Monday, 15 August 2011


I just heard on BBC Radio 4's morning news programme yet another report on the riots that England suffered last week.  I have resisted the temptation to blog about them until now but one comment in today's report outraged me enough that I have to break my silence.

Asked why the riots were confined to England, a Glasgow interviewee said:

"We just don't think like that!"

Worse than that, the interviewer did not challenge this outrageous claim, which is effectively a racist slur of the type that the English can (and should) never get away with.  So I challenge it here and now.

It might be a surprise to someone in an isolated community - one that is after all isolated from much of the rest of Scotland too - to realise that almost all the English 'don't think like that' either.

Not wishing in any way to stand up for the idiots rioting in England, I wonder whether there is any connection at all with the way that the UK government is treating them, and them alone.  It is not an excuse in any way, but English students are singled out in UK to pay punitive charges for higher education, while their counterparts in other regions of the UK are supported very considerably.  Who supports them?  English tax payers like me!  Meanwhile my own children will have to suffer the consequences of this discrimination.

Furthermore, the next time that Celtic and Rangers meet for their local bi-annual sectarian war we will see how self-righteous the people of Glasgow think.  Very little of England would tolerate such religious hatred.  (Perhaps this is where we are going wrong.)

I know that these points of view are not unanimous in Scotland but they are at the very least highly prevalent.

Has anyone asked the English whether they would like to impose choose independence for Scotland?  The English are, after all, footing the bill for the union while uniquely not having their own parliament where they can express their views.  Many people might like to level the playing field - even those who have the honour of a degree from a Scottish university like me.

I think the result of such a referendum in England might be quite a surprisingly rousing YES!

Personally I would also favour independence for London.  Maybe that would be a better option than breaking up the rest of the union!


Derby Sceptic said...

I agree. There are other areas where the Scots and the Welsh are discriminated in favour of at the taxpayer's expense.
Education as raised by Plasma Engineer is one example, but consider also prescription charges. In England I would pay £7.40. In Wales this has been free for some years, and from April 2011 it is now free in Scotland.
Other NHS charges are unfairly split. Dental costs in Wales are lower : Band 1 treatment £12, £17 in England; Band 2 treatment £39, £47 in England; Band 3 treatment £177, £204 in England.
This is costing me money, not only do I have to pay more for my treatment but I am paying to subsidise others.

Plasma Engineer said...

p.s. when the London boundary is set I want to be outside the border.

Dobbin said...

A referendum in England on Scottish independence is highly unlikely, even though we have a large stake in the matter as you point out. It may well be that if a referendum is held in Scotland, the Scots decide they are doing very nicely thank you (despite their protestations to the contrary) and opt to keep the status quo. What happens then?

Tim.S said...

Scotland is the biggest welfare queen in Europe, where hardly anyone earns enough to pay tax; their population is dwindling, going elsewhere (including England) for work. They are subsidised in almost every way by the English, which pays for their free tuition, free care for the elderly and other things. The Barnett Formula is disgustingly anti-English, but of course we tolerate it out of our own self-loathing. Frankly, I'd be glad to see them go independent, if only so I can laugh when they come begging back to England for help, like some child asking their parents for some pocket money.

SophiaPangloss said...

Quite amusin. Ah hear a lot fae the English sayin that they 'subsidise' the devolved nations, Scotland in particular. The chatterers might believe that, but think on, if the leaders o the Tory & Labour parties truly thocht that wis the case, wid they no be quite happy tae support the break-up o the Union, raither than wrap themselves tighter an tighter in the Butcher's apron? They ken, an the Treasury kens that in fact Scotland has been consistently subsidisin the UK. Thankfully the Scots hae woken up tae that. The quibbles ye hae aboot the university fees an free prescriptions are a result o policy decisions made by the Scottish Government, an ye should really be askin why Cameron an Clegg arenae offerin the English the same benefits. Or dae ye really think England cannae afford sic things, as ye spend billions o pounds on the Olympics?

Of course ah look forrit tae the rippin up o the disgustin Act o Union, but ah hae worries tae, like who are the English gaunnae blame efter we leave them?

Plasma Engineer said...

Love the accent! :) Don't worry about the English - I think you misunderstand us. We are the ones who are always TO blame, not the ones doing the blaming.

I find it odd actually. I went to the same school as William Wilberforce (although a few years later), and yet somehow I am 'to blame' for Cromwell's activities in Ireland but get none of the credit for Wilberforce abolishing slavery.

Isn't that odd?

John Chapman said...

Just to throw a spanner in the works - I wonder what proportion of North Sea oil and gas comes from what would be 'Scottish waters'?

...and before I forget FREE NORTHUMBRIA!

Derby Sceptic said...

To offer a different spanner, if Scotland was devolved then English students could attend the Scottish uni's on the same terms as the locals. I suspect however if England was no longer funding it they may be forced to charge tuition fees after all!

Derby Sceptic said...

In response to the spanner, I think we would need to balance out any loss of oil/gas revenue with the costs of supporting issues such as student tuition, prescriptions, care costs etc.

Plasma Engineer said...

Free Northumbria with every packet? :) Its a lovely area.

I get the impression that the North Sea oil is running low and that the gas is not predominantly north of the border. Setting that aside though, I would grant Scotland all the resources that it 'owns'.

As DS say, the thing that I begrudge is that the remote parts of UK are bribed into staying in the union by unfair subsidies and the rural parts of England, north or south, do not get any of the benefits.