jimtoggleJim O’Neill takes on Nicola Sturgeon for her shameless reverse ferret as she plays games with Indyref2 rather than tackling the failures of three terms of SNP government.


We are now well into the third term of SNP government. During the first they were a minority government, having to seek the support of other parties to get their policies through. Notoriously, in that first term, they did many deals with the Tories. Hardly a progressive alliance.

This, their third term, is also a minority government, and so far they have not shown their hand except, in Derek Mackay’s first budget, to reject every progressive tax proposal put forward by Labour and the Greens. And they still try to portray themselves as a progressive party! In their second term, when they had an absolute majority, and could have implemented any progressive policy they wanted, John Swinney resolutely followed George Osborne’s austerity agenda.

This has resulted in the decimation of local government, and the loss of thousands of jobs and services. It has led to unrest in our schools, with their continual tinkering, and a new plan to load more work on to headteachers at a time when they should be focusing all their attention on repairing the increasingly poor outcomes for our children, as seen in the recent international assessment of Scottish education.

And it has led, we now hear, to the cancellation of 21 hospital operations per day, many of which are an essential lifeline to the wellbeing of patients across Scotland. The deterioration of our NHS has been overseen by, among others, none other than our current First Minister, who must bear responsibility for that decline. And this is a First Minister who talks big, but runs away from action.

This has been best seen recently by her obsession with a “soft” Brexit and Indyref2. Every indication from Theresa May since she became Prime Minister has been that Brexit means Brexit, despite clearly having no effective plan to clarify what this means. In the gap, the right wing of the Tory Party has filled in the space, and more and more Mrs May seems to pander to them. At the same time, our erstwhile partners in Europe seem disinclined to make any breakaway easy for Britain, for fear of other countries following suit. And finally, the xenophobia of the Tory Party seems to be trumping the need to have a successful economy.

Sadly, this also seems to be infecting Jeremy Corbyn and the current leadership of our own party. Corbyn has always been lukewarm about Europe, and is falling into the trap of giving into a referendum based on lies and deceit to hang Labour’s policies on an acceptance of Brexit. As the lies and deceit become ever more obvious, and the dreadful consequences of Brexit become ever more clear, we should be pulling back on the reins and saying “can we think this out again, please”.

Meanwhile our own little First Minister has been talking tough, demanding first an opt-out for Scotland (impossible) and then a “soft” Brexit. She even went so far as to threaten Indyref2 if a soft Brexit was not delivered “and I’m not bluffing”. But she was. As soon as polling showed that 61% of Scots opposed Indyref2 this year, and that 55% of Scots still opposed independence, she performed a reverse ferret, and announced that there would be no Indyref2 in 2017. She has been shown up as the little girl who cried wolf. No-one will now believe her threats, even if some believed them before, other than the most committed of Nationalists, some of whom I expect to comment on this blog.

So, there we have it. A regressive Scottish Government who have failed to improve Scotland, and with an obsession on independence that has been shown to be little more than failed bravado. Maybe, having decided not to have a referendum this year, they will focus on making our schools, our hospitals and our local services better. Their local manifestos for May will be instructive!

Related Posts

43 thoughts on “Mixed messages

  1. The Labour Council leader where I live has used his regular newspaper column for the last 5 years to attack the SNP’s council tax freeze and he blames it for the cuts he is having to make to his budget.

    So what has he proudly announced ahead of the elections in May as a key commitment?

    There will be no increase in Council tax if Labour are re-elected to lead the administration.

  2. Since the SNP came to power in 2007 there have been more than 50,000 job losses in the public sector in Scotland, 40,000 of these have been in local government. They’ve done nothing to fight against or protect our people from these cuts. All their claims to being politically progressive fall on that fact alone.

    Local authorities are the front line in delivering services to local areas, particularly to the young, the elderly and the vulnerable, but the SNP has not tried to help local government protect and deliver these services. The opposite is true. In fact the cuts to local authority funding are much greater in Scotland than justified by the Barnett allocations over those years. Last year the SNP got a broadly level settlement (i.e. no cut in cash terms) but inflicted a £350m cut to LA funding. This year they got a £418 INCREASE in the allocation but the draft settlement cuts LA funding by a further £327m. That’s an unjustified cut of around £700m (approx7%) in local services, social care, schools, roads etc. in just two years.

