Sunday 13 January 2013


Does anyone know what Labour's policy is on benefits?

I ask because last week they voted against the changes proposed by the Liberals and Tories in Westminster. But, when the government won the debate (on English votes), and they cuts were approved, I heard that Ed Balls said that they couldn't guarantee to overturn the changes.

Then in Scotland Mrs Lamont has been insisting that we can't expect to have 'something for nothing' and that universal benefits can no longer be afforded. She appears to believe that we will have to submit our poor to humiliating means testing from now on.

She has called for a debate on benefits, set up a commission to look into the affordability of our current social security (which will not report until after the referendum) and has accused the SNP government of stifling the debate for which she has called.

It was, therefore, a bit of a mystery to us all that Labour took the attitude it did to last Thursday's proposed Holyrood session on that very subject. Following a report from the left wing organisation the Jimmy Reid Foundation  entitled The Case for Universalism, Claire Adamson, for the SNP, had proposed a members' debate on benefits. This was backed by the independent members, but, to be accepted as a member's debate, it required a backer from one of the major opposition parties, or the Liberals. 

Needless to say the Tories and Liberals didn't relish any further publicity on how their English bosses were intending to starve the poor out of house and home. But, given Mrs Lamont's enthusiasm for the subject, you would have expected Labour to put forward not just one, but many backers, to ensure that the debate took place. However, oddly, backers from the Labour desks came there none!

Could it be that Mrs Lamont's party was stifling the debate that they had accused the SNP of...erm.... stifling?

Very odd.

But there's more!

On the Andrew Marr show today, Johann's boss, Ed Miliband, said that universal benefits were 'the bedrock of our society', driving a coach and horses through Mrs Lamont's policy in just a few words. He was so enthusiastic about the idea that he actually said:  "I think that universal benefits which go across the population are an important bedrock of our society."

Nicola Sturgeon said“It is deeply revealing that Labour politicians are running scared on this issue to the extent that they are now trying to close down the open debate on universal services which they themselves called for.
“Perhaps they are afraid of what they might hear about their insulting claim that pensioners – who have paid taxes all of their lives – receiving free personal care, or the sick receiving free prescriptions, are getting ‘something for nothing’.”
So, I ask simply, anyone who knows...what is the policy? Do we have universalism, or means testing and will or will not Westminster roll back the changes that the Tories have made, but that they, together with the SNP voted against?
Answers on a post card... or a banana skin...


  1. Labour has shown that they can face in all directions at the same time a feat only assumed to be accomplished by aliens from some distant galaxy.

  2. THAT's where they are from then... I wondered.

  3. Usually Niko is first to comment

    but no Niko, or New improved Red Tory Dean

    I wonder why?

  4. Labour will say anything to get their hands on power again. The North Britain branch will be used as pawns flipflopping their position as ordered by the masters in London. Ed still thinks Scotland will return Labour MPS by the bucketload in 2015 after the No vote they assume they'll get.

    Keir Hardie, Maxton, Shinwell et al to Curren, Lamont and Murphy - how far Labour has fallen.

  5. Someone should compare how many and how often stories appeared in the main stream press on say, the SNP and its change in stance on NATO and how many and how often this latest labour about-face will be reported.

    They must be giving themselves migraines with all the spinning and turning they're doing.

  6. He was always a confused boy, CH. I have to say though, that it's his brother that I see as being just like Maggie. He's more like Norman Tebbit!

    The laugh is that they are anything BUT conviction politicians. They bend with this focus group and that and say whatever they think is the best thing to say.

    Thatcher, to her "only" credit, wasn't bothered. She had an agenda and she was going to achieve it. if it pleased the people good and well; if it didn't sod them!

  7. I'm sure, Anon, that they are composing first rate responses as we write, explaining the apparent contradictions, and my confused, swivel-eyed nat thinking! :)

    Hurry up Niko... :)

  8. Aye PP... They really wouldn't recognise the party that fought for people at the bottom.

    They are pathetic by comparison to the real socialists that fought for people without titles to have a place in society.

  9. Good point, Pa.

    I haven't seen the papers today yet, but I wondering what prominence it is given.

