After 309 F****** Years

After 309 years of union the Poverty and Social Exclusion in Scotland 2015 report from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation makes very sober reading. After 309 years of political union with England, bringing about the creation of the United Kingdom of Great Britain , it paints a picture that is nothing short of a moral disgrace.

We hear a great deal from the likes of KeZia Dugdale, Willie Rennie, Ruth Davidson, David Cameron, Gordon Brown etc on the benefits of the Union, of pulling and sharing resources, of the safety net blah blah blah. The reality of the Union in Scotland today is very different.

The reality is actually shit.

Today ONE MILLION people live in poverty in Scotland.
660,000 adults.
220,000 children.
120,000 pensioners.
117,689 people used food banks in 2014/15 in Scotland.

64% of those in poverty are working adults which means that 23% of children in poverty come from families who are in work. Glasgow (33%) and Dundee (28%) have the highest rates of child poverty in Scotland.

Young adults make up 40% of those unemployed in Scotland.
16% of claimants on JSA have received a sanction in Scotland and claimants on JSA for more than five months are more likely to be sanctioned in Scotland.
15% of claimants in Dundee have been sanctioned.
600,000 people in Scotland are classed as being in low paid full time work.

Life expectancy in Scotland is 69 years in the most deprived areas compared to 74 years in England.

28,500 households are classed as being homeless in Scotland, five times greater than in England.
49% of pensioners in Scotland are in fuel poverty, 39% of all households are in fuel poverty.

The very richest in the United Kingdom have seen their net worth double since the recession which started in 2008. In the last year alone the Queen has seen her personal fortune rise by 10 MILLION POUNDS to 330 MILLION POUNDS.

Since I was a teen I have been told by both Conservative and Blair’s Labour Government that wealth trickles down, the reality is greater inequality and more debt accumulated by the poorest. Income is roughly 7% lower now than it was in 2008 for the poorest with the public sector facing either pay cuts, or increases pegged at 1% while MPs got a 10% pay increase last year while the poorest have seen a cost of living increase of 25% since 2008.

Being Better Together and All In It Together has resulted in cuts that mean Dundee City Council is right now proposing changes to terms and conditions for it’s lowest paid staff which could mean a £2000 pay cut per year for some.

http://socialistpartyscotland.org.uk/2016/02/16/battle-heats-up-against-council-cuts-in-scotland/&quot

https://www.jrf.org.uk/report/monitoring-poverty-and-social-exclusion-scotland-2015

As I blogged previously I resigned my membership of the Scottish Liberal Democrats in disgust over many issues and policy decisions but you know what! The Scottish Liberal Democrats, The Labour Party, The Conservative and Unionist Party and UKip can shove their UNION right up their arse.

We are not all Better Together or All In It Together, some of us are a hell of a lot more equal than others. Some of us are paying the price of 309 years of greed and poverty and some aren’t. If no voters out there can’t see what is right in front of them then I dispair. In 2016 people should not live in poverty, in 2016 people should not be hungry or cold in Scotland. In 2016 we should be at the point where our society is improving, our conditions are improving, our life chances are improving, but in this f****** union they are not.

We should be angry, we should be f****** livid. This blog entry is why I will never support this union, why I will never have anything to do with a unionist party again, why I despise everything about our politicial union with the rest of the United Kingdom. I know that poverty exsists all over the United Kingdom and I hope that people in England, Wales and Northern Ireland also wake up to the facts in their own countries, wake up to the injustices they face, but right now my concern is Scotland and I have had enough.

Check out http://povertytruthcommission.blogspot.co.uk/ and read real stories from real people and see if you have had enough as well.

This blog, this little bit of angry, will try to express a YES narrative as much as possible because the alternative for much longer really is the stuff of nightmares. This so called union has failed us, by us I mean the poorest, obviously there are those who believe all the shit they read, they believe the rubbish spouted by the likes of Rennie, Dugdale and Davidson and too many of them turn a blind eye or just don’t care. Hate is a horrible word but I hate this union more than I can ever explain.

