By G.A.Ponsonby
In one catastrophic week the Scottish political canvas so carefully crafted over the last year has been ripped to pieces.
Entering summer and all was apparently well with both the anti-independence campaign and the Labour party in Scotland.

Johann Lamont we were routinely told had First Minister Alex Salmond on the back-foot at Holyrood and Better Together, the Labour/Tory/Lib Dem alliance, was doing its part for the Union by trouncing their pro-indy counterparts Yes Scotland.

Moving into the first week of July and what’s going on?

Better Together are on the back-foot as their tidal wave of negativity begins to rebound and the Labour party has gone into self-destruct mode over a routine candidate selection process in Falkirk.

It’s come right out of the blue … or has it.

Better Together Myth

The performance of Better Together has been one of the most enduring myths of the independence debate.  There’s hardly a pundit or reporter who has questioned the narrative that has piled praise on the anti-independence campaign whilst ridiculing as ineffective and deficient the efforts of Yes Scotland.

But a casual glance at the last six months tells its own tale with controversial donations, false claims of sabotage and admissions on oil wealth from former Chancellors lurking in the Better Together background.

The success of the No campaign, if we want to call it that, has been in the presentation by the media of the pro-Union arguments, or scares to be more accurate.  The episode over mobile phone charges was a scare story too far and has sobered up a few of their media backers.

Even the evidence cited as proof of the effectiveness of Better Together is suspect.  Asking people how they feel after being bombarded with a never ending conveyor belt of negativity and you’ll get exactly what pollsters found – doubt and fear over independence.

You’ll find the same results if you ask people how they feel after days of miserable weather.

Lamont – reality versus image

Whilst Better Together were taking the plaudits on the constitution front, Scottish Labour were apparently dismantling the SNP bandwagon.

Over six years as First Minister of Scotland and Alex Salmond had finally met his match.  Johann Lamont was beating him regularly at Holyrood and the nationalists had run out of steam.

Scottish Labour had ‘won’ the 2012 local elections and ‘brave’ Johann was now tackling the benefits culture.  The tide was turning and Scottish Labour were back.

That was the narrative created by the media machine, and it too has now come crashing down.

Little clouds began to emerge, such as Glasgow Council’s Labour leader Gordon Matheson caught performing a sex-act with another man in a public car park.  Matheson hit the headlines again when he pulled the plug on the George Square re-development project at considerable cost to the public purse.

Johann Lamont’s policy announcements have been scarce.  However the one real attempt at seizing the initiative ended up in farce when her proposals for income tax to be fully devolved were ridiculed by her own Scottish MPs before being shunned by Ed Miliband.

Donside was a reality check when Scottish Labour disappointingly failed to make any significant impact in a by-election that presented the first real test of her leadership. 

Then last week in a surprise move several of her front bench team were axed and replaced by newcomers and failed also-rans.

The sacking of Ken Macintosh as finance spokesman to be replaced by former leader Iain Gray prompted Macintosh to reveal disagreements within the Scottish Labour group.  Lamont’s infamous and ill-advised ‘something for nothing’ speech had caused splits within her Holyrood group of MSPs.

The fiasco in Falkirk has now ensured the Labour party in Scotland enter the Holyrood summer recess in as poor shape as they have ever been in with a leader who has gone missing … again.

London has put its foot down in Falkirk.

We will start the second half of 2013 with a weakened Scottish Labour party and the anti-independence Better Together campaign having second thoughts over the relentless negativity of their campaign.

There’s one other body still to play its hand in the battle for Scotland.

Look out for Labour dominated COSLA entering the fray. 

The local authority umbrella group was hijacked by Labour in the aftermath of the 2012 local elections.  They did it for a reason.


Voiced by Hollywood actor Brian Cox, we are aiming to raise funds for our ambitious animation project ‘Duggy Dug‘. Please click image on right for more info.


2013-07-05 00:07

That’s a pretty good sum-up of the Great Union Summer Implosion. Much has been going wrong for Better Together since the scare stories started to be repeated by the end of January instead of the promised positive case for the Union. That tells us BT have little input from people other than certain New Labour apparatchiks, and this small group of grey suits offer no vision for Scotland. They are also trying to beat back a tide of vocal extremism from groups such as BNP, EDL, NF, UKIP, DUP and Orange Order, who all desperately want to be part of the BT campaign. United With Labour is nothing more than a panic move to try and galvanise the Labour support into funding BT and forming a grass roots support for it which doesn’t have. And then there is the poll which the compliant media don’t want to publicise. The fact remains that only 25% of the Scottish electorate support Westminster over Holyrood. Better Together campaigns FOR Westminster and a NO vote supports Westminster.
2013-07-05 00:33

We have a major political story developing around Falkirk and Labour and Newsnight Scotland has its focus on city centre regeneration.

The UK news has more coverage than a Scottish political programme.

