Use Your Loaf

Tesco-everyday-value-thick-sliced-white-breadBy Stewart Bremner

Picture it, if you will. I am standing in a short shop queue waiting my turn to be served, when a man runs past me at full tilt, dropping something as he goes. I tend not to stare at public spectacle, so don’t rubberneck until I hear the scuffle behind me at the door. Another man has caught the fleeing one and is hauling him, struggling, back into the shop. A member of staff is there a moment later and the two defenders soon manhandle the would-be shoplifter past me, towards the back of the shop. It is over in a flash.

I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a shoplifter caught in the act before. When I try to remember any incidents I might have witnessed, I end up picturing the anti-heroes of Trainspotting, fleeing, laughing along Princes Street. The failed shoplifter is not laughing. As the two beefy men drag him away, he says over and over, almost sobbing, “I’m sorry.” On the shop floor a pace away from me, where he dropped it, is a loaf of white bread. Further away is the box he had been carrying, which he had been trying to fill, surreptitiously, with food.

My initial reaction was to roll my eyes and begin again my yearly cycle of wishing for the day that I can move away from Leith. However, as I walk back to my house with my messages, what I had just witnessed sunk in: the man had been trying to steal food. He was trying to steal food.

This is where austerity has led us. This is where we have been dragged to by a political establishment utterly without mercy and with not the slightest scrap of humanity.

The three parties that control the two chambers of the Palace of Westminster, with their commitment to, at the very least, several more years of austerity, demonstrate that they look out for no one but themselves and their corporate pay masters. There is no evidence that the suffering seen across the United Kingdom in any way moves them, or causes any to doubt the conviction that we must all tighten our belts for the common good.

Witness the recently revelation that Westminster’s champagne consumption has gone up by 72% since 2010. This begs the question: whose belts are tightening, and for whose benefit?

This is truly and finally a broken Britain. While people across the country are stealing bread or visiting food banks in such hunger that they will rip open a tin of beans and eat them on the spot with their fingers, our political masters and their coterie of lobbyists went through 8,082 bottles of champagne last year.

If you are thinking of voting no in September, this is the country you are voting for; a country where the poor are made to suffer for the mistakes of the rich. If you are thinking of voting no in September, this will be the political system that you are validating.

Should you choose to reject Scottish independence, you will implicitly be voting yes to austerity, to even more austerity, to endless austerity. You will be voting yes to more foreign wars and nuclear weapons, voting yes to one of the most unrepresentative political bodies in the world (only China is worse) and passing a motion of confidence in the self-serving elite who are part of it and the public scandals they have wrought and yet do nothing about.

On Tuesday night, it will be Alistair Darling who will be attempting to make a case for this union. Or, more likely, he’ll spend the night dodging questions about the union and instead attempt to denigrate Scotland. Mr Darling was in charge of the UK’s Treasury when we experienced our worst ever banking crisis. When he lost that job, he got a book deal and wrote a memoir about his time at the Treasury, calling it Back From The Brink.

Do you feel back from the brink?

You can bet Mr Darling does. Since the independence campaign began, The Sun reports that he has earned £250,000 on top of his MP’s salary and that he commands over £10,000 per night, when giving talks to financiers and private health companies.

In a few days time, a man who can earn more money in one night than I did in every tax year since he helped ruin the UK’s economy, will be arguing that seeing a man try to steal bread is just fine, that this is the way things have to be, that this is the best we can expect. He wants us to say “no thanks, I’m fine”.

From the safety of his massive bank account, I can understand why Mr Darling might think we’re fine, but we’re not fine. We’re very, very far from fine. As Westminster’s amoral austerity cuts continue to drag the line of where being fine begins ever higher, if you’re feeling fine now, just how much longer do you think that will last? Do you really want to gamble on the mercy of those who won’t stop guzzling champagne, while causing hundreds of thousands to go hungry?

With a Yes vote, we have the chance to remake our society. We can curb the influence of the privileged elite, who know only how to look out for themselves, and instead look out for each other.



Categories: Austerity Britain

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81 replies

  1. Drop down a tier on the payroll of the Better Together campaign and you’ll find that the Director of Communications a one Robert Shorthouse will have earned $200,000 from this campaign, come September. The best answer he could muster recently at a public meeting was that:’ The independence debate pays my mortgage.’ Self-serving barely begins to cover it.

  2. Stealing bread to eat, food banks and ex soldiers starving to death. We are doing just fine, not.

  3. I can’t help remembering the Fields of At henry lyric “I stole the corn, so the kids could see the morn”.
    So sad to think folk starve in a land full of food, again, on these very islands.

    • Aye Brian, ‘Low lie the Fields of Athenry’ BUT NOT as LOW as certain ‘no’, card carrying supposed New Labour politicians, no prizes for guessing who not AC/DC but very close, LOL.

