I wear two hats when I write this blog of mine. First and foremost, I manage a small charity in a small Scottish town called Dumfries. Ours is a front door that opens onto the darker corners of the crumbling world that is Britain 2015. We hand out 5000 emergency food parcels a year in a town that is home to 50,000 souls. Then, as you can see from all of the book covers above, I am also a thriller writer. If you enjoy the blog, you might just enjoy the books. The link below takes you to the whole library in the Kindle store. They can be had for a couple of quid each.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014


So politicians tell a bunch of lies.

Shock, horror and hold the front page.

Well of course they do. Over the course of the last few months all of us up here in Scotland have got used to a veritable avalanche of lies, most of which are now in the process of unravelling. All of a sudden our oil is looking like being around for 120 years and Home Rule actually means Holyrood will be allowed be allowed to piss everyone off by raising income tax whilst having no access to the oil money.

Most of the time it is easy to understand why our lords and masters dump the truth and resort to telling a pack of lies. More often than not the truth tends to be a pretty hard thing to tell.

Once again the Referendum offers a good example of this.

Imagine for a moment yourself as a Better Together politician who had sworn to be a warrior of the light and always tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Had that been the case, you would have faced the daunting tax of knocking doors and saying something along these lines.

“Oh good evening madam. I’m Mark, your local Better Together candidate. So here’s the thing. Here is why it is only right and proper that you vote 'No' in the coming Referendum. Basically this is how things have worked for years and years and I think it is absolutely tip top. You work. You get paid. You give me £10 in tax and I take it down to London and then I send £9 back to you. It means you pay 10% of your tax money as a membership fee for Club UK which simply has to be s terrific deal, don’t you think? Let’s assume for a moment that you are a person who earns the average wage: £23,000 a year. This means that you pay over £4000 a year or so to me in tax. I will duly take my £400 membership fee and give you £3600 back. Just think about that for a moment. £400 a year to be a member of club UK. It’s less than what you pay to Sky for a basic package including sport! And just look at what you get for your money. You can enjoy the protection of our nuclear umbrella and the sheer joy of being looked after by the oldest parliament on God’s green earth. Oh, and I nearly forgot. We beat the Nazis……”

Well it wouldn’t have got them very far, would it? Even the most fervent unionist might have taken a step back from paying such an eye watering membership fee in return for the dubious benefits of being a part of Club UK.

Not surprisingly the Better Together guys  gave the truth a pass and lied through their teeth. So it was that the oil was going to run dry and every business in Scotland would move into Cumbria and all supermarkets would charge Waitrose prices.

The lies stuck because it turned out that most Scots had been sufficiently brainwashed by years of propaganda which hammered home the fact that we are all subsidised by London rather than it being the other way round.

When telling the truth means that politicians are completely stuffed, it is hardly surprising that they resort to lying. Let’s face it, it is rare indeed for turkeys to vote for Christmas. And we kind of expect these lies. I suppose we even forgive most of them. We are completely used to it. And when someone lies all of the time, it doesn’t really matter so much. We all know someone like this. If they come into a room soaked to the skin and say that it is chucking it down outside, we still take a glance out of the window to check that it is indeed raining.

When you expect someone to lie to you all of the time, you get less and less wound up about it over time.

What is most frustrating is when politicians choose lies over truth even when the truth is actually in their favour.

So why would anyone do something so patently stupid? Simple. It is when telling the truth gets in the way of prejudice and pitifully few politicians have the guts to do that.

This is where it has become so very obvious that politicians are scared to death when it comes to telling the truth about immigration.

Let’s take a look at Ed Milliband in the Referendum. Surely here is a guy we should be able to trust to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth when it comes to the issue of people coming to our green and pleasant land to make new lives. Of course he is the leader of the Labour Party and they are nice and cuddly unlike those wicked nasty Tories. More than this, Britain offered a place of safety to his mum and dad and thereby saved them from going up the chimney at Auschwitz along with five million others. It recently emerged that 56% of Brits are in favour of staying in the EU so surely there should be mileage in waving the flag for the free movement of people at a time when the Tories are planning their own version of the Berlin Wall.

