High on Reddit this morning, my favourite comedian is wrong

I don’t know when the above quote, high on Reddit this morning, comes from but the SNP are clearly and objectively progressive and I can prove it.

Leaving aside what the SNP has done on LGBTQ+ policies and focusing only on just one strand of the struggle for greater equality, one which makes many of the other targets possible – a living income, there have been many initiatives:

  • In 2013, the UK Government limited Housing Benefit and the housing element of Universal Credit for working-age council or housing association tenants if they were considered to be under-occupying their homes. This became known as the ‘bedroom tax’ and the Scottish Government fully mitigated it, spending £52 million per year. [1]
  • Beginning only this month, the Scottish Child Payment means that low-income families with a child under six will be able to apply for £10 per child, per week – equivalent to £520 per year. There are no limits on the number of eligible children supported by Scottish Child Payment.[2]
  • Scotland has the highest proportion of employees being paid at least the real Living Wage of all four UK nations – 80.6%, ahead of England 77.1%, Wales 74.0% and NI 72.3% and the UK 77.2%.[3]
  • Scotland has the smallest gap between median pay for the disabled and non-disabled. This is not the result of median wages for the non-disabled in Scotland being particularly low as Scotland has the highest median pay outside of the South of England and London.[4]
  • Only Scotland and Wales pay the living wage to all NHS employees and Scotland was first to pay the living wage to all public-sector employees. Recent consultation on taxation suggests that this group will also be protected from any tax increases.[5]
  • Scottish care workers have been receiving the Living Wage of £8.45 per hour since October 2016 and will now [unlike in rUK] receive the same rate for all ‘sleepover hours worked. This will make a big difference to around 40 000 workers. Most are women.[6]
  • In 2019, the United Nations report on ‘Workhouse Britain’ noted that Scotland was spending ‘£125 million per year to protect people from the worst impacts of austerity and unlike the UK Government provided funds for emergencies and hardships.’[7]
  • Also, in 2019, the funeral support payment was introduced meeting burial or cremation costs with a flat rate £700. [8]

Finishing with a few words from researchers in Wales who studied in 2017, how 7 ‘small countries’ – Wales, Scotland, New Zealand, Denmark, Quebec, Netherlands and Austria were ‘weathering the storm’ of increasing demand and reducing budgets, by developing a ‘golden thread’ linking more open government and participation in improving services. They wrote:

A review of a small country’s approaches to public policy reform in response to economic, demographic and other pressures found that only in Scotland could this ‘golden thread’ be so clearly discerned [9].

[1] https://www.gov.scot/policies/social-security/support-with-housing-costs/#:~:text=The%20bedroom%20tax,-From%20April%202013&text=This%20is%20widely%20known%20as,two%20or%20more%20additional%20bedrooms

[2] https://www.gov.scot/policies/social-security/scottish-child-payment/

[3] https://economicactionplan.mygov.scot/fair-work/real-living-wage/

[4] https://www.gov.scot/publications/fairer-scotland-disabled-people-employment-action-plan-progress-report/

[5] Make the NHS a living wage employer says UNISON

6 https://news.gov.scot/news/pay-boost-for-carers

[7] https://undocs.org/A/HRC/41/39/Add.1

[8] https://www.holyrood.com/articles/news/new-scottish-funeral-benefit-launches-next-week

39 thoughts on “High on Reddit this morning, my favourite comedian is wrong

  1. To be fair to Mr Boyle, I think he is being ironic. He actually has a platform in England and makes the case against the UK and for Scotland.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The institutional Torydum that pervades Scottish public life, does appear to have stupefying effect on our legal and political Establishment, as contemporary British constitutionalism inescapably articulates outright fascism. Which is a direct consequence of Parliamentary sovereignty’s incompatibility with Natural law principles.


  3. In my opinion,the next big change that is required to be implemented in Scotland is a universal basic income.
    That could simplify many of the piecemeal mitigations which have had to be done to remedy social and public health decisions imposed on us by England’s Tories.

    Liked by 6 people

  4. The rule of law does not function in isolation from international law. So if Scots ever want to enjoy their natural rights to liberty and self-determination, I think we’ll need to train our law offices in how to support international law. The contemporary form of which is grounded in Natural law principles and a legal respect for the human genome.

    A normative theory of international law based on new natural law theory


  5. A wee bit of controversy for a bit of cheap publicity. It’s not funny. Or maybe it is. Laughing all the way to the bank. Controversy makes money. Generosity. Once banned by the BBC. Now back into the fold.
    Likes to be controversial. Often hits the mark. BIt sweary for some folks taste. Sells tickets direct to the public. Cuts out the touts,

    Does Frankie Boyle support Independence? Someone could ask him. Does not approve of Westminster or politicians by all reports. Anarchist? De reverent.

