Monday 18 February 2013


Mrs Lamont has reported that she's going to 'throw the book at the SNP' -- whatever book that is. 

Is that the:

NO free elderly care; 
NO free prescriptions;
NO free bus travel;
NO free education;
Huge hikes in council tax 'book'? 

Of course, she means the Tory General Election manifesto 'book'... Well, her Conservative allies in the Better Together campaign will be pleased.

Better Together? You bet your ass they are -- Lordships and expenses and all sorts of important goodies -- Westminster goodies, the best kind.

Mrs Lamont appears to want to turn Scotland into England. I'm not sure that she completely understand just how much opposition there is to her 'get tough on scroungers' policies. 

Because most people seem to think that free elderly care, prescriptions, bus fares and education are exactly what Scotland needs. I've not met one person who disagrees with them.

Nor have I ever met anyone who wants to pay more council  tax.

I know many Labour supporters; my gym is full of them. So far I haven't met one single one of them that rates her or any of her policies. In fact they tend to groan when I mention her, as if I've stabbed them in a vulnerable place.

Despite the lies that Labour has told about the number of jobs that attach to Faslane: Bailey had it at 11,000 and Davidson managed to invent 19,000, the truth is according to  the MoD's own figures that just over 500 jobs are involved, about a quarter of the number at Leuchars Air Force Base in Fife being closed by Labour's partners in the coalition against Scottish independence!

And how many jobs could be created with the investment of £10 billion that we will save when we no longer have to buy new WMDs to keep David Cameron sitting at the top table, and for no other real reason? The once vehemently anti nuclear brigade seem to realise that,as long as the nasty stuff is kept a long way from them, the important part of the Uk likes these mass murdering weapons.

I've not met anyone who thinks that the Honourable Mr Sarwar (his father is a Lords, so he is an honourable, regardless of whether he is an MP or not) is anything but an rather empty-headed mouthpiece for Ed and his men in London. A pretty boy, chosen for his looks rather than his intellect, who is likely to go off half cocked if he doesn't have London's script in front of him.

If the Labour Party in Scotland wants to win back the confidence of the Scottish people, then they are going to have to come up with some uniquely Scottish policies that will help Scotland and Scottish people and stop worrying themselves about the parts of Greater England where Hurricanes Hardly ever Happen.


  1. Ah yes...didn't stop him making the House of Old Duffers though, did it. And, as a result his son gets to call himself the Hon. Just like Paul Martin does...

    Oh well, they call themselves noble with straight faces, so I suppose anything is possible.

  2. Tris

    The Labour Party, my favourite subject, not. Lamont makes me want to puke and given her grasp of figures she must have been a real shit teacher, you could just imagine her shouting at the wee bairns ' free dinner tickets, free dinner tickets ' when I was a lass I had to walk 50 miles in ma bare fucking feet for an apple my pair da stole aff the boat fae India at the dooks '. ' I'll give you fucking universal benefits you wee gadgie '.

    Now Sarwar, here's a political giant. Son of a millionaire father who claimed £100,000 in expenses on a mortgage paid via a swiss bank account for a £600,000 pad in London. Claimed around £180,000 in expenses in total in his last year but made just over 50% of votes while in parliament. How he must have empathised with his constituents in the leafy suburbs of impoverished Glasgow. Sarwar, privately educated dentist, married to a dentist, with a millionaire Daddy. I bet he just flows with empathy for the wee poor unhealthy people he represents. Who the fuck would vote for this man of the people.

    So in these two people you have the leader of the Northern Branch who looks like everything that Labour or whatever they are called now want to get away from, she is starting to tidy herself up but I bet Milliband hates the thought of her walking through the door to spoil his quesant in the morning at the shaodw cabinet meeting in Oxford or where the fuck they hold it now. Then we have Sarwar, he fits the bill perfectly, a bit thick so not a threat, a rich boy so knows the right people, will do as he is told or he won't get Daddys Lords seat and get to think he is important travelling the world representing GREAT BRITAIN.

    The Labour Party are the scum of the earth and I hate them more than the Tories, at least the Tories are doing exactly what I would expect them to do, but the really sad thing is that people will continue to vote Labour. I just cannot understand how anyone could vote for this party or even believe all the propoganda bullshit about UK. How tough does it have to get before certain people will wake up, do they have to be homeless and starving, they would probably still vote for the likes of Lament and Sarwar as they step over them.

    The sad reality is we live in times that there are 3 vacuous political parties in England. Plus UKIP who you wouldn't trust with a barge poll unless you are a closet BNP supporter. In Scotland we have the 3 tosser parties and the SNP, now the SNP are better than the others but not perfect but that is fine. I would much rather vote for a party that represents Scotland than the others who represent themselves.

