Following the recent spike in joblessness across Scotland, the SNP government is blaming London.
In kindergarten kids are taught how to play ‘pass the parcel’. The object of the game is to keep passing until the music stops. One wonders if SNP HQ’s strategy for government is being inspired by it.
Jamie Hepburn, the Nat minister in charge of employment has recently defended rising unemployment by playing his very own game of pass the parcel.
“The Brexit vote caused significant economic uncertainty, threatening our economic recovery and the stability of our jobs market.”
Obvious problem with his explanation is two fold. Firstly, while Scottish unemployment has risen 11,000 last quarter to 5.1%; in rUK it is a smaller 4.8%. Further on this point, economic growth was a paltry 0.7% in Scotland compared to 2.2% in rUK. So if it is all London’s fault vis-a-vis ‘brexit’ – it raises legitimate questions about why it is disproportionately (only) affecting Scotland.
Naturally Mr Hepburn has not been forthcoming with explanations. Far more likely the weaker Scots economic growth and job creation is down to a myriad of reasons; most of which are entirely within the sphere and responsibility of his 10 years old government. Reasons like failing education policies, incompetent agricultural subsidy schemes and cuts to higher education coupled with crumbling rail infrastructure and services. These things adversely impact on an economy over a long period of time – say 10 years?
This brings me onto my second explanation, indyref2. There is growing evidence to suggest that far from Brexit being the primary source of uncertainty in Scotland, it is actually the Nat threat of a second separation referendum. According to a report by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), the primary cause of falling confidence and investment into Scotland’s economy was due to the separation threat. RICS view isn’t an isolated one. Gavin Anderson, partner in the retail and leisure division of Glasgow-based Montagu Evans:
“The biggest problem in Scotland post-Brexit has been the SNP’s threat of another Scottish independence referendum, which is the last thing the country needs.”
We could add a final thought: the latest SNP budget. Not merely have the Nats increased the burden on job creators with their business rates increases; but they’ve additionally reduced disposable incomes by increasing tax burdens on households via council tax changes. As Murdo Fraser said on SNP excuses, “It is a pathetic excuse from a government which appears to have given up focusing on the day job.”
Yes indeed Mr Fraser, we all wonder when the SNP will get back to their day job of running our country on behalf of all Scots; not merely ‘the45’.