Why Should We Be Beggars? 221


There is a great campaign song from the 1890’s, of which the chorus goes

The Land! The Land!
‘Twas God who made the Land
The Land! The Land!
The ground on which we stand
Why should we be beggars
With the Ballot in our hand?
God gave the Land to the People!

That key question – why should we be beggars with the ballot in our hand? – was the fundamental driver of the Yes campaign in the Scottish referendum. The answer is, of course, the beggary remains because our corporate masters are enabled to buy off a small but significant minority of the less poor and then brainwash or terrify enough others through their control of mass communication. But so many people are now wondering how on earth we have beggary in a land of so many billionaires, that the question is refusing to go away.

The song above was the anthem of Henry George’s land movement, and it has resonance today. I found land ownership the most passionate of subjects in the referendum campaign. It was as strongly felt in urban communities of Dundee as in the Highlands. There is an excellent article on the subject by George Monbiot today. It ought to be as important in London as in Scotland. The extreme wealth of the Westminster and other London inherited estates ought not be tolerated in a modern society.

I too applaud the Scottish government’s courage in tackling the issue. I wish, however, they had been a bit more bold. That business rate exemption was ever given to sporting estates, by both Tories and Labour, is an abomination. Of course the rate must be imposed. The truth is, much of the Highlands historically supported a greater population than it does now, and there is much land unused that can produce root crops and cattle. The aid for crofting communities acquiring land is also welcome, but should be backed by firm compulsion.

The proposals to end primogeniture may break up large estates over time, but I confess to being not greatly excited by progress measured in half centuries. The major answer should lie in two well understood taxes: inheritance tax and land value tax. I would favour 20% inheritance tax on all estate value above 500,000, 50% on all value above 1 million and 80% on all value above 5 million, with no exemptions or gifting and beneficial ownership ruthlessly traced.

On Land Value Tax, I am particularly attracted by a residency test. LVT should be quadrupled for non-residents, with residence defined as where you pay your income tax. In an independent Scotland, that would sort out a great deal of the problem pretty fast.

Simply repealing the Inclosure Acts would perhaps have difficult ramifications, where the original beneficiaries’ estates have sold land on to become eventually, for example, individual residential plots. But revisiting the Inclosure Acts is a weapon we should not forego when looking at problems like the Buccleuch or Grosvenor Estates. Though for the major aristocratic estates I would favour straightforward nationalisation.

The Establishment, Conservative, Labour and Liberal, have re-introduced the appalling notion of the “undeserving poor”. It is time for action against the undeserving rich.


221 thoughts on “Why Should We Be Beggars?

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  • Republicofscotland

    “I’ve seen how they do things down there and I’ve seen how we do things up here and our way is better, far far better so please can you leave us the fuck alone.”
    __________________________________

    They can’t leave you the f*ck alone, because YOU and others voted to keep us tied to them, Jesus some people.

  • N_

    Putin’s annual speech:

    I propose a full amnesty for capital returning to Russia. I stress, full amnesty

    …those repatriating their money into Russian banks would not face secret service and police questioning over how they accrued their wealth…

    If a person legalises his holdings and property in Russia, he will receive firm legal guarantees that he will not be summoned to various agencies, including law enforcement

    Wow! Can you imagine Fidel Castro or Xi Jinping saying that? I mean, Castro making an overture to the Cuban mob or Xi to the pro-Taipei triads?

    It could be that Putin is preparing for a major war, perhaps even as late as 2018-19 as Rory Stewart, chair of the Defence Select Committee, told the House of Commons”.

    A lot of the Russian mafia abroad is KGB and has been for a long time (although in those circles, the Russians are often subordinate to the ‘Russians’), but what Putin is proposing would still be an amazing bit of consolidation.

    Remember Khodorkovsky is out of jail.

    How much weight the Chinese secret service has in Triad circles abroad I don’t know – but I’d be interested to find out, because the question has major geopolitical importance.

    Putin also said that the religious importance of the Crimea to Russia is like the importance of Temple Mount to Israel.