So did Ed have the courage of his convictions in the run up to September 18th?

Like hell he did. Instead he came out with a fairytale that the Brothers Grimm would have considered to be too far fetched to put in the book.

Ed told us that were an independent Scotland to set a lower immigration bar than the rest of the UK, there might have to be border posts erected at Gretna.

Border posts.

It would have been nice if every politician on the Yes side had pointed out what complete and utter drivel he was talking. Check out any place where one country wants to stop people from another country coming across the border. Do a few border posts cut the mustard? Did they merely have border posts to keep the people of East Germany from crossing into the West? Do they merely have border posts to separate Israel from the West Bank? Gaza from Egypt? Texas from Mexico? Of course they don’t. If you want to physically stop someone making their way from one country to another, the only thing to do is to build a wall of a fence and then hire thousands of armed guys to hold the line. Imagine for a moment that you are an illegal immigrant who has taken advantage of a soft Scottish border to get onto these islands and now you are hell bent of making it down to the milk and honey of London town. You make your way to Gretna only to be confronted by one of Ed’s border posts where someone is going to check your passport. What do you do? Do you miserably shrug your shoulders, turn around and accept a life on benefits on Motherwell? Or do you leave the road and simply walk through the fields and by-pass the border post?

The truth is that border posts are only of any use when it comes to stopping 38 tonne wagons and making sure that the proper duty is paid on any imported goods. Border posts are of no use whatsoever when it comes to stopping people who want to enter a country illegally. To stop such people you need to build a wall of a fence and hire thousands of border guards.

Was Ed willing to tell the truth about how much it would cost to build a fence along the very same line that Hadrian once used to build his wall? And how much it would cost every year to pay for the border guards and the electricity?

Of course he didn’t because he was spinning a fairytale. But nobody was willing to have a right go at the utter nonsense he was spouting because nobody was willing to be seen as being too immigrant-friendly. So Ed was allowed to spout his nonsense unchallenged.

As Nigel Farage drip feeds his nasty poison into our national consciousness, it seems like hardly any of the guys who supposedly support the free movement of people around Europe are willing to use plain and simple truth to counter his prejudice. Instead of killing UKIP with cold, hard facts, the supposed supporters of the EU instead waffle on about vague economic benefits.

The truth is there to be told but few have the bottle to tell it. This is hardly a new thing. Swimming against a tide of popular prejudice can be a scary thing to do. Back in the day, most scientists knew full well that the world was not flat, but few were willing to go public and risk having their finger nails pulled out. Most educated Germans knew full well that their Jewish neighbours were not sub humans hell bent on raping little Christian girls, but not many said so.

It seems that we have got ourselves into a similar place when it comes to having a sensible conversation about immigration, though thankfully we don’ have to fear being carted off by the likes of the Spanish Inquisition of the Gestapo.

So what kinds of facts are we talking here? What kind of ammunition is available to anyone who cares to tear the world according to Nigel Farage into a million pieces. Well maybe they might like to try these two facts on for size.

According to Nigel, uncontrolled immigration from the EU means millions of unskilled types coming here to take our jobs, houses, primary school places and appointment slots at the GP surgery. According to Nigel this human avalanche is costing us a fortune.

If we leave Europe and stop the avalanche, then we will all be better off.

OK. That all sounds simple enough.

Now for the facts.

London is now the fifth biggest city in France. 400,000 French men and women live and work in London. Only Paris, Marseilles, Toulouse and Lyon are home to more French nationals than London. Many have legged it across the border to escape President Holland’s high taxes. They prefer to pay 45% in London rather that 75% in Paris. It is therefore fair to assume that these 400,000 French immigrants will be earning at least the average wage for London, which is £34,000. This means they will be paying about half of that sum into British coffers via income tax, NI, VAT, fuel and alcohol duty etc.

So let’s do the maths.

