A new report has shown how Scotland fell five places between 2006 and 2018 in the list of 32 countries which are members of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). The ranking relates to tests on a string of measures including income, life expectancy and education. The nation, which now sits in the bottom half of the list, has “underperformed” in many fields since Scots voted for devolution in a 1997 referendum.
The Index of Social and Economic Wellbeing (ISEW) report lays out how Scotland scored 2.08 in 2018, a drop of 0.5 since 2006.
It ranks number 21 in a list topped by Switzerland (3.38), Norway (2.01) and Japan (3.00).
Greece finished last in the ranking, as it was given a score of 0.66, below Hungary (0.88) and Slovakia (0.92).
The average life expectancy, which stands at 79 years, was noted as Scotland’s weakest area of performance.
Economist John McLaren of the Scottish Trends website produced the report.
He pointed to a lack of accountability in Holyrood as the reason for the decline in the policy.
He wrote: “There is a lack of being held to account over policy decisions, in other words too little scrutiny and proper evaluation of the actions of the Scottish government.
“This is down to a variety of shortcomings, including a weak committee system in the parliament, a lack of academic involvement, a dearth of think tanks, poorly funded political parties and a declining and underfunded media presence.”
He also argued that badly-funded opposition parties in the Scottish parliament in Edinburgh had meant a lack of competition for Ms Sturgeon’s Scottish National Party (SNP).
Mr McLaren explained: “Outside of the SNP, Scotland’s political parties are either small operations or in effect branch operations of UK parties and in both cases poorly funded.
“This has inhibited the development of alternative policy ideas and led to a lack of political competition, as their operations are relatively ineffectual in challenging the well-funded and civil service-supported (in technical terms), SNP-led government.”