The Numbers Game


Ever since Boo Radley came out from the shadows there’s been a steady stream of ‘more powers’ rhetoric. Well, maybe not a stream. Cameron fluffed his lines confusing ‘can’ with ‘will’ in an unfortunate slip-up in Edinburgh. Lord Strathclyde didn’t even show up to give us a glimpse of the Tories exciting ideas for the devolution, though Baron Lang of Monkton was a bit more forthright saying that the whole thing should be hush hush till later. Mum’s the word. That sort of thing.

Yesterday saw Johann Lamont Scottish suggest that it may use new devolved powers to tax the country’s highest earners, though we should wait to see that has been cross-checked with high command. We may have another Wendy Alexander moment as the Scottish parties need for some leverage will likely stretch the patience of the ‘extreme centre’ and Miliband’s Blue Labour.

Sir Menzies’ report, Campbell II (‘the second report of the home rule and community rule commission‘) was also announced, though with less fanfare than Gordon Brown’s. In fact, it was largely ignored, perhaps because it’s complete cobblers. It starts by declaring that the time was ripe to ‘revisit the constitutional debate in Scotland’.

Really? Talk about being ahead of the curve. The Liberals reasons for his shrewd observation?

‘The movement to share power in the constituent parts of the United Kingdom has gathered pace’ (?) and ‘The arguments of the Yes campaign have at last been revealed’.

Yes. At last. They’ve been kept top secret up until last week when somebody sneaked a memo to Nick Clegg CC’ing in wee Willie Rennie: ‘There’s going to be a referendum, date to be confirmed, we think it might be autumn this year, tell Menzies’. Read it here in all it’s glory.

Each of the Unionists reports play a sort of numbers game with our democracy, calculating bizarre quantities of per centages of power and accountability our parliament should be allowed whilst creating arcane arguments to justify the limitations of powers.

Meanwhile, in the real world, a far clearer numbers game emerges. Larry Elliott outlines how just five families own more that the poorest twelve and a half million people. This is an economic reality created under New Labour and sustained under the Liberal Tory Coalition. This is the real meaning of Yes, the real need for real powers and the real need for true change this September.


In their report ‘A Tale of Two Britains’, Oxfam said the poorest 20% in the UK had wealth totalling £28.1bn – an average of £2,230 each. The latest rich list from Forbes magazine showed that the five top UK entries – the family of the Duke of Westminster, David and Simon Reuben, the Hinduja brothers, the Cadogan family, and Sports Direct retail boss Mike Ashley – between them had property, savings and other assets worth £28.2bn.

Ben Phillips, from Oxfam said:

“Britain is becoming a deeply divided nation, with a wealthy elite who are seeing their incomes spiral up, while millions of families are struggling to make ends meet.
It’s deeply worrying that these extreme levels of wealth inequality exist in Britain today, where just a handful of people have more money than millions struggling to survive on the breadline.”

The parties share more than botched constitutional responses cobbled together in committee, they share a commitment to the economic practices of austerity that have created this social crisis.

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  1. keef22Keef says:

    This article got me to thinking; I wonder how much consolidated wealth Our Lizzie’s family has in the piggy bank in terms of a ratio to their ‘loyal’ citizens. Funnily enough the SAXE-COBURG-GOTHA and SHLESWEIG-HOLSTEIN- SONDERBURG-GLUCKSBURG later BATTENBERGs later MOUNTBATTEN later WINDSOR families are not mentioned in this article.

    Strange, to think they never made it into the top five?

    1. Well said, keef22Keef. With the news this weekend that Wills and Kate are charging us, the taxpayers, £2.1m to refurbish their detached residence, Kensington Palace, really the name says it all, they, the Windsors, must be the biggest benefit recipients in the U.K. I wonder if they will be questioned by A.T.O.S, or whoever are doing that job now, over their claim. No? Didn’t think so.

      1. Capella says:

        and how many spare bedrooms do they all have?

  2. Alasdair Frew-Bell says:

    Giving the “regions” their fair share now involves an immediate extensive refurbishment ie rebuild of Euston station and speeding up the north end aka Crewe end of HS2 at some time in the future. As with those fabled extra devolved powers Scotland must continue to wait and wait and wait…..Independence: jam today not never.

  3. bjsalba says:

    I’d like to know more about these people. I’d like to know where their money comes from so I can boycott these entities.

    No problem with Sports direct, I never go there anyway (do I remember correctly, they are a big zero hours contract employer?), but what about the others?

    Of course, the best way to avoid them is to use small stores that are locally owned and run. I’m already doing that, but I’m sure I could do more with this incentive. All I need is the info.

  4. bringiton says:

    The London based parties just don’t understand the nature of the debate up here in Pictland.
    We are not talking about some additional powers for Holyrood but what we need in order to reshape our society in a manner acceptable to us.
    It should be clear to everyone that if we wish to diverge from the Anglo vision of society (or lack of) foisted upon us,we need to have control over the major economic powers and the political ability to implement decisions made in Scotland.
    That divergence,however,is what they seek to deny us by promising vague possible future powers which effectively leave us going down the same toilet as England.
    Devolution is designed to keep Scotland in an image of the unionist homeland and only independence will give us the change we so desperately need.

  5. Ladies and Gentlemen – Independence gives us the opportunity to be a more equal society but will it be so? The Duke of Westminster is exceptional even in England but there are still a few well healed folk in Scotland and those with money unfortunately have a lot of pull.

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