The slow steady approach of the SNP is not good enough either, more drastic action is needed now. There are 56 SNP MPs (54 officially) at Westminster. F*** the rules and traditions, F*** the pomp and the right honourable this and right honourable that. Any Government that sees people hungry, any Government that sees people cold, any Government that sanctions the poorest and rewards the wealthy deserves our contempt. It’s time for the 56 to stand up and be counted or you might just get replaced by 56 who will.

Just my opinion and if you don’t agree with it I just don’t care.

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19 comments

  1. lanark

    The Union came about basically to facilitate England’s control and dominance over the British Isles. It never was and could never be a proper Union of Equals. Ireland and Wales were conquered by force. We were more resistant but the English ruling class always saw us as a “back door” to a possible continental invader. That back door had to be closed. Firstly the Union of the Crowns. English law forbade anyone born outwith the Realm of England being crowned monarch, but was conveniently by passed to allow James VI to become King.
    After the Scots Parliament passed the Act of Security in the early 1700s to allow Scotland to choose a different monarch to England, it raised the age old possibility of Scotland going its own way again with a potentially pro French King. We had to be dealt with and we were bought off, worse than being conquered in my view.

    A vote to repeal the Union in 1713 was defeated by one vote.

    In 1707 our population was one third of England’s, now it is a tenth. Ireland had as many people as England and Scotland combined. The same applies to them. The Union was conceived to benefit one nation and one nation only. We must leave.

    • Anonymous

      Lanark

      Yeah we were conquered in a different way, greed. Not much has changed. The few in this country learned quickly that you buy off another countries few and screw the people, it is all history but it hasn’t really changed today when you think about it. NO voters have been bought off with lies.

      Talk to a NO voter and it’s like talking to someone with Stockholm Syndrome, sometimes I feel like NO voters have been conditioned to loath their own country and are blind to what is going on around them. many in the Liberal Democrats are like that, they would rather be ruled by another country than governed by their own elected representatives.

      I also think though that the SNP need to do more, they haven’t really challenged a lot of the crap that makes Westminster a joke of a parliament, honorable this and honorable that, outdated bullshit that has no place in a modern democracy. Now parliament won’t change I don’t doubt that but at least challenge how inaccessible the place is, challenge the us and them culture. Even my local SNP need to do more, I have two SNP councilors in my area and I have not seen or heard from any of them since the last election in 2011. It’s bad enough that neither are from the ward but I warned them when they came chasing my vote the last time that if I was not aware of the work they do in the area and didn’t hear any updates then they would lose my vote next time round and so far they are losing my vote for next year. The fact that the local SNP council, as part of the cuts, are proposing a change to my terms and conditions that will see me lose £2000 a year is certainly not helping my mood any, that is over 4 months rent.

      I am beginning to think we are f***** either way in the modern world and more radical solutions are required.

      Thanks for commenting.

      Bruce

  2. Margaret

    Can I ask if you have contacted them? I emailed the candidate who is standing in my area and made some comments regarding what I expected from her, she replied if at any time I was unhappy with her performance I had to contact her as that would not be what I was voting for, so we’ll see.

    • Anonymous

      Margaret

      I tend to keep an eye on the blogs and twitter etc. I have not had any reason to contact them recently but one councillor is very good at newsletters, blogs and letting people know the work that he does in the area but the others have not been pro active at all in my experience. Now while it is easier for myself to find the information I am maybe old school but expect councillors and MPs to make the effort to keep me informed. I don’t really buy newspapers etc other than the occasional National as to be honest they are very poor, esp the local ones. I don’t really expect councillors etc to keep me informed monthly or anything like that and I appreciate they have a lot to deal with on top of other jobs, family etc but I have also been the type that to get my vote you have to have a message I buy into but also that you earn it. We all have a responsibility to keep informed and be informed I guess, but like you say we’ll see.

