Thursday, March 20, 2008

Jumping on the Banned! wagon

As my impoverished Greek friend