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The miracle of poverty

Posted on February 04, 2013 by

Willie Rennie once called us “deplorable” and “warped”. This is the Scottish Liberal Democrat leader on yesterday’s Sunday Politics Scotland (around 52 mins), defending the Westminster coalition government’s despicable “Bedroom Tax”.

It turns out that contrary to what you might imagine, throwing thousands of the most vulnerable people in the country onto the streets is actually an act of kindness. If you’re struggling a little bit trying to figure out how that works, let Willie explain it:

“Actually it’s difficult for people who are trying to get into work if they’ve got the burden of having to pay for a house they can’t really afford, it makes it much more difficult – they’re going to have to earn more to make work pay. What we’re trying to do here is improve social mobility, so that people can get into work. This prevents them, and that’s why we need to take action.”

Did you get that, readers? People with disabled children who have enough bedrooms for all their kids to sleep in are actually suffering under a terrible burden, which Willie’s millionaire mates in the UK government are going to heroically relieve them of by, er, fining them £80 a month. This, you see, will somehow make it easier for them to find work and improve their social mobility.

How will their having much less money achieve that? Well, because… um… it… er… maybe their kids… uh… nope, it’s gone. We’ve got nothing, readers. If anyone can explain to us how having to keep your disabled child in a cupboard helps you get a job and become upwardly mobile, help us out, eh?

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    99 to “The miracle of poverty”

    1. Doug says:

      It’s fine. Especially as the benefit freeze will make it easier to pay that £80. Wait, er, is that right?

    2. Mathew says:

      What? I can’t parse what he’s saying AT ALL.

    3. Mark says:

      Agreed, Stu. But Linda Fabiani wasn’t much better. I’m all for standing up for the SNP when they are being attacked injustly, but the precise function of the committee she is a member of, is to review the welfare reforms and come up with suitable ways to mitigate their effects on Scots.
      Her first comment, seemed to be “there’s not much we can do”. Then, when presented with what sounds to me like a reasonable and fair solution by Mike Dailly, she dismisses it completely, showing no understanding of the suggestion whatsover as she did so.
      Normally I agree with your commentary, Stu, but when you said “Mike Dailly is using the misery of disabled people to attack the SNP” on Twitter, you are way off.
      The bedroom tax is a genuine problem, which although it originates from Westminster, the SNP, as the Scottish Government have a duty to try and resolve if they can. And they do have the power to legislate here.
      Now, it may well be the case that the SNP have something planned already, and I’ll be relieved if that’s the case, but from Linda Fabiani’s shameful performance I’m not hopeful. Time is running out for council tenants and simply saying “this shouldn’t be happening in the first place” is far from good enough.

    4. Vronsky says:

      History repeats itself: first it is outrageous political satire, next it is UK government  policy.  It’s Swift’s ‘Modest Proposal’ – isn’t it?

    5. Alistair says:

      LD in Scotland position baffles me. This is a badly deisgned policy that wont even save any money assuming people do what they are suuposed to. (move to a smaller property – there arent any of those in social housing so theyll rent privately where the hb they recieve will be larger than what it cost the government for their larger housing assoc/ LA property).

      So why would the Scottish Libs not oppose it and show an element of being a separate party? Shows they have no intention of being taken as a serious party in Scotland for years to come. 

    6. Steve says:

      Unbelievable. One way people will avoid paying the bedroom tax will be to move to the private rented sector, where rents are much higher. 

    7. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “Normally I agree with your commentary, Stu, but when you said “Mike Dailly is using the misery of disabled people to attack the SNP” on Twitter, you are way off.”

      Had someone else said what he did, I’d have been a lot more inclined to listen. But the minute I heard his name I thought “Hmm, wonder if he’ll somehow use this as a stick to beat the SNP with?”, so when he did his credibility took a bit of a hit. I don’t know what Fabiani’s alternative proposals are, and she didn’t get much of an opportunity to say. When I hear them, and if they’re less effective than Dailly’s, fair enough. Until then, he’s got no weight with me.

    8. Tris says:

      Is it not time Rennie grew a pair and stopped parroting everything Nick says?


    9. Malcolm says:

      Do you like your job Willie?

    10. Dave McEwan Hill says:

      We’re seeing a lot of Willie at the moment. I take that to indicate the powers that be realise that Ruth and Johann in public forum are negatives and I wonder what that means about their prospects of staying in their positions in the longer term. 

      However Willie’s eagerness to get himself into the public eye will be the end of him too.
      No sensible political figure would be seen dead supporting this policy. When we wrote to our MP LibDem Alan Reid on this issue he replied he was not part of the government. No kidding. We’ve got the letter

    11. Richard says:

      Is it not proper that occupants should be punished for the social housing bodies mismanagement. Also removing the stability that the family home has for people, should be a motivator to the underpaid. Its not the Governments fault people die and vacate their rooms, the people they leave behind should pay for the space they leave. just beacuse there is no housing stock, which is not the result of the right to buy, should not be a concern to our betters.

