Monday, 29 June 2009

Two Related Dogs Breakfasts

The Education Minister Fiona Hyslop is in deep doo-dung (continuing) about the failure of the SNP's promise to have class sizes of 18 in all P1 - P3 classrooms. This failure is related to the SNP's inablity to finance new schools. After promising to match Labour's school building programme "brick for brick", using the "Scottish Futures Trust" as the financing mechanism, it turns out that the "Scottish Futures Trust" has no future: it doesn't exist and it never existed. So the prospect of using the "Scottish Futures Trust" to find the money to build enough schools to accommodate class sizes of 18 was never feasible, and you can't hope to reduce class sizes in all schools without an extensive programme of building new schools.

To be fair to Fiona, the "Scottish Futures Trust" is John Swinney's failure, but it is of no help to the Education Minister that her two key policies are sunk without trace half way through the Parliament. No new schools and no class-size-18. The failures in Education Policy are the failures of the Education Minister.

If it was any other party Fiona would be out on her ear by now (you can just hear the Nationalists screams if a Labour Minister ever failed to this shocking extent), but the SNP seems remarkably tolerant of those who fail to deliver for Scottsh children.

Still and all, time to do the honourable thing Fiona. Resignation time, don'tya' think?


  1. All this failure, yet an ever increasing lead in the polls. What a dilemma!

  2. Montague,
    Nice (and interesting) to see that you agree with me about the failures in policy, or at least you don't want to engage in the discussion.

    I contend that the SFT is a dog's arse and that the failure to build schools is a political disgrace, while the promise to cut class sizes to 18 in P1-P3 was never an honest commitment. I'm sure if you had a counter argument you would put it...

    I note you have not and therefore conclude that you do not...

    But you're right in one rspect: it is a dilemma that the SNP appears to be maintining relative popularity while failing to do anything concrete for the people of Scotland.

    A dillemma, but not a mystery.

    The UK Government is unpopular, it's a Labour government, so other parties pick up the floating voter.... In Scotland the Tories are not a serious alternative protest...

    ... I've seen Labour 20 points ahead of the Tories at UK level and still not win the next General Election....

    Because opinion polls are one thing and elections quite another thing.... BTW did you see the recent polls all showing support for independence falling...

    It's always nice when your party or organisation is popular in questionnaires, but you mustn't go jumping the gun....

    ...did I ever tell you about a wonderful slogan I once heard..."Scotland Free in '93"?

  3. Support for independence falling, you say...

    * ICM/BBC, June 2009
    Next year, the Scottish Government wants to hold a referendum to ask the people of Scotland whether they agree or disagree that….."the Scottish Government should negotiate a settlement with the Government of the United Kingdom so that Scotland becomes an independent state".

    Do you think you would vote for or against this proposal?

    Yes: 42%

    No: 50%

    22-24 June, sample: 1010

    * ICM/Scotsman, April 2007
    The Scottish Parliament should negotiate a new settlement with the British government so that Scotland becomes a sovereign and independent state

    Yes, I agree: 35%

    No, I disagree: 55%
    27-30 April 2007, sample size: 1014

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't that a 7% increase for Independence in two years?

  4. Aye. In an opinion poll.

    In December 2006, 45% said, in a poll, that they favoured "independence". Six month later, in May 2007, 33% actually voted for parties with "independence" in their manifesto.

    There have been times when opinion polling showed more than 50% in favour of "independence", but the SNP has never got more than 33% of the vote at any national UK or Scottish election. BTW, as May 2007 the vote was 51.7% of the electorate, that's just over 16% of the electorate (or just below 17% if you're being "optimistic") supports the parties of "independence" enough to turn up and vote for them.

    As I said, you continue to believe in opinion polls and I'll continue to believe in democracy.

    ps, note that you're still avoiding the education question, no new schools and a broken "promise" of 18 class sizes. And the SFT, a total failure and non event.

    Care to comment...

    ...thought not.

  5. "I'll continue to believe in democracy."

    In that case, presumably you'll be hoping your party listens to the 58% who want a referendum next year?

    Come on your own view, not the party line.

  6. How disappointing and dare I say a wee bit Stalinist. If you don't like my comment you don't post it. I'll ask again, more in hope than expectation. Do you personally, think a call by 58% of those polled in favour of a referendum, next year should be listened to. Remember your answer, not party line.

  7. 58% in an opinion poll.....that's not democracy Monty, it's a game..

    Anyway, I have no objection to a referendum with the proviso that, after rejecting "independence", we don't have another for 25 years at least. Would you accept that condition?

    If there is a referendum (and A Salmond is working lke stiff to ensure that there is not) we'll win and you'll lose.

    The only problem being that the rest of us will accept the result, and the SNP will find a way to wriggle, pretend, blame, whinge, deny....

    BTW I have no problem posting any comment if it's on the subject (or maybe even not) as long as it's not offensive.

    Only posting stuff you like or agree with is just silly...

  8. Agreed on that old bean.

    Why would Salmond be working like a stiff to prevent a referendum?

