The National:

REGARDLESS of the phases and varying impacts of the variants of Covid-19, one consistent source of frustration is the inequality of the Union. Throughout the pandemic, it has shown the very best of our communities, our health and social care staff, essential services in our communities and the importance of local authorities across a spectrum of aspects.

As the depute for the Emergencies Board at Renfrewshire Council I saw first-hand the reflex and effectiveness required of local authorities not only to provide outreach to the most vulnerable in our communities, but also to roll out significant essential funds to our businesses, track and trace cases as well as work in ways which would change overnight.

We do well to remember the good we have all seen at a time of such darkness across the world. The Omicron variant should have us all concerned understandably – we are learning as we go as to what the science is telling us and how it impacts us all. Those in our country’s leadership have had the unenviable task of having to make the decisions which do best to save lives and protect us all. The primary position for this leadership could not have been steered better than by our First Minister Nicola Sturgeon at the helm.

The problem we face as a nation is not in the localised approaches, rather in the lack of control of the national ones. Today we heard with transparency the need to act with preventative measure. The actions and readiness to consider the worst-case scenario. However, the delay comes as it always has throughout the pandemic to a clash with Westminster accepting the severity of the issue too late. It is the flaws of being part of the UK which constrict and cause much frustration. This is despite Both Nicola Sturgeon and Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford, fully engaging with a four-nation approach.

The question is: why, if we are in a union of equals, are we treated with such contempt? We want to be organised and in a position to answer all the questions which the people we represent will rightfully have – but with a hand tied behind our back; how do we truly action or make ready our contingences?

As a nurse I see the disregard and cynicism as time marches on. The same people who would clap and cheer for all essential workers now get angered at long waiting or delays. Frustrated they might have the inconvenience of another “normal” Christmas disrupted. But what about those of us that our normal is being away from our family? I haven’t had a proper Christmas dinner with my extended family in over 14 years. I would be working the backshift or night shift and spending it usually with my extended staff family & patients who had no one or comforting family & carers.

We cannot wish covid away. We cannot go back, only through. It is important we carry forward together.

Our First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon will have to make decisions which will never make everyone happy. Lesson 101 of politics – you can never make everyone happy. But we can act for the greater good of us all. Protecting our most vulnerable, sustaining our NHS and reducing the impact on all essential workers to allow us all to live a life which Covid will no longer dominate is the aim.

I understand the frustration, but I can also see the light that the majority of people in our nation are fighting to keep. We are a nation that has always fought the tough times to make sure Scotland thrives and when needed, this collaboration will be done with genuine engagement. An independent Scotland will always we a beacon for this. Because as a people and with the exemplary political leadership we have; this is the foundation of what makes Scotland great.