Here’s Kezia Dugdale at FMQs today.
Just for fun, let’s do the sums again, shall we?
As the FM pointed out, when Labour were last in power 85% of patients were treated within 18 weeks. The figures since the SNP took power are 96% within 12 weeks. But since Kezia Dugdale is apparently unable to calculate that that’s a very significant improvement, let’s concentrate on her arithmetically simpler claim that it would take her “centuries” to relate all of the other 4%’s unfortunate tales.
Now, it doesn’t actually take terribly long to say “Agnes needed a new hip, but had to wait 14 weeks for treatment rather than 12” – a few seconds tells the whole story, to all intents and purposes. But let’s imagine that Dugdale wanted to spend two minutes giving a bit of heartstring-tugging background on each case, which is still quite a long time to talk about one person’s hospital circumstances for.
There were 53,000 patients (out of a total of 1.32 million) who weren’t seen inside 12 weeks. Two minutes on each is 106,000 minutes, or 1,767 hours. If Dugdale spent just eight hours a day going through them one by one, that’d take 221 days (or 0.61 of a year), rather than “centuries”.
For it to stretch out to, say, three centuries, she’d have to present the details of each individual case to the Holyrood chamber for 16.4 hours.
To put that into some sort of perspective, it would mean that she’d have to drone on about poor Agnes’ wonky joints all the way through Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice and Captain America: Civil War and Doctor Strange and Deadpool and X-Men Apocalypse and Suicide Squad and Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them, and she’d still have to pad for another 15 minutes after that.
In fairness, with the exception of Deadpool, listening to The Saga Of Agnes’ Hip would be more fun than watching those movies. But it would only feel like centuries. And as we can see from the clip above, that’s something Kezia Dugdale can already achieve in under 40 seconds.