'As we look forward to the potential for everyone in Scotland in 2021 which will surely be an improvement on 2020, and is in all of our hands to make happen, wrote Gil Paterson MSP in the Clydebank Post recently.
With the latest mutation of the coronavirus setting us all back to the early days of the pandemic and escalating infection rates in Clydebank. The bigger picture being that, with over 100,000 deaths attributed to covid-19 in the UK since the start of the outbreak which gives the UK the unenviable title of the country with the highest mortality rate per head of population in the world even worse than the USA and Brazil.
Two chinks of light. People are becoming more aware of the need to follow the behavioural restrictions (unfortunately not all) and the vaccination programme is being run out as quickly as we can secure vaccine. So, to enable our earliest lifting of restrictions I urge everybody to continue following the rules and when offered the vaccination to take up the offer.
With the Brexit withdrawal “deal” finally done and dusted the true horrors of leaving the European Union are being exposed. Like most in Scotland I opposed Brexit primarily for what we would loose and the damage it would do to our core industries but never had I imagined how bad it would be.
Because Scotland’s economic base is different from the South East of England it was assumed that during the withdrawal negotiations the UK Government would take account of these different needs and protect Scottish industry. Sadly, despite numerous representations by the Scottish Government they decided to ignore Scottish concerns and in the final days of the negotiations threw the Scottish fishing industry under the bus after years of promising them a better future. Since the fishing industry represented such a small part of the UK economy, they were considered expendable despite the fact they were integral to the Scottish economy and one of our major exporters.
As well as the fishing industry, food and drinks, farming, tourism and hospitality in Scotland are going to suffer disproportionately from the rest of the UK.
As many of you will know since the tragic murder of Paige Docherty and the subsequent delay in the return of her body to the family because of defence lawyers second post-mortem requests I have been working on a Members Bill to time limit this process so that the deceased are returned for internment within a reasonable timeframe.
Stage 1 of the Scottish Parliament's legislative process was heard last week but unfortunately due to time constraints occasioned by coronavirus business proper evidence taking was not possible and the Bill fell.
The one good thing to come out of my campaigning and raising the issue was that the Crown Office have introduced a protocol which will minimise delay in second post-mortems and improve information sharing. Not the result I had hoped for but certainly better than the situation inherited before I introduced my Members Bill.