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Why austerity is forever

Posted on June 26, 2013 by

I’m going to do something I only do rarely and write this post in the personal pronoun, because it’s very much a personal view rather than an attempt to speak for a wider section of the independence movement. But although it’s been forming for a while, it was finally triggered by an Ian Bell comment piece in the Herald today.

You should read it all, but the key paragraph is this one:

“You have to pause, then, and ask yourself why policies that have failed for three long years cause barely a whisper of argument in Westminster. The only sensible inference, surely, is that what looks like failure to some is a very satisfactory state of affairs to others.”

That simple, understated last sentence cuts to the very heart of why Scots will stand at the edge of a terrible abyss in September 2014, with a herd of buffalo stampeding towards them, and seriously consider NOT grasping at the rope ladder dangling from the last helicopter offering to carry them safely away from the cliff edge.

austerity

It’s one of the great ironies of humanity that we so eagerly subvert and undermine our own beliefs. World War 1 was supposed to be “the war to end all wars”, but just 20 years after the appalling carnage of trench warfare we forgot the supposed lesson and plunged back into another pan-global conflict, this one even wider-ranging and four times as catastrophic.

And did we learn any better the second time? We pretend that we did, making serious, brilliant documentaries like “The Nazis – A Warning From History”, examining in the greatest detail how the war came about so that we can recognise the symptoms in future and prevent it from happening again. But what do we do then? We invent Godwin’s Law, a means by which anyone who actually points out those symptoms can be derided and dismissed.

(Or to be more accurate, a misinterpretation of Godwin’s Law. The law itself only states that at some point any debate will eventually mention Hitler, but has been twisted by the witless herdmind into the assertion that the person who does so has automatically lost the argument. As wilfully stupid blindness goes, it’s hard to beat.)

Something similar is happening right now in UK politics. The evidence that austerity is a totally counter-productive “solution” to economic crisis is so overwhelming in both quantity and quality that it’s hardly worth linking to any specific studies, because it requires no great or specialised intellect to see that impoverishing the people who actually spend most of the money in an economy cannot possibly lead to growth – it’s staggeringly obvious common sense that a child, or the IMF, could understand.

Why, then, does our political system comprise just two electable parties, both offering the same disastrous policies, stretching years into the future? Partly, of course, that’s a function of an electoral system which invariably creates two-party states where the “opponents” are in fact barely distinguishable.

But there’s also another, far more chilling possibility – one hinted at by Ian Bell, and explored in stark detail in a cultural document which suffers from its own brand of the “Godwin’s Law” curse.

1984map

In this writer’s view, George Orwell’s “Nineteen Eighty-Four” is the most important book ever written, certainly about politics and certainly in the UK. It’s a short book, and the crucial part is shorter still, amounting to barely 100 pages.

(Most of the text preceding – SPOILER ALERT! – Winston’s arrest is just scene-setting and human interest, apart from the extracts from Goldstein’s book which appear towards the end of the second act. Those, his conversations with O’Brien and the appendix on the principles of Newspeak are the book’s real content.)

In much the same way as Godwin’s Law, “Nineteen Eighty-Four” has been debased almost beyond the point of credibility by deliberate misrepresentation, clumsy misinterpretation and hysterical misuse. As with Nazi Germany, because the dystopia it depicts is so extreme and terrifying, people instinctively look for ways to reject it as somehow inhuman and unthinkable, and to tame its iconography by trivialising it, because facing the reality brings it far too close to home for comfort.

But I’m digressing. Ian Bell’s point, extensively elaborated on in the book, is that austerity suits both Labour and the Tories just fine. We’ll pick out just a single extract of Orwell’s work by way of illustration:

“By the standards of the early twentieth century, even a member of the Inner Party lives an austere, laborious kind of life. Nevertheless, the few luxuries that he does enjoy – his large, well-appointed flat, the better texture of his clothes, the better quality of his food and drink and tobacco, his two or three servants, his private motor-car or helicopter – set him in a different world from a member of the Outer Party, and the members of the Outer Party have a similar advantage in comparison with the submerged masses whom we call ‘the proles’.

The social atmosphere is that of a besieged city, where the possession of a lump of horseflesh makes the difference between wealth and poverty. And at the same time the consciousness of being at war, and therefore in danger, makes the handing-over of all power to a small caste seem the natural, unavoidable condition of survival.”

For “Inner Party” read “political elite”, for “Outer Party” read “home-owning middle classes”, for “proles” read everyone else, and for “war” read “recession” (combined, of course, with the “war on terror”). And if that’s all a bit abstract, let’s ask it in a simpler way – what would it benefit either of the UK’s two political parties if the country suddenly recovered and started to record healthy economic growth?

The Tories wouldn’t be particularly happy, because by common consensus the crisis has given them the cover they need to do something they always ideologically want to do anyway – slash government spending, shrink the size of the state and cut taxes in order to enrich the wealthy, who in turn fund them.

But if austerity worked, would Ed Miliband be any more pleased? If the cuts saved the economy, everyone would gratefully vote Tory again. Labour needs poverty, because without poverty its ostensible reason for existing is gone. The party, in fact, thrives on inequality – if that inequality vanished, so would its core vote.

The fundamental change wrought by New Labour was that without admitting it, the party politically abandoned the poor and vulnerable (safe in the knowledge that they had nowhere else to go) and instead aligned itself with the “aspirational” middle classes – exactly the same people targeted by the Tories. And the middle class, more or less by definition, identifies itself not in absolute terms, but relative ones.

The British middle class – as we’ve seen by the remarkably muted response to austerity, compared to the riots in other countries – can tolerate its circumstances worsening considerably, as long as it can still see the gap between itself and the wretched poor. Having to work longer hours or cut back on holidays and new cars is bearable as long as you can say “Hey, at least I’m not being forced to work in Poundland for nothing, or socially cleansed out of this nice area where I live”.

The poor have been effectively disenfranchised since 1997, but only now are Labour fully grasping the opportunity that presents them with. They’d already realised that it was electorally safe to abandon socialism, but now they can see that it’s also no longer necessary even to exercise economic competence (the party’s traditional Achilles heel) in order to attain their only true goal – power.

As long as they’re prepared to concede the ideological ground to the Tories, Labour can safely focus on competing for the tiny handful of voters who actually decide who runs the country, now sympathetically called the “squeezed middle”. Spending on the desperate poor – who will either vote Labour anyway for lack of an alternative, waste their vote on a protest which even if successful will achieve nothing, or simply stay at home – can be sacrificed in order to bribe the middle with what little can be spared.

(Another little-examined key factor in the disintegration of British democracy is that the parties have no reason to care in the slightest about low turnouts. Indeed, the lower turnout is the better, because it means less money has to be spent on campaigning to win votes. The “perfect” election for any of the mainstream parties is one where only a single voter turns out, and votes for them. The notion of a democratic mandate is a red herring to which only lip service is ever paid – David Cameron secured the votes of just 23% of the electorate in 2010, yet effectively exercises absolute power without anyone ever raising much of a fuss about it.)

dish

Labour can’t win any new votes by moving to the left, only to the right. And the Tories can only fight off the threat of UKIP (who can’t win power, but CAN deny it to the Tories by splitting their vote) by doing the same, pulling Labour with them as they go.

As Ian Bell notes, George Osborne will today paint a picture of a future where austerity persists to 2020 and beyond, and Ed Balls has already effectively signed up to Osborne’s budget plans, leaving the electorate no meaningful choice in 2015. But it’s much worse than that.

There is no magical windfall waiting just over the horizon, no second North Sea oil boom to rescue the UK the way the first one rescued the Tories in the 1980s. Even Labour’s token attempts at addressing poverty between 1997 and 2010 – when there were endless oceans of imaginary cash propping up the Treasury’s coffers – are now history, because there’s no money left.

The new policy consensus between all three UK parties – and more particularly the only two who matter – is forever, because there’s no need or reason for it ever to change. Austerity is the new prosperity. If you’re not already rich, be very afraid.

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    178 to “Why austerity is forever”

    1. Tomo says:

      Rev. This was a fantastic read. Very depressing, but very true.

    2. Juteman says:

      Briliant.
      The empire is finally safe from democracy.

    3. Juan Bonnets says:

      “Vote NO – Get Nothing” is looking far too optimistic, and increasingly so day by day. Thank you for setting out the case, backed up by evidence, that the UK is in fact on the path to becoming a dystopia that science fiction has warned us about for decades. Most people might still think that far-fetched, but then I bet until last week they would have said the same about the idea of GCHQ spying on everything everyone does all the time.

    4. HandandShrimp says:

      There is no fundamental questioning of austerity because as Byrne joked 2there is no money left”
       
      The UK is in a dark place and regardless of who is elected in 2015 it looks like austerity is the only stale bread on the shop shelf. Osborne’s austerit drive has pushed up unemployment and growth is bumping along the bottom. Debt has continued to rise and servicing that debt is now the 4th largest expenditure item on the books (ahead of defence). The question Better Together never answeer is “define better”.
       
      A No vote is not a vote for milk and honey and to go a tad Biblical if we have been whipped with scourges to date the whipping with scorpions is yet to come. A vote for Yes is an opportunity to take a small country with a distinct social and economic traditions and release the potential of the people and resources of that country. The scare stories are all “OMG you won’t be able to create a Frankenstein like Mini-me UK” The answer is “No! Thank the Saints! Why the hell would we even want to?” 

    5. Training Day says:

      Outstanding article Stu, and Bell’s was not too shabby either. 
       
      Sentient individuals really have to do the only thing possible in September 2014.

    6. Iain says:

      Of course one of the results of austerity being the new normal is the rage engendered when any party tries to push a message of optimism and hope e.g. the SNP. Even if the Inner Parties weren’t ideologically committed to keeping the Union intact, they’d require the SNP and associated Yes supporters to be berated, denigrated and eventually destroyed.
      Perhaps the most disgusting pert of the new politics is the gradual demonization of the poor (think pot of water with the heat being turned incrementally up). Just as the biggest prop of Southern US racism was poor whites having a class of people (blacks) to which they could feel superior to, the UK has the benefit class for the middle and ‘good’ working classes to focus their rage upon (with the bonus that the threat of being banished to benefitdom can be dangled over the squeezed middle). 

