The Devolution Trap 225

For the many who expressed kind concern at the bureaucratic impasse involved in Cameron starting his new school, I should update you with the good news. Cameron was able to start on time in the local school, and I am very happy to say that both staff and pupils have been extremely friendly and helpful. Which does not obviate the daftness of the system which makes it impossible to get more than a day’s notice of acceptance, but we are getting over the problems that caused.

But I have also to say that I am genuinely shocked that Cameron took the 33rd place in his class, which is now full. Class size is a very major factor in pupil achievement and I am perplexed to find these Victorian levels of pupil/teacher ratio still surviving in 2019.

This is illustrative of the trap that is devolution within the UK. The SNP devotes the large majority of its resource as a party to attempting to manage vital services within the UK settlement through government in Holyrood, and does so with competence and professionalism. But a decade of austerity and budget squeeze, and still more the profound economic malaise caused by the sucking out of Scottish capital and human resource by London over centuries, make it an impossible task.

Within the UK, Scotland will never have the economic resources at the disposal of its government which will enable it to provide public services of the standard its people ought to expect.

If you look at nations comparable to Scotland, these are the primary school pupil teacher ratios

Denmark 10.7
Sweden 12.1
Norway 9.01

The reason the devolution trap is so deadly is that it seduces the SNP into expending its energies in genuinely well meaning attempts to mitigate the disastrous public sector climate of Tory UK. It is very easy in these circumstances for Scottish ministers to become over-proud of tiny achievements in making life better for people, and miss the big picture.

The big picture is that within the UK Scotland will never escape the drain on its economic resources and subsequent impoverishment, and will never fulfill its economic potential. Meanwhile, in trying to run public services within the context of Tory austerity, those services are simply bound to be inadequate and the SNP ends up taking the blame for failures created deliberately in Westminster.

Devolution has run its course. There is no devo-max solution that will make things better. It is time to forget all ideas of making the UK less disastrous, and to concentrate all energies on one thing and one thing only: Independence.


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225 thoughts on “The Devolution Trap

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  • Old Mark

    If you look at nations comparable to Scotland, these are the primary school pupil teacher ratios

    Craig- Once again you peddle the idea the Scotland most closely resembles ‘Nordic’ countries, when of course the country an independent Scotland would most resemble is Ireland. What are the pupil teacher ratios at Primary level in RoI and NI ?

    Also to call 33 pupils to a class a relic of Victorian elementary schools is wildly melodramatic; I’m only slightly older than you and at my primary (in the 1960s and in the ILEA area) the classes most of the time had 40 kids in them. Such class sizes were not unusual, and our generation (and the 1950s school generation before us) was notable for levels of social mobility far higher than now- so they hardly seem to have been a handicap.

    • kathy

      Well it may surprise you to learn thst Scotland has many silmilarities with various Nordic countries – hardly surprising for countries with such closely interwoven histories.

      Apart from the similarities in the modern age such as greater egalitarianism as evident in their political choices, as compared to England. This is hardly surprising when you consider the many historical links that existed. The early Viking raids led to much intermarrying and sharing of cultural links. This, in turn, led to intermarriage between the elites leading, eventually to a Norwegian queen, Margaret Maid of Norway who had a Scottish mother, Margaret, daughter of King Alexander III of Scotland and Eric II, King of Norway. She, sadly died in 1290 on the island of Orkney – at that time, a Norwegian island.

      Even at the present time, by a curious genetic fluke, all the women in Iceland are genetically either Scottish or Irish.

      So you see, you are quite wrong to chide Craig for comparing Scandinavia with Scotland as they are indeed very similar.

  • Dave

    Presumably devolution is both a trap and an opportunity, otherwise why forsake devolution in UK for devolution in EU. This is not to decry actual independence (control of own borders and money), but you need the support of your neighbours to peacefully achieve it, or the support of a super-power to impose it, and then of course you’re not really independent.

    And this becomes a choice between non-independent independence (imposed) and independence with co-operation with the neighbours, but then this isn’t really independence because co-operation involves surrendering some independence to get along with the neighbours and many say this is the case for EU and British Union!

    Hence not only is actual independence not on offer by the SNP, it can’t be on offer, due to Scotland’s location and small size. Instead Scotland achieves maximum independence by being within a benign union with others and the question remains between UK or EU, bearing in mind no other union has been proposed by SNP.

    • Republicofscotland

      “Hence not only is actual independence not on offer by the SNP, it can’t be on offer, due to Scotland’s location and small size. Instead Scotland achieves maximum independence by being within a benign union with others and the question remains between UK or EU, bearing in mind no other union has been proposed by SNP.”

      Independence from Westminster is the goal, Scotland is similar in population to Finland, which is doing okay as a EU member.

      Of course the EU didn’t deny Westminster the right leave, (via a vote) as Westminster is currently denying Scotland.

      I know which union I’d rather be a member of.

      • Dave

        Publicly the aim may be separation from Westminster but de facto separation from England, Wales and Ireland (and Scotland) which constitutes Westminster.

        I agree Westminster rule has been appalling (including following EU austerity to join the Euro), but it would be easier for Scotland, England, Wales and Ireland to change Westminster policies than for Scotland to change Brussels policies, as Scotland is a bigger voice in UK than within EU.

        Westminster may yet allow Scotland another referendum (part of the peaceful co-operation with neighbours), but its only reasonable for Holyrood to make the case first with clear manifesto promises and not just run roughshod over Unionist opinion (and Westminster has a constitutional duty of care to all opinions) with Neverendums.

        • Republicofscotland

          “but it would be easier for Scotland, England, Wales and Ireland to change Westminster policies than for Scotland to change Brussels policies, as Scotland is a bigger voice in UK than within EU.”

