Tory supporter/politician’s cousin/sister/mother accused of encouraging copycat suicide claims

Under this stock image from…Chicago or London…we read:

So, from Scotland’s most Conservative region, we have one GP allegedly telling the Herald that she and her colleagues have observed that the SQA and by association the SNP are driving senior pupils to having suicidal thoughts.

I mean really? Why is she afraid to come out?

Why can she not say how many and what the increase is? They keep records, on computer don’t they? Any senior pupil could show them how to get a few totals out of their spreadsheets if the office manager, also a Tory lady, is typically too dim to do.

This is a, thick as mince, pile on to the new Health Secretary and any journalist who writes such shoddy, exploitative, melodramatic, nonsense should take a good look at themselves.

And, even if there is an observable increase in the midst of this media tsunami of misinformation and panic about the SQA, might we, as intelligent adults, question its substance?

Hold your breath now but might some of these teenagers be thinking how they might take advantage of this situation? Watch the pass rates go through the roof.

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10 thoughts on “Tory supporter/politician’s cousin/sister/mother accused of encouraging copycat suicide claims

  1. There were 833 suicide deaths 2019, in Scotland. 620 makes and 233 females.

    The figure was higher in 2000. It has remained relatively the same since 1982. It peaks and falls.

    Lithuania and South Korea have the highest in the world.


  2. “This is a, thick as mince, pile on to the new Health Secretary and any journalist who writes such shoddy, exploitative, melodramatic, nonsense should take a good look at themselves” – Absolutely, the “thick as mince” does imply DRoss or Jackatory involvement however.
    That the quoted “doctor” is so well connected to colleagues, pupils, teachers and support services in her patch is remarkable enough, but to have so extensively discussed this since the Easter Holidays despite all the Covid restrictions even more so.
    But over-egging the pudding with “many young people were facing waits of up to a year to access help” implies this particular “doctor” has access to a Tardis, which rather limits suspects.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Maybe what ScotGov should do is instigate a sort of FM’s Answers slot, one afternoon per week. Like R4 has Any Answers the day after Any Questions.

    Then the stock answer would be “That sounds serious. Ask the person to contact me direct/let me have the details and I’ll have it looked into. I’ll keep Parliament posted on developments”.

    It would (in no particular order) have several advantages:
    1) It would hold the Government to account in cases where they do genuinely need to do better.
    2) It would stop certain members of the opposition banging on about the same thing week after week.
    3) Is it me, or does Starwars have a tendency to demand ScotGov take actions they’re already taking, as if he’s the one who thought of them? Very irritating. Hopefully it’d stop that!
    4) It might curb the reporters a bit. People would actually be informed, and could see for themselves what the Government was/wasn’t doing.
    5) Even more optimistically/unrealistically, it might reduce point-scoring.
    6) Possibly useful in debunking the worst of the press?

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I have to say that this is more widespread than you seem to believe. My daughter is a good student, has got good grades but the pressure she has been under over the past few months has meant that she has stopped eating, lost over a stone in weight and self harming to the extent that CAMHS is now involved. She has never had mental health issues previously. And she’s not the only one in her year to be suffering from stress and anxiety. I get the media is jumping all over this, but to dismiss it entirely is a mistake. I’d like to add that I agree with you that to suggest that everyone is having to wait for over a year for CAMHS is misleading as we haven’t had to wait more than a few weeks for help from CAMHS. And we were initially told 8 weeks.


  5. “Doctor, could you give us your evidence”?


    A.-I had a dream.
    B.-A voice in my head told me.
    C.-OK, you got me–its just a scam”!


  6. To use suicide to score political points, and to attribute it to any specific policy, is appalling in my book. The past fourteen months will have taken it’s toll on many people, not least the young. Exams in whatever form they take, are stressful for many, but the writer here needs to be careful in how they try to frame their story around potential suicide among young people. Without evidence and statistics, it is disingenous to suggest that young people are having suicidal thoughts because of the exams system during the pandemic. Mental health and suicide is very complex, it should not be being used lightly to score political points.
    The Scottish government recently announced that they are investing in mental health services across Scotland, but without full fiscal powers and no doubt an dealing with ever reduced budget, investing in anything above what is already available must be taking it’s toll on Scotland’s purse, one which is partly at least clasped shut, by the English government.

    I find the use of suicide and mental health being used in this way by the right wing media, really quite distasteful actually.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. O/T but still on schools and specifically on the 2021 assessment of national qualifications. I note that BBC Scotland is taking full advantage of the politicisation of the assessment process by opposition parties in Holyrood.

    The appeals procedure seems now to be the main target of criticism. At FMQs on 3 June an ‘outraged’ Douglas Ross asked: “Will the First Minister do the right thing, concede that she has got this badly wrong and guarantee that no pupil who appeals will be downgraded? No matter how rare she says that is, it will be a risk for young people if they appeal.”

    We can’t expect decency or consistency in politics from this Tory. We know we can’t expect ‘perspective’ on important issues to be provided by BBC Scotland. And we know we can’t expect editorial decisions by the BBC in Scotland on such issues to be afforded similar content, tone or prominence to those made by BBC editors elsewhere. But just in case there is someone visiting btl here for the first time, it’s always worth giving another illustration to justify such assertions!

