Let’s NOT talk about Brexit

In Jim O’Neill’s last missive before Christmas he reminds us that aside from Brexit there is a list of serious political problems to be solved, and ministers in both London and Edinburgh are seriously failing the people they are meant to serve.


While the UK Government has obsessed about Brexit, tying up vast swathes of Parliamentary time, and the Scottish Government has focused Brexit and independence, we seem to have forgotten the many other ills assailing our society. So I want to give the few who read my ramblings a pre-Christmas run through of the most concerning, in the hope that the New Year will bring a redoubled determination to do something about them.

It was a sign of the media obsession with Brexit that Jeremy Corbyn was roundly condemned at a recent Prime Minister’s Questions for daring to ask about Universal Credit instead. UC is turning out to be the single worst man-made cause of poverty in the history of Britain.

We hear reports of social housing providers and local authorities who are losing millions in rent charges, and with the massive increase in private rentals, many many people are facing the loss of their homes. We hear of new applicants being faced with no money over Christmas and New Year as the Department for Work and Pensions struggles to implement their claim. We hear of many who have neither computer skills or access to computers, especially in more rural parts, who can’t even make an application.

And Jeremy Corbyn was attacked for asking about all these things? Get a grip and get your eyes away from Brexit and on to the massive scandal of Universal Credit. And at a time of increasing poverty, and with a reserve of over £300m, Derek McKay cannot see the value in adding £5 to child benefit to combat the growing crisis of child poverty in Scotland, an issue that has been on the increase ever since the SNP took power?

Other Scottish Government inaction is also contributing to a sense of rabbit and headlights afflicting it. Since John Swinney became Finance Minister in the first SNP government, a minority government supported by the Tories, they have been promising to end Council Tax. Now, eleven years later, they have gone quiet on this with only the Greens and Labour seeking to move this agenda forward. This means, for instance, that the wealthiest have become even wealthier, since, despite their homes increasing in value, their Council Tax has not increased. So someone with a house worth £3m pays the same as someone with a house worth £150,000. This cannot be fair.

Labour suggested an interim step a number of years ago – extend the number of bands upwards. This would have the result of making the wealthiest pay a fairer amount for their council services as well as cutting the amount paid by the poorest. Such an approach, if made by the SNP government, would have the support of MSPs across the chamber (except the Tories) and could be quickly implemented.

Another council issue causing real hardship among the many in Scotland is the continued austerity budgets causing a real shortfall in the funds of local authorities. It has been mentioned time and again by Audit Scotland that while the Scottish Government have had cuts imposed by Westminster of up to 4%, they have passed on cuts of up to 10% to Councils. The cumulative effect of this has been loss of jobs and services vital to communities. And Mr McKay’s latest budget will entrench this even more, even putting under severe strain the statutory services local authorities  ave tried to maintain. When will the SNP realise that councils should be the partners of central government and not their enemies?

This is most obvious in education, where the provision of the service is a joint responsibility, delivered by councils under rules set down by Holyrood. What we now see is an exasperated workforce, in some cases providing pencils and jotters at their own cost in the classroom and whose pay has been under restraint for years, beginning to become sickened by their lot and either leaving the profession or preparing for strike action in the new year. It was such a situation in the 1970s and 80s that led to the last great wave of teachers’ strikes, which finally led to a real boost to teachers’ pay and a contract that finally limited their workload. But Mr Swinney seems to accept no responsibility for this particular train hurtling off the cliff.

Every health board in Scotland is in both financial and staffing crisis, whether by under-funding, although with 50% of the total Scottish Budget this would be surprising, or through incompetence of management. If it is the latter, and we have seen so many cases in Tayside, Lothian and elsewhere to suggest it is, why has no Health Secretary intervened to replace people or to investigate the decision making process? And now we have the undemocratic sight of a Health Secretary running away from public scrutiny, a system that has been in place since Labour’s Andy Kerr. Yet we see no comprehensive plans to deal with this crisis from Ms Freeman, a relatively recent convert to the SNP.

Finally a word about transport, and particularly rail transport. In recent days we have seen chaos as Scotrail move on to a new timetable, caused, among other things, by a failure to train staff in the operation of new rolling stock. Surely that was predictable and is yet another example of failures by Dutch government owned Abellio to run our trains effectively. It is time to withdraw the contract from these failures and create a People’s Railway owned by the people of Scotland, as recommended by the Co-operative and Labour parties. I hope that the SNP government’s resistance to this idea is not for political reasons. If so they stand accused, yet again, of failing the people of Scotland.

With this list of problems facing them I wish that Nicola Sturgeon’s ministers have a restful Christmas and come back with minds refreshed and new ideas to solve the crises facing them.

Merry Christmas to all. Io Saturnalia!

