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Wings Over Scotland

Punishing the guilty

Posted on June 02, 2013 by

So we read this earlier today from New Statesman journalist George Eaton:


We don’t mind telling you we were on tenterhooks waiting for the first concrete policy commitment of Ed Miliband’s three-year Labour leadership. Then it arrived.


Take your time, readers. Drink it in. Linger over every word individually. Sleep tight.

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  1. 21 03 15 18:02

    The Devo Files: Willie Bain (Glasgow North East) | A Wilderness of Peace

39 to “Punishing the guilty”

  1. HandandShrimp says:

    I think it will be that they are definitely going to have policies before 2015.
    Or it could be they are going to limit immigration to three people and a goat per annum in an attempt to steal a march on UKIP and the Tories.

    I started typing before the whole thing loaded…that can’t be their fucking big policy decision? FFS! Means testing a pittance pay out? Well that will set the heather on fire.

  2. Doug Daniel says:

    What more proof do we need that, far from taking her orders from London, Johann Lamont is actually setting the agenda for the WHOLE UK Labour party? With her decision to consign universalism to the dustbin of history, it’s now clear that she was a pioneer, the likes we’ve not seen since Atlee or Hardie.
    Joking aside, do you think the reason the New Statesman takes such an uncritical view of this “policy announcement” is because they’re so out of touch with reality that they can only see through the prism of political games, and fail to understand the broader picture here; or is it simply that they’re scared they would lose their privileged access to Labour speeches before they are given if they acted as critical analysers rather than fanfare-callers?

  3. Kevin Lynch says:

    Ed Milliband is an even worse leader than Gordon Brown. If there was ever a reason to vote for independence it’s the prospect of Ed Milliband as Prime Minister. I mean seriously if he doesn’t know what he stands for by now and his politics has been reduced to cheap points scoring. Do we really want him in charge?
    For all the harm the Tories have done. At least we know what they’re all about.
    Labour have become a pathetic snivelling mess of a political party. Time to move on Scotland.

  4. An Duine Gruamach says:

    Creative thinking, HandandShrimp!  Why does anyone need a fuel allowance when they can simply gather and burn heather for warmth?  Think of the savings!  It’ll get them out in the fresh air, too.  Brilliant. 

  5. EmbraBoffin says:

    It’s a little know fact that Ed Balls was previously employed organising the poolside seating arrangements on doomed ocean liners

  6. MajorBloodnok says:

    Is that it?

  7. HandandShrimp says:

    Didn’t Milliband say not a couple of months ago that “universalism was at the heart of the Labour Party”? I must have stopped listening when he went on to say “fortunately we are no longer the Labour Party”.

  8. pmcrek says:

    Anyone want to run a sweepstakes on how many times more expensive, means testing winter fuel allowance will be compared to not bothering?

  9. Jiggsbro says:

    The original Iron Chancellor practically invented the welfare state. </irony>

  10. pmcrek says:

    Oh and I bet somebody on the shadow cabinet just got a phat bung from ATOS.

  11. Dee says:

    Then child tax credits, prescription charges, bus passes stopped, tuition fees, council tax increases, trident, bedroom tax, furthr benefit cuts, just a few of the charges coming down the line with a NO vote..I bet those school kids who were polled on the question of independence didnt have the Sottish Labour alternative explained to them..

  12. Oldnat says:

    History clearly isn’t Labour’s strong point (if they have any). The original “Iron Chancellor” was Otto von Bismarck – who introduced universal benefits like old age pensions,  accident insurance, medical care and unemployment insurance in Germany long before Imperial Britain copied them.

  13. Doug Daniel says:

    “It’s a little know fact that Ed Balls was previously employed organising the poolside seating arrangements on doomed ocean liners”
    Any truth to the rumour that Ed Miliband was in charge of drawing up the (doomed) escape plan of said ocean liner?

