THE VOTE OF SHAME
Fifty Scots will pay the maximum price this year as minimum pricing for alcohol blocked.
As we await the headlines proclaiming another SNP defeat or a blow to an SNP ‘Flagship policy’ brought about by the unionist gang of three, we can be reasonably sure there will be little or no mention of the fact that fifty people will now die who would otherwise have been saved this year.
Media reports might say that the ‘controversial’ minimum price for alcohol proposal has been defeated and that it is now surely dead. They will probably repeat the hollow and feeble excuses from the mainly Labour MSPs who always opposed the plans. There will be little or no mention of the fifty or so funerals that could have been prevented this year but will now take place in communities the length and breadth of Scotland, nor of the battle weary nurses, policemen and doctors who will have to continue to pick up the pieces of a Scotland left shattered by years of alcohol abuse.
Some of the reasons, or more accurately excuses, offered up by Labour MSPs in order to justify opposing the minimum pricing measure have bordered on the farcical. The claim by Labour MSP Dr Richard Simpson on Newsnight Scotland that minimum pricing would hit the pensioner couple who drank a bottle of vodka and a few cans of lager a week was eye openingly incredulous. Dr Simpson’s hypocrisy was laid bare with almost every sentence; increasing the price of alcohol would hit the poor he said but somehow Labour’s plan to increase the price through tax and production cost, wouldn’t.
His colleague, Jackie Baillie, when not blaming Buckfast for Scotland’s alcoholic ills, decided in the chamber that Labour’s argument was so weak that it required her to misrepresent the SNP’s. The SNP, said Miss Baillie, “did indeed seek to portray this as a magic bullet”, this was 100% untrue.
But let’s face it, we knew they would block minimum pricing for alcohol, the unionists at Holyrood had been threatening to do just that for months. In spite of the overwhelming professional and lay support for the measure and with the eyes of the world upon Scotland, the unholy alliance of Labour, Tory and Lib Dem chose ill health and death for their citizens over the possibility of health benefits and prolonged life.
And for what?
Almost certainly a fear that the SNP would be credited with bringing in one of the most radical, forward thinking and beneficial pieces of health legislation in the world. As Nicola Sturgeon said in her opening address to the chamber: “This policy only has one fatal flaw, and that is that it is proposed by the SNP”.
The arguments in favour didn’t matter, Holyrood’s Labour/ConDem coalition were at one, let’s ditch this proposal and leave it to Westminster. So, Scotland will continue to waste £3.5 billion per year dealing with the effects of alcohol abuse.
This was a virtual re-run of the very first significant vote of the SNP’s term in office when the unionists banded together to force through a £1/2billion disastrous white elephant that has torn the heart out of the centre of Scotland’s capital city. The trams vote was followed two years later by Labour’s blundering budget vote that saw the Scottish budget stalled for two weeks. However Labour’s latest collaboration with their Tory and Lib Dem chums signifies and all time low for the party founded by Keir Hardy and Robert Cunninghame Graham.
Political point scoring is too mild a description for this sorry episode. Labour have now indicated that they are prepared to sacrifice the lives of some of the most vulnerable people in Scotland in order to thwart the SNP.
In doing so these Labour MSPs have abused the power vested in them by many thousands of well meaning and decent Labour voters in Scotland, many of whom will have watched as family members turned to drink in order to escape the despair of an empty future handed them by a succession of London based governments.
As the foundations of a long outdated union begin to crumble, the sight of the once proud Labour party using the very people it was created to protect in an attempt at bolstering those same foundations is truly sickening.
SNP suffers blow? No, in truth fifty families around Scotland will suffer a preventable blow over the next twelve months as they each bury one of their own. Each year will bring fifty more as fifty turns to a hundred and a hundred becomes a thousand.
Death, illegal wars, Nuclear weapons and debt – this is the Labour legacy. At what point does common decency prevail? Is there one amongst them who will cry enough!! ?
This evenings Radio Scotland Newsdrive at 16:10 reported that minimum pricing had been rejected, the item included a clip of one person speaking in the chamber, Labour MSP Jackie Baillie – there was no equivalent clip of the SNP’s Nicola Sturgeon. At 17:20 in the Holyrood chamber this same Labour MSP was accused in a point of order of making an assertion that was untrue.