I visited Scotland several times during the pandemic, most notably for last year’s Holyrood Parliament elections. It was a bleak experience each time: shops closed, no service in hotels, compulsory mask wearing — all imposed with a greater unsmiling steeliness than in England.

This week it was a pleasure to return to Edinburgh to find the capital city coming back to some semblance of normal life. Foreign tourists are back, especially the Americans. Stations and airports are packed. Those shops which have survived Covid are open, though there are now many empty properties on Prince’s Street, just as there are in the West End of London and most other city centres. Restaurants and hotels are operating in spite of a pervasive lack of staff.