It’s that time of year again when columnists wish their readers – even those who can’t quite come to terms that the writer’s opinions may differ from theirs – a Merry Christmas.
This year, however, I can add a Happy Level 4 and all the joy that will bring from Saturday until, well, who knows?
We as a country haven’t done too well in the Covid stakes, but at least the first minister has afforded the virus more time to spread before shutting us all down, unless we live on places like Unst or Foula, where I guess residents and the local seal population will be reasonably safe.
But we cannot point the finger of blame for the spread of the infection at Nicola Sturgeon, who deserves credit for her 100% attendance record at her lectern from where she wears her serious expression and dispenses daily information on the crisis.
OK, the leader takes the flak, especially when she forgets to wear her mask, but at least she has Professor Jason Leitch, her dependable clinical adviser, defending her “lapse”.
You won’t read criticism of the FM here. It would only spark searching and imaginative comments of this column on the EE’s Facebook page from her fan club, like “get a grip” or “is he still living?”, and other similar witty asides.
Now we are persona non grata in a growing list of countries fearful that we will bring with us, apart from our sun cream and suitcases, any of the strains of the virus.
Surely it’s only a matter of time before anyone with the dreaded symptoms will be required to ring a bell as they walk the streets in search of a loaf of bread and a pint of milk.
Meanwhile, the crisis has also put paid to so many events, not least important occasions such as weddings.
Which is why I doff my cap to the innovative couple in Malaysia, who cleverly avoided the attention of the local Covid constabulary and the 20-guests-only restrictions by making their big day a drive-through occasion.
Ten thousand bonkers invitees turned up, though it’s unsure how many thought they were in the queue for McDonald’s.
Apparently a good time was had by all, even if they didn’t exit their vehicles and couldn’t witness the bride’s father making a fool of himself on the dance floor.
The point is that the world will go on, but crazier than ever.
Starmer’s devolution plan wide of the mark
Do you remember when the Labour Party first pointed Scotland in the direction of devolution?
It was in 1997, two years before it was delivered, and I asked a minister in Tony Blair’s government if he would up sticks and head home to become an MSP.
“Nope!” came the reply.
All right, surely some of the UK’s big political hitters, like Gordon Brown, John Reid, Robin Cook, Alistair Darling and George Robertson, among a list of impressive Scots in Westminster, might feel like trying for a seat in the new parliament in their homeland?
None were interested. Funny, that.
So, quite what Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has on his mind with his commitment to deliver the “boldest devolution project in a generation”, I don’t know.
Well, I do. He wants to avoid a move towards an independent Scotland and hopes his idea of a constitutional commission to offer a “positive alternative to the Scottish people”, chaired by Brown, will prevent a Yes vote.
But why not do what Wendy Alexander did 12 years ago when she was Labour’s Scottish leader and say “Bring it on”?
That’s assuming Nicola Sturgeon is confident her supporters will sufficiently outnumber the No brigade if and when the time arrives.
As for more devolution – no thanks.
Mourinho misfires in gambling advert
Jose Mourinho, or “the special one” as he describes himself, lets himself down with his flag-waving for Paddy Power, the bookmaker.
Through a TV advert, Mourinho promotes gambling, as do ex-players Charlie Nicholas, Matt Le Tissier and Phil Thompson, three pundits dropped by Sky’s Soccer Saturday programme.
I don’t know what Paddy Power pays Mourinho, but I would have thought his £15m-a-year Spurs’ salary would have been sufficient for him not to see the need to encourage what is the scourge of many lives.