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Wings Over Scotland

Only the Union can kill the poor

Posted on September 19, 2012 by

If you’re still not convinced that the UK coalition government’s plans to “reform” welfare – by slashing tens of billions of pounds from the DWP’s budget, in order to fund tax cuts for the rich – are an example of pure, unambiguous evil at work, we suggest you spend half an hour reading this page and the ones linked at the bottom of it.

Done that? Filled with boiling rage and an urge to commit violent acts of revolution? Good. That suggests that you’re a vaguely decent human being with at least some basic level of compassion for the most vulnerable people in society. Congratulations.

It probably also means you’re NOT a Labour Party politician or activist, because a 2010 report from the Institute of Fiscal Studies (entitled “Not much disagreement on welfare reform”) pointed out that Labour’s policy on the brutal state persecution of the poor and the crippled – like its policies in almost all other areas – differs from that of the Tories and Lib Dems only in degree and speed, and even then only slightly.

That won’t come as a surprise to anyone who’s been paying any attention at all over the last few years, of course. The sarcastically-named “Atos Healthcare” were first unleashed on the disabled by Labour, Labour introduced the Work Capability Assessment test – under which dozens of people have been found “fit to work” and then promptly and selfishly died of their terminal illnesses – and Labour pioneered the idea of workfare too. The coalition is merely continuing and accelerating a programme of measures that Labour started and which Labour still supports.

But what does all this have to do with Scottish independence? The answer, of course, is that the vindictive, murderous attack on the disadvantaged and defenceless is only possible under the Union. Who says so? Not us, but the government’s own Work and Pensions Secretary, Iain Duncan Smith.

We’re paraphrasing his words for dramatic effect, of course, right? Wrong.

the Work and Pensions Secretary – in Glasgow for a welfare reform conference – defended his plan to replace a string of benefits with a single payout called Universal Credit, stressing how “only the Union could offer this sort of wholesale reform”.”

We have to admit, we’re staggered that the Secretary of State, who doesn’t even support the latest round of welfare cuts, would have so clumsily handed the independence campaign such a large, six-inch-nail-studded stick to beat the Union with. Unless, that is, he did it on purpose. Because the only possible explanations are (a) he’s a complete idiot, (b) he thinks driving the sick to suicide is a surefire vote-winner, or (c) the Tories actually want the nationalists to win the referendum.

We’re going to be generous and discount (a). Dismayingly, there may well be some truth in (b), as a constant diet of “benefit scroungers” stories in the right-wing press for the last 25 years has had a malign effect on public opinion, as shown in the British Social Attitudes Survey published this week.

(Click the “Welfare” tab at the bottom of the document to see the chilling extent to which the public has been deliberately conditioned to regard benefit recipients as undeserving, lazy, parasitical burdens on the taxpayer.)

But as for (c), there’s a growing body of opinion in the Scottish chattering classes that feels the Tories do want to rid themselves of a country that regularly returns 40+ Labour MPs to Westminster. We’ve never been convinced by it before now, feeling that a combination of genuine ideological commitment to the Union and fondness for Scottish oil revenues persuaded Conservatives that they needed to hang onto the ungrateful Jocks, at least until the North Sea was sucked dry.

But with more and more figures showing that Scottish independence would – in and of itself – make very little difference to the finances of either Scotland or the remaining UK, it may be that the Tories have decided that now is the time to cash in on the electoral benefits, particularly as it becomes apparent that austerity isn’t working and the polls suggest they’re going to have a real fight on their hands (Kinnock Factor notwithstanding) to win the 2015 election.

Apparent “gaffes” like Duncan Smith’s are becoming more and more common. If they keep popping up every few weeks, it’s going to start to look like a strategy. Either way, we recommend you don’t get sick any time soon.

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    60 to “Only the Union can kill the poor”

    1. Kenny Campbell says:

      Based on the current trajectory the whole of the UK will want independence from Westminster in 2014.

    2. Erchie says:

      The document here is dated 2010.

      Is there anything more recent that we can point to and say that this is still current Labour policy?

