By Jason Michael
Faced with diminishing funds and rising costs the Scottish government works to improve the NHS and the education system while the Westminster government bombs hospitals and schools abroad. Apparently this is the fault of the SNP.
First Minister’s Questions has become a nauseating and repetitive drone of unionist voices complaining about the “poor record” of the Scottish National Party in government. The whole #SNPbad campaign seeks to drive into the national consciousness the idea that the present Scottish government is failing in education and healthcare. Waiting lists are too long, and apparently this is the fault of the SNP government. Student debt is rising, and apparently this too is the fault of the SNP. Of course they will claim this. It’s their job as the opposition to call the government to account. Yet they are shy to talk about the reality of money and funding in Scotland.
Hospitals and schools need money to function. It makes the world go round after all, and although Ruth Davidson and Kezia Dugdale love nothing more than to rub Nicola Sturgeon’s nose in the mess they perceive to the failings of the government they are loath to discuss reality. In reality the difficulties faced in education and healthcare were inherited by the SNP from the last Scottish Labour government. This legacy has pinned the SNP down to the task of repairing the damage caused by years of neglect and cuts. We must add to this also the very real problem that the Scottish government is drip fed money – Scotland’s own money – from Westminster at a diminishing rate while the costs of services continue to rise.
Scotland generates enough wealth to over-fund our schools and hospitals. Surely this is the smoking gun needed by the unionist parties to discredit the SNP once and for all? It’s odd that they never say anything about this. Even with prices falling, North Sea oil and gas sales produce enough revenue to solve many of our problems. Our revenue from exports is more than capable of topping up the shortfalls. So what’s the issue? Why can’t the Scottish government throw this money at the problems? Well it would if it could, but – and you guessed it – the vast majority of oil and gas revenues go directly into London’s coffers and all but a small amount of our exports are taken south and taxed at English ports.
Even the revenue Scotland raises by means of income tax, VAT, and the likes is sent to London. What we get in return from Westminster – under the Barnett Formula – is a “hand-out” reflecting a fraction of the money we send to London. It’s the pocket money of an abused spouse, and that’s why Davidson and Dugdale avoid it like the plague. On this allowance the Scottish government is meant to transform the country into an instant utopia – lest it get a beating from the prisoner functionaries of Scottish Labour and the Tories.
Most ironic, for those of us who want a better funded National Health Service and education system in an independent Scotland, is the fact that these unionist talking heads – who complain at every turn of how badly the Scottish government is doing – support a Westminster regime that soaks up our money – that we could be using – in order to bomb hospitals and schools all over the Middle East. If we want to talk about realities, then we ought to begin with the awful reality that the union is not good for health and education in Scotland or in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, or in Yemen.
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Author: Jason Michael (@Jeggit)