I was astounded to hear Ruth Davidson claim that only 12% of Scottish households make a overall contribution to the country's finances.
Of course the BBC made it sound like 88% were scroungers, which of course nicely fits the imagine that some like to portray of us in England, picking up our benefit and staggering between the pub and the bookies!
Still it shouldn't have come as any great surprise that Davidson was singing from the Mrs Lamont songsheet in The Something for Nothing Show. They seem to have morphed into the same person.
Anyway, now we know what the regional foremen of the two main British political parties (and therefore their bosses), think of us, it begs the question, why don't they encourage us to leave. After all if most of us are scrounging from the poor English taxpayer wouldn't they be so much better off without us.
Of course Ruth's figures, without any comparison from any other country, or "region", of the UK are pretty valueless. We simply haven't a clue how this compares with anywhere else, within or outwith the UK. Maybe the Irish are scroungers too; maybe the Welsh, or heavens, maybe most of the English apart from the ones that live in the sainted land of the home counties.
And that is before we even query the veracity of the figures she used. The Guardian's article on this story points out:
"..... All the information sources cited are out of date. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures from the Effects of Taxes and Benefits on Household Income publication are drawn from the 2009/10 release; strange because the 2010/11 data have been available since June this year.
"Similarly, data from the joint Scottish government/ONS publication, Public Sector Employment in Scotland is taken from the Q1 2012 publication and not the Q2 data published a month ago. This explains why the figures for public sector employment used in the calculation are wrong; currently 22.2% (23.5% if RBS and HBOS workers are included) of all Scottish workers are employed in the public sector, not 23.8%.
"Davidson's calculation also references the ONS data on income for all households. In doing so, she commits the Romney-esque error of failing to account for retired people. This is either lazy or deliberately misleading because the ONS provides such a breakdown in the very document she cites."
One of the reasons that our economy in Scotland is heavily dependent on the public sector is that after Mrs Thatcher had whirled her evil way across our country shutting anything that looked as if it might be unionised, it occurred to her Scottish Secretary that they would have to try to find alternatives forms of work to keep us from spending our entire lives in the pub. But then Ruth didn't think that Mrs Thatcher was important. After all Ruth wasn't born when Mrs Thatcher was wrecking Scotland.
One of the things that they came up with was relocating unimportant government offices in Scotland.
Add to that the fact that with very little time anywhere but the public sector, Davidson has rather a hard neck to be talking about this. She is currently an MSP and paid by taxes; prior to this she worked for the BBC and was paid from the licence fee. Her primary, secondary and tertiary education account for most of the rest of her time on this planet.
All in all a dismal performance from Davidson at her first proper English Tory conference.
Why are these Scots so determined to talk down our, and their, country? Do they want potential investors to shake their heads at the idea of a "something for nothing" culture in a people almost all of whom are dependent upon the state?
Oh yeah, silly me, it's the only way they can make Osborne's prediction that no one will invest in Scotland if it is intent on breaking up the union, come true.
Davidson also attacked free prescription policy in Scotland stating that people were dying as a result of it. [She seems to be less concerned about the people who are dying as a result of the policy that her boss has in England of getting 88% (a favourite number of the Tories, it seems) off Incapacity Benefit and...erm on to JSA, or into a coffin, whichever comes faster].
Prescription charges were always incredibly unfair. The were waived in the case of ALL people over the age of 60, regardless of whether they were working, retired, or the Duke of Atholl. They were waived for people with certain illnesses, again regardless of their financial situation. They were NOT waived for people on Jobseeker's Allowance, or (amazingly) Incapacity Benefit, but they were waived for people on Income Support. None of these had anything to do with level of income. Thus at one stage I had a friend with diabetes, who earned a more than reasonable salary and got all his prescriptions (not just his insulin) for nothing. At the same time I had another friend who was long term off work, sick, and getting somewhere in the region of £65 a week, who was paying for his prescriptions.