Abusive site Wings over Scotland is embedded into the Scottish Government and Yes movement – Willie Rennie proves what we knew already

I’ve written before about the appallingly abusive Wings over Scotland site. It’s a pro-independnece blog written, ironically, by the self-styled “Rev” Stu Campbell who lives in Bath.

His shameful content and comments he allows on his site and on social media  have included:

  • Using a picture of hearses going through Royal Wootton Bassett in a mocked up “Better Together poster;
  • Showering abuse on Clare Lally after she spoke at the Better Together “100 days to go” event. Funnily enough, he then said he couldn’t find any abuse of her on his site. I helped him out. 
  • Doing me over when I said that being part in the UK meant we could do more in terms of international development
  • Disgusting transphobia towards Chelsea Manning
  • Referring to a Conservative MSP as an a******* and “sewer dwelling vermin”

More recently, after the referendum, he set up a petition on change.org about Gordon Brown. It’s shockingly abusive, telling the former PM to “Go f*** himself and referring to him as a useless s******g. You have to worry that over 13.200 people who think that this is acceptable political discourse.

He can do this, but my Twitter timeline is full of his supporters suggesting that because I criticise him, I am in some way denying free speech. Nobody is suggesting banning him, but it’s perfectly legitimate to use my free speech to call him out.

We are also entitled to comment when such an abusive site becomes so embedded in the political establishment that civil servants, who are supposed to be impartial, accessed an average of 77 times a day in the six months leading up to the referendum. How do we know? Because Willie Rennie submitted a Freedom of Information request to ask. The response revealed that 13,913 visits were made. He said:

With civil servants racking up 77 sessions a day on this nationalist blog site you would think they were issued with a prescribed nationalist reading list. This raises further concerns that the political neutrality of Scotland’s civil service has been tainted by this domineering nationalist government.

We know that the SNP government previously relied on nationalist blogs to back up their independence assertions but now that the democratic majority of Scotland have rejected their independence prospectus our civil service should be allowed to get on with their job.

We know that Alex Salmond’s Special Adviser Campbell Gunn, who continues to work for Nicola Sturgeon, based his email to the press about Clare Lally on an erroneous story on Wings. He got away with that.

Wings over Scotland registered the site as a campaigner in the referendum which gave him a £150,000 spending limit. It was supposed to remain completely separate from the official Yes campaign.  That didn’t stop Yes campaigners routinely giving out his Wee Blue Book, full of conjecture and inaccuracy on their street stalls and recommending it on the doorsteps.

In light of all of this, Willie Rennie has challenged Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s new  First Minister who claims that she’s going to be much more consensual than her predecessor, to dissociate herself from this site. The SNP’s response yesterday was perfunctory. What they should have said was something like: “The First Minister dissociates herself and the SNP from this website because of its abusive and inappropriate content.” What is so hard about saying that?

If Sturgeon ever hopes to persuade Scotland to back independence, she’s going to have to take a very firm line with the nationalist movement’s more intolerant element. Her party’s comments don’t suggest to me that she has yet understood that.



* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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  • You’ve obviously visited the site. Does that make you a nationalist? I have to say I find the idea of politicians monitoring which websites a civil servant visits rather sinister. And quite baffled when these politicians regard themselves as ‘liberals’.

  • Caron Lindsay Caron Lindsay 2nd Dec '14 - 1:04pm

    It’s more to do with the embedding of such an awful site within the political establishment that the SNP has created in Scotland.

  • I am a contractor working on site with Scottish Government.

    I regularly access WoS – along with equally as many anti-independence news sources. It is nothing to do with my job, and I don’t do it during working hours (usually lunch). It was because the referendum was monumental, and I wanted to get a fair look at all of the news and viewpoints. WoS provided an incredible other viewpoint that was not displayed in any mainstream media.

    I am not a civil servant, but my visits to this site will be part of that 77 visits per day. I am not involved in policy, I am a contractor in IT who is interested in Scottish Politics in his spare time.

    This article is over the top and makes WoS out to be a terrible site, it is not so. It is just a view you do not share. I do not share views with the Telegraph – but I do not advocate shutting down the avenue of right wing media.

  • Richard Dean 2nd Dec '14 - 1:20pm

    Part of the Civil Service’s job is to provide expert advice to Ministers, so it can be rather important for politicians to know what sources might be influencing that advice. In this case, given the size of the civil service and the possibility that they might actually need to have kept themselves abreast of events, 77 visits per day doesn’t look sinister at all.

    Wings over Scotland illustrates a generic feature of the internet, which is that it allows people to form groups who would not otherwise have been formable. Some of this is good, some is bad, and some is a waste of time. But it changes things. Do we need Judge-Judy-type courts to deal quickly with internet-libel, for instance?