    The Westminster Tory government’s approved guidance on the conduct of the 2021 school exams in England is published here:

    Joint Council for Qualifications (2021) JCQ Guidance on the determination of grades for A/AS Levels and GCSEs for Summer 2021: processes to be adopted by exam centres and support available from awarding organisations. (Updated 19 April 2021)

    On expected number of appeals it states: “Students who consider that an error has been made in determining their grade will have a right to appeal. We expect that there will be relatively few errors this year.”

    And crucially: “Stage 2: appeal to the awarding organisation ….. The (exam) CENTRE WILL NEED TO ENSURE THE STUDENT IS AWARE THAT THEIR GRADE COULD GO DOWN, UP or stay the same.” (my emphasis) upon appeal.

    WJEC is Wales’ largest awarding body for GCSEs, AS and A Levels approved by Qualifications Wales, the Welsh government agency. Its guide for pupils in the 2021 assessment process, including on appeals, is given here:

    It states that if dissatisfied following a Stage 1 exam centre review of a challenged grade, the pupil can appeal to WJEC (at Stage 2). If the WJEC assessment finds that an ‘error’ has been made at Stage 1 in awarding the grade, it explains that when corrected it “might result in your grade GOING UP, DOWN, or remaining the same.”

    A quick search of BBC News online failed to find aggregation and amplification of political outrage over this matter in England or Wales – unless you know differently? I lost the will to check out the procedure being used in NI. But perish the thought – could we be seeing outraged OPPOSITION to a ‘four nation approach’ being given favourable profile by BBC Scotland?

    (As a final thought, I find the principle of a substantive grading error found during a process of re-assessment being simply ignored – but only when the error has led to an undeservedly higher grade – problematic. Yes there may be some who will shun the appeals process rather than risk down-grading. However, on the other hand, in a competitive market e.g. for limited higher education places, might retaining an undeservedly higher grade convey unfair advantage over those that truly merit the grade they have been awarded?)

    Liked by 1 person

  8. O/T and still on the matters of 2021 qualification assessments and their politicisation. On the Scotland page of the BBC News website today, under the headline ‘Scottish exams body to be reformed amid grades row’, we learn this:

    ‘… convenor of the education committee on the Scottish Youth Parliament (SYP), is the only young person on the NQ21 group. He told Radio Scotland he did not feel listened to, and that his voice was “drowned out”. He said the views of young people had to be considered more.’

    On the SYP’s own website there is a blog written on 3 June 2021 entitled ‘Appeals Process Fails to Uphold Young People’s Rights’. It reports a member writing this:

    “We WELCOME (my emphasis) the fact that the process (of appeal) will be free and will include a direct appeal to SQA and that there will be support put in place for young people’s mental health, which are things we have called for.”

    Then it adds: “SYP is a member of the SQA’s National Qualifications Group and have argued strongly in that group that the appeals process needed to do these two things, to avoid breaching young people’s rights. Unfortunately, the SQA have chosen to disregard those views in publishing their process and NOT MEANINGFULLY ENGAGED with young people in its development.”

    The latter view of ’not meaningfully engaged’ was also expressed in an interview broadcast by BBC Scotland’s late TV news on Thursday. So I was surprised after all this negativity to read this, published on the SYP’s own website as recently as 1 June, 2021 below the headline: ‘Cabinet Blogs – Engaging Young People in Decision-Making’:

    “I have sat on the COVID-19 Education Recovery Group, where I feed in the views of young people. I have SEEN WITH MY OWN EYE the importance of MEANINGFUL ENGAGEMENT like this.” (my emphasis)

    “Every Thursday morning, for the past 6 months I have been representing young people at the COVID-19 Education Recovery Group. Ilse has been appointed to the Mental Health Equalities and Human Rights Forum. Daniella meets with the Scottish Government’s race equality in education stakeholder group. Cameron Garrett MSYP meets with the National Qualification Group every Friday. Ellie Craig MSYP meets with the Gender Equality Taskforce regularly and THIS LIST GOES ON AND ON.”

    “Young people ACTIVELY INVOLVED with decision-makers by attending groups like these. Young people BEING PART OF the thought process and NOT AN AFTERTHOUGHT. Doing things WITH young people, and NOT FOR young people. It is things like this that matter the most to young people, not just being heard but being listened to and then seeing that their input has made a difference. Young people bring fresh perspective, a different kind of energy and valuable opinions. The progress of the Scottish Government in getting young people appointed to these groups, especially in the last twelve months when it was needed most, HAS BEEN EXCELLENT.” (my emphasis)

    These contrasting remarks made over the space of a few days are to say the least puzzling. Is there a more common phenomenon in parts of Scottish political life at play here? In (apparently) signing up for a cooperative group process, involving multiple organisations/stakeholders/individuals, is ‘engagement’ now only deemed ‘meaningful’ by a participating member of a group when that member gets out of the process ALL that THEY want?

    And if a group member doesn’t get all that they wants, is it legitimate to then ‘bad mouth’ the whole cooperative process as ‘not meaningful’ – notably, as in the present example, a process that your own organisation praised highly only a few days before? I’d be hugely disappointing if certain members of the SYP adopt the ‘bad habits’ of their parliamentary elders.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Blimey stewartb, well done on the analysis, your “And if a group member doesn’t get all that they wants” brought to mind the Borders doctor, touching as it most deliberately did on all three touchstones of public political manipulation, education and health, and teenager angst…


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