400,000 x£17,000 = £6.8 billion.

OK. So a healthy chunk of change.

Most of the £400,000 will also be paying eye watering rents. Let’s say £500 a month. £6000 a year. That’s another £1.4 billion. Assuming those who are renting the properties are paying their taxes – a pretty big assumption! – then another £400 million or so will be headed for George Osborne’s coffers.

It seems fair enough to assume that the 400,000 French immigrants who have chosen to live and work in London will be throwing at least £7 billion a year into the pot. To put this amount into perspective, it is worth noting that Britain’s total annual spend on Jobseekers Allowance is £9 billion. We should also take note that most of the French settlers are young, healthy and they have benefitted from an education system that is miles ahead of ours. Overwhelmingly they are ambitious and fit and in need of neither the NHS nor the welfare system.

So what would happen were Nigel to have his way and the 400,000 French settlers were shown the door? Would we have 400,000 similar ambitious, smart young people of our own ready and primed to jump off the dole queue and fill all the vacancies seamlessly?

Aye right!

What would basically happen would be that our budget deficit would simply have another £7 billion a year added on.

But kicking out the European settlers is only half of the world according to Nigel. If we Brits send 2 million European settlers back home, then the other countries of the EU will undoubtedly do exactly the same with the two million Brits who have made their homes abroad.

Here it is worth pausing a moment to look at Spain and France where getting on for a million retired Brits have made their homes. These are not young, healthy, ambitious people. These are people who have done the whole working thing and have chosen to live out their twilight years in the warmth of the South European sunshine. They get by on their pensions and when they get ill, they are treated free of charge by the French and Spanish health services.

So what is going to happen when they arrive at the quayside in Dover pulling their suitcase and looking miserable? These are people who have sold up everything and headed for the sunshine. They don’t have houses. We already have a chronic housing problem and once you add a million displaced pensioners to the list, it will get immeasurably worse. We already have a chronic NHS problem, and once you add an extra million pensioners onto list it will also get a whole lot worse.

What would such a huge repatriation of largely old people cost? I shudder to think. A bloody fortune.

The basic truth is that right now Britain is getting the absolute best out of the free movement of people thing. We import well educated and ambitious young people who work hard, pay a tonne of tax and barely need to see the doctor. We export retired people who longer work, pay hardly any tax and become a growing burden on the health services of our European partners who offer all that guaranteed sunshine and cheap real estate.

Surely any politician worth their salt would relish the chance to sell such a compelling argument. But to do so would mean going against the prevailing prejudice and it seems none of them have the bottle to do so.

So the world remains flat.

What happened all over Europe in the 30’s and 40’s should have been enough to warn us off this kind of illogical prejudice for ever and a day. Sadly it is clearly not the case. If the son of parents who were saved from the gas chambers of Auschwitz Birkenau is joining in with the anti immigrant rhetoric, then it seems there is little hope of any common sense being shown any time soon.
And every time a Pole or a Latvian or a Slovenian or a Bangladeshi or a Nigerian or a Frenchman is beaten to a pulp on a Friday night British street for no other reason than for being from somewhere else, then the likes of Ed Milliband should shrivel with shame.
But they won't
They never do. 


  1. Excellent post Mark, just a pity that the folk who need to read this most probably won't.
    Have shared AYE

  2. Lets fill the comments box with likes for this post,
    this needs to S-P-E-L-L-E-D out to every idiot who listens to these empty headed attacks on immigrants, they never mention the other side of the coin, simply because they in their febrile little minds see the great UK as being a place people would want to come to but heaven forbid the thought that anyone in their right mind should wish to leave, I had a conversation with a rabid no voter prior to the 18th sept who didn't want to see Scotland "awash with immigrants" but she couldn't stay at the door talking to me as she was waiting for a skype call from her grandkids in Australia, (no lie) the other canvasser and I just walked away shaking our heads.

  3. I agree with everything you say Mark.
    I have read a few of your books which I really enjoyed.
    Show me an honest politician and I'll show you their grave!!