• This topic has 701 replies, 74 voices, and was last updated 1 day ago by poly.
Viewing 40 posts - 1 through 40 (of 702 total)
  • Scottish politics thread
  • politecameraaction
    Free Member

    There was some moaning when I mentioned a couple of developments in mainstream Scottish politics on the thread about Nicola Sturgeon and her husband being arrested, so it might be more useful to discuss them on some kind of general Scottish politics thread.

    – the Scottish government has binned its decarbonisation targets and adopted the pisspoor English and Welsh approach.

    life expectancy in Scotland is the worst in Western Europe and the drugs death rate is 3 times higher than in England, despite child poverty being about ⅔ of that in England

    – alcohol deaths are about a third higher in Scotland than in the UK generally, and the number of people accessing alcohol treatment in Scotland has gone down by 40% in 10 years. https://news.stv.tv/scotland/scotlands-alcohol-deaths-worst-in-uk-as-rates-hit-record-high

    The pisspoor health outcomes are particularly interesting (when the decarbonisation stuff is simply bad government). It’s not as simple as saying “deprivation is the cause” when the data from across Europe shows that the highest drug-induced death rates are in Finland (very rich) and lowest in Romania (pretty poor). https://www.statista.com/statistics/1066573/drug-induced-deaths-europe/

    But equally, much as it might fit my anti-SNP bias, it’s not enough to just blame the Scottish government for the much higher death rates. England has greater deprivation, and there is equally shambolic government across the other three government in the UK (NI didn’t even have a government for some years!), and yet the death rates are significantly lower across all of them.

    What happens to the Green-SNP relationship? Is the Scottish electorate going to massacre the SNP at the general election as they previously massacred the Lib Dems, Labour, and Tories? Will Labour ever bother learning the lessons of the SNP’s early years: that there is a desire for assertive, social democratic European style government in the UK electorate? Can the Scottish Tories ever do anything right?

    gordimhor
    Full Member

    I think I can answer the last one. Yes.
    There is a Tory vote in Scotland, Ì’m 62 I reckon I’ll be dead before the Tories make it into government in Scotland unless it’s on a supply and confidence basis, but yes they can play to their Scottish base and get a few more seats in the right circumstances.

    convert
    Full Member

    I’d say the only voters in Scotland who will feel hugely motivated about voting right now are those that are both pro union and pro supporting a Starmer Westminster government. That’s not exactly a niche group of people, but it leaves a lot of others feeling pretty lacking in enthusiasm for politics right now.

    scotroutes
    Full Member

    +1

    A pox on all their houses.

    I’m unlikely to vote in any upcoming elections.

    robertajobb
    Full Member

    I wish Gordimhor a long and healthy life. Til at last 135 if that means the Tories are not in power in Scotland! (And England too I hope !)

    On a different point, I’d actually like to understand why (how) Scotland has managed (or if not ‘managed’ then at least ‘stumbled into’) the less-worse child poverty rate.  Is it just that it’s stayed the same rate whilst England has got even worse ? Or has there been an actual reason for the Scottish rate to reduce ?

    politecameraaction
    Free Member

    Child poverty rate is 30% in the UK generally and 24% in Scotland. Some or all of that difference is down to…”The Scottish Child Payment, the Scottish government’s flagship policy in this area, [which] currently pays £25 a week for every child in households which claim certain benefits or tax credits, with more than 400,000 families eligible.”

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/articles/c8763j5p5pmo.amp

    https://cpag.org.uk/child-poverty/poverty-facts-and-figures

    gordimhor
    Full Member

    “wish Gordimhor a long and healthy life. Til at last 135 if that means the Tories are not in power in Scotland! ”
    I’ll take that cheers 😁

    As for child poverty I’ll say there’s been the introduction and then an increase in the value of the Scottish Child Payment. That has been helpful to many

    https://cpag.org.uk/news/nicola-sturgeons-legacy-child-poverty-one-huge-progress-new-fm-must-complete-job

    vww
    Full Member

    The climate stuff is disappointing. My biggest frustration with it is that it seemed likely the target would be missed, so we’re changing the target, not doing the obvious thing of to try harder. But that’s politics – more important to be seen to meet a weaker target than miss a big one.

