Extractive Capitalism and Broken Breadline Britain

“The pursuit of income equality will turn this country into a totalitarian slum.” – Keith Joseph (1976)

In fact, of course, the opposite happened. As Stewart Lansley, author of Breadline Britain, The Rise of Mass Poverty writes: “Over the last four decades, Britain has moved from being one of the most equal of rich nations to the second most unequal (after the United States). The same period has also seen a surge in levels of poverty, with the child poverty rate more than double that of the late 1970s”.

To add to this the rise in surveillance, police powers and restrictions of trade union activity and the right to peaceful protest have led to Britain becoming if not a ‘totalitarian slum’ at least an authoritarian one.

Despite the fever-dream of Unionist propaganda: that Britain is a source of stability and wealth, the opposite is true. We live tied to a state that is characterised by poverty and inequality, and this isn’t a new phenomenon it is one that is hard-wired into the system of rule. As Lansley points out: “Britain has been a high-inequality, high-poverty nation for most of the last 200 years, with significant consequences for life chances, social resilience, and economic strength. Because of the impact of inequality, the poorest fifth of Britons are today much poorer that their counterparts in other, more equal nations. Germany’s poorest, for example, are a third better off than those in Britain.”

This isn’t a revelation.

Back in October 2022 Derek Thompson wrote a blistering piece for the American magazine The Atlantic on what he called ‘decades-long economic dysfunction (“How the U.K. Became One of the Poorest Countries in Western Europe“). He wrote:

“When the global financial crisis hit in 2008, it hit hard, smashing the engine of Britain’s economic ascent. Wary of rising deficits, the British government pursued a policy of austerity, fretting about debt rather than productivity or aggregate demand. The results were disastrous. Real wages fell for six straight years. Facing what the writer Fintan O’Toole called “the dull anxiety of declining living standards,” conservative politicians sniffed out a bogeyman to blame for this slow-motion catastrophe. They served up to anxious voters a menu of scary outsiders: bureaucrats in Brussels, immigrants, asylum seekers—anybody but the actual decision makers who had kneecapped British competitiveness. A cohort of older, middle-class, grievously nostalgic voters demanded Brexit, and they got it.”

Thompson’s analysis of economic failure and growing deprivation and inequality was echoed by the FT’s John Burn-Murdoch who explained back in September:

“Income inequality in US & UK is so wide that while the richest are very well off, the poorest have a worse standard of living than the poorest in countries like Slovenia. Essentially, US & UK are poor societies with some very rich people.”

Burn-Murdoch’s analysis showed that now “the poorest Irish have a standard of living almost 63% higher than the poorest in the UK.”

One of the most visible signs of Britain’s broken economy is not just the proliferation – but the complete normalisation of food banks as if they were perfectly natural phenomena. Penny Mordaunt has attempted to re-name them ‘food pantries’ and boasted that she is opening “three new Food Pantries in Portsmouth North” with the proceeds of her ridiculous book ‘Greater: Britain After the Storm’.

Of course there is no argument here that Scotland, if free from this debacle would be better off or any different at all. That’s a different argument for a different day. We would however be able to eject whatever government presided over such poverty as we cannot do now. This is an incontestable fact and the basis for creating a functioning Scottish democracy. Now of course if the nascent Scottish state adopted the same structure and economics as the British state does, these conditions would be replicated. Of that there is no doubt. Given the way in which the power relations within Scotland have been (largely) unchallenged and unaltered in 13 years it is extremely difficult to see how anything would actually be different under a Scottish democracy with the current incumbents/leadership/mindset/tactics.

However it could be different.

We are told that we are in the “most special Union there has ever been” – and asked to be grateful for being subsidised by our southern neighbours. No-one ever explains why we require subsidy after 300 years of glorious Union, nor could anyone explain away why for our Celtic cousins “the poorest Irish have a standard of living almost 63% higher than the poorest in the UK.”

This is inexplicable.

Does Ireland have some vast unknown intangible resource we don’t know about? Not really. It’s just a small independent country trying to run its own affairs.



Comments (50)

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  1. Alan C says:

    The unknown intangible resource they have, is backbone. They took back their country, well, most of it.

    1. BSA says:

      Yeah, backbone. Let’s keep it simple.

