Middle-earners to pay less tax in Scotland and yet get more for it!


An inside job, I know, as Tom Arthur SNP asks:



So less tax and despite that, these universal benefits worth thousands:



Scottish Labour seems to know diddley about GP training



Monica Lennon seems unaware that Scottish GP training already meets its professional body standards:



Maybe the RCPCH should have a word with the RCGP about the GPST rather than the Labour Branch moaning at the SNP?


NHS Scotland cancelled operations fall by 7%


Miles Briggs, SCUP, yesterday asked the Scottish Government how many NHS operations have been cancelled in each year since 1999.

Jeane Freemen told him that recording only began in 2015 and that the figure for 2018 was 32 010, down from 34 581 in 2016.


So, that’s a 7% reduction at the same time as a massive increase in demand:


Trafficking of children more than 50 times higher in England than in Scotland


In the regular Scottish insert part of BBC Breakfast this morning at 06:26am, we heard this scary headline:

‘The number of potential victims of trafficking and modern slavery in Scotland has gone by more than 50% in two years. Figures released by the UK crime agency show around a third were children. 228 cases were reported to police Scotland last year.’

Wait a minute, didn’t they report that only a few weeks ago? They did:


Are they trying to scare my mum?

So, did they report the 2017 figures really late or are we getting the 2018 ones really quickly?

I see there was dramatic 42% increase from 2016, but only a 7% increase from 2017 to 2018. Could that be good news? Ah, not so newsworthy?

As always, BBC Scotland News came context-free, so I checked out their sources and found this:


So, people trafficking is 28 times more common in England than it is in Scotland and the trafficking of children is 51 times more common. England has only 10 times the population.



Bring out your dead! Reporting Scotland’s plague on journalism


‘Infection control measures here in Scotland are among the best in Europe but it’s impossible to completely guarantee that hospitals are safe.’

That is of course, the headline we should be hearing and it’s a truth closer to the shared experience and information needs of most viewers but by that time, the damage had been done with:

‘Around 10% of health care infections detected over the past three years are likely to be linked to NHS buildings.’

How informed do we feel after hearing that? Is 10% a lot? Is it lower than elsewhere? Is it falling over time? How likely is likely?

‘A flagship hospital with some serious health problems.’

Are they serious – 3 deaths where a hospital-acquired infection may have been a contributory factor (only)? Not one person died because of a health problem posed by the building. Not one. Tabloid journalism.

‘48 incidents may have originated in NHS buildings.’

Once more, without context, we have no idea what to make of that figure. Tabloid journalism.

There is no real health care crisis here. A politically motivated media feeding frenzy initiated by the courtiers at the state broadcaster has constructed a classic moral panic out of unremarkable, statistically insignificant events and, with the help of dodgy opposition politicians, forced the Scottish Government to act as if they were significant or face accusations of complacency.

I’m reminded of Ian Stronach’s line:

‘Shouting ‘Theatre!’ in a crowded fire’




Unemployment in Tory UK is 15% higher than in Scotland


Breathe, breathe….

Between November 2018 and January 2019, unemployment rate in Scotland was 3.4% while the UK rate was 3.9%, below 4% for the first time since whenever.

Scottish Business Minister Jamie Hepburn said

‘Scotland is performing particularly well on unemployment rates for women and young people. At 2.6% for women and 7.4% for young people, both rates are at record lows and significantly lower than in the rest of the UK.’

Has the Scottish Government played any part in this?

We know from a parliamentary question that more than £4.5 billion has been given in rates relief to businesses across Scotland since the SNP came to power. We also know that we can say, as in BBC Scotland headlines that major reductions in unemployment and increase in wages, relative to the UK, have come after these subsidies:

Have Scottish Government’s Small Business Bonus rates enabled up to seven in ten private sector jobs?


We also know that around 50 000 businesses are exempt entirely from business rates.

Full details:







As Theresa moves to cut school meals, Kezia finds things better in Scotland



Equality and Human Rights Commission, yesterday

Another useful parliamentary question from Kezia Dugdale MSP, Labour:



As you might expect, the answer is long, so here’s an extract covering the efforts made by the SNP Government to compensate for the worst of the UK Government’s austerity programme, recognised today by the EHRC (above) and including free school meals for P1-3: