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Sunshine on Maryhill

Posted on October 17, 2013 by

The sun rarely shines on the council estates of Maryhill. But on the rare occasions when it does, they emerge, dragging their Argos Value deckchairs behind them.

maryhill

The high-rise flats do their best to block the light, but they find a spot in the concrete playground where the sun peeks through. They plant their chairs, flap open their Daily Records, crack open their cans and bask in the thin angle of the sunlight.

Throughout the day, their merry camp is uprooted as they’re forced to follow the sun as it drifts behind the 26-storey skyscrapers of the 1960s. They leave the littered playground and move round to the bin area where it’s good for an hour or so, before being forced up again and round to the car park.

By the time I get home from work they’re clustered on the steps of the close and I’ll need to step over them. By now they’re sunburnt and drunk and it’s hard to know what to say in order to get past. If I say ‘Excuse me’ I’ll sound posh. If I say nothing and just tramp through I’m asking for trouble. If I smile and gently step around them I’m a coward. How do I get home?

I loathe these people. I’m educated and working two jobs but will be dining on something called ‘curry pockets’ from Farmfoods tonight, whilst these people loll in the sun all day, the damp wrappers of their fish suppers gathered at their ankles. I haven’t been on holiday for eight years, but they’re talking about how ‘mental’ Ayia Napa was.

I got that terrible letter in bold red type as I missed my council tax payment, but these people have it all paid for them. And their rent, too, leaving loads of spare cash for Ayia Napa and chips. Leaving time to drowse and drink in the Maryhill sun.

Scroungers. Scum. I say it again: I loathe these people.

I hated them even as I was down there amongst them, living a poor, thin, nasty life. Being poor and utterly stripped of hope, it seems, evokes two chief responses. You can give up and join the bedraggled deckchair camp or you turn hard and bitter. I went for the latter.

I hated that I could only get a call-centre job despite having a good degree from a posh university. I despised myself for not being able to earn more. I was embarrassed that I lived in a high rise flat. I was ashamed that I missed my council tax payment and there was now talk of taking me to court. So I lashed out at the people in the deckchairs, as there at least was someone I could feel superior to. I have no career and no hope but at least I’m better than them.

And isn’t this what the Government delights in? Turning us against one another via the discourse of the benefit scrounger? My hatred of that ‘type’ of person made me keep quiet about my troubles as I didn’t want to be tainted by association. To be known as a poor person from a council flat. No-one knew I was in debt. No-one knew about the red-inked letter. No-one knew that a Sheriff Officer had been to my door and asked if he could come in to discuss ‘options’. No-one knew I dined nightly on curry pockets.

I desperately wanted to distance myself from the fate of the poor person, so I hated them. Rip away their benefits. I don’t care if they starve. I work so why can’t they? All my own insecurity was whipped up and spat out at them. Bloody scroungers. Bring back the workhouse.

At my lowest point, thank God there was still someone to feel superior to.

Years have passed and my circumstances have changed. No-one is taking me to court. I am warm and well-fed. But that’s not all that’s changed. My venom towards ‘scroungers’ has gone. Of course, there are scroungers and benefit cheats, though only in relatively tiny numbers. Look at it this way. Benefit fraud apparently cost the Government £1.9 billion last year but they dished out £955 billion to support the banks.

Almost 500 times as much. Refocuses the rancour, doesn’t it?

Popular anger and tabloid rhetoric is totally mis-directed as we’re too busy fighting one another. We miss the bigger picture, but who can blame us when we are consumed with getting money together for last month’s council tax, not to mention this month’s. Then there’s next month. You pace the kitchen floor and resist the urge to phone your gran and cry and all the while the drunken chatter from the suntanned ‘scum’ drifts up to your 14th floor kitchen window. So you hate them. And you miss the bigger picture.

Truly, IDS must smirk when the Daily Mail reports on the latest over-sized brood to be given a council house. If you dare to read the readers’ comments below such stories they are full of bile and fury.

It’s only now, years later, when I’m out of poverty and no longer threatened, that I have become political. I’ve had calm and distance to think clearly, unmuddled by fear. That’s why I’m writing for this website. If I’d submitted an article a few years ago I’d have been turned away as a right-wing nutjob, having fallen for the establishment trick and hated the poor as they were draining our scarce resources.

I believe it’s called “divide and conquer”.

We need to start seeing clearly. We need to know our enemy, and it’s not a bunch of sad drunks on a council estate – it’s our own apathy. An apathy which allows brutal, right-wing governments to be returned again and again even though we haven’t voted for them for more than two generations.

In less than a year’s time, we can make a choice to do something about that once and for all. Or we can vote to stay in our cheap nylon deckchairs, scavenging in the debris like rats, fighting each other for a fleeting glimpse of the sun.

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    234 to “Sunshine on Maryhill”

    1. Craig Stewart says:

      I was lucky never to be in the curry pocket high-rise situation and felt the same as you did all those years ago. Now, I despise the ruling elite for all they’ve done and want to fix it. I feel a yes vote is the most logical first step… 🙂

    2. Thepnr says:

      Fantastic article. Thank you.

    3. KraftyKris says:

      they find a find a spot*

    4. The Water Beastie says:

      Powerful, shocking (yet chillingly familiar) stuff, Julie.  Thank you.

    5. Bubbles says:

      This is pure magic! It pretty much sums up my story too although I was young in the early 80’s.
       
      There is another way.

    6. Maggie Craig says:

      Terrific article, Julie. Searingly honest.

    7. scotchwoman says:

      Very good article and just read another excellent piece on Bella by Mike Small :
      http://bellacaledonia.org.uk/2013/10/16/a-lesson-in-self-hatred/
      The content on these and other blogs will one day provide a valuable record of the cultural and socio-economic mood as Scotland set out on its new voyage. Reading these articles is like watching a people’s history unfurl itself. 

    8. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      they find a find a spot*”

      I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT YOU MEAN. YOU MUST BE MISTAKEN.

    9. faolie says:

      Jings Julie, certainly wondered where this one was going at first! But you’re right, and all the more right from coming through what you have, about the divide and conquer stuff and aiming people’s minds at easy targets like the poor. Focus on them and don’t think about the big money that’s being squandered and stolen.
       
      Like this for example, another statistic in the same vein, straight from today’s Independent: £4.7bn corporation tax lost through evasion and avoidance as Royal Mail is sold for £650m less than it is worth. And no, the figure doesn’t include the lost income from the corporate tax dodgers like Starbucks and Amazon.

    10. Doug Daniel says:

      Brilliant article. So glad Stu’s gotten you to do a regular column, Julie! I genuinely thought you’d turned into a Daily Mail nutjob for a few minutes there, so it was certainly convincing!
       
      You make an important point here. I think folk tend to assume the right-wing media and government attacks on the poor are about demonising the poor in the eyes of the rich, but the reality is it’s about demonising the poor in the eyes of the ever-so-slightly-less poor. It’s about convincing people who should be showing solidarity with these people that they’re enemies. “People who draw benefits are scum. You don’t want to be scum like them, do you?”

    11. tartanfever says:

      Thought provoking article Julie. Regardless of referendum, we as a wider society have to adopt a ‘self-reflexive’ viewpoint and realise just how we are manipulated by establishment powers, be that the govt. or the media or big business.

      While we may find it uncomfortable reading, it’s vital that we realise just how intolerant these false messages can make us. Only then can we truly make genuine steps forward.

      Slightly confused by the £955bn bail out figure. Thought the UK govt put in around £80bn, and the US Fed Res.some $1 trillion (£700bn) – that figure you quote (with link) seems to include the ‘promissory’ figure of the banking insurance scheme which runs to £100’s of billions but of course, was never handed over to the banks.

    12. FreddieThreepwood says:

      Labour, of course, will tell you that the indref is a distraction from such vital issues, that constitutional ‘navel gazing’ is irrelevant to the real job of politics, one of which is to improve the lot of the poorest in our society.

      This is like saying, “Could you stop trying to remove that brick wall? You’re getting in the way of me hitting my head against it.”

      You are right, Julie – the vote next year is about poverty, deprivation and hopelessness or it is about nothing. Great piece.

    13. Jimsie says:

      A fair view of life in the big Glasgow ” schemes “. We”ve had 100 years of trade unionism and the Labour party with no improvement in working class areas. Perhaps I should say non-working class areas. There has to be better.   YES.

    14. Peter A Bell says:

      An article with all the power of truth and sincerity. Well said, Julie!

    15. Macart says:

      I was born poor and I’ll die poor, but please God when I go, I hope to say that I still cared about the plight of others.
       
      Good article Julie.

    16. Doug says:

      I love this article.  It sums up so much of my feelings about the “benefits culture” and people’s conditioned responses to it.
       
      When I was young, I lived for a while in a council scheme in Dundee (Douglas – how my friends laughed!) although we eventually moved to the sunnier climes of Monifieth.  Having lived a middle class existence, my 13 year old self was shocked by the poverty, the poor state of the housing, the hopelessness.  People rarely sought more or better.  If asked, they could not see how it would be possible. People adapted, made the best of it and try to enjoy life.  They took whatever material luxuries they could afford (or in many cases could not). 
       
      Having lived most of my life on the other, more prosperous, side of the fence I see what people rail against – they think that the ‘underclass’ (disgusting term) are enjoying themselves with ‘our’ money.  What I see, however, is a group of people who have little but who try to make the most of it.  Why be miserable if you don’t have to?
       
      Both responses are conditioned and predictable, indeed encouraged.  The poor’s response to grinding poverty with no hope of advancement is to adapt and try to live as best they can. The ‘less poor’ people’s response is to rail against the poorer people for daring to live without misery (or ‘scrounge’).  Add the ‘threat’ of having what little they have be removed makes the ‘less poor’ group become paranoid, worsening the attitudes, distracting from the real tragedy – they are being robbed blind by the top, not the bottom.
       
      Apologies if this is too much of a generalisation.

    17. Melissa Murray says:

      Thanks Julie. For some reason I’m in tears reading this. Emotional day and its only 1:30pm.
       
      I’m reminded of a “joke” I read in the States a few years ago.
       
      A CEO, a tea party member, and a union worker are all sitting at a table when a plate with a dozen cookies arrives. Before anyone else can make a move, the CEO reaches out to rake in eleven of the cookies. When the other two look at him in surprise, the CEO locks eyes with the tea party member. “You better watch him,” the executive says with a nod toward the union worker. “He wants a piece of your cookie.”

    18. Murray McCallum says:

      The dog-eat-dog mentality and ordinary people being turned against each other comes straight from the pages of “The Grapes of Wrath”.
       
      Little wonder Tory New Labour do not want a proper debate about the social values of the union, let alone their vision for the future.

    19. KraftyKris says:

      @faolie

      Tax avoidance costs the UK much more than £5bn a year.

      http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/feb/01/welfare-fraud-tax-avoidance

      The guardian puts it at a minimum of £30bn, new statesman quoted £70bn in 2011 (from the tax justice network).

      http://www.newstatesman.com/blogs/the-staggers/2011/11/tax-avoidance-justice-network

      Rich people/companies cheat the system for far more than what the few poor people get away with, they also have far less need to cheat the system, it’s just pure greed.

    20. Alex Taylor says:

      Great read, Julie, and like others I wondered where you were going with it.

      It echoes exactly how I feel. I have the sensation of a nine volt battery touching tongue constantly in my stomach. Why can’t Scotland’s people see what is happening to them and how they are being manipulated to fight and hate one another by those who look on and steal their resources and their pride and humanity (although I think it is much worse south of the border).

      Come on people: wake up and get angry with those who are causing the problem. And it’s not the poor, the disabled and the disenfranchised.

    21. callum says:

      “bailing out the banks”.  It’s such a loaded and mis-understood phrase.  The difference is that the government now ‘owns’ the banks and they will make a handsome profit when they come to sell the relevant stakes.  The trading price of Lloyds is pretty close to profit already and RBS is heading the same way too.  So all that has happened is that the government has smoothed over a massive loss making period due to the excesses stemming from the USA credit market and will stand to make a gain in the long term. 

      So, whilst I agree with a lot of the sentiment of the article – the two costs are not equivalent and it doesn’t make sense to trade off between each of them.

    22. Gary S says:

      So, the morale of the story is we should offer the Weegies to the English as a goodbye present? 😉

    23. Desimond says:

      When i saw the headline, i thought it was a piece on Still Game coming back.
      Great read.

      Regards Divide & Conquer : I always think of Alan Bates as the baddie in The Sum of All Fears “When you want to go to war with America and Russia, you dont fight America and fight Russia,No, You get America and Russia to fight each other””…

      Replace with tax-payers and benefit recipients and its the Coalition ( and it also seems Labours) tactics.

    24. Morag says:

      “they find a find a spot*”
      I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT YOU MEAN. YOU MUST BE MISTAKEN.
       
      I must be mistaken about the spelling of Sheriff too, that’ll be it….  (Goes and hides in the corner….)

    25. Keef says:

      @Gary S
      Not even close to funny.

    26. joe kane says:

      As the Nazis steadily degraded the quality of life of German Jewish people, they then used the degradation and ghetto-isation they were responsible for inducing as proof they were right that Jewish people are sub-human. You can see something of that self-fulfilling demonising process today as the British Government’s expensive, degrading social and welfare policies increase poverty, homelessness, hunger whilst blaming it on their victims as well as claiming these victims are responsible for the hardships experienced by others.

