Desperate, Hypocritical Tories Try To Get Scotland To Secede

By Steve Walker

As you can read on Eoin Clarke’s excellent ‘Green Benches‘ blog, Tory MP Priti Patel this week called for Scotland to face billions of pounds of additional cuts. Claiming her concern was to balance the ‘Barnett Formula‘ – the calculation that decides how much funding for public expenditure Scotland (and Wales & Northern Ireland) receives from central government – Patel stated that Scotland costs £6-80 billion more than it generates, depending on how the value of North Sea oil is calculated. She identifies the calls for Scottish independence/greater devolution as an opportunity to reset the formula and cut the amount of funding that Scotland receives.

Eoin rightly attributes this speech to jealousy and lists some of the many government decisions that are costing us far more than Scotland’s allocation. But I think there’s more to it than jealousy.

Without question, a strong driver for Patel’s ideas is the fact that the Tories are more than happy to penalise any area where the people don’t vote for it. Areas such as Middlesbrough, where I live, have faced and continue to face far higher levels of cuts in public spending and services than ‘leafy Surrey’ and other areas that vote, or might vote, for the Tories, in spite of being poorer.

Similarly, the idea of regional, or ‘market-facing’ pay in the public sector is designed to cut spending at the expense of already-struggling local economies while protecting the wealthy. The plan, being revived under Jeremy Hunt, to focus spending on age-related care is also intended to favour wealthier areas, where more people live longer – and are more likely to vote Tory.

The Tories will fight hard to implement such ideas, even to the extent of lies and subterfuge. However, that instinctive Tory tendency, driven by fear and contempt, is only a pointer to the key aim of Patel’s speech – like the scent of bread telling you a bakery is nearby.

If you want to know the real goal of Patel’s speech, look at the map below:

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This map shows the result of the 2010 general election. The blue areas represent Tory seats – and there has never been more than one in Scotland since 1997.

Scotland has 59 commons seats. 41 of them have Labour MPs. Of the 650 Westminster seats, Labour won 258 at the general election and the Tories 308. Take away Scotland from the equation and the numbers would have been 207 Labour, 307 Tory – out of a total of 609.

A general election minus Scotland would have resulted in an outright Tory majority – and an absolute nightmare for the ordinary people of England, Wales and Northern Ireland that would make the current one – terrible as it already is – look like a picnic.

The Institute of Economic Affairs, who hosted the discussion, is an extreme right-wing, neoliberal organisation dedicated to shrinking the state and enriching the wealthy – the panel chair even touts their book ‘Sharper axes, lower taxes: Big Steps to a Smaller State‘ (for pity’s sake!) that tells you all you need to know about their aims to push further along a path that has already impoverished this country and killed the recovery that was already starting at the time of the last general election..

Priti Patel was on the panel in the video alongside Kwasi Kwarteng – two of the five ‘rising stars’ of the Tories’ right wing who collaborated on a book attacking British workers as lazy and blatantly misrepresenting facts to make their case and who pride themselves on being ready to ‘think the unthinkable’ to achieve their ends.

In spite of the Tories’ instinctive desire to maintain the Union (the only union they do like!), I believe that these speeches were a blatant attempt to fuel the desire of Scottish people to put themselves beyond the reach of the state-shrinking, poor-hating, demonising Tory party. The Tories have failed to get their lusted-for boundary changes that would strengthen their position, they know the electorate is waking up to their venality and corruption – and so they, or at least some of their most extreme wing, are prepared to sacrifice the Union they claim to cherish in order to improve their chances of holding onto power in the rest of the country. We’re going to see more of this kind of comment between now and the 2014 referendum, as the Tory right attempts to push Scotland toward an independence vote.

Who can blame the Scots for wanting to get away from the likes of Cameron, Osborne, Duncan Smith, Hunt, Patel, Kwarteng and their ilk? But for the sake of England, Wales and Northern Ireland – and, I believe, ultimately Scotland too – I hope they don’t fall for the ruse. For the sake of ordinary people and our descendants, the British people need to consign the Tories and their neoliberal allies to political history. Scotland can go it alone and leave the rest of us to sink or swim – but that’s straight from the Tory hymnsheet.

