A warning for Scotland’s 100% IVF post-Brexit: How moneygrubbing Tory IVF policies are creating massive distress now in England


© evolvepolitics

How IVF became a licence to print money.

As we tumble toward a hard Brexit and trade deals with the USA allowing the private sector into the heart of the NHS, we can see how things will work out in the already privatised IVF service in England and contrast it with the state-controlled and regulated version, in Scotland. See this from the Guardian today:

‘Private fertility clinics routinely try to sell desperate patients add-ons that almost certainly don’t help – why isn’t more done to monitor the industry?  Around three-quarters of all IVF cycles fail. And results vary with age. Figures from the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) published in March state the average live birth-rate for each fresh embryo transferred for women of all ages is 21%; for those aged under 35, it is 29% – the highest it has ever been. For older women, the picture is bleaker: 10% for women aged 40-42, for example. IVF is expensive. And what makes it worse, says Hugh Risebrow, the report’s author, is the lack of pricing transparency. “The headline prices quoted may be, say, £3,500, but you end up with a bill of £7,000,” he says. “This is because there are things not included that you need – and then things that are offered but are not evidence-based.”’



Creating opportunities for the private sector

In Tory-run NHS England, only 12% of boards offer three full cycles in line with official guidance. 61% offer only one cycle of treatment and 4% offer none at all. Private treatment costs between £1 343 and £5 788 per cycle.



Creating knock-on effects in women’s mental health

Failing to treat infertility can result in problems and further costs for the NHS in other areas. A Danish study of 98 737 women, between 1973 and 2003, showed that women who were unable to have children were 47% more likely to be hospitalised for schizophrenia and had a significantly higher risk of subsequent drug and alcohol abuse. See this:



Why UK politicians would like more privatisation in the NHS

There are 64 Tory and Labour (New) MPs with ‘links’ to private health care. Why would we trust them to protect the NHS? See this:



Whitaboot Scotland?

Well, leaving aside any obvious and probably tasteless suggestions, of  superior potency in Scots males (I have 4, I think….bairns not testacles!), see this from ISD on 29th May 2018:

‘The four IVF centres in Scotland screened 370 eligible patients, compared with 362 in the  previous quarter. 100% of patients were screened for IVF treatment within 365 days. The 90% target continues to be met since it was first measured in March 2015.’


BBC Scotland:

‘That’s just the kind of meaningless whitabootery we get from cybernats like ‘prof’ Robertson. You can’t compare Scotland with England………eh, unless it’s GDP or…..drug abuse….or…..actually we’re running out of topics where we can even lie about Scotland being worse than the non-Scottish parts of the UK.’



Police Scotland more than fifteen times better at clearing up robberies than English forces!


Today’s Observer, using ‘national police data’, headlined:

‘95% of UK burglaries and robberies not solved, data suggests.  Police ‘doing all they can’ as crimewave fears rise, with motor scooter thefts a concern.’


In March 2018, the Scottish Sun headlined:

FLOP FORCE Police Scotland clear-up rates crumble after five years of controversy and cuts to the force, figures reveal.’


However, here are the actual figures for Police Scotland:

For housebreaking (burglary) in 2016/17, 22.5% of cases were cleared up. It had been 26.7% in the previous year and 25.7% in 2008/9. So, the headline could be:

‘Police Scotland still more than four times better at clearing up burglaries than English forces!’

For robbery, in 2016/17, 76.2% of cases were cleared up. It had been 78.3% in the previous year but only 46.4% in 2008/9. So, the headline could be:

‘Police Scotland more than fifteen times better at clearing up robberies than English forces!’


Given the background of the Scottish media’s regular hatchet jobs on Police Scotland in an attempt to undermine the SNP, it’s worth remembering these other stories:

Remaining Scotsman readers left fatigued and frustrated in wake of another Police Scotland hatchet job

As knife and gun crime rockets across England and Wales and falls in Scotland, Scotland has far more police officers per head of population

Proxy war on SNP: STV News makes fake news on Police Scotland by distorting overtime spend and officer numbers and by ignoring context

Lib Dems, Tories and Labour take turns to help Scotsman, STV and BBC Scotland cast unjustified doubt on successes of Police Scotland, as crime plummets regardless

Police Scotland, world experts on violence reduction, are now to advise The Met after helping the NYPD and Canada Police. Scotland’s media ignore the story in favour of anything negative they can find.

First New York Police and now Canada’s police come to learn from Scotland’s successes in tackling violence

Allo, allo, wot’s goin’ on up there?


