The Herald and The Scotsman are both panicking about the SNP Government's measures to combat the twin - and related - Scottish curses of alcohol abuse and sectarianism. Show me a violent bigot and I'll show you a drunk. They are caught between a rock and a hard place - they must pretend to condemn alcohol abuse and sectarianism, but are terrified that the SNP's measures might actually succeed in addressing these these ancient evils, because both abuses operate against the Scottish people developing a real national consciousness and democratic will for freedom and independence.
The enthusiasm with which both papers last week seized upon a 'spontaneous' demonstration' - complete with large and elaborately crafted anti-SNP banners - by a small group of old firm 'fans' who wanted to protect their right to bellow out sectarian chants - in the name of freedom of expression and sport, God help us - was contemptible.
And today, we have The New Sunday Herald, with an ambivalent front page - Canning the drinks ban - which develops into a thinly-disguised attack on the SNP's legislative measures to combat cheap booze promotions by supermarkets. Jackie Baillie, Labour, that stout defender of the rights of of Scottish people to have WMDs on their doorsteps and to be protected from any measures that might really help them to stop destroying themselves with cheap hooch, appears rapidly on the scene, accompanied by her sister-in-arms in these matters, Mary Scanlon, Tory, both anxious to shift the attack on alcohol abuse from minimum pricing - which will work - back to the booze barons preferred measures, empty exhortations to behave better (called 'changing behaviour') - which manifestly has never worked, and never will work.
Both these women are their party's Spokeswoman for Health, rather as Tony Blair is Peace Envoy for the Middle East.
The Sunday Herald also wandered into the streets and with a camera and picked entirely at random six young Scots who are against the legislation, who all 'like a nice glass of rosé after work', or its equivalent, and feel they are being unfairly penalised by the legislation. They even managed to find a nurse who seemed to be against the legislation, although her views are rather confusing - if reported accurately - since her opening remark calls for 'an overall ban on low booze prices', but she feels that 'it's ridiculous and might extenuate (sic) other problems in the NHS ..." and concludes with The Scotsman's, The Herald's, the Tory and Labour spokeswomen for Health's and the booze business and supermarkets' favourite solution - 'dealing with the root cause, by educating people from school level.' The only thing missing from the nightmare scenario was crazed latte drinkers, driven mad by caffeine.
The Sunday Herald, with no sense of irony, called this 'sample' of public opinion VOX POP. Well, I suppose a 'nice glass of rosé ' is as close to pop as you'll get from a supermarket's alcohol shelves.
This randomly selected group must be congratulated for standing alone against the consensus of the BMA, the nursing profession, the police, health workers, alcohol and harm reduction workers, etc. who supported minimum pricing and control of price as a desirable and significant move to combat alcohol abuse.
I will find it hard to sleep tonight, thinking of the sad plight of of those unable to afford a nice glass of rosé after work because of this legislation, not to mention those other oppressed Old Firm consumers of rosé at Ibrox or Celtic Park, no longer able to brandish a wee bottle of Mateus on the terracing or bellow out sectarian songs as they wave the flags of nations other than Scotland. And I will spare a tear for the directors and senior mangers of Tesco, crouching round an oil lamp, down to their last few million pounds, as they weep inconsolably over the 0.3% impact on their profits, and desperately try to think up new ways to circumvent the law and democratic government.
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