There are two widely popular myths here.

First, there is the myth that Nicola Sturgeon’s presentation skills are concealing an actual failure on the ground. As the awful truth of what has happened in Tory England emerges, Scotland’s apparently superior performance cannot be accepted. From the Herald’s Macwhirter to the FT and now the often very good, Independent, otherwise informed media commentators are promoting the inaccurate statements from Scottish Labour and Conservatives. It’s wrong and I’ll repeat the evidence why it’s wrong below.

Second, there is the myth that Scotland’s death rate is the third highest in the world.

I’ll do the second one first:

Scotland’s actual death rate is lower than most in Europe

The Scottish data include unconfirmed cases where covid-19 was mentioned as a contributory factor. This is unreliable. Much more reliable are excess deaths, z scores, using ONS data.

At Progressive Pulse, Professor Sean Danaher provides an update on comparisons across countries of excess deaths using z scores. These standardise data on excess deaths by scaling by the standard deviation of deaths. Professor Danaher presents the average z scores between weeks 10 to 20.

  • England 19.89
  • Scotland 7.63
  • Wales 7.07
  • Northern Ireland 3.31
  • Ireland 0.84

“England does extremely badly on this measure, and Wales looks slightly better than Scotland. Northern Ireland does well, but the clear leader using this metric is Ireland. The English figures are more than twice as bad as Scotland and Wales and far worse than NI or IE. Scotland’s score is 5th in those European countries measuring things reliably.

  • England 19.89
  • Spain 11.9000
  • Belgium 11.2700
  • Italy 8.5300
  • Scotland 7.63
  • Sweden 6.9000
  • Norway 0.1900

‘In the world?’ No one knows of course and the Independent writer knows that too but you can be sure Scotland’s death rate will be one of the lowest in the world.

Scotland’s better performance is real

How many times have I had to list this real evidence that the Scottsih Government HAS a better ‘covid record?’ So, once more:

  1. Higher recovery rate
  2. Lower excess mortality rate
  3. Mortality among BAME groups is lower than in ‘white’ population
  4. Death rate in care homes is lower than in England
  5. Mortality among key workers is lower:
  6. Assessment centres protected GP surgeries
  7. Better staffing
  8. Cleaner hospitals
  9. Better Government leadership