    Local elections are coming up. It is imperative that Labour does well and returns to power in as many LAs as possible. We know the Tories are hopeful of good returns, but they won’t help local government any more than the SNP has or will, so Labour and our Trades Union allies must work together over the next few months to get the best result we possibly can.

    Then we might begin to see in fact a return to real progressive politics, not just the Tory/SNP regressive alliance of recent years.

    1. You have been wrong so many times now Mr Gallagher. Are you not sick of it yet?

    2. Are you referring to the job losses occurring at Local Government level and instigated by local authorities? The thousands of job losses imposed by Labour and Conservative councils Alex? Those job losses?
      Job losses imposed by local authorities who record budget “UNDERSPENDS” every year.

      Here is Gallagher once again indulging in his now infamous bouts of willful bare faced lying

      “Last year the SNP got a broadly level settlement (i.e. no cut in cash terms)”
      “This year they got a £418 INCREASE in the allocation but the draft settlement cuts LA funding by a further £327m”

      And here is the reality.


      “Local elections are coming up. It is imperative that Labour does well and returns to power in as many LAs as possible. We know the Tories are hopeful of good returns, but they won’t help local government any more than the SNP has ”

      And yet the plan and idea is to once again join up the Red and Blue comrades at local election time using the STV system to give each other their second and third votes in order to ensure either a Labour or Conservative local councillor is elected rather than an SNP candidate.

      That’s Labour in Scotland being progressive once again.

      Gallagher you have no shame at all. Jimbob is just a clown and has entertainment value but the likes of you? just despicable.

    3. Scottish Labour is desperate to shut Prestwick airport. How many jobs will that cost Ayrshire, now and in the future?
      The motive seems to be to help the owners of Glasgow airport make more profits. Glasgow council will soon be run by the SNP, if all the pundits are correct, so Ayrshire will lose out for nothing.

  3. So the Great Hate Fest continues.
    Labour, having instigated a council tax freeze (Glasgow) and included it in later Scottish manifesto’s, think it now a “bad idea” when put in action by the SNP.
    Labour having only had a 50% tax band for a matter of weeks over a 13year period in office, NOW think it “progressive”.
    Labour want to increase taxation on ordinary working people who have suffered a DECLINE in earning since 2008—-this is also “progressive”. Perhaps they think Frank McAveety and cronies, needs a fortnight in Cannes during the winter instead of just a week.
    But Scottish Labour do want to increase taxes, and so far they seem to have spent that money many times over. Time for some fiscal honesty.
    Could Mr O’Neil tell us by what percentage funding for English and/or Welsh local authorities has declined since 2011 till now? And then compare it to Scotland over the same time period.
    By how much do Scottish Labour want to increase council tax, and cumulatively how much over a term in office??
    He could also compare education in Scotland to that in England and Wales. And the NHS. And policing.

    Professional journalism in the US live by a code of ethics which appears largely absent in the Scottish media—-little things like CONTEXT, IMPARTIALITY, FAIRNESS, etc.
    Mr O’Neil could do worse than to read and implement this code of ethics, as opposed to the usual mince.

    1. The recent international study showed Scotland worse than England in Education. The NHS in Scotland has suffered greater cuts than in England. The Single Police Service is in deep debt. Yes I have a real respect for facts

      1. You have answered none of my question on the level of taxation or spending that Scottish Labour proposes. How much you need, to fulfil the spending commitments you have already made.
        Yes, at the recent snapshot on education, Scotland was very slightly down in international terms. There is evidence that some countries work toward the test( Finland etc). Some Asian countries hothouse their children in a way we would find acceptable. However, if Heads become more responsible for scholastic outcomes, then that can only be good for our children.
        The Scottish NHS spends more on patients because, unlike England under successive Labour and Tory governments down there, Scotland has no vast overhang of Privatised interests to pay off.
        The Scottish police have their house to sort out financially, but in Scotland we have maintained police numbers. In England they can afford to let’s thousands go and still have enough to cover a set area. With Scotland’s geography that is more difficult, but if I recall, Labour was in favour of a smaller number of police in Scotland. Am I correct?

