22/11/2012 Newsnight Scotland


22/11/2012

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It is a useful lesson that Tony Hall brings from Covent Garden to

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the upper reaches of the BBC. We'll speak to the Education

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Secretary Mike Russell about their college funding row that has

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dominated Holyrood debate for a fortnight. Did he make an honest

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estate undefeated why did he not tell Parliament earlier?

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And a new prescription for Scotland's appalling health record

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for. Mike Russell is not given to humble

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this or contrition. He has had to show a lot will both over the last

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week. There have been calls for his resignation and for an apology. The

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first the Mr Assad to say sorry also.

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-- the First Minister has had to apologise also.

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The future of colleges has been in the news since last week. Their

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education secretary asked this manner to consider his position

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after he recorded the minister in a private meeting. He left his job

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saying he believed there was a danger that any difficulty that a

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rose for him could be transferred to the college and to the wider

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interests of colleges. It is that issue, the product issue

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of college funding, that will not go away. Last week at First

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Minister's Questions Alex Salmond told the chamber that this year

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colleges had received an increase in funding. But the figures were

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wrong. 545 million to 546 million is an increase. The Scottish

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government stood by the figures. Did you mislead Parliament? I did

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not. A 5:00pm an apology. A I take full responsibility for what I say

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in this chamber. I have taken this opportunity to correct the figure.

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The figure should had been 556. I apologise to the chamber for this

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error. Less than one week later after being pressed by Labour

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another apology. My apology is full and unReserve. It is to the whole

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chamber. It should not have happened. By First Minister's

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Questions this lunchtime the issue still have not gone away. Win in

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the last 18 months did John Swinney inform the First Minister that

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college funding was to be reduced this year and how often did he

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update him? The mistake for which I apologise last week was my mistake

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in terms of our briefing which I read out from which suggests that

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that college funding was increasing compared to last year. The table

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had forgotten to include 11 million additional funding. At this

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afternoon's debate on college funding came this. I'd do not claim

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to be a shrinking violet. I am committed to getting the best for

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students in all sectors. I am passionate about education, about

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working for others to share the same passion. Education changes

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light. It transforms prospects. It creates new world. Once again it is

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the wider issue at stake. There are concerns in the college sector

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about funding for the future, whether courses will survive,

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mergers, and what is best for the students. The resignation of the

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Education Secretary has been called for. Sorry has been said. Now will

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the real debate begin? A short while ago I spoke to Mike

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Russell. I asked him if back in 20th June said they would be no

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reduction in funding did he know the real figures? The it is not a

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question of knowing the real figures. The question is we

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understated the image we had spent by �11 million. I discovered that

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that was understated at the same time as the First Minister. I did

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as the First Minister a but. It was the right thing to do. We apologise.

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It was a genuine mistake. I apologise for that mistake. The

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figure be quoted was and �11 million less than we had spent.

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What we have been trying to do again and again is to increase that

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not know the true figure in June? The figure that I was working from

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a was �11 million less than we had spent. It is to do with any

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revisions. Because of be tried to add money into the Budget. We are

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engaged in a big programme of college reform. But needs to be

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done in the interests of Scotland's own people. It is difficult to do

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that when there is pressure on the Budget. Although the pressures are

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there, again and again I say to my officials and colleagues, can we

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find additional resources? We understated Africa by �11 million.

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-- we understated a figure. As I said when I apologise, we realised

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last Thursday that the figure had been understated by �11 million.

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The letter you wrote to their education committee was accurate

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letter. You yes it was. That was written in October. 18th October. I

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did but realised what I had said in June, and I do not read everything

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I say, I did not realise what I said in June was based on the

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uncorrected figure. These figures are perfectly clear. They are clear.

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The education committee had those figures. The questions me for more

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than one hour on those. Then Alex Salmond got them wrong again.

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said as I said there was a chart that at the wrong figure on it.

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This story is, you got the figures wrong because you were not aware

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extra had been added in. Alex Salmond got it wrong because he got

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a wrong briefing. You did not know these figures until when? Those

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figures I knew in October. I have been to this in the last week. I

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have made an apology for the figure I got wrong. The figure is wrong by

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�11 million. The important thing in this is that we are working very

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hard on a vision of what we want to do for the young people of Scotland.

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We are working hard to deliver that isn't. A I am still confused.