  2. John Dalrymple says:

    Marilynne Robinson is brilliant on the long-established conditioning of the British working class to expect little more than subsistence levels of income https://www.nationalbook.org/books/mother-country-britain-the-welfare-state-and-nuclear-pollution/

  3. John says:

    While I have sympathy with the scepticism in this article about Holyrood government’s I think it is undeniable that policies followed by Tory governments from 1979 have been major political cause of increasing inequality. It is also therefore undeniable that if the electorate in Scotland (& Wales) had government’s in line with how they had voted since 1979 there would be less inequality in both nations,

  4. Bill says:

    Ireland, as well as being a small independent country running its own affairs, is a Republic. Were we to get rid of the corrupt and corrupting influence of the Royal family, (renowned customers of Pizza Hut, and grave robbers), then we could have a written constitution, a bill of rights, a progressive land tax, and elect an honest hard working person as president to oversee the system. I find it hard to believe that in Scotland we do not have the people of the calibre of Mary Robinson, Mary Macaleese and Michael Higgins. Thatcher was the person who started the rot, and did not have the courage nor intelligence to turn round when Milton Friedman finally admitted that his economic theories were untested and failed. There was paper in the early 70’s by some right wing southern American economists whose research showed categorically that markets did not work in health care and that the British NHS at that time was more effective and efficient than the American health care system.
    Keep up the good work Mike. Sadly I am now of the opinion that at my age I am unlikely to see independence, nor a re-run of a Labour government of the calibre of that of Clement Atlee.

    Sic transit gloria……..


    1. SteveH says:

      You’re absolutely right about Clement Attlee. A great man for whom public service was at the heart of his political career – indeed his life. An imaginative and creative human being who tirelessly (and quietly ) handled the administration of a nation at war, leaving Churchill to do what he did best, then went in to improve the life of millions. We are now “led” by an army of self-serving maggots, who use sneering ideology to hide minnow-like intellects.

      1. 240106 says:

        But wasn’t Clement Attlee a member of the ‘graduate elite’, Stevie boy? The son of a wealthy London solicitor, he was born into an upper-middle-class family, attended the elite Haileybury and Imperial Service College (formerly, the East India Company College), where he fell under the influence of the proto-fascist, Frederick Webb Headley, the author of Darwinism and Modern Socialism (1909), and read modern history at University College, Oxford. After graduating, he practised as a barrister. He later described his views (in the Guardian in 1963) as ‘good old fashioned imperialist conservative’.

        1. John says:

          The problem the Stevie H’s of this world have is that the alt right supports more neoliberal economic policies including tax cuts for rich and less public spending. This leaves the working class, they purport to support with less security and opportunity. They only way they can sell these rich man’s policies to working class electorate is to use the age old strategy of identifying other’s’ who are a danger to society. Anyone with a passing understanding of history can recognise this tactic.
          The Stevie H’s of this world are so filled with personal bitterness that they would rather denounce and vilify other sections of society as it stops them having to think too deeply about issues and justifies their bitterness in the short term. The right wing media in this country are happy to pump this shit out to stop people like Stevie H to prevent them from actually examining where their real self interest lies. They actually despise people like Stevie H but are happy to use them as their useful idiots.
          It is really tragic to see how many people fall for this shit but fortunately they appear to have less traction amongst the young in UK and in Scotland in general. This is probably related to the young being more educated which I suspect the reason why Stevie H hates graduates so much is that they are not taken in by this hateful shit.

          1. 240107 says:

            No, the alt-right rejects neoliberalism as well as social democracy; that’s what makes it the ‘alternative’ right.

            The name was coined by some white supremacists to refer to themselves and their ideology, which emphasises preserving and protecting the ‘white’ (‘morally pure’) race in the United States and Europe. The movement has been described as a mix of racism, white nationalism, and populism; it criticises ‘multiculturalism’ and the extension of ‘white’ rights to ‘black’ (‘morally impure’) groups like women, Jews, Muslims, gays, immigrants, and other minorities. Its members reject the liberal democratic ideal that all should have equality under the law regardless of creed, gender, ethnicity, or race.

            Some alt-rightists are antisemitic, promoting a conspiracy theory that there is a Jewish plot (the critical theory that originated with the Frankfurt School for Social Research, whose members were predominantly Jewish, and which formed a locus of resistance to the rise of white supremacism in Germany from the 1920s onwards) to bring about white genocide, although other alt-rightists count [most] Jews as among the ranks of the ‘morally pure’. The alt-right is anti-feminist and intersects with the online ‘manosphere’. Most supporters of the alt-right are also Islamophobic.

