Monday 10 May 2004

More elitists please

David Blunkett has been visiting Scotland. There was a bit of a row over his plans to introduce those damned ID surveillance cards - the Scottish Executive doesn't want cards to be necessary for access to NHS services north of the border. Blunkett thinks that would lead to an influx of "health tourists" to Scotland. He's probably right. I imagine that Jack McConnell will back down on this just as soon as Tony gets round to phoning him.

There's more harmony on the question of immigration. McConnell wants to encourage overseas students to remain in Scotland after they graduate and Blunkett is happy to help:

Overseas students who graduate in Scotland will only be allowed to stay in the UK if they promise not to move to England for a set period.

Scotland's population decline has been highlighted as "the greatest threat to the country's future prosperity" by First Minister Jack McConnell.

But why is our population declining? What's different about Scotland from other countries in Europe?

The difference is of course that we are dominated by a political and cultural class that hates any success that could be defined as "elitist". That was made wonderfully clear in the Nicola Benedetti affair:

WHEN Michelle McManus won ITV’s Pop Idol last year, Jack McConnell let it be known that he had phoned in to vote, doing his best to help the Glasgow singer win the talent contest.

The First Minister also sent her a "good luck" note before the final and, apparently, gave her a peck on the cheek when he met her, before adding: "I know you can do it."

Last Sunday night, Nicola Benedetti, 16, a violinist from Ayrshire, became the first Scot to win the coveted BBC Young Musician of the Year title.

Such is her talent as a musician that she won one of the most competitive prizes in British music with relative ease, and she is now expected to be signed up with a £1 million recording contract.

However, for Nicola, there was no note of support from the First Minister before the competition, which was held in Scotland, at the Usher Hall, Edinburgh.

Much has been written about this, but it's been widely noted that Ms Benedetti's problem is that she had to work tremendously hard for many, many years to become Britain's best young classical musician. In other words, she is an elitist. Worse perhaps: her father is a self-made millionaire and he sent his daughter to a private school! Oh the shame of it. And she probably speaks fluent Italian too.

As Bill Jamieson pointed out when writing about Mrs Thatcher and Scotland:

I see little prospect of any change. Indeed, the trashing of her legacy is a vital task of the government class she so resolutely opposed. She held out against the relentless expansion of government and the public-sector administrative class. To these interests, Thatcherism was and remains the sworn enemy. Today, government is bigger than ever. And the size and remit of the regulatory state is growing as never before.
By all means celebrate when foreign graduates choose to remain in Scotland. But we really do need to prevent so many young Scots from fleeing the country as soon as they can. Let's reverse that expansion of government, slash the civil service payroll and burn the regulation handbook. Like her father, Nicola will do just fine without the "help" of the Scottish political class. Politicians really are the problem, not the solution.

1 comment:

David Farrer said...

Comments made on previous template:

David Farrer (
Fraser Nelson of the Scotsman has been going on and on about how Scotland's per capita NHS spend is now higher than that of England and yet (surprise, surprise) patient satisfaction is going down faster than south of the border.

18 May 2004, 06:56:12 GMT+01:00
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Verity (
Could someone answer a question for me, please? - or at least essay an answer: 
Background: I have lived in the US, Southeast Asia, Britain and France.  
Question: Why on earth would any "health tourist" come to any part of the UK for treatment? It's the filthiest, more dire health service in the developed world. The US, France, Singapore, Malaysia are all miles and miles out in front of USSR Britain's "service".  
It strikes me that this constant harping on about "health tourists" is to reinforce (Big Brother style) subliminally the received truth that the NHS is "the envy of the world". 
As sane people keep noting, if the NHS is "the envy of the world", why has no other country ever copied it? Countries copy one another's successes. Look how many countries worldwide adopted privatisation after Thatcher's government introduced it. Just about everyone, including South American governments, have privatised their state industries.

17 May 2004, 12:21:00 GMT+01:00
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David Farrer (
I have to confess that I am "differently teenaged".

12 May 2004, 08:33:27 GMT+01:00
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Neil (
I think that is a little unfair. I seriously doubt if it was idealogical reasons rather than the lure of publicity that led to McConnel sucking up to the alternatively slim lass.

11 May 2004, 20:49:46 GMT+01:00