    I know I have ranted about Labour before but everytime I read something about them it just depresses me, imagine if they actually started to represent Scotland and at the very least made it known that unless Bitter Together outlined serious further devolution then they would encourage their voters to vote YES. Although I kinda get the feeling that a lot more Labour dilusional followers might vote YES that will ever admit it. That might just be the thing that tips the vote on the day, those Labour voters that go for YES and say they voted NO.

    Either way Lamont is a cow and Sarwar a donkey, members of a shit party. Apologists for a shit political union and the political arm of the Conservatives in Scotland. Now that is out my system I better get to work, enjoyed the rant. Although thinking about that cow might give me the runs.

  3. Well said Bruce, another comment worthy of being a post in itself.

    I know Labour for Independence don't have candidates for seats per se, but if they can get enough voters on board, surely not all Labour MSP can be this unprincipled, some would swing over to this side?

    Sarwar is a vacuous mouth piece he's a tape recorder (I was going to say an MP3 player but he's not that sophisticated) with legs parroting the party line, nothing more.

  4. Of course there's always another side to every story. E.g. "free" university for middle class kids from all over Europe (except England) means cuts in college education for working class kids from Scotland.

    And "free" prescriptions for those 10% who previously didn't get it but could well afford it means cuts in other parts of the health system... e.g. cancer care

    And of course the "free" buses have been cut this year...less money, fewer routes...

    Still, if that's what the Nats want.

    BTW, if Lamont is so useless and Eck is so wonderful, why did suport for "independence" fall from 55% in Jan 2012 to 32% in Jan 2013 in the Andrew Reid Poll?

    1. Braveheart

      I agree in part with the European student issue but then that could all change if Westminster wanted to change it, a wee tweak of the rules I think was all that was required but refused from our betters in London. English students, Welsh and Irish are discriminated against but it's not the fault of the Scottish Government. I supposed we could do what Lament wants and just charge everyone £9000. Now I work with young people from poorer backgrounds and one things that stops them applying for University now is the amount of debt they would still have to accrue with little chance of a job other than forced labour at Poundland.

      Surely not free prescriptions is a part of universial social security that we should all receive. Forgive me if I am wrong but my NI contributions pay for my prescription, or the 2 or 3 I have had in my working life to date. Don't see the issue here, surely if I am working, paying high taxes and getting no pay rise for the last 4 years I am entitled to something back.

      I believe the Government gave bus companies £180 million for not free travel, again people have paid taxes their whole lives so again it's not a bad thing to give something back. Maybe the issue here is the high rates of VAT on fuel from the dock and then more at the pump. Surely the issue is the massive profits that bus companies make each year for the shareholders and not the public service that they used to be, I remember years ago when buses were run ' better ' by local government when I was a kid in the early 80's.

      Eck as you call him is not perfect, none of them are but at least he operates in the best interests of Scotland in the main. Lament has given up every principle she ever held to become ' New Labour ' . For weapons of mass destruction, for social security cuts that hurt the poorest, for student loans that will bar all young people not from a certain background from entering higher education. She told me I am part of a something for nothing country, thanks for reinforcing what London has been telling me for years and from the party that used to be the Labour Party.

      The polls for independence just don't mean anything, all parties from both sides need to just give it up when it comes to the polls. I suspect from talking to people that as they learn more, as things get worse, as the three Tory parties bedroom tax and cuts really hit, their minds are changing and a lot more people will make an informed choice next year based on the facts and their experience . You might just find that the vote is closer than you think, I suspect it may just be a slim NO vote but things will never be the same again if devo max is not delivered from the three Tory parties. I believe with all my heart, and I am not an SNP member( while not a member of any party I consider myself a Liberal )that the Scottish people will vote for independence in my lifetime or England will.

    2. Wee Comical Councillor Alex AKA Bravefart.

      I like polls BF I remember when you were telling us what a great First Minister Iain Gray would make, and how he could even have an overall majority. How did that poll work out again?

      On tuition fees its funny how the people that benefited from them, like Brown Darling Lamont etc want to stop people having them now. How very socialist, I got my free education now everyone else can go without.

      Prescriptions cost more in administration costs to means test them than it does to make them all free, but all you torys know the cost of everything and the value of nothing.

      Ah buses, as I told Tris a few weeks ago I could not get a seat on the bus to Cowdenbeath as it was full of millionaires going to Lidl for their messages. Another stupid pointless objection from the useless party as without the pensioners bus passes there would be far fewer buses on the road.

      Keep up the good work trying to sell Tory policies in Scotland. Maybe Labour do not have the brains to realise that Scots do not vote Tory because they do not like Tory policies. As Brian said, at least you can expect Tory policies from Torys, Labour trying to sell Tory policies in Scotland, aye that could be a great vote winner!

  5. Bruce. I can only echo Pa's sentiments. Have you though about writing a blog yourself?


    I hope you weren't late for work!