    Kevin Bridges does. Billy Connelly gives support. Change of mind. More and more people coming on board.

    Liked by 3 people

      1. Julia,
        The proposed reforms to the GRA 2004 are about the process of obtaining a Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC) and does not propose changing any other aspect of the existing Act
        Nor does it intend to alter women’s protected rights under the Equality Act 2010.

        The Gender Recognition Act 2004 is an Act passed by the UKGov. It came into effect in 2005. The Scottish Executive adopted it via a Sewell Convention. In the intervening years around 5000 people have undergone the process set out in the Act to have their gender legally reassigned.

        In 2016 a House of Commons Committee held an inquiry into the Act and made various recommendations which resulted in moves by the UK Gov, and the Scottish Gov undertaking public consultations on reform of the Act. The Scottish Gov in fact has held 2 public consultations the second of which overlapped with the start of the pandemic in March 2020. Both Governments have now shelved the issue for the time being. I believe another inquiry into the Act was initiated in HoC in late 2020.

        I have detailed all of this in previous posts on this site with relevant references which it would appear you have not read.

        The membership of the SNP and the people of Scotland have had two opportunities via the public consultations to make their views known on this UK Act.

        This is a link to the background to the Reform in which it is clearly stated that both women’s rights and tran’s rights will continue to be protected under the current Equalities legislation “” Both women’s rights and trans rights continue to be protected under Equality legislation, and this will not change””

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Thing is it’s actually an international cult as well…the narrative being driven by those who seek to undermine the rights of women and eventually all of those they will disempower. It has nothing to do with protecting trans rights etc, but is certainly a very handy tool to divide folks and it’s working. They used to use religion, then sport, the, them vs us, poor against the even poorer, that didn’t quite work, so, divide folks on gender issues, which just shouldn’t be an issue anyway. Equality for all, no one sector of society should be awarded more rights and neither should any have their rights undermined or removed. That would be the case in an ideal non capitalist world led by ever growing far right wing nutcases. It’s also a very handy distraction from the mega rich taking the absolute rip out of the people, parasitic rich, they live as if Earth is a different planet to the one most of us inhabit, that’s before they have secured their escape to Mars (bye bye!) or somewhere in the future when they have totally wrecked Earth. It’s a strange world indeed and humans are so gullible to other humans pulling the wool over their eyes.

        Lastly, women’s rights were hard fought for, we were part of the tail end of the movement in they 80’s, no one group will be getting away with removing womens’ rights if I have anything to do with it, or anyone’s rights in fact.
        The English government have plans to ‘reform’ the HRA, and we all know what that will mean, fewer rights.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m not surprised at the substance of your assertion, Gordon if one considers together: (a) the framework of international law regarding individual human rights; (b) rights to freedom of expression, including ‘gender expression’; and (c) legal obligations around non-discrimination. What follows might offer useful perspective on the obligations and, yes the challenges domestic law makers undoubtedly face.

      Source 1: UN Human Rights, Office of the High Commissioner: ‘Fact sheet – International Human Rights Law and Sexual Orientation & Gender Identity’

      This states: “The equality and non-discrimination guarantee provided by international human rights law applies to all people, regardless of sex, sexual orientation and gender identity or “other status.” There is no fine print, no hidden exemption clause, in any of our human rights treaties that might allow a State to guarantee full rights to some but withhold them from others purely on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.”

      Source 2: OHCHR (2019) Living Free and Equal: What States are doing to tackle violence and discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people.

      This notes: “States have an obligation to remove legal or other impediments to the exercise of the right to freedom of expression. An area in which multiple such impediments exist is restrictions on gender expression and, in particular, the expression of the gender identity of transgender persons.”

      (In UN sources: “Gender expression is the way in which we express our gender through actions and appearance, including dress, speech and mannerisms. A person’s gender expression is not always linked to the person’s biological sex, gender identity or sexual orientation” ”)

      The OHCHR report also states: “Everyone has the right to be free from discrimination, including on the basis of their sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, and sex characteristics. This right is protected by article 2 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as well as by the non-discrimination provisions of core international human rights treaties. In addition, article 7 of the Universal Declaration provides that ALL PEOPLE ARE EQUAL before the law and are entitled without discrimination to the equal protection of the law.” (my emphasis)

      Source 3: United Nations Human Rights – Office of the High Commissioner (2019) “Born Free and Equal: Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Sex Characteristics’.

