Tuesday 2 February 2016


At Munguin's Republic, we're very much for increasing public spending to the point where our services operate efficiently and provide safety and security for all Scots.

We are wary of raising taxes to do this, but agree that sometimes it is the only way to provide the wherewithal, especially in a country where the state assets have already been stripped to the bone and sold off cheap. Anybody ever wonder what Harold Macmillan would have thought of the fact that we are now down to selling off the family's clothes, never mind silver?

Anyway, clearly we'd like to see education better resourced, along with more generous funding for healthcare, social care, policing and law and order in general, roads, transport, decent pensions and benefits, getting rid of the need for food banks, etc..

Saving money on unneeded expenditure is clearly a much better way of providing funds for necessities than taking more money from individuals, so before taxes are raised, every possible way of saving money should be explored.

We'd like to see less waste and less money spent on things we really don't need. From big things costing the earth, to little things that add together to make big sums.

'So what would you save money on, Munguin', we hear you ask, and 'isn't that exactly what Westminster is doing?'  Well, in a way, but Westminster has got it all wrong. It's trying to save money by destroying the very public services that we would raise money for. We would do it differently! Trident might be a good starting place. What on earth is it for? What would happen to us if we didn't have it? 

We reckon it is there to make Britain look like it is still an important world power which we really don't think it is. It's there to guarantee Britain's place as a permanent member of the UN Security Council (itself an outdated body representing the world as it was in 1945, not as it is 71 years later.) It has no place there. Britain can't afford it. it has £1.6 trillion of debt.

Along with that there is a vast amount of money that could be saved in the MoD in general. Planes without ships; ships without planes; 260 captains for 19 ships;  more admirals than ships; equipment that is useless before it's done a day's work; light bulbs in the MoD at £22 a shout, more admin staff than soldiers.... and on and on.

But there is so much else that is wasteful. £7 billion and rising to do up Westminster has got to be near the top of the list, and don't get us started on one über-rich family living in 6 palaces in the London region and one in Edinburgh. 

That's only a couple of departments, and there are many more.

But if taxes must rise, then they must. The trouble is that to make tax rises fair a government have have control of a wide range of them. It's not much of an asset to simply be able to vary income tax, without balancing that with other large yield taxes like duty or VAT. That is the Scottish government's problem, and always has been.

That said, in the early days of Scottish devolution, the SNP proposed "a penny for Scotland". It went down like the Titanic, with Labour being its chief critic. Strange then that they appear to have had the same idea, using powers which the Scottish government does not yet have... and indeed may never have. 

Many questions remain to be answered about Labour's "Penny for Scotland", not least how they would make a rebate to people earning under £20,000, when they have no powers to do so, either under tax or social security powers (yet to be granted to them) and whether their proposal of a £100 rebate paid by local councils (which have no information on which to base their calculations) would itself attract tax, whether at 20% UK rate or 21% Scottish rate, or indeed a reduction in any in-work benefits paid to them. And who would pay for the admin?

There will be a great deal of analysis done over the next few weeks, I'm sure, but at the moment it doesn't sound like its a practical proposal and it already seems to be unravelling.

And Niko, before you say it, yes, I know they are proposing to put up the tax on those earning over £150,000 and I think that that is a very good idea, but people are already saying that they can simply change their taxable addresses to England or Wales to avoid it. Remember when the French put up their top level of tax, didn't Mr Cameron offer an open invitation to rich French folk to go live in London? Won't he just do that with Scots?

If you've got a few bob spare, you might like to consider this crowd funder from our friend and blog roll member, The North British News. Shaun is a seriously nice and funny guy, and his satire is biting.


  1. And Jer says.... "Nah, yer OK".

  2. What would a Collie do if it actually caught a car?

    And so with the other wee dug. She can say what she likes, offer us all free trips to outer space, buy us all Porches. She knows she is not going to have to deliver. She isnt going to catch the car.