          That’s a bit of a fallacy, the SNP MP’s at Westminster haven’t a hope in hell of making a significant difference. Pre-2014 indyref, the PM David Cameron said (Don’t leave us Scotland, lead us).

          The next day after the vote when no had won, David Cameron standing outside 10 Downing street spoke about EVEL English Votes for English Laws.

          Scotland currently has 6 MEP’s the same as tiny Malta, however Finland with a very similar population to Scotland has 13 MEP’s, and has the opportunity to head up the Presidency of the EU council on rotation.

          I’m not saying the EU doesn’t have its problems to seek, but the bottom line is Westminster cannot be trusted, the union must be dissolved.

          • Dave

            If SNP at Westminster have no influence, why do they attend, and the same applies to Scottish MEPs at Brussels.

            As a Unionist I agree Cameron undermined the Union with EVEP, but I’m not a conservative unionist, but a British Unionist who supports a compromise Brexit to keep the country together.

            And after Greece (and Catalonia) surely you’d think the EU can be trusted?

        • Andrew Ingram

          “…….. Westminster rule has been appalling (including following EU austerity to join the Euro), but it would be easier for Scotland, England, Wales and Ireland to change Westminster policies than for Scotland to change Brussels policies, as Scotland is a bigger voice in UK than within EU.”

          Scotland voted to remain and that very important statement is to naught no matter the “bigger” voice.
          Ireland has far more autonomy within the EU than Scotland does within the UK.

          • Dave

            I suggest the reason Scotland voted Remain was the same as N.Ireland voted Remain, the religious divide in both find it easier to co-operate under EU rather than UK (English) rule. But with voting reform and devolution UK rule will no longer be English, but British and Ireland rule.

          • Andrew Ingram

            The religious divide has nothing to do with it.
            The EU’s rules allow a for frictionless trade within Ireland, Brexit creates barriers that in turn narrows margins, margins that allow for more people getting a wee slice of the pie. Being told that your voice has been unheard or was drowned out by louder English voices and your wee slice of the pie is getting slimmer as a result of that might tempt one to ponder on an alternative.

          • Dave

            What you say refers to events after the vote.

            Maybot could have delivered a compromise Brexit deal with Labour votes by remaining in the customs union, but instead was determined to sabotage Brexit with her Remain+ deal, but due to remarkable success of Brexit party the conservatives are in a no deal panic to avoid wipe out.

            But this in turn provides Labour with an opportunity for a General Election landslide by offering the Brexit compromise, which Corbyn wants to do, but is being hampered by Remainiacs and Zionists under the guise of Remain.

          • kathy

            “…I suggest the reason Scotland voted Remain was the same as N.Ireland voted Remain, the religious divide in both…”

            While I am not denying that there is indeed a religious divide in Scotland, it is in no way anything as severe as in N.Ireland.

            Scotland voted remain because it is an open, ouward looking country with very little racism. Completelly opposite to England.

            As for Northern Ireland, I don’t think I am being racist by describing it as homophobic and xenophobic.

    • Ian

      They are categorically different, so your constant attempt to pretend that they are the same is a waste of time and bandwidth. It is perfectly easy to understand.

      • Ishmael

        There are differences & similarities. Framing this as a zero sum is fantasy, Sounds nice & easy NOT to have to explain things …Im sure if it was you’d have just said it.

        What about internal divisions? like as a “worker” i’m an internationalist but others who use the term ? Many do not even see the class divisions (or do & exploit so called “cultural identity” 4 votes & no brains ego acts) & present government as something it’s not, STRUCTURALLY… It won’t matter to them if they cause harm with assured government money.

        Regarding states there is some pragmatism that can be justified, EG they exist as forms of organisation atm, But there is nothing inherently “legitimate” in their authority so you must be clear about actions & effects.

        & As with Assange, it’s not just an “abuse of power” imo it’s an abuse to have it, to claim it. …For anyone. Republics are what they are, the perfect nexus for capital organisation/domination < it's "natural" state.

        The SNP are quite happy where they are (like most mp's) that's just a material fact of human existence. & unless you believe some "ethnicity" less inclined to these basically sycophantic cliques ? + VERY few people are actually motivated by nationalist unicorns imo, & certainly not to anything useful if so.

    • Squeeth

      I think you’ll find that the Snats want a version of Irish independence, which is the status quo in a tartan dress. Don’t expect a people’ republic.

      • Andrew Ingram

        Post independence Ireland’s institutions do reflect their British roots. No harm there and they have evolved, sometimes for the better sometimes not. An independent Scotland is only going to have one or two days-off to party and then it will be back to the mundane day to day stuff – what better way to get it all going than for those institutions to carry on as normal and start evolving.

        • Dave

          Following Brexit, the economic argument for UK remaining in the EU, becomes the argument for Scotland remaining in the UK and Ireland leaving the EU, because Scotland and Ireland trade more with UK than they do with EU. So if UK leaving the EU is a forecast disaster, then Scotland and Ireland de facto leaving UK will just make things worse.

          • Vivian O'Blivion

            Ireland leaving the EU! Ireland has a population of 4.8 million. Opinion polls consistently put support for the EU in the range 70 to 80%. If Ireland had been included in the Brexit referendum it would have narrowly swung the outcome to Remain. Take your Anglo-Saxon colonialism and GTF!

          • Dave

            If the Republic supports the EU then logically they must also support a close relationship with UK and is evidence of a move away from the claustrophobic catholic republicanism that once dominated the Republic.

            They like Greece think its a sign of modernity to belong to EU rather wedded to the past, despite the costs, which must dismay all those fighting Irish who fought for Independence, also illustrated by choice of Prime Minister.

