The world's most-read Scottish politics website

Wings Over Scotland

The limits of ambition

Posted on December 11, 2014 by

Labour have already been widely derided for their feeble plan to increase the minimum wage to £8 by 2020 – a level likely to barely keep pace with inflation. But it turns out they’ve got a goal even more pathetic for people trying to survive on meagre incomes.

The following extract comes from a piece on LabourList this week by the shadow Work and Pensions secretary, Rachel “we’ll cut welfare more than the Tories” Reeves.

“In 2010, there were 3.4 million workers paid less than the Living Wage. By 2014, that had risen to 4.9 million people.

That staggering figure should shame this government into action. But David Cameron and George Osborne’s aren’t shamed by low pay. They spend more time thinking about the privileged few rather than thinking about the lives of millions of working people.

In September Ed Miliband laid out six goals for the next Labour government. Goal number one: halve the number of people in low paid jobs by 2025.

Why? Because one in five people who work doesn’t earn enough to live on in Britain. And low pay comes at a huge cost – to workers, to taxpayers and to the economy.”

So Labour’s grand aspiration is to still have 2.5 million people on poverty pay after TEN YEARS of Labour government? The best they can offer in return for TWO terms of power (which would of course by then mean Labour governments for 23 out of 28 years) is that anyone working hard for a miserable income will have a 50/50 chance of a bare-minimum acceptable standard of living by the end of it?

Almost three quarters of the people who Labour left with pay that wasn’t enough to live on in 2010 will still be on inadequate wages FIFTEEN YEARS later. And that’s the best-case scenario, if Labour actually reaches its target, which it never does.

The people doing the labouring never seem to be the ones who get to go to the party.

Print Friendly

    3 Trackbacks/Pingbacks

    1. 11 12 14 12:00

      The limits of ambition | FreeScotland

    2. 11 12 14 12:34

      The limits of ambition | Politics Scotland | S...

    3. 11 12 14 12:43

      The limits of ambition - Speymouth

    111 to “The limits of ambition”

    1. themadmurph says:

      Look after the party and the party will look after you!! It’s the Labour way!

      No mention of the electorate!

    2. Taffie says:

      Fair play to the Tories – they are the party of the establishment and have always wanted to serve the interest of the wealthy. At least they are standing up to their electoral commitments and party ethos – one that I hate, but at least they are honest to it.

      But there is a special place in Hell for the Labour aparatchiks, who have betrayed their party, their voters and their integrity in the pursuit of expenses claims, second houses in London and a whiff of power. They are lower even than the Lib Dems.

    3. Silver19 says:

      9% pay rise for MP’s next year. This sums it up :-

    4. Morag says:

      But, you know, SNP bad – right?

    5. joe kane says:

      Has Labour stopped going on about their beloved “squeezed middle” then?

      So Labour are going to force taxpayers to subsidise rich employers who refuse to pay workers a wage they can live on. As WOS noted on its Twitter account a few weeks ago, it’s ordinary people that ultimately pay the bills for Labour’s policies not the rich, who continued to accumulate wealth through Labour’s last thirteen years of government.

      Surely in the 21st century it can’t be acceptable that people who do the right thing and work hard are facing such choices, with many relying on food banks to survive.
      – As always with the ghoulish ex-City banker Rachel Reeves, there’s an implication of moral judgement about the victims of neoliberal economic policies which are deliberately designed to create mass unemployment because it suits the interests of the rich. Who gets to sit in judgement on whether poor people have done the right thing and what is their punishment if found guilty?

    6. gillie says:

      “Our top priority was, is and always will be CUTS, CUTS, CUTS”– Ed Miliband

      Poverty of mind will bring poverty of body.

    7. Morag says:

      My God, did he actually say that?

    8. Dcanmore says:

      It’s where Labour has always gotten their vote, among the poor. Keep people dependent on low wages and you have apathy, low election turnouts and a solid core vote especially for by-elections. It’s the perpetual struggle, to motivate people into voting for them because there’s always the other Party to blame for their poverty. Blair/Brown blew that out of the water as they chased the Tory vote. Miliband doesn’t understand the shift that has happened. The poor and despondent are moving away from Labour in droves, the smoke and mirrors act is not working.

      Ed might think he’s Red, but his party is something else, he can’t hide the fact that he is the archetypal public school boy educated London millionaire. You can’t buy off the poor with promises of crumbs anymore, the poor and the principled are looking elsewhere for hope.

    9. jackie g says:

      I see that our old friend Mr Robinson is at it again..praising ED on his new mission for this week.

      Labour leader Ed Miliband is setting out his economic plans in a speech promising a “tough but balanced” approach to cutting the £90bn deficit.

      Yes ED its a fair bet that there will be a lot of ‘cuts’ to the welfare system to help ‘hard working families’ ie the Middle class to keep them in the syle they are accustomed to.

      We would not want to be associated with the poor working class no no that would not do.

    10. Morag says:

      Dcanmore, that sort of feeds into something else people have been saying about Labour. That they long ago stopped being a party of mass membership or wanting to be, because it’s far easier to control the agenda and get your own plans implemented if one wee clique controls everything. So they haven’t done anything to encourage new members.

      So, a wee clique makes the decisions and nods them through, and a mass of poverty-stricken voters vote Labour on spinal reflex because Labour is the party they believe “stands up for them”.

      And they stay poor and nothing ever gets better and certain people feather their own nests and so it goes on. The ones who figure out how it works weasel into the clique of party activists and brown-nose to be given a safe seat, then spend the next 20 years as lobby fodder, collecting the expenses.

    11. Can we post your good information on other sites, or do we need permission?

    12. chalks says:

      Unfortunately most folk will look at what the tories are offering, which is less isn’t it?

      And vote Labour, because it’s something more than the tories.

      Pathetic country we live in.

      People hold all the power in their hands but they let it go.

    13. Jim Graham says:

      No wonder Labour can’t countenance something as wonderful as Independence. They are truly scared of the day they were born. Pathetic.

    14. Tamson says:

      Presumably will podmore will be here soon to demand that we list all the progressive policies of the SNP.

