Partisan Professor Devi loses credibility with more than half the country

by Colin Campbell
Professor Devi Sridhar.

THERE are two public health experts whose names and faces have been unfailingly prominent during the past 10 months.

The first is Jason Leitch, the national clinical director of the Scottish Government, who was ever present on our screens during the first lockdown and who still crops up now and again, although less frequently.

The second is Devi Sridhar, professor of global health at Edinburgh University.

Whereas Jason Leitch has looked, rather sternly, like he is just doing the job he’s been asked to do and will be quite happy to fade into the far background when this is all over, Devi Sridhar seems exactly the opposite.

She’s been popping up all over the media in recent times and early suspicions that she was beginning to enjoy the attention are being confirmed by the week.

Just because you’re a professor doesn’t automatically entitle you to boundless deference and respect. For evidence of that, look no further than Inverness Professor Jim Mooney, whose supposedly learned but actually idiotic contributions were aimed at swinging public support in favour of the reviled riverside Gathering Place.

Professor Sridhar is one of the favourite voices of the vile National, which gives prominence to her every word, and recently devoted front page headlines to a couple of sentences she wrote on Twitter. To them she’s not so much a professor as a goddess.

And that’s because she has emerged as an avid supporter of everything Nicola Sturgeon does and as an increasingly vocal supporter of independence. As her media profile increases, very probably in line with her ego, this week she publicly declared Scotland would have handled the coronavirus better if it was independent.

This may have gained the headlines she was seeking but it did no favours for her credibility.

Experts with impressive sounding titles shouldn’t be getting into the fray like that if they want to be viewed as an authoritative voice by the public in general. They should at least try and stay neutral and unbiased, particularly over something as contentious as the independence debate.

Professor Sridhar has revealed herself as a partisan voice and an avowed separatist. There’s no shortage of them around and she’s just another one. And her contributions from now on are liable to be viewed in that light by more than half the country.

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