The Grand Tour: Fife and Beyond

Ramblings of an inveterate cyclist

Thursday once more an outside my window it continues to rain although thankfully the wind has abated,

You can not live in Scotland, even in the isolation of lockdown, and fail to understand that big changes are taking place here. The way the pandemic has been handled in the Scottish NHS, so different from that of England NHS. Here we have a much more joined-up system of care literally from cradle too grave.

The pandemic has shone a bright light on the real problems in the Union of the kingdoms of the UK. Coronavirus has also shown that poverty and inadequate housing is still a big factor in trying to containing the spread of the virus, living cheek and jewel, makes it impossible to self isolate in any meaningful way. Poverty and low wages are making it harder, sometimes impossible, for people to obey the rule ‘go home and self isolate’. If two people take on a mortgage, based on two wages coming into the household, what does one, (or even both), do when told to self-isolate, fall behind with their payments possibly putting their home at risk, or stay schtum and risk going to work? Children at home make this a much more difficult decision. Although now clear for everyone to see, the poorest parts of the country having the highest and stubbornly high outbreaks of coronavirus. Years and years of Tory austerity, has now come home to haunt us.

And begin Thursday I have the fastest half-hour of my, day watching the Alex Salmon Show. Today was no exception we heard from Doctor Luke O’Neil of Dublin, and Dr Sir Harry Burns, who needs no introduction. Both men are plain speakers, they talk in plain language that even the layman has no problem understanding and with no axe to grind, no waffle. Listen in to hear clear clinical thinking on the coronavirus pandemic.

And just as clinical is the sharp mined and clear thinking of Lesley Riddoch in her Thursday’s column in The National. Her thinking, as ever, cut through all the crap we see and hear about Scottish Independence and cut right to the core of the problem,

“We urgently need a vision to hold beside the pessimistic pictures of indy that will roll in regularly between now and indyref2”

the last part of her input said it all for me and something I was very much in tune with, (speaking about the SNP government, she said),

“Forward motion is the solution. So, get on with it. Indy-supporting Scots will not forgive the leaders of the SNP – any of them – for failing to get their priorities right at the start of the momentous year, (Holyrood elections in May 2021). The answer doesn’t lie in the yet another take on the vexed gender identity row – it lies in doing what has not been done these long years.

Vigorous leadership on independence and active daily rebuttal of the stories knocking independence by the amply funded SNP”.

Then to me, she cut to the quick,

“If that is too hard, the management of the party needs an urgent refresh”. (at lot of us have been saying that for years now).

Personally, I believe that many Scots will hold their nose and vote SNP one more time, for they would appear to be, at this point in time, the only party capable of winning a majority (or at least being the biggest party at Holyrood) therefore the only party capable of offering the Scottish people something they have been crying out for, ever since the Brexit referendum, a referendum on independence. However, if this is the outcome of the next Holyrood elections then the SNP better put the plans for a second independence referendum into practice toot-sweet, for from that day forward they will be on borrowed time if Nicola tries to kick that can down the road, the SNP will be finished in Scotland.

Brexit has not only put the Westminster parliament on all the UK mainstream media it has attracted much more interest abroad, suddenly the EU matters. We heard little from the European media over Scottish Independence in 2014, certainly no one was taking Scotland part. That has all changed more so with the problems over the Irish border, and that Scotland once independent would wish to rejoin the EU (if not as a full member possibly EEA a halfway house). Professor Sit Tom Devine put it this way,

“Brexit was a ‘gift from the gods’ for the First Minister and the SNP”.

Christina Boyle of the L.A. Times reported on the widespread handling of the pandemic and told its readers that, of Brexit leading to Scottish Independence”.

And Michael Sturrock, the founder of ‘NoToYes’ website and has been a strong supporter of the Union, now tells us that,

“Brexit has been the fundamental turning point for me and for so many people”,

You are not wrong there Michael.

Sorry to be so political, but these are the time in which we now live.

Stay safe.

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