DH cropDuncan Hothersall, Editor of Labour Hame, says we have the power in our hands to choose a progressive approach to securing the services we all rely on. We should grasp it.

 

Yesterday Kezia Dugdale outlined a plan to increase the basic rate of tax so that swingeing cuts to education could be reversed. As she said, its not just an education policy but an economic policy.

Everything we know about our economy and the world economy tells us that Scotland’s future will be more and more dependent on our people’s skills. There is a simple choice facing us. We can embrace that future and prepare our people so that they can thrive in the world of tomorrow; or we can accept the Tory-imposed austerity that condemns a portion of society to looking in from the outside.

Every year in Scotland, 6,000 children leave school unable to read properly. What kind of future is there for them? Will they be able to participate in a skills-based economy? Will they find rewarding and fulfilling work? Or will they be condemned to a future of low paid, temporary, precarious work while the rest of the world moves past them?

I take the pragmatic view that the job of government is to harness the resources of society to ensure a future where everyone has a fair chance to participate. Going on as we are is no longer an option. Far too many are locked into unfulfilling work, with uncertain hours granted by exploitative employers. At the same time they are locked out of the promise of the future.

 

In the past few years, through the Labour Party and through shared friendships, I’ve got to know a lot more older people than I used to. It’s truly an education. When you’re young you think you know everything. The older you get the more you realise how much you need to learn.

One of our new friends is Maureen, who wouldn’t thank me for telling you her age but who is now retired. She often mentions just how much access to education meant in her life. She left school at 15 with little in the way of qualifications, started a family and worked every day to make a good life for her sons. When the last of them started school (she now has seven grandchildren!) she looked for work, but her lack of qualifications made it hard to find anything. A school friend persuaded her to go back to college, which she did, taking advantage of a small bursary, first part time, then eventually on to an ONC and an HND. With those qualifications she embarked on a career in the NHS, and more than thirty years later she retired from a job where she managed budgets into the millions and hundreds of staff.

Maureen had to work hard, which she did all of her life, but she had just a little help along the way. She despairs at what is happening to this generation of young people. The ladder she was able to climb is simply no longer available. More than 150,000 college places have been lost and the sneering criticism of “part time, hobby courses” made by defenders of the SNP’s choices sends a cold shiver through her.

A world where Maureen couldn’t find the help she needed to make the life she wanted for her family is worse for her, but it is also worse for all of us.

You can reduce it all to costs and benefits, if that’s the way your mind works. For me, though, I’m persuaded by the simple notion that the measure of any society is how we treat the least well off, how we nurture and support those born into disadvantage. The Spirit Level famously makes the compelling case that more equal societies are better for everyone.

 

In response to Labour’s idea that we need to find resources to tackle the crisis in education, the Nattering classes seem unable, or unwilling, to appreciate that you can’t both be against austerity and unwilling to act against its causes.

This is sad, and self-defeating. So here’s my message to my SNP friends.

First of all, stop a second. Half of you are screaming hatred at Labour from some sort of Pavlovian response, without ever even having checked to see if the spin you are being fed is fair. (Spoiler: it’s not.) Pause. Read. Reflect.

Second: what’s the point in having powers if all you do with them is implement Tory spending plans? Seriously. You have literally spent years talking about needing the economic levers to make a difference. They are in your hands. Have a pull.

Third: surely, surely, this is not the budget you want? If the Tories had increased taxes for everyone by a penny, you wouldn’t be arguing that we should use the power to reverse that would you? So all you are left with is the iron determination to manage George Osborne’s spending plans in Scotland.

And finally, though I say this more in hope than expectation: why not put politics aside just for this one moment in time? Why not join us and say there is a reason why we have our own parliament, it’s so we can make our own choices. So let us together choose a better path for our country.

 

This is the real deal. Labour is standing up for progressive, fair taxation to fund the services which make the society that we all, all of the Maureens, rely on. Isn’t this the Scotland you’ve been fighting for? Let’s actually do it.

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96 thoughts on “Penny for your thoughts

  1. Reguritating the same story over again doesn’t make it true

    Ms Dugdale thinks we are stupid….

    Labour voted with the Tories for the Fiscal Charter outlining £30bn of cuts….
    meaning around £2.5bn of cuts to the Scottish budget around a third of that is welfare leavin £1.6 bn to come from the rest of the budget…..

    Dugdales tax rise would net £480 million (according to her) the £100 rebate would cost £50 million – leaving a net £420 million.

    the IFS state the 5p rise in the top rate would net £100million for the whole UK as people will simple rearrange their tax affairs leaving around £8 million for Scotland

    We’ll round it up to £10 million to be generous.. to £430 million….which is short of stranding still for this year…never mind further cuts to come….

    The Labour Lib dem plan is nothing more than taxing us more, to pay for austerity twice, meanwhile hiding the fact it will not cover the cuts to come…

    which is a tad disrepsectful to the voting public

    1. Would that be the OBR Charter that Nicola admitted (after the election) didnt require £30billion of cuts?

      How are we paying for austerity twice? If the UK Government were to reverse all cuts, it would need to raise taxes to pay for it. All we are doing is raising tax in Scotland to pay for services in Scotland.

      And why did John Swinney say before the Finance committee last year that it WAS progressive?

      1. Was that the £30 billion that Labour leadership agreed with “in principle” and voted with the Tories to implement?

        1. Wasn’t there a report about Labour being indistinguishable for the Tories?

          Since we’ve seen a revival of the something for nothing culture here today, looks like it has worked for their supporters too!

