They’re not using what now?

A guest post by Samuel Miller

There’s another theme running through unionist political releases of recent times which may bear a little closer scrutiny. Basically, that Scottish Government, critical institutions and services are seemingly always on the brink of catastrophic failure/crisis. More crucially, that the Scottish Government has the powers to deal with these crises, but for some unknown reason they choose not to use these pooowwwweeerrs to fix stuff.

“Our parliament is now more powerful than ever, with all the powers it needs to reverse Tory austerity. – But despite this, our services are still facing £327 million of cuts.” Kezia Dugdale (former) Labour in Scotland leader, January 2017

“Despite the Budget falling on international women’s day, 86 per cent of the austerity policies of Theresa May’s government fall on women. And Nicola Sturgeon could act to help stop this, but she refuses to stand in the way,” John McDonnell (Labour shadow chancellor) March 2017

“The SNP government has the powers if it wants to use them to mitigate the effects of austerity, they chose not to.”  Jeremy Corbyn (Labour Leader) August 2017

“The Scottish Parliament was delivered by Labour to be a bulwark against Conservative cuts, not a conveyor belt for them.” Richard Leonard (current) Labour in Scotland leader, November 2017 (‘delivered as a bulwark’… Uh Huh! So, not home rule as a point of principle then.)

Plausible? Would the Scottish government refuse/neglect to use their office and powers to alleviate hardship? This goes beyond the usual too wee, too poor, too stoopit meme we’ve seen endlessly regurgitated over the years into a whole new territory of shark jumping surely?

There is also a unicycling pachyderm in the room of course with this argument, but our media never quite seem capable of pointing it out to Scotland’s general public for consideration. (Spooky, I know). We’ll get back to that pachyderm shortly.

So, are the current Scottish government sitting on their hands when it comes to using the powers of Holyrood and devolved government to make life better for Scotland’s electorate?

Well, if you listen to the right wing meeja, then you’re constantly bombarded with accusations that Scotland’s citizenry enjoy a great deal more relief than other parts of the UK. Oh, and all at everyone else’s expense too. Over the past decade: exemption from tuition fees, free care for the elderly, bus passes for pensioners, free prescriptions, freeze on council tax, infrastructure investment in roads, *useless* (sark) second bridges, investment in child care and just for Mr Leonard, retention of Scottish water in public hands (cough). All pretty easily verified either on the SNPs own site HERE or if you felt like generally just catching up on what the Scottish government are up to then visit the Scotgov site HERE.

Still, if we want to keep it simple on the whole ‘not using the poowweeerrrs’ theory. Perhaps Labour’s leadership(s) could explain away mitigation of the Bedroom tax, the creation of the Food Fund, introduction of the Scottish welfare fund or the Banning of fracking. Maybe they could also throw some light on Scottish government intervention in threatened closures including TATA steel, BiFab, INEOS Grangemouth?

Maybe just me, but it appears that the current Scottish government have been fairly busy exercising powers and mitigating problems created by others. In fact it appears the Labour leadership’s sweeping accusations don’t appear to be holding much water at all.

How and ever, we’ll stick with just a couple of points to question. Perhaps Labour heid office are merely confused as to the nature and function of devolved government. Firstly, the Scottish government and devolution. Devolution in general surely isn’t a ‘bulwark’ against the depredations of any damn thing. Devolution is about exercising a degree of autonomy on budgeted administrative competences in specific areas agreed between a central government and a devolved legislature. A devolved legislature is power granted/gifted, not ceded. That’s point one.

Secondly, central government (that would be yer Westminster UK government), kinda get paid to deliver effective primary legislation which surely should NOT require mitigation by anyone and least of all by devolved legislatures who have zero control of their own economies and are allocated budgets which are expected to pay for other things. Why should a population pay taxes to central government for, y’know, governing and then expect their devolved government to mitigate for poor legislation from a budget (handout) that’s become a moveable feast? Basically paying twice just to either get by, or get things right.

Still, just to dot the i’s and cross the t’s, lets be very clear on reserved and devolved powers here, or what our handout is expected to pay for.

Devolved = what we pay for and have some control over

Reserved = what we also pay for, but have no control over

Back to the unicycling pachyderm in the room.

This Labour meme of a Scottish government not using devolved powers to alleviate austerity passed down from nasty Westminster government. Putting aside the points just made and the links to varied sources, there is only one reason Scotland’s government is forced to mitigate or offset any damn thing today. There is only one reason that Scotland’s electorate have to worry about or suffer any ill effects of Westminster legislation at all really.

