scott arthurScott Arthur says #SNPBad is evidence of the deformed politics which is stopping the Scottish Government being effectively held to account.

 

In most countries in the developed world, politics is about left versus right. Broadly speaking the left tends to believe in equality of opportunity in a society underpinned by strong public services funded by progressive taxation. The right tends to favour a small state and giving people the freedom to generate and retain wealth.

Throughout my life, politics in the UK has been fought broadly along these lines, with the Conservatives always keen to reduce public spending to a minimum and Labour keen to invest in the NHS, education and training.

Whilst the traditional battle lines have changed little at the UK level over my lifetime, in Scotland they have been shattered. The debate here is no longer about right versus left. For many it is now about being for or against independence.

This suits the SNP nicely as they have always followed an ideology-free populist agenda. Indeed, one of the nationalists’ great successes has been to turn the debate away from socialism versus toryism to unionism versus nationalism. Politics is no longer about ideology, it is about identity. For many Scots, identity and nationalism have become more important than policy or record in government.

For hard core nationalists, failing hospitals, falling numeracy in our schools and broken bridges are either overlooked or accepted as the price worth paying for having a nationalist government. The pseudo-left in the nationalist ranks even attack Labour heroes such has Gordon Brown (he lifted 2 million people out of poverty) whilst defending nationalist policies which make the rich richer (APD cuts, council tax freeze and cooperation tax cuts).

In “unionist” ranks there is a similar problem. There is an intransigent hardcore which oppose our nationalist government just as strongly as nationalists blindly support it. Scotland is polarised.

Caught in the middle between entrenched unionists and angry nationalists are the people who don’t define themselves along the redrawn political battlefront in Scotland, but simply want the country to be run well. They want their children to have a world-class education. They want to know the NHS is working well and will be there when they need it. They want pothole free roads. They want their bins collected.

Also in the middle ground between unionists and nationalist are many people like me. I want Scotland to be a fairer place where every child has an equal chance of reaching their full potential. As is the case for many Scots, it is this outlook which defines my politics, not the constitutional debate. I voted No in the referendum as I thought that was the best way of delivering that vision. Although I still feel that that was the right way to vote, it does not define my political outlook. I know Yes voters who feel the same.

Although we frequently hear that “Scotland has never been so politically engaged”, the fractured political landscape I have described is actually stifling debate. Week after week we see calls from the left to make Scotland a fairer place shut down by the nationalists by claiming the debate is driven by anti-nationalist zealotry. Discussion of failures in the NHS, Police Scotland, our schools and our colleges are avoided using the same tactic.

Last week Magnus Gardham discussed this problem in The Herald when he highlighted the propensity of nationalists simply dismiss legitimate questions and comment as “SNP Bad”. He summed it up like this:

‘SNP bad is one of the year’s most striking phenomena. It began as a meme on social media, as Nationalists took to dismissing anything critical of or embarrassing for the SNP government as “SNP bad”. It was eagerly picked up by tweeting MPs and MSPs and has now entered the political lexicon at Holyrood, trotted out by backbenchers and even ministers answering parliamentary questions. It’s not a good thing.’

Even as a member of the Labour Party, I am happy to accept that Scotland’s nationalist government is doing the right thing in some areas. For example, I am broadly supportive of their review of university governance and give up a great deal of my time to support their Construction Scotland Innovation Centre. However, even the staunchest nationalists must also recognise that, after almost nine years in government, there are some real problems in education, health and policing in Scotland.

Given the lead that the nationalist have in the polls, and the majority they have in Holyrood, more than ever they have a duty to be honest with Scots about the problems Scotland faces. They must show that they are not above admitting their failures, smart enough to benefit from the lessons learned from them, and strong enough to correct them.

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147 thoughts on “#SNPBad is stifling Scottish politics

  1. And without a trace of irony one of the Arch Zealots in Scotland and foremost SNP Bad practitioner writes a column full of SNP Bad misinformation (failing hospitals, schools, bridges etc).

    Then condemns polorized politics in Scotland and complains that people like him are ‘caught in the middle’. There are two main types of Labour supporters left in the dying Scottish branch. Lifers who have ‘awways votit Laybur’ and zealots driven by a hatred of the SNP and a desire to prove they were right in Sep 14 despite the robust shafting they’ve received since.

    If the site had advertisers I’d accuse it of being clickbait along with the recent Forth Bridge mothball madness. That it doesn’t is troubling.

        1. Scott

          I was watching a pre-election programme with my partner when somebody came on with a ‘question’ that was little more than an anti-SNP diatribe. The questioner was literally shaking with anger/excitement and started applauding their own question before they had finished.

          “Who the hell is that” she asked rhetorically. I informed her that it was Scott Arthur; a well known Labour ranter with surprisingly easy access to GMS, The Scotsman and now mainstream BBC election productions.

          Moderate, “in the middle” you’re not. If you genuinely consider that you are you are deluded and in some need of honest friends.

          1. Scott is such an “in the middle” kind of guy that last September he cycled 6 miles across town from leafy Buckstone just to heckle the SNP candidate in the Leith walk by-election – an election in which he had no vote. Others are familiar with his shouting down of Neil Hay in an Edinburgh South hustings last May, such that the chair-person had to pause proceeedings to tell him to calm down. Scott is a committed Labour/NO-campaign partisan and that’s absolutely fine – but painting himself here as some down the middle moderate is risible.

          2. Paul,
            I have to admit that I am slightly flattered by the way you stalk me both online and in real life.

            If you read the blog you will see that I admit to both voting No and being a Labour party member. However, as I also say in the blog, I am not uncritical of the Labour party and I do support key SNP policies.

            I do love hustings and I think heckling is a key part of our political culture. I think that’s very different from “shouting people down” – You should understand the difference.

            Scott

            PS – You should be thanking me for helping get an excellent councillor elected in the Leith Walk ward!

