THE OPENING this week of the Scottish Parliament was an auspicious affair. Politicians mingled with royalty, backs were slapped, and children were ‘high-fived’.
This was no traditional opening ceremony, however, but the onset of a pandemic Parliament. While the cameras rolled, Nicola Sturgeon and MSPs from all parties donned their face coverings dutifully for the Press.
Yet mere hours later, photos of unmasked MSPs started to emerge, posing with local heroes and government advisors. They were mere inches from each other, laughing, joking, smiling, and some even gazing in awe at the First Minister.
Us For Them Scotland were quick out of the blocks. As a volunteer activist group that campaigns for the needs of children to be prioritised in response to decisions on Coronavirus, they didn’t pull any punches, tweeting, “These are the smug politicians forcing our children into masks.”As a parent of a 15-year-old going through Higher year, the photos of maskless MSPs, indoors and without social distancing, enraged me. Here are the lawmakers, those who by diktat are forcing our children to cover their faces without any factual scientific basis and against all evidence and yet they are mask free?
In response to UFT Scotland’s tweet, I asked Sturgeon directly, “Does this photograph of you maskless in a group, indoors, now mean that masks are no longer required in schools (or in fact anywhere)?” At the time of writing, that tweet has over 120,000 views and a great deal of support.
Surely the parents of Scotland will have something to say about this rank hypocrisy? Many SNP supporters refuse to criticise the SNP. They fear the cause of independence will be marred by any challenge to their authority.
Remember, however, this is not a constitutional issue. Our children’s health and wellbeing – the most important thing to parents – should come first. Even (shock horror) before independence.
The Scottish Lib Dems recently came out against vaccine passports saying they were discriminatory. They are indeed unfair, disadvantaging the poorest in our society and some minority groups. So too, then are masks in schools. The list of those disadvantaged by face coverings runs to many; autistic children, those who have hearing issues, children with anxiety problems, asthmatics, those prone to acne and many more.
If the Scottish Lib Dems think Vaccine Passports are discriminatory, surely they could also shape the debate by coming out against face coverings in schools? A generation would thank them for it.
As Holyrood opened its doors for another session, perhaps politicians should remember the words of Groucho Marx, who said, “Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies.” Face coverings in schools are the wrong remedy. No wonder Sturgeon doesn’t want to wear one.
Our children don’t want to wear them either, but they have no choice. The guidance must be followed, the rules must be obeyed. Yet on seeing those photos of maskless MSPs many concerned parents of this country are calling out in a collective voice, ‘if the rules must be followed, why is it one rule for them and another for our children?’
You can follow this story at @jen4Scot
Main photo by Syda Productions from Shutterstock