A Poor Do

The SNP is not the party of social justice after all. They’re letting everyone down and are no better than the Tories. (Two sentences that sum up 10 days of derivative onslaught from our loyalist media echoing the plodding propaganda from the losers in our imminent election).

As we’ve commented often here, you have to wonder why die-hard Unionists – and makeweight columnists with a living to earn – constantly urge the Nationalists to be ‘more radical’. Most of them represent a political interest that hasn’t had a radical idea since 1945. Although, to be fair, the Tories’ underhand and insidious dismantling of the state as we know it and their retribution on the vulnerable do qualify as radical, if only in the sense that Hitler was a social trailblazer.

It used to be said, with some justification, that it was the alternative media that operated in an echo chamber. But a cursory examination of commentary in Scotland reveals the reality – 99 per cent of voices are either Unionist and by definition, anti-SNP, or they are politically aligned with Greens or RISE. I’m glad about the latter because these are new voices and do genuinely offer a different viewpoint that challenges so many standard assumptions. Good luck to them. They are the spear carriers in what looks like a gradual rapprochement with the mainstream. My point is rather that we have a country with an SNP government of nine years standing which had a successful period in opposition before that…so about 10 years of high profile parliamentary politics. They have just scooped 95 per cent of all the seats in Westminster. They are averaging somewhere north of 50 per cent of all votes for the next election, crushing the combined opposition. They will form the next government.

Now count the number of regular commentators you know who (broadly but not uncritically) can explain and (mostly) justify SNP policy. Think hard, because I had to. I don’t mean an SNP version of the kind of slavish and embarrassing parroting of a party line that you get in the Record or the British Empire despatches in the Telegraph. Just a columnist or regular on-air voice that mostly stands up for the SNP line.

Any luck yet? I thought first of Andrew Wilson but he’s lost his spot in SoS. I suppose you include Andy Nicol of the Sun who often dispatches the twisted drivel from the usual suspects with aplomb. (Hope he doesn’t mind being included). Then I remembered Kevin Pringle who writes in the Sunday Times – which I don’t read. He’s a recent staffer and I imagine is unlikely to deviate from general policy positions. Apart from anything, he’s hired by a lobbying outfit because he has close links to the party.

So possibly a single political hack and a once-a-week columnist could be said to represent the view of the party of government and its membership of over 100,000. That is barely believable in a modern democracy. Given that it is same people whom the BBC invite to pontificate in their taxpayer-funded studios – whether they actually know anything or not – you can see why a democrat would regard Scotland’s political landscape as distinctly warped.

I don’t just enjoy other voices and views, I used to make a living arguing to get them on air and debating with them. But the skewed nature of Scotland’s media today is a disservice to our democracy. I don’t want the SNP ‘making programmes’ or running a national broadcaster. I want the BBC to do what it was set up to do – to represent ALL of Scotland and reflect our country back to the Scots. If the papers don’t hire people able to do that, then it isn’t good enough for the BBC which takes our money only to reflect the one-sided view of the press. It should be searching for people who can at least articulate why, despite doubts about aspects of policy, they think so many of our people do continue to back the SNP.

Still, the BBC’s output does at least give us a laugh. Our old Unionist chum Jim Naughtie has been having dinner with Ming Campbell again, I think. He had a report on Radio 4 which leant heavily on Willie Rennie’s input and which informed the British people that there is growing concern at the SNP’s one party state. This is astonishing propaganda from a once fine journalist who totally failed to explain what that means. The very fact he’s reporting on an election should be a clue even to doddery Jim. I saw six leaders on television and I hear RISE are also standing candidates. By whose definition does that constitute a one party state? Should the BBC send Morningside Jim to North Korea for re-education on one party states?

When he was publicly supporting Labour did he miss them having a majority of Scottish MPs, the MEPs, almost every local authority followed by the lead in the early Holyrood administrations? Ach, you know the arguments… It’s just embarrassing to hear that flammed-up nonsense misinforming the English voters. Some of us are proud of the parliament and our political culture – and it’s proportional voting system (somewhat rare in one party states). Naughtie demeans it and Scotland.

But to return to the SNP failing to live up to others’ expectations. If one of the 99 per cent of hacks says they’re not radical enough, discount it immediately as they’re programmed to find complaint and would like nothing better than a chance to paint the Nats as socialist extremists ‘after your money’. Kenny would commission Alex who would commend David who’d be flattered by Stephen and they’d all tweet JK.

