Labour’s doomed in Scotland and Ed needs to put Sturgeon in her place: so scrap the Barnett Formula

Seemingly, there is little Ed Miliband can now do to diminish the threat posed by the SNP’s remarkable insurgency. Poll after poll shows Labour facing a total wipe-out in Scotland. It isn’t a case of just losing badly; this is the stuff of total annihilation.

Meanwhile, the Conservative campaign thinks it’s on to something by warning that a minority Labour government, reliant on a bloc of SNP votes, will be a bad deal for England. As a message, it’s an exocet targeted at voters in battleground seats south of the border, where the prospect of the Scottish tail wagging the English dog seems iniquitous.

Ed Miliband can’t fix the first problem; what will be, will be. Scottish Labour is going down in flames. The bigger question for Labour strategists is whether its woes in Scotland are cyclical, the tail-end of the vortex generated by last autumn’s referendum on independence, or a more structural shift. Has the SNP now eclipsed Labour as the social democratic voice of Scots, as they contrast their simple promise to end austerity with Labour’s more complicated (and more realistic) UK-wide offer?

Although Labour’s campaign in Scotland is doomed, it can still use its setback to address its second problem: showing the SNP would not be left calling the shots.

All the party needs is a popular measure that confronts the Tory narrative that Miliband is in Sturgeon’s pocket. Something that shows Labour can make tough choices and, crucially, reassures voters in English marginals that it’s is on their side.

There is a policy proposal that fits the bill, a magic bullet Labour can fire that hits all these targets: scrap the Barnett Formula.

There is no-one in British politics who can make a plausible case for a public spending formula that sees a fifth more spent on Scotland than England. The only reason it has not been amended out of history by now is down to decades of political inertia and a tactical belief that it would add grist to the nationalists’ mill in the run-up to last autumn’s referendum.

Well, to mix metaphors, that ship has sailed. Now, in the interests of good government, let alone basic fairness, the formula has no place and its demise is timely, regardless of the election. But it remains a powerful card for Miliband to play. By coming out now and arguing that the Barnett Formula is outdated and unfair has no electoral downside for Labour. The Scottish party’s fortunes simply can’t get any lower.

So while scrapping Barnett would be unpopular with Scottish voters, it would be a bold, transformative move that showed Ed Miliband was primarily concerned with hard-pressed English taxpayers. (Furthermore, it would even amount to a clear Labour spending cut).

As for Nicola Sturgeon, where is she going to go? She’s ruled out a deal with the Tories and has been at pains to suggest her nationalist agenda will not mean that England misses out. Backing Labour is the only realistic option the SNP has.

Let her struggle to explain why a forty year-old exercise in crude pork-barrel politicking that benefits Scots at the expense of English taxpayers is still defendable; especially if Labour was to rechannel the Barnett excess back into the UK-wide NHS.

The scale of Labour’s electoral problems in Scotland could take years to fix, but the party can still make impending electoral disaster bend to its advantage by scrapping Barnett. To paraphrase the theologian Reinhold Niebuhr, Labour needs the serenity to accept the things it cannot change, the courage to change the things it can and the wisdom to know the difference.


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52 Responses to “Labour’s doomed in Scotland and Ed needs to put Sturgeon in her place: so scrap the Barnett Formula”

  1. swatantra says:

    The ‘Formula’ was done on the back of a fag packet decades ago, and nobody had the courage to challenge it. Basically done to ‘buy’ the Scots. Time to change all that and scrap it. The Scots must learn to make their own way, that’s what ‘independence’ is all about.

  2. Robert says:

    Labour need to prove that it can work with other parties. Winding them up for the sake of it is not a good approach.

  3. Tafia says:

    into the UK-wide NHS.

    Firstly, there is no such thing. There is NHS England, NHS Wales, NHS Northern Ireland & NHS Scotland. Soon that will be joined by NHS Manchester. All of them are organised differently – for instance in Wales there is no such thing as a Primary Care Trust. In addition, they all even compile waiting lists and other stats differently.

    Secondly, in the devolved areas of Wales, Scotland & Northern Ireland, Westminster is not allowed to fund their NHS’s directly. Money is just given to the devolved governments and Westminster cannot even tell them what to spend it on. It could do, but it would require a referendum in each of the devolved areas to see if they want the terms of devolution changing.

