Why Scotland’s ‘budget deficit’ matters little even if it still exists after we get actual non-estimated data

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‘The leading thinker and most visible public advocate of modern monetary theory – the freshest and most important idea about economics in decades – delivers a radically different, bold, new understanding for how to build a just and prosperous society.


Any ambitious proposal – ranging from fixing crumbling infrastructure to Medicare for all or preventing the coming climate apocalypse – inevitably sparks questions: how can we afford it? How can we pay for it? Stephanie Kelton points out how misguided those questions really are by using the bold ideas of modern monetary theory (MMT), a fundamentally different approach to using our resources to maximize our potential as a society.


We’ve been thinking about government spending in the wrong ways, Kelton argues, on both sides of the political aisle. Everything that both liberal/progressives and conservatives believe about deficits and the role of money and government spending in the economy is wrong, especially the fear that deficits will endanger long-term prosperity.


Through illuminating insights about government debt, deficits, inflation, taxes, the financial system, and financial constraints on the federal budget, Kelton dramatically changes our understanding of how to best deal with important issues ranging from poverty and inequality to creating jobs and building infrastructure. Rather than asking the self-defeating question of how to pay for the crucial improvements our society needs, Kelton guides us to ask: which deficits actually matter? What is the best way to balance the risk of inflation against the benefits of a society that is more broadly prosperous, safer, cleaner, and secure?


With its important new ways of understanding money, taxes, and the critical role of deficit spending, MMT busts myths that prevent us from taking action because we can’t get beyond the question of how to pay for it.’

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Video at: https://www.taxresearch.org.uk/Blog/2020/01/18/the-deficit-myth-stephanie-kelton/

Only BBC UK sees different Scotland look after its veterans as England drifts further into the dark night of endless Tory rule

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From BBC UK but missed by BBC Scotland today:

A leading mental health charity for military veterans says it will not be able to take any new cases in England and Wales, because of a funding crisis. Combat Stress said its income has fallen from £16m to £10m in the current financial year partly due to cuts in NHS funding support.

 And much, much further down:

The charity still receives more than £1m from NHS Scotland and it will continue to take on new cases there and in Northern Ireland.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-51243098

Needless to say, BBC Scotland have not covered this, just as they have not covered these:

Scotland IS different as it protects unaccompanied children seeking asylum

Different NHS Scotland and Wales reject England’s hostile environment for vulnerable migrant mothers-to-be

It is a matter of life in Scotland and death in England

Only Guardian and Al Jazeera tell us EU families and ‘Eurochildren’ in Brexiting Britain feel safer in Scotland

Scotland drifting away from nasty place as SNP Government launches funeral benefit for those on low income

Scotland IS a different place as its universities offer guaranteed places to care leavers

Abuse of women and the disabled far higher in England than in Scotland

Less homicide, less knife crime, less domestic violence, safer cities and now much lower alcohol problems: should Scotland’s old stereotypes be sent south?

Racial hate crimes increase by 33% in England & Wales while falling by 10% in Scotland: Who says we’re not different?

Scottish Muslim students far less likely to report abuse or crime?

Terror de-radicalisation referral rate in Scotland less than one third per capita of that in England

Only in Scotland! ‘A review of small country’s approaches to public policy reform in response to economic, demographic and other pressures found that only in Scotland could this ‘golden thread’ be so clearly discerned’

Scientific evidence that Scots tend to be different from the other groups in rUK?

Who said Scots were not more left-wing than those in the rest of the UK?

With 1 in 4 living wage employers already in Scotland, the Scottish Government aims to make this a ‘Living Wage Nation’

8% of the UK population and 28% of living wage employers. More evidence that we are different enough to want to run the whole show?

80 000 lowest paid workers in NHS England still on poverty wages as NHS Scotland follows Scottish Government policy to pay a living wage to all public-sector employees

Scottish care workers to receive Living Wage for ‘sleepover’ hours while English care workers receive only the National Minimum Wage.

Different Scotland in the UN report on ‘Workhouse Britain’

Scottish values making oil and gas firms a tad different too?