    12. muttley79 says:

      Willie Rennie has been striving for mediocrity for to long…

    13. Braco says:

      The funny thing is, in less than two years there is an opportunity to sweep all this crap aside and sit down and try to set up a welfare state designed for a wealthy, medium sized, social democratic (and dare I say, Liberal country?) for and to the benefit of all it’s peoples (and I am sure others) in the 21st century. So just you keep emptying your wee tin can out the porthole as the rusted old gunboat sinks. That will obviously address the rear admiral’s God complex.
      Mark, sorry but I am angry and I won’t retract what I have just said, although I accept that you most probably do not deserve my eyre. I appeal to you as the caring compassionate individual that you project yourself as and that I want to believe you to be. Lift your head and see the almighty army of semi intelligent policybots arrayed by the current Westminster elite to systematically destroy the remains of the only truly worthwhile British creations formed from the ruins of Europe and the personal tragedies salvaged from the both European war’s  45MILLION dead (not including the Spanish flue!) Can we not even salvage that! Had you no Grandfather quiet and stoic or Grandmother, domestic but caustic and stoic? Please abandon your safety blanket and join your hope and desires to those of the rest of us on the electoral register of Scotland to try and jointly invent the world we would like to live in and be remembered for!

    14. megz says:

      it truly is baffling, where are these jobs going to magically appear from?  Is the bedroom tax some sort of dark art?? what other wonderous thing can it do?….make people disappear from their homes when they are evicted o.O

    15. Braco says:

      Sorry, I should not post so angry. (weeapologeticthing).

    16. AnneDon says:

      @Vronsky –  History repeats itself: first it is outrageous political satire, next it is UK government policy

      I may embroider that on a sampler!  

    17. AnneDon says:

      It is hard to think how little you would need to know of the real world to believe what Rennie is saying.

      There IS a poverty trap – people stuck in PRIVATE rented accommodation. It’s £450 per month for a 1-bed flat in Edinburgh. May be a little cheaper elsewhere, but a 2-bed council flat is always going to be cheaper!

      The obvious answer, of course, is to build more council houses.  Not something that is even on Westminster’s agenda, so the No Campaign can’t even mention it! 

    18. Derek Mair says:

      I’ll be having words with oor Wullie iF I bump into him in Sands, Kelty!

    19. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “There IS a poverty trap – people stuck in PRIVATE rented accommodation. It’s £450 per month for a 1-bed flat in Edinburgh. May be a little cheaper elsewhere, but a 2-bed council flat is always going to be cheaper!”

      Yep. Here in Bath you’ll get a 2-bed housing association place in the middle of town for £600 a month. One-bed private let slightly further out, £800 a month. I expect one day I’ll understand how it makes sense to force someone on benefits out of the former to live in the latter, but I doubt it’ll be one day soon.

    20. Iain Gray's Subway Lament says:

      Renie is a painful reminder to scottish lib dems that complete electoral oblivion awaits them if they allow this joke of a ‘leader’ to keep dragging them down with his repulsive yellow tory Thatcherism.

    21. @Rev
      “I expect one day I’ll understand how it makes sense to force someone on benefits out of the former to live in the latter, but I doubt it’ll be one day soon.”
      Simple its the straw sucking policy.

    22. sneddon says:

      Richard- Oh dear- Fail

    23. Richard says:

      If the premise of ‘taxing empty space’ is applied to football then every time a team has a player sent off, the tax should apply. There is the space for another player to inhabit, but when the player is shown a red card and is not the park, no one can use that empty space, therefore the that Team should be subject to the empty space tax. Makes more sense the what do you call him, billy bennie or whatever.

    24. sneddon says:

      Sorry Richard I may have done you a disservice but I can’t edit my previous posting .   you were being satirical and not trolling? . This tax is something that affects my family directly and generally speaking the ‘red mist’ appears when it’s mentioned. Wait till that sod ever comes canvassing at my door. 🙂

    25. Mark says:

      Braco, I’m a member of the SNP.

      Are you genuinely telling folk who are likely to get get kicked out their homes in two months time, that they should grin and bear it for two years until the referendum? And another two until independence? Get a fucking grip.

      This should not be a partisan issue. Yes, independence is important, and I argue for it often, but independence is not of immediate help to those affected by the bedroom tax in the coming months. Measures are required to be taken long before 2014. Preferably before April this year. Otherwise people will suffer.

      Isn’t this kind of partisanship exactly what we accuse Scottish Labour of? Opposing any SNP idea or suggestion just because they suggested it?

      I’m hoping the public get behind Mike Dailly’s petition, because at least it proposes to do something to help these folk in their hour of need.

      It’ll certainly help them more than just washing our hands of the situation and saying “oh well, this is what happens when we don’t have indy”, as Linda Fabiani appeared to be doing yesterday.

    26. Richard says:

      sneddon – It affects my family too, i now have a brother who stays with us but is away at freinds when anyone comes calling, Why can rich people have spare and study rooms but poor and underpaid people cant, seems unfair. It is a Quality of life Issue, if your poor you should not have any quality of life, It seems

    27. orkers says:

      I can’t help feeling that if Wullie had been an innkeeper in Bethlehem two thousand odd years ago, Baby Jesus would have been born by the roadside.

