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Work makes you free

Posted on March 19, 2013 by

The usage of Nazi terminology to refer to any actions of a democratically-elected UK government is nearly always an absurd and unhelpful exaggeration. Today, however, one such analogy is absolutely literally justified.

arbeit

The words “Arbeit Macht Frei” were emblazoned, usually in iron, over the gates of numerous concentration and extermination camps in 1930s and 1940s Germany, most infamously Dachau and Auschwitz. The phrase is usually rendered in English as “work makes you free”, though a more precise translation of the first word is “labour”.

That the same exhortation is used in Britain in 2013 by The Salvation Army tells you all you need to know about the ideological climate of the modern United Kingdom.

Today the House Of Commons will vote to pass legislation denying compensation to people the Westminster government was found guilty in a court of law of mistreating by forcing them onto unpaid-labour schemes. The measure, brought forward by the Conservative-Lib Dem coalition administration, is expected to be tacitly backed by Labour MPs who will, under a party whip, abstain rather than oppose it.

The “workfare” programmes involved order the unemployed, sick and disabled to work for both charities and large commercial corporations without pay for varying periods of time, effectively as punishment for continuing to be unemployed. (Regardless of the fact that there are millions more sick, disabled and unemployed people than there are job vacancies available.)

For the disabled in particular, that period can be indefinite, and refusal for any category of “offender” can be – and is – met with the removal of all state benefits, leaving the subject with no means of paying for food or shelter. A public outcry over the inhumane policy has seen many charities withdraw from the scheme, but a remarkable statement from the Salvation Army this month took a different view.

“At The Salvation Army, we have a history of believing in emancipation through employment”

“Emancipation through employment”? Or, put another way, freedom through work. In the eyes of the Salvation Army – and also of the Conservatives, Liberal Democrats and Labour – it seems that citizens of the UK (sometimes known as “subjects of the Queen”) no longer have the unalienable right to freedom, though we don’t recall the passage of such a law. Liberty apparently must be earned, by stacking shelves in Poundland or sorting old jumpers in charity shops for nothing, against your will.

Successive right-wing governments in Westminster, urged on by even more right-wing newspapers (such the Daily Mail, which last year quoted “Arbeit Macht Frei” directly and approvingly before hastily coming to its senses), have succeeded in creating an atmosphere whereby the unfortunate, ill and disadvantaged are seen by the British public as parasitic, workshy scroungers undeserving of state assistance.

(The same survey, incidentally, shows that support for Scottish independence among Scots has grown as UK attitudes towards social security have hardened. Contrary to the oft-aired media narrative of stagnant or falling numbers in favour of independence, the data shows that support in 2011 was at the second-highest level recorded since the opening of the Scottish Parliament in 1999.)

With no major party opposed to it in the Commons, workfare is unquestionably the future for the United Kingdom’s poor. Labour introduced it – and has made it explicitly clear that the party doesn’t represent those who aren’t in work – while the Tories have naturally embraced it with alacrity as part of their drive to return Britain to a feudal age by turning the disadvantaged into serfs.

We should be clear, for the benefit of the faux-offended who invariably spring from the swamps at the first sniff of an an analogy involving the Nazis – we’re NOT for a moment suggesting that the UK is on a path to extermination camps, or that the Work Programme is equivalent to the Holocaust. But that doesn’t mean turning a blind eye to the plain facts.

When even the Christians find themselves able to advocate government policy by asserting that “work makes you free”, in days when the vulnerable and frightened end their own lives in growing numbers rather than endure any more state persecution, and thousands designated “fit for work” die of their illnesses while waiting for the DWP to send them out to unpaid forced labour for the “charities” who are supposed to be their last hope of protection, a chill runs up our spines just the same.

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    77 to “Work makes you free”

    1. TheeForsakenOne says:

      I must object to the start as I would not take the Salvation Army’s ridiculous statement as a representation of Christian thoughts on the subject. Speaking as a Christian myself, I am completely against Workfare and I know the majority (excluding the solitary Tory voter who is one of the few Cameron/Osborne supporters left) who attend my church are against it.

      On the primary thrust of your post, it really is an act of cowardice by Labour to abstain rather than oppose. The increasing lurch to the right is utterly distasteful. Independence really is the only option now.

    2. scaredy cat. says:

      I am fortunate enough to have good health, a decent job (which is part-time by choice) and a roof over my head. I have never had to claim benefits in my entire working life (20+ yrs). I can’t understand why the poor and the sick have becomef public enemy #1. This just disgusts me. Where is the compassion? Why can’t the fortunate people, who have all the chances in life see that the vast majority of people don’t like the circumstances they find themselves in. I despair of this country and hope with all my heart that we have the courage to walk away from this in 2014. I can’t imagine a darker day than the one after a ‘no’ vote.

    3. Bill McLean says:

      The last line of a VERY old joke involving the Salvation Army ran – “we’re for the needy not the greedy” – seems like even that has changed. I hope not I’ve always admired their work. It does however reinforce my view that UK/Britain/England is turning steadily rightwards to the detriment of the people the SA used to claim to look after!

    4. Dave Smith says:

      Another stark and accurately observed piece, Stu. Thanks.
      The Godwin detonators have been specifically disarmed for this piece as the analogy is utterly and chillingly relevant. I’m clearly not the only person who has become increasingly uneasy about the kind of attitude and rhetoric that is being spouted ever more publicly. Far too many ordinary people are unquestioningly buying into it too. Few of my friends and colleagues question it and I can only pray (in an agnostic fashion!) that Scotland votes to follow her own destiny as that will be my only practical escape route from a society and culture that grows increasingly alien and toxic by the day.

    5. Greg Hendry says:

      At the risk of invalidating my argument before I make it, I’m sure if the Nazis somehow managed to retain power after the second world war they would have tried to stop the survivors of their own brand of slave labour from getting compensation too.
       
      Fantastic article really eloquently putting exactly what sickens me about the current system and why my English wife and I are voting yes.