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30 thoughts on “Let’s NOT talk about Brexit

  1. What this worthless Uncle Tam oaf means is lets not talk about Labours part as the Brexit Midwife instead lets read him denying once again that Labour abstained on the vote that gave us UC instead of opposing.
    He spews about the wrongs in Scotland as if none of it were influenced or brought about by a foreign run foreign controlled Government and Parliament the people of Scotland have no influence over because he too is part of that system that allows it.
    While the Tories are ugly nasty vile soulless despotic bottom feeders with no sense of empathy sympathy or sacrifice they have the saving grace of not trying to pretend they are anything else Labour on the other hand are no better yet pretend they are.
    They spew the rhetoric of social democracy while practicing the dark arts of Tory Conservatism in the only place they can and do make a difference in the UK. You can take any of the worthless spew this oaf writes and compare it with Labour in action in Wales and see right through the worthless dishonesty of it all.
    You are still one sick puppy Jim Bob.

    1. Ah, I can always rely on you to play the man not the ball. How do you explain growth being almost catatonic at half the UK’s. Oh it’s because of nasty old Westminster. Drop the scales from your eyes and accept that the SNP Government couldn’t run a whelk Stall

      1. what powers does the Scottish Parliament have that directly influence growth relative to those that are reserved? Are you saying that the reserved powers that influence Scottish economic growth have no or a positive effect while ONLY the powers devolved that affect growth cause it to stagnate?
        What powers that affect growth is Labour proposing be Devolved? Any?
        You advocate allowing a foreign power to wield the powers authority and means to grow the Scottish economy and whine when the effect is negative because you’re a worthless piece of party political corruption.
        That’s the issue I raised and you ignored because you’ve no viable answer to it. You never have any viable answers to the questions you raise with the shite you post.
        You’re not a man you’re a piece of worthless mass taking up the space that belongs to a man.
        What the so called growth measure shows is that the UK state wilfully allows the Scottish economy to stagnate below the measure they apply to the rest of the UK because they control not only the measurement but also the effect and consequences giving sick wee Uncle Tam acolytes like you a false narrative to spew in your never ending quest for an SNP bad Scotland too wee too poor too stupid mantra.
        Shame the internet allows for a response to it though eh Jim Bob? The kinds of response you’re unable to deal with without resorting to pitiful ignorance or worthless denial.

          1. I must be better than I thought you didn’t even try to make a pathetic pitiful fruitless attempt to argue.

  2. “…another example of failures by Dutch government owned Abellio to run our trains effectively…” – surely govt run enterprises cannot be failures?

    “When will the SNP realise that councils should be the partners of central government and not their enemies?” – when did labour stop regarding local authorities as personal fiefdoms?

    We need huge amount more money for education and health. Aye OK, but the hell is labour going to make cuts to fund it?

  3. Gordon, of course Government run enterprises can be failures, but in this case, Abellio are providing a service which continues not to deliver. I think you are living in the past if you think Labour still believes local authorities are personal fiefdoms. Finally, look at our last Manifesto to get your answer

    1. Not delivering what? The rail service in Scotland is performing higher than anywhere else in the UK proving that nobody else in charge of the Parliament will deliver better. Anything that doesn’t deliver 100% 100% of the time can be measured as failing by worthless wee stains like you.
      And what is a Labour manifesto if it isn’t an exercise in listing intentions that will never see the light of day.
      Just stop posting utter shite for the sake of it you worthless corrupt piece of gibbering bottom feeding.

      1. Mike stop pretending you support independence your language proves you don’t the SNP are trying to distance themselves from the kind of name calling you indulge in I think you are a tory desperate to end SNP rule .

      2. Mike address your comments to train customers with late or delayed Trains
        Who posted pictures on social media and took to the nearest tv camera and know I don’t use trains I get the bus which might be late but turns up

        1. Another pathetic sick attempt to try and make something out of the fact that NOTHING IS 100% perfect and never will be so lets use that FACT to attack something that is working at its peak efficiency anyway so we can pretend we can do it better knowing full well we cant because we prove that fact every day in Wales.
          Just fuck off .

          1. Even the First Minister at FMQs today agreed that the performance was unacceptable and had to improve

        2. The problem I have with this article and, truth be told, virtually all of Mr O’Neill’s contributions, is the dishonesty at its heart.

          Leaving aside the basic fact that almost every aspect of public provision of services is far better in Scotland than anywhere else in the UK (especially Labour run Wales), despite the austerity driven financial environment Westminster has imposed, his claims about the Rail service are either lies or a surprising ignorance of Scottish (sic) Labour policy. I really don’t believe the latter as I have pointed out his Party’s policy on Rail several times before and he still pretends it is otherwise.

          Prior to the granting of the franchise to Abellio in 2015, Scottish (sic) Labour’s official policy (as set out in their “Powers for a Purpose” document; March 2014) was to look at a publicly run Scotrail AFTER the franchise granted in 2015 expired. This is EXACTLY the Scottish Govt’s policy. For Mr O’Neill to claim it would have been different had Scotland voted Labour in 2011 is simply dishonest.