    28. creag an tuirc says:

      @Rev. Stuart Campbell 

      Yes,  Fabiani didn’t get the chance to put forward an alternative, from what I could gather though, her point about the SG passing a law to protect these cuts would lead to landlords passing on their losses to unaffected tenants close to the breadline. This is the rock and a hard place any SG would find themselves in under Westminster rule. 

    29. Braco says:

      the ‘removal’ of the fair rents tribunal was one of the first moves made to funnel tax payer money, (ie government controlled monies to private landlords) via the blame soaking poor. Year after year the private rents have risen (in London especially, in my own experience) outside of the control of the 6 month tenancy agreement signatory, which in turn forces the rise in HOUSING BENEFIT which touches the ‘claimant’s’ bank account (just as a straw touches a milkshake!) only to legitimate the wholesale theft that is being perpetrated from the general tax payer to each particular private landlord’s company. Look up the Prince of Wales’s income from housing benefit collected on his various London and Provincial rented estates that are all rolled up in the managerial tool that is, ‘The Duchy of Cornwall’. It will be a long pause before those stats are released. I am slowly but surely coming into agreement with ScottishSkier’s theory that Westminster is actually rolling all bets into one and hoping to rid the putative World City State that it sees itself as, of all it’s previously constructed ‘country’ wide compensation systems. Those that had been humanly but unintentionally created piecemeal, as compensation for the obviously unfair but relentless and building gravitational pull created by the ever growing investment glut that was and IS The Centre.

    30. O/T Seems that respect has been thrown out of the window.

    31. Christian Wright says:

      Tris wrote: “Is it not time Rennie grew a pair and stopped parroting everything Nick says” 

      Well, kinda hard to do when you’re a glove puppet, Tris. 

    32. I thought he was Nick’s batman.

    33. Christian Wright says:

      O/T Seems that respect has been thrown out of the window.”

      I think that’s  the spoof Darling.

    34. Braco says:

      That’s right Mark. You sign your petitions. You are after all a member of a political party so it’s definitely going to help isn’t it? Me, I am only asking for radical change while those that are going to be made to suffer, suffer. Petition or no petition! Beyond hope in the future, direct action such as ‘Can’t pay won’t pay’ and the gaoling of the odd working class hero in the end has really created that hoped for socially just Britain, hasn’t it? You want it to be better now, I want it to be better now! Will it or can it be better now and sustainably into the future under the current system? Go on tell me. Pretend I don’t care for myself and people like me if it helps and carry on shouting ‘Oh the Humanity!’ but don’t expect gratitude for bloodshitandspittle struggle that is your petition.

    35. Tattie-boggle says:

      Bedroom tax (DICKENS AGENDA)

      coming soon to a union near you THE WORKHOOSE 

    36. simon says:

      Well it really is not a “tax”, it is a reduction in handout.

      However it is totally mean and punitive.

      As pointed out above the main function of Housing Benefit is to funnel public money straight to private owners. The government policy of keeping housing costs high for everyone, accomplishes this well. It also keeps working people poor (forcing them to pay over the odds for a necessity of life – housing). It also creates a huge “benefit trap” meaning people are stuck poor with no ability to improve their lot by taking a little extra work.

      So basically public money is taken from us all, and diverted upwards to the rich, in a way that gives blame to the poor.

      I am fascinated to see how welfare reform will progress in Scotland with the possibility of a “Yes” vote.

    37. @  Christian Wright 
      Yes you’re correct after looking furher, ta.

    38. Braco says:

      forget that nonesense, and get over there and sign Mark’s petition! (ironicgrumpything)

    39. Mark says:

      Braco, so if I’ve understood you correctly, we shouldn’t even attempt to do anything to mitigate the bedroom tax, because (according to you) nothing will help other than waiting 4 years for independence? Really? Or just if the idea comes from a Labour supporter?

      I really don’t understand why you’re so hostile and dismissive. I expect it from Better Together, but I’ve always considered us to be a more enlightened bunch. 

       “Oh the Humanity!” – what an idiotic thing to say. You sound like a fucking Tory. This is folk’s lives we’re talking about, but you seem to regard it as just some theoretical event in the ongoing #indyref debate.

      You just read Wings Over Scotland for the OMG UNIONISTS LOL stuff I take it?

    40. muttley79 says:

      This should not be a partisan issue. Yes, independence is important, and I argue for it often, but independence is not of immediate help to those affected by the bedroom tax in the coming months. Measures are required to be taken long before 2014. Preferably before April this year. Otherwise people will suffer.

      How are the Scottish Government supposed to do anything when the block grant is getting slashed every year?  Where is the money to fund this?  You have to remember that health and education both take a massive amount of money out of the yearly spend of the S.G.  The fact of the matter is that we do not have power over most taxation, welfare, or our natural resources.  People are going to suffer here, like the rest of the UK, because of the failed austerity policies of the Coalition Government.  Fabiani was right to say that the S.G.’s hands are tied.  That is the truth.

