underlying economic strength in exports growing 5 times faster than England
From HMRC yesterday but not making our MSM for some
Scotland was the
fastest growing region, with exports growing by 14.5% over the past year.
In the 12 months to Q2 2019, goods exports in:
England grew by 2.7% to
Scotland grew by 14.5% to £34.0bn
Wales grew by 6.8% to £17.7bn
Northern Ireland grew by 6.8%
The data shows that the benefits of global trade is being shared amongst
all parts of the UK (Aye right so it is), with businesses opening themselves up
to new markets around the world. In the
last year, demand for Scottish goods in China increased by 213.8% to £3.4bn
while exporters in Northern Ireland saw overseas sales in the U.S. increase by
12.9% to £1.1bn.
forces across north Wales, Merseyside and Scotland have launched a series of
dawn raids targeting “county lines” drugs gangs. Searches were carried out at 24 properties at 07:15 BST in
Flintshire, Conwy, and Anglesey in north Wales, and in Liverpool and Scotland. North
Wales Police said more than 300 officers from three forces have taken part in
Scotland reported the problem as early as January 2019:
Crime-stoppers is today 14th January 2019 launching a campaign to highlight the
pain and suffering that criminals from English cities are inflicting on
vulnerable people in Scotland’s rural and coastal towns. The campaign aims
to raise awareness of County Lines, which is when criminals from major cities
such as Liverpool, Manchester, London and Birmingham are expanding their drug
networks to other areas, bringing with it serious criminal behaviour such as
violence, exploitation and abuse. The term County Lines refers to the use of a
single telephone number to order drugs, operated from outside the local area. This
is having a massive impact on rural communities and also on vulnerable children
and adults who are being recruited in cities such as Manchester and Liverpool.
Only the Sunday Post reported this at the time though the Times newspaper had a story of arrests in the previous October:
a Police Scotland announcement and
clearly some media aware of it. Why have BBC
Scotland not considered it in the public interest when it sounds eminently
so? Are they worried it would seem anti-English?
Sometimes I think, even with my modest
understanding of statistics, responding to Scottish journalists’ efforts is
like shooting fish in a barrel.
In the Scotsman yesterday we see the confident assertion that Scotland has
the highest suicide rate in the UK. First, Northern Ireland has a notably
higher rate than Scotland. It’s called ‘The
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.’ Second, Scotland did
have a higher suicide rate than England, in 2018, but the more important facts
are that there is a notable downward trend here over a more meaningful period
of time and the one-year change can be explained, whereas as the rate of change
is static in England.
Here are the Scottish figures:
The one-year increase in 2018 is not,
as any O-Grade, Standard Grade or National 4 mathematics pupil will tell you,
evidence of a trend. It is probably related to the drugs epidemic triggered by
Thatcherite economic policies in the 1980s. Much of the 2018 increase may well
be attributable to the spike in drug-related deaths among older users, the Trainspotting Generation, who are now
reaching the end of their shortened life expectancies together. This may go on
for a year or two until this tragic group have all expired.
Also, the trend is downward. Using
proper statistical methods to detect a trend, even if you include the 2018
spike in a set for 2015-2018, the average is 14.75 compared with 16.75 for the
previous 4 years from 2011 to 2014.
Here are the data for Northern
There is, here, clear evidence of an
Here are the data for England:
The rate is clearly lower than in Scotland
but is static and not improving.
In the Scottish Parliament this week, Miles Briggs (Lothian)
(SCAUP) asked the Scottish Government what its response is to the estimate by
the Royal College of Emergency Medicine that 200 more hospital beds are
required in Scotland. (S5W-24570)
We note the Royal
College of Emergency Medicine (RCEM) have used a bed occupancy of 85% to
estimate that NHS Scotland needs an additional 200 beds. For context, that is 1.5% of NHS Scotland’s acute bed
base; RCEM also estimate that in England
an additional 5,065 beds are needed – 5.0% of the general & acute bed
I understand that the
85% bed occupancy originates from research
carried out around 20 years ago. There have been significant changes to the NHS
and the way care is delivered since then, including the four-hour A&E
standard, ambulatory care, and same day surgery. We recognise that bed
occupancy should be monitored as part of hospital bed planning. The latest
published statistics show acute specialty bed occupancy in Scotland was at
87.7%, 86.9%, 85.9% and 86.7% in the last four years.
week Alex Cole-Hamilton asked the Scottish Government, in light of the
introduction of a UK Government Bill to restrict the serving of foods high in
fat, salt or sugar in schools by 2022, whether it has considered introducing a
similar target. (S5W-24823)
Our school meal uptake is higher now than when
current Scottish school food regulations were first introduced in 2008 and we
are leading the way by becoming the first part of the UK to set a maximum
amount of sugar and processed red meat that can be made available during the
course of the school day. The current regulations already include strict upper
limits in relation to sugar and school caterers must plan their menus in a
manner which prevents children and young people from consuming excessive
amounts of sugar, fat, or salt over the course of the school week. We will be
amending the regulations further to make school meals even healthier and more
closely aligned with the Scottish Dietary Goals. The improvements to school
food and drink are a key part of our commitment to strengthening children and
young people’s healthy eating habits and halving childhood obesity by 2030.
that’s clear. The SNP Government is on this and ahead of the game in England
but thanks Alex, for nothing.
