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The axe-persons cometh

Posted on November 16, 2015 by

When we commission polls we don’t like to just ask people easy questions like who their favourite member of One Direction is. We like to put them on the spot and make them actually think about stuff, and this time was no different:

The UK government is imposing severe cuts to tax credits and benefits in order to save £12 billion from its budget. Scotland’s per-capita share of the cuts would be around £1 billion.

The Scottish Government will in future have the power to compensate those who lose out, by creating new payments it’ll have to fund itself.

Which of the following is closest to your view?”

Because we thought it was unlikely any Scottish Labour MSPs would be taking our poll, we decided to discount the “magic lots of extra money out of thin air” option and only allow respondents to pick from intellectually-coherent choices.

Their answers were enlightening.

– The Scottish Government should increase taxes in Scotland to compensate those who lose out from the cuts: 22%

– The Scottish Government should divert money from other parts of its budget to compensate those who lose out from the cuts: 45%

– The Scottish Government should not compensate those who lose out from the cuts. Scottish people should suffer alongside those in the rest of the UK: 32%

Diverting money from elsewhere was the most popular choice of SNP and Labour supporters, with Tory and Lib Dem voters plumping very heavily for the “let everyone suffer together” option. SNP voters were most likely to back tax increases.

(Women were far more likely to want money redirected and far LESS likely to support tax increases – just 16% of women backed the latter, compared to 30% of men.)


But that was the easy part. Because then, taking the Scottish Government’s budget figures, we made people who’d chosen the cuts option to say WHERE they’d find the money from. (In other words, the tricky question Scottish Labour have been frantically bodyswerving for the last couple of weeks.)

We identified the seven biggest areas of Holyrood expenditure, and asked everyone who’d said they’d find the money from cuts to name which ones they’d specifically slash. (They could tick as many as they liked, from one to all seven.)

This is what people said they’d spend less on:

– culture and external affairs (current budget £0.3bn per year): 57%

– local government (£11bn per year): 47%

– infrastructure: building roads, bridges etc (£3bn per year): 18%

– rural affairs and the environment (£0.6bn per year): 17%

– policing/justice (£2.6bn per year): 11%

– education (£3bn per year): 4%

– health (£12bn per year): 3%

In other words, nobody wants to cut the thing Holyrood spends most of its money on, and everybody wants to hack into the thing that costs by far the least.

(Interestingly, while it’s not quite as black-and-white as this, the figures suggest that if we’d left out the low-hanging fruit of culture and external affairs, everyone would have only picked one department to cut – the other six areas total exactly 100%.)

The finding that really took us by surprise, though, was the second choice. Almost half of respondents wanted the local-government budget slashed to find the savings, even though it’s councils who have to run the services people tend to notice the most. (Their own local libraries, swimming pools, nurseries, refuse collection and so on.)


The results may explain why Scottish Labour have found little traction in recent years for their policy (albeit a policy subject to repeated U-turns and re-U-turns, to the point where we genuinely haven’t got a clue what the party’s current stance is) of ending the council tax freeze to give local authorities more money.

It appears the people of Scotland have little faith in their councillors. Turnouts in local elections rarely get very much above 25%, and voters would seem to be at odds (yet again) with a commentariat that’s constantly calling for more localism and devolution away from central government.

That interpretation perhaps tallies with another question we asked:

“Which of these branches of government do you feel makes the decisions which have the most direct impact and influence on your life?”

– the UK Government: 57%

– the Scottish Government: 30%

– local government (councils): 8%

– the European Parliament: 5%

Either that, of course, or people just feel that local government costs an awful lot of money in relation to the amount of influence it has on anything, and therefore that if they’re going to pay billions for it it should be a lot MORE powerful. That’s the trouble with statistics, readers – you can get them to say just about anything you like.

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  1. 16 11 15 13:30

    The axe-persons cometh | Politics Scotland | S...

113 to “The axe-persons cometh”

  1. Macart says:

    Not simply choices based on arithmetic, but also choices based on morality.

    Yer a devious fella Rev. 🙂

  2. Onwards says:

    “cultural and external affairs” is the most popular option to cut, but that is a tiny part of the Scottish budget.

    The reality is that ‘external affairs’ in a broader context includes the reserved powers at Westminster – accounting for a very big chunk of taxes raised in Scotland.

    This shows where further devolution and a gradualist approach could have benefits.
    The more powers Scotland has, the more people will think our money should stay here.

  3. mogabee says:

    I wouldn’t have liked to answer those questions…

    If figures were included in question of each area spend, it was probably the least worst option to take from local folk don’t want to hurt health.

    Though as someone who has the worst local council (Argyll & Bute), I seriously get why folk don’t trust them!

  4. galamcennalath says:

    57% say WM has most influence on their lives. Yet we are in a position where we have virtually no influence at WM because our representatives are being ignored.

    Local government being the big budget we most want to take money from. I wonder if it because many feel they get very little out of local gov? Health and education seem for universal, having bins emptied is the only universal local service which comes into my mind! I can’t remember when I was last in a library or swimming pool. Not that I think they are unimportant, but I can see why others might feel the services they don’t personally use can be hit.

  5. baronesssamedi says:

    Local government – responsibility without power

  6. Haggis Hunter says:

    The photo is Stonehaven?

  7. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “If figures were included in question of each area spend,”

    They were. We could have asked people exactly what amount they’d cut from each department, but we didn’t want to make them do sums. Maybe we should next time.

  8. handclapping says:

    The councils get it in the neck from Corp Media with closing toilets and urinating in the street, burning reports and “resigning” unexpectedly, so people see councils as run by incompetents. Rennie, Findlay, Baillie and Dugdale do the same for Holyrood in Corp Media.

    Until Holyrood and councils get their acts together and paint a picture of competence, Corp Media will continue on its self appointed path of destroying democracy in Scotland.

    And in Scotland only, where are the reports of the misdemeanours of Westminster?

  9. Donald MacKenzie says:

    I wonder to what extent those who said ‘Local Government’. pondered on the breadth of services provided by local authorities before they stated that as their choice. It would be interesting to ask the question with the various services provided by LAs broken down into their constituent parts; e.g. Libraries, Social Work, etc , etc.

  10. Onwards says:

    Within the health budget, I think the policy of free personal care for over 65’s will end up being means tested.

