Saturday, February 14, 2009

Iain Gray Veracity-watch part 2

Iain Gray said something at First Minister's Questions on Thursday that was factually inaccurate. You might think that a) it's a bit late in the day to be mentioning this and that b) it's nothing out of the ordinary anyway, but what prompts me to point it out is that, in his own take on FMQs, AM2 seems to have unaccountably missed this glaringly obvious untruth (which I'll come to in a minute) and is instead far more exercised by Alex Salmond's statement that his government has already fulfilled 46 of its 94 headline manifesto pledges. That would be fine if AM2 had any solid grounds for believing this statement to be untrue - but he doesn't. It's rather like his attitude to opinion polls - if the numbers don't conform to his intuition, they must be wrong. Hilariously, he even appeals to his readers to send him information on the 46 pledges in question. What's the betting he'll claim in a day or two that because no-one has done so, that constitutes 'proof' Alex Salmond was lying? I'm glad AM2 isn't in charge of our justice system - 'guilty until proven innocent' doesn't have quite the same ring to it.

Whereas there's no question at all that Iain Gray was telling porkies, and the evidence is there in black and white for all to see. He claimed that not a single poll in history - "not a single one" he repeated for effect in his peculiar 'snarl' voice - had ever shown the people of Scotland wanted independence. Well, what about all the polls that have shown exactly that, Iain? Of course, if someone pointed that out to him his get-out card would be that in polls where the 'Yes' side had a lead, the raw percentage in favour of independence had never reached 51%. (Although there was a poll in 1992 that showed exactly 50% in favour - and that was a multi-option poll!) The point unionists are going to have to wake up to sooner or later is that in a referendum there will be no 'don't know' option on the ballot paper. The people who are currently undecided in the opinion polls would either break one way or the other, or they would abstain. The rules of the game will be exactly the same for the 'yes' and 'no' side - so if the unionists can look at a poll showing a 40-38% lead for the 'no' side as showing a "majority against independence", then it's utterly absurd for them to claim that all the previous polls that showed a similar lead for the 'yes' side constituted anything but a majority in favour of independence.


  1. Jmaes, here's a few minor achievements in the period from May 2007 to December 2008

    Apologies for length....

    Smaller, more effective Ministerial team.
    Signed agreement with the Northern Ireland Executive to enhance mutual understanding, friendship and prosperity.
    Launched and progressed National Conversation on Scotland’s constitutional future.
    Scotland successful in its bid for the 2014 Commonwealth games and the passing of the Glasgow Commonwealth Games Bill.
    '2014 Communities' fund - dedicated legacy fund to present new opportunities for people across Scotland.
    Established the Scottish Broadcasting Commission to investigate TV production and broadcasting in Scotland and accepted the recommendations set out in the Committee’s report.
    Additional funding of £6 million over three years for Edinburgh Festivals to promote Scottish-based work.
    £10 million towards acquisition of d’Offay collection of modern art, valued at £125m
    Increased Scotland’s International Development budget by 100%.
    Established world's largest ever single prize for marine renewable energy, the £10 million Saltire prize, with support of National Geographic Society.
    Response to the Grangemouth Refinery Strike.
    Lowest under-spend since devolution - just £42 million of the SG’s DEL budget of £27.4 billion was not spent; less than 0.2% of total budget.
    Implementing the Crerar Review to simplify and streamline Government.
    Developing Homecoming 2009 with a budget of £5 million over the next two years. Event Scotland to double this through contributions from other sources. A number of Homecoming 2009 promotions activities have now been successfully launched.
    Successful launch of Scotland Performs the SG’s new platform for public accountability.
    Successful Scotland Week.
    Scottish Social Attitudes Survey 2007 module on Trust in Government showed that trust in the Scottish Government has risen.
    Revised Ministerial Code and appointed independent advisors to strengthen standards of conduct and accountability.
    18th century Dumfries House and its collection open to the public for the first time in 250 years.
    Summer Cabinet meetings held outwith Edinburgh in 4 locations across Scotland and confirmation that this will happen in future years.
    Hosted the first full meeting of the British Irish Council Summit to be held in Scotland.
    Launched the Government’s programme for the year ahead - Moving Scotland Forward
    Reception for Scottish Olympians following their success at Beijing 2008.
    Scotland's population rose to its highest level since 1983. The estimated population of Scotland was 5,144,200 in mid-2007.
    Backed and passed through parliament a Members' Bill to introduce a Scottish Register of Tartans.
    Council of Economic Advisers gave its support to the Scottish Government-led alliance's efforts to maximise the benefit of the proposed Lloyds TSB/HBOS merger
    A promotional video for the Year of Homecoming in 2009 has been launched. Ten famous Scots combine to present the anthem Caledonia against the background of iconic Scottish scenery. The advert will raise awareness of Homecoming 2009 and encourage Scots to invite friends and family to return home for the celebrations.
    The Scottish Government has granted outline planning permission for the application by Trump International Golf Links Scotland to develop a golf resort at Balmedie, Aberdeenshire.
    The Scottish Government has exceeded its efficiency targets according to the final outturn report for the 2005-08 efficient government programme which shows savings of more than £1.7 billion against a target of £1.5 billion.
    The Scottish Government has submitted a formal bid to retrieve £150 million in lottery funds diverted from Scottish good causes to finance the 2012 London Olympics. The money would be destined to ensure a lasting legacy from the 2014 Commonwealth Games.

