by Colin Campbell
Four weeks ago Highland Tory MSP Edward Mountain called for the Armed Forces to be on standby to distribute the vaccine across the Highlands.
At the time it seemed he was being premature with his “bring in the army” demand (see below).
But it turns out the Mountain man had a clearer view of the overall scenario than most. He was spot on.
The UK Government has done the heavy lifting in bringing the vaccine to our shores first. Now it’s up to the Scottish Government to get the distribution right.
This will be a huge task and already concerns have been expressed as to whether they’re up to doing it with the required efficiency and precision.
Can they be trusted? Given that there’s no alternative, I suppose they have to be.
But Nicola Sturgeon and co do not exactly have a flawless record when it comes to confronting major challenges – education, transport, health, the virus itself, take your pick – so if there are misgivings about how they’ll cope with what lies ahead that’s more than understandable.
Their priority, as always, will be the central belt. And don’t expect Drew Hendry, Fergus Ewing, Ian Blackford or any other SNP politician up here to rock the boat with any vestige of criticism if the Highlands and particularly its remote communities are pushed to the very back of the queue.
Elderly people in winter scattered across the Highlands and islands face obvious difficulties. In many cases they will be unable to travel to be vaccinated, the vaccine will have to be brought to them.
And, as Edward Mountain suggests, who better to confront and overcome the worst the winter can bring to this region than the troops of the British army.
So his proposal for them to be drafted in, just four weeks on from when he first raised it, seems more pertinent and sensible than ever.
Fast and effective distribution of the vaccine to those most in need of it across the entire Highlands is as essential as it is to those in Glasgow and Edinburgh.
Edward Mountain was on top of events when he made his initial proposal. We can trust that he will be clear and outspoken in his determination to stay there.