The Westminster shaped sieve

It was always predictable that the so-called Indian variant of the coronavirus was going to enter the UK. It’s called the Indian variant because it was first identified in India. There are now fears that this new variant will cause a “third wave” resulting in an increase in hospitalisations and the suspension of the much anticipated loosening of lockdown restrictions.

One question that many have is how new variants of the virus arise. This is an example of evolution in action. So first, a quick lesson in viruses.

A virus is only arguably alive. To simplify things considerably, a virus is a stretch of DNA and an associated protein coating. A virus cannot reproduce by itself. Instead , the coronavirus, like other viruses, hijacks the mechanisms of the cells in the body of an infected host and forces those cells to make copies of the virus. Typically during the course of an infection many millions of copies of the virus will be churned out. Every time the virus is copied there is a chance of an error taking place in the copying process and the virus not being copied correctly. The overwhelming majority of times, the virus is copied correctly, however because so many copies of the virus are made during the course of a typical infection, there’s a high probability that some faulty copies will be created.

Most of these faulty copies (which are called mutations) will be less effective at doing the virus’s two jobs of hijacking cells in the body and of being transmitted from one host body to another. These mutations will soon die out. Many other mutations will not be any better or worse at these jobs. However a small minority of these faulty copies will be more effective at hijacking body cells in the infected person and more effective at being transmitted from one person to another. These mutations have a competitive advantage over other less effective variants, and will preferentially spread. This is what happened with the so-called Kent variant which is now the dominant strain of the virus in the UK. This variant was more effective at being transmitted than the variants existing at the time, so eventually it crowded out the others.

Because millions upon millions of copies of the virus are made in each one of the millions of people who have become infected, new virus mutations are constantly being produced. There is concern that eventually one of these virus mutations might cause more serious illness or that it could be resistant to the vaccines currently in use.

New variants of the virus crop up constantly. The more restrictions there are on foreign travel, the easier it is to keep novel and potentially risky variants out of the country. Of course this must be balanced against people’s right to travel freely. It seems that in reaching a decision on this, the Scottish Government has given more weight to public health considerations than the Conservatives at Westminster, who appear to put more weight on the commercial interests of the travel and transport industries. Since the Scottish Government has no control over foreign borders, in this respect Scotland is at the mercy of UK government decisions which can undermine decisions made by the Scottish Government. The UK government delayed putting India on the red list of countries for over three weeks after concerns were raised about the spread of a new variant of concern there. Travellers arriving in the UK from India were allowed to self isolate at home instead of having to go into supervised hotel based quarantine.

The good news is that there is no evidence that this new Indian variant is resistant to the vaccines that we currently have. Neither is there any evidence to suggest that this new variant causes more serious illness in those it infects. The other good news is that if a vaccine resistant variant was ever to arise, scientists would not have to go back to square one and develop an entirely new armoury of vaccines from scratch. It should be possible to “tweak” existing vaccines so that they’d be effective against a resistant strain.

However there is concern that this new Indian variant may be more effective at being transmitted from one person to another, although it’s not yet clear just how more effective it might be. If it’s more effective at being transmitted this means that the new variant is more likely to infect people and to cause more cases of serious illness simply because there are more people who are being infected. If the virus is able to infect more people more rapidly and to reach more people who are vulnerable to serious illness, the incidence of serious illness increases even though the variant does not in itself cause a more serious illness. That could cause a significant rise in hospitalisations among those who have not yet been vaccinated. This possibility is what alarms Scottish public health authorities and has led to the loosening of lockdown restrictions being paused in Glasgow.

The big problem that the Scottish Government faces is that it has to fight the virus with one hand tied behind its back. Scotland is in the position of trying to bail out a leaky boat with a Westminster shaped sieve. Decisions made in Scotland can all too easily be undermined by decisions made at Westminster.

Without control over international borders, Scotland was left in the ridiculous position of demanding hotel-based quarantine for the tiny number of international travellers who flew directly into Scotland from “red list” countries, but the far larger number of travellers who arrived in the UK-Ireland common travel area from abroad but whose flights first took them to England or Dublin where they then caught connecting Scotland were able to organise their own unsupervised quarantine at home. The UK Government continued to allow travel from India even after it became clear that the situation in the country was spiralling out of control.

