Scotland becoming more socially mobile


From stewartb:

All this talk of divisiveness by Mr Brown today reminds of this from the Social Mobility Commission report ‘State of the Nation 2018 to 2019’:


“This data highlights that both Scotland and Wales are becoming significantly more socially mobile, as a person’s job and life chances are less determined by their socio-economic status at birth. This is encouraging and compares favourably to England, where social mobility has not improved.” (p. 138) And the report goes on:

“The Commission recognises the Scottish Government’s efforts at tackling in-work poverty by becoming an accredited voluntary living wage employer, as well as strongly encouraging other employers to do the same.” (p. 138).

Mr Brown’s concerns over divisiveness also remind me of this from the British Social Attitudes Survey.


“It has long been apparent that those with a strong English identity are less likely to embrace the greater social diversity that may be occasioned by immigration,
 a product perhaps of the fact that in England at least, the idea of creating a ‘multicultural’ society has been associated with Britishness rather than Englishness (Curtice and Seyd, 2001; Jeffery et al., 2014.). ”

So this report provides extensive evidence on ongoing polarisation of Britain, and in particular South Britain.

“…. there are strengthened relationships too between support for leaving the EU and both people’s sense of identity and their broader libertarian or authoritarian values.”

Reporting Scotland at its most awful as it exploits another traumatised mother to unfairly associate NHS Tayside with negligence 7 years after the last case

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Today, we heard:

‘A surgeon who harmed patients in Scotland for years, and can no longer work in the UK, is operating again. [Pause for dramatic effect] The BBC’s discovered that Muftah Salem Eljamel who was suspended in 2013 is working in…Libya! The former head of neurosurgery at NHS Tayside, Muftah Salem Eljamel, removed himself from the GMC register after restrictions were placed on him.’

A look at the surgeon practising in Libya is then suddenly and dramatically replaced, for no reason offered, with an interview extract of a traumatised mother condemning NHS Tayside and the GMC. I feel sure her views were important in helping viewers to appreciate the impact of clinical malpractice on real people, seven years ago, but it’s hard to see what they added to the story today other than to suggest to viewers that NHS Tayside is still worthy of their distrust today. Is that accurate? Is it fair? Nope. I’ve searched and can find not one case of clinical negligence against NHS Tayside Neurology department since 2013.

Reporting Scotland on behalf of the Conservative party to deny our children’s success

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Reporting Scotland today was in full propaganda mode as they reported selectively, and responding obediently to prompting from the Conservative and Unionist party branch in Scotland. Here are the key comments and responses:

  1. A drop in the number of Higher Exam passes. The Scottish Government’s accused of trying to bury the figures.
  2. The details emerged in a Government report which was published at 8 o’clock last night.
  3. But the Conservatives argue that the data is [sic] a sign of clear and systematic problems.
  4. Jamie it isn’t just the figures that caused the criticism, is it? It’s the way they emerged. Indeed, they emerged via this report which went online at 8 o’clock last night though it is worth making the point that the figures had been available in raw form elsewhere for several months.
  5. The Conservatives describe the timing as snide and cynical.
  6. Are we talking here about simple annual fluctuations or are we getting at more fundamental questions about the education system, itself.

‘Bury the results’ at only 8pm? Really, is that all it would take? More than 2 hours before RS at 10.30pm, was no one around to respond? I appreciate the Tories would be sleeping off the effects of an extended late lunch and two bottles of a cheeky wee Beaujolais before bed.

The ‘snide’ and ‘cynical’ timing is a good one. That they should call others this is a hoot and, remember, the data were available in a ‘raw’ form ‘for months.’ Can the research assistants working for the BBC and for the Tories not read raw data? The bairns who passed H Maths or Higher Geography or Higher Modern Studies could.

Now Jamie McIvor pretends the results are not explained but they are. First, the overall drop was ‘relatively small’ for the 2019 exam diet in which 36 out of 38 subjects had changes which means (page 4) ‘that any comparison between pass rates in the 2018 and 2019 SQA diets should be treated with caution.’

Why was this not mentioned?

Also completely ignored by RS, there were several areas of continuing improvement in the results. See this table from page 6:

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In only the first 2 of these 10 measures of success was there a fall and of less than 1%, while in many there was a 2% improvement, in just one year.

As for the Tory suggestion that the fall, where there is one, in only one year, is a sign of wider more serious problems is frankly laughable. Why did RS not consult any credible educationist who would have told them how ridiculous such a leap of imagination was?

‘Some’ have told me that Nick Eardley’s unsubstantiated guff would fail a First-Year journalism assessment. ‘Others’ have agreed. ‘One’ said he should be…..

I’d vote for either of them!

Nick has a lot to say but little evidence for it. Even a First-Year journalism student knows you need some real evidence to make any case. You know, attributable sources, reliable sources, maybe even some numbers?

