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2020 review: The political year that was

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If a week is a long time in politics, then 12 months is a proverbial eternity.

In no year has this felt more apparent than 2020. From Boris to Nicola, McPake to Mellon, Mum, Dad, Holyrood and Hollywood, you will scarcely find anyone who does not want to see the year 2020 AD consigned to the history books.

So, with 2020 hindsight (ahem), let’s look back at the year that was, our new normal.


Brexit, after almost four years of foul-ups, obfuscations, deals, no-deals, general elections (x2) and all-round uncertainty, did, at least for a short while in January, seem to be nearing its unnatural end.

The UK officially left the EU on January 31, before entering a transition period that kept everything much the same for the rest of the year. Prime Minister Boris Johnson hailed it an “extraordinary turning point”. For at least a day phrases like “fishing quotas”, “stockpiling food and medicine” and “Australian-style” left the country’s vernacular.

Holyrood,  refused to give consent to Boris Johnson’s Withdrawal Bill, but after winning the 2019 general election the largest Conservative majority in 30 years — the protestations of Scotland’s parliament were either not considered, ignored completely or, more likely, a mixture of the two.

To add to the distinctly circular direction the year appeared to be headed in; Scottish Secretary Alistair Jack said NO2INDYREF2, the Scottish Conservatives launched their leadership contest six months after Ruth Davidson resigned and the SNP Government went to great pains to point out they had to set a budget without knowing how much was coming in Barnett Consequential.

Ms Sturgeon spent the end of 2019 briefing Scottish journalists at Bute House on how she planned on separating the country. With Brexit on its way and Boris having become as powerful as he could in human form, the first minister marched on with proposals that involved asking very nicely for a second referendum.

The Scottish Conservatives had spent the month previous campaigning against that idea, with middling results. They continued to say no, adding “once in a generation” to almost everything. The SNP regained a lot of seats lost in 2017 and made no secret about being nationalists with one thing in mind.

The polls showed support for the union and independence at 50-50 for most of the month.

Jeremy Corbyn taking on sustenance for his lengthy campaign.

Having promised to resign as leader after taking Labour to its worst general election result since before the Second World War, Jeremy Corbyn launched what felt like the longest leadership contest ever.

Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf was asked to make a statement on the “crumbling” police estate. Mr Yousaf said claims the country’s stations were ripping apart at the seams was “hyperbole”, hours before the roof of Broughty Ferry station caved in.

Hero of the Month: Boris Johnson – Mr Johnson had succeeded, taken the UK out of the EU and was hurtling, full-speed ahead, towards the sun-lit uplands. What could possibly go wrong.

Villain of the Month: 2019-nCoV, as it was then known, was notified to the World Health Organization on January 7, despite cases being reported as early as November 2019.


A light display caught the people of Brussels by surprise, proclaiming Europe <3 Scotland on the side of the Berlaymont building.

Although they never officially admitted it, the stunt was pretty much carried out by the SNP, as part of efforts to take Scotland back into the EU as an “independent country”.

Derek Mackay.

The Scottish Government’s “difficult” budget — set without knowing how much block grant was to come from Westminster — proved even more so, when the night before he was due to present it to parliament, Derek Mackay was forced to stand down after being rumbled for bombarding a teenage boy with text messages.

Mackay sent hundreds of private messages via Instagram over a six-month period, calling him “cute” and trying to get him to visit Bishopton, where he represents.

He hasn’t been seen in parliament since, but it has not stopped him taking almost every payment going, as well as collecting on expenses for offices in Edinburgh.

Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak.

Sajid Javid resigned as Chancellor of the Exchequer, and was summarily replaced by relative newcomer Rishi Sunak just days before the budget.

Kate Forbes was given even less time to prepare the Scottish Government’s financial statement – giving an impressive performance in trying circumstances.

Ruth Davidson admitted she would want nothing more than to be clad in ermine in an interview with growing DC Thomson podcast The Stooshie.

