Sunday, November 18, 2007

A Message from Pete Wishart MP

SNP MP Pete Wishart is fed up with reading anti-Scottish comments on blogs. He emailed me this, earlier this morning. The trouble is that if you even question the Barnett formula you can be dubbed anti-Scottish. Some people even construed the Gordon Brown Jinx post yesterday as anti-Scottish, yet I was sitting on my sofa cheering Scotland on. I'm 25% Scottish myself. My middle name is Campbell for God's sake. Perhaps the debate is becoming too 'shouty' but it's a debate which has to be had.

From the leafy Shires of Middle England to the Shadows of the Satanic Mills there is rebellion in the air. Years of deep felt grievances and a sense of growing injustice is gripping the inhabitants of Auld Albion, and up with it they are no longer prepared to put. Incited by the Conservatives, right wing tabloids and Kelvin Mackenzie, English Votes for English Laws and down with the Barnett Formula are the new banners.“Look at Scotland” they say. “No student fees, free personal care, they’re even going to freeze the Council Tax and abolish prescription charges”. “And you know, it’s us who’s paying for all of this”, they tell us. There’s even an unsavoury anti-Scottishness creeping into the whole mix. A cursory look at the Blogs or a journey in a London cab when one of the favoured talk shows is on will demonstrate just how low the debate is descending.To the majority who consider the issue south of the border it is just a simple orthodoxy that Scotland is subsidised at the expense of the rest of the UK. The metropolitan press peddles this myth on a daily basis and single mindedly perpetuates this lie with a real sense of purpose and determination.
They are simply incapable of being balanced about this debate. And it’s almost getting funny. The week the London Standard ran its front page about how Scotland was being subsidised to the detriment of Londoners was the week that Oxford Economics found that Londoners receive more spending per head than Scots, and that’s before we even get close to unidentified spending, the Olympics or oil!It perhaps therefore shouldn’t come as any surprise that support for Scottish Independence is currently higher in England than it is in Scotland. But what is curious is that those who stoke up all this constitutional tension south of the border still refer to themselves as staunch Unionists! They couldn’t be doing a better job for independence if we were paying them ourselves.But do we want independence on this basis? On the basis of a lie, untruth’s and hostility? When we secure independence I want England to be our best friend and partner. We have 300 years of shared history and we have had some fantastic times together, surely both nations deserve to live side by side in mutual self respect?So come on Mr Times, Telegraph, Daily Mail Editor, have a look at the facts not just the fiction. I’m not even asking you to agree with all you see, just acknowledge that it is not as clear cut as you seem to make out.

Tim Worstall takes Pete Wishart to task HERE over his use o the word Albion to describe England.


Curbishly said...

Last night I cheered on the Italians, and when I heard Israel had beaten Russia my cup overfloweth.

Anonymous said...

When Second rate Steve was given the England job I vowed that I would shout for Scotland over Enland until we got a real manager in.

Alas it wasn't to be for Scotland last night, I'm now shouting for Croatia to beat England. Why?

It's because I'm an England fan and England don't deserve to be get through until they start taking their game seriously. Get a proper manger in, drop the big name players if they're not performing.

ask the same big named players why they can play brilliant football for their club teams but don't appear to give a shit for their national team.

As an England fan, until this happens - I don't want England in a cup competition until they start fighting for it.

Anonymous said...

The reason for the perceieved "anti-scottishness" is not the barnett formula. The barnett formula has been raised as an injustice, but the figures can be spun to either support or critique it. Where there is no doubts around injustice is the West Lothian Question. I think that is what lit the fuse to the current publics view. However, I sense a very cynical air over society currently, we seem to be anti of everything (anti-american while also being anti-muslim, anti-immigration, anti-european etc etc) when I say "anti", I don't mean full blown racism, I simply mean an underlying current of opinion throughout the press and society. I think there is growing anti-scottishness, but I think its founded on the West Lothian question, which is an injustice, but which has been developed recently for political purposes. I also don't think the fact that Brown is Scottish helps things, but I think the fact that his Scottishness is mentioned isn't due to racism, as it is one of the many ways to poke fun at him, (he is called Fat and Gay and all the insults under the sun)

I'm surprised that the snp don't like growing English nationalism, but of course they do, on the outside, they say they hate the views being voiced, but on the inside, they know, that it will be of great help in their quest for Scottish independence.

