Thursday, October 15, 2015

The SNP are great at stirring up anger but rubbish at governing Scotland

If the polls are to be believed - and I am praying they are even more wrong than they were for May's General election - the most incompetent governing party which any part of the UK has experienced is set to increase their majority in the Scottish parliament next year.

Not because they deserve it but because they have successfully deflected attention from their dreadful record by blaming everything which goes wrong in Scotland on Westminster.

Professor Adam Tomkins makes an excellent case that the rule of the SNP has been centralising, illiberal and catastrophic.

There is a powerful article about the failure of the SNP government of Scotland in this week's New Statesman which you can read at

http://www.newstatesman.com/politics/devolution/2015/10/leader-snp-and-neverendum

Here is an extract

"Education, which is devolved, has been a particular weakness. In 2007 the SNP pledged to reduce average class sizes in primary schools to 18, yet the average has since risen to 23.3. Spending on Scottish schools fell by 5 per cent in real terms between 2010/11 and 2012/13, even as it rose south of the River Tweed. Between 2012 and 2014, standards of literacy fell in Scottish primary and secondary schools. The attainment gap between the poorest and the wealthiest students is higher in Scotland than in England."

"The SNP’s record is little better when it comes to higher education. It has trumpeted the abolition of tuition fees (which, in effect, favour the middle classes at the expense of those who do not go to university) as evidence of its progressive credentials. The policy, however, has been funded largely by a real-terms reduction in student grants. Many poorer students have struggled to get the support they need at university: spending on income-related grants in Scotland has almost halved in real terms since 2007. Today, disadvantaged students in Scotland are significantly less likely to study at university than those in England – and the gap has widened since the SNP first won power at Holyrood eight years ago."

Similarly the SNP has failed on poverty and on Health - where the Barnett formula has awarded the Scottish government a real terms increase to match the real-terms increase in health spending on England and Wales but this has not been passed on to the Scottish NHS - spending on health in Scotland will fall comparing 2013/14 with 2015/16.

The SNP has a dangerously authoritarian streak: Nick Cohen writes in the Spectator here about how the SNP are trying to force Scottish Universities to dance to their tune.

As the New Statesman concludes.

"These are critical failings, and they point to the urgent need for the SNP to improve its performance rather than bring every conversation back to independence. Granting full fiscal autonomy would both recognise the wishes of the Scottish people for greater control over their own affairs and compel the SNP to take full responsibility for Scotland’s socio-economic problems. The party could then be held properly to account."

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