Ian Davidson: “You can take your jacket off – it’ll not be stolen – this isn’t Edinburgh”
Wednesday, 12 June 2013
Yet again, scare stories - unsubstantiated claims - by Better Together about Scotland's welfare systems after independence are exposed as untrue
There has been relative decline in welfare expenditure in Scotland as a proportion of that spent in UK from a peak of 9.7% in 2002/03 to 8.9% in 2011/12
Spending on social protection, including welfare as share of GDP is estimated as being lower in Scotland than in the rest of the UK in each of the past five years
Independent report of the Expert Working Group on Welfare recommends a TRANSITIONAL PERIOD of shared administration. The Scottish Gov. agrees this would be sensible.
ALL options for the delivery of welfare at the point of independence, including a STAND-ALONE SCOTTISH SYSTEM of administration are possible
Scotland delivers almost ALL parts of the current UK benefits system to people living in Scotland from locations within Scotland.
Scotland also provides a wide range of welfare services to England. Some of these services are significant, with a claimant count in millions.
Monday, 10 June 2013
Alistair Darling (who is not my darling) is now the darling of the Scottish Tories. Leaving aside his unionist views, he has a family connection that will please the Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party – his great-uncle was Sir William Darling, Tory MP for Edinburgh South.
And his new Tory fans undoubtedly smiled conspiratorially in the Stirling bars and whispered “Isn’t Alistair a darling, darling? Did you know that, before he joined Labour when he was 23 years-old back in 1977, he was - believe it or not, darling - a Trot and supported the International Marxist Group! But class will out – Sir William’s genes will win through – Alistair will find his way back to true-blue unionism after this independence nonsense is buried with a stake through its heart. I mean, look at all the lovely money he makes on the lecture circuit – and to whom he lectures, darling!”
Among Alistair’s ideas for saving the remnants of the British Empire from final dissolution is urging Scots relatives of members of the Scottish electorate living in the rest of the UK to ‘love bomb’ family members eligible to vote in the referendum with phone calls, emails, letters urging them not to vote for the independence of their country, Scotland.
This fits neatly with the orchestrated attempts to paint England, Wales and Northern Ireland as ‘foreign’ countries after independence, with relatives staring in horror at each other as ‘foreigners’ over border posts manned by stern-faced, kilted and claymored border guards. This shameful, pejorative exploitation of the terms ‘foreign’, ‘foreigners’ and ‘foreign country’ is bordering on racism in its use of language, a usage now spreading like a virulent virus across Labour, Tories and LibDems. UKIP is already fatally infected, and the even more extreme parties are pustulating.
Like many Scot, I have relatives outside of Scotland – three in England, several in the Republic of Ireland, America and Canada. In the strange minds of the unionists purveying this pernicious rubbish – Gove, Brown, Darling, Goldie et al – those in England are in danger of becoming ‘foreigners’, and those elsewhere in the great Scottish diaspora, living in proudly and fully independent countries which long since freed themselves from the British Empire, are already ‘foreigners’ in a ‘foreign’ country.
I know what my Irish, American and Canadian relatives would think of this infantile yet dangerous rubbish. I also know what my immediate, close family in England think. I don’t expect a missive from any of them soon urging me to save the Union and vote NO, nor do any of them want, or think they are entitled to a voice in the Scottish referendum.
But if they wrote to me at all on this subject, I think they would write in the same terms as any other family members living in England would to their loved ones in Scotland about their vote, so I offer this composite letter, which I feel might come from a great many in similar circumstances. (I accept that some expatriate Scots, or those of Scots descent, might well write a Darlingesque letter.)
Dear ( ……)
The sun is shining here, a fine English early summer’s day at last. I love it here – vibrant community life, wonderful, welcoming pubs and great neighbours. We have a local election coming up for the Council, and I’m off to do my bit for my local candidate. And I’m thinking hard about how I’ll vote in the General Election in 2015, which doesn’t seem so far off now!
How are things with the referendum debate going up there? We get some idea occasionally from television and the press, but most of the time people around here are focused on local affairs and politics, as am I.
I wish you well with whatever decision you make – it’s for Scots resident in Scotland to make, and nobody else, and whatever the outcome, I tell all my English friends, colleagues and neighbours that England and Scotland will still live happily together as they have always done, with shared interests and ties of kinship. And nae border posts!
Looking forward to seeing you soon …
Saturday, 8 June 2013
Why do some Scots want control of everything by devolution EXCEPT the right not to be made a prime target by UK for a first nuclear strike?
Why do some Scots want control of everything by devolution EXCEPT the right to have weapons of mass destruction removed from their soil?
Why do some Scots want control of everything by devolution EXCEPT the right of Westminster to withdraw any or all of that control at any time?
Why do some Scots want control of everything by devolution EXCEPT the right to control their relations with other fully independent nations?
Why do some Scots want control of everything by devolution EXCEPT the right to have their children being sent to die in foreign wars?
The ominous undertone of the Better Together alliance of Tories, Labour (and LibDems) becomes ever more pronounced.
Playing the foreign countries, foreigners and foreigness card becomes more prevalent, militarism is increasingly invoked - whether by threats over defence or appeals to an imagined glorious military past - and ex-servicemen are urged to rally to the defence of the union.
Sinister organisations with paramilitary links from Northern Ireland plan to visit those of like mind in the West of Scotland, etc.
Nuclear weapons of mass destruction, Trident, and the nuclear presence in Scottish waters is ever the backdrop ...
All of this is meat and drink to an increasingly insular, anti-European Tory Party, but what in God's name is the Labour Party doing at the very forefront of this brand of militant neo-conservatism? The spectacle of Kezia Dugdale, a politician of principle and patently genuine commitment to social justice in this company appals me.