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Lying with the truth

Posted on December 17, 2012 by

As Johann Lamont celebrated her first year as Scottish Labour “leader” by signalling the party’s intent to abandon the principle of free university tuition today, Nick Clegg completed the Lib Dems’ own sellout to Tory values with a despicable speech promising to back the Conservatives’ plans for welfare reform. The narrative was set earlier this month by the Chancellor, who justified the government’s proposed real-terms benefits cuts with a carefully-prepared line:

“We have to acknowledge that over the last five years those on out of work benefits have seen their incomes rise twice as fast as those in work. With pay restraint in businesses and government, average earnings have risen by around 10% since 2007. Out of work benefits have gone up by around 20%. That’s not fair to working people who pay the taxes that fund them.”

Terrible, isn’t it? Hard workers paying to lose ground to those layabout skivers who watch Jeremy Kyle all day. But let’s leave aside for a moment the issue that with an average of 23 applicants per vacancy (and sometimes far more), the huge majority of unemployed people are in fact desperate to find work, not lazy spongers. Let’s instead just take a simple look at what those figures mean in real life.

Osborne specified “out of work benefits”, which basically means Jobseekers’ Allowance. (The other benefits which are most commonly associated with the unemployed, particularly housing benefit and Council Tax Benefit, are in fact widely claimed by working people – 24% of all Housing Benefit recipients, and a staggeringly vast majority of new claimants, are in work.)

JSA is currently paid at £71 a week, or less for younger people. Were that to rise by 20% over the next five years, the typical adult jobseeker would therefore see an increase in their income of £14.20 a week.

The average UK salary is £26,500. Were that figure to increase by 10% in the same period, it would mean the typical worker having £50.96 a week more in their pay packet (before tax/NI). Osborne’s next sentence specifically referred to public-sector workers, for whom the average salary is £28,802. A 10% hike in that figure between now and 2017 would yield an increase of £55.39 a week.

If one person’s getting an extra £14 a week and the other is getting an extra £51 or £55, it takes an incredibly perverse definition of “fairness” to make out that the first person is the winner in the deal, when in fact they’re falling further and further behind the second person every year. Slashing their figure to £7 simply adds insult to injury.

If you look closely, Osborne and Clegg’s argument is in fact even more dishonest than that. But as an illustration of how the word “fair” has been hijacked and twisted – by both the coalition and “One Nation” Labour, as its Scottish governess labels free education a “regressive” policy – it’s hard to better.

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    21 to “Lying with the truth”

    1. dadsarmy says:

      That’s a shame, the labour website doesn’t work if you have …

      … ah, that would be telling! No comfort to the “enemy” 😉

    2. Bill C says:

      Aberdeen-based oil firm Dana Petroleum is given the green light to develop two oil fields in the North Sea. (BBC NEWS tonight). This new development is worth £1 bn in investment and will produce 100,000 barrels a day by 2016. There are 24 billion barrels of oil still to be recovered off Scotland’s coast with a value of 1.5 trillion pounds.
      Meanwhile, Cameron, Clegg and Lamont hammer the sick, the poor and the young of Scotland while our resources flow south to fill Osborne’s coffers. You could not make it up.  THIS HAS GOT TO END! 

    3. Bill C says:

      Just watched Lamont in a car crash of an interview with Bernard Ponsonby over tuition fees, she was embarrassing, even Ponsonby was asking “politically brave or utterly foolhardy?”

    4. Pa Broon says:

      I said this over at Tris’ place…

      Scottish Labour have a new debating method, they tell an obvious lie then refuse to apoligise for it. They then find a real instance of the lie (although the reasons for it taking place are not clear) and use it to ambush Salmond (by producing ‘victims’) after he reasonably points out they’ve lied about this in the past.

      This apparently was Lamonts highlight of her year, ambushing Alex Salmond over a lack sheets at Paisley Royal Alexandria Hospital. Although I didn;t know Alex was moonlighting in the hospital’s onsite laundry department…

      I think its The Scotsman who has the interview with Lamont where she tells us all her most memorable moment was forcing ALex Salmond into an apology, even if it was entrapment.

      On topic, sometimes I wonder why we’re even still in the UK, I’m always surprised at some people’s capacity for ignoring the blatent obvious perfidy of Westminster and the coalition.

    5. Davy says:

      Its hard to believe that a labour leader would be championing tuition fee’s in Scotland, the very idea that Lamont’s thinks this is right shows how much she and the labour party in Scotland have sold out for Westminster’s labour to gain the middle England vote.

