Tuesday, 21 September 2010


We didn’t vote Tory and we barely voted Liberal Democrat, so the government probably feels within its can dump the worst of its miserable policies on us, with no political fallout. And to prove it, they are to launch a pilot scheme to remove people from Incapacity Benefit and put them on to Employment Support in Aberdeen (another one will be trialled in Northern England). It’s strange that the Tories didn’t want to do anything like that in their heartlands of the south, where half the population lives and where there are plenty Incapacity benefit claimants.

With targets to reach the medics (for they are not necessarily doctors) of a private (for profit) company, will examine IB claimants and try to get them off the more expensive benefits, which are paid in recognition of long term illness and inability to work. Perhaps Camerclegg think that the resultant rise in unemployment in Scotland can be blamed on the Scottish Government? Labour had the same idea and had to admit that, although the medics were happy to deprive ill people of their money, the courts were not. On tribunal appeal more than half the cases were overturned by judges and doctors appointed by the English Ministry of Justice.

Now it has emerged, thanks to a parliamentary question in the London parliament, that some Scottish rail services may have to be reduced because the new rolling stock may not be able to run on lines North of Edinburgh.

Mike Weir, asked the English Transport Secretary about something that those of us north of Edinburgh are concerned about: the future of direct train services between London, Aberdeen and Inverness.

The reply from Theresa Villliers was that the future of these railways services would depend on decision, yet to be made, about the type of rolling stock. Clearly this is a question of electrification. Lines from England to Edinburgh and Glasgow are electric, but no one bothered to electrify the lines north of Edinburgh. If then the new trains are electric, then there can be no direct service.

So, it seems that if you have to make the long (well, it is in the UK) journey between Aberdeen and London, or Inverness and London, then you will have to rely on local trains to get you to Edinburgh, where you will be obliged to change for London and the south (including the continent).

Labour had proposed purchasing duel fuel trains for the Scottish lines, but the Coalition has put that on hold. I presume that this means that despite the railway companies being private, making profits and giving their directors huge bonuses, the government, or the public if you like, still has to pay for the trains. Nice business.

Long distance travel in the UK is already a misery in comparison to travel in France, Spain, Italy or Germany, and the cross border trains that ply the continent at half the price and twice the speed of UK ones. Scotland's railways are, even by comparison with Englands, a travesty. Is it necessary for us to be subjected to further inconveniences and train journeys be made longer?


  1. Of course.

    Rosyth was the logical choice to refurbish the submarine fleet, when last there was a *pure* Tory government.

    Devonport got it. Nothing to do that it was in the South of England, no siree...

  2. Tris

    'It’s strange that the Tories didn’t want to do anything like that in their heartlands of the south,'

    Not strange at all just the way the filthy stinking south east English Tory vermin have always behaved.

    And when Tory scum(with their Vichy dems traitors ) impose the 'Cuts' you bet the bulk will not be in the Tory or Lib Dem scums heartlands

  3. Aye well Conan, the Tories have nothing to lose (except old whatshisname) and they make the decisions. Next time round they won't need the Lib-Dumbs, but even if they do they know Liberals will do anything at all for a seat at the Cabinet table.

    Best buckle down and take the medicine.

  4. Well Niko, I can always count on you for subtlety can't I?

    Of course stripping away the insults, you are right. They will hurt us, because, as I said they lose nothing... in fact, if the Question Time participants and audience from a few weeks ago is anything to go by then I daresay they will win some converts.

    They seem to think that we spend our time gravitating from the bookies to the pub with only a brief call at the jobcentre to make vast claim for social security.

  5. Dean's not going to like me tris but that much paraded GERS document was produced by that esteemed Tory Ian Lang!

    "The booklet I have had prepared and printed, setting out the details of the Government’s expenditure and revenue in Scotland, I judge that it is just what is needed at present in our campaign to maintain our initiative and undermine the other parties."


  6. They seem to think that we spend our time gravitating from the bookies to the pub with only a brief call at the jobcentre to make vast claim for social security.

