new indy pension plan

Alex Salmond has promised 16 and 17-year-olds who vote for independence that they can retire after the referendum.

He is understood to be fed up with the idea that pensions only apply to the elderly and the retiring and are just as relevant to teenagers. His spokesman said: “Why should pensions only be available to those of a certain age? We believe in all Scots sharing the same social benefits and since we will have a budget surplus, it makes sense for us to reward the next generation with early pensions.”

Critics say it is a bribe to teenagers who are heavily against independence according to the polls. “What on earth are they going to do if they retire by age 18?” asked Better Together. “The whole thing is ridiculous.”

“We’ve thought of that,” said the First Minister’s spokesman. “We imagine they will hang around street corners, form gangs, graffiti the walls and ride their bikes on the pavement. In other words, just what they do now. It’s what the Scottish Government has been trying to tell Scots, that after independence nothing much will change.”

Asked why teenagers should be able to retire before the working population, he said it was part of the drive to be inclusive and to help youngsters to mature more quickly. “They will have to learn to live on a limited income, get on the bus without spitting and cut discount coupons out of the paper. Also they will be able-bodied so they can replace care staff losing their jobs in lunch clubs. They will be able to lift the elderly in and out of buses and wheelchairs.”

The government is also keen to cut the unemployment number and by taking teenagers out of the system altogether, the Scottish rate will steadily decline.

“We know how hard it is to get a job,” said the spokesman. “So this avoids them being depressed by job hunting. It also avoids employers being depressed by the low quality of applicants.”

By making them instant pensioners, the government also saves money through not having to educate them in university or college. “This is a sign of a rich and radical country making the most of its resources,” he said. “All we have to do now is work out how to keep the working population paying enough in tax to cover the pension bill. We’ll get back to you on that one.”







Latest Naughtie debrief

Following my exclusive of Jim Naughtie’s recent programme brief, I now have a copy of the debrief written by the Today progamme editor following his interviews on defence with James Arbuthnot Con MP and Keith Brown SNP MSP.

Producer’s Brief  Today September 27

“Jim’s sequence with Arbuthnot, the Westminster defence MP and the Nat guy worked a treat… you’re developing a style with these Scottish interviews, James. First you’re nice cop with the Unionist and then – blam – you slap the Nat across the chops.

You were suitably deferential with plummy Arbuthnot (Eton and Cambridge) asking the easy open-door questions…nothing about the UK’s failure to meet NATO commitments, no mention of there being no naval defence presence or aerial surveillance off the Moray Firth which meant the Russian carrier fleet which turned up last December could have attacked and invaded before Britain knew what was happening and we had to send a destroyer up from Portsmouth. No Nimrods now, you see. No Kinloss air base. Happily you refrained from asking why we couldn’t defend the oil installations because of defence cuts.

But, wow, you barely let the Nat MSP – was it Brown, his name? – say a word without cutting in. Made it difficult for him to state his case which as far as I can see is that Scotland would have the same level of defence as other countries of a similar size.

He rather got away with pointing out that the budget is inaccurate and unfair, though. Pity. He managed to get out that the amount spent in Scotland was £1.6b while HMG claims its £4.5b. Presumably that higher sum is in the profit and loss books as actually being spent in Scotland? Oops!

You were on much stronger ground with Trident. It’s important to emphasise that we don’t want the blasted thing down here. (Arbuthnot represents Hampshire!) When he said the nuclear sub base was close to Scotland’s biggest centre of population, you could imagine the Home Counties remembering that is Glasgow and saying to themselves: hey ho. The SNP hypocrisy line on a nuclear NATO worked so long as we didn’t say that NATO is supposed to be getting rid of nukes and that Labour offered to negotiate them away but Murphy now says we need to renew. Talk about hypocrisy.

And of course it costs an arm and a leg and is really America’s weapons system to which they have the firing codes which they send to us. Still, you’re constant jumping in didn’t allow anyone to really get Brown’s point and left the impression of a Dad’s army with pikestaffs up against calm, plummy UK. Job done.

