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The devil in the details

Posted on March 24, 2015 by

We’ve had to illustrate this piece with a tweet from our old chum Duncan Hothersall, because at the time of writing the Scottish Labour account on Twitter has no mention of Labour’s “five point plan”, and nor does the branch office’s website.

5pdunc

And the reason for the absence of any more information is probably that the “plan” is another example of a Labour policy that looks like a tasty boiled egg until you crack its shell and discover that there’s nothing inside.

Benefit sanctions are evil. We’ve documented lots and lots of reasons why over on The Sealand Gazette – go and have a look for some absolute horror stories. Were Labour to be backing an end to benefit sanctions, we’d put our general feelings about the party aside and applaud them unreservedly.

But that isn’t what’s happening. The government stridently insists that “Categorically, there are no targets for benefits sanctions”, and no proof has ever been produced to the contrary, despite considerable circumstantial evidence that, at the least, local DWP managers are imposing them unilaterally.

Labour’s pledge, then, is meaningless. The party is publicly committed to saving even more money from the welfare budget than the Tories, and just a week ago its shadow welfare secretary Rachel Reeves said “We are not the party of people on benefits… we’re not the party to represent those who are out of work”.

Those aims are entirely compatible with an empty promise to abolish something that doesn’t officially exist in the first place. Every single benefit sanction that’s applied now could still be applied even if there were no targets. If the current rules say “You get sanctioned for being 10 minutes late for an appointment”, then the existence of a target makes no difference. You’re either 10 minutes late or you aren’t.

Benefit sanctions existed under the last Labour government, though their use has tripled under the Tories. A meaningful pledge would be to at least reduce them to the previous (Labour) level. Promising merely to abolish targets, even if they DO exist, does absolutely nothing to reduce the sanctions themselves.

Labour would need to explain precisely which rules would be amended and how many people would be affected. But that would require detail, and that’s one thing the party has pathologically avoided for the last five years.

It shows no sign of changing that approach, and voters would be forgiven for treating its pledges with a very great deal of scepticism until it does.

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    159 to “The devil in the details”

    1. blackhack says:

      FREE BEER TOMORROW….Just words, No thinking behind them.

    2. Grant says:

      Poor old Duncan …

    3. jim heraghty says:

      Duncan could/should be asked what he thinks the government’s targets are.

      What is he using as evidence that they exceed previous Labour ‘targets’?

    4. Brian Powell says:

      They only need the headline affect.

      It would also take the big organisations, charities, dealing with the fallout from sanctions to come out and condemn Labour’s and their activists statements as dangerously misleading.

      Unfortunately the response is often, ‘ We welcome any improvement…..’.

    5. Croompenstein says:

      More withering pish from Labour, this one can be filed with the Energy price freeze mumbo..

    6. GM_Dundonian says:

      The Red Tories voted time and again with their Blue counterparts over the last parliament to enact measures that heaped misery on millions across the UK let alone Scotland. Their words on helping societies unfortunate now ring hollow. As you you point out Rev, what he has tweeted is more empty meaningless words on a day I’m sure we’ll hear even more Slab guff. What’s that Red Ed? You’ll freeze VAT? Whoopy freakin do.

    7. Desimond says:

      BLOCKED

      Says it all really!

    8. mogabee says:

      Everything that Labour say I know to look doubly carefully at the language used.

      It’s rarely accurate, but Dunkie likes to parrot.

    9. Mealer says:

      He’s a bit of a dreip,isn’t he?

    10. Muscleguy says:

      Then we get an SNP leaflet electioneering about the Health service (who is best entrusted with it) despite it not being up for grabs in this election due to it being devolved. But SLAB are going big on it so they feel they have to respond.

      Still no substantive policies from SLAB, or London Labour, just vacuous soundbites.

    11. Valerie says:

      Latest piece of trash thru my door –

      Scottish Labour scrapped tuition fees, and are committed to free tuition for every Scottish student who attends a Scottish university.

      How can the get away with saying they scrapped fees???????

    12. Helena Brown says:

      Has Duncan Hothersall ever been sanctioned that he is in a position to think that this is a vote winner?
      O/T we got a couple of pamphlets through our door last night. Which reminded me to ask, we did have the Referendum Vote and we supposedly lost it?
      These both had the smell of Better Together and VNB’s. Asking us to vote for which ever Unionist candidate would likely win. Now we could see the force of it that these were obviously so secret they were put through the door in the dark, but we do have an SNP poster in our bedroom window and it is illuminated by the street light outside.

    13. Democracy Reborn says:

      Try this one, Stu. Straight from SLAB’s latest election leaflet delivered yesterday. The pledge to raise the minimum wage to “£8 an hour” is now being spun as a “£3000 pay rise”. When you first read that, you’d be forgiven for thinking it’s an annual increase or some immediate lump sum windfall.

      Nothing about the raise actually being over the course of a 5-year parliament. The £3000 figure is correct (compared to the existing minimum wage level) but is, of course, gross of tax & NI. So in effect a £600 gross annual pay increase, or £11.54 a week. Cash back!

    14. Peter Macbeastie says:

      I’m not sure what annoys me more about Hothersall.

      The utter cack he comes out with.

      The way he twists any position he’s in like a demented corkscrew so he’ll come out smelling like roses.

      Or that smug, self assured grin he’s got for a picture.

      I think it’s the latter. I get the same twitch in my knuckles every time I see Ms. Baillie at FMQ. That same patronising grin no matter if she’s getting her points demolished by the FM or if she’s landed a rare hit.

    15. June Maxwell says:

      As a welfare adviser confronted daily with the debilitating and humiliating results of sanctions, I can attest that targets mean little to claimants whose lives are utterly decimated by withdrawal of their ‘safety net’. The sole purpose of which seems to vengefully punish anyone not conforming to neo-liberal ideologies. I recently took these grievances and horror stories from Scotland to WM in the form of a formal report. Lots of feigned sympathy from Mgt Curran, Gemma Doyle and others. Result: More of the same.

    16. gillie says:

      Jim Murphy is to make food banks history by closing them down and forcing people on benefits to eat their young.

      Jim Murphy explained Labour’s new policy by saying that the only way to slash the benefits bill is to reduce the number of claimants.

      Jim Murphy said, “Labour only represents workers’ interests and we have calculated that we can increase the minimum wage by 1p an hour by forcing work-shy scroungers to eat their own children. It is a win-win-win situation. Fewer claimants, no food banks and meagre wages for all”

    17. HandandShrimp says:

      Labour could fix this by making a pledge to remove benefit sanctions rather than a target than no one will admit exists anyway.

      Are they up for that pledge?

    18. Desimond says:

      @Valerie

      Does it mention *up-front fees somewhere or no doubt that will be in their counter argument if ever asked.

      That tactic is being repeated in the current “Crackdown on Zero Hour contracts” soundbites…all leaflets started with “‘Exploitative’ zero hour contracts” now that one vague word is no longer being said…it will only ever be referred back to in defence of any actual disappointingly enacted policy in the future.

      Weasels one and all!

    19. BrianW says:

      Abolishing something that doesn’t exist.. hmmm.. let me think about that one for a minute.. (sure there’s an experiment in there for Cern to follow up)

      Either Duncan is revealing there are actually targets, (which there definitely isn’t though we’re told) or he’s on hallucinogens again..

