15/05/14 The great debate, or why I believe Scotland should stay in the Union

This year, the Times rich list rejoiced in the fact that we’ve now, for the first time ever, got over 100 £billionaires choosing to live on our fair island.

That’s over 100 people with more than one thousand million pounds.

We’re told that this is wealth that will trickle down.


Well, unemployment’s down – but that doesn’t stand up terribly well to close scrutiny – we have 4.5 million people who are self employed, a quarter of whom who wish they weren’t, but had no choice; we have 1.4 million folk on zero hour contracts – contracts that don’t offer sick pay and limited holiday pay.

But that’s not what this particular story’s about…

Since they failed to be elected, this government have introduced the bedroom tax, increased the cost of prescriptions, increased tuition fees and, just recently, have managed to abolish the Independent Living Fund.

The independent living fund was set up to supplement the cost of care packages for people with disabilities.

For example, back in the day, when I was practicing the dark art of social work, I could secure £200 per week for a care package from the local authority social work department which would then allow me to apply to the Independent Living Fund for anything up to a further £300 per week to allow an individual to live independently in the community. This money never went to the client – it always went to those charged with their care.

Last year, the government was found to have acted illegally when they tried to close the fund down. You’d think they’d have held their hands up to say, ‘It’s a fair cop, we lost…’

Well, no, that wasn’t the case. They changed the law so, effectively, they could do what they want…

These costs will now have to be met – if at all – by local authorities. The government will be able to castigate local councillors for mismanagement of funds…when there are far fewer funds to go round.

So what’s this got to do with Scotland?

Well, where to start? In Scotland there are no tuition fees; people don’t pay for prescriptions; the the Holyrood parliament pay individual’s bedroom tax; and recently, they’ve agreed to start up the Scottish Independent Living Fund.

Well, some cynics might say, they can only afford this generosity because the leach off the rest of the UK…

Sadly, these cynics will be disappointed.

If we look at the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita of the UK as a whole then we find ourselves languishing in 17th place in the world.

If Scotland looks at it’s GDP separately from the rest of the UK, their position rockets to 8th in the world.

Furthermore, in Scotland the Bailiff is all but extinct. If you’ve ever watched ‘Fake, don’t get Dom, watch out someone’s going to steal everything you have, under the hammer’ on the BBC, you’ll know that bailiffs in England and Wales, once directed by the court, can wander into your house, sell all your stuff for an amount that just about pays their fees, leaving you with the debt you already had.

In Scotland, they don’t.

One final point that’s particularly salient to me – in Scotland, your wandering loon has the right to roam. There is (almost) no law of trespass, the crime being criminal damage should you make a mess of someone’s property once you’ve rambled on it.

In England and Wales you don’t have the right to roam.

So a) why don’t you bugger off back to your own country and/ or

b) Why don’t you just vote for independence and get it over and done with?

I won’t be voting for independence because I find the idea of Westminster without a Scottish counterweight absolutely terrifying.

I could bang on about how Job Seekers Allowance has hit the dizzy heights of £57.35 per week, and that now that folk have to turn up every day at the Job Centre to prove they’re looking for work, their unpaid travelling expenses knock that income down to around £30 a week.

We have a benefit sanctioning system where people can have their benefits stopped for 3 years! You’ll be delighted to hear that a high percentage of those sanctioned are people with a mental health problem.

That’s why we have over 913,318 people a year making the ‘choice’ to use food banks.

If you cast your mind back to the debacle over the ATOS work capability assessment, you’ll remember how over 40% of their decisions that were appealed were overturned.

So, the government have come up with a brilliant solution. Instead of improving the process, they’ve decided to charge those making the appeal. You know, those same people who have no money because their benefits have been wrongly assessed, need to cough up a wodge of cash to challenge that decision.

Spare a passing thought for the huge reduction in people’s entitlement to legal aid, and the, coming to a surgery near you very soon, £10 a pop charge to see your GP…

The Scottish Parliament isn’t perfect by any means, but God, more now than ever, do we need a government of the people, for the people to act as a counterbalance against this er, bunch of swivel eyed loons who claim to govern us now.

A Scottish Parliament who appear to actually LIKE the people they govern as opposed to the Westminster ministers who seem to see the poorer folk in society as little more than an inconvenience.

Yes Scotland, if you left, you’d be better off, you’d probably evolve more quickly, your people would be better cared for…but think about the rest of the UK…you need to continue setting that good, no sorry, better, example.

Walk a mile


This entry was posted in economy, government, hospitality, inequality, kindness, mental health, social work, walking and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to 15/05/14 The great debate, or why I believe Scotland should stay in the Union

  1. Colin Kerr says:

    Hi Chris,
    In Scotland we could have governments which try to make the lives of the citizens better rather than getting involved in illegal (Iraq) and pointless (Afghanistan) wars and privatising essential services e.g. The NHS.

    • Colin – you’re right – the more I think about it, the more I think a Scottish parliament with full independence is the only way. I’m sure the English and welsh populace will work it out eventually

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