Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Is The Scottish Government Losing The Plot?


Last Friday I didn't see the launch of the Yes Scotland campaign but did view it on the Parliament channel on Sunday. It was less than inspiring and left me wondering to whom it was directed.  Certainly it held little for the average voter and the critics who remarked upon expats who have done well elsewhere leading the event had a point.

The choice of venue was strange too. Maybe for those in attendance it was atmospheric, but on television it seemed sterile and over choreographed, taking the appearance of the performers being ushered from the depths of a black box to the glare of a spotlight intended to highlight their presence.  Colourful it was not and somehow conviction was lost in the production.

Alex Salmond seemed weary and not his usual boisterous self and this perhaps was responsible for the lack of pomp - because there is no doubt the independence referendum will be a historic occasion, regardless of the result.

But recently, apart from thinking Alex Salmond may be tired, I have wondered if he's losing interest in the general governance of Scotland and concentrating his time on changing social values. As yet I can find no figures for the cost of the 'same-sex marriage' consultation but such public consultations don't come cheap.

Now, after the Scottish government has recently agreed a 50p increase in a unit of alcohol on the back of a report from one university, we have the NHS spending £100,000 for the reprint a booklet about pregnancy because one person complained the use of the word dad was discriminating against same-sex couples.  Officials decided to replace 'dad' with 'partner' so now the word dad is being phased out of official use.

A spokesman for NHS Scotland innocently displayed the misuse of money within the NHS:


It is standard practice to review publications on a yearly basis, if not more often. At the time this complaint was received the Ready Steady Baby text had just been through its annual review, changes made and the new edition was printed in December 2011.
‘The review process identified the need to use language that was more inclusive, particularly in relation to same-sex partnerships.’


If 90,000 copies of the Ready Steady Baby booklet cost £100,000 to reprint, how many other NHS booklets are reprinted annually or even less and at what cost?

One hundred thousand pounds could keep several centres for the elderly open, could provide much needed additional psychologists for our mental health services or provide quality vocational training for enthusiastic 14+ year olds - just a few suggestions for better use of a large sum of money.

Why is Alex Salmond so intent upon re-engineering miniscule aspects of society when he should be channelling his energies towards increasing the economy and providing the public with his vision of an independent Scotland, complete with truthful financial projections?

While the UK government slides into absurdity, I would like to think Scotland was in safe hands. Is that wishful thinking?

source

80 comments:

Peter A Bell said...

That's the flimsiest review of the Yes Scotland launch event that I've come across. Probably all that might be expected from someone who couldn't even be bothered watching it.

The comment about a "50p increase in a unit of alcohol" strongly suggests a most regrettable failure to grasp the concept of minimum pricing.

And if NHS leaflets weren't reprinted there wouldn't be any NHS leaflets.

Altogether one of the silliest articles I've seen that wasn't written by Alan Cochrane.

footdee said...

Rosa is this what you mean ,

A blueprint for new Scottish oil and gas sector jobs and growth was welcomed by industry leaders in Aberdeen yesterday.

In what was described as the first industry strategy for the sector – 40 years after oil was discovered in the North Sea – plans to help find 10,000 new jobs estimated to be needed, double supply chain sales and increase overseas trade were outlined by Scotland’s first minister.

The move, led by the Scottish Government, in partnership with industry, comes after the UK Treasury’s surprise £10billion tax grab on the industry last year – followed by tax concessions this year – and predictions of bumper spending of more than £11billion in the North Sea during 2012.

JRB said...

Thank you Subrosa – you express perfectly my own feelings towards recent events.

To those who do not like to read or even consider what is being said here, I would suggest that you are doing yourself and the political party of your choice a grave disservice.

Be open to the opinion of others, only then can you change that opinion.

Listen to us who would question, or who are currently wavering – persuade us with constructive and positive argument.

But such strident, blinkered aggressive dogma, as posted by some, fails to impress or win me over to the argument – in fact it only succeeds in antagonising.

Perhaps I am right to be concerned as to the direction the SNP is taking and to question if their vision of independence is one I wish to support.

tedioustantrums said...

I'm with you SR.

The 50p unit of alcohol pricing, the social engineering, the continuing lack of clarity, the continuing green nonsense, the sudden drop in the alcohol drink drive limit?

The change to the leaflet should have been to say Mother or Father. That's what parents are called regardless of marriage or sexual orientation status, is it not?

Far too much messing about at the edges and far too little dealing with the economy. All things depend on the economy whether people like that or not.

All government fritters and wastes money and it should never be glossed over. It will not help the case for Independence if the SNP are seen as being controlling and petty.

If they do introduce controls they should major significantly on the evidence or research which makes the case for it.

Social engineering? Leave until after the case for independence has been won and the sovereignty of the people of Scotland confirmed.

Apogee said...

The "Yes, Scotland" launch "event" was not the best the SNP have ever achieved.It was not their finest hour.
It left me feeling I had been watching a monochrome movie with no plot.
A minimum 50p a unit for booze is not going to affect the ones who can spend £7.50 for a bottle of Buckfast.

And surely the NHS has more to do, and spend our money on than same sex crap that any one with any common sense will realise is pandering to PC nonsense.

