LIKE many, I tuned into Boris Johnson’s address to the nation earlier this week, expecting to find some illumination in this period of uncertainty.

In summary, though I’m still trying to figure it out, Boris instructed: Don’t go to work. But also go to work. Don’t take public transport, but also go to work. Don’t leave the house. But feel free to leave the house. And maybe, but maybe not, at some point the government will make a decision or not on the way forwards, or backwards. Perhaps.

And all of this was presented through a series of graphs and slides, including the new five-point scale denoting our stage in responding to the pandemic. The government estimated we’re currently somewhere about 3.5. Hopefully.

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The frustration with lockdown is palpable. There are very few of us enjoying these temporary restrictions on our freedoms. Some may be willing to take the risk of contracting the virus – but the people with whom they come in contact didn’t sign up for that risk. It really is as simple as that. Staying home saves lives.

In this moment of turmoil, people in our communities are looking for clarity, leadership and honesty. I’ve written previously about the examples set by leaders like New Zealand’s Jacinda Ardern, Germany’s Angela Merkel, Finland’s Sanna Marin and others. The common thread between all of these leaders is their honesty with the public.

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Honesty about the scale of the crisis, the personal sacrifices and the consequences otherwise. In other words, empowering citizens by setting out their role in facing this present danger.

But the Scottish Government’s credibility has taken a body blow in the last week. Revelations about the first coronavirus cases in Scotland at a Nike conference in February, and a shocking report from the University of Edinburgh detailing that thousands of lives could have been saved if action had been taken earlier, have lain waste to the reputation Scottish ministers sought to protect.

I am very glad that we have a devolved Scottish government acting as a bulwark against Tory recklessness, and I do think that Nicola Sturgeon has done a better job compared to Boris’s buffoonery. But neither of these observations are at odds with the view that this crisis might have panned out differently, and lives might have been saved, had the Scottish Government gotten its act together in time.

There are still basic questions for which we have no answers. There are still concerns to which the government, either Scottish or UK, have no reply. Even simple things, like hospital patients not receiving the results of their coronavirus test before being transferred back to a care home, or hospital wards with patients suspected of having coronavirus being discharged without testing for the virus after the potential exposure.

The comfort I draw from knowing Boris Johnson is not in direct control of Scotland’s lockdown conditions is significantly marred by the realisation that the Scottish Government could have done much more, and earlier, to save lives.

There will be time after this is over to argue in detail. But, until then, the government must now be honest and clear with the people of Scotland, before lockdown fatigue sets in and puts even more lives at risk.