The last of the main manifestos, from the SNP

The Scottish National Party’s manifesto is the last of the main manifestos to appear.  It’s a reflective document, explaining the SNP’s work in opposition, their role in Westminster and some of the things they hope to lobby for.  In the field of social security, that includes ‘halting’ Universal Credit – presumably that means halting the roll-out, scrapping the two-child limit, ending the freeze on uprating and protecting the WASPI women.   That platform brings them quite close to Labour, who are similarly trying to reverse some of the negative policies of recent years.

I have to accept, reviewing the clutch of election manifestos, that I’d been looking for something that none of the parties is really ready to consider: some thinking about what government should be trying to do for its citizens, what might be done with benefits, what principles we would want to uphold.  I had imagined, after the great splash on social care in 2017, or the continuing problems in health care marked by the troubles of A and E, that some party would have run with something more innovative – for example, what should be done by contributions (the German approach to social care), what by different social arrangements (such as the Kerr reforms of urgent health care) or what by redistribution.  However, these are not the sort of things that our political system is engaging with.  It’s easy to blame Brexit for monopolising everyone’s attention, but I think it goes deeper than that.  After decades years of neoliberalism, marketisation and ‘austerity’, there’s little appetite for solidarity, redistribution  or the expansion of public service.


6 thoughts on “The last of the main manifestos, from the SNP”

  1. The SNP can help WASPi woman and third child mothers now, F.O.I. requests show they can. (Just as they can change the rules on PIP or stop it’s roll out which many charity groups urged them to do). They can do this in the same manner as the spare bedroom subsidy meaning UK government contribute as well as they have since 2013 via consequentials through DHP.

    Nothing worse than a party trying to win votes claiming they can do this or that , when the fact is they can already do so.

    1. They have the legal power, but they don’t have the allocated resources, and either of these could only be done at massive cost. We can all see the water pouring through the dyke, but the Scottish Government doesn’t have enough fingers to stop it.

      1. With greatest respect , Scottish government can find the money to cover their own incompetence like £400 million CAP I.T system, £60 million Police I.T system , £130 Million P/A bed blocking , £100 million illegal named person, budget doubled to send patients south, £135 million in non repaid loans to the like to SNP billionaire donors who dumped a shipping company, £55 million this year on legal payouts including to former FM legal team, £100 million on private health firms , also lets not forget an annual underspend of £500 million.

        You see when the SNPs own report annex G tells us that there has been no cuts to block grant (TME Totals) and Angus Robertson stutters through an Andrew Neil interview (attached) when shown these facts , it does not help the SNP claims when they go on and on about austerity and yet their own report tells us no real term cuts and budget up form 2016 till end of this parliament.

        Lets also reflect how this will be paid even if they did get their wish , as currently our expenditure is some £13 billion more than the tax take ! These are just soundbites to the SNP to attach Westminster , Tories , Red Tories or London . take your pick.

        As said if done in same way as spare bedroom subsidy say via DHP or similar then UK will contribute as they have with spare bedroom subsidy since 2013

        1. I assume you mean Annex G of the Scottish budget, at – the Angus Roberson interview is rather old, and all it shows is that politicians don’t learn the figures in budgets off by heart. You seem to be arguing simultaneously that the SG has wasted money *and* that is running a £13 billion deficit. Those positions aren’t mutually exclusive, but if you’re right the SG doesn’t have the money to redress all the problems in the social security system, and if you’re wrong it still doesn’t have the money to do it.

          1. It would have the money now if it were not so incompetent or made different choices , such as the named person fiasco or wholesale changes to I.T programmes, I simply suggested by their own methodology if we left the UK they would struggle to pay for all these programmes, which if a proper fiscal budget is run are affordable just now.

            Many no longer fall for the SNP blame someone else for running every devolved power incompetently, maybe they should try the approach of competent governance and use that to persuade more people to possibly vote to leave the UK .

  2. My general observations are:
    1. Having the power to do something is not the same as having the resources to do it. The devolved social security budget is a “poisoned chalice” as Scot Gov has limited ability to raise extra revenue. The WASPI commitment is simply too big for the SG to absorb at this stage (even though I have a personal interest; see other blog comment on WASPI). The money has to come from UK government.
    2. The SNP government has made many errors and will continue to do so. There is something of a paradox in an SNP government leading a devolved administration when they believe (rightly in my view) that the present devolution settlement is too limited to work effectively. This does not excuse mistakes, some of which are due I think to lack of effective political oversight of senior civil servants, quangos etc (the NHS being a topical example). It would be interesting to have a period of devolved government, under austerity conditions, where other parties were in charge. I suspect we would still be roughly where we are with many failures.
    3. I believe that the Fixed Term Parliaments Act as has been applied in Scotland has been a mistake. Five year terms are too long. However we have to accept that now and wait until May 2021 for the Scottish elections when many of the current Scottish issues, including independence, will be better tested than under this present “weird” UK GE? In spite of the rhetoric, I don’t believe that indy ref 2 will happen in 2020 and I am not convinced that this present parliament, (if the FTPA had not applied, would have faced elections in 2015 (not 2016) and more significantly 2019 (or 2020) instead of waiting to 2021) really does carry a convincing mandate for indy ref 2 (I say that as someone who has voted SNP since 1980 and has just voted by post for SNP!).
    4. The SNP manifesto is a statement of what they want the UK government to do and to pay for; it is not a statement of what an independent Scottish government might do or pay for. It certainly is not a statement of what the current devolved Scottish government may do.
    This is all politics; it’s messy and will continue to get messier in 2020 whatever happens on 13.12.19.

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