East Lothian Courier – 02 July 2021


Football’s coming home all right but not as hoped by some, as it’s the staggering rise in infections that’s winning. It may have been the young lads who travelled and others of all ages who gathered that’s fired it but just what did Governments both sides of the border expect would happen? When youth football was unable to resume for so long and many social gatherings remain restricted, the craven sell-out to big corporates has been shameful.

Other chickens are also coming to roost. With furlough ending unemployment will rise and businesses especially those that still cannot reopen may fold. How pubs and other businesses can be expected to sustain staff costs when they’ve had no income for so long’s as inexplicable, as the football related infections were obvious.

Consequences of Brexit also continue to resonate and it’s the reality not the falsehoods printed on the sides of a bus. Many people from Europe who’ve come and made this their home are in fear and a few may well miss out on important rights such as access to health care through being unaware. A simple granting of rights would have been simpler and fairer.

Despite unemployment rising there are still skill shortages that East Europeans were filling. Sadly, those working in a pub or office job often don’t have the HGV licence that’s wanted or the skills or fitness to work in agriculture. Our economy is seeing the irony of increasing unemployment yet matched by growing skills shortages. Blame rests squarely with the Tory Government.

On a happier note last week saw me able to participate in a debate on the cuts to overseas aid. Its not just a moral issue where people are literally starving and dying. It’s also for our own health. 85% of vaccinations given have been in high- and middle-income countries. Only 0.3% in lower income lands. If we want to avoid another variant and one where current vaccinations may not protect us, we need to roll out protection everywhere. Regrettably there was no vote taken but pressure’s continuing to restore the 0.7% GDP expenditure required.