Is this a Labour thing?

Scottish Labour's only MP Ian Murray was close to abandoning party | The  Scotsman
Image: The Scotsman

By stewartb

Since late October on his website, in the Edinburgh Evening News and on Twitter, Ian Murray MP has been casting doubt on the Scottish Government’s decision making on the level of Covid-19 restrictions being applied to the City of Edinburgh.

On his web site he makes this remark: “I was astonished to see Edinburgh placed in Tier 3 given that the criteria used has (sic) Edinburgh at 2, 3, 0, 0, 0 which should place it in Tier 2. We have a lower score than most areas in Tier 2. The question now becomes how you move from Tier 3 into Tier 2 if the Edinburgh scores in the criteria are already this low. I keep posing this question but only get the answer that it is the First Minister’s ‘judgement’. That, for me, is not good enough. What is the point in having a list of criteria for the tiered system if the First Minister makes an arbitrary choice anyway?” (my emphasis)


And then on Twitter:

(We’ll leave to one side that the Five Tier system in Scotland only came into force on Monday 2 November!)

In wanting to see ‘the rules’, Mr Murray makes much of pointing to a table of Local Authority ‘scores’ for an array of Covid-related criteria which are a mix of actual and forecast statistics. In terms, it’s look at the table, read the numbers, count and compare the scores – populate an algorithm – and hey presto, Mr Murray has his conclusion… and it’s not the one the FM has come to (almost inevitably!).

Of course the Scottish Government has never claimed that decisions on allocating or changing levels are based only on quantitative data.  Consistently, and as recently in a publication dated 10 November, the Scottish Government made this clear, again:

“The status of these indicators, including relevant trends for each local authority, are set out in the separate evidence paper. These trends are important information alongside the indicators. The data itself do not determine the relevant level of any local authority, and are considered alongside other local, regional and national factors. Ultimately, it is a matter of judgement drawing upon all relevant information. The allocations document sets out a number of wider considerations that could have a bearing on the decision-making.” (my emphasis)

So, the Scottish Government is using a range of data (actuals plus forecasts), adding in qualitative evidence, taking expert knowledge/intelligence from nationally and locally (on the ground) focused experts, consulting with other stakeholders – then adding ‘judgement’. Not good enough for Mr Murray: he prefers the numbers – perhaps he would prefer an algorithm?  And he seems to be telling the public, based on his deep analysis of the numbers alone, that the Scottish Government has Edinburgh wrong. Should its citizens still comply with the restrictions given an error due to “arbitrary” decision-making Mr Murray?

Is this a Labour thing?

Is this preference for reliance on the numbers, rather than all evidence plus judgment a Labour Party thing? Well, it seems not as we can see clearly from the Labour Government in Wales and its Coronavirus Control Plan.


In a section entitled ‘Criteria for introducing or relaxing local or regional measures’, we learn this:

“Local or regional measures to protect public health may be introduced if rates of community transmission in that area are increasing and cannot otherwise be controlled. This may be because an outbreak associated with …” and the text then goes on to list a set of quantitative measures comparable to the ones used by the Scottish Government when deciding on its levels and their associated restrictions. But then in the very same section of its Control Plan the Labour government in Wales states this:

“Any decisions will not be made based on these or other indicators alone.” The Labour government explains further:

“There is no mechanistic link between these indicators and the decision to introduce local or regional measures or restrictions. All decisions will be informed by the specific local context and situation on the ground, including advice from local and national health professionals. The HPAG ( Health Protection Advisory Group) will draw on the full suite of quantitative and qualitative evidence available and synthesised via the COVID-19 Intelligence Cell. (And this time the emphasis is not mine,  it’s that of the Labour Welsh Government!)

“These same indicators and wider intelligence will also inform our approach to relaxing any local or regional measures or restrictions we have had to introduce to keep Wales safe. A sustained fall in headline indicators will offer reassurance measures have worked, validated by local intelligence.”

I suspect Mr Murray would simply shrug this off: it’s just the ‘normal’ British Nationalist, pro-Union Labour Party politicking in Scotland we have come to expect from him after all.

4 thoughts on “Is this a Labour thing?

  1. Well well dear Mr. Murray here is a bit of UK
    Offical data for my good fellow to scream from the rooftops all in support of the preciousssssssss union
    And clearly demonstrate that indeed we are better together
    Since the very start of the pandemic to 10.11.2020
    Pro rata / million of population
    England. Infection rate 39.4 % higher than Scotland
    And for deaths England indeed is 41.5 % higher
    And all this is due to the bumbling incoherent rants of Herr Nicola
    And the intelligent considered empathetic measures of The most holy of Saints Boris
    Scotland must firmly cement its place in the Union if such figs are to continue diverging
    Hail Hail Hail St.Boris the last imperial emperor of Scotland
    Prostrate yourself and honour his magnificene in ensuring the effects of covid are kept at a minium and continue to be some of the best the world
    Scotland at the very very least desperately needs to match the deaths and infection rates
    Of our masters in England if not then total control should be placed upon the very broad shoulders of Mr.Murray,s calibre no matter what side of the political divide he is on
    Lets us start by importing as many infectious people from England to his constinuencey as soon as possible and all in order to demonstrate that indeed this is a Union of Equals

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Easy to forget Murray the lone Labour, one man band hanger on in Scotland even exists in the political arena. Another overpaid lying BritNat, working against Scotland.

    Sick of these people politicising this pandemic, it’s incredibly selfish. The ScotGov are trying to save Scotland from full lockdown, which is the last resort, and so restrictions it is, Mr. Murray.
    My supermarket delivery guy says many more people are ordering online now and said ‘it will be much worse than last lockdown’. Not sure where that info comes from. It looks like the big shops are prepared with many more flexible slots for online shopping deliveries. I suspect they are going along with the English lockdown as a precaution. Hopefully Scotland can avoid that same scenario, but only if people follow proper guidance, and ignore the likes of the lone Labour Murray.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. “IS THIS A LABOUR THING?” – Only insofar as being Labour’s only Scottish MP he feels strangely obliged to criticise SG in preference to the Parliament to which he was elected, WM.

    On past form his “I keep posing this question but only get the answer that it is the First Minister’s ‘judgement’. That, for me, is not good enough” could equally apply to any subject given it’s current SNP administration, but ignores the reason they are there, Labour’s “judgement” was found wanting by the Scottish electorate.

    NeverHurry’s carping is not holding SG “to account”, it is not helping his constituents through this pandemic, his petulant sniping is only ensuring he is the last Labour MP in Scotland.


  4. If you think back to the lockdown instituted in Aberdeen city, following a ‘spike’ in infections, traced to a number of pubs in the city centre (some Aberdeen FC footballers were involved), the immediate reaction from the licensed trade, the Tory/Lab city Council and the media was to push the line that Aberdeen was being victimised, being made an example of by nasty central belt based politicians.

    BBC Scotland has become paid advertising for the licensed trade – almost every bulletin has some member of that business fulminating about how their industry will be ‘devastated’ (and other hyperbolic language) and claiming victimisation by the SG.

    Mr Murray, being a former pub owner, and British nationalist is simply following this line. SNP dominated Glasgow is IMPOSING this on Edinburgh OUT OF SPITE!

    It is a Con/Lab/LibDem/British Nationalist thing.


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