    As someone who works in Scottish Government (a kind of IT job in forestry, not anything to do with policies etc) the complexity of getting stuff done regularly astounds me. It’s probably the same if not worse in UK government, but sometimes the simplest sounding things have so many caveats and considerations, I’m amazed anything gets done. Not a criticism, just a realisation of the reality of actually trying to achieve anything.

    vww
    Full Member

    Double post – sorry!

    a11y
    Full Member

    My biggest frustration with it is that it seemed likely the target would be missed, so we’re changing the target, not doing the obvious thing of to try harder. But that’s politics – more important to be seen to meet a weaker target than miss a big one.

    Not always. They’re happy to change the target for this when it’s clear it would be missed, yet appear to have zero intentions of changing the 4hr A&E waiting time target (or putting the correct resources in place to make it possible).

    gordimhor
    Full Member

    That’s not always an easy decision to make . Which budgets are you going to cut to get the necessarry funds?

    grimep
    Free Member

    Ditching net zero is a policy the sane majority can get behind and a surefire vote winner.

    alanl
    Free Member

    Concerning the ferries, there was a Professor interviewed on Radio Scot at the weekend (maybe Friday), who went into detail into why the new ferries have been such a disaster. It all started with the stupid design to use LNG as a fuel, this ruined any hope of getting a sleek modern ferry built in any acceptable timeframe. It then carried on with all the other requirements which all added weight, time and complexity to the design and build. If it was built to a standard design, they would have been in service years ago, but as it is, there is hope it could only be 6 years late, but will have operating costs far in excess of what can be achieved for the rest of its life.
    Then it came to political interference, which would be comical if it wasnt so serious. The requirements fro Transport Scotland was like children picking whatever they wanted from a list for the ships, and the Designers had to design to their spec. Add in the procurement process was crooked, Contracts kept being changed (in the shipyards favour), even though it was a fixed price contract, and design was constantly being changed, the ships were never going to be built to time or budget. When they do run, they’ll cost more than equivalent ferries, they’ll be harder to use, and far more complex, so breakdowns are more likely.
    So, which members of the SNP/Alba will be resigning because of this massive waste of Taxpayers money?
    Salmond is laughing away, even though he started it all, and probably blaming the English for the failings.
    Sturgeon is virtually finished, so no one is going to come away from this farce with a stain on their character, when there should be a list of those involved barred from public office ever again.

    intheborders
    Free Member

    Based on everything you’re complaining about happened during the Union, did I miss you demanding independence – or is it just a different form of Union you want?

    bearGrease
    Full Member

    everything you’re complaining about happened under the devolved SNP Scottish Government, did I miss you demanding rolling back devolution?

    FTFY

    gordimhor
    Full Member

    Wouldnt it be right to say that the problems with ferries in Scotland began long before they hit the headlines and even before the SNP came into power.

    mc
    Free Member

    Wouldn’t it be right to say that the SNP’s incompetence compounded the issues with ferries?

    gordimhor
    Full Member

    “SNP’s incompetence compounded the issues with ferries?”
    Absolutely,
    Ferguson Marine didnt play fair all the time either.
    It’s also a major problem that a largely central belt dominated government does not understand how crucial ferries are to islands.

    poly
    Free Member

    It’s also a major problem that a largely central belt dominated government does not understand how crucial ferries are to islands.

    If that were true, which I don’t really accept, it feels like a failing on the local MPs to communicate within their own party the significance of the issue.  There’s a lot of yellow on the map from outside the central belt – including the two most prominent deputy FM’s / finance secretaries and 2/4 of the leaders of the last 20 years!

    its a shit show – but I don’t think it’s because they misunderstood the importance of ferries.  They might have been trying to be too clever – clyde build ferries for political reasons; eco ferries; even large ferries as flagship projects.  But really we don’t expect the transport minister to work out how silly details we want them to make sure the organisational infrastructure is running correctly for professionals to do that and deliver what is needed.  The real issue is CMAL / Transport Scotland not the political direction from the top – unless their incompetence was caused by, rather than inspire of, political influence on policy.  There may be further Calmac/CMAL interface issues because it’s one of those fake “not really a public body” organisations who have a public service purpose.

