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Wings Over Scotland

Delayed transmission

Posted on June 04, 2013 by

This morning’s Daily Record carries a story about Ed Balls’ policy speech on welfare yesterday. Commendably, the Labour-supporting paper isn’t shy of pointing out the implications of Balls’ comments:

“Scots could get welfare benefits at lower rates than people in wealthy parts of England under plans being worked on by Labour. Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls yesterday raised the idea of a regional cap on welfare, opening the door to variations in a range of social security benefits.

Balls said the welfare cap of £25,000 a year per household should be higher in London but could be lower in parts of the UK where housing is cheaper.”

We’d have been even more impressed, though, if Wings Over Scotland hadn’t revealed the reality of what Labour’s future plans meant for Scotland almost three weeks ago.

Back on the 14th of May we published an analysis of an interview Gordon Brown gave to Scotland Tonight. In it we noted that the former Chancellor’s view on devolution was that giving the Scottish Parliament extra powers was only acceptable if it led to the diversion of money from Scotland to poor parts of England, Wales and Northern Ireland, in order to bring about what Brown called “fiscal equalisation”.

The ex-PM was referring to taxation, but Balls’ plans are an extension of the same principle. Under his regional welfare caps proposal, money would once again flow out of Scotland, this time headed for London and other expensive areas of England.

Regional benefits would therefore obviously increase fiscal inequality between the wealthy South-East of England and the rest of the UK, meaning Scotland – according to Brown’s vision for devolution – would have to pump in even MORE tax money in order to counterbalance poverty in the other three constituent nations.

Should a Labour government be elected to Westminster in 2015, Scotland should therefore expect higher taxes but lower benefits, on top of the cuts to universal services already promised by Johann Lamont and backed up yesterday by Ed Balls.

Scotland’s future in the UK under Labour is to become a cash cow for the poor of England, Wales and Northern Ireland – just as it was when Margaret Thatcher financed mass unemployment from Scottish oil revenues in the 1980s – while Scotland’s own poor, elderly and vulnerable see a bonfire of the public services they rely on to live. Because hey, those nuclear submarines won’t pay for themselves.

It’s quite the tempting offer, isn’t it?

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    1. 06 06 13 10:50

      There’s Your £500 And More | Michael Greenwell

    40 to “Delayed transmission”

    1. HighlandMartin says:

      Makes you weep for the vacuum that once was the Labour Party. 

    2. scottish_skier says:

      Right, so the wealthy areas where people have the highest disposable income get the most cash whilst the poorer areas get less.

      Good Tory stuff that.

    3. handclapping says:

      It is important that people in wealthy areas can afford servants so we need bigger subsidies in expensive areas so that poor people can live there to serve the rich who are rich because they have property in expensive areas on which they can command an exorbitant rent.
      So how is Balls going to square that circle? The Scots will pay? Oh no they won’t! #angry face#

    4. pmcrek says:

      Should families with obese children get more child benefit?

    5. alexicon says:

      Ah better together, but more taxes for Scotland if we’re allowed more powers.
      I bet the Daily Retard didn’t report this about Balls?
      I see Ed Balls is going to the secretive Bilderberg conference.
      Also in attendance is Osborne along with Amazon and google.
      The brothers will be happy Ed is rubbing shoulders with the rich and infamous.

    6. John Lyons says:

      No, it doesn’t Martin, it makes you weep for the people who cannot see what’s as plain as the nose on your face. In light of this Labour STILL command 31% of the vote at the Scottish election and returned the vast majority (is it 47/59?) of Scottish MPS to Westminster.
      Why do people in Scotland still vote Labour????

    7. seoc says:

      The entire Westminster system is based on inequalities – the more (divisive) the better.
      Rather than ‘spread the wealth’ they manipulate words, play with the meanings of them, give hints at jam tomorrow, etc.
      They are getting into an even deeper mess.
      Do we need this stuff?
      Let’s go.