    All their pronouncements do is give the Yoon media something to write about. And we, like Pavlov's dogs, all weigh in with proofs of just how unworkable their dumbass latest nonsense idea is. It is so tiresomely predictable.

    Nothing Labour, New, Scottish or any other kind promise is going to happen. So why bother even shooting down their daft ideas. The Dug will be put down after May. And even that won't really be news.

    Saor Alba

    1. I think the thing is to highlight how daft they are.

      I mean everything they have come up with till this moment has been paid for with the same money (that doesn't exist).

      Is it a waste of our time to point out just how inept the whole thing is?

      I dunno. I suppose I could have done the ironing tonight instead.

      Imagine some awful scenario where the entire SNP was proved to have been eating children, or boiling puppy dogs in oil, and Kezia is made the First Minister....

      Go on, imagine it.

      OK that's long enough. I don't want you to be permanently insane!

    2. You are quite correct to highlight this, I loved it yesterday when it was announced, here was a unelectable party telling the present Government what it should do, no ifs buts, etc. We I think all know that presently if the Scottish Government elect to increase taxation all that will happen is that it comes off the block grant, so no better off. You will penalise the poor, the middle and as you say the rich will simply move either themselves or their money.
      As for imagining that wee lassie as FM, I may be forced to move and I do not want to anymore. Helena

    3. It's all turned out a little bizarre, hasn't it, Helena.

      Are you still having problems logging in?

    4. Hi Tris , windows 10 and I are not best pals, got past putting in all my passwords again and again. Have had to do a restore 5 times so far, even gone as far as a new computer, time will tell. Helena

  3. It's easy to make promises when in opposition. Show me one governing party anywhere in the world which has delivered every single promise. However, in the case of the Tories, they delivered some things both unexpected and unwelcome. (apart from IDS).

    A tax rise up in Scotland would play into the hands of Westminster. No one likes tax rises, and it only works if the vast majority of people benefit from it. Wonder if this is SLAB's attempt to provoke SG. Bit late for trying that now.

    I have no objection to raising taxes on high earners, but there is a limit. (No I don't earn £150K, not even close).

    On MoD bulbs at £22 a pop. Nothing unusual and it has been going on for years. External suppliers have always known that they could rip off the taxpayer. I know of at least four issues I've had personal involvement with, including an eye-watering charge to get an out-of-ours engineer in to reset a heater in a garage. Found out all it required was the pressing of a reset switch that did not require any specific qualifications. There followed a rather quick amendment to the contract.

    Tris, I think you need a caption competition from time to time, especially with pics like that above.......But please, no pigs.......


    1. Yes exactly Zog.

      When they are asked to cut, they start paying off people who actually do jobs, frequently replacing them with cheaper, or sometimes free, labour.

      The money governments and councils waste is beyond belief.

      Glasgow moans about having to cut budgets but has managerial staff earning more than cabinet ministers or permanent secretaries.

      By and large very senior people who DO get paid over £150,000 are likely to be able to arrange their affairs to reduce their tax, or to give themselves pay rises to cover the difference.

      I think Mrs Thatcher made income tax sacrosanct. She reduced it by large amounts, but she doubled VAT and increased duty to do it. Without other taxes to balance tax increases or reductions, I think having power over income tax is just a nasty trick of the Westminster government.

      We have had caption competitions in the past...

      We could revive them, I guess.

      Anyone want to caption Kez and Jez?

    2. Jez, "So, you are the best of the best, in Scotchland Labour?"
      Kez, "I don't understand the question"

      Jez, "What's this weeks APD plan?"
      Kez, "Don't you mean plane?"

      Jez, "I've put a tenner on you being booted out, in May."
      Kez, "Me too, it's the smartest move I've made, and the only fiscal idea I've had that'll work."

      Jez, "I've no chance of running the country."
      Kez, "Me neither."

      Kez, "SNP baaaad"
      Jez, " Mmmm yes, SNP bad eh?, and you are?"

