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.