I listened to a Scottish Rugby podcast with Jason Leitch, recorded earlier this week, where they discussed the reasons that appear to lie behind why the Scottish Government in their treatment of football is out of step with European countries, like Germany, France, Netherlands and others, but in-step with the Westminster Government.
Professor Leitch rhetorically posed the question you and I have discussed recently, “Why can I go to the pub and I can’t go to Celtic Park.” Through analogy, he explained that the Government were able to permit some activities, not all. That has never been in dispute, during a pandemic, you cannot allow all activities.
What has not previously been confirmed is why the Scottish Government has shadowed the (frankly abysmal) pandemic response of Boris Johnson’s Westminster government, instead of acknowledging the clear and undisputed scientific evidence that drives public policy among our European peers. Professor Leitch placed responsibility for this squarely with his political masters:
“How you then make choices between sport, versus retail, versus hospitality; that comes down to decision making, by politicians, taking the best advice they can from the financial people, the public health people, the social policy people and making choices.”
Clearly the Scottish Government listens to financial, public health and social policy people before making decisions, so do Boris Johnson and Donald Trump, this allows them to act sincere, it does not make them any good. But when Europe takes one path, which is consistent with science, and Scotland follows Westminster, which has led to some of the highest rates of mortality in the world in both Scotland and the UK as a whole, we are entitled to ask, what is going on?
They do not have a different virus in Dortmund than we have in Glasgow. In both places, it spreads significantly more indoors than out. It is inhibited by adherence to clear and monitored hygiene and distancing rules, like those in place at football games across the Continent, and it spreads where consistent enforcement of these rules is unmonitored – like pubs. The difference is the politicians, not the virus.
I know this is ‘just’ football, and our consequences are nothing like the care homes fiasco, but government policy needs to shape up pandemic response in all areas. It is not easy, but if decisions are too onerous for people in Edinburgh to get their heads around, stop following a clown in London and watch what is happening in Europe: fewer deaths, fewer infections, industry specific responses.