    41. Seasick Dave says:

      Just remember, these are the people that were claiming expenses for duck houses.

      You should be ashamed of yourself, Willie Rennie.

    42. Mark says:

      muttley79, the Welfare Reform Committee on which Lina Fabiani sits, so far seems to be recommending extra funding for Citizens Advice Bureau as a mitigating measure. That in itself will cost money we can ill afford. The Govan Law Centre’s suggestion isn’t to throw money at the problem, but simply legislate to prevent council and housing association tenants from being evicted due to the bedroom tax.

      What is wrong with that, other than Mike Dailly is a Labour supporter? I’ve read Mike Dailly’s Twitter and Facebook, and yes he comes across as a unionist numpty, but that alone isn’t enough reason to just dismiss this idea out of hand.


    43. muttley79 says:

      Mark, what powers over welfare does the Scottish Parliament have?

    44. Mark says:

      “We are suggesting a minor amendment to section 16 of the Housing (Scotland) Act 2001 (as follows) which would prevent ‘bedroom tax rent arrears’ being used to establish or justify a crave for eviction, and instead the landlord could obtain a payment decree for these ‘type of arrears’, and pursue them an ordinary debt.”

    45. Davy says:

      “Willie Rennie”, a dick by name and a dick by nature.

    46. andrew_haddow says:

      This “bedroom tax” is all about cleansing the poor out of London. The ConDem Government doesn’t care about anywhere else.

    47. Cameron B says:

      Housing is both a noun and a verb, and the issues surrounding its availability are extremely complex (e.g. the inflation of urban land prices due to the development constraints imposed by Green Belt status). I do not mean to be unkind, but I doubt many posters here have a clue about the complexity and ramifications of these issues. For example, there is no government plot to syphon HB in to the private sector, it is simply what happens when free market principles are applied to markets which do not operate freely.
      One thing is for certain though, punishing the poor who are trapped in this equation is not only unjust, it is extremely short sighted. What will happen in central London, when all the low payed workers are forced to move out and can not afford the transportation cost to maintain their employment. A displacement of the unemployed and a lack of essential services in central London. This has been the experience of the third world, where slum settlements are essential to the economic viability of urban life.
      Resist this neoliberal madness now and vote Yes in 2014.

    48. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “Braco, so if I’ve understood you correctly, we shouldn’t even attempt to do anything to mitigate the bedroom tax, because (according to you) nothing will help other than waiting 4 years for independence?”

      Dailly’s plan appears to be to simply let people accumulate greater and greater debts, in the curious hope that they’ll never have to be paid. That’s not a solution, it’s kicking the problem into the future for someone else to deal with when it’s gotten even worse, PFI-style. It appears to be in nobody’s interests to actually evict all these people, and my guess is that it would snarl up the courts for years. Simply stalling for time will in all likelihood achieve the same effect.

      I’m not against the plan, I don’t have enough information about either it or the alternatives to judge it. But I’m going to need a lot more than Mike fucking Dailly’s word to go along with it. His website is singularly uninspiring and short on detail, not just on this but on everything. He’s a tribal Labour diehard and he’s cried wolf far too many times to have any credibility.

    49. muttley79 says:

      How much would it cost though?  There is no mention of that in your link? 

    50. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “You just read Wings Over Scotland for the OMG UNIONISTS LOL stuff I take it?”

      And let’s not have this sort of thing either, eh? It was bad enough last week with Kate Higgins’ “I’m a better campaigner than you” bullshit, I don’t want to see “I’m a better website reader than you” too.

    51. Lochside says:

      Willie Rennie: a politician without any scruples or intelligence; Ruth Davidson and Johan Lamont ditto. Every principle that their parties stood for now jettisoned on to the Neo-con  crematorium pyre of progressive political institutions. No more right to work, or to free education, or to basic dignity. All three of these glove puppets have sold the jerseys, scrabbling like beady eyed rats to claw up the sewer pipe of their ambition to’ higher’ office in that the Mother of all travesties :Westminster. No matter what double-speak tripe they utter, our resident  fifth column BBC and MSM collaborate in portraying these fools and knaves as having something of substance to say. Only in the upside down world of the Scottish media do these charlatans have any credence.

    52. Braco says:

      read what I said. If mitigation is signing a petition then yes, you go ahead and congratulate yourself. I have no interest in party politics so most of what you are shouting about has no real resonance for me or dare I say it the folk unaware of the social catastrophe about to be unleashed. I am aware. Only practical solutions and concepts will be able to see folk through until real change can be made. Have you never been faced with playing the benefit system to survive? No? Yes? Do tell.
      ‘You sound like a fucking Tory’.  Nice (smoothjazzyvoice!) Again read what I said please. You are coming across as probably what you would least want to be, but unfortunately are. I can only ask you to read what i have written here again and not what you think I wrote before you reply. x

    53. Mark says:

      @Stu, you’re not pulling a “Calum Cashley” on me now, are you? 😉

      @muttley79, these are good questions, but you’d be better addressing them to Mike Dailly directly, since it’s his proposal?

