The SNP desperately want to be in charge of everything in Scotland - their central purpose is to achieve independence and govern without annoying interference from above. That’s why they call themselves the Scottish Government.

If you want to be a Government you have to act like one. To weigh up the facts, see the larger picture, lead the country in the right direction even if it is difficult and unpopular. A council on the other hand is a subset of something else, receiving most of its funding from a higher authority , it should not try to see the broader perspective. Councils are vital, they rightly focus on detailed tasks, they should not take risks even if carefully judged , they are not Governments.

Boris Johnson has been brave enough to set target dates for specific significant changes to the lockdown to set us and the economy free once more. Immediately he runs into flak, screams from the teachers, opinion polls which show people are still frightened to go out - even though for the healthy under-50’s there really is nothing to fear. Setting target dates is not reckless, it is leadership. The dates are not absolutes but they are clear objectives to aim towards, to get ready, to make decisions, to prepare. Without dates targets are meaningless.

From the Scottish Government so far we have vagueness. Their message designed in strangely equal measure to be both frightening and reassuring. They like the fact public opinion is with them but actually their failure to be a real Government is increasingly obvious. We have phases but no dates to aim for.

Real Government requires action not inaction. Real Government means you see the difficult task which has to be done and you work out a way to do it rather than find another reason why you can’t yet. Being allowed to go fishing or play golf again doesn’t cut it I’m afraid in terms of action. Real Governments get things done, they set specific targets for things which actually matter and they set challenging dates.

The UK economy is in deep recession. Borrowing is piling up at a staggering rate. Our NHS, actually less busy overall than normal, is not being allowed to do its wider job. Mental health, cancer care, every type of care except for Covid-19 is suffering and if we don’t get the economy moving again now we won’t be able to afford the healthcare and other public services we want.

Let’s focus on one example where urgent action is needed.

We are constantly told by Ian Blackford and his chums that our very rural areas are extremely fragile and that because of Covid-19 we mustn’t go there right now. We must keep sending the subsidies but we mustn’t actually turn up. So strong is the SNP message that an unpleasant anti-outsider undercurrent is welling up in some places.

When the SNP says our most rural communities are especially fragile to Covid-19 you might wonder if there was something nasty in the water but when you dig deeper its because their populations are disproportionately old and the healthcare infrastructure is limited.

Older people are more susceptible to complications with Covid-19 but the reason why very rural communities are fragile is not that they are full of old people but that they don’t have enough young people. The reason why there are not enough young people is overwhelmingly that there are not enough jobs.

Tourism is the most crucial industry of all in many deeply rural communities, without it they would collapse. To be sustainable a community needs access to a post office, general store, petrol station, GP surgery, primary school and a pub to provide a focal point. Remove any one of these and an isolated community is in danger. Once one goes the spiral of decline is hard to stop. Tourist income is vital to keeping many communities viable.

If people are not allowed to go to rural Scotland this summer to stay at small hotels, B&B’s and self-catering accommodation there is a real danger of irreparable damage to rural economies.

The Scottish Government needs to set, now, a target of 4th July for the reopening of the rural hospitality industry. Yes, social distancing arrangements should be put in place but don’t let difficulties with public toilets, car parks or nimbyism stop what needs to be done. Find a way, make it happen , stop the waffle about “Phase 3”. Place paramedics at strategic locations, have helicopters on standby - the cost is nothing compared to what will happen if our summer tourist season is needlessly denied.

4th July - Independence Day - how ironic. Set the date. Get on with it.

Guy Stenhouse is a Scottish financial sector veteran who wrote formerly as Pinstripe.