  14. AnneDon says:

    Oh Gawd. Any care to linger on the irony of MPs who claim for every last chocolate biscuit telling ‘rich pensioners’ not to claim their heating allowance.
    My new jam: We Gotta Get Out Of This Place.  <<weeps>>

  15. Bill C says:

    I am a retired teacher (early) and I receive a teachers pension. I am by no stretch of the imagination “wealthy”.  I have paid income tax since I was a teenager and I do not know if what Mr. Balls is proposing will affect me. However, what I do know is that  any attack on universal benefits is an attack on the weak, the vulnerable,  the sick and the poor.  I am lucky, I do not fall into any of these categories (yet) but if Mr. Balls gets his way, there will be tens of thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands who will not be lucky.  They will be the folk who can’t afford a private pension, private health insurance, a car to let them escape from their four walls that they can’t afford to heat etc.,etc. Ed Balls epitomises the modern Labour Party, he offends the very principles the Labour Party was founded on. He is no more a socialist than Cameron and Thatcher. Roll on independence and the opportunity to rid ourselves of such hypocritical scoundrels. 

  16. Doug Daniel says:

    By the way, a quick off-topic (although you could probably find a way of arguing it’s on-topic) link to this week’s For A’ That podcast. If anyone’s not heard it yet, it’s got the always-ace Robin McAlpine on, and a particularly interesting theory for why cutting corporation tax remains an SNP policy (and an insight into how much support it actually has within the party!)

    Got to admit, I’m starting to see Margo’s point when she said last year that the SNP hadn’t properly prepared for independence. And just imagine how easy this independence campaign would be if something like the Common Weal project had been conducted (and finalised) in readiness for being slotted right into the campaign from the start?

  17. Adrian B says:

    Labour Policy :
    1.) Introduce means testing and cut winter fuel allowance
    2.) Find out that savings made through means testing do not save any money – further cuts required.
    3.) Added bureaucracy now in means testing has put the cost of means testing up as a cost – further cuts required.
    This is not going to be a vote winner in Scotland for Labour. In England UKIP is going for the Labour voter and the Tories are moving further to the right. UKIP/Tory Government 2015?
    Labour in Westminster opposition for another 5 years almost certainly.

  18. helpmaboab says:

    Labour: Exploiting the divide between the right and the centre-right.

  19. Dave McEwan Hill says:

    Don’t agree, Doug. We’re doing just fine. Now’s not the time and now’s not the hour. This time next year is the big bang. We’re presently in a war of attrition and holding our own is all we have to do

  20. Doug Daniel says:

    Dave – I reckon we’re doing fine as well, I’m certainly not one of these folk that over-reacts at every bad poll etc. And it’s certainly understandable that no one’s really taken on a Common Weal style project before now, as nobody really expected the referendum to be this term. But it still feels a bit like there’s an awful lot having to be done in a short space of time – I can understand where Robin comes from in saying “I’m perhaps the only person who would like the campaign to be longer.” And it just feels like all the exciting stuff is coming from outwith the SNP, which is a shame because as an SNP member, I often feel I’m having to promote the ideas of the other pro-indy parties, rather than my own party’s ones!
    On that note, has anyone else seen this 2007 PPB from the SSP? It’s absolutely brilliant, in every way – the production, the content, and most importantly, the idea.

  21. CameronB says:

    @ Adrian B
    “The bureaucracy is expanding to meet the needs of the expanding bureaucracy.”

    – Oscar Wilde

  22. Tris says:

    Wow…what a policy.
    Actually it is IDS’s policy too, it’s just that Cameron made a pledge not to touch it in THIS parliament.
    So fundamentally it is Tory policy, Lib Dem policy and Tory policy as soon as they ditch Dave, or at the next election whichever comes first.
    Well done Ed…cutting edge stuff.

  23. Erchie says:

    @Doug Daniel
    Surely the SNP are right to back off a bit & give others some room to set their stall, if “YES Scotland” is to mean anything as an umbrella group instead of just an SNP front?
    That’s Wing’s job

  24. Adrian B says:

    @ CameronB,
    “The bureaucracy is expanding to meet the needs of the expanding bureaucracy.”
    – Oscar Wilde
    Exactly and Labour to T(ory)

  25. The Man in the Jar says:

    Regarding rich folk that don’t need or want their universal benefits. And the government could easily facilitate this. Give it to an appropriate charity, Age Concern or similar in this case. It could help keep a few old folk out of hospital plus some other positive knock on effects as well no doubt. (Same goes for child benefit.)
    A simple addition to a pension / child benefit form. “If you do not wish to receive this allowance please tick the appropriate box and it will be donated to charity” Not rocket science is it?

