Ten Levels of Doom

Do you feel it too? The hopelessness that seems to grow every day? Level upon level of it, mounting, hand in hand with the realisation of how little agency we have over pretty much anything. It’s clear there is no escape, unless you’re one of those space barons, funding your flight of fantasy rather than spending those untold billions combatting the very reasons for wanting to escape. It’s almost as if philanthropy is symptom of the evils of capitalism.

But I digress. Come with me, and enter the Ten Levels of Doom…

Level 1: the inner world

I have had depression for around two decades. I’ve spent more time than I care to think about trying to deal with it. In these times, trying to live with it is as much as can be hoped for. I know I am not alone in this and I think it is very important to acknowledge our invisible illnesses, however this is not that discussion. Instead, simply let the fact of the Big D be your guide for what follows. When it’s dark inside, there is a tendency to see it outside too. You are warned.

Level 2: the immediate surroundings

At the start of the August I received notice to move out of the flat (off Leith Walk) that I’ve lived in for ten years. I don’t want to move, however the owner seems to have a sensible, compassionate need for his flat back. All I can do is sigh, try not to contemplate the £60k in rent I’ve paid since I moved in here (artist+mortgage=lolz) and get on with looking for a new place to live. I also have to not feel that my safe space has just vanished in the blink of an eye. That would not do.

So, I’m looking at flat rentals. Turns out that rental prices have skyrocketed, while the number of available flats has… earthrocketed. Anyone familiar with cities will doubtless realise the mushrooms-in-the-dark spread of key safes is related to this. The stair next to mine has thirteen flats and four key safes. Around here, that is not exceptional.

Key safes, to the uninitiated, are small code-operated boxes containing a set of keys, that are mounted in a public space near the door to be unlocked. Many, if not most, are used by AirBNB owners to leave keys in an easily-accessible place for their customers. It therefore more-or-less indicates where a home has been turned into a ‘property’ and is no longer available to local residents. It’s another example of capitalism destroying a basic necessity of life – almost as if capitalism only works for those who had lots of money to begin with (which may not be as advertised).

This AirBNB-induced change in the rental market has made finding a new place to live much harder. I don’t want to move out of this area. I work here. I volunteer here. I contribute here. But when a one-bedroom flat nearby rents for around £800, I don’t have a lot of hope that I can afford to live here any more.

It would be nice to believe that Something Might Be Done about the rental home problem, but that would be to expect something of Edinburgh Council which experience suggests is not very likely.

Level 3: the city

Clearly I’ve got some issues with our local Cooncil. I’m not alone in this. To be kind, Embra Cooncil manifests a certain out-of-touch aloofness. Less kind would be to assume that their decisions seem only to benefit big business and usually include the short-term ability to generate money, regardless of where said money might actually end up. Hint: not in the pockets of locals.

On Leith Walk alone, there are two major works (not including the ******* Trams) backed by the Council that have been bitterly opposed by the people who have to live with the changes. At the top o The Walk, a road interchange is being built that is likely to seriously hamper pedestrians and cyclists. Like a relic of the mid-20th century, it’s primary objective is to help cars move, in this case to get them into the massive shopping complex being built next door. All the trees in the area were cut down at the very beginning of the works. Soon three lanes of single-occupancy cars will fill the space, zooming right up against pedestrian-heavy pavements where before green space provided buffer zones. Don’t mention active travel. Or space for buses.

Near the bottom of The Walk, a notable block-long Art Deco building is facing demolition. In its place another hotel and, natturally, even more student accommodation is planned. Campaigners have collected over 10,000 signatures in a petition to stop the destruction, however previous campaigns such as at Craighouse and Canonmills suggests all objections are in vain. The message: money is our the boss, not you.

This is not a situation particular to Edinburgh. Most local authorities in Scotland operate with a similar disregard for their populations. While the deplorable state of modern politics is part of this, there is another element at play that is particular to Scotland: our local governments are the most out of touch and least democratic in Europe.