            The alt-right’s support is overwhelmingly white and male and ‘working-class’, attracted to the movement by deteriorating living standards and prospects, anxieties about the social role of ‘white’ masculinity, good old-fashioned ressentiment (the reassignment of the pain that accompanies a sense of one’s own inferiority/failure on to an external scapegoat), and anger at the left-wing and non-white forms of identity politics, such as feminism and Black Lives Matter, that are popular among ‘graduates’ and tend to subvert the established moral order. Steve and his buddies stoke and prey upon such anger, anxiety, and disaffection.

          2. John says:

            Please show me evidence of any alternative right politician that does not support cutting taxes for higher earners or cutting public spending.
            Political parties that follow alt-right social policies in this country and USA are economically small state supporters. (Trump Republicans in USA, Reform Party in UK),
            They latch onto blaming scapegoats as a means to deflect from the economic hardship their policies would have on working class.
            Please provide evidence to contradict my statements rather than just saying No and regurgitating your own opinion.

          3. 240107 says:

            Two examples: Richard B Spencer, who launched the AltRight Corporation, and the Swedish publisher, Daniel Friberg, are widely regarded as the leading lights of the global alt-right movement and the authors of its guiding principles or ‘collective action frames’, as they call them.

            Dick and Dan developed those collective action frames explicitly in opposition to what they take to be the two great hegemonic ideologies of our time: neoliberalism and political correctness. Their calls for ‘white’ Americans and Europeans to regain a sense of racial identity and ‘white pride’, and for the reconstitution of the European Union into a white racial empire, which will replace the diverse European ethnic identities with one homogeneous white identity, is effectively a rebellion against neoliberal market forces, which erode tribal loyalties, national boundaries, and cultural uniqueness by encouraging open borders, multiculturalism, and individualistic forms of agency associated with competition and consumerism.

            With respect to the latter, they advocate not neoliberalism but national socialism, which would: organise each of the major sectors of industry, agriculture, the professions, and the arts into state-controlled trade union/employer associations, or ‘corporations’ (‘fasci’ in Italian), each of which would negotiate labour contracts and working conditions and represent the general interests of their sector in a larger assembly of corporations or ‘corporatist parliament’.

            They also argue that the challenge to white supremacy by neoliberal globalisation is compounded by an ideology of political correctness that further disempowers whites. Because political correctness emphasises egalitarianism and the equal value of all cultures, any agenda to advance white interests is dismissed as racist and unacceptable. Thus, despite their apparent tensions, both neoliberalism and political correctness have inspired the alt-right’s collective action frames in relation to what it calls ‘race realism’ and ‘white genocide’.

          4. John says:

            Thanks for evidence.
            Not withstanding this it does appear that more right wing politicians are trying to tap into the alt right narrative and anger by blaming minority groups while also proposing many economic solutions such as cutting taxes for high earners, cutting public spending, eroding job security and Trade Unions which ironically have caused the alt right to flourish. These politicians also tend to be in favour of more authoritarian government. I cite the new Argentinian president and former Brazilian president as further examples of the political impact of the rise of the alt right.

          5. 240108 says:

            Pursuing austerity while blaming the need for that austerity on ‘black’ or ‘morally impure’ elements in our society (e.g. migrants, the unemployed, the sick, striking workers, ‘Westminster’, big government, plutocratic cabals – anyone, really, who’s seen as extracting surplus value or growth from the economy) is a common enough trope in past and contemporary politics; it’s hardly peculiar to the alt-right.

  5. SteveH says:

    Love it. The Atlantic magazine is just like our Guardian news comic. It’s so progressive illiberal left wing that its just not credible. Its editor Jeffrey Goldberg is best noted for his fawning over that well known dictator – the late Fidel Castro.

    It’s the Technocratic Progressive graduate elites who run our governments, civil service, institutions, universities, and corporates, who are responsible for the crisis. The very same people who have turned their back on the working classes, unless that is, they are one of the favoured grievance minorities.