  4. Just so we are clear about Kez and her new NON APD "idea" here is a post from steveasaneilean over on Wings earlier:

    There are currently 3 tax bands – 20p, 40p and 45p. Under the current arrangements if you increase one band you have to increase them all by the same amount.

    Let’s say SG wanted to hit the well off a bit harder so they up the top rate to 50p. In so doing they would also have to increase the other two rates by 5p to 25p and 45p.

    So the top rate of tax would have been increased relatively by 11%. The middle rate by 12.5% and the bottom rate by 20%.

    Funnily enough NO ONE from the RED Tory party is available or even able to explain why this 1p tax rise is a good idea, bearing in mind the POOREST are the ones being hit the hardest. Well there's a surprise ... NOT!

    1. I believe, Arbroath, that measures currently going through Westminster, provide for power to change one rate without changing another. However, there is no guarantee that they will pass at Westminster, and no guarantee that they will then be passed at Holyrood.

      But you're certainly right. I've seen no answers to the questions that are being asked about how it will affect the poor...folk under £20,000, and there are many.

      Will they have to pay tax on their rebates?

      They are supposedly going to be between £10 and £55 a year better off, but if the rebate is considered to be income by the UK tax authorities, that will be taxed at 21%. Will it have national insurance deducted? Will it affect their tax credits?

      £55 a year is not a lot, if it's taxed and reduces family credit it really won;t buy a packet of crisps a week.

      There's a lot of doubt about how much it will raise, and how much setting up the rebate system will cost. This article looks at the different amounts suggested by various different people. Rather like the politicians, they don't seem to agree on what it is worth.


  5. Tris.

    They could also raise money by asking the Bullington club members to stop burning 20 pound notes in front of homeless people, and donate it to Gideon instead, not that it will make much difference to this.


    1. Yes, and that's from 2011. The debt is not £1,6 trillion.

      The trouble is that it's not just government debt that is the problem.

      There is also the fact that unlike many countries our state pension isn't actually funded. it comes out of current taxation, and it's growing all the time as people live longer and longer.

      Also many of the public sector pensions aren't funded either. They must be paid for longer and longer out of taxation.

      Then there is household debt which is rising again, after a bit of repayment following the Brown crash.

      And the government is encouraging English students and trainee nurses to take on more debt. Along with pushing the idea that you're a real failure if you don't take out a mortgage on a house...which may or may not keep on going up in price, and may (as has happened before) actually reduce in price!

      Still, as long as we have Trident, we'll be safe from everything.

      Trident does work against debt, doesn't it?

      Way to run a country!

  6. Tris

    Both Labour and the Liberal Democrats have made a huge mistake with this because, a) the timing is all wrong and b) it will possibly cost a lot to adminster, esp any bloody rebate to try and get around the stupid tax system that Westminster and the unionists are trying to impose.

    As I have noted before the Scotland has to be rejected, I just can't see any deal that will make Scotland stay neutral on revenue and I really hope Swinney doesn't accept something out of political expediency just so the SNP don't get accused of scuppering the Scotland Act as this is bigger than the SNP this time, this is the countries immediate future.

    I think Labour are up to their silly games, trying to lay traps when they really need to start being an opposition. Willie Rennie, I sadly suspect, actually thinks his penny for education is actually a good idea and is trying to be different. Willie be different by being bloody good at your job. I voted against this policy at conference and sadly was on of the few so it passed, it is a stupid policy and one that will not get much traction in these difficult times.

    I agree with you, we should cut out all the vanity, stop getting rid of the sailors and soldiers and get rid of the bloated top brass and don't get me started on the Windsors, what they stand for is a huge stain on us all and on this country, it's a freekin Disney Movie. Maybe they should just open a proper Windsor's Theme Park and pay for their bloody selves for a change.


    1. I have to be honest Bruce and say that I didn't know that the Liberals were for the 1p increase. It's not had the publicity given to it that Labour's proposals have.

      Essentially I'm not against tax increases, but if you are going to do this, you need the freedom to work a proper tax system... So you should be able to take people living under the poverty level OUT of tax altogether.