      The DWP is such an orwellian-kafkaesque and punitive system to navigate now that those who seem to have successfully navigated it are looked on by others, who have failed or are experiencing severe difficulties with it, as somehow having cheated or not been entirely honest in the dealings with the DWP.

    27. msean says:

      Others have had their 300 year turn and have failed us.Now we should take control of our own futures. VOTE YES to help yourselves up.

    28. Doug Daniel says:

      Callum – any handsome profits made on the selling off of the government’s shares in RBS and Lloyds will be go to the same sort of people who made handsome profits on the sell-off of Royal Mail. It certainly wasn’t us…

    29. msean says:

      Great article by the way.

    30. Andrew Morton says:

      Julie, yet another example of how you are one of the Herald’s shining stars.

    31. Andrew Morton says:

      O/T: My son is a Labour Party member, but as he lives abroad I get all his mail and he’s so sick of the Labour Party that he doesn’t bother to read his mail from the local party. But I do.

      You might be interested in the following piece from the local party newsletter:

      “Independence Referendum Campaign:
      A report was given on the first Better Together meeting on 17 September. It was well attended by people from the 3 parties and none [
      sic] and a date for the launch of the campaign was suggested as 30 October. A provisional booking had been made for the Supper Room. BT had to confirm this date and we can then invite speakers. For Labour it was agreed to invite Sarah Boyack as our first choice. Better Together had a stall at Queen Margaret University Freshers’ Fair on 16 September which was a huge success. Labour Students helped at the stall and discussions were in favour of retaining ties within the UK. Students’ concerns tended to be more personal, social and family oriented [sic] than economics. They were impressed with the MP’s presence.”

    32. orpheuslyre says:

      Electrifying, but not at all unusual. I had a similar situation, but the tragic ‘drunks’ were violent and demented, the debt sharks a LOT bigger, and I had small children in amongst it all. I didn’t blame the folk then, and I don’t blame them now either.

    33. Andrew, if I wasn’t such a cynical, hard-bitten, former right-wing loon, I’d be crying. Thank you.
      And thanks to everyone else, too, for your supportive comments and in welcoming me to this great site.

    34. Murray McCallum says:

      “Iain Duncan Smith is examining how to make it harder for sick and disabled people to claim benefits, according to leaked documents from the Department of Work and Pensions.” Reported 30/09/2013
       
      “Labour will be tougher than the Tories when it comes to slashing the benefits bill, Rachel Reeves, the new shadow work and pensions secretary, has insisted in her first interview since winning promotion in Ed Miliband’s frontbench reshuffle.” Reported 12/10/2013
       
      Where will Tory New Labour end up with this competition? Why do people in Scotland still vote for New Labour?
       

    35. crisiscult says:

      A powerful article and highlights the theme of so many Scots’ desire to do something to fix this British dystopia (and I don’t mean become a Labour politician – hmmm, that’s not even funny). When I moved back to Scotland in 2009 I started doing voluntary work in Citizens’ Advice and still do, though my paying job doesn’t give me a lot of time for it. I sometimes think work like that should be compulsory as part of payment for further education, if it doesn’t sound too fascist to say that. Maybe it would be impractical, but one thing for sure is that after a few weeks in CAB you would find it hard to dehumanise those poorer than you, or so called benefits scroungers. I’d be lying if I said everyone I ever assisted was an unlucky angel, but it wasn’t my job to judge and the unfortunates certainly outnumbered the cheats, chancers, or wasters. 

    36. GLiv says:

      Amazing, ever get the feeling we are the only ones who care though? I have said for years that apathy is our greatest enemy, I have a job that because of how it is funded will probably end with Scottish independence.. does that bother me? No, because I cant allow my child to grow up in this hopeless society anymore – I’ll get another job, the next generation are way more important than our own needs! Britain is broken, we Scots have a chance to lead the way with enlightened thinking once again as many times in the past – we cant tear up the constitution and redraw the balance of power and end the ever widening gap between our countries rich and poor etc without doing just that – Vote yes and tear the constitution up and start again, a new alliance of equals – I like that a lot, not just for ourselves but for every person who shares this Island(s)

    37. joe kane says:

      Hosted on the Edinburgh-based Black Triangle Campaign website –

      The campaign against the welfare state is now in full-flow in Scotland: Your guide to unmasking and destroying it ~ Jimmy Reid Foundation
      by Robin McAlpine 
      10 Oct 2013
      http://blacktrianglecampaign.org/2012/10/10/the-campaign-against-the-welfare-state-is-now-in-full-flow-in-scotland-your-guide-to-unmasking-and-destroying-it-jimmy-reid-foundation/ 

    38. muttley79 says:

      @Julie McDowall

      And thanks to everyone else, too, for your supportive comments and in welcoming me to this great site.
       
      THIS CAN’T BE RIGHT, WE ARE ALL SCUMMY CYBER-NATS ON HERE…Incidentally, very good article Julie.

    39. Gary S says:

      Ah Keef, I wasn’t being serious.
       
      Eye-opening piece.

    40. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “I must be mistaken about the spelling of Sheriff too, that’ll be it….”

      Honestly, you’re your own worst enemy sometimes.

      😉

      😀

    41. Papadocx says:

      As the unionist parties in Scotland keep reminding us they could not run a wealthy wee country like Scotland. They need the direction and oversight of their big next door neighbour. Even more worrying they are terrified of trying, and we keep on electing these jokers who tell us they have the answers, just not today. whichever comedian is in power in Westminster they tell us it was the other side who messed everything up, and the libs are their just in case they need another fall guy. This has been going on for over a hundred years, you would think by this time we might have noticed. Well some of us have, and decided that its time to find a new game and new players. whatever you call these teams and whichever players are elected into them then let it be. 

      Let’s just change the game, the players  and the venue. LET SCOTLANDS  people run the country. 

      IF the scottish labour, tories and libs can’t or won’t try to do it then let them go to the House of Lords for their tin gong and bung and well rid of them we will be. Let us stand on our own two feet. 

    42. rabb says:

      Julie,
      An outstanding piece indeed. Divide & conquer is the weapon of choice for governments.
       
      I had an exchange some months ago on Twitter which arose around a piece Scotland Tonight done about equal marriage. One fellow tweeted about the immense struggle by the gay community over the years to achieve this and the sense of achievement felt by the community to get this far.

      That was when the penny dropped for me.
       
      If truth be told, their should never have been a struggle. We live in a civilised society. Gay marriage and rights in general should not be a fight. It should not be a struggle. They should be a given!

      My theory was that the government have a pot of policies which serve no apparent purpose other than to distract the public. Gay rights fall into that pot.

      Think of it as a biscuit tin. We all fight among ourselves dancing around the biscuit tin while the government empty the fridge of all the good stuff. Occasionally, they throw out a custard cream and we all pat each other on the back for our persistence.
       
      This may not be a revelation to most of you but to someone relatively new to politics it certainly changed my view on Westminster.
       
      God willing the rest of our fellow Scots will wake up in time for next year.

    43. Andrew Morton says:

      Just thought I’d make a comment about those Labour minutes. Re “Students’ concerns tended to be more personal, social and family oriented [sic] than economics.”

      Two thoughts occur to me, firstly that BT have largely abandoned the economic battle as they know they’ve been trounced. Secondly that they will attack on the ‘broken family ties’ angle, so Yes Scotland need to be more reassuring about the emotional side of things. As every good salesman knows, Logic opens the mind, Emotion opens the wallet.

    44. The Man in the Jar says:

      Once again I refer to my pro union, GMB shop steward “Friend” whose mantra these days is “Socialism is for workers not for lazy scumbags who sit at home every day pumping out wean after wean” 
       
      There again because he voted SNP in protest in 2011 he thinks that the SNP only got in on a protest vote. Consequently the SNP will suffer a wipe out at the next election and Yes Scotland have not a snowballs chance in hell of wining the referendum. I suppose he looks forward to his beloved Labour party retuning GB to true socialist values. 

    45. Stuart Black says:

      Great stuff Julie, beautiful writing as ever…
       
      Thanks.

    46. CameronB says:

      Thanks for a very thought provoking article Julie.
       
      It looks as if the Malthus v Ricardo debate has not been put to bed yet.

      When trying to figure out just what has gone wrong with society, one should perhaps consider that the Rev. Thomas Malthus (arguably one of the most significant influence on the evolution of social policy), was the first Professor of History and Political Economy at the East India Company College.
       
      It looks like the modern lot are at it as well. How many Bishops sit in Parliament and who elected them?
       
      http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2012/jan/27/rich-poor-deserving-undeserving

    47. Allan28 says:

      Thank you Julie
      Callum
      I haven’t looked at Julie’s figures for ‘bailing out the banks’ but the figures relating to acquisition of shareholding interests in RBS/HBOS/Lloyds TSB are actually only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to calculating how much the UK paid to stop failures in the banking sector and to enhance bank returns.
      The policy of QE, discount rates, overnight rates and so on meant that all  banks (i.e. not just those part nationalised) had access to free money which they could then lend on for a profit.

    48. cath says:

      Great article and should be shared way beyond Scotland.
       
      I’m lucky enough never to have been in real poverty, yet. Poor, yes, plenty of times, but not real, grinding, despair-inducing poverty. I only saw that when I worked at the CAB for a while, and that was an eye-opening couple of years. It really showed the myths the media spout for what they are. The unemployed all have Sky and flat screen TVs? Aye, right. When many can’t even afford to feed the electricity meter and when they do it eats the money as debt for the daily standing charge incurred when it wasn’t fed?
       
      I read a book – Carol Craig, the Tears that Made the Clyde I think – which talked about the bicycling effect that goes on in poor areas and is particularly bad in Glasgow. That’s pretty much what you’re talking about. Those who are poor and powerless have to kick out and they can only do it to those even worse off than they are.

    49. KOF says:

      @Rabb 14:29
      I think the lines from this song sums it up for me.
      “when the poor hunt the poor across mountain and moor the rich man can keep them in chains”.
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j8nIFwpb3NQ

    50. Linda's Back says:

      O/T  Back home so switched on BBC Parliament hoping to catch the SNP conference particularly as people say they want more facts about the referendum.
      What did I get  a very worthy House of Commons debate but only attended by 20 MPs.
      The worst attended SNP conference fringe meeting would get more than that.

    51. Andy-B says:

      Good piece Julie.
       
      You hit the nail on the head, they want to turn the low paid working class against the unemployed, sick and disabled, meanwhile the upper echelons of Westminster and their rich coroprate buddies pocket as much as they can.
       
      This is nothing new its just stepped up a gear, since David Cameron became PM at Westminster, and it wont get any better under Ed Miliband, as he’s pledged to continue with the austerity, maybe even cutting deeper.
       
      As for the drunken louts, most people who are struggling to survive couldnt afford drink and those who do probably rely on a family member to feed them, and many young people now probably feel they have no future which is a terrible shame.
       
      Hopefull independence will give some at least, hope, something Westminster NEVER could.

    52. Andy-B says:

      O/T I do apologise.
       
      Why no coverage of the SNP Conference in Perth? anyone know?
       
      After all the Tory/Lib-Dem and the Labour conference’s were rammed down our throats.
       
      All I could find was one minutes worth of condescending questions by Andrew Neil, via a link to Perth to Nicola Sturgeon, from the Politics Show.
       
      No wonder I loathe the MSM.

    53. Weedeochandorris says:

      Truly moving Jule.
      “It has always been a mystery to me how men can feel themselves honoured by the humiliation of their fellow-beings.” Gandhi

    54. Gillie says:

      Another example of the British Disease.

    55. Morag says:

      they want to turn the low paid working class against the unemployed, sick and disabled, meanwhile the upper echelons of Westminster and their rich coroprate buddies pocket as much as they can.
       
      Do you think they’re doing that consciously and deliberately?  It’s certainly the effect of what they’re doing.  And there’s no doubt who the beneficiaries are.  I just wonder whether they realise it – either as individuals in their own thoughts, or as a group when they are discussing policy.
       
      That they do these things, with these results, without realising the consequences, is bad enough.  That they do it deliberately?  If that’s the case, there isn’t a hell deep enough.

    56. Andrew Morton says:

      Reminds me of Bob Dylan’s song, “Only a Pawn in their Game” About how the rich set the poor whites against the blacks:

      “A South politician preaches to the poor white man
      “You got more than blacks, don’t complain
      You’re better than them, you been born with white skin” they explain
      And the Negro’s name
      Is used it is plain
      For the politician’s gain
      As he rises to fame
      And the poor white remains
      On the caboose of the train
      But it ain’t him to blame
      He’s only a pawn in their game.”

    57. Andy-B says:

      O/T but interesting.
       
      I see an explosion of “Tent Cities have sprung up in the USA, these sub-human camps have been dubbed, Obamavilles.
       
      Similar to the well known Hoovervilles during the USA’s great depression

    58. creigs1707repeal says:

      Ah – Maryhill Primary School (the old building in the centre of the photo) up on Gilshochill. Many fond memories. Mrs Dawson – brilliant teacher. She first introduced me to the culture and history of ancient Egypt and now I write books on the subject. Big thanks, Mrs D.
       
      YES Scotland.