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are seeing you did not go you got the figures wrong when you got them

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wrong earlier in the year. You are seeing you only realise that

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discrepancy last week. Yet the letter you sent on their 18th

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October to the education committee has the correct figures. How could

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you not have known the correct figures when you send the letter to

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the education committee? The letter to the education committee is

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correct. You said you did not realise until last week. I did not

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say that. We could go on all night. I said that I made a mistake and

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the first person made a mistake and we apologise. In every other

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parliament in the world people would say that is good we have a

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knowledge the mistake. Then the last week I have been tied up in

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semantics. I've are not questioning your apology. I still do not

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understand your time light. It is important because when you are a

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minister and you get something wrong you are so close to go to

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Parliament and correct it. A indeed. You must have known as early as

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October that you had got the figure wrong in March, yet to make no

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attempt to correct it. Sorry on June the 28. I said the figures

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were not falling. That did not take account of the fact there was an

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additional �11 million at be had spent in the relevant here. When it

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was drawn to my attention that I had said that in June, and it was

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drawn to my attention masters to, I realise it was a mistake and I'd

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immediately apologised. The First Minister immediately apologised. I

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apologised again on Tuesday. We can talk about what you want to achieve

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in Scotland's economic sector and we can accept mistakes are made or

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we can spend an entire week talking about spending �11 million less

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than we had spent. I think we should talk about what they want to

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achieve and accept that mistakes do happen. Did the First Minister at

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any point suggest to you over the past week that you should resign?

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He did not. Did you at any point consider resigning if only to

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relieve the First Minister from an embarrassing position? Absolute the

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not. I am focused on, the First Minister has focused on getting

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through the process of college reform which is extremely important.

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Did I reckon a state? Desai did. But I apologise? Decided. What was

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a mistake? The mistake was I said... You have said that several times.

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As I understand the story you make this mistake in June, that you did

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know in October... It was drawn to my attention last Thursday. When

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you said a letter in October the figures were correct. The a were

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indeed. He did not realise the contradicted what you had said in

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June. A battle that was wrong to buy it in June. You were not

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culpable for not realising that the figure to sit in October

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contradicted what you cent in June. I think I understand that. That is

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what I did. That is what the First Minister did. This incessant

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running started not with their spat with the College of fear. With the

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benefit of hindsight I'd do not expect you to say that he was wrong

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in taking that meeting. I fully understand. One way of burying us

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and getting onto the subject you what to talk about would be if you

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see what the benefit of hindsight you over-reacted. I am not going to

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say that. This issue has been . I am not going to get involved in

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it again. I think be issue is that I am trying to deliver it for the

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young people of Scotland, to deliver the right things. We have

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been engaged in it for the last year. It is a sector that requires

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substantial reform. Although you can't sack him, even though you

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said you wanted to, according to him, the point is that you cannot

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be a chairman of the college if the Education Secretary has said in

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public that he has no confidence with you. Have you got the

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graciousness to say, "don't do that again but if you would like to go

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back to the college, you can". have no power to do that. If they

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choose to have him back, when you drop your insistence that you have

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no confidence? I regard that matter as closed. The issue that is not

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closed is making sure that we did have a college reforms. We have a

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very important sector which has a great deal for young people. We are

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working very hard to make sure it delivers employability and courses

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for employment. I and my colleagues have a strong vision of how that

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should be done and we have been working very productively in the

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sector. If you look at where we are now as opposed to a year ago corps

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we have moved massively forward and we have to, and will, continue.

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allegations have been noticed by Mr Ramsay that you are abrasive and

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intolerant of people who disagree with you. Is that a picture you

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recognise? No, it is not. You and I have known each other for over 20

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years. We have had many interesting discussions but I think those

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discussions, as all my can skeletons, -- discussions, are

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taken as good exchanges. Far be it for me to challenge your

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quintessential courtliness, but you know perfectly well but the way

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people present themselves in a television interview like this is

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not necessarily the way... I regard you as quickly, too. The reality of

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the situation is that, as I said in the chamber, I don't claim to be a

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shrinking violet or perfect. What I claim is to have a passion for

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delivering education. I have a passion for working on that with my

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colleagues and with everybody in the sector and I want to do that

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effectively. You will at least concede that you regret this whole

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thing has happened? I am really sorry this has happened. It has

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been a deflection from the really important issues. But I have to say

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that in the last week, the defection has come particularly

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from the Labour Party, who will not accept an apology. That is

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immensely regrettable because we should move forward with college

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reform. We have to leave it there. Thank you.

