Since its inception, the Scottish Parliament has not been renowned for its reforming zeal. But the pandemic has thrown up a range of challenges that must be addressed if a ‘working’ system is to re-emerge in hospitals, schools and the courts. It is surely right then that the electorate has some idea of the competing views of each of the political parties as to how they intend to respond to the pandemic’s effects.
“There is a range of attitudes in the industry from blind optimism to sheer pessimism, depending on who you talk to and what day of the week it is,” says Williams, when asked how hopeful he is about the future of Scottish Theatre. “I do think that when people can return to the theatre, they will. I think there will be a real hunger for live events.”
‘…richer nations such as Scotland need to live up to their oft-repeated, much-vaunted proclamations in favour of global solidarity. So far, we’re not even talking about it in the pandemic.’
‘The outcome is indeed so vital for us all that the progress of the vaccination programme is the one topic that cannot be kicked into the long grass of some future Inquiry – and this knowledge must be shared as fully and as often as possible.’
‘Putting it bluntly, this kind of statistical amnesia will seem a little tawdry to anyone who invested belief and political capital in the First Minister’s approach.’ Our statistical expert ends the year of the pandemic as he began: savaging the misuse of data.
As Covid restrictions tighten and lockdown closes doors once again, the challenges he describes will strike a chord with thousands of independent cafes, restaurants and bars across Scotland.
‘But the more fundamental objection is that the study (by Public Health Scotland into hospital discharges to care homes) tells us nothing about the real question of concern: Did the discharge of untested patients to care homes result in an increase in deaths? The truth is that we are really none the wiser.’
Relationship breakdown, housing, mental health and finances have been some of the main issues impacting young people. It isn’t over yet. I can assure you – this pandemic is no great leveller.
‘Working and living here has always been a dream of mine – but my French was never good enough to get a job. So, it seems ironic that, just as this has become a reality because of completely remote working, the possibility is being taken away.’
‘This will not be unique to Scotland’s capital but does illustrate the double bind that local government is in with COVID-19: tackling the problems created along with the cost of doing so with insufficient funding and still having to make cuts of £39m at the same time. This is where the unallocated monies and the underspend can be used especially now in this time of great need.’