There need be no nation-wide lockdown here

Opening with dramatic announcements from the leaders of Germany and France, Newsnight, proceeds to discuss the future for the UK ignorant of the fact that things are moving differently in Scotland.

We hear:

As UK case numbers continue to surge are country-wide lockdowns inevitable across the UK?

So could we and would we follow stricter rules if necessary in a national lockdown?

Introduced with UK figures, two English academics attack the UK Government’s messaging and predict less than solid compliance with lock-down rules.

Meanwhile, in a land not that far away, things are already very different:

In Scotland, the infection level is falling and has done for nearly one week. The 7 day average too, which takes longer to react than the daily variation has fallen for the last 2 days.

Even in the most infected areas, subject to stricter measures for 6 weeks now, the infection level has been falling for 7 days:!/vizhome/COVID-19DailyDashboard_15960160643010/Overview

North Lanarkshire, Scotland’s ‘hotspot’ now has a 7 day average of 134.9 cases per 100 000 compared to Salford at 602 or Bolton at 558 or Wigan at 676.

With infection levels in other parts of the UK between 30% and 90% higher and still rising in England & Wales, a nation-wide lock-down is neither necessary nor sensible here.

Never let the facts get in the way of a good story

The apparently trusted FT has a ‘Scotland Correspondent’ in Edinburgh.

Mure Dickie has read the latest report on deaths in care homes which: ‘found no statistical evidence that discharges of hospital patients — including those found to have the virus and thousands more who were not tested — had caused outbreaks in care homes between March and May this year.’

After months of media reports featuring Scottish opposition party politicians trying to blame the SNP Government, this confirms what similar studies in England in Wales have already shown.

Any reasonable interpretation of these findings is that they have reduced pressure on the SNP and increased them on the private care home sector.

If the discharges were not to blame for the deaths then the blame lies somewhere within those care homes and, in particular, as the report reveals, in the larger corporate-owned ones.

Yet Dickie, like many others to come no doubt, ignores that and finds solace in the fact that:

Dozens of hospital patients who had tested positive for Covid-19 were discharged into care homes in Scotland, according to an official report that follows fierce criticism of the Scottish National party government over high coronavirus death rates in such institutions.

So, it seems it does not matter that these patients caused no harm because of the longstanding infection control procedures to be expected there. Nor does it matter, it seems, that the owners of these homes freely accepted the patients in return for the high fees they charge, knowing that they had infection control procedures in place

Dickie goes on to write as if the report’s conclusion had never been published.

Never let the facts get in the way of a good story?

What do we need you for?


Here is the news:

Infection level down for sixth day and more than a third down since peak on 21st/22nd October.

Recent infection and death rates in Scotland way below those in rUK.

Now you’d have to do a wee bit of analysis, even work out a few percentages, to say that but it’s what the the readers expect of trusted newspapers isn’t it?

What you’ve headlined above, it’s useless, isn’t it? The First minister told us that stuff. What do we need you for?

What does he not get?

I’m reminded of President Nixon’s reputed inability in 1975, to change his tune even after he is told it’s all wrong.

Secretary of State MacNamara:

The North Vietnamese cannot be bombed into submission. What should we do?


Bomb them into submission!

In October 2020

Independent Report:

Discharges from hospitals of infected or non-infected patients did not cause the care home outbreaks. How do you react to that?

Willie Rennie:

The SNP could have helped them by not admitting people with the virus!

Makes you wonder why they only poll around 4%.

It’s not ‘The News’ if we don’t like it



After many months of opposition politicians, platformed across the Scottish media, attempting to blame hospital discharges into care homes for subsequent outbreaks and deaths there, an independent report finds that these were not statistically significant and that other factors especially care home size were far more important.

The larger care homes are, of course, owned privately.

The Scottish study follows earlier reports from Public Health Wales, Public health England, the ONS and from the voluntary sector provider BHA, all saying the same thing and, in most, pointing to the over-use of agency staff in large privately owned care homes, as the major cause.

The reporting today, including the appalling question in the briefing from an STV brat reporter attempting to still blame the First Minister, has been one of the most striking examples of the propaganda they will resort to.

BBC Scotland have ignored the news they did not want to hear and extracted and distorted anything they can use to still somehow associate the deaths with the Scottish Government. They, above, seem to think that discharging the patients remains a sin even though it has now been shown that they caused little or no harm.

The Herald has pretended that the report just didn’t happen. Maybe it will go away?

One more nail in their coffins?

Somebody needs wiped from the payroll at ITN

Every so often, somebody leaves a microphone on and we hear what our media class really think of us. You can be sure the Oz-sounding wag wouldn’t have said ‘You gave her a bit of swipe there mate!‘ if he hadn’t known he was safe among like-minds sharing his broad contempt for Scots and their elected leaders.

Top class signings for The Sunday Times Scotland | News UK
John Boothman (c) News UK

Some readers might remember how, in 2015, John Boothman at BBC Scotland made highly offensive remarks about the daughter of SNP MSP Margo MacDonald only to be overheard by Ms MacdDonald who recorded the comments on her phone.

In 2007, when BBC Scotland still allowed comments, ‘Marianne‘ reminded us of a classic moment, camera still running:

Brian, I watched your colleague Glen Campbell on Reporting Scotland tonight and was rather disconcerted to see him flamboyantly, in fact almost gleefully ‘tear in half’ a copy of the SNP manifesto (he did it not once, but several times during his piece) by way of illustrating his thoughts on Alex Salmond’s responses to questions put to him at FMQs today.

No doubt, I’ve forgotten a few,

Whose Civil Servants are they? Are there any Scottish Civil Servants?

