Scottish hotels outperform those in rest of UK: STV report good news for Scotland’s economy but fail to understand it

glengorm-castle-mull-scotland-summer-xlarge

(c) Daily Telegraph

STV News, today, reported:

‘Scottish hotels were the UK’s best-performing in 2017. Success is attributed to influx of overseas visitors caused by a weak pound.’

I’ll come back this basic misunderstanding which has the effect of downplaying the real strengths of the tourism industry, below. Average hotel revenue in Scotland was up 5% compared with 4% in Wales, 2.2% in Northern Ireland and under 2% in England.

https://stv.tv/news/east-central/1413056-scottish-hotels-were-the-uk-s-best-performing-in-2017/

While the weak pound has no doubt played a part in increased tourism across the UK, this does not explain the differential, with Scottish tourism numbers and revenue soaring above that of the rest of the UK, due to the increased quality of our attractions, perceived safety away from the terrorism-affected centres such as Paris and London, whisky and the particular appeal of locations used in the Outlander series and other historical dramas. See these for fuller accounts:

Scottish tourism growth outpaces that in UK

Whisky tourism boom expected to add to record year for Scottish tourism in 2018

‘BLOODY HELL Robert the Bruce movie Outlaw King will feature some of the bloodiest battle scenes in cinema history’, put Braveheart in the shade and boost tourism like Outlander.

‘Scotland enjoys tourism boost thanks to interest in Gaelic’

North Americans lead surge in Scottish tourism because they feel safer here

17% increase in visits to Scotland’s historic attractions with massive Outlander effect

414% increase in Chinese tourist spending since 2007!

 

Advertisements

As Ruth Davidson’s party bombs Damascus, evicts loyal West Indians and slashes the welfare state, the Scottish Government makes its third humanitarian intervention in three days

Britains-Prime-Minister-Theresa-May-arrives-to-attend-the-EU-summit-in-Brussels

(c) Reuters

We’ve just heard of the Scottish Government’s improved terms for the terminally ill and their funding of frontline work with the hardcore of street homeless. See these for more detail:

Another little difference that tells us something: SNP to improve disability terms for terminally ill.

SNP Government to fund frontline efforts to help hardcore of street homeless while Ruth Davidson goes from baking show to celebrity list membership games and our media rats sniff the sewer air for SNP-bad aroma

Today, we hear that Scotland’s new Social Security bill includes changes to legislation so that disabled Scots will not face the unnecessary and often humiliating medical checks before claiming benefits. Based on an amendment from the Green’s Alison Johnstone, the new requirement is that assessments will only be carried out when there is not enough pre-existing medical evidence for the claim by an applicant.

Despite the constraints of this union, Scotland continues to move toward becoming a better nation. See these earlier examples:

More evidence of becoming a better nation as SNP ‘future-proof’ social security

Another step on the way to becoming a ‘Living Wage Nation’ and a ‘Better Nation?’

In a year of terrible events, we can still feel that this wee country is getting better as it drifts away from the callous, post-imperial, values of Tory Britain

SNP Government to fund frontline efforts to help hardcore of street homeless while Ruth Davidson goes from baking show to celebrity list membership games and our media rats sniff the sewer air for SNP-bad aroma

5345 itok=5trKRVY4

(c) PA

Once more, the Scottish Government acts to help the most vulnerable in our society in a way utterly alien to the thinking of Tories in England or Scotland. Ruth Davidson’s Boris-like, bullishness may have got her into a list of the supposed influential in British society, but she has no influence on matters of real concern in a modern compassionate society.

Homelessness is falling in Scotland as it rises in England under the malign ‘leadership of Theresa ‘Windrush’ May. See these for more detail:

Homelessness falls in Scotland as it rises in England, mainly driven by heartless Tory welfare reforms

Could Scotland end homelessness?

Having begun to tackle the wider problem of homelessness with the successful Priority Needs Test in 2012/13 and currently piloting the Housing First strategy, the SNP Government has now taken steps to deal with ‘the hard core of street homeless who refuse to engage with services or access any accommodation on offer.’

See this, from the Guardian today, but ignored by the Scottish media:

‘Outreach workers in Scottish cities can make instant pay-outs of up to £200 for anything from haircuts to hotel rooms as part of a radical approach to entrenched rough sleeping. The funding, directly from the Scottish government, is being made available to frontline staff working with the hard core of street homeless who refuse to engage with services or access any accommodation on offer.’

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2018/apr/22/instant-payouts-offer-lifeline-scotland-rough-sleepers-homelessness

Some say the measure of a society is how it treats its elderly, sick and poor. This seems an even tougher test. This hard core of rough sleepers and, perhaps, daytime beggars, represent a group for whom many in our society have no compassion. I doubt there are many votes to be won from this so the SNP leadership is to be commended for reminding us how different we and they can be from Tory England.

