After dishing out advice for Scots about northern England, you might have expected a health warning about the likes of Inverclyde
In case Scots haven’t got the message yet, Nicola Sturgeon’s Twitter feed today has been jammed with messages about the local restrictions imposed in parts of the north of England because of rises in coronavirus infections.
And just to reiterate the unstated but emphatic point these Tweets make, the first minister is urging Scots not to travel to these areas. We can’t be trusted to read the news ourselves and to draw the blindingly obvious conclusions; we are Scottish, so therefore we need state-approved advice before making any decision.
Just think, if it were not for Sturgeon, hundreds of Scots would think that news reports of increased infection rates in Greater Manchester should have no effect on their weekend plans to snog a complete stranger in Stockport. So hurrah for Nicola!
3/ if you are from Scotland and already visiting one of these areas, you don’t have to cut short your visit – but please abide by the rules while there and be extra vigilant when you come home, especially for symptoms.
Oddly, she issued no such warning about Inverclyde. Yesterday the media reported a cluster of infections there, an area which had already recorded the highest per capita infection rates in Scotland. A local pharmacy in Port Glasgow was eventually identified as the source of the latest spike. But in contrast to the first minister’s carefully composed words of concern for our English compatriots and sage advice for Scots about staying away from the filthy English if you don’t want to die a horrible death, there was no health warning attached to Inverclyde.
For the sake of consistency, you might have expected dire warnings from Sturgeon against venturing any further west on the M8 than the Erskine Bridge. Anyone disembarking from one of the many cruise ships that arrive at Greenock quayside could have been told to self-isolate for a couple of weeks; anyone visiting relatives there could have been told the same, lest they risk spreading the virus further inland.
But no, the only anti-travel advice given to Scots today has been in regard to England. It should be noted, however, that this falls short of Sturgeon’s earlier consideration of “closing” the border between our two nations (and her devoted followers’ enthusiasm for doing so); she has issued advice only and urged, not commanded, Scots to shun England.
The reason the Scottish Government has chosen to learn very different lessons from Port Glasgow and the north of England is unclear, but a nationalist political analysis will play a part. Nationalists regard Scotland as a single homogenous entity and reckon everyone who lives here thinks the same: we are all left wing, we all hate the Conservatives (despite their being the second largest party here), and we all have the same opinion on everything (actually, that one is becoming truer by the day). The SNP is only too happy – nay, eager – to draw distinctions between Scotland and any part of England, but it draws a line at conceding that some parts of Scotland itself could have a different culture, language, political outlook or even level of Covid infection from other parts of Scotland.
It’s a fundamental tenet of nationalist faith. I am able to recognise that I have more in common, from a cultural perspective, with people living in Liverpool, Belfast and Manchester than I do with some Scots living in Edinburgh and Aberdeen. But this is heresy to nationalists: Scotland has one culture, one opinion, one outlook and one voice, because to assume anything different, even in this mad Covid era, would be to undermine the case for independence.
A more sensible approach would surely be to consider, as Boris Johnson has done, more localised lockdowns to protect the wider nation from Covid outbreaks like the one that has manifested itself in Port Glasgow. But that would risk the central SNP narrative throughout this emergency – that Scotland is doing better than England and that the former must be protected from the latter.
In Sturgeon’s defence, given the proximity of some parts of England to some parts of Scotland, it’s natural that she should comment on what’s happening there. And she has at least limited her advice to just that – advice, not threats of legal action against those who spurn it. Also, advising people not to travel to Port Glasgow is probably about as productive as telling residents of Glasgow’s West End not to travel to the city’s southside: I mean, they know how to get there but why would they bother?
We urge you to turn off your ad blocker for The Telegraph website so that you can continue to access our quality content in the future.
News – Why does Nicola Sturgeon have nothing to say about Covid hotspots in Scotland?