In A Time of Universal Deceit….

By Fiona Grahame

Fiona GrahameThe Tories are having to think about whether comments made by Boris Johnson MP in his newspaper column should incur some kind of telling off or penalty. No doubt readers are familiar with his remarks which said that Muslim women who wear a burka look like ‘letter boxes’ and compared them to bank robbers.

It’s just one of many statements made by Johnson where his persona of the affable buffoon has allowed him to get away with making racist and divisive remarks. Boris Johnson is a highly educated and intelligent man – he is responsible for what he is saying – and so too is the political party he represents.

It’s all part and parcel of the creeping normalisation in UK politics of racism, xenophobia and intolerance. In ‘normal’ times the murder of an MP during a political campaign would have been considered a sea change moment – an opportunity to stem the flow of hatred in mainstream and social media which was encouraged by politicians in both leave and remain camps. But it wasn’t. Indeed the climate of hatred and othering has increased.

The Tories in Scotland occasionally try to distance themselves from the mothership in Westminster but they are one organisation. A political party where dark money has funded campaigns to get MPs elected. A political party which seeks to destroy the Scottish Parliament removing its powers into the hands of a Tory Government in Westminster. MSPs who were elected to serve in the Scottish Parliament supporting the removal of powers over farming and fishing – the key economic activity in many of the constituencies that they represent.

The Tories, with the support of the LibDems in the Cameron/Clegg Coalition Government, introduced the bedroom tax which penalised those on low incomes for having a spare room where they could keep their wheelchair or where their children could come to stay if they were a single parent with visiting rights. The Scottish Government spends £58million so that this does not happen in Scotland. In 2017 Jeane Freeman, who was the Social Security Minister in the Scottish Government said:

” we have taken action to ensure DHPs [Discretionary Housing Payments]  are available to all affected households so no one has to pay it and we are committed to abolishing it as soon as practically possible.”

Outside of Scotland if you are deemed to have a bedroom ‘surplus’  then  a percentage reduction will be applied to your eligible rent for the purposes of your housing benefit claim:

  • 14% will be taken off if you have one extra bedroom, or
  • 25% will be taken off if you have two extra bedrooms. Shelter

The UK is the 5th richest country in the world and yet during the summer holidays last year (2017) 74,011 children received emergency  3 day food supplies from Foodbanks run by The Trussell Trust. In total 204,525 emergency 3 day food supplies were sent out just in the two months of July and August.  Do you think the figures will be better or worse for this summer? Foodbanks are already running out of supplies and resort to begging on social media for donations.

Samantha Stapley, Director of Operations at The Trussell Trust, said:

foodbanks“Foodbanks cannot, and must not, be a long term to solution to hunger at any time of year. No one should face going hungry, and although our network will be doing all they can this summer to help families struggling to make the money they have stretch to cover the essentials, no charity can replace people having enough money for the basics.

To find out how Universal Credit is affecting people have a look at Universal Credit Sufferer a blog by Alex Tiffin where he details what it is like to live in 21stC UK – the 5th wealthiest economy in the world.

And let us not forget that women who want to claim support when they have more than 2 children have to prove that the child was conceived as the result of rape – the 2 child benefit cap. That is the total lack of compassion driving the ideology of the Tory party.

The minority Tory Government propped up by the DUP with a £1billion bribe is taking us out of the EU on an advisory referendum where 2 out of the 4 nations that make up the United Kingdom voted to remain in. And it still has no plan – nothing has been agreed.

The Tories in Scotland are part of all of this. Don’t be thinking that somehow they are the softer side of the Tory party – just look at their voting record in the Scottish Parliament where they are increasingly isolated. In local government they have had to get into bed with their old buddies the Liberal Democrats in several areas to form an administration.

The Tories in Scotland want you to pay for your prescriptions, make graduates  pay for having gone to university and allow GM crops to be farmed. And they are now, of course, totally in favour of the UK leaving the EU with or without a deal and all the implications of that for our thousands of EU citizens living in Scotland. Scotland Voted 62% Remain – every constituency in the nation made it clear they wished to stay in the EU but the Tories are taking us out.