    Pensioners who sell their house in the South of England for half a million, then retire up here should not be getting free personal care.

  11. Andrew Haddow says:

    We could make huge savings on money spent “on Scotland’s behalf” and not even notice.

  12. Lesley-Anne says:

    I’m just glad I wasn’t asked those questions. If you did ask me the questions you’d still be waiting for my answers even now! 😀

  13. G says:

    Difficult question to answer. The most vulnerable should be cushioned, but it’s hard to justify people earning the equivalent of £30-50k courtesy of tax credits. So I would say some should be compensated, but not all.

  14. david says:

    The commentariat and slab only want more local government power and control of the purse strings because they or their chosen politicians are not in the driving seat in Scotland. The biggest impediment to moving positively forward in Scotland is the ignorance and apathy of far too many people. Even in out current situation we still cannot get a decent majority on the side of independence, I sometimes really despair.

  15. McBoxheid says:

    Rev. Stuart Campbell says:
    16 November, 2015 at 1:42 pm

    “If figures were included in question of each area spend,”

    They were. We could have asked people exactly what amount they’d cut from each department, but we didn’t want to make them do sums. Maybe we should next time.

    If the SLab leadership is anything to go by, then Slab supporters till we die types wouldn’t cope too well.
    I wonder if Indy supporters would do better?

  16. schrodingers cat says:

    wished you had asked where they would prefer their taxes to go to

    eg ffa

  17. jimnarlene says:

    “The Scottish Government should not compensate those who lose out from the cuts. Scottish people should suffer alongside those in the rest of the UK: 32%”

    Is that the UKOK, pooling and sharing, brigade?

  18. Grouse Beater says:

    A useless exercise:

    Extoled by Westminster’s Scotland-haters to share our ‘wonderful’ new powers with local councils, how can our local authorities handle new democratic powers when forced to contract to the equivalent of single ansa-phone?

    Could more cuts be an exercise in ne-liberal; shock economics to ensure fewer democratic powers?

    I think we should be told.

  19. Capella says:

    @ Haggis Hunter
    If you hover over it the photo is labelled Kelso Hall.

    The indifference to Local Authorities shows that many people feel disenfranchised I would guess. Almost everyone must use the services, but the boundaries have been messed around with so much over the years that they bear little relationship to traditional communities.

  20. heedtracker says:

    Slabour are inexplicably all over the shop now but “SNP voters were most likely to back tax increases” is based presumably on the Scotland Bill’s shyste for new Scottish PAYE tax devo. But PAYE taxation allows the rich of Scotland to carry on as UKOK normal, totally unchanged, dodging PAYE tax, evading what everyone else will have to pay.

    The Grant-Gordon whisky family tops the Scottish element of the list with a fortune of £1.9bn.

    There are now 104 billionaires based in the UK with a combined wealth of more than £301bn, the list says.

    The Grant-Gordon Banffshire distilling family have ousted Mahdi-Al Tajir from the top spot in Scotland.

    Al-Tajir, whose interests include a development of luxury homes at Gleneagles, is worth £1.67bn, according to the list.
    Sir Brian Souter and Ann Gloag, the siblings who founded the Stagecoach transport empire, have become members of the billionaire club for the first time.
    They share a fortune of £1bn – an increase of £270m on last year.

    Other Scots on the super-rich list are Sir Ian Wood and family whose £1.32bn fortune comes from oil services and fishing, and the Thomson family, owners of publisher DC Thomson, who are worth £1.2bn.

  21. galamcennalath says:

    It is all rather like the advice, “when you are waist deep in mud and surrounded by alligators, that is not the time to discuss draining the swamp”. Yes, the immediate issue is the alligator snapping at you, but the big picture is that the swamp still needs drained!

    I feel the tax and NI I pay via umpteen systems, plus the tax collected from industry and commerce, should be sufficient if properly managed and spent to finance tax credit payments.

    Like the swamp, the issue really isn’t how do you mitigate removal of tax credits, it is how to ensure you have a government which represents the views of the majority of Scots?

    While I accept that the SG might decide to ‘apply some sticking plasters’ to mitigate WM policies, and that needs financing, the real problem is having a Tory WM in the loop at all! If ever a swamp needs draining, that’s it.

    Let’s work towards removing the cause of the problem, rather than mitigating the effects.

  22. Ali says:

    Or people are ignorant of what has an impact on their lives, which seems likely. There is an assumption related to this question which seems to go unchallenged. The govt wants to cut passenger air duty in the belief that it will create more revenue, yet it is repeatedly asserted that it will cost money. If it does then it will have failed to meet its aim and could be re-introduced.

  23. HandandShrimp says:

    I must say I am enjoying reading the results of this poll. A really interesting range of questions.

  24. Dr Jim says:

    Everybody knows Labour councils have always been corrupt but became so used to them doing it they forgot they could vote the bastards out

    They can now (Efficiency savings) there’s probably millions to be saved by just replacing Labour Councillors for honest staff

    Who says they have to be political (Managers for services)
    Just like every other company

  25. Proud Cybernat says:

    Interesting to note that, by far, the majority of people (57%) see Westminster as having the most impact on our lives. Which kinda goes against what the majority of people in Scotland actually want. A kind of inverse question there which supports the drive most Scots have for self-rule.

    O/T (Apologies Rev)

    Here’s a much shorter version of the 2015 B4FTA (Before & After) Awards.

    The new video (link below) is much snappier and punchier than the original and also has the benefit of no annoying commentary from me. I think this version is a lot better so please share folks,

    The battle for Indy Ref2 has already begun. There are loads of wavering NO voters, devo-max voters out there who need educated about how London Gvernments treat Scotland. This wee video is all part of that on-going education. We have probably 5 or 6 years to do this so let’s use that time constructively. Re-education won’t happen overnight, of course, but if these videos can help win over some voters then it all helps.

    Please help spread the new link (above) far ‘n’ wide.

  26. Muscleguy says:

    There must be a case to be made that the money cut from people who need it could be taken from the Health and Social Care budget on a harm and ongoing costs prevention basis.

    We know that the poorer people are the more likely they are to be more prone to illness and disability, not to mention illness and disability make people poorer in and of themselves.

    I realise doing this is unpopular unless explained properly but the SNP Government has done it by moving money from the NHS budget to the Social Care budget to improve bed blocking by the elderly and disabled because of a lack of community support.

