It’s a phrase you see often in the media in these parts, usually a screaming headline based on nothing whatsover, a bit of make believe, or the type of hypocracy that only politicians can rise to.
In an effort to keep stress away I’ve been glossing over politicians and media types of late. leaving the BBC and scandals and poor journalism for others to talk about. I’ve even ignored those who should have been in court but were apparently too ill to face up to the theft of our money. But this one had me reaching for the keyboard.
In Scotland we get to appoint a Secretary of State, Scotland’s man in Westminster, or Westminster’s man in Scotland or whatever, to look after our best interests. And the Opposition appoint a Shadow to that post, to keep him on his toes. Both are positions which are largely redundant since devolution, but continued at enormous expense.
The current Shadow Secretary, one Margaret Curran, known at times as Stairheid Rammy, Magrit and various others, has just embarked on her latest tirade which sees the media digging out the SNP Accused banners once again.
The subject this time is the sale of the 4G licenses for our mobiles, tablets and other can’t-live-withouts. Why haven’t those nasty nats not got a plan in place to spend the largesse from this unexpected windfall?, rants our Maggie. And it wasn’t just a wee story for the Sunday lunch table, oh no, the fragrant Ms Curran let off steam at an STUC Conference – the sort of place that once would be packed with socialists, in bygone days the life-blood of the Labour Party.
But although a 4G license for, amongst others, Glasgow was up for grabs, Magrit has completely failed to recognise that the loot is not Scotland’s to spend. For in much the same way as licenses for exploration of Scotland’s sea bed, or the siting of green energy facilities on Scotland’s slopes, the money goes, in full, direct to HM Treasury and is Westminster’s alone. There are no Barnett consequentials and no change in Scotland’s pocket money.
For Barnett only works on spending in England, and only if England spends our windfall can we expect to get some crumbs for our table. But not always. If say they spent it on something such as say an Olympic Games, there are no changes to the block grant, which would only apply if the spend was on something that had been devolved – health, education, transport primarily. Now you might have thought any MP would know that, far less one in such an exalted post. Especially when a parliamentary answer to one of her own coleagues on the same day confirmed it to be so. But then, they never did let fact get in the way of a good story, expecially when the SNP Accused banners can get another airing. And the media? – let’s not go there, I feel the stress rising.
But Mags is heading for the top with Labour, and that of course means London. And Labour are not losing touch with their roots, for haven’t they just allowed Lord Watson, convicted arsonist, back into membership. Jailed for fire-raising and endangering lives; retains his seat in the Lords, and now back in the Labour fold. Whatever next?
Now if we manage to vote Yes in a couple of years we can rid ourselves not only of the expense of Scottish Secretary, but also of the need for such license monies to be paid elsewhere. Then we really could use the windfall for the benefit of Scotland’s people.