The SNP is dragging Scotland down, writes Andrew Bridgen MP in his latest column for The Pavlovic Today.
The Problem with a one-party state is there is no one else to blame.
As the SNP Government looks for its 4th term in office, it again sabers rattles about independence and the Brexit referendum, in an unsubtle way, to distract from what is an appalling record in office that has failed Scotland and the Scottish people.
For 14 years, while they campaigned for and lost the referendum on independence and subsequently campaigned to remain in the European Union and worked to subvert the Brexit process, the ground underneath them has crumbled. A whole host of targets have been failed, most notably on the Scottish economy.
A recent report written by the Confederation of British Industry and Business Advisers KPMG found Scotland lags behind in several categories, including weaker investments and poorer exports. It warned business closures, job losses, and uncertainty, as well as the cumulative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, had served as a "critical reminder of the need to fix the fundamentals of Scotland's underperforming economy." The report went onto highlight that Scotland had suffered from a "long struggle with sluggish productivity."
In addition to this, during the SNP term of office, they have presided over the lowest rate of job creation in the UK, growing the number of jobs by just 4.9% since 2007, less than a third of England's rate.
It's not just the economy where the SNP is failing, though. International PISA study shows that Scottish education has gone backward with the reading score lower than levels in 2003 and science at a record low. Yes, they refuse to publish a crucial review into their failed curriculum reforms using the pandemic as an excuse to face scrutiny ahead of the Holyrood elections.
Nicola Sturgeon's habit of getting in a press conference ahead of the Prime Minister has tried to portray an impression that the SNP has a grip of the Health Service in Scotland. However, the truth is far different, with Audit Scotland stating that just 2 of 8 key health targets were hit in 2018 and progress in making changes for the future was 'too slow.'
A whole host of targets across all aspects of Government have failed to be met. The SNP has dropped its target of delivering 50,000 affordable homes over the Parliament, homelessness rose by 4% in 2019-20, nearly 20% of Scotland's landmass does not have access to good 4G coverage, and violent crime has been rising for the last five years.
I'm sure the SNP would try and put this down to a lack of resources. However, the Treasury's country and regional analysis report (CRA) found spend per head on public services was £11,566 in Scotland, compared to a UK average of £9,895, a difference of £1,671, so shortage of funding from Westminster is difficult to claim.
The report also revealed the Conservative Westminster government spend in Scotland increased by 10.6 percent over the past five years, while the overall UK percentage had grown 9 percent.
With this record, it is no wonder the SNP wants to keep the target on Scottish nationalism with even the enthusiasm for the EU being slightly played down given that the EU's true colors have been shown throughout the vaccine debacle, which even the most ardent 'Remainer' is struggling to defend.
The Scottish Government is now reminiscent of some Labour Councils who for years got elected despite the appalling record of waste and incompetence, the end result of which can be seen in Liverpool at present with Government Commissioners sent in to take it over amid allegations of corruption, an action which even Sir Kier Starmer the Labour Party leader has supported.
The truth of the matter is that even with the ever-growing assistance of English taxpayers, the SNP is dragging Scotland down.
While they scream about their utopia of an independent Scotland, there is little vision of what this would look like other than an application to rejoin the EU, a madness of wanting to leave a successful union and straight away hand over powers to one which is failing.
All of this against a party riven with internal disputes and with a leader who has been found to have lied to Parliament yet carried on regardless. The nationalism which allows the SNP to survive its dreadful record is the greatest threat to Scotland's future as it allows the perpetuation of a one-party state and a Government that is not fit to govern by all reasonable measure.
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