  6. Agreed Pa. So empty. Nothing to say that is Scottish.

  7. Good answer Bruce.

    I'll add this:

    If the rest of the UK were countries separate from Scotland, they would get free university education.

    The cost of means testing is high; to do it properly is hugely expensive. The cost of universally free prescriptions is quite small.

    The example that Lamont and Davidson gave of some cancer drug not being available in Scotland, is not a matter for the government, but for the organisation, staffed by medical people, who look at the relative effects of drugs and weigh their costs against their efficacy. They have exactly the same thing in the UK. However, the UK agency and the Scottish one don't always see everything in the same way. So there are many drugs which are available in Scotland but NOT in England. Indeed the French have the same thing and there are many many drugs which are available in France but not anywhere in the UK.

    In any case, with all the prescription charges the UK heath service seems to be better at ignoring people and leaving them to die in their own wast products than it is at curing them, so I am very glad I don't live there.

    If there were no free bus passes, the bus companies would have to run a very restricted service outside of rush hours. This would mean that the few people who use them during the day would have little choice about their bus. The bus companies would have to pay off thousands of staff. Fares would rocket, because the companies would need most of their buses for only about 5 hours a day. The rest of the time they would sit idle.

    Most people would take their cars. The roads would be even more jammed, the air in towns even less healthy, and the roads would take an even bigger beating from use. Carparks would be full not only in central Edinburgh and Glasgow, but everywhere.

    Isn't it a little classist to suggest too, that Middle class kids go to university, and working class kids go to college?

    I know a large number of working class kids who go to university in Scotland. Probably far fewer in England though. At £27,000 before they start with living expenses (that would be £36,000 in Scotland) it would put most people off, even from the middle classes. Only the Camerons and Milibands of this world would be able to contemplate that, as they paid for university, having already paid for school. This would be pretty bad for a forward looking country to only have education for the rich (and in many cases, terminally thick)

    The other thing about not having universal benefits is, where does it stop?

    If the middle class should pay for their prescriptions, why not their hospital care or a surgery visit. Why should the poor pay taxes to feed some rich fat cat when he's in hospital or pacify some rich person with a severe case of maladies imaginaires. And if the middle classes are made to pay for prescriptions, how much?

    After all, why should we simply accept the £7,60 or whatever it is now, set by the English.

    Why shouldn't Mr Cameron and Mr Osborne and their likes who are filthy rich, pay £50 and Prince Charles who has more money that the Pope, pay £100 per item, or why shouldn't everyone pay the true cost of the medicine? Why am I subsidising the likes of Cameron and Miliband?

    Mrs Lamont herself said that as she is rich and well paid she shouldn't get free prescriptions. So how much should she pay? And shouldn't she help to pay for her children's education too. What about the grandchildren?

    The reason that we don't do that is that it would never stop... and in any case, these people SHOULD (or would in a decent society) pay much more tax. But of course Britain is anything but a decent society, and it is likely that people in Mrs Lamont's position (although, I hasten to add, not Mrs Lamont herself) are paying less tax than their cleaners.

    1. Tris

      Your answer above is exactly what we need to get out to the wider population. Hence I tell everyone about your blog, your responce is how we win the arguments.


    2. Tris

      The point you make about hospital care is very relevant. I always thought that it was stupid that if you broke your leg the plaster was put on free, but if you needed something for the pain you had to pay for the painkiller. How stupid was that?

      You either have a costly means test, loved by right wing Labour, or all treatment is free at the point of delivery.

      As for the millionaires I would rather have ten people who could pay having the treatment free rather than one person who could not pay being denied treatment because they could not afford it.

  8. Pa. I hope that that is what Labour for Independence will do.

    As I said, I know a load of people who vote Labour and will probably go on voting Labour, who think that they are utterly hopeless. Blair ruined Labour for them, cosying up to the rich in business and Bush and the Neo-cons in America.

    His own private fortune is now massive. He has completely lost touch with us. They know this but there is nowhere else for them to go.

    Labour is their homeland, their rock. They HAQVE to vote Labour. They have never considered the alternative and they won't. But if Labour candidates s started having some guts and standing up to London rules, demanding decent services, fighting the benefit cuts; wanting free prescriptions, etc, which is what their constituents want, I'm sure that they would take people away from the New One Nation Labour of Miliband and Lamont.

    Incidentally, don't you think that if they did set limits for means testing, it would probably be set at the benefit level. Anyone under £60 a week will get free bus fares, prescriptions, etc.

    So most of their voters would end up paying...

  9. Incidentally, students from Scotland can study at university in other European countries for nothing or next to nothing.

  10. Now that we are Better Together® as part of greater England (since 1707) the Scottish Labour Party should stop singing the red flag and adopt instead “There’ll always be an England”.

