I recall this written for Bella Caledonia back on 3 October, 2021:

‘.. readers with long memories will remember Offord’s astroturf ‘No Borders’ campaign from 2014 which posed as a grassroots group but had loads of money. As National Collective pointed out at the time No Borders begin life with a warchest of £140,000 – despite the group having absolutely no profile prior to their launch ..

‘No Borders – and Offord – portrayed themselves as the real deal – just spontaneous interested non-political actors. Their site said at the time: “It’s a people’s campaign voiced by ordinary Scots. They are people who see a bright future in an evolving UK. And they reject the physical and psychological borders that Separation would create. They’re proud to be Scottish. And they’re also proud to be British.”

‘Offord claimed No Borders was intended to be an open forum for ordinary people: “There are no politicians; there are no celebrities. It’s a mechanism, on a non-party-political basis, to begin to use non-political language, just to voice some of the reasons why we want to keep the union. That doesn’t mean to say that the union is perfect in any way: it has to evolve.”

‘But No Borders was – like a precursor to the Vote Leave dark money scandal – a well-heeled vehicle that was anything but non-party political. It was in fact funded by the PR company Acanchi Ltd – of which Offord was also a director. The reality was the No campaign didn’t have a grassroots movement so they had to create one. The reality is that the people that sang about No Borders brought you Brexit.

‘As Fraser Dick wrote at the time: “As well as his donations to the Conservative Party, Offord is an advisory board member to the right-wing think-tank established by work and pensions secretary Iain Duncan-Smith, the Centre for Social Justice. The contents of ‘Bankrupt Britain’, a paper written by Offord and published on the ConservativeHome website, suggest Offord would back Duncan-Smith’s vindictive and humiliating welfare reforms that have pushed tens of thousands of Scots to beg for handouts at foodbanks. The paper ‘Bankrupt Britain’, written in 2009, lays out a blueprint for austerity – calling on public spending to be reduced by a third, and claims that the entrenchment of poverty in Britain is due to the high amount of unmarried mothers.”


On 18 May 2023, The Scotsman profiled Offord on the occasion of his appearance on BBC Question Time from Inverness:

‘Born in Greenock, Malcolm Offord (or Baron Offord of Garvel to give him his official title), is a Scottish financier and Conservative Party politician who sits in the House of Lords as a life peer. He is currently Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Scotland and Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Exports.

‘A fierce critic of the prospect of Scottish independence, during the 2014 Scottish independence referendum he was a director of anti-independence campaign group ‘Vote No Borders’ who ran a controversial advert claiming that after independence Scots would struggle to get treatment at Great Ormond Street Hospital.

‘He stood as a list candidate for Lothian in the 2021 Scottish Parliament election but failed to be elected.’

Who needs to be elected to have agency in Westminster over Scotland’s affairs?

I recall the Vote No Borders cinema advert with the Great Ormond Street claim had to be withdrawn after: ‘A Great Ormond Street spokeswoman said there was very little risk that independence would impede Scottish patients going there. The hospital was used routinely by patients across Europe and across the world because it had very highly specialised expertise, often not available abroad.’ (From the Guardian 29 May 2014).

This scaremongering from a Tory was matched by Labour’s Gordon Brown: ‘Almost 45,000 Scots now get help every year from the NHS in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, but Mr Brown suggests these links could be put “at risk” after a Yes vote.’ (The Scotsman, 21 July, 2014)

Newsnet on 22 July 2021 had this headline: ‘Anger at media refusal to correct Gordon Brown ‘transplant & transfusion’ misinformation’. It reported: ‘Mr Brown said a Yes vote would see Scotland, “break all constitutional links with the rest of the UK”.

‘The MP for Kirkcaldy said: “Nowhere are these connections more deep-seated than in our willingness to support each other’s health and give to each other, when in need, blood and even organs such as hearts, lungs and livers and not primarily as a commercial transaction but as a gift, and often creating a lifelong bond.

“Simply to chart those links and see the willingness to help each other in times of trouble should leave all of us bursting with pride at what we have achieved by co-operation and working together. None of this must be put at risk.”

Newsnet provided a link to a letter from NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) which stated: ‘I can confirm that Scottish independence will not affect organ donation and the system will continue as it does currently.’

Thanks Daphne for the reminder: it brings it all back! We must never forget the ‘ethics’ of – the depths that were plumbed by – the ‘Better Together’ coalition in order to achieve their aim. These and other examples need to be communicated to help ensure more folk in Scotland are alert and sceptical in the face of the inevitable future Unionist scares.


8 thoughts on “Offord!

  1. Offord on Question Time 18/5/23 , Bruce made no mention of Offord being part of no borders , he was clearly a smug has been , there are so many of them , must cost us a fortune.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. I remember the BBC’s Gavin Estler being taken in by this “Grass Roots” movement that had just sprung up and did a documentary on them!

    Can you imagine the BBC doing a similar staged event for the Yes side! Nope, neither can I

    Liked by 3 people

  3. The UK has evolved all right but not in the fairy tale story version punted by Offord and his pals back in the day.
    The very fact of his present appointment lays clear the nature of the UK state and Scotland’s place in it.
    There is no need for Scots to vote for representatives to be sent to Westminster because they will just be ignored and laughed at by the overwhelming number of English MPs.
    Westminster appoints unelected and unaccountable people to oversee their interests in Scotland and has no concern whatsoever for the people who live here.
    Pretty much how it has always been since the inception of the “union”.

    Liked by 4 people

  4. While QT remains firmly the vanguard movement for the BBC to attack the SNP at every opportunity it is moving onto more subtle programming…. take ‘Paramedics in scene’ for example; not as you would expect to show the level of expertise and commitment by our wonderful medics in Scotland. The main difference from other UK medical programmes is the politicising from very carefully selected cases usually from Aberdeen to include the long ambulance response times, waiting hospital admittance delays, hospitals under immense pressures, drug overdoses, those suffering mental health or social care issues unlike of course anywhere else in the UK but just so much worse in Scotland’.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Talking absolute nonsense. The audience laughed at most of Offend nonsense. A typical Tory plant to wind up. So arrogant and out of touch. The typical Tory. Lining their pockets with public monies. Making a career out manipulating the public purse for unlawful remuneration. A total scam at every turn. The overflowing members of the HoL. A total waste of space time and public monies. An abject failure. Unelected placemen misappropriating the public purse. An absolute disgrace.


  6. He seems like a wholly unpleasant character. Also very influencial politically, I wonder who else is involved. Money shouldn’t equal power, but in the Uk it does, not very democratic. They’ll be plotting all sorts of underhand tactics for the general election, the people of Scotland better be prepared.


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