The questions Nicola Sturgeon needs to answer over Covid response - Brian Wilson
Nobody accuses politicians and advisers of not doing their best – now a familiar line of defence. We praise them for that but when talking about such dire outcomes, it is not a clinching argument. We need more questioning, not less, about key decisions and why promises – notably, in Scotland, on testing – remain so unfulfilled. Whether these questions are “political” with small or capital “p” is irrelevant. It is the duty of opposition to ask them, persistently.
The appropriate forum in any democratic system is Parliament. The First Minister’s acceptance of that principle seems distinctly limited, judging by truculent responses to any sustained inquiries about key areas in which failure appears to have occurred. Those around her are adopting the same injured tone which seems to assume “consensus” is their entitlement so long as they are “doing their best”. It is a presumption bolstered by the daily briefings format.
I wonder how long these will continue? The broadcasters’ facilitation of them was necessary when events were fast-moving and urgent. All rules of balance and rights of response were understandably dispensed with in both London and Edinburgh.
There is a danger, however, of this format – structured by politicians rather than broadcasters – becoming institutionalised as pulpits rather than platforms to provide public information.
We are at a stage where information could be issued through official channels and policy statements made in Parliaments which exist to allow scrutiny and challenge.
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