The only negative allowed stories are to be directed at the YES and SNP campaigns.
2013-07-05 03:36

Thanks to the news management blackouts organised by the Westminster political establishment and their proxies at the BBC and newspapers in Scotland, the quagmire that Project Fear and New Labour have descended into is unlikely to ever come to the attention of the vast majority of the Scots electorate.
2013-07-05 09:05

Like you I was astonished that last night’s Newsnight Scotland programme avoided any discussion of the biggest political story of the day, North or South of the border – Labour’s mess in Falkirk. Unusually, the entire content of 20 minutes was painfully stretched out to show the empty shops in Dunbarton. Imagine the coverage had there been any SNP involvement in the story. The omission was further underlined by Gordon Brewer having to display the front page headlines in today’s ‘National’ dailies, all of which focussed on on the political corruption in Falkirk. Yet, BBC Scotland remained true to form by giving complete protection to Labour and to Johann.

Will C
2013-07-05 00:42

“Much has been going wrong for Better Together since the scare stories started to be repeated by the end of January”.
I think that’s it in a nutshell. Once you start to repeat yourself, you lose the argument. You can only tell people that they are too poor, too stupid and too wee to govern themselves and if you don’t believe that, the roof will fall in, once or twice. Repeat it day after day, week after week and it loses effect.
The polls are narrowing, the word on the street is positive and some in the media smell change. The tide has turned, a YES vote looks increasingly probable.
2013-07-05 06:31

What is going to be the situation when the official campaign starts as regards what will be the equivalent of Party Political Broadcasts?

Will they be restricted to 2 types namely those by YES and those by Better Together or will the individual parties be given broadcasts. If the latter would NO be getting Labour, Tory. Liberal and UKIP broadcasts against SNP and possibly Green ones which would obviously mean more NO broadcasts than YES ones?

To be fair I hope there will just be YES and NO broadcasts on alternate nights.

As far as content of broadcasts is concerned The YES campaign has ready made scripts – all they have to do is gradually work their way thru the 100’s of ludicrous scare stories from Project Fear and clinically refute them one by one.

It is difficult to imagine what sort of format NO broadcasts will take other than a re-iteration of the scare stories in the absence of a single good reason for remaining in the Union.
2013-07-05 06:44

No problem with Labour turning their back on the poor and those in need, but the choke point is campaigning beside the Tories? Words fail me.
2013-07-05 06:44

The problem this time is that the media in London are taking an interest in this scandal.It has implications for seats in England as well.
It will be impossible for the unionist media in Scotland to sweep it under the carpet when their bosses will want a story.They couldn’t care less about the implications for the NO campaign but of course for the BBC in Scotland and others attacking independence it is at the forefront of every story.
Who knows they might be able to swing this one to blame Alex Salmond.
2013-07-05 07:38

Re’ the Cosla organised protest against centralisation. Given decades of corruption in Glasgow and gross financial mis-management by councils in Shetland & the Western Isles, giving more power to their successors would be courting trouble.
This is all about scuppering the indy campaign and nothing at all about democracy at the grass roots.
2013-07-05 09:08

Something that has largely been missed is how much of a liability has Blair McDougall become!
Presiding over “Project Fear” and caught being slightly economical with the truth on a couple of occaisions.
2013-07-05 09:50

The fiasco around the Falkirk selection process & Tom Watson’s resignation is in most of the papers today yet Labour’s Scottish leader Johann Lamont is not mentioned at all, it’s as if she does not exist.

The BBC have an article on it open to comment, however once again you wouldn’t know it from the Scottish politics page it’s only obvious when you go into the main political page.
Leader of the Pack
2013-07-05 10:23

All the negativity and lies have achieved is to create a greater swathe of don’t knows but more importantly WANT TO KNOWS! They’ve got the electorate actually asking questions and getting involved inadvertently in the process. The No campaign cannot afford to have the electorate ask questions & demand answers as they clearly cant provide any that leaves them in a positive light. It was a risky strategy to begin with now that risk has left them fully exposed. I said at the very beginning this campaign will be decided by the No camp winning the yes vote for us.
2013-07-05 11:33

Quoting Marian:

Thanks to the news management blackouts organised by the Westminster political establishment and their proxies at the BBC and newspapers in Scotland, the quagmire that Project Fear and New Labour have descended into is unlikely to ever come to the attention of the vast majority of the Scots electorate.

It’s up to YES supporters to get this information out there.

email this article to contacts ask them to pass it on.
put it up on facebook.
volunteer with YES Scotland.

Tell people about:
Newsnetscotland  .com
Wings Over Scotland

Don’t sit on your backside and let the media win. Get out there and inform people.

Geeze I enjoyed that!

2013-07-05 11:55

Kirsty Wark had a very “fraught” interview with Labour’s latest sacrificial goat.

