Clearly define & publicise the Scottish Government's core principles for addressing Covid-19

Initially, the philosophy of the Scottish Government (SG) and the UK Government when it came to fighting Covid-19 was tolerably clear: take any measures necessary to protect public health and stop the NHS from becoming overwhelmed, therefore avoiding mass human casualties. At the time the full national lockdown was initiated, this was a sensible and simple policy and people got on with it, even if they didn't like it.

Since then, however, the piecemeal reopening of certain sectors of the economy and the relaxation of some (but not other) restrictions on personal liberty have caused increasing confusion. This is because the SG is relying on a number of different principles, at times without actually coming out and saying so, and many of these principles directly conflict with each other.

In simple terms, the question is this: what are we trying to do now? Are we trying to eradicate the virus? Or are we just trying to 'flatten the curve' until a vaccine is developed? If it's the former then more restrictions, such as local lockdowns, make sense. If it's the latter, then they don't. The SG seems to vacillate between these two positions, possibly without even realising.

When numbers of cases shoot up we're told not to worry, as the hospitalisation rate is still very low - nothing to see here, carry on eating out to help out. Then one day the numbers are still high, but this time we're talking about a 'circuit-breaker' and imprisoning undergraduates in their halls, telling them they can't go home for Christmas or out for a coffee. So what is the goal? It can't be both eradication of the virus AND flattening the curve and living with it until their is a vaccine (if ever).

The SG needs to choose and it needs to do so publicly, so that people can understand *why* new restrictions are put in place, whilst others are relaxed, as necessary. If the government doesn't level with the public they can't expect the public to comply with an increasingly Byzantine system of rules and restrictions.

Why the contribution is important

Depending on what the SG's goal is, the measures they are putting in place may or may not be justifiable. In order for the public to evaluate this, and to scrutinise the government, we must be told what the actual end goal is. This will help the public to understand why certain restrictions are necessary, but also allow for a more rational discussion about what the proper end goal should be.

by citizen5 on October 06, 2020 at 05:12PM

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