Tuesday 13 May 2014


The series of photograph ads placed in the Scottish press by the London "grassroots" Tory millionaires' organisation, Nob Orders, where their subjects are described as "unpolished" is one of the most patronising pieces of political advertising I've ever seen. (You can see the posters here on Wings).

I remember thinking that U Kok couldn't get much more sickening than the ridiculous video they presented at the beginning of the campaign... You remember, the one where people said they were Scottish because they went to Burns' Suppers or liked the Proclaimers, knew Scottish poetry, or explained that in Scotland a sausage roll was quite different from a sausage roll anywhere else and how they liked wee dugs. 

Well, I was wrong. This is worse. 

The people who were used (and I chose that word on purpose) in the ads may very well believe what they have said (although if the history teacher is for real I'm glad she is nowhere any kids of mine), but the unpolished quotes make them sound somewhere between slightly silly and plain thick.  I mean no criticism of them. I'm sure they are all perfectly nice people and actually I felt sorry for them. If I'd been asked to take part in a poster campaign for Yes (fat chance) and I ended up being patronised like that, I'd have been furious.

..."Tris wants independence because, although he likes the Lake District and travels to see English Rose, Petula Clark, in concert when she is in Downtown Bradford, he still likes to see a tartan tea cosy  on his tea pot"... next to a photograph of me taken after a night on the tiles...

It seems that they have tried to be the opposite of slick. Not for them the advertisers' staple fare of young, fit, healthy, pretty people looking like boy band singers or models, saying smart things put into their mouths by advertising executives... 

And, good for them on that score, because you can have too much of David Beckham in his underwear, or Joanna Lumley looking sexy and talking in that ever so proper RP accent (OK, you can't have too much of that!) ...but you can go too far in the opposite direction. 

(A politically incorrect friend of mine looking at the series of posters asked... Are there no good looking people in Scotland then? OK that's harsh, but it was said without malice and was just the immediate thought the posters inspired! My response to that is that indeed there are, but they are all on the yes side!!)

The real parody (above), isn't that much worse than the first poster I saw. Frankly it seems to me that this is an English view of what thrawn Scots should look and sound like. 

I seriously don't think anyone is going to want to identify with them. I'm just embarrassed for them.


  1. I didn't 'relate', as they say, to any of the faces they put up. They verged from aggressive to namby pamby.

    Still, let's let nob orders, as they will be known in times to come, p*** their money on something that does not resonate.

    These people have experts on 'country positioning' which, physically - God doesn't seem to do much of thay these days - is a geological impossibility.

    But mere mortal folk from London can,and they certainly do, make up a narrative that 'country positioning' is not a physical event, but an existential one. Y'know, an unreal event.

    Yes, they can tell us that Israel is hunky dory, and perhaps it is. But they would equally have been telling us that the Gaza Strip was a land of sunshine and cheap booze.

    What are we left with then?

    People that play with 'country positioning' as if it were a game?

    Well,to them it is, and, well, fuck them.

    Strong words, arseholes comes to mind, about real money being pissed against the wall by people that should have known better?

    Well, that would be a waste of time, 'cause the alternatives of quick boats, quick money and quick gratification seem to imply that these are the already satisfied criteria of our good friends in the 'no borders' intervention.

    Why not stick a lttle small change into stirring the pot with a publicity campaign that nose dives your. possibly, well earned reputation as a banker and an impossible geoagrapher into a mud bank?

    It's all to do with

  2. well, ego....

    That was what was missing........at the end.

    1. Aye Douglas. Country positioning does make it sound rather like they are interior decorators for the world... "Let's put Finland over there by the window, and we can have Russia all the way that far wall, and use Luxembourg and Malta as coffee tables.

      Idiotic management speak, spoken by idiotic mismanagers.

      The point of advertising campaigns is to get of this type is to get "ordinary" people, just like you and me, saying "ordinary" things. In other words people who might live in your street saying the kind of things that they might say. As opposed to what Davie Bowie or Professor McTumshie might say.

      It's their money. I don't think for a second any of it has come from "ordinary" people, unless you mean "ordinary Tories" living perfectly ordinary Belgravia lives, and what they do with it is their affair.

      I just felt insulted that that is how they saw Scots, never mind the lies they put into "our" mouths and the little "biographies" which made "us" look so "unpolished".

      Hmmmm ... Bankers for YES!

  3. Tris

    Must admit I find the posters to be sad, patronising and ill informed. They do make those taking part come across as not informed at all about anything. No doubt there is a lot more to these people than the posters give credit to but they have been used in this case. Just when you think that the NO side can't get any worse they do, but I hope they keep it up because they just look more stupid every day.

    Been following the poll thing this morning, if true I hope they don't release it because the damage being done to the NO side by the story of having to hide the results, if there are in fact any, is far better than releasing a poll that can then be spun and spun by the media non stop for the next 4 months. Better that people understand that the Tories (Better Together) are hiding things and are not truthful at all. Most of us already understand that but sadly there are many whose heads are just up their arse regarding the referendum, I suppose they can't be changed. I have met some very smart people, work with some very smart people who are no voters for the most selfish of reasons, which actually fly in the face of the job they do and the people they work for or are supposed to work for.

    It's also all very quiet on the BT front, I suppose they are bunkered down for their R (referendum) day landings, one last push jolly chap, queen, country and we're not giving up the grouse.


    1. We pretty much agree on that then Bruce.

      I too know some people who are voting "no". And they too are doing it out of ignorance.

      A comfortably off family member worried about his pension, despite the fact that if he would just read two sides he would see that there is a financial case for saying he'd have more chance of a better pension in Scotland. That and the fact that he thinks it's all about oil.

      I've emailed him stuff and tried to talk to him, but his mind appears to be closed.

      And he's not stupid either.

      Well...let's see what Dougie Alexander brings to the job. Labour seems to give him these big jobs and I really don;t know why.

      He made a mess of organising elections; he made a mess of the 2010 Labour campaign, and his performance on the Andrew Marr show where he actually said the VAT was annual before insisting that it was cumulative was a corker. Even Maggie Curran didn't look THAT stupid when Marr roasted her.

      Apparently We're to be treated to "Lord" Reid (the man who used to go on radio every day to support Blair's murderous war in iraq) and Jim Murphy, (the man who at reshuffle time was heard to say, anything but Scotland) coming to lecture us.

      Reid is supposed to be an attack dog. Frankly I find him a repugnant war criminal swathed in ermine (although I shouldn't be rude about my social betters; him being a member of the aristocracy and all). Labour seem to rate Murphy, who's a nice enough bloke, but a tad dim, in my humble opinion.

  4. Well, here comes Poe's Law again.

    For when you can't tell the parodies from the real thing.

    1. Sometimes it's really hard. I think though, that Eccles is definitely a parody... but then again...

  5. As John McEnroe would say, "You cannot be serious man!"
    There must be some logic behind their strategy, but Im struggling to find it.
    Target audience in the printed press- maybe some of the readers can associate themselves with the adverts, but most will find it insulting .
    As for the NO Borders videos clips- they are worse. Again, anyone watching them will probably be savvy enough to do other online research, and find material that does not insult their intelligence.

    That's my thoughts, but are there any media/communication analysts out there that can throw some light on the subject?

    1. I'd love to hear a professional's take on the ads, Anon.

      I found them insulting, but I'm not bothered. I accept, having lived in England, that there are a lot of people who think we are a bit backward here. That's understandable. it northern; it's remote; it's sparsely populated... and there are places where they still can't get tv or internet.

      I lived around the Birmingham area. I imagine that in London they think the Birmingham folk are a bit backward, so heaven knows what they think of us.

      I just feel sorry for the people who have been portrayed that way. The professional photographer who shot the pics has them on her website (someone showed me and I can't find it again). There were more flattering shots of at least some of the people. Why did the they use the ones that were taken in glaring lights?

      So... yes. If anyone reading this is a professional publicity, PR kind of person, could they give us a take on why they would do this?

    2. Well, I'm a professional publicity PR kind of person and I've also worked in political campaigning briefly. My take is that they are fine as publicity PR kind of things, you know, if you're trying to sell financial services or persuade 'hard-to-reach' groups to get a smear test or something. 'Yes people just like you are planning for their future/vaccinating their bairns' etc.

      As political campaigning pieces they are vacuous pish. They will do nothing but reassure ill-informed head-in-sand types that their already adopted position of fearing change and defending the status quo is the right one. I can't honestly see anything in them that would convince Don't Knows to lean towards No which seems to me to be the real battleground for BT. They're not seriously trying to convert Yes voters because they think they already have the numbers - they just need to stop most of the Don't Knows voting Yes. They also need to prevent any further defection from No and that is the only possible use for these adverts.

