PEOPLE in business could be forgiven for reaching the limit of their patience with politics. Whether it is Brexit, US tariffs on single malt Scotch whisky and textiles, or the politics surrounding coronavirus, the actions of our elected representatives have come to weigh heavily on the ability of business owners to get on with the task in hand in recent years.

Now, as we are thrust into the campaign for the Scottish Parliament election on May 6, the business sector is facing weeks more of tiresome politicking as parties set out why a vote for them would be the most sensible choice coming polling day.

The sad fact of the matter is that while there will be plenty of hot air expended on the widening division in the independence camp and the Scottish constitution, issues that are of at least equal importance seem destined to be shunted down the pecking order.

Endless hours of airtime and acres of newsprint will be devoted in the coming weeks to the impact made by the launch of former First Minister Alex Salmond’s new party, Alba, and how the SNP and other parties respond. But how much attention will be paid to giving Scottish firms the tools they need to recover from the pandemic?

Given the news cycle since Friday, when Salmond revealed his return to frontline politics, I suspect not enough. And this is all the more frustrating given the deep economic malaise we remain mired in because of the fall-out from the coronavirus, and the huge uncertainties which lie ahead as we slowly exit lockdown and the support from Government is gradually withdrawn.

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Who can we look to for a grand vision to kick-start the economy? Which party is going come up with the radical policies we need to create the new jobs urgently required to offset the huge wave of redundancies sparked by the pandemic?

Who has the energy and drive to regenerate towns and city centres that have been virtually abandoned as the retail sector has collapsed and a huge part of the population has been working from home? And who will give a firm commitment to reforming business rates – a system of property taxation that was outmoded before the pandemic and appears even more out of date now?

We also head towards the election with uncertainty continuing to hang over the relaunch of parts of the economy. While indicative days have been set by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon for the reopening of hospitality and the broader tourism industry, some sectors are still in the dark as to when they can trade again. No dates have been set for the resumption of the live music industry, or the reopening of nightclubs, for example, both of which are key drivers of the night-time economy.

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Also in the dark when it comes to reopening are various elements of the tourism industry, including the Scottish sailing charters and tours sector.

Alan Rankin, chief executive of Sail Scotland, told The Herald that there is still no sign of when cruises companies and vessel charters can recommence. The “lack of visibility” is creating alarm across a sector which was worth £340 million to the Scottish economy before the pandemic.

“The sector does feel pretty bruised that there is no clear roadmap, or visibility in the announcements that are coming forward,” Mr Rankin said. “They are facing a second season with no business and that will push many over the edge.”

To make matters worse, many in the tourism industry have received no emergency funding throughout the crisis, and there is no reasonable explanation why. Victoria Brooks of Wild Scotland, which represents wildlife and adventure tourism operators, said the “support across the whole sector has been nowhere comparable to other sectors,” explaining that most have been unable to access temporary closure grants.

Concerns such as these are among many that the electorate deserves to see addressed in the coming weeks, yet one has genuine doubts as to whether this will be forthcoming.

Admittedly, the campaign is still in its infancy. But the tone to date suggests the focus is unlikely to shift too far from the Sturgeon-Salmond civil war, or the wider debate around Scottish independence.

While it be foolhardy and naïve to downplay these issues – and not least because it is vital to examine the integrity of prospective representatives in the Scottish Parliament – they are far from the only show in town for a society that has been torn apart by this awful public health crisis.