I’m not a believer, but ‘the book’ is full of evidence that our Tory kirk and church-going neighbours might want to recognise the efforts of this government:

Matthew 25:40

And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’

Another little difference that tells us something: SNP to improve disability terms for terminally ill.

hands

(c) nen-press

See this, from the Scottish Government, yesterday:

A new amendment has been tabled to the Social Security (Scotland) Bill, which would remove any time qualification for people who are terminally ill. Current UK legislation for disability benefits and Universal Credit specifies that the definition of terminal illness is someone likely to die within 6 months. Social Security Minister Jeane Freeman has put forward an amendment to ensure that it will be entirely down to the clinical judgement of medical professionals to identify when a person is terminally ill, and this will ensure they can be automatically fast-tracked to the highest rate of disability benefits when they are devolved to the Scottish Parliament.’

https://news.gov.scot/news/no-time-limit-for-terminally-ill-people

It been some time since I considered the notion of Scotland, most of its politicians and most of its people being a bit different from the UK, many of its politicians and many of its people. The above, on its own means little but when you combine it with these below, I think it reveals a difference that makes a difference, and which adds to the case for independence:

More evidence of becoming a better nation as SNP ‘future-proof’ social security

NHS Scotland: 27% increase in kidney transplants including 10% increase from living donors as ‘UK’ level falls to eight-year low

Less homicide, less knife crime, less domestic violence, safer cities and now much lower alcohol problems: should Scotland’s old stereotypes be sent south?

Scotland first again, again and again: women on public boards?

8% of the UK population and 28% of living wage employers. More evidence that we are different enough to want to run the whole show?

As England’s prisons sink into crisis, Scotland’s prisons benefit from a ‘consistent government’ with ‘political guts’

Scottish care workers to receive Living Wage for ‘sleepover’ hours while English care workers receive only the National Minimum Wage.

Racial hate crimes increase by 33% in England & Wales while falling by 10% in Scotland: Who says we’re not different?

Scotland takes nearly 26% of Syrian refugees settled in UK with only 8% of the UK population

In a year of terrible events, we can still feel that this wee country is getting better as it drifts away from the callous, post-imperial, values of Tory Britain

Scots more likely to give to charities, to volunteer or to sponsor others

Scottish Government to fight alongside UN to defend disabled against Tory cuts.

Could Scotland end homelessness?

Scotland has lower poverty rates than England: JRF Excerpt 1

Scots the least respectful of the upper classes: More evidence of a difference that makes a difference?

Wha’s like us? Lots of good folk in England, I know, but sadly not enough of them to counter the nasty Tory voters.

Nanny State? Average speed cameras, Jeremy Clarkson and the Scottish Tories

liam-kerrtoad_Jeremy-Clarkson_2623778b

(c) Edinburgh University, Salisbury Studio Theatre, Daily Telegraph

Back in January 2017, Jeremy Clarkson, raged against the denial of his freedom to speed, after the installation of the average speed camera system, on Scotland’s most dangerous road, the A9. It’s that kind of Toad of Toad Hall, Libertarian / Right-wing thinking Clarkson specialises in. In November that same year, the Scottish Conservative, MSP Liam Kerr, presumably their Boy Racer Spokesman, featured in the Evening Express, questioning their value on the A90, Aberdeen to Dundee:

‘New A90 average speed cameras would not have prevented half of road accidents. New figures left transport chiefs facing fresh questions over their decision to fix the unpopular devices along the A90 Aberdeen to Dundee road. Scottish Conservatives said police data released to the party showed 124 of 272 accidents over the last four years “would not likely have been helped by the money-spinning measure”. North-east MSP Liam Kerr claimed “far more” collisions are happening at junctions, private entrances, and roundabouts than thought, and the vehicles involved were likely to have been “slow-moving and certainly not fast enough to be detected by cameras”.’

https://www.eveningexpress.co.uk/fp/news/local/new-a90-average-speed-cameras-would-not-have-prevented-half-of-road-accidents/

Even if Liam is correct, and leaving aside the dodgy arithmetic, is it possible the cameras will help reduce the 148 or bigger half of the accidents? We’ll have to wait to see if they work on the A90, but they clearly work on the A9. The statistics, from the A9 Safety Group, are pretty convincing:

Compared to 2011-13, since the cameras were introduced, the following pattern has emerged:

Dunblane to Inverness

  • 10 fewer people killed
  • 16 fewer people seriously injured
  • 96 fewer people injured
  • Average number of fatal casualties down by over 40%
  • Average number of ‘fatal and serious’ casualties down by 31%
  • Average number of fatal collisions down by over 23%

Perth to Inverness

  • 9 fewer people killed
  • 14 fewer people seriously injured
  • 81 fewer people injured
  • Average number of fatal casualties down by over 40%
  • Average number of ‘fatal and serious’ casualties down by over 32%

Dunblane to Perth

  •  2 fewer people seriously injured
  • 15 fewer people injured
  • Average number of fatal casualties down by 50%
  • Average number of ‘fatal and serious’ casualties down by over 23%
  • Average number of fatal collisions down by 50%

https://news.gov.scot/news/3year-a9-performance-data-published-1

I’ve been up and down the A9 a few times and it regularly scares me near to death.

