Scotland, I suspect, would not feel obliged to punch above its weight so it might have money to pay a pension that approaches that of some of our neighbours.

We might also be able to ensure that people had enough money to buy food and stay warm 52 weeks of the year.

And maybe our health service would be something to be even more proud of it we spent the same percentage of our GDP as say, Japan, Germany or France.

Just a thought…

54 thoughts on “WE COULD DO BETTER”

    1. Ah yes. Maybe we should all just give up our pensions then.

      Who knows what Dick wants. It’s bound to be something that Westminster controls.

      Jeeeez, what a roaster he turned out to be…


  1. Hands up all you countries out there who wish to join England’s union.
    Well……speak up.
    Thought not,just some crazy Irish and Scots who continue to think it is a good idea.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. To the next Unionist who says “financial black hole” to me, I shall respond – if I can be bothered – that even using the deliberately skewed and pauchled figures from the GERS as our basis, we’d still be ahead of the game with independence as – purely on the expenditure side – we’d no longer be paying for Trident, Hinkley Point, the Crossrail projects, London’s megasewer, HS2, the renovation / restoration / reconstruction of the Westminster parliament building and Buck House, £300 a day each for Lady Moan, Lord Darling, Llord ffoulkes, and all their erminous, parasitic and verminous little pals – the list goes on. And on. And on.

    Crivvens, we could spend it – as you say, Tris – making sure everyone has a home that’s warm, dry and in good repair, with enough money to feed themselves properly, unworried about receiving any of the health and other social care that very few of us never need in the course of our lives, with no worries either about getting the weans properly educated…

    Those view make me an Enemy of the State, I suppose, like the rest of you. Shame on them, and bad cess to them, and may we be rid of them very, very soon.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. If we aim for a median percentage of EU pensions , then that would be a good start . This list is for men , what is the percentage for woman ?

    Liked by 2 people

  4. This current blog posting is about money, so maybe it won’t be TOO much off topic if I bring forward Tris’ comment that was posted at the very end of the Earth Day thread and may not have received the attention it so richly deserves. (My excuse is that I have to deal with a damnable six hour transatlantic time difference from my location in the American republic, which makes timely postings somewhat difficult.) SO…….


    Now let’s understand this. We have a school that used to provide a bottle of water with the school lunches. But that became too costly, so now the kids have to bring their own water to school. Now if they don’t bring their own, there are water “dispensers” in the school that can’t be drank from directly……as in a drinking fountain……where the kids with empty bottles or cups can still get water. And if they don’t have empty containers, the school will happily SELL them one.

    MOST respectfully…..have the English TOTALLY taken leave of their senses in this benighted Dickensian place called “Hertfordshire?” And BTW, did the kids previously get bottled (purified) drinking water with their meal, and are these “dispensers” they now have simply sources of TAP water. TAP WATER????….for English children to drink????……in a country that does not install mixer taps on its plumbing fixtures because the hot water is generally unsafe to drink or make tea with? GEEEEZE!

    And BTW, I awoke this morning to transatlantic television showing me the new royal baby leaving the hospital and being transported to the palace by a motorcade through London. Now we fought a revolution to be rid of these people, so I would like all transatlantic feeds about the Windsor family stopped altogether.

    And regarding the previous blog entry, is Earth Day in the UK also Arbor Day as it is in the states? Did you plant a tree or two?

    Liked by 1 person

        1. More an argument for getting rid of the electoral college and repealing the 12th amendment and making it one person, one vote, I think, Danny.

          Another way of doing it would be, as I understand it, to have states providing a majority of the electors in the electoral college to commit to having all their electors vote for the candidate with the nationwide lead in the popular vote. That one hadn’t occurred to me; it’s courtesy of Robert Reich.

          Reversing – what was it – Citizens United? – would also help, by limiting the obscene levels of spending on political campaigning for which the US is notorious, because the current extremely lax legal disposition is an open invitation to the extremely wealthy, organized crime and hostile foreign governments – not mutually exclusive categories – to buy power and influence, and to launder their money while receiving tax write-offs.

          Subjecting all nominees to a seven-year audit of all their books, and a thorough security clearance process beforehand, would help too – after all, felons and fraudsters who are also compromised by foreign governments and interests should be not just disqualified from standing for election to the presidency, they should be in jail.

          Unfortunately, there appears to be no chance of any of that happening when the Supreme Court has been stuffed with Republican judges; the refusal to even hold hearings on the appointment of Garland, and the subsequent appointment of Gorsuch, put paid to any prospect of it.

          It seems to me that having Supreme Court judges as political appointees, appointed for life, is a pretty poor idea anyway, because it threatens the independence of the judiciary. It’s one of the reasons why the House of Lords no longer operates as the UK’s highest court – the system did not measure up to EU / ECHR standards, and the American one wouldn’t either.

          The prospect of having his accounts audited would have been enough just on its own to stop Trumpy flexing his narcissism, fascism and racism at us all. The Founding Fathers were far-sighted, and Jefferson was no idiot either, though his electoral college notion has very clearly not functioned as he intended, because he thought it would prevent the election / selection of anyone like Trump. Ah well, I suppose they would have needed highly advanced crystal balls to foretell of the coming of the Orange One…

          Liked by 3 people

            1. “Blast, more proofreading fails, and right at the start too – please make allowances for fatigue and insomnia.”

              Ed…….I knew what you meant. At least I hope my reply indicates that.

              Liked by 1 person

          1. Yes Ed………We’ve found out that there were “norms” in American politics that did not survive the racist Republican outrage over Obama’s 2008 election, and the subsequent rise of the orange faced populist demagogue. The resulting bitter tribalism in American politics has been further exacerbated by the injection of big money into the system by the Citizens United decision of the supreme court. It has also been a given……since Richard Nixon in 1973…….that presidents have released their tax returns to the public. Trump just refused to do it, making up a story about his tax returns being “under audit.” Spouting such lies are SO easy to a pathological liar like Trump.

            There was also a time when the eighteenth century electoral college system usually elected presidents who had won the national popular vote. Popular vote losers have won the presidency only five times in American history, going back to 1824; but it hadn’t happened since Benjamin Harrison in 1888. Then came the Florida debacle in 2000, with the subsequent “APPOINTMENT” of the popular vote loser, George W. Bush, by a party line vote of the nine supreme court justices. Then in 2016 Trump was elected with the electoral votes of Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Minnesota on very close popular votes in those states. But nationally. he lost the popular vote to Hillary Clinton by a whopping 2.8 Million votes.

            The Democrats have won the popular vote in six of the last seven four-year presidential election cycles, but have taken the presidency only four times. There are cries among Democrats to do away with the electoral college in favor of a popular vote system, but in today’s polarized political climate, an amendment to the constitution to change the system seems next to impossible. But as you point out, a constitutional amendment would not really be required.

            The constitution under Article II, Section 1, Clause 2, specifies the method of choosing electors as: “Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors, equal to the whole Number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress:….”

            SO, each state can choose its electors however “the Legislature thereof may direct.” Today, each state but two (Maine and Nebraska which award electors proportionally) simply awards all their electoral votes to whatever candidate carries the state’s popular vote. But there’s nothing to keep the states from legislatively changing their law to award the state’s votes in some way to the candidate who wins the national popular vote. It only requires an agreement among the states about how to work in concert to do it, and make the necessary change in state laws……..leaving the constitution as it is without amendment.

            There are various proposals about how to do this. One is the “National Popular Vote Interstate Compact”:


            Liked by 2 people

            1. Thanks, Danny! You’ve significantly added to my knowledge, which I always like, though my retention rate is none too good these days.

              At the risk of boring everyone else to tears, let me continue opining pontificatiously.

              I’d forgotten in particular about the hanging chads… that decision by the Florida Supreme Court, where Dubya’s brother Jeb was Governor at the time, would have had the US screaming about corruption and nepotism and the independence of the judiciary if it had happened in a third-world country.

              Another thing is that the communications delays – Illy mentioned them – of the past were pretty much gone by, oh, the 1860s, with nationwide telegraph service. The telegraph would have had to be pretty much in place by 1859 to be knocked out by the Carrington Event. That’s sort of arguing backwards, I suppose, but I know that the transcontinental telegraph from San Francisco was knocked out by the great California flood of 1861-1862. Which is all a roundabout way of saying that from a communications standpoint, the 12th amendment, and the November-January lame duck period, could have been changed / eliminated all the way back then by a further constitutional amendment, even if the transcontinental railroad was not completed until 1869.

