Over the last week, three issues have again demonstrated the incompetence of the SNP on public services and how people’s daily lives are being affected by their failures.
First was the announcement of the abandonment of the timetable for their ‘defining mission’ to close the education attainment gap. The news came just weeks after it was announced that millions of pounds are being cut from attainment challenge funding for nine councils.
Given how little impact they have made on reducing the gap it is perhaps unsurprising that they have scrapped the timetable. However, the SNP is not just abandoning its attainment timetable – it is abandoning generations of young Scots from deprived backgrounds.
Secondly, parliament debated the government’s lacklustre response to the growing issue of Long Covid. Some 151,000 Scots are now living with the effects of Long Covid, which can include a debilitating range of symptoms.
The Scottish Government has been far too slow to recognise the scale of the problem. Even after months of cajoling and delays, what the SNP are offering now is a drop in the ocean, providing barely more than £30 a year for every person with Long Covid.
Finally, there was the news that one-third of ScotRail’s services are being cut. ScotRail was only brought into public ownership last month but already its services are in chaos and rail users are suffering.
Ministers claim it is nothing to do with them but were quick enough to take the credit for making the service publicly-owned. Rail services were already set to be reduced before this latest announcement. I fear the current situation will simply be used to justify a long-term reduction in services resulting in further pain for passengers.
These shortcomings are emblematic of the SNP’s failures on key public services and their wasted 15 years in office. It is time to end the obsession with independence and instead focus on improving our essential public services.