by Rab Bruce’s Spider

The announcement by the Tory Government in Westminster that yet more Job Centres and DWP Administration offices in Scotland are to be closed is yet another attack on the very fabric of Scotland’s society. As you’d expect with the Tories, it is being portrayed as a money-saving decision, but its effects will be long-lasting.

In the short term, there will be job losses among the staff, and significant difficulties for those who use these Job Centres, particularly people who have been accustomed to using the one in Benbecula. How far are they expected to travel, and at what cost, to reach the nearest alternative Job Centre?

In the medium term, closing the DWP Centres means that, when Scotland takes control of the limited Social Security Benefits which are to be devolved, there will be fewer staff available to administer them. This will inevitably lead to problems in administration, providing Ruth Davidson and Kezia Dugdale with more ammunition to hurl at the Scottish Government when things go wrong.

In the longer term, if Scotland ever does have the opportunity and the courage to become independent, the administration issues will need to be addressed by opening new Centres and employing and training new staff. These are headaches and costs a new nation could do without.

All of which is, of course, in keeping with the Tory agenda of stripping assets and skills away from Scotland. HMRC offices, military bases, Job Centres and DWP Administration Centres are all being closed down. It’s hardly the scenario painted by Better Together during the IndieRef, but asset stripping of a nation verging on independence is a policy the UK has adopted in other places, and they are going all out to make life harder for Scots, both now and in a possibly independent future.

As for the cost-saving aspect, it is a very poor excuse. For one thing, the Tories have managed to nearly triple the UK’s debt to a mind-boggling £1.9 trillion. That’s too many zeroes to present easily. For all their attempts at saving costs, they can’t control the Deficit, and this penny pinching idea isn’t going to make much of a difference when they propose wasting billions on Trident and HS2 among other things.

But even that misses the point. The whole purpose of Government is to safeguard its people and to provide public services. Withdrawing those services on the pretext of saving taxpayer money goes against the entire principle of how Governments should operate.

Caring Conservatism? Aye, right!