We’ll do it by uniting against them.

Twitter: @SKWalker1964 | Website: Steve Walkers Blog

3 thoughts on “Desperate, Hypocritical Tories Try To Get Scotland To Secede

  1. Andy Ellis

    The Scottish people aren’t as credulous as you seem to think. The growing appetite north of the border, whether for more devolved powers, full fiscal autonomy (FFA) or full independence isn’t predicated solely (or even mainly) on a desire to rid themselves of current Tory party and Coalition policies, or indeed future versions of the same medicine from On Nation Labour. Your “don’t fall for the Tory ruse” appeal is as simplistic as it is insulting to the intelligence of Scottish voters.

    In the final analysis, if the Scots do vote yes in 2014 it will be for a variety of reasons; economic, social, political, historical and even emotional. The unionist establishment both in the UK and in Scotland have played into the hands of the SNP and other pro-independence groups in Scotland by failing to articulate any convincing alternative to either the status quo or independence. This is a high risk strategy, since over the next 24 months many of those who support FFA will probably opt to vote Yes, rather than depend on “jam tomorrow” promises from the unionists.

    However, even if the vote in 2014 is No (particularly if it is a close run thing) the unionists are still on the horns of a dilemma; the appetite for FFA will not evaporate overnight, and it is vanishingly unlikely they will be able to deliver on their promises of further devolution because they won’t be able to steer such plans through Westminster.

    Scotland isn’t there to act as a human shield for the rest of the UK to save them from rule by the evil neo-liberals. Whether the Union survives or not will come down to a fairly clear cost-benefit analysis on the part of Scottish voters as to whether they believe their best interests, and those of their descendants, are better served by declaring independence, or trying to save the Union. Many Scots, myself included, have now concluded that sadly the UK project is not only no longer fit for purpose, but can never be rendered fit for purpose. There is simply no real appetite in rump UK to make our society the progressive beacon many of us wish it to be; the aspirations of most Scots for a more collectivist, social democratic and egalitarian society can only be achieved by independence.

    For too long, the Scottish people have endured government by the forces of reaction, despite voting against them. Enough, and more than enough; independence for Scotland can be good for both Scotland AND the rest of the UK. Attaining independence won’t be dependant on accepting frankly rather whacky conspiracy theories about the more unpleasant reaches of the Tory right, rather it will be the considered and rational response of the Scottish people to the realisation that you can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear, and that the Union isn’t fit to be preserved. What path the rest of the UK takes, and how you organise your political system is a matter for you to decide.

     
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  2. Bill C

    I think you are missing the point Steve. More and more Scots are seriously considering independence because no matter who is in Downing Street Scotland still loses out. We had 13 years of Tony Blair and his foreign wars, followed by Gordon Brown, Alaistair Darling and near bankruptcy and all the while Scotland became poorer. Sorry to disappoint but Ed is disliked even more that Dave in Scotland, so even if Labour look like winning in 2015 most Scots will still vote for independence.
    Labour in Scotland are now history, evidenced by the new movement, Labour for Independence. Please do not rely on Scottish votes to save you from the Tories. The days when Labour in Scotland weighed the Labour vote are long gone.
    The independence movement is building up a real head of steam with many sub groups forming to work under the YES campaign’s umbrella. Scotland is changing rapidly and there is a real feeling of anticipation and positivity. The union as we know it is finished, of that we can be certain.

     
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  3. Charles Patrick O'Brien

    So you think me stupid enough not to see through what you are doing also.We have seen through both! Westminster parties now,not that you understand that.We in Scotland (you see unlike the Scottish Labour I don’t say THE Scots,because I am a Scot) have seen for a long time that we are capable of running our own affairs,just took pity on the South,that pity is now almost all disappeared ,for mainly that the lies that is told.

     
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