    The cost/benefit case in this case would be harder to and less direct to make.

  27. heedtracker says:

    It appears the people of Scotland have little faith in their councillors. Turnouts in local elections rarely get very much above 25%,

    In coalition unionist owned Aberdeen, they’re spending £30+ million on revamping/destroying Aberdeen Art Gallery. Its shut for years, with no public consultation as usual for Aberdeen.

    It was beautiful popular gallery, ACC has giant debt, they just spent $100+ million renovating Marischal College for their new office but its still leased, there are supposed to be big UKOK austerity cutbacks, there is virtually no social housing in Aberdeen and so on, but usual UKOK unionists councilors just told everyone to shut up

    So no wonder people have little faith in local democrats like Scotland’s bunch of charmers. ACC also banned the Saltire flying over any ACC building, which must be fairly unique anywhere.

  28. indigo says:

    If Holyrood’s resources – time and budget – are so focussed on mitigating the impact of Conservative policies, then all that damage limitation does is disempower all the other functions of Government.

    The Scottish Government cannot ‘make better’ a Conservative austerity agenda. I’m genuinely disappointed at the results of this particular poll, and I’m increasingly of the opinion that people in Scotland genuinely don’t realise how much they have already been cushioned against Tory policies.

    Perhaps the tax credit cut pain needs to be felt before the population of this country understands how exposed we continue to be to Osborne economics for as long as we remain part of the UK.

  29. heedtracker says:

    Again in Aberdeen. ACC held a city wide referendum to decide what to do about the donation of £70+million from Sir Ian Wood and the above development. The referendum was YES build it, so ACC did the opposite and scrapped it.

    The ACC Deputy Leader in charge of all this is a housewife, with 3 highers. Does that mean anything.

    Out and about in Aberdeen, listening, then doing the exact opposite. UKOK.

  30. heedtracker says:

    Aberdeen’s been really badly damaged by all the usual local unionist councilors for local people insanity but they probably topped even themselves with the Union Terrace Gardens referendum.

    “Elected members agreed on a range of measures to pave the way for the City Garden Project, subject to a “yes” vote when the result of the ballot is announced on March 2.

    A motion from outgoing Liberal Democrat leader John Stewart was carried on a 24-15 vote over an amendment from party colleague Ian Yuill calling for no further action until after the referendum.”

    They then ignored the result, because why wouldn’t you, its not like many voters are going to bother voting in local elections anyway. More expenses anyone?

  31. louis.b.argyll says:

    When CULTURE is an option it gets hammered.
    No surprise there..nobody knows what culture is..

    Everybody wants to watch numpties being turned into stars these days…

    .. but seem unwilling to support theatres and venues through their taxes. Creatively unsustainable…

    Get ready ‘telly lovers ‘ your variety shows are soon to be dumbed down, magicians and Orville the Duck are coming back… in the name of CULTURE, BBC/ITV style.

    To target the ‘arts’ £0.3 billion budget, while many more billions are creamed off elsewhere, including dodgy PFI, is LAZY of the public.

    How about Scotland gets a fairer share of TV LICENCE FEE first, it is an indirect culture tax. Where’s our slice of that.?

  32. Clootie says:

    …you mitigate the bedroom tax
    …you mitigate the cuts to tax credits

    Where does it stop? How many cuts can we balance?

    We will lose £3-5Billion when they “adjust” the Barnett formulae.

    Scotland will be forced to cut department budgets to re-direct money. This will be followed by tax rises as more Tory cuts come through.

    This is the poison chalice being offered by Westminster.

    I don’t want people being subjected to cuts but the answer is in fiscal control of our assets and the right to set policy.i.e. Independence.

    We should reject the entire bill which is only designed to cripple Scotland

  33. Lollysmum says:


    That slacker Moodie has posted his crowdfunder just a few minutes ago with a goodie pack as a perk.

    Help him out if you can 🙂

  34. Marie Clark says:

    Haggis Hunter 1.41. interesting to see that you thought the photo was Stonehaven. I thought it was Kelso at the ither end o the country.

    Anyone know where it is exactly.

  35. James Waldie says:

    Why does all out Taxes go South and then have to come back to Scotland in a far smaller amount when the Scottish pay more than our Southern counterparts, Why does our Emergency services pay Vat we don’t equipment for Westminster we have to buy all our own from our own budget and why are there going to be more cuts in Scotland than anywhere else in the UK. There are Many many issues that we are worse off for than anywhere in the UK there would be no need for tax credit cuts or cut to the NHS and other services if the Westminster Government had a Chancellor who knew how to handle money as this one we have knows he can’t he’s just fluffing in his job. Our oil revenue is going South to prop up England why do we not keep it A proper oil fund for Scotland maybe’s send Westminster a donation. No there are Many Many things that Scotland has been deprived of Over the Years. Something that does bother me is though that the Government had discussed Devolution for Scotland before the fist World War but it was shelved I wonder if it was ever removed from the Statute Books or if it is still their. I wish for Independence from the UK before the EU referendum in 2017 which I don’t think it will ever happen as David Cameron wiil back down.

    Mr Haggis Hunter the Photos of the The Town council Buildings in Kelso Roxburghshire

  36. Roger Mexico says:

    It appears the people of Scotland have little faith in their councillors. Turnouts in local elections rarely get very much above 25%

    Rubbish. Turnout in the local government elections in 2012 was 39%, which is rather more than 25%. Even Glasgow managed 32%. In contrast the turnout in the local government elections in England on the same day was 31%.

    Turnout in Scottish local elections is usually higher than elsewhere. The three previous rounds of elections were even higher, though that will be mainly because they were held on the same day as the Holyrood ones. But even on the last day they were stand-alone (1995) they got 45%.

    As to why people were happier to nominate ‘local government’ for cuts, it’s almost certainly because when they see those words they think mainly in terms of administration. They don’t think about the services actually being provided such as education, social services and housing – indeed the wording would encourage them to believe that education wasn’t included in the LG total.

  37. ahundredthidiot says:

    Time to hurt the No voting elderly

    Free personal care, bus passes, winter payments and pensions should all be reviewed. That money should be redirected to those worst hit.

    There. I said it.

  38. Dan Huil says:

    The SG should debate the Bill then pass an amendment saying nobody in Scotland will be prosecuted for not paying the bbc tv licence.