          Joanne Lamont was such a success with that particular outburst

      2. Yup, nut nowhere did it say that there would not be the need for cuts…..

        The Tories said it would all be cuts…..during the debate
        Labour repeatedly stated there would be some small tax rises (50p top rate – IFS say will bring in £100million max to the whole UK) leaving £2.9 billion of cuts…which Milliband, Balls and Ummuna said would happen…..
        As for the SNP their plan is tied to one of the two main parties but put formard other progressive measures such as reform of Land duty etc.

        it is immaterial what the SNP said….Labour said there would be cuts and voted for those cuts.

        Should Westminster get its tax affairs in order and recover avoidance and non payment we would need no cuts – but they are intent on letting google et all off with a slap on the wrist …ergo paying twice..

        What the SNP would do if they could under the CBR was progressive…not the Tory plan….nice try

      3. What services? Most of them were privatised by the last Labour Government. We should have been given a tax cut for the loss of the cost of the public services privatised.

        Again I feel compelled to point out that Labour will force us to pay more for less. Less services more revenues is CORRUPTION not management.

        And all the stupid bare faced lying and denial cant hide that indisputable FACT.

        1. Is it worth me gently pointing out that procurement of services from a private provider doesn’t actually mean they no longer need to be paid for?

          No, it probably isn’t.

          1. Is it worth me gently pointing out that procurement of services from a private provider doesn’t actually mean they no longer need to be paid for?

            No, it probably isn’t.

            oh the still need paid for and ina addition to the services an extra profit margin for the company providing it, meaning a fair chunk of the money paid isn’t for the actual service….

            That’s the point

          2. Actually that isn’t the point Mike was making. He was claiming we should be paying less because services are delivered by the private sector.

            However I do agree with you – too often we end up paying more for private profit than we gain in efficiency. The SNP in Edinburgh pushed for our refuse services to be put out to private tender, and it was only Labour who stopped them. The SNP in Holyrood has extended the use of private contractors in the NHS by around 300% since coming to power.

          3. “Is it worth me gently pointing out that procurement of services from a private provider doesn’t actually mean they no longer need to be paid for?”

            WTF are you havering about now? When a public service is sold to a Private consortium then its the consumer of that service who has to pay directly to the private consortium the cost of that service.

            What Labour and the Cons are doing is ensuring we still pay what we paid before in taxation for that service when it was in public hands. And then are insisting we pay more taxation on top for services they the Government or local authority no longer have to pay for.

            Like I said criminal corruption and all you do all day is find excuses to support it. You actually dedicated a website in order to do just that.

            Truly despicable and shameful Duncan. Or it would be if you were capable of feeling anything other than smug.

          4. As I thought, you don’t actually understand what you’re talking about. Local authorities still have to pay private providers for the service they provide. For example, many care services are procured from the private sector; it is still taxation which pays for them. When the SNP procure NHS services from ATOS, for example, it is our taxes which are paid to them to deliver that service. If the SNP in Edinburgh had succeeded in privatising the refuse service, it would still have been taxpayers money that was paid to the private providers to do the work.

          5. “Actually that isn’t the point Mike was making. He was claiming we should be paying less because services are delivered by the private sector.”

            That is exactly right! You knew I was not referring to the use of private contractors in the public sector on what are still public services but the actual ex public services which were sold lock stock and barrel to Private companies to run for profit.

            We still pay the same level of taxation for the services the authorities no longer have to pay for and still Labour ask for more for less.

            Criminal corruption.

          6. Actually we pay less tax every year as the SNP cut Council Tax every year.

            But please can you identify these ex public services whose outputs used to be paid for out of taxation and are now being paid out of people’s pockets? I can’t think of a single one.

      4. Didn’y Kez promise no tax rises under a Labour administration at Holyrood, at the Labour conference last October?

        Do Labour have a coherent strategy or do they just make it up on the spot?

        1. Since you’re making the same comment on multiple blogs, I’ll just copy and paste my answer.

          “When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?” – Keynes

          1. so Kez changes her mind to go for a tax rise when senior figures in the Labour cabinet say tax rises are unsustainable as an economic tool and say tax rises are just another name for austerity?

            brilliant strategy…..Labour all over the place as usual….

            keep up the good work

          2. All you seem to be doing is having a pop at Kez. It makes you look petty, juvenile and pathetic. So, carry on.

          3. “All you seem to be doing is having a pop at Kez. It makes you look petty, juvenile and pathetic. So, carry on.”

            Aw bless……

            so criticising a politician for a new policy that is at odds with the advice given by a senior cabinet committee memeber to Kez’ boss – is having a pop?

            Has it got to that point?

            Criticism of a policy is now seen as personal?

            Is Labour so thin skinned and fragile?

          4. You weren’t criticising the policy though. Go and read what you said. All you did was pit one person’s view against another and lace it with sarcasm and jibes.

            Why don’t you have a go at criticising the policy instead? It’s progressive, meaning the richest pay more and the poorest pay less. It’s redistributive, meaning low-paid taxpayers get an income boost while high paid taxpayers get an income reduction. And it’s necessary, because the cuts set out in the current budget will, even according to SNP councillors, “be very damaging for jobs and services within Scottish local government generally … this will translate to real job cuts that hit real families, in real communities… Everyone will be hurt by this.” Those are the words of Sandy Howat, the SNP deputy leader of the City of Edinburgh Council.

            So why don’t you set aside your “one Labour person said this and another Labour person said that” childishness, and actually criticise the policy being proposed? What have you got against actually tackling austerity?