We are not currently an independent nation state.

Labour and more particularly Labour in Scotland, may recall they were quite insistent that Scotland remain party to the political union of parliaments. I certainly recall that Labour leadership, (past, the then current and future), were only too happy to lead the charge in fronting the case for Betterthigetherness in Scotland during 2014’s indyref. Weel kent Labour faces fell over each other to apply both carrot and stick (mainly stick) to Scotland’s population throughout the entire debate. They also appeared none too worried about working alongside Mr Cameron’s Conservative party, or Mr Clegg’s Libdems along with many another pro union grouping besides. Are they now implying that the system of government they worked so hard to endorse to Scotland’s electorate isn’t quite up to scratch? That they’re passing down *gasp* needlessly punitive or highly inept legislation? Shocker!

Personally speaking though, I’m finding this current narrative of Labour’s hard to take. In my book, you don’t get to dump in someones living room then demand they clean up your mess. You certainly don’t get to endorse a political union, impose a system of government and a practice of politics, then moan about how bad its all turned out to those who didn’t want it in the first place. Or indeed, how badly their representatives are supposedly handling the shit pile you’ve helped dump in their laps.

Just so Labour is aware? You also don’t get to rewrite history.

You know readers, it’s not hard to find evidence that reaffirms your world view in this day and age. If you want to hate a thing, you simply read or watch information streams where you know you’ll find like minded bods telling you stuff you already believe to be reality. Some folk call it living in a bubble. The YES movement are accused of this all the time as most readers of pro indy sites are aware, but we’re not the only ones. The mainstream party political orthodoxy and the media are no less of a bubble and yet should require just the same scrutiny by each and every one of us.

The real test, again as many in the YES movement are aware, comes when you venture out to ask questions of your own belief of a narrative and of the people and institutions you have invested your trust in.

Just sayin’ like, but there’s a lot of YES voters out there today who weren’t always independence minded. These people still check out the mainstream media and its narrative near every day too, they just look at what is being said through new eyes and are prepared to consider the alternative viewpoint. Doesn’t seem such a difficult ask, but in this day and age it’s most certainly a radical and refreshing concept.

Something for the political class to consider. The days of mushroom farming the population may well be numbered. Tick tock.

38 comments on “They’re not using what now?

  1. Andy Anderson says:

    I agree with your sentiments Sam. It has always been thus. Having said that I think the political tempo has increased these last three or four years regarding lots of issues. The main one being the constitution and how we wish to be governed and talked too.

    Like you I think the Scottish Government has done a great job with ever dwindling funds and a hostile press. I often look at the SNP and SG web sites. You get another vision here. There are others sources of positive information about Scotland on the web.

    I believe from people I know that there is a move to YES. Some people are not 100% there yet but they are moving, some anyway.

    Labour is a joke in Scotland, As for the Tories it seems the new batch of MP’s have know idea what country voted them in or what powers Holyrood has. Idiots.

    Thank you for a great thoughtful article.

  2. It is reported that in the past 4 years an additional 300,000 pensioners, and 400,000 children have been added to the number living in Better Together YooKay absolute poverty, which now stands at 15,000,000.

    Fifteen million UK citizens dying a slow Tory/ Lib Dem/ Labour death.
    What do these parties have in common?

    They are all Brit Nat Unionists.

    One quarter of their precious YooKay is now languishing in state engineered poverty. Millions of our children will go without this Christmas.

    All through the Yes campaign, during Clegg and Cameron Austerity, we were exhorted to vote for the Union, and promised the world.
    What we got was EVEL, the Smith Commission farce, and the Rape Clause.

    Now this latest idiotic fellow traveller Richard Leonard, who has absolutely fuck all experience of public office other than ‘everybody out’ shop steward level shit, tries to blame our Scottish Government for WM’s brutal policies.

    130,000 DEAD because of the hellish policies of May Cameron Ruth Davidson Jackson Carlaw, Willie Rennie Vince Cable, Danny Alexander Liar Carmichael, Murdo 7 times loser Fraser, while

    Labour zombies stand back and do nothing; no, worse than nothing.
    Ian Murray ‘abstained; so did Kezia, Queen of the Jungle.
    Labour have made an art form out of abstaining, haven’t they?

    The record of the Scottish Government is there for all to see, yet we continue to get MSM propaganda pish shoved down our throats diurnally.