Reporting Scotland uses discredited right-wing fundamentalist thinktank to try to undermine SNP


(c) YouTube

At 15.6.18 at around 6.40pm

‘The Institute of Fiscal Studies believes the new blueprint for the public finances of an independent Scotland would mean a tighter squeeze on public spending than the rest of the UK faces. The thinktank was responding to the SNP’s growth commission which made a new economic case for independence. It’s been criticised for recommending a government spending squeeze lasting up to ten years.’

Did Sally Magnussen look just a bit embarrassed to be making this statement?

There are three problems with the statement. First, what is the source for the last statement? It’s not in the Growth Commission report nor, in those terms, is it in the IFS report. Nowhere does the Growth Commission report ‘recommend a ten-year spending squeeze.’ Second, where is the balance which the BBC prides itself on and which is part of its charter? Even if the IFS is to be completely trusted for its independence, we should have had a comment from the SNP.  RS editors tend to try to use the excuse that the report was too short for more information to be included but the answer to that is simple – if there’s no time to do it properly, don’t do it at all. Third, the IFS is decidedly not to be trusted as either competent or impartial. In 2015, Professor Richard Murphy of City University London wrote:

‘People often wonder why I criticise the Institute for Fiscal Studies for right wing fundamentalism, as I have done on this blog, quite often. The reason is that it is right-wing and fundamentalist, however good its analyses might be when it comes to budgets, spending reviews and so on. In the Royal Economic Society’s annual lecture on Tuesday, Professor Rachel Griffith will argue corporate tax should be charged like VAT.”A preferable way to tax corporate income would be to tax profits at the destination of sales”, she will argue….This proposal….reveals an indifference to the role of tax in redistribution within and between states and ignores economic fundamentals but happens to suit the owners of capital very well. If that is not right-wing fundamentalism I do not know what is. Beware the IFS when it comes to policy issues: it is very far from the neutral think tank it likes to pretend to be but is, instead, a fully paid up advocate of neoliberalism and the flooding up of wealth.’


This is by no means the only evidence that IFS competence and impartiality are so widely contested, from the right too, such that media reports should not use them unchallenged. See these:

The IFS are completely wrong about Brexit http://www.thecommentator.com/article/6389/the_ifs_are_completely_wrong_about_brexit

IFS Wrong On UK Economy – Falling Real Wages Are The Solution To A Recession https://www.forbes.com/sites/timworstall/2016/11/25/ifs-wrong-on-uk-economy-falling-real-wages-are-the-solution-to-a-recession/#5a337e69544e

The IFS forecast should be taken with a pinch of salt https://blogs.spectator.co.uk/2016/11/ifs-forecast-taken-pinch-salt/

Why is the Institute for Fiscal Studies receiving millions from the State? https://www.conservativehome.com/platform/2010/12/robert-halfon-mp-why-is-the-institute-for-fiscal-studies-receiving-millions-from-the-state.html

Even the current head of the IFS, Paul Johnson, writing in March 2018 has serious reservations about the use of statistics, including we hope, his own, in a political context:

‘I trade in numbers and am passionate about them. From crime rates to the climate, we need them to describe and make sense of the world around us. But I’ve also learned to be very cautious in their company. They don’t just help us to interpret the world, they can be powerful enough to change it too—and not always for the better. A focus on one number, a shock balance of trade deficit that was published three days before a general election, is said to have done for Harold Wilson’s premiership in 1970. A particular measure of public borrowing caused the British government to bring in the IMF to bail it out in 1976. More recently, a net immigration figure in June 2016 played a role in the EU referendum decision, as of course did the most famous number of recent years: the £350m a week that we supposedly send to Europe. Numbers, then, can and do disrupt the course of political history—that’s real power. With that power comes danger, especially where numbers are arbitrary or misleading, which is—in fact—what all those examples of politically powerful numbers were. That alarming trade deficit, released in the run-up to the 1970 general election, was puffed up by a one-off purchase of two jumbo jets, not by any underlying economic problem.


As both SNP media attention and membership soared, was this inadequate little report inserted into a Reporting Scotland broadcast to satisfy the expectations of the Scottish Conservatives that their older audience/voters be warned not to start liking the SNP? Murdo Fraser and Blair McDougall had been tweeting about the IFS report, in this light, the same day.






60% support for independence according to poll in, of all places, the Scotsman


Still active at the time of writing, 16.6.18 at 09.09am, the Scotsman’s poll had a sample of 8 149. This is quite a big sample compared to that of 1 000 used typically by most polling companies but it is quite limited in reliability by being self-selecting. Intriguingly though and perhaps raising the reliability a bit, you needed to have an account with the Scotsman (not necessarily paying) to vote, and, judging by readers comments over the years, there is some evidence that the Scotsman tends to attract No rather than Yes supporters. Of course, I have no empirical evidence of this nor can we really assume anything about the representativeness of the sample. Also, likely to be factors in this response, will be the SNP walk-out, the consequent Tory benches sneering, Mundell’s mendacity and the conversion of Murray Foote, the ‘man behind the Vow’, to the independence cause.

