When will Scottish Tories be Conservatives again?

When will Scottish Tories be Conservatives again?

by Dr Sutherland MacNeill
article from Monday 7, January, 2019

THE COMPASS without direction has spun again.  It looks like the Scottish Conservatives are back from the season’s jollies to pour yet more statist gruel down our gullets.  In the form of Brian Whittle MSP the party’s latest flirtation with nanny statism and false nationalism has been presented in a new wellbeing document.  We are now, despite the wholegrain goodness of unionism, going down the tired road of fawning over local privilege by insisting supermarkets have a specific aisle for Scottish goods.

Like it’s the business of the state to determine how supermarkets are laid out – and the latest component of millennial Conservatism in Scotland.

Not that Aberdeen is closer to Edinburgh than Newcastle, but still, being Scottish seems to define being local. It’s the worse kind of protectionism that does not especially give an advantage to home producers as much as specifically excluding competitors.

Is it really so easy now to escape a saltire on our crisps, our strawberries, our beef or even the seating on our buses? What does it honestly mean? Do sheep have a nationality? There are plenty of ways of promoting the food production sector in Scotland without silly populist stunts.

Start with the obvious:

1.       Slash business rates on factories producing food or indeed anything in Scotland. We have power over business rates devolved to Scotland so let’s use it.

2.       Encourage the promotion of Scottish produce – not in local supermarkets – but generically within the best and most complete single market we have – the whole UK.

3.       Remove the very idea of the state directing what we eat.  Why promote Scotch beef when the same government tells us red meat is bad for us? Why subsidise sugar beet when we tax sugar in drinks (and maybe soon Clootie Dumpling)?

It’s absurd, it’s rude, it’s abusive and it points to the Scottish Government not looking after its own business. It makes us all unhappy when we are interfered with. Crack on with the day job for Heaven’s sake! Statists whose plans fail invariably turn to the plans of others so that when their interference leads to failure their responsibility for it can be displaced.  It is a breach of trust to seek power over what is not one’s business specifically to deflect what is one’s business.

I do not like Scottish cringe. I don’t like any nationalist cringe. Whenever a business in the UK is somewhat styled “British” you are warned in advance that service quality might be appalling. It is almost always so. Any business that is worth it’s salt alone does not and should not trade on some national trope. It stifles innovation and creates a client base which in time will lobby the government that created it.

Protectionism is inward looking and always, always promotes clientelism. I have never considered the state a particularly good arbiter of wellbeing and sport; quite why the Tories shadow the SNP on this bizarre brief is beyond sense. Being overweight is not unhealthy. Fact. It simply isn’t.

Having a BMI of 26 rather than 24 does not a diabetic make. Being obese and morbidly obese do raise the risk of ill health but like all things in health its level of contributionis relevant. In fact much data shows those who are slightly overweight do better on intensive care than those who are very fat or very skinny because they have energy reserves to burn while not smothering themselves in blubber.

People eat too much. They exercise too little. They gain weight by diverting sugar into fat and a high carbohydrate diet does this. Hey! Guess what Scottish food is famous for! Our diet is based on a tradition of working in heavy industry and fishing.

We would at one time burn 3,000 to 4,000 calories a day. We ate accordingly and our food was what grew in a cold wet temperate climate. In a word, starch. After the Second World War we added pasta to the mix, even before the turn of the last century we were piling in the sugary preserves and cakes.

If we are unionist; and democratic; and avoid special privileges then trust people to make sound decisions. They are not stupid. Give them a sound education that teaches them about food groups instead of genders; home economics instead of sex and relationships. I cannot see how a six-year-old, woke to the five genders but unable to name 10 fruit and vegetables, is going to do well in life under current educational policies.

I am, dare I say, fat. So are plenty on the Tory front bench. Telling others not to be is puerile and a bad joke.  Obesity in itself doesn’t cost the NHS money. Being ill does. There is a difference and we should not lose sight of it.

Our wellbeing is our business. It starts with feeling well about the future so investing in good health is worth our while. That means, according to all the economic history since 1945, moving to a country where the state does less – and taxes less accordingly.

Nothing tastes as good as capitalism feels in a free society. Imagine if we had a party that embraced that and left families (and retailers!) autonomous so we could all once again mind our own business!

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