    7. Yesitis says:

      A very fine article, Rev Stu. I have a feeling this may be a seminal read for more than a few people over the next year or so. I will make sure of that.

    8. Tattie-boggle says:

      Oh Jesus come 19th September 2014. Bottle of bubbly in one hand and a rope in the other. Excellent breakdown of how it is and how it could be.

    9. Tony Little says:

      Excellent article, somewhat depressing in its honesty, but a great read nonetheless.  This needs to be circulated to everyone in our networks.
       
      Thank you Rev!

    10. scottish_skier says:

      An excellent article Rev. 

      It’s scary but true.

      The best gift we can give Scotland and the rest of the UK is a Yes in 2014.

      If we don’t put the last remnants of imperial Britain out of it’s misery, it will continue to struggle on in increasing pain, dying a little more each day, before finally succumbing in what most likely will be a undignified complete collapse. Think riots on the streets.

      Hopefully, our little velvet revolution will help bring about the same south of the border.

    11. fairliered says:

      Great article Rev! The quote below should be on leaflets and billboards throughout Scotland. “Labour needs poverty, because without poverty its ostensible reason for existing is gone. The party thrives on inequality – if that inequality vanished, so would its core vote.”

    12. Erchie says:

      I almost believe that Liam Byrne did that deliberately, as his policy statements since seem to come from well into Tory Thought. He furnished the Tories with an excuse to do what they wanted anyway, because he wanted the same thing

    13. Douglas says:

      Sums up why I left the Labour Party.  In my local area in South Ayrshire it’s full of champagne ‘socialists’ who live in big houses.  Happy to work with the Tories on the Council and you couldn’t get a thin piece of paper between them.
      I remember the debates we had in the early ’80’s which were about socialism, equality, investment, better housing.  Then in the ’90’s the debate was about those terrible people in the Labour club who were bringing the Labour Party into disrepute.  They were working class Labour Party members who worked for and voted for the Party.  If that’s they way the Labour leadership think of their own people no wonder they have so little credibilty.

    14. Vronsky says:

      Excellent piece, Rev (jeez, that’s two compliments as many days – must query this medication).
       
      I’ve long been of the opinion that the economy is not failing, but delivering precisely the intended results: the transference of wealth from the majority to a tiny minority who hold all power.  In business jargon, it’s hitting all its KPIs. 
       
      It’s notable that the theoretical underpinning for the austerity measures is based upon a spreadsheet containing errors of an unbelievably elementary nature. People will starve or lose their homes because a couple of thickos (dumb even by the standard of economists) don’t know how to type a formula into Excel.
       
      Also spot on about 1984 – it wasn’t a prediction, it was a stylised analysis of the way things were in 1948.  And they’ve since got worse than Orwell could have imagined.

    15. a supporter says:

      “There is no magical windfall waiting just over the horizon, no second North Sea oil boom to rescue the UK the way the first one rescued the Tories in the 1980s. ” 
       
      In fact the rUK is going to be deprived of oil and other resources if Scotland goes Independent. It is really going to be in the deep shit afterwards. Perhaps the reason it is fighting so desperately to keep Scotland in the UK.

    16. KraftyKris says:

      Excellent article Rev. I read 1984 a long time ago but it is one of those books that leaves a lasting impression, I think because you recognise Orwell’s insights on things like war, thought crimes, classes and doublethink all around you.

      I always wondered whether being in that hopeless situation it would be better to be a prole or in the outer circle? The proles seemed to be given (slightly) more freedom, enjoy life more and have less stress. Given the overwhelming power and inevitability of the situation I tended towards ignorance is bliss, however, quoting Johann Wolfgang von Goethe:

      “None more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free”

    17. ianbrotherhood says:

       
      “The Nazis: A Warning from History” was first broadcast in 1997 – does anyone know how often it’s been repeated? It seems to be a semi-permanent feature on the listings.
       
      In the sixteen years since, during which we’ve witnessed: economic panic; election-theft; the legitimisation of torture; upward redistribution of wealth; blatant warmongering by an amorphous ‘International Community’; relentless attacks on civil liberties etc etc ad fucking nauseum – has the BBC produced anything which could be called:
       
      “Bankers – A Warning from History”
       
      “The Press – A Warning from History”
       
      “Elites – A Warning from History”
       
      No.
       
      Do we really need to ask why not?

    18. SCED300 says:

      This is why the Thatcher policies were a Godsend to Labour in Scotland. They have used it for 30 years to say look at what Thatcher did, Vote for Us. But when the opportunity came to do something they carried on as usual.
      Over 13 years they had total control in Westminster and they could have taken the revenues from Oil and Gas and used it specifically to retrain workers and regenerate areas of the country damaged by cuts. Nothing like this happened.
      We have 45-50 Labour MPs in Westminster, they could have as a block worked together to force the Labour Government to have a fund for Scotland. But, even now, we have Margaret Curran, Shadow Secretary of State for Scotland, as MP for one of the poorest constituencies in Scotland and Labour activists saying we must start to work on the One Nation policy.
      After 30 years they are just beginning to talk about it!
      They still hid behind the excuse we must help everybody, everywhere, until we can do that we just stand behind the barricades and shout.
      There constituencies are not in Nottingham or Manchester or Westminster, but here in Scotland.

    19. “For “Inner Party” read “political elite”, for “Outer Party” read “home-owning middle classes”, for “proles” read everyone else.”
       
      An excellent article, Stuart. My only quibble would be the terminology of today.
       
      I agree on Inner Party. The “Outer Party” are “Hardworking Families”. Neither party it seems can mention the word Families without the arslikahn adjective Hardworking – which now seems so trite as to have become a single word.
       
      The “Proles” are the “Underclass”.  They would probably be the Proles had Orwell not made it a dirty word.

    20. Dcanmore says:

      Excellent piece Rev. I first read 1984 when I was 18 (in the 80s funnily enough) and it never left me. I remember what Tony Benn said in the documentary film Sicko: “An educated, healthy and confident nation is harder to govern” … “Keeping people hopeless and pessimistic – see I think there are two ways in which people are controlled – first of all frighten people and secondly demoralize them.” … and “People in debt become hopeless and hopeless people don’t vote.” 

    21. Barontorc says:

      It struck me as a deteriorating trend that poll turn-out was dropping and I put it down to voter turn-off, but if it is a deliberate ploy to disengage the population, that has to be an extremely serious and recklessly foolhardy strategy.
      If the real wealth of a country is to see its competitive value increase by its fulfillment and development of its young people, just what kind of a twisted mind would rather see the lights go out in their young eyes for the short term greed-induced political gain that might be achieved?
      The UK political system has been mired in the gutter for so long, it has lost all sense of self-respect and has well passed being described as democratic, anything stemming from it now carries the stench of rot and decay and the Scottish people have to move well away from its caustic contamination.
       

    22. Jiggsbro says:

      and “People in debt become hopeless and hopeless people don’t vote.”
       
      True, with an important caveat: hopeless people can be persuaded to vote for hope. It worked for Obama and it can work for us.

    23. scottish_skier says:

      Of course the whole internet monitoring thing is part and parcel of this.

      It’s nothing to do with catching terrorists; that’s just a convenient excuse. It’s to do with monitoring an increasingly desperate and angry joe public.

      They know protests, civil disobedience, riots etc are in the pipeline. This is to keep an eye on it and act to nip things in the bud as early as possible.

      We’re already witnessing the crackdown on this, including arresting people for thinking about protesting, e.g.

      http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jun/11/anti-g8-protest-headquarters-london-riot-police

      Capitalism invariably leads to authoritarianism just as ‘extreme’ socialism can suffer the same fate if it is ‘imposed’ on an increasingly unwilling population.

      Stick overall to the middle ground (and I mean the real middle, not the UK middle) and you have the best chance of long term stability, prosperity and liberty. Norway being a prime example. A balance between left and right, authoritarian and liberal. Equilibrium.

      Thankfully, Scotland has always done this balance very well.

    24. Marjorie says:

      Excellent article Rev. thank you. The Tory and Labour parties are undistinguishable in their relentless pursuit of power.

    25. panda paws says:

      IMHO this is the best piece you have ever written Rev because whilst you and others have said the component parts before, putting it together in one piece means the truth hits you right  in the eye. You mention 1984 but equally relevant is Animal Farm. We are now at the stage when the belief that some are more equal than others seems entrenched into UK groupthink and neo liberalism is unchallenged.
      There is a piece in today’s Guardian that sums it up, the under 35s (in EWNI) have swallowed the “poverty is a fault in the person” rhetoric hock line and sinker.
      http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2013/jun/26/generation-y-young-voters-backing-conservatives.
      I’ve always wanted an independent Scotland because I thought we were a nation. Now I also want it because I see the working class being reduced to the conditions shown in last night’s “Secrets from the Workhouse” again unless we rid ourselves of a union with people who are moving ever further to the right.
      God help us if it’s a no vote.

    26. ianbrotherhood says:

       
      @Douglas (11.35)-
       
      You sound a bit disheartened, and I know the ‘sort’ you’re referring to.
       
      Don’t mean to make any assumptions about your politics or intentions, but if you do  want to get active (especially in the anti-Bedroom Tax movement) please get in touch – SSP Ayrshire is growing fast and we’re always up to something.
       
      ian [at] stevenston4 [dot] fsnet [dot] co [dot] uk

    27. HandandShrimp says:

      I see on the Guardian that there are over 9,000 people with police files not because they have broken any laws but because of their political activity. It does make me wonder who many of the leading lights in the Scottish independence movement are considered subversives. Are the security forces bugging Alex Salmond just as they bugged Harold Wilson in the 60s and 70s?

