by Colin Campbell
NICOLA Sturgeon presented some clarity on her “exit from lockdown”, timed to induce a feelgood factor in the couple of weeks before the Scottish Parliamentary elections.
Plotting and planning with cynical or malicious intent is what the SNP Government seems to be all about these days.
As just one peculiar example, hotels here will reopen on April 26. In England they won’t reopen until May 17. I think Sturgeon made the right choice. But up to now, in her ultra-cautious mode, when has she ever eased lockdown restrictions weeks ahead of Boris Johnson?
But a much larger factor is that without the success of the vaccination programme, there would be no easing of restrictions and no “Summer here we come!” headlines to greet them.
We’d be stuck in the same criminally incompetent mess as Sturgeon and the SNP’s beloved EU.
The EU they’re so devoted to, apparently, that departure from it is an excuse for another independence referendum.
The foresight and financial muscle of the UK Government led to us securing millions of doses of the vaccine before any other country in the world.
The UK is now so far ahead of every other European country in rolling out the vaccine that we’re now out of sight.
And while that gap in itself may be no cause for jingoistic celebration, it’s an indisputable fact.
The United Kingdom has now vaccinated 39 per cent of the population, while Germany, Italy, and France have only vaccinated 11 per cent.
Now the EU crisis has been greatly exacerbated by suspension in a number of countries of the use of the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine because of an infinitesimally small number of cases of blood clotting – in Germany seven cases out of 1.6 million people who have had the jab. The programme may soon be resumed, but doubt has been sown about the vaccine and damage has irreparably been done.
This is not another round of obscure political squabbling. Tragically, lives are being put at risk and lives are being lost because of it.
And this is the organisation that Sturgeon and the SNP are so desperate to rejoin?
They may hope that the EU vaccine shambles will go unnoticed by many in Scotland, but they are surely doomed to disappointment.
In the same way they may hope that many people in Scotland will overlook the enormous credit due to the UK Government – and to their favourite “buffoon” Boris Johnson – for the success they’ve achieved in the vaccination programme in the four home nations, but again Sturgeon and co could be doomed to disappointment.
That belief was reflected yesterday in the latest in a series of opinion polls showing a steady drop in support for independence, now down to 43 per cent.
Sturgeon calculated her exit plan from lockdown to bolster support for the SNP in the May 6 election.
But ritual SNP denunciations of the “incompetence” of the Westminster Government and Johnson the “buffoon” have never looked more desperately hollow.