2020 review
Jackson Carlaw speaks to the media after the announcement that he is the new leader of the Scottish Conservatives.

Meanwhile, Jackson Carlaw comprehensively beat challenger Michelle Ballantyne in the race to replace Ms Davidson — continuity at least in terms of party direction and a spanner in the works of all those who had considered “Ballantyne’s Day Massacre” as a headline in the event the former nurse won (the announcement took place on February 14).

Mr Carlaw limped out after less than six months as boss and Ms Ballantyne is no longer a Scottish Tory (see June and November).

Like every unimaginative pub bore these last years, Boris Johnson was forced to deny calling Nicola Sturgeon “that bloody wee Jimmy Krankie woman“.

Worried, probably, about how this could affect her Glasgow Southside credentials, Ms Sturgeon took the high road responded by saying she is “a big enough girl to insult him back”.

Boris Johnson spoke of building a bridge between Scotland and Northern Ireland.

The Boris Bridge took a step further from ridiculous cheese-dream to possible-but-not-really investment project, as the prime minister used his tried-and-tested method of promising something massive before falling apart in the detail in order to seem popular.

North East food and drink producers warned the “Australian-style” immigration system set to come in at the end of the year would be dreadful for business.

2020 review
Kate Forbes MSP.

Hero of the Month: Kate Forbes – At 29, she was thrust into the front-line of Scottish politics to cover for yet another middle-aged man who disgraced himself while in a position of power. Regardless of political persuasion on the Scottish Government’s budget, few could fault Ms Forbes’ delivery and assuredness under straining circumstances.

Villain of the Month: Derek Mackay – It is a tale as old as time; man gets power, man abuses that power, man is allowed to carry on collecting considerable salary. It shouldn’t have to be said, but if you are trying to be one of the country’s most respected politicians, don’t message under-age teenagers you’ve found on social media telling them their haircut looks cute.


March brought what should have been the largest story in Scotland since the war. Instead, the High Court trial of former first minister Alex Salmond was relegated from the front pages as the coronavirus pandemic descended on Europe and then the UK, overnight, changing how we worked, lived, loved and behaved.

The trial, in Edinburgh, went ahead. Journalists from all four corners of the country flocked into the confines of the High Court, on the Mile, to see Mr Salmond dramatically acquitted of all the charges against him.

2020 review
Alex Salmond speaks outside the High Court in Edinburgh after he was cleared of all charges.

Speaking outside court immediately after the verdict, Mr Salmond said: “There is certain evidence that I would have liked to have seen led in this trial but for a variety of reasons we were not able to do so.

“Those facts will see the light but it won’t be this day.

“I’d like to thank my friends and family for standing by me over the last two years.

“Whatever nightmare I’ve been in over these last two years it is nothing compared to the nightmare that everyone of us is currently living through.

“People are dying, many more are going to die.

“My strong advice to you is to go home and, those who are able, take care of your families and God help us all.”

The evidence he claims to have is likely to come up in the investigation into the handling of complaints inquiry under way in Holyrood, so look out for next year’s look-back to see what was said or, better yet, take out a subscription and follow the story as it happens.

Meanwhile, talks between the EU and UK on fishing rights started, which the French described as a “nasty battle”.

Coronavirus reached Scotland, and everything stopped.

Hero of the Month: Common goal governance – The SNP put a pause on the campaign for a second referendum and Westminster opted to work (in the beginning, at least) constructively with the four nations to battle the spread of Covid-19 across the UK.

2020 review
A lab technician handles suspected Covid-19 samples to carry out a diagnostic test for coronavirus.

Villain of the Month: Covid-19, novel coronavirus – It comes with many names, but March proved to be ground zero for an illness that would quickly consume the health service, politics, social lives and business, as well as bringing about 65,000 deaths (figure correct as of December 2020).


With shops shut, pubs closed, government paused, courts suspended, football finished, rugby ruined and socialising outlawed, millions of people were left out of work and “trapped” in the confines of their home.

