Tuesday 17 September 2013


'Angus' just posted this over on WoS (where Stuart unveils another series of out and out lies from Anas Sarwar, this time about the Joseph Rowantree Foundation's report into poverty. Labour and the No Campaign need to watch how many different people they slander. Ms Lamont may have protection if she lies in parliament, but Anas might find himself being sued for this kind of "misrepresentation").

I thought it was worth watching, just to remind ourselves of a couple of things:

Firstly, that this is the level of argument we can expect if we stay with the UK and in the decreasingly likely event that the UK elects Ed Miliband and his team to government. Curren was pathetic;

Secondly, that it looks to me that Labour isn't going to do anything much about the people at the poorer end of the scale. 

You can say that she argues that it's only the richer pensioners that will lose their heating allowance, but even Curren said that she believed that universal benefits should be universal. 

That's not because the poor pensioners need it the money; it's because once you means test, you make the benefit a handout to the poor. No one in power then has personal interest in it, except that they pay for it. It becomes as resented as benefits for the unemployed and the sick...and people who do need it, and are entitled to it, are made to feel like scroungers.

Once these changes are made, they will never be reversed. It's not "while we are in this terrible financial situation". It's forever. 
Click to enlarge

And what follows? If heating benefits are only for the poor, then why not other benefits? Most obviously the retirement pension itself. 

Already one of the most niggardly in Europe (as a percentage of average earnings), most well-off people don't desperately need it. So the next time the government needs to save money, why not cut the pension for the rich? Then the retirement pension becomes a hand out for the poor in which the rich have no stake and poor pensioners become scroungers.

Of course what Mrs Curren and Labour fail to consider in their quest for savings (£100 million in nothing in governmental terms) is the massive tax fraud that is allowed in the UK. 

Indeed the whole of the London economy appears to be based on the fact that tax fiddling here is like taking candy from a baby. It's hardly fashionable to be paying more tax than your servants, dear boy!

The figures show that even by HMRC's own figures there is a sum of £30 billion (approx Scottish government's running costs) of uncollected taxes annually.  According to the Tax Justice Network the figure is actually four times that size. 

We know that the Tories neither care that pensioners should be made to feel like paupers begging for their pension, nor do they wish to make any inroads into the excellent tax avoidance schemes that have been set up with government acquiescence over the years. But instead of making poorer pensioner feel like they are scroungers, why doesn't Labour (the party of the workers, remember) look to these tax evaders to lay their hands on the £100 million that Margaret needs for her houses. 

Incidentally, why does Labour let this woman anywhere near a tv or radio studio? She is a car crash every time she goes near a mic.


  1. Curren was pathetic.

    Nice to see that over time she has improved then!

    I don't know who the idiot was who let her loose on that programme but I reckon their days are numbered in continued employment with the Labour party.

    I really find it hard to identify any who can sit and spout out so much waffle in such a short period of time whilst saying absolutely nothing!

    1. There's plenty of them if you stop and think... Anas for starters, Murphy (very quiet recently despite Syria) wee Dougie Alexander... and every Liberal there ever was!!

  2. Goes without saying, Curran is a numpty.

    I still believe pensions should be taken out of the welfare system entirely. They are not a hand out, they're a worked-for already-earned payment for retired people to keep them in their later years.

    Its plain wrong to lump pensions in with benefits generally, it sends the wrong signal about them. Far as I'm concerned, the state pension should be treated in the same way as a private pension - as money already earned.

    Obviously, Westminster would never think of it, as its pensions that make up the main brunt of welfare payments which they need to fuel claims that the welfare budget is too high.

    I can't actually view the video above because I'm at work, I see Curran and that petulant nob Grant 'its-not-called-the-bedroom-tax' Shapps though, so am happy to extrapolate and come to the assumed conclusion that they were both deploying the usual levels of titanic wit and good sense...


    1. Well, let me enlighten you, Pa.

      Schnapps was actually quite sensible and reasonable for once... only because during the time of this interview he didn't open his mouth once. He just sat there looking posh.

