John Swinney’s bogus numbers show ‘difference’ between England and Scotland is driven by politics – Brian Wilson

For John Swinney, the quiet zealot, everything is about Scotland versus England.

John Swinney has come under fire for claiming Scotland was doing better than England at controlling Covid (Picture: Fraser Bremner-Pool/Getty Images)

So it was no surprise to find him using dodgy statistics to claim “we” are doing better on Omicron. Even by standards we are accustomed to, this scarcely seemed the right tone on a day 20,000 Scots tested positive.

London, as everyone with half a wit recognises, is different. The Scottish numbers are higher than most other UK regions. But for Mr Swinney, the imperative was the political one of ‘proving’ that doing things differently to ‘England’ means doing things better for which there is not a shred of evidence.

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It’s barely a month since Nicola Sturgeon was calling for the return of furlough and an eight-day quarantine for everyone entering the country while bemoaning inadequate powers to impose even harsher shut-down measures on the hospitality sector. Send us more money to pay for it, she demanded.

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We now have the paradox of Swinney boasting about the success of Scotland’s “cautious” approach while she adjusts course at a rate of knots in the face of public reaction. What they both confirmed is that it really is all about politics, which is not a great message for public trust.

Humour was supplied by Humza the Hopeless moaning about the UK government easing travel restrictions without waiting for Scotland to pronounce even though it had indicated the same conclusion after consultation.

Someone might quietly point out to him that, in the event of independence, the UK (continuing) would be a separate state with absolutely no requirement to ask its departed neighbour for an opinion on anything. Good idea, Mr Yousaf?

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