Monday 12 October 2020

The more fronts she is having to firefight on the better


I don’t recall demonstrations against the Scottish Government and Nicola Sturgeon.  It had begun to appear that Teflon Nicola was completely non-stick both in terms of her policies and in terms of whatever misdeeds the SNP got up to. The Scottish voters simply did not care. She could make a mess of education. She could make a mess of hospitals. But it was always someone else’s fault. Boris Johnson was blamed for things the Scottish Government controlled and Scots believed Sturgeon. But for the first time this has changed.

Scottish bar and restaurant workers dumped ice in the streets in complaints about lockdown 2. Graffiti has been seen saying that Sturgeon lied. Of course, these same bar workers may forget that they dumped ice when they next have a chance to dump the SNP, but this would make their protest rather pointless. You don’t really change anything by throwing ice into the street. It melts and then it dries, but you do change things by voting for someone else.

Sturgeon decided to diverge from UK Covid policy when the Conservative Government eased lockdown earlier than she wanted. From then on, she took responsibility for Covid in Scotland. Health is devolved. It doesn’t matter what England does. That’s their business. Whatever happens for good or ill in Scotland is to the credit or blame of Sturgeon and the SNP.

Sturgeon attempted to eliminate Covid in Scotland. That was what all the talk of borders was about in the summer. But she failed. All those daily briefings where she boasted about how wonderful Scotland was doing look like so much hot air when we get locked down again.

While Sturgeon was willing to contemplate borders within Britain, she is not willing to contemplate borders within Scotland. There is no reason at all why most of northern Scotland has extra restrictions.

There are 18.8 cases per 100,000 in Aberdeenshire and still less in Moray, Highland, Shetland and Orkney.

Sturgeon suggested that the Northern Isles could be exempt from the new rules, but only if travel between them and the mainland was forbidden. But this is a harsh punishment for places with almost no cases of Covid. There is no reason at all why people from Shetland cannot go to Moray, Highland or Aberdeenshire. There is no reason why our pubs and restaurants should be shut because of high numbers of cases in the Central Belt.

But is it anyway because of restaurants and pubs being open that we have large numbers of cases in parts of Scotland? No, the reason cases are increasing is because Nicola Sturgeon decided to allow students to return to campuses.

There is no reason whatsoever why students are physically at university. Their teaching is almost exclusively online. Those who are interested can learn just as well this way, but universities had to fill their halls of residences with rent payers and probably feared that students wouldn’t pay their fees if they were forced to stay at home. The result was that thousands of students from all over Britain and other parts of the world travelled to the university towns in Scotland. They spread Covid amongst themselves and the wider community and ended up trapped in their halls of residence doing courses online that they could have done just as well at home.

Universities may well have faced a business crisis if students had been prevented from going to campus. But why is one business (a university) more important than another (a bar or restaurant)? Why should bar workers be made unemployed so that students can sit in their rooms in isolation eating jam sandwiches and pot noodles?

The decision to import young people without friends desperate to socialise with each other was Sturgeon’s alone. Margaret Ferrier is not the Covid super-spreader. It is Nicola Sturgeon.

But is there any need to close restaurants and bars anyway?

There are 1574 cases per 100,000 in Glasgow, which is very high indeed, but on 11th October there were zero new deaths in Scotland.

We know that there is a time lag. But the graph of the increase in cases has been rising for some time now. The graph of deaths is not rising.

Young people are spreading Covid amongst themselves, but very few if any will have a serious illness. So long as those young people keep away from the elderly the fact that they have caught Covid will prove beneficial. The more people who have had Covid without spreading it to the vulnerable the better. Not only will it make Covid less dangerous, it will take us that bit closer to the point where Covid is no longer dangerous to anyone.

Sturgeon’s elimination strategy failed because she imported thousands of students into Scotland without testing them, but it was anyway misconceived. The task is to prevent those at serious risk from catching Covid. This is what will save lives, nothing else.

Nicola Sturgeon has made one almighty mess of both health and education in Scotland. Shutting bars and restaurants will save very few lives, because those who are at serious risk of dying from Covid will choose not to go to bars and restaurants.

Those who are dumping ice on the streets are right to protest because their jobs are being sacrificed partly because Sturgeon thinks university finances are more important, but secondly because the whole strategy of closing down places where young people congregate is folly.

If you put 10,000 students on an island and let them go to as many clubs, restaurants and bars as they please, it is unlikely that even one of them will die from Covid. It is a disease of old age. A strategy that does not treat it as such is hardly a strategy at all. Treating everyone as being at equal risk fails because young people know that the risk to them is tiny. This is why they will mix socially no matter how much Sturgeon tries to lock them down.

Sturgeon is facing a firefight on multiple fronts. Just as she puts one fire out another emerges. Her own party is turning against her, because they know that she tried to nobble Alex Salmond and they know she has something to hide.

It would make more sense if Peter Murrell had written

TBH the more fronts she is having to firefight on the better for all complainers. So CPS action would be a good thing.

 The point of attacking from multiple fronts is that the enemy cannot transfer troops to cover a breach and because eventually you find a weak spot. Sturgeon is weak in multiple places. The weakest of all is that Scots who are losing their jobs because of her decisions are beginning to see through her. Her party is corrupt, divided and Sturgeon’s story about her own conduct is full of contradictions. It needs just one more fire to put out and she will be toast.