minor celebrity uses their child to make weak argument against SNP policy

We’ve seen enough of this kind of thing. From Tory agriculture minister John Selwyn Gummer (real name) making his 4 year-old daughter eat a burger to prove they were safe, through more recently, Alex Cole-Hamilton rushing to the press after saving his daughter from choking, to the Herald’s Neil Mackay writing about a sex attack on his daughter, minor celebrities use their children to make arguments that would be better made rationally.

BBC Scotland have delighted in this:

Scottish crime author Ian Rankin says his son Kit has been “forgotten” as vaccines were delivered to care homes. The 26-year-old – who has severe learning difficulties – lives in care in Edinburgh, but did not qualify in the first priority group. Rankin told the BBC he believes those in Kit’s circumstance “should have been prioritised”.

What evidence does the crime writer offer us? None. What evidence is there? This, written by real experts at the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation:

Data also indicate that the absolute risk of mortality is higher in those over 65 years than that seen in the majority of younger adults with an underlying health condition. Accordingly, the Committee’s advice largely prioritises based on age.

Rankin is a well-known Unionist and has claimed that his Rebus character would have voted ‘No’, though the actor who played him, Ken Stott, argues the opposite.

I’ve read one Rebus book, many years ago. I’d say the two-dimensional, hackneyed dysfunctional borderline alcoholic was so miserable, he’d have said no to anything other than another drink.

18 thoughts on “minor celebrity uses their child to make weak argument against SNP policy

  1. To be fair what he was saying is also being widely said in England too and not just by ‘celebrity’ parents. He also was careful in the way he framed his criticism directing it at the JCVI and at the same time saying that it was not just in Scotland that this is happening but across the UK.

    From broadcast interviews with parents/family members who have disabled children or those with learning difficulties either at home or in a care home it seems to me that perhaps the JCVI should have given greater weight to their needs and put them a bit higher up the priority list.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Terence,
        They are also at risk of dying. Many have serious underlying health conditions. Many with severe learning difficulties cannot communicate their symptoms and separation from their carers if they go into hospital would make that worse. Then there is the treatment eg ventilators which, even for able bodied people, for many would be terrifying.

        Currently they are I believe in level 6. Perhaps level 4 would have been appropriate.. If you look at the composition of the JCVI there does not seem to be anyone with knowledge/expertise in the treatment of disabled people or those with learning difficulties.

        Liked by 3 people

        1. I would agree. Those people in care homes with severe learning disabilities should be high priority level 4, they are prone to infection and often have low immune, and any hospital admission, nevermind ICU would be utterly terrifying for them.


  2. If you don’t understand the unhealthy nature of British nationalism, you are constrained in your capacity to defend yourself from English Torydum. Which is bio-neurologically predisposed to deal poorly with complexity, and is somewhat impaired in its’ capacity for genuine empathy. Which gives rise to a hostility towards cultural difference and change (see Brexit).

    Psychological underpinnings of democracy: Empathy, authoritarianism, self-esteem, interpersonal trust, normative identity style, and openness to experience as predictors of support for democratic values


    1. Cameron
      With full respect you omit to cater for the power of Genes
      Tis in the very DNA of the Anglo Saxons to be so
      And it is fair to state that we all are merely a lump of DNA that is pre programmed to react to environmental stimuli in a given manner
      Whilst the Scots have a pre disposed make up
      Of a natural sense of justice and empathy to
      Our fellow clansmen
      Such i believe was at the root of Thatcherism,s ( and this weed still flourishes)success down south and its almost total rejection in Scotland

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Hang on a mo, I was going to getting around to that. Though I’ve already covered the bio-social nature and cultural learning that shapes our political beliefs, elsewhere. As far as I understand things, our politics are the product of our personal biology and the cultural learning we can’t escape.

        Democracy Devouring Itself: The Rise of the Incompetent Citizen and the Appeal of Right Wing Populism

        Click to access qt8806z01m_noSplash_eef039c0e7aa9b1263a0d0b757d3d886.pdf


    1. Hard to fathom why on earth he is a BritNat. It’s not like the Tories or their best pals Labour would ever give a care about him or his family, at all in million years. Bizarre, money?


  3. I didn’t hear Mr Rankin speak on the subject but read the article on the BBC News website. I’m inclined to cut a parent in this situation a lot of slack. However, whatever he said, it is notable what the BBC article emphasises and also what it completely fails to address, despite the BBC’s supposed public service role.

