European visitors to Scotland in 2018 up 22% in one year!


In Insider yesterday:

‘Figures from the Office of National Statistics for the year up to the end of last September showed a 22 per cent increase in the number of visitors.  Bottom of Form

Figures from the Office of National Statistics for the year up to the end of last September showed a 22 per cent increase in the number of visitors, with spending rising by 7 per cent to £1.15 billion. Overall 2.26 million people from Europe visited to the end of last September, spending a total of £1.15 billion. With overseas tourism expenditure from all countries at £2.25 billion, those coming from Europe accounted for over half of all visitor spending.’

It’s been some time since a report on Scotland’s tourism boom here, but we’ve had several in the last year. See these:

13% increase in number of people working in Scotland’s tourism sector since introduction of National Tourism Strategy

Humungous 45% increase in Scotch Whisky tourism!

Glasgow and Edinburgh push London into third place in tourism hotspots survey

Scottish tourism growth outpaces that in UK

Whisky tourism boom expected to add to record year for Scottish tourism in 2018

‘BLOODY HELL Robert the Bruce movie Outlaw King will feature some of the bloodiest battle scenes in cinema history’, put Braveheart in the shade and boost tourism like Outlander.

Glasgow wins two first places in global tourism awards and comes 4th out of 50!

As Scottish Tourism soars, Outer Hebrides to become major centre of marine tourism with funds mostly from SNP-led Scottish government

Boom in Scottish Tourism and in Film and TV production to be enhanced by Edinburgh University and National Museums of Scotland’ MOOC

‘Scotland enjoys tourism boost thanks to interest in Gaelic’



No Civil War effect with SNP at 47% in YouGov sub-poll which would almost wipe out other parties

I know it’s only a sub-poll of 153, not really a ‘poll’, but if it is some early, wee, indication of opinion shifting as UK parliamentary democracy revealed itself as utterly dysfunctional and as the SNP 2nd Civil War story either failed to take hold of the people’s imagination or even got up their noses, 47% would take the SNP close to the 56 out of the 59 Westminster seats they took in 2015. If this is only an early harbinger of a trend, we might be looking at greater than 50% and a total wipe out of the opposition. Let’s dream! Labour support plummeted to 14% so would Ian Murray in Edinburgh South survive?

The fieldwork was done on the 13th and 14th January 2019, well into the Scottish MSM carpet bombing of the electorate with images of the alleged Salmond and Sturgeon split and a consequent civil war among their supporters and as the disturbing freak show that is UK parliamentary democracy seems likely to have filled many with shock and disgust.

Notably, Scots were also, by far, the group most likely to say they would definitley vote, the least concerned about crime and the most dissatisfied with the UK Government’s Brexit negotiations.


More Scots and more from ‘most-deprived’ areas going to university


The Scottish definition of ‘deprived’ seems to relate to Quintile 1 (red) in the graph above but it is encouraging also to note quite dramatic increases in quintiles 2 and 3.


This reveals a steady growth in students living in Scotland entering Scottish universities against the background of a fairly static trend for EU and non-EU candidates.

From today:

‘A record number of full-time first-degree students at Scottish universities were from the most deprived areas in Scotland last year. New figures show that, in 2017/18, 15.6% of students entering university were from the 20% most deprived areas. This is 0.4% short of the Government’s target for 2021. Last year also saw an increase in the total number of Scottish students enrolling in Scottish universities. The statistics, published by the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA), show the latest progress in the drive to widen access to higher education.’


Scotland reduces greenhouse gases by 76%!*



From SEPA on 9th January 2018:

‘Greenhouse gases emitted by Scottish industry continue to fall, according to the latest annual mass pollutant releases published by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA). The figures, published online in the 2017 Scottish Pollutant Release Inventory (SPRI), show how the pollutants emitted by Scottish regulated businesses are changing as the country continues to move to a more sustainable, resource efficient Scotland.’

Now I’m no chemist or environmental scientist but true to the alternative cybernat blogger’s code, that won’t stop me asserting anything. Note the 69% and 28% reduction in Nitrous Oxide. That is directly responsible for identifiable deaths every year. See:

And, for context, see this map showing deaths ‘caused by air pollution.’


One more reason why determined opponents to Scottish independence should follow through on their threats to leave if we get away?