    28. Rolf says:

      Such a great piece (one amongst many) and sums up the choice we face next year.
      Austerity is not about getting the finances in order/balancing the books in some cosy house-keeping kind of way. It’s about using the “shock” of austerity to drive through the neo-liberal ideology.
      The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism by Naomi Klein explains how it all works.

    29. Adrian B says:

      This probably is the best piece that I have seen you write. Its also probably by far the most succinct piece I have seen on the situation facing the population of these Islands.
       
      I have limited time for the IMF for various reasons, but even they know that the UK is going to far. We are told via our media that these cuts are required, we are offered the same cuts by opposition Westminster parties for no other reason than it is in their interest to not offer change.

    30. Excellent article, Rev.

      And on the subject of the Spending Review – Johann Lamont must be so proud to see Osbourne taking up her ‘end the something-for-nothing culture’ mantra!

    31. pmcrek says:

      Depressingly excellent article, might I propose the following solution for viewers outside Scotland, move to Scotland, vote Yes.

    32. Max says:

       
      Vote NO – get Austerity, guaranteed. 
       
      Osborne has promised that another 150,000 public sector jobs to go by 2015/16. 

    33. Taranaich says:

      It’s the strangest thing. I came to a similar revelation regarding austerity a while back, in fact before austerity was even a thing, because it’s plain to see that the political elite most certainly are not feeling the effects of the recession to anything like the same degree as the vast majority of the country. Neoliberalism has transformed into Neodickensianism. Only a matter of time before Workfare starts setting up houses and we can see the honest-to-God return of workhouses.
       
      What sane society actually looks at the disabled and decides they are the scroungers, as opposed to the unelected gentry and lords born into their position? What fair system sees the ridiculous taxes and levies imposed on the lower classes, and decides it is they who are workshy layabouts, rather than the obscenely rich elite who imposed those measures to begin with?
       
      And yet my optimism is completely undimmed. Why? Because if things can get so bad without the vast majority of people doing anything about it, then things can get better too. A sufficiently motivated, organised and influential movement CAN change things. The Yes Campaign haven’t even started yet, but when they start their true campaign, there is nothing – nothing – Better Together, United Under Labour, even Westminster itself can do to stop it. They’ll do everything they can – paint Yes voters as nationalists/racists/terrorists, lie through their teeth about how There Is No Alternative, even sabotage Scotland’s economy and security deliberately through action or inaction – but it won’t work, because we’re in a different world now. Witness the Arab Spring, and how the Internet has changed the game forever.
       
      Once the possibilities of an independent Scotland compared to Union are properly disseminated to the masses, once the truth of our country’s history under the past 60 years of “Union” is common knowledge, once the average citizen knows about McCrone and the Sea Grab and the 1979 election scandal, how can we possibly lose?

    34. Bugger (the Panda) says:

      I read and believed 1984 to be a warning.
       
      Some people have taken it to be a blueprint.

    35. Atypical_Scot says:

      Absolutely brilliant article Rev, spot on. 

    36. megsmaw06 says:

      Well done Rev. Depressingly true. I honestly feel terrified by the thought of a No vote.
      When I hear the in-laws say we’re better together because of some shite they saw on the BBC I really despair. The other half and I have tried so hard to myth bust everything they regurgitate, but it’s not sinking in. My only solace is that they don’t bother to vote any other time, so they probably won’t even bother next year.

    37. Desimond says:

      Amazingly, No voters see the darkness in every ray of light…”look tha Scottish Government are delivering DESPITE the UK holding it back not BECAUSE of it”…”Oh well, best just keep it like it is then, must be okay!”

      Incredible but true!

    38. Max says:

       
      Osborne announces 2 year Council Tax freeze from 2014.
       
      Scottish Conservative manifesto, 2011, “We will freeze the Council Tax until at least 2013. However, the Council Tax Freeze can’t continue indefinitely. Looking ahead to when it eventually has to come to an end, we will change the law to give local residents the power to stop bills rising faster than inflation.”

    39. seoc says:

      Political power has long since departed from ‘the people’
      Root cause and root solution.
      The electorate should be able to dissolve the Government by means proportionate to their majority – the smaller the majority, the easier to dissolve.

    40. Les Wilson says:

      Our call should  be shouted everywhere. Vote YES get hope, vote NO and all hope will be destroyed.
       

    41. Max says:

       
      Scottish Liberal Democrat manifesto, 2011, “We will provide sufficient central resources to support a council tax freeze for the next two years. We will enter discussions with local authority partners to consider options for the remainder of the parliamentary term.”

    42. ianbrotherhood says:

       
      @HandandShrimp-
       
      ‘It does make me wonder who many of the leading lights in the Scottish independence movement are considered subversives.’
       
      All of them.
       
      And all the lesser lights.
       
      And us.
       
      And everyone at BellaC, NNS, National Collective, RIC…etc etc
       
      We’re all in this together.
       

    43. donaldGTrump says:

      Vote ‘No’ – get shafted.

    44. Max says:

      In Scotland Labour, the Tories and the Lib Dems are opposed to the SNP government’s Council Tax freeze.
       
      Now in England, the Tories with the coalition partners are to implement a Council Tax freeze, and Labour are committed to retaining coalition spending plans which now includes a Council Tax freeze.
       
      Another example of unionists saying one thing in Scotland but doing the exact opposite in England.  How is that meant to be Better Together?

    45. DMyers says:

      @Panda paws.  I’m glad you draw attention to Animal Farm, because I think there are clear parallels between both books, and also with that’s happening now – especially in terms of the Tory/Labour non-dichotomy.  Which lot are humans and which are the pigs?  I certainly can’t tell the difference, although I do always seem to be reminded of Squealer whenever Osborne appears on the telly…

    46. Doug Daniel says:

      Brilliant article Stu. People need to read this article and understand its truth. Then they need to go to the polling station on the 18th September next year and put a cross against Yes. And then once we get independence, every one of us needs to make sure we do our part in ensuring Scotland doesn’t become one of these stupid countries that keeps repeating the same mistakes.
       
      The fact that the middle classes are mostly happy to just sit and take it while the government shafts them up the arse is why I don’t hold out much hope for winning the referendum on the back of the current electorate. As Winston Smith says in 1984, “if there is hope, it lies with the proles”. In 1984, they never revolted because they didn’t need to as they had all the food and entertainment they needed – I do not believe this to be the case here. So if we can harness the support of those who have been marginalised – and I believe we can – then we’ll win.

    47. Max says:

       
      Osborne, “If you can’t speak proper English you won’t get benefits. “

    48. Max says:

       
      All those ex-Pat pensioners who the unionist say should have a vote in the Scottish referendum are to lose their Winter Fuel Allowance. 

    49. John Bell says:

      OT (I do apologise) I’ve just watched the BBC News. On the main bulletin it showed the First Minister unveiling the new name for the Forth Replacement Crossing and their reporter, a cheerful Laura Bickers, did a short interview with him. She also enthusiastically detailed the construction work.

      Then, on the ‘news from where you are’ slot, they again covered the story, this time with a serious-looking Morag Kinniburgh as the reporter.

      No pictures of the unveiling, no interview or even mention of the FM, but with a put-down paragraph about how dissenting voices say the new bridge isn’t really needed as corrosion of the Road bridge isn’t as bad as feared.

    50. Max says:

       
      Osborne, “A welfare cap will be applied from April 2015, the chancellor says, and it will be set every year in the Budget”
       
      Austerity is here to stay.

    51. Max says:

       
      Ed Balls, “We support a cap on welfare”
       
      Austerity is here to stay.

    52. Ian says:

      An insightful article.  For a great read and another take
      on 1984, take a look at Daemon and Freedom tm by Daniel Suarez. 

    53. Max says:

       
      Tax avoiders and tax evaders will be happy. The HM Revenue and Customs budget is to be cut by 5%.

    54. Max says:

       
      Cash freeze for defence budget means real cut of 2-3% in 2015-16 and would amount to a cumulative cut of around 10% since 2010.

    55. Vronsky says:

      Think I went into moderation for having two links on last post.  Rev?

    56. Max says:

      10% cut to Scottish budget.

    57. Max says:  
      26 June, 2013 at 1:41 pm
      10% cut to Scottish budget.

      That’s the Scottish Office budget, isn’t it? The block grant is being cut by 2%, but there will be Barnett implications from some of the other announcments.

    58. Frazer Allan Whyte says:

      No means no……hope
      No means no……education – except for the rich
      No means no……mobility – serfs enjoy your toil there’s lots more where you came from
      No means no……jobs – join the army and learn to kill foreigners for London
      No means no……control over your own life
      No means no……self-respect

    59. Macart says:

      Wow Rev, that’s a scary one. Great read.

    60. CameronB says:

      Well said Rev. But what are we going to call the relentless drift towards a one party system? Can we use the F word yet?

    61. Patrick Roden says:

      @ Taraniach
      “because it’s plain to see that the political elite most certainly are not feeling the effects of the recession to anything like the same degree as the vast majority of the country”
       
      I know an estate agent in England who loves her job. She mentioned that when selling a house worth say £200,000 it was difficult to get the full price, as values of properties had fallen due to the recession..
       
      HOWEVER houses valued at over 1 million had lost no value as people at this level had not been effected by the recession at all !!!
       
      And the Labour Party is part of this big Lie about everyone having to tighten their belts.
       
      Not if you a millionaire you don’t !!!
       
      Great article Rev.

    62. Vronsky says:

      “Can we use the F-word”

      It’s the K-word – kakistocracy – government by the worst in society.  There’s another name for it too.

      http://tinyurl.com/3r44spx

    63. Cath says:

      Great article Rev
      Labour needs poverty, because without poverty its ostensible reason for existing is gone. The party thrives on inequality – if that inequality vanished, so would its core vote”
      Exactly. The argument that really brought that home to me recently is their anti-independence one which states that “a worker in Manchester has more in common with a worker in Glasgow than he does with the banker living a few blocks from him”.
       
