Is 38 Degrees now part of the Unionist propaganda machine?
I’ve signed many of the petitions raised by 38 Degrees. I had thought them a highly praiseworthy and trustworthy organisation, until now. However, their latest ‘Scotland’s NHS needs our help’ campaign has a bad smell about it. That smell comes clearly from the nature of the sources they use but, given their choice of sources, I’ beginning to wonder if something is rotten deeper in the organisation. Here’s the email they are circulating. I’ll tell you what’s wrong with it below but before I do, let me say these:
‘There is no crisis in NHS Scotland.’
‘There is a crisis in NHS England.’
‘There was a temporary problem in (only) Scotland’s A&E departments caused by a massive increase in cases of flu.’
Scotland’s NHS needs our help. New figures show that in one week this year almost 1,500 Scots were forced to wait more than 8 hours – and some as many as 12 hours – to be treated in A&E departments.  That’s just not good enough.
The Scottish Government say the flu crisis is to blame.  But this is a problem that’s been bubbling under the surface for a long time.  Scotland’s NHS simply needs much more money to provide the world-class service our country deserves.
The Scottish Government is working out the details of its new budget at the moment.  That means there’ll be intense conversations behind closed doors to iron out the details of where money will get spent. If we can get our voices heard in those debates, we can make sure our NHS gets the money it needs.
Will you sign the petition telling the Scottish Government’s health minister to make sure our NHS gets the funding it needs?
SIGN THE PETITION
People in Scotland deserve the best healthcare possible – and right now, that isn’t what we’re getting. Whether it’s waiting times, or local hospital services facing cuts, it’s clear that our NHS needs much more funding that it’s getting right now. 
It doesn’t have to be this way. If enough of us speak up, we can show the Scottish Government that they need to take bold action and give the NHS the money it desperately needs.
Will you sign the petition now to get our NHS the funding it deserves?
So, what’s wrong with this? I’ll try to keep it short and to the point:
- There is no hard, objective, evidence of a ‘crisis’ in NHS Scotland, as a whole, though there has been a temporary problem caused by overload in (only) Scotland’s A&E departments.
- The ‘evidence’ of a crisis offered by 38 Degrees comes entirely from newspaper sources. 7 of the 9 sources used come from 4 outlets with a clear anti-Independence and anti-SNP agenda – Scotsman, Telegraph, Record, BBC.
- There is little use of sources from less-partisan newspapers such as the Guardian or independent. The one Independent article actually makes the case for the robust and communitarian nature of NHS Scotland and its ability to pull together to deal with additional temporary pressure. The final Telegraph article is entirely about NHS England and has no relevance to the case being made.
- More importantly, there is no use of reliable, rigorous, research-based evidence at all, despite the fact that examples such as those from the Nuffield Trust and Audit Scotland are there to confirm the overall success of and crisis-prevention mechanisms in place in, NHS Scotland. See these, 38 Degrees: Research Report, July 2017, Learning from Scotland’s NHS at: https://www.nuffieldtrust.org.uk/files/2017-07/learning-from-scotland-s-nhs-final.pdf and http://www.audit-scotland.gov.uk/uploads/docs/report/2017/nr_171026_nhs_overview.pdf
- Even if they found the above a bit long difficult to read, they might have used this from the BBC website: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-42648951?SThisFB
So, to use their own words, that’s just not good enough 38 Degrees. I can’t tell for certain whether you’ve been taken in by someone from the Unionist groups and have naïvely wandered into their camp or whether 38 Degrees does actually hold an explicit anti-independence position and is prepared to let it bias its campaigns. Your Scottish supporters have a right to know.
Footnote: Several comments below add fuel to the idea that 38 degrees may have been infested with Scottish Labour ideas for campaigns.