Thursday 14 March 2013


Better Together?

The No Campaign's modus operandi is to spread doom and gloom about the future for us poor benighted Scots if we are stupid enough to think that we are not too wee, too poor and too stupid to manage without bigger, richer and cleverer England to sort out all our problems and put us back on track when we fall off.

Never a word about how fabulous the future will be within the UK, which, is after all, what the campaign's name suggests.

Upon reflection, this is not surprising, given recent history and future projected by many, not least the current Westminster government.

Just as an example of good things are while we are together, we might look at inflation as revealed in a survey by

Basic household needs have increased  by a staggering 25% over  the last 5 years since the banking system went into melt down and the much vaunted "end to boom and bust" became just "the end to boom".

Many of the items are absolutely necessary to even the meanest of incomes: rent, food, gas, electricity (and in England, council tax and water). There have also been steep increases in other, slightly less necessary items such as petrol and car insurance (you can take the bus or walk), phone line rental (you can shout loud), house and contents insurance (you can take the risk that nothing will happen).

The "average" monthly bill in 2008 was £1,237 and in 2013 is £1,544. 

In the same period wages for ordinary people have increased by an average of 6%.

Rents have increased by 24%; council tax by 15% in England, 0% in Scotland; food by 17%; gas by an incredible 52%; electricity by 32%.

Given that these items take up by far and away the greatest amount of the poorer persons' income, you have to wonder how some people manage, or if indeed they do at all.

The survey on the website which compares energy prices, points out that people are having to turn to credit to stay afloat, but that the most accessible forms of credit are are often the most dangerous.

Using the credit card to make up for a shortfall in one month's income is an acceptable way of dealing with short term shortage of funds, but we all know that on anything more permanent, like the fact that wages no longer cover the basic costs of living, they, like payday loans, are a disaster. In the survey 40% of respondents said that they did not have enough money and just under 20% said that they were worried about losing their jobs.

The treasury response, showing a typical lack of understanding of what life is like for people without golden spoons in every orifice, is that low interest rates (a huge financial drain on anyone with a little savings), income tax cuts (which don't help the very poorest, who don't earn enough to pay income tax), freezes to council tax (only very recently in England) and fuel duty escalator freeze (which again doesn't help the poorest who can't afford cars) were helping households. 

Heaven preserve us from a government that doesn't live on, and hasn't even visited, the same planet as the population.


  1. Hmm! and the snp response to all this is? a council tax for the richest
    in Scottish society.
    when the cash could be used to HELP those suffering under the Tory lash.
    still that plays into the snp chip on the shoulder hard done by whinge.
    and if people suffer in the meantime till Labour are returned to sort it all out again.

    then Alex and co are quite happy even deliriously so to watch with glee on the Scots who are struggling.

  2. First of all it was also Labour policy at the last election Niko.

    Secondly Mr Miliband said universality was at the centre of what Labour was about.

    Thirdly it would be a VERY brave government which would put up council tax for the rich. After all, who is rich? Where do you draw the line.

    If you put up all council tax you are demanding that people on £10,000 have their council tax increased.

    It's up to councils to cut out the fat...the chauffeur driven cars and the junkets, the drinks cabinets and first class travel.

  3. More nonsense, if you ask me.

    Can you imagine Labour sorting this out... Johann Lamont, Richard Baker, sheesh...

  4. Obviously, Niko wants a local income tax - so do I so Niko and I are friends again and he'll let Mrs N. go to the bingo again!

  5. Ah, how clever of you to have seen the real reason behind his intervention, John.

    Could you ask him if he will be voting Liberal or SNP in order that the rich pay more and the poor pay less for council tax, which appears to be what he wants... and what we would have had, if only Labour hadn't voted against it.

    Make sure you get Mrs N home directly after the bingo. I know how you Wee Frees like to nip in for a snifter or two (as long as it's not the Sabbath, of course), but she has to be home to make Niko's and Taz's supper. You know what a useless galout Niko is.

  6. I he can find a straight line before shouting "My hoose or your hoose" clickety click.

  7. Tris

    It's not that they don't understand its that they don't care,wish I had the 6% rise over the last five years because I have 2% in the last five years.


  8. Is that something to do with two fat ladies CH? I'm not too much of a bingo person myself. Indeed one night I went into my local pub and they were playing prize bingo. The landlady insisted I join in and sconed me for a pound.

    I sat with this ONE single card while the woman opposite me played SIX cards and still pointed out things I'd missed.

    Needless to say I won nothing, and remembered in future NEVER to go to the pub on a Wednesday.!

  9. Yep, that's the average Bruce. It takes into consideration and is thus imbalanced by the fact that the management of big companies got on average 11% rises... while the employees got 1%. Lower grade civil servants, I think, got 2%.

    Butter Together.

  10. Niko/Better Together logic.

    Vote yes for something terrible we assert will happen, or vote no and get something terrible which is already happening which we're doing to you.

    Worryingly, a lot of people are going along with this.

  11. Does anyone think the local income tax idea will be floating again once the freeze is lifted?

  12. I wonder if Darling gets confused between "Houses" when he plays bingo"?

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