According to the Scottish Sun:
‘The First Minister faced humiliation when she was confronted by a nurse who claimed she can’t afford to feed herself who turned out to have Facebook snaps of dinners in fancy restaurants and New Year parties in New York… It is believed that the nurse works for private healthcare firm BUPA and sent her daughter to George Heriot’s School in Edinburgh.’
Pictures of Nurse, Claire Austin eating out at the 5 Star Plaza in New York seem to cast doubt on her finances. Again, according to the Sun, her Twitter account describes her as ‘moderately rich’ with a privately-educated daughter.
Readers of my blog will know that I have often posted hard evidence of how well the SNP government is managing our NHS. See this:
NHS Scotland is demonstrably the best-performing in the UK and among the best in the World: Look at the evidence.
- Scotland has the best and still improving A&E performance in the World. (Royal College of Emergency Medicine and Holyrood.com 1, 2)
- Scotland has the most GPs per head of population in the UK and has had so every year since at least 2004. (Nuffield Trust 3)
- Scotland’s GPs feel the most-satisfied, the least over-worked and the least-stressed in the UK and perhaps in the World. (Commonwealth Foundation of New York 4)
- Scotland’s GPs are significantly more satisfied with the coordination across multiple sites and providers than in England. (Commonwealth Foundation of New York 4)
- 94% of Scottish cancer patients rated care as ‘highly positive’ but only 61% of English cancer patients did so. (Gov.scot and NCPES 5, 6)
- Over 100 000 treatment delays caused by junior doctor strikes in England but none in Scotland (BBC 7)
- Bed-blocking in Scottish hospitals remains on a downward trend, with 7% fewer delayed discharges than last year. This is in stark comparison to other parts of the UK where the number of people delayed waiting to leave hospital is on the ris (Herald, Scotsman and Jersey Evening Post! BBC 8, 9)
- Scotland spends more per capita on health (Nuffield Trust, 10)
- Scotland, by contrast [with England], has abolished all vestiges of the ‘internal market’. (The King’s Fund 11)
- There is relatively little cross-border flow of patients from Scotland to England. (The King’s Fund 11)
- Scotland specifically embraces a philosophy of ‘mutuality’ between the Scottish people and the NHS. Internally it has a highly developed approach to partnership working between the trade unions and management. The partnership’s remit stretches well beyond terms and conditions to broader issues such as quality and the design of services. (The King’s Fund 11)
- Scotland has a long and honourable tradition of clinical audit that over the years, both before and after devolution, has helped inform the approach of the other countries. (The King’s Fund 11)
- Scotland appears to have made more progress [in developing integrated care], perhaps in part due to its relative organisational stability over the past decade (The King’s Fund 11)
- Scotland’s greater and earlier success in getting an electronic and shared summary care record in place, despite England investing vastly greater sums in its National Programme for IT (The King’s Fund 11)
- Public satisfaction with the Scottish NHS reaches as high as 74% in Scotland but only as high as 63% in England (King’s Fund, 12)
- Scottish nurses more confident in coping with demand than English nurses (OK I made that one up as I wait for the RCN to come clean on the data and confirm my guess)
Here’s the headline:
‘Scottish pensioners should continue to get winter fuel payments because the country is colder, the Scottish Conservative Party leader has said.’
I get the winter fuel allowance. I probably don’t need it but I believe in universal benefits for reasons you’ll find in the eloquent rationale produced by the Jimmy Reid Foundation. It’s worth a read:
But, back to the weather, Scotland isn’t, in any general sense, colder than England. See the January 2017 temperature map above. Most of the UK has the same winter temperature with Northern Ireland and Cornwall being a wee bit cosier – take away their allowance!
When you local at the actual figures for regions, you discover some parts of England have it worse in the winter than some parts of Scotland do. First, see this map to illustrate where the regions are:
In winter 2017, the mean (average, sort of) temperature in West Scotland was 5 C while in England NW and Wales it was lower at 4.8 C and in England E and NE it was 4.7 C. Perhaps more significant for older folk is the situation during the day when they’re up and about trying to have a bit of a life and it’s below zero outside. That can be expensive unless you’re spending the day under the duvet too.
In the winter of 2017, the West of Scotland had 21 days of air frost while in England E and NE it was 26 and in England NW and Wales it was 24. That could make a difference to bills.
If you look at just December 2016, the West of Scotland had only 3 days of air frost. In the South-West of that region where I live, I’d put it at zero days. In the colder English and Welsh regions in was 5 or 6.
Come on Ruth, protect the Union, go on.
She might as well lie on the road in front of the Tory battle bus. Ruth Davidson’s recent promises to tell the SNP to protect Scotland’s old folk against her own boss’s manifesto must surely have caused confusion and resentment amongst English Tory supporters. See:
Ruth wants a special deal for Scotland including keeping the winter fuel allowance, the free bus pass and TV licence. These are all completely contrary to Theresa’s slash and burn policy south of the border. I’ve searched but can find no report of Theresa’s anger with Ruth. Are they just going to pretend they haven’t noticed they’re in different dimensions, like the Sun and Daily Express headlines have pretended in the past?
Within days, we see the above Sun headline telling us of a poll where the Tory lead has shrunk to single figures and, according to Political Betting:
‘The launching of the Conservative manifesto on Thursday has changed the whole narrative of this election. …From a situation where the only real outcome that appeared possible was a very substantial Conservative majority, certainly more than 100, we now have the first post manifesto polls with the gap closing sharply. The exemption of Scotland from the ending of winter fuel allowance for wealthy pensioners looked very tricky. Also, closing down other areas of public spending such as free school meals for the for the 4-7 year olds hasn’t polled very well at all.’
