I followed with interest the news this week regarding life expectancy in Scotland. While life expectancy in Scotland has mostly continued to improve since records began we still lag behind the rest of the UK and many in the EU, however reports this week have indicated we have stalled.
One of the more shocking things that I heard was that austerity is basically killing people quicker, we know about how the impact of sanctions has resulted in suicides and malnutrition, but I had not considered that longer term impacts on service provision would then have an impact on people’s life expectancy. It is estimated that cuts to health and social care are costing around 30,000 deaths per year. The measures brought in by both the Liberal/Tory coalition and the current Tory Government are killing people quicker and more so in poorer areas according to a UK wide report from the University of Liverpool.
Danny Dorling, Professor of Geography at the University of Oxford, speaking about Scotland noted that “This is part of a wider trend seen across the UK, and in the USA, but not in other countries in Europe or elsewhere in the world”.
Predictably Scottish Labour health spokesman Anas Sarwar MSP said: “It is truly astonishing that life expectancy in Scotland has not increased for the first time since records began. “Such revelations will shock Scots and should act as a wake-up call to the SNP”. “We know that life expectancy is linked to inequality. Under this SNP Government inequality is on the rise, with the health inequality gap, attainments gap and wealth gap all widening not narrowing. That’s a shameful record of neglect over the last 10 years.
However Professor Dorling goes on to say that “I don’t think it has anything to do with the SNP government” he added. “I think the same thing would have occurred had Labour held power in Scotland. It is the fall in funding due to the financial crash of 2008.”
It is looking pretty clear that the austerity agenda being pursued by the current Government, and by the previous coalition and Labour Governments, have added to the likelihood that if you live in Scotland you may die younger. Blaming the SNP is pretty much all Scottish Labour are good for anymore while the bigger issue is the contempt that this country has for the poor, the vulnerable and anyone else who doesn’t fit into their idea of a worthy person.
There has been some discussion on various blogs about how you should use your vote in the up and coming council elections, one thing is clear however you vote, and if you despise the Tories, you should make sure you place them last on any ballot paper. They really are the scum of the earth and no doubt after today’s budget the poor will be poorer still, as will many of the rest of us not part of the 5%. Austerity is killing us quicker, the UK is killing us quicker and the Tories are killing us quicker. If you can’t or won’t understand that then any vote other than a vote against austerity is a vote for an earlier death.
I know that there are no quick fixes in any of this but surely part of the solution is to have all powers reside at Holyrood, not at a Westminster who are quiet happy to save the pension money so they can spend it on Nuclear Weapons and Buckingham Palace.