by Colin Campbell
SO it’s bye, bye to the grandchildren for the next three weeks, or six weeks, or six months, depending on what Nicola Sturgeon decrees.
We can see you while standing out in the October rain for a few minutes if you stand in the house doorway. Maybe we’ll still be standing out in the November sleet or the December snow as well, depending on what Ms Sturgeon decides.
But there are some consolations. If we’re a bit chilled and depressed by being separated from our offspring we can always wander down the street and drown our sorrows in the pub.
After we’ve had a few and got over our dismay and blotted out our inhibitions we can always engage in face to face conversation with a complete stranger, or a few complete strangers. That is, if we aren’t interrupted by the non existent prospect of bar staff intervening and enforcing social distancing rules.
Nicola “I want to be straight with you all” Sturgeon asked everyone to succumb to her demands again yesterday.
Except she wasn’t being straight with us at all.
She didn’t even try to explain why responsible adults aren’t allowed to enter the households of family members and chat, even if they sit well apart, but it’s OK to wander into a pub and chat with anyone and everyone in the vicinity, while getting drunk at the same time.
Many well aware of the foul-ups she’s already made in her handling of the virus will find that very hard to swallow.
We’ve been here before and I believe the Sturgeon decrees were pretty widely obeyed the first time around. But a second time around? Can she again expect blind obedience for diktats that defy common sense?
If she wants to eliminate house parties or large groups of people gathering in houses she could have shaped the rules accordingly, but she didn’t.
Instead she imposed a blanket ban on any entry to the home of a family member no matter how careful and responsible they are during the visit.
And for all her tone of strained or feigned anguish, she made it clear that this could go on and on and on. She will review it in three weeks time, but it may well be extended.
The words “allow” and “Sturgeon” are really beginning to grate.
There is no ban on entry to the home of another family household in England. Is it really more necessary to enforce this in Inverness and the Highlands, where reported infections are rising slightly but are still extremely rare, than it is in London or Birmingham or Newcastle? Or, yet again, did Sturgeon just want to be seen to be acting differently from Boris Johnson?
We know people have caught the virus in the Highlands, a total of only around 500 since the whole thing began. And we know there’s a slight risk.
And there is unity in wanting to minimise the risk of it spreading.
We all want to curb the spread of the damn virus. But to do that will people meekly and humbly accept the imposition of draconian diktats the like of which have never been seen before? Diktats not imposed for a limited emergency time period, but which could resurface at any time in the future depending on Nicola Sturgeon’s “instincts”, with no end in sight.
This clashes with the loss of the most basic freedoms, like being unable to see members of your own family for an unspecified, indefinite period of time – yet again. Many people will resort to their own instincts, act accordingly, and decide enough is enough.