  39. Craig P says:

    Haggis Hunter says:

    The photo is Stonehaven?

    Looks like Kelso to me!

  40. John Jones says:

    Why doesn’t the government do things properly and make companies pay enough wages instead us us subsidising them? Which would take people out of the area of needing tax credits. Aren’t they making enough from avoiding paying tax?

  41. Proud Cybernat says:


    Helps if I actually post the correct video link:

    Please share.

  42. Petra says:

    Hundreds of billions lost through Osborne’s ‘economic policies’ EVERY year. Tax avoidance, tax evasion, corporation tax and so on. Four billion cuts to benefits is a drop in the ocean in comparison and could be wiped out in the blink of an eye. I just can’t get my head round it. Why is no one ‘outing’ this guy in the Commons? Why is no one asking him why a family company that he has 15% shares in hasn’t paid ONE penny in Corporation Tax in years? I don’t get it!

    @ heedtracker says at 2:16 pm ”Al-Tajir, whose interests include a development of luxury homes at Gleneagles, is worth £1.67bn, according to the list.”

    Highland Spring owner Mahdi al-Tajir ‘(ex) richest man in Scotland’.

    Great way to make megabucks, eh? Scotland’s water!

    ”Other Scots on the super-rich list are Sir Ian Wood and family whose £1.32bn fortune comes from oil services and fishing.”

    What about Mr Wood considering handing over some of the loot he’s made from Scotland’s oil to alleviate the poverty stricken conditions of hundreds of thousands of SCOTTISH children? Every poor child being given a set of winter boots and a decent coat, every year, would be a start.

  43. Calum McKay says:

    If one of the major reasons for the Scottish Parliament to exist is to mitigate the impacts of policies implement by the british government in westminster on Scotland, it does not bode well for the union.

  44. Lesley-Anne says:

    Craig P says:
    16 November, 2015 at 3:14 pm

    Haggis Hunter says:

    The photo is Stonehaven?

    Looks like Kelso to me!

    Guys hover your mouse over the picture and a wee script will come up bottom left of your screen “”

    No need to thanks me! 😉

  45. revjimbob says:


  46. Ron Smith says:

    @Haggis Hunter

    No, it isn’t Stonehaven (I’m a Stoney Loon), but I can see why you thought it – very similar to the square right enough. I looked twice when I first saw it too

  47. Fred says:

    @ ahundredthidiot, you’re a smart bastard, have you the faintest idea how much the pension is?

  48. Almannysbunnet says:

    If you’re an Aberdonian with councillors like Willie Young and Barny Crockett making your decisions it’s no wonder you want to cut their funding! Useless articles the lot! I’m sure these stats will change once the councils are taken over by people who put their constituents before their party. Roll on the council elections for an SNP treble.

  49. Haggis Hunter says:

    Jings, it looks identical to Stoney.

    When I hover the moose over the photo it doesn’t do anything, but I’ll take your word for it as am out numbered 🙂

  50. bjsalba says:

    @John Jones at 3:15

    And exactly what devolved power do you suggest the Scottish Government uses to achieve this?

    Do let us know – we are all ears

  51. schrodingers cat says:


    bbc bosses must have been reading yer poll stu

    kaye moving back to london

    haste ye back lassie…..not

    wonder if joan mcalpine will replace her or elaine c smith?

    some how i dont think so

    katie hopkins will surely be in the running

  52. ahundredthidiot says:


    In answer to your question, I am ball parking here at 108 single and 150 something married, but prepared to be corrected.

    For the record, I am in raise taxes camp, but I am all for bleeding the elderly because of their politics. The 25% of them who voted Yes I would consider as collateral damage.

  53. Robert says:

    Turnout in local elections has never been as low as 25% in Scotland at least for the country as a whole. The turnout in 2012 was 39%, lower than in both the previous two elections.

  54. schrodingers cat says:


    article from last year

    sorry folks

  55. call me dave says:

    A full debate in Holytood and flush out the labour party and then vote to Reject the Scotland Bill.
    We can’t mitigate for everything.

    @Proud Cybernat
    Love the new version of the video.

    Humza Yousaf not popular on twitter!

    Opportunity Knox but a bogey on the last leads to defeat in the play-off. 🙁

  56. Petra says:

    Oops in a rush! Meant to say ‘every poor child being given a set of thermals, winter boots and a decent coat, every year, would be a start.’

  57. Lesley-Anne says:

    Haggis Hunter says:
    16 November, 2015 at 3:40 pm

    Jings, it looks identical to Stoney.

    When I hover the moose over the photo it doesn’t do anything, but I’ll take your word for it as am out numbered 🙂

    Did you check down the bottom left of your screen HH. I initially hovered my mouse over the picture and saw nothing then as I moved my mouse off the picture I caught a glimpse of something down the bottom of my screen.

    I’m sure that in the *ahem* olden days when I hovered over a picture the name/description came up over the picture but hey I’m only the village idiot so what the hell do I know? 😀

  58. Lesley-Anne says:

    schrodingers cat says:
    16 November, 2015 at 3:43 pm


    bbc bosses must have been reading yer poll stu

    kaye moving back to london

    haste ye back lassie…..not

    Ach she’ll only be back in good old London town for as long as it takes to get indy ref II off the ground then she’ll re-appear, as if by magic, back on good old BBC Radio S******d Schrodinger. 😀

  59. Luigi says:

    The red tory councillors in Aberdeen also promised the residents of Tillydrone and Grandholm that they would never allow a third Don crossing to be build. Never.

    During the past year since the local elections, strange construction noises, giant cranes and huge amounts of equipment being moved have been reported around the Tillydrone/Grandholm areas. Must be the new community centre they have been promising for the past 30 years!

    The red tories eh? You couldn’t make it up, you really couldn’t.

  60. Luigi says:

    call me dave says:

    16 November, 2015 at 3:49 pm

    A full debate in Holytood and flush out the labour party and then vote to Reject the Scotland Bill.

    Music to my ears. 🙂

  61. call me dave says:


    Best link today! Oh Kaye UK gone… I’m mildly euphoric!

    Y’know I berated Fred too much and as someone said on another thread last week …Na! Better not.

  62. Sharny Dubs says:

    I’m hovering, I’m hovering, yes I’m hovering…. hmmm

    Might all this discussion be moot if the blood WM creeps are going to claw back?
    What about that old, charity begins at home, and we just go out and help people in need? Local community driven organizations, everyone chips in? They can’t claw back that now can they?

