Haggis, Neeps and Liberalism: Labour Déjà vu for Scotland

George Osborne’s Budget can’t really be described as anything other than grim despite the clear Liberal Democrat contribution to make it fairer. In Scotland this means that 2 million basic rate taxpayers will benefit from the raising of the tax threshold and a million pensioners will be better off because of the restoration of the earnings link to the State Pension.

Certainly it was vital that the Government took action to deal with the mess that Labour had left it. This is a mess that makes the Winter of Discontent and Black Wednesday look like mere frivolities.

Don’t blame us, bleat Labour. It’s a global crisis, they say. Sure, I’ll grant you that, but the UK is one of the biggest economies in the world and Labour’s failure to see the dangerous debt crisis developing meant that it hit us particularly badly.

If this was the first time that Labour had irresponsibly frittered away taxpayers’ hard earned money, then I might have more sympathy with them. However in Scotland, we’ve seen it all before. Thanks to the Scottish Liberal Democrats, we now have a fair voting system for Council elections here. In the first STV elections in 2007, many rotten Labour fiefdoms were swept away. Unfortunately, when the new administrations took office, they found that the coffers were pretty much empty. Liam Byrne would have been proud.

These new administrations have had to deal with that financial challenge along with having to implement the SNP Government’s Council Tax freeze. Did Labour help in a constructive way? Of course not. They shouted and screamed and got all hysterical, much the same as they’re doing at the moment. In Fife, their scaremongering about home care charges got to the extent where people who were never going to be asked to pay anything were worried that they could lose this vital support.

In Edinburgh, a shocked Liberal Democrat finance convener discovered that there was less than £400,000 in the emergency fund, as Audit Scotland figures confirm, after Labour had gone on a spending spree. It’s taken 3 years for the Liberal Democrat/SNP coalition to get this under control.

So, crazy spending, being kicked out of office and then spewing poisonous bile at those who have to clear up the mess seems to be something of a Labour trait. Once would be unfortunate, twice careless as Lady Bracknell would say. Come the Holyrood elections next year, Labour may well be punished by an electorate who have seen several times that they simply can’t be trusted with the public purse.

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15 Comments

  • I think it’s wishful thinking to expect Labour to be punished. They’ll benefit from the budget backlash more than anyone, and were always likely to claw some support back from the SNP anyway.

  • John Fraser 27th Jun '10 - 5:31pm

    Come on caron get real .

    Labour made loads of mistakes but lets not pretend there was not an unparallelled world recession.

    We have just made a coalition with the most extreme ainstream right wing party in Weastern Europe who have one MP in Scotland. The budget has shown that we cannot or care not to keep their eccepntric and dangerous economic policies under control.

    Blaming it on Labour again and again simply makes us look foolish

  • Paul McKeown 27th Jun '10 - 7:27pm

    @John Fraser

    There is a world recession, the like of which has not been seen since the 1920s. Every government in Europe is cutting back public spending by dramatic amounts and raising taxes, too. Unfortunately, the UK’s Treasury was run by an idiot for the best part of a decade, who insisted on running sizeable deficits when the economy was booming. Consequence: the larder is empty. Our cuts are even worse than many other European nations. The Augean stables have to be cleaned; sadly the beasts that made the mess are free to run away, blaming others for their dung, hoping to fill the stables with their dung again as soon as they have been made hygienic by others. Grotesque filthy beasts by the name of Gordon Brown and Liam Byrne, with lots of smaller but equally foul creatures milling around them.

  • I live in Fife and I can assure you there was no scaremongering – Labour here ran an effective Opposiiton campaign (ignore Westiminster and focus on the SNP led council and Holyrood) relentlessly exposing the realities of what the SNP Administration were planning.

    Seriously its time for LibDems to be honest – the coalition agreement is full of things we wanted and the price is supporting a Thatcherite Budget that we opposed in the election campaign. Some people think that’s worth while, others don’t but let’s not be dishonest about it.

  • John – a mistake is something which you unintentionally do. In the case of Labour in Fife, Labour’s policy was to support Social Work spending by hook or by crook. In doing this, they routinely overspent on the Social Work budget and regularly raided the Council’s reserves to do so, leaving Fife Council’s Finance Director to describe the council as being verging on the insolvent by 2007. They also cut back in other areas, such as Education, leaving two of the major high schools in Fife – Madras College and Dunfermline High – to be condemned not once but twice by HMIE (the Scottish schools inspectorate, for those south of the border.) They made pledges to rebuild these two schools, in the full knowledge that the money wasn’t there and wasn’t likely to be, whilst selling off the land for the third Primary in Dunfermline despite population projections suggesting it would be needed.

    All this, remember, was before the economic slump bit – indeed, the overspending by Labour was during the good times! Sound a bit familiar?

    If you really want to see how useless they are, have a look at the <a href="” title=”Labour budget for Fife in 2010.”> They had access to the same figures and the same officers as the Administration and other opposition groups, and indeed were told very early on of the detail of the Administration’s proposals. Unlike the Tories and the Independent group, they stuck their head in the sand and chose instead to pretend that nothing happens. That’s how useless Labour are in Scottish local authorities.

  • OK – I’m rubbish at posting links. Here’s another go:

    http://www.fife.gov.uk/uploadfiles/publications/c64_D1AE1C51-FC9F-5699-65354CBD9445FDC5.doc

  • “Don’t blame us, bleat Labour. It’s a global crisis, they say. Sure, I’ll grant you that, but the UK is one of the biggest economies in the world and Labour’s failure to see the dangerous debt crisis developing meant that it hit us particularly badly.” – Exactly. Which is why it was particularly galling to see Ed Balls lecturing Vince Cable on cuts on Question Time. How I wish Vince had given him a piece of my mind. Balls isn’t some randomer; he’s the person more responsible than any perhaps (and only perhaps) save Brown for Labour having done NOTHING about financial regulation, the housing market bubble and the high levels of consumer debt. He shouldn’t be running for Labour leadership, he should be having rotten fruit thrown at him in the stocks.

  • Mike Falchikov 28th Jun '10 - 5:59pm

    And Labour are still lying about their financial record. Despite having left only 373k. in the Edinburgh coffers
    when the Labour administration were finally kicked out in 2007, a Labour candidate was still able to say at an election meeting last April (and was apparently not seriously challenged) that the LibDem/SNP administration in Edinburgh had “wasted the 50million that Labour had left behind”.

  • For Goodness Sake.

    If you think for a second that the Holyrood elections are something to look forward to for the lib dems you seriously need a reality check. When will you fantasists realise that it doesn’t matter how much labour piss against a wall, the fact you joined up with the tories (a party which killed the country and many families) is the final nail in your coffin. You can wave tata to your seats and I very much doubt any sensible person will send a vote to you.

    Prime example. My friend is a police officer and ALWAYS votes lib dem because, according to him “they support the force”.
    Needless to say his vote is now winging it’s way to the SNP.

  • Andrea Gill 29th Jun '10 - 7:59pm

    The Scotsman political podcasts have been surprisingly positive about the coalition and the Liberal Democrats so far, so I am hoping carping nay-sayers like “Julie” are wrong.

  • @ Julie

    Have to agree with you completely. An awful lot of my friends voted Liberal Dems but are now swaying between SNP and Labour due to the fact that the Lib Dems shacked up with the Tories. I will never again vote Lib Dem.

  • can I also just add that come the local council elections in 2012, many more of my friends are just sitting back waiting on their chance to oust the Lib Dems especially Marilyn MacLaren!!!

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