If a Prime Minister goes on a visit and there are no reporters there to meet him, has he really visited?
It wasn’t just the media scrum left out in the cold, in the comfort of their own living rooms, from Boris Johnson’s first foray to Scotland of 2021.
The ScoBoJo fan club — that Saltire-waving, car-chasing group of independence supporters who claim to hate the man yet throng wherever and whenever he comes north of the border — missed out on their chance, too, all thanks to the latest restrictions.
So that’s the Prime Minister arrived at Bute House pic.twitter.com/2hFKxgoUb0
— Paul Malik (@C_PMalik) July 29, 2019
Whether the prime minister’s visit to Glasgow and Livingston was designed to take attention away from the Scottish Government budget remains to be seen.
Given the evidence produced by Mr Johnson’s cabinet and advisers so far, it is difficult to think any action they take is intentional. Other than eye-tests on country A-roads.
Using video conferencing technology, the PM was able to field a lot more questions than normal, but not before leaving reporters waiting for the customary amount of time being First Lord of the Treasury affords. Comforting, then, that the more things change, the more they stay the same.
Perhaps, then, the visit too could have been arranged virtually. As leader of the UK and Northern Ireland, I daresay one is afforded a few more liberties with the rules on travel than the person in the street. But what example it sets, and how many people could have been put at risk still should have been a consideration.
Notable, too, was a sense of deflation oozing from the normally boisterous and blusterous Boris.
That the PM should feel sad and “deeply sorry” is a given, a mere footnote in the saga. Now, he must focus, truly and utterly, on listening to the experts and making sure the country’s recovery is as successful as our death rate is devastating.
The same applies in Holyrood. Focus should be firmly on exterminating this virus from existence. It means listening to the science, ensuring everyone sticks with the rules (not just in spirit) and grinning and bearing it by working with people you might not like, but have no other choice than to get along with.