Twenty-four hours before Boris Johnson scrapped most of England’s Covid rules last July, the Scottish First Minister tweeted: ‘To talk of tomorrow as “freedom day” (England only remember) is not sensible IMO [in my opinion]given current situation.’
That snide reference to ‘England only’ speaks volumes about Sturgeon’s approach to the pandemic.
Almost as important as her own lockdown measures has been her relentless efforts to define Scottish policy against Westminster’s, and her own decisions against those taken by Boris Johnson.
Nothing suits her better than when she’s crowing on about how superior her own judgment has been.
But now we know it wasn’t. New research by the Financial Times and YouGov revealed this week that all the extra pain inflicted on Scots by Sturgeon — extended mask mandates, tougher social distancing measures, longer lockdowns — made almost no discernible difference to the death toll during the crucial Delta and Omicron waves.
In fact, Scottish mortality rates have actually been higher than England’s for the past six months, while the new data also shows that south of the border, as behaviour over the past year has relaxed in line with policy, the result has been fewer deaths.
Needless to say, that isn’t how things were supposed to pan out for Sturgeon. She used her pandemic response to carve out a contrasting stance to that of Johnson.
While he was the reckless clown who played fast and loose with his citizens’ lives and safety, she was the thoughtful, courageous matriarch who put her people before her own political reputation, unafraid to duck the difficult decisions to keep her country safe.
And, thanks to the Scottish National Party’s perpetual propaganda — and England’s Left-wing news media, who seem all too happy to trumpet Sturgeon’s policy as gospel — that impression was certainly showing signs of success.
Just before Christmas, The Guardian claimed Sturgeon ‘avoids scoring political points’ (which will come as a surprise to anyone who has paid even remote attention to the way the SNP operates), drawing ‘an inescapable contrast with the PM who is not only suffering from the fallout over revelations about last year’s Christmas parties, but also continues to insist they should go ahead this year’.
Well, it’s now clear that Boris’s ‘insistence’ on public freedom over the last year did no harm whatsoever. But perhaps that never mattered to Sturgeon.
After all, the main design of her heavy-handed response —as always with the SNP — was to foment division between Scotland and England.
The nationalist narrative is as dishonest as it is simple: Scotland is doing far better than England, so why are we still in a political and economic union with them?
That argument was parroted by one of Sturgeon’s closest Covid advisers, and independence supporter, Dr Devi Sridhar, who in an interview last year claimed that an independent Scotland would have suffered fewer deaths because its government would have been able to take better decisions.
This despite the fact that health policy is entirely devolved to Scotland and completely under the SNP’s control. The reality is that the new data is devastating to nationalist hopes of emerging from the crisis of the past two years with a reputation for good governance.
Instead of prioritising her nation’s ailing businesses, the only ‘Freedom’ over which Sturgeon obsessed during the pandemic was the one that would leave her and her party free to run Scotland as their eternal fiefdom.
But now her strategy has been shown to be dishonest — albeit clever — and damaging in equal measure. Dishonest because, as the FT says, the real policy differences between the various UK nations have been of tone rather than substance.
Source: The Epochtimes