It is not unreasonable to assume that if the far stricter supervised hotel based quarantine had applied universally to everyone arriving in Scotland there could have been a chance that the entry of the new variant could have been prevented and we might not now be in the position of having to delay Glasgow’s exit from lockdown amidst concerns that the new variant of the virus is getting a foothold in parts of the city. But that’s hypothetical. We are where we are, more concerning is that even though there is clear evidence of community transmission of the new variant in parts of England, and concerns are being raised about a possible third wave, Johnson is not pausing the loosening of lockdown restrictions in England. A surge in infections in England will have an inevitable knock on effect in Scotland.

Hopefully this new variant will not prove to be markedly more efficient at transmission but if it is, and there is a third wave, it will once again highlight how Scotland’s efforts to contain and control the pandemic are being undermined by a Conservative government which prioritises financial and economic concerns above public health.

NEW MODERATION POLICY

In the wake of recent events I am determined that this site will not become a home for bigots and conspiracy theorists. They will not be welcome here. Moderation is the most stressful part of running a blog, but this site is going to continue to make the positive case for independence. With this in mind as of today a new moderation policy is in force.

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85 comments on “The Westminster shaped sieve

  1. […] Wee Ginger Dug The Westminster shaped sieve It was always predictable that the so-called Indian variant of the coronavirus was […]

  2. Joyce says:

    Well said!

  3. Capella says:

    What the virus containment policies highlight is the need for Scotland to have our own border controls. Same for treatment of refugees. I am also suspicious about the role of MOD sites bringing in infection to Lossiemouth and Faslane.

    As with Care Homes importing staff from Kent and infecting residents in Skye – an entirely avoidable tragedy – so with MoD importing builders and other staff.
    Surely it’s time for a moratorium on importing Covid 19 freely.

    • Legerwood says:

      Capella,
      There is also the possibility of importation via aircrews as seems to have happened in Taiwan. See this from the Guardian online

      https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/may/16/lockdowns-and-panic-buying-in-taiwan-as-covid-cases-rise

      I don’t think this is the first time that this has been a route into a country for the virus.

      • Capella says:

        Interesting. They recently reduced their quarantine period from 5 days to 3 it says. We really must get tougher over imported cases.
        I remember last summer, cases were down to almost zero then the camper vans arrived, many from NE England where Covid was raging – and a second wave began.

        • grizebard says:

          A boat will sink with any old hole, of course, but I thought the “2nd wave” here was mainly caused by our own people going off to splash around on the costas (or wherever) as per custom and bringing a new supply of Covid back with them along with the “duty-frees”.

    • I live in Moray and I strongly suspect RAF Lossiemouth. Contractors building there and overseas military flying in.. strange as we has very low infection rates until recently. Not that the MOD will come clean about this matter.

      • ArtyHetty says:

        That’s extremely worrying. Scotland really is at the mercy of the English governments’ incompetence and negligence, do hey care though, no absolutely not. Same with Hunterston nuke plant being restarted, it has literally hundreds of cracks. It’s one thing to have your economy seriously curtailed by the next door country, but quite another to be put at great risk of a deadly virus spreading, and at risk of a serious nuclear accident etc. Very concerned about Scotland’s infection rates these past few days.

  4. Capella says:

    It is possible to identify the origin of imported cases through genome sequencing. Last summer many cases flew into Glasgow from Spain as people returned from holiday. The Prof – Jason Leitch said in interview that they know where in Spain the cases had come from.

  5. Alex Clark says:

    A link that Petra posted on the last thread led me to the minutes of the latest SAGE meeting where the Indian variant dominated the discussion. The members of that committee didn’t hold back in stating the concerns they have over this variant.

    6. It is therefore highly likely that this variant is more transmissible than B.1.1.7 (high confidence), and it is a realistic possibility that it is as much as 50% more transmissible. There are also plausible biological reasons as to why some of the mutations present could make this variant more transmissible…

    9. If this variant were to have a 40% to 50% transmission advantage nationally compared to B.1.1.7, sensitivity analyses in the modelling of the roadmap in England (SAGE 88) indicate that it is likely that progressing with Step 3 alone (with no other local, regional, or national changes to measures) would lead to a substantial resurgence of hospitalisations (similar to, or larger than, previous peaks). Progressing with both Steps 3 and 4 at the earliest dates could lead to a much larger peak. Smaller transmission advantage would lead to smaller peaks.

    https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/sage-89-minutes-coronavirus-covid-19-response-13-may-2021/sage-89-minutes-coronavirus-covid-19-response-13-may-2021

    This is all a bit of a roller coaster ride, let’s hope the vaccine does its job in preventing/reducing serious illness.

