The Better Together shroud-waving on drug deaths toppled over into a carrion-fest


The Better Together shroud waving actually toppled over into a carrion-fest. I heard a tiny bit of Ian Dale’s programme on LBC and heard ‘Orange?’ Cammie frae Kilmarnock report that the Scottish drug’s deaths could be explained “ 3 words (sic) ESS – ENN – PEE” – Ian Dale reverted, sadly, to his right wing tory roots and came out with a pile of tabloid pish so I – thankfully – re-tuned to the Scottish League Cup Group Round coverage and had a much more stimulating and educational listen for the next 90 mins. For a bit of accurate and useful info re. how the SNP Scottish Govt management of Drugs Policy (within its very restricted authority and funding within this Westminster/Whitehall ‘reserved’ policy area) is finding smart ways to tackle the PROFITEERS rather than the users. See the link and snippet below from the Scottish Legal site:

In 2017-18 there were 32,399 recorded drug offences, 84 per cent of which were for possession. Of these, 19 per cent reached court, compared with 29 per cent in England and Wales.

Lord Advocate James Wolffe QC recently told the Commons Scottish Affairs Committee: “In relation to offences of simple possession, I have, through the recorded police warnings scheme and prosecution policy, supported the use of alternatives to prosecution, including diversion.”

Prosecutors tend instead to go after people who profit from drugs.

There were 5,228 recorded crimes related to the drugs trade including supply, importing and cultivation and 5,390 convictions, implying only a fraction of people are convicted for possession alone.

Three per cent of those convicted of drug offences are jailed, most are fined or given a verbal warning or community service.

Police Scotland said: “Drug crime data can be influenced by a number of factors such as trends. While enforcement activity alone is not enough, we will continue to target drug dealers.”


Conservatives failing schoolchildren as mental health referrals in England are more than twice the level of Scotland

In the wake of the Scottish drug deaths crisis reporting, repeated 6 times this morning on BBC Breakfast and on the website, we hear:

‘A BBC investigation suggests there’s been a significant rise in number of UK primary schoolchildren referred to mental health services over the last three years’

In the fuller online report, we read:

Referrals to child mental health units from UK primary schools for pupils aged 11 and under have risen by nearly 50% in three years, the BBC has learned. Replies to Freedom of Information (FOI) requests from 46 health trusts indicate they rose from 21,125 to 31,531.

However, none of the examples reported are from outside of England.

There is a worrying increase in referrals reported by Audit Scotland but at the level of 22% over 4 years compared to the 50% over only 3 years being suggested by the RCoP for the UK as a whole.

Mental health services for children and young people are under significant pressure. The number of referrals to specialist services increased by 22 per cent, from 27,271 to 33,270, between 2013/14 and 2017/18, with rejected referrals also increasing.

Footnote: I await a response from the RCoP on access to the full report so that I can access a breakdown of the Scottish responses.

Conservatives FAIL to protect England’s children in care from sexual exploitation!

BBC Newsnight conveniently ‘forget’ that NONE of ‘Britain’s Hidden Children’s Homes’ are in Scotland

I know, this commenting on UK media reporting on England as if it was the UK can get a bit repetitive. Some have worried about my mental health, but I go on.

Fresh from being all-too-interested in Scotland’s drug deaths crisis, we saw the above heading and heard:

‘Police forces have told Newsnight they’re deeply concerned about the number of vulnerable children going missing from unregistered and unchecked accommodation.’

The story went on to report horrific tales of neglect and even sex exploitation from ‘Bedfordshire, one part of England but did not let the viewer know that the report would only be about England.

After extended observation of police activity in Bedfordshire and then Luton, we heard:

‘We surveyed every children’s service department in the UK to find out exactly where all these young people are coming from.’

This is the frame showing the closest we get to any suggestion that Scotland might be involved:

No Scottish cases were offered, and we’re returned to Bedfordshire. Incidents in the South-West and South-East of England are then considered but Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland never feature. Despite that, the report finishes with:

‘What’s playing out on these streets (Bedfordshire) is a national problem and calls are growing for a national response. With the use of unregulated homes across the country the police are demanding regulation.’

To finish The Children’s Minister’ is grilled but his England and Wales only remit is never mentioned and the situation in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland seems not to matter.

Are there any unregistered homes in Scotland? See this from OFSTED:

Children in residential settings are particularly vulnerable to sexual abuse by adults working in those settings who are responsible for their welfare. Yet the Inquiry has noted that there are no professional registration requirements in place for staff, other than social workers, working in children’s homes in England, unlike in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Sarah Smith:

‘It’s very convenient for the SNP to be able to criticise Westminster for this when they have devolved powers to privatise the Scottish care system too but won’t!’

All those times when the BBC/Tory Alliance could not happily drool as they have done with Scotland’s drug deaths

‘People are waiting too long for treatment’ though targets have been beaten?

