SNP Manifesto 2016

I went to the SNP manifesto launch, after a decade of paying membership fees I reckoned I should get a croissant back.  The EDM music pumped out with funky visuals and when the finance minister appeared there was whooping, when the manifesto author appeared there was cheering and when Nicola appeared there was pandemonium.  It’s really not something that is supposed to happen in British politics, but then they’ve made a name for themselves by not being British.  I quite like the rock and roll way people treat the SNP these days and the more the English politicians and media continue to attack them the more people will support them.  Still we should be careful not to get carried away and ignore the problems they have in governing.  So what’s in the manifesto?

The formatting is split between glossy photos of Nicola and easily readable bullet points and a middle document with lots of text in it, a good mix of style and substance.

There is zero mention of independence, they know they can’t win a referendum yet and it’s not going to make them popular to hold another one so sensibly they don’t make much attempt to.

The headline is an extra £500 million per year for the NHS.  It does grate with me that coverage of the media doesn’t ever give figures for the budget spending but you can look up the current budget plans for health which show a spend of £12,285million in 2015/16 and £12,977million in 2016/17 so a rise of £689 million.  So the SNP’s headline policy is to do what’s been budgeted anyway.  The same is true for land reform or community access, it’s just implementing stuff which they already enacted.  Nice but hardly revolutionary.

We will also prioritise improvements to the road network that connects the East of Scotland and Scottish Borders with England – the A7 A1 and A68”  They’re good at new road projects are the SNP, less good at maintaining the roads we already have and promoting alternatives to cars such as cycling.

Through the National Entitlement Card, Scotland’s older people and disabled people will continue to be able to travel for free on local or Scottish long distance buses.” This is something ORG Scotland is concerned about, an Entitlement Card is what Tony Blair wanted to call his plan for an ID card, somehow the Scottish Government gets to introduce one without anyone noticing.
“We will encourage councils to use the landlord registration system as way of providing information to landlords on their  responsibilities and as a means of ensuring that legislation is being adhered to and action is being taken if it is not” I’ll believe this when I see it but it’s pretty weak words, nothing about striking off landlords who don’t maintain the repairing standard, still at least they pay lip service to it.
“Scotland’s police are not and will not be routinely armed.” but they can be armed a lot easier than they could in 2011, some weasel words about reviewing evolving threats here, shame.
Working with Sport Scotland we will increase the number of Community Sports Hubs to 200 by 2020″  I’m involved in one of these and it seems like a pointless exercise in trying to do something for sports clubs without actually doing anythng.
Lots of nice stuff about education, environment, housing, crime, planning and internationalism.  The manifesto is comprehensive and well thought out. You get the impression the country is in safe hands with this lot.  But the tax changes are uninteresting (not much except increasing pollution with air passenger duty) and somehow it doesn’t fill me with excitement.