    Just a thought.

  63. Brian Powell says:

    Just an aside, but Unionists really, really getting the hots for Alex Bell. Twitter getting frothy.

  64. Lesley-Anne says:

    Unfortunately CMD the article is from 2013. I can only assume she must do her “Call Kay with an E” *cough* show from London.

  65. Sharny Dubs says:

    And as far as arts and culture are concerned, what’s wrong with actually going out and supporting our own with our own money, there are plenty folk clubs struggling for money to pay visiting artists, why do we have to wait for government to do it for us.
    ok, rant over.

  66. Glesca Keelie says:

    O/T Far enough down now.

    Thanks to Petra , Andrew Haddow, JimF for the listings re Scottish produce in the Dead Air post.

    I composed very similar before the Ref. as an A4 but when I asked friends to read it, these were self-employed tradesmen and a person who runs an Ebay shop, their eyes just glazed over. Way to much reading. Next time, 2016, A5s. Short and quick.

    I’ve put the listings in a folder, on Firefox, to keep handy. Thanks.

  67. schrodingers cat says:

    @Lesley-Anne and call me dave

    thank goodness for the edit/delete button…

    sorry folks
    link was to article from last year… 🙁

    i should have checked the date before posting….got carried away…

  68. msean says:

    If only we could cut the money spent on our behalf that we never see or have control over…

  69. orri says:

    Give that Holyrood will no longer get the compensatory powers promised doesn’t that make this all academic?

    Cutting local government is simply going to make people unemployed which might be a callous way of getting a minimal extra funding from Westminster but not in a socially responsible way.

    From elsewhere those in charge of merging the Police forces cut back on more front line services including call centre staff rather on middle management. In much the same way as NHS cut backs never seem to reduce those in that kind of role. So even going down that route you can guarantee any cuts will be detrimental to the ordinary punter.

    At least increasing taxation might have been offset with compensatory relief if the promised powers had actually been granted. Even simpler would have been to allow a non uniform rate. Guess that’s why we’re not getting anything.

    Thank fuck the SNP didn’t make any commitments it couldn’t keep.

  70. Bob W says:

    The Kay(e) story is dated 2013.

  71. mealer says:

    Haggis Hunter 3.40
    It may well look identical to Stonehaven as viewed through an alcoholic haze but it is,in fact,Kelso.

  72. Fireproofjim says:

    @ ahundredthidiot
    Talk about selfishness!
    I am in my mid seventies and have been working for independence and contributing financially to the SNP for many years when it was unfashionable and tough.
    Now a self styled idiot says that bleeding the 25% Yes voting pensioners is just collateral damage.
    Stalin or Adolf Hitler thought like that.
    I will forgive you if you say you were joking.

  73. call me dave says:

    Geez! )-: 🙁 Ach well!

  74. Lesley-Anne says:

    call me dave says:
    16 November, 2015 at 4:26 pm

    Geez! )-: 🙁 Ach well!

    We can still dream though CMD … one day … ONE DAY! 😀

  75. Bill Hume says:

    I’m with Fireproofjim. Brought up in the 1950s, we were the generation that rebuilt this country after WW2. It was broken and bankrupt. Infrastructure in pieces. We saw and paid for the NHS and care for the elderly. We paid for the National Insurance every pay packet we earned. So,@ ahundredthidiot thinks because we don’t all vote in a way which suits his political agenda, we should loose entitlements we worked and paid for…………Sonny, take a hike (preferably a long one off a short pier).

  76. Andy A says:

    I’m intrigued that the Rev has chosen our very own Kelso to presumably represent local government. Other than the local registrar for births, marriages and deaths , there are no local government functions there now.

    But please do join us just to left of shot a week on Saturday morning when we’ll be out doing some early campaigning with prospective MSP Paul Wheelhouse to remove one of the last bastions of Tory constituency rule !

  77. Lesley-Anne says:

    Just when you think Hambone and co. can NOT slink any LOWER guess what? 😉

    And we are STILL waiting for Broon the Loon to re-pay the £100 million HE stole from the Lottery to help pay for his wee athletics thingy in 2012!

  78. Ruglonian says:

    This is the way all polls should be – “put them on the spot and make them actually think about stuff”

    (The council elections can’t come soon enough. I predict mayhem 😀 )

  79. Robert Peffers says:

    @galamcennalath says: 16 November, 2015 at 1:40 pm:

    ” … Local government being the big budget we most want to take money from. I wonder if it because many feel they get very little out of local gov? Health and education seem for universal, having bins emptied is the only universal local service which comes into my mind!”

    Have they no street lights in your area? No parks, play-parks or sports pitches? What of grassy areas and cutting grass verges? Then there’s nice wee effects like clean streets, flower tubs and hanging baskets. What of pavement furniture like seats and waste bins? Just to mention a few.

    Perhaps your council spends lots on sleeping policemen and other wee traffic impediments for traffic calming and 20MPH speed restrictions that immediately raise the traffic generated pollution by a third and also raise the long term lung disease and create higher death rates from asthma and other such like health issues.

    (that’s just my irony, galamcennalath, don’t take it too seriously).

  80. Petra says:

    @ ahundredthidiot says at 3:06 pm ”Time to hurt the No voting elderly. Free personal care, bus passes, winter payments and pensions should all be reviewed. That money should be redirected to those worst hit. There. I said it.”

    How is that … hurting … going to help, ahundredthidiot …. people who have paid into the system being penalised now?

    I wouldn’t wish that on anyone, for example pensioners who are totally reliant on support to get out of bed, take medication, toilet and feed themselves, being left to starve and lie in agony in a wet (and worse) bed 24×7 – 7 days a week; and of course every elderly person would suffer not just no voters.

    In saying that Westminster have their beady eye on pensioners now. They were no doubt next in line anyway as they aren’t an ‘asset’ to this country anymore ….. deemed to be a financial drain …. Remembrance Day my a*s. They’ll have their sights set on DWP offices and staff too … will get the same treatment as HMRC.

    Early days into the Tory rule era and it could last for decades if Labours performance is anything to go by (not that they’re much different now). God knows what’s coming next and of course they’ll expect, want, Holyrood to cut back and cut back to the bone to find the money to alleviate their cuts. That’s what you call Better Together … Pooling and Sharing.

