Monday, June 04, 2012

No Mean Spirits

Bearing my immediately previous post in mind, there has been one recent item of current affairs which has got me going recently. 

It's certainly not connected to the effective disintegration of Rangers Football Club, the nearest thing to a Wagnerian Gotterdammerung that the south side of Glasgow has ever seen. All that's missing from this saga, a study in folly which social historians of the future may cite as a textbook example of 'overshoot', are shrieking Valkyries swooping down over Copland Road. There might even be an evil dwarf in there somewhere. This spectacle holds no drama for the neutral observer, only pantomime. The only significant issue of interest for me has been learning of the existence of mechanisms such as 'Company Voluntary Arrangements', and of the pressing need for their abolition; given that the concept of the limited company was invented for the sole purpose of enabling those involved in their management to escape liability for debt, it seems bizarre to give company owners a further layer of protection through a mechanism which enables a company to continue trading even when they've run it into the ground, placing its creditors at a double disadvantage. It is disgenuous to argue that these mechanisms can only be deployed with the consent of creditors; when the choices are losing either 95% of your money in a CVA or 96% in a liquidation with legal fees on top, there doesn't seem to be much of a choice involved. It would seem that the airless heights of Scottish football is some sort of corporate doldrums where the perennial gales of creative destruction do not blow.

Nor is it the texting habits of Jeremy Hunt, whose apparent lack of any sense of the need to keep an official distance from officers of a company whose affairs he has been appointed to judge indicates that his true calling in life was to be a certain type of football journalist in Scotland, nor the insolence of Rebekah Brooks in making adverse public comment upon the event of her being charged by the police. When I read what she had said, for some reason the only thought that came into my head was 'Pride Comes Before A Fall'. Time will tell.

Megrahi's gone to the grave, still as absolutely culpable of the Lockerbie bombing as he was in life. If this event means to an end to public comment on the case by Dr. Jim Swire...I'll say no more, the man's been through a lot.  There seem to be goings on at the Vatican which merit a closer look. The economy's down the tubes and nobody knows what to do to fix it. No change on that score, it's as if I've never been away.

What has really got my back up has been the very mean-spirited passage of the Alcohol (Minimum Pricing)(Scotland) Bill. Scotland has never been a nation short of either laws or policemen, yet while my views might oppose the civic nationalist zeitgeist (we must all make sacrifices for our country: Strength and Honour), it seems to me to be my bounden duty to say that this particular piece of legislative aysmmetric cutting of glued left-over wallpaper is easily among the worst ever to emanate from the lawmaking limeworks at the bottom end of the Royal Mile. 

Yes, the doctors wanted it because of the savings that are projected to be made in the treatment of alcohol-related illnesses and injuries. That's fine, for sure, but any saving made on spending on current issues that has to be offset against future spending on the new illnesses that will appear when some Scots start making ther own alcohol can only be considered to be a false economy. A few doozy brain ones might be on that list; but as Rick Jones used to say the end of each episode of 'Fingerbobs', that's another story. You'll see their names soon.

Yes, the cops wanted it because of crime rates they perceived as having been fuelled by cheap alcohol. My own understanding of this matter, which to the best of my knowledge and belief is wholly reflective of the current law of Scotland, is that crime is caused by criminals, whether they be drunk or sober. I hope they get what they're looking for, because the social problems that might be caused by the springing up of shebeens, a curse I believe we have largely got rid of through the sensible licensing of alcohol vendors rather than by restricting the availability of alcohol itself, might make any current set of crime rate stats look favourable. 

This is a bad, nasty, silly, punitive, mean-spirited law; in other words, the sort of thing we have come to expect from the soi-disant, erstaz 'Scottish Government'.

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Blogger said...

Look what happened in the former Soviet Union in the mid to late 80s when Gorbachev launched his anti-vodka campaign. My wife who is Russian observed all this firsthand. Vodka disappeared from the shelves. However, given that vodka is to Russians what fish and chips are to Brits, of course people tried to make their own stuff. All types of various makeshift solutions were tried, many of which involved rubbing alchohol and the like. Of course, the death rate in the country soared, with various poisoning cases overwhelming local emergency wards. Governments tend to act reflexively to perceived problems, yet never play the thing out in their minds and consider the implications.
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05 June, 2012 21:31  
Blogger Martin said...

Green World,

Several years ago, I read a book by an American academic named Peter Kenez entitled 'A Short History Of The Soviet Union From Beginning To End'. In that book, Prof. Kenez pointed out that the action of Gorbachev's you have referred to was directly responsible for the rise of the entity we know as the Russian Mafia. It was not a post-Soviet phenomenon, but Saint Gorby's most toxic legacy to Mother Russia.

05 June, 2012 23:40  
Blogger said...

Hi Martin: Sounds very interesting. And in fact, not all that dissimilar to what happened when the Americans launched Prohibition and banned alcohol of any kind in the 20s and 30s. Not surprisingly, it became an era of gangsters. Nature abhors a vacuum, right? My wife was a teenager at the time of Gotby's campaigns, but this whole vodka campaign as well as empty stores seems to be her main memory of the Soviet era. GW

06 June, 2012 17:28  
Blogger Martin said...


The analogy you draw is an absolutely natural one. I tend not be libertarian by habit, but when it come to this sort of stuff you can certainly see where they're coming from.



06 June, 2012 22:40  

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