Friday, May 8, 2009

Devolution's working...for the chatteratti (and bloggers?).

Michael White in The Guardian:
Scotland's education, never as good as it told itself, and its notoriously bad health outcomes, have improved; but the gap with England has widened. Easy, responsive populism and extra cash have allowed Holyrood to duck hard choices, McLaren said. The poor lose out while free care for the elderly, free scrips and free university education featherbed middle-class Scots.
Says one acerbic participant: "The chatteratti voted for devolution, they got it and are being rewarded for it."

Seems to be a similar story in Wales:
During the first year the Assembly Government’s declared aim was to increase the Welsh GVA (gross value added – a variation of GDP) per head from around 80% to 90% of the UK average within a decade. However, it very soon abandoned this objective and our GVA has actually declined to 77%, a full 23 points below the UK average.

The position is even starker in comparison with the other nations and regions. Wales has the lowest score, three points behind Northern Ireland. In contrast, London has the highest GVA per head – on 141 percentage points compared with the 100 UK average.

The Welsh Valleys remain stubbornly at the bottom end of all statistics. Of the top 10 Parliamentary constituencies with the highest incapacity benefit claimants in the UK, the Valleys contain five – Merthyr, Rhondda, Cynon Valley, Blaenau Gwent, and Aberavon.

For Wales as a whole there is a steady stream of negative statistics:

Only the West Midlands has had slower growth since 1999;
Lowest private sector R&D spend in the UK;
lowest full-time weekly wages in the UK;
bottom of UK rankings for tests for 15-year-olds;
we spend 8% per child less than England in schools;
we have a spending gap of £55m with England in higher education;
fewer graduates remain in Wales for employment than other UK nations.

4 comments:

Stonemason. said...

It's a dreadful indictment on the political landscape of Wales, where politicians pursue cultural re-engineering at the expense of what is needed.

I have not met a politician who could build a ship, nor have I met a politician who could design a great building; but there are many politicians in Wales who see the future in the dark recesses of a cultural past, so should we expect anything other than a return to the poverty of the past, mediocrity is what we have to look forward too.

The Aberdonian said...

Cochrane was doing similar grumblings about the "devolution industry" yesterday. Which is ironic since him and his wife Jenny Hjul are as much part of it.

For all his whining, if devolution did not exist he probably would not be back here but stuck in the south of England (he appropriately lived in Tunbridge Wells so he has had plenty of practice of being disgusted before he came back to the homeland!). Without devolution he would not be living in nice pied de terre in Edinburgh's New Town. In London his London equivalent salary would probably not get him a garage in Chelsea. He instead would be commuting from the styx every day and he would not be able to access his holiday home in the Angus Glens quite so regularly!

The argument about the chatterati is er a bit flawed unless the chatterati are most of the Scottish people.

At the end of the day if there was strong opposition against the Parliament then they should vote for UKIP, SUP or set up some party to get it shut down.

I think the London reactionary chatterati's ego is feeling a bit deflated after 10 years of devolution!

O'Neill said...

The article was written by Michael White not Alan Cochrane.

The Aberdonian said...

Aware of that, it just seemed to be in the same tone although less carping.

I think Cochrane would rather vote Solidarity than write for the Guardian.