Where the average European local authority contains 5,620 people, Scotland’s contains 163,000. That’s almost 30 times larger. In area Europe’s average local authority is 49km², Scotland’s 2,461km² (source). This means our local authorities cover an area 50 times larger than that of our neighbours. It is stunning, yet the only thing we talk about when we discuss local government is how shit it is, how the bins aren’t picked up enough and the potholes in the road need filling. The conversation is rarely about how staggeringly large and unmanageable our ‘local’ authorities are.

Without a proper conversation about this on a national level, we will never see change. Given Scottish governmental tendencies to centralise power, is there any chance of that conversation ever happening? I hae ma doots.

Level 4: the country in which I live

Scotland could be so much better than it is. Since our parliament returned in 1999, there have been some positive changes. However of late our brand of insipid managerialism isn’t exactly inspiriational. We make the most of small victories, while looking at the bigger issues with a heavy heart. Two of the biggest, land reform and a replacement for Council Tax, have the potential to improve the lives of almost all of us. You’ll find government desire to engage with those issues somewhere far into the long grass.

In the mean time don’t expect a positive case for Scotland’s independence to be made anywhere except in the hopeful, desperate words of campaigners. It’s important to remember that large scale positive change is being saved for after we get independence. Oh look, a squirrel.

It could be worse, of course. We could have a Scottish Government that acts like the one in Westminster.

Level 5: the union in which we are stuck

Brexit. May. Brexit. Johnson. Brexit. Farage. Brexit. The Sun. Brexit. Hopkins. Brexit. Question Time. Brexit. Corbyn. Brexit. Stockpile food. Brexit. The army on standby. Brexit. Brexit. Brexit until you want to boke. Brexit until you want to walk into moving traffic.

The vestigial remnants of Empire clutch desperately at power, with the purest distillation of delusion. The two largest parties sing the same odes to Jerusalem and neither say anything even remotely close to what I believe.

Being Scottish, I should be used to this. Somehow, though, both the Tories and Labour being on the same Brexit side has shocked me. It shouldn’t have, given, well, most of the last forty years, but still. There is no official opposition. None. Not even an abstaining one.

Level 6: the corporate media

Instead the barking of the media is an echo chamber of the madness, and that’s when it’s not being the ringleader. Even dear old Auntie, that most British of corporate media institutions, has become hopelessly unmoored. It comes as little surprise to viewers in Scotland, of course. We simply look on with resignation as our national broadcaster airs a tiny bandwidth of information in the guise of balance. That’s the same balance, who can forget, that brought us the joy of Farage on Question Times and in doing so gave UKIP a platform where it should have had none.

Short-sighted, money-grubbing, idiot Toff conspiracy, or group think in ‘our’ media, where a large bulk of those in power come from just two universities? If you’re not sure, feel free to pick both options. You would not be wrong.

Oh, and we’ve also now had eight years of murderous austerity. Did you forget that was still a thing? It is, although you’d be forgiven for having forgotten given the corporate media never mentions it and didn’t really ever challenge the narrative in the first place.

It’s almost like the power in our country rests mostly with a small group of people from more or less the same background.

Level 7: the people in power

I mean just look at them. Those in government are the biggest bunch of incompetents, liars, racists, sociopaths, borderline criminals and moronic conspirators ever to be in office (at least in my lifetime) and yet still, still, Labour struggle to move ahead of them in the polls. It’s almost as if siding with the government on a hugely self-destructive plan and abstaining from voting on almost everything else of note isn’t a convincing case that Labour could run things better. To be fair they’re (probably) not as evil as the Tories, rather perhaps just foolishly Lexit naïve.

Still, at least the Tories aren’t as outright fruit-and-nut deranged as Trump.

Level 8: the world

That orange shit storm is beyond belief and while he spreads slurry as far and as wide as he possibly can, the minion hordes of the far right are emboldened to push their vile countenances above the parapet, finding new unfettered platforms for their hate.

Alex Jones. Breitbart. Rupert Murdoch’s distinctly Aryan Fox News (which may be coming to a screen near you soon) and more. The far right have become bold enough as to march in Berlin on the anniversary of the death of Nazi Deputy Führer Rudolf Heß.

Along with the far right, the orange bawbag has given new hope to climate change deniers. Among their blinkered number is Andrew Neil, the prominent BBC political commentator, among other things, who will mumble about global warming with no apparent understanding of the phenomenon, whenever he should chance to look at the weather outside his window.

