Following on…what is also forgotten in the unprecedented continuing support for a party in government since 2007 – a remarkable and stunning achievement eclipsing Blair. There is no sign there of a public tiring of the SNP or demanding more and radical policies. That may be a good thing in itself and to be welcomed, by among others, myself but in Sturgeon’s shoes, how much would you risk when there is no demand?
This is the madness of the frenzied punter…I’ve made a million already so I’ll just put it all on this outsider and I could get massively rich. Come on, Dead Man’s Gulch!
It is true that there is always an accounting and that will come sometime after next May when budget cuts bite, numbers have to be toted up and that fracking business will need a definite answer (from this distance I think the majority will see it as business opportunity like oil, the economics outweighing the environment but still a loser for the SNP as far as many new members are concerned).
But right now, no other party gets a hearing from the Scots, however frustrating that may be and, however clever our journalists, they are wasting their time (but still getting paid and it’s a bitch coming up with an idea every week).
We also hear repeated cries that there is a crisis in public services. Really? NHS crisis…education crisis? Myopia must have taken hold because I use the health service and I have kids at school and whatever issues arise don’t amount in my book to a crisis. We DO have a problem at our school because education officials allowed too many requests from outwith the catchment area and now there are too many pupils requiring rebuilding work at a new school. That’s officials at Glasgow City Council, not civil servants or ministers at Holyrood.
Now it’s true and it’s shaming to admit that far too many youngsters from poor homes have lower attainment – the result of poverty and social neglect which has its roots in the Industrial Revolution and hardly improved during generations of Unionist government. It is glib to assert that this is down to a Scottish Government in power for eight years. In the Joseph Rowntree report which confirmed this trend, among the 15 key recommendations, two are laid at the door of the national government – making attainment data available to all teachers and establishing a national knowledge bank and mobilisation strategy. The rest are aimed at councils, teachers, universities, parents and society generally. Yet you just know Jackie Baillie would blame the government anyway if her car wouldn’t start.
One of the first acts of the SNP government was to identify early intervention as a key to equality and social improvement and money has been invested in delivering a fundamental focus inequality – violence, poor physical and mental health, low achievement and attainment at school. That’s long-term generational investment which governments never last long enough to harvest gthemselves.
At the other end of the school process we find it reported that: Scotland is the best educated country in Europe, according to a report released by the Office for National Statistics. It says that nearly 45 per cent of people in Scotland aged between 25 and 64 have some kind of tertiary education – including university degrees and further education — ahead of Ireland, Luxembourg and Finland, which were the only other countries to get more than 40 per cent.
In terms of the proportion of the population going into higher and tertiary education, Scotland actually has just about the highest in the world, said ONS chief economic adviser Joe Grice. Scotland also does very well in terms of people in the working-age population (16-64) that have got a qualification at NVQ4 or above. So we can’t be that bad…
Is there an NHS crisis? Is there ever NOT an NHS crisis? It was born by stuffing cash into doctors’ pockets and as a cumbersome, unwieldy behemoth it devours money like my kids consume Orios. There were crises all through the Labour years and, if you value your blood pressure, avert your eyes from the mess in much of England’s NHS.
Everything in the media is a crisis otherwise it ain’t a story. Clearly folk left in corridors is crap but is that a shock at a brand new hospital merging together several separate centres? A consultant said to me of the Southern Death Star (I think that’s what the Queen called it): We expected this. There are so many different services going in and so much bureaucracy, it was bound to have problems.
Are the public disillusioned or do they see a massive brand new hospital, one of the best in the world, provided by their tax money undergoing teething problems that afflict every major move – including the BBC, if I remember.
And a word of advice if you find yourself in A and E. The staff have to make rapid judgements, sometimes life-saving ones and what you think is a tragedy, may be not be a mortal wound to them. In triage, when asked on a scale of one to ten How bad is that axe embedded in the back of your head, Mr Batemen? Always answer Ten, nurse. Honest. It really hurts.
And how many executive decision-makers to you reckon there are in a big hospital, all paid professional salaries to make the place work? On top of that there is a 30 strong health board for the Death Star. Does the public assume that a mistake in allocating space is a decision made by the health minister – the way the journalists report it – rather than a departmental error for which dozens of staff on the ground are responsible?
I honestly think the public see through this charade of blame culture and don’t believe a word Jackie Baillie says.
There is a looming shortage of doctors in general practice on top of the existing difficulty of attracting GPs to rural areas. Is that the result of government policy or is it a cultural shift in attitudes towards the professions? There are already inducements from the government but in some cases, they still don’t have an effect. Luring people into remoter areas probably needs a whole panoply of attractions from environment to good shops, guaranteed broadband, impressive schools and a local economy that might sustain a spouse’s job – the very things the SNP wants independence to deliver.
Sure, I can whitewash them till the cows come home but my argument is that the people of Scotland appear to accept the limitations imposed upon their government and would be much less forgiving if all the levers to change society were already in their hands. They’re not and we must make do. There is a sensible and hardheaded outlook at large which acknowledges they’re fighting to make it better and nobody else could do a better job. And no amount of whiney pieces in the papers will convince them otherwise.by