FRANCE closed its border to the UK over the first new strain of coronavirus this week. It was swift and there was nothing Britain could do.

A second new strain of the virus had arrived by the time final negotiations over the post-Brexit trade deal were being acted out and, while the finality of the EU’s locked borders was not Brexit-related, it appeared as a kind of dark harbinger.

The impact on Scottish food producers who export fresh and perishable goods such as seafood and salmon has been “absolutely disastrous” leading to a “black Christmas” for many, said David Thomson of the Food and Drink Federation Scotland.

Meanwhile, there was an air of celebration running alongside among insular Tories who seem hardly able to contain themselves at this point over what they claim to be achievements such as “sovereignty being returned”.

In his Called to Account column this week, Herald Business Editor Ian McConnell shone a light on dispiriting reactions to the consequences of Brexit.

He wrote that during tumultuous times, “dominated by stark warnings from Nicola Sturgeon and Boris Johnson among others on a new strain of Covid-19 which can spread much more rapidly, the UK Government’s hell-bent rush to leave the European single market appeared ever more bizarre”.

“And ever more irresponsible, and unfathomable,” he continued. “The Prime Minister appearing to laugh on Monday when asked a question about whether or not there would be a no-deal Brexit seemed at the same time utterly incongruous and entirely expected, given this Government’s seeming indifference on this front.”

There were significant movements in the Scottish energy sector that signalled the extent of the drive behind sustainability this week.

Perth-based energy giant SSE is to exit the North Sea after agreeing to sell its gas business in the region to Viaro Energy for £120 million, while SSE has opted to focus its investment on renewable energy generation and networks.

Red Rock Power hailed its first move into Europe with the acquisition of a 50% stake in a major Swedish wind farm. The Edinburgh company, a wholly-owned subsidiary of China’s SDIC Power Holdings, purchased its share in the Overturingen onshore wind farm from Green Investment Group for an undisclosed sum described as the “market price”.

It is now partnered with Nordic infrastructure manager CapMan Infra on the 56-turbine joint venture.

The move is described as a “key milestone” for Red Rock.

Edinburgh-based Cairn Energy is this week toasting victory in its long-running tax dispute with India, when it won about $1.2 billion and watched its share price soar nearly 30%, paving the way for hefty pay-outs for investors.

Acquisitive brothers Sandy and James Easdale this week bought a Scottish waterfront site for housing while they also struck a deal to add the Dundee operation of National Express to their McGill’s Buses empire.

The “extensive waterfront site” off Cardross Road just outside Dumbarton with their planned development on the land brings the total value of their construction projects to more than £400m.

A timely glass can also be raised for Fife’s Feragaia, which has won a listing in London’s Harrods, a cross-border coup for the drink claimed as Scotland’s first alcohol-free spirit.