      2. You certainly have enough respect to avoid them whenever you can. What international study? PISA is a Tory Government quango and the Labour party has no credibility to make any claims at all about anything. The Police force is still a public run office how can it be in debt? Unless you mean its part of the overall UK debt?
        Jesus Christ man you really can gibber for England eh Jim?

      3. The NHS in England and Wales is having whats left of its public funding paying off and ever growing PFI and PPP debt. The Scottish Government abolished the PFI PPP rip off imposed by Labour in Scotland so the NHS in Scotland is better funded publically than its counterparts in England and Wales so once again you’re caught red handed bare face lying yer ludicrous wee arse off again Jim Bob.
        The funding you’re dishonestly trying to attribute to the NHS in England in Wales is inclusive of this PFI PPP funding which doesn’t go to the NHS but straight into the coffers of Private contractors.
        I don’t believe anybody is actually this stupid so that leaves me to the conclusion that its pure unashamed dishonesty that motivates you.

      4. Cuts in the Health Service? What cuts in the Health Service? You just made that up!

      5. The OED study decibedvScotland a potential world leader, or did you forget that?

  4. Constantly repeating the same message about how the SNP have failed Scotland is farcical, when you look at Labours record in Wales and how far behind Scotland they are.

    NHS, Policing and Education all worse in Wales under a Labour government, so if Labour ever get into power in Scotland, things will only go downhill. Fortunately for Scotland, there is little chance of that happening.

  5. Is their a competition on-going between the labourites as to who can produce/write the biggest pile of shite, if so Jim, your in with good chance with this one. A fairy story makes more sense than this manure.

  6. Hi Jim, to pick out on just one of your points: “And it has led, we now hear, to the cancellation of 21 hospital operations per day”

    The SNP started the monthly reporting of cancelled operations from May 2015

    Monthly stats from May 2015 to November 2016 range from 1.5% to 3.0% of cancelled operations per month due to capacity or non-clinical reasons. The figures you quote, 21 per day, represent 2.1% of total operations and are from November 2016, so nearer the bottom end of the 1.5% to 3.0% range

    Cancelled operations due to capacity or non-clinical reasons includes:
    No beds available, general ward, ICU, HDU
    Staff not available, staff are ill, not available due to an emergency operation taking clinical priority
    Equipment not available, equipment dirty
    Theatre session overran therefore patient cancelled

    As you can see, there are some reasons for cancellation that are unavoidable and some that are avoidable

    I consider myself to be a bit of a realist and consider a figure of 2.1% to be pretty good and I find it hard to imagine how these figures could be significantly improved upon (unless you have an endless supply of funding)

    What the available figures do indicate over the recorded period, is that overall, the figures are quite steady

    So I would ask you, were you aware of these facts before your comment, what do you believe would be an acceptable cancellation rate and, given the figure above and the limited recorded data period, do you believe they indicate a trend of getting worse?

  7. Jim ONeil takes on Nicola Sturgeon in the same way Roger Rabbit would take on a speech at a Oscar ceremony. You would have to use every microfiber of your imagination to believe Roger Rabbit is actually making a speech.
    I’m not even going to bother taking on this willful pish and wind because its all repeats of previous tales of pish and wind which have been debunked over and over.
    Unlike the Herald and Hootsdross which now employ nothing but Roger Rabbits and indulge in nothing but willful clickbaiting this site doesn’t expect subscription so it does have that in its favour and you cant really complain too much if its free.

    1. Mr O’Neill writes the same thing every single time. He rearranges the words but it is essentially the same blog. You’d think Labour Hame would want more originality from its contributors. There is no point engaging with it. It only encourages more of the same lazy, regurgitated, SNPbad delusion.

