East Lothian Courier – 23 December 2021


A damper has come down upon the Festive Season as another coronavirus variant strikes. Yet the Omicron variant has hardly come as a bolt from the blue. With so many billions in the undeveloped world unvaccinated and where the UK and US have been complicit in restricting the ability of poorer countries to acquire them, it was always a threat. Likewise opening up borders and behaving as if all was normal has been shown to be precipitous.

But the current response both sides of the border is baffling. If there’s to be a lockdown to protect the NHS and the ever-increasing burden on staff, then call one. What shouldn’t be done though is to create one in all but name but then fail to provide for those who’ll suffer through loss of business or lack of work. The failure of the Treasury to protect sectors such as hospitality when their business disappears before their eyes is shameful.

Similarly, it’s absurd to be reopening a vaccination centre at Hampden Park and yet hosting a major football event in the same venue for over 50,000 people. When the First Minister’s volunteering to assist in vaccinating, a ministerial colleague will be enjoying the match hospitality. It’s preposterous and grandstanding.

Meanwhile I share Josh Taylor’s outrage over his exclusion from the BBC sports personality of the year awards. Given his unprecedented success, not even to be acknowledged is disgraceful. It’s what comes from Scotland having no say or influence in the BBC. We pay our licence fee the same as others and yet are left with seeing the world through a London lens. Josh was the most successful but there were other Scottish successes from the fitba and rugby teams through to our world leading curlers. None merited a mention and it’s a diet of what’s on the London back pages.

We should celebrate our own who succeed. If this was Ireland, Josh and those other stars would be getting feted, not just acknowledged. As it is, we’re forced to watch what London directs. It’s time BBC Scotland stood up for its licence payers.