Welfare in Scottish Independence Debate

Bydand1980
Bydand1980 Member Posts: 35
edited 1. Mar 2013, 11:27 in Living with Arthritis archive
I hope people don't mind me asking a political question here but tomorrow (Thursday) I am going to a seminar at Holyrood about the constitutional debate around the Scottish independence referendum.

Since the Scottish Parliament was re-established with devolution we've taken a slightly different path with our NHS with free prescriptions and a commitment to keep the NHS public and avoid much of the privatisation that is happening down south. In fact, even things like cleaning have been brought back in house rather than contracted out.

For me though, one of the single biggest issues is control of welfare which is currently reserved to Westminster. The Scottish Parliament and majority of Scottish MP's oppose many of the welfare policies of the current government so it is a big question whether you support independence and Scotland taking responsibility for everything or you support staying in the union and maybe think that some aspects of welfare should be devolved.

I would like to ask people their opinions on welfare policy in general but if you are living in Scotland do you support independence, greater devolution or keeping things as they are?
Whatever your answer to that question, how big a part does welfare and medical policies play a part in that?

Comments

  • stickywicket
    stickywicket Member Posts: 27,088
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    I'm not Scottish and don't live in Scotland though I have family who do/are. For me, independence is for the Scots to decide but, whatever they decide, they should go with it and no half measures. If I did live there I'd be against it as being impractical.

    'Welfare' is a huge area. I'm sure, given the choice, none of us would choose to start from where we are :roll: but we don't have the choice. At least we do have welfare and don't have to decide whether or not we can afford to go to the GP or buy the prescribed meds.
  • Bydand1980
    Bydand1980 Member Posts: 35
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Thanks SW, and for the record, I am mostly neutral at the moment but lean slightly for.
    whatever they decide, they should go with it and no half measures.
    I completely agree. I don't think it helps the yes campaign if they make compromise to pacify people that fear losing out from being part of the UK. It completely undermines their argument that we would be better off independent.
    If I did live there I'd be against it as being impractical.
    It sure would be a big change and would require a lot of work but on a day to day basis I'm not so sure it would be impractical. Having lived abroad and travelled around Europe a lot, I've never really had any problems being in another country and I don't think Scotland/rest of UK would be any different.
    given the choice, none of us would choose to start from where we are :roll: but we don't have the choice.
    You've hit the nail right on the head there! If independence did happen for Scotland then we would have that chance and choice to start from a completely different position. That sure is tempting as hell despite the overall practicalities!
  • elainebadknee
    elainebadknee Bots Posts: 3,703
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi

    I am a scot living in england and moving back to scotland this year....I went to stay with relatives last year and couldn't get over how anti monarchy they were up there...There was some quite venomous hate for them and some were in the military..I simply didn't get it...Also read on a facebook page a quite disgusting remark telling Lizzy she wasn't welcome in a certain pub in Glasgow to do with celtic supporters...
    I know it wasn't like that when i grew up in the late 60's, 70's so not sure why there is all this animosity..I am sick of Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon harping on about westminster, slagging it off..After the amount of money wasted on a monstroity Holyrood it does make me wonder where the income from prescriptions etc went....
    I think we are stronger as a nation, if we divide we will end up like ireland...

    Elainexx
  • Bydand1980
    Bydand1980 Member Posts: 35
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    There are some areas, particularly in the west that are anti-monarchy but that is all to do with religion and goes back to the troubles in Ireland. I guess in areas with a high Irish Catholic population you are not going to get much support for an institution that still prohibits marriage to a Catholic and sadly it is no surprise to see such a comment associated with a Celtic pub.

    That issue aside, I do think that generally, people in Scotland are quite supportive of the Queen and perhaps even William but not so much Charles. But that's just my perception but all in all Scotland isn't hugely republican and I do think that an independent Scotland would retain the Monarch as a head of state. Remember as well, the union of the crowns happened before the dissolution of the old Scottish Parliament and the political union of the two parliaments. The monarch isn't so much of a political figure in this debate.
    I am sick of Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon harping on about westminster, slagging it off
    I agree with you in part on that. Beyond an idealised view of an independent Scotland, Salmond and Sturgeon are both very negative politicians, critical of other while they have not fully utilised the tools that the Holyrood Parliament already has. I don't think that they have been a particularly good government, but once they have achieved their raison d'etre then they would have to develop a new position post independence if they are to remain politically relevent. There is no guarantee that they would remain in power even if Scotland did vote yes.

    Where I don't agree is that there are many areas where they are right to be critical of Westminster. The introduction and then increase of student tutition fees is one such point. The welfare system as it currently stands is nothing short of evil and in Scotland, all but one party (the token minority Tories) agree with that.

