Jim O’Neill sets out a long list of reasons why criticism of the SNP is not only justified, it’s essential. The Scottish Government is failing.
I have been accused by some commentators on my blog of concentrating on the bad decisions of the SNP government, MSPs and MPs. Setting aside the fact that every criticism of the Scottish Government is tagged as #SNPbad by the cybernats, I want to let you into a secret. I really do think that the SNP have governed Scotland poorly due to their obsession with their failed independence project. As a result, they have taken their eyes off many aspects of governance.
The SNP are now into their third term of governing Scotland. One would think that they would have resolved many of the fundamental issues facing the country. So let’s look at some areas where I believe they have failed to do this.
On health, we are facing a serious shortage of nurses, caused by the failure of effective succession planning, and more and more nurses are signing up with agencies since they believe that conditions within the NHS do not help their careers. This is certainly the view that I heard from nurses that I spoke to during my time in hospital earlier this year. As a result, health authorities are spending shocking amounts of their budgets paying agencies.
There is also a clear crisis in General Practice recruitment. Just ask anyone who tries to get an appointment with a doctor. So much so that the government is now offering a bribe of up to £20,000 to anyone who will take a job in shortage areas. And these are not just in the widespread rural areas of Scotland. Areas that qualify for the payment include parts of Glasgow and other central belt towns and cities.
Bed blocking was supposed to have been ended by last Christmas. Indeed, it was a cast iron promise by the Health Secretary. Did she achieve it? Nope. There are also major problems with Social Care since local authorities do not have adequate income to fund it due to the much criticised Council Tax freeze.
In education, a major crisis in teachers’ workload has threatened the first national industrial action since the 1980s. The fact that John Swinney, Sturgeon’s most trusted minister, has been sent in to sort it out is an admission of the failure of previous education ministers, but his appearance at the EIS conference did little to lessen the anger. Last week’s conference at COSLA has decided to oppose the centralising grab for control of the schools, and even the august Royal Society of Edinburgh has criticised the pace of change. At the same time the SNP’s Named Person policy has fallen foul of the courts and Swinney is having to have a fundamental review of the policy.
As with nurses, there is a crisis of recruitment of teachers while many local authorities are having difficulty affording even those who are trained. Local authorities have lost thousands of committed public servants and have had to shut down many valuable local services as a result of the failed Council Tax freeze. This was supposed to be a short term measure to allow the SNP government to develop an alternative way of funding local government, but it has gone on and on without any alternative proposed.
Similarly, in social work recruitment and funding problems have led to enormous caseloads, particular in child care, which lead to the danger of some children slipping through the cracks, with inevitable results.
The economy is stalling, requiring a new investment of £100m, but no details of where the investment is going to be and where the money is coming from. Infrastructure developments, such as the new Queensferry Crossing, have been delayed, our railways have been sold off to Dutch government owned Abellio, and a protracted and unnecessary procurement of Clyde and Island services threatened the viability of government-owned CalMac.
So you ask me why I highlight the failings of the SNP government? Because they have failed to sort the problems in sector after sector.
This is my last offering for a few weeks since I am heading to Australia for my daughter’s wedding. However, in the words of the great Arnie, “I’ll be back”. But I can’t end without mentioning the wonderful by election win in Irvine East by new Councillor Louise McPhater. This was against the Sturgeon machine and was the result of extremely hard work by a fabulous local candidate, supported by a very hardworking team led by super-agent Robert Foster. It shows that the SNP electoral dominance can be broken and I hope to see many more wins across Scotland. It also means that Labour becomes the largest party in North Ayrshire after only four years of SNP.
Hasta la vista, baby.
32 thoughts on “#SNPbad? You bet”
Aye, super win by Scottish (sic) Labour:
First Preference votes:
Louise McPhater – Scottish Labour Party 1,029 (not elected until stage six)
Robin Sturgeon – Scottish National Party (SNP) 1,164
“It shows that the SNP electoral dominance can be broken”
Ahhh ha ha ha ha ha!
So what is Scottish Labour’s solution to all these problems? A Bill bringing back the right to sing The Sash and the Billy Boys at the football. Genius lads.
I see – are you calling for the end of PR and a return to First Past The Post, then?
“I have been accused by some commentators on my blog of concentrating on the bad decisions of the SNP government, MSPs and MPs.”
