Covid demonstrations and deniers

Monday August 31st 2020

Christine Grahame

Christine Grahame MSP writes her monthly column for Midlothian View

I confess I am missing my Tesco surgeries and just getting out and about in the Midlothian. The two metre rule makes actual site visits very difficult. Even a demonstration of support for a campaign is a test of compliance.

Take for example the recent demonstration myself, Owen Thompson MP and local councillors Debbi McCall and Kelly Parry had on Saturday with parents and children outside Glencorse Primary. The Council has voted to close it as the pupil numbers are small but parents (who only learned of the plan over a Zoom meeting) are upset, angry and determined to keep it open.

I’m on their side. I am told too there are children who would have been enrolled except for persistent rumours (now a fact) over the years that the axe was about to fall on the school. This is known as “death by a thousand cuts” and is a well-worn device to wear down opposition. It seems some local children are travelling to Roslin and not to the school practically on their doorstep. I don’t blame parents but with Glencorse there is a school within walking distance and in my experience ( many moons ago mind you) as a secondary teacher, small schools with good class sizes are a delight to teach and to teach effectively.

Any way there will be another demo next Saturday same time 10am, same place, just outside the school because this is a fight which needs to be won especially in these covid months now and in the winter to come when goodness knows what lies ahead for schools staying open. Who knows, we might (I hope not) need to reduce class sizes in the larger primaries to keep the virus at bay so Glencorse is the right size ,in the right place, at the right time.

That 2 metre rule is also being forgotten by some folks when you are out shopping and perhaps we are too polite at times. One-way systems appear to have all but gone and not everyone wipes down the trolley and disinfects their hands. Add to that face coverings when it is as plain as a pikestaff there are some folks just being defiant. This makes it very difficult for the shop staff who of course are not enforcers, and neither are we.

But why do folk do it? Of course, there are medical reasons and we all understand that but defiance? That’s not a medical condition. Perhaps they are the deniers who say that covid is not real, it is even a conspiracy, a political plot or Big Business Brother hoping to make Big Bucks on a vaccine. I take it the deaths in hospital, including medical staff are a fiction too? Give me strength.

Am I alone in having concerns that some have forgotten where we all were those few months back? Like you I weary of restrictions, I long to be back to “normality”. But we are here we are and until there is a vaccine or a clever treatment we just have to keep going not just for ourselves, but the many who have suffered as a result of covid through ill health or the struggles with their income and their business. The folk who break the rules should try to remember that.

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