We don’t need any reminding about how hard 2020 has been so this article is going to be positive and look ahead to 2021.
From the 4th of January the recently approved Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine will start to be administered to people in Scotland.
The same priority will be given to those who are to receive the vaccine as was the case with the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine: residents in a care home for older adults and their carers, people over the age of 80 and frontline health and social care workers.
From 11th of January the vaccine will be delivered into the wider community with the oldest being the first to be vaccinated, starting with people aged 75 to 79 years of age, followed next by 70-74-year-olds alongside those who are clinically extremely vulnerable.
It will take several months to vaccinate all those who wish to be so everyone will have to continue to observe FACTS .
- wear a face covering
- avoid crowded places
- clean hands and surfaces regularly
- stay 2m away from other people
- self-isolate and book a test if you have COVID-19 symptoms (new continuous cough, fever or loss of, or change in, sense of smell or taste)
It does mean, however, that we now know that the end is in sight and we can look forward to a summer when we can meet with friends and family again.
This may seem a surprising thing to be positive about but from now on we know what ‘Brexit means Brexit’ – actually means. The UK Parliament has approved the legislation, the Deal with the EU has been signed, so we know that we are no longer European citizens. Our passports have changed colour and roaming charges are likely to be applied when we use our mobile phone in an EU country.
It is going to be difficult – higher food prices, delays in delivery and lots of forms to fill in if you are an exporter – but in 2014 Scotland voted to stay in the UK and this is what that vote 7 years ago has meant for a nation that wanted to remain European.
Scottish Parliament Elections
The elections to the Scottish Parliament are due to take place on Thursday 6th of May. The MSPs are elected using a form of proportional representation.
Put aside whether or not you like politicians – what is important is that their decisions (see above about Brexit) affect your life.
Currently in Scotland our parliament has made decisions that mean we have things people in other parts of the UK do not have – free prescriptions, the Baby Box, minimum pricing on alcohol, a variety of benefits that mitigate the worst aspects of the UK Government’s austerity measures. That’s only a few things and it is no way perfect, in many ways it has shown weaknesses over vital issues like land ownership and wildlife crime. But it is much more accountable to the people of Scotland than Westminster is.
There are people who will try to argue that voting is not important , that nothing changes, mainly because that suits those that don’t like citizens having too much of a say in how things are going.
Your vote is the most powerful tool you have to enable change. The 2021 Scottish elections will be a turning point.
Last week the Scottish Parliament overwhelmingly recorded its opposition to the UK leaving the EU with only the Tories thinking it a good idea.
Electing parliamentarians by proportional representation is the closest you can get to having a parliament that actually reflects the way citizens feel about issues. The turnout in 2016 was only 55.8% which is pretty poor considering 16 and 17 year olds were also able to vote for the first time, extending the franchise. Over 4 million people were registered to vote but on the day only just over two and a quarter million did .
In 2020 we had to sit in our houses, locked down, with no ability to control matters around us. That feeling of being powerless because of a highly infectious and potentially deadly virus was extremely difficult to deal with.
This year, 2021, the most effective thing we can do is to ensure we have a parliament that reflects our views and representatives who will strive with honesty and compassion to deliver on their election promises.
To serve the people of Scotland.
Registering to vote (if you haven’t already done so), asking questions of candidates to find out what they will actually do and voting – that is the positive difference we can all make.
“Elections belong to the people. It’s their decision. If they decide to turn their back on the fire and burn their behinds, then they will just have to sit on their blisters.” ― Abraham Lincoln
I’ve only taken this up to the May elections because that vote is so important that its result will determine Scotland’s future.
Reporter: Fiona Grahame