Following Nicola Sturgeon’s one-woman Nightclubs (Definition) (Scotland) Act, the chair of the Scottish Chambers of Commerce – a body not given to hyperbole – said it would extend to many more venues than expected with “thousands” of businesses caught up “with little time to understand, plan and implement”.
Ms Sturgeon’s defence was that a “pragmatic approach” would be encouraged “so that businesses can make sensible judgements”.
Loosely translated, this meant: “We know it was headline-grabbing nonsense. We haven’t done the homework. We know the huge practical problems. But since we can’t admit any of that, let’s make virtue out of necessity, call ourselves ‘pragmatic’ and pass the buck to you.”
It is an appalling way to run anything and to undermine sectors of the economy which have already suffered disproportionately. As for “spot-checks” at large gatherings, they are close to being a practical impossibility.
Then look at the supposed rationale for this performance – the vaccination rate among young people and the huge variations within that cohort. If you’re from an ethnic minority, there’s a one in three chance you haven’t had even a single jab. If you’re from a deprived area, it’s one in four. Is the chaotic vaccine passports wheeze going to change that? Of course not.
Headway into these statistics was only ever going to be made at community level through hard work and persuasion – none of which would provide Ms Sturgeon with a single headline.