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July 26, 2007

The Scottish Schnorrocracy: Christie Davies visits Scotland - and discovers a country ruled by schnorrers

Posted by Christie Davies

Christie Davies returns from a visit to a Scotland now ruled by a nationalist government with for the first time its own completely independent civil service. He was dismayed to find in his travels that there seems little chance of any moral improvement in that country. The Scots, he argues, will go on being schnorrers and impudently exploiting and sponging off us because that is their nature and no British politician is ever going to do anything about it. The views expressed here are those of Christie Davies, not those of the Social Affairs Unit, its Trustees, Advisors or Director.

Scotland, like many other third world countries, is a schnorrocracy, a country ruled by schnorrers. By schnorrer I mean an impudent beggar, a scrounger who demands charity from you as if it is his absolute right; he is ungrateful when he gets it, becomes angry if you criticise the conduct that brought him to and keeps him in indignant indigency and morally outraged if your largesse falls short of his sense of what is due to him.

Scotland is ruled by schnorrers and the Scot is the king of the schnorrers. The Scottish schnorrers come in two varieties, Labour and SNP. The Labour variety uses its dominant position within that British political party as the source of Labour's majority and of most of its ministers, including Gordie Broon, to gouge ever-bigger subsidies out of the English taxpayer. The biggest injustice is the Barnett formula whereby public spending per capita in England is £6,762 and in Scotland £8,265. Even Joel Barnett who first devised it now says it is unfair.

In England if you are going blind from macular degeneration they will not treat you unless and until you have already lost the sight of one eye because of the high cost of treatment. In Scotland there will be no such restriction because they can siphon money out of the English taxpayers pockets to pay for it. The nonsensical argument behind the Barnett formula is that it is based on need but why is the need of an English person going blind any less than that of a Scot in the same predicament? Does not an Englishman have eyes? If you prick him, does he not bleed? Need is a quality attached to individuals not to countries. The English Good Samaritan helps and the Scot passes by on the other side. Even if we were to concede that there are individual areas within Scotland so crumbling that they deserve specific local investments, this is not true of most of Scotland; Bearsden is not Govan. Are there not equally "needy" areas in England, in the Northeast, in South Yorkshire? The plea of "Scottish need" is a fraud.

The most impudent of Caledonian tricks has been to abolish fees at Scotland's universities for all EU students except those from England and Wales. How can they justify free university tuition for students from Napoli but not from Newcastle, from Carcassone but not Carlisle? For many students from Cumbria and Northumbria Scottish universities may well be the nearest and most convenient ones offering a particular course of study and taught in a form of English that they at least find easy to deal with. Why should they have to pay fees, given that it is their taxes that pay to subsidise Scotland for this particular indulgence?

The idea that the Scots should use English money to underwrite the education of the French who already steal from us through the EU is an outrage. It is no doubt part of a two-pronged attack by the Scottish schnorrer on our purses. It is safe for them not to make concessions to English students because their grip on the Labour party is so strong that no-one will ever stand up to them. By contrast, when the Scots go to the EC with their begging bowl they will want to pretend to be "good Europeans" who allow ill-qualified students who can not understand English as she is spoken in Scotland freely to study there. It is worth banging the odd saxpence in Brussels.

Behind the insider Scottish schnorrers of the Labour Party stand the hard schnorrers of the SNP. They claim to want Scottish independence as a clean break divorce with no maintenance. In reality it is a case of putting the frighteners on Labour to dip deeper into the English till by threatening them with the phantom of Scottish independence. Scottish independence would be a wonderful windfall for England but a disaster for Labour who immediately rush to stop false-teethed Scottish mouths with gold, much as the Liberal Unionists tried to kill Home Rule with kindness in Ireland in the late nineteenth century. The SNP are the bogeyman that is necessary for the Labour schnorrers's operations rather than schnorrers in their own right.

What the SNP would really like to be is "Schnorrers in Europe", with snouts in the Eurotrough along those other three wee piglets Ireland, Greece and Portugal. Those days are long over - ask a Slovak or a Lithuanian how generous the EU is to small new joiners.