      I agree with you about pensions. [Although because of bad management they haven't in the strict sense, been paid for...or at least the money isn't there, it having been spent on wars and weapons to keep the likes of Eton Boy, the Iron Rustbucket and Tory Blur at the centre of world politics.

      But people have paid for them, no matter how many self aggrandizing schemes the government spent the money on.

      And it is wrong, specially in a country where private pensions, company pensions, etc have been eaten away by incompetence in the pensions industry, government and the Bank of Britain, or England, as it is called.

      As you say, they can point to the massive figure and imply that it is the scrounging lower classes that are taking all that money from hard working British families up and down the country that they meet on the doorstep. (They never seem to go to the doors of lazy tossers or average people that don't give a stuff about their boring miserable jobs, or indeed people who don't live as part of a family unit for whatever reason.)

      I hope that the rich Scotland that we will live in in a few years' time will have the decency to grade its pensions along the same lines as other European countries. Then they won't have to hand out winter fuel allowances.

      Of course if, like some continental countries they still had a share in the energy companies, they could order them not to put up prices beyond what people can afford.

      It is amazing that despite the allowance in November there are thousands of people dying of the cold in the UK, and none in far colder Norway.

    2. "I still believe pensions should be taken out of the welfare system entirely. They are not a hand out, they're a worked-for already-earned payment for retired people to keep them in their later years."

      There's an angry PP fuming here at that sentence Pa.

      Firstly it's a social security system.

      Secondly people who have worked for years than become sick/disabled/unemployed have also paid into the NI system and it's an earned for payment for them too, and unlike pensions, it only lasts 6 months for JSA and 12 for ESA before means testing.

      Handout? SERIOUSLY. Don't we want to get away from Westminster partly because of attitudes like that? A severely disabled person may never have been able to work and thus pay into the system but I would challenge anyone who calls the means that prevent them dying of exposure/starvation "a handout." Indeed that's why "handicapped" is a verboten word in disability circles as it comes from the expression "cap in hand"

      I don't to fall out with another indy supporter but I can't let that pass.

    3. I think you've misread what I typed PP.

      I said it WASN'T a hand out:

      "I still believe pensions should be taken out of the welfare system entirely. They are not a hand out, they're a worked-for already-earned payment* for retired people to keep them in their later years."

      Also, Westminster and the usual suspects among the press refer to all benefit/welfare/social security as hand outs, I merely pointed out pensions shouldn't be - I said nothing about other payments because it wasn't germane to the point .

      I don't see the difference between calling it a welfare system or social security, certainly at the moment, its treated as neither by Westminster. What ever its called, pensions shouldn't be included in it. (A bit like 'national insurance', it hasn't been any kind of insurance for decades.)

      I think perhaps you've misunderstood what I did say and read a bit to much into what I didn't.

      * No idea if those tags will work but you get my point.

    4. Hello Pa

      "They are not a hand out, they're a worked-for already-earned payment*"

      But so is contributory JSA and ESA.

      "I think perhaps you've misunderstood what I did say and read a bit to much into what I didn't."

      Sorry if I've misunderstood your intentions. I read it as pensions aren't a handout and should be separated from the rest of social security which by implication therefore is. Happy to accept you didn't intend it to be read that way.

      That said the way NI is treated by Westminster (ie chucked into general taxation and spent) I don't agree with you that pensions should be separate from the rest of the DWP budget.

      Where we probably both agree is that NI should be kept separately from the rest of taxation and used as a genuine insurance scheme the way it was originally intended to be.

    5. I think getting into a discussion about what is and what isn't a 'hand out' in terms of the DWP is a path fraught with difficulty - its a subjective thing for the person in receipt of the money (which is a pittance anyway.)

      I would agree on the surface that JSA and ESA aren't hand outs, but they are sometimes treated as such. (My brother for example has been on JSA for the last decade.)

      I abhor the bedroom tax and the blanket vilification of anyone in receipt of benefits. However, that works both ways. I can no more say 'nobody on benefits are cheats' than I can say 'all people on benefits are cheats' as the Daily Mail etc would have us believe.