    The Russian term for the Haram al-Sharif, also known as Temple Mount, is Храмовая Гора [Khramovaia Gora], the first term in which is cognate with ‘Haram’. But just in case anyone might misinterpret him, Putin made clear that his comparison was to the significance of “Храмовая Гора in Jerusalem, to Israel”.

    What messages is Putin sending and to whom, kids?

  • Republicofscotland

    Reaction to Gideon Osborne’s Autumn disaster Ooops! I mean’t Statement.
    ====================================

    Len McCluskey, General Secretary Unite.
    _______________

    The vast majority of people listening to George Osborne, talking about an economic recovery,will think its a figment of his imagination.
    ===================================

    John Cridland director of the CBI
    _________________________________

    The decision for the UK to go it alone outside the OECD process will be deeply concerning for business, Mr Osborne is creating a worrying precedent.
    =======================

    Frances O’Grady Trades Union Congress
    _________________________________

    Nothing in today’s statement will give Britain a pay rise, and the Tories plans to effectively outlaw strikes, will help make Britain permanently low-paid.

  • Republicofscotland

    O/T

    Former Lib/Dem, Jeremy Thorpe died today, aged 85, Mr Thorpe had a long battle with Parkinson’s Disease.

    A charismatic and well-connected MP, Jeremy Thorpe’s political career was ended by a scandalous court case in which he was accused of being behind an attempt to murder a former gay lover.

  • Republicofscotland

    More on Gideon Osborne’s disastrous Autumn Statement.
    _______________________________________

    Osborne’s claim that the coalitions long term economic plan, was working, was ripped to shreds today when the (OBR) Office of Budget Responsibility, said the UK government was failing to meet its own deficit reduction targets.

    Official Westminster statistics show Britain’s economic prospects are way less positive than Osborne suggests.

  • nevermind

    N_ oops Gideon will be tumbled over such amnesty by Putin, he’ll have to do his sums again, even more cuts.
    So which Russian Oligarch will be first, Abramovich? hard to say, I’d say no, he won’t return, he might get away by visiting bearing large gifts, if its not a trap.

    What of Alisher Usmanov, the criminal who likes to wheel and deal? He might also refuse and be demoted to ‘vogelfrei’, my guess he’ll also try to buy himself off.

    All those media tycoons might not bother either, so what would be the percentage 30% returning, max. at a guess? what you say?

  • Republicofscotland

    A new Sovereign Wealth Fund, for the North of England is to be financed by revenue from Shale Gas Fracking, said Gideon Osborne in his pathetic Autumn Statement.

    Yet the useless fat troughing greedy b*stards at Westminster who’ve squandered oil revenues for decades, never ever once hinted of setting up a Scottish oil fund.

    Then again why would they, they don’t give a flying f*ck about Scots or Scotland.

  • fred

    “Yet the useless fat troughing greedy b*stards at Westminster who’ve squandered oil revenues for decades, never ever once hinted of setting up a Scottish oil fund.”

    Edinburgh doesn’t have an oil fund, Edinburgh doesn’t have any oil. Orkney and Shetland, who do have some oil, have an oil fund. It’s generated over a billion pound already.

  • Republicofscotland

    Britain faces spending cuts on a ‘colossal scale’ to balance the books before the end of the decade, the respected Institute for Fiscal Studies think tank warned today.

    George Osborne admitted that ‘difficult decisions’ are going to be required, and signalled he would again target welfare spending to balance the books.

    But the Chancellor faced warnings that unprotected government departments would see their budgets cut in half over the next five years.

    The Office for Budget responsibility warned another 1million public sector jobs will have to be axed as part of the next round of cuts.
    One in five roles will be culled, double the 400,000 state-funded jobs removed since 2010.

    To achieve the Office for Budget Responsibility’s forecast of a budget surplus of GBP23 billion by 2019-20 would require ‘spending cuts on a colossal scale … taking total government spending to its lowest level as a proportion of national income since before the last war’, he said.