          5. “So why don’t you set aside your “one Labour person said this and another Labour person said that” childishness,” Odd you play the man and not the ball yet feel you can criticise some else for “Having a pop”

            Why don’t you have a go at criticising the policy instead?

            It’s progressive, meaning the richest pay more and the poorest pay less.
            The poorest will se a 5% increase in the tax they pay…that includes those who are identified as in work poverty and have no extra money…..richest as a percentage will pay just under 3% more….not really progressive

            It’s redistributive, meaning low-paid taxpayers get an income boost while high paid taxpayers get an income reduction.
            Ah the fabled £100 rebate…that only costs £1million to distribute to £1million people when it takes over £40million to distribute housing benefit to 500 000 people…..a £100 rebate per household….not per person…which will wipe out a wage increase….if you manage to get it to them…..a £100 rebate that …just like working tax credits and Labours solution last time…..when it was pointed out any extra top up from Scottish Government would be viewed as income by Westminter and clawed back from any additional benefits they are on

            apart from these flaws (and others) its fine

            And it’s necessary, because the cuts set out in the current budget will, even according to SNP councillors, “be very damaging for jobs and services within Scottish local government generally … this will translate to real job cuts that hit real families, in real communities… Everyone will be hurt by this.” Those are the words of Sandy Howat, the SNP deputy leader of the City of Edinburgh Council.

            We only have Kez and Labour sources as confirmation of this and the context in which he said them…..can you provide time date place? or do I have to take your and Labours word for it……

    2. Galbraith,
      Can you quote the text from the fiscal charter that says there would be £30b of cuts please? Otherwise people may think you are talking nonsense. Thanks!

      1. Grand oracle and soothsayer of Scotland I can help you out regarding the 30b of cuts you could try Hansard in the House of Commons library or alternatively you could try to get an access pass from head office for a private viewing of the Ed Stone as it is carved deep into the stone under the section Better Together enjoy.

      2. Or they’ll think you are prepared to say anything to save your parties skin

        You should know that the CBR is a rolling programme towards net fiscal surplus by 2020…it specifies various approaches and areas to be addressed. It also clearly defines the role of the OBR as the official source of projections and oversight of progress.

        In case you missed it the OBR were very specific on the scale of the cuts/tax rises…to the tune of £30bn……this featured heavily in the parliamentary debate….the press …Diane Abbot expressed her dismay her party voted for the £30bn of cuts…….everyone appears to know this except you…….

        To try to look for a specific line in the CBR shows you either do not understand the process or are trying deliberate misinformation…..

        Which is it?

        1. The CBR sets out one thing very simply. It sets out a target of cutting the structural deficit by 2020. It does not specify any specific measures to achieve this. As Nicola said, it’s possible to achieve the aims of the CBR without the levels of Tory cuts we are now seeing. And yet you are desperate to pretend Labour’s support for the CBR is support for the current Tory cuts. It’s simply dishonest.

          1. keep defending this position…..the more you try to wriggle out of it using semantics and any desperate bolt hole you can….the more it is clear to see how you and other labour activists are prepared to dissemble and obscure fact….

            OK….after help fro Dr John your new position in defence of Labour voting for the CBR is that nowhere did it specifically mention £30bn of cuts…it merely mentioned a target of attaining budget surplus by 2020.

            What it does mention is specific caps on welfare, adopts the OBR forecasts and reccomendations as the official reccomendations and the specific government plans for public spending…which were ver clearly a reduction in pubbblic spending and had been for the previous 5 years.

            This is where you run into trouble and look like you’re being less than honest.

            The Con-Dem coallition were commited to cutting public spending..any search of policy and media shows this is true…
            The CBR was a pre General Election production designed to put labbour in a bad position before the vote…..
            Labour were accused of wrevking the ecobnomy and borrowing huge sums to finance a bloated public sector, and Labour dutifully played the game and cried “no we’re not”

            before the vote on the CBR
            The OBR (the official forecaster) stated to achieve the CBRs aims there would need to be £30bn of cuts/tax rises
            the media – all outlets mentioned £30bn of cuts/ tax rises
            Labour MPs at interview were quizzed on whether or not they realised tht this would mean £30bn of cuts/tax rises
            During the debate the £30bn figure was repeaedly mentioned and the Tories made it very clear that they would cut (at least they were hones about it)
            Senior Labour figures, before the vote , admitted that they would cut (though not as bad as the Tories) in an attempt to woo voters in England to meet the £30bn figure….
            Labour voted for the CBR full in the knowledge the OBR forecast of £30bn was the accepted figure….
            Some Labour MPs (Diane Abbot) expressed disgust at the party voting for £30bn of cuts the Tories planned (as they were the government – they get to decide)
            Labour may have hoped that they would win in 2015 and Volte Face……but here is the rub….Labour were inept…..lost and cemented the Tories in power after enabling their CBR to stand and start their cuts (Labour facilitated this – then abstained on the summer vote)

            and despite this weight of evidence for Labour knowing full well the ramifications of the CBR before voting for it…

            You expect ” Well it didnae say £30bn of cuts on the CBR document” as a defence to fly?

            Seriously, you have that level of self awareness about how that looks?

            Keep going….there is far more evidence showing Labour neck deep in this

  2. Hear Hear! The something for nothing culture has to end and also be put into perspective! Nothing is free, it has to be paid for somewhere along the line!
    Simples!