Doctors and nurses warned of the “impending tsunami” of cases they were expecting, the crushing workloads and their initial concerns over the number of ventilators and PPE equipment they had at their disposal.

Chinks of light did try to pierce the blanket of gloom overwhelming the country. In Perthshire, a 98-year-old grandmother stunned doctors after returning home from hospital, having contracted the disease. Her story was hailed by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

Captain Sir Tom Moore, a 100-year-old Second World War veteran, raised more than £33 million for the NHS by walking laps of his garden. In Sutherland, 90-year-old Margaret Payne raised hundreds of thousands  of pounds climbing her stairs 282 times — the equivalent of climbing her favourite mountain, Suilven.

2020 review
The Queen talks to Captain Sir Thomas Moore and his family after awarding his knighthood during a ceremony at Windsor Castle.

As part of attempts to keep the country running, Parliament, like the rest of us, turned to Zoom, Teams and other virtual meeting providers. Plans for jury-less trials in Scotland were scrapped as quickly as they were suggested.

While the country got to grips with lockdown, the chief medical officer for Scotland, Dr Catherine Calderwood, decided to visit her holiday home in Elie, Fife, breaking rules she pushed for.

She eventually resigned, but only after it was revealed she had visited her second home on multiple occasions.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson was admitted to intensive care, having contracted the virus. He came close to dying, he said, during his five-day stay at St Thomas’ in London and required “litres and litres” of oxygen.

April 8 recorded the country’s deadliest day so far, with 908 deaths from coronavirus in a 24-hour period.

The furlough scheme was extended for the first time, seeing millions of workers signing up in the first 24 hours.

2020 review
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer.

Sir Keir Starmer won a muted Labour leadership contest.

Hero of the Month: All NHS and frontline care workers – Despite the massive challenges faced, and against huge odds, the complete shut-down of our health service was avoided through the sacrifice, determination, care and attention provided by the country’s finest.

Villain of the Month: Coronavirus  – see March, January.


First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said she would “reflect” on the outbreak of the virus following a Nike company conference in Edinburgh in February — which turned out to be where the first cases of Covid-19 in Scotland erupted from. There would be no public inquiry, however.

The Scottish Government’s handling of the virus, in particular how it dealt with (or fumbled) care home management, came into focus; the earlier truces from opposition parties coming to an end after almost two months of partnership working. The majority of deaths from the virus in Scotland switched to care homes, rather than hospitals.

Boris Johnson’s top adviser, Dominic Cummings, is rumbled for having taken a trip to a family home hundreds of miles from his London house at the peak of lockdown, while suffering virus symptoms.

In a sensational press conference from Number 10, the unelected director of communications defended his trip to Barnard Castle in the north of England, claiming at one point he drove — in defiance of any of the lockdown rules — to test his eyesight.

The “misfit genius” is rightly pilloried by the country’s media but, amazingly, keeps his job regardless of how much his actions undermined the government’s pandemic-taming efforts.

2020 review
Scottish Conservatives leader Douglas Ross.

Scottish office minister Douglas Ross resigns over the issue, while Scottish Conservatives despair at how this would impact them in the polls and with voters come the 2021 election. MSPs start to turn on leader Jackson Carlaw for his “inaction”.

After weeks of lockdown, the first signs of the relaxation of restrictions begins. Despite it allowing MPs hundreds of miles from London the chance to take part in the democratic process, the “digitalisation” of Westminster is halted and members asked to return to SW1A.

National 1 and 2, Higher and Advanced Higher exams are cancelled, with grades to be determined in the summer.

Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath MP Neale Hanvey is readmitted to the SNP following his suspension for sharing anti-Semitic social media posts.

Hero of the Month: Douglas Ross – The Moray MP was the only member of government with the guts to resign over the Dominic Cummings saga.

2020 review
Dominic Cummings in the Downing Street rose garden.

