Saturday, January 13, 2007

Gordon Brown Shirks the Devolution Blame

Some times you just wonder at the sheer brass neck of some of our politicians. Yesterday it was Tim Yeo, today it is Gordon Brown. He writes HERE in the Daily Telegraph yet another one of his interminably boring sermons on Britishness, in which he seesm to blame the Conservatives for the weakening of the Union. He says that the Conservative position on English votes and the discussions on the Right about the constitutional settlement are the only things to blame for the fact that polls now show increasing numbers of people wanting a separation of England and Scotland. Nowhere in his article does he even begin to understand that is was Labour's devolution policy which, as John Major rightly put it, let the genie out of the bottle.

As one of the prime forces behind devolution Gordon Brown is himself largely to blame for the situation the Union finds itself in. It's just a shame he lacks the self knowledge to accept any of the responsibility. But it's typical of the man. He is just not cut out to lead this country. He lacks the leadership skills required, lacks the personality and lacks any kind of team-playing ability. And it's the latter that in the end will do for him.

UPDATE: Simon Heffer has written a rather good attack on Gordon Brown HERE.


Anonymous said...

This piece by Simon Heffer in today's Telegraph is a "must read" as it accurately reveals the alarming extent of Brown's spin, incompetence, and mismanagement:

Anonymous said...

Honestly. Gordon needs the Union for his career. Nobody believes a word these New Labour liars say anymore.

I don't believe the line that the Labour Party are the natural party of opposition anymore. They are the Party of desperation.

If they tell the truth they can't get elected, after this New Labour shambles, if they lie they won't get elected either.

Anonymous said...

Totally agree with Iain about the lack of Brown's leadership ability, which is almost a chronic defect. Really just bewildered that most NL MPs apparently can't see this, although possibly this may change when the election happens, that is, if Blair ever stands down - I think his aim is to die in office!

On the devolution thing though, I think the Realpolitik since the war has been to gradually give in to nationalist sentiment in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, sometimes with a fight, sometimes giving more than was asked. Historically though this may be a needed rectification. The "Acts of Union" were not democratic instruments, they were either agreements between aristocrats (the first Scottish one) or corrupt purchasing of the Scottish landlord class (the second one). Wales was forcibly occupied and it's people brutally oppressed. Northern Ireland was a means of attempting to maintain protestantism in catholic ireland for political reasons; are we really still bothered about that?? The truth is that a new settlement for the lands of the British Isles is long overdue. It was delayed by the Cold War, but wishful thinking won't reverse the tide. Probably we need either a new federal union with equal powers for England, Scotland, Wales and NI or alternatively each needs to go it's own way. The UK was essentially an imperialist fabrication in the first place.

Anonymous said...

Agreed! Its amazing how, after a decade in power, this government is still blaming the Mayor administration, long after anyone actually accepted the excuse... and dont get started on just how inept Brown is, its a damning verdict on the current state of the Labour Party that Brown is the only realistic candidate for its leadership and the likes of Alexander, Balls and Miliband are it's "leading lights"... could be a long 2007 [sigh].

Sabretache said...

The thing that bugs me most about this whole devolution/English Votes debate is the way it is framed. For all the mainstream parties (ie those who fondly and somewhat patronisingly believe it is they who set the agenda of political debate) it is axiomatic that the Union is a good thing which must be defended and promoted at all costs. The result is that real debate is sacrificed to the apportionment of blame for the growing 'threat' to this sacrosanct arrangement that in reality is well past its sell-by date.

So far as I and an increasing proportion of my countrymen are concerned the 'UK' carries no discernible benefits to 80%+ of its population; just the prospect of perpetual rule by Whinging Scots - many representing Scottish constituencies; grossly unfair and anti-democratic arrangements for constituency representation, voting on primary legislation, taxation and a host of medical, social, education, transpost etc provisions.

Call yourself a Scottish Nationalist in Scotland or a Welsh Nationalist in Wales and you're a hero. Call yourself an English Nationalist in England and you're branded a rascist by the mainstream parties - which is a good illustration of the paucity of their thinking on the whole issue.

It's high time they noticed all that writing on the wall because for sure this issue is going to bite many of them very hard on the backside - and that includes DC.

Anonymous said...

Gordon needs Labour MPs in Scotland to get his potty policies through in England. Surely if there is a rising demand for Scottish independence within Scotland it's because the people who live there want it - not because of Tory machinations?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 10:30 are you Simon Heffer by any chance?! Read that article and he rambles on about how the money supply is out of control; he wants us to return to the Lamont/Lawson money supply control game. Not quite the demolition of Brownism you claim. Most Thatcherites cling to the myth of brilliant economic management in the 80s; the truth is that a combination of high oil revenues, new industries and worldwide lower inflation enabled the Thatcher booms. Unlike America though where the Fed was wise enough not to get over-obsessed with either currency or supply, we also had the Thatcher/Major crashes. Brown may be unfit to be PM but he's actually been very effective as Chancellor with a far better record than any of his predecessors since the 50s. Heffer is a nutter.

Anonymous said...

