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Don’t ask, don’t tell

Posted on March 03, 2015 by

The Scottish media’s daily MurphyGram this morning (which is dutifully reported by the Scotsman, Herald, Courier and doubtless more) is that a vote for Labour in next year’s Holyrood election won’t mean a return to tuition fees for university students.


We’re not absolutely sure why a Holyrood election pledge is news just weeks out from a Westminster one, but we’ll let that slide, because we’re more interested – as ever – in what the reports DON’T say.

Because alert readers will remember that when Johann Lamont attacked free tuition in her infamous “something for nothing” speech, even she wasn’t reckless enough as to suggest a return to upfront fees. Instead, the policy Scottish Labour favoured to claw back money from students was a graduate tax.

“Ms Lamont, who is spearheading a review of Labour’s policy on universal services such as free prescriptions, has suggested a return to the graduate endowment is ‘the most obvious option’ to address current inequalities in colleges and universities.

The graduate endowment saw students under the previous Labour-Liberal Democrat coalition at Holyrood pay money towards their education after they graduated.

It was scrapped by the SNP, who described it as ‘back-end tuition fees’.”

(We still, incidentally, keenly await the report from that policy review, set up more than two years ago to determine which universal benefits would be for the chop – or as the Nats dubbed it, the “Cuts Commission”.)

None of the reports of Murphy’s policy “confirmation” – though in fact as recently as last September he was refusing to say whether Labour would bring the fees back or not – mentioned the graduate tax. And Murphy’s comments were carefully worded to avoid clarifying the possibility.

Readers might feel entitled to take any Labour proclamation about fees with a very heavy pinch of salt. Under Tony Blair the party promised not to introduce the fees at all, then introduced them, then promised not to increase them but tripled them (a policy both Ed Miliband and Jim Murphy voted for).

And in 2010 Miliband said he’d replace fees with a graduate tax, but has now dumped that plan in favour of a cut to £6000 a year – still twice what they were in 2010.


Labour’s 2011 manifesto in Scotland promised “no up-front or back-end tuition fees”, before Johann Lamont back-pedalled on it. Murphy’s announcement today vows to keep the first half of that promise but skates over the second half.

In the absence of an explicit change, we must logically assume that a graduate tax remains the favoured policy. But we’re not going to hold our breath waiting for the Scottish media to question him on that.

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  1. 03 03 15 10:42

    Don't ask, don't tell | Politics Scotland | Sc...

  2. 03 03 15 11:40

    Don’t ask, don’t tell - Speymouth

  3. 04 03 15 02:54

    And I mean that most sincerely « Wee Ginger Dug

180 to “Don’t ask, don’t tell”

  1. Valerie says:

    Don’t care what they say on education, I really hope Scots recognise that free education in Scotland is the Gold standard, and SNP have delivered it.

    SNP are determined to protect it, it’s the one thing I throw back at critics of SNP, and its met by deafening silence.

  2. Fiona says:

    The narrative about tuition fees is very partial, and once again we see the limits of debate, because any discussion excludes perfectly viable options which have become “unthinkable” under trh neoliberal hegemony.

    In the post war period education was seen to be a benefit for the whole of society. Since then education has changed its character: it moved from being a good in itself into being a route to higher income. As the costs of housing the population were shifted from the group to the individuals, so the costs of educating them at the higher levels were also exported. During the 1970’s students were paid to go to university: although there had been an expansion in the numbers of places in the 1960’s and 1970’s the costs of higher education remained with the state, very largely. Maintenance grants were means tested, certainly: but tuition was free for all, and a grant for books was automatic, even for the wealthiest. Access was restricted by the relatively small number of places. As with consumer credit, it was rationed.

    Education at that time was seen as a public good. There was a certain naivety in that, but it was not different from the attitude to apprenticeships. Ordinary people made choices to sacrifice income early in life for a premium wage after they gained qualifications, whether those be a journeyman’s ticket or a degree. The society benefitted from those choices by having a proportion of well educated people: and companies benefitted from a pool of skilled worker. Viewed in this way it is logical that companies paid for apprentices’ education: and the state paid for students. Companies directed the flow of technical education according to their needs: but the needs of the wider society were less direct and predictable: so there was no attempt to direct students into particular fields of study. Very little was vocational: the professions were: but for many education was seen to have a worth in itself and vocational training was expected to be provided by the employer, once the student secured a job.

    As plutocratic values became dominant that changed. Emphasis was placed on the wage premium of a degree, and from a social good it was recharacterised as a private benefit: it followed that the person gaining that benefit should pay the costs of acquiring it. And so it came about that the student should pay the state rather than the other way around. It is utterly astonishing to me that people were led to that radical shift in their narrative. It is true that there had always been some resentment of students: they did have many privileges not shared by their contemporaries who were in work at the same age. It is also true that they enjoyed high income after graduation, if they chose such careers. It is true that the rationing meant the opportunity was not available to all, as well. By now that seems to be the accepted truth and it serves to justify the change: as with the sale of council houses it is part of the truth: but it is not all.

    As an example of the other side of the question: the wage premium existed and is much touted as a reason for people to go on in education. But it is important to remember that at the time that system was in place income tax was not a dirty word. Those who gained high paying jobs paid very high levels of tax: when that was factored in over a life time’s earnings there was much more equality than there is today. In recent times there has been discussion of imposing a “graduate” tax because of the premium: but that is a poor solution. It is based on an average, and averages do not reflect real lives. If the “payback” is based on tax on earnings it has this consequence: graduates can choose to go into lower paid work because other values are important to them. The benefits (if you accept that education has benefits for the work place) are thus distributed over all of society: not evenly, certainly: many will pursue high income first: but to some extent. That is a less viable option of the student has debt to repay: it is lost completely if there is a graduate tax; because that is paid whether the income is high or low.

    In addition, and as already noted, the premium is there because of scarcity: if everyone has a degree then there is no chance the premium will continue to exist. So the student will have debt in anticipation of higher earnings: but those earnings will not materialise. And it is nobody’s fault: magic of the market, just. Or a broken contract, if you see it that way. Curiously, contracts of that sort between the citiizen and the state are not enforceable: if the government persuades you to do something against your own interest; or breaks the contract of employment you entered, in taking a lower paid public service job taking account of pension arrangements, you have no recourse. Yet the same neoliberals who promote those policies are very gung ho for enforceable, fair contracts: they are one of the few things they think the state is any good for.

  3. Capella says:

    By co-incidence, Zerohedge has an article on the reality of student loans as sub-prime debt, called Breaking Bad 3.

    “Now we get to the subprimiest of subprime debt – student loans. Student loans are not officially classified as subprime debt, but let’s compare borrowers. A subprime borrower has a FICO score of 660 or below, has defaulted on previous obligations, and has limited ability to meet monthly living expenses. A student loan borrower doesn’t have a credit score because they have no credit, have no job with which to pay back the loan, and have no ability other than the loan proceeds to meet their monthly living expenses. And in today’s job environment, they are more likely to land a waiter job at TGI Fridays than a job in their major. These loans are nothing more than deep subprime loans made to young people who have little chance of every paying them off, with hundreds of billions in losses being borne by the ever shrinking number of working taxpaying Americans.

    Our system is heading in the same direction and for the same reasons. Labour did saddle Scottish students with debt when they were in power in Holyrood. Although the SNP government abolished fees, there are still thousands of people paying off a lifetime of debt accrued when Labour called the shots in Holyrood, something they will be hoping we have all forgotten.

  4. galamcennalath says:

    Standard Labour speak. Confuse Hoyrood and Westminster responsibilities because the local branch can’t offer any Scotland specific policies at a WM level. Try to pull the wool over the eyes of voters who are poorly informed. Parcel up weasel words so they sound like a commitment but in fact make no promises. Tell half the story – hide the unpalatable bites. Never ever explain how it will be financed.

    Why on Earth would any Scot vote Labour!?

    Vote SNP, get what you see.

    Vote Labour, get what you don’t see.

  5. Bugger (the Panda) says:

    @ Fiona

    What an erudite analysis of the reality rather than the politics, and so quick too.

    Oh, I know, Wonderwoman and you are baking scones and cakes wearing your cerise peinny.

  6. Dan Huil says:

    And if the Red Tories go into coalition with the Blue Tories after May’s election what will the orders be from Westminster to the Red Tories in Scotland concerning tuition fees?

  7. HandandShrimp says:

    Giving Murphy’s voting record and expressed views how could one possibly believe such an undertaking? The fable of the scorpion and the frog springs to mind.

  8. Ali says:

    The problem with a graduate tax is that graduates get the same pay in the call centres as everyone else!

  9. Bugger (the Panda) says:

    Ok, a bit of levity here which will not deflect the thread

    What are they three of them thinking?

    Johann is thinking she on the fast track to an H of L fur coat.

    Ed Miliband is thinking that she is even more useless than he is and is very worried.

    Smurphy the jackal is thinking, one step at a time. First I’ll neutralise the stoopid one in front of me and then stab the dopey one on my left.

    Yes it sounds like his plan.

  10. Grouse Beater says:

    When I received a grant to help me attend college and then university I took it for granted I had a moral obligation to give back to the nation, which I duly did as a teacher and then a lecturer. And indeed, in most countries where higher education is free the state encourages exactly that spirit of loyalty. For my part, I didn’t leave Scotland in search of work until a few years back.

    Were I at university now, running up massive debts for the dubious privilege of being part of a system where learning for learning’s sake – the whole reason for a university’s existence – has been replaced by training for a specific role in business and industry, I’d have no reservations about leaving the country to find work elsewhere.

  11. Lenny Hartley says:


    Great post, explained the subject perfectly

  12. annie says:

    Iain Gray on twitter said there would be no graduate tax however he also said labour opposed free school meals for primary 1-3 while Jim Murphy was saying, on the very same day, that labour supported them.

  13. What happens if you go to University for nine years and leave without a qualification?

  14. scottieDog says:

    We have a private banking banking system which is allowed to print money out of thin air and issue it as debt to the people. We underwrite the same institutions when they fail so to be told we can’t afford to house or educate our citizens is a crime.

  15. arthur thomson says:

    Thanks for that Fiona. Illuminating.

  16. Tamson says:

    In a country with a free media, Murphy would be made VERY uncomfortable in any policy announcement concerning education, given his extensive and shameful history on the topic.

    Scotland has no such free and fair MSM, of course.

  17. annie says:

    Donald Urquhart – you get to be leader of “Scottish” Labour.

  18. Fiona says:


    Sorry to disappoint

    It is an extract from a post I wrote a long time ago on another board. Just thought it was relevant here 🙂

  19. Tony Little says:


    Not exactly OT, I hope. To add something to what you are saying about degrees and today’s world, I work in the area of consultancy (HRM/Organisations etc.) extensively in the Public Sector and primarily in European countries that have developed to a plateau and aspire to move further, e.g. accession to the EU.

    What I have seen over the last ten years in particular, is the expectation that what was once considered to be a valuable, but not exclusive position (e.g. a Secretary) now requires not only a degree, but in some projects with international donor support, a Masters Degree!

