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Putting the boot in

Posted on September 29, 2012 by

It’s been hard to keep up with the avalanche of opprobrium that’s been poured onto Johann Lamont’s head since Tuesday, as nationalists, commentators and Labour loyalists alike have all reacted with shock and horror to her craven, mendacious abandonment of the last shreds of the once-great party’s ideology.

(Even the most foaming of Labour’s ultra-staunch comment-thread attack dogs, such as Left Foot Forward’s absurd “Newsbot9”, called it “political suicide”.)

We can’t help but note the irony in the fact that Scottish Labour’s first ever full-blown, supposedly-independent leader is the one who has eliminated the final vestiges of difference between the more traditional Scottish party and its neoliberal London parent.

So to save you scouring the internet haphazardly, we’ve gathered together our top 10 picks of the bunch for some leisurely weekend reading. And just for fun, you can vote for your favourite in the poll in the central column. It’s no easy task. Enjoy.

(Joyce McMillan for The Scotsman)

“And it’s therefore profoundly sad to note, this week, the Scottish Labour leader’s monumentally ill-judged decision to join in this oppressive chorus of boss-class miserabilism, orchestrated by people who care nothing for the lives of ordinary citizens, in Scotland or elsewhere.”

(Willie Sullivan for Compass)

“It seems the principle of universality is to be discarded and therefore the hopes of a truly progressive tax system. Universal benefits are the fairest, most efficient, least stigmatised method of distributing any form of collective benefit. We can all have them and those that earn enough will pay it back in tax. I don’t really care if Rod Stewart gets a free bus pass as long as he’s more than paying for it in his tax. Give up on one side of those scales of social justice and you give up on both.”

(Robin McAlpine for the Jimmy Reid Foundation)

“And so I am simply dumbfounded. The snap reactions have all been that this is suicide because each of the things she attacked is popular. That is true – I fear for anyone having to sell that manifesto. But there is a greater existential issue about the relationship between Scotland and Labour. If you ask me, this is not only suicide, it is suicide-and-damnation all rolled up into one.”

(Suki Sangha for Communique)

“Why fund a Labour party which is hell bent on destroying the lives of millions of ordinary working people? How long will we make excuses for a Labour Party which has consistently come out and attacked workers? Why are we so desperate to hold onto a vision of the Labour party which is so distant to the reality of New Labour?”

(Iain Macwhirter for the Herald)

“It looks as if the Scottish Labour leader has gone through the list of the most popular policies in Scotland and decided to dump the lot. All she needs to do now is abolish free personal care and bus passes and she wins the teddy bear. “

(Richard Seymour for the Guardian)

“By any reasonable definition, Johann Lamont’s policy announcement on Tuesday was a train wreck. After Iain Gray’s lacklustre, gaffe-prone and election-losing leadership, pro-Labour pundits had persuaded themselves that Lamont was quite a heavyweight Scottish Labour leader. They should be face-palming. The policy implications of Lamont’s speech – ending universal benefits, raising tuition fees, cutting free prescriptions – were bad enough. The atrocious, reactionary soundbites, demanding an end to “something for nothing” culture, were worse. And it was all delivered in a colliding procession of clichés and non-sequiturs, with faltering speech, and without conviction.”

(George Eaton for the New Statesman)

“In challenging the concept of universal benefits, Lamont has underestimated the strong body of popular support that exists for them. “What is progressive about a banker on more than 100,000 a year benefitting more than a customer on average incomes from the council tax freeze?”, she declared. But universal public services, to which all contribute and from which all benefit, are the essence of social democracy. Once this principle is abandoned, greater cuts will inevitably follow as the rich, no longer receiving, have less incentive to give.”

(Ian Bell, for the Herald)

“Tuition fees, granny’s bus pass, personal care in old age: As of this week, these are all, it seems, mere luxuries. Ms Lamont seemed to say that these things had not been earned. She wanted to say that they could not be defended. Historians can check the dates. For now, I’ll give you this: Scottish Labour died yesterday. A white flag was seen. Johann Lamont’s whitened face, her anguish and frustrated fury, told the story.”

(Jonathon Shafi for International Socialist Group)

“‘The idea that Scotland is a land where everything is free is a lie’, says Lamont. How dishonest, how deplorable, that a Labour party forged by the trade unions of yesteryear should use point-scoring with Alex Salmond to advance an agenda so robustly right-wing that it would make George Osborne proud.”

(Robin McAlpine for the Jimmy Reid Foundation)

“I cannot make this clear enough – Ms Lamont is utterly wrong. We’ve had this debate; we’ve had it endlessly. Universalism won, selectivity lost. In Scotland (outside the commentariat) there is no desire to roll back the universal welfare state. The population has had plenty of opportunity to do so – at no point has it not been a democratic option in Scotland. But it didn’t choose it. The right wing has never really accepted the difference between having a debate and winning a debate.”

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  1. 04 10 12 17:55

    Does Liam Byrne & Johann Lamont’s Attack on Welfare & Universal Benefits Signal The End of The Union? Posted on October 4, 2012 by JJ - |

135 to “Putting the boot in”

  1. Peter A Bell says:

    A difficult choice. But my vote goes to Willie Sullivan for so astutely identifying the inevitable link between rejection of universal benefits and abandonment of any hope of a truly progressive tax system.
    There are reasons why people in Scotland don’t vote Tory. Now they can stop voting Labour for precisely the same reasons.

  2. Adrian B says:

    A wall of disbelief that transcends Scottish Indy blogs.  

  3. McHaggis says:

    Hate to admit it but Seymour’s Guardian piece is the most astonishingly vitriolic, followed closely by the Jimmy Reid Foundation.

  4. Ian Bell for the Herald,gets my vote.
    I find myself being so surprised that I have no adequate words to describe my thoughts,on Labour ,although I have never voted Labour for I have never trusted them,I have always believed in an independent Scotland (and for every country)and just maybe I will have to say thanks to Labour in 2014 for helping my ambition to fruition.

  5. Aplinal says:


    I second that – PLUS the fact that it appears in the Guardian at all! 

  6. McHaggis says:

    I now earn enough that in the last 4 or 5 years my direct PAYE is in the region of £40k per year.

    You know what, i and my family fucking DESERVE free prescriptions and the rest of the universal benefits.

    I worked hard from a family of 4 kids, in a rough council house part of Scotland, to do the best I could. I am now 43 and pretty damn good at what I do and my pay reflects that. I started on £420 a month from which I paid my own rent and bills (approx half my wage) got married young, had kids young and there have been difficult times when money was so tight we borrowed to make ends meet.

    I now pay A LOT of cash back into the system directly and indirectly and just who the FUCK are Labour to suggest that just because I cracked it in the last 4 or 5 years and get paid well, that all my hard work and sore times can be forgotten about and because I earn good money I deserve NOTHING in return.

    Council tax rises, university fees, prescription charges and the rest would put a massive hole even in my income and force me to withdraw spending elsewhere… Hows that for a positive growth vision?

    Fuck Lamont and Fuck labour.

    and yes, I voted for them once. P

    rant over sorry 

  7. scottish_skier says:

    In terms of headline ‘The day that Scottish Labour died’ wins it for me. Yep, not just the end of its principles, but the end of the party as we know it entirely. 

    A split is imminent. Expect MSPs to start defecting to Scottish Labour for Independence or the SNP. For some it will be based on real principles, others more self-preservation. Either way, the effect will be the same.

  8. Cuphook says:

    A friend was visiting his granny this morning and apparently Labour’s betrayal is the talk of the village. You couldn’t get a more typical Labour voter – she was active in the miners’ strike in the 80s and has voted Labour all her life.
    Perception is everything in politics and Labour are now seen as the party which wants to rob the poor of their few luxuries.

    Can Labour ever recover from this idiocy? The party must surely be on suicide watch.

  9. Juteman says:

    Difficult choice. I liked both of Robin McAlpines articles, and also Suki Sangha. In fact, they all had something to say.
    I think Robins second article is my winner though.

  10. Adrian B says:

    So many good quotes from these ten articles, it’s hard to find a single favourite. If anything I feel that I must thank Rev Stu for putting some of the best press articles of the last few days into one place, so that quotes are easy to find.

    The labour party conference is kicking off in Manchester so this story has still got plenty of life left as Milliband has come out supporting Lamonts policy position. It’s obvious that Labour are looking to capture the hearts and minds of the wealthy that inhabit the South East of the UK at the expense of the rest of the UK and society. Have Labour thought carefully on this positive case for the Union?    

  11. Seasick Dave says:

    This whole idea of something for nothing is bollocks anyway.

    What she is saying is that the person that pays high taxes shouldn’t get free benefits while the person that doesn’t pay taxes should get free benefits. 

    She is also suggesting that non tax paying person is subsidising the tax paying person.

    I don’t think that in all the years I have followed politics that I have come across a more spiteful, bitter, class hating person than Johann Lamont.

