Thanks! Sharp words to No voters.

 britain isnt eating

Tam Tolland

Did you vote NO at the referendum? If you did thanks for that, you bastards.

As a pensioner, we are next on the Tory hit list. No more winter fuel allowance. No more free bus passes. No more xmas bonus, and various other cuts. So because you voted NO you let loose the “Dogs of War”on your own people. Happy now are you? The unemployed, the disabled, working mothers, people on Tax Credits, low income families,  children. the old,and the sick, all being attacked the Millionaire Morons at Westminster. Because you voted NO. Some people may argue that when you voted against an Independent Scotland, you were not aware of the carnage you would cause, so it is unfair to blame you.

Being subject to these cuts, I am not one of those people. In my mind you are to blame. You caused this, you voted NO because you believed the lies, because you were afraid, because you didn’t give a fuck about anyone but yourselves. So as I said, thanks for that you bastards.

Because you voted NO, you are not immune to these cuts, they will effect you, they will effect your family, they affect your freinds. And when they do, me, and thousands like me, will say “Fuck You” for allowing this to happen.

Maybe next time you will think. I will help send them homeward to think again. I will vote YES.

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Roundtable – “How would you reform the House of Lords?”

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In light of David Cameron reinforcing the Lords ranks with a cadre of Conservative friendly new peers, this week’s roundtable sees our contributors tackle the question of reforming the UK Parliament’s much criticsed upper chamber.

As ever, we’re interested in your thoughts, so please make your feelings known in the comments.

“How would you reform the House of Lords?”

Disclaimer: Despite some of the language used, The Scots Perspective and it’s contributors are not seriously advocating arson or terrorism against the institution, building or members of the House of Lords. Such language is used to convey depth of feeling and for lyrical effect.

Alan Stares – Blow it up!

Abolish the whole process at least, there is zero need for it and put the money into the million other things that apparently we don’t have cash for. £300 a day could feed and clothe a lot of refugees without any hassle and that’s just one Lord’s daily payment. Besides, the old bastards look like they could miss a dinner or two and they don’t exactly ‘need’ the money for anything else bar maybe the monthly subscription to their child porn sites

The situation that it’s starting to be a bunch of old Tories and unionists is bad enough but the fact they can have influence over issues without any form of democratic election process and dress it all up as ‘tradition’ deserves a slap in itself.

Mark McNaught – Burn it to the ground, with the ermine in it.

Chris Napier – I would abolish the House of Lords at the first opportunity as it is an expensive, undemocratic anachronism which attaches Britain to its feudal past in a way that is unsupportable in the modern age.

Turn the building into a tourist attraction or even better, convert it into 650 one bedroom, en suite flats, akin to student accommodation to remove the need for MPs to have second homes at all…

That said, I believe that the concept of a second chamber to act as a restraining hand on the House of Commons is a good one, but such a chamber should be democratically elected and ideally not subject to party loyalties. As to how that would look, I think that’s worth an article in it’s own right…

In any case, I believe that a complete break with the feudal past that the Lords represents is necessary and the UK’s democracy would benefit from a fresh slate with an all-new second chamber.

Louise Wilson – At the risk of incurring the wrath of my Scots Perspective colleagues, I do not support the abolition of the House of Lords. Rather, I support radical reform.

My reason for this is because I believe that a democratic, properly functioning second chamber should exist. Looking at democracies around the world, many have a second chamber of some kind. And whilst there is much wrong with the House of Lords, its general principle to scrutinise government legislation is sound.

Our second chamber is rightly restricted in what it can do – it cannot stop any Bills regarding taxation, nor any piece of legislation that appeared in the elected government’s manifesto. It can only slow down the process of passage by one calendar year for all other legislation. Whilst it can make recommendations to the House of Commons, elected MPs have a right to ignore any veto from the Lords. And finally, though Lords can introduced their own pieces of legislation, these must also be agreed by the Commons. Essentially, the buck stops with those whom we elected, not those appointed.

These are the strengths of the Lords, but of course it would be remiss of me not to mention its weaknesses. As mentioned, Lords can bring forward their own bills and there are questions around the legitimacy of this given peers are not elected. Even if Commons can stop such items passing into law, there is a question of whether it is right that policy can stem from an unelected, undemocratic and unaccountable body.

Further, the sheer size and subsequent cost of keeping the Lords is not insignificant. The Lords is the largest second chamber in the world, and there really is no need for such a body to outnumber their elected colleagues. A part of this is because Lords are Lords for life (barring any scandal). Relatedly, at £300 per day for expenses, these peerages can cost us over £237,000 each day – not including the complimentary champagne nor the pay received by office holding Lords. Aside from it not being necessary to have so many peers, the cost of keeping them all is difficult to justify.

So, with all these things wrong with the House of Lords (and I’m sure there are more that I haven’t addressed), why do I not support complete abolition? Well, I don’t think starting from scratch is totally necessary. The restrictions on the peers are reasonable, and many of those that sit just now actually do a good job. Yes, I would like to see Lords elected and reduced in size – but this can be dealt with simple reform, rather than getting rid of the thing as a whole.

Siobhan Tolland – Scrap it and salt the earth, gentlemen! Abolish it now. Create a second chamber with elected people who are not of any political affiliation.