No you’ve been accused of making it up as you go along.
“Setting aside the fact that every criticism of the Scottish Government is tagged as #SNPbad by the cybernats,”
No only the stuff that has no basis of credibility or foundation in fact. Yes you’re right all of it.
“I want to let you into a secret. I really do think that the SNP have governed Scotland poorly due to their obsession with their failed independence project. As a result, they have taken their eyes off many aspects of governance.”
Problem is nobody actually believes you. You’ve already proven yourself to be nothing but a New Labour Red Tory party shrill perfectly willing and all too ready to accuse the SNP of everything the do and everything they say wrapped up in an SNP bad envelope. That’s just who you are and the continued perception is that’s all you ever will be.
“In education, a major crisis in teachers’ workload has threatened the first national industrial action since the 1980s”
You’ve been reminded upteen times now that teacher workloads teacher numbers teacher recruitment are all done at local council level and its the spectacular failure of local Labour Government which is the cause of all and any level of decent and criticism.
“The SNP are now into their third term of governing Scotland. One would think that they would have resolved many of the fundamental issues facing the country”
The fundamental issue which is the foundation for all other issues is the constitution setup of the UK and Scotlands place within it.
The SNP are the only mainstream party willing to actually tackle this constitutional problem Labour not only want to keep it they want to make it worse from Scotlands perspective.
“On health, we are facing a serious shortage of nurses, caused by the failure of effective succession planning, and more and more nurses are signing up with agencies since they believe that conditions within the NHS do not help their careers.”
Again another local authority issue where the biggest problems are within Labour held councils.
“Similarly, in social work recruitment and funding problems have led to enormous caseloads, particular in child care, which lead to the danger of some children slipping through the cracks, with inevitable results.”
Again all attributable to Labour councils in particular.
“The economy is stalling, requiring a new investment of £100m,”
Perhaps if we didn’t have to hand over our share of Trident it would be available?
And then it went into deliberate calculated click baiting pish.
Well done Jim another master piece of self deceit delusion hypocrisy self unawareness and deliberate click baiting bare faced lying.
The #SNPBad tag only works when you pick on things which are clearly, demonstrably not bad or when you pick on one negative amongst countless positives. Naturally opposition parties need to highlight failings of government, but SLab does it so badly time and again that the party has little credibility when they point out the true faults. Maybe the Tories as the official opposition in Holyrood can do a better job. The Liberal Democrats and Scottish Greens seem to have managed better at avoiding being labelled with #SNPBad whilst highlighting failings and still working with the SG to improve policy.
Case in point: “There is also a clear crisis in General Practice recruitment. Just ask anyone who tries to get an appointment with a doctor. So much so that the government is now offering a bribe of up to £20,000 to anyone who will take a job in shortage areas”. You frame it as a “bribe” that the SG are working to entice GPs to fill the gap. You’ve highlighted a problem, you’ve also highlighted that the government are taking action, but you’ve worded it to attempt to make the SNP look bad. Try harder.
[Naturally opposition parties need to highlight failings of government, but SLab does it so badly time and again that the party has little credibility when they point out the true faults.] Word. It is very much a case of the boy who cried wolf, and it worries me. Because there will inevitably be cases where criticism of the SNP is justified and necessary, but most people will not listen to it, because they’re so used to tuning out due the relentless barrage of SNP Baad nonsense.
You know I look up in awe at your massive intellect so how can this be, “The SNP are now into their third term of governing Scotland.” How are they managing to do it Jim? how can a political party deceive so many people for so long? If they are as bad as you say they are and I don’t doubt you, then I can only think of one explanation, the other parties must be really crap. Is that the reason? Please advise, Is there an effective opposition to the SNP? Who are they?
Look forward to hearing from you, regards, R.
What you wrote:
“On health, we are facing a serious shortage of nurses, caused by the failure of effective succession planning, and more and more nurses are signing up with agencies since they believe that conditions within the NHS do not help their careers. This is certainly the view that I heard from nurses that I spoke to during my time in hospital earlier this year. As a result, health authorities are spending shocking amounts of their budgets paying agencies.”