      That said, even if I did think certain payments were being treated by some as handouts, I feel the number of people doing so are so small, relatively speaking, that it isn't worth the bother.

      I certainly don't feel that the vast majority who use the welfare system properly/involuntarily/as-an-insurance-policy/etc should be castigated for the actions of a tiny minority.

      This is actually an interesting philosophical topic, because, you've got what by name is supposed to be an insurance policy against losing your job or what ever other misfortune yet, its not funded like an insurance policy. The country is so fucked that even pensions are no longer funded in a traditional manner.

      Obviously government - not sure which flavour started it - thought, 'man, there is a pile of money lying in these pension funds we can spend on stuff!' (The banks I think did the same thing too.)

      Meanwhile, we're all left in the lurch operating a pay-as-you-go welfare system which is bursting at the seams - not because of fraud or misuse by the public, but because Westminster decided to spunk the money on tax cuts and crappy bureaucracy.

      This isn't just Tory dogma in action, its now Westminster dogma.

      We can definitely agree on the answer - a yes vote 364 days from now.

  3. Yup.

    Its the symbolism of pensions being a benefit because it's 'managed' by the DWP.

    Its one of the main misconceptions that pensions are paid out of the interest from some imaginary pot of money invested - that's not been the case for decades.

    The situation is misrepresented, I think Norway might be the only country in Europe (maybe Germany?) with a tangible pension fund. What we have in the UK are imaginary amounts of cash for indicative purposes only.

    A lot of no voters in Scotland think there is a pot of cash held in an account somewhere for their state pension - there isn't. Its paid out of current income tax and borrowing.

    On independence - nothing would change in that regard. (I know there is some euro-wrangle about a law on cross-border pension funds. It'll be settled with the usual amounts of negotiation despite what Alistair Darling etc says.)

    1. Yes Pa. It is a massive debt figure for the UK, and Scotland would inherit its share of that dept.

      Added to that many public workers' pensions are unfunded and paid from tac. Another huge debt figure for the UK which would have to be inherited by Scotland.

      But when Ukok say that pensions could be at risk in Scotland, what they neglect to say is that pensions are even more at risk in the UK.

      The UK most certainly can't ever pay that debt.

      Incidentally, I see that Mr Pointless has said that Income Tax should be devolved to Scotland if the Liberals get into government next time round (snigger) would explain how that will work, and what colour the sky is on their planet.

  4. When ones wardrobe is overflowing with cover ups which are increasingly becoming threadbare showing the naked truth of absurdity what can you do but keep up appearances.

    1. Jeeez but that's deep...

    2. Darn I thought it might of had you in stitches, oh well I must try harder.

    3. It was too complicated and intellectual for the likes of me, ch.

      Bloody clever though. Did you do it all by yourself?

    4. Niko picked up the dropped stitches as he doesn't like holes in his argarments. stop.

      I hear all of the MSM are going overboard with Braveheart etc so they must be getting very very worried that their status will be halved in a years time. Knicker twisting is the new sport.

    5. LOL... I can just see Big Blair pacing up and down the office trying to find another scare story. Pathetic.

      Roddy has taken Darling to pieces very neatly on Logic's Rock:


      Including all his many and various sources of income outside parliament and his lamentable appearance rate in Westminster.

  5. Tax avoidance is not a crime, it's a civic responsibility.
    P.S. the Tax justice network is not a reliable or honest source of figures being union funded and whose chief accountant only has a tenuous grasp of economic reality. You'd be better off using the figures from the Taxpayers Alliance.

    1. Under the Uk corrupt tax system one could agree but with a fare tax system there would be no need for avoidance schemes as we would all be in the same boat.

    2. No, I agree. Tax avoidance isn't a crime, QM. And make no mistake, if I had enough money to employ clever people to work out how I could avoid tax, I'm sure I would do it. Whether it is like members of the cabinet, having my money in the BVI or Jersey/Guernsey/IOM/Gibraltar, or whether it is marrying some woman who can claim Monegasque citizenship and avoid all taxes by registering the company in her name in Monaco.