You’ve established a style and tone to make the most of your sojourn on GMS, Jim. Remember, you’re defending all that’s great about this country so don’t for God’s sake go native. You’ll never present Last Night of the Proms again, if you do.

Till tomorrow….”

new female indy campaign

The difficulties of the Yes campaign in attracting women voters could be overcome by a new slogan devised by concerned male nationalists. It’s called Hx3 and is aimed at widening the appeal of independence which is regarded by many women as aggressive and similar to football fan declarations of loyalty.


Hx3 is designed to look like the kind of scientific equation appearing on hand and face cream packaging containing active liposomes and other laboratory-tested ingredients.


The group behind the slogan, Stand Up and Fight the Sassenachs, say there is a lack of nuance in the campaign language which excludes women who respond to subtler marketing triggers. “Some burds just don’t get it,” said a spokesman. “They think we want to replay Bannockburn but that’s completely untrue. We won that one. We want to replay Flodden.”


He explained that independence wasn’t just a matter of emotion and therefore, irrational. It was also a pragmatic view that should appeal to female common sense. It was important not to put off women voters with words and imagery heavy with testosterone.


The meaning of Hx3 is explained in the marketing material now being circulated through Mumsnet, health clubs and office workplaces.


It reads:”Do I believe in independence?

Yes, with my Head because it makes sense.

Do I believe in independence?

Yes with my Heart because I love my country.

Do I have the Balls for it?

You bet I do.

I believe in Independence…Heid, Hert and Hingers = Hx3.”


“We believe this has the right degree of energy and taste to appeal to women,” he said. “It was designed by Danny who has advertising skills from writing the karaoke and menu details on the pub chalkboard.  And it was unanimously approved by the Stand Up and Fight entertainments committee which is keen to attract more women to the monthly disco.”


Asked if hingers didn’t sound like a male-only condition, he said: “No. We asked around the rugby club and the view there was that women have hingers too.”


Headscarves, bracelets, blouses and tea towels will appear in the shops before Christmas.

(Scary) conference report….

Ed Miliband has made clear to the Labour conference that scaremongering has no place in British politics.


“I really do abhor this type of overstated, dishonest tactic to try to defeat the legitimate ends of an elected government with a mandate acting on behalf of the people,” he said in Brighton.


The Labour leader was responding to threats by the power companies to move their operations out of the UK if a Labour Government forced them to hold energy prices for 20 months. It was also suggested Britain could face blackouts.


“This is just scaremongering for the sake of it,” said Mr Miliband. “That’s what you do when you run out of rational arguments and then take the people for idiots. Only those bereft of respect for taxpayers and for the democratic process would ever descend to deliberately misleading by raising unfounded and unprovable scare stories. I condemn it unreservedly.”


He said it would like telling Scots they would be thrown out of the EU or made to have a border with England if they voted for independence. “Honestly, what kind of moral crook or dimwit would try to scare people with total nonsense like….”


At this point the sound system stopped working and his words were lost.


A Better Together spokesman said: “This is exactly what we’ve been saying, that the SNP scaremongering that Scotland would be better off, happier, more equal and secure has got to stop.”




Labour NHS promise

Ed Miliband has told the Labour conference he has had a vision – that people from one country who fall ill in another can be treated as if they lived there.


“It came as a blinding revelation to me that all across Europe there are reciprocal arrangements between governments so that if I have an accident on holiday in France I can go the doctor and be treated as if I were French. Isn’t that amazing? This is something I want the next Labour government to introduce here.”


Mr Miliband was referring to a Labour woman from Glasgow who fell ill in Liverpool and yet was treated as though she lived in England. “This would not happen if Scotland became independent,” he told delegates. “And remember, the risks are higher for Scots because some of them are suffering from a virus called Scotnatseseima”.