  6. bringiton says:

    The pandemic has demonstrated to Scots the futility and danger of having a government in another country deciding policies which directly affect us.
    I think more people now realise that borders are necessary in these times and having control over the flow of people absolutely essential.
    One less thing for the Unionists to frighten voters with.
    Hope not too much of your time is taken up Paul having to police your blog.
    Must be tiring for you.

    • grizebard says:

      Amen there. The current crisis has neutralised more than one of the BritNat scare stories. (Though the self-confidence undermining operation never stops trying.) Fundamentally this is about “taking back control”, both in government and on the streets.

    • grizebard says:

      In fact, it’s perhaps a mistake for the likes of The Daily Heil (cringing Scottish offshoot) to lambast “Sturgeon” for keeping Glasgow in lockdown, because it only serves to emphasize who’s really in charge. (The old “framing” thing, y’know.)

  7. I wholeheartedly endorse the new moderation policy. I am sick to my stomach of hate and haters. When will these people understand that in order to move forward we must work together?

  8. ArtyHetty says:

    Dr. J. Campbell is always worth a follow. This is his take about the Indian variant as of yesterday. If more transmissable we really need everyone vaccinated, the young folk mixing more are therefore going to be more at risk. Very worrying that things are opening up more tomorrow, imo.

    Ps, Please maybe follow Broadcasting Scotland on Youtube or facebook, Gordon (Indy car G. Ross) had his FB page/channel shut down for a day last week. Their news channel is out most evenings at 7pm, worth a watch.
    Hope it’s Ok to share these.

    Have a great Sunday everyone.

    https://www.broadcastingscotland.scot/

    • Capella says:

      Thx ArtyHetty – I’ve been following Dr Campbell’s videos since you posted one a while ago. Always spot on with his advice and comment on the state of the British government (in)action. Seems very well informed about India too.

      • ArtyHetty says:

        Ah good, he is worth a watch, he lived and worked in India for some time, so has an idea of what the situation is like there…can be a bit England centric, but very informative nevertheless. Living conditions in that footage, and this is the 21stC, horrendous. I wonder who took India’s wealth all those years ago…

    • ArtyHetty says:

      The stats given by PH England are considered ‘UK’ wide of course. Hard to get away from that, and the Kent variant is the ‘UK’ variant.
      Scotland is a region of England according to most people in England.

    • Yes, I watch his videos too. He was a Nurse Tutor and has travelled to various countries either practicing or teaching. As I retired nurse myself, I am fascinated by his common sense approach to his subject. I don’t watch or listen to any of the Government sources any more because they can’t compete wit Dr Campbell for accuracy.

  9. Janice Gale says:

    Another succinct and measured description this time of the Covid dilemma Scotland is in when perfectly reasonable precautions against the new variant are curtailed by the dangerous monetarist neighbour. How long we have to suffer them is it seems in the lap of the gods. Not a satisfying feeling.

  10. Kenneth Martin says:

    Another great article by someone that’s got their brain in gear. A light in the darkness of ignorance, bigotry and rampant Fascism.

  11. Bob Lamont says:

    Aye, an excellent synopsis of where we are, but wish I had greater faith in this not getting worse given the Tory machine, they do seem peculiarly attracted to colossal blunders, Mr Teflon de-Pfeffel more than most…

  12. Hamish100 says:

    Re 🤧Have we heard from the tories like Fraser yet condemning the violence and breach of covid laws yesterday. The union flags and hand of Ulster flags were also trying to make a political point although many of the numpties defecating in George Square probably are unaware of the significance.
    I do know of a very clever accountant from Newton mearns at the procession. I wonder what some of his clients think? Oops some were they too.season ticket lined up for next year. Makes you wish football hadn’t been invented.