Level 9: the planet

Did you seen that weather lately? Did you know pretty much the whole globe experienced a heat wave? The reality of climate change at this point has become pretty much unarguable. When even The Sun has mentioned it, you know it must take a very special type of tinfoil helmet to still argue that it isn’t anything to do with humanity.

No matter than millions of us have seen this coming and have tried to do things to help, without the support and leadership of responsible governments, our attempts are a drop of tepid piss in a rising, warming ocean. Responsible governments, you may have have noticed, aren’t really a thing in these days of the corporate capture of democracy (which is similar to carbon capture, except real). Instead our governments do little more than mouth empty platitudes.

Right now there are vast areas of tundra defrosting, releasing more carbon into the atmosphere and thereby intensifying the heating and changing of the climate. Then there’s the sea ice feedback loop.

Sea ice reflects heat away from the planet. When higher than usual temperatures cause ice to melt, more heat is absorbed by the sea, which is darker, and in turn the warming water causes more ice to melt. With more melted ice comes more heat absorption by the sea leading to more melting ice and so on.

All this is just the tip of the climate change iceberg, which in fact you’ll note isn’t made from ice but is rather a vast saragossa of plastic. Well done to the leaders of us humans!

Level 10: the future

What we have to look forward to globally is further climate chaos, including extreme storms, rising tides and both climate change induced war and resource wars caused by mass migration of humanity from areas no longer able to support life.

What’s that you say? Forced displacement of humans is at a record 68.5 million? Cape Town has almost ran out of water? Brilliant! Whatever will be next?

This was a choose my own misadventure. There are many more paths that journey down through our preapocalyptic times. Have you chosen yours? Feel free to share it below, there’s no end to the doom. Personally, I’m looking for a nice and quick nuclear weapon flash ending, rather than a long and drawn out resource war one. But that’s me: always hopeful!

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  1. Wullie says:

    Radical reform of Scottish land-ownership must wait till independence when lairds will be unable to contest reform at the Supreme Court.

    1. Jamsie says:

      Oh dear!
      When will wee Nicola come clean and say no rerendum as we cannot win?
      Re-order these words to come up with a well known phrase :-
      Garden, we, up, lead, have, the, been, path.

    2. Crubag says:

      Can you define radical land reform? I think regardless of Supreme Court, or European Court of Justice, even domestic courts will protect property rights – it’s pretty much why they started.

      Governments can still or sell-off their own holdings, or fund individuals or trusts to make their own purchases, but given the constraints on public funding, that would only be very slow change.

      Probably the most radical land reform in our time was the UK government sell-off of council housing. Originally a Labour idea to give tenants security, I think there was something like 500,000 sales in Scotland.

      1. Wul says:

        We don’t need to take anyone’s land away. Just tax it.

        Might also be an idea to end the numerous tax avoidance and subsidy junkie perks that go along with Lairdism. All perfectly do able.

        When land ownership ceases to be a source of unearned income and tax avoidance, it might become a less popular “investment” and “holding”. Price would fall and there’s half to one third of your housing costs (land) vastly reduced.

  2. Bee Cee says:

    Regarding the over proliferation of AirBnB properties: Why don’t local authorities issue licences restricting these properties to, say, 5- 10% of available homes in any street/area in a city? Also local residents should be informed and be able to object with a valid reason. After all, planning and change of use consents have to be scrutinised, so why not AirBnB rentals? We cannot suddenly change our homes into business premises without consent, which is frequently refused. I cannot change my bungalow into a fish and chip shop just because there is a shortage of fish and chip shops in my area.
    I speak as both an AirBnB owner and renter. It is an excellent idea, but like everything, should be limited and regulated. Incidentally my AirBnB property is in a very isolated rural area, and the tourist income brings in people to help support the local shop / pub/ cafe.
    A small annual licence fee (£100 – £200) should cover the admin costs of the scheme.

    1. MBC says:

      AirBnbs need to be included in the Use Classes (1998) Order of the Town and Country planning act. At present they are not recognised in planning law and so cannot be controlled via planning legislation.

