Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Don't Mention the Recession

There is an exacerbation among SNP supporters about the inability of (New) Labour voters to see the mess left by the pink Tories. That these voters are somehow happy with their lot. To be honest, and I speak as someone who shakes their head when their parents parrot the New Labour line, there is still an element of distrust towards the SNP within the Labour Party constituency, that the SNP are really tartan clad Tories.

There are reasons for the stance which the SNP government has taken on certain policies, cutting Business taxes for example is designed to stimulate growth, and not to reward big business (like for example the corporation tax cuts Brown has made). The freeze on Council Tax is there to help hard working people, rather than an excuse to cut services. Etcetera etcetera…

An example of how New Labour have twisted the Scottish governments policies into being against the common 5/8th’s comes from Monday’s Paisley Daily Express, which featured local MSP, and Count Dooku lookalike, Hugh Henry. According to the wit and wisdom of Mr Henry…

The latest report on deprivation in Scotland from Alex Salmond’s administration shows the number of most deprived area’s in Renfrewshire has increased between 2006 and 2009. The SNP Government’s statistics show that, over the last couple of years, more area’s in SNP-controlled Renfrewshire are amongst Scotland’s poorest.

There is a problem in two respects. The First is that Renfrewshire had just about the worst financial settlement in Scotland. This is because the SNP is trying to shift money to the better-off areas which normally vote SNP. And yet our SNP council sits silently and refuses to complain.

The second problem is a lack of action locally. In Glasgow despite it’s many deep rooted problems, progress is being made. We need a similar determination to Glasgow’s to start addressing the problem. We need to demand more money from Alex Salmond’s government. If we fail, we should not be surprised when we see a rise in the social costs and problems which come from increased deprivation

I think the most striking thing about these comments is that Mr Henry seems to have not noticed that… well… we are in the middle of the worst recession since World War 2… at least. Money is tight, no one has money. 2006 probably marked the start of things going wrong, while 2007 saw the first signs. Both Barclays and Northern Rock went to the bank of Last Resort for loans, guess who kept their name out of Robert Peston’s reports then. Oh and Fred the Shred was about to make a critical blunder.

The other thing that Mr Henry seems to have missed out is his proof that the SNP are moving money to their pet areas. When Renfrewshire was run by New Labour, they would never do such a thing… apart from all the spending showered on Ferguslie Park… and Johnstone… oh and Shortroods. Sure houses in Glenburn had nice canopies installed and double Glazing put in, followed by Central heating. But that was all in a period between 1998 and 2000. Did I mention that Glenburn was represented by 2 SNP councillors during this period? Of course New Labour promised a re-generation fund of £50 million before the 2007 elections. Has this money disappeared into the great big PFI hole in Cotton Street, or was this more New Labour spin with no substance?

Mr Henry mentions Glasgow as making progress. Where? It’s still a horrendously backward city in places with health problems which read like the 1801 census. At New Labour led Glasgow has trumped Renfrewshire Council in one respect, it has closed more than one school, and certainly knows how to waste public money in parting with high ranking officials.

Yet when we were more prosperous, New Labour failed to close the gap between rich and poor. We have no money because Gordon Brown gave all our money to the bankers, so that they could congratulate themselves with big bonuses for failing to regulate themselves. Will Mr Henry ask for more money from Brown?

I thought not.

Scratch the surface and New Labour’s bluster is exposed as little more than that. For the SNP though, their fortunes are not helped by the economic blunders made by Brown. Equally the SNP’s claims are tainted by their association with George Mathewson (who was on the Royal Bank board that employed Fred Goodwin) and Brian Souter (he of the Keep the Clause campaign). It seems that the SNP are finding the task if defending their record in office difficult at this moment.

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