I wrote this earlier in July:
Our media and political elites are always keen to tell us we’re not so different from our neighbours in England and I do recognise we’re not radically different in that there are selfish individualists here and caring communitarians there but that doesn’t mean the countries are not still different enough in overall tendencies to be seen as worthy of autonomy from each other. I’m thinking of little things that all add up to make us less like England than we’re told. Look at this:
- Free bus pass for the over 60s
- Free care for the elderly
- Superior NHS
- Free HE tuition
- More GPs per head of population
- Compensation for the bedroom tax
- Stronger fire and flood safety regulations
- Less child poverty
- Lower stillbirths and early deaths
- Better police/Muslim community relations
- No junior doctor strikes
- Tories who support the winter heating allowance!
Don’t these add up to evidence of the dominance of a more caring communitarian set of values even in our Tories? You can also add targets for the reduction of child poverty to that that list.
Now the Scottish Government has announced:
‘Tackling inequalities will never be an optional extra for this government – it is core to everything we do. Implementing this duty, and requiring public bodies to put reducing inequalities at the heart of their decision making, is an important step. It further contributes to our actions on inclusive growth, ensuring increased economic prosperity goes hand in hand with a fairer, more equal country….. For the first time, public bodies will be required to set out how their plans will help in reducing poverty. In recent years the number of people living in poverty has shrunk, but poverty has become more concentrated in some communities.’
The UK government did include something similar in 2010 but never implemented it so the Scottish Government is ‘pressing on alone’. Says it all?