    15. Fiona says:


      Is it less? How so? I see no difference between tory and labour. While they continue to justify their actions on the necessity of reducing the deficit there can be no difference unless they propose to do so by increasing tax rather than reducing public spending. Labour are not going to do that except at the margins and that is not going to make much difference

      What is required is recognition that reducing debt and deficit through austerityis not a good idea in the first place. I don’t hear that case being made by any westminster party, nor anywhere in the MSM, where the need to do so is taken as a given.

    16. HandandShrimp says:

      I thought the £8 minimum wage by 2020 was absolutely appalling. As noted, that simply pegs the minimum wage at current values once inflation has eaten into its value. Even the Tories have been doing that much.

      A commitment to raise it to £8 at today’s values…now that would be worth having. How about it Ed (or any of the Labour peeps that look in). A commitment worthy of the name? Assuming an inflation rate of 2.5% this would mean a minimum wage of £9.30 by 2020.

    17. Macart says:

      So basically they aspire to fail.

      Haud me back. 😮

    18. HandandShrimp says:


      According to Will he is a radical socialist and doesn’t like Labour either. Thing is I am sceptical as to whether the Communist Party of the UK will win the election so his concern about the SNP not being as progressive as the Podmore Popular Front is academic. The SNP are still a better, fairer Government than Labour, Liberal or Tory ones.

    19. Ericmac says:

      The most important point for us all to remind ourselves of, is the ‘Economic Drift’ between Scotland and England generally.

      Scotland’s indicators generally are worse than much of the UK regions and definetely worse than England’s as a whole.

      Standard of living is lower.
      Salary average and salary distribution lower.
      Percentage of NEETs higher. (16 – 18 year olds not in education, employment or training)

      This ‘Economic Drift’ is the VERY reason that Labour cannot manage us from Westminster (regardless of who becomes leader). It is impossible for Labour to develop policies that can satisfy England and Scotland simultaneously.

      This should be our narrative. It should be expounded at every opportunity.

      Labour is an English Westminster Party, satisfying the Red Rose of middle England. It cannot grasp the thistle in Scotland.

      Scotland cannot afford to be a Labour Colony any longer.

    20. Smithie says:

      Tony Benn in a two minute clip of an interview sums it all up i think.

    21. Edulis says:

      Did you see on BBC News yesterday that old biddy in Kilsyth say that she has always voted Labour and always will no matter her circumstances? Fortunately, for my sanity, the younger element of the town have a different view.

    22. HandandShrimp says:


      On the other hand, it is old biddies like that which scupper the so called “tactical voting” aspiration of the Nay Sayers. Many traditional Labour voters would sooner stick pins in their eyes than vote Tory.

      As for Tory voters returning a Labour candidate thus possibly ensuring Ed has a majority…now that is an entertaining thought.

    23. chalks says:


      Have the tories said they’d increase the minimum wage to that amount by 2020?

      Like it or not, I’m only pointing out what people think in England…as there is no other option for them

    24. Jim Mitchell says:

      And today in Labour list they proudly present a speech that ed is to make outlining how labour will go about cuts when their in office, warning, it’s grim stuff!

    25. Aidan says:

      Suspect many Labour politicians join Labour purely for their own wages. Attendance at WM votes seems to back that theory up.

    26. Graeme Doig says:

      “Why? Because one in five people who work doesn’t earn enough to live on in Britain.”

      If her maths is as good as her grammar it’s no wonder Labour can shout about their 8 quid an hour by 2020 with a straight face.

      (grammar snob and pedant comment of the day for me)

      More platitudes and rhetoric from Labour.

    27. Ken500 says:

      Average wage in Scotland is £21K

      Average wage in the rest of the UK is 25K

      Scotland raises £53Billion in taxes. Rest of the UK raises £467Billion. Scotland has lost £4Billion+ a year in Oil tax revenues, since 2011 Budget. Pays £4Billion a year in loan repayments it doesn’t borrow or spend. Rest of the UK borrows and spends £100Billion a year more. Pro rata £10Billion. Scotland could save £3Billion a year on Trident and a tax on ‘loss leading’ drink. The average wage in Scotland would increase and fuel poverty would decrease.

    28. Stoker says:

      OT but very important news and we’re well past the first 10 comments.

      MoD to move UK’ only rescue coordination centre to England:


    29. frankieboy says:

      I have been arguing for years about low pay and benefits. I have tried on BBC Radio programmes written to MP’s and MSP’s and anyone who would listen and none of them did.
      It goes like this: Most of the jobs now at least in Glasgow come through employment agencies. They are paid as much as 40% over what a worker actually receives in pay. (I know, a company sent me the invoices by mistake). Subsequently, if statistics are drawn up from asking employers what their wage bill is then the average earnings figure will be higher than what it really is.
      The worker does not have enough money so seeks benefits to top-up their income. They are in effect living on benefits but because it is not ‘unemployment benefit’ then that figure is actually going down because the person is in employment.
      So, depending on how stats are collated. with this scenario, unemployment is going down and wages are actually going up.
      Meanwhile, the government is subsidising employers but allowing tax-credits/housing benefits etc and allowing parasitic agencies to profit from it. Moreover, they pay low wages to Job Centre staff, where it is supposed that jobs are found.
      My solution would be to insist that employers pay the employees the full amount instead of to a gang master. This would A- increase the average wage B- reduce benefit costs and C- make workers happier and probably more productive. There is a need for agencies dealing with temporary short-term staff. However, many of them are making very big sums of money taking money off low-paid workers, week-in, week-out, and the Government (us) are paying for it.

    30. fred blogger says:–benefits-and-high-taxes-make-us-all-richer-while-inequality-takes-a-hammer-to-a-countrys-growth-9914941.html tory myth busted, yet labour still follow the tories.
      swede’s experimenting with a 6hr working day, and going well.
      danish chip fryers on over £13/hr + work benefits, full union, 6wks paid holiday pa, 5day wk, enhanced overtime rates, and other state benefits, 75% of costs towards childcare, massive state pensions.
      with 65% of scots using foodbanks being in work poverty.
      UK tax base shrinking through lack of job’s creation investment, greedy bankers, investors, and 35yrs of sell offs.
      in the words of sherlock blah blah blah, only one thing remains.
      WM is greedy, want’s it all, and blames the poor for being impoverished.
      WM politicians have morphed into oliver twist and want more more from the poor, to feed their lavish lifestyle.