      It absolutely sums up the divisiveness of a 2 party “left” v “right”; “workers v bosses/bankers” state, and especially one in which both parties actually favour the bosses and bankers, while only one pretends to be on the side of the workers.
       
      For a country to work and be civilised, there has to be a recognition that both “workers” and “businesses” are vital to each other as well as both vital to the economy, and that more than just money and work is vital to all of us.
       
      The banker and the worker living in the same place share the place they live in common, and that should bring them together in a whole load of ways. They should be able to meet, socialise and know each other as neighbours not as “enemies” fighting some kind of class war that stretches from John O’Groats to Lands End (but not beyond our own borders).
       
      Labour and the Tories are complicit in creating a society where grievance drives everyone – grievance in the places they leave poverty stricken (Glasgow, Labour’s hearltand fiefdom being one of the worst places in Europe for inequalities and poverty); grievance of the rich against the welfare state and middle classes, grievance of the “hard-working” middle classes against the poor, the disabled, the “scroungers”.
       
      Scotland needs to move on and try to build a better society, along the lines that are now well understood: reduce inequality and you reduce most social problems along with it. Recognise that for business and the economy to thrive, it needs decently paid people, good housing and a decent welfare state and infrastructure. And for a decent welfare state and good housing, you need a strong economy. Both support each other – they are not “at war”.

    64. benarmine says:

      Geez, talk about scare stories. It would be churlish to argue with much of it though. We’re going to need a bigger boat, the population will double after Yes

    65. ronald alexander mcdonald says:

      I was asked the other day how I thought the referendum vote would go. I replied that  if the majority go to the polls well informed of the economics, there will  be a YES vote.
      Austerity suits the Westminster parties because of Westminster. That institution is controlled by The City of London, an ultra right wing beast whose only interest  is in the welfare of the rich and powerful. That’s what motivated Tony Blair and he  knew, as does Milliband, that to be elected the City’s influence is paramount.
      Ignorance   and greed (less so)  are  the real competitors to YES. Better Together is merely a puppet for The City and all that entails.  

    66. I’ve only just torn myself from the bolleaux on the TV fm Wasteminster to read Ian Bell’s article in The Herald. The two pieces together are excellent. Whether the Herald will publish my comment is anyone’s guess. They haven’t published one yet, so I’ll put it here:
       
      I am reminded of an ‘End of the Soviet Era’ Russian joke which likened the Russian People to passengers on a train. Essentially Lenin had exhorted the passengers to collect coal and water and the train chuffed along nicely. When the train ground to a halt, Stalin flogged the passengers until they had collected enough coal, wood and water to keep the train moving. 
       
      Eventually Gorbachev came along, opened the curtains of the carriage and saw that the train wasn’t actually moving. He went up to the rusting hulk of the locomotive and found the corpses of Kruschev, Brezhnev and Andropov sprawled round an old drum kit and microphone linked to the train’s tannoy with Chernyenko feebly tapping out Rat-a-Tat-Tat, Rat-a-Tat-Tat.
       
      Let’s be thankful that Scots have the ability to get off the UK’s train now that the undifferentiable Camosbmilliballs has the drumsticks.

    67. Frazer Allan Whyte says:

      Cath says at the end of her post Scotland needs to move on and try to build a better society, along the lines that are now well understood: reduce inequality and you reduce most social problems along with it. Recognise that for business and the economy to thrive, it needs decently paid people, good housing and a decent welfare state and infrastructure. And for a decent welfare state and good housing, you need a strong economy. Both support each other – they are not “at war”.
      The sad thing is that it is so true and so obvious that it should not even need saying. Scotland being a small country population wise it could even manage a “quick fix” for many of its problems. The money and the know-how are there all that is needed is the opportunity and that is being begrudgingly offered in 2014 because the enemies of independence and human decency are sure it will fail. It would be wonderful if benarmine’s “fears” came true and Scotland became a beacon of hope not just to residents and expat Scots but to others in the world – a place where education and knowledge are so valued that Scots are ready and willing to share them with the rest of the world, where families can work knowing that whatever may come their work will be valued in that their children will have the right to education and jobs and that they will be able to grow old with dignity. Human decency and respect for each other is not something that can be privatized but it can become both an individual characteristic and the expression of the will of the nation – that’s what a “yes” vote will mean.

    68. Keeping up the 1984 analogy, BBC Scotland has excelled itself with the Spending Review in Newspeak.

    69. handclapping says:

      It was Henry Ford who realised that he needed to pay his workers a living wage so that they could afford to buy his cars and so create the demand from which he would profit. GO and Co (the Pink and Blue Wallpaper Co. {severely} Ltd.) do not realise this and have cut wages, social and otherwise, and find there are no taxes as there is no demand. Even Keynes said that when circumstances change he changed his mind but GO&Co know better and we will have more of the same until the patient has bled to death.
       
      Good piece, Rev, and all the better for being in an active voice.

    70. Andy-B says:

      Very good piece Rev, been reading for a while now, and just thought I’d leave a comment on this one, seems to me Cameron & Co are pushing the old Milton Friedman, economic model, Pinochet did it in Chile, Thatcher and Reagan did it without a military junta behind them, I’ll never forget Thatcher breaking the unions here then going to Poland to back them (Solidarity), back on topic Labour and the Tories have a monopoly on Westminster politics, and it seem both are pushing similar policies, even more reason for a YES vote in 2014

    71. DonDeefLugs says:

      @John Bell
      I agree, Severin Carrell paints the same negative picture on The Guardian website
      http://m.guardian.co.uk/uk/scotland-blog/2013/jun/26/scotland-forthbridge-queensferry

    72. Braco says:

      Cath,
      well said!
       
      Great article Rev Stu, Many thanks.
       
      It seems that the societal lessons of enlightened self interest, hard learnt and previously considered the main engine and civiliser of a mixed economy, are now busily being disavowed at a UK level.

      Maybe we were mistaken and these values were never truly understood and duly internalised by the UK electorate as they seem to have been by the Scottish population.
       
      Enlightened self interest! Not a difficult political concept to sell in Scotland. As for England… who knows, as no political party is even trying.

    73. HandandShrimp says:

      Scare stories that are true
       
      Osborne’s latest round of cuts
       
      Better Together? My #*!~

    74. Ericmac says:

      The problem with this hypothesis, is that it assumes some level of intelligent intent on behalf of the politicians of both main parties.  I am having some trouble swallowing the idea that there is any clever strategy behind any Westminster incumbents since the late seventies.
      What is for sure is that the UK has been one of the worst performing countries in Europe over the last thirty years.  We have gotten by on Oil revenue, asset stripping, borrowing and other false economics… and made no provision for reinvestment or a future.       
      My generation and the next generation have failed our children and their children.
       
      There was something in Thatcher’s psyche that was inherently against the poor, against the blue collar workers, against nationalised interests, and anyone who stood in the way of pure capitalist ambition.  This is where the legend , ‘Thatcher hated Scotland’ came from.

      If we could roll the clock back and replace Thatcher’s destructive methodologies (kill or cure) with the kind of enlightened thinking on the Workforce that abounds in the more successful and progressive organisations of today, we would not have the debate that the whole of the UK is having now.  Tory and Labour polarised across South and North.  An archaic, elitist and self-serving Westminster was unable or unwilling to do anything about it.  The UK class structure cannot accommodate real pluralism or true (fair?) democracy.  It’s all been ‘smoke and mirrors’ 

      But sadly and surprisingly, Thatcher has not turned the average Scot towards Independence, it has taken what many people see as ‘Labour Betrayal’ to start to turn the tide of generations of labour voters (Old father / son traditions die hard in Scotland)

      But all this historical and literary introspection gives me belly ache. People need to leave the past and the theory behind, and start to do something that leaves behind a legacy to be proud of (Can you imagine explaining to your Grandchildren the politics of the last 40 years? It reads like a sick horror story)

      You are right, the residents of Scotland have the opportunity to be what they want to be. We can recover more quickly from the Westminster economic, ‘criminal neglect and waste’ of the last 30 years.

      Pluralism is healthy. And if the increasingly bitter Referendum campaign doesn’t damage and divide her citizens, Scotland has a chance for real change and positive improvement based on decent economic principles and competent Government.  In other words, a new start, a clean slate.

    75. ianbrotherhood says:

       
      The sight of Danny Alexander having a wee private laugh with Cameron as Osborne announces these cuts is one of the most sickening things I’ve seen – ever – being broadcast from that fortified septic tank.
       
      I know there isn’t much appetite on this site for list-making, but we all have our own, and Mr Alexander has just entered my ‘Top Ten Scots to be Utterly Ashamed Of’.

    76. Famous15 says:

      Hopeless people have their heads down and do not read essays.
       
      Soundbites and bullet points,and there at least half a dozen in the article, presented clearly and often should get through the curtain of despair.
       
      Since the 1950’s I observed that Labour in Glasgow in particular kept the poor…poor.

    77. Holebender says:

      Sorry, OT, maybe… Not only do I know where Brazzaville and Tangier are, I’ve been to both places (and can recommend neither)!

    78. Dave McEwan Hill says:

      John Bell
      It would be useful to get both those news reports on Youtube

    79. Dave McEwan Hill says:

      John Bell
      They dis exactly the same on the opening of the new A83 Rest and Be Thankful by-pass. They had Michael Moore and Alan Reid at its opening on TV though I know Keith Brown actually opened it

    80. Yesitis says:

      Ianbrotherhood
      I know there isn’t much appetite on this site for list-making, but we all have our own, and Mr Alexander has just entered my ‘Top Ten Scots to be Utterly Ashamed Of’.
       
      Ian, I can`t seem to narrow my List of Scots to be utterly ashamed of any lower than a top 100, um..top 200, nah, I`ll just round it off to probably a third of the population. For now, anyway.
       

    81. Simon says:

      “there is no money left”

      Ask why there is no money left – where has it gone?
      Answer, it has gone to those who gambled big stakes for massive profits.