    1. “Nothing is free,”

      That said it all about the level of tax and this Scottish Labour section Red Tory tax hike is all about hammering the folks of Scotland in the pocket the folks of Scotland did not trust the Labour UK head office on competency and the running of the economy at the general election and the same goes for the Scottish Labour section Red Tories at the Scottish elections in May so comrade just wait see the outcome which is the likelihood that the Scottish Labour section Red Tories are doomed and face extinction enjoy.

  3. “Every year in Scotland, 6,000 children leave school unable to read properly.”

    El Capitano on the upside at least the above mentioned won’t be able to be insulted by the drivel that you have just spouted fourth above, why drivel you say well lets say for the reason that this is the same Scottish Labour section Red Tories that at every opportunity have supported their sister party the Tories by voting against all the SNP anti austerity motions at Westminster and supporting and voting with the Tories against delivering more powers for Scotland and breaking their famous promise in the VOW, and a report by the Red Tories found that the folks of Scotland could not see any difference between the Red and Blue Tories see the link below. This bright spark idea of increasing tax on the folks of Scotland has just guaranteed Scottish Labour section Red Tories of getting beaten and coming 3rd behind their sister party the Tories in 2nd place at the Scottish elections in May and extinction.

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/labour-seen-as-indistinguishable-from-the-tories-to-scottish-voters-leaked-internal-report-warns-a6832086.html

  4. So many articles desperately trying so hard to promote yet another Labour tax increase as “Progressive” and the only answer to every problem.

    The truth is as usual Labour have no answers to the problems they themselves created when in power. It took an SNP Government in Scotland to mitigate the worst failings of the last Labour Tory Government and to protect us from the worst the Conservative Tories are doing in Westminster.

    Labour will privatise they will increase taxation not just income tax but local tax as well they will warmonger they will spend unaccountable billions on WMDs they will find new ways to tax and squeeze the population they will continue to fill the House of Lords with parasitic patronised privileged donors and backers they will bring in further austerity they will squeeze benefits and welfare even more in short they will out Tory the Tories.

    Its no mystery it wont even come as a surprise we all know who they are we all know what they will do and it will be anything but “progressive” or principled or beneficial to anybody but the privileged and wealthy few.

  5. The fact that children leave school unable to read properly is an indictment of some of our local government, which at present oversees education.
    It is coming to the point where to guarantee that the funding provided for education is actually spent on education, then an independent authority should be set up to oversee Scotland’s education system.
    It could be set up with education specialists and elected people as the main element of its composition.
    No doubt there would be complaints from vested interests groups, but that should help drive it forward.
    In England much of education is now outside democratic control because of changes made by Labour and Tory governments.

  6. The irony Duncan …… Labour pulled out all the stops to water-down the tax-raising powers and fiscal levers available to us during the Smith Commission. Not sure we can take any lectures about the best way to arrange a tax system from a party who assured us we were better together

  7. All the usual suspects are here opposing Labour. Interestingly, they don’t oppose the policy but Labour itself… and this is largely based on issues of trust (which at least partly have an irrational basis). Can we just debate this policy please?

    Is education in Scotland perfect? No!
    Will the SNP cuts harm education? Yes!
    Is Labour offering a progressive way to protect education? Yes!

    The Labour policy is imperfect, but it’s the best show in town. Put tribalism aside, and do what is best for Scotland!

    1. ” but it’s the best show in town”

      Grand oracle and soothsayer of Scotland don’t be modest your one man stand up show is the business I especially like your catchphrase of progressive although based on the Red Tory tax increase I think you would be as well to change it to regressive it had me in stitches keep them coming the good folks of Scotland will reward this attack on their spondolies by dishing out a good pasting to the Red Tories at the May Scottish elections so enjoy. The folk of Scotland remember the privatisation of the schools with PFI and the drop in eduction standards and attainment under the last Scottish Red Tory government who failed miserably in their time in office. As for tribalism in Scotland you have the strong alliance of the Red Tories and the Blue Tories who will be forever united by their common bond of the union that is more important to them than the country that is Scotland. Goodbye Red Tories here comes extinction.

    2. And as usual you offer nothing but pig ignorance and agenda driven drivel. Where has the policy gone unopposed in any post above “opposing the policy”? What a stupid ignorant statement to make.

      Does education anywhere have to be perfect to be everything it should be? NO!
      Is the SNP harming education in any way shape or form in Scotland? NO!
      Is Labour even capable of understanding the concept of progressive? NO! The evidence shows it cant even fathom the concept.

      The Labour policy is corrupt. Labour demands we pay more for less simply because if they were in power they could. It saves them any effort in even trying to manage and Govern. When you have an unlimited cash flow you don’t have to manage or spend wisely and that’s all the electorate is to Labour an unlimited cash cow allowing them to spend on party political agenda.

      And what is that agenda today? Warmongering! WMD proliferation! Vanity projects in London! Infrastructure in the SE of England, Creating peerages for cronies members donors backers and any other shyster that can find an excuse to suck on the public purse.

      Labour in Scotland is a betrayal of every social decent humane compassionate inclusive ideal and principle most of us hold dear and value.

      They connive spin lie deceive conspire smear accuse degrade and then have the gall to get upset when people refuse to accept what they say at face value.

      They are an abomination offering nothing but self serving party first second and last dogma to an electorate sick to its back teeth with political criminal corruption.

      But thankfully they are the boil that was finally lanced. The pus and venom has been drawn out into the open.

      Lets leave it to rot.

    3. “Actually we pay less tax every year as the SNP cut Council Tax every year.”