The one voice that made a telling point was Loki whom I know and whom we commissioned to write for Newsnet before he became the anti-SNP brigade’s poster boy. Darren is talented. A one-off. Authentic. And I’m glad he’s getting a gig with STV. In his recent blog there he said more in one article than two years of poncy drivel from the journalistic crew mentioned above. He’s upset with the SNP having voted Yes and, as I understand it, will be giving both votes to RISE. I’m not surprised. He and I were on a programme during the anniversary of the indyref and he’d already moved away from the SNP, and possibly even independence, at that time. (I jokingly called him a Unionist).

But there is a flaw running through so much of this Nats-are-too-timid narrative. First of all, vote your own way and don’t be put off by anyone. Just don’t expect to get anyone elected by voting RISE. The electoral math means you’re more likely to usher in a Labour MSP, if you think that will help fight poverty. It is exactly the generational failure of Labour to address fundamental issues when in power that lost them the trust of voters. (They still did much but not enough). They were still at it in Smith – trying to keep welfare reserved and opposing employment law devolution.

If you accept the SNP case that a higher rate of tax would lose money, reduce a much-needed tax base, or at best deliver very little revenue, why play the Tories’ game of forcing Scots to pay more while they tie our hands with only a single principal tax power – the one most people understand best and which is regarded as toxic? Isn’t it Labour that has walked wide-eyed into the trap demanding that everyone pays more to cover Westminster cuts? That just makes Mundell’s day.

I agree that symbolism matters in politics but there’s a difference between that and tokenism. To play politics with taxes when it’s at best revenue neutral verges on gimmickry when Scotland is a long way from having the kind of control that allows our economy to diversify and grow. Even the powers we do have are undermined by market theology in London, so for example, our burgeoning renewables are sabotaged by the nuclear-mad Tories. And despite the best efforts of the excellent Iain Macwhirter and Dave Watson of Unison, who wrote a brilliant blog on it, I don’t believe the Scottish voters are queuing outside Waterstones to read Thomas Piketty.

Look, I know there are disappointments and policy shortcomings. The truth is that no government anywhere gets it all right and none is above criticism, including this one. But people don’t vote on individual policies. If that were true how would Labour have lasted so long? Folk used to say they’d stick with Labour no matter what happened because they felt comfortable, like buying the same newspaper. It wasn’t about individual issues. How could it be when they treated the unions with contempt, traded honours for money and ignored international law?

Most of us vote out of habit knowing our party isn’t perfect but regarding them as the best of a bad lot. Cynicism prevails and rightly so but eventually we have to choose. Scots will vote SNP in that knowledge and trust the judgment of Sturgeon and Swinney.

Just don’t let the siren voices trick you into thinking the decision on upper rate tax means the SNP are doing nothing about poverty. Instead of disinformation like KidsnotCuts – dishonest nonsense since not a single school will close and not a single child will lose out – do what I did and see how public services actually work where you are.

First I admit I’m glad about the council tax being fixed because my income is fixed too. I’m ready for a change in the system but am scared how much it will cost me.

Our kids attend a new school – built without PFI contracts – which is so good it attracts parents from across the city.

When I go to my health clinic, I cross the road and get a free bus journey on my over 60s card.

It takes me to one of the best hospitals in Europe where, once I’ve worked out how the lifts work, I meet the same expert consultant I’ve had for five years.

I get four drug prescriptions that I collect free from Mr Jandoo, the pharmacist.

Round the corner they’re building a new housing block for students attending our world-leading universities where I hope my kids will go one day – free of charge.

I pay £6 a week as a community member of the brand new university gym.

I drive through a north Glasgow transformed with new housing, an impressive joint campus school at Ruchill – from the council that says it’s short-changed by the government – past a successful college and into what many (sorry, you weegies) would call sniper’s alley…Saracen Street is the centre of one of the worst health blackspots in Europe. But on the right hand side is a gleaming new building that houses a full array of social health services which is working to transform the lives of the poorest. Two female doctors are the heroes who make it tick. Read about it here.


Another centre like it is going up off Maryhill Road. Further down that same street there is an early years centre which is run as a charity but has direct government input and has been adopted by them to introduce a version of what was England’s, and Labour’s, successful SureStart system. It engages with families even before the birth of a child to begin helping to improve their life outcomes in what is still a largely depressed area. The government, with our tax pounds, is fighting poverty on the ground in a programme to lift the next generation up. They do this with the voluntary sector, with local government and other organisations through 116 voluntary groups to tackle inequalities and poverty, support parents and carers, improve learning and build skills and help thousands of children, families and communities across Scotland.

