The curious story of the thirteen No-voting GPs who all became Yes voters

Here’s a strange tweet. Posted yesterday, I spotted it this morning:


I was surprised at thirteen GPs all being No voters and then all becoming Yes voters. I asked Paul Aitken how his mother in law knew. He was kind enough to reply. Here’s his answer:


So I asked Mr Aitken where the practice was. He said:


[To be honest I wasn’t aware of having had any interaction with him in the past on Twitter, let alone having attacked him many times. For the record, I’ve asked him to identify any of those occasions so, if necessary, I can apologise to him.]

On the main thrust of his original tweet, the fact is that without knowing the name of the practice his remarkable claim cannot be verified. It seems to me to give rise to a number of questions.

First, on my unanswered original point, where is this medical practice with thirteen GPs? It’s clearly in Scotland otherwise none of the people working there would have had a chance to vote Yes or No in 2014. But it sounds enormous. Even the NHS-run health centre I’m signed up to, more like a mini-factory than the traditional contracting practice, only has seven GPs.

Second, even accepting the existence of this practice and its scale, is it likely that thirteen GPs all voted the same way in 2014 and have all since changed their view on separation/independence? Is it also likely that they all changed their view for one reason alone – ‘TM’: presumably he means Theresa May and her carrying forward the result of the EU referendum.

It’s an amazing shift. Not even one recalcitrant yoon-medic left as a No voter (by the way, I’d find a 100% shift the other way just as amazing).

Third, how likely is it that thirteen GPs would all confide their views on this subject to a nurse, even a senior one?

Fourth, even if true, doesn’t the appearance of this claim in public represent at least two betrayals of trust? First, by Mr Aitken’s mother in law retailing what were presumably private conversations to him directly, or via his wife to him. And second, in his retelling of the facts in public.

It’s curious that Paul’s mother in law spoke to him on the very day that the prime minister gave her speech and equally curious that he then banged out his tweet within a few hours of the prime minister sitting down.

Or maybe not so curious because you’ll see from his Twitter profile that Mr Aitken works for an MSP:


It doesn’t take more than a cursory glance at his Twitter timeline to realise that the MSP must be a member of the SNP, although who it is I neither know nor care.

Another glance at the original tweet above and you’ll see that when I copied it (actually at 11 a.m. on 18 January) it had been liked 353 times and copied to other Twitter users, presumably approvingly, 257 times.

So there you have it. An employee of an SNP MSP makes a frankly incredible claim that he cannot and will not justify in public. And over 250 people retweet it.

This is how unsubstantiated claims become accepted as irrefutable facts by the naïve, some of whom have already responded to his tweet  – ‘thank you thank you Paul hope’ (sic) and ‘Brilliant!’

Finally, in response to another comment, he writes:

all my doc friends see the importance of a new Indy vote.

Suddenly not only does his mum in law have thirteen GP colleagues who confide their political views to her, but he also has ‘doc friends’, all (so must be quite a few) of whom see the importance of another referendum. Amazing. Where are all these medics? Perhaps I could get a routine appointment with one of them in less than the two weeks it sometimes takes me where I stay.

Not for the first time, the word ‘porkies’ comes to mind where the SNP are concerned. Unless of course Mr Aitken cares to confirm where all those remarkable GPs are. In which case, as with my earlier promise to him, I will apologise.

I’m not holding my breath, though.

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18 Responses to The curious story of the thirteen No-voting GPs who all became Yes voters

  1. My busy city centre practice has 6 partners, a salaried doctor & 3 juniors who are qualified doctors but under training as GPs. It shares its premises and some central services with another practice that lists 6 partners. I have no idea if 2 practices sharing premises is common, rare or if this is a unique example.

    It does suggest that 13 GPs at the same premises, if not practice, is possible.

    I agree with your other points.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. davep says:

    My local practice has 8 GPs listed on their website, and it’s one of 4 practices that exist under one roof. While I can’t and won’t comment on the rest of the above, as with Martin above, my experience would suggest that it’s not that difficult to have 13 GPs in one location, at least.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Roger White says:

      Thanks for commenting. I did not mean to suggest that such practices (or co-located practices) did not exist, although I suspect the reported number of GPs in one practice is still relatively unusual in Scotland. My thrust, as you (and Martin Gibson, who made a similar point) will realise was more on the remarkable coincidence of all thirteen doctors having voted or supported ‘No’ and now all be willing to vote ‘Yes.’

