Scottish politics this year will be much like Scottish politics last year. It will be another 12 months of the SNP dragging Scotland towards oblivion. The Scottish government is hell bent on destroying Scotland. Either they are blind to their own actions or too selfish and greedy to care.
They have wasted a decade in power, determined on fixing things that aren’t broken – like Scottish education. It wasn’t broken. Now it is.
They gave us the Curriculum for Excellence but nobody, from classroom teachers to union leaders right up to Education Secretary John Swinney is able to tell us what the blazes it is.
When he took office – sent in to clear up the mess created by his predecessor Angela Constance – he abolished 3,000 pages of “guidance” for teachers. Who do you think ever read that stuff? How was anybody supposed to keep up with that stuff?
Good grief, War and Peace is only 1200 pages long but the teaching system was burdened with more than twice as much “guidance” which was deemed essential one day and simply abolished the next.
Of course Scottish education could have been improved. Nobody is saying it was perfect but it worked pretty well. And, far from improving it, the SNP tried to spin it round and change it and for a decade they have made it worse.
Scottish schools have lost 4,000 teachers since the SNP came to power and Scottish pupils are drifting down the international league tables year on year. In maths, our kids are now performing at the level of schools in Vietnam. They had Agent Orange and carpet bombing by the USA, we’ve got the SNP.
But, for some reason they are getting away with it, pumping out propaganda from behind a barricade of free stuff – free baby boxes packed with goodies for every child born in Scotland whether they need it or not, free child care for every toddler, free school meals for every child right up to Primary 3.
People love it. Of course they do – it’s all “free” after all. And just like the bread and circuses of Ancient Rome, it helps the ordinary people forget all the other things that they aren’t getting.
The SNP came to power promising to get rid of the “discredited” council tax. They said they would abolish student debt, they said they would cut class sizes.
They created a “legal right” to hospital treatment inside 12 weeks and, just like almost every other health target they set themselves, it hasn’t happened but nobody has gone to jail for breaching that “legal right” to treatment.
When she was Health Secretary, Nicola Sturgeon slashed the number of training places for nurses. Now the Scottish NHS is paying £25 million a year on agency nurses to plug the gaps- a 600 per cent increase in five years.
And now Nicola Sturgeon has the gall to blame Brexit for the lack of nurses. It’s just another scapegoat for her party’s incompetence.
But their failure goes much, much wider. They promised to match the growth rate of other small European nations. Instead figures published alongside the Scottish budget point to an unprecedented 16 years of flatlined GDP.
The SNP got elected on lies and shored themselves up with freebies. They promised a stronger Scotland but all they have done is make us weaker and less attractive to investors. Even their iconic new Forth Bridge was built from imported Chinese steel. I’m all for sourcing the cheapest and best but not when they have told us they are building a stronger Scotland.
Sturgeon has backed away from IndyRef2 as fast as her kitten heels will carry her. It’s so far off in the long grass that elephants are pooing on it. But Nicola has found a new way to cripple the nation’s prospects – tax.
Despite a manifesto which promised to freeze the basic rate of tax, the SNP concocted an extra 21 per cent income tax band for earnings between £24,000 and £44,000 and they put a penny on both the higher and top rates, increasing them to 41p and 46p respectively.
The constitution is over as an issue. Tax is what will dominate politics in Scotland in the coming year and the year after that and every year until the Holyrood elections of 2021.
From now on the fight is between those who want to increase taxes and those who don’t.
Which do you think the people will back? We’ve had enough of taxes. First it was booze and fags, in a little while it’ll be pies and fizzy drinks. I’m off to find a man and enjoy just about the only thing that the government hasn’t managed to tax yet.