      The only that IS being abolished is support for the Labour Party Branch in Scotland.. (can’t see Dunc tweeting that in any #5pointplan soon)

    20. Dumb Unicorn says:

      In the words of Father Ted:

      “Down with this sort of thing!”

    21. Joemcg says:

      Just wish these Red Tories would have to attend job centres when (hopefully) they are booted out and see what indignities people have to go through to get an absolute unlivable pittance but sadly every one of them will be cushioned.

    22. Dr Jim says:

      Detail? Labour Party? Detail?….Wossat…

      One size fits…well…a lot of people..doesn’t it?

      The Labour party will set up a commission, a working review body, an Independent from Government panel, Local councils will have the responsibility to scrutinize this in detail some of our pals from the local labour club will be promoted

      By then everybody will have given up and died so stop talking about it now please, and anyway, this was forced upon us by a rabid SNP Sneaky Alic Sammin for his own dreams and fantasies for an Independent Scotland that nobody wants, we won, so get over it and pass the Bacon Sandwich Grommit

      TOO MUCH?

    23. Doug Daniel says:

      The other points are similar nonsense:

      “3. Make work pay by banning exploitative 0-hour contracts, raising the min wage & extending the Living Wage.”

      But not raising the minimum wage to the Living Wage?

      “4. Tackle rising household costs by capping energy bills and banning rip off rent rises.”

      How does one define “rip-off” rent rises, and how do you ban them? If they mean they want to reintroduce rent controls, then that’s a pretty weird way of wording it – and as we all know, when Labour word things strangely, it’s because they’re not really doing what they’re trying to imply they’re doing.

      “5. Tax profits of legal loan sharks & put the money into credit unions & other sources of low-cost credit.”

      Legal loan sharks already pay tax on profits – it’s called “corporation tax”. But even ignoring that, this policy just makes no sense. People tend to use loan sharks (legal or otherwise) when they’re desperate. Rather than just ban loan sharks, Labour’s great idea is to create a situation that depends on them continuing to exist (and therefore continue to exploit desperate people). It’s like saying “taking organs harvested by black market organ harvesters and giving them to the NHS.”

      What absolute fuckwits.

    24. Macart says:

      Moving from a ‘just wow’, back to the old and familiar territory of ‘good grief’.

      A free puppy with every vote.

    25. JPFife says:

      Not only five meaningless waffle points but number 5 actually seems to be about double taxation for some companies:

      “5. Tax profits of legal loan sharks & put the money into credit unions & other sources of low-cost credit.”

      If the are legals surely they are paying taxes on profits already?

    26. Clootie says:

      “The truth, of course, is that falsehoods told many times by many people are still false”.

    27. jackie g says:

      Do you know what really pisses me off?

      Its not just the empty retoric from Dunc and his pals, its the fact that they have no idea what the hell its like to be poor.

      I well remember what that was like way back in the 80’s and early 90’s (in between jobs)to be so poor you went without food and as our American friends would say it sucks man big time..

      The menial jobs i did get were so poorly paid that i walked to work or on one retail job had to work seven days a week to make ends meet (ring any bells).

      Now i was lucky because when i did have to sign on i got a giro to help me out and i had a council flat which was in good condition, but there are other issues to deal with when you are on the breadline the main one being that you are treated as if you are nothing simply because you have nothing.

      They call it the poverty trap for a reason, you have no decent standard of living how the hell can you when your main priority is surviving on a day to day basis.

      It took me a long time to get out of that trap,and create a decent life for myself but,i have never forgotten what that felt like, this is often quoted but i think it speaks volumes.

      Maya Angelou, an American author and poet, wrote:

      “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel”.

    28. One_Scot says:

      It has got to the point that in the world that Scottish Labour lives in, there is no line between fact and fiction, it’s all just pure bollocks.

    29. Fiona says:

      @ JPFife

      If the are legals surely they are paying taxes on profits already?

      Not disagreeing with your wider point: but I very much doubt that

    30. Valerie says:

      Desimond@ 12.54

      I’ve written exactly as printed on the A3 size thing just thru the door. It’s outrageous when it’s the first move by SNP in 2007

    31. JamesS says:

      When are the manifestos due to come out?

      It will make interesting reading to see how Duncan’s chatter actually compares to the guff the actual party puts out.

      I expect an elbow or two may be misidentified with other parts.

    32. Desimond says:

      Is Labours ‘Green’ Policy:

      “Encourage Long Grass initiatives wherever possible” ?

    33. joe kane says:

      Sanctions under the current government follow the same trajectory began under PM Gordon Brown who also spread ist evil net wider and started sanctioning different kinds of claimants such as lone parents and disabled people. DWP sanctions doubled in less than 3 years under Brown. The DWP and Atos refusing to award welfare benefits to sick and disabled people also follows a similar trajectory. Putting the welfare state beyond the reach of people who need it in order to survive began in earnest under Brown not Cameron.

      See handy 2002 – 2013 sanctions graph here –
      Benefit sanctions: Britain’s secret penal system
      http://www.crimeandjustice.org.uk/resources/benefit-sanctions-britains-secret-penal-system

    34. Effijy says:

      It was indeed Labour who introduced Tuition Fees, later it was Donald Dewar who scrapped them in Scotland, however when SNP took control, they ensured that Labour could not reintroduce these fees after Dewar’s death.

      Now Labour are attempting to give us something that we already have with the SNP in power, and by keeping SNP in power, we keep the main danger of reintroduction,the Labour party, completely out of the equation.

      Labour are trying be condescending by telling us Free
      in Scotland is good, and £6,000 per annum is good in England?

      This obviously appears to drive a wedge between the 2 nations, against another so called Labour policy, and give the English another opportunity to wrongly accuse Scots of being Subsidy Junkie. (We pay for this ourselves)

      FACT: Labour Leaders and their cohorts Lie for a living!
      A very Fat Cat Living where 81% of MPs are £Millionaires!

    35. robertknight says:

      Lies, damned lies and SLAB propaganda!

      Duncan Horsefeathers really should get out more.

    36. tartanarse says:

      I used to work for the DWP and they had “unofficial” targets.

      At the end of the week each section would be asked for their stats.

      If these stats were favourable (ie conformed to what the government were claiming at the time) then they were allowed to remain.

      If they did not, they were amended to suit.

      However the managers didn’t have a clue how the system worked. I had a friend that recorded the actual figures.

      Using the departments own computers and stored data it would be very easy to show the false figures with absolutely no scope for trying to lie about it.

      Staff were always reminded of the need to be within targets.

      Folks that didn’t like this way of working often weren’t promoted.

      Yes men (not the good kind!) tend to do well in these establishments.

      I know that this example was also evident in other regions.

    37. joe kane says:

      With 10 million people either unemployed or underemployed and (currently) only 700,000 job vacancies there is no justification for punishing people because they aren’t looking hard enough for a job. There are no jobs and blaming the unemployed victims of neoliberal economic policy, rather than the governments which have no full employment policies and no plans to have any either in the near future, is about as corrupt and cowardly as it gets.

    38. Alan McHarg says:

      Bears all the hallmarks of a “vow”!

    39. scott says:

      O/T
      Oh dear poor Jackie Bird had to report that waiting times are getting better,why did we not have Bradford doing a long report with this good news,forget its the BBC stupid.

