Backlash over our revelations on shamelessly false SNP claims on pensions

by Colin Campbell

THE backlash over pensions grew yesterday after the national media picked up on revelations first made in Inverness news and views last December about damningly false claims made by senior SNP figures on “who would pay” after independence.

Assertions by Ross MP and SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford and SNP Government Finance Secretary Kate Forbes that the UK Government would still pay pensions to people in an independent Scotland were denounced by other politicians and sparked an angry backlash on Twitter.

One contributor summed up the strength of feeling when he wrote: “This is a complete lie. Those relying solely on a state pension will be most affected yet Blackford will take his gold-plated MP pension from the UK – he is a disgrace.”

The furious row has erupted as a result of two obscure podcasts from Inverness MP Drew Hendry that we reported on, where his “guests” were Blackford and Forbes.

Virtually no one else was listening, but we were.

On December 17, post independence, Hendry asked the “simple 10 acres crofter”, what would happen that would bring about a difference regarding payment of the state pension.

“Absolutely nothing,” Blackford replied immediately. And he went on to assert the “commitment” and “obligation” to pay pensions to residents of an independent Scotland would rest with the UK Government.

He continued: “That’s no different to a UK citizen that chooses for example to live in Canada or Spain or France anywhere else. That’s an obligation of the UK Government.”

Even by SNP standards, as we said on December 17: “This was an example of plumbing the depths of brazen falsehood. The situation would be different. Very different indeed. UK citizens who choose to live in Canada or Spain or France ‘or anywhere else’ are UK citizens. That is why the UK continues to pay their pensions. Residents of an independent Scotland would not be UK citizens. That’s what independence is all about, unless the SNP has undergone an acrobatic change in policy in which they want everyone to remain as UK citizens after Scottish independence. Except they haven’t. So for Blackford to claim that the situation would be ‘no different’ is for that reason alone simply untrue.”

Blackford…claimed post independence Scots would still be UK citizens and the UK Government would have an obligation and commitment to pay our pensions.

On January 24 we reported on another obscure Hendry podcast with SNP Government Finance Secretary Kate Forbes in which he asked her what she thought of Blackford’s claims about pensions.

“She said she ‘would not dare’ disagree with Ian Blackford. So she agreed with him.”

When Ian Blackford made these obviously false claims about pensions – so crucial to so many people – and they were backed up by the Scottish Government Finance Secretary…well, we thought, is no one else interested in these kind of blatant SNP falsehoods, from the highest levels of the party.

They weren’t reported on anywhere else apart from here. And, frustratingly, back in December and January, no other media outlet followed them up.

No one else appeared to be paying any attention to these false claims from the highest levels of the SNP on an issue which is so vitally important to so many people.

Well, after our coverage of Hendry’s obscure podcasts was belatedly elevated into a much wider domain they’re paying attention now.

On Tuesday night under the headline Station pension outrage: SNP’s Blackford claims UK will pay for Scots under independence – a mirror image of our articles – was the most read piece on the Daily Express website.

Yesterday it was revealed that Blackford’s claim was are in direct contrast to a report published on the Scottish Government before the 2014 Scottish referendum in 2013, which read: “For those in Scotland in receipt of the UK State Pension at the time of independence, the responsibility for paying that pension would transfer to the Scottish Government.”

Scottish Tory constitution spokesman Donald Cameron said: “For such senior SNP figures to be suggesting pension rights will be unaffected in an independent Scotland is astonishing and blatantly inaccurate. It is clear that the SNP are all too happy to spread misinformation as they ramp up their plans for another divisive referendum.”

Twitter users reacted with fury at Blackford’s comments.

Sam Taylor posted: “It’s easy to become inured to SNP lies, but this is genuinely extraordinary. Ian Blackford_MP is also lying (obviously) when he says that this was confirmed by the Chief Secretary to the Treasury in 2014.”

Another said: “So basically UK will not pay pensions to anyone in an Indy Scotland, why should they, that means we are well and truly f*”.

Karl Clarke said: “The UK will have absolutely no liabilities to a sovereign country, which is what you’ll be after indy.”

A Twitter user WhyohWhy said: “This is a complete lie. Those relying solely on a state pension will be most affected yet Blackford will take his gold-plated MP pension from the UK – he is a disgrace.”

Another Leo Jones added: “Over 70 nations have become independent of the UK over time. Not one that I am aware of thought that the UK would continue to pay pensions to its residents. That was the whole point of independence.”

There is zero chance of a legal referendum with Section 30 approval from Westminster in Nicola Sturgeon’s fictitious “2023” timetable, and any attempt to foment an illegal, wildcat referendum by the pro-independence SNP-Greens majority at Holyrood would be a boycotted farce.

Even so, Sturgeon’s determination to launch a new “spring offensive” on independence remains, if only to keep her increasingly impatient followers gullibly on board.

If the SNP are prepared to make false claims on pensions affecting the elderly and most vulnerable in society they will make false claims on anything.

They are hoping that the “demographic change” since 2014 will bring more young people, including 16-year-old know nothing kids, into their fold. But they are notoriously fickle in their voting habits.

The people they really need to win over are pensioners and hundreds of thousands of people approaching pension age.

That’s already a severe uphill struggle, and it will not be made any easier by peddling falsehoods on pension payments at them.

Drew Hendry’s often drivelling podcasts, which gave rise via our coverage to this major row, may be worth listening to more often after all. Is it the case that, chatting with a friend and colleague in casual circumstances, his guests are liable to relax and let the mask of SNP deception slip?

Inverness news and views, which revealed these brazenly false claims from the leading lights in the SNP, is always worth reading and monitoring.

And if we do get another independence referendum, whenever that might happen if ever does, it won’t be partygate people will be thinking about – it’ll be pensions.

One thought on “Backlash over our revelations on shamelessly false SNP claims on pensions

  1. Every time I see Humpty Dumpty Blackford face ,I wonder where I have seen him before I thought he had burger van in the Square at Portree at one time ,if not he will probably end up there now he is getting the new larder in at home to store his pies and burgers in he is thinking ahead for his next job when he gets sacked he could have a party up in Skye and Druthy Drew Hendry could travel up on the bike!
    Talking about next job moves I think Krankie Sturgeon could go from Holyrood to Hollywood as she is a first class actor especially when she tells us she is worried about us all, only person she is worried about is herself what a chancer supposed to be First Minister she is a disgrace

    Like

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