    8. Doug Daniel says:

      pmcrek: “Should families with obese children get more child benefit?”
      No, they should get LESS, since they’ve obviously got too much to spend on food as it is. After all, everyone knows that the more nutritious a food is, the less expensive it is.
      Wait, have I got that the right way around…?
      The whole narrative behind the winter fuel allowance cut is “we’re not doing it to make major savings, we’re doing it to show we’re not afraid to make tough decisions”. Or, to put it a more accurate way, “we’re not doing this because it’s a necessary action – we’re simply trying to prove some sort of point.” I can’t think of a worse reason to cut public spending, and it just shows how utterly out-of-touch Labour has become from the lives of the people they’re supposed to represent.
      Meanwhile, anyone wanting to hear a true socialist who is still very much in touch with the people he claims to represent, have a listen to Colin Fox on last week’s Scottish Independence Podcast. Very entertaining (especially the “lawyers, businessmen and assorted wankers” line), and he has a right good go at Labour as well!

    9. It goes without saying as well that if it is Boris that comes along next, he has already stated his position loud and clear…
      “A pound spent in Croydon….”

    10. SCED300 says:

      I guess this is what Johann Lamont meant when she said she wanted to help people in Manchester, Newcastle, all over The UK, not just Scotland. Maybe she could include Margaret Curran’s constituency, which is the poorest in Scotland. Of course it is in Scotland so wouldn’t qualify.

    11. Desimond says:

      Come on now folks, we’re all in this together, for the sake of Southern England granted, but together nonetheless.
      Can we safely say child born in last 15 years would associate the words Labour Party with Socialism, oops, sorry, I said the equivalent of a Voldermort policy there, if you went by todays Unionist MPs actions!

    12. Red squirrel says:

      just checking I’ve got this right-  voting no means
      higher taxes
      wealth redistribution from Scotland to England
      lower benefits for the poorest
      pensioners freezing 
      nice shiny new nuclear bombs
      Well it’s obvious why folk will vote no – they’re numpties. Better together? Better for whom?

    13. HandandShrimp says:

      To be fair there will many stalwart Labour bodies deeply uneasy with all this. Metropolitan Labour are focused upon 2015, middle England and those snarky UKIPers. The vote in Scotland and the North of England will be taken for granted and a blood sacrifice offered to win the crown.

    14. CameronB says:

      @ Red squirrel
      The Crown?

      @ HandandShrimp
      That was spooky.

    15. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “To be fair there will many stalwart Labour bodies deeply uneasy with all this.”

      Then maybe they ought to consider whether they’re still in the right party.

    16. Training Day says:

      “To be fair there will many stalwart Labour bodies deeply uneasy with all this.”
      As we saw last week, ASLEF ain’t one of them..

    17. Desimond says:

      Rev. Stuart Campbell says:
      4 June, 2013 at 1:00 pm

      “To be fair there will many stalwart Labour bodies deeply uneasy with all this.”
      Then maybe they ought to consider whether they’re still in the right party.
      the RIGHT party….very good

    18. SCED300 says:

      We have Labour moving way to the Right, but their activists behaving like apparatchiks; no questions must be asked, no doubts must be raise. Everything for the cause of stopping Independence.
      There is more dissent and questioning of Party Leadership in the Tory Party than anything seen in Labour; Scottish or UK.

    19. Naturally, we at the state broadcaster are more than happy with this development. Read more about it here:

    20. HandandShrimp says:

      I think over the past few years many have, like Jimmy Reid, asked themeselves “where has Labour gone” and left. It is one of the reasons for their dwindling membership. A trend unlikely to be stemmed by this sort of thing.

    21. Dcanmore says:

      Congratulations, you have voted NO in the referendum here is your reward …
      … hidden away in the business section, naturally.

    22. Westie7 says:

      whilst on the subject of hidden by the BBC, looks like the Police numbers story appeared in the small print area of the web page without! a NEW tag next to it

    23. Marcia says:

      I find that Labour’s move to the right a betrayal to all those who fought for the right to vote, employment safeguards, a better Health Service long before New Labour came on the scene.
      I was in Germany last month we had a few days in Berlin. We went to the site of the former Gestapo HQ which now is the Topography of Terror Museum. When I was looking at the displays on show an elderly woman was talking to an Englishman. She couldn’t comprehend how Hilter & Co could hate the Jews so much as she was Jewish herself. The chap said that the Jews were made the scapegoats for all on the ills of Germany at the time. He said the same thing is happening in Britain today. Instead of the Jews it was the poor who were being made the scapegoats for the mess the Bankers made. The Bankers are laughing as their wealth is increasing whilst the poor who are the victims are made to suffer.
      We need to have a good campaign by the Yes side to smash the cosy banker/media/Westminster festering nest and tell them that voting NO will make you poorer and your bus pass will go to.