      I ask because a few Labour MPs, inc ministers, have railed against it, but there is no indication that Party policy has changed, and I would like to be sure, one way or the other

    3. James Morton says:

      It’s worse than you think – ATOS recieve a bonus for every applicant they screen – so they are incentivised to fail anyone, regardless of the disability. But this is the sickener, they are taken off disability and put on IS benefits instead. They win at appeal but are treated as a new claimant, allowing ATOS to ignore the judgement of the appeals board and treat them as if they were new claimants, going through the whole process again and getting an additional cash bonus. What they are doing here is harvesting our disabled and sick for money. ATOS recieves 3.2 billion, so it can’t be to save money – so what is it for other than to deter anyone with a disability from applying? or simply finding a new way of transferring public wealth into private hands?

      As for the people who do get deterred? What jobs can they do? in this current climate – once they are out of the system, there is no support for them. The system was their support. Most employers won’t take these people on for obvious reasons – you won’t employ a one armed man to drive a bus or pack shelves. There is also liabilities regarding insurance costs or workplace accessibility.

      IDS is a tory and as such has a deep contempt for the concept of a government taking responsibility for its citizens. They devolve power to the marketplace for a reason – they don’t want to be accountable and it allows them to reduce these people to statistics, to see them in the abstract. That way can think these people brought it on themselves or chose to live that way, or they’re nothing to do with me so why should I care.

      The above is one of the many reasons I don’t vote tory. For labour to have done this was what finally made me switch to the SNP. Of all their mistakes and unpardonable attacks on our civil liberties this was the one that made me feel absolutely sick.  I fully expected the Tories to pick up from where labour left off but when they allowed ATOS to sponsor the Paralympics….that to me was like a thumb in the eye of each and everyone of those disabled sportsmen and women. Osborne deserved the contempt of the crowd. Anyone who supports this repugnant attack on disabled people are equally deserving in my eye.

      This is what the Union has become…you would have to be a blinkered banal Unionist to think we are better together. I will accept nothing less than being the masters of our own house.

    4. Erchie says:

      It is even more fiddled than that. If we take sickness benefts before, you have IB (A person too sick to work as long term) and SSP (someone temoprarily off work through illness or injury)

      ESA replaces both. So when you see stats on ESA appeals, remember they include SSP folk who are back at work, a statistical fiddle.

      Successful appeal rate is 40%. Unless you have representation and appear yourself, then it heads up to 80%. In some cases that has risen to 95% for at least one CAB.

      Of course, now the ConDems want to remove not only Legal Aid, but also payment of ESA while you are assessed.

      And, if you are successful, as the pic suggests, you get hauled in again for assessment, Atos gets paid, they’re happy, you’re miserable, DWP don’t give a shit

    5. scottish_skier says:

      I have a sneaky suspicion that this sort of thing might just be one of the reasons 72% of Scots wish Holyrood to completely or damn near completely govern Scotland.

      People are on about the EU, currency, defense etc. It is headlines like this:

      That are actually key. Reminds me of this old quote. 

      “The modern conservative is engaged in one of man’s oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness.”
      John Kenneth Galbraith.

      You can’t build a nation by focussing on individualism/every man for himself. Thatcher didn’t understand it and nothing has changed with the Tories. It never will.

      The union as we know it will end in 2014.

    6. panda paws says:

      A classic case of divide and rule allowing the plutocrats to take over the country. “Benefits scroungers are everywhere” is the right wing rag’s mantra. And people fall for it because they forget that there for the grace of God… They also forget or don’t understand that they also receive benefits. Tax credits are a benefit, child allowance is a benefit, housing benefit (well you get the picture).
      When universal credit starts and everything hits the fan, I suggest that someone conducts a poll on support for Scottish independence. When support soars, some will suggest it’s because Scots are benefits junkies. I suggest it’s because some will finally see that the politics of “greed is good” is too entrenched down South and that there’s nothing 5 million Scots can do to mitigate the votes of the English majority. At that point, some of those currently against independence or yet to be convinced will discover to (mis)quote Churchhill that there are things “up with we shall not put”.

