasury, would be considerably larger than the entire annual income from the North Sea.  Who needs the yle when you’ve got Tesco own brand baked beans eh?

This is why Project Fear is ramping up the hysteria.  Scotland generates far more for the UK Government than it wants to admit to.

And so far I’ve not even mentioned how the expenditure part of the GERS statistics are likewise a skew-you to Scotland.  That’s a whole other rant.

Anyone who tells you Scotland cannae afford independence is farting verbally to the tune of half a billion tins of Tesco own brand baked beans.  We would in fact be considerably better off than the GERS figures suggest.  We could probably even afford the few extra pennies for the Kirriemuir Gingerbread with the icing topping.

No doubt in an independent Scotland the supermarkets would still insist on starting Christmas in September, but at least the revenues and taxation they generate would go to the Scottish budget, and count as income for the Scottish Government, to be spent in Scotland and on her population.  And we’d be able to buy Kirriemuir Gingerbread all year round.

Vote Yes, for Kirriemuir Gingerbread.

28th October 2013:  This is an amended and corrected version of the original article, after it was pointed out to me that like the Kirriemuir Gingerbread crazed eejit that I am, I had forgotten that food in the UK is not liable for VAT.  It was the withdrawal symptoms that made me do it.



Normal service

In the previous post I came over all furren, partly in order to put the shiters up the likes of Magrit Curran and other unionistas who seem to have an aversion to foreigners.  There are lots of folk in Catalunya, Galiza, and Spanish speaking Spain who take an active interest in the debate in Scotland, but they get very little in the way of direct comment from supporters of Scotland’s Yes campaign.  I’m going to try and post in Spanish at least once a week, so if you don’t speak Spanish, dinnae panic, normal service will be resumed as soon as possible.

Unfortunately I’m not always able to update this blog every day.  When you’re a full-time carer, you often have other priorities that have to come first.  And sometimes you’re just too knackered.  This has been a trying week.

But back to ranting.

Although the Spanish language media carries almost as much about Scotland as the UK media, in other words not a great deal, it’s generally directly lifted from reports in the UK press so is the usual biased rubbish plus an extra layer of errors and misunderstandings and things that get lost in translation.

According to one recent report in La Vanguardia newspaper (now corrected after below the line commentators pointed out the error), Blair Jenkins is head of the SNP.  Who knew?  Possibly someone’s been taking Better Together’s claim that Yes Scotland is a branch of the SNP a bit too literally.  That’s what happens when you rely on the Daily Telegraph and the BBC for your information.  Mind you, if you’re a Partido Popular supporter or a reporter for Franco’s favourite newspaper the ABC, the Spanish translation of Yes Scotland is usually along the lines of los malvados rupturistas del SNP. (That’s ‘the evil SNP rupturists’, if like Magrit Curran you can’t do foreign.)

The UK and Scottish media’s coverage of Spain is equally poor.  Actually no, that’s a lie.  It’s a lot worse.  If it was an X Factor contestant it would be one of the ones who didn’t get as far as Boot Camp, because their granny is still alive and actually quite perky.  Instead we get a parade of screeching self-regarding airheads who only got through because their grannies died a slow horrible death after declaring independence.

However you would imagine that in a normal universe the fact that Catalunya is also currently home to an active campaign for independence within Europe might have some relevance to Scotland’s debate, even more so because there is a very real possibility that the Catalans may go to the polls just days before we do.  However the sparse reports in the Scottish media about Catalunya consist entirely of misreported claims from Spanish unionistas about los malvados rupturistas catalanes.  We get the negativity, but nothing that might encourage solidarity between Catalunya and Scotland, or heaven forfend, anything which might enable us to imagine we might both be successful independent states with friends in the world.

Since Scots have on the whole nae idea who any of the people involved in Catalunya’s debate are, nor whether their comments have any validity or trustworthiness, the Unionist media can publish pretty much what it likes.  And that’s what it does.  This is what allows Unionistas to blythely assert that “Spain would veto Scottish acccession to the EU”, a claim widely repeated by No supporters.  Thing is though, it’s not true.

Recently the Scotsman published a claim from “a senior European commissioner” who said that Catalonia would have to exit the EU and reapply for membership.  The Scotsman claimed that this would also hold for Scotland.  Yet nowhere did the article mention that the “senior European commissioner” is a Spanish Unionist politician who was speaking in a personal capacity.

It pissed me off so much I wrote an article about it for Newsnet Scotland.

The Scotsman also published a claim from Spanish MEP Alejo Vidal-Quadras who asserted that Scotland would be evicted from Europe and strict border controls would have to be enforced at Berwick and Gretna.  It was solemnly reported that el señor Vidal-Quadras was of the opinion that Spain and France would both veto Scottish membership of the EU.  The paper made no attempt to put his claims into any sort of context.

