Excerpt of a minute from the Labour group meeting to discuss its approach to the alcohol strategy:
IG. Right, come to order. Richard, you're leading on this, what's the position?
RB. I've changed my name.
RB. Richard's a bit too boring for a man in trhe shadow cabinet. From now on I want to be called Riccardo Bakerelli - that's far more like it.
IG. OK ... Riccardo - what about the alcohol strategy thing?
RB. It's all the SNP's fault.
IG. What is?
RB. The alcohol strategy. It's all a dirty, underhanded nationalist plot to deprive the poor bairns of Scotland of their Buckfast and their White Lightning and thus drive a wedge between those young people and the fine, upstanding tradition of getting off your face and throwing up in the street, meaning that these poor misguided youths will grow up with no concept of proper drinking to get bladdered and falling down in the gutter. The ultimate aim is obvious, if they can't carry on their parents' tradition of drinking until comatose then they might think that it's also ok to start thinking for themselves and they'll vote for teh SNP and all their clarty filthy separation and we'll all be unemployed. We've got to fight this with everything we've got.
IG. Great, so what's the plan?
RB. Well, I thought we could talk about the massive dangers of alcohol, all about all the dmage it does and about how it's a basic human right for bairns to get booze from the supermarkets at a price they can afford from tehir pocket money. Then we can campaign abouth therre not being enough polis on the street to cope with the public disorder problems and that there's not enough A&E departments to cope with all the stabbings that come from people getting pished and getting into fights - and that also lets us say that the SNP is soft on knife crime, which means that all we have to do is get in the way of them doing something and everything becomes theiur fault. Excellent plotting is it not?
IG. OK richard
IG. Sorry, OK Riccardo, let's see what other people think. George, you're a 'seasoned' campaigner - what do you think?
IG. OK, moving on, moving on... James, give us your thoughts.
JK. I welcome the opportunity to take part in this afternoon’s debate. We spend a lot of time in the Parliament debating health and other big issues—for example, how we spend the £11 billion budget, deal with drug and alcohol policy and tackle health inequalities. There is no doubt that we need to have a framework in which to deal with public health. If we get that right, it will contribute towards the overall health and wellbeing of the Scottish people. It is important that the actions of this Labour Governement in opposition serves those objectives. It is definitely a step in the right direction.
If organisations or companies are found to be responsible in such instances, their unsociable behaviour should be dealt with. We need to take a strong stand against them.
The point of being involved in politics—I am talking not only about Labour members but members across the chamber—is to make a difference.
IG. Right, OK, let's move on. Let's have the corporate anthem. All together now "Things ... can only get better"