Relaxed? Not fairly, not nearly. I’m outraged.

Today, my twitter timeline is on fire. Because I refused to toe the line and dared to speak my mind.

I had the temerity to suggest that I am not even remotely relaxed by the current storm engulfing the independence referendum campaign. And here’s why.

First, the hacking issue. This is the most serious and deeply troubling issue. If as has been alleged, Yes Scotland’s emails have been hacked, then that has to be fully investigated by the police and done so expeditiously. We all have to await the outcome of that investigation to find out what has gone on and if there has been criminal behaviour then charges must be brought and prosecuted, if the evidence is there to support such action.

This is the bit of the story that has legs. If there is any link to a Scottish newspaper, then frankly that blatt is toast. If hacking has been shown to occur, then we might yet get a McLeveson – and not before time.

If – and it’s a very big if – there is any connection whatsoever to anyone on the pro-union side of the debate, no matter, how tenuous, then that is potentially a game-changer. If those who would seek to preserve the constitutional status quo would stoop so low, would in effect break the law and every unwritten rule of campaigning in order to win, well they’ve lost.

Not just the argument, but potentially the vote too.

Yes supporters are outraged and so am I. But there’s no schadenfreude here. This not only could change the result of the referendum but the nature of political campaigning forever. We will have lost something from our body politic and that could reverberate for years if not decades. The big losers will be the Scottish people, who will feel more disengaged than ever before. Turnouts could plummet as people turn their backs on the democratic process.

And who could blame them? Because their democratic rights have been entrusted to political parties and players – which include the media – and a significant section could well be found wanting. Trust in the process will be gone forever.

But that isn’t the only trust issue, which brings me to the other source of my outrage. That Elliott Bulmer article asked for by Yes Scotland and paid for by it, yet presented when published as being written by an independent constitutional expert. He might well be the latter but on this occasion, this single instance, he cannot claim and should not have allowed himself to be portrayed as the former.

Will the Scottish media ever trust the provenance of any article pitched by Yes Scotland again? Not without forensic examination. Leaving aside how this knowledge got out there, out there it is and it has consequences: Yes Scotland is going to find it very hard in the next few months to get column inches for pro-independence pieces it wants out there, putting the pro-independence campaign at a distinct disadvantage.

Did anyone in Yes Scotland stop to consider the potential consequences of someone finding out that this single article was effectively commissioned? Did they weigh up the gain against the possible loss? Clearly not.

And it is this willingness to play fast and loose with a cause and a campaign entrusted to it that outrages me most. I am indeed a fairly marginal activist these days, but among us, my family has over 100 years’ collective activism – that’s unpaid for time, energy, toil and shoe leather working in support of independence. Doing our bit when this was the least fashionable of political causes – when holding a deposit or winning a council by-election was considered the dizzy height of success. And we are not alone.

Consider the unpaid, voluntary slog of all the SNP’s elected politicians which got them and their party to where they are now. Now consider the sacrifices, physical, emotional and material, which many more have made in their lifetimes to get here.

Then there’s the painstakingly crafted reputation for trust and competence which the SNP has carved out in the hearts and votes of the Scottish people. And the desperate attempts by Labour and Better Together to dismantle it.

And here’s Yes Scotland doing their work for them.

I don’t care that they do this. That this is how it’s aye been. That they mould and manipulate the institutions and structures to keep things as they are. The means do not justify the ends. Not when you call for honesty, integrity and transparency in the campaign. And not when you preach Scottish values that you appear not to wish to bother to practise yourself.

we are not them. We have been trying to persuade the Scottish people that we are different and that if they trust us, their lives could be different too. And when, more than at any other time, we needed to be, to show that we are different, we have been caught with our pants down.

The campaign which is fuelled by our money, which relies on us to give it legs, which we trusted to take us over the finishing line, has let every volunteer activist who ever did anything to get us to this point down. It chose to play the game, for a narrow daily advantage. And at what cost?

Every chip to that notion of competence, every dent in the shield of trust is potentially one persuadable dissuaded. No better than the rest, that’s what some voters will discern from this unseemly spat.