    Low to none, I'm suspecting....?
    Just had a quick look at the Scotsman and Herald.

    No... We have "Blow for SNP (nothing about Greens, Socialists, etc) as support for Independence falls", and a story about how the UK would lose influence in the EU if Scotland left...

    And the Hootsman has a story about Salmond slamming the refusal to have any kind of talks before the referendum. Presumably they refuse to hold talks so that they can say: "You don't know what you'll be getting... we may be really nasty sleazy scum bags and only agree that 2% of the oil belongs to Scotland , then you will be gubbed!!"

    Not a mention of the fact that THEIR party looks pretty stupid at the moment.

    Of course maybe we are misrepresenting them. Maybe Mrs Lamont is her own woman and in the future in England they will have universal benefits but in Scotland under Labour, we wont!


  10. Anon coward.

    First I have been laid up wid
    A very bad case of flu man type
    Cough!cough ! Splutter


    Universal benefits are not meant
    Every single benefit for all
    Regardless of income or wealth

    What next snp promise every
    Person regardless of age a
    State pension which they cam claim
    Any time any age

  11. Tris

    I suspect that there may be a few things going on with labour at the moment. Labour in England have suddenly realised that they will actually need the so called working classes to vote for them in the next election and might just be able to grab the middle ground as well, because lower middle class voters in England don't want to give back their benefits they have seen a gap to exploit. Between attacks on what the Tories believe are the shirkers but actually taking in a lot of middle England Labour have sensed this gap, the Tories can't reverse their mistake now without looking bad and may just be resigned now to losing the next election but forcing through enough of their idiology so they can pick up where they left off when they do get in again, although all is not lost for them with 3 budgets to the next election. They might just find a way to get some bribes in to middle England.

    Now in Scotland Lamont was told to jump on the bandwagon 12 motnhs too late and the ground has shifted. So while Labour in England can pander to the shifting opinion there the northern branch can't without looking even more foolish than they do already because they were so late in jumping on the bandwagon as ordered by their bosses in London. If they had backed the debate a) they would get their arse kicked becuase the attacks on the poor can't be defended and b) they would be seen to be more out of step with their masters in london.

    I suspect that we will hear very little from lament now on the something for nothing culture and she will shift to blaming the SNP for the cuts that will bite this year, they will really go it on that and with support from media chums forget about the rest.

    Labour are the scum of the earth, pity their members can't see them for what they are.


  12. Poor old Niko. Are you feeling better... or are you still spluttering and choking?

    Where exactly did the SNP say that they would give a pension to anyone no matter what their age. I only ask because I'd like to apply! :)

  13. That's pretty well summed up, Bruce.

    I suppose all politicians look for ways to please the people. In a way, of course, that is what they are supposed to represent the people. But this kind of thing is sheer opportunism.

    The trouble is that we have no idea now what Labour stands for.

    What I can't understand is, why wasn't this discussed at a shadow cabinet meeting to which Lamont is invited, despite not having been elected by one single person to be a part of that.

    Like the Tories, they all seem to run off at the mouth and they lack any co-ordinated policy. This is all the more remarkable for the plethora of different communication means at their disposal.

  14. tris
    if the snp haven't said it yet dont worry they will.

    I mean it a free Scotland they are offering as you pay for nothing and its all free.

    well until the free market piper calls

  15. Oh come on Niko. That's hardly an argument based on any fact.

    The SNP will give pensions at any age, and you won't have to pay for your food and there will be angles to feed you manna ...

  16. tris

    the same could be said about Alex Salmon and the snp

    The new National anthem in


  17. It is slightly unclear at the moment.

    And I say this as a Labour man.

    What I would say is, we do need to reform social security (no, lets not call it 'welfare', I hate that kind of jingoism).
    As a 23 year old, member of generation rent, with tonnes of student debt from SAAS and my MSc tuition (free education as a Scot? I call bulls~it on that), I can tell you - I will NOT spend my life working to pay for social entitlements for the older folks (like Tris and Munguin, whom I still love naturally) when I can't possibly hope to obtain said social entitlements for me in my old age.