            The fact is the Republic joined the EEC at the same time as UK and the integration progressed together too, except expecting UK to join the Euro, joined first and suffered the boom bust consequences, with UK helping to bail them out as a friendly neighbour, and should leave at the same time too.

            Its not Anglo-Saxon colonialism, in fact the opposite would be more accurate as there is a very large Irish and heritage Irish population in UK, hence the ‘special relationship’, but there is mass colonialism from elsewhere which will soon overwhelm a population of 4.8 million.

          • Vivian O'Blivion

            “mass colonialism …. which will soon overwhelm … “. Let your ethno-facist true colours show there. Erse continues to be a compulsory subject in schools. It is in fact gaining in popularity.
            The Irish are relaxed about a multi ethnic future educated in Gaelic history.
            Best take your prejudices to 8chan where they will receive a more sympathetic audience.

      • kathy

        “I think you’ll find that the Snats want a version of Irish independence, which is the status quo in a tartan dress. Don’t expect a people’ republic.”

        Even supposing they did want that – which I very much doubt – they would’nt last 5 minutes given that Scots tend to be “left wing”. Besides – no disrespect to Ireland – I think, coming from such a long and glorious tradition of philosophers and thinkers, we would prefer to have a system more in keeping with our own strengths.

    • Terry callachan

      Don’t be silly Dave, the EU does not devolve powers to its members, the members of the EU devolve power to the EU.
      Scotland does not devolve any powers to UK
      Scotland only gets what powers it’s given by the UK parliament and Scotland having an eighth of the MPs England has in that parliament is powerless to change that.
      Until it becomes an independent country at which point Scotland will control all the powers to run Scotland and won’t have to devolve any powers to the EU if it doesn’t want to or it can choose to devolve powers to the EU and then at any time take them back.
      You get the drift , don’t you Dave but you already knew all this.

      • Dave

        The project is to create a European super-state with one government and currency. During the process of integration there is an opportunity to leave peacefully, but once the project is complete, a secessionist Scotland would face the same, perhaps worse, problems as they face now with Westminster, and it may be an entirely different Scotland to what it is now, meaning it may no longer be viewed as a single entity, just as there is separatism within Italy.

  • Sharp Ears

    Eton has 1,300 pupils, all boarders.
    ‘When boys arrive at Eton they usually find themselves in classes of 20 to 24. As they progress and they make their own choices about what to learn, the class sizes tend to reduce, the size depending on the subject and its popularity in a given year.’

    Large staff numbers too! There are 900 staff.

    At Thomas’s where the little royals go, the class sizes are tiny.
    ‘The majority of pupils join Thomas’s Clapham in Reception following their 4th … We have four forms in our Reception year, with up to 21 children in each class.’.

    I expect the junior royals go off Thomas’s in a limo with a chauffeur.

    Whereas at St Thomas’s Primary School in Kensington – ‘ St Thomas’ is a one form entry primary school. The governors have agreed with the relevant authorities that there will be a maximum of 30 children in each class from Reception to Year 6. The nursery accepts a maximum of 26 children for 26 full-time-equivalent places’

  • Independent Woman

    Aye, we are too wee, too poor and too stupid to be independent. Scotland has been told this for generations and it is no wonder it is now hard wired into some brains. Our accents were hammered out of us and our culture perverted and derided. So it is understandable that there are individuals who will never manage to rid themselves of this condidtioning. This is to the shame of these who carried (and still carry) out this programme of ridicule.
    However, there is abundant evidence of what great resources Scotland has. We have evidence of other, less well resourced, smaller countries succeeding as independent countries. The evidence is there; look for it. i would recommend Phantom Power and the videos of Lesley Riddoch. Start with the video on the Faroe Islands and then go on to Iceland and Norway. Tell these countries they are too wee, too poor and too stupid to be independent.

    I am glad your son is happily settled in School, albeit in a class of 33. My grandchildren are in Norway and they seem to have a very well organised system there with smaller classes, good resources and teachers who are well paid and supported.

    • Hatuey

      If I remember correctly, in Norway they only go to school for a few hours per week too… maybe 6 or something? And they rank very highly on education.

      I was once involved in education. I dropped out of teaching. Everyone knows that the role of parents and stuff that goes on outside of the school itself have a massive bearing on education, more of a bearing than class sizes or the quality of teachers.

      Glasgow has many areas that suffer from third world levels of poverty, thanks to Scottish Labour and being in the UK. Over a few decades they turned a city that was world famous in engineering and heavy industry into another post-industrial wasteland.

      It’s hard to educate kids who are hungry, kids who are going home to broken families, violent and intoxicated parents, in communities that have been torn apart by drugs, poverty, and hopelessness.

      If you have sympathy for kids in Scotland today, you should invest it wisely towards addressing the above.

    • N_

      Were Icelanders, Norwegians, Faroese people or Greenlanders ever as represented in top-level political and financial circles in Copenhagen as Scots are in those circles in London? In Britain, two of the last five prime ministers have been Scottish, as have two of the last five chancellors of the exchequer. You should ask yourself whether you personally haven’t got a chip on your shoulder.

      The reason Scotland is not independent is because a majority of Scots don’t want the country to be independent. It’s not because foreigners look down their noses at Scots. The SNP is unpopular in Scotland. It scored 37% the most recent time there was a vote across Scotland, which was in the 2017 British general election. Blaming foreigners for stuff is ugly. I have seen half a dozen fake “arguments” here which are demonstrably false. There was even a “Scots are genetically freedom-loving unlike the genetically pro-feudalist English” assertion. That Braveheart stuff must look great from the viewpoint of regions in Africa or Asia that were once part of the British Empire. Believers in blaming incomers and foreigners and those with differently coloured skin don’t – and usually can’t – spell out how they reached their “conclusions”. Same story with Brexit.

