NOTEBOOK by BILL HEANEY
Politicians everywhere are claiming how green they are.
Nicola Sturgeon is strutting her stuff at COP27 in Egypt, just as she did at COP26 in Glasgow last year.
She is all things to all men and women in regard to climate change. And much, much else.
Her wee Scottish shoulders are rubbed away coming up against all the world leaders as they turn it on for the cameras and correspondents at Sharm El Sheik.
Selfies, press conferences and photo-calls is what it’s all about for her. There may even be the opportunity to land a new job on her way up the greasy political ladder.
Rishi Sunak is there too, as is President Macron of France and even Joe Biden is about to fly into the desert resort from the USA.
Big political beasts are prowling amid the sand dunes out there.
Perhaps you have noticed – how could you not? – that these supposedly powerful people and their hingers on lounging around in Sharm El Sheik have failed to make any impact on the size of your gas and electricity bill.
Or what you have to pay at the check out in supermarkets to put food on the table to feed the family?
Whether it’s eating or heating, what we are being asked to pay is ridiculous.
We have come a long way from the days when we put a shilling in the meter.
If the amount we do pay these days were paid in cash then the people who used to rob their meter for a few shillings to get them out of a hole until pay day would be charged with bank robbery and not petty theft.
We couldn’t get the meter cupboard door open for the fivers and tenners inside it.
The SNP and the Tories want to run the country. The truth is they couldn’t run a bath.
Just living in this country at the moment would drive you round the bend.
But even after all their promises on mental health provision, the SNP are about to let down thousands of folk suffering from anxiety, panic attacks and worse than that.
Responding to a question from Lib Dem leader and health spokesperson Alex Cole-Hamilton about the emergency budget review, Deputy First Minister John Swinney conceded that mental health provision in Scotland, “will not be growing as fast as we had hoped”.
John Swinney’s comments came in response to Alex Cole-Hamilton’s question about why the Scottish Government had decided to strip mental health funding of £38 million in his emergency budget review announced earlier that day.
Yes, a cool £38 million, and that’s not a misprint.
Alex Cole-Hamilton said: “Make no mistake. We are here in large part because of the calamitous decisions made by the Conservative Government [at Westminster].
“They have added hundreds of pounds to peoples’ mortgages and it is unforgivable. That’s why we need a general election.
“But the choices this government [Scottish] have made are manifestly wrong as well.
“Irrespective of when that [extra] £20 million [we have been awarded] is allocated, we are still spending civil servant time and money on the production of constitutional papers, £17 million on national testing and up to a billion on the ministerial takeover of social care.
“All the while, councils are being squeezed to the pips, long Covid sufferers continue to struggle, and £38 million is being stripped from mental health.
“On this last point, can I ask what has changed in the severity of the national mental health crisis that he can find that level of money to cut from the mental health budget?”
Nicola Sturgeon’s deputy John Swinney said: “What has been announced today will mean that the resources allocated to mental health today are not increasing as fast as we had planned. They will still be growing, but they will not be growing as fast as we had hoped.”
So, to all of you who are suffering from anxiety and panic attacks, blow into a paper bag for the time being. Or maybe ask your GP for some more diazepam to lift your depression.
The Carry On films of the Sixties received a great deal of attention in the media this week following the death of 98-year-old actor Lesley Phillips.
Carry On Nurse was just one of them. It was hilarious.
Emerging in real time today is a piece of news that will make nobody laugh.
Nurses across the UK have voted in favour of strike action in an unprecedented move, it has been confirmed.
The majority of nurses across NHS employers balloted have voted in favour of industrial action according to their union, the Royal College of Nursing.
Expect then the usual response from First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.
She will claim that it’s not her government that is responsible for not paying nurses the salaries they unquestionably deserve.
It’s big, bad Westminster which, although it merits a boot in the bed pan for the histrionics it has been up to in recent months – Boris Johnston, Liz Trust and now Rishi Sunak to name and shame just three of them – it receives no credit for devolving the NHS in Scotland.
How were they to know that an SNP government in power up here for the past 15 years would not have the personnel, the acumen or the political nous to put a budget together that would cover the cost of running the health service?
It was Nicola Sturgeon and her colleagues who put the health budget together and even made the decision to tax Scots more than the rest of the United Kingdom.