An Old Git Writes

Sorry about that. Just had to get the above post out of the system. Sometimes there’s only so much you can take without blowing a gasket. And I find the breathtaking mendacity of the British over the entrenchment of powers to be nauseating. Although not all surprising, so it’s the apparent connivance of those who whistle merrily while this is done to us that attract my ire.

I mean, they must know it by now, don’t you think? It must have hit many of them like a sledgehammer even just the morning after the indyref when Cameron spat back at them with his ‘This is all about England’. Now the very basis on which many voted No is shredded in front of us – by the government’s own lawyer, confirmed by the courts. You were lied to, Scots. And there’s isn’t a hint of atonement. On the contrary, there’s what the BBC reports as ‘relief’ in government that Scotland’s parliament won’t have to be consulted or have a vote before we are pulled out of Europe against our expressed wish. Allowing us a say would, we are told, have been a nightmare for ministers. Oh, dear. Sorry to be a nuisance. This, in the Family of Nations, the Union of Equals. They inserted weasel words to wriggle out of their commitment. And they are happy and proud to get away with it. (There are no words for the MSP drones who thought this was a ‘victory.’)

And, as my fury suggested, while I acknowledge the unprincipled duplicity of Tories, I struggle to comprehend why anyone resident in Scotland would accept such treatment.

But there we are. That’s our country and that’s our people. And to those who make the claim that one possibility is excluding non-Scots from voting – in order to exclude English incomers more likely to vote No – I say that’s going backwards. The whole point about our vision for Scotland is inclusion and fairness within a democratic state. If you live here, you’re one of us. Apart from all kinds of ethnicity checks and social division that would flow from it, it is a contradiction of what my nationalism stands for. On an entirely different point, the anecdotal evidence is that English arrivals are a hugely positive influence on everything from shops and services to transport and business. Many a spot in rural Scotland is enlivened by the enterprise of English cousins. They deserve both a vote like everybody else and to their own opinions. It is perfectly understandable that they retain ties to England and the UK. I just hope they’ve begun fraying recently. And anyway my mum was English. So there.

I hope those same folk who are attracted by low house prices, decent services and a good environment realise that it is devolution from London that has delivered a lot of that in the first place. So they can have faith in Scots to run our own affairs.

(There are others I hear who buy a house for elderly relatives and dump them knowing that personal care is free in Scotland. Cheers!)

You do wonder at the relationship we now have with England and the sovereign government when they are actively seeking not to debate with us. Even if you accept the legal point that we are sub division of a state and the courts decide we’re not legally entitled to formal engagement on a matter of state, is it unreasonable to think they might consult us anyway? You know, show some decency, a touch a democratic sentiment, a friendly wish to make sure they understand our position before proceeding…If it were you dealing with another person, wouldn’t you take seriously your responsibility to do the right thing by someone to whom you owe loyalty or respect? It’s just such a miserable, mean, dismissive approach from what look and sound to me increasingly like bigots and bullies.

But, you know, you can put aside all this constitutional stuff and forget all about Scotland and self-government and still feel mad. Underlying all of these issues is something much bigger and more obscene. It is the theft of youth.

Not only are mostly older Scots, in my view, ruining a modern, European future for our children by keeping Scotland within the iron grip of a blatantly scornful and small-minded kleptocracy, but all across the European nations a generation of the well-off is systematically denying to the next the very advantages they themselves enjoyed.

The great advances in social mobility came about from left-leaning governments in the post war years putting in place free health care, a welfare safety net, cradle-to-grave education, free access to university – with living grants – international exchanges to aid cooperation, taxation regimes that spread wealth more evenly and gave life chances beyond most peoples’ imaginations when the war ended.

Today, in a world we have choked with poisons on land and water and a planet haemorrhaging under climate acceleration, we are closing off those options and strangling the chances of the young. We have, outside Scotland at least, lumped them with lifetime mortgages for their education, devalued their degrees, abandoned steady employment and liveable pensions while embedding increases and benefits for the elderly. We have bequeathed them erratic, serf labour, low incomes, no savings, with impossible hurdles into the housing market cutting off their chance to accumulate moderate wealth. They are surrounded by institutional hostility. We tell them in all we do that we don’t love them.

As a generation we behave to our youth as a British Tory government acts towards Scotland. We lord it over them. We take their future for our short-term gain. We remain intransigent when we could bend to smooth a path for them. Brexit will hurt our young people. Many fewer will experience the thrill of borderless travel and international friendship, or shared qualifications and overseas employment. The endless possibilities of a revived Scotland built on renewables and shaping an economy for our own needs remains blocked off by a dying generation that has elevated selfishness to the highest form of politics.

Will they go to their grave slavering about good old Britain or will their last act – metaphorically at least – be to free our children from ageist tyranny and bequeath them a real future?

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67 thoughts on “An Old Git Writes

  1. Lots of old gits voted Yes and Remain. Too many young did the opposite, sadly.

    • It was the dead who voted NO in huge numbers….

    • Agreed. My siblings – both over 60 voted Yes whereas younger members of the family voted No because they were worried about currency and the future of their pensions. I tried to warn them and now just want to say “I told you so”. I’m hoping they’ve seen the light and will change their minds next time. Just hope I live long enough to see a positive result.

  2. “Allowing us a say would, we are told, have been a nightmare for ministers. Oh, dear. Sorry to be a nuisance.”

    I think you’re identifying a problem with representative democracy generally. Scots remain MPs are being over-ridden by English leave MPs, but within Scotland, Scots leave voters are being over-ridden by Scots remain MPs – it looks like there will be near unanimity among the MPs, when the population is much more divided.

    The solution is probably to have more referenda – one X, in one box can’t cover all the issues for half a decade.

    But in relation to indy2, the vote will change the grounds on which it will be fought. Should it be an Ireland, or a Swiss, or an Icelandic approach? The vote would probably be easier to win to have two questions on the ballot (UK IN/OUT, EU IN/OUT) or postpone any decision on an application to join the EU until after independence, to avoid preferences for different unions cancelling one another out.