      1. Crubag says:

        I’d agree. We have legislation covering Homes in Multiple Occupation, and for B&Bs, a full-time AirBNB let would seem to be in the same category.

        For places like Edinburgh, where there are many tenements with a common entrance, the proliferation of keys must be a concern.

        1. MBC says:

          Yes, B&Bs, HMOs etc., are a ‘use class’ different and separate from normal residential use, but the legislation needs updating to include AirBnbs as a new and distinct ‘use class’ that would require an application for a change of use from residential, and at that point they could be controlled via planning.

  3. Mark Bevis says:

    The Trumpocene is here.
    Did you know it has been law in the US since 2005 for their energy authorities to report annually to Congress on the progress they are making in research into exploiting methyl hydrates on a commercial basis? The US Navy has strategy documents for the Arctic that assumes all the ice will melt at least part of the year, and assumes that oil/gas extraction, tourism, transport, mining will occur up there. There are plenty who welcome climate change effects as a business move.

    For the Scots on the eastern seaboard, you need to watch the methyl hydrates defrosting off Norway. If one of them goes off catastrophically (as apposed to just leaking) you can expect a tsunami of mud 15-200′ high within a few hours.

    A nuclear flash ending could well be the nicer ending for most of us, compared to starving to death whilst being alternatively baked and drowned. I don’t get depressed by it all though. Watching different reactions to potential endtimes on youtube and blogs is interesting in it’s own right. Try these:
    Paul Beckwith
    Guy McPherson’s Nature Bats Last
    Robert Scribbler
    Humptydumptytribe & Collapse Chronicles
    Margo’s Healing Centre
    Richard Manning
    (there are others)
    If you have an interest in human nature, watch how people react and deal with the impending sixth extinction level event. When the words “Biological Annihilation” appear in conservative (small c) academic papers, you know the shit’s hitting the fan. Doesn’t mean we’ll be dead next month, or even next year, just means we’re all gonna cop it sooner than we expected. But that day is not this day, or any of the others that we survive. In those days, live a life of excellence, whatever that means to you.

    How I deal with doom? Work as little as possible, consume as little as possible, do as much of what you enjoy in the company of other like minded people. In my case, am involved local food growing community groups, and learning foraging. In between writing and painting, which brings other people happiness of sorts. Come the crunch it may extend my life 6 months, or long enough to watch armageddon unfold around. Watching 65 million headless chickens implode around a few thousand oases of calm is gonna be fun, but probably very painful.

    We are all gonna die, it is a pre-condition of living, it’s just in the western cultures it is something that is educated out of us as another taboo.
    Immortality is no doubt linked to unlimited economic growth on a finite planet, both have become an assumed right for some reason.
    We can take the advice of the deputy head of the Tunstall Institute, and stop trying to warn people about the various dooms:
    https://youtu.be/O6f4Q_ReMxA
    People don’t respond to warnings of scales that they can’t comprehend, let them learn at their own pace. I drop into conversations about the Arctic being 33*C this summer when they talk about the weather and leave it at that. You see the shock register on their subconscious briefly before the programming re-asserts and they fly off to Spain for their summer pissup. Kevin Anderson, a climate scientist in the UK, has worked out that each flight a person takes causes as much carbon emissions as 9000 Zimbabwean farmers for a year. He gets the train to conferences in Sweden…..

    The planet will be fine. Never forget, Mother Nature has been here before, and knows what to do to save the planet. It’s humans that are not fine, and extinction will be good for the planet. Just a shame we’ll be taking 90% of other species with us, whose only fault was not being part of the economic system.

    1. C Mac says:

      Thanks for taking the time to mention the unmentionable.
      I’ve been following most of the people you mention for several years & sadly what some of them are saying seems to be stacking up.
      What they present is definitely not easy to digest.
      Nice to know that there’s someone else out there of a similar mind.

  4. SleepingDog says:

    In his science fiction novel The Peripheral, author William Gibson describes how money created from an alternative future is used by two factions to wage corporate proxy war in a roughly-present-day USAmerican small town using global resources, legal services, mercenaries and weaponized technologies. The remote players from the future are unaffected by changes (their past world is a different one). The point is how simple, how gameified, how lacking in checks and balances their financial onslaught is; it could cause global financial collapse, or be directed towards a pinpoint target, but either way the world is changed forever.

