Let’s not be bought and sold for ‘English’ gold again

I haven’t been so disturbed by the First Minister’s words since she enthused about Hilary Clinton, back in 2016.

I think, today, she was preparing the ground for a decision to follow England into full lockdown only so that we get the furlough payments we might not get if we had to implement one later, when the 5 tier system just launched, maybe has not worked.

Maybe I’ve misread this and, if I’m wrong, I will accept that.

However, let’s be clear, there is no case for a full lockdown across Scotland.

Here’s why:

The restrictions imposed on Glasgow, the two Lanarkshire and two Dunbartonshire areas, six weeks ago, are working. Infection levels there are way below those in the North of England and have been steadily falling for 8 or 9 days.

The 5 tier system is still tough on those same areas plus others in the Central Belt. There is no reason to doubt further reductions.

There is no good reason to impose a full lockdown on Level 1 and 2 areas and incur the damage to mental health and to businesses.

As Professor Bauld says, the tiered system is science-based, approved by Parliament and has been clearly communicated.

A full lockdown would be justifiably resented and perhaps trigger lower compliance.

Furlough payments are available in Scotland for Tier 3, as it is and there is little doubt that England will require them again beyond the 4 weeks of this lockdown.

Hospital admissions are climbing but far less steeply than in England and inevitably lag behind infection levels. No one seriously believes they will be swamped this time any more than the y were last time.

Mind you, another lockdown, just because England needs one, might do wonders for the Yes vote.

24 thoughts on “Let’s not be bought and sold for ‘English’ gold again”

  1. Do as we say and as do we do or else. Might there be a teensy bit of a snifter of the EngGov blackmailing Scotland? At best bullying, at worst, blackmail. We suffer, you suffer too! It’s the classic ‘you are no different to us’, or at least, Scotland just can’t be allowed to be, it makes us look bad, which it does of course.
    The rock and hard place for Nicola Sturgeon must be pretty ‘tough’ mind!
    My sister in Australia emailed and says that Scotland is in ‘lockdown but not as bad as in England’. That’s the message in their media no doubt.
    Had an email from an blogger/allotmenter I follow in Wales (he is English and moved to Wales fairly recently) who says it’s all ‘very tough for Britain’ at the moment, re lockdown. So, do we live in Scotland, northern UK, Britain, or northern Britain, where exactly? I’m confused.
    is the ‘UK a country’? It’s not even a ‘king’dom, so what the hell is it!


    Too many unanswered questions. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

      1. It is, I like his blog, and book, though we do have specific books for growing in Scotland too. I am not so keen on his ‘dig for Britain’ thing and now his ‘Britain’ wide thing re Covid, hmm, he lives in Wales, I was a bit taken a back at that in his email.


  2. Oh and the gold is Scottish, i wonder how the ‘ScotGold’ Aussie company are doing blowing up our land and extracting high quality gold these days. They are keen to explore large area north of Tyndrum because there might be other minerals there, in otherwords there is.
    Get used to your land being mined to hell and back Scotland, again.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. I agree that we have no medical need to have a total lockdown. It will put up the backs of people in low infection areas.

    Nor does it make political sense—Boris makes himself look a nationalist fool by denying Wales (who have already asked for a furlough extension), Scotland and N Ireland funding when they require it—and deny them borrowing powers.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. If the EngGov can effectively blackmail Scotland, and the ScotGov re Furlough and lockdown, what else would they use to cajole Scotland into doing whatever they want. I do remember Nicola Sturgeon being a tad more enthusiastic about independence a couple of years ago then suddenly that stopped and it was all about saving the UKOK from Brexit.
      How do we know the EngGov didn’t threaten Scotland with direct rule, if you don’t stop your nonsense about independence! It’s not outwith their remit no matter how much Scotland has re mandates to hold an independence referendum. It sounds negative, but we have to be realistic, the Brit state does not play nice, ever, just have to look at Brexit for that, faux playing fair but playing very dirty, scheming, lying, stalling, it’s all there clear as day.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Today, the BBC News Scotland web page is reporting: “The FM has been clear about the ‘dilemma’” the SG is being faced with over furlough support. This is a ‘dilemma’ that is wholly due to (manufactured by?) the Tory government in Westminster. The BBC also reports the FM stating: “It cannot be right that the only time that additional financial support is made available is when the south of England needs to go into a lockdown. That just isn’t fair given the situation we are dealing with.”