      The current rules, and those proposed under the Scotland Act, don't allow for that. And it's not clear that they allow for rebated from local councils.

      I give Labour points for trying to think of ways around the problems of the shortfall. But they must remember that the IR and Osborne are not known for being flexible with Scotland. Granted, up to now they have only had to deal with the SNP which they hate more than Satan, but I'd not expect them to go out of their way to co-operate with Labour, chummy though they may be.

      I remember how Westminster scuppered SG plans for a fairer local tax, by saying that Council Tax rebate money couldn't be used as Local Income Tax rebates, and the SG would have to find that money from elsewhere, while the UK continued to tax Scottish people to pay for rebates in the UK.

      There is a lot that could go wrong.

      Good idea about the Saxe-Coburgs. Privatise them along the lines of Disney. That's what they are.

  7. Look, everyone. There's a picture of the Head Girl with the Classics Master. She's trying hard to understand what he's talking about and can't disguise the thrill of being allowed to sit next to him. The rest of the hockey team will be so jealous.

    1. LOL, Lorna, brilliant! I'm sure Conan can come up with a Latin quote for that...

    2. Temptation "shurely" not!!!

  8. "Uh...could you show me your graphs...?"

    1. "Um... is that all you want to see?"

  9. Hi Tris, greetings Minguin. Just been thinking a bit. Seeing as how us rabid cybernats seem to have developed a new lingua franca for describing the swivel eyed of the Britnat persuasion, particulary those of a supposed journalistic bent, with the increased use of yoons, yoonery, etc, it got me thinking, if the plural is yoons, would the singular be yoo-nit, and what about the collective; an anguish of yoons, a masturbation, or perhaps a flagellation; or maybe even a petulance – although thats probably more suitable for aspiring children’s authors. Just a thought - feel free to add to our ever increasing dictionary
    Awra best

    1. Hey Gary...

      I was wondering about "a nuisance" of yoons?

      I reckon you got the petulance right (as long as you use the English version of the word and not the French, pétulance, which wouldn't suit her at all!!!)

  10. Highlight of debate in Holyrood this afternoon was Jackie Baillie - after John Swinney destroyed in detail Labour's proposal of £100 refund - standing up and claiming the details were unimportant it was the principle that mattered.

    I can only credit Labour with being consistent as in being in favour of the Union in principle, even if it doesn't work in detail

    1. Details have never been important in the great Jackie Baillie self-promotion project. Sound-bites,photo-opportunities,half-truths and downright lies are the stock-in-trade of La Baillie. As for principles,Baillie wouldn't recognise one if it kicked her in the teeth.

    2. Hi Clachangowk. I reckon if you are in opposition permanently you don;t have to worry about the details of whether things can actually BE DONE or not; whether they are illegal, or whether they would actually produce the desired effect. It's a bit like the Liberal Democrats throughout most of my life. They knew the government would be Labour or Tory, so they could propose what they wanted. When they actually got into power few of their policies were enacted, and most got bumped on the head.

    3. Bless her, Hootsman, Jackie has never been strong on veracity, or details, or...well most stuff really.

      It was cruel of Kezia to put her meagre talents up against Swinney.

      John might have made a none too brilliant leader, but he beats the hell out of any of them as a Finance Minister. I can't think of a single opposition person who makes any inroads into knocking him.

  11. late at night (yesterday )

    (tris phone )Dring ! dring ! dring !

    tris- answering phone all yawny and tired.

    phone- tris you awake yet ?

    tris- eh wot yawn !

    phone - its us from cybernat central

    tris- (instantly awake ) wot does the snp want me do to now?

    phone - look labour are going to go on the tax raising policy
    we cant let them seem as being more fair than us by making those who have more pay a fairer share
    make us look as a bunch of self seeking money grabbing politicos,

    tris- your not though are you eh-

    phone - er nah course not now you go on blog attack and just
    make up any old shite to try and shoot down this tax issue
    wind up those in the republic get em howling at the moon.
    anything to stop them considering thoughtfully should rich
    scots pay a fair share for the common weal.

    tris- ok my masters i will obey asap .

