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One year on.. How have the SNP done?

  • Thread starter Scottish Business Owner
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Scottish Business Owner

Scottish Business Owner

New Member
It's nearly a year since the SNP came to government and I've started this thread to get your comments on how they've done so far.

BBC NEWS | Scotland | SNP 'repaying the people's trust'

For me I think it's been quite positive so far and I can see tangible evidence through the freezing of council tax and the abolition of road tolls on the forth road bridge. Obviously there's the other part of government who feel they've failed to deliver so i'd like to know your thoughts on how they've done so far.

:)
 

Boxby

New Member
Blimey, can't believe it's a year. Seems to have been a very fast year. It's been better than I expected. I've enjoyed watching the power play between GB and AS. Have to say though, i'm reserving judgement until that bit at the end of the session/begining of the next session, when the real impacts of policies start to show their heads.
 
Split into two posts as I'm over the limit! (hic! :D )

Generally, so far so good.... But....

I'm slightly annoyed by the ending of the right to buy. I'm no Thatcherite, and I believe she introduced the policy for all the wrong reasons. She also 'fixed' it so the money was mis-appropriated. But it did allow many who would otherwise never have become property owners, and otherwise paid for their houses several times over, to become masters of their own destiny.

Why's that important? Well; I was brought up in council housing. In fact in Glasgow's soon-to-be-demolished 'Red Road'. Before that I lived in Barmulloch. My Grandmother, who was the 'tenant' of the house spent her life with an almost Orwellian fear of 'the factor'..... She never even got to chose the colour of her own front door!

In fact, on the front door issue, I recall a run in I myself had with my local housing officer when I was a tenant... She didn't like the 'non regulation' bright green I was applying to the entrance to my home... I was told (and I quote) "It's NOT your house, it's council property"

Anyone who doubts this mentality is alive and well and living in a concrete box near you should take a drive down Wishaw way. There's a block of flats with a Bl**dy great Motherwell district council logo set right into the rendering... People's HOMES! The place where they're expected to live and flourish and raise their kids BRANDED by these petty mandarins...

Of course pre-RTB it was worse. You could always tell you were entering a 'scheme'.... where there's a scheme there's a schemer. And the corporate mentality that dominates these places is what people sought mainly to break away from when they exercised the RTB. The once grey, dour uniformity imposed by 'the corporation' was quickly replaced by signs of personality and pride....

Sure; the new policy will result in new build. And I fully accept that needs to be paid for. To that end I'd have altered RTB to apply only after 10 years with a 'cost floor' limiting the maximum discount.... BUT. The proposed new schemes might as well have 'looserville' signs at the entrance... Tomorrow's Easterhouses and Ardens....

The next thing that disturbs me is the recent announcement by Glasgow that they might introduce a congestion charge. I've no doubt that the main thrust behind this is the 'robber barons' that masquerade as city fathers seeking to replace the funds they'd otherwise have fleeced from the great unwashed through council tax.... That's NOT directly the SNP's fault.. But they need to stomp on it and stomp on it FAST...

The congestion charge has benefited certain types of business in London. But it's crippled many a small trader. For me, the City has become a no-go zone. Likewise the tinkering in places like Edinburgh has resulted in many of the peripheral routes becoming business ghost towns. Glasgow City Centre itself is already almost impossible to drive through; although it does have the advantage of the arterial Motorway and extensive peripheral parking....

Personally I was on the point of establishing an office in Glasgow and would have signed a lease this coming Thursday; as the DIRECT result of these proposals that's NOT going to happen.... We'll be re-locating; but elsewhere!

Much as the bridges being opened is a step in the right direction I'd like to see the SNP administration protect the right to move freely around Scotland. I feel this is central since our economy pivots on affordable mobility.
 
I'd also like to see evidence of a will to clamp down on both the frivolous raising of revenues and squandering of them....

As a child at school my teachers could reach to a drawer and hand me a pencil, a ruler, text books... My daughter's nearly 12 and is bemused by this notion. WE have to buy her everything down to the paper she writes on. Although there's a library just a couple of miles away it's stocked only with 'mills and boon' and gardening books....

Back in grey dreich 1970's Barmulloch I was able to teach myself how to read a circuit diagram and assemble said circuit on veroboard. I learned about optics (built my own telescope),photographic processing, learned to play the guitar.. All from a little library no much bigger than an average bungalow! Such places simply don't exist now.