I know there will have been other factors in the latest Tory lead slump – the child tax benefit rape clause, the dementia tax and other nasty Tory bits in their manifesto. Also, the impressive Labour manifesto will be a factor in their increase. Sometimes, not often, I wish I was English so I could become a Corbynite.
East Renfrew was Jim Murphy’s seat until the SNP took it from him. This affluent area wasn’t really a ‘Labour’ seat it was a ‘New Labour’ seat. The voters there liked Tony Blair’s form of centre-left politics. It was the kind where you could pretend to care a bit about the poor but not be too taxed by socialist policies. You could feel you were a better person than those Tories especially the nasty ones that had come to dominate the party from Thatcher on.
So, East Renfrewshire is full of voters a bit to the right of the current SNP progressive agenda and they almost certainly want the SNP out this time but they have a problem. They don’t know who to vote for to get them out. Do they stick with the still pretty Blairite Scottish Labour Party of Kezia Dugdale or do they jump en masse to the Tories. The bookies make this a reasonable bet after the certain Tory gain in Borders but I think they’re thoroughly unsure. My guess is the Unionist vote will split and a reduced SNP vote will still take it. My grin will be painfully wide.
Here’s a good example of the confusion in the Unionist ranks. I’m grateful to Dazz316 who posted the photo above on Reddit yesterday and wrote under it:
‘This is terrible, terrible advertising. People are going to be driving by these, seeing a big sign that says VOTE CONSERVATIVE and then driving on. What did the small print say? Dunno couldn’t read it.’Bottom of Form
On the one hand, it’s just plain stupid on the other it reveals the deep hatred of the SNP that will allow Scottish Labour to say or do anything to damage them even if it helps the Tories win. If there was a chance UKIP could win it would they post Vote UKIP? Is there a Nazi party in East Ren?
Yet, see this
‘SNP and Labour freeze out Tories in East Renfrewshire’
‘The SNP and Labour are set to run East Renfrewshire Council despite the Conservatives winning the most seats…..The two parties, along with a local independent councillor, have said they will work together to protect local services…..The Conservatives took seven seats to become the largest party at the recent elections…..However, the SNP with five councillors and Labour with four have excluded them from a deal to form an administration.’
So, on the ground in East Ren, the Labour Party looks like it might still be the old Labour party of progressive values. Are they going to turn out to vote for a Tory just to keep the SNP out when they’ve just formed a local alliance with them ‘to protect local services’?
Sorry about the shocking image.
I found this news on the excellent tompride.wordpress.com
David Cameron promised to put a ban on ivory trading in place. Prince William is a vocal supporter of a ban after seeing the horrors of it in Africa first-hand. Even China has promised a ban by the end of this year and they use it in medicine!
However, under pressure from powerful lobby groups such as the British Antique Dealers’ Association (BADA), Theresa has left it out of the manifesto adding her callousness regarding fox-hunting to a shocking disregard for elephants. The BADA president is Lady Victoria Borthwick, Tory MP.
According to tompride:
‘On average, an elephant is killed every 15 minutes for its ivory and their population has fallen by almost a third in Africa since 2007.’
This is the measure of the Tories.
We’ve already seen worrying evidence of sectarianism, bigotry and racism in the Tory party as we run up to the General Election. See:
Good News for Indyref2: More Tories mean more offensive comments
Now, Senior Scottish Conservative Richard Cook has been exposed as a major donor to the DUP. I’m not denying his right to donate to them just questioning the implications of it for the Tory party’s credibility as a party for the whole Scottish people, as they like to claim. Here some of what Open Democracy wrote:
‘Richard Cook is not just connected to Northern Irish unionism – he has links that go to the heart of the Scottish Conservative Party, the Saudi intelligence service and a notorious Indian gun running scandal……Key activists in his team were subsequently found burning the EU flag and posting Northern Irish loyalist song lyrics on Twitter.’
Here’s the laughable headline from the Express yesterday:
‘Independence referendum will cause break-up of SCOTLAND not UK, warns top professor’
The ‘top’ professor returning to the fray is 73-year-old retired expert on Nazi Germany, Jill Stephenson. She’s predicting that even if we win Indyref2 we’ll trigger the further fragmentation of Scotland as Orkney and Shetland will elect to stay in Britain, like a northern Gibraltar. Here’s some of what she said:
‘It is clear that Scotland is a deeply divided country. This is the result of a long and bitter referendum campaign in 2012-14. There is palpable hatred on both sides of the divide that will take years, or perhaps decades, to heal.’
She should know about any bitterness after her comments about MP Mhairi black in 2015. I wrote about the prof at the time in Newsnet.scot. To avoid repeating myself, here’s and extract from what I said about the then only 71-year-old retired English professor who has only ever researched and written about Nazi Germany:
“If electors vote for a foul-mouthed slut like M Black, it says a lot about them and none of it is good.”
A wee Twitter storm developed, ending up with the good professor herself tweeting that she didn’t “give a flying fuck” and a respondent suggesting that as unionist she supported paedophiles!
Professor Stephenson’s [former?] expertise is Nazi Germany so you can see where’s she’s going with the ‘charisma’ comment. She has written on ‘German Christians in the Thuringian Protestant Church (1927-1945)’ so that must have been useful in looking at Scottish 21st Century politics. What about her, ‘Hitler’s priests, Catholic clergy and National Socialism?’
Oh come on, we’ve got Catholic clergy. She’s a professor. They know about all sorts of stuff, don’t they? She clearly has researched German history but has published nothing at all on Scottish politics and so is less authoritative on that than a researcher currently working on it.