    Their issue is that despite the UK (including Scotland), the US and EU countries being mostly technocracies (badly run) by the elites, they still have to persuade the great unwashed working classes to keep them in power. Problem is, the working classes don’t really trust them. Given that, a way of controlling the masses is to impoverish them and dilute their influence is with mass migration (cheap Labour), don’t be surprised that they begin to resent the elites and rebel. That’s why Brexit happened, why you’re seeing the SNP’s grip on power slipping, why populist parties are gaining ground in the EU.

    The current influx of migrants to Ireland is beginning to get a reaction the political elites are running scared of. The mainstream media are barely reporting it, or simply referring to it as only far-right thugs and activists behaving badly. The truth is that ordinary working class Irish are beginning to rebel. Neither were they impressed how the gender recognition legislation was sneakily slipped into law on the back of the more reasonable same-sex marriage act, which at the time most politicians didn’t even understood what it was.

    The migration situation in Scotland is a little different. The Scottish population is about 95.4% white, and perhaps the integration still looks good with such smaller numbers of newcomers. This illusion will evaporate as soon as larger numbers arrive and there is a significant financial burden which is harder to hide, and that the newcomers are seen as a threat. Naturally, it’s not the elites and middle classes who bear the burden, it’s the working class. However, I guess you’ll still blame the English for it. There’s no delusion quite like self-delusion.

    1. edward chang says:

      Spot on.

    2. John says:

      Stevie H – you keep repeating the same hate filled rant with usual targets regardless of content of article.
      You are not only tedious but very, very boring.
      You need help mate.

    3. 240106 says:

      ‘It’s the Technocratic Progressive graduate elites who run our governments, civil service, institutions, universities, and corporates, who are responsible for the crisis.’

      Naw, it’s no! It’s the immanent contradictions in the capitalist system that are responsible.

      It would be reassuring to believe that there’s someone we could scapegoat for the world’s economic problems. But it’s no one’s fault, really; it’s not a moral problem. It’s just history and its process.

      Capitalism too will pass.

  6. 240106 says:

    ‘Of course there is no argument here that Scotland, if free from this debacle would be better off or any different at all. That’s a different argument for a different day… Given the way in which the power relations within Scotland have been (largely) unchallenged and unaltered in 13 years it is extremely difficult to see how anything would actually be different under a Scottish democracy with the current incumbents/leadership/mindset/tactics.’

    Hooray! An acknowledgement that independence, by itself, wouldn’t make any difference to the way we manage out public affairs; that our malaise is structural and not merely political.

    The article rightly points out that ‘if the nascent Scottish state adopted the same structure and economics as the British state does, these conditions [of inequality] would be replicated. Of that there is no doubt.’ As I’ve been banging on since before 2014, having our own wee Westminster in Holyrood and our own wee Whitehall in St Andrew’s House would leave the current Scottish establishment (the whole matrix of official and social relations within which power is exercised in the state) more or less intact.

    And as nationalists have kept telling me since before 2014, ‘we would… be able to eject whatever government presided over such poverty as we cannot do now.’ Whoopie-do! We, as British citizens, can already do that; indeed, we might be about to do so if the polls are to be believed. However, as citizens of an independent Scotland, we’d be no more able to change the structural status quo on which the inequalities in Scottish society depend than we are at present. The ‘hegemony’ of the current establishment is such that the Scottish parliament and executive wholly replicate it; we might vote different parties in and out of office from time to time, but we consistently vote for the same regime.

    Almost ten years on, I still don’t see any advantage in making the hegemony of the Scottish establishment independent of that of the British establishment more generally.

    1. “independence, by itself, wouldn’t make any difference to the way we manage out public affairs; that our malaise is structural and not merely political.”

      This has literally always been our position

      1. Bill says:

        But, hopefully. an intelligent, thoughtful and future sighted parliament, on being independent would create, or have been committed to create a system based upon a written constitution, bill of rights, progressive land tax, independent currency, rejoining Europe, ultimately the euro, and becoming a republic. Perhaps, like Cost Rica, dispensing with the army navy and air force.We would not need to protect the oil installations as they could go as well. Sorry Mike, the demented ramblings of an old optimist who only just sees the glass half full


        1. Ah! Some optimism! Why not?!

        2. 240106 says:

          I see little reason to suppose that our wee Westminster in Edinburgh would be any more ‘intelligent, thoughtful, and future-sighted’ than the one we presently have in London.