    24. Max says:

      Peter Hain, the former Labour cabinet minister, has openly criticised the decision by Ed Balls to end universal winter fuel payments and has warning that it “opens the door to a wider attack on universal benefits, such as free bus passes”,  and has publicly raised the question of “whether Labour is really going to offer an alternative”.

    25. Red squirrel says:

      And another thing – £ has devalued by 25-30% since 1997. Union a bit quiet about that one. Especially since discredited Euro has fared better.

    26. YesYesYes says:

      As has been pointed out on WoS before, Tory governments finish the job that Labour governments start. It was the last Labour government that, among other things, introduced Workfare, ATOS, the first bedroom tax as well as bequeathed the present economic mess to the Tories in 2010. The present Tory government at Westminster are just finishing the job that the last Labour government started, as England drifts ever-further to the right. It’s difficult not to believe that the Tories will be rubbing their hands with glee in anticipation of what other gifts Labour might deliver to them before the 2015 British general election.
      Don’t forget also that Labour’s intention to end universal winter fuel payments would save around £100 million. According to the OBR forecast, the UK’s deficit in 2014-15 will be £118 billion and its national debt some £1.4 trillion. As Labour’s own shadow Treasury minister Chris Leslie recently said, when addressing the present UK government’s deficit reduction policies: “At this rate of deficit reduction, at less than a quarter of one per cent a year, it would take 400 years to balance the books”. In other words, there’s an awful lot more cuts to come in the unlikely event that Labour wins the 2015 British general election, but ending universal winter fuel payments is just one of a wide range of cuts that Labour will make if it is elected in 2015.
      There’s also the possibility that, as with the Tories and the Lib Dems in 2010, within the first week of taking office, a new Labour government in 2015 discovers that the ‘books’ are a lot worse than they believed before they came into office, and, in that event, even more deeper cuts will have to be made. Moreover, the OBR is notorious for getting most of its forecasts wrong, particularly its longer-range forecasts.
      Let’s also remember that Labour has previous form here. Remember Gordon Brown’s famous pledge (made for the benefit of wavering Tory voters in middle England) in the campaign for the 1997 general election that, if elected in 1997, an incoming Labour government would follow the previous Tory government’s public spending plans. The Tories had increased the UK’s national debt to 44% of GDP in 1997 and Brown wanted to demonstrate to middle England that New Labour was more fiscally prudent than the Tories, as well as reassure middle England that the spectre of ‘old’ Labour would never emerge again as long as New Labour was in government. Deja vu, eh?
      In the event, that first Labour government (1997-2001) reduced the national debt to 37% of GDP but only after it had under-spent on the previous Tory government’s spending plans on health and education up to the year 2000. After that, Labour, with the benefit of, among other things, an extensive PFI programme,  a huge credit boom based on house price inflation and a housing boom, deregulation and unleashing the forces of easy money in the City of London, went a bit crazy and we know how all that ended from 2008. So the choice for Scotland in 2014 is straightforward, we can vote No, stay in the UK and rearrange the deck chairs while the UK ship sinks, or we can start inflating the lifeboats by voting Yes in the independence referendum. 

    27. ronald alexander mcdonald says:

      Obviously Lamont’s “something for nothing culture” was used as a testing ground. The fact is the UK is fast becoming a basket case of an economy. Tory and Labour-very little difference. Both have declared war on the poor to continue their extreme right wing agendas of adherence to the City of London. 
      Balls is disguising Labours stance by proposing to raise £100m by means testing OAP’s winter allowance. A less than trivial sum and the continuation of the dismantling of the Welfare State. If he had any sincerity he could propose to restrict  pension tax relief to basic rate, That would raise circa £4bn a year. Somehow I couldn’t see the City being happy with that! 