By Brenda Steele

Whose Civil Servants are they?  Are there any Scottish Civil Servants? 

Do the Councils allow the Central Government to select their staff? Why should it apply to Holyrood?

Notice that this newspaper headline quotes not what is happening in the committee but relies on Murdo Fraser’s words. 

Tory MSP Murdo Fraser, who sits on the Salmond inquiry, described the letters as an “extraordinary attack” on the government and its “secretive approach to this inquiry”.

“We’ve now heard of even more information that the SNP government tried to keep hidden. They apparently didn’t reveal a key document that should have been disclosed.

SNP Government is the wrong term, it describes communications between British Civil Servants, doesn’t it?

Contrast with The National:

Barbara Allison told the Holyrood probe last month she did not receive the message from civil service chief Leslie Evans after being quizzed by Labour’s Jackie Baillie. However, a search by the Crown Office relating to material gathered for the former First Minister’s trial this Spring found that Allison had indeed received the text while on holiday. The search found the message was sent to Allison from Evans on 8 January 2019 – the day Salmond won his judicial review against the government.

The message and reply read: “L Evans: ‘Thanks Barbara – battle maybe lost but not the war. Hope you are having lovely & well deserved break. L’

“B Allison ‘Thanks Leslie. It is lovely here. My mind and thoughts are with you all there tho. Best wishes. Bx”

Always remember that Leslie Evans was brought in after her predecessor was deemed to have “gone native”.  This is his testimony.

Former permanent secretary Sir Peter Housden has said he was “not aware of any harassment concerns” involving Alex Salmond while he was in office

Housden also said he did not discuss any “bullying or intimidatory behaviour” by Salmond with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon. He was responding to questions put to him by the committee investigating what went wrong with the Scottish Government’s handling of harassment complaints made against Salmond.,former-permanent-secretary-not-aware-of-any-harassment-complaints-involving-alex-salmond

Only in Scotland: A Tsunami of numbers to scare us to death and weaken our resolve?

As the first signs emerge of success in controlling the latest outbreaks, only in Scotland, in numbers and graphs easily available to make you feel stronger, BBC Scotland have other numbers for you throughout today:

17 wards closed to new admissions

Treating more than 600 cases

Over half of all

21 significant incidents of healthcare-acquired infections

Eleven hundred patients

Three thousand reports of house parties

40% found breaches of the rules

More than 420 fines

83 arrests

I gather some folk are making themselves worse, perhaps dying, because they fear going to hospital. See the one about healthcare-acquired infections? Is that a high number? What percentage is it? Why not tell us that if you must tell us that dangerous number at all?

Perhaps some folk are thinking why should they bother following the rules when so many clearly are not.

Remember these reports are the result of editorial decisions. They are only ‘the news‘ once selected from the hundreds of stories out there. There’s a reason why these were pushed into your homes. Editors in other parts of the world are behaving differently.

Have a look at RTE and the Irish press. They have half the death-rate despite even higher infection levels. Indeed most European countries do.

The brassiest of brass necks?

Let’s clarify the facts here, because the Herald’s Caitlin Hutchison certainly doesn’t.

The Conservative Party is resisting Marcus Rashford’s call for free school meals in England, at Christmas.

The Scottish Conservatives, members of the same party, voted with their English colleagues, other than Ross who didn’t even turn up because he was ‘in Scotland.’

He didn’t seem to be ‘cheering on‘ Rashford then as the Herald happily lets him claim to be, here, now.

So, to be clear, they oppose Rashford’s campaign.

Yet, in Scotland, apparently inspired by his mum’s work as a dinner lady, Ross and his group will now press the SNP Government to go further than the position his party espouses for England.

This kind of creativity with the truth is central to the Ross Narrative. See earlier examples here:

So, think about it. Imagine the Labour Party in Scotland votes against free school dinners in Scotland then their Westminster MPs, sorry MP, tells the UK Government to provide them and to top them up with free sweets?

That’d be another entry in the Brass Neck Award Competition 2020.

There’s more competition than I thought.

How Scotland’s Unique media will cause deaths

TOURISM chiefs in Scotland have warned of a ‘wave of trauma and mental anguish’ in the hospitality sector as a multi tier system was announced by Nicola Sturgeon. The First Minister revealed the provisional  coronavirus  restrictions that will apply to different parts of Scotland from next week.

Leaving aside the misleading use of the term ‘tourism chiefs‘ for what is an association of businesses rather than say the chief executive of the national tourism organisation Visit Scotland, the Herald‘s platforming of this quotation is another example of the damage the UK media, unlike its counterparts elsewhere, has done to the campaign to control the virus:

The British media should acknowledge that they play a key role in shaping the UK’s response to Covid-19 and this shaping often produces perverse outcomes, but with no accountability. The very process of focussing on the latest fashionable, and often media-hyped, ‘failures’ distracts from the primary challenge of saving lives.

Covid-19, Institutional Failure and the British Media

Professor John Bryson of the University of Birmingham, above, argues that this kind of editorial policy and the reports it generates, demonises political leaders, undermines solidarity, reduces compliance and so costs lives.

I’ve looked at the Irish Times, Sun, Independent and Herald. There’s no sign of any report like the one above, challenging the democratically elected government’s strategy to save lives by allowing business interests a platform to emote in this way and to, unavoidably, weaken popular support for the strategy.

The Editor is an SNP member and Covid-19 fundamentalist. Contact:

Ayrshire News Improved by Accuracy

John Robertson, retired professor of media politics and SNP member Photo: Ayrshire Daily News


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