Scottish Affairs Committee chair Pete Wishart with his favourite poster behind him. How he wishes he was back home.

Yesterday’s Scottish Affairs Committee had this in mind:

The Scottish Affairs Committee hears from a panel of constitutional, public health, and economics experts as it probes the UK and Scottish governments’ responses to the coronavirus pandemic.

The witnesses were:

  • AP: Akash Paun, Senior Fellow, Institute for Government;
  • LB: Professor Linda Bauld, Professor of Public Health, University of Edinburgh;
  • DB: Professor David Bell, Professor of Economics, University of Sterling (sic);
  • NM: Professor Nicola McEwen, Co-Director, Centre of Constitutional Change

It’s good to know that the committee admin know where Sterling is and that Professor Pennington was unavailable.

The video is at: https://parliamentlive.tv/Event/Index/a9db3cd7-ad46-4d90-95fc-2c4221687c80

The comments by the four are being selectively and grudgingly reported with only soor plooms being extracted, so here are some of the comments that capture the essence of the story that was told there:

LB: Lack of public health capacity – if there’s lack of capacity in England that will affect the health of the Scottish people.

NM: 4 Nations approach doesn’t mean a uniform approach is needed.

LB: There was a lack of transparency in information presented [by UK Government] to SAGE – The Scottish advisers were not able to see that.

AP: There’s a greater degree of transparency about the Scottish Government decision-making approach , a greater openness.

LB: On transparency of advisory groups: Scottish group much better, publishing minutes and had been doing that from very beginning, really good, good model. Quite different at UK level. Not being able to see those papers from SAGE. Not even knowing who was on the group. Completely unacceptable.

DB: NRS data in Scotland better than data in UK. That task (research) easiest in Scotland.

LB: On communicating decision making about exit strategies: At the UK level absolutely not! The public can see that. In Scotland not perfect at all but FM is far better at communicating these things. She’s been able to say where the decisions have come from. She does lack of transparency on pacing.

The three Tory MPs tried to squeeze out something negative from the profs but the last comment was all they got.