Author Archives: Peter Swain

Beware post-Brexit trade deals

Chicken washed in chlorine

Beef injected with hormones

Bourbon sold as “Scottish Whiskey”

 

Are those what you want to see in Scottish shops ?

  

After Brexit, the Westminster Government wish to set up trade deals with the USA, who will insist as part of the deal that we import products from them, such as the above items.

 

Is this what you want to see in your local shops and supermarkets ?

 

There’s only one way to avoid it – Scotland needs to become independent, so that we can stay in the European Single Market and Customs Union.

 

Then – and only then – will we be able to keep such products out of Scotland and also keep European rules that protect working conditions for Scottish employees, protect the quality and safety of our food and avoid restrictions on people from overseas being allowed to come here to work in our Health Service and to help with fruit and vegetable harvesting

Keep Scotland the Brand !

 

Protect distinctive Scottish produce !

It’s a no-brainer!

Consider these two pieces of information:-

1 – A leaked UK Government report shows that a worst-case hard Brexit (apparently the UK Government’s preferred option) is likely to cost the economy of the UK £2bn a week.

2 – A majority of Scots voted to remain in the EU and keep our membership of the single market and customs union, but Scotland as part of the UK faces being taken out of the EU.

Now, the only way for Scots to avoid the catastrophic results of a hard Brexit is for Scotland to become an independent country and remain a member of the EU.

No brainer or what?

#KeepScotlandtheBrand campaign

Recently there has been renewed publicity for the “Keep Scotland the Brand” campaign, and a number of members of Pensioners for Independence have started to take part. Several of us have recently contacted some large retailers like Sainsbury’s, Marks and Spencer and the Co-op to urge them to label Scottish produce more clearly as such, rather than as “British”. Most of the responses we have been receiving have been quite positive, and we look forward to seeing an improvement in the clear, accurate labelling of Scottish goods. We need to keep up the pressure on retailers, however. Many Scots like to buy Scottish goods whenever possible, and clear labelling makes this so much easier.

If you would like to support our involvement in the campaign, or would like more information, please contact us at info@pensionersforindependence.scot.

Photo credit: By Petar Milošević – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,

Couldn’t make it up ?

Recently Jeremy Corbyn, on one of his occasional visits to “North Britain” – a.k.a. Scotland – is reported to have said that it would be difficult for Scotland to have its own distinctive legal system, separate from that in England.  Would someone please take him on one side and gently whisper in his ear that Scotland has had its own distinctive legal system for centuries.

We really WAS robbed – now it’s official !

Large quantities of North Sea oil are processed on the rigs and exported directly to other countries without coming ashore.  Prior to December 2016 oil that was shipped directly from the rigs was counted towards the Oil Companies’ Head Offices, rather than being counted as produced in Scotland.  Oil imported or exported into or out of the UK was normally associated with the region of the UK where it was produced, but oil exported directly from the rigs was associated with a business, not the country of origin. It was allocated to an “unknown region” and credited to the region where the business’s Head Office was registered (usually not Scotland).

The system has now been updated so that, since 2016, in UK records the value of oil extracted from Scottish waters has been credited to Scotland instead of to an “unknown region”.

This change has resulted in Scotland’s allocation for 2015 rising from £588 million to £6,825 million and the allocation to the “unknown region” falling from £8,826 million to £1,529 million.

(Information taken from a report on the Wings over Scotland website.)

Recommended viewing

There is a very interesting video on YouTube about the currency of an independent Scotland and the economics of Scottish independence generally.  It is no. 17 in a series by Phantom Power Films Limited, and shows Richard Murphy, Professor of political economy at the City University, London, pointing out that, in his view, there is no doubt that Scotland could prosper as an independent nation.  The video is well worth watching – for anyone who hasn’t already seen it – but it runs for about 33 minutes, so be prepared to put aside just over half-an-hour to watch it.  It can be found at:-

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4c8trs8mGhk

Building support for Pensioners for Independence

We now have active campaigning groups in Edinburgh and Lothians and in Glasgow and West of Scotland.  The aim is to try to set up groups based around each of the other cities in Scotland, and after that to attempt to reach out into the surrounding rural areas.  We are currently trying to identify people in and around other cities who might be interested in helping to set up new groups. This will enable us to be raising the profile of P for I throughout Scotland and preparing the ground for indyref2.

The Tories are at it again – they never learn !

So, the Tories are looking after their own in the insurance markets!  Who would have guessed ?

Quote from a city worker:

“The Conservatives will attempt to soften the blow by promising that pensioners will not have to sell their homes to pay for their care costs while they or a surviving partner are alive. Instead, ‘products will be available’ allowing the elderly to pay by extracting equity from their homes, which will be recovered at a later date when they die or sell their residence.”

The following has recently been posted online:

‘People need to read the small print associated with this because it’s a lot nastier than it looks.  I work in the city. The insurance industry was approached by the Government several months ago with the aim of creating a new market for a new product.

This arrangement is a culmination of those discussions.  You won’t have to sell your house PROVIDED that you purchase an insurance product to cover your social care.  The ‘premiums’ would be recovered from the equity after the house had been sold and the insurance company would have a lien on the house and could force a sale if it wanted to. So your offspring couldn’t keep it on the market for long in order to get the best price.

The real kicker in this is that in order to encourage the industry to market these products the Government guaranteed that there would be no cap on the premiums.

This was in some ways “atonement” for Osborne’s destruction of the highly lucrative annuities market.  This means that the premiums could be up to (and including) the entire remaining equity in the property after the Government had taken its cut. Companies will be falling over themselves to get their snouts in this trough.

In short your offspring and relatives could get absolutely nothing from your estate.

If you buy one of these products you need to read the small print very carefully indeed because there will be some real dogs on the market.

I suspect that this is another financial scandal waiting to happen. but by the time it does May will be long gone.”

Triple-lock on state pensions

There has been renewed publicity paid just recently to the future of the triple-lock on state pensions.

This is the committment made some time ago that annual increases will be whichever is the greatest of :-  the rate of inflation, the change in the Consumer Prices Index, and 2.5%.   Both the Conservatives and Labour have said they will discontinue the triple-lock in the near future, whereas the SNP have made it clear that, in an independent Scotland, an SNP Government would maintain it indefinitely.  Pensioners in Scotland do not really need any more reason than this for voting SNP and for Independence, but just in case more incentive is required, what about protecting your free ‘bus passes, because if we elect another Tory Government at Westminster that is hell-bent on more austerity measures, you can be sure retired people’s bus passes will be in the firing line next !