    She is an utter disgrace. 

  12. douglas clark says:

    Rev Stu,
    Your own articles deserve to be up there for us to vote on too. I appreciate it’s only your innate modesty that has stopped you!

    I voted for Robin McAlpine’s 1st article, because it is the clearest analysis I have seen on the why of what they have done. This is still the Labour Party talking to itself. Party unity above electability.

    Well, he convinced me.

    I rather suspect that Labour might split over this.
    I’m away to see if there are bets available on how long she will survive as Leader of the Labour Party in Scotland. Her only advantage seems to me to be that no other names come to mind that would fit the unionist message better.
    Roll on 2014!

  13. Vincent McDee says:

    I’m with Adrian above, is really difficult to make a pick, so much so I decant for a comment to one of them (now I’m lost to remember which):

    “What Lamont is really proposing is means testing as a way of keeping the councils nonjobs and their gold plated pensions. I should have voted SNP for the council too, by voting labour I just encouraged them in their obfuscation.” 

  14. Jen says:

    I enjoed many of those articles and missed a few so thanks for having them in one place.

    My favourite is Suki because she questions the funding of Labour by Unions.  Personally, I don’t get why Unions fund them, as Labour are intent on destroying workers rights in the same way as the Tories.  When in power why didn’t they restore some of the Unions power?

    I think the TU movement is kidding itself with their support of Labour, funding a party which destroys the very people they want to protect.  No wonder people don’t join Unions as what’s the point.  You get done over anyway, so pay for it.

  15. EdinScot says:

    Great article and a supeb collection of quotes exposing Lamonts’ treachery.

    Choosing the best quote out of those above was such a close call but for me it hass to be George Eaton of the New Statesmen confirming that Slab have given up on social democracy.  This is the moment where i think we are witnessing Scotland choosing a different and new road where fairness and a more equal and richer society (not just richer in money) is taken as we finally leave Labour to   go onward to their highway to hell.  The light at the end of the tunnel is shining bright for independence.
    Labour  have killed theirselves stone dead.

  16. Cuphook says:


    As soon as Lamont mentioned the income of the Sturgeon household it was obvious she was trying to use jealousy as a means of portraying the SNP as the party of the rich. She thought she was shinning a torch on this as the villagers gathered their pitchforks, but instead the people saw that she was the monster. 

    In Labour’s world, at £40k, you are rich and you must therefore be punished.

    Time to pull the plug on Labour. It’s what Keir Hardie would have wanted.

  17. James Morton says:

    Doesn’t she look tired

  18. Juteman says:

    I keep on thinking there must be more to this.
    Maybe we are about to see the formation of a fully seperate Labour Unionist Party?
     Similar to the Unionists in NI? I wouldn’t be surprised, as the Empire is well versed in divide and rule.

  19. scottish_skier says:

    Thing is, as people have been saying, there’s no realistic way of Scottish Labour digging themselves out of this hole. If they reverse their stance and go back to supporting no higher education fees etc they’ll be cannon fodder for the SNP and voters won’t trust them to deliver these things at all. If they stick to this policy shift, the same applies.

    What Scottish Labour really want – more right-wing Blairism – is now clear for all to see. They are London New Labour, N. British Branch, no doubts at all. Voting for them is voting for an end to devolution. 

  20. Arbroath 1320 says:

    Thanks Rev for giving me my FIRST headache of the day. 😀
    You have put a great selection of quotes in your article. I really am having a HARD time choosing which one is the “winner.” They are, in my view, ALL winners in their own way. At the end of the day though a choice has to be made and I have gone for the piece by Richard Seymour.  My reasoning is simple, I am gobsmacked that the Guardian actually PRINTED his piece.

  21. YesYesYes says:

    The best line here has to be Richard Seymour’s:
    “They should be face-palming”.
    What is so remarkable about these extracts is that none of these contributors are people whom Scottish Labour can write off as the ‘usual culprits’, the ‘cybernats’ who, in the wacky world of Scottish Labour, are unleashed by the SNP as Alex Salmond’s loyal rapid response team in cyberspace!
    The other notable thing here, particularly about the response from Labour supporters down south is that this speech, with all its implications, has opened their eyes to something that has been apparent to many of us Scots for a long time now. Many Labour people down south, because of their lack of knowledge of Scottish politics, have long assumed that Scottish Labour was somehow a more ‘authentic’ Labour voice than New Labour. That it was Scottish Labour that could be relied on to uphold traditional Labour values against the ‘aberration’ of New Labour down south.
    But as we’ve been trying to tell them for a long time now, this was always an illusion. True, Scottish Labour, somewhat sneakily, never adopted the official title ‘Scottish New Labour’ when it was formed in 1994. But this was because, for domestic political purposes in Scotland, it suited it to perpetrate the lie, for the benefit of Labour voters in Scotland, that there was this (imagined) ideological distance between Scottish Labour and New Labour in England. But, in truth, all that happened is that devolution provided a comfort zone for Scottish Labour to maintain this lie.
    What is so revealing about Johann Lamont’s speech, with all its implications, is that now that it is the SNP that is in power, and upholding many traditional Labour values, Scottish Labour has, at long last, finally been forced to ‘come out’ as Scottish New Labour.
    So we have this remarkable situation in Scottish politics now, where Scottish New Labour is attacking the SNP for upholding traditional Labour values! And now there’s no excuse for anyone, on either side of the border, to believe the lie that Scottish Labour is the ‘authentic’ voice of Labour. What is clear is that just as the Thatcher legacy fucked up the Tories for the best part of a generation, so the New Labour legacy has fucked up Labour. For some time now, many people outside Scottish Labour have been asking themselves the question, what is Scottish Labour for? The real problem for Scottish Labour now, is that many people inside Scottish Labour must be asking themselves the same question.

  22. Cuphook says:

    Maybe JL was set up. With all the infighting in Labour recently it’s an avenue worth exploring, as nothing else quite makes sense. JL has been inarticulate and incapable when trying to explain ‘her’ great idea – so perhaps it’s not hers. What if the purpose is twofold? To get rid of JL to make way for someone else and to establish New Labour, Westminster hegemony over the party?

  23. Ayemachrihanish says:

    Ian Bell – because his conclusion is widley held by all true Labour voters and, in a practical way, is then articulated very candidly by McHaggis. Scottish Labour = Tories – tartan Tories 

  24. Adrian B says:

    Looking at these articles in more considered terms and looking at the bigger picture around what Scottish Labour have done. For me the ‘greatest comments’ have to be the ones that come from those on the left of politics. Labour systematically shifting to the right of politics may be nothing new to me. The left have a completely different view of what has happened in the last few days. In it’s capacity, the left are not going to cover Scottish Labour on this one. Labour have deserted these people as they have many others in their past.

    What I am trying to highlight here is Labour have split their own vote , not just in Scotland, but throughout the UK.

    Here are some of the more important comments for me in no particular order.

    Siki Sangha

    “These are serious questions which the trade union movement can no longer ignore. To say that Scottish Labour represent the interests of working people today would be laughable if it weren’t so tragic. Now is the time to make the break with Labour and look to a new future for trade unions and for Scotland – what have we got to lose?”

    Robin McAlpine

    “This is a sharp turn to the right, an outright rejection of the universal welfare state and a relaunch of the doctrines of Blairism. And before I get any of the ‘oh but we’ll target the freed-up money at the poor’ nonsense from Scottish Labour, that’s what Blair said. Unfortunately, it somehow never happens.” 

    Steven Luby – comment on Willie sullivan piece

    “This to me says that all parties have done the unforgivable,ignored the electorate.They have come up with policies that cannot merge with Scotlands devolution and England/Wales.Scotland has not changed course,the fundemantal beliefs of a society as a support unit,from which if one is lucky you do great but if you dont succeed you struggle but,society as a responsible unit will help whenever help is needed!” 

    Jonathon Shafi

    “The Left have a job to do in this situation: to build for a Yes vote on a radical, progressive basis, and to expose the Labour Party for their years of neglect. In the future we will need our own party to fight back against this rot. One that can provide an opposition to the interests of the rich and powerful and present a serious alternative agenda.”

  25. bill says:

    Ian Bells Death of Scottish Labour gets my vote.  Its been a long time coming, glad to say I never ever voted Labour.

    wheres sm753 now with his smart arse comments.  See you all in 2014 at the polling booths, YES to Scotland making decisions without right wing lib/lab/con orangemen!

  26. Ggeorge A says:

    Robin McAlpines second article was of unbelievable quality. To condense such detailed assessment into such a short article demonstrates outstanding skill.

    It is sad to see the demise of a party that gave so much to improve fairness in society. The simple fact that the gap between rich and poor increased under a Labour government (Blair/Brown) was enough for me. This latest policy merely indicates that the journey continues to compromise principles for middle England votes.