    59. Holebender says:

      Callum, how much will the bank shares have to be sold for to provide a worthwhile return for holding on to them for 5+ years?

    60. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “Why no coverage of the SNP Conference in Perth?”

      We get a couple of hours of it tomorrow.

    61. orkers says:

      Just did a Panel Base survey and if it wasn’t commissioned by WOS I would be shocked.
      Put it this way …………the results should be very interesting this time. No space monsters in sight though Johan was mentioned.
      LOL

    62. CameronB says:

      Reminds me of Bob Dylan’s song, “Only a Pawn in their Game”
      About how the rich set the poor whites against the blacks:
       
      That was the job of the Democrat Party wasn’t it? Did they not block ‘black’ membership of associated unions? A unified ‘labouring class’ might just prove a little demanding for those that run society for their own gain.
       
      What was it that Disraeli said about about ‘One Nation’ and ‘working-class leaders’?

    63. Al Ghaf says:

      Wow!
      Confronting writing that belongs in The Guardian if they were not such a bunch of middle  class tit-waggles. 

    64. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “which talked about the bicycling effect that goes on in poor areas and is particularly bad in Glasgow”

      Bicycling effect?

    65. Andrew Morton says:

      Excuse me, I just had to go off and clean the sick from my shirtfront. Yes, I’ve been reading the Daily Record’s hagiography of Anas Sarwar.
       
      “Politically, Anas Sarwar has become his own man. He is bright, telegenic, articulate and buzzing with energy and ideas for Labour and for Scotland.”
       
      You couldn’t make it up.

    66. Andrew Morton says:

      “Bicycling effect.”
       
      Nicking bikes?

    67. msean says:

      Very fair coverage then of party conferences then, eh? Showed even the tories ,why no snp coverage(you know,the ones who actually won an election).Anyone would think we didn’t have any Scottish broadcasters…

    68. muttley79 says:

      @Morag
       
       
      Do you think they’re doing that consciously and deliberately?  It’s certainly the effect of what they’re doing.  And there’s no doubt who the beneficiaries are.  I just wonder whether they realise it – either as individuals in their own thoughts, or as a group when they are discussing policy.
       
      That they do these things, with these results, without realising the consequences, is bad enough.  That they do it deliberately?  If that’s the case, there isn’t a hell deep enough.
       

      Of course they are doing it deliberately.  Why else have poor families been removed from London, and sent to the north of England?  Why have there been anti-immigrant posters issued by the Coalition government and the like?  The Tories are seizing their chance to complete Thatcher’s revolution.  It is social Darwinism in action.  Even Thatcher would not go as far as privatising the NHS and the Royal Mail.  The BBC will be next.  Like the NHS, there will be no pledge in the Tories next election manifesto to destroy the BBC.  They want to leave the EU so that they can abolish the Working Time Directives, and make doctors and nurses work longer hours.  They want to diminish workers rights even more as well.  They want to scrap the Human Rights Act. 

    69. Gillie says:
      17 October, 2013 at 4:05 pm

      Another example of the British Disease.
       
      We better get killing badgers!

    70. CameronB says:

      “Politically, Anas Sarwar has become his own man. He is bright, telegenic, articulate and buzzing with energy and ideas for Labour and for Scotland.”
       
      You couldn’t make it up.
       
      Apparently they just did. 🙂

    71. Dork50 says:

      Useless article. Crocodile tears. IDS at least trying new, different action to solve problem. Left just wants to throw more handouts at it. That’s worked for the last 50 years – not.

      Economist may be on to something this week. Hull, Darlington etc maybe beyond saving – Glasgow too. Enable people to commute and leave, break out of failed culture. Replan and rebuild for less people. Do a Detroit.

    72. KOF says:

      Doh! I forgot to put in spaces in my last post.
       
      Sorry, Rev.
       
      (Smacks self!)

    73. Theunicorn says:

      Never forget that according to SLAB you are now a “virus” and to stop a virus spreading you have to set an anti-virus against it. That means me and you being set against you and me. Diversionary tactics work because they divert your thinking processes away from where the real issues are. What was the question again ? As far as Anas Sarwar is concerned, old Labour isnae deid n buried and he hopes by constantly referring to the past the politically unwashed will once again salivate at new Labours vision of jam the morra. Aye right.

    74. handclapping says:

      @cynicalH
      Nae gud, that’s a bacillus. We’re a virus deadly to the British.
      I wonder how they are going to eradicate us using private contractors? And how much they’ll pay given that its not a something for nothing society?

    75. Thepnr says:

      The last time a Tory government was in  power they had one mission and one mission only.
       
      To destroy the Trade Unions and the working class. That was so successful that hundreds of thousands in Scotland alone became unemployed and never worked again, their children today in the post industrial areas of Scotland are still unemployed
       
      The Tories now in 2013 want to destroy the unemployed, the sick and the poorest workers, maybe so they don’t live long enough to collect a pension.
       
      We in Scotland don’t need to accept this, lets tell them where to go. We’re voting Yes.

    76. muttley79 says:

      @Thepnr
       
       
      The last time a Tory government was in  power they had one mission and one mission only.
       
      To destroy the Trade Unions and the working class. That was so successful that many of them became unemployed and never worked again, their children today in the post industrial areas of Scotland are still unemployed
       
      The Tories now in 2013 want to destroy the unemployed, the sick and the poorest workers, maybe so they don’t live long enough to collect a pension.
       
      We in Scotland don’t need to accept this, lets tell them where to go. we’re voting Yes.
       
      Precisely.  They also wanted to reward their already rich buddies, hence all the privatisations, and the Big Bang in the City of London in 1986, which began the deregulation of the financial services and banking sectors.  Sadly one could quote Foulkes about them doing it deliberately.  Unfortunately, in this case it is the opposite of funny.
       
      O/T  I see McWhirter has said the referendum should already be written off.  Should we all end our efforts for the Yes campaign, and basically give in?  Should we fuck…

    77. velofello says:

      For all the sincere comments here, Dylan’s words in his song
      “Only a pawn in their game” really should be message enough.
      Well done Andrew Morton for posting the words.
      Humans need protection against themselves.

    78. Alba4Eva says:

      Thank you Julie McDowall.  Brilliant writing and you are so right.

    79. Theunicorn says:

      Handclapping – how dare you ! Of course it is, otherwise we would not have heard those fine illustrious words directly from horses mooth. 

    80. Jen says:

      GLiv says:
      17 October, 2013 at 2:17 pm
      Amazing, ever get the feeling we are the only ones who care though? 
      I agree, since paying attention to people who want independence and believe in Scotland and her people, I think Yes people are the ones who care. 
       
      I am sure unionists care as well, it’s just that it not enough to want change and of course, British comes first.
       
      I prefer the ultimate localism, indpendence which may break the apathy of the people of Scotland.

    81. john king says:

      You’ve restored my faith in me fellow human beings Julie,
      I’ve constantly complained at my wife for watching Dom Jolly pursuing someone for benefit fraud, on saints and sinners,
       because somehow he never seems to want to put the spotlight on the REAL  thieves,

       when a benefit cheat is caught and convicted, the sums involved can indeed be eye watering, but pale into insignificance when compared to the incredible sums the mega rich get away with by not paying their due tax,

       But while the government delight in the stories of a benefit cheat being banged to rights they perpetuate the “divide and conquer”attitude,
      how many times has anyone heard Cameron praising the authorities for catching a tax cheat who has had to pay back millions, NEVER
      I wonder why?

      Its also worth bearing in mind that the amount of unclaimed benefits are calculated at 16 times the amount of benefit fraud, I don’t see the social beating a path to peoples door to tell them about what their missing out on!

    82. handclapping says:

      @john king
      Even the social have no idea what benefits people are entitled to.

    83. Robert Kerr says:

      The sad thing is that the Establishment uses “Divide et impera” straight from Roman imperialism. Reference Cornelius Tacitus writing in his “Germania”, 98 AD as follows.

      “Long, I pray, may the Germans persist, if not in loving us, at least in hating one another; for the imperial destiny drives hard, and fortune has no longer any better gift for us than the disunion of our foes”.

      http://www.ourcivilisation.com/smartboard/shop/tacitusc/germany/chap1.htm

      Nothing changes.

      Thank you Julie.

    84. Juteman says:

      I’ve sat in the deckchair in the past.
      Life is fine right now, but the deckchair is always there.

    85. Andy-B says:

      Talking of the “British Disease”  aka the auld empire.
       
      The British Empire of which David Cameron keeps prattling on about, is the only empire to have wiped out an entire indigenous, human species.
       
      http://abagond.wordpress.com/2013/05/10/the-tasmanian-genocide/
       
      Another, notable fact of the so called British Empire, is since world war two, Britain has been involved in a military conflict in every single year except 1968, including the Kenyan Massacre and the illegal, war in Iraq.

    86. Thepnr says:

      @Juteman
       
      We all have a deckchair, mine too is in the cupboard.

    87. eddie says:

      Well written Julie, almost totally reflects my growing up in Possilpark and then moving to the milder climes of Inverkip.  I did not want my son growing up surrounded by such abject poverty, all overseen by years and years of a useless Labour council.

    88. Robert Louis says:

      Seriously O/T,
       
      Just caught a few minutes of misreporting Scotland, and they were saying that customers north of Perth, will face a bigger increase in gas and electricity prices, than the rest of the UK.  Across, the UK, dual fuel will increase 9.4%, but in Scotland (North of Perth), dual fuel prices will increase by 11.4%.
       
      Is this true?  Prices in Scotland where the freaking gas comes from are to increase by more, than down south????
       
      Surely this cannot be true, can it??

    89. Andrew Morton says:

      Funnily enough I was just watching Distorting Scotland too. No mention of SNP conference in the headlines and in a thirty second exchange about AS’s speech Brian Taylor managed to work in two Braveheart references while Sally assured us that there was no way that the referendum could be won.
       
      Presumably they think that we can’t see what they’re up to.

    90. Peter says:

      Is this person trying to claim that dolescum don’t exist ?  
      They do. In their millions too. How did 3, 4, 5 million or more immigrants manage to find work when the unemployed struggle to get their lard arses to the job centre to sign on every 2 weeks?
      This is one of the things I really hate about lefties.  The absolute refusal to face the truth when it conflicts with their mad fantasy world.  There is a pathetic video available where Tony (I scrapped wave power in Scotland in favour of Torness) Benn is being interviewed by Ali G, and claims that all the unemployed are desperate to work. Having been unemployed for a mere 9 years myself I know exactly what people are like.
         Hopefully post Yes vote the welfare system will return to it’s true purpose and not keeping scum in bee, fags and babies.

    91. Linda's Back says:

      Robert Louis
      Misreporting Scotland then airbrushed Alex Salmond out of  the efforts to resolve the Grangemouth dispute while allowing Westminster’s Ed Davey, who probably has never been to Grangemouth in his life,  to grandstand.
      Compare and contrast this with STV news coverage of Grangemouth.

    92. muttley79 says:

      Yes, it is true.  Brian Taylor also refereed to “Bravehearts” in relation to SNP members in Perth as well.  On a brighter note, he said Sturgeon is going to warn about the dangers of a No vote in her speech tomorrow.

    93. annie says:

      BBC Scotland reporting  a positive story on NHS Scotland – as Yorkhill Hospital had won an award I daresay they couldn’t ignore it but I wouldn’t be surprised  to see another hatchet job in the next few days  by Eleanor Bradford just to even things up.

    94. john king says:

      Muttley 97 says
      “The BBC will be next.”
      Oh please god yes.

    95. muttley79 says:

      @Peter
      Is this person trying to claim that dolescum don’t exist ? 
       
      Eh?  What do you mean by ‘dolescum’ exactly?  You do know that there is not enough jobs for the number of people trying to get one? 

      @John King
      You want another public sector organisation to be privatised?

    96. joe kane says:

      Here’s a good article making some of the same point as Julie, by a researcher at the Joseph Rowntree Housing Trust, about resentment being harboured against those who receive social security benefit by those who are also living at the bottom of the pile themselves –

      Who takes the harshest anti-welfare line? Those on state benefits
      I talked to families directly affected by the cuts and many wanted benefits themselves – yet resented anyone else getting them 
      Guardian
      12 Feb 2013
      http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/feb/12/anti-welfare-rhetoric-families 
       
      ps
      Just thought I’d take a trip down memory lane and pass on this attempt by the loathsome right-wing MP Tom Harris and his lame attempt to stoke up the resentment of the lower orders against working class mums. Harris, incidentally, claimed for baby things on his Westminster Parliamentary expense account. Copies of his claims can be viewed online somewhere on the BBC website –

      The return of morality
      The army of teenage mothers living off the state is a national catastrophe
      by Tom Harris MP 
      Guardian 
      05 Mar 2009
      http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2009/mar/05/welfare-children 

    97. Baheid says:

      Stream of SNP conference, still watching so not sure who all the speakers are.
       
      http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/39923720

    98. I ignored the charming @Peter as I assumed he was a troll.

      But let me say it is hugely difficult to get a job just now. Anyone who reads my blog in The Herald will know how horrendous my current employer is, but I can’t get another job so can’t leave. 

      A few years back, there were plenty of vacancies in Glasgow, if you were willing to work in a call centre, but even those have dried up now and, when they do advertise, they are inundated with applications. 

