WHAT GOES AROUND COMES AROUND

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A few months ago it was announced that, for the first time in a long time, life expectancy in Scotland had stagnated. Mr Tomkins was quick to imply that blame lay with the Scottish government.

Photo of Adam TomkinsAdam Tomkins Conservative

5. To ask the Deputy First Minister for what reason life expectancy is no longer increasing in Scotland. (S5F-00982)

The Deputy First Minister will know that life expectancy levels in the east end of Glasgow are dramatically lower than those in other, more affluent parts of the city. The Commonwealth games offered an unparalleled opportunity to take specific action to reduce health inequalities and mortality rates in the neighbourhoods that hosted the games, yet it seems that no targets were set to achieve that. The London boroughs that hosted the 2012 Olympics set themselves the explicit target of narrowing the gap between male and female life expectancies in the east end and those in the rest of London. Does the Deputy First Minister agree that Glasgow should follow London’s lead on that? What actions will the Scottish ministers take to address the health inequalities that persist in Glasgow?

 

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Glasgow

Today, we note that the same observation has been made about life expectancy in England.

 

Rising rates of life expectancy are grinding to a halt in England after more than 100 years of continuous progress, says a leading health expert.

University College London expert Sir Michael Marmot said he was “deeply concerned” by the situation, calling it “historically highly unusual”.

He said it was “entirely possible” austerity was to blame and said the issue needed looking at urgently.

But the government said its policies were not responsible.

The Department of Health said ministers were providing the necessary support and funding to ensure life expectancy “continues to increase”.

 

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London

 

Going back to Mr Tomkins’ query, I’m a little bemused as to why he thinks we would have seen an increase in life expectancy so soon after the Olympics or the Commonwealth games. The “healthy” legacy in terms of increase in sporting participation was not designed, in either London or Glasgow, for those who might be in the 70s, 80s and 90s. Rather, it was directed towards the young.

We won’t be able to tell for many a year whether this has worked to lengthen life, the main benefactors of the sporting legacy being likely still to be in their teens and 20s. However, the Scottish professor might like to note that (according to Wikipedia) :

Criticisms and concerns:

Criticism of the London 2012 legacy includes the legacy not meeting its original ambitions with a decrease in 2014/15 in the number of people playing sport for at least half an hour a week of 125,100.[29]

 

England Fans
It would, I suppose, be fair to mention that an interest in sport is not always as much of an advantage as we might at first assume.

 

A report on the legacy of the Commonwealth games (dated 2015) shows an increase in some sporting participation. Does anyone know if that has been maintained? It could well be that Scotland has followed the English legacy, despite the spending of a considerable amount to try to encourage young people into sport. At the end of the day regardless of nationality, no matter how many facilities you provide, if young people prefer video games to actual physical exercise, there is not a lot anyone can do about about it.

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It also seems appropriate to point out that as we helped to pay for the Olympics in London, we should also have been on the receiving end of the legacy from the English games.

I’d like to suggest that in all probability, the reasons for the levelling out of life expectancy   are far more complex than could be covered in this post, but that one of the many contributing factors might be austerity which has been forced upon people from the four nations of the UK by the Conservative government in London.

Whatcha say Mr Tomkins?

OH, ERM THIS IS EMBARRASSING, NURSE

YOU SEE, THERE IS A MAGIC MONEY TREE AFTER ALL… IT’S JUST NOT FOR THE LIKES OF YOU…

 

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Now, is that enough, Arlene dear? Do let me know if you want any more. You will let me be prime minister, won’t you? Now, don’t worry your pretty little head about the Colonel. We’ll send her off to the front line in Syria if she bothers you.
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Yes, your majesty, whatever you want. Please let me know if you want anything else. You will let me be prime minister, won’t you?

 

So the Trogs get a billion or so and they can spend some of it on giving their nurses a bit of a pay rise.

And, just to show that we do care about old people and the safety of their accommodations, this elderly couple will receive an 8% increase in their income, taking them up to £82.2 million a year

Now, how many countries treat their elderly like that? Scotland would have a black hole if they treated their nonagenarians that way.

Doesn’t it make you proud to be British, with these broad shoulders, pooling and sharing all over the shop?

Royal accounts – some key figures

  • £82.2m – Amount the Queen is expected to get from the Sovereign Grant in 2018/2019
  • £4.5m – Cost of the Queen and the Royal Family’s official travel
  • £288,697 – Amount spent on the Royal Train travel for 14 trips
  • £1.2m – Cost of replacing doors on the orangery at Windsor Castle
  • £154,000 – Estimated cost of Prince Charles and Camilla using “Cam Force One” – the official government plane – to visit Italy, Romania and Austria

OH, WHAT A FLUFFY MUDDLE…

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Munguin is perplexed.

On Sunday, in the Tory “Sunday Post” it was reported:

DAVID Mundell has promised Scotland will get a funding windfall if any extra cash goes to Northern Ireland as a result of the Tories striking a deal with the Democratic Unionist Party.

The Scottish Secretary said he’d block any “backdoor funding” for Northern Ireland if it meant the other devolved nations missing out.

Today Colonel Davidson, who may be Mundell’s boss, or not, as the case may be, said the opposite.

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So, which is it?

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As far as we can make out both Fluffy and the Colonel are members of the UK Cabinet in England. So who has Mayhem’s ear? Both? Either? Neither?

Who speaks with authority?

What is going to happen?

Surely if Mr Brokenshire* is to get a billion pounds for the province from some serious shaking of that magic money tree which, only a few weeks ago didn’t exist, then surely England, Scotland and Wales should be getting some money in proportion to their populations.

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After all, it’s not just Northern Ireland’s health service that is falling to pieces. It’s not just their nurses that have had a reduction in pay in real terms since 2010.

