I WAS disappointed to find East Lothian placed in Tier 3 of the Covid-19 restrictions.
When assessment was based on health board area that was understandable, but moving to council as criteria changed that.
It seems strange that comparable councils like Fife or the Borders are in the lower level but not East Lothian. However, with weekly reviews, hopefully both current progress dealing with Covid-19 can be maintained and an early reduction in classification brought in.
Despite that, there was brighter news with the opening of the revamped Glenkinchie visitor centre. The event was restricted, as visits will be for a while, but it’ll be a marvellous attraction. Knowledgeable and helpful staff make for a great experience. I’m sure it’ll be a hub for other local businesses to benefit from.
Westminster was in recess last week, but I was delighted at the announcement in the Scottish Parliament of a pardon for many miners convicted during the strike in the 1980s. I recall those events well and was involved in obtaining welfare benefits for strikers’ families, as well as representing some charged with criminal offences.
My experiences then were largely in communities in West Lothian and Fife, but the pain and hardship were similar in many East Lothian towns and villages. Arrest was often random and conviction led to automatic dismissal. That had an effect on pension rights and other benefits, irrespective of years of service in an industry that was draining and sometimes life-shortening.
Nobody would wish to see people require to go back underground. It’s good to remember the solidarity in the job and communities. But let’s also recall how hard it was on those who worked there and the families they supported. Besides, global warming requires us to move away from fossil fuels.
Addressing an injustice, though, is correct, as is remembering with pride both those who struggled back then and all who served in the industry.