Rich Wrinklies For Yes


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Didn’t get round to posting yesterday…I was having a champagne bath and making boats out of £10 notes. There is so much silver money about to burst into the economy that I’m launching my own range of grey luxury goods including cashmere cardigans with built-in ipod pocket, solar-heated buckskin slippers and solid gold, diamond-tipped porridge spurtles @Dimanate Derek©.

I must say as a pensioner myself that the Tories are misunderstood. Allowing those of a certain age who have earned it to spend their retirement fund on Caribbean cruises shows a truly compassionate side to the “evil Tories”. And when the money’s gone, who cares? You can’t take it with you, can you? May as well have a blast and when it’s gone rely on the state to pick up the pieces. I see all kinds of business opportunities here. For example, I may set up a financial vehicle aimed at OAPs where they can shelter their pension money instead of tying it up in an annuity. Of course, the charges would have to quite high but if I market it through Saga and get Michael Parkinson to front it, I could clean up. Which group is most vulnerable to financial scams and cold-calling? Yes, pensioners…Osborne is right, the economy will soon be booming again, awash with silver sterling pouring out of retirement accounts. Bingo! as the Tories like to say.

mrunda champagne-thumb-480x537-945

I may have detected the slightest hint of electioneering in this statement which didn’t sound much like a Budget to me at all. In fact I’m not sure why we have a Budget nowadays, the autumn statement seems to knock it sideways and half the contents are leaked so it’s not news to the markets. Just rename it the Election Giveaway and stop pretending. And to rub it in, I suspect that all along the Thames Valley where the Tory-minded seats line up like dominoes, this, along with tax changes favouring the better off, they will be smiling this morning.

Osborne has shown in whose interests the Tories govern and while Labour is still slightly ahead in the polls, Miliband and Balls are miles behind on economic competence. Added to the underwhelming Scottish document on devolution and the impression grows that Labour may be entering a spiral of failure. The funniest idea of all is that Ruth the Ruthless has an historic chance to upstage Labour with a more radical option. If the Devo Plus analysis is correct and Johann’s incoherent pastiche only raises 26 per cent of the budget, not 40 per cent, it will be easy for the Right to overtake her offer. The ignominy will be crushing and not lost on Labour voters who already harbour severe doubts about both Johann and Miliband. And to cap it all, Panelbase shows the gap closing further with possibly as little as a three per cent swing required.


Staying with Labour’s travails, did you see Jenny Marra’s intervention in the row over Lena Wilson, head of Scottish Enterprise, earning £60,000 from the private sector? Jenny said: “Commanding a high salary in the public sector is different from the business environment. As it’s taxpayers’ money there is an expectation that the employee will be wholly devoted to their job with no other external responsibilities and interests. While it’s vital that Scottish Enterprise directors have their finger on the pulse of business, I don’t think it’s the public expectation that highly paid public servants are pulled off in other directions. Scotland’s economy needs its full-time officials doing their jobs full-time.”

It’s hard to defy her logic. And we can apply it to the leader of Better Together Alistair Darling who receives £66,396 a year to be a full-time MP for the people of Edinburgh South West. Median wages in Scotland are £25.960, so Alistair already earns 2.5 times as much as the average Scot he represents. Yet year on year he earns several times that. In the last MPs’ list his additional outside earnings were £170,000, giving him an income of £234,900, almost exactly 10 times his constituents’ incomes. Does that mean, as Jenny says, he is being pulled off in other directions? Indeed it does, since he is also full-time leader of Better Together. So is he wholly devoted to his job with no external responsibilities? Maybe Jenny would like to clarify.

And talking of double standards, if Aberdeen can get away with using council facilities to tell every household to vote No, how is it that in West Lothian, where the same regulations apply, even renting a hall is verboten?

A Yes request to use Linlithgow Burgh Halls was met a firm No because “Unfortunately we are not able to accommodate your event at Linlithgow Burgh Halls as we have been advised by our legal team that facilitating such an event on council controlled premises would breach section 2(3) of the 1986 Local Government Act.”

The law says:


Prohibition of political publicity.


A local authority shall not publish any material which, in whole or in part, appears to be designed to affect public support for a political party.