    40. heedtracker says:

      Its all just part of their misinformation campaign. Ask them why we have claimants kicked off the dole, where do they go next, who’s been in teamGB power for over a decade, why are Slabour maniacs all minted now, from Flipper in Morningside to Crash Gordon in that son of the manses’ manse in Fife, why is not one super rich spiv in jail for the decade long City of London bank crash/fraud and so on, and goons like this guy hit you with this shite and SNPEEEEEE bad.

    41. Dorothy Devine says:

      And where are the shitbags who call themselves journalists?

      How are they investigating the truths , half truths and downright lies?

      Are they querying anything or are they content to let Scotland be lied to , pillaged and destroyed?

      Do they look in the mirror with pride at their achievements ? or do they sidle past unable to meet their own eyes?

    42. Capella says:

      @ valerie
      I haven’t been blessed with a leaflet from Labour yet – and in my rural Aberdeenshire neck of the woods, probably never will. But if it does arrive I will assess its suitability as kindling and, failing that, recycling.

      As a former Labour voter, I find these blatant lies unforgivable. All those students who still owe enormous debts because of the Labour Government introducing fees in Scotland will not forgive them either. They will also recall it was the SNP government who abolished the fees but could not wipe out the debt of existing students.

      It makes me so angry to hear about these blatant lies. But the remedy is at hand on May 7th

      “Tuition fees were first introduced across the entire United Kingdom in September 1998 under the Labour Government as a means of funding tuition to undergraduate and postgraduate certificate students at universities, with students being required to pay up to £1,000 a year for tuition. However, as a result of the establishment of devolved national administrations for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, different arrangements now exist with regard to the charging of tuition fees in each of the countries of the United Kingdom.”

      Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tuition_fees_in_the_United_Kingdom

    43. Capella says:

      @ effigy
      Labour changed it to a graduate endowment scheme, payable on graduation. The SNP scrapped that in 2008
      http://wayback.archive-it.org/3011/20130202122357/http://scotland.gov.uk/News/Releases/2008/02/28172530

    44. Proud Cybernat says:

      O/T – Apologies.

      Dave’s Reason….

      http://www.scottcreighton.co.uk/GE2015/Daves-Reason.png

    45. Luigi says:

      Dorothy Devine says:

      24 March, 2015 at 2:01 pm

      And where are the shitbags who call themselves journalists?

      How are they investigating the truths , half truths and downright lies?

      Are they querying anything or are they content to let Scotland be lied to , pillaged and destroyed?

      Do they look in the mirror with pride at their achievements ? or do they sidle past unable to meet their own eyes?

      Remember the Blues Brothers movie, when Belushi flashes a fag packet “ID” in front of an angry musician, in order top get out of a sticky situation? Well, basically that’s a Labour Party manifesto.

      The red tories are into mass deception in a very big way. Do anything, say anything to buy time. However, in order for the deception to work, they require a compliant media. BBC Scotland and 90% of the MSM are more than happy to go along with the sham. The trouble is, when the numbers of those deceived falls below a critical level, they are rumbled, not just the red tories, but all their media chums as well.

    46. Macca73 says:

      Never interupt your enemy when they are making a mistake… let them keep the double speak up and pretty soon they will shut out even their own core vote.

    47. Take Independence says:

      Labour needs to try the ALL-Bran plan

    48. Fireproofjim says:

      Actually the Uk unemployment figures for February were 1.86 million. And for Scotland 190,000.
      No information on how many were part time though.

    49. carjamtic says:

      Labour really do not know what they are doing,they have had plenty of time,years in fact,to sort themselves out.

      But no,same old,same old bull,I think they need some time to reflect on this 5-10 years in the political wilderness may “shock” them into action,but don’t hold your breath.

      SNP vote in May is an absolute no-brainer

    50. Proud Cybernat says:

      O/T – Apologies.

      It’s official – ‘Scottish Labour’ is not a legal entity. From today’s Herald:

      “It is not clear when Mr Morgan’s case will come to court.

      Scottish Labour does not exist as a legal entity and the councillor has been forced to sue the party’s London HQ.

      It is understood Mr Morgan has already exhausted internal Labour appeals against his dismissal.”

      SLAB no more. The Labour Party in Scotland at each others’ throats.

    51. Drew Ure says:

      Am I missing something, does it matter a shite what Scottish Labour say, why do they insist on this Scottish Labour pish, they can say whatever they like, when the whip comes out at Westminster they will do whatever they are told to anyway.
      Load of shite.

    52. jackie g says:

      joe kane says:@1.41pm

      There are no jobs and blaming the unemployed victims of neoliberal economic policy, rather than the governments which have no full employment policies and no plans to have any either in the near future, is about as corrupt and cowardly as it gets.

      Joe you are absolutely correct.

      It is a well know fact that we will probably not have full employment again.

      But as long as the ‘toffs’ are in charge and the welfare system keeps being butchered the poorest in society will suffer.

      People like IDS,Cameron, and the Red Tories are not public servants there to serve us they are in it to serve themselves, and as long as that continues nothing will change.

    53. Joemcg says:

      The biggest revelation on that postal vote thread is the McTernan quote that he knew the numbers had moved from a fifth to crucially a quarter
      Of the vote. Hotline to MI5 John?

    54. Fiona says:

      @jackie g

      It is a well know fact that we will probably not have full employment again.

      That is not a “fact”, so far as I am aware: it is a political choice. Why do you think it is a fact?

    55. Ken500 says:

      Labour means tested student loans on household income. This prevented students from families of average incomes getting a loan and going to University, without family support. (from £21000 to £42,000 the loans were tapered). Many talented and able students could not go to University.

    56. Dorothy Devine says:

      Luigi, it is sickening to read the drivel the smug buggers write – and to think they are well paid for it and some of the public buy it.

      I look forward to their demise with few exceptions.

    57. Joemcg says:

      Re-Sanctions. How do people eat if they don’t have dole money?

    58. Edward says:

      @Proud Cybernat – On that point about ‘Scottish Labour’

      Realistically we should not be complying with Labour in stating ‘Scottish Labour’ when referring to Labour in Scotland, when in fact it doesn’t actually exist as a legal entity.

      All we are doing is aiding Labour in their myth

      We should just call it as it is and that is the ‘Labour Party in Scotland’ or ‘Labour’s branch office’

    59. thedogphilosopher says:

      @ gillie 12.52

      That sounds like a modest proposal!

    60. Ken500 says:

      Unemployment in Scotland has increased because of Westminster policies. Trident, increased Oil taxes, misappropriation of Scottish farmers EU payments. No CC project for Longannet or EU renewable grants.

    61. jackie g says:

      Fiona says:3.06pm

      That is not a “fact”, so far as I am aware: it is a political choice. Why do you think it is a fact?

      I don’t know its a fact Fiona,

      I may have worded that incorrectly, what i should have said is that due to our industrial decline,and neo liberal policies for the past thirty five years we have become reliant on the market therefore we dont have full employment.

      I am sure it is much more complicated than that and whether this will ever be possible again i dont know,i am sure there are many on here who would be able to give you more details on that than i can.

    62. joe kane says:

      Thanks jackie g.

      With regards to underemployment/unemployement figures, I would never trust anything the DWP says about anything. It is a deeply ideological and utterly corrupt department of state as a scan of its Twitter feed would confirm.

      Below is an interesting Guardian article which gives a maximum figure of nearly 7 million workers not in work or not getting enough work to keep themselves. Other categories which can be added to the Guardian figure are people who no longer even bother to register as unemployed as they have been sanctioned and it’s not worth the bother of jumping through the DWP farcical Jobseeker Agreement hoops and getting nothing in return except neoliberal blather about blaming the working class for being unemployed and not trying hard enough to get a job. Then there are people in workfare, not counted as unemployed, who are forced to do full-time jobs at taxpayers’ expense for the likes of Poundland.

      How many unemployed people are there in the UK?
      20 May 2014
      http://www.theguardian.com/politics/reality-check-with-polly-curtis/2012/feb/16/unemployed-uk-how-many

    63. Caroline Corfield says:

      Effijy
      {cough} tuition fees are £9000 per academic year in England. Most of the engineering courses my daughter is looking at have been turned into 4 year courses, where the first year is a maths intensive foundation year for the school students who haven’t been able to leave secondary with the more absurd entrance grades. The government makes a limit on the no of students a course can take with the minimum grades and so this is a way around that. Plus having had successive governments play political football with education provision they need a foundation year.

      So it’s not even the expected 3 years at £9000, but for engineers the life blood of our manufacturing industry, it’s 4 x £9000.

    64. Papadox says:

      @Dorothy Devine 2:01pm

      “And where are the shitbags who call themselves journalists?

      How are they investigating the truths , half truths and downright lies?”

      Dorothy they are the ones who make up and manage this shit for the gold coin provided by the owners with few exceptions. ENGLISH BROADCASTING CORPORATION, a very special case (truth honesty & fairness) in yer dreams. ENGLISH FAIRPLAY AT WORK. Propaganda by any other name.

    65. Lanarkist says:

      Put decency into Social Security by offering to match EU minimum necessary for a dignified life.

      SLab, full of abstracts signifying nothing. Always sounds plausible but policies made of smoke and soon disperse under any scrutiny.

      Adoption of the term ‘Welfare State’ is not something to be lauded. It is Social Security for a fundamental reason. To prevent Social unrest.

      Anyway did Drunky not get the memo, SLab are not the party for the unemployed!

    66. Proud Cybernat says:

      O/T

      Get your own Special Brew here…

      http://www.scottcreighton.co.uk/GE2015/AL-ED-SPECIAL-BREW.png

    67. jackie g says:

      joe kane says:@3.26pm

      Thanks Joe 🙂

      That article makes interesting reading.

      I did a OU essay on that very subject not long ago..would have been handy material.

      😉

    68. Fiona says:

      @ jackie g

      I may have worded that incorrectly, what i should have said is that due to our industrial decline,and neo liberal policies for the past thirty five years we have become reliant on the market therefore we dont have full employment.

      I am sure it is much more complicated than that and whether this will ever be possible again i dont know,i am sure there are many on here who would be able to give you more details on that than i can.

      We don’t have full employment because it is government policy that we should not have full employment. That is because they subscribe to the neoliberal economics which place control of inflation at the centre of their policy objectives and therefore they believe in NAIRU (non accelerating inflation rate of unemployment)

      There is no mystery about this. According to their theory inflation goes up if unemployment comes down (to put it crudely) and vice versa. So unemployment must not fall below NAIRU or the sky will fall.

      There is no mystery that this is nonsense either: because they do not know what NAIRU is: it changes all the time. More information here

      http://bilbo.economicoutlook.net/blog/?p=26163

      But neither is there any reason we cannot put full employment back at the centre of the policy agenda. Labour will not do that, and the tories and lib dems won’t do it. I very much doubt that the SNP will do it either, because they seem to have bought the debt and deficit story, though I am hoping that they have not and appear to only because it has taken such a hold of the public imagination.

    69. Lesley-Anne says:

      As Scottish Labour’s Twitter account or their website have no mention of Labour’s “five point plan”, then I’m feeling like this *ahem* plan is the twin to the British constitution. By that I mean it is something they will keep referring to but in reality it does not exist. Unfortunately there are no media journalists of high enough calibre to ask the pertanent question of Labour about either their” 5 point plan” or the British constitution.

      All the journalists from the London centric BBC and MSM seem to have adopted the idea that because Labour say something is so then it must be TRUE despite NO actual evidence ever being produced to back the claims up.

    70. cearc says:

      In all fairness (not). Journalists have picked up on the child’s x-ray story 3 days after it was questioned here.

      Daily Mail https://archive.today/XB5X7

      Telegraph https://archive.today/Q802V

      No mention of Wings being first of course.

    71. Dr Jim says:

      Commodities, Stocks, Bonds, Share issues, Prices, Markets

      The Westminster elite’s God..London..The worlds leading money market

      House Prices up by %
      House Prices down by %

      Take away the above and what do you have

      London income is based on the buying and selling of peoples lives and the price of “A BRICK”

      Every piece of infrastructure, every decision made regarding finance, based on the accumulation of more money for the already extremely rich
      The con is, to make the populace believe that sucking money from the rest of “Britain” into the “Capital” is a good thing for everybody

      “Trickle Down Economics” they used to call it
      If they make loads of dosh some will flow down to the masses..Well..NO..That doesn’t work

      Easy explanation
      Go and watch your favourite football team, how much does that cost?
      Lets just say £20 But the players you’re watching might be getting paid, lets just say, £20.000 a week if you’re in England say, and thats probably pretty conservative

      So what did you get for your dosh/
      Well you got to watch rich guys get richer and have the privilege of paying them to do it

      Feeling the Trickle Down on the bus home are we?

    72. manandboy says:

      To help find our bearings in all of this,
      keep this in mind:-

      The UK is being drip-fed daily, a solution of
      American politics
      American ideology
      American welfare-free culture.

      We already have American Nuclear Defence,
      Business saturation by American Companies
      and American political PR gurus guiding McTernan
      through the latest election manipulation.

      Most people in the UK, it would appear,
      are sleeping through a robbery
      taking place in their own homes.

      Sweet dreams, y’all.

    73. Brian says:

      Going to Job Centre tomorrow with my daughter’s partner. He has recvd a letter telling him his JSA has stopped, but does not say why!

    74. Lesley-Anne says:

      I’m sorry for going O/T here but just read this on Twitter and thought it was brilliant! 😀

      Rab Ana ?@rabana45 1h1 hour ago
      BBC Current snp threat level ,
      Defcon 3 .
      Reporters massing on edinburgh and dads army is set to be repeated .

    75. thedogphilosopher says:

      The use of the term ‘Plan’ is suitably cunning. It’s a bit like a Vow, or a Pledge, or for that matter a Promise, but without the semantic imperative of commitment that those other words bring. It’s also a cunning piece of rhetoric because it carries the subtext: We have a ‘Plan’, ergo, we know what we’re doing, we are in control, we can be trusted to handle the future.

      Trouble is, a Plan can only ever be about intention. What will/might be done. What is hoped for. What is intended. But not what will actually come to pass. Having a Plan means never having to say your sorry, because Plans often, if not always, go adrift.

      The Labour Party of Great Britain’s use of the term ‘Plan’ is a political ploy intended to deceive.

    76. Mosstrooper says:

      This week, Labour’s 5 point Plan for the future.

