By Brenda Steele:

As Common Weal head of policy & research Craig Dalzell, who proposed such a contact tracing, testing and isolation system a few week ago, has said, while this is substantial progress, it is a not an “action plan”. “It won’t count for much until the contact trackers are recruited and the testing capacity is put in place,” he adds.

It is typical of a particularly unpleasant type of Independence “Supporter” who constantly carps and criticizes the SNP Government for not doing things as they want. I do not know who wrote this – although I have my suspicions.

I see that the author grudgingly indicates that ScotGov is on the right track as far as matters scientific go, but then wants the document to be something it is not – an action plan – and then proceeds to “critique” it on that basis.

It strikes me that the writer has profoundly failed to understand what this document is intended to do. It is to assure the Scottish people what scientific model ScotGov will be following and gain public support for this policy.  In my opinion, it is also a shot across the bows of BoJo&Co to let them know they will not get away with their “Herd immunity” theory any longer. It is not billed as an action plan, and it is my belief that ScotGov will not issue one.

Today we have seen the spectacular failure of the Westminster Governments action plan. In true Tory “crash and burn” fashion they announced with great fanfare their new wonder system. They opened it to all – presumably they hoped to ramp it up ASAP to the ridiculous figures they announced. It was swamped, it crashed, they ran out of appointment slots and they ran out of through-the-mail testing kits. So now English NHS personnel are stampeded over in the mad rush of the general populace.

Contrast that with the little that is known about what ScotGov is doing. They have opened a test centre in Inverness (one of many I believe). It is being trialled by bringing in NHS staff on an appointment basis. Knowing the way ScotGov works under SNP I would be willing to stake money that they plan to roll it out in stages – once they have bedded it in. There is a good chance that Care Workers will be called in next, then key workers. I also know that ScotGov is screening/educating recruits for “test, trace, isolate teams”. They will be ready when the time comes. All of this is being done without big fanfare and announcements. If they did so, I have little doubt that the media would set up a screech about deviating from the Four nation agreement.

The author of the above hasn’t a clue about how devolved Governments have to operate under Tory WM rule. I shudder to think what would happen if they ever got into a position in government.

Further thoughts:

I ought to correct one thing. WM did not open the system up to the general public but they said it could be used by key workers – a term which they have never really tied down.

This piece spells out the problem.

Millions of people are now eligible   for a coronavirus test under an expansion of the testing programme announced by Health Secretary Matt Hancock.  As he seeks to reach his 100,000-tests-a-day target, Mr Hancock said key workers and anyone in their household will now be eligible for tests if they have symptoms of Covid-19.

Unlike Common Weal some commentators get what the ScotGov paper was about.  In an article that was otherwise just a blizzard of snippet quotes, one sentence goes right to the political heart of the matter.

In a move that will heap pressure on the UK Government to spell out its own thinking, Ms Sturgeon said she wanted to “begin to restore some normality to our lives” while keeping the spread of the virus down.

And this New Statesman gets public support bit but misses the way ScotGov has lobbed the ball into the WM court.  I would say that this article is a bit OTT when it comes to praise of NS but maybe the close up view of the WM debacle means that any adult behaviour will be greeted with ecstatic relief.