The right has embraced multi-culturalism, it's just that we now call it England, N.Ireland, Sctoland and Wales.

Anonymous said...

law and labour party....i dont think that Blair win

The Military Wing Of The BBC said...

anonymous 10.53 said
"Brown may be unfit to be PM but he's actually been very effective as Chancellor with a far better record than any of his predecessors since the 50s."

I believe that the past 10 years has been THE decade of the english language - when to participate in the tech boom, first you needed either to speak english or learn it. THEN you could participate.

In this context the UK economy has performed badly if you put it into a table of english speaking economies (bottom), or european countries that have a high % of english speakers - scandinavia and holland (also bottom).

NuLab and Brown in particular are taking credit for the fact that we speak english here and therefore have a massive advantage in the new economy. Compared to other english speaking countries however, Brown's economic record of increasing tax and regs has been extreamly poor.

Anonymous said...

What's always bothered me about this whole Devolution thing, is the assertion by Scottish MPs (Brown, Alexander, etc.etc.) that Scots voting on Scottish affairs was "spreading democracy" whereas the English voting on English affairs was somehow "destroying the Union".

Gordon Brown's attempts to wrap himself in the Union Flag have nothing whatever to do with him being born-again British, and everything to do with him representing a Scottish seat and being scared to death that if the Union goes, his chances of being PM go with it.

Anonymous said...

What a cheeky c*** this cretin is !!
Every day, in every way, these Labour clowns take ones breath away.

Anonymous said...

'Simon Heffer has..' what ?

Shirked the devolution blame ?

Written another one of his facile, unbalanced, rampantly right-wing rants ?

Decided to give up writing ginger-whinger garbage and make a new year's resolution to learn to be fair and impartial ?

We should be told...

David Lindsay said...

Devolution was always, in parctical terms, conditional on a Labour Government at Westmnister and a Labour-led Executive at Holyrood.

The SNP stands no chance of winning the Scottish Elections outright, nor is there any chance of a Yes vote in a referendum on independence held by an SNP-Lib Dem coalition, so Gordon Brown can sleep easy.

Furthermore, there is no doubt whatever that an Act of the sovereign Parliament of the United Kingdom prevails over that of the devolved Scottish Parliament, which itself exists only pursuant to an Act of the former kind.

That the sovereign Parliament currently chooses not to enact legislation applicable only in Scotland, or that Ministers drawn from and accountable to that Parliament currently choose not to exercise their statutory powers in Scotland, is neither here nor there. It may do so at any time, and they may do so at any time.

Under Brown, they and it would probably have done so anyway, as would also be the case if there were to be a Conservative majority in the House of Commons. If a Brown Premiership faced a non-Labour Scottish Executive, then this becomes an absolute certainty.

If people voted SNP in ever-larger numbers in protest, then that would only harden Labour and Tory Unionism. Alternatively, ever-more Scots might find themselves wondering what their never-popular devolved Parliament was for, and so might begin to hasten its demise by the same authority that created it, namely that of the Parliament of the United Kingdom.

Anonymous said...

I may be wrong but I can't imagine the Scots would vote for independence. Far too canny. A nice dream, but an expensive one.

The devolution settlement is I think a price worth paying for keeping Scotland in the Union. As is the Barnett formula. Scotland as a special part of the Union deserves her special status. Most English people are fairly laid back about this.

There really isn't any blame to go around Iain!

Anonymous said...

Heffer is not a Nutter, but he is a nutter.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
Brown ... (has) actually been very effective as Chancellor with a far better record than any of his predecessors since the 50s.....

You can try repeating that nonsense about Brown being a good Chancellor untl the cows come home, he certainly does. But fewer and fewer fall for it these days.

The fact is that his years of economic growth were built on consumers borrowing-to-spend (largely on imported goods, and often using their overpriced houses as a cash machine); and increasing taxation and Government borrowing to fund more spending in the bloated public sector.

This has resulted in debt and house price bubbles which are now on the verge of bursting with calamitous consequences for the UK economy.

When the full extent of his profligacy and mismanagement become known Gordon Brown will go down as one of the worst Chancellors in history.

Anonymous said...

Once again the clunking Big Foot emerges from its gorgonic bunker to screech and to shake a wee, well chewed, sporran at the majority of us who want an end to this imbalanced and undemocratic Union where the nulab Scots Mafia have held hegemonic sway for the past decade. In classic old Labour, old Brown, fashion, Big Foot sweats, he sulks, he bangs his clunking, nail bitten, big fist, claims the current mess is nothing to do with him and blames the Conservatives for the opportunist hole he, Brown, has propelled himself into.

Well, don't waste your haggisy breath, Gordon. Whatever privileged Midlothian planet you've been on for the past decade, almost 90% of UK's people, those in England, have been sweating it out here in the hell you made for us. Now it's time for our revenge.

You can raise the spectre of bogus 'Britishness' all you like, Mr Broon. Few feel British in this ruined country of ours any longer because you've made it synonymous with nulabour dominion and Scottishness - and even your Scots don't want it.