This, unlike the hacking scandal, is a media storm which will no doubt subside in short order but who knows what damage has been done in the meantime. To the campaign’s reserves of energy and resilience too.

The messenger has become the message and the vehicle is now the story. Hope St, you have a problem. And I doubt very much if others are quite so relaxed about it as you claim to be.

61 thoughts on “Relaxed? Not fairly, not nearly. I’m outraged.

  1. Pingback: Even Pollyanna would be really hacked off by all this unfair play – Scottish Roundup

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  3. OK. Lets drop this. Kate has provided signal service to the cause on many occasions. I think she is fully aware that many of us disagree vehemently with her take on this issue on this blog and on TV. She is fully entitled to hold a view on anything. She should make it very clear however that she does not speak for the SNP or the YES campaign in any capacity.
    She may well be in demand to appear on TV in that guise if they think they can get disputative stuff from her

    • Has anyone suggested that Kate is NOT entitled to hold a view?

      There is a distressingly common fallacy that the right of all to hold and express an opinion equates to all opinions being equally valid. The reality is that an opinion founded on sound information and reasoning will always be of more value than an opinion based on ignorance, misinformation or prejudice.

      Nobody is questioning Kate’s right to express her views on the matter of the Bulmer article. They are simply pointing out that the view she expresses lacks validity due to it being informed solely by a distorted and dishonest representation of the facts.

      I cast no aspersions regarding Kate’s ability to form a valid opinion. I simply note that, on this occasion as on others, she has failed to apply the necessary intellectual rigour.

      • Is it just possible, Mr. Bell , that you have an over inflated opinion of your own “intellectual rigour,” and that anyone who dares differ from your opinion, is automatically wrong?

      • If that was an attempt to refute my point then it failed miserably.

      • Nope, it was me stating that you have an over inflated opinion of your own intellect, based on quite what, i have no idea. Suffice to say, there must be other ways to massage your ego, than patronising other people’s perfectly valid points of view.

      • Your childish attempts at personal abuse serve only to underline how abysmally you failed to grasp my point about the validity of opinions. Get back to me when you grow up.

      • Can we stick to political debate by any chance?

      • Peter

        As I didn’t suggest that anybody was preventing Kate from having an opinion I have no idea why you thought your recent post appropriate ,useful or necessary.
        I’ve already made it very clear indeed what I think of her opinion on this issue
        I did suggest that it should be made clear that Kate is not talking for the SNP or YES in any capacity, which was the point of my post.
        She is invariably described as an “SNP blogger” on television and in the press with the deliberate implication which is contained in that

      • @moraglennie

        Peter is one of the smartest and clearest thinkers online – all that he has said has been supported with reason. No, he doesn’t at all have an over inflated ego, nor does he overestimate his abilities. I have never seen Peter write nonsense in all the time he’s been on the net – that is now a period of years.

  4. Do you understand intellectual property? Or the reasons why academics require payment for intellectual property? Indeed, have you ever received payment for your opinion?
    All of that is as non-story as the “dog bites man” reports when compared to the “man bites dog” story that is much more significant.
    Sort out the big things and speak about them, and some might just pay heed.

  5. I’m afraid if you don’t understand the concept of a “nominal fee” then you’re clearly an idiot. When an organisation makes a small payment, that is fully accounted for and not hidden in any way – then there’s clearly no skulduggery involved. Sure – we’d all love these “experts” to provide their writings for free but that’s obviously not how things are in reality these days. An accounted payment of £100 is hardly grounds for crying “corruption” ….. But you seem to have engaged keyboard without putting your brain into gear first …. Thereby destroying all your own credibility with a spectacular “own goal” ….. What a moron !

  6. If I were to look over this last week and ask, ‘Who has done the most damage to the YES campaign?’, then my answer would be you, Kate Higgins.

    You aided the indefensible NO campaign in their efforts to triangulate their non-story £100 payment against the YES campaign. Which act could put someone in prison? Paying someone a token sum to perform a perfectly transparent, legal task; or hacking into the private emails of the YES campaign?

