LAST month, our First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced that from August 9th the country would be moving beyond the business-crippling Level Zero and lifting most of its legally imposed restrictions, most notably physical distancing and limits to the size of social gatherings.

This was called a significant and hard-earned change which effectively meant that no hospitality venues, including nightclubs and live music venues, would be legally required to close.

As welcome and overdue as this announcement undoubtedly was, my gut reaction was that this crisis was definitely not over, not by a long shot and that yet more doom and gloom was on the horizon.

The highly contentious issue over the introduction of domestic vaccine passports for nightclubs, large events and football stadiums had raised its ugly head in Westminster. The burning question that needed answered in Scotland was whether the Scottish Government and their lackeys, the Scottish Green Party, a party whose credibility ha been shot to pieces since they agreed to take the government green for a couple of cheap seats at the top table, were also considering their introduction.

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The FM firmly stated that she “would never support something that deepened social inequalities and took away people's civil liberties” – sentiments strongly backed by the supposed “libertarian” co-leader of the Scottish Greens, Patrick Harvie.

However, they have turned a full 180, and done exactly what they promised they wouldn’t do.

In yet another farcical scene from Holyrood, the SNP and Greens publicly punctured their principles, tore up their tenets and back-dived on their beliefs when they ignored all advice given from the industry and shamefully bulldozed their discriminatory, iniquitous and flawed mandatory Covid-19 vaccination certification scheme through parliament.

They have made it a mandatory requirement from the 1st of October for people to show proof of having had double vaccination, and only that proof, not a negative lateral flow test result, before they will be allowed to enter a nightclub, adult entertainment venue, or any unseated indoor live event with a capacity over 500. As well as any unseated outdoor events with an attendance of over 4,000, and any event with more than 10,000 attendees, including football stadiums.

This scheme which will cause untold and unnecessary damage to Scotland’s fragile night-time economy, particularly its nightclubs and live music venues which have lain dormant, in a state of paralysis for over 18 months, and who have only recently started to breathe again.

The reasons for the Scottish Government taking this appalling decision are quite beyond me. Being vaccinated doesn’t stop transmission of the virus so why bring it in as condition of entry? Why are they refusing to countenance or even consider lateral flow test (LTF) results as an alternative? At least LTF tells the punter and more importantly door stewards if they are infected or not.

I along with the NTIA (Night time Industry Association) are totally against the discriminatory introduction of domestic Covid passports, not least because the app isn’t ready nor fit for purpose, and they will be a nightmare to police at the door. But if, as a matter of public health safety they are to be introduced, why is it only nightclubs and gigs again being targeted and discriminated against? Surely all public places, including large hybrid premises, restaurants, shopping malls, cinemas and student unions should also be included?

But why bring them in at all when we have already surpassed herd immunity numbers and the vaccine pickup amongst 18-25s is already showing signs of accelerating. Will there be a termination date for the scheme?

By October, it will be harder to get into a club or gig than it will be to travel abroad. Is this a panicked knee-jerk reaction to a small crisis of the Scottish Government’s own making when the schools opened back up? Or is it a deliberate, well thought-out devious plan by a micro-managing controlling government which has no intention of ever loosening the reins of power and letting us live our lives without state interference?

I hope it’s not the latter.

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