Is Nicola Sturgeon 'following the science' on Covid rules or playing her usual politics? – John McLellan

Perish the thought that with an election to win, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon was persuaded to ease lockdown early because of pictures of happy English folk enjoying an alfresco jar unlike their thirsty Scottish cousins.

Thursday, 15th April 2021, 12:30 pm
A waitress serves drinks at tables outside a pub in Soho, London, on the day some of England's coronavirus lockdown restrictions were eased (Picture: Alberto Pezzali/AP)

We still have over a week to go before the beer taps open and although we can now travel across Scotland, that freedom apparently ends at the border.

"We don't think it is yet safe for us to open up hospitality, because of the school reopening that is underway,” she explained, not an immediately apparent connection.

"We think we need that extra couple of weeks, so we don't want people travelling across the border, going to pubs, and potentially bringing the virus back.”

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Bringing the virus back? From Northumberland where all the districts along the border have an infection rate per 100,000 people of zero, apart from Berwick North which has 21, the same as Edinburgh? Ok, so party-central Newcastle is on 32, but Blackpool is on zero.

By the First Minister’s logic, Borderers (2.6 cases) are as likely to “bring back” the virus from Edinburgh, and there should be blockades on every M8 slip road in West Lothian with its 56 cases.

Once again, this looks less like “following the science” than the desire to maintain differences with England for the sake of it.

After all no-one in the Scottish government has yet produced a credible reason for cancelling the Census on March 21, other than creating another split and making cross-border comparisons that bit more difficult to make.

John McLellan is a Conservative councillor for Craigentinny/Duddingston

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