      @Braco, yes I’ve been on benefits, not sure what that has to do with anything. I don’t understand how you can seriously tell me that amending a piece of Scottish legislation to prevent council tenants from being evicted isn’t a “practical solution”, but waiting 4 years for indy somehow is?

    54. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “I don’t understand how you can seriously tell me that amending a piece of Scottish legislation to prevent council tenants from being evicted isn’t a “practical solution”, but waiting for 4 years for indy somehow is?”

      How about the reasons I already gave?

    55. muttley79 says:

      You said you were a SNP member did you not?  Why do you not ask the party directly about it?  It would seem the most obvious thing to do.  Also, what do you think about what Rev Stu said about Mike Daily? 

    56. Morag says:

      I’ve just been watching the evisceration of Chris Huhne.  The guy is a scumbag of the first water.  Dishonest, conniving, a bare-faced liar and worse.  And he’s going to jail.

      Can the LibDems fall any further?  Is any newspaper or news outlet going to attach this shame to the LibDems, rather than just as an individual fall from grace?  If this is the sort of person who rises high in the party, what does this say about the rest of them?

      If this had been John Swinney or Mike Russell in that position, what would the editorial line have been?

    57. Mark says:

      But isn’t at least buying these tenants time until 2016 a good thing? Right now, as much as we wish it could, the Scottish Government cannot prevent the bedroom tax from being implimented. We have to accept that. Surely what we need to do then is mitigate the impact of it, over the next 4 years, until we get control of welfare after independence?

      One way to mitigate the bedroom tax over that period is to give tenants more time to pay it off. The important thing is they get to remain in their own homes. And after indy, we abolish the bedroom tax, and write off their debts.

    58. Adrian B says:

      I don’t know enough about what can be done in Scotland with regards to fixing this issue in the short term. I think if the SG find the money to plug the gap for those that fall into this Westminster made mess, then I would imagine that they will not be saying anything until late march, perhaps even into April.

      Remember this little bit of not insignificant legislation that came into power on 31st December 2012.

      I don’t know enough about this a subject, but I do think that as the Scottish Government are keen on having a fair and equal society, I hope that they will come up with a solution in time for these changes coming into effect.  

    59. muttley79 says:

      How much debt are you willing to pay off?  What figure have you in mind?  Like I said in my previous post, if you are as concerned with the subject as you appear to be, why not ask the SNP directly, because you say you are a member? 

    60. James Morton says:

      My memory might be a little fuzzy on when this occured – I think it was the 90’s under John Major, could be wrong – but rents are usually based on the marketable value of the property. However at somepoint, some bright spark decided that it would be fairer to also allow it to be based on the marketable value of properties in the area adjacent to it, not just the property itself. But when you add a property boom that sees property values increase above and beyond their true value then you had a perfect storm brewing. This tragedy in the making is entirely down to the property bubble and simple greed by landlords. Social housing is usually priced far more reasonably – but private housing that was allowed to soar to insane levels, to the point were it was increasingly obvious that it would be cheaper to have a mortgage than rent. As long you had the benefit system to cover the shortfall you could keep offsetting the problem.
      Now we have the most idiotic and nasty government since Thatcher. With a swivel eyed logic they have decided to do this to increase social mobility. Now for them, its a simple affair – people will be forced to leave the properties and go down market. This only works if there is a supply to meet demand. However we know there isn’t because this is the real world. Its a bit like jobs – they think people aren’t working because they are lazy – they will apply this same logic to the homeless and state it was a lifestyle choice. We have a serious housing shortage, but its way more serious in England. It is going to be a catastrophe – a sickening display of wanton cruelty with no reason behind it because the plan is simply wrong headed from the get go.
      If the tories have forgotten the poll tax riots in England that rocked the establishment to its foundations, they will be reminded of it again I am sure. As we go forward into 2013 and beyond we will see the bastard party at its very worst. Quisling creatures like Rennie will simper and crawl but make no mistake, their cards are marked. Just as the tories were in the 90’s.  No matter how scary they try to make Indy seem – it will seem like a picnic compared the reality of living in the UK today. In a perverse way the con/dem coaliton will draw more to the Yes camp – and the better together campaign will seem disconnected from reality.
      The SNP need to start drawing up plans to deal with the storm thats coming – there probably isn’t a huge amount they can do as welfare spending is reserved to westminster, but there must be some areas of policy that could provide some relief and would set them apart from the Unionists in Holyrood.

    61. Mark says:

      @muttley79, I think I will ask, but I wanted to discuss it online first, to gain a better understanding.

      Regarding debt, in case you didn’t notice, last year we just wrote off a huge amount of poll tax that was never paid. I don’t see why we can’t do the same for the bedroom tax in 4 years time.

    62. DanTDog says:

      Slightly O/T…?
      Thought “Rennies” are supposed to relieve feelings of being sick to the stomach…? This one does the opposite of what it says on the tin…

    63. muttley79 says:

      I think it would be of more use if you asked about it at a branch meeting.  If you can’t put a cost on something that is going to be a major difficulty because of the ongoing cuts to the Scottish block grant. 