    And scrapping Barnett would be unpopular with Labour’s last stronghold – Wales, not to mention the largest recipients – London boroughs.

    bearing in mind then that there are devolved elections in Scotland, Wales and the GLA next year, tinkering with the Barnett would lead to the destruction of Labour.

  4. Lewis says:

    If Labour offered to scrap the barnett formula and replace it with full fiscal autonomy for Scotland, labour would gain popularity in both England and Scotland. Voters in England would like the thought of Barnett being scrapped while Yes voters who previously voted Labour may be tempted to return to the party they used to support due to it passing real powers to Scotland.

  5. Matthew Jones says:

    Hmm. An interesting idea, but, strangely enough, not one that Labour was prepared to contemplate when it relied upon its Scottish MPs to carry its policies in England. To discover that Barnett is iniquitous after loudly supporting it for decades would be the mother of all U-turns. Far from gaining Labour respect, it would kill off for ever any chance of a Labour resurgence north of the border. The real issue, which Labour would do well to address is one of democratic legitimacy – i.e. The West Lothian question. “English votes for English laws” may not have had much appeal when it seemed only to benefit the Tories, but Labour is in serious danger of being left behind if it does not come up with some answers ASAP.

  6. John P Reid says:

    I Gree with Lewis, and it’s not so unpopular with labour activists, as one would think.

  7. uglyfatbloke says:

    It’s worth remembering that the Barnett formula is – and always was – a fiddle anyway. So much spending is excluded from it as to make statements about Scots getting X per annum more than England quite meaningless, it was a political fix and it should have died the death long ago, but every party has – for different reasons – bought into it.

  8. Madasafish says:

    Let her struggle to explain why a forty year-old exercise in crude pork-barrel politicking that benefits Scots at the expense of English taxpayers is still defendable; especially if Labour was to rechannel the Barnett excess back into the UK-wide NHS.

    Hmm and here the entire article falls apart.The UK Government CANNOT force Wales and Scotland to spend money on the NHS. The decision on what to spend the money was devolved.. by a Labour Government – to the respective countries.

    So if the Barnett formula is scrapped, the excess money can be split amongst the English, Scots and Welsh and N Irish… but the UK Parliament can only decide on what England spends. It cannot decide for Wales or Scotland.

    This is so basic it’s politics lesson 1. No wonder English Votes for English Voters finds no support under Labour. They don’t appear to understand the system they themselves installed.

  9. Neil Woodward says:

    Isn’t there the small matter of Brown’s Vow, on behalf of the Union, to enshrine Barnett forever more? Labour’s fortunes cannot get any worse in Scotland, but this could mean they never improve.

  10. AnneJGP says:

    It’s always better to try to find a constructive way of approaching issues. Few people would argue against a sharing of resources that is manifestly fair.

    A proposal to ‘scrap the Barnett formula’ would be negative to the point of being petulant. Far better to work with the aims of the SNP MPs, and aim to have all aspects of cash flow between the parts of the UK clearly identified in source and destination.

    A constructive proposal to clarify where the money comes from and where it goes to would be a far better approach. At the moment, most seem to believe that London & the South East subsidises the rest of the UK. The SNP appear to assert that Scotland is a net contributor but see no reason to subsidise the poorer parts of the UK, from what Ms Sturgeon said to the Plaid Cymru lady (sorry, I forget her name).

    With genuine cash-flow information available, the people of Scotland would be in a far better position to assess the situation wrt independence. SNP MPs should be very keen to see this identification happening. With a strong SNP influence on the UK government that facilitates the gathering of such figures, they should have no reason at a later date to reject them.

    Alongside the gathering of this cash-flow information, we need to see analysis of the special factors that make a straight per-capita share-out of funds unfair.

    IMHO it would be a very good thing to have an SNP Business minister coming down to the far southwest of England to explain why his own constituents need so much more funding than do those of (say) Cornwall.

  11. Robert the cripple says:

    Wales has already stated any money coming to Wales from England for the NHS like the mansion tax will be used by the Welsh Assembly for what ever it thinks is a priority . Money given to Wales the decision on where it’s spent will be the Assembly not parliament in London decision.

  12. Daniel says:

    The Barnett Formula is indefensible. Why should some parts of the UK subsidise Scotland when Scotland is wealthier than most English regions?

    And for the person who mentioned Wales above, Wales actually loses out massively from the Barnett Formula. So does the North of England.

