IDS Christmas Message

What a year it’s been with the roll-out of humanitarian reforms and benefit streamlining, all transforming Britain from the bottom up. And that’s what I’m most proud of – the way that we as a nation have pulled together to make it work.

For example, no sooner did we start rigorously re-assessing those with disabilities for fitness to work than many decided not to claim in a spirit of altruism and as others became impoverished so the great Food Bank movement took off.

It’s moved me to tears to see how ordinary men and women have given their time and resources to help others, proving that we are all in this together. What better example of our great country and it’s inspirational people could you have than helping the less fortunate? This is proof that our policies are working. Even in Scotland where there is often resistance to change, there are more breakfast clubs, clothes banks and food banks starting up showing that the nationalists also agree with us. There has been a charitable food effort not seen since the second world war. Isn’t that wonderful? Doesn’t it remind you of our greatest hour and make you think of all those land girls raking and hoeing for the nation’s larder? Only the Tories get people working together like that for a common cause. And just like the war, rickets is returning. My, that takes me back to my mother’s day when I was told to “eat up or you’ll get rickets”. Doctors have declared there is now a public health emergency because of food poverty, recreating the 40’s and 50’s when everybody was happier. There was no Scottish nationalism then, now was there?

I like the new slogan people are using all over Britain. It is: “Eat or heat”. Catchy, isn’t it? That decision, of whether to keep warm or heat up a tin of beans leads to self- sufficiency and the purging pleasure of sacrifice, something we Britons are never afraid of. I myself have had to sacrifice the need to own my own house and pay the bills by the insistence of my father in law that I live in a £2m Tudor mansion in Buckinghamshire rent-free. I have four spare bedrooms but as I don’t get housing benefit, the bedroom tax doesn’t apply to me. Also there are no benefits which apply to tennis courts, pool and acres of countryside. I wish it didn’t have to be this way but Betsy’s father is the fifth Baron Cottesloe and what’s a poor man to do? Still, it means I have enough money left over for my drop-head Morgan sports car.

I know people are pulling together to help the disabled too. Two thirds of those affected by the bedroom tax are disabled and now get to share their income by paying for rooms for their carers to stay in. They are cutting back on food bills which is another wonderful opportunity for all of us to drop in and make friends and help out. It’s so rewarding. And, since it’s Christmas I want to apologise to all those terminally ill people who didn’t get their personal independent payments because of delays. I know many of you are now dead so technically it’s too late. But I’m going to pay up anyway in the spirit of Christmas and I promise to do better next year.

That’s all I’ve got time for as I’m of to the ATOS Christmas party. They don’t run it themselves – they outsource it. Can you believe it? Anyway the joke is that ATOS have examined Lady Thatcher and declared her fit for work! I love this country. Thank you for all being so supine and allowing me to get away with it.

Merry Christmas. At least I know you won’t eat too much…

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Modern Slavery Bill Promised

The government is to publish daft legislation on slavery to bring the full weight of the law to bear, according to the Home Office. Theresa May, the Home Secretary, said it was time to get tough. The bill will include a role for a Slavery Commissioner to enforce the legislation.

Ms May said on Radio 4: “In recent times there has been a huge increase in Scots getting uppity and not knowing their place in our society. They are allowed in under sufferance and it is their job to work for us and do as they are told. We will now rigorously enforce the rules.”

She said it was scarcely believable to some people that slavery existed in modern Britain but it was a legacy of a smaller nation with less competent people being allowed to share the advantages of living with a much greater and richer one. “It is a harsh reality that people are forced to exist in appalling conditions, often against their will” she said. “But the world is a cruel place and when the rights of the rich and powerful and their vested interests are threatened it is our duty to do all we can to defend them.”

Alongside the legislation, a report into slavery by the Labour MP Frank Field will be published. He estimates there are as many as 5 million slaves in modern Britain, desperately seeking their freedom so they can live normal lives like people in other countries.

Ms May said: “We honestly don’t know if that figure is accurate because many of the slaves have actually become what we call Trusties and have come to enjoy their lack of status and freedom. What we do know is that a large number are getting restless and may even revolt to overthrow the whole system in which we have all got rich. This is an appalling and horrendous crime. This government created a Respect Agenda when elected but that hasn’t been good enough for them. These poor individuals who have had their rights removed don’t want to be patronised any more. This bill will put an end to their complaints.”

It will be the first such bill in Europe and it’s expected that other nations with slavery problems such as Spain will follow Britain.

Watch Out, Shaggy!

Hanna Barbera Productions has announced a new series of Scooby Doo cartoons to be based in Scotland. The Hollywood filmmakers have been attracted by the weird gallery of oddball characters appearing in Scottish public life which they say are perfect for their stories of monsters, ghouls and mad megalomaniacs.

