The main minister accuses the ‘premier’ of violating his restrictions in the face of the pandemic with his “non-essential” trip north of the Scottish border. The fight against Covid-19 has opened a rift comparable to that of Brexit within the United Kingdom. Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s whirlwind visit to Scotland has opened the box of thunder and sparked a personal confrontation with Chief Minister Nicola Sturgeon, who accused the Conservative leader of violating her pandemic restrictions with her trip. nonessential “north of the” border.

We must lead by example, “Sturgeon warned. Boris Johnson and I have to keep working, but we can’t travel to the UK. Is it essential now? If we suggest that we don’t take the rules seriously, it’s going to be more difficult to convince people. The scuffle between the two leaders increased during the day and eventually forced members of the regional and central government to get wet. “Considering this visit as essential, it is clear that the premier has panicked because the Tories are losing the independence debate,” said Keith Brown, number two of the Scottish National Party (SNP).

The Prime Minister is doing his job, complying with Covid safety standards and effectively ensuring the distribution of vaccines in Scotland with the full support of the British Government, stated Cabinet Secretary Michael Gove. Boris Johnson followed up his plans at the end and made a double stop in Glasgow and Edinburgh. With a mask and a gown, the usual electoral photos were taken in the Lighthouse laboratory (where the Covid tests are processed) and in the Valneva plant (where one of the vaccines is manufactured).

The great benefits of cooperation in the United Kingdom have never been clearer since the beginning of the pandemic, was the message with which the premier wanted to make sense of his controversial visit. We have stood up to the virus together and have allocated 8.6 billion pounds (9.5 billion euros) to protect public services in Scotland and to secure 930,000 jobs. Johnson’s visit came four days after Nicola Sturgeon presented her “road map” for holding a second independence referendum when the pandemic subsides. Johnson is drastically opposed and has emphasized that the sovereignist consultation of 2014 (in which he won the stay in the United Kingdom by 55% to 45% of the votes) left the issue settled “for a generation.

I don’t think the right thing to do is endlessly talk about another referendum when what the people of Scotland want is to fight this pandemic,” Johnson declared on the fly. I also don’t see the advantage of losing ourselves in a pointless constitutional dispute after all we went through with the other referendum very recently. Sturgeon has warned however that if the Scottish National Party (SNP) achieves an absolute majority in the Holyrood parliament elections on May 6, it will interpret it as a mandate for a new referendum. In the last year, there has been a notable shift in public opinion. Independence wins in the last 20 polls and a recent Base Panel poll for The Times gives a difference of 52% to 48% in favor of yes to the break with the United Kingdom.

Johnson’s visit is interpreted as an attempt to contain that fracture that grows for days due to discontent over Brexit (against which 62% of the Scottish population voted) and because of his unpopularity in Scotland, which has also been increasing due to the mismanagement of the Covid. Just 22% of Scots consider Johnson to have done well in the face of the pandemic, compared with 61% who approve of Sturgeon’s leadership, almost always ahead of the restrictions.

Sturgeon has repeatedly accused Boris Johnson of being too slow with restrictions in the face of the pandemic. His last line of attack has been against the plan for hotel quarantines for visitors from 30 countries considered high risk. These measures don’t go far enough and still leave too many entry points into the country, Sturgeon said. Sturgeon was also accused Thursday by several Conservative MPs of “siding with the EU” in the “war” on vaccines. The Chief Minister has threatened to release the hitherto confidential data of AstraZeneca’s supplies to the British Government. Sturgeon has anticipated his intention to make them public in Holyrood Parliament next week, whatever they say.

The Covid has served to widen the open division between the “four nations” and delimit the scope of Boris Johnson to England. At times, Sturgeon has boasted comparatively lower numbers of deaths and infections in Scotland, although the numbers have fluctuated during the pandemic. Of the 102,000 deaths recorded in the UK, 89,610 have occurred in England and 5,888 in Scotland (around 6% of deaths with 8% of the population). Comparatively, with 5.3 million inhabitants, the number of detected cases in Scotland (175,000) is the smallest of the “four nations”. The advance of the new British strain in the south of England has widened the gap in the last two months.