Anonymous said...

The trouble is that the entire country is falling apart. 10 years of lies, spin and frightening levels of incompetence are driving wedges through vast sections of the community. the government insists on lying about immigration, lying about the EU and introducing deeply flawed and unpopular legislation such as 56 days and ID cards at the same time as they deliver nothing in terms of education and health.

the next two years will be disastrous as the economy implodes and labour face a crushing electoral defeat.

the scottish question is just one of the effects of terrible NuLab legislation.

Labour Rigged Glenrothes said...

To those who are ill informed enough to believe the Unionist lies that Scotland is subsidised by England i suggest you read these articles and then you might just begin to learn the Truth

Anonymous said...

Oh bless poor Peter Wishart! For years, the poisonous attitude of the Jocks toward the English has gone relatively unreported down South. Now the boot is going on the other foot the Jocks don't like it at all. I'm half Scottish and indeed voted SNP to get rid of Labour and the Libbies up here, but i have no time for halfwits like Wishart. As far as i'm concerned the man is scum. need i remind people that during the world cup people wearing England shirts up here were attacked (even children) and that F'r Wishart kept quiet. Contrast the two SNP Tayside North representatives. John Swinney MSP then Wishart MP. Compared to Swinney, Wishart is a grade 1 imbecile.

Anonymous said...

Of course it isn't a clear cut debate, the issues are complex, but they have been worsened by the incompetent devolution process.

Apart from some idiotic anti-Scottish comments (which I am sure are duplicated in reverse over the Border), the Barnet formula is possibly being used as a 'simple' argument, rather than addressing the real issue which is the West Lothian Question.

Which was after all so succinctly raised by a Scot.

Man in a Shed said...

There is nothing close to the casual anti-English racism that exists in Scotland.

I have lived in Scotland and my wife is Scottish.

I can easily remember walking to Church in Aberdeen and seen in the Scotland on Sunday headline at the news agent "What's wrong with the English.". The inbuilt Anglophobia in Scotland and its insitutions would amaze English people who have never lived north of the boarder or read a Scottish newspaper.

As other examples: a local secondary school in Edinburgh threw out the prospectuses sent by English Universities and their pupils were told they could not attend English Universities.

A New Zealand colleague of mine's wife was allowed to get a job as a primary school teacher - unlike English applicants - whose teaching qualifications were no recognised. She was told this rule was solely to keep the English out.

They are also mislead by thinking London is over subsidised. Have they compared Edinburgh to London ?

The problem is the lack of justice for England and the number of Scots politicians who keep popping up to say why the English don't deserve a parliament or recognition as a nation.

Really we are being very mild mannered about it all. They haven't seen us angry - yet.

Anonymous said...

Wishart's comments display many of the techniques used by Zanu Labour namely the inference that anyone with a competing view does not fully understand the issues.
With regards to the "growing anti scottish sentiment", it is unusual to come accross an MP that is so easily upset. Perhaps the anti-jock feeling it is nothing to do with the Barnett formula but more to do with the years of Scots supporting anyone but England...remember Murray's derogatory comments about England during the last world cup?

With regard to the Scottish issue, I have yet to hear any Scottish politician (SNP or Zanu Lab) produce a rational and reasoned justification for Scottish MPs voting on issues that have absolutely no bearing on life in their constituency. We all know why they do it (to preserve Gordon Broons majority) but whatever weasle words they use to justify it, they know it is wrong and it is this that is causing the fracture in relations.

Anonymous said...

He is largely right. The Tories, for purely party advantage, are stirring up a lot of antagonism & are playing fast & loose with the Union. They may see this as the way to get a majority in England but I think, in the longer term, if successful they would lose the benefit the Tories have alwys got for appearing particularly patriotic.

There is a case for reforming the Barnett formula over a period of time (not for tearing it up immediately which would merely deliberately create chaos) though there is at least an equal case for moving the capital out of London & seeing how well London does then! In any case the Barnett subsidy, at the worst, is about 1/1tth of what the EU osts us, at the very best.