  8. i agree with everything a you say. sadly I think Jeremy Corbyn and his team need to get a grip. I am a long standing Party Member I think our leader has to set out a clear vision for the party and country. he has it in him needs to do it NOW. Alec Salmond did deals every day with the Tories Annabel Goldie would not let him be brought down. she did not want a labour government at Holyrood. we have never had a Labour Government at Holyrood . we had a Lib Lab coalition then SNP minority then SNP majority now SNP minority . on indy ref 2 an SNP mp has stated FM has marched the members to the top of the hill and signalled a retreat the troops wont be happy.. that same FM and her Finance Team are now involved in backroom deals to get the budget agreed. and I thought we had open government here. in local government Labour have recently taken over my local council and discovered that the Health and Social Care Partnership is 5 million over budget. is this one of the reasons the SNP walked away from control before Labour or anyone else could remove them. our Local SNP m msp sent out a glossy brochure packed full of photographs and boasting about visiting local groups . these mainly volunteer groups do great work and deserve the publicity. she forgot to mention the estate where bins are being stolen fires including my former place of employment a large football pavilion that badly damaged it had to be knocked down. drugs arrests underage drinking Police reinforcements including Mounted Police. their photo is in the local paper. pity she did not include that in her brochure. anyway bad weather is here. local elections to come just great

      1. Al least Jim gives us punctuation and paragraphs. That is pretty unreadable. Even capital letters at the start of sentences would be an improvement.

    1. Alec Salmond did deals every day with the Tories Annabel Goldie would not let him be brought down. she did not want a labour government at Holyrood. we have never had a Labour Government at Holyrood.”
      Can you spot a wee non sequitur here, David?.

  9. well here is some stuff tfor all of you in SNP land. my local authority which changed from SNP control to Labour control have inherited some problems. here is a big one our new council leader has had to tell the public through the local paper that just over 9 million is being cut from our councils budget. the new council leader has said this is because the SNP government is dumping cuts on local authorities. he has said this is bad news .he said the SNP government budget has increased by over 400 million .they have still cut council funding its a political choice they can blame no one else. what of our SNP opposition who used to be in control of the council. their leader was on holiday when his group decided to resign with 1 councillor refusing to go. the SNP leader must be back from holiday because he has said the SNP governments draft budget is full of investment yet he has not disagreed with the claim of a 9 million pound cut in our budget. any more cuts in our budget will be a total disaster in my area. the consequences will be down to the SNP government and their local party here who support them. in my opinion .how can anyone say a proposed 9 million cut is a good deal. we will all find out when we ask local people for their vote. then we have the SNP Government saying they will use new borrowing powers to the max hope it works they used to blame Labour for that. now for something completely different I was watching BBC parliament on Sunday when showed a rerun of the youth parliament meeting in the commons on NOV 11 with Speaker Bercow in the chair the motion was give the vote to all 16 year olds in the UK. as has been done in Scotland by Alec Salmond. these kids were a credit to their families . as Speaker Bercow said they spoke with passion and humour. I think its a no brainer give them UK wide. the other thing is some of the speaches were of the old fashioned tub thumping kind that can and does bring an audience to its feet. they put the commons and Holyrood to shame

    1. Newsflash David the entire Scottish budget has been suffering Labour and Conservative party cuts for decades. These inevitably end up down at local council level so if Labour don’t like the idea of their local councils having their budget cuts perhaps it would be a good idea if they didn’t impose them at UK Government level when they are in power and start opposing the Conservative cuts when they are in opposition.
      Supporting or abstaining Conservative Government cuts to the Scottish budget and then blaming the Scottish Government for being forced to spend less is why you will never again take control of the Scottish Parliament.
      I don’t know how many times you drones have to be reminded of that fact but its getting really old having to deal with this repetitive willful lying and delusion.
      We now have Labour actually lying in the full face of indisputable evidence about the Scottish Government cuts to the National budget because you have nothing but absolute corruption to offer up to the people of Scotland and we are voting accordingly.
      Labour in Scotland are just too fucking stupid to be allowed anywhere near any level of power.

