The SNP's neo-authoritarian machinations

The SNP is making a right old mess of governance in Scotland, harming health, education and law and order. But it is good at some things: centralising power and pressing the grievance button against the English

Nicola Sturgeon brooks no dissent
Robin Mitchinson
On 12 November 2015 09:33

In a ‘word association’ test of ‘SNP’ the English would say ‘independence’, ‘referendum’, ‘thugocracy’ and not much more. Sturgeon keeps returning to the demand for another referendum like a dog returning to its vomit.

Her latest stunt is for her Gorbals headbangers in the Commons to propose an amendment to the Scotland Bill, giving the absolute right of the Scottish Parliament (i.e. Rosa Klebb herself) to hold a referendum on the break-up of the United Kingdom.

Of course, this has no chance of being accepted but it will provide the Nats with yet another excuse -- if they needed one -- to press the ‘grievance’ button, always a sure way to throw dust in the eyes of the Scottish electorate as to the appalling mess Sturgeon and comrades are making of governance in Scotland.

The English, meanwhile, are largely oblivious or indifferent to the fact that the Nats have governed Scotland since 2007. They wasted no time in grabbing virtually all the levers of power, making Scotland one of the most highly centralised countries in the world.

And a nice mess they have made of it, with more, much more, to come.

An early move was to consolidate all constabularies into a single force, Police Scotland. This is a self-evident absurdity.

The very notion that an area the size of Belgium varying from highly urbanised areas such as Glasgow to remote crofts, small and remote hamlets, outer islands and the vast Highlands can be policed as a single entity and controlled and managed by a single Chief Constable is risible. (He has taken an early bath, and his successor is being sought. Hardly surprising!)

But not to a totalitarian, top-down, one size fits all, control freakery. It suits Sturgeon very well to have a single copper at her beck and call in Edinburgh to carry out her every instruction, and who is accountable to a single police authority appointed by -- yes, that’s right -- the SNP nomenklatura.

It is therefore hardly surprising that 50,000 fewer crimes are cleared up annually than under the previous eight police forces or that there are scandals like the woman lying dying in a car crash for three days before the police responded to the emergency call that was made shortly after the accident. Or that it took the police twenty hours to respond to an emergency call concerning an elderly and disabled woman. They found her dead lying next to her dead husband.

Small wonder then that coppers are leaving the service in droves.

There is one proposal that could have been penned by George Orwell.

It is called ‘GIRFEC’ which stands for ‘getting it right for every child’. Under the proposal, every child will be allocated a state guardian (by the SNP, of course). Their function will be to ‘monitor what children and young people need’. This state-appointed busybody will ensure that the child is ‘safe, healthy, achieving, nurtured, active, respected, responsible and included’.

The roles of parents, doctors and teachers will be irrelevant and immaterial. Children will be brainwashed by a political party that has a majority of one -- 64 MSPs, all Socialist control-freaks. State guardians will be able to quiz social workers, doctors, teachers, police, without consulting parents.

Turning to the state of the NHS in Scotland, the Nats made it into a political football, and had the effrontery to criticise the NHS in England despite the fact that Scotland has been 100 percent responsible for its own health care since the creation of the Scottish Parliament. In eight years it has done nothing to improve the service, but it has increased its grip on health boards.

Meanwhile, waiting times have risen considerably. The NHS share of budget has fallen whereas England’s has risen.

There was a time when Scottish education was arguably the best in the world. Its people have always been highly literate and numerate. Scotland had seven universities when England had only, and they admitted almost-penniless students like David Livingstone.

Now standards have dropped from middling to poor, 140,000 college places have been cut. The ban on tuition fees has led to fewer, not more, students from poor backgrounds, who are half as likely to go to university as the English equivalents. To help pay for the abolition of fees, grants to students have been cut. And literacy skills at primary schools are getting worse.

Local government has been emasculated by the transfer of powers to the centre. Councils themselves are up to their sporrans in debt notwithstanding generous funding by the UK government.

Meanwhile, the SNP MPs are intending to refresh the West Lothian Question by opposing the Government’s proposal to liberalise Sunday trading in England. ‘Turkeys’ and ‘Christmas’ come to mind.

The best is yet to come – the EU referendum.

What will happen if Scotland votes to stay and the rest of UK votes to leave? Grounds for divorce, perhaps? And what happens if the Scottish vote turns a ‘leave’ vote in the rest of the UK  into a ‘stay’ majority overall?

What a pretty kettle of Arbroath smokies!

Robin Mitchinson is a Contributing Editor to The Commentator. A former barrister, living in the Isle of Man, he is an international public management specialist with almost two decades of experience in institutional development, decentralisation and democratisation processes. He has advised governments and major international institutions across the world


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