    The Bologna accord has, in my view, diminished the educational qualifications, and means in effect that everyone needs a degree no matter what the position.

    Personally this affects everyone with or without a formal qualification. We have lost direction, I think, and need to get back to understanding what education is for. I still feel that education is an INVESTMENT in a country’s future, and as such should be the responsibility of the state through an appropriate tax system. The SNP approach to this will not change – I hope. And Labour’s multiple option answers is to see what has most traction so it becomes “policy”.

    Once again I think they are trying to play s for fools. But I do not expact the MSM to challenge them, or put them on the spot. Education – like the Health Service – should be outwith political sniping, unfortunately it’s all the Unionist parties seem to have.

  20. BrianW says:

    I find it quite sickening that the people contemplating charging students are those that enjoyed a free ride through Uni way back in the day.

    They now find it perfectly acceptable to charge folk for a 1st class education, which in turns turns those individuals into desirable employees.

    Maybe Jim’s thinking is that by charging, folk won’t stay at Uni for 9 years only to leave with nothing.. (well apart from a huge mountain of debt – a debt that Jim himself never faced in his 9 wasted years).

    If there’s a “He’s a Dick” certificate, Jim would surely get a 1, 1 with distinction.

  21. almannysbunnet says:

    Looked at the picture and just can’t get Bob’s song out of my head 🙂
    Well I don’t know why I came here tonight,
    I got the feeling that something ain’t right,
    I’m so scared in case I fall off my chair,
    And I’m wondering how I’ll get down the stairs,
    Clowns to the left of me,
    Jokers to the right, here I am,
    Stuck in the middle with you.

    Yes I’m stuck in the middle with you,
    And I’m wondering what it is I should do,
    It’s so hard to keep this smile from my face,
    Losing control, yeah, I’m all over the place,
    Clowns to the left of me, Jokers to the right,
    Here I am, stuck in the middle with you.

  22. Desimond says:

    Shouldnt be long before all degrees except PPE are deemed superfluous by Westminster.

    Why anyone would needor want to study anything else is beyond their comprehension.

  23. Doug Daniel says:

    As with everything else, Labour’s problem here is they simply don’t know what they stand for, except that it definitely can’t be whatever the SNP’s stance is.

    Scotland’s university system was what powered the Enlightenment, so it seems pretty damned obvious that if you want to continue being a nation that leads the way in scientific discoveries etc, you need to place education – and specifically university education – at the forefront of your policy-making.

    The SNP seem to recognise this, hence the commitment to keeping university education free.

    The Tories just hate public spending, so they think we should have fees – why should people who made a fortune without any help from anyone else (oh, you exist in a bubble, do you?) subsidise poor people’s education?

    The closest Labour seem to have to an ideology in regards to universities is the opposite of the Tories – why should rich people get free education? Students are apparently all middle-class, so let’s tell working class folk that they shouldn’t be subsidising middle-class kids (thereby reinforcing the idea that working class kids shouldn’t aspire to go to university).

    Both of them fundamentally miss the point of higher education. An educated populace is just as important as a healthy one. Mind you, if your goal in life is to try and pull the wool over the electorate’s eyes as much as possible, then perhaps an educated populace is the exact opposite of what you want…

    Mind you, we should also be trying to get away from the idea that a degree is about earning more money. The primary motivation for going to university should be the attainment of knowledge in a subject you’re interested in. But as long as companies demand degrees from people to do a job that doesn’t require four years of study in a specific field (and thereby just using universities as a free youth training scheme), people will feel the need to go to university purely as a rung on the career ladder.

  24. Rob James says:

    I think it is now time for the SNP to drop the nicey nicey image. To a certain extent, they have been able to sit back and let Labour dig holes for themselves, but it is now time to attack.

    I realise that the MSM allows them few opportunitues in this respect but SNP must take advantage of the limited airspace they receive and rip Labour apart on each and every occassion. The spokesmen/spokeswomen need to up their game.

    I felt Nicola Sturgeon missed one of those opportunities in her ‘100 days in office’ interview. It was quite obvious that it went completely against the grain of the interviewer. You could see the bile and indignation on her face. I’m sure Eck would have taken that opportunity.

    Labour are a complete shambles with so many policy bites being slung around that the left hand doesn’t know what the right is doing. They are sitting ducks waiting to be torpedoed.

    We don’t need to play dirty but a good cohesive attack policy is required, and that includes arming our representatives with the tools and information to completely debunk labours proposals, and put some of these jumped up interviewers back in their box.

    It is not impolite to ask them if they would mind being quiet whilst the questions are answered. Quite the opposite. Let the viewers see the rudeness and lack of manners employed by the MSM. Time to stop being bullied.

  25. Roll_On_2015 says:

    Donald Urquhart: at 10:40 am

    What happens if you go to University for nine years and leave without a qualification?

    Well Don the only real-world demonstration of that is… that you leave as a numpty, join the NuLabour gravy train and claw your way up to lead a branch office.

  26. beachthistle says:

    “We’re not absolutely sure why a Holyrood election pledge is news just weeks out from a Westminster one,”

    I’d suggest it’s a deliberate, cynical strategy to enable BBCScotchland, SLab’s media orchestrator as well as primary megaphone, to get around ‘purdah’ rules right up to polling day. As BBC’s General Election Guidelines state/give the game away:

    “Para 3.3 Coverage of other political issues, other Parliaments, Assemblies and Councils in the UK during the Election Period

    The elections do not happen in isolation and other elected bodies may well continue their normal activity during the campaign. However, a General Election is particularly dominant and content producers need to comply with the general requirement of due accuracy and due impartiality, aware of the possible influence of any other political coverage on the election campaign.

    This applies to all Parliamentary reportage during the campaign, including from the Scottish Parliament, the Assemblies in Wales, Northern Ireland and London and the European Parliament. Some council business will also continue during the election period. These should continue to be covered in the normal way, though any issues relating to local government in England or the General Election across the UK which are discussed in the parliaments or assemblies must be reported with care to maintain due impartiality.” or, for the sanctions purists

    We know what being “covered in the normal way” means – and in particular we know that from now-on-in BBC Scotchland will facilitate the pattern of bringing up each SLab’s 4 or 5 target issues (NHSS etc.) in cyclical fashion (as per #indyref), with the fact that an issue/claim is being brought up again by BBC giving it its primary de facto ‘legitimacy’/importance.

    We also know what “due impartiality” means when it comes to BBC Scotchland: whatever lack of pro-Union impartiality they reckon they can away with.

  27. Golfnut says:

    @ galamcennalath

    Agree entirely, Labour in Scotland are a branch office and will not be allowed to promote alternatives to London labour policy.

    Broadcast and print media are complicit in this attempt to confuse the electorate.

    The SNP should introduce legislation to allow Parliamentarian recall by constituency for misdirection and lies.

    Cat among the pigeons, springs to mind.

  28. Mosstrooper says:

    Roll-on-2015 @11.01

    Claw your way up to lead a branch office?

    Surely you mean slither.

  29. Roll_On_2015 says:

    Here is a glimpse into the future of England’s Education system:

    Student debt to cost Britain billions within decades.

    The cost to the country of paying for student debt will rocket to billions of pounds a year over the next three decades, almost equalling the entire higher education budget, new statistics show.

    The figures, obtained by Labour’s former universities minister John Denham, show that writing off students’ debts plus net lending – the amount loaned to students less the amount they repay – will add up to more than £8bn by the 2040s, or 0.6 per cent of UK GDP.

    In addition, interest payments on outstanding loans will amount to a further 0.3 per cent of GDP – bringing the annual cost close to one per cent of GDP (or £14bn in today’s terms), according to figures obtained from the Office for Budget Responsibility by Mr Denham.

  30. Joemcg says:

    Rob-the SNP failed to do it during the referendum so no danger they are going to start now. It’s very frustrating. They don’t seem to have the personnel with the savvy anyway.

  31. You and My Comb says:

    The IFS told us last year that each English Student loan is subsidised by 17000 in interest alone over the life of the loan. In 2012 there were 300000 students in the intake. Each student is expected to carry with them from university an average £45000 of debt. David Willetts told the House that the government estimated that 45% of the loans will not be repaid by the end of their term.

    English Graduates will begin working life with a significant debt. This will reduce their capacity to buy houses and high value goods like cars and will have a damaging effect on the economy of the UK for years to come. Scotland will pick up a share of the £17000 interest subsidy as it is debt. Scotland will also take a share of the approximately £2bn debt that won’t be repaid. Scotland, effectively, pays for its universities from its block grant (one of the things that contributes to the higher public spending figures) but my children will also pay for the debt incurred in educating English students because the unpaid loans will register as National Debt in approximately 30 years time.

    It should be noted that the student loans company HQ, and a significant number of jobs, are based in glasgow. The SNP would need to construct a plan for these jobs in advance of any attempt at another referendum.

    Before anyone accuses me of racism, I use the term English to denote a student ordinarily domiciled in England who is subject to the Student a Finance England regime.

  32. Roll_On_2015 says:

    Mosstrooper: at 11:15 am

    Roll-on-2015 @11.01
    Claw your way up to lead a branch office?

    Surely you mean slither.

    Aye Mosstrooper appologies for that, I realised as soon as I pressed the ‘Submit Comment’ button but unfortunately we do not have an Edit button.

  33. Dr Jim says:

    Even if Labour told the truth now it’s too late i think
    Only the complete diehard NAWS will wear any of it
    Labours brand has now become so toxic, people who are going to vote, are heavily voting SNP to at least give them a go to see what’s going to happen and the opposition knows it that’s why they’re collectively running around talking up Tactical voting, joining forces…again! BNP NF all the nonsense of anti democracy to try and kill the genuine democracy that people want and i urge all our young folk out there, this is your chance, don’t let it slide VOTE!!
    SNP for Scotland
    Although i’m biased

  34. HandandShrimp says:

    I see Westminster is falling down. It will, apparently cost £3b to repair (possibly/probably more).

  35. gordoz says:

    Pretty sure well thought out Labour policy on this looks something like the predictable ‘You’ve been framed’ version of stability.

    ie: The proverbial ‘Laboured’ one leg on the dock / one leg in the boat (no hand hold); now where is such a situation going to end up ??

    Trust in Labour … pppfffssss

  36. Capella says:

    Angus Robertson in Westminster forces disclosure of increase in nuclear incidents at Faslane and Coulport. (For those wondering what the SNP are doing. I have no idea if the BBC are reporting it. This item is on RT).
    “Ministers were forced to disclose the information after a question in parliament by Angus Robertson from the Scottish National Party (SNP) who leads the party’s parliamentary group in Westminster.

  37. Joemcg says:

    Handandshrimp-suppose us mugs in North Britain will be contributing to the £3 billion renovation then? Bloody joke.

  38. Cuddis says:


    ‘The reality of student loans as sub-prime debt’

    Interesting post. And another example of the huge divide between reality and Labour Party spin.


  39. Bugger (the Panda) says:

    @ Fiona

    It was dead centre.


  40. Marie clark says:

    @ HandandShrimp11.35.

    Westminster is falling down. It will, apparantly cost 3£3b to repair.