In response to the question: ‘Has the Brexit process made you more or less likely to vote for Scottish independence?’:

More likely                                          33%

Less likely                                            7%

Unchanged: I remain a No voter        34%

Unchanged: I remain a Yes voter        27%


I know, ca’ canny but we can still enjoy it as one wee bit of apparently good news.

Significant fall in religiously aggravated offences against Roman Catholics in Scotland

The moderator of the general assembly of the Church of Scotland is a fuckin proddy?

From Justice Analytical Services, The Scottish Government’s Religiously Aggravated Offending in Scotland 2017-18:

  1. Roman Catholicism – 319 charges for 2017-18 – decrease of 17% from 384 charges in 2016-17.
  2. Protestantism – 174 charges in 2017-18 – small increase from 2016-17, 165 charges.
  3. Islam – 113 charges in 2016-17 and 115 in 2017-18.
  4. Judaism – 23 charges in 2016-17 and 21 in 2017-18.


So, with offences against Protestantism, Islam and Judaism fairly stable and offences against Roman Catholicism falling by 17%, the overall picture in Scotland is of a significant fall in religiously aggravated offences. Meanwhile in England & Wales, religiously aggravated offences were up a massive 35% from 2015/16 to 2016/17.


Once more BBC Scotland missed the good news, ignored the context, and failed to headline:

Significant fall in religiously aggravated offences against Roman Catholics in Scotland



Racial hate crime continues to fall in Scotland as it soars in England and Wales, but BBC Scotland finds suitable distraction


From yesterday’s Crown Office & Procurator Fiscal Service press release on Hate Crime in Scotland, 2017/18:

  1. Racial crime – 3,249 charges reported in 2017-18, 4% less than in 2016-17 – 9% less than the peak in 2011-12, lowest number reported since 2003-04.
  2. Sexual orientation aggravated crime – 1,112 charges reported in 2017-18, an increase of 3%.
  3. Aggravation of prejudice relating to disability – 284 charges reported in 2017-18 – 51% more than in 2016-17. This increase may be partially due to efforts to raise awareness of this type of crime, which is generally thought to be under reported.
  4. Religiously aggravated charges – 642 reported in 2017-18.
  5. Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications – 198 charges reported in 2017-18


However, from the above, BBC Scotland chose to headline:

Disability-related hate crime up 50%


Meanwhile in England & Wales, hate crimes based on race, increased by a massive 27% from 2015/16 to 2016/17.


So, cheap tabloid titillation, selective misrepresentation and no context?

BBC’s IT Crowd answer a different question from the one I asked


My complaint just about having to click on the same thing – ‘Make a complaint’ – three times:

Full Complaint: Why do I have to confirm three times that I wish to make a complaint? Searching for BBC Complaints takes me to this: http://www.bbc.co.uk/bbctrust/contact_us/making_a_complaint.html I click on Make a complaint and it takes me to this: http://www.bbc.co.uk/complaints/ where I must click on Make a complaint again It then takes me to this: http://www.bbc.co.uk/complaints/complain-online/ where I must for the third time click on Make a complaint. Surely this is a mess?

Their reply one day later (!):

Thanks for contacting the BBC. I understand you feel the online webform process contains barriers. We appreciate that you are annoyed with this online process, however it has been set up so that your complaint can be managed and responded to efficiently and quickly. The main reason we ask people to use our webform, even when replying to an email we’ve sent, is because we deal with over a million audience contacts every year and we have to ensure they can be efficiently tracked using our handling system. In addition, our complaints and general enquiries webforms ask for essential information such as channel, programme name and transmission date which means we don’t have to write back to people unnecessarily. Using a webform also guarantees we can match a return contact up with the previous contact from that person without the need to cross-check thousands of unformatted emails which would then have to be manually transferred into the tracking system. We appreciate this may be annoying, but we did not take this decision lightly. Our policy takes into account what is operationally efficient and avoids the need to employ additional staff at additional cost to licence fee payers.

Rest assured, your comments have been added to our audience feedback report, which is compiled daily and circulated among BBC senior management. This report is one of the most widely read reports within the BBC. This helps inform their decisions about current and future programmes and services.

Thanks for taking the time to raise your concerns with us.

My second complaint:

Your reply in no way addresses my complaint. I am not complaining about the need to submit a complaint online per se but about the need to click on the term ‘Make a complaint’ three times before getting a chance to actually make the complaint. Why is this?