Column: Striking the Right Balance


In my column in this week’s East Lothian Courier I discuss wearing masks, and getting the balance right between ensuring safe spaces for people in our communities and designing appropriate responses to local issues.

“Remembering to take a mask can be frustrating when you’ve left home without one. I’ve started keeping them in different pockets and in the car or other accessible areas, much as I did with reading glasses. Using public transport is slightly more complicated, whether with booking or seating, but it’s manageable and staff are considerate and helpful.

“The challenges for businesses and agencies are even greater given scale and risk. It’s not easy as options can be limited and alternatives few. But it must be done, as we’re going to have to live this way for a while at least and some aspects may well become permanent.

“That’s certainly the situation over access to town centres. Things can’t be the same as before given the need for social distancing. However, engaging with communities and traders is essential. Letting people know and seeking input is courteous to say the least but also essential in finding a solution.

“Council staff have worked hard and are operating under immense pressure. But the diktat on parking and access by the Labour administration was wrong. That they’ve rolled back from original plans is to be welcomed, though it has to be accepted that there probably isn’t a perfect solution. But local voices need heard and green space is to be preserved.”

You can read the full column at the Courier’s website here.