          And even if it were to be supportive of the policies you favour and mention, it’s already shown itself to suffer from (as the Irish call it with reference to their own regime) ‘Implementation Deficit Disorder’. It’s good at declaring aspirations and announcing initiatives, but structurally incompetent when it comes to implementing them.

          This isn’t to say that we’re incapable of governing our own public affairs; it’s only to say that the emerging institutions of an independent Scotland are no more fit for purpose than our existing ones.

          1. But is that a permanent inevitable state?

          2. 240106 says:

            It’s no more permanent or inevitable than the British state.

            But what’s the actual plan for changing the current Scottish establishment? And what realistic prospect is there of that plan being implemented?

            You see the problem with the whole ‘radical’ independence project? Implementation Deficit Disorder. Lots of aspiration for regime-change; nae realistic notion o how that aspiration could actually be realised.

      2. John says:

        The absolute bottom line is with independence the electorate in Scotland will at least get a government that it has voted for. It may be incompetent but the electorate in Scotland will then have the power to vote it out again.
        At present the electorate in Scotland doesn’t, in reality, have the power to vote out a Westminster government which doesn’t represent its views. My comment above about Tory governments and policies that actively increase inequality and the democratic irrelevance of electorate in Scotland in Westminster elections is a major factor in why I now support independence.

        1. 240106 says:

          Neither does Yorkshire have the power to vote out a Westminster government. Neither does Dumgall have the power to vote out a Holyrood government. Neither Yorkshire nor Dumgall has a government it voted for. Does that make a case for those territories to be independent?

          1. John says:

            Neither Yorkshire or Dumgall are one of the nations that make up the United Kingdom last time I checked.
            Having said that if either of these counties/regions wishes to declare independence based upon the majority wishes of their electorate good luck to them.
            Passport to Pimlico!

          2. 240106 says:

            Why are nations a special case?

          3. John says:

            In the context of this article as I have said previously I consider inequality has been widened by the election of Tory governments.
            Voters in Scotland and Wales never voted for Tories as largest party in my lifetime.
            I cannot say the same for Yorkshire or Dumgal.

          4. John says:

            Dateman – you are reverting to form i.e. self indulgent pedantry.
            I have no wish to waste my time indulging you any further.
            I am sorely tempted to sign off by quoting Brian Cox’s catchphrase in succession but since I do not like to offend O will go for Graeme Chapman in Monty Python- this discussion is too silly and needs to stop now.

          5. 240107 says:

            Indeed, John; Tory policies do little to lessen the power inequalities that distort out public discourse and much to increase them. But the fact remains that the UK electorate – voting as UK citizens rather than as Scottish or Welsh or London citizens – elected the Tories as the largest paty in the UK parliament. You seem to want to pick up the ball and go home just because your side lost.

            And I still don’t see why its more ‘natural’ for the state to coincide with the nation than for it to coincide with some other, subnational or supranational imagined community. What makes nations so special that they should be independent of one another?

            Why do you think that the fundamental question of nationalism is pedantic?

            But by all means, if you don’t want to discuss this question, please feel free to pick up the ball and go home.

          6. It is true that the ‘state’ or organised politics could operate at a city level (libertarian municipalism), a regional level (bioregionalism), or even a neighbourhood one. But its also true that it makes sense to organise at bigger scales for more coordination (take the pan-European rail network as an alternative to short-haul flying). Its also difficult to see how you ‘dismantle’ nation states that have become over many hundreds of years the building blocks to inter-nationalism.

          7. 240108 says:

            ‘It is true that the ‘state’ or organised politics could operate at a city level (libertarian municipalism), a regional level (bioregionalism), or even a neighbourhood one. But its also true that it makes sense to organise at bigger scales for more coordination (take the pan-European rail network as an alternative to short-haul flying). Its also difficult to see how you ‘dismantle’ nation states that have become over many hundreds of years the building blocks to inter-nationalism.’

            It does make sense for neighbourhoods to band together into larger and larger unions in order to achieve common objectives. But these unions need to be more ‘agile’ (i.e. fluid and ad hoc) than traditional nation-states have proven themselves and governed by the principle of subsidiarity (i.e. only tasks that can’t be performed at the more local level should be delegated ‘upward’).