    • Golfnut says:

      Aye we’ve a lot to answer for, fitba wise, a headline on FB framed the Ibrox and George sq delinquents as Scotland’s shame, they’re not. This was rampant, sordid, brutish British nationlism, supported and promoted by the tory’s.

  13. Sean says:

    Cheers from Ireland, our roll out of jabs going great and we have celebrations of 100 years of freedom from England, a tough history but worth it.. Scotland’s freedom sooner than later.

  14. Captain of the Enterprise says:

    I completely understand the principle of keeping everyone safe but we should also understand that it’s tearing families apart. I haven’t seen my foreign girlfriend in 17 months and it’s breaking my heart. We were due to marry in 2020 and start a new life together overseas.

    Sadly, her country’s national border has been closed since March last year. It’s a developing country so they don’t have a special visa system that would allow me into the country for the purpose of marriage and residency. I can only arrive as a tourist and then switch to the appropriate visa after marriage.

    We fear that the border might be closed until 2022 or even 2023. My girlfriend also gave birth to our first child last year. I’ve missed the first year of her life and worry that I’ll miss even more. No parent should be separated from their child.

    In late 2020, I discovered that the U.K. has a marriage visitor visa and we discussed getting married here before departing overseas together. Unfortunately, the Scottish Government introduced a mandatory hotel quarantine system for all arrivals into Scotland at the cost of £1,750. I would have to incur flight costs for myself and my girlfriend, then pay £1,750 for her to quarantine at a hotel. I simply cannot afford this. We need to save as much money as possible for our new life together.

    I understand the need for a hotel quarantine system but does it really have to be so expensive? Her home nation is now on the red-list, so she would be denied entry even if the hotel quarantine system ended tomorrow.

    I quit my job and gave up my home before this pandemic hit. I was all set to begin my new life overseas but instead I’ve spent the past 15 months sleeping on my friend’s sofa. I’m definitely not the same person I was before this pandemic. I suffer from panic attacks and can spend hours staring into space. I’m terribly lonely. I just want to be with my partner and daughter.

    I’ve joined a support group called ‘Love Is Not Tourism’ in the hope that governments around the world can factor in family reunion during this pandemic.

    • grizebard says:

      Yes, the virus is merciless, it doesn’t (have the capacity to) care. And it’s hitting people in so many ways. Just look at India right now; at least the three of you are still alive. (Small mercies and incremental gains, I know, but still better than the alternative.)

      Just a thought out of nowhere: to help ease you in to your evidently desired destination, can you both – given present circumstances – not get married online first, over a Zoom call…?

    • Alex Clark says:

      I’m assuming that you are younger and have not had a vaccination yet. I only mention this because more and more countries are opening up to those who have been fully vaccinated, included some third world countries.

      It might be possible to move up the queue if you were to talk to your GP about the panic attacks and the effect separation is having on you and youmight then be considered vulnerable under the circumstances.

      Even if the country where your girlfriend is currently is not allowing vaccinated people in at the moment, you can never know when that might change at very short notice. Just a thought.

  15. Englands covid infection rate was higher in january this year than it has ever been in India.
    It does not make sense to tell people not to travel from one council district in Scotland to another council district in Scotland if at the same time people are allowed to travel to Scotland from another country.

    I am disappointed that the Scottish government have never closed the border between Scotland and England and im disappointed that they have not stopped flights into Scotland from other parts of the common travel area england wales ireland etc there have been times when it was reasonable to say there was an emergency that warranted closing the borders around Scotland.

    Continually saying i am doing what is best for Scotland and at the same time doing nothing about westminster introducing less stringent rules on travel that impacted Scotland greatly is just unacceptable especially because we have about five million people and they have about fifty five million , it was exactly this attitude that led to last years huge surge of holidaymakers travelling up from england to Scotland and whilst we were all doing our best to stay at home holiday places like Edinburgh was hoaching with holiday visitors.
    Yes westminster control borders for UK but in an emergency when lives are put at risk and people are dying we have to be firmer , proactive , protect the people here .

