After ten years of SNP hegemony in office, we’re now detecting a distinct pattern of policy failures.
Since 2007 the SNP’s governing style can best be described as ‘hedge it’. They’ve tried to avoid anything to controversial; or anything at all really. At pains to govern from the middle of the road. Don’t be radical, don’t upset anyone. Everything they’ve done in power has had all eyes on their road to separation. Now we can examine a litany of policy failures which is the direct responsibility of a decade of stagnation, incompetence and failure at the SNPs hands.
Education roundup: betraying a generation.
I’ve written about the shocking state of higher education under the SNP before, so I’ll be brief. College places cut, funding cut, teaching hours slashed. The total number of staff employed in Scottish colleges during the time period 2009/10-2012/13 witnessed a drop from 20,686 to 13,761. The situation since then has only gotten worse in the colleges sector.
Meanwhile elsewhere in education,we’re witnessing a head teacher crisis. Under the SNPs watch we’re seeing an already acute crisis escalate and degenerate. Proposed changes by the SNP will likely only make the bureaucracy and red tape facing head teachers cripplingly worse.
“As there is a growing recruitment crisis for headteacher and deputy posts, further devolving of powers to headteachers is another burden on those professionals and will merely exacerbate this situation.” -Scottish Secondary Teachers Association (SSTA) submission to SNPs review
And the cherry on the cake shows a comprehensive disintegration of standard outcomes across the key learning areas. PISA figures have revealed Scotland’s school kids have been betrayed by a decade of SNP misrule in education. The PISA figures reveal Scotland’s worst ever showing. We are racing to the bottom of international league tables.
In education the culpability of the SNP is clear. Falling investment in higher education. Reduced access to colleges and a crisis in head teacher recruitment. Meanwhile against a backdrop of the worst ever education outcomes recorded by PISA. No doubt Sturgeon will blame London; despite it all being entirely devolved responsibilities. Or perhaps she’ll dig out her old shtick about the last Labour executive in Edinburgh being to blame; despite the fact they left office in 2007.
Healthcare roundup: risking life and limb
In modern Scotland it is best not not be sick or ill. Not since the SNP have systematically failed to reform and improve the health system comprehensively. Nicola Sturgeon is personally culpable for many of these failures, since she was the health minister for much of the last ten years.
Where to start? Let’s begin with the disgrace surrounding the trauma centre delays. There has been a three year delay to implement a national trauma centre network. Yet there is still no sign that the project is any closer to being realised.
Then there is the issue of mental healthcare access. Simply put, if you are a minor and need a mental health bed, there is literally no provision north of Dundee. In 21st century Scotland, the SNP are happy to see mentally anguished children and teenagers travel the length of the country to get treatment. Away from families, friends and community support groups. It’s more than embarrassing, it’s putting lives at risk.
Finally on health failures, we have the emerging A&E waiting times fiasco. The service has failed to achieve waiting time targets over Christmas. According to the Nat health supremo of the moment Shona Robison, “Scotland’s A&E waiting-times are consistently outperforming other areas of the UK for at least the past 19 months”. Never mind some people are waiting more than eight hours for A&E treatment, ‘cos according to the Nats things are worse elsewhere. Such staggering complacency. The classic pee-wee herman defence of ‘yeah but you should see the other guy!’ just isn’t good enough.
Rail network: rejecting reality
The rail network has been in the news over Christmas. Services to Glasgow delayed, Abellio presiding over a 38% rise in customer complaints and crumbling infrastructure. Yet SNP minister began his run up to Christmas refusing to even consider there was a problem of quality and standards on Scotland’s railways.
“It’s not a poor service, let’s just put this into perspective”-Humza Yousaf
Crisis? What crisis? But then Humza Yousaf is no stranger to political scandals – remember when he opted to slag and insult critics opposing the Nats deeply sinister ‘Named Person’ plans?
SNP complacency vis-a-vis this issue has got so bad that the unions are now demanding Mr Yousaf be sacked. So,desperate to save his job, Humza Yousaf has u-turned and is now launching a ‘nationalisation proposal’. A policy drawn up in the back of a fag-packet to appease rail unions demanding his firing from government. His whole proposal firmly ignores the reality that re-nationalisation is unlikely to even be possible before 2022. Are the SNP really telling us we need to put up with crumbling service quality, diminishing investment and poor reliability for another six years before they deign to intervene? (Now that they are prepared to even admit there is a problem of course).
Rural Affairs: farming fiasco
Last year I blogged about the farm payments fiasco. A chaotic situation where the SNP had to pay out fines of up to £150m for failing the delivery of farm subsidy payments. The whole situation had been entirely avoidable; if only the SNP hadn’t tried to forcefully implement a disastrous new computer system.
In the end the whole failure starved farmers of vital funds; to which they are entitled. The costs were £125m in fines + £200m in “emergency support” the Nats dished out in a botched attempt to avoid the looming disaster + £4m a month being spent on the system.
Little wonder why the SNP lost ground in rural Scotland to the Scottish Tories in the Holyrood elections.
A conclusion is blindingly obvious: from education to healthcare; from rail infrastructure to rural policy – the SNP have presided over incompetence and chaos. They can spin, their online cybernats can bully but the record is clear. And be under no illusions, all of these failures are entirely the fault of the Nats. For ten years they’ve been hell-bent on their road to perdition, everything is about separation; and ‘good governance’ has taken a poor second place in their priorities spreadsheet.