Its time the SNP stated their intentions with respect to the EU
and independence. Most of the complaints about useless legislation and reduction of freedom can be laid at the EU door.
It is a beaurocracy thinly disguised as a government, it is vastly inefficient and is systematically bankrupting the countries it claims. We have no voting rights to the top tier of the EU , they are appointees.
Why would we want to remain attached to the EU in any form?
When will the SNP give us an unequivocal answer to this question, please?

subrosa said...

Oh dear Peter, I somehow detect you're unhappy with my remarks.

However I will say I find it insulting that you suggest I didn't even bother watching the Yes Scotland launch on Friday. As it happens I was not in a position to watch it because a television was not available. Since Friday there have been many excellent detailed reviews, some of which I will list on this week's TYP. I watched the broadcast when I was in a position to do so, albeit rather later than most.

I do grasp the concept of minimum pricing. What I don't grasp is a policy being brought into law without hard evidence. Please do not quote the Canada because it has a completely different method of alcohol retail.

subrosa said...

Yes footdee but did that make headlines? No. A 15 second mention on local news was all I heard.

We really must get away from spending time and money on trivialities and concentrate upon the likes of our oil and industry. People want to hear about the substance of our economy. That's the message which should be shouted from the rooftops.

subrosa said...

Questioning doesn't appear to be acceptable to some members of political parties JRB.

As we both know it's so much easier to drift along with the party line.

subrosa said...

Good point TT. These petty issues should be left until we achieve independence in 2014. There are issues of much greater importance which require to be debated.

subrosa said...

Quite a few people have suggested the Scottish government revisit their EU policy Apogee, but I doubt if that will happen.

As with the content of Dr Jim Swire's open letter in the Scottish Review yesterday, there are specific and far more important issues, which do need examined.

Anon said...

I suspect that the SNP is thoroughly infiltrated by the spooks.

- Aangirfan

footdee said...

JRB ,What a very shallow view you have about independence if the policies of the SNP you dont agree with put you off .You can vote for whatever party or policies you wish to after independence .Why do you get bogged down about triva of politics ---others wabble on about minimum pricing ,whats that got to do with independence ?

You write
"Perhaps I am right to be concerned as to the direction the SNP is taking and to question if their vision of independence is one I wish to support."

Well have your own vision and when its achieved, vote for whoever comes close ,I may even join your vision

footdee said...

"Yes footdee but did that make headlines? No. A 15 second mention on local news was all I heard.

We really must get away from spending time and money on trivialities"

I agee with you Rosa

Peter A Bell said...

Rosa

You self-evidently don't understand minimum pricing if you believe that it involves "a 50p increase in a unit of alcohol". This could only be true of alcohol currently priced at 0p per unit. And there's not a lot of that around. Criticise the policy by all means. But do so on the basis of what that policy actually is, rather than some quaintly erroneous notion that you've dreamed up.

Just as quaint is the idea that measures can only be introduced when we are 100% certain of their total efficacy. Were that true then we would hardly make any progress at all. Sometimes we pass laws knowing that they will have little or no effect at all simply because it is necessary that society lays down a marker. The real value of the minimum pricing legislation lies not necessarily or entirely in the extent to which it alone is effective in reducing alcohol abuse, but in the way it serves to reinforce the message that alcohol is potentially harmful. A message which is seriously undermined by selling booze at sweetie prices.

The plaint about a supposed lack of "hard evidence" sounds very much like someone who can't formulate an argument against a measure trying instead to raise the bar for those arguing in favour. That bar can always be raised. There will always be those who find an excuse for doing nothing.

I'm still awaiting an explanation of how the NHS might secure a continuing supply of leaflets without ordering reprints. I'm sure they would be delighted to hear more of this potentially cost-eliminating process whereby printed materials may be obtained without the need for any actual printing. Although it may not be good news for the printing industry.

Peter A Bell said...

"If 90 copies of the Ready Steady Baby booklet cost £100,000 to reprint, how many other NHS booklets are reprinted annually or even less and at what cost?"

That was 90,000 copies.

footdee said...

TT on rereading your comment I find I agree with most of it however if the govt did nothing labour and their friends in the media would be down their throat dahmed if they do and dahmed if they dont and something had to be done about cheap drink all the professionals said so .

working on the economy and social legislation can be done at the same time if fact that is what the Govt is doing ----nevertheless all govt keep needing a shove ,keep shoving it does them good

subrosa said...

Aangirfan, aren't they in every political party?

subrosa said...

Footdee, I certainly don't agree that JRB has a shallow view about independence. That's quite insulting as you have no idea how much he has worked towards this nation being able to take responsibility for its own destiny.

No more than you know the amount of effort I have put in towards the same aim I might add.

The problem I see is that the SG is acquiring the 'wrong' headlines. The average voter (if my friends are such) don't want to read about this kind of thing. They want to know how Scotland will stand on its own two feet and spending - what some see as a vast amount of money - on efforts to be politically correct, doesn't do their cause good.

I want independence as much as the next supporter, yet I'm not prepared to sit back and watch the SNP government being ridiculed on the High Street.

Talk to some of your pals - not those who are toeing the party line.

Nikostratos said...

subrosa

I'm Dad to my son he is Dad to his son and I am Grand..Dad to my grand son and thats that...

My Daughter who is in a long term relationship??
Means I when describe her significant other..
Leads me to say Her boyfriend(bit old fashioned that) bloke she lives with..........sort of son in law.......err partnerish and usually ends with me saying....err 'WHATEVER'

subrosa said...