Everything from drug use to school attainment, from healthy birthweight to suitable housing is covered. Every day, every week. You don’t end poverty with a political gesture that at best raises in the short term a few million quid. You do with direct intervention, hands on help driven by political will and in the knowledge it will take at least a generation to reap rewards. The work to rescue Scots from poverty goes on daily in ways you rarely see in the media. It isn’t their agenda when the fun is in kicking the Nats.

So those who think a party still not a blip in the polls will do more than the SNP to end poverty can vote accordingly. The quiet and often unsung work will go on regardless. And don’t dismiss the wider political point that, while it may make you squirm, the unbending middle class Unionists we need to win over to independence are still there. Raising taxes would confirm every prejudice they have imagined about the SNP’s real intentions – to take away their pensions and hard-earned cash. They regard the tax move as sensible and pragmatic economic management – the very characteristics most likely to convert them eventually to the cause. The cause that remains the goal of all nationalists.

If you want an illustration of that No attitude, imagine what those middle class folk made of Sean Clerkin and the Scottish Resistance together with Comrade Tommy reading their updated Declaration of Arbroath on the Concert Hall Steps. That was a vivid reminder of how many of them still like to regard the independence movement…as angry cranks harking back to the past and bereft of any economic competence.

So believe the SNP doesn’t do social justice – as the media commands – or open your eyes to the evidence around you. I’m keeping the faith, and both my votes, for one party.

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76 thoughts on “A Poor Do

  1. Steve Asaneilean

    Fantastic piece Derek. More later when I have had time to properly digest it!

  2. Spot on and exactly they’re getting both of my votes

  3. Great writing Derek, spot on

  4. Great read. A ‘foot on the ball’ if you please.

  5. Thank you.

  6. Kenny would commission Alex who would commend David who’d be flattered by Stephen and they’d all tweet JK.


    • And they pretty much do that now. Usually with the words “Cogent” and “Insightful” lurking somewhere in the hyperbole soup they dish up.

  7. Great article Derek, I particularly like the observations in the streets of North and North West Glasgow, sometimes people just take things for granted and more worryingly actual listen to the negative because they hear it most often.

  8. Wow, one of your best yet Mr Bateman. Lots to digest, and yes, I also see incremental improvements all around me, the SNP can’t transform our environment in one go, but my goodness it’s fast (and in budget and under control) compared to my memories of the 70s 80s and 90s under Labour in Scotland. I’m actually glad to be witnessing the changes in our political landscape and our Scottish confidence. Thank’s again it’s a cracking post. Every small step is one nearer to our goal, it’s a long road to regain our independence.

    • yeah BigBill nice comment, great post DB, in Lothian I’ SNP and Green, because Andy Wightman can win the last list seat, and he even more now will have a crucial input after the Panama carry on.

  9. Your post cheered me immensely, when I was getting depressed by all the ‘kick the snp’ headlines

  10. Aye and check out the infrastructure going up, A9 dualling, M73/74, Queenferry Crossing, Ferry Terminals, Rail, bypasses list goes on…

  11. That’s a very good piece of work,but was the BBC really set up to reflect Scotland back to the Scots? I think it was set up to bind the British empire to London.

  12. Great piece, your work/analysis is greatly valued

  13. Really excellent piece. But wait, what happened to the Burgundy Wine Club – 404.

  14. Ian MacKenzie Telferx

    Excellent synopsis Derek. Over the last six months Kathleen Nutt the National newspaper reporter has been championing Rise . She particularly proffered her support to Jim Sllar’s plea to give our second vote to said Party. Given the gerrymandering by Westminster to create a voting system to make it impossible for any Party to gain an outright majority. The SNP , however, beat the system last time and it is of paramount importance for the governance of Scotland that we register both our votes for the SNP

  15. YES, what you said, every word, except for Loki easy to see what he’s up to, seen it before
    Some of the moaning minnies should use a wee shot of their free bus pass and get about our country and maybe they’d see just a fraction of how much the SNP is improving things everywhere

    Then again, that’s not why they don’t vote SNP is it
    The SNP could pave the streets with gold and they still won’t vote for them

    Better with moaning faced poverty and a country going nowhere all at the whim of our Westminster overlords, Unionist politicians could eat babies raw, live on the “Scottish Hunger Games” and still the Unionists will vote NO

    Our young school leavers are our only hope Obi Wan, if they see through it we’re saved if not then it’s plan B


  16. Excellent journalism, Derek. I learned stuff I didn’t know about the positive developments in North Glasgow.
    Its a poor reflection of the current level of journalism in the Scottish media.

