Referendum 2014
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Referendum 2014
The Scottish independence referendum and the debate about Scotland's constitutional future
Curated by Peter A Bell
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UK Benefits Crisis

UK Benefits Crisis | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it
By Jim and Margaret Cuthbert There is plenty evidence that the British benefits system, with its associated tax and employment policies, has been failing Scotland for a long time, (along with the r...
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Scottish independence: SNP pledge cash for carers

Scottish independence: SNP pledge cash for carers | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it
MORE than 100,000 carers could get almost £600 a year more in benefit payments in an independent Scotland under the SNP, Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has announced.
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Holyrood anger as another Tory snubs committee invite over bedroom tax

Holyrood anger as another Tory snubs committee invite over bedroom tax | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it
The UK Employment Minister is "insulting" welfare claimants by refusing to give evidence to MSPs about benefits sanctions, the convener of a Holyrood committee has said.
Peter A Bell's insight:

I'm not sure what Michael McMahon is getting so worked up about. Esther McVey is part of a government that was rejected by voters in Scotland, so why should she be accountable to the Scottish Parliament. And the fact that Mr McMahon endorses the system by which we get governments we didn't vote for rather leaves him open to accusations of hypocrisy.

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Record View: Hard line could hand votes to SNP

Record View: Hard line could hand votes to SNP | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it
RECORD VIEW believes Labour must be careful their bid to woo the English right doesn’t push the Scottish left into the hands of Alex Salmond.
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Quoted for truth #42

Quoted for truth #42 | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it
"Herald View", the Sunday Herald, 12 Jan 2014: "The Deputy First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, is to be commended for refusing to participate in the victimisation of the 'undeserving poor'. She promis...
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Tory claims SNP are in denial over welfare cost

Iain Duncan Smith has accused the SNP of being in
Peter A Bell's insight:

Is this the same Iain Duncan Smith who is currently being slated for being in complete denial about the costly disaster that is his own Universal Credit scheme?

Is this the same Iain Duncan Smith who stands accused of threatening disciplinary action against DWP staff if they failed to find ways of denying benefits to ever-increasing numbers of needy people?

Is this the same Iain Duncan Smith who leads the UK government's vicious onslaught against the poor and the sick in society?

Is this the same Iain Duncan Smith who took British Labour's "bedroom tax" and used it as a weapon to bludgeon the vulnerable and the disadvantaged?

Is this the man from whom the SNP should be taking advice on welfare policy?

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Young people next in line for Cameron’s welfare cuts | Yes Scotland

Young people next in line for Cameron’s welfare cuts | Yes Scotland | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it

David Cameron had only one new policy to announce in his speech to Tory conference this week:  our young people are in line for an added dose of austerity in the form of benefit cuts.

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Are these the men who would be king?

Are these the men who would be king? | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it
There is a certain kind of person who takes great delight in commenting on political blogs with a variant of the following: "It's no use voting! They're all the same! It doesn't matter what you vot...
Peter A Bell's insight:

This is scary stuff. Having read it, I would make a few observations from a Scottish perspective.


I share the author's annoyance at the intellectual indolence of asserting of politicians that "they're all the same". It is a dangerous attitude for a number of reasons. Not least that it discourages political engagement and when the masses abandon the democratic process it is inevitably taken over by extremists and exploiters.


From what the article tells us, we might actually be better off with the extremists. At least they would, by their overt extremism, be likely to provoke a reaction which might restore some democratic balance. The exploiters are more insidious and likely to be able to have their way without the general public even being aware.


The point about these exploiters getting their tentacles into every aspect of government until they are all but impossible to remove is well made. Perhaps the most troubling thing about the way they operate is that eventually they leave governments with no alternatives. People should keep this in mind when they demand that the Scottish Government disengage from firms like Atos. It may not be so simple. Which doesn't mean we shouldn't keep pressuring them. Only that we should be realistic about possible limits to what might be done by a devolved administration within the British state.


