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Letters / Wait until the roof falls in

It is encouraging to see councillors talking about the concept of spending some of the reserve fund to support our local economy.

However, I would suggest that statement such as ‘it should only be as a last resort’ is akin to letting the roof fall in before you fix it. You will not find that strategy in any business manual.

Also encouraging is the formation of the business resilience forum set up by the council. But I urge you please do not allow this to become another talking shop, get an action plan together and make it happen. I know there are some good names on the forum with vision and understanding of how business works, but they need to be the majority.

Six weeks, no new cases or death, so it would appear our Health Board has done its bit. We now need our political leadership at national and local level to play their part in minimising the damage.

Locally all that’s missing is public confidence. How do we get public confidence?  Fast and efficient ‘Community Testing’. What are we doing about it? Almost nothing.

Surely it is clear by now that testing is the key to getting back to whatever normal awaits us. Many will no doubt be aware that Shetland NHS has a testing capability. But correct me if I am wrong, it has limited capacity and I believe is not intended for wider community testing.

To that end, I know there is an initiative being put forward to council on raising our ability to test. So please councillors open your door to any initiative and where merited, quickly throw your weight behind it.

Honestly, I believe many are hiding their heads in the sand to the economic consequences that lie ahead. Millions more will become unemployed in this country. The furlough scheme while welcomed, is in part masking the inevitable.

No disrespect to our wonderful front line workers intended, but the sacrifice pain and stress of those millions as they lose employment, ability to support their families, their home etc etc, really does not bear thinking about. Yet there will be nobody clapping for them.

At every level, we need to do what we can to minimise the damage, stop hiding behind ‘we are waiting for guidance’. Let us stop finding reasons not to do things and start believing in our own ability to make a difference.

Judging by the reaction on social media and the press to my last statement, many seem to believe that we cannot have a regional approach to this issue. Nonsense, there is no other alternate without destroying what’s left of our economy.

Most governments and advisory groups see the need for a regional approach. Does anybody really believe that Nicola would lockdown Scotland if there were only cases in Shetland? Do you think Boris would lockdown London if there were only cases in Cornwall? Of course there has to be a regional approach.

Some seem to believe we would need special laws passed to secure our borders; that is simply not true. Soft power is effective in the vast majority of cases and while I am no lawyer, should we need the backup of law there are existing laws such as Schedule 20 of the Coronavirus Act 2020 which may suffice or be adapted. No need to invent the wheel again. 

We really do need to start believing that we can control so much of our own destiny.

Dennis Leask