One subtext of Barnett is that it encourages us to spend our bonus on state spending (under Labour we spend more on schools & hospitals & got no better results) because if we spent it on something useful, like lowering taxes, the English would notice & take it away (this was, in slightly different words, a question a BBC reporter asked me when I stood for the 9% Growth Party in the Scottish election). One way out of this would be for the Westminster Tories to say that, if we continue with poorer growth & emmigration, they will look at the the formula, but if Scotland was to grow faster than the UK average & thus our proportion of taxes naturally increase, they wouldn't. Such encouragement would be good for both Scotland & Britain.

Man in a Shed said...

Wishart -

The public sector makes up most of the Scottish economy - and since Nationalised industries have mostly gone this means your a subsidised theme park.

True waters of Scotland produce oil - but you don't earn it. Its extracted mostly by English/Dutch/American and French skills and foreign labour.

Strangely these are far better arguments for Scottish independence - that of ending the methadone of state subsidy that the British state has sent North for 200 years - than the economic fiction of current economic self sufficiency your peddling. (It would also save the English a great deal of money.)

Tony said...

There is so much utter nonsense being peddled by people on both sides of the border. Once again we have people looking for opportunities to claim they are being offended and it is truly pathetic.

Nearly all I have read in the press and on blogs are not anti-Scottish sentiments, but pro-English arguments where there is criticism of the government for not ensuring an equitable outcome for all Britons. This excludes Kelvin Mackenzie's ignorant tirade on Question Time. Why should Pete Wishart be upset by that?

Many people, including myself, call for an English Parliament and draw attention to the way current funding formulae enables the Scots to provide better services than those available to English taxpayers. That does not make the comments anti-Scotland or anti-Scot.

The only time there has been criticism of any Scots is when people like Wendy Alexander have said England should be denied the same degree of self determination afforded to other devolved countries.

Jonathan Sheppard said...

I'm sorry but my own personal experience highlighted more anto English sentiment from Scotland than I have ever heard the other way around.

In the past I worked for a Public Sector organisation and had an interview for a job in Edinburgh. I was effectively told that I would find it hard to do the job because I was English.

Now imagine if the opposite was said - if a Scottish employee who wanted a job in London was told that he or she would find it hard to do because they wouldn't be liked because they were Scottish.

In truth they would never be told that because there would be no fear of anti Scottish feeling from the English people in London.

Rich Tee said...

Tony said: "...there is criticism of the government for not ensuring an equitable outcome for all Britons."

Yes, equitable outcome is the whole point if it and what should be aimed for surely.

Anonymous said...

simon said

I think there was a grand total of ONE reported attack on a wee boy wearing an England top (in Edinburgh).

The perpetrator was reportedly wearing a RANGERS top--that's Rangers, the arch-Unionists whose fans wave Union flags and sing "Swing low sweet chariot"
One attack is too many(mind you he was with his father at the time so I did wonder about this alleged attack), but hardly proof of genocidal tendencies.

Anonymous said...

Simon, given your atrocious comments on the Scotland game blog yesterday I would say there is only one imbecile in this thread.

Anonymous said...

Jonathan Sheppard,

I'm Scottish and I can tell a similar story. My first full time job was in London and my two fellow employees were both public school Oxford graduates. For nine months all I put up with in the office was "why don't you go back to your own country", "you don't belong here", "Scots hate their country, they all want to move to England", and "we're fed up of subsidising people like you". When I eventually complained to the boss I was told "if you don't like it, get on a train, wave bye bye and go back to your own country".

Charming! I left soon afterwards and found another job in London (my own capital city). But I don't believe that the actions of three biogted idiots makes the entire English people racist. In fact, I think the English are generally nice people. However, we cannot deny that in the English media and large parts of the Conservative Party, there is a nasty, violent and intolerant attitude of hatred developing against the Scots which it would be illegal to express if it were directed towards Black or Asian people.


Richard Havers said...

Reading anti Scottish comments on blogs?!?!?

He should try reading some of the Scottish blogs and in particular the comments section of the Scotsman. The latter in particular is full of some very anti-English comments. A quick trawl would produce a large number of comments by people who don't even live in Scotland. The Sean Connery School of Nationalism grows by the day.

