Covid: How Boris Johnson allowed the Delta variant into the UK and why Scotland should be glad Nicola Sturgeon's in charge – Christine Grahame MSP

I was going to calculate roughly how many weeks I’ve spent in my little eyrie, clicking away on this keyboard but let’s just say it’s been since mid-March last year.

Thursday, 1st July 2021, 4:45 pm
Boris Johnson should have stopped travel from India to the UK much sooner, says Christine Grahame (Picture: House of Commons/PA Wire)

Now I am privileged to still be in work, absolutely, but the idea that “working from home” is good stuff doesn’t sit well with me.

Commuting from the kitchen to the desk with the occasional dally in the garden and the odd walk has lost any appeal if it ever had any.

I miss the casual chat with colleagues, sharing information informally, and just a plain change of scenery. The irony is I once moaned I wasn’t at home often enough, so it’s true; look out for what you wish for.

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Now, I have it easy (apart from back ache from too long at the computer) because for folk with children, especially toddlers, working from home must be a nightmare with the added strain if your other half is also at home all day long.

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It’s certainly a relationship test. Oh, how I long like you for some “normality”. But there you go, while you and I keep going with all the restrictions, and for too many, financial losses on a grand scale, both personal and commercial, others flout the rules.

First Dominic Cummings tested his eyesight and our credulity with a forbidden drive and now Matt Hancock is caught in what was described somewhat coyly as a kiss. Some kiss is all I’d say.

The point however is that both broke the rules, the law, big time. Cummings strode off with his box of vengeful emails but no police action. What of Hancock? Let’s see. By the way, despite Boris claiming the Hancock issue was “closed", when Hancock finally resigned Boris suggested he was sacked. Closed? Sacked? This is bad enough on top of iffy PPE contracts and jobs for the girls and boys.

But let’s not forget why we are again fighting off a determined mutation of the virus: Delta by name, devastating by nature.

Boris Johnson was warned by clinical advisers to shut down movement from India to the UK in early March. Did he? Of course not. He deferred this until April 23 when two weeks after Pakistan and Bangladesh, India was put on the red list.

Was his planned visit to India anything to do with that delay? You know he only packed that in at the last minute and even claimed that the Delta variant was not identified until April 28, a shameful distortion of the facts. Meantime, 20,000 people moved between India and the UK.

The result is that we have a virus which is now responsible for 96 per cent of new cases and is at least 80 per cent more transmissible. Thanks for nothing Boris. How does this man survive as PM?

Thank goodness in most of Covid control (excepting foreign travel and furlough for example) we have an FM on her game and up to the challenges. Without that, and with just Boris at the helm, I’d have more than a sore back and he can thank his lucky stars that the scientists came up trumps with the vaccines. Pity he doesn’t listen to them all the time.

Christine Grahame is SNP MSP for Midlothian South, Tweeddale and Lauderdale

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