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Wings Over Scotland

Odd one out

Posted on September 26, 2012 by

We hardly know where to start on Johann Lamont’s grand act of madness yesterday, and we have SO many real-life crises to deal with this morning that we have to go out for a couple of hours now to address some of the most pressing of them. So here’s just a quickie to get the ball rolling. See if you can spot which of these three statements doesn’t belong with the others. (Our emphasis in all cases.)

Ed Miliband said yesterday that even millionaires should get child benefit as he attacked the Government’s welfare cuts. The new Labour leader said his party would defend the principle of universal benefits – even for the best off.

Asked if he thinks that ‘if you’re a millionaire, you keep it’, Mr Miliband said: ‘I’m in favour of that, yes, and I’m in favour of it because it’s a cornerstone of our system to have universal benefits. Frankly, there aren’t that many millionaires in this country. Families on £45,000 need child benefit and it’s a way that society recognises the costs of having kids.’
(Ed Miliband, Labour Party leader, 11 October 2010)

That’s the UK/England (we’re not sure which) spoken for. How about Wales?

“Free prescriptions and free school breakfasts will be protected from spending cuts, vows First Minister Carwyn Jones – who marks his 100th day in the job today. Mr Jones said ministers were going through departmental spending “line by line” to prepare for next year’s budget, due to be published in the autumn. Asked about free prescriptions, introduced in 2007, the Welsh Labour leader said yesterday:

“We are not going to touch free prescriptions. If you look at what people have found most beneficial to them they will talk about free bus passes, they will talk about free school breakfasts, they will talk about free prescriptions. Those are the areas that I think members of the public will expect us to protect.”
(Carwyn Jones, Welsh Labour leader & First Minister of Wales, 19 March 2010)

Wales seems pretty clear too. How about Scotland?

“What is progressive about a chief executive on more than 100,000 a year not paying for his prescriptions, while a pensioner needing care has their care help cut? What is progressive about judges and lawyers earning more than 100,000 a year, not paying tuition fees for their child to follow in their footsteps at university, while one in four unemployed young people can’t get a job or a place at college?”

“I believe our resources must go to those in greatest need. But if the devil’s greatest trick was to convince the world he didn’t exist, [Alex] Salmond’s most cynical trick was to make people believe that more was free, when the poorest are paying for the tax breaks for the rich.”
(Johann Lamont, Scottish Labour leader, yesterday)

We must admit, we’re not aware of a TV reality show called Britain’s Toriest Labour Parties. Perhaps that’s because until yesterday, even the craziest TV executives wouldn’t have dared to imagine a reality as insane as this.

More to come.

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22 to “Odd one out”

  1. Doug Daniel says:

    She’s an absolute idiot. Does she not realise that means testing saves bugger all cash and is just a sop to Daily Mail readers who are obsessed with the idea that the country is full of benefits cheats and folk who get benefits without needing them?

    She talks about a judge on £100,000 not having to pay tuition fees for their child’s university education. Well, has she ever thought that perhaps that judge came from a poor background and only managed to go to university to study law BECAUSE of free tuition?

    There’s this ridiculous notion that Scotland is full of millionaire pensioners swanning around the country with their free bus passes. The reality is buses are for poor people. Millionaire pensioners drive cars, or if they MUST congregate with the hoi palloi, they take the train. You’re not going to catch Fred The Shred hopping onto a Stagecoach between Edinburgh and Glasgow.

    The chief executive on over £100,000 a year has private medical insurance. He makes sure he doesn’t need to rely on free prescriptions in the first place.

    What’s the real scandal – that retired bankers are pocketing a measly £200 winter payment allowance per year, or that their greed is rewarded with massive pensions?

    What I found particularly amusing was when she talked of the SNP wanting Scandinavian-style public services, and pointing out that they pay for them through higher taxes. If this woman was capable of the most basic original thought, she would perhaps SQUARE THE FUCKING CIRCLE and realise this is EXACTLY why we need independence.

    This nonsense just highlights why any debate about public services which begins with the proviso that independence is off the table will always be a false one. Lamont talks of starting a debate (one which she apparently doesn’t want to be part of – she just wants to start it and let other people do the actual debating) and how we need to face up to the “real questions” and get “honest answers”. Independence HAS to be a part of that, even if you don’t agree with it. Otherwise you’re basically saying “we need to discuss how we fund public services… Oh, but raising taxes isn’t an option.”

    This stupid, stupid woman has everything backwards. Thank fuck I’ll never live in a country run by her and her ill-conceived Tory nonsense.

    If anyone wants to get truly depressed, here’s an example of the sort of young principle-free idiots that are coming up as the next generation of Labour politicians. A textbook example of why people who embark on political careers when they’re still at school are exactly the people we DON’T want to be electing:

  2. MajorBloodnok says:

    It did occur to me that Johann Lamont’s speech was just the Willie Bain principle taken to the extreme.  Remarkably, BBC Scotland seems to be taking it all very seriously – those naughty out-of-step-with-the-one-true-neo-liberal-‘consensus’ Nats, tsk tsk.