    The yawning gulf that is Scottish Labour’s credibility deficit (i.e. between reality and the version of Brigadoon that they are living in) would seem to be too deep to cross. If they thought it was hard to make us feel Scottish and British at the same time imagine how much harder it’s going to be to make us feel English and British. Still Johann’s made a good start by adopting all English Labour’s policies! So lots of right wing policies from Ed, lots of half-wit boot-fillers like Sarwar and Ian Davidson and lots of totally unconvincing liars like Baillie and Darling and some good friends too like Mundell, Moore and Ruth Davidson, a tame media that will print any pro-union garbage. And we have the makings of a happy day out in Bangor or an English country garden! But oh dear no followers, voters or readers.

  11. Bruce, you've ignored the second bit

    "E.g. "free" university for middle class kids ... means cuts in college education for working class kids from Scotland.

    Buying Scottish Tory votes by disadvantaging Scottish working class kids is not on, IMO. but it's the outcome, probably the desired outcome, of the SNP's strategy.

    And "free" prescriptions: The SNP took £60m out of the SNHS budget for care and put it to free prescriptions. Someone (cancer care, elderly care) or something pays for that, it's not victimless.

    "Free" buses. I've got a card but I could easily pay. So my subsidy is depriving someone else of some service they may really need.

    The point I'm making is that these choices are not the moral high ground that this blog likes to claim. They are political choices on how to spend our money and buy votes, and they are not the only valid or moral choices that could be made for the people of Scotland.

    Polls are polls. But I'd rather they were going in my direction....particularly large swings, as the swing against "independence" in the last year.

    So Lament, as you call her, is obviously doing something right.

    1. Braveheart

      Your link to the article doesn't say anything about middle class kids but to be honest what would you class as middle class kids. I suppose my job might class me as a lower middle class person. I don't own my home I rent, I have had no pay rise for 4 years and receive no social security other than child benefit. I have just encouraged my son to stay at home if he goes to Uni as we can't afford him to go away. I think if working class kids, if we want to call them that, are not going to uni there are many reasons for that. Some of which might be cost, entry requirements, aspiration, the economy. I just don't see where my son going to Uni stops someone his age from a different street going, it is certainly not his class which is a far too easy excuse for certain politicians to use. Also have a look at Tris's reply which explains it a lot better than I do.

      Prescriptions are not free, certain parties want you to believe that but they are not free. They are paid for, if they were free we wouldn't have any as drugs companies don't give them away. We all pay for them. It's just not taxed at the Chemist anymore.

      Buses, I am really happy that you can afford the cost of travel and I would say that if you feel so strongly about it just don't use your card, pay the fare. If the drivers asks explain to him or her why you want to pay the fare. I have no issue with that but I don't agree with you that they are free. They are paid for by taxes, that is not free. It would free if the bus company let people on for nothing and some of our taxes didn't go the bus company.

      Polls, I just pay little attention them as an indicator as to what the result will be. Ian Grey had a 9 to 11% lead in the 2011 polls and yet the SNP did something they said couldn't be done and in a system designed to make sure it couldn't happen, they won a majority in an STV system,. Not an easy feat at all. Was funny seeing Grey prepare for government though.

      I don't claim any moral high ground. I believe what I believe based on my experience of living in Scotland and abroad. of course there are choices to make, how we spend our money and how we vote, what we believe in. I just know that right now in my country I am unrepresented and have not been for most of my life. The parties that have governed for 22 out of the last 34 years have not been voted for by my country, that is not democratic. That the party supposed to represent many people in Scotland and claims socialist values is a party lie, it represents it'self and for the Scottish representatives their personal ambition over their duty to serve or to fight for what is right.

      Lamont offers nothing to Scotland other than more of the same misery that it has had for too many generations. If you have done well I am really happy for you but most haven't. We are still the sick man of Europe, and the Labour party stopped representing working people a long time ago as it was surely and slowly highjacked by the very middle and upper class people you say are stopping working people getting a hand up.

      I don't know who you vote for or what you will vote, I will defend your right to support whoever and whatever but what I will never accept is anyone saying to me that my country is better off as the northern region of a greater England. Lamont is a shameful woman and not one that I would recognise as being a Scottish woman of the type I knew when I was growing up and my own Mother who was Labour for years but hates them now in her elderly years even more than I do.

      Thanks for replying though, I love a good debate and I might just blog about the Labour Party in Scotland at GrumpyScottishMan as Tris and others have suggested. If I do maybe you can have a read and we can continue the debate, you seen like a decent person.



  12. I'm not sure one follows the other, college funding is cut to pay for what exactly? Uni places for middle class kids or nuclear submarines and the bombs they carry? One choice (the one you'd prefer not to make) is within the purview of Holyrood, the other (the one you would make) resides at Westminster, and you have the brass neck to talk about morality? (Same argument for the spurious claim on £60 million for free prescriptions, how much did it cost to manage the paid system for prescriptions, how much more for means testing? I work for the Scottish NHS, in the bit that would end up managing it, you're talking mince.)