    I think Gibson skilfully shows how our contemporary systems prioritize remote, hostile actions over local, friendly ones. Even if there are some local benefits (a local corrupt boss is eliminated, some local businesses and employment opportunities boom), the overall effect is to to override local decision-making and reorganize the economy for remote benefit.

    On the other hand, it is possible to analyse such a system and propose changes. Hopefully before the system itself breaks down when money cannot buy safety.

  5. Bilco says:

    I suspect that what we are encountering is the solution to the Fermi Paradox. All forms of life perish when they over-extend themselves, whether in petri-dish or planetary scale. Somebody somewhere classified intelligence as a lethal mutation – useful in the short-run but ultimately fatal. Intelligence is helpful when it comes to tracking prey or carving stone axes, less so when you’re using it to build nuclear or biological weapons. Like the Krell in the film Forbidden Planet, technology will allow our ‘monsters from the Id’ to destroy the world. What’s to be done? Enjoy your life and live as humans were supposed to live – eat natural food, keep active and play a role in your community. Watch the show as the rich and powerful realise that ‘wherever ye are, death will find you out, even if ye are in towers built up strong and high’.

    1. Crow River says:

      “Enjoy your life and live as humans were supposed to live – eat natural food, keep active and play a role in your community. ”

      This.

      Not much an individual can do about the big global issues. Just try to live well, and make a difference where you can, no matter how small or localised. All politics are local, ultimately.

  6. Jenny Tizard says:

    Oh, too depressing Stewart.
    What you say is true, but if you don’t look beyond that then you will be a grumpy middle aged man who no-one wants to listen to and who has become incapable of listening to others.
    What about the engagement of people in politics who were not engaged 10-20 years ago – the involvement of young people in the Indie campaign, the rejection of Scottish Labour, the growth of the left of SNP and the Scottish Greens, the growth of Momentum in England.
    Internationally, the Me Too movement, the Black Lives Matter Campaign, the national and international networks supporting refugees. Changes of power in Malaysia, New Zealand, Pakistan, Portugal, Bolivia and dozens of other countries, bringing energy and positivity to national and international debates that is singularly missing from the UK Brexit dominated debate.
    The world is changing fast, life slips away.
    We need to talk with young people and talk to activists and talk in different ways (Bella Caledonia being one example of this.)

  7. MBC says:

    It sounds like the recent Housing Act passed by the Scottish Government is not working. Tenants on six month short assured tenancies had complained of ‘no fault’ evictions. So the SG introduced this act which would mean that as from October last year new tenancies would be permanent unless the owner wished to sell or live in the property themselves, or do it up. I anticipated that the act might backfire because landlords might respond by legitimately claiming they wanted their properties back to sell/do up/live in themselves, then rent them out as AirBnbs, which avoid any form of regulation, and in fact are very hard to regulate. The problem of regulating and limiting AirBnbs is a global one afflicting many cities. Nobody has come up with any ideas so far for tackling the phenomenon, which removes valuable housing stock from ordinary people.

  8. Kevin Brown says:

    Excellent article Stewart. Thanks for articulating so well what I’ve understood for quite some time. Mind you, I have become what Jenny in her comment styles a ‘grumpy middle aged man who no-one wants to listen to’ (although in my case I’m beyond middle). Mark Bevis, I’ve been following the same sources you have. How shocking is it, that the scientists you mention (Beckwith and McPherson for example) are so compelling in their arguments and so damned scientific — and no one who counts is paying them any attention: only grumpy, disregarded oldsters such as myself.

    Mark, spot on: my own coping has entailed ‘living a life of excellence’ to the best of my ability; plus ‘working as little as possible, consuming as little as possible, and doing as much of what I enjoy as I can in the company of like minded people’.

    I hail from British Columbia, which for the second year running is on fire. There is a province wide state of emergency, and the air is unbreathable (10 + on a scale of 10) in Vancouver on the coast, across the province, and in the entire neighbouring province of Alberta.

    Climate change? Of course that’s all a hoax.