    You know, sometimes I think Guy Fawkes had the right idea.

  41. Bugger (the Panda) says:

    HandandShrimp says:
    3 March, 2015 at 11:38 am

    I see Westminster is falling down. It will, apparently cost £3b to repair (possibly/probably more).

    Can we send a team down to help them?

    To fall down faster of course.

  42. Papadox says:

    They (SLAB) are either completely ignorant of politics and the parliaments that control which parts of the law. Or they are pathological liars, whichever it is they are reprehensible and beneath contempt.

    They talk this shit to people they think are as thick as themselves therby treating these people with utter contempt, aye their elderly “supporters”!

    The guardians of the truth EBC, MSM don’t even just look the other way they are active in the lies, deciet and fraud being perpetrated on the people of this country. They really can’t get any lower.

    Democracy: A JOKE and not even a pink blush by any of these “champions” of the elderly and working class. SCUM, DREGS from the bottom of the cesspit.

  43. muttley79 says:

    I see it is Humza Yousaf that is on Question Time this week.

  44. Ealasaid says:

    When I was growing up I kept hearing the grown ups talking about ‘That’s what we pay our taxes for.’ This covered the Health service, all education, and all the nationalised industries.

    Since we are now getting charged so much for many of these things that have been or are being privatised, what are we paying our taxes for now?

  45. andy says:

    I noticed that the BBC did not think to ask GB why he did not set up an oil fund when he was in power
    Strange how well scripted the BBC interviews always are
    Spud and uni fees are no different
    I wonder how often BBC journalists have to get the knees of their trousers fixed

  46. Bugger (the Panda) says:

    @ Ealasaid

    Since we are now getting charged so much for many of these things that have been or are being privatised, what are we paying our taxes for now?


  47. CanWeHAveOurDemocracyBack? says:

    “Bugger (the Panda) says:
    3 March, 2015 at 10:30 am
    @ Fiona

    What an erudite analysis of the reality rather than the politics, and so quick too.”

    Yes I was thinking that as well BtP.
    Thank you Fiona for that post
    It really brought home to me how much our society has changed in only a few decades.

    Perhaps it more accurate to say that our society has had change forced upon it from above.
    Those changes have not enriched us in any real sense. A few people have made obscene amounts of money and everyone else is much, much worse off.

    Perhaps with the “New Enlightenment” that has come from the referendum campaign, thanks to new media like the wonderful WoS, we are now seeing the beginning of the end of NeoLiberalism.

    There IS a better way.

  48. Les Wilson says:

    There are now daily bribery offers from Slab, but none are real, they are not set up to,and they would not anyway, differ from Westminster Labour. Yet they think Scots are daft, undoubtedly, some are. But in the main they see through all this guff from the deceivers. Soon to sink below the horizon on their sunset day.

    A lie a day, is being expected now by Scots, they no longer take heed, unless to laugh. They are desperate, desperate numpties.

  49. Roll_On_2015 says:

    This is worth another punt:

    What Jim Murphy believes Democracy should look like

  50. HandandShrimp says:

    I like Humza. He is very measured in his response to questions and he thinks clearly. I think he will acquit himself well on QT.

    Is Starkey really being sent as a sacrificial lamb too?

  51. liz says:

    Sorry dashing out, haven’t had time to read the posts so apologies if this has already been mentioned.

    WoS getting a plug from the Prof Robertson UWS on RT

  52. Capella says:

    @ Cuddis
    Zerohedge often has interesting articles and calls a spade a spade – as does Max Keiser in the Keiser Report on RT (and there are some very nasty spades in the finance industry, not exempting the BoE). No-one else in the MSM seems to be aware of the massive cliff we are all shuffling towards!
    That article came from the Burning Platform website. All three in the series are worth a read:

  53. ronnie anderson says:

    @ Rob James 11.01 I,m in total aggreement with your post . I have been shouting about that since before the Referendem, they (SNP ) need to develop (NOTABLE PUTDOWNS) & comical responces that are more talked about with the wider public.

    They should,nt take part in Interviews that are not face to face, and challenge the Interviewer on their bias stance, some homework needed re previous interviews by that presenter.

    Get to it SNP, they,re making you’s look like FOOLS.

    Cant wait to see the Big putdown with Gordon Browns TV & Mags exposure, any time soon I expect.

    Try puting on Velcro BOXING GLOVES instead of LACEUP for FASTER DELIVERY OF PUNCH.

    I have no doubt the TALENTS there,but lacking in Delivery.

  54. Fiona says:

    means in effect that everyone needs a degree no matter what the position.


    This was best expressed by someone whose name escapes me. He said that a university degree has now achieved a unique position in that it is simultaneously expensive, worthless and essential.

  55. Martin McDonald says:

    Lots happening in the news but the Sun’s front page today? Some pish about a Celtic player’s house in Honduras.

    And Radio Scotland? “Jihadi John” yet again, all morning despite there being nothing at all new.

    They also wilfully or entirely negligently misrepresented the MD of Virgin East Coast yesterday morning during the very short period when they weren’t salivating over “Jihadi John”.

  56. Effijy says:

    Fud Smurphy was elected to represent Scottish Students when the threat of University Fees was announced by Labour.

    Although the Students Nation Congress agreed to fight against the introduction of fees, Our Fud went against the
    democratic vote, and the best interests of the students that he represented and declared himself I favour of them!

    Having wasted 9 years worth of free study, funded by the ordinary tax payer, Fud Murphy jumped ship when the Labour party spotted the potential in a deceitful back stabber and gave him his first “job”.

    Fud and his Labour party introduced the fees and seen them triple. Now that the SNP government has wiped out these Student fees, Fud and the Lie Party now trying to tell us that they might grant us the opportunity of keeping the Free Student places, if we vote these snakes back into power???

    This is Bizarre, Absurd, and completely surreal!

    How could anyone who is capable of counting on their fingers be capable of voting for this greedy bunch of condescending half-wits?

    My own daughter was fortunate to gain a good degree without running up massive debts.

    She now holds down a good job, has her own flat, and pays a great deal more in tax than she would have, had she not gone to University. She may well have ended up with a Zero Hours or Minimum Wage contract, like so many others.

    It pays to invest in Education, in the next generation,
    and in the future of your country!

  57. jackie g says:

    I posted this earlier this morning, well worth watching as it explains what will happen if the EU dissolves.

    I came across this on the Iplayer last night.

    The daft bit on the plane aside it is a very sobering watch.

  58. Capella says:

    @ Roll_on_2015
    Good link. I think it’s worth copying out for those who maybe didn’t click as it is on topic!

    “That this House condemns the intolerant and dictatorial behaviour of the President of the National Union of Students, Mr Jim Murphy, who has unconstitutionally suspended NUS Vice President, Clive Lewis, because he took part, in a personal capacity, in an open debate at Queen Mary and Westfield College on the issues raised by the Campaign for Free Education; further notes that along with President Elect, Douglas Trainer, both men have warned NUS Executive member, Rose Woods, that if she attends the Scottish launch of the Campaign for Free Education she too will be suspended from the NUS Executive; reminds Mr Murphy and Mr Trainer that freedom of speech is a right in the United Kingdom, that they have no power to overturn the results of elections that went against their preferred candidates and that, whilst these methods are a common practice in dictatorships around the world, they are not acceptable behaviour from someone such as Mr Murphy who is putting himself forward as suitable for election to the House of Commons.”

  59. Fiona says:

    @ ronnie anderson

    I do not think that the MSM are making SNP spokespeople look like fools at all: they are making themselves look like devotees of some arcane religion and I do not think they are doing themselves any favours at all

  60. scottieDog says:

    Most of the societal changes over the last few decades very much lines up with the deregulation of banking.

  61. MARYDOLL says:

    I agree that the SNP should be more forceful in their interviews and should NOT take part in any when they are not face-to-face with the interviewer. Interrupt the interviewer when need be , ie when they are spouting rubbish and repeat info several times

  62. bookie from hell says:

    Jim Murphy today has hit a danger point for any politician

    being laughed at by electorite

  63. Macandroid says:

    @ almannysbunnet

    That should shurely be “Stuck in the muddle with you” 🙂

  64. JamesS says:

    As a wee ‘heads up’ for those who may not fully appreciate the genuine handicap tuition fees in England are for students like my son, here are some facts and figures from the UK Govts. own projection service:

    1) Assumed loan amount: £45,000, interest is charged from the moment the first instalment hits the student’s account. A common misconception is that it costs nothing until certain a level of salary is met. Not so, the loan is increasing each month with interest of approx. £225 per month or £2700 per annum from outset.

    2) If the student follows the ‘typical’ earnings path, with the accruing interest the outstanding loan amount will peak at £75000 when the student is in their mid to late thirties, despite the fact deductions from their pay are expected to have started shortly after graduation.

    3) In total, the student will pay £152,000 for their education, finally paying the loan off in their mid-fifties.

    4) George Osbourne has started privatising the student loan book. Older student loans are now in the hands of the private sector. To secure interest from the private sector, the interest cap has to be removed so assume that the figures above are likely to be the best case scenario for actual students today.

    Any country failing to invest in their talented young is doomed in my humble opinion, never mind crippling them with these absurd levels of debt. Absolutely shameful.

  65. HandandShrimp says:

    Even the Guardian seems to have given up on the Daily Morph.

  66. Author_Al says:

    Now, on this site we don’t like to demonise No voters but welcome them in and let them discover for themselves what a bunch of lying deceitful scumbags the Labour party in Scotland is, aided by the hapless Liberals and some Tory who is yet to be investigated properly for illegal involvement with naughtily opened postal votes.

    Anyhow, there I am on Facebook (for my sins) and up pops a photo of Jim Murphy declaring to all and sundry ‘We are committed to Free Tuition For Scottish Students attending Scottish Universities” and “Scottish Labour Scrapped Tuition Fees In 2000”

    How could this pernicious bull manure have got spread all over the interwebbythingy?

    I discover that a work colleague – a vociferous No voter – is one of many who are shoving this stuff up on the FarceBoak social network…because he thinks it is a very nice networky and socially thing to do.

    Naturally I commented back on the SLAB post that St Jim will not fix it for students and is fibbing A LOT, and also neglecting to mention graduate tax…

    Oh, and that Scottish Labour does not actually exist.

    So let that be a lesson to me about FRIENDING someone on Facebook who is not actually a friend (or an enemy) but rather a misguided individual who believes Red Tory rubbish – and is foolish enough to spread the words, or rather turds, of St Jim The Unreliable.

  67. a2 says:

    “We’re not absolutely sure why a Holyrood election pledge is news just weeks out from a Westminster one, but we’ll let that slide”

    Expect loads more until the election. They’ll be a reliance on most people not knowing the difference between what’s devolved, whats retained and that grey area what can be affected by both. If they can make people think “It’s all too confusing, I’ll just vote the way I always have” then they can make some gains. Basically it’s anything that can make Jim look a great guy.

    While I’m here can anyone tell me if a cut in tuition fees down south would gave a Barnett consequence?

  68. ronnie anderson says:

    @ fiona sos the SNP interviewees are making themselves look like fools by not shouting down the other person, last nights example Murray overtalking Hosie. Hosie giving way by not talking allowing Murray to waffle on.

