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Friends Up North?

I don’t think Boris Johnson is going to making many friends up north by proceeding with his visit to Scotland today. Downing Street apparently insists that it is important that the Prime Minister is “visible and accessible” across the UK, even though Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has pointed out — entirely reasonably — that there is a lockdown on and questioned whether this trip is truly an example of essential travel.

It would be good if Downing Street could rein Johnson in a bit and hold him back from using big words he doesn’t appear to understand, like “responsiblity”. We have this amazing technology called video conferencing that would allow him to be both visible and accessible anywhere in the UK with a half-way decent Internet connection without sending mixed messages about what “stay home” means, without creating a risk to himself, his entourage and those they interact with and without wasting hours on travel when there are other pressing matters to hand.

I can imagine that even many supporters of the Union will struggle to see the wisdom of his decision; meanwhile, I can’t imagine that those in favour of Scottish independence won’t see this as precisely the kind of foreign visit they’d like their Parliament to be able to block rather than merely question.

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