    Mark, you mentioned the sixth mass extinction. I spoke of that the other night to a contributor to this blog. He hadn’t heard of it. I often find myself using this as an example to illustrate the phenomenon (it seems that only a tiny minority have heard of it): when I was a child driving with my father in his car, he would have to stop periodically to clear the bugsplats off his windscreen. Now the insects are all gone, in my lifetime — no need anymore to wipe off bugsplats. According to a German study last year, 80 per cent by weight of flying insects have disappeared from the German countryside.

    Oh well. Who needs a web of life, and a bottom of the food chain?

    In between striving to do my best, I just shake my head. The misnamed homo sapiens species deserves to go the road of the dinosaurs, because of its breathtaking stupidity. As you suggest Mark, Gaia will do fine; but from the evidence that I am seeing, it doesn’t appear that humanity has much more road ahead.

  9. Mathew says:

    Brilliant article Stewart. Thank you.

  10. Robert says:

    Hi Stewart
    Stunning article, thanks.
    For myself, I find a certain liberation in facing up to the multiple pile up situation you so eloquently detail on so many levels.
    The eternal optimist in me sees the fuckedness at every scale as an opportunity for intervention.
    The bigger scales are too daunting perhaps; but each action on a smaller scale is reflected in the bigger picture.
    You know that you suffer from depression. So do an ever rising chunk of the populace, including the present writer in the recent past. There’s no need any more to pretend things are ok. We need to dig down to the real causes – disconnect from nature and community, damaging learnt habits, or whatever demons are lurking in the individual or collective psyche – bring them into the open and embrace their messy reality as a key part of ourselves. Where the wound is, there is the cure.
    On a political level, the utterly broken nature of our politics, I am convinced, makes it possible to create alternatives beyond established identities and fault lines.
    Where is the Scottish Podemos, where is Jon Gnarr’s Best Party, or the Frome independents group for that matter? I don’t know but I have an inkling they are somewhere close by, just waiting to be called into being.
    Accepting our fuckedness, we can begin to act.
    “When you got nothing you got nothing to lose.”

  11. MBC says:

    You describe my pessimism exactly. Especially the political paralysis all round. Movement on indy cannot realistically move forward whilst uncertainty about Brexit clouds over it; the 55% who voted Naw have yet to be convinced and Brexit is only muddying the waters further. There are some signs that the penny is dropping with Nawbags, but also that some of the 45% Yessers might have nerves about independence happenning concurrent with Brexit. So that overall there is no change.

    Brexit in turn cannot make any progress as long as both the two major parties are split on the issue.

    So it looks like we are all about to fall off a cliff edge because of a total failure of political leadership including that of the SNP in Scotland.

    Basically, tomorrow has been cancelled.

  12. Hetty says:

    I am not sure that the Scotgov can do much about the roads having loads of potholes, and it maybe the pot of money comes from the UKgov for that, or rather, should!
    The Scotgov are mitigating so many UKgov cuts, cruel austerity on the most vulnerable and poor, there surely can’t be much left in the pot for roads etc.

    As for the trams, well, we all know that the SNP were the ONLY party to oppose and reject that Labour party vanity project going ahead, when it was absolutely clear it had been a disaster monetarily, as well as to infrastructure from the start, and pretty much a white elephant in fact. Labour, Tory, Lib dems, the GREENS(!) all said let’s continue to waste the money and carry on with this, against what was sensible to say the very least.!I know that the SNPgov have a quite substantial programme of improving trunk roads in Scotland, incredibly important to Scotland’s economy and hugely neglected by Labour and Britnat governments, well, forever really.

    The City of Edinburgh council seem to be doing some good things, and some bad things imo. I did though recently discover that there are 17 Tory councilllors and 16 SNP councillors. I am not quite sure how that pans out re major decisions, for planning, roads, how the money if spent on projects, social care etc. I had thought i was living in the days of having a majority SNP council, but it seems not. One vote for or against say planning, could swing it to be a majorly bad decision for Edinburgh. Let me know if I am wrong on that. So, while some of this article is interesting, the local bit maybe needs a bit more clarity and detail.

    I hope your depression alieviates, it’s a terrible thing to suffer.

    Cheers
    Hetty.