  81. Onwards says:


    Cuts are going to have to be made from somewhere.
    Free personal care for the over 65’s is unsustainable with an ageing population. The costs are closing in on half a billion / year.

    Means-testing is probably unavoidable.
    Personally, I don’t think it’s right that relatively wealthy pensioners should get it. And it actually annoys me in the case of incomers who sell up to retire here, with no intention of ever voting for Scottish self-government, but happy to take advantage of the policy.

    Making cuts is never going to be popular, and each time it happens, the SNP should make clear that there is no option because we don’t have the job creating powers of independence.

  82. Sheryl Hepworth says:

    How, having read ALL the comments, not one poster has even mentioned the fact that our dear Fluffy refused to guarantee that any mitigated payment by the SG made to help Tax Credits recipients in Scotland by the SG, would NOT be classed as unearned income and those poor folk would pay income tax on the extra payments????

  83. Robert Peffers says:

    @handclapping says: 16 November, 2015 at 1:47 pm:

    ” … And in Scotland only, where are the reports of the misdemeanours of Westminster?”

    [Irony switch to ON]
    “misdemeanours of Westminster”?

    surely there are none of those, “Rt. Honourable Friends”, or, “Honourable friends”, who would commit misdemeanours, Handclapping, surely not?


    [Irony Switch off].

  84. Dr Jim says:


    You certainly did say it didn’t you, have you got no average pensioners in your family, Just ask and you’ll see how loaded you think they are, I’m sure they’ll tell you

    You mentioned Winter fuel allowance, the Tories are on course to remove that huge big bonus of cash next year, we’ll know if it works after we count the dead, because many old folk have to choose between heat and eat as it is due to cold housing and lending younger members of their family money who seem to think all pensioners are loaded
    Bit like you there

    Bus pass, The SNP have vowed to keep funding the Bus Pass no matter what Westminster does, because our lot have got brains
    If you trap pensioners at home not getting out and about for exercise and social interaction they get sick and die and that costs more, it’s also a nice civilised thing to do

    So next time some of the youngsters borrow cash from Granny or Granda you might pause for a moments thought, that they would rather give you money they don’t have, than admit they’re skint, even though one days wages for many people can be more than a pensioner has to live on for a week, It’s a pride thing

  85. Petra says:

    @ Lesley-Anne says at 5:04 pm ”Just when you think Hambone and co. can NOT slink any LOWER guess what?”

    It just beggars belief Lesley-Anne! Somebody get me out of here …. ASAP!

    @ Glesca Keelie says at 4:13 pm ”Thanks to Petra, Andrew Haddow, JimF for the listings re Scottish produce in the Dead Air post. I composed very similar before the Ref. as an A4 but when I asked friends to read it, these were self-employed tradesmen and a person who runs an Ebay shop, their eyes just glazed over. Way to much reading. Next time, 2016, A5s. Short and quick. I’ve put the listings in a folder, on Firefox, to keep handy. Thanks.”

    Glesca Keelie you no doubt spent some time and effort on your list / s and I’m pleased to hear that you’ve held onto them. I’m working my way through my long list, lol, and thinking of sending them off one by one to Proud Cybernat who can then decide if they are worth using or not …. the Scottish way of pooling and sharing. For example, I would love to see him construct a video of Scotland’s many, many resources / assets, if he hasn’t done so already (may have missed something?).

  86. Lesley-Anne says:


    I think there is one thing you appear to have overlooked in your cut pensions, bus passes etc. In order to ensure that the “right” people are recipients of the right benefit would require a lot of red tape and as such the costs would more than likely outweigh any possible savings.

  87. Robert Peffers says:

    @david says: 16 November, 2015 at 2:00 pm:

    ” … Even in out current situation we still cannot get a decent majority on the side of independence, I sometimes really despair.”

    I’ve pointed out the following fact on this forum before but it seems not to really have sunk in.

    Labour held unbroken massive sway in Scottish local government for well over 80 years now. That means, in any particular constituency, there are a large number of people who are either present day Labour Party elected councillors, past elected Labour Councillors or family members and supporters of such people.

    Add to that the 80 years of party activists and their spouses, children, grand children, great grandchildren and (gt,gt,gt, ad infinite), grandchildren plus Uncles, Aunts, Cousins. etc.

    I know, in this particular village, the Labour roots are very deep and very extensive. I had a friend who was wont to say, “In Kelty they’re aa earsehole connections”.

    It takes a long time for such connections to disconnect.

  88. Zen Broon says:

    Hmm, so do the hardline Labour voters actually/secretly *prefer* long-term Tory government to a progressive Scottish independent variant? Has anyone asked them? It is usually assumed there is some kind of odd cognitive dissonance/denial going on but this suggests otherwise.

  89. Marian says:

    The fact that Kezie Dugdale and Labour in Scotland are making absolutely no headway in the polls must have spurred the MSM Project Fear Mk 2 team to resurrect Alex Bell and his gripe against Salmond in the media today.

    The unionist comments in today’s Herald looked like a shark feeding frenzy.

  90. T222Deracha says:


    Cuts in NHS always result in NO job losses due to a thing called “redeployment”. Retained in a different role in the NHS and getting paid historical shift allowances, overtime despite never doing any of these hours in their “redeployed” position. These payments are for life.
    You thought the HOL were parasites, the “redeployed” in the NHS will bankrupt it. No-one loses their job in the NHS, it is a job creation scheme created by Labour and the unions, nearly on the same scale as local authorities.
    These people now outnumber the workers who do pull their weight, so the SG need to address this ASAP or it will make the NHS look financially unviable.

  91. cirsium says:

    @james Waldie, 3.03

    “Why does our Emergency services pay Vat we don’t buy equipment for Westminster we have to buy all our own from our own budget and why are there going to be more cuts in Scotland than anywhere else in the UK. There are Many many issues that we are worse off for than anywhere in the UK there would be no need for tax credit cuts or cut to the NHS and other services if the Westminster Government had a Chancellor who knew how to handle money as this one we have knows he can’t he’s just fluffing in his job.”

    Mr Osbourne is extracting revenue from Scotland as Westminster has always done. The difference now is that it is so obvious.

    In the early days of Wings, the Rev did a post giving historic figures showing how much Westminster earned from Scotland. The annual release of this information to the public stopped in the 1920s. Scotland always contributed more than it got back.