      • Republicofscotland

        “In Britain, two of the last five prime ministers have been Scottish, as have two of the last five chancellors of the exchequer. You should ask yourself whether you personally haven’t got a chip on your shoulder.”

        Scots by birth yes, yet they did nothing to for Scotland, oh wait they did do some things, like re appropriate 6000 miles of seas around Scotland and make them English, or drag us into illegal wars such as in Iraq.

        Or presided over the 2008 crash with disasterous consquences. Brown, Blair, Darling etc never gave a monkey’s about Scotland from day one, to be ermine vermin is/was their goal.

        “The reason Scotland is not independent is because a majority of Scots don’t want the country to be independent. ”

        There’s a flip side to that comment, the majority of Scots in my opinion were not that well informed in the past, even in 2014, the whole media machine from top to bottom was and to a point still is controlled by the state.

        For the majority how can they want independence when you don’t know what’s really going on. Well, the tide is turning people are more aware of the machinations of the British state and its Labour/Tory/LibDem acolytes in Scotland.

        The real factor of change was the EU forcing Westminster to set up devolved adminstrations including one in Scotland. We don’t need Westminster to tell us how to govern, we can do that by ourselves for ourselves.

        • Doghouse

          “…., we can do that by ourselves for ourselves.”

          RoS, I wish you well I really do, but its not going to happen. You might well eventually get independence – should get it if that is what the people want, but aspirations of some future Avalon is pie in the sad sky is the truth of it. Enjoy the struggle, the journey because shortly after that, it ends and normal service resumed. No country is run for the people by the people,none. Your local council doesn’t even do that – it pays lip service to the principle whilst taking the money, cutting ground and hands on services whilst expanding useless office administrations. All political reformations are eventually, sooner rather than later, usurped by specific mindsets. Its not negative think, its fact proven by all current and historical observation. The bigger the admin, the bigger the betrayal. Govts serve themselves for themselves. My local council is extremely rural, very small population and employs get this 16 full time hands on lawyers – sixteen mind you – and a senior lawyer to manage them plus a chief honcho lawyer. That’s a very small populous rural council with a heavy poundage of lawyers to what defend the public? Of course not, to defend itself against the public it betrays. Just a council.

          Any govt you create will do exactly the same in spades, if fact the people waiting in the wings to seize that lovely power and cash already carry those seeds of betrayl, its begun and in place even before it has started. Facts. Even the oil on which many hope to secure nirvana will betray you. The real ruling powers decided well in advance that the new millennium would mark the end of the oil age and it has nothing to do with climate change or benefit for the planet. Its about getting themselves in place to secure the future energies and so the same level of control. What good oil if in 30 years nothing to put that oil into. Tis a folly waiting to happen.

          The passion of many is admirable, but most in fact don’t give a shit beyond finding the notion of independence appealing because it provides an outlet for well founded resentment and a well spring for well needed optimism. Enjoy the struggle tis all you have, in the event of success, the optimism will soon die and resentment re-establish…..sad, but true. I wish I could be more positive – I could, but then it wouldn’t be true…..

          • hove actually

            You seem to be unaware that oil is a primary ingredient of just about every product made on the planet. Whether it is the plastics used for making vehicles, fabrics, paint, inks, adhesives, detergents, insulators and packaging, the computer you are using – all use and are dependent on oil. The list of uses is almost endless. It’s even used to make chewing gum and some vinegars.
            The demand for oil as a fuel may diminish, but not any time soon.

          • Doghouse

            Hove, no, I’m not unaware of that. It’s a fair point though everything I said still stands.
            Countries are not run by people for the people however altruistic their inception. Anything vaguely resembling such will be – and is being – high-jacked. Countries are run by the state for the state. Everywhere. States are ever expanding. Lip service is paid to the public service in order to keep people in service to that very state. I’m not implying that the good people of Scotland shouldn’t strive for independence, not at all, simply illustrating it won’t be the utopian change people might hope for. Change is achieved and the same system of governance imposed, or more accurately, the same mind set. Every single time. It might carry a different label or colour, people like labels and colour, but that’s about all. How many countries that seemingly obtained independence from British governance still carry an almost identical political set up and call it democracy? And how many of those new ‘democracies’ for the people divided politically the hotbed seats of insurrection, those responsible for that very brief freedom so that the troublesome people might find it more difficult to turn their hotheads against the new democracy? Since the beginning of time ever thus, across the globe, and we’ll be doing exactly the same when their are enough people to gather themselves together on Mars or Vega 6 or wherever. Tis all about the struggle…..

            …..and containing it.

          • Republicofscotland

            “RoS, I wish you well I really do, but its not going to happen. You might well eventually get independence – should get it if that is what the people want, but aspirations of some future Avalon is pie in the sad sky is the truth of it.”

            Thank you Doghouse for the wish, the next sentence is a bit of a contradiction don’t you think?

            As for the Avalon pie in the sky comment, who said independence was the panacea?

            Its just the beginning, a divergence from Westminster, which right now is heading into in my opinion, an ugly frightening place.

          • Doghouse

            RoS, if it is contradictory tis not a personal one, more a circumstantial one. I genuinely do wish you well along with all people who seek self determination – concur on Westminster (same for Europe, same for US etc, etc, etc). If countries truly were run for the people by the people, then the differences between those countries would fade as to be almost indiscernable don’t you think? How the world could be, sigh.

        • Dave

          Although USA is an imperialist power, about half its land mass was purchased from France and Russia and perhaps Spain.

          • Ort

            Thus does a fledgling imperialist power reach maturity: “purchasing” land acquired by main force and brutal conquest from grown-up imperialist powers.

