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Different for Difference's Sake


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The idea that UK need four conflicting national approaches to controlling COVID-19 is of course rather silly and the differences which Scotland, Wales and N Ireland are applying are perhaps a reflecion of the needs of their leading policiticians to adopt a prominent role. Until recently the differences have had no great impact on the control of the virus and they were mostly a matter of preference - but Wales ending it's mni-Lockdown and reopening its pubs and restaurants as England is just starting a national Lockdown (to another different recipe) begins to expose the silliness of having national differences at all. The restrctions have got so complex as well as conflicting that it's difficult for anyone to follow them properly even if they are willing - which clearly lots of people aren't any more.


And the First Minister of Wales is complaining that there isn't close enough consultation - by which he probably means Boris isn't giving him enough notice of his plans while he, whether he will admit it or not, is determined to keep the English in the dark and do his own thing anyway. Telling Welsh supermarkets not to sell non-essential goods which the stores were half full of in the interests of "fairness" to other small shopkeepers was obviously pretty silly so hopefully he won't try that again.


Boris realised early on that as far as getting the other nations to stick to his dieas was never going to work, now that devolution has happened and delegates public health resonsibilities and oh how he wishes that someone had thought of a shambles of a discordinate public health response when the devolution legislation was drafted. Clearly there needed to be a provision for a UK-wide approach if a real pandemic arose but no-one thought of it at the time.


I doubt that Nicola Sturgeon would play ball because from the viewpoint of her Independence Agenda having the opportunity to be on National TV every lunchtime is working well - but now she faces having to adopt a Boris-style regional plan and might struggle to appear to be doing do her way. Unfortunately the UK lacks an over-arching UK-wide executive authority for public health and it's perhaps too late as far as COVID-19 is concerned to agree to one.


So we're stuck with a Labour Government and policy in Wales, an SNP (also left wing) Government in Scotland, a divided Government in N Ireland which struggles to agree anything and Boris in London trying to pretend he's on top of it for the UK as a whole.

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