By Russell Bruce
The news that Prince Charles has isolated to his oversized ‘but and ben’ has caused a storm of outrage. By tradition, a ‘but and ben’ has 2 rooms rather than the 3 storey Birkhall at the centre of HRH’s highland complex of related buildings set in the 6,500 acre Birkhall Estate and part of the total 53,000 acre Balmoral royal land holdings. Plenty self-distancing space without his infected entourage prancing about the locality.
Whilst it is understandable that people have a self preservation instinct, travelling to second homes spreads infectivity to other parts of the country, endangering local populations and can only be described as an act of pure selfishness. We know population movement of this nature was a major factor in the spread of the virus in Italy where Lombardy residents decided to move to southern more rural locations.
There has been a general disinclination at Westminster to learn from Asian and other European countries, or to follow WHO advice. Norway stopped people moving to their cabins over two weeks earlier. Scotland saw waves of mobile homes moving north. In normal times they would be very welcome but these are not normal times and they have been sent home to think again.
Royal castles and prancing peacocks
Birkhall was originally one of the castles of Clan Gordon. Canmore, a part of Historic Environment Scotland, provides this description: (NO 3488 9360) The house of Birkhall, built by the Gordons of Abergeldie, has a stone over its front door inscribed R.G. M.G. 1715. It was formerly called Stiren and is marked as “Steirn” on Gordon of Straloch’s map of 1654. It is a plain three-storeyed house which has been greatly altered since 1715, and is now owned by the Royal Family.
According to that ‘reliable’ source The Daily Mail, Prince Charles may have been infected as early as 13th May. They neglect to mention that this was during Cheltenham when the royal idiots were out in strength. Social Distancing – not for royals and their pals photographed in tight huddles. Princess Anne seems to be scowling in most of the Getty images.
The headline image is from an online article in The Tatler, full of what they were wearing with brand placement of their overpriced clothes, hats and bags.
They preened about like peacocks with brains to match.
The horses seem secondary to who’s there and what they are wearing. Horses don’t get Covid-19 and therefore can’t spread the infection – so that’s all right then because it is important to do the Brit thing as The Tatler noted: “Keep calm and carry on, the royal British mantra has never been more relevant.”
Stable door and bolting horses
The failure to cancel Cheltenham was certainly a major mistake. A Conservative government, too timid to take action to disrupt the pleasures of the aristocracy and wealthy, has resulted in speeding up the spread of the virus to all corners of the UK. Considered ‘safer areas’ – Scotland, Wales and the South West of England have all been seen infectivity rates increase. The first cases in the Scottish Borders, known for its equestrian links, are understood to have been a result of the horsey brigade returning from Cheltenham.
65,000 and counting
The evidence that Scotland is paying much more attention to the lockdown to inhibit spread is testament to the natural caution of most Scots and the clear and calm information from First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and Scotland’s Chief medical officer Dr Catherine Calderwood
Dr Calderwood yesterday said the actual number of people infected in Scotland could be more than 65,000. A sobering thought. Newsnet has avoided making predictions of numbers beyond confirmed cases. The writer had considered a factor of 10 a likely minimum, but refrained from including it in coverage. Dr Caldwell has access to informed opinion based on the science and official modelling of the situation in Scotland.