Villain of the Month: Dominic Cummings – If it wasn’t the initial misdemeanour, it was the audacity of an unelected special adviser using the garden of Number 10 for a press conference that didn’t conclude with his resignation. People across the UK were furious, and it reaffirmed a lot of preconceptions about the Tory party being “born to rule elitists”. The knock-on effects are still being felt, more than seven months on (just ask Jackson Carlaw).


Douglas Ross denies any suggestion of a coup against Scottish Tory leader Jackson Carlaw. He would become party chief within two months.

Economists suggest the Scottish economy will not recover from the pandemic until at least 2023 — SNP leader Ms Sturgeon refuses to say whether that should be as an independent country.

The inquiry into the handling of complaints involving Alex Salmond calls for evidence, requesting Ms Sturgeon’s phone records as well as informing her, deputy first minister John Swinney and SNP chief executive Peter Murrell they could be called to give oral evidence.

Backlogs in the legal system and non-emergency health care begin to reveal their full extent.

2020 reviewFishing talks between the EU and UK continue, under extreme pressure and rumours of a complete collapse.

Plans to utilise UK furloughed workers in the fields left empty after Brexit fall flat, with a very small uptake by the domestic workforce.

Parents, teachers and keener pupils start to question how and when school will restart. John Swinney bottles the decision until the end of July, and then some.

2020 review
Demonstrators walk along Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, DC, as they protest the death of George Floyd.

The Black Lives Matter movement gathers pace, with thousands protesting across the UK against police brutality against people of colour, after the the brutal killing of unarmed George Floyd in the US.

Sir Keir Starmer is forced to postpone his first huddle call with Scottish journalists for several hours so he can sack former leadership rival Rebecca Long-Bailey from her post as shadow education secretary after she shared an article with anti-Semitic undertones.

Scottish Labour, meanwhile, announce this month they will be opposing a second referendum on independence. They think.

England comes out of lockdown ahead of the other four nations. A second lockdown and second wave of the virus hits the UK months later.

Hero of the Month: Lockdown – Not a popular choice, for sure, but Imperial College London estimates the shutdown of Europe from March saved around three million lives.

2020 review
Dundee United, pictured taking on Hibs, are back in Scottish football’s top flight.

Villain of the Month: Heart of Midlothian and Partick Thistle FC try to get the SPFL  promotions and relegations overturned in court, potentially costing Cove Rangers, Raith Rovers and Dundee United their league wins. The case ultimately fails and all three teams go up.


Pubs reopen. Hairdressers reopen… much to the first minister’s delight. Lockdown rumours she was getting her hair done professionally while the rest of us turned into Seventies catalogue models circulated, even after she decided to cut her hair personally rather than have her less hirsute-headed husband help out.

Jackson Carlaw, rather sensibly, doesn’t comment on the first minister’s hair colour this time. He is too busy resigning.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak unveils a summer spending programme, including the Eat Out to Help Out scheme giving money off meals in restaurants and pubs. Some research suggests it was responsible for a spike in coronavirus clusters.

Having initially been dismissed, guidance now suggests facemasks will become a regular feature as part of efforts to stop the virus spreading.

Jackson Carlaw surprises (some) people by standing down as Scottish Conservative leader, less than six months in the job, admitting “I am not the best man for the job”. A number of his own MSPs had been briefing the press on this in the months leading up to his quitting.

Coronavirus cases top 50,000 per day in the USA. Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro tests positive for the virus.

2020 review
Prime Minister Boris Johnson holds crabs caught on the Carvela at Stromness Harbour during a visit to Scotland.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson makes one of his rare trips to Scotland, where he conducts a press conference in the middle of the countryside and spends more time with crabs than actual residents. Every other living PM thinks Johnson a disaster for the union (Theresa May has not publicly commented).