      Does labour have no idea or maybe they just dont care that the introduction of tuition fee’s would result in the children of ordinary working familys in Scotland being denied the chance to go to university, just because of cost ? not ability.

      Shame on Lamont, shame on labour in Scotland, your no-longer the party of the working man and the disadvantaged of our society. Instead your the labour party of ‘keep it to ourselves’, ‘look after our own’, ‘follow the tories’, ‘we dont want to know or help’. You are now the party of shame.

    6. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      dcomerf: That’s actually the exact same feature I linked to in the last paragraph, although in a different place.

    7. dadsarmy says:

      Great new article – Herald – former European Court judge -Sir David Edward writing in my favourite independent resource – SCFF 

    8. James Morton says:

      she’s championing this because her master in London told her to do it. There is also the slightly disturbing evidence that it is being done in London and in Scotland, to attempt to triangulate disaffected Tory voters and floating voters with right wing leanings. That she is prepared to sacrifice her parties long held principles to win and any cost makes me feel queasy. It’s one of the reasons I fear that Independence is the only answer to this madness.

    9. Boorach says:


      Does that say what I think it does?

      Both Scotland and RUK will have to negotiate the future terms of membership following a YES vote.

      Just as the SG has been saying for long enough! 

    10. velofello says:

      @ dadsarmy” Barroso relegated to the third division.

    11. Oldnat says:


      Has Barroso signed for Rangers? 

    12. dadsarmy says:

      Boorach / velofello: yes indeed

      “The UK, EU institutions and member states would “be obliged to enter into negotiations before separation took effect, to determine the future relationship within the EU of the separate parts of the former UK and the other member states,” he said.

      Parts! Ha! Get it up you Team GB 🙂

    13. Arbroath1320 says:

      Don’t know if they’d want him Oldnat. 😀

    14. Jeannie says:

      Just watching Scotland tonight – again Bernard Son interviewing Johann Lamont.  Some time ago we were discussing who Johann Lamont reminded us of and one poster said “Barney Rubble”.  No two ways about it – he was right!

    15. Tris says:

      It is interesting that a BBC reporter covering the Icelandic recovery, as well as interviewing the President, spoke at length to a right wing. business oriented Thatcherite sort in Reykjavik.

      The reporter suggested to her that with the Icelandic government’s finances still not in the very bests of shapes, the fact that all health and all education (to post doctoral research level) is free, might be something that they would have to consider.

      She reacted with horror. A country cannot complete unless it has educated and fit people, she said. So even if the right wing rules in  Iceland, education and health will remain free to all Icelanders at any age.

      Makes you wish that you’d had the good fortune to be born Icelandic. 

    16. Bill C says:

      @ Tris – “Makes you wish that you’d had the good fortune to be born Icelandic.” Tris, some on WoS accuse me of being a merchant of doom and gloom (not too many I hope). On this occasion I am full of festive cheer (not literally) and wish to predict that our children and grandchildren will have no need “to be born Icelandic”. I honestly believe that future generations of Scots will have full access to state provided education and health care in an independent Scotland.

      Every utterance of Lamont, Clegg and Cameron make Scottish independence an inevitability. 

    17. charlie says:

      Barmy time – Clegg is differentiating by means-testing pensions, I think it’s been talked about here, it’s not worth the admin costs.

      And who’s getting 10% pay rises? And 20% rise in benefits? 20% of f-all is f-all.

      It’s all people who will never worry about money being listened to by people who aspire to that but will never ever have the chance to get there, despite their best efforts. Those people used to be called working class Tories, but I guess they’re called swing voters now.

      Have yourself a pleasant Christmas

    18. Dal Riata says:

      Correct Stu. Osborne giving percentages like that is merely to aid and abet the rabid right-wing press that tomorrow, or whenever, can print their ‘Benefit scroungers get 10% more for doing nothing’, ‘UK workforce gets 10% less than benefit scroungers’, Be a benefit scrounger -do nothing and get 10% more than UK taxpayers’ headlines. Those headlines will do the psy-ops work for the ConDemLibLabs. Your examples show the naked dishonesty of this kind of politics.

      Westminster politicians and their dogma are poisonous to Scotland and its people. Let’s all do the right thing and rid ourselves of that cesspit with a Yes vote in 2014.

    19. Arbroath1320 says:

      Sorry I’m O/t but here’s an update to the list I posted on another topic.
      Here are maps showing the areas of England and Wales under threat of their NHS services, specifically Hearing, wheelchairs, MRI and non obstetric ultrasound, being privatised.

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