            It evokes the image of predatory scavenger birds disgorging the excess contents of their crops into the gaping beaks of their young.

            Except, of course, that non-human predators don’t camouflage their natural habits by euphemistically pretending that they are merely engaging in civilized, amicable business transactions.

        • Vivian O'Blivion

          Greenland’s fate under Trump would be dire indeed.
          Liz Cheney (daughter of Dick) Republican Congresswoman for Wyoming states that native tribes are “intent on destroying our Western way of life.” The outburst was prompted by a Federal Judge finding that the Trump administration had exceeded its powers by removing the grizzly bear from the Endangered Species Act.

          These people are cartoon evil.

      • Hatuey

        Interesting that you think a discussion about education is another opportunity to attack “ugly” Scottish people, the idea of Scottish independence, and the SNP.

  • N_

    How long before the Tory media whip up fury against Travellers, using the murder of policeman Andrew Harper as a hook? As well as hating the urban working class, most Tories also wouldn’t mind putting Travellers in a pit and shooting the lot of them. It could play well with a “No Deal With Foreign Scum” platform.

    • N_

      The Torygraph view could have been written by Dominic Cummings: “Criminals must be taught to fear the police“:

      There are various explanations for our present crisis: budget cuts, fewer police on the streets, the prevalence of knives, and an underground narcotics industry that uses young, vulnerable people to evade the authorities. Another is a pervasive decline in respect for authority.

      An election or plebiscite is almost certainly imminent.

      “Knives” is a codeword for “black”. Anybody who hasn’t realised that yet hasn’t been paying attention. Look at it this way: Tories couldn’t give a toss about how many poor people stab other poor people, or about what the murder rate is in the inner cities. What they care about is working class and other poor people who use resources that could go to them instead.

      “Pervasive decline in respect for authority” is code for working class people, also known as “members of the public”, who dare to act as if they’ve got a right to eat, have health treatment, not be treated like objects, be happy sometimes, not walk with bowed heads, etc. Such people, who are the majority of the population, are the traditional targets of Tory hatred, especially when they have roofs over them, eat meals, go about in public, and reproduce – when they sleep, eat, move about, have sex, relax, and get health treatment.

      (I)f (criminals) do not live in fear of being caught, it is logical that they will commit more offences. Britain now has a Home Secretary who says that she wants criminals ‘to literally feel terror’ at the thought of breaking the law.

      The cruelty comes out – it is practically being openly admitted.

      Restoring respect for the authorities will be one of the key tasks of this Government: a clear example of ‘taking back control’.

      This is music to Tory ears, as the fever builds up and the mailed fist gets readied.

      How long will it be before Traveller camps and communities are painted as “no-go areas” that were allowed to be created by a soft-touch (or is it “Marxist”?) state culture which must now be reversed, as “respect for authority” is imposed across the board?

      • Spencer Eagle

        “Knives” is a codeword for “black”…..nothing could be further from the truth. If anything the authorities appear to have done everything in their power to not directly attribute knife crime to black or ethnic minorities, despite statistical evidence to the contrary. BTW, delighted to see you are using ‘hook’ instead of ‘dog whistle’ now.

        • N_

          Yeah sure, they’ve “done everything in their power” – the public-spirited darlings have bent over backwards not to encourage racism. They try so hard typing stuff and having meetings and nothing nasty that happens is ever their fault. You seem to have little idea of how most propaganda works to produce an emotional effect, often such that what’s said on the surface comes together with a more important message being conveyed more penetratively, chiming with and intensifying pre-existing feelings and prejudices. Reading recommendation: Le Bon, and Bernays.

          What is the point of your sarcastic last sentence? “Hook” and “dogwhistle” are not synonymous. “Dogwhistle” can sometimes be a boring word to use because it’s in fashionable usage now in the chattering classes.

          Free observation regarding “taking back control”: it plays to the feeling of much having been lost.

          If you want “statistical evidence”, try the fact that official figures show that the incidence of violent crime is falling.

          • Old Mark

            Yeah sure, they’ve “done everything in their power”

            Why the sarcastic quotation marks N ? Are you not aware of the NUJ rules governing the reporting of crimes and the ethnicity of suspects, drawn up in 1976 by the (subsequently) convicted fraudster Denis McShane ?

            Ethnicity is rarely included in the descriptions of suspects, which seem to concentrate on their attire, if anything can be gleaned beyond ‘a group of males’.

            Thank you for confirming that the recent fatality of a policeman in Berkshire was connected to an escaping gang of burglars from the ‘travelling community’- I assume you live in the Berkshire area as the national news media has been silent on the subject.

          • Dave

            Yes it got so ridiculous that at one stage Crime-Watch would ask for information on a crime without giving any details whatsoever.

        • Deb O'Nair

          Knives, gangs, less tolerance of cannabis possession, messages on chicken boxes, increased stop and search powers – it’s clear enough who Priti Patel has in her sights while corporate criminals operate with impunity draining millions out the public purse, cocaine use doubles in 5 years, London becomes the centre for laundering money from global organised crime. The Tory priorities when it come to crime are a sick joke.

      • Vivian O'Blivion

        The dogwhistle is “fried chicken” rather than “knifes”. This is an established racist trope and appears in Kurt Vonnegut’s, Breakfast of champions.
        Patel and Brokenshire know that issuing fried chicken boxes with a “#noknifes” label is (purposefully?) ineffective.
        There is an established, proven program to address knife crime. What was the Strathclyde Violence Reduction Unit. It is multi-agency, requires resources, political support and time.
        “No such thing as society” freaks like Patel don’t give a toss about the deal bodies just as long as the bodies are restricted to the “underclass”.
        Patel’s only (true) concern is throwing some “tough on crime” red meat to the Tory base in the Shires.