Scotland’s drug deaths were headlined and savoured right across the full range of BBC output, on BBC 1 News, BBC Breakfast, Reporting Scotland, Politics Live and on Newsnight. I did not watch BBC Wales or Northern Ireland, nor did I listen to Good Mourning Scotland, but I feel sure the same or worse was done there too. It was done often without any or sufficient consideration of the limits Westminster sets on the extent to which the Scottish government can tackle the problem but Sarah Smith was to, typically, win the prize for sheer dishonesty and naked Unionism as she lied about drug patient treatment and suggested, sickeningly, that the deaths were convenient for the SNP because they enabled them to blame Westminster:

‘Of course it’s VERY convenient for the Scottish Government to argue that they’re being hampered by Westminster’

Had the SNP said that the deaths were convenient for the UK Government because they enabled them to blame the Scottish Government, imagine the righteous, hypocritical indignation.

We may have a drug deaths problem but there’s much to be pleased with in SNP-led Scotland. See these many but recent stories often selectively edited, distorted or ignored by the BBC but known to many of us as evidence of the many ways in which Scotland is drifting way from the horrors of the Land of May:

NHS waiting lists nearly FOUR times longer in England than in Scotland

Scottish patients have far better access to GPs than those in England

Already better-staffed NHS Scotland doctor training meeting recruitment targets

NHS Scotland’s astonishing performance in operations completed

SNP blamed as none of improving NHS Scotland’s boards in 10 worst places for cancer treatment waiting times

As NHS England is pulled into ethnic nationalist self-destruction why there is no Scottish crisis in nurse staffing

NHS Scotland’s steadily improving home care strategy for last days

The untold story of NHS Scotland’s 100% IVF service creating AND saving lives

SNP Government acts again to stem obesity increases and avoid UK ‘crisis’

Homophobic hate crime surging SIX times faster in England and Wales

Almost all ethnic groups in Scotland experience significant fall in crime

Despite uninformed Scotsman scare story, Scots reported EXPERIENCE of crime has fallen MORE than the police statistics!

Racist hate crime charges in Scotland fall by nearly half

Reporting Scotland ponder what to say as crime in Scotland falls 16% in one year

Scottish Water has NO serious pollution incidents while England’s nine privatised companies have 56!

Scotland on target for affordable homes and way ahead of non-Scottish parts of UK

Customers of state-controlled Scottish Water much more satisfied than those elsewhere in UK

8% of the population but 28.5% of the wind-powered electricity

Do not think I could not find more like these.

S6 pupils enter 57% more SQA qualifications under SNP

Thanks to a Freedom of Information request response published today asking for the average number of entries into SQA qualifications per S6 pupil at each secondary school in Scotland, we can reveal that the Scottish average has gone up from 2.3 subjects per pupil in 2009 to 3.5 subjects in 2018. That is a 56.52% increase in only 10 years.

S5 pupils enter 40% more SQA qualifications under SNP

That’ll be a No then Andrew

Thanks to a Freedom of Information request response published today asking for the average number of entries into SQA qualifications per S5 pupil at each secondary school in Scotland, we can reveal that the Scottish average has gone up from 3.5 subjects per pupil in 2009 to 4.9 subjects in 2018. That is a 40% increase in only 10 years.

England should follow Scotland’s lead on regulation of property agents


Another area of Housing (Regulated property agents) where those in a position to say are indicating that the changes brought in under the SNP Scottish Govt have significantly improved the functioning of this sector in Scotland as compared to our neighbours to the south (note the dramatic difference in the insolvency figures). Link and snippets below from today’s Scottish legal site:

England should follow Scotland’s lead on regulation of property agents, say experts

A report by the working group on the regulation of property agents’ (ROPA) which proposes increased regulation, minimum qualifications, and the formal licensing of agents should be welcomed according to a property management firm.

David Alexander, joint managing director of Apropos by DJ Alexander Ltd, said: “Scotland already has a more regulated sector with agents required to be registered and the key decision makers qualified. However, rather than destroying the sector this has made it stronger and more effective.

“Lord Best, who chairs the ROPA working group, said that these recommendations could lead to some agencies closing but would create a better industry.

What is interesting is that Scotland, which has already been through all these changes including a code of conduct which was introduced in 2017 which is also now being proposed for England, now appears to have a more financially stable property management sector.

The number of companies entering formal insolvency procedures involved in real estate activities in Scotland fell in 2018 to its lowest figure since 2007 with just 17 companies going bust in the whole year. By contrast the number of real estate companies failing in England and Wales reached its highest level in four years in Q1 2019 with a total of 121 and the year as a whole looks likely to be similar to the previous peak which occurred during 2014 when 522 companies entered insolvency.”