Vigils of Brigadoon?

In the 1954 film ‘Brigadoon‘ 2 American tourists discover a mysterious Scottish village for which no records exist and which only appears every 100 years

Freedom of Information responses from Scottish public authorities have confirmed that recent abortion clinic vigils are only slightly less rare, and no better recorded, than the mythical Brigadoon.

Almost no records?

When asked for their records of instances of vigils at abortion clinics in the first 6 months of 2021 the Scottish Government, NHS Boards, Councils and the Police had almost no information.

Scottish Government said:

“the Scottish Government does not have the information….. we do not currently collect specific information on information regarding dates, locations or frequency of prayer vigils.”

NHS Lothian said:

“we have not recorded any incidents of vigils”

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde said:

“we have no recorded information to provide in response”

Police Scotland said

“1 instance was found. This related to a peaceful vigil that took place between the 1st and 20th of June. There were no set hours but it drew to a close on Sunday 20th June with a silent candle lit hour between 1900 and 2000 hours. No police attendance was required”

Glasgow City Council said:

“the Council does not hold the information you have requested”

City of Edinburgh Council said:

“we hold no records, diary entries, or a register of dates/times that vigils have taken place”

Still a problem?

Despite this, the Minister for Public Health, Women’s Health and Sport, Maree Todd MSP, seems to have faith in events which seem to exist more in fiction than fact. On 16 November 2021 she told the Scottish Parliament that:

“…my officials will meet Convention of Scottish Local Authorities and local authority representatives next week to find a way forward. I also plan to convene a ministerial working group, so I will be taking the lead to bring together interested parties, including COSLA, the health service and the police service, to urgently find a way forward. I am absolutely determined to make progress on the matter.”

Chasing rainbows?

Today, American tourists still come to Scotland to find Brigadoon (and hunt haggis). Next time, they might call in at Holyrood to ask the Public Health Minister for directions.

It is well documented by Police Scotland and the NHS that there are no incidents relating to abortion clinic vigils. It now seems that there are very few instances either.