Covid rule-breakers are delaying the end of lockdown restrictions – Christine Grahame MSP

What a difference a wee bit of sun makes. I spent my time off at the weekend replanting my window boxes hopefully ready to flourish in July.

Friday, 4th June 2021, 4:55 am
The Covid lockdown's restrictions are not the fault of Nicola Sturgeon's government. The virus and people who don't take it seriously are to blame (Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/PA Wire)

It reminds me how lucky I am to have a garden so if I could plead with the city council, can you make more allotments available for residents? I understand it does not have funding for allotments but interested residents could form an association and take matters forward themselves.

I know there are over 3,000 on the waiting list currently and more than 600 have been there for over five years. We know the health and well-being benefits of tending a wee plot as well as chatting to fellow allotmenteers. Is that a word? If not, it should be.

Just a wee raised bed or two and the world slides into a different perspective. So I ask the council to be proactive in publicising available land.

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That said, I’ve been working in my home office and taking part in the Parliament online (not an engaging experience).

The First Minister was making a Covid update statement so I asked about the difficulties experienced by some constituents with the National Vaccine Helpline and indeed the missed appointments process.

Some (a few but worrying enough) were not on the database, others were not recalled timeously for their second jab. As we progress through and indeed come to the necessity for repeat jabs, I asked the Scottish government to review the processes.

One person anxious for the vaccine and not being called is one too many. That said, we’re now seeing progress though with the dark shadow of variations not far away.

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Glasgow is a lesson to us all and while next week some parts of Scotland will move into Level One (Borders for example) neither Edinburgh nor Midlothian will be on that list.

Indeed, as I drove through the Grassmarket this week, the street was teaming with groups of young people cheery after a soujourn at a sociable waterhole and why not? Well because the virus is still around.

Yes, it dissipates in the outdoors but that does not make you invincible. We still all have to be cautious. We still all have to be honest if we test positive. I heard of one woman being reprimanded by a relative for self-isolating and having her contacts notified, all because this meant she could not attend a family wedding.

Just think if she had gone. All that hugging and close contact and there would have been a post-nuptial celebration with a horrible difference. I can’t believe someone should be so thoughtless and selfish but there you go. There’s always one.

It’s not just a case of spreading the disease, it’s about preventing more constraints on what we can do, what businesses can open. When a small business struggling to keep its head above water castigates the Scottish government for closures, I sympathise, but it’s nae the government’s fault, it’s mostly at the door of the rule-breakers: the woman who would have her friend break the rules for the sake of a wedding.

For goodness sake, I’m as sick of this as you are but I’ll be even grumpier if we have setbacks of our own making.

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

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