      Yes Duncan that’s the point! If you want to pay less tax then vote SNP if you want to pay more vote Labour. We all get that. The SNP are showing us our budget can be balanced year on year without resorting to tax increases or selling public services to private consortiums while maintaining far better service provision than any that suffered under previous Labour administration.

      “But please can you identify these ex public services whose outputs used to be paid for out of taxation and are now being paid out of people’s pockets? I can’t think of a single one.”

      And are incapable of googling as well apparently.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Privatization

      Took me all of 5 seconds.

      1. That Google link doesn’t answer my question. Have another go, Mike. Please identify these ex public services whose outputs used to be paid for out of taxation and are now being paid out of people’s pockets.

        1. Of course it does. It mentions every ex public service now Private that we still pay taxation for while paying the private company for the service directly.

          Or are you now telling me our taxation was reduced as a direct result of that service going over to the private sector?

          1. It lists the following:

            Britoil,
            Amersham International PLC,
            British Petroleum,
            British Aerospace,
            British Gas,
            Rover Group,
            British Steel,
            British Telecom,
            Sealink ferries,
            Rolls-Royce,
            British Rail.

            In every single instance, these companies charged the public for their product or service before privatisation as well as afterwards.

            One final time: please identify the ex public services whose outputs used to be paid for out of taxation and are now being paid out of people’s pockets.

    4. Couple of points…..labour councils have direct control to ever education cuts…if education is cut it will be on those councils say so…
      OECD reports Scots are the best educated in Europe (RSEP also state Scottish a&e are the best performing service in the world)

      We comment quite clearly on labour policy…. It is poor too say the least

      1. So those good educational outcomes are down to the SNP, but any bad ones would be the fault of Labour councils, have I got that right?

        With respect to how well Scots are educated compared to the rest of the world, why did the SNP withdraw Scotland from two of the three major international education comparators, TIMSS and PIRLS? Was it because they showed SNP policy was failing, especially in early years? https://www.tes.com/news/school-news/breaking-news/research-withdrawing-international-rankings-has-damaged-teaching

        And why are you only partially reporting the results from the OECD’s PISA study, the only international comparator the SNP has kept Scotland part of (which incidentally only tests 15 year olds so isn’t a very comprehensive test of Scottish education)? Last year’s PISA report said Scotland was only average in maths and showed signs of being in further decline. http://www.oecd.org/edu/Improving-Schools-in-Scotland-An-OECD-Perspective.pdf

        You prefer to trot out glib “everything’s great” comments about the SNP rather than actually examine their record.

        1. Who said everything was great?

          If Education budgets are cut…..where and by how much are specifically the remit of Labour councils….
          there is no way round this fact…..

          If education is harmed by budget cuts…the harm is inflicted by Labour councils

          you rattle on about the SNP blaming others……..Physician heal thyself

  8. El Capitano the SNP support for teachers and education and its pupils is exemplified by its International outreach and expertise hence 19 teachers from China were happy to come to Scotland for training and thoroughly enjoyed the experience see the link below, unlike the Red Tories who when in government forged no links whatsoever with teachers in other countries very sad indeed.

    http://www.westcollegescotland.ac.uk/news/2015/december/chinese-teachers-shown-the-best-of-the-west/

    1. Grand oracle and soothsayer of Scotland have a deek at the link below and you will find that newly qualified teachers Satisfaction with the job as a whole was high, 82% so you and your Red Torie no mates can continue to talk Scotland down and look forward to the pasting you will recieve at the Scottish elections I am going to have a cup of tea and a Scottish shortcake not a Tunnocks followed by an enjoyable dose of schadenfreude at the thought of the final demise and extinction of the Red Tories.

      https://pure.strath.ac.uk/portal/files/31477524/NB_BERA06.pdf

        1. Grand oracle and soothsayer of Scotland have a deek at the link below and you will find that record number of Scots apply to go to university education is dynamic and progressing in the hands of the Teachers of Scotland and with the full support of the SNP government so you and the Red Tories can keep talking Scotland down and look forward to getting an extra large pasting at the Scottish elections and extinction.

          http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-politics-35484822

    2. “Literacy falling in Scotland.”
      Remind me who is in charge of implementation of education policy at school level again?
      Numeracy falling in Scotland.,/i.
      remind me who is responsible for supporting schools producing material for the new qualifications again?
      Attainment gap widening in Scotland.
      Remind me who is responsible for montoring of standards and implementing remedial action if necessary at local and School level again.
      Fewer teachers.
      Remind me who is in charge of the level of staffing and spending of the Education budget again?
      Bigger classes.
      Smaller classes require more teachers….remind me who is responsible for staffing levels again?

      …and the usual suspects say there is no problem.

      Keep working with your Tory mates to attack education:

      No the usual suspects know where the problem lies and it is because we have to work with the mates of the Tories – they’re called the Red Tories, they used to be Labour…..some time ago

        1. “Check SNP budget cuts and mismanagement before you start blaming councils and teachers for falling standards in Scottish schools.”

          You are either showing ignorance of the answers to the valid questions I pose or willful dissembling of the facts.

          I have never blamed teachers in any of this…..nice try…

          Labour councils are responsible for……

          Staffing levels….
          moderation of performance in education…..
          remedial action for falling standards and to improve the attainment gap…..
          class sizes……..
          the budget each school receives each year…..
          Supporting hardworking teachers to implement the new qualification standards…..

          Labour councils have not only failed int their responsibilities in these areas, they have actively reduced the budget and staffing levels for individual schools year on year since 2008, they have refused to support the implementation of the new qualifications or provide direction at local level until very recently…..

          the reason?

