The Scottish Government has just announced that it will spend over £590 million in 2017/2018 so that there are more affordable homes in Scotland. According to Inside Housing the English Government will spend £8 billion over the next 4 years thus around £2 billion in 2017/18. The arithmetic is simple. England has 10 times the population of Scotland so to be at the same level, per head of population, the Tories should be spending around 10 times as much or £24 billion in 2017/18 and not just 2. So, the Westminster Tories will spend roughly 4 times the Holyrood SNP but on a population 10 times greater. Thus, per head of population, the Scottish Government will be spending 2.5 times more on affordable housing. Yet, the need is even greater in England to start off with. According to Estate Agent Today:
‘The number of affordable homes built in 2015/16 fell by 52 per cent and was the lowest number in 24 years. Just 6,554 social rented homes were built in the same year.’
The Scottish Government built 33,490 affordable homes over the last five years. Again bear in mind Scotland has only one tenth of the population. Here’s an extract from the Scottish government release:
‘A good supply of affordable homes is vital to ensuring everyone has an equal chance of getting on in life. That is why it is key to this Government’s commitment to tackling poverty, reducing inequality and building strong local communities. It also boosts the economy by supporting 14,000 jobs right across the country. We’re determined to increase and accelerate housing supply – working in partnership with councils and housing associations to deliver quality homes to fit local needs. The Scottish Government’s extra homes pledge is expected to support, on average, 14,000 jobs a year in construction and other related industries over the next five years.’
Yet, 56% of women are currently expected to vote No and around 70% of over-60s said they would do the same. Who benefits most from the SNP’s anti-austerity measures….why women and the elderly of course! Why are they not getting this message?
Dunno the answer to that, it is a mystery. There was a woman on radio scotland phone-in (strangely with Mr Beattie this morning… ) this morning, I think she said she was about 70, and was adamant we needed to stay in the union because we ‘always had been for the past 300 or 400 years’. Hmm. And she hates the ‘anti-english’ stance of the SNP. yes, well, that didn’t help. Just a blind kind of brain-washed state of being, easier to stay with what you have even if it is harmful?
Of course, it could be a generational thing, if you are from the generation of women who where expected to put up and shut up, it is a difficult thing to shake. And if you then take the analogy of the Union being like an abusive relationship, and you believe you are meant to put up and shut up, then your suffering becomes martyrdom and you feel like you are doing the right thing. It does seem to miss out rational thought and consideration for others, if this were the case. Just a possibility.
Lots of people do seem to be missing the point that if you are an independent country you can make all the decisions yourself (and it has been made abundantly clear Westminster has no intention of allowing Scotland any say in any matter – evidenced by the supreme court hearing and the lack of UK government response to requests for negotiation and discussion). I find it utterly bizarre that the argument being made by many unionist politicians is that there should not be a referendum at all: surely this is democracy and giving us a choice. Having the freedom of choice is the important part, you can then believe Scotland’s people are capable of running that country or otherwise, and all other considerations are secondary, choices for after the fact.
All true. I’ve read somewhere that it’s ancient instinctiveness in the elderly and the female to favour the status quo just in case things could get even worse.
I think that there is something in that ‘instinctiveness’ argument, despite the fact that I and my wife are both elderly and she a woman, who voted YES last time and will do so again.
One of the problems about trying to research these kind of things is that it can founder on the rocks of accusations of ‘discrimination’, that the research is trying to prove that groups other than white men (of which I am one) are in some way inadequate.
There is research on ‘risk aversion’ and, given that women are the child bearers, and, substantially, the carers, then a greater degree of risk aversion seems plausible. But, given that it is women who mainly have to sustain and protect their children in times of famine and other disasters, then perhaps there is not risk ‘aversion’ but a different attitude to dealing with risks, since, as you indicate in your article, they are the ones who are most likely to benfit from changes to things like housing availability.
With regard to elderly people, because of differences in longevity the proportion of women is greater and so that, in itself, probably explains part of the attitude of that group. In addition, grandmothers, particularly maternal ones, have a hugely significant role in supporting their daughters and their daughter’s children. I suspect that there is also the issue of failing strength and failing health and the fear of an inability to survive in changing circumstances.
The fact that more than 40% of women and about 1/3 of elderly people support change indicates that this is not a simple matter and that my skimpy ideas of the preceding two paragraphs are pretty tentative.
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69 and female and know my own mind. Nicola sturgeon is the best politician in UK , I have voted SNP as long as I have been able to. Earlier they had not got the finances to put candidates up. I am ashamed to say I voted labour when there was no alternative but that’s what working people did. I do not believe the statistics of older people voting no. Every meeting every march I go to there are huge numbers of elderly for independence.
Yes, I’ve seen that too but the poll said &0% of over 60s would vote No.
Fair points. My wife and I both over 60 are strong Yessers.
Well, the age thing, older people tend to be more set in their ways, usually with the backing of experience and more knowledge, so age in and of itself is not a thing to influence a change – it could be just habit to vote one way or the other. The difficulty with statistics is, of course, that it does not give the reason behind the seeming bias. Now, it can be true that a larger proportion of women in an age group vote a certain way, but age and gender may not be the defining character of their vote. Say that a majority of PEOPLE that wear woollen knickers and own a cat vote in a certain way, it could be that that happens to mostly be women aged 72 – so is it the cat and the knickers that is the tell, or the age and gender?
That was clumsy,,, it is like there is a negative correlation between heart disease and the hardness of the water supply – if you map out heart disease through the uk you find it higher in soft-water regions (Scotland) than in hard water regions (south of England), and some places even add hardness to the water based on this, but there is no proof water hardness reduces heart disease, it could just be coincidence! (And it seems to be preferred to blame Scotland’s terrible diet). So a correlation does not prove a causal link.
But, that was getting off the subject a bit, we will never find a mystery-commonality. We all have to stereo-type a bit to come up with hypotheses, and that is not discrimination – it would only be that if you assumed it was the same for everyone in that group, and held it against them. You make very good tentative points Alisdair, but I think an independent Scotland would provide stability and safety, so why don’t they think so?
I was talking to an older woman at the weekend (you know, I am feeling positively young at the moment 🙂 ) and she was relating some stories of childhood – we forget, don’t we, how different it was growing up, in whatever decade, from what it is now, until you speak to a horrified youngster that gasps at things you think are normal – she had pneumonia (or some horrible disease) so the doctor treated her by cutting off her pigtails! My mum had to share one pair of socks with 8 siblings during her school years. We forget things like this were perfectly normal at one time. So is there a gratitude felt towards Westminster because we have progressed since ‘then’ ? It may be a simple sense of loyalty for some?
Last point, possibly the case.