You possibly have the better of me here, Peter, since my only info comes from the Times, who can sometimes be a bit economical with the truth, I fear, if it suits them!
I do not know the lady in question. I think though, Nicola has much that is recommendable, even to Tories! and I'll take her any day to Labour in Scotland, who were consistently sold down river by the dregs Blair, Brown and the dross which followed!
Some interesting data has emerged about higher education in Scotland, Scottish students from lower income families are four times less likely to enter University than their peers in England and Wales, why? After all university education in Scotland is free while in England and Wales students have to pay about £9,000 per term for the same opportunities!
It seems that the cost of providing 'Free University Education' which has to be funded entirely by the Scottish Government is so high that they have had to introduce a cap on available university places, so even if a student from a low paid family were to be accepted by a university the cost of funding their bed, board, clothing and food while at university would be virtually impossible for their family to subsidise especially as there are no student loans available for students in Scotland. This means that here is a social imbalance in favour of the children from middle and upper class backgrounds.
Well done SNP!
Nicola Sturgeon is going to get herself and Scotland badly burned if she is not careful!
below, a couple of exchanges on Times Digital today...
Mr D Akenhead 1 hour ago
Take my advice, Nicola. Don't fall out with Theresa. She could be your/our only salvation! (from a fellow Scot). Don't put your trust in Europe, and remember you received no better than David Cameron, when you crawled to the French. Speaking personally for a moment, crawling is not what we do!
John Fleming 3 hours ago
Goodbye Scotland and shut the door on your way out!
Mr D Akenhead 1 hour ago
@John Fleming we can't do without you, and you can't do without us! Period!
Jill Basten 1 hour ago
Our new PM proves she knows who to sweep out the door. And after all the press reports that Osborne would not allow himself to be shunted anywhere but the Foreign Office I wonder how he's feeling now on the outside looking in. Now let's see how Angela deals with Miss Bossy Boots up in Scotland.
Mr D Akenhead 48 minutes ago
@Jill Basten already making a mark, it would seem! Juncker down, now Sturgeon!
Barry Hawley-Green 2 hours ago
Must admit that I will not miss any of the ousted ones.
Especially not That self satisfied snake Gove.
Also next time there is a referendum on Scotland's independence can the rest of the U.K. Vote please. That should ensure that we get rid of them. Yeah.
Mr D Akenhead 46 minutes ago
@Barry Hawley-Green you insult US there is no THEM! I blame Aristotle!
I don't blame Jeremy Corbyn either - the Blairites hate and fear him as he is a proper socialist and not a blue Laborourite. The press does everything it can to undermine him and again fear him - he may ruffle their smug well-feathered nests.
I am keen Brexiteer but do not feel May and her minions will do a good job but may be marginally better than that lazy coward Cameron who scuttled off as soon as the going got tough. I dislike Liam Fox, Gove, Johnson and so don't feel very confident about the future but still feel that we are better off out than in - we need a proper democratic Britain.
I quite like the idea of a federal UK and wouldn't really like Scotland to leave the Union or Wales for that matter. I am not so sure about N Ireland although the Ulstermen/women seem to want to stay in the Union.Historically is fraught with issues - I won't go into them as I am sure you are well aware of them. It seems still to have sectarian splits. I wonder if they will ever be resolved.
I wonder too about the Scottish economy which seems to be in a poor state but Scotland does appear to have a more equal society, we could take a leaf out your book in relation to education at the very least. Scotland is no longer a Tory stronghold and has become much more left of centre.
I really hope Scotland stays in the Union and is able to make an acceptable deal in order to do so. I suspect that they will benefit from leaving the EU as we all will but it will take time and cannot be achieved overnight.
Why Scotland’s dire economy is falling further behind the UK
By Allister Heath
Scotland has a big problem, and it has nothing to do with the Tories, with Brexit or with any of the other issues that the nationalist establishment is obsessed with. Scotland’s problem is that, largely as a result of Labour and SNP socialist policies, its economy is performing appallingly, and has been doing so for ages. Year after year and quarter after quarter, Scotland has been growing more slowly than the overall UK economy and England in particular.
The catastrophic decline of the North Sea oil and gas industry, combined with a collapse in energy prices compared to their historic peaks, has also crippled growth, of course. But there is far, far more to Scotland’s economic woes than merely the downturn affecting the extractive industries: all parts of the economy are in a rut. It pains me deeply to say so, but the Scottish economy now more closely resembles a struggling eurozone periphery economy than it does that of England.
Pro-Scottish Independence supporters with Scottish Saltire flags and EU flags among others including the Palestinian flag (R) rally in George Square in Glasgow, Scotland on July 30, 2016 to call for Scottish independence from the UK. Several thousand pro-independence supporters marched and rallied in central Glasgow calling for Sottish independence from the UK. Independence for Scotland was rejected in a 2014 referendum but the June 2016 EU referendum result in favour of Brexit has ignited a ne
Scotland needs to do an about-turn and embrace tried and tested policies to boost economic growth
As an excellent analysis by David Owen, of Jefferies, reminds us, social-democratic Scotland continues to be addicted to government spending.
Spending per person in Scotland was £12,800 in 2015-16, compared with £11,500 for the UK as a whole. The problem is that Scotland’s tax base is too small to pay for this, which means that it is racking up a massive budget deficit (funded by English taxpayers). For the UK as a whole, the shortfall between revenues and expenditures was 4pc of GDP in 2015-16, far too high for this stage of the cycle; but for Scotland, even with a geographical share of oil (now some 78.5% of output), it was a disastrous 9.5% of GDP. An independent Scotland would have to slash expenditures massively not to go bankrupt immediately, and dump its socialist public sector model. This would be a good thing, of course, but is the opposite of what the SNP advocates.
Whereas just 44pc of UK exports go to the EU, Scotland is far more dependent on the rest of the UK. Excluding oil, as Owen explains in his paper, Scottish exports of goods and services to the rest of the UK were worth 31.8% of Scottish onshore GDP in the third quarter of last year. By contrast, exports to all other countries were worth just 17.8pc of its GDP. Any country can succeed if it decides to go it alone as long as it adopts the right policies and is willing to cut tax and spend to the right level, but the SNP’s narrative that it wants to stay in the single market but be outside of the post-EU UK market is ridiculous. Using its own logic, which is that one needs to be in a single economic regulatory zone to survive, it ought to want to stay in the UK, not the single market.
Gary Gillespie, the Scottish government’s chief economist, notes in his most recent State of the Economy report that in 2015 Scotland’s exports to the EU grew by 4.4pc to a still paltry £12.3bn.
Exports to the rest of the UK grew at exactly the same rate to stand at a much larger £49.8bn. Even more depressingly for Scotland’s prospects, its overall non-UK exports grew more slowly by just 3.6%.
The overall growth numbers are especially frightening and confirm that Scotland’s woes have actually little to do with the North Sea. UK GDP grew by 3.1% in 2014, 2.2pc in 2015 and 1.8pc in 2016; onshore Scottish GDP (thus stripping out oil and gas) grew by 2.7pc in 2014, 2.1% in 2015 and a maximum of 0.7% last year. The analysis of official figures by Jefferies investment bank shows that Scottish growth was 0.2pc in the second quarter of 2015, against 0.5% for the UK; zero in the third, against 0.3pc for the UK; 0.3% in the fourth, against 0.7% ; zero in the first quarter of 2016, against 0.2pc; 0.2% in the second, compared with 0.6%; 0.2% in the third, against 0.6%; and almost certainly another disappointing figure in the fourth, against a strong 0.7% for the UK.
‘Scotland’s biggest problem is its bloated state, unreformed welfare, dislike of free markets, and hard-Left policies’
Breaking the figures down makes one want to truly despair: manufacturing output collapsed by some 5.5% last year, and despite Edinburgh’s famously skilled financial services sector, Scotland’s professional services sector is also lagging the rest of Britain’s.
The jobs performance in Scotland has been equally dire: its population is growing less quickly than the UK’s and its latest employment rate among 16 to 64-year-olds is 73.6%, down from a peak of 74.8% in 2014, and less than the 74.6% for the UK as a whole. In the year to the fourth quarter of last year, Scottish employment dropped 1%, against a 0.5% rise for the UK as a whole.
Scotland’s biggest problem is its bloated state (reliant on transfers from the rest of the UK), its unreformed welfare, its elite’s cultural dislike of capitalism and free markets, and the hard-Left policies pursued by its government.
Instead of wasting time trying to force through yet another referendum which will ultimately be defeated, the Scottish establishment needs to perform an intellectual U-turn and embrace tried and tested policies to boost growth. Scotland needs more markets, less tax, less red tape and an injection of market forces in public services.
Tragically, there seems no hope of any of this any time soon.