Saturday 14 March 2020
Coronavirus, Trump, Johnston, Alex Salmond
So, another week in and an eventful one at that , I was supposed to be heading to the Middle East today, in which case this blog would have been one in the Nautical Nomad series and at this moment I would have been extoling the virtues of the lounge in the Airport looking out on a rainy cold Edinburgh Airport whilst waiting on my flight to Dubai.
Unfortunately, it was not to be, as I heard only on Thursday that the cruise, I was to be joining in Dubai had been cancelled owing to the fact that Dubai had closed its port to cruise ships. Ah well, looking on the bright side, I suppose it could have been worse as I could have joined the cruise and then Dubai could have closed the port meaning it would have been extremely difficult to get back home again.
Coronavirus is spreading in the west now at an alarming rate and today there are 1140 cases in England with 21 deaths having sadly occurred. In Scotland there have been 3715 tests given and only 121 cases confirmed of which only one death has occurred and following the Worldwide pattern, an elderly patent with underlying health issues.
Boris Johnston has been giving all the signs that he is not fully on top of the situation with at one point suggesting that they let the disease take its course following the herd immunity principal, which is a theory that as long as there is a large percentage of the population immune to the disease it will eventually cancel itself out., The problem with this theory is that there is no evidence to suggest that there is anyone actually immune to the disease as this immunity can come from immunization and as yet there is no known vaccination available for this disease.
Now the main problem, apart from their being no reason to believe there is an inbuilt immunity in part of the population , is that we do know that the disease kills vulnerable people, so we have a government quite willing to sacrifice a fair section of the population to save money and the Scottish government seem to a point to be going along with this strategy. This to me is very concerning.
So, let’s look at the alternatives. Two European countries, Italy and Spain have belatedly put far stronger measures into place and basically closed their countries, preventing all unnecessary movement of people. These are the two countries in Europe with the highest numbers of affected people, they were where the UK is three weeks ago and were more or less approaching the issue as the UK is doing today. It didn’t work so they are basically closing down the country. Russia, one of the largest countries on the planet closed their borders at the start of the epidemic and, to-date they have not had a single death due to the virus.
So, why is the UK following this herd immunity policy? Well there can be a few possible reasons. The government are in a mess because of Brexit, the World was on the verge of a global recession because of the reliance on the financial services section of commerce and there has been no lessons learned since the crash in 2008. This epidemic will cloud the governments incompetence. Another reason for this particular policy could be because this illness affects disproportionately the elderly and people with pre-determined health issues. Coincidently these are the people who are no doubt seen as a burden on the state and health service, Knowing the type of government we have , I would not put it past them to by quite happy with a cull of the elderly, in fact that very scenario has been suggested by one of them.
So, to the US and the reaction by Donald Trump. I watched his performance last night when he was declaring a national emergency. Honestly, if there is a single American who was not embarrassed by his performance, I will be very surprised. Within a couple of weeks, he has gone from “no problem it will all be over by April” to declaring a national emergency. Both his speech and the answers he gave to questions from reporters was cringeworthy and childish in the extreme. He has claimed credit for the rise in the stock market in recent years, but it was solely his actions (or inactions) which have greatly contributed to the largest falls since the great depression. I honestly feel we are again heading that way unless some common sense can be injected into World leader policy combined with a wrench away from monetarism.
The Alex Salmond trial started this week in what can only be called a dystopian atmosphere. Alex was the leader of the SNP (Scottish national party) and took the country to the independence referendum in 2014., He resigned after the defeat. He has unfortunately been seen as a threat to the present leadership which has at its head Nicola Sturgeon, It is a long story which I have covered in previous blogs but because of this perceived threat it is though that he was set up to fall and the way this was done was to encourage complaints of a sexual nature to be made against him some years after the alleged incidents.
The case came to court this week, preceded a couple of months ago by an action of judicial review Alex brought against the Scottish government for irregularities in the manner the Scottish government arranged the case against Salmond. That case collapsed in Salmond’s favor because the Scottish government refused to produce emails relevant to the case. The Judge at the time made the comment that the Scottish government’s dealings with at least one of the complainers amounted to inducement to make the complaint.
So, the trial this week was set up to exclude the public to protect the identity of the accusers. A benefit the accused is not availed of although, at this point in time he is innocent. The effect of this was to skew the reporting to falsely indicate that some of the accusers were public servants employed by the government, when in fact they were anything but, and were in fact high positioned party officers and indeed politicians. I cannot divulge their identities because of the restrictive contempt of court rues in place but I will say that after the trial when these rules no longer apply, and these people can be identified a lot of things will fall into place.
I must admit, I have been slightly concerned at the cross-examination of these people by Gordon Jackson who is Salmon’s QC. It may be for a reason and I await the case for the defense and the witnesses to come, including Salmons testimony. My prediction is still some severe changes at the top of the SNP as a consequence of this case, and my hope is that Salmond will be acquitted and able to return to politics, quite possibly leading a new independence party. The present road to independence seems to be deliberately blocked by Nicola sturgeon and this is a situation which must be addressed as soon as possible.
In place of winging my way to the Middle East, I will be having a couple of pints in Mennies, and no doubt engaging in lively debate about politics and the world in general, As my suitcase is still packed I might head off to the western isles during the week with a stop in Barra, my favorite island.
So, to all my friends the Works over and particularly in these uncertain times I wish you a good weekend and please do take care.
I raise my glass to you