    I definately don't agree about Holyrood! I agree about the way the design and construction was handled along with the huge costs but I have grown to like it and I would say it's a fantastic building. The acoustics are a bit wierd though with the unusual roof design!

    Why do you think we will be like Ireland rather than more like the Scandinavian countries?

    Back onto the original question regarding welfare, I don't get what you mean about the income from prescriptions given that we have universal free prescriptions. I would say that right now, controll of welfare is one of the top issues for me in this debate. If Labour and the Lib Dems would guarantee devolving welfare to Holyrood if either won the next election then I would consider voting no. Economic and financial policy is another big issue but I don't think that any Westminster government of any colour would be able to escape the influance of The City which I don't think is a particularly good thing. Everything is driven by profit and efficiency including health and welfare and it is destroying the UK at the moment.
  • elainebadknee
    elainebadknee Bots Posts: 3,703
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    First of all I have no idea what your reference to scandinavian countries is...I simply said what i saw and felt last year and was disgusted by the amount of anti english/monarchy and I am not a royalist...It made me ashamed to admit I was born in the same country as these bigots who I was in the company of and I have never experienced it before during all of my visits back to family in scotland....The language was foul but it was quite widespread and I didn't get the sheer hatred....
    Whatever scotland does, gets its own currency like ireland then fine but its not always a success...Governments rarely get it right but I cannot listen to the two fishy ones without them sounding as if they are spewing sour grapes..Why has it taken them so long to voice all this bile now...

    My view..

    Elainexx
  • ELAINE55555
    ELAINE55555 Member Posts: 123
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    No No No to Independance, and Holyrood should be shut down. I have no objection to being ruled from Westminster, after all we are one country, Great Britain. The cost and upkeep of Holyrood must run into millions, its just another tier in the system. I do think however that if you are working, and can afford to pay prescriptions, then you should. I know people who go to the doctors asking for medication for a cold. This is a huge drain on our NHS, and if they had to pay, they would think twice about it.
  • Bydand1980
    Bydand1980 Member Posts: 35
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    I'll start with this Elaine, simply because I agree!
    I cannot listen to the two fishy ones without them sounding as if they are spewing sour grapes..
    Although the Scottish Parliament has taxvarying powers and other tools to manage policy they have never been used. Up till now, the Scottish Parliament has operated in a comfort zone where it's budget is decided by Westminster and Holyrood has simply had to decide how to spend it without having to go through the process and pains of collecting the tax payments to pay for these things. It has been far too easy far "the fishy ones" (I like that!) to moan about the budget sent from London but they have not had to take any real fiscal responsibility. That will change in the next three years after the next Scottish election if we vote No to independence. The event tonight mostly focused on the technical part of the powers that Holyrood has but there will be another one later in the year about welfare but even still, it was very interesting and I think that if Scotland votes No to independence then the Holyrood government is going to have to take up and accept some more fiscal responsibility and I do think that there seems to be some within the parliament who see this as a next step forward.
    Why has it taken them so long to voice all this bile now
    The SNP have always been pro-indipendence since the 1950's so this is nothing new. In saying that I do seriously hope you are not confusing the problems of bigitory in one small part of Scotland with government policy in reation to the Queen! In fact, the SNP for the most part want to retain the Queen as head of state. There is a small republican part of their group but the same can be said of a minority in the far left of Labour and various Socialist groups all across the UK and the same for LibDems.
    Anyway, the majority of the SNP recognise that there is a difference between the political union of parliaments and the union of the crowns. The crowns were united before the Scottish parliament was dissolved. As such, when the Queen is in Scotand her official title is Elizabeth Queen of Scots and I think that is something that all parties in Scotland would wish to retain with the exception of the far left Socialists. She is not Queen Elizabeth II because the first Elizabeth only rulled England but that title also applies to the UK because she is the second of that name in a constituant part of the country.
    First of all I have no idea what your reference to scandinavian countries is
    I guess this accidently backs up the point I was trying to make. I hear you and do know that there are some areas, particularly in the west of Scotland, your reference to a Celtic pub backs this up, where bigitory is a massive problem but it is very much restricted to a few areas and once you get away from Glasgow, Lanarkshire and some parts of the south west where there is a large Irish community then this becomes a complete non-story. It simply does not reflect attitudes across Scotland as a whole, in fact, people in Royal Deeside and the Highlands would be horrified at the thought of rejecting the monarchy!