    Would we in conversation with anyone allow that to happen us/ myself I doubt very much & as you know I am a very polite person (hud oan ma tounge,s in ma cheek).

  69. Fiona says:

    Apropos a point made in my first post on this thread: I came across this today

    It may be that the neoliberals are not so immune from the necessity to deliver on their promises as they thought

    It is very unlikely this will succeed: but it is an interesting possibility

  70. heedtracker says:

    SLab morphing into SLab’s honestly NOT red tory shock, but look at the rest of the EU for tuition fees and teamGB red/blue tory boy world is hideously expensive for your English prospective grads.

    Most EU countries charge almost nothing, highest used to be Germany but they scrapped uni fees last year. Wonder why.

    Trouble is, teamGB has been bankrupted, so same seem red and blue tory freak show have now got find funding. English uni’s, all 120, like fees because their funding has jumped up through dumping debt on students but all of it is real debt, more and more giant UKOK debt.

    Who has to help teamGB debt mountain paying off of and chippping in to keep the whole English uni show on the road? Scrounger Scotland.

    If corruption at the BBC in Scotland wasn’t endemic, maniacs like Crash Gordon would be laughed off the screen. Instead, the dangerous buffoon is treated like a financial genius, by same BBC nutters also paid via teamGB debt mountain. Funny that.

  71. ronnie anderson says:

    @ a2 sorry cant help you with that one , but Cameron & Millyband with their 200.000 new build home,s promise, would come under the Barrett consequencials.

  72. Fiona says:

    Trouble is, teamGB has been bankrupted

    If you mean that the UK has been bankrupted, that is not even possible, much less true. I really wish people would stop parroting this because it is of no help if we wish to change the situation we find ourselves in. So long as people swallow the idea that this is true then TINA is self fulfilling. We have to abandon that notion

    As it happens there was an interesting programme on BBC radio 4 yesterday, which touched on some of the issues regarding debt and our response to it. I recommend listening to it for the questions it raises about the moral underpinnings of the story we are being fed.

  73. Gary says:

    He changes his policies with the weather. He has no principles whatever, no beliefs.

  74. Lollysmum says:

    You missed a word out ‘Constant wars’ because that’s what we’ve had now for years!

    What we need is people to be contacting folks throughout the rest of the UK & telling them what Labour is planning for Scottish students. That should spike their guns quite nicely because right now UKLabour is only talking about reducing fees to £6000 a year for the rest of UK. Talking being the operative word.

    Get tweeting & facebooking folks. See how long it takes to get the word out.

  75. Stoker says:

    I’ve only been with WOS for 6 months or so and in all that time i’ve never witnessed as many new contributors as i have over the last few days, very pleasing.

    It’s also very pleasing to see some posters getting stuck in a bit more than usual with more contributions, members such as Fiona.

    Keep it up, folks, some brilliant reading.

    Spread the word far and wide – tell everyone about WOS.
    btw, not had a chance yet to go through all of todays posts but thanks liz for that link to Prof Robertson on RT.

  76. Rob James says:

    @ Fiona at 12:35.

    I feel that at times they let the interview slip away from them. The unenlightened viewers may interpret their lack of command over the interviewer as a weakness, or indeed as an endorsement of the interviewers opinion.

    Alex Salmond could give them all a lesson on how to command an interview,. I repeat my assertion that he would have made mincemeat of Sarah Smith the other night.

  77. Bugger (the Panda) says:

    “The trouble with lying and deceiving is that their efficiency depends entirely upon a clear notion of the truth that the liar and deceiver wishes to hide.”

    — Hannah Arendt

    Does anyone think, really think that Jim Murphy knows what a lie is and what he is saying is that?

  78. wingman 2020 says:

    “But regardless of the definition, there is no doubt that today’s education contributes to what our collective future will look like. Tomorrow’s society and culture will be shaped by today’s education, whether that is primary, secondary, tertiary or higher education. And if education shapes our future, then our vision of Scotland’s future has to shape our approach to education today.”

  79. thomaspotter2014 says:

    Just seen Jakeball Bird pushing their agenda on daytime Reporting Scotland-you’ll never guess-lt’s about waiting times at A&E and some drivel nonsense from Slavergub Murphy-no change there then.
    A fuckin disgrace.
    I wonder who the target audience is?
    Let’s put these bastards out on their ears!
    May 7th canny come soon enough.

  80. HandandShrimp says:

    I spoke too soon, Severin has his Daily dose of Morph u.

  81. Les Wilson says:

    Capella says:

    Oh your on the ball already, was going to do just that!
    But also should be linked to twitter and the other social thingy’s!

    Respect for a good find!

  82. wingman 2020 says:

    “So education is about growth and change, more so than ever before. It is key to any current or future competitive advantage in Scotland. Hence, education is vital to sustainable economic growth in Scotland. Education and research are both inexorably linked to Scotland’s future regardless of the referendum result.”

  83. Bugger (the Panda) says:

    @ Fiona says:
    3 March, 2015 at 12:35 pm

    @ ronnie anderson

    “I do not think that the MSM are making SNP spokespeople look like fools at all: they are making themselves look like devotees of some arcane religion and I do not think they are doing themselves any favours at all

    Can we arrange for all of them to be given dodgy haircute, new trainers and jugs of Cool Aid?

    The comet is coming and is on a crash trajectory, Jim.

  84. schrodingers cat says:

    wow, the welsh are onto labours treachery, if plaid have people like this then indy for wales is a shoe in

  85. wingman 2020 says:

    “Education is a right and a necessity for any forward thinking egalitarian and democratic society. It is the basis of equal opportunity and social justice. It is the foundation of the social and economic competencies with which we will compete in the globalising world.

    Free education is therefore the right strategy for Scotland. We already know this will be under threat in the event of a ‘No’ vote. We already know that poverty and inequality have worsened under the Westminster system and can certainly improve with independence. We already know that Westminster plan further austerity measures, like the bedroom tax, which will shake the very foundations of opportunity for educational attainment amongst our young people”.

  86. Born Optimist says:

    Just a thought. Why do people keep referring to neoliberalism? It seems to me we have moved rather quickly back to Victorian values with the ultimate goal of Dickensian values within reach. I think therefore I’d prefer to refer to neoliberals as neoDickensians. It would certainly give a better indication of how they perceive society and the classes of individuals within it.

  87. bookie from hell says:

    Jim Murphy

    Speaking to Holyrood magazine 🙂

    He said: “I’m not a Westminster politician and I’ve not come up from Westminster. I have come across from Glasgow today and I am not a Westminster politician, I am a Scottish politician.

  88. Robert Louis says:

    Labour Scottish branch policy on tuition fees;

    ‘We have always believed in NO upfront tuition fees’, which is the most deceptive piece of sophistry, you will see. The point is, even in England at present NOBODY pays upfront tuition fees, as they are paid afterwards via a student loan.

    Make no mistake, Labour word their statements in such a way, so they can indeed introduce back end tuition fees, which in reality for virtually all students who currently do pay fees, see no change, as once again, they would be paid afterwards via a student loan.

    The nonsense argument (which is never challenged by the media) for the use of tuition fees, is that graduates will have the capacity to earn more once they graduate, so should pay more back. But without tuition fees, that is exactly what happens anyway. Income tax in this country is based upon earnings, so if, say a graduate earns more, then they pay more tax. Adding tuition fees on top of it, is unjustified and punitive

    To this day, I am still surprised at the number of young folks who do not know that it was the Labour party who first introduced tuition fees, just as they did the bedroom tax. No wonder we call them red tories.

  89. ronnie anderson says:

    @ HandandShrimp 12.14. re Starkey Q/T unlike Polyfiller he,s a Infiller of no substance ie TIMEWASTER you dont happen to think the BBC want us informed do you by serious discourse.

  90. Robert Louis says:

    Labour Scottish branch policy on tuition fees;

    ‘We have always believed in NO upfront tuition fees’, which is the most deceptive piece of sophistry, you will see. The point is, even in England at present NOBODY pays upfront tuition fees, as they are paid afterwards via a student loan.

    Make no mistake, Labour word their statements in such a way, so they can indeed introduce back end tuition fees, which in reality for virtually all students who currently do pay fees, see no change, as once again, they would be paid afterwards via a student loan.

    The nonsense argument (which is never challenged by the media) for the use of tuition fees, is that graduates will have the capacity to earn more once they graduate, so should pay more back. But without tuition fees, that is exactly what happens anyway. Income tax in this country is based upon earnings, so if, say a graduate earns more, then they pay more tax. Adding tuition fees on top of it, is unjustified and punitive

    To this day, I am still surprised at the number of young folks who do not know that it was the Labour party who first introduced tuition fees, just as they did the bedroom tax. No wonder many in Scotland call them red tories.

  91. Stoker says:

    @ ronnie (1.10pm).

    I’m with you on that one, ronnie.

    It’s highly infuriating when you see them (SNP) being overly polite and giving way to ignorant liars.

    Yes, it’s nice to set an example but when you are being rudely interrupted with lies and deception then there can be absolutely no excuse for “giving way” and letting them away with it.

    It strikes me that a lot of the politicians on our side need to learn, very quickly, how to deliver firm factual retorts that would cut a person to the bone, very much as Alex Salmond, Christine Grahame, Nicola or Margo would do.

    It’s nice to be nice but some need to learn how to fight outside the ring.

  92. Robert Louis says:

    JamesS, at 1257,

    That is a great post, and explains the obscenity of student tuition fees.

  93. Valerie says:

    I have to agree with comments about SNP, sometimes losing the interview skirmishes, there does need to be a tad more edge to their performance – like the performance Jeanne Freeman gave with Andrew Neil.

    That interview had me punching the air, and shouting “take that, you Tory apologist”

    I have to admit to liking watching Neil, because he can go hard on Labour and Tory at times, but I think he goes with how the media are leaning that day.

    The key SNP figures are trying to avoid being compared with the Punch and Judy style in London, but they really need Salmond to drill them in how to go after the point.

  94. Lollysmum says:

    Re Prof Robertson link to RT-brilliant piece & well worth watching. At the very end he says go to Wings over Scotland & see some of the inventive uses of the Funded by UK govt tag. GOTCHA! Thanks Prof-you’re a star.

    Film was published yesterday so needs spreading far & wide. He certainly doesn’t mess about & says Scots are treating it as a huge joke. YES spot on.

    Phew I enjoyed writing that 😉

    As for SNP in interviews. I am getting compliments here from friends & colleagues saying how sane they are & they wished they had politicians that could be trusted not to just talk policies but who actually get on & implement them. Many saying they can’t see why they are being monstered down here but the answer that they threaten the established order & their seats on the gravy tain tends to satisfy as a response.

    SNP aren’t daft. They saw what happened on social media during the referendum. They know they don’t need to sink to the same depths as the unionist parties because we & others like us have their backs. Yes, we will criticise them when they need it as I did yesterday but in the main we respect what they’ve done for Scotland. They know & we know that they’ve done more in 7 years than any other party ever has.