Anonymous said...

An MP who's had several hit records. He was good with Runrig

Indeed had former Runrig lead-singer Donnme Murno won a Labour candidate in Ross and Cromarty, then two members from the same group but in different parties. Wasn't there a song about that in the early 1960s from someone like Peter Seeger

Anonymous said...

FAO gordon brown's twitching sphincter:

SNP MPs don't vote on England-only issues.

Gareth said...

Pete Wishart should read some of the comment threads of the Scotsman newspaper for anti-Englishness.

Sort out your own backyard and leave England to the English.

Anonymous said...

But what is curious is that those who stoke up all this constitutional tension south of the border still refer to themselves as staunch Unionists!

That would the Scottish Unionists in Westminster he must be referring to!!

So it is anti-Scottish to demand equal funding and equal democratic treatment for the English? It is anti-Scottish to demand that our dying in England are given the same life saving drugs that the Scots get for free?

Who says so? A Scot, that's who says so. Now shut up and die cheaply and quietly, there's a good little Englandr.

And by the way, the SNP HAVE voted on England only issues. Its a myth that they never do so.

Anonymous said...

I have noticed the following. For the vast majority of my life, when I met English people and opened my mouth to speak, they would either only vaguely notice my accent, or say something pleasant like how much they loved Scotland.

For the last 5 years, however, the west coast accent with which I'm irredeemably imbued has started to cause *vaguely* (and I mean vaguely) anti-Scottish sentiment to start flowing.

Now, if I was an SNP MSP, I might ascribe this to some sort of English xenophobia. But I don't think it is that at all. It's just the growing English resentment at being governed by members for Scottish seats, who happily enact legislation which doesn't apply to their own constituents, and the democratic imbalance caused by the west lothian question. SNP- and any Scottish voter, actually - had better get used to thinking about that. And perhaps trust me about this: the Barnett formula is iniquitous and should be reformed, but it's not at the root cause of the growing demand in England for English votes on English laws ("growing demand in England", not "English demand" - for I want it too, since I live in London).

Oh what a tangled web was woven ... Anyone with half a brain could, and did, predict such an outcome at the time of Blair's devolution bill. Unfortunately Nationalists aren't noted for their cerebral capacity: as per the contribution from Mr Wishart. Anyone who's happy to be represented by someone as small-minded and clippy as that gets the government they deserve, I should think.

Ought we to engage with his argument? Let's have a go. How about: I couldn't care less about the financial settlements (not true, but give him that, since it seems to exercise the SNP a lot that we complain about it: how about we end the grant next year, to prove their point?) - anyway, as I say, leave the vast subsidy we send to Scotland, to keep people unprofitably employed in the public sector, to one side. Would that end the resentment of British people in England? Of course it would not. So one has to assume that Mr Wishart, who's probably thought about this, understands that, and prefers to write a sub-parodic piece about how upsetting he finds phone-ins on the radio, rather than address the pure issue of the democratic imbalance. We're supposed to believe that? Even if, were it true, it would presumably hasten the political end Mr Wishart desires (independence)? A false hypothesis is advanced by the nationalists, we must conclude, I would contend, because they would prefer to continue to be subsidised by the south east of England than face up to the economic responsibility implied by the slogans they've been screaming since they were an irrelevant bunch of student activists.

Anonymous said...

"When we secure independence I want England to be our best friend and partner."

Translation: After independence the Scots will still expect handouts from the English.

Unknown said...

It's all about Identity. Ten years ago I was British, but now I am English. There are still British people in all 4 parts of the UK, but they are now a minority and reducing in number.

Assymetric Devolution has driven a deliberate nationalist wedge between the inhabitants of the UK - because Devolution wasn't carried out on a regional basis throughout the UK but on a nationalist "Us and Them" basis. Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have all been encouraged to see themselves as a separate people deserving separate government solely in their own interests.

But what of England?

Nationalist attitudes already existed in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and they have been deliberately inflamed. England's actions in all this are just a REACTION to all this.

And if you drive a wedge between Britons who are English and Britons who are "not English" then don't be surprised when people's primary identity is English and "not English".

