Thursday, June 22, 2006

No, it's just powdered sugar round my mouth

(the title above is the punchline to a joke about a doughnut eating penguin with a broken-down car, and is preceded by the question "have you blown a seal?")

It's not on the Web yet, but Nick's Standard col yesterday had a main item about how unfair it is that Scotland recieves more government subsidies than it pays out in taxes and is thus subsidised by England (or "London", since it's the Standard). Ping! goes another seal of Dacre I think, because it was followed with "and this will be an electoral disaster because the English are obsessed with fairness, so we will get the Tories back".

FWIW, here are the three reasons that the Jocks get net transfers from London:

1. They are on average poorer, and the tax and benefit system is still at least partly progressive.
2. It shuts up the Nationalists.
3. There is the small matter of all that oil we stole from them.

10 Comments:

Blogger Captain Cabernet said...

The Welsh stole oil from the Scots? When?

6/22/2006 01:34:00 PM  
Anonymous Backword Dave said...

I thought Nick was an old Lefty! If he thinks "the English are obsessed with fairness", perhaps he'd care to explain the class system.

The English do believe in fairness. But "obsessed" is some way over the line.

6/22/2006 01:36:00 PM  
Anonymous redpesto said...

Nick ought to klnow that this is not news - besides, think of it as penance for using Scotland as the test bed for the Poll Tax

6/22/2006 04:23:00 PM  
Blogger Simstim said...

...and anthrax.

6/22/2006 06:16:00 PM  
Anonymous Backword Dave said...

There's a very long rant inside me somewhere to the effect that we should have dropped the old 'England', 'Scotland', 'Wales', 'Ireland' thing long since. The paranoid part of me thinks that it's survived because it's a good way of manipulating the proles.

I'm a Scot, and I derive some of my identity from that. But I also think that's pretty pathetic that I identify with one set of people I've never met (some of whom are dead cool however) and not other people I've never met (lots of whom are also dead cool).

Nick's argument seems to me to take the form "Why should we [Group A] subsidise them [Group B] who live elsewhere?" Now Nick is an EM signatory, hence an internationalist, so an obvious answer is "because the Scots are part of the International proletariat, wha hey, ya bass, etc." What did Darfur ever do for us. Nick? If Nick really thinks that, he may care to look at the EU or even the US. Countries are like that. Wealth is not evenly distributed; ergo nor is state aid.

As BB says, there's the small matter of the oil. (And other things.) The US comparison (as a Decent, Nick's neck is twisted westward) would be Texas which has known a few booms and a few busts in its time.

Nick, what goes around comes around. Let me put it like this. I believe in global warming; and I live in Cardiff, which is, like, a playing card above sea level. Now you can get even more parochial, and start asking why, since the South East generates all the wealth, it doesn't secede from Yorkshire. And I hope you do, and furthermore I hope you succeed. And then you can ask why as your fellow Islingtonians generate all the copy in this isle; making money for very little work (how unlike oil-drilling or coal-mining), Islington doesn't become an independent state. Because by now you may begin to appreciate that there are certain advantages to states of a certain size and diversity.

What I'm trying to say is "What goes around, comes around." As Nick has recently discovered decency, he may start to consider those who "died for their country". Put a price on the fallen (dread euphemism!) Nick, and come back and tell us who owed whom.

6/22/2006 11:10:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You should read Nick Cohen's latest New Statesman piece to get a sense of how adrift he is since cutting himself off from the left over Iraq.

He went to the Compass Conference to see how the Labour soft left/mainstream left were regrouping

Nick has one pertinent point, although made in (as usual ) a fairly muddy way. He argues that Labour is facing the possibility of defeat in the next election. He says that Labour have done good things for the poor (presumably through tax credits, possibly Sure Start also,tho' he doesn't really say cos he doesn't really understand those things any more than the detached posh journalists he mocks) but that they have done so quietly because they did not want to scare the middle classes off by highlighting their redistribution. Nick says they better talk up this redistribution quickly to cement bedrock Labour support - the posh lefty's don't care about this stuff, but the voters do. Now I think he exaggerates the amount Labour has redistributed (and I think that is the reason that it has not soldified enough votes, not the ingratitude of the poor), but it is a fair point.

the rest of the article is just a bizarre ramble, with him trying , and failing, to shoe horn his own obsessions into the proceedings. He claims to want to make sure Labour gets reelected, but if it stood on his slogans "The Iraq war was heroic, fight the islamo fascists, bring back grammar schools" the party would go into meltdown.

However, if Nick went to a conference of Labour's Blairite right wing - like Progress, he would be lauded and his slogans would fit. Nick's problem is he is sentimentally drawn to the soft left, like Compass, but politically closer to Blairite outriders like Progress, but won't admit it.

6/23/2006 09:51:00 AM  
Blogger Simon said...

He claims to want to make sure Labour gets reelected, but if it stood on his slogans "The Iraq war was heroic, fight the islamo fascists, bring back grammar schools" the party would go into meltdown.

Indeed, and I wonder how his opposition to redistributive taxation would go down among the voters of Scotland and Wales.

I wouldn't say his natural home was the right of Labour, though, because he isn't a party man in that way, hence his declaration of support for 'the Lib Dems or the Socialist Alliance' in 2001. I suspect he sees himself these days as a teller of uncomfortable truths to the left, most of which seem to involve uncritically accepting right-wing talking points.

6/23/2006 01:20:00 PM  
Anonymous bruschettaboy said...

This all seems rather familiar from the article he wrote last year when Compass had a similar shindig.

6/23/2006 04:57:00 PM  
Blogger Matthew said...

It's far less clear cut that he like to think I expect. Public spending per head in Scotland in 2005/2006 was 118, compared with the UK's 100. But in London it was 116, hardly lower at all.

There's also the "non-identified" spending, which is about 1/4 to 1/5th of the total. The greatest chunk of this is defence spending, which has always been disproportionately based in the SE and London, and another huge chunk is the Treasury.

Of course taxes will be higher from the SE, but that's a progressive tax system.

6/24/2006 11:04:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"It's far less clear cut that he like to think I expect. Public spending per head in Scotland in 2005/2006 was 118, compared with the UK's 100. But in London it was 116, hardly lower at all."

Yeah, but London also generates more per head than the UK's 100.

6/26/2006 04:11:00 PM  

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