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Padding Out the CV
As Sturgeon prepares to leave office, the SNP are embellishing out her record. Polling suggests the public aren't convinced that her record is anything to shout about.
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Earlier today the SNP U-turned on huge £6.6 million cuts to arts funding after a campaign by creatives and opposition parties. Without even taking a beat, the SNP were out to take credit for it. Ian Murray was quick to call them out:
Having a bit of a brass neck is a prerequisite for anyone in politics but claiming a cut you decide not to implement extra money is effrontery. With Nicola Sturgeon resigning, there has been lots of assessment of the SNP’s record. Examining their own stated list of achievements shows they steal, inflate, or mislead about their record.
JFK once talked about how Republican belief was made up of the old planks of the Democratic Platform. He remarked that they “had the courage of our old convictions.” Famously the SNP opposed Labour MSP Monica Lennon's efforts to provide free period products saying they would lead to cross-border tampon raids. Now they sell the policy as an SNP achievement. Then there is the bedroom tax. When Labour called for the SNP to abolish it, they opposed the move saying it would "let Westminster off the hook." When they could resist the moral case no longer, it too was claimed by the nationalist government. Then there was Scotrail. While Labour called for *years* for the service to be taken into public ownership again, the SNP opposed. Today they claim to have created a people’s railway. Maybe the most egregious example is devolution itself. The people who opposed it’s creation, and seek its end, pose as its defender.
Then there are the things they claim to have made “free for all” when actually they have made them ‘free for a very small number of people'. Take free prescriptions and the assertion that they have been given free to everyone by the SNP. The reality is that in the year before the SNP announced plans to abolish charges 92.8% of prescriptions were issued with no charge. Their hope is that the everyone who never paid creates a false memory of having once been charged.
Weirder though is their idea that not abolishing things that the last Labour govt introduced constitutes an achievement. Their list of supposed achievements includes the following as SNP government delivery:
free personal care (introduced 2002)
free bus passes for pensioners (introduced 2004)
Free bus passes for disabled people (again, 2004)
free eye tests (2006)
the borders railway (Waverley Railway (Scotland) Act 2006)
and the violence reduction unit (2005)
If you have to pad out your CV with all these things done by the Lab-Lib government what does it say about your achievements? I half expected to read ‘Nicola Sturgeon also enjoys going to the cinema, reading and walks in the countryside.’
Checking Her References
With such a threadbare record, it’s little wonder that her former employers (the Scottish public) are unimpressed by Sturgeon’s time in the job. YouGov found that fewer than a third believed the country has been improved since she become leader:
The First Minister’s ability to empathise during the pandemic is recognised by four-in-ten voters. I say her ability to empathise because, as I have written, it certainly wasn’t about her real record on coronavirus. However, her wider record is not so well recognised in this poll. Take education, Nicola Sturgeons professed personal mission. Just 2% of Scots believe that is her biggest achievement.
In the same poll 60% of voters believe that she has spent too much time on campaigning to break up the UK.
In case you missed it…
A Savanta Poll shows the conundrum the SNP now face. The illberal candidate who was the favourite is more popular than the incompetent candidate who is now odds-on to win.
You know the leadership contest isn’t going well when the candidates sound like the UN General Secretary stepping out of a white helicopter to talk to the media in a crisis zone:
John Ferry writes on how the socially conservative views of Kate Forbes shouldn’t obscure the economically conservative side of her politics:
“If she does become first minister, Forbes will enter office with a Bible in one hand and a copy of Hayek’s The Road to Serfdom in the other. It will be quite the change.”
Finally, away from the SNP race, I thought this was a great explanation of why refugees travel to the UK to claim asylum.
Culture Corner: Glacier
I got a lovely reaction to the two poems on the importance of equal marriage that I linked to in the last edition. The other bit of art that has been in my mind the last few days is Glacier by John Grant - a stunning, dramatic anthem to the pain and hope felt by gay people.