Major achievement by NHS Scotland as operations cancelled due to capacity or non-clinical reasons fall dramatically by 31%


Where operations are cancelled due to non-clinical reasons such as shortages of skilled staff or of operating theatres, this can be tremendously upsetting for patients and is a reasonable indicator of problems in the system.

You can see from the above graph that operations cancelled by the patients or for a good clinical reason are largely unchanged since June 2017. However, operations cancelled for lack of capacity or for non-clinical reasons have fallen dramatically in the last three months and, crucially, continue to fall below last year’s low point in the summer of 2017.

From the data tables (ref below), cancellations based on the capacity of hospitals or for non-clinical reasons such as staff non-availability, by hospital fell from 587 in April 2018 to 403 in June 2018. This is a fall of 31% in 3 months. I have of course used the three-month figure to get a better headline as recommended in BBC Scotland’s editorial guidelines.


A slap in the face for licence-payers as BBC Scotland sheepishly put Labour hearsay above an official statement but some SNP fightback?

jmseb1  Sheeptext

(c) dundee labour and gizmodo

Yesterday’s BBC Scotland headline story repeated throughout the day was one version or another of:

‘Former NHS Tayside chief executive ‘received £300,000’ pay-off. NHS Tayside’s former chief executive received a final financial package of more than £300,000, an MSP has claimed. Labour MSP Jenny Marra said the “golden handshake” was a “slap in the face” for the people of Tayside.’

Notice the careful use of speech mark in the headline but their abandonment in the main text of the website version. The broadcast versions, of course, lacked any such subtlety and the message for viewers was bleated clearly – SNP baaaaaahhhhd!  Detecting a pattern, this tweet simplified it for us:


Notably, however, a senior SNP minister entered the fray, condemning the BBC in the way many of us had despaired of them doing previously:


 Jeane Freeman did not, of course, get the chance to headline her protest to a mass broadcast audience and we must hope the 600 plus retweets have pushed the message beyond SNP membership.

In the wake of the exposure of the BBC attempting to close down pro-independence Youtube sites on copyright ‘contraventions’ while ignoring the same by other sites, the above story is no surprise to most of us and follows numerous ‘fake news’ and no-news stories, just in 2018, reported here, aimed at damaging by association the Scottish Government.

IMPORTANT: Readers with health problems are advised not to look at the length of this list (43!)  before sitting down with a stiff drink.

1.      Massive Fraseresque ‘BUTLIST’ from BBC Scotland to downplay business success

2.      Update: BBC analysis wrong? Scotland’s A&E departments infinitely better than those in non-Scottish parts yet BBC Scotland pounce on stats like a starved rat

3.      Scottish prescriptions costs ‘soaring’ 0.1% above inflation warn BBC, Scotsman and iNews

4.      Is BBC Scotland exploiting patients with mental health problems to construct an ill-founded attack on NHS Tayside?

5.      BBC Scotland and BMA collude to produce a classic NHS scare story based on shoddy, unreliable, research

6.      BBC UK silent on the Tory child rapist and the Tory serial child sex offender yet Reporting Scotland offer all-day headline coverage of the SNP MSP’s inappropriate text

7.      Scottish Government announces that poverty gap is closing. BBC Scotland ignores it

8.      Retired Professor fails BBC Reporting Scotland Editor on Organised Crime research

9.      Retired Professor stumps BBC Scotland Acting Temporary Deputy Head of News, Current Affairs and Royal Babies on Obesity

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

11.  Top professor suggests top psychiatrist was taken advantage of by BBC Scotland’s ambulance chasers

12.  ‘Hearse-chasers?’ BBC Scotland scare ‘investigation’ finds 0.04% of dead bodies being left in hospital mortuaries

13.  How many GANGSTERS are preying on the financial fears of pensioners? BBC Scotland and Herald care not, as long as they can scare us

14.  Scottish Fire and Rescue Service making ‘steady progress’ that is ignored by BBC Scotland’s scare story

15.  More students from the most deprived parts of Scotland are entering Higher Education but, once again, BBC Scotland attempts to mislead us

16.  Off we go? Within days of Scottish independence debate restart, BBC Scotland attempt to deceive and to create fear on drug treatment figures

17.  BBC Scotland High Heidyin, Sarah Smith, ponders why a fire won’t light when she and her kind have denied it oxygen

18.  BBC Scotland lie and distort to try again to spread violent crime crisis into Scotland despite it having only 3.5% of the gangs for 8% of the population, falling levels of violent crime and because of falling levels of fear of crime?