  27. MajorBloodnok says:

    I voted with Douglas Clark in that I was really persuaded by the clear analysis and dissection of the machinations of the Labour Party laid out in Robin McAlpine’s first article (his articles are usually pretty good I think).  That said, I agree that Richard Seymour’s one-liner “They should be face-palming” is a classic.  What a week – I’m looking forward to the Party conferences now….particularly Labour’s.

  28. Holebender says:

    Does anybody know what Gerry Hassan has to say about all this? Will this finally stop him obsessing about how to fix Labour?

  29. Cuphook says:

    I hear that Labour’s next plan is to phone Acme and see if they’ve got anything that’ll stop Salmond.

  30. molly says:

    The trouble is once you’ve sold your soul,whats left to debate ?

  31. sm753 says:

    “wheres sm753 now with his smart arse comments.”
    Right here, welcoming Scottish Labour’s arrival in the 21st century and having a good laugh at all the uproar.
    This is the dilemma facing EVERY Western state (and even Asian ones, including China): lengthening lifespans and declining birth-rates mean that pay-as-you-go welfare states are simply not sustainable. There is absolutely no way that states can afford to provide the services demanded of them without a contribution, at the point of use, from those using the services who can afford to pay.
    That includes stuff like prescriptions and most definitely includes higher education, which is one of the biggest rip-offs in favour of the middle class there is.
    You guys really ought to read the Economist or the finance pages of the Telegraph. They’ve been making this point for years.
    Ms Lamont has taken a brave and principled stand and should stick to it. The timing is right, there is plenty of time for it to sink in before anybody has to vote on anything.

  32. Marcia says:

    You can put the boot into any number of hapless Labour MSP’s who only a year ago were singing to a different tune. Check out the other photos too:


  33. megabreath says:

    well,where to begin.Open mouthed astonishment all round at this incredible speech.The final burial  note of any aspirations “Scottish” (sic) Labour had to social democracy and of course,as we all know,”there is no such thing as society”(copyright Thatcher/Blair/Lamont/Brown/Hayek)Unless this is part of some,very surprising,grand strategy-what are the chances?-this looks like curtains for Labour even if Magnus Gardham thinks it isnt.In fact,especially if Magnus Gardham thinks it isnt.Joking aside,there is a very serious point here.This was once a party that embodied the social democratic aspirations of many Scots and now look at it-a shambles unable to rediscover any sense of purpose or identity.This leaves a great many Scots,some of my relatives among them,with a real dilemma.Some will continue to vote Labour as they have always done but many others find themselves  unable to voteSNP and yet,despite these inclinations,they recognise the social democratic nature of SNP policies.They know this is where their vote should go.Interesting times and interesting times to come.

  34. Robbie says:

    Slabour have swapped their shovel for a JCB.
    Lamont is a blessing to the SNP.
    Thick as pig shit would be a compliment to Johann Thatcher.

  35. scottish_skier says:

    sm753 “The timing is right, there is plenty of time for it to sink in before anybody has to vote on anything”

    Yes, the timing is perfect; not long before it is announced that there will be only one question on independence, and in the event of a no vote, devolution is to be rolled back (effectively what Labour is proposing). The electorate should have absorbed this fully by the time they vote in 2014. Lamont has handed this to the Yes campaign on a plate.

    Certainly, it was the Labour party holding Scotland in the union. Now they’re dead, so the union will finally die. After all, socio-economically, staying in the union looks horrific (as you so aptly described); even if independence did not go swimmingly, it could not be worse than the envisaged future in the union. In reality, financially, independence looks a hell of a lot better.  

  36. velofello says:

    Thee has been much puzzlement over why oh why Ms Lamont made this speech, essentially destroying the “ethos” of Labour, Scottish version..
    Here’s my theory; someone switched her speech! As has been noted and commented often, she reads out her questions at FM question Time, and fails to understand the answer given to her question, and so is it not reasonable to consider then that she doesn’t understand the question she is reading either? 
    And so she faithfully blunders through  the planted speech not understanding a word of meaning and with her spiteful frame of mind couldn’t even recognise the “schoolboyish” gibe at Nicola Sturgeon’s household income.
    Now then, who would have the incentive to do such a plant? Not the SNP as affairs are going along reasonably well for them and the political risk of being caught too great. 
    Enemies within?
    i’ll give McWhirter my vote for easy plain speaking, and it may encourage him not to write articles like his previous weeks issue. Question; Is teddy bear another term for Rangers supporters? Is that a subtle clue in McWhirter’s article above when he refers to teddy bears?
    I feel a mystery novel coming on, step aside Ms Rowling.

  37. Doug Daniel says:

    The mad thing about all these Labour MSPs who were happy to get photographed pledging their support for no tuition fees is that it was clear to everyone that Labour weren’t serious about it as a policy – including the electorate, which is why most of the country stuck two fingers up at them.

    So now we have photographs of someone like Sarah Boyack – who has always struck me as one of those people who means well but is in the wrong party – looking utterly hypocritical when her party reverses its stance on such things.

    On the other hand, there are a plethora of snivelling little shit-stains, immoral pricks spinning more than the magnetic core in an alternator to try and change the message to make it sound like Johann Lamont is not in fact saying what we all know fine she’s saying. We all know the sort of creeps I’m talking about. We’ve all argued with them on Twitter or various other blogs, and seen them twisting arguments like a contortionist. How dare these people try to tell us they “care as much for the poor in Glasgow as the poor in Liverpool”? I always thought they were just speaking rubbish, but in actual fact, they were telling it absolutely straight: they care exactly the same amount about both – not at all.

    These little toads are so obsessed with getting their party into power, they don’t even understand what it means to believe in a cause. When these people say they stand for “social justice” they’re just spouting an advertising pitch. For them, “social justice” is just the selling point of the Labour “brand”. It’s like Atos sponsoring the Paralympic Games while they force disabled people off benefits.

    Imagine Alex Salmond came out and said “well, independence is a great idea, but in the current climate we just can’t afford it, so we’ve decided that we think Scotland should remain in the union.” Imagine Patrick Harvie made a speech saying “clean energy is nice in theory, but the reality is it’s unaffordable so we’ve decided to look at policies such as increasing coal power stations ten-fold and giving the subsidies that currently go to public transport firms to car manufacturers instead.” Imagine Colin Fox said “we’ve decided that universal benefits are no longer affordable, so we have decided they should be means tested instead – Scotland must not be the only ‘something for nothing’ country.”

    Those three parties are populated by people who believe in a cause, people who would rip up their membership cards the second they heard those speeches. But the Labour apologists who tell us Johann Lamont did NOT just dump the idea of universality, and did NOT just accuse Scotland of wanting “something for nothing” wouldn’t know what a moral standpoint was if it hit them in the face. Repeatedly. Until blood was drawn. Blood which was blue.

    These are the sort of people who are responsible for the state of politics just now, and the sooner Labour dies, the better. At least their colleagues in the Tory party are consistent with their party’s selfish ideals and make no attempt to pretend otherwise. 

  38. Davy says:

    I would like to put forward another contender, that bastion of labour truthfullness and honestly, “Duncan Hothersall” who as reported in this publication under (seeing no ships) said Johann did not attack universal benefits, and certainly did not call them “something for nothing”.

    For pure brassneckness he deserves a mention, Duncan now appears to write comments in the Guardian article under a new name (Niclas).

    Otherwise I have to vote for Robin MacAlpine’s first one “and so I am simply dumbfounded” says it all. 

  39. Juteman says:

    Well said Scottish Skier.
    Sm has just given us his vision for a future UK. (the conservative club must have closed early)
     Roll on 2014 so we can get away from that rotten, decaying corpse.

  40. molly says:

    Slightly O/T but we appeared to become ‘Globalised’when I was’nt looking and before I knew it ,the weather ,the banking,the cuts,were all the fault of globalisation. 
     Now having been reading about Spain and Greece and obviously now The Labour Party in the UK, can anyone tell me who is driving this ideology and who voted for them ? There always has to be someone who benefits and if we’re all going to be forced out onto the streets to admire the Emperors new clothes, I wondered is there something I’m missing ?

  41. Doug Daniel says:

    Incidentally, I voted for Robin’s first article, although it really is a difficult choice as all ten articles are brilliant and would all be standout articles any other week.

    Ian Bells’ is excellent, but I disagree with him on one thing – yes, Nicola was devastating in FMQs, absolutely ripping Johann to shreds, but I still think Alex Salmond is the best person to lead the SNP. Nicola is brilliant, and will be a great First Minister once Salmond steps aside in 2020 or whatever, but he wouldn’t have made the gaffe she made a few months ago on the second BBC independence debate where she stated that Scotland would get a member on the BoE board, rather than just saying it was likely. It’s very minor things like that which are the difference between the two of them, but it’s why she’s not yet ready to take over from Salmond.

    She’s almost there, though, and Thursday showed she can be just as ruthless as Salmond when her opponent makes a mistake. But you don’t sell off Messi at his peak just because you have a younger version waiting in the wings who is ALMOST as good and will EVENTUALLY be better. 