    Its also unacceptable that westminster issuing the ok to travel abroad to some countries on holiday thus giving airlines a signal to say “ now that you can fly overseas book a holiday “
    when there has been no coordination with other countries about this proposed travel and after loads of people act upon westminsters and the airlines advice and adverts the holidays booked are then cancelled because those other countries have infection rates that make tourism impossible.
    Its 2021 westminster and the airlines and holiday companies should be able to coordinate their advice and actions with governments in other countries , sadly they are not very good at it , i do wonder if that is meant so that they can rake in the holiday bookings money and then refund it slowly .

    • Eilidh says:

      What do you suggest the Scottish govt does Terence. They do not have power to stop travel into Scotland by land air or sea. When people go through passport control at Glasgow Airport it doesn’t say Scottish border it says UK border. If you tried to block road or rail access it would need an awful lot of police involvement and again it is doubtful whether the Scottish government has powers to enforce it

  16. Dr Jim says:

    A perfect example of how a virus mutates and keeps mutating often changing and worsening until a way is found to halt it with vaccines medicines or closed doors to keep it out, and it’s a description that could also be applied to the Tory party in England that keeps coming up with ways to make life unbearable for Scotland by draining our resources to feed itself and becoming more powerful as it goes, right now Scotland is sitting in the street with nowhere to hide or escape from this political virus

    But Scotland has a cure for this virus and it’s easy to apply without a even a wee jag in the arm and we only have to say one word and Scotland will be on the way to recovery and full health

  17. Skip_NC says:

    So let me see if I have this right. SG has the power to stop people moving across council area lines within Scotland. It has the power to quarantine people coming directly from overseas. Yet it has no power to stop people crossing the English border. Meanwhile, here in the USA, states have been able to require quarantining or negative tests for anyone travelling from what they deem to be a high risk area. For instance, if I had wanted to travel to any of the New England states last year from North Carolina, it would have been quite impractical to do so.

    So what happened to the strongest devolved parliament in the world and what are we going to do about it?

    • Skip , you have it right.

      What are we going to do about it ? I dont know , not much i reckon , rinse and repeat i suppose and follow the same mistakes as last year.
      I wish it were different.
      I do understand there is a sizeable number of people who might well take direct action against the police if Scotland closed the border with england but in an emergency we have to take steps to protect the people who live in Scotland and if some people protest or attack police on the border we deal with that too.
      Being nice , police standing with shields and riot helmets whilst rocks bottles bollards etc are thrown at them is not policing in my opinion.Such riotous behaviour should lead to immediate arrest .
      If arrests are needed at the border it has to be done.

      If we have another severe wave of covid and evidence shows its coming via england surely we are not just going to stand back and let it all happen again .
      We will see .

    • Tam the Bam says:

      Skip….its the current Tory Westminster government that described Scotland as having..”The strongest devolved parliament in the world”…..and its a fib.Its a HUGE FIB…..The book is currently being published (Wigtown book fest).

  18. Petra says:

    ”The strongest devolved parliament in the world” is just another BritNat myth, Skip. The only thing that we can do on this site, to address the issue, is to encourage even more Scots to support independence. And of course we’re having to deal with this too. No mention of how many of these thugs actually came from Ireland and England.

    ‘Around 15,000 ‘selfish’ Rangers fans marched through Glasgow, police say.’

    ..”Steele said police “had bones broken, lost teeth, and sustained a multitude of other injuries as they faced (what was for many) the worst violence in their 20 odd years of policing”…

    http://www.thenational.scot/news/19306964.around-15-000-selfish-rangers-fans-marched-glasgow-police-say/

    • Skip_NC says:

      As a follower of the late and much-lamented Meadowbank Thistle, I can say this – why do we allow two football teams to dictate so much of life in, particularly, the west of Scotland? Police officers with broken bones is not a sign of a celebration. I hope there will be an inquiry of some sort, because this sort of stuff does not help our cause.

      • Tam the Bam says:

        Inquiry/enquiry…….I do like a good joke Skip.

      • Petra says:

        The SNP tried to do something about sectarian behaviour in Scotland when they introduced the OBFA. It was overturned by the Tories, Libdems, Labour and Greens at Holyrood, Skip. James Kelly Labour was at the forefront of repealing it and stated that he would personally replace the Act. We’re still waiting. That’s what we, more so Nicola Sturgeon is up against.

