In a few weeks the Scottish electorate will once more be asked to vote, this time electing individuals to serve as Members of Parliament at Westminster. The 2017 General Election presents Scots with an opportunity to ensure their voices are heard, listened to and acted upon at Westminster.
This has not been the case previously due to the structure of politics within the UK which markedly favoured political parties heavily influenced by UK agendas.
But Scotland, the “tail end Charlie” is now placed to bring about change.
The unionist parties response will be harsh. Disinformation, lies, predictions of doom and disaster will feature in all sections of the media. Scots will need to absorb all of the nonsense then hit back sending 59 SNP MP’s down to London.
It is of no consequence to Scotland which of the Unionist parties forms the next UK government. Each is determined upon a course of austerity further increasing the misery of Scot’s.
A large body of SNP MP’s will provide balance ensuring options other than austerity are considered, which will not be the case otherwise.
The key period of 2017, requires the sum of £300 Billion, (borrowed by the Labour government in 2008) is to be paid back to the Rothschild’s World bank.
But monthly borrowing from the IMF and other sources by the Tory’s routinely exceeds £25 billion leaving only one source available to gather the money to repay the loan.
The UK taxpayer. The next few years will bring about austerity plus. Many sacred cows will be slaughtered upon the altar of need. Pensions, welfare, health, capital building projects, defence and other aspects of expenditure will be brutally cut.
The return of £300 Billion is not negotiable. But even repaying the aforesaid loan will still leave the UK £1.9 Trillion in debt. Clearing this will take around 30 years.
What a legacy incompetent Unionist governments and bankers are passing onto our children. But the richest 1% will remain outside the austerity agenda. The poor will get poorer and the rich get richer.
It is also important to review events of the past few years so that the context of the 2017 General Election can be established.
The levels of incompetence of the last Unionist governments, in particular in the period 1997 – 2017 has been such to bring the UK to it’s knees financially and Scot’s do not need to accept this in the future.
The 2014 Independence Referendum is a good place to start – The Better Together unionist campaign – Conduct of Alistair Darling and the Civil Service
Alistair Darling orchestrated (together with his Unionist Labour, Tory and Lib-Dem friends) a, “campaign of disinformation and fear” against the Scottish electorate for nearly 2 years ending September 2014.
The scale of deceit visited upon the Scottish nation by “Better Together” supported by the entire might of Westminster has unravelled over the months since the referendum.
One of the most disappointing aspects was the key role of the supposedly unbiased Civil Service, (which has a charter expressly forbidding civil servants from participating in any political activities, including referendums)
But civil servant and Permanent Secretary at the Treasury, Sir Nick MacPherson quite blatantly abandoned any notion of impartiality in his supposedly unsolicited letter to the Chancellor of the Exchequer 6 months before the referendum advising against any monetary arrangement sharing sterling with an independent Scotland and in his later triumphant address at the inaugural meeting of the Strand Group on 19 January 2015.
Recapping events; In presenting his speech, ‘The Treasury and the Union’, at the inaugural meeting of the Strand Group on 19 January 2015, MacPherson said that in cases, such as last September’s Scottish referendum, the rules of civil service impartiality, “do not apply”.
MacPherson also defended the significant role assisting the, “Better Together” campaign the Treasury played in the referendum stating that, “Her Majesty’s Treasury is by its nature a unionist institution.The clue is in the name.
” Responding to comments made by former cabinet secretary Lord O’Donnell, who congratulated the civil service for remaining independent throughout the referendum, MacPherson stressed that the civil service was not independent, as it served the government of the day.
SNP Treasury spokesperson Stewart Hoise MP said: “These comments are astounding.This is a very serious admission and it begs the question – when will this UK government next abandon impartiality? “We expect the highest standards from senior civil servants.
With this admission, it is clear they have fallen short. I have written to Sir Jeremy Heywood demanding answers on under what circumstances it is acceptable for the rules of impartiality to be suspended?” (Note: waste of pen, ink and paper since Heywood orchestrated the entire campaign of disinformation, lies and blocking tactics.)
He added: “The civil service code states that as a civil servant, you ‘are expected to carry out your role with dedication and a commitment to the civil service and its core values: integrity, honesty, objectivity and impartiality,’ which is ‘acting solely according to the merits of the case and serving equally well governments of different political persuasions.
At a time when the UK and Scottish Governments should be able to work in good faith on more powers, this raises serious questions about Scotland’s ability to have any confidence in the role of the Treasury.”