    have the SNP got it right?  Clearly not.  But which other party or coalition of parties would have done a better job – even now I’ve not heard an alternative that actually sounds like there is a credible plan.

    alanl
    Free Member

    Generally, I think policies in Scotland have been better for the people, certainly better than Westminster policies. There are initiatives to get people out exercising, the free prescriptions to keep people getting medicines, rather than not being able to afford them etc. However, in some areas, they are failing, Dentists are one, no NHS dentists available in D&G for example.
    Railway infrastructure has generally gone well, electrification and opening of new lines has (almost) all gone to plan and on budget. But then we have Stranraer cut off the network for over 6 months now. Local rumour has it that as the area is Conservative, central (SNP) Government wont get involved, if, for example a central belt line was blocked for a few months, there would be enquiries and action taken to reopen the line, but no one seems bothered about Stranraer.
    Then we get to the ferry farce, and Edinburgh Trams (I know not a direct Government project), and you think how can those in charge get it so wrong? Not just a bit wrong, but totally wrong in that costs have gone from <£100m to >£360m, and timescale from 3 years to 9 years+ for delivery.
    I think its the malaise that has hit public bodies, and politicians over the UK. Lack of talented people want to do it, so we’re stuck with those who fell into their roles. Look at the leadership election for the SNP last year (2 yrs?). Hardly inspiring were they. Hamza seems a decent guy, but he’s not a great Leader, and looks like he’ll be trying to put together a minority Government after the election. With a larger Labour Opposition, I hope he’ll be held to account better than any Opposition are doing now.

    BruceWee
    Full Member

    Not just a bit wrong, but totally wrong in that costs have gone from <£100m to >£360m, and timescale from 3 years to 9 years+ for delivery.

    tbh, that’s not unusual in the private sector either.

    It’s more management culture of taking the estimate as the hard limit for each part of every project.

    poly
    Free Member

    Local rumour has it that as the area is Conservative, central (SNP) Government wont get involved, if, for example a central belt line was blocked for a few months, there would be enquiries and action taken to reopen the line, but no one seems bothered about Stranraer.

    Mmm… those people say things like that with absolutely nothing to back it up.  Firstly, whilst its seriously shit that Stranraer is cut off, comparing Stranraer to “central belt” is naive at best.  Its not mass population central belt with all that goes with that, for better of worse.  You’d need to compare to a comparable sized town in a remote SNP area.   Say Forfar…?  I doubt there would have been a magic bullet.  Not convinced by that? Ask the people of Oban about landslips on the RBT and WC mainline, the people of Strontian about the Corran ferry, the population of Lochcarron about complex arrangements with their landslips a few years ago…

    But if you want to know in the central belt – when the union canal breach happened it took out the main glasgow – edinburgh railway for 6 weeks.  Was that quicker because the SNP made it so?  or was it because that’s how long it took v’s Ayr station hotel fire?  Of course it may be that Ayrshire council could have done more sooner, it might be that is a S. Ayrshire Council and D&G Council not playing nice together – but they are both Conservative controlled at the moment IIRC!

    argee
    Full Member

    Meh, same problem Scotland has that the UK has, that the EU has, that the US have, politicians, there are a lot more career politicians around these days, and the SNP have their fair share as well, i’d say it’s a sign that we need to break down parliaments and decentralise, but then i see the standard of local politicians and i’m not sure what’s best!

    gordimhor
    Full Member

    Generally agree with you poly . However Forfar …remote😃
    You could add to your list the A82 and the 20 odd year wait for a new Belford Hospital. Thìs being from a Lochaber perspective.
    Also just to put my cards on the table Ì’m (still) an SNP member

    agree argee but we also need to break down our councils the size of some of them is ridiculous

    politecameraaction
    Free Member

    “have the SNP got it right?  Clearly not.  But which other party or coalition of parties would have done a better job”

    Maybe a party that was less concerned in economic nationalism (Scottish ferries for Scottish fowk) would have been less likely to get sucked into propping up and nationalising a shipyard at massive expense? It’s saved a few jobs at the cost of making everyone else’s jobs more heavily taxed.