      This includes: “Simply put, human rights are for everyone, without exception: lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex (LGBTI) people are just as entitled to protection, respect and fulfilment of their human rights as everyone else”

      And it adds: “The legal obligations of States to safeguard the human rights of LGBTI people are well established in international human rights law on the basis of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, international human rights treaties, and customary international law. All people, irrespective of sexual orientation, gender identity or sex characteristics, are entitled to enjoy the protections provided by international human rights law, …”

      “These core principles are reaffirmed through international human rights covenants and treaties, many of which contain open-ended provisions against discrimination, and have been interpreted to include discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, and sex characteristics.”

      It goes on: ‘The principle of non-discrimination is cross-cutting and the obligations on the part of States are immediate and inescapable. Simply put, people may not be discriminated against in the enjoyment of rights on the bases of sexual orientation, gender identity or sex characteristics. As the High Commissioner has stated, “The struggle for the rights of LGBTI people is a core part of the human rights struggle.’

      This UN report contains a recommendation to nation-state law makers relating to self-identification:

      “Prohibit and address discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity and sex characteristics by enacting relevant comprehensive legislation and policies. …. ensure that transgender persons can obtain legal recognition of their gender identity through a SIMPLE ADMINISTRATIVE PROCEDURE without abusive requirements.”

      So in conclusion Gordon, I can’t (yet) point to something that states explicitly in your chosen terms that “SelfGender ID is a requirement under International Law for equality.” However, when taking individual human rights together with rights to freedom of ‘gender expression’ and legal obligations around non-discrimination does this not come close to amounting to the same thing?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. No. There is a mile of difference between the right to express oneself, and the right to define ones own sex. It is medically impossible to change sex, so the law should not insist that it is possible. Remember, if law is to be just, it needs to be compatible with practical reason (Natural law) and cognitive linguistics.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. ‘The equality and non-discrimination guarantee provided by international human rights law applies to ALL PEOPLE, REGARDLESS of sex, sexual orientation and gender identity or “other status.”.’ (My Source 1)

        The crucial factors it seems to me in the international legal framework are associated with the rights of an INDIVIDUAL, any individual and all individuals regardless of sex status at birth AND regardless of present gender expression AND regardless of sexual orientation.

        “Simply put, people may not be discriminated against in the enjoyment of rights on the bases of sexual orientation, gender identity or sex characteristics.” (My Source 3)

        Is it possible there is conflation here of rights “to define ones own sex” – not what any of the sources I refer to are suggesting as far as I can make out – and rights to gender identification/self-expression? Would I be right in understanding that international law is concerned with (i) INDIVIDUAL human rights – all individuals; (ii) rights over freedom of expression – including ‘gender expression – for ALL individuals; and (iii) rights not to be discriminated against – again rights available to ALL individuals?

        I’m struggling to find ANYTHING in what I’ve read today to suggest that the UN/OHCHR is stating or relying in law on medically changing sex. Indeed the approach is inclusive. For example the UN source states: “All people, irrespective of sexual orientation, gender identity or sex characteristics, are entitled to enjoy the protections provided by international human rights law, …” (My Source 3)

        Candidly I never expected ever to get into literature on this topic but reading authoritative sources and not just social media proves enlightening. It does highlight the obligations and very real challenges that domestic law makers face in addressing these issues when the rights of ALL – and diverse – individuals are involved.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. That’s why the top women weight lifters, cyclists etc are now men.
        That’s why so many young women are being injured at rugby.
        Biology, body mass, muscle size etc etc are facts.

        Middle aged mediocre sportsmen are now female champions. One example of what is happening. The other in sport is safety.

        when women are shouted down, de-platformed, excluded from the discussion then the system isn’t working.


  6. I think what Frankie Boyle is inferring is the SNP aren’t particularly progressive in pursuing independence. They’ve done a mountain of progressive stuff domestically, no question about that, which is why the UK state expend so much effort belittling our country and it’s elected Government (and also hide their Covid-19 figures behind the cloak of the UK to avoid direct comparison).


    1. No. F. B. gives his examples of the party not being progressive (in his opinion).
      Rejecting austerity via a very modest spending increase and rejecting nuclear missiles based in Scotland.
      No mention of independence.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I haven’t looked at international public law in almost three decades, so it’s absolutely crazy that it is left up to the likes of myself to defend the legal principles that underpin open democracy, from authoritarian English nationalism. Though Scots law and legal practice is stunted and deformed, as a result of standing under Westminster’s unsubstantial claim to legal authority for three centuries.