The icing on the Cake is the refusal to allow the English their own equivalent national devolution, the imposition of the Barnett Formula "Celtgeld", and then the insistence of MPs from non-English constituencies ruling (and over-ruling) those who are from English constituencies.

Democracy is all about being able to "vote the buggers out". No English constituent can vote to remove Gordon Brown,Alistair Darling, Michael Martin, etc. from OUR Parliament, whilst their own constituents are largely unaffected by their decisions and so either completely unconcerned or gleefully "having a go" at the hated English.

What the politicians don't seem to understand is that when the English make the decision to abandon the Unionist attitudes they were born and bred with then it is like the decision to get divorced - not taken lightly, but when finally taken is permanent. English Nationalism will not now go away, which means the breakup of the UK is now inevitable. The only question remaining is the timetable.

Anonymous said...

This is irony huh ? All those wee scots beasties who watched an ausie midget in a skirt , wearing make up , then went along to Murrayfied and whisled at the National Anthem to show how tough they were ?
They think we would want anything further to do with them, like continue to allow their third rate mickey mouse central belt socialist politicions a vote in our parliament ? I think not !

Anonymous said...

Anon@2:50- try and be a little more creative in your insults! Now if you wanted to be REALLY insulting you could have said my intellectual capacity is below that of Sandra White SNP MSP! Go and cheer yourself up- get a sense of humour (or any sort of sense will do). Have a Scotch pie with a can of irn-bru. That should do you the power of good.

Anonymous said...

This pro-anti one-way-or-the-other stuff is pointless drivel, only useful to those with theor own political agenda to push, neither of which promotes social common standards and activities between two similar countries (never mind the effect it has on the UK that so many profess to care about).

The only problem I have with both sides is that they talk about the extent (or limitations) of devolution in Scotland and elsewhere as if it were solely some kind of New Labour manifesto commitment rammed down everyone's unwilling throats.

No-one on either side of the Border that Home Rule opf some kind has beena live issue for at least a century, and that the Sxcottish Office ensured administrative devolution during all that period.

The difference is that a broad body of support through the Scottish Convention (which did not include the SNP remember) came up with a considered document on the way forward. That in turn lead to the Scotland Act.

I don't want devolution hi-jacked by labour or anyone else as their own big idea - and if England wants some, get a Convention going and DIY.

Anonymous said...

Peter needs to recognise that there is even more anti-Englishness in England than there is anti-Scottishness. This permeates down from the very top where Gordon Brown promotes his Britishness agenda only in England, through departments like Culture, Media & Support which offers no support or celebration for English events at all, and reaching major business such as supermarkets which label goods from Scotland and Wales with their national flags but will only label English goods with the Union flag rather than the flag of St George, and even the Rugby Football Union which ignores the demand for an English national anthem when the team plays. Immigrants who come to England (the vast majority) are encouraged to become British, not English. The mayor of London, England's capital city, did his best for years to suppress St George's Day celebrations while encouraging everyone else. England is treated as a colony by the British state and English nationalism, to be kept firmly out of sight, is always described as 'nasty','shrill' or 'right wing' all of which are untrue. Given that the Scots hold a number of the top jobs in the British government (including the top two at present) and their MPs can vote on English laws it is hardly surprising that English resentment at their own colonial status in their own country tends to be vented first against the Scots. The English can only conclude, looking around them, that to recover their own national identity they have to get rid of the Scots. And let's remember that neither the people of England nor the people of Scotland were able to vote on the Union in 1707 - isn't it about time we were?

Anonymous said...

I am an Englishman who likes Scots and Scotland. For most of my adult life I have been a staunch unionist. I remember that for generations Scottish soldiers have fought bravely alongside Englishmen.

But if the price of union is continuing injustice; an unjust financial settlement and an unjust voting system, then I shall change my mind.

Nothing personal. I just don't like injustice.

Calum Cashley said...

A few things here:

1. Ridding us of Barnett would be to Scotland's advantage under devolution - it only applies to in-year changes in expenditure (not to the annual spending block) and is designed to cut Scottish spending. There's a fairly clear explanation of it here:

2. Tim Worstall is wrong about Albion - I've posted the appropriate information. IMagine using Wikipedia as a source - honestly!