    It’s a weird argument to say “well, you shouldn’t hold parties to account for their failures in government because other people might have done better or worse”.

    And this is even weirder: “Based on everything you’re complaining about happened during the Union, did I miss you demanding independence – or is it just a different form of Union you want?”. The SNP mangled Scottish ferries procurement so this proves that Scotland should be independent? That makes no sense at all.

    It’s striking that even when the SNP is examined for its own track record in government in Scotland, its most ardent supporters will always try to find some way to explain that it’s really the fault of Westminster. When Murrell is re-arrested by Police Scotland, it’s not because there is a lawful basis to do so – it’s because it’s a Tory plot to gain advantage in local elections in England & Wales. Why? How? There are no answers.

    There’s no culture of accountability within the SNP. Let’s hope the electorate brings it from outside next time around…

    irc
    Full Member

    “The real issue is CMAL / Transport Scotland not the political direction from the top”

    It was the SNP that over-ruled CMAL to get the contract to Ferguson without a refund guarantee in case of problems.

    https://www.heraldscotland.com/news/20039920.taxpayers-lose-millions-ministers-gave-100m-carrot-ensure-ferries-deal-went-ferguson-marine/

    I am not sure who it was that decided what we needed were more expensive and complex dual fual ships though.

    scotroutes
    Full Member

    That’s a difficult conundrum for any government. Bail out a local supplier and get panned for it. The three Turkish ferries appear to be on budget and on schedule but the government was accused of failing to support local employers.

    The option of dual-power was made with the best of environmental intentions but has, undoubtedly, been a massive contributor to the cost and delays. If, as a result, Scottish industry is now well placed to develop and build using that technology then there might be a longer term payback. However, I suspect that any new skills will be off-shored PDQ.

    irc
    Full Member

    dyna-ti
    Full Member

    Which budgets are you going to cut to get the necessary funds?

    Those that pay for tax breaks for large multinational companies.

    I jest, it will be the poor and disabled as per usual.

    tjagain
    Full Member

    Actually the poor and disabled get a distinctly better deal in Scotland than the rest of the UK

    tjagain
    Full Member

    On the drug deaths.  The stats are so bad because of a small population of hard core opiate addicts in Glasgow.   The Scottish government has tried to do something about this using proven best practice from other countries.   All steps they want to take are vetoed by Westminster as drug policy is reserved and the Tories would rather the deaths continue so they have a stick to beat the Scots government with.

    So the blame for the deaths continuing can be firmly laid at Westminsters door

    politecameraaction
    Free Member

    Having 21% of the population in poverty (Scotland) compared to having 22% of the population in poverty (Wales or England) isn’t much to show off about. It’s still a failure (and worse than Northern Ireland, at 16%).

    https://www.jrf.org.uk/uk-poverty-2024-the-essential-guide-to-understanding-poverty-in-the-uk

    nickc
    Full Member

    The stats are so bad because of a small population of hard core opiate addicts in Glasgow.

    Casual googling (the BBC) says that just 1% of the drug deaths in Scotland are hard-core long term users. most death drugs showed multiple drugs use – mostly street drugs mixed with (presumably stolen) ‘script drugs like pregabalin and diazepam, and although Glasgow has the highest rate at 30 deaths/ 100,000 people, Ayrshire and Tayside weren’t far behind at 27 and 25 respectively. Scotland has the highest rate in the whole of  Europe and 3 times the rate of both Wales and England – Wales being a Labour devolved govt – so presumably what they’re doing is also controlled by Westminster?