Hero of the Month – Hospitality, retail, catering, hairdressing and other “non-essential” workers – People across the UK in industries that had lain dormant for months put up with cranky customers, new restrictions on their own freedoms, confusing legislation and less-than-ideal pay as part of attempts to get the country as close to normal as possible. They risked exposure to the virus, had to get people to comply with the new rules and, most importantly, try to ensure their own safety.

Villain of the Month – Russia – The long-awaited report into interference in UK democracy by the Russian state is finally published. Both Houses are seen as prime probing ground for Russian intelligence operatives to influence, with several members of the Russian elite known for being “completely intertwined” with some parliamentarians.


The review into the handling of harassment complaints involving Alex Salmond launches, with news First Minister Nicola Sturgeon did not disclose a meeting she had with her former boss and mentor.

Documents show civil servants lived under a “culture of fear” working with Alex Salmond, while the country’s top one, Leslie Evans, refuses to comment on stories unveiled during the Salmond court case that female members of staff were advised not to be left alone with the former first minister.

A deadline for pupils returning to schools is finally given, with teachers told less than two weeks before to prepare for the reopening of schools (which had been shut since March).

2020 review
Ruth Davidson.

Ruth Davidson decides a year away from the front benches is long enough and agrees to be the Scottish Conservative leader at Holyrood, while Douglas Ross decides he does actually want to be overall party leader and is elected unopposed.

Footage of young people huddling closely outside pubs in Aberdeen makes Ms Sturgeon “want to weep”. She then places the city into lockdown days later.

Ed Davey wins the Lib Dem leadership contest, which everyone other than Ed Davey had forgotten about. Both he and Labour leader Keir Starmer hope to appeal to the common voter with matching knighthoods.

The First Minister apologises to the country’s exam takers, after a disastrous exam result programme saw pupils from poorer backgrounds have their grades adjusted disproportionately.

Ms Sturgeon admits “we did not get this right”. Scottish ministers tasked the SQA with applying an approach that delivered a set of results that are comparable in terms of quality to last year.

2020 review
Education Secretary John Swinney.

A methodology was applied whereby grades estimated by teachers were downgraded based on criteria including the historical performance of the school.

This resulted in pass rates for pupils in the most deprived data zones being reduced by 15.2% in comparison with 6.9% for pupils from the most affluent backgrounds.

Education secretary John Swinney survived a vote of no-confidence after the nationalists’ green wing six Scottish Green MSPs stepped in to support him.

Not wanting to feel left out, Westminster conducts an almost identical debacle for young people in England and Wales.

Boris Johnson was spotted on holiday in the north of Scotland.

Boris and his partner Carrie take a short break to Wester Ross for some much-needed R&R. He manages to annoy a farmer by climbing over his fence and the country’s young people by failing to address the A-Level fiasco.

Heroes of the Month: Teachers and pupils – Teachers spent the summer preparing for a return to classrooms with nothing more than vague promises and mixed messages from both parliaments. Given very little time to develop blended learning, they were told two days before it was set to begin that the idea had been scrapped.

Then the exams were messed up and the pupils got angry. And rightly so.

Villains of the Month: John Swinney, Gavin Williamson, education chiefs – After warnings from teaching professionals all summer, the exams fiasco was still allowed to unfold. Politicians will not get everything right, but when it is the country’s young people most acutely affected, someone has to take accountability. No-one did.


First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is forced to deny the Aberdeen lockdown was “politically motivated”.

Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard faces fresh calls to quit from a number of prominent party members. Sir Keir comes to his rescue, despite Mr Leonard’s Corbynism. The party is predicted to finish third in the Holyrood 2021 elections.

Mr Starmer also decides Westminster should consider a second referendum on independence after his party finishes third north of the border for a second time, in what some call a contradiction to Scottish Labour policy.

Former Moray MP and Edinburgh Central hopeful Angus Robertson is heavily criticised for saying the elderly death rate would be positive for the independence vote (in the middle of a pandemic grossly afflicting the country’s older people). Mr Robertson calls it a “politically motivated attack”. We’re sure he means on him.