    64. Scott says:

      Probably O/T, but is there a point where multiple postings starts to become trolling.

    65. Angus McLellan says:

      @Mark: Writing it off isn’t fair though. Some people will struggle to pay, probably to the extent of eating less and turning the heating down. They’d be penalised for having made that effort. So, no, nice try but no banana. Don’t worry though, your idea is no worse than Ms Fabiani’s or Mr Dailly’s. Perhaps there is no good answer, but it’s a bit soon to be admitting defeat already.

    66. Adrian B says:


      The ONLY FAIR thing about this is if it didn’t happen in the first place! Otherwise I agree that writing it off is too little to late.  

    67. charlie says:

      Radge c… Mr Huhne hangs out till the last minute and then sais you’ve got me, any figures on that trial cost?
      The Scottish Lib Dems could stand as the Radge C…s as they stand to pick up some random votes that way fae cunts who wandered intae the booth thinking it was a urinal, otherwise ‘Goodbye-ee, goodbye-ee, wipe the tear, baby dear, from your eye-ee,’

    68. Dave Smith says:

      I fear it’s only a matter of time before shanty towns and squatter camps sprout on the peripheries of large British towns and cities.

      There will be a reckoning… 

    69. Braco says:

      I did not ask if you have at any time been on the dole. I asked if you had ever been forced to ‘play’ the system because of yet another spurious political pronouncement needing ‘Daily Mail’ enactment.  That means the structural benefits system, and administrative changes that are payed for by withdrawal, or more likely just not mentioning entitlements.  The very fact that a, shall we say, ‘overqualified’ so and so such as myself is so familiar with the ‘benefits’ system of another country, underlines the lack of strategic thinking behind this UK’s ‘regional’ policy! Write a petition on this (and get a tory, labour and liberal together better on this one). A Citizen’s Wage. Take all Benefits paid out at the moment, including working tax credits and housing benefit as well as all other jobseeker’s etc, etc, etc. Calculations from my memory (go look it up as I couldn’t post a link even if I wanted too (smilything) are that the division of Scotland’s benefit’s bill along with it’s beaurocracy would allow each adult an annual Citizen’s wage in the region of £11,000! Workers earning more can deduct that sum from their tax bill and people at the £11,000 limit could always work a wee job to pay for the extras without being hunted as some sort of low life scum for the temerity of trying to survive in the system they find themselves. It also encourages business creation as people follow their true interests and then find they can make the free hours pay, once a foundation has been built using their OWN resources.  How about that as a suggestion Marc? What was yours again? The Scots Government on an income fixed by Westminster should borrow, and also steal from other fixed budgets to pay for the unjust system being rained down by Westminster as a temporary measure to make folk feel that Westminster’s not that bad. But just until before the Referendum eh? Nice one for an SNP member.

    70. Peter says:

           It is not a tax and it is perfectly fair that people getting housed on benefits are not able to live in houses that I couldn’t afford on a full time salary.  And you can’t move in Edinburgh for empty 1 bedroom flats. 

           It is long since time to scrap housing benefit and child benefit.  One just distorts the market and inflates rents and the other is just encouraging people to breed in a country and planet that is being destroyed by overpopulation.   

           This is not a case of universal benefits and saving money through avoiding means testing.  This is a case of people being able to sponge off the state and the usual shroud wavers claiming that any reduction in welfare spending is the new holocaust.  It isn’t and it pishes me right off.

         Not everything the coalition does is wrong.   Hating Tories because they are Tories just leads you into the same bile filled swamp as Slab and the rest of the bitterers.

    71. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      You don’t have the first clue what you’re talking about. Please don’t disfigure my website with this ignorant Mail-reader shite.

    72. Braco says:

      Is that a rainbow I see forming between our two posts? The internet is an amazing creation that it allows me and you to sit so close without even at least a table being knocked over. Still, always nice to meet another YES voter!

    73. Braco says:

      Rev Stu, was it only last night? What a perfect host, drifting between incompatible guests like a willow the wisp and those canapes!

    74. Stevie Mach says:

      Just as well for Rennie there are hundreds of thousands of smaller houses just lying empty people can move into to avoid the bedroom tax. Doesn’t he know most of the people the bedroom tax will hurt are already working in poor paid jobs. He should be campaigning for £multi-million profit making tax avoiding companies to pay their staff a decent working wage and some money to HMRC instead of pontificating to people their social mobility will be better served moving into a portacabin! He should be driving that message home. Oh, wait a minute, driving, don’t LibDems get into trouble doing that…

    75. Derek Mair says:

      Mark I’m unclear as to how you legislate against a rental agreement? Seems to be opening a can of worms for other less well off tennats who find it difficult to pay their rent how will they feel when they are nit protected..
      But maybe there’s something I’ve overlooked.