    A number of practical measures have been taken by the Scottish Government to help families facing difficulties as a result of the current recession:

    Bringing forward £100 million of affordable housing investment into this year and next
    Early in the new year we will introduce a Mortgage to Shared Equity Scheme
    £25 million to kick-start a new generation of council house building
    An additional £10 million for the Central Heating Programme this year to deliver record numbers of systems for private homes
    £3 million to provide legal advice and representation for people facing repossession and other problems, such as debt
    £380,000 pounds to fund an awareness raising campaign for the National Debtline to encourage people to take early action to address debt problems


    Signed historic Concordat with COSLA setting out a new relationship with local government. Removed ring-fencing, enabling councils to allocate resources in line with agreed national and local outcomes and have received a draft Single Outcome Agreements from each Local Authority.
    Fully funded a freeze in the Council Tax.
    Published the Government Economic Strategy.
    Published fist budget/three year Spending plans in November 2007, including the National Performance Framework.
    Proposals for Local Income Tax published.
    Secured Parliamentary approval for budget.
    Announced detailed plans to reduce number of public bodies by 25%.
    Introduced first phase of Small Business Bonus Scheme.
    Created a Council of Economic Advisers to advise on how to improve Scotland’s sustainable economic growth rate.
    Go-ahead for extension to the M74 with £445 million investment.
    Ferry fares to be cut by up to half on all W Isles-to-mainland routes under new pilot scheme.
    Removed tolls on the Forth and Tay bridges.
    Refocused Scottish Enterprise and Highlands and Islands.
    Tripled funding to help householders, small businesses and communities generate clean energy.
    Biggest wave energy project in the world given the go ahead.
    Determined 19 (to October 2008) renewable applications including for Scotland’s second largest wind farm at Harestanes, near Moffat, D&G).
    Set out proposals for affordable housing and support for first-time buyers.
    Increased support for the Third Sector by more than a third.
    £30 million Scottish Investment Fund launched to help enterprising Third Sector organisations become more effective and efficient.
    Set out our Infrastructure Investment Plan to promote investment in Scotland, and for the first time, covering plans for the whole of the public sector.
    GERS report showed Scotland with a current budget surplus in 2005-06 and 2006-07 when a geographical share of North Sea revenues is included.
    Around 12,000 jobs created or safeguarded through Regional Selective Assistance totalling £87.4 million in the last financial year.
    Scottish Futures Trust will aim to release up to £150 million each year for increased investment in infrastructure in Scotland to secure new schools, hospitals and transport projects.
    Re-launch of £1.5 million Whole Farm Review Scheme (WFRS).
    Announced five point action plan to help the Scottish fishing industry counter effects of rising fuel costs.
    £2 million in grants to develop 5 groundbreaking knowledge transfer projects.
    Protected pension rights of Scottish fire-fighters by closing a loophole that could leave injured fire-fighters both losing their job and being denied access to ill-health retirement pension.
    Provided over £32 million this year to meet extra cost of revised pension commutation arrangements for police officers and fire-fighters.
    The Scottish Veteran's Fund, totalling £127,000, over the next three years.
    Scottish manufactured exports have maintained their steady performance despite the global economic slowdown.
    A string of housing developments as a result of bringing forward up to £100 million of spending through the Affordable Housing Investment Programme.
    The number of homeless households in Scotland has reduced and almost 80 % of households are now entitled to settled accommodation.
    Scotland is in line to secure £321 million in energy investment over the next three years to help households reduce fuel bills. Energy companies pledged to increase spend in Scotland to achieve the GB-wide Carbon Emissions Reductions Target.
    Scotland’s economy continues to show resilience in the face of global economic uncertainty. Latest statistics show employment in Scotland at 76.3%, higher than the UK average at 74.7%. However, figures show a fall in employment from historically high levels.
    Sought reassurance from the UK Government that all deposits by local authorities in all banks are afforded the same protection as the safeguards the UK Government put in place in relation to certain Icelandic banks and accounts and has contacted all local authorities with deposits in Icelandic banks.
    Free benefits checks have banked £1 million for Scottish pensioners. Since 2007, over 700 pensioners have boosted their weekly incomes after applying for a central heating system and having their details passed to the Pension Service, as part of a free benefits check.
    Scottish Government is to provide an extra £5 million this year for its existing Mortgage to Rent scheme which helps families at risk of losing their home. The additional funding was in response to increased demand, and brings total investment in the scheme this year to £15 million.
    Grants worth £4 million have been awarded from the Scottish Government's International Development Fund to a range of international development programmes in Sub-Saharan Africa.
    The Scottish economic recovery plan identifies the action we can take to increase support for small business and households, to maximise jobs and investment and ensure our economy is well positioned for recovery. The Scottish economic recovery plan sets out actions to help householders and businesses.
    Government will spend an additional £3 million over the next two years to extend the range of legal advice and support available across Scotland to families facing home repossession and other problems, such as debt.