    6. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “I must object to the start as I would not take the Salvation Army’s ridiculous statement as a representation of Christian thoughts on the subject.”

      To nitpick, I don’t mention Christians generally until the very end. But as most citizens of England and Wales (and presumably also Scotland) still identify themselves as “Christian”, the general data of the Social Attitudes Survey can still be legitimately applied.

      http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-20683744

    7. seoc says:

      The bedroom tax will forcibly create the ghettoes, unemployment will rapidly exacerbate the plight of the unemployed.
      How soon before obligatory coloured clothing patch identifiers are  required?

    8. TheeForsakenOne says:

      “To nitpick, I don’t mention Christians generally until the very end. But as most citizens of England and Wales (and presumably also Scotland) still identify themselves as “Christian”, the general data of the Social Attitudes Survey can still be legitimately applied.”
       
      Apologies, I meant ‘start of the last paragraph’ in my original post. I was not trying to object to your entire article. This is what happens when you go back to edit something in and forget where you were going…

      Anyway, if that is correct then may I suggest changing it to ‘English and Welsh Christians’ since as far as I’m aware, a SNP majority government (who are opposed to Workfare) up here would likely have a large Christian vote behind it.

    9. Stuart Black says:

      O/T Rev, but interestingly, a google search on ‘Scottish Independence Poll 2013’ returned Ms Kayleigh Quinn’s essay on why she’ll be voting No, which was the subject of much commenting here recently, in second place. Now published on a scotspolitics.com page here.
      http://scotspolitics.com/uncategorized1/why-im-voting-no-for-scottish-independence
       

    10. Robin Ross says:

      I don’t know what the Salvation Army’s position on workfare is, but I thought that in terms of New Testament theology it was the truth that set you free. (John 8:32)  I don’t expect to see too many liberated politicians any time soon.

    11. Doug Daniel says:

      “We should be clear, for the benefit of the faux-offended who invariably spring from the swamps at the first sniff of an an analogy involving the Nazis – we’re NOT for a moment suggesting that the UK is on a path to extermination camps.”
       
      Indeed. However, it’s always worth remembering who first came up with the idea of concentration camps. It was that paragon of freedom itself, dear ol’ Blighty:
       
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Second_Anglo-Boer_War#Concentration_camps_.281900.E2.80.931902.29
       
      Isn’t it strange that we don’t teach kids this in school, when we’re telling them about all the things that made the Nazis evil? (We also seem to forget to mention that Churchill was in favour of using poison gas on the Kurds in Mesopotamia…) Just one of those things Alistair Darling forgets to include when he’s listing all the things that have been “achieved” in the 300 Year Rei… err, Union.

    12. Cath says:

      It’s utterly depressing. The way the Tories and Labour have become one and the same, and the way the media have become so Orwellian, so hateful, so divisive is just painful to watch.
       
      Like Scaredy Cat, I’ve been lucky so far. Relatively healthy (and kept so by free prescriptions for asthma), always had some kind of job (albeit always temporary) a roof over my head, and no need for benefits so far. But that can change in an instant, especially if you’re hit by serious health issues
       
      I can’t understand for the life of my the kind of almost jealousy out there among the better off for those they seem to think get “something for nothing”. If you’re in work and not keen on your job, and genuinely think an unemployed DLA claimant is better off than you, cut off your legs and quit the job. The well off and healthy have a tendency now to be pissed off if they pay into the NHS and don’t get anything back. The NHS is one tax item I’d be more than happy to pay and never get a penny’s worth from! I’d regard that as lucky.
       
      It’s the sheer venom and hatred out there now for people who are sick, disabled and vulnerable that makes me want to leave the country. I suspect if we didn’t have the referendum coming up next year I’d either have left the UK already or be planning to leave at the end of this work contract. It’s only the hope of being able to stay at home and leave the UK next year keeping me here right now. Britain isn’t a country I recognise any more and I can’t see any way to get it back with the media, Westminster, and all its parties as they are now.

    13. The Man in the Jar says:

      I expect that there will be many within the rank and file of the S.A. that won’t be at all happy about this. I can sympathise with them in full.
      I am in no way religious and the SA is about the only religious charity that I would not hesitate to donate to. My reasoning being that they put the money where their mouth is.
      Now I am not so sure.

    14. ianbrotherhood says:

      If anyone who hasn’t previously done so wants to get onto their MP about this:
      http://www.theyworkforyou.com/
      It’s a good facility – all you do is enter your postcode and it gives contact details for all your reps at all levels, then lets you know how they’ve voted, whenever they table questions etc. It’s no more hassle than posting a comment here.

    15. JuanBonnets says:

      Fantastic, and terrifying. Add this to the growing list of articles that everyone in Scotland should read before the referendum. If only we had a mainstream media that even pretended to be balanced, and held to account the evil ****s that are bringing these policies in while telling those affected to accept their fate, because after all, we’re Better Together.
       
      With every new policy announcement from the Tories and their lap dogs, and endorsement, whether actual or by abstention, from the (slave) Labour party, the consequences of a NO vote become more and more worrying. Not only that, it seems like Westminster is running a “how much shit can we shovel on the people before the riots begin (again)” sweepstake. At least we in Scotland have a peaceful and democratic choice to make to get the hell away from this evil – when people in England wake up and realise what’s being done to them, what remaining options will they have?

    16. cirsium says:

      I wonder if The Salvation Army knows that the slogan “Labour and Freedom” was used by the UK in some of its detention camps in Kenya in the 1950s.
       

    17. CameronB says:

      Glad to see I am not the only one asking, “what do we call this”?

    18. Turnip_ghost says:

      Old high school history lessons came flooding back when I read how they characterise the poor etc as parasites. My history teacher used to go on about how that was a Cictorian Britain, an age where ignorance and “it’s their own falt attitude” reigned. But, thanks to the rise if Labour and real socially geared politics we would never return to that style of society would never return, even if a Tory government is elected. 
       
      How wrong he was. 

