Strong legs, apart or on a tank for a tougher, less soft, Britain?
Images: mirror.co.uk, dailyrecord.co.uk
Look at those images above and these headlines below:
- ‘Violent crime in England and Wales is up 24%, police figures show’ (Guardian, 20.10.16)
- ‘In Scotland, crimes of violence rose by 5.3%’ (BBC, 20.6.16)
- ‘Hate crimes surge by 42% in England and Wales since Brexit result’ (Independent, 8.7.16)
- ‘Police: No spike in hate crime in Scotland since Brexit vote’ (The National 1.7.16)
- ‘Theresa May must wake up to the crisis facing the NHS’ (Guardian, 19.10.16)
- ‘Stand up for NHS Scotland, bucking the UK trend despite media attacks’ (Newsnet.scot, 23.6.16)
- ‘Scottish Government ‘most trusted’ government in Europe’ (STV, 20.3.16)
- ‘Bedroom Tax: Hated Tory tax is banished from Scotland after vote lasting less than 10 seconds’ (Daily Record 6.2.14)
- ‘Scotland is best place to live in UK, study reveals’ (Herald, 11.10.16)
- ‘Scotland tops league for gay rights’ (Guardian, 10.5.16)
I could have found more bad news about things in England and good news about things in Scotland. I’d have been hard pushed to do it the other way round.
After six years of Tory-rule over the UK and nine years of SNP rule in Scotland, the two countries are clearly drifting apart. Aggressive, xenophobic and heartless, the Tories have seriously damaged the quality of life for many in England, especially the poor, the disabled and the sick. Despite limited autonomy, the SNP government in Scotland has tried to protect these same groups. Of course there will be other factors helping to explain some of these differences but you can be sure that if they fell in the opposite direction, our media would be quick to blame the SNP. Though clearly committed to a more equal society the SNP is seriously constrained in its actions to achieve one but it has done what it can. More equal societies tend to be better places across a range of factors as Pickett and Wilkinson have shown:
‘The Spirit Level: Why More Equal Societies Almost Always Do Better was published in 2009. Written by Kate Pickett and Richard Wilkinson, the book highlights the “pernicious effects that inequality has on societies: eroding trust, increasing anxiety and illness, (and) encouraging excessive consumption”. It shows that for each of eleven different health and social problems: physical health, mental health, drug abuse, education, imprisonment, obesity, social mobility, trust and community life, violence, teenage pregnancies, and child well-being, outcomes are significantly worse in more unequal rich countries.’
Look back at those images above. Spreading your legs out to look manly and sitting on a battle tank – what do they tell us? They’re not just called the ‘nasty party’, they are nasty.