              I don’t know if you agree, Danny, but it seems to me that one of the problems with the relationship that America has to its Constitution is that it tends to be regarded as Holy Writ, when it was certain that that is about the last thing the Founding Fathers intended!

              Liked by 1 person

              1. Edd…..Oh yes, the Florida vote in 2000 that gave us DubYa Bush was worthy of the most corrupt of third world countries. The hanging chads, the order to stop the recount, the Governor of the state playing a part in the process for his brother, the effective election of the president by a straight party line vote of the nine Supreme Court Justices…..was all the stuff of political nightmares.

                There were certainly delays built into the electoral system to accommodate 18th century travel and commiunications. The lame duck peiod was originally longer than Novemeber to January. Staring in 1793, presidential inauguration day was March 4….the day that the federal constitution went into effect in 1789. It stayed March 4 until the Twentieth Amendment was passed in 1933. The first president to be inaugurated on January 20 was Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1937. Things were a little rushed at the first, so George Washington was given a little more time to get up to Wall Street in New York City from his home in Virginia for his first inauguration on April 30, 1789. The Bible he used for the oath was loaned by a Masonic Hall down the street. The Bible is still there on display, and presidents still use it occasionally.

                I agree that constitutions have to strike a balance in amendments to modernize them…..between making it hard enough that it doesn’t become as easy as passing a law, but not so hard that it becomes set in stone. The current requirements involving a 2/3 vote of both houses of Congress to propose an amendment, and approval by 3/4 of the state legislatures has become a very high bar for passage. The American constitution has been amended 27 times in 229 years.

                Liked by 2 people

          2. With the communication tech at the time, the electoral college seems like a sensible compromise.

            With communication tech of today, it’s a relic.

            Liked by 3 people

            1. Illy…..Yes, an anachronism for sure. And it serves as a way for small states in the federal system to have some disproportionate voting power against California, New York, etc.

              Liked by 2 people

        2. Danny,

          We are lucky to have you as our foreign correspondent!

          Some random thoughts:

          In an attempt to decide whether Trump the Grump was going to blow up the planet and replace it with a Trump Tower, I have been viewing a lot of US media over the last wee while. I even have a subscription to the NYT! I was frankly shocked that the birth of a child in London actually altered the news cycle in the US. You can expect it from the obsequious courtiers in the establishment in the UK, but you bloody well fought on a republican mandate to establish your freedom.

          The advantage that you do have over us is that you can, and do, deselect Presidents. It is quite astonishing that a complete chancer such as Donald Trump made it to the post, however your buyers regret has a mechanism for removal, ours does not.

          What, absent the hiccup of nostalgia for royalty, I completely admire in a Roman Amphitheatre sort of a way is how the Press in the USA actually still does journalism. In the UK, perhaps due to declining earnings, the Press is reduced to re-phrasing Press releases and the visual media just plays soft-ball, especially with Unionist Politicians. Watching say MSNBC and CNN you get incredibly good debates as opposed to the anodyne stuff we get.

          I have a love / hate relationship with your country as seen from afar.

          There is tremendous corruption, there is a lobbying system not fit for purpose, there is vast inequality – Puerto Rico’s power just went out, again – the roll-back on environmental protection and the completely wrongful view on climate change are just a few examples.

          However, in the same breath there are ordinary and extraordinary Americans who say, we need change for the better. Busting out of ‘hush’ or ‘buy and kill’ deals, children taking on the NRA and fingers crossed, winning, a man – Elon Musk – that might, on hos own save the planet…

          I am conflicted about the USA, always have been.

          Liked by 4 people

          1. Douglas: “I am conflicted about the USA, always have been.”

            Me: Me too! 😉

            I too was surprised at the news feeds from London this morning showing the baby leaving the hospital.

            I do wonder why our revolutionary history does not translate into less favorable attitudes toward the British royals. But whenever anything big is happening at the Palace or the Abbey, you can bet that American TV networks will be there with transatlantic coverage.

