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She's like one of those pricks who always does workplace Zoom calls in front of a bookshelf, despite coming across like someone who rarely reads a book.  


Gandhi and Mandela books - all rather predictable, is it not.

Edited by Gonzo79
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7 hours ago, Gonzo79 said:

She's like one of those pricks who always does workplace Zoom calls in front of a bookshelf, despite coming across like someone who rarely reads a book.  

Gandhi and Mandela books - all rather predictable, is it not.

As always with the SNP, everything is carefully choreographed for optimum effect. I've little doubt people who adore Sturgeon believe she really is the person her army of spin doctors project to the public. Only the inconvenience of her track record offers the open minded observer a hint at the truth.

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Alf Young, in today's Times, on what he terms "Sturgeonomics", and the difficulties involved in peeling back the propaganda and obfuscations that surround this. 


In short: we are not in Kansas, anymore.




Sturgeonomics, all too often, fails to deliver on its oversized promises

Alf Young

Wednesday September 15 2021, 12.01am, The Times




On Monday, only a few lines into her virtual address to her party’s first national conference since May’s election victory, Nicola Sturgeon confessed: “As I say often, we don’t — and won’t — get everything right.”

I read on. Right to the end. After all, when it comes to economic choices, quite a lot has gone wrong across Scotland while this first minister has been in charge.

Back in 2017, Sturgeon was cheered by delegates when she pledged that her government would “set up a publicly owned, not-for-profit energy company”. Last week it emerged that pledge had been quietly dropped, with the Covid pandemic handed the blame.


A strategic outline case, prepared by EY, the consultancy, was delivered to ministers way back in October 2018. An outline business case was developed, with local authority involvement, through 2019 by Grant Thornton, another lead consultant. Total costs incurred by November 2019 were £483,076.10. Much of it, presumably, on those fees for advice. Consultants don’t come cheap

SNP members don’t appear best-pleased that their leader’s energy pledge has been quietly dumped. On Saturday, delegates passed a motion, by 527 votes to six, calling for a new national energy company to be delivered to set “the standard for Scottish clean power production that prioritises made-in-Scotland electricity”. Nowhere in her Monday address did the SNP leader deign to explain why her much-trumpeted 2017 pledge had blown a fuse.


There’s an emerging pattern here. Sturgeonomics promises big but then, all too often, fails to deliver. Only a month after the first minister announced her government’s plan to intervene directly in the energy supply market, she was in Port Glasgow, launching the Glen Sannox, the first of two new ferries for Caledonian MacBrayne. Nearly four years on, with the Ferguson yard now in state ownership, neither it nor its sister ship, Hull 802, are near entering service.

An ageing ferry fleet, facing rising user demand thanks to another SNP innovation — lower fares pegged to road equivalent tariff — is plagued by breakdowns. While another costly review — by EY again — into the management of publicly owned ferry links drags on and on.


Back on the energy front, Scotland’s attempts to carve out a stronger industrial role for itself creating the structures that will harness offshore wind power have sustained another blow. Last week the South Korean owner of CS Wind, which manufactured turbine towers, placed its Scottish subsidiary in administration with no hope of sale as a going concern. The Scottish government and its enterprise agencies, having written off £37 million on interventions in the fate of BiFab in Fife and on Lewis, doubtless will write off more as the Mull of Kintyre site is cleared.


If Sturgeonomics persists in being stronger on what it promises than what it delivers, the cost burdens on all of us who live here can only grow. But how can we ever find out just how big these burdens might become? Freedom of information requests turn over some of the stones. We discover how much the Scottish state is paying its turnaround at the Ferguson yard, for instance, to sort out part of its ferry fiasco. But how do we secure a robust and visible audit of the full cost of political promises that go awry, like the present first minister’s failed interventions in troubled industrial sectors?

As someone who probably spends more time than most in this quest, I know how hard and fruitless it can be. FOI requests get you only so far. Exemptions and redactions see to that. Audit Scotland checks that public money is spent properly, efficiently and effectively across 223 Scottish public bodies. Yet public buy-in to its efforts, even from the political realm, seems limited. Could it be that, across politics, promising more than you can ever deliver is the only reality?


Alf Young is a visiting professor at the University of Strathclyde

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George Orwell - Notes On Nationalism:


Nationalism is power hunger tempered by self-deception.  Every nationalist is capable of the most flagrant dishonesty, but he is also - since he is conscious of serving something bigger than himself - unshakeably certain of being in the right.

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There's more if you want it....


Audit Scotland speaks truth to power.

It'll never catch on.


Ditch referendum as economy ‘faces volatile times’

Mark McLaughlin

Wednesday September 15 2021, 12.01am, The Times



Nicola Sturgeon was told the recovery phase will be uncertain and complex




Nicola Sturgeon has been urged to ditch her campaign for a second independence referendum after Scotland’s public spending watchdog warned the country’s economy is facing unprecedented volatility in the months ahead.

The first minister has pledged to stage a second vote “when the crisis has passed” but has also set a “Covid permitting” deadline to hold the vote before the end of 2023.

Audit Scotland, the official body that monitors government spending, warned the recovery phase will be characterised by “ever more volatility, uncertainty and complexity”.

Auditors said it would be imperative for the UK government, the Scottish government and councils to work together to minimise the disruption to individuals, public bodies and services.

Unionist politicians said that an independence referendum would add further unnecessary uncertainty into an already volatile economy.

They also questioned how an independent Scotland would handle future pandemics and other economic shocks after auditors confirmed the vast majority of Scotland’s pandemic support funding came from the UK government.


Audit Scotland said: “Most of the Scottish government’s spending in response to Covid-19 in 2020/21 was funded by Barnett consequentials from the UK government . . . as the Scottish government moves into the post-vaccine recovery phase, tracking the budget will become more complex.”

Auditors said it was impossible to predict how the pandemic would unfold in the short to medium term, with the threat of new variants and unforeseen issues likely to arise when furlough and the self-employment support scheme came to a close at the end of this month.

The audit report added: “The employment impacts of this are currently unknown. In the longer term, we may increasingly see the financial consequences of the indirect health impacts and societal impacts of the pandemic, for example NHS treatment and courts backlogs.

“With increasing pressures on public revenues and spending, and the Scottish budget subject to ever more volatility, uncertainty and complexity, it will be challenging to match spending to the available funding in coming years.

“This will need to be done in a way that minimises the disruption to individuals, public bodies and services, ensures value for money is maintained and avoids unintended consequences . . . having a clear picture of how initiatives at each level of government are working together to respond to and recover from the pandemic is needed to properly understand the effectiveness of Covid-19 measures and to support budgeting and financial planning.

“Effective communication and co-operation between governments will be central to this.”


Ian Murray, Labour’s shadow Scottish secretary, said: “Being part of the UK helped protect the NHS, jobs and businesses throughout the pandemic.

“While both governments made huge mistakes in their handling of the crisis, the financial support for Scotland as a consequence of the Barnett formula was crucial. But the SNP government which wants to rip up the Barnett formula, which shows just how little they care about people’s livelihoods, while the Tories can’t be trusted to stand up for the UK.”

“Devolution works for Scotland and the SNP should be using its powers to focus on our national recovery, not obsessing about an unwanted and divisive referendum.”


The Scottish government said: “Every penny the Scottish government has received to support its Covid-19 response has either been spent or allocated. We are pleased Audit Scotland recognises the challenge the Scottish government faces in managing its budget without clarity on how much funding it will receive. Despite repeated requests, the UK government has so far refused to guarantee the level of Covid-19-related Barnett consequentials this year, despite doing so in 2020-21.”


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