    I’m surprised that change.org doesn’t have some kind of policy that prevents this kind of meaningless and offensive petition. The absence of such a policy does nothing to enhance change.org’s reputation.

  • Caron Lindsay Caron Lindsay 2nd Dec '14 - 1:24pm


    There are links within the article that back up everything I have said.

    How is this about censorship? It’s about making people aware of how embedded your site is into Scotland’s political establishment. I don’t think that a site that is as abusive and inaccurate as yours should be. My Twitter timeline is full of people comparing it to the BBC, Telegraph and other reputable publications. It is far from that.

    Your persistent misgendering of Chelsea Manning, continued here, is unacceptable transphobia. There is no justification for such disrespectful treatment of her.

  • Are you sure you aren’t looking too hard for a conspiracy?

    There are what, 40-50,000 civil servants in Scotland? Something like that? And they accessed a popular (and, yes, sometimes unpleasant) political blog site just 70 or so times a day in the run up to the biggest political event they’d ever taken part in? What other websites were visited during the same period? (I suspect Facebook, eBay and Amazon might be high on the list…)

    Obviously, I never use the internet for personal purposes whilst at work, but, ah, a friend of mine sometimes does. I understand that he looked at a wide variety of news and blog sites in the run up to said event, not even restricting himself to ones he tended to agree with.

    There were some he looked at several times some days. He even claims to have looked at Lib Dem Voice from time to time. He might be part of a grand liberal conspiracy – but I suspect he may have just wanted to see what was being said…

  • Caron Lindsay Caron Lindsay 2nd Dec '14 - 1:39pm

    Better than quotes. I have screen grabs here. https://caronlindsay.wordpress.com/2014/06/12/rev-stu-said-he-couldnt-find-any-abuse-of-clare-lally-he-should-look-at-the-comments-on-his-own-website/

    You allowed this stuff to be published on your website and took no action.

    You put transphobic comments on mine, I’ll call you out on it and put you on pre-moderation so you can’t comment without your comments being approved by one of the team. I’d normally notify you of this by email, but the address you have provided, [email protected] doesn’t seem to be quite legitimate.

  • Caron Lindsay Caron Lindsay 2nd Dec '14 - 1:45pm

    Ian, there’s 16,500 civil servants who work for the Scottish Government. When there’s a clear link between an attempt by the First Minister’s Special Adviser to smear a political opponent and the site, you have to ask questions, and that’s what prompted Willie’s FOI request.

    Many employers don’t even let people access Facebook at work – and in fact, there’s no need these days to do so from work computers. It’s a surprise that the firewall allows people to access such a profane and abusive site.

  • Caron, don’t get distracted by calls to ban access to websites from within the Scottish Government. Campbell’s own post here marks him out as a pretty vile personality not afraid to use dead soldiers to make crass political points while wilfully indulging in casual transphobia.

    Continually asking Sturgeon and the SNP why they won’t dissociate themselves from such people (and there are plenty of others) is a perfectly reasonable question, and one opponents of the SNP, whether pro- or anti- independence (many pro-indy Greens are just as appalled by Wings as you) need to keep asking.

  • A Working Class Man 2nd Dec '14 - 2:00pm

    “Better than quotes. I have screen grabs here. https://caronlindsay.wordpress.com/2014/06/12/rev-stu-said-he-couldnt-find-any-abuse-of-clare-lally-he-should-look-at-the-comments-on-his-own-website/

    That isn’t what you accused him in your article though. You accused him of “Showering abuse on Clare Lally after she spoke at the Better Together”. Your screengrabs are evidence of other people abusing Clare – not RevStu. I think you probably realise that tho.

    In respect of the article, as other commentators have stated, I find it strange that a Liberal would support such an illiberal idea as censoring websites *Shudder* As Ian crrectly points, reading an article doesn’t mean that you agree with it. Case in point – I read your article and Im certainly not a LibDem.

    I suppose it is good clickbait though.

  • What we have here is a deeply unpleasant person shouting into his own personal echo-chamber and using profanity and abuse to build a circle of fans around himself. So far, so playground.

    The more deeply unpleasant bile he spews onto the internets, the more he and people like him come to define the nationalist cause. And the more they define nationalism, the more obvious it becomes that you really can’t be a liberal while also being a nationalist in that mode. Challenging that cognitive dissonance that has allowed the SNP to attach a broad swath of progressives to the nationalist vote and build an election winning majority is critical.

    The free speech angle is important, but we all need to remember that providing for and defending an unpleasant person’s freedom of speech does not involve any obligation to provide that person with a platform, nor to necessarily engage them directly.