19.  BBC Scotland hiding Britain’s exploitation of Scotland. EU Money specifically for Scottish hill farmers given to English farmers?

20.  Scottish Government makes 200 European links in effort to counter damage from Tory hard Brexit. BBC Scotland says: ‘eh, what, when?’

21.  BBC Scotland News misuses research findings to lie and scare about drug use in Scotland

22.  BBC Scotland News and Print Journalism on Scottish policing: ‘Forces’ in crisis?

23.  Despite SNP, Labour and Tories (!) getting together to fully fund huge expansion of early learning and childcare, BBC Scotland try to deny all of it with out-of-date comment

24.  BBC Scotland and Herald warn that paediatricians can’t carry on despite 64% increase in paediatric specialists under SNP administration and 8.7% fall in the birth rate.

25.  £13.8 million in support for bereaved families from……? BBC Scotland, who is it from? Could it be from the Scottish Government? Don’t want to say?

26.  The Power of Early Morning Nightmares: Waking up to BBC Scotland and learning to fear an independent future: 18th April 2018

27.  BBC Scotland talks-down the Scottish economy: Bias by omission, language choices and a Rev IM Jolly delivery

28.  Scottish Chambers of Commerce describe First Minister’s trip to China as ‘successful’. BBC Scotland polish their bias-by-omission skills.

29.  How BBC’s Douglas Fraser manages to talk down Scotland’s economy using out-of-date facts and past-it thinking

30.  There are 12% more health visitors, in one year, in Scotland! Will somebody tell BBC Scotland, the Scotsman and the Herald?

31.  BBC News tries to spread knife crime crisis into Scotland to tell us: ‘You’re no different. Don’t get any ideas!’

32.  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

33.  SNP administration doesn’t rest on earlier success of child health strategies but BBC Scotland try to give credit to Labour.

34.  As hate crime falls in Scotland and soars elsewhere, STV and BBC Scotland report fake news of an increase

35.  BBC Scotland website gets it right once more after Jackie bird deliberately gets it wrong, as usual.

36.  BBC Scotland uses a handful of anecdotes from only three customers to suggest ScotRail has serious problems that are not evident from proper research

37.  As NHS staffing climbs, Labour co-ordinate anti-SNP propaganda in Herald, Scotsman, BBC and STV on nursing and midwifery staffing

38.  BBC Scotland’s wilful mis-represenation on literacy levels

39.  BBC Scotland’s shameless attempt to scare with claim that Scottish hospital has cladding ‘similar’ to that of Grenfell revealing ignorance of Scottish building regulations.

40.  BBC Scotland and STV News attempt to mislead us on Higher Education application rates from ‘poorest areas’ and former mathematics teacher Iain Gray fails to add them up properly for them.

41.  How to make a ‘potentially massive’ oil find one that ‘isn’t a big find’? Just lie, omit and minimise. Ask BBC Scotland.

42.  Scottish Government pledges £60 million to maintain its confirmed UK and European lead in low-carbon innovation but BBC Scotland News reports unsubstantiated rumours that ‘Budget cuts ‘could damage Scotland’s climate change ambitions’’

43.  ‘Ambulance-chasers’* BBC Scotland digs up fake news as Scotland’s ambulance services disappoint them by coping well with the winter surge in demand

I’ll stop there in January 2018.


I suffer the brunt of Scott McNab’s educationally and statistically ignorant churnalism in the Herrod


I’ve got a sair heid from reading this.

Here is McNab’s opening statement:

‘More than £400million of spending has been axed from Scotland’s education system since the start of the decade, official figures have revealed.  Older pupils have suffered the brunt of the cuts with spending on secondary education falling by about £350m from budgets since 2010.Nurseries and primary schools saw a rise in spending, according to the figures from the independent Scottish Parliament Information Centre (SPICe). Recent years have seen a worrying fall in Scottish education in international league tables and the SNP Government is now facing claims that it has failed to protect schools from the worst impact of Tory austerity.’

It’s a chaotic piece of writing, peppered with daft comments including that by Iain Grey, but I’ll concentrate on dealing with the two main issues –  a fall in Secondary school spending, leading supposedly but with no evidence at all of it, to older pupils ‘feeling the brunt’  and to an implied connection to a fall in performance in international league tables.

Spending fall in Secondary schools not properly explained

McNab entirely misses these crucial figures:

In 2007 there were 798 275 pupils overall and 309 560 in secondary schools. In 2017 there were 688 959 pupils overall and 281 933 in secondary schools.

So, there was a 15.8%drop in the overall number of pupils and a 9.7% drop in the number of secondary pupils over the last ten years.  McNab doesn’t tell us what the percentage change in budgets was for the same period and he doesn’t source anything, so I can’t trace it quickly. I guess, someone mentioned inflation and he decided not to bother with all that. He does later tell us this:

‘Secondary spending has fallen from £2.25bn to £1.9 bn last year. Primary schooling has risen slightly to £1.96bn, but now tops secondary spending. Nursery spending has also seen a slight increase by more than £50m to reach £410m.’

That suggests a fall of £.35 billion or £350 million from £2.25 billion in 2007 which is a 15% fall. That’s about the same as the overall percentage fall in pupil numbers but greater than the fall in secondary numbers. I’m sure secondary staff might complain at that, but does it not simply reflect a shift in resourcing from secondary to the historically less well funded primary and pre-school sectors, in line with both explicit policy, the research suggesting the shift was needed, and mentioned by McNab in his opening statements?

Do International league tables tell us anything valuable?

I’ve written about this before and the simple answer is that they are useless. Reading them, the Unionist media and the opposition parties scream out ‘crisis’ and reveal just how little they know about education, especially international comparisons. Here is the truth of the matter in ten statements which I elaborated on at the link below:

  1. Some tests just suit some countries’ education systems. Doing well in one test doesn’t make that country’s overall education system better than that of lower rankers and in some cases, especially in East Asia (China, Korea, Singapore), it is evidence of them being worse in many ways.
  2. The PISA results are based on unreliable estimates with huge scope for error and thus, I quote, ‘useless.’
  3. Summarising a country’s education system in just three numbers is, I quote, ‘madness.’
  4. Comparing countries with radically different cultures and educational structures is meaningless.
  5. PISA does not measure curriculum knowledge just general skills, so the so-called successes of Finland and South Korea or the middle-rank ‘failure’ of Scotland are not based on the quality of their teachers, their schools or their curriculum.
  6. The Finnish system is not that successful in other ways that PISA does not test.
  7. The highly authoritarian, ‘industrial’ East Asian systems are a form of child abuse we surely do not want to see in Scotland.
  8. The East Asian systems are not at all successful in developing the creativity, originality and innovation needed for future success in developed societies.
  9. The East Asian systems, in most cases, brutally abandon children with learning difficulties.
  10. The Scottish system is highly successful in feeding its universities with ever more and better qualified students, it is inclusive, caring and explicitly promotes creativity, originality and innovation.

Scotland’s school’s PISA results ‘lean’ toward nothing meaningful. Finland’s success is not real. South Korea and China’s educational programmes amount to child abuse




Student (mature) journalist Andrew Denholm’s undergraduate ‘research’ on Scottish teacher vacancies fails to discover…..anything much


In the student rag, Herald, today, we had another ill-founded report of a crisis:

‘Teacher recruitment crisis: Scottish schools facing nearly 700 vacancies. HUNDREDS of teaching posts across Scotland remain unfilled less than two weeks before pupils return after the summer break. Research by The Herald has revealed there are currently some 670 teacher vacancies at primaries and secondaries across Scotland.’


BAJ Yr 1           Student: Denholm, A.             Tutor: Prof Robertson             5/8/18

Dear Andrew,

  1. Your proposal re teacher shortages in Scotland is seriously short of evidence to back up your case or to contextualise your argument.
    1. How does the number of teachers per capita in Scotland compare with that in, say, England? A quick search finds: 51 513 teacher FTEs in Scotland and 457 300 thousand FTEs in England So, Scotland has 10% of the population but 11.3% of the teachers.
    2. How do the pupil teacher ratios compare? From the same sources, we get 13.6 to 1 in Scotland, 15 to one in English secondaries and 20 to 1 in primaries. So, not surprisingly, Scotland has a better pupil teacher ratio
    3. What percentage of the total number of teachers in Scotland do the 670 unfilled posts represent? It’s a tiny 1.3% so in most primary schools with say 20 staff, there are typically no vacancies and in a secondary school with maybe 50 to 80 staff there may be 1 or 2 vacancies. Crisis? I think not.

See me in Room 101 after today’s Ethics lecture.