      Auld Rock

  4. Yes the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer. The best analogy I’ve heard is that this current unity is like a marriage where the husband reaps the benefits of being seen as a stable family man to the company and the wife who’s never known any better accepts what she’s given no matter how bad it gets. I just don’t get it??? Myself and so many friends moved South cause the situation is so bad. Do people really want to live in such incredibly worse conditions than the South? If the NO vote goes through I’ll still think of Scotland but mainly when I watch social services on TV trying to convince a wife to leave and hearing her say, no he’s going to change. At least by implementing change you can hold your head high and say you tried no matter what the outcome.

  5. If the Yes vote goes through, the SNP intend to implement not independence, but currency union. That currency union will be legislated at Westminster – probably by the Tories, possibly by Labour.

    Which means that Westminster will still have final control over the Scottish economy – just without any Scottish MPs at Westminster to provide any democratic input whatsoever.

    There’s no interest in the Yes campaign in preventing this – no campaign to get the SNP to drop currency union before 18th September. SNP party loyalists will assure you it’s a terribly good idea for Scotland not to have a central bank or its own currency, but to be completely dependent on rUK. Most other people just shrug it off or pretend it isn’t happening.

    I disagree. I think currency union is likely to be a hell of a lot worse than the status quo. I don’t think we can afford to ignore it. But given the indifference towards the issue from the Yes campaign, the only way I can see of stopping it is to vote No.

    • So the currency union trumps and distorts everything? We can raise taxes, make foreign policy decisions, make massive savings, create jobs, guide our economic priorities but none of it will matter?

      • He’s missing the point on purpose.

        We currently have a currency union. It *is* the status quo for currency.

        If you don’t want to be using the same currency as London (which is what it sounds like you want, EdinburghEye) then you should be pushing for a Yes vote, *then* pushing for unpegging the Scots Pound from the London Pound. That’s the only sequence of events that has a chance of happening that gets what you want. No other option is on the table that will lead to Scotland not using the same currency as London.

        Besides, Westminster can’t stop us using the pound unless they want to destroy London’s ability to be a “global finance center”, they can either work with us, or not, but they can’t stop us using it and keep it a freely tradable currency.

      • 95% of the ideals, dreams, and plans that I find admirable about the idea of an independent Scotland are solidly dependent on Scotland having an independent, flourishing economy.

        This I think is achievable, if anyone really wanted it.

        But as the SNP plan to throw that away and have a currency union instead, and as no one seems to care enough on the Yes side to stop them, the only way I see of stopping this happening is to vote No.

      • I think you’re very wrong there EdinburghEye.

        I think almost everyone on the Yes side knows that what I’ve said above is right, so are backing the SNP plans without too much complaint *for now*.

        Wait till our first independent election, and you’ll see a large number of competing views come out, but for now, the target is to be able to hold that election, and almost everyone knows that.

        The SNP aren’t throwing anything away, like I said, a currency union is what we’ve got just now, they’re simply planning on taking things in small steps: Get the desicion-making independent *first*, leave most things the same *initially*. *THEN*, once we have teh power to change things, sort it all out. It’s not like they can do any worse than Westminster’s been doing, now can they?

    • #Edinburgh Eye. By voting NO, I take it that the least you will be expecting is the status quo, or maybe with some jam tomorrow thrown in. I advise you to read Peter Arnott’s piece entitled: “Dinner with NO voters or ‘What I wanted to Say before the Pudding Hit the Fan'”(Bella)

      He opines in this that, if the Scots vote NO in the referendum, they are saying that they don’t want independence, but want to be ruled by London. Westminster will then feel free to revoke all the devolved powers and eventually remove the Scottish parliament

      Do we not see that the ‘no devo-max’ option laid down by Cameron was because he was absolutely sure that the Scots would vote NO to independence. He absolutely did not want to give the Scottish parliament more powers. With the NO vote that he was so confident of getting, he could remove all powers.

      They have not been known for their honesty in their dealings with Scotland in the past, and I expect that they will have even less respect for us after a NO vote.

      I need only mention the suppression of the McCrone report and the promises of jam if we voted NO to a Scottish assembly, the ridiculous 40% of electorate to vote YES for it to be achieved, the admission by Denis Healy recently that they were desperate to belittle the value of oil to combat the growing Nationalist threat and all the lies in the run-up to the referendum. With all this in mind, would you trust them with a NO just for the sake of a currency union? You would be taking us back to the ’70s before the trashing of Scottish industry and the Poll tax to a new round of privatisation. And we would still be lumbered with a national debt of some £1.3 trillion. Some decades of austerity yet, I think, under another incompetent Westminster administration.(I mean, £6 billion for two aircraft carriers not fit for purpose!)