          Labour have shown they are prepared to wreck the future chances of children and play political games by not cooperating with the SNP Government initiatives and funding in an effort to wreck the SNP record and give themselves ammunition to cover their own failings….

          Clear enough now?

    3. And you wonder why the Scottish Govt feel the need to put financial penalties in place for councils who refuse to use the money provided to hire teachers & properly fund education

      1. Labour and their blind supporters might wonder why and scream “it’s a threat to democracy”

        the rest of us are well aware of the need to slap labour councils fingers when they “dip the till” of Education and care

  9. “In every single instance, these companies charged the public for their product or service before privatisation as well as afterwards.”

    “One final time: please identify the ex public services whose outputs used to be paid for out of taxation and are now being paid out of people’s pockets.”

    What companies are you on about? UK PLC? They were public services NOT PRIVATE COMPANIES! which demanded our taxation in order to fund them. NOW THEY ARE PRIVATE COMPANIES demanding we pay them directly but we are still paying the taxation that was demanded for them when they were public services and NOT PRIVATE COMPANIES!

    Get it yet? When the services were UK PLC we paid taxation and the cost of the service because our taxation maintained the service. We now pay the same taxation and the cost of the service when our taxation is no longer required to pay for the maintenance of the service.

    OUR TAXATION IS SURPLUS TO REQUIRMENT! The cost of the service maintenance is now funded by the extortionate profits the companies make by overcharging for the service.

    And you expect us to pay more taxation! FOR WHAT? Why do we need to pay more taxation for less public service provision? .

    1. Even in capitals you make no sense. Rolls Royce cars were provided by the state were they? Oil was subsidised? The GPO gave us all phones for free?

      You’re a prime example of the dangers of ignorance and confidence combining.

  10. In other words if as you claim the NHS Education and welfare is underfunded then why don’t we use the funding we no longer have to pay to

    Britoil,
    Amersham International PLC,
    British Petroleum,
    British Aerospace,
    British Gas,
    Rover Group,
    British Steel,
    British Telecom,
    Sealink ferries,
    Rolls-Royce,
    British Rail.

    BECAUSE WE ARE STILL PAYING IT AND HAVE BEEN FOR DECADES!

    There must be a massive surplus of taxation floating around the treasury. No wonder there was billions available overnight to bail out the banks.

    Which is another thing why should people expect to pay more in taxation when bank bail outs get priority over welfare and benefits? That’s right wing Tory ideological thinking.

  11. If we paid X for Y service provision why are Labour demanding We pay X+X for Y-Z service provision?

    Its like their idea of what a better economy is.

    FFA – any amount of Fiscal autonomy is greater than FFA.

    Or Devolution of power and authority.

    Devo Max – Any level of Devo is greater than Devo Max.

    And people still vote for them!

      1. Right. I can’t find anything to that effect on the Party’s website, or in their Q&A. I have therefore posted this question on the site:

        “According to the Editor of Labour Hame, the rebate will be applied per household rather than per individual taxpayer. How is this going to work?”

        Let’s see if they can provide an explanation. I earn more than £20,000, so does our daughter. My partner earns less than £20,000 – how does she claim her rebate, since the guarantee on the website is:

        “People earning less than £20,000 a year won’t lose a single penny, and low paid taxpayers will actually benefit from this plan.”

      2. Per household, they kept that part quiet. Does that mean that it’s only those households with a combined income of £20,000 or less who get the £100 rebate?
        Also what happens to households of 2 or more working people earning less than £20K?

      3. 7 hours after asking the question on the Party’s website, answer came there none. You have previously suggested that we should “Read the policy before you critique it, maybe?”

        That’s sound advice. Do you have a link to the relevant section?

        1. Apologies, I thought the briefing document was on the website but I can’t see it just now.

          1. Thanks, appreciated.

            So in the scenario I outlined above, where I earn more than £20,000 as does our daughter but my partner earns less than £20,000. So my partner won’t in fact receive the £100 rebate?

          2. Right, I’ve just double-checked and I’m told the rebate is per person, not per household, so apologies for the confusion. I’m going to remove that dodgy bit of briefing cos it was obviously not right.

            Sorry about that! Hope all is clear now…

          3. Agree to disagree on what, that today’s events around this issue have been a farce? I posted the same question on the Party’s website *13 hours ago* and I’m still waiting for a reply. I don’t doubt for a moment your good faith in posting up the information you had, but frankly the wider handling of the issue has been shambolic.

          4. I thought you were talking about the policy.

            I’m not sure failure to answer a question within 13 hours can really be classed as a farce. I can see why it’s annoying for you though. Apologies again for my confusing part in it.

          5. Duncan, I have no doubt that you acted in good faith throughout.

            As for not answering a question in 13 hours? Come on – this isn’t an arcane query about Party rules or some such thing, it’s the Party’s flagship policy for an election that’s only 3 months away, and was only announced 2 days ago! It would be utterly remiss *not* to have someone in HQ dealing with questions about it on the Party website or social media. For the record I posted the same question on the party’s Facebook page 11 hours ago.

            I’m frustrated because it’s utterly amateurish.

    1. The current signs are that the Red Tories are are in a state of transition towards their final extinction as they are said to be stumbling around Holyrood in a bumbling zombie state mumbling and groaning and bowing before their idol the Magic Money Tree with the incandescent cries of APD…APD…APD..oh Magic Money Tree…please save me.

  12. “She despairs at what is happening to this generation of young people.”

