Sunday 7 February 2016


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I can't remember how much MSPs get as a wage, but I'm sure that Ms Smith would have been able to find money for bagpipe tuition had it not been provided by the state.

But aside of that, Ms Smith raises a good point. And to be fair Labour has been consistent in their complaining about this sort of thing over a concerted period. They have pointed out over and over that there are fewer courses being run by colleges or funded by the Scottish government at school. 

Possibly bagpipe tuition is among those to go. I understand that there are fewer courses on home crafts and flower arranging, basket weaving, conversational Portuguese, Latin for beginners, and other such things. .

No one wants to see these courses go. But year on year since the 2007 election when Labour ceased to be the senior party in a coalition that ran Scotland but remained in charge of finances in London, there has been a reduction in the Scottish budget. The Scottish government has received less and less money to provide services

And we've been lumbered with an assortment of costs trying to alleviate the worst effects of Mr Osborne's crazy drive to save money that should be spent on ordinary people. 

Not that Scotland has particularly been earmarked for punishment. It hasn't. All of Britain is broke. We are all in this together. Everyone is suffering...well, when I say everyone, I don't exactly mean EVERYONE.

At the time of the crash Britain's economy was in a catastrophic state. Of course it wasn't alone. The USA, Iceland, Ireland and to a lesser extent continental Europe, all suffered, with knock on problems for others. 

The banks were broke and, having made massive profits as privatised companies, were now seeking to socialise their monumental losses (and were allowed to by Brown and Darling).

Personal credit had been allowed to run riot and people owed astounding amounts on a variety of credit and charge cards, paying exorbitant interest rates into the black hole of bank insolvency. 

The price of houses had reached the stage where only prince Charles could afford to buy one (despite him living in subsidised state housing), so mortgages were a gigantic debt, made all the worse that they had been a spate of remortgaging so that people could live the high life on borrowed money, with the sure and certain knowledge that house prices would continue to rise until a one-roomed flat cost a cool billion!!!

Then CRASH. It all fell down. What a surprise! And although, as I say, it wasn't all Britain's fault, and it wasn't all Labour's fault, some of it, a fair bit, was.

That was when, if I remember rightly, that it was decided by the powers that be, that we were all in it together. We all had to show Dunkirk spirit and fight to save our country. Well, some of us did anyway. 

Bankers of course did not lose out in this Dunkirkian effort. Nor did the politicians or officials who had overseen (or rather failed to oversee) the chaos.
And royals and lords continued to live just as they had done before. Indeed over the period from then till now MPs have received a massive pay increase. The Queen and her heir have had large rises in their various sources of income. The prime minister has got himself a private jet and prince William now has a helicopter. All in it together, Aye!!

But the ones who ARE all in it together have found that there is less money for social security, police, schools, courts, health, roads, transport, colleges, universities, etc, etc. And of course for the smaller countries of "our united kingdom", as Cameron keeps on irritatingly referring to it, we get less money in block grant from Big Brother.
Erm.... what?
For all we are a broke little country, however, there has been no dismantling of that status symbol of big rich countries, the independent nuclear deterrent, which of course, as we have discussed before, is neither independent nor a deterrent. (Well the USA didn't find it much of a deterrent when the Twin Towers and the Pentagon were bombed; France didn't find it much help back in November, and 7/7 came and went despite the presence of nukes only 500 miles away. And it's not independent because the idea that the UK would [even if it could] use it without permission from America, is completely laughable.)

Nope, it's sole purpose as far as most of us (except Jackie Baillie) can see, is it makes the British government look very big and important in the world. Jackie seems to think that it provides thousands and thousands of jobs for her constituents, but she lives in a fantasy world.

Austerity isn't for rich people.  It doesn't become them. Elaine Smith might have to pay for her son's bagpipe tuition, but she'll cope.  Austerity is for people on the dole; on low wages; on zero hour contracts. 

And austerity hasn't worked, no matter what Osborne tells you. All it's done is smack the already disadvantaged in the face... We know because you can hardly help but know, that there are people who have had their benefits stopped because it was reckoned they were skivers... just as their lives were ending in a hospital bed. And people with too many rooms in their council flat becasue someone went to uni, or died have had to fork out (although not in Scotland) or be evicted despite there being nowhere else to go. People have committed suicide becasue of the misery and shame of living as part of Cameron's underclass.
The stories are too many to retell here. But we can find them all on the net.