      But the UK government (with one of the most complex tax systems in the world) is advised on tax policy by top accountants form the city of London, who then let their paying clients in on all the little wheezes they have come up with.

      Most of theses wheezes are, without doubt, beyond the comprehension of the catalogue of idiot chancellors we have had. Gideon, Eyebrows and Nokia man at least.

      It shouldn't, I reckon, QM, be beyond the wit of the government of the greatest union in the history of mankind ever (or so we are told), to be able to work out a way of stopping millionaires from being able to brag that they pay less tax than their cleaners.

      It may be a civic responsibility to pay as little as you can, but after a certain point the people who do it and brag about that kind of level of avoidance are every bit morally repugnant as the people who fiddle the Social Security.

      I accept that the figures from Tax justice may or may not be accurate... indeed I have no doubt that the HMG figures are like most of the rest of the crap that comes from Whitehall, invented.

      But if Curren is looking for a hundred million, she'll be able to find it in tax avoidance, and leave pensioners' money alone.

      I think too, that we need to remember that, although I've called it 'avoidance' here, there is a fair amount of tax 'evasion, which IS illegal.

      Do you know what the Taxpayers' Alliance gives as a figure?

  6. what makes me laff is the English the director of public prosecutions.
    ups the penalty for nicking a few quid in benefits up to ten years.
    Meanwhile those in the city of London who stole , defrauded
    billions are left off the hook to do the same again.

    I mean shows what the priority's are in the English polity
    don't it

    1. I mean shows what the priority's are in the English polity
      don't it

      I mean shows what the priority's are in the Unionist polity don't it

      It has nothing to do with ethnicity Niko it is Labour, Tory and LibDem politicians who all bend over backwards to please their banker friends.

    2. I saw that, Niko.

      I wondered though because Scots law is different and Starmer has no jurisdiction here, but surely the law on social security fraud must be the same here as there... W can hardly let them off with a severe word from a sheriff, if the high court is sentencing them to ten years hard labour...

      Starmer was called the most senior British prosecutor... cheek!

      I wonder if Labour or the Libdumbs agree with this, while these banksters get away with it

  7. Seems to me as we apparently come out of the banker created
    depression, recession its business as usual for all the lying
    politicians and thieving bankers.

    perhaps it always was.

    1. I'm not sure we are out of it really, Niko.

      Osborne says we are, which is a good reason in my book to not believe it.

      But they never stopped. All the sops we got about bonuses, load of garbage. They are better off now than they were, even though a few junior ones got the bullet... and Fred lost his knighthood.

  8. Don't know if you caught Newsnight tonight Tris, I only caught the last minute. Apparently they had run a referendum voting intention poll with their audience. At the end of the programme that very nice Kirsty Wark gave the results of this straw poll.

    YES 30 62%
    NO 18 38%

    As others have said over on Stu's site poor old Kirsty's face was on the verge of bursting into tears. She didn't know where to look.

    The best bit is that as Newsnight is a live programme the people's broadcaster, BBC, could not do a thing about the result being blurted out in real time around the UK!....Oops!

    1. If it comes down to 'YES' as is being outlined and 'NO' as a vote to endorse a defunct status quo... I'd be inclined to lend my vote to a brighter future.

      But there were a lot of 'ifs' there...

    2. Life is full of IFs Dean it depends whether one wishes to carry on saying "if only" everytime that you were annoyed with a previous decision that you made will hold you back from your real potential.

      Have a listen to this lassie who doesn't have any ifs.

    3. IF the internet had been on the go back in the 70's you would of been born into an already independent Scotland Dean and been unaware of how biased all of the MSM is.

    4. Well, that's certainly a part of it Dean. The girl that CH pointed to us, Saffron, who is 15 and pretty articulate with it, is bang on.

      We don't know what is round the corner. We don't know the future. So noone can actually tell for certain what we will be like in 10 years in or out of the UK.

      Ten years ago, with the end to boom and bust, could any of us foreseen that we would be in the mess we are in today?

      As you say, the status quo is broken. It's negative and regressive and the way that the Tories are taking us (and I see no opposition to it) we are going back in time. Poor getting poorer; rich getting richer. Soup kitchens now called food banks, but the same thing.