    Us young ones are told to get an education ... but get little help to pay for costs of full time academic study.
    We're told you get saving for our pensions, 'cos when we're older the system will be less generous -- oh, but still pay enormous sums in our wages to pay for the current silver liners.

    F- that nonsense. Time to emigrate. Many of my friends are already living in London as a step to working further afield, and others I know are in Australia, and USA.

    Lamont is right to call for reform. The current system simply isn't sustainable. And who says so? Us, the young ones who you will be asking to pay for it when we get nothing but the raw end of the political deal every time.

    (LibDem betrayal anyone? We've learned, never trust any politician, especially if they are standing for election).

  18. Tris

    I had a Labour supporting friend saying that Alex Salmond has been ducking a debate for months, I was thinking when did this happen. Labour members seem to be making things up now to avoid the debate or did I miss something.

  19. Dean

    (LibDem betrayal anyone? We've learned, never trust any politician, especially if they are standing for election).

    Yet you believe that we can't afford universalism because some politicians tell you so.

    Can you explain your reasoning?

  20. Hmmm, Niko. It's not really true, but suddenly labour people are calling for there to be far less social security.

    What do you think about Mr Ed as was... calling for universal payments. Is he Alex Salmond mark 2.

    You see, I think that Labour in opposition thinks that all it has to do is to oppose. It doesn't matter what it opposes, as long as it opposes.

    So in Scotland Mrs Lamont opposes universal welfare, or social security or call it what you will, because Mr Salmond proposes it.

    Ed on the other hand is obliged to support it, as Mr Cameron doesn't believe in any social security at all. Soup kitchens and poor house for everyone who hasn't got hereditary money, after all, they are barely human.

    It's a bit of a blow that the SNP is to the left of labour and the Tories are to the right (only just).

    There will be more money in Scotland when we are not running the world, and paying for obsolete WMDs.

  21. I certainly take your point Dean.

    It is a little unfair that you should have to pay to keep us old codgers alive when we reach our non productive years... but the alternative is to put us in a big institution and give us one set of clothes and 3 plates of gruel a day.

    We won't go away, matey...

    Little Munguin says that as he's only S.T. (shhhh...don't say it out loud) he won't need much of a pension when it's his turn.

    Going to London won't sort the problem. It's London's fault there isn't any money for pensions. Let's be honest, they have known since the end of the second war that there was a great big demographic time bomb coming to hit them. They even knew when, or should have.

    The baby boomers didn't suddenly arrive from out of space. Your governments, Tory and Labour have ignored that situation for 70 years.

    And people didn't start living longer, suddenly last year. It has been happening for hundreds of years and accelerating in a compound fashion. To quote Mr Darling, you've had a long time to think about it. Why don't you know the answer?

    I know the answer. It was a choice. You funded the pensions you knew were going to be due, or you played wars with the American president as the boss.... We know what you chose.

    Unfortunately Londoners will suffer the same fate as Scots over the pensions.

    If we become independent, one of the things we will have to do with the peace dividend (no longer obliged to pay for the 4th largest military in the world, as Mr Cameron was proud to point out [he must care more about killing things than keeping them alive] is look at our pensions problem.

    Our problem is too many old and not enough young people to pay for them. But remember all of us working at the moment have had to pay all our working days for people who are retired.

    What to do? Well we could try to encourage young people from Europe to come to Scotland. Indeed both Jack and Alex have tried to do that. We used to encourage people who had done degrees here to stay and work, but of course Cameron put the kibosh on that, because England has too many immigrants, and Tories hate foreigners unless they are royal, and tyrants.

    However, if we encourage too many young foreigners to come here, we get the "taking our jobs" whine.

    Doing our jobs, more like I always think, but hey ho.

    So yes, I certainly wouldn't blame you for leaving the UK. If Scotland doesn't win the referendum then I will be looking carefully at my options. Because one thing is for certain. If Cameron gets his way on this, Scots will suffer badly.

    No more powers. Powers taken away. Scottish government stripped of any chance of overturning their odious policies... as the Scottish government is doing now.