    7. Davy says:

      Aye, it fairly makes you ashamed to be thought of as BRITISH

    8. balgayboy says:

      Question: Who are the major shareholders in ATOS Healthcare? would not be surprised if it was the usual suspects. Good work WOS, keep exposing this despicable uk government /union and the  shitbags that not only run it but the other political party’s that support it. That picture and caption alone should be sufficiently gut wrenching to any decent person in this country. Let Scotland GTF away from these barbarians. 

    9. Appleby says:

      Is it just me or are things getting to the point where they are almost cartoonishly shitty or horrifying? It’s like some kind of sick joke.I’m half expecting someone to say “only joking!” and wave it all away. If you’d gone back in time a few years and told people about what is happening today as their own very likely future they’d never believe it or label you as a conspiracy nut. Yet apparently the very same public will happily swallow spoonfuls of this crap from the government as long as it’s done by inches. If they weren’t happy with it then where is the public outrage? Silent consent continues no matter how bad it gets.
      It’s hard to imagine just how awful it will be in a year or when we turn the next corner, etc. Especially if we are still tied to the Westminster millstone post-2014.

    10. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “almost cartoonishly shitty or horrifying”

      Just added this to the post, from 1981:

      Father of a “mutant” imposes “capable of work” assessments, reported in iPad-style newspapers. 31 years ago.

    11. Appleby says:

      I don’t know whether to laugh or feel depressed at that cartoon’s too-close-for-comfort prediction or scenario. You know it is bad when you’re living in what would have been a cartoon’s dystopian nightmare years ago.

    12. MajorBloodnok says:

      Rev.  What’s that from?  It looks familiar – I think I saw it in the last Conservative/Labour/Lib-Dem manifesto I found down the back of the piano the other day.

    13. balgayboy says:

      some people are having to suffer this indignity, God forbid you do not have to experience the same humiliation.

    14. scottish_skier says:

      “But as for (c), there’s a growing body of opinion in the Scottish chattering classes that feels the Tories do want to rid themselves of a country that regularly returns 40+ Labour MPs to Westminster.”

      Scottish independence: ‘Good discussion’ between Salmond and Cameron

      Aye, I imagine they were. Nudge nudge, wink wink an aw that.

    15. Erchie says:

      Atos Healthcare are a French company bought out by Unum Healthcare.

      Not all Atos employees are involved in this, but they all have the same brush.

      Unum is a company banned from several US States for operating “disability denial factories” with regards to Health Insurance.

      Unum supplied advisors to both Labour and Tories to formulate these changes to benefits, and amazingly enough are now advertising their Health Insurance on non-Terrestial channels.

      The cunches!

    16. balgayboy says:

      Thank you Erchie, and not surprised either, if there was ever a reason to break away from this bunch of greed ridden vultures of selfish assholes who have not one ounce of humanity, then this is it. They are now selling their health insurance!….this company needs investigating or put away. We do not want this type of company in an Independent Scotland.

    17. Galen10 says:

      I remain unconvinced about this alleged appetite on the behalf of the Tories for either helping Scotland on its path to independence to give them an easier time in rumpUK, or at least being more sanguine about it than they have been before.

      By the logic of the argument, surely the Tories would be pushing a devo-max / FFA agenda? That would give them the putative benefits scottish skier says they want, but avoid the potential pitfalls. They could reduce the number of Scottish MP’s at Westminster even further, or support their exclusion from non-Scottish votes. It would also allow them to claim that they had “saved the Union”.

      there are altogether too many imponderables to blithely assert that the Tories have become convinced that it’s worth supporting independence by the back door just to rid themselves of the 40+ bloc of Scottish Labour MP’s at Westminster. If the vote in 2014 is no, that bloc may not be so large, the Tories may get the boundary changes they are after which will help their numbers, and given the (already mentioned) “Kinnock factor” for Labour, the bloc of Scottish Labour MP’s isn’t likely to swing the balance anyway.

      The danger of giving this rather arch conspiracy theory too much credence is that people will take their eyes off the prize. I just don’t buy it, sorry. It isn’t the Conservative and Unionist Party for nothing.

    18. scottish_skier says:

      Galen 10.