  42. Patrick Stirling says:

    So given that the anti independance parties have all been telling us to vote no in 2014 and we will get some jam afterwards, and the Scottish New Labour party have set up a cuts commission that’s to report back in 2015, so is that a wee sample of the jam do you think? i’m no very keen oan the flavour…..i’m no sure what is, i’m tasting grapefruit wi gooseberries and mibess lemon n lime and I think there’s a wee twist of bitter oranges in there…but there’s nae sugar in it….canny see that catchin oan….I’ll no be buying it that’s for sure.

  43. Holebender says:

    Actually Patrick I think they’ve been telling us if we vote no in 2014 we’ll be in a jam afterwards. 😉

  44. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “There is absolutely no way that states can afford to provide the services demanded of them without a contribution, at the point of use, from those using the services who can afford to pay.”

    There is, of course. Stop pretending we’re John Wayne and spunking billions and billions and billions of pounds running round the world shooting brown people. Stop paying four times the price for hospitals in an attempt to fiddle the books. Don’t waste £20 billion on a two-week athletics meeting. Etc.

    But thanks for confirming once more that the Tories are fully behind Labour’s new position.

  45. Juteman says:

    Spot on, Stu.
    The referendum vote has suddenly, and publicly become clearer. Thanks Johann.
     Folk who vote YES might not all be bearded Bravehearts as the SMM likes to make believe.
    There might be one or two folk voting YES because they know the difference between right and wrong.

  46. JBS says:

    From the Left Foot Forward article linked to above:

    “…raising the prospect of an end to … free perceptions.”

    Whatever can they mean?


  47. Patrick Stirling says:

    sm753 says “Ms Lamont has taken a brave and principled stand”

    No she has not…..she has hidden her cuts commission behind the referendum,it’s no to report back until 2015, if she was brave and pricipled she would be tellin prof bleak midwinter to report back in 2013/14, before the referendum.

    No Sir she is not brave and principled, she is a tory coward with no principles.    

  48. douglas clark says:

    My back of the envelope calculations put the Lamont household on a – not too shoddy –  c£85,000 per annum. Obviously, her ambition is to be First Minister. Will she refuse the salary attached to that position, if – heaven forfend – her ambition is ever realised?

  49. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    The Lamont household is on about £132,000. I tweeted the relevant figures a day or two ago.

  50. Wallace Bruce says:

    It’s a tough choice, but I have to go for Ian Bell in The Herald, if only for the headline. Just as Nick Clegg is now thought of only in the context of the now exorbitant tuition fees. So will Ms Lamont now be the one who is remembered for toxifying “Scottish” Labour and greatly accelerating the decline of her party.

  51. Morag says:

    I think if I was voting now with more reflection, I’d go for Robin McAlpine’s second article.  It just says what I think so perfectly.  I’m a HUGE fan of universal benefits for exactly the reasons he states.  I think that article should be required reading for every civics class in Scotland.

  52. Luigi says:

    Ten brilliant analyses, all worthy of careful consideration. For me, Siki Sangha’s piece nails it. Simple but effective. Essentially, in contrast to what we were led to believe, New Labour did not die in 2010 with Ed Milliband’s election. New Labour is very much alive and kicking. Scottish Labour, on the other hand (whatever it was) died two days ago. RIP.

  53. Dal Riata says:

    Good selection, Rev! Tough choice for no.1as they’re all belters!

    How about this for an alternative article and vote … a list of those who have voiced support for Lamont’s speech and Labour-in-Scotland’s swing to the right? Could be …interesting!?

  54. scottish_skier says:

    Mags Curran outside the Tory Party Conference try to explain why their new policies are good.

    Well, I’m assuming it’s the Tory conference due to all the union jacks. Although Ed is favouring that image now over the old red/yellow = left/liberal ensemble, e.g.

    Can’t help but feel that dark background with the jack is very Oswald Mosley esq.


  55. Jen says:

    Gerry Hassan seems fine with Toryann’s debate about cuts, not surprised really, he seems a little blind to Labour.  Must be the income from the books.

  56. TamD says:

    “You guys really ought to read the Economist or the finance pages of the Telegraph. They’ve been making this point for years.”

    If thats what you reading, then there is no suprise in the rigthward lurch in the labour party. Both are cheerleaders for the neo-liberal kelptocracy.

    Bye bye Labour. 

  57. TamD says:

    SM753 says
    “You guys really ought to read the Economist or the finance pages of the Telegraph. They’ve been making this point for years.”

    If thats what you reading, then there is no suprise in the rigthward lurch in the labour party. Both are cheerleaders for the neo-liberal kelptocracy.

    Bye bye Britain. 

  58. Roboscot says:

    Lamont gave the speech she gave because she was told to by her boss. Milliband’s take on the Scottish parliament elections in 2011 was that a Labour victory would be the start of a Labour revival and winning at Westminster. Nothing about the small matter of who would form the next Scottish government. In itself – not important. That is the Westminster/London mentality. That’s why they got the Lamont speech so wrong. That and every “Scottish Labour Leader” being a Westminster/London puppet.

  59. Holebender says:

    Thanks for the link, mato. I see Cllr. Alex “Braveheart” Gallacher (Labour) is fully behind his brave leader in the comments section.

    I wonder why nobody in Labour seems willing to question the universal provision of the old age pension? Surely retired bankers with private pensions have no need of such paltry sums?

  60. scottish_skier says:


    Pensions… Yes, and primary/secondary school education. The better off can afford private schools/to pay for schooling so maybe we should introduce fees and means testing?

    Should be along soon anyway in England as the ‘free schools’ policy is of course the first step in privatisation of primary/secondary education.

    Then there’s the police. I mean those with a bit of cash could afford for private security/policing surely, allowing us to make some savings? US style if you like. Maybe base means testing on average house price of an estate/area?

    Hold on, policing is being privatised in England too. Rent-a-cop here we come.

    Of course the NHS was a prime example of a ‘something for nothing’ culture; hence it’s for the chop south of the border.

  61. Andrew says:

    Can anybody in Labour explain why tertiary education, prescriptions and personal care are fair game to be charged for, but other universal benefits, such as primary/secondary education, the state pension, policing, roads, medical treatment, etc are apparently not? Or are they on the cuts committee agenda too?

  62. Aplinal says:

    If I recall correctly, Professor Midwinter has said that “Nothing is ruled out”.  So, in principle, yes, all those on your list are up for grabs.
    “Bring it on!”

  63. Doug Daniel says:

    Make no mistake, there is no reason for the right-wing privatisation agenda to stop at destroying the NHS like they’re doing in England and ending some universal benefits which are fairly innocuous in the grand scheme of things but provide huge social benefits.

    As already mentioned, there are already examples of the police being replaced by private security firms. It’s not just private firms being hired to make up for falling police numbers – there are gated communities which are protected by their own private security. Look up places like New Caledonian Wharf in the Docklands area in London if you think such an idea is too far fetched.

    We already have a high number of parents in England sending children to private schools (oh sorry, “public” schools) and it’s only a matter of time before such people start asking why they’re providing education for others when they pay for their own child’s education.

    The NHS in England is already on the road to full privatisation and will soon be nothing more than a basic service used only by the poor.

    Pensions are already so small that anyone wanting to live in anything but abject poverty in old age needs a private pension. I’ve certainly chosen the biggest pension I can at my company because I’ll always remember my old Modern Studies teacher’s advice – “start a pension as soon as you can, because by the time you kids are retired there’ll be no state pension.”

    Of course, when it comes to things that are simply too big to fund on their own, the neo-liberal types do suddenly believe in taxation – no one is going to demand the government stop building roads or defending the realm, after all. Unless, of course, the roads can be built by private firms who then charge for usage (oh, hello toll roads! Didn’t Alistair Darling play with the idea of introducing you when he was transport minister in 2004?). That way, they can keep the plebs off them too. Hey, suddenly this is a GREAT idea!

    Not the armed forces, though. No, that’s too far. Oh, except that in America they already hire profit-making death squads to do some of their state-sponsored murder. But they wouldn’t go that far over here… Would they?

  64. Peter Mirtitsch says:

    Love James Morton’s comment, great paraphrasal of the six words to bring the leader down…

    Would love to see someone in the second or third row whispering in someone else’s ear, and Jojo frantically trying to find out what was said. Do you think she goes around with her ID card held high too? “Yes, we know who you are…”

  65. Arbroath 1320 says:

    Just a quick question here.
    Seeing as how Blair met Thatcher, Brown met Thatcher who is next to have Thatcher in for tea and scones Milliband or Lamont?
    Are we now witnessing the FINAL race to the bottom between Milliband and Lamont?