    And the Byrd cried ‘outrage, outrage, outrage’ – just stay silent for a while please before you do any further damage to the cause you purport to represent.

  7. Kate, sounded to me like you were speaking out on behalf of the general Scotttish public, (which is of course, much larger than the yes camps and know camps added together).
    Not often, if at all, that anyone remembers to address the public at large.
    Well done for speaking up, sweeping mistakes under the carpet is not the answer.

    • The point of course is that there wasn’t any mistake.
      An academic who publicly supports independence gets a small sum for writing an article for a newspaper. Academics routinely get paid sums, sometimes large sums, for writing articles

      The whole thing is a complete invention to try in panic to take attention away from the illegal hacking of YES system.
      Only half wits have swallowed this nonsense which is being repeated by those with an anti YES agenda which of course is all of our press and media and some people who pretend to be independence supporters.

      • Not declaring who commissioned the article was a mistake on the part of yes and the Herald but the paper had no obligation to declare it whereas yes had, and had no valid reason not to. As you say it was not illegal or even unusual to have commissioned an article by an academic, so why not just let the readers know the source. This omission made it look secretive and perhaps suspect. This could easily have been avoided.

      • Yes Scotland’s only “obligation” – if that’s not too strong a term – was to inform The Herald. Which they did. It was then up to the paper to inform readers, or not, as it saw fit. Yes Scotland had no editorial control whatever. So how were they supposed to “declare” anything?

    • Yes and is illegal and hacking into other peoples emails is totally above the board as no money changed hands.

  8. Well, can’t say I agree with you on this but you can definitely hold your own😉 (followed twitter last night) Maybe now we’ll get more leaflets etc!

  9. Don’t you value my opinion Kate – why mod off my reply?
    The Herald knew the article was commissioned – it was offered to them by Yes Scotland, along with a request from the author for payment. Why would Yes Scotland feel any need to make any announcement about an already completely transparent transaction?

    I find it extraordinary that you can write about how your family, and everyone supporting the Yes cause has been let down by Yes Scotland without having the smallest notion of the consequences of your own actions. To use your own description “And it is this willingness to play fast and loose with a cause and a campaign [ supposedly supported by you ] that outrages me most”

    I watched you on TV last night with a heavy heart. You don’t speak for me, or my children. It would be better if you didn’t claim to speak for anyone else other than yourself.

  10. Agree with those who suggest a period of silence would be appreciated. You are not helping, or at least not helping the Yes campaign

  11. Completely agree with peter bell but I would just like to ask you Kate are you turning into another Margaret Curran

  12. Totally agree with peter bell here, but also have to ask what is your problem Kate could it be you are turning into another Margaret Curran

  13. Kate,
    The Herald knew the article was commissioned – it was offered to them by Yes Scotland, along with a request from the author for payment. Why would Yes Scotland feel any need to make any announcement about an already completely transparent transaction?

    I find it extraordinary that you can write about how your family, and everyone supporting the Yes cause has been let down by Yes Scotland without having the smallest notion of the consequences of your own actions. To use your own description “And it is this willingness to play fast and loose with a cause and a campaign [ supposedly supported by her ] that outrages me most”

    I watched you on TV last night with a heavy heart. You don’t speak for me, or my children. It would be better if you didn’t claim to speak for anyone else other than yourself.

  14. Utter nonsense ,Morag A small payment to an academic who publicly supports independence for an article for a newspaper is entirely innocent, there was no attempt to hide something that wasn’t worth hiding and it was worthy of not one word of report.

    Of course YES HQ will have been aware they were likely to be hacked. Do you think we are all daf?. The fact is somebody on the dark side has allowed this to,be established and they are now trying to cover up in a panic ( asssisted ably by the some surprising people)

  15. I absolutely agree with every word of this article, and am glad you have had the guts to speak out. No doubt you will be attacked left right and centre for doing so, but I am sick of the “don’t rock the boat” attitude which appears to think we must all be good little sheep, and toe the party line, even though our common sense is screaming, ” hold on a minute.” If the personnel at YES Scotland couldn’t see this coming, as well as the likelihood of their communications being hacked, then they really should seek a career in something other than politics.