      Take Scottish MPs out of Westminster and the Treaty of Union is over ‘legally’; we’re already on shakey ground given Scotland has a parliament again (it can make law in Scotland, it represents the people of Scotland, so only it can deal with the Treaty of union from the Scottish side). That’s why Devo Max canny work (unless the UK became federal-like with a new federal parliament + an English one). Problem is, the more powers Holyrood has, the more the WLQ makes Scots MPs in Westerminster questionable. In terms of saying ‘you can vote on this bill but not on that one of you are a Scottish (or Welsh, NIrish) MP’; that sounds fine in practice but there is so much crossover (barnett consequentials for Scotland, e.g. with regards to cuts to English NHS funding) that it would all become a mess. Furthermore, if you did have a situation where Scots MPs could only vote on certain bills – which would have to be on a bill by bill basis (aargh, think of the debates needed to decide on whether Scots MPs can be in said bill debate before it even happened) – then if Scots MPs held the balance of power (which in a way they do right now, having stopped a Tory majority), then how do you decide who won the general election? For some bills, the Tories might have a majority, but for others Lab+Libs or similar. Total farce. Only works right now as the unionist parties chose to ingore the WLQ; something the back-bencher Tories are peed off at (but gone quiet).

      Scotland will not remain in the union/with the status quo under a Tory majority. The Tories know it fine well, but they still want to win in 2015.

      And don’t worry about people getting distracted by such theories. There will be a referendum and a campaign for a yes vote. It’s likely just going to be made a little easier in terms of what we’ll be voting for, i.e. not a ‘separate, wall between us and the rest of the UK/the EU, out on our own alone scary complete and utter separation independence’, but a ‘new relationship’ with the rUK (currency zone etc) which will look rather like devo max initially but with bells (independence/sovereignty) on.

      My thoughts anyway. I laugh when sm753 sings ‘Don’t stop believing’. It’s like he thinks I’m running YesScotland or something. Na, just an O&G production chemist with a sideline in poll geekery having some fun.

    19. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “I remain unconvinced about this alleged appetite on the behalf of the Tories for either helping Scotland on its path to independence to give them an easier time in rumpUK, or at least being more sanguine about it than they have been before.”

      I’m not convinced either, but there’s certainly SOME truth in it. Do you honestly think the Tories would want to cling onto Scotland and its big block of Labour MPs for nothing more than sentimental reasons?

    20. scottish_skier says:

      Dave threatens to hold his own wee referendum (which is impossible in reality), then we have Gideon up in Glasgow telling us what to do, how we can’t go it alone economically etc. This is shortly followed by the equally popular IDS coming up for a visit – once again to that hotbed of Tory support on the clyde (which needs a bit more of a nudge to the SNP) – to tell us how Scotland couldn’t possibly afford welfare state (while he’s destroying the UK one) etc. Meanwhile, out on the streets of said city, Labour voters are opening their doors to find their favourite local red rosetted party member smiling alongside…wait for it….a Tory.

      The Tories either have really, really bad strategists or feckin brilliant ones.

    21. MajorBloodnok says:

      A while back certain Tory MPs had been talking loudly about the benefits of getting rid of Scotland and its benefit spongers and Labour MPs (same thing).  Not heard that in a while, ergo, they’re up to something.  That said, if there’s one thing the Tories can do it’s perfidy, so I wouldn’t trust them, but on the other hand permanntly getting rid of 50-odd non-Tory MPs from Westminster is quite a temptation, particularly when their whole focus is on the economic powerhouse of the City and the SE anyway.

    22. Arbroath 1320 says:

      I admit to being one of the chattering classes, at least in terms of agreeing with c) in your piece Stu.
      I just find it a wee bit too convenient that we have the three “Scottish unionist” parties fighting FOR the union but we only regularly hear from Labour. The Tories are noticeable by their absence from the debate so fart. If you then add in ALL the nauseating changes being brought in by the Westminster crowd then, in my view,  they know that these changes will NOT go down well in Scotland.
      I do think that there is an under tow of belief in Tory hierarchy that getting rid of Scotland WILL ensure continued Tory rule at Westminster. My reasoning is based loosely on the following.

      a) After the 2015 General Election the Lib/Dems will just be a skeleton of a political party. Their apparent ditching of principles and ethics for government cars will be the death nail for them I believe.

