News out of today’s Herald/TNS poll voices that the SNP could win 78 out of 129 seats at next year’s Holyrood elections.
The poll follows the last General Election, which saw the SNP dominate UK and Scottish politics by taking 56 of 59 seats north of the border.
In a spectacular fashion the SNP has solidified itself as the UK’s third biggest party – so you’d be forgiven for thinking that it was their record in the Scottish government which prompted that surge in support.
Looking at four key performance indicators, the stats speak for themselves:
Just 25% of voters think the SNP is performing well on the economy, whilst 24% are disappointed – the remaining 45% say neither good nor bad.
On education, only 30% think the SNP’s record is good, whilst 19% oppose and the remaining 33% say neither.
The NHS: 34% of folk are on board with the SNP, 29% aren’t, and 40% don’t know.
Crime: Just 23% are happy, 29% say the SNP are doing poorly, and 40% don’t know.
To be clear, this is a record that would decimate any political party entering an election. Staggeringly poor numbers on four key polling indicators: crime, the NHS, the economy, and education – it’s a dreadful mixture. So why is support rising for a party that—in policy terms—doesn’t deserve a shred of recognition?
The NHS has always been a key factor in elections, and the way that Nicola Sturgeon has threatened to intervene on English matters “which could affect the Scottish NHS” must be a way of deflecting her party’s shoddy attempt at improving health services.
On the economy, the SNP’s anger on austerity was plain to see. In fact, it was a key point made during the build up to the May election. At my local hustings, the SNP candidate would stand up and declare how austerity has failed, how quantative easing was a fool’s game (fair point) and then go on to say something about food banks and Trident. It was practiced nonsense: you cannot buy your way out of debt. Are Scottish voters now beginning to see that?
Education during the Coalition was a hush-hush policy. It was never paraded around as the outstanding success it had been. But the free-school initiative has proven to be a worthwhile experiment. It’s devolution at the most local level on a matter that is of the highest priority for parents.
The SNP, on the other hand, opted to slash more than 100,000 college places for those who did not want to go to university. It seems that if you aren’t academic, then your education is far less worthy of funding.
So clearly, the SNP’s policy results do not matter. More voters in Scotland now are prepared to get on board the SNP train despite these crap performance indicators in, frankly, the biggest areas of politics.
The SNP are enjoying governing without accountability at present. It’s dangerous and Scotland should wake up.