Scotland wants better policy and more devolution

If it were possible to measure the benefit of the substantial and long investment in Northern Ireland’s nascent democracy it would be in the degree of political unity of purpose observable between the First and Deputy First Minister in their responses to the recent shootings. But then that is measuring up from a very low base. In Scotland, people are struggling to put a value on the benefits devolution has brought to them:

38% of voters said they believed devolution had improved their quality of life, 41% said it had made no difference, and 16% said it had deteriorated.

Exactly half of voters said devolution had failed to make Scotland safer, despite moves to curb antisocial behaviour and put more police on the streets, while 20% said they felt less safe. Only 22% said they felt more secure.

Some 31% said they believed standards in schools had improved, with 23% claiming they had become worse and 31% saying there had been no difference.

Since Labour was the party in power for most of that time, I guess it’s their rather than the SNP’s governmental approach that’s in the firing line… But in fact it’s the quality of the policy interventions rather than devolution itself that’s in the firing line. In fact most Scots want more devolved powers, not less:

…most people believe the powers of the parliament should be extended. If a multi-option referendum was held next year, 27% would vote for independence, 31% for more powers short of independence, 19% would back the status quo and 14% would opt to scrap Holyrood. The finding may help to explain why unionist parties are wary of backing a multi-option ballot.

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  • “In Scotland, people are struggling to put a value on the benefits devolution has brought to them:”

    Perhaps they should withhold judgement until the EU Commission puts ‘a value’ on the devolved government’s ferry policy.

    It’s more than likely that the Commission will now look at the subsidisation of ferry services in Northern Ireland and the Republic, especially those that are or were in competition with private operators.

  • fin

    What a weird poll, I suppose YouGov will once again be withholding information on how the questions were presented and the target profile was, etc. I suspect YouGov’s sales pitch to clients is what results would you like the survey to find?

    Weird, as in whats it compared to, ie if devolution hadn’t happened and this would be the current situation instead are you happy or unhappy.

    Devolution han’t happened for England, but a stab in the dark says the responses would be the same or probably worse, what on earth was the point of this poll?

  • Sunningdale1973

    It shouldn’t be a surprise that initial expectationsweren’t met in Scotland as it takes a considerable time for such constitutional change to make a difference across a wide range of areas – not least as the Scottish Executive also has powerful local councils who also have budgets and policies to deliver.

    Most importantly – and this applies in spades in NI- is that for decades/centuries the vast bulk of public policy has been deveoped in Whitehall. Our own civil service is woefully unprepared to actually develop policy (cf post primary education) and often at senior levels is caught up with confusing spending plans and corporate plans with developing farsighted policy interventions that have the potential to make a difference to the long term standard of living and service to which we shouls aspire.

  • Gregory


    You hit on something these, policies are swopped arosss devolved lines by civil servants,

    C. Ruane is an addict of Whitehall. So, if you have civil servants used to doing the same thing, and a Minister, who wants to crib,

    What’s the difference on the relevant issues?

    So Scotland’s input (compliance) re: CEDAW or whatever gets crayoned on the back of a beer mat.

    So in some respects, Scotland, is more hick than Botswana. And if ‘difference’ rears its head, it may be to stick up a figer at the F&CO; who are identified with the Home Dept.

    So ‘Scotland’ as a nation, the Scottish govt. didn’t care about the UN, or what it thought of them. So a F&CO; official had to write up the stuff for them.


  • MSPs blast senior civil servant over controversial £2.5bn rail deal

    FURIOUS MSPs yesterday claimed they were being spun “bulls**t” over a controversial rail contract.

    The MSPs rounded on Scotland’s top civil servant Sir John Elvidge as he gave evidence about the £2.5billion deal handed to FirstGroup.

    A probe was launched into the contract after it emerged a key official had shares in FirstGroup.

    Paisley MSP Hugh Henry said the inquiry was being hampered by incomplete answers from civil servants.

    Henry said: “Somewhere on the line, there’s a huge element of bulls**t here.

    “It’s a complete waste of our time if we cannot get the information.

    “I find this completely unacceptable, the way we are being treated.”

    Why aren’t MLAs challenging the actions of senior civil servants here? We had some ‘strong language’ following the release of the £55,000 Rathlin ferry investigation ‘whitewash’ – followed by silence. If there are questions to be asked about procurement processes why aren’t they be put by our MLAs – and the MSM?

  • Pigeon Toes

    “inquiry was being hampered by incomplete answers from civil servants.

    Henry said: “Somewhere on the line, there’s a huge element of bulls**t here.”

    Hmm, now Nevin why is this all so depressingly familiar?

    Perhaps there are notes missing and erm problems with their electronic document filing syytem etc