Global Domination

My bid for global domination of the media continues as I post the latest from which is a round of conversations with two very different yet knowledgeable and committed Yes voters– Dr Phillipa Whitford and Jim Mather, the former enterprise minister.


Phillipa wields a scalpel in her day job and is equally forensic on the chances of the NHS continuing in its current form after a No vote – if health policy in London continues to be driven by outsourcing services to the private sector. This is a layered debate. As things stand, a privatised service in England does not lead directly to cuts in Scotland’s NHS budget because if the money is spent down south, there are Barnett consequentials here and we would still get our 10 per cent of their outlay. (Barnett Consequentials sounds like an uncomfortable medical condition!)

Enterprise Minister Jim Mather opens Sky's new £2 million training and recruitment centre Talent Hub.

However Phillipa explains how the erosion of a public service would in time impact in Scotland and make it difficult to maintain current standards of spending as the free-to-use model is steadily dismantled because the objective is to save money. Within a devolved set-up maintaining a distinctive, no-fee public service will be tricky in Scotland. It’s also worth remembering that there may be no Barnett Formula soon if there’s a No vote and even if it remains it is up to London, not us, to decide if health should remain part of the deal. They could decide, since they are trying to cut the budget (but so far failing) that consequential spending in Scotland should just stop. They have the power. All the power.

Jim gives us his assessment of the campaign and the ways in which a more cooperative approach to the workplace can lead to a better work experience and higher productivity. He views independence as a management buy-out exercise and explains the logic.

Tune in at

You can find me on one of Iain McWhirter’s IKEA sofas on Sunday on Referendum Television from Edinburgh at 1pm. I just hope it’s not the same one as George Foulkes sits on today…


Thanks to everyone at Clydebank for last night’s impassioned meeting with Julie Webster, Murray Pittock and Kenny Macaskill where the stories of the grim reality of welfare Scotland were revealed along with the inhumane consequences of Tory sanctions which have led to suicides. Where is Labour these days? Have they given up on social justice? Too busy playing games with giant chocolate coins to fight poverty and injustice? And sorry to the wee lady who tried to thrust £10 into my hand for the blog…I can’t take your money. Just give us your vote.



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10 thoughts on “Global Domination

  1. Chocolate Coins. That sums up SLAB Derek. What was the saying:” Nero fiddled while Rome burned”.

    • Yep that’s it we’ve been teleported back to Roman Times. Though instead of the rich and corrupt feeding the poor people to the lions for the entertainment of the baying masses, now we feed them to Jeremy Kyle

  2. Derek – I am less convinced than you that the UK Government competitive tendering of NHS England won’t have an effect on Scotland because it’s still “public spending”. How do we know that? I have contacted UK Government and asked them the question – “if a frontline service is handed over to a private company to run does the money the Government give to that private company count as public spending or is it something else?” I was advised on Monday I would get a reply “within 18 days”. I will keep you posted.
    And Barnett seems to be doomed when everyone – David Cameron, Margaret Curran, Alistair Carmichael, Ruth Davidson, and Lord Barnett himself – is on record as saying that Barnett is unfair and needs to be reformed or replaced and believes, as Joel Barnett said, “It’s quite wrong. It clearly should not be based on per head expenditure but should be based on needs in particular areas. The amount of money going to Scotland on a needs basis by comparison, say with my own North West or the North East, is far higher than it should be, so it should be changed. They’d lose quite a bit in my guess, done on a proper needs basis”.

    • And what worries me is how a No vote will be ‘read’ or rather ‘sound’ in international law given HMG’s extremely negative Opinion on Scottish sovereignty and Scotland being extinguished in 1707 in the Crawford and Boyle Appendix, which Adam Tomkins keeps quoting at us.

      It could be argued that if they vote No the Scots have thereby agreed that the UK is a unitary state, rather than as Carty and Clyde and others have argued, a ‘union’ or ‘composite’ state. Subtle difference to most I suspect; but my point is that if frontline services are put out to tender in England it may be argued that as the Scots have just agreed that the UK is a unitary state, there will be no reason why under the TTIP negotiations currently being negotiated with the EU that US medical companies can be prevented from gaining a market foothold in Scotland too.