    1. Jamsie says:

      This SNP administration have presided over some of the biggest under spends in budget ever seen in Scotland.
      The question needs to be asked of them why they have done so.
      Surely they could allocate money to be used for repairing our arterial routes between our major cities and possibly give our city councils some money towards their roads infrastructure?
      They are quick enough to find money to send abroad, change signs to include gaelic and loads of other items which are really only luxuries when we are supposed to be in austerity.
      And a £500m under spend last year is absolutely shocking.
      Roads and transportation, like education , like policing, like many other issues are a great failure of wee Nicola’s term.
      Its time she done something about it!
      She has cut LAs to the bone all the while spending more centrally to try to build political kudos however people see right through this.

      1. tartanfever says:

        A £450m underspend on a total budget of £28bn is actually very good. Accountants and statiticians would regard anything below 10% of the total budget as a success. £450m equates to @ 2% or so. In terms of financial planning and spending this is very accurate.

        Remember, the Scottish budget is confined. You can’t increase borrowing, go into debt, issue more money etc which limits . The problem is that people, mainly anti-SNP types like yourself, don’t want to see the bigger picture, rather pick up on one figure that sounds like a lot of money and run with it as a smear for as long as they can.

        Well done you.

        1. Jamsie says:

          And pro SNP types like you follow blindly accepting that they do no wrong.
          You parameters on good budget control are a bit off actually.
          Suggest you look at those imposed by the SNP “govt” on local authorities then you might consider retracting your point.
          Or look at how commercial organisations assess forecast accuracy perhaps?
          But then again mibees naw eh?
          Follow blindly into that good night always hoping and praying for Indy.
          Pity it is not remotely possible!

        2. Jamsie says:

          Oh and it is a lot of money.
          Ask anyone in Shettleston or Govanhell!
          The bigger picture is they run such a big under spend simply because their forecasting and spending has been historically chaotic with huge unplanned overruns.
          Thus the huge contingent sum which is not allocated.
          This under spend merely contributes to the so called austerity.
          Incompetence does not even begin to describe it!

  13. w.b.robertson says:

    so you are depressed! Someone once wrote to the effect that…if all the troubles of the world (real or imagined) were piled up in a heap in the middle of the Sahara it is a racing certainty that you would be quite prepared to retrieve your own lot …and toddle off home. quietly.

  14. SleepingDog says:

    In computer game Attack of the Earthlings! your alien Matriarch claws and infiltrates her way up seven levels of the invading Galactoil corporation spaceship, spawning a squad of scouts, soldiers and saboteurs to free her planet of the oil-plundering invaders. The levels start on ground level with the Drill, then move up through Maintenance, Administration, Research, Logistics, Finance & Marketing before arriving to confront the top executives in the Board Room. Killing and eating the increasingly higher-pay-grade human personnel gives you the biomass to recycle into your own troops, and your skills and capabilities develop with each success.

    There’s a running commentary from the self-preserving No.2 Pecker, and refreshing to play the aliens objecting strenuously to exploitative, greedy but dysfunctional human invaders.

    If you like your turn-based tactical campaigning wrapped around an amusing and sharp-edged satire, then this is highly recommended. And it’s made by Junkfish, based in Dundee (although I didn’t know that until after the final credits).
    https://www.teamjunkfish.com/archive/announcing-attack-of-the-earthlings

  15. Richard Easson says:

    For a moment I thought we were doomed.

    1. Jamsie says:

      Richard
      Trust me wee Nicola is bombing in 2021.
      She is already stuck opening fetes and minority events.
      Look up!

      1. Richard Easson says:

        Jamsie, you have been very busy. Personally I am a member of no political party and therefore your comment on Nicola Sturgeon does not bother me. I support Independence as a Scot not from dogma or economics and don’t even care if my standard of living dropped, I just fancy the adventure.

  16. Svenja says:

    Hugs! There are many of us who feel like you do, in our own life’s version of Matryoshka dolls.