Oh Peter, I do understand the minimum pricing policy.

I made no statement saying that legislation can only be introduced when there is 100% evidence of its effectiveness. But I do hesitate, and I can't do bold so reiterate hesitate, in accepting one commissioned report from one English university as being the 'be all and end all' of our alcohol problem, particularly when it has no evidence base and uses only forecast statistics.

As I've said many times (and you mention) ''in the way it serves to reinforce the message that alcohol is potentially harmful'.

After speaking to many about this - because they insist upon speaking to me - the return to a system such as Canada's would perhaps be a better first step. Hard evidence is not essential but soft evidence is. The soft evidence has come from Canada which, I reiterate, has a completely different system of retail.

However, we allow 24 hour drinking and let young folk tell their friends that they spent the night in A & E because they 'were ill'.

Regarding reprints you're speaking to someone who has a bit of nouse about printing. The cost of reprints is always included in the printer's original estimate of printing costs. Reprints are usually a small percentage of the original costs.

But when a customer wishes to change anything within the reprint then it becomes a serious expenditure.

If reprints are required within any government department because the department has run out of them, that's fine.

When we're reprinting booklets about mothers and fathers (who can only make babies) and someone protests about the word dad being included, then I protest.

Peter, I refuse to be drawn into a debate about the print industry in which I was involved for many years. You know full well that my point wasn't about them and I've every sympathy with them now that the world has gone digital.

subrosa said...

Peter, many thanks for pointing that out. I appreciate that. It has been amended and I've also included my source - something which I unusually forgot to include.

English Pensioner said...

As an outsider, I wonder whether support for the SNP is as great as it seems. I know they won an overall majority, but the question has to be asked whether these were votes for the SNP or votes against the established parties.
I have heard local people here say that they are fed up with the coalition, couldn't possibly vote Labour so will vote for UKIP. Similarly Labour voters are saying they want a change but couldn't possibly vote Tory, so will vote for UKIP.
I suspect Salmond got elected as a result of similar thinking, but when it comes to a major change like leaving the Union, the majority of Scottish voters will say "No".
As I want English Independence, I hope I am wrong in my arguments, but for once, I fear that I will be proved to be correct.

Peter A Bell said...

"Oh Peter, I do understand the minimum pricing policy."

Then why the remark about "a 50p increase in a unit of alcohol"? Which is patently false. Unless you know of alcoholic beverages currently retailing at 0p per unit.

Peter A Bell said...

Subrosa

On the NHS leaflets, the article tried to make out that the leaflets were being reprinted because of the change to the wording. But read the statement from NHS and it's clear that the leaflet was due for revision anyway prior to another print run. The additional cost involved was precisely zero.

It's a non-story. But buttons were pressed. So I guess the article did its job. And now that the myth is established we can be sure that in a few weeks or months some middle-class whinger will be banging on about how dreadful the NHS is and citing in "evidence" the time they were forced to reprint 9 leaflets at a cost of £1,000,000 just to satisfy the "PC brigade".

Allan said...

There are signs that they've taken their eye off the ball this year, no question. It's maybe too early to say they've lost the plot.

You are right about the "yes" launch though. For a campaign that needs to generate some upward momentum, this had the air of preaching to the converted instead of speaking to people willing to give them a listen while remaining objective.

By the way, the SNP did not agree the report on the back of a report from a university - this was an idea which had been lobbied for by the BMA. Having written a letter to the PDE about 18 months ago, an irate local prospective candidate for the SNP wrote to the PDE disclosing a list of people who agreed with minimum pricing was a great idea - the BMA being one of them. Whoever's idea it is, it won't work, or at least it won't work unless it is part of a suite of other proposals.

Observer said...

My reading of the launch is that they are targeting Labour voters as that is who they need to vote yes in the referendum. Hence the blistering speech from Brian Cox.

As far as same sex marriage goes - that is an unavoidable issue because it is an issue of civil rights which has been raised UK wide. The Scottish government are not in a position to ignore it, that is just wishful thinking.

The NHS & other public sector bodies do review publications before re-prints I agree with Peter that no additional money has been spent. I am not convinced that the change was made to accommodate same sex couples alone. Lots of single women have babies there aren't always dads there.

Regards to minimum pricing - the Northern Irish, Irish, Welsh & UK governments are also looking at it very seriously. That is because of the medical evidence which supports the policy.

The SNP are not going to please everyone but can we all remember that after independence we can vote for whoever we like. For now can we stick with the SNP please.

Observer said...

''Perhaps I am right to be concerned as to the direction the SNP is taking and to question if their vision of independence is one I wish to support.''

You shouldn't make the assumption that the SNP will shape a future independent Scotland.

The point of independence is that the people who live in Scotland will decide that - & no we will not all agree.

That's how countries work.

Jo G said...

Dearie me Rosie you've got a few folk hot under the collar but well done you.

I applaud you for being brave enough to blog about your concerns and ask if the plot is indeed being lost.

Like you I want detail and a real debate and its a shame you can't say that without being set upon. Its a shame you can't remark that the launch of the YES campaign didn't connect with you. For what its worth I felt exactly the same. There is a piece in the Scottish Review today expressing similar concerns. It would be a better strategy if people listened to some of those concerns and acted on them rather than attacking those expressing them.