    The actual story of 77 visits a day by Scottish Civil Service staff to this website is tricky. 77 visits a day could be 77 civil servants visiting once a day out of morbid curiosity, or it could be one slightly enthusiastic civil servant mashing the refresh button desperate to keep up with the latest thread of angry bile, couldn’t it?

    It is something to think about in the wider context of maintaining a politically neutral civil service though. Since civil servants aren’t automatons and will have their personal opinions influenced and informed by all sorts of media sources, part of the role of the elected representative is to do as Rennie has and shine a light into the system to identify any undue influence dominating from one side or another.

  • Caron

    I’m not sure I agree with your interpretation of the numbers saying what you think they do here.

    But that said you appear to have done an excellent job of baiting “RevStu” in to demonstrating his ignorance. Congratulations.


    “I don’t like foreign policy that gets Scottish soldiers killed for nothing. I’m surprised you don’t object to it too.”

    Deliberately missing the point? The service personnel who are brought back are not the ones who made the decisions about foreign policy.

    “I also support my right to personally consider him to still be a man”

    I see nothing about Caron’s comments saying she would prevent you making comments she considers transphobic, just to call those out as being that.

    “Are there any other sites you believe civil servants should be prevented from reading?”

    Did she say they shoud be prevented from reading them? Errr, no. What did she suggest? That an employer should prevent access to certain websites, which almost every, medium sized ab above, employer does.

    “I’m not the one calling for censorship”

    That seems to be lacking some context as I can’t work out who you are talking about, as Caron isn’t either. She doesn’t appear to have suggested having anything removed from this website. Expecting people to access certain websites form their phones, tablets, home computers, libraries is not really a matter of censorship as a matter of focusing employees on websites related to their jobs.

    Your free speech is unaffected.

  • Thanks for the numbers. The FOI request is fair enough – but I really don’t think the answer does anything to suggest that the site is “embedded in the political establishment”.

    I strongly dislike some of the content on Wings, but I don’t think that blocking sites for being disagreeable is a great way to go. Blocking such sites outwith break times to enhance productivity, fair enough, but that doesn’t seem to be what you’re suggesting.

  • Paul McGowan 2nd Dec '14 - 2:34pm

    Still waiting for the “Rev” Stu to explain in person what Church he is a Rev of?? Tumbleweed for many months now…. Unfortunately the world is full of fakers.

  • Caron,
    There are lots of abusive political sites, not least of which is the comments section of the Daily Mail which I’m pretty certain civil servants have been known to read! During the referendum this was indeed a hotbed anti Scottish abuse, conspiracy theories, racism and god only knows what else! So Wings Over Scotland is run by a bit of a crank, but does this mean that everyone advocating independence is somehow tainted by association anymore that no campaigners are tainted by the Daily Mail. The fact is the referendum was mostly civilised and the SNP have behaved perfectly reasonably after losing out this time. Fairly obviously as their central aim is independence they will continue to campaign for it. Scotland has not descended into chaos and civil strife despite there being about 45% of Scots who want independence. This is in marked contrast to the London riots and student loans protests that greeted this coalition.

  • Having buried a number of my friends and colleagues under the Union Flag I take offense at the use of hearses going through Royal Wootton Bassett. I’m afraid that anyone who does not consider the feelings of those family members, comrades and friends of those who have given their lives for their Country is beneath contempt.

    To Stu I would simply ask was your political point worth the potential upset to those in mourning ?

    Remember all who join the services do so voluntarily and attest to serve their country. Nobody is forced to serve the UK unless they wish to.

  • Caron Lindsay Caron Lindsay 2nd Dec '14 - 3:35pm


    His shameful content and comments he allows on his site and on social media have included:

    was the form of words I used. I think that it more than stacks up.

  • @RevStu

    (1) I have no reason to believe any of them read my site.

    – Why does that matter? Is simple common decency not to do so and your points can be made without their use.

    (2) I’m not the one who sent them to their deaths. I think it’s appropriate to be angry at those who did, not those who point out that their lives were wasted for nothing.

    – That you didn’t has no impact whatsoever on how they are being used.

  • @RevStu
    “(1) I have no reason to believe any of them read my site.”

    Once something is published it is entirely out of your control, it is not just your site but others that link to it or refer to it that may lead to the family seeing your image. You have shown, and it appears continue to show scant regard for their feelings. If you were to ask service families they would tell you that whatever your argument with the Government, using such images is offensive.