    How much did you pay in fees for your education by he way? primary, secondary, tertiary...masters?

    I suspect Dean, my old bean, I have been paying for you for most of your life!!!!

    Not that I mind that...

  22. I dunno about him ducking it Bruce. It's a hard one, but the easy answer for Mrs Lamont is... If we didn't have to pay to be a leading country in the world, standing at American's right hand, like Jesus and God's right hand... except that we've been blowing places up and causing mayhem....

    ... then we would probably ahve enough to give people decent pensions.

    The Swedes manage; the Danes do too...

    But it seems that because there is this little misunderstanding... or crossed wires or whatever, it's suddenly not a subject that Lamont wants aired. Ouch.... Well, would you if you were her?

    I suspect Mr Salmond will make much of this on Thursday and although I don't like that form of politics, well, we really can't let them grab the headlines all the time with their crap.

  23. That's a fair question from CH, Dean. Can you answer it?

  24. Labour supporters wont/can't answer questions as all they can do is ask nonsensical questions and give insults.

    Tax avoidance is estimated at £69+ billion per year yet this never comes into discussion as they fund the unionist parties.

    I did hear that LD members totalled about 36,000 throughout the UK yet the SNP have 23,000 out of 8.5% of the UK population, enough said.

    Must be a quarter of their members in Scotland

  25. rue. If we collected the tax we are supposed to collect we would have enough money; if we stopped fighting wars all over the world we would have enough money; if we stopped having WMDs that we can't use and even the military says are no bloody use for what they are likely to face, we would have the money; if we stopped having embassies in every corner of the world, and pulled resources with other countries, we would have the money.

    Fat chance.

    I'm surprised the LDs have that many members.


  26. CH question is merely the product of his own inability to actually read what I said.

    But, I am magnanimous in the face of stupidity and shall explain why.

    "Yet you believe that we can't afford universalism because some politicians tell you so.

    Can you explain your reasoning?"

    That isn't my reasoning, at all.

    I don't 'believe' we can't afford universalism, I know we can't; and not because some politician told me so. But because of what I said, i.e. my generation shall NOT be willing to pay for benefits that we won't ever get to receive in our old age.
    There is already a major braindrain from Scotland by skilled peeps among my peer group.

    Additionally, with an ageing democraphic, there is no way we can continue to carry on as if we don't have a diminishing worker-to-retired ratio.

    So no, CH question was as irrelevant as it was stupid. I've come to expect those kinds of non-observations from him.

  27. Dean, in his ignorance, talks about leaving Scotland as if that is something new

    The fact is that since the establishment of the Scottish Parliament the drain has lessened, look at the relative populations of Scotland vs England since the Union, Scotland's population has suffered greatly.

    Dean clings onto his Tory selfishness. My taxes helped pay for his education, his healthcare, his santitation, the roads he travels, the military he loves and the water he drinks.

    When it comes time to return the favour, he replies

    "Fuck off, go out into the cold and starve, you old parasite"

    OK, Dean, give me, give Tris, give CH our money back.

    You want to be self-reliant, keep the hell away from anything that gets public funding

  28. Dean, you truly are the epitomy of today's labour party!

    You milk the system in Scotland for everything you can get but are not prepared to contribute in any way. Well, enjoy your education and take your leave of us. The country will be a better place for your absence.

  29. Dean, you paid nothing till your eighteenth year on this planet, arguably if youve been in further education, you'll have paid nothing at all.

    I want my money back you grasping little parasite.

    It's fine though, consider it payment for the one thing you do have that is of use to us now; your absence.

    What a selfish little oik, have you ever heard of social responsibility? Do you have parents or grandparents?

    Boorach is quite right but doesn't go far enough, not only do you represent labour, you represent all that is wrong with the UK under the current government.

  30. Tris, though I like the layout of the site since the changes and it's loading speed is impressive i'm having serious problems when trying to comment.

    Right now back to Dean!

  31. I see the mad dog snp supporting nats
    Attack deano they would.

    Whilst agreeing dean shows little
    Or none to the society which
    Brought him up.