Poxy Unionist media unfairly attack NHS in proxy war against SNP

 

willie-e1492809976439bennnnn

Rennie and Bennie (c) Heathcare Times and Scottish Sun

As Willie Rennie is reported to be joining his own campaign to have the Health Secretary sacked and as the three Unionist party’s reform their unholy trinity with the Tories who have single-handedly reduced NHS England to humanitarian crisis (no speech marks required), BBC Scotland and the ever-loyal Herald have launched another NHS attack using the unverified and partisan impressions of a trades unionist.

Here are the headlines:

‘BBC Scotland: ‘Scottish doctors’ leader warns health service ‘deteriorating (sic)’’

BBC Scotland: ‘Patients suffering’

Herald: Dr Peter Bennie: doctors in Scotland ‘under pressure like never before’

Note the use of speech marks so that they can claim to be not guilty of accusations of propaganda? ‘We never said they were actually deterioriating (bad grammar!). Readers understand speech marks. We’ll some balance in the report…..near the end when, hopefully, readers have stopped reading.’ Here’s a bit of the BBC report:

‘Scotland’s leading doctor has warned patients are “suffering” because of funding cuts and staff shortages. Dr Peter Bennie, chairman of BMA Scotland claimed staff and funding are not keeping up with demand.He said the gap is putting unprecedented strain on doctors and that all parts of the profession are “under pressure like never before”….Doctors struggle with the implications of this on a daily basis, with services deteriorating, patients suffering as a result and more pressure being put on already overworked staff.’

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-43839703

The Herald repeated the anecdotal ‘evidence’ (I can use ‘’ too):

‘Doctors in Scotland are “under pressure like never before” amid shortfalls in funding and rising vacancies, a leading medic has warned. Dr Peter Bennie, chairman of doctors’ trade union BMA Scotland, said services are deteriorating and patients are “suffering” because NHS resources cannot cope with growing demand.’

http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/16174511.Dr_Peter_Bennie__doctors_in_Scotland__under_pressure_like_never_before_/

Note the ‘leading doctor’ bit? To be fair, the Herald do mention that he is a trades union leader.

The ‘leading doctor’ and the ‘chairman of BMA Scotland’ bits suggest authority and the need for particular respect. Peter Bennie is chairman, elected union leader, of the British Medical Association’s Scottish branch. I’ve had a wee search, but I can find no sign of him being a leading doctor. There’s no sign of awards for exceptional practice nor research publications presenting cutting-edge findings to move practice on nor is there even sign of him having managed anything much. It looks like he might be a leading trades unionist though, again, he’s no Bob Crowe, late of the RMT and the BMA Scotland is pretty wee. If he’s leading anything it’s in an essentially political role and not medical role so he’s not a ‘leading doctor’ and ‘convener’ would be more accurate than ‘chief’.

I’m not knocking being a trade union leader by any means. I was a lifelong member of the teachers’ EIS union. I remember many of its ‘leaders’ at different levels. Often good trades unionists, I don’t remember any of them have been leading educationists. They were usually people who had become more interested in the political role of the unions and gradually rose within those organisations on the basis of popularity.

So, Doctor Bennie is primarily getting attention in the Scottish mainstream (Unionist) media because he is a trades unionist in a union with posh sounding personal and organisational titles and a very Unionist sounding, name.

Now, what about his claims? Needless to say, he offers no empirical evidence to back them up, not even a badly done survey done by his ‘research’ team. Notably, the BMA nationally and the respected Nuffield Trust researchers don’t seem to share his concerns. Here’s what BMA HQ in London and the Nuffield Trust think:

Scottish Government funds new initiative to reduce planned waiting times in the wake of BMA praise for its new GP contract and illustrating what the Nuffield Trust called ‘a unique system of improving the quality of health care.’

Scottish GP Contract rated ‘far superior’ by BMA, introduced today, to strengthen patient care

As anti-SNP media scrabble desperately for a crisis in NHS Scotland, GP numbers hold constant and access for patients remains far better than in any other part of the UK

Secondly, there is considerable evidence that NHS Scotland is performing pretty well despite the pressures. See these, again:

Despite massive increases in demand, NHS Scotland maintains performance levels extremely close to the most rigorous of targets and patient satisfaction is at an all-time high. Audit Scotland say: ‘There were no significant weaknesses in the overall quality of care being provided.’