    31. Derick fae Yell says:


      Nothing is lower than the Lib Dems. Men of Straw as Winnie Ewing was wont to say

    32. galamcennalath says:

      The minimum wage across Western Europe seems pathetic anyway:

      France €9.43
      Belgium €9.12
      Ireland €8.65
      Netherlands €8.53
      Germany €8.50
      United Kingdom €8.35

      .. and it worse in the East.

      Perhaps a more important figure would be what percentage are at or near the minimum wage in each country. Standards of living vary too, so percentages below a living wage would give a full picture.

      Nordic countries don’t seem to have one. We can safely assume wages are higher there anyway. The moral perhaps is that Scotland should aspire to be like Denmark, Norway, Sweden. Which we know.

      Labour don’t aspire to very much, other than self interest, do they?

    33. Brian Powell says:

      There is the french paper that labelled the UK, the kingdom of the working poor.

    34. Stoker says:

      George Gannon says:
      “Can we post your good information on other sites, or do we need permission?”

      I don’t think the Rev has a problem with people doing that but i think you would be better confirming that with him via the “contact” option at the very top of the page.

    35. YESGUY says:

      Am i the only one who takes these policies with a pinch. No matter what labour offer, it will be nothing short of a plaster on a gunshot wound.

      They lie, they lie, they lie. Thats the message i shout out and give them plenty of info to check up on.

      I know there are the die hard labour voters out there but i believe most folk know they are at it . The Labour party work for middle England full stop.

      the referendum opened many eyes and ears to the spin and drivel thrown out at us and although it won them a referendum, i doubt it will be enough to win seats in Scotland. Most labour supporters i know are looking elsewhere.

      Council tax rises. Labour policy.
      No “up front fees” for education . A wee loan will sort you out.
      Welfare caps. Regardless of circumstances. (loony’s)
      Bus passes – bye bye.
      Oh and what about bedroom tax ? Are they against it ? None showed up for the vote against.
      Worst pensions anywhere.
      No state support for under 25’s ( But you can work, have a family, join our forces and pay tax. Lots.
      never mind the £8 an hour we might get by 20 whatever.

      I could go on all day.

      Roll on spring. I know deep down in my bones labour are finished. Mouthpieces for middle England politics. Scotland is on a different page.

      And i must admit , although i have never met the woman , and never want to, I hate that liar Curren. Stairhead rammy and your friendly backstabber. ( sympathy for Jola ???)nah. just kidding. 🙂

    36. Luigi says:

      Jim Graham says:

      11 December, 2014 at 11:58 am

      No wonder Labour can’t countenance something as wonderful as Independence. They are truly scared of the day they were born. Pathetic

      I get the impression that many Scottish unionist politicians (the common ones) feel that they were born in the wrong place. No silver spoon for starters, but with the Scottish Red Tories it’s even worse – they are Scottish (cringe!!!).

      Listen to Jackie Ballie speak – it’s a perfect example of a broad Scottish accent that has been anglicised. The “r”s have been battered down completely to “aaahs” the extent that she now sounds like she has a speech impediment. She doesn’t, but she may have had more than a few lessons to anglicise her speech (with disasterous results). Down in London, the real toffs (who they aspire to) mock them, (remember “Gorbals Mick”?), thus causing much upset and personal embarrassment, leading to sensitivity to anything non-British, such as the SNP (bad bad bad) and a broad Scottish accent (bad bad bad).

      They are all Pwoud Scots.

    37. Luigi says:

      The Red Tories yearn for acceptance down in the big city, but they will always be mocked and despised by their “betters”. They truly are the most wretched of creatures.

    38. ronnie anderson says:

      FMQs its not often John Swinny gets rattled but Jackie Baillie got his goat today,more fire John an dont miss well it would be hard to miss J Baillie.

    39. Davy says:

      The one thing you can count on from Labour is the party comes first and foremost, and no organsations or institutations, no public need, no country requirements will be allowed to interfer with that.

      The red tories will do or say anything to help themselves, their supporters are no more than a “back” to climb on for the chosen few at the top.

      If you vote labour you are just voting tory with a different label.

    40. Sinky says:

      Though Nicola was looking very tidy to-day but more importantly was very competent throughout.

      And guess what BBC poster boy Nigel Falange is on Question Time yet again to-night(Good article on UKIP leader in The National).

      The Scottish broadcasting democratic deficit continues apace.

    41. fred blogger says:

      and some say don’t get angry!
      i see basil fawlty as a calming influence.

    42. Sinky says:

      Luigi says

      Jackie Baillie’s accent is down to the fact that she was educated at a very expensive fee paying school in England.

    43. think again says:

      By definition the minimum wage is an affront to the dignity of people and the value of their labour. To enshrine in law a wage that denies a “living wage” is an attack on the very basis of human society and calls into question the moral compass of those who support it and those companies which are more than happy to pay it.

      It was perhaps the law of unintended consequences, to give Labour the benefit of the doubt, when they introduced it that so many household names would see it as a way of enforcing pay cuts on their staff and use it as a means of increasing profits.

      Had the minimum wage kept pace with that of the seriously, obscenely rich it would be a far different picture.

      Grass roots Labour supporters see the world as it was, when their party fought for them and they seem blind or oblivious to the fraud that is now presented to them as social policy.

      Many, previously Labour supporters, have moved to the side of the independence cause as the only possible chance of securing a country that is fairer and more socially just.

      With luck and hard work the rest will perhaps begin to realise that Labour has become the Tories in drag, as is often said on here two cheeks of the same erse.

    44. MarkAustin says:

      Labour ceased to be the party of the poor many, many years ago. They are the party of the people that does things for (and to) the poor. Consequently, they need a copnstant supply of poor people to justify their wages.

      So, you get complex and bizarre programs of the type beloved by Crash Broon, which serve largely to provide meployment for those who work with the poor.

      Try it some day. Find a Labour person, and say that the problem of the poor is that they don’t have enough money, and you will get an increasingly surreal series of arguments essentially saying No, what they really need is this that or the other programs to look after and infantalise them. A classic example is the proposals to cap or control rents. We don’t need this. What is needed is more houses, in particular houses for social renting. Given that, the market would look after rents.

    45. Roland Smith says:

      There is a trend nowadays for politicians, especially Labour to make claims for dates that are so far in the future they are clearly sound bites. It was a trend used frequently in the referendum campaign where the IFS would project so far into the future it was unbelievable.
      As politicians and economic experts don’t seem to figure out what will actually happen in the next quarter this trend to claiming things will be done in the next decade is laughable.

    46. Graeme Doig says:

      I may be wrong but wasn’t it a Labour MP/MSP who admitted recently that these pre-election ‘promises’ mean nothing anyway. The truth for once i suppose.

      The low paid in Scotland can pin nothing substantial on any promises made by WM as the ‘trickle up’ gravy train gathers pace. The only ‘trickle down’ evident in society today is actually a deluge of shite!

      (and if anyone wants to check my comments for spelling and grammar i should probably get hypocrite of the day as well 🙂 )

    47. auldmcintosh says:

      Stoker, have you not seen the wood yet, London (Westminster) are stripping out all the assets in Scotland because when Scotland decides to go it alone there will be no assets left that London needs to use, case in point Air Traffic Control eastern Atlantic is controlled at Prestwick but in the near future the recognised traffic routes are to be scrapped and its to be a devil take the hindmost and as there is no maritime air coverage funny things like submarine periscopes in our inshore waters require USA and Canada to divert their aircraft across to here to take a looksee.

    48. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “Can we post your good information on other sites, or do we need permission?”

      Spread information far and wide, man. (Don’t just lift the complete text of articles without asking, obviously, but the whole idea is to get the word out.)

    49. Muscleguy says:


      Meanwhile C4 News had a woman saying she had always voted Labour but ‘NEVER, NEVER, NEVER again’. She was impressively adamant about it. I met not a few like that on the doorsteps here in Dundee campaigning for RIC in the referendum. We were only a bit ahead of Greater Glasgow in voting Yes so there should more of C4’s example than Biased EBC’s. A very large proportion of those woken up and first time ever enrolled for the referendum (did more than a few myself) won’t vote Labour and the automatic re-enrollment will help to keep them enrolled. I’m hoping RIC in the GE will run a campaign to keep people enrolled and voting. We have already delivered leaflets here in Dundee thanking folk for voting Yes on one side and urging them to stay enrolled and vote in the GE on the other. These were specifically delivered in the poorest, more hardcore Yes areas first. Nobody I met in person delivering them was either uninterested or dismissive or refused to take one.

      If similar areas in Glasgow are like this then Labour is in deep shit. Note Dundee West is still Labour for Westminster too (SNP for Holyrood). The omens are good.

    50. Stoker says:

      @ auldmcintosh,

      Yes, my friend, very aware of what they’re doing but nevertheless its now official and was breaking important news – another piece of important infrastructure removed from Scotland.

      As for “sighted periscopes” – don’t get me started on that one.
      Utter nonsense created for propaganda purposes.

    51. ronald alexander mcdonald says:

      Pay Labour MP’s the minimum wage. That would concentrate the mind.

    52. ronnie anderson says:

      @ Graeme Doig its ma day aff fae pedantry lol nae smilie thingies.

    53. Snode1965 says:

      IMO the main rump of New Labour support is not the old school socialist, Labour till I die voters. No when Blair gained power he built up a massive public sector workforce which, backed by the Public sector Unions, have grown ever wealthier. This is the New Labour Middle Scotland.Their problem now is that Austerity demands chopping these workers and with that their votes.

    54. Jim McIntosh says:


      “The one thing you can count on from Labour is the party comes first and foremost, and no organsations or institutations, no public need, no country requirements will be allowed to interfer with that. The red tories will do or say anything to help themselves, their supporters are no more than a “back” to climb on for the chosen few at the top. If you vote labour you are just voting tory with a different label.”

      Excellent statement – the sort of reply that could be used to answer any SLAB question at FMQ.

      You ARE Alec Salmond 🙂

    55. Luigi says:

      Muscleguy says:

      11 December, 2014 at 1:49 pm

      If similar areas in Glasgow are like this then Labour is in deep shit. Note Dundee West is still Labour for Westminster too (SNP for Holyrood). The omens are good.

      Aye, if (and it’s very big IF) the people who voted YES in 2014, but don’t normally vote, can be persuaded/ motivated to turn out and vote again in 2015.

      If they do, Labour are well and truly stuffed, but it is a very big ask.

    56. Dr Jim says:

      Re Jackie Baillie’s privately manufactured accent, i speak fluent Spanish, does’nt make me any brainier, wish it did. Although to a Spaniard I sound pretty scruffy because i speak Madrid slang, i should add that i did’nt know that when i was learning, too late now. I think at one time people in Scotland immediately felt subservient when they heard this type of Englified accent because it sounded like our masters in the big southland but today only the older generation i think still have a lingering respect for that nonsense, the young? not so much, and i’d put money on that, thank goodness accents are mattering a whole lot less in our country now and all of our good Regional Scottish sounds are to be celebrated even my Glasgow accent…I am Alex Salmond

    57. Albalha says:


      “We were only a bit ahead of Greater Glasgow in voting Yes so there should more of C4’s example than Biased EBC’s.”

      From my reading of the figures the RIC canvassed areas of Dundee were way ahead of those in Glasgow in Yes voting percentage terms. The lowest Menzieshill at 67% (highest at 80% plus, as for Glasgow think the highest was 57%, so not really comparable area for area. I suppose 4 percentage, or so, points overall may be your point but that masks the reality, I think.

      Also Dundee West is in the bag for the SNP, no doubt about that, unless they pick a duff candidate, doubt that though.

      The Glasgow seats need strong candidates from the SNP, let’s see who they choose. Quite the competition, I’m told there are 10 plus ‘applicants’ in some. Funny to see just how many people have discovered an appetite for a seat at Westminster.

    58. ian says:

      There has always been a good solution to the UK’s financial problems. Recover and close the corporation tax loop-holes instead of demonising all people on social security benefits.The amount of tax avoided by said corporations and individuals is a hundred times what is defrauded from social security benefits.All of the main partys should be pursuing this with great haste,i wonder why they dont?Its some of the rich ,powerful and greedy who are the real problem in the uk but its always been the way for the poor to be exploited by such people.

    59. CameronB Brodie says:

      As for those whose duty it was to dispense to the poor
      the love of God and to treat all men charitably, they were
      in love only with power and riches, and made an empty
      show of justice and integrity. Right to them meant ugly tyranny,
      harshness, severity to no purpose. They made laws in favor of the king
      and allowed such as favoured the people to lapse.

      (Luís de Camões, Os Lusiadas, Segundo o legitimo texto, Tomo Segundo, Avinhaõ: Francisco Seguin, 1818, Canto Nono, #28, p. 120.)

    60. Lesley-Anne says:

      Good old Labour doing its utmost best to look after the people. No NOT the REAL people like those on LOW incomes I mean of course the Millionaires, M.P.’s and Lords who must all be permitted to continue to live the lives they have become accustomed to living. We can’t have any of those nasty little oinks i.e. the WORKERS earning a decent wage they might start getting ideas above their station in life. No best keep the workers down where the hierarchy can keep an eye on them!

    61. CameronB Brodie says:

      Is this not English Socialism (Ingsoc)?

    62. CameronB Brodie says:

      Can I stick my neck out here, and suggest that referring to the EBC may be confusing to some newbies. We don’t have a fight with England nor the English. It is Warminster and the British state that has it’s boot on our throat.

      (ducks and covers 🙂 )

    63. CameronB Brodie says:

      It’s the responsibility of the British state, to look after the wealth of the nation, if you see what I mean. 😉

    64. Lesley-Anne says:

      CameronB Brodie says:

      It’s the responsibility of the British state, to look after the wealth of the nation, if you see what I mean. 😉

      Gotchya Cameron. 😉

      I agree with your sentiment about referring to the EBC Cameron I think it would be far better for everyone to refer to it not as the EBC but as the UKIP Channel. It would get the same message across and it would not, in my blinkered view 🙂 , upset our English readers so much. At least I hope it doesn’t.

    65. lumilumi says:

      galamcennalath @ 12.47pm
      Nordic countries don’t seem to have one [minimum wage]. We can safely assume wages are higher there anyway. The moral perhaps is that Scotland should aspire to be like Denmark, Norway, Sweden.

      Finland doesn’t have a minimum wage, either.
      (Some pedantry: Scandinavian countries = Sweden, Norway, Denmark, (Iceland); Nordic countries = Scandinavian countries + Finland (+ Iceland if not included in the Scandinavian lot) 🙂 )

      Anyway, the way it works in Nordic countries is that there’s this system of tripartite collective bargaining. The government, employers’ organizations and employees’ organizations (trade unions) come together and agree on terms and conditons of employment for typically 2-4 years. This is done sector by sector and doesn’t happen all in one year but continuously as a sector’s agreement lapses.

      Each sector then has a collective agreement that defines the minimum wage for that sector, working hours, overtime pay, holiday entitlement, etc. These collective agreements are binding even if you’re not a member of a trade union or your employer is not a member of an employers’ organization.

      Most employment sectors have such a collective agreement so in effect there is a minimum wage, which varies sector by sector. People flipping burgers at McDonald’s are covered by the catering industry collective agreement, supermarket check-out personnel by the retail collective agreement, a logger by the forestry industry collective agreement and so on.

      Most employment in Finland is covered by these collective agreements. I’m a freak because I happen to work in a tiny sector with no collective agreement. Several years ago, when I was still an employee, my salary nonetheless closely followed other comparable “academic” professions and the average pay. It was thought to be fair by my employers who wanted to keep me there. Now I’m self-employed and sometimes I earn more, sometimes (too often 🙁 ) less.

      Out of curiosity, I checked the Wikipedia list of European countries by average wage.

      I sorted the table by “net €” (blue column) for easy comparison. If you discount mini-states and tax-havens (Apologies to any Lichtensteinians, Monacoans and Sanmarionans), the ranking is:
      1. Switzerland
      2. Norway
      3. Luxenbourgh
      4. Denmark
      5. Sweden
      6. UK
      7. Finlnd
      8. Andorra
      9. Iceland
      10. Ireland

      The important thing to notice here is that this is about average wage = all the wages/salaries paid divided by the working population. A country might have some very, very high earners that skew up the “average pay”. Some countries have far more equal pay (nobody gets paid obscene money, very few a lot, most average, and some low).

      As a Finn, MSM bombarded with how the Germans have higher pay and lower taxes, it was interesting to see that the German gross pay is higher but net pay lower than in Finland… But that doesn’t account for total tax take, such as VAT, which is how most Finns pay a lot to the national treasury. Your income tax might be 9.25% but you still pay 10% VAT on books and magazines, 17% VAT on food and 24% VAT on just about everything else (including children’s clothes).

      These are not simple things with simple answers, and it’s difficult to compare different systems and, indeed, different cultures, and different political cultures. The culture in the Nordic countries has always been more egalitarian than in England (and I use that word advisedly. England is the largest and most populous and therefore most influential country in the uneasy UK context.)

      Despite of “right wing” (a bit left of the British Labour) policies of the current Finnish goverment, and a tentative political discourse on more right policies, even talking about possible NATO membership, the general electorate in Finland are having none of that.

      Even now many well-off people are happy to pay high taxes for the sake of an egalitarian society. Universalism means that your toddler will get a state-subsidised place in a nursery and then graduate to the Finnish school system – one of the best in the world according to PISA – and then maybe go on to college or uni – free, of course.

      Of course it’s not all that rosy, Finland faces problems with a deficit and borrowing. We didn’t, a few years ago, we were in the black during the worst financial Euro crises!

      Flagging anything up, whistleblowing, is difficult, especially politically as we have a GE coming up next March.

      Sorry for another long post (rant) but maybe a view from an independent country is of interest to Wingers. 🙂

      Maybe I should learn to chop my marathon posts into bite-sized chunks…

      (If only we had snow (lumi) in southern Finland, I’d be out skiing (X-country), not ranting on a Scottish blog. 😀 )

    66. tombee says:

      @ Smithie,

      Re your link to what Tony Benn said,
      ” It’s easier to keep people demoralised and frightened, it makes them easier to RULE”.
      Aye, that’s exactly the game plan BT played during the referendum debate. Particularly by Brown, Darling, Murphy, Curran, Davidson and others.
      On pensions, Europe, Oil, and didn’t they do well?.

