Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Trollied Tuesday: the best and worst of Scotland

A splendid idea from Scotland: a beer to help conserve red squirrels.

Part of the proceeds from sales of Red Squirrel Ale will be donated to the Dingwall-based Highland Red Squirrel Group.

Would you like to be asked, in a few years' time, "What did you do to help the red squirrel, Daddy?" and to find yourself unable to answer? I would not, and so I will be doing what I can to encourage the Atlas Brewery in Kinlochleven.

Now a lousy idea from Scotland. Bad as being over run by hordes of grey squirrels is, the fact that Scotland has apparently been over-run by a bunch of bullying, small-minded puritans is of far greater concern. The Scottish National Party's great idea to tackle drink-fuelled violence was to ban all those under-21 from buying alcohol from off licences.

Now, speaking as someone who, when I lived in Scotland, was assaulted on several occasions by precisely the type of person this law is targetting , I may say this is an abomination. Being bothered by Fife and Dundonian neds was bad enough, but not being able to drink wine at home would have been far, far worse.

It's bad enough that fans of the national football team aren't being allowed to get drunk before their game against Norway (good luck stopping the Norwegians, by the way, they put the Brits in the shade at that sort of thing), but the Under-21s ban is the sort of vindictive and pointless stunt that politicians love because it gives them cheap headlines and deflects attention way from the fact they aren't doing the boring long-term things that solve these problems.

Shuggy, is on the money by describing it as "stupid and illiberal". If the majority of Holyrood politicians think it's a bad idea, you really are getting into the palbably moronic territory. (As one of the MSPs says "a soldier returning from a tour of duty in Iraq or Afghanistan at the age of 20 cannot buy a bottle of champagne from the off-licence to celebrate with his wife on his return".)

The people of Scotland have been asked for their views on this proposal. I hope and trust that the people of Scotland used their national genius for invective to full effect.

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