    • Nobody has said “don’t rock the boat”. Or I certainly haven’t. You’re imagination is working maybe a wee bit too hard here.

      What I have said is that ,if you are going to “rock the boat” then you bloody well better be sure that you have a damned good reason for doing so. Something considerably more substantial than a gobbet of overblown, over-hyped propaganda from Project Fear.

      You seem to be yet another one who completely fails to realise that the anti-independence campaign is liable to distort anything that Yes Scotland says or does in much the same way as they have distorted the matter of the perfectly legitimate payment to Dr Bulmer. Your idea of a “solution” to this is to insist that Yes Scotland allow their opponents to dictate everything that they say and do. To give Blair McDougall and his minions exceptional power over the way that the Yes campaign is conducted.

      Madness!

      Given that unionists will almost certainly misrepresent everything, and given that you want Yes Scotland to avoid all possibility of misrepresentation, the only logical conclusion is that Yes Scotland should say nothing at all.

      Idiocy!

      Might I suggest that you would be better employed condemning the distortion and pointing out the truth rather than berating Yes Scotland for doing nothing improper or untoward in any way.

      As to the hacking, every organisation is aware of such threats. And every organisation takes precautions. But, as anybody with half a clues will be aware, there is no such thing as 100% security. And all security is bought at a cost. There is always a trade-off with accessibility and useability.

      Your criticism of Yes Scotland on this count smacks of blaming the victim. Especially as there is neither evidence nor even the suggestion that security arrangements were particularly inadequate.

      Again! If you are going to slate the Yes campaign, make sure you have good cause. Don’t allow yourself to be sent into a fit of knee-jerking by the malicious drivel you read in the unionist press.

  16. Never criticise YES or SNP or you are doomed.
    The truth will out and that is what is important but if the above two organisations are beyond criticism when they get something wrong there is little point in Independence. I have supported both organisations the former since inception and the latter since time immemorial – because I hoped we would be better than that.

    • If anybody had suggested that the SNP and/or Yes Scotland were “beyond criticism” then you might have a point. But they haven’t. So you don’t.

      What you seem to have missed by a quite spectacular margin is that it is not criticism of either of these organisations per se that people are complaining about but wholly unwarranted criticism based on nothing more than an unthinking knee-jerk reaction to a contrived fuss about a fabricated story.

  17. I think you need to be careful regarding Dr Bulmer’s reputation. Possibly there is a point here in terms of transparency for readers – and the Herald now says that it will show when articles have been provided by a campaigning organisation. That’s a good idea for all papers.

    But that is a GENERAL point and there is no need to question the provenance of an article by an academic because he has been paid a small fee to write it. Since it was Yes Scotland who contacted the Herald and offered the article there was clearly no intention on their part to deceive. The paper knew perfectly well that Dr Bulmer was writing from a Yes Scotland perspective as their leader comment today shows.

    The wider issue for me is that every email I have sent to people at Yes Scotland is now not secure because of criminal activity. When our colleagues have their whole office shut down and police there for 3 days it is not the time to stick the knife in. If you have concerns it is perfectly right for you to raise them but why not do it privately? The SNP got to where we are now because we learned not to wash our dirty linen in public. Voters don’t vote for parties at war. They won’t vote Yes if they see the Yes campaign at war, Please bear that in mind in future. There is no excuse for rotten personal attacks on you on here, twitter or elsewhere but equally I am afraid I can find no excuse for your very public attacks on Yes Scotland either. I wish everyone would calm down.

  18. My comment does not appear to have passed your moderation. It was no sense abusive, although it was, as others have been, critical of your judgment, with explanations why. Perhaps you’ve had too much of this today.

  19. Kate, I think your judgment has failed you. The payment issue is a red herring introduced by the media to deflect attention from the hacking, of which I have no doubt that at least some of the media have been beneficiaries, and may well have been involved in the perpetration. The press and broadcasters pay people for their analyses and views all the time, and often without acknowledgment of their political associations and interests. Thus Blair MacDougall has had an anti-independence article published by The Guardian, without attribution to his position as head of Better Together, and BBC Scotland has often called on, for example, Alf Young, Simon Pia, and Torcuil Crichton, without acknowledging their absolute loyalty to the Labour Party and the current Union – which are usually obvious in their contributions.

