We are now accustomed to BBC Scotland trailing tragic images and sentences behind them and across our TV screens. We’ve had weeks with images of the health secretary, caught looking upset or tired, as the words imply her responsibility for the deaths of a small but sad cluster of babies, infants and old folk. Sometimes the story would run every day for a week only to return when an inquiry had been forced on the Scottish Government.
This, steel yourself, is a new low. So low that no correspondent seems to want to be credited for this report. I see the face of Lisa Summers but there are others.
I do not, of course, criticise Mr Burt, above. As far as we can see, he has said things that many might well say, in understandable grief. Like many before him he has been exploited by journalists with all the ethical standards of an iguana.
When Derek Burt’s mother was diagnosed with a terminal illness six weeks ago, she asked for one more trip – a holiday with her family. “MND is such an evil and unpredictable disease,” Mr Burt says. “We have no idea if she will be able to go on a family holiday with us when all the Covid craziness is over, so had to make the tough decision and deliver on one of her wishes now.” With trips to Florida and Croatia already cancelled, they settled on Portugal when quarantine restrictions were lifted two weeks ago. But now the family from Dunfermline in Fife is having to race to get home from the Algarve to beat the new restrictions that come into force at 04:00 on Saturday in Scotland.
Mr Burt then goes on to explain what happened and to express his views on the role of the ‘governments‘ in that:
Mr Burt says the family researched different holidays and tried to follow the guidance available, but “nobody has a clue what the governments are thinking“.
Although the virus rates seemed on the high-side in Portugal, he “assumed the government knew what they were doing” and would not return the country to the quarantine list. So the family travelled to the Algarve.
“How stupid was I to show any faith in our countries’ decision-makers?” he says.
Mr Burt says he is “incredibly frustrated” by the decision of the Scottish and Welsh governments to impose quarantine rules, describing it as a “complete shambles“.
Readers will, of course remember the First Minister repeating warnings like this on an almost daily basis.
This [re-imposition of quarantine] reinforces the point that these matters are subject to change at short notice and so my advice is to be cautious about non essential foreign travel.
Not strangely, this comment does not feature in the BBC Scotland report.