    Given that Labour looks likely to be wiped out in Scotland, the party has nothing to lose by abandoning Barnett. If Labour doesn’t, it looks like they’re prioritising the needs of Scotland ahead of other parts of the UK which need the money more.

  13. Madasafish says:

    If Labour abandon Barnett, the SNP would not – rather could not – support Ed at all. The Scots would not let them. Ever.

    So Labour could not win a vote of confidence and hence could not govern.

  14. Mr Akira Origami says:

    Robert the cripple says: “Wales has already stated any money coming to Wales from England for the NHS like the mansion tax will be used by the Welsh Assembly for what ever it thinks is a priority . Money given to Wales the decision on where it’s spent will be the Assembly not parliament in London decision.”

    Yes,it’s true…..an example of Welsh Labours priorites – making an aparteid NHS.

    http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/local-news/hospital-ward-dedicated-welsh-language-7854930

    The Welsh Orwellian NHS…”if you speak Cymraeg and vote Welsh Labour or Plaid Cymru you can go into Ward B2. If not it is Ward B1 for you…..and you don’t want to go into Ward B1 do you!”

    Scrap the Barnett Formula and let the guy rest in peace.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y0S7bmPbOdM

  15. paul says:

    Where to start with this. Firstly, without looking anything up, there is no uk nhs. The scottish nhs is and always has been a totally different entity.

  16. Nigel says:

    Yeah if the Jocks are nt gonna vote for Labour then fuck them .

  17. mark wallace says:

    And the English say we are racist, don’t worry you will be rid of us soon and we will take the money we give you, do you really think if Westminster lost out from us they would want to keep us, it’s us who keep the English economy afloat.

  18. commenter says:

    Labour: please, please do this. It would make independence a no-brainer.

  19. Gerry Boland says:

    why do Labour and scottish labour persist with their view that the Scots are mendicants? That being the case why did they beg us to stay in the union? Racist views coming out of England. Pro Indy supporters are not anti English just pro independence.
    Pro Indy Scots just want independence they are not anti anyone.

  20. Paula Rose says:

    You don’t actually understand the Barnett formula do you?

  21. William Paterson says:

    The Barnett Formula was intended to dissuade Scots from independence at a time when revenues from oil were very large indeed. Denis Healey has repeatedly talked about the lengths they went to disguise the volume and of course UK Governments suppressed the Mc Rone report which called it right. It is thus ludicrous to argue that Scotland has been subsidised. It would be a different matter now with the fall in the price of oil. Gratitude is a scarce commodity but it might be helpful to ponder on the fact that Scottish voters chose UK solidarity rather than independent wealth in the 70’s .Without that decision England would have been in a very parlous state indeed

  22. bill g says:

    why not offer scots FFA ( full fiscal autonomy) they’d get ALL taxes raised in Scotland and send a contribution for defence and foreign affairs to the treasury , they’d be totally responsible for all spending /borrowing decisions there’d be no question of a subsidy , it would answer west Lothian question by Scotland sending far less MPs , perhaps only five or six to consider defence and FA questions thereby meeting tory EVEL worries and would probably save the union , scrap Barnett and I think they’ll be gone before GE2015

  23. The author of this article is so singularly ill-informed one easily might take them for a member of the self-regarding London commentariat. The fact that they think there is such a thing as a “UK-wide NHS” is only one of the more glaring fallacies. That they have evidently swallowed whole the propaganda about “subsidy junkie Scotland” suggest that they are as gullible as they are ignorant.

    They would do well to reflect upon the phrase “identifiable spending” and its use in the comparisons between Scotland and the rest of the UK that are taken as gospel. They might ponder who decides what is considered identifiable. They might even get as far as reflecting on the potential effects of such choices being informed by the same casual prejudice as is exhibited in the article.

    But the real stupidity here lies in the author’s ranting about abolishing the Barnett Formula without ever considering what might replace it. By neglecting to think the thing through they make it clear that what is being presented is not a reasoned argument but the kind of mindless lashing out at the SNP which has brought British Labour in Scotland to the parlous state in which it now languishes.

    The reason the Barnett Formula survives is that it works to the benefit of the British state. The reason it has never even been the subject of a serious review is that close examination would reveal the extent to which the formula is manipulated in order to support the propaganda portrayal of Scotland as a dependent territory.

    It is deeply to be regretted that the shallow-minded pettiness that we see here is what is now thought of as policy thinking within the ranks of British Labour.

