As England goes quiet on vaccine passports, Scotland’s Nicola Sturgeon decides they’re going ahead – but do the numbers in Holyrood add up?

Ah, devolution. This thing which, despite having existed since 1999, many London based journalists still can’t get their heads around. It’s the idea the four nations of the UK can pursue policies more suitable for their area and applies to huge swathes of national life these days.

Such as the reactions to Covid-19. Hence why in England, the UK government is still trying to work out how to get vaccine passports through a parliament which has a sizeable minority who could defeat any legislation that pass. They’ve also been cited as a reason Boris Johnson’s popularity fell over the summer.

But in Scotland? Things are quite different. And this afternoon, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced a plan to do precisely what the English are getting cold feet over – and she made clear that she wants them introduced quickly. Winter is coming, after all…

So will Sturgeon succeed where Johnson could fail? The arithmetic in the Scottish parliament makes it more likely. The ruling SNP’s MSPs rarely go against their own party – and their new coalition partners, the Green Party, would end the arrangement very quickly if they did.

The Tories in Scotland are just as divided as elsewhere on this, and Labour’s line in England is against it. It would seem odd, therefore, if they adopted a different position north of the border, wouldn’t it?

All in all? Of the four nations in the UK, Scotland seems the one which would have the easiest path to making this happen. And no, this doesn’t change my view of them…