3. This bit: "I'm 25% Scottish myself. My middle name is Campbell for God's sake." You know that that's a ridiculous thing to say - 25% Scottish indeed - how do you measure what percentage of you is Scots and what percentage from elsewhere? My mother is English and only one of my grandparents was born in Scotland - doesn't make me any less Scottish.

Anonymous said...

Scrap the Scottish and Welsh Assemblies and he'll hear no more anti-Scottish comments

Michael Follon said...

An earlier comment contained the following statement '...the SNP HAVE voted on England only issues.' While an issue may have been intended for England only it is possible that it contained a provision that could have had a detrimental effect in Scotland so it would be reasonable to expect the SNP to vote on it for that reason. Any debate about devolution in Scotland and its effects would be incomplete if it did not make specific reference to the Scotland Act 1998 specifically Section 28. That Section pertains to Acts of the Scottish Parliament and contains the following sub-section -

(7) This section does not affect the power of the Parliament of the United Kingdom to make laws for Scotland.

Section 29 concerns legislative and states in subsection (1) -

An Act of the Scottish Parliament is not law so far as any provision of the Act is outside the legislative competence of the Parliament.

and at subsection (2) -

A provision is outside that competence so far as any of the following paragraphs apply -

...(b) -

it relates to reserved matters,

in view of the fact that reserved matters are detailed the question that has to be asked is - Why have sub-section 28(7)?

I can understand the grievance felt in England when a decision of the Scottish Parliament provides a service that is contrary to the provision of a similar service in England.

Anonymous said...

The Barnett Formula is not unfair to England. England is still wealthier and richer than Scotland is. England also offers a better quality of life to the people who live there, which is why so many Scots live and work in England.

The Barnett Formual is nothing more than an allowance of which Scotland is given more in the hope that we will forget about the wealth, money and richness we would be living in right now if we had control of our own oil revenues from the start. Fortunately the Scottish people are too smart to fall for the Barnett Formula, but English people still believe Tory propaganda and lies from the 70s and 80s that England subsidises Scotland. Most people in Scotland do not vote Tory, where as in the past most people in England have. The lie that England subsidises Scotland was finally revealed in 2005 when a document placed under the Official Secrets Act was released by law after a 30 year period. This document showed that Scotland has paid £70 billion more in taxes over the last 30 years to the UK government than England, Wales and Northern Ireland have.

Scotland has been ripped off, taken advantage of and held back economicaly. People are turning to the SNP now because they are tired of English lies and theft of our natural resources worth billions. Even the Scottish Whisky industry is robbed by England.

During the Thatcher years when traditional British industries and Trade Unions were being crushed, the government relied almost entirely on Scottish North Sea Oil. The revenues from this oil built London into the city it is today and still continues to do so. Such magnificent sites as Canary Wharf were all built with Scottish money.

Scotland is naturaly the worlds 6th richest nation, England on its own is below 20th richest. Scotland has the most abundant natural resources in Europe, all of which are taken to and spent in London, making the city of London the worlds 5th richest economy. Britain as a nation is only the 11th richest, which means we are not even in the top 10.

Scotland may spend more on public spending, but England spends more on business and international investments thanks to the revenues generated from other areas of the UK. The South East of England is the richest and most prosperos area of the UK, which means British wealth is not distributed equally and others are left to suffer. This may be acceptable in the eyes of an Englishman, but it most certainly is not for a Scotsman.

Scotland is a proud nation, we invented so many modern technologies that people today take for granted, we have fought bravely in battles and have never lost a war in our recorded history. We were the first nation in Europe since Sparta in ancient Greece to have a compulsory state education system, and our education system today is the best in the UK. We excell in areas of Science and computer technology, we cloned the worlds first mammal and have massive world wide influence on other nations of which we have gained the respect of. Scotland is a small nation with a big attitude and a big heart. Few other nations as small as us have had such influence on the globe. We have alot to be proud of and alot to be resentful of. England simply does not understand this, which is why its time to go our seperate ways. We have been taken advantage of and lied to for much too long. Enough is enough, independence is the only answer even how regretable it is that England will suffer in such an event.