  3. Let’s be honest here the reason those English Incomers moved to Scotland was for their benefit nothing to do with helping Scotland they are helping theirselves helping Scotland is just a by product I still say the only people who have a right to vote on the future of Scotland is the native people of Scotland who were born and live therei have said it before and I will say it again I have my suspicions of your motives

    • I’d suggest you be extremely careful about saying things like that. Not only does it feed the largely false rhetoric of the Scottish independence cause being anti-English, you will also alienate people who are on your side. I am an “English incomer” of 9 years standing, and like many of my incomer friends I voted and campaigned for Yes.

    • I live in a small village which is full of elderly “incomers”, some from Europe and many,many from south of the border. We made 51% Yes at the referendum and most of the incomers voted for independence. The ones who voted against were the local Tories and the local serf types who still think you can’t vote against the wishes of the local landowner – and after all, he knows best, had the best education. If we rely on only native born Scots we’ll never get independence, The Lodge would see to that.

  4. This was exactly the tragedy that SO upset me on September 19th 2014 once it became evident that we had lost.

    An older generation had sacrificed the future of the young for the sake of their past.

    It reminded me of 1914. All those aged generals committing the country to an unwinnable imperial war and sacrificing a whole generation of youth to their folly.

    The folly, the tragedy of it all was unfathomable.

    And it was repeated in England by Brexit.

    But then I heard that younger members of English families were having conversations with older members on just that point. And the older ones? Did they listen? Did they get the point that they weren’t going to be around for much longer and it was the young ones who were opposed to it who were going to have to live with the consequences?

    No, absolutely no.

  5. A retired gentleman of my acquaintance, a Christian, and an all round good soul, voted Yes in 2014 because he had consulted his children on their wishes beforehand. He figured that since he wasn’t going to be around himself for much longer, it was they who were going to have to live with the result. So in his view it was moral to consult them before he cast his vote. They were both for Yes. So he voted Yes too. As he tells me, ‘I’m that rare thing, a Yes-voting Conservative’.

    Good for him. I only wish there were more like him.

    • An elderly neighbour of mine agonised and agonised about what to do because she wanted to do the right thing for the young people. It’s not about me, she said, I won’t be around much longer, but I’m thinking of the children. I pointed out that the children were very much for Yes. That didn’t cut any ice – I don’t think she saw them as thinking beings who had looked at the same issues she was looking at and come to a rational conclusion!

    • On my very first canvass here in Dundee with RIC we chapped the door of a lovely old gent in his 80s who said he too was voting Yes for his grandchildren.

      In all my canvassing I noticed a pattern, those elderly who mentioned their children and grandchildren were much more likely to be Yes than those who did not. The latter perhaps because they didn’t have any, were estranged or were just self centred.

      • Thanks for this. I think estrangement is probably the main reason. One thing we didn’t do last time which we must do next is to get the grandchildren to speak to grandparents.

  6. One aspect of all this “selfish older generation” that isn’t highlighted is the fear and insecurity of those nearing the end of their working lives. Pensions they thought would see them through a comfortable retirement have been hugely eroded as interest rates stagnate. They now doubt whether the NHS or affordable care will be there for them in 10 or 20 years time.

    The plight of the young is appalling. However, they (in general) have youth and strength and health and time for things to turn round. People in their sixties look forward at 20 or 30 more years when they’ll have very little income, deteriorating health and mobility, and the possibility of having to fund their own healthcare and social care. Is it any wonder they want to hang on to some money if they have it?

    • As far as I know, all the data on age profiles in voting (indy, EU) comes from Ashcroft’s polling. So an estimate drawn from a (big) sample.

      For the EU referendum, it was majority leave for over-45s – so that is more than one generation. The younger the voter, the more likely to vote remain, but even for the youngest group it was 2/3 remain, 1/3 leave.

      The Ashcroft poll is also the source for SNP voters dividing 64% remain, 36% leave, as well as finding leave voters were more likely to be lower income and non-home owning – so perhaps less to lose from a change and the potential to gain?

      • No, it’s educational background that’s the clincher. Over 70% of those with degrees voted Remain, and over 60% of those who left school at 16 voted Leave. That’s UK wide. Don’t know about Scotland, but locally, in Edinburgh South, 78% voted Remain. In parts of Morningside it was 90%. Poorer people tend to be the ones who’ve lost out educationally and are more easily swept along by populists.

        • My impression is that the Morningsiders and their ilk who voted No in 2014 and Remain in 2016 are increasingly pissed off as Brexit is going to have a directly negative impact on their cosy existence in contrast the No 2014 that reinforced their privileges. They now must carefully weigh up No/Yes come Indyref2. Long may the Brexit shambles continue to help them see the light. As soon as the movers and shakers in the finance sector in Edinburgh realise Indy Scotland complete with EU red carpet will be so good for their careers, their house prices, and the opportunities for their children, the No’s will be reduced to hardcore yoons. My guess no more than 25% of the 2014 55%.

    • I’ve always appreciated that Morag. I forgive the ‘feart’ if they are vulnerable.

    • That’s pretty poor fare. Lets all make excuses and let them off the hook ?

      The majority fit into the I’m al right jack.
      Only idiots or fools of convenience believe pensions were ever at risk.

      The majority are selfish to the core to the detriment of their juniors.

  7. Totally agree Derek.

    From my experience, I have found the percentage of No votes amongst elderly Scots the most distasteful and unpalatable thing of all. No thought for their children, grandchildren. I’ve heard it all – don’t like that Sturgeon,(no reason etc). Too wee, too poor, too stupid mantra. Lost my old man in November at 92 amongst the last of the unselfish WW2 participants; he was a YES and ashamed of the era after him. This grey vote of selfish non WW2 bunch of moaning minnies are a waste of time and I will ignore from now on.
    Strip their bus passes & privileges – couldn’t agree more, fund the young that’s where the votes are. 65 – 85 year olds are no friends of independence and lost my respect for good since Sept 2014.

    They need telt no’ kid gloves!