So here’s some context.  The Partido Popular MEP Alejo Vidal-Quadras Roca is from an old and wealthy family of the Barcelona aristocracy and is castellaniores castellanis ipsis (more Castilian than the Castilians themselves) but even more he’s a figure of amusement than a man to be taken seriously.  He’s a Spanish version of that parody Tory MP, Jacob Rees-Mogg.  If you can imagine a politician somewhat to the right of Michael Forsyth, who is way posher than Tam Dalyell, and has the insight of Wullie Rennie combined with the articulacy of Johann Lamont, you wouldn’t be far wrong.  He gets, and deserves, about as much respect as Nigel Farage in an Embra pub.  Except in the pages of the Scotsman, whose reporting staff apparently believe that the Spanish word payaso (clown) means ‘respected elder statesman’.

Vidal-Quadras – who people refer to by the Catalan form of his name, Aleix, because it annoys him – is widely regarded in Catalonia, and in most of the rest of Spain, as a blustering and potentially dangerous fool.  This is a man who called on the Spanish government to send in the army to crush Catalan aspirations to independence and who compared the language policy of the Catalan government – which essentially boils down to immersion schools in the Catalan language for pupils in the public school system – to South African Apartheid.

Even his own party is embarrassed by him. After his call for Madrid to send in the Guardia Civil to crush the Catalan hernia-ists, the leader of the Catalan PP issued a statement making it clear he did not speak for the party.

In the Scotsman article, Vidal-Quadras told us that France “would surely” veto Scottish membership, like he’s speaking for the French as well now.  The French government, to my knowledge, have made no comments at all about the possible independence of Scotland.  Not being noted for its willingness to spare the Westminster government any possible embarrassment that’s going round, it’s hard to see why Paris would object to an independent Scotland, but that doesn’t stop Vidal-Quadras and the Scotsman from trying to invent some.

It was also asserted by the lovely Aleix that since Spain refuses to recognise Kosovo’s independence from Serbia, naturally it’s not going to recognise Scotland either.

But that’s nonsense, and Sr Vidal Quadras knew it was nonsense even as he was uttering it.  He knows that the reason Spain refuses to recognise Kosovo is because Kosovo made a unilateral declaration of independence which was not recognised by Serbia.  Serbia claims that Kosovan independence is contrary to the Serbian constitution.  This is the exact same reason that Spain gives for refusing to allow Catalonia to hold an independence referendum.

But as is very well known, even in Spain, Scotland does have a constitutional right to an independence referendum.  Our referendum is legal, and is recognised as such by the Westminster Parliament which, as part of the Edinburgh Agreement, passed enabling legislation which recognised the authority of the Scottish Parliament to hold it.  Westminster also pledged itself to respect the outcome of the referendum, which naturally means that it would recognise an independent Scotland which resulted from a Yes vote.  There will be no unilateral Scottish declaration of independence.

The people at the Scotsman newspaper know this too.  They also know that the Spanish government, which isn’t exactly enthused about the prospect of a Catalan indy referendum, carefully distinguishes between Scotland and Catalunya, and constantly stresses that there can be no comparisons between the two.  They don’t want Scots and Catalans talking together either, and for similar reasons to our own Unionistas.

And the Scottish media should also know that people like the Spanish foreign minister, who unlike Aleix Vidal-Quadras actually does have power and influence, has said on more than one occasion that Spain would have no objections to a Scotland which becomes independent legally, democratically, and in accordance with what passes for a UK constitution.

No EU state has said that it would veto Scottish membership of the EU.  Because no EU state has any intention of vetoing it. Quite the contrary, several EU member states have made it clear that they would welcome Scottish membership.  But lies by omission, half-truths, and outright porkies are what passes for normal service in Scotland’s mainstream media.

There’s only one way forward for Scotland and for Catalunya.  Visca Escotalunya!

Al proyecto miedo le falta el viagra

Solía vivir en una zona castellanoparlant del Pais Valencià donde aprendí el castellano y el catalá – este último a la sorpresa enorme de mis vecinos madrileños y murcianos.  Me gustan los idiomas, y la verdad es si puedes soportar los laberintos de la gramática gaélica y su ortografía torturada que hace la inglesa aparece supersencilla, los idiomas latinos no son demasiado dificiles.

Lo que más me sorpendió a mí era que mis vecinos me dijieron que no podían entender ni el catalán escrito, algo que me pareció todo ridículo. ¿Cómo que nó? Ya hablaban castellano mucho mejor que un extranjero como yo, debe haber sido fácil.  Naturalmente la verdad no era que no podían entenderlo, sino no lo querían.  Pero eso es otra historia …

Pero hay más personas que sí quieren entender, y sé que hay mucho interes en los paises de Iberia en lo que pasa en el debate escocés y el referendum de independencia de septiembre del año que viene.  Porque soy muy preguntón, y quiero saber lo que dicen los otros de nosotros, leo con interés los, pues, informes de los periódicos españoles sobre mi país.  Son los mismos informes de la prensa unionista británica, aunque con aun más errores – algo que no es nada fácil con la cantidad de errores, mentiras, y desinformaciones que hay en la prensa británica.

Así, de vez en cuando voy a escibir algo en el castellano en este blog, para examinar los mitos y las desinformaciones unionistas.

Desinformación uno:  Todos las encuestas apuntan una victoria del No, olvidate de la independencia escocesa.