      Why is that a problem?
      Because those people gambled wrong, they gambled on property prices rising exponentially, they gambled on every increasing arcane financial derivatives. Reality caught up with them as it inevitably would at some point.

      So what is the government’s “austerity” project doing to help?
      Cunning stuff! It is taking resources (money etc) from the poor masses and using it to give to the failed rich, to maintain the wealth of the rich and save them from losing everything when their gambles turn sour.

      See: Bank bailouts, help-to-buy, super-low interest rates. Anything to stop the over-leveraged going bust, anything to stop the ordinary people having a chance to buy up the assets of failed businesses at knock-down prices. Anything to maintain the strict class divisions between the rich and the poor.

    82. MajorBloodnok says:

      Excellent article Rev.  I read 1984 when I was about sixteen because I’d heard a play on Radio 4 when someone said that the way to become an intellectual was to read some George Orwell.  Well, I did but it had no discernable effect so it must be me because Orwell clearly fits into the genius class.  And what is it about people with the name Blair and politics?
       
      Eric Arthur Blair
      Tony Blair
      Blair Jenkins
      Blair MacDougall
      Lionel Blair…er…
       
      You can’t get away from them these days.

    83. Juteman says:

      This article has generated some interest at work.
      A few ‘don’t know/not interesteds’ have made remarks along the lines of ‘bloody hell’.
      Slowly slowly catchee monkey.

    84. Juteman says:

      Blair Drummond? 
      The bastards ripped off my windscreen wipers!

    85. Atypical_Scot says:

      It’s almost like their robots…,
       
      http://img812.imageshack.us/img812/3359/hxo1.jpg

    86. MajorBloodnok says:

      @Juteman
       
      Ah, I see what you did there.

      Are you sure it wasn’t Blair McDougall, though? He’s not to be trust with anyone’s windscreen wipers, let alone the truth.

    87. Kate says:

      ” Labour needs poverty, because without poverty its ostensible reason for existing is gone. The party thrives on inequality – if that inequality vanished, so would its core vote”

      Every Scot needs to see this quote, because never has there been a truer one.

    88. Murray McCallum says:

      Great article.
       
      From a common sense point of view the complexity of the UK economy exceeds the minimum level of competency that Westminster can govern it (has done for many years).  There are too many competing self interests that subvert the efficient distribution of funds.
       
      A fairly modest rise in interest rates will wipe out the deficit savings made to date (the national debt continues to rise of course).  Both Labour and Conservatives will continue to build on the work they have put in towards defining the “deserving” and “undeserving” poor.  Worst impacted will be the usual suspects – unemployed, poor, disabled, low paid and elderly (everyone that largely relies on a fixed income with minimal savings).
       
      Given the financial abyss facing the UK I would far rather face it with 5+ million fellow Scots, making our own decisions and living with the consequences.

    89. Vronsky says:

      “It’s almost like their robots…”

      Read Asimov’s Three  Laws for robots, but substitute ‘voter’ for ‘robot’ and ‘Etonian’ for ‘human’.

      A voter may not injure an Etonian or, through inaction, allow an Etonian to come to harm.

      A voter must obey the orders given to it by Etonians, except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.

      A voter must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Laws.

      Abracadabra! We have the kakistocracy, aka democracy!
       
      Runs flag up mast: http://www.tipsacademy.com/wallpapers/art/Anarchy_black_lg.jpg

    90. Tinyzeitgeist says:

      Yet another utterly misleading sub- headline from the Herald;
      http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/home-news/john-swinney-extra-borrowing-power-for-scottish-government-will-pile-cuts-and-debts-on-country.1372264348
      Makes it sound like Osbourne is doing Scotland a favour! complete Orwellian newspeak. This is disgusting from a top Scottish broadsheet which is attempting to mislead – again!

    91. Hen Broon says:

      As ever a succinct appraisal of the shit we are in, up to our nostrils. Thanks for that, you have given it a great write up. Reading this and Bella Caledonias article http://bit.ly/11IlIKQ and the article Pilger has done on surveillance of us is chilling stuff. If only we could get every one who will vote in the referendum to read these articles at least ten times, victory would be assured.
      I was sufficiently inspired by the latest whimpering from Hothersall land to post this on Bellas article.
       
      “The capacity of the Hothersalls of this country to blindly ignore the elephant in the room that is about to trample them in to dust is really quite depressing, and explains a lot about the Labour mindset that puts the interests of Labour at the forefront of their every thought and utterance. The visceral hatred they display day after day towards the SNP is equally depressing and damaging the very people Labour were created to represent. That is why Labour in their present form are losers and will continue to be so in Scotland. Scottish Unionist MPs, have been for decades the ‘End up a Peer Show,’ full of puppets and gravy train riders. 2014 will see them parked in the museum.”

    92. CameronB says:

      Fly a kite and it doesn’t matter if there is no wind around. At least not at ground level.
      http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2008/aug/03/renewableenergy.energy

    93. Joe says:

      Let me get this right….

      Good news everyone, Westminster gives us a an extra £296 million (of our own money). Hurrah.
      Westminster cuts Scottish resources budget 1.9%. (I work that out at £488 million). Not quite Hurrah.
      BBC paints this as good news for Scotland.

    94. Atypical_Scot says:

      @ Cameron B
       
      Brilliant link. I’m sewing my pants together as I type. Ouch, eech, ouch!

    95. Atypical_Scot says:

      @ Vronsky;
       
      Dalek then.

    96. Bugger (the Panda) says:

      CameronB says:
       
      26 June, 2013 at 6:47 pm
       
      Fly a kite and it doesn’t matter if there is no wind around. At least not at ground level.
      http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2008/aug/03/renewableenergy.energy

      Saw that a few years ago.

      We have not really touched the potential for the World to harness our latent energy sources..
      Wind, wave and petro-chemical, Scotland is away the best.
      I think that the Jetstrean shoot right over us, way Uppa Kye?
      Incidentally, England has a huge fracking gas potential, maybe about 100 years of their requirements but where is it?
       
      Apart from allover England in pockets I think it is offshore, like Berwick?
       
      So, why did D Dewar transfer Scottish waters to Inglaterra on the QT?
       
      Them basterds are way ahead of us, until 2014, I hope.

    97. Juteman says:

      A song for the folk that vote No after  a Yes, in a new Scotland.. I can only imagine how they will feel.
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6KKhHpYb0yU
       

    98. Scarlett says:

      Excellent analysis.
      You missed out the bit about the sustained attack on the principle of universal benefits.
      I think it will be forever if we cant get out of this low pay, low skill – increasing proportion of employment. Not enough tax take to support public services – all the while wealth is being creamed off to overseas secrecy jurisdictions.
      People keep posting stuff on twitter like ‘osborne and cameron need to see the number of people at our food bank/disabled persons hardship etc etc’. Even if they did see it – THEY DONT CARE.
      Scotland is the only bit of the UK with an escape hatch. We need to make sure enough of us vote YES and then we need to take the other road. The common weal appoach, and not look back. 

    99. Krackerman says:

      As always George spotted this one a mile off – warning – not recommended for those who can’t handle strong language and the stark truth 🙂
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-PkWf9M3rUw

    100. Bugger (the Panda) says:

      Atypical_Scot says:
       
      26 June, 2013 at 8:28 pm
       

      @ Panda;
      assume you’ve seen this,
       
      http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b02zldds/Horizon_20122013_Fracking_The_New_Energy_Rush/
       
      Sorry, I am barred from this site
       
      Bugger (the Panda)

       

    101. Juteman says:

      I wait for the day that folk will wake up.
      There is no democracy in the UK.
      All Westminster parties give you the same result, no matter who you vote for. They are now a one party sysyem. Shock doctrine capitalism is all that is on offer.
       The Labour party was subverted in the early ’80.s by American big business. Tories know the score, and all Labour folk that are allowed to take office know the score too. If you want to take office as a Labourite, you have to have received training in the US.
      Democracy is dead in the UK.
      We have one chance to escape this madhouse. Please god (as an atheist), I hope we take it.

    102. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      the ‘End up a Peer Show,’”

      HAT DOFFED.

    103. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “Saw that a few years ago.
      We have not really touched the potential for the World to harness our latent energy sources..”

      Thanks for all the lovely comments, folks, but I swear to God I’m insta-banning the next person who uses the fucking <cite> tag.

    104. Adam Davidson says:

      This has really got me thinking. It is a reality that many of the ‘comfortable middle classes’ do not take any more interest in politics than a scan of the headlines of the mainstream media and turning out to vote when required (at best). How can I be so sure? Because I was one. It was only accidentally finding the McCrone report in Nov 11 that convinced me I had to educate myself more. I had an okay job, I hadn’t been hammered by the recession, it was only going to get better for me.
      My point is many people don’t really care because no matter which party is in power life goes on – for them. They win in one area, loose in another. If they didn’t read papers as many don’t, they wouldn’t realise they were better or worse off. They are not aware of the repercussions of the Tory tinkering and Labour’s heal dragging for the worst off in our country. I was brought up in a stereotypical family home with no concept of reality for many. Then I served as a part time police officer in Paisley for a spell. Jesus! Even then the causes were not obvious. 
      This article has joined the dots in many areas for me. Now I understand why I so desperately want the clean slate that is an independent Scotland.

    105. Krackerman says:

      What’s a “<cite>” tag when it’s at home then?

    106. cynicalHighlander says:

      Krackerman
       
      I don’t know as I’m on strike.

    107. Robert Bryce says:

      A powerful read Rev and powerfully pragmatic. I defy anyone to read that and not come to the conclusion that we are better off out of it.

      I formed the belief that the Tory party were the creators of poverty and “New” Labour were the enforcers just before the 2011 SG election. It was the fundamental reason I decided to break the “Red rosette on a monkey” habit and voted SNP.

