Budget, Rugby, Alcohol and Birds

Monday February 26th 2018

Christine Grahame MSP in Parliament Main

Midlothian Budget

It seems Midlothian Council, Labour with assistance from the Tories -yes Tories and Labour in cahoots- has decided to go for the young of Midlothian. Despite protests to the contrary teacher numbers will fall as will Learning Support for children with additional needs. The weasel words are that the Labour council is not making “cuts” but of course what will not be doing is not replacing folk retiring of leaving for other reasons. Yeap weasel words. There are cuts to playing facilities and the cost of school meals to rise-all hitting the young. Yet the young are the future for all of us; providing the taxes, the nurses the doctors we all need especially as we grow older but then they don’t have a vote in the upcoming By-election. I detect a plot.

Scotland 25 England 13

Let me say it again Scotland 25 England 13. After a decade something to lift the heart. Now I say this born in England of an English mum but there’s something about winning against an English team that matters more than anything else and it’s quite separate from any political affiliation. Och I’m fair wellin’up ! I also had a good look at my e-mails and my Facebook and the additional trains promised for the return from the Calcutta Cup must have materialised because no complaints have been registered. No Stop-Skipping Gorebridge and Newtongrange it seems. At least so far…..The week is young.

Minimum Unit Pricing of Alcohol (MUP)

The Scottish Government has set a price at 50p per unit. This means that price will be based on alcoholic content and will really hit out at cheap cider and vodkas for example. This will have to go before Parliament before it can come into force but there is now a majority support for it. The savings to the health budget and indeed the justice budget could be humongous. It is reckoned that Alcohol misuse costs Scotland £3.6 billion each year, or £900 for every adult. This money could be spent in health and policing for example on other priorities. Quite apart from the money there is the cost in human misery as a result of excessive alcohol consumption.

White van man/woman

Some have raised concerns that with a difference in price between Scotland and England there will be an increasing flow of traffic across the Border. Will white van man/woman flourish? Will the cost of internet order delivery be too onerous? We shall find out, but having chaired the Health Committee which took the evidence in 2012 ,yes so long ago , and watched the Parliament decision challenged by the Scottish Whisky Association at every turn and fail, I think it is well worth the effort.

Feed the birds-which I do.

Not tuppence a bag but a lot more expensive. I have a cost saving recipe. I buy old bread or use up what is left , and melt down beef dripping (not lard-very important distinction )then soak the crumbs in the dripping. It’s cheaper than fat-balls though you can make your own too and just as filling as winter sneaks back in from Siberia when you were thinking of buying summer seeds. You see it’s not all politics chez Grahame.

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