  66. Stuart M says:

    Why should we be surprised in the slightest?
    In the aftermath of the council elections, numerous local authorities ended up with Labour/Tory coalitions – Stirling, Falkirk, Aberdeen, and several others. These were not purely “Anyone but the SNP” entities: it was Labour politicians aligning with their natural Establishment bedfellows in a country where the Establishment is now under continuous attack.
    As to the notion of seeing splits in Scottish Labour: doubt it. A handful of bods might trickle away – quite how Malcom Chisholm remains in the party is a mystery – but a full-scale split is beyond the wit of most who wear a red rosette.

  67. Dal Riata says:

    Sorry to go O/T. In the Guardian there is an article about the march in Belfast to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Ulster covenant. In it, there are the following incredible statements:

    “The head of the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland, Edward Stevenson, used the event to warn of the new threat to the unity of the UK from Alex Salmond’s drive towards Scottish independence.
    “We are delighted to welcome members of the loyal orders from England and Scotland. They too have demonstrated their loyalty to the crown and our Scottish brethren have publicly opposed any suggestion of independence for their country.
    “We are all very clear about our long-term vision and that is to stay within the United Kingdom,” he said.
    Another senior Orangeman used the event to accuse the IRA and the Roman Catholic church of setting out to destroy the state of Northern Ireland.
    The deputy grand master of the Orange Order in Ireland, the Rev Alastair Smyth, said the Westminster parliament had “rejected biblical values” and “encouraged homosexual activities with civil partnership legislation and the pressure is currently on to legalise same-sex marriage”.”

    Better together, eh! LOL!!

  68. Derick says:

    Spoiled for choice really.  My vote goes to Robin McAlpine 2 as it is forensic, detailed and utterly destroys Lamentable’s pish.  Second place to Ian Bell for memorable quotes and brevity.  In third place is Mr Seymour.  Some of the bewildered comments on Labourhame should get a vote! Fuck these right wing arseholes.  Society does exist, and no man is a island

  69. An Duine Gruamach says:

    It’s funny – we’ve seen all this about unaffordable entitlements before.  The minimum wage was one – remember how that was going to devastate the private sector?

    Sm753 said “There is absolutely no way that states can afford to provide the services demanded of them without a contribution, at the point of use, from those using the services who can afford to pay.”

    But this is entirely incorrect.  The Finns seem to manage fine.  The Norwegians have it sussed.  Even the Icelanders have figured out how to do it. 

  70. Jeannie says:

    I read in last week’s Sunday Herald that the bulk of funding for the Labour Party in Scotland comes from the Labour Party in London, so it seems to me that the entity paying the piper also calls the tune.  On that basis, Lamont can hardly be in favour of any benefits in Scotland which are denied to people in England as the English press would ask Milliband to account for it.  A refusal by Lamont to comply with the wishes of the London party might risk a withdrawal of or reduction in their funding to the party in Scotland.
    Given that the Labour Party Conference is upon them, they will wish to avoid any embarrassing comparisons between policy in Scotland and policy in England, therefore Lamont is attempting to offset this by suggesting that the party is not in favour of certain policies, such as the removal of tuition fees and free prescriptions, but in order to make this more acceptable to Scots, she has tried to make what is a fair SNP policy appear to be grossly unfair.
    What occurs to me, is that this approach makes a mockery of democracy in Scotland, because it shows that Labour in Scotland, because their funding comes from London, will always be in the position of having to toe the London line.  And it won’t matter whether Labour is in government at Westminster or not – if they are not in government, they will still be trying to be and therefore a Labour government in Scotland will only ever be a London Labour proxy government.
    The only way for a Labour government in Scotland to really make its own decisions within a UK set-up will be for it to raise its own funds and to stop accepting money from London.  Perhaps it should start doing this sooner rather than later, because in the event of independence, they will need to find a new source of funding anyway.  For this reason, they cannot afford to alienate the Scottish unions, hence their focus on the council tax to preserve council jobs, but, ironically, the way they’re going about it may drive more and more workers to withdraw their agreement to contribute to their unions’ political funds, thus leaving Labour in Scotland even more short of funding to fight Scottish elections.

  71. Arbroath 1320 says:

    There is absolutely no way that states can afford to provide the services demanded of them without a contribution, at the point of use, from those using the services who can afford to pay.
    That includes stuff like prescriptions and most definitely includes higher education, which is one of the biggest rip-offs in favour of the middle class there is.

    I guess following making such a statement as this that sm753 will immediately be selling up and moving lock stock and barrel down to England!
    Obviously, sm HATES not having to pay for all his meds and will obviously NOT be sending ANY of his kids to a SCOTTISH university. I assume that sm also HATES the fact that his granny gets to travel on pulic transport using HER “free” bus pass. No doubt she has been totally in agreement with sm and his decision to move ALL his family, including granny, down to England where even granny will have to pay for ALL her bus journeys. Bet she is over the moon at this prospect whilst living on her limited pension!

  72. Oldnat says:


    Don’t be daft. SM sold his granny to white slavers a long time ago.

    Paul Krugman has described sm’s position here

    “So the austerity drive in Britain isn’t really about debt and deficits at all; it’s about using deficit panic as an excuse to dismantle social programs. And this is, of course, exactly the same thing that has been happening in America.” 

  73. Arbroath 1320 says:

    ROFLMAO! 😆
    I guess we’d better keep quiet about Ed’s plans for the future then?

    Not too sure how sm will take to the idea of votes for 16 year olds.
    There again Ed’s plans to CUT student fees will undoubtedly have sm pulling his hair out.
    I LOVE their conference slogan by the way.
    “Rebuilding Britain. that we screwed up in the first place!” (my emphasis by the way.)

  74. Adrian B says:


    Following on from the Scottish Governments plan to build more affordable housing:

    “Despite admitting there is a shortfall in targets for new public sector rented accommodation including new council houses, the Labour / Tory Administration turned their noses up at a potential £60m windfall for new housing.”

    “On current projections the local authority will miss the new target by 670 units from 2012 to 2017.  Meantime the housing waiting list tops 9000 applicants, hence the intervention of the Scottish Government to encourage the use of pension funds for social projects.”

  75. Angus McLellan says:

    We should maybe have waited for the Sunday papers before making up the list and/or voting. Kevin McKenna’s piece from the Observer at  is worth a read. The penultimate paragraph hits the spot (for me anyway):
    Lamont’s decision to lean towards the right was described as a brave one, but there was nothing brave about it. Real courage would have been to establish a commission into the causes of child poverty and then to commit her party to act on the findings. Such a commission might also do something that no Scottish education minister has ever done: develop a radical policy to improve our failing urban comprehensive schools. It would also quantify exactly how much our continuing neglect of poor children costs Scotland. I predict that the annual bill will swamp all the free care costs that are so exercising Ms Lamont.
    So can I change my mind (I originally went for Robin McAlpine’s first piece) and cast a write-in vote for Our Kev instead?

  76. Castle Rock says:

    Velofello made me laugh with this, probably accurate, post:
    “Here’s my theory; someone switched her speech! As has been noted and commented often, she reads out her questions at FM question Time, and fails to understand the answer given to her question, and so is it not reasonable to consider then that she doesn’t understand the question she is reading either?”
    But my vote went to Ian Bell for a great headline which I’m surprised got past the editors.

  77. Arbroath 1320 says:

    Don’t worry A.M. Lamont is looking to re-create the Calman Commission. I jest not. Labour have come up with plans for MORE powers for Holyrood.

    Look out Westminster, Calman Commission Mark II is coming!
    I wonder how long it will take for this commission to produce its report!
    More importantly how long will it take to get the commission’s recommendations through, if at all!
    Is this the beginning of the promise of jam tomorrow?
    Will we see ANY report BEFORE 2014. I wouldn’t think so, after all it will take to 2015 to find out what benefits Labour are going to cut!

  78. Adrian B says:

    I take it they will stop banging on about having the referendum now then. Why does it take 2 years for the commission to fully report? Coming out with this stuff now they are two years two late. Did they not allegedly win the right not to have a second question on the ballot from Alex Salmond.

    Always thought that Labour would spring something like this at the last moment, it’s sadly how they work. JL not looking at all smug.

    I wonder how they think that they will get this past the blue and Yellow Tories. Ohh yes I forgot, they think they can win the next General Election in 2015. 

  79. Arbroath 1320 says:

    Delusion. That’s what is the problem with Labour. In 2007 the S.N.P. won the election. This didn’t go down too well with Labour, after all they ran Scotland like their own private fiefdom, right?
    Who are  these jumped up nationalists who DARE win an election. Bendy Wendy created”her” Calman Commission in response to the S.N.P. win. Now we have Lamont “promising us our “jam tomorrow” via her Calman Commission mark II. I guess she isn’t taking the comments about her suicide note too well. 
    I’m with you Adrian, why will it take until AFTER 2014 before Lamont’s cuts commission will report?
    The other question is will Lamont’s “Calman” start before or after her cuts commission finishes?
    As far as I’m concerned this is Lamont’s blinkered way of trying to “buy” Scottish votes over to a NO vote. This is in fact the Lamont version of “jam tomorrow” promise! Let’s be honest, no one is buying Cameron and his promise of “jam tomorrow” and no one will buy into Lamont and her “jam tomorrow” promises either!