There is obviously a lesson here for people voting in the referendum on Scottish independence. This article gives a clear and deeply troubling picture of the way the British sate is going. People really need to think very seriously about whether they want to continue to be part of that state. because, as part of the UK, there is no way Scotland can possibly avoid being affected by the machinations of these companies and their agents in the British political parties.


It may be difficult for Scotland to stand against the power of these global corporations even as an independent nation. But at least we'd have a chance. Notwithstanding the rather naive hopes of the article's author (born, I'm sure of desperation rather than blindness to the realities), there seems little hope that writing to politicians and newspapers or "bitching like hell" will stem the tide. The British state has made its accommodation with these forces. To break that accommodation we must first break the British state.


Or break away from it. Which may amount to the same thing. In Scotland we have an option that is distinctly ours. We can vote to take our government out of the hands of the British state. We can vote to bring our government home. We can vote for the hope of something better than the dire fate described in Mike Sivier's blog post.


We can affirm the sovereignty of the people of Scotland so that they might be empowered to stand as a bastion against the predations of the exploiters.


We can take back the democracy that is being stolen from us.


We can vote to restore Scotland's rightful constitutional status.


We can go to the polls on Thursday 18 September 2014 and we can vote Yes.

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Jim Arnott's curator insight, September 25, 2013 11:17 AM

Scots must vote Yes next year to avoid any possibility of this type of privatisation in the NHS in Scotland

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Analysis of welfare reforms 'strengthens case for Scottish independence'

Analysis of welfare reforms 'strengthens case for Scottish independence' | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it
Scotland's deputy first minister says Westminster's reforms will have a disproportionate impact on women
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Michael Moore sees case for further devolution

Michael Moore sees case for further devolution | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it
SCOTTISH Secretary Michael Moore has said there is a “strong case” for devolving parts of the welfare state to ministers at Holyrood, in a wide-ranging interview on the future of devolution.
Peter A Bell's insight:

Mr Pointless living up to the well-earned soubriquet once again. Even if there was any kind of substance to what he says, what is the point in talking about "more powers" when this is not an option in next year's referendum?

The Scottish Government offered the British parties in Scotland every opportunity to try and come up with a devolution package - devo-whatever - that might rival independence for the favour of Scotland's people. They flatly rejected this. They opted instead to go to the people with an offer of NOTHING. They declared that they had no interest in further devolution and instead would seek to persuade us that we should accept the status quo. With the unstated but nonetheless generally recognised likelihood of Westminster clawing back powers from the Scottish Parliament.

Mr Pointless pointlessly points out that there is a debate to be had about welfare. There is a debate to be had about ALL the normal powers of a nation being returned to Scotland's parliament. We are having that debate right now! The referendum is supposed to be the conclusion of that debate, not the start of it.

Nothing that Mr Pointless says has any bearing on the referendum debate. The British parties chose to exclude any options other than independence and the status quo. If Moore and his allies in the anti-independence campaign have nothing to say in defence of the status quo then they have nothing meaningful to say at all.

It is all, as I may have mentioned, totally pointless.

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Charles Patrick O'Brien's comment, August 11, 2013 6:20 AM
The only question I have for Moore is why did you not advocate for a question on the referendum paper to be just that, more powers or independence.Make it concrete say what powers that you would want devolved and make it so that these powers CANT BE TAKEN BACK,for as I see it some maybe "given" although I would say that these powers cant be given for we have already won them,and what powers does he want to be returned to Westminster? for that is how I see it powers will be taken back on a whim and given with strings,not a way to be democratic,and that is what we need DEMOCRACY,for this Britain has very little or no democracy.
Peter A Bell's comment, August 11, 2013 7:10 AM
As the expression goes, Charles, you said a mouthful.
Charles Patrick O'Brien's comment, August 12, 2013 6:00 AM
Thanks Peter,I am getting better at this writing thing,after all I only went to a junior secondary school with uninterested teachers,who were only there to keep us out of the road of the traffic.
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Questions about the SNP's welfare policy

Questions about the SNP's welfare policy | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it

Calum Crichton is a Finance graduate from the University of Strathclyde. Calum won the 2012 University of Strathclyde's Journal of Economic Studies Prize and recently received Glasgow City Council's 2013 International Finance Services District Award.

