Printer Friendly

How SNP and Tories are failing on Covid - Ian Murray MP; As Boris Johnson tries to spin his way out of trouble, the SNP is still focused on independence and not what should be their priority, the coronavirus pandemic, writes Ian Murray MP.

Byline: Ian Murray

YESTERDAY marked a grim milestone in our battle against coronavirus.

With 486 new cases in Scotland - the highest daily total yet - it's clear Scotland is now in the grip of a second wave.

The figures are a stark reminder of why new restrictions are necessary.

We have come a long way since Scottish nationalists were screaming at people at the border and were holding Scotland up as an international example of best practice.

That was always deeply insulting given we recorded the third-highest excess-death rate in Europe, testing levels were one of the worst in the world, and care home deaths shamed the nation.

READ MORE: ( Experts warn a blanket care home visiting ban 'could risk premature deaths'

The new restrictions will make life extremely difficult for us all, but action is necessary to prevent further deaths.

In return, people deserve action from their governments too.

Unfortunately, both in Scotland and across the UK, those in charge continue to fall short.

More than half a year has passed since the World Health Organisation urged nations to "test, test, test".

Yet Boris Johnson is losing control of the UK's testing system.

As Keir Starmer said in the Commons yesterday, there are children currently forced to miss school because they were awaiting a test.

Boris Johnson didn't have an answer and resorted to political spin that "we're going to go up to 500,000 daily tests". But that's the 'capacity' target - not the actual number of tests.

Both governments have resorted to spin rather than substance during this crisis, with the UK Government particularly bad at it.

For some in the SNP, such as fellow columnist Angus Robertson, being better at PR is all that matters.

"What really matters is public opinion," he told the BBC. Not the care home deaths scandal, the cover-ups, or the myriad of other Scottish Government failures.

(Not that it was the most callous comment he has made recently - that was his remark about the death of elderly voters being positive as they were likely to oppose independence.)

As has long been clear, without a working vaccine, the only way out of the pandemic is through an effective test-and-trace strategy.

The problems with testing are not as acute in Scotland as other parts of the UK, but when it comes to contact tracing there is now a major crisis.

The SNP Government promised there would be 2,000 contact tracers. Yet it came to light on Tuesday - buried on a busy news day - that less than half have been recruited.

Without tracers, we will never get out of the cycle of lockdowns.

That's why I say people expect action from their governments too.

Action which must include measures from the UK Government to prevent the projected catastrophic job losses. For months Labour has repeatedly called on ministers not to withdraw furlough, and it's encouraging that the Chancellor is now looking at options.

And action which must include economic interventions from the Scottish Government also. We need a quality Jobs Guarantee Scheme, funds to support cash-strapped health boards and a fairer settlement for councils such as Edinburgh, which has been starved of money for too long.

Earlier this month, the SNP found time for a second independence referendum Bill in Parliament.

It was the wrong priority. The only priority, more than ever, is forging a path through this pandemic.

Ian Murray is the Labour MP for Edinburgh South

A message from the Editor:

Thank you for reading this article on our website. While I have your attention, I also have an important request to make of you.

The dramatic events of 2020 are having a major impact on many of our advertisers - and consequently the revenue we receive. We are now more reliant than ever on you taking out a digital subscription to support our journalism.

Subscribe to the Edinburgh Evening News online and enjoy unlimited access to trusted, fact-checked news and sport from Edinburgh and the Lothians. Visit ( now to sign up.

By supporting us, we are able to support you in providing trusted, fact-checked content for this website.

Joy Yates

Editorial Director


CAPTION: Until there's a coronavirus vaccine, testing is vital (Picture: Lisa Ferguson)
COPYRIGHT 2020 NLA Access Media Limited
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2020 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Title Annotation:Columnists; Politics; Coronavirus
Author:Ian Murray
Publication:The Scotsman Online
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Sep 24, 2020
Previous Article:Social distancing when you can't see around you; Mark O'Donnell - Remember visually impaired in Covid crisis.
Next Article:Youngsters taught skills to deal with Covid and climate change fall-out; A month-long campaign is helping to equip people with the skills needed to...

Terms of use | Privacy policy | Copyright © 2022 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters |