Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Defending The Union Is An Expensive Business

Yesterday another unionist website popped into my radar. The Campaign against Scottish Independence is a more professional looking site than the previous one mentioned and appears to be updated very regularly.

The owner of Unity Scotland was easily traced but with NTSI the operators are adept at hiding the provenance.

The site seems to be run mainly by students studying in Glasgow and I have to admit whoever operates their Twitter account is affable.

Yesterday I posted the following Tweet:

Another anonymous website asking people for money - The Campaign against Scottish Independence -

only to be answered by NTSI:

No to Independence
@scots_subrosa indeed - we ask for donations and receive them regularly, and publish our intake and outgoings

Another Tweeter asked:

scouriebeast Gillon Johnstone 

@NTSI_VoteNo your collecting money, raising an income and not declaring it, Are you a registered charity?

No to Independence
@scouriebeast no we're not a registered charity

Another Tweeter entered the conversation:

bmc875 Brian McCulloch 

 You ask for donations. On which financial basis do you do so. Are you subject to Scottish Law, or English Law. UK web Host?

 Brian McCulloch 

 Which Law - Scotland or England? Where is your web site hosted. Prevailing domicile laws? What will you do with my donation?

 No to Independence 
 we operate within the law. Thanks.

When questioned further they replied 'published' income and expenditure was only available to donors, thereby making it private. It's not for me to opine the legalities of their business.

The combination of politics and donations has created problems in recent years and I was hoping - stupidly - that the online Independence Campaign would be free from nasty criticism and open and transparent.  Sadly that's not to be and quite probably more and more unionist sites of this type will appear in the coming months.

I have no objection to anyone requesting donations as long as it is clearly stated where the money goes and gives a contact name and address. Nobody would buy products from a website without verifiying it's authenticity would they?

Since the Twitter conversations with NTSI yesterday a Donate page has been added to their site. Membership is from £10 to £30 a month and for the £30 Gold card one of the benefits is 'Member Blog where you can share your thoughts'. What a prize!  We need to warn those who are maybe not quite acquainted with the shadier side of the internet, that parting with money without knowing where/to whom it is going, is not a good idea.

Defending the union is an expensive business.

It's also a nasty business. Ali Syme is one of the operators of NTSI and is happy - publicly on Facebook - to verify that the SNP are 'more or less' the Scottish equivalent of the SinnFein/IRA:

  • Aidan Work Isn't the S.N.P. supposedly the Scots equivilant to Sinn Fein/I.R.A.?
    17 December at 12:13

  • Ali Syme Hmm more or less
    17 December at 13:18

Thanks to @Facepalm for exposing Mr Syme's scurrilous views.


Barman said...

Aidan Work again...

What a ghastly individual that 'man' is...

Search for him and see why he was banned from Wiki as a starting point and look into his bizarre views.

UkFacepalm said...

Yes indeed Barman ... I'm not sure if Ali is still a member of Glasgow North West CLP. But his particular view of the SNP does seem a bit eccentric and one I'm sure they wouldn't share.

Anyway, looks like apparently London based Ali has only just changed jobs to 'Public Policy Digital Communications Manager'. Love that job title... Does it involve drawing a salary from 'No To Scottish Independence' donations and memberships ? A fair question I think.

Lets congratulate him though, because until only a few days ago, Dec 3rd or so, he was a 'Fashion Marketing & Online Retail Expert'. What are this springs colours Ali !

Worth noting from Ali's CV there, that he's bit of a serial entrepreneur, there's nothing he hasn't dabbled in, including bio-plastics. He must be richer than Gordon Brown surely going by this published "Syme Bioplastics" company data. And he still squeezed in a doctorate along the way ? Good going for a 21 year old. Well done Dr Syme, I'm impressed !

He's entitled to his views of course. However eccentric. But like all websites that ask punters for donations, obviously people should have 100% understanding about where its going. "Follow the money...". And does that 30 quid "gold" membership strike ANYONE as a good deal ? The (ahem) benefits appear somewhat ...massively underwhelming. Hmmmm... maybe Ali is just hoping to reap that famous "union dividend" LOL. Someone has to !ple should have 100% understanding about where its going. "Follow the money...". And does that 30 quid "gold" membership strike ANYONE as a good deal ? The (ahem) benefits appear somewhat ...underwhelming. Hmmmm... maybe Ali is just reaping that famous "union dividend" LOL.

UkFacepalm said...

Bloody ipad copy and paste foul up right at the end there. Apologies !

JRB said...

I see that @alisyme has blocked @UkFacepalm from posting.

… so this is the democratic face of Unionism. Any dissenting or questioning voices – are banned.

Makes you wonder if such is a price worth paying to maintain the Union.

pa_broon74 said...

Looked at their website.