English Pensioner
Initially I laughed when Iain Gray claimed last year that the Labour vote hadn't actually collapsed but then the Scottish Review published some statistics which supported that view. It appeared the Lib Dem vote collapsed and the SNP gained in that respect. Labour, obviously, lost votes and seats but the gains made by the SNP were very much at the hands of the Lib Dems. For pointing this out Kenneth Roy at the Scottish Review was the hate figure of the year for many SNP supporters. But really they should have been more mature about it and they should, in my view, have paid attention because there is a lot of work to do yet, especially for that referendum. Which is why the point Rosie is making about the need to make a real connection with ordinary voters out here is highly valid.

Observer said...

The Labour vote hasn't collapsed - but it is soft on independence.

There are a lot of Labour voters who will not vote SNP but who will vote yes - if they can be persuaded to.

Of course the risk is that if the SNP appeal to them in terms of their strategy for the referendum they might lose some from the centre right.

It's a tricky one.

Peter A Bell said...

Observer said...

"Of course the risk is that if the SNP appeal to them in terms of their strategy for the referendum they might lose some from the centre right."

That's the idea of the Yes Campaign. The different parties and groups involved appeal to different sections of the electorate. The SNP is pretty much stuck with the role of holding the centre while the likes of Patrick Harvie deal with the more radical message. But the bottom line is always a YES vote.

I dealt with this in more detail in a recent blog. - http://bit.ly/L6H3Tm

RMcGeddon said...

Pete said.."That's the flimsiest review of the Yes Scotland launch event that I've come across"

You obviously missed the 'review' by the BBC.
Their two sentence statement said that Tom Farmer was against independence and that 68% of Scots were also against independence.

Oh and could you direct me to the shop selling drink at 'sweetie prices' please ?

The SNP seem to be going out of their way to get a No vote for independence.
Nicola Sturgeon was dire on the 'Great Debate' on Pravda. Even the eco fruit and nut case Patrick Harvie outshown her.

Jo G said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jo G said...

Peter A Bell

"Why is Alex Salmond so intent upon re-engineering miniscule aspects of society when he should be channelling his energies towards increasing the economy and providing the public with his vision of an independent Scotland, complete with truthful financial projections?"

I think that particular question, posed in Subrosa's piece above, is a perfectly valid one to those who are keen for the real debate to begin and to get to the nitty-gritty.

With respect I find your final line in an earlier post , "I deal with this in more detail in a recent blog...." more than a little patronising. This particular blog has dealt with so many issues it isn't possible to count but while Subrosa is a supporter of independence she is also prepared to criticise the SNP when she feels it is appropriate to do so. I would rather be reading someone with the courage to do that than to be on a blog where to criticise the SNP on anything is unacceptable and where one is immediately set upon by the SNP's more rabid supporters and all hope of debate is lost. Such an approach doesn't win hearts and minds and it certainly won't win votes.

"Probably all that might be expected from someone who couldn't even be bothered watching it."

That comment was plain rude and this,

" Altogether one of the silliest articles I've seen that wasn't written by Alan Cochrane."

was inexcusable.

Bullying people and putting them down is not going to secure the YES vote needed. In fact, such an approach is likely to send them running to vote no. People need to be convinced and riding on the fact that the SNP did so well in an election last year is not going to secure a win in a referendum. The election last year managed just a 51% turnout. This is a different matter altogether. I didn't find the launch very inspiring myself.

You may deal with various issues on your own blog: fair enough, but you do not represent the SNP publicly as a Party for the rest of us and it is the SNP many of us want to hear from on the big issues surrounding independence. Your blog is simply a place where you get to express your own views and that is all it is.

I have seen a huge change in Mr Salmond during this term and I'm concerned. I think he has taken his eye off the ball and I think Ms McAlpine is costing him support also. Any MSP who shows contempt for Parliament on the number of occasions she now has should not be working so closely with him any longer. She is letting the entire Party down and on too many occasions has become the story herself and not in a good way either. She may be an experienced journalist but she most certainly is not an experienced politician and her behaviour during this, her very first term as an MSP, proves it. It has not been good for the SNP. When she comes out with one of her statements it doesn't matter what she actually meant, the point is she needs to think about what she says in the first place so that it can't be used against the SNP. The debacle over her "anti-Scottish" comment was cringe-worthy and totally reckless. Why she has been put into such a prominent position so early in her political career is quite beyond my understanding and on the evidence so far Mr Salmond really should have selected someone else.

I've also felt lately that Nicola is not her usual self and actually wondered if there is something wrong. Is she unhappy too with the way things are being done? I wonder.

As Subrosa says right now we're in the build up to a huge question and if the SNP don't start soon on the nitty-gritty then the question will be upon us and a lot of people are going to panic when they realise they don't know enough detail and go with a NO just to be on the safe side. The risk factor is high and the SNP really must get cracking.

subrosa said...

Life is becoming more and more confusing Niko.

subrosa said...

EP, what is needed here is a steady ship with middle of the road policies and less of the populist agenda.

I will do my bit to help towards your goal, believe me. :)

subrosa said...

You seem to have inside knowledge about this particular leaflet Peter.

According to the NHS spokesperson all NHS printed material is reviewed on an annual (or less) basis. That's fine, I agree with information being regularly updated.

