This week we learned about the real priorities of the British nationalists in Scotland. We learned what they get really outraged about. Apparently it’s far more worthy of condemnation that a comfortably off person has to pay £30 a year more in tax than it is that a person struggling to get by on disability benefits loses £30 a week. For the past few days the press has been full of manufactured anger about the so called tax bombshell on high earners, even though a far larger number of low paid Scots are going to pay less in tax. Some people who are already pretty well off, who bring home a lot more than the average earner, are going to find that they’re losing out by a few pence a week. You know, the kind of money that you can lose down the back of your sofa without even noticing it. You’ll have to earn almost £100,000 a year before you’ll be £1 a week worse off. Let’s be blunt here, if you’re earning £100,000 a year and you begrudge paying £1 a week in order to help provide basic services for people a whole lot less comfortable than you are then you’re such a selfish and uncaring git that you’re probably already a Tory politician.
But according to the British nationalist press in Scotland it’s really bad that people who are already comfortably off are going to be asked to make a tiny sacrifice in order to help pay for public services for people who are considerably worse off than they are. That’s worth days and days of newspaper headlines screaming about how unfair and wrong it is, in those same newspapers that couldn’t be bothered to report the recent study that showed that the Conservatives’ austerity policies and the restrictions they have caused on social care spending have cost the lives of 120,000 people.
Tory MSPs and MPs competed with one another to display their gross ignorance and stupidity on social media, safe in the knowledge that they won’t be held to account by the greater part of Scotland’s traditional media. Giving us a cheap laugh at how dumb they are is about the only thing that they’re any good for. That’s a statement that applies equally to Scottish Tory politicians and to their media apologists. It’s a field with much competition. Annie Wells implied that only people who earn more than £33,000 a year count as hard working. Because clearly if you’re slogging your guts out on a minimum wage job and have to take an extra job in the evenings delivering pizzas in order to make ends meet and make sure that your kids can have a couple of Christmas presents then you’re just a slacker.
However there has got to be a winner, and Dean Lockhart won the prize. Dean is the Tory list MSP for Mid-Scotland and Fife. The sole justification for Dean’s existence on this planet is to give fellow Fife MSP Wullie Rennie someone to feel superior to. You have to say something pretty dumb indeed in order to make Wullie Rennie come across as an intellectual giant and a great moral authority, but Dean takes it in his stride. At least Wullie could have an alternative career as the driver of the number 17 bus to Kelty. That involves negotiating from point A to point B. Dean would struggle to find his arse even with the aid of a map.
Dean told us on social media that 393,000 nurses, police officers and train drivers are going to face a rise in their taxes. Since there are only about 17,500 police officers and 60,000 nurses in Scotland, that must mean that there are over 300,000 train drivers taking trains through stations with Gaelic names. And as we all know because the Conservatives tell us so, if you put Gaelic signs on things they automatically stop working. So it’s not like we have any working trains anyway, but still. However since ScotRail’s rolling stock consists of some 264 diesel motor units and electric motor units, that means there are almost 1200 drivers per train. Who knew? Every little boy is supposed to want to become a train driver, but this is ridiculous. Dean’s approach to numeracy makes Jackie Baillie seem like the winner of the Fields Medal, the Nobel prize of mathematics.
Obviously the real reason why there are delays to ScotRail services is because there are hundreds of train drivers having a square go in Waverley station as they fight to get the chance to drive the next train to Helensburgh Central. You might think that the train on your morning commute is overcrowded, but really it’s because of all the spare drivers. Not that you’ll be able to get a train now anyway, since according to Dean all those train drivers are just going to turn their trains around and take them straight to England. That Humza Yousaf has got a lot to answer for.
All we’ve heard for the past few days have been complaints about the “Nat tax”. If the Scottish government had decided not to raise income tax on the highest earners, we’d currently be up to our ears in complaints from the exact same people that the Scottish government wasn’t even using the powers it currently has, so why can it possibly want more devolution or independence? This is the trap for the Scottish government that David Mundell boasted about. And it’s not like he’s the brightest bulb in the lobby. Meanwhile nowhere, but nowhere, over the past few days has been any clear exposition in that selfsame media that the only reason there is any need for this tax rise on the highest earners is because of Conservative austerity and the UK government’s continual assaults on the Scottish budget. That’s a Conservative government whose yoke Labour campaigned to keep Scotland under, and now the hypocrites complain about SNP austerity.
It wasn’t for nothing that the only tax powers that Westminster agreed to devolve to Scotland are powers over income tax, the one tax that directly affects wage earners in their pay packets. It’s proof that the British nationalist parties have never been remotely interested in providing a devolution settlement that is good for Scotland. All they’ve ever cared about is a devolution settlement that is good for themselves and their own sectional and narrow party interests. Not even the existential threat of the 2014 referendum and the continuing prominent role that the independence question plays in Scottish politics have been able to shake the British nationalist parties out of their self-serving complacency. The past few days have proven that there’s no hope for them. But there’s still hope for Scotland.
The Wee Ginger Dug has got a new domain name, thanks to Indy Poster Boy, Colin Dunn @Zarkwan. http://www.indyposterboy.scot/ You can now access this blog simply by typing www.weegingerdug.scot into the address bar of your browser, the old address continues to function, the new one redirects to the blog. The advantage of the new address is that it’s a lot easier to remember if you want to include a link to the blog in leaflets, posters, or simply to tell a friend about it. Many thanks to Colin.
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