    ‘There is no spending dividend on the horizon, far from it,’ said Mr Johnson. ‘There are huge cuts to come. On these plans,whatever way you look at it, we are considerably less than halfway through the cuts.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2860437/Public-spending-fall-lowest-level-80-years-1million-jobs-axed-Osborne-vows-target-welfare-cuts.html
    _____________________________________

    Gideon Osborne must be worst Chancellor in living memory, he’s brought nothing but misery and despair to less fortunate folk.

    Now he intendeds to tighten the screw, on the most vulnerable in society and all because he hasn’t got a f*cking clue how to balance the books.

    Osborne couldn’t lace John Swinney’s boots, but because of the inept NO VOTERS in the Scottish Referendum, we’re going to go down with the sinking ship that is the UK.

  • Habbabkuk (la vita è bella)

    Republicofscotland

    “Gideon Osborne must be worst Chancellor in living memory”
    ________________

    What “living memory” time span are you working on, RoS? I mean: if you are 80, your “living memory” would go back further than if you are only 40, wouldn’t it. So tell me which “living memory” time span you’ve based your assertion on and I might get back to you.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    “all because he hasn’t got a f*cking clue how to balance the books”
    ________________

    Can you tell us when was the last time that the books were balanced, RoS? And what is your definition of “balancing the books”?

    You sound as if the National Debt only dates from 2010, don’t you. It goes back rather longer than that, you know. Please give us your thoughts on the following proposition : the National Debt exists because successive UK govts have consistently spent more than they have gathered in revenue.

    Thanks.

  • fred

    Brent crude $69 a barrel.

    If we’d listened to the Nationalists Scotland would have been up shit creek without a paddle.

  • Mark Golding

    God gave the sky to the people…

    17 July 2014 – Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 (MH17/MAS17) was a scheduled international passenger flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur that was shot down and crashed in Ukraine.

    80 Children were murdered. Here are the names of identified young souls aged from 1yrs to 12 yrs.

    1 Master Sem Wals
    2 Miss Solenn Wals
    3 Kim Elisa Petronella Verhaegh
    4 Master Quint Vanveldhuizen
    5 Master Pijke Vanveldhuizen
    6 Ms Lucie Paula Maria Vanmens
    7 Ms Adinda Larasati Putri Vanmuijlwijk
    8 Ms Lucie Paula Maria Vanmens
    9 Miss Fleur Vandermeer
    10 Miss Bente Vandermeer
    11 Ms Christina Anna Elisa Vandenschoor
    12 Master Margaux Larissa Vandenhende
    13 Miss Milia Vandemortel
    14 Miss Tess Trugg
    15 Miss Liv Trugg
    16 Ms Mabel Anthonysamy
    17 Master Ian Allen
    18 Master Werther Smallenburg
    19 Miss Sri Paulissen
    20 Master Miguel G Panduwinata
    21 Master Julian Ottochian
    22 Ms Elisabeth Lyeti ng
    23 Ms Anelene Rostijem Misran
    24 Master otis samuel frederick maslin
    25 Miss Evie Coco Anne Maslin
    26 Ms Gerda Leliana Lahenda
    27 Miss Isa Kooijmans
    28 Master Yelena Clarice Huizen
    29 Master Davy Joseph Gerardus Hally
    30 Ms Tamara Ernst
    31 Ms Mabel Anthonysamy
    32 Miss Lisanne Laura Ngels
    33 Miss Fatima Dyczynski
    34 Miss Emma Bell
    35 Ms Shaliza Zaini Dewa
    36 Ms Helen Borgsteede
    37 Ms Marsha Azmeena Bintitambi
    38 Ms Sherryl Gunawan
    39 Master Kaelamayajay Goes
    40 Ms Ariza Binti Gazalee
    41 Ms Kiah Yeen Lee
    42 Master Jianhan Benjamin Lee
    43 Ms Gabriele Lauschet
    44 Ms Mary Tiernan
    45 Miss Elaine Teoh
    46 Master Werther Smallenburg
    47 Master Matthew Ezekial Sivagnanam
    48 Ms Helena Sidelik
    49 Ms Hielkje Raap

    Intention will disclose the perpetrators.