      b) After 2015 I believe that Labour will end up splitting into two or even three factions which will ultimately lead to two or three “new” parties.

      c) This leaves the Lib/Dem voter, in my view, with a wee bit of a conundrum. Do they vote for the Lib/Dems, a party most have lost faith in or do they vote for someone else?

      d) The question for the disaffected Lib/Dem voter is who to vote for. They will not vote Tory nor will they vote, in my view, for Labour. Whose left?

      e) Step up to plate the Green party. However some of the Green party policies will not sit well with the L.D. voter, is there any one else?

      f) UKIP. 2015 could be the G.E. that sees the FIRST UKIP M.P. in Westminster all thanks to the goings on of the L.D. implosion.

      g) In wales the disillusioned L.D. voter does have another choice, Plaid Cymru. I believe that they could benefit greatly from the disillusionment of the Welsh L.D. voter in 2015
      It is for these reasons that I think that the Tories see an Independent Scotland as a GOOD thing and this is why we don’t hear much from them fighting FOR the union. Instead we get the likes of I.D.S. etc coming up to Scotland and spouting their diatribe knowing, and I agree Stu he aint stupid, that what he says will be taken and used as ammunition AGAINST the union. This will work against Labour ultimately causing the splits in Labour I suggested above. With a two or three way split Labour party to fght against I think you are looking at a generation’s worth of Tory power in Westminster.
      I think in the long term Cameron is willing to ride out the attacks he’ll get for allowing the disillusion of the union in return for a generation or more of uninterrupted Tory rule in London.
      I did want to post a couple of links regarding the nausea that is ATOS but S.S. beat me to it. 😀

    23. Jeannie says:

      I am about to utter the “four little words” my other half most dreads hearing – “I was just thinking” – but I was just thinking, if we get independence in 2014 and then there’s a Scottish General Election in 2016, where would all of the unionist parties get their funding from in order to fight an election, given that we know their memberships are at an all-time low?
      Would business firms still give money to the Scottish Tories? Who would fund the Scottish Lib Dems?  Would the UK unions give a percentage to Scottish Labour?  And why would union members in Scotland agree to give money to a UK union anyway?  Surely it would be unacceptable for rUK parties to give funding to Scottish parties as this would be equivalent to political parties in a separate country trying to influence the elections in another country?  
      So, how would Scottish political parties fund themselves and fight elections?  I was just thinking, that’s all.

    24. scottish_skier says:

      MB “particularly when their whole focus is on the economic powerhouse of the City and the SE anyway”


      Hell, if you can flog off the NHS and shut down the welfare state, Scotland’s revenues will not be such a great loss…. Just need time to move the giant penis extension from the Clyde. Gideon makes note to self – ‘ask Scot Gov to stick with NATO, at least initially’.

    25. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “if we get independence in 2014 and then there’s a Scottish General Election in 2016, where would all of the unionist parties get their funding from”

      It’s a very interesting question. In fact, even though it’s not 3pm yet, I’m officially dubbing it Most Interesting Question Of The Day.

    26. bill says:

      My late friend had Cerebral Palsy.  A few year ago, under Labour, he was threatened by benefits staff if he didnt take a pizza deliver job he’d lose his support.  He always joked can you imagine your pizza order all over the pavement!”.

      Screw Fife Council, Screw Scottish Labour and YES in 2014 and yes to supporting those who need a wee bit help in life! 

    27. Galen10 says:

      @Arbroath 1320

      I don’t buy the post 2015 split in Labour; if the Labour party has shown anything over the past decades it is a talent for surviving, and reinventing itself. The failure of the SDP to “steal Labour’s clothes”, and it’s eventual merger with the old Liberals, effectively scotched any realistic prospect of a radical, progressive left of centre force in British politics, which could conceivably have seen a smaller socialst party on the far left, and the SDP replacing Labour. It would have spared us the nauseating New Labour experiment too.

      Your point about where left of centre ex LD voters go (especially in England) is an interesting one. I assume most in Scotland have simply switched allegiance to the SNP, but in England, there is really nowhere else for them to go. Living in a safe Tory seat in Sussex, my vote is essentially wasted… but even if it were a closer race, I couldn’t bring myself to vote Labour or LD… which really only leaves the Greens if they even stand.

