Scotland's political leaders have shared their views as Scotland reaches 100 days of lockdown in the battle against Covid-19. 

Nicola Sturgeon

Lockdown has, quite simply, been like nothing any of us have ever experienced.  
Not even in times of extreme emergency or crisis, such as the Second World War, have people been faced with such extensive restrictions as the ones we have all had to live with over the last three months or so.

And what has been truly remarkable has been the way in which people have done what has been asked of them.

Overwhelmingly, individuals and communities across the country have done the right thing. 

They have listened, they have responded and they have stayed the course. 

When the restrictions were put in place there was, I believe, a high level of scepticism as to how far – and for how long – people would be prepared to comply with lockdown. 
That scepticism was justified given the scale of what we were all embarking on. 

But if there is one overriding lesson I have learned from lockdown it is that people are prepared to endure a lot, are incredibly resilient and are prepared to go to great lengths to do their bit for the greater good if they can see there is a compelling communal purpose.

HeraldScotland:

There will be many other lessons to be learned as we emerge further from the crisis. I said at the start that we would make mistakes along the way, and that still holds true – but at every point I and the ministers and officials in the Scottish Government have sought to do the right things for the right reasons.

That is true of governments around the world, all of whom have handled the pandemic in different ways but all of whom have been faced by the same difficult choices we have had to make.

As we move further out of lockdown, it is important that we continue to try to strike the right balance between getting back towards normality and at the same time ensuring we continue to guard against a resurgence.

Bluntly, this crisis is not over – no-one should think that it is, and we all need to guard against complacency, which could be our biggest enemy in the days, weeks and months to come.

The virus hasn’t gone away, and a look at places around the globe which are now experiencing a second spike shows the dangers of dropping our guard. 

In those places where the virus is on the rise again, we are looking at perhaps the continuation or resurgence of the first wave. And that is before we factor in the dangers posed by the second wave which many experts are warning of.

We may be moving cautiously out of lockdown, but that means it is more important than ever that we stick to the rules in place to protect the progress we have made. 
We have come a long way, but we must all remain vigilant.

Nicola Sturgeon is Scotland’s First Minister and SNP leader.

Jackson Carlaw 

This unprecedented and previously unimaginable situation has had an impact on every person and every business. Not just in Scotland, the UK, or even Europe – the entire globe has been affected by it. 

And of course some have been left worse off than others.

At the most desperate end of the scale thousands of Scots have lost their lives, often in the most lonely and heartbreaking of circumstances.

Not only have families had to grieve the premature death of a loved one, but that has been compounded by restrictions on visiting them in their final days, and a scaled-down funeral involving just a handful of people.

We can’t underestimate the impact lockdown has had on mental and physical health too.
While some people may have been able to make the most of it – perhaps developing new exercise routines and revisiting old hobbies – for others quality of life has plummeted.

That could take the form of being unable to see close friends, partners and family. For some vulnerable people, being forced out of a daily routine can be disruptive and actually catastrophic as far as mental wellbeing goes.

And let’s not forget children, who’ve missed key months of socialising with friends and learning and development opportunities.

HeraldScotland:

I think almost everyone understood the need for lockdown, but that doesn’t always mitigate the devastating impact of it.

And while the UK Government’s furlough scheme has been a safety net for hundreds of thousands of workers and businesses, it can’t last forever, and fears about the future of the economy are widespread and legitimate.

But one thing that has been heartening about lockdown is how flexible, imaginative and agile businesses have been in coping with such drastic restrictions.

Over time, all kinds of variations have popped up, whether that’s restaurants offering new delivery services, or bars converting their front windows to make a takeaway service for cocktails. It proves that, when the chips are down, business owners and their workforce will find a way to make things work.

Now, as we enter the new and more liberal phases of lockdown exit, it’s essential the Scottish Government supports these organisations, and shows them the same determination and commitment as the businesses themselves have shown over these last 100 days.

Finally, something we should always remember is that survival through lockdown would simply not have been possible without our nurses, carers, public service and other key workers who showed up every day – placing their own health and safety at risk – to keep the wheels turning.

Jackson Carlaw is leader of the Scottish Conservatives.

Richard Leonard 

Today marks 100 days since the beginning of lockdown in Scotland. We are living in a very different world to the one we left behind 100 days ago.

For some that different world is that the old indulgences of consumerism and materialism have been replaced with a new re-acquaintance with quietness and nature, but for too many we have also seen changes for the worse.

Poverty and indebtedness have risen, and we are now faced with a massive rise in long-term unemployment, the potential collapse of town centres, night-time economies going bust, entire industries at risk and youth unemployment at levels not witnessed for decades.

