The good old Scottish accounting unit of UK Labour seems to be in quite a bit of confusion lately. Maybe Ed hasn’t told them that it’s the General Election they’re meant to be fighting in order to keep their seats, or maybe Jim was too busy having a wee game of kick about out the back to have read the memo. Either way, I have no idea why Scottish Labour are campaigning to cling on to as many seats as they possibly can in May by focusing on Scotland’s devolved issues which are pretty much only relevant to the Scottish Elections in 2016.
The NHS is their main focal point right now, with Scot Lab sending out thousands of leaflets over this past week warning us all that our wonderful NHS is in crisis and at breaking point. Jim Murphy has pledged 1000 more nurses for Scotland – but Murphy has no right to promise that to the electorate going into the General Election, because the NHS and its staff budget allocation is devolved to the Scottish Government.
They’re also promising to build 100,000 new homes in Scotland if we vote Labour in May, according to their Party Political Broadcast – but again, housing is a devolved issue to the Scottish Government; so how can Murphy promise this will be delivered if we vote Labour?
Well, the simple answer is that he can’t and he knows fine well that he can’t – he’s just hoping that you don’t know that he can’t.
“Scottish Labour has a plan” according to their website. It seems like Scottish Labour’s plan is to dupe the people of Scotland into thinking they’re voting in May to secure these promises, when they have absolutely no way of delivering them.
And even if they could deliver on those promises, do we actually trust them with our housing stock, with our NHS? Going by Labour’s record in Scottish Government, the answer is a glaringly obvious and resounding big fat no!
The Labour and Liberal Democrat administration in Scotland pre-2007 SNP takeover had a horrendous record on social housing, building only six social homes between 2003 and 2007; The SNP’s record is a much more impressive 3300 social homes between 2007 and 2011, with a further 1232 social homes completed in 2013.
We have Labour to thank for the disastrous Private Finance Initiative (PFI) scheme, which has seen the NHS’ public purse paying up to 12% more than they would have before PFI was introduced.
It’s not just hospitals that fell victim to Labour’s PFI deals – contracts to build new schools in Scotland were also set up under this scheme under Labour’s leadership. Two schools built in Fife with a capital value of £104 million ended up costing the taxpayer £412 million, and that debt is not expected to be paid off until 2033.
It seems pretty clear to me that thanks to Labour, all that Scotland has been left with is a legacy of financial burden.
It’s not only finances that Scottish Labour cannot be trusted with; they also seemingly cannot be trusted to read statistics very well either. Jim Murphy made a huge gaff the other week when he posted a video to YouTube lambasting the SNP for their atrocious record on the NHS, claiming that four times as many operations had been cancelled than had actually been cancelled. This blunder was quickly noticed thanks to the wonders of social media, and the video was swiftly and very quietly deleted. Labour’s health spokesperson, Jenny Marra, was given the chance to apologise for this so called mistake on BBC Radio Scotland’s Good Morning Scotland show but sadly she refused and instead chose to blame the statistics. Maybe they were too difficult for Labour to understand.
If you cannot read a simple table with clear headings such as this one, you’ll forgive me for not being exactly thrilled about the prospect of you running something as important as our NHS.
Labour are claiming that they will reduce cancer waiting times in Scotland, but when Labour promised to set a target of a maximum 62 days waiting time for treatment, they failed to do so despite having eight years in the Scottish Government. The SNP brought in that target of 62 days and last year the NHS fulfilled that promise to 92% of cancer patients across Scotland.
92% isn’t hitting the targets set out by the Scottish Government and there is still a lot of work to be done, but I’m sure you’ll agree it’s a vast improvement compared to when Labour were last at the helm.
Lastly, Scottish Labour have been telling us how under the SNP delayed discharge (or bed-blocking as it’s more commonly known) has reached the absolute crisis level of a four-year high. That’s true, it has reached a four-year high, but it’s still astronomically lower under the SNP-led Scottish Government than it ever was under the Labour and Liberal Democrat led Government.
Here we have the NHS stats on delayed discharge for the months of January (a notoriously horrendous month for health services everywhere) across the years 2001 – 2007 under the Labour/Liberal Democrat Government, and then from 2008 – 2011 under the SNP…
Now look at the SNP’s more recent records on delayed discharge. You’ll notice that even though the issue of bed-blocking has risen, it’s still nowhere near the scale it was when under the charge of Labour – Going from 600 patients in January 2007 to approximately 150 in January 2014.
I believe those figures not only speak for themselves but highlight the utter audacity of Scottish Labour when they constantly talk our NHS down. The staff working across all of Scotland’s hospitals and medical services are working tirelessly to meet the ever-growing demand in the face of brutal austerity cuts – which is why the SNP has protected and strengthened the NHS budget for the coming financial year, taking the total budget to a historic high of £12 Billion for the year.
I know who I trust when it comes to the NHS in Scotland, and it certainly isn’t Labour.