Are Scotland’s employers also different – more willing to pay a decent wage?

With 1 in 4 living wage employers already in Scotland, the Scottish Government aims to make this a ‘Living Wage Nation’

8% of the UK population and 28% of living wage employers. More evidence that we are different enough to want to run the whole show?

Why Jeanne Freeman should be the last Health Secretary to go

As Tory-run NHS England produces the worst A&E figures in history, the costliest building delays and the most dangerous places to be born, the Scottish Tories might do better to be quiet. Here’s why:

Boris Johnson’s abundant failure in government as his NHS England A&E waiting time figures for December plummet to new depths below 70%!

Scotland’s A&E departments treat 85% in less than 4 hours over Christmas and beat even the faked figures for NHS England in November

Health Secretary photographed as NHS Scotland Cancer Treatment 95% target is met

You are MORE THAN TWICE as likely to spend more than 12 hours waiting in A&E in NHS England than in NHS Scotland

Has Jeanne Freeman’s letter to EU NHS Scotland staff prevented a real crisis this winter?

Dear Boris: NHS Scotland largest reductions in surgical deaths EVER documented!NHS Scotland beats drug and alcohol treatment target for three years and Reporting Scotland ignores it for the same period

NHS England urged to follow Scotland’s more inclusive bowel screening and save thousands of lives but it’s not newsworthy here

NHS Scotland increasing mental health discharges by 33% in 10 years with 95% treated near to home

As NHS England denies single women Scotland’s IVF service is 100%

Jeanne Freeman demolishes Miles Briggs by revealing that NHS England is short of 25 times as many beds as NHS Scotland is

Reporting Scotland Up reveals Scotland’s hospitals cleanest in UK as Norovirus reports halve here but double there

I could go on.

SHOCK: James Kelly’s sums don’t add up again

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On Thursday 23rd January 2020, in Holyrood, James Kelly (Glasgow) (Scottish Labour) asked the Scottish Government what its response is to recently reported alcohol-related brain damage statistics, which suggest that the number of people with this condition is at a 10-year high.

The answer:

Last year, ‎2018-19 shows a drop in the number of patients with ARBD, a decline of 3% from the previous year

The actual data:

2017/18                810

2018/19                785

https://www.parliament.scot/S5ChamberOffice/WA20200123.pdf

Kelly has previous on arithmetical confusion. In 2016:

“Of the cases that come to court, over half of them fail. So even if you accepted the basic premise of the Act, as a law it’s not working.”

From Wings:

This is a lie. Of OBFA cases brought to court, 69% (242 out of 352) have resulted in convictions and just 31% have failed. Last time we checked, 31% was less than half by a quite significant distance. There hasn’t been a single year in which “over half” of OBFA cases brought to court have failed

And in 2019:

On the day before Burns Night, Herald’s ‘lousy’ Health Correspondent DOES NOT possess the power to see hersel as ithers see her!

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The disappointing health correspondent

McCardle writes:

‘MAKING the right decisions on medical treatments depends on sound, unbiased scientific evidence on whether drugs work.It is interesting then, that in the past week two separate papers – in respected journals, the Lancet and BMJ – have highlighted shortfalls blighting the reliability of clinical trials and studies.’

She’s correct that, no news though, we can’t trust big pharma. It’s just a bit ironic, comical even, that she should be the one to criticise bias and conflict of interest given the agenda transparent in her writing and the regular misuse of evidence to produce reports critical of the SNP government. I’ve probably corrected more of her fibs than anyone other than Reporting Scotland Down’s Lisa Summers. Here are the most recent:

2.      93% can see a GP in 2 days but Herald Health Correspondent lies for 4th time as election looms

3.      The Herald vs BBC Scotland battle for ‘Mencken Sickness Correspondent 2019’ continues as GP numbers increase but only in Scotland

4.      Herald’s bitter struggle with BBC Scotland for worst health correspondent of the century continues on NHS Highland ‘bullying’

5.      50% more nurses in Scotland but Herald’s Hobgoblin Correspondent presents trade union’s dodgy research to help Tories as election looms

6.      We wonder why TV and Newspaper health correspondents are the worst of a very bad lot as the Herald lies again on NHS staffing

7.      Herald and Royal Academy misleading the public on doctor training

8.      Parts of NHS England A&E ‘third world’ yet NHS Scotland at least 18% better is in crisis?

SNP Baby Boxes not suitable for Australia says expert

Retired Sun writer, Naz T Bustard, has attacked the non-existent plan to include the boxes in aid-packages for Australia. According to Bustard:

‘Koala piss will pass right through these shoddy boxes and they’ll be no use at all if your baby is on fire.’

116,141 Baby Boxes have been issued from the roll-out of Scotland’s Baby Boxes on 15 August 2017 up until 11 December 2019.The indicative current take-up rate is 96%.

https://www.gov.scot/publications/foi-201900009779/

Should Reporting Scotland make an official complaint to BBC UK on their failure to politicise 130 brain-damaged babies?

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It is there down at the bottom with a less-than dramatic headline but containing this: ‘At least seven preventable baby deaths may have occurred at the trust since 2016, a BBC investigation found. Here’s how the Independent saw it:

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Though the Independent report has more disturbing facts, neither think to mention the Secretary of State for Health, Matt Hancock. There is certainly no picture of him. 130 brain-damaged new-borns on the watch of Tory ministers and BBC UK, even the at times mildly leftist Independent see no need to politicise the story, confining themselves to those who actually manage the hospitals. The contrast with the approach taken by BBC Scotland is perhaps the strongest and clearest evidence of bias in their reporting on the SNP Government:

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So, in England, 7 deaths and 130 brain-damaged new-borns due to neglect and no mention of the Tory Minister, but in Scotland, one child death where a hospital infection may have been a contributory factor and a Tory MSP’s call for a resignation is headlined.

BBC UK, England, N Ireland and Wales never politicise health issues while BBC Scotland nearly always does. It’s an easy way for me to find objective evidence of their bias so why don’t they put an official complaint in against the others?

Health is the major concern of those middle-aged and older voters who turn out. It’s the only area where BBC Scotland can score, mostly offside and after a blatant foul, against the SNP Government so they will keep coming for it like a pack of hyenas.

Channel 4 exposes the filthy cost of England’s privatised water as Scottish Water stays clean and trusted

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NOT the crossing on the River Ayr in Ayr

Story idea: David Nicol

In a disturbing piece on Channel 4 News last night, we heard:

Untreated sewage is being released into rivers across England and Wales – perfectly legally – and campaigners are calling it a ‘dirty little secret’. This programme has now obtained exclusive figures showing how often and for how long it’s happening. Water companies are allowed to release a mixture of rainwater and sewage through special overflow pipes during spells of heavy rain – but we’ve discovered that during 2018 – there were 140,000 spills, lasting a total of 900,000 hours.

https://www.channel4.com/news/900000-hours-of-human-sewage-and-rainwater-flow-into-uk-rivers-every-year-revealed

The disaster of water privatisation in England:

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2015 data

According to the Environment Agency reported on the BBC UK website last July:

[In England] there were 56 serious pollution incidents last year [2018], rising from 52 in 2017, the agency’s annual report said. Only one of the nine major water companies in England is performing at the expected level, with most likely to miss 2020 targets, the agency added. The report follows the agency’s announcement that Southern Water is facing prosecution after it was hit with a record £126m penalty package over “shocking” failures in its sewage treatment sites.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-48934421

Meanwhile in Scotland, according to SEPA:

In 2017, for the first time in a number of years, Scottish Water was not responsible for any category 1, serious pollution incidents.

https://consultation.sepa.org.uk/sector-plan/water-waste-water-treatment/user_uploads/water_supply_and_waste-water_sector_plan_draft_annex.pdf

A report in Open Democracy attributes the situation in England to privatisation:

The dire state of our rivers is just one of the many, many failures of water and sewerage privatisation. It is just one example of what happens when we hand over not just time-limited contracts for delivering water and sewerage services, but the actual assets themselves – the pipes, the infrastructure – to private companies to milk for profit.