We have been waging a war, but in so doing we have been fighting for the values of unity not division, of co-operation not competitiveness. 

Amongst those workers on the front line in that war we have witnessed self-sacrifice and devotion in tackling the virus. 

We are forever in their debt.

Our everyday life has been transformed but communities have pulled together like never before. 

HeraldScotland:

We must take that spirit of hope and apply it to the post-pandemic world.

Our new-found values as a society need to be reflected in the actions of the Government so that we do not return to the homelessness of the harsh winter before this lockdown spring, so we strive with renewed vigour to eradicate poverty in all its forms and kickstart our economy with an economic plan.

A Jobs Guarantee Scheme, to prevent mass unemployment and to provide well-paid, unionised jobs must be an immediate priority.

We must revalue the work of carers, of NHS staff, of supermarket workers too. 

A re-evaluation of their status in our society is long overdue. And we must establish a National Care Service based on people not profit.

We are regularly told that we will emerge stronger from this pandemic.

But I say that we must never forget those wonderful friends and relatives who we have lost.

It is in their memory that we now have a duty to rekindle a flame of hope among the people and to build a better future.

Richard Leonard is leader of Scottish Labour.

Willie Rennie

This crisis has already changed our communities and the way people look at the world and we have only just begun.

It’s proved that we’re both fragile and resilient. That every nation on earth is tightly connected but the balance of health and wealth is not fair. 

There isn’t a household that this crisis hasn’t touched. 

Whether it’s those who have been lost to the virus or patients suffering whilst they wait for a postponed operation. 

Children who have missed out from not being at school or those who have fallen between the cracks of the financial support schemes or have seen their companies collapse. 

Or it may be the loneliness and depression that comes from missing friends and family. The legacy is deep and could be long felt. Our task now is picking up the pieces. To recover and build something better – a fair, green and kind country. 

First, we must prioritise people in physical pain and with poor mental health. That means getting the NHS safely back up and running as quickly as possible.

Secondly, we must get to work rebuilding the economy. That means investing in the skills and talents of people through education and training and job guarantee schemes to prevent the economic scarring of the young. 

HeraldScotland:

It means investing in capital construction projects to stimulate the economy. We can’t afford to crush any fledging recovery with an ideologically driven expenditure reduction programme. 

I also want a U- wide universal basic income to ensure that everyone can afford to keep a roof over their head and food on the table, especially in the case of a disastrous second wave. A universal basic income would mean no-one would be left behind.

Thirdly, often those who sacrificed most are those who are paid the least – the frontline workers. For health and care workers this is the moment to review and boost their pay. Medals, tokens, and awareness days must be matched by concrete progress in their settlements. 

Finally, the climate challenge has remained, and we must seek to rebuild in a sustainable fashion. Less travel, more working from home, investment in sustainable transport projects, building a new energy generation system.

I have no doubt that fresh challenges will emerge as we rebuild. Sectors like theatre, tourism and hospitality will require tailored support and we may need the state to step in to provide extra support to some businesses that are essential to our economy.
 
Willie Rennie is leader of Scottish LibDems.

Patrick Harvie

This crisis has had very different effects on people. As Parliament has adopted remote working and video conferencing, I’ve been able to limit my travel. 

With a secure home and income, I’ve been able to stay safe. But I know that these things represent a position of privilege. For so many people the last 100 days have been incredibly difficult. 

There are those who have lost loved ones and been unable even to hold a normal funeral.

There have been thousands of others who have lost their job or their home. And while some people are furloughed, others have never been working so hard, keeping everyone else safe.

HeraldScotland:

Isolation can also take a huge toll on mental health. With summer recess each year I’m usually looking forward to some time at home; now I’m getting sick of my own company for a change. But difficult as lockdown has been, the need for it has been clear. 

The UK has one of the worst death rates from the virus in the world, but if we hadn’t acted to prevent its spread, things could have been so much worse.

Many people who’ve never had to interact with the UK’s welfare safety net have seen first hand how inadequate it is. The impact of precarious incomes and precarious housing have been exposed like never before. We clearly need to build back a better economy, and ideas like universal basic income are gaining new attention. 

We’ve also seen how technology can cut unnecessary travel and leave our air cleaner. When even the president of the AA said that our previous travel patterns were “inefficient, expensive and not good for the environment,” maybe there’s hope.

Vitally, we’ve seen that governments can respond to an emergency when the political will is there. We’ve been facing one rapid-onset emergency, but we also face a far bigger one as the climate warms due to our own actions.

Our response to the climate emergency needs urgent and transformational change, on an even deeper level than we’ve seen this year.

Patrick Harvie is Scottish Greens Co-Convener.