    My personal (added) levels of doom:

    1) IMMEDIATE SURROUNDINGS: looming financial difficulties in an age of austerity and the beginning of Universal Credit which has been said to transport us back to 1950s family structures (see 3) why that matters to me right now);

    2) COUNTRY/ UNION: being a European citizen resident in Scotland and stuck in the UK, with the manifold uncertainties this currently entails;

    3) THE FUTURE: expecting a baby very soon (like next week). So now a) doing something about 2) has just become more complicated (though not impossible), and b) in addition to worrying about abstract “future generations”, I now have the safety and well-being of my own child to worry about, who will grow up in an age of planetary upheaval.

    4) LOVING NATURE: I’m not hoping for nuclear war for the sake of my child, other people’s children, and countless other species. We tend to forget about them when we get too wrapped up in our own doom. No matter how we feel, we have a duty to care.

  17. David Allan says:

    Hi Stewart

    My experience of such difficulties is that as one door closes another opens ! I hope to a Level 11 . As a happy previous customer I hope your fortunes change soon.

    I reflect on your views and find myself sharing the gloomy outlook . It is for me also becoming harder to maintain a remain positive outlook.

    WE are all surrounded by a national apathy where societal acceptence of now ingrained mediocrity is the norm . There is an answer yet in my opinion we as a nation show no real ambition toward either recognising or directing others toward the solution.

    Will we ever grasp the opportunity of achieving a reverse of the creeping malaise that is now overwheming many of our population. I wonder!

    For generations we have been heading in downward spiral. Only those that can see and have experienced the decline actually notice it’s very real existence.

    It’s effect on struggling Scots of every age group cannot be denied.

    How far must we descend before the population of Scotland takes a collective look at itself! and recognise the need to aspire to something better.

    I am ashamed when I note our devolved governments achievements and contrast our feable ambitions with those of Iceland and the Faroes as portrayed in Vision 1 and 2 films made by Lesley Riddoch.

    I am ashamed by the lack of positive drive and spirit within the Holyrood Chamber the weekly displays of mass enthusiasm at FMQ’s is deeply depressing to behold.

    A weekly display of mass mediocrity.

    I am equally ashamed of the Jamsie type characters who peddle the spin of dogma the pro-union better together pooled and shared crap that has been a feature of our recent social media hype.

    OMG time for a wee whisky!

    1. Jamsie says:

      And I think people like you who support Indy blindly based on dogma are incapable of seeing the truth.
      Did you note the GERS figures yesterday?
      A £13bn deficit!
      Wee Nicola tries to justify this by saying that in the past we have put enough in to cover this benefit from being part of the U.K.
      Now that’s living in the past!
      But surely you must see that there is no answer coming forward from the SNP on questions about how this would be dealt with?
      Her response was clear, the deficit is real and they have no way of reducing it without massive spending cuts – real austerity.
      So we will just keep on drawing our “entitlement” from the UK,
      Her statement and the message from the GCR is plain.
      Why don’t you see that?
      She will not be pushing for a referendum she cannot win.
      The financial position is her justification for this.
      Sane people don’t want to be poorer in an independent Scotland which they would be by a long way.
      And the dream of re-entering the EU would be off the table for generations.
      As she marches you all back down the hill mibees you will have time to ponder.

      1. David Allan says:

        BLA BLA an other outburst of the usual garbage . Scotland incapable ! a basket case made so of course by our dependence on England’s crumbs.

        Wake up and get a life your blinkered adherence to the Unionist Cause speaks volumes about your flawed character.

        1. Mark Bevis says:

          Not sure the pros & cons of independence for Scotland make much difference to the writer’s level of doom. Anyone seeing the future of Scotland in terms of GDP, deficits, annual growth, jobs (well paid or otherwise) is simply on the wrong Titanic.

      2. Alan Stewart says:

        “Wee” Jamsie, please explain the £13bn deficit.
        What has created it?
        Who has created it?

        1. Jamsie says:

          The deficit is reported by GERS the “government’s” own measure of spend against revenue.
          You surely aren’t questioning the SNP’s financial reporting competence are you?
          Wee Nicola says it is because Scotland is too rural.
          Maybe we should just clear the Highlands and Islands and save urban dwellers a fortune.

          1. Alan Stewart says:

            I wasn’t suggesting anything.
            Now, though, I might suggest that you haven’t really grasped the purpose of GERS, or how it operates.

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