      As an experiment a few months ago I went ‘click-happy’ on s1jobs and applied for jobs in admin/call centre/data entry. I didn’t even get an acknowldegment e-mail from the companies concerned but, years back, I’d have voicemails every week from agencies offering such work, unsolicited. It has all dried up. 

      You can’t square a circle. There are simply not enough jobs. (There are also not enough with decent pay but perhaps it was ever thus.)

      Let me say I have no sympathy with workshy people – or ‘dolescum’ as @Peter refers to them. I have worked in a job for the past eight years which I loathe and which has provoked a breakdown (see Herald blog) but the alternative would be to walk out and go on benefits, which I’m just not prepared to do. If I can work in such misery, why should others stay snug at home?

    99. southernscot says:

      Good article Julie. So easy to slip into that frame of mind.

      Maryhill eh! luxury lived the first 20 years of my life in Drumchapel.

      Never ever write people they may surprise you given the right support.

      Case in point my niece lost her mother at 13, pregnant at 15. sounds like another lost cause.

      qualified as a doctor at 25.

      A friend of mine from school pregnant at 16, on the dole most of her life had 5 kids just earned her degree with honours.

      With proper support most if not all people can contribute to society whatever there backgrounds.

    100. Murray McCallum says:

      “On being told of the cuts, one young mum exclaimed “Good! That means her down the road’ll get her money taken away” referring to a resident with severe mental health issues (people with less visible disabilities like hers were all too frequently dismissed as “chancers”).” From the guardian article ^^ in joe kane’s post.
       
      This is how it plays out. In my experience those with mental health and/or learning disabilities end up being the object of spiteful derision and from all quarters.

    101. scottish_skier says:

      The few that deliberately cheat the benefits system are Tories in the capitalist sense.
       
      Maximum profit for minimum outlay.
       
      Obtaining wealth by immoral or illegal means is capitalism to the max. Those who steal (unless out of utter desperation because they are e.g. starving) are right-wing capitalists. Those who murder for wealth are right-wing capitalists. Rape, torture, violent crime for gain… are all right-wing capitalist crimes; the quest for personal enrichment in terms of power/self gratification/wealth with no regard for those who suffer as a result.
       
      For some reason those on the right don’t like to be told that those they hate share their own outlook.
       
      Real ‘Benefits cheats’ are Thatcher’s children.

    102. Boorach says:

      As any who bother reading my whitterings on here will know I live in my van. This is a ‘lifestyle’ choice and not from necessity.

      With my pensions I am comfortable enough and certainly don’t go hungry though I spend an inordinate amount of time on a certain car park. From there I can look across the firth at Dornoch and up the Sutherland coast almost as far as Helmsdale. Watch the ospreys fishing, see otters, duck, gees and occasional divers.
      People are friendly and accept my way of life and occasionally pass the time of day.
       
      Last week one of the ‘bad boys’ (community service) who occasionally have their lunch break enjoying the view wandered over and insisted I share his lunch. Now this lad was doing his time for whatever misdemeanour he’d been caught for and as it was a weekday couldn’t have been employed so had very, very little going for him yet he shared what little was in his sandwich box, promised to voye ‘Yes’ and wandered away again.
       
      Peter I’d take ten of him for one of you and still consider myself short-changed. Go look in the mirror and see what you have to live with you disgust me.

    103. joe kane says:

      There is no evidence that people won’t take jobs, especially decent ones, when offered them. The evidence is that people will take awful jobs knowing full well they, and their family, will be trapped in poverty with very little chance of escape. 

      When you think of the poverty blackspots of Scotland, which are the biggest in Western Europe, you have to laugh at this BBC neoliberal attempt to blame individuals and claim that the people of the Glasgow East End, for instance, would rather willingly exist in appallingly social condition than get a decent job and improve their lives –
      Alan Milburn says child poverty ‘no longer problem of the workless and work-shy’ 
      BBC News Politics
      17 Oct 2013
      http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-24553611 

    104. Boorach says:

      Apologies, gees = geese

    105. scottish_skier says:

      (tiny minority, ahem) ‘dolescum’ = economic right-wingers / Tories.
       
      Most certainly not ‘lefties’. A ‘leftie’ would never consider ripping off other citizens.

    106. Chic McGregor says:

      OT Over on NNS a Labour MP who is closest, at least geographically, to the Grangemouth shenanigans:
       
      http://www.newsnetscotland.com/index.php/scottish-economy/8196-collusion-between-ineos-and-uk-government-over-grangemouth-plant-dispute-claims-mp

    107. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “Is this person trying to claim that dolescum don’t exist ?”

      I don’t think so, since the article says “Of course, there are scroungers and benefit cheats”. So either you didn’t bother to read it all, or you did and you’re just an idiot. Which is it?

      “They do. In their millions too. How did 3, 4, 5 million or more immigrants manage to find work when the unemployed struggle to get their lard arses to the job centre to sign on every 2 weeks?”

      “Millions”? Really? Given that there are only 2.5m unemployed in total, you’re suggesting that at least 80% are lazy workshy scroungers?

      The proportion of immigrants who are unemployed is lower than that of native citizens, but not THAT much. There are around 500,000 jobs available at any one time, and roughly 10 times that many people looking for them. (Because many of the “employed” are part-time but want full-time work.) So your entire argument is arithmetically as well as ideologically illiterate.

    108. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “I have worked in a job for the past eight years which I loathe and which has provoked a breakdown (see Herald blog) but the alternative would be to walk out and go on benefits, which I’m just not prepared to do. If I can work in such misery, why should others stay snug at home?”

      Well, I guess the obvious answer would be “So they don’t have a breakdown”. It’s a miracle more people don’t crack under the strain of miserable, grotesquely-paid jobs, but I’m not sure we should be demanding they put themselves in that position.

    109. velofello says:

      @ Boorach: A couple o’ side windaes and your van becomes a motorhome! Then add some Ecosse and GB stickers for street cred.

      Years back I spent hours converting an air-cooled VW van to a “motorhome”. We had two away days with it and my wife hated it.

      You are as free as the birds you watch.

    110. Macart says:

      @Boorach
       
      Or we could just say there but for the grace…
       
      Couldn’t agree more.
       
      Spent more than my share during the eighties bumming jobs wherever I could throughout the central belt and Argyll. Scrubbed pots, served bar, cleared land, shovelled shit, the time of gies a job. 🙂 I shared many a cubby with the hard up and the hard done by. Some of the finest folk its been my pleasure to have met and travelled with. And not one, not one even considered trying to fleece the system. There was more honesty in their hardship than ever you’ll see in any parliament.

    111. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “Useless article. Crocodile tears. IDS at least trying new, different action to solve problem. Left just wants to throw more handouts at it. That’s worked for the last 50 years – not.

      Economist may be on to something this week. Hull, Darlington etc maybe beyond saving – Glasgow too. Enable people to commute and leave, break out of failed culture. Replan and rebuild for less people. Do a Detroit.”

      Dear God. Read that back to yourself, and maybe vow not to start drinking in daylight hours.

      “Enable people to commute and leave”? What the hell does that even mean? Have you seen the price of public transport recently? What is it you’re actually proposing, if Glasgow is “beyond saving”? Where do its people move to? Where do you accommodate 600,000 souls in a country where there’s already a housing shortage? Where do they work? What jobs are you going to create for them?

      IDS is indeed trying something different – reducing poverty by starving the poor to death. You live in one of the richest countries on the face of the Earth and its main growth industry is fucking foodbanks. If you think that’s a sign we’re moving in the right direction, fuck you.

    112. joe kane says:

      The idea that there are people who don’t want to work and are having a great time lying about at home smoking fags and watching the Jeremy Kyle Show on their giant plasma tellies (and breeding out of control cf Tom Harris MP) is based on the idea that the economy is going full blast and there is, therefore, full employment. Such layabouts are claimed to be making a lifestyle choice to live a lavish lifestyle on the munificent of a gullible DWP. Except there is no full employment and hasn’t been for decades. Such people who do want to live on social security as a matter of personal choice are about as significant as “inter-generational worklessness” or benefit fraud ie insignificant.

      The BBC’s John Humphprys infamously peddled this lie on his documentary ‘The Future State Of Welfare’ by conflating those who didn’t want to work in the 1945 British economy of full employment, with people today who cannot get a job because for every 1 job vacancy there are 8 unemployed workers to fill it.

      BBC welfare reform show breached impartiality guidelines 
      BBC Entertainment & Arts 
      30 July 2013
      http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-23501137

      “The Child Poverty Action Group…said…This programme, like too many media stories, failed the public by swallowing wholesale the evidence-free myth of a ‘dependency culture’ in which unemployment and rising benefit spending is the fault of the unemployed.
      “The reality needs to be reported that only 3% of welfare expenditure goes on Jobseekers Allowance….

    113. Oneironaut says:

      @Muttley79
      “The BBC will be next.”
       
      Maybe they secretly already have, hence why the BBC and the rest of the MSM are just parroting Westminster’s propaganda all day long…
      You might say they already own the BBC anyway.

    114. JLT says:

      Great article, Julie.
       
      I must admit, there is one thing about being ‘British’ that severely sticks in my craw.
       
      But before I begin on another one of my spiels. I will admit, as well as being a Scot; I am British also. I am from these isles, therefore I am British. End of.
      I love British History, and what I mean by that, is that I have read Scottish History, English History and even Welsh History. I love to know the history of the islands, and that of Europe, as well as the World.
      I love classical music, and don’t get me wrong, there have been some fine pieces by the likes of Elgar, Arne, Holst, Vaughn Williams, etc. I love the piece ‘Jerusalem. It is a stunning hymn. I admire music of all kinds, from all the home nations.
      I understand Britishness. I get it. I know how to define Britain.
       
      But understand one thing. I am a Scot …first and foremost. And for me, Scotland and the people of my land come first. Nothing else matters …the moment I see injustice or a slight against my country or the people of Scotland.
       
      And so I come to it…
       
      We bailed out the banks at an unbelievable extortionate cost. Nothing was ever going to be the same again. The good times were over, and could be for the next two the three decades.
       
      Then at the start of January 2009, we held our breath; ‘what would the Banks do when it came to their pay rises and bonuses. What would they do?’
      And we found out very quickly. They held up 2 fingers, smiled at us, didn’t apologise, and they gave themselves bonuses that ran into the billions. ‘F*** You for being that gullible, in thinking that the Banking System was about to change, or be regulated once more.’
       
      The Labour Government at that time growled, moaned a lot, but did SFA. The Tories talked of Banking Regulation. They got in …and did even bigger SFA! In fact, today, they just allowed the Chinese to open up banks in the heart of London so that even more money could be made in the City. Good for the City Boys, Good for the Tories, Good for the Heart of London …but absolutely f*** all to the common man in the street, or to those living on the bread line, or in even worse conditions.
       
      And so the banks have continued to give themselves large wage rises and extortionate bonuses; now almost 5 years down the line, and consistently over that period of time! 
      Even in these time of massive austerity, of food banks, of rising costs, and cuts to wages and benefits, these bastards who caused this ‘crash’ in the first place …sit in their white ivory towers along the banks of the river Thames, or in the heart of Edinburgh, and they give themselves, each year, bigger and better bonuses.
       
      The media never use the word ‘D’ word, because the Great Financial House don’t want that term used. That would be bad. That would cause the stocks to tumble even further, and lead to another major financial crisis. That would probably leas to lower bonuses at the end of the day, and no one in the City wants that.
      No, no …no one uses the word ‘Depression’. Instead, we use that nice ‘R’ word. R for Recession. And that raises a question …’when the f*** …did recessions last 5 years?’ Seriously! …’We’re out of it now! We have growth. The UK is looking good.’
      Are we f*** out of it! Let the interest rates go up 1% tonight, and we’ll be back in recession by tomorrow morning before you’ve even finished your cereal.
       
      I have heard of an expression being used in one of the financial houses in the Town. They call it ‘LD Day’ …Lamborghini Day. This is the official bonus day. And they celebrate it by talking about the next sports car they intend to buy, or a day out a major race track where they play with various racing cars from, as said, Lamborghini’s to actual Formula 3 cars.
       
      I have seen the photographs on desks; of their kids going to the best private schools in the town. The next generation, being created, taught and trained, to do the same acts as their parents are now. All paid for through these extortionate bonuses, because a normal wage wouldn’t pay for a year at one of these schools, let alone a single school term. 
      I remember a time, twenty five years ago, when I first worked in my first Financial House, that everyone in the town at that time, sent their kids to the state schools. Only the top execs, and the top traders sent their kids to the private schools.
       
      Not anymore. Now …everyone in an Investment Banking room …even the normal traders and even some of the secretarial, send their kids to these private schools. That is how much money is floating around in these rooms.
       
      In these places; go to the heart of a financial investment room, and you enter a different world altogether. These folk are golden. They are untouchable. No one is ever made redundant. Every other department gets slaughtered in a cull every three to five years. It is an absolutely alien place to the ordinary man on the street. The Scots language disappears. It is clipped English from a Scottish tongue.
       