    On what are to my mind the more ‘problematic’ comments:

    1) ‘.. he had not spoken to an MP or MSP about his family’s circumstance, believing they would “just pass the buck”.’ IMHO opinion I consider that such a dismissive remark smacks of unnecessary disrespect of elected representatives of governing or opposition parties who would, arguably in all cases, have concern for people in this situation.

    2) “… it seems to be a bit of a lottery.” One may not agree with the prioritisation but there is clearly a systematic, progressive roll-out underway. Any variation that may occur is likely to do with local and/or health board area circumstances or perhaps an unintended consequence of the rollout plan being followed. ‘Lottery’ is a lazy charge.

    On the arguably important questions that arise in the article but apparently not deemed so by the BBC as it offers no answers:

    1) “Rankin also shared his frustration over how his son’s residence was classified as a care home during lockdown but not for the vaccine programme.’

    Did the BBC not think this was worth finding out why this was the case, if indeed the matter is as described? It seems the blindly obvious question!

    2) “Both governments keep telling us it’s wonderful they’ve got all the care homes done. No, you haven’t. You’ve got care homes for the elderly done. There’s more care homes than that out there.”

    Candidly, and the BBC should know this, the Scottish Government has explicitly distinguished between care homes for older adults and other care homes. This is clear from the daily reports on vaccinations. (Does the Westminster government provide similar granularity of data?)

    As of 0830 hours on 17 February, the ‘1st dose given’ numbers reported by the Scottish Government are: ‘30,355 care home residents (exceeding the initial target for residents in older adult care homes and 95% of residents in all care homes) plus 41,210 care home staff (92% of staff in older adult care homes and 79% of staff in all care homes)’.

    So why has the BBC with all its resources and access to officials not told us why the residents of the facility Mr Rankin is concerned about do not fall within the 95% of adults in ‘all care homes’ that have already received a vaccination? And why is there is no acknowledgement in the article of vaccinations already given to those in care homes beyond the elderly?

    This is a reasonable, legitimate issue to examine here: is it a classification issue and is this evidence of an unintended consequence; is it by bad luck this particular care home is within the outstanding 5% and will be included shortly; is it an error on the part of the Health Board – they missed this home out by mistake and it will be sorted; is there something deficient in the home’s communication with the relevant health authority that determines eligibility and/or scheduling of vaccinations?

    Is the BBC more interested in pushing the ‘salient exemplar’ than actually helping us (and potentially, the individual parent) to understand better why matters are as they are? I can’t know but have my suspicions based on track record.

    Liked by 5 people

  4. His wife was in the Labour Party. Not sure how committed they are. The Brexit decision was not supported. Ian Rankin is extremely interested in music. Brexit has ruined the travelling plans of many bands, They could be No to Yessers. A strong possibility. Many people cannot state allegiance because of their profession. It might affect sales in some quarters etc. Supports football. Minor club. Lived in France. Supports the EU. Travels all over the world giving lectures. Won many awards putting Scotland on the map worldwide. Extremely Scottish novels.

    A Mcillvenny collaboration has just been published. An unfinished novel completed. Pals with Val McDermid a great Independence supporter Mr Rankin could be converted. He has certainly put Edinburgh/Scotland on the map. Brought in £Millions in revenues and taxes. Tourism etc. Noire literature. Many people like and enjoy it.

    Many people have read all the books and attended talks. Guilty. ‘There has been a murder’. Genre. It is possible to be a closet YES or a neutral. Can Ian be forgiven? He is very concerned for his son. Naturally. He has not been able to hug for months and visits behind glass. Like everyone with vulnerable family in isolation. It must be so hard,, especially for those in that position. To be articulate and inform.

    The vaccine is being rolled out for the vulnerable. In some cases people with underlying conditions cannot take the vaccine yet because of various medication conflicting. Soon so many vulnerable people and others will have been vaccinated. It will be possible for close contact. Ian Rankin etc will have had the vaccine and be able to cuddle others, including family. Immunity. It is such a worry for them but it will eased soon. Good wishes to everyone, The vulnerable, to death, are being vaccinated. Others can integrate more freely and easily. Less shielding will have to take place. Quite soon. Hold on.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Isolating families. Shared zoom calls and messaging.

    Beatles ‘You really go a hold on me”.

    Music is getting people through and getting through to people. Isolating singing and reading. A new skill or language. Walking and exercise demanding. Dancing. Keeping people entertained. Community and sharing, caring. Laughter and tears. Compassionate activities.


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