And Labour's answer is to this austerity isn't to stop interfering in wars in the Middle East; it isn't to get rid of the WMDs; it's not to demand that companies like Google pay some taxes or that royals live in ONE palace instead of six.

It is rather, that the poor and 'just getting by' pay extra tax, and that the very well off pay 5p extra on earnings over £150,000. It comes with the promise that they will arrange a possibly illegal, and in any case horrifically expensive and complex, system of repayments to the very poor, for which, I add, they will have to fill in forms and present confirmation that they are indeed poor, then lose tax credit and pay tax on their tax rebate (that isn't a tax rebate, honest Mr O)

As Stuart has pointed out, this tax rise won't even cover the costs of the improvements they wish to make to education (which I thought they were going to fund by not reducing airport tax [and thereby creating 2000 jobs]). 

What WOULD cover the costs of the education improvements, however, including Ms Smith's laddies' bagpipe lessons, would be scrapping bloody Trident.

Finally, could someone close to her please  see if they can talk Baillie into realising that really there are very few jobs in Trident. 

I don't know about you, but I'd rather not live next to weapons that Portsmouth thought too dangerous to site in their back yard, and if we got rid of it, I'm sure that in the millions we would save every year there would be sufficient to revitalise the area!


  1. I think that just about covers it.

    1. LOL. I thought it was long and rambling... and got nowhere in the end... so, I'm happy to hear that you felt it covered it.

  2. Given that Ms.Smith is fourth on the list for Central Scotland,she may have ample time on her hands to shop around for cheap bagpipe tuition after the election.

    1. That, I'm sure would be a blessing for her.

      Munguin would offer to help (him being a bit of an ace on the old pipes), but having a media empire to run takes up a lot of the wee fellow's time... that and drinking champagne!

  3. Chanter chunterer. britnats have plenty of hot air anyway.

    OT Carmichael refused expenses by court ruling

    1. Great news, Dan. At least there is some common sense somewhere in the country!

  4. Aaawwwh! Diddums. Murray was a Cooncillor in S Ayrshire when I lived there. Useless then too. With the vulnerable getting the s*** kicked out of them, Trident up for grabs, no agreement on the financial settlement, she tweets about bagpipe lessons! Here's a hint Elaine, get him a chanter, join the local pipe band and get help for zilch. It's wot I did.

    1. Brilliant, just brilliant, Anon!

  5. I'll defend Prince William here. He's at least working as an air ambulance pilot, unlike his uncle who racks up air miles and free golf.

    Bagpipes? OK, I understand the point, but the approach is pathetic. You raise such an issue on behalf of your constituents - eg many pupils here are missing out on x, y and Z etc - not as a bleeding heart.

    On Carmichael a fair result.


    1. Yes, it's good he got a job unlike so many of his lazy family.

      Mind, I had no idea that being an air ambulance pilot paid enough that you could afford your own helicopter.

      No, I know he didn't buy it, nor did he buy the massive house that they have, nor is he paying to have the tennis courts moved 60 ft so he can get a better view, nor is he paying for the massive redecorations of Kensington Palace, another one of his homes.

      He's getting that done by granny, daddy and the state respectively.

      Not many people have grannies that can buy them a helicopter. And especially not at times when horns have to be pulled in and 'we are all in it together'.

      You'd have thought that she might have had the good sense to wait till the country wasn't still reeling from the almighty mess that HER government got it into, before splashing out on a chopper so her grandson could get home to tuck his kid in.

      There are so many dads who have had to take jobs miles away in other town, in other countries, and cant get home, except at the weekend, to see their kids. A chopper would be just what they need.

      But you're right, he does do a job... apparently with plenty of time off to go on official visit whenever he wants, unlike his bone idle cousins who spend their lives on holiday or Airmiles the fat-boy, after whom they take.

      Haven't see much about Carliar, but I understand the high court threw out his demand for punitive damages.

      What a complete and utter fool that man has made of himself.

      That he is an MP says something about the general standards required for the job.