  2. The very last sentence rings true,but only if you change the word “they” to “Labour”.

    1. All parties have a duty to admit to their own failings. Personally, I am no fan of the council tax freeze… even when Labour say they support it.

      1. So why wont the Labour party admit to their criminal activities and put their criminal members forward for trial by jury?

  3. It would take a very long article to answer this nonsense.
    Socialism V toryism—when was that? Labour when in power, were quite happy to introduce private finance and the profit motive into the NHS, or education etc. And to privatise utilities with glee. The Scottish NHS is doing at least as well as that in England, without the vast overhead of debt or the threat of strikes that afflict England’s NHS. The apparent per capita advantage in England is easily explained by the pay back required to fund private profit and capitalist debt. The Scottish NHS is streets ahead of the Labour run Welsh NHS.
    Labour councils were happy to sell off public housing stock—often the best homes were occupied by Labour councillors or their family members.
    Unionist V Nationalists—-don’t you mean British Nationalists V Scottish Nationalists? Don’t forget Keir Hardie wanted Dominion Status for Scotland—the same as Australia or Canada etc. We would have been self governing by now, if he had been successful. What is wrong with self government?
    We can see already in the EU referendum, there is not the same bitter rhetoric employed as in the Scottish referendum—“narrow nationalist”–“separatist” etc—is that because the EU referendum is between various degrees of British Nationalists?
    ADP cuts—Scottish Labour oppose an increase in flying in Scotland while are in favour of an airport, and therefore flying expansion in England. A tad hypocritical don’t you think?
    Glasgow Labour council were the first to introduce a council tax freeze in Scotland, and it is Labour policy to have a council tax freeze until 2017 according to their manifesto commitments. Hypocritical? You decide.
    Gordon Brown repeatedly cut corporation taxes, yet Labour squeal like the hypocrits they are when the SNP propose it.

    There is legitimate criticism to be made of the SNP in government. The problem is that Labour and their media chums have cried “wolf” so often over fabulous and grossly inflated non-issues (see some of the above, and multiply 100 times), no one listens any more.

    1. Gavin,
      I do not defend every Labour policy and/or in/action. For example I question Labour PFI just as much as SNP PFI (AKA NPD) and Tory PFI.

      Nonetheless, you have to admit no party as done more than Labour to tackle poverty in the UK and Scotland. The IFS’s frank assessment is here: http://www.ifs.org.uk/publications/6738

      1. NPD is not PFI nothing like PFI it doesn’t rip off the public purse and Labour failed miserably in tackling poverty which is why they are trying to spin and lie a positive record by using flawed and discredited methods of measuring levels of poverty.
        I would provide the link explaining it all in detail but the link is banned from this site as is many like it for being too credible and evidence based.

          1. No you’re not. There are no considered experts in the field of NPD as there is no considered curriculum of excellence in the field.

            The link you provided actually proves there is no link or similarities between NPD and PFI.

            You’re once again reduced to trolling as you so often are online Scott.

      2. Sorry Scott but your pig won’t fly. PFI/PPP. Red and Blue Tory schemes cost this country a fortune, and mush of the debt is still to be paid off. And the thing is—-they knew how expensive these Ponzi finances were, both criticising each other when not in power.

        As for poverty. The “heartlands” Labour controlled, for decade after decade, became Scotland’s most impoverished areas. Because Scottish Labour became indolent and contemptible of their own electorate.
        Rather than raise expectations, income and standards of living in THEIR own constituencies, they let them wither on the employment vine.

        1. Gavin,
          I have answered both these points already:
          If PFI is so bad, why is the SNP still using the model?
          Labour did nothing about poverty apart from taking 2 million people out of it.

          Scott

          1. NPD is not modelled on PFI. That’s just another one of your stupid bare faced lies.

            You truly are an online troll.

          2. Scott, given the inability of the Holyrood government to borrow to invest they had to use some model or other to finance social investment.
            The SNP chose to use a not for profit method. Labour did not.

            My criticism of Labour and poverty is not that they did not fiddle about with finances to give a little here or there, but that they did nothing to utilise the talents of people to work their way out of poverty by denying them the means to do so. The best method to eliminate poverty being productive employment—Keir Hardie could have told you that a century ago.
            Governments ( Westminster that is ) have the power and finance to attract industry to any area they wish to—-Labour in power did very little for Scotland in this regard.

          3. Gavin,
            Your comment still does not explain why SNP PFI = GOOD and Labour PFI = BAD. Nor does it explain why the SNP have not given a pledge to end PFI when the Scotland Act (2012) borrowing powers come online.

            On employment, the last Labour Gov’s record was pretty good… until the global financial crash came along.

          4. I work in a school procured by a Labour council through PFI. It’s a leaky, badly ventilated jerry-built mess that is owned by a group of venture capitalists and will be lucky to survive the 25 years of the lease deal, at which point the council will have first refusal on buying it. Any internal works, even as simple as putting up a notice board, costs a fortune because it has to be done though the managing agents.

            My son attends a much newer school procured under the current funding model. It’s a well built, beautifully equipped, first class learning environment that is owned and operated by the local authority.

            I trust that illustrates the differences sufficiently.

          5. I don’t believe I mentioned the SNP?

            However, I would have thought the advantages of the newer procurement model were obvious from my previous post:

            *much better quality buildings

            *buildings owned and managed by the Councils

            *no lease payments to private equity companies

            *no “first refusal to buy” after 25 years

            Oh, and just as a final thought, the standard of food provided for pupils by the PFI contractor in our place is terrible.

  4. SNPbad is coming under attack because it is effective. It is effective because the vast majority of the accusations laid against the SNP govt are so obviously politicaly motivated/easily quashed that people no longer believe them.

    That unionist parties cannot overcome the “meme” is testament to the dearth of credible ideas they have and the lack of trust the people of Scotland are willing to put in them.

    As to the claims in the article concerning the Scottish NHS, police and schools; they ignore the realities of life in a Tory run, austerity driven, post (Labour-overseen) financial crash United Kingdom. All those organisations are in far better shape than they were when the SNP came to power. Such was the ineffectiveness of Labour. That things are stalling right now has more to do with the financial constrictions of living under an all powerful Westminster govt than any failing of the Scottish govt. Even as the SNP govt struggles with the problems of maintaining spending with a shrinking budget, services are still in significantly better shape than in England. People can see that, hence the success of the SNPbad meme.

    1. Alternatively snpbad has come about because Labour have been so effective at highlighting the growing list of government failures.

      And I’m sorry, but theres nothing sucessful about being forced to bleat a repetative meme when unable to contradict legitimate criticisms. Might as well wave a white flag.

      1. Jim, you responded with similar mealy mouthed pish to my above comment. You were twice asked to explain your position. You didn’t.

  5. Mr Pony,
    Thanks for reading my blog. You appear to think the SNP can do no wrong(?). They are clearly making real mistakes in education, health and policing. The wise thing to do would be to accept that and expect more from the Scot Gov, not shout “#SNPBad” at Scots who ask questions and blame the Tories. I assume you actually want better public services in Scotland?

    Two other points:
    1. “post (Labour-overseen) financial crash United Kingdom” – please remember that the SNP asked Brown to regulate banks less and openly backed the worst banking deal in the history of, erm, banking.
    2. “those organisations are in far better shape than they were when the SNP came to power”. Let’s look at the NHS. Labour have not been in power since 2007. Over that time there have been real improvements in medical science, clinical processes and treatments. If nothing else, we now have a much better understanding of how to eliminate hospital acquired infections. We must give the SNP credit for taking advantage of these innovations, but we must also be willing to accept that other parties would have done the same. We also must accept that the reforms Labour enacted as part of the National Health Service Reform (Scotland) Act 2004 led to some short-term problems with service delivery, but ultimately had NHS Scotland on a much stronger footing by the time the SNP took office. Indeed, in 2014 the Nuffield Foundation had this to say about the impact of these reforms on waiting times:
    “In terms of whether Scotland’s greater emphasis since 2005 on targets and performance management has had an impact, it appears that Scotland’s hospital waiting times now match England’s, suggesting, but not proving, a positive effect.”

    1. “The worst deal banking deal in, ERM, banking”.
      This deal was overseen by a Labour run Treasury, who MUST have had an inkling, and the instigator of the deal was given a knighthood——by Labour!
      One Alistair Darling also tried has best to stop Fred from losing said knighthood—wonder why?

      As for the NHS, we know Scottish Labour has repeatedly refused to commit to funding it.
      And we also know how badly the Welsh NHS is performing under Labour

    2. Hi Scott,

      (1) I certainly do not think the SNP are infallible. I do think they are Scotland’s best chance of good governance with any set-backs the result of decisions made in good faith and with Scotland’s best interests at heart. It is not for me to come on sites like this and highlight any SNP short comings. That is the job of the likes of yourself. Unfortunately, for Labour, they are doing a very bad job of it. If a simple meme like SNPbad can crush their attempts, people are not taking them seriously.

      (2) Who was in charge of the UK economy, finances and government in the years leading up to the meltdown? Answer -> Labour. Which politicians, when in power, actively (and vociferously) encouraged the financial sector to take ever greater risks which eventually led to the crash? Answer -> Gordon Brown, Alistair Darling and Tony Blair. Who have done incredibly well despite the crash they helped engender? Answer -> the previously mentioned politicians. People KNOW this and to try and blame the SNP is, ironically, just another discredited SNPbad piece of nonsense that validates the meme.

      (3) It is a simple fact that, despite Westminster driven austerity, the Scottish NHS (NHSiS) has improved greatly under the SNP govt. To claim it would have happened anyway whether it was the SNP, Labour or the Muppets in power comes across as “sad”. The NHSiS performs better than any other UK nation’s in most cases which implies they must be doing something right. You are admitting things have improved but refuse to give the SNP credit. As before, it ironically validates the SNPbad meme.

      Until Labour come up with credible, positive policies that are more than just SNPbad-vote Labour, they are on a hiding to nothing. When the main focus of their campaign is to moan about an internet meme (not even the Scotgov) while omitting to put forward a positive case for Labour, you know they have nothing of substance to offer.

      1. Mr Pony,
        1. Although I disagree with many politicians on may things, I think all can claim their “set-backs are the result of decisions made in good faith”. Quite frankly, that’s meaningless.

        2. I am not blaming the SNP for the global banking crisis, and you shouldn’t blame labour. My point is that you can’t claim that the SNP would have done better than Labour when they wanted the regulate the banks LESS!

        3. I suggest you take that up with the Nuffield Foundation.

  6. “Also in the middle ground between unionists and nationalist are many people like me.”

    You, Dr Arthur consider yourself to be in “the middle ground”. Excuse me if I guffaw. Sorry, just did.

        1. Alban,
          The fact remains that I don’t think I have ever seriously called myself a “unionist”. If the SNP could have shown that Scotland would have been wealthier if we voted Yes, I’d have been far more likely to back them.

          1. “The fact remains that I don’t think I have ever seriously called myself a “unionist”.”

            I don’t get this insistence that what you “identify” yourself as matters. It doesn’t. Duncan suffers from this “I am what I think I am, regardless of what I actually am” nonsense too.

            You’re a staunch, dyed in the wool unionist; your many previous actions and attitudes make it absolutely clear, REGARDLESS of what you then claim.

            And no, you NEVER would have voted YES, and if you say otherwise, you’re a liar and you know it.

            You are not the middle ground. You never have been. You’re a committed footsoldior of the Unionist Labour right. That’s fine, you can do what you like, but please, don’t kid yourself you have any credibility or legitimacy on this.

            You don’t.

      1. Scott,

        I accept that many who voted NO are not Unionists as such. Those who were cowed by the weight of threats about what was to pass if the Scotland went it alone. Labour Party threats such as doing everything it could to ensure economic failure or posting border patrol guards. They did not necessarily see the good in the UK, and in their hearts would like an independent Scotland, but lacked the courage and/or conviction at this time to vote YES.

        You on the other hand campaigned loudly and vigorously for the Union. You could not have been more committed to maintaining the British State and in your attempts to convince others to vote for it. You are a Unionist. A devout Unionist, as much as the eejits marching through our cities with orange sashes and flutes.

        How your article in the Unionist Daily Record shows otherwise is beyond me (btw another example of your surprising ease of access into establishment media sources). It is funny all the same that in your column ‘against’ SNP bad you voluntarily highlight a prime example of an SNP Bad article authored by your very own hand.

        1. Davie,
          I voted No as it was the best way to protect the public services that many Scots need. My political views have nothing to do with “maintaining the British State”, I actually think it needs to be modernised.

          Scott

          1. A reactionary Tory Westminster government was the best was to protect Scottish public services?

            Well, it’s a view…

          2. John,
            I have no time for the Tories, but the cuts that would come with independence would have been far worse.

            The Scotland Bill powers will make a huge difference to what we can do in Scotland. I’m looking forward to seeing how the parties will use them.

  7. I agree that “SNPbad” is being used by some people to shut down debate. I hope it’ll soon die out along with the term “cybernat”, which served the same purpose for the other side.

  8. I am 67years of age and Scotland has never in my lifetime been run so well as it is now, to continually bang out hatred of the SNP for being better is futile
    I remember when Labours version of the refurbishment of Scottish Hospitals was to send in the painters, you mentioned potholes, usually a favourite of the Lib Dems that one and as it has always been the job of local authorities to carry out that work perhaps you should look to your own Labour controlled Councils which I’ve no doubt you will claim are underfunded, more mince

    I could go on all day about Labours years and years of failures and neglect of our country but suffice it to say the SNP have started to make Scotland work through their talent, efficiency, planning and work ethic something the Labour party never did

    You spout the big names of the past in Labour,I remember every useless one of them, and I also knew a few, including one of the most useless of all Donald Dewar, people think they have to be pc and say the right thing about some folk because they’ve passed, I don’t because I’m not trying to get myself elected

    I’m afraid the Internet, FOIs and proper Investigative journalism have blown the Unionists cover and you’re all found out and won’t be forgiven for a very long time if ever, so hold on to your hats this next election ride is going to be bumpier than ever before, and your pals in the Scottish media can’t help you anymore because they’ve also blown it with their vastly overdone SNP Baaaaad!!

  9. I think it’s absolutely true that the Scottish government should be held to account and criticised for its failures, however that criticism should be fair. Too much of the criticism from the Labour party and from the media has not been fair and as as result people have lost faith in these institutions to report what’s going on in the country. I had hoped this article would be a moment of quite self-reflection and perhaps an admission that SLP could change its approach; instead it boils down to an extended whinge that people are not taking the Labour party’s attempts to whip up hysteria seriously.

    1. Despite all the problems Labour has, its is worth thinking about what we have achieved by holding the SNP to account in Scotland:
      A&E Waiting times are being taken seriously.
      The SNP have been forced to block fracking (for a bit).
      The bedroom tax has been mitigated.
      The living wage is being extended.
      The attainment gap has moved up the agenda.

      1. Sorry Scott, but the sheer gall of those claims is breathtaking!

        (1) A&E waiting times have always been taken seriously by the SNP. They have been improved massively since Labour’s time in power and it is incredible you should be using to attack the SNP.
        (2) The bedroom tax was always going to be mitigated. Labour knew this but started bleating about it anyway while the SNP sorted out the mechanism to be used. It was clear opportunism on Labour’s part and everyone knows it.
        (3) Again, the Living Wage was always going to be extended and continues to be so. No one is fooled by Labour’s empty claims here.
        (4) Labour are NOT against tracking. Again, no one is fooled by Labour on this one.
        (5) The attainment gap was something Labour have NEVER been good at closing. Again, the SNP have no lessons to learn from Labour here.

        As I said, no one is being fooled by Labour’s rhetoric on all this. It is outright laughable to make those claims, and every one knows it.

          1. Regarding your link … Ermmm … sorry Scott. You can’t cite your own opinion as evidence. Especially when the opinion you offered was just a tad (to say the least) disingenuous. It was easily shown to be … shall we be kind and say “factually challenged”.

      2. Arguably, the rise of the juvenile SNPBAAD meme has been precisely because Labour has been so succesfull at holding the SNP to account. Faced with the facts and data a 9 year record of government brings, theres little choice for the true believers (yknow, the ones who insist a party in government for close to a decade are anti establishment) than to put their fingers in their ears and scream “cannae hear yez”. It will of course eventually back fire.

        1. Wishful thinking Jim. If Labour has been so “successful at holding the SNP to account”, why is it not reflected in the polls and why are Labour politicians so universally distrusted?

          1. Where is the “LabourBad” in my post Scott? All I did was call into question Jim’s assertion that Labour were successfully calling to account the Scottish govt. Perhaps you can explain the dichotomy between Jim’s claim of Labour success and the reality of low poll ratings and unpopular politicians?

            NB: Note how your use of LabourBad has not stifled debate. Perhaps you should rethink your assertion that SNPbad does stifle it. There’s a difference between stifled debate and people simply not being interested in what you’ve got to say.

          2. Mr Pony,
            I’m sorry if I upset you, but you do hang around this forum bringing the mood down with your negativity. You can’t say anything good about Labour… it is all bad bad bad…. and unsubstantiated.