      Liked by 2 people

  3. wujeanty says:

    Whether by accident of by design, Mr Aitken has employed two basic propaganda tricks: ie, ‘the bandwagon’ – pretending that a product has growing appeal in order to fool potential customers into believing that they are missing out (or, in the case of politics, that they are on the losing side); and the ‘argument from authority’ – that is, convincing people to buy things on the basis that authority figures (allegedly) buy them. (Perfect example of this technique is here: – ‘More Doctors Smoke Camels Than Any Other Cigarette’.) Thus, unless Mr Aitken can furnish the names and addresses of each of those doctors, I wouldn’t believe a word of it.

    Liked by 5 people

  4. neilking says:

    Splendid stuff, Roger. Keep up the good work.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. giesabrekk says:

    This is a lie, Roger, a whole lie and nothing but a lie, so help me my own hunch.
    He’s with the SNP, a saddle-bag-packer for one of the gravy train so he’s going to make:
    “A guy told me he saw an SNP poster”
    “Thirteen nawbag doacturs huv come oor tae us causa TM”.
    Making up a lie to look smart among his peers, and be somebody, but looks stupid instead.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Roger White says:

      Well, I’m happy to hear his facts but there’s been silence so far and I don’t expect that to change. Some of the Twitter banter today about instant mass conversions to Yes in supermarkets, pubs, bus shelters etc. has been quite amusing. I especially liked ‘Just back from supermarket. All Yessers after deli counter discussion. Bakery staff most hardline. Ugly scenes’

      Liked by 3 people

  6. Island Girl says:

    So is the tweet by Mr Aitken a post truth tweet or a fake news post? Who do we call? Myth busters or Donald Trump? 🤡🐼🤠

    Liked by 4 people

  7. Coincidentally Portlethen Medical Centre has 13 but I would find it difficult to believe that they all have the same political viewpoint.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Roger White says:

      Thanks – various people have suggested practices or health centres that Aitken’s 13 GPs might be from. The question is an interesting one but is unlikely to be resolved unless he volunteers the information which I suspect he is unlikely to do, either because his information was not correct or doing so would involve a (further?) breach of trust. Or there’s an innocent explanation no-one has yet thought of.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Barry says:

    I think I should point out that our local village practice (Gardenstown, which closed 12 months ago) has 1,308 GP’s all under one roof, working flat out to care for us. They work shifts and even “hot bunk” (ask any ex naval personnel) so as to be fully rested before each shift. I must admit I’ve never actually SEEN any of them, but our local SNP Obergruppehfuhrer (Stewart Stevenson) has made a public proclamation to this effect, so I believe him. He was heard to utter beneath his breath as he left, something about “bread and circuses.” Not entirely sure what he meant by this. Yours Faithfully. Gullible from Gamrie.

    Liked by 4 people

  9. mk270 says:

    It is very concerning that a senior nurse is violating the Data Protection Act by disclosing political views, which count as “sensitive personal data” and are subject to additional protections. She needs to be reprimanded, as should the MSP staffer who compounded the disclosure.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Roger White says:

      I guess whether the DPA might apply would depend on the circumstances of the original conversation. If it was a social night out and they all turned to her as one after a few drinks and said ‘Guess what? We’ve seen the light. We’re all Yessers now’ I doubt the DPA would apply. Anyhow, all this depends on whether the original information tweeted by Mr Aitken is correct or even existed. I hae ma doobts.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Is this not along the same line as the official SNP propaganda that the vast majority of Scotland voted Remain. 1,661,191 voted Remain, Scotland has approximately 4.18M registered voters. Now call me picky but I can get 4.18 to divide two and a half times by 1.661191 (2.5162 if you want accuracy). Yet every news outlet even UK wide buys this the vast majority garbage. Tell a lie often enough and it becomes fact.

    Liked by 3 people

  11. Tom Niven says:

    Please give the people of Scotland the respect they most certainly deserve. Your claims are obviously nonsense – if you disagree with me reveal yourself and the identify the medical practice you claim to refer to !!!
    I rest my case. Come on – go for it!!


    • Roger White says:

      Thanks for your comment. I’m not sure who you’re addressing it to. If it’s me you can very easily check who I am – I use my own name to write this blog. If you mean the person who made the claim about the doctors, he also revealed his name, Paul Aitken – he works for an SNP MSP. I don’t know the medical practice concerned. He presumably does if he’s telling the truth. Your chance of getting the name from him, here or via other social media are just about zero. But good luck if you try!

      Liked by 1 person

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