      It was plain to see that despite all those years in power “New” Labour had done nothing to improve the lives of those around me trapped in the quicksand. If anything it actually got worse for them.
       
      Tony Blair, Peter Mandelson et al brutally raped Labour of it’s socialist foundation. It took many years for the penny drop that they had been hijacked by career politicians and dragged to the right in order to become electable and provide what I would describe as the real subsidy junkies a lucrative career.

      I now despise both “New” Labour & the Conservatives. Two cheeks of the same arse as someone eloquently put it.

      I would urge any SLAB politicians to take stock of this and ask yourselves if this is really what you joined the party for.

      If you have a conscience then you’ll drop the façade and back a Yes vote. It’s the easiest way to wrestle the party back from the closet tory overlords who rule you.

      If you can’t see this then you must accept that you are not a socialist and must accept your inevitable downfall in an independent Scotland. You know fine well that your support for a No vote is soft at best. Is it really worth the pretence and pipe dream that some day the party will call you up for a stint at the Westminster trough?

      All that’s left to say is…….

      Vote Yes and take back control of your future, your kids future and control of your country.

      Vote no then be afraid, be VERY afraid! 

    108. David Smith says:

      I’m seriously beginning to wonder if I should sell my place in Carlisle and just come over the border to rent a place in Gretna or similar.
      Having no mortgage and being back in my own country with a wee bit of cash in hand suddenly sounds very attractive.
      And I’d have my vote!

    109. mato21 says:

      Robert Bryce
      I am sure I’ll hear someone on GMS tomorrow saying you have threatened them and will be interviewed for 15minutes You will be named and shamed   It will then be broadcast twice an hour for the rest of the day With a special report at 6pm 

    110. Silverytay says:

      David Smith
      If you can afford to , rent your place in Carlisle out & still come back to Scotland to help us fight the good fight .
       

    111. Dave McEwan Hill says:

      INCREDIBLE
       
      BBC Ceefax Scotland is carrying today’s cut as a “Scottish spending boost”.

    112. Jiggsbro says:

      What’s a “<cite>” tag when it’s at home then?
       
      You’re safe, then. I’m fairly confident it isn’t possible to use it accidentally.

    113. Lurker inthe Wings says:

      Krackerman says:
      26 June, 2013 at 9:30 pm
      What’s a “<cite>” tag when it’s at home then? , and how can we use them on unionist sites to annoy them?

      I  think a tutorial is needed for we non tech savvy, Rev.

    114. Bingo Wings Over Scotland says:

      Remember that there’s no point in just reading an article on WOS and nodding in agreement. Share it on Facebook and email it to everyone in your contacts list. Get the facts out there and let the undecided make their minds up.

    115. HandandShrimp says:

      As a complete Luddite I am not sure I know what a cite tag is either.

    116. Atypical_Scot says:

      @ Panda;
       
      How do you get banned from iplayer?

    117. Bill C says:

      o/t – Just a point on the bias of the BBC and Gordon Brewer in particular. I have just listened to Newsnight Scotland. Brewer interviewed John Swinney and then Margaret Curran. Brewer was his usual aggressive, interrupting self when interviewing Swinney; yet totally allowed Curran to rant and rave at length without interruption.  I know the Rev and others on here argue that Brewer dislikes all politicians, however on tonight’s performance I beg to differ.

    118. Derick Tulloch says:

      Yes: good. It’s a start.
      No: the real work begins
      Sisu

    119. Yesitis says:

      Bill C
       
      I think Gordon Brewer just felt sorry for Margrit Curran. She was a train wreck on Scotland Tonight and train wreck on Newsnight.
      I have to say, I liked Brewer`s “Vacuous” comment regards oor Margrit`s ramblings.

      Just to add:
      Those austerity cuts must be pretty popular as the Better Together Facebook Likes have fair been gathering up these last few days. Oh so transparent.
       

    120. Lurker in the Wings says:

      Rev, I honestly don’t know what happened with my last post. Many apologies.
       

    121. clochoderic says:

      No public money for people who do not speak English properly said Osborne in his speech today. He could start with his counterparts on the Labour front bench.

       Ed Milliband and Ed Balls increasingly remind me of the Roman aristocrats in Monty Python’s Life of Brian in the trial scene  Their speech impediments render them laughable as pompous out of touch twats. Ed M’s repetetive ” mithtah thpeakah! appeals to the pompous dwarf in the big chair are matched by Ed B’s bludgeoning disregard for pronunciation – dis pwoposal weduces de coalition’s pwomises to de widicuwous.
      Then we get Stairheed’s machine-gun  fake weegie outrage at tory cuts she agrees with – she makes no sense at all.

      Last but not least is wee Willie Bain who is trying awful hard to sound dead posh – he probably has ambition to be the next Doogie Alexander – but he canny remember whether things are worse or better in his killer question. ( he was having trouble seeing over the lectern at the front bench)

    122. Bill C says:

      @Yesitis
      I hear what you are saying, but can’t agree, he gave Curran a free ride. For example to use the word “vacuous” to describe her comments. The poor woman wouldn’t have a clue what he was talking about and wouldn’t have felt the least insulted. (Wee smiley thing!)

    123. Yesitis says:

      Bill C
      I kind of agree with you, Bill. The thing is, with Margrit, she just opens her gob and  instantly becomes a talking bag o` tatties. I have no idea how she gets away with it? Well, we both know how she gets away with it.

    124. Bill C says:

      @Yesitis
      The thing is, with Margrit, she just opens her gob and  instantly becomes a talking bag o` tatties. I have no idea how she gets away with it? Well, we both know how she gets away with it.”

      Spot on.  Roll on 2014 and her retirement from politics.  Hope for her sake,  oor John manages to keep her pension intact!
       

    125. mato21 says:

      O/T
      Just watched Julia Gillard Aus PM (ex) Her chief spin doctor John Ternan(remember him) thought it would be a good idea if she was pictured for an Aus weekly magazine knitting a kangaroo for the royal baby This brought ridicule from all as she is an avowed republican and feminist No wonder she is now ex PM
      So Labour go to the other side of the world and manage to make a mess of things there as well the one thing they are good at is making a mess

    126. Erchie says:

      tags, in this care, are bits of code you put before and after a bit of text to create a particular effect, or to load an image or video or other task
      E.g to set it in bold, or italics or to create a link

      The cite tag is one for defining the title of a work.

      This happens because HTML started of a subset of SGML, these MArkup Languages are for defining text, though obviously in the case of HTML it more defines the look of the text
       
      So now you know

    127. Titler says:

      Agree with the overall tone of the article, not sure I agree with the specific claim about Labour needing poverty; I think it’s more accurate to say that they no longer feel they need to address it… or indeed, anything except a very narrow range of opinions from business and their own political class. After all, there’s nothing stopping you from going to your MP and telling them directly at one of their surgeries what you think; what has changed is that in the past, such a meeting might have influenced the MP themselves. Today, they just lie and spin to your face, and then continue on as they always intended to. Whether the country is poor or rich is irrelevant to them because they are, at a depth that cannot be reached by reason or emotion, no longer a part of the same country at all.

      I’m not sure if I can accurately explain why; my suspicion is that modern political strategy, just like modern business practices, attracts genuine sociopaths in a way in which older British politics was less likely too… Accidents of birth, class, favouritism are all, whilst not desirable, at the same time less likely to select for a specific personality type as modern political-machines do. You could be born into the right class and be either a sociopath or a softy, and you stood a good chance of getting to the top all the same. But what ever the cause of the modern malaise, it’s a mistake to think Labour are engineering for poverty; I think they need to be assumed to be against it, because like true sociopaths, they have to emptily parrot societies perspectives, because it can prove useful to them personally to do so… but I don’t think they have any genuine emotional connection with the poses they strike. The problem arises because there’s no practical cost to them when they don’t ape society, that they aren’t held to account for the actual consequences of what they do.

      God alone knows how to wake up the English; I remember reading about the man who set fire to himself outside the jobcentre, and how the very next day it was already yesterday’s news; “poor thing, I know where he’s coming from, but what can we do about it now?”. I see the endless waves of austerity breaking people’s lives, and there were only 400 of the usual suspects protesting it still here outside Bristol Council’s offices at the weekend. No, the real horror of 1984 is not that Winston Smith is tortured into believing in Big Brother… but that when he’s sat at his table crying gin-soaked tears of love, none of the other people want to socialize with him; they recoil back, and he’s left alone with just one voice, and that’s the voice of the Party machine. 1984 illustrates that there is no mass disobedience in the English soul, and that was the only thing that could have saved Winston… and themselves. But they chose not to be saved.

      Now… it’s entirely possible that Scotland isn’t going to vote for Independence. I can already imagine how despondent the posters here will be… I can already see potential “Scotland doesn’t deserve Independence if they’re so easily frit” lamentations. Yet as I’ve sort of argued here often before, that’s not the real fight; Independence is just one means of avoiding the modern contagion, but the how Scotland reacts to a No vote is far more important than what it votes for; I can’t imagine the SNP will stop pushing for another try later… unless you, the public stops being able to apply pressure on them to keep doing so. There is a great belief here that at WoSc that the Scots are too engaged, and (some of) your politicians too receptive still to public moods to be as apathetic and disengaged as the English political scene so often is; If Big Brother wins the referendum, I sincerely hope that you will continue to be so… because you really can’t leave true Party members alone at the table.
       

    128. Jiggsbro says:

      I’m not sure if I can accurately explain why; my suspicion is that modern political strategy, just like modern business practices, attracts genuine sociopaths in a way in which older British politics was less likely to
       
      This.

    129. Hetty says:

      Excellent, there certainly seems to be a heck of a lot of folk playing ostriches at the moment…
      only one thing, have the poor been disenfranchised only since 1997? I’d have thought it goes back much further, you just have to read Keir Hardie’s letters and speeches to realise that things have changed very little for the poor and disenfranchised. 
      People think it madness to talk about the consequences of austerity, while the rich accumulate more by the day, it’s the usual deception from government, a wolf in sheeps clothing as the middle class feel relieved they are not in the gutter as you point out. Disempower the poor, divide the people and you are winning all the way….to the bank, mansion and sunny island. Immorality abides,, where are the church leaders? Who’s speaking up for the poor? 
       

