Politics

Jason Leitch’s week: ‘It’s a shame Only an Excuse? isn’t on. Jonathan Watson could have done me’

FIRST of all, I want to wish all my fans a Happy New Year. And, to those who are not, well, I wish them the same. Because, I’ve learned, in my career in showbiz, it’s not good to alienate half your audience.

I know there are some out there. Not many. But there are some. Who may say: ‘Come on, Jason, you’re National Clinical Director. You’re not Ford Kiernan. Or Martin Compston.’

But there are others. Many others perhaps. Who’ve said that my vast appearances on television and radio with the likes of Off the Ball may suggest a Bafta Scotland nomination. Or an MBE?

Would that be proportionate? Well. That’s for those very many others to decide. I prefer to remain silent on that issue. Although, I will continue to speak. In clipped sentences. Because. I’ve found it gives me a great USP.

Sorry, you find it irritating. And you really want to know how I rate my advice to the public during the pandemic? Yes, there are those who claim I’ve tested positive for obfuscation, that near fatal illness which sees public figures become so self-important and bland they are afraid to say what’s on their mind and turn into Dan Walker.

Yet, there are also those who also appreciate I can’t step outside the government line. That would be career suicide. I have no wish to be known as Jason Lemming.

That’s why I don’t state categorically anymore. I’ve stopped making pronouncements, as I did at the start of the pandemic, such as ‘Wearing face masks is pointless,’ not just because I got it completely wrong but because no one has ever picked up a Bafta Scotland award for being too dictatorial.

And if I’m asked to make statements which could be construed as being political, such as proposed changes to isolation rules, I will repeat the stock answer: ‘That’s above my pay grade.’

You know, one of you lot in the media asked me recently if I believe Labour or the Conservatives to be an effective party in Scotland? My answer was ‘If you think it’s a party, it’s a party. But if you have to ask yourself, then it’s probably not a party.’

Yes, I may be Scotland’s CD – with maybe a CBE or an MBE in the offing – but I’m not going to talk about the chaos going on with the failed drug strategy and key resignations this week. That’s above my pay scale to talk about that.

I’m not going to suggest Humza Yousaf could have predicted a surge for lateral flow tests like a burst dam, given I’ve been urging people to take them with their porridge in the morning.

But, overall, do I look back on the year with regrets? Yes, Only an Excuse? has been cancelled this year, because I’m sure Jonathan Watson would have featured me.

Oh, you mean about killing off the festive season for the hospitality industry? What I will say is that I was delighted that Rose Ayling-Ellis won Strictly. Is that a proportionate response?

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