      Thanks for taking the time to comment and share your experience.

      Bruce

  3. bjsalba

    Where have you looked to find out what your councillors are doing? From my experience, local papers favour certain councillors and give them lots of print space (sometimes even a front page) to efforts that do little for the community. The others are lucky if they get a mention in some obscure corner.

    For example in my area an Independent councillor got a full page spread for getting a request bus stop on the edge of the village. Since that side of the road has no pavement at that point, it isn’t terribly useful for more than a handful of houses – and most of them use their cars, not the buses.

    The local SNP Councillor has had an ongoing campaign to get dangerous potholes filled and non-functioning street lights fixed reasonably promptly in all the communities – a big change from waiting months and months to have a light bulb changed. He has never been given any kind of credit whatsoever.

    By the way, do you know how much of a financial hangover has came to your SNP council from previous administrations? Any PFI properties? Debts from Council House builds that were sold off in the Thatcher years?
    How many overpaid senior staff have virtually unbreakable contracts? The current SNP administration may have very few options.

    • Anonymous

      bsjalba

      As I responded to Margaret I do make the effort to find out what my elected representatives are doing as I don’t buy local papers very often, if at all, but I also think it has to work both ways, I am old school and feel that my vote has to be earned etc. I don’t know exactly how much DCC owe or have been left by previous administration’s and I also accept that the cuts passed on via Westminster are eye watering but as has been noted by the Unions and the SSP that the lowest paid staff may well be asked to do the same job for less pay while the highest paid staff are doing the same jobs for the same money. Now while my wages are the national average I suppose, for many they are not, they are low paid and I feel that cuts like this have to be spread across the board evenly as it just breads resentment, is unfair, and hits motivation. I haven’t spoken to any staff who don’t understand the financial situation that Dundee is in but there is concern that those with the least are again being asked to shoulder the greater burden while those with the most aren’t. For the SNP in Dundee, while not being in an envious position, it is not a good strategic move at all and flies in the face of a lot of what is spoken about around fairness, broad shoulders and all that. I will survive as we all do, I will tighten the belt as we have all had to do and I am glad that I even have a job, but there is also the principle and that is important too I think.

      Thanks for commenting on my rant lol.

      Bruce

      • bjsalba

        It would be nice if cuts could be applied across the board, but many very senior staff are on contracts that are rather different from your average council employee. In some cases they have clauses which mandate raises in pay over time and the penalty for breaking or terminating the contract is as eye-watering as the Westminster cuts to council budgets.

        In my own area I know it took them over four years to get rid of what they described as the worst of the gold plated contracts. And of course, they still have the employees at middle levels that they brought in. That is not really something they can make public.

        • grumpyscottishman

          bsjalba

          I understand that contracts can be very different but we are talking about grades not that much higher than those being cut and the contracts are very similar. I just think that great care needs to be taken and although I am not in a union I suspect that strikes will happen, no one I know would take the decision to strike lightly but I think it will happen and it will effect the most vulnerable sadly but what do people do to express their views.

          Thanks for commenting.

          Bruce

  4. Sam

    Bruce

    Well done – a good rant. I started reading about health inequalities just before the indyref.

    I hope that you will not only blog about poverty but write to the press -local and national – as well. Maybe you could interest fellow bloggers in the subject and try to get a campaign going. Bottom line – without devo max or independence – Scottish governments (any hue) cannot act most effectively to defeat poverty. We need to have full control of the economy and welfare provisions.

    10th kilbrandon Lecture Sir Harry Burns http://www.gov.scot/resource/0040/00403544.pdf

    Dr Gerry McCartney What would be sufficient to reduce health inequalities in Scotland?

    http://www.gov.scot/Resource/0041/00412226.pdf

    Gordon Daniels’ Ph.D paper supervised at Glasgow Centre for Public Health

    http://www.gcph.co.uk/assets/0000/4271/GCPH_Briefing_43web.pdf

    Impact of Thatcherism on health in Britain

    http://pcwww.liv.ac.uk/~alexss/thatcherism.pdf

    You could have a big influence here, with luck and a fair sail.