What you should have written:
“I was in hospital earlier this year and I talked to some nurses who said that they were thinking about signing up with agencies to further their careers outwith the NHS. From this, I can deduce that some nurses are thinking about signing up with agencies to further their careers outwith the NHS, but in the absence of any proper evidence that’s all there is to say. In particular, this may or may not be the fault of the SNP, but in order to claim this, I’d need to present comparative data across Scotland, England and Wales in order to rank SNP management of nursing recruitment with that of the Tories and Labour. Unfortunately, I don’t have this data to hand.”
For what it’s worth, I agree that we as a country need to sort out local government funding. In fact, we need a complete rethink of local government to bring it closer to the people. But this is not just a job for the government – we all need to bring our best ideas to the table in order to establish consensus.
But there is an important bit of background that is completely missing from this piece. Scotland’s public services are suffering from lack of investment. The single most important cause of this is that the UK economy has been receding/stagnating since 2007. This has happened because of serious macroeconomic policy failures by governments (in particular by Labour-led UK governments) over the last 30 years. Scottish voters know this, which is why we continue to trust the SNP to make the best of a bad situation.
At the airport with a smug grin (see photo) after leaving a big SNPBAD on the carpet on the way out.
Why don’t you take as much importance in commenting on Labour policies? You might help them much more than the SNP…
I think Paul has a point here. Would it not be better and more productive if you focused more on Labour and what they should do to improve their performance rather than always criticise the enemy.
Jim, lets be honest, your house is burning down, the woman are not safe, worse than that, they’re supping your beer. Its time to rally the troops.
Basically, do as you are told and don’t do as I do? Tories, LibDems and Labour have conducted themselves really stupidly (still today) with abuse… As you might know many policies have been made to comply with EU regulations, besides, NHS is free… Unlike in England, and even Labour in Scotland seem pretty in favour of cancelling the free prescriptions scheme and introducing fees for Universitie… Since when those policies are bad? The SNP on a contrary believe in the fact that to avoid any criticism in benefits, they must be Universal!!! It does not cost more to the society and it spreads equality in rights…
And yet you fail to mention the cuts we have had to endure from the UK government and voted through by the Labour Party instead you blame the SNP and their failure to raise the council tax.
You know something..the saddest part here is that current Labour people in Scotland just DON’T get it….they are a dead force…except they don;t rea;ise just how lifeless and unrespected they are. They crow about how the Scottish government have not solved all of our problems, and yet the current Scottish government have done more for Scotland with the very limited resources they have, than anything Labour managed in the last 70 years. Your guys don’t even have the balls to vote for what you believe in…but would rather abstain…and when it comes to encouraging people top join your party….you will only let THEM have their say if they believe the same as you Blairites. Why don;t you just roll over and admit you are dead?
What would be your worthless and pathetic analysis of Labour in Scotland between 1999 and 2007 Jim? Because if you’re using the SNP as a yard stick of bad then HTF would you be able to conclude Labour in Scotland is anything but Armageddon?
I have come to the view that Mr O’Neil sees the world as being back to front.
We must hope, while he attends his daughters “weeding”, that being up-side down will help him see straight.
He belongs to a political Party which started privatising health in England while in office. Which has started the process of Academies in England, which has removed education from local control.
A Party which charges for higher education in England. A party which has presided over early deaths in hospitals in England, due to negligence —–foriegn wars for oil—–non doms—-money for passports—–money for honours etc, etc, etc
There are problems in Scotland, at national government level, at local government level and at the level of administration of services.
We have very limited fiscal autonomy, so cannot improve our poor business and GDP growth rate. But that is how Red and Blue Tories like it.
Red Tories like O’Neil, who are triumphalism because they win a seat with the help of their British Nationalist chums in the Conservative and Separatist Party.
I should have added, our problems in Scotland pale into insignificance when compared to England, but our views are skewed by a lack of context and objectivity by the media which operates here.
Well done Jim – you’ve succeeded in winding up the cybernats again. They really can’t handle the criticism of the Scottish government, can they? The evil Labour Party which delivered a Scottish Parliament and the minimum wage must be consigned to oblivion in their worldview. The recent by-election result doesn’t fit into their narrative, unfortunately for them. Well done, guys, for showing that a Sturgeon can be beaten.
Your reply, like the article, clearly was motivated in generating a negative response from the evil cybernats. I imagine you’re both a little disappointed at the lack of swearing and at the well expressed arguments expressing disappointment in the SLab party.