    19. ScotFree 1320 says:

      @IanBrotherhood It is handy allright. I used it to ask Ms Curran how she voted in the Bedroom Tax HoC division.
      So far, no reply.

    20. Dave Smith says:

      It seems that an increasing number of people in the UK are becoming ignorant of the phrase; “There but for the grace of God go I”.
      I fear that a very dark shadow is falling over this island and there will be Hell to pay for it. We need to get away from the Union before it is too late.

    21. Cath says:

      I too used to read Victorian history with a complacent assumption it could never possibly happen again. But then I read Orwell as fiction more than a warning, never really believing that kind of propaganda and population control could happen here, in my lifetime.
       
      Scary how wrong you can be. And even more frightening how so many people can be turned against the weakest and most vulnerable in their society.

    22. Cath says:

      “It seems that an increasing number of people in the UK are becoming ignorant of the phrase; “There but for the grace of God go I”.”
       
      Ironically it was a realisation of that among the better off that finally changed things and ushered in the welfare state. The wealthy realised that, without any safety net, you were only one illness or misfortune away from destitution, and saw it – after the war and crash – happen to them and those like them. 
       
      It seems like that’s again what it will take. For things to become ever more hellish until there really is no safety net and the rich and Daily Mail readers start falling straight to the floor when they fall. The amount of pain and harm caused to people before that point, and before the pendulum again swings back is indefensible.
       
       
       
       

    23. benarmine says:

      Gaun yersel Cath. it’s getting to the stage I don’t need to comment if you’ve posted already, you’ve covered it. OT but hasn’t the royal sycophancy been racking up incredibly over the last few days? it’s stomach-churning.

    24. mato21 says:

      How soon before obligatory coloured clothing patch identifiers are required?
      This statement brought back to me my Mother telling us how an elder brother refused to wear his patched trousers (patching of clothes for younger readers was done on an industrial scale)  he would be under 10years but even at this young age was aware of displaced people as they were called (DP’s for short) having to wear patches on their clothing to identify them
      Yes that sounds a wonderful idea I’m sure it will be floated soon  

    25. CameronB says:

      @ Cath
      I had the misfortune of hurting myself very badly, when I was half way through my degree. I crushed the left side of my body, was left with a partial left-side paralysis and was badly brain damaged, with a very pronounced aphasia. I can testify as to how uncaring modern society is, even the agencies one might expect to obtain help from.
       

    26. pmcrek says:

      There have been a number of items in the news recently clearly indicating that we do not live in a Democracy.
       
      Recent investigation showed that over 70% of all votes cast at the last UK General election had no bearing on the result: http://www.regionaltopup.co.uk/2010/05/19/over-71-of-votes-wasted-in-2010-general-election/

      Royal Charter, bypasses any requirement to engage in participative Democracy rendering  legislative power solely to a cross party cabal of powerful politicians in secret rooms: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-21827274

      In true Orwellian fashion, Parliament with no written constitution or responsibilities to the electorate can  pass retrospective legislation changing the past and rendering illegal acts it or its departments have committed legal.

      Finally, if we add MPs expenses, Illegal Wars, WMDs, Politicians/Police complicit in the Leveson scandal, BBC scandal and cover-up of sex crimes and last but not least, massive post-election manifesto u-turns, it begs the question how anyone in their right mind would want to vote to keep this pariah state we currently live in.
       
       

    27. Doug Daniel says:

      Stuart Black – thanks for pointing that out, I had no idea Ms Quinn had gotten her article published on another website. It’s interesting to note that, just like on her original blog, there is a complete lack of engagement with people below the line. I suppose the #BetterTogether Political Education Briefings don’t extend as far as “how to rebut the many criticisms you’ll get when you regurgitate our pish”.
       
      Ms Quinn insisted that she’d get back to us to explain why she was right and everyone else was wrong. We’re still waiting…

    28. cirsium says:

      “But then I read Orwell as fiction more than a warning, never really believing that kind of propaganda and population control could happen here, in my lifetime.”
      Cath – the propaganda and population control has been present here for a very long time.  The Welfare State was being set up in the UK at the same time as the UK was committing genocide in Kenya.  
      http://www.monbiot.com/2005/12/27/how-britain-denies-its-holocausts/

    29. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “Both [Iain Duncan Smith] and I believe sanctions are vital to give back-to-work programmes their bite.” – Liam Byrne

      http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201213/cmhansrd/cm130311/debtext/130311-0001.htm
      (Column 18)

    30. Vronsky says:

      @cath
      “But then I read Orwell as fiction more than a warning”
       
      It wasn’t a warning, it was a stylised analysis of the present (1948/1984 – geddit?).  Read Homage to Catalonia and the essays, Looking Back on the Spanish Civil War and Politics and Language, then read 1984 again.  You’ll see what I mean – he covers the same topics in his non-fiction.
      On topic, the Sally Army has caught my attention before with some funny positions, can’t remember the details now. Nowadays I don’t give them money unless they have a silver band with them, because it is definitely right to give money to people playing musical instruments in the street – I want to encourage that sort of thing.
       
       

    31. pa_broon says:

      Religious organisations can be startlingly fundamental in their views, in the same way the church itself can be, with it not actually reflecting the views of its members.
       
      On the wider issue, this’ll not see a newspaper page, not a chance. There’ll be a footnote somewhere but the emphasis will be on it being a necessary evil and of course, its people on benefits, they don’t have the same rights as workers do, do they…
       
      The same people who tut and shrug their shoulders when this kind of thing does reach their eyes could easily find themselves part of the demographic they disdain so easily but by then, it’ll be a bit late to complain.

    32. Cath says:

      “t begs the question how anyone in their right mind would want to vote to keep this pariah state we currently live in.”
       
      Exactly. But the trouble is this is the very state, media, politics, corruption and Orwellian propaganda we have to fight against to persuade people to vote Yes. In a supposedly democratic referendum, but within a system that clearly isn’t democratic. Who knows just how far those forces will go to try and ensure that Yes never happens?
       