  • nevermind

    Drivers are smiling at the petrol stations up and down the country, they’re havin a laugh.
    Now wait a mo, all bus companies, for the last 6 years at least, have raised their fares due to rising fuel tax and price, now they are earning themselves golden noses.
    I’ve written to the papers, written to my MP, asking both to answer to the inflexibility of bus companies to adjust to the over 1/3rd lower fuel prices, but to no avail yet.

    I’m thinking of having a demo at our Norfolk bus station to highlight the rip off to those public transport users who are making an effort to leave the car at home.
    I shan’t hold my breath, but act….

  • Republicofscotland

    “Brent crude $69 a barrel.”

    “If we’d listened to the Nationalists Scotland would have been up shit creek without a paddle.”
    ______________________________________

    Some people seem to think Scotland is an oil based economy, it isn’t.

    As for the UK its a staggering £1.45 Trillion (yes that’s right I said Trillion) quid in debt.

    The unionists, voted to keep us shackled to that unservicable debt, and our children our grandchildren, and their grandchildren, the latest Westminster Chancellor, an inept millionaire Tory hasn’t got a clue.

  • Habbabkuk (la vita è bella)

    Lysias, who read Literae Humaniores (aka “Greats”) at some until now unidentified cillege in Oxford, says:

    “I was pleased to read this, as I had recently read a book about the horrifying effects on German health of the blockade of Germany during World War One”

    __________________

    Well, the effects on Germany might well have been “horrifying” (but perhaps not more horrifying than the War itself), but perhaps Lysias could tell us what would have been the point of a blockade of Germany that did NOT include foodstuffs?

  • Habbabkuk (la vita è bella)

    Republicofscotland

    “Some people seem to think Scotland is an oil based economy, it isn’t”
    _________________

    Well, Craig seems to think it might be because he’s always going on about Scotland keeping its oil and whisky revenues, isn’t he. Perhaps you’ve said the same, come to think of it….
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    “As for the UK its a staggering £1.45 Trillion (yes that’s right I said Trillion) quid in debt.”
    ____________________

    Please refer to my comments at 19h31 which refer to the National Debt and kindly answer the very reasonable questions I’ve put to you. Thanks.

  • Republicofscotland

    Good to see Scottish Minister Humza Yousaf, urging Palestine to open its first European Embassy in Edinburgh.

    I hope they take up the offer.

  • Habbabkuk (la vita è bella)

    Nevermind (19h53)

    You made an excellent point there. More power to your arm for the demo.

  • fred

    “Some people seem to think Scotland is an oil based economy, it isn’t.”

    It would have accounted for 13% of GDP.

    In Russia it’s 16% of GDP and they may well have to devalue their currency.

    What would Scotland have devalued?

  • Habbabkuk (la vita è bella)

    Republicofscotland

    “Good to see Scottish Minister Humza Yousaf, urging Palestine to open its first European Embassy in Edinburgh.”
    ______________

    Pure gesture politics. At best, “Palestine” could open a kind of “representation” or “office” (devoid of all diplomatic privileges, of course) in Edinburgh – similar to the one it already has …… in London.

  • Habbabkuk (la vita è bella)

    Republicofscotland

    I should have added, of course, that Jordan enjoys full diplomatic relations with the UK and has an Embassy in London.

  • Herbie

    Interesting spat going on between Jonathan Freedland, Executive editor of The Guardian and Dr Nafeez Ahmed, over the latter’s Guardian contract termination.

    Ahmed wrote this article in July this year exposing Israeli use of violence to control Gaza’s gas field.