    Presumably the Scottish govt cutting rehabilitation and addiction programmes haven’t helped and Sturgeon herself hasn’t defended their policies calling it both “indefensible” and “a national disgrace”

    gordimhor
    Full Member

    You’re right pca the stats on poverty are an embarassment to us all. It’s not only the Scottish Government that is to blame it is all our governments and importantly it is employers who boost their substantial profits by paying full time workers a wage that is too small to live on.
    The nature of landownership in Scotland also contributes to poverty in some areas by blocking development.
    Another deal where the SNP government probably allowed themselves to be hoodwinked was the Alcan smelter deal.
    https://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2021/04/03/gupta-acquired-scottish-hunting-estate-taxpayer-backed-deal/
    This included a 114000 acre estate which the Lochaber community wanted to buy in a community buy out. It would have been the biggest community buy out by far, and even leaving the hydro power rights with Gupta Family Group would have been much more transformational for Lochaber than for example being designated as a National Park

    politecameraaction
    Free Member

    “So the blame for the deaths continuing can be firmly laid at Westminsters door”

    So just to be clear: are you saying Westminster is responsible for the drugs death rate being 2.7 times higher in Scotland than in England?

    Is Westminster also to blame for the rate of opioid addiction in Scotland (1.62% of population) being almost twice as high as the rate of opioid addiction in England (0.89%)?

    https://committees.parliament.uk/writtenevidence/101644/html/

    And this is despite the same drugs laws being applied in both places, but enforcement of those laws, health, social services and housing being matters devolved to the Scottish Parliament?

    argee
    Full Member

    Drink and drugs in Scotland has always been horrific, but probably on par with other areas of the UK. I’ve lost a few mates and family through drink and drugs over the years in Scotland, you don’t just change it when it rears its head, it happens much earlier, i grew up with drink and drugs being the big thing at weekends and weeknights for many, it’s a lifestyle you fall into, and if you’re unlucky enough to be predisposed to alcohol, it’ll grab your entire life.

    Every time i go back i see Perth and Dundee with more and more alcoholics or druggies wandering about, it’s been increasing for a generation now and no sign of it reducing.

    Again, these issues are around the length and breadth of the UK, some areas it’s better hidden, some it’s just right in your face and makes people think it’s works, same with homelessness, you see it as a huge issue in some cities and towns as it’s right in front of you, but move to another place with an equal level of homeless people and it’s just hidden better by the councils, or whoever.

    In my 47 years on this planet, 26 years in Scotland, 21 in England, i’ve just never noticed there being much of a culture change, some of the biggest shifts i’ve seen is between Bristol where i live near, and somewhere like Essex or Kent, rather than Bristol and Glasgow or Perth!

    poly
    Free Member

    Casual googling (the BBC) says that just 1% of the drug deaths in Scotland are hard-core long term users

    really?  That sounds unlikely, it almost implies hard-core long term users are immune to drug death?

    I do wonder if, when different areas have wildly different drug death rates if the statistics are robust.  Eg are secondary causes of death consistent from area to area?

    poly
    Free Member

    Maybe a party that was less concerned in economic nationalism (Scottish ferries for Scottish fowk) would have been less likely to get sucked into propping up and nationalising a shipyard at massive expense? It’s saved a few jobs at the cost of making everyone else’s jobs more heavily taxed.

    i don’t think the opposition parties were lining up to say it was a bad idea were they?

    It’s a weird argument to say “well, you shouldn’t hold parties to account for their failures in government because other people might have done better or worse”.

    no but political hindsight is easy… yet I still don’t hear many other people proposing solutions!

    There’s no culture of accountability within the SNP. Let’s hope the electorate brings it from outside next time around…

    I’d welcome it if any of the alternatives could present something other than SNP baaaad as their policy!

    dovebiker
    Full Member

    It’s still remarkable that the SNP are still likely to hold onto Government (within a minority coalition) given the institutional bias within the mainstream media. You also cannot ignore the impact of Westminster government policy, particularly austerity, Brexit and the failure to regulate privatised utilities.
    Scotland is a nett producer of electricity, much of it from renewable sources but we pay the highest bills because electricity prices are pegged against the price of gas and we have to pay increased standing charges for the failure of a deregulated market.

    The GDP is Islay, population 3,300, is greater than Birmingham, population 1.1m and yet 75% of that money bypasses the island to the Treasury’s coffers.

Viewing 40 posts - 1 through 40 (of 702 total)

You must be logged in to reply to this topic.