        ”The Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications (Scotland) Act 2012 was an Act of the Scottish Parliament which created new criminal offences concerning sectarian behaviour at football games. The Act was repealed on 20 April 2018.”..

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Offensive_Behaviour_at_Football_and_Threatening_Communications_(Scotland)_Act_2012

    • Eilidh says:

      And going by the flags in the crowd an awful lot of them had ties to Northern Ireland what a surprise. A female friend who is a Rangers supporter but never goes to games is angry and mortified by what happened yesterday. I have no doubt what happened was politically motivated and possibly organised in Northern Ireland as was the attack on Indy supporters in George Square the day after Indy Ref 2014. I went on a weekend trip to Belfast a couple of years ago. Met a lot of nice people there. The open top bus tour was very educational. We passed the IRA mural the UVF mural, what is laughingly called the Peace Wall and at least 3 Rangers and 3 Celtic supporters clubs. Football the people’s game the neds game more like. All this stuff makes me have absolutely no interest in football even when Scotland plays. I would rather watch paint dry

      • Tam the Bam says:

        Eilidh….go up stream and check out (I think) Dr Jim remonstrating about incursions from ‘Norn Irelorn’….on Friday evening so as to pose thrmselves in Glasgows Freedom Square……I am very…very annoyed.

  19. Apparently three plane loads of rangers supporters came to glasgow from belfast , twitter videos from passengers proved it to be correct its just crazy that nothing was done to prevent three plane loads of rangers supporters flying from belfast to glasgow to join in that riotous farce furthermore it shows the weakness of Scottish governments powers to police Scotlands borders.

  20. Dr Jim says:

    Divide any nation and you create control, it’s practiced by governments, terrorists, subversives, using newspapers magazines the Internet word of mouth, do a good job of it and you have complete control, keep creating narratives of opposite whether it be colour race religion, anything will do, then just like any virus it feeds itself and grows and saves the so called authority much of the trouble of policing by military attracting attention to themselves as dictator regimes

    England as a country have practiced this for a very long time and have been in the past more successful than most at the suppression of democracy by creating the perception of being benign, it’s why they have retained the farce of the Monarchy to give the impression of family security warmth and happiness through togetherness, it’s why they get so upset when their pet project of stability, the Royal Family suffers the failure to pretend normalcy and occasionally do *normal* things like fall out or argue or even get caught out topping their own family members for going to far, and that becomes a crisis management situation for the regime’s government

    Scotland one again has created such a difficulty and the experience of the English government tells them that they must use time to quell the disorder *kick the can* but this time they know that won’t work so they ponder on the next move which in the past would have been force but in the modern day that’s out so they think about resorting to law which absolutely would work but only in the short term because that move will only make the people of Scotland more angry but maybe in a different way and that’s another risk they have to weigh up, plus the International community won’t like that and England has to trade with them, so again more difficulties

    Already the people who actually run England (not Boris Johnson he’s merely the current tool) are on the verge of deciding that to *allow* Scotland a referendum as quickly as possible then fight it into the ground with everything the English state has to defeat the proposition is the best way to go, again an even bigger risk but more acceptable to the on looking International community

    There is one more option, the biggest risk of all and that’s negotiation and an offer to the leader of the organisation they fear, SNP FM Nicola Sturgeon, but she’s not the DUP so money won’t get the job done, so how does the English government approach someone who for the last 35 years has thought of nothing else but the freedom and liberty of her country and its people, what do they offer her, and if it’s not enough they showed her the weakness of their hand and they lose, will Nicola Sturgeon deal? they’ll *hope* she will,,,,,, I *know* she won’t

    Nicola Sturgeon at this moment has to do nothing but continue with her scheduled plan as she’s laid out, the next move is England’s but one wrong chess pawn move and it’s checkmate for England, the risks are all theirs

  21. Capella says:

    Nicola Sturgeon could request/demand a S30 order devolving power over border control. It’s a public health priority.

  22. Arthur Thomson says:

    A really good post Paul. Thank you and thanks,too, for your decision re moderating comments. I was becoming fed up reading the vitriolic comments that were being posted. Onwards and upwards.

  23. Tam the Bam says:

    Why am I still awake at this time?
    I’ve been trying to assimilate everything that has happened within the last 7/8 days.
    My comments ARE driven by age (in a sense) but not peculiar.