Now back to Alistair Darling and his damming display of utter incompetence as Chancellor of the Exchequer at the time of the banking crisis.
He claimed, in a television broadcast in the course of the referendum campaign the first he knew of any problems with the Royal Bank of Scotland etc. was when he received a telephone call, at home, watching television and the actions he then took had saved the nation.
He finished his selling pitch asking the Scottish public to trust Westminster and reject independence.
Which, bludgeoned by lies it subsequently did, by a margin so small it could only be attributed to, “fear” cold-heartedly instilled in the minds of the electorate.
For more than a century the British Treasury was the most feared, powerful and respected of all government departments.
It wielded near-dictatorial powers, and its superbly trained officials were famed for their intellectual ferocity and rigour.
The tradition of Treasury excellence was of inestimable value to Britain, meaning that it was well equipped to cope with financial disasters such as the secondary banking collapse of the mid-1970s when dozens of small banks faced bankruptcy, or with Black Wednesday in 1992 when all looked lost as sterling was driven out of the Exchange Rate Mechanism.
In 2008, however, Britain faced an economic and financial crisis on a scale far outweighing even the catastrophes of the 1970s and 1990s.
This time the Treasury was utterly unable to cope. Indeed, it faced the greatest crisis of confidence in its history.
Two glaring examples of Treasury ineptitude surfaced courtesy of a National Audit Office report into the banking crisis.
The First was the revelation that during the crisis the Treasury paid no less than £150 million for Advice from Goldman Sachs.
Goldman Sachs, (operating as a gigantic global hedge fund) was subsequently exposed as one of the architects of the near collapse of the global economic system.
Goldman Sachs, had been heavily involved, since 2006 betting against the continued expansion of the American Sub-prime mortgage market whilst advising British banking institutions to buy into it.
When it did and it collapsed the company made a fortune from losses incurred by many of the UK’s banks. Ripped off twice, crazy.
The Treasury also spent an additional £80 million on consultancy fees with other large city firms relating to the bailouts of HBOS and the Royal Bank of Scotland.
Even in recent years Goldman Sachs, (now converted to banking status) has attracted widespread criticism.
In 2009, it was described as “a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money”.
Compounding the injustice, the Con-Dem government, apparently having learned nothing from events of the past, contracted Goldman Sachs for a large fee, to provide advice in the matter of the sale of a large chunk of the Post Office.
It convinced ministers to sell the Royal Mail at the end of 2013 at a knock-down price losing the taxpayer more than £1 billion when its shares soared.
It later emerged that another arm of Goldman Sachs made up to £12 million through buying and selling the shares. What a rip off.
In all previous financial crises it would have been unthinkable for the Treasury to contract out this kind of highly sensitive work to the private sector.
Apart from the obvious conflicts of interest involved, it would have been regarded as insulting to the highly trained Treasury officials whose job it is to sort out financial problems.
But such has been the degradation of Treasury competence and morale under Gordon Brown, Alistair Darling and the department’s supine civil servant, Permanent Secretary Nick MacPherson that it was considered routine to sub-contract out the work, which ought to have been meat and drink to Treasury mandarins.
The National Audit Office report contained a second and equally devastating, example of Treasury ineptitude.
Even after the collapse of Lehman Brothers, Treasury officials were clueless about what was going on in financial markets.
It revealed that in the week before the near collapse of the Royal Bank of Scotland in October 2008, internal documentation prepared by the Treasury suggested that RBS’s capital position was “reasonably strong.”
In other words, even as late as October 2008, and therefore after the collapse of Lehman Brothers, Alistair Darling and his Treasury officials were clueless about what was going on in financial markets.
This was quite simply terrifying – it showed that something had gone fundamentally wrong at the heart of British government.
But Treasury naivety and incompetence did not stop there. For the fact was that the Department had lost any notion of what was happening to the real economy.
The failure was on such a scale that it amounted to negligence – for what it showed was that Mr Darling had been in no position to make the hugely important economic judgements that the country desperately needed at a time of crisis.
But Alistair Darling was never forced to own up to the Treasury’s consistent failure to grip the nature and scale of the economic recession.
In the aftershock of the subsequent deep recession, from 2008 – 2017 millions of people throughout the world have lost their jobs, homes, livelihood, families and in many cases their lives.
Protesters have been locked up as the powers of government have been deployed against them.
What is galling is that those who caused the crisis escaped any sanctions instead pocketing very large amounts of money, extending the two finger salute to anyone that might dare to complain.