Scotland would anyway never have made it to the top the way Ireland has, because its people lack the Irish willingness to change, admit faults and repair them. Scotland belongs down there with Greece and Portugal, a sink into which money is poured and nothing but worthless government jobs are created. Scotland is one of the EU's natural Euroschnorrers. Scotland is the worst performing small country in Europe - it comes bottom of all the ten countries with fewer than nine million people and this after most powers have been devolved to the Scottish Assembly. They are incapable of running their own affairs competently and at heart they know it.

The Scots know they are schnorrers. We can see this from the jokes the Scots tell about themselves. When you tell jokes about another group, whether it be Belgians or orthopaedic surgeons, Cardis or gays, liberals or teuchters, the joke is a form of hidden aggression, a way of saying what you really think of them but which it would be impolite or inexpedient to say directly. That is why the BBC banned Bernard Manning who was expressing in joke form the deepest hidden feelings of ordinary working-class people. However, when the members of a group invent jokes about themselves, it is, rather, a combination of self-knowledge and shamelessness. The Scots invent jokes about successful Scottish schnorrers because they not only acknowledge but revel in their own importunate mendicancy. These are not jokes pinned on them by outsiders but generated within Scotland in their own strange version and perversion of English. The jokes below were told by a Professor of International Law and a Provost respectively. Oh shameless Scotland! Oh Scotland's shame!

Exhibit 1.
The scene is Deeside, the time the Aberdonian Spring Holiday (roughly, Easter Monday), the wind is sharp from ENE. - whiles with hail. Stamping about in order to keep warm, a wee laddie falls into the famous river. Among the trippers intense interest, but no effort at rescue, so cold is the day. A strong, silent Englishman, stripping off muffler, over-coat and jacket, plunges in and brings the drookit bairn to land, and himself resumes his welcome garments.

An active, wee "thristle" of a mannie worms his way through the crowd, taps him on the shoulder and demands: "'Are 'ee the chielie 'at savit my laddie's life, mister?"

The Englishman breaks silence with a shivering "Yes!" whereat the other: "Whaur's his bunnet then?"

Exhibit 2.
A Minister was visiting his flock among whom was a shoemaker, who was usually in very good spirits, but on this occasion he appeared to be very gloomy. "Well, John," the minister said, "you are looking very solemn today, is anything wrong?"

"Oh, a'thing's wrang," replied John, "the sweep's taen the hoose o'er my heid, an' I canna get anither."

"Well, John," said the Minister, "I've often told you when you are in trouble you should take comfort in earnest prayer." John promised to do so.

A week or two afterwards the minister again called on his friend John to see how he was getting on; but this time he was hammering in the tackets and whistling all the time.

"Well, John, your spirits seem to be much better today," said the Minister.

"Oh, aye, sir," was John's reply. "I took yer advice an' the sweep's deid."

It is difficult to know what to do about the Scottish problem. Many angry English taxpayers want to hit them in their sporrans where it hurts by abolishing the Barnett formula and telling them that if they wish to award themselves benefits not available in England they must massively raise taxes in Scotland. No more schnorring.

But the result would be an immediate flight from Scotland of foreign investors, local businessmen and skilled professionals which would reduce the Scottish tax base. Scotland would disappear into a tax and spend spiral leading to rapid bankruptcy. Scotland would then have to be placed under the direct control of the British Treasury, just as the formerly independent Dominion of Newfoundland was when it went bankrupt in 1934. It was only with great reluctance that Newfoundland eventually emerged from British colonial rule and became part of Canada on April Fool's Day 1949. Today Newfoundland must cost Ottawa almost as much in subsidies as Scotland does Britain. Poor Canadians. Britain slipped them an economic liability. Unfortunately the Canadians are in consequence unlikely to take Scotland off our hands. Auld Scotia will not be joining Nova Scotia.