He said even although he was technically a foreigner in France, because it was a member of the EU and had mutually agreed systems for the good of all, he had similar rights to French citizens. “It means I wouldn’t be shown the door and told to get a bus back to England with my leg hanging off,” he said. “And apparently this is how it works for everybody, not just me.”


“But Scots would be nationalists and foreigners who didn’t know what was good for them and if they were allowed through the Israeli-style checkpoint into England to do berry-picking or casual bricklaying shifts they would have to carry their papers at all times. If they became unwell from too much drink or drugs, as is common, they wouldn’t be allowed to use English-only medical facilities paid for by English taxpayers who spent many years fighting the Nazis and the nationalists and paying out their hard-earned cash so ungrateful foreigners could enjoy some of the benefits of our civilisation.”


He said this showed the true meaning of the Union: that Britain was happy to work closely with governments of all countries, including Ireland, but so despised the Scots that they would be made an exception. “Independence will be a chance to demonstrate just how vindictive the great British state can be to those who show disloyalty,” he said. “I will also arrange for all Labour Party members to be offered asylum in England should they wish it although not too far south where their interesting social behaviour might give offence in places like Surbiton.”


He received a special cheer from Scottish delegates when he added: “However, this does mean I will never be able to go back to Scotland.”


A government spokesman warned that this reciprocal arrangement was due to end if the Coalition won a second term. “We will soon be charging people for arriving without appointments at hospital and while access is free to the critically ill, there will be a charge for treatment, especially for Scots who will require to be cared for by staff trained in their own language.”

Blair adviser row

Tony Blair’s former communications director Alastair Campbell has criticised Gordon Brown’s press aide Damien McBride for smearing colleagues.


“This sort of thing is unacceptable in politics,” he said. “The idea that unelected spin doctors can go around spreading innuendo about ministers and colleagues and ruining their careers gives the business of politics a bad name.”


Mr Campbell was incensed that McBride admitted that cabals of advisers acted like enemy counter intelligence agents against their own side, causing friction between Blair and Brown.


“Nobody should have been encouraging factionalism in Labour,” he said. “For someone to be so close to a cabinet minister that he took his side against another and worked to oust him from office and started a whispering campaign through the media is not just betrayal, it is an insult to the British people and to democracy itself.”


He said it was unthinkable that anything of that sort could have happened in Tony Blair’s office. “We ran it with respect to all colleagues, we never blackened anybody’s name and never hung anyone out to dry, not even David Kelly. There was no leaking of sensitive government material, not even the date of the General Election. I’ve no idea where my good friend Trevor Kavanagh got that from to put in the Sun. There is no way anybody in Tony’s office was currying favour with the Murdoch papers so they could end up with a job there after being in government.  As I did.


Mr Campbell said there would be a danger that an out-of-control press adviser could end up more powerful than elected ministers and, in extreme circumstances, produce misleading reports to be presented to the United Nations, re-writing documents for the Joint Intelligence Committee and sexing up documents about enemy military capability.


“That sort of thing could get young British service personnel engaged in an illegal war in some far-flung place where they could lose their lives. Untold thousands of locals could die in such circumstances and some might even be tortured by the British or beaten to death in custody. Anyone who did that should be put on trial for war crimes. It’s time to rid our system of moral crooks and poisonous liars who abuse power and couldn’t care less about the people.”


Mr Campbell’s new book Living with Self-Delusion is published by Hodder and Stoughton.






New referendum rally

No campaigners have announced plans for a massive show of support for the Union called the Dependence Rally.


“It’s time we responded to all this nationalism in our towns and cities,” said a spokesman. “We are going to reclaim the streets for decent hard-working Scots who want nothing to do with separation and subsidy…people like London-based businessmen, taxpayer bailed-out bankers, feather-bedded politicians and well-off pensioners who don’t want their lifestyle to change to pay for the unemployed, single mothers and those shaven-headed types you see in tracksuits smoking outside the betting shop.”