      I don’t care how folk speak, or what their background is. But one fact gets my anger up, and I can feel it stick in my craw all the time …and this is where Britishness ends for me…
       
      For this is the part of the establishment that knackered the entire UK financially. This lot caused the middle classes to be taxed to the hilt, while the poor are being utterly annihilated. 
      But for this lot …nothing has changed. They believe that it is that period from 1988 to 1991, and that the Thatcher and Major years are still alive. They just keep going …trading shares, earning extortionate wages, receiving obscene bonuses.
      They only have to ask, and they receive from the company anything that they want. The latest phone, the latest tablet …all paid for by the company. These people …who earn a fortune …are given stuff for free. I kid you not! Materialistic items that most folk can only wish for, maybe, every three to five years. But for this lot …’whenever you want.’
       
      Seriously …if you were to sit down with me for an hour, and I was to tell you everything that I have seen in these rooms, then your blood would boil. You would be Communist by the end of it.
       
      So, when I see the Union Jack being waved, or when I am told, ‘that we are all in this together’, then I am reminded of that one fact, that these people caused all of this untold misery across the United Kingdom, and that in the end …’No, we are not all f****** in this together!
       
      Because always …it is the establishment who remind us of that one line; ‘that we are all in this together.’ I have never heard it being uttered by the ordinary Joe Public…
       

    115. K Mackay says:

      Boorach, Scottish_Skier and Rev Stu, you’re comments there just made my day. 🙂

    116. john king says:

      muttley79 says
      “@John King

      You want another public sector organisation to be privatised?”
      the BBC is the ONLY public service I want to see privatized 
      considering how anti Scottish they are I don’t want to have to pay for the privilege of being lied to. 

    117. Frazer Allan Whyte says:

      Keep the colonized squabbling and scrambling for the crusts tossed to them, keep them self-unconscious, loot the colonized economy with the help of bauble-bribed local puppets, make them scornful of their own culture and languages, deprive them of hope and ply them with drugs physical and mental and draw off their young folk as cannon fodder for putting down other colonized peoples, and what do you have? Classic colonialism. This is not news. Other nations have been through it before.The “Lion in the north” has been declawed, neutered, trained to jump through various hoops and mewl rather than roar. The referendum will show whether the condition is terminal.

    118. Kenny Campbell says:

      “bailing out the banks”.  It’s such a loaded and mis-understood phrase.  The difference is that the government now ‘owns’ the banks and they will make a handsome profit when they come to sell the relevant stakes.
       
      Actually that is quite wrong, only about 60BN was spent on buying out RBS and Halifax banks. Total NET cash injections in the form of cash for equity across all banks was 124BN. The vast bulk of the 1.1TN in bailouts went on guarantees and buying all their crap assets at the banks own inflated value. None of which we will ever get back.
       
      The taxpayer at one point had outstanding liabilities due to the banks of that 1.1TN… The guarantees in many cases still exist and the assets which the banks have the cash for will never be sold at anything more than pennies on the pound.
       
      This RBS sale and TSB sale is a pure smokescreen.
       
      http://www.theguardian.com/news/datablog/2011/nov/12/bank-bailouts-uk-credit-crunch#data
      knock yourself out

    119. Conan_the_Librarian says:

      Rev Stu:
       
      I know *you know* whose comments you are replying to.
       
      Think of us puir buggers who can only dip in between breaks/babysitting/drunkenness and/or chemical dependency, can only guess who you are talking about…

    120. Shinty says:

      ” If I can work in such misery, why should others stay snug at home?”
       
      Living snug at home? really?
      I enjoyed your article Julie, but now I have no idea where you are coming from.

    121. handclapping says:

      @Rev
      The Economist might be on to something this week if you replace Hull, Darlington with London and Glasgow with the City. Our “fabulous” UK financial services, some of which are provided out of Scotland, cannot even raise enough foreign cash to pay for the UK’s needs for Food and Energy. “Great” Britain is bust thanks to Westminster’s thralldom to the City.
       
      We have got to get out of this place.

    122. Kenny Campbell says:

      If we’re losing 2BN to benefits cheats we’re saving more than that on people failing to claim what they are due. The focus on benefits cheats is purely political.
       
      The DWP has outlined data on the various income-related benefits that were not claimed. The latest figures, which refer to 2009-10, include:

      Up to 620,000 people failing to claim up to £2bn in income support, and employment and support allowance
      Up to 1.6 million people failing to claim up to £2.8bn in pension credit
      Up to 1.1 million people not claiming up to £3.1bn in housing benefit
      Up to 3.2 million people missing out on up to £2.4bn in council tax benefit
      Up to 610,000 people failing to claim up to £1.95bn in jobseeker’s allowance

    123. @shinty I only meant that there is surely a moral as well as economic obligation on each of us to work (unless, of course, we’re unable to due to sickness or the lack of jobs). I fulfil my obligation by working in a job I despise because I wouldn’t be comfortable opting for a life on benefits. Why should others work and pay tax whilst I stay at home? Perhaps the use of the word ‘snug’ implied that any such people are having a fine old time at home, so I take back ‘snug’. 

    124. Murray McCallum says:

      Kenny Campbell
      Please note that some of the figures quoted in the guardian article included asset protection – or insurance. That’s a bit like me saying An Insurer Plc owes me £500,000 (or whatever the max cover is on my house insurance policy).
      I do agree the figures are a disgrace.  What really gets me is not the scale of the figures though – it’s that nobody went to jail, even after all the other scams have came to light.

    125. That’s why they are called Banksters and they run the government of the day.
       
      http://rowans-blog.blogspot.co.uk/2013/10/why-sfo-are-not-getting-convictions.html

    126. Dork50 says:

      “IDS is indeed trying something different – reducing poverty by starving the poor to death.”
      Actually mean to write that?
      All countries struggling with costs of welfare. Demographics, aging pops. China and Japan too. Radical solutions needed, not just continuing to throw money. Applies to “i” Scotland too, especially given “i” costs, declining oil and even worse pop profile.
       
      Econ article not actually applicable to Glasg, only smaller places.

    127. Dork50 says:

      “Seriously …if you were to sit down with me for an hour, and I was to tell you everything that I have seen in these rooms, then your blood would boil. You would be Communist by the end of it.”
       
      Politics of jealousy. Unpleasant.

    128. Conan_the_Librarian says:

      Pippa?

    129. Murray McCallum says:

      Or maybe Rachel Reeves?

    130. Bubbles says:

      Or possibly a dork.

    131. handclapping says:

      especially given “i” costs, declining oil and even worse pop profile. 
       
      Given that we already pay for DVLA, FO, embassies, “defence”, etc and we immediately save on 18000 London jobs with £3000 London weighting, the cost of Westminster and either 18000 off the unemployment welfare bill or 18000 people of working age immigrating and adding another £0.5 billion to GDP what are these “i” costs?

      declining oil doesn’t even deserve a rsponse other than go and find out you dork

      You also have no idea about pensions. We die earlier so of the welfare budget only 37% pays our share whereas the rUK live longer and need 38% and rising already.

    132. scottish_skier says:

      Politics of jealousy. Unpleasant.
       
      (The politics of) jealousy is something only felt by those on the right of economic spectrum, i.e. Tories.
       
      As previously noted, the enemy of capitalists are other capitalists.

    133. JLT says:

      Conan / Murray
       
      Ignore him entirely. Whoever they are; they will eventually leave. They are not here to debate. They are only here to provoke. Ignore them.

    134. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “Actually mean to write that?
      All countries struggling with costs of welfare. Demographics, aging pops. China and Japan too. Radical solutions needed, not just continuing to throw money. Applies to “i” Scotland too, especially given “i” costs, declining oil and even worse pop profile.
      Econ article not actually applicable to Glasg, only smaller places.”

      You seem to have forgotten to answer any of the questions I asked you. You’re on a short leash.

    135. Boorach says:

      @ velofello
      @ Macart
       
      Got the side windaes (kinda regret that now) no ecosse stickers but bloody big Yes signs on doors… Will be mobile hoarding within the year!

    136. JLT says:

      ‘the enemy of capitalists are other capitalists’
       
      Scottish_Skier. I actually have a story on that theory, that coincides funnily enough, revolves around Private Schools as mentioned in my little novella above. I’m not joking. That dog eat dog theory is true. It revolves around a family trying to get one of their children into a private school. It is so insulting to the ordinary person, that you almost want to laugh if it wasn’t so serious. However, maybe another day. Remind me again in the future if you ever want to know what it was all about.

    137. Dork50 says:

      “You seem to have forgotten to answer any of the questions I asked you. You’re on a short leash.”
       
      Sorry. Not proposing anything myself. Already noted Econ article was aimed at failing small towns, not places like Glasg. Read it?

    138. Doug says:

      Dork50
       
      Not jealousy. I do not want what ‘they’ have. I do, however, hate that what they have is at the cost of grinding the poor into the dirt.

    139. Dork50 says:

      “Given that we already pay for DVLA, FO, embassies, “defence”, etc and we immediately save on 18000 London jobs with £3000 London weighting, the cost of Westminster and either 18000 off the unemployment welfare bill or 18000 people of working age immigrating and adding another £0.5 billion to GDP what are these “i” costs?”
       
      Will still cost more to set up duplicate jobs. Civil servants don’t generate GDP, they consume it.

    140. Dork50 says:

      “declining oil doesn’t even deserve a rsponse other than go and find out you dork”

       Already have. DECC figures database. Accelerating decline since 1999/2000. Me dork?

    141. Thepnr says:

      @Dork50
       
      Your zips open.

    142. handclapping says:

      @Dork
      The cost of 18000 unemployed civil servants will land on the rUK, the benefits outlined above will accrue in iScotland.
      Try Economics 101 before your next shot.

    143. Doug says:

      “civil servants don’t generate GDP…” 
       
      Except they do. They spend, pay tax etc. If we employ x number in London, then London shops benefit. If we employ them in Glasgow, Glasgow benefits.

    144. Bubbles says:

      @dork50
       
      Do you live in Scotland and do you have a vote?

    145. Murray McCallum says:

      Civil servants can methodically destroy GDP – look at how effectively the Westminster civil servants implemented Tory policies to destroy manufacturing.
       
      Greater risk when decisions are outsourced – the pain is not felt where the decisions are made. This risk grows exponentially when you effectively have no control over the government that rules you.

    146. Dork50 says:

      “Except they do. They spend, pay tax etc.”
       
      Salaries paid out of tax. Tax raised from private sector.

    147. Dork50 says:

      “Civil servants can methodically destroy GDP – look at how effectively the Westminster civil servants implemented Tory policies to destroy manufacturing.”
       
      ???? Manufacturing which was uncompetitive with world market. Hillman Imp. Steel and coal at 3x world price. Pointless.

    148. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “Sorry. Not proposing anything myself.”

      Piss off, then.

    149. Ken500 says:

      No one who has ever experienced poverty, would wish it on another.

      Absolutely appalling in some of the wealthiest countries in world,

    150. muttley79 says:

      Dork appears to genuinely believe that public sector workers do not generate GDP.  As they pay tax then they help to fund public services (health, education etc).  They also buy things, everything from food, drink, household goods. By spending some of their income they help to keep other people in employment by buying their goods.  This dork is a uber Tory, possibly UKIP.  They hate the public sector.  They generally are a self-centred, grasping, greedy shower.  Their beloved neo-liberalism has utterly fucked large parts of the world economy.  Have they learned lessons from the worst financial crash since the Great Depression?  You are having a laugh.  They always pick on the most vulnerable as well.  What a cowardly bunch of charlatans and spivs. 

    151. For die says:

      ‘ I loathe these people ‘. Mmm.  I understand the sentiment here and empathise to a large degree. Used to drive up Maryhill Rd. to work and watch all  the  Bearsdeners and Milngaviers drive the opposite way to town – in a v. Long polluting rat trap queue.. Best salad roll ever in the Spar, by the way.
      Not comfortable with the sentiment though.  This is a classic moral/philosophical issue that I struggle with. Who is to blame? The individual or their environment. Or both. I grew up poor. Didn’t stop me or mine. But did stop some, particularly where there was no moral imperative to change.

    152. Andrew Morton says:

      Dork has made the classic mistake of forgetting that we’re paying the salaries of these civil servants already.

    153. Doug says:

      My post deleted itself. Stupid Android! However, in response to dork – Muttley just about said it word for word!

    154. CameronB says:

      @ Julie MCDowell
      Rousseau’s Contrat Social suggested “Man is born free, but everywhere he is in chains”, and that this situation could be resolved by a social contract, which leads to the formation of a state based on popular sovereignty (self-responsibility).
       
      This was seen as potentially the means to endless Utopian social improvement and completely unacceptable to the “free-trade” monopoly capitalists of the time, such as the East India Company.
       
      How we intemperate what is going on and which is the moral path, were questions that Socrates, Plato and Aristotle were struggling with. I wouldn’t worry about being unsure yourself as these guys didn’t have to contend with a MSM owned by today’s monopoly capitalists.
       
      BTW, how did President F. D. Roosevelt describe the threat posed to democracy by the political influence of monopolies?

    155. Ken500 says:

      Coal is now one the cheapest form of fuel. Black gold, plentiful all over the UK. CC capture project at Longannet was by Hulne, before serving his time. Waste of space.

      Linwood made a profit. The equivalent of £20Billion a year was taken by Thatcher to build Canary Wharf, Tilbury docks etc in the South, taking investment and jobs from the rest of the UK, especially in the North. Unemployment and poverty in the North was a price worth paying for jobs and prosperity in the south. The centralised economic policies which caused the North/South divide. Thatcher was Mad.