The Internal Market Bill threatens to undermine devolution, according to a number of parties including the Lib Dems and the SNP. It also faces claims it will break international law concerning Northern Ireland and Brexit, which Number 10 does not exactly deny.

The Tories say the Bill will allow seamless trade between the four nations post-Brexit.

Scotland’s top lawyer, Conservative Lord Keen, resigns over the issue.

Spikes in coronavirus were recorded across the country as students left home and went back to halls and flats.

Abertay students put lockdown signs in their windows at Parker House, Dundee.

Students are effectively placed into their own lockdown, told not to go home in the event of an outbreak, and start learning online — leading many to question why they should have moved away from home at all.

The highest number of Covid-19 cases are recorded since the start of the pandemic, signalling the beginning of the second wave.

Household visits are banned as the next levels of lockdown restrictions are reintroduced.

Heroes of the Month: Students – Having put up with a bum deal over their exams, swathes of young people are forced into a second lockdown, confined to their flats or halls of residence. They are threatened with disciplinary action if they break the rules. And still have to pay for “the experience” of going to university from the comfort of their own bedrooms.

Villain of the Month: Coronavirus – see January, March.


As the UK gets back to grips with further coronavirus restrictions, new Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross reveals he likes to unwind by watching cow videos on YouTube.

He also continues his fractious clashes with Number 10 by asking for more overseas, “low paid” workers to be allowed into the country to stop the soft fruit industry rotting on the vine. Number 10 ignores his letter, so he sends another one in December.

Manchester United footballer and campaigner Marcus Rashford.

Lastly, he announces his support for Marcus Rashford‘s school meals campaign and urges the Scottish Government to follow suit with a “not entirely Tory” policy idea. Even though he abstained on a Westminster vote on the issue.

Margaret Ferrier has the SNP whip suspended for “breathtakingly irresponsible behaviour” after travelling on a train from London to Scotland having tested positive for coronavirus.

Further Salmond harassment inquiry evidence leads to accusations of a cover up.

Polls show consistent support for Scottish independence, seen as a reflection of how each leader (Sturgeon and Johnson) has handled the pandemic. Support for Ms Sturgeon and the SNP continues to grow, despite: Covid care home deaths, exams fiasco, attainment gap, drug deaths, Salmond inquiry and 13 years of being in government.

The second wave of the pandemic is in full swing, with care homes worst affected.

For some reason, one of Nicola Sturgeon’s top advisers gets angry about a flag on a packet of beef in the middle of a world-defining pandemic.

Hero of the Month: Marcus Rashford – The Manchester United striker takes on the government and wins in his fight against child hunger. The talented 23-year-old is awarded an MBE but fails to toe the line, calling out the country’s leaders for not doing enough to stop children going hungry, particularly in the school holidays.

2020 review
Margaret Ferrier MP.

Villain of the Month: Margaret Ferrier – The SNP MP for Rutherglen is investigated by police after revealing she travelled with coronavirus symptoms, before testing positive for the virus and travelling some more, putting scores of people at risk.

She has had the whip suspended, and the party has been criticised for not kicking her out of the party quickly enough. Despite breaking all the rules, putting people in danger and undermining government efforts to curb the virus, she refuses to resign as an MP, collecting her full salary and even appearing (albeit virtually) in the House of Commons.


Scotland’s men’s team somehow qualify for the Euro 2020 football tournament (which had been cancelled because of the pandemic) following a match so close even Teflon John Swinney wasn’t sure we would manage.

Fans in Aberdeen are called out by politicians after being seen hugging in celebration of the achievement.

The central belt, Dundee, Angus, Perth and Kinross and Fife are placed in stricter lock-down measures.

A damning report into representation and racism in Police Scotland revealed people of colour are quitting the force en masse.

Female and LGBTI members of the force are victims of “deeply” concerning discrimination, according to the independent review of complaints handling, investigations and misconduct in policing conducted by Dame Elish Angiolini.