    1. Brilliant... was it you on the phone? Or do you listen in?

      Not to all my calls, I hope?

      *Tris blushes!

    2. What's wrong Niko? Wee Kez not working out as planned? Oh, wait SLab and planning...

    3. tris

      nah actually i live in yer wardrobe...


      when we are back in power imm gonna make you me underbutler

    4. If I throw an iron in there could you run it over Munguin's clothes?

    5. This comment has been removed by the author.

    6. Niko found bloodied and bruised, the butler did it.

      I'm joking obviously.

      I'll be voting to remain, it ain't perfect but I believe Europe helps stability, there is much that can be improved though.

    7. When I said throw the iron in... I didn't quite mean it like that.


  12. anyway just asking how many of you lot are going to vote
    with the torys come referendum day Cameron says he is looking
    forward to your support.............

    well at least you stand a chance of winning this YES vote wot with the English tory cabinet on your side

    vote vote vote wid the English torys I mean vote NO and it would lead to the end of the glorious union and the snp and you lot obviously dinna want that eh ?

    1. I think the Liberals and the SNP, Plaid and the Greens are the only parties that are 100% for staying in. BNP and Kippers are the only ones for coming out.

      Other parties have pros and cons.

      Although I'm ambivalent about whether the Uk is in or out of the union, I'll vote to stay in, even if I am furious about the way they treated Greece, so that their own banks could soak up more money.

      I reckon that without some checks from the EU, the UK will become even more right wing and reactionary. Getting rid of human rights legislation, which the press has managed to make a bad thing (image that, a pile of morons complaining becasue they have rights!), would impact on all our lives. And Tory English Bill of Rights...well, we know what that would be likely to be.

      Who knows what Cameron will be proposing. He's not got any real concessions, and of course all the other countries need to vote on what he has managed to get before he will get it.

      In-work benefits cut, so that people from Europe won't be able to work here unless they get well paid jobs, because British employers don't pay enough for people to live on. And the Tories have no objection (and neither did Brown) to subsidising them.

      Frankly that's shameful. But it will please the right wingers a bit, because it will cut down on foreigners. Nothing they hate more than foreigners.

      Anyway, it only takes one country to vote against, and Cameron's wish list goes up in a puff of smoke.

      I don't know what Labour is going to do. Do you? Corbyn is no fan of the EU. He's not been clear what his preference is. But they don't care what he thinks in Labour. It will be what the right wing Blairite fanatics and nutters think that counts.

      So, I'm not really thinking of it in terms of voting with the Tories or voting with Labour, becasue they are both split down the middle.

      What I think is that they shouldn't have the referendum only weeks after the Scottish, Welsh and Irish elections.

      Here we do have some unity. The DUP First Minister of NI, with the SNP First Minister of Scotland, and the Labour First Minister of Wales have written to the Tory First Minister of England on the subject.

      Of course Cameron went to Eton and Oxford, so he probably doesn't read letters from oinks.

    2. Oh and this is another thing I find repugnant about the EU.


      You could threaten me with 25 years hard labour and I'd still try to help any human being if they were drowning. Come to that that goes for most other creatures, from wasps to Giraffes.

      IDS, Blair, Kim Jung Un, Grayling and their likes aren't considered human beings in my book and could drown for all I care.

  13. it just goes to prove that somebody who likes trains (Portaloo) can't be all bad!

    1. Hi Kyle, Actually I really like his train programmes (although I could do with more of the trains and less of him meeting people, although most of that is interesting too). I think he should do Africa and Asia, and maybe South America. When it comes to trains, I'm a little boy!

      He's slightly annoying, and a bit overly British, even when he's in Spain. But by and large the programmes are well presented.

      Can't really remember what he was like as a minister but have the feeling he was a pretty loyal Thatcherite.