            Subsidiarity is the opposite of devolution. However, devolution could be part of the mechanism by which nation-states are dismantled into more agile unions of local more of less autonomous ‘real’ communities. The political task here is to devolve greater and greater decision-making power to local communities and for local communities themselves to take more and more of that power into their own hands.

            The other part of the mechanism would be community development, where (according to the UN definition) community members come together to take collective action and generate solutions to common problems, promoting participative democracy, sustainable development, rights, economic opportunity, equality and social justice, through the organisation, education and empowerment of people within their ‘real’ communities, whether these be of locality, identity or interest, in urban and rural settings.

            Community development seeks to empower individuals and groups of people with the skills they need to effect change within their communities. These skills are cultivated through the formation of social groups working for a common agenda, which can be anything from a sewing bee to a campaigning group.

            I worked for 30-odd years as a community developer, before my retirement in 2015.

          8. John says:

            I agree that power should be delegated to the most appropriate local level. Virtually all national governments (Holyrood included) seem to want to retain and centralise powers. Local decision making is more sensitive and better informed by local wishes. I am from Fife but old enough to remember that during 1970’s reform of local government Fife was to be split between Tayside and Lothian which managed to unite all Fifers in common cause (no mean feat!) in opposition.
            There are also economies of scale that make it more sensible for some powers and decisions to be taken at a larger level such as by nation state or international groups.
            To ignore the sense of belonging that people get from being part of larger organisations such as the nation state (analogous to the sense of becoming to a family). Individuals are able to have a local sense of belonging and a national or even supranational sense of belonging though I would argue for most (possibly due to historical and geographical reasons) the nation state appears to have the greatest sense of belonging. This is also a strong argument for the nation state being an accepted grouping for governance.

  7. Annie Morgan says:

    Happy New Year all at Bella. I am not sure about this ‘independent Ireland’ bit -almost 700 k live below their poverty line , massive housing problems-lack of affordable homes in Dublin for example and see Gerry McGovern on the extractive: mining companies activities.See Save our Sperrins in NI and the campaign against the pollution of Lough Neigh.The ugliness of extractive capitalism is global and its hard to see independence for small nations ( maybe even an oxymoron) as an antidote-yes to self determination and yes to what internationalism could mean ?

    1. Thanks Annie – points taken. I think it was maybe a low bar “the poorest Irish have a standard of living almost 63% higher than the poorest in the UK.”

      1. George S Gordon says:

        And note that the Health Service in Ireland still requires payments for visits to your GP, long stays in hospital, emergency departments etc. You can avoid this if your net income is below a threshold, but it’s a clunky process.

    2. Tony Newnham says:

      The ex-Soviet states left their union. Most of them have joined the EU and are democracies. Not even Belarus is proposing to reinstate the union, with Ukraine resisting assimilation with everything they have. All have decided their own politics & economies.

      Cooperation is a good thing, colonialism not so much. The EU proves that sovereign states can achieve in a union of equals, free to leave if their societies wish. The 3 nations & N.Ireland should be able to leave the U.K. if that’s the wish of their societies. EFTA is a cooperation of sovereign states, any member can leave if they wish. The CPTTP is another, there are many more voluntary ‘cooperatives’.

      There are only 17 territories that are not self-governing in the world today, all of which are islands, mostly remote, that were colonised (Western Sahara excepted). Scotland has a better chance of changing its politics, economics if it is self-governing. Resisting the hegemony of neoliberalism will not be easy, but any chance of change is better than no change at all. Both Labour & Tories offer the same thing, using the same hegemony, “if things don’t change, they’ll stay the same”.

      1. John says:

        Tony – you have managed to cut through all the crap with far more clarity than most other more verbose commentators (myself included).
        Many Thanks

      2. 240108 says:

        Is Dumgall one of those 17 territories that are not self-governing in the world today?

        I still don’t see why states need to coincide with nations.

      3. Niemand says:

        ‘Both Labour and Tories offer the same thing’.

        I am not denigrating the desire for autonomy at all, but that isn’t actually true. Blair was also accused of being the same as the Tories but having lived through Thatcher, Major and Blair, the difference in public spending, support for the worse off and the whole tone of politics was stark and hugely better. I predict the same for Starmer v. Sunak and the far worse rabble behind him. Just because old Labour-style socialism is gone does not mean Labour are the same as the Tories. And what is the party in Scotland that is offering something genuinely different or looks like they could? Apart from the unionism, it is Labour and the SNP that offer very similar things right now.