So, we know this is not a well put together government. We know that they are at daggers drawn. We know they pretty much loathe their useless leader. What we don;t know is if this bribe to the troglodyte party has consequential or not.

Any chance we can get that clarified?

Theresa May to a nurse who hasn’t had a pay rise in 8yrs: “there’s no magic money tree” May to DUP: Here’s £1.5 billion so I can keep my job.

*I say ‘Mr Brokenshire’ because, as far as I know, he is still in charge of the day to day running of Northern Ireland since Arlene Foster brought down the government there because she refused to stand down as first minister while she  was investigated for corruption or incompetence over her wood burning scheme which cost Northern Ireland nearly half a billion pounds. This refusal precipitated the resignation of the then Deputy First Minister, and the subsequent inevitable collapse of the power-sharing government.

JUST GO VOTE…

 

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OH look, ordinary people…

 

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Taken from Owen Jones’ Twitter timeline.

I never tire of saying it, and so, one last time:

Please use your vote today. How you use it is up to you, although of course if you are in Scotland I’m sure you know what Munguin would advise you to do.

During the Blair and Brown years it was reasonable to say, nothing changes, voting doesn’t make any difference. They are all the same.  It was untrue but totally understandable.  Blair and Thatcher were only distinguishable by the lack of handbag in Blair’s wardrobe.

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But today there is a choice. There’s a choice for the UK… it’s Corbyn or May. And they ARE different. And there is a choice for Scotland too.  The SNP has made a difference in Westminster. OK, they can be, and often are, outvoted by the English, en masse. But you can count on 56 votes for decency. Can you imagine if there were Scottish MPs (apart from Muddle, who barely counts because he says what is programmed into him by whoever his boss is at the time) who were voting for rape clauses, and taking money away from disabled people, voting against pensioners’ rights and, as Ruth so clearly put it in her tweet of today:

Massive thanks to all candidates, activists & helpers for such a happy, energetic & disciplined campaign. Let’s smash tomorrow.x

(bold type is mine)

So younger voters, it’s up to you.

If you are happy for your parents and grandparents to decide on how life is gonna be for the next 5 years of your life, and a great deal longer, given the momentous decisions that will be taken… and the ramifications of the great repeal bill… then don’t bother about this voting malarky today.

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Leave it to your mum and dad, grandad and Auntie Gloria. They usually know best about most things, don’t they? Remember that sweater they bought you for Christmas?

Hmmmmmm?

WHAT? JUST WHAT?

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It’s like Scotland had voted the same way as England and Wales and wanted to remove itself from Europe. When, in fact, it voted 62-38 to remain in Europe.

It’s perfectly true that in 2014 the Scottish people voted to remain within the UK. They did so based on a promise from David Cameron, conveyed through Gordon Brown (because Cameron knew he was unpopular in Scotland, and no one would believe him) that we would have the most powerful devolved parliament in the world with as near to federal powers as it was possible to get in a union like the UK’s where one member comprises 85% of the population.

Now, you really only have to look around the world, to Canada, the USA, Denmark, Germany, Australia, India, Belgium… and so on, to see that that is utter rubbish.

 

The powers that we were promised were watered down firstly in the Smith Commission (with 6-4 unionist-independentist members), and then further by the Tory/Liberal Democrat, largely English Cabinet before being sent to Scotland. When a bill for more powers came before the UK parliament, no amendments put forward by recently-elected Scottish MPs were accepted. All were outvoted by UK MPs.

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And of course one of the most specific warnings at the time of the Scottish referendum was the threat that were we to leave the UK we would be thrown out of the EU, and that that would be a catastrophe. Some young people, with a view to travelling, studying and working in other EU countries may very well have been swayed by these threats (as may well have been businessmen and others).

No one is asking the Scottish people to make a decision on the outcome of the Brexit negotiations before they are completed. (Although, given that there will be no referendum on the outcome of the talks, no one in Britain will be given a voice.)  It has been made clear that negotiations are to be finished by October 2018…in 18 months’ time. Now is not the time. After the negotiations are completed IS the time, before Scotland is dragged out of the EU against its will.

One might ask why the will of 55% of the Scottish people in 2014 is more important than the will of 62% of the Scottish population in 2016.

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The Scotland Office says that leaving the EU gives us a unique opportunity, and then continues with some drivel about being fairer and more united and outward looking. Seriously, that is insulting after the warnings we were given about how disastrous it would be to leave the EU.

The UK will not be united. There’s about a 50-50 split, and two of the four integral countries of the union are opposed to leaving and will be badly affected by it.

The UK will not be fairer. A good deal of the fairness which exists here is down to EU law. It’s already been suggested by people like Mr Fox that Britain will have to deregulate business so that they can take advantage of opportunities. A trade deal with the US will demand that we work to their standards (which are far less rigorous than the EU’s). The Human Rights legislation of the EU will be binned and our access to European courts will be removed.

It won’t be stronger, and I have no idea why anyone would think that isolating yourself would make you more outward looking. I’d have thought that with people no longer able to travel, study, live, work anywhere within the large and getting larger EU, we are likely to become even more inward looking that we have always been.

But why am I surprised? The Scotland Office has never represented the will of the Scottish people. How could it, run as it is by the Tories who managed to get only one seat out of 59 in our country in the elections of 2015.

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Oh, and how many times are you going to repeat Mrs May’s latest catchphrase “Now is not the time”. Presumably the time is when Scotland has been dragged out of the EU; EU people have left to make a better home for themselves and can no longer vote and people with dual nationality have moved to the other country to which they are attached.

Still, it’s better than the “Brexit means Brexit” and “Brexit is red white and blue” that she came up with before.