IT turns out that it’s not just our obdurate First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and unbending Scottish Government which can be accused of perpetually living in thrall of Covid, “gaslighting” a distressed and anxious nation by continually sowing the seeds of fear while holding the country back.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson was this week equally guilty of peddling panic in a bumbling and nervy address from Downing Street on Tuesday. This was far removed from his previous upbeat promises that restrictions and lockdowns were now a thing of the past and that Britain’s road back to normality was “irreversible”. He managed to find a reverse gear in his locker and, backed by his gloomy public health doom-mongers, depressingly raised the spectre of their return.

Gazing into his murky crystal ball, Johnson softened up the British public with questionable charts and stats about possible rises in infection rates, hospital admissions and possible new vaccine-resistant variants.

He cleared the way for the introduction of fresh Covid curbs if his Plan A, which includes a booster vaccination campaign for the vulnerable and everyone aged 50 and over, a national flu inoculation programme, the chilling offer of vaccines for children aged between 12-15, and further government efforts to encourage the remaining 5 million adults who have not been vaccinated to get the jab, fails and the NHS is put under pressure.

At which point, he “regrettably" would have to resort to Plan B and reintroduce compulsory mask wearing, physical distancing, local lockdowns, working from home and, in an identikit version of the Scottish scheme, bring in mandatory vaccination passports for nightclubs, indoor venues with 500+ attendees, outdoor events with more than 4000 people, and any event with 10,000 or more people attending, such as football stadiums.

A highly contentious and discriminatory scheme which, earlier in the week, was firmly ditched by the Westminster Health Secretary Sajid Javid who said that government “shouldn’t be doing something just for the sake of it”. Invaluable advice that had obviously fallen on the deaf ears of the wrong-footed and isolated Scottish Government.

And yet here was Johnson, just a few days later, despite knowing that Covid passports are wholly ineffectual in reducing the risk of transmission and catching the virus, flip flopping on this decision and refusing to rule them out.

The only big difference here, of course, was that for the moment, Westminster have wisely put Covid passports on the back burner. Whereas our FM is an Iron Lady who is sadly not for turning and is fully determined to introduce this ridiculous scheme, regardless of the consequences, in less than two weeks.

She is unable or unwilling to provide evidence as to the reliability of the QR technology or answer the most basic of questions. How will the scheme be policed? Will the scanner be able to read foreign and English double-vax codes? Will those music tourists be barred from entry if they don’t have a certificate?

And, of course, are they still struggling with the definition of a nightclub? If they are, here’s one from a Scottish club owner. "A nightclub is a business shafted and largely ignored for 18 months by the Scottish Government, frowned upon and blamed for a pandemic even though it was closed during this time and had to fight for funding that was then taken away in April."

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