    • EdinburghEye,
      My end game is for a separate democratic currency because the monetary system we have just now is anything but democratic. A YES vote for me in September for me is a beginning.
      A first step. That’s why I’m voting YES.
      The manifestos being pushed in 2016 in an independent scotland will be very different from those in the uk in 2015. I’ll be pushing for a separate currency and I’m sure many others will.

      My main issue with the UK – we had a massive banking crisis caused by lack of regulation of the banks. There has been next to no reform simply because the very people tasked with coming up with those reforms were the guilty parties – bankers. Anything meaningful was changed before it became legislation by George Osborne.

      We are now seeing exactly the same sequence of events taking place again. Unregulated banks further inflating a housing bubble – the very cause of the crisis. Private debt:GDP sits at more than 450%. With dropping salaries, austerity and rising energy prices it’s obvious that the same thing will happen again. These words are echoed by Lord Turner ex FSA chairman.

      Just about all the growth we have seen recently is simply the expansion of private credit into housing.

      So why has nothing changed? Simply because the city of London pulls the strings. Not Westminster. Have you ever wondered what the remembrancer does in parliament?…

      http://greenparty.org.uk/news/2013/04/29/green-party-calls-for-remembrancer-to-be-expelled-from-the-house-of-commons/

      Is this REALLY democracy??

      So we’ll be deficit spending in a few years to bail the financial institutions out rather than using tax payers money to boost grass roots business in scotland. This will allow the untouchables – the bankers to invest in even bigger speedboats whilst the only thing expanding here will be food banks.

      Please think about the 18th September as a start, not an end in itself.
      Scott

    • Edinburgh Eye
      The CU is just a position to hold the high ground. The Yes campaign will try that first and if no mutually acceptable agreement is reached then we will go for a S£. At least that is a sensible negotiating position.

      For us it is quite simple No CU = no debt.

      You should ask the BT side what they intend to do after no CU when their GDP falls by 10% but they are still liable for the £1.5 Tr debt and the r£ and the rUK economy falls into the abyss.

      This is their opening, and only, negotiating position and they have never even addressed, let alone answered that fundamental question.

      So I would not take the CU as a done deal after a Yes vote. At least we have some options, I am not sure the rUK has many.

    • Hi EdinburghEye,

      . . . and if you are right then, as soon as the situation you describe becomes apparent, we can change that situation pretty well immediately through persuading or replacing the SNP.

      That is why independence is the only sane choice.

      The status quo is going to get a hell of a lot worse under a No with nothing we can do about it.

      If it gets worse under a Yes we can change who we vote in as we have done already – not alternating between the tweedledum and tweedldee of Tories and New Labour, but using the PR system to vote for who we really believe will make a difference.

      Don’t let one single issue – however important – blind you to this fundamental fact.

      The reason most of us aren’t kicking up a fuss about monetary union at this point is because we are focused on securing the democratic right and ability to decide such issues for ourselves rather than have them decided by a Westminster we have no control over.

    • The assumption is CU will be acceptable to a rightist, even revanchiste, Westminster. Before Cameron’s reshuffle it looked precarious now it looks rather unlikely. CU was, in the short term, logical and rational given the negotiations following a yes. If Westminster chooses to be awkward and petty then it is their loss. Currency units etc have their importance but of greater importance is the restoration of our capacity to decide for ourselves. That is something that is non-negotiable

      • The assumption is CU will be acceptable to a rightist, even revanchiste, Westminster.

        Currency union will be primarily beneficial to the finance industry, and to UKFI in particular.

        If Yes gets the majority, the SNP have already committed themselves to currency union, the Tories have leaked that they see no problem with currency union, and it’s an ideal opportunity for the Tories to stitch us up – control of the oil revenues, no Scottish MPs, and final say in the Scottish economy. Legislated at Westminster, where as of March 2016, if Yes gets the majority, Scots will never have any democratic input at all.

        Hence I’m voting No.

      • edinburgheye,
        do not get your logic. equivalent to being offered croissants when you want brioche, you shun the croissants and starve in the process. no is the noose by which Scotland will be dragged to her extinction.

    • If we are independent and something isn’t working for us,we dump it.
      Without independence we have no say and no choice?

      • That is an excellent way of putting it. Makes me think of Maggie with the Poll tax. She implements it in Scotland only cause she knows how dangerous it is gets a few suicides then fine tunes it for the voting population that actually matter. In an independent Scotland such a move would be political suicide so obviously wouldn’t be attempted.

    • The SNP cannot implement a currency union, all they can do is dream about one to try and persuade the middle class that everything is going to stay the same, when common sense dictates that it won’t. A currency union needs the approval of the UK and that is not going to happen. Most likely, we will use the currency board system that we have at present, but without the Bank of England as lender of last resort.

