‘Parly’, Vaccine and Borders

Monday January 25th 2021

Christine Grahame

Christine Grahame MSP writes her monthly column for Midlothian View

Parliament is tres busy with the backlog of legislation which must be completed before Parly rises at the end of March for the election, lots of statements: on fisheries, covid, vaccine, internal market and so on.

At the moment, we sit two days a week hybrid and one day virtual (such is the language of these times). The Tories are (bless their cotton socks) trying to make a mountain out of a vaccine molehill, portraying the Scottish Government as being hopeless at the vaccination programme and lauding wee bungling Boris.

Of course, they are comparing apples with pears when the Scottish Government rightly prioritised (which the Tories in Parly cried out for) elderly care home residents. England did not but did some care homes, and some over eighties. So, for clarity’s sake, all over eighties here wanting to be vaccinated will be, by 5th February.

Letters to the over seventies offering appointments will be arriving on doormats this week.

By the way how did volunteers at Penicuik Food Bank get an early vaccination as “front -line social care” from NHS Lothian? Now I have huge regard and thanks for what they do but front-line social care they are not. As for NHS Lothian reputedly saying the Scottish Government “guidelines” are not clear that is frankly, to use a guid Scots term, mince.

So, I have written to NHS Lothian with some specific questions to find out how this happened starting with, who approached whom? Did NHS Lothian contact the Food Bank, which I doubt, so did someone from the Food Bank contacted NHS Lothian? If so who was it? Who did they talk to? When was it agreed and where was it done? It’s a bit fishy to me. You see I don’t know of any other Food Bank volunteers who’ve been vaccinated ahead of the over seventies, the very vulnerable, the teachers, the police, shop assistants and so on. Let’s see how that pans out.

As for the scenes at Heathrow recently I ask myself why Boris de Pfeffel has not closed the UK Borders. We had the advantage of being an island and it should have been done last year but nearly one year on and he is still shillyshallying but then that’s his modus non operandi. Now he is promising (in England) restrictions could be eased by Mid-February. This is the same man who said it would all be over by Christmas.

Thank goodness he is marginalised in Scotland Wales and Northern Ireland. Kept in his covid box while we make our own rules (except where international flights and borders are concerned). While you and I are confined to barracks, except for the odd trip for groceries and a wee walk, folk from all the airts come an go on trains and planes. All the while we see mutations of the virus erupt in South Africa, Brazil and probably elsewhere also most likely travelling on trains and planes through our communities. We need the borders closed Boris and now.

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