It seems to me, not wishing to sound heartless, but any one who 'donates' probably deserves all they get for what its worth, (although you can get unionist blether from Labourhame FOC.)

They've not thought of a very good name either, its a bit negative. Independence as an idea is usually a positive thing in most areas.

subrosa said...

Barman, well Mr Syme who seems to be one of the senior folk running this unionist website, agrees with him.

subrosa said...

Seems to me that Mr Syme is a product of his own imagination UKFacepalm. Thanks for all the links.

Yes we're all entitled to our views but if we're going to run a public campaign and ask for money, people must know these views.

That happens all the time with me on iPad, so I try to stick with the desktop for the blog. Mind you, you're possibly on the move more than me.

subrosa said...

That's the way it goes JRB. Pity some (on all sides) don't have the ability to debate without malice.

subrosa said...

Problem is pa_broon, some people aren't as au fait with websites and may contribute thinking it was an 'official' campaign site.

No they didn't seem to take much time to think of a name. Too busy working out how to get money from innocent folks I suppose.

microdave said...

They couldn't (legally) operate as a "charity" in England:

Scotland has a different regulator, but at a quick glance, it appears similar:

In both cases the need to show "Public Benefit" is required.

UkFacepalm said...

If the 'No To Scottish Independence' "Digital Communications Manager" responds in his typical style , then expect to be blocked and blacklisted, wildly accused of making personal attacks and death threats, and threatened with legal and police action. Rather sad and not a little paranoid, but that's the way they seem to like to play it.

I was simply blocked right away for asking a straight question - based on undeniable, undeletable, public domain knowledge - about the rather extreme views of this senior 'No campaigner'. That straight question was viewed as being "extremely abusive" and blocked. Why so touchy eh ! ;-)

subrosa said...

I thought there was some legalities which have to be noted microdave. Thanks for the links.

subrosa said...

I'm prepared for dirty tricks UKFacepalm. It won't be the first time I've been threatened for exposing those who refuse to play honestly and above board.

Gedguy said...

Has anyone thought of posting this to the police as a potential money-making scam?

wisnaeme said...

"Seems to me Mr Symes is a product of his own imagination." Indeed,....and those gulible folk who contribute to Mr Symes's financial well being may also be a product of their own imaginations. Perhaps Mr Symes enjoys sooking through rolled up gulible folk's "contributions?" Perhaps, that enables himself to "live out" his imaginations. Who nose, I don't. Perhaps mr Symes should engage in a more profitable enterprise.....like crystal ball predictions or pruducing a navel gazing for beginners website.

UkFacepalm said...

Maybe that's the right thing to do Gedguy. However as a nationalist, I'm not exactly distressed to see unionists throwing good money after bad. The idea that someone might throw them £360 quid per year for the chance to go to social nights and write their own blog on the NTSI website rather tickles me. "Fools and their money etc"...

Still if even 100 mug punters sign up for "gold membership" at 360 quid a year (!) ... that's a very nice 36K per annum just to invite folk to the odd night out and let them blog and muse away on the website (both these activities can be done for free elsewhere LOL)

Just googling about though to see if theres any "previous" and its not clear how or if Mr Syme (...or is it Dr Syme ?) resolved this previous accusation from 2009 on this anti-scam site..


Ali's rebuttal is there but of course who knows ... there was obviously some contention in the lead up. I'm sure he is at liberty to inform the world how that ended up, if he could just unblock it for a minute or two ;-)

Anyway and regardless ... in the bigger picture, and in febrile times like these, its common-sense for everyone to be utterly convinced of the credibility of all web-based organizations when it comes to donating money.

Clarinda said...

..... ah, but you also get an umbrella for your willingness to become a top donor with Mr Syme - perhaps unintentionally useful to shield these unfortunates from what's about to land from a great height?

I suspect that if any of these freaky websites were actually attracting a substantial membership and if their alleged newsletters existed or even contained any substantial or intelligent 'news' they would be eager to publish these facts and figures - their silence on these two aspects speaks volumes.

UkFacepalm said...

I suppose its possible that the membership fees and donations may be paying for new and independent research activity on the No side ;-)

But from what I can see currently, their website is a combination of reheated, rehashed media articles similar to those found anywhere ... with a dollop of gum-flapping tiresome school-debating style rhetoric thrown in ... then stir.

The "articles" on their website generally shows 0 comments or 'Comments blocked', despite the fact that their twitter feed is robotically tweeting about the same old stories, some from 5-6 weeks ago. Hardly bleeding edge real time breaking news is it.

Based on the evidence of my own eyes, their apparently exponentially growing band of donors and subscribers ... eh .. just can't be bothered !

Gedguy said...


I suppose you are right about a fool and his money...

Apogee said...

