Op­po­si­tion just hate good news

Rutherglen Reformer - - News From The Pews -

When good news ar­rives most people would wel­come it.

Un­for­tu­nately, this is not al­ways the case if you are an op­po­si­tion party in Scot­land. Whether Labour, Tory or Lib­eral Demo­crat, you must al­ways be poised to wring the small­est morsel of neg­a­tiv­ity from any wel­come news con­nected with Scot­land’s econ­omy, the NHS or ed­u­ca­tion.

In fact, any pos­i­tive news about any as­pect of life in Scot­land must be an­a­lysed to a mi­cro­scopic de­gree to try and blame the SNP Govern­ment in Scot­land for some­thing.

Two weeks ago Tory and Labour prophets of doom were lick­ing their lips at spec­u­la­tive re­ports that Scot­land’s econ­omy was about to go into “tech­ni­cal re­ces­sion.”

How very dis­ap­pointed they must have been then, when of­fi­cial UK Govern­ment fig­ures showed that Scot­land’s econ­omy ac­tu­ally grew at four times the rate of the rest of the UK. More fig­ures showed that Scot­land was, in fact, one of the most suc­cess­ful parts of the UK for at­tract­ing in­ward in­vest­ment, sec­ond only to Lon­don and the south-east of Eng­land.

There was also wel­come news on em­ploy­ment fig­ures re­cently. The Of­fice of Na­tional Sta­tis­tics con­firmed that Scot­land’s un­em­ploy­ment rate has fallen to its low­est level since 1992.

Rather than wel­come the news with at least a lit­tle en­thu­si­asm, union­ist politi­cians scrab­bled around for terms such as “near miss,” “avoided re­ces­sion” and “lucky es­cape”.

Whilst there are still chal­lenges ahead for the econ­omy, these fig­ures re­in­force the fact that the fun­da­men­tals of Scot­land’s econ­omy are strong.

And it is not all just down to a wel­come rise in North Sea out­put. Manufacturing out­put is also up. This is par­tially due to the re­sump­tion of steel pro­duc­tion at the Dalzell plant af­ter the Scot­tish Govern­ment in­ter­vened, one of many ac­tions taken to boost manufacturing, which also in­cluded sup­port­ing the Cly­de­bridge steel­works in Cam­bus­lang.

In other good news, the Nuffield Trust ac­knowl­edged that the NHS in Scot­land was the best per­form­ing health ser­vice any­where in the UK. The re­port they re­leased was called “Learn­ing from Scot­land’s NHS” and out­lined some of the lessons the NHS in other parts of the UK can take from Scot­land. This cer­tainly chimes with some of the pos­i­tive and ful­some ap­pre­ci­a­tion I heard about our NHS from con­stituents only this week, whilst out on my street surg­eries in Ruther­glen.

De­spite this, plus the news that the vast ma­jor­ity of health boards are meet­ing their four hour A& E tar­gets, no pos­i­tive ac­knowl­edg­ment from op­po­si­tion par­ties in Scot­land for this ac­co­lade, or recog­ni­tion of the ef­forts of hard work­ing NHS em­ploy­ees who got us there.

Fol­low­ing the an­nounce­ment from the Scot­tish Govern­ment that it is to end the one per cent pub­lic sec­tor pay cap and against a back­drop of con­tin­u­ing Tory bud­get cuts, NHS staff and other pub­lic sec­tor work­ers will see salary im­prove­ments in the com­ing year that better re­flect ris­ing liv­ing costs.

The Scot­tish Govern­ment has called on the UK Govern­ment to fol­low suit but the chan­cel­lor, Philip Ham­mond has, in­stead, told pub­lic sec­tor work­ers that they are “over­paid”.

Labour are no better, say­ing one thing in Scot­land and do­ing an­other thing in Eng­land and Wales. The Labour ad­min­is­tra­tion in Wales have re­fused to com­mit to lift­ing the cap.

The rest of the UK can learn from what is hap­pen­ing in Scot­land. Whilst there is still work to be done Scot­land is mov­ing for­ward, while the rest of the UK is in a mud­dle.

Scot­land is mov­ing for­ward while the rest of the UK is in a mud­dle

Super hos­pi­tal The NHS in Scot­land, in­clud­ing the Queen Elizabeth Univer­sity Hos­pi­tal in Glas­gow, is be­ing held up as an ex­am­ple for the rest of the UK

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