    2. Do you not think that, if it could be prudently done, the Scottish govt would happily increase local govt spending? After all, it is an election year. Or do you simply believe that the SNP are intrinsically evil?

      We, unfortunately, live in a UK where a right wing govt, overwhelmingly rejected by Scots, calls the shots. The SNP govt is doing what it can to mitigate the worst of the inevitable cuts such an arrangement lead to.

      However, as a devolved administration, with limited tax raising powers, within a unitary UK state where the vast majority of fiscal and economic decisions are made at Westminster, mitigation is the best that can be done. And it costs. Its like Scotland’s own “defence budget” that needs to come out of other budgets. It would be nice to address it as other countries do, but that is not the reality in a devolved Scotland unable to make those decisions.

      People understand that, and are as likely to be persuaded by Labour’s “magical money tree” arguments this time around as they have been previously. That is, not at all.

      1. Of course I don’t believe they are evil. I do speak to people who tell me Nicola needs to concentrate on governing Scotland. Stop going on Indy 2 and Brexit. Some of them are SNP supporters who know I am in the Labour Party. Some of them tell me they voted to leave the UK and the EU. They also tell me the Indy Ref was settled in 14. Brexit was a UK vote. They don’t accept my view that it is a disaster. I also get told about Labours well advertised problems some I agree with. I see there was another Indy ref where do we go from here conference in Glasgow . I would rather it had been a conference on local government. I might not have expressed myself very well but I have tried to answer you

        1. You expressed yourself well enough.

          I disagree with your assertion that the Scottish govt is not governing and concentrating on independence alone though. That is just lazy opposition politicking.

          It is the unionist parties who won’t shut up about the SNP’s ultimate ambition of an independent Scotland. The Tories “revival” is wholly predicated on it and even Labour can’t make an announcement without mentioning it. It masks the complete lack of any credible policies on the subjects you deem more important.

          As I said, lazy politicking.

          1. Well we are all about to find out. I will be helping the Labour Party. People will tell me exactly what they think . I might not like what I hear but I will have a laugh with them. There is no animosity towards Labour or the SNP . It will be fun if you are involved enjoy

        2. It seems to me, David, that the parties who constantly talk about indyrer 2 are the tories, the lib dems and particularly the Labour Party. Kezia is unable to make a comment without raising it. That tends to indicate to me that it’s unfinished business.

  10. Re local authority spending cuts – between 2013-14 & 2017-18, the total Scottish Budget has been increased in real terms by £1.9 bn or 5.4%. From this, it is clear that cuts are the result of SNP government choices, not Westminster-imposed austerity. In my opinion, the SNP are not mitigating Austerity, but worsening it.

    1. So the 10% cut in the Scottish grant over the last 5 years is just in everyones imagination .

    2. Except you’re full of shit and only repeating Labour propaganda. The reality is as follows.

      For 2015/16, the deduction to the block grant is the initial £11 billion of devolved tax receipts. The block grant is therefore £19.4 billion.
      For 2016/17, the £11 billion deduction is increased by 5.7 per cent (the rate rest of UK income tax receipts have increased by). The block grant is therefore £18.8 billion (£30.4 billion – £11 billion x 1.057).
      For 2017-18, the previous year’s deduction (£11 billion x 1.057 = £11.6 billion) is increased by 8.6 per cent. The block grant is therefore £17.8 billion (£30.4 billion – £11.6 billion x 1.086).
      For subsequent years, the previous year’s deduction is increased (or decreased) by the same rate of change in the non-savings, non-dividend rest of UK income tax base.
      Scotland has an incentive to grow its income tax revenues by more than the rest of the UK. Failure to do so will result in a contraction of its budget compared with the position prior to tax devolution.
      Scotland’s population is growing at a slower rate than the rest of the UK. The rest of UK income tax receipts are therefore likely to grow at a quicker rate if there are more people. The effects of this are likely to become apparent only in the medium to long term.