    • You know fine well that lots of grey hairs voted Yes. You can’t tar them all with the same brush. The statistics say 35% of nearly one million over 65s voted Yes. That’s hundreds of thousands.

    • It’s all bollocks. I’m over 70, and everyone I know voted Yes.
      The indyref stinks like a week old fish, and so do the polls.

    • Well I’m telling you to shove your attitude. I’m within the 65-85 demographic and voted YES as did my siblings. You are a splitter.

  8. Where I live has a proportionally older population and large number of English settlers. I in my late froties was one of the youngest members of the Yes campaign and outnumbered by English born settlers. They estimate a 60% Yes vote in our locality. I wonder if the lack of exit polls neglected to show the true picture or is my experience an anomaly?

  9. Just think of all those coal mining towns and villages, steel too, industries shut down left to rot by Thatcher and then New Labour. I can’t fathom that those of pension age who reside there would prefer rabid Tory rule for them and their children to any Scottish Gov. Short memories? Beggars belief!!

  10. I agree that we need to create a European future for our children, travel broadens the mind.

    However out of a group of 5 friends who went to further education together, only two us still live in Scotland.I think a lot more would stay, or return, if this were a country in it’s own right.

    • You raise an interesting point about emigration. Why did you stay? Emigration is the real curse of Scotland, constantly leeching away our talent. We put nurture into our young, for them just to leave us. In the 1920s it was emigration concerns that finally prompted the formation of the National Party of Scotland, later renamed the SNP in 1934.

      There are push and pull factors with emigration. A failing economy is a push factor. Opportunities abroad are pull factors.

      But there are also cultural push factors, like a Scottish culture of emigration that’s hard to work against.

      There’s a kind of understanding, a social compact almost, an expectation almost that when you grow up you will leave to prosper elsewhere. I was conscious of that and saw it as a patriotic duty to resist it. That’s why I’ve stayed.

    • I think a Scottish education is better than an English one, in general. I think England offers a fantastic education at the top end, but fails on the average its mass education is poorer.

      “Scotland is best educated country in Europe”
      http : //www.scotsman.com/news/education/scotland-is-best-educated-country-in-europe-1-3435273

      “English teenagers ‘are most illiterate in the developed world’, report reveals”
      http : //www.independent.co.uk/news/education/education-news/english-teenagers-are-the-most-illiterate-in-the-developed-world-report-reveals-a6841166.html

      It seems to me, too, that it’s reasonable for free further education to be part of the compact between state and citizen. It says “we believe in you”. It says “we mean it when we say we’re egalitarian”.

      When you get into an indyref-style feast of bean-counting, though, it’s another hidden subsidy that Scotland pays into the union, educating the smart people who then go to run things in London (and further afield), and for corporate bottom lines that are reported in London. I don’t think this is a reason to think again about free education. I think it’s another reason to take our leave from a Britain whose values increasingly differ from Scotland’s.

      Sure and the Irish stopped their brain drain.

      • I just think more should be done to encourage young educated Scots to stay. Affordable childcare helps anchor those who’ve already rooted themselves, but affordable housing for the resident under 30s, might help them to root in the first place.

  11. No Derek, they will go to their graves not giving a s**t about the youth, unless they come into the group that actually engage with younger people, relatives or otherwise.
    There are hundred of thousands of OAP’s who are very well off indeed and couldn’t care less about the generations that aren’t. They probably weren’t always that way but thatcher would now be proud of them,( that one makes them really angry cause they know it’s true)
    That Labour Party were the reason they found it so easy to come to this NO position. The sky was going to fall in on them, so said the party they all voted for all their life not realising their party had become Tory light just like them.
    “If you don’t know, vote no” said the party, not “if you don’t know, try and find out” like sensible selfrespecting adult would do.
    So there you have it. Old, comfortably well off, who cares what happens 30 years from now, don’t make me learn anything mostly Labour voters feeling it was fine to do what the party, magrit curren et al, told them to do!!!!
    AND, know what? They will do the same thing again if Gordy broon and Jackie burd tell them tae!!!!!

  12. And why would some older folks think that voting for independence would be a positive legacy to leave to their children and grandchildren? Those that rely on and trust in the BBC and their favourite newspaper may not as they get this fed to them clearly, day after day (I paraphrase!): “Scotland is crap – and you know who’s to blame!”

    As just one example, see this from Prof John Robertson written today (26 January) on how the BBC mis-reports new research into child poverty: https://thoughtcontrolscotland.com . Robertson’s site has numerous examples of what may well have the result of undermining confidence in Scotland’s present and future.

    • I agree, and I think the agenda has always been to undermine Scots. As far back as I can remember we’ve been slighted, cheated and insulted as we sat in our living rooms supping tea. I’m in my 60th year and I’ve been disgusted and defiant since my childhood by lousy examples of ‘get in your box’ telly. We were never meant to feel proud, or put ourselves forward. God, we weren’t even allowed a genuine Scot to fill parts in old B&W movies, these were undertaken by Home Counties chaps who practiced the accent just before going on set. Substituting was bad enough, but labeling and othering became commonplace. ‘Drunken Scot’ was a popular character in my 1970s tv diet. We were to be disliked and portrayed as negatively as they liked – tightfisted, dour, drunk or aggressive or all of them together. ‘Ach, we’re nae-good’.

      The system worked very well for them – until we started to show some balls and a wee bit of attitude. Our new confidence also coincided with whole countries lauding our always well-behaved football and sporting fans whenever one of our Scotland teams competed in international tournaments – remember they used to collectively label us ‘British’ whenever England hooligans did what they do? Don’t even try that shite again.

      Yes, the natives are revolting and subtle Broadcasting House light entertainment is no longer cutting it. Not a problem; now they openly lie about our very successful Scottish government, blatantly concoct hysterical news items about indy-supporters and pile-on anti-news bias whenever we achieve. I wonder how they’ll deal with the ‘problem’ of the Queensferry Crossing, that monumental symbol of Scottish independent construction during the – so-far – golden years of a Scottish Nationalist administration?