      Next week; How to nail Jelly to the ceiling.

    77. Jamie says:

      The job centre in Leith, Edinburgh, is said to have targets, as they all do I remember there was campaigning, leafleting and protests outside that job centre a year or so ago about some of the harsh targets that were being imposed there, I recall on the leaflets at the time that there had been workers from within the job centre who had spoken out about the unfair targets they were forced to achieve, so Labour saying there are no targets is a flat out lie.

      I found the link, the site does not look active anymore but if you scroll down to July 2013 you will see the article arguing the above point.

      http://edinburghagainstcuts.org.uk/?tag=anti-cuts-leith

    78. Fiona says:

      Osborne and Cameron say they have a plan too and that it is working. The electorate appear to believe them, so why would Labour not copy them?

    79. heedtracker says:

      While SLabour and BBC shills play word games with the disastrous chaos and poverty they’ve caused, 150 miles away, in a parallel Norwegian universe this too small, poor, stupid industrial giant launches another multi billion Kvaerner production platform.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5IcTTTNIhac

      Here in teamGB, its sanctioning, soup kitchens, mass teenage unemployment and you got oil price wrong Sturgeon , so you’re a incestuous, folk dancing sadomasochist, although red tory thugs at rancid The Guardian today build on last week’s jaw dropping racism with Salmond is now EDL type thug.

      Watch the video in HD. It’ll make you weep for a once great Scottish industry systematically destroyed by our red and blue tory chums in the south.

    80. scottieDog says:

      Dr Jim
      An economy built on private debt. House of cards

    81. Lesley-Anne says:

      Sorry I forgot to add to my last post.

      With the news that the BBC is now *ahem* operating a *cough* S.N.P. DEFCON warning system I was wondering if Stu would be able incorporate some sort of DEFCON warning system into the Wings home pageto give us an idea what the daily DEFCON state was? 😉

    82. Fiona says:

      @Jamie

      It is the tories who say there are no targets. It is, indeed, a flat out lie. But as usual they give themselves some plausible deniability. They mostly do not set a target: they just give anyone who works in DWP, and who is at the lower end of imposing sanctions compared to colleagues, a hard time. They fear for their jobs and they get the message. The beauty of that for IDS etc is that it is better than “targets”. It causes the staff to increase the incidence of sanctioning progressively because they dare not be in the bottom end of the spectrum. A target would perhaps stay static: this doesn’t

    83. Gary says:

      During the referendum campaign, wasn’t this guy just a troll?

    84. Mosstrooper says:

      @ Lesley-Anne

      As DEFCON is shorthand for Defence readiness Condition, should we not have SHITAWA or, Shite alert Warning.

    85. caz-m says:

      Edward 3.17pm

      “We should just call it as it is and that is the ‘Labour Party in Scotland’ or ‘Labour’s branch office’”

      Or how about, “a shower of lyin bastard’s” Edward?

      Boom! Boom!

    86. Lesley-Anne says:

      @Mosstrooper

      I suppose we could but as everyone in the London centric media seems to consider the S.N.P. a THREAT, I and others await this to be changed to TERRORISTS any day now, I think the DEFCON system may actually be very approrpriate. 😉

      Remember the original DEFCON system has FIVE states.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DEFCON

      The good ol’ boys at the BBC would really only ever need to use THREE states because Levels 1 and 2 would never be used in the BBC because that would mean the extintion of the S.N.P. or near extintion. 😀

    87. Defo says:

      Marr tells it like it is in the NS..

      “A second, more important consequence is that we are quite close to losing the state in which most of us grew up. I think it’s highly likely that we will see enough Conservative and Ukip members elected to deliver an in-out referendum on Britain’s membership of the EU within two years. The way things are, it’s quite likely that we will vote to leave. If Scotland wanted to stay and England wanted to go, what would that do to the already shaky Union?

      It may, anyway, be close to over. I hold my hand up and admit that I was one of those who thought, last summer, that the “Yes” campaign was on course to win. Since then, the surge in SNP membership and support has been remarkable. Labour’s Jim Murphy has the hardest job in politics.

      But it could well be too late. There comes a time when the decay of political parties is inevitably followed by the decay of the power structures they inhabit and give life to. Scotland now appears to be so far to the left of England, or rather the English south, that the separate parts of the UK cannot continue together. Yet if the Union is over, the political shape of England will change, too – you can’t stop a landslide at one arbitrary point. Manchester and the north will demand many more powers from a Westminster government, which may, for other reasons, have had to desert the Palace. In England, the party system will rearrange itself. Everything will look and feel very, very different.”

      https://archive.today/N5mZ2

    88. scottieDog says:

      Was laughing when I saw ‘SNP threat’ caption as Stewart hosie was interviewed by the London fuckwitariat.

    89. Helena Brown says:

      Valerie, we also got a leaflet this morning, such joy, straight into the bin with the other rubbish it was covering so I can only expect it was the same as yours. The Postmen and women have enough to do these days without acting as Labour Activists.

    90. Valerie says:

      Defo @ 5.14, I actually thought that piece by Marr was fairly well written, and thoughtful.

      I generally think of him as a blinded unionist, but fair dues here.

    91. Fiona says:

      @ Helena Brown

      How very dare you?!?

      This is labour’s plan for maintaining employment, you know. It says it on the front of the leaflet

      “Scottish labour has a plan for jobs and security in the workplace”

      Now apologise!!!

    92. Capella says:

      @ heedtracker
      An impressive economy in Norway as you say. I note the platform is the “Edvard Grieg” named after the Norwegian composer whose roots were in Scotland:
      “After the Battle of Culloden in 1746, Grieg’s great-grandfather, Alexander Greig,[4] traveled widely, settling in Norway about 1770, and establishing business interests in Bergen.”
      Wikipedia

      BTW Outlander is on Amazon Prime from the 26th March (as no broadcaster in the UK will broadcast it – set in 1743 just before Grieg’s great grandfather left Scotand.).

    93. Valerie says:

      News! Pete Wishart named Parliamentarian tweeter of the year.

      I’m sure someone on Wings asked us to vote on a link for him, because I remember voting for him.

      He has just blogged, and he is chuffed, as he says he loves Twitter.

      I really must get on there!

    94. Defo says:

      Valerie,
      I agree, but what he’s saying is what we’ve known since way before the referendum. Blinded, or head in the sand like the rest of the establishment?
      Anyhoo, it’s still nice to have the inevitability of Indy acknowledged by an insider.

    95. Lesley-Anne says:

      Can I just go O/T here and say I want to pass on my condolences and prayers to all families and friends who were on board Germanwings flight 4U9525 from Dusseldorf to Barcelona today that crashed in the French Alps earlier today.

      Thankfully, not even sure that is the right word here, they have reportedly already found one of the “Black boxes.”

      There does seem to be some confusion in the media about this flight though. The media seem to be under the impression that the flight was going from Barcelona to Dusseldorf. However, if your a bit of plane geek like moi 😉 , then you tend to visit sites like this.

      http://www.flightradar24.com/56.63,-4.9/7

      From this site and the historical track information on their twitter account it can be clearly seen that the flight was definitely flying FROM dusseldorf TO barcelona.

    96. Grouse Beater says:

      I always liked Duncan’s Hazelnut Chocolate, but this Duncan is just a nut.

