by Colin Campbell
SO Scotland now will have five tiers of restrictions in the battle against the coronavirus, Nicola Sturgeon has announced.
As if things weren’t confusing enough.
There is no evidence whatever that any of this is working in stemming the rate of infections. But for want of anything else to announce, create another tier.
No wonder cynicism over Sturgeon’s supposed strategy seems to be increasing by the day.
What, I wonder, are the current viewing figures for her daily BBC broadcasts, the ones nationalists went into maximum outraged grievance mode over when the BBC decided to end them, before cravenly reversing that decision.
How, many people are still glued to the TV to absorb her daily words of wisdom?
Maybe they could correct me if necessary on my understanding of the latest tier stricture, in which level 1 is a return to full unrestrained normality and level 5 is a return to full lockdown. And the possible introduction of a tier 6 would make it illegal to get out of bed in the morning.
No one wants to sound frivolous when so many jobs are being lost and businesses are struggling to survive or going under.
But If you started brooding over the mixed messages, confusion and sense of desperation and cluelessness spread in equal measure by Sturgeon and Boris Johnson the relatively benign suggestion that “your mental health could suffer” seems inadequate. You could rapidly go half mad.
In these dire circumstances, exacerbated by the dire weather enshrouding Inverness in rain and low lying mist, you have to scrape around for any good news you can find.
For me, it is the fact that the Inverness leisure centre is, at least, enjoying some kind of return to normality in terms of the numbers attending. That is important for the Highland capital.
When it reopened only a fraction of the huge number of people who went there before all this started returned. I have no access to statistics but I’m there most days of the week and there’s no doubt the centre is steadily getting busier.
Maybe word’s getting round about the excellent job High Life Highland have done in introducing every possible safety precaution while still making the centre accessible with minimum inconvenience to customers. Maybe people have rediscovered the need to remain active and avoid getting fat. Or maybe to clear their heads temporarily of tiers and rules and restrictions people just go there to burn off steam. In the latter case, if you put in the effort, it certainly works.
Nicola Sturgeon can pile up as many mystifying “tiers” as she likes but as she flails around on her BBC podium many will hope that she doesn’t lose the plot entirely and decree that leisure centres and gyms must close as well. She could. Who can predict what her next erratic diktat will be?
There would be no medical justification for this. But when someone gains absolute power in deciding how people should live their lives, who knows where they might stop.
Hopefully she’ll retain some sense of proportion and realise how vital it is that people exercise and remain active. But we can only hope. In this new world of dictatorship we’ve stumbled into, the power is all hers.