Stamp your big foot and make all manner of phoney claims regarding the alleged success of Britishness during the past decade. You won't fool us. Alongside your pal Blair, you've lost all credibility. Everyday we in England watch the death throes of our country's value system, communities, services and infrastructure thanks to your relentless asset stripping.

We know that our economy is built on a mountainous desert of government and personal debt which you and nulab are solely responsible for.

We know that beneath your GDP figures lie a tide of disguised, rising unemployment and of declining small and medium sized businesses. SMEs are 99% of UK's enterprise, employing almost 60% of UK's workforce, their increased turnover masks a dire struggle for survival thanks to the icy stranglehold of eroded profits that you and your nulab big corporate donors have on them.

That's what the big clunking fist of your phoney, brutish, Britishness has achieved. And you can stuff it!

Anonymous said...

I think Iain's point about Brown's personality should not underestimated. He really is dull, and it may seem shallow to judge someone on their political persona alone but swing voters can be tipped by such fine margins - which I'm very happy about.

Anonymous said...

Simon Heffer has.....
Do let us into the secret.

Anonymous said...

Actually, Scotland can bugger off as far as I am concerned, and the sooner the better.

The problem for me is that the Scots now have their own parliament where they decide on how they want to do things. Then they come down to Westminster and tell the rest of us all over again. It is not a 2 way street. Either you are in or you are out. You can't have it both ways.

Now Brown has the nerve to stand up and say that the UK is in danger. It's only in danger because of his party's policies. It started when they couln't accept that they had lost the 1987 and (in particular) the 1992 elections, so they thought they would dream up something that they expected to be in charge of for ever. But it hasn't turned out like that, has it?

Brown and his crew are the real criminals.

Anonymous said...

'Prudence', eh?

Any one less 'prudent' than Broon is hard to imagine...

Anonymous said...

black bart: I don't think even Lord Barnett now supports the Barnett formula. He concedes it is now too generous to Scotland.

Very few Scots (I think 160,000 or thereabouts) are now net contributors to the UK economy. The rest are either on benefits or employed by central or local government.

Gordon Brown always reminds me of Bertie Wooster's observation: "It is never difficult to distinguish between a ray of sunshine and a Scotsman with a grievance."

Anonymous said...

trumpeter lanfried

I'm in favour of independence for Scotland so I hope the Barnett formula will become irrelevant.

However I THINK it is the case that the formula actually decreases Scotland's share of expenditure year by year.

Anonymous said...

Cameron must move quickly on this issue because it's becoming apparent he is being squeezed out (by the Scots Nats for God's Sake!).

There is now a widespread discontentment across the UK about our constitutional arrangements. The Conservatives are on the margins in Scotland and Wales, no-where in Northern Ireland and flopping about in the face of a growing national awareness in England.

I suggest DC do what the Liberals did in Scotland in the run up to devolution. Call for a renegotiation of the Acts of Union.

It would set him out from all the other parties who are ignoring the issue (Labour), have nothing concrete to offer (the Liberals) or one that brings with it great anxiety (the nationalists). In one fell swoop he would be presenting himself as a defender of the Union whilst also recognising the equality of the nations of the UK.

He should call for a Constitutional Convention to be convened to sort out this issue. Say 10 elected appointees from each constituent part of the UK to sit for a year and come up with a fair and equitable solution.

He better move quickly otherwise he is going to be seen as supporting Brown and playing a secondary role rather than leading the debate.

Anonymous said...

It's complete rubbish to say "devolution has let the genie out of the bottle". This is to treat the Scots and Welsh as children, who must be nursed by nanny or else they will run off. Devolution was the "settled will" of the Scots by the 1980s and to have refused it to them would have stoked nationalism like nothing else.

Anonymous said...

24 hours to save the union redux.

That said, you can see the appeal of separation. England and Wales, under FPTP, would be Tory into infinity and the Scots Tories would be able to throw off their image as a London/English party and present themselves as a viable economic and social right party in Edinburgh. In this era of globalisation, the union seems positively redundant.

Anonymous said...

Leaving vitriol about Brown to one side for the moment, the real question relates to the Conservatives and the union.

History shows there is nothing intrinsically Labour or Nationalist about Scotland. In fact, given half a chance, Scots are if anything more inclined to a Tory view than the English as a whole.

Fifty years ago the Conservative AND UNIONIST Party held over half the seats in Scotland. Outside the Glasgow area Scotland was blue-coloured from east to west, north to south. Even in Glasgow itself there were several Tory seats. Now the party has been all but wiped out in Scotland.

To find out why, and to find the way back is not so much to be concerned with the iniquities of the Labour Party, but the purblind stupidity of the Tory Party in Scotland over the last half-century.

I certainly do not have all the answers, but I can point to a few significant factors behind this fall:

-- Complacency. Outside the Glasgow area, which was seen as a separate and lost corner, Tory candidates just piled up their votes. They did not have to "work their passage".

