IN July of 2018, the BBC aired Celebrities on the NHS Frontline. One of the “celebrities” was Ann Widdecombe, late of the Tory party and now a Brexit stalwart.

During discussion on the lamentable state and the difficulties of providing care in the King’s College Hospital in London, she gave the game away on the way government at Westminster manages the NHS: “Everyone knows the NHS is in crisis and limps along. Soon, it will hit the buffers, so each successive government puts in just enough resource to keep it limping because, when it finally hits the buffers, they want to be in opposition.”

READ MORE: Tories blasted after Twitter account deception

In Scotland, of course, health is a devolved matter so the responsibility for our NHS is with an SNP government. Here is a piece lifted from the Business for Scotland web page: “Due to the way in which public spending is distributed across the UK, a budget is set for England and then that sets the budget for the devolved nations. Austerity from Westminster therefore reduces the available public spending to devolved governments. This negatively impacts on the public finances available for the Scottish Government.

“However, Holyrood may have a set and limited budget but it doesn’t have to spend its budget in the same proportions as set for England by the Chancellor. The Scottish Government has therefore committed to providing the Scottish NHS with resources above the UK average, as well as providing additional services such as free prescriptions and eye tests. The data available for comparison demonstrates clearly that the Scottish NHS has been performing more effectively than any other UK national health service.”

We have to represent us on the Conservative benches at Holyrood the Fourth Baronet of Oare Manor and Brendon, and he informs us that he is working on behalf of a constituent who has been waiting an unacceptable length of time for elective orthopaedic surgery. And he’s quite right to highlight this: there’s no defence for this lamentable situation where care is supposed to be free at point of access and from cradle to grave.

He could, as a Conservative, campaign within his party to convince his Westminster masters to ease the bonds of austerity at Westminster, and release more funds to the Scottish Parliament.

But in Scotland the Conservatives are the opposition, so he must do all he can to highlight shortcomings of a Scottish Government; even if Scotland’s NHS, under a Scottish Government, is doing better overall than the southern counterpart which is under a Conservative administration.

It can’t be any secret that the NHS is a responsibility the Conservative party have every desire to divest themselves of, so our Fourth Baronet will take every opportunity to point up the struggle NHS Highland is having to cope with diminished resource so that, when the cry “privatise!” comes, he has his endorsement “oven ready”!

I look forward to the accusation of misrepresentation in our list MSP’s rebuttal.

Ned Larkin

IT was interesting to note Boris Johnson’s announcement that plans to cut corporation tax from 19% to 17% next April are to be put on hold, with the money saved being spent on the NHS and other services. He noted that this would cost the Treasury £6 billion and was better spent on “national priorities”, including the health service.

This is intriguing to note on two counts. Firstly, given the Tories’ claim has long been that cuts to corporation tax raise revenue, it is intriguing to see the PM now highlighting that such cuts will actually cost many billions of pounds.

It is also interesting to note that pre-election the Tories were happy to spend £6bn on such tax cuts, but with an election called they feel this money should instead be spent on the NHS and other “national priorities”.

It is indeed interesting to see where Tory priorities lie.

Alex Orr