      The NHS in Scotland could in effect no longer be a devolved area in that the Scottish Government may not be able to prevent this. In effect a No vote could be read as us agreeing that for all legal and treaty purposes we are a mere region of the UK.

    • Hi Steve,

      Derek’s just in journalism mode, asking the question of the interviewee, I think he’s well aware of the actual dangers to NHS Scotland and as worried as the rest of us.

      It’s true to say that funding has increased because of the sheer cock up by NHS England and that is being talked about in certain circles and media by unionist politicians, well, the cock up isn’t but the increased funding to Scotland is.

      By Derek asking the question of Phillipa, you were then able to hear an explanation of why funding has increased (the cock up of NHS England in service provision) and that obviously, privatisation is designed to reduce public funding. With that question he gave Phillipa the opportunity to explain the situation fully.

      It’s difficult at present because we’re all programmed to dismiss journalists due to our mistrust of them, especially the BBC, but sometimes we have to ignore what the journalist asks and just listen to the answer – or work backwards. In this case we had a great answer from Phillipa and you have to give credit to the journalist for asking the question that provided that answer.

      Good show Derek, your providing some great interviews for us and more importantly, information.

  3. The entire motivation behind competitive tendering is to save money. The winning bidder no doubt promises (and plans to provide) a comprehensive and competent service BUT as we have already seen, cost pressures have led to standards well below what is required.
    Contingency funding becomes a distinct disadvantage in the competitive tendering process and it’s clear where this scenario ultimately leads. However, the UK Govt’s canon means that cost control will take priority over standards of care. This will inevitably lead to a squeeze on consequentials and some very tough decisions for a devolved Scottish govt.
    On top of all that we have Andy Burnham in the red corner urging a standardisation of health care throughout the UK.
    I fear the worst.

  4. It was low price contracts in the cleaning sector in the NHS that lead to a massive increase in MRSA and cross infection.

    I used to work in the NHS and we had dedicated cleaners who were part of the team and went the extra mile to keep ‘their’ section spotless.

    During the Thatcher years we had contracted- out cleaning services who went from hospital to hospital with the same cleaning equipment and were paid buttons.

    I think NS restored the services back to the NHS but I left a long time ago.

    • Another reason is the removal of brass fittings in favour of anodised aluminium on the basis that the latter doesn’t have to be polished. Copper is deadly to micro-organisms. So brass door handles, push plates, bedstead heads, trolley handles etc. etc. helped all unknown, to keep bacteria down. The problem was it was deemed ‘too labour intensive’ ie costly, to keep it all polished.

      The penny has finally dropped though and new materials including nanotech surfaces should bring copper back into the wards and operating theatres.

      I’m sure like me you remember old style hospital wards with brass everywhere. Touch an aluminium door push-plate with contaminated hands and you will leave bacteria there to be picked up by the next people to touch it. Do so to a brass or other copper containing plate and the bugs die. Surfaces that are non-permissive to bacterial growth and survival are a must in infection control. But sadly progress will be slow. Especially in PFI hospital buildings where the PFI company sees only its bottom line not clinical necessity.

  5. Well done Derek for getting Philippa – now you see why when you asked for suggestions for interviewees before your first broadcast, I suggested her. She is absolutely on top of her game, whether that be surgery, medicine or debating.

    Great programme, with only one caveat. Jim Mather and you talked about “Scotland’s share of the debt”. Several months ago I did a rough calculation to determine just how much Scotland had subsidised Westminster since official figures were published in 1980. Now a much more detailed calculation has been published on Wings, the Wings Report The McCrone Legacy by Dale Ross, is the clearest exposition I have seen of just how much we have subsidised Westminster. Read it here and see why they are desperate not to “lose” Scotland.

    Suffice to say that it is Westminster that will be walking away from their debts to Scotland. This is no small matter and their assumption that there is any basis for Scotland’s having even a moral share of their debt is a travesty.

  6. what now of philippa now that the brave knight torcuil crichton has attacked her?

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