    76. Craig P says:

      I think I like Mike Dailly’s idea. And while we are legislating to make eviction for non payment of bedroom tax illegal (though not 100% sure how that is going to work given it is not a tax but a reduction in a benefit), we should do the same for non payment of tv license. 
      The down side is that it is already hard enough to find a place to rent if you are DHSS, if landlords worry that, backed by law, you won’t pay the full rent, it will become impossible. 
      Also any such move directly defying Westminster laws is the endgame, either way. Either we get independence and go our own merry way, or Westminster will legislate so that the Scottish Parliament can never again directly defy it. 

    77. Derick says:

      The difficulty with Dailly’s proposal is that it just pushes the cost of non-payment of rent on to those tenants who do pay their rent.  Social landlords only source of income is rent. The Scottish Government and Cosla have worked a minor miracle to protect over half a million tenants from the effects of the Council Tax reduction (which is considerably more pernicious than the bedroom tax as it affects every poor household).  But they can’t actually turn loaves into fishes.

    78. heraldnomore says:

      O/T  Post referundum discussion, and state funded comments open

    79. Aucheorn says:

      The wonderful BBC comments,  Click on a negative like on the “editors picks” and you actually increase the likes. software glitch ? doesn’t happen if it’s a pro comment.
      Besides the comments are mainly from Daily Mail readers.

    80. In the time it takes the page to load, you to get to and then read the offending comment and *then* rate it, someone else usually has rated the comment.

    81. Swello says:

      What is the difference between the type of comments promoted to “Editors Choice” on the BBC and the “cybernat abuse” that so many are getting excited about.

      I hope better together are putting together a crack squad of respected activists to silence these vile commenters who cheapen the debate. 

    82. NorthBrit says:

      I know I’m an evil Tory but the main thing that struck me was that the heart rending story in the Mirror was about a family with 5 children including a heavily disabled child were planning to mitigate their woes by having another child. 
      No miracle about why this approach is likely to lead to poverty.
      I’m sure that this is not typical but at what point would any of you suggest that they might put a brake on the substantially state funded breeding?

    83. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “a family with 5 children including a heavily disabled child were planning to mitigate their woes by having another child. “

      Since the system penalises odd numbers, they might as well. Indeed, in some cases an extra child will get you out of the Bedroom Tax, which is just another illustration of what an idiotic idea it is.

    84. Adrian B says:


      As the Government is clearly trying to play the system, why should normal people not also do what is best for them under the existing system. Its not a one way street. 

    85. Keef says:

       at what point would any of you suggest that they might put a brake on the substantially state funded breeding?

      Well seeing as Wills & Kate have already announced their’s is due. I’d say right after it’s born. 

    86. ianbrotherhood says:

      The Unions had better get their heads together, prepare for a long summer of trouble, and forget about Labour helping them in any way. Here come Thatcher’s offspring – encouraging racism, thrashing the vulnerable, and daring anyone to take them on: ‘no-one likes us, we don’t care.’
      If there’s anything more sickening than a bully, it’s a bully who has the full apparatus of a Police State to do the dirty work for him – we’ll find out soon enough who we’re really up against when evictions start. 
      Shame on Rennie. Post-Yes, when he’s redundant, he might find himself counting how many bedrooms he has. 

    87. Willie Zwigerland says:

      Adrian B, there’s a whole bunch of ordinary working couples with young children already stuck in overcrowded accommodation. I’m not sure how scoring cheap party political points is going to help them, or help ANY government make policy changes to address the current situation.

    88. creag an tuirc says:

      @Rev. Stuart Campbell

      OT: Right Rev, where’s your post on the BIG story of the day? Get yir finger oot 🙂

    89. Adrian B says:

      Willie Z,

      I am well aware of your first point, but making people on low incomes pay for the woes of the country isn’t going to solve anything. It could quite conceivably make accommodation harder to find.

      My own family situation is that I have my sister and her husband, who are both university educated, with two children, both under three years old living in a caravan in the south of England trying to make ends meet. They are not claiming benefits, but trying desperately hard to keep a roof over their head and bring up two children. Its hard out there for many. I am well aware of this.

      Demonizing people is never going to help. 


    90. Doug Daniel says:

      Ian – “Shame on Rennie. Post-Yes, when he’s redundant, he might find himself counting how many bedrooms he has.”

      I was going to say “cardboard boxes don’t have bedrooms”, but fortunately for Rennie, the Scottish Government want to completely eradicate homelessness.

    91. NorthBrit says:


      Interesting point and your arguments on the bedroom tax are completely convincing (to me anyway).  

      @Adrian B

      Why shouldn’t we all play the system?  Why shouldn’t we all take out as much as we can and put as little as possible in?  That argument is the mirror image of the posts on the Torygraph saying we should congratulate tax avoiders and anyone who thinks differently is motivated by the politics of envy.  

      A tax avoider only takes money from the rest of society.  They don’t do it by exploiting a baby which on the face of it will be born into poverty and appalling life prospects.  I do not regard that kind of behaviour as being the act of “normal people”.  