    Perhaps we should reflect on
    The fact we made him and many
    Others of his generation.

  32. Speak for yourself Niko.

    I had nothing to do with fostering that kind of atitude in any one.

    I don't quite see how I (or we) can be labeled 'mad dogs' when its not us who are abdicating responsibility or withdrawing gratitude for what has been done for them to date.

    What Dean has done is akin to sitting at a strangers table, eaten their food, taken advantage of their wisdom and generosity then slept soundly in a bed not made or paid for by him. In the morning he'd rise late only to tell the householders to fuck off and expect nothing in payment not even knowing if payment would be requested.

    He didn't even have the decency to do a runner before the house stirred.

  33. @ Pa Broon

    You MEAN he didn't even say thanks?

    Surely that can't be true, that's not how the 'I want' generation behave...... is it?

    The sad thing is that no matter where his own little utopia is Dean will find that he has to work for whatever he gets and make his contribution to whatever unsuspecting country he tries to leech of.

  34. Well dean, my boy, you deserved that.

    We all have to pay for the elderly, the sick, the disabled and children.

    That's what society is, but of course there are those who do not believe that there is any such thing!!

    I suppose that is socialism. The strong looking after the poor. The Tories used to do it in a noblesse oblige fashion. (They needed to keep the poor in food and rags otherwise who would "do" for them.)

    Labour started off caring about society; that was what they were about.

    But you say, as a Labour man, that you will not pay for older people as you work your way through life. Although our taxes paid for you for the first 18+ years of your life.

    If that is what Labour is about these days, grand. It means that people who want some sort of a pension MUST vote for an independent Scotland.

    They must vote for a party that has a social conscience.

  35. Boorach:

    I'm glad you like the site, and I'm bothered that you are having difficulty posting.

    As a computer dumbo, I have no idea what the problem might be... but when I was having trouble posting I moved my web browser to Chrome.

    If you explain your problem, (ie what happens when you try to post) perhaps one of the more computer savvy amongst us might be able to give you a hunt.


    I don't want anything to discourage you from posting. We enjoy your comments.

  36. Pa: Niko:

    I dunno that "we" as individuals made the current generation what they are. But I can understand that the society that we collectively created have made them.

    And yet, I don't know that they are that bad. I know some great teens and early 20s. Good people with good hearts; always willing to help and co-operate.

    I just think that when you are young, you sometimes say stuff without stopping to think of the consequences; without stopping to think about the back story.

    I can truly see that people who are leaving university now may think...what a mess they have left us, without ever counting the blessing that they have inherited.

    Some people leaving uni had to put up with the legacy of the Thatcher years. That was when society started to fall apart.

    Some left uni to the disaster that labour's Wilson Callaghan years had bestowed on us. Trades unions that held the country to ransom over the quality of the toilet paper.

    Some kids left university to try to deal with the aftermath of the second world war, and some had to leave school and go to fight in Europe, Asia, or the Oceanic islands. Some died doing it.

    That's life. There is a mess to be dealt with in every generation.

    But there are so many things that they could and should be grateful for. And they would be if they just took the time and the effort to think about them.

  37. If we can’t afford to pay pensions we most certainly cannot afford for every Tom, Dick and Harry can go to some ex polytechnic and spend four years with their hands out doing an honours degree in ABBA, swimming or carpet laying. A degree that even a deranged cabbage would be hard pressed to fail because it's so easy these days. And what do Dean and his ilk get at the end of it.....well they need an Masters degree to stack shelves in Tesco!

  38. Testing! I also posted a comment that has gone AWOL, using Opera.

  39. Well Munguin, we can blame Tony Blair who seemed to think that it was a goal to get 50% of the population into university, without giving much thought to what they would do when they came out.

    But if, indeed, we have made it essential for people to have bachelor degrees to do the simplest of jobs, it is all the more essential that we provide that level of education free.

  40. CH. I have just checked the "spam" and "awaiting moderation" sections of the blog, and there is no comment from anyone lurking there.

    I'm really sorry about this. I think it must be a Blogger problem.