She warned attitudes in the police and community had not changed “as they should have” since the Stephen Lawrence inquiry in the 1990s.

2020 review
Michael Gove.

John Major calls for two independence votes, Gordon Brown says none. Scottish secretary Alister Jack claims a vote could be 40 years away, while Michael Gove maintains the union will persevere. Polls continue to show support for Scottish independence, or another referendum at the very least.

Boris Johnson does his best to calm things down by claiming devolution to be a disaster, days before the Scottish Conservatives’ virtual conference.

The Scottish Government was defeated twice in Holyrood on motions calling for the handing over of legal advice surrounding the Salmond inquiry.

Mr Salmond also wants the Scottish Government to pay his legal costs as the inquiry unfolds. He was previously awarded £500,000 of public cash following a botched investigation.

Dominic Cummings resigns, but not because he thinks he has done anything wrong. A wrangle over communications staff  sees him hand in his notice. As befitting a man with self-confidence beyond his abilities, he saunters out the front door of Number 10 with a box of belongings, like a Poundshop Anne Hathaway at the end of The Devil Wears Prada.

Engineering company Bifab, which was supposed to be filled to the brim with renewables jobs, goes under after the UK and Scottish governments say “no more money”.

This is after hearing from companies like SSE and EDF that using Scottish companies on the supply chain for wind turbines is too costly.

The SNP surprise nobody by committing to hold a referendum on Scottish independence should they win a majority in Holyrood next May.

Heroes of the Month: Scotland National (men’s) Team – The only thing stopping us from playing in an international tournament for the first time in 22 years is the coronavirus, which would be both very unfair and incredibly “Scottish”.

2020 review
President Donald Trump.

Villain of the Month: President Donald Trump – The golf course owner and fake tan enthusiast makes even more of a mockery of the office he holds by refusing to concede the election, making spurious fraud claims and inciting disinformation across the United States. Sad!


Ahead of the UK leaving the EU for good, the UK Government cedes to farmer pressure on the number of seasonal workers allowed into the country next summer.

The NFU Scotland had feared fruits withering on the vine due to a lack of numbers of people working the fields.

A domestic campaign to get “British workers” into fields was a resolute failure, with only a 15% uptake.

2020 review
Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross during a visit to a fruit farm in Angus.

Despite this, the government said it allowed them to see where the vacancies were, which was everywhere.

The scandal into the collapse of Bifab continued, with MPs calling for a full public inquiry into why Scotland’s renewables’ industry had been allowed to stagnate.

Investigations into the Lockerbie atrocity of 1988 continued, with the announcement of a new suspect and his possible extradition to the US.

Dundee retained its most unwanted title, that of drug death capital of Europe.

Scotland has the highest rate of death from illicit substance abuse in the whole of the EU.

The minister in charge, Dundee City West MSP Joe FitzPatrick, resigned. Under his watch drug deaths increased not just in his home town, but the country as a whole.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon was caught for the briefest of moments not wearing a face covering when she was supposed to. A mortified Ms Sturgeon was straight out the gate in her apology — you could imagine there was no one more angry at her actions than her.

The press was right to report the story, the first minister was right in acknowledging her mistake. No harm, we hope, no foul. Of course the bravest of Twitter warriors decided, like everything else, to turn it into a constitutional issue.

And not wanting to spoil Christmas early, Brexit talks went down to the wire. After some four and a half years, a deal was finally done on Christmas eve. It’s probable neither side is completely happy but at least Larry the cat got to do something.

Hero of the Month: You – Well done. You made it to the end of 2020. It has been a terrific year, in the archaic sense of causing terror. Hundreds of thousands of us were not so lucky, and in our thoughts they should remain for the longest of times.

The pandemic is far from over, with the country plunged into the strictest of restrictions by the time you read this, but there is light, even if it is in the far-off distance.

Villain of the Month – Covid 19 – See pretty much every other month.