      I honestly don’t think the Tory strategy is anything like as Machiavellian as some people are making out; Scotland just isn’t that important to them. If anything I reckon it is more likely that they have made a calculation that the number of Scottish MP’s isn’t going to be decisive at the next GE, and even if it is somehow important, they will deal with the issue when it comes.

      @Scottish Skier

      I agree about the WLQ issue, and the unsuitability of the current Westminster system to accommodate “novel” constructs and solutions. A similar situation presented itself in relation to Irish home rule vis a vis Westminster, but never really got answered because the Irish declared their independence.

      I think it is quite feasible that in the event of a NO vote in 2014, and another Tory failure to secure a majority in 2015 at Westminster, you might suddenly find an appetite in the Tory party for devo-max / FFA in return for a federal type solution excluding Scottish MP’s from non-scottish votes at Westminster.

      I can see the attraction of “safe” independence, or “independence lite” line if you like, the issue I have with it is that the sunny uplands of this “new relationship” with the currency zone, the Queen as head of state, etc. isn’t within the gift of a newly independent Scottish state, any more than devo-max is within the gift of the current Scottish Government. It takes two to tango…. and I’m not that convinced that holding out the safe option of an independent Scotland within a common British social and economic space holds water, because I don’t think the Tories are clever enough to engineer it.

    28. scottish_skier says:

      Interesting you mention Ireland. This is the results of the 1918 general election where the nationalists (Sinn Fein) made massive gains against the more ‘moderate’ (in terms of pushing for an irish parliament) home rule IPP.
      Have you seen a map similar to this in the last year, but a bit NW of Ireland geographically and all yellow?
      Sinn Fein won around the same % of FPTP seats then as the SNP. Ireland was independent shortly after.
      Was ultimately of great benefit to the Tories in the rUK, allowing them to become a much more dominant force.

    29. Galen10 says:

      If we get independence in 2014, does anybody really think the existing “unionist” parties who have fought tooth and nail against indepndence will last more than a few months? Surely they will either implode, and new parties will emerge from the bits, or they will simply re-brand themselves and try and soldier on.

      None of the 3 majors is going to have much credibility, so I’d expect at least some of SLab’s support to go to smaller socialist parties, some to a new left of centre party formed of old unionists who can’t face (and wouldn’t be welcome…?) in the SNP, and possibly some to go to a centre/social democratic party.

      Most people seem to assume the SNP will continue, but also that a fair section of its support will decamp to “new” parties; once it is no longer an umbrella party chiefly concerned with achieving independence, the voters (and members?) need to figure out where in the Scottish political landscape the SNP will sit; on the centre-left presumably, but is it a replacement for Labour, or not?

      The Tories will no doubt form their own wee party to try and de-toxify the brand… a hard furrow to plow, as it is likely to take a few generations for them to make much progress at all.

      It will also be interesting to see if Holyrood post a YES vote in 2014 sees more diversity with parties for specific interest groups (pensioners perhaps..?), or sectional interests (Orkney and Shetlands, Western Isles etc).

    30. scottish_skier says:

      Crap – that should be ‘NE’ and my image link doesn’t work.

    31. Juteman says:

      Really good post Stu. It’s enough to make you weep.

      I’ve often thought that ‘the powers above’ have been aiming to turn the UK into a mini US regarding political parties. Switch Republican and Democrat, for Tory and Labour, and you end up with the same.
      You can vote for whatever party you want, as long as it is backed by big businnes.

      Democracy is dead in the UK.

    32. Dcanmore says:

      That’s IDS in Scotland telling us we’re too small, too poor and too stupid … again!

    33. Barontorc says:

      Let’s get the chronology sorted out once and for all. 2014 is the date AS has said we will hold a REFERENDUM in Scotland to decide “quo vadis”. It is not an election but a referendum to ascertain the will of the people who live and work in Scotland.

      2015 is the date for the UK General Election and Westminster. This will follow on from the mood of the Scots illustrated by the 2014 referendum. It will finish off all the opposition parties in Scotland if the 2014 YES vote manifests as a 2015 SNP landslide. It would be daft to think anything other than that.