    Seriously, talking about morality in the context of Scottish labour or Westminster and you're on a seriously sticky wicket.

    As for buying Scottish Tory votes? The SNP don't need to buy Tory votes, what vote the Tories have they're giving away hand over fist.

    These choices (being made by Swinney etc) may not represent the moral high ground, but they are the best of a bad bunch. The people who could make choices based on the moral high ground choose not to, and who are they? The feckless cheating bastards in Westminster shored up by a shower of self-interested shitheads that make up the Labour and conservative parties in Scotland.

    Lamont doing something right based on polls, I thought support for indy was as low as 23%? A risible notion at best.

  13. Pa says "I'm not sure one follows the other, college funding is cut to pay for what exactly? Uni places for middle class kids or nuclear submarines and the bombs they carry? "

    Simples. The Educaton budget is finite. It is manipulated by the Education Minister. He decides to give more money to provide university education for (mainly) middle class kids from all over Europe and therefore, inevitably, less money for college education for (mainly) working class kids from Scotland....

    You may not be sure that one follows the other but there you go.....

    As my old Grannie used to say "there's none so blind as he who will not see...".

  14. Braveheart, your argument holds no water and you know it. You say the education budget is finite, so what? The Scottish education/finance Sec decides to give more money to one thing over another. So what? What would you cut to fund college places. More-over; how would you feel about making those cuts knowing you needn't do it at all but for the choices made by morally-challenged politicians in a government that hardly any one in Scotland voted for?

    Inevitably, you say, this means working class kids don't get to go to college. I would challenge who is at the root of this inevitability.

    My old grannie never knew you but if she did, she'd say, 'you're talking shite son' and she'd be right.

    Osbourne & Westminster have choices to make, instead of putting educational needs (if we're using education as an example) before the UK's seat at the top table and the preservation of the deleterious British State, they decide to not fund education properly. That education budget you talk about is set by John Swinney who in turn has his budget set by the morally bankrupt Westminster.

    It seems straight forward enough to me, its not I who is blind its you, further evidenced by your attempts to defend the indefensible.

    You failed to tackle the key point, namely, John Swinney holds no sway over the budget set by Westminster for Scotland. He has to work with what little house keeping he gets.

    On the other hand, Westminster could easily re-target their funding priorities but they choose not to. The list of things Westminster chooses not to do, to the detriment of people it claims to represent and want to help grows ever longer and increasingly difficult to make excuses for, as evidenced by your own desperately grasping post above.

  15. @Tris "The cost of means testing is high; to do it properly is hugely expensive. The cost of universally free prescriptions is quite small."

    That's one way of putting it. Another is to say that the extra cost of making prescriptions free to the 10% who previously didn't get it free was £55-58M. When asked how much they actual cost of the policy change had been, Nicola Sturgeon said about £52m. So she calculated the cost of means testing at between £3 and £7M. Loss to NHS care = approx £55m.

    So, e.g. cancer care pays £50odd million so that in-work-could-afford-its get free prescriptions they don't need because it's popular and populist.

    It's the same with "free" university education. The colleges pay as the cash is directed away from them and toward the unis. Popular and populist, but is it best for Scots students?

    "Isn't it a little classist to suggest too, that Middle class kids go to university, and working class kids go to college?"

    I did say "mainly". It may not be 100% true but it is a general truism that working class kids tend to go through the college sector more than through the uni sector and vice versa. And it is an absolute fact that the college sector is paying for the protection of the uni sector. "Free" uni is not free at all.

    And the cash for "free" buses has been cut this year leading to fewere routes and fewer trips. How is that "universal"?

  16. Very witty Munguin... but also true!

  17. Many of your points have been answered by Pa and Bruce, BH, so I will restrict myself to this comment.

    You say that your use of the bus card, when you could easily afford to pay your bus fares (lucky you) deprives someone of something. Easy answer. Don't use it. Pay your bus fare. The card doesn't cost much; it simply entitles you to go anywhere in Scotland for free. You are not obliged to use it. If you don't the Scottish government does not pay your fare.

    Like the £200 that you get from the English at Christmas. You automatically get it, but if you don't need it, then give it to a local charity. My mother's Christmas bonus went to a local very sheltered housing where the wardens organise all sorts of activities and outings for the residents in their own time.

    I do understand that there is a desire to concentrate what little money this poor dying country has on those who most need it. And giving Mrs Thatcher a £200 bonus is not what I would want to be doing. But socialism is surely built on universality.

    Where on earth would you draw the line of things like the bonus at Christmas, which Gordon Brown introduced. He gave it to everyone, because everyone pays for it. He gave it to everyone because that is the socialist way.

    Benefits only for the poor are poor benefits. No one in any position of authority benefits from them and as a result they become crap.