‘Wild West 3D Seismic Survey’ to unlock 320 million barrels of Scottish oil


Photo: TGS

From Energy Voice, yesterday:

‘The Erland Wild West 3D seismic survey project has started today in the west of Shetland region of the North Sea. The basin was a place of significant interest for big oil firms such as BP, Total and Shell who took a number of blocks during the recent 30th Offshore Licencing Round. The survey will reportedly cover an area of more than 621 miles of the West of Shetland basin. Total, Siccar Point, BP, Chrysaor, Shell and Parkmead all picked up licences west of Shetland in a licencing round that could have the potential to unlock 320 million barrels of previously stranded oil.’

Development west of Shetland, is already massive and will increase and prolong Scotland’s potential revenue well into the middle of this century. See:

‘Boom in Production from Giant [Kraken] Shetland Field Spurs Oil Industry’

Another North Sea Oil development begins production. It’s called the Western Isles platform and it’s 100 miles east of Shetland – I know, misplaced, but at least it’s a better name than Lancaster, Loyal or Bombardier!

Total begins to make massive profits from Scotland’s oilfields west of Shetland

Dunfermline-based firm secures contract to supply subsea equipment for huge oilfield west of Shetland

Another oil major reports record production in the first half of the year boosted by the Solan field off Shetland

£290 billion of tax revenue still in the North Sea and much more to the west of Shetland

More signs of massive oil expectations in Scotland’s waters west of Shetland and the Chinese market is desperate for it

Estimates of Scotland’s oil reserves West of Shetland now massively increased to around 8 billion barrels! ‘A super-resource now on the cards.’


Scottish attractions are Number 1 and 2 in TripAdvisor poll without ‘Strongman skirt parties’!


(‘Strongman skirt party’) (c)

From Scottish Field on 2nd August:

The Seasonal Experiences Trend Index, announced by TripAdvisor, the world’s largest provider of bookable tours and activities, reveals the must-visit attractions for summer, based on year-over-year booking activity on the site. The firm announced the top 10 for the UK, with Scotland taking three of the slots- including the top two positions. With a 479% increase, taking top slot is the Loch Ness, Highlands and Whisky Distillery Day Tour from Edinburgh. Taking second place, with a 260% rise, is the Skip-the-Line Edinburgh Castle Walking Tour. And in eighth place, with a 200% rise is the One-Hour Real Mary King’s Close Underground Tour in Edinburgh.’

Tourism is, of course, booming across Scotland. See these earlier posts for more:

Humungous 45% increase in Scotch Whisky tourism!

Glasgow and Edinburgh push London into third place in tourism hotspots survey

Scottish tourism growth outpaces that in UK

‘BLOODY HELL Robert the Bruce movie Outlaw King will feature some of the bloodiest battle scenes in cinema history’, put Braveheart in the shade and boost tourism like Outlander.

Glasgow wins two first places in global tourism awards and comes 4th out of 50!

‘Scotland enjoys tourism boost thanks to interest in Gaelic’

North Americans lead surge in Scottish tourism because they feel safer here

Massive increase in spending by international visitors to Glasgow

Spending by tourists in Scotland soars by infinitely more than in non-Scottish parts of UK!

And my favourite:

Massive increase in Chinese visitors to Edinburgh NOT attributed to weak pound and attracted by ‘Strongman skirt parties’



63% fall in large business insolvencies as Scottish economy reveals strength


(c) LAWDonut

From Insider today:

The number of larger businesses in Scotland failing has fallen by more than half in the last quarter compared to the same period last year, according to new figures from KPMG. Administrations – which normally involve larger companies – fell by 63% (10 down from 26) and compared to the previous three months in 2018, decreased by one third (10 down from 15).’

Insolvencies affecting smaller businesses were up 8% but this represents ‘normal attrition rates’ and need not imply a worrying trend over a longer period.

For more on the relative strength of the Scottish economy, see:

See this Douglas? Business investment in Scotland up 250%!

Scottish Business Strength No.77: Small Scottish construction firms’ growth up 17%

Scottish small businesses still more confident than those in non-Scottish parts

Business activity soars to four-year high across manufacturing and service

Business confidence in Scotland soars by 24% while it sinks 29% in non-Scottish parts of UK

Scottish businesses more likely to be stable than those in rest of UK: News from a parallel universe unknown to our mainstream media

Scottish Government supports economy with new business rates unique in UK

Scottish business confidence higher than in any other region of UK