    Whilst they can retain the moral high ground we are the ones destroying the opposition’s arguments & exposing their lies. What’s not to like? It’s become a partnership of party of government & the people. What government wouldn’t want that? We are investing ourselves in the future of Scotland by choice-not because we are told we have to do it.

    Oh & just for info Dim Jim is on Twitter this morning denying that he was at uni for 9 years. Another lie then-wonder if his wiki page has been amended?

  95. Valerie says:

    @bookie from hell @1.39

    Hahahaha, what a tool

  96. ronnie anderson says:

    @ bookie from hell.

    What ah cross we have in JIMBO

    all the greif we have to bare

    whens he gone back tae Westminster

    an dey his LYING fae there.

  97. Lollysmum says:

    Val McDermid is on BBCQT tonight & she supports independence. She was hilarious on it last year when she took several panellists to the cleaners-great to watch.

    PS-I like her books too.

    I’m glad Humza is doing QT tonight because Mhairi was only adopted as candidate yesterday. Photos were on Twitter last night with a huge campaign team behind her & I mean huge 🙂 I reckon she’s putting local voters before TV appearances & that’s the right choice. Let people who will be voting for her in May see what she’s made of rather than just be cannon fodder for the BBC. It’s the people in Paisley that matter not TV pundits.

  98. Robert Louis says:

    Jim Murphy:’I’m not a Westminster politician’

    Seriously funny.

  99. schrodingers cat says:

    Michael Sheen speaks to the “People’s March for the NHS” in Tredegar on St. David’s Day 2015

    Aneurin Bevan, had cast iron integrity and a raging passion. This was a man who had no fear in standing up for what he believed in and he made no bones about how he felt. This was a man who publically stated, “No amount of cajolery and no attempt at ethical or social seduction can erradicate from my heart, a deep burning hatred for the tory party”…

    Bevan said, “We know what happens to those who stay in the middle of the road, they get run down” When people are too scared to say what they really mean, too careful to speak from their hearts, when integrity is too much of a risk, it is no surprise that people feel disengaged from politics. There is never an excuse to not speak up for what you think is right, you must stand up for what you believe, but first of all, by god, believe in something….The Labour government arguable did as much damage to the NHS as any Tory or coalition led government.

    you have besmirched the name of britain, you have made us ashamed of those things we were formally proud, you have offended against evey principle of decency, there is only one way you can even begin to restore your tarnished reputation….get out…get out

    lol, Rock on Micheal Sheen

  100. Lollysmum says:

    See Plod’s put in an appearance on Soaring thread.Must be quiet in the library!

  101. heedtracker says:

    Fiona says:
    3 March, 2015 at 1:19 pm
    Trouble is, teamGB has been bankrupted

    If you mean that the UK has been bankrupted, that is not even possible, much less true. I really wish people would stop parroting this.

    I’m a parrot with a memory Fiona. Countries go bust. UK went bust in the 70’s under Labour and needed the IMF to bail them out. The IMF do this a lot and they’re funded or rather backed by countries that unlike the UK are not bankrupted.

    The big issue for England last year was losing Scotland from the UKOK account balance and that would have meant higher borrowing costs for England on a practically uncontrollable deficit and an out of control national debt all resulting in a lot less borrowing and lot less major investment multipliers like HS2 and so on.

    If we had voted YES a lot of English major public spends like uni and college or say the £90bn per year welfare costs would probably still happen but at much higher costs and that is why bankruptcy is quite possible. The only thing that saves big economies is they’re too big too fail and that’s what kept the banksters going and out of jail and probably the only thing propping up England.

    Or Fiona, why are English students now funding the whole English Higher Education through their personal debt.

  102. Clootie says:

    Is this a Vow?

    Such a pity we don’t have any journalists who could ask the question posed here.

    Unfortunately all we have in Scotland is a MSM who print and broadcast Labour Party material as “fact”.

    Look at the careful structure of this announcement. It is designed to mislead in order that they can charge students later and by ensuring careful wording claim that they have not broken any promise.

    Compare Alex Salmonds “…rocks will melt under the Sun before we remove free education” to this twisting evasion.

    Once again we return to the core problem of a biased media distorting the information presented to the public.

  103. orri says:

    These are obviously Labour’s plans for Westminster decisions that effect the rUK and just as with the NHS they will have repercussions as far as Scotland’s funding goes. So as long as Labour are clear about that or someone, say the SNP, point that out it kind of negates any reluctance on the part of Labour should it come to a coalition with the SNP.

    The main danger here is that their campaign is playing into voters in the rUK who might see this as them relying on Scottish voters returning Labour MPs on an agenda that includes voting on devolved matters. As usual they seem to assume that no-one outside of Scotland is listening to them, or that we in Scotland don’t listen to what they say elsewhere. The real danger is that even if this campaigning increases their electoral chances in Scotland it might reduce them in England and Wales and ensure the Conservatives manage to pull of a second term.

  104. Stoker says:

    Lollysmum wrote:
    “Phew I enjoyed writing that”

    Not half as much as i enjoyed reading it.

  105. ronnie anderson says:

    To ALL NEW READERS dont be put off with ( I will you with Hammers as above ) ah seen the receipts fae the last Crowdfunder & the only Hammer the Rev bought wiz fae the £1 shoppee & it has wan o they squeeky things on the Hammer.

    But get stuck in on posting,but dont upset the Rev we need him to stay focussed,& not be distracted by the lack of Paragraph Breaks.

  106. schrodingers cat says:

    I’m glad Humza is doing QT tonight

    hear hear, i enjoyed watching him rip janet street porter a new one last time he was on QT.
    Humza is a leader in waiting. I have always liked him

  107. Macart says:

    Mr Murphy and the meeja trying to rewrite history I see.

    Let’s make it simple. Liar, liar pants on fire.

    Under Labour front door or back, you will be required to stump up the cash for your kids higher education. No amount of semantics will hide the fact that your kids will either have to forego higher learning due to lack of cash or that bank bank balances will be several thousands of pounds lighter if they do get there.

    End result? A two tier society – those who have and can advance and those who have not, therefore will not advance.

    On SNP and interviews: The reason I trust the SNP in power is because they don’t behave as the others do. They don’t do thuggishly interrupting, talking over and talking down to others. They behave the way I expect a public servant to behave.

    Having said that, yeah, I’d like to see some payback for years of public abuse myself. The urge to tell self appointed moral guardians in broadcasting, mouthy know nuthin’ pundits, who happen to have read a book on a subject and downright ignorantly rude politicians to shut the f**k up and let others finish, is overpowering at times. But then I’m not a public servant and I don’t have to behave like one.

    If some weaponsgrade brainfart is rude t’me I have the options of:

    a. saying so
    b. walking away
    c. slapping them silly till either their IQ or their manners improve

    But that’s just me personally. 🙂

  108. Capella says:

    The Telegraph has a handy timeline of tuition fees and how they evolved (up to 2010), missing out, of course, that the SNP abolished them in Scotland when they became the Government in Scotland.

    Under Labour many thousands of Scottish students racked up huge debts which they will pay off for 25 years. Labour should not be allowed to bury that inconvenient fact in a welter of spin.

  109. Marie clark says:

    Whit! JImbo is not a wastemonster politician. Well in that case whit are we payin him fur.Plus humungous expenses.

    Check the back o’ the heid fur buttons.

  110. Calgacus says:

    @ronnie anderson,

    Completely agree with you about interview techniques from the SNP.

    Why oh why do they constantly allow themselves to be nothing more than talking heads in a grimy, low definition, out of focus studio shot from Dundee or Aberdeen.

    Get your arses in gear and get into the Glasgow studios and get the fucking gloves off.

    Wingers have been saying this for years now but perhaps you are not interested in our feedback.

  111. kininvie says:


    I agree. The SNP actually believe that people aren’t fools and don’t want to see their representatives descending to shouting over others for the sake of ‘getting the last word’. Remember – they play a long, long game – and all the polling evidence about the popularity of the Scottish government suggests they are getting it right.

    If the SNP are riding high in the polls, I suggest it has a lot to do with voters being thoroughly bored with the endless ya-boo-suckery of Westminster and the endless stream of broken promises.

    Out canvassing I’m hearing a lot less of that old “all politicians are the same” refrain than I used to. Clarity, reason and honesty will – eventually – win the day over the tedious old formulae. So although I agree it’s frustrating to see ScoLabs spin doctors getting the odd edge here and there, I hold to the idea that given enough rope etc…..

    It may take time, but that is what we have plenty of. We’ve been 300 years on this road – what is a decade more or less in the end?

  112. Les Wilson says:

    orri says:

    I think you are correct in your post, but the real problem is that they will be happy to accept defeat.

    No1, They are really in no position to run the country at this time. I am sure they are well aware of that themselves.
    No2, They hate the SNP so much they would prefer a Tory government.

    SNP bad, at all costs, never mind if it interferes with democracy the Union is their god. (as is their gravy train ).

  113. handclapping says:

    They are in Dundee or Aberdeen because they are serving their constituents there. That’s their job.

    Its the ones in Glasgow that are letting the voters down and what you want on the telly is irrelevant. You want entertainment for your £145, I want service for my £67,000 + expenses.

  114. mj says:

    Why are Labour talking about devolved matters anyway when were leading up to the Westminster GE? Cause their policies there are the same as the Tories. We need to keep bringing them back to non devolved matters as thats where they’re weakest.

  115. Andy-B says:

    Mad Jim Murphy in the Glasgow Evening Times today, a full page spread, with the heading Jim writes for the Evening Times.

    In which Murphy claims, if you vote Labour in Scotland, he’ll make sure the living wages rises.

    Murphy also says he’s written to David Cameron asking that he gives a knighthood to John Greig and Billy McNeil.

    Murphy is all over the place, the sign of a desperate man.

    Here’s the ET link I can’t find it online but its in the paper version.

  116. Helena Brown says:

    Born Optimist, I certainly agree with the neoDickensian tag, it could even go further back to the time of Jane Austin and the poor people had truly awful lives. I often thought pre Black Death age would be what our Lords and Masters wanted. A nice bunch of Serfs who were worked to death and starved. The Black Death reduced the numbers available and people started acquiring rights and wages. Looks like the Tories are working on it.

  117. Brian Doonthetoon says:

    Re: confusion being sown.

    I got this link from somewhere (may have been Wings), some weeks ago.

    An interesting read. Here’s one quote from it:-

    “If, as believed, it will end in another hung parliament leading to another coalition government, then how can the public distinguish between what is being offered by the different parties?

    Unfortunately the strategies adopted by most Establishment parties in developed economies can be predicted in such circumstances.
    They are little to do with clarification and honesty and much more to do with confusion.

    The tactic adopted by spin doctors and the host of public relations consultants hired to show off each party is the exact opposite of what is required for the public to make informed, rational choices as to how they will vote in May. Certainty is the enemy of spin doctors.

    The tactic of confusion and uncertainty as a deliberate election strategy is derived from one of Vladimir Putin’s most trusted advisers.
    Vladislav Surkov has helped Putin stay in power for 15 years by adopting an entirely new political lexicon”

    It’s from the Morning Star, by the way.