    “(2) I’m not the one who sent them to their deaths. I think it’s appropriate to be angry at those who did, not those who point out that their lives were wasted for nothing”

    Your opinion is that their lives were wasted for nothing, I would not dispute your right to hold that opinion, write about it, or to petition or protest those who make the decisions to use our armed forces. I just feel that your use of such an image is an insult to those of us that have served, those that continue to serve, and most importantly those who lost their lives in the service of their country, their families, comrades and loved ones.

    You either have no wish to see that what you did could be upsetting to innocents, or you just don’t care. Politicians are fair game, they choose to be part of the debate and to live their lives in public. Service personnel and their families do not. If you had a shred of feeling for those who did not chose the battleground they died on, and who certainly did not chose to make their final journey in the vehicles in question, you would accept the use of the image was wrong.

  • Mr Eugenides 2nd Dec '14 - 4:22pm

    I’m going to break the habit of a lifetime and defend WoS here. Yes, his posts are abusive (and I am not a fan) but it is his site and he is perfectly entitled to call politicians four letter words if he wants. I used to have a blog and I share his view of the species as a whole. Telling Gordon Brown to f*** off, after the destruction he wrought on our economy over 13 years, seems an entirely proportionate response. No-one outside the cybernat / zoomer faithful would even know about this petition unless you and others were blogging about it.

    I part company with the Rev when it comes to being abusive to fellow bloggers, which as a whole I tried to avoid when I was writing a blog myself. His Twitter persona, in particular, is one of incredible hair-trigger rudeness to anyone who disagrees with him, which I find not so much offensive as just pathetic. But, again, his site, his account, his rules. No-one is forced to follow him (indeed, he blocked me very quickly).

    As for the statistics from Willie Rennie’s FoI request, I think this is a bit of a red herring. I used to have traffic from local and national government computers when I was writing a blog, and it certainly wasn’t because the readers shared my political viewpoint. A lot was indeed around lunchtime when people were browsing the blogs to see what was being said. I know that some of my more inventively offensive posts were read from within Lib Dem HQ! It doesn’t mean you agreed with them. Of course, I’d like to think they were more entertaining and certainly better written than WoS, but that’s not setting the bar very high, and the point remains. 77 visits a day, in the context of the web traffic that WoS was presumably getting during the referendum campaign, is a drop in the ocean. And why should grown adults working in any office have a profanity filter imposed on their web browsing?

    None of this is to defend the content on WoS which, as I said, I often found to be crass, hysterical and simple-minded (I never read it more than once every six months or so). But a few visits from government computers do not a conspiracy make, even if the SNP were indeed guilty of overindulging the Rev and his lets-replace-Trident-with-shortbread-tins myopia.

  • Caron Lindsay Caron Lindsay 2nd Dec '14 - 4:51pm

    Mr E,

    Your site was wicked and incredibly rude, but there was also something on it that could make everyone laugh or agree with at some time or other. It was much better written than WoS.

    The point really is that the SNP establishment refuses to dissociate itself from someone who is so abusive and who behaves in such an unacceptable manner.. In fact, the Yes campaign embraced them and the links were very close.

  • Douglas McLellan 2nd Dec '14 - 5:25pm

    “The point really is that the SNP establishment refuses to dissociate itself from someone who is so abusive and who behaves in such an unacceptable manner.”

    Which is a different issue from the FoI.

    “With civil servants racking up 77 sessions a day on this nationalist blog site you would think they were issued with a prescribed nationalist reading list.”

    This is just stunningly immature. Just because a site is abusive just not render it a bad place to visit. How many Lib Dems visit Order-Order or the UKIP website or even the BNP site just to see what is being said.

    I find it laughable that the Lib Dems demand that the SNP top fighting the referendum but look who is actually still fighting it.

  • Caron

    “The point really is that the SNP establishment refuses to dissociate itself from someone who is so abusive and who behaves in such an unacceptable manner”

    But if they did it for this simpleton then think of all the other nasty prejudiced little people that they would have to dissociate themselves from. It would take ages!

  • Surely for the First Minister to dissociate herself from the WoS site, she first must have an association with the site.

    Can you please show me proof, (and I don’t mean he said she said), that Nicola Sturgeon is associated with Wings Over Scotland in any way?

    What I’m reading from you could be confused with any Scottish Labour Tweet or blog at this point. Anything to attack the SNP will do. It smacks of utter panic.

    I’m going to sound like a disaffected Labour voter now and let you know that the LibDems will never get my vote in a GE or any other election again.

  • paul barker 2nd Dec '14 - 6:31pm

    I am watching all this from a safe distance but I worry about the way Scottish Political life is going to be utterly dominated by The SNP juggernaut, taking nearly half the Vote & probably three-quarters of total Party membership. Even if the SNP were tolerant & open-minded their total domination cant be healthy.

