Not tartan Tories, but the SNP have learned from ‘divide and conquer’ Tory tactics


Look at this – the Tories are proposing that Scottish MPs will not have the power to set Income Tax rates outside of Scotland, as part of devolution. This means Scottish MPs won’t be able to set any Income Tax rates at all, as Scottish taxes will be set by the Scottish Parliament.

This is an annoying complication for the system, created by the Tories in response to the plans for Scottish devolution. It is divisive on many levels. People in Scotland and the rest of the UK will be watching rates in each other’s territories like hawks, ready to complain at the slightest sign that they are getting a worse deal. Scottish MPs will effectively have less power than their counterparts in England, Wales and NI – will they be happy about that? The Welsh and Northern Irish will be pushing for similar powers, that would give their own MPs less power than those in England. People in England might just be unhappy that their Income Tax rates will be set by Conservatives, who hold more seats in England than anyone else. And Conservative MPs are already saying that Scottish MPs will still have too much influence.

Resentments will grow – but isn’t this what the Scottish National Party wants? Hasn’t it learned that the best way to have its way is to divide the opposition?

Isn’t that why SNP adherents have been spreading lies about the Labour Party north of the border? Claims about pensions, the Vow, working with the Tories and who knows what else are always made as bald statements because there is no evidence to support them, other than that they don’t lead to a fully independent Scotland.

Divide and rule – it’s an age-old Tory tactic. We all know that super-rich bankers caused the crash that provided George Osborne with his excuse to impose austerity on us all. But the Tory lie is that the previous Labour government overspent, and the Tory tactic has been to victimise claimants of unemployment and disability benefits under the pretext that they are skivers and scroungers. They’re not – these benefits are correctly claimed in 99.3 per cent of cases.

And pensioners have all this to come from 2016, if the Tories retain office in May!

Note that the measures proposed by William Hague today fall short of the English Parliament that many people wanted. The Tories know what they’re doing, you see – they want to spread resentment against the Scots. It’s the “Us” and “Them” mentality.

Note that Labour wants a cross-party investigation into the matter. No doubt the ScotsNats will call that “weak” if they get the chance.

So why this strategy by the ScotsNats?

Are they trying to irritate the rest of us so much – by their own admission they don’t think they have any influence on national politics, so this must mean they can only be an irritant – that, sick and tired of their nonsense, we end up declaring, in Cromwellian tones, “In the name of God, go”?

How would Scottish citizens who haven’t been seeking independence, and who haven’t been causing such annoyance, feel about being cut adrift with the rest of them?

And how would the rest of the world treat an independent Scotland whose leaders (and their supporters) had been shown to have been acting in such a childish way?

It seems to this writer that this divide-and-rule strategy marks the Scottish Nationalists as far too similar to the Tories than either would care to admit.

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35 thoughts on “Not tartan Tories, but the SNP have learned from ‘divide and conquer’ Tory tactics

  1. David

    How can you twist a policy announcement from the tories into an SNP strategy when the SNP have not even responded to Hague’s proposals?

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      There’s no twist. I simply spotted the similarities between this Tory tactic and those of the SNP.

  2. Rob

    It’s not the job of the Scots (or the Welsh, come to that) to be English Labour’s cannon fodder). If Labour hadn’t spent all of the Blair years cow-towing to big business at home and war-mongers abroad then we might owe it some loyalty. As it is we fell abandoned beyond the periphery. You had your chance to roll back Thatcherism and you blew it. We’re not coming back.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      English LABOUR? In case you hadn’t noticed, this story is about the Tories pushing Scottish people into the firing line.
      This is the problem with a certain kind of nationalist – they don’t know who the enemy is.

      1. Rob

        Really? I thought the story was about your continued frustration that we won’t turn up like robots any longer to vote for the party that has betrayed us for so long.

      2. Mike Sivier Post author

        If I’m frustrated, it’s at your willingness to be manipulated by the SNP and the Tories, I think.