“We were looking at Scotland because of the Loch Ness Monster”, said a spokesman. “But when we saw the English chief guy Al Carmichaeli who looks like the Honey Monster, all puffy and growly, we saw an opportunity. Then came the list of donors to the Better Go Down Together campaign and realised this really is the oddball country of Europe with huge scope for scary humour.”

He said there were individuals who could easily translate into freakish characters who could frighten children. “But not too much. Just enough to say Boo and then make kids laugh because of their sheer absurdity.”

He said the company liked to line up a rogues gallery of personalities with disgusting, immoral or illegal and threatening behaviour patterns. “We used to rely on the Soviet Union during the Communist era but Scotland now has the most unlikely troop of scary eccentrics anywhere in the world. You’ve got millionaire business types who don’t care about people and will do anything to make more money. They all bankroll the evil Tory machine at Greyskull HQ but have corrupted the lowbrow socialist crew into thinking they are their friends. There are killers and corruptors in there and people who pose as benefactors while buying privilege at the expense the people. Shaggy and the gang are really goin’ to have their work cut out to deal with these babies.”

The company particularly loves the shady espionage associations of some donors who  are linked to militaristic organisations with mercenaries for hire. “That’s right up our street. We don’t have to create the characters, just digitally draw them. The real horror is already there, true to life. Scotland really is a goldmine.”

He said the big advantage for Scotland was that they might set up a studio here to capitalise on the weird and menacing characters crawling out of the Unionist undergrowth. “This could go on for years. It’s also great that they’re all in the No campaign. That’s such a great name for a sinister, power-grabbing organisation. Scooby Doo, baby!”

Nuclear Regime Official Purged

There are fears for the stability of the British state tonight as reports emerge of the disappearance of the important public official Michael Moore who until recently ran the northern canton of Scotland. Moore, known as Comrade Mike within the governing Coalition Party, was purged two months ago  in a surprise putsch by the ruling cabal at the head of the mysterious British dictatorship run by the incestuous Posh Boys family clique.

Moore was publicly humiliated by being dragged out of the northern seat of power in Edinburgh and forced to state that he was supporting his successor,  Kim Il Carmichael who has pledged allegiance to the ruling cabal by promising to crack down on dissidents and rule out democratic choice for peasants agitating for improved living standards.

Western diplomats expressed concern at reports from the North that Comrade Moore, who was regarded as an unflinching loyalist of the brutal Westminster regime, may have been executed. “We can’t be sure”, said an official. “But nobody has heard anything about him since he was removed. He has said nothing, done nothing and been invisible, almost as though he had been disappeared. But that’s what he was like before being ousted so it’s hard to tell.”

Moore was accused of being human “scum”, a capitalist manipulator and a pornographer. The official North British report said a special military tribunal had been held Thursday against Moore, who was accused of trying to overthrow the state “by all sorts of intrigues and despicable methods, including being polite to Nicola Sturgeon. ” It added, “All the crimes committed by the accused were proved in the course of hearing and were admitted by him.”.

The official news agency, BBC, described Moore as a “traitor for all ages” and “worse than a dog,” saying he had betrayed his party and leader. He was accused of double-dealing behind the scenes, “dreaming different dreams” and selling the country’s resources at cheap prices, thereby threatening North Britain’s economic development.

“Moore desperately worked to form a faction within the party by creating illusion about him and winning those weak in faith and flatterers to his side,” the statement said. It also accused him of womanizing, drug use, gambling, eating at expensive restaurants and undergoing medical treatment in a foreign country.

Analysts warned that the shadowy figure behind the coup might be Comrade Mundell, regarded as a soft-living, back-slapping traitor who lured comrades into admitting indiscretions and then reporting them to the cruel regime leadership headed by Kim Cam whose family and wife’s family own half of all the arable land.

Academics say the maneuvering of the top officials is in stark contrast to the desperate needs of the people who are facing increasing hardship as austerity programmes bite harder with the approach of winter and communities set up food banks to feed the starving. Meanwhile the regime continues to spend billions of nuclear weapons.

“It is a totally dysfunctional society run by a tiny elite which makes the rest of the population suffer. Moore was just another apparatchik but to some deluded individuals he offered a way forward having dealt with the dissidents. He clearly has now paid the ultimate price”, said an official. Observers are worried about what might happen to the nuclear weapons store located in the north-west and are asking if it might be procured by insurgents agitating for political change and self-determination.