Here’s what Nick has:

  1. [T]here are factions in the party
  2. There are even conversations
  3. Some critics say
  4. Some senior figures in the party, such as MP Joanna Cherry
  5. Others – such as veteran MP Pete Wishart
  6. Others still want
  7. The MP Angus MacNeil is one of those who think
  8. He added:
  9. Mr MacNeil is not the only one
  10. Privately, others also say
  11. One parliamentarian said
  12. [T]here are also those
  13. Some have told me
  14. [S]ome in the SNP are
  15.  [T]here are those in the SNP considering the possibility of life after Ms Sturgeon – and even some who think she might not be around for much longer.
  16. Figures in the party have told me
  17. A few have used the exact same phrase
  18. I put that point to a couple of SNP politicians who agreed to interviews. First, Mr MacNeil, who said: “I suppose that’s maybe a matter for events and Nicola Sturgeon – who knows? What I’m concentrating on is not so much the personalities involved but it’s the issue of independence.” Hardly a full-throated endorsement. I also asked Kenny MacAskill, who was Justice Secretary in Scotland under Mr Salmond and is now an MP. He praised Ms Sturgeon but also used a phrase that always raises eyebrows in politics: “There is no vacancy.”
  19. Many of Ms Sturgeon’s supporters are
  20. One, when asked
  21. [S]ome are urging the leadership to think about a contingency plan to replace Ms Sturgeon with a like-minded figure if she has to quit.
  22. One told me:

22 claims, only 6 attributed and to only 4 people within a party of 48 MPs, 63 MSPs hundreds of councillors and thousands of members. Frankly, all Nick has found is polite debate within a healthy democratic party, no factions visible at all, one (MacNeil) tweeting regularly his impatience to get on with Indyref2, one other proposing testing the legal situation, another doesn’t want to do that and one old warrior has nothing to say.

Nick then predicts: ‘The SNP is facing an extremely challenging few weeks.’

Why don’t we check out the polls? If there is any evidence in more than one poll, of a notable fall in support, maybe I’ll worry.

Gordon Brown loses it again

Let me see. According to official figures, the lowest levels of race-related crime in the UK, perhaps lower than the majority in the West? Religious bigotry falling steadily toward insignificance according to Professor Devine’s figures? Domestic abuse well below UK-levels?

Not much evidence there, Mr Brown.

Which Western countries are less divided than Scotland?

England’s Asian and Black communities ghettoised and disproportionately imprisoned? Fascists marching outside Westminster and advising the PM?

Northern Ireland’s paramilitaries only on stand-down?

The USA, your favourite holiday location! The Black and Hispanic populations in ghettos, poverty pay or in prison? The melting pot never even heated up. White supremacists and survivalists, armed and ready to fight the state. ‘Christians’ killing abortion surgeons. Children massacring their classmates?

Belgium split down the middle by language and distrust?

Spain beating its Catalan civilians with night-sticks?

Hungary brutalising its Roma?

Oh, I give up Gordon. What do you mean?

Another morbid single-case hiding the fact that NHS England pays out FOUR times more for per capita for clinical negligence

What does this tell us? There was a tragic mistake in a hospital made by dedicated staff who are now to have public humiliation added to the trauma they already suffer. Does it tell us anything of real value that might inform our thoughts and our feelings on the nature of our NHS? No. Nothing.

Here is something useful. Compensation claims against hospitals are a good measure of clinical negligence. You need a strong case to get the money. So, how does NHS Scotland compare?

In 2017, NHS Scotland paid out £38.3 million. That works out at £7.22 per head of population.

In the same year, NHS England paid out £1.6 billion. That works out at £30.18 per head of population.

NHS England is paying more than 4 times as much as NHS Scotland in compensation for clinical negligence. That’s a huge difference. It might even be newsworthy?

BBC Scotland and Herald mislead you as exam pass rates rise again

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Horror show as damning Scottish journalism report is unveiled here?

The Herald headline and to a lesser extent that on BBC Scotland, this morning, is misleading. See these tables from the report in question:

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The headline story is that a very high number of Scottish pupils are leaving with qualifications and that in almost every case above, the trend is still upward in 2019. Look at the last three rows! In every case the rate has risen significantly from 2016 and in one or two cases, it is down but insignificantly, by less than 1% from 2018.

There have been small (2-3%) but significant falls in the pass rates for English and Mathematics Higher but at the same time comparable increases in Science and in Mathematics, N5.

Statisticians, will of course, tell you that a one-year change is not a meaningful trend. Only when you look at a change over 3 to 5 years do you see anything worth talking about.

Finally, it is both insulting and erroneous to discount the successes in subjects other than English and Mathematics. Many of these develop communication and mathematical skills in a more real context often more useful to employers than the more abstract ways, useful only for further study in higher education, favoured by these two ‘core’ subjects. In addition, the Scottish economy and society requires far more broadly-educated citizens than an obsession with English and Mathematics can offer.

Dear No voter in 2014, you were right to vote that way then, but do you think things have changed enough now for you to change your mind next time?

I’ll keep this short. I’m sure you have other things to do.

I voted Yes in 2014. I had no doubts and, for a while, was angry with friends who had voted No. Then, as time passed, and we talked, I came to see things from their perspective and to understand that they had perfectly reasonable fears about independence. In some cases, I even thought that, if I had the same job, relatives in England or had grown up in a family with strong reasons to value the Union, I too would have voted No. It was just that my circumstances were different.