    33. Vronsky says:

      @CameronB
      I’m very sorry to hear of your ‘misfortune’.  I hope you make the fullest possible recovery.  On the happier side, the brain damage was not sufficiently extensive to turn you into a NO voter!

    34. CameronB says:

      @ Vronsky
      That all happened 25 years ago and to quote Michael Palin, “I got better”. Thank you though, for your kind thoughts. However, I’m not sure about your contention that brain damage leads to unionism. I thought it was adherence to tradition and self-interest that took one down that sorry path. 🙂

    35. Tasmanian says:

      Perhaps the workfare victims should deliberately wear a large yellow ‘U’ on their sleeves as a protest against the workfare scheme. If I’d remained in the UK, I’d probably be claiming jobseeker’s support right now (that, and moving myself to Scotland before the wall goes up).

    36. muttley79 says:

      The article by Kayleigh Quinn and some of the comments are worrying.  How much more devoid of compassion, lack of morals or common decency, and right-wing, does the UK political system need to go before Unionists in Scotland admit that we are not better together?  This is the most right-wing government we never voted for, and yet many people in Scotland seem to feel no need to question why we should continue to be governed by Westminster.  The effects of the Union are clearly there in Quinn’s article and some of the comments.  Unionists should be questioning where their lack of confidence in Scotland has come from?  If the Union was as great as they say it is, why have they such demonstrable lack of confidence in Scotland?
       
      One comment says that Salmond is only interested in independence because of selfish reasons!!  That is right, Salmond has rejected much more lucrative options to devote his career to a cause that the British establishment have fought tooth and nail to halt.  Salmond has also taken far more abuse that he would have received if he had worked in another employment sector.  The article and some of the comments show the effect of conditioning that has occurred in Scotland to make our system of governance seem natural.  I wish more people in Scotland would think a little more on why there is such a general lack of political self-confidence in Scotland. 

    37. Rod Mac says:

      It is also worth noting the MSM in Scotland and the TV Stations have made no mention of this disgusting  piece of legislation.
      Can you imagine if the SNP Government in Scotland did something similar?

    38. David MacGille-Mhuire says:

      Mosley, from the lowest denizens of the Inferno, must be preening and licking his whiskers at this.

    39. CW says:

      The majority of stuff on that Scots Politics website is pretty rubbish. They clearly don’t even do the most basic editing or proofreading. Even this article http://scotspolitics.com/uncategorized1/left-wing-labour-are-you-sure, which is circulating on Twitter today, is riddled with basic grammatical errors and half-formed sentences. I’m pretty sure that the backing of the self-styled global player that is Azeem Ibrahim has something to do with the site’s position on Google.

    40. Adrian B says:

      Here is an interesting snippet from Harris:
      http://www.hebrides-news.com/harris_independence_referendum_17313.html
       
      About 75% of senior students participating in the test ballot favoured an independent Scotland. Thirty senior pupils voted Yes while ten were against breaking up the UK. Three were undecided.
       
       
       
       

    41. Stuart Black says:

      @ Doug Daniels.
      Yes Doug, the lack of engagement is striking, and don’t hold your breath while you’re waiting, it may be some time.
      What struck me most though, and it is the reason that I posted it here, was how far up the google rankings it is; a search on poll results giving this piece in second place seemed extraordinary to me.

    42. Yesitis says:

      @Muttley
      “The article by Kayleigh Quinn and some of the comments are worrying.  How much more devoid of compassion, lack of morals or common decency, and right-wing, does the UK political system need to go before Unionists in Scotland admit that we are not better together?” 
       
      I don`t know if you watched the Newsnight special last night? I don`t know about you, but it seems our youth have been indoctrinated to see Britain as good and Scotland as bad. Oh, I think it helped that there didn`t seem to be a single supporter of independence in the audience. You know how the BBC work.
      It also didn`t help that the Yes Scotland youth representative seemed to be out of her head on ecstasy, while the blue/red Tory unionist automaton actually seemed to know what questions Glen Campbell was going to ask?

      Kayleigh Quinn seems to be a product of her (almost certain) Labour voting parentage; proud Scots, proud working class Scots, proud Tory hating Scots, proud tartan Tory hating Scots, etc etc… you can`t pull the wool over their eyes, but you can milk them of every last drop of self worth, and still get a thumbs up at their proud Scots funeral.
      Rule Britannia!
       
       

    43. muttley79 says:

      I think the almost total lack of engagement from Unionists, both politicians, activists (which do not seem to be a huge number), and diehard No voters is one of the most striking things about the referendum on independence.  The only engagement from them is to be aggressive in their defense of the British state and political system.  Why is this so?  Is this because they are embarrassed about their dismissive attitude towards Scotland?  Are there other reasons?  The No campaign have been incredibly negative, and it has been duly noticed by a number of journalists.  What I have been thinking about recently is whether the Unionist parties can continue to act in the manner they are for a long period?  What happens if there is a narrow No victory in the referendum?  Everyone will know that the issue will not go away.  Under these circumstances how can the Unionist parties maintain this destructive, enduring negativity for years and years without voters getting sick and tired of them?     

    44. Lochside says:

      Read ms Quinn’s ‘article’ and came to the conclusion that she’s a self-publicising air head. Most worrying aspect is that she managed to get to third year at Uni. (surely junior honours year?) without somebody spotting that she lacked the basic intellect to be there. But the problem is its another diatribe based on the premise: ‘I hate AS for being smart and able..’cos we hate smart and able in Scotland..and cos he’s fat and unattractive, unlike the array of beautiful people in the Better Together cartel’. Her reasons for being a’no’ (nothing?) are fatuous and risible, and worse, they display no knowledge or research at all on AS or Scotland’s history. But then again, are we surprised? Some of the comments appende to her self-regarding guff indicate the level of self-loathing confusion that exists throughout Scotland’s electorate. Where else in the world would young people not be universally in favour of change and destroying tyrants like Cameron, Clegg et al? But here in Cognitive Dissonance land the cock-eyed man is king.