            Scott

          3. An … I see Scott. You can’t beat the SNPbad meme so you hypocritically hope to hi-jack it for your own ends. Dearie me.

            Also, the irony of some-one whose entire output is wholly negative towards the Scottish govt, calling another who believes thing’s aren’t so bad negative, is delicious 🙂

      3. A & E waiting times are far better than under labour.
        Fracking was brought to the fore by public/green pressure – nothing to do with labour.
        The bedroom tax? Johann wouldn’t even commit to doing anything about it without word from head office.
        The living wage “is being extended ” due to manoeuvres by Osborne.
        Work has been ongoing on the intractable problems around the effect of poverty on educational outcomes for years – most of my career in fact. When you say it has moved up,the agenda, what you in fact mean is that the MSM has sized on it as something (anything) with which to attack the government. In other words. S.P .a. (fill in the blanks and win a major prize.

  10. The elephant in the room is never mentioned. Wait…Ian Smart just did. ‘That’s what the Tories are really good at. Other than during a very brief period under IDS, throughout the whole of my lifetime they have either been in power or planning how to get back into power. And, given they have been (mainly) running the Country for the last two hundred and fifty years…’ By country, he means the UK. And Labour still try to sell the lie that they want Scotland to be a better place. When they’ve done their damnedest to deny our self-governance and to ensure that we in Scotland are subject to Tory rule, against the wishes of the majority of our people.

      1. And that is why you are a pseudo socialist. The poor in Scotland (once you strip out those who always do what Labour told them and the Billy Boys) largely voted YES. They saw opportunity in YES, nothing in maintaining the status quo. They were prescient.

        Let’s accept for a minute Scotland would have been poorer overall after a YES vote (and leave it at that!). Every index of wellbeing shows that countries and their citizens do much better where inequality is as its narrowest, it has much less to do with how much relative wealth they have in the context of the world. Those who claim our poor have nothing to complain about as their lot is better than 4/5ths of humanity and should appreciate their luck have no clue. We could have addressed this in an independent Scotland. There is no opportunity to ever do this while being part of the UK. Ever, regardless of who is in power. Remember for all Blair chucked some money at the poor, largely on tick, inequality was not addressed.

        You are a wealthy man from a wealthy area. Your statement above betrays your fears. Basically ‘I don’t mind the poor doing better as long as I maintain what I have. Otherwise it’s a NO from me.’

        1. Today Scots are happy with policies which make Scotland more unequal (e.g. think council tax freeze). Expecting that to magically change just because we become independent is bonkers, sorry, wishful thinking.

          1. Today the English are happy with policies put forward by a Tory government. They are also rather keen on UKIP. Expecting that to magically change because we’re part of the Union is bonkers, sorry, wishful thinking.

            So it is with these ideologies we shall be ruled. Cheers Scott.

            BTW I am strongly opposed to the council tax freeze. Though I’m not quite sure who I’d vote for to end it as all the major parties appear in favour.

          2. The last time the English were asked, in May 2015, 10.5 million of them voted Tory, and 3.5 million voted UKIP. From that you surmise that they are the two dominant political views in England. But 8 million English folk – more than double the UKIP figure and a good proportion of the Tory one – voted Labour in 2015. You and people like you conveniently, and repeatedly, ignore those people and their opinions in your determination to paint England as Tory.

            8 million people in England voted Labour. Please stop pretending otherwise.

          3. Duncan, I note that when you fire in one of your more absurd points the reply function is often unavailable. This one is a total belter. It is so wrongheaded I feel I must respond – even though your nemesis only yesterday advised against getting involved in futile debates with people who are so dogmatic and one-eyed you can never get them to see sense. This is basic arithmetic though so we’ll see how you contort your own figures:

            14 million English voters supported The Tories/UKIP

            8 million people voted Labour

            England is demonstrably a right wing voting country. By a huge margin. An electorate that votes for parties headed up by the likes of Cameron and Farage. And we’re just pissing in the wind up here in Scotland as long as we are wedded to Westminster.

          4. And again you cite UKIP explicitly (3.5 million people) to suggest their support is greater than that for Labour (8 million people). It’s just dishonest, there’s no other word for it.

            England, like Scotland, is a politically diverse polity. Lots of people are right wing, lots of people are left wing. You paint a picture to suit yourself.

          5. I note that you have disabled the reply function to my point now.

            What are you gibbering about re UKIP. Your comment makes no sense whatsoever. I am lumping UKIP and the Tories together as right wing parties. Do you agree or disagree that they are right wing?

            As for calling me dishonest – don’t come round my door canvassing.

          6. For the millionth time, nobody ever has or ever will disable any reply functions. The system allows comments to nest up to 5 levels; beyond that it becomes unreadable especially on mobile sites. Just reply to the comment above it in the nest and your comment will appear underneath the one you want to reply to. It’s not rocket science, and it’s not a bloody conspiracy.

          7. To be fair Davie, this site is very good about letting those opposed to its views post whatever they want. I’ve never knowingly had a post rejected.

            I know of at least one comment that had been deleted because it linked a Wings story. I don’t understand why it was deleted as it seems to go against the apparent policy of this site to allow all but the most offensive stuff.

            But credit where credit is due, it is generally a very “accepting” site.

      2. Well then allow me.

        Independence = More than Devo Max/FFA.

        Devo Max/FFA = More than any level of Devo on offer by any pro union party.

        The economic argument for this particular Union is to lie about how Devo less is greater than Devo more while simultaneously offering Devo more as better.

        Now if you can convince me that Devo less is worth more than Devo more or Devo Max then I too will become a dishonest agenda driven pro Unionist like yourself.

          1. But if that is the case Scott, why do you believe the union is good for Scotland? If the union was good for Scotland we would be thriving like our small, independent neighbours and have no need for Barnett.

            We are now in the precarious position of being dependant on Barnett (according to you) with a hostile Westminster and Metropolitan chatterati determined to bin it as soon as possible.