-- Contempt. This complacency led to Scottish Tory seats being filled by English public school carpetbaggers. Before very long the electorate noticed that they had MPs they had nothing in common with, who knew nothing and cared less about their local problems and issues, who spoke in posh English accents and did not understand even elementary Scots expressions. The Conservatives were seen as treating the Scots electorate with contempt and the drift away had begun.

-- The rise of third parties. Still the majority were far from ready to embrace socialism or the Labour Party. But along came the Liberals, who revived earlier in Scotland than England as they replaced these Tory grandees, and then, inevitably, the SNP, greatly encouraged by the discovery of oil in the North Sea. Thus the call for independence, or at least devolution, became a major factor in Scottish politics for the first time.

-- Intransigence. The failure of the Scottish Tory Party to recognise that things--especially over oil and devolution--had changed led to the inevitable result we have today.

In other words, the Conservatives are the authors of their own misfortune in Scotland. Scottish devolution is not a reason for abandoning Scotland but rather the result of Tory failure to tackle the issue in a sensible and realistic manner over the last several decades.

As far as I can see, same or similar stories could be told of the Conservative Party in Wales.

Minus the nationalism, it could also be told of the party in Cornwall, the North East of England... and the disaffection will tend to grow, the more the Conservatives are seen as a South Eastern regional group. When that happens, no amount of female and minority candidates will make any difference: the Conservative Party will be as unable to win a general election throughout the UK--or even England alone--as, say, the SNP would be.

To "abandon" Scotland would boil down to nothing more nor less than an admission of defeat; not just the dissolution of the Act of Union, but the first step towards the break-up of the English-Wales rump too; and in due course the disintegration of England (an artificial construct of Henry VIII in any case) as well--and the end of the Tory Party.

Anonymous said...

Simon Heffer has ... probably finished his sentence really. Unlike Mr Dale.

Anonymous said...

I refuse to accept the character assination of the Scots as spongers!!!! A citation for the source Trumpeter Lanfried would help!

Regional transfers exist in most countries. Yes Barnett is generous. But so what? If Scotland is chopped off what other part of the country are we going to take exception to becuase they are "spongers" and enjoy greater transfers than other parts? Cornwall?

The Westminster Parliament can still pass laws that apply to Scotland notwithstanding the Scotland Act. Power is devolved not transfered/ceded. Which is why the House of Commons should still have Scottish MPs even though there is now a Parliament in Edinburgh. It seems to have escape much of the frebrile commentary on this blog that Northern Ireland sent MPs to Westminster for over fifty years while running a devolved system of government. It was never a problem.

Anonymous said...

When you Tories start saying that Gordon needs Scotland to get his policies through, you are:

- Treating Scotland as a No-go area
- On a slippery slope to carving off the republics of North Britain, Greater London and yes Wales

This seems to be exactly the opposite of what you ought to be doing. Europe of the regions here we come. Whey Hey!

Essentially the Tories have I thought temporarily lost the knack of winning seats in these places with those lying scumbags in the Lib Dems nicking your traditional seats.

It seems pretty pathetic for the "Conservative & Unionist Party" to become the "Conservatives: Unionism No Thank You" party.

Presumably Cameron *is* a Scot? Likely descended from some clansman slaughtering military dynasty.

Anonymous said...

Yeltsin pulled the Russian Federation out of the Soviet Union.........Brown sees himself more like Lukashenko in Belarus trying to keep it together

Anonymous said...

2br02b (3.24 pm): I have often wondered how the nation of Adam Smith went off the rails. If you're right, the Tories have only themselves to blame.

black bart: Sorry I can't give chapter and verse for my figure of 160,000. I have read a number of similar figures in recent weeks, and 160,000 was the highest.

The figure doesn't surprise me. Some years ago I visited a small council estate in the West of Scotland where every single householder was on benefits, except one. Her job was to run the Post Office, opening on alternate Thursdays simply to pay out the benefits.

Anonymous said...

Simon Heffer has... ? What ? Shurly we shud be told ?

Anonymous said...

Interesting takes on the BBC coverage on these two images.

Sabretache said...

DB - 2:51

"It's complete rubbish to say "devolution has let the genie out of the bottle"."

That rather depends upon which 'Genie' you are referring to: The Scots Nationalist one (relatively contained - appeased? - by devolution) or the English Nationalist one. It should be pretty clear to anyone with a head not buried in the sands (illusions) of the English at the head of a 'Great British Empire' that the English Nationalist one is out - and, with the anti-democratic nature and gross injustices of the present devolution settlement, it won't be put back in a hurry.

Anonymous said...

It is absolute shit to say that devolution fuels the break-up of the UK. There are plenty of stable states based on devolved power, the United States for example. Hopefully the Scots and Welsh Tories, and I'll be breaking the habits of a lifetime by voting Tory in the coming Assembly elections, won't be dragged down yet again by their rather dense English cousins. Of course Welsh and Scottish MPs shouldn't vote on English matters. The Tories should concentrate on the natural justice of that position and not prattle on with their childish anti-welsh, anti-Scottish nonsense. Brown should be exposed for what he is, someone who puts the narrow sectional interests of his party before the justice of English representatives voting on English matters.