Entering a New Phase

The Rt Hon Douglas Alexander. A positive speech to take the campaign forward…

Ladies and gentlemen

I want to talk to you today about Scottish values of struggle, strength and solidarity, the very same values that Gordon Brown and Tony Blair displayed when they worked so well together without a bad word in government. They struggled to deal with each other in failing to deliver social justice and the rest of us pretended everything was fine to show solidarity.

These are the virtues that have served Labour well. We will never walk away when someone is in need. Did we walk away from the people of Iraq? Even in the teeth of all the evidence from Hans Blix, from our own lawyers, from the intelligence services finding no link with al-Qaeda, from the  millions demonstrating on the streets, we would not be deterred. We showed solidarity with the American people and the oppressed in Iraq, sadly now mostly dead. Would the narrow nationalists have done that?

We will not walk away from the vulnerable poor in the great post-industrial cities of Liverpool, Manchester and Birmingham just because they are English. No, we will continue to support them with our best wishes. If only a Labour government could be elected with massive majorities of say 179, 167 and 60 for three successive terms it could really do something for the working poor of those cities who have been left scandalously at the mercy of right wing uncaring neo liberal elitist governments feather-bedding the City of London and destroying industry with real jobs. That’s something to aspire to, isn’t it? Who wants to improve their own lives when there is a chance of using their tax pounds to help others who continue to vote in governments who ignore them and people who reject more control over their own affairs? Many of them don’t get the government they voted for either but do they run away and hide? Of course not. They stay put to be impoverished and humiliated and keep voting Labour in the hope that every 10 years they get a different party who still won’t do anything for them. The important thing is that in the meantime politicians of all parties get to keep their jobs in a show of solidarity. That’s social justice.

Education is the bedrock of our society. That’s why in England Labour MPs don’t send their children to state schools but to private ones or Church schools like Tony and Cherie. That’s not for a class reason like snobbery. It’s to keep spaces free for working class families to get their children in, where they’ll feel more at home. That’s solidarity with the working families of Britain. And when it comes to university, who said there would be no tuition fees and then introduced them anyway? Who said there would be no top up fees and then introduced them anyway? That’s right – Labour. We showed solidarity with the students who can now start their lives with an effective mortgage of £35,000 for life because they can’t get a real mortgage any more and there are no new houses to live in. Labour did that. Social justice in action.

When workers at Poundland were forced to work for nothing or lose their benefits, the evil Tories brought in a bill justifying this act of slavery and Labour stood firm in solidarity with the workers and proudly abstained allowing it to become law. Social justice in action.

There are many types of nationalism in the world. There is British nationalism which we all know is something to be proud of. As Gilbert and Sullivan said: He is an Englishman. Britishness allows us to restrict immigrants from bringing their families and makes sure there are British jobs for British workers and it means we can abuse asylum seekers and reject Europe, all symbols of social justice. There is Irish nationalism which is a fine thing with its whistles and fiddles and Guinness and we love the Irish now they’ve stopped shooting us. But at least the Irish had the decency to fight. Unlike Scottish nationalism which has never used weapons. It is sleekit and insidious and pretends to want social justice but is really just a front for bigotry. Why else do they sing about sending Edward home again if it isn’t repatriating foreigners?

And here’s my main point. It’s only through the Union that we still have a need for struggle and search for social justice. After all we’ve had 300 years to get it right and the only people doing well live in one corner of the country where all the money and power is and where all the taxpayers money is poured…today Crossrail, tomorrow a new rail line and a new station at Gatwick…that means the rest of Britain is kept back, kept poor and resentful. Without those policies Britain would be a fairer and just place and where would your struggle and solidarity be then? There would be no need for them, would there? If all the ills of society were sorted there would be no struggle. It’s through the Union that we get embedded inequality that leads to demands for social justice.

Ladies and gentlemen, I too am playing my part in the struggle and showing solidarity. I opened the Paisley Food Bank the other day and a proud moment it was to realise there are so many people living the struggle daily and so in need of justice that they go hungry. It made me so proud to realise our community rose to the challenge and sent in their tins of beans and Ambrosia creamed rise. Solidarity!

Jo’s Secret @ Mills and Boon

Jo arrived home late as usual and as soon as he caught sight of her in her F and M winter coat Archie could see the unhappy look on her face.

She threw her bag on the sofa and papers spilled out on the Ikea covers. “Oh, Archie”’ she sighed. “I don’t know if I’m doing the right thing. Sometimes I get so confused and…and…” her voice trailed away.

“What is it, Jo?” He placed a strong arm around her shoulder and pulled her close.

“The truth is, I don’t think anybody likes me.”

“Don’t be ridiculous. I like you. And so does…well, everybody,”

“Everybody in the family maybe and I’m not sure about all of them. I mean nobody out there in politics, in the party, in Scotland.” She failed to stifle a sob.