      We’re better than them, we always have been and we still are. Let’s get out there and campaign like Hell to ensure Scotland thrives as a truly international member with global respect.

      • Sorry bud, can’t agree.

        Scots were at the forefront when it came to football violence. We invented it and went typically contrarian when the English took it up as their other national sport.

        • Wow! I didn’t claim we didn’t have a football hooligan problem, and I didn’t claim any country’s fans were ‘first’.
          You, Drew, just told Scots that ‘We invented’ football hooliganism – see, we’re still doing it!

          This from The Guardian, 13th Dec 2001.

          “When did football hooliganism start?’

          If you’re talking about the modern game, then look no further than the 1880s and, in particular, Preston North End. In 1885, Preston’s 5-0 friendly win over Aston Villa sent the supporters – who were described by press reports of the time as “howling roughs” – into a frenzy.”…

          https://www.theguardian.com/football/2001/dec/13/theknowledge.sport

          ‘We invented it’, ‘Scots at the forefront’ I don’t remember it that way and not according to that Guardian article. That article goes on to mention later incidents in the 1930s and 50s and on into the 60s – but not once does it quote a single incidence of Scottish hooliganism. Yet you seem quite certain that Scots ‘invented it’. If you’re going to down Scotland, Drew, at least get your facts right.

          What I personally remember is that Old Firm, West of Scotland, Labour-heartlands thing that was always brewing and was allowed to fester whilst the money rolled in – and that continues to be ignored today by those who think ‘fenian blood’ is acceptable. But I also remember that the festering problem in the 60s and 70s was ‘our’ problem and we knew about it. We never used it against ourselves, we didn’t have to teach England fans anything they weren’t already inclined to do, and we most certainly didn’t ramp-up the ‘Remind England to hate thyself’ tactic whenever their fans rampaged for dear old blighty.

          Sure, we had a problem, still do when it comes to bad behaviour at football matches but ‘inventing it’? Nah. I like to think of Scots inventing television or pneumatic tyres or the like.

  13. Heidstaethefire

    The “baby boomers are hogging it all” argument is a description of the symptoms, not a dagnosis of the causes. In 1945 a generation radicalised by two world wars and and a depression decided that a fairer distribution of wealth was needed, and as a post war child, I felt the benefit, but as one four siblings, two of whom spent a long time unemployed, I can assure you that not everybody did, and the system collapsed after the oil shock in 1973. It’s also true to say that subsequent generations have been less favoured. The blame, however lies elsewhere.
    If we allow. that the economy grew by an average of just 1% p.a. over the subsequent period, that implies growth of at least 30% ; more if you compound it. Yet working people’s share of GDP has remained largely static. So where has the increase gone ? Quite simply, it’s been overed up by the greedy wee clique that runs the system. They use the baby boomer argument as a classic divide and rule tactic.

  14. Steve Asaneilean

    I hadn’t yet seen this Derek when I was having a conversation with a next generation work colleague today.

    I was apologising to her about how my generation had left her generation with a toxic legacy.

    Her pension will be pitiful even though she pays into a work scheme. She can’t afford to save for a deposit to buy a flat let alone afford monthly mortgage payments. She has been saddled with a huge debt to pay back for university education when you and I got ours for free and any debt we graduated with was through our own recklessness and folly rather than a no choice inevitability.

    Even with the extra support Scottish Government offers poor and less well-off middle class kids are being forced away from university education.

    She can any get anything out of savings now that ISA interest rates are less than the rate of inflation so that every day any money she has in a savings account is actually losing value.

    The NHS is being slowly dismantled in England and there will be knock on consequences for NHS Scotland if we remain in the Union. Healthcare free at the point of delivery is now in serious jeopardy. The NHS is being stuffed big time by BigPharma, and all the “patient interest groups” that they fund, to force the NHS to spend multi-millions it doesn’t have on “orphan drugs” that may do little or no good and at the most optimistic will benefit only a tiny handful of people for a handful of weeks.

    We are leaving the next generation with an unsafe world due to the reckless pursuits of Blair and Bush in the pursuit of oil, money and power.

    For all the talk of devolution and the powers it brings to Scotland the Scottish Government, of what ever political flavour it could be, is forced to work with both hands tied behind its back lest is manage to actually get hold of any significant fiscal or political leavers.

    Indyref2 for me is a very simple single issue question – Scotland as part of the insular, inward looking, xenophobic, exploitative, winner-takes-all UK or Scotland free to determine its own furrow to plough.

    If we get it wrong a second time then hell mend the lot of us.

  15. “Sorry about that. Just had to get the above post out of the system”..

    Man, we love you a’ the mair for your passion and your ire. Don’t ever go soft on us, mate – you’re our outlet to vent. Wire-in, Derek!

  16. “What kind of country do you want Scotland to be..”
    The United Kingdom has always been good to me – health service, grant-aided university education, good job and good pension. And you want me to risk that for what.? A country with a failing education system, PISA scores tumbling. People like me not being seen for hours and hours at A&E centres. No nurses in the wards when you do get in. That’s if you can even get to the hospital with trains cancelled and bridges being shut.
    What about the young folk? Children in poverty-the worst in Europe, and all these politicians can think of is “give them a baby box! The schools are crumbling and what about all the college places that have gone? And all the university professors like that Mr Tomkins know the score. He’s had to become an MP just to bring some sense into their debates.
    When you get to my age, you need security. You need to know you can phone the police if you discover someone breaking into your house. But where are they? All tucked up in centralised call centres miles away. It would take them days to find our street.
    We need to stick together. Do you honestly think that a country with the above record could survive on its own after Brexit? I voted remain but if we have to go, we’re better sticking with the combined strength of all the people on this island.
    And if it does come down to another referendum, well I love Scotland and I am not voting YES for the continuation of the disasters and incompetence we hear about on the BBC day after day.
    And I’M DOING IT FOR THE YOUNG FOLK!