    • N_

      The Sun, the Daily Mail, the Evening Standard, the Metro and the Daily Express have now all referred to “travellers” in their headlines about this story. The Mirror and Sky have used the term “caravan site” in theirs. The BBC say “Ten males aged 13 to 30”, and many will know what that means. I did. But the point isn’t whether anybody understands anything intellectually but what the effect of this story is on many non-travelling people’s emotions, feelings and prejudices regarding travellers and how that affects how they feel about the cloak of strength that the state is currently putting on.

      • Jimmeh

        Originally, the only info I could find was that the copper had stopped a vehicle, and then been killed and dragged. And that ten people had been arrested.

        I wondered what kind of a car could carry ten people. Perhaps it was not a car, but a charabanc?

        Once you hear about the traveller connection, and the arrested 13-year-old, all becomes clear; it sounds like the cops descended on the (legal) caravan site, and arrested *everyone* they could see.

    • Mary Pau!

      I haven’t been following ….Is it claimed it was Travellers who killed the policeman?

      • michael norton

        Mary Paul, that is exactly what they are saying, very loudly and very clearing, giving the name and location of the site and showing police raid the Travellers encampment.
        If one was being cynical, you might think a General Election was about to happen.
        “tough on crime, tough on criminal gangs”

        • nevermind

          So how did this happen then? Any answers yet as to the discussion that were had? What wad said, did he stop the car? Were his.communications recorded?
          Or was it a.hit and run with no words being exchanged?
          Facts please, we had the emotional responses from our snollygoster in charge, now lets hear what happened.

        • Terry callachan

          The police can claim someone in a street killed a policeman but the court want to know exactly who did it so all this nonsense about a whole encampment being suspected isn’t going anywhere.
          I would think the other locals already have issues with the folk in the encampment.
          Travellers live differently, nothing wrong with that but some people are determined to mark travellers as being bad people , they are just people like the rest of us but living a different lifestyle which they should be free to do.

      • Old Mark

        Like you Mary Pau! I’d hitherto been unaware that the traveller connection was now in the public domain, as I’d just seen TV news reports of this incident- which had censored this information, presumably with N’s approval.

        • michael norton

          The police have now said only two of the males arrested are over 21, all the rest are teenagers and come from the round about villages.
          You would have thought that the parents of these teenagers would want to know where their children were at half past eleven at night?
          It seems they had several vehicles, the robbers were doing houses, someone called the police.
          The first policeman to arrive was run over and dragged beneath that vehicle, this week the poor sod should have been on his honeymoon.
          I have friends and relatives who live in these villages.

    • Kerch'ee Kerch'ee Coup

      In all the discussion prompted by Cameron’s schooling,there was ,I believe, no mention of the difficulties experienced by gypsies, Rom,and travellers in getting their children even admitted to school and the prejudice against them when they do get a place.Just saying.

    • Terry callachan

      Marxist,When Scotland is independent you should come live in Scotland we will have a Tory party but it will never win a general election.

  • Dungroanin

    Education is a profit source rather than a quality of life issue – ever since Blair and Adonis got their hands on it through the magic spell of ‘Education, Education,Education’.

    Not just school fields have disappeared along with functional class sizes. The bankers have taken hold of the infrastructure and the future finances of the kids.

    Education has degraded that ‘A’ level grades are arbitrarily judged each year to keep the flows into ‘degree’ courses and student loans and fees flowing into bankers and hedgefunds pockets for decades.

    Nothing will change until we educate ourselves about the truth of how the propaganda – advertising, news, so-called experts – has kept us muted and convinced us to hand over our children’s and grandchildren’s futures to the ancient barons and the hedgefunders.

    Here is an absolutely must-read essay on propaganda and events covering the last 120 years by Gregg Maybury at Off-G.

    I personally have been coming across and verifying for myself many of the strands in there over the last few years but Maybury seems to be a lot further down that road.

    Please read, re-read and share widely. Such knowledge protects us and will set humans free.

  • Je

    Home educating pupil teacher ratio… 1:1 or so.

    I bet you could teach Cameron pretty much everything the teacher can Craig… but at his rate not the classes rate. Edinburgh has its own home educating network by the looks of things…

    I hated one of my primary teachers… his main function seemed to be to keep everyone quiet for the duration of the day. ‘Learning’ was all about keeping quiet, sitting on a hard wooden seat for hours, not participating, and trying to not look out of the window. The teacher got a soft seat.

  • Bill Hosie

    I am 74years old and the wisdom knowledge of this man is so valuable to the INDEPENDENCE cause it cannot be ignored thank you Craig Murray

  • Den Lille Abe

    Ok its funny, we Danes in Denmark do quite well, and we are only 5 million people. We have managed to bring about one of the most equal societies on this earth….Or I am dreaming or do not believe my lying eyes ?

    • Spencer Eagle

      I think you should sell that big cold lump known as Greenland to the great orange god and share the proceeds between the population of Denmark, what a party that would be.

      • Jimmeh

        Turns out the orange one was thinking of buying it on behalf of the USA.

        But when I first heard about this scheme, I seriously thought the Great Orange Combover was actually proposing to buy it for himself, using his own money. Daft, I know; but I’ve heard dafter things about him.

    • Sharp Ears

      Fair enough about Denmark and its people but such a shame about producing Anders Fogh Rasmussen, who headed NATO until the Norwegian Stoltenberg succeeded him. He now has a political consultancy, Rasmussen Global, and is a senior advisor to the Boston Consulting Group. His clientele? Three guesses. He is also an adviser to the chocolate teapot king in Ukraine, Poroshenko.

      Rasmussen works out of Brussels, Berlin, London, Paris, Washington DC and Copenhagen. Nuff said.