    For instance, Jackie Bird tonight on A&E waiting times, and post code lottery of Motor Neuron Treatment..drip, fucking drip fucking drip.

    As long as there is an Independence Party in Government the Scottish Branch of the English Establishment will paint Scotland as a basket case, and it’s all that Nasty Nic’s fault.
    Shop Steward Leonard is just another empty headed chancer, coining it in for doing nothing while spouting SNPBAD nasty lying nonsense, which Glenn Campbell will dutifully relay the following day as the gospel according to Yoon.
    Today’s Brexit farce exposed the Yoons for what they are. Hopelessly out of their depth, and dying of ignorance and indifference.
    Not long now, Sam.

    • Doug Porteous says:

      Jack I like it, it’s about time you had your own blog or at least one I can find.

      • Doug. I don’t have the IT nous, nor Sam’s or Paul’s sense of moderation.
        Thanks BTW.

      • jk.scobie says:

        What a brilliant piece of writing, isn’t it a pity we can not get this entire message out to every Scottish person entitled to vote,and try and get them to see the real picture and not the one portrayed by traitor politicians and scum media

        • I dipped into the Scottish BBC Propaganda outlet on I player.
          Headline from Jackie Bird:- Ruth Davidson accuses the FM of using Brexit to ‘weaponise’ her independence obsession.
          Then Ruth herself was allowed to make a statement unchallenged.

          Here it is:-
          ‘Frankly she should stop trying to leverage, weaponise Brexitas a tool for her independence obsession, and make sure we work together as one United Kingdomto get the best deal for all of us.’

          This vacuous piece of Arch Right English Estatablishment crap was allowed to go out unchallenged, followed by Glenn Campbell, who began: ‘the funny thing is that Nicola Sturgeon is not…’
          So once again the pea brained nonsense churned out by Ruth Davidson not only goes out unchallenged, but is followed up by BBC PQ’s WM correspondent making the quite farcical claim that Ruth Davidson’s alliance with DUP Gay Bashers was supported not only by Blue Tory back benchers but other MPs from other parties.
          BBC Scotland, what a fucking insult you are to the viewers in Scotland.
          We voted 62% Remain even before the horrors of Brexit unfolded, yet you allow this nasty little woman free rein, and the teatime headline soundbite?
          Why no interview, Glenn? Could it be that she falls to bits when anyone asks her awkward questions?
          BBC Scotland, you have sold your souls to a foreign devil. Sleep well.

          • Why no interview with Ruth, Glenn?

            Why no interview with Ruth,Glenn?

            Why no interview with Ruth, Glenn?

            Why no interview with Ruth, Glenn?

            Why no interview with Ruth, Glenn?

            Why no interview with Ruth, Glenn?

            Why no interview with Ruth, Glenn?

            Why no interview with Ruth, Glenn?

            ‘Til I’m blue in the face.

            She refused to take part in an interview yet BBC PQ film her SNP BAD a soundbite as the opening headline at teatime?

            What a corrupt little outfit you are pandering to the demands of a third rate chancer.

            Evidence if it were needed that you are in the pay of the Brit Establishment.

            And Nick Eardley’s piece live from Westminster was just laughable dross.
            According to him they are all lining up behind Davidson to support the DUP stance.
            It’s a pity Ruth can’t move to Norn Irn. Their laws are apparently not the same as the rest of the UK in some aspects, like loving people living together in matrimony.
            The Ruth Davidson Love In.
            BBC PQ you are frankly a disgrace.

            Roll on Indyref 2.

  3. bedelsten says:

    I may have missed it. I may have been doing something more useful, inspecting the insides of my eyelids perhaps, and it passed me by, or it has never happened; some statement from a unionist party in Scotland about what policies they would pursue when Scotland becomes an independent nation. Because, surely, the best way of getting rid of the SNP and then being able to pursue these policies would be for the SNP to fulfil its mandate and obliviate its raison d’être (if you excuse my French).

    But, no, the unionist parties in Scotland, with the connivance of a complicit meeja, would prefer to snark from the side lines, display arrogant ignorance about what powers the Scottish Government actually has while expecting Nicla to run up Glen Clova unreeling a drum of fibre optic cable on the way while, simultaneously, at the same time, take publicly owned companies back into public ownership, take Scotrail in public ownership despite not being allowed to, never have any snagging issues on complex bits of civil engineering, take the blame for the Edinburgh trams fiasco, and complete dualling the A9 before it has started (ditto the Aberdeen bypass aka AWPR).