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If you live in Scotland, especially the west, you are going to die

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sooner than if you live elsewhere. Of the countries in the UK work

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assessed separately, life expectancy in Scotland would be the

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lowest in the EU. Scott and was overtaken in the second half of the

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20th century by France and Italy and, in recent years, even by

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Eastern Europe. -- Scotland was. We have had of the Glasgow effect but

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the new study shows that it may affect the rest of Scotland, too.

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There is clear evidence that we die younger than people in comparable

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areas. So there is a mystery here. It is not just, for example,

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smoking. Liverpool and Manchester have almost identical smoking rates

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but 12% more Glaswegians died of lung cancer. Even worse on the

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statistical comparisons with suicide, alcohol and drug-related

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deaths. For every 10 Citizens in Manchester and Liverpool could take

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their own lives, there are 16 in Glasgow. For every 100 Manchester

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or Liverpool deaths from alcohol- related illnesses, almost 230

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Glaswegians will die. And for drugs-related deaths, the Glasgow

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figure is almost 250. These excess deaths are relatively recent

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phenomenon. The difference seems to have been emerging over the past 40

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years. It is not just related to poverty. People in an affluent area

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of Glasgow have mortality statistics 15% worse than the

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equivalent neighbourhoods in Liverpool or Manchester.

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That comes from a newly published book called After Now with the

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subtitle "what next for a healthy Scotland?". I am joined by the

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book's author, Professor of Public Health at Glasgow University Phil

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Hanlon. You are well known for having identified the Glasgow

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affect - the fact that the extent of illnesses in Glasgow cannot be

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explained by things like social deprivation. There is an X factor.

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You seem to suggest that might now apply to the whole of Scotland.

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started by identifying it for the whole of Scotland and my colleague

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David Walsh did that three cities analysis that you have just

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reported. It is so powerful because these cities are so similar in

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terms of deprivation. Anything that Glasgow has in excess has to be

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attributed to someone be on deprivation. Understanding of

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deprivation is still a key driver of help. One of the interesting

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things is that there is a middle- class effect. If you live in an

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affluent area of Glasgow, you could die sooner than someone in an

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equivalent area of Manchester. In Scotland, we have have toxic

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combination of factors associated with late maternity because it is

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addictive behaviour. It is obesity, the level of inequality, loss of

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well-being. What I did not quite get, reading through the book, is

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that none of what you explain, to me, quite put the finger on why

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Scotland should be different. would have to concede at this stage

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we cannot be absolutely sure why that is but what we can point to is

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that the effect is a relatively recent, in the last three or four

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decades. What we have to look to is what has been going on in Scotland

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over that time. What we are seeing in that time is a rise of

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consumerism, greater inequality and other factors. The question we are

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asking is, is the combination of fact of... But all of those factors

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would be at play not just in England but in America. Yes, so

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they are not unique to Scotland but if we have to explain such a wide

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selection of causes of death and of ill health, you have to be the king

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at something pretty fundamental to the way we live our lives. And our

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inner lives, of policy, as well as our outer lives. We are arguing

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that there is something quite intrinsic about what has been going

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on in Scottish society in recent decades. This is a warning sign.

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You are actually dealing with issues bigger than health. Health

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is a warning light on the dashboard. You do not worry about a warning

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light but you worry about what is going on in the engine underneath

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that is causing the warning light a flash. The problem with your

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prescriptions is that they carry a lot of baggage. There Romany people

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who would say that they agree with you but they would not necessarily

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agree with your views on anything from the importance of population

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change to climate change, to consumerism. It is a pretty full

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political package you are selling. Yes, and I would accept that these

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are quite radical ideas. My difficulty is that I have been

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working with these problems now for a long time and they're all getting

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worse and continued to do so. The kind of approach that has solved

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problems in the past - infectious disease or even heart disease and

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cancer - clearly, these prescriptions are not working. That

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is why the challenge has to come to something more radical. People may

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not buy your whole thing but one of the points you are trying to make

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is that the powers-that-be delivering homilies to the

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population about not smoking and not drinking is just to

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misunderstand the problem. It is just not persuasive. The whole of

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the Western world lost self-control 30 years ago, causing the publicity

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epidemic. We have to the but the kind of society we have created. It

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is the whole population, more or less, so you need something quite

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profound. I often say that I have no particular prescriptions. Rather,

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I am looking to have a debate where we could ask what would work.

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