It is understood the rally will be preceded by a march.  “Not one of your undisciplined rabble refugee caravans like the nasty Nats,” he said. “We’ll have proper marching marshalled by former soldiers to keep everyone in line. The police won’t stand by and smile like they did at Calton Hill. They will line up and salute as we go past.”


Organisers are trying to tempt a member of the royal family to take the salute and have tentatively asked permission for access to Holyrood Palace. The plan is to assemble at Holyroodhouse opposite the Parliament and on the one o’ clock gun, turn and lift their kilts as a symbolic snub to Scottish democracy.


“We can play dirty too,” he said. “We’ve already had three expressions of interest from the Save the Union Association in Surrey who can’t be present personally because they’re only allowed 50 days a year in the UK for tax purposes but they’re sending their ghillies.”


As well as Union flags there will be an array of banners from support organisations including Ex Pat Scots in Monaco, Absentee Landlords for Salmon Fishing,, and the Feardies and Weirdies Club.


There will be strict segregation enforced with gentlemen in cavalry twills and Veldtshoens in front followed by those in Union-graded comfortable footwear with the inappropriately attired and women at the rear.


“We want to demonstrate our gratitude to the British elite for allowing us access to their markets and their superior way of doing things. The truth is, if you are going to be looked down upon, there are no nicer people to look down upon you,” said the official. “We’re proud to have won the acceptance of the last bastion of class superiority in Europe. That confirms what great people the Scots are. And as Mr Heffer pointed out in the Daily Mail only this week, we couldn’t possibly survive as a subsidy, drug and drink addicted nation without London charity.”


He said it wasn’t true the Unionists had no plans to tackle poverty. “We support what Britain has always done where there are too many poor people – start a foreign war and send them off to die. We don’t hold with all this benefits stuff. Welfare is for those who need a tax break…the wealth-creators. Why should they pay the same taxes as everyone else when they make the wealth in the first place?”


The rally will be held on the roundabout outside the Scottish Parliament. “Police say the safety limit is 12 so we have our work cut out to fill it but I think when people know they can hear inspirational speeches from James Kelly, Alan Cochrane and David Mundell, they’ll snap up tickets which are priced at £24.99.”


In an attempt to avoid having to charge, organisers are seeking a sponsor and after  discussions with Better Together are in contact with Bosnian arms dealers, shady oil traders, private equity firms and Russian oligarchs. “It doesn’t matter where the money comes from. It only matters where it’s going – into saving the most successful class preservation society in history and we Scots want to play our part. There is a natural order to things in Britain and God-fearing folk understand that. ”


The date is likely to on the Queen’s birthday. Further details are available at




Can it be true?

There were expressions of astonishment across Scotland this morning when it was revealed that Jackie Baillie had been right about Labour’s policy on the bedroom tax.


“It’s taken some time to digest,” said a party official. “After a lifetime in politics and a career in the parliament, she’s never knowingly been right about anything. In fact there is now an expectation that whenever she stands up she will twist the truth or stretch it to breaking point.” Ms Baillie  is widely regarded as having been wrong or having seriously exaggerated every topic she has spoken about at Holyrood from waiting lists, hospital infection to patient records and Wendy Alexander’s campaign funds.


There was bemusement at the SNP. “We just took it for granted she was lying as usual,” said a spokesman. “The party in London didn’t seem to back her so you can image it’s hit us like a hammer blow to realise that for the first time she actually knew something, told the truth and got it right. This will be a game-changer in the referendum debate if people being to think they can believe a word she says.”


On the streets of Dumbarton, drivers pulled over as they heard the news. The police said there was travel chaos as drivers just stopped  and sat staring out of the windscreen. Willie Crawford who runs the filling station was incredulous. “Are you telling me that woman opened her mouth and didn’t lie? Now I’ve heard everything. There IS hope for the Labour Party. It’s a start anyway.”


