Saturday, April 25, 2020

Tories and Labour regard British uniformity as more important than keeping people alive

On the question of whether the Scottish Government should diverge from any UK decisions about the lockdown, my own attitude is similar to the one Boris Johnson used to pretend to take in relation to consumer protection after Brexit - ie. the standards that applied in the EU would be the minimum that the UK would adopt, and that any divergence would be to enhance those standards. On the same principle, I'd suggest that any measures put in place by the UK to protect citizens from the virus are the minimum that should apply in Scotland, and we should only go our own way if we feel that people need to be protected even more. In other words, for as long as a lockdown is in force south of the border, it's hard to think of any circumstances in which it wouldn't be appropriate for a lockdown to also be in force north of the border. And if that was the point Jackson Carlaw and Richard Leonard were making, I'd be in wholehearted agreement with them. But unfortunately they have something rather different in mind.

Suppose the right-wing headbangers in the Tory party get their way, and Westminster eases the lockdown before it is safe to do so. Suppose Nicola Sturgeon, after consulting with her advisers, reaches the honest conclusion that the only way to avoid a totally unacceptable loss of life is for Scotland to maintain its own lockdown, and thus protect the public to a greater extent than is happening elsewhere in the UK. Would Jackson Carlaw really suggest that she should not do that? Remarkably, his answer is "yes". He's made abundantly clear that he thinks Scotland should just blindly follow whatever decision is made in London, in order to avoid "confusion" and to ensure that the UK is moving "together" - although of course we all know that only the latter reason really matters to him. It's no secret that the Scottish Tories always put British uniformity ahead of virtually every other consideration, but it's still quite startling to discover that they even put it ahead of the preservation of life.

The Scottish Labour position is even more incomprehensible. They are, after all, the self-styled "party of devolution", and must surely accept that there was little point in the Blair government devolving health to the Scottish Parliament if every single decision made in London was to be simply copied-and-pasted and implemented here. Labour are also supposed to be opponents of the Tory party and to have severe misgivings about the way the Tory government has handled this crisis. Every piece of logic therefore suggests they should want the Scottish Government to use the powers of devolution to do better than the London Tories. Instead, for some reason, they demand that Scotland must lower itself to the Tory level at all times. Well, I say "for some reason", but the reason is clear enough - dogmatic British nationalism.

And after last night's appalling revelations about Dominic Cummings' involvement in the SAGE scientific advisory group, let's not hear any more of the pretty fiction about a joint decision-making process in which the "Four Nations" all have parity of esteem. The fabled "science" that originally led to the catastrophic herd immunity policy was hopelessly tainted by political interference from the UK government's Prince of Darkness, and there was no equivalent input from Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland. According to the Guardian report, the Scottish and Welsh Chief Medical Officers were not even permitted to ask questions in SAGE meetings, while the non-scientist Cummings had free rein.


  1. Same old, same old...This blog has done an excellent job of stripping away the smokesceens around response to pandemic and now, maybe, the political crunch is coming ?

    It sounds simplistic but essentially it's going to be yet another people vs. profit watershed.

    To minimise banging on just two examples from history. The 1707 union happened. In whose interest was it ? The elite of England primarily and the "parcel of rogues" in Scotland. The riots against union showed the view of the people. World War 1 - who gained ? Imperialists and profiteers, the rest died in vast numbers.

    Lockdown is breaking down in parts of the USA with Trump's mad help. Maybe parts of uk too. The Scottish government is trying to put people before profit and should be supported in this but the tendency of profit driven politicians will be to get the rest of the population back to their 'proper' roles as workers and consumers.

    Casualties will have to be accepted to continue the enrichment of the parasite elite. If just one of them dies, along with tens of thousands of the rest of us, s/he will be a 'proof' that, we're all in this together.

    It really is that simple for the elite ! We are going to have to fight hard to resist this newest wave of anti human bullshit !

  2. Shut the border

  3. Why does SNP continue to pander to the "4 Nations"gimmick ? NI is not a "Nation", it's six counties in the north of Ireland.

  4. The main source of cross border confusion arises from English people / their government and media constantly referring to England as 'the UK'.

    It's really a problem unique to the English. The Scots / Welsh / N. Irish never try to appropriate the UK as their own in this way.

    If Johnson and co just say 'England' when they mean 'England' and 'UK' when they are actually talking about the UK, there wouldn't be any problem.

    As for Scottish unionists, rather than sensibly argue for the above, saving lives, they'd rather send your granny to the morgue to get one over on Sturgeon.

  5. I'm trying to understand unionist panic at Scotland's covid plan possibly deviating a bit from the rUK...

    Genuine question, but for example, I have no problem understanding that in France I drive on the right, but in the UK, on the left. You swap on the ferry. Same for currency; in France its Euros, UK it's £'s. Language too; for France I use French, UK Scots or English. I swap between all these without any problem at all. It's seamless and subconscious.