          Scotland’s rail service is easily the best in the UK with punctuality and service delivery significantly better than their counterparts in England and Wales. The current unfortunate problems are down to the introduction of new rolling stock that will ultimately see yet further improvement in service provision. Perhaps this is why Mr O’Neill is getting this opportunistic wee dig in before that happens.

          PS FFS Mike, calm down. You have plenty of good points to make, but coating them in personal abuse just gives Unionists the opportunity to ignore them and bleat to all and sundry about abusive cybernats instead.

          1. Bungo well said about Mike he does have good points to make but the abuse which I think is deliberate is letting him down

  4. My local community radio station Irvine Beat FM has a Sunday Talkin phone in its back in January on Sunday 16th a caller phoned in about the members and activities of the Privy Council .
    She said that the members include former politicians including Tony Blair Gordon Brown Alex Salmond etc all now out of office she also included todays elected politicians Nicola and Ruth Davidson .She claimed that they share secret info the public is not aware of .
    My phone call was to suggest Methadone Mick from still game for PM.
    Then today I read in the Times in their coverage of the FMS visit to the PM and Cabinet discussions on Brexit
    Ian Blackford told the Times As a member of the Privy Council he has seen details of the impact of a no deal Brexit but was sworn to secrecy and urged the Government to publish the sobering details .
    So I ask what else has he been shown in secret .
    Because this affects us do they make decisions in secret on Privy council terms that the public don’t know about its time we did

  5. The SNP Greens Plaid all put down a motion of no confidence in the Government I had a hospital appointment which took most of the day .
    I would not have known if I had not received a text message last night nothing on the red button that I saw nothing on any news station don’t know about Scotland tonight have not seen anything in todays papers nothing at PMQS even from the SNP that I saw its in todays National p4 buried half way down the page under the bit where the DUP say they will back the Government the Libs also backed the no confidence vote .

  6. Jim Bob
    “Even the First Minister at FMQs today agreed that the performance was unacceptable and had to improve”

    Its standard practice to seek to improve on anything and everything when and if possible but what party political bottom feeding scum like you do with this practice is to measure failure as anything other than perfection knowing you cannot reach perfection yourself in anything.
    You wont acknowledge the reality that if measurement is to be applied an accurate assessment of comparison is available between the performances of Public service in Scotland and the performance elsewhere in the UK. In that measurement you can clearly conclude that the ONLY way improvement can be achieved is by keeping the present Scottish Government in place and ensuring that lesser performers such as the Tories Labour and Lib Dems are kept out. Labour own track record in and out of government PROVES they are not fit for office or can be trusted to do anything any better in fact they can and are trusted to do far worse as can be highlighted in Wales.

    Pathetic little reality denying Tory mouthpiece.

    1. Mike another Labour bad piece everything you say totally in line with Tory Party policy which you obviously support .
      The Tories told me I am a communist Nicola a Marxist along with the Shadow Chancellor along with The SNP member I was with and all of it in the language you use thoughtless and ignorant straight out of your Tory party play book

      1. They should have recognised the fact that you’re simply self unaware. You don’t even know what you are.

  7. Todays Alec Salmond Show Kate Hoey Lab MP possible violence in the street if no Brexit Angus MacNeil SNP MP agreed and called on the SNP leadership to get a move on with Indy 2 said no plans have been drawn up by the party leadership to even start a campaign
    DUP MP said they do not want to bring down or change the PM or the Government and wont vote for it .
    They want the PM to show the same resilience in fighting to change the backstop as she has done in taking on her own party.

  8. One other thing that nonsense of who called who what at PMQS yesterday like school kids in the playground shouting Corbyn fight fight
    It got more coverage all day on TV and So called Social Media nothing Social about it than the things that matter to us real issues like Brexit Poverty Universal Credit .
    Then last night a media Scrum outside his house with his family having to unlock his front door to get him in disgraceful all for 24 hr telly no other leader gets that its up to all of us no matter what party you are in and none to complain .

  9. I got onboard a train just after the result of the Scottish Independence Referendum in 2014 the train’s destination is a place called lndependent Scotland, the train’s making good progress and many new passengers are getting onboard in particular at a station called Scottish Labour many passengers said that although they are Scottish Labour supporters they want to make the journey to the destination called lndependent Scotland. ps the train guard said there’s a few more seat’s left and anybody is welcome to get on board.

    1. David there’s a guard and a train driver and it’s been a wonderful journey so far expect to reach the destination lndependent Scotland sometime in the New Year 2019.

    1. David l wish everybody a Merry Christmas especially Scottish Labour supporters who should take this festive opportunity to put the gloom and doom Grinch like SNP BAD attitude aside and chill out and enjoy festivities if that is at all possible, so you ho ho to one and all.

      1. Thank you for your comment Ted and can the SNP stop the non stop Labbad and the personal stuff just read the National to see what I mean

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