Mini Editorial :-
So I made it in to work today as there were Buses running, and as It was a quiet day on the phones, I found myself chatting with one of the guys about Politics (as you do)!
I knew he was a NO voter, he knew I was YES voter so I did wonder where this was going to end up.
As predictable as a Wasp on Speed he starts off with “Bloody SNP Government not clearing the Snow from the Roads not enough Gritters etc.” He didn’t take it too well when I politely pointed out that it was in fact the responsibility of his Local Council to clear the roads and it was His responsibility to clear his own driveway.
Slightly perturbed, he comes back with “ well there’s not enough Gritters to cope is there, Norway and Sweden cope every year, why can’t we?” I then said to him “The reason Norway and Sweden cope is that they get this much Snowfall and more, for months on end and Year in, Year out. They have the equipment to cope and spend the money on that equipment because they know it will be used on a daily basis continually for months. This was an extreme Weather event which the Met Office had warned us of and indeed issued their 1st ever RED Alert for Snow in Scotland. If Scotland spent hundreds of £millions on state of the art Snow clearing machinery and it was only used a few times every 8-10 years (as it was 2010 that we last had significant Snowfall) he would have been the first to say that it had been a total waste of money and that money should have been used for Schools, the Police etc, which did he want, money spent on the Police and Schools or money spent on machinery only used every 8-10 years, he couldn’t answer, he was like erm, erm,eh,eh,well,well!
He then comes out with “But Scotland gets all this money from the (Westminster) Government to spend on the People of Scotland, much more than the People in England” Knowing fine well he’s trying to get his head around the Barnett Formula, I let him keep digging.
Now as you all know the Barnett Formula is very complicated so I thought I would explain it in a way he would understand but not being condescending about it.
I told him that imagine Scotland brings in about £100 Billion a year through all of it’s income such as Tax and exports etc, but needs to send all of that money to the Exchequer in London who then send Scotland back about £60Billion and they keep the rest to Spend on projects in England such as Crossrail.
Now I could see his forehead twitching, was the Penny loosening?
He then says, “ but that’s not we’ve been told in the past, we’ve been told that Scotland gets all this extra money spent here” I said true, it does, but that’s only half the story, confused he asked me to explain a bit more.
So I decided to use our jobs as an example, I asked him how he would feel If I told him that I get paid twice as much as he does?
He was Apoplectic with rage and said “no way” can I earn double as him. I told him to calm down and I had only told him half the story, I said it was a deliberate play on words, I don’t get paid twice as much as him, I earn twice as much as him. I earn twice as much as him as I am full time and he only works half the hours that I work, so actually we both get paid the same. So with me only giving him half the story (just like the BBC and the media do) I misled him into thinking something was more than it actually was, and that was the Barnett Formula.
He took a minute to reply (penny dropping) and said “ Oh My God”
Now, that one conversation around the water cooler today hasn’t instantly converted him over to Yes, but he’s stating to question what he’s been told in the past, and will now start to do his own research into things.
I’m sure the next time we have a chat will be just as entertaining. Now if I can do this with one Work colleague in one conversation on one day, wouldn’t it be great if we all could? ~Derek