      Their big problem on that front, as is obvious, is that they are so open to ridicule because they tap into the kind of BritNat trolling about Braveheart and, as you pointed out, they are so patronising towards their audience that they risk alienating them.

      The other problem is of course that the PR hit they scored by getting Gavin Esler to report so effusively on the launch of this 'grassroots' campaign is a hostage to fortune - do we really expect to see a genuine grassroots campaign emerge from this? Will there be spontaneous eruptions of Vote No Borders meetings and leafleting and public debates all over Scotland? Will there bollocks. We will probably see a couple more contrived PR stunts and ad splashes exploiting poor well-meaning No supporters to try and make it look like something's happening, and then the whole brand will vanish into history like some failed product launch, because that's all it is.

      PR people know how to get publicity for products and brands and get a story in the media now and then and maybe get a bit of 'viral' action on You Tube and Facebook. But they don't get people out on the streets, especially with a message that basically says, 'I'm ok just sittin here in ma wee howff, ah dinnae want tae bother wi a' they politics an that, jus leave me be.' PR people are good at jargon and stuff too though: astroturf, for example. Spot on.

    3. Hi HiBlog...

      Welcome, and thank you very much for your professional take on the subject.

      It is pretty much what I though, but, obviously it's important to have a professional's take.

      I appreciate the bother you went to to get in so much detail.


      Grass Roots... LOL

  6. Now I have had many a good laugh this morning, some I was not supposed to have. The bit about the History Teacher just finished me. Reminds me of dear old bunch of Teachers who have or think they run/ran Scottish Labour. Now I think they should be ennobled for services to education.
    I was going to say you would think an Ad agency should be slicker, but it seemed to take one or two people on Wings around half a minute and they had found the photies. Heaven help those whose pictures have been used, in for quite a bit of stick I would say, was the money worth it?

    1. Yes, I think they will get a bit of stick. I wonder how much they got paid...

      As i said about the history teacher, if she was teaching my kids I'd be on the phone to the rector sharpish!

  7. The No Borders campaign just indicates what a PR agency in London thinks of average Scots, the sort of people they've probably never met in their lives. The quotes probably seemed like campaign-winning ideas in PR-land but the do not translate so well on the ground.

    Which is good :)

    1. Yes, that's what I reckoned.

      TYou know, if you are doing an ad about Greece or Albania, or Southern Italy, without ever having been there, aren't all the women dressed in black and wrinkled; aren't all the men fat, and jolly... and don;t they have wonderful tables full of fresh food...

      If you've actually been there you know that there are far more people who are young, beautiful and buy ready made chips for the equivalent of Morrisons!

      But who cares... it's the image!

  8. My laugh of the day was Jim Naughtie, who was wheeched into the studio on his day off, (no bad eh?) to pontificate on the Flipper euthanised shock horror news.

    He said, quite simply that Flipper was being reinforced by BIG HITTERS, from Scotland; Douglas Alexander, Jim Murphy and Gordon Brown, the last of whom is "seriously respected in Scotland."

    I actually fell out of bed laughing at that one.

    Thank fek I sleep in a futon.

    1. I've never liked Jim Naughtie. I always thought he was a pompous idiot. I heard a story about him having dinner at one of the party conferences that these people cover, and he was obviously on BBC expenses as he had some belted Earl with him.

      When the bill came he proffered his BBC credit card. The waiter in the cafe or restaurant said "We don't take credit cards sir" and Naughtie's response was the old faithful "Do you know who I am?"

      I mean... NO, you idiot, you're normally on radio 4 at 6 am; why on earth would i know who you are, you jerk... And even if I knew you as well as I know my own mother... WE DON'T ACCEPT CREDIT CARDS, NOT EVEN FROM THE BLOODY QUEEN... Now pay up, or I'll send for the polis!

      As for Darling... They can say what they like. Everyone knows he's been a dismal failure at this, just as he was as Chancer...sorry chancellor (he was good at being a chancer), Scottish Secretary, Transport Secretary, et al.

      I've only met one person, ever, who respected Gordon Brown.

      I'm sure there are many more, but I've only met one.