  3. Doug Daniel says:

    Oh, and congratulations on John MacKay on Scotland Tonight for showing her up on the Trident question. I’ve never seen such a fudge of an answer. What a complete moron.

    How can any true Labour supporter possibly remain loyal to this woman? And the media are calling her speech “radical”. Aye well, calling for all babies to be drowned at birth would be “radical” – it doesn’t mean it’s a good idea.

  4. Cuphook says:

    Over at the New Statesman they seem to think that she’s fallen into an SNP trap. She’s not that clever – she fell into her own trap.

    @Doug Daniel

    I had a quick look at that kid’s Twitter feed. What ever happened to sex, drugs and rock’n’roll? Hopefully when puberty hits the future of the country will be safe.    

    Love this pic of JL though.  

  5. Iain Gray's Subway Lament says:

    “We hardly know where to start on Johann Lamont’s grand act of madness yesterday,”
    Laughing at it is as good a start as any. 
    Her performance on Newsnicht was inspired too and worth a look/laugh.
    She definitely doesn’t look like a leader under pressure desperately trying to appease the labour right wingers like Tom Harris and friends. Not even a bit.

  6. heraldnomore says:

    And there’s Allan Grogan again:

    But then we all know that Labour Aren’t Listening

    And Doug, you mentioned somewhere the problems of ‘owning up’ at lunch with office colleagues – given all that you write I wouldn’t have thought you’d have any difficulty whatsoever on that front.  We’re relying on you to convert more than the one that Margo requires.      

  7. Ah niver says ah hud a poalicy. Ah only says what wu’re saying is wu’ll look at these hings.

  8. Davy says:

    It’s hard to believe that a “leader” of labour in Scotland would actually say what she said yesterday, but she did ? The very idea thats labours policy for Scotland is to go backwards into the vileness of tory “I’m all right Jack, screw the rest of you if you can’t pay” idealogy is beyond thought.

    Welcome to Labour Scotland, please check Tory manifesto for Labour policies.

    PS. please check your wallet is full of money before entry.       

  9. velofello says:

    What if:
    Johann Lamont was honestly indicating the political realities post the 2014  referendum if Scotland votes No to independence?
    She did indicate that Labour’s proposals would be published after the referendum didn’t she? And so presuming a No to independence outcome? A No vote consigns Holyrood to  continuing to receive a budget determined by Westminster, and we are being advised repeatedly that major financial cuts are to be imposed on the UK citizens to pay for past mismanagement of the UK economy and so is Ms Lamont honestly advising of the consequences of a No vote? 

    She then mentioned on TV something about two sides of the same equation – not sure if that is what she intended to say- however she failed to lay before the public the two sides of the referendum equation.  
    Vote No and she warns us honestly of the end to “free benefits” government in Scotland.
    Vote Yes and?
    On STV she was asked her view on Trident she didn’t answer and muttered something about people and jobs. My dim recollection of Univ. lectures was the imperative to embrace change when necessary. Ridding ourselves of Trident is the change we would need to face with determination. The costs savings on pending upgrades and ongoing maintenance – would help towards maintaining the “free benefits’.
    It would also make Scotland a safer place. yes jobs would go, but many of these are armed forces personnel and would depart with Trident and its weaponry.The challenge to embrace is the strategy to develop the region post-Trident. 
    Free prescriptions? I understood that an analysis had shown that the admin costs of identification and collection of prescription payments outweighed the costs of simply providing free prescriptions.
    Free bus passes? wealthy retirees don’t have to use them. Am I correct to assume that the bus company is paid for each “free” passenger via the placing the pass on the driver’s console? I took the bus to the march on Saturday. I estimate that no more than 10% were  pay at point of use travellors. Free bus passes enables the less well-off retirees to get out of the house and arguably helps towards mental and physical well-being?
    Education and training? contortions is how I can best describe her view and responses on TV.
    Economics, the allocation of scarce resources. No need to read the heavy tomes on the subject Ms Lamont, just remember that phrase
    Just how many times yesterday did Ms Lamont call for honesty? When someone says “I’ll be honest with you” I’m inclined to ” I wonder why he/she felt the need to say that?’.

  10. Doug Daniel says:

    @heraldnomore unfortunately I’m far more convincing with a keyboard than when speaking!

  11. Seasick Dave says:

    JK Rowling says Scottish independence not a good idea ‘right now’

    I would have thought, JK, that donating £1m to Labour would have been an even worse idea.

    A million quid to the party that has caused all this financial mess and is now looking to cut benefits to get us out of it.

    You wouldn’t believe it even if it happened in a Harry Potter movie.

  12. James Morton says:

    It does beggar belief doesn’t it. I am pretty sure that most if not all benefits have to be applied for. That goes for bus passes, child support benefits and student maintenance grants/bursarys. How many folk on £100k are actually applying for these – very few if none I would imagine.

    And its this absurd “something for nothing” mantra – its not free – its paid for by taxes to ensure access to care, to education, and so on. You do this because you believe in social justice and equality and a government that governs for the benefit of all…not the few.

