Thursday 9 January 2014


I have to confess.

I'm perplexed.

Johann Lamont recently said that she didn't think that giving kids in primary school a cooked lunch was a priority. Labour in general seems to feel that across the board policies of social security are wrong, and that people should be means tested.

Indeed our own Niko, a strong Labour supporter, indicated on this blog that giving all the kids a free lunch meant that poor people were subsidising rich people... as ordinary workers would be helping to pay for the lunches of the rich (although technically that is dubious as the scheme only operates in state schools, and not independent schools to which the offspring of the elite tend to go, but fair enough that they would be subsidising the incomes of the lower middle classes).

However, Labour-run Glasgow Council has just come up with a brilliant scheme (for which I heartily commend them) to put £10 into every account with a credit union opened by any S1 pupil in the city.

The hope is that this will start a habit of saving and encourage kids to stay away for the payday loan sharks, like Mr Cameron's friend and advisor, that infest the internet, promising "never be poor again" loans at exorbitant rates of interest, meaning that, of course, you will always be poor.

Most children of brain surgeons or MSPs don't end up going to loan sharks, but they too will be at liberty to profit from the scheme and get their ten pounds. Par contre, the very poorest of the kids with parents living on dirt poor wages or social security, just scraping by, going cold and hungry, ill clad and ill shod, are the least likely to be able to find the money to open the account and profit from the free tenner, courtesy of Glasgow taxpayers.

Could someone please explain to me Labour's policy on who should profit from what?

In another confusing situation, one of Better Together's strongest supporters, close friend of Tommy Sheridan, Mike Dailly, a lawyer at Govan Law centre, says that he is inclined to be pro YES, because he sees Scotland as a progressive country held back by the ancient and creaking systems thrust on it by a conservative England.

What stops him changing sides is that he sees no realistic chance of Scotland throwing off the monarchy and aristocracy and becoming a republic, so he's going to stick with the union.

So, that makes sense, doesn't it?

If Scotland isn't going to become a republic he'd rather stick with the erm... united KINGDOM.

Now, I'm all for a republic.  I didn't mind the royals in the old days. It seemed to me that they did no one much harm and they probably did attract a few gaupers to Deeside during the summer, and they would spend money so it was a t least good for the folk at Braemar. And yes, let's be fair, a lot of old people liked them and were thrilled to see them, meet them... whatever.

Then of course this family that we put on a pedestal and throw money at showed that they are a shower of self serving sharks, from the selfish self centred Charles Rothsay who was unable to see that you have to compromise on most things in life and insisted that he would have Mrs Parker Bowles and Diana, come what may, to Airmiles Andy, the fat pig who insists on royal flight helicopters to take him to golf matches and protection officers for his odious drunken daughters so they can have ordinary lives which soaking up al that we throw at them, and now to the queen herself who is splitting the money for the gold to be mined in Kernow with her equally greedy eldest son. Never mind the locals, huh? So yes, now I'm am very unkeen on them (even though my spell check tells me that I can't be "unkeen"!).

However, next to bedroom taxes, lords, MPs, nuclear weapons, illegal wars, bankers, etc, etc, etc, this shower of scroungers don't even figure. 

Scotland may not take titles away from people who have been given them. It's a bit of a waste doing that anyway; they just use them regardless. But lords will no longer be created in Scotland and those who wish to continue to sit in the house of lords will have to become English in order to do so.

So, what is important to this man. The grinding poverty and misery that he must see on a daily basis, or some old royals, who after independence will no longer be our expense, except when in this country (as they are in other monarchies like Australia, New Zealand and Canada).

And of the two... The UK and Scotland, which is more likely to get rid of this frippery in the next 50 years?

Does anyone in Labour ever think before they open their mouths?


  1. well lets put it in a way even the wilfully
    deaf.dumb and blind snp extremist leg
    biters can understand,
    I have 1 pound (scots)
    it costs 10p a meal so i can feed 10 children
    but 6 children are in familys able to
    pay for there meals.
    whilst the other 4 family's can not
    they also have other needs which
    due to there in work poverty they are
    unable to resolve.

