By a Newsnet reporter

A senior figure within the anti-independence campaign has caused anger after appearing to gloat at what he described as the ‘pumping’ suffered by Scottish boxer Ricky Burns in his world title fight on Saturday night.

Rob Shorthouse, who is the Communications Head of the Better Together campaign, also described the playing of Flower of Scotland before the fight as a “debacle” and suggested the “writing was on the wall” for the Scottish fighter after the anthem was played.

Tweeting, Shorthouse wrote: “What a pumping ricky burns is taking here.  writing was on the wall after the flower of scotland three verse debacle.”

Challenged by another user of the social media site who criticised Shorthouse’s apparent “uncontained glee” at Burns’ difficulties, a defiant Shorthouse responded, “haha. That did make me laugh. You sad, sad man.”

The comments from the Better Together official followed Burns’ fight with Mexican Raymundo Beltran which saw the man from Coatbridge retain his title after judges scored the contest a draw.

However controversy surrounded the decision with many believing Beltran had just shaded it.  Burns was floored by a left hook in the eighth round.

It later emerged the Scot’s jaw had been broken in the second round and he had fought through considerable pain.  Burns needed surgery following the fight.

Promoter Eddie Hearn said on Twitter: “With Ricky in hospital – it’s not good – clean break to jaw from second round.

“Ricky is now in surgery to have a titanium plate in his jaw.”

Burns himself had earlier tweeted: “Jaw definitely broken. In agony here. Honestly don’t know how I managed to get through that fight.”

“Thanks to everyone for their support.”

Following the verdict, Shorthouse, tweeted: “What a lot of pish. Burns is a very lucky boy.”

Shorthouse is the former communications chief at Strathclyde Police who, according to the Herald, was recruited by Better Together on a salary of £100,000 per year.

Speaking to the Herald at the time, a source at Better Together said: “From our point of view his experience and background is outstanding, with an ability to reach beyond many of the usual message-carriers and across all parts of Scotland.”

Mr Shorthouse joined the civil service in 2001 and is a former senior communications officer for former First Minister Jack McConnell.

In 2006, he was seconded to be head of media and public relations for the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games bid team, and he became the Scottish Football Association’s head of communications in 2007.


Will C
2013-09-08 15:11

The controversy of the fight aside, this attitude from a leading NO Scotland campaigner says it all. Take every opportunity to denigrate your country and its’ people. We are too wee, too poor and too stupid to govern ourselves. We can’t box, play rugby, football or tennis. We are rubbish! Hang your head in shame Mr. Shorthouse.
2013-09-08 15:22

What a bitter man Mr Shorthouse appears to be – a real boor; won’t do his cause any good.
2013-09-08 15:32

The better together mob’s hate for Scotland now comes to the surface.
2013-09-08 15:34

Aye, its good to have a ‘better together’ man in your corner, NOT.
2013-09-08 15:48

They accuse those who support independence of being anti-english with very, very few examples.
However it appears you have to prove your support of the union by displaying how anti-scottish you are.

It appears politics cannot be left out of sport by them. Only Scots draped in the union flag are to be supported now
2013-09-08 15:57

They pay him £100,000 pa to come up with hateful stuff like that? Money very well spent, I’d say.

He can’t even use capital letters in his Tweet.
2013-09-08 16:09

This is what happens when personnel begin to believe favourable polls – forgetting THEY paid for them: 30 points ahead?

Mr Shorthouse and his employers will be regretting those remarks even as I write this short post.

Certainly if Ricky and his fans weren’t supporters of YES, most of them will be by now :0)

VOTE YES in 375 Days
2013-09-08 16:17

So this guy Shorthouse is on a salary of £100,000 as “Communications Head of the Better Together campaign”.
“From our point of view his experience and background is outstanding, with an ability to reach beyond many of the usual message-carriers and across all parts of Scotland.”

Just exactly who is he trying to communicate with? If it’s the Scottish people he is failing miserably and is just another example of the dross on high salaries that infest Scotlands politics.
Early Ball
2013-09-08 16:19

The glee in the tweet comes through.

Better Together do not wish for Scottish success. Take the football team. We have improved over the last few games yet despite that I have heard more vitriol than ever on the airwaves. “We should just pack it in and stop wasting money”. Really?

Lets hope the Commonwealth Games and the Ryder Cup go well because if they don’t look out.
2013-09-08 16:43

The thought of any Scottish success terrifies this mob. No doubt Shorthouse and his fellow no campaigners took great delight in Scotland’s defeat by Belgium.Maybe once Ricky Burns has recovered from his broken jaw Shorthouse can go and gloat in his face.
Don’t understand boxing at all but it took real courage to fight on with an injury like that.
2013-09-08 17:26

Hi ds12,

I concur. I know that I have been completely bushwhacked by tooth abscesses. – They always seem to start on a Friday afternoon with no relief ’till Monday, never mind a broken jaw.