    45. Jeannie says:

      So the Labour Party has no problem lending its approval to new legislation which will be applied retrospectively, in contravention of a legal ruling, to deny compensation to people forced to work, unpaid, against their will?
       
      And the Labour Party similarly has no problem chopping housing benefit from people who have (in their opinion) a spare room and, if they can’t pay the extra, evicting them? 
       
      And the Labour Party does not believe in universal benefits, but prefers to humiliate our senior citizens by means testing them to see if they’re poor enough for “free” personal care, bus passes and prescriptions.
      So, punishing the poor is the name of the game.  These policies don’t surprise me, coming from the Tories, but I do wonder why anyone in need, who is in their right mind, would ever consider voting Labour.

    46. molly says:

      Cath, like you ,I have thought long and hard about the outcome of the Referendum and what happens next?
      Like you I am desperately hoping for a Yes vote but  also gave serious thought to what I would do ,if Scotland votes no.
      I’ve always thought of myself as a fairly placid ,kind of reasonable woman but must admit for a while there ,even I would have described myself as a  permanently ‘angry’ woman at what I see/experience around me and thats not a good place to be.
      Having skirted around issues like the ‘bedroom tax’ ,I was met with blank stares and as for the Referendum… and these discussions (about the bedroom tax ) are with people who will directly be involved with its outcomes.
      As for the Referendum ,I had one conversation (which I did’nt instigate ),where I thought do I go in all guns blazing,GERS,oil,universal benefits etc or do I just say get off your fat erse and go read,listen ,think for yourself ,the same as I have ,neither way is recommended for persuading someone but the sheer feeling of powerlessness sometimes does get to you. 
      It often occurs to me ,that there is no where to actually have a proper debate without a hysterical backdrop about any of these matters.
      The HOC and Holyrood,have become a performance and nothing else, we all could write the scripts and as for commitees anyone who follows politics is aware of placemen/women so that leaves our beloved ‘free’ press and TV. 
      Well who owns our press ? Nice to see our elected representatives at Westminster  cowtowing to billionaires and Americans.
      Each newspaper back which ever political party they are closest to ,in the interest of ‘truth ‘ of course.
      Note how many of the people (usually journalists ) who review SKY papers are millionaires,sitting giving ‘their ‘opinions on the great unwashed,from a London bubble.
      So where are these policies being discussed ? I have thought ,well lets just employ the Dons of Oxford and Cambridge and cut out the middlemen/women but that just brings you back to the ‘thats politics’ ,shrug of shoulders.
      The way I see it is, its no longer about political games  or political ideologies its about who I am (rightly or wrongly ) so if I left Scotland, I would still believe its wrong to make villains of people (for whatever reason )  not able to work ,to force people to leave their homes,to target people less able to stand up for themselves.
      Whats that saying ,you can take the boy out of ?
       
       

    47. Adrian B says:

      @ Jeannie,
       
      They do all this while at grass root level they condemn the ‘Tory Tax’ and show support for fighting these very same policies – have a look through the #bedroomTax tweets. A large amount of people want rid of the Tax, as do Labour councils and activists. Non of them sugest tinkering around the edges to exclude a few more people. They all want to fight against it.
       
      This is the whole reason that people believe Labour to still be on the left of politics – what happens in Westminster, shows quite something different.
       
      https://twitter.com/search?q=%23bedroomtax&src=hash
       
      Talk about facing in two different political directions at the same time.
       
      As Labour are seemingly going to abstain in this vote, that abstention would let the majority win – who abstains on anything they don’t agree on? Even if you wanted to change a few minor parts of the policy?
       
      http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2013/mar/19/labour-rush-benefit-rebates-poundland?CMP=twt_gu

    48. Jiggsbro says:

      Whats that saying ,you can take the boy out of ?
       
      The Catholic church?

    49. molly says:

      Oh Jiggsbro …

    50. AnneDon says:

      I haven’t donated to the Sally Ann since I discovered they wouldn’t give places to homeless people in their hostels if they couldn’t pay.
      Like Sue Ryder shops, the current people in charge have moved far from the aims of the founders.

    51. Cath says:

      “how can the Unionist parties maintain this destructive, enduring negativity for years and years without voters getting sick and tired of them?”    
       
      I’m sick and tired of them now and have been for a few years now. It’s got to the point where I’ve long since switched off, and just want them to go away. Leave our country alone. Let us re-build our confidence, our industry, our democracy, our self-worth. It feels like being circled by a load of bullies who are all out to just keep you down, break you, destroy you. I just want them to fuck off basically.
       
      The question is whether enough people feel that same way to vote a massive Yes telling them that. Or whether they can persuade enough people that they’re better off either being in the bullies gang or keeping their head down and thinking “well there must be something crap about poor, sad little Scotland if everyone says there is”. That’s basically what they rely on, is the Scottish cringe and people going, “yeah they’re right, we are crap”.
       

    52. Cath says:

      And also whether there are enough people within the Scottish media willing to take a positive attitude to Scotland rather than the relentless negativity they prefer to spew day after day.

    53. The Man in the Jar says:

      In reply to many of the above comments with which I totally agree. Considering GERS, the “bedroom tax”, workfare and numerous other cuts. The next time you engage with an undecided or no voter ask them this one simple question. “If Scotland was already an independent country and if the referendum was for Scotland to give up the vast majority of its political power and to hand over the running of our country to Westminster. Which way would they vote?” Ask them not to reply immediately but to go away and think about it.

    54. Yesitis says:

      @Cath
      “And also whether there are enough people within the Scottish media willing to take a positive attitude to Scotland rather than the relentless negativity they prefer to spew day after day.”
       
      Regardless of the relentless negativity, when it comes to reporting news and the Scottish media, there seems to be an attitude of “I`m just doing my job”
       
      If that isn`t the case, then the Scottish MSM is rife (from top to bottom) with unionists, and that is not a healthy situation, regardless of the referendum.