What I would like to know - and I'm having difficulty finding an 'old' copy although I now have one of the new ones - is what changes were made to justify the cost of £100,000 for one booklet's reprint run.

subrosa said...

It certainly came over as a luv-in Allan and I found that sad. With one exception I have yet to meet anyone who watched it right through, whether on Friday or on the Parliament channel on Sunday.

It won't work because the legislation already in place is ignored.

subrosa said...

Brian Cox and Denis Canavan Observer. Both were strong and direct in their speeches. Unfortunately I would doubt if many labour supporters watched it.

There's a mystery about this same-sex marriage business Observer. Who is promoting it? As far as I can see the gay communities have little interest in it.

Of course all official publications should be reviewed regularly to ensure the content is legally correct. Unfortunately I doubt if I'll be able to lay my hands on an old copy of this publication because I would like to see what changes were made.

The booklet itself is not very substantial and the print costs possibly go on the design rather than content. (colour etc), but I fail to see why the NHS is spending such large sums of money on publication reprints when it could be better spent in other areas.

Every child has a dad as well as a mum. Why should anyone be offended about that?

Aye, the good old BMA and their medical evidence. We'll just have to wait and see if their projected statistics become reality. Then again, figures can be massaged to suit the masseurs.

The SNP has done a very good balancing act until recently, by appealing to those of all persuasions. Unfortunately they're beginning to lose support by concentrating too much on issues which are not vital to the wellbeing of us all.

I will stick with the SNP as has been my way for many years, but have no wish to hear them criticised as they have been in the past year. I'm not speaking about the media but the person in the street.

subrosa said...

You've hit the nail on the head there Observer. The SNP are regarded as 'the party' for independence, even although there are other smaller parties of the same persuasion.

The problem they have is with policy, because as you say, it won't be the SNP alone who will be making policy once we're independent. Unfortunately at present it's impossible to debate policies such as security because the No campaigners refuse to become involved.

The best the SNP can do is to put forward outline costs of an independent country, but until Westminster become involved (and that will only happen after independence) their figures will have little meaning.

That's their problem, although they have a great asset in John Swinney.

subrosa said...

Auch Jo, I don't mind anyone disagreeing with me in the least, as long as we are all reasonably polite to each other and don't just hurl insults.

subrosa said...

Peter, the problem is that the Yes campaign appears to be full of those of a left persuasion and none from the centre or centre right. Observer's correct in her remark.

The SNP has always managed to hold onto the centre or centre right until recently. (Here John Swinney has a very large centre/centre right electorate and he works admirably with everyone).

Unfortunately the SG at present are seen to be lurching more and more to the left - to attract labour supporters as Observer suggests.

They have a difficult balancing act to do. Personally I wouldn't rely upon labour voters saying Yes. I'd much rather they held onto their centre/centre right supporters - those who put them in government in the first place.

Your link goes to the comments here and not your own blog post. Could you give the correct one so as my readers can visit you?

subrosa said...

RM, that's the BBC at their best (or worst). A recent poll suggested roughly a third were for independence, a third against and a third undecided.

Of course the BBC put the undecideds in with the Nos. Typical.

subrosa said...

Jings Jo, I nearly took Peter's remark as a compliment because, as you know, Alan Cochrane is also a Dundonian.

Must have been something in the water there back in the 40s and 50s. :)

Peter A Bell said...

RMcGeddon said...

"Oh and could you direct me to the shop selling drink at 'sweetie prices' please ?"

There have been examples of alcoholic beverages being sold cheaper than bottled water. I'd say that qualifies as "sweetie prices".

Peter A Bell said...

Jo G said...

"I think that particular question, posed in Subrosa's piece above, is a perfectly valid one..."

How can it be valid when it is based on false assumptions. Alcohol abuse is anything but a "miniscule [sic] aspects of society". It is one of the most serious problems facing society.

Then there is the false and, frankly, quite silly assumption that individuals and governments can only ever be doing one thing. Here in the real world, the Scottish Government is doing a great deal of work - within the limitations of its powers - to stimulate economic growth. That there may not be much to show for this effort is largely explained by the economically stultifying effects of the UK government's austerity policy.

Quite how it is possible to deny that Alex Salmond has been assiduous in "providing the public with his vision of an independent Scotland" remains to be explained.

"With respect I find your final line in an earlier post , "I deal with this in more detail in a recent blog...." more than a little patronising."

I'm a bit puzzled by this as all I did was provide a link to a blog I'd previously written rather than expand on the issue in this place.

The rest appears to be just one long whine about people who dare to challenge Subrosa's views or point out misstatements of fact. Why you imagine I might be affected by such efforts to close down discussion is a bit of a mystery.

Peter A Bell said...

subrosa said...

"What I would like to know - and I'm having difficulty finding an 'old' copy although I now have one of the new ones - is what changes were made to justify the cost of £100,000 for one booklet's reprint run."

Read the NHS statement. The leaflet was not reprinted simply to effect changes to the wording. It was due for reprinting anyway. There was no additional cost involved. £100,000 is not an unreasonable cost for printing 90,000 220-page items.

Jo G said...

Peter A Bell

Your response confirms everything I said about you in my earlier post.

"The rest appears to be just one long whine about people who dare to challenge Subrosa's views or point out misstatements of fact."

The only person complaining about others challenging someone's view was YOU. You're still doing it. I can only hope YOU aren't going round doors trying to persuade people to vote yes. I'm sure your whole approach will guarantee a few NO votes.