Not this again, he thought. It was a constant theme in her darker moments. It was only natural to wonder how you went down in the country but she had taken to questioning why she bothered, what it was for.

He put on his business-like voice. “Look. You’re doing this because you want to make a difference. You believe in helping the less well-off and changing society so we support everybody not just the elite.”

She turned her tearful eyes up to him. “Exactly. I believe in all the things my opponents are doing. And I can’t say so. Everything I believe, the Nats have stolen. I detest this Coalition which is cutting state spending to the lowest level since 1948. They are privatising everything, even the Royal Mail, something I’ve always believed in, the money is going out by the billion to a handful of massive out-sourcing companies whose obligation is to shareholders, not taxpayers and meantime average incomes decline, their policies will put thousands of more children into poverty and next they’ll do away with the European Convention on Human Rights. And I can’t speak up or I’ll be accused of hypocrisy since we are only slightly objecting as a party and in the absence of a Labour government with balls, the only option is…is…” She couldn’t finish the sentence.

Archie shrugged. “But you didn’t speak up about nuclear weapons either. That seemed to work. Just do the same again. Pretend there is no alternative, focus on the immediate enemy and leave the bigger fight to those whose job it is in London. Keep it to yourself and it will go away.”

She sighed deeply. “But I also long to see proper comprehensive childcare in this country because it could transform lives and the economy. Frankly, I would vote for that.”

Archie put Whitney Houston on the ipad. “So why not back it then. Just be honest and say you support the policy.”

She wailed in frustration. “That’s exactly it. I really really want to. It’s like minimum pricing. We know it makes sense and confronts a social evil but I have to say no or else there’s no point in me being there.”

He turned down the volume and reached for the sauvignon blanc, glugging some into the silver-stemmed glasses they’d chosen together at John Lewis. He plumped up a cushion for her. “Have a drink and imagine this. Instead of just opposing everything, why don’t you…” he looked at her closely anticipating her reaction… “come up with policies of your own.”

For a moment she was stunned. Her eyes widened beneath her fringe and the wine nearly spilt over the glass. “You mean devise alternative policies of my own to  counter what the opposition are saying…things that might be attractive to the voters and be just like a real political party with ideas and what’s that other thing they always talk about…Hope.”

She flung her arms around his neck, slopping white wine over the sofa covers. “Oh, Archie. You’re a genius. I never thought of that. Real policies. Brilliant.”

Suddenly he felt her grip loosen. Her brow furrowed. “But who will come up with them? We haven’t anybody who’s ever had an idea since that smug wee so-and-so Wendy huffed off.” He shook his head wearily. “ No, Archie. It will never work. It’s no use, we’ll just have to keep on being the Labour Party and you were right first time. I’ll just shut up and pretend I’m opposed to everything. I don’t need an alternative. I need another drink. Turn up Whitney.”

Darling Zombie Denial

Alistair Darling has responded to claims he is comatose. A friend said he had raised his left eyebrow twice in reply to the question: “Are you semi-conscious?” Mr Darling is kept lying down in a darkened room at the Better Together headquarters and is connected to the real world by tubes and cables through which he receives messages and regular electric shocks to keep him alert.

“It’s just ridiculous to say he is comatose,” said an insider. “He simply takes things very easy, very slowly and doesn’t move for weeks on end and then when Alex Salmond says something he jolts into life and splutters and twitches. But he’s perfectly normal as soon as Blair McDougall has shone the torch in his eyes and looked at his tongue. He normally gives him a slap, points him in the right direction and off he goes. This kind of thing happens in the House of Lords every day.”

He said it was ridiculous to say he was a “dreary figurehead” with no fire in his belly. Mr Darling is playing the role of Scrooge in the Better Together panto and has impressed campaigners with his effortless ability to make people laugh. “He says the most laughable rubbish about Scotland’s currency and the fiscal deficit and the EU, honestly, we just roll about. To think the media and the public are taken by this nonsense.” Mr Darling is known as the Undertaker for his mock serious presentation style designed to make him appear important but insiders say he often comes to work with a plastic red nose and a See-You-Jimmy wig and puts whoopee cushions in the boardroom.

Better Together also deny that he lacks passion. “He didn’t lack passion when he voted for an illegal war in Iraq, did he? That took real courage to send other people to die unnecessarily especially when it was against international law. How many thousands of people has Alex Salmond ever killed?” said the spokesman.

If Mr Darling loses the support of Downing Street he could be replaced by this year’s favourite Christmas toy, the Furby, an electronic robotic hamster which squeaks without warning and can move its ears independently, or by David Mundell.