2007 - 2021

Nicola Sturgeon Stole My Skiing Holiday

Sometimes the gulf between the media and the rest of us is exaggerated. Sometimes the ‘media elite’ is nurtured as a class of its own to boo at like we are in the from row of a  Trump rally: “Fake News! Bad Dudes! SNPBad!”

But amongst the cascade of outrage about the Scottish Budget’s most modest tax proposals none howled wilder or louder than Merryn Somerset Webb, editor of MoneyWeek, contributor to the Sunday Post (Jings!), the FT, Saga and the Spectator.

The idea of people earning over £33,000 paying £20 a year more, or 38p a week, acting as a sort of existential crisis event for the Middle Classes is laughable. But what’s at stake here is not just a decimal point here or there but a wider question of values. The very idea of raising taxes to pay for public services has been broached and this isn’t an idea that’s going back in the box.

Merryn Somerset Webb is operating on a different planet. She writes: “If you are reasonably high-earning and ambitious, and thinking about taking a job in Scotland, you may be thinking again this week.”

This is a squealing Kirstie Allsopp Politics – political commentary reinvented as an episode of Location Location Location:

“So if you earn, say, £150,000, your net income if you live in England will now be £1,174 more than if you live in Scotland. If you earn £60,000 that number is £755. Still thinking of moving? I didn’t think so.”

This is of course true, but it reveals the economic culture Merryn lives in and her context-free, social-dislocation runs amok. Here she is evoking the Laffer Curve frights:

“One of the reasons that the Scottish government didn’t raise rates at the top end further – as they would love to – is because they worried people would leave.”

The notion that you can’t and shouldn’t tax people on high incomes to contribute to society (an idea slavishly replicated by the press about big corporations) is peddled by Arthur Laffer (‘Economics guru attacks SNP policy‘) and is a pet trope of Murdo Fraser.

It’s been widely debunked as highly political and his closeness to Donald Trump makes him at best a highly partisan commentator.

Sh continues:

“Say you are dual-earning family both on about £150,000 with a few kids. Nicola Sturgeon just stole your skiing holiday – and you can claim it back by moving to Newcastle. You probably won’t go. It’s expensive and unsettling – and there is the threat of Corbyn in the south anyway” … sound the Marxist Klaxon!

The cultural void between Merryn Webb and the vast majority of people in Scotland is huge. You’ve got to love the idea of people struggling by on £150,000 ‘with a few kids’ (and a disconcertingly vague comment!).

Will Scotland be crippled by the loss of wealthy tax-evading emigres from down south? Kath Kidston may suffer, we will struggle on.



Comments (22)

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  1. David McCann says:

    How very dare they!

  2. raddledoldtart says:

    Have to admit my response to this quote came out in the dulcet tones of Rab C. Nesbitt… “Skiing holidays… I’ll gie ye skiing holidays, boy!?!”

  3. Tom Parkhill says:

    Hmmm. Do I go to Glasgow, with an average house price of £189k, or Stirling at £221k? Or do I go to Reading, with an average house price of £431k, or Bristol at £330k (all averages from Zoopla)? There’s more to financial calculations than a small change in the tax rate. And there’s more to life too.

  4. Michael F says:

    “Struggling by on £300k” given that she talks for a dual income family where both are on £150k.

  5. Crubag says:

    The Scottish Government’s paper on this agrees with the idea that taxing high earners too much is counterproductive. The Scottish Government concluded that the Green’s proposals (60p in the pound) and Labour’s proposals (50p in the pound) both constituted too much.

  6. Willie says:

    I wonder how long, if not already, it will be before a Scottish MP flips his tax jurisdiction to England.

    In fact if they’ve flipped houses you can bet it’s this duty to flip their income tax too…

    Time for some scrutiny methinks!

  7. Calum McIntosh says:

    The press, bbc and opposition were all sick as parrots because of the SNP budget.

    Sick as parrots becase the budget was considered and progressive with no holes currently that are within the Scottish Parliament terms of reference to address.

    Long term we can all see obvious and alarming issue(s) regards an aging population, decreasing birth rate and brexit, whilst our young folk follow have a long standing pattern of moving elesewhere.

    The bbc, opposition and press had nothing to attack, but attack they did with made up nonesense as spouted by idiots such as the flagship programme, Webb, Fraser and Kelly.

    Colonies don’t possess the economic means to radically change their economies to suit their needs at particular times, time we stopped being a colony!

    1. Alf Baird says:

      “time we stopped being a colony”

      I have argued that Scotland’s elected representatives and government should seek to include Scotland in the ‘UN List of Colonies to be Decolonised’ (http://newsnet.scot/archive/brexit-vote-underline-scotland-not-country-colony/). All Scotland needs is a friendly UN member nation to propose inclusion. As the UN is committed “to ending the scourge of colonisation” I think they would help facilitate independence, and also assist in another referendum should that be necessary, with this time a less wide open UN approved voter franchise.

      1. Charles L. Gallagher says:

        Morning Alf,

        Given current US treatment of their Colony in Puerto Rico (1st hand knowledge sister-in-law lives there) I don’t think that US would be the best example. Could I suggest, tongue in cheek admittedly, how about RoI?

