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Saturday, December 17, 2011

Fixing Scotland's Cultural Cringe

  Just been looking through Carol Craig's book The Scots Crisis of Confidence. She says that the Scots tradition of equality, a fine thing when it is equality of opportunity as it used to be ( "The rank is but the guinea's stamp, The Man's the gowd for a' that"), has become a lack of respect for individuality and a stultifying culture of conformity, which is inevitable when we redefine equality to mean "equality of outcome".

   The Enterprise section is introduced with an old Russian joke - Peasant Ivan is jealous of Boris because Boris has a goat and he doesn't. Fairy gives him a single wish for whatever he wants which, rather than anything for himself, is that "Boris' goat should drop dead".

     Now that is something socialists often approve of and indeed have occasionally actually said - they would rather see the poor stay poor as long as the rich don't get richer.

     While in theory Scots should be reasonably good at starting businesses in fact we are at half the level of similar small nations. What the book finds is not merely that Scots in Scotland have a very low TEA (Total Enterprise Activity, sorry)  of 3.9 as opposed to 12.7 for English but that when we go abroad we develop a very high rate. People of Scots ancestry in the US makes up 1.7% of the population but 9.3% of millionaires! The Scots figure there is also 3 times better than that of English ancestry. Scots also have a higher rate of references to scientific papers (the best measure of real scientific achievement rather than just publishing to keep the numbers up) per capita than any other country with the possible exception of Switzerland.

      Putting all that together it is not a problem of our personal culture but must be one of the national culture.

      That is to say we are being stifled by the useless bunch of parasitic big statists numpties, of all parties, that make up our political class.

       Pretty much what I have been saying for a while but good to have some evidence that seems impossible to interpret any other way.

       So we have a particular problem to fix - produce a national culture where we do not feel under pressure to stifle our proven individual abilities. In the long term hanging everybody in Holyrood using the intestines of every civil service manager would be beneficial. Everybody interested in improving the country should start thinking of others. Our culture is not going to reverse itself quickly and there are doubtless many individual actions that would help.

      However inculcating a spirit of enterprise or indeed hard work can be done by rewarding it.. The traditionally successful way of encouraging anything [dependency, dishonesty, scare stories, aggression and entrepreneurism] is to reward it. So lets reduce income tax in Scotland by the 3p of the Tartan Tax.

      The whole thesis of Scotland's automatic cultural cringe is proven by the fact that that though Westminster gave us the power to do this and though it would certainly have a strongly positive economic effect, as well as the cultural effect I refer to today, no party in Holyrood, neither the one that pretends to believe in free markets nor the one that pretends to want to use powers England denies us to improve the economy, has dared to suggest that we cut income tax*. This despite that they are all quite certain that they have more than twice that much money spare than the £1 billion a year that would cost, to blow on windmills, cycle paths and teaching van drivers to drive slowly. Only if Boris was on the dole and paying no income tax would he believe that it is better to blow billions on windmills than to cut income tax - if he had any sort of job he would behave smarter and more constructively than the average Holyrood politician.
      Which is why it should be a major policy of any true progressive in Scots politics.

*To be fair to the LudDims they did come out for cutting a penny (without saying where it would come from so clearly just a PR stunt) and thereby caused the budget of the minority SNP to fall. To continue being fair they, on seeing it work they immediately dropped the policy and obediently put through the budget.

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The Scots have a sense of fairness, and that is different from equality. Some with an ambitious and self promoting agenda have fixated on the latter. The biggest unfairness has been the stifling of opportunity and enterprise by so much being bogged down from the start by having to get permission from others who will and do make that permission difficult to obtain,largely to increase the ransom they can then extort.
People can object and frustrate the enterprise of others with impunity and sometimes just out of malice.
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