FOR many of us, the arrival of December means decorating the house for Christmas, increasing your sugar intake and anxiously refreshing your banking app to check to see if more money has magically appeared.
For party leaders, it’s the start of the countdown to parliamentary recess. They don’t need an advent calendar to keep them right. They know that every December FMQs session brings them one step closer to the elasticated trousers and acceptable day drinking that they so desire.
Though if any of them were feeling (or drinking) the Christmas spirit on Thursday, they certainly kept it well-hidden.
By which I mean, she looked like she was ready to challenge one of them to an arm-wrestle.
Douglas Ross led on reports in recent days of some people being turned away from their booster vaccination appointments.
Nicola Sturgeon said she was sorry to anybody who was turned away from a vaccine clinic.
She said the number of people who were unable to get their booster after booking an appointment was “small” and put the glitch down to the fact that the advice around the gap between second jag and booster had been shortened in recent days, and the clinical advice protocols had to be updated on the systems.
The First Minister went on to say that Scotland currently has the fastest vaccination programme anywhere in the UK and she said these problems are not unique to Scotland.
“I saw on social media this morning, a prominent journalist in England narrating exactly the same experience at a vaccine clinic in England,” she added.
Douglas Ross wasn’t going to let that one slide. Nicola Sturgeon should know by now that the Scottish Tories get really upset if she mentions that she reads books or occasionally doom-scrolls on Twitter while eating her lunch.
It angers them because the First Minister should have better things to do with her time.
The rule should be that, come midnight, she’s only allowed to take off her makeup and kiss her husband goodnight if she can prove to Douglas Ross that the Scottish Government’s to-do list has been cleared in its entirety.
“The First Minister had time to check TWITTER to see what was happening in ENGLAND, rather than trying to solve the problems here in Scotland!” trilled Douglas Ross.
He better hope that nobody catches him tweeting the next time his income declaration is due to be submitted to the House of Commons authorities…
Douglas Ross went on to say that the problems with booster appointments were still ongoing because he had heard of people being turned away that morning.
He didn’t say where he heard this information. But unless we believe that the natural first choice of contact for Scots in administrative crisis is Douglas Ross, then I am willing to bet he read it on Twitter.
Which is a shame, because if he had just used his time more productively he could have probably single-handedly defeated the new Omicron variant.
Nicola Sturgeon said that Douglas Ross was trying to suggest that Scotland’s vaccination programme was going terribly wrong and she wanted to set the record straight.
“On first doses of the over-12 population, 90.9% in Scotland vaccinated, in England 88.5 %. Second doses: in Scotland, 82.6% vaccinated, in England 80.4%. On boosters: in Scotland 36% of the over-12 population vaccinated, in England it’s 32.2%.”
“So is the approach we’re taking in Scotland right now the most successful anywhere in the UK? Yes. And isn’t it about time Douglas Ross – not just in rhetoric but reality – gave these vaccinators working so hard right across the country the credit they deserve?”