Thirteen days ago The Times had a front page headline Two weeks to save the Fringe from oblivion, erm, so is this really it for the Fringe?! The chief executive of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society, Shona McCarthy has been asking the Scottish government to lower the two metre rule to one metre in venues to ensure at least some shows will be viable. She said acts that would usually come to Edinburgh in August are already arranging stuff in England because, well, they can. Quite why the two week deadline I can’t figure out, yes time is seriously running out for anything to happen in August, but why by 12th June? Or is that paper emphasising the clock ticking timebomb more than the chief exec?
Is there really a danger that two years without a full-on Fringe will mean the demise of the Edinburgh Fringe? The article states that “an alliance of ten venues recently warned that the Fringe was in danger of sinking without trace”. Oh boy, I know I’ve pondered such a thing, but I’m a top level catastrophist! I keep checking the BBC online news for updates but all I’ve read recently is that the Scottish government intend to extend their temporary emergency powers (that really doesn’t sound promising!). These temporary emergency powers were meant to expire in September but they want them extending until March next year, with an option to extend further until September 2022 if they deem it necessary. Wow. Cautious or controlling? Opposition parties have expressed concern that the government is trying to rush the bill through before the summer recess which means there won’t be time to properly scrutinise the details and fully debate it – call me cynical but I smell something fishy!
I haven’t seen anything that even hints the Sturgeon will agree to cut the two metres down to one. There have been a number of large trial events in England that have had good results, as in only few positive cases found linked to the events. Yes, there are new variants, some that spread quickly but they don’t seem to be as harmful (which come to think of it, way back last year some scientist said that as viruses mutate to survive they become less virulent as part of that survival process). There’s enough evidence to show that one metre distancing is good enough if the rules are followed. Many countries have gone down to one metre and seem to be doing okay, many businesses here are unmanageable and unviable at two metres. If businesses here have to abide by stricter guidelines, then the government could at least give enough assistance to alleviate some of the hardship caused by them.
I’ll leave you with a quote I saw this week from Scotland’s chief medical office, one Dr Gregor Smith, talking to a committee he said, “…. and if you are at one metre your risk is much greater than if you are at two metres ….” No shit, Sherlock! Who’d’ve thunk it! Of course there’s a higher risk, higher, but higher than what? What is the risk now and each day as more people get vaccinated? And much greater? I wonder the percentage that adds the “much”. In times gone by, folk carried snuffboxes about their person, these days we need saltboxes for a ready pinch to hand!