      3. Martin McMillan

        And the problem with a certain type of blogger is that they sometimes respond to perfectly reasonable points with rudeness and an unfortunate tendency to ascribe “nationalism”, where none may exist. Seriously Mike, you are one of the good guys(I think), don’t be this guy.
        From what I can see everyone’s been going very easy on you so far, presumably out of personal respect for you, as I have plenty. But bear in mind, our lot have been utterly demolishing the best arguments that the establishment could throw at us, for a period of years now, we’re pretty good at it, and there are thousands of us all on the same page.
        Let’s ALL get stuck into our common enemy, this fighting on two fronts that you currently have going on is about as well advised as when Hitler tried it.

      4. Mike Sivier Post author

        With the greatest of respect, I haven’t seen any arguments at all from your lot, as you call them.

  3. Andy Robertson-Fox

    I belıeve that four possıble optıons were put forward – three Conservatıve and one LıbDem. It seems Labour dıd not put any proposals on the table but they boycotted the cross party talks aimed at resolvıng the ıssue.
    The optıon selected wıll no doubt be the subject of much debate but personally ıt seems logıcal to me for MPs representıng Scottısh constıtuencıes to sımply be dıplomatıc and abstaın on any legıslatıon whıch does not affect those that elected them.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      Labour wanted a constitutional convention, if I recall correctly, and boycotted these talks as a “stitch-up”.
      I think Scottish MPs currently do as you describe and abstain, although the SNP is threatening to change that.

      1. ubych

        “I think Scottish MPs currently do as you describe and abstain, although the SNP is threatening to change that.”

        That is a little misleading Mike, SNP, MP’s normally abstain from voting on English only issues. This is not true for Labour or any other party, a good example of this is with tuition fee’s, where Labour pushed through the policy only with the help of Labour MP’s from Scotland.

      2. Mike Sivier Post author

        But tuition fees was not an England-only issue. In fact a large concern at the time was that students in Scotland would have to pay for their tuition for an extra year.

      3. Andy Robertson-Fox

        A danger wıth boycotting talks on the grounds that ıt ıs a “stıtch-up”, especıally when ın a mınorıty posıtıon, ıs beıng “stıtched-up” even more than ever; as the sayıng goes ,why not get ın and fıght your corner

      4. Mike Sivier Post author

        It’s a reasonable point. Perhaps Labour is hoping to change any decision after forming a government in May. Otherwise it won’t make much difference what Labour says anyway.

      5. Joan Edington

        The only reason the SNP are saying that they may vote on what the English call English matters is simply that many of them are NOT. Only having control of 15% of income tax should not mean that Scottish MPs should be banned from income tax votes. If a vote is taken to cut NHS funding, that will result in Scottish funding being cut as well, due to the Barnett Formula. Should the Scots then not be allowed to vote, since it does affect them? I would expect the SNP members to abstain, as they always have, on matters that are genuinely English only.

      6. Mike Sivier Post author

        This is the whole East Lothian Question, boiled down into a nutshell, really. There are so very few ‘English-only’ matters that are handled by Parliament. England is 85 per cent of the population, or thereabouts, and has a huge, almost-gravitational, effect on the other UK countries.

      7. Joan Edington

        Mike said “But tuition fees was not an England-only issue. In fact a large concern at the time was that students in Scotland would have to pay for their tuition for an extra year.”
        That may have been so, Mike, but it would have been a separate issue in the Scottish Parliament. The vote in Westminster that ubych was presumably talking about would only have affected English and Welsh university fees.
        PS it’s the West Lothian question.

      8. Mike Sivier Post author

        This was 1998. There was no Scottish Parliament at the time. The vote in Westminster affected the whole of the United Kingdom.

      9. Joan Edington

        Of course you’re right Mike. My memory is failing me. The Scotland Act was in 1998 but of course parliament didn’t actually sit until 1999.

  4. gavinpollock

    The Tory divide and rule tactics seem to be working here. You’re spending too much time attacking the SNP instead of the Tories. Scotland’s a lost cause for Labour now, they’re going to have to learn from it and make sure England doesn’t go the same way.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      No, you don’t understand: Scotland is now a lost cause for SCOTLAND.
      … unless there’s a silent majority north of the border with more common sense than the loud ones.

      1. gavinpollock

        Most of the people switching to the SNP are left wingers disillusioned with the Labour party. You’re not going to win them back by telling them they’re stupid.

      2. Mike Sivier Post author

        The loud ones, to whom I referred, don’t need me to demonstrate their intelligence level – it’s out there for all to see.
        Regarding the others, I have made no comment.