  24. Jon Southgen says:

    As an ex member of the once proud Labour Party,there is a simple solution to the party’s woes in Scotland. Re-establish itself as the party of the working class thereby enabling Scots left wing voters to vote for a party representing their wishes. Talk of teaching us a lesson of sorts, as contained in some comments above ,is worthy of right wing extremists.

  25. Slatanic says:

    You know what, SCRAP the Barnett formula and then you will see that, not only will you lose Scotland forever, it will give us the ammunitation that is required for Independence, this is your problem Labour, you spend so much time spinning lies and decieving voters you fail to grasp the severity of the damage you will impose on yourselves, that is why the Scottish branch of your party is performing so badly, the lies and scaremiongering spouted during the referendum campaign and repeated during this General Election campaign has come back to haunt you all

    Go for it, you will be ensuring that apart from the die hard Unionists, the citizens of Scotland will be voting for Independence, I encourage you all to campaign for the scrapping of the Barnett Formula.

    GO FOR IT

    P.s. Before you accuse me of being a Cybernatz, know this, I voted Labour all my life and my support for them died the day they joined forces with the Tories in the referendum campaign

    P.s.s, before you bring up the Tartan Tories of 1979, I suggest that you read James Callaghan’s book “Time and Chance” and you will see the real truth, if you can’t be bothered buying the book, here is a link showing the relevant pages from the book.

    Enjoy

    http://worldofstuart.excellentcontent.com/timechance.jpg

  26. Mat says:

    Some people on here as a bit confused! Scotland didn’t get independence last year, so they cannot “pay for themselves”! Also, it’s unlikely the Barnett formula will be scrapped. The polls are indicating that Labour will need the SNP support to get in, so it’s unlikely the SNP would vote with Labour to scrap the Barnett formula!!
    If you want the Scots to pay for themselves, bearing in mind they have paid more tax per head that the rest of the Uk for the last 34 years (according to government/GERs figures), I’m sure they would be more than happy to get independence from rUK!!
    The Scots (SNP) are unhappy cause Scotland was promised more powers to vote ‘No’ but Westminster is now refusing to give them what they promised. The unionists sowed the wind, now they are about to reap the whilrwind!!

  27. Mat says:

    Fact folks: SCots have paid more tax per head than the rest of the UK for the last 34 years.

    Ergo: London does not subsidise Scotland. Get your facts right please.

    Try looking at government/GERS figures

  28. Alex says:

    Some Tories want to scrap Barnett, this is the first time I’ve seen Labour mention it. The very fact that it is possible to mess with Barnett proves why we need to move towards FFR. Barnett is not in our hands, just as our choice of government is not in our hands.
    One moron above mentioned that Scots need to pay their own way because thats what independence is all about. Well you sir are about 20 years behind the rest of us. Take your patronising drivel over to the Daily Mail where it belongs.

    Of course we have to pay our way and most of us now understand that, given time, we will be more than capable of doing so.

    We want rid of the crutch, Barnet is not in our hands. Why the hell would any self respecting Scot vote Labour nowadays?

  29. Mark Irwin says:

    Peter A Bell
    The British Labour knives are out

    Labour’s doomed in Scotland and Ed needs to put Sturgeon in her place: so scrap the Barnett Formula

    The author of this article is so singularly ill-informed one easily might take them for a member of the self-regarding London commentariat. The fact that they think there is such a thing as a “UK-wide NHS” is only one of the more glaring fallacies. That they have evidently swallowed whole the propaganda about “subsidy junkie Scotland” suggest that they are as gullible as they are ignorant.

    They would do well to reflect upon the phrase “identifiable spending” and its use in the comparisons between Scotland and the rest of the UK that are taken as gospel. They might ponder who decides what is considered identifiable. They might even get as far as reflecting on the potential effects of such choices being informed by the same casual prejudice as is exhibited in the article.

    But the real stupidity here lies in the author’s ranting about abolishing the Barnett Formula without ever considering what might replace it. By neglecting to think the thing through they make it clear that what is being presented is not a reasoned argument but the kind of mindless lashing out at the SNP which has brought British Labour in Scotland to the parlous state in which it now languishes.

    The reason the Barnett Formula survives is that it works to the benefit of the British state. The reason it has never even been the subject of a serious review is that close examination would reveal the extent to which the formula is manipulated in order to support the propaganda portrayal of Scotland as a dependent territory.