  • Paul Barker

    Domination is not a stable position, Labour considered themselves unassailable 10 years ago.

  • Leekliberal 2nd Dec '14 - 7:02pm

    The SNP are ‘Nationalists’, but we Liberals are internationalists and ‘Liberals ‘, which they are emphatically not! It is we who are the future!

  • Caron Lindsay Caron Lindsay 2nd Dec '14 - 7:12pm


    Wings and the Yes campaign worked very closely together. It worries me that the Yes movement allies itself with an abusive shockblog.

    You have to wonder why Nicola Sturgeon doesn’t just come out and say that she and the SNP disown anyone on the nationalist side who behaves like that.

  • I honestly don’t think they did Caron. And again saying it doesn’t make it so. You have given no evidence. Think of evidence as “the available body of facts or information indicating whether a belief or proposition is true or valid.”

    The YES movement is a very large movement that works under the same YES slogan, which doesn’t mean they are all associated with each other in the way you are implying. The ‘official’ YES group came out during the summer and distanced itself from WoS after being called on to do so. This still doesn’t mean there was an association other than the same result wished for, even in that case.

    I don’t have to wonder why Nicola Sturgeon won’t come out and say the SNP disown anyone that they don’t have ties with. There is a logic deficit in arguing that she disown anyone they are not affiliated or associated with.

    Within the broad YES movement there are people and groups that don’t agree with each other or would rather others would do things differently.

    As a liberal I’m surprised, though maybe I shouldn’t be that you are stirring up something that’s not there. Again it sounds purely anti SNP, which is negative behaviour and as you might have noticed, isn’t that popular any more.

    Paul Barker, I hear what you’re saying but I believe the Scottish voters to be far more savvy. There is an obvious momentum and push behind the SNP for the Westminster elections (which may be part of the calls on the SNP to disown etc.) But that is for the WM elections. I have a feeling that the SNP will have to work damn hard to keep its position, the other parties like the Greens are on the increase too. I’d be surprised if the SNP were to hold onto power under any circumstances come the Scottish elections.

    LeekLiberal, was that humour?

  • paul barker 2nd Dec '14 - 8:45pm

    Even back in the 1990s Labours Scottish membership was about the same as The SNPs, both claimed around 30,000 I think. The SNP now claims about 85,000 while Labours has fallen, we should find out the exact Figures on the 13th when The new SLAB Leader is chosen.There are dark rumours going round about just how far Labour membership has fallen.
    I dont know about the other Scottish Parties but I doubt their combined membership even reaches 20,000. The SNP is like one of those vast Oil Tankers, sorrounded by half a dozen Tugs. Of course The Nationalists dominance wont last but while it does its dangerous.

  • If the SNP indeed have any where like 85,000 members that is near 2% of the population.

    If they get 45% of the vote in the General Election I think there will be 1 or 2 Lib Dems representing Scottish seats, a Scottish Tory and maybe 6 or 7 Labour MPs , and about 50 SNP MPs. There won’t be a majority for any party in Westminster by the looks of things.

    This is because the other 3 parties are all pretty much the same and pretty crap. Lib=Lab=Con, there really is very little difference between the 3 main UK parties any more. The Lib Dems are in coalition with the Tories,and the Labour Party are Tories. The main three UK parties are all conservatives in government. If the people in England had a real alternative, they would vote for it too.

  • The SNP is somewhere around the 94,500 mark last I heard Paul. Which I’ll confess was at an SNP meeting last night, my first SNP meeting. I’ve always voted LibDem in general elections, not any more.

    Scottish Labour is rumoured to be on its knees as far as membership numbers go.

    I have a feeling that some people think that wanting independence is some dangerous crazed form of nationalism, an inward looking monster. It’s not. It’s about self determination and having our own voice in the world. It’s about inclusion not exclusion. It’s about a society that looks after its most vulnerable, that welcomes diversity as opposed to yelling about immigration, not cutting services to the least able and overseeing the massive movement of wealth from the many to the few. We don’t bite, we really don’t.

    That does not mean that a large section of the new SNP membership would not peel off and support another party that supports independence if push came to shove over other issues. As I said, I think the Scottish electorate are very savvy.

  • @Paul Barker. The SNP are currently saying it is wrong that half of Scotland’s private land belongs to less than 500 families and are planning radical land reform and will force large landowners to lease or sell it when it is not being utilised. I won’t be all talk either, something of substance will actually happen.