  80. M.Tmata says:

    And here we see it in all its glory!! Margaret Thatcher’s return to VICTORIAN VALUES!

  81. J. R. Tomlin says:

    “What she is saying is that the person that pays high taxes shouldn’t get free benefits while the person that doesn’t pay taxes should get free benefits.”
    This is exactly how it is done in the US and why it is so resented by the well-to-do. Universality has never been understood here and there is a huge stigma to accepting aid that is to a large extent avoided in the UK and Scotland.
    Horrible idea. Is the woman truly an idiot? The best (perhaps because it was in The Guardian and anything in that paper that I agree with is mind blowing) is the one by Richard Seymour although Ian Bell’s comments were excellent as well.

  82. bill says:

    Can I vote for SM753, “Ms Lamont has taken a brave and principled stand and should stick to it”, I also think she should stick to this path of political suicide!

    Well said Arbroath, I just dont get Scottish Unionists, cant they love their country, i.e Scotland whilst still holding a view about the UK/ GB which were all entitled to.  Seriously sm753 Im trying to understand your views, Ive looked through your blogs dating back many years and I just dont get it. are you actually Scottish?  You went to state school, college, university, been to doctors/ hospitals, collected your prescriptions, collected benefits and benefited from universal services that are paid for by taxaxtion.  Do you really want to pay the bin-men when they empty your bin, just like the window cleaner.

    Im sure we all agree that an independent Scotland will face some unknown or unplanned events, its a process not a final destination.  Hard decisions will have to be made regarding public services, but Id rather see east european scroungers sent home and keep bus passes for our grannies, Id rather dump the 32 langauge translation service available at the dentist so that an unemployed polish father of 12 can explain that his gold filling needs buffing up!

    And before im accused of being racist, I will also throw in local scottish lads that are doing nothing for their giro – make em do some community based work/ voluntary work – that in itself would rebuild Scotlands communities, or do they hate everything scottish too!

  83. bill says: – sorry a bit off topic, but as Im trying to understand your political views and you do have public blogs: are these your blogs etc

    Trying not to imagine what you look like in those videos!


  84. bill says:

    And my personal favourite

    you naughty boy sm753! 

  85. R louis says:


    I actually find your comments above pretty distasteful.

    Scottish independence is for ALL people who have chosen to make their home here.

    Your links are wholly inappropriate to the discussion, as far as I am concerned.

  86. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    That McKenna piece is superb. See, I told you he deserved promoting out of the loony section.

  87. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “And my personal favourite
    you naughty boy sm753!”

    Oh MY.

  88. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    You were doing so well until “east european scroungers”, Bill. 

  89. bill says:

     louis says:

    I actually find your comments above pretty distasteful.

    Really sorry louis, I have not a racist bone in my body and as a merchant seaman sail with all peoples across the globe.  Labour et al imported poverty from eastern europe, some are genuine, fair enough but they take jobs from scots!  I can prove where they have taken jobs from under my nose!  Scotland does have a long history of welcoming people from all over the world to make this great country their home, they learn our langauges, marry scots, integrate and contribute.  My post deliberately refers to the scroungers that are here:  my local park is full of them at a weekend, drinking cans of super strength with pitbulls snarling.  My wife and kids wont goto the beveridge park in kirkcaldy anymore.  Modern polish dont integrate as much as the old brave free polish army that settled here after ww2, I’d be the first to stand up to racism.
    My OT comment is to do with Scotlands inability post inde to pay for all this enforced westminster policies of imported poverty.


  90. Adrian B says:

    Bill, That’s an interesting find. might have been better not to publish his e-mail address, even if he has put it for all to see al his blog.
    POV sex pics – non-indexed – Twistys Forums! › … › Public Forums › Twistys Member Chat
    3 posts – 3 authors – 17 Jan 2008

    sm753df2 sm753df2 is offline. Forum Member  Posts: 7. sm753df2 is on a distinguished road  Send a private message to sm753df2 ll, don’t know how you found sm753’s 

  91. bill says:

    Rev. Stuart Campbell says:
    September 30, 212 at 8:36 am

    You were doing so well until “east european scroungers”, Bill.

    Sorry Rev.  but its just how I feel, when I read about the Polish who still get paid family credit etc when they are still living in Poland it just makes me cross, Scotland can more than pay its way post Inde, Im just saying theyre will be pain, some services and policies are just not sustainable.

    I have a friend who works for a city council, his job is to settle east europeans, he helps them get benefits, house, register at doctors/dentists etc, the whole package – all inclusive holiday for life!

    I used to work on ferries as an engineer with a large well known company, the engine room is full of Polish, they are being given full time permanent contracts over brits, they dont even pay tax here or in Poland, they laugh all the time about this, they laugh at us.
    I just dont know how we will pay for this, surely something will give?

    Anyway sorry for any offence here on this blog, keep up the amazing work, Im away to sea next week for 4 months, British Antartic Survey, that’ll be a whopper of a tax bill next year, never mind it’ll pay for the nice wee local polish lads in the park for the special brew!


  92. James Morton says:

    Oh my – I think this thread has been fraped

  93. bill says:

    Oh James ! This isnt fraped, if you want it fraped I could get root on the server and have all sorts of fun with packet injection.

    Tell you what, Rev. feel free to delete my comments, you have my permission.   I thought you guys where open to free speech and debate.  I know it was a bit off thread, many commentators on all these great articles have been also.  Maybe your not into as much free speech as I thought.

    Good bye all and best of luck in 2014… 

  94. McHaggis says:


    can we have a similar vote on features or articles which appear to be in “denial”?

    I will start with –

    it seems prof Curtice has gone batshit mental, and despite the headline, gives the only support to the writer’s incredulous agenda. 

  95. scottish_skier says:

    Bill. You’re sounding a bit like Johann Lamont of the Tories with your ‘benefit scroungers’ talk.

    As for folk drinking special brew in parks… I don’t think you can say this is confined to a particular group of people from a certain place. Neds and buckfast comes to mind. Nor are scots immune from having a minority playing the system among them.

    Managing immigration is a difficult issue that all countries must face. Likewise, you’ll never even find a far leftie that thinks people abusing the welfare system is somehow ok. However, picking out specific minority groups as the a source of a country’s ills is a favoured tactic of the unpleasant right-wing.

    Which reminds me of a particular irony. The right, who support the free market, are commonly strongly against strict immigration controls. Odd that, as the freedom of movement of people is an essential prerequisite for the free market. That’s why Dave et al. won’t take the UK out of Europe…

    Incidentally, my polish colleague and her husband will be voting Yes.

  96. Appleby says:

    Free speech or open debate also means that people can say when they disagree with you, Bill. It’s not like anyone said anything particularly strong in reply either.

  97. McHaggis says:

    Bill, put the dummy back in and stay :0)

    free speech applies to all and if you have the courage to use it, then you should have the courage to listen to it.

    i get your point, some may agree and others may not, but they are as entitled as you to post their view.

    your posts wont be deleted …. unless by you… Rev only moderates trolls etc.

    you have a concern, not about immigration it seems, but about unchecked immigration. I think some of your points may be exaggerated, but I agree we shouldnt simply have a free for all.

  98. scottish_skier says:

    Sorry, totally f’d up my post. Should have said:

    Which reminds me of a particular irony. The right, who support the free market, are commonly strongly for strict immigration controls. Odd that, as the freedom of movement of people is an essential prerequisite for the free market. That’s why Dave et al. won’t take the UK out of Europe… 

  99. MajorBloodnok says:

    Bill, stick around please.  No one is consoring you (just maybe disagreeing with you on certain points).  I’ve certainly seen Poles drinking beer in the afternoon in broad daylight in Leith – on the other hand I’ve heard them being commended as intelligent and hard workers (could be why some get jobs over local resources).  It did occur to me that those guys with the beers are the hard workers having the day off…

  100. douglas clark says:

    There is also an issue of horizons. You do know that freedom of movement and employment applies in both directions? Apart from a few years working in London, I have never availled myself of it, but it’s rather nice to know it’s there.

  101. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “Maybe your not into as much free speech as I thought.”

    Nobody’s censored you, Bill. We’re disagreeing with you. That’s a very different thing. Indeed, it’s pretty much the opposite thing.

