On Wednesday the Scottish Parliament debated the Scottish Government’s draft budget. The Labour party in Scotland doesn’t like the Scottish Government’s budget. No really. I was as shocked as you are. Labour think it’s a bad budget. It’s a terrible budget. It’s a rotten budget. But worst of all, and for this it is beyond all redemption and hope of forgiveness, it’s an SNP budget.
So you might wonder, and not unreasonably, what would Labour do differently? Labour carefully pondered. Labour has considered and thought the issues through. Labour has the answers that working class people are demanding. And so James Kelly pronounced from his pulpit of wisdom, the one that he was standing at because he won’t sit down, “Ah, well, but, eh, anyway … We’ll get back to you on that one … Emm … It’s a rubbish budget anyway but.”
Labour has all sorts of fantastic plans. They’re going to give every school in Scotland a golden unicorn. They’re going to pay every public sector worker a quadrasquillion quid a year. They will ensure that no one in Scotland will ever catch a cold ever again and the NHS will be so well funded that it will never be used because no one in the country is ever ill. When Labour’s in charge it won’t dare snow. It’s just that they don’t have the foggiest idea of how they’re going to pay for any of this. They won’t say what taxes they’ll raise in order to come up with the extra £700 million they say that Scotland needs. They won’t say what spending they will cut to make up the difference. Because they have no clue.
Labour hated the budget because they said that it would not defend Scotland against austerity, because it wouldn’t protect public services from cuts. It’s a budget, Labour claimed, which proves that Thatessempee is in cahoots with the Tories. And to prove just how opposed Labour is to anything that smacks of support for Torydom, they voted against their own motion along with the Tories. They voted along with the Tories to reject an extra £400 million for NHS Scotland. You know, that NHS that they’re always complaining is underfunded and underachieving. They voted along with the Tories against an extra £120 million for Scottish schools. You know, those schools that they’re always complaining are underfunded and underachieving. They voted along with the Tories to block the lifting of the cap on public sector pay. You know, in order to fight for the interests of those public sector workers that they’re always telling us are suffering due to the wages squeeze. There’s Labour standing up for Scotland against the Conservatives. Keir Hardy must be so proud of them.
Not that any of this was adequately explained on our wunnerful public service broadcaster, just like they glossed over the betrayal by Scotland’s half baked dozen of Tory MPs of the devolution settlement. There are far more important and crucial news stories to be told than the fact that the Conservative government, fully supported by Scotland’s thirteen Tory MPs, is traducing the results of the 1997 referendum when Scotland voted for the devolution settlement and the 2014 referendum when the people of Scotland voted for stronger devolution and a Scotland that’s an equal partner in the UK family of nations. There are far more relevant news stories than the story that the Labour party in Scotland is even more unfit than Donald Trump, who is in rude good health for an overweight 71 year old man who takes to his bed to stuff his face with junk food and never takes any exercise. There are important stories that the people of Scotland need to be told, like the one about the hedgehog which is getting hydrotherapy and the surprising fact that it has been snowing in Scotland in January. Ohmygod! Who knew! And now the fitba.
There’s nothing to stop the Labour party in Scotland from promoting tax policies of its own if it doesn’t like the ones that are on offer from the Scottish Government. It’s not like Labour has a great deal else to do with itself. They’re not in government. They’re not even the main opposition party. If they spent a fraction less time falling out with one another and a little more time coming up with policies they might actually have something constructive to say about the budget. Unlike the Scottish Government the Labour party is going to be guaranteed a favourable hearing in much of the Scottish media and will even, incredibly enough, be given billing on Reporting Scotland above the hydrotherapised hedgehog. It’s just that they don’t have a tax policy. Or anything else that smacks of costing, thought, or rigour. All they have is tribalistic finger pointing.
The Tories have a tax policy. Admittedly it’s a rubbish tax policy even by the standards by which Labour judges the SNP’s tax policy. The Tory tax policy is not to increase taxes on rich people because it’s a far greater social benefit that well paid people in the leafier suburbs can afford a second skiing holiday than it is to fund services for children and vulnerable people. But at least the Tories have a tax policy, even if it is one that a Viking warlord who specialises in ransacking and pillaging would consider a tad greedy and a wee tait entitled – and you can have as many skiing holidays as you want when you’re a Viking warlord.
Labour could have used the debate in Holyrood to highlight the actions of Scotland’s Conservative MPs and their betrayal of the devolution settlement despite their claims that they’d vote as a bloc to defend and protect Scotland’s interests. Labour could have used the debate to promote and publicise meaningful and realistic solutions to help mitigate the austerity politics of the Tories and their blaming and victimisation of the poor. Instead, they decided that the most effective use of their energies was to waste time with tribalistic finger pointing. We hate Thatessempee. That’s it. That’s the beginning and end of political thought in the Labour party in Scotland.
The Labour party in Scotland is less useful than a broken pencil stub. Even a broken pencil stub can be sharpened so it has a point. Sharpen the Labour party in Scotland’s pencil stub and all you’ll be left with is the rubber face of James Kelly erasing anything meaningful from a Holyrood debate.
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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