IN SCOTLAND we like to take refuge in our enlightened values when English Tories are caught rifling the public purse furtively. The Boris Johnson administration has made a Klondyke of coronavirus for a favoured few and invited them to help themselves to the Government’s vast emergency reserves.

No experience in the health provision sector is necessary nor are you asked to provide examples of your product. So, your PPE equipment disintegrates at first contact with the human form? Not a problem, my son. An entry can be made in the ledger to show that at least something was being done and anyway, by the time this is all over no one will really care. Cushty.

It could never happen in Scotland because, well … we’re more transparent and socially democratic up here. Our system is future-proofed for eternity against this sort of thing, is it not? Behave yourself. When it comes to wasting public cash our managerial class just does it a bit more – what’s the word I’m looking for – creatively.

Avarice and acquisitiveness may not lie at the root of their stratagems but eye-popping incompetence and negligence certainly do. The result is just the same: large sums of money disappear from the pot and no one is held accountable. Often, the miscreant is rewarded with a promotion. Sometimes they’ll be told to keep their heads down and wait until the public sector gravy train comes rolling along with another six-figure opportunity in Grampian or the Highlands and Islands.

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It’s not recently been a golden period for the managerial class we entrust with keeping civic Scotland honest and upright. There’s Leslie Evans, Scotland’s most senior and richly endowed civil servant, giving evidence at the Holyrood Inquiry into the Alex Salmond affair. Ms Evans remains in place despite being in charge when half a million pounds of public cash was blown on an amateurish in-house probe into sexual misconduct claims against the former First Minister in 2018.

Any hopes the public had of discovering why such a massive error of judgment had occurred on such a grand scale are currently being thwarted by a small, but stubborn band of 100k-a-year civil servants. They all appear to have been inspired by the great Soviet politician, Andrei Gromyko whose habit of vetoing countless UN Security Council resolutions with a resounding “Nyet” caught the imagination of slippery bureaucrats everywhere.

Earlier this week, the Crown Office conceded their staff had acted unlawfully in a four-year attempt to prosecute two former administrators of Rangers FC. The two men are now in line for up to £20m in compensation after the crown admitted its case was ‘malicious’. This case represents a public humiliation for a legal system which is never anything other than pleased with itself. Certain shadowy forces who are always at work at the heart of the Scottish establishment will ensure much of this never gets exposed.

Last week too, the Scottish Government haughtily dismissed a request by Scottish football leaders to allow a limited number of supporters to attend a match tomorrow between Celtic FC and Motherwell FC. Nor was there any meaningful explanation from Scotland’s First Minister why 700 supporters were permitted to watch the rugger. We didn’t need her to tell us that coronavirus doesn’t discriminate between rugby and football. The obvious response to this – as she well knows – is that you might get a better idea of effective crowd management at Scotland’s most popular spectator sport rather than a boutique one.

This SNP Government seems to have a problem with working-class culture. Its pantomime attempts to criminalise football fans with its ludicrous Offensive Behaviour at Football legislation was laughed out of existence by the legal profession and supporters' groups alike. A similar response has greeted its daft Hate Bill.

Donald MacLeod, one of Scotland’s biggest night-club operators highlighted a class dimension in the Scottish Government's emergency arts funding package. “Glasgow is the city of music and the city of culture. We have 200 businesses relying on it annually and thousands of employees. You are seeing millions being given in grants to what I would call the 'elite', the theatre organisations, like the Tron getting £1.3m. It's a 240-capacity venue. What is it spending its money on? They do have the money and would be able to help us. They have certainly got the money to save theatres.”

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In civic Scotland only a dismal managerial and executive class of political chancers and corporate PR lapdogs get to be heard. Our media is replete with lobbyists of questionable literacy advocating an agenda broadly in line with their clients’, but without declaring themselves. They preach a vanilla, unicorn existence: don’t rock the boat; don’t scare the horses. They take care never to criticise politicians who they need to keep sweet but they never tire of rebuking the rest of us for not conducting ourselves in the correct manner.

People from working-class communities are always urged to ‘better’ themselves or to ‘get ahead’. The concept of people preferring to remain in the communities that made them among old friends and family is never entertained. Couldn’t we just make the neighbourhoods better? It’s why Inverclyde has now endured a generation of persistent deprivation, confirmed yesterday by the National Records of Scotland. The region has the highest percentage of its population living in Scotland’s most deprived areas and currently has the highest Covid-19 mortality rate.

Chris McEleny, a persistent working-class voice who represents these communities on Inverclyde Council, has asked for a special deprivation fund to be created in light of these numbers. I wish him all the very best but fear that the Scottish Government may only grant the money if people promise to be nice to each other and cut out all the swearing and the Buckie. Mr McEleny is seeking the SNP’s nomination to stand for Holyrood next year, but he’ll encounter opposition from some familiar figures within the party who consider him to be a bit rough.

Nothing changes in places like Inverclyde and they have few advocates to give them a voice. Perhaps more people from places like this would get ahead if they exhibited an aptitude for blowing pubic money on inept inquiries and badly planned legal actions.

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