  92. Foonurt says:

    Thoan Kelso cobbulls urr ah basturt, bit awright oan fit.

    Ban yoan caurrs.

    Jist gee uz wurr groats, inwull soartit wurrsell.

  93. K1 says:

    James @3.03 We must always remember that the true facts are that we in Scotland are not subsidised by England and never have been.

    This is something that is repeatedly lied about over and over in the Corpmedia, and some I feel even in the Independence movement forget the substantive evidence that is available to support the truth of this matter.

    The only recorded time when this was acknowledged by the UK Government was on 27th March 1997, it was reported and buried in the Herald archives under: ‘Sport > SPL > Aberdeen.’ Not exactly easy to find?

    William Waldergrave, the then Tory Chief Secretary to The Treasury, reluctantly conceded that:

    ‘…if Scotland’s share of North Sea revenues had been allocated since 1979, then the net flow in favour of the Treasury from north of the Border ran to 27bn – a figure which the SNP used to refute previous claims that Scotland was subsidised.’

    It was Alex Salmond who uncovered this by relentlessly pursuing the Treasury over the true nature of who ‘subsidises who’:

    ‘Alex Salmond said last night: ”The Treasury answer – wrung out of it on the very last day of Parliament, and after a month’s delay – has blown the last shreds of the Tory subsidy myth out of the water. ”For the second time, William Waldegrave has been caught out telling the truth. This new Waldegrave admission proves beyond doubt that it is Scotland which subsidised the rest of the UK – not the other way round.” He claimed the Scottish subsidy to London now worked out at 6200 for every man, woman, and child in Scotland.’

    We need to get it through to people that We Are Not Too Poor. And never have been. And that we have been shafted.

    Yes, I’m aggrieved by that.

    An entire generation was put on the dole…while London and the South East boomed.

    Pooling and Sharing right enough!

  94. Grouse Beater says:

    culture and external affairs (current budget £0.3bn per year): 57%”

    Terrific. What a surprise.

    Here’s a better idea: let’s keep funding all our architecture courses, our design and illustration classes, our stain glass and pottery classes, art courses too, our orchestras, our theatres and art house cinemas, our dance and ballet institutions, our folk music clubs, jazz clubs, and Gaelic music societies, and just close down BBC Scotland.

  95. velofello says:

    Andrew Haddow nailed it in one sentence – Take control of money spent by Westminster on Scotland’s behalf.

    On Scotland’s behalf? their having a laugh!

  96. Fred says:

    This doesn’t really matter cause the point of the article still stands, but the Local Government portfolio includes the majority of the education budget (some £4.6billion) that we spend in Scotland i.e primary and secondary schools. It also concerns the Social Care budget, local culture, roads and local transport, planning and development and, the thing everyone associates most with their local council, waste management. The £3billion or so of the Education and Lifelong Learning Department is more concerned with Higher Education, Research and so on. Anyway, thought I’d just add that.

  97. Richard Arnott says:

    Local governments are poorly run, bureaucratic dinosaurs. I have never met a competent councillor in my life.

    There is no performance management at any level, no idea on how to improve performance by implementing effective management controls, no accountability and people are promoted to their level of incompetence. No one is ever let go for under performance. They are either managed upwards or sideways. Procurement is a shambles with no idea between price and cost.

    So Yes – massive savings to be made.

    Similarly the Scottish NHS, whilst delivering excellent healthcare, is a bureaucratic nightmare with layers of unnecessary pen pushers and ineffective procurement. The problem is, any attempt to root out the under performers results in massive resistance at all levels as they all close ranks.

  98. Petra says:

    @ James Waldie says at 3:03 pm ‘Why does our Emergency services pay Vat we don’t equipment for Westminster we have to buy all our own from our own budget.”

    James the loss of £30m VAT per annum has something to do with our Police and Fire Services being merged from eight regional areas into one single National organisation ….. so they say!

  99. ArtyHetty says:

    Re;Sharny dub@4.13
    (how on earth did you think up that name?)

    You know, while we all enjoy traditional folk music and much more, Scotland’s cultural makeup, and scene and aspirations does actually extend beyond that. I mean we have a few visual artists, actors, writers, musicians of all genres and even some of those engage in more extensive, innovative global artistic projects.

    If you can give us an example of how the arts, even folk musicians, might be funded by the public other than via their taxes and the Scottish government, and occassionally, so far some lottery funding, it would be interesting to hear that.

    The arts is way underfunded, sadly, but a few quid towards folk gigs is not going to fix that.

    Scotland needs a cultural climate and scene which can compete on the world stage so to speak.

    I knew someone, from England, who landed the job of curating some of the art for the Commonwealth games. She travelled all over the world to find artists, because, ‘Scottish art is too perochial’. That was not music to my ears.

  100. Brian Doonthetoon says:

    Hi Richard Arnott.

    You typed,
    “and people are promoted to their level of incompetence.”

    I always believed (coz I read it somewhere years ago) that, in public bodies, individuals tend to be promoted to one level above their level of competence. Somebody can be brilliant at their job – man-management, inspirational team building, and so on, then they are promoted to one level above and totally lose the plot.

    I have seen it. People who believe their own assessment (by others, who should know better) and make a total €r$e, because their skills and experience don’t match what they are expected to administer.

  101. ahundredthidiot says:

    This thread is fizzling out and I simply had to get to work yesterday and had no time to respond to comments made about what I admit was a few harsh words on my part.

    @Dr Jim – I do not think pensioners are loaded, far from it, just angry at them for having crushed my dreams and having to put up with their union flag waving, god save the queen, rule Britannia attitude referring to all nationalists as Nazis. They should get a taste of what they voted for though.

    @Petra – someone has to suffer, and in the grown up world with the Tories in charge, whether we like it or not, we have to choose (like some sort of sick survival movie) so I would rather it was the elderly, for reasons above. WM is going to truly stitch up Scotland’s finances in the coming months.

    @Lesley-Anne – you might be right that working out who is the ‘right type of recipient’ would cost through red tape, which is why, as previously mentioned, I am firmly in the ideological ‘Raise Taxes’ camp. The review should be conducted for other reasons though.

    @Bill Hume – I would rather not take a run and jump off a short pier and find your use of the word ‘entitlement’ interesting. While I agree with you 100% that you are right, unfortunately neither mine nor the next generation will be entitled to much at all, if anything. And let’s not forget, some people put nothing in and take plenty out.