    Can you imagine Labour/Tories/Lib Dems doing that? Regardless of any statements they made in public they’d be more concerned with protecting the privileged land owners at all costs no matter what in exactly the same way they have done nothing of any real consequence about the housing crisis and can be relied upon to take the side of wealthy property owners and Buy-To-Letters over those with no access to housing. The Lib/Con/Lab idea of a radical policy is yet another way of getting ‘tougher’ on under 65’s who claim benefits or getting tough on drugs or campaigning against their local headshop. A rehash of what they’ve done for many years now…

    The SNP could become the natural party of government here and win every election for the next one or two generations. If you actually read what I’ve written about, you should understand why.

  • @Caron. With all due respect I don’t think you’re being fair to RevStu.

    If he neither hates or fears Bradley/Chelsea Manning you can’t simply brand trams phobic for not seeing ones tight to change their gender the way you do. Sadly, this is something the PC brigade have got away with for to long, branding people as phobic or racist or whatever when they do t see things there way. I hope you will provide evidence that he either hates or fears manning or take the comment back?

  • paul barker 2nd Dec '14 - 10:51pm

    I see some SNP Coucillors have taken a selfie of them burning the Smith Report. I am reminded of the the words of the Poet Heine – “Those who start by burning paper often end by burning People.”

  • I’m glad that this article has been posted, as it shows in a nutshell why so many people, angry and frustrated with the denigration and ‘othering’ of pro-independence views and supporters, have joined the SNP.

    Please keep it up until next May!

  • Can you give us links to those selfies you mentioned @paul barker? It wouldn’t really be worth burning the Smith Commission report, not much paper there to give any warmth. But again, please, if you’re going to say something like that, please give evidence.

  • Theres nothing more abusive on wings of Scotland than the average tabloid and comments sections are filled with garbage all over the internet its hard to find a you tube video without something abusive.

    Parties like the lib dems need to stop whining “doing you over” grow up and deal with the criticism you rightly deserve for making weak points.

    Its the fear the big 3 have that the no vote has not subdued anyone only got a large part of the country even angrier. Why not come up with some policies of your own and maybe even think of keeping them if you get in (Bitter memories of the lib-lab graduation tax) rather than just sniping from the sidelines.

  • Exiled Scot 2nd Dec '14 - 11:07pm

    When is Caron going to ask David Cameron to dissassoviate himself from Guido Fawkes’s website? Afterall they were both on the same side in the AV referendum and Guido often publishes offensive and foul mouthed things.

    Is Caron going to ask a Lib Dem MP to make a FoI request to see how many Whitehall civil servants have logged on to Guido (in their lunch hours or otherwise)?

    No – because that would be ludicrous and everyone would think you’ve completely lost any perspective.

  • Cath

    Respect the difference of opinion and the fair way in which you have laid out your position but:

    “It’s not. It’s about self determination and having our own voice in the world. It’s about inclusion not exclusion.”

    I just don’t see how Scotland has not acted out of self-determination to remain in the Union and how, after that decision, how many on the Yes side say they want a diverse society when those who voted No are presented as some sort of traitor. I’m certainly not saying that is your view (as I say, your argument is fair and welcome), but that is how many of us feel. I support the Union as I love where I’m from and believe in universal rights that aren’t defined by borders, I’d only be a traitor if I want against that and not some construct of history based on wealth and power of Kings. As Gladstone once said, he would always back the masses against the classes. For this Liberal, that remains a potent argument .

    I’m proud to be both Scottish and British, but the most outspoken of the so-called 45 seem intent to tell me I was tricked or scared in not believing that a line on a map on a small rock in the North Sea should define one set of people as different from the other. Why exclude all the people in England, Wales and NI from the values and society we each want to work for? People before nationstate is a principle from which I can’t budge.

    What WoS and other such sites are doing are presenting two types of Scots, Yes or No and no space inbetween. Us and Them, Good and Bad – binary politics. As a Liberal, I can’t accept that. For every person, let alone every Scot, there is a different, unique and personal vision of a society we hope to achieve. They shut down rather than open debate as if you hold different views on a key issue, that is it for you – you’re a traitor. Many members of this party supported Yes, we had great and lively debates and, following the result, have come back together as a party – if only that could happen in the country as well.

  • Nigel Cheeseman 2nd Dec '14 - 11:17pm

    Cath, footage has just been on TV. (BBC)

  • It’s interesting to see Liberal Democrats getting so hot under the collar at the gender of a man wanting to be known as a woman when they dropped the hideous # patronising BT Lady on women. I don’t follow you maybe you could link me to your justification for that advert.
    It’s not going to be possible for me now to look at Labour/tory or Liberals without thinking that as a woman i am a simpleton in your eyes. It will be interesting to see you in full bluster on my behalf in the up coming months, women’s rights must be high on the agenda. Caron Lindsay Wings simply treat it’s readers as adults. Caron Lindsay the SNP simply treat the electorate as adults. You can bluster in outrage all you like but until you treat us as adults you won’t get our vote.