    Committed to providing additional funding for phased 50% increase in free nursery provision, delivering full half-day for 3 and 4 year olds.
    Launched process for long term early years strategy covering child care, development and education.
    Funding for extra 300 teachers and 250 more teacher training places from August,
    Additional £40 million in capital funding for school buildings to enable councils to plan investment.
    All school pupils in primaries 1 to 3 are to be entitled to free school meals following successful pilot projects.
    New pay deal for teachers, worth more than seven per cent over three years.
    Announced review of national qualifications system including literacy and numeracy exams, in line with new Curriculum for Excellence.
    Launched Volunteering Action Plan to improve recruitment, training and development for people giving up their time to boost young people's lives.
    £1.5 million funding increase over 3 years for youth organisations such as the Scouting Association and YMCA.
    Scrapped the £2289 graduate endowment, benefiting students who graduated last year, and students currently in the system.
    Students enabled to pay their deferred graduate endowment fees through the student loans system and not requested to repay on completion of their studies.
    Secured future of Crichton University Campus in Dumfries with Additional financial support of £1.5 million.
    Colleges and universities to receive an extra £100 million capital funding.
    New Skills Strategy to better meet needs of individuals and employers.
    Asylum children who have been here for at least 3 years given same access as Scottish children to full-time further and higher education.
    Major overhaul of system to support children looked after by foster and kinship carers. Better financial support for carers.
    Modern Apprenticeship in life sciences introduced as part a package of changes to national training being introduced through Skills for Scotland.
    £6 million additional funding over three years for Edinburgh's Festivals to promote Scottish-based work.
    Additional £5 million to set up a Creative Scotland Innovation Fund.
    Consultation launched on saving rural schools from closure.
    Universities, colleges and other organisations invited to bid for a share of the £1.5 million fund to support the development of Scotland's international lifelong learning strategy.
    New Baccalaureates in science and languages for S5 and S6 pupils in Scotland's schools.
    Investment of £232,761 has been announced to support international students wishing to stay and work in Scotland after their studies.
    £2.7 million funding made available for a range of Gaelic education measures.
    A £12 million fund to encourage Third Sector organisations to become more enterprising is to open for applications in the New Year.


