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The gruesome twosome pulling Sturgeon’s strings


THIS week the straitened souls trying to resurrect Scotland’s entertainment and hospitality sectors were left twisting in the wind by the Scottish Government. As I reported on Thursday, in her statement to parliament Nicola Sturgeon all but confirmed that cinemas, theatres, pubs, restaurants and licensed cafes will soon be further hamstrung by having to operate the contemptible Covid certification scheme; however, beleaguered business owners have been left dangling by her delaying the decision.

When she callously kicked the can into next week, Sturgeon conceded: ‘I am acutely aware that many businesses want us to remove mitigations – including certification – not extend or tighten them.’ Businesses will also wish that the prominent public health panjandrums, who have the first minister’s ear, would stop scaremongering.

One such alarmist is Professor Linda Bauld, a member of the SNP Government’s Covid-19 Advisory Group and recently appointed the country’s Chief Social Policy Adviser.  In a newspaper interview last weekend, Bauld argued for the mask mandate to extend to office workers even while they are seated, distanced and screened; for spectators at outdoor sports stadia also to be muzzled, and for vaccine certification to include children

For her dystopian derangement, Bauld was this year made an OBE for ‘services to guiding the public health response to, and public understanding of, Covid-19’. She is, if you had not already guessed, a behavioural scientist.

Last Monday’s Good Morning Scotland (GMS) – essentially the tartan Today programme on BBC Radio Scotland – alluded to Bauld’s baloney as a precursor to interviewing her colleague from Edinburgh University and fellow member of the Covid-19 Advisory Group, Devi Sridhar.

Initially notorious for her Zero-Covid zealotry, during the past two years Sridhar has repeatedly contorted her position. Last month, while urging the UK Government to impose its ‘Plan B’ restrictions, she hailed Germany as the exemplar for ‘managing to control its Covid epidemic and bring down the numbers of cases and deaths’. 

This is the same Germany which now fears ‘a really terrible Christmas’ and looks likely to follow the egregious example of Austria (not for the first time) and scandalously segregate the unvaccinated. 

This week in the Guardian, however, for ‘optimal Covid-19 strategy’ Sridhar transferred her affections back to South Korea – just before the country reported ‘record Covid-19 cases as serious infections cause worry’. 

This addled anthropologist ought by now to be a figure of fun but she remains inexplicably influential. Ahead of Sturgeon’s (anti-climactic) announcement at Holyrood, GMS wheeled out dilettante Devi for what the presenter laughingly termed her ‘expertise’. Sridhar promoted painful proscriptions, purportedly to ‘avoid harsher measures down the line’. 

Not that the coronavirus curbs and constraints which she craves are to be referred to as such. On GMS, Sridhar scolded: ‘We need to switch from talking about “restrictions” to “protections”. In the end we are putting these in place to protect people from getting Covid.’

Inquisitor Laura Maxwell weakly adopted the euphemism. Instead of temporary ‘restrictions’, Sridhar clearly yearns for freedoms to be constrained by permanent ‘protections’. Imposing medical apartheid by ‘asking for certification when you enter an indoor setting . . . where it’s riskier’ is her idea of a ‘light-touch method to avoid tougher restrictions’.

On GMS Sridhar naturally venerated the vaccines. But her jubilancy for the jabs lapsed into hare-brained hyperbole when she asserted: ‘I don’t think anyone regrets getting their vaccine.’ No one? A more alert interviewer might have mentioned fellow BBC radio presenter Lisa Shaw as but one tragic example of why some people understandably want nothing to do with it.

Other writers for TCW Defending Freedom have previously arraigned Devi Sridhar, notably here and here, after she assured children watching CBBC’s Newsround that the Pfizer vaccine was ‘100 per cent safe’ – a flagrantly false claim which the Beeb had to retract.

That was when the debate was whether to inject teenagers. After winning that battle, the perfidious professor became a cheerleader for gratuitously jabbing even younger children. On GMS, Devi demoniacally backed barbarity: ‘We know that the US has gone ahead with vaccinating five- to 11-year-olds . . . it looks like mild side effects and very effective at dampening transmission so I hope at least parents might have the option here of doing it.’ 

Next it will be toddlers. Meantime, adults should be ‘limiting our contacts as we head into winter, in terms of thinking about quality – who you are seeing each day over the course of the week – rather than quantity’. Quality over quantity: if only ubiquitous Sridhar would apply this to her pervasive and pernicious public pronouncements.

Finally, if the foregoing has not already convinced you of her fatuous fanaticism, in a recent tweet Devi Sridhar praised her dinner party host for mandating full vaccination and a negative lateral flow test as a condition of attendance. Being unvaccinated is, apparently, as heinous as drinking and driving – an absurd equivalence which, from a government adviser, is much more frightening than any virus.

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Gary Oliver
Gary Oliver
Gary Oliver is an accountant who lives in East Lothian.

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