In determining whether material falls within the prohibition regard shall be had to the content and style of the material, the time and other circumstances of publication and the likely effect on those to whom it is directed and, in particular, to the following matters—


whether the material refers to a political party or to persons identified with a political party or promotes or opposes a point of view on a question of political controversy which is identifiable as the view of one political party and not of another;


where the material is part of a campaign, the effect which the campaign appears to be designed to achieve.]


A local authority shall not give financial or other assistance to a person for the publication of material which the authority are prohibited by this section from publishing themselves.

So, who’s right…Aberdeen or Linlithgow and how come it’s Yes that is prevented from campaigning with public facilities, not the No side? I am now so confused, I must go and read Johann’s Devo Naw document to clear my head.

35 thoughts on “Rich Wrinklies For Yes

  1. If the Tories want to steal a lead on Labour all they have to do is make the move to Yes….
    It’s actually not so stupid. If the SNP has taken over Labour’s natural left of centre position then there is a gap for a Scottish right of centre party. Should we hold our breath? Or will they stay thirled to London?

  2. “…there is an expectation that the employee will be wholly devoted to their job with no other external responsibilities and interests.”

    Mmmm! What about Brown? Hardly ever attends Westminster to represent his constituents. Wonder if he is using any council halls in his campaign to frighten pensioners, whether those cheering Osborne or those forgotten by him?

  3. It’s part of the UK Labour in Scotland’s deathslide. If you don’t love us we’ll pull the whole bloody place round our ears. More spectacular collapse than Tories, I fear.

  4. Amicus Curious

    LOL @ Jenny Marra, I seem to remember a certain Gordon Jackson doing a fine job of being an MSP whilst still finding time to appear on criminal business in the High Court of Justiciary.

    I find the reasoning given by the Council to be completely nonsensical. I may have got my law degree a few years ago, but I am struggling to understand their interpretation of the statute.

    Incidentally I am equally baffled as to why no Aberdonians have legally challenged the council’s decision in the courts. I’d imagine an action for judicial review (would need to be raised in the Court of Session with all the attendant expense) would have a fair chance of success. There is also the more speculative possibility of an actio popularis in the Sheriff court. Though I the fine folk of Aberdeen could all be too busy sipping pints and playing bingo.

    • Amicus Curious

      I don’t have a lot of time this afternoon but I can tell you that the meaning of the provision in s. 2(3) of the Local Government Act 1986 has only been judicially considered once in Scotland and that was quite an interesting case involving a dispute with money given to the Constitutional Convention by Grampian Regional Council (as it then was) in the period of debate leading up to devolution: Commission for Local Authority Accounts in Scotland v Grampian Regional Council 1994 S.C. 277. Lord President Hope (as he then was) gave the opinion of the court. There are some interesting parallels with the the current Aberdeen controversy, and some of Lord Hope’s comments throw light on both disputes. I don’t have time to say anything further at the moment, but I think having had a quick skim through West Lothian Council’s position is pretty spurious to be honest….

    • Norman Russell

      I would love to challenge this gross misuse of council tax and the total disregard of the views of Aberdonians. My problem is I have no idea how to go about it!

      • majormacbloodnok

        There needs to be an FOI request on how much sending out the NO letters cost ACC.

      • Norman, you can make FOI requests here:

        This page shows what FOI requests have been made to ACC.

        The homepage of this website will walk you through how to make the request, that page is here:

        I’m not a resident of Aberdeen, and I think it would be more effective if the request came from someone who is a resident and pays Council Tax to them.

        It’s really straightforward, I would urge someone from Aberdeen to come forward and make the request.

  5. There must be some interesting behavioural economic assumptions behind Osborne’s pension reforms. Setting aside the [reasonable] principle of people making their own decisions, he must be banking on people spending their pension quicker thereby bringing forward the timing of tax paid to the Treasury.

    It would appear that the Tories, having examined the UK’s finances in some detail since 2010, feel no longer able to wait until people die in order to raise tax on their savings.

    What does this say about the UK’s financial strength?

  6. If a council rents out premises at the full regular rent (not a discount rent though) why should there be a problem with either the YES or the NO campaigns using a council hall – I expect most councils are happy to get the cash..

    Where does it say anything about property in the regulations?

    • I went to an excellent Yes Campaign meeting at Alloa Town Hall at the end of last year. Clackmannanshire Council seem to have thought renting out the hall was OK, and no-one has been thrown in the pokey for doing that. This suggests West Lothian Council is talking bollocks, and (possibly also) that it knows it is. Incidentally, the 4-person top table at the Alloa meeting had only one SNP member [Keith Brown]. I went along as an ‘undecided’ and came out as a definite Yes voter.