      • Republicofscotland

        “Fair enough about Denmark and its people but such a shame about producing Anders Fogh Rasmussen, who headed NATO until the Norwegian Stoltenberg succeeded him.”

        I’m afraid every Nato country must produce at least one psychopath to head up the organisation. Scotland produced George Robertson, who claimed, and probably still does that independence for Scotland would lead to the Balkanisation of Western Europe.

        England had this guy as Secretary General of Nato. I’ve no idea if he was a bit of a nut job or not.

        Peter Alexander Rupert Carington, 6th Baron Carrington.

  • nevermind

    I am glad that Cameron has got a place at your local school, he bright enough to learn whatever he likes and his 32 fellow pupils will enjoy his friendly an d outward nature.
    best of luck with the new house, hope you got enough helpers to get it shipshape for winter.

  • giyane

    If someone came up to you and said ” give us your vote and I’ll give you 500 quid ” you might think about it. But if someone wanted ownership of your car, your house, your job, your wealth , your wife and kids. You might get a bit shortly.

    Devolution is a toilet trap. Nothing else.

  • Ishmael


    I truly wonder if they where actually motivated to help those who need it (they are 99% not, or they’d have had a clear workable well presented plans showing outcomes etc) if “it” would even be on the cards, …again.

    There is a big difference between being ideologically motivated & motivated by material circumstance. & I wonder what thous in the later camp would actually come up with of their OWN volition.

    Also it’s well known we win concessions or can plan better when capital is stable, So it can actually be worse when you have ideologies doing god knows what.

    Like brexit some aspects of the “movement” have some validity, looking at is as more than just an “independence”movement, but as just part of the overall movements in society toward justice, But indys always been heavily led or shaped from above imo. Hence the incoherence.

    On a side note, this made me feel a bit better about my own abuse & naked exploitation, lets see SNP members swap places with workers in these conditions.
    On the Clock with Emily Guendelsberger

    • michael norton

      Ishmael, I have just read both your efforts and I can let you know, I can of make any sense of them, whatsoever, it is like random nonsense spewed by a band of monkeys.

      • Republicofscotland

        Basically what he’s saying is if there’s no Che Guevara or Mahatma Gandhi, facing down the baton rounds, then Scottish independence is a capitalist venture from the top down.

        • Ishmael

          ? …No i’m not.

          Im saying the central state is what it is. You can deny it’s actual function all you like, but no matter the minor concessions we win against them that’s their material function. …All states/republics. You think SNP members are going to jeopardise their investments? Their ill gotten privilege on the backs of others suffering that they milk for their position?

          “random nonsense spewed by a band of monkeys.” Funny, sounds more like the tosh I hear from sycophants on “indy”.

          • Ishmael

            Prime* function.

            Truly iv yet to see otherwise, in any country, Even in some south american countries who are arguably somewhat better. Still way off any notion of socialism as I understand it.

            & as i said, i’m not against being pragmatic, but even the small things that are theoretically possible, (top down) I see very little coherence on. If I did id be less inclined to critique the movement, even in it’s indy form.

            I really don’t feel i’m being the detached ideologue here. But imply what you want.

            I take my leave, Good evening/night all.

    • RandomComment

      There is a big difference between being ideologically motivated & motivated by material circumstance

      Unless your ideology is materialism circumstance. Marxism, for istance

      • Ishmael

        Material* circumstance.

        You don’t seem you get the distinction. If wanting to eat or live with basic dignity is “marxism” (no such thing imo) then fine, whatever….

        Im taking about the people being driven by their direct ‘material’ interests. As they have been throughout history, Marx just wrote about what he observed as a social scientist, but these movements are not about Marx or “Marxisum” and come from spontaneous reactions of oppressed people everywhere, as they did in the US back in the day of the strong labor movement.

        Though now you mention Marx, this came to mind.

        “Those heroes who seek to disprove their demonstrated incapacity – by offering each other their sympathy and getting together in a crowd – had tied up their bundles, collected their laurel wreaths in advance, and occupied themselves with discounting on the exchange market the republics in partibus [i.e., in name only] for which they had already providently organized the government personnel with all the calm of their unassuming disposition”

        • RandomComment

          How would you describe your philosophy Ishmael, if not “Marxisum”?

          (It was just “material circumstance” – auto-complete…)

  • Mary Pau!

    Teacher pupil ratio at my grandchildren’s school, in outer London is 30:1. This is quite common locally.

  • Gavin C Barrie

    Devolution Trap is too gentle a title. Devolution Snare is more appropriate.

    BBC news featured an N Sea platform featuring by new technology – and so a “huge” oil field in the N Sea is coming on stream. The camera then zooms to a tanker sitting some distance from the platform and the commentator breathlessly advises that the oil from the platform will be pumped direct to this tanker. What the commentator failed to advise was that Scotland will not receive the sale receipts of this tanker’s contents. Westminster has declared such offshore loading as ex-regio, and so the the sales receipts go direct to Westminster.

    Meantime Scotland and her MPs play by Westminster gangster rules. A faux unwritten constitution and a Prime Minister of the calibre and integrity of Johnson voted in by a minuscule group of people.

    It truly is time to quit this union.

    • Kempe

      Sales receipts for oil and gas have never gone to Scotland or Westminster, they go to the multi-nationals who extract the stuff. They pay the UK government for the rights to do so. Plus the usual taxes.

      • michael norton

        If the average citoyen gets next 2 nothing out of it, what is the point in extraction?

        • MJ

          Or, to put it another way, if the average citoyen gets something out of it, what is the point in extraction?

