I’ve done this so often with Herald mis-reporting, images keep popping into my head. Sometimes, I’m batting away big insects. Other times, I’m shooting fish in a barrel.

Anyhow, memories are short, so here we go again.

When it comes to retrospective assessments of how governments have performed in this global crisis, I’m confident that, when it is done by independent, academic researchers, not hacks of limited ability, the Scottish Government will emerge with a far better reputation than many.


The Scottish Government acquired the legal right to lock-down only on the 25th March, two days after the UK lock-down. They could not have acted earlier, for this reason and because they did not have access to the central funds required for the costs of furloughing.

The level of deaths in Scottish care homes, which might have been reduced had the SG had the power to lock-down earlier, will turn out to be no worse, perhaps lower than that in England, once reliable statistics are available. The level in Scotland is already being shown to be no worse than that in other countries where the central government (Spain, Italy) acted too late.

The death level is Scotland, thanks the FT/ONS figures, is between one half and one third of the UK level. How will the SG be judged on that Rebecca?

The death level among NHS and care workers in Scotland is around one-half of the UK level. How will that be assessed?

The attempts by the UK Government to deny the devolved nations a fair share of centrally-funded PPE supplies and access to UK departmental trade routes must surely enhance the reputations of the latter, hobbled by a brutal Westminster regime.

The innovative coronavirus assessment centres which deflected cases away from GP practices will get academic scrutiny and may take some of the credit for the lower death rate in Scotland.

Finally, the Scottish Government, open, consistent, honest transparent and putting lives first, once it had acquired the legal right to diverge from the Westminster madness, can only emerge from any evidence-based assessment, with a reputation so much better than that of Westminster.

Footnote: It will not require a non-UK research group to do this fairly. There are many research groups at English universities, such as Nuffield, which have previously recognised the achievements of the Scottish Government.