    “IDF’s Gaza assault is to control Palestinian gas, avert Israeli energy crisis”

    http://www.theguardian.com/environment/earth-insight/2014/jul/09/israel-war-gaza-palestine-natural-gas-energy-crisis

    Here’s his account of his subsequent Guardian contract termination:

    “How I was censored by The Guardian for writing about Israel’s war for Gaza’s gas”

    “After writing for The Guardian for over a year, my contract was unilaterally terminated because I wrote a piece on Gaza that was beyond the pale. In doing so, The Guardian breached the very editorial freedom the paper was obligated to protect under my contract. I’m speaking out because I believe it is in the public interest to know how a Pulitizer Prize-winning newspaper which styles itself as the world’s leading liberal voice, casually engaged in an act of censorship to shut down coverage of issues that undermined Israel’s publicised rationale for going to war.”

    https://medium.com/@NafeezAhmed/palestine-is-not-an-environment-story-921d9167ddef

    Here’s Freedland’s reply:

    “@NafeezAhmed Your piece for Medium implies I was involved in the end of your arrangement with the Guardian. I don’t wish to be rude, but I had literally not heard of you or your work till seeing that Medium piece, via Twitter, a few hours ago. (The Guardian environment website, where you wrote, is edited separately from the Guardian’s Comment is Free site, which I now oversee.) I had no idea you wrote for the Guardian, no idea that arrangement had been terminated and not the slightest knowledge of your piece on Gaza’s gas until a few hours ago. What’s more, I was abroad – on vacation – on the days in July you describe. To put it starkly, my involvement in your case was precisely zero. I hope that as a matter of your own journalistic integrity, you’ll want to alter the Medium piece to reflect these facts. Perhaps you’ll also share this on Twitter as widely as you shared the Medium piece yesterday.”

    Here’s Ahmed’s reply to Freedland:

    “Your reading of my Medium piece is incorrect. I am not implying that you were involved in the end of my Guardian tenure. I have no clue about that, and to be sure, I did not make any such claim. My Medium piece has been amended to ensure that your response is mentioned in full, and to clarify that I am not implying your specific involvement in the termination of my contract – a matter about which I have no knowledge thanks to the abrupt, unethical and unlawful way in which I was dropped.

    What I did do is speak to several journalists about my experience who told me that it was not unprecedented, and mentioned you by name. According to these journalists, including a former Guardian ed who has spoken on the record, my experience of egregious Guardian censorship over the Gaza gas story  – which I’m sad to see doesn’t seem to bother you very much given your concerns about ‘journalistic integrity’ – has a long and little-known context, suggesting that rather than my experience being a mere bizarre and accidental aberration, it is part of an entrenched, wider culture across the paper. These journalists who spoke to me on condition of anonymity claim that you have played a key role in fostering this culture, and that you have quashed legitimate stories critical of Israel without meaningful journalistic justification. I have merely relayed their allegations.”

    Medialens discussion here:

    http://members5.boardhost.com/medialens/thread/1417689895.html

  • Mary

    John Pilger’s new film. The Coming War

    John Pilger’s next documentary the Coming War is about US military expansion in Asia otherwise better known as the ‘pivot to China’.

    I think this is just a crowd funding campaign and not one that is commissioned by ITV as far as I know

    here’s the website:
    http://thecomingwarmovie.com/

    We (newsPeeks) are interviewing John Pilger tomorrow for newsPeeksLIVE – a liveshow from the Logan Symposium where the world’s leading investigative journalists, including Pilger, Assange, Hersh, Poitras – are speaking on mass surveillance, censorship and the failings of mainstream media.

    We’re looking for people to submit questions through social media, or through this forum, to ask John and the other speakers we’ll be interviewing.

    The hashtag for this show is #noto1984. This is a show to make these big issues understandable for young people, but all questions are welcome!

    http://members5.boardhost.com/medialens/thread/1417721049.html

  • nigel

    Gideon Osborne must be worst Chancellor in living memory, he’s brought nothing but misery and despair to less fortunate folk.

    Now he intendeds to tighten the screw, on the most vulnerable in society and all because he hasn’t got a f*cking clue how to balance the books.

    Osborne couldn’t lace John Swinney’s boots, but because of the inept NO VOTERS in the Scottish Referendum, we’re going to go down with the sinking ship that is the UK.”

    Agree 100% with you, Republic!

    Scotland the brave!!! Hahahaha!