  17. Great post. Both votes SNP for me. Plenty houses have been built in and around my area over the last 7 years.

  18. That is why I now vote for the SNP and that is why I choose independence. I simply looked at the evidence outside of the media bubble and party political wonkspeak.

    You can see the difference in investment being built all around us. The changes to infrastructure, housing, inward investment and management. You see the difference in your pocket, though mostly in what you are not being asked to spend. You can see a government that cares, that actually gives a damn, whether you care for them or not.

    Its a government that inspires confidence in their administration whether you agree with their policies or not, you respect their ability to cope. More importantly it is a government that has confidence in its own population and their potential. They’ll never tell us we’re not capable. They’ll never berate us for being well, too wee, too poor, or too stupid. They push us, they want us, to be better than we are and to believe it. Basically they are the proverbial ‘safe hands’, which is all that people truly wish of their government, that they have your back, that they GOVERN.

    As for the media? No, I don’t want state control of broadcasting anymore. We need look no further than what Westminster has made of the BBC to see where that leads. Nor do I want the SNP to in any way interfere with the media as it stands. That way lies a bear trap. Mediawise our democracy is beyond pantomime and those individuals are ALWAYS behind you. I do want them to stand their ground however, to take no more shit from these poison pens. When they know the arena is loaded against them, I want them to walk away, make a point. No more walking meekly into the lion’s den for a ritual slaughter (character assassination) in front of either camera or columnist/propagandist. They’ve earned our respect and should be treated with some by the media. If they are incapable of that, then I see no reason why the media should be granted any themselves.

    With hopefully another popular mandate from the electorate, I’d prefer to see them get on with the job in hand and feel fully entitled to tell certain of the more virulent strains of media columnist that they’re a bit busy at the moment.

    A great post Derek and I’m so glad you chose to keep beating that tambourine. 🙂

  19. jacquescoleman

    A great Party Political Broadcast for the SNP. But not to worry I support them too.

    “It (BBC) should be searching for people who can at least articulate why, despite doubts about aspects of policy, they think so many of our people do continue to back the SNP.”

    They don’t have to search far. SNP supporting bloggers are widely available in Scotland and their words and opinions are FAR superior to the hacks employed by the Corporate Media. The bloggers should be afforded the chance to appear much more often on BBC/STV’s programmes as they are a far more authentic voice about Scotland than those of the MSM. I cannot help but wonder why BBC Scotland employ so many English people or Scots from down below on their programmes to try and tell Scots what is good for them. Those people in the main have little real knowledge of Scottish lives or affairs. They might as well be monkeys chattering away.

  20. I enjoyed that post, it made me think that you are now more accepting of the bias we have been bleeting on about for years yet which you often refused to accept preferring to believe that underfunding or poor management was more responsible for the accused bias of the BBC.

    Thing is Derek that bias against the SNP in the media is so obvious that a sane person can’t fail to observe it. The other thing is that those that support Independence are more or less immune to it’s intended affect.

    Let’s state things as they actually are, neither inflate nor reduce the reality of the attempt to manipulate the population through state and big business organised propaganda. For that is undoubtedly what the reporting of Scottish politics is.

  21. Blinder, Derek, and very timely.

    Unionists I know keep repeating the allegations we see time after time, asking me how I can possibly keep supporting such an incompetent, sleaze ridden party with fascist undertones such as the SNP.

    We all know where this stems from. I am very patient with them, dismantling, bit by bit, the propaganda they have digested through their daily papers and/or television.

    “Brainwashed”, they call me, in impatient, bewildered tones. I ask them how this so-called dictatorial SNP brainwashing is getting through, as history shows that media in all it’s forms has been used by states to control their population. An outlet the SNP patently has no influence over.

    A recent Euro-wide poll concerning population trust has shown, that at 73%, the SNP are far and away the most trusted government, with Finland, on 60%, a distant second. Something which leaves the SNP haters I know shaking their heads in disbelief.

    I usually leave them with the thought that they should have more respect for their fellow Scots, and consider that, instead of the unionist propaganda swaying them, it is, as you so correctly point out, the competent, day to day governance of our country which they approve of. They see, in their daily lives, the results of decent government.

    I look back on my 60 years and try very hard to think of any government, of any shade, be it Westminster or Holyrood, which comes close to the positive impact our current government achieves through simply doing it’s job to the best of it’s ability, for the benefit of all Scots.

    As a Dundonian, I for one appreciate the lifting of Labour’s dead hand from my home city.

    I also feel the daily hammering it takes from every side may actually be counter productive for their opponents, as any slip up, no matter how minor, is leapt on with glee, and relayed to the public with a hyperbole that is unintentionally hilarious. This must surely concentrate minds and keep every member of the Scottish government on their toes.