    Aye its a grand life!!

    and i never insulted nobody no how you should remember the the Tory south eastern English are not and have never been of the Human race and as such do not deserve any courtesy.

    anyway in a few days they are going to tear the heart out of scotland(again)

  7. The've a long way to catch Labour up on that but the ConDems are learning fast.

  8. Now Niko, I happen to know you work very hard. Mrs M mentioned you wouldn't be back till later as you were doing overtime... something about a new coat she was wanting... oooops, should I not have said that?

    All people are deserving of courtesy... even Michael Howard and Michael Martin (well only a little bit of courtesy)

    But I agree with the last bit. They will. That will teach you for voting labour. I don't know why you just won't vote SNP, get independence, and then you'll never have another English Tory government tearing the heart out of Scotland again!

    Duh... it's so simple.

  9. They are politicians CH. Some things they learn fast.

  10. Well there you are! That’s the “New Politics”® respect agenda in action. It didn’t take lonfg did it? A wee visit from David Cameron then off to the USA to slag off our justice system, then time to administer the “you didn’t vote for us medicine” right where it hurts. And in Aberdeen too, isn’t that where all that lovely black stuff that keeps the UKs AAA status with standard and poor brought ashore? The answer? If the Labour and Lib Dem quislings would just vote SNP next May and give them a majority at Holyrood, or at least campaign to get your party’s Scottish arm to support it, then we can have our referendum and God willing cut the south east Tories lose.

    Voting Labour or Lib Dem just wont cut the mustard, you did that last May and we still ended up with a Tory government. The Lib Dems are not acting as any sort of effective break on Tory malignancy to Scotland or indeed against any sort of Tory policy. Nick Clegg is simply bouncing the Lib Dems to the right. These fig leafs? Voting rights for prisoners, well that is something the EU told us we had to do after some prisoner whose name I forget took the UK to court and won, so hardly a Lib Dem policy victory. Possible no like for like Trident? That is something that the Treasury realise is too expensive and anyway it can be left to the next lot, it’s in the wording “possibly” and not like for like” not cancelled but put on hold eh, hardly a triumph for liberalism is it?

  11. That was pretty succinctly summed up Munguin.

    Clegg has simply made the Liberals a centre right party. The interesting thing is that all of that makes it more difficult for wee Tavish to operate as anything other than a centre right part too. Certainly it’s not impossible for the Scottish branch of the party to have slightly different policies from their English/UK parent organization, and the Liberals have long claimed to have a far more independent, almost “federal” set up, but there must surely be bedrock principle underlying Liberal philosophy that cannot be right wing in England and left wing in Scotland.

    Of course as Labour in England moved further to the right the Scottish party has had some weaving and ducking to do, but Labour is so ingrained in Scotland that they could propose privatization of the air we breathe and get away with it. I’m not sure that the Liberals will be able to do that.

  12. Well it appears that the Tories are going for the Poll tax round two by imposing incapacity cuts in Scotland before England. The incapacity claimant count is far too high as many of the people on it can work but I still feel Cameron is wading in far to fast.

    However the biggest problem Scotland faces is that despite all the cuts coming from Westminster, Iain Grey and his clowns will put it to the voters that it;s the SNP who are to blame. Remember we have an election looming and Labour a dirty liers to the core.

  13. tris,

    So it always was, so it always is, so it always will be unless the population of Scotland, including Niko, comes to it's collective sense.

  14. Hello Allan

    Long time no see. Welcome back. :¬)

    Yes, I agree there are people on Incapacity benefit who should not be there, but the figures from Labour's attempt to deal with this show that the private companies the government employs to do this work are target happy. As I said the rate of overturns by the courts (supported by independent doctors) suggests that they have been, or the system has been, way too harsh.

    I think when you are dealing with sick people, if you have to err, then it should be on the side of caution. I wouldn’t want to be responsible for the first person that dies as a result of the Tories desperate desire to please the blue rinses and the retired colonels by trying to pay back the deficit on the back of the poor.

  15. I wonder, brownlie, how long it will take the Labour support, including Niko, to see that there is one way to ensure that we NEVER have another Tory government in Scotland again....