    • Really you believe this a caring and sharing arrangement we have in place at this moment? No thanks = no spine. Sorry it has to be said. I’m not sure how people like you square the argument from Westminster that Scotland is a terrible burden but stubbornly refuse us to leave. Scotland wether you see as such or not is a country recognises in the treaty of Union and if we feel the union no longer suits us then we will leave if we so desire. All the things you mention are right out the daily mail handy hand book and you know it fine well. The Scottish budget is cut, blame your fairytale masters in London. Schools shackeled to reckless PFI deals, blame labour. Adam ” no surrender ” Tompkins had to rely on list to get into holyrood the second largest party is still a distant second and only reason they are second is because they have went full on into loyalist mode, how they can even be happy to be in the Tory party is beyond many.
      OK its fine to want security I get that I really do but your security and living standards are not and never will be their priority. I just don’t know how you can defend it when the Tories were elected on the campaign of hating Scots, not SNP politicians, Scots. You might be happy to be northern England but I’m not and never will be. We are Scotland and we welcome all who live here and we want our country back

    • “… all the college places that have gone?”

      What college places?

      “… there’s still been a fall in the total amount of teaching and learning in Scotland’s further-education colleges by the WSUM measure since the SNP took power. To be precise, it’s a cumulative fall of just over 3% across seven years (which for unalert readers is under 0.43% a year), a period spanning a massive economic crash which has seen a stranglehold put on Scotland’s budget by Westminster.

      Kezia Dugdale knows only too well that retaining 97% of college output, under those extreme financial pressures, while refocusing the college sector on more practical and useful employment-targetted courses, keeping tuition free across the board and ending Labour’s £2,000 graduate endowment charge for good measure, is in fact something approaching a miraculous achievement by the Scottish Government.”

      (from “Incomplete Information”, Wings Over Scotland web site, January 16th 2014).

    • “The United Kingdom has always been good to me – health service, grant-aided university education, good job and good pension. And you want me to risk that for what.? A country with a failing education system, PISA scores tumbling. People like me not being seen for hours and hours at A&E centres. No nurses in the wards when you do get in. That’s if you can even get to the hospital with trains cancelled and bridges being shut.
      What about the young folk? Children in poverty-the worst in Europe, and all these politicians can think of is “give them a baby box! The schools are crumbling and what about all the college places that have gone? And all the university professors like that Mr Tomkins know the score. He’s had to become an MP just to bring some sense into their debates.”

      Is this parody or do you actually believe all of that? That seems to be a copy and paste job from the Daily Mail / Express. It shocks me if you could actually be that naive and selfish to boot.

      ‘A grant-aided university education’, shame you don’t use it then. Do I need to point out the obvious in that nobody gets that anymore? And it is only because of the SNP that students are not suffering from huge course fees unlike the rest of the UK..

      Failing NHS and Eductaion system, trains and bridges, why don’t you through in the Police as well for a full house? What a load of pish. Devolution has offered a degree of protection for us from the worst excesses of the UK and against this backdrop the Scot Government deserve credit. I mean it is without doubt that things could be better here and that we fall behind other normal European countries of our size but then again we are not a ‘normal’ country and that is a key plank of why we need to stand on our own two feet. You talk about needing security, that is the cringe right there. Why do we want to be attached to nasty little England and have them holding the whip as always?

      As for Tomkins he is an MSP and not an MP (what happened to that ‘A grant-aided university education’?) and he does indeed know the score. He well understands the right wing position of greed is good, in fact he is that greedy that he has two jobs, although being a Prof he seems to fail the ‘wealth creator’ test so beloved of his ilk. It is a shame that the media do not attempt to hold him and the rest of Ruth’s merry band to account over the hypocrisy of their position in all the items you reeled of above because as any enquiringly mind would tell you (‘A grant-aided university education’?) you could drive a horse and cart through their position.

      There is certainly a job to be done in indyref2 but there looks like there is no hope for somebody as selfish as you. Take a look in the mirror, you are not doing this for the young folk you are doing it for YOURSELF…………..

    • Sorry to mislead – and possibly upset.

      Thought that my mention of info from BBC would have indicated the satirical nature of the post – given the post from Stewartb above. Should probably have referenced it.

      However, these are all attitudes and beliefs I have encountered – more frequently than I would have imagined – from educated but not informed fellow contemporaries. I think what I was trying to convey was the defensive attitude of people who understandably do not want their future stability ruffled and get a steady stream of information from BBC and MSM to justify a belief that radical change will lead to an even more chaotic future. It is an agenda which affects this age group disproportionately. And I am not sure how to counter it. (See my response to Jack Collatin below)

      What I do know, from experience, is that yelling at such people that they are selfish is far more likely to cement them in their beliefs rather than bring about a change of heart. And I do know people who express these views and genuinely feel they would be doing the wrong thing for their children if they adopted my view. While we may think them guilty of ignorance, culpable or otherwise, the charge of selfishness is not always accurate.

      There is a maxim that everyone seeks the common good but different people define it in different ways. What we have to accept is that views of what that is which differ from our own are often held for genuine reasons and based on the information available to those who hold them. Many in this age group have a constant drip of information fed to them in the background and not everyone has the interest and energy to seek out the information behind the headlines. We have an uphill struggle to counter the information agenda of the BBC and MSM.

      • Yes, and in the end it’s an emotional thing, “my country”. If you’re committed to a British identity, you’re not likely to let go of it because of rational arguments about economics or anything else. You have to lose your faith in Britain – something that Britain is doing much to encourage.

        We still have the 2011 census data::

        “62% Scottish only
        (71% for 10 to 14 year olds to 57% for 30 to 34 year olds)

        18% Scottish and British identities only
        (Highest in the 65 to 74 age group, at 25%)

        34% of all minority ethnic groups felt they had some Scottish identity either on its own or in combination with another identity. The figure ranged from 60% for people from a mixed background and 50% for those from a Pakistani ethnic group, to 21% for those from an African ethnic group. This compared to 83% for all people in Scotland”

        (copied from the scotlandcensus.gov.uk site)

        That’s still a good base for independence.

      • Well I didn’t get it, almost but no cigar!

        I appreciate what you say in your follow up, lesson in there for sure.