Within 15 minutes walk of my home there was an A&E department, a Park (with boats, bowls and tennis courts) a college (with a pool that the community could use),four primary schools a secondary school, huge community centre, umpteen schools halls and church halls for concerts, scouts, guides..... All gone. All those things existed because ratepayers money WAS being spent on providing facilities for the community RATHER than supporting hoardes of pointless administrators and managers endlessly creating unproductive but lucrative 'jobs' for themselves...... In relative terms the government seem to be raising ever increasing sums of money, and achieving ever less with them......

More positively though....

As someone who works part of the time in education I'm definitely sensing a change. I've met Fiona Hyslop a couple of times for instance and definitely feel she's the sort of Education Minister who's door I could knock and who would actually listen to my point of view.

Likewise there's a better 'vibe' about the parliament building. I recall editing some footage during the summer and noting to myself that the 'polis' walking the beat outside the place bore a closer resemblance (both physically and in manner) to 'PC Murdoch' than a reject from "The Sweeney". I'd sat down on the wall outside with my camera at my side to grab a bit to eat. Instead of the usual interrogation I got a "braw day" and "daein a bit o' filmin then?". Now, I fully accept that this might seem trivial, but it's a minor sign of a deeper change I think....... What I'm sensing is an 'ease', a civility; Something very Scottish, that a year ago simply didn't exist.
 
Scottish Business Owner

Scottish Business Owner

New Member
Some fantastic points Matt. It's interesting to read that many businesses also support and are happy with how the SNP have fared so far. Not that surprising considering the background of the main people in the SNP.

I agree that Right to Buy is a loss but I dont think this was done though choice. I think so many people took advantage of it that it was a victim of it's own success. I wonder what proportion of a council's funds come from rent?

Your point about libraries etc. Isn't this just a sign of the times. The world wide web is the biggest library you could probably find and I think this is an area where access should be widened. I myself was very active in the Boys Brigade up to I was 18 and would agree that things like this are fading fast.

I think spending on public administration is not just a Scotland issue but a UK wide issue. You dont have to go very far to get stats on how much money is wasted in the public sector every year.
 
I think the major point of the RTB as was is that the money from sales was deliberately mis-appropriated. It should have went straight into building new houses. My personal view is that the main aim of social housing SHOULD be to provide a leg up onto the housing ladder for those who would otherwise struggle.

Mark my words, the new houses they are about to build will be no-go ghettos in 20 years and the seedbed of tomorrow's social strife.

Libraries; to an extent I would agree with you. But I could go back 18 years and make the same criticism. Like most public services they were 'asset stripped' and reduced to bean counting. The internet is fine as far as it goes. But (for instance) I'd find it quite difficult on the net to find the instructions to build my old telescope... Patrick Moore wrote a whole book-an-a-half on the subject... Again; lack of community resources. Barmulloch College was demolished and the land sold off to developers. So the community lost not only a focal point but key resources such as the local pool, badmington courts football fields etc etc... The library as was given over to being a 'token' presence of North Glasgow College... :rolleyes: Asset stripping....

As you say, issues of waste are more a UK-wide problem. And part of my hope is that the wee bits of common sense that are creeping in (such as an education minister you can talk to or a polis man who's more interested in friendly chats than frightening the life oot o ye) will start to 'seep' through all our public services...
 
Scottish Business Owner

Scottish Business Owner

New Member
I think the major point of the RTB as was is that the money from sales was deliberately mis-appropriated. It should have went straight into building new houses. My personal view is that the main aim of social housing SHOULD be to provide a leg up onto the housing ladder for those who would otherwise struggle.
Surely Matt the maths doesn't add up here. Discounts being offered on this type of housing were up to 70% off with a tiered payback should you then try and sell it within the first three years.

You surely cant build as many houses as you're selling giving that much discount away on each one? I know of countless cases where the system was worked resulting in some people now holding several ex-council properties.

Surely social housing is about building in areas of deprivation to give people something to value and take pride in. Maybe my take on this is wrong but for me it doesn't represent an investment opportunity. :)
 
Surely Matt the maths doesn't add up here. Discounts being offered on this type of housing were up to 70% off with a tiered payback should you then try and sell it within the first three years.

You surely cant build as many houses as you're selling giving that much discount away on each one? I know of countless cases where the system was worked resulting in some people now holding several ex-council properties.
Discounts are up to 70% (that only applied to flats IIRC) of the market value at the time of sale; NOT of the cost of building. As I said I'd have altered RTB to apply only after 10 years (not 3!) with a 'cost floor' limiting the maximum discount.... I'd also have altered the 'clawback' period to 5 years; and might have been tempted to pull the maximum discount down to 50%/60% for flats.