    That's why the standard of the old people's homes is so appalling. No one with any kind of money stays in local authority funded old age homes. So the private companies that ran them were able to allow the treatment to deteriorate to the point that it order to make more money; then they sold off the property, got immensely rich, took huge bonuses and then couldn't afford to pay the rent.

    If rich people had to stay in these homes, they would never have been allowed to deteriorate.

    It's a difficult problem. But if we REALLY care about cancer patients then why not divert the £10 billion that Trident renewal will cost the Scottish tax payer to make cancer a thing of the past.

    Why not tell the Queen that from now on only she and her husband and her son get any kind of funding, homes, security etc etc. Surely someone dying of cancer is more important than new hats for princess Beatrix.

    Why not say no to getting involved in wars, legal or otherwise. Rich countries should be left to sort out the world's problems, not poor ones. And it's not like Hague, Cameron, Clegg or whoever is the defence blokey are exactly expert in any way on anything.

    We have the forth largest military on Earth, and we have people dying of cancer for lack of drugs... It makes the prescription charges, which you seem to think have come out of cancer care look a little insignificant.

    Additionally means tested benefits, according to figures from Age Concert, not disputed by YOUR British government in London are under-claimed to a vast extent. 30% of means tested pension credits are not taken up, because people are ashamed to go begging... and 40% of housing benefits are not claimed. People who need, people who are poor, don't like to beg. And that is how non universal benefits are seen. Begging for things that are not entitlements.

  18. I'll answer more later. Thanks for all your contributions. I don't think anyone would say that this was easy, and everyone has to make hard decisions. it is interesting to hear different points of view on it.

  19. Braveheart, your figures (like your arguments more generally) are mince.

    Up to 51% of people in receipt of prescription medication were doing so free of charge in the run up to the abolition. I can only assume the £55-58 million to which refer is the total amount raised through either single prescription charges or through the prepaid schemes available historically, I should say, your figures are high and would ask if your going to spout them out; you provide a source. Total revenues raised from prescription charges never exceeded £49 million before the phased discounts started to bite.


    The total budget for prescriptions is closer to £1 billion in Scotland, prescription charges covered only a tiny percentage of the true cost.

    Obviously (as you well know) we can only estimate how much means testing would cost, but it would be a drop in the ocean compared to the true cost of prescriptions and as I well know, anything the NHS does which involves a bureaucracy will cost a fortune.

    In any case, this isn't just a financial argument, its an aspirational one too; Only the most contemptible individual would put the funding of weapons of mass destruction, or air craft carriers (with no aircraft) above the health of the people the former offensive objects are meant to safeguard.

    But I get the distinct impression, because I'm having to explain this, you're incapable of understanding.

  20. tris and the malcontents

    Nothing is free even in the snp fantasy land.

    When universal benefits start to help the rich to the
    disadvantage of those Scottish people in hardship.
    Them some hard questions need to be asked to claim
    sharing everything with everybody and still leave those
    Scottish people in need with limited resources .
    doesn't seem to me to be fair .

    But then it isnt about being fair to the Scottish people
    its all bout bribing the more wealthy section of Scottish society
    to vote for the snp.

    Anyway to more serious matters
    so tris what can you bench press?????

    me after a lifetime in gyms have never met
    any one who give a toss about politics
    apart from me

    steroids yes def politics no

    1. When universal benefits start to help the rich to the
      disadvantage of those Scottish people in hardship.

      Like rubbish collection, sewage treatment, primary/secondary school, doctors/health service, police/fire services, A&E, and and!

  21. "A pretty boy"

    - The only part of what you wrote I agreed with :P

  22. Niko,

    "Nothing is free even in the snp fantasy land."

    100% correct, but the SNP and their cybernat loons would pretend the sky was green if I'd further their aggressive separatist agenda.

    1. CH... That links back here ha ha...

      Dean: No, we wouldn't, but I don't have a link to prove it either.

    2. Dean

      There is no separatist agenda. Separate from what exactly? The world. We are talking about ending an unfair political union that has not served the interests of most of our people for generations. Its a straight choice Yes for hope or No for poverty and the same as for another ,300 years.

  23. Thanks for that Pa. I know you work in the area so I appreciate the input.

    I couldn't possibly add anything to it :)

  24. tris

    apropos Nicola and her magical thinking on the EU

    t was suspected that Catalonia had been abandoned by the SNP because of Spain’s threats to delay EU membership for Scotland.

    ya cant trust the Alex Salmond or his snp

    “treachery” “treachery” “treachery”

    That'll be the snp

  25. Niko: I guess nothing I've said, or will say, will convince you that the Labour Party was built on the principle of Universality.

    I repeat. You don't have to have a bus pass, you actually have to apply, get a photograph taken and take all your documents to the council offices: You don't have to use it if you do get one.