    Reversed previous decision to close A&E Departments at Ayr and Monklands Hospitals.
    Approved outline business case for £842 million project to build integrated children's and adult hospital on site of current Southern General Hospital, Glasgow.
    Consulting on proposals for greater patient and community involvement in how local health services are delivered.
    Target of a 15-week maximum wait for both outpatient consultations and hospital admissions introduced.
    Children's cancer services retained and enhanced in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen and Dundee.
    On track to achieve target of reducing premature cancer deaths by 20 per cent by 2010.
    Prescription charges cut by 25 per cent across Scotland.
    Funding for NHS boards will rise to £8 billion next year.
    Implemented in full the NHS pay award from July 2007, ahead of England.
    Extra £23 million to improve and modernise primary care premises.
    Introduced Public Health Bill to modernise Scotland’s public health legislation.
    Funding of £6 million will help at least 20,000 overweight and obese children.
    Taskforce set up to tackle the major health inequalities facing people.
    £64 million cervical cancer immunisation programme began in September 08, ahead of rest of UK.
    Launch of new approach to tackling alcohol misuse with the aim of changing Scotland's relationship with drink along with record funding of £25 million for tackling alcohol misuse (£10.13 million in 2007/08).
    Launched a school based preventative dental health service.
    Opened the £21 million Aberdeen Dental School will produce 20 fully-qualified dentists every year.
    More than £10 million to improve eye care services in Scotland
    Consultation on Commonwealth Games legacy: Aberdeen and Edinburgh first recipients of funding to develop swimming facilities.
    Record funding of £12 million for physical activity initiatives in schools, workplaces, homes and communities.
    Record number of central heating systems installed.
    Health boards on track to meet nationwide hand hygiene target; task force to oversee £54 million investment to tack tackle HAI.
    Independent review into C-difficile deaths at Vale of Leven Hospital.
    Pilot project to screen patients for MRSA before admission to hospital launched.
    MRSA and C.difficile rates are falling in Scotland.
    Enhanced range of services in six hospitals in Scotland's remote and rural areas.
    Unprecedented levels of specialist treatment and care for Heart and lung patients from across the West of Scotland at the Golden Jubilee National Hospital.
    Sutherland Review accepted in full, including the provision of an additional £40 million a year from 2009/10 for free personal and nursing care across Scotland.
    New £19 million, state-of-the-art, Gartnavel Royal Hospital in Glasgow opened
    Published ‘Scotland's future is smoke-free, A Smoking Prevention Action Plan.’ backed by £9 million over three years.
    Abolition of 'hidden waiting lists' and continued reduced waiting times for patients.
    £600,000 new funding to improve support and raise awareness of dementia.
    Investment of more than £1 million in initiatives to support those suffering anxiety and depression.
    Phase 2 of Hepatitis C Action Plan launched, providing more than £43 million over the next three years to tackle Hepatitis C.
    Annual funding of £3 million to support palliative and end of life care and launch of Living and Dying Well, a national action plan which sets out a new direction for palliative care in Scotland.
    Scottish Ambulance Service to receive an additional £4.7 million to ensure it can eliminate the practice of rostered single-crewing of traditional ambulances.
    Record levels of funding (£19 million) to Health boards across Scotland have been allocated as part of Healthy Eating, Active Living.
    Car parking charges at NHS hospitals across Scotland abolished
    Waiting times for treatment in Scotland's accident and emergency departments are at a record low.
    First girls in Scotland to take part in the anti-cancer HPV (Human Papilloma Virus) immunisation programme have received their injections.
    Current national maximum waiting times standards have been effectively met across Scotland.
    The New Ways system abolished the hidden waiting lists caused by availability status codes.
    MRSA and C.difficile rates are falling in Scotland.

    Safer & Stronger

    Major investment in two new prisons publicly-run prisons at Bishopbriggs and in the Peterhead area.  The prison in the North East will replace Victorian establishments in Aberdeen and Peterhead and end a decade of indecision.
    Review of community penalties conducted and action plan to revitalise penalties underway.
    Introduced Mandatory Supervised Attendance Orders from 1 September, to reduce number of those imprisoned for not paying their fines.
    Taken measures to deliver more visible police presence and an additional 1,000 police officers in our communities.
    Implemented the Police Pay settlement, in full and retrospectively to 1 September 2007 – unlike the rest of the UK.
    Ended speculation surrounding future of Scotland’s eight fire control rooms – securing their future.
    £6.8 million funding package for new fire and rescue capital projects.
    Firearms summit hosted by First Minister on 7 May and attended by police, local authorities and other key interests. Negotiations with Westminster continue on the need for reform of firearms legislation.
    Implementation of Vulnerable Witnesses completed to time providing extra support in court for hundreds more witnesses.
    Government's Cashback for Communities continuing to redirect millions of pounds from the proceeds of crime back into Scotland’s communities.
    New forensic science lab to be built in Dundee. SPSA to reconsider the proposed closure of the forensic science lab in Aberdeen.
    Launch of first national drugs strategy since devolution.
    Planned investment of £1.5 billion to create at least 21,500 new approved affordable homes by 2011.
    Enhanced representation in Brussels at both Ministerial and Official level to promote interests of Scotland's justice system in the European Union.
    Introduced the Rape and Sexual Offences (Scotland) Bill.
    £10 million blueprint to tackle domestic abuse unveiled.
    New offences targeting people who direct serious organised crime to be created in the forthcoming Criminal Justice and Licensing Bill.
    Scotland's first Young Carers Festival will help to shape the first ever young carers section of Scotland's future carers’ strategy.
    A new partnership between Scottish football and the Scottish Government to promote positive citizenship.
    Recorded crime is at its lowest level for a quarter of a century with almost 34,000 fewer crimes recorded in Scotland last year.
    The Judiciary and Courts (Scotland) Bill will strengthen the relationships between the legislative, executive and judicial arms of government in Scotland
    The upper disposable income threshold for financial assistance for civil legal aid is to be increased from £10,306 to £25,000. This means that more than a million more Scots will become potentially eligible for financial help towards court costs for civil actions.
    16,526 police officers in Scotland at 30 September 2008, the highest figure ever recorded. This is an increase of 292 since March 2007.