      For 2015/16, the Scottish block grant is £30.4 billion (see Table 2).211 For subsequent years, the Barnett Formula will continue to be used to calculate the change to the block grant. But for the purposes of this example, the grant is assumed to be the same size in each subsequent year.
      The value of the devolved and assigned tax receipts under the Scotland Bill proposals are assumed to be £11 billion in 2015/16.
      Rest of UK non-savings, non-dividend income is £145 billion in 2015/16.212 This increases by 5.7 per cent for 2016/17 and 8.6 per cent for 2017/18. This is for purely illustrative purposes.
      The population of the rest of the UK is 60.19 million in 2015/16, 60.63 million in 2016/17, and 61.08 million in 2017/18.213 The population of Scotland is 5.38 million in 2015/16, 5.40 million in 2016/17, and 5.41 million in 2017/18.214
      For 2015/16, the deduction to the block grant is the initial £11 billion of devolved tax receipts. The block grant is therefore £19.4 billion.
      For 2016/17, non-savings, non-dividend income tax receipts in the rest of the UK are £153 billion (£145 billion x 5.7 per cent). Revenue per head is therefore £2,524 (£153 billion / 60.63 million). For 2015/16, revenue per head was £2,409 (£145 billion / 60.19 million). Revenue per head has increased by 4.8 per cent. The population in Scotland has increased by 0.4 per cent over the same period. The block grant for 2016/17 is therefore £18.8 billion (£30.4 billion – £11 billion x 1.048 x 1.004).
      For 2017/18, non-savings, non-dividend income tax receipts in the rest of the UK are £166 billion (£153 billion x 8.6 per cent). Revenue per head is therefore £2,717 (£166 billion / 61.08 million). Revenue per head has increased by 7.6 per cent. The population in Scotland has increased by 0.2 per cent over the same period. The block grant for 2017/18 is therefore £17.9 billion (£30.4 billion – £11.6 billion x 1.076 x 1.002).

      In order for Scotland to maintain its status quo of revenues it HAS TO RAISE TAXATION in order to MAKE UP THE LOSS in the reduced BLOCK GRANT.
      There is no rise in Scotlands budget in any terms let alone in real terms even if the Scottish Government raises the taxation it controls every year as any amount raised will automatically be deducted from the block grant.

      The Block grant was reduced from 19.4 billion 2015/16 figure to 18.8 billion 2016/17 figure and is projected to be reduced further to 17.9 billion on an assumption of raised devolved revenues receipts from a slight population growth. Not withstanding the fact that new born babies don’t raise revenues.

      In simple terms Devolved revenues up Block grant cut. Result a lowering of the overall budget due to inflation and the rise in administration costs.

  11. was watching QT last night. Kept the sound down I don’t care what the panel have to say. The text messages are different. This for me is my point. They are from all over the UK you can get them on P 155 during the show only. Last night and nearly every week it was Brexit NHS and Immigration. The Brexit texts were from Aberdeen England and Wales all saying we voted to leave get on with it. Its not a disaster etc. NHS don’t treat drunks immigrants ect and kick out any foreign staff in the NHS this will clear the way for UK born people to work in the NHS. There were also complaints about Asian GPS. Immigration we are overrun NHS benefit system wont cope etc . They are taking our jobs the usual rubbish. I might not be expressing myself very well. In my opinion comments like those have got to be challenged.

    1. Hi David:
      Now your expression is much more readable and thanks for that. You are absolutely right in saying that views like those expressed in the QT texts must be challenged and I wonder how much the BBC filter out all the sensible ones and pass the reactionary ones just to push folks buttons, after all, they must filter them for slanderous and sweary texts eh?

  12. The SNP and Greens challenge those views incessantly david. If you want to see appeasement of those who express those views, look to the unionist parties. The Tories have embraced those who express them while Labour pussy-foot around them so as not to offend them. Given everything you say, I think you are in the wrong party david.

  13. So when can we expect to see a statement from KD explaining the Party’s position on Brexit, both to the current membership and to the voters we desperately need to attract back, clearly and succinctly?

    The current silence is becoming embarrassing.

  14. Awfy quiet – but then you have a lot to be awfy quiet about.
    Kezia was yotally cringe inducinging tonight BTW

Comments are closed.