In Washington it sent a ripple around Capitol Hill where Ms Baillie has become a byword for political chicanery and mendacious campaigning. “This is shattering news,” said a spokesman for the Tea Party, “We put all our trust in her serpentine style of politics and have been following her closely to create a false impression of catastrophe in peoples’ mind. If she’s broken the mould and is now telling the truth, we’ll have to rethink our whole strategy. We thought we could trust her.”


Jackie Baillie herself was unavailable for comment. It’s thought she is resting at home after the emotional exhaustion of behaving like a professional politician and trying to be honest. A member of her Holyrood staff said: “You have no idea how traumatic this has been. A lifetime of deliberately misleading and getting it wrong and then in the space of a few days she gets something completely right. It’s taken a lot out of her. Flowers have been arriving at the office from disbelieving well-wishers. Even if she doesn’t return to active politics, her epitaph will be: If at first you don’t succeed, try, try and try again. In the end the truth will out.”

UKIP rally shock

There is a shock for Yes campaigners this morning with the news that the UKIP leader Nigel Farage is to address the independence rally at Calton Hill tomorrow.

Farage has been a hate figure for nationalists since he said he wanted to close down the Scottish Parliament and he was run out of Edinburgh while canvassing for the Donside by election.

“He’s undergone a remarkable transformation,” said a rally organiser. “He discovered he had Scottish roots and his name is an anglicisation of Forage which refers to the family’s agricultural background in the North East. He has cufflinks made out of miniature Turra Coos. He will address marchers wearing the Buchan tartan.”

UKIP said Mr Farage had developed a respect for a country where pub lock-ins were popular. “He also thinks that Scotland deserves its independence since he can’t find anyone there to stand as a candidate.”

There is no advance copy of his speech but organisers hinted that he may instead stand up and sing I Belong to Glasgow.

Meanwhile rally organisers admitted they had refused a request from Alistair Darling to make a speech because he was too extreme. “I think our supporters can have a laugh at Nigel but Alistair Darling has a long track record of ridiculing his own country, taking campaign money from the boss of the world’s dirtiest company, making a fortune on the side on top of his MP’s salary, backing war in Iraq and ruining the economy. His appearance would be too provocative. Police said they don’t want any trouble so keep extremists away.”


Warning.…I’ve just a digital alert from GCHQ. The officer in charge said they were monitoring the blog and liked it and was it OK to share with the NSA. He also said he knew everybody who was reading it and their names were on an intelligence file under, I think he said, Scottish National Liberation Army or something similar.

Could I confirm I was nothing to do with a spy called…sounded like the Earl of Snowden?! Anyway I told him I had a second blog designed not to make you laugh but make you SCREAM WITH ANGER at what I really think. It’s called Derek Bateman Broadcaster2 but I have to get the security  cleared by Cheltenham. (This is code for my wife coming home to show me how to put a link on the page. I have no idea how it works. It may be tomorrow before it’s up)

Let me know if you’re interested in a different kind of DBB (Derek Bateman Broadcaster) blog. I should warn you – I get pretty outspoken for someone from the BBC.  It’s meant to be challenging rather than infuriating but I do let fly. I’ve basically stopped caring and I’m fed up with politicians posturing. Never mind the lying. Time to take this debate out of the hands of the political tribes and give it to the people.

This first blog has shocked me with its impact. Yesterday was the end of week one and there were over 19,000 views. Sounds good for seven days without marketing. It’s read in 10 countries – even England!  And I know I’m supposed to be cynical and smart but some of the messages you’ve sent really moved me. I kind of miss the radio too and it’s touching to hear you say you miss me. Thanks for responding. We’re a great country full of great people.  It’s our referendum…let’s make it fun.


Hey! GCHQ came through…Thank God for British security…they’ve cleared my sister blog.  The link is on the right under something called blogroll which I think is a list of Secretaries of State for Scotland since 1880.  Click on and have a look. Don’t be offended, it’s meant to be a genuine contribution…not that I care really. It’s what I think….