    Strange as may seem to my fellow Duggers…I feel we (the Scottish Gov)….need to press hard….AND REALLY HARD….because we are already being circumvented by Westminster tae the local authourities……..That is the first step in wresting control fae Holyrood tae Westminster.

  24. Capella says:

    The merest hint from Nicola Sturgeon that she might close the border to prevent the spread of Covid 19 would bring instant condemnation from unionist MSPs such as Alex Cole Hamilton.

    In September last year he claimed that Sean Clarkin represented the SNP with his “England out of Scotland” banner at the border.

    I stood my ground, arguing that for as long as Nicola Sturgeon stoked the frisson of possibility around a quarantine blockade at Gretna, they were following her lead.

    https://archive.fo/rQuOJ

    Closing your borders against a deadly virus is the height of bigotry according to Alex.

    • Bob Lamont says:

      Indeed, this ludicrous nonsense has been political hypocrisy on steroids from the very beginning.

      Northumbria and Cumbria can close the border between them to contain Covid spread, ditto D&G and Borders, no problems there, but close the border between D&G and Cumbria or Borders and Northumbria and suddenly it’s a HUGE problem…

      They’ve all been playing this flag waving nonsense, from Cole-Scuttle to the Secretary of Wimp for Scotland, politicians have proven a greater danger to public health in this pandemic than the virus itself.

  25. Capella says:

    Excellent short video on Johnston’s failure o close the borders against Covid while Priti Patel was ruthless in closing them to refugees. Led By Donkeys. https://twitter.com/ByDonkeys/status/1394162647755546629

    • Petra says:

      Thanks for the link Capella, brilliant, and isn’t this just heartbreaking. You just wish that you could reach out and put your arms around that young girl.

      “You see all of the kids around me, they’re just kids. Why would you just send a missile to them & kill them?” 10yr old Palestinian after Israeli air strikes destroyed a neighbour’s house, killing 8 children & 2 women💔 #Palestine #GazaUnderAttack.”.. https://twitter.com/AamerAnwar/status/1393823584217452544

  26. Iain says:

    I’m delighted to see you are going for moderation of comments. That will help you maintain the high level of debate the site is known for. There are more than enough venom fests around already and, anyway, it’s your blog.
    Keep up the good work, keep on getting better and thanks.

  27. bringiton says:

    Around the world,right wing governments view “public” health policy as a socialist plot to undermine their neoliberal free marketeering ideology and have been reluctant to enact the necessary measures to contain the pandemic.
    It is only when it becomes clear to them (eventually) that the economy will suffer without these measures that they get around to doing something.
    This should make it clear to people in the UK where the Tories intend taking their publicly owned health service post pandemic.
    Profits before people.

  28. Mary Miles says:

    Thank you for your wonderful articles Paul. Do hope your health is improving.

  29. Petra says:

    Oh well,@michaelgove said he wanted to flood Scotland with Union Jacks. I guess indiscriminate violence and wanton destruction are just part of the package. If this is what the union offers us,They can stick their union where the sun don’t shine.”.. https://mobile.twitter.com/no1_nicola/status/1393869786950606848

    …………………………………….

    ‘UK to stop detaining people without work visas in removal centers during pandemic.’

    http://www.politico.eu/article/uk-immigration-brexit-work-visas-removal-centers-stop-detaining-people/

    • jfngw says:

      It’s a Rangers supporters tradition,they have a history of rioting:

      1972 – Barcelona
      1980 – Hampden
      2008 – Manchester
      2016 – Hampden
      2021 – Glasgow

      Not sure what happened in the 1990’s seems to have been some slippage in standards there. They will of course claim it wasn’t only them, the problem for them is they are the only common factor in these riots.

      • Alec Lomax says:

        They used to cause bother in the 70s when they went south of the border. Mind you they were angels compared to the Man U fans then.
        Ta for blaming them for 2016 cup final (which will have it’s 5th anniversary on Friday) Us Hibbies were having a peaceful pitch celebration when the other mob came on. Of course, the Hibs supporters got the blame from the weegie press and media.

  30. Hamish100 says:

    Heard a deputy Chief Constable explain police policy re the ranger riot.