      2016 will be the Scottish Election Vote which will totally focus on what Scotland wishes to be its future. The manifestos and policy statements that will precede that 2016 election will fundamentally shift Scotland towards what is needed of an independent, self-functioning country.

      That’s why it’s patent nonsense to demand the Scottish Government produce a full prospectus of governing policies, now, and not also put and expect the same from those
      other parties, who will vie for Scotland.

      I have no doubt the SNP already have a well developed plan when independence is confirmed as the stated will of its people in 2014 and I am absolutely certain that is not the case for other parties. 

      Interesting times indeed! 

    34. Juteman says:

      The BBC website says that Billy Connoly will be an ambassador for the 2014 Commonwealth games, alongside Rebecca Adlington. I’m pretty sure she isn’t Scottish?  Seems odd to me.

    35. Oldnat says:


      It would be good to get ambassadors  for the Commonwealth Games from all the countries involved.

    36. Juteman says:

      I hear you Oldnat, but i’m worrying the Scottish Commonwealth Games are going to be Britifried. This seems unusual to me.

    37. Appleby says:

      Only Smarties have the answer.

    38. Arbroath 1320 says:

      Just a quickie.
      Could this be the reason that the Tories will win the G.E. in 2015?

      I know that Labour have around a 15% lead in th polls at present but by the time the G.E. comes around I think the results of THIS poll may very well take effect.

    39. Bill C says:

      Juteman,good call, Connolly is an out and out unionist and will do everything in his power to Britify the Commonwealth Games. Labour will will do all they can to promote his participation.

    40. Arbroath 1320 says:

      O.M.G. Willie Bain is on Newsnicht.
      Quick pass the basin!

    41. Davy says:

      Funny enough, if you go onto a Unionist website and tell them they will have to become an independent scottish political party after independence, as Scotland would not allow a political party run from a foreign country to gain control of its government, it upsets them and for some reason they refuse to talk about it.

      PS. Its a waste of time going onto the “labour hame site” again, if you disagree with them and make them uncomfortable, they just moderate your answer off their posting, their just feart to take you on, and certainly wont stand and fight back. 
      Maybe its just me that anoy’s them.   

    42. Jeannie says:

      I know, Davy.  I had just been thinking that the visceral hatred of the SNP displayed by the Scottish unionist parties was down to tribalism and a fear of MPs losing their jobs and prospects of promotion to the Lords, but then I wondered if independence might threaten the very existence of the current party set-up in Scotland, not for idealogical reasons but for  economic ones. Within a relatively small population and a tiny membership, how could they afford to run a party machine and afford to fight elections?
      There will be a UK General Election in 2015, so we can assume the London parties will cover the cost of that, but we’ll have a Holyrood election and, I think, local elections as well up here in 2016.  Would London surreptitiously transfer them the funding for this in advance of independence?  
      And after that, what would happen? Would they have the money to field as many candidates as they have in the past or would they increasingly come to political agreements not to stand candidates so as not to split votes, etc? Or would some of the parties just cease to be?
      In other words, will the current arrangement have to change, simply because of economics?  And is this the real threat to the unionist parties which is underlying their appalling behaviour?

    43. MajorBloodnok says:

      Interesting articles in the Hootsman re IDS’s provocations in Glasgow:

      I hadn’t realised that the Scotland Office had released some selected figures backing up IDS (only to be spotted and shot down by the CPPR).

      And so, we’re not too poor after all… who’da thunk it!

    44. scottish_skier says:

      Heard on the radio this morning that the United Nations are planning to open an office in Scotland apparently.


    45. Aucheorn says:

      What interesting times we live in.

    46. James Morton says:


      Politics like nature abhors a vacuum – new parties will emerge or the old ones will adjust to the new political landscape. What will change is the party structure – Labour would shrink in size for a start. Means of funding would have to change, its message would have to change. It may reposition itself as a left of centre party….but it will not be a painless transition for them. They won’t be in a position to be a credible party of government in Scotland for quite a while imho.

      The tories have almost reached bottom as far as their support goes. The have relied on funding from Westminster and the odd rich bloke for a long time. When that spigot gets turned off, I would expect to see Murdo trying to re-invent the party again, and this time I think he will do it.