    67. CameronB Brodie says:


    68. CameronB Brodie says:

      tombee & Smithie
      It also explains the fucker’s logic in burying the McCrone Report.

    69. Lollysmum says:

      @ Lesley-Anne at 4.23pm

      Doesn’t upset me one litle bit LA- I agree with you. It is the UKIPchannel-for a party only having 2 MP’s in England, it certainly gets a hugely disproportionate amount of airtime on the BBC. So much so that you know full well that this is a deliberate policy from WM.

      UKIP captures & corrals the angry vote thus preventing the transfer of their votes to labour.I know I have no-one to vote for in England & the words ‘democratic deficit’ just don’t adequately describe this situation. Many voters have no idea what those two words mean. In effect, we are being disenfranchised by the powers that be.

      England is a one party state & has been for some years-that party is Tory albeit they are of different colours-all espouse the same policies & none can be trusted with the future of our children & future generations.

      Scotland has the opportunity to rid themselves of these charlatans at GE15. I hope you all grasp it with both hands as you may never get the chance again.

    70. lumilumi says:

      I notice my long post (rant) hasn’t appeared here yet… But I’ll get back to the subjet of minimum wage and how Nordic countries don’t have one enshirend in law.

      It’s enshirend in our collective tripartite bargaining and collective agreements, sector by sector. Each sector has their own minimum wage, usually more than the pittance the UK law prescribes.

      Finland isn’t a land of milk and honey, there are people who can’t live on their pay, and it’s getting worse.

      We have a GE coming up in March. All the major parties are desperately appealing to the “middle Finland” vote…

      But I still think that our PR system is more democratic than the FPTP British system.

    71. Lesley-Anne says:

      Glad to hear that Lollysmum but as I say I prefer using UKIP channel. I think this name carries a lot more weight in terms of letting “newbies” know how we all feel about the UKIP Channel. 😛

      I think you are right on the money with your thoughts about the amount of air time that UKIP get and disproportional amount. Like you I really do hope that the electorate up here will do as the polls suggest and give Labour the severest kicking they have had ever had. 😀

    72. @lumilumi
      We had a fair bit of lumi in Scotland today, we are getting `weather bombed`(cool new phrase from the met office) which means `extratropical cyclonic low-pressure area` obviously.
      We have a pro Independence newspaper now called the National which I hope will cover the stories from our Scandic/Nordic friends instead of UK media obsession with America.

    73. Betty Craney says:

      My late father had a saying about Labour’s motto
      ‘ Keep them dumb,
      Keep them glum,
      Keep them dour,
      In the stour ‘
      And that was over 20 years ago. It’s taken a long time for people to wake up !

    74. tombee says:

      @ Cameron B Brodick,

      Of course, he was involved there too. Doh!!.

    75. Bob Mack says:

      I am pretty hacked off with Nicola maintaining this “Concensus” thing,during First Ministers questions.These arseholes are ignorant back biters who cannot utter a good word for anything apart from their own twisted perception.I am sorry to say that from my view it makes Nicola sound weak when she gives them acknowledgment of any description. I realise it may be for public consumption,but do not let the public feel that they the unionists are right in anything ,by agreeing to look at their ideas.To me this is a fight to the death with Labour and we must do likewise,or we may be the ones who falter

    76. CameronB Brodie says:

      Was that a simple typo of my name, or a cleaver kultural reference that’s gone right past me? Not that it bothers me. 😉

    77. fred blogger says:

      Bob Mack
      no she’s not weak, her’s is a long term strategy.
      she’ll concede no ground, you’ll see.

    78. lumilumi says:

      Scot Finlayson @ 5.31pm

      We had a fair bit of lumi in Scotland today, we are getting `weather bombed`(cool new phrase from the met office) which means `extratropical cyclonic low-pressure area` obviously.

      Ha ha 😀 I love that you know the Finnish word for snow, lumi!

      The Finnish Met Office is even putting up warnings, the Scottish storm will get here tonight and some trees might fall on lines – so alertness for leccy and netty companies and customers.

      Finnish winter storms are nothing like Scottish ones.

      By the time the winds cross southern Scandinavia and the Baltic, it’s all a bit of a damp squid.

      But the Finnish surf brotherhood still make a BIG thing out of these storms and actual waves, so we get madmen who go winter stormsurfing in Yyteri. A major sandy beach on the west coast. It gets a decent beach break and is the only proper surfing location in Finland. A couple of other locations get good waves but are too close to rocky islets and knocks so the trouble’s not worth it. Also, for any maritime interest, the Baltic Sea does not have tides, which makes it hard to understand for British people.

      I learned to surf in Australia so I’m a bit stupid about the whole thing.

      Aah, and we had 2-3 cm (1 inch) of snow last night, most of it melted during the day but we’re getting more.

      I’m ready, my car has her winter tyres (studded).

      WoS has been so… angry… bickering… controversial… lately, that I, posting nonethings and blahblahs wonder if I’m in the righr place. Tu-dummm.

    79. Paula Rose says:

      @ lumilumi honeyhoney –

      When the bickering starts is the time to tell us about Finland! xx

    80. Effijy says:

      Couldn’t we all chip in and send the Labour Party a calculator,
      a copy of the SNP manifesto, and some morals for their Xmas?

    81. Croompenstein says:

      @lumilumi – WoS has been so… angry… bickering… controversial… lately, that I, posting nonethings and blahblahs wonder if I’m in the righr place. Tu-dummm

      Stay with us lumi, I always love your posts. I thought you may have given up on us after our ‘nation’ shat it and decided to stay shackled to mother. Your input is valued as you are seeing us from the outside from a free independent nation.

    82. Morag says:

      Do you really need studded tyres? Doesn’t that cause problems when you’re on cleared roads or there’s been no snow?

      I’ve got ordinary winter tyres without studs, and I have to say I wouldn’t be without them. But these can be driven normally on bare tarmac, wet or dry.