      It’s a gamble, but let’s face it, it can’t get much worse for the average man on the street can it?

      • “The SNP cannot implement a currency union”

        True. But the Tories at Westminster can. The currency union that the SNP have declared you’re voting for if you vote Yes, will be legislated at Westminster by the Tories.

        If you believe that legislation written by the Tories to benefit their friends in the financial industry will mean that things can’t get much worse, I have this fantastic bridge over the Firth of Forth to sell you,

    • According to the three “main” Westminster parties there will be no currency union, so what are you worried about?

      • Having Scotland in a currency union with no central bank of its own is clearly and primarily beneficial to the finance industry, who are the Tory party’s main funders.

        Losing 59 Scottish MPs at Westminster is clearly beneficial to the Tory party.

        If Yes gets the majority, the Tories are in power in Westminster, SNP have committed themselves to a currency union and are in power in Holyrood, I believe that we could see the Tory party’s currency union legislated and in place before May 2015, and given the lack of interest in the Yes movement to think about what this will mean, I do not see any realistic way of preventing it but to vote No.

      • How long do you think Scotland will actually remain in a currency union with the rUK?

        20 years? 40?

        The path is to move from a currency union (formal or informal), to a Scots pound pegged 1-1 with the London Pound, to unpegging it.

        That’s what Ireland did, and it seems to work alright.

    • Do you honestly believe that the SNP, in the long term, actually want to keep the pound?

      • The SNP seem to have backformatted the idea of “currency union” out of a campaign idea to tell people that they could vote for independence, because nothing much would change including the currency.

        They do not appear to have thought through any of the significant and far-reaching problems with currency union, not least that it has to be legislated at Westminster, because the Scottish Parliament doesn’t and never will have any power to write legislation for the Bank of England.

        Who will benefit from having Scotland in currency union, but outside UK law? The financial industry. The Tories’ biggest donors.

        Who will write that legislation? The Tories.

        Why should the Tories write legislation to get Scotland into currency union – removing 59 MPs but giving Westminster final control over the economy – that has an exit clause?

        The Eurozone, on which the FCWG modelled their idea of a Sterlingzone, *has* no exit clause.

        The problems for Scotland of trying to get out of a currency union that the larger and more powerful country has set up and never intended us to leave are *huge*.

        I’ve thought all this through. As far as I can see, the SNP haven’t. They’re just campaigning on “let’s keep the pound”.

        And the only way I see of stopping the SNP from doing this, given they’re getting no opposition to currency union from within their own party or from the wider Yes movement, is to vote No.

      • Sigh…

        You’re still (rather comically) missing the point.

        1: There’s a significent (but quiet) group of people who would prefer that Scotland uses it’s own currency. There’s also a decent group of people who would prefer that we were in the european free trade zone, rather than the EU proper. (I happen to be one of both those groups)

        2: They aren’t being very loud about it, because the SNP are currently leading the charge, and they don’t want to get them distracted.

        3: They *know* (and so do you) that *after* we get our independence, we can always move away from whatever initial (and interim) things we hold on to to make the transition smoother. If we don’t get independence, we don’t get anything, so why worry about details that can be sorted out down the road?

        4: Getting out of a currency union with Westminster will be easy once we’re independent (it’s impossible while we’re not). Please try to remember that “laws” and “international agreements” are only worth people’s will to follow them in the real world.

    • Now you’re just repeating yourself, without answering bella’s question. Why is that?

    • If it were advantageous to Scotland to have our own currency a central bank could be formed quite simply. At the moment every pound issued by the Scottish Clearing banks must be backed by £1 Sterling deposited with the BoE. So a BoS, RBS or Clydesdale banknote really is a promisory note.

      If we were to mint our own currency then those deposits, billions of quid, would be withdrawn and turned into S£’s or whatever we choose to call them.

      And also not every country has a Central Bank and those that do don’t all operate like the BoE. NZ has a Reserve Bank that supposedly issues the currency. But they are in effect just an internal section of the Finance Ministry with some paper autonomy. In other countries the Finance Ministry fulfils all those functions without a formal central bank structure. What matters is that the currency is issued by a recognised authority people can go to and is backed by funds.

      Your focus on a central bank is thus misplaced and it would seem to show that your grasp of the financial and economic issues is not what it could be.

      Also in a formal currency union we would have a central bank: the BoE to which for the first time we would have formal representation on the board and the monetary policy committee. Influence we currently do not have in the union despite being in a currency union at the moment.

    • “Which means that Westminster will still have final control over the Scottish economy”

      You misspelled “Some influence” here.

    • ‘I think currency union is likely to be a hell of a lot worse than the status quo.’

