Monday 16 September 2013


Does anyone know what Labour's position is when it comes to Bedroom Tax?

The Deputy Leader of the Scottish branch of Labour says they would get rid of it tomorrow if they were in power in London. And the Welfare spokesman in the Scottish Parliament says the same. But no-one from the London party has agreed. 

Liam Byrne said that although they were opposed to the tax, they would need to look at cost implications and, when asked direct by Cameron if he would remove the tax, Miliband declined to answer.

The Scottish branch has made a lot of noise about Holyrood finding £50 million to ensure that poor or disabled people don't suffer. I imagine that they understand, having once been in government, that that £50 million will have to come from somewhere else. 

Unlike the London government Edinburgh can't just add it to their borrowings or put up income tax rate to cover it. So they Rob Peter to pay Paul. John Swinney has found £20 million in the already tight budget to do that.

SNP and Labour councils have said that, whilst they will actively pursue people for the rent arrears accumulated because of the bedroom tax, as I understand it, they will not evict them, even if by law they have to send letters warning of eviction.

There aren't enough smaller houses in the housing stock for all the people who require them, but now some people who are trying to downsize are finding that another barrier has been put in their way.

Glasgow's Wellhouse housing association has said that tenants with rent arrears will not be allowed to move to smaller houses until their arrears are paid, and furthermore they will have only restricted access to repairs while they remain in debt. Further to that they have been told that they may face further associated costs.

It's a real problem. Councils or Housing Associations, with the best will in the world, can't say that they will ignore arrears. That is an invitation to people to not pay.

Lessons will, I'm certain, have been learned by political figures in the SNP, Scottish Socialist and Labour parties from back in the days of the poll tax, where leading politicians led campaigns against payment resulting in people building massive debts and councils going without money.

The law is the law. No matter that Scotland voted massively against this tax; we have it and until we get a Westminster government that will repeal it, or we get rid of Westminster governments which refuse to repeal it, then we are stuck with it.

The Scottish parties, or branches, should work together to have this tax repealed, and if the London Labour management don't care about old and disabled people who have very few choices about where they live, the Scottish Labour must force them to see sense.

Of course, one answer is for us to vote ourselves the power to deal with taxation and benefits in 2014.

Given the fact that both our major parties are against it, it would quickly disappear from the statute book of an independent Scotland.


  1. Personally I'm all in favour of mass civil disobedience just like with the Poll tax...

    ... he says as GSHQ spies storms through the front door ...

    Welcome to 'democratic', 'fair', 'liberal' Scotland ... Better Together?

    1. It won't make any difference unless it brings London to a standstill.

      Back in the days of the Poll Tax people marched and protested all over Scotland, when they brought it in here a year earlier than in England. No-one gave a toss.

      Indeed when they protested all over England they didn't bother either.

      But then, they marched in London. They didn't just march, they took the French attitude... they burned cars and smashed window... and they got a result.

      Of course Cameron showed that even that sort of thing will not sway him. The riots in London and English regional cities of 2 years ago simply gave him the chance to come down hard on the lower orders.

      It doesn't affect the "nicer" areas so it's not too much of a problem.

      When it starts disrupting the City, it all changes.

    2. Welcome to the lady in the hat.

      The bloke is right (although I wish he'd finish one thought before moving on to the next!).

      We are a rich country. We have been subsidising the rest of the UK. We don't need weapons; we don;t need to poke our noses into other people's affairs, especially as we don;t really know anything about their lives or how to sort them. We do need to address the poverty in places like the East End of Glasgow; we do need to create jobs that the people who live in our country can do.

      We can spend the next 40 years of our oil wealth putting together a decent country for our kids, or we can go on handing the money to London to spend on trains that won't come within 150 miles of our border adn that most of us will never use, and paying for bombs that will never be dropped.

  2. Labour a major party with less than 5,000 paid up members in Scotland?

    1. No wonder. They are a waste of space in their current form.

  3. tris and other snp malcontents

    The labour party bedroom tax spokesman is here


    mass civil disobedience

    what would that be in your case sticking out you lower lip, stamping your foot down
    and then throwing yerself screaming onto floor.

    1. Niko, I'm not really a malcontent.

      I just think we could do better.

      As I say. It doesn't matter a toss what kind of civil disobedience we come up with in Scotland... they won;t pay any attention.

      Do you think that a crowd of Jocks protesting in Glasgow or Edinburgh is going to move Iain Duncan Smith, or George Osborne?

      The don't give a damn.

      Civil disobedience rarely works in the UK, and only ever when it hurts people who matter to the the government.

      Are you a malcontent Niko?

    2. LOL Niko!

      You just know I'd be super cute if I did throw a tantrum ... sorry 'mass civil disobedience'


    3. Erm... you need more than one for mass civil disobedience Dean...

      Get Taz to come with you. He'd be frighteningly disobedient!

    4. Dean would run a mile as soon as Taz looked at him.

      Dean and Taz

    5. it. How can we split our side laughing at that? It's amazing that, after all this time, it's just as funny, and yet there's nothing to it.

  4. tris

    Cameron and Osborne are laughing at the moment they are winning
    seems to me ' YOU ' can fool most of the people most of the time.
    When they wont to be that is

    1. Let's hope they will be laughing on the other side of thier faces a year from now.

  5. PS: Niko. What do you make of the Labour party taking a report on local government financing and putting out a press release that says the exact opposite of the report's findings?

    What do you make of the BBC staff coaching members of the NO delegation on the 5Live debate, telling them to call the Yes people racists?

    If that's the No campaign winning....

  6. Hmm!
    Labour want the Scottish government to find £50 Million to help those affected by the LabConDem Bedroom tax do they?

    Well they could always jump into their local TARDIS and go back in time before the making of the movie Brave. This would ensure they could wangle away £10 million from the Scottish Government spending plans. (Labour claim S.G. spent £10 million promoting Brave. Unfortunately this figure is subject to Labour inflation calculations, the actual figure was £7 million!)

    If this option doesn't provide quite enough money for our friends in Labour then might I suggest they use their TARDIS to go further back in time to pre 2007 election times. I suggest this period for two reasons. Labour were in power in Holyrood pre 2007 election and secondly I seem to recall that the Labour government that was in power pre 2007 were so efficient at conserving their finances that they were even able to return, yes that's right RETURN, £1 billion to Westminster. Apparently at that time they were unable to think of anything they could spend the £1 Billion on.

    I wonder whatever happened to the First Minister in charge when the £1 Billion was returned....... oh wait a minute I remember he now wears his very own fantastic cloak of ermine!

    If Labour are not prepared to use their TARDIS then they should either produce fully costed evidence of where this money is going to come from or shut the hell up!

  7. Amazing that.... They gave that money to London to spend on stuff, because there was no poverty here, no deprivation, no need for roads to be upgraded, our hospitals were perfect, we didn't need any more police because there was no crime, our schools and universities didn't need any more money.

    No much better to give it to England. They know best how to spend it.

    You should all have a look at this... It's really good:

  8. I don't think I could have put it better myself. lol

    1. Oh get on with you... you know you could... ;)