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Political commentator Fraser Nelson argued that devolution in Scotland had not been as successful as he hoped. While speaking on Politics Live, Mr Fraser told SNP Deputy Westminster Leader Kirsten Oswald that her party had a disgraceful record on education. He also highlighted the widening gap on life-expectancy and how little this is discussed in the Scottish Parliament.
Mr Nelson said: “Let us take the point about universities, if you are poor in Scotland you are less likely to go to university than anywhere else in the UK.
“Recent figures a while ago showed you are twice as likely if you are poor to get into university in England than you are in Scotland.
“That is a disgrace and is the complete opposite of what devolution was supposed to do.
“I feel this very strongly because it is such a missed opportunity.
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“Rather than focus on the things that could really help, the gaps have gotten wider.
“The life expectancy gap is still there ignored pretty much by everybody in the Scottish Parliament.
“How often do you hear the figure for life expectancy in north east Glasgow quoted.
“So when it comes to addressing these really big problems in Scotland, devolution has not succeeded in the way I sincerely hoped it would when I supported it 20 years ago.”
Ms Oswald argued Mr Nelson was not looking at the full picture on the ground through his assessment.
She said: “I think Fraser fails to take account of the fact that in Scotland an awful lot of young people go on to college and then to university from college.
“He is looking at things from a very peculiar and unfortunate lens.
“I am not sure that he is really in touch with what is happening on the ground in Scotland.”
She closed by insisting that devolution had been a positive experience and beneficial for the people of Scotland.
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She said: “On the ground, people do sincerely value both devolution and the opportunities that presents for them and their families.
“These are precious things to people in Scotland as this is our democracy here.
“Our democracy can’t stop just because Boris Johnson doesn’t like the flavour of politician that was elected.”
This comes after Boris Johnson told around 60 norther Conservative MPs on Monday evening that devolution had been a “disaster” during a Zoom call.
This has caused backlash across the political spectrum, most notably SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon who took to Twitter to respond: “Worth bookmarking these comments for the next time Tories say they’re not a threat to the powers of the Scottish Parliament – or, even more incredibly, that they support devolving more powers.”
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