    Silly me... forever. They're not what you'd call fast learners.

  16. Tris,
    The Scots who vote Labour in the next Scottish election will do it for one of two reasons.

    Either they understand that voting Labour means an endorsement of David Cameron as the Tory Prime Minister of Scotland and they believe that Tory rule from Westminster and Tory cuts are better than an independent Scotland. This might be called the mainstream Labour view.

    Or they believe that somehow a Labour Government in Holyrood can protect Scotland from the cuts coming from Westminster. This could be called the Daily Record reader view.

    To be quite honest it will make little difference to Scotland who runs Holyrood as long as Scotland stays within the Union as the block grant will be the same whatever party is in power. The only hope for Scotland is that there are enough SNP voters to give us the chance of a referendum so we can leave the Union, Westminster and the Tories behind. Unfortunately for us, Labour believe that all of these three things are better than independence.

    The trialling of the benefit scheme in Scotland like the trialling of the poll tax is a result of the poor SNP vote in the Westminster elections. Scots voting en masse for Labour doesn't even make the Tories blink but voting SNP worries the hell out of them. If Labour in Scotland don't like what the Tories impose on Scotland what are they going to do? Well, they'll do as they are doing now and campaign to keep the Tories as the Government of Scotland at the next election for a start.

  17. Aye Doug, you're not wrong.

    It's incredibly sad.

    Labour voters only need to vote once for the SNP, and then once with the SNP in the independence referendum, and then they can go back to voting Labour for the rest of their lives and getting Labour governments.

    Alternatively they can go on voting Labour, and getting a Tory government in 10 out of every 15 years for the rest of their lives, with a Labour/Liberal coalition in Holyrood making precious little difference for lack of power, lack of money and lack of talent as labour send their best people (such as they are) to London, adn the bigger slalaries and better expenses.

    They really can't be stupid enough not to see that, can they?

    And I can't believe that any Labour voter in Scotland really enjoys a Tory government....

  18. My my, my!

    You know chaps, this isn't entirely fair.

    You presume motive based on bias opinions about Tories, all which formed LONG before the current boys entered authority. Not fair, not right.

    Judge a chap on the merits, and the merits are clear:

    1. Restored link between pensions and earnings [or inflation, whatever is GREATER].
    2. raised the lowest paid out of paying tax ALTOGETHER.
    3. Narrowing the earnings gap in the bloated public sector

    Progress, consensus, those are the motives, this is the context to which these unfortunate decisions are made.

  19. LOL Dean... you're sounding just like Nick Clegg. That was pretty much what he was saying in the Party Political at tea time tonight.

    (Mind you, the link is 30 years too late, and has cost each one of our old folk in the order of £40 a week. Even then we would be miles behing European countries like France, Spain, Germany. What does the British government do with all its money?)

  20. Ah Tris, I see you acknowledge the progress this coalition has made on all three points.

    Makes a change from your denial, avoidance, and what Sir HUmprhey would proudly call 'creative inertia' ...

    You'll join the coalition some day, for we govern in the NATIONAL, rather than Party interest


  21. Erm... did I say that....?

    I don't remember saying that.....

    Nah, I didn't say that!

  22. Yer daft Dean!

  23. Tris.

    I'm always up for cutting the size of the public sector but totally disprove of private firms taking control over areas of welfare.

    Also I would take the word of a GP before any spiv sitting at a desk with a means tested multiple choice form making a decision about someones entitlement to incapacity benefit.

    Thanks for welcoming me back Tris. Always a pleasure to come back to Munguins.

  24. Yes Allan. It's dangerous to set targets to medical people. A doctor mate of mine told me that, if you fall below profile you (a doctor in his case) have to have someone sit in with you to make sure that you are not too soft on them.

    Now that it is a tick box operation, they can bend people's answers to make them say anything they want. That is why so many are overturned by independent doctors and judges employed by the English Ministry of Justice, sitting in tribunal.

    And that must cost a fortune.

    It's always great to have you back Allan :)