Friday, 27 May 2011
Scotland - The Future And The Past
Yesterday Alex Salmond laid out his five year vision for Scotland with a pledge to tackle sectarianism and alcoholic drink. He intends to bring back proposals to set a minimum price per unit of alcohol - a policy, although well intended, included some fairly thin evidence that raising prices would be the solution. It won't be the solution because alcohol is only part of the problem. Illegal drugs play a large role too but seem to be ignored. Have we given up on the drugs 'war'? Visit any Scottish court on a Monday morning and many of the cases involve both drink and drugs. Both problems need to be addressed in this parliament.
It's to be hoped there will be a broad debate about sectarianism and avoid hasty, ill-conceived legislation being rushed onto the statute book. As yet I'm unclear about the proposal and was not impressed by Kenny MacAskill's performance on Tuesday's Newsnicht. He certainly appeared unclear too, although he should be aware it's not only related to football terraces but a culture spread widely throughout Scotland, particularly in the central west. A clear definition needs to be made so as the public are in no doubt how sectarianism will be defined by law enforcers.
We have current laws which deal with drunkenness but they're seldom enforced. Instead police convey the drunk to the nearest A & E instead of a police station. The conveyance is often by ambulance for which no charge is made and more seriously, removes an ambulance from its role of attending emergencies. Drunkenness is avoidable, strokes and heart attacks are not.
Yesterday was a sad day in Moray as the three flying squadrons at RAF Kinloss were officially disbanded. The airfield at the Moray base will cease to operate after 31 July. The Duke of Edinburgh, who is the Honorary Air Commodore to RAF Kinloss, was the reviewing officer. At nearly 90 he deserves some praise for attending the event.
The Defence Secretary Liam Fox, was visiting Lossiemouth which is only 15 miles from RAF Kinloss, yet did not attend the occasion and refused to give a reason. Some called him "insensitive" although I think that is far too polite, although could it be that he wasn't invited? Yesterday's ceremony was private and for military personnel and families. Not many would invite the hangman to a wake would they?