    Now the Scandinavian reference; even though you mentioned the problem with bigitory my first thought about the way Ireland has gone went straight to financial policy rather than Irish history! The Irish economy is a complete mess, even worse than ours, because of recklessly low taxation aimed at supposedly attracting foreign investment inwards. It simply didn't work, those companies went to Ireland to take advantage of low tax rates but as soon as the economy neededmore income they left as taxes increased. They took vast profits out of the country and they had little or no tax revenue from which Irish people would benefit from improved public services and infrastructure. The Irish economic problems prove that the race to the bottom with taxes and wages destroys economies. The reference to the Scandinavian countries was to show that countries with populations of 5-10 million can operate independently and successfully both within the EU in the case of Finland, Sweden and Denmark and outwith the EU as is Norway. These nations have high levels of taxation but also much higher levels of income which increases equality, reduces crime, increases political stability, improves public services and so people have more disposable income and a much better quality of life.
    All in all, I do think economic and wlefare policies will play a much bigger role inthis debate than any question about the monarchy ever will.

    About ending up as Ireland in terms of The Troubles, I very seriously doubt that Scotland will ever go down that road. I would fear that an incompetent SNP government might take the economy down the road of the Irish in pursuit of reactionary and populist policies rather than following a particular political ideology (I suppose at least you know what you get with the Tories!) and I do think it might be hard to predict how the SNP moves forward if Scotland does become independent but even if the referendum results in a Yes vote, the SNP are not guaranteed to win the next election and we could see a situation where the first new Scottish Government might be a Lab-Lib coalition who would be running a country they did not support the creation of or even a cross party foundation government as a way to provide some political stability through what would be a massive period of change.

    One last point on the Irish/anti monarchy thing, I hope that people around the world do notice that we elected a nationalist government (unfortunatly I think!) at the ballot box and that the future of this country will be decided at the ballot box. There has never been a gun or bomb fired or a life lost in the debate about the future of Scotland.

    However things turn out, I don't think we've done too badly but what I do think is that amoungst that issue you've completely missed the point of my question in asking about welfare and how the ConDem policies might effect the outcome of the referendum!
  • Bydand1980
    Bydand1980 Member Posts: 35
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi Elaine55555
    Again, I'll take the easy bit and start where I agree with you!
    I do think however that if you are working, and can afford to pay prescriptions, then you should. I know people who go to the doctors asking for medication for a cold. This is a huge drain on our NHS, and if they had to pay, they would think twice about it.

    I think we should go back to the old system where you could buy an annual prescription that would last for a whole year. I think I recall some media and journal articles talking about an increase in the prescription of over-the-counter medicines for minor ailments and I do think that covering this with a universal free prescription is unjustifiable particularly when it is abused.
    I think a huge part of the problem was the falicies that were used to justify the universal free prescriptions. The SNP government kept referring to people who had chronic conditions having to pay out £6+ per item for prescriptions. Not once during that debate did any party in opposition actually put forward the fact that people with long term and chronic conditions, and needed multiple items in each prescription, could buy an annual prescription which would pay itself within two or three months and the rest of the year was effectively free.
    In my case I would have needed five items each month in a prescription. This would have been about £360 a year but an annual prescription was only £50. It would be stupid for anybody to pay individually when that was available but that is what the policy was based on.
    Even if there was genuine concern about the poorest people not being able to afford medicines, they also forgot to mention that people recieving unemployment (including disability) benefits recieved free prescriptions anyway.
    The long and short of it was that this was a populist policy aimed at grabbing the votes of upper and middle class voters who, incidently, are more likely to vote than people on long term benefits.
    after all we are one country, Great Britain.
    Actually, no, we are not. We are a United Kingdom consisting of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Northern Ireland speaks for itself. Great Britain is a geographical mass not a political one and it consists of TWO Kingdoms and one Principality united along with Northern Ireland.

    Here is a side question. Would you say that Europe is a country?
    Europe has a President, a currency, passports for it's residents (have a look at a GB&NI or any other EU nation passport and it also states European Union and is translated into every official EU language), it has an elected parliament, a judicial system, a currency, a flag and a national anthem (Beethovens Ode To Joy). Is there anything of nationhood that the EU lacks which does not make it a country? (the E.U. has enhanced observer status at the UN giving it many of the rights held by nations!)
    No No No to Independance, and Holyrood should be shut down.
    No No No, absolutly not!!!!!!!! LOL!!! :lol: (I can see we're going to have to agree to disagree here perhaps!!!)

    Devolution is the best thing that has ever happened to Scotland!
    Our NHS has been protected from the disaster of private corporations running hospitals for profit instead of healing people.
    We don't have the farce of subsidising the elitist clubs that are Free Schools (an horiffic mutilation of a great Scandinavian concept) while public schools come under ever increasing budgetary constraints and poorer standards of teaching.
    We don't have the farce of people suing the department of education over exam grading systems being changed half-way through the year and a situation where two students giving the same answers to the same questions can get two different grades depending on when they sat the exam.
    We don't have £9000 a year tuition fees for higher education.
    We didn't screw up the rail franchise in Scotland a-la-West Coast.
    We are building a new Borders railway and have built the Alloa link and a link between West Lothian and Lanarkshire which increases ease of movement in the central belt.