        1. Some truth in what you say Niemand though with previous Labour governments we were disappointed by them after they came into office, not before

        2. Tony Newnham says:

          Blair introduced the PFI, neoliberalism by another name. Blair invaded Iraq, invoking the Friedman ‘shock doctrine’ to benefit U.K. & USA oil companies in the aftermath. Blair introduced tuition fees in the wake of his “Education, education, education” speech. I stand by my analysis that Labour offer the same neoliberalism as the Tories. As for the SNP & Labour offering the same, the SNP have supported free education throughout their tenure in government. If you believe in Social Democracy over neoliberalism, Labour are not the answer.

          1. Niemand says:

            The SNP are a neoliberal party these days like all of them. That does not mean a party cannot offer better things within that paradigm even though, like you, I would much prefer a different sort of politics.

            If Labour get in we judge them then (but I agree about the disappointment Mike). Yes Blair did some things that were bad but if you want to tot them up and compare to Thatcher and Major are you saying that regarding domestic politics they were the same and it made no difference for the better that Labour had 13 years in power rather than the Tories, or that it has made no difference having the Tories in power since 2010. Seriously?

          2. 240109 says:

            Labour’s ‘Tory’ achievements 1997-2010:

            Longest period of sustained low inflation since the 60s.
            Low mortgage rates.
            Introduced the National Minimum Wage and raised it to £5.52.
            Over 14,000 more police in England and Wales.
            Cut overall crime by 32 per cent.
            Record levels of literacy and numeracy in schools.
            Young people achieving some of the best ever results at 14, 16, and 18.
            Funding for every pupil in England doubled.
            Employment at its highest level ever.
            Wrote off up to 100 per cent of debt owed by poorest countries.
            85,000 more nurses.
            32,000 more doctors.
            Brought back matrons to hospital wards.
            Devolved power to the Scottish Parliament.
            Devolved power to the Welsh Assembly.
            Dads get paternity leave of 2 weeks for the first time.
            NHS Direct offering free convenient patient advice.
            Gift aid worth £828 million to charities last year.
            Restored city-wide government to London.
            Record number of students in higher education.
            Child benefit rose 26%.
            Delivered 2,200 Sure Start Children’s Centres.
            Introduced the Equality and Human Rights Commission.
            £200 winter fuel payment to pensioners & up to £300 for over-80s.
            On course to exceed our Kyoto target for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
            Restored devolved government to Northern Ireland.
            Over 36,000 more teachers in England and 274,000 more support staff and teaching assistants.
            All full-time workers given a right to 24 days paid holiday.
            A million pensioners lifted out of absolute poverty.
            600,000 children lifted out of relative poverty.
            Introduced child tax credit giving more money to parents.
            Scrapped Section 28 and introduced Civil Partnerships.
            Brought over 1 million social homes up to standard.
            Inpatient waiting lists down by over half a million since 1997.
            Banned fox hunting.
            Cleanest rivers, beaches, drinking water and air since before the industrial revolution.
            Free TV licences for over-75s.
            Banned fur farming and the testing of cosmetics on animals.
            Free breast cancer screening for all women aged between 50-70.
            Free off peak local bus travel for over-60s.
            New Deal – helped over 1.8 million people into work.
            Over 3 million child trust funds started.
            Free eye test for over 60s.
            Number of apprenticeships more than doubled.
            Free entry to national museums and galleries.
            Overseas aid budget more than doubled.
            Heart disease deaths down by 150,000 and cancer deaths down by 50,000.
            Cut long-term youth unemployment by 75%.
            Free nursery places for every three and four-year-old.
            Free fruit for most four to six-year-olds at school.

            But apart from that… what has a ‘neoliberal’ Labour government ever done for us?

          3. 240109 says:

            But the fact remains that Tony’s equation of Labour and the Conservatives is just daft.

  8. George Archibald says:

    How true!
    The challenge is to get the criminally gullible and easily stupified and manipulated to see how true this all is.
    So it’s up to those who do have the ambition and vision for a better Scotland to do the persuading and manipulating! The task is to get people inspired so that they Believe, and thus get us to the 60%+ mark!

  9. kate says:

    worked in ending child poverty and was part of getting the numbers down to 1 in 5 (from 1in4). appalled to see its back up to 1in 4

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