        Still I stand by my comments though. Although I must say at the moment I am a bit more tetchy than usual as I am thoroughly sick to the back teeth of what is going on in the UK.

    • Can I suggest you try moving to England for a while, a place wholly controlled by the UK government you seem to think so highly of? I think you will change your mind pretty sharpish. People in Scotland don’t know how good things are in comparison (from an English person who moved here 9 years ago and never looked back).

    • You’ve got them down to a T and with the myths and lies continually being drip fed by the MSM and don’t know how we’ll ever get through to them.

    • Jomry, Scotland hasn’t left Britain, the post-war Britain you cherish has left us. The NHS is crumbling (in England) because of English Tory cuts. The trains are failing because they have been privatised because of English Tory policies. Billions in profits are scooped up by firms whilst the commuter pays the highest rail fares in Europe. All because of English Tory policy. Network Rail is a separate private company and its attempts at infrastructure improvements have caused delays recently (Queen Street tunnel). The education system is stressed because of English Tory cuts to budgets. Universities get by by using an army of low paid insecure grad students like I was for many years, an academic proletariat, because of Tory cuts. This allows two-jobs Thomson the luxury of tenure and swanning around Holyrood. The Tories imposed the dreaded RAE (research assessment exercise) on universities whereby you have to pump out x amount of articles each year or your funding gets cut. Never mind the quality, never mind the complexity, just churn out worthless fluff every year and keep your funding going. Academic standards have declined since 1989 since Thatcher introduced this. Where have you been for the last 30 years?

    • Heidstaethefire

      Good job we’ve got Westminster when we see what a good job it’s making of their health service, drscribed by the Red Cross as a humanitarian disaster, and for railways, don’t go there; most of their trains don’t. Education in Scotland was described as “potentially world leading.
      If you want to remain within the U.K, because you see yourself as British, that’s a perfectly respectable position with which I disagree. If you see it as in your self interest that’s understandable.
      Realise, though that you’re heading into Brexit Britain. Low tax, low wage, low skill, low services, which they fondly imagine can exist on financial services and fiscal transfers from within the M25 to fund what’s left of the state; except that Europe are not about to give them financial pasporting rights – if you listen closely you can hear the financial service industries in Hamburg, Paris, Dublin and even New York smacking their lips at the prospect.
      So the things that you got from Britain just won’t be available to the next generation of Scots.

  17. Dear oh dear Jomry. What will it take for people like you to raise your sights above the horizon?

    There is a big world out there and all you can do is mouth all the negatives of the Tory/Lab/Lib opposition put promptly in their place each weak in Holyrood.

    What would it take for you to see a glass half full rather than being the dismal Jimmy that you so obviously display?

    Scotland by all measurements is an ideal candidate to be a top ranking country by GDP if we could be freed from the branch office management of Westminster. Anybody who has travelled in Europe knows that the UK is absurdly managed when it comes to infrastructure spending or regional support.

    The EU counteracted that to a degree by offering project expenditure that wasn’t forthcoming from Westminster, whereas the greedy maul of London kept all the national resources to itself and its neighbours in the South East.

    Let Scotland regain her place as an outward looking European country without the delusions of grandeur so prevalent in our neighbours.

  18. I love Grumpy Old Bateman.
    I fall into the Baby Boomer ‘well off’ pensioner category, Derek,
    I come from a long line of Clyde-Labour- through- and- through- diehards.
    I resist divulging too much personal info on line, for obvious reasons. However suffice it to say that I am still paying income tax on a very modest pension, pay full CT on this family home that at one point had a 14.9% mortgage on it, and a failed Endowment Policy.( Father of PPI?) Enough already.
    I looked up the pie chart illustrating what my CT pays for. Over 33% on Education, 28% on Social Work,
    I have no children of school age, and have never had need of Social Work services, nor, given our ‘traditional’ family set up, (as a clan we look after each other, cradle to grave) do I anticipate becoming a ‘demographic timebomb’ lying outside Frank The Pieman’s marble floored office, ready to blow up in his rotund face any time soon now.
    I have neighbours with 5 adult sons still living at home. Their CT bill is as mine.
    Seven adults, paying the same local taxes for bins, street lights, policing, and so on as this old ‘git’.
    I do not have a problem with that. It is part of living in a modern caring society. I would have it no other way.
    Perhaps my discomfort stems from the feeling that you tar us Old Grey Whistle Pests with the same all encompassing brush off.
    I googled stats for Pensioners so poor even in Tory Austerity Britain, that they are in receipt of Pensions Credit to top up the princely sum of £119.30 per week State Pension .
    DWP figures for 2012 lists 247,000 Scots on Pensions Credit, with a footnote that about a third have not claimed. Using pre calculator mental arithmetic, I make that 330,330 Scots Pensioners living on subsistence level incomes. I struggle to believe that this is the Selfish Silvers to whom you refer in your splendidly crafted diatribe.
    Yet I cannot imagine that you are indulging in a comfortable Middle Class argument here either.
    It’s only well off Baby Boomers, like you, and this scribbler, whom you lambast?

    I voted Yes, Remain, and in the last four elections, voted SNP.
    I am confident that my Red Clydeside forebears are not turning in their graves. Blair’s New Labour, although it took us all quite a while to catch on, ushered in the slow and painful death of the Labour party in the UK .
    I don’t have a bus pass, still managing to keep a geriatric old bone rattler on the road; hardly a yacht moored on the Med status, but it gets my arthritic bones from A to B when required.
    I am dithering.
    I have no doubt at all that many of my contemporaries will have changed their minds, for whatever reason, when we next go to the polls.
    If Indyref 2 is held autumn ’18, there will be a whole new ‘generation’, of 16-18 year old eligible to vote. They apparently favour Yes/Remain.
    I’m 69. I might not be here to vote either way.
    Delicately, what I am saying is, that time will catch up on us old wrinklies; there won’t be as many of us left to vote in 2018 as there were in 2014.
    I’ll stop now.
    The argument that English born Scots citizens should not be eligible to vote in Indyref 2 is of course indefensible.
    My Irish wife is already under threat of Brexit deportation. I’ll miss her lots.

