It's now 25/02/13 and I attended the debate on the 21/02/13 at the UWS on the question of Scotland breaking up the UK. Though expecting to see hundreds in attendance after the boasting about numbers on facebook, there were only about 50 people there if that many. I have to say that as a first attempt to blatantly rig a meeting and make sure that the Uni's favourite side (snp) got every advantage it was embarrassing. Planted snp speakers in the audience with prepared speeches were ushered in by the chair at regular intervals and Derek Mackay snp MSP was given 3/4 times more opportunities than anyone else to speak, he was also able to interrupt others and speak over anyone else when he wanted to. The audience of mainly snp students played their part by trying to shout down anyone who disagreed with the snp line and broke into orchestrated applause and cheering when one of the snp said anything. It took me a full 25 minutes with my hand raised to be asked to speak , despite me sitting right in front of the chairman and my Labour colleague Jim Sharkey who was sat next to me spent the whole evening with his hand raised trying to come in to the debate to no avail. This was marketed as an attempt to start a debating society in the University of the West of Scotland and I can only advise anyone who might have been interested in such a venture not to waste their time unless you want to get involved in an snp mutual admiration society where they only talk among themselves and then only to sing the praises of the snp and traduce labour. You would be as well to go the pub and join in arguing with the saloon bar politicians once you have all had a bit too much to drink. On returning home I was relieved to see that students in another university (Glasgow) not very far away from this shambolic stitch up had voted against independence, their poll involved over 2,500 and the WSU mustered about 50. Something that the WSU should perhaps think about before trying such an obviously disingenuous stunt again.
The hall looked as if a fire alarm had gone off leaving a handful of rough sleepers dotted around. The turnout was a humiliation for the UWS yes campaign, their immature deceitful conduct and most of all for the university. They now have an even bigger problem with credibility and integrity than they had before and believe me it was already pretty appalling. The snp people present were an inarticulate mob rehearsing the arguments of the seventies. I did what I usually do in a hostile and ignorant environment, I wait to see if I am going to be allowed to contribute on an equal basis and whether I will be heard with respect and when it becomes clear that I am not being treated equally and not being shown respect I respond in kind but; I always give the opposition a fair chance to reveal how they want to conduct the debate. The steward present made a show of speaking to audience members who said anything anti snp while allowing the snp supporters to behave like a drunken rabble. If that is how the snp want to run a so called debate then they should not imagine for a second that I and others will roll over and let them get away with it. The debate was won easily by the NO side but there was no chance of that being acknowledged by the snp gang in the hall, most of them silly and too inexperienced to realize that shouting the loudest does not mean you are winning it more often than not means you are masking your incompetence, that is not winning a debate it is an orchestrated deception.
Any way I look forward to the next occasion if there is one. BTW along with others I expected the chair to announce the result of the Glasgow University referendum vote which was declared a full hour before this farce ended but, alas they didn't do it. If the No vote had lost instead of winning at Glasgow Uni. is it possible do you think that we might have heard it announced?