SNP hegemony is failing Scotland

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.


  1. Yet again, and as usual, you fail to provide any kind of meaningful comparison with the truly awful performance of the Tory Government in England on these issues.

    While the Red Cross declares a humanitarian disaster in English hospitals, Southern Rail disintegrates, English prisons are in flames, and the fragmentation of school education in England proceeds apace, you can only rip into the Scottish government’s generally better, if imperfect, performance without reference to your own party’s disasters down south.

    Do you really think that May, Johnson, Fox, Hunt, et al are an example to us?

    Please detail the policies that Davidson, Fraser, Carlaw (FFS) Snidey Tomkins et al would bring to the table, or be allowed to by your bosses down south,

    I’m not a member of the SNP, or any other party. It is however quite clear to me that, in most areas of devolved competence, the Scottish government is performing better than your Tory government in England. The PISA figures are an exception, but if you want to get into a detailed analysis and argument about that be my guest.

    Please come back at me with real comparative performance data on health, transport, or in fact anything that shows the Tory Uk to be performing better in these areas and we can begin to debate.

    Please ensure that you source and reference the data properly, and I will respond in kind.
    You’re good at a rant – let us see your underpinning.


    • The pee-wee herman defence doesn’t interest me. I’m genuinely not interested in letting SNP or their supporters get away with chronic mistakes by pivoting to ‘ah but England is even worse’.

      This isn’t a race to the bottom, and making self-serving comparisons is missing the point.

      Besides, I don’t accept the situation is ‘worse’ at at least ‘as bad’ in England at all. In education for example they are in a much healthier state. Higher education is getting more investment, college places are not being slashed and PISA scores are improving not collapsing. So sure, go ahead and make comparisons.

      But whether they’re better, as good, or worse misses the focus. The light of scrutiny should be squarely on the SNP – they have been in power for 10 years and all of these errors in devolved policy portfolios are squarely on them.


  2. Please detail the errors. I gave you education as a possible argument, but you “not accepting” does not constitute an argument. Sixth form colleges in England are suffering badly.
    Also, in a situation where overall budget is set at Westminster, by your party, comparative performance is highly relevant across all devolved areas.


    • ‘Please detail errors’

      PISA outcomes show higher educational attainment in England in core subjects compared to Scotland now. This coupled with the near-strike situation the Scottish government finds itself in with head teachers (recruitment crisis in Scotland not present in England).

      Additionally, Scottish colleges have suffered cuts to teacher numbers, college access funding and teaching hours that is simply not comparable due to scale and size with England.

      You are correct, simply “not accepting” isn’t an argument. But details like PISA stats, college cuts stats and the public statements from head teachers unions does constitute fact not wild assertion on my part.


  3. I already accepted some of the arguments re education, especially further education. I think it’s to early to say re curriculum for excellence. PISA evidence is relevant, but also flawed.

    However, your allegations of policy disaster and errors in the blog above are much more wide ranging, and you have provided no evidence, arguments or alternative policies.

    As for you being “not interested” in comparisons with other parts of the U.K. that is sheer evasion. These areas, such as transport and NHS, are run England by your own party, the Tories, and presumably that’s what you want to happen in Scotland too.
    Evidence about how they are performing in England is therefore directly relevant to your “Alternative for Scotland” as it would be run by the Ruth Davidson fan club under the direct and iron hand of May and co. In London.

    There is always much scope for improvement in governance, and of course we must be constructively engaged in suggesting improvement to the SNP led Scottish government. If one wishes to do that, a clear picture of the alternative policies must be presented.

    If your alternatives are the education, health and transport policies being espoused by the Tory govt in Westminster, running alongside dragging Scotland out of the EU in a hard Brexit and becoming Donaid Trump’s bestie, then no thanks and no way.

    If they are not then what are they?


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