NHS Scotland A&E performance is more than 10% better than NHS England though BBC Salford mislead viewers by using wrong figure

NHS Scotland: 27% increase in kidney transplants including 10% increase from living donors as ‘UK’ level falls to eight-year low

Bed-blocking in NHS Scotland falls by nearly 10% in one year as the rate in NHS England surges to nearly 500% higher, per capita, than that in NHS Scotland!

National auditors find two very different NHS systems in the UK. Someone tell Theresa today.

NHS Scotland significantly outperforms NHS England on cancer waiting times despite demand soaring: Herald fails to report properly again

As already better-staffed NHS Scotland’s vacancies run at half the rate in England, ‘The extent of the [UK] Government’s failure to plan the NHS workforce is astonishing.’

‘NHS England cancelling operations at three times the rate in Scotland!’ or ‘With 10% of the population to care for, NHS Scotland cancels only 3.3% of NHS England operations cancelled in January’

NHS England ‘haemorrhaging’ nurses as 33 000 leave each year. NHS Scotland Nurse staffing increases.

‘NHS Compensation Claims in England four times higher than in Scotland!’ or Scotsman journalist fails professional test for lumping statistics and lack of context in report on NHS Scotland compensation

Putting the A&E figures in perspective: NHS England patients were more than twice as likely to wait over four hours throughout 2017.

NHS Scotland has massively increased staffing of consultants and acute medicine specialists under SNP administration. Try telling the Daily Excess.

You’d think the BMA in Scotland would be listening to the horror stories from their English colleagues, recognising the demonstrable superiority of the NHS Scotland, blessing their good luck to be here and not there, and maybe even seeing the sense in independence?

Pressure on Herald editor to resign over misrepresentation of NHS successes as Health Secretary is nominated for award as most successful in UK

Shona Robison - SNP - Dundee City East

Today, the Herald headlined with

‘Pressure on Shona Robison to resign over NHS ‘failures’’

As far as I can see the only ‘failure’ by the Health Secretary, Shona Robison, relates to ‘failures’ at NHS Tayside. As for the pressure, it seems to be only coming from one or two ‘opposition’ MSPs. I see no sign of a petition by thousands of angry patients and relatives. I see no sign of protest outside her office nor of widespread protests outside the other health boards. Could it be that there isn’t really any pressure on the Health Secretary at all? Indeed, could it be, amazingly, that there would be more pressure for Robison to be awarded the new ‘Best Health Secretary/Minister in the UK’ prize?

I’ve nominated her based on the portfolio of some of the NHS Scotland success stories listed below:

Despite massive increases in demand, NHS Scotland maintains performance levels extremely close to the most rigorous of targets and patient satisfaction is at an all-time high. Audit Scotland say: ‘There were no significant weaknesses in the overall quality of care being provided.’

NHS Scotland A&E performance is more than 10% better than NHS England though BBC Salford mislead viewers by using wrong figure

NHS Scotland: 27% increase in kidney transplants including 10% increase from living donors as ‘UK’ level falls to eight-year low

Bed-blocking in NHS Scotland falls by nearly 10% in one year as the rate in NHS England surges to nearly 500% higher, per capita, than that in NHS Scotland!

National auditors find two very different NHS systems in the UK. Someone tell Theresa today.

NHS Scotland significantly outperforms NHS England on cancer waiting times despite demand soaring: Herald fails to report properly again

As already better-staffed NHS Scotland’s vacancies run at half the rate in England, ‘The extent of the [UK] Government’s failure to plan the NHS workforce is astonishing.’

‘NHS England cancelling operations at three times the rate in Scotland!’ or ‘With 10% of the population to care for, NHS Scotland cancels only 3.3% of NHS England operations cancelled in January’

NHS England ‘haemorrhaging’ nurses as 33 000 leave each year. NHS Scotland Nurse staffing increases.

‘NHS Compensation Claims in England four times higher than in Scotland!’ or Scotsman journalist fails professional test for lumping statistics and lack of context in report on NHS Scotland compensation

Putting the A&E figures in perspective: NHS England patients were more than twice as likely to wait over four hours throughout 2017.

NHS Scotland has massively increased staffing of consultants and acute medicine specialists under SNP administration. Try telling the Daily Excess.

New Scottish GP contract rated far superior, by BMA, to English equivalent as Scottish GP numbers hold steady and NHS England loses 1 000 in one year!

There was a word-limit, so I couldn’t list all the successes, during Shona Robison’s period in charge!

I gather Tory, Labour and DUP-led NHS systems in England, Wales and Northern Ireland have decided not to nominate so it looks like a walk-over.