    @Fireproofjim – apologies if I upset you and my use of the words ‘collateral damage’ and ‘bleed’ was ill judged, but I stop short of asking for your forgiveness, making comparisons to Hitler and Stalin isn’t attractive, I have never killed a single human being, not even when I was one of the Empires Storm-Troopers. Let’s call it evens Jimbo. I take you at your word for the length of time you have been fighting for independence, so good for you.

    The greatest lesson I ever learned was from a German national on his way to becoming an English Teacher in the UK. He was a complete stranger I met on the ferry from Europe to England after I came to my senses and left the British Army. We got talking about the war in a frank and mature manner. To my surprise he said – it wasn’t Hitler that was the problem, or even the Nazi Party, it was people. The people allowed it to happen. Put up with their propaganda and against their better judgment, swallowed their lies. And they all just went along with it. War ensued. Millions died. This is the position I take with the No voters in general (that they are this type of people – sheep, afraid to challenge anything) it just so happens the elderly are loaded with them.

    For the record, I do not believe Pensions should be cut, or free care for the elderly completely withdrawn (one of the few things that make me feel proud to be Scottish). I said ‘Reviewed’. The elderly need to be reminded that it is the Scottish people who are funding all this, not their beloved UK. My preferred outcome would be a means tested personal care system, a heavily discounted road/rail travel card and the pension left alone, but a part of the review to get people’s attention. And while I would remove the winter fuel payment, I would approach the EU for an environmental/green type funding/grant so that pensioners receive a 50% discount on electricity which comes from 100% renewable energy sources – all year round.

  102. Christian Schmidt says:

    Sigh, the reason why local councils came near top is because it is the only generic expenditure item on your list. And I guess many people still think (like Cameron) that local government could make savings by improving back office efficiency etc. But as COSLA, the LGA (and the Tory leader of Oxfordshire County Council in his response to Cameron) have rightly pointed out, there’s not fat left and cuts to local government funding means reduced services.

    And as most local government money is spend on education (schools) and social services (child protection, care), it would be these services that would need to be cut (as well as parks and libraries closures, and bus services cuts).

    So here’s my challenge – next time you run a poll, don’t say local government, say ‘local government: schools, child protection, care, etc (£11bn per year)’ and see how much this is supported.

  103. Fred says:

    @ hundredthidiot, you picked the name! The run up to the next referendum will have to be a hearts n minds exercise, we need every vote we can get & shafting auld folks is not the best way of achieving this aim. Best left to the Tories.

  104. Ken500 says:

    It is necessary to have complete control on spending. The policies over which Westminster has retained power and control. Ie Trident/illegal wars, tax on ‘loss leading’ drink, tax evasion, banking fraud. Developing the Oil that is in the West and taking less % of production and taxes on the Oil sector when prices are low but increasing them when prices are high. Keep investing in renewables and CCS. Full fiscal autonomy, Federalism, Home Rule/Independence. These are the things Scotland was promised but the promises were reneged upon.

    A crowd fund appeal to put Foote in the Dock for breaking Purdah Laws. If the Crown Office will not uphold the rule of Law, the people will. The Scottish Office and Crown Office are not fit for purpose. A Law unto themselves.

    Local Authorities waste £Million/Billion of taxpayers money not on esential services, but on ill feted pozzi schemes. Against the majority wishes and the public interest. Totally non mandated. They try to hide their corruption and just get away with it. Schemes which are fraudulently undertaken, ill advised and uncosted. They can’t count and understand elementary Maths. They renege on their expressed policies, to get elected.

  105. Ken500 says:

    ‘No one loses ther job in the NHS’. When workers retire they are not replaced. No worker has lost their job but the post has gone.

  106. Ken500 says:

    Millionaire Willy Young remuneration £50K++ a year along with all expenses, will not be standing again for re election because he knows he won’t get in after trashing the local economy. Building an expensive carbuncle in the City Centre. Refusing permission for a new Football Stadium, refused to pedestrianise the City centre. Increased traffic in the City centre to add to the illegal congestion. Wasted £Millions/Billion of taxpayers money which could have been better spent on essential services. Can’t count or understand elementary Maths. A total disgrace and an affront to democracy.

  107. Ken500 says:

    Kelso looks right like a lot of town centres in Scotland. Planned towns?

  108. Ken500 says:

    Scotland can raise a £Billion to cover these losses.

    Cut APDT to increase tourism and other economic measures could eliminate these costs and mitigate the cuts. Scotland can now export Haggis to the US bring in £Millions of revenues. Increased export of food and drink is bringing in more revenues. Whisky and fish etc. Higher quoters, Investment in renewables is bring in more revenues. £Millions. Thank to everyone for their extra efforts. Keep up the pressure on Westminster.

  109. ahundredthidiot says:


    I did pick the name. Line up a hundred idiots and ask them all a difficult question, every hundredth idiot gets it right.

    I am guessing your strategy then is to let the Tories shaft the low paid? All that does is teach kids what it’s like go without and on occasion, hungry. If that’s your aim, expect more people like me in thirty years time!

    We never got independence, and indyref2 is far from guaranteed, cloth will need to be cut. The Tories are onto our little dance around the money to compensate the worst hit – the bedroom tax jig will not be allowed to be repeated, however much I hope I am wrong.

  110. Paul says:

    It has to be cuts to the councils they are way above themselves look at the Tram fiasco in Edinburgh. They do not listen to their electorates which is why turnouts are now so low maybe the should get back to doing what they are meant to do as against what they wish to do with our money.There are far to many councillors and they no longer serve the public but themselves and their parties. Time to get rid of most of them.

  111. T222Deracha says:


    No criticism of the NHS is allowed, their practices are Byzantine, you know it, I know it and if the general public were fully aware of all the waste in the NHS they would be outraged.

    Pension contributions are matched by the taxpayer, so a double drain on NHS finances.

  112. Fred says:

    @ hundred….. Cameron doesn’t listen to me unfortunately but if the SNP want a sure-fired way of losing the forthcoming election, never mind the referendum, scrapping bus passes for the auld folks is the answer!

    Last Holyrood election, Labour in these here ,parts were telling folk on the doorstep that the Nats intended to do just that, which is mebbes why I’ve a Slab MSP.

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