            Without independence and the economic powers and freedom to act that accompany it, that will certainly be a blow. A Scotland constrained within the union will see public services slashed when (not if) that happens.

          2. This is one of my major concerns with Labour. They seem confident that the huge deficit at UK level can be overcome and have policies and plans to reduce the debt at HM Treasury (despite 13 years since the last time the UK made a surplus from the public accounts.

            But there isn’t the same ambition to reduce the gap between tax and spending in Scotland, which in turn would help the UK economy as a whole.

            It’s hard to have faith in a party that doesn’t seem to have the same optimism for improving Scotland’s finances.

  11. Labour in Scotland and England are fucked.

    Read them and weep saddo.

  12. ‘The debate here is no longer about left versus right’

    It is now between those who seek the power to make all our own mistakes and learn from them, and those who lack confidence and pride in themselves.

    1. And yet the SNP seem quite capable of making their own mistakes despite their lost independence bid. And given the recent budget announcement, they lack the confidence and pride to do anything other than echo osbornes fiscal plans.

  13. Scott it seems to me that you are a chief proponent in the use of the term SNP BAD see the link below this shows you are disingenuous and your article is an attempt to provoke a reaction from the vast majority of the good folks who support the SNP. I have just watched a clip of you on the Internet as a member of an audience pre referendum In which you were shown in your true light as a planted unionist stooge and an attention seeker which I can you are making career out of it.

    https://mobile.twitter.com/DrScottThinks/status/636786834140450817

    1. Will,
      I am a little ashamed to admit that I have over 17,000 tweets. I do worry about all the silly things people will find if they look through them. If you have found the worst, I will sleep well tonight. 😉

      The point I was making is that most people agree that the SNP, like the Tories, are making the rich richer by cutting services used by the poorest.

      Scott

      1. No Scott I think that you’ll find most people agreeing with the fact that the rich get richer by investing in the private sector and that Labour helps that investment by handing our public services over to the private sector for speculation.
        Had labour won both Parliamentary election I have no doubt at all that they would continue pushing the NHS into the private sector along with every other public service including Scottish water.

        I don’t believe for one second you are delusional or indulge in self deception I believe you are truly dishonest and motivated purely on agenda. Far too many like you in Labour these days and that’s why folk wont vote for you.

        1. Mike, there are far too many people like you representing the SNP nowadays. Your words speak for themselves, but not in the way you no doubt like to think.

          1. I don’t represent anybody but myself and my own convictions unlike people like people such as yourself who only choose to represent agenda.

        2. Mike,
          Rather than speculate about what Labour would have done if elected in 2007, why not look at what the SNP have done?

          Inspection, maintenance and operation of the Forth Road Bridge: Privatised by the SNP.

          1. Privatised really? So the Government has no say in who maintains the bridge anymore?

      2. Scott most folks do not agree that the SNP are cutting services and furthermore it is your branch office the Scottish Labour section that has supported the head office the Labour Party UK by voting with the Tories not to give the SNP Scottish government FFA Full Fiscal Autonomy to run the economy for the benefit of poorest people in Scottish society. Let me refresh your memory regarding the 2 previous chancellors of your head office of the Labour Party UK a MR Brown and Lord Darling both who have poured the taxes of the Scottish people into the Private Finance Initiative and by doing do so have made the already rich even richer and richer and that is why the name of Red Tories is apropriate and as allies of the rich the Scottish Labour section as we shall see at the Scottish elections face extinction.

        1. FFA would have been a disaster for Scotland. I am not even convinced the SNP actually want it (although one or two Tories did). Did the SNP even produce analysis to show what the impact would be?

          I do not defend every Labour policy and/or in/action. For example, I question Labour PFI just as much as SNP PFI (AKA NPD) and Tory PFI.

          1. Why would FFA be a disaster Scott when Labour tell us Devo more is better than Devo less?

  14. “For hard core nationalists, failing hospitals, falling numeracy in our schools and broken bridges are either overlooked or accepted as the price worth paying for having a nationalist government.”
    In short, S.N.P. baaaad.

    1. Heidstaethefire,
      Let’s look at that. There are real problems in NHS Scotland and you think Labour should not highlight this and say what it would do differently?

      Scott

      1. There aren’t ‘real problems’ in the NHS in my experience or anyone else that I have known to require it recently. It is actually quite brilliant. Do you have first hand experience that tells you different?

        It is a huge organisation that similar to any other public or private faces challenges and gets things wrong occasionally. This is life, as well you know. That it sets itself almost impossibly high targets and on occasion does not make them is not an indicator of ‘real problems’ but of a normal large enterprise. The difference being the amount of scrutiny it receives.

        Do you agree with my assertion or not – ‘the NHS in Scotland is quite brilliant’?

        1. Politically, the first problem is that the SNPs NHS funding increases are effectively real term cuts. The second problem is that thise cuts are greater than those imposed by the hated tory government in westminster. The third problem is that the SNP tried to make the NHS a campaign issue during the referendum, got found out and had to cobble together some ropey defence of their original claims.

          Yes, a case of SNPBAD.
          But then, rank hypocrisy always is pretty bad.

          1. So Jim, In your first hand experience – if of course you have been unfortunate enough to require it – is the NHS in Scotland brilliant or not?

          2. Jim, NHS spending in Scotland only “appeared” to fall because the massive Southern General in Glasgow was finished. All of a sudden the capital spend fell dramatically. Spending on actual front line services are relatively greater in Scotland than they are in England. Then again, you already knew that.

            Also, as long as we remain in a Tory leaning UK where NHS privatisation is actively pursued, the Block Grant is determined by Westminster (with “consequentials” playing a major part in that) and there is an understandable antipathy to increasing taxes in Scotland alone just to stand still, there will always be a threat to the Scottish NHS by our continued “dependence” on the UK.