Anonymous said...

Great! A competition!

Simon Heffer has .... webbed feet.

Anonymous said...

I just remembered. I was telling a friend of mine last night, that a few months ago I sneaked onto the LabourHome blog under the pseudomin of "turnleft". For a couple of months I had fun arguing a left wing position. On one occasion the editor said that the good discussion was really constructive.

Then Tony Blair announced he was going to stand down so I thought Id have some fun promopting Alan Johnson. I pointed out that Alan's website was 2 years out of date - and hey presto the next week he launched a new website.

Then a few more times I promoted Alan - I think my only argument was he was the housewives favourite. Then out of the blue my IP was blocked - and still is blocked.

What worries me is that Gordon Brown is now about to become Prime Minister of one of the most poweful countries in the world and yet his supporters have stifled any opposition to his coronation. If his supporters are going to do this in this election what will they do in a General Election to keep power? This is very concerning.

Anybody reading this who knows Alan should email him and let him know that his opposition to Gordon was snuffed out by some undemocratic control freak/s over at labourhome.

Anonymous said...

Brown talks of the danger of 'nationalists', and the importance of the 'Union', but his concern is party-political - it's his fear of losing Labour seats in the Westminster elections, and local MSP seats in Scotland.

Until Scotland declares independence, I believe they should still have MPs at Westminster. But as long as the English taxpayer is paying for this caper,
a) they must not vote on English matters,
b) while they are refraining from voting they could get on with their homework quietly in the corner and then there could be
c) far, far fewer Scottish MPs.
d) reform of the absurdly unfair Barnet formula.

Anonymous said...

No, the Scots are not spongers, but some who live in the more remote regions of Scotland have unrealistic expectations that everything will go on just as it is, council this, government that, but they will also get mysteriously richer. Allow me to quote from recent personal conversations in Scotland:
1) a publican in Ballater 'They say the NHS is in a poor state, but it isn't, it's incredibly good. The other week I had something a bit wrong with my leg, and the doc said, better get it looked at, and the following day a helicopter collected me and took me to the hospital at Aberdeen.I mean, you can't say fairer than that, can you..."

2) taxi-driver in Inverness, earlier this year, looking up at the 8-seater jet on its way to Kirkwall:-
"It's so expensive to get the plane from Inverness to the Orkneys, this London weighting y'have, we should have some of it here, there are some folk who need to travel to the islands to see their families and friends, or just to commute."
10 minutes later:-
'and will you look at all the houses they want to build here, for the immigrants from Eastern Europe, why do we need them? We've enough of our own folk.'

Anonymous said...

Sheer hypocrisy from Gordie who lusts after the English crown but does nowt for the English.In 2007, be proud to be an English Nationalist and wish the SNP well in the May elections.

Anonymous said...

House of Common Treasury Select Committee, 16 November 2005

Jim Cousins (parliamentary chair, interviewing witnesses from the Treasury):
"These regional funding allocations, when they are set up —it is very interesting to look at the text. All projects of national significance are left out of them; so the Thames Gateway, Crossrail, if it ever gets built, the contribution to the Olympics — all of that is excluded from the regional funding allocations. 10% of the expenditure on all of those things goes to Scotland under the Barnet formula; 7% goes to Wales under the Barnet formula; I think 4% or 5% goes to Northern Ireland under the Barnet formula; but the regional funding allocations for the English regions—nothing comes there.
Nicholas Macpherson (Permanent Secretary to the Treasury)*:
I do not accept that.


Jim Cousins:
A share of that public expenditure is passed on to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland under the Barnet formula, but there is no reflection of it in the funding allocations to the English regions. Is that correct? Yes, it is correct!

Jonathan Stephens(Treasury): "Yes, because they are projects of national significance"


[So Scotland and Wales aren't nations, then? They'd had better stop proudly bandying the word 'national' about when referring to their own countries' institutions and 'national/international' cultural projects for which we pay through the Barnet formula, otherwise they'll give the game away, and the English might ask for their money back...]

Anonymous said...

Bart, you're being misleading: devolution means that Westminster CANNOT legislate in the designated areas of
Local Government
Social Work and Housing
Economic Development and Transport
The Environment
Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing
Sport and the Arts
Statistics and keeping public records.

Anonymous said...

I refuse to accept the character assination of the Scots as spongers!!!!...If Scotland is chopped off what other part of the country are we going to take exception to becuase they are "spongers" and enjoy greater transfers than other parts? Cornwall? (Black Bart)

Cornwall suffers from the same funding disparities as the rest of England - which the Scots do not suffer, thanks to a disproportionate share of English taxes.

None of us in England get the priviledged NHS care, care for elderly people, cancer treatments, exemption from student top up fees and so on that Scots get. Also, aside from calling Londoners 'emmetts from the smoke', the Cornish don't tend to hate the rest of people of England in general while dipping into our purses.

Anonymous said...

In 2007, be proud to be an English Nationalist and wish the SNP well in the May elections. (Anon 5.38 pm)

Well said, anon. Go you SNPs, we love ya! Give the gorgon a really bloody nose.