As much as I can never forgive Wark’s
devotion to the likes of Jack McDonnel and other members of the Labour Party in Scotland; I have to acknowledge that she gave Labour’s Angela Eagle a roasting (so much so that Eagle said “that is not like you Kirsty) I think Ms Wark stepped up to the mark very well and scored more than a few points. Angela Eagle won’t be quick to repeat that experience.

And then to Newsnight Scotland, not a word, nothing about Watson’s “resignation”, nothing about anything Labour at all!! Gordon gamely stretched a 5 minute piece, about regeneration in Scottish towns, to cover the whole 20 minutes.
2013-07-05 12:01

Nothing has gone wrong! Their game is up and now standby and watch them destroy themselves as they scramble to cling to their self interested survival in the ruthless, selfish means, only in the way way these charlatans know.
Hopefully the REAL labour party supporters will realise that this is not the people they want to represent them in Scotland and their is another way. Vote Independence and help create a better Scotland.
2013-07-05 13:10

Falkirk discussed on English Daily Politics, Falkirk discussed on THIS WEEK, last night, yet what does (Scotland newsnight) run with, shopping centres & their decay.

Surely they can’t get away with this.

I hope in an Independent Scotland, people remember the Scots broadcaster’s & reporters/Journalist that have played their part in the Bias carried out by them & their bosses.
2013-07-05 13:29

Seems all of the usual Labour and Better Together mouthpieces, who normally have so much to say when talking down Scottish independence, Yes Scotland and/or the SNP, have suddenly been struck dumb.

I would really like to hear the likes of Darling, McDougall, Curran, Lamont and even the Westminster part-time MP Gordon Brown, explain how we Scots are better off being ruled either by the corrupt Labour lot, the Bullingdon Toff Tories or the supine, principle dumping LibDems.
2013-07-05 13:38

Things appear to be moving fast regarding the Falkirk fiasco.

The BBC lunch time news claimed in their intro that a Tory MP had referred the case to Police Scotland, however the BBC website claim the Labour Party have actually handed the case over to the police.

Lamont still appears to be in hiding, possibly on the advice of Labours truth team!

Why is the media not hunting her out or even mentioning the fact that she has failed to comment?
Mad Jock McMad
2013-07-05 14:05

Labour can’t cope – apparently they are asking the Scottish Police to investigate the goings on in Falkirk …. I wonder if they have remembered their pals in Falkirk Council no longer run the local police force ….
2013-07-05 14:41

According to bbc Scotland radio it was a tory MP that has asked the police to investigate. The “labour” party have handed over the report they won’t publish.

I didn’t catch the MPs name.
Mad Jock McMad
2013-07-05 14:48

Interesting – BBC Website says it is Labour who have asked the polis to get involved but wait, hidden away is the revelation that Henry Smith, a Conservative MP, yesterday wrote a public letter to the Chief Constable of Scotland, calling for a fraud inquiry.

The BBC in Scotland at it again, now there’s a shock …
2013-07-05 15:09


“ I didn’t catch the MPs name “

The name is ‘Henry Smith’ an MP from Crawley.…/…

“ Conservatives said it appeared that Mr Miliband was “bounced” into calling in the police after discovering that Tory MP had written to the Chief Constable of Scotland, Sir Stephen House, asking for a probe.

Crawley MP Henry Smith told Sir Stephen that Unite may have committed fraud by making a false instrument, in the form of an application form signing up members to the Labour Party without their knowledge. And he said the separate offence of “uttering” may have been committed by tendering forged documents with an intention to defraud. “

But the Hootsmon has spun it a slightly different way.

Edit And according to MJM so have the BBC.
2013-07-05 15:56

Thanks Roll_On.

This being a Scottish issue I do wonder where the Scottish labour leader is. Isn’t she supposed to be “in complete control” of ALL Scottish issues?

The big question is; how often can you shoot yourrself in the foot before you can no longer walk?

Even bbc “Scotland” can’t cover up for Johann on this one!

2013-07-05 14:18

well hi all, but it`s getting old the same thing again and again to stop the media such as the bbc we need the real powers of this country to take them to task for this waste or time and money and nothing done to them why is a law for them and another for the rest ???
2013-07-05 15:26

Mr Miliband said the party’s inquiry had shown “people
were being signed up as members of the Labour Party
without their knowledge!

if they can do that do you think they may have done that with postal votes!
2013-07-05 16:08

Of course the biggest problem for Labour (ignoring the veracity or lack thereof of the claims within the report) is the possibility of losing their biggest donor AND the votes which may go with it.