Scotland is not a hot bed of lefties in fact in many aspects of our lives we are conservative and careful about how we go about things – the canny Scot. But Scotland, through the actions of the Scottish Parliament since its re-formation in 1999 has started to lay down a different pathway. Even with limited powers the Scottish Parliament has shown that :- we can develop our nhs free at point of need; we can successfully  oppose fracking; and we can put respect into the heart of our welfare system.

When this is what we can do within the limitations of a devolved administration what could we do if we didn’t have those constraints holding us back? Scotland has a well educated, skilled people with an abundance of natural resources that most countries envy. It is time those were used to build a fair and just society for all our citizens.

“Open the doors! Light of the day, shine in; light of the mind, shine out!” Edwin Morgan

15 replies »

  1. Hi Fiona,

    On the DUP I thought that the bribe was £11 billion not £1 billion? It’s not the Fib/Dems that have jumped into bed with the Tories, what about Labour in Aberdeen and a few other places as well. As I look at these it’s just the old ‘Better Together’ unionists doing everything to thwart SNP, where SNP is largest Party.

    Otherwise a very informative and considered piece.

  2. Thanks for a clear outline of some reasons why we should become a fully fledged country again. “Now is the time”.
    Having been to Inverness A.U.O.B. rally and felt the ground swell am now definitely going to the Edinburgh A.U.O.B. March on 6th Oct in Edinburgh and urging others to join me . It needs to be massive to show the Scottish Government there is a hunger for Independence.

  3. ‘Toxic’ is a word which has been used to describe the present administration, and state of the nation.
    It’s a very good word for it.
    And now they are pledging to reduce suicide rates, while getting rid of laws which helped folk to feel a bit ‘safer’ (for example – proper contracts for pay and conditions of work) and introducing laws which make folk feel less ‘safe’ ( for example – less job security – less ‘security’, all round!)
    I know – ‘safety’ is relative and a bit of an illusion, but it helps us to feel better, stronger, if we even have an illusion of safety.
    I could go on and on about this – I did, yesterday evening, at Mike, when I heard about the two years ( and how much money?) spent in developing a bogus ‘plan’ to help folks who, with some justification, find today’s Britain a despairing place to live. I probably don’t need to go on and on about it – I didn’t need to, to Mike – that didn’t stop me. It’s bogus – the only way a government can help those who are deeply troubled by how life in Britain is today, is for them to introduce rules and maintain present rules, which might have some chance of building a better, stronger, more secure society. This lot – aren’t doing that – they just like to be seen to seem to be doing so.
    It really is ‘1984’ – where the public are told that everything is just fiiiiine, while they know full well that they are living in a mess, a toxic mess.
    Toxic – kills people, that’s what how things are now, is doing – killing people.
    And killing innovation, killing exchange, killing …humanity.

      • Here it is……………..

        And there’s so much more which is fine in theory, and on paper – but isn’t actually happening, in reality.
        In theory – people shouldn’t get away with being offensive to someone because of how they look, what they believe, or which (adult) gender they prefer to have sex with – but – in reality?
        And there are so many more examples of bogus legislation and attitude – being seen to be doing something, whilst doing nothing, or, in fact, doing the opposite.
        And a lot of it, just makes people feel more worried, without actually being helpful – as in, in actuality, in reality.

      • Mornin’ Charles – you’re asking the wrong person! I’m spectacularly ignorant of the gubbins of t’Internet. When it works, I’m fine, when it doesn’t – I have no idea why. I clicked on it, and it works on my computer – that’s the limit of my knowledge! Maybe if you google the subject? What I am angry about, is the fakery of this initiative from Westmister – the land that rules all lands above………………………..

