Tuesday, 5 May 2020

Scotland's Cabinet Sidelined

Nicola Sturgeon has performed well during the Coronavirus crisis, I would say, apart from the car crash of a press conference where the First Minister turned herself into a 'human shield' in defence of Scotland's former chief medical officer, Catherine Calderwood.  

But by and large, the First Minister has played things straight and while some in her party have tried to make political capital out of a truly dreadful situation, the MSP for Glasgow Southside has remained focused on getting a difficult message across to the general public.

One noticeable difference between the UK and Scotland press conferences is the extent to which the latter are completely dominated by Ms Sturgeon - her fellow ministers hardly get a look-in.

Quentin Letts, sketch writer for The Times, poked fun at this sidelining of the Scottish cabinet in his weekend column.

"She had two sidekicks: Scotland’s health secretary, Jeane Freeman, and the interim chief medical officer of Scotland, Gregor Smith. Each was allowed a brief solo but after that they were pretty much surplus to requirements. Dr Gregor fared marginally better than Jeane. She, poor pudding, stood entirely silent for an hour and was only thrown a couple of sprats near the end."



Quentin Letts: Pity Sturgeon’s poor coronavirus sidekicks, they didn’t get a look in

Quentin Letts - The Times

When someone says “we need a grown-up conversation”, you know it’s going to sting. A “grown-up conversation” is never about a pay rise, or the quack saying “mate, drink as much as you wish”. When Nicola Sturgeon said she wanted “a grown-up conversation” about loosening the lockdown, it therefore meant only one thing: normal life would not be returning, possibly until next year. That was her stark message and she told us so with a flinty glint in her eye.

First Minister Acts As Human Shield (05/04/20)

I've sat through many a press conference in my time, but I can't remember a more disastrous one than Nicola Sturgeon's 'human shield' performance as she updated  the nation on the latest Coronavirus developments with the Scottish Government's chief medical officer (CMO), Catherine Calderwood by her side.

The First Minister stepped in again and again to prevent  Catherine Calderwood from explaining herself by answering perfectly legitimate questions from journalists who were simply doing their job of holding the Scottish Government to account.

The YouTube video is 38 minutes long though well worth a watch.