    It is deeply to be regretted that the shallow-minded pettiness that we see here is what is now thought of as policy thinking within the ranks of British Labour.

  30. Jock Ledug says:

    I suppose the basic question is whether Scotland pays more in than it takes out of the pot. I’m suspicious that if they were a drain on the treasury then why hold on to Scotland. Never mind stopping the Barnett, just cut them loose to sink.
    BUT, the thought prevails that the scotnats might be right and their pay ins exceed their pay outs? Why else would Westminster prevail over them.
    We might have a problem.
    Jock

  31. Tobias Hendry says:

    Nicola Sturgeon has stated that the only justification for a 2nd referendum would be a significant change in circumstances. Most have taken this to mean an exit from the EU but scrapping Barnett could also be used as justification.

    A proposal to scrap Barnett might increase Labours chances of winning a few more seats in England but it would also kill of Labour in Scotland for good, increase the chances of a second referendum and severely weaken the economic argument against independence.

  32. Ian says:

    If you were to propose scrapping the Barnett Formula (although, in reality, such a major change would need to be phased out over a parliament), and insist on Full Fiscal Autonomy – every penny spent in Scotland being raised in Scotland, or borrowed clearly in Scotland’s name by the UK… the SNp would bit your arm off at the elbow.

    Oddly, Brown and Murphy seem hell bent on keeping Barnett. And those of us who support FFA as the only morally acceptable solution for England AND Scotland suspect that it’s because the vision of English money pouring North is not, and never has been, grounded in reality.

    So, yes, Scrap Barnett. please. but don’t for one second think that this would be ‘punishing’ or ‘thwarting’ the SNP. It would be quite the reverse.

    I.

  33. Sean Mack says:

    Cluelessness. Scrap the Barnett Formula + give us full fiscal autonomy (including oil revenues) and we’ll be a monkey off your back in jig time. Why are English Labour tribalists such economic illiterates? The Barnett Formula is one side of an equation little Englanders are happy to cling to because the bigger picture pisses all over their Lilliputian world view.

  34. DB says:

    Labour is lost in Scotland for a generation if they don’t allow more powers for the Scottish parliament. Maybe federalism.

    That can go alongside Barnett reform into a needs based formula.
    Allow some competition within the UK, but keep a form of transfer mechanism in place.

  35. Stevie Gallagher says:

    The Labour Party in Scotland is facing a wipe out – the labour movement isn’t.

    Sorry but time to smell the coffee folks – the labour movement isn’t owned by the Labour Party it is owned by the people.

    The Labour Party left the labour movement in Scotland behind when ‘New Labour’ sided with big business, failed to repeal anti Trade Union legislation, went into an illegal war, backed Trident (can anyone tell me when supporting Trident became official Labour Party policy btw?) and filled the party with careerists that took the Scottish voters for granted.

    The labour movement in Scotland has now attached itself to the SNP – the SNP will change in line with its newly recruited grass roots membership.

    The SNP are now reaping what a Scottish Labour Party would have harvested had Scotland voted Yes – left of centre activists who are fed up to the back teeth of the Westminster establishment and want politics back in the hands of the people.

  36. K1 says:

    Why have you made no attempt to show any basic understanding of ‘how’ the Barnett formula actually works?

    The monies allocated relate directlly to the devolved functions of each of the respective countries.

    So, Scotland has many more devolved functions than all other areas in the UK. When adjustments are made by the UK parliament to any area of policy where there is a corresponding devolved function, it affects the monies of the block grants allocated to each country with those devolved functions.

    If you are suggesting ‘removal’ of Barnett, then you are implying Full Fiscal Automony, which the entire Labour message over the last severall weeks in Scotland has been viscerally fighting against, and even if it did support it, the UK parliament would have to vote for it! And that’s never going to happen, because not only does London labour not support it neither do the Conservative. Given that the numbers of MP’s in England far outweigh Scotland, on any vote, a proposed FFA vote would fail…utterly.

    So how do you suggest Scotland funds itself?

    I simply don’t understand why such divisive and blatantly ridiculous arguments are being put forward by anyone in Labour. You are advocating a ‘scorched earth’ policy in Scotland simply because the outcome may not go your way. And as others have intimated, absolutely reneging on what Brown was guaranteeing and the Smith commission stregnthened in its report; that the Barnett formula would remain.