It was heartbreaking in September 2014 when 55% of Scots voted to remain with the rotten Westminster system of government.
But so long as there are Scot’s supporting retention of financial systems giving financial rewards and control to the richest 1% of society there is little hope for those most in need of assistance.
For the purpose of briefing, taking as a starting point the budget statement of March 2008, (In retrospect a dangerously complacent event).
Neither Darling nor his Treasury officials showed even the remotest awareness that the UK was starting to plunge into the gravest economic recession since World War II.
The hapless Darling blithely – and inexcusably – predicted comfortable growth rates of 2 per cent or more for years ahead.
Incredibly Darling had still not woken up six months later, when he delivered a pre-budget statement in December 2008.
His statement, made in the wake of the global financial collapse, can only be described as an act of the purest fantasy.
Everything about it was wrong. He predicted that economic recovery would begin in the summer of 2009 and that the overall downturn in growth for the year would be limited to ‘much less than 1%.
But the IMF forecast that the British economy would contract by a mammoth 4.4 per cent in 2009.
The OECD, predicted an even more gloomy contraction rate of 4.7 per cent.
Both were correct. Darling was just as far out of his depth when he discussed future borrowing.
In the 2008 pre-budget report he predicted a shortfall of just £118 billion for the current financial year – the true figure was nearer £200 billion.
The Treasury has consistently proven that it hasn’t the faintest idea of what is going on, either when it comes to the health of financial systems or the wider British economy.
So it is incapable of giving wise or even sensible policy advice, because the premise which would govern such advice has been shown to be fantastical and wholly incorrect.
The sorry truth is that, at a time when the UK faced the most desperate economic crisis in living memory, the Treasury was unable either to understand what was going on or to come up with an adequate response.
Prime Minister Gordon Brown was even more misleading.
In November 2008 he said ebulliently, “the Chancellor is leading the rest of the world taking us out of this recession.”
There are two primary reasons for this disaster.
The first is the legacy of Gordon Brown’s ten-year period at the Treasury, which ended in July 2007.
Brown was certainly an intellectually dominant Chancellor and he made some sensible decisions, of which the granting of independence to the Bank of England was the most astute.
But his modus operandi proved to be a disaster.
Over a period of years, Brown’s suppression of original thought, and encouragement of of a tiny clique, destroyed the Treasury spirit.
He insisted on surrounding himself with a small, closed group of trusted cronies, such as his economic adviser, Ed Balls.
Meanwhile, Treasury officials who did their constitutional duty giving impartial advice or telling the truth about Britain’s economic position were frozen out.
In some cases their careers were ruined. Over a period of years Brown’s suppression of original thought, and encouragement of a tiny clique, destroyed the Treasury esprit de corps.
By the time that Alistair Darling took over the Treasury in 2007, morale was at rock bottom and this once great national institution had been hollowed out to become a shadow of its former self.
Matters were made worse by Darling’s sheer cowardice as Chancellor.
Senior Treasury officials reported he succumbed to pressure from Gordon Brown to project a more optimistic outlook than was justified by the facts.
Recently, however, it is said Darling had become more assertive and that there had been some bruising rows.
Nevertheless, a grave problem persisted. The Treasury was no longer ‘fit for purpose’, quoting the damning phrase once used by Cabinet Minister, John Reid about the Home Office.
This would be a matter of grave concern at any time, let alone a moment of grave economic crisis. So much damage inflicted upon a once great institution by New Labour.
The Infamous Sun Editorial of Saturday 21 February 2015
According to Cameron there existed the prospect of Ed Miliband in Downing Street with Alex Salmond at the back door. All reminiscent of the 2014 referendum campaign.
Remember Project Fear? Well this looks a lot like Project Fear Mark2. And there’ll be lots more of this before the polls open in June.
During the independence referendum the Tories used every trick in the book in a bid to sway voters. They won the day but getting more Scots to vote Tory? That looks a great deal tougher.
So, the Westminster Tories, despite saying at the start that they would not participate in the referendum campaign actively orchestrated events from Downing Street, London..
The Sun is also implicated since despite knowing all about the, “campaign of fear” it did nothing to expose it to the public in Scotland preferring to remain quiet in support of the Unionist parties abandoning the very people, (the readership) that relied on it for honest reporting of events pertaining to the referendum.
Very sad. The Sun promised to fight for Scotland but when the chips were down Murdoch was found wanting.