May be that the Inland Revenue could be interested in this little bit of self help. If it isn't a charity, then its very probably taxable and possible the local bunco squad could have an interest. Who knows? Seems to be a lot for a little !

J. R. Tomlin said...

Great news on the FM's announcement. I'm breaking out a bottle of the good stuff for a few toasts and just made A Kingdom's Cost free for the weekend by way of celebration!

Brian said...

Am I correct in believing that Scotland could gain independence earlier than 2014 if a binding referendum is held in ... England? There were two Acts of Union (one from each parliament) and the <a href="http://www.legislation.gov.uk/aep/Ann/6/11>Act of Union with Scotland 1706</a> could be repealed by the Westminster government - it has the power to repeal the Act of Union with England Act 1707 as well but there's no need.

RMcGeddon said...

Good map of people's thoughts on independence here. Vote early and vote often lol...


UkFacepalm said...

My twitter account has been suspended, no reason given

It remains to be seen if its due to a malicious complaint from some people mentioned above. I only referred to public domain information throughout.

This will take a few days to resolve now. Its curious and concerning ;-(

subrosa said...

Gedguy, I'm not into the 'information' game. Mr Syme will be found out without my official help I'm sure. All I want to do is to ensure that my readers are aware of his website.

subrosa said...

Wisnaeme, I'm sure you've given him ideas for future projects. :)

subrosa said...

UkFacepalm, they were advertising membership as PER MONTH not per year.

As I type it's still offered at £10 - £30 per MONTH.

Mt Syme appears to be a jock of all trades and even at the ancient age of 21 has an incredible amount of business acumen. Perhaps.

subrosa said...

It's essential these websites are brought to public attention though Clarinda or some people, less internet aware than us, could be fooled.

subrosa said...

Indeed their Twitter feed is very active. Must make mine busier too. UkFacepalm.:)

subrosa said...

Apogee, knowing my readers, someone will have processed the information I expect. :)

subrosa said...

Slainte Jeanne and thanks for another freebie. Will download it myself.

subrosa said...

Brian, I'll have to look into your links and get back to you.

subrosa said...

The problem with that map is RM it doesn't record all votes. The Yes button was out of action for hours yesterday.

subrosa said...

Jings UkFacepalm, surely they should give a reason. It must be a legal requirement. Or else, someone's said a tweet of yours is 'offensive' and automatically the account is suspended.

I'm sure you can get round it though. :) Haven't looked at my account yet!

subrosa said...

UkFacepalm, my account is ok at present.

As far as I'm aware, any links you have posted on Twitter are legitimate. It is concerning that Twitter suspend an account without communicating with the account holder.

However, I'm sure you'll get round Mr Syme's infantile behaviour.

subrosa said...

Mt Syme has problems with maths.

J. R. Tomlin said...

Mr. Syme called me the equivalent of a big meanie head and blocked me on Twitter a bit ago because I laughed at him for saying there was no precedent for Scotland getting independence. I mean how could you not laugh at something that stupid. I pointed out that the US, Canada, Ireland, NZ, Australia, India and any number of other nations have and he said they didn't count. LOL

Oh, my.

RMcGeddon said...

good article here...


Brian said...

@J R Tomlin: Did he really say no precedent? Slovakia/Czech Republic and Norway?Sweden were entirely peaceful. Why stay together if it's more trouble than its worth?

subrosa said...

He does seem to get around the internet Jeanne and blocking folk on Twitter appears to be a hobby. You're in good company I'm sure.

subrosa said...

Thanks for the link RM. Kind of scuppers the rubbish coming out of the mouth of Moore and Co, doesn't it.

subrosa said...

Auch Brian,it would appear Syme is just a stupid wee laddie (he's only 21 after all) who thinks he's more important than he is.

Brian said...

Rosie, how can a 21 year old be stupid? When I was that age I also knew everything ;o).
Perhaps giving a referendum vote to 16 year olds (I knew just as much then) might not be the best idea.

subrosa said...

Brian, when you reach 60+ you'll understand. :)

I think 16 year olds ought to be given the vote. Not because it's an SNP idea but it's common sense.

Should I write about it?

Brian said...

Rosie, Yes please. Is it something to do with Scots law allowing 16 year olds to write valid wills and age of consent etc?
As I've got older I've learned that I know less and less and have to listen and read more to keep up to speed.

subrosa said...

I'll see what I can do Brian. Don't know about the legal aspect thought. I've read contradicting comments about it this week.

Peter A Bell said...

We have been keeping a very wary eye on this Ali Blah Blah character for a while.


subrosa said...

Unknown, very interesting indeed. I certainly don't wish to be warning my readers of unionist sites because I think it's important we all hear each other's opinions, but this site, as you say, out to be treated with care.

Peter A Bell said...

subrosa: Would that the anti-independence campaigners were as committed to openness.

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