By a Newsnet reporter
Attacks by anti-independence campaign Better Together on a pro-independence animation have boomeranged after it emerged a phrase, deemed offensive by the pro-Union group, was actually coined by a former Labour MP.
The Duggy Dug animation, voiced by Holywood actor Brian Cox, which depicts a future Scotland after a No vote, has been slammed by officials from the No campaign who have claimed it amounts to an attack on women.

The accusation centres on a segment of the animation that depicts Better Together head Alistair Darling and Scottish Labour leader Johann Lamont as having been given honours in a future Scotland.  The graphic contains a caption which says ‘Lady Johann Lamont’ next to a slogan which says ‘vermin in ermine’.

Better Together officials have claimed the animation amounts to a sexist attack.

A spokesman for Better Together said: “This is yet another absolutely disgraceful attack on a woman by a nationalist group.

“We are quite sure that Brian Cox had no idea that his voice would be appearing over something quite as unacceptable as this.

“We hope that news net do the decent thing, take down the film and apologise.  Calling someone ‘vermin’ because you happen to disagree with them is just not on.”

Better Together communications director Rob Shorthouse went further and accused Newsnet Scotland of actually going after women. 

In a tweet the official said: “So @NewsnetScotland are the latest Nat group to go after women – calling Johann Lamont ‘vermin’ in their latest promo.”

However the accusations from the anti-independence campaign group have been ridiculed by a member of the team behind the popular animation series who pointed out that the term ‘vermin in ermine’ was coined by former Labour MP John Prescott.

In a statement to Newsnet Scotland, a spokesperson said: “If Better Together are criticising the phrase ‘vermin in ermine’, then that attack has rebounded back on them because it was coined not by ourselves or Newsnet Scotland, but by former Labour MP John Prescott.
“We used John Prescott’s ‘vermin in ermine’ term in order to illustrate the hypocrisy that surrounds Labour politicians when it comes to the House of Lords.”

The spokesperson also dismissed the suggestion that the animation was anti-female pointing out that the animator behind the series of cartoons is a woman.

The spokesperson added: “The claim that this animation constitutes an attack on someone because that person is female ludicrous.  Better Together are clearly unaware that animator involved in the Duggy Dug series is also a woman.”
The spokesman also accused the No campaign of trying to stifle freedom of expression from within the artistic community.
He added: “This latest Duggy Dug animation marries art and satire to make a legitimate political point.  Johann Lamont is not immune from having the satirical spotlight thrust upon on her in the same way that Alex Salmond or Nicola Sturgeon are not immune.

“Obviously this form of expression makes the NO campaign uncomfortable – it’s too close to the truth perhaps.
“There are many examples of the First Minister being the subject of attacks by artists and cartoonists, and we would defend the right of any artist to express themselves in this way.
“These latest contrived attacks by Better Together appear to be an attempt at intimidating the pro-Yes artistic community into staying out of the debate, something we should all resist.”

Commenting on behalf of Newsnet Scotland, a spokesperson said: “The Duggy Dug series of animations have provided an alternative look at the independence debate.

“Duggy has covered issues including oil, the EU, borders and the pound.  The latest animation highlighted areas of concern should Scots vote No.  It is telling that Better Together chose to ignore the threats to Scotland’s budget, public services and education.

“The reaction from Better Together to a phrase that was actually coined by a Labour MP tells you all you need to know about a campaign that is now reduced to trying to portray each and every criticism of them as somehow based on gender.  Is John Prescott now to be accused of attacking every female peer?

“They, and their media friends, are silent when confronted by very real abuse as evidenced by a recent Newsnet Scotland article that highlighted several examples from Scottish Labour politicians, including Johann Lamont herself who tried to use a fabricated rape case in order to attack the SNP.”

At the time of publication, the animation has been viewed by over 8000 people – over 2400 on Youtube and over 5600 on the Newsnet Scotland website.


2014-06-21 18:50

just a wee o/t but if my memory serves me correctly, the term “vermin in ermine” was originally penned by the former labour health minister Nye Bevan back in the early ’50s to describe quite aptly the tory party of the day.

[Admin – We believe the term Nye Bevan used was in fact ‘lower than vermin’.]
2014-06-21 18:54

It’s all No have got is to attack the messengers as there lies are debunked before the ink is dry. Winning by default is there only hope as they are quickly running out of options.

I hear Mr J Beatie is fronting crossfire in the morn oh and the LSE is bringing out a new report on setting up costs for Scottish Independence tomorrow.
From The Suburbs
2014-06-21 20:24

Having got the supine UK MSM and Labour luvie broadcasters in their back pocket the anti Scottish independence forces didn’t reckon on the power of the internet sources such as Newsnet Scotland and Wings Over Scotland so their tactic is now to smear those web sites aided by the Daily Mail and Daily Telegraph who don’t care two figs about Scotland other than a milch cow for HM treasury.
2014-06-21 21:21

The London based Better Together mob having realised that the London media campaign has failed spectacularly now rebrand themselves as No Thanks Scotland.
It is too late for them to start an internet campaign,so all they can do is try to discredit all the various pro independence web sites.
Too little too late.
2014-06-21 21:25

Better Together We Are Not
Vote Yes on 18th September.
2014-06-21 21:36

Anybody remember one David Cameron telling Nadine Dorres to “calm down dear?” Or the fact that Winnie Ewing was spat at in HoC not to mention the threatening behaviour towards Eilidh Whiteford. And the attacks on Nicola Sturgeon. As others on here have said, attacking the messengers is all they have left, but its nice to know that Newsnet, WoS, Derek Bateman and Wee Ginger Dug have really got under their skin so much. Well done!
2014-06-21 22:26

I’m getting really fed up of women being used as pawns in this “debate”. The only time the unionists care about women is when they want something or they’re trying to tell us how offended we should be over something.

