I would estimate that SNP MPs and MSPs have used the word “poverty” literally thousands of times over the past few years, and note that they rarely miss an opportunity to tell us this “poverty” can be reduced via more taxpayers’ money.
But do any of these politicians actually believe this? Leaving to one side the fact that “poverty” is now defined as an income under 60 per cent of the median, how should we expect Nationalists to behave if they really did subscribe to their own anti-poverty soundbites?
Would we expect them to spend billions on prescriptions, tuition fees, eye tests, personal care, dental checks, bridge tolls and bus passes not just for the less well off but for the affluent as well? Would we expect their leader to spend £1 million a year on a dozen spin doctors?
Would we expect to see millions spent on Gaelic or on one expensive and divisive referendum after another?
Would any one of us continue to support an anti-poverty charity that was found to be giving our money to rich and poor alike -- or squandering it on spin doctors, minority languages and referenda? The truth is the SNP has worked out exactly which buttons to push and the electoral benefits of repeating the words “poverty”, “austerity”, “vulnerable”, “inequality” and “Tories” as many times as is humanly possible.
At some point, a majority of the Scottish electorate may start to see the inconsistencies but we shouldn’t hold our collective breath.