    92. Keef says:


      Is not the act of stealing from society through tax avoidence perhaps one of the more despicable causes of poverty? Indeed, denying the community the funds to boost the economy and services leads directly to an increase in abject poverty due to lose of jobs. There is a direct connection to be made.

      I consider the act of stealing from ones community, to enahnce ones lifestyle at the detriment of your fellow man to be also the kind of behavior that would not be expected of ‘normal people’ either.   

    93. NorthBrit says:


      I point out that tax avoidance takes money from society and you respond with a semi-literate post suggesting that tax avoidance is a bad thing.

      Tax avoidance is not stealing and neither is exploiting the benefits system.  

      You appear to believe that bringing children into a lifetime of misery to enhance your lifestyle is morally equivalent to avoiding taxes.  I think you have a warped set of values.


    94. Adrian B says:


      Boxing people in as being an underclass (which is what has been achieved) and giving them little room for maneuver in order to change their life through worthwhile employment is going to cause instances such as that discussed. Its a fact of life, if it was easy to get a worthwhile job, then there would be less of a problem.

      Paying people a pittance not to work or to care for a relative at home is a situation that we have little control of at present. Lets imagine in this instance that the father within this family gets a well paid job and that the mother gets a part time job. How much would they need to earn in order for their disabled daughter to be cared for if….

      a.) The family picks up the bill

      b.) The state picks up the bill

      I doubt if in this instance that it would cost less either way.

      Their decision to have another child if bourn out of their predicament is going to appear to be reasonable if they value their family. How can people in a situation like this improve their lot in life quickly when the state appears hell bent on making life harder?   


    95. velofello says:

      About a month ago I posted her a precis of our local councillors’ contributions to the monthly town trade and general information circular.
      The Tory was concerned over the council’s grass cutting obligations if I remember correctly.
      The SLabour was happily relating that he had bought his 17 yr old son his first car.
      SNP wrote at length about the coming bedroom tax.
      Market forces: equilibrium is reached where the supply and demand curves intersect. But there are circumstances of inelastic demand whereby no matter the efforts of supply, demand can never be fully satisfied. And of course the flip side is inelastic supply. 
      Market forces.
      The government having monopolistic advantage, could “interfere” in the market by setting a cap on the supply side costs. Private landlords could then choose whether to remain in the market of reduced rents or not.Another solution is to bolster the supply side by social housing builds.Talk is that a private landlord in our little town has around 50 flats he rents to the authorities!
      But then another issue is an expanding low cost immigrant labour force, willing to accept low paid employment and less than ideal housing,and so it may prove futile for the government to interfere in the market to accommodate UK citizens.
      Many of the immigrant workers may not intend settling in the UK. Often the father of a family works here, living under poor conditions, for him a temporary discomfort since his intent is ultimately to return home, and remits his earnings home to his family.
      In the Middle East the practise is that an employer secures a block of permits for immigrant workers, and carries the responsibility to transport to/from their country, house and pay the block of workers.The immigrant workers hand over their passports to their employer.
      This a difficult problem. Stay in Europe and be faced with the problems of immigrant cheap labour until there is an equalisation of living costs and earnings in Europe and so little incentive for immigrants to work in the UK.Or leave Europe and have faith that a sufficient technical advantage of  UK products to market can compensate for high UK costs.
      There is a third way for the government, a fudge,the bedroom tax. 
      All the above is much more easily managed by a country of 5 million population and with plentiful natural resources. The referendum Don’t knows, how much more do you need to know to vote Yes?


    96. Adrian B says:


      The bedroom tax seems to be the ideal solution for business in London wishing to keep their labour costs to a minimum.

      It suits those in the hospitality area well, were they can employ single people from Eastern Europe for less than people with families from the local area. Single people from the edges of Europe are prepared to tolerate housing that families are not. It is short term focus on behalf of business and immigrants that works well for each party involved. It doesn’t solve either the housing or employment issues however. Those are issues being passed on to other areas. 

      Forcing low income families out of London seems to be a part of this policy 

    97. Keef says:

      Tax avoidance is not stealing and neither is exploiting the benefits system.

      I think both are a warped sense of normality.

      Where did I say that bringing children into a lifetime of misery to enhance your lifestyle is morally equivalent to avoiding taxes?  

      Are you saying that only the rich (the majority of whom got rich by not paying their taxes) should be entitled to have children? That the poor (mostly through no fault of their own) should not be allowed to have the joy of children?

      My apologies for my ‘semi-literate’ post. Are you suggesting that you never understood my meaning? I’d hardly say you’re any threat to Shakespeare either mind you.    



    98. Davy says:

      Hello all, I just had a look at the BBC article on the SNP program for Independence, is it not amazing how many of the comments were saying ok the Scots can have independence but they will have to pay for everything themselves no more subsidy’s. How many times do they need to be told we already pay for everything we use with our own money. arrrhh.

    99. Adrian B says:


      I know it all looks very negative over on the BBC, but Dave C needs it to be this way in their minds, so that when Alister Darling & Co. lose the Referendum, Dave C can blame Labour for breaking up the Union. Its not going to be Dave C’s fault.

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