The fact that Ricky had to endure so much pain and still obtained a draw after having received such a severe injury so early on in the match is a miracle.

Well done Ricky. Be proud of yourself – all (well apparently its only most) of Scotland is too.

2013-09-08 17:51

The only other boxer I know to fight on for 10 rounds with a broken jaw was Muhammad Ali versus Ken Norton.

I’ve had a broken nose, it really hurt, and I can promise you there’s no way I’d be standing in the ring waiting for somebody to hit it.

Well done Ricky.
2013-09-08 18:31

Breeks, I think Nigel Benn did it too. Incredible bravery.
2013-09-08 19:37

Quoting Breeks:

The only other boxer I know to fight on for 10 rounds with a broken jaw was Muhammad Ali versus Ken Norton..

Except Norton claimed he broke Ali’s jaw in the EVEVENTH round, not the second as with Burns – which makes Ricky’s achievement of going the distance all the more admirable.

Anybody who watched the match live would have heard Ricky Burns complaining to his trainer of jaw pain from very early on. The irony is that the trainer told Burns to “stop feeling sorry for himself” – which just demonstrates to me why this brutal activity (not a sport by any resonable definition) ought to be banned forthwith.

The fact that Burns fought on for 10 rounds despite the apparent disregard of his trainer and the apparent negligence of the Doctor – speaks volumes.


Ayes On The Prize
2013-09-08 17:07

Surely SURELY some BT supporters will be reading this shameful bile and must wonder what exactly they belong to ?

Is Scotland the only country where there are those who mock the national anthem and celebrate the suffering of one of our leading sportsmen ?

Horrible stuff.
2013-09-08 19:40

Quoting Ayes On The Prize:

Surely SURELY some BT supporters will be reading this shameful bile and must wonder what exactly they belong to ?

Unfortunately, you got your answer from Glenbuchat almost straight away. No, they won’t. They will hide behind the oldest canard of all “it was just a joke…”, and try to pretend that there is anything more to Bitter Together than “too wee, too poor, too stupid” repeated until any hint of pride in our nation is beaten down. Ricky Burns struggling on through injury to retain his title is an inspiration.


2013-09-08 17:52

This is an entirely manufactured non-story. No one mocked a national anthem, he merely referred to the fact that fact that Michelle McManus and the crowd were singing entirely different verses.

If a Yes vote means we can no longer be even jovially critical of anything or anyone Scottish I truly do despair.
2013-09-08 20:26

There’s nothing jovial about your lot talking down everything Scottish at every opportunity.

When we are independent we will continue our humorous self deprecation but it is difficult to trust the motives of those who support Westminster hegemony over self determination.
Leader of the Pack
2013-09-09 09:33

I will tell you what a manufactured non story is. Its telling the world that the SNP is racist based on the grounds that an English student told Nigel Farange to “Go Home to England” because he didn’t like right wing fascists posing as Politicians coming to a place he chose to study to spew right wing divisive bigoted politics.
This instead is a prime example of the type of people who get themselves involved in the Bitter Together campaign. A type that believe in only the jingoism of the greatness of the UK glory days of Empire. A rule Britannia mentality that supersedes all reason and reality to the pitiful international joke it is today.
Its the only reason any of them “believe” in the Union which is why none of them will articulate their own “positive case”.
2013-09-09 13:29

Quoting Glenbuchat:

If a Yes vote means we can no longer be even jovially critical of anything or anyone Scottish I truly do despair.

I worry about anyone – whatever their nationality – who sees someone “getting a pounding” or with a broken jaw as a source of amusement. Can you explain why that is funny?
Quoting Glenbuchat:

This is an entirely manufactured non-story. No one mocked a national anthem, he merely referred to the fact that fact that Michelle McManus and the crowd were singing entirely different verses.

If a Yes vote means we can no longer be even jovially critical of anything or anyone Scottish I truly do despair.

I worry more about anyone in public life who sees someone “getting a pounding” or still fighting despite a broken jaw as a source of amusement – no matter what their nationality.

Perhaps you can explain what is funny about that situation?


2013-09-08 18:12

Everything Scottish must be belittled. If you to show affinity with or pride in Scotland you will be mocked.

Of course they’re not against Scotland at all.
2013-09-08 18:44

Ten rounds with a broken jaw !!!! now that is true grit.
Well done Ricky and speedy recovery.