    83. Lesley-Anne says:

      Effijy says:

      <i.Couldn’t we all chip in and send the Labour Party a calculator,
      a copy of the SNP manifesto, and some morals for their Xmas?

      Complete waste of time, effort and money I’m afraid Effijy.

      1) They have no idea how to count or use a calculator.

      2) They can’t read, and those that can don’t understand English!

      3) They have no idea what to do with morals. Do they read them, drink them or wear them? 😛

    84. Paula Rose says:

      Bare tarmac, wet or dry! Morag honey – really. I do the innuendoes xx

    85. Sandra Wilson says:

      How about this as Labour’s election campaign strap line “We’re no worse than anybody else”. That will capture the imagination of the electorate.

    86. Morag says:

      Serious point, Paula. Many people think winter tyres restrict your driving, and limit your speed on normal road surfaces. This isn’t true of the ordinary non-studded sort, which can be driven just like summer tyres but totally save your ass when the weather is bad.

      I think studded tyres do restrict your driving on normal road surfaces though, and I’d like to hear what lumilumi’s take on it is.

    87. Bugger (the Panda) says:


      If the Finns do as the Swedes and the Norwegians, they will not salt their roads and allow a compact base of snow which is left sanded so studded types work fine as do snow chains, which are mandatory on high mountain passes.

    88. Bugger (the Panda) says:

      @ Lumilumi

      Does Lumilumi mean lots of snow?

      Serious question.

    89. Morag says:

      Bugger, that’s kind of why I was asking. She spoke about a small amount of snow recently that has already melted, but she has the studded tyres on so she must be coping on normal road surfaces.

      Elderly neighbours of mine who used to run the garage here say they used to use studded tyres way back in the day when the roads weren’t cleared so reliably. But they stopped when ploughing and gritting became the norm.

    90. Morag says:

      Seriously, I wish the Scottish government would be a lot more pro-active in advising winter tyres. Again we hear about roads disrupted because cars have been sliding off the road. That just doesn’t happen with winter tyres, nor does that wheel-spinning going-nowhere performance. They transformed my Golf from Bambi on an ice rink to a reasonable facsimile of a Land Rover.

      They’re not particularly expensive, because you can only wear out one set at a time anyway and your summer tyres are being saved while the winter ones are on. And there are various options, like keeping a second set of wheels, or only changing the front tyres if you’re pushed for storage space.

      But nobody in Holyrood has taken the slightest bit of trouble to educate drivers about this. So, once more, we face the possibility of major disruption because most cars are wearing summer tyres that turn into skids at 7C, and so they get stuck in two inches of snow.

    91. Paula Rose says:

      @ Morag – sorry for being flippant love, also my way of showing my friendship xx

    92. Ken MacColl says:

      Jackie Baillie’s problem is surely not the toffee accent but rather the hypocritical mince that she delivers with it. It is not surprising that Elaine Murray looks so miserable sitting behind her.

    93. Morag says:

      Not a problem, Paula, I just wanted to make it clear it was a serious question. I’m baffled why the Transport Secretary doesn’t make a thing about this. But I actually had to email Mike Russell about it after he made a complete dick of himself on Morning Call about four years ago, giving entirely the wrong information out on-air. (He emailed back saying several people had contacted him about it and he regretted his mistake, but he never acted on getting the right information out there.)

    94. Lesley-Anne says:

      Ken MacColl says:

      Jackie Baillie’s problem is surely not the toffee accent but rather the hypocritical mince that she delivers with it. It is not surprising that Elaine Murray looks so miserable sitting behind her.

      Nah Ken she always looks like that. That is her normal every day look it’s got nothing to do with having to sit behind Baillie although I can understand why you would think that. 😛

    95. Paula Rose says:

      @ Morag – if only certain young men could have seen you on the dance floor at the last Wings nite out in Edinburgh (I understand why you desisted from the Glasgow romp).

      There is no limit to the ambitions of Wingers! xx ronnie.

    96. Roll_On_2014 says:

      Edulis: 12:14 pm

      Did you see on BBC News yesterday that old biddy in Kilsyth say that she has always voted Labour and always will no matter her circumstances? Fortunately, for my sanity, the younger element of the town have a different view.

      Aye Edulis and I note that the SNP have chosen their candidate to stand in that area next May.

      SNP candidate for Cumbernauld, Kilsyth and Kirkintilloch East has been chosen.

    97. Morag says:

      I don’t actually understand that article. What it’s describing isn’t SNP procedure for selecting a candidate. Maybe I’m missing something.

    98. @lumilumi
      `Surfing in Finland` three words i never thought would be used in the same sentence,but yet again highlights the total lack of coverage from our media of anywhere outside America,maybe they do not want us to see other more enlightened cultures because we might want one.
      Anyhoo, Thurso East in north Scotland has one of the best waves for surfing in Europe especially in late Autumn.

    99. Marcia says:

      Local by-election result;

      South Kintyre (Argyll & Bute) first prefs:
      SNP – 942
      LDEM – 214
      CON – 203
      LAB – 156

      first pref and change from 2012

      SNP – 62.2% (+43.9)
      LDEM – 14.1% (-1.4)
      CON – 13.4% (-36.6)
      LAB – 10.3% (+10.3)

    100. Marcia says:

      Should have mentioned SNP hold in this multi member ward.

    101. Rock says:


      “(Some pedantry: Scandinavian countries = Sweden, Norway, Denmark, (Iceland); Nordic countries = Scandinavian countries + Finland (+ Iceland if not included in the Scandinavian lot)

      What makes Finland a ‘Nordic’ country but not a ‘Scandinavian’ one?

      I know the difference but would be interested in knowing the reason.

      Apart from that, the unionists will never let us aspire to the Nordic countries.

      They have a readymade scaremongering for that – you cannot have a Nordic welfare system with a British level of taxes.

      Perhaps we should get together a counterpoint to that in time for the next independence referendum.

    102. ewen says:

      ‘re winter tyres.
      I lived in Lithuania where winter tyres are compulsory. Studded tyres are hopeless on anything but ice. You also need to display a warning sign on the car.

      M&S mud and snow tyres are softer than the tyres we use and not so good in rain. Not recommended for year round use. In an emergency, you can let a bit of air out of your summer tyres to get you through snow.