*Headline uses BBC Reporting Scotland editorial guidelines

BBC Reporting Scotland viewer finds knives in kitchen drawer only one mile from another South Ayrshire school!


The alarming news follows BBC Reporting Scotland’s exclusive report on the alarming spread of knife crime to Scotland’s schools.

Repeated on Reporting Scotland yesterday:

‘A 10 year-old boy’s been referred to the Children’s Reporter after a knife was found at a school in South Ayrshire….It followed reports a child was seen with a knife outside the campus. No one was injured.’

News, especially that from the state broadcaster should be usefully informative so as to enable audiences to judge the importance of the event reported, in terms of their daily lives, and to enable a rational reaction to it. This report was lacking in the information that parents, in particular, would need to possess to enable them to react appropriately to the potential threat to their own children, going to school that day. In the absence of that kind of information might Reporting Scotland, like the Sun, be inducing panic in understandably anxious parents?

Here’s the kind of information, context, widely available which a responsible news agency should provide.

Knife Crime in Scotland:

‘The results so far have been dramatic. Between April 2006 and April 2011, 40 children and teenagers were killed in homicides involving a knife in Scotland; between 2011 and 2016, that figure fell to just eight.’

No one under the age of 20 in Scotland was killed with a sharp instrument in 2016/17.

Offensive weapon carrying in Scotland has been reduced by the last ten years.

As actual murder by knife soars across England, is BBC Reporting Scotland desperately seeking evidence to remind Scots that their wee country, characterised by falling crime, remains no different from their neighbour in that ‘cherished union?’

Reporting knife crime, any knife crime, in Scotland?


Gerry Hassan, my part in his upfall


I’ve heard that Gerry Hassan, writer, researcher, thinker, might be having a wee go at me and my pals on the ‘ardent’ wing of the Yes movement – Wings, Indyref2.

Far under this heading:


He writes:


He seems to be saying two things there. First, the SNP are the party of ‘the status quo’ and second, that ‘ardent nationalists’ are inadvertently illustrating this by defending ‘every part of present-day Scotland.’

Leaving aside the difficulty of identifying the status quo in a complex modern society, isn’t the dominant version of the status quo, in essence, Unionist? I’m thinking of those interlocking elite groups, often privately educated and at the top, in the three Unionist political parties, in the civil service, in the press and in the broadcasters, on the corporate boards and executives, in arts management and in education. Though the SNP is in government (minority) it is hardly dominant in this Scotland.

As for the ‘ardent nationalists’ defending ‘every part of present-day Scotland’, are we not illustrating the same point in that we are obliged to work ceaselessly to counter the potentially overwhelming dominance of unionist perspectives and messages flowing from multiple centres of massively funded power and influence in the corporations, in the corporate and state media and in the universities?

Secondly, where is the evidence that we defend ‘every part of present-day Scotland?’ I feel driven to defend only those parts being unfairly and inaccurately attacked by the corporate and state media, in an attempt to counter a monstrous imbalance. That we do it every day is primarily testament to the scale of the problem and not to our ardency though I’m happy to be called ‘ardent’ – ‘passionate’, ‘enthusiastic’, even ‘fiery.’

Finally, an important comment on Gerry’s writing. It’s articulate, flowing and seemingly well-informed but it’s almost entirely evidence-free. He writes as if he knows it all and doesn’t need to offer any evidence. For example, when he writes:


He doesn’t offer us any evidence at all that the party as a whole, of 130 000 souls, has become ‘embroiled’ in anything. As far as I know, there is only the suggestion that one or two political aides to Salmond and Sturgeon have allegedly spoken to journalists to suggest a falling-out between the two. Even if this were to be confirmed it means nothing more than a spat between people whose task is to champion the interests of the person they are paid to assist. There is no evidence at all of a ‘civil war’ in the party. If there was, we might see the names and the numbers, but we don’t. How many SNP members have resigned saying it is because of these ‘events?’ How many councillors or MSPs have left to join the Labour Party? Sorry, I’ll need to wipe my eyes before continuing.

Gerry, along with other, unionist, commentators thinking inside the Holyrood bubble, makes the mistake of thinking that it is more than it is. Is there any evidence at all of even writing about splitting, in the MSP or MP cohorts or in the constituencies? I see none at all.

