The Value of Everything

head shot of Alec Ross

“We won’t make unfunded spending commitments”. That’s the line being trotted out by every Labour politician and apologist, including Anas Sarwar who, sounding more and more like the branch office Tory lackey that he is, says he doesn’t want to “spook the markets”.

“Don’t spend outwith your means”. It sounds logical and sensible, which it is why they say it. But frame it another way. What they’re actually saying is that they won’t commit to reversing anything with spending implications, regardless of how utterly dreadful it is. And, given that any positive change comes with a cost, that means they aren’t committing to changing anything whatsoever. In fact, it’s worse than that. They’re basically saying – to the banks, the the media, to the money men, to every vested interest – nothing will change, ever. That’s not just hopeless. It’s immoral.

By all means be fiscally prudent, but morality has to be your starting point. Otherwise you’re saying “we can’t afford morality”, which would at least be oddly refreshing because at least then we’d know where we stand and what we’re being asked to vote for.

Labour’s position is that we can’t mitigate against poverty because we’re skint. But resource allocation is the ultimate political choice. Alex Salmond said recently that, when he was First Minister and something was clearly needed, the rule of thumb was that if the cost was 3% of the budget then it was findable, achievable – and necessary. So Labour could – easily – move some monies from a Trident renewal commitment that currently stands at two hundred thousand million pounds to pay for the reversal of the two child support cap. The money is there. What’s lacking is the political will.

Meanwhile, Anas Sarwar is overruled by his boss and sent out to defend the indefensible, while his colleague Jackie Baillie suggests that if Scotland doesn’t want the policy it can spend a chunk of its budget to mitigate against it – even though Scotland’s parliament was against the policy from the start. We’re actually being asked to pay to mitigate the damage wreaked upon us by another country’s policies. It’s an insane situation that leads me to an obvious conclusion.

In the end, it comes down to what you believe. Harold Wilson once said that socialism is either a cause or it is nothing. What does Starmer believe in, if anything at all? More importantly, what does Scotland? We must no longer be complicit with people who know the price of everything and the value of nothing.

Westminster rule is harming Scotland and the only way out is the remove ourselves from its harmful influence at the earliest possible opportunity.

Tak tent o’ ither. I’ll meet you further on up the road.

head and shoulders of Alec Ross

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