    I love the certainty with which you assume that 'you'll' win and 'we' wont accept it.

    If the people vote for Independence, will you accept it?

    More bad news for your party I'm afraid,

    A TNS System 3 poll (now known as TNS-BMRB) has been commissioned by STV. The results are as follows:

    Brackets show the movement since May 2007.

    Holyrood Constituency Vote

    SNP - 39% (+6)
    Labour - 32% (-)
    Tory - 12% (-5)
    Lib Dem - 11% (-5)
    Other - 7% (+5)

    Holyrood Regional Vote

    SNP - 39% (+8)
    Labour - 29% (-)
    Tory - 10% (-4)
    Lib Dem - 12% (+1)
    Green - 5% (+1)

    Projected Seats

    SNP - 57 (+10)
    Labour - 43 (-3)
    Tory - 11 (-6)
    Lib Dem - 15 (-1)
    Greens 3 (+1)

    But hey it's only a poll.

  9. Monty it's interesting that you keep avoiding schools building and class size 18 and the SFT, which are, after all, the subjects of the posts. I's nice of you to keep me up to date with opinion poll findings, but it seems like an attempt to avoid addresing the questions.......

    Anyway, even you you're feart to answer my questions, I'll take yours head on....

    When you say you agree with me, I presume it is on the "no referendum for 25 years after you lose"...?

    As for "Why would Salmond be working like a stiff to prevent a referendum?" Think about it.

    He promised a referendum, but he knows he will lose it. What to do? Insist on ridiculous wording that the other parties cannot support? Annoy the other parties in some other way and hope they block it? Or go ahead with a referendum and lose it?

    Which sets "independence" back a generation?

    I said I would accept the result of a referendum. Will you? And will you then let it rest for 25 years?

  10. As you're being deliberately obtuse. I'll say again that I agree with your comment, "Only posting stuff you like or agree with is just silly..." It's the normal convention in conversations, to address the last point or comment the person you are talking with has made.

    You appear to have become a broken record over alleged broken promises. As I'm a decent cove I'll respond for the last time.

    Class sizes is an aspiration that we are working towards. West Lothian are doing rather well and are most of the way there.

    'Brick for brick', I believe, I responded elsewhere on your blog giving you the facts and figures (hot weather, a pressing dinner engagement deters me from searching your blog for them...again)

    SFT has taken longer to implement, something called the global recession may have had an impact there, what do you think. Then again, it seems odd that you wouldn't support a financing model that didn't fuck over the taxpayer like PFI(Hairmyres hospital!!!).

    One last comment, does anyone else ever comment on your blog, it's got quite an echo....dinner calls. Bye

  11. I was going to moderate your latest comment Monty, taking out the aggression and bile. But that would have left nothing ...

    So I decided to leave it all in. It's a great example of the way too many cybernats behave: you come to a post about one thing, refuse to address the issues, change the argument to suit yourself, get all your facts wrong anyway, and then get aggressive when a reasonable request is made to address the issues at hand.

  12. e.g. when you say "Class sizes is an aspiration that we are working towards."


    Class sizes WERE a manifesto PROMISE. It didn't say in the manifesto "we have some sort of vague aspiration that we might, at some, unspecified future date, possibly, with a bit of luck, reduce some or maybe more of the P1-P3 class sizes to 18" It said "Class sizes in P1-P3 will be reduced to 18". Anyway, it won't happen, because Fiona has abandoned it, the SNP has abandoned it and the councils always knew it was pie-in-the-sky anyway. Only you, Monty, cling to the wreckage. Points for loyalty, no points for preception.

    As for "West Lothian are doing rather well and are most of the way there."

    Good for them, but if they are, they did it with no help from the SNP.

    and "'Brick for brick', I believe, I responded elsewhere on your blog giving you the facts and figures".

    No you did not.

    "SFT has taken longer to implement"

    Monty, you should stop. This is becoming embarrasing. I'm beginning to think you're a unionist plant, designed to make the SNP look silly. If so, you are being wildly successful....

    "Then again, it seems odd that you wouldn't support a financing model that didn't fuck over the taxpayer like PFI(Hairmyres hospital!!!)."

    Monty the SFT is not a "financial model". It's a dog's breakfast, and it's all over the pavement. It does not exist as a financial model, it never existed as a financial model and it never will exist except as an acronym and fig leaf to pretend that John Swinney was not lying when he put it in the SNP manifesto.

    And PPP did build schools (5 new schoools in my constituency alone)..... while the SFT has built? Hee-Haw? Exactly!

    Monty, I know you want "independence", and for that reason you want the SNP to be successful. But you mustn't let yourself be blinded to the fact that they have been useless at delivering the basics to the Scottish people.

    To your last comment, yes, so far you are the only commenter...too bad , but that's the way it is.

    But if you continue the level of nastiness of your last post, you won't be here either. I tried to moderate the language and some of the sentiments, but messed it up, so decided to let it lie. In future, my policy is: better no comments than a lot of aimless bile.

    So, in future comment if you want. If you post reasonable stuff I will publish it. If not, not.