  26. john king says:

    Bill C says:
    Could not agree more with you bill,
     as someone who fell foul of the totally inefficient and grossly unfair restriction on free prescriptions,
    as asthma was not deemed life threatening to provide me with free medication,
    the savings made on abolishing free prescriptions would be wiped out by the means testing to ensure the wealthy don’t get it, would be wiped out by the vastly inefficient testing and of course the cost to the country of hospitalizing people who could not afford their drugs, is the same as the ludicrous suggestion by Ed Balls that by means testing the pensioners to ensure people who don’t need the subsidy don’t get it is the politics of hate and envy, the saving of 100 million is risible and will be turned into a loss after the costs of policing it are counted,
    if they showed as much disdain for the rich in terms of taxation maybe they would regain their credentials as the party of the people,
    oh? what am I saying?:(

  27. Macart says:

    Labour policy ….mumble….. mumble……. assault on pensioners……
    Rolls over, goes back to sleep.

  28. alexicon says:

    HandandShrimp says:
    2 June, 2013 at 11:40 pm

    “Didn’t Milliband say not a couple of months ago that “universalism was at the heart of the Labour Party”?”
    The operative word in Milliband’s words is: was.

  29. EmbraBoffin says:

    I think the general escape plan is to try and get the rich folks inhabiting the sumptuously outfitted lifeboats to squeeze up a bit and make room for the politicians. Every else is going to be issued with Union flag patterned water wings

  30. scottish_skier says:

    Ed’s obviously had a read of this:;topic=12244.0

    The assault on universalism: how to destroy the welfare state

     …The direction of travel should now be clear. More and more, the middle classes will ask why they are paying into a system that gives them little back. The idea that the state is an insurance system, from which they can benefit if they are in need, is steadily eroded….There will be ever greater reductions in the funding, and inevitably the quality, of those remaining services used by the middle classes, such as primary and secondary education and healthcare, persuading them that they would be better off seeking private options.

    Really I think it’s time for a name change. Labour just sounds far too left wing.

  31. Red squirrel says:

    Means testing a small benefit is beyond idiocy – aye saving a few quid from pensioners who’ve contributed all their lives really makes a dent in the deficit.  So this is that wealth redistribution we’ve been waiting for?

  32. Doug Daniel says:

    scottish_skier: “Really I think it’s time for a name change. Labour just sounds far too left wing.”
    Well, as the Manic Street Preachers put it in Socialist Serenade, one of their b-sides in the This Is My Truth Tell Me Yours era (that album title itself coming from a Nye Bevan speech):
    “Change your name to New, forget the fucking Labour.”

  33. velofello says:

    “The party is exploring ways of reasserting the contributary principle such as a salary insurance scheme”.
    Silly me, I thought the income tax I pay in retirement, and the National insurance and income tax paid whilst one of the working masses was my contribution
    The Micawber dilemma of the UK will not be resolved by tinkering with fuel allowances, or an additional income tax termed a salary insurance scheme. And a re-distribution of wealth  doesn’t seem to be a policy of the labour party.
    By voting Yes to independence Scotland escapes the Micawber shackles. People must start to read up on the fate awaiting them following a No vote.

  34. Doug Daniel says:

    “Salary insurance scheme” – presumably the next big idea will be mandatory health insurance schemes?

  35. velofello says:

    2 doug Daniel:
    The next Big Idea will simply be a new name for the Original Idea – how to get their hands on your disposable income which they will then squander on behalf of their vested interests.
    Yesterday’s article in the Herald surely makes that clear. London, large population, large number of MPs,ergo where better to invest for your Party and for your political career security and advancement? 

  36. SCED300 says:

    The great Labour plan for a comeback and the reins of power, that will impress the voters.
    In Scotland we had Gordon Brown’s, “Ditch the Tories, not the union”.
    A statement that didn’t make the remotest bit of sense. We have been ditching the Tories in Scotland for fifty years, every election sending 45+ Labour MPs to Westminster, but because of the Union we still had Tory Governments deciding our ‘future’.

  37. ANNE B says:

    oh yes that report about how London is draining the economic heart out of scotland..seen it reported on bbc scotland..mmm thought not..wonder why?

  38. velofello says:

    Wealthy pensioners: at the current divergence of inflation (domestic inflation, not some actuarial sleight of hand inflation) vs pension increases, wealthy pensioners will be a rapidly reducing group. Another piece of stupid Labour rhetoric.

  39. Dave McEwan Hill says:

    Peter Hain was on the telly earlier talking the truth 

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