    130. Bill Fraser says:

      Divide and rule. So nothing new there then!
      One thought, is Osborne’s rule that you must speak English to get benefits exclude welsh and gaelic and if so is this a form of ethnic cleansing?

    131. john king says:

      o/t 
      I stood at my window looking suspiciously at two young lads walking up my street a few minutes ago, and (in spite of myself) judging them, baseball caps, hoodies looing around themselves in a furtive manner, up to no good was my immediate thought,
      but when they cleared my hedge I could see they had newspaper bags over thier shoulders and instantly felt the raw sting of shame,
      is this what we’ve become? when did I get so judgmental about kids going about a time worn act of earning pocket money,
      kinda like that kid on question time who was attacked viciously by Labour supporters for having the temerity of appearing on Question time in a track suit top and speaking with a broad Glasgow accent  
      here’s a clip of what he said on Munguins republic
      “How shameful then those activists in the so called “party of the working man” should dare attack someone who represents the very values on which the party was founded in such a derogatory and insulting way. After this, they then began to suggest that I needed an interpreter due to my Glaswegian accent and told me to “read a book, not a newspaper”. The abuse was rounded off by some suggesting that I needed a “carer”, and comments regarding the shape of my head. To see mental health issues touched on in such a casual and disgusting way was particularly hurtful and infuriating, given I have a family member who is mentally ill and receives help from dedicated, professional carers.”
       
      that kid is smarter that most people three times his age and has a list of academic achievements as long as your arm,
      but those people did exactly what I did a few minutes ago,
      I however felt deeply ashamed of myself even though I didn’t convey my feelings to anyone else, 
      those people on the other hand cast their judgement on that young lad without any knowledge of his background
       shame on them shame on them
       

    132. Vronsky says:

      “where are the church leaders? Who’s speaking up for the poor? ”

      ‘so intimate is the connection between the throne and the altar, that the banner of the church has very seldom been seen on the side of the people.’

      – Trevelyan, Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire

    133. DonUnder says:

      I see no future in Scotland if we vote No in 2014. It really is a depressing outlook if we remain part of this dysfunctional union.
       
      Thankfully, I have an escape route as I will be illegible for Australian citizenship around the same time. Would I be abandoning my country or would my country be abandoning me?
       
      I pray I don’t have to make that decision.

    134. Tattie-boggle says:

      @ mato21
      Labour all over the World don’t seem to get the 21st century

    135. Caroline Corfield says:

      Very off topic but I have recently received my ‘answer’ to my complaint to BBC wrt Question Time. I’m following it up with a further letter as it seems a stock answer that does not answer my points at all. Can I ask how many others here have complained and gave they too recently received a very broad reply this week? I’d like some ammo to back up my assertions. Thanks. I can post the contents of the reply later when I have access to a bigger screen.

    136. wullie says:

      Hetty says:
      Vronsky says:
      27 June, 2013 at 7:27 am

      “where are the church leaders?
      Hope yur nae thinkin aboot yon church o Scotland wans, they ur the wans that selt us doon the swanny in 1707. The only church oan the planet tae hiv dumped its entire flock fur its ane selfish ends

    137. ianbrotherhood says:

       
      Kay with a knee is on about potholes and chest-hair.
       
      We’ll have no more of either…in an independent Scotland.

    138. Robert Bryce says:

      Hetty says:
       

      Excellent, there certainly seems to be a heck of a lot of folk playing ostriches at the moment…only one thing, have the poor been disenfranchised only since 1997? I’d have thought it goes back much further, you just have to read Keir Hardie’s letters and speeches to realise that things have changed very little for the poor and disenfranchised. 

       

      Hetty,
      I don’t doubt for one minute that’s the case. My personal experience was of being conditioned to vote Labour by my family because “that’s what you do around here”. There was no mention of the past. Call it a tribal instinct if you will.

      We mustn’t forget that not everyone is sufficiently interested to go and read up on it and educate themselves. For me it was simply a eureka moment in 2011 as I am sure it will be now for countless others.

      It’s for that reason I firmly believe Scotland will return a Yes vote next year. I’m convinced of it now because I’m really struggling to find anyone that intends to vote no.

    139. john king says:

      Labour needs poverty!
      hmm, two sides of the same coin Labour need it,without poverty they don’t hold onto their core vote in spite of already proving they have moved further to the right than Margaret Thatcher,
      the Tories require it,  its their default setting, they’re hard wired to require an acquiescent and submissive workforce who will work for little reward,  poorly educated (£9000.00) university fees anyone? of poor health,
      a subdued unmotivated, disenfranchised work force is not productive you might say,
      not part of the Tories ideology (at the risk of invoking Godwins law) the Nazis didn’t employ fit healthy motivated employees to build their v1s,
      they used slave labour from France, Hungary, Denmark, Holland and so on because when they dropped dead from exhaustion ,well there’s plenty more where they came from ,and cheap? jeez the cost of a few rotten potatoes in luke warm  water, you don’t get any cheaper than that do you,
      the actions of condemlab are the death knell of a country we all grew up in because they see no alternative that fits with their skewed view of how best we can serve their purposes,
      The thought that politicians are public servants is a concept that died with Thatcher, we are the servants of the politicians.

    140. Robert Bryce says:

      @John King
      The thought that politicians are public servants is a concept that died with Thatcher, we are the servants of the politicians.
       
      Beautifully summed up John 🙂

    141. Lianachan says:

      O/T Just had a response to my complaint to the BBC about the recent Question Time.  The reply can be summarised as “oh, just bugger off, we’re right and you’re wrong” as usual.  Also, it looks like a stock reply (as usual) as it responds to points I didn’t make, and ignores some I did.

    142. Robert Bryce says:

      The recent comments from Tom Harris MP was the catalyst that set the cement on “new” Labour’s tomb for me.

      Labour is not a charity for the vulnerable & impoverished.
       
      If there was any hope of me taking a pick axe to the tomb to open it up again, Ed Balls took it away with his support for the Conservative attack on the poor.

      Labour is dead to me now!

    143. Vronsky says:

      It’s becoming clear that this referendum isn’t just about Scottish self-determination, it’s a major showdown between left and right, between progression and reaction, between civilisation and barbarism.  For the sake of ordinary people everywhere, we have to win – that’s why the prospect of losing is so frightening.

      So, no pressure there then, folks.

    144. ianbrotherhood says:

       
      The SNP government could nullify the short-term effects of the Bedroom Tax by undertaking to cover the shortfall expected by Councils and Housing Associations (especially those which have already ruled out evictions). 
       
      Sturgeon has already promised (in the speech a week past Friday) to scrap the tax in the first year of a post-Yes SNP govt.
       
      But Salmond, in the New Statesman interview, anticipates the Bed Tax having a ‘galvanising effect’.
       
      It feels awkward pointing out the obvious: the SNP and broader ‘Yes’ campaign need the Bed Tax right now to ensure that the hatred of Tories and their BT clones intensifies throughout the referendum countdown.
       
      There’s no reason to doubt that Nicola and Alex are sincere when they pledge to scrap the thing, but in the meantime, some have to suffer – and be seen to be suffering – so that the greater prize draws that wee bit closer.
       

    145. Vronsky says:

      Just phoned Yes Scotland.  Recorded message: no-one available to take my call.  WTF?

    146. Atypical_Scot says:

      16 year olds can vote from today, that’s a definite yes from my young lad. Sadly, the rest of his class at Callander High are unaware of what the referendum means, despite his enthusiasm that he takes back from his visits of me Brechin. I hope the schools will be delivering some kind of platform to get the point across that voting at least is important, let alone the pro’s for voting yes.

    147. Murray McCallum says:

      A bit off topic but linked to austerity / infrastructure – I see the cost of HS2 has gone up £10 billion before it has even started!  This is going to be the gravy train to end all gravy trains.

    148. Max says:

       
      I thought this was interesting an announcement by the UK government concerning shale gas deposits in England.
       
      “Communities that host fracking sites, which involve pumping water, chemicals and sand at high pressure into rock to release shale gas, will receive 1% of any revenues generated by the well over its lifetime.”
       
      How much does Scotland directly receive in revenues generated from the North Sea gas and oil wells?
       
      NOTHING!

    149. Max says:

       
      Here is a question for the mathematically minded.
       
      If Scotland had gained directly 1% of North Sea oil and gas revenues and put that money into a oil fund similar to Norway how much money would a Scottish Oil fund have currently? 

    150. Yesitis says:

      Vronsky
      It’s becoming clear that this referendum isn’t just about Scottish self-determination, it’s a major showdown between left and right, between progression and reaction, between civilisation and barbarism.  For the sake of ordinary people everywhere, we have to win – that’s why the prospect of losing is so frightening.
       
      Absolutely this.
      And I want the t-shirt too.

    151. Murray McCallum says:

      Max,
      They may need the 1% revenue raised to import drinking water that is not methane contaminated.  Scotland has abundant drinking water?

    152. Tony Little says:

      @ian
       
      I understand your point about the SG possibly mitigating the impact of the bedroom tax.  But that’s NOT what I think it’s for.  The problem is a national tax that is designed to resolve a problem in London, and no where else.  I do not think that the onus on “protecting” Westminster from criticism should fall on the SG.  In effect that is what would be the outcome if the SG DID take that route.  And what would they have to drop to do this?
       
      No – let’s keep the blame where it lies.  In WESTMINSTER’s myopic self interest.  The MPs in the rest of the UK (not just Scotland) have disgraced themselves and allowed their constituents to suffer for their own petty politics, greed and self-interest.  The whole rotten system needs to fall and a YES vote in 2014 could be the catalyst to make it happen.
       
      The time is now.  Scots arise and show some backbone.