Peter A Bell's insight:

Sometimes the fear-mongering is quite detailed and, at first glance, fairly sophisticated. But does it stand up to scrutiny?

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Scottish independence 'yes' camp given fillip by welfare analysis

Scottish independence 'yes' camp given fillip by welfare analysis | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it
IFS says independent Scotland could discard 'poorly designed' Westminster reforms – but would face higher bill as result
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Independence is a chance to build a fairer and affordable welfare system

Independence is a chance to build a fairer and affordable welfare system | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it

Responding to an IFS report on benefits spending, Blair Jenkins, Chief Executive of Yes Scotland, said:


"People in Scotland are much more likely to trust welfare policy and spending to an independent government in Edinburgh that can choose to provide, for example, free personal care and free prescriptions than to an out-of-touch Westminster government that introduces cruel and punitive policies such as the hated Bedroom Tax.

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Tougher than Tories pledge will help No camp - MP

Tougher than Tories pledge will help No camp - MP | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it
LABOUR’S shadow work and pensions minister has said Scots are just as supportive as voters in the rest of the UK in wanting to “control” social security as she insisted her controversial pledge to be tougher than the Tories on benefits would help the party’s campaign against independence.
Peter A Bell's insight:

Rachel Reeves appears to have declared herself an expert on what "people in Scotland" think and want. I surely can't be the only one wondering by what authority she makes such a claim. surely others are just as curious as myself about how Ms Reeves comes by such insights.

There is certainly nothing in her quoted comments to suggest that she is any better informed about Scotland and its politics than, say, Gordon Brown, who famously claimed to be unaware of the McCrone Report. Indeed, when she trots out such glib inanities as her assertion that, "The SNP says that independence will solve all our problems", we can only assume that Rachel Reeves is as distant and disconnected from the referendum debate as any of the British politicians who have been sent north to wag a superior finger at "people in Scotland".

Here's a novel suggestion for Ms Reeves and her arrogant, condescending ilk. Maybe it would be a good idea to ask "people in Scotland" what they think rather than tell them. We can think and speak for ourselves. And even if we were to let someone speak for us, it is unlikely that we would choose someone who has absolutely no awareness of Scotland's political culture, no knowledge of our politics, and no understanding of our priorities and aspirations.

Rachel Reeves wouldn't even be on the list.

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Warning over cost of meeting pensions bill after independence

Warning over cost of meeting pensions bill after independence | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it
UK Government claims SNP plans would cost each working-age person £450 more over next two decades.
Peter A Bell's insight:

There is something distinctly Orwellian about people like Iain Duncan Smith talking about their pride in the "long history of a strong welfare state" even as they are bent on destroying it.


And something plainly ludicrous about those same people trying to convince us to rely on them to save Scotland's welfare system even as they dismantle it.

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Scottish Labour to back welfare devolution

Scottish Labour to back welfare devolution | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it
SCOTTISH Labour is poised to back the devolution of key welfare and tax powers to Holyrood in a historic move aimed at reclaiming Labour’s mantle as the party of home rule.
Peter A Bell's insight:

"Scottish" Labour - more correctly British Labour in Scotland - can talk about devolving tax and welfare powers until Anas Sarwar develops a streak of honesty but it makes not a blind bit of difference because the party bosses in London will quickly stomp on them if they get ideas above their station. And even if they didn't, Westminster certainly would.

British Labour has a serious problem with getting its dishonest ducks in a row. And it is a problem which serves to underline the essential inadequacy of devolution. British Labour and their outpost in Scotland agree on one thing. Both are determined that no meaningful additional powers should be granted to the Scottish Parliament. If circumstances dictate that some gesture towards further devolution must be made, then both are determined that it should me the absolute minimum necessary to fend off the threat from the independence movement.