    Yesterday we had this online from BBC Scotland’s Douglas Fraser : “I’m told that governments in Scotland and Wales and Northern Ireland all asked for a return to full furlough support in order to let them put in place tight restrictions they deemed necessary to suppress viral infection. Downing Street said no as there isn’t enough money.

    “But now that England requires lockdown, there is enough money – borrowed money. That’s clearly going to rankle and doesn’t sound like a partnership of equals.”

    (The irony! A “partnership of equals’? Is Mr Fraser implying here that there is generally – or conceivably could be ‘- a partnership of equals’? Where has he been all his professional life?)

    ‘Dilemma’: an undesirable or unpleasant choice that may nevertheless has to be made. It is right for transparency but also tactically in terms of putting pressure on Westminster, that the FM exposes this ‘dilemma’. In doing so it exposes the lack of agency available to the Holyrood Parliament and the Scottish Government within the Union, even in a time of public health emergency.

    So John, when you write above: “I haven’t been so disturbed by the First Minister’s words since …” and “… let’s be clear, there is no case for a full lockdown across Scotland.” my response is twofold.

    Firstly acknowledge that there is indeed a ‘dilemma’. And secondly, given the circumstances, and given that she and others in the devolved governments are seeking to change Westminster’s position, let’s all cut the FM some slack!

    Liked by 8 people

  5. I did not get the impression a full lockdown (across all of Scotland) was being considered. Ms Sturgeon and the other FMs are applying pressure to have funds (not borrowed) from the Magic Money Tree whenever it is needed by devolved governments. It is an important point of principle.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Of course the point is, it’s Scotland’s money that is being held back, in fact again the EngGov are effectively sanctioning the ScotGov and the people of Scotland as they did with PPE etc. To hold back, deny essential life saving equipment and now essential funds, is criminal really, and it’s an act of war.
      Scotland’s massive wealth from resources and revenues is being squandered by the EngGov while they ‘borrow’ to save England particularly the south…It’s a bloody disgrace.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s an actual oxymoron. If the EngGov deny Scotland essential funds to stem the negative effects on business and Scotland’s economy, we lose, if Scotland is forced by them into full lockdown, then business and economy suffer as well as Scotland’s economy. Even with a few £millions (crumbs) of Scotland’s own money being chucked back at Scotland with contempt and control thrown in for good measure, the damage is done, EngGov are squaffing champers and laughing their freakin heads off at Scotland right now.
      Being held to ransome by your next door neighbours is not a ‘balance of harms’ it’s akin to blackmail. The EngGov win whatever they do!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Apparently Mark Drayford said today that the lockdown currently in place in Wales will last for 17days because that is what he promised the people of Wales. We should keep to what has been put in place here. It is working albeit slowly but the new levels have only now come into play.

    Furthermore the shops are open which they would not be in a full lockdown. Some of the shops where I live have now got their Christmas stuff in and there are plans to put up the Christmas lights soon to make the place a bit cheerier. Furthermore there will be weekly reviews of the level system eo that they can move places up or down as required. All of that goes if there is a full lockdown and people buy online thus endeth the High Street.

    The hospitality sector is also working albeit in a limited way but furlough payments will be available to those that are shut.

    I think Ms Sturgeon has floated this possibility to show how Scotland would end up suffering for England’s failure and especially the failure of the UK Gov. If the numbers continue to come down this week then there should not need to be any need for a full lockdown.

    Liked by 5 people

  7. The limited funding available to the SG means that decisions have to be taken now about what might happen after November.
    Do they try to save current funds for what might happen after furlough runs out by possibly increasing the level of lockdown to trigger additional amounts from London or stick with the current plans and hope there will be sufficient funding in future?
    A very tricky decision and not one that should be forced upon us by the Tory government in London.
    Our public health policy,amongst many others,as usual being constrained by Westminster’s political agenda.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. If it is of comfort the Conservative party is not full of happy people. Some tweets and observations.

    “Conservative minister: “The incompetence is another level. Is this a deliberate destruction of the Tory Party? People only vote for us because they think we don’t care, but are competent. Lose the competence and we’re fucked. We’ve lost the competence. And we are fucked.””

    “Another minister says: “The science seems sound. The comms in the lead up to this was shocking. What’s the point in having a tight, intimate decision making group when it leaks like a sieve?”

    “Other thoughts:
    At what point do Whitty and Vallance walk? They were clearly unhappy with Tier 3, which was only unveiled 19 days ago.