      ‘England – Pure and Simple’: http://wp.me/p4fd9j-17d

    97. GM_Dundonian says:

      I can’t believe Andrew Marr wrote that. Got to run, some flying bacon just passed by my window, better catch it for my dinner.

    98. HandandShrimp says:

      So the latest “policy” is a £175m fund to help the poorest.

      The source. Well the SNP have already have a £35m a year fund to help the poorest with the bedroom tax. So if the bedroom tax is scrapped then the £35m can be used to help the poorest. 5 x £35m being £175m

      Now don’t get me wrong. Scrapping the bedroom tax is a sensible move but the £175m is already there so it isn’t exactly largesse writ large.

    99. Lesley-Anne says:

      major OOPS!

      I got my map reading skills upside down regarding Germanwings flight it did take off from Barcelona. … DUH!

    100. Helena Brown says:

      Fiona I don’t see why I should apologise, my poor postman is over worked as it is, having to deliver a load of tosh that is going straight into my recycling bin is an awful waste of time and effort and my recycling bin is just about full up and another week still to go.
      Labour should get some of their overweight cooncillors oot and do some leafleting or are they too good for that?

    101. Gary45% says:

      The Labour party are that bad.

      They couldn’t hit water if they fell out a boat.
      Gary

    102. Fiona says:

      @ Helena Brown

      Just my feeble attempt at a joke. Sorry – I will stick to my serious stuff in future 🙁

    103. Bugger (the Panda) says:

      @
      Defo 5:14p

      Marr, tells it like it is

      He doesn’t mention the Scotland or the SNP once.

    104. GM_Dundonian says:

      @ Helena Brown

      Not too good, just too much hard work. See they are used to the Scots being labour drones, voting them in time after time cause it was the thing to do. They have never had to work for their seats before, it’s all a terrible shock to the poor things. It also appears they are not genetically programmed to answer the publics questions properly!

    105. G4jeepers says:

      @Grouse,

      Wins “Clarkson” award.

    106. Dcanmore says:

      here’s Labour’s position as I understand it:

      Last week I could treat myself to lovely big juicy steak with trimmings, then the Tories came along with austerity and said you can now only have 6oz of steak per week’.

      I say: ‘Wait a minute what is austerity and why is it being foisted onto me?

      Tories say ‘shut up, you’re still getting steak aren’t you’, look at those foreigners, they are in a worse state than you’.

      Labour comes along and say: ‘vote for us because we’ll give you 2oz more than the other lot’.

      I say: WHAT THE FUCK IS AUSTERITY AND WHY DID YOU VOTE FOR IT?

      Labour say: ‘okay we hear you, we are listening, along with the extra 2oz we’ll give* you a Dailylea slice as well.’ (*starting in 2019)

      I say: AAAARGH!

      the end

    107. Brian Doonthetoon says:

      Hi GM_Dundonian.

      Do you work at Ninewells, Level 6, Lab Block?

    108. john king says:

      Valerie say @ 12.41
      “How can the get away with saying they scrapped fees???????”

      Same as they can say they stopped bridge tolls on the Forth and Tay road bridges, justification?
      http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/this-britain/bonus-for-drivers-as-toll-bridge-becomes-a-freeway-679831.html

    109. Lesley-Anne says:

      Well what do you know folks?

      Aparently, an investigation by some M.P.’s has come to the conclusion that … wait for it … the Civil Service’s impartiality was compramised during the referendum by them, the Civil Service, releasing information for partisan reasons.

      https://archive.today/4FgAq

      A new report by the Public Administration Select Committee says the Treasury should never have published its advice about an independent Scotland sharing the pound.
      “Sir Nicholas Macpherson’s advice should not have been published. Its publication compromised the perceived impartiality of one of the UK’s most senior civil servants,” the MPs concluded.

      So, if night follows day, which I am led to believe actually happens in the REAL world, then we can all expect this Sir Nicholas Macpherson to be given his P45 any day now. Oh of course he will also no doubt receive a multi million Golden Goodbye for a job well done! :X:

    110. Brian Doonthetoon says:

      And entry to the HoL trough…

    111. call me dave says:

      labour leaflet for the Kinglassie / Glenrothes West by election this Thursday… nil, zilch, nada, zero. Tumble-weed!
      They have no foot soldiers anymore.

      I have had a personal visit by the tory (nice misguided man) and stuff from the SNP and I have seen SNP people letterbox stuffing three different places in the ward in the last week.

      PS: My, across the road and down a bit, neighbour who voted ‘NO’ told me she’s voting SNP. 🙂

    112. ronnie anderson says:

      One for the Twitter,s Free Speech is on BBC3 now get your questions in.

    113. Tamson says:

      True fact: an anagram of Duncan Hothersall’s name is “Us on Hell handcart”. Quite appropriate, really.

    114. john king says:

      Defo says @ 5.14pm
      “Labour’s Jim Murphy has the hardest job in politics.”

      Heart fuckin broken fur um.

    115. Paula Rose says:

      (Tamson – love that)

    116. Helena Brown says:

      Fiona @ 6.49, not for the world was I offended at your joke, I was making a wee bit of one of my own, if I was getting at anyone it was the lazy Labour Party. I would never offend anyone on Wings, I like you all too much. So we women well we are rotten at jokes so the men say. We have to stick together.

    117. Brian Doonthetoon says:

      As Paula Rose would opine,
      When women stick together, it’s been a good night…

      8=)

    118. icyspark says:

      @Tamson

      Since Dunc work for Jim “I’m not a UHUnionist”, this one works pretty well:

      Sealant Hunch Lord

    119. handclapping says:

      Dont worry Helena, living in Dunfermline does that to a body. If you’re thinking you’ll have to move, there’ll be a fine house in North Queensferry totally modernised at the taxpayers’ expense coming vacant after May 7th. Maybe even reduced price for quick sale 😀

    120. Defo says:

      Bugger (the Panda) says:

      @
      Defo 5:14p

      Marr, tells it like it is

      “He doesn’t mention the Scotland or the SNP once.”

      You didn’t read my quote from him ?

    121. icyspark says:

      @Tamson

      Here’s my favourite:

      A Troll Can End Hush

      As this post proves 🙂

    122. orri says:

      Wouldn’t surprise me if there’s a fairly high percentage of No voters who intend to vote SNP in hopes of Devo-Max. The No campaign, or at least the Record on their behalf, went out of it’s way to portray that as being on the cards when it seemed that a Yes was a possibility. Personally whilst a leap of faith into immediate independence might be tempting a gradual the careful disconnection of Siamese twins might be a more sensible option.

    123. Lesley-Anne says:

      Is he STILL living in North Queensferry HC? 😉

      I am sure the beloved BBC or some other ilk reported after 2010 general election that our beloved house owner was looking for a new house in Edinburgh. There again it might have just been a ruse. 😀

    124. john king says:

      handclapping says @ 8.24
      ” there’ll be a fine house in North Queensferry totally modernised at the taxpayers’ expense coming vacant after May 7th.”

      Dae ye get tae keep the 24 hour polis guard?

    125. Brian Doonthetoon says:

      I don’t know about the police guard but you’ll need a lang spoon to live in North Queensferry.

    126. Bittie Glakit says:

      Here are another couple of pictures based on the conversations on this site. Hope you enjoy them, Cheers

      http://gmtopp.wix.com/altered-images

    127. Free Scotland says:

      Anyone who publicly declares allegiance to labour is admitting to being bereft of the ability to think.