    Now snp glee club do i
    (1) share the 1 pound amongst the ten
    and thus am unable to give any further
    help to the poorest 4 familys.
    (2) Or do i pay for the poorest 4
    in the knowledge the other 6 can easily afford
    to pay for there meals.
    And use the 6p saved to give the further
    help to solve the other problems in the poorest

    Now the snp malcontent's will stand
    on there heads abd spin to justify badly
    giving money to those who are not in need.

    aka the council tax freeze also aka
    the reverse snp robin hood tax

    1. I can see the argument Niko.

      I just wonder if it's good idea idea to make the poor into beggars in order to do it, in such a rich country.

      But my real question here was what does Labour really feel, because you and Johann seem to feel that you should means test, but Glasgow wants to give money to all kids, rich or poor who want to open an account.

      Would it, by your principles not be a better to only give the money to the poorest... and probably be able to give them more, or even the very poorest could get £20...

      And if the council tax was such a bad idea why did Labour adopt it for the general election, and why did Labour promise it for Glasgow...

      Remembering too that this is not a diktat from Edinburgh. it is up to the local council. They can put the council tax up if they wish.

      And what's with the bloke that thinks that unless we have a republic we might as well put up with all the other crap from London?

    2. Niko, where did you get the 1 pound (Scots) from? The very poor and destitute don't pay very much tax. However, if you make the wealthy pay the same percentage of their income in tax as you make the medium and lower income earners pay, then they end up paying far more than a low income earner pays, and so help pay for the benefits of the very poor who can't pay.

      They do pay though, so they are entitled to benefit the same as everyone else does. It's not difficult.

      Labour though, while in power were (and are) much more interested in chasing 'benefit cheats' than ensuring that fair tax is paid and collected by ALL sections of society. That includes the accountant hiring, offshored, tax 'minimisers' that your party have become so 'intensely relaxed' around, while sipping cocktails on their yachts.

      You need to research some of your parties greats and their achievements. Their philosophy of universal benefits accessed free at the point of delivery by ANYONE, payed for by a progressive universal income tax system levied on EVERYONE, is as valid today as it was then.

      IF, that is, we had a political class with the balls to ensure the second part of that equation, instead of handing out nighthoods to tax dodgers that fund their political party while 'helping' them with their over ambitious mortgage forms.

      Tris keeps telling us how clever you are Niko, but this is very poor. Either you believe this crap, which makes you a conservative, or you are spouting to annoy, in which case it's just regurgitated standard SLab/Newlabour intellectual drivel and not very imaginative for a clever boy unionist such as yourself. Either way, you are not coming out of this looking very good.

      I think you should just return to the safety of your previous 'howling at the moon' endearing comedy character and hope in time that we all forget that it's not all been just some clever ironic joke. You never know, we might?


    3. Sorry Tris, that was a very good post with some very pertinent questions. Don't hold your breath for any sensible answers though!


    4. Ha... thanks Braco.

      I find I often get intelligent answers on here though.

      You're right about the tax. The rich pay (at least in theory, a lot more towards these things than the poor. If they get something back, that's not too unfair.

      Especially as their continued financial interest in the benefits mean that they are not allowed to deteriorate as much as if they had no interest.

      So, for example, the retirement pension is a universal benefit. Cilla Black and Mrs McTavish are both entitled to it. Therefore, although it is pathetically low, about half of what it is in Jersey, it hasn't been savaged like for example Unemployment benefit, which is now means tested, because the rich never turned up at the jobcentre to sign on.

      Mrs Thatcher was able to reduce and reduce it and this bunch of spiv are reducing it further.

      Even they won't do that to retirement pensions (although to be fair Thatcher did).

  2. means test well if it means stopping people who
    are not entitled due to having pots of money why not?

    Council tax.....well seeing as some conservative
    councils in the south east of England have raised
    the tax and refused the Government cash for a freeze.
    not only reveals the flaw in the snp freeze but also shows
    how some English tory councils care more for the social
    services they are responsible for than the snp Government
    claim to.