  5. Thomas M

    I like the SNP myself, but it could mean another five years of Tory and Lib Dem rule south of the border. I don’t know if my rather slender finances can survive another five years of the Tories.

  6. paulrutherford8

    I’ve had another bout with some SNP ‘supporters’ today. Yes, I know… but I can’t let blatant lies pass me by.

    Anyway, yet again, I was being told they will not vote Labour because whenever they have done so, they always end up with a Tory government. Selectively short memories?

    The non-logic astounds me…

    However, on questioning, it appears that these people genuinely believe that if they vote SNP, they will be performing a great service by getting rid of Labour in Scotland. As I’ve often said, there is no debate, no acknowledgement of facts, no desire to seek the truth.

    Many appear to read the gospel according to ‘Wings Over Scotland’ on a daily basis and genuinely believe that what is written on that website [by a half-Scot living in Bristol, I believe], is cast-iron, 100% fact. It plainly isn’t.

    What is becoming even more disturbing is that the age-range and ‘type’ of people tweeting the anti-Labour rhetoric seems to be getting both younger and older with more ‘white-collar’ tweeters involved. I doubt many [or any], of these people would ever read this blog. After a few facts have been presented to them, the usual personal attacks follow.

    Sorry, I may be rambling a bit. Not so coherent today I’m afraid.

    And I’m still reeling after having had someone trying to convince me that Hansard is written by the party in government and so can’t be trusted to be accurate.

    I sincerely hope the majority of Scots are not taken in by the repetetive SNP propaganda machine. I also hope my family members up there are listening to me!

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      You’re coming through loud and clear. I’m sure it isn’t easy to put up with the kind of concentrated abuse these SNP supporters transmit. Did they get a bunch of their mates to gang up on you?
      Any Scottish Nationalists here willing to defend the claim that Hansard is written by the party in government and cannot be trusted to be accurate?

      1. paulrutherford8

        Oh yes, the mates appear. I have a feeling some of them now recognise me and of course, ‘wings’ has blocked me.

        I supply Hansard links, links to other official parliamentary documents, etc., but either never read [due to fear of discovering they are in fact wrong], or responded to with links to the Scottish Herald [I think its called], wings, or some random out of context screenshot of a quote from a part of a sentence from an interview… you get the picture.

        Vote Labour get Tory? Vote bloody SNP, get Tory.

        Or why not vote Labour, get Labour and then get active and involved properly in order to influence the future?

        Or is that just a tad too ‘real’?

        Poor Scotland.

    2. gavinpollock

      What has the Wings over Scotland bloke being “half-Scottish” got to do with anything? Are only full blooded Scots allowed a say?

      The SNP, for all its faults, steers well clear of that sort of racial purity crap.

      1. Mike Sivier Post author

        Do they? Here’s Hstorm from last September: “I spent my teenage years living in Scotland and I was sometimes the English ‘verbal-punching-bag’ whom locals took their nationalistic bad moods out on. Finally the opportunity arrived for the Scots to get what they wanted, and they chucked it aside. So what exactly were they giving me all that grief for for all those years then?” (I’ve been researching SNP adherents’ and this comment is fresh in my mind.)
        Are you going to tell me that none of the people who took out their “nationalistic bad moods” on him are supporting the SNP now? I would find that very strange indeed, considering what it represents.

      2. gavinpollock

        I grew up in England and got plenty of grief about being Scottish from idiots, so I know it happens. The papers like to present it as one sided – Scots hating the English – but there’s also anti Scots feeling in England. The vast majority of English people are fine, but there are idiots here too.

        And some SNP supporters are guilty of the reverse, but the party itself talks about civic nationalism. Dismissing someone’s opinions because they’re “only half-Scots” sounds more sinister to me.

  7. Ath

    As much as I dislike nationalism, i dislike traitors more. Give me one reason why like yourself I should pay any attention to labour.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      You could start by reading the new article on fracking. It’s not a perfect solution to the problem, but three per cent of England endangered is better than 100 per cent, which is what the situation would have been without Labour’s regulations.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      Of the British Empire? Of which the Tories were a significant part?
      I think “divide and conquer” has been with us ever since the very first societies were formed. That doesn’t make it justifiable, and certainly not with lies.

Comments are closed.