Coronavirus: A route map out of crisis is revealed

Nicola Sturgeon Image copyright PA Media

Nature can provoke a range of emotions. On observing Portobello beach in Edinburgh, Nicola Sturgeon was, she told us, moved to tears.

Just what had prompted this outpouring of first ministerial emotion? Was it the riparian beauty of Scotland's eastern shores? Or the defiant courage of our citizenry, risking the possible flight of the sun and its attendant heat, ever hazardous in an early Scottish summer.

No, Ms Sturgeon was upset that so many seemed prepared to overturn the lockdown and strict social distancing in pursuit of a little solar warming.

She got the concept, she said. She understood the temptation. But she warned that proximity gatherings like this risked the further spread of coronavirus. If repeated, such manifestations risked jeopardising the progress made thus far.

It was that which brought her close to tears. The thought that all the effort - not her effort, you understand, but that of a compliant populace - could be at risk.

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Coronavirus: The beginning of a solution to the virus crisis

Nicola Sturgeon
Image caption Nicola Sturgeon detailed the TTI strategy at the daily coronavirus briefing

In our lifetime, we have had to get used to a bewildering array of acronyms. Especially in this digital age. LOL and ROFL among them.

Now, enter a new one. Stand by for TTI. Unlike the social media shorthand, I can translate that one with ease: it means Test, Trace, Isolate.

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Coronavirus: Nicola Sturgeon abandons the pretence

Nicola Sturgeon Image copyright AFP
Image caption Nicola Sturgeon has constantly stressed that she may have to change tack

Perhaps it is the miasma of partisan politics. Perhaps it is scrutiny from the wicked media. Perhaps it is instinctive.

Whatever the cause, political leaders generally like to exude certainty. They will say: "I believe I have been completely clear about this" Or: "Let me assure the House……"

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Coronavirus: 'A question of balance' over lockdown exit

The Moody Blues Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The Moody Blues were at the height of their fame in the 1960s and 70s

When I was younger, I was quite an adherent of the popular beat combo known as The Moody Blues. It is curious how many of their album titles can be made to fit within the world of politics.

Think of "On the Threshold of a Dream". Could be the soundtrack for the launch of pretty well any party manifesto.

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What on earth was Catherine Calderwood thinking?

  • 6 April 2020
  • From the section Scotland
catherine calderwood Image copyright PA Media
Image caption Catherine Calderwood was the face of Scotland's public advice campaign - advice she was not following herself

What on earth was she thinking? This was either grossly naive, achingly foolish or staggeringly arrogant. And either way the chief medical officer had to go.

I have heard it said - indeed a listener made this point on the wireless this morning - that Dr Catherine Calderwood should be forgiven a mistake.

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Considering the impact of the coronavirus crisis

Camellia bud

I bring you news. There is an insolent single bud on the camellia in my garden. The herald of a pinkish red flower.

Whisper it, but the camellia, as a genus, can be somewhat thrawn.

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Coronavirus: This is not a drill

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and Deputy First Minister John Swinney arrive ahead of First Minister's Questions (FMQ's) in the debating chamber of the Scottish Parliament on March 19, 2020 in Edinburgh Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Nicola Sturgeon and John Swinney ahead of First Minister's Questions

This, as Nicola Sturgeon pointedly reminded us, is not a drill. This is for real. As the first minister knows and appreciates full well, that lesson has already been thoroughly absorbed by those who have fallen ill, by those who have tragically lost loved ones and by those whose livelihoods are in jeopardy.

To that extensive list, we must now add school pupils and their parents. With solemn demeanour, the Education Secretary John Swinney announced that he was cancelling Scotland's certificate exams for this year.

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Coronavirus: Empathy during 'monumentally difficult' crisis

Image copyright Getty Images

And so it seems that Scotland's septuagenarians and older, sprightly or otherwise, will not be asked to isolate themselves entirely for fear of coronavirus.

They will be asked instead to reduce substantially their social contact. For some, sadly, that will not be a particular challenge - as their circle of friends and visiting family may already be rather reduced.

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Coronavirus breeds uncertainty

Nicola Sturgeon

As I write, there is little in the way of certainty. It seems highly likely that further stringency will be applied in the efforts to combat the coronavirus crisis.

But, at this stage, there is - entirely understandably - no precision as to what that stringency might ultimately involve in terms of the impact upon people.

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MSPs bring gravity and focus to coronavirus debate

Nicola Sturgeon Image copyright PA Media
Image caption Holyrood's leaders had serious, measured exchanges about the coronavirus threat

Nothing concentrates the mind quite like malady and mortality. So it proved when opposition leaders arose to question Nicola Sturgeon at Holyrood.

They eschewed partisan discourse and focused instead on the potential threat from coronavirus. The first minister responded in like fashion, attempting to cajole and reassure in the same breath.

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