Opposition just hate good news
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