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Rona Dougall: We all suffered to obey the rules and that explains the anger at No. 10

© Graeme Hunter / STVRona Dougall
Rona Dougall

I sent my daughter to her room last week. Not for a brief cooling off period like I used to do when she was little and badly behaved. No, this time it was for seven long, long days.

She’d tested positive for Covid, hardly a surprise really when the Omicron variant has been sweeping through the population at such a devastating rate. It’s a miracle one of us hadn’t caught the damn virus already.

Thankfully, the rest of our family was free to go about our business. Which is just as well because catering for a house/room-bound teenager is a full-time job.

It was my own fault really for setting the bar so high on the first day. Flowers, candles, hotel-style menus with various breakfast options. Glasses of wine and nibbles at 5pm. Tray after tray of lovingly prepared food, cheerfully delivered to her door.

What was I thinking? By the end of her quarantine I felt like hurling a tin of beans and a can opener up the stairs. I was exhausted by day seven and was praying more fervently than she was that the daily test would come up negative. Thankfully it did. Freedom at last – for her and for me.

She wasn’t unwell so couldn’t justify lying around in bed. She spent the week productively; doing online university lectures, reading and eating the delicious meals her mother had so painstakingly put together (see above).

Thousands of us have had to go through this ordeal over the past couple of years. And it’s hard. I have particular sympathy for parents with young children.

My niece has also just finished a stint of isolating, but she had a 14-month-old toddler to deal with too. What a nightmare!

She couldn’t just loaf around bingeing on Netflix box sets, having restorative naps and the occasional cocktail. The poor thing had to entertain an energetic child around the clock.

Jura the dog was a great distraction but, unfortunately, the mutt was on heat so there was double the number of nappies to deal with. Thank heavens for CBeebies. The people I know who’ve had to self-isolate have stuck to the letter of the law. My daughter didn’t venture further than the loo for more than seven days and that was tough.

Rules and regulations have governed our lives for months, and it really has been difficult at times. People have made enormous sacrifices. It’s been heartbreaking to hear of families who couldn’t be with loved ones when they died.

I heard a panel of politicians on the radio the other day being asked if they’d broken the rules at all. They all admitted to very minor indiscretions like forgetting to wear a mask at the garage, or going for a longer walk than was allowed during lockdown.

I get that. Nobody is perfect and I bet many of us have bent the rules just a little. But there is a huge difference between that and the bigger contraventions we have seen.

Hence the outpouring of fury at the series of revelations about partygate at the Prime Minister’s No 10 residence. The idea that there is one rule for them and one rule for us elicits incredible anger.

Could he really not know he was at a party? We will have to wait for the senior civil servant Sue Gray to make that judgment.

A quick Google search of the mythical Sue reveals she used to run a bar and is married to a country singer. That begs just one question. If Boris is still her boss, will she stand by her man?


Rona Dougall is a journalist and broadcaster and presents STV’s Scotland Tonight