  102. velofello says:

    The Poles; Back in the mists of time, a year or so back, I read an article about Scots involvement in Poland in the 18 and 19th centuries. Seems that there is in Poland an expression for misbehaving children “I’ll get the Scotsman to you” suggesting a pretty strong  Scots presence and so I would caution against singling out the Polish for criticism, a wee bit DNA testing might show common ancestry! And maybe Poles at that time in history resented Scots coming over to Poland, living outwith the social system and obligations, earning and remitting money back to SCotland?
    Meantime in Englandshire social tenanted, low earners in London are to be shipped out to ‘the provinces’ of England in order that the value of the tenanted local authority homes they occupy can be realised in “the market”. There has been some concern expressed by the wealth creators of London over who will manage the cute little shops and bistros once the low earners have been re-located. i suppose high speed freight trains for them to be transported in to London daily will be the next policy coming down the line.
    I do understand your comments Bill as I have worked around the globe too yet it must be difficult to close all the loopholes on benefits and also create an environment to encourage immigration.
    Externalising jobs to lower cost countries and to the cost of UK workers now that is/was a really mean policy. And so too closing factories and selling of the machine tools to said countries. Such is the rational of capitalism, greedy and mean, and I’m certainly no rampant socialist.

  103. Captain Caveman says:

    Well, here we go again, eh guys? That pesky sm753 and his “off message” views; it’s not enough to tell him to “go fuck himself” or whatever because of his outrageous suggestion that the CEGB should never have been dismantled in its quest to employ vast numbers of entirely unnecessary people, at great expense, or any other endless numbers of examples. Now we have to “out” him at every opportunity, trawling the web for whatever stuff we can find, from years ago or whatever? 

    As a complete aside, and as doubtless as thick and unwelcome as I am, perhaps someone here can explain to little old me just what it is that’s so outrageous for a Labour politician to suggest that, in these impoverished times, perhaps it isn’t appropriate for someone earning £100,000 a year to automatically receive universal benefits like Child Benefit…? Surely that money would be better spent on  much poorer people who actually need it?

    Still, I’m sure this is an outrageous suggestion and ‘heresy’. Don’t you guys watch the news though? Doesn’t any of you question WHY the likes of Spain and Greece are in the ECONOMIC MESS that they’re in? Does it not occur to you that, in the end, spunking endless billions on benefits et al that the State – whichever State – simply cannot sustain in terms of income, will always end in disaster such as this, whereby those in *genuine* need end up suffering as well?

    “The problem with Socialism is that, in the end, you run out of other people’s money” – Margaret Thatcher.

    Man, with the full benefit of hindsight, ain’t that the truth.

  104. Morag says:

    Erk!  I’m seriously glad I didn’t click on a certain link above while I was at work.
    Maybe we should have NSFW warnings on some things?

  105. Holebender says:

    Here’s a thought for you caveman: is it better that everyone, including millionaires, is entitled to claim a universal benefit or that the state squanders vast sums on armies of bureaucrats tasked with determining who is worthy of receiving said benefits? The problem with means testing is that it doesn’t, in fact, improve the lot of the poor because all the money gets spent employing people in administrating the system.
    Mind you, said bureaucrats know which side their bread is buttered on and tend to vote Labour, so I can see the attraction from the Labour Party’s pov.

  106. Captain Caveman says:

    “Here’s a thought for you caveman: is it better that everyone, including millionaires, is entitled to claim a universal benefit or that the state squanders vast sums on armies of bureaucrats tasked with determining who is worthy of receiving said benefits? The problem with means testing is that it doesn’t, in fact, improve the lot of the poor because all the money gets spent employing people in administrating the system.”

    You’re probably right there, but it doesn’t have to be that way and nor is there any excuse why it is. If someone is earning £100k a year, that fact is known to the HMRC. So, all that’s needed is a simple link between them and the Child Benefit database; in 2012, this shouldn’t be difficult.

    It’s only because the public sector is so inefficient, useless and bureaucratic that people (quite rightly) shy away from adding any perfectly sensible layers of complexity to situations such as this, because they know that any savings would simply be pissed away in costs plus the whole thing will be incredibly badly handled by them.

    However, you have not answered my question. The all round uselessness of the public sector aside, just what is it in PRINCIPLE (for that is what has been discussed here, at length) that’s wrong with denying universal benefits to those on £100k salaries, and spending the money on those who actually genuinely need it instead?

  107. MajorBloodnok says:

    CC – could it be that saying to the people with jobs (i.e. the wealthy in Labour-speak), “look pay up your taxes because we have to give it all to the poor and you can’t have anything because you can pay for it yourself (you bourgeois scum)”, is likely to make the ‘wealthy’ think – hang on a second, that’s not fair – I’m working hard and paying in but getting nothing out, whereas those guys aren’t paying in anything and are getting more prescriptions/child care/bus passes than I’ll ever claim.  What’s with that?

    The people Labour should be aiming at are the corporations and individuals that avoid paying billions in tax with the conivance of successive Westminster governments.  Think how far that would go.  Some ideas on how Scottish Labour would boost the economy and create more wealth to share out rather than just ‘debating’ how to cut up the cake we’re kindly given would be helpful.

  108. Holebender says:

    Caveman – I suggest you get a dictionary and look up the meaning of “universal”.
    Here’s another thought. Services for the poor will inevitably become poor services. If you exclude “the wealthy” from access to services while expecting them to pay for them and their own services they will prioritise the services they actually use and those for “the poor” will be starved.

  109. Captain Caveman says:

    “CC – could it be that saying to the people with jobs (i.e. the wealthy in Labour-speak), “look pay up your taxes because we have to give it all to the poor and you can’t have anything because you can pay for it yourself (you bourgeois scum)””

    But didn’t she specifically say people earning £100,000 a year? Sorry, that’s very far removed from “the people with jobs”. Most people don’t earn anything like £100k per year! 

  110. MajorBloodnok says:

    I don’t think she mentioned a specific figure (I could be wrong).  But still, how much of a wasteful pfaff would it be to administer a system that denies you the ‘universal benefits’ (that you’ve probably paid for hundreds of times over through your high rate taxes) if you’re jammy enough to earn £100k, when it’s very likely you wouldn’t deign to use them anyway?!

    I did read somewhere that when looking at the prescription thing the SG realised that so much would go on administration for means testing/fraud chasing, etc., that it wasn’t much more costly just to make it universal.  I’ve seen the figure that presciptions in Scotland cost the SG £50m per annum, i.e. £10 for each of us.

  111. Captain Caveman says:

    “Caveman – I suggest you get a dictionary and look up the meaning of “universal”.”

    Sigh. I know perfectly well what it means, thanks.
    The fact that something is called a “Univeral Benefit” doesn’t mean that it’s right or appropriate for it to be so, including to people earning £100k per year who clearly don’t need it (whereas there are plenty that do).

    Yet again you avoid what was an entirely fair, earnest and fundamental question, and come back instead with snide remarks. 
     “Here’s another thought. Services for the poor will inevitably become poor services.”

    Who’s talking about “services”? I’m talking about a benefit only – Child Benefit. There are no “services” to mess up; you’re either paid the money or you aren’t.

    Here’s my original question again, FYI. Can you answer it?

    As a complete aside, and as doubtless as thick and unwelcome as I am, perhaps someone here can explain to little old me just what it is that’s so outrageous for a Labour politician to suggest that, in these impoverished times, perhaps it isn’t appropriate for someone earning £100,000 a year to automatically receive universal benefits like Child Benefit…? Surely that money would be better spent on  much poorer people who actually need it?


  112. Dal Riata says:

    Well, well, it seems that our ‘friend’ sm753(df2) isn’t as smart as he thinks he is!

    Using the same user name to be a member of a porn site and to troll anti-Scottish independence sites is not the cleverest thing to do, now, is it!?

    But then maybe it just depends on your POV!! …ROFLMHO!!!

  113. Arbroath 1320 says:

    C.C. I don’t think your “linking of computer systems” would work out too well. Remember under the Blair/Brown tenorship they went down the inter linked computer system for the English N.H.S. As far as I remember THAT particular system has NEVER worked yet it has cost the Treasury Millions if not Billions to install, upgrade, modify etc In fact was this system not “bought” under the (in)famous P.F.I scheme one of Brown’s great? thought out ideas. P.F.I.  the system put in place that costs education authorities, health authorities etc Millions over and above the costs they would have paid to have their buildings etc build themselves.

  114. Captain Caveman says:


    From The Independent –
    “Ms Lamont used the example of someone earning £100,000-a-year getting free prescriptions while pensioner neighbours get their care cut.”

  115. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “Man, with the full benefit of hindsight, ain’t that the truth.”

    No, it ain’t. You really do have trouble taking a hint, don’t you?

    Your question has been repeatedly answered in the plainest of terms both above and below the line in several posts this week. I suggest you try reading some of them before honking your tired Tory boilerplate, and when I say “before” I mean “instead of”.

  116. MajorBloodnok says:

    CC – is £100k to be the means tested threshold then?  I hadn’t realised that she was being that specific.

  117. Holebender says:

    Caveman – I already answered you. Here it is again; it costs more to administer means testing than it is worth. Any potential savings are swallowed up by bureaucracy and not passed on to poor people.
    Especially if you are going to choose a ludicrous cut-off point like 100k! How many people on 100k+ access child benefit or bus passes? How much would it cost to determine that all applicants for child benefit or bus passes have an income of less than 100k? Is it really worth it?

