Covid: Scotland will pay a price for mixed messages over 'five days' of Christmas – Brian Wilson

Sometimes you get more realism from a taxi driver than a politician. Take last weekend, when I asked a Glasgow cabbie how business had been.
A nurse holds the hand of a Covid patient in intensive care (Picture: Alessandra Tarantino/AP)A nurse holds the hand of a Covid patient in intensive care (Picture: Alessandra Tarantino/AP)
A nurse holds the hand of a Covid patient in intensive care (Picture: Alessandra Tarantino/AP)

“Last night was really busy,” he replied. “There were parties all over the place”.

Well, of course there were. The idea young people – and some not so young – sup their coffee until 6pm, then retire home to watch Strictly Come Dancing does not accord with much of human behaviour.

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Every measure can be referenced to what’s happening elsewhere but I find the treatment of our hospitality industry irrational and quite probably counter-productive. Let’s hope the research will be done one day.

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People meeting in small numbers under heavily regulated conditions while sustaining countless businesses and jobs seems preferable on all grounds to the reality my taxi-driver described, unless you pretend that reality does not exist.

Every piece of evidence confirms the vast majority of Covid spread takes place in the home, and the smaller the space, the higher the risk. How does that compare to restaurants?

As for Christmas, the UK-wide mixed messaging has been startling. It’s not like turning the tree lights on and off. Weeks were spent building up the dubious “five days of freedom” plan. Going into reverse came late and we will pay a price. As for New Year…

All these decisions are difficult but in order to be respected, they need to carry credibility. Prior to announcements, we need forensic scrutiny of each decision which affects jobs and lives.

With over 6,000 dead in Scotland, the ”because we say so” premise has not worked so far and is unlikely to work in future.

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