    55. The Man in the Jar says:

      @Yesitis
      “I’m only doing my job” = “I was only following orders” = No defence!
      I think it has been obvious for some time that the MSM especially the BBC is completely rotten to the core with unionists.
      Check out his link to Marcellus regarding the BBC & Labour. Shocking!
       
      http://gaiusmarcellus.blogspot.co.uk/2010/03/unacceptable-links-between-labour-and.html

    56. Yesitis says:

      @The Man in the Jar
       
      It is not a healthy situation. Not-at-all.

    57. ianbrotherhood says:

      Last call for anyone within striking distance of Irvine – SSP public meeting on Bedroom Tax in the Fullarton Community Centre, Ayr Rd (beside the high-flats) tonight, 7.30. Richie Venton speaking. Stop worrying about the dammed thing – do something about it and get ‘them’ worried instead!

    58. Jeannie says:

      @Adrian B
       
      Thanks for those links, Adrian.  I read them and just felt sick to my stomach – especially the likes of the tweets from Mr. Hothersall – pretending to be campaigning against the bedroom tax when he knows fine well the Labour Party has no intention of repealing it!
       
      The actions of the Labour Party with respect to the bedroom tax and to abstaining from today’s vote smack of cynicism of the worst kind – allow the measure to go through by abstaining – thus you can’t be accused of actually supporting it – then campaign against it, using it as a stick to beat the Tories and Lib Dems with from now until the next General Election in 2015 when you can use it to show how uncaring the Tories are and promise to repeal it in your manifesto if you’re voted into government.  And in the meantime, to hell with the poor sods who are affected by it – they can fend for themselves! 
       
      So instead of defending the poor, Labour are now in the cynical game of using the most vulnerable in society as cannon fodder in the pursuit of power at Westminster.  Honestly, they just turn my stomach.
       

    59. Adrian B says:

      @Jeannie,
       
      Noticed this tweet from Pete Wishart:

       https://twitter.com/PeteWishart

      Intervened on Liam Byrne about Lab’s abstention today, truly baffling response. It’s because it allows sanctions, apparently,
      The earlier Guardian link came from Pete Wishart.
      Sanctions? What are they for? – surely a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ vote to determine whether law happens or not?
       
      The word sanctions didn’t inspire me with confidence, but knowing that if the BBC were asking the questions, then they would at this point change subject, or at the very least avoid going further – I thought I should at least look for some examples.
       
      I Googled ‘DWP sanctions’ – try it for your self, these are some of my search results:
      http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2011/apr/08/jobcentres-benefits-sanctions-targets

      http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/dwp_targets_to_sanction_benefit

      http://johnnyvoid.wordpress.com/tag/benefit-sanctions/

      http://johnnyvoid.wordpress.com/2012/07/02/benefit-sanctions-treble-in-just-two-years-and-theres-far-worse-to-come/
       
      It would appear (Sarcasm mode fully enabled) that ‘sanctions’ are only good for a government or in this case (again) the Labour opposition are planning further budget slashing in the work and pensions area.
      Ahh, I see that means they can turn a negative into a positive, back it up with all the work done by activists and start bashing the SNP on something, getting the hang of the way labour work.

    60. joe kane says:

      It’s interesting to compare the treatment of sick and disabled by the Nazi regime and the current British Coalition Government
      Deaths –
      Currently, the DWP, Atos and British medical establishment governing bodies such as the GMC, NMC and CQC are responsible for sending 12,000 disabled people a year to their graves. That’s more than half the rate of extermination of disabled people carried out by the Nazis who killed an estimated 240,000 disabled German people over the 12 years they were in power (1933-1945), which equates to an average of 20,000 a year.
      According to the DWP’s own statistics, over an 11 month period 10,600 patients died within 6 weeks of being found fit for work by the DWP-Atos . This roughly equates to 1,000 per month, 250 a week, 35 a day every day –
      Incapacity benefits: Deaths of Recipients, DWP 09 July 2012
      http://statistics.dwp.gov.uk/asd/asd1/adhoc_analysis/2012/incap_decd_recips_0712.pdf
      Top page 6 – “In total, between January 2011 and November 2011, some 10,600 claims ended and a date of death was recorded within six weeks of the claim end.”
       
      Punishment Regime –
      1,000 sick and disabled people every month are punished by the DWP’s “sanction” regime, which has been carefully constructed in the full knowledge it is going to be used against the long-term patient community of the UK –
      ESA Sanctions Official Statistics, DWP, Aug 2012
      http://research.dwp.gov.uk/asd/workingage/esa_sanc/esa_sanc_aug12.pdf
       
      Concentration Camps – 
      The long term sick and disabled are now treated like prisoners in a concentration camp by the British Government. Their right of appeal against a government decision they are fit for work can be suspended indefinitely by the government. They are to be left in a legal limbo like prisoners in a police state concentration camp but, unlike such camp inmates, they are left without any source of support for essentials such as food, heat, clothes etc –
      ESA appeals nightmare confirmed, Benefit and Work, 26 Feb 2013
      http://www.benefitsandwork.co.uk/news/2224-esa-appeals-nightmare-confirmed
       

    61. muttley79 says:

      @Cath
       
      I’m sick and tired of them now and have been for a few years now. It’s got to the point where I’ve long since switched off, and just want them to go away. Leave our country alone. Let us re-build our confidence, our industry, our democracy, our self-worth. It feels like being circled by a load of bullies who are all out to just keep you down, break you, destroy you. I just want them to fuck off basically.
       
      The question is whether enough people feel that same way to vote a massive Yes telling them that. Or whether they can persuade enough people that they’re better off either being in the bullies gang or keeping their head down and thinking “well there must be something crap about poor, sad little Scotland if everyone says there is”. That’s basically what they rely on, is the Scottish cringe and people going, “yeah they’re right, we are crap”.
       
       
      That is why the No campaign and their parties hate Salmond, and the SNP in particular so much.  They have refused to talk Scotland down, in fact try to get people here to be confident of the nation, and its potential as self-governing. Unionists seem to detest this. 
       
