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Frank Gilfeather: There’s no masking the issues over indy-ref call

Mask wearing is becoming more and more part of our everyday attire during the pandemic.
Mask wearing is becoming more and more part of our everyday attire during the pandemic.

Okay, I admit it. I haven’t taken this Covid business seriously enough; until now.

I recognise that, by the time December comes around and I begin a three-day search for the “safe place” I put the Christmas tree lights, masks will be even more part of our everyday attire, like socks or shirts.

Soon delivery drivers will be issued with six-foot long sticks they’ll hold against your chest when you answer the door to accept the neighbour’s parcel from Amazon, while Nicola Sturgeon will give daily figures on toilet roll availability.

The world will see a new, spin-off problem – mask rash – a narrow line across your nose and on to your cheeks.

It’ll be a tell-tale sign that you’ve been neglecting to wear a face covering.

A rash will bring an automatic fine and removal of your Netflix subscription.

Burglars and robbers will still be permitted to sport a Lone Ranger-style mask for work reasons, although we sympathise that, with so many confined to home, house-breaking has hit a difficult period.

Business owners will feature in the media daily as they join the growing numbers in the “pleading poverty” club, made up principally of the self-employed and workers of the freelance variety.

Join the club.

Ladies of the night will ask: “How can we earn a crust if nobody’s allowed out?”

Fear not. Deputy First Minister John Swinney has the solution to the Covid conundrum with his announcement that independence (no, not the vaccine) is an “essential priority” for Scotland’s recovery from coronavirus.

So, why didn’t you tell us this a year ago, John?

By now, we could have been out of our jim-jams and back in our workplaces with a bunch of people we don’t like.

We could be going to the gym and enjoying more frequent visits to the supermarket to curse random women rummaging around in their handbags for the purse they knew they’d need ages before the checkout assistant asks: “Have you got a Nectar card?”

But you have to hand it to the SNP Government; we’re in the midst of a pandemic that is killing millions of people, but they still insist indyref2 should take place this year.

When hospital admissions are through the roof and the pressure on NHS workers is overwhelming, maybe Professor Jason Leitch will recommend Swinney undergo treatment for “lack of common sense” or even “brass neck syndrome”.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer, meanwhile, concedes devolution in Scotland isn’t working. But his call for another constitutional convention to revamp our system wouldn’t change a thing.

Devolution has failed.

The last Scottish Constitutional Convention started in 1989. It took a decade to deliver devolved government for Scotland.

Would it be better second time around?

Homing in on Trump’s legacy for the north-east

Just imagine; you’re one of the 500 people – according to a news release – who expressed an interest in buying a house at Donald Trump’s Balmedie plot.

Would you now have a change of heart following recent events when fully paid-up members of his fan club stormed the Capitol, resulting in the deaths of five people?

Promises of 1,400 homes, a hotel, staff quarters and a second golf course in a £1 billion enterprise – Trump upped that figure from £300 million within a few weeks – are as hollow today as they were when he bought the Menie Estate in Aberdeenshire 15 years ago.

Now, as a quick browse of website indicates, it’s all gone quiet at “the world’s greatest golf course”.

Meanwhile, the local politicians and businessmen glad-handed and flattered by the man who transformed a site of special scientific interest into a solitary golf course that has lost millions of pounds must feel daft.

In the book The Real Deal: My Decades Fighting Battles and Winning Wars With Trump, his former sidekick George Sorial, aided by Damien Bates, ex-editor of this newspaper, “explain how Trump’s unusual style worked so well for decades – and how it’s working better in the White House than anyone realises”.

It’s almost as if Donald dictated those words himself.

Rewrite, anyone?

Will footie season be given red card?

It was a cold October 2 2020, evening. Dundee United had just been beaten at home by Livingston.

Earlier, Kilmarnock FC’s entire playing squad had been quarantined following a coronavirus outbreak at the club. I asked Micky Mellon, the United manager, if he thought the Scottish football season might not be concluded. He chose not to address the question, maybe because it had never crossed his mind.

More than three months later, following a series of further problems with football, north and south of the border, is it a whisker away from having the plug pulled?


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This article originally appeared on the Evening Express website. For more information, read about our new combined website.