THE Scottish Government’s Cabinet visited East Lothian this week aiming to make democracy transparent.

Westminster’s Scottish Affairs Committee acknowledges that people in Scotland find the UK Parliament “far less accessible” than Holyrood, which holds committee meetings away from Parliament, welcomed by voluntary organisations.

The UK Cabinet’s last meeting in Scotland – in 1921 – discussed Irish independence; might be time for another independence discussion?

Boris Johnson’s inadequate, untruthful evidence to the Covid inquiry was evasive (“I don’t know... can’t remember... nobody told me”), ignorant (unable to understand that, in Europe, only Italy had more deaths than the UK) or arrogant (evidence dismissed as “rubbish” or unrepeatable slurs). Johnson distressed bereaved families and betrayed those in East Lothian who, in good faith, voted Tory in 2019. Too late Johnson “twigged” the danger; he was unfit for office.

Forensic questioning and well-informed answers should be guiding the inquiry towards preparedness for future pandemics. Instead, Johnson defended a toxic working environment where he saw decision-making meetings as “disputatious” or “acquiescent”. Everyone in East Lothian could identify an obvious third option for any workplace: people making decisions should know what they’re doing, do it effectively and use discussion to achieve agreed positive objectives, not go with a gamble because it’s “worth a try”.

Lawyers laid bare Johnson’s disregard for devolution and failure to clarify when “the country” mentioned in pandemic public statements meant England, or one or more devolved administrations.

Claiming it “wouldn’t have looked right” to meet Nicola Sturgeon, Johnson feared discussions with Scotland and Wales would make the UK resemble “a mini-EU”. Further, “confused messaging” might result from the devolved administrations wanting “divergent approaches”.

Far from that being problematic, as Johnson implied, earlier evidence from UK Chief Scientific Advisor Sir Patrick Valance praised Scotland’s contribution. Emphasising high levels of scientific and medical collaboration across the four nations, Sir Patrick said: “The chair of Scotland’s Covid Advisory Group [Andrew Morris, professor of medicine, Edinburgh University] was also director of Health Data Research UK and probably had more information than [Valance] did... but Professor Morris ensured we all saw everything. The data that came from the devolved administrations was incredibly important and I’d single out Scotland in particular.”

Scotland’s own Covid inquiry will run its course; we’ll learn for the future and trust our experts.