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If you like what you read please check out some of our other articles.  If you don’t like what you read please give your own perspective and contribute! As a new venture we are always looking for talented writers with something to say about Scots politics and culture and if you have never written before, give it a try. Please contact scotsperspective@gmail.com or message our Facebook page.

The Great British Sell Off

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Chris Napier

Last week, it was announced that the first bunch of state-owned shares in the Royal Bank of Scotland were to be sold off.

Those shares (totaling around 6% of the total shares in the bank, leaving the state with about 70% control) were sold at 330 pence each, which is a loss of almost a third in value from the 502 pence they initially cost the taxpayer back in the aftermath of the financial crisis.

Now call me crazy, but shouldn’t shares in a bank which is operating in a supposedly healthy and growing economy be worth MORE than shares in a bank which is failing under the weight of it’s own ineptitude amidst a backdrop of global financial meltdown?

The disparity in the cost of the shares has amounted to a loss of approximately £1 billion to the government purse and if all of the state’s shares were sold at the same value, then the loss would be around £15 billion.

For a chancellor who is considered in some circles to be an economic genius, that doesn’t really look like good business, does it?

What makes this even more galling is that the majority of the shares that were sold last week were snapped up by hedge funds and similar investment firms who just happen to be the kind of concerns that make big donations to the Conservative party (and anyone else who favours financial deregulation) and were also the parties responsible for the financial crash in the first place.

Yeah, that’s right, we are selling a bank which failed as a direct result of a global financial crash caused by dubious investment practices to the very elements which engaged in those dodgy practices and we’re doing it at a loss to the public purse.

Effectively, George Osborne has handed the very people responsible for the financial crisis a cut-price stake in a major national bank at the taxpayer’s expense.

This is entirely in keeping with the neoliberal ideological desire to privatize and deregulate at any cost based on the dogmatic belief that private enterprise and lack of oversight leads to the generation of wealth, in complete denial of the observable facts.

It also follows the re-privatisation of the East Coast railways after several years under profitable public control (which, like RBS had been nationalized as the private ownership had resulted in a failing company) and the under priced sell off of the Royal Mail to establish a pattern of profit making entities, either built up or rehabilitated under state control being sold off to corporate interests at well below the market value.

This equates to tremendous business for the investment firms who get to pick up shares at cut price but awful business for the country in both financial and social terms.

In a time where the nation is searching down the back of it’s metaphorical sofa for spare change and cutting vital services in order to appease the austerity agenda, it makes no sense that the state would sell off profit-making assets at all, never mind that they would do so at well below market value, making a considerable loss in the process.

Nonetheless, we are constantly fed the lie that privatization and reduction of the state is a good thing which fosters growth and economic stability, when nothing could be further from the truth.

The Royal Mail could have stayed in public hands, guaranteeing the continuation of universal service and helping to stimulate the growth of the economy by providing low cost mail services to small businesses.

The East Coast rail line could have stayed in public hands, stimulating business in the area by offering a good service and reasonable pricing while also offering competition to the privately owned West Coast line.

This is thrown even more into relief when we consider that the new operator of the Scotrail franchise is Abellio, who are in fact a subsidiary of the Dutch state owned rail operator – so fare rises in Scotland will be funding lower fares and service improvement for a state-owned transport network in Holland!

Most of all, RBS could have stayed in public hands and helped to grow the economy by offering preferential rates to small businesses and stabilized the so-called precariat by providing low cost banking and appropriate overdrafts and loan rates.

All of these assets could have helped the country by providing services which are geared to grow the economy as a whole, benefitting the state by increasing the tax yield and reducing the benefits bill while also adding social value and security to millions. They’d also still have made a profit, which would have gone directly into the exchequer’s pocket to help pay down the deficit.

As privately owned enterprises, these assets will reduce low-profit services and concentrate on extracting as much money from consumers as possible, removing mail services from those in isolated areas, increasing travel fares and making business startup almost impossible for people who are not already independently wealthy.

Sure, they’ll make their shareholders a lot of money, but in truth they will remove money from the onshore economy and reduce the service capability and potential growth of the nation.

All of this merely exposes the lie implicit in the belief that the Conservatives are financially responsible (or even competent) or that the neoliberal ideology is economically beneficial.

The sell off of RBS is merely the latest in a string of government decisions which benefit only the wealthy and the speculators of the financial sector but it is also symptomatic of the ongoing denial as to what actually caused the financial crisis in the first place.

By returning the bank to the hands of the very people who nearly brought the global economy to it’s knees, the Conservative government is showing it’s hand as complicit in the continuation of an evidently broken system, quite happy to court a similar disaster in the near future.

A second financial crisis would be one that Britain would be poorly placed to weather given the decimation of our once robust national infrastructure and welfare system in the name of austerity.

It’s the Great British Sell Off –the asset stripping of a nation for the short term benefit of the few.
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If you like what you read please check out some of our other articles and if you don’t like what you read please give your own perspective and contribute! As a new venture we are always looking for talented writers with something to say about Scots politics and culture and if you have never written before, give it a try. Please contact scotsperspective@gmail.com or message our Facebook page.