NOTEBOOK by BILL HEANEY
Contact tracers for Covi-19 were today described by the First Minister as “experts” – professionals who really know what they are doing.
Nicola Sturgeon, whose daily briefings to the city and to the world have been running for longer than The Mousetrap in London’s West End, was once again being economical with the truth.
Confession would be a more accurate description of the First Minister’s daily dalliance with the press and public.
She has begun to sound increasingly like my granny sitting by the fire on a Friday night reading through the Births, Deaths and Marriages in the Lennox Herald.
At least Nicola had the good grace to tell us about the lockdown in Aberdeen and the Covid spike across the river in Greenock and Inverclyde.
She would not have done so had one of her spin doctors or spads (special advisers) told her this was an admission of failure.
Nicola, who in this instance would have us believe that she is the only non-political politician in the world, usually places her officials and ministerial colleagues in the frontline to take the flak from press and public.
Jonathan Leitch, Jeane Freeman, John Swinney and Humza Yousaf to name but four.
Her supporters are effusive about the fact that the FM speaks so well in public, but the truth is she doesn’t know what she is talking about. Nobody knows.
Covid is the sixth sorrowful mystery. Nobody knows anything about it. Boffins can’t get their head round it.
Ms Sturgeon is now doing something similar with the schools’ exams shame and the great “showpiece” hospitals scandal.
Confusing us with numbers and percentages, which are ever changing and impossible to work out.
Who is to blame for the poisonous pigeon droppings, dirty water – and deaths?
Two of these establishments were supposed to be “state of the art” children’s hospitals and to cost taxpayers about £2 billion.
Watch out for these costs spiralling exponentially and Scotland’s hospitals and politicians being ridiculed for having the most proportionately expensive medical service on the planet.
On top of that there is Nicola’s undemocratic decision that she herself and her the Health Minister, Jeane Freeman, will not to make themselves available to the press to talk about this debacle.
Tread warily, dear reader, for it is you who will be hit with the bill.
Secret Scotland is where we live now. We’ve been here since 1999 and it’s not getting any better.
Private meetings, cover-ups such as the T-bone steaks and champagne episode at West Dunbartonshire Council when procurement rules were abandoned and contracts worth £millions were awarded by the SNP council without tender or proper scrutiny.
Not to mention the fact that people in high places were playing golf on the Bonnie Banks and eating high off the hog with a contractor in fine dining restaurants and five-star hotels.
The council denied that contractors, at least one of whom is enjoying a cushy retirement in Paris and the sunny South of France, picked up the tab.
Reporters were made most unwelcome when they investigated these matters, which is their job in any real democracy.
Cllr Jim Bollan, who was a thorn in administration’s flesh, was reported to the Standards Commission by Joyce White, the Council’s unelected chief executive.
Awkward questions are verboten. Where have we heard that one before?
Lord save us, then we have the care homes catastrophe – old folk shunted out of their hospital beds into care homes up the hill in the Crosslet backwoods.
Five old folk’s homes in the community closed and shuttered and one hived off for a bargain basement price to questionable private enterprise.
And the inevitable consequences of putting more than 70 residents into one home that saw so many of our local elderly and vulnerable residents contracting Covid and consigned to their coffins.
There was then a steady stream of large black limos travelling up Garshake brae to the New Dumbarton Cemetery.
Even before then, the appalling council’s cack-handed Health and Social Care Committee had been contentedly making so-called austerity cuts in cash allocations to these vital services.
Perhaps the unpreparedness to deal with Covid, which manifested itself in insufficient beds and lack of PPE (personal protective equipment), was down to austerity measures imposed at the behest of the enigmatic SNP leader, Cllr Jonathan McColl, and his shouty, giggling colleagues.
A new committee chairman, unelected of course and an accountant to boot, had been appointed.
What branch of the Carapunthians do you have to belong to in order to get a seat on the council without being elected? Same one I suppose as the new members of Audit Scotland who are being paid more than £300 a day for attending. More accountants.
I sat in on that committee and wrote at the time that I could not make head nor tail of what was going, and I have been covering councils for more than 50 years.
I was the only public/press person in attendance at the old Garshake offices and I wrote later about how opaque the proceedings were. They were also inaudible.
The members were mainly the same people who laughed behind their agenda papers when the public relations disaster about grass cutting – the abandonment of grass cutting – was introduced to great environmental detriment in our public spaces, parks, cemeteries and squares.
Great ones for window dressing, Cllr McColl and Co would maybe, just maybe, have left out of that project and tidied up the cemeteries if only they had known that so many people would be making use of them during the Covid-19 crisis, which was simmering away in the background.
And being cultivated in our increasingly dirty schools and public buildings by the SNP’s greedy cash-saving cutting of the number of cleaners.
If the schools were not dirty then why was there a need to employ 50 new cleaners before the pupils go back to school?
The low brow SNP administration fail to recognise that cleaners and care workers are among the most valuable members of their staff.
Unsurprisingly, the administration of our hospitals has been taken out of the hands of the local health board – that is the fourth health board we have had in my time as a reporter here – and a judge-led public inquiry is taking place right now into what’s been going wrong there.
And why a number of patients, including children, died at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital and the Royal Hospital for Sick Children.
Perhaps, when we see Lord Brodie’s report we will come at last to understand why the public are being so badly served in Scotland.
One thing is for certain. You cannot run an independent country on flags, kilts, See You Jimmy hats and poor communications.
Clarity and more than just a modicum of common sense are what is required.
We need to stop filling people’s heads with the nonsense that we are victims of English rule and still being subjugated by evil men claymore and shield battles long since past.
We have to remember the English were our colleagues in arms, as were the Australians, New Zealanders, Gurkhas, Irish, French and Norwegians who turned Hitler on his heels.
Scotland needs to grow up as a country, and we have to do that now.
- Western Regional Health Board; Argyll and Clyde Health Board; Lomond Healthcare Trust and the Greater Glasgow and Clyde Health Board. and Strathclyde Regional Council. None of them proved to be fit for purpose. Other councils include Dumbarton and Clydebank Town Councils; Vale of Leven District Council; Old Kilpatrick District Council; Dunbarton County Council., which included Helensburgh and the Lochside, which were gerrymandered out of Dunbarton County in order that Dumbarton and the Vale would be deprived of income from rates from the Clyde Naval Base and left out of the so-called Nuclear Free Zone.