  7. I see that this budget has wiped £5 billion off the share values of pension firms. I wonder if Standard Life are still so keen on promoting the Union?

  8. I was quite amused at Jenny Marra’s comment.

    ‘As it’s taxpayers’ money there is an expectation that the employee will be wholly devoted to their job with no other external responsibilities and interests.’

    I’m sure loads of MPs have other jobs/company directorships/speaking tours etc. Alistair Darling & Gordon Brown werementioned above. I remember it being in the news not so long ago that Grant Schapps, the Tory party chairman, goes to the extent of running his business under a different name, which isn’t suspicious at all…

    It would be pretty funny if Jenny started a crusade against them all, but somehow I don’t think it’s going to happen.

  9. The IFS have just said this, “the chancellor’s pensions changes are based on highly uncertain assumptions and could lead to market failure.”


  10. i see all vip tickets to bannockburn event are sold at nearly£90.00,but ordinary tickets sitting at 2000 out of 40000
    they will not allow any flags with political statements, or let any stalls to the yes campaign,as this not to celebrate a political event
    as far as i can remember it was one of the biggest political statements from scotland
    the conspiracy to stop the yes campaign is building
    ps dont say the gap is narrowing,or next time we will have soldiers and warships protecting the north sea

  11. To be fair to West Lothian Council, they told George Galloway where he could stick it as well.

  12. Can someone please tell me what MSM means?

  13. I am intrigued by Jenny Marra. She seems more intelligent than the average SLAB MSP and betrays some unusual attitudes. She doesn’t seem to be as tribal as the likes of Kezia Dugdale or wossname from Dunfermline and listening to some of her input at Kelso, I gained the distinct impression that she was preparing her ground for a Yes vote. I wouldn’t be surprised if she doesn’t start quietly building bridges with LFI with a view to being the next Labour leader.

    Let’s face it, Johann has got to go!

    • I am campaigning for Johann to stay, or we recruit that lassie from Dunfermline, she is nearly as bright as Johann but not as stupid as those who voted for her. Right now I would dislike Labour to change horses in midstream they are doing such a service to the YES campaign.

  14. Sory 2 slohsde drinking 325 pints ta git free 1 #torybingo

  15. O wad some power the giftie gie us,
    To see oursels as ithers see us,
    It wad frae monie a blunder free us.
    Let’s face it; do Calamity Johan, Jovial Jim Murphy, Dapper Dougie Alexander, et al start each day really believing that they are doing the best for their constituents and Scotland?
    Well, certainly THEY do! They have been given a job to do by their masters. They are obeying orders.
    It is patently obvious they are following a script and don’t believe what they are saying but go ahead anyway because they are bereft of ANY original thought. The people of Scotland can see right through them and the decent well meaning labour MPs (Marra , Chisholm) – there are probably more than two – MUST be embarrassed by the drivel that spouts out the mouths of their fellow comrades.
    The tide is turning! Labour activists need to rally behind the Labour for Indy movement and help create the society we all want where equality and opportunity is available to everyone.

  16. Thomas William Dunlop

    Its been bugging me, and I’ve posted elsewhere but is there anything to be concerned about by all these unionist controlled councils opting out of COSLA control. Are they trying to bury dirty deeds come the referendum? I mean specifically postal vote inflation.

    • I am pretty sure it is all to do with funding.
      The Labour councils are anticipating a No vote in the referendum and a Labour administration in Westminster after 2015 at which point they will receive funding directly from Labour head office.
      They wish.

  17. The law is very clear in unionist cooncil chambers the length and breadth of the country. We will use public funds and materials to convince you to vote no, even if a chunk of said funds and materials were provided by local yes voters. If you happen to be of the YES persuasion you will have zero access to redress, facilities, materials etc, etc, etc. I’m sure its written doon somewhere… 😉

    I see Osborne’s going to raid the north sea piggy bank again. Spooky his timing of the last raid and the direct effect it had on this years GERS figures and budget. You’d almost think he’d wanted receipts to drop. 😀

    • Of course he wanted receipts to drop so they could post the GERS report far and wide.

      If he is going for another tax grab it may be he wants to steal as much as he can in case of a Yes vote.

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