As for Shorthouse, I would be barred from
this site if I put into words what I thought of him.
Therefor I’ll only say, beneath contempt.
2013-09-08 19:23

Compare this mans bile to Ricky’s opponent. If anyone had an axe to grind it was Señor Beltran but his comments after the fight were pure class. Recognising Ricky’s bravery he put the results down to politics and that’s where Mt Shorthouse is so out of touch. I have no idea who he is appealing to with his crass comments it can only be fellow scumbags.
2013-09-08 19:31

It is staggering that a man of supposed intelligence could behave in such crude and offensive manner.
2013-09-08 19:34

Mr Shorthouse must be taking his lead from JL. Her performance at FMQs is nothing short of disgraceful! She is nasty and childish.
2013-09-08 19:34

Labour,as the political leadership of the No campaign,do not agree that Scotland is a country.
It should not be a surprise to anyone that their employees share this vision.
The referendum will settle this question for a very long time to come.
How many countries are not independent ?
2013-09-08 21:56

Ricky Burns’ boxing career now hangs in the balance due to the broken jaw he suffered. Fighting ten rounds against a world class boxer takes Burns’ draw to new heights. A remarkable achievement that underlines this young man’s bravery.

Shorthouse’s tweet was obnoxious and by trying to link Burns’ sufering in the ring to the singing of Flower of Scotland appears to have rebounded badly if twitter is anything to go by.

The media won’t run with this story as to do so would alienate huge swathes of traditional Labour heartlands. It would also probably result in Shorthouse having to resign.

Now imagine had Yes Scotland’s Blair Jenkins tweeted about an English boxer taking a “pumping” whilst at the same time suggesting it was because the singing of God Save the Queen had preceded the fight.

Yep, tomorrow’s headlines would have called for his resignation.
2013-09-08 23:17

Thought exactly the same myself, luckily for Shorthouse the media appear to be in BT’s pocket.

Front page on the Daily Record would have sorted him out.

2013-09-09 00:55

Shorthouse’s twitter comments are despicable, to gloat at the young man, while taking a political swing (scuse the pun) at your own country, is just indicative of the sheer mindless self seeking contempt that the anti Independence camp are intent on, to shore up their own insecurities. They are quite clearly on the defensive now, some counselling might help them, if they are willing to listen and respond in an adult way.
2013-09-09 06:37

I can see why the SFA are such a shambles if this is the calibre of person they have hired to be their PR chief.
2013-09-09 09:38

Considering the hysterical reaction and coverage from the proUnion press and TV when a few individual people tweeted about Chris Hoy, the lack of any mention about this, shows the agenda going on in Scotland. Collusion and corruption.
Dougie Douglas
2013-09-09 09:46

I must be missing something here, all he tweeted was that Ricky was getting pumped!

Sure it’s a little strange to link that to a poor rendition of Flower of Scotland but I honestly think some people on this thread need to do some relaxing.

Well done to Ricky for keeping on keeping on – fighting with a broke jaw – what an, erm, ‘brave’ character!
2013-09-09 10:54

Shorthouse described the playing of Flower of Scotland as a “debacle” and somehow tried to suggest this was a sign that Burns would take a “pumping”.

The use of the word “pumping” is revealing. It is an entirely inappropriate word to use if, as Shorthouse claimed, he was supporting Burns. The tweet contained no feeling of empathy or sympathy for Burns apparent plight. There was not even the forlorn urging on of a fellow Scot.

The tweet was devoid of all the usual signs or meaning you would associate with someone who was watching a fellow national who was in the middle of a battle for a world title. A battle where physical pain was very clearly being inflicted.

Yes the verdict was controversial and Burns in my opinion was fortunate. However my own emotion when the result was announced was elation and relief – “pish” is not the first word that sprung to mind.

2013-09-09 12:20

On the gloat and the general uncritical coverage Independence events. There is a very useful analysis of the latest Ashcroft poll, on the website, Bright Green:…/…
quote, “The figures they claim represent what Scots think ought to be the government’s priority exclude every single person who said the Scottish Government does have the right priority.”
As I’ve said many times before, the proUnion doesn’t even need to tell the truth anymore, it gets reported anyway.
2013-09-09 18:42

Doesn’t Shorthouse realise that Scotsman Ricky Burns is also British? Did Shorthouse assume Burns was going to lose and therefore identified him as Scottish? This says more about the disposition of Shorthouse than it does about Ricky Burns. But Ricky battled on through a broken jaw and (controversiall  y) won the fight. I guess that must make him British now?

YES Scotland.
2013-09-09 18:48

Why am I not surprised at this inane comment about a Scottish boxing champion from Project Fear. Ricky Burns has been a great ambassador for Scottish boxing.

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