27 March 2009

A reformed Baillie: Or to batter no more...

Oh dear.

Per my "exclusive" of last week, reporting that Baillie Bill Aitken MSP - scourge of someone and bastion of petty-bourgeois Glaswegian Conservatism - was boozily denied entry to Glasgow University's Queen Margaret Student Union's "Cheesy Pop" Night - I awaited with bladder-pinching anticipation his treatment of the mooted alcohol strategy of the Scottish Government.

Would he have reformed? Learned from his friday night on the town? The afflicted shouldn't mock, as they say. The pious, to my mind, should eschew rank hypocrisy where possible.

At FMQs on the 26th of February, quoth the People's Baillie:
"The First Minister is perfectly correct to highlight the difficulties that are caused by Scotland's relationship with alcohol. However, does not the First Minister agree that, before bringing in any further ideas—many of which, I say frankly, have been unworkable—it would be much preferable to ensure that the existing law is exercised to its fullest extent, ensuring that prosecutions are brought against those who sell drink to underage people, those who enter licensed premises when drunk, and those who are on licensed premises when drunk? The present levels of prosecution and conviction are derisory."
Come yesterday, had the doughty tribune traded in his old conceptions, having indulged in a spot of "participant observation" with Glasgow's youth? Tragically, apparently not. Resolute little chipper, he is too.

Qua, yesterday 26th March 2009, Bill confided to our rapt assembly... (edited for pith)
"It is an offence to enter licensed premises while drunk or to be in licensed premises while drunk, and it is an offence to serve a drunk person. The number of prosecutions for those offences has been derisory, and only with test purchasing have any significant moves been made to combat underage drinking and the difficulties that it causes....

We have to recognise that problematical drinkers in Scotland represent a minority of the population, and we must take action that is properly targeted and effective.

"We do not want the responsible, sensible majority of moderate drinkers to have to pay more or suffer as a result of the excesses of a small minority."
Ooo. That is a new category if ever there was one. One is not, now, apparently simply drunk or not drunk - but a "problematic" old lush. No doubt this includes the innocent people's representative who allowed himself - just this once you understand, not often, not several times a year - to overindulge and go tippling one crisp, fresh-spirited Friday evening. As long as one soaks only on and off, however wet one gets on those occasions, it doesn't count.

What happens in Glenrothes, stays in Glenrothes...

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