      Bigger divisions existing between the poorest and the richest. Over the world the happiest, most crime free countries are those which, for whatever reason, have the greatest equality.

      Now none of us can guarantee that we will have a really fair country in Scotland, but what we can guarantee is that we won't in the UK. That future, the one of the status quo, is far easier to predict based on the way things have been over the last 30 years. I mean seriously, can you say that there would be a huge change if Labour were in power?

      The YES option is based on hope.

      And it's a hope that has a reality about it. Look at the Norwegian model, so similar (in theory) to our own.

      One relatively poor norther country, hits oil, uses oil for the good of the country, starts saving internally so that it can meet its pension obligations, then builds up an international fund worth hundreds of billions of pounds.

      Other relative poor northern country hits oil and send it to the next door neighbor which spends it on arms, bombs, tanks, unemployment, and playing the big man, has a totally unfunded pension scheme, and has an investment scheme of zero. But they do have a seat on the UNSC and WMDs to show for their money. And they are a big noise in Europe, the G8 and Nato and massive debts that make Greece and Spain look rich.

      Now unless we think that Norwegians are cleverer than Scots, that first country could have been us. We could have done that. Why not?

      We wouldn't have wanted , wouldn't have been allowed to have, WMDs, and there would be no question of us being on Security councils or G8s.

      But we could have had electric trains. We could have had industry, we could have had roads that didn't have massive holes in them, we could have had sooooo much.

      But most of what we earned was dropped on Iraq, Afghanistan and sundry other places... or wasted on the pipe dreams of a woman whose mission was to make the City of London rich. She was followed by several men, made in her image.

      I don't think, like Saffron says, we have any idea what will hit us tomorrow, but at least we'd have more of a chance with our economy being run from Edinburgh for Scotland instead of from London for London.

  9. Ahhhhh ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

    Couldn't have happened to a nicer bitch.

    I wish I'd seen her smug coupon.

  10. I've also found out Tris that everyone's favourite Labour shadow minister for Scotland, the one, the only Margaret Curran was on the programme as one of the speakers for the NO side!!!

    Now far be it for me to suggest anything or be cynical in my views in any way but do you think her appearance on the programme may have swayed the 'voters' in any way?

    I would also like to add that I think the producer who invited Curran onto the programme did a sterling job and deserves a medal for ensuring the result tonight.

    1. She could sour milk with her negativity and that angry look that says, "just as I was getting to a place where i could be a cabinet minister in a REAL country, you people come along and try to take that away from me and make my bairn a foreigner so i' have to stop loving him..."

      She really does look as if she can see "Baroness Margrit" disappearing in a mist...

  11. Tris

    Saw her on Newsnight last night and every time she said she loved Scotland and was proud I just could not bring myself to believe anything she said. It wasn't as if Kirsty Wark wasn't doing her utmost to help her and talk over Sturgeon and Kane, although I did like the look on her puss when the audience went for independence. Curran and Wark, you could not get two more patronizing people in the world and when it's a yes vote next year, I just hope both stay in London where they are happy and can't talk down Scotland anymore and be a part of the disaster that is westminster rule.


    1. Oh Bruce NOOOOOOO. Just think, if Mrs Curren stayed in London, it would make her a foreigner...

      I was going to pop over to Paris for a few days next week, but that would make me a foreigner so I decided against it.

      I know... I'll never get over the stupidity and the racism of Curren and her foreigner son.

      And the BBC were coaching No delegates to call OUR side racists!

      What the hell was that about?

      Do you remember the Wark woman when she interviewed Alex just after the SNP won the 2007 election? Do you remember how incredibly rude she was to him, and how incredibly polite he was in return?

      And then do you remember how she was obliged to apologise to him?

      I've always looked down on her since then. Not because she was rude to Alex Salmond, but because the VERY highly paid public servant that she is, was too unprofessional to hide her visceral hatred of him when doing an interview for the state broadcaster. She was a personal friend Lord McConnell, and she hated Alex for taking his job.