    Summary: Constitutionalization in International Law


  8. I might be rusty but I do know what I’m talking about. The original GRA does not refer to the changing of sex, it refers to the legal recognition of adopted gender. Which is as far as the law can go to support self-expression while remaining just. Sex and gender are not the same thing.

    The proposed GRA amendments are so poorly drafted as to conflate sex with gender-ideology, which will make the legal identity of women indefensible. This will serious harm the rights of women and constrain their access to the public realm. Which is more than a tad discriminatory and counter to international human rights law.

    Analysis of the Concept of “Natural Person” in Public Law and Private Law Relations


  9. Sorry peeps, even I struggled with the broken English in that paper, so here’s another one that’s a bit more accessible. I’m not against improving the social status of trans-individuals, but that can’t happen at the expense of women’s ability to participate in society and open democracy. So we need to do all we can to maintain the defensibility of women’s legal identity.

    The same applies to Scotland’s legal identity. So we need to tell Westminster it does not possess the legal authority to redefine Scotland’s constitutional identity out of existence. As that would be an act of patricide through the law.

    The body: A phenomenological psychological perspective


      1. Eh? That’s exactly what I’ve been pointing out for some time now. So it is frankly alarming that ‘our’ civil service have been instructed to abandon a gender-critical approach to law and public policy. Probably by the same official who cobbled together the retro-active policy aimed at nobbling AS.

        International Human Rights Law and Gender Equality and Non-Discrimination Legislation
        Requirements and Good Practices

        Click to access GEL-BRIEFING-ELECwhole.pdf


  10. There was a young person in the SNP. SNP Young division, The person self ID. Sometimes male. Some times female. Just as a few young people do. Extremely attractive bright intelligent people. They would not harm or hurt a fly. They just want be accepted for who they are. Lovely people but with a need to self ID. They is how they feel. Their feeling are as legitimate as everyone else’s. They should not be written off or over ruled. Anyone who meets them is as impressed as all their friends, workmates and families.

    These young people and others have the support of others. Some bloggers who do no understand and appear to be not able to comprehend others need to self ID. The blogger became openly hostile to the idea. Entirely hostile to the idea and extremely offensive. Views were exchanged in no uncertain manner. By e-mail and other references. Affairs became extremely heated to say the least. Especially those defending their pal and others of the same persuasion.

    The young SNP crowd and others, based at Stirling University?, went after the blogger. The blogger was banned from twitter. This intensified the situation. Made things extremely tense to say the least. The egos certainly clashed.

    Eventually something happened! Involved Ms Cherry the NEC? The classification was changed or something. The young SNP res became offended and resigned. The Party chief and other members were rather annoyed to say the least. The young folk who had been enthusiastic members and a lot of fun were gone.

    The Party Chief and others went in (quite rightly?) and read the riot act. The dissenters were told in certain terms be quiet or leave the Party. The Party rules are for equality and fairness. For self expression. Under International Law it must be evaluated. Not the problem of who uses a toilet. It can be sorted out In any case. The logistics can be overcome relatively easily. People who wishes to self iD have mother’s sister, aunties, cousins friends of female persuasion who also support them. They is not an either or. All people’s rights can be protected. It is not a threat. It is a condition of mind and body. Medical sciences advances. Not feminist dogma of the past. When the matters did not exist. Hidden and stigmatised. This is now the future.

    Most people in the Party are sad the young ones have gone. They really were a lot of fun. Bright as a button and did not hurt or harm anyone. Quite the opposite they cared about others and their pals. They want the world to be a better place and people to be accepted for who they are. Without hurting or harming anyone. Quite the idealists. Like most young ones. They are not a threat. They are the future. That has to be recognised,


    1. There is nothing wrong with identifying as the opposite gender to your biological sex, though it is a perversion of the justice system to force the law to imply that changing sex is medically possible. Which is simply incompatible with Natural law principles and natural rights. The proposed GRA amendments would force such change, as they conflate biological sex with gender-ideology. That’s institutional misogyny, and prohibited by international human rights law. Though British nationalism already prevents Scots from accessing international law.

      Protecting Women’s Rights: International Law and Advocacy

      Click to access June-19-2014-Womens-Rights-Training-Summary.pdf


  11. There are many different points of view. For exchange and argument.

    “Men are so adept at wrongly faulting womankind, not seeing they are to blame for faults they plant in a woman’s mind,
    After they have won by urgent plea the right to tarnish her good name, you still expect her to behave – you that coaxed her into shame,
    So where does the greater guilt lie for a passion that should not be: with the man who pleads out of baseless or the woman debased by his plea?
    Or which is more to be blamed- though both will have cause for chagrin the woman who sins for money or the man who pays to sin?”