    • Dear Jack Collatin

      I have enjoyed your incisive and perceptive comments on this and other threads and can see of late an increasing anger at many things in our country/nation/union reined in only by your articulate skills. And I admire the way you defend the wholesale castigation of the wrinkles. I agree with you, but I don’t think that was what Derek was doing.

      Like yourself, I am in the “comfortable” pensioner category. I am English born, school in North east of England, (Scottish) university educated, and worked in private and public sector in Scotland since graduation. I raised my family here and have always considered myself rooted here, although not a “native” Scot. So I appreciate your comments re English exclusion.

      I was never particularly interested in “party” politics, but the 2014 referendum forced me to reflect on what kind of country I wanted to continue to live in. My own lengthy experience of, and involvement in, pan-UK initiatives made clear the differences in outlook, assumptions and priorities of many of my counterparts and their organisations south of the border and a lot of time and effort had to be put in continually to explain the different circumstances pertaining here in Scotland. The justice and logic of the self-determination argument was obvious and I became an avid YES voter. I was reassured in this by the inclusive nature of the campaign, welcoming all those living in Scotland and with a stake in Scotland’s future Irrespective of origin or ethnicity. I was bitterly disappointed that so many of my generation did not make that same journey. I joined the SNP the day after the referendum result.

      There are still many fellow baby boomers in my acquaintance who will be very difficult to persuade – and often attempts to do so lock them more firmly into their point of view. I think of myself a few years ago and the sense of discomfort at the possibility of losing a structure and foundation I had always taken for granted, however faulty it might be. It takes conviction to vote it away.

      I believe that the boomers difficult to reach are those in situations like ourselves who have reached a stage where they feel economically secure in the current setup. Radical change is not in their life plan. They feel, understandably that they have fought their battles and deserve their rest and comfort – and there is a tacit understanding that they cannot return to a working life to counter any change in fortune. It is no good asking them to think of the future of their sons and daughters because in all likelihood, they too are doing well in the current circumstances and will have protection in the accumulated assets they will inherit.

      Further up this thread, I attempted to characterise the kind of attitudes I have experienced from educated, but not necessarily informed, acquaintances – some English but most Scottish. Perhaps a weak attempt at satire – but the fact that some have reacted to it as genuine comment underlines its reality.

      If you are comfortably retired and not particularly interested in politics, the last thing you want is upheaval and if you want to justify things staying as they are, then positing the incompetence of a present and future Scottish government gives you a reason for this outlook. Things might be bad now but they would be worse with independence. And there is a steady daily stream of information from the GMS and Reporting Scotland, reinforced by the headlines you scan in the newspapers in the supermarket to reinforce the view that Scotland, under the SNP is failing us all from the cradle to the grave. And the best thing we can do is protect ourselves and our children from such an uncertain future.

      I do not know how many boomers are moving from NO to YES. I know some – but not many. Maybe that movement will happen with indyref2 in full flow. But I am convinced that the emphasis will have to be on the positive things achieved in the past decade, the competence and ability of our politicians and their ability to create a stable and secure future. And the odds are stacked against our ability to communicate this. Broadcasters and MSM relentlessly pursue a negative agenda – and we spend time we don’t have countering arguments of their making instead of making the case for the kind of country we want and are able to achieve. And it is retired boomers who are most susceptible to this relentless drip of negativity.

      I don’t have any answers – except to say that those of us who believe in independence to the extent that we are prepared to advocate it, need to find our own small ways of influencing others, pointing to other sources of information and questioning the paraded beliefs and opinions of our trusted BBC and our daily newspapers.

      I believe that the boomers are a key constituency in any future referendum. If we don’t find a way to master the agenda, then we might have to rest content with the demographic taking its course.

      (PS This isn’t really as negative as it sounds. Just something that started out as a brief comment – but then morphing into something I had to get off my chest.)

      • Thanks for this, Jomry. I ‘got’ your wry piece, and awaited the deluge. well done.
        As I observe, I am chary about divulging too much of my own circumstances on the net, for a variety of reasons, which I’m sure you share.
        I have many friends and neighbours who perfectly justifiably are content with the status quo.
        Nothing will alter their world view. They have lived through a lot as part of the Union. The Winter of Discontent, the British Disease of ‘every man out’, the miners’ strikes. the ravaging of Scottish industry;Ravenscraig, Upper Clyde Shipbuilders, Bathgate, Hillington, Northern Ireland, the Poll Tax; I could go on but I won’t.
        They will brook no argument that Scotland would be better off as a Self Governing nation now.
        I have heard:
        We’ve run out of oil.
        England subsidises us.
        I can’t stand the SNP.
        We’ll lose our pensions.
        and all the Project Fear tropes many many times.
        I cannot blame them. They are decent godfearin’ folk who will not take a leap of Faith. Their days of ‘leaping’ anywhere are long gone.
        True, many have property and wealth to pass on to the next generation, and are living longer, long enough to see their offspring carve their own way in the world, and stand on their own two feet.
        I have a son in his thirties who does not need, nor would he welcome, patronising advice from me, nor buy the notion that I was doing this for him, and his children.
        I am doing it for me.
        I have no truck with Me-ism, dog eat dog, de’il take the hindmost, laissez faire capitalism.
        Unfortunately, the UK is gripped in a madness that is irreversible, IMHO.
        Scotland is a distinct country, and we have a democratic solution to the prevailing madness gripping England, an alternative to the very real prospect of being dragged out of Europe, stuck in an isolated Little Britain, apart from Trump’s USA, apparently.
        I cannot stand by while millions, yes and it now numbers millions, of my fellow Scots citizens are expected to succumb to Austerity, isolation, and warmongering imperialism, because WM politicians, for whom we didn’t vote, and never will, inflict Arch Right Wing ideology on us, well 2/3rds of us.
        There is no solution to this other than persuasion, and individuals experiencing Road to Damascus enlightenment, as Brexit and Trump alarm bells start ringing over the coming twelve months.
        Good to blether, Jomry.