RMcGeddon said...

Pete said..
"There have been examples of alcoholic beverages being sold cheaper than bottled water."

Yes this tired old chestnut keeps cropping up so I revisited the various supermarket websites.

Asda do sparkling Highland Spring Water at 33p a litre ( 4 x 2litre pack).
Unless you enjoy bottled Perrier water ( during a Holyrood lunch perhaps ?) then you won't find lager cheaper than water.
And what business is it of our leaders increasing the price of a legal product 'for our own good' ?
Do our betters actually believe that people drink cheap lager out of choice ?
They don't. They would happily drink quality lagers if they could afford them.
Once the minimum pricing comes in then the 'quality' lagers ( and other drinks) will increase proportionally to make them 'special'. This is what the brewers have said must happen in order to maintain 'image in the market'. No problem for Scottish Ministers on £100K plus exes and taxpayer funded lunches of course.

Peter A Bell said...

RMcGeddon said...

"Yes this tired old chestnut keeps cropping up so I revisited the various supermarket websites."

A better source would be Alcohol Concern's report on white cider. - http://www.alcoholconcern.org.uk/publications/policy-reports/white-cider-street-drinkers

Jo G said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jo G said...

Subrosa, Yesterday's Scottish Review had an article by Thom Cross about the YES launch. (I tried to insert a link but it wouldn't work, sorry.)

This paragraph says it all:

"But my evaluation (and I speak as one who is sympathetic to the cause) is one of C- with far too little argument, no attempt to convince me, to make me a political offer, a promise. Bereft of the meat of political policy even the post-conference bright Edinburgh sunshine failed to bring enlightenment. I was left in the fog of uncertainty as I took my place in the bus back to Glasgow."

RMcGeddon said...

Pete..
Just rechecked Tesco etc for cider prices.
Tesco looks the cheapest with it's own brand at approx 98p a litre (5%).
Diamond White (7.5%) is approx £2 a litre.
About 300% more expensive than bottled water.
Unless you buy 'designer' water like perrier etc then you can get water at a third of the price of cheap lagers and ciders with no trouble at all. Better still turn on your water tap and get your water for free.

Fake charities such as Alcohol Concern regularly make up these stories to sway politicians. And they are very successful.
Not as successful as the 'green' lobbyists who have used the global warming scam to make billions out of useless windmills but they run a close second.

Jo G said...

RMcG, if we drop the argument over the cost of water to buy versus the cost of alcohol surely you must admit Scotland has a problem with alcohol and we need to address this, surely? That is what was behind the idea of minimum pricing.

I would also say (and you disagreed with me before on this but never mind, it was true then and still is) that many of the larger outlets market booze and persuade people to buy in bulk when it comes to drinks like lager/beer/cider. It isn't that we don't like alcohol: the point is that we drink too much of it and offers like this simply encourage that. It is irresponsible.

What different measures would you take personally to address Scotland's relationship with alcohol?

RMcGeddon said...

Jo..
Scotland doesn't have a problem with alcohol.
A small proportion of Scottish people have a problem with alcohol.
We know that cost makes no difference because we're double the costs of mainland Europe where abuse and trouble is rare. Making everyone pay more is unreasonable and a cop out.

Alcohol is legal so I don't see a problem with it being promoted by retailers. I look out for these promotions when I visit Asda etc. There are thousands of products heavily promoted that could be labelled as bad for our health. To increase their cost so that a small minority might not buy and abuse them is ridiculous.
Are you a baby who needs nanny to take your hand and help you through life ?

The answer to alcohol abuse and violence is the same as it has been for decades but will never happen. Use the police powers already available to lock up offenders and have them in court on Monday morning in the same stinking clothes that they had on Friday night. And issue heavy fines. Giving them a lift home to sober up or setting up caravans so that they can chill out is mad.

This solution won't stop hardened alcoholics but will remove 99% of the problem.
The 1% of hardened alcoholics should be allowed to hasten their own deaths as they wish. We all have to die of something and will all cost the NHS money in our last week of life. Alcoholics will die earlier and spend their last week of life in hospital earlier and not collect pensions etc.

Jo G said...

RMcG, while I agree with your frustration over the lack of action taken against those who indulge frequently in drunken behaviour I cannot agree that "Scotland doesn't have a problem with alcohol."

We now live in a culture where a night out hasn't been great if you can remember any of it. You can accuse charities associated with Alochol Abuse of exaggerating the problem but what do you say to A&E staff who regularly see young people brought in suffering from alcohol poisoning over weekends or ordinary Doctors expressing concern about the rising number of relatively young people with liver damage due to alcohol? That to me is a problem. How do we address a culture where you have to be blind drunk by the end of the night?

Despite criticism of the Minimum Price I think that is what the SNP as a Government is trying to deal with. Why is it that in wider Europe many don't behave this way? What is it about us that we do?

IN response to your question, no I'm not a baby who needs led by the hand through life but I do expect action when at least a couple of generations now have a relationship with alcohol which is dangerous and which will damage new generations to come as they follow suit.

footdee said...

Footdee, 2I certainly don't agree that JRB has a shallow view about independence. That's quite insulting as you have no idea how much he has worked towards this nation being able to take responsibility for its own destiny.