          1. Thanks for the link Scott. Good read.

            Basically your experience was top notch. You received top quality care and were seen as and when required. And the staff went the extra mile to deliver.

            And they like a bit of a moan about how things could be better with more resources. Do you know what? It’s what we public sector workers do. What I did in the Royal Navy and the CICA. We bump our gums about how we’re being failed and do the job.

            Now I accept that the University sector is a different ball game so you may not quite get that. Since we’re playing the partners game mine is employed by Glasgow Cale Uni. And academics are the most cosseted bunch there have ever been.

            BTW the leveraging in of in irrelevance such as the Forth Road Bridge betrays your agenda. I’m sure plenty NHS staff are having longer than usual commutes this week due to flooding. The Govt’s fault?

          2. I’ve worked in the NHS for over three decades. Over half that time as a union rep. I know money is tight in the NHS but I also know I’d much rather work in the Scottish NHS (NHSiS) than its English counterpart. The NHSiS has its problems but it is still in better shape than down South where budget cuts are more severe and privatisation is rife.

            A change of govt in Scotland will not change things. If Labour were to decide to address their current pet moans, they would have to make concessions elsewhere leaving themselves open to the same criticism they are doling out now. Simple fact.

            The only thing that will make a serious difference to the NHSiS is to cull large numbers of mgt and pointless administration while reducing the amount of regulation front line staff have to endure. All this would save Scotland £bns, never mind the UK as a whole. But NO political party will take on this task as it would be political suicide. Whoever does it would come under unrelenting attack from political foes and the “establishment” in general.

            Not SNPbad or LabourBad, just political expediency.

          3. Davie,
            So when a nurse has to miss her lunch when working a 12 hour shift you think that’s “top notch” and those that complain “like a bit of a moan”?

            Scott

      2. No there are not real problems in NHS Scotland Scott which is why labour cant actually detail them.

        Where the NHS fails is in the fact that it isn’t perfect and because it isn’t perfect labour indulges itself in highlighting its imperfections as “real problems”.

        NHS Scotland is working to the best of its abilities and there is nothing labour can do to make it work better.

        In fact labour has no intention of allowing the NHS to work better even if they could find a way they prefer NHS Scotland to be abolished and replaced by Private medicine Scotland.

      3. But Labour are unable to highlight real problems within the NHS in any relative terms which is why they spin lie and deceive using false methods of measuring failure.
        You’ve done so yourself on this blog when you falsely highlighted a measure of cancelled appointments failed attendance of appointment and rescheduled appointments as an indication of failure.

        There is no conviction credibility or honesty in anything you say and what’s worse you know it.

        At least I believe everything I post. You don’t believe a single word you yourself post.

      4. Good idea, let’s look at that
        2006 A & E Performance -,88% seen within 4 hrs
        ” Waiting times reduction hailed.” BBC
        2015 A & E Performance 97.4% seen within 4 hrs
        “NHS crisis” Daily Record
        179,527 elective operations planned in Scotland over six months. Around 1.5%, 2779, cancelled, or, more likely, postponed.
        I won’t bother comparing to NHS England ( e.g Mid Staffs), or labour controlled Wales. I think the picture is clear.

  15. Might I suggest you invest in a mirror and re-read you on-line utterings

    You appear to exist for the sole purpose of SNPBAAD and it defies credibility you have any interest in them welfare of ordinary people as you claim in the above blog.

    Have you no shame?

    1. Cadogan,
      You think I oppose the cuts to the student grant offered to the poorest Scots simply because I am opposed to the SNP?

      You think I am not really concerned about the 1,100 Scottish children and young people that had to wait more than 18 weeks to see a mental health specialist in the last quarter?

      Scott

      1. You opposed the whole idea of Student grants. You support the idea of tuition fees.

        No you are not concerned at all about any body waiting for access to a mental health specialist or you would acknowledge that the 1100 figures is inclusive of cancelled appointments BY THE PATIENTS, rearranged appointments BY THE PATIENTS, and patients failing to turn up for appointments.

        Spin lies deceit upon spin lies and deceit.

        like I said a committed cyber troll.

        1. And yet it is you mike who can be found here week in week out howling at the contributions of labour party members and affiliates. A rather commited cyber troll yourself.

          1. And yet it is you Jim who is repeatedly found mooching about the end of threads with your ‘zingers’. Yet when asked to respond are mysteriously absent.

          1. Then you are out of step with your party’s official policy line on education Scott which means once again you’re being dishonest.

            Mental health patient cancellations are not legitimate measurements of failure and cannot be used as such yet labour do so frequently because the reality would show improvement of service if they didn’t.
            The SNP do not count patient cancellations or re-appointments within their own calculations so the SNP are not falling far short of their own targets that’s just another of your trolling lies Scott which is evidenced by the fact that you use the Labour spin on cancellations are your measurement.

            Me thinks you’re reduced to indulging in click baiting as you’re all out of excuses and SNP BAD spin.

  16. Hi Scott and happy new year,

    Most countries in the developed world govern themselves.Labour have set their stall out as a unionist party who believe government from London is in Scotlands best interests.Labour campaigned vigorously,just fifteen months ago,along with the Tories and Libdems on exactly that basis.Its a perfectly reasonable position to take,as is independence.Both are reasonable positions held by reasonable people after reasoned thought.Currently about half the population favour independence and the other half don’t.This leaves Labour in a very poor position,battling for votes with several other unionist parties,whilst at the same time having to “excuse” continueing Tory rule.Its going to be increasingly difficult maintain credibility as time goes on.And then we have the EU referendum to throw in the mix,which is a potential elephant trap for the three main parties in Scotland.Interesting times.Where do you stand on the idea of mothballing the new bridge?