    (Quietly weeping for what might have been………)

  • Ben the Inquisitor

    The EEEEUUUU abstained. ‘Natch

    http://philebersole.wordpress.com/

    Last Nov. 22, the United Nations General Assembly voted, 115 to 3, with 55 abstentions, to condemn the glorification of Naziism and the display of Nazi and neo-Nazi symbols.

    The three opponents were the United States, Canada and Ukraine, and the members of the European Union all abstained.

    The resolution was introduced by the Russian Federation, with the obvious intent of embarrassing Ukraine and its allies, but there is nothing in it that refers specifically to Ukraine or any of its political parties or militias.

    Hitler’s intentions in Ukraine were to starve and massacre large number of the population, and enslave the rest, in order to provide “living room” for the population.

    It is incredible to me, given this history, that there could be Ukrainians sympathetic to Hitler’s ideals, but this is the case. Evidently they are blinded by hatred of Russians, Poles and Jews, and by their historic memory of Stalin’s crimes, as if it were necessary to choose between Hitler and Stalin.

    Supporters of Ukraine point out that many countries, including the United States, the United Kingdom and the Russian Federation itself, have a neo-Nazi lunatic fringe, and supporters of Ukraine say that the Ukrainian neo-Nazi movement is no different.

    But if they are merely a fringe, making public statements to condemn them should not be a problem. It would be as if an American politician were not willing to condemn the Ku Klux Klan. It would show that the Klan, like the neo-Nazis in Ukraine, were too powerful a force to risk offending.

    It is true that the ultra-nationalist Svoboda and Right Sector parties did poorly in the last election, but they nevertheless seem powerful in government and on the street.

    Right-wing Ukrainian nationalists, when interviewed, say they have nothing against other nationalities, but that Ukraine should be for Ukrainians alone. The implication is that non-Ukrainians should be driven out, or worse.

    I find it humiliating, as an American, that somebody like Vladimir Putin, who is an authoritarian nationalist himself, should occupy the moral high ground compared to my own country. But in this case, he does.

  • N_

    @Nevermind

    So which Russian Oligarch will be first, Abramovich? hard to say, I’d say no, he won’t return, he might get away by visiting bearing large gifts, if its not a trap.

    Abramovich has huge investments in Russia. He’s mates with Putin.

    I’m not sure which exiled billionaires the message is most meant for. Good question! Nevzlin? Gusinsky? Probably not Mogilevich, but it’s possible. Of course there’s also Khodorkovsky.

    What of Alisher Usmanov, the criminal who likes to wheel and deal? He might also refuse and be demoted to ‘vogelfrei’, my guess he’ll also try to buy himself off.

    He is mates with Putin too.

    All those media tycoons might not bother either, so what would be the percentage 30% returning, max. at a guess? what you say?

    Lebedev, owner of the Evening Standard, retains large investments in Russia.

    I suspect Putin’s message may be to only a small number of very rich individuals. It’s an interesting one. I mean say they move enormous funds back to Russia – what are they going to invest in? Who are they going to push out? The last thing Putin wants is mafia war inside Russia. US and British strategists would love it, but I don’t think they’re going to get it. (Putin has in fact addressed this very matter.)

    So this isn’t simply about ‘return’; it’s about the interests that control Russia looking outwards, into Russian (or ‘Russian’) organised crime interests abroad, where the KGB already has a large influence – although not completely dominant.

    The ‘Latin American KGB’ kind of hived itself off in the 1960s.

    People like Berezovsky long had links with the KGB and also hived themselves off.

    I think this move by Putin is an offer for them to hive themselves back on again. It’s about ‘consolidation’ – and possibly, and maybe in the fairly near future, a major war.

    Putin’s a bright guy. He’s no Gideon Osborne. Take how he has promoted, among regional governors, the works of Berdyaev, Solovyev and Ilyin. The KGB know their psychological warfare. The KGB is a far more formidable organisation than many recognise.

  • Ben the Inquisitor

    ” what are they going to invest in? ”

    My guess is like China…Gold Bullion.

  • Ben the Inquisitor

    The Bankster Bund has done a good job of driving down the price of silver/gold. It’s an opportune time for investors.

    Buy low..sell high.

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