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Letters / Shetland following like sheep

So disappointing to read last week that our council has decided to keep in step with Holyrood as it lifts lockdown, apparently incapable of thinking for ourselves.

I am not suggesting some crazy divergence from Nicola’s plan, just apply the same logic that she does to the local conditions we find ourselves in. If we were a country with no new cases or deaths for three weeks and the ability that we should have to control our borders, we would be lifting lockdown and probably at phase 2 of Nicola’s plan by now.

Risk free society does not exist. If we follow the science, alcohol consumption is up for heavy drinkers, and the data for domestic abuse and child abuse including sexual abuse is frightening, imagine living with that in lockdown?

Hundreds of children’s education being irreparably damaged, economic damage, job loss, business closure and the associated poverty, stress and potential suicides that stem from that.

And of course there are many other health issues being ignored, some of which will undoubtedly lead to an early demise for some. Leadership is about weighing up all the pros and cons then having the courage to make a decision, not becoming fixated on one issue.

But what makes me even more disappointed with our council is its lack of foresight.

Having written to my councillor on 12th February about the need to reviewing the emergency plan in light of the coronavirus threat and receiving assurances that all the points I raised were well in hand, points including locking down our borders or at least control of those arriving in Shetland, clearly that reassurance was a load of bull.

Even now in the middle of lockdown it is public knowledge that Loganair is still flying planeloads in to Shetland with little to no checks. Where is our leadership?

Perhaps that explains why the Shetland Times reported that Lerwick South is apparently one of the highest risk areas in Scotland, because I am not convinced it is train travel!

Of course you may be able to excuse early blunders, but to hear that we stopped ‘track and trace’ when the government felt the infection rate was too high baffles me. You might have expected at least one local worthy to notice it was not too high in Shetland.

Likewise nobody in a leadership role seemed to think that perhaps we should have used the past two months to build up our track and trace capability, again we have to wait to be told to do this.

Our schools closed their doors between 16-20th March and apparently nobody thought, we may need social distancing in schools as we lift lockdown, really! I would suggest it was fairly obvious and we should have been planning for that from the day we closed.

I know the public sector is not known for their problem solving abilities but from 2300+ employees there has to be a few positive people, find those and get on with it.

From recent statement, even our representatives in Holyrood and Westminster have suggested the possibility of following a regional approach to lifting lockdown only to be rebuffed by our council. Why?

So come on dear councillors, it’s easy to do nothing but follow the leader and I grant you it takes courage to put your head above the parapets.  But I think you may be surprised how much support you would get when you step outside the council bubble.

Dennis Leask
Gulberwick

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