Nicola Sturgeon's track record is one of failure and broken promises – Ian Murray MP
Scotland is stuck with two failing governments.
She was referring to the education attainment gap that holds back too many children in Scotland, promising that closing this “is a defining challenge for the government I lead”.
Fast-forward several years, and last week the SNP’s Education Secretary essentially abandoned this pledge and, with it, the hopes and aspirations of many poorer kids. It would be “arbitrary” to put a date on closing the attainment gap, she claimed, despite Nicola Sturgeon doing precisely that before the 2016 Holyrood election.
Fast-forward another few days, and yesterday marked seven years, six months and five days of Sturgeon’s premiership – making her the country’s longest serving First Minister. Clearly a skilled electioneer, it is a chance to reflect on her legacy.
And it is beyond any reasonable doubt her record in government is one of dismal failure. A series of grand election pledges that were broken, time after time.
A legal treatment-time guarantee for patients broken around 400,000 times, while A&E waiting times are at an all-time high.
The waiting time standard for urgent cancer referrals not met since 2012.
Life expectancy stalled, with at least a ten-year gap between the richest and poorest areas.
Council services hit with budget cuts steeper than any cuts from the Tories.
The loss of critical contracts and jobs in yards, and the ongoing ferries fiasco.
An abandoned plan to create a publicly owned energy company.
A broken promise to deliver superfast broadband to every home and business.
Bus services dismantled and train services in chaos.
A social homes target missed by more than 22 per cent.
And most shameful of all is the SNP’s record on education and poverty.
Teacher numbers down, a shelved Education Bill, and inequality baked into the exams system.
Today, more than one in four of Scotland’s children are growing up in poverty.
When the historians look back at Nicola Sturgeon’s record in office, there will be two words that sum it up: failure and division.
Failed our teachers, doctors, social workers and nurses. Failed our NHS patients, commuters and workers. Failed the elderly and most vulnerable. And failed an entire generation of young Scots.
If those historians ask why, the answer is clear. Throughout all her years in Bute House, Nicola Sturgeon has had one thing on her mind: independence. She is obsessed by it, it is what drives her.
Not the lost opportunities facing Scottish children; but how to divide the very communities they live in.
And yet, as an opinion poll showed yesterday, support for leaving the UK is the same as at the 2014 referendum.
Nicola Sturgeon is supposed to govern for all of Scotland, yet still speaks for only a minority. Seven years, six months and five days of wasted opportunity to build a better future.
And as for the shower of Tory criminals at Westminster – need I say more?
Scottish Labour, under Anas Sarwar’s leadership, is looking to the future. A future where a child’s education matters more than a flag. Because Scotland can be so much better.
Ian Murray is Labour MP for Edinburgh South