  118. The Man in the Jar says:

    @Born Optimist

    “Just a thought. Why do people keep referring to neoliberalism? It seems to me we have moved rather quickly back to Victorian values with the ultimate goal of Dickensian values within reach.”

    I thought that we had skipped Dickensian and gone straight to Medieval. 🙂

  119. The Man in the Jar says:

    @Helena Brown

    Snap! 🙂

  120. Jim McIntosh says:

    Why are some posters talking about QT tonight. Is it not on on Thursday 5th March?

  121. Legerwood says:

    Labour introduced tuition fees but I thought it was the Coalition Government that tripled them to £9,000. The article seems to suggest it was Labour who tripled them to that level.

  122. Bob Mack says:

    I agree from a strictly personal view that the polite interview technique can sometimes be seen as a weakness, but I am also aware that the S.N.P. government are quietly going about their business in an efficient and workmanlike manner.
    If public perception was based primarily on the former,it is highly debateable whether they would be riding so high in the current polls.They are therefore being considered worthy of support by providing good Governance,and that to me at least is a major factor.We have seen those who talk a good game but fail to deliver,vanish in the rear view mirror.People are not stupid and know what is good.

  123. Iain Gray's Subway Lament says:

    This isn’t a difficult one for activists. Like on so many other subjects you simply put the question to the voter on the street and on the doorstep…

    Who do you trust to further improve and keep education free in scotland?

    Nicola Sturgeon or Ed Miliband?

    Assuming Murphy doesn’t change his mind (and is still there in 2016 for the scottish election) an ultra-Blairite like himself is going to find it impossible to persuade scots that education would be safe with him either. Doesn’t matter how many puff-pieces he gets in the scottish Labour papers and TV, Murphy never looks like he can be trusted on subjects like this because Murphy IS a right-wing Blairite through and through and has never been able to hide it.

  124. ronnie anderson says:

    @ Kininvie.

    It may take time, but that is what we have plenty of. We’ve been 300 years on this road – what is a decade more or less in the end?.

    Andrew, thats the problem ANOTHER DECADE + MORE & all that while our REVENUE flows South. I dont need to mention DARIAN to You,Westminster can afford to play the long game as we,re paying for it, but not to the benefit of the Scottish People.

    We need Independence Post Haste before Scotlands laid waste as with our Oil/Gas /Fishing/& other assorted Industries.

  125. orri says:

    I’m not sure that having the Living Wage rise is that clever an idea. Now if he’d said they’d make the National Minimum Wage rise to the same level and track it he might have a point. Regardless of which it’d really depend on circumstances how much you need to live on and how long at a given rate you’d have to work to earn it.

  126. heedtracker says:

    I thought that we had skipped Dickensian and gone straight to Medieval.

    Every era produces reform, political radical or gradual reform. We’re in a period of reform right now. If say Reverend Campbell stood for election and gets elected, in the future Scottish history may have a lot to say about him.

    Every country has its reforming heroes past and present but its interesting that opposition is always the same, deeply corrupt established order desperately clinging on to power, privilege and wealth, often using ("Quizmaster" - Ed)s, the law, military the press and so on. Add in your own present day examples of UKOK defenders now.

    SLab once ruled Scotland on behalf of England but its all over now. The more devo they “give…”

  127. Capella says:

    @ Fiona
    I listened to the radio programme you linked to about the origin of money – 15 mins long. He doesn’t get round to the origin till later today so, while waiting, and for those with more visual learning style here’s an animated history of money which I found quite interesting. It’s been around since the 2008 crash and has added more parts but the first part deals with money as debt.

    I tend to agree with heedtracker on this. If countries can’t go bankrupt what is Greece getting excited about, why have we had austerity for 6 years, what was the Wall Street crash etc etc ? Are you saying recessions and depressions are all created by oligarchs to steal resources? (Can believe that actually!).

  128. Desimond says:

    Another day and another showing from “THEY SNP ARE SHITE BTW” brigade.

    Steady as she goes for me please Captain sturgeon….the Keep calm and Act professional while we let the idiots show themselves up tactic is working damn fine so far!

  129. Lollysmum says:

    Jim McIntosh

    Guilty as charged m’lud 🙂 Are you hanging or flogging today?

    Sorry Jim got carried away there & forgot we were only up to Tuesday so far. Phew it’s been a long week & it only started Friday!

  130. Devereux says:

    @Bob Mack says ‘I am also aware that the S.N.P. government are quietly going about their business in an efficient and workmanlike manner.’

    SNP politicians are playing a very canny long game. Every time they meet someone in industry or interact with organisations and institutions they are looking to make a good impression and give examples of responsive governance. And every time the people involved go home and hear invective directed against these same politicians on the BBC or in newspapers it creates doubt.

    The SNP are winning Scotland man and woman at a time. While the opposition shout and spit at Scots the SNP are reaching out to them in their everyday lives. The foundations are getting stronger every year.

  131. arthur thomson says:

    Murphy and Co. have adopted a policy of attacking the Scottish Government to try to undermine the SNP. For a while that concerned me but I now think that it is a major error on their part. The Scottish Government compares very favourably with Westminster and I fancy that a lot of people will be getting a bit annoyed that ‘their’ government is being put down.

    Nicola, by contrast, is sticking to Westminster issues and putting forward genuine alternatives to burst the Westminster bubble.

    The post above is about education and we have to give the more timorous of our fellow Scots the time they need to learn. Once they understand how their trust has been abused they will want to change. That is when they will need and turn to the reassuring soft power and proven competence of the SNP as an alternative.

    Be patient my friends, We are increasing in number and growing in strength.

  132. Bugger (the Panda) says:

    @ Capella

    Countries with their own currency cannot go bankrupt because they can print more money and devalue their debt. The UK has been doing this for centuries, There is one caveat to that, in that the debt must be defined in their own currency. If not their debt will just increase in proportion to the exchange rate of their currency and the loan currency.

    Greece’s debt is designated in Euros and short of defaulting and making a deal with creditors, which the Germans are not going to allow, they are well stuffed.

    Defaulting and not paying or reaching an agreement with creditors risks them being shut out international markets for bond loans, which everybody needs.

    Argentina is trying that now but is being pursued though the US court system by Vulture Funds who bought the Argentine debt for a few cents per dollar and are nor trying to recover many more cents per dollar.

    Fiona will probably give a better explanation, soon.

    She is Wonderwoman, you know,and is just finishing off some basking and patissieries, 🙂

  133. A (reluctant) Labour Member says:

    Point of technical detail:
    Ed Miliband wasn’t elected as an MP until 2005, which would have made it rather difficult for him to vote to introduce tuition fees in 1998 or treble them in 2004.

  134. Bugger (the Panda) says:


    baking not basking

    Maybe basket weaving as well

  135. Fiona says:

    I’m a parrot with a memory Fiona. Countries go bust. UK went bust in the 70’s under Labour and needed the IMF to bail them out. The IMF do this a lot and they’re funded or rather backed by countries that unlike the UK are not bankrupted.

    The big issue for England last year was losing Scotland from the UKOK account balance and that would have meant higher borrowing costs for England on a practically uncontrollable deficit and an out of control national debt all resulting in a lot less borrowing and lot less major investment multipliers like HS2 and so on.

    If we had voted YES a lot of English major public spends like uni and college or say the £90bn per year welfare costs would probably still happen but at much higher costs and that is why bankruptcy is quite possible. The only thing that saves big economies is they’re too big too fail and that’s what kept the banksters going and out of jail and probably the only thing propping up England.

    Or Fiona, why are English students now funding the whole English Higher Education through their personal debt.

    The UK did not go bust in the 70’s. A country with a sovereign currency cannot go bust. There is no level of debt it cannot service because it is the sole producer of the currency and so it can always pay.

    A country without a sovereign currency can go bust because it does not produce the currency. That is the position of the countries in the eurozone

    A country which borrows in a foreign currency can also go bust, because it does not produce the currency the debt is denominated in.

    Countries without sovereign currency or which borrow in a foreign currency have real constraints, therefore. The UK has a sovereign currency and it does not have any such constraint in reality.

    It suits the neoliberals to pretend that is not so. It suits them very well because it means that rather than print the money the country needs, the country borrows and pays interest to the financial elite. This concentrates the money in the hands of that elite and increases inequality.

    To persuade us this is necessary they raise the ghoulie of inflation and so we are told that a government which prints money will produce hyper inflation. This is nonsense, as we have known since the days of Keynes.

    In the days of the post war consensus the policy aim was full employment. That changed in the course of the 70’s culminating in the adoption of the current economic theory which holds sway over most of the world: whereby control of inflation is the only thing that matters.

    The UK had its highest level of debt just after the last world war, when it owed 260+% of GDP: yet that period was the most socially progressive and economically successful we have ever seen, arguably. Now we are supposed to get scared cos it is something like 80% of GDP. What changed, heedtracker? Apart from the economic orthodoxy?

    It is absolutely true that all neoliberals conspire to pretend we need to borrow. Some believe it and some are merely self serving

    But there is only one pot of money and who controls it is a matter of politics alone. We have chosen to cede our democracy to the plutocrats by allowing them control of the money supply which properly belongs to government. Those countries in the eurozone have to do that: the UK does not.

    Flim Flam man has explained this far better than I can several times and I miss his contributions. There is nothing more important to understand in the context of independence or, indeed, of democracy across the whole of the UK.

    I really do urge you to get to grips with this stuff: I am learning and I do not pretend it is easy. But it is crucial, because without that understanding there is not much of an alternative and we will forever live in a plutocracy

  136. Bugger (the Panda) says:

    @ Lollysmum says:

    3 March, 2015 at 3:48 pm

    Jim McIntosh

    Guilty as charged m’lud 🙂

    Are you hanging or flogging today?

    50 shades of gravy, eh?

  137. Johnny says:

    Fiona @ 1:19

    Thanks for pointing in the direction that series, very interesting and have posted to my FB in the hope some will also listen. I think I may have seen Mr Graeber somewhere else recently.

  138. Lollysmum says:

    Crumbling Wesminster by SNP

  139. North chiel says:

    Radio BBC North Britain now in “overdrive” with lead on A&E (as
    Per usual) .Eleanor “emergency ward10” Bradford in full anti Scotgov flow
    Backed up by Jenny “crisis” Marra.

    England apparently ahead by circa .25 of a patient per hundred re
    4 hour wait.( I suppose in racing terms “a short head”?)What a disaster
    Then ?

  140. Davy says:

    Is having a free education system, not only a privledge to the students but also to the nation itself. The very fact our government puts a free education system as a number one priority for our country, does that not say something about our governments character.

    And that may be the difference between the different coloured tory parties and the SNP, the red tories etc do not appear to have the character to look beyond the next election, their weak mean spirited approach to dealing with the scottish government constantly shows they would never consider doing something beyond looking after their own interests, “their constant mauling of the NHS” shows this.

    To take a stand and back it up for something like free education for your nation, is truly an honourable and honest message from our government, in that they put our requirements before their party. And it is an ongoing message with “free prescriptions, free care, free bus travel”, and all regardless of your social or material status.