            This is not to say that Americans really know much about it. I saw a video of what I think was William and Kate’s marriage at Westminster Abbey. A young news anchor at a desk in New York City was talking to a austere English gentleman……maybe on loan from the BBC……who was feeding commentary and “color” to New York about the proceedings. The New York anchor gushed about this surely being one of the most remarkable events ever to transpire in the Abbey. The BBC gentleman looked literally stunned as he searched for a reply. Finally he said….well…..(long pause)…….William the Conqueror was crowned here in 1066 after all. Silence from New York…..LOL.

            The grocery store tabloids cover the royals all the time…..alongside stories of extraterrestrial alien abductions and the criminality of Hillary Clinton. Charles and Camilla get worked over pretty good. The Queen generally gets better treatment.

            I think that Trump’s election is just a political aberration. The result of angry white blue collar votes in the old industrial rust belt states of Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan. It was his wins by narrow margins in those states that won the electoral votes needed to carry the election. If he continues as he has, and if the Democrats win the House of Representatives in November as expected, he might be impeached….which requires a simple majority in the House. But removal from office on impeachment charges requires a 2/3 vote of the Senate, and that appears unlikely barring findings of really serious criminality. Barring that, we’ll have him until the 2020 election I guess.

            I agree that the press has appropriately pursued the Trump story savagely. Really fine stuff in the electronic media, and a full blown newspaper war between the Washington Post and the New York Times. These are hard hitting stories based on a White House staff that’s leaking like a sieve. Bombshells from the Times and Post are landing almost daily on the White House. Trump is obviously apoplectic about the news coverage from these “enemies of the people,” as he has described them. He only has the solace of FOX News, which I call “Trump State Television.” 😉

            Yes….the situation in Puerto Rico has been simply disgraceful. These people are American citizens after all!

            It was not until 1939, on the eve of World War II, that King George and Queen Elizabeth became the first British Monarchs ever to set foot in the United States. By all accounts, in private conversations, FDR called him George.


            Liked by 2 people

            1. There is a great appetite in many (republican) parts of the Continong for gossip and photo magazines such as Majesty… for a sneak preview of May’s (as usual, stomach-turning) edition, click on over to http://www.majestymagazine.com/

              I don’t see the attraction of such things, but I suppose I wouldn’t, especially since I am not interested in frocks, object to patents of nobility, and am content that Schloß Freeman is extremely modest in scale, even including all its demesnes and curtilage, as befits a single Scottish(republican and democratic) independentista with some understanding of genetics who lives alone…

              Liked by 2 people

              1. Jeez, Ed. Do people really read crap like that about royalty.

                Mind, I hear that not only did the Mail today have a special pull-out section on the new prince, but dedicated 16 pages of its paper to more of the shame crap.

                Really? Thousands of kids born every day in England, but this one, rather distantly attached to the throne gets 16 pages in the Fascist Post AND a pullout?

                What a country.

                Thank god no one is hungry or cold.

                Liked by 2 people

            2. Thanks for the reply.

              Much to ponder over.


              So, without pondering!

              Can I suggest to an entire country that there ought to be a division between glamour and politics?

              I’d like to define what I mean by ‘glamour’

              It is said to be:

              1. the quality of fascinating, alluring, or attracting, especially by a combination of charm and good looks

              excitement, adventure, and unusual activity:
              the glamour of being an explorer.
              magic or enchantment; spell; witchery.”

              So, maybe, in an old use of the word ‘glamour’ it meant entrapment by witchery. It is folk like you Danny that give me hope that the USA will reject it.

              For, in that definition of glamour, Donald Trump is a winner. (except for the good looks, obviously!) It is a work in progress whether glamour actually works when it advocates an evil, or self-serving purpose.

              Not at all sure that you will agree with me on any of that.


              Liked by 3 people

              1. Douglas…..”entrapment by witchery” might well explain his allure to so many. Maybe that’s another way of describing a garden variety populist demagogue’s appeal to angry voters who just want to shake things up.