    156. westie7 says:

      OT..
      Catching up on the news according to “them”
      I do wish Yes and the SNP would get their act together and get on message with who is the leader of Yes
      Nicola missed a sitter earlier in the interview with Andrew Neil
      And the last line of the article on debates on BBCScotland news website misquotes AS as the leader of Yes
      The tail is wagging the dog right now

    157. southernscot says:

      It’s not like private companies don’t take taxpayers money, you’ve got the banks, train companies, bus companies, the arms industry even the supermarket with workfare. they all benefit from taxpayers money.

    158. Andrew Morton says:

      Just watching Fiona Hyslop being interviewed on STV News. What a revelation! Sensible questions, plenty of time to give answers, no interruptions. That’s the last time I watch Distorting Scotland.

    159. The Flamster says:

      Enjoyed reading your article Julie.
       
      However, there is a new programme on Channel 5 called ‘On Benefits and Proud’. I haven’t seen it myself but my friends on FB have and have been commenting on it.  The usual stuff, scroungers having the life of riley, the council (not sure what council) building homes for parents with 11 children.  Think all extreme cases but one couple were apparently on the Jeremy Kyle show! Another programme I don’t watch.
       
      The people who believe the stories about the scroungers, benefit cheats, too many immigrants etc are all the ones that are voting No as they cannot see any further than their televisions. 

    160. Thepnr says:

      @Ken500
      Thatcher was Mad.

       
      You forgot evil, sorted.

    161. muttley79 says:

      Colin McKay has been good as well on STV.

    162. For die says:

      @cynicalhighlander
      Lay off the bloody badgers and all other creatures 🙂

    163. For die says:

      @ianbrotherhood
      Where are you?

    164. Ken500 says:

      A £trn of taxpayers money was spent on illegal wars and uncollateral loans to private enterprise. Did that generate revenue? A £1trn deficit. The wealthiest scroungers are laughing all the way to the Banksters. Massive interest repayments of debt, before downplaying the actual deficit. The ConDem solution transfer more wealth from the poorest to the richest, who caused the mess in the first place. Not one Fraudster banker or politician has gone to jail. Plenty of the poorer are in a spiral of debt being harass by loan sharks/pay loan crooks.

    165. Ken500 says:

      After the Depression there was ‘The New Deal’. After the 11WW there was ‘The Marshall Plan. After the Recession there is 3million unemployed and no jobs and no plan.

    166. Murray McCallum says:

      There was the “slash and burn” plan from 1979. It was an economic dork’s plan.

    167. Ken500 says:

      What do you do when there are no jobs available. Starve. People are starving and being admitted to hospital etc putting up the cost of poverty. Accepting poverty costs more.

    168. Kevin Lynch says:

      I have no love of junkies or scroungers. But that won’t make me turn on disabled folk who are being hit by the bed room tax. When I applied to the council for a house. All they had was a two bedroom house that had lay empty for years. I had to fight tooth and claw to get it. If I ever lose my job I’ll probably lose my home due to the bed room tax.

    169. Ken500 says:

      Essential public services have been privatised. These private companies are still funded with public money and cost more. Unaccountable private companies are ripping off the taxpayers. Atos and BT etc. Private companies are evading tax and taking vast amounts of evaded tax out of the country. Wall Street calls it, ‘taking the tax home’. Thatcher establish the City of London as the tax haven of the world in the 1980’s, in secret deals at the instigation of her Banker mates who fund the Tory Party. Graft and corruption.

    170. velofello says:

      C’mon Rev – Dork, piss off then.
      “Speak your truth quietly and clearly, and listen to others; even the dull and ignorant, they too have they’re story”.

    171. Saltire Radge says:

      One of the best pieces I’ve read since the date of the referendum was announced. This kind of clever wood+trees perspective reinforces the case for fundamental constitutional and socio-economic change. Scottish society, if it’s to improve for all its citizens, requires so much more than just tinkering at the devo-plus edges.

    172. Famous15 says:

      I went to Gilshie,I mean Maryhill Primary School in the 1950’s and did not realise I was poor until kids on the “parish” took the piss out of my home made clothing. For Morag’s interest I would mention the head teacher who taught us in the Quali year who seared on to our memory the spelling of SE-PAR-ATE as we did pre quail tests in the double room upstairs at double spacing.So I was a separatist at an early age!

    173. Kipper says:

      I see The Register, an otherwise tech industry focused site, is pretty heavily against Alex Salmond, SNP and independance: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/10/11/slippery_salmond_and_the_scottish_naughty_party/
       
      Even the URL has its own unique insults they couldn’t quite fit into the story. It feels like everyone and their cousin is trying to cripple this down south and run us all down at the same time.
       
      The comments section on the story is worth a read to give you that feel good fuzzy warm tingle that reminds you of the union dividends of love and harmony. It feels like these stories are being rehashed and regurgitated or resurrected no matter how many times they are refuted or how old they are.
       

    174. Ken500 says:

      Don’t worry about the Register readers. They don’t have a vote. All th techies in Scotland support the SNP. The North East Oil workers, many techies, The Business sector in Scotland who can read a Balance sheet. They all know the figures don’t add up.

      The only fear folk have to fear, is fear itself.

    175. Ken500 says:

      Plus the Techies in the Universities, support the SNP, except sections in Glasgow.Same section in Glasgow of hard core Unionists who can be outvoted by the rest of Scotland. That is where all opposition lies. Even though they know they would be better off. No self esteem. ‘We canna di that’. The result of fifty years of Labour and the decline. Ignorance is not an excuse.

      Have faith and confidence. There care more good people than bad.

    176. john king says:

      conan the librarien says @ 8.58pm
      Wow Conan 
      if ever an unguarded remark was going to be repeated by the no mob 
      thats it 🙁

    177. john king says:

      or librarian even

    178. Bubbles says:

      O/T – Sorry Stu.
       
      i should have posted this last night but I got drunk instead. Unlike some I am wise enough to stay away from the keyboard when I’m blootered.
       
      Anyway, I heard James Naughtie interviewing Nicola Sturgeon on GMS yesterday morning and was pleasantly surprised that he gave her a fair crack of the whip. When he questioned her she was given plenty of room to reply. How refreshing.

    179. Macart says:

      @Boorach
       
      That’s the Wings battle bus sorted for next year then. 😀 LOL

    180. Stuart Black says:

      Mmmm…
       
      I was packing last night, coming home for the weekend, so the computer lay dormant. Probably just as well, when I surveyed the wreckage of the ‘This Time Next Year’ thread.
       
      Something in the water, is it? Or just one of those nights, those crazy ole nights? 
      😉

    181. Sam says:

      A very well written article, as a English born lady who grew up in Scotland I would like to say we always blame the benifit cheets, scroungers… But it is the government who allow them to take advantage. I am all for Scotland’s independence but people blame people and we should all stand tighter together,  this problem is everywhere I look. 

    182. Bubbles says:

      @ Sam
       
      The government (UK) don’t ALLOW them to take advantage. Rather they leave people with little option but to try and screw the system. There is a difference.

    183. john king says:

      Stuart Black says
      Mmmm…
      Took the words right out of my mouth, I thought I had gone onto the Telegraph by mistake 🙁

    184. Kenny Campbell says:

      “Please note that some of the figures quoted in the guardian article included asset protection – or insurance.”
       
      Yes but vast bulk went and still goes on cheap loans from treasury to banks at 0.5% and these are secured against bank assets that are valued by the banks themselves.
      If the bank goes bust the loans go up in smoke….
       
      There is of course backstopping insurance in there but that has a value and if Banking is the heart of the country why do they need taxpayers to be their guarantor….

    185. Stuart Black says:

      If anyone wants to explore more of the author’s scribblings, I have just invested the massive sum of 99p in her book, buy it right now, available at all good online book stores called Amazon.
       
      http://www.amazon.co.uk/Casting-Net-Adventures-Online-ebook/dp/B00DD0410Y/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1381219770&sr=8-2&keywords=casting+the+net

    186. Macart says:

      @Sam and Bubbles
       
      Yes there are people who use and abuse the system and as bubbles correctly states there are those who do so because they are left with little option. The deliberate abusers are an infinitesimal amount, a pin prick to any national budget which will fluctuate at any given time. As a problem neither here nor there and will always, but always exist (human nature). The majority on benefits are just folks out of luck, out of a job or outcast by society. As a civilised society we should be judged by our care for those less fortunate. The elderly, the infirm, the poor.
       
      The UK government’s current record and clear future intent leads me to believe that the UK is no longer a civilised society. The tactic of criminalising all on benefit to push through vile legislation which WILL result in further hardship and misery for the vast majority is a mark of self serving barbarity of the worst form. That people in this country commit suicide from government harassment is shameful enough. That people are literally starving in the streets of one of the most affluent and developed nations on the planet should only illicit disgust from anyone who can still form human emotion. Just how did it happen? Just how did the stat of one in five children born into crushing starvation level poverty occur in Britain and in some areas of Scotland one in three?
       
      You’d never believe it to look at the telly or read a daily would you? Front pages filled with the celeb du jour falling dead drunk out of a taxi. Who’s made it to the XFactor final, footballer uses harsh language shock horror. Maybe it’ll be some Westminster politico telling it like it is to some furren gent on the EU or perhaps how much some minister or backbencher has swindled out of his constituency tea fund. Or maybe it’ll be some politico telling us who to blame for THEIR failures, who to hate to distract the masses. When hard times are all around we all need someone to blame, someone to hate for the mess. Who better to point the finger at than those least able to defend themselves?

    187. Krackerman says:

      There are a lot of people on here promoting the view that austerity, public spending cuts and privatisation are driven by ideology. I disagree – consider the past 3 years – constant talk from Osborne around austerity and yet public spending continuing to increase year on year. Same with Labour from the crisis in 2008 onwards until the GE.

      QE has been used to plug the funding gap – money created by the BoE, lent to the banks at near zero interest which the banks then use to buy long term treasury bonds (at higher interest rates thus on paper re-capitalising the zombie UK banks) giving the government the money it needs to maintain public spending increases. It’s a classic Ponzi scheme – snake eating it’s own tail. QE’s meant to be a closed loop system except when you spend the created money in the economy (which the government does) you increase the money supply and boooom  – guess what? Devaluation of the currency (30%) and for a nation that’s a net importer? Well 30% inflation is the result. And that’s what we’ve seen over the past few years higher fuel costs, food costs – anything – look at cars. That something I point out to people who complain about the high price of goods… they’re not more expensive – it’s just that the quid in your pocket is DELIBERATLY worth less…

      Now in a normal economy inflation leads to wage inflation – people need more pay to meet increased cost of living. However when it gets to such a rapid increase in inflation in such a short time then the risk of wage inflation can create a feed-back loop as more money is dumped into the economy and you risk going from high inflation to super inflation to well you can guess – hyper-inflation.

      So wage inflation from the view point of the government must be kept low.. and that’s what we are seeing. At least for 5 more years….
       
      And why all this QE and inflation? To buy time they’ve been betting that the world economy would recover and they could ride that back up… But that’s not happening and after 3 years of being told that austerity was getting UK debt under control (whilst the figures clearly indicated otherwise) the bond markets which hold the bulk of UK debt have been watching this devaluation eroding their returns and are now calling time. Until now that’s all that Austerity has been – talk to calm the markets.

      Now it’s 2013 and the UK has been downgraded (that’s the shot over the bows from the bond markets) and the REAL cuts and REAL austerity has to start – and it has – 10% public spending cuts for next year – 10% the year after and possibly 10% for the two years after that.
      We’re looking at 30-40% UK public spending cuts across the board over the rest of this decade – it’s only just starting.

      Now here’s the real problem – if the UK had a normal economy a good mix of industry, finance and servicing it could survive… but it’s doesn’t – Thatcher made sure of that – it’s unbalanced – finance is basically producing nothing thanks to the crisis, industry is too small and now squeezed by inflation on imported raw materials and the service sector struggling as demand drops. So what’s the engine of UK economy then – well it’s public spending – the welfare state. And therein lies the problem. The upcoming cuts are going to devastate the ONLY engine for the UK economy…
      All the pain we are seeing – ATOS, bedroom tax etc etc these are not being done because the evil Tories want to make people suffer – come on get a grip! NO political party works that way and I don’t believe for a second no matter how they are portrayed that they are destructive sociopaths! The lack of real austerity over the past few years PROVES this.

      No – the reason for the real cuts happening now is much, much worse… it’s a sign that ultimately the UK as we know it is FINISHED – it’s BANKRUPT and in debt beyond it’s eyeballs. Collapse is increasingly likely – if they can’t cut quickly enough and deeply enough then the ship is going DOWN and it can happen overnight – just as it did for Greece – just as it did for Argentina…

      That’s my core reason for independence – the titanic is going down – there are not many lifeboats, but there is one – Scotland…
      Vote YES for a future

      Vote NO and … well , you ain’t seen nothing yet.

    188. Morag says:

      That looks like an actual article, Krackerman.  How about it?