    There was absolutely nothing wrong in paying Dr Bulmer to express opinions which he is known to hold, and to imply, as Better Together and the media have done, that he sold his academic reputation and wrote material to order, leaves the accusers open to legal action; I hope he sues. And the Herald was aware that the article came at the behest of Yes Scotland: it was Yes Scotland who submitted it. It’s the Herald’s fault that they did not mention that in a footnote.

    You ask: ‘Will the Scottish media ever trust the provenance of any article pitched by Yes Scotland again?’. That’s taking a very generous – and dare I say, naive – view of the Scottish media, which doesn’t want to print or broadcast anything which might favour independence. They only do so occasionally, so that they can pose as being ‘balanced’. So, they’ll continue to include some pro-independence news and opinion anyway, to maintain their posture. In fact, they may well be more keen to, to seek some temporary absolution in advance of revelations about the hacking.

  20. I saw you on Twitter Kate bemoaning the fact that no one had called you names such as quisling. Why are you doing this? Is it attention seeking, trying to make a name for your self, envy of other commentators who actually get paid to write the tripe you just have? I’m thinking here Cochrane, Gardham &co. You appear to be keeping a foot in the Unionist camp so that in the event of a No, you have somewhere to go to seek remuneration. I think you are going to be bitterly disappointed. Your over egging the £100 fee, has as was pointed out to you by Mr Reid, been knee jerk nonsense. You would do better to take the advice given to you and consider a lengthy period of silence to consider what you might say next. You are no martyr, you do however appear very opportunistic and hypocritical. Do you work for nothing? Interesting in the article above your words give much more focus to the £100 fee than to the serious criminal activity and the attack on our democracy. The Herald knew of the £100, quelle surprise. You are slowly but surely morphing in to the kind of foreign owned unionist press commentators Scotland has been strangled with for to long, and you really do not like being found out, so you screech foul when people take you to task. Who knows you may even be offered a job by Boothman of BBC Scotland. You are exactly what he is looking for. Isobel Fraser appears to have been put out to grass. Everyone predicted that the union would get down and dirty, this may be just the beginning.

  21. You don’t speak for me Kate. And no, I don’t think you’re a quisling but I do think you’ve been an idiot. By all means speak your mind – you’re quite entitled to – but, please, don’t claim to represent anyone but yourself when doing so.

    Have you considered the fact that The Herald were always aware of this payment and were the only party in a position to decide whether to publish that information?

    With friends like you, it’s just as well we don’t have enemies…oh.

  22. Well, I am afraid that I was not shocked by the “startling revelations” of someone being paid to write an article for a newspaper. I read a lot of articles and I believe that most of the authors have been paid in one way or another. Mostly these would be written by professional journalists, do they wave their journalistic fees dependent on the subject? I would think not. Even the campaign directors are paid and there is no secret about that, as long as the payments are recorded in the accounts I do not see any potential for a problem. No, I am not shocked in the slightest over the payment to E Bulmer for his article on a possible future post referendum written constitution. I have read his book, I even paid for it, and his views on a written constitution are quite clear and I think quite interesting. So, if the Yes campaign pays a fee to get these views out into MSM for a wider audience, I really don’t see a problem with that at all.

    I am however greatly concerned by the hacking reports. This, if true, is scandalous. I am also concerned by the clouds of smoke arising and the apparent lack of condemnation from our elected political leaders over what is a criminal act. For me, this is the story to watch.

    Incidentally, although I do not agree with your views on this subject. I find your blog posts to be informative and I do hope you keep blogging. I recall to disagreeing with an earlier blog post of yours, for which I think I owe you an apology, it seems that you were right and I was wrong. However, this time, I think I am right😉

  23. I came on thinking “burdz eye view – a bit of light relief”. So much for that then.

    I heard a bit of some new Nixon tapes today – does anyone recall what information the buggers obtained from the Watergate building? Naming who was bugged doesn’t count – what did they find out and how was it used by Nixon’s Campaign Team?

