“Vote SNP and die three years early.” If Scotland’s ruling party were being “brutally honest”, says Andrew Neil in the Daily Mail, that would be its slogan. Unlike in most of the developed world, life expectancy north of the border is falling, not rising. Scottish men now live for an average of 76.5 years, compared to 79.9 years in England; for Scottish women, it’s 80.7 years compared with 83.6. In Glasgow, men can expect to live for just 72.9 years – “only a tad more” than they can in war-torn Syria. Drug-related deaths are 3.7 times higher than they were two decades ago, and 2.7 times higher than the UK average. Alcohol-related deaths are up a quarter compared to 2019.
As with all its problems, the SNP likes to blame the “evil English” for all this. But that’s nonsense. The Scottish government has “complete control” over the NHS north of the border. And thanks to an “over-generous settlement” with Westminster, health spending is around 20% higher per person in Scotland than it is in England. No, the real problem is that the SNP “only really gets fired up about independence”. Because it’s not just the health system that’s being overlooked. Economic growth has become a “distant memory”. North Sea oil is running out. The number of businesses being set up is 50% of the overall UK level. The SNP has been criticised for presiding over the “Sick Man of Europe”. Sadly, it has gone one further: turning Scotland “into the Dying Man of Europe”.