      • Gavin C Barrie

        And by whatever accountancy procedure, Scotland doesn’t directly receive revenue from the exploitation of her resources. Next up, no currently, power generated in Scotland by renewable energy it seems is charged for the privilege of supplying power to the UK grid. And since subsea power inter-connectors to Europe are only via England, the revenue for exporting Scotland’s renewable energy to Europe via England will be credited to England.
        It really is time to quit this union with England.

        • Kempe

          I love to know how you work that out. Are you saying that Scottish generators work for free?

      • Terry callachan

        Correct, and there are a good number in the House of Lords that sit on the board of directors of oil companies.Convenient that.
        We never do get to hear how much the English Westminster government get for each plot they sell for oil exploration.

        Now on the 32nd round of auctions of Scotland’s oil
        This latest one will have 768 blocks ( areas ) up for auction to explore for gas and oil

  • remember kronstadt

    Craig, I trust that Cameron enjoys his education and has an opportunity to read or see Peter Pan performed. Hopefully Cameron will be able to make a good living in Scotland when he grows up and has no compelling need to come to London to make a living. Albeit “There are few more impressive sights than a Scotsman on the make” (JM Barrie).

    • nevermind

      Owen Jones is not a.towering figure of a man, i have met him, if he is 5″4 than its an ovetestimate.

      Another case of brave rightwing throttle bottoms picking on the smallest person they could let their hate out on.
      Where they whistling the Horst wessel song? We should be told, maybe Michael or Kempe could shine some light on the nocturnal pursuits of this scum.

  • John Thomson

    Whenever I read any blogs on independence and think how can it be achieved, I can think of a great many things, but one continually trumps (sorry) all others and that is, at the end of your working life your standard of living is directly related to your financial income so state pension is crucial we all work and some have the luxury of a private pension but a great many only have their state pension to rely on. I watched both parents survive on next to nothing. Your state pension is directly related to your countries wealth so why is this not covered more often the UK is supposed to be the 6th richest country in the world yet we have the lowest state pension.

    In an independant Scotland we will do so much better. Please hurry along so that I am able to enjoy the end of years unlike my parents who struggled.

  • Mary Pau!

    Speaking as an Englishwoman, it seems to me a bit too simplistic to claim that anyone who is not a supporter of the SNP, Scottish self-rule membership of the EU, is not a true tartan Scot. My sister in law, who regards herself as a full blooded Scot, does not share this political perspective but would vehemently reject suggestions she is not truly Scottish as a result.

    • Hatuey

      Scottish people who do not support independence basically fall into one of three categories;

      1) crackpots/idiots
      2) quislings (usually financially incentivised)
      3) Stockholm Syndrome sufferers

  • M.J.

    Good for Cameron. Hopefully he will get a good education in spite of the large class sizes.
    Whether Scotland will be better off outside the UK I am not at all sure.

  • Mary Pau!

    In the Sun in the last 24 hours: The burglars involved in PC Harper’s death had been “raiding an £800,000 Victorian country house in Berkshire that was being renovated” and “stole a quad bike” before the officer was killed, sources told the Mail Online.

    Thames Valley Police confirmed to The Sun Online that a quad bike had been stolen from a property in the village.They dismissed initial reports suggesting that a burning car was found at the travellers’ site and was part of their investigation.Cops now have until early tomorrow to quiz the suspects, after they were yesterday granted an extra 36 hours.

    Forensic teams have been combing through the site as at least five police vans were at the scene.Locals told how the site — home to around 21 caravans — was a trouble hotspot.Paul Jones, 47, a retired firefighter from the nearby village of Tadley, said: “Those travellers think they are a law unto themselves.”We’ve had garages broken into, vans broken into, shops being burgled, cash machines broken into.”We’ve had one guy have his caravan stolen.”

    The Times yesterday reported that Andrew died after being hit by a Seat van and dragged several hundred metres down the road.

  • Geoffrey

    We have just returned from Scotland. I was surprised how wealthy it appeared. It was also expensive compared to the South East of England where I live. Compared to Lancaster where we stayed a few days on the way up, the part of Scotland we were in appeared super rich whilst the England we left was almost 3rd World.
    A snapshot I know, but from what I could see Scots are playing their hand very effectively.

    • kathy

      “We have just returned from Scotland. I was surprised how wealthy it appeared. It was also expensive compared to the South East of England where I live.”

      That’s because we have an SNP government which allocates our resources to the right things like health, education etc. rather than to weapons of mass destruction as they do at Westminster while, giving away Scottish oil for free to rich oil companies and tax windfalls for the super-rich as well as London vanity projects.

  • Muscleguy

    30 was pretty normal for me in my schooling in NZ. I even survived the last year of Primary in a class where half were in P4 and half in P3. IOW we had 1 1/2 classes in both P3 and P4 and this was the solution. There were not two spare classrooms and one extra teacher.

    Doesn’t seem to have done me much harm, I ended up with a Science PhD. Youngest started in a large, multi-ethnic infants and primary in NW London with large classes and she too has a Science PhD. My wife had to teach her to hold a pen properly (school didn’t notice) and it was years before she read anything other than comics. Jacqueline Wilson books did it, followed by Harry Potter.

    Cameron has bright, educated and questioning parents who will love and support him in what is undoubtedly a book filled home. Some kids are raised in homes without any books. We have multiple bookcases and still there are piles on the floor and volumes inserted on top of others for lack of shelving.

    The internet allows kids to look up stuff with ease and facility. We had a set of Encyclopaedia Brittannica and I think I read most of it over the years and I was the first person in the family to read any of the works of Dickens in multiple volumes because I had to cut a lot of the pages. Ditto the set of Churchill’s History of the Second World War lacking Volume 1. I have inherited both sets of books. I once threw the Churchills at a rat which had come into my room (probably smelt the tropical fish food) one night when I was alone in the house.

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