    El Capitano what you quote from Maureen is questionable in that ever since the Scottish Independence referendum the young folks of Scotland are more politically socially economically aware of the potential of their great Country and furthermore newcomers residing in Scotland of all different cultures find that they are accepted and welcomed by the folks of Scotland and they would like to apply to become citizens of an Independent Scotland in their current status whilst waiting for the next Scottish Independence referendum they are now more likely to vote for an Independent Scotland come the referendum. Two possible referendum triggers are one a Brexit from the EU against the will of the folks of Scotland and two a failure to deliver the VOW by agreeing a fiscal framework the likelihood of one or either of these is high so a Scottish Indpendence referendum imminent so bring it on.

  13. Great article. Agree with most of it.

    Apart from not only being a principled stance, this is quite a clever card to play for Labour electorally in the longer term.

    One of the reasons why I drifted away from Labour was their lack of any clever or strategic thinking, which was particularly poor in Scotland.

    Whatever happens in May, Labour have finally found something different and interesting to say and tax and how money is spent may well become a crucial election issue, as it should be.

    But this is actually a good thing for the SNP and pro independence supporters too.

    A better, more competent Labour party challenging SNP dominance is a good thing because as Labour themselves have shown, complacency can be a killer in the long run.

    The SNP need a stronger challenge to keep them on their toes.

    And by taking different decisions on tax and spending from Westminster will ultimately move the focus of power ever closer towards Holyrood, as opposed to Westminster.

    1. “One of the reasons why I drifted away from Labour was their lack of any clever or strategic thinking, which was particularly poor in Scotland.”

      The Scottish Labour section Red Tories once stood for helping the poor folks of Scotland but sorry to say that by chewing into the folks meagre earnings with a higher tax policy is doing the opposite the folks of Scotland don’t want to subsidise the Red Tories careerist council expenses through higher council tax and higher income tax so this policy based on principle rather than reality is not very clever in fact it is a dead Duck quack quack quack.

      1. Call it what you will, either tax needs to go up in Scotland or public services need to be cut. It is that simple.

        I agree raising tax is a risky election strategy as you point out. Unless the polls are spectacularly wrong, Labour are on a hiding to nothing anyway. Might as well try something different.

    2. A better, more competent Labour party challenging SNP dominance is a good thing because as Labour themselves have shown, complacency can be a killer in the long run.

      This is the only honest and truthful part of that entire post. People who vote Labour deserve better than the utter dross they are getting for their vote.

      And no Drew you are convincing nobody that you are anything other than another Labour drone.

      1. If you dislike Labour so much Mike, why are you even on this website?

        I think you are a tad obsessed.

        You leave quite a lot of posts here. Have you ever considered taking up a hobby old chap?

        1. “If you dislike Labour so much Mike, why are you even on this website?”

          Because I believe corruption and dishonesty should be challenged. Don’t you?

          1. I’m not sure what you are referring to but if you have actual evidence of corruption, wouldn’t it make more sense to report it to the police?

            This website is a forum for people who identify with the labour movement in Scotland to discuss issues affecting it, good, bad and the ugly.

            It’s pretty clear you think anyone who dares to agree with Labour is somehow an enemy of the SNP or independence supporters. This is a totally self-defeating attitude and isn’t ever likely to win over voters with more moderate views.

            You don’t like Labour and aren’t likely to ever change your views. Fair enough, that’s your right and opinion but you would probably find it a more productive use of your time if you posted your thoughts elsewhere.

    3. “Drew”, did you actually say ‘A better, more competent labour party’ , have you actually watched First Minsters question time ??? have seen anything that indicates labour being more competent/better.

      1. Like most voters, nope, I never watch First Minister’s Questions.

        Admittedly having a more competent/better Labour party is a pretty low bar to clear right now.

        But considering Jim Murphy’s election pledges were bringing back the booze at football and repealing legislation that is trying to reduce sectarianism at football and online, I think making tax an election issue is a sign of improvement.

  14. Well this Scottish nationalist is fully supportive of this new Labour policy – probably the most interesting, constructive policy announcement by Scottish Labour in decades. If pursued consistently over the next few years, then it could have the effect of decisively shifting the political centre in Scotland to something more Scandinavian, and make it politically easier for the SNP government to increase income tax at a later stage, when it has the power to do so in a more targeted manner. However, it’s worth pointing out that this needs to be a long-term policy if it is to have any effect. If Scottish Labour changes its leadership again after May and goes back to randomly talking about football, then it will surely have been in vain.

    It’s also very politically brave by Kezia, as it makes things harder to hold onto those hardcore unionist voters who are swinging towards the Tories. You’ll probably do worse in May than you would have, but nice to see Labour thinking about the country as a whole for once, and engaging constructively with the SNP government.

    1. Well I’m convinced. Its the language that’s the most convincing. “Fully supportive” “Interesting constructive policy”

      “Decisively shifting the political centre in Scotland” “Very politically brave” “Nice to see Labour thinking about the country”

      Just the stuff us ex Labour pro SNP supporters would say in support of having our tax burden increased by Labour again.

      Its not as if anybody was in any doubt that Labour would increase taxation at any time in the last 100 years or so when given any opportunity to do so but it must be very encouraging to the Labour gullible to see the haemorrhage reverse just before the election.

  15. I’m not sure what you are referring to but if you have actual evidence of corruption, wouldn’t it make more sense to report it to the police?

    You want me to report the fact that a Labour Government took us to war in Iraq illegally to the Police? Don’t they watch news or have access to the internet?

    How about selling arms illegal to Saudi Arabia?

    I was under the impression the Police were aware of all the exposed Labour MP MSPs false expense claims?