“Pues sí … ¿y tu punto es?”  Es un referendum único.  No son los comicios normales.  Las reglas normales no se apliquen. El No es el voto de defecto, el voto de ell@s que aun no han pensado en el tema ni decidido su opinión final.  Solo una minoría, alrededor de 20%, ya han decidido definitivamente que no – más o menos el mismo porcentaje en el censado de 2011 que dijieron que su identidad nacional era “británica”.  La mayoría de los Nos están abiertos a la persuasión, incluso buscan motivos para votar que Sí.  Así el voto No es muy frágil, y cuando los votantes se comprometen con el tema, muchos cambian su opinión, y muchas veces pasan directamente del No al Sí sin pasar por “No lo sé” en ruta.  El cambio contrario, un Sí a un No, no existe.

Lo soprendente, al menos por los unionistas y la prensa británica, es que esto pasa incluso cuando la presentación menosprecia la independencia.  Los votantes se dan cuenta que no existe un caso positivo por la Unión.  Los unionistas no pueden explicar como Escocia puede progresar mejor en la Unión que lo puede como un país independiente.  Encima tienen que argumentar que es mejor tener gobiernos que no votamos que los gobiernos que sí votamos.  Y aun peor, los gobiernos que no votamos son de los Tories.  (Odiamos a los tories.  Aquí tenemos más pandas gigantes que diputados conservadores.)  Pero lo que hace esto surrealista es que son los llamados laboristas que nos dicen que es mejor tener un gobierno Tory.  Bienvenid@s al mundo revuelto del unionismo.

En falta de un caso positivo, ni incluso una promesa definitiva de más poderes dentro de la Unión al parliamento en Edimburgo, la campañía de No solo puede recurrir a las tácticas de miedo.  Pero una campañía negativa es como una erección sin las ayudas del Viagra.  Solo se puede mantener durante un tiempo cortito, antes de que deja de penetrar.

El mes pasado había un debate transmitido en la BBC2 en vivo del Puente de la Unión en la frontera entre Escocia e Inglaterra, con participantes que aun no habían decidido como van a votar.  Como es normal en la BBC, que por supuesto, es la British Broadcasting Corporation (y no lo olvides), la presentación fue muy sesgada a la Unión, incluso con graficos que nos informaron que Escocia era UNO DE LOS PAISES MAS PEQUEÑOS DEL MUNDO en todo mayusculas en caso que olvidaste las gafas.

Nos informaron que nuestros hijos que viven en Inglaterra se convertirán en extranjeros.  ¡Qué horror!  Quizas coman el ajo y todo.  Nos echarán de la UE, pero a la vez nos forzarán a usar el euro.  No tendremos defensas, y nos costará billiones para crear las fuerzas armadas que no comprendrán más que una línea 0800 y una voz grabada diciendo “nos rendimos” en el árabe, el ruso y el chino.  Oh, y vamos a morir de la peste negra, o algo, no sé, había dejado de escuchar por este punto – fui a hacerme un té antes de que me convertiera en extranjero.

Los dos independentistas del panel hablaron del futuro, de la esperanza de algo mejor, y como lograrlo.  No hay una visión por una Escocia independiente, sino hay miles.  Y la gente que vive en Escocia podremos decidir nuestro camino entre estas posibilidades emocionantes sin preocuparnos de los Tories o un partido laborista que basan su política en la necesidad de ganar los votos flotantes de conservadores del sur del Inglaterra.

Es sencillo.  Aqui estamos con el petroleo hasta las axilas, con el gas, con un montón de carbón, y con los recursos renovables de energía más potentes de Europa, y hay miles de personas que no pueden calentar sus casas.  Exportamos el pescado, el whisky, carnes, verduras, frutas, y hay gente que tienen que ir a los bancos de alimentacion para poder comer.  Somos un país rico, pero hay pobreza y una falta de infraestructuras.  Y las desigualdades van creciendo.

Esto no va a cambiar con la Unión.  Pero con independencia, por lo menos hay la posibilidad.  La decisión será nuestra.

Cuando votaron, los indecididos se habían convertido en una mayoría de Sí de 68%.  La presentadora se puso una cara.  “Naturalmente estos resultados no son cientificos,” dijo.  Y tampoco los argumentos unionistas.

Este no es el único ejemplar.  En el mes pasado había tres otros debates públicos.  En Dundee los estudiantes de la Universidad de Abertay eran 59% que No al principio del debate.  En este debate, el politico laborista George Robertson, ex-secretario general de la OTAN, informó a los estudientes que Escocia no necesita independencia, porque, al contrario a los catalanes, no tenemos idioma ni cultura.  Al final los estudiantes votaron 51% que Sí.  Mientras tanto, en Edimburgo un debate organizado por los PYMES resultó en un Sí de 73%.  Y en Clydebank en un debate de los sindicalistas la audiencia lo dejo muy claro que solo la independencia puede producir los cambios positivos que Escocia necesita.

Hay cientos de estos debates por todo el pais.  La campañía de Sí tiene miles y miles de activistas con entusiasmo y energía, la campañía de No solo tiene los medios de comunicación en las que ya hemos perdidos la fe.

Acaban de empezar, persona por persona, y puerta por puerta, llevan el mensaje de Sí, y van cambiando Escocia.