      That is the status quo.

      So if you vote NO (to Scotland being an Independent Country), you maintain currency union and you have removed any chance of us having an option to change things.

      Thus this makes our future even more bleak (dare I say with Enoch Powell’s words of blood on our streets, due to the desperation of the people.

      Better to vote YES and at least have a chance to change things – whichever party is in power in the Scottish Parliament.

      • That is the status quo.

        That you think so, proves you do not understand either currency union or devolution.

        In devolution, we get a lump sum from Westminster that the Scottish Parliament can spend as it chooses on all devolved matters.

        In currency union, the Scottish Government has to borrow the future year’s running costs for the country from financial institutions, which will for the most part not be Scottish finance. So Scotland will be running with a large proportion of external debt, which will be under the final control of the Bank of England, which is in the final instance controlled by the Chancellor of the Exchequer. If the Bank of England/the Chancellor doesn’t like how Scotland is spending the money borrowed, they can direct the Scottish Government to impose austerity cuts wherever they choose – and the Scottish Government has no choice but to cut where ordered or go under. Lacking a central bank, Scotland will be unable to control its own economy.

        There will be no chance of changing this short of Scotland going into bankruptcy.

        I have no idea why so many so-called independentists want Scotland to be controlled from Westminster with less autonomy and less democratic input than we have now. But that’s why I’m voting No.

  6. The Labour Party’s self-serving and self-selecting toff elite have done more damage to this country than the Tories – at least they never pretended to be acting in our interests.

    One of the most pleasing by-products of a Yes vote would be the destruction of Labour at a UK level. Bring it on!

  7. Reminds me of something similar I’d forgotten about, this happened 2 or 3 months ago. Going home passing the top of Easter Road, and about 4 police cars spread all over the junction, traffic held up, police standing about… Hostage situation, maybe ? Mad axeman on the loose ? Not quite. The cause of the urgent response came into view … a woman, track-suited, extremely skinny and extremely ill-looking, being led back to Iceland accompanied by a policeman and policewoman on either side.

    Exactly how much she’d lifted from Iceland to merit that reponse god only knows, but it was hard not to put my politics-goggles on and wonder where was the equivalent response to any number of greater, costlier fiscal/corporate crimes than that of lifting a 99p burger pack from the Iceland freezer.

  8. I hope that silent million who are no longer registered to vote, those who have been broken and have given up on politics. Those who have the greatest need for change,shake off the despair and join the YES campaign and change this rotten dysfunctional system via Independence..

  9. Yet many will still vote No. They are frightened of the future. “Better the devil you know” etc. Why have so many of us lost the courage to face the future with hope? Project Fear has a lot to answer for. However, those of us with realistic optimism for Scotland’s future still have time to convince the doubters. We can, through calm confident conversation with neighbours, workmates, friends down the pub, reverse the fear and instill some hope. Voting No will guarantee more austerity; voting Yes will not guarantee wealth for all but, at the very least, it will guarantee a genuine chance to establish a fairer, more equal society in Scotland.

  10. Reblogged this on charlesobrien08 and commented:
    There is no theft when its for food.

  11. I understand that the tories are planning to increase the threshold for higher rate tax payers. Well the tax saved can pay towards private medical insurance, after the NHS is privatised, which we will be unable to stop.

  12. “If Yes gets the majority, the Tories are in power in Westminster … I believe that we could see the Tory party’s currency union legislated and in place before May 2015…”

    Eh? The Tories have ruled out a currency union, so it isn’t going to happen.

    Scotland would clearly have to sort the currency issue out sooner rather than later, but in the short term allowing the three clearing banks to continue issuing sterling denominated notes that are backed by treasury bonds held in the Bank of England strikes me as the best option.

    • Alastair Darling ruled out a currency union.

      A Tory minister promptly leaked that they’d have no problem with a currency union. (Understandable: it’;d benefit the finance industry,)

      Now, you obviously believe that David Cameron and George Osborne are honest chaps who’d never say anything they don’t mean.

      But I don’t.

      • The NO campaign keep trying to argue that we can’t use the pound. And now you are complaining that we would be forced to use the pound.

        Your arguments are equivalent to trying to convince a prisoner not to escape from the prison cell, because they will still be in the prison camp after they have walked through the cell door.

        We aren’t going to be any worse of using the pound independently, than we are now. But now we will be able to choose what we spend our money on. Its the first step towards taking control of our economy, whatever is decided in the future.

    • but in the short term allowing the three clearing banks to continue issuing sterling denominated notes that are backed by treasury bonds held in the Bank of England strikes me as the best option.

      Public sector spending in Scotland is £64.5 billion. That’s including defense spending that wouldn’t affect Scotland if it became independent (or not as much). But there’s also the private sector spending.