                Liked by 3 people

              2. The cult of celebrity, glamour, youth, fame… it’s the same thing as the Royals, I think: the triumph of outward show over the content of character, to bring Martin Luther King and attitudes toward “race” into the mix too. Trump himself is proof that all that glitters is not gold… It’s always been that way, of course: throughout the ages, high-status individuals have marked it by having the most personal adornments, gold and gewgaws, the biggest houses, the largest burial mounds with the most treasure in them, the biggest pyramids, the most impressive mausoleums. There would never have been sumptuary laws, for example, if people, and their spouses, did not constantly desire to lay claim to higher status than they technically had under their social and economic system.

                An example of this today would be someone in the sales force weeping real tears and contemplating suicide because his new company car is a GL rather than a GLX – what WILL the neighbours think? What WILL (deliberate use of pronoun) his wife think? What WILL his workmates think, when even a nitwit on the take and make like Scott Pruitt gets a bulletproof 4×4? Sometimes we humans are worse than a troupe of baboons, or some other primate… For example, Trumpy quite evidently believes he enjoys some kind of droit de seigneur over the young females he dominates.

                I rather like baboons, actually, though they’re bad-tempered, cantankerous, irritable and aggressive beasts – maybe because I do at least three out of four of those myself on quite a regular basis. I once came upon an adult male baboon sitting on a post forming part of a crash barrier on a road down into the Rift Valley; nothing remarkable in that, except he was sitting in the exact pose of Rodin’s The Thinker, and looking very much as if he were appreciating the aesthetics of sunset over the Rift, and the prospect of Longonot and Suswa volcanoes down on the Valley floor. Maybe he was some sort of genius of his kind; I’ll never know, obviously.

                To return to our sheep, as they sort of say in French, there is no such thing as a classless society: the rich and powerful, almost without exception, want to flaunt it, and very few of us are rich – but we still buy into the same worldview as our “betters”, even when it is patently, obviously against our own best interests. That’s why equal rights, human rights, civil and political rights, are so important – because the rich and powerful really do tend to grab everything in sight, including everyone else’s freedoms, so the important things really do have to be nailed down so they can’t make off with them.

                Is that what Proudhon meant when he said that property is theft? Maybe I should read him and find out, but life’s just too d*amn short.

                Liked by 2 people

    1. Can you send instructions on how to fight a revolution? PLEASE!!!

      I see Monsieur le Président, and old Orange face planted a tree in the grounds of the Whitehouse.

      Actually, as I typed that, I remember someone once told me that our local newspaper once printed a picture of the then King and Queen (George and Elizabeth the QM) planting a tree, as it said: …”in the grounds of the Shitehouse” … W & S being rather close on a keyboard, I suppose it wasn’t a particularly strange mistake to make.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. LOL……seems that old orange face and Monsieur le President are getting along famously. No more of those long awkward handshakes. Now they’re kissing each other on the cheeks like the French do……and that Americans and Brits find a little awkward. 😉

        Liked by 2 people

        1. Oh Lord… spare me the sordid details.

          I hope Trump knows you’re not supposed to go in for the kill on those kisses… it’s more of an air thing between guys.

          Brits are certainly usually terrified of anything like that. With older Brits, of a delicate disposition, it could be fatal!

          In certain parts of France, it is necessary to kiss 6, yes SIX, times. Can you imagine what that would do to the heart of a retired colonel from the Home Counties?

          O la la la

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Tris……..Trump is an all purpose con-artist. He’ll do whatever “works” for his immediate purposes. 😉 SIX seems to be really pushing it. Parts of France for retired English colonels to avoid…..LOL.

            Liked by 1 person

        2. Now that someone has mentioned the possibility of being unconsensually snogged by the Orange One, I am afraid to go to sleep, because of the nightmares. Maybe garlic would help, or a silver crucifix… after all, who can afford to keep an unrelated judge handy in their bedroom just in case they happen to need an urgent restraining order during the night? There’s some silly prejudice among the law enforcement community against sharpened wooden stakes, apparently, or I’d keep one of those handy instead, just in case of anything.

          I mean, “Unhand me, sirrah!” notoriously does not work in his case, and as for “But you’re a married man!” – well, we’ve all heard that one before, one way or another, I think.