    Just wait until a few flakes of snow lie fall on the lowlands of Scotland, as they do from time to time during the winter months, then there will be an uproar and questions will be asked; why is Humsa Yousaf not, personally, running up the M8 with a big brush? The meeja will demand answers. And we will continue with the pop-corn, waiting, waiting… Not long now.

    • And whit aboot that Nicola Sturgeon shuttin’ aw they RBS branches. Some Labour shop steward demands answers today from the Scottish Government. It’s aw their fault….

    • Patsy says:

      Thanks for expressing the problem in such an amusing way. You brought a smile to my face despite the overall depressing fact that what you are saying is, in fact, exactly what is happening.

  4. mogabee says:

    Problem with having a constant drip is it gets really irritating and then you have to find someone to fix it(voila Nicola Sturgeon) She informs you it can be partially repaired but you don’t believe that is good enough so off you go to find a permanent solution.

    You look all over and take advice from others who repeat the same information as you were originally told.

    You start to see the only way to fix that damn dripping tap is to rip it out and get a new one!!!

    New tap is imminent… 😀

  5. Dan Huil says:

    Excellent article.

  6. Graham says:

    Independence is normal.

    Vote for normality.

  7. Where is Ruth hiding?
    Where’s Oor Wullie?
    Nothing to say about how swimmingly the Brexit deal is faring?
    They are always absent where Big Politics rears its ugly head, aren’t they?
    And the jumped up Shop Steward who is now running the Red Tory Branch Office?
    Surely this is all Nicola Sturgeon’s fault for not mitigating the effects of WM Brexit?
    I see Professor Two Jobs WATP self proclaimed bigot Adam unelected Tomkins is raising a question in parliament tomorrow about something or other to do with the UK’s non existent constitution.
    Why does this man continue to use up the earth’s atmosphere?

  8. Brilliant piece, like WGD, speaking clearly for folk like me. The twisted propaganda of those who are defending indefensible disastrous Westminster rule, blaming SNP , denying SNP humane interventions, trying to demoralise YES campaign with more and more cynical lies makes me too angry.

  9. Where is the button for “abso-bloody-lutely – couldn’t agree more”? Mere “Like” simply doesn’t cut the mustard in this instance. Well said, Sam! Thank you for spot-lighting, nay flood-lighting, that unicycling pachyderm.

  10. Alasdair Macdonald says:

    It is disappointing, to say the least, when we get interviewers failing to challenge statements about alleged inaction when the powers to act have not been devolved. A well informed interviewer is capable of familiarising her/himself with such information and should be challenging politicians who make such assertions.

    It is not just in matters such as devolution that such a failure takes place. For example, often, motorists or their organisations are heard to ask, “What do we pay our road tax for?”. There has never been such a thing.

    Of course, some interviewers ARE informed and so any failure to correct a politician on a matter of fact implies a degree of partiality.

    Any government of whatever complexion must be called to account because that is how we get better legislation and regulation and a better informed electorate. Fortunately, the internet now allows the public, if members are so inclined, to inform themselves better.

    I suspect this better informed electorate is one of the reasons that many journalists are increasingly held in contempt. I do not mind columnists being partial as long as they make it explicit in advance.

  11. Brian Powell says:

    It was never in the Labour Party’s interests for Scots to know what the devolved and reserved powers were and mean. Just as it was not in their interests to teach Scottish history, ancient or modern.
    I suspect this was because Labour was in charge from the beginning of devolution and is a huge presence in teaching.
    Only since the SNP became the Government was Scottish history introduced into the curriculum. Interesting to note in Gibraltar it was only with the dumping of teaching British history and the introduction of their own history did people there start to think of being independent.

    • Les Bremner says:

      How strong is the independence movement in Gibraltar? That lends a wonderful twist to Brexit.