Previously, on August 29th, Alex
Cole-Hamilton asked the Scottish Government whether it plans to introduce
Child Measurement Programme in Scotland, which was introduced
in England in 2005, in order to tackle childhood obesity? Of course, he was
well behind the curve. See this from
School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, reported in the Independent on
26th May 2018:
‘Under current trends it is predicted that 11 per cent of the
population in Wales will be morbidly obese in 2035, roughly 340,000 adults,
while Scotland is likely to plateau at about 5 per cent and
England will rise to about 8 per cent.’
The researchers offered a surprisingly clear, confident and simple
explanation for the significantly slower growth in Scotland – Scottish
Government policy initiatives and resource allocation:
‘The government put a massive push on developing a route map for
how we can actually combat this. They put together resources from the NHS that
were proving to be effective. They did put a lot of work into it.’
as recently as March 2019, Tavish Scott suggested we copy another FAILED
English scheme on student teacher recruitment. How good is the English system?
It’s not good at all. They missed all their targets and entrant numbers fell by
week Labour’s Monica Lennon asked
the Scottish Government how much each NHS board pays to private contractors for
hospital catering services. (S5W-24708). Jeanne Freeman’s response in a table
showed that around 11 million was outsourced. I was reminded then of how Labour had started
all this and the SNP had begun to put a stop to it in 2008:
Government today banned private contractors from tendering for catering and cleaning
deals at NHS hospitals with immediate effect. In a guidance note to
Scotland’s 14 health authorities, John Matheson, director of health finance at
the Health Finance Directorate, stated that cleaning and catering played a key
role in the delivery of clinical services in the NHS in Scotland. Existing
contracts for the provision of services are not affected by this
guidance. Last year Scotland spent £46m
on catering at its 64 general hospitals, although this figure includes
both public and private caterers.
important however was this intention in 2008:
The [SNP] secretary claims bringing catering and soft service in house are the only effective way to eradicate super-bugs, such as MRSA and Clostridium difficile from Scotland’s hospitals.
Then in June 2019, Labour’s Lennon asked how many hospital-acquired
infections have been connected to food products. The SNP Health Secretary was
able to reply that there had been NO
hospital-related foodborne outbreaks in the past five years.
So, 11 years after the SNP began to
replace Labour privatisation folly on hospital catering, where they legally
could do so, food-related disease outbreaks have been wiped out.
is falling on only one UK railway network – D Division! What, is that Scotland?
British Transport Police record
crimes across 12 different categories, travellers will also be please to see
that violence against the person and sexual offences are falling in Scotland in line with a wider reduction of crime
across the country in the last 10 or more years:
And, crime was already much lower on D Division Scotland’s trains. England has 10 times the population so all things being equal might be expected to have 10 times the crime on its railways. Scotland had 1668 crimes in 2018/19 so England on that basis would have 16 680. From the data here, it had 65 099! The rate of crime on England’s railway system is 4 times higher than in Scotland.
How BBC UK saw the report from the BTP:
But hey the Herald only 18 minutes after we posted!
STV beats us by 20 minutes. Some young person on speed?
In the latest available annual NHS staff survey, from last year, 14.5% of staff said they had experienced physical violence from
patients, their relatives or the public. But the trade union, Unison, believes
many incidents are going unreported. Its research with the Health Service Journal, based on freedom of information requests from all NHS trusts in
England in 2016-17, found physical assaults on NHS hospital staff had risen
9.7% since 2015-16. The figures suggested that, on average, there were just
over 200 reported violent attacks on NHS workers every day.
situation in NHS Scotland is significantly different:
for violence and/or aggression toward NHS Scotland staff have fallen from 301
in 2008/9 to 190 in 2017/18, a fall of
37% in 9 years. NHS Scotland has 160 000 staff, so convictions are at
There has been a particularly welcomed and dramatic fall, 35%
in only 5 years, in attacks on emergency
workers, again in line with overall crime reduction in Scotland after more
than a decade of SNP-rule. See:
Perceptions of inequality are
strongly associated with problems such as violent crime. Has the SG government,
within the UK straight-jacket, had some effect on reducing a commonly shared
sense of inequality? See this for more:
likely? NHS Scotland is just more effective with fewer delays and more staff.
That must surely mean fewer situations where perhaps some scared patient tries
the only thing they know to get attention?
These three, averaging at exactly 50%,
coming after YouGov polls in 2017 and 2018 consistently putting support at 44% and
without predominantly independence supporting 16 and 17 year-olds, suggest a
real trend and one that puts the Union in serious jeopardy.