    It isn’t in the gift of Labour to treat Scotland this way just because they are not getting their way. It’s people who are voting, you are inciting a form of apartheid here…why on earth can’t you SEE this?

    Why don’t you look to the reasons why this is happening in Scotland?

    This article shows a complete dearth of any basic human decency and principle. Are you a Tory? I can’t actually believe someone from the ‘left’ wrote this.

    ***walks away, shaking head*** at the combined audacity and paucity of the argument contained within this piece. Talk about nasty.

  37. rob says:

    Unfortunatly Scotland puts in more than it takes out…….so yes go ahead and scrap the Barnett formula and say goodbye to good old United Kingdom. Which then in essence will leave mighty England footing their own bill.
    Early in life I had noticed that no event is ever correctly reported in a newspaper(Orwell) especially Labour and Tory ran ones……..

  38. ianmc says:

    So let me see. The minute the country which birthed the Labour Party and which supported it loyally for 90 years decides on a change, your first thought is to punish it. Nice. Seems power is nore important to you than people.

    Solidarity brothers and sisters. Yeah right. Tsk.

  39. Danny says:

    The SNP who want full fiscal autonomy at the very least will love this approach.

    The Angry wing of the Tory party have been sending articles to this site.

    Please scrap Barnett, please do.

    Labour goes to war with Scotland for giving two fingers to it and reap a British nationalist storm, dressed up in talk of solidarity etc etc.

  40. Hamish says:

    The only one I heard wanting to rip off the English is your very own Jim Murphy with his Mansion tax paying for Scottish nurses and generally fixing the world economy.

  41. Janet says:

    Tim Berners-Lee: father of Scottish Labour’s much deserved downfall. Nothing but a self-serving secret society. And not before time!

  42. nullvier says:

    Sooner we in Scotland call UDI and get away from these whinging english gits the better!
    FTU!!!

  43. Cod says:

    1. The reason spending is higher per head in Scotland is because the population of Scotland is more scattered, geographically, and less dense. Therefore, to achieve parity in levels of service (for those services which are not devolved) across the UK, it costs more to deliver in Scotland.

    2. Scotland has paid more in tax per head of population, every year, for the last 34, than any other area of the UK, bar London. It has also had the highest GDP per head for three decades, of every area in the UK, bar London (and London only comes out ahead because it has the banking sector).

    3. The rest of the UK has done very nicely out of Scotland. For example, there is the small matter of the £300 billion in oil revenues (inflation adjusted) which has been accredited to the books of Westminster since 1976. Not one penny of that revenue has counted as Scottish GDP, because Westminster set up a company called UKCS, specifically to take that revenue.

    4. As mentioned, the Barnett formula is not only concerned with Scotland. Do those who advocate scrapping it for Scotland also advocate scrapping it for the rest of the areas is deals with, like Wales, and GLA.

    5. You know what would have meant the end of the Barnett formula? Independence for Scotland. Think about it for a minute, and ask yourself why it is, if Scotland costs the UK money, the Westminster parties were so desperate to hang on to it. Hint: there’s only one possible reason: Scotland makes the UK, and, more specifically, Westminster, money. The rest of the UK does not, in any way, subsidise Scotland. It’s the other way round.

    Oh, and let’s also remember things like the fact that infrastructure projects which take place in England, such as Crossrail, or HS2, or major events, like the Olympics, are paid for with debt, payments towards which are contributed by all the countries of the UK, including Scotland, which sees no benefit from such projects. On the other hand, infrastructure projects in Scotland, such as the new Forth Bridge, new roads, the Edinburgh trams, or events like the Commonwealth Games, are paid for by Scotland entirely. So it’s fair for Scotland to get loaded with debt for HS2, which only benefits a small area of England, and also fair for Scotland to pay for it’s own infrastructure projects off it’s own back?

    You know, personally, I think one of the best things that could ever happen for areas in England which are not served by the South East bubble, is for Scotland to become independent. Because then areas in the rest of England might suddenly realise that they have been being distracted by the Westminster establishment with tales of Scottish money grabbing, in order to make them not notice that they are all also subsidising London and the surrounding areas. Maybe then they would start to do something about making that right for themselves.

  44. tartanarse says:

    Talk of scrapping Barnett is nonsense. Ask yourselves why Scots are “given” this. It is because the establishment can’t afford not to give it.