      Under the scheme of “oh we’ll just use the pound” (your “best option”) every single one of those billions, spent electronically or with a paper note or a coin, would have to be backed by a sterling note printed by the Royal Mint in Wales and transported to Scotland to be held in a specially-built secure vault. (One solution to this would be to pay the Royal Mint to print special unspendable high denomination notes just for Scotland, but that’s what’s legally required when one country “just uses” the currency of another country.) That’s why it’s a “solution” that’s made use of only by small countries with small economies. not for countries the size of Scotland. Even the FCWG didn’t list this as one of their acceptable options.

      • Evidently you have found a hook to hang your no upon but were you really going to commit to yes in the first place or is this just a bit of trolling. Whatever it might be go ahead and do the democratic thing by your conscience on18 sept. for it is all about democracy, accountability, responsibility isn’t it?

        • Agreed. We’ve all got to make up our own minds on 18th September. My decision in the end turned on opposition to currency union. You may be able to thole the idea of the Scottish economy being permanently run from London, no chance for Scotland ever to make its own decisions: I couldn’t. Everyone’s got to decide this for themselves.

      • Scotland already prints Scottish pound notes anyway. You are making a mountain out of a mole hill.

      • Different perspectives on the power of democracy operate here. Scotland bound in economic vassal statehood to the old régime would not please me. Running countries is, as experience shows from the last decade, far from scientific. Risk is always present. That risk may bring successor or failure. The measure of that risk ought to be tied to the ballot box and that is why having a sovereign state which focusses on our particular national interests, economic and the rest, and not sectional interests does matter. Under the current régime our voice is subaudible. I risk independence as an opportunity to raise the decibels exponentially.

        • The measure of that risk ought to be tied to the ballot box and that is why having a sovereign state which focusses on our particular national interests, economic and the rest, and not sectional interests does matter.

          I agree. Unfortunately, neither the SNP nor the majority of the Yes campaign sees it this way. So, I’m voting No.

      • But the sovereign state of which Scotland is part rarely attends to our interests. They are subsumed in those of a larger entity over which we have little influence. This is the quandary faced by small nations. To stay and, according to the propagandists, be “secure” albeit ignored or to go and join the flow where we may hit occasional turbulence. As in personal life interesting events are likely to occur. Maturity, in Scotland’s case, political maturity that comes with being willing to carry the can is crucial to dealing with them. The dependency rut is now so deep some of us seem unaware there is a different world beyond.

      • Sorry, I missed this earlier.

        The notion that to use sterling would involve Scotland having several billion pounds in real sterling notes in Edinburgh is wonderfully off the wall, and isn’t how a currency board operates. To issue notes already, the three clearing banks must by law maintain an equal number of treasury bonds to each issue. Those bonds are held on deposit with the Bank of England and earn interest for the banks. That’s how currency boards operate, and Scotland could continue with that system in the short term.

        Obviously, the country could cover shortfalls with international borrowing, and raise taxes on the middle class. Given that those buggers have been doing very nicely thank you for the past 30+ years and given also that they tend to be no voters, I don’t think that would be a major political issue.

        • ….and Scotland could continue with that system in the short term.

          You’ve obviously not bothered to think through the scale of the problem.

          There were 306,646,555 individual Scottish notes in circulation in 2012 (Committee of Scottish Bankers): total worth about £3.8bn (Bank of England).

          Now in order to implement the “oh we’ll just use the pound and have a currency board”, the Scottish government/Scottish banks need to print 17 times as many notes – just to cover the public sector spending.

          Your notion that this would be simple in the short term is absurd. It wouldn’t be. Scotland is not a micro-economy. It can’t operate without a central bank and its own currency.

      • “I’m voting NO, because I can’t tolerate the Scottish economy being run from London”.

        Aren’t people *fascinating*? The way their minds work? The mind boggles.

  13. Top quality trolling. A perfect example of the art. 🙂

  14. The scenario described, is Dickensian. All that is missing is a summary trial followed by execution in Newgate prison.

    It is a sorry state of affairs, when a person in Scotland needs to steal food to eat. It makes me angry, and even more determined than ever to ensure we can be free of this corrupt uncaring heartless union, in which the rich get richer and the poor are left to literally starve.

    With independence, a written constitution and elections to a proportional parliament, we will have a much better chance to make a better Scotland for ALL the people who live here in Scotland.

  15. Er, no, it’s wasn’t just the fellow who cannot coordinate his hair with his eyebrows, the currency union idea was publicly shot down by all three main parties. Quoting some unnamed bloke who said something else is a bit daft, especially since only the SNP actually wants a currency union.