The function of British Labour’s Devolution Commission is NOT to seek a constitutional settlement which best meets the needs and aspirations of Scotland's people. Like the Calman Commission before it, this latest talking shop is tasked, first and foremost, with protecting the interests of the British state - which means it is working to preserve the powers of the British state.

Additionally, because this is British Labour in Scotland we're talking about and its obsessive hatred of the SNP, the Devolution Commission will be looking at ways that any devolved powers can be used to set a fiscal trap for the Scottish Government.

The problem arises because, despite this shared primary objective of preserving the powers of Westminster over Scotland, British Labour in Scotland and in the rest of the UK have very different, and conflicting, secondary imperatives. The Scottish bit of the party needs to come up with proposals that at least look convincing to people voting in the referendum. The party in the rest of the UK are mainly concerned that nothing should upset voters in marginal constituencies in England.

In terms of the referendum debate, all of this is just a sideshow. Few people actually believe that there will be any "more powers" in the event of a No vote. What voters will see, however, is the difference in priorities between British Labour in Scotland and in the rest of the UK. They will see how the British face of the party takes precedence. And voters in Scotland will wonder how their interests can possibly be served by a party that is chasing Tory and UKIP votes in England.

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Good morning, Britain

Good morning, Britain | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it
It's another glorious new dawn in the Union. Remember how all those dole-scroungers and immigrants caused a global economic crash with their reckless, greedy casino capitalism and massive-scale fra...
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A DWP Fit For Purpose? There’s an idea!

A DWP Fit For Purpose? There’s an idea! | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it
Despite the constant blame game by the Tories about the DWP under Labour, it seems that in recent years the Conservatives have continued the downward spiral of chaos that has effectively created a monster that is not fit for purpose.
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PCS union on independence: 'our members' top priority is public services'

THE quality of public services will be a more important factor in the independence referendum than pay and pensions, according to a detailed study of frontline staff.
Peter A Bell's insight:

Drew Smith, British Labour in Scotland's sound-bite dispenser on constitutional matters, amply illustrates the two-faced duplicity of those who would deny the sovereignty of the people of Scotland.


When pressed on the point, anti-independence campaigners will indignantly disown the "Too wee! Too poor! Too stupid!" propaganda line. But while insisting out of one side of their lying mouths that they do not doubt the economic viability of Scotland as a nation, they leap with unseemly glee on any opportunity to promote the false idea that there is reason to be concerned about "how spending will maintained in an independent Scotland".


Why would anybody place their trust in such blatantly dishonest people?

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Scotland needs a separate welfare system, say charities

CHARITIES are calling for a ­separate welfare state in Scotland, warning the situation where a Scottish government attempts to mitigate decisions made at Westminster is unsustainable.
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Forget all the niceties and concentrate on the awful

Forget all the niceties and concentrate on the awful | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it

CARDS on the table.


When the genes for economic literacy were doled out there was a fair queue up ahead. So I'll leave the finer points of where John Swinney is putting his money in relation to his mouth to those who crunch numbers with rather more credibility.


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UK gov refuses to go head-to-head on live TV | Scottish National Party

UK gov refuses to go head-to-head on live TV | Scottish National Party | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it

The Coalition parties have been accused of being too scared to defend their controversial welfare reforms, after opting out of a televised debate on the independence referendum, as reported in today’s Sunday Herald.

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Reports highlight opportunities of a Yes vote

Reports highlight opportunities of a Yes vote | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it
With independence we could protect this social spending by lowering our defence spending to a level more usual for nations of our size.
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Scotland can do better on Welfare and Pensions

Scotland can do better on Welfare and Pensions | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it

A Yes vote in next year’s referendum on an independent Scotland “would give the opportunity for more radical [welfare] reform, so the system better reflects the views of the Scottish people or provides greater work incentives”, according to a new report from the independent think tank, the Institute of Fiscal Studies.

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New options to reform benefits system under independence, says top think-tank

New options to reform benefits system under independence, says top think-tank | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it

INDEPENDENCE would provide new opportunities to reform the benefits system in Scotland, the UK's leading economic think tank has said.

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