The infection rate in the last 7 days has been higher in Scotland than in England, to the delight of Scottish Cringe Alliance Party members but, over the six months of the pandemic, the infection level in England has been more than 30% higher.
Why has this happened? Well, obviously, greater compliance with the government guidance is largely the answer.
If there has been greater compliance in Scotland, why would that be?
Lots of answers have been offered but researchers from UCL surveyed over 70 000 people and have one simple answer. On BBC 4’s The Briefing Room last night, we heard that a decline in compliance is not due to fatigue, is partly due to confusion and for some, to financial problems, but is far more to do with trust. The lead researcher is clear:
There is only one very clear predictor of compliance and that is confidence in the government to handle the pandemic well. That they believe that the rules that are being set for them are the right rules and are being set in an informed way.
Those of us who watch the First Minister’s briefings will recognise that.
Asked how that has changed, the researcher points to a dramatic fall in confidence, only in England, and that followed on from the earlier end to lock-down in England and the Dominic Cummings events. Since then, confidence has not recovered in England.