In four repetitive questions, all patiently if at times wearily, answered by the First Minister, the Conservative leader, Jackson Carlaw, ignored the answers and tried desperately again and again to show that the SNP administration and not its advisers was responsible for the decision to protect the privacy of the those Scots attending the Nike conference in Edinburgh on 26th February. With no evidence, he doubted the officials had carried out enough contact tracing and tried to portray the decision as some kind of cover-up by the administration
The First Minister, among several careful and restrained comments, said:
My final point is on the terminology of secrecy— or, to use the term that others have used, “coverup”. Apart from asking why anyone would have
wanted to have covered up that incident, I would say this. If that is the accusation, it impugns not only my integrity—which Opposition politicians are entitled to do—but that of the experts who managed the outbreak, including Public Health England, which was part of the incident management team. Let us talk about these matters seriously and consider where there might be legitimate issues and questions, but let us not engage in ridiculous language about secrecy or cover-ups.
Carlaw would not give in and in the end, by definition, is blaming the professional advisers for covering something up on behalf of politicians.
He made much of the public’s need to know. Readers will smell the dark irony in this from a Conservative. Does the public need to know of the ‘dark money’ contributions to Conservative party funds or of the level of Islamophobia in the Party or of the extent of Russian state funding of the Leave campaign? No?
With particular regard to coronavirus, does the public have a need to know what was said in SAGE meetings or why thousands of untested air passengers arrived daily in Scotland, for weeks after the lock-down, potentially spreading infection at a level thousands of time greater than the Nike conference could have?