          Liked by 2 people

    1. Well she’s going to need a rest for now. But soon we’ll have Markle’s sprog-dropping campaign so your pension forfeiture will still be needed! Luckily they are exempt from the no public funding for the third child rules…

      Judging from the inclinations of the readers I’m realising there is a reason why it’s Munguin’s Republic and not Munguin’s Monarchy despite the furry one being imperious 🙂

      Liked by 4 people

  5. Two men I know are retiring this year
    Both work in hard manual jobs both
    Although own homes no mortgage
    Will have only state pension as do thier
    Wives .
    Both just want to get out of the world
    Of hard work even with reduced income .
    I ask or know a couple home owners
    No mortgage one claiming personal
    Pension both working and getting state

    Both work at what could be termed easy
    High paid Pen pushing jobs they could
    easily retir But choose to work because
    they are greedySelfish bastards
    ( my description)

    Question is a universal pension of the
    The same amount for all fair.


    1. I think a basic one of a decent amount would be fair. Of course, there are people who have put money away all their lives. I don’t think they should be penalised for that.

      Sometimes people go on working because they love what they do and can’t image what life would be like without their job.

      So it’s not necessarily greed.

      Frankly, I don’t understand that myself… but some people are like that.

      It must be so hard for people doing physical work as they get older. Once upon a time, when people stayed with the same company forever, they did the really hard graft when they were young and took on an easier kinda role as they got older. But these days are gone, and now employers expect blood, sweat and tears from everyone.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Many of the folk I know who retired early have other jobs and it’s not because they need the money. For some, their work defines them, it gives purpose, they feel useful. Others have interests they want to pursue so not having to work suits them. I also know someone who refuses to retire because he knows he will be swapping his career for full time unpaid child care duties.

    GreedySelfishbastards may be a tad unfair and judgemental of you Niko, it’s really not like you at all. (Cough, cough)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aye…

      It’s true though.

      Some people just HAVE to retire because they physically (or mentally) just can’t go on.

      Others are terrified that spending 24/7 with the husband/wife will drive them insane.

      Some know that they will be required, as you say, to take on family duties which frankly they really don’t want.

      Some know that it will be decorating, buying new stuff, gardening non stop.

      And some genuinely are defined by their jobs. A doctor who wants to go on treating people; a teacher who takes on a few classes at the uni or local evening institute.

      I think some people see retirement as the start of the slippery slope to uselessness and eventually…. Bye!

      Of course, others just can’t wait to get the hell out of the dreadful office/shop/classroom/ surgery… and never wear a suit again.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I’m in the latter category, work for me was always to pay the bills although I think I did as well as I could.

        Early retirement was my equivelant of a lottery win, I’m enjoying it immensely and I’m really sorry that future generations are being denied the chance.

        Things should be getting better, not worse, isn’t that what we were led to expect?

        Liked by 3 people

  7. I would aspire to the 95% figure attributed to Portugal. It seems to me that I could never have, realistically, retired on a state pension alone. I get, from the state, circa £520 a month, which must be near the maximum that anyone can accrue. Without subsidy from a personal pension, I think that I would be a starving wreck. What with bills, etc, the odd luxury like communicating with you would be completely beyond my means.

    There is an interesting question about what is the point of money? It seems to me to be the battlefield between the ridiculously rich and the rest of us. For one side it is existential, for t’other it is about positions on the Forbes list.

    I may be becoming a communist.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It’s pretty much unlivable on.

      If there are two of you, I suppose it’s a little easier. After all, you only have to heat one living room, and two can eat almost as cheaply as one (they say).

      But on your own, it is a disgrace.

      I think, to be fair, that there is a pension credit which makes that up to maybe around £650 a month, but it a bare existence.

      Be ashamed Britain. No other pensioners live like this.


    1. It occurred to me to wonder exactly what colour of blue is supposed to be used in the Saltire – so, after a bit of digging, I found that it is “Pantone 300”, or in the RGB system used for computer monitors, 0, 110, 199. Seems to me that we don’t have to look any further for our Scottish passport colour; no risk of clashing with whatever the Westminster regime settles on, I would think, as you can bet your life they would choose any colour of blue but that!

      I don’t need to warn anyone about inaccurate colour rendering on monitors, I’m sure, so here’s a page I turned up that gives us an idea of what it looks like: http://encycolorpedia.com/006ec7


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