I should declare something here. I was Director of Studies for Gerry’s PhD. Yes, he is Dr Gerry Hassan, but he doesn’t use the title often. His study was of the ‘Scottish Commentariat’. It was very successful in its own terms. It passed first time with no modifications required. That’s rare. The external examiner and the University research lead loved it, but it did not involve any empirical study of large cohorts of voters, members, activists or politicians which might have led to confident claims of trends and patterns within them. Similarly, this piece, can make no claim to revealing evidence of the ‘end of an era for the SNP’ because it is mostly imaginative, based on the equally evidence-free pontifications of those journalists and politicians who make up that disconnected elite group, ‘The Commentariat.’

As I was finishing this, I thought I’d do something but when I did, it made me wonder why I’d bothered writing at all. I checked to see how much traffic Gerry’s blog gets and found this:

Estimated Monthly Traffic (unique visits) for – By Month

Not enough data to estimate the number of visits for

Unavoidably bitchy, I know, but Wings gets more than 200 000 per month. I get around 70 000. Ardency pays! 

Ghouls and Nazis: BBC Reporting Scotland’s subliminal propagandising


It’s not ‘natural’ is it? They’ve done something to the images of Salmond and Sturgeon to make them look disturbing in some way. Sturgeon, in particular, looks almost ghoulish or even, diseased. The presenter looks suitably nervous. Why have they done this? Why have they modified the photographs? The report is about the imagined ‘civil war’ within the SNP so, I’m guessing, the producer wanted the images to ‘fit’ the story in some melodramatic but immature way. Remember this is not a student project or the work of the Sun or the Daily Mail. It’s in a mass broadcast by a public service broadcaster with a royal charter requiring it to inform us. What information is communicated to us by changing photographs to make those represented look unwell or evil in some way? Surely, the images unmodified, should have been used to more accurately represent the characters. BBC Reporting Scotland has ‘previous’ on this:


Why was this earlier shot taken from that angle, enlarged, cropped and reduced to black and white? Many commentators saw, instantly, similarities with images from Nazi Germany in the 1930s. I wrote to complain at the time but was fobbed off as if paranoid. Similarly, BBC Newsnight produced this image of Jeremy Corbyn:


There was much comment at the time with Labour-supporters angered by the all-to-obvious association of Corbyn with the Soviet Union and with its leaders such as Lenin. Once more, the BBC rebuffed all criticism as over-reaction and reading into the images messages they had not meant.

The mainstream UK media’ bias against, and the demonization of, Corbyn was to be empirically proven by the London School of Economics:

In Scotland, similar evidence of bias by BBC Scotland against the SNP, has been offered, in my own research:

Propaganda or Professionalism on Pacific Quay?

Why do these images matter? In its responses to the earlier images of Swinney and Corbyn, the BBC seemed to be suggesting that these are merely decorative or illustrative in a superficial way, but they are undeniably negative and reduced from the full colour and warmth of life. It matters because, unlike words which are absorbed slowly, with time for conscious deliberation, and which our conscious mind can resist with contrary evidence, there are no defences against these visual images. They are absorbed by our unconscious mind in less than a second and they impact centres of emotional processing directly and powerfully. We know how difficult it is to change someone’s opinions with a direct strategy using factual evidence, but this strategy enables ideas to bypass all rational defences as if they were not there.

This is not just my thinking. From a former professor of media studies in Canada:

‘Images are able to convey information quickly and evoke deep emotions in their viewers. This power of the image derives from its ability to convey a message all-at-once, as a gestalt or whole chunk of meaning. The way the brain processes images also contributes to their power: we can see, remember, and be moved by an image that we have not really thought about. It can enter into consciousness below our analytical radar–or be moving too quickly–and continue to influence us from our subconsciousness……[W]hen images are used for political purposes and disseminated through mass media, their power to persuade is increased dramatically.’

From the world of business, where the propagandising is unashamed:

‘Words actually don’t exist … to our brains, at any rate. We don’t see words as a series of letters. We see them as pictures. However, tests have shown that people can remember more than 2500 images with at least 90 percent accuracy for days after initial exposure.’

I’m sure you see the possibilities here. Where a ‘floating voter’ is subject to these images, in addition to the usual textual bias in reporting, a developing hostility to individual politicians, deep in the subconscious mind but influencing, almost determining, conscious thoughts and behaviour, the impact on voting behaviour becomes almost inevitably negative with regard to that politician’s party – SNPbad?