    1. Kev. Actually its 45% of those who voted. Approximately 36% of the electorate. By no means the 50:50 split you infer.

      Id also argue that the SNP must accept a significant proportion of the blame for continued tory rule. Sturgeon easy dismissal of the “maths” ignores one obvious point. The results were effected by the campaigning.
      Such campaigning as “the snp will hold the balance at westminster and so will hold the power”.
      Or “vote green in england, vote welsh nationalist in wales and vote snp in scotland”
      Or “no difference between labour and the tories”.

      Realise this. At some stage continuing tory rule will be seen as untenable. And with independence evidently a pipe dream, there will be only one choice. Back the party that can realistically knock the tories out of office.

      1. Jim,I think it’s a lot nearer 50:50 these days and that’s what opinion polls indicate.No matter a percent here or there.lLabour have to persuade independence supporters to back a unionist party.Its entirely possible this could happen at sometime in the future,but it is by no means guaranteed as you seem to believe.Hanging around waiting for folk to “come home to Labour” isn’t much of a strategy in my opinion,but until an inspiring leader can come up with some inspirational policies,perhaps it’s the only viable holding position.Kezia has ruled out further devolution.Perhaps the next Labour leader in Scotland will take a different view.

      2. Jeezo Jimbo

        Both the points and the grammar are getting wilder as the night is getting later.

        Get to bed big man. And have some water before you go.

      3. Good grief. The party chiefly responsible for continued Tory rule…is the Scottish Labour party. They facilitated it in 2014 by being eager collaborators with Cameron during #indyref. They expected a No vote would destroy the SNP… perhaps the greatest miscalculation ever in Scottish political history. Scottish Labour are roadkill on the road to independence and my god how they deserve it.

      4. If Scotland had voted 100% Labour we would still have a Tory majority at Westminster. There is no evidence what-so-ever that the SNP had any significant effect on voting intentions in England despite the best attempts of unionists to convince us otherwise. There is evidence, however, that Labour splitting the LibDem vote in key marginals allowed many Tory candidates to win through. Fancy that. It wasn’t people abandoning Labour for the SNP that let the Tories in. It was people abandoning the LibDems for Labour that did it. There’s something for you to ponder Jim.

          1. Let’s assume that is correct Duncan (though the first article is in advance of the election and reaches the conclusion that the polling of Tory and Lib Dem voter is no real concern and no impediment to Labour’s chance of success. The second starts with such a falsehood I stopped reading).

            England is so anti-Scottish that it will vote the nasty party into power rather than have Scottish influence in Westminster. Better Together, eh?

          2. Being dishonest again Duncan. The evidence concluded by the electoral commission itself pointed to labour voters in England going over to UKIP in marginal seats as the most significant reason for Labours failure.

            The New Statesman is not and never will be a impartial source of information with regards to the SNP anymore than this site is capable of being.

            The fact remains had labour won every seat in Scotland we would still be looking at a Conservative Majority but at least we have 56 MPs willing to vote against Tory policy rather than abstain or vote for it.

          3. Are English voters really so shallow and bitter that the only issue they consider before casting their vote is Scottish independence. If Labour has such contempt for the people of England is it any wonder it is hemorrhaging votes south, as well as north, of the border?

          4. No Mr Hothersall. None of that is evidence.

            The first article is just an opinion piece that assumes there will be an effect written before the election. The other articles refer to the same poll which only shows there was a late swing to the party of govt late in the campaign. A well known electoral dynamic.

            There is no evidence in that poll of the SNP having anything to do with that swing. People were not asked why they switched to the Tories late on. The pollsters themselves admit it is unlikely any one factor caused the relatively small swing. The bulk of the articles are made up of the opinions of the likes of Baron Foulkes who can hardly be called impartial.

            The only post election poll which asked English voters about the impact of the SNP on their choice of party to support found no significant effect. Simple fact.

          5. You’re in denial. There is not one scintilla of evidence in any of these three articles. See my post below to source something more substantial.

      5. If you look at the post election anslysis of profs John Curtice, at Strathclyde and Jane Green at Manchester, you’ll find that the much vaunted fear of the S.N.P. had a minimal effect on the way the electorate in England voted

      6. At the risk of repeating myself, consult the post election work of profs Curtice at Strathclyde and Green at Manchester for a refutation of your premise

  17. Thanks for the first belly laugh of the year Scott.

    If there’s one name that I associate with “SNP Bad”, the demeanour not the hashtag, it’s you.

    Brilliant mate, genuinely brilliant; thank you!

  18. Scott

    “Mike,
    Sorry, my point is that with FFA/independence we’d lose Barnett. If that were to happen we’d be in big trouble.

    Scott”

    Barnett is not a benefit Scott it doesn’t give Scotland anything that isn’t already Scotlands. But you knew that already.

    All Barnett has ever done is return a fraction of the revenue and resource income Scotland passes over to the Westminster treasury. Just under 1/2 by present day calculations. Again something you’re all too aware of.

    Being the troll again Scott.

  19. Scott

    “Mike,
    again, the NHS say the target has been missed: https://isdscotland.scot.nhs.uk/Health-Topics/Waiting-Times/Publications/2015-11-24/2015-11-24-CAMHS-Report.pdf?88399904967

    Again No it hasn’t. As ive pointed out cancellations rescheduling and missed appointments are not a measure of failure so figures which have them included are not used as the measure of failure or indication of missed targets.

    Which is why you had to include them in order to deliberately bare face lie your arse off on the subject as you regularly do.

    How is that working out for Labour in general Scott?

  20. ‘whilst defending nationalist policies which make the rich richer (APD cuts, council tax freeze and cooperation tax cuts)’.

    So if corporation tax cuts make the rich richer, why did Gordon Brown cut corporation tax on a number of occasions while in office?

    1. Exactly Drew. And if policies which could benefit middle income earners are so bad, why are Labour pushing a first time buyer policy which could hand £6000 of tax payers money to house sellers and increase the value of their property …. by about £6000?

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