First we had Blair and Brown,when Pm’s inviting Thatcher for tea. Then we had Darling as Chancellor declaring that they would have worse cuts than she could ever dream of, and then, Lamonts throwing out the remnants of social policy in Scotland by declaring the Tory maxim of “putting an end to something for nothing culture”.Now to top it all off we have Milliband finally admitting what many of us long suspected, that Labour had turned completely Tory, directly quoted by the Independent newspaper as saying “Think of me as Maggie”
Beyond any shadow of a doubt, Labour nationally,and in their Scottish sub branch, have completely sold out those that they are supposed to be representing. They prefer rather, to be Better Together with those that they once rejected. It is a sad state of affairs. Goodness knows what those who still helplessly cling to them, in the mistaken belief that they are still socialists standing up for the poor and the working class, must make of them?
I have my own thoughts of what has happened, and is happening, but I will hold off from passing comment at the moment.
However, quite by accident I was alerted by a twitter link of something which was going down in Linda Fabiani’s East Kilbride constituency, and upon reading the blog, decided its contents needed further coverage,so I will copy it here.
Make of it what you will…I will leave it up to yourself to consider the exchange.
“The following is the exchange of emails between the Labour MP for East Kilbride and one of his – and my – constituents. It was sent to me for my comments. I was so shocked at the content of the reply that I asked permission of our constituent to publish the exchange along with my comments. My constituent does not wish his identity made public.
Have a read at the exchange and then please read my comments in full here.
This enquiry was sent to the Labour MP following Johann Lamont’s speech on 25 September 2012 , which was widely covered in the press, including this article on the Guardian website.
My name is [name withheld] and I’m one of your constituents living in East Kilbride. I come from a working family, with a strong socialist background, and I’m currently [occupation withheld].
I am horrified by the turn that Labour seems to have taken this week in announcing its intention to bring in tuition fees for students and scrap free bus passes for the elderly. I realise that Labour is the party of opposition in Holyrood, but I had always thought, or hoped, that Labour was a socialist party which supported policies such as these, which help to promote in my view a fairer and more just society.
I realise that financially Scotland is in a difficult position, but so are most other countries around the world, and these policies say something to Scots, and to people around the world, about what our values and principles are. Tuition fees paid for collectively by taxpayers, make it easier for students from more deprived backgrounds to go to University, and bus passes allow older people, such as my retired mother on a tight pension, to get out and about.
Would you vote to abolish these policies? And where exactly would you spend the money instead?
The reply was extraordinary for a Labour MP who represents an area suffering from the effects of the worst economic crisis in at least 60 years.
For me, the phrase “the days of wine and roses are over” stands out as testament to just how detached from the lives of people in East Kilbride Labour has become. It also betrays a complete lack of recognition of Labour’s culpability for the financial bubble over which they presided and whose collapse will blight the lives of Scots for years to come.
Response from Michael McCann MP
Let me now give you a full response.
You must have been listening to a different speech to the one that I was listening to because Joanne Lamont didn’t say the words that you appear to attribute to her.
She said that nothing is ‘free’ and she is 100% correct.
In 2007 when the SNP formed their first minority administration they inherited a budget which was prudently administered by Labour.
Each year the Labour administration had carefully planned it priorities and reserved funds, around £750 million, as an annual contingency.
They had also stored up around £1 billion in HM Treasury for large capital projects.
The SNP came in and they have blown the lot, creating the illusion that we can have everything in Scotland for free.
Free bus passes, free prescriptions , no parking charges at hospitals, no road tolls – you name it.
And you can get all this and pay less tax, so they would have you believe.
Anyone with basic arithmetic can work that out that the prospectus is mendacious.
None of it is free and that is exactly the point that Joanne Lamont made.
She never said anything about taking anything from anyone, she merely pointed out that everything has a price, taxpayers money has been squandered by the SNP, the days of wine and roses are over and we need to make tough choices.
The price we pay for free prescriptions for example is that there are fewer nurses and we can’t afford new drugs to treat cancer.
And as we get older and less healthy the problem will be exacerbated.
Are you happy with that? I’m not. And why should Alex Salmond on a salary well in excess of £100k get free prescriptions?
And while tuition is currently free, would you be happy if Scottish Universities were so deprived of cash and talent as a result of such a policy that Scottish degrees weren’t worth the paper they were printed on?
The politics of socialism [name withheld] is the politics of priorities.
So, if you are, as you say, from a socialist background you should be supporting Labour 100%.
Note: Further to the above exchange Ms Fabiani researched further…
“Mr McCann criticised the SNP for having ‘blown’ a £1 billion Capital Reserve inherited from the previous Scottish Executive.
Figures obtained by Ms Fabiani from the Scottish Parliament Information Centre (SPICe) confirm that no such reserve existed when the SNP took power in 2007.
Indeed, figures obtained from SPICe reveal that the Labour-led Executive accumulated and spent over £500 million of tax-payers’ money in an attempt to win the 2007 Scottish Parliament election.
In his comments on the SNP’s management of the Scottish Resource Budget, Mr McCann appears unaware of the fact that both Wales and Northern Ireland lost over £300 million to the Treasury’s deficit reduction programme.
The SNP Government prevented this happening to Scotland and was able to use the accumulated resource funding to deliver public services.”