    189. Sandy Brownlee says:

      OT: Angus Robertson with some excellent answers to questions here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-24553833

    190. Ken500 says:

      Austerity, private sector cuts and privatisation are driven by ideology. In order to make the richer who caused the richer and the poorer who dodnot cause the crash poorer. Beware the right wing Press. The £multimillion tax availing owners and politicians are laughing all the way to the Bankers rubbing their hands with glee, laughing at the electorate

      Benefit fraud is a miniscle problem in the wider economy. £720 UK gov spending. No cuts only a transfer of wealth from the poorer to the richer, driven by ideology the bible of the wealthiest. Propaganda and corruption to maintain and increase their wealth rather than protect the poorest and most vulnerable in Society, as the electorate wishes them to be protected.

      The ConDems elected to protect NHS and Education cut £3Billion a year from NHS and Education. Lied and betrayed their electoral promises. They will pay the price at the Ballot Box. They have betrayed every one of their electoral and manifesto promises, to make themselves fabulously wealthy. The poorer and most vulnerable in Society have paid the Price. The old, young, the sick and the people for whom there is no job available.

      The Westminster politicians are ideological driven to make themselves fabulously wealthy, totally ignoring the wishes of the electorate. Corrupt.

      Never have so many been promoted above their capabilities.

    191. Ken500 says:

      Cutting too quick and too deep, and lowering taxes is what is driving the recession and no growth.

      Attacking the poorer to increase the wealth of the richer, who caused the crash is morally indefensible and totally against the wishes of the electorate.

      A deficit and massive debt cannot be cut by cutting taxes. Do the Maths. It is an impossible equation. Two and two equal four. The recession and continuing recession is idealogical driver by a bunch of corrupt Fraudsters, milking the Public purse in Westminster, under a limited tenure.

    192. HandandShrimp says:

      Krackerman
       
      I’m not a fan of David Starkey (nor he of Scotland but that is an aside) nevertheless he went into this very matter in some depth one night on the Politics Show. His view and conclusion were not that far from the position you take. That is the pigeons have yet to come home to roost on QE but when they do they will relieve themselves upon our heads mightly and we will be sore vexed there upon. He said that we are quietly witnessing the single biggest devaluation of the pound in a very long time and the process continues.
       
      People say that Scotland would not be welcome in a pound currency zone….I on the other hand have reservations as to whether we should be looking to join a pound currency zone. People talk about the travails of the Euro (and it has not had to look for problems) but seem to fail to notice that despite everything the pound has fallen against the Euro and fallen considerably. Thereby hangs a tale.   

    193. The Man in the Jar says:

      @Kenn500
       
      I agree with most everything that you write and I assume that you are talking about the UK in general.
       
      Here in Scotland we have the SNP and some other smaller parties. If I lived in England I would not know what to do with my vote. I genuinely feel sorry for folk with a choice between Tory, Labour, LibDem and UKIP. What an awful choice to have to make.  

    194. Ken500 says:

      * Idealogically driven in order to make the richer (who caused the crash) richer and the poor (who did not cause the crash) poorer. Tax cuts were made to make the richer ( who caused the crash, the Banksters, right wing Media barons, and the corrupt UK politicians) disproportionally richer. Maintaining and increasing their their wealth.

    195. Ken500 says:

      It will end up (already happening) that the UK will not be a Democacy. The vote and electoral turnout will fall so low. Democracy will in the UK will no longer exist. Unless the electorate in the rest of the UK get organised. Unfortunately UKIP is more right wing than the Tories. Democracy in the UK no longer exists because of the immorality and the corruption of the UK Parties.

      Scotland did not get Democracy in 1928 (Universal Emancipation). In Westminster it could be out voted ten to one. Scotland’s vote did niot count. The UK Parties knew that but covered it up through secrecy and lies, and acted accordingly, in the unequal Union. Democracy only came to Scotland in 2000 and there is no way that the electorate is going back. ‘Times certainly are a’changing’. Grab the changes while you came, take advantage of the increased opportunity.

      Remember the English working class voted for Thatcher and kept her in power. ‘Unity of the working class’, what a joke.

    196. The Man in the Jar says:

      O/T sorry!
       
      I was away looking after a friends cottage and cats for a couple of days while my friend visited a pal of hers just outside London. This pall is quite well to do. (Husband airline pilot, definitely not a budget airline!)
       
      My friend is not particularly political minded but she did inquire from her friend and a neighbour of same friend what they thought on Scotland being independant. She was shocked to hear that their attitude was “Good riddance, sooner the better, scrounging jocks etc” My friend was already convinced on independance but even more so now. 
       
      I`m going to give it a day or two and give her a look at the BTL comments in the usual rags. Who knows I might even get her campaigning.

    197. Ken500 says:

      * Grab the opportunities while you can. To reclaim Democracy. Disunite the Union power and corruption.

    198. Ken500 says:

      @ Cynical Highlander 10.11 am

      Absolutely Brilliant!

      Left out, the US government irrational, collosal, spending on illegal wars and illegal surveillance.

      The US economy is ready to go over a Cliff and take the world economy with it, as a result of laissez faire economic policies. Policies favoured by Thatcher and Westminster Politicans for four decades. Being implemented again by Westminster. Groundhog day. Some people never learn.

    199. JGedd says:

      Liked your article and some of your insights but have to query your statement in one of your replies, Julie. What do you mean by a moral obligation to work? Your reply does seem to undermine some of the pertinent observations you made in your article. Are we morally obliged to work if the work that we do involves – say, giving out harmful advice to customers, or encouraging people into debt? You say that you do a job that you despise. What is the higher moral purpose being served by that? Economic purpose yes, but moral? I agree also with the Rev’s comment. How would a moral purpose be served by insisting that to work is incumbent even if your health is affected?

      I think that much of the government’s propaganda is based on this assumption, that work of itself is a moral good. Work can be destructive sometimes to others and even morally destructive to the one performing the work. I think there was just a hint of Daily Mail thinking in your comment and still some of the resentment you say you had left behind towards those occupying deckchairs while you worked. It’s one thing to say that one might be better off financially by working but problematic to suggest that one is always morally improved by work. Some work is soul-destroying and can be detrimental to those doing it and those around them. 

    200. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “constant talk from Osborne around austerity and yet public spending continuing to increase year on year”

      Austerity is selective. Britain will never be so poor that there isn’t money for Trident and tax cuts for the rich.

    201. Robert Louis says:

      Kipper from 5-ish yesterday,

      I agree with your observations regarding the supposed techie site ‘The Register’.  I used to have this bookmarked and read it most days, until they started, for no obvious reason, adding in regular articles slagging off Scotland, Scottish people and in particular the First Minister of Scotland. Hardly a week goes by without some nonsense or other about Alex Salmond, which has sweet F all to do with I.T. or techie matters.

      Nobody on that site has yet explained why as an I.T. website, they continue to run what many might regard as abusive articles regarding Scotland and our First Minister.

      It’s frankly pathetic, and I no longer bother with ‘The Register’ and its pathetic, apparently ‘spook’ filled, forum responses to articles.  It was a good site long ago, now there are many better.

    202. Chic McGregor says:

      @CynicalHighlander
      Great find.  Pretty much it in a nutshell, except Grab Britain is even worse.  Our parasitic ruling class are too stupid to even realise they have to keep the host alive.

    203. Marcia says:

      SNP Conference – resolution passed to re-nationalise the Royal Mail.

    204. @JGedd I have worked since I was at school. I’ve always wanted to be an author but there were no jobs which allowed for sitting at my desk and writing all day, so I’ve had to do something else to bring in cash and pay the bills.
       
      I’ve worked on checkouts, in coffee shops, as a purple bow-tied waitress and for perhaps every call centre in Glasgow. I have hated almost all of these jobs, as I didn’t want to do them. I would rather have been at home, reading and writing and thinking. What a luxury that would be! But I can’t have that luxury as I need to pay my bills.
       
      It would be unthinkable to me to just throw up my hands and say ‘to hell with this working lark, I’m off home to write books and the State can bloody well pay for it’.
       
      So, yes, there is a moral obligation to work (if you are fit and able) because why on earth should I have the luxury to stay at home whilst other don the purple bow tie and go out to work those same thankless jobs? 
       
      The State should care for those who need it. Naturally, this is the case. But it’s not there to subsidise people – like me – who hate their job and would really rather not work.
       
      If we all had jobs which were fulfilling and never provoked any stress or anxiety then we’d find ourselves in Utopia. We are not in Utopia, though, and pointing this out apparently makes me a Daily Mail reader?
       

    205. Macart says:

      @Marcia
       
      Conference resolution? Has this just been voted on?

    206. Alastair says:

      Scum – Impurities that rise to the surface, froth, foam or any film of floating matter.

      There you have it then, it’s the scum that rises to the top not the other way round!
      To clear of scum – skim the surface, for ideas on how to achieve this see ‘The French Revolution’

      Liberty, Fraternity, Equality.
      Vote YES in 335 days.

    207. molly says:

      kEN500, re your comment, the US economy is about to fall off a cliff. An article appeared in my timeline last night , initially about ‘saveLewishamAandE, which highlighted the next reading of the bill allowing Govts in essence the power to close units if not deemed to be performing. Apart from the power that gives Govts , the article then linked through to the EU/US trade agreement.

      If I could link it I would but what the article was implying was regardless of the laws of a country, this agreement would supercede all. The concern was not even so much the economics of the agreement but the practice or impact on workers as well as things such as ‘investment’.Now I appreciate you need to be wary of what appears on the internet and I’ve quickly googled the agreement but from where I’m sitting the big American medical Insurance companies have been desperate to get into the NHS. They have now been given access in England. If I understand correctly, the rules of the agreement ,what is to stop the US companies challenging why they cannot access the NHS in Scotland unless we have a written Constitution?

      The agreement would certainly be incredibly fortunate for the US economy, according tp BBC Scotland analysis ,(ok I made that last bit up)

    208. Hetty says:

      Of course it is essential that everyone takes part in and does their fair share regards work and their contribution to society and their community. It is also essential that we are not just used as automatons keeping the cogs turning for the rich tax avoiders en masse.

      The worrying thing now is that work for many pays so little, and as the ‘top-up’ benefits are disappearing, it means that many working people are surviving on the same level as if they are on benefits. This is appalling, however, being on benefits is for 99% not a choice and the situation keeps people at the bottom of the heap with no prospects. Benefits and low wages allow no room for maneouver regards replacing essential items etc. 

      Many people on benefits do volunteering, and even more so now for various reasons. Their talents and ambitions and prospects are being totally undermined and they are denied a feeling of worth in our money focussed society. It’s disgraceful.

      The world we live in with the 5 day, or in fact 6 day week for some, and the nil day week for others is the governments choice, keeps people under their control. Ideally we would all work a 3 or 4 day week, ( for a living wage according to our needs) leaving time for leisure and other things like art and writing etc, and also parenthood would be viewed as work, instead of being seen as a luxury….sounds utopian I know!

      I see many people being exhausted and fed up and overworked, while others simply have no chance of a job, this seems crazy, it will get worse with less and less ordinary people able to go to Uni in England due to massive tuition fees now, which will happen in Scotland if there’s a ‘no’ vote. Doesn’t bare thinking about.

      People fighting each other is just what westminster wants…I’d love to see unemployed people getting together to set up co-op’s or small businesses together, growing their own etc…investment in jobs by westminster is non existent in this so called ‘union’.

    209. gordoz says:

      O/T  (Some stramash on last thread?)
       
      On Brewers performances recently – is is just me, or does he look like someone ‘under the influence’; always sweating adgitated, shaky and launches in to almost rants, as if full of his own self importance.
       
      Interupts at inopportune times and frequently shuts down replies that dont suit his agenda on a given subject. Fiona Hyslop explained about 4 times the speech in question was not hers and she had not viewed it, therefor she could not comment, (N. Sturgeon’s). 
       
      He would not accept this and badgered on pressing a non issue looking stupid & sneering, seems to me he is losing the plot. Complaints about his performance must be very regular now.
      Last nights example was a classic.
      Serious question -has nayone else detected the same ?

    210. Marcia says:

      Macart
       
      Resolution passed at Conference a little while ago.

    211. Macart says:

      Brilliant. 
       
      Thanks Marcia.

    212. JGedd says:

      Thank you Julie for your very full reply. Heaven forfend that i should insult you by saying that you were a Daily Mail reader! i was using it as a kind of shorthand. i have to admire your fortitude and your resilience – what a list of jobs, and many of them, i would imagine, mind-numbingly boring, considering your intelligence. However, as you said, you wanted to pay the bills and not live off the state. That is key to your argument. but my point is, that in the end it was an economical argument, as i said. Unless you are saying that your lifestyle would have been equally viable on benefits. Surely on state benefits you would have been much poorer? There must be only a tiny minority of people who choose not to work while able to do so, since state handouts are so poor.

      You seem to be suggesting that I’m talking about a Utopia. i understand perfectly your economic reasons for finding work and no, i don’t think that in the world as it stands that you should only work if you find it enjoyable. However, i do think that it should be financially worthwhile for people to work otherwise logic would suggest that you must work even if it brought no financial benefit. It looks as though people who do read the Daily Mail come close to saying that. Work without a decent financial reward is next to slavery. No one could look forward to a lifetime of drudgery on a pittance on the basis that work is its own reward. i applaud the fact that with your education and initiative you do not want that for yourself. But i still think that it was the financial imperative to gain a more lucrative lifestyle that got you through that list of jobs. As well as a hope for something better. Just don’t make the assumption that there are many people on the scrapheap simply of their own choosing and due to moral failings.