The faux outrage on our behalf over imaginary slights is just a pathetically obvious divide and rule tactic to try and separate men and women. It’s getting boring. Well done NNS for both your animation and for showing up this sad little attempt to derail your argument for what it is.
2014-06-21 22:50

I’m on record over on Wings predicting that after BT managed to get the Yes campaign to distance itself from Wings in such a stupid and craven way that they would then go after Independence supporting websites and that they would clutch at straws to do so.

I’m sad to say I was right and the Yes campaigns unseemly urgency in ditching Wings in such a manner is what is behind this. It has encouraged them. Nice one Yes.
Richard Scott
2014-06-21 23:51

It is remarkable that the unionists are no longer engaged in the debate but instead are resorting to this sort of infantile attack. I have been of the opinion for months that the intellectual battle is won – this sort of thing just confirms that.
But we must not be complacent. They are still in the lead in the polls and their tactic of shutting their eyes, hanging on and hoping that, despite the continuous attrition of their support, they will just hang on to their lead might just work.
It is true that WoS, Bateman, Newsnet, Ginger Dug et al are clearly getting under their skin, but of itself that will not win the referendum. We must all, personally, do our utmost to convince doubters to vote Yes. Put the Yes stickers on your cars, put the posters in your windows and tell everyone you know about the websites that support Yes. Your car might get keyed – small price to pay.
2014-06-22 11:19

Seen ma first YES sticker yesterday on a car ither nor ma ain that’s cairriet yin syne the stert o the campaign.

Jo Bloggs
2014-06-22 00:24

Surely the lable ‘vermin in ermine’ applies to all members of the House of Lards? How it could possibly be construed as an attack on women defeats me. This attack on free speech by the NO campaign is the real scandal here.
2014-06-22 04:05

Oh jeez, car crash faux outrage. 😀

They do know that the animator is female and of course the nature of the editorial structure of NNS don’t they? 😀

To cap that by attacking a phrase coined, I believe by a now Labour lord, oh dang.

Of course all of the above is complete and utter guff. Their real problem with the animation is that it hit home too close to the bone on all fronts. THAT is the more likely truth of the matter.
2014-06-22 07:21

Dugs nipping femurs ,no jist ankles!

Mair power tae Duggy and wee Ginger!
2014-06-22 07:32

Unionists don’t like a taste of their own medicine.
The have no problems smearing Alex Salmond as a fat Nazi dictator, disliked by women, dishonest and childless, who travels abroad in opulent frivolity. The have no problems seeing the saltire smeared with a sky blue swastika. The have no problems describing our civic nationalism as a disease and a virus. They have no problems being foremost amongst the cheerleaders over the Megrahi affair. They have no problem pocketing Scotland’s wealth for decades and calling us beggars as they short change us, lie to us, forfeit our industries, and line their pockets with expenses. They have no problem distorting the words of foreign dignitaries to suit their ends. They have no problem promoting bogus grassroots popularity where none exists.

Well, I’ve no problem with “ermine vermin”, or the Rev’s “scum”. It’s tame. But nor do we need any more of it either. Stay focused everybody, stay positive.
2014-06-22 10:22

Y’know how it goes Breeks. People in glass houses and all that.

Well they’ve been lobbing bricks through those windows for years and what’s left of their glass house is about to come crashing down about their duplicitous, hypocritical and self interested ears.

They WON’T offer popular sovereignty. They WON’T offer a written constitution. They WON’T abolish unelected chambers and rewards for careerist self interest. They WON’T abolish FPTP electoral system.

But we can and we will and its all guaranteed now. We just need to put a cross in the YES box.
2014-06-22 11:19

I am surprised that the No Thanks Scotland mob haven’t objected to the use of a Saltire symbol as the means of affirmation on the ballot paper,so trivial has their campaign become.
2014-06-22 13:26

The sad, but salient and simple fact is that they never had a campaign. They had jingoism, some history and a lot, and I do mean a lot, of entrenched systems with which to derail this democratic debate.

Foremost of which being a horrendously politically compromised media. And lets face it, the media IS what is keeping the no campaign in the hunt at all.

2014-06-22 08:15

How about ‘Cybernat On Board’ car stickers.
2014-06-22 08:25

The problem with this is that the headline is out there and no amount of debunking on this site is going to change that.

As an example Project Fear are still peddling their lies regarding start- up costs weeks after the two academics credited with the costs rubbished these as a gross exaggeration almost immediately after Project Fear made the claims.

Mud sticks and its high time the YES campaign was responding with more force such as exposing these lies in leaflets and billboards, because there is strong evidence that the lies are making voters question independence.

On another note I see over in Scotland on Sunday’s piece on the monarchy today that Robin MacAlpine of the Common Weal project and Colin Fox have followed Jim Sillers example by handing Project Fear first class ammunition to divide and conquer the YES campaign.
2014-06-22 16:52

I saw the cartoon and I thought the phrase was a bit dodgy-irrespective of its source.
We need to be better than that.

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