    ‘Juana Ines de la Cruz’

    Just saying


  12. Generational difference?

    ‘My grandchildren have tried to explain to me the numerous forms of love that young people practice today’

    ‘This is my time time! But l do admit that, unfortunately, l have passed the age in which l could venture into the terrain of modern polyamorous nonbinary relationships.’

    Isabel Allende

    Quite a few like that?


    1. “Generational difference?

      ‘My grandchildren have tried to explain to me the numerous forms of love that young people practice today’ ”

      My daughter and I have had a discussion (or 3!) about this for that very reason. Attitudes do change, new terminology arises (‘woke’?) and I do like to keep up.

      Several random thoughts arising from that, but firstly, this discussion always seems to focus on men self-IDing as women. Don’t women have an equal right to self-identify as men? (In which case, the next time the All Blacks come over, I want to do so and wander over round about shower time… 😀 ) Apologies for being flippant. I don’t mean to trivialise the very real concerns – which I share – around allowing potentially biologically active men into areas where women are vulnerable, such as loos and changing rooms. (I’m not desperately happy about family rooms at swimming pools, come to think of it!)

      Seriously though, perhaps 2 things are being conflated here? Surely *identifying* as a woman isn’t always the same as taking steps to change physical attributes to become one? (Or vice versa, but there’s more problems to iron out with men IDing as women, I think.)

      Maybe it’s the SELF bit that’s the problem? If someone born male wishes to undergo the long, painful process of changing their biological features – because it involves psychological checks, hormone treatment etc of course, not just adding bits and taking others away – they become a woman, to all intents and purposes. I’ve known people like this. They’re not any more of a threat, in the normal way, to natal women than other natal women. You could strike up a conversation with such a person and not be aware of her previous history as a man.

      When it comes to sport etc, such things deserve separate consideration. I think they should be weighed in a rational, clinical, way involving both trans and natal women. I don’t know what the solution is. Perhaps there isn’t a satisfactory one.

      To my mind, the greatest challenge facing society and this group is how to deal with the transition period. People who wish to change are required to live as a member of their chosen gender. Technically, however, they’re still biologically as at birth. They can’t, eg, use a ladies, but going into the gents whilst living as a woman?

      Self-identification is somewhat different. It raises what I think of as Deep Philosophical Questions. What does it mean to ‘be a woman’, beyond the obvious biology? Are there wholly masculine and feminine characteristics? How much are such characteristics due to social attitudes/conventions? Females are ‘nurturing’, males are adventurous etc. Sez who?

      A couple of examples:
      1) Years ago, I was speaking to a (rare at the time) female engineer at a party. She said she found such events uncomfortable – the men only group talked about work, the women only group shared their lifestyles. She fitted into neither group. A woman in what was, at that time, a ‘Man’s World’. That’s no longer true. In fact, it wasn’t totally true at the time. 3 of us spoke about ‘everything else’. Men and women came over to see what we were laughing at, and a large, MIXED group started chatting about ‘everything else’.
      2) ‘Feminine’ pursuits? Social views change. Take knitting. Mostly girls knit these days, but in mediaeval times it was the province of men. Aran patterns were created by fisherman, for the most part. There’s a group of men somewhere – I want to say S America? – who sit knitting in public to draw attention to the fact that it isn’t only for ‘the Girls’.

      Other questions raised are:
      1) If you’re attracted to the opposite (biological) sex, are you therefore identifying as a straight (wo)man or a gay one?
      2) If your biological instincts are hetero, what are you identifying as the differences between yourself and the rest of your birth sex?
      3) If these characteristics don’t involve wishing to change biological identity, why does it matter? Can’t we all just be people?

      Which is really just a very long-winded way of saying…

      It’s complicated and I’m glad I don’t have to sort it out!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Young people will. They have absolutely no trouble with it. It is the future. Their existence. They just all want to be people that they chose. Not very complicated at all. They travel, they are well educated, better opportunities. They make the world a better well connected place. Especially with the internet. Keep in contact with each other. Changes for the better.

        Liked by 1 person

  13. “When they mentioned, for example, polyamorous relationships, l told them they have always existed, when l was young in the 1960s and 1970s. It was called free love, but they assure me it is not the same thing, because many of them are nonbinary – masculine/feminine – and the combination of partner’s groups are more interesting than in ‘your time’.”


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