Scottish historian and television host Neil Oliver has slammed Nicola Sturgeon’s announcement of a new wave of Covid restrictions, saying her fantasy is to control people’s lives when there is no chance of a second referendum on independence so soon.
The GB News presenter spoke out, causing further unrest on social media after the Prime Minister again tightened Covid rules in Scotland as the number of Omicron cases continued to rise.
He admitted that he did not have the scientific background “or the medical us”, but then said that the lockdown and all associated restrictions “have not worked” and that the government’s response to the crisis will be considered. as the “mother and father of all”. public policy disasters “.
But his views on the effectiveness of the restrictions have been challenged by fellow GB News presenter Alastair Stewart.
More restrictions on leisure and hospitality were introduced in Scotland on December 27 following the limits on major events that came into effect on December 26.
Christmas Day celebrations were allowed to go as planned, although people were advised to limit socializing to three households around the festivities and take a side flow test before mingling with others.
On Monday, the Scottish government said the number of Covid cases in Scotland reached an all-time high over the holiday season due to the Omicron variant.
On Christmas Day, the number of positive tests stood at 8,252, with a high of 11,030 on Boxing Day – the highest daily totals in Scotland since the start of the pandemic.
However, the government has said that with the longer turnaround time for test results due to demand on the service, the actual number of positive Covid cases could be even higher.
READ MORE: GB News’s Neil Oliver in line of ‘non-compliance’ with wearing masks to beat Omicron Covid variant
While Nicola Sturgeon warned just over two weeks ago that Scotland is facing a “tsunami” of Omicron cases, with the variant likely to replace Delta as the dominant form of the virus within days, this has not yet translated into hospitalizations.
On Christmas Eve there were 536 Covid-19 patients in hospital -37 less than two weeks ago and a drop of four the day before. At the same time last year, there was double that number – 1,008.
Mr Oliver, who previously called the lockdown “the biggest mistake in world history”, said Scottish restrictions would cripple business further, but saved his anger at the Prime Minister’s response.
“I remain convinced as I have been almost from the beginning that this is a level of power over the lives of people that Nicola Sturgeon would not have acquired otherwise and that now that she has it under the belt, she is resolutely determined to twist to the end. Let go of this unnecessary and ill-gotten power over people’s lives, “he told Alastair Stewart.
“It doesn’t surprise me at all that she did this, but it will be a disaster for businesses. It’s further discouraging, it casts a new veil of depression on sectors that need so much a boost. thumb. You know, [finance secretary] Kate Forbes said it was the best thing to protect us. The best thing for businesses in Scotland and elsewhere is that the government is pulling back from the face of business and letting businesses do business and try to recoup some of the financial losses they have had to absorb over the past 20 months. . ”
He said that at least in England in the short term, the government seemed to have understood that the restrictions “put misery upon misery”, but said that in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, the governments are always “in front of the companies, and that to the detriment of all”.
On Boxing Day, it emerged Boris Johnson would not introduce further Covid restrictions in England until 2022, giving the green light to mass events and leaving nightclubs open for New Years Eve – unlike everyone else. other British countries.
Scientists criticized the decision, which came as England recorded its highest number of Covid infections. They said it was the time of “the greatest divergence between scientific advice and legislation” since the start of the pandemic.
READ MORE: What lockdown critic Neil Oliver said after emerging from Covid self-isolation
The announcement came after advisers told the Prime Minister that significant pressure from the NHS came from staff absences rather than overcrowded intensive care units. Across the UK on December 22, there were 8,240 hospitalized with Covid – that’s over thousands more than the 7,184 in wards more than two weeks ago. On the same day last year, there were 21,488, more than two and a half times as many.
Mr Oliver, the archaeologist and author who came out of mandatory quarantine on November 14 after catching Covid said: “I do not accept that there is a scientific or medical justification for continuing to apply these restrictions. I just don’t do it.
“I’ve said before with a caveat that I don’t have the medical or scientific background, but I think it’s pretty obvious that locking, and I’m using that as a generic term for all of the restrictions in this lucky bag of miseries that was distributed to people in the last 20 odd months. They didn’t work. They didn’t do anything. They didn’t reduce the spread. They didn’t reduce the number of people contracting Covid in any of its variants. You know, these restrictions are just disastrous, they just pile misery upon misery. ”
His last comment came during a conversation with Alastair Stewart who disagreed that the restrictions had not been beneficial and had resulted in fewer hospitalizations and deaths.
He said, “The stats are there for everyone to see, Neil.”
But Mr Oliver believed the rollout of vaccinations was accompanied by a natural progression from winter to spring and summer when “you’d expect” the numbers of sick or hospitalized people to decline anyway.
“As we move into this winter and get closer to Christmas, you know, lo, you know, as a gift to these power-obsessed politicians, they found this Omicron variant somewhere and managed to get terribly excited and upset about it, when a lot of scientific opinion from South Africa and elsewhere said that they had this and seen this longer than you have, and we think it’s light, ”said he declared.
Reaction on social networks
“But there was a concerted attempt to see Omicron only as a bad thing. Because there was once again this general determination to hang the sword of Damocles over everyone’s heads.
“When all is said and done and we look back from any point in the future, what happened [we will see] what has been done will have been the mother and father of all public policy catastrophes. We will see that Lockdown and all its little wizards have done nothing but harm. ”
The Renfrewshire-born 54-year-old who previously said he and his wife would not let their three teenage children take the Covid vaccine believed the lack of a realistic possibility of a second independence referendum underscored how Nicola Sturgeon was reacting to the crisis.
He said, “That’s the fantasy she’s having right now. Someone like Nicola Sturgeon dreams of having control over people’s lives. She calls herself mom-in-chief, you know, it’s a fantasy for her to have people asking her permission to go about their daily business. ”
The former chairman of the National Trust for Scotland, who was seen as a divisive figure by some because of his pro-Union stance, said: “The dream of independence for the SNP and political supporters is the stuff of ‘yesteryear. It’s gone. It’s unrealistic. And it is partly for this reason that Nicola Sturgeon like Mark Drakeford in Wales, cannot bear to surrender, to hand over the power which was to him granted, gifted because of this unprecedented unexpected urgency. ”
READ MORE: ‘Divisive’ broadcaster Neil Oliver steps down as chairman of National Trust for Scotland
The TV presenter, who is known among diehard nationalists for describing the uncertainty caused by the prospect of a second referendum as a ‘cancerous presence’ and describes Alex Salmond as a ’round wrecking ball of a man , trained only to do damage, ”added,“ You know independence is not a realistic threat. I don’t worry about that. And I haven’t worried about it for quite some time. possibility no longer exists. I don’t expect to speak in any meaningful way about the prospect of an independence referendum for decades. If so, in my lifetime. ”
Earlier this month, support for Scottish independence reached its highest level in a year, according to a new poll.
Support for Yes was 55% – up five points from the last Ipsos MORI poll just before the Holyrood election in May, according to the survey for STV.
Excluding the undecided, he suggested that the 2014 referendum result could be reversed if another takes place now.
The poll’s result came just days after the prime minister told the SNP conference that the campaign for independence would start “in earnest” in the spring of next year with a vote in 2023.