    28. CameronB says:

      I suppose we should be grateful for small mercies, as it appears local and Federal law enforcement agencies in the USA, have been working to plans developed by the banks, to disrupt the Occupy movement. These plans even included the murder of Occupy activists. Coming to a venue near you soon?

    29. seoc says:

      A preordained hierarchy of cuts/ savings/ repossessions  might be useful in the event of the economy proving to be far worse than admitted.
      War-making expenditure slashed, whether termed Defensive, (but somehow never Offensive), Monarchical expenses cut to the bone, all Parliamentary froth reduced, public finance for private interests abolished.
      Proper, severe penalties for everyone caught misappropriating public funds no matter who.
      An honest appraisal of, with honest, even-handed dispersal of public funds – or else.
      If times are really tough – remedies must be tougher and mathematically equal.
      If not, it must be assumed the ‘tough times’ are mere gesturing and part of sectional manipulation.

    30. Patrick Roden says:

      @ red squirrel,
      Something is happening to the pound, but I don’t know enough about currency exchanges to understand it,
       I bought some Thai baht at Christmas and I got 47 baht per pound at a train station in Birmingham, (not always the best deals)
      I searched on-line for the same exchange a few weeks ago (the best way to exchange currency0 and the best offer was 43 Baht per pound!
      I decided against this and brought cash to Thailand and exchanged it in a Thai bank for 45 .6 baht per pound.
      It feels to me that the pound is loosing value very quickly, but it’s not being reported in the MSM.
      Maybe a story for our Rev to look into ?

    31. Jiggsbro says:

      It feels to me that the pound is loosing value very quickly, but it’s not being reported in the MSM.
      It is on the slide and it has been reported. It’s largely a result of losing the triple-A rating.

    32. velofello says:

      Excellent article Rev Stu, but how do you get Joe Public to stop, read/listen, and consider? 
      “Yes, but I still think we’re better together” is a response I’ve had more than a few times.
      Its like motoring. Some people need to have a crash before they believe its possibly it could happen to them. 

    33. Jiggsbro says:

      “Yes, but I still think we’re better together” is a response I’ve had more than a few times.
      However bad things get, some people will always be able to imagine something worse. For them, the devil they know will always be better. I’ve given up trying to persuade those people who cannot hope.

    34. wee folding bike says:

      And after all, that’s what this is all about. It’s not about personal gain, not about ego, not about power — it’s about giving those young people out there in the Altoona, Pennsylvanias, hope. You gotta give them hope.
      Harvey Milk

    35. Jamie Arriere says:

      This just exposes the Labour Party’s ‘One Nation’ tagline and Broon’s ‘spreading the resources equally across the island’ as the vacuous dishonest shite that it is – and they’re still using the ‘spin and diffuse’ messages they used through all their time in government.
      Scotland, don’t fall for it. London needs to correct itself, and not off the back of the rest of us!

    36. JLT says:

      My blood just boils at Labour.
      Treacherous, evil, nasty, manipulative party….

    37. velofello says:

      @ Doug Daniels: Socialism! Are you serious? Socialism, capitalism, or whatever new title you wish to conjure up. The primary problem is safeguarding ourselves from human frailty,people who desire power, whatever cap they chose to wear.
      Consider the recent council elections. A typical scenario –  Labour wins 14 seats, SNP 13. Tories 2, Independent 1. Labour finds “common ground” with the 2 Tories and 1 Independent to form an administration. What about the +40% voters for 13 SNP councillors, how are their aspirations to be represented? Seems a pretty harmless mundane provincial situation doesn’t it? Wheely bins collection, grass cutting etc., but it does show the willingness of the 14+2+1 to grasp power and close out the +40% of their electorate. 

    38. Shinty says:

      Amen to that!

    39. Andy says:

      There was also an interesting part of his speech where he mentioned an end to “free schools”
      Does this mean that under labour fees will be payable for schools, or was I misreading it

    40. Theweelad says:

      Salmons lost it big time! Driving on the right hand side oh seriously…

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