    153. Tony Little says:

      @Max
       
      Good question.  IIRC Scottish oil has seen something like 300 billion go to Westminster since the 1970s.  So I guess 3 billion plus interest.  It doesn’t sound a lot, but with careful investment, that gross amount could have accrued to 4.5 – 5 billion.  That could have mitigated a lot of suffering, or set aside as some form of “Investment Fund” for new technology R&D, or used to support SME development, who knows?  We would only have been restricted by our imagination.

    154. Desimond says:

      Danny Alexander currently being shown on TV in the HofC speaking about “Most ambitious Capital investment Program ever”

      The guy just fills me with despair

    155. SCED300 says:

      Concerning what austerity means in Westminster, I saw a posts on another site which show how relative it is for different parts of the country. This was put together after Osborne@ spending review yesterday.
      If the posters are here, thank you, it is a brilliant bit of research, and extremely useful for using in discussions.
      “There will be £57 billion investment for mainly London centric projects to be funded by UK taxpayers, “including Scots”.
      Where as Scotland is ‘allowed’-(by Danny Alexander)- to borrow £296million (from Westminster) for infrastructure projects in Scotland.
      So, Westminster is allowing Scotland to borrow money ‘we’ have already paid in taxation to the UK Treasury. Our own money we have to pay back to Westminster , with interest.
      BBC Online headlines.
      Welsh Government budget gets 2% cut.
      Northern Ireland gts 2% cut.
      Scotland ‘Boost to Scottish Capital Spend’.
      Some recent/future projects of note:
      London Crossrail-£14 billion
      London Thames Link- £6 billion
      London St Pancras(upgrade)-£800million
      London Bank Station(upgrade)-£500million
      London Kingscross (redevelopment)-£500 million
      Reading Station(upgrade)-£895milliom
      Crossrail 2-Consultation £12/£16 billion
      London Thames Tideway project(sewers) £??? (to be announced)
      HSs (does nto include further escalation) £33 billion
      Garden Bridge, to be built across the Thames-£60 million
      In contrast Glasgow ‘Clyde Arc’, which includes 4 traffic lanes and footpaths-£20million.
      And we can’t even afford to refurbish George Square etc.”

    156. ianbrotherhood says:

       
      @Tony Little (10.38)
       
      ‘– let’s keep the blame where it lies.’
       
      Agreed. 
       
      The SG should not be blamed for the Bedroom Tax, but let’s be honest about the handling of it.
       
      The estimated ‘savings’ from BedTax implementation is £540 million UK-wide (which isn’t going to happen for any number of reasons, but set that aside for now) – let’s say the Scottish wodge is £54 million.
       
      How much was left unspent by the SG last year? Wasn’t it around £170 milllion?
       
      The SNP may have calculated that the best way to show up a bully is to let him keep on kicking the living daylights out of his victim and make sure everyone sees him doing it – they’re also trusting that we won’t stand-by and tolerate it for long.
       
      In that regard they’re right – support networks are under construction. There will be no evictions.
       
      But that’s scant consolation for those currently worrying themselves witless over threatening letters and home-visits. 
       
      The victims of the Bedroom Tax  (suicides have already been reported, with at least one confirmed as directly attributable) may yet prove to be the blood sacrifice required to shock us into action before it’s too late.
        

    157. Kendomacaroonbar says:

      Caroline, I received a boiler plate reply from the BBC also referring to the QT independence special 

    158. Linda's back says:

      Watching FMQs not only has Labour copied Tory austerity plans but Lamont and Davidson are sharing same colour of outfit.
      Lamont would be well advised to steer clear of economics when debating with Alex Salmond.  Outclassed every time
       

    159. muttley79 says:

      Lamont is getting very angry!

    160. Vronsky says:

      “the best way to show up a bully is to let him keep on kicking the living daylights out of his victim and make sure everyone sees him doing it ”
       
      It’s called ‘bleeding stump’ politics.  I was working for the old Glasgow District Council when the Thatcher cap on local government spending was introduced.  The savings required were already available in unactioned reports and could have been implemented without hardship to anyone.  But the (Labour) council’s response?  They sacked school crossing wardens.  Machiavellian ruthlessness, but it sure got the front pages.

    161. Braco says:

      Ianbrotherhood and Vronsky,

      the Scots Parly cannot continue to be seen to voluntarily pay a UK tax on behalf of it’s population from it’s devolved resources. This just encourages Westminster to create and impose more and more of their outlandish and unpopular tax ideas, in the sure knowledge that Holyrood will pay the bill.
       
      This in effect delivers a backdoor undeclared cut in the Scottish block grant, protects Westminster from the democratic outrage and fallout from the imposition of unjust policies upon their electorate and helps muddy the waters further around the Scots electorate’s understanding of which Government is responsible for which areas of policy.
       
      Wouldn’t that all be just perfect from a Westminster point of view? ‘Best of both worlds’ indeed!
       
      We have already done this over Education and just sucked up the back door cut via the Barnett formula to our block grant. We cannot keep doing that indefinitely.
       
      The responsibility lies with the UK Government and unfortunately, for real sustainable change, the population must deal and focus their outrage where the responsibility actually lies. Westminster.

    162. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “Reading Station(upgrade)-£895 million”

      Wait, HOW much? I’ve been to Reading station numerous times, and not noticed any problems. What the hell was wrong with it that it cost the same as building another Wembley Stadium to put right?

    163. velofello says:

      Thank you Rev for a thought provoking, thought confirming article.

    164. handclapping says:

      @Rev
      Basically it was the Southampton-Oxford line crossing the GWR mainline on the flat but then it got gold plated.

    165. ianbrotherhood says:

       
      @Braco-
       
      I think we understand each other.
       
      Whichever way it’s viewed, it ain’t pretty.

    166. Caroline Corfield says:

      Thanks for letting me know you too had got stock replies. Here is my follow up complaint: I have received a reply from the Executive Editor or the programme which feels and, upon investigation amongst other complainants, appears to be a stock reply. My point that the panel did not have relevance to the youth of the audience is not addressed. The panel was apparently chosen as a “wide range of voices and opinions on the issues being discussed” and that those issues were not apparently going to be “exclusively issues related to the independence referendum” yet the audience had been chosen to reflect “both those for and against independence”. It seems rather perverse then to select the audience on the basis of something you don’t expect to discuss at any great length (but then go on to spend 40 minutes discussing). The programme “wanted to look at what sort of things were of interest to and influenced” an audience of that age group, but did not pick a panel who were likely to have a great deal of expertise in those things, there was for example no-one on the panel with in depth knowledge of the internet and censorship issues. Again, why was the panel not geared towards the audience’s age group, and likely questions? It with interest that I note that the 14 appearances of Nigel Farage on Question Time since 2009 and the Executive Editor’s assurance that his appearances are actually a direct result of “growing UK support and their recent electoral gains since the 2010 general election” and I feel less than assured that the two are not linked.

    167. Calgacus_2 says:

      “can tolerate its circumstances worsening considerably, as long as it can still see the gap between itself and the wretched poor”
       
      A risibly fallacious premise with no feasible empricial evidence to support it. Or do you speak for the middle class now or something?
      Most of the piece relies on that premise being taken as a given. Think again, it’s stupid and ignorant.
      Well written, but so is most laughable class ridden chip on shoulder polemic.
      Stick to the usual formula of: Better Together = Bad, Labour = Bad, XXX politiician is a liar, media = bias black ops anti-Scots propaganda. It’s not quite as embarrassing as this alleged think piece.
      Cheers

    168. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “A risibly fallacious premise with no feasible empricial evidence to support it.”

      Apart from all the evidence linked to in the post, of course.

    169. ianbrotherhood says:

       
      @Calgacus_2-
       
      Okay, you don’t like Rev’s take on it.
       
      How about George Carlin’s? :
       
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XdH38k0iUgI

    170. ianbrotherhood says:

       
      RT’s Abby Martin on Orwell/1984:
       
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wDxyLLFhFdI

    171. ScotsCanuck says:

       
      I’ll just agree with what has been stated above.
      We MUST achieve a YES vote 2014.
      To be blunt, it’s “hope or despair”.
      It could not be more stark …………
      compassion, inclusion & equality
      or
      “I’m alright and the devil take the hindmost”
      I can’t believe there are still folk in Scotland that can’t see
      the abyss right in front of them.
      Having said that, we’ve had the Scottish battered out of us
      for three hundred years.
      When I’m pissed off or just down at heart, I remind myself
      of the one stanza from the Declaration of Arbroath 1320…….
       
      “…… for so long as but one hundred of us remain alive, never will we
      on any conditions be brought under English rule.
      It is in truth not for glory, nor riches, nor honours that we are fighting
      but for freedom ……… for that alone, which no honest man gives up
      but with life itself
       
      Man & boy I’ve recalled these words (and I’m nearly pensionable !!!!)
       
      One more push and we’re home.
       
      SOAR ALBA  
       
       

    172. James Selbie says:

      Perhaps Calgacus could give us his analysis of the current economic and political status of Britain?

    173. John McC says:

      Rev,

      I agree with the main thrust of your argument, but I don’t feel that you addressed the reason for the change. I see it as merely the method by which the reduction in wealth of society has been managed. Those at the top (the inner party, if you will) did not want to get poorer along with the rest of us, and so the differences in income have expanded greatly and they have maintained their wealth.

      The reason for the decline, in my view, is that UK traditionally paid it’s way by exporting manufactured goods, but it did not value, and importantly invest in the industrial sector. UK manufacturing was under-invested as capitalists sought “sexier” investments, which in reality meant “nicer”, more middle class activities. This has reached it’s zenith where so much investment seems to centre around property. As a result, it was overtaken by less class-ridden societies, which in reality means pretty much everywhere else.

      For example, the decline in shipbuilding on the Clyde took place long before China became a major competitor; it was loosing contracts to higher wage economies such as those in Scandinavia.

    174. Better Together St Kilda says:

      Calm down dears.



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