      The Scottish cringe is a manifestation of Unionists’ feelings towards Scotland.  A lot of the political journalists in Scotland are diehard Unionists.  Reporting Scotland is basically there to report murders and football.  It is shallow and unconvincing.  There is no interest in the arts or culture.  Reporting Scotland and Newsnight Scotland give the impression sometimes that they do not even want to broadcast from a Scottish perspective!  Scottish broadcasting is generally very unimaginative, has no motivation to report modern Scotland, and what is happening here.  The media here generally mirror the No politicians, they both have no enthusiasm to raise collective self-confidence, or even be enthusiastic about Scotland.  Somebody said earlier that the youngsters on Newsnight yesterday seem to think Britain=good, Scotland=bad.  With the media and the No parties (who both have been dominant until relatively recently) it is not hard to see how this belief has come about, and then be promoted.   

    62. joe kane says:

      Some more examples of Westminster-Whitehall propaganda that wouldn’t be out of place in Hitler’s Germany –

      IDS makes the claim on BBC news that “work actually helps free people” –
      http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/8707652.stm

      IDS claim in the Sun newspaper about sick and disabled people –
      “Yet we have managed to create a block of people in Britain who do not add anything to the greatness of this country.”
      http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/3254131/We-are-living-in-a-shirkers-paradise-in-the-UK.html

      Top Whitehall medical-welfare civil servant mandarin Dame Carol Black compares disabled people on welfare benefits to a plague of Victorian cholera during a slide presentation by her at a symposium on “Worklessness and Health” at Glasgow Uni, Sept 2011. See her slide 6 “Turning the tap off” –
      http://www.gla.ac.uk/media/media_210447_en.pdf

    63. Jimbo says:

      The Unionist inhabitants of Westminster are eroding our human rights and civil liberties. It is as if they are in a competition whereby the present government sees the need to legislate for tougher Draconian measures than their predecessors. 
       
      How long before some-one from the Labour, Tory or Liberal Parties come up with the spiffing idea of saving on housing and unemployment benefits by putting the disabled and unemployed in work camps and bussing them daily to their places of unpaid, forced labour?
       
      How long before they call for the return of the ‘philanthropic’ workhouses and company stores?
       
      We should all refuse to buy from any company or business which uses slave labour dressed up as Workfare.   

    64. muttley79 says:

      Catriona Renton

      Reporter for the BBC Politics Show and BBC Presenter.

      Catriona Renton is a former Glasgow Labour Councillor, who represented Kelvindale before losing her seat to the LibDems in 2003.  She was “Glasgow’s Youth Tsar”.

      This product of Balliol College, Oxford went on to represent Labour in both the 2003 Holyrood elections and the 2004 European elections.

      She was apparently recruited by BBC Scotland’s parliamentary unit in 2006, where John Boothman, husband of Labour MSP and ex-Health Minister Susan Deacon, was a senior producer.

      Her personal facebook has listed the following as friends:

        Jackie Baille Labour MSP
        Yousuf Hamid Labour Activist
        Tom Harris Labour MP
        Mike Dailly Labour Activist
        David Martin Labour MEP
        Frank McAvetty Labour MSP
        John Robertson Labour MP
        John Park Labour MSP
        Steven Purcell Labour Glasgow Leader
        Dave Watson Vice-chair of the Scottish Labour Party
        (Hat tip Our Scotland.)

      She was apparently the centre of a bias storm after an item broadcast on Sunday 18 October 2009 attributed views to senior SNP MSP Alex Neil that he had not expressed.  When filming at the SNP conference in Inverness, Catriona Renton had claimed on BBC Scotland’s Politics Show that Alex Neil had confirmed the SNP’s desire to see David Cameron become the Prime Minister at the next general election. The recorded interview with Mr Neil that followed Ms Renton’s claim contained no such confirmation. The BBC were forced to issue a personal apology to Alex Neil.
       
      I wonder how tough Catriona Renton’s interview with BBC Jockney was?  Did she even have to do an interview?  Was there a funny Scottish Labour handshake? 
       
      Kirsty Wark: Joined the BBC in 1976 as a researcher for BBC Radio Scotland and, in 1982, moved to television. She produced BBC Scotland’s lunchtime political programme Agenda . She has presented Newsnight since 1993

      Is regarded as being close to the Labour Party.[6][7][8] Donald Dewar, Scottish Labour politician and former First Minister of Scotland, a close friend, appointed her to the Scottish Parliament Building Design Selection Panel, which chose Enric Miralles’ design for the new parliament

      Wark Clements, the firm run by Ms Wark and Mr Clements, had won a contract from the BBC to produce a programme about the building of the new Scottish Parliament.

      In January 2005, she became involved in a controversy after she invited Labour MSP Jack McConnell, then Scotland’s First Minister, and his family to stay at her Majorcan holiday home over the New Year period.

      When Alex Salmond appeared on News night (June 2007) as First Minister , the interviewer, Kirsty Wark, subjected him to constant interruption, was totally misinformed, and eventually lost her rag at him.

      Today the BBC apologised for Ms Wark’s behaviour. (June 9th 2007).
       
      Good old Kirsty Wark…Was that interview with Salmond not about a month after the SNP had beaten Wark’s beloved Scottish Labour Party?  No wonder she was angry…

      Lorraine Davidson: Wrote Jack McConnell’s autobiography “Luck Jack” . A Former spin doctor for Scottish Labour. Director of Communications at the Scottish Labour Party in the run-up to the first elections to the Scottish Parliament.
      She has a weekly slot on BBC radio Scotland shared with Stuart Cosgrove covering Media and political matters. Frequently on News Night Scotland (BBC)

      Alf Young: Untill recently very high up in Glasgow Herald. Ex Labour party research officer asked for ammo to tackle the SNP “It’s Scotland’s Oil” campaign, of the 1970’s. The ammo was illegally supplied by civil servants. Frequently on BBC News Night Scotland. to supply economic opinion, speciality, to rubbish any SNP initiative. Wife head of quango “Centre for confidence and well being a labour party appointment.
       
