After 13 years in power, the SNP failed those who needed help most

So much for the Prime Minister's big reset.

Just days after the climax of an extraordinary internal power struggle in No. 10, which led to the departure of his two key advisors, Boris Johnson found himself in another crisis – again thanks to his poorly disciplined mouth.

In light of the growing burden on the Union, the Prime Minister said at a meeting of Tory MPs on Monday evening that decentralization was "a disaster north of the border" and "Tony Blair's greatest mistake".

After the departure of his two most important advisors, Boris Johnson (pictured) got into another crisis

There is some truth in his statement. But it is more the product of verbal incontinence than a political strategy and it will do real damage to both unionism and conservatism in Scotland as skepticism about decentralization equates to the denial of climate change in Scottish civil society.

While Mr Johnson's outburst is likely an act of political folly, there is a refreshing honesty about it.


Disaster might be too strong a term. But decentralization has been a huge disappointment since it was enacted more than two decades ago. Most of the high hopes invested in it have been dashed. Far from quelling the flames of separatism, the Scottish rulers added fuel to them.

Rather than promoting business, economic renewal and a vibrant political system, the creation of a new power base in Edinburgh has created something close to a one-party state, with well-feathered nomenclature and compliant media.

The Scottish office and the political class have done very well out of decentralization. The rest of Scotland not so much.

Just days after his two key advisors, including Dominic Cummings (pictured), left, Boris Johnson ran into another crisis

Just days after his two key advisors, including Dominic Cummings (pictured), left, Boris Johnson ran into another crisis

The losers were a large number of ordinary Scots, for whom educational standards, financial prosperity and social mobility stagnated or even declined.

In private, Tony Blair could admit that Mr Johnson was right. I don't think his heart was ever in the process, but he was pressured to accept it because the Labor Party viewed decentralization as the legacy of his late predecessor, John Smith, who died of a heart attack in 1994, according to Gordon Brown's insistence .

Mr Blair's willingness to endorse this idea was heightened by Labour’s belief that after a long period of keeping Scotland’s politics under control, even if they did not control Westminster, they would always be in power north of the border. But that arrogance was badly out of place.

Devolution proved to be the wrecking ball that the nationalists ruthlessly used to destroy the Scottish Citadels of Labor. In 1997, senior Labor Shadow Cabinet minister George Robertson famously predicted that the establishment of a Scottish parliament "would kill nationalism".

Exactly the opposite has happened. The Devolution created a taxpayer-funded command center for the nationalist cause in the heart of Edinburgh that sparked separatist propaganda, sparked ills against England, took control of the entire machinery of government, and used the patronage to ensure that their creed was in the vital institutions of Edinburgh dominated Scottish public life.

Devolution was viewed by the Labor Party (pictured) by Tony Blair as the legacy of his late predecessor John Smith, who died of a heart attack in 199

Devolution was viewed by the Labor Party (pictured) by Tony Blair as the legacy of his late predecessor John Smith, who died of a heart attack in 199

Across the academic world, at the top of the civil service, the volunteer sector, the civil service and the artistic / cultural elite, there is now a lucrative addiction culture where jobs and grants are the rewards for compassion for the cause.

The influence of the nationalist machine was further reinforced not only by the continued transfer of powers from London to Edinburgh, but also by the centralization of local government autonomy by the Scottish government.

In their own expensive fiefdom, the nationalists do not practice decentralization – they prefer to draw power from town halls and local corporations. The recent replacement of local police by national police is a classic example of this.

It was hardly a success. As a result of this relentless expansion of the state, Scotland is now one of the most over-governed, bureaucratized countries in the western world.

But extensive office and political obedience are not synonymous with effective rule. At the highest level, the members of the Scottish Parliament are of poor caliber.

My guess is that 70 percent of them would have no chance of earning the same in the real world (unlike MPs in the lower house where a majority could earn more if they are not MPs).

SNP governance has disappointed in many ways, but most notably in education, for which Scotland was once world famous.

Scotland has long had a proud tradition of social mobility, where high standards and expectations of schools helped smart but poor children overcome the disadvantages of their backgrounds.


Belief in excellence not only meant that Scotland sent proportionally more school leavers to university than England, but also gave them the skills to be successful in any field.

It is no accident that Scotland was at the forefront of technology, invention, exploration, scientific advancement and leadership of the empire in Britain's industrial heyday.

I have been the beneficiary of this high quality approach. Although I grew up in a meetinghouse in Paisley, I received an education at my local elementary school and then Paisley High School similar to that of a private, paid institution in the south east of England.

Boris Johnson has described Scottish decentralization as a disaster. Nicola Sturgeon (pictured) announced that eleven local authorities will be placed in the toughest coronavirus stage from Friday

Boris Johnson has described Scottish decentralization as a disaster. Nicola Sturgeon (pictured) announced that eleven local authorities will be placed in the toughest coronavirus stage from Friday

From there I won a place at the University of Glasgow, one of the oldest universities in the world with many other working class students. In the context of the SNP, however, this emphasis on performance and mobility has worsened.

With falling standards, new barriers to progress have been erected, while the previous superiority over the English system has disappeared. A 2018 study found that 20 percent of school leavers in the most deprived areas of England still made it to university.

For Scotland it was only 13 percent.


Similarly, the number of students graduating in higher core subjects fell significantly in 2019, as international comparisons showed that Scotland lagged behind other countries in terms of performance.

According to Lindsay Paterson, Professor of Education Policy at Edinburgh University, the Scottish system is stagnating in its mediocrity.

It's the same story of failure elsewhere. The nationalists may have built up a large nomenclature that depends on government spending, but there is no sign of a new class of entrepreneurship or a dynamic new trade sector such as exists in London or Manchester.

Most high earners in Scotland are not the ones who take risks and create real wealth, but those who rely on the size of the state, such as senior doctors, civil servants, quangocrats, judges, counselors and managers.

The Scots once built the British Empire. Now they are building bureaucratic empires.

Neither has decentralization created inspiring new infrastructure that could symbolize a new spirit of national self-awareness, like a high-speed rail link between Edinburgh and Glasgow that could regenerate both cities and forge an impressive new urban agglomeration of global importance. While progress has stagnated on so many fronts, the nationalists have wallowed in the eternal sacrifice policy in which the Westminster government is consistently identified as the source of all of Scotland's problems.

Perhaps this explains why Scotland's current rulers have done so little to tackle embedded disadvantage or ill health. Amazingly, the life expectancy of men in the East End of Glasgow is only 64.4 years, a threshold lower than that of Djibouti in East Africa, Mongolia or Pakistan.

This means that, on average, East End Glasswag men are likely to die before they can claim their state pension, an incredible indictment against Scotland's political elite. In fact, life expectancy between the UK and the poorest parts of Glasgow has deteriorated over the past 15 years. This is not just due to the “lack of resources” as nationalist myths suggest. In reality, spending in Scotland is almost £ 2,000 per capita higher than the UK average.

The Edinburgh government is barely resource-intensive thanks to a multi-billion pound transfer from London that would be considered the highest budget deficit in Europe if Scotland were independent.

The nationalists are unconcerned about their sad record in office. Everything that is really important to them is their ultimate goal of independence. All of their actions are viewed through the ideology of independence rather than an impulse to improve the lives of their citizens.

Tragically, Boris Johnson's poorly chosen words, like decentralization itself, only served to reinforce their crusade.

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