    My heart belongs to my family & friends but my soul is my country, I believe the SNP collective soul is the same.

    So trust your soul,

    Vote Scotland, Vote SNP, get SNP.

  141. Capella says:

    @ BtP and Fiona
    Thanksfor the explanations.
    Next question!
    So why hasn’t the government, Labour and Tory, just done that i.e. printed money to pay off the debt. Do they just enjoy making people miserable? (Disabled people sanctioned, thousands of children living in poverty, unemployed ex soldiers committing suicide etc).

    Why was Zimbabwe’s inflation rate of 500 billion % a problem for them if we don’t need to worry about that (or the Weimar Republic for that matter?). Why doesn’t Greece just go back to the drachma and tell the creditors to p off?

    It’s all very baffling!

  142. Phil Robertson says:

    You and My Comb says:
    3 March, 2015 at 11:31 am
    my children will also pay for the debt incurred in educating English students because the unpaid loans will register as National Debt in approximately 30 years time.

    I think you’ve fallen for the “HE is free in Scotland” myth. It is true that, in most but not all cases, there are no tuition fees but Scottish students match the average in England for student loans taken in the course of an honours degree in the region of £12k).

    You’re right about it being a severe bad debt problem (probably why the Governed is trying to sell it on) but it’s not an English-only problem

  143. Tarisgal says:

    It seems to me that in years past, when university tuition was free, politicians saw that as a means of replenishing their ‘toady’ stock. Tuition was free but it was still not easy for children of working class parents to attend Uni. The costs of daily living were difficult to find, not so well off parents struggled to provide for their own homes and their children’s ‘board’… and this struggle, I think, served to encourage students and focus them on finishing (‘some people’ notwithstanding!), finishing well and graduating. Well off politicos saw these graduates get well paid jobs, become ‘professional’ and striving for high salaries, acquiring property and status symbols and thus, becoming ‘achievers that ‘went places’.

    Lately – so many people now have degrees – and can’t get ‘professional’ jobs. These graduates are working as dish washers in Curry houses. Now please don’t get me wrong – I’m not decrying the job. It’s hard but honest work though to my mind, hard work with little remuneration. HOWEVER, I believe that politicians do not now see a graduate as potential ‘professional, middle class, wealth centred, conservative supporters’ any more. Instead ‘the many’ have become well educated, well balanced members of society that want to see SOCIETY become richer, rather than simply get rich themselves at any cost. And that can’t be tolerated. Therefore, the bar must go up. They must have post graduate degrees which are likely to make them feel more ‘professional’ and hopefully support a conservative government. And the Coup de Grace – make the soldier ants PAY for their education! THAT will limit the number of graduates and the ‘professional’ status will once again become a desired outcome and hopefully replenish their support base.

    @You And My Comb: I have to say, I really hadn’t thought of the English tuition fees in terms of affecting Scotland’s debts and budget! But now you comment on that, I can certainly see how it does! Thank you for that! Which is exactly why I have found this site to be so helpful in constructing a workable (for me!) political ideology. The thoughts and ideas that bounce around here, whether I agree with them or not (though I usually do), are so helpful at determining how I see things. And what I want from a Scottish government. Oh and – this of the English tuition fees is certainly is another killer of that old chestnut ‘Scotland is sponging off England’!

    As regards SNP politician’s attitude to interviews, like many here I often shout at my telly, “just shout louder, don’t let him talk over you like that!” Before the indyref and now, I too feel that sometimes SNP spokespeople are just too nice! Having said that, I do think that they come across as less antagonistic than other party spokespeople – and I like that that can really aid the idea that ‘nationalists’ are NOT the foul mouthed, aggressive and abusive bullies the britnats are determined to paint us. I think the calmer ground gives us a little more kudos. BUT – I do think that the SNP spokespeople REALLY DO need some good training in ‘interview skills and techniques’, learning when to put a bit more of an edge to their replies when necessary – and when it is sometimes just necessary to go for the jugular! 😉

  144. thedogphilosopher says:

    Great analysis by Fiona at 10.19. The kind of thing the Rev had in mind as a guest posting perhaps? It is noticeable how Wingers agree and converge around core issues such as health, education, anti-austerity, anti-nuclear, gender equality etc.

    Visions of a more civilised society than that offered by the neoliberal consensus of the Westminster club. If they want to take the American political route, that is up to them.

    But not for us, not for us

  145. Ken Waldron says:

    “Students who acquire large debts putting themselves through school are unlikely to think about changing society, Chomsky suggested. “When you trap people in a system of debt . they can’t afford the time to think.” Tuition fee increases are a “disciplinary technique,” and, by the time students graduate, they are not only loaded with debt, but have also internalized the “disciplinarian culture.” This makes them efficient components of the consumer economy.”
    Noam Chomsky

  146. Fiona says:

    @ Capella

    I cannot make window’s into people’s minds, but I think there are a number of possible answers to your questions. I have already touched on some of them

    As I see it, the oil crisis of the 1970’s allowed the elite an opportunity to challenge the post war Keynesian consensus. They had, of course, wished to do that throughout, because increased equality is no part of their agenda. In fact they abhor it, for obvious reasons. For a time they acceded to the inevitable because it was not politically possible to return to the status quo ante the war: people remembered the 30’s and were not prepared to go back to that situation. One of the effects of the second world war was to raise expectations. Alongside of that the manifest failure of orthodox economic theory had a solution which was articulated by Keynes and was shown to be helpful in the American “new deal” under Roosevelt. That is why the consensus arose, IMO: but it was not true consensus. It never is:it never can be. That is because the interests of the elite and the employer are not, and cannot be, aligned with the interests of the rest of us.

    The mantra “we are all in it together” rears its head from time to time over long periods. It is always a mantra of the right and it is always a lie.

    The elite saw their opportunity when the oil crisis of the early 70’s arose and they made full use of it. They had pseudo academic backing in the form of the monetarists and the Chicago boys, who gave them an apparent intellectual underpinning. There are two elements at work there: in the first place economists have successfully disguised utter nonsense in a complicated fog of maths and jargon such that most people give up on trying to understand it on grounds of “too complicated”. But it looks impressive and they have the backing of all of the media (who are part of that same elite) and so nobody notices they are naked. That was coupled with what was the political genius of Thatcher; her sheer stupidity. She managed to translate that nonsensical analysis in to the language of the household and to persuade people that she understood it all and it was just like that which they are familiar with – a household budget.

    In this she was also backed by one of the perpetual human narratives: that of selfishness. That narrative always co-exists with the narrative of cooperation and since we are dual (IMO) both have elements of truth which is what enables them to survive. At different points in history one or the other is ascendant in the public mind and we are in one of the selfish phases now: have been for several decades. When we are in such a phase it is always portrayed as “realism” or “going with the grain of human nature” etc. Again a simplistic story which is reasonably easy to sell

    In support of the shift are all of the elite and they used this shift to promote “globalisation” and “deregulation”: which really just means “put plutocrats in charge everywhere”. To succeed in that agenda it is also necessary to divorce “politicians”(who are always scoundrels) from “democracy” (which is presented as the same as free trade, particularly in America. The neoliberal economic analysis handily argues that political interference in the market is always much worse than doing nothing and letting the market decide. This is because the market is magic, self regulating, and tending to equilibrium all the time. But Keynes (and reality) showed that even if there is a tendency to equilibrium (which I personally do not accept) that equilibrium does not require full employment, which the neoliberal theory takes as given, on no evidence at all. It is this which justifies the attack on the poor: since their theory says there is no such thing as involuntary unemployment, it is reasonable to characterise the unemployed as lazy scroungers. And they manage to persuade us that this is NOT political. It boggles my mind, frankly

    I believe that there is a mix of reasons as to why governments have gone along with this. Some of them actually believe the fairy tale. Some are part of the elite, and so stand to gain personally or as a social group; some have been brainwashed into believing that the financial brains are smarter than they are and so take their views as gospel. Richard Murphy, in his book “The courageous state” also points out that governments are made of people who have been subject to the same propaganda as the rest of us. That has the effect of turning them into moral cowards: they are afraid to act in case it makes things worse. So they do not effectively collect tax etc. By now they are hostages to the banksters, because of what they have done before. That includes the labour party, who bought this rubbish long ago. Within that mindset of borrowing etc, there really is no alternative. And that is why Blair’s much vaunted ditching of analysis and ideology, in favour of “what works” was so damaging: and so appealing in the UK because there is a streak of anti-intellectualism which runs deep in our polity. Nobody stopped to ask “works for whom”. The answer is “works for the bankers and their pals”

    The upshot is that we have a generation of politicians who have been taught to despise politicians as worse than useless: so they have nothing left but to line their pockets, and they do. But many of them do actually believe this nonsense: and we will have to wait till they die off unless we boot them out: because the consequences are so bad they dare not admit just how wrong they have been.

    As to Greece: no idea why they do not just quit the eurozone but it seems the people do not want to do that yet. What is certainly true is that if they do you ain’t seen nothing yet in terms of the reaction of that same elite. For they dare not allow an independent Scotland or a Greece which leaves the euro to show that there is another way: it would probably lead to another period of Keynesianism: and we can’t have that!

  147. Fiona says:

    @ Capella

    Forgot to include Zimbabwe in my post. I can do not better than to link you to Bill Mitchell’s post on the subject because I think it is informed and clear

  148. Capella says:

    @ Fiona
    Great analysis and I do agree that it is in the interests of the elite to carry on the illusion.
    I suppose the difference now is the Internet and the opportunity – afforded here by the good Rev Stu – to examine an alternative course of action.

    Will digest the info. Thanks.

  149. Paula Rose says:

    Neo-liberalism? Neo-feudalism more like.

  150. K1 says:

    I’d also like to commend Fiona’s post @4.11. I find your posts to be incredibly educational and eloquent when explaing complex systems.

    Also I would love it if you could submit a more exhaustive article on this very subject to Wings?

    I don’t have the education or for that matter the articulation to express what you just did, but I have always known that we have been fooled into becoming ‘debt slaves’ and subsequently I eschewed a more formal education; limiting, no doubt, financial remuneration and ‘status’.

    As it seemed to me to be an illlusion and I was far more interested in exploring more esoteric and underlying processess of consciousness et al.

    Anyway, your expostions are always intellligent, informative and just plain good. Thank you. 🙂

  151. Bugger (the Panda) says:

    Capella says:
    3 March, 2015 at 4:49 pm

    @ BtP and Fiona

    They did but gave it to the banks to circulate by lending to British businesses.

    The banks instead kept the money in their “vaults” and used it to increase their liquidity to conform to banking regulations and help pay off their hidden debts.

    If, as you say, the banks had been all hunky dory, had they printed their way out of the debt, the Pound would have plummeted. Instead they need to do it over an extended period.