  118. Captain Caveman says:

    “Your question has been repeatedly answered in the plainest of terms both above and below the line in several posts this week.”

    Oh really? Perhaps you ought to point the same thing out to your regular posters above then, since they don’t seem to be able to answer it.

    Besides, you above all people seem to have a big problem answering any questions, including those I raise above, as well as before. Your tedious, childish, spiteful cherry-picking of posts, ignoring the other 90% of them again and again, is nothing more than trolling as far as I’m concerned – ironically enough.

    You appear to want people to take you seriously as a political commentator of sorts? Well, you might like to brush up on those communication skills of yours then, as well as practicing what you preach endlessly to others. 

  119. Holebender says:

    One more thing, caveman. If you know what “universal” means, stop using the term to describe what would be a restricted access system.

  120. MajorBloodnok says:

    CC – if you made your posts shorter and with more specific questions we may be able to help you more readily.  It would also assist everyone if you got up to speed by reading previous posts first (across various threads I’m afraid) – there’s a lot of thoughtful and informative material there which should answer your questions before they arise.  Unless you’re just trolling, perish the thought.

  121. Captain Caveman says:

    “CC – is £100k to be the means tested threshold then?  I hadn’t realised that she was being that specific.”

    I don’t know for an absolute fact whether this was an actual proposed threshold, Major, but to me it seemed like a fair prima facie assumption given that she specifically mentioned it and gave it as an example.

    “Caveman – I already answered you. Here it is again; it costs more to administer means testing than it is worth. Any potential savings are swallowed up by bureaucracy and not passed on to poor people.”

    With due respect you did not answer. My question was what was wrong IN PRINCIPLE with the concept of stopping someone’s Child Benefit if they earned £100k pa – saying “it would cost more to administer than it would save” is a practical, not principled matter that does not have to be true, if “the system” were to be efficiently managed.

  122. uglyfatbloke says:

    When I started following this story i though it was a question of Lamont trying to win the centre to centre-right vote, but so far I’ve not talked to a single tory voter ho thinks she’s on the right track…Ruth Davidson, Murdo Fraser and the other Tory MSPs might feel they can get a bit of mileage out of teasing Lamont about ‘coming round to tory thinking’, but the conservatives I know (though quite a lot of them don’t really think they are conservatives) seem generally to think that paying taxes over the decades entitles them to share in benefits that we should all enjoy…. like health and education …and are there really a great number of super-rich pensioners using bus-passes?

  123. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “Well, you might like to brush up on those communication skills of yours”

    True, because despite countless attempts I seem quite unable to convey to you that – for entirely personal rather than political reasons – you are not welcome here.

  124. Arbroath 1320 says:

    Sorry C.C. but when has ANY governmental system been efficiently managed?
    I can’t think of any government system that was,is or will be efficiently managed. Every government system I have ever read about has ALWAYS cost MORE than it was intended to save.

  125. Captain Caveman says:

    Well, I have asked you repeatedly to explain to me what these “personal reasons” are, but you refuse to do so.

  126. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “Well, I have asked you repeatedly to explain to me what these “personal reasons” are, but you refuse to do so.”

    You’re right, I do. Now, would you like to call me a “tedious, childish, spiteful, humourless, bitter, narrow-minded, mean-spirited, two-dimensional-thinking misanthrope” again, or are you going to have the basic courtesy to fuck off when asked for the 20th time?

  127. scottish_skier says:

    I’d have thought someone on 100k would be more than entitled to child benefit, a few free prescriptions and even have their kids uni fees paid when they reach 18. After all, it would the least we could do in return for them putting 10’s of thousands in tax each year into the communal pot. 

  128. Holebender says:

    OK… and this is my last post directed at the troglodyte… it is wrong in principle because we are all citizens and should all be treated equally. We have equal liability to support the system so we should have equal rights to benefit from the system. The facts that some people cannot afford to contribute to the upkeep while others can afford not to avail themselves of the benefits should not enter into our thinking if we are being principled rather than merely pragmatic. Universal benefits should be… erm… universal.

  129. Andrew says:

    “I’ll get the Scotsman to you”
    What? The newspaper?
    Call Childline!

  130. Captain Caveman says:

    “You’re right, I do. Now, would you like to call me a “tedious, childish, spiteful, humourless, bitter, narrow-minded, mean-spirited, two-dimensional-thinking misanthrope” again, or are you going to have the basic courtesy to fuck off when asked for the 20th time?”

    Ooh, rude words on the internet, eh? Like, you’ve never called me (or a thousand other people on the internet) nasty names or whatever…? As I’ve said, you’re surely quite the rudest person I’ve ever seen online, in my humble opinion – yet you’re playing the “wounded little soldier” card? Aw diddums.

    I decided to post in the other thread, as well as this one, because like before, I personally can’t stand to see someone rounded upon and (IMO) bullied, presumably because their views don’t accord with yours and others in your little echo chamber here. I’ve been there, remember?

    Still, it’s one thing calling people rude names or whatever, but quite another “outing” them off pr0n sites or whatever other stuff that passes for political comment around here. I mean seriously, I’m furious with you right now, possibly the angriest I’ve ever been, but there’s precisely 0% chance of me wanting to cause you *real* embarrassment, harm or whatever else. That’s just crossing the line as far as I’m concerned.

    If that’s really too much for your poor little sensibilities to possibly bear, then you always have the option of IP banning me from this site? That way you’ll never have to hear from me again.


  131. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “Ooh, rude words on the internet, eh? Like, you’ve never called me (or a thousand other people on the internet) nasty names or whatever…? As I’ve said, you’re surely quite the rudest person I’ve ever seen online, in my humble opinion – yet you’re playing the “wounded little soldier” card?”

    I wear every one of your words as a badge of honour. Those aren’t why you’re unwelcome, it’s for something much, much more despicable than that. But I note your advice.

  132. Doug Daniel says:

    “I mean seriously, I’m furious with you right now, possibly the angriest I’ve ever been, but there’s precisely 0% chance of me wanting to cause you *real* embarrassment, harm or whatever else. That’s just crossing the line as far as I’m concerned.”

    Sorry, you’re “furious” with Stu? The angriest you’ve ever been? Why? What makes you so annoyed with a person on the internet? Because you disagree with him? Because you don’t like the way sm753 is being ridiculed by people who disagree with him?

    You do realise that a) sm753 has not been personally embarrassed, because not a single person here actually knows his real identity (since he doesn’t publish his opinions under anything resembling a real name) and b) it wasn’t Stu who found those links to sm753’s “extracurricular activities”?

    Incidentally, the reason it’s wrong in principle to stop child benefit payments to someone just because they earn a certain amount of money is that one of the cornerstones of a civilised society is our agreement that, regardless of circumstances, there is a basic set of provisions that everyone is entitled to. That doesn’t change just because someone has reached a certain level of income – that path leads to class division, social disunity and people getting pissed off that, having played their part of the bargain (pay taxes), the government haven’t kept up their side (provide benefits). That leads to people – with good cause – wondering why they should be paying taxes for something they’re not getting, which leads to calls for tax cuts and a “me me me” culture.

    Which is exactly what we got in the 80s, and which is why the UK is currently fucked. 

  133. ronald alexander mcdonald says:

    Johann must stay, Johann must stay (chant over)

    I’ll vote for McKenna, considering his allegiance (hopefully past allegiance)

    What about the editorial in today’s Sunday Herald.  “It is a pitiful sight”. Describing the scottish branch of the labour party. No chance of a rebellion- they haven’t got a backbone between them.  The last labour politician to demonstate integrity was Robin Cook, when he resigned over the actions of Blair the war criminal.       

  134. Silverytay says:

    Why would we stop giving someone earning over £100,000 a year child benefit ? 
    These people probably pay more in taxes than they would ever get in benefits and what they pay in taxes helps to provide the safety net that we need to provide help to the poor .
    I was always under the impression that people paid N.I contributions so that they would be provided with free healthcare until they died .
    People earning over £100,000 will probably have private medical insurance and never need to use the Scottish n.h.s and therefore will have been paying N.I contributions for nothing  , once again allowing their money to help the poor that do need our S.N.H.S .
    These people earning that amount of money will probably  never use a bus , so once again their taxes are helping to provide a service to the people who need bus passes .
    My in laws who have worked all their lives and paid their taxes are now almost housebound and the only escape my mother in law has is her little jaunt down the town using her bus pass , lamont and her ilk would now rather see her means tested and made to feel like a criminal if she wants to continue using her bus pass .
    I am sorry but I would rather pay a few pence extra in my taxes than see anyone degenerated the way lamont & Co want them to be .
    I would just like to apologise to everyone because I was once a member of this corrupt organisation that is betraying all its principles in its efforts to regain power at any price . 

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