    1. So, that being the case, why did Labour put it in their manifesto... why have Glasgow promised it for the life of the council, and why, if the Tories care that much about social services, aren't all the councils with Labour in control doing the same thing?

      As for the means testing, becasue it wastes loads of money; it humiliates poor people; it makes them beggars.

      No one thinks of the OAP as a beggar because he/she gets a hundred pounds a week from the state (even if it costs about £300 a week to live). But if you take it away as an entitlement for all, then those who do claim it will be seen as scroungers.

      All wrong.

      While we are on, why did Labour not vote against the Tories and Liberals taking away power from trades unions?

      They abstained?


  3. Labour canditate CV.

    I want power.

    I want access to free money.

    I want ....

    1. Well, i suppose if that's it it's probably better than teh Tory one...

      I went to a prestigious university founded by the pope (or at least to a tech in the same town, even if I didn't actually pass anything)

      I went to a management college (well sort of... I did a weekend induction course at the company college).

      My wife worked for me (well, she saw to it that the maid ironed my clothes and ran my bath)

      I don not intimidate my staff when they grassed me off for taking public money for my wife organising our domestic servants (well, not unless you mean sending round that hard man from MI5)

      I can live on £55 a week, (as long as after Sunday's breakfast I am kept my my wife's father)

      It was all everyone else's fault; the staff, the civil servants, the outsourcers, everyone... except me...well, er sort of.

      I left the army at a high rank...(well, it was higher than private)

      ... :)

  4. Alex Salmond in conversation with James Naughtie

    Thursday, January 16, 2014 from 7:30 PM to 9:00 PM (GMT)

    Will be streamed online.

    1. I wonder what the unionist Naughtie, will be like. It will be good to hear Salmond with him though.

  5. As you said above, the point here is that universal benefits are funded out of general taxation, into which the rich pay considerably more (or bloody well should if either Labour or Tory pols were interested in drafting tax rules without gaping loopholes).

    From this pot, everyone gets a share, so everyone is interested in the continuation of the benefit.

    And this means that the poor aren't subsidising the rich, it's the other way around. And that's before the cost of means testing gets taken from the pot, possibly accounting for all of Niko's spare 60p.

    1. Seems fair to me, Weegie.

      Like I said, I can't really understand the Labour Party. They've become so Tory.

  6. I am not sure on how up on the Labour Party he supports Niko is, but there was this guy who was in the Labour Party for a little while, Aneurin Bevan.

    He was very much against means testing. Among the various things he said about it The means test is ‘a principle that eats like an acid into the homes of the poor. In the small rooms and around the meagre tables of the poor, hells of personal acrimony and wounded vanity arise.’

    To the post WW2 Labour Government, Universalism was a very important principle. They sight of the means test man, who had the right to enter people's homes, from the prewar years was anathema to them.

    There are good reasons for Universalism.
    1) Means testing costs more to administer. Pensions for example cost three times as much to administer. Often any "savings"are eaten away or more by the costs of administration.

    2) Means testing imposes a stigma, Pride or inability to navigate the bureaucracy means that people who need the help do without.

    3) Support. If you restrict who gets the benefit then those who don't get it resent it. As we have seen too often, that resentment leads to withdrawal utterly. The best way to destroy this scheme is to means test it

    4) Fairness. The "rich" parents pay their national insurance and tax too, what they get back is small in comparison

    Johann Lamont and Niko would rather waste more money administering this scheme than helping ensure children get one decent meal five days a week during term time, just to ensure that the SNP can get no credit.

    Oh, and by the way, Glasgow Council, slightly Labour controlled, supported this scheme.

    1. Well put. Thanks.

      I fear Mr Bevan wouldn't have been welcome in today's Labour Party.

      Rather like Denis Canavan, he was too much of a socialist for them.

      How very very sad.

  7. This business of "I'd vote Yes if only..." is just a way to sit on the fence. Someone I know claims he would vote Yes if UK voted to leave EU. Unfortunately that referendum won't come early enough. Too bad!