I’m very grateful to UK Labour for giving us devolution – the perfect stepping stone to full independence. Minimum wage was good too. Shame they did hee-haw about rising inequality, through the country into un-repayable debt and launched into war on Iraq killing or displacing millions, destabilising the region and contributing to the rise of ISIS.
And further shame that about the most useful thing SLab did in government was give us stripy speed cameras! 😉
“A Scottish Parliament”—however its hardly the Home Rule Parliament of Dominion Status promised by Keir Hardie over a century ago.
As for a minimum wage. The yearly level set by Labour would hardly pay for a silk suit and tie for Mandelson. Or Blair. Or Brown. Or Darling.
The recent by election result is totally within the narrative of those of us who want a self governing country.
Labour elected with the help of the Tories—-two separatist Brexiteer Parties in joyful cahoots.
Red and Blue Tory heaven!
Actually, a higher percentage of SNP second votes went to Labour than Tory ones. Factchecker
Not sure what that’s meant to prove. I don’t see how it’s a negative against the SNP. If anything, all it shows is that much of the SNP’s support is at the expense of Labour. It shows that Labour is now a poor second in its former heartlands and can only hope to win with Tory help. Mr O’Neill is desperately grasping at straws.
Not so much “fact check” as “reality check”.
Don’t forget to mention the help you had from the tories to win.
BOLLOXS get your bolloxs here,
fresh off the press, labour and torys combine to win council by-election from SNPBAD.
Also their will be no mention of SNPBAD winning other council by-election from labour without the help of the torys.
Enjoy yer holiday Jim, after reading that article you certainly need it.
So what if voters of other parties voted Labour to defeat the SNP candidate. It is a democracy and if 50%+1 of the voters don`t want the SNP candidate then the other party wins. The SNP gains from FPTP with 95% of Westminster seats on 50% of the vote.
This article and the thinking behind it are the reason why ScotLab will continue falling deeper into the abyss of it’s own making. Love your work sir, keep it up.
Another game of “chap door-run away” from Mr O’Neill.
He’s good at highlighting the problems faced by govts throughout the UK. However, he always misses out the bit that shows the Scottish govt dealing with them far better than Tory governed England and far, far better than Labour run Wales.
People notice these things.
It is a valid criticism since we hear how wonderful Saint Sturgeon is and all problems should have been solved in 3 terms of Government. Scotland is performing worse on health and education (% of poor people going to University for instance). Surely you must accept that valid criticism can and should be made or do you just want to dispense with tiresome democracy and install an SNP unity government for life?
Dear, dear! A wee swipe at the FM followed by an isolated stat before rounding the post off with an allusion to the “one party state” so beloved of unionists. If I only had an SNPbad bingo card 🙂
Selective stats which highlight particular problem areas do not cut the mustard nowadays. People are too switched on for it to work. They look at the whole picture and contrast it with the reality furth of Scotland. And that is where much of the SNPbad rhetoric falls down. Whatever individual stats you pull out to paint a poor picture of the Scottish govt, the bigger picture is favourable.
For instance, the UK govt’s “State of the Nation: Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission” and the OECD’s “Program for International Student Assessment (PISA)” both point to Scottish education fairing well in comparison to other countries and especially in comparison to the rest of the UK. Not in every single area, but overall. And “overall” is what people see and react to.
Mr O’Neill has difficulty in accepting this.
Jim, you know what folk see when they see Labour? They see the nominal Scottish “Leader” not supporting the democratically elected actual Labour party leader and what the hell, the only Labour MP in Scotland joining in.
Your infighting and general pantomime is consigning the rest of the party to the annals of history. The irony is I really like the cut of Jeremy’s Jib. It’s a crying shame he’s repeatedly kicked in the balls by the PLP and other clowns up here in Scotland.
On the ‘GP Crisis’ issue, I can fairly say that it was the renegotiation of GP contracts under a Labour/Lib Dem coalition that created the problem. My own surgery is a case in point where we used to have 5 full time GPs. Because of the incredible pay rise under Jack McConnell and John Reid at Westminster, our full time GPs have become one full time GP plus 3 job share working 3 days per week. £60 K a year is quite good enough for 3 days a week.
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