      The liberals – once a party that dominated Scottish politics in the 19th century will struggle to find a place, so I would expect them to split off into different camps or attempt a merger with another party – perhaps the Greens?

    47. Jeannie says:

      @James Morton
      Yup – living in interesting times, indeed.  I suppose there will also be a renewed call for the taxpayer to fund elections “in the interests of democracy”.

    48. scottish_skier says:

      Wee thistle guy with a saltire t-shirt as the mascot for the 2014 games.


      Cheers oldnat re the map. Think I know what I did wrong with the wiki image link.


      On the UN Story:

      UN House Scotland to open in Edinburgh

      A new centre which aims to become the voice of the United Nations in Scotland is set to open in Edinburgh.

    49. MajorBloodnok says:

      Hunter Square for the UN?  That’ll be handy for the fleshpots (and beerpots) of the Cowgate.

    50. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “Wee thistle guy with a saltire t-shirt as the mascot for the 2014 games.”

      Sshh, nobody tell the Unionists the secret…

    51. Jeannie says:

      @Major Bloodnok
      Fleshpots and beerpots, you say?  Looking forward to Edinburgh on Saturday more than ever now!  Cheers!

    52. Holebender says:

      Re the BBC story about the thistle mascot; Billy Connolly tells us that the Clyde is one of the sole reasons for Glasgow’s existence. Do you think someone should tell him what “sole” means?

    53. Juteman says:

      Eel be floundering if you explain sole to him. 🙂

    54. velofello says:

      I feel the urge to swim against the tide. generally a pretty stupid tiring activity.

      Maybe the benefits system does need an overhaul.
      Is Ian Duncan Smith really evil or maybe he is tasked with facing up to an unaffordable rising benefits cost forecast and a system that leaks like a sieve and enables the streetwise to obtain unwarranted benefit? 
      I admit to having no knowledge of the benefit system, cannot provide anecdotals on cheats nor on worthy souls enduring hardship.
      Me, i’m retired and will be paying income tax ’till I’m laid in the box. i would like to pay less tax but not at the expense of children living in poverty nor the disabled being underprovided. And so with benefit cheats, their gain is arguably the loss to those enduring financial hardship. If the changes to the system move it towards fairness and affordability fine by me.
      And returning to base camp. It will be easier to manage a fair system within a population of +5 million.

    55. Erchie says:


      Let me put your mind at ease.

      I do know something of the benefits system, most of which is paid as aN effective subsidy to employers who don’t pay a living wage,  rather than the mythical feckless.

      He IS evil. He is reducing money be, in the case of DLA for example, by 40 times the amount of fraud. 

      That means he is hitting those that need it 

    56. James Morton says:

      I understand your problems,but you have to understand the underlying reasons for IDS and his reforms. It has been well documented that benefits claimed under dubious reasons accounts for 1% of total welfare spend. This figure however also includes those the DWP believes it over paid by mistake.  This figure is dwarfed by 10 to 1 the amount that goes unclaimed every year, because the DWP is under no obligation advise anyone on what they may or may not be entitled to.
      So knowing this Labour engages a company with a contract worth 3.2 billion to “police” the sickness benefits. It recieves a cash bonus for everyone it fails, so it incentivised to fail everyone. That includes quadriplegics or people suffering from degernerative illnesses. There is simply no justification for that level of harrassment and it clearly on serves the interests of the firm as it inflicts needless suffering on those who need this assitance the most.
      You want to reform benefits – then make work pay – make rents affordable, make more social housing that can be bought cheaply. Because until you do,the benefits system will have to enlarge to cover the short fall. This sort of reform cannot be undertaken by the private sector, it would have to be led from the front by government. Tories won’t do this, its easier to blame the victim than deal with the issue. IDS reforms won’t acheive anything but to force a lot of good people who are cheating in needless penury.

    57. velofello says:

      I appreciate your replies Erchie and James Morton. A scheme that fails to ensure people receive their due benefits isn’t right and is failing the people. Nor a scheme that pays out a bonus to a company for disqualifying people their due benefit is acting for the social good.

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