    At what point does the PM accept he is f***ed politically, ignores the polls & backbench grumbling, and focuses solely on saving the country?”

    “Looming battle: Tory MPs think school and uni unions will now push to close, and fear this No10 is now prone to u-turn.”

    One to keep?

    “Mar 19: Turn tide in 12 weeks

    May 17: “Near normality” by end of July

    July 17: “Significant normality” by Christmas

    Sep 9: “back to normal by Christmas”

    Oct 23: “some aspects of our lives… back to normal” by Christmas

    TONIGHT: very different and better by spring”

    “A senior Tory MP and former minister gets in touch after seeing this thread:

    “He’s on borrowed time. Totally inept.”

    All courtesy, language included, of Matt Chorley’s twitter feed.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. God help these poor people and the hospital staff.

    ““LUH (Liverpool University Hospital) is now essentially overwhelmed by the demand. We cannot maintain patient flow and usual standards of care.”

    The trust had 476 Covid patients in beds on Friday night

    The medical Director said NHS England had “abandoned” as coronavirus cases surged.

    And, abandoned, they have been able to maintain adequate standards of care as they have been overwhelmed by demand.

    The CAC is planning to take action against the Trust.


  10. This twitter thread from Chris Hopson, CEO of NHS Providers, is sobering.

    “10/17 The levels of NHS hospital admissions and inpatients that we are now seeing are, depending on area, between 2 and 4 times worse than the reasonable worst case scenario the NHS was asked by Government to plan against. Put simply, we have lost control of the virus spread.”


    1. Thanks for the alert, Sam. This thread by the CEO of NHS Providers points up how gravely concerned the NHS Trusts in England are now. We must hope to avoid getting into this situation here in Scotland – so far so good but we know our present situation is ‘fragile’.

      I would pick out three of the 17 tweets in Chris Hopson’s thread (@ChrisCEOHopson, 1 Nov)

      “7/17 It’s almost as if, in our desperation to return to normal life, we’ve forgotten inexorable basic logic here. The greater the level of social contact, the greater the level of virus spread. Schools, universities, shops, pubs & restaurants all open at same time= more spread.”

      So the lessons for those special interest groups in Scotland having a go at the SG is this: difficult choices have to be made. Every place where different households interact socially cannot be opened all at the same time. So should we close schools and keep bars and restaurants open? There is essentially a ‘risk of community transmission’ budget – choices have to be made over what risks to reduce or eliminate in order to stay within this budget and so suppress transmission and get the R number well below one.

      And also from Chris Hopson: “10/17 The levels of NHS hospital admissions and inpatients that we are now seeing are, depending on area, between 2 and 4 times worse than the reasonable worst case scenario the NHS was asked by Government to plan against. Put simply, we have lost control of the virus spread.”

      This repeats the one you highlighted, Sam. If the virus is ‘out of control’ in England, especially in the north of England, then the border must be closed – and that closure enforced until control in England is restored.

      Finally I’d highlight this tweet from Hopson: “16/17 Trust leaders seriously worried that the siren “anti-lockdown” political, epidemiological and media voices which have been so evident over the last few months risk reducing compliance. Important for all of us making public comment to help ensure maximum compliance.”

      This message is an important one for the corporate media and BBC Scotland. But would a similar message in Scotland be heeded by the media – even by BBC Scotland? I have no confidence that it would unless perhaps it was in the form of a proclamation to Scotland’s media from Westminster!

      No matter what the SG seeks to do, public compliance, even if reluctantly/grudgingly, is a critical success factor. However, I suspect context free, (over) use of the ‘salient exemplar’ and the giving of a platform to negatively critical, frequently ill-informed Vox Pop contributions without any accompanying, countering public service information in reply will continue for example on BBC Scotland.


  11. Indeed good posts @sam and @stewartb, I was aware the situation was grim in parts of England, but the Liverpool info is shocking, not least because the media are not screaming about it from the rafters.

    Effects of lockdown would normally be expected to take at least two to four weeks to feed through on numbers, but with that implied level of prevalence it will need draconian enforcement and may take multiple cycles to achieve.
    If the blonde oaf expects anyone to swallow his 2nd December deadline he is delusional, and some interesting commentary from England Tories that as a party they have lost all credibility for competence.
    To think back to Leitch getting pelters over his Christmas observations for Scotland, will the media go quiet now?

    The greatest risks to Scotland and Wales progress is importation, cue Alister Jack bleating via Borders TV…

    Liked by 1 person

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