    Let’s face it, the SNP will never win. The unionist Goldilocks will always cry, “It’s too hot, or too cold.” Or, “too hard, too soft, too high, or too low.”

    The SNP aren’t perfect, but by God, they are better than any alternative I have ever experienced.

    An opinion I am happily not alone in.

    I want the best people to run our country. I believe at present the government we have fulfils that need.

    I will vote SNP twice, hopefully giving them the opportunity to carry on the good work they have barely started. Any other choice would be perverse in my opinion.

    More power to you Derek. This and other sites are opening eyes and minds. As an advocate of independence all my adult life, it is a joy to have such back up.

  22. Richard montgomery

    When Independence is achieved your contribution to the fight must surely be recognised as immense. Respect.

  23. If Solidarity and the like went after the Unionist votes of SLAB and Lib-Dums, then they may have been taken a bit more seriously and to tie yourself with SR appears to be suicidal and a distraction that the YES side do not need.


  24. jacquescoleman

    A quick flash through the comments shows that you really have excelled yourself this time Derek. Your post here today really is excellent. A far cry from the days when you were an apologist for the BBC and its bias. You have come a long way.

    A small fly in the ointment is you thinking Loki is some sort of enlightened Scot. Maybe in a year or two you’ll see the light about that too.

  25. Excellent. A delight to read. Thank you, Derek.

  26. Great article and an eye opener for me in the Far East (of Scotland) about what is going on in Glasgow.
    Also agree with Macart – if they are not going to be treated with respect the Scottish Government should avoid BBCScotland and the crap media – they are not good enough to interrogate our more than competent Scottish Government and by now we all know that no matter what any SNP politician says it will be spun into SNPBAD – at the very least, if they won’t boycott the Scottish media completely, I do wish that they would issue a sharp retort sometimes. I fear, however, that Westminster experience of deception, manipulation and bullying around the world for hundreds of years, has our decent politicians at a serious disadvantage.

    • No, Nicola and all her senior SNP colleagues should accept every opportunity to appear on TV and radio. However, they should not accept any shit from them at all. At present they are far to polite. They should set up an internal media training school so that they are extremely well briefed on the personal and political backgrounds of the interviewers and aggressively play the man/woman. The BBC interviewers are so far up themselves they will be enraged at anyone standing up to them and not giving an inch – they really are not very bright. Frame answers to whatever stupid question with “Well as a craven unionist propagandist willing to prostitute yourself to do your master’s bidding you would say that but the facts of the matter are…” and variations on that theme without ever backing down.

      • with you on that one the most convincing ones i have seen so far have been Tommy Sheppard followed closely by Dr Philippa Whiteford + hopefully Jeanne Freeman if she is elected in May’s Election .There are others but as you say intensive training is required and soon .

  27. Great piece Derek. Recently I have been very disillusioned about the SG autism policy/ strategy and aspects of GIRFEC that I believe they have got wrong and require to listen a little more to people about, BUT you are right about the overall record. They remain the only possibility for increasing and expanding social justice, still swithering about second vote though.

  28. It’s time somebody pointed out that we have had 300 years of governments that didn’t put Scotland first and only 9 years of one that does, so it’s a bit much to expect them to have undone 300 years of neglect in such a short time. But they’re making a good start I’d say…..

  29. arthur thomson

    An excellent post.

    I have no doubt that the SNP will be more assertive with the media when they think the time is right. They have the intellect and composure not to respond hysterically in the face of the tsunami of negative publicity that they face daily. It so reminds me of Burns response to birkies that strut and stare an’ aw’ that. View and treat the sods with the contempt they deserve.

    The performance of this Scottish Government is in the best traditions of Scottish culture – get on with the job, do it to the best of your ability, do it quietly without fuss or fanfare, acknowledge that you are only doing that which you have undertaken to do and seek no more reward than the self-respect to which your endeavour entitles you.

    I hope for the return of this government after the Holyrood elections. If that happens then I have no doubt that in the following years the Scottish electorate will increasingly understand the value of what they have and take confidence from the effectiveness of ‘their government’. That, in my opinion, is the key to achieving the return to full independence.

  30. Iain Anderson

    Well said Derek

    here in the East Neuk of Fife we have the new waid academy undergoing construction in Anstruther with help from the Scottish Government and without the assistance of a discredited PFI financing deal

    Extending carers allowance if also a step in right direction

    SNP x 2 , its a no brainer

  31. Good stuff Derek.

  32. So,what a wonderful piece of propaganda supporting the party who wanted the Barnett formula scrapped and the oil revenues as the main source of income for Scotland.