    Why is Labour keen to avoid FFA? Because with it the SNP will prove beyond doubt that Scotland not only could survive perfectly well independently but would soar far above the RUK.

    This would be the final nail in the coffin of the Union as Scots finally realise that it is not and has never been, required.

    Rock and a hard place for all establishment parties.

    Also, I find it amusing that some find Labours Scottish woes “cyclical”. Oh dear. That is why Labour are in trouble. They simply haven’t a clue what the man in the street thinks, wants or needs. Too busy troughing and telling them what they think want and need.

    Labour are done in Scotland and no amount of New, New, new and improved much better than the last Labour will ever fix it.

    The New Lib Dems would perhaps be a more accurate description

  45. Joey Schmidt says:

    ‘English’ taxpayers have not been propping up Scotland for a long time. Scotland has been a net contributor to the ‘English’ treasury for over thirty years. If they do scrap the Barnett formula then they better have FFA on the cards or it could quite easily be UDI time.

  46. Mr Akira Origami says:

    Scrap the Barnnet formula. It’s clear that Scotaland will become independent. The polls are showing that the Scottish folk want a one party state and semi-independence ( Let their hatred of Westminster shift towards Brussels) It’s democracy and we should encourage them.

    It’s never been a happy union but lets dwell on the positive…..

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2576529/Tartan-exodus-Over-big-businesses-warn-leave-Scotland-Salmond-wins-independence-vote.html

    Labour is doomed in Scotland. If Ed associates with the SNP, Labour is doomed in England.

  47. Jon says:

    I believe you stopped a little short…..Even with the Barnett Formula Scotland is a net contributor to the UK Exchequer subsidising England (mostly the south east).

    Do as you suggest & scrap Barnett and the Scots will not be terribly pleased that they are funding the privatisation of the NHS & the PFI companies who have largely been told to keep their hands off the Scottish NHS & all those other woeful policies brought forward by The Conservatives, Lib Dems & Labour. What will follow will be a PUBLIC demand for a second referendum which, given the hollowness of the vows before the last referendum will be a resounding yes for leaving the Union. The rest of the UK will then see Scotland’s net contribution disappear and all their bills rise accordingly. Its silly ill informed suggestions like this which are loosing Scotland.

    Scotland does not hate Westminster either, people are voting for SNP because they see that the system is broken and unlike in England they have a party they can vote for to hold the Eton boys to account. If Westminster wasn’t corrupt to its core there would be no need for the SNP and no taste for a split. It is HOPE which is driving the SNP surge, hope of a better way of doing things where government works for the people and is accountable to them.

  48. hamish says:

    My goodness. What nonsense !

  49. Elaine S says:

    I actually see that as incitement to hate Scotland and its people, Race Discrimination Act 2010 has Nationality and National Origin included in Race Discrimination .Reading that all I see is “bad Scotrs, punish them, rip away Barnett even though there is massive proof out there reason we get more per head is because of ALL the taxes Scotland puts into the pot….when they talk about less taxes we pay its because they intentionally don’t include all the taxes which DOES include Oil Tax Revenues, please feel free to check that out here. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/comment/are-the-scots-really-sucking-up-a-massive-subsidy-9723797.html As for inciting hate towards Scots/Scotland with hatefilled “Take the Barnett of them!Starve the bastards” maybe freedom of speech isn’t quite a free when it crosses the line…read Article 19 and 20
    I’m sure it covers blogs as well as media
    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/comment/are-the-scots-really-sucking-up-a-massive-subsidy-9723797.html

  50. Elaine S says:

    I actually see that as incitement to hate Scotland and its people, Race Discrimination Act 2010 has Nationality and National Origin included in Race Discrimination .Reading that all I see is “bad Scots, punish them, rip away Barnett even though there is massive proof out there reason we get more per head is because of ALL the taxes Scotland puts into the pot….when they talk about less taxes we pay its because they intentionally don’t include all the taxes which DOES include Oil Tax Revenues, please feel free to check that out here. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/comment/are-the-scots-really-sucking-up-a-massive-subsidy-9723797.html As for inciting hate towards Scots/Scotland with hatefilled “Take the Barnett of them!Starve the bastards” maybe freedom of speech isn’t quite a free when it crosses the line…read Article 19 and 20
    I’m sure it covers blogs as well as media
    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/comment/are-the-scots-really-sucking-up-a-massive-subsidy-9723797.html

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