Six years later, my convictions are even stronger, some of my friends have changed their minds, several are still unsure, and some seem unlikely to change. I said at the beginning, things have changed and that these changes might change your mind. Here are few:

  1. Scotland’s economy will be seriously damaged and our services, especially in health and care, will be starved of workers as we leave the EU.
  2. We were told then that voting No was the only way to guarantee staying in the EU. EU leaders have recently said some very positive things about Scotland being strongly welcomed back.
  3. Although the Scottish Government does have some devolved powers, the Johnson Government is set to drag our economy and our wider society back to the harsh and unequal days of earlier times. The UK is already the best place in Europe for the tax-avoiding super-rich and the worst place to be poor, elderly or disabled.
  4. The Scottish economy is robust with far more natural resources and a more educated population than most EU countries such as Ireland or Denmark, yet they thrive. We were told the oil would run out soon but now we know it has 50 years or more to go.
  5. The Scottish Government, regardless of one or two stupid individuals, is not perfect, but it is by far the most focused, caring and effective government Scotland has ever seen. Don’t believe what some in the media say. Look at the record of the Tories in Westminster. You don’t need me to tell you what they have done.
  6. There is nothing to fear in a border. Do not believe the scare stories. Even after a bloody war, 100 years ago, the people of Ireland immediately had freedom of movement with the UK to visit their relatives here and to work here, and trade was unaffected. Your friends and relatives will just be able to have inexpensive and easily accessed ‘foreign holidays’, they can brag about and which will be less-damaging to the environment than flights to over-crowded, water-starved, tower-blocks in summer temperatures than can kill.

I could go on but, if you want to talk about this more, comment below and I or one of my good friends here, will try to offer the truth you won’t get in some of the other media you are bombarded with.

I haven’t given sources of evidence to back up my claims, but I have them and can give you them quick as you like.

Best wishes,

John Robertson, retired prof but now blogging and tweeting like a young ‘un.

Scottish Government NOT allowing building on flood plain but anything goes for Tories

In the Guardian today:

One in 10 of all new homes in England since 2013 have been built on land at the highest risk of flooding, official figures reveal, potentially leaving tens of thousands of people in greater danger from extreme winter storms. The number of properties built in these high-risk areas annually has more than doubled in recent years, with more than 84,000 new at-risk homes in total since 2013, according to a Guardian analysis of government data. In the aftermath of the devastating Storms Ciara and Dennis, experts and council leaders have warned that residents are being left at risk in part due to the pressure on local authorities to build thousands of new homes despite a dearth of suitable sites.

Not of course newsworthy in Scotland, based on our MSM coverage, the situation is different here:

As far as flood protection is concerned, unlike in England, the 1 in 200-year standard of protection is ‘universal’ for all new buildings, with a 1,000-year standard for such vulnerable uses as old people’s homes, schools, hospitals etc. In addition, construction in flood hazard areas has almost completely ended. Crichton (2003: 26) estimates that “the active flood management programme currently in progress will result in almost all high-risk properties being protected against the 200-year flood within the next three years, taking climate change into account.” It is also interesting to note that the Scottish Executive grants for flood defences have never been refused on the grounds of budget restraints and there is no rationing of flood defence spending.

It is clear, however, that the more stringent building standards which are applied in Scotland ensure that severe storms result in much less property damage than comparable events in England. Also, the level of flood protection and the commitment of funding to achieve flood protection are higher in Scotland than in England.’

College of Estates Management at:

Massive fall in sepsis cases and deaths in cleaner Scottish hospitals less than half that in England

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In the wake of recent cases where a small number of patients who have died have later been shown to have contracted blood infections, Alex Cole Hamilton has helped us to put these into a wider context. His parliamentary question in Holyrood yesterday has revealed that the number of hospital stays with a diagnosis of sepsis fell by more than 50%, from 19 362 in 2018 to only 9 144 in 2019.

Sepsis mortality data for recent years is still under review but there was a 21% drop between 2012 and 2014.

I can’t see official figures but the Sunday post confidently stated in 2018 that there were around 1 500 deaths from sepsis per year in Scotland:

Cole-Hamilton, himself, suggests, based on figures from the Lancet, that there were 11 million sepsis deaths globally. The world population is 7.58 billion so the global sepsis mortality rate is 1 in 689. The Scottish population is 5.4 million so the sepsis mortality rate is 1 in 3 600, 5 times lower .

Cole-Hamilton seems to be suggesting the comparison. I’m not sure it’s that useful but there you have it.

Perhaps more useful, the rate in the US is 250 000 per year or 1 in 1308, nearly three times higher than in Scotland.

And, the rate in England is around 36 900 per year or 1 in 1 517, better than the US but more than twice as high as in Scotland.

Grouse Beater

'The common man's philosopher' - Edinburgh students........'A polymath' - Marco Biagi SNP MSP........... 'Your politics are crap' - a friend ......grousebeater@Grouse_Beater


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