In the Aberdeen Evening Express, this morning (?), we read:

Mistakes were made by the Scottish Government from the start of the coronavirus outbreak, the leader of the Scottish Tories has said. Jackson Carlaw’s comments come in the same week as a report from academics at Glasgow, Edinburgh and St Andrews universities suggests that “a lack of robust measures” to stop travellers from other countries entering Scotland may have “accelerated the course of the outbreak”.

Those of you already wide awake when you read this will have spotted at least two things.

First, Carlaw is correct in that the Scottish Government, under pressure from Unionists like himself, was too prepared to give the 4 Nations approach a try. As they found out soon, it meant, among other things, being told what the English Government had already decided to do and being excluded from PPE supply chains.

Now, a month into divergence, infections, deaths and the R number have all fallen dramatically below those in England. I feel sure Carlaw will applaud these achievements resulting from reversing mistakes at the start.

In the second sentence, the Express draws attention to a mistake the Scottish Government complained about but could not reverse because of the limits of devolution. Given that all of the strains of coronavirus have been traced back to mainland Europe, it seems likely that the failure to screen and to quarantine infected arrivals, for months after the outbreak, is almost entirely to blame for the deaths in Scotland. I feel sure that Carlaw, known for his sense of fair play, must have condemned that error by his colleagues in London but I can’t seem to find the reference.