    Are, by contrast, these sort of cross border differences something unionists inherently can't cope with? Do they cause unionists distress and confusion, resulting in mental anguish? Is that what the problem is? Are unionists just less able to cope with life maybe?

    They're really going to struggle with brexit if so.

    1. The English Empire has always had difficulty with those who are not them, and this lack of comprehension of differences of others is confusing for them, there must be one rule and it must be English or we'll conquer and kill you

      In the modern world the English Empire isn't allowed to do that anymore so they flounder and flop from side to side trying to find political means of forcing people to bend to their will, hence Brexit because those foolish Europeans refused to bend to Englands will so the decision was made to make the upper lip stiff and dump the huff on the people of four nations while telling them to tighten their belts and it will be wonderful at the same time, you can tell which one of those statements matches which demographic as to who gets what

      Still we are all English, Oops! sorry Bringlishtish, so get out the Wellington bombers Spitfires and Vera Lynne and sing our way to oblivion because the Nation with the biggest population in these islands of great Britain are the rulers whether you vote for them or not

      The Roman Empire never had it so good as these people who think they own everything and everybody

  6. Something does not make sense with this whole Sage thing. If the CMO's were at SAGE meetings (as observers) they would of reported back to their respective Governments who was present, so the devolved Governments would of known that Cummings as at the meetings. If he was unduly influencing SAGEs decisions they would of reproted that back as well. So either:

    1) they kept the fact that Cummings had an influence from their Goverments
    2) They reported back that Cummings as presence and having an influence but their Governments carried on with the 4 nations approach anyhow.

    3) Cummings was there but had no influence.

    Unless we are saying that the leaders of the devolved governments signed off on following that they knew was politically biased (which seems unlikely) its either one or two.

    1. But Scotland hasn't been following the UK plan. If it had, we'd have not locked down at 14 deaths, but waited until 335, which would have us given similar deaths to England.

      Similar applies to Wales and N. Ireland.

      Could it be that CMOs from the devolved nations advised respective governments to lockdown earlier after disagreeing with a Cummings influenced Sage uk plan?

  7. As UKGov keep claiming they're being led by science (yeah right - with Cummings as the 'scientific adviser'), this makes even less sense. Countries around the world are loosening the lockdown at a different pace for different constituent parts or regions. Germany's states aren't loosening the lockdown at the same pace. It doesn't make them any more or less German. The same goes for Italian provinces. Even much smaller countries like Croatia are loosening the lockdown regionally. Why? Well - because it makes scientific sense.
    Not only that different countries of the UK should loosen the lockdown at different pace if it makes scientific sense (and it does), even Scotland should be loosening the lockdown regionally as the epidemics is at different stages in different parts of Scotland.
    English nationalists have made this into political issue (and I'm really surprised Leonard's going along with it - I mean - what is in it for Labour in Scotland - they are taking English nationalists' line in this). It just shows what a union of unequals looks like. You'd never hear in Germany Nord Rhine - Westphalia complaining that Saarland's not following them in something or demanding they follow them although they're 10 times Saarland's size. This UKGov think UK is just Greater England.
    Unionists in Scotland don't exist anymore. If they did they'd be appalled that Scottish CMO and CSO weren't allowed to participate in Sage meetings as full participants and were just there to listen what English CMO, CSO and Cummings discussed. The old Unionist party was a party of (partial) home rule. What we have now in Scotland are English nationalists.

  8. Now is the time kill off the so-called united kingdom.

  9. Of course it is, it seems, OK for England to diverge eg now allowed to drive to go for a walk. This has caused confusion but hey ho England.

    1. This is what I don't understand. Why are Carlaw and Leopold not demanding England follow Scotland's lead instead of diverging?

      England is damaging the union by following a different strategy surely?

  10. The Tory party and the Labbour party are both ping pong political pigmies. And both English based, funny that.

  11. James, are you aware that Prof Devi Sridhar was appointed to the Scottish Government's advisory group on Covid-19 on or before 2 April? I can't find the exact date, but @EdinUniUsher mentioned it on 2 April.

    1. I'm aware that she's on the group, but I'm not sure what the date of her appointment was. (It would have been the date of the group being formed, because she's been on it from the start.)

  12. Day 43 fatalities:
    20,453 Spain
    20,319 UK
    17,669 Italy

    UK could overtake Spain as early as tomorrow to take the lead with the worse death rate in Europe.

    And London is busy telling us jocks we should not try to do things differently, but follow their plan.

  13. GWC w****r is pretty quiet eh? Hopefully he's deid.