By that means you could recover the cost of borrowing to build + maintenance though rental over the 10 years. The cost floor also ensures that the cost of building is fully recovered plus there is some benefit in releasing the proportional equity once the property is bought.

Surely social housing is about building in areas of deprivation to give people something to value and take pride in. Maybe my take on this is wrong but for me it doesn't represent an investment opportunity. :)
But the point is that HAVE nothing to value if they're effectively locked in to the old system of what I can only describe as civic serfdom.... I EXPERIENCED what it was like to grow up as a 'third class' citizen... People DIDN'T take a pride in their homes because they WEREN'T their homes! (and we were often reminded of that!) Often people weren't ALLOWED to make the most basic decisions about their environment.. I've known a 'factor' from the old corporation rip the window boxes from someone's sills and dump them in the bin because they were 'not regulation'... And I've already mentioned my own experience....

As a youngster, looking for my first job, I had adults on more than one occasion look me in the eye and tell me 'that's no for the likes o' you'. Why? Well with seven o levels and five highers under my belt before I was sixteen it wasn't my lack of academic achievement; I'm from Springburn... Mindless brat from a council flat.... Branded scum in other words....

And that's a stigma that follows me to this very day!

Make no mistake, the mentality of many who work in housing services is one of utter contempt for the tenants. I've experienced it first hand and continue to witness it on a day-to-day basis. My Gran was a council tenant for over 60 years. How many houses did she pay for? As for the social divisiveness of that system; it's as vile and obscene as suggesting the 'poor' should be forced to wear rented shoes...

Social polices be they housing education or whatever should be about providing pathways towards full citizenship and inclusiveness. Home ownership and the ownership of property in general is a fundamental hingepin of our economic culture. Indeed one of the key problems we have is that people are being denied the opportunity to set up home and take part in the full range of economic choices that entails. And indeed shoulder the full burden of responsibilities...

There's a BIG difference between state provision of housing and state contol of housing... And the latter, to my mind, is a vile obscenity that has no place in a civilised free country.

As I said ; mark my words. The new housing schemes will in a couple decades time will be rendered absolute hell-holes... For the simple reason, you remove the right to buy, you remove the right to hope.
 
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Scottish Business Owner

Scottish Business Owner

New Member
Matt,

OK, I agree the sums certainly stack up more and I can see how this could work.

I would also agree that ownership of property should be more widely accessible but why limit it to RTB. There's thousands of people who cant get on the property ladder because deposits etc take a while to accumulate. What options do these people have, they surely dont want to go into the "hell-holes" either?

I dont come from a particularly well-off family either, came out of school like yourself having acheived more than most but the only thing i've really ever encountered is people looking down on me because of my age. I've never encountered any of what you've gone through and find it hard to accept that this happened and continues to do so but I dont doubt anything that you've experienced.
 
Matt,

OK, I agree the sums certainly stack up more and I can see how this could work.

I would also agree that ownership of property should be more widely accessible but why limit it to RTB. There's thousands of people who cant get on the property ladder because deposits etc take a while to accumulate. What options do these people have, they surely dont want to go into the "hell-holes" either?

I dont come from a particularly well-off family either, came out of school like yourself having acheived more than most but the only thing i've really ever encountered is people looking down on me because of my age. I've never encountered any of what you've gone through and find it hard to accept that this happened and continues to do so but I dont doubt anything that you've experienced.

Your age will change.... :) Scarily quickly!

The incident I outlined happened when I went for a job as a trainee science technician at Alan Glen's in Glasgow. Shortly afterwards I got a job with the AV unit at Strathclyde... Quite close by! I found out the guy they DID hire was from Newton Mearns and only had two 'o' levels...... But he was from Newton Mearns and his vocal affectations were clearly more acceptable than mine!

As it happens they probably did me a favour; I'd not have been the places I've been, met the people I've met or achieved the things I've achieved as a school science technician.... But even now I do get the odd 'snide' remark... Particularly in academic circles.

As for those struggling to gather deposits etc.....

It's EXACTLY this sort of person that the social housing agenda should be designed to help. Too often people are struggling to afford houses that in real terms present very poor value for money. That's because 'baseline' housing is now very much 'profiteer' territory. On a lecturer's wages, approximately
 
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frockery

frockery

New Member
Fascinating read, Matt and ! :)

I agree the SNP have done well in their first year. Mind you, they would have been hard pressed to do worse than the last lot, who appear to have gone into total meltdown since losing the election.

Even the Scotsman seems to be turning, albeit slowly. :D
 
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