THE joke used to be that poverty was hereditary, that you caught it from your kids.

Well, today you catch it from No10.

It is 15 years since Tony Blair pledged to eradicate child poverty within a generation. So we'll be well on our way, then?

Hardly. Blair's generation game failed and the Tories as ever look after their own.

Today in Scotland, more than 870,000 people live in poverty.

A fifth of our kids survive below the breadline - almost 40,000 of them in Glasgow, where child poverty cost the council almost £400m in 2012.

Some 23,000 Scots have turned to food banks in the past six months.

A third of households, including two thirds of single pensioners, are said to be in fuel poverty.

And child poverty is predicted by 2020 to rise by an estimated 100,000 MORE in Scotland - 900,000 more in the UK.

You can thank tax and welfare policies being imposed by George Osborne in January as he tries to fill a new £20bn black hole ahead of a predicted additional year of public spending austerity.

It's all part of a "humanitarian crisis," according to Scotland's Outlook, a campaign by Macmillan, Shelter Scotland, Oxfam, Alzheimer Scotland, Children's Hospice Association Scotland, Child Poverty Action Group, the Poverty Alliance and the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations.

These are folk who know the score, working as they do at the community coalface.

They claim hundreds of thousands of Scots are being battered by welfare reforms, stagnant wages, job insecurity, rising utility bills and living costs. So who's surprised?

Last year, the Centre for Economics and Business Research found at least 4.7m Brits were in food poverty (defined as having no choice but to spend 10 per cent or more of household income on food).

That's criminally high, despite it supposedly falling since 2010. And don't for a minute imagine any fall is due to those caring Westminster fat cats.

No, since the financial crisis hit in 2007, the gap has been closing only from the top down, not the bottom up, because living standards among middle-income families have plummeted. The poor are still just as poor.

The Coalition, and Labour before them, have failed the poor, yet they have no problem making their cronies richer.

Would things improve under independence?

The devolved Scottish government has had responsibility for health and social work for years, yet shameful poverty still exists, and I don't mean being unable to buy wee Jimmy the latest 42-inch plasma telly.

The Scottish government has done a Blair and pledged by 2020 to eradicate child poverty (defined as children in households living on below £20,500-a-year, or less than 60% of the median, not average, income).

But a Holyrood government, of any colour, can do only so much with Westminster controlling welfare policy and spending our tax and oil money to the detriment of Scotland - and much of northern England, it has to be said.

The Scottish government is diverting money to help tackle poverty and the worst effects of the bedroom tax, but what we require is greater equality in wealth and power distribution, higher earnings and job opportunities, and more social housing. Let's see any government tackle that lot.

TORIES complain that we don't know what real poverty is, and that compared with the early 20th century or the poor of Africa we Scots have never had it so good.

But this is not the 1920s and we're supposedly not a Third World country. We should demand better, for them and us.

Yes, it is a joke, and meanwhile warmonger Blair, who since leaving No10 has worked for some dodgy regimes and become a multi-millionaire, is preparing a "large donation" to help Labour's 2015 general election chances.

He should be donating it to the food banks his mob helped create.

IT'S always good for a gloat when the English get upset at Scots rubbishing their football team.

Even winning Wimbledon didn't soften some English hearts towards Andy Murray, after his cheeky reply to pal Tim Henman about England's 2006 World Cup chances.

Eight years on Murray is still so scarred that his independence views remain private.

Glasgow Labour MP Jim Murphy isn't so shy. He's adamant we're Better Together, he's happy to park his socialist principles and climb into bed with the hated Tories, yet he describes the England football team as s***.

Does this smell of Better Together anti-English rhetoric, as when they warned David Cameron it would be unwise for an Etonian toff to come up here and preach to the natives?

No, I reckon it's just banter and I look forward to joker Jim waving his Union flag at his beloved Celtic Park.