    Fina will fill in my missing bits

  152. Fiona says:


    Thanks for you kind words. I am no expert on any of this, though, and I don’t think I am competent to write articles of any kind. I have just been trying to get to the bottom of the theories which underpin the political choices we are presented with. And I think you instincts have served you well. Economists are just charlatans like the tailors who made the emperor’s clothes, for the most part. They deserve no respect at all, IMO

    There are exceptions: the so called “heterodox” economists are interested in people and the real world. But they are broadly excluded from academia and from policy advice forums. You won’t hear their views in the MSM, normally, either. But they are there on the web and they are helpful

    You might be interested in this post, if you want evidence that economists are dullards with an agenda. In any case it will probably make you laugh when you read what Varoufakis was actually addressing. It certainly seems to me that people should be aware of the silly ideas economists have, before deciding whether to listen to a word they say.

  153. Foonurt says:

    A fine piece, by Fiona.

    Almannysbunnet, shid thon no bae, Gerry fae Ferguslie Park?

  154. Effigy says:

    thomaspotter2014 says:
    3 March, 2015 at 1:28 pm
    Just seen Jakeball Bird pushing their agenda on daytime Reporting Scotland

    The Jakie Burd potentially could have asked is the Scottish NHS
    should be envious of the Labour controlled NHS which is seeing less than 8 out of 10 A & E patients within 4 hours, against our 9 out of 10.

    Possibly we should envy the Tory NHS in England as wee seem to be missing the death by neglect situation in Cumbria and Mid-Staffordshire.

    Big Yellow Bird from Sesame St would conduct a more cogent interview. My God have mercy on your greedy sycophantic soul.

  155. JLT says:

    Murphy’s wee statement today, surely must fly in the face of Miliband’s proposed cutting of student fees from £9,000 to £6,000. I can’t see how students in England, Wales and NI won’t be growling at Miliband by asking how Labour intend to ‘lower’ fees in three parts of the UK, but another branch of the Labour Party intends to maintain ‘free’ education in Scotland.

    Surely, some reporter in England (because it bloody well won’t happen in Scotland) will ask Miliband ‘…why two policies? Why do English students have to pay if Labour win in England, but Scottish students won’t pay at all if Scottish Labour win at Holyrood?’ Are they not meant to be one and the same Party? Is the Northern Branch Office finally growing some Cojones?

    I can just see Ed spluttering and coughing answers to a conundrum that he can’t really answer. Makes you wonder if Murphy said this wee statement today just to spite Ed!

  156. sinky says:

    O/t on nhs a & e waiting times staff prioritise according to the reported syptoms so drunks and minor ailments such as sprained ankles are put to the back of the queue

  157. Lollysmum says:


    Murphy is manoeuvring to place himself in the running for Ed’s job & if the election goes as expected that event won’t be too far away. Although if Murphy gets it, the Labour party really won’t know what’s hit them & they will deserve their fate of being destroyed from within. They can’t stand him in WM or in Scotland it would seem.

  158. snode1965 says:

    Many thanks Fiona for your informative comments today. Post referendum, when looking back at the behaviour of the British elite, I have struggled to understand why they humiliated themselves so openly to save the Union.
    We have discussed the reasoning at length on these threads, from oil revenues to global influence, but I reckon you are bang on the money here. Why else would world leaders from all around the world feel the need to interfere in the democratic process in a small country like ours? China, Germany, France, USA, Australia, Canada etc.

  159. Lollysmum says:

    O/T but an example of PFI in NHS England

    I was talking to a Senior Sister whilst having treatment. Her department had just been moved to a wing built under PFI contract. She had asked for a clock to be put on the wall & for a 2ft long shelf to be fitted to another wall.

    Two assessors & a lot of tutting later & the verdict was ‘That’ll cost £750 of your budget Sister.’ and we wonder why the NHS has no money 🙁

    I have absolutely no criticism of the NHS though-I’m a frequent flier with them since someone prescribed me a medication that induced diabetes 4 years ago but they have done their utmost to look after me.

    I blame Brown & his sheer stupidity in merrily signing PFI contracts right up until the moment he left office & Gideon is still signing them now, with neither having any thought for the future & how they will be paid for except by giving hospitals to private companies & the populace being expected to take out health insurance. People like me won’t get cover if we switch to that system. So here we are about to ape the USA yet again if we don’t fight to stop it.

  160. Effijy says:

    Could I enquire about all of this debt?

    It seem that the USA is up to the eye balls in Debt, France, UK,
    Italy, Spain Portugal, Ireland, Iceland, Greece, etc, etc, etc.

    Who has money to loan all of these £trillions of Pounds, Euros and Dollars? Where did they get that money?Do they pay Tax on it?

    If Greece, Spain, Portugal announced we are off to do our own thing, and we won’t be paying a penny of it back.
    Who would do what about it, and who loses out if all that “cash”
    cannot be recovered?

    It was always my impression that you had to have bullion in a vault somewhere that could be exchanged for the notes you produce?

    Our idiot, Brown Gravy Train, sold off all of the UK bullion a few months before it doubled in value.
    So we don’t have anything to back up our notes.

    The UK then gets repeatedly involved in Quantitative Easing,which I believe is printing even more notes with nothing of value behind them.

    If we all went to the bank tomorrow and asked them to pay the bearer, we would find out that there is no value behind our notes

    The whole thing is now down to trust, and we know for certain that we cannot trust bankers or Westminster politicians!

  161. Caroline Corfield says:

    The finance talk at an English south coast university I recently attended with my daughter who has applied there, said that 6% of graduate loans are fully paid back. He also said his finance talk was updated on a weekly basis so figures quoted would be the latest to hand.

    I abhor the idea of student loans for tuition fees, it is a nonsense. The government pays the universities the money, then via a third party company tries to recoup, with interest that goes from RPI to RPI +3%, that amount back over 30 years. Also the government caps the number of students a university can take on at minimum entrance grades, thereby further muddying any kind of ‘market’ it was trying to encourage in tertiary education. It’s a massive effing fudge that costs current taxpayers more.

  162. JLT says:


    To be quite honest, I just can’t see Murphy as overall Party Leader (not saying that he couldn’t be! After all, who the hell knows what they gibber about in those sealed backrooms!?!)

    My guess would be on folk such as Andy Burnham or possibly Chuka Umanna (both fairly untarnished …Gads! Even wee Douglas Alexander could creep in there).
    I just believe that the likes of Murphy, Alexander, Harman, Balls, Cooper, etc are all tarnished from serving under Blair or Brown.

    But hey! Who knows …Labour have a habit of fooling us; either deliberately …or usually by shooting themselves in the foot.

  163. Calgacus says:


    Fuck off

  164. Capella says:

    @ Effijy
    I posted a link to a good animation which explains money as debt. Answers the basics.

  165. Gary45% says:

    After 9 years at university, FUD comes out with a gem.
    Education is important, but lying is importanter.

  166. StevieMcB says:

    OT the Hootsmon is literally one step fae the graveyard 🙂

  167. Gary45% says:

    Have a look at a book called The Body Economics,
    it is written by David Stuckler & Sanjay Basu.
    It’s well worth a read.

  168. Graeme Doig says:

    Bateman on the subject

    Nice analogy in the piece.

    “So his record has been that he is favour of fees but just not too high fees. His previous position was that free university education is ‘incoherent, indefensible and unrealistic.’

    And yet that is today his new stance. Credible? Do we accept that a man can change his mind? Well, indeed he can, but what he can’t do is transform himself from Aladdin to Widow Twankey in the same pantomime. He can’t turn full circle from Blairite marketeer to patriotic socialist in the space of weeks and he can’t perform somersault after somersault until he’s cartwheeling across the stage.

    We would need the same suspension of reality that allows us to enjoy the panto in order to trust Murphy now.”

  169. John says:

    This may well have been covered in the comments, but Ed Miliband was not an MP as of the introduction and topping up of fees.

  170. Fiona says:

    OT OT


    Is there any way I can pick your brains re medication induced diabetes? This has happened to me fairly recently and I am struggling a bit to understand the condition and how to manage it. Would value your insight.

    If you are willing to discuss can you pm me on the facility on this site, please.

  171. Hoss Mackintosh says:


    Interesting – The Curse of No strikes again and the Scotsman’s days in print are indeed numbered.

    I really think it has been kept alive by the Unionist backers to fight the SNP in the referendum and GE15. An SNP majority of seats would be the tipping point where there would be no point in wasting any more money on it and the plug will be pulled.

    It may struggle on for SE16 but I would welcome a timely demise this summer.

  172. Lollysmum says:

    No problem answering questions but not willing to register with online forums I know nothing about. I can call you tomorrow evening if you’d like to email your phone number via Stu.

  173. Fiona says:

    @ Lollysmum

    Have done that, I think

    Thank you very much indeed

  174. @Capella 8:12 pm

    Fascinating exposé needs to be seen by all citizens.Who knew there is no money/gold in the banks vaults just IOU`s

    I always wondered about the main religions outlawing usury/interest yet again we learn nothing from the past.

    The banks of the world need debt and interest on debt to survive,they want us to be born in debt and die in debt and not just us they need countries to be in debt.

    Westminster is not in control it is the big banks that hold the real power.

  175. Ken500 says:

    ConDems elected to protect NHS/Education have cut funding for both. Cut NHS £2Billion a year,(savings?), no 2% increase for inflation = £8Billion. Cut Education £3Billion a year, no 2% increase for inflation. = £12Billion. Total cuts since 2011 – £20Billion.

    When the ConDems were invented total taxes raised in the UK were £600Billion. Tax cuts (mainly for the wealthy, while starving the vulnerable) mean total taxes raised in the UK are £456Billion and falling. The wealthy who caused the economic crisis have gained.

    The ConDems have deliberately ruined the Scottish economy, to try to stop full fiscal autonomy/Independence. Vote SNP for prosperity, get rid of Westminster corruption, secrecy and lies. Westminster get away with murder. Austerity doesn’t work. It costs more than it saves.

    UK debt £1.4Trillion UK assets £7.4Trillion.

  176. I am getting quite excited about the upcoming election now as I don’t believe that the people of Scotland are quite as thick as Labour seems to think.

  177. Robert Peffers says:

    Seems to me we are now in a pre-election phase where the two main Establishment parties at Westminster are making rash promises rather like people do in a poker game. With the LibDems attempting to fool everyone they cannot actually clearly see their coalition partner’s hand.

    Note the Murphy, “I’ll see your nurse numbers and raise you 1,000”. Then his head office masters say, “I’ll see your tuition fees and cut them by 50%”.The Blue Tories on the other hand are not only promising to raise and cut things on an industrial scale but their propaganda wing are telling the most transparent whoppers.

    For example the media, (based upon, ahem! statistics from the IFS), claim that household incomes have recovered to 2007-8 level. Trouble is, though, that as they have fuelled inflation with the laughingly named, “Quantitative Easing”, (a.k.a. inflation), the level of income in Pounds Sterling may indeed be at the same level in numbers but it sure as hell won’t buy the same quantity, or numbers, of anything that it did before.

    As far as I go these are just pre-election manifesto promises and, like previous pre-election manifesto promises, will not survive either of the Establishment party’s gaining of actual power at Westminster.

    As far as Scotland’s branch offices are concerned, they can, and will, promise anything in the safe and sure knowledge they are not ever likely going to be in the position of making good on them.

    Anyone got some bi-carb to spare? All this bloody Po-Corn’s playing merry hell with my digestion.

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