In practice, divergence has been limited, and UK networks strong. Scottish policies on the banning of mass gatherings (13 March), on the written analysis of the criteria for relaxing restrictions (23 April) and on the use of face masks (28 April) have taken the form of licensed anticipations of UK positions.

Richard Parry, Honorary Fellow

Some thoughts from Brenda Steele on the above quote by Richard Parry:

Why is it that these people feel they have the right to impute motives  to the Scottish Government for which they have absolutely no evidence?

Why does the Scottish Government have to hold back on things it wishes to do?

Not only does Parry have no evidence for the convergent thinking he imagines, he seems unaware of quite divergent actions taken by the Scottish Government such as setting-up the 50 coronavirus ‘hubs’ or assessment centres, which have diverted cases away from GPs. Further, why as a researcher, has he not considered the historical divergence in health policy which has meant that Scotland entered the epidemic in a very different place from that of ‘Rumpuk’ and now has far fewer deaths? For example, the rejection of the outsourcing of cleaning and catering more than 10 years ago, but now the norm in England, has probably reduced infection levels as evidenced by the recent Norovirus and listeria outbreaks in England not occurring in Scotland. Also, has the higher staffing resource in Scottish hospitals not been the result of divergence?

Parry has previous in terms of negative thinking about Scotland. He wrote in January 2020, on how Brexit would make Scottish independence more challenging:

Outside common Scottish and rest-of-UK membership of the EU, these issues multiply. Disputes over Scottish trade access to England (and its Empire) in the 1690s led to the Union of 1707 and would have to be revisited in the contemporary economy. The association between independence and ‘separation’ in all its aspects could be made much more forcibly than in 2014.