      I think that even M&S tyres are a bad investment when you don’t have a blanket coverage of hard packed snow on the roads for months on end. They will be worn out quicker and perform worse in the wet. What drivers need to do is learn how to drive in the winter. Keep the revs down, smooth manoeuvres and bung something heavy in the boot of a rear wheel drive car.

    103. Bugger (the Panda) says:


      Nordic with variations according to the local language (finnish excluded) means Northern.

    104. Morag says:

      I don’t know about this “mud and snow” tyres thing, but the winter tyres I’ve been supplied with are superb in rain. The tread seems to be able to shift large volumes of water. They also wear very well. I’m still on my first set, purchased in 2010 (after a hell of a scary time in the snow in December 2009).

      My experience is that they absolutely transform the car from a slithering, immobile liability into a normally-functioning vehicle. This morning I drove nonchalantly over packed snow and ice when leaving my driveway, while watching a neighbour slipping and sliding while trying to do the same thing across the road.

    105. Croompenstein says:

      @ewen – M&S mud and snow tyres

      ewan, sorry mate Marks & Spencer are on the boycott list 😀

    106. ewen says:

      M&S on the boycott list?????
      How am I going to keep myself in undies? Lidl only have them every 6 months and by the time I get there only the xxxxl ones are left.
      After 6 months there will be some tyre marks left.

    107. Rock says:

      Bugger (the Panda),

      “Nordic with variations according to the local language (finnish excluded) means Northern.”

      Ok. But why is Finland not part of Scandinavia?

    108. lumilumi says:

      Ha ha ha!:-D
      I wrote about Finnish collective bargaing but seem to have sparked a debate about winter tyres! 😀

      Winter tyres are compulsory in Finland. You MUST have winter tyres between 1 Dec and 1 March. You’re allowed to have them, depending on road conditions, from 1 Nov to the first Monday after Easter. In Finland, every car comes with two sets of tyres.

      There’s the endless debate about studded/traction tyres.


      Studded are best for ice, packed snow and “bad drivers”.

      Where I live, the small streets immediately when I head out get packed snow. The main thoroughfares might be salted and ploughed and basically “summer” conditions.

      I hate grinding the tarmac with the studs for 4-5 months of the year (and it is a real problem, roads have to be resufaced every few years because studded tyres have eaten them away) but I plead the fact that I often go in the country where the roads really are packed snow/ice. And the “bad driver” clause (even though I’m actually a very good driver but I like the control studs give me).

      This year I changed tyres earlier than usual (early Nov) because we got a dump of snow and I checked the met office website: 10 day forecast below freezing. That snow and ice has since melted and it’s been mostly mild since then but I’m not going to switch tyres back and forth. And we’re getting some snow and ice now.

      When I was learning to drive, my dad (illegally) took me on a frozen lake to WHEE-EEE-EEEH spin the back-wheel drive pickup truck (jayzus that was fun!) and the front-wheel-drive family car. To learn to manouvere. (You steer towards the skid.)

      Today, to get a driving license in Finland, you have to do driving lessons in slippery conditons. Ice and snow in winter but special oiled “slippery” courses in summer.

      The British are pathetic at winter driving. OK, most don’t even have winter tyres but even those who do… They have no feeling for snow, as fröken Smilla might say.

    109. lumilumi says:

      Rock @ 10.47pm 12 Dec

      But why is Finland not part of Scandinavia?

      It’s a geographical thing. 🙂

      Like Great Britain (=the largest island in the NW European achipelago).

      If you look at a map, you can see the Scandinavian peninsula. All of Sweden and most of Norway are on that peninsula. The Gulf of Finland separates Finland from the Scandinavian peninisula.

      Denmark, which is actually a peninusula sticking out of continental Europe (Germany), is considered “Scandinavian” along with their northern cousins because their history and languages are essentially the same. (I speak school-learned Finnish-Swedish and Swedes, Norwegians and Danes all understand me.)

      The proto-Swedes came crusading to pagan Finland (a tribal society at the time) in the 11th century. Finland became a part of the Swedish Rik (realm) until Sweden lost one of their many wars against Russia (most of them fought on Finnish soil) in 1809.

      Finland then became an autonomous Grand Duchy of Imparial Russia. We kept our own laws (basically Swedish laws) and societal organization. We even created our own currency in the 1860s. Swedes we’re not, Russians we don’t want to be, let us be Finns.

      The Age of Autonomy went along fine and dandy for nearly a hundred years until the Russian overlords tried to “Russify” us. This is the time when Sibelius wrote “Finlandia”. Even the upper crust began dreaming of an independent Finland.

      Finland got her independence on 6 December 1917. Lenin had his hands full with the Russian revolution so he signed that bit of paper, probably in an offhand manner. 🙂

      Linguistically and geographically Finland is not Scandinavian, but culturally Finland is very much so. That’s why we have the term “Nordic countries”. Finland is a western European country, in outlook, philosophy, customs, history… Sweden, Norway, Denmark, even Britain are easy for us to understand. Cross the border to Russia and it’s a totally different world, difficult to fathom.

      And we have that lovely 1000 mile land border. Eh? Kind of explains why even today many reasonable, intelligent, nice Finns are anti-Russian if you scratch the surface.

    110. Rock says:


      “It’s a geographical thing.”

      “Denmark, which is actually a peninusula sticking out of continental Europe (Germany), is considered “Scandinavian” along with their northern cousins because their history and languages are essentially the same.”

      “Linguistically and geographically Finland is not Scandinavian, but culturally Finland is very much so.”

      Thanks for the detailed explanation.

      But it doesn’t seem quite ‘geographical’ if Denmark and Iceland are part of Scandinavia whereas Finland which has land borders with both Sweden and Norway, and also culturally very similar, is not!

      Probably time to re-define the meaning of Scandinavia.

    Comment - please read this page for comment rules. HTML tags like <i> and <b> are permitted. Use paragraph breaks in long comments. DO NOT SIGN YOUR COMMENTS, either with a name or a slogan. If your comment does not appear immediately, DO NOT REPOST IT. Ignore these rules and I WILL KILL YOU WITH HAMMERS.

    ↑ Top