  5. lanark

    I have read your article a few more times and I am still angry. As time goes on I despise the Union more and Unionist politicians and their apologists also. However you have described the UK (correctly) here as becoming ever more economically and morally bankrupt and as someone who wishes to see its end, I take grim comfort from that. It is becoming ever more rotten, surely its end is near.

    If, as expected, the SNP win a big majority at Holyrood they have the mandate to become more forceful in the push for Independence. Unfortunately they like us all are the hostages of a regime which won a campaign which appealed to fear and prejudice.

    We must harness our anger.

    • Anonymous

      Lanark

      I get a lot of reports via my job and when I read the JRF one it just makes a person sad and angry, but I tend to find I am getting angry at all politicians and naysayers now. Life is too short and some people are living an absolutely miserable life and too many through no choice of their own.

      The SNP in Holyrood overall have not been too bad but I am losing patience with the slow approach to everything and to just passing on the cuts, there is an argument to have a debate about taxation and how we fund local services and that debate has to be with everyone in the country. Lets find out what people feel they can contribute, what can we give them back if we contribute a bit more. The SNP are becoming too timid for me and that runs the risk of complacency.

      I totally accept that the SNPs hands are tied at Westminster so it’s time to get very loud, challenge the system, challenge the bullshit traditions that too many are more concerned about than poverty. Put the Tories under as much pressure as possible, disrupt parliament at every opportunity if it makes like difficult for the Tories, humiliate every Liberal and Labour hypocrisy , no one gives a shit about our voice or welcome it, so you know what, two can play that game. It might be juvenile but maybe it’s time to throw the dummy out of the pram as nothing else works.

      Thanks so much for commenting, I really enjoy our little chats a lot.

      Bruce

  6. thomaspotter2014

    Hey Grumpy,hope you are well.I can see you haven’t lost your grumpiness lol.

    Agree that the SNP need to up their game and get some fire in their belly as the Tories and Labour in Scotland and England are imploding and as such are sitting targets .Also taken on board that the 56 are ineffective but,and there is a but,we gotta remember that this disfunctional disunited Kingdom doesn’t operate like a normal place.

    99% of all media are diametrically opposed to the truth and are set against everything the SNP,Scotland and the Indy groups stand for.

    Just because we are social media savvy and growing we still haven’t broken through to the massive percentage that are like the proverbial mushroom-kept in the dark and fed shit.

    Only when these souls have the scales from their eyes will we overcome the seriously powerful anti Scottish forces,and that is happening,even though it’s too slow it is increasing-see Catalonia are getting it together-and so will we.

    Not long now.

    Any roads ,nice to have you back.

    • Anonymous

      Thomas

      I don’t disagree with your take on the UK at all but as I commented to Lanark, we just don’t have the time anymore. It is time to shake it up and get disruptive where appropriate, challenge the systems and generally be a pain in the arse. The SNP at Westminster have nothing to lose as things are shit anyway. For me too many have bought too easily into the system and the language they have to use, challenge this shit and make the place our place and more accessible. The slow approach isn’t for me anymore and one of the main reasons I don’t think I will ever join a party again, they disappoint me to be honest.

      The media are on the way out as social media takes more of a hold, too many still believe all the shit through ignorance though and too many unionists will cling to any old pish to try and reinforce their arguments and then revert to oil, the referendum, we’re all nationalist and SNP bad. The media just won’t report so we need to do it ourselves. But I also don’t think the SNP slow creep is going to work in the long run, I understand their strategy but their tepidness and trying to be everything to everyone lost the referendum because they were not brave enough.

