Saturday, 19 September 2020

Politicians and Coronavirus

The essential point about Covid-19 is that if we all take social distancing seriously, remain cautious, wear face masks and wash our hands at every opportunity - the virus cannot jump from one person to another.

Yet politicians across the UK are now rushing to tell us that because they have failed to persuade fellow citizens to behave responsibly they have no choice but to impose even more rules which prevent people from seeing their families and friends.

Everyone from Boris Johnson to the Mayor of London to the first ministers of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will be saying essentially the same thing, no doubt while also suggesting that something or someone else is to blame.

Yet what it boils down to is a failure of our politicians to unite behind an agreed strategy which is capable of changing people's behaviour. 

Follow My Leader ((10/09/90)

The Scottish Government seems likely to follow the lead of the UK Government later today by announcing further restrictions on people's lives to help reduce the spread of Covid-19.

According to leaked press reports Scotland will reduce the numbers of people who can meet to just 6 individuals - both indoors and outdoors.

The present 'rules' are driven by the science allegedly, there is no doubt that politicians revel in having small differences in their own back yards - at a time when it would be better if we were all singing from the same hymn sheet. 


Politicians and Coronavirus (09/09/20)

Glasgow councillors were back in the news again after the Daily Record broke a story about Council leader, Cllr Susan Aitken, enjoying a drink in a Merchant City pub with three colleagues.

Nicola Sturgeon waded into the row at the weekend to remind public figures, especially elected politicians, that they need to be seen to be above reproach.

Yet the First Minister's words fell well short of the criticism directed at Aberdeen and Celtic footballers recently when  the Scottish Government threatened to shut the game down altogether, if players stepped out of line again.

I can't say I'm in favour of shutting things down as it seems to me the job of politicians is to hammer home the message about the importance of remaining cautious and continuing to socially distancing - while wearing face masks and washing your hands frequently.

I was in Spain over the summer, Catalonia to be precise, and my personal experience is that these issues are taken far more seriously in other parts of Europe than they are in Scotland.

Spain currently has a higher Covid-19 infection rate than Scotland or the UK, but the Spanish Prime Minister, Pedro Sanchez has already said that life must go on and that there will no return to a full lockdown.

Face coverings are mandatory in all public spaces in Spain and just recently Spain banned smoking and vaping in outdoor hospitality spaces in an effort to combat the spread of Coronavirus.

Whereas my experience in Glasgow is that the wearing of face masks or using hand sanitisers in shops is very patchy and not enforced - with lots of people wearing face coverings hanging round their chins, for example. 

The reality is that if people take social distancing seriously, remain cautious, wear face masks and wash their hands at every opportunity - the virus cannot jump from one person to another.