Tag Archives: austerity is a mutual suicide pact

Why is the UK leaving the EU?

“Does anyone know why the UK is leaving the EU?” someone asked.

This was my answer:

From where I’m sitting, the UK is leaving the EU because, in no particular order:
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Filed under Brexit, Scottish Politics

Arguing the wrong debate

The currency debate is a pure waste of time.

Keep Calm and Waste TimeThe SNP’s line if Scotland votes Yes has for several years been that Scotland will continue to use rUK’s pound. This is a good campaign strategy as far as it goes, since it means people don’t have to think about the logistics of setting up a Mint in Scotland to produce our own coins and a national supply of banknotes: it means people don’t have to think about changing currencies if they go to England/Wales post-independence: it means people don’t have to think about monetary change as a symbol of the huge changes of independence.

So, good campaign strategy, but it’s a completely rubbish way of deciding on a currency for Scotland post-independence.

To counter this SNP campaign strategy, the UK government/Better Together campaign have announced they will not “permit” Scotland to make use of the pound post-independence, and to counter that… but never mind. The whole thing gets indescribably messy, with both sides grandstanding more and more, and the whole thing is an utter waste of time.
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Filed under Economics, Poverty, Tax Avoidance

Tax the rich at 90%

Today George Osborne plans to cut income tax for the richest people in the country by 10%. The Welfare Reform Act will have made it much more expensive to be poor. (If you’re unemployed and living on benefits, your scanty income is taxed at a higher rate than anyone else’s.)

The nonsense idea that if you cut taxes on the rich their increased wealth will trickle down to the poorest has proved an abject failure in every single economy in which it has been tried. It keeps being tried, though, for the main reason that many of the very rich love the idea.

What we need to boost the economy is increased public spending, not austerity measures.
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Filed under Economics

Edinburgh Council: Save Our Services

Edinburgh Council were calling it an Alternative Business Model, but in plain English it was privatisation of public services.

The plan to privatise began two years ago, and continued with maximum discretion and minimal consultation until a small group of concerned locals and trade unions started a campaign to save our services. At two previous council meetings in 2011, the SNP had been moved from pro-privatisation to anti- and joined Labour and Green councillors to vote down the plans for privatisation.

Update: For more about the campaign, see Alyson MacDonald’s blog about it at Bright Green Scotland:

It might feel as if this doesn’t happen very often, but sometimes we win. And when we do, it’s amazing.

One interesting aspect of this was that the same man who was involved in developing the “alternative business model”, the former head of corporate property, Bill Ness, was suspended at the end of 2011 over the repairs scandal – and apparently he has since left his post. I wrote about this ten days ago as the Edinburgh tenement council tax. The investigation into that bit of dirty business is now costing the taxpayer £1.8M.

The last tranche of public services that had been slated for privatisation was to be voted on today.

I wrote to my councillors:

I see that the council is minded to privatise (1) schools meals, (2) commissioning services, (3) the Council’s helpdesk and (4) the elected members enquiry service.

To deal with them all in turn:
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Filed under Economics, Housing, Scottish Politics