      • Jomry thanks for clarifying you were being ironic. But your piece characterised exactly the head-in-the-sand attitude of many older people who read the Daily Mail.

  19. You have nothing to apologise for Derek. You were right then and you are right now.

    And no, they won’t consult. They won’t get round a table. They won’t even listen. Which is just peachy with me tbh. It should speed the next and inevitable procedural period along nicely.

    I doubt that anyone who supported self determination throughout the 2014 campaign is surprised at the SCs ruling. Indeed many of us practically preached ‘power devolved is power retained’ like a mantra throughout the entire period.

    Not enough heard and not enough listened.

    We’ve done conciliatory, pleasant and reasonable. We’ve done positivity plus and even double plus good when campaigning. It was the right thing to do, even though it went against the grain when seeing how those good intentions were returned in the form of project fear.

    As and when the next indyref is initiated I’m for a, shall we say, different approach. We don’t hold back on calling the next iteration of better together out on indyref 1. We don’t hold back on calling Westminster and HMG to account at all. I’m all for positivity me, oh yes. But someone needs to answer for the betrayal of the agreed upon outcomes of 2014. Someone needs to be held to account for the farce that was the Smith Commission, the creation and betrayal of the Sewel convention, the deconstruction of the devolution settlement from near federalism to power over road signage and unusable tax responsibilities. Someone needs to answer for a pledge, an assurance of continued EU membership, which is then instantly disregarded and placed under threat at first opportunity, because it suited another power pissing contest altogether. They need to answer for all of that and so much more over the past two years.

    Happily they have provided all the proof of these betrayals of public trust themselves. They are each and every one a matter of public record. YES2 will have all the ammunition they will ever require and if we hope to win, it needs to be deployed this time round.

    We tried and tried very hard indeed to do this in a spirit of good will. It bought us a two year punishment exercise with knuckle dragging yoons from the House of Commons on down sneering their contempt for the Scottish Government, the public and our democracy every day of that period.

    When next we go to the ballot, I’d say we’re about done with the respectful tone of indyref1. They haven’t earned that respect.

  20. Jomry, this is for you!
    Your type make me laugh and fume at the same type but England’s colonies through history, from America to Ireland and from Africa to India they were full of mother country lovers just like you.
    Do Kezia, Wullie and Ruthie send you their press releases regularly!!!!
    I’ve personally done alright for myself during my lifetime but it doesn’t blind me to the facts(real facts) that my country, that’s Scotland, the UK isn’t a country, would be a much better place in every way if we were in charge of our ow destiny.
    AND don’t ever use that “I love Scotland but” crap, you really are a proud Scot But!!! Don’t dare!!!!
    Even if all you said was remotely true, which country’s government would be responsible for the crap state of my country????? Would that be your mother country that has stolen our resources for centuries and replaced them with pocket money?? Just like they’ve done in all their other colonies!!!!
    Scotch Whisky– £4 Billion, the UK’s biggest export, can ONLY be produced in Scotland but doesn’t count as a Scottish export because it goes to England first to be sent out the UK!!!! and that’s only one example, how much money would come into Scotland’s treasury if we were independent
    Remember to keep the Royal Wedding bunting and the Coronation plate up on the wall just to remind you where your real loyalties lie.
    I hope if the S**T does hit the Fan it gets your type first!!!!

    • Dear Andy,
      I understand your outrage, but I don’ think that your invective is a productive response to the kinds of views expressed in my first post above. Can I respectfully draw your attention to my reply to my own post above, and to my discussion with Jack Collatin above. Sorry if I have caused upset.

  21. Intellectual laziness based on fear; that’s why 55% voted No. They are, however, being slowly educated by brexit and Westminster’s continuing arrogance and ignorance towards Scotland.

  22. Yeah, I “got it” too Jomry. I’m a wrinkly who benefited from the State further education, etc. etc. But that’s in the past and “I backwards cast my e’e on prospects drear! An forward, tho I canna see, I guess an fear”.
    The prospect of Brexit trade deals with the USA fills me with gloom – An USA NHS buyout as many have been writing about; and I expect fracking will undoubtably come to Scotland with the “benefit of USA expertise”. And fracking will bring ill health to those within it’s vicinity.

    A double whammy, ill health and a privatised NHS.

    Economics, the allocation of scarce resources.

    Scotland is self sufficient in oil and gas supplies and increasingly on renewables energy. The UK is not. Remember the gaffe by Cameron that “Yes Norway prospers since an equivalent production of oil and gas to the UK in a country of just 5 million….oops”.

    Westminster decides the allocation of scarce resources, and with the Court ruling this week, Westminster doesn’t even need to consult us on whatever.

  23. Great stuff, thought provoking too.

    Fact is, I let this ongoing shitemare happen; too passive in the past.

    No longer tho’!

  24. T May and Co perpetually tell us that Scotland under-performs. If they actually concentrated on just brexiting England that would surely be one way of helping our economy improve? Companies would then move here to stay in the single market.
    It’s surely not the case they’d rather see jobs move off the island than work with a home nation? (Yes – I know of course that there’s no way Scotland could be allowed to profit after its increasingly un-British behaviour.)

  25. They’ll go to their grave slavering about Great Britain.

    I’m afraid that the stupid and selfish will prevail again. I’d love to be proved wrong, but I was so sad and angry after 2014 that I dare not invest too much emotional energy in IndyRef2 for fear of being devastated by another No vote. What will that say about my countrymen? Not much that is any good.

    These are worrying times and – even at 44 – I wonder if the next IndyRef will be the last chance for me to see an independent Scotland in my lifetime.

    With an emboldened right wing Westminster riding roughshod over Holyrood, and cut off from the EU, I can see Scotland becoming a more individualistic country where the only chance of access to decent housing and healthcare will be to somehow accumulate serious personal wealth.

    As an ex-resident of France I deeply regret not-taking double-nationality when I had the chance.

  26. For you jomry; my apologies, “Ma dander was up”

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