      And, in the biscuit tin of life, Murphy is the mould growing in the seam and causing the fusty smell.

    128. ronnie anderson says:

      Labour’s Jim Murphy has the hardest job in politics.”

      An ma hearts punping piles O pish fur DimJim.

      Helena Brown.

      So we women well we are rotten at jokes so the men say. We have to stick together.

      If you bond wie DimJim he might hiv ah spare crisp poke full.

    129. Defo says:

      john king says:

      24 March, 2015 at 8:14 pm

      Defo says @ 5.14pm
      “Labour’s Jim Murphy has the hardest job in politics.”

      Heart fuckin broken fur um.
      ================================================
      Start a crowd funder, to buy him a leaving prezzie John ?

    130. “3. Make work pay by banning exploitative 0-hour contracts, raising the min wage & extending the Living Wage.”

      …. that’s not banning 0-hour contracts, that’s banning exploitative 0-hour contracts which is not the same thing.

      Trouble is, I’ve asked my Labour MP how they will define exploitative and that’s not been answered yet.

      As for their new improved min wage – work 28,577 hours to get Murphy’s expenses for one year.

    131. Brian Doonthetoon says:

      Hi cynicalHighlander.

      Guid ane!

    132. Paula Rose says:

      Beedeeteetee 8:21 – I hope you have an innocent explanation for that comment?

    133. handclapping says:

      @Arbroath1320
      The rumour now is he’s off to the US of A

      @john king
      Its not the house they’re keepin an eye open for, its the occupant ‘cos he’s
      only got one …
      Can you lend me a jaikit? as I lent mine to Uncle now that winter’s over

      @Brian Dtt
      Its a lang spoon to sup wi a Fifer on account of we only invited Dundonians who couldn’t afford the ferry to dinner.

    134. GM_Dundonian says:

      @ Brian Doonthetoon

      I don’t work there, but I was born at Ninewells.

      I’m currently a Dundonian in exile in Glasgow, work for the University of Glasgow. Also proud to say its a city that voted YES like my hometown Dundee. A belated well done Glaswegians from me 😉

    135. Brian Doonthetoon says:

      Hi handclapping.

      PARP! Lang spoon? Nihin’ else eevin cams close, yi hoormin!
      (My attempt at the Fife patois.)

      .
      Paula Rose – no innocent explanation. My whole understanding of the cultural world was shattered by what went on after Invergowrie 1.

      I’ve no idea if I will ever recover… And that was only reading about it!

    136. Lesley-Anne says:

      If he is HC then they can damned well keep the lazy lying old sod! 😀

    137. Craig vint says:

      Sorry to go O/T but check out NYtimes and search article this snookered isle. Interesting read and blows all merry he’ll out of the austerity agenda.

    138. Brian Doonthetoon says:

      Hi GM_Dundonian.

      You gonna be at the Counting House on 1st May?

      http://wingsoverscotland.com/off-topic/comment-page-21/#comment-1983956

    139. Grouse Beater says:

      Note how the BBC is not squeamish about showing a documentary on how the Scots ‘tried to drive the Irish out of Ireland,’ just two months before the general election, (After Bannockburn, tonight) but have no qualms about blocking transmission of an internally successful Highland set drama series for two whole years before the Referendum.

    140. Fiona says:

      @ Bittie Glakit

      Well up to your usual high standard. I really like your work 🙂

    141. GM_Dundonian says:

      @ Brian Doonthetoon

      First I was aware of this! (i blame not being aware of an off topc section, woops!) If I can get away from work in time I may just pop in. Would be nice to meet some wingers in person.

    142. tombee says:

      Mr Kelly,
      A man who struggles to think of an opinion.

    143. cearc says:

      BDtt,

      Was it the honey, honey?

    144. HandandShrimp says:

      Might take a toddle into the CH myself on the 1st

      🙂

    145. Mr MacBeth says:

      Its just never ending, isn’t it? They are such a wicked, self serving, nasty……no, wait….isn’t that the line we usually use for the Tory Party? Oh…well blow me! Blue Tories, Red Tories…they’re all the same. If that isn’t a reason to vote SNP, I don’t know what is.

    146. neil bruce says:

      tombee says:@10.04

      “Mr Kelly,
      A man who struggles to think of an opinion.”

      That could be shortened to. A man who struggles
      to think.

      Or even shorter to A man who struggles.

    147. Phronesis says:

      Perusing the East Dunbartonshire Labour election leaflet I fear the candidate and Mr Murphy might be a tad confused about which election they’re fighting.
      One pledge is to campaign for
      ‘… better transportation links to the Southern General site’
      eh? that might be news to the Health Board in Glasgow & Clyde who have been planning a £40 million upgrade of the transport system to the new hospital ‘Fastlink’ since its inception.
      Another is to;
      ‘Deliver a new chemotherapy unit at Stobhill hospital’- if they want to read the Health Board’s very detailed outline of the provision of specialist cancer and outreach services in GGHB& Clyde they might find some of the answers that they are looking for without sacrificing any more trees for their leaflets.

    148. Robert Peffers says:

      Aye! Richt!

      “I’m sure I’ll take you with pleasure!” the Queen said. “Two pence a week, and jam every other day.”
      Alice Alex couldn’t help laughing, as s he said, “I don’t want you to hire me – and I don’t care for jam.”
      “It’s very good jam,” said the Queen.
      “Well, I don’t want any to-day, at any rate.”
      “You couldn’t have it if you did want it,” the Queen said. “The rule is, jam to-morrow and jam yesterday – but never jam to-day.”
      “It must come sometimes to ‘jam to-day’,” Alice Alex objected.
      “No, it can’t,” said the Queen. “It’s jam every other day: to-day isn’t any other day, you know.”
      “I don’t understand you,” said Alice Alex. “It’s dreadfully confusing!”

    149. Tamson says:

      @orri, 8.33

      You are probably correct. Moreover, those voters are not being swayed by a “fear factor” that voting SNP will end the Union, as they have been constantly told that the independence question is a settled one.

      I genuinely can’t think of a way the Unionist parties can win back SNP voters. They’re bigging up Salmond as the bogeyman just now, but that can’t keep going forever. Especially when they have to expend significant energy in at least pretending they hate each other.

    150. Robert Peffers says:

      @Fiona says: 24 March, 2015 at 3:06 pm:

      “That is not a “fact”, so far as I am aware: it is a political choice. Why do you think it is a fact?”

      Here’s a stone cold fact, Fiona. Way back in the 1950s I was serving an apprenticeship with the MOD, (Admiralty), and we had a college that taught to second year University standard. I was in the field of Electro/Mechanical/Electronic Engineering and in those days the MOD designed and built their own gear. Most stuff was then still top-secret.

      We had weekly discussion periods and one such concerned something the general public had not then really though about, most didn’t even know what Electronics or computers was.

      The topic one day was, “Automation”, and we had a leading government Boffin who brought up the subject of what the government would need to do when we all led lives of sheer leisure.

      His thought was that the machines would be producing merchandise and doing the donkey work like road sweeping then all things would have to be in public ownership. Otherwise there would be an underclass of poverty stricken people and thus a very grave danger of a modern version of the French Revolution with rich folks heads rolling.