    You don't have to reply to the offer of the £200 bonus. It doesn't arrive automatically. I doubt if Mrs Thatcher actually does have a bus pass, like she would EVER demean herself to go on a bus, and she probably never applied for the £200 bonus either.

    Don't do bench pressing Niko. Only use machines and abs crunches... It's in the steam room/sauna after the gym, where the old guys/women go to talk about football/whatever women talk about, and politics that I hear the opinions on Lamont.

    I heard interestingly the other day, from a younger lad that he liked the SNP but he thought it was terrible what they had done taking away money from sick people through these terrible ATOS people...

    Well, you can't win them all!!

  26. Oh Niko. David Madox would say ANYTHING to hurt the SNP.

    I can't read his stuff, it's turgid rubbish, usually full of opinion represented as fact.

    If you think that an independent Scotland wouldn't be allowed into the EU, that's fine. Vote no and the South East of England will vote us out of it anyway...

  27. tris

    I rate Davey Madox almost as high as Baron fooksy a real hero.
    ' opinion represented as fact' tut what is good for the snp Goose
    is Good blah blah

    Now I never said an independent Scotland wouldn't be allowed into the EU. But unlike Nicola and her arrogant posturing the reality may not be as she suggests.


  28. and there has grown up in the past ten years or so a body of literature which has analysed the welfare state policies of 1945 in terms of their greater material and financial benefits to the middle classes rather than to the working people. The middle classes, in fact, get a good deal more than their share of the public social services, in particular education: they draw as well special extra benefits from their occupations, such as sick pay, pension schemes, regularity and security of employment, substantial fringe payments in cash and kind; and in addition there are the concealed social services provided for by tax concessions of many kinds. The middle class tax payer can claim for children, for old age, for mortgage payments, for life assurance: and until recently, untaxed capital gains, and the many ways of legally avoiding tax by the use of covenant payments, have been open to them, and have been widely used. The fact that the middle classes do not think of tax allowances and tax concessions as social services is beside the point. They are. In 1958 children’s allowances paid to every mother cost the State £120,000,000; child allowances on income tax were worth £320,000,000. Mr. Brian Abel-Smith summed up in Conviction: “The middle classes get the lion’s share of the public social services, the elephant’s share of occupational welfare privileges, and in addition can claim generous allowances to reduce their tax liability. Who has a Welfare State?” [4]

  29. One of the more recent studies of this problem has been made by an American scholar, Findley Weaver, in The Review of Economics and Statistics (August 1950). His main conclusions are given below, and they deserve to be widely known. His study relates to the years 1948 and 1949.

    The outstanding feature of the postwar growth in redistribution is not that of taking from the ‘classes’ and giving to the ‘masses.’ The main feature is that the benefits of redistribution cut across income groups and are largely related to consumption. As a general proposition, the working class pays enough additional in beer, tobacco, and purchase taxes, and other indirect levies to meet the increased cost of the food subsidies and health and education expenditures, while the increase in the direct taxes they pay covers the rise in their transfer money receipts. . . . Most of the post war increase in personal taxes has been levied indirectly on consumption and has fallen on those who smoke and drink or consume non-utility clothing and household goods. The incidence of these regressive taxes is mainly on the working class who are also the chief recipients of the benefits of redistributive governmental expenditures. Generally, the low income group pays for its benefits, the redistribution being within the group based largely on considerations as to the most socially desirable forms of consumption (p.201 and p.206).

  30. Niko,

    Two things really piss me off:

    One is the fact that,despite working, paying tax and national insurance for the past 22 years if I was unfortunate enough to require a prescription I would be regarded by your leader, Jo Lamont, and the "better together campaign" as looking for a "freebie" or one of the "something for nothing" brigade. What on earth has the Labour party come to?

    Secondly, I cannot understand why someone of your obvious intelligence - I've ruled Dean out on that score - can be taken in by such as Reid, Foulkes, Martin, Murphy, Curran and co., who really do not give a toss about you and I, far less the disadvantaged and, consequentially vulnerable, in our society.

    Have just seen a comment on the Scotsman thread where a unionist stated "Being handicapped is a career choice" which just about sums up NewLabour and is far removed not the actual Labour that you and I know they could, and should, be. All we seem to see now is the dark side of Labour in order to obtain right-wing support. How can you possibly still support that?

  31. Niko, what is your point?

    Yes, the working classes of the 1940s probably did pay a lot of tax on cigarettes and beer, but I trust you are not suggesting that only working class people smoke and drink now?

    Everyone buys non utility clothes and household good now...

    The poor tend to spend a much larger part of their income on essentials, some of which aren't taxed... food, children's clothes.

    They spend a huge amount on electricity and gas, taxed at 5%..,

    I'm not sure what you are getting at...

    1. Time to nitpick - some food i subject to VAT, admittedly it tends to be processed junk that might not qualify as real food!! Adult clothes are taxable, but as the naked rambler has shown the polis tend to be very unhappy when you don't wear any.