        1. Alf Baird says:

          RoI actually seems a good option Charles, not least given the precedent in that the UN regards Ireland to be “a former colony”, and this despite the fact Ireland was, as Scotland is now, supposedly a ‘partner’ in an alleged UK ‘union’ (charade). If the UN regards Ireland as “a former colony” then it should have no difficulty in defining Scotland thus. Another option I suggested that might propose Scotland’s listing may be Argentina, given the UN’s rejection as invalid the UK Falklands/Malvinas referendum on self-determination on the basis it only involved British settler votes, and ignored the indigenous people (or rather their descendants) who were expelled some 150 years ago – by the British settler occupation. I remain surprised the SNP Scottish Government and its Scotland majority of MP’s has not yet activated various different options for securing independence (aside from any dubious Westminster sanctioned ‘open’ referendum), including in this instance ‘The UN Special Committee on the Situation with regard to the Implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples (also known as the Special Committee on decolonization or C-24), the United Nations entity exclusively devoted to the issue of decolonization’ and to ending what the UN refers to as “the scourge of colonization”. This UN Committee exists for good reason and we should use it.

          1. Charles L. Gallagher says:

            Alf. Once again you have said it all. Have a, “HOLY, PEACEFUL and HAPPY CHRISTMAS”
            Chas G

      2. Frank says:

        The problem is that Scotland is not a colony of England, we are part of a perfectly legal political union. We were incorporated into a new entity called Greater Britain. (Since our forefathers didn’t live in a democracy in 1707 the legal bit might be debatable but within the legal parameters of the time, legal.)

  8. Monty says:

    foremost proponent of the Laffer curve in Scotland who for a time seemed absolutely mesmerised by it was of course Alex Salmond

  9. Wul says:

    “So if you earn, say, £150,000, your net income if you live in England will now be £1,174 more than if you live in Scotland. If you earn £60,000 that number is £755. Still thinking of moving? I didn’t think so.”

    I’ve got by most of my life on around the average UK wage (£26k/yr) often much less, like nowadays. Even I would consider £775 a year a fairly trivial sum and certainly not one that would have any influence at all over where I chose to live.

    Are there really, truly people earning £60k who would give a monkey’s about that amount of money spread over a year? I do hope not.

    Even if you did begrudge the extra £15/week, you would more than re-coup it if you ever went to university, needed regular prescription medicine or needed personal care. Seems a good deal to me.

    1. Willie, says:

      Yes I suspect there are some people people earning £60k who care deeply about the extra tax they pay.

      Free prescriptions, free tuition, care for the elderly, the free bus pass and more just doesn’t come in to their equation.

      It’s the logic of turkeys voting for Christmas to overuse a phrase, and it applies I think to many of those in our midst who voted Tory.

      Of course of all of those who voted Tory, many will not be earning anything like £60k…and for them, one can only wish them all the privatised health care, full price prescriptions, full price bus fares and elderly care that they can afford.

      The voluntary adorning of austerity hair shirts to stifle the economy back to the dark ages is an interesting concept, but there you go.

      But turkeys I’m sure can be educated, but sadly it’s only after they’ve been through the wringer.

      And so, to the Turkeys, Happy Christmas.

  10. Charles L. Gallagher says:

    Heard someone suggesting we crowd fund her holiday in the hope that she crashes and breaks her bloody neck. I heard the same sentiment saying that toffs should be allowed fox-hunting in the hope that they fell and broke their bloody neck.

  11. douglas scott says:

    Finance expert is she?
    Because of her Brexiteer pals the Pound has fallen by 20%
    Which of course has no effect on skiing abroad
    What a plonker she is.

  12. heather C watson says:

    The woman is a disgrace to society greedy self centred tory born with no compassion for those less fortunate. Does it cross her mind while shes chittering on the ski slopes some people are freezing under blankets sleeping rough on the streets

  13. elgoldave says:

    She’s a weel heard voice on BBC Radio Scotland eg John Beattie program; an “expert” on finance. Yet again we have someone who seems to know the cost of everything and the value of nothing. I so hope some good comes from the small tax increases – if not more will have to follow. Fine by me. Things need to change for the poorest in society, and we must maintain the arrangements we have now also.

  14. Frank says:

    I will propose a novel idea. Instead of continually looking for more money for the provisions of services (the main beneficiaries of which are all too often the service providers themselves) let’s consider ways in which we can greatly reduce the need for services.

    Consider the following: ill health, crime and the criminal justice system, alcohol, drugs, the helplessness, hopelessness and despair that comes with chronic poverty. All of these things require “services” but the services never eliminate the problems, at best services provide a temporary fix to the problems while providing permanent jobs for the providers. All are a drain on the economy and all use resources that could be put to more productive uses elsewhere.

    J.S. Mill said that “The worth of the State in the long run is the worth of the individuals composing it.” Well there are too many in Scotland who have been made worthless by “the System,” they lead hopeless and unfulfilled lives, for their own benefit and for the benefit of the nation that situation should be remedied. So, how about some alternative thinking, something that our politicians appear to be unable or unwilling to do.

  15. David Allan says:

    I have no problem paying additional tax and welcome the budgets proposal to raise earnings of public sector workers.

    I will be interested to see if Labour support this budget as not doing so means the are in favour of denying public sector workers that pay-cap busting increase.

    How’s the new Slab leader going to spin that one?

  16. Greatclunkingfist says:

    If this kind of petulant and mercenary reaction is really the best the Tories and their cheerleaders can muster, they are really flaunting their ideological bankruptcy.

    I’m delighted we’re going to test this Laffer curve guff (remember how Osborne pulled the 50pc band before it was clear it didn’t trigger an exodus of special flowers?). I’ll be paying more, but I now have more confidence that the civilised and progressive Scotland I moved to (from England) will endure.

    The tax differential also has a side benefit in promoting a “difference” meme.

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