    Talk about narrow minded and short sighted – where would Scotland be without the subsidy from the rest of the UK over the past 4 years? – in deficit (or ruin), that’s where. Current oil prices mean that revenue income is 90% down on what the SNP predicted – now I may not have the fiscal knowledge of the wicked witch of the north, but even I know that if I lost 90% of my pay packet I couldn’t afford to keep shelling out on parties to make my supprters vote for me.

    The SNP has no proper fiscal policy that stands up to scrutiny and an independent Scotland would be the beggars on the Buchanan Street of Europe.

    What was the 1960s musical called? Oh yes, “Spend, Spend Spend” and in the end they were bankrupt because they didn’t care about the future – only about today.

    Salmond and Sturgeon remind me of Penn and Teller (except neither plays the silent one) in that they are very good at deceiving the public by distracting with one hand and stabbing Scotland in the back with the other.

    I’ll be suprised if this gets onto the blog!

    • You’re absolutely right. The UK national debt is £1.6 trillion because the SNP have “no proper fiscal policy that stands up to scrutiny”.

      FFS. Wake up and smell the arseholes that are keep you in and future generations of your family in indentured servitude.

    • out on Licence or just for the day Kezia ?,what was that other alias you used to use fifi la bon or something like that why change a winning formula , very entertaining but ultimately stupid remarks in my opinion .

      • my last comment was directed at Mr Scott – alias ( out for the day ) or presently on a care in the community placement .

    • Rab Scott my arse.

      • And I’m a different Neil Anderson from previous poster. Just for the record. And, Hello the other Neil Anderson!

  33. Love this one Derek and the positivity shining through in the comments. Keep it going until the election is decisively won and then kick on to the big prize!

  34. Bravo, Derek. Excellent piece and thanks for all that info about what is happening on the ground. Despite what we hear from the SNP about what they are doing, it is often drowned out by the carping from the parties who prefer to snipe instead of taking a full part in helping develop ideas to take our society forward.

    As I write, I see Farage on Scotland Tonight making his pitch – why am I seeing him? His party is virtually nowhere here. That just illustrates your point about the media.

    I think you should become a journalist, Derek 😉

  35. Excellent analysis. I read a list of items on the agenda discussed by the SNP last Tuesday or Wednesday. It covered more ground than Labour and their coalition partners had achieved in their nine years in office.
    There are even signs that Kirkcaldy is on the move again after an interminable period of stagnation and decline, and this despite Labour controlled Fife Council’s dogged determination to stymie progress at every opportunity. A majority in May followed by council clearouts in 2017 will hopefully see the start of major developments and regeneration.

    • As always Derek you write with such clarity. This was real bobbiedazzler piece of writing. I have lived in the US for about 40 years and try to keep up with what’s going in Scotland. It is always refreshing and highly informative reading your articles. Thank you so much.

  36. A great article which goes to the great mystery of how the competence of our government is denigrated by so many despite the evidence being continually self evident. We have in Nichola Sturgeon a First Minister of exceptional standing and competence and to think of the talent which may return from Westminster with Independence we can be confident of a strong parliament to build a great country.

  37. Here in the Borders, the new rail line opened last autumn, reconnecting the area once again with Edinburgh and the rest of Scotland after closure of the original Waverley line at the time of the Beeching cuts. Already much of the area is benefitting from the new line, with the steam engine trial being fully or very well booked. We have the SNP government to thank for that. Now the new line is up and running, there are calls for the line to be extended to Carlisle and the government has promised that, if returned, it will carry out a feasibility study. Why put a better Scotland at risk by voting anything other than SNP x 2.

  38. A really excellent article, Derek!! Thank you!! You’ve stated SO CLEARLY what the SNP stand for! And thanks to the many who have commented here with additional examples what what the SNP are doing everywhere you look! Not always getting it right but – they are TRYING to!! They are TRYING to make Scotland work with the little powers they have at their disposal!! And doing an amazing job!

    I am sooo in agreement that the SNP go about their business with dignity and respect for their electors & constituents. They know the value of ‘talking’ to their voters – which other parties go into little village halls and wee town community centres and actually ask the electorate what their priorities are, what they need doing, what the people want?? Alex Salmond wasn’t lying when he talked about a ‘conversation’ with the people of Scotland! I remembering at the time wondering what that actually meant! Now I know – it was about engaging with Scotland about what Scotland wants. THAT is what the SNP is to me – TRUE ‘representation’ of the people of this country!