    I was originally using Internet Explorer, but at times I couldn't get into the blog at all with it. I changed to Google Chrome and get much better service blog wise...although there are other problems!

    Some people say that Firefox is excellent...

    As I say, some other people may have more informed opinions on the problem...

  41. Thanks for advice Tris, unfortunately my lifestyle dictates I use an iPad so changing browsers isn't an option.

    Basically I musts get everything correct at first attempt as any effort to make corrections halts the whole process. Even trying to scroll up the page produces the same result..... guess it must be an apple thing I have to live with

  42. It was just to point Dean towards China as it would suit him to a tee but that he wouldn't get Earl Grey there, so nothing lost.

    I used Firefox for years but with Win 7 it mucked up my scrolling mouse so tried Opera where it worked for a time but then problem returned.

  43. City agency slated for £500k pay-off to boss

    Glasgow East Regeneration Agency, which was set up to alleviate poverty, paid the sum in redundancy and pension enhancement to former chief executive Ronnie Saez in 2011.

    After press reports of the payment, the Office Of The Scottish Charity Regulator investigated to check if it was in the charity's best interest.

    A report published today by the regulator says the actions of the trustees in approving the pay-out "constituted misconduct" and they have been warned about their responsibilities.

    Labour through and through or troughing of which they are masters.

  44. Well, wow, Boorach. That must be the first time anyone has thanked me for IT advice :)

    I'm sorry you have these problems though, but it makes me doubly appreciative of the time you take to interact with the blog. Thank you.

  45. Well CH, my mate just got a job in China. Mind he is completely fluent in written and spoken Chinese.

    But they are begging for graduates who speak a European language as well as Mandarin or Cantonese. So if Dean fancies it, all he has to do is become fluent in speaking and writing...

    Just a small job.

    My friend is Chinese Malay, and is now very grateful that his father insisted that he learn Chinese along side the Malay language when he was at school.

    It's going to make him rich! (and I'm hoping for a few weeks' holiday!!!)

  46. CH: They hand out half a million of other people's money, and they are warned of their responsibilities.

    A lad in the Hilltown of Dundee pinches a few packets of cigarettes and gets a custodial sentence...

    Obviously the lad didn't have the right connections.

  47. Each to their own tris but gas masks might be an advisory luggage companion.

  48. They have what London had 80 years ago ... Smog, CH.

    Wouldn't be my cup of tea. I'm thinking Norway, Denmark, Iceland, or maybe Luxembourg or Lichtenstein!

    Malta wouldn't be too bad either...

  49. Boorach

    You can try DOLPHIN BROWSER for iPAD

    or Chrome

    Nico. Re "Anonymous Coward" yes, cos "Niko" identifies who you are completely!

    Silly boy

    And yes, Dean did deserve it

  50. Thanks for that suggestion for Boorach, Anon...


  51. Feast versus famine.

    ps. Maybe not blogger for posting posts but possible human error at this end in forgetting to scroll back down after signing in.

  52. Nationalist scum I would like to say just remember vote for me and I'll give you a house.
    big detached with a double garage Ferrari parked on your drive.

    and its all free

    top that fat boy Alex

  53. Nationalist scum I would like to say just remember vote for me and I'll give you a house.
    big detached with a double garage Ferrari parked on your drive.

    and its all free

    top that fat boy Alex

  54. Hilarious CH...

    Alistair certainly brings in the crowds....

    Pffff... erm yeah, I have to admit something of the same error. I said to Pa the other day that my post had gone missing on his blog, and then it occurred to me that I probably forgot to fill in the code thing that sifts out the spammers...


  55. Such a good offer you said it twice Niko.

    OK... I'll vote for you if the Ferrari is red.

    But can I have the house and the car in Norway please? Don't want to stay in this dump if we don't get independence.

  56. You people really are silly.

    Because I say we need to reform the social security system, and end universalism you hurl such abuse?

    Typical of the cybernats I suppose.

    And here I thought you people were adults. Seems I've got a heck lot more manners than any of you 'old yens'.

    If this tone is anything to judge by, you can keep your ethics. Come back to me when you learn some social niceties. Like explaining your views without insults.