"And what’s true in England is true in Scotland too. While Nicola Sturgeon likes to pat her administration on its back, the truth is that cases are rising there too, and the death total is still worse than just about everywhere else in Europe. Having marginally better outcomes and considerably better communication skills than London is nothing much to write home about."
Of course there's a grain of truth in that - over the entire course of the pandemic to date, Scotland can be reasonably said to have had a poor outcome by international standards. But what that doesn't tell you is more important than what it does. The vast bulk of infections and deaths were front-loaded in the early part of the crisis when Scotland was in almost total lockstep with the Westminster-led "Four Nations" approach. The modelling suggests that almost 100,000 people were infected in Scotland the week before lockdown - that's nearly 2% of the entire population in just seven days. I personally know people who were infected that week, and probably most of us do. That was being allowed to happen by an intentional policy choice of herd immunity.
At some point, the penny dropped in Scottish Government circles that we were not in fact facing the "mild infection" that the likes of Chris Whitty and Patrick Vallance had briefed them about, and as a result Scotland has diverged sharply from the policy south of the border. To the best of my knowledge, the extent of the U-turn has never been publicly acknowledged, but it's been almost total. We've gone from Jason Leitch saying in his Grand Complacency Tour of the TV studios in February/March that almost everyone was going to get the virus and that was totes fine, to a specific goal of eliminating the virus completely.
That hasn't left us with merely a difference of "communication" styles between Scotland and England (although the communication in Scotland has self-evidently been vastly superior), but a difference of substance. And that divergence hasn't just led to "marginally better outcomes" as David suggests, but to dramatically better outcomes. He's correct that case numbers in Scotland rose on Friday to their highest level for two months - but that was a rise of 30. That's still well behind England on a per capita basis.
That said, past performance is no guarantee of future results, and Scotland's success story is about to be tested as never before by the gamble of opening schools on a full-time basis in a matter of days from now. It's ironic, then, that David's piece is a call for the reopening of schools to be prioritised.
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As an ordinary member of the SNP I'm a little disturbed that all my knowledge of the decisions made at Friday's NEC meeting has been acquired through leaks from the NEC to Twitter.— Martin MacDonald (@Innealadair) August 1, 2020
This is open to interpretation, but I'm guessing it means the leadership at least accept that what happened to James Dornan went too far. If that's going to be reconsidered it would be a welcome step forward.https://t.co/dtBaGUY3KI— James Kelly (@JamesKelly) August 1, 2020
Whatever happens, SNP members need to think carefully about the composition of the NEC going forward. It's hard to see how those decisions would ever have been reached by a body that was mainly concerned with the best interests of the party, rather than with factional interests.— James Kelly (@JamesKelly) August 1, 2020
Too many groups have a designated delegate on the Committee - for something as important as the NEC it should be smaller with proper, contested elections for every single seat.— Bonnar (@UndauntableThot) August 1, 2020