    2. Yes... I agree some food is, PP.

  32. Being "handicapped" is a lifestyle choice.... Wow that's good.

    I wonder how people with disabilities feel about that opinion.

    How some people manage to get out of bed in the morning and dress themselves utterly amazes me... and no, I'm not talking about people with disabilities, I'm talking about brain dead morons that come out with that kind of guff.

    You and I both know that Niko is sick to the back teeth with Labour. They let him down, as they let you down, and I suppose me too, as I'm a supposedly trendy lefty, liberalish kind of person...

    Well, I dunno what I am really, but I bloody well know I'm not a Tory and would hang myself rather than be one.

    Dean, who was until recently a Tory, moved to Labour because it meets his ideals. Niko, who is a socialist has no where to go.

    Tell me that's not true Niko?

    1. Tris said "Being "handicapped" is a lifestyle choice.... Wow that's good.

      I wonder how people with disabilities feel about that opinion"

      We aren't very happy about it.

    2. I suspected that PP... I'm not a fan of political correctness, but this has nothing to do with PC. It's a downright lie.

      And a particularly nasty one.

  33. Allan Grogan and Alex Bell say:

    "On Monday Mr Sarwar claimed that there was no point in funding free elderly care when most of his constituents wont live long enough to see the benefit. Mr Grogan will counter this claim by insisting that a compassionate society would not have to choose between helping the most deprived and the elderly.

    “Surely as a society we cannot accept that we are forced to choose between helping the poorest and helping the elderly. Nor can we accept the acute poverty and deprivation that our poorest face while still holding on to an outdated concept of nuclear war.

    "Mr Sarwar also went on to criticise the Scottish Governments continual policy of free tuition while seemingly demanding social mobility for the poorest in society.

    “Can he not see that an attack on free education, free healthcare at the point of service will only continue to damage the homes and communities most needing our help. If Mr Sarwar cared so much about those most in need, why does he still support a Westminster Parliament insistent on removing these vital services for these people?"

    Labour for Independence's Alex Bell also questioned the value in means testing public services.

    "What will the cost of means testing be? Who will implement it? These are questions unanswered by Lamont and Sarwar. Benefits like free education, prescriptions and care are all important parts of the social wage. We all get the same basics, It's called living in a caring society."

  34. Niko, who is a socialist has no where to go.

    He does but he will not cross that Rubicon as he is a unionist first and left wing comes second in his perspective. It is called selling ones principals for fawning over British unionism doublespeak in its extreme.

  35. Well, yes, OK, CH. He has somewhere to go, but he really can't make himself go there.

    It's hard though, when you have been in a party for so long, to make yourself leave it, even if it has left you. Dean, far younger, found the Tories had left him behind, so he stayed true to his right of centre tendencies and joined Labour. It's much harder for Niko.

    Give him time and gentle encouragement, and on the day Taz will lead Niko to the right conclusion...

  36. Dean is a waste of an education he would of been better studying the art of tiddlywinks at least it would of got him to expend some energy of thought rather than copying and pasting text of past thinkers as his own.

  37. @Pa... Braveheart, your figures (like your arguments more generally) are mince.

    figures correct...

    Arguments more generally correct.


    Pa's mirror?

    1. Again, you're talking mince, your figures come from the BBC, mine come from the horses mouth - NHS Scotland's ISD (Information Services Division if you're interested, they sit up the stairs from me,) they are the department responsible for producing stats on all things related to health in Scotland.

      Not sure why you are persisting to be honest, you'd take the BBC's figures over ISD Scotland's? Not only do the BBC have form when it comes to misrepresenting facts, it is ISD's job to collate this information, not sure what more I can say.

  38. Tris

    I have went over to wordpress with my new blog. Is it ok for me to put the link below and a link for your blog on the site. If not let me know and I will remove.



  39. Pa: There's none so blind as will not see...

    The BBC are liars. Their news is corrupted. I now rarely watch it, nor do I bother listening to it on the radio, as I used to do every morning.

    It's the rare occasion I tune in to the Today Programme.

    They admit that they are not producing a balanced viewpoint on independence, and that they will not until, by law, they are required to do it during the official campaign.

    I don't know who says when the official campaign starts. David Cameron and Alistair Darling, the horrible twins. Two peas in a pod.

    Talking of Cameron, I see he got a pasting from the Indian Prime Minster. God only knows what will happen next time he goes to China on a sales tour.

    Still what goes around, comes around. Colonial powers should remember that one day their ex-colonies may be more successful that they are, and hold more sway in the world.

    He'd be better sticking to Bahrain. They need his weapons to control their people. Odd how he supported the Arab spring in Egypt, Libya and Tunisia, but seems to find it distasteful in the Gulf states. Odious creep.

  40. Course you can, Bruce.

    Does that mean I have to change your link on Munguin's Republic?