The SNP’s record where they have power is poor – yet their continued victories suggest unionists need to up the ante
For all the excitement – ok, some sarcasm – of local elections across England tomorrow what should really be drawing most attention are results north of the border.
What should be a decision about who you trust to take the bins out has, predictably perhaps considering Scotland’s political climate, become a referendum on whether you think Scotland should push for independence or otherwise.
That, of course, benefits only one party: the Scottish National Party. For if the ‘Nats were judged on their record, they’d be wiped out.
On education – entirely within their remit – Scotland has slipped down global rankings, with the latest international assessment by the OECD’s PISA platform saying the country was “above average” in only one area – with declines in maths and science.
On health, despite spending being 29 per cent higher than on comparable services in England, analysis from the Institute for Government last year suggested that the country has a higher rate of ‘treatable mortality’ than down south.
And on business, yesterday the SNP-appointed chair of Scotland’s £2bn state-owned investment bank flat-out refused to tell MSPs why a former chief executive left with a six-figure payout. Why the good people of Scotland need a state-backed investment bank to lend £4.45m to a group of hotels in the north of Scotland, a deal dug out by Scotland’s Daily Business Magazine, is also beyond us.
It sums up the SNP’s belief that it can direct economic growth from the centre – with taxpayers’ cash – rather than through good old fashioned private enterprise.
Amid all of this poor performance is one constant refrain from a group of people who offer little serious plan for the finances of their country if it was to become independent: it is all, somehow, London’s fault.
If the SNP romp home to further council victories this week it should make unionists north and south of the border sit up and take notice. If the Nats are not winning on their record, they must be winning on emotion. And that’s a more difficult argument to counter. Time for unionists to come up with their own campaign to win the hearts and minds and keep our great nation united, not divided.