by Colin Campbell
BEFORE Boris Johnson appeared yesterday to give his virus briefing, Kirsten Oswald, the SNP’s deputy leader at Westminster, was interviewed on the BBC about the position in Scotland.
Why was she there rather than her Westminster boss who, in the latest term of well deserved personal abuse, I yesterday saw dubbed “The Kit Kat Kid”.
Presumably Ian Blackford shoved the virtually unknown Oswald into the TV studio because he didn’t fancy being asked about the situation in Scotland, now officially “the Covid hotspot of Europe”.
The simple 10-acres crofter who a year ago was striving to endear himself to nationalist racists and bigots by enthusiastically endorsing a doctored border sign that told English people heading north to f*** off, wouldn’t have been too comfortable about discussing the infection risk as it stands at the moment.
Right now the risk is all one way, facing English people who travel to Scotland.
And those oft-heard “close the border” demands from the SNP/nationalists could justifiably be put in reverse, with English people demanding that it be shut to reduce the risk of infection from a country where in some areas the virus is running rampant.
But it seems there is no English equivalence to Blackford. What lucky people they are not to have the Kit Kat Kid and his fellow cronies and cretins in the SNP hierarchy in their midst.
Boris Johnson appeared on the podium between two Union Jacks. Whether intended or not, it was yet another reminder that without the financial power and foresight of the UK Government, which achieved world-leading success in securing supplies of the vaccine, those hotspot areas of Scotland would now be very scary places to live.
But we have the vaccine and even though infections have risen dramatically there has been no comparable increase in hospitalisations, which is what really matters.
Nicola Sturgeon, the Supreme Commander in Chief in the vaccine war and the great TV show communicator has, like Blackford and other SNP leading lights, disappeared from sight.
Now that Scotland tops the European virus league table, she doesn’t look quite so supreme and commanding now.
Some argue that politics should be left out of it and attention should be focused on fixing the problem.
Maybe they’re right. But thanks to the vaccine, alarm over these rising infections is being kept in check.
And as Sturgeon and the SNP have politicised the coronavirus from day one why should they now be allowed to slither off the hook?
For the past year Sturgeon has sought to portray herself as being in a different class from “Boris the buffoon”, has constantly stoked up anti-English sentiment, has tried to use her daily TV show to boost support for independence, and has basked in the adulation of her gullible followers and much of our craven, supine media.
Now the ex-political superstar, once hailed as being on a global par with Jacinda Ardern, the much admired Prime Minister of New Zealand, wouldn’t be welcomed in any European capital for fear she’d be contagious.
The Prime Minister gave a clear and convincing performance in which he announced the likely termination of nearly all restrictions in England in two weeks time, the arrival of “Freedom Day”, and an end to the draining, bewildering abnormality of the past 16 months.
Virus infections are rising there also but hospital admissions are not increasing significantly. The vaccine has not completely broken the link between infection and serious illness but it has reduced it to a minimal, almost negligible level.
Some people have been so scarred psychologically during this crisis that they may never get over it, and, fully vaccinated or not, will never escape the wholly irrational fear of virus calamity. Their endless dread may be resolved by long term counselling. But that’s no reason why unnecessary restrictions should be allowed to dominate the lives of everyone else.
Sturgeon now will be under huge pressure to do the same in Scotland. She will as usual try and be in some way different to Johnson by insisting that face masks remain mandatory, but other restrictions should rightly be removed. And a vast number of people, with a huge degree of protection from the vaccine, will be relieved and very glad to see them go.
The ongoing requirement to wear face masks has been deemed as a very minor matter and one that no one should have any issue with.
But many would disagree with that. A year on from when these things were first made compulsory, Inverness city centre still looks like downtown Jeddah. As normality returns in other spheres of life, the city centre looks anything but normal, and face masks are the reason. It has an alien feel to it.
Some people now seem to enjoy wearing these masks even outdoors in circumstances where there is no possible health-related reason for wearing them, on empty streets, in wide-open parks, along the riverside, on the canal banks. Why? For some people they seem to be a fashion statement. Their adherence to these things is bizarre. And as for masks still being everywhere in the city centre, it’s a constant reminder of the dark days that we’ve endured. And do we need to be reminded everywhere we go about that?
Skulking Sturgeon will no doubt still have her way and we’ll be trussed up in these things for a bit longer. And the chastened Kit Kat Kid may duck out of a few more difficult interviews, and go home and gorge himself on his Skye croft. We can but hope.
But the fact remains that Scotland’s current position as the Covid hotspot of Europe looks absolutely terrible for Queen Nicola and her SNP government.
The SNP cult members will still worship her no matter what, but many other people are now liable to seriously question the false perception generated over the past year that she has had “a good virus”.
And it can only further damage their already badly damaged hopes for another referendum – for less independence – anytime in the next few years, which now deserve to be written off.