      I plan on blogging as much as I can and starting to do a bit more research and posting links when I have the time, its about as much as I can do right now. I need to start making contact with politicians more also but again you need time as very rarely when decisions are getting made do the politicians give out all the facts and you contact them and they come back at you with something that was never in the public domain in the first place, they are all guilty of those games, and it pisses me off. Excuse the language but I tried the slow approach trying to convince people within the Liberal Democrats and too many just don’t want to listen and those that do don’t hear. I’m sick of it now, we can’t afford the misery much longer.

      Thanks for commenting as always.

      Bruce

  7. Helena Brown

    Bruce, you are in good grump and why not. Here is the thing, if your look at why we are in this state today, Banks which were supposed to be failing (really) so we had to bail them out. So we the sma flolk had to bare the burden (why?). The truth of the matter is something else. The Bilderberg group decided that the lower orders were getting too big for their boots. Working classes sending their children to University, buying houses and not relying on Rachhman Landlords as my folks and most of their friends did unless they were lucky and got council houses. Buying new cars, going abroad for holidays. No that could not be allowed to continue, so we will get Tony Blair to introduce the minimum wage, that will sort a lot of it out, after all it works so well in the States, you need a few jobs to keep your head above water, we will introduce zero hours contracts and that will help. Then the Rich just continued to get richer. When you look at all of these things you realise what a great game they are playing at our expense hence food banks.
    As for the SNP, lots of things I do not agree with, Michele Thomson and Natalie McGarry should be back in the party by now. The Establishment are dragging their feet, charge or let it go, the Police are well in with the Establishment and this is not the SNP.. Councillors should keep their consituents informed but I cannot remember every being by any of those who represented me. The one person who was always sending stuff out was Willie Rennie when he was my MP, I rest my case.
    Never mind Bruce, the rate things are going the revolution is building. Helena

    • grumpyscottishman

      Helena

      I’m not so up on things like the Bilderberg Group ect but I do think we have been shafted big time and manipulated every second of everyday. I want to try and have a look at this Panama Papers thing as that might be interesting to see how much of a blind eye is turned by Governments everywhere. As far as being manipulate an example I think would be I don’t have a mortgage and have never wanted to have one, I remember my Dad saying that once you have a mortgage they have you, they have you by the balls and I think he has been proven right. Debt and mortgages mean people can’t afford to strike so accept any old shit that is served up. Add in not building decent social housing and you force people into slums or mortages, low paid jobs and they have you then.

      I agree with you about Michele Thomson and Natalie McGarry, charge them or clear them. I have no idea if there is anything in what they are accused of, I hope not as it will be milked to death by unionists and their media, but I agree get it sorted out. I do think the SNP slow creep is not the right move anymore, we don’t have the time. This Government, when you look at the shambles of welfare, tata, NHS in England and cuts are not far from falling. I think if Labour in England and the SNP can get themselves sorted out and grow a pair this Government can be forced to self destruct I really do.

      Interesting and shitty times as they say.

      Thanks for commenting.

      Bruce

      • East Neuker

        Bruce,
        Well said. I agree we need to push harder. I had a discussion on a northern English blog (AAV) where most contributors agreed with me that Labour SNP alliance at Westminster is desirable, but that southern English labour do not understand and still reject this. The only counter voice was a Scottish Unionist leaping in shouting SNPBAAAAD!

        We need to be ready to push harder, because bad things are coming and we will be shafted again by the elite. I am finding it hard to convince people of this in my area – it is out of their comfort zone even if they are YES voters. Keep up the fight.

        • Anonymous

          East Neuker

          I think we are in for some stormy waters but I also think now is the time to put the Tories under pressure but I don’t believe that Labour can or maybe even want to, are they capable of being in power right now and I just want to see a lot more from the 54 SNP MPs as now is the time to heat things up, the slow creep is not for me anymore. I really think the Tories are there for the taking, everything is a mess from the economy to public services to the EU to Tata, it’s all a shambles and you’re right, it will get worse so we need to push now, we need to bring those wankers down.

          Thanks for commenting.

          Bruce

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