Friday, 18 Sep 2020

Nicola Sturgeon accused of not facing scrutiny ‘SNP has managed to get away with so much!’

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Nicola Sturgeon has received repeated criticism during the coronavirus pandemic but Henry Hill believes SNP haven’t been held to account for their actions. He said pro-UK people hope the latest controversy with Scottish exam results will mean the First Minister will finally face scrutiny. It follows news the Scottish Qualification Authority’s (SQA) downgraded 124,564 results, a quarter of all entries, which disproportionately impacted pupils from deprived backgrounds.

Speaking to talkRADIO, Mr Hill said: “I think one of the most frustrating things for pro-UK people is the way the SNP has managed to get away with so much.

“You can question whether it’s just that Scotland is a more country with a relatively tight-knit governing class but the SNP scandals have never been picked up on.”

Mr Hill noted that Scotland’s latest exam results have sparked fury among residents.

He added: “I think that there’s hope among pro-UK people that this is finally the story that makes the Scottish media start holding the SNP to account.”

Host Mike Graham added: “The First Minister is getting quite a lot of criticism at the moment outside of Scotland because she doesn’t really like to see too much scrutiny which is what we’ve been told.

“She operates without a Cabinet briefing and doesn’t rely on anyone but her very close advisers.

“She does the media briefings herself. There’s a lot of personality-led political positions being taken.”

It comes as Ms Sturgeon said she would have likely protested against the downgrading of pupils’ grades from their teachers’ estimates if it happened while she was at school – but will not reverse the decision now.

Ms Sturgeon said she understood many pupils will be feeling “aggrieved” after the SQA downgraded results but refused to reverse the decision “because I don’t think that would be the right thing to do either”.

Defending what she described as “effectively statistical moderation”, Ms Sturgeon has argued results would not have been “credible” if the pass rate of the most-deprived pupils had risen by the 19.8 percent estimated by teachers before moderation.

The SQA revised down the pass rate of the poorest fifth of Scottish pupils by 15.2 percent compared to a 6.9 percent drop for those from rich backgrounds.

Asked whether she would have been joining the protest planned in Glasgow’s George Square on Friday morning if her own results had been downgraded because of her school’s historic standards, Ms Sturgeon said it was “very possible”.

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She said: “If I had been in that position, I would feel aggrieved about that.

“I totally understand, and sympathise and empathise, with any young person who is in the position of having a grade awarded by the SQA that is lower than the teacher estimate for that grade.”

But speaking at the Scottish Government’s coronavirus briefing, Ms Sturgeon told pupils the moderation was necessary to “command the confidence of colleges and universities and employers”, although she urged pupils to challenge their results if there has been “genuine individual injustices”.

She added: “Every young person or their families who might be watching, who is feeling that understandable grievance right now that their award is lower than the teacher estimates submitted for them can go through the appeal process where their individual circumstances are looked at.”

Express.co.uk has contacted SNP for comment.

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