      Anyway, i still liked your article!

    213. Shinty says:

      @Julie
      “I have worked since I was at school. I’ve always wanted to be an author but there were no jobs which allowed for sitting at my desk and writing all day, so I’ve had to do something else to bring in cash and pay the bills.”
       
      Just to clarify, I am not ‘on your case’ but again, having read your article and your subsequent comments, I am a little baffled. I really get that you hate your job, I am sure most of us have been there at some point in our lives. But, instead of your current job making you resentful and (a little bitter perhaps?) make it work for you.
       
      If you’ve always wanted to be an author there is absolutely nothing stopping you. Do you honestly believe that all writers start out ‘sitting at a desk all day’?  No, they write in their spare time, evenings/weekends/holidays etc. until they can afford to do it full time.
       
      Hey, you could even write a book about your ‘crappy job’ and turn it into something great. Think how good you would feel handing your boss a signed copy on your last day!
      Meanwhile here’s a wee short film for you.
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uy0HNWto0UY

    214. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “If you’ve always wanted to be an author there is absolutely nothing stopping you. Do you honestly believe that all writers start out ‘sitting at a desk all day’? No, they write in their spare time, evenings/weekends/holidays etc. until they can afford to do it full time.”

      Shinty, I’m pretty sure Julie already knows that. She is, after all, a published book author while having done/still doing these other crappy jobs. And she’s already written about one of them for this very site, as the simple act of clicking on her byline in this piece would have told you.

      If you’ve never tried to be a writer, though, trust me when I say that stress, anxiety, depression and exhaustion are rarely states of mind conducive to writing. And Julie has also turned even that fact into writing material, having covered the subject more than once in her superb Herald column.

      In short, boy should YOUR face be red right now.

    215. Oneironaut says:

      @Hetty
      “Many people on benefits do volunteering, and even more so now for various reasons. Their talents and ambitions and prospects are being totally undermined and they are denied a feeling of worth in our money focussed society. It’s disgraceful.”
       
      The difficulty in getting a volunteer position around here testifies to that.  Everywhere I’ve applied I get put on very very very long waiting lists as volunteer positions get taken up very quickly by the huge numbers of unemployed people around here.

      The comments about The Register and the I.T. community don’t really surprise me.  That industry seems to have been infected by something of an institutional “elitism” over time.

      Getting work in the I.T. game is more a case of “who you know” rather than “what you know” these days.  (Looking at website design in particular, it’s easy to notice the rapidly-dropping skill level.  Though thankfully there are still some people out there who know what they’re doing!)

      As for me, I still consider myself a techie, and I support the SSP, not the SNP 😉

    216. Atypical_Scot says:

      ‘it’s not a bunch of sad drunks on a council estate’

      Independence for Scotland – save for Maryhill.

    217. Jeannie says:

      You know, it’s just not helpful to keep calling entitlements “benefits”.  It’s just playing the politicians’ game and helping them to scapegoat people.  When we are working, we pay national insurance and we pay income tax.  If we are unable to work, for whatever reason, we expect the “insurance” to pay out.  That’s the deal.
       
      My son pays for private insurance to pay his mortgage should he fall ill or lose his job and be unable to work.  It’s not really any different from paying his national insurance stamp to the government.  You pay for insurance either way and you expect it to pay out in accordance with your agreement.  But when you take out private insurance, you’re given a list of what will be covered and what won’t.  When you pay your national insurance, you’re never quite sure what is covered as the company (the politicians) reserve the right to change it without consultation or negotiation with you. And they get away with it because they call what you get “benefits”, rather than acknowledging it’s really an insurance payout and part of a deal between citizens and government.
       
      You don’t pay national insurance to be given “benefits”.  You pay your stamp for insurance in certain circumstances.  It’s your entitlement.  You’ve paid for it.  But if you say that people get “benefits”, you can then say that some people are paying into the system but it’s other people who are benefitting, which then easily leads onto a concept of “something for nothing”, which politicians then exploit.  And yes, some people, at any given point in time, may not have paid into the system YET, but that’s not to say they won’t contribute at some point in the future.
       
      Please stop saying “benefits”.  If, for no other reason, than to keep my blood pressure down.  Rant over.  Mr. Jeannie has put the towel back over my cage.  I’m away back to sleep.
       
      PS:  It’s really hard to stop using the word, it’s so imbued in our thinking.  That in itself is frightening.

    218. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “Independence for Scotland – save for Maryhill.”

      One day I’m going to work out what Scotland’s unemployment rate, poverty figures, murder statistics, life expectancy etc etc would be if we excluded Glasgow.

      Not as any slight to the people of that fine city, except in so far as that they just will not learn, decade after decade, generation after generation, what happens when they keep trusting Labour to make their lives better.

    219. Jeannie says:

      @Stu
       
      This is quite a good site for information on Glasgow and The Glasgow Effect.  I used to go to their seminars – Glasgow Centre for Population Health.
       
      http://www.gcph.co.uk/

    220. Shinty says:

      “In short, boy should YOUR face be red right now”
       
      Not really, if I had read Julie’s byline I would have known that she was already a ‘published author’ and made no comment.  As I said earlier I enjoyed Julie’s article but found some of her comments rather contradictory.
       
      And yes I have ‘tried’ to be writer, and know how difficult it can be, but how many of the really good ones start out by sitting at a desk all day. That was my only point Rev. Stu.
       
      Apologies to Julie if I caused any offence, I can assure you it was not my intention.

    221. Vee says:

      Thank you Julie. I enjoyed your article very much.

    222. David says:

      “If work were so pleasant, the rich would keep it for themselves” – Mark Twain  

      “The average person puts only 25% of his[or her] energy and ability into their work.” ~ Andrew Carnegie 

      “Modern methods of production have given us the possibility of ease and security for all; we have chosen, instead, to have overwork for some and starvation for the others. Hitherto we have continued to be as energetic as we were before there were machines; in this we have been foolish, but there is no reason to go on being foolish for ever.” In Praise of Idleness, Bertrand Russell, (1932)  
       
      Do not fall into the trap of being labelled by your job, or by your lack of a job. 

      If the choice is between work and starvation, I choose work. If the choice is between work and free time, I choose free time. How I fill that free time is up to me, and that makes all the difference!

    223. Albalha says:

      This article makes me rather cross to be frank. Were I ever in the author’s position then I, at least hope, I’d see the so called ‘deckchair movers’ and my own position as the same from the outset, not years later. I’d not favour either position and can’t understand why an apparently analytical person ever thought that way. 
       
      I know a fair few folk over the years who have made a choice to ‘survive’ on welfare/benefits/state cash/social security while they pursued a musical, literary, artistic dream. Even in the ‘good old days’ of state support it was still a decision, not that easy.
       
      Many of course would rather supplement their income, by extending the rule of law, than sit in a call centre all day. Personally morality is on the side of the soft law breaker in my opinion. And no doubt the thousands of tokers in Scotland agree, until of course the drugs law change, it’s part of the Scottish economy.
       
      Some years ago, along with a good friend, we attempted to set up an Arts, Listings Magazine for the Tayside/Perth/Fife area. We got 9 issues out all thanks to the bright, intelligent, literate volunteers who made a choice not to sit in a call centre all day. All very interesting individuals who for a variety of reasons were not suited to being banged up 40 hours a week.
       
      And some went on to do ‘things’ in the media, and paid lots in tax, others still never worked but continued to volunteer to fix the church organ, help out their mentally challenged friends etc.
       
      I was in receipt of state money for a short time in 2007/8, just when it was all cranking up in terms of scrutiny.
       
      I vividly remember being summoned to an ill thought out, ill prepared, so called training day in central Edinburgh and the person who I’d most in common with, in terms of outlook, was the the young male from Craigmillar who knew it was all a pile of crap and his full time job was to ensure he wouldn’t end up in a shitty exploitative dead end job.  He was holding out for something better but his stance wasn’t an easy choice, he was pursued relentlessly by the ‘authorities’, made to turn up at more and more of these sort of days, but for me he was, at least, free in himself.
       
      Having been both a high tax rate payer and in receipt of ‘benefits’ I just don’t think there’s a hierarchy of ‘rightness’, when it comes to this debate.
       
      As for the so called ‘workshy’, in my world they have a place and will always have a place. Most of my life, so far, I’ve chosen to sell my labour for payment but I don’t think to make different decisions is any less worthy.

    224. CameronB says:

      “All work, even cotton spinning, is noble; work alone is noble”
      Thomas Carlyle
       
      Bullshit.
      What is moral in dedicating one’s life energy for the benefit of someone else, who for what ever reason, happens to have a bigger share of the pie? Is work a moral endeavor if it destroys the soul and possibly causes harm to one’s health or that of others? Is it moral to produce useless junk that destroys the environment?
       
      Incidentally, that last question points to just how arbitrary ALL government forecasts are, as they omit empiric calculation of the economic value of ‘intangibles’ such as environmental impact and quality of life.

    225. CameronB says:

      I just remembered an idea i had back in the ’90s, for a board game I was going to call Double Your Giro. It was essentially Monopoly with a grimy slant which acknowledged an increasingly significant ‘black economy’. The reality that our entitlements handed out to us as benefits, are so crushingly meager that many of those who are out of work are forced to break the law by supplementing their ‘benefits’ with cash-in-hand jobs, simply to keep the roof over their heads. Apparently some enterprising individual actually got a similar game to market.

    226. Juteman says:

      Excellent post, Caesar!lha.

    227. Jeannie says:

      @Cameron B
      The reality that our entitlements handed out to us as benefits
       
      🙂

    228. JGedd says:

      I was looking for that quote from Mark Twain, David. You beat me to it! Liked the rest of your post too.

    229. Taranaich says:

      A very brave article, Julie: I haven’t commented until now, but I just want to say that I understand how difficult it is to acknowledge thinking terrible things. Like JGedd, I found your comments about “moral obligation” to work shows that this monstrous idealogy imbeds itself deeply. How could it not? You were in a terrible situation, not unlike that of many I’ve known throughout my life, and much as we’d all like to think we’re immune to propaganda as intelligent human beings, that notion is in itself indicative of propaganda’s insidious power.

      Case in point, you’ve worked in jobs you’ve hated because you needed to pay the bills, even though you would rather be at home, reading and writing and thinking. But why should it be the case that you MUST take up jobs you hate? Because the problem isn’t people like you AT ALL. If you want to stay at home reading and writing and thinking – all productive pursuits – then you should be able to. It is not a luxury to want to pursue happiness, in fact I would go so far as to say it should be a primary motivation in life.

      The problem isn’t you wanting to do your own thing and not do streneuous, low-paid jobs: the problem is that our society has made it so that there is no other option. You and others like you are NOT abandoning any responsibilities by not working, any more than you are somehow depriving someone without your obvious writing talents of a job.

      No, we are not in a Utopia, but by the same token, we don’t have to have this twisted, hateful society either. There is a middle ground, and we are FAR from it. Think of it this way: if your primary talent and ability is as a writer, then why in God’s name should you HAVE to work at checkouts, coffee shops, waitress and call centres?  Because “that’s how it is?” Why?  Because this is not how a successful society functions. A successful society makes the best use of its resources: a person who is good enough and committed enough to write and enjoy is a valuable resource. For a writer not to write is not only a shame, it is mismanagement of resources.

      @Krackerman: All the pain we are seeing – ATOS, bedroom tax etc etc these are not being done because the evil Tories want to make people suffer – come on get a grip! NO political party works that way and I don’t believe for a second no matter how they are portrayed that they are destructive sociopaths!

      I really have to say you give them FAR too much credit, Krackerman. There are plenty of cases in recent history where the justification for several horrific policies was, in fact, punitive or intended to suppress dissent.  That is not to say I disagree: I think it’s plain to see that if the government could find a way to get the economy back on its feet without the obviously unpopular austerity measures, they would take it in order to make themselves richer whilst avoiding resentment of the masses. But they can’t, because they have no other option to perpetuate their lavish lifestyle and their status symbols than to deprive millions of basic necessities.

      On that note:

      @Jeannie: You know, it’s just not helpful to keep calling entitlements “benefits”.  It’s just playing the politicians’ game and helping them to scapegoat people.  When we are working, we pay national insurance and we pay income tax.  If we are unable to work, for whatever reason, we expect the “insurance” to pay out.  That’s the deal.

      Agreed. “Benefits” is such a loaded term: the Latin origin, benefactum, was “good/noble deed.” But in time a second meaning became commonplace: “advantage/profit/bonus.” This came about in the late 19th century, where it was used to refer to financial support given through employment or membership of a group.

      late 14c., “good or noble deed,” also “advantage, profit,” from Anglo-French benfet “well-done,” from Latin benefactum “good deed,” from bene facere (see benefactor). Meaning “performance or entertainment to raise money for some charitable cause” is from 1680s.

      @Caesar!ha:  As for the so called ‘workshy’, in my world they have a place and will always have a place. Most of my life, so far, I’ve chosen to sell my labour for payment but I don’t think to make different decisions is any less worthy.

      Few words get my goat as much as “workshy”, not only because it’s a term which has its roots in one of the great horrors of the 20th century, but because it manages to demonise shyness in addition to the disabled & unemployed. Also your whole comment was so wonderful I now want to marry you.

    230. David says:

      masterpiece

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