    Where would we go to disperse he pondered.

    Can I suggest Glasgow City Centre and George Square was not appropriate? I acknowledge the difficulties but how about Bellahouston Park.
    Public announcements making it quite clear that the city centre is out of bounds.

    With the world visiting Scotland in The Autumn. With all the heads of states I would imagine they will be saved from such behaviours. The good citizens of Glasgow deserve the same protection.

    We have had in recent times going back to 2014 union flag bearers trashing the square. I think the new league season should not have another celebration to pander to the sad people who attach themselves to success as if they had an input to it.

    • Capella says:

      Why can’t the police herd the Rangers fans onto the pitch once the teams have left it. Then if they damage anything no more games till it’s ll mended and nobody gets out till they’re IDd.

    • jfngw says:

      Fed up hearing ‘it’s only a minority’, well 15,000 (police estimate but if it is like their AUOB estimates it was probably more like 40,000) seems a large minority. That’s about 30% of the Ibrox capacity, I suppose it is less than half so they can get away with ‘minority’.

      I see the team seem to have had a special dispensation to drink indoors, how do you acquire this in a level three area? Then they joined in some party banter.

  31. Petra says:

    List of Johnson’s Covid mistakes. https://mobile.twitter.com/WinstonCProject/status/1393625159953694722

    …………………………………….

    ‘New Covid strains, vaccines and variants.’

    https://newsnet.scot/news-analysis/new-covid-strains-vaccines-and-variants/

  32. Petra says:

    This just beggars belief, especially when you take into account the Johnson list of Covid mistakes and the fact that we are shackled to England because of people like Jackson Carlaw. No mention from him and his ilk about the disgusting Rangers debacle (spreading Covid) or the rising numbers of Covid in Moray and Faslane (RAF Lossiemouth / Trident).

    ”Glasgow City has been under enhanced restrictions for nearly 32 weeks, and just when it looked like there was some relief, everything collapses again. At some point the Scottish Government must accept their approach has failed.” https://mobile.twitter.com/Jackson_Carlaw/status/1393901782774992897

    ……………………………………….

    ‘George Kerevan: We’re missing a big opportunity to win Scots over to Yes.’

    http://www.thenational.scot/news/19307053.george-kerevan-big-missed-opportunity-win-scots-yes/

    • grizebard says:

      If Carlaw were in charge – which thankfully he and his lot are not – we in Glasgow wid aw be deid by noo. We need no lessons from him.

      As for Kerevan, he seems to have picked up that typical sneaky Labourite trait – to criticise the SG for not using powers that are reserved to London. (A situation partly due to Labour’s dastardly contribution to the Smith Commission.)

  33. Petra says:

    ‘Tim Rideout: Claim banks would flee independent Scotland is a Project Fear lie.’

    http://www.thenational.scot/news/19307072.tim-rideout-claim-banks-flee-independent-scotland-project-fear-lie/

    ……………………………..

    Check out Ann’s latest links on the Indyref2 site.

    https://indyref2.space/forum/topic/links-monday-17-may-2021/

  34. Liam says:

    So, just to check re the new rules, we aren’t allowed to criticize in any way, shape or form the SNP, the government or any MSP/MP in the party?

  35. Pogmothon says:

    When was the bankruptcy again?
    And the birth of the new club, which started in the lower divisions. And was free off the debts, a completely new club that could not lay claim to any of the triumphs, badges, cups or titles of the bankrupt club???

  36. Arthur Thomson says:

    Apparently the SFA have described the behaviour of the Britnat Rangers supporters as “an abomination not a celebration”. That is spot on. BUT action needs to be taken to prevent a repetition. The action needs to be taken against Rangers Football Club by the SFA and UEFA.. Rangers bring football into disrepute. The statement by Rangers Football Club is mealy mouthed nonsense. The action taken against them should be draconian. They should be banned from participation in European competitions for a minimum of two seasons and warned that further sanctions will follow if there is any repeat of this behaviour by their “fans”.

  37. Isobel Macrae-Wilson says:

    well written Paul
    clear concise guidelines

    & the football? not a fan of the wee round ba at all, (rugby only) but Gerard needs to stand up & speak out. Could follow you, clear concise guidelines!

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