    Your fixation on this issue suggests that you are looking for an excuse not to vote yes, but are unhappy that it puts you on the same side of the field as the Tories, the CBI and the Orange Lodges. Why not relax about it? I am a very laid back yes man who accepts that The Sash will be sung with great glee on the 19 September.

    That said, I won’t vote in the same way as people like that…

  16. The defenders of the union will doubtless note that this guy no longer risks being hung or transported or incarcerated in a rotting hulk for stealing food as used to be the case. Therefore the union is a good thing, as though Scotland on it’s own would not have made the same journey of jurisprudence. Look at our children’s panels as a counter argument.

    That this is an example of how under the union we are back at Victorian levels of poverty with people driven by sheer animal hunger to think filling a box was surreptitious. Hunger will drive you to do that. It sharpens the mind but it also loosens your inhibitions in order to get food. Thirst will drive you ranting staring mad. Hunger makes you desperate without the madness.

    I bet that guy in better times would never have tried such a gambit, would never have needed to. Maybe he had bairns to feed, something they don’t take into account when they sanction you. Maybe as a result his kids will have to taken into care at the public’s expense? This is where such things lead and why they are a short sighted way of saving money. Making people desperate and really deprived is expensive to society. Westminster has forgotten that.

  17. Reblogged this on Are We Really Better Together? and commented:
    “My initial reaction was to roll my eyes and begin again my yearly cycle of wishing for the day that I can move away from Leith. However, as I walk back to my house with my messages, what I had just witnessed sunk in: the man had been trying to steal food. He was trying to steal food.

    This is where austerity has led us. This is where we have been dragged to by a political establishment utterly without mercy and with not the slightest scrap of humanity.”

  18. Now Edinburgh Eye is just being very silly. Currency is more than the notes in circulation, so the Scottish issues are not the sum total of that. Credit is another form of currency, so an independent Scotland could borrow, as I have already explained. It could also raise taxes, something which the middle class no voters had better get used to.

    Countries don’t actually need a central bank, and again I have used the example of Hong Kong which is as far removed from a “micro-economy” as it is possible to get.

    Why not just be honest about this and say that you want to cling onto what you have already? Honesty is the best policy, I reckon.

  19. Edinburgh eye.

    Same shit different day.

    So won’t vote YES because he disny want a cu. . I don’t want the queen but so what. It is a simple question and a simple answer but you pick one thing out you don’t agree with and thats that.

    Well done fellow Scot. I bet your a “proud one ” too

    • “So won’t vote YES because he disny want a cu…”

      I could be wrong, but I think the writer is a woman. The shifting of ground, the refusal to answer specific points, suggests someone who has reached a conclusion which they will not shift from because they want it to be true. It’s a trick that more women than men play.

      Not that it matters, really. The currency union is an excuse and nothing more. If it did not exist then they would find something else that could be presented as a matter of great principle on which they would vote no.

      I think it was the American writer P.J. O’Rourke who said that the beauty of modern capitalism is that it gaves pissants an anthill to piss from. People like this writer have their anthill and are afraid that an independent Scotland will take it away.

  20. Reblogged this on A Yes Voter in Nairn and commented:
    I come across a lot of very confirmed no voters when out canvassing for the Yes campaign. They are in denial, here in Nairn. They do not have a clue in reality…and won’t talk about it either. It’s the No voter ostrich-syndrome.

  21. While I’ll be voting yes, I do find certain hyperbole in posts like this a little hard to swallow: “voting yes to one of the most unrepresentative political bodies in the world (only China is worse)” Really? I’d like to see the actual analysis that shows Westminster is less representative than, say, North Korea, or Russia, or Saudi Arabia, or Zimbabwe. Is there a table that was referred to, published by a recognised body, that backs up this claim?

    And I think it does no credit whatsoever to the move for independence to attack No campaigners as being ‘stupid’ or having their heads in the sand. It’s a classic example of people not being able to believe that there are people out there who have a different view and that holding that view can be both legitimate and, for that person, based on their interpretations, correct.

    When it comes down to it nothing, absolutely nothing, is certain post-Yes-vote. We don’t know that there will be no austerity, we don’t know that people won’t have to steal bread, we don’t know that the nation will be rich, or politicians won’t take advantage of the system, or the currency union will or won’t happen. Opinion as fact is both misleading and deceitful. Vote yes, by all means, but many of the comments above suggest an independent Scotland will be a spiteful place where a view contrary to the general consensus will not be tolerated and is there simply to be attacked. That’s not the type of Scotland I was hoping for with the advent of independence, and personally I hope the more caring, compassionate, voices are heard (which at the end of the day is what the piece should really be about, given we’re talking about social justice ad people not having to steal to eat).

    • Good point Anth about tolerance and intolerance in the debate. We need all to be better at listening and respecting difference.

      You are right too that nothing is certain, post-Yes, but what is certain is, and we know this because we have been told so by both parties, is that the austerity measures we have seen already will be continued by a further £25 billion cuts by George Osborne. Given that the entire basis of the Yes campaign has rested on opposition to these policies, and a deeper response to the values that underpin these measures, the hope would be to carry that momentum beyond the campaign and into affecting the content of policy and the character and shape of our politics in the new Scotland. This is not just idle thinking. There are developed policies, a mass movement and considered manifesto ideas beyond the current political parties. There is no equivalent in England.

  22. What a load of crap. Yeah because alex salmond is the new mother Teresa, he’s really doing all of this because I’m sure he had the same thoughts as this “man” in the story, he’s defos doing it because he wants the best for the poor people of Scotland.
    No! Alex salmond is a selfish knob head, who is doing it because he wants his name in the history books, because he wants more power, and the biggest thing is he is a greedy fat pig exactly like the rest of Westminster who wants his greasy little trotter on the oil.
    He really hasn’t thought about the people of Scotland at all. What are use going to do for the already limited jobs you have, when all the huge company’s that are based up there at the min move away because they can’t gambel their million pounds of business on a country that is new, that they don’t know if they will crash and burn in a few years and in which case their business will too, no, they will move it to England or Wales where it is more secure.
    You don’t even know what money your going to use!!
    You don’t want full indepenace, you want to keep the money, the queen, the military (but yes get rid of the need Neclear weapons)… How is this independence?
    What I really don’t understand is how many people are willing to gamble their own future, their children’s future, their children children future, when there is so so many questions still to be asked, and to actually get an answer other than we hope, our plan is? Wait till you get concrete proof that there will be more jobs, the taxes won’t go sky high, that your housing prices will be secure, that you and your children won’t get the worst deal.
    For my future I would want proof instead of hopes and wishes about rainbows and sparkles and braveheart. How could you even fall for that?
    No we might not be “back from the brink” but we are defos on the way, is it not better to do it together? We will get there quicker.
    I am Scottish. I was born and raised there. I moved away 3 years ago because I decided I wanted a job because I couldn’t get one up there. Because of that, I have lost my vote on my country because alex salmond can’t brain wash and manipulate the people who have moved away as easily, and so for that, I am obviously not a “true scot” any more because I don’t have a vote for a country i used to call home, that I was hoping to move back to one day, but clearly I don’t have a place any more.

  23. The first thing you need to understand about the yes – no vote is that it has nothing whatsoever to do with any political party, and all to do with Scotland breaking away from the rest of Great Britian a move which will be totally disastrous for Scotland as a country. Of course none of us like to see poverty especially on our own doorstep but if you think that any political party whether in Westminster or Hollyrood gives a stuff as to whether u have food on the table or not then its time for You to waken up and smell the coffee. Don’t be fooled by the Alex Salmond smile promising you that everything will be great when you vote yes as this is forever and not just for a couple of years like the political parties. Vote no this September keep your dignity and fight for your country by standing up and being counted.

  24. I agree, #Scottie. I am against keeping the £ and the lender of last resort The Bank of England. The regulations both in London and New York are not tight enough and I can foresee the greedy traders in both these centres getting us into the same mess as before. Our own S£ with a Central Bank of Scotland in Edinburgh and our own tight financial regulations, much like Canada in the last crash which left it largely unscathed is the answer. Meanwhile, for collateral, we would have in the order of £1.3 trillion in our hip pocket in the form of North Sea ( and maybe Atlantic) oil, so we could borrow against that.
    I don’t mind using the £rUK in the interim if it enables us to get rid of Trident, the costs of The Lords and Commons, wars, incompetent waste (I ask you – £6 billion for two useless aircraft carriers.), sleazy expenses scandals and gains us true democracy.

  25. Difference is, #Eric Booth that we can get rid the government in Holyrood. We can do nothing about the government in Westminster, which is elected by the City State within the M25.

  26. I wish people would realise that having 59 Scottish MPs in Westminster makes no difference to us up here in Scotland. It has not made any difference in the 55 years I have been voting. Anyway, the policies of all parties in London have to be tailored to the electorate within the M25 in order to win an election. It will not be a left-of-centre party that wins.
    What’s wrong with using the £, even with no lender of last resort? It’s an international tradable currency and it would be backed by £1.5 trillion of oil reserves in our hip pocket as collateral. Much safer than being in the clutches of the Bank of England when the next bust takes place. With NO, how much longer are we going to be in austerity? 20 years? The UK is in debt to the tune of £1.5 trillion, increasing by £100 billion/year. Can anyone see the end? A lively, agile and frugal Scotland will leap out of its share within 5 years – if we have to be lumbered with any of it.

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