No more than you know the amount of effort I have put in towards the same aim I might add."-----------------I have no doubt that both of you are on the side of the good guys ,but you do have the Scottish trait of over analysising matters ----lets get the job done and worry about it later .

You have made me think that perhaps it would have been better if minimum pricing had been left on the shelf so as to annoy the man in the street but its done and even the unionists parties are in favour

RMcGeddon said...

Jo..
I've explained why we have an ongoing drink problem ( esp amongst the young - violence, A&E repeat referrals etc). There are no sanctions.

I've explained why minimum pricing won't work. Because price isn't the problem. We're the dearest for alcohol but have the most problems.
Because of no sanctions.

You said that it's partly the supermarket's fault because the rotters market the alcohol aggressively.
If you can't resist buying the alcohol because of this marketing then you do need nannying. I'm not sure what else we can do for you.
Do you buy fatty bridies and pies because their marketed aggressively ? Which they often are.

Peter A Bell said...

RMcGeddon said...

"I've explained why we have an ongoing drink problem ( esp amongst the young - violence, A&E repeat referrals etc). There are no sanctions."

Only the seriously deluded can pretend there are "no sanctions" while our court system is clogged with drink-related offences and our prisons overflowing with drunken offenders.

RMcGeddon said...

Sorry Pete.
I should have said 'proper sanctions'.
I'd say that you were deluded if you think we have adequate sanctions.
We know we don't have adequate sanctions because the same old faces appear regularly for the same old offences. Occasionally they will get the jail. Which is no problem to them and many use the time to get fit and get a break from their hectic lifestyle. Clean up a bit.

It's all well documented.
The drink and drugs counselling industry needs these folk to sustain them so nothing will change. Support workers shadowing the poor wretches to ensure they get to their probation officers and court case and benefits office on schedule. It's a multi million pound industry full of fake charities and quangos that have a vested interest in keeping the whole scam going for as long as possible.
Clients = money.

subrosa said...

Peter, I would extend your sentence to read 'It is one of the most serious problems facing a small minority of society'.

You make Scotland seem like a country overflowing with raving drunks. I admit there are more on the streets than there were when i was a lass, but a large part of that is because the police don't apply the law the same as they did then.

To be hauled off the street, stuck in the back of a black maria and put in a cold cell to sober up was enough of a deterrent to many then.

But of course that's now against human rights. We need to pander to our drunks and give them the same attention that would be given to a heart attack victim.

Oh, please give the correct link for the post on your own blog. Many thanks.

subrosa said...

Auch Peter. I realise you're doing your best to promote NHS Scotland and there are certainly very good areas of it which deserve promoting.

But are you telling me that they don't know the average number of babies which are born annually and therefore require annual reprints of material?

Knowing a wee bit about the printing trade, I can say that an extra 90,000 onto the initial print run would have cost far less than £100,000.

subrosa said...

Good research RM and of course it's nonsense alcohol is cheaper than water.

Peter, as for Alcohol Concern, you know full well that it is a government funded fake charity. It promotes the government's line at our expense and because these fake charities are so well funded by the taxpayer, it's very difficult for other self-funding organisations to publicly question their facts and figures.

subrosa said...

Thanks Jo, yes I did read the SR article.

My comments weren't - by any stretch of the imagination - an in depth critic but I thought it was worth mentioning my impressions.

subrosa said...

RM has an excellent point there Jo about the price of alcohol here and the price in the rest of the EU. We're certainly higher and will be higher even more. I wrote a wee while ago that the Scots relationship with alcohol wasn't financial but cultural.

As one laddie said to me in the supermarket the other day - "Buckfast won't be affected and that's the drink of choice with the youngsters here. Anyway if it did increase it they would still buy it. They'd find the money for it."

subrosa said...

Ah footdee, there's a good point. '...but you do have the Scottish trait of over analysing matters - let's get the job done and worry about it later'.

You consider people who question as over-analysing and it's a Scottish characteristic. Many of my posts come from conversations with family and friends. People do want to know some detail.

We're a canny lot and there is a large section of society who are not prepared to take a leap of blind faith without 'over-analysing'.

Unfortunately many of those folks are those who are yet undecided and I think the referendum result will depend upon the Yes campaign giving them the information they require.

Jo G said...

RMcG, there may be no point in saying this to you again but I just want to reassure you that I personally can control my alcohol intake very well. I do not require "nannying" and I don't feel I must buy alcohol when I pass all those offers in supermarkets.

I feel I have made valid points about today's drink culture. (It isn't just in Scotland, its in England too.) Minimum pricing may not help that but I still believe we need to try and change the culture itself because it is doing great damage.

I'm not speaking about those on benefits, who don't work or pay their way. The behaviour is across the spectrum at your average night out. When I worked with a mixed age group we used to have nights out all the time. I enjoy a drink myself but I know how far I can go. The younger ones would mix drinks like mad and drank doubles only when they were on shorts, then they'd move on to these "shots" later and down them by the half dozen. The quantity they'd put about was unbelievable. They weren't out cold by the end of the night or being disorderly and they weren't incapable but they were consuming dangerous amounts of alcohol. And for them this was the drill every weekend. That isn't healthy behaviour.

Jo G said...