    Need I go on? Actually, Yes I will!!

    I think we need MORE devolution, if not outright independence!

    Can you honestly say that the system of medical assessments by a private company with the motivation of profit in return for denying ill people (sometimes terminally ill) access to financial and social support is a good thing?
    That is something that is NOT devolved to Scotland and reserved to Westminster and to be blunt I find this particular policy to be nothing short of evil and inhumane. I really do object to being rulled by a government that abandons the most vulnerable people in society to humiliation, extream poverty, suffering in pain and in some cases death.

    On the so-called Bedroom tax issue, out of Scotlands 56 MP's only 4 supported the governments position on this policy. Can it possibly be fair that such agressive and destructive policies can be forced upon Scots by a government that has no mandate in Scotland?
  • ichabod6
    ichabod6 Member Posts: 843
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    I agree with Elaine and all the fives when she says Holyrood is another
    tier in the system. I've always considered it an organisation at the same
    useful level as Lancashire County Council and none of the statements,
    pronouncements or tentative arguments I have read on this forum has
    persuaded me differently.
  • nanarose
    nanarose Member Posts: 117
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    I live in the South of Scotland, and generally I agree with most of what Bydand says, apart from The Borders Railway which to most of us living here in a rural area will be a complete waste of money.

    However, as the subject is really about the NHS and welfare, I agree that we should pay for prescriptions, but not at the rate that is currently paid in England. That's a heck of a lot for one prescription, and let's not forget that some young hard working families, or single people are just as badly off as some who are on benefits, the elderly, or those who are poorly.

    I really do feel for those living in England having to pay the cost of a prescription - surely though it is up to you, yourselves, to vote in a party who says they will either abolish this, or cut it to a more reasonable amount?

    A prescription charge of @ £3.50 or somewhere around that mark would be sensible here in Scotland.....too much for those suffering a cold to try and get cough syrup or paracetamol on prescription, but low enough to be just about affordable, and of course the usual exemptions would still exist.

    I applaud the fact that we are not going down the route of the NHS in England, free health care should be for all, and I don't believe in private enterprise having any part of the NHS, unless every penny they earn goes back into the system, and there is no huge board of fat cats skimming off profits and bonus payments.

    As for the other points mentioned, I do think that it's ludicrous that we (in Scotland) have to implement policies on welfare, like the bedroom tax, when only a small minority actually voted the Westminster Government into power.
    I agree with free tuition, to a point. So long as the courses are 'beneficial' to the economy...none of these media study courses and the History of Coronation Street! I jest....I hope. :mrgreen:

    However, I am undecided about Independence as although I consider myself Scottish first, I am also proud of being British, and would prefer to keep that link.
    It all depends on what the proposals will be, I only hope that some English Westminster MPs stay clear of the debate, as often purely by voicing their opinions, the general populace might choose to opt for the other side! :shock:

    As for Scotland in general being anti-monarchy? Not in my part of Scotland it isn't! We had huge parties and events for the Golden Jubilee, and the vast majority of people I know loved every minute of it.

    It's easy to think that everything is rosy up here, it certainly isn't, and those in the present Scottish Parliament have many faults, but I do believe that generally, we have a more inclusive and compassionate Government than the one in London.

    Just my opinion of course, and no less, nor more valid than others. :D
  • nanarose
    nanarose Member Posts: 117
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    ichabod6 wrote:
    I agree with Elaine and all the fives when she says Holyrood is another
    tier in the system. I've always considered it an organisation at the same
    useful level as Lancashire County Council and none of the statements,
    pronouncements or tentative arguments I have read on this forum has
    persuaded me differently.


    Sorry, but I do disagree on that statement.
    The Holyrood Parliament is a National Government for Scotland, which passes laws for an entire country, and has a great say in the economics of Scotland.
    We have an entirely separate and different Education System than England. An entirely different Law System. An entirely different NHS, and the Scottish Parliament is totally responsible for all these and more, eg Fisheries, Agriculture etc.
    It is not just a small council which is part of the tier system of local government, which only affects a small part of the country and is only responsible for local spending.

    The majority of people in Scotland voted for devolution, and are on the whole, very happy with it.
    The London based Government is very out-of-touch with the views of the majority of Scots, and at least our votes put in a Government we chose, not one that was imposed upon us.

    That was the point of Devolution.

    8)

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