      He did for Scotland what Mrs Thatcher did for women. He ensured that if we lose this referendum there will not be another Scottish prime minister of the UK for a very very very long time... just as Thatcher sealed the deal for women.

      I once met a man in Fife who thought that Brown should be given another chance because he was a good man.

      Everyone else I've ever conversed with thinks he is a nut job with serious anger problems who gets most things wrong and then blames everyone else.

      Dougie Alexander is another one of these massive failures. He never gets anything right, and Jim Murphy is an intellectual minow.

      I should keep to your futon, if I were you. There may be more of this crap to come.

  9. These guys are the gift that keeps on giving and i for one hope they keep it up right to the 18th or later .... when the YES vote cruises to victory.

    Sadly the poor folk who have duped into being used by the Nob Orders lot are probably innocent of any wrong doing. They have a right to vote too but come on. they are being used as a joke page on indi sites everywhere.

    But my sympathy for the "mugs in a mugshot " is limited to the fact that they haven't commented on all the negative comments they have received. If that was me i would be on W.O.S. or bella and here fighting my corner. Or at the least putting my view forward. Don't they have family or friends ????

    I'm glad that they are looked at as a joke (they can't possibly be serious) and although most comments poke fun none are really that bad. In fact many of the views expressed show concern that they have duped.

    And that sums up whats really going on in Scotland. Times are a changing and the rUK cant keep up. Last year i felt as a YES voter i would be in the minority and hoped that if we put on a good show it would force Westmidden to take us more seriously . Now all i see are YES voters everywhere and its thanks to idiots like NOb Orders and the bitter abusive BT teams . Its good to be a Scot.

    1. Yes, I agree. I though a bit before I did this post. Was I being to personal; would I hurt people who had taken part?

      But I thought that they put themselves out there; they stuck their neck on the line and agreed to have horrible mugshots and be quoted saying daft things, most of which were absolute nonsense.

      And they were billed as being "unpolished".

      How insulting.

      I suppose that means that they lack the sophistication or the manicured looks of the London elite...

      They presumably were paid for this.

      I thought maybe I'd get a comment from one of them saying... how dare you criticise me. I have the right to believe what I believe.... blah...

      I'm not REALLY surprised that I didn't, but I'm surprised that bigger sites haven't had complaints.

  10. Just out of interest . It would not be a shock to me if they managed to get one of their "mugshot mugs" to run to the MSM complaing that everyone is laughing at them ......... Nasty nasty cybernats.


    1. Yes... I'm surtprised that we haven't had a nasty cybernazis kind of thing... and it may happen.

      The thing is that no one has been really RUDE about them.

      It's maybe hard to make a complaint that people have criticised that they were used and made to look fools.

    2. Well if you commit the crime then you do the time, if you do not want people making a fool out of you then keep your head down. I expect all of these people were handsomely paid and if they weren't that is their problem.

    3. True true...

      Imagine doing this for nothing... Pffffffffff

  11. The word "patsy", springs to mind.


  12. If you read nothing else today, read this:


    It's a hilarious, and sadly accurate, portrayal of the so-called "big hitters" who are descending from their lofty peaks to lie to us about our (and their, though you'd never believe it) country.

    Each one as flawed as the next; each with a history of skulduggery; each deeply unpleasant political operators, ie liars.

    Paul cuts them up into pieces and wraps them up for you to take home in bite size pieces to feed to the cat next door that you don't like.

    I haven't stopped laughing yet!

    I can't comment on Wordpress blogs unfortunately (glitch somewhere) but ... if you read this Paul... BRilliant mate!

    1. Wasn't it wonderful, I generally read WOS then Wee Ginger Dug, then you. WOS informs, Paul gives me a laugh and informs in his inimitable way as do you. Which reminds me I need to get you onto my list on my wee Kindle so I can read you in the morning.

    2. Wow, I'm flattered.

      Stuart is fantastic. How he manages to find all that stuff out... and then write so wittily about it... Awesome.

      I only recently found Wee Ginger Dug, and yeah, form minute one I loved Paul's style. He's hilarious, even though I understand that he is going through hell in his private life right now.

      There are so many good blogs... from professionals to total amateurs, who are doing such a great job.... James, Pa, Dean, Bruce, and many others...along with all the high profile ones.

      This REALLY is a grassroots movement. It feels a bit like a family.