    As for the response to someone offering an opinion that you do not share on a subjective public relations question? Calm down – worse things happen at sea.

  24. Kate,while you are fully entitled to you’re opinions on the debate and the way the Yes campaign is shaping up,i agree with Ian, you took the bait from the BT camp and showed in my honest opinion, a political naivety that will lose yes votes rather than the so called ‘catastrophic’ piece by the academic in the paper.

    Sorry Kate, you don’t speak for me in regards to the yes /independence campaign, and i think you have called it wrong big time.

    Saying that, as we ‘all’ have a right of view and freedom of speech,i just hope the people in disagreement with you’re comments show a bit of courtesy and don’t descend into the farce that is the better together social media pages,and put their points across in a decent manner.

  25. This has been misjudged. That those who write articles shouldn’t be paid is both unsustainable and currently – just not true. Better Together normally don’t need to pay as their articles written for free. There are plenty pro-union (how ever much they deny it) set ups that regularly churn out miles of column inches dutifully reproduced by newspapers – al paid for by unionist money.

    What’s the difference?

    A total non-story now given credence by a self-proclaimed spokesperson for yes voters.

    Not this yes voter thanks very much.

    Heck, we have The Campaign For Human Rights and Glasgow University for this sort of thing.

  26. I heard you on Scotland Tonight and I am afraid your outrage while sincere is based on a peripheral issue. As James MacKenzie said, what you got in the article was 100% Elliott Bulmer. Listen to Dr Bulmer himself. You in effect are casting aspersions on him, because his arguments are contrived to suit the paymaster. This is a storm in a tea cup because BT are using a deflecting tactic and you have fallen for it rather than support the article and Dr Bulmer.

  27. The Yes campaign includes everyone. I don’t feel let down by Yes Scotland at all and if this is the most damaging thing the Brits can come up with after hacking their emails it’s quite frankly pathetic. The constitution of an independent Scotland is important and if we have to pay to get an expert opinion that’s exactly what should be done.

  28. Kate Yes Scotland have done nothing wrong, Hook line and sinker Kate, You are better than this, get a grip,

  29. The no camp case appears to be that we have bribed someone to write a pro-independence article. Given the small sum involved they will be sued by Dr Bulmer if they keep that up. This ‘story’ was discovered by hacking Yes Scotland’s email accounts and raking through them for dirt which is illegal.

  30. Personally, I would prefer if you did not speak for me ever again.

  31. I disagree with you vehemently here, Kate, but you make the best case for the prosecution I’ve seen so far. I respect your view and wish others would do the same.

    Regards,

    Richard

  32. Peter A Bell has got it exactly right. I would add that a period of silence from you would be appreciated.

  33. Fuss about nothing to cover up illegal hacking. If this is the best they came up with, they have broken the law for sfa.
    If BT can stoop this low now, what are they going to be like in another 12 months?

  34. I have lost all faith in your judgement. You appear to be the target for a completely manufactured distraction that has been devised to cover up a illegal hacking incident and you’ve been hit big time.
    You are not speaking for me and I have not been let down.

  35. Sorry Kate I have also to agree with other commentators here. I think you are giving far too much support, whether indirectly intend or not, to the faux-outrage by Better Together. They are in major trouble and are using this angle to con voters into looking elsewhere. the ONLY story here is that YES appears to have been hacked, the BT (phone people) have confirmed this, and the illegally gained information used to create a shit-storm against YES to try and get some mud to stick.

    It is hard enough to combat the bias in the MSM, we certainly don’t need well known and respected bloggers to support their subterfuge.

    Think through the bigger picture next time, please!

  36. ” Will the Scottish media ever trust the provenance of any article pitched by Yes Scotland again”

    Eh? If the article is by a named expert, who’s declared his preference, and it’s pitched to the media by Yes Scotland, what on earth would the issue with “provenance” be?

