East Lothian Courier – 24 June 2021


It was disappointing to see East Lothian topping the coronavirus infections table last week. No doubt it was related to the football, both those that headed to London and others who simply gathered at home. Waiting at King’s Cross for the train home I saw several trains arrive from Scotland and it was a largely a new generation of the Tartan Army with most being in their teens or twenties.

That’s reflected in the age profiles of those contracting it and hopefully they’ll not suffer for it. But it shows the virulence of this new variant and why vigilence will be needed for a long time to come, as other strains may well follow in their wake. There was no telling those youngsters though who were doing what their fathers and grandfathers and indeed I’ve done years before.

Hopefully, the county will get back on track and again be one of the safest places to be. For as has always been said its not just the risks from coronavirus for individuals but the effects upon the health service for us all. Speaking to a friend awaiting a hernia operation it’s clear that many waiting lists are lengthening and that’s a real danger for many. It’s hugely uncomfortable for him but there’s other afflictions where it’s a risk to life not just painful.

Schools are now out affording a well-earned rest for all, pupils and staff. It’s not been easy and great credit goes to all. But there are issues in Scottish education that can’t simply be laid at Covids door and which’s why the Scottish Governments review’s long overdue. For sure austerity and funding cuts have played their part but there’s structural problems.

Suggestions that education’s in meltdown are absurd. Schools are doing the best they can but they should be doing better and staff and pupils are capable of it. Teachers are working hard but it’s the system they’re working in that needs addressed. Scottish education has slightly lost its way, as it’s about striking a balance. Moving away from rote learning but still ensuring the basics are covered.