        Whack Fol the Diddle
        The Clancy Brothers, Tommy Makem

        I’ll sing you a song of peace and love,
        Whack fol the diddle all the di do day.
        To the land that rules all lands above.
        Whack fol the diddle all the di do day.
        May peace and plenty be her share
        Who kept our homes from want and care,
        God bless England is our prayer.
        Whack fol the diddle all the di do day.
        Whack fol the diddle all the di do day.
        So we say, Hip Hooray!
        Come and listen while we pray.
        Whack fol the diddle all the di do day.
        When we were savage, fierce and wild
        Whack fol etc
        She came like a mother to her child.
        She gently raised us from the slime
        Kept our hands from hellish crime,
        And sent us to Heaven in her own good time.
        Whack fol etc.
        Now our fathers oft were very bad boys.
        Guns and pikes are dangerous toys.
        From Bearna Baol to Bunker Hill
        They made poor England weep her fill,
        But ould Brittania loves us still!
        Whack fol etc.
        Now Irishmen, forget the past!
        And think of the time that’s coming fast.
        When we shall all be civilized,
        Neat and clean and well-advised.
        And won’t Mother England be surprised?
        Whack fol etc.

        Songwriters: J Baird / Pd Traditional

        The Scottish parliament has a similar initiative, and we’ll see how it’s implemented, but my main gripe is with the English government and the long list of examples of where they like to be seen to be doing something which is helpful and caring – but……… they….aren’t!

      • Thanks Bernie, I almost covered my lap-top with a mouthful of ‘brose’ when I guffawed on reading the lines of the Clancy Bros & Tommy Makin, oh how true. I remember an epic party many years ago in Edinburgh at Festival time where the Clancy’s turned up, say no more than, drink was taken in large quantities and the music was brilliant. Have you heard, ‘Rock-on-Rockall’ and ‘A Nation Once Again’ both written by Paddy Reilly? If you haven’t send me your email and I’ll copy them to you.

      • Do you mean the one with the chorus…..
        “A nation once again
        A nation once again
        And Ireland long a province be
        A nation once again.”

        Makes you think – eh?

        It’s how I was brought up, Charles. One of my nephews has a copy of the Irish Declaration of Independence, on his wall.
        When we used to have music nights in the Royal in Stromness, a woman sang the Welsh national anthem, in Welsh, which was heart-breaking. I then ‘sang’, for her, ‘God Bless England’. She liked it. Celtic connections.

      • Ha ha that reminds me of a ceilidh I was at as a teenager when my mother sang ‘Jerusalem’ and a man turned to my dad and made a comment because dad had read some of his Scottish poems, the guy’s face was a picture when dad pointed out to him that the lady singing Jerusalem was his wife.

      • Bernie, that’s the one and I also have a framed copy of the ‘Declaration’ on the wall facing anyone who comes into our living room.

        I just wish that we in Scotland had the Irish tradition of ‘The Earls’ coming home in time of need – like now.

  4. I’m going to witter…………….
    The first port of call for someone seeking medical help for troubles either physical or emotional, would be a doctor. Doctors have 10 minute slots – not enough time to listen, look, assess, properly, however much they would like to. If the emotional malaise is obvious, then the doctor would refer the person to the local Mental Health Team – Mental Health Teams are notoriously under-staffed and under pressure.
    So – how does this Government intend to help the potentially suicidal person to seek help and work their way through to a better time?
    Bogus, hogwash.
    This make me very angry, and it’s only one aspect of the bogus hogwash we are expected to swallow. It leaves a bad taste, with no spoonful of sugar to help it down – just more bogus hogwash.
    There is so much publicity based on the idea that, at the first sign of a problem, we should go to the doctor – preventative medicine – it’s much better if things are treated quickly. Yes, all true, all very true, but…………………..we’re lucky on Orkney – try getting an appointment to see a doctor ( notice I don’t say ‘your’ doctor – those days are gone for most people – when you had a doctor who knew you, and, in fact, could therefore assess you much more quickly) in the more populated parts of Britain. Then there’s the 10 minute slot. Not much time to assess, so, send for expensive blood tests and X-rays which may, or may not, be at all relevant. Or write a prescription for medication, which may also turn out to be, or not be, relevant – quick assessments are sometimes correct – how often are they not so, these days? The prescription may not cost the patient, financially, in Scotland, but does cost the Health Service. And may cost the patient, health-wise, if it turns out to have been the result of an incorrect diagnosis, due to almost unavoidable haste.
    So – what’s the point of the expensive telly ads., telling us to do something which many would find to be virtually impossible?
    Bogus hogwash.

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