Subrosa at 15.38

I agree wholeheartedly with that. There are specific areas, taxation for instance, where we need detail. While I am in favour of independence I would like to know what the plan would be on taxation because I'm not sure how much would be raised from Scottish Income Tax contributions alone. This is a crude way of putting it but I'd like to see a list of Income and Expenditure for and independent Scotland showing what would come in and what we'd need to fund. I'd want to see new ideas to raise investment (and thus new money in the income column). I'd like to know if there are plans to revamp Council Tax and sever the relationship between the amount we pay and the value of the property we live in when there is no logical connection between property value and the services used. I'd like to know why, if the SNP believe we can cope with only a single Police force, we need 32 Councils. And I'd like to talk jobs given the number in Scotland that are directly linked with the UK Civil Service and Defence bodies. I'd like to be asked where I think we could save money and the areas where I'd be prepared to pay more.

These things are all vital, and there are even more, because we need to decide how we want a future independent Scotland to function or to get a look at the vision the SNP has for that future. How else are we going to choose?

footdee said...

"These things are all vital, and there are even more, because we need to decide how we want a future independent Scotland to function or to get a look at the vision the SNP has for that future. How else are we going to choose?"----------Indeed they are Jo G----but the futures not ours to see, there will be many different voices in an independent Scotland .

As for the tax receits the Westminster govt wont tell us.

As I tried to tell Rosa dont let your vision get bogged down in detail or media triva

subrosa said...

My vision isn't bogged down in anything other than a desire for independence footdee.

What this post is about is what is being talked about by those who have yet to decide. They're the important ones. Not the converts such as us.

Weekend Yachtsman said...

"Why is Alex Salmond so intent upon re-engineering miniscule aspects of society..."

Maybe because he's suddenly realised that in an "independent" (ie, not independent at all) Scotland, those will be the only things he'll be able to influence, as everything important will be decided in Brussels by unelected people who'll take no notice of him at all?

Seems possible.

subrosa said...

Yes indeed WY, it does seem possible.

Jo G said...

Footdee

"but the futures not ours to see, there will be many different voices in an independent Scotland ."

Eh?

So we're not to know how Income and Expenditure would look in an independent Scotland right now? We're not to know how we fund ourselves?

I don't think so. Please read the sentence I have quoted again and then consider the absurdity of it. To ask people to take such a huge step with no detail is just ridiculous.

footdee said...

To ask people to take such a huge step with no detail is just ridiculous."---------your going over the top to make a point .the future Scotland will made with many others than just the SNP having an input are they crossing the Ts and dotting the Is ?-----------many of your requests cant be met untill westminster opens the books but a broad picture can be seen by all means write to George Osbourne and ask for Scotland`s tax take I wish you luck .

I have no doubt that within the next year or two the SNP will release the financial advantages to Scotland of independence .bide your time

footdee said...

Subrosa --"My vision isn't bogged down in anything other than a desire for independence footdee."

Then why are you going on about leaflets ?

"What this post is about is what is being talked about by those who have yet to decide. They're the important ones. Not the converts such as us."
Yes good point

footdee said...

Rosa ,in case you misunderstand me ,I have no doubt that you have and will continue to do more for the cause of independence than ever I will ever do .
You can add JRB in that as well

subrosa said...

I mentioned these booklets because of the quite unnecessary cost and it's things like that which my age group discuss amongst each other. Think about the hundreds of thousands of pounds spent on translating so many leaflets into a multitude of languages.

Us wrinklies take note of these things and we're the age group who are most likely to vote and try to influence our families.

We'd like to think any SG used a good pinch of common sense when spending taxpayers money.

RMcGeddon said...

Jo..
We both agree that some folk abuse alcohol.
Your solution is to punish everybody even though you don't know if increasing costs will make any difference.
I prefer individual accountability with strong punishments for individuals who abuse alcohol.
Taxes never go down. Only up. The drinks companies have said that they will increase the cost of their 'quality brands' to maintain their price differential so we will all pay more. Irrespective of what we drink.
Buckfast is safely within the 50p threshold so won't be affected by the first increase. Cue future headlines in newspapers demanding an increase in the 50p level.
Nanny won't be affected by any increase as they enjoy eye watering salaries and taxpayer subsidised prices.
Future historians will shake their heads and marvel at people demanding more taxes. How did the brainwashing get to be so successful they will wonder ?
I suspect that bartering for alcohol will be the norm in the coming Armageddon so we're just discussing the colour of the angels dresses as they dance on the end of a pin.

RMcGeddon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
RMcGeddon said...

SR...
"We'd like to think any SG used a good pinch of common sense when spending taxpayers money."

I doubt it SR. I saw Alex giving away £3m of our money to 'fight climate change in Africa' the other day.
The climate will always change so you certainly can't 'fight' it.
A drop in the ocean I suppose compared to what their throwing away on wind mills. Why can't they spend the £3m here ? Surely 'global warming' is errr 'global' so can be 'fought' anywhere on the globe.


At least Spain has finally removed the renewables burden from the taxpayers teat. Like Germany they've found it has been an expensive failure and the coming collapse means they can no longer play green politics with people's money...

http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/05/30/green-energy-companies-off-the-government-teat-in-spain-take-off/

Maybe a good link for your round up of the week ?

subrosa said...

Funnily enough I was just discussing the £3m giveaway with someone the other day RM. They asked what the SG was doing when Westminster already contributes excessive amounts to these and other countries.

I'll put that on next weekend's TYP. Many thanks.

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