Does Ed not understand the history of corruption etc within ‘Scottish’ Labour for which he now by this move is accepting responsibilitu?
*grins profusely*
Old Smokey
2013-07-05 16:17

Should start a ‘Where is Lamont?’ campaign, after all she IS supposed to be Scottish Labour Leader in charge of all MP’s and constituents is she not?
While were at it, can we also start the ‘Where is Brian Taylor?’ campaign
One of, no probably the biggest political stories to occur in Scotland about possible wrong doing involving the Labour party and he is no where to be seen, well nothing online anyway. He wouldn’t even have to travel far as there is a regular train service from Glasgow to Falkirk, so expenses would be acceptable!
2013-07-05 17:06

BBC update Len McCluskey tells Labour they are “picking the wrong fight”
Old Smokey
2013-07-05 21:00

I noticed BBC Scotland doing a ‘move along, nothing to see here’ exercise with this evenings Reporting Scotland. The emphasis was all about how Labour is dealing with Falkirk and that Labour were cooperating with the police. They had street interviews, which all had the same theme of ‘all politicians are the same’ and ‘will lead to apathy’, of course no criticism of Labour, which I found strange from a supposed cross section of the Falkirk people. One comment even stated that this could ‘interrupt the towns development’ bizarre. But it was al part of damage control by a broadcaster that is supposed to be impartial
2013-07-05 23:26

Totally agree – BBC Radio North Britain’s “Newsdrive” did the same thing, Egypt, Egypt, Egypt, Andy Murray, oh yes, and something about Falkirk, then Egypt, Egypt, Egypt, Andy Murray…

Clever move by Labour to involve the Police – now they can refuse to say anything given the issue now forms part of an ongoing Police investigation and it wouldn’t be proper for them to comment now, would it?

Anyone seen or heard from the lamentable Johann of late? her silence is deafening. A pity the parly is now in recess…
2013-07-06 00:06

Reporting Scotland at 6.30pm truncated one of the street interviews (it was shown in full in the lunchtime news report) –

The woman who said that the Falkirk scandal would ‘cause apathy’ went on to say (paraphrasing) — -that thankfully we at least also have Holyrood to represent us-.

BBC decided not to broadcast her full comment at 6.30pm- it was the ‘only’ comment they cut short.

*Also agree with the comments below that maximum support should be given to Labour for Independence. They could have a huge influence on the campaign- if the word gets out there.*

Boris Broon
2013-07-05 21:53

Better Together is a Tory front organisation. For many Labour members, who may well have socialist beliefs, standing outside a supermarket with Jackson Carlaw ain’t really their bag.

LFI should begin to get more traction within the party when ordinary members realise that it is nothing to do with the SNP and more to do with advancing the idea of social justice.
From The Suburbs
2013-07-05 22:36

Agreed Labour for Independence should be given more publicity and as they have as many elected representatives and supporters as UKIP in Scotland they should be given a platform on BBC Question Time and other debates.

However Labour is aware on the toxic problem of sharing platforms with Tories that is why they have set up their bogus Labour for Union campaign.

Encourage Labour supporters to visit
2013-07-05 23:22

From The Suburbs. That links for their old moth-balled site… here is their new one:

2013-07-06 00:24

Latest news from Ed Milliband is that he “sacked” Tom Watson.

I only wonder it took him this long to lie about it.

Also Bournemouth, Scottish and Welsh Labour Parties share the same office with Unite, which disposes of the Leadership claims that Falkirk is a “one-off”.

Incidentally, if you want to write to Labour in Bournemouth, you have to send the letter to Unite.

Labour; the gift that keeps on giving.
2013-07-06 03:49

Top story on the UK BBC website now, but go to the Scotland section, and it is number 8. Who are they trying to kid?

Especially when it’s all over the tabloids. Scottish Sun says:


“And if Unite is sufficiently fed up, what will they do with all that money? Is it possible they might choose to support a party which does believe in the things they believe in? Is there a party that believes in keeping bus passes and opposing the bedroom tax? Is there a party which hasn’t ruled out pay rises for public sector workers? Why, yes, there is. And it’s not Labour.”

2013-07-06 08:00

As someone unfamiliar with the detailed mechanisms of Labour’s association with the Unions, it’s all very revealing the extent to which “He who pays the piper expects to call the tune”.
It lays to rest any misconception that the selection of Labour MP’s is any kind of meritocracy, when it is evidently rife nepotism instead which someone has had the temerity to ‘challenge’, and which in turn explains a great deal in the quality of Labour MP.
It seems unconvincing for Labour to suddenly choke on the impropriety of their candidate selection when the process seems a well trodden path judging by the Unions reactions, who quite clearly do expect something in return for their support.

It makes you wonder whether Ian Taylor was suffering the same misconception when donating £500,000 to the Better Together campaign, the circumstances of that deal, and what influence he expected to buy with it.
2013-07-06 08:29

OT – Just stumbled on this by accident. Worth a deeper look NNS?

“The company, highlighted by the anti-independence Better Together campaign as a big winner from lucrative UK Ministry of Defence contracts, denies contempt of court but acknowledges fabricating a vital court document”.…/…

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