Since the SNP came to power, there are now over 10,000 more staff working in our NHS than in 2007 and waiting times are down. Crime is at a 41-year low with 1,000 extra police officers maintained. The number of full-time college places has increased, a record number of pupils completed Highers this year and thousands of new affordable houses have been built compared with the six in total during the last year of Labour/Lib Dem control.
We have also seen the abolition of student tuition fees and a massive increase in the provision of free childcare, while 500 new schools have been built or refurbished. The new Queensferry Crossing is on time and under budget and the new Borders rail line is the longest new rail link in the UK for 100 years.
By any measure the SNP has done much better than previous administrations at Holyrood and that record of delivery has been achieved against the backdrop of a UK recession and the harsh austerity and welfare cuts imposed by the UK Government.
These are just some of the reasons more than 50 per cent of those surveyed in the most recent opinion polls said they would vote SNP next year.
Warrender Park Road
Brian Wilson (Perspective, 12 September) invites nominations for “the biggest lie in modern Scottish politics” and suggests the SNP’s manifesto commitment in 2007 to abolish Scottish student debt as a front-runner. As a political victim of that brazen falsehood, which was fronted personally and ruthlessly by Nicola Sturgeon, I find myself in full agreement.
When (in response to questions from Fiona Hyslop, then education spokeswoman for the SNP), the civil servants stated the factual position – which was that the commitment would cost almost £2 billion in a single year – they were attacked as “lickspittles” by Alex Salmond, a foretaste of how the Scottish civil service would be degraded once under his control.
However, I remember realising how well the “big lie” was working when I was told by a well-heeled couple at an election meeting in Largs that they would vote for anyone who was going to remove the burden of debt from their offspring. They are still waiting.
There were other strong candidates for nomination in the same manifesto. I have no idea how many “first-time buyers” were persuaded to vote SNP by the promise of a £2,000 grant towards their first home and are still waiting for the cheque.
Then there was the one about scrapping the council tax and replacing it with local income tax which was going to benefit more than 80 per cent of households. The last time I checked my bank statement, I was still paying council tax and, like all the other false promises, that one had been quietly dropped.
The SNP’s electoral success in spite of their record in government is a continuing source of mystery.
But if only for the future interest of historians, it is still worth recalling that they scraped into office in 2007 on the basis of a manifesto which was, essentially, a pack of lies.