Many angry English citizens are now demanding a boycott of Scottish goods. Spanish sunshine instead of sitting in the rain in Assynt or Arbroath. A switch from Scotch to Bushmills. No more unspeakably vulgar tartan ties or sour plums from the carse of Gowrie. Such a boycott would be unsustainable, since anything of quality the Scots produce and export is labelled "Made in England" for obvious reasons. Also we are currently disgraced by the clearly racist boycott of Israel proposed by the delegates of the Universities and Colleges Union. I am not saying that all those pushing for the boycott of Israel are serious anti-Semites. I am willing to accept that as many as 10% of them are not. But the boycott of Israel stinks. It is unBritish. We can hardly support a boycott of Scotland at this juncture. Besides many English people own shares in Scottish firms and although these rarely pay a dividend it would be wrong to push their price down even further.

The real problem, though, is that it is impossible to dislike the Scots or to want to harm them. They may lack the material virtues but they possess the genial ones. Every time I go to Scotland on holiday I am struck by how open, friendly and affable they are, how willing to pass the time of day chatting to a foreigner and not just in pursuit of a free dram, how much they enjoy stories and wordplay. There is an artlessness in the way these children of nature love to dance to fiddle music and to parade with bagpipes. Yet does not all this go with their lack of the sterner virtues, such as prudence, probity and perseverance - with their lack of what the Victorians used to call "character" and schoolmasters "stickability"? Always they want something for nothing, like the true schnorrers they are.

Last week in Scotland I was amazed how the local people will waste great sums on social celebrations that they can ill afford for mere show and swank, or to be more accurate that the English taxpayer can ill-afford. Even relatively humble folk have trophy weddings with the men arriving on motor bikes in expensive kilts that reveal tattooed knees, their faces painted in the Saint Andrew's cross that has replaced the old Pictish colours, their sporrans filled with mobile phones guaranteed to go off during the ceremony. Full Scottish dress will set you back the best part of £2,000. How do they manage to pay for it? …don't answer that question. And afterwards there is unlimited whisky, another theme they joke about without any sense of shame. At this point it is wise to leave. Those are real daggers in their socks and Scotland has a murder rate three times as high as England and Wales. Comes the hard stuff and a loveable sober people are rapidly transmogrified into angry homicidal drunks, in all senses at our expense.

We must try to understand the Scots and how they got to be as they are, much as "Dave" Cameron tries to understand the hoodies who lurk in malls. The Scots were not always in the sad state they are today. Indeed they were among the strongest opponents of the introduction of the very welfare state on which they now batten.

The greatest blow ever struck for freedom by a Scot was the case of the Turra Coo in 1913. Robert Paterson, a farmer from Lendrum near Turiff refused to stamp the insurance cards of his employees as required under Dafydd Lloyd George's Bismarckian compulsory National Insurance scheme. The authorities seized Paterson's cow and tried to auction it but the local Scottish peasantry and farm hands rioted, drove out the auctioneer and pelted the sheriff's officers with lumps of soot from their reeking chimneys. The cow was daubed with the slogan "Lendrum to Leeks". Earlier they had built and beaten up an effigy of Lloyd George, which was then doused in paraffin to cries of "Gie the Welshman a drappie mair" and set alight; a real auld licht's idyll.

We can see in this incident both the height to which the gallant Scots can rise and the cause of their almighty fall to schnorrerdom. The villain is as usual the quest for social justice through welfare. Social justice rots the moral fiber of a people. Social justice is to justice what a social market economy is to a market economy, a social democrat to a democrat or a social worker to a worker. To put the adjective social in front of a term is to reverse its meaning. Until we abandon social justice, whether of the Brown or the Duncan-Smith variety, there is no cure for Scotland the schnorrer and no hope for Scotland's English victim.

Professor Christie Davies is the author of The Strange Death of Moral Britain, a book that all Scotchmen ought to read.

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Pedantic point, but there's no such place as Northumbria any more. You mean Northumberland.

Posted by: Jim at July 26, 2007 09:01 PM

The best joke about schnorring:

A schnorrer throws a small stone at a rich merchant's window in the middle of the night. The rich man gets out of bed, opens the window and looks down. The schorrer shouts up, 'Lend me some money, my family are starving'

The rich man says, 'How dare you come round schnorring at this time of night'

The schorrer replies, 'I don't tell you how to do your job, don't tell me how to do mine.'

Posted by: nebbish at August 10, 2007 03:40 PM
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