  • Exciled Scot

    “When is Caron going to ask David Cameron to dissassoviate himself from Guido Fawkes’s website? ”

    I imagine he would do it in a heart beat Guido had a few Tory scalps including some who were close to Cameron.

  • Cath, your writing about how Scottish nationalism isn’t about exclusion etc etc is applicable for the referendum campaign. When there’s a question on the table that puts an inequitable and seemingly unassailable status quo on the one hand, and an alternative short of disastrous on the other, it is possible to reconcile a liberal outlook with voting in favour of a separation. Just.

    I voted Yes, because it was the only show in town as regards pressing on with the conversation about modernising our state. But I simply cannot reconcile liberalism with a campaigning nationalism, not now, when outside of the limits of a single question we have the opportunity to campaign for a positive answer, in the place of deciding between the SNP’s less worse option against the status quo.

    To choose to hold fast with independence, nationalism and separatism when the opportunity to redefine the UK and usher it maybe even the 21st century exists, is explicitly all about exclusion. All the lovely things you mention, like having a society that cares for the vulnerable, and that acts to prevent wealth and privilege pooling in ever fewer hands can should and must be done for all of us, in Liverpool, Hull and the Isle of Thanet as much as in Glasgow.

    If Smith fails, if UKIP succeeds, if nothing changes and the promises of the union’s defenders amount to nothing, then I will again argue for the least worst response. If the UK cannot modernise, we have to call time on it. But it’s not over yet, and liberals really ought to be now advocating a positive, inclusive cooperative federalism that can deliver for all of us, and not allow ourselves to be limited by the nationalist idea of lines on maps.

  • Caron Lindsay Caron Lindsay 3rd Dec '14 - 10:02am

    Cath, most people who want independence are exactly as you describe, decent people who want a fairer, more just Scotland. Guess what? That’s what most people who don’t want independence want too.

    Wings was just one element of a vicious part of the Yes movement, though, which displayed intolerance that was fuelled right from the top, by Alex Salmond himself.

    He has been endorsed by SNP MSPs, including Salmond’s Parliamentary aide Joan McAlpine and James Dornan even wrote to Strathclyde Passenger Transport when they took down Wings advertising.

    It’s clear that he was at the heart of the Yes movement and had a key role in mobilising certain elements of it.

  • Caron Lindsay Caron Lindsay 3rd Dec '14 - 10:19am

    @moira: I’d say that most women on the ‘No” side were pretty disgusted with #patronisingBTlady. I described it as one of the worst pieces of political broadcasting I had ever seen in my life. https://www.libdemvoice.org/better-together-can-always-make-a-better-ad-alex-salmond-can-not-give-us-a-better-currency-option-than-we-have-being-part-of-the-uk-42190.html. I could never have voted Yes, though and part of the reason for that was sites like Wings and the intolerance and abuse No campaigners were getting in the street.

    I was livid about ad and these daft boards that said Love Scotland Vote No. I know that they were there to counter the stuff from the Yes side that you could only vote Yes if you loved Scotland but it made the same mistake.

    I was never going to vote for independence, though. That’s not to say I never would, but I didn’t want my country to turn into the sort of place where English people were abused in the street because of their accents.

  • James Christie 3rd Dec '14 - 11:20am

    Could you provide a link to the FOI request please? It’s very easy to misinterpret such disclosures of web traffic data, and it’s hard to make sense of a story without seeing the data that was disclosed.

  • Julian Gibb 3rd Dec '14 - 2:00pm

    WingsoverScotland is an excellent site. It is one I visit several times a day. It is well researched and factual. The posts are witty and educational.

    It appears the established Parties would prefer a return to unionist controlled media propaganda. Your own article is a distortion of facts attempting to undermine the site.

    The site is VERY popular due to the simple reason thatit has proved reliable as regards the information presented. Links to original data is always provided if you wish to challenge..

    I visit many sites daily:
    Do you have any idea of how many people visit the Wings ever day?
    In comparison with Guido Fawkes site it is mild.
    Your own site is verging on dillusional as regards the LibDem standing with the population/electorate
    Huffington Post is very good even if I don’t agree with the political stance/slant.

    Caron your party have betrayed the whole UK but in particular Scotland.
    If “The Rev” decides to take legal action against you then I will be making a significant contribution to his expenses..

  • Julian Gibb says it right. I agree with much of what he says although not his mis-spelling of delusional.

    The increasingly strident Unionist language of some articles in LDV does not seem very representative of the many party members north of the border who were not entirely sold on the Cameron/Brown/Darling/Farage line in the referendum.