https://www.opendemocracy.net/en/oureconomy/when-we-own-it-public-ownership-water-21st-century/

The resulting customer satisfaction:

In a ComRes survey of 199 Scots, published last July, we see:

  • Thinking generally about the company that provides your water and sewerage services, do you or do you not trust your water company? UK 86% Scotland 94%
  • Do you or do you not trust your water company to… Provide a reliable service? UK 90% Scotland 96%
  • Do you or do you not trust your water company to… Ensure good quality of water? UK 90% Scotland 95%
  • Do you or do you not trust your water company to… Fix water pipe leaks in public areas (e.g. in roads, not in the home)? UK 81% Scotland 93%
  • Do you or do you not trust your water company to… Take action to protect and improve the environment? UK 78% Scotland 87%
  • Do you or do you not trust your water company to… Take away wastewater and sewage and deal with it responsibly? UK 88% Scotland 93%
  • Do you or do you not trust your water company to… Provide good value for money to customers? UK 72% Scotland 88%
  • Do you or do you not trust your water company to… Pay an appropriate amount of tax? UK 78% Scotland 87%
  • Do you or do you not trust your water company to… Invest sufficient money on the water network? UK 73% Scotland 86%

https://www.comresglobal.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/Water-UK_ComRes_Public-Polling_Feb-2019_Data-Tables.pdf

Very Encouraging Scottish secondary school leaver statistics

The 2016 and 2017 data

Thanks to a Freedom of Information request and response we can reveal consistently high and steadily increasing positive destination figures for Scottish school leavers over the last 5 year

Year       Positive               HE          FE           Training               Employment

2014       91.7%                    38.2%    24.3%    2.5%                      25.5%

2015       92%                        36.8%    23.4%    2.7%                      27.8%

2016       91.4%                    37.3%    22.4%    1.7%                      28.7%

2017       92.9%                    38.3%    23%        1.7%                      28.3%

2018      93.2%                   39%        22.7%    1.7%                      28.3%

https://www.gov.scot/publications/foi-201900010285/

Hope for Scotland's favourite Catalan?

Photograph: Jane Barlow/PA

Ludo Thierry:

On the 31st Jan Scotland loses the services of 3 excellent YES/REMAIN supporting MEPs (there are also 3 ukanian types who shuffle off) due to Brexit. Interestingly, Scotland may yet acquire a NEW MEP based here. I discovered today that the wonderful Prof. Clara Ponsati (St. Andrews Uni) is due to be appointed as an ‘extra’ MEP for Catalonia due to the redistribution of MEP numbers to the remaining EU states following the exit of ukanian MEPs. (Spain is due a further 5 MEPs – one of whom should be going to the Catalonia list (where Prof. Ponsati is next in line) – but we all know what tricks might be applied to stop this).

The assumption of a seat in the European Parliament could be highly relevant given Prof. Ponsati’s current legal process against ‘Treason’ charges (ain’t the world wacky?!) for her role in organising the democratic Catalonian Referendum. It might also be hugely useful to have a Scotland based MEP who can help keep Scotland’s hope and intention to remain attached to our common European home at the forefront of Europe’s thinking. Link and snippet below:

https://www.expatica.com/uk/catalan-separatist-ponsati-seeking-immunity-as-mep/

When Britain leaves the European Union on January 31, new members of the European Parliament (MEPs) will be installed on February 1 from the remaining member states to fill empty seats.

Following the May 2019 European Parliament elections, Ponsati is due to take one of the five seats redistributed to Spain, as an incoming MEP for the Together for Catalonia party.

“If Clara becomes a member of the European Parliament, then she is entitled to the immunity that is attached, the legal immunity which means that she has a right to take the seat,” said Anwar (her solicitor).

MacAlba

A Son of Scotland

Talking-up Scotland

Counter- propaganda and Citizen Journalism since 2014

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So long as men worship the Caesars and Napoleons, Caesars and Napoleons will duly arise and make them miserable. - Aldous Huxley

Wings Over Scotland

sentiment without action is the ruin of the soul

caltonjock

Scottish and Uk Politics