    Launched consultation on a Scottish Climate Change Bill, signalling intent to lead the global effort: proposal to reduce Scottish emissions by 80% by 2050.
    £27.4 million over 3 years Climate Challenge fund to help communities take local action to tackle the global threat of climate change.
    Set new targets for recycling and reducing the amount of waste being sent to landfill and achieved improved recycling rates and reduction in amount of waste going to landfill in first year.
    Convened first ever Scottish Summit on Flooding.
    Secured historic deal at annual fisheries talks in Brussels giving Scotland control over its own days at sea; international recognition for our conservation credit scheme.
    Launched review of the national strategy on aquaculture.
    Created Sustainable Seas Task Force to develop proposals for sustainable use of our marine and coastal environment. 
    £10 million to support New Entrants to Farming.
    Kicked off the National Food Discussion.
    £800 million to develop rural Scotland as part of the Scotland Rural Development Programme covering 2007-13.
    Overturned decision to exclude Highland Perthshire from Cairngorms National Park.
    Instigated review of how wildlife crime is investigated and prosecuted.
    Up to £6 million available over three years to support businesses in the private, public and voluntary sectors seeking to treat organic waste, with a particular emphasis on food waste.
    12 million doses of bluetongue vaccine secured to protect Scotland against the spread of disease with the window for compulsory bluetongue vaccination in Scotland opening on Monday November 3 2008.
    Over £3 million funding for two new freight rail services from the central belt to Inverness to cut congestion and reduce emissions.
    £43 million worth of investment of European funding in Scotland through the new European Fisheries Fund between now and 2013.
    Scotland is set to surpass its tough renewable energy target for 2011.
    Rail passenger numbers are at their highest level for more than 40 years but car use on Scotland's roads has also increased
    Over £5 million of LEADER funding has been awarded to four new Local Action Groups to help revitalise and empower rural communities to take action to revitalise and revive remote areas, in line with the Scottish Government's commitment to supporting sustainable economic growth.
    A study carried out for the Forum for Renewable Energy Development in Scotland shows that Scotland has enough untapped hydro potential to power a quarter of the nation's homes.
    Over £28 million has been granted under Rural Priorities scheme, less than four months since the full application process opened for business.
    The Scottish Government's Energy Consents Unit is currently processing 32 renewable project applications - 24 wind farms, seven hydro projects and one wave project, with more applications expected.
    The Scottish Government has determined 22 energy applications, including approval for 16 renewable and one non-renewable project since May 2007

  2. Impressive, Montague. Do you reckon AM2 would let that list through moderation?

  3. James, if Salmond could walk on water, AM2 and his unionista chums would report it as Salmond can't swim.

    Please use the list as you find it.

  4. "Iain Gray Veracity-watch part 2
    Iain Gray said something at First Minister's Questions on Thursday that was factually inaccurate. You might think that a) it's a bit late in the day to be mentioning this and that b) it's nothing out of the ordinary anyway, but what prompts me to point it out is that, in his own take on FMQs, AM2 seems to have unaccountably missed this glaringly obvious untruth (which I'll come to in a minute) and is instead far more exercised by Alex Salmond's statement that his government has already fulfilled 46 of its 94 headline manifesto pledges. That would be fine if AM2 had any solid grounds for believing this statement to be untrue - but he doesn't. It's rather like his attitude to opinion polls - if the numbers don't conform to his intuition, they must be wrong. Hilariously, he even appeals to his readers to send him information on the 46 pledges in question. What's the betting he'll claim in a day or two that because no-one has done so, that constitutes 'proof' Alex Salmond was lying? I'm glad AM2 isn't in charge of our justice system - 'guilty until proven innocent' doesn't have quite the same ring to it."

    I LIKE YOU! AM2 is a an irrelevant arse who thinks he can use the internet to incite, His cohorts SM753 , commonly known as Smeeeee....Smeeeeeeeeeee....Smeeeeeegggg, acht I give up!, and Rufus are of a simillar mind. If this is all New Labour have too offer then no wonder they are in meltdown.