      He foresaw that if there were private individuals being overly rich – privately running the retail, wholesale, manufacturing, financial and public services and doing the administration for profit while many millions of others were starving and living in abject poverty. (Does that sound familiar to you)?

      Even then, aged around 15/16, I said I expected there would likely have to be some form of revolution before there was any form of reasonable sharing of the wealth of the nation. Now remember, I’d been even then, a dedicated supporter of the SNP for around 9 years.

      The Boffin type seemed taken aback and asked why I was so very cynical at such a young age. I replied that I’d observed the ruling classes first hand and they, and the other rich folks were greedy and heartless and their charity was hard and very, very cold being mainly more for assuaging their conscience than a genuine love of their fellow man.

      So which of us, the elderly otherworldly Boffin Professor guy or the wee young apprentice laddie from a poor home was nearer the truth?

    151. DerekM says:

      hmmmff Hothersall and his mob were the ones who messed it all up in the first place ,the tories just grabbed the baton and continued Crash and Flippers program but changed the names and ramped it up so fuck you Dunc you little tosser.

      I for nearly 4 years until my father passed away with pancreatic cancer had to leave my job and then drop of the system as i could not get a carers allowance (after being made to jump through many hoops) due to my savings and could not claim JSA because i wasnt looking for a job, plus i got sanctioned for leaving my job,the people in the job center were in my opinion not to blame their hands were tied and the lovely girl who was my adviser broke down and cried when she could not help me and she really tried her best and got into trouble i will be forever thankful to her for trying,i heard she left not long after i dont know if she quit or was sacked 🙁

      Looking after my father who was bed ridden for a long time after going through a whipple operation to save his life took up all my time and a few quid from benefits would have made things so much easier,this after me working for 30 plus years solid paying my taxes in the end i had to use my savings as my father only had his state pension,yea thanks UK government you heartless bastards.

      Sorry about my language but you can probably tell this really upsets me and my blood boils when i think about it, so much for a safety net i fell right through it 🙁

      But i do have to give credit to the wonderful people in the SNHS they were just brilliant and pulled a miracle off as my father was not expected to live more than 6 months,as were the angels from the Macmillan cancer support i really dont know what i would have done without them God bless them all 🙂

      Now im going to pull out my punchbag and give it a bloody good walloping got to get the anger out my blood.

    152. Fiona says:

      @ Robert Peffer

      I agree. As I said, it is a deliberate political choice. Unfortunately, for reasons which genuinely escape me, the people have voted for neoliberalism. I understand that the propaganda is relentless and it is powerful. Nevertheless it is mysterious that folk should vote so completely against their own interests for such a long time.

    153. K1 says:

      I think people just got caught up in living Fiona, and for many the referendum opened their eyes. I saw a wee tweet conversation on Rev’s twitter earlier and a woman was feeling very angry having invested in voting Labour for 40 years.

      She was having a hard time coming to terms with the realisation of what has happened. It’s been subtle and as we know conditioning is silent, people don’t notice unless a perspective is laid bare, the ref. process switched on a nation it seems.

    154. Fiona says:

      You may be right in how it happened K1. I sincerely hope you are right in your conclusion

    155. I’ve been leading a campaign to have the UN open an investigation into Britain’s benefit sanctions regime. This is in addition to what has been widely reported: an unconfirmed, high-level inquiry by a United Nations committee, as a result of “grave or systemic violations” of the rights of disabled people.

      My Disability Studies Blackboard: The Jobcentre Sanctions Scandal In Britain: With Limited Access To Food Banks, Destitution Is A High Risk For Hundreds of Thousands http://mydisabilitystudiesblackboard.blogspot.ca/2013/03/the-jobcentre-sanctions-scandal-in.html was one of my earlier posts on this matter to senior UN officials. Seven months ago, I wrote the following letter to then High Commissioner Navi Pillay; it can be viewed here: http://twishort.com/AAigc. I’m presently compiling an ongoing bibliography of news articles and NGO reports pertaining to benefit sanctions in the United Kingdom and will submit it to the UN’s human rights office. That office will shortly be receiving a copy of the Work and Pensions Committee’s report on benefit sanctions policy—and will be awaiting the Government’s response to that Committee’s report.

      Britain’s benefit sanctions regime is one of the harshest of all OECD countries—and possibly its most corrupt—if the allegations of widespread “stitching up” of claimants are proven true. Jobcentres have become sanction factories, and are under enormous pressure to financially penalize jobseekers because the DWP’s primary mission is to save staggering sums of £s in benefits provision.

      In my opinion, Jobcentre staff are knowingly engaging in conduct that involves dishonesty, fraud, deceit, and misrepresentation.

      I have very strong views on Britain’s benefit sanctions regime: http://tinyurl.com/o7la4e6. I believe that benefit claimant ‘stitching-up’ needs to recognized as a criminally indictable offense. See also: http://mydisabilitystudiesblackboard.blogspot.ca/2015/03/benefit-sanctions-are-jeopardizing.html.

      Employment minister Esther McVey is blaming front-line Jobcentre staff for unfair benefit sanctioning practices instead of taking responsibility for the culture that she has created. The DWP ministers have the authority to crack down on this type of malfeasance, but have chosen not to do so because it’s being committed at their behest.

      McVey was adamant that there are no sanctions targets, which I firmly believe is a lie, given the preponderance of evidence from whistle-blowers. I was concerned that Tory members on the Work and Pensions Committee would fight any attempt to have its report conclude that there were indeed sanctions targets, lest they expose the Employment Minister as a liar.

      My letter to the Guardian’s Patrick Butler was written prior to the Work and Pensions Committee announcing a second evidence session into benefit sanctions. An independent public inquiry is needed because the DWP cannot be trusted to impartially investigate itself; moreover, the Work and Pensions Committee is prohibited from investigating individual cases, as are all Select Committees in Parliament.

      I urge you to read https://thepoorsideoflife.wordpress.com/2015/02/27/disabled-sanctioned-for-3-months-over-christmas-and-forced-to-attend-the-jobcentre-daily/ and other harrowing blog pieces from that site.

      I personally don’t believe in sanctions, preferring the carrot to the stick approach. But at the very least, there should be a moratorium on benefit sanctions in Britain—and they should only resume if there is clear evidence that targets for sanctions have been abolished, along with unjust and fraudulent sanctions. Why should benefit claimants continue to suffer because of malfeasance in the current benefit sanctions regime?

      Business Minister Nick Boles has stated that inhumane and unreasonable benefit sanctions can be only be addressed in the next parliamentary term. That’s blatantly untrue! This problem can be solved in an instant by having either Employment Minister Esther McVey or Iain Duncan Smith, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, issue a directive to all senior Jobcentre mangers, instructing them to cease and desist levying unjust and inappropriate sanctions on benefit claimants.

      Full disclosure: Since January 2012, I have been reporting voluntarily to the UN’s human rights office, in Geneva, on the welfare crisis for Britain’s sick and disabled. [Fellow Canadian Leilani Farha (@leilanifarha) is the UN Special Rapporteur on adequate housing; see http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Housing/Pages/LeilaniFarha.aspx. You can tweet her on UK housing issues or e-mail her at the UN’s human rights office: srhousing [at] ohchr [dot] org; she does follow my Twitter account.]

      (Montreal, Canada)



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