    Unlike Julian I will not be contributing to anyone’s court costs. If any spare cash is available in the next three months I will be donating it to those Liberal Democrat MPs who deserve support because they have remained Liberal Democrats and have not morphed into Orange Book Unionists.

  • @TJ I think I’ve simply leapt ahead as far as hoping the UK will become what we want it to become. I honestly don’t see how our small population can have the impact necessary to make the changes necessary. I do admire your optimism though, I wish I had some of it.

    @ATF You’re right, it’s not my opinion and I’m sorry that it’s how you feel, it doesn’t help matters or encourage dialogue. I’m not talking about lines on maps but I don’t go along with the argument that we must bring social justice to the UK for everyone, again, we aren’t a big enough population and we don’t have those major self determining levers that would even begin to allow us to do so. However I do hope that by having our independence we could become a country that would inspire others on this chunk of land to follow our lead.

    @paul and @nigel thanks, I found the footage and complained to my MSP, one of many complaints if going by reactions on social networks was anything to go by. The four of them have been suspended.

    @caron I don’t think you’ll ever hear me, but what I really feel about the Lib / Lab parties at the moment can be summed up by an anonymous quote I stumbled over today:

    “nothing delights British former lefties more than an opportunity to defend power while pretending it is a brave stance in defence of a left liberal principle.”

    That to me is exactly where the UK Lib Dem and Labour parties stand today and why it feels like the world is upside down.

    @caron I don’t think you’ll ever hear me.

  • Thomas Robinson 3rd Dec '14 - 7:50pm

    How ironic that Willie Rennie should be chuntering on about the need for the SNP to control the website of someone
    who is not an SNP member and has never voted SNP. Does Willie Rennie not remember the real abuse by the Lib Dems which Rennie had to accept responsibility for? :-

    “Some embarrassment for Willie Rennie, MSP and leader of the Scottish Lib Dems, this week following the publication by party staff of a cartoon satirising First Minister Alex Salmond’s hailing of the similarities between Scotland and Qatar: The Stv website takes up the story: The image, made by Liberal Democrat staff, came after Mr Salmond had hailed similarities between Scotland and Qatar during a five-day trip to the Middle East on Monday. The cartoon, which depicted Mr Salmond in Arab dress holding a camel, had been criticised on Twitter and Facebook after it was put online on Monday. It mentioned the death penalty and gay rights and was made while Mr Rennie, the MSP for Mid-Scotland and Fife, was on a day off. On Tuesday, he issued an apology over the image. He said: “I apologise for the offence that has been clearly caused by our cartoon on the First Minister’s remarks in Qatar. “Although I did not approve its publication I accept responsibility for it. “It has been interpreted in ways that were not intended. It has now been withdrawn. I apologise.” – See more at: http://stephentall.org/2011/11/03/willie-rennie-apologises-for-%e2%80%98unintentional-offence%e2%80%99-of-lib-dems%e2%80%99-alex-salmond-cartoon/#sthash.YeD8g0Aw.dpuf

  • Thanks Caron for your reply and link. Unfortunately my heart sank that you couldn’t help but link it to Alex Salmond. It deserved to stand alone on it’s own merits, leaving me always with the image of children saying “I was bad but look away from me I want to make others look worse” I would have respect for polititions if they simply held their hands up to the issue being asked. Shame you didn’t want to just reply to my point. You didn’t vote yes because of sites like Wings, I didn’t vote no because of sites like Better Together Facebook. The views of the public (when allowed on BBC website) telegraph, daily mail, times etc. That # f***k off Scotland. was trending on the day of the referendum made me very sad indeed. Scottish politics has changed I am not interested in you trying to do down a man and his website. I want to read what you party wants to do for my country.
    PS. I Have no idea what Willie Rennie stands for, maybe you could give him a shove in the direction of your policies so when I see him I hear Liberal Democratic views and not wonder what he is. Many thanks

  • @ Rev Stu – you haven’t answered the killer point – you live in Bath. If you believe in Scottish Independence put yourself where your mouth is and go in live in Scotland.

    Otherwise you’ll be a joke like Mr Connery, patriotic when it comes to appearing on TV Party Politicals, but strangely absent when it comes to paying taxes.

  • David Howell 7th Dec '14 - 4:52pm

    Caron; why do you have this almost pathological hatred of anyone daring to support the SNP? One would almost think you were in the Labour Party.
    You have made quite a thing of denigrating the 45% who wanted a Scotland free from the corruption of Westminster and yet you get upset when we dare to answer back.
    Is that why you now pre- moderate my comments on this website – so you can ensure that everyone here remains “on message” ?
    That’s not very “liberal” and it certainly isn’t very “democratic”!

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