  37. Today, my twitter timeline is on fire. Because I refused to toe the line and dared to speak my mind.

    Without stopping, thinking and doing a little bit of research first.

    Did the focusing on someone being reimbursed only on the Yes side by all the majority of our anti independence MSM whilst ignoring the then alleged hacking in private emails not bring up your female intuition that is something amiss here?

    Scottish Police

    Exclusive – Hacking latest: Herald newspaper was aware of Bulmer article fee request

  38. What a lot of nonsense. ‘Man paid for work’ is not a story. ‘Email account hacked into illegally’, is.

  39. I see that the story is not about the criminal act of hacking into another’s emails,but that a man got paid for his work,did everybody know he got paid ?I never I only found out today,but then I am mostly housebound and don’t get out and about.I do read the papers and read several blogs.I am not angry in the least that a man got paid for his time,and I was always told that my pay was my business and my employers,not the world’s and his dog.Now he need not have declared that he got paid,he never needed to except for tax purposes,and it was not a crime but the hacking is.Good article gave me some food for thought,Susan MacNee good comment.I do think the paper did know he got paid but choose to bide their time to release it when ready.

  40. There has been a lot of crap written about that Elliot Bulmer article, but Kate Higgins is not to be outdone. Is there anybody outside the official anti-independence who is more susceptible to their propaganda? Is there anybody outwith Project Fear itself more eager to run with the lies and smears?

    Yes Scotland weren’t concerned about anybody “finding out” because there was nothing of any substance to “expose”. This was a perfectly ordinary transaction. The only thing that was in any way exceptional was the size of the fee.

    Nothing was hidden. The Herald was aware that the article had been commissioned by Yes Scotland. They were also aware that, having declined to pay Dr Bulmer themselves, Yes Scotland had stepped in. For sure, there was no public announcement of any of this. But why should there have been? That’s the question Kate Higgins and other knee-jerkers fail to ask.

    Just because The Herald and Yes Scotland didn’t call a joint press conference to tell the world about an entirely mundane piece of business doesn’t mean it was “secret”. It just means that it was too trivial to be worth mentioning. Nobody had to go rooting around to find out about it. They certainly didn’t need to illegally access an email account. All they had to do was ask.

    It is rather obvious to any moderately competent observer that Blair McDougall and his pals in the media are making an idiotic fuss about this article solely for the purpose of diverting attention from the hacking scandal. The truly shocking thing is that someone who is frequently called upon to represent the views of pro-independence online campaigners should so readily fall for such a transparent ruse.

    • “The truly shocking thing is that someone who is frequently called upon to represent the views of pro-independence online campaigners should so readily fall for such a transparent ruse.”

      Yep 100% on the ball here Peter, she is called upon to represent the views of the Pro-Independence. Not attack them over a £100 payment that was NOT ever unlawful.

      The only people that really needed Kate’s help (And got it easily) was the NO group, & the hackers of the Yes Campaign computers.

      A HUGE story BURIED… Cheers Kate.

  41. Excellent piece Kate and well said on both counts. As ever you get straight to the heart of the matter. If your Twitter timeline is on fire with criticsm of what you have written then that is deeply sad and disappointing. I for one think it should be on fire in support.

  42. “Did anyone in Yes Scotland stop to consider the potential consequences of someone finding out that this single article was effectively commissioned?”

    Finding out? The idea that this was news to anyone is, not to put too fine a point on it, madness. Newspapers actively solicit such articles all the time, including specifically in this campaign. The newspapers know it, Yes Scotland knows it, Better Together knows it, everyone in the media knows it.

    BT have simply chosen to make a huge hypocritical fuss about it now as a staggeringly obvious smokescreen, and it only has even a sliver of credibility because of the comments of people like you on our side doing our opponents’ work for them.

    We need to stop this hopelessly naive idea that if only we behave ourselves immaculately the media will give us a fair shout. If we don’t do anything wrong, they’ll just invent stuff, which is basically what’s happened here, so there’s no point living in a constant panic about what they’re going to say.

    Please think really hard about what you’re achieving with stuff like this.

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