      All of this was taken from gauismarcellus blog.

    65. The Man in the Jar says:

      @muttley79
      It is just not internal BBC/ labour.
      Don’t forget the next time BBC Scotland quotes the “independent” Professor Brian Ashcroft of the Fraser of Allander Institute (who they are very fond of quoting)
      Just remember who he is married to. Our own very dear Wendy Alexander.

    66. cath says:

      ” They have refused to talk Scotland down, in fact try to get people here to be confident of the nation, and its potential as self-governing. Unionists seem to detest this. “
       
      Exactly.
       
      It’s funny. I only realised this week where and when all those Englishman, Scotsman, Irishman jokes and the idea of the Irish as stupid must have come from: while they were trying to agitating for independence from the British state, right?

    67. CameronB says:

      Outside of the political/media sphere, academia is perhaps the most politicised arenas there is. After all, today’s graduates will go on to become tomorrow’s doctors and professors, who’s learned understanding shapes our interpretation of tomorrow.
       
      Neoliberalism and synthetic derivatives have managed to take hold of the world economy, because a lot of the American economics academics were on the make. They were prepared to publish anything to order, so long as the price was right. The financial institutions had that price, so the economic advice was shaped to influence government policy to favour the short-term interests of the financial institutes.
       
      There is also always a lot of revolving door advantages on offer, between these academics, financial bodies and government. The current President of the European Central Bank, Mario Draghi, has a carreer that followed such a path. In addition to having been a trustee at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey and also at the Brookings Institution, in Washington, D.C., he was vice chairman and managing director of Goldman Sachs International and a member of the firm-wide management committee, just before the …. hit the fan.

      If it walks like a duck….what shall we call it?

    68. CameronB says:

      On a brighter note, I was on the Gruniard earlier today and answered the question, “What happened next to the Normans”, with “They conquered England and created the English state, which failed to progressed very far over the next thousand years.”
       
      Still up there and even got one vote. I’m chuffed, in a childish way perhaps, but it did make me smile.

    69. velofello says:

      “THIS WEEK IN BRITAIN, brought to you by the State Broadcaster.
      This week has seen great strides in changing the the way Britain works.
      The little quirk over undue payments to Workfare participants has been resolved thanks to the generous cooperation of HM Queen and a Royal Charter.
      Procedures for the implimentation of the bedroom tax are  progressing well.
      The release of social housing in London is progressing apace,departing families are settling into their new lives in Northern English cities.
      A leaked document, marked Top Secret, has revealed that the SNP Scottish government discusses and logically reviews and develops policy, in private, before placing developed policy before the Scottish parliament for parliament review. Scottish Labour have decried this behaviour as a deliberate dishonest denial to Scottish Labour to be part of the SNP’s private discussions.
      The volatility of oil prices continues to beset the countries of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman, Abu Dhabi, Norway,
      Rumours abound that in the event of Scottish independence the share out of the UK assets will not be wholly straightforward. The argument being put forward is that Scotland’s population, currently around 10% of the total UK (incl NI and WAles), was about 25% of England’s at the signing of the Union and so therefore Scotland should receive a greater share of UK assets than as a simple percent of current population. Further that since Scotland has contributed a greater proportion of her assets to the UK treasury – oil for instance – than as a measure of population, an assets shareout must take this into account.
      Other news: England’s cricketers narrowly….
      England’s Rio Ferdinand….
      The Queen has left….
      England’s rugby team….
      London’s status as the world’s greatest financial ….
      The Prime minister and Nick Clegg visited a kintergarden in London today.
      That was the News from your State broadcaster.
       

    70. Robert Kerr says:

      The “Scottish Cringe” is an instrument of the State. Engineering to keep us in our place.
      Stand tall, countrymen ! 
       

    71. Stevie says:

      There is an invisible but tangible sign over the entrance to that Scottish political national concentration camp that shortens people’s lives :

      Labour will Set You Free
       
      However, that is being torn down ey last

    72. deewal says:

      The Black Triangle was the symbol sewn on to the sleeves of the Disabled and “Workshy” in the Nazi camps. The SS working on behalf of I.G.Farben and Siemens made the “Selections” of those “fit for work”
      Atos and their partners Siemens (who make Crematoria now as  they did for the Nazi’s)  are the Selectors for the DWP.
      Atos are also IT partners of the BBC. I’m glad everyone seems to be in agreement that an Ind ependent Scotland would have nothing to do with these Rogue Company’s.
      http://i1193.photobucket.com/albums/aa342/abderg/Steve_Cram_and_Nicola_Sturgeon_at_launch_of_Atos_Glasgow_2014_sponsorship_March_16_2012-550×436.jpg
      Oh dear.

    73. CameronB says:

      @ deewal
      Oh dear in dead, but is it within the powers of the Scottish government to select the sponsors? Would it not have been a little odd if the SG had not made a representative available for promotional photo-shoots? Hats off to Nicola, for taking one for the team. I am non-aligned and have only voted SNP to gain independence.

    74. Jiggsbro says:

      I have no problem with taking ATOS’s money to help fund the Games, It’s employing them to be bastards on behalf of the (UK) government that’s the problem. Not much the SNP can do about that. If we want the Games, someone’s going to have to pay. I’d much rather it was the bastards than the poor.

    75. Holebender says:

      Even though the bastards made their money at the cost of the poor? The money does seem to be blood-soaked.

    76. John says:

      The other horrible coincidences are the present government introducing forced labour for disabled people on United Nations’ International Day of Persons with Disabilities and the Daily Mail approving of the Nazi slogan “Arbeit Macht Frei” on Independence Day last year. Ironic since that was the country that introduced the modern version of Workfare during the Clinton administration and it has spread to the EU despite it contradicting ILO prohibitions on forced labour. “Work in in the Salvation Army or Poundland for nothing or lose your means of subsistence” cannot be described as voluntary.
      http://welfareuk.wordpress.com/2013/03/20/arbeit-macht-frei-hyperbole/



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