    This manifesto – if we can call it this – is a rehash of Annabel Goldies line back in 2011. It is also a riff on the feeble offering put out By Ian Gray with his “I offer nothing but pain, but stick with me and I’ll try and get your kids an extra hour of PE”

    If Scottish labour honestly think that this “Truth” agenda and talking bollocks about people getting free stuff, while their own party down south is moving away from that and the devolved assemblies in Wales and Ireland are moving away from this…The I have to ask: Did she not appreciate that the second episode of “In the thick of it” was intended as satire – not an instructional programme for clueless politicians?

  13. Morag says:

    Rowling donates a million quid to Labour and nobody bats an eyelid.  A couple of ordinary people who won the lottery donate a million quid to the SNP, and you’d think the sky had fallen in.

    I heard her on the radio this morning.  Slightly vacuous lady who struck lucky in the scribbling business pontificating about things she knows little about.  Why her?  She hasn’t even got the credential of having run a successful business.  What makes her opinion on politics ot the constitution worth broadcasting?

  14. scottish_skier says:

    Och if JK says it’s a bad idea, then we’d best call the whole thing off.

    Maybe we can discuss it all again when she reckons it’s a good time.

    Cheers for now then folks – catch up with you again when JK finally gives independence the green light.


  15. Adrian B says:


    Your first comment was a cracker. Loved it. many well made points – you had me laughing at the truth of it all

    If a Scottish Government makes rational decisions with it’s budget then that is what people will vote for. Lamont wants others to discuss only if we can afford what we have at present. She will offer no alternatives until after the 2014 vote in the run up to the next Scottish parliament elections. I thought that Labour had already done this discussion on the doorsteps – where did they get with that I wonder? 

  16. balgayboy says:

    Hey people, let this numptie go on, she has just boosted the YES vote considerably so please encourage her to advocate her labour/tory party in scotland’s policies! As for JKR maybe her wizard harry may need to wave his magic wand to beguile the people of Scotland to believe “this is not the time”.. but unfortunately for harry 2014 will definitely be the time that harry’s magic will not work and the spell will be broken into the real world by the muggles and give an overwhelming YES vote for Independence…this will be the real magic for the people of Scotland. Abracadabra

  17. Training Day says:

    Stu, in your poll that’s currently running.. can you remove the words ‘the’ and ‘election’ and put a colon between ’20’ and 16′?

    That might be a fairer prospect.. 😉

  18. heraldnomore says:

    Did Ms Rowling not say that devolution had been great, and that independence should not happen just yet.  Now, was that great devolution from 1999 to 2007, or from 2007 on?  I think we should be told.

  19. scottish_skier says:

    JKR should stick tae writin aboot Stoned Philosophers an Gobbin’ in the Fire.

  20. James Morton says:

    She may very well have not said anything *specifically” about cutting benefits or a something for nothing culture. But she may as well have said those things. It would be the only logical conclusion to draw from her speech and her appearance later that day on Newnight. And now…because they were so vague and wavey handy, the right wing screech monkies ploughed in with their usual war cries of stick it to the scrounger, and end to something for nothing! – while the centre left and those with a brain call it out as an attack on the poor…because Lamont and her team have forgotten that the medium is the message.

    Now the poor witless fools at Scottish Labour, are no longer in control of the story, its got a life of its own. The looney fringe of the rightwing praise her for her courage in sticking it to the poor and the left recoil in horror and disgust. The centre ground is concerned and troubled.

    She and Scottish labour inflicted a double injury upon themselves: Any attempt to deny it will; as a certain Tory Whip now understands, come back and bite them hard on the arse. Any attempt to minimise or clarify will be seen as weakness by both left and right. The centre ground will be confused and start to raise questions about suitability and competence.

    The story will unravel further as differences in approach in England, Wales and Ireland undermines the central theme. Panicked attempts such as the tweet above to limit damage will only serve to make things worse. Dissenting voices will start to make themselves heard and be difficult to ignore.

    Scottish Labour shamelessly will drop it, pretend it was nothing more than opinion as no policys were being put forward. Hotherall will scoff, Smart will Sneer about anyone who believed Labour would do such a thing. Come the next election, Lamont (if she survives, I think she will as no one else seems to want the job) will put forward a manifesto that will echo the SNP and promise far..far more.

    2016 Scottish Labour loses…all because one politician and her *brain trust* had a massive ripe and smelly brainfart, rather than a good idea.

  21. Arbroath 1320 says:

    Help Stu.
    I’ve just put up a post onto this article but it hasn’t appeared.
    I posted another one thinking I hadn’t posted my first one correctly and it hasn’t appeared either.
    Are my posts being re-routed to the “naughty box?” 😆

  22. Craig P says:

    I have always thought it astonishing that every single major cultural figure in Scotland since the union, with the notable exception of Sir Walter Scott, has been pro-independence, or home rule at least. I don’t count JK Rowling as I’m not sure if she is a major cultural figure, a best selling author for sure though more Dan Brown than AL Kennedy. Or does she count along side Scott as one of the few cultural standard bearers for the union?

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