Anonymous said...

Broon accusing others of "Balkanisation?", the "break up of the Yookay?".

Its the McLabour regime who are behind it all!, isn't Gordon Broons favourite saying "The nations and regions of Britain".

Nations = Scotland and Wales.

Regions = The Country formerly known as England.

And surprise surprise it all fits in with the EUssr agenda.

Sorry Broon, go be Prime Minister of an "Independent" Scotland, cos your not wanted in England and you wont be tolerated for long.

Anonymous said...

Black Bart:
What you bizarrely but quite correctly call the 'assination' of the - formerly - extremely well-educated and hard-working Scottish people has been carried out over the past 20 years by Scottish numpty politicians and 'meeja' folk.

Anonymous said...

What unbelievable hypocrisy for the clunking Big Fist to whinge about the threat of balkanisation. if any one person or factor has been instrumental in exacerbating the break up or 'balkanisation' of the UK, it's Broon and nulab.

It's nulab and Broon's mass migration policy and divide and rule tactics that have eroded and fragmented the spirit of UK's long established communities.

It's the hegemonic influence of Broon and Blair's labyrinthine networks of undemocratic cronyism that have eroded our age old values and turned UK into a mass of splinter groups competing for funding.

And it is Broon and nulab's politically self serving and disproportionate funding policies that have made the English and Scots more mutually hostile than at any other time in recent history.

What disfunctional role models of social harmony Broon and Blair are too. The pair of them have rarely managed to occupy the same room without looking visibly sickened to the gills.

There's the real balkanisation, Mr Broon, you and Blair - and both of you against the rest of us.

Have no fear about the UK splintering into factions, for one thing above all others unites us, Scots and English included, that's how much we detest you two.

Anonymous said...

Jim Cousins (parliamentary chair, interviewing witnesses from the Treasury):
"10% of the expenditure on all of those things goes to Scotland under the Barnet formula; 7% goes to Wales under the Barnet formula; I think 4% or 5% goes to Northern Ireland."

If that is correct, then so far as Scotland at least is concerned, the Barnet allocation for Scotland is very little more than in proportion to the population, while Wales and N. Ireland seem to get significantly more per head.

Considering that one reason for supposedly higher fund allocation to the likes of Scotland is to allow for the greater costs that inevitavly follow from greater distances and lower population density (more true in Scotland than any other part of the UK) this is surprising news if true.


Anonymous 5:55, it is not Bart who is misleading but you.

Certainly Westminster has "subcontracted" the areas you mention to Edinburgh, but at all times this remains at the discretion of Westminster. It could take these powers back from Edinbugh tomorrow if it wished.

Since Scotland suffered for 300 years from a parliamentary system where Scottish interests were entirely subordinate to the overwhelming English majority in Westminster, I would suggest this present arrangement with Scotland should be left as it is until about 2307 in the interests of fairness and balance.


On Brown:

We do not know what sort of PM he will turn out to be until he becomes PM. (It would be extremely dangerous to assume as many do around here that he will be a disaster now, before he has even started on that career: to assume now his failure is to ensure ours. He is not stupid, as I'm sure we will find out soon enough.)

And his Scottishness will cut absolutely no ice with the electorate if he is seen to succeed as PM; it will only matter if he fails--in which case it won't matter anyway, if you see what I mean.

Anonymous said...

I couldn't watch Brown's q & a today as his his performance was so awkward , he is a nervous, fidgeting mess, on the tense edge of some kind of breakdown. He manages to forfeit sympathy however by combining the maladroit with the malevolent. He is bizarre, almost at war with himself , a dangerous mixture of high ego and low self-esteem. Arrogance , and inadequacy.

Anonymous said...

2br02b, I understand that Scotland receives over 20% more funding allocation per capita than England does.

In part, government attempt to justify this by citing higher levels of deprivation in Scotland. But that's nonsense. Cost of living and of housing relative to income are equivalent to or better than England's. When the overcrowding, road congestion, problems related to illegal migration and over rapid legal migration and erosion of green space here is taken into account, the quality of life in Scotland is much better.

It's true that Scots have a lower life expectancy, however how much of that is related to Scotland's acknowledged higher rate of alcohol consumption and smoking? I don't see government rushing to fund services to save smokers and drinkers lives in England.

Anonymous said...

2br02b said...

On Brown: We do not know what sort of PM he will turn out to be until he becomes PM. (It would be extremely dangerous to assume as many do around here that he will be a disaster now, before he has even started on that career: to assume now his failure is to ensure ours. He is not stupid, as I'm sure we will find out soon enough.) (2br02b)

We've had a whole decade of one nulab disaster after another and Brown's personal fiscal disasters to judge Brown by.

As Blair's second in command - and in many senses, Blair's fiscal puppet master - he's almost as responsible as Blair is for the total disaster in Iraq.

It's Broon who's taxed us until the pips the squeak - with no discernible benefit. It's Broon who's pumped money into the NHS - with no discernible benefit. It's Broon who's driven the mass migration policy which has left a generation of young people unable to afford their own home - with almost no discernible benefit to the economy.

It's Broon who's destroyed our pensions. It's Broon who's failed to budget for replacement of our crumbling infrastructure. It's Broon who got his sums wrong over GP's pay rises - which is so implicated in the NHS's near bankruptcy. And it's Broon who's established UK's massive debt mountain which we will struggle to clear for years to come.

We don't need to give Mr Broon any more chances to show what he's capable of. We know what a chaotic mess he's capable of - and we're shaking in our shoes at the prospect of it.

Anonymous said...

Thanks to all those who were kind enough to reply my points.

Anon: 5.23pm
I don't doubt that there is a high welfare dependency level in the remoter parts of the UK, be they in Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland or England. Whatever type of government you have there will always be transfers from rich to poor. I think people in general have unrealistic expectations of what government can and should do. Indeed, one of the problems of this Labour government has been its tendency to don cape and underpants superman style and pretend it is dealing with every problem all the time. Expectations get ramped up all the time.

Anon: 5.55pm
With reference to the competence of the Scottish Parliament. Section 28(7) of the Scotland Act 1998 spells it out:

The presence of that declaration is meaningless because Westminster's sovereign power is unfettered and could in theory repeal the Scotland Act and thus abolish the devolved government. Similarly Westminster can still legislate for Scotland. It does so for a host of reserved matters and can do so at its pleasure for those devolved should it choose. It may not choose to do so for political reasons but that is a different issue.

Anon: 6.26pm
I agree Cornwall gets shafted. Isn't it time that the Cornish had their own government restored? I think your remarks about the Scots are wide of the mark. As is often the case it is easier to restore to crude nationalistic pejoratives rather than focus on the underlying issues I suppose.

I am no fan of Brown. The sooner he is gone with the other half of the new Labour arse, Blair, the better. But on this he is right. In the end we'll all be sorry if the Union breaks. It will be one of those "what have we done moments." Heaven help us.

Anonymous said...

There are plenty of stable states based on devolved power, the United States for example.

Be good if you read the US Constitution.

It is NOT a devolved State. All powers belong to the states and all Citizens are primarily Citizens of the State in which they were born.

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

10th Amendment

That is the opposite of a Unitary State delegating authority - no Council or Assembly has any authority or legal status except that granted by Act of Parliament

Man in a Shed said...

Its important that these lies from Gordon Brown and the rewriting of history are repudiated clearly and in force.

Devolution needs to be thrown back in his face. Its a good example of his lack of political understanding and judgement and why he is unfit to be prime minister.

Anonymous said...

It looks like Gordon has some amnesia.

Has he forgotten that he was right up the nether region of of one of those opportunists 10 years ago?

The pictures here

Might be a good one for a story Iain.

Anonymous said...

"We don't need to give Mr Broon any more chances to show what he's capable of."

Actually, in the real world, he has been the most successful chancellor in history, as seen by the voting public.

Being chancellor is like being a bank manager: you're never going to be able to play the part for laughs.

So, I repeat, we have no idea how he will come over as PM until he becomes PM To assume now that he will be a disaster is to ensure your own disaster: "Never underestimate the enemy."

For example, you can be sure Brown will have a honeymoon with the electorate at first; every new PM does. If Cameron has not got his act together by then (and I see little sign that he will) you can almost bet on a snap election in the autumn leading to a larger Labour majority.

Anonymous said...


It's actually the 'Barnett' formula (Lord Barnett) not 'Barnet' as misspelled in various Scottish Executive committee papers.

"If that is correct" [i.e - the Barnett formula's 10% allocation to Scotland]

Of course it is - if you genuinely don't know, read it e.g. in the 2001 UK Treasury Research Paper, 30 November 2001:
it's 10% for Scotland and 5% for Wales.

You write "So far as Scotland at least is concerned, the Barnet allocation for Scotland is very little more than in proportion to the population"
Well, that's what the formula was originally supposed to be strictly based on, but it no longer reflects that population share - if it ever did. The estimated population of scotland in 2005 (latest Scottish Resgiter Office figures*) was 5,094,800.
The population of the UK at the same period (ONS figures**)was 60.2million people.

According to these figures, Scots are therefore 8.46% of the UK population - probably less by now, as the population of England is estimated to have grown vastly in comparison with Scotland during the past 18 months.

The 2001 Government research report admits (P.7) that
"It is an indication of the extent of official secrecy that this [formula created in 1978] was never
placed on the public record until the Select Committee on Scottish Affairs elicited this information from Mr Younger. The Labour Government did not reveal the existence of this formula despite its relevance to the debate on the
financing of devolved assemblies[...] It would appear that the formula had originally been intended to be a temporary measure
prior to Scottish devolution.7 However, it has been used continuously, with some
modification, ever since. The formula was extended to Wales in 1980.8"



The formula governs spending increases in single departments, but then the money is handed on a plate to the Scottish Executive, in a way totally incompatible with modern auditing principles:

"For example, an increase in spending on schools by the Department for Education and Employment will be matched by funding to the Scottish Executive.

