In the Herald, from Tom Gordon:
NICOLA Sturgeon has effectively accused Boris Johnson of adding to the death toll from coronavirus by failing to take quick and decisive action during the pandemic. Despite Scotland broadly mirroring the lockdown south of the border, the First Minister said “bitter experience” had shown the importance of “responsible decision-making” by leaders.
I’ve just read a letter by friend of TuS, Leah Gunn Barrett, rebutting the same suggestion by Ian Murray and using TuS-sourced evidence. It’s typically well-put so why reinvent the wheel:
Tom Gordon tries to assign equal blame for the UK’s catastrophic Covid deaths on Holyrood, knowing full well that the Scottish Government did not have lockdown powers until the end of March 2020, but Westminster did. Let’s suppose Holyrood did have lockdown powers. Because it doesn’t have the power of the purse it would not have been able to offer furlough and other financial support which would have made a lockdown declaration a political and economic nonstarter. Again, those powers are held by Westminster.
Tom seems unaware that the BBC’s head of statistics concluded that care homes receiving hospital discharge patients had a lower rate of Covid infections. The highest death rate occurred in larger, privately owned homes that maintained maximum capacity, skimped on PPE, failed inspections, and employed minimal poorly paid staff who were forced to work even if they had symptoms. The Care Inspectorate figures reveal there were 2.1 Covid deaths per 100 care home places with up to 20 beds, but 12.6 deaths in homes with more than 80 beds.
England’s Covid death rate, 40% higher than Scotland’s, shows the Scottish Government mitigated Tory mistakes. An independent Scotland would have locked down earlier, closed its borders, and provided financial support, saving thousands of lives.