    See what I mean about being a Labour drone? Who else would even try to deny Labour are corrupt to the core?

    You expose your own pathetic corruption with every post.

  16. “This website is a forum for people who identify with the labour movement in Scotland to discuss issues affecting it, good, bad and the ugly.”

    You’re first post claimed you were an ex Labour supporter who saw the light and returned all starry eyed when you found out they wanted to add to your tax burden.

    What a troll. See what I mean about corruption?

  17. Remember the good old days when cigs, booze and petrol was as cheap as chips.
    Before they were taxed to death.

  18. A brave and brilliant article. The number of negative nationalist comments shows how worried they are by Kezia’s policy announcement. Keep up the good work.

    1. I thought the idea was to get non Labour supporters to approve of it and switch back? You seem to think the idea is to upset non Labour voters.

      How stupid are you people?

    2. ‘A brave and brilliant article’ thats like saying ‘ A better, more competent labour party’, nope just doesn’t ring true.

    3. You are deluded if you think that the nationalists are worried the laugh will be seeing the Red Tories beaten into 3rd place by their sister party the Blue Tories at the Scottish elections so suck it up comrade and enjoy.

  19. It doesn’t matter how loud you bang that SNP bad drum it isn’t working.

    How much has labour paid out on pfi on schools and hospitals. 4 schools that cost £63 million to build will now cost £140 million and the education department will never own them. Lots of money wasted on the private sector when that money could have been used to actually educate.

  20. Raising taxes would hit most voters who are already struggling. This is an easy promise to make for an unelectable party.

    Spending more on public services is a great idea. But raising that money by increasing the tax that most people pay is not anti-austerity. The austerity we’re suffering is at the hands of the UK government not borrowing but pointlessly attempting to reduce the deficit. A policy a UK Labour government would have implemented too, but maybe just a little bit less.

    The rebate to lessen the burden of this scheme on lower earners sounds unlikely to work. The Scottish Government does not have access to economic levers – it has access to an economic lever. However, if the power to vary the bands then obviously it is worth considering raising more from the wealthiest in this country.

    However, the policy does have merits and had that discussion been put forward without the jeering and name calling attempt to pin the Tory-friend and austerity government badge on the SNP then perhaps it could have been debated in Holyrood. But SLab gave no room to champion a cause and suggest the SNP consider it, this was purely a policy for trying to paint the SNP in a bad light.

    Given that Labour fought so hard during the referendum to claim that Scotland is not self-sufficient but requires subsidising from the rest of the UK – this policy also seems to suggest that Scottish workers should pay higher taxes than others in the UK because we’ve been taking more than we’re entitled to.

    1. It’s a progressive tax, and the rebate makes it redistributive. These facts negate much of your criticism.

      The SNP campaigned last May on a platform of making different choices to the Tories. They are in power and able to take those different choices, but instead they opted to actively endorse the tax rates set by George Osborne, and the austerity delivered by this Tory government.

      This is immensely frustrating. The entire point of devolution is to enable this sort of policy variation. To enable Scotland’s oft-vaunted opportunity to become a Nordic paradise, with higher quality of life paid for by higher public spending which comes from higher taxation. The SNP was happy to ride on the coattails of that dream in 2014. But it was only ever a convenient camouflage. In government they not only avoid any opportunity to make this real, they actively pretend it isn’t possible. And the reason for that is simple – their single aim of independence is not served by demonstrating that devolution works. So they must always pretend it doesn’t.

      Labour’s policy was put forward as a budget amendment in the most reasonable of terms. The SNP responded with lies and distortions, doubting the progressive nature of the tax despite it being very clearly progressive, and pretending that lower paid workers are hit harder when that is simply a lie. Labour is still pushing this policy. The SNP can still consider it. The budget process is still going on and amendments are possible.

      Instead of telling us Labour is bad, why not argue that the SNP could be better?

  21. God I hate Labour so much what an abortion of a party. It is not progressive as it doesn’t tax the rich more you obviously don’t even know what that word means and it is not redistributive as the rebate is unworkable. Labour refuse to confirm if it will be counted as extra income and thus taxed as they simply don’t know and it is per household not per person. It’s a shambles designed to damage the SNP electorally not protect services and was clearly coordinated with the Tories too. You Labour types just don’t get it do you. You’re finished, it’s over, we see through your lies now and never has a more contemptuous disgusting vile bunch of liars ever deserved the electoral kicking you are going to get than you lot. You need to die and go away but you are the only people who don’t see it, you shouldn’t even be in politics now there’s no point in Labour anymore. Scotland gave birth to Labour now Scotland is going to end it too, everything you say is a lie or a smear, I am going to take great pleasure in dancing on your grave for the rest of my life, you fought hard to ensure nothing was devolved in Smith your proposals were the least by far now you castigate us to use the pathetic powers you desperately tried to stop us getting to fix an economy you broke and which is being further undermined by cuts you supported knowing full well we can’t because you desperately fought with every fibre of your being to prevent us having the power to do so. Now you’re trying to use the Lords to prevent even abortion being devolved. You’re disgusting. SNP×2 and let’s kick Labour till they’re dead then some more to be sure. Bayonetting the wounded indeed eh, you wanted war that’s what you made it you put Labour before Scotland well fine now you’ve got it but there’s much more of us than you and we are fueled by a cold cold anger because of your disgusting conduct and lies which will take decades to dissipate. You wanted war will you can have it and we’ll see how much you like it when you’re on the losing side. Scum to the bone each and every one of you, and bigger nationalists than any of us.

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