However, once allocated, Scottish Ministers are not obliged to spend this money in the same spending area as England. Technically, they have freedom to allocate it to whichever Scottish Executive department they choose."
BMA 'Caring for the NHS' Report, 2002

The BMA report also rather huffily commented:
"Contrary to some popular misconception, the Barnett Formula is not and never has been a ‘needs-based formula’ and has never attempted to allocate expenditure on the basis of comparative need. It is purely a simple and transparent way of allocating funding changes on the basis of population share."
But as we've seen, that share has dwindled in real terms.

You say: "Westminster has 'subcontracted' the areas you mention [Health, Law, Education etc etc] to Edinburgh, but at all times this remains at the discretion of Westminster. It could take these powers back from Edinbugh tomorrow if it wished."

But that's NOT in the Devolution provisions of the Scotland Act.
If you think it is, cite and quote. The Scotland Act did not 'devolve' areas that could be taken back by Westminster, it reserved certain areas (e.g. Defence) to the Westminster UK parliament.

BTW What IS in the Devolution Act is the provision of EXTRA dicretionary payments to the Scottish Executive by the UK Scottish Office in Westminster: See Pt 3, Sect.64 of the Scotland Act

"1) There shall be a Scottish Consolidated Fund.

(2) The Secretary of State shall from time to time make payments into the Fund out of money provided by Parliament of such amounts as he may determine[...]"
for the 'purposes' of
"65.2 (a) meeting expenditure of the Scottish Administration,
(b) meeting expenditure payable out of the Fund under any enactment"

Interesting, eh?

And Sections 66, 67 and 68 allow for 'loans' to be given by the UK Scottish Office to 'Scottish executive ministers' and Scottish 'public bodies', including interest relief. (Sounding strangely familiar that bit about interest-free loans...)

No more bleating about 'sparse population' and 'lack of public transport', and cold weather, the Clearances, the 1745 Rebellion, and the whole Auld Enemy nonsense, just count your pennies and thank your stars that few of the McTaffia oligarchy's English serfs have read the Scotland Act. Which you can find at

Anonymous said...


Section 28(7) of the Scotland Act 1998 reads
7) "This section [allowing the Scottish Parliament to make laws and pass Acts] does not affect the power of the Parliament of the United Kingdom to make laws for Scotland."
Of course the UK Parliament can make laws for Scotland - but only on matters reserved to the UK parliament, such as Defence etc. Sect. 27 does not say Westminster can annul Acts of the Scottish Parliament on matters devolved to Scotland within the provisions of the Act.

"The presence of that declaration is meaningless because Westminster's sovereign power is unfettered"
(who says so?)
"and [Westminster] could in theory repeal the Scotland Act and thus abolish the devolved government."

But that's only your theory.
Since it sufficed for a Scottish electorate to decide devolution, I don't see how a UK government could consitutionally take back power except by another Scottish referendum.

Anonymous said...

"Actually, in the real world, he has been the most successful chancellor in history, as seen by the voting public."

When was that 'most s c i h' vote, then? I must have blinked and missed it. I thought Gordo had just got away with quite some acumen, until his hubris took over in 2002 and he started pouring our tax money into black holes.

BTW 'Actually, in the real world' is a NuLab government cliche ;-)
Do you get paid for all this astroturfing?

Anonymous said...

Anon 3:11am

You said But that's only your theory.
Since it sufficed for a Scottish electorate to decide devolution, I don't see how a UK government could consitutionally take back power except by another Scottish referendum.

Nope its not my theory. Its that held by the majority of constitutional lawyers. Legally its watertight. Parliament is supreme and unlimited in its power. And it can abolish the Scottish Parliament and Executive as easily as the GLC. The political implications are another matter entirely. The referenda gave practical/political sanctity to devolution. But not legal.

The Scotland Act does not create a lopsided federal Britain as some on here imagine.

Holyrood is Westminster's delegate. It enjoys legal authority because it has been delegated from Westminster. The referenda was irrelevant from that perspective.

Anonymous said...

Anon 2:59

If Scotland gets 10% of spending for 8.5% of the population, then despite what you say, if there was no devolved government and the whole UK was allocated money on the basis of population density, poverty measurement, etc., that sounds just about right.

All that has changed is that Westminster has subcontracted to Edinburgh spending decisions on certain parts of that spending, and it can cancel that arrangement any time it sees fit.

The problem is not a Scottish or Welsh problem, but an English probem: Engish regions could have the same say over their own local spending if they wished, but if they don't want to have localy elected assemblies, don't blame the Scots.

And, by the way, an English parliament would be a total irrelevance in this: it would deliver no local control at all.


Anon 3:16

If you are stupid enough to assume that your enemy is even more stupid than you appear to be, you are riding for a Grade A electoral disaster.

And if you think that "in the real world" is an expression © NuLab you are even more stupid.

In fact, I'm a Tory trying to head off the oncoming electoral disaster the sort of idiotic complacency people like you will deliver. Mind you, if every Tory was as thick as you, it might be better to lose... but I don't believe that.