    • BBC Scotland 3 minutes of Breakfast TV News (6 minutes devoted to England and the Ashes!) headlined with 1 in 5 Scots (piggy backing on the back of a UK study) miss GP appointments, and most from ‘less well off’, ‘deprived areas.
      After all it was a no news day for Scotland yesterday, wasn’t it?
      The quite deliberate attempts by our very expensive highly paid Scottish Branch of the English Establishment’s Broadcast Propaganda Outlet to stifle real news, and substitute this drivel as a headline rivals China and North Korea.
      I cannot imagine working for such a 1984 outfit.
      Is everybody at BBC Scotland, and the ‘commercial’ station STV, an unquestioning, dyed in the wool, true blue, loyalist, UK -ish, with the unquestioning Creationist fervour of the Norn Irn DUP?
      How else can we interpret this daily dose of Unionist nonsense and news suppression?
      We are laughing at you guys. No, really. You are coming across as very silly now.
      BREXIT, is the story. Not a free advert for Sting’s musical.
      Where are you going to work come independence?
      Treat the Scottish public as fools, and we reciprocate.
      Latest poll, 68% Remain, and counting.
      Let’s hope that none of the Pensioners who voted No in September ’14 are included in the 300,000 pensioners sucked below the poverty line in the past Better together 4 years.
      Go on, BBC Pacific Quay, spoil yourselves. Get back to the ‘day job’ of reporting real news, and not Yoon handouts.

      • I am coining a neologism. From henceforth, ProudScotsBut will be referred to as ‘Yookish’, not ‘British’.
        No word from the Leader of the Scotttish Conservative and Unionist Party, or her New Best Friend, Oor Wullie yet?
        Come out come out wherever you are.
        I’m sure the newshounds will want to pin you down on the latest DUP power grab.

  12. Patsy says:

    Absolutely spot on. You have set out things so clearly, even Richard Leonard could understand, that is if he could see beyond the end of his nose.

  13. Graham says:

    Actually funding the roads is exactly why the Road Fund Licence came into being.
    Problem was that Westminster failed to spend all of the fund on the roads.
    Eventually the link between the income and its purpose was severed and it was renamed as Vehicle Excise Duty.

  14. There will come a point whereby the SNP can’t mitigate any more austerity cuts due to lack of direct funding from Central Gov & as we know they will amount to some £3 billion from the Scottish budget . I fervently hope that we are Independant before any more damage can be laid on the doorstep of the SNP or we can kiss our arses goodby .

    • emilytom67 says:

      Ronnie we then declare for independence and fcuk to them.

    • Joe. says:

      The Tories.lab.libdems.are out to crush
      Scotland.and until people in Scotland
      Wake up things will just get worse not
      Better many of the electorate really do
      Think the snp.is at fault for anything
      That does go wrong.they should wake
      Up and smell the coffee.or as private
      Fraser said.where doomed.where
      Doomed.scotland please wake up
      Before it is to late.roll on.
      Independence.

  15. Good read Sam weil done .

  16. Macart says:

    Breaking News!

    HERE!

    Spain lifts arrest warrant on Catalan president.

    • I think that they know that their ‘noisy neighbours’ are going to opt for Self Determination, Sam.
      They fear ‘unusual circumstances’ erupting post election, just like the DUP dilemma.
      I found Ruth’s 1.10 am tweet this morning by chance.
      Apparently the Red Blue and DUP Tories have been instructed not to appear on the media today, so Davidson takes her usual coward’s way out of facing the Scottish People.
      She is now a keyboard Yookish Nat locked in her ‘parents basement in her underpants’ supporting the Gay Bashing, anti same sex marriage DUP in their NO Surrender stance against her former pal ‘Big T’.
      All together now, (C’mon, Professor WATP Tomkins, and Murdo The Queen’s Eleven Fraser, you know the words surely?)
      ‘My Father was an Ulster Man…’
      Can’t find Oor Wullie lurking in the internet undergrowth yet.
      So that will be 10 +13 scots Yoons opposing TM and Davis then?
      What an almighty feck up.
      Scotland independent and Ireland reunited, both in the EU soon now.

    • Andy Anderson says:

      Good news.

  17. Robert Graham says:

    Oh where to start amongst the chaos that surrounds us .

    The only way this union can survive all this self in inflicted brexit madness , is if the whole of Scotland has a dramatic bout of collective amnesia , they forget all previous heart felt promises by this government and unionist parties all headquartered south of the border .

    The daily drip drip from the BBC is not meant to inform , its just to keep the believers topped up with a daily dose of protect the union , turn this off and this union dies because people might start to waken up.

    I have yet to see a more desperate act as Mayhems government activly joining with the DUP , this is the Irish equivalent of the KKK without the fun , even the flat earth society would be embarrassed by this lots views on evolution , and this band of nutters are holding the whole country hostage .

  18. John Geddes says:

    In the 19th century the Scots kept down by the redcoats; In the 20th century the Scots kept down by the red ties.

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