Published On: Fri, May 19th, 2017

‘You’ve caused a decade of STAGNATION’ – ex-SNP policy chief's brutal attack on Sturgeon

Alex Bell, who also previously worked as a BBC correspondent, said evidence shows since 2007 the nation has “at best done nothing”.

Mr Bell pulled no punches in his ferocious tirade in a Scottish newspaper, taking aim at the SNP’s reign since it became the largest party at the 2007 Scottish elections. 

He published his stinging opinion piece a week after Scottish First Minister promised “on this 10-year anniversary … we will never stop working hard to make Scotland the best country it can be”. 

Mr Bell responded in The Courier: “So said Nicola Sturgeon this week, presuming that Scotland had made progress over the last 10 years of SNP rule and would continue to do so.

“Yet evidence is now emerging that the last 10 years were more like a ‘lost decade’ of stagnation.”

He said Scotland was sloppy in measuring success using evidence – and the evidence it did gather painted a dire picture of the state of the nation. 

Mr Bell continued: “Evidence is a rare commodity in Scottish politics – we tend to talk in lists of achievements, implying that activity must translate into effect.

“For example, if you ask the Scottish Government what they have done for the economy, they will give you a list mentioning the small business bonus.

“The problem is that there is no evidence for the effect of the small business bonus – we don’t know if it’s good, bad or indifferent.

“Paying less or no tax sounds good – but it may simply have been a giveaway of no use to the economy.”

He said the evidence that was being gathered was negative, with Scotland falling from 2007 to 2017 in terms of global education ranking, failing to grow in terms of productivity, and actually rising in terms of crime. 

He said: “The evidence appears to show that a decade of SNP rule has at best done nothing and at worst slightly damaged the country.”

And the former SNP heavyweight warned things weren’t going to get better any time soon. 

READ MORE: Will Scotland leave the UK?

He concluded: “Scotland is approaching, if not already in, a crisis of stagnation – at such times nations need big ideas, brave decisions and bold leadership.

“The sad truth is that pretty much everything we have done to date hasn’t worked.”

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