    I have to admit to being one of the people who shouts at the telly at Nicola Sturgeon as she faces a panel of 5 other party leaders all baiting and bullying her, shouting at her to tell them to STICK their ‘debates’, that it’s just a bully session and she won’t be a part of that!!! But in my heart I know that that won’t win any nay voters over. She wants to get her message out. She wants the non-SNP voters to hear what she has to say, and she wants to show that the Scottish party are adult, and capable and able to LEAD the country without getting in a snit, resorting to childish tantrums and taking their ball home. She and her so capable crew are better than I at being patient, keeping cool and just getting the message home that her policies are for EVERYONE. They aren’t sinking to the level of play that the other parties are. They have no need to score points, be malicious, or to get crude or lower themselves to name-calling, as many another party does. They are running this country with dignity and respect for people and that’s REALLY important to me! And unlike some parties I could mention, I would not be the the least bit embarrassed about sending ANY SNP MPs anywhere in the world to engage with other countries and foreign dignitaries. For example, Mhairi Black – young, and inexperienced she may be. But Scotland could send her ANYWHERE in the world and she’d be an amazing ambassador for Scotland!! Because the SNP insist that their people don’t let their country down! That’s good enough for me!

    Yep – #BothVotesSNP

  39. Seems I didn’t make the cut 😔 👏🏻

  40. Apologies found it 😳

  41. Very well put , this is the kind of statements we need on MSM, unfortunately we’ll never get the chance , it is too well sown up .People should know precisely how well the Scottish Government are performing , and in my eyes they are performing well .We definitely need an alternative view to what the ordinary man in the street in being served up every day .It does not have need to be SG supported , it needs to have journalists with knowledge , integrity and above all honesty and a very public presence .

  42. Superb. Truly.

  43. Thank you,great article.let’s not forget the msm,BBC,and all unionist party’s are hellbent in keeping power at W/M.a unitary state.look at the sewel convention,the smith commission,where labour voted against all amendments,why they want to keep a veto.they want power at centre,i.e. w/m parliament.snp are a threat to this.When K Dugdale made gaffe about possible vote for independence.she was quickly shut down by w/m mp.my answer can only be both votes SNP.

  44. hahahaha, yellow-tinted specas ahoy. Poor Loki, demonised as a Unionist when all he wants is independence, but not from tartan tory shitbags who took away legal aid from those who most need it, who stuffed up the Named Persons scheme, can’t balance their books and lied black in the White Paper.

  45. Excellent piece Derek, how could anyone (even with only half a brain) not see that SNP X 2 is the only option?

  46. MSM – “You’re not radical enough!”

    SNP – “Scotland should govern itself.”

    MSM – “Crazy Nats!”

  47. Great article Derek.
    The new high quality social housing being built around Maryhill, Firhill, Possil etc is also great to see and evidence of the government’s commitment to social housing.

  48. What can you tell us about “our burgeoning renewables are sabotaged by the nuclear-mad Tories”? I challenge you to write such a detailed opinion piece on renewables under indy, please do attempt to have some official figures to hand.

    These few spring to mind, that not a soul in the SNP can/will answer:

    By 2020 renewable subsidies will cost UK billpayers £9.1bn annually (previously estimated at £7.6bn, hence the scrappage 365 days early for new onshore renewable subsidies.
    By 2020 Scotland will host 2/3’s of Uk’s installed renewables capacity – ClimateXChange.
    Where are we getting that £6bn+ annually from for our newfangled intermittent power with a 10-15 year efficiency half-life on an already pathetic 30%?
    The subsidies cost us around £45/MW (electricity only sells around £33/MW)
    The overall costs of wind power are £150-200/MW for onshore, £210-300/MW for offshore.
    Hinkley C would cost £92.50/MW.
    Other countries like Sweden provide nuclear for under £20/MW.

    Dave “The scope for additional onshore wind power is limited by available sites and likely to be slowed by public opposition, however misguided that opposition may be” Watson? Telling us we don’t know what it feels like to be £34bn down and counting? In Denmark where they, the suppliers of most of our turbines, ended onshore subsidies due to health concerns and at least offer property value losses compensation.

    I can’t recommend euanmearns.com highly enough for your research, or try and source Dieter Helm’s speech to our country’s finest engineers where he destroys the UK’s renewables mistake to no opposition via the Q&A.

    Alex Salmond wrote that he’d make carbon capture gas as a renewable in The National on March 16th, and that those early cancellations would be reinstated, from whose bank exactly? He has completely ignored Aberdeen University’s findings for the Met Office on that one, as has he ignored ClimateXChange’s advice and pricing on energy storage for his 100% intermittency project. Hydro won’t cut it, neither will billion pound interconnectors.

    Please don’t throw words like ‘mad’ around, they are offensive.

    • Sorry to offend you. Should have explained. I regard a 35 year contract with a guaranteed subsidised rate for power way over the asking price as mad. One accountant called it economically insane and even the French partners are in turmoil over it. It is way over budget and way over price. meanwhile the subsidy for renewables is cut. As I say. MAD.

      • You don’t think paying renewables subsidies at 3x the cost of the renewables themselves is technological and mathematical illiteracy? Given they, you know, require this pricey nuclear backup you nor independence can handle.

        It certainly is way over price, as I pointed out Sweden do nuclear for under £20/MW, no backup required.

        MSR and fusion could be the answer to everything but will the SNP be able to fund it by then?

        You know this requires a full article.

  49. Excellent piece, Mr Bateman! Thank you. I shall shortly attain 3/4 century and can recall quite a long way back, now. Scotland has never been better governed in my lifetime than it is today. Sure there are things not right – the ridiculous “Named Person” scheme being the very worst, I think – but over all we have people governing today that inspire great confidence in the future. SNP 1+ 2 and Independence soon!

  50. angus macdonald

    Balanced article. Excellent.

  51. Good to see the trolls are still active, especially those with specious statistics – reminds us what we’re up against.

    Just for the record, there are plenty of authoritative analyses of the costs of nuclear, fossil and renewables and the subsidies they get. And guess what, renewables come out very well, receiving far less than fossil fuels. Plus, the costs of fossil fuel don’t take account of the cost of pollution, climate change, illness, premature death and so on. As for nuclear, some of us are old enough to remember the mantra “too cheap to meter” (actually a mis-quote) – now, that turned out well, as we count the cost of the clean-up. And, oh yes, cold fusion is just round the corner.

    Germany is pioneering a renewables revolution, just as the UK is destroying its renewables industry and increasing its subsidies to fossil fuels. (ODI & OCI Report) As for Hinkley Point, if it ever gets built, the state owned corporations of France and China will be laughing all the way to the Cayman Islands.

  52. Really big story breaking that 17 Edinburgh schools are to close indefinitely because of concerns about their safety, that were built a decade ago under PFI.

  53. It isn’t all roses sadly Derek, an emeritus professor friend of ours was lending his expertise to a charity outfit doing sterling work of the sort you describe. They have a childcare centre which aside from regulars will take in kids for an hour or two while the parent/carer goes for an appointment, job interview or whatever.

    Except bureaucratic problems abound. To get accredited and so access scarce and not generous but still useful local government funds they have to fill in learning progress and other progress forms for ALL children in their care. How can they do that for a kid they may see once every 6 months? Yet this service is a vital part of their work in a deprived area.

    This tick box culture is infesting good programs and warping them and the SNP government are as infested by it as Westminster. Radical should mean practical and pragmatic and not inflexible and bureaucratic.

    I for one will be voting for more radical Yes people in the coming election. IF as seems likely the SNP take all the constituency seats then their list vote will get divided by 10+1. Meaning they will need 10X the votes of the other parties. So, to get a Yes voice elected to the parliament on the list a Green or RISE person needs 1/10th of the votes an SNP does.

    Vote SNP on the list and have your vote count for less than 0.1 of the vote for Green, RISE, or Unionist if you like. Want to restrict the number of unionists? Do not vote SNP on the list.

  54. Excellent piece and a timely reminder of the achievements of the competent SNP government we are hopefully going to return in MAY to continue building up the infrastructure that benefits all , even those bile spewing unionist loons who seem to think it’s fun to try and poison any sort of debate that might be ongoing , they are drawn to any Nationalist supporting blogs and spread their usual type of derision of anything that this Government achieves . Well done chaps it’s working isn’t it ? .

  55. Steady as You Go and, after the election, Full Ahead Both. The SG has demonstrated remarkable competence in difficult financial circumstances and against a pathetic onslaught from print and broadcast media and fully deserves to be enthusiastically endorsed. Will our political pundits ever understand that the level of public trust enjoyed by the government is testimony to its response to the public mood?
    One of your very best Derek. Well done!

  56. The curious paradox is that all the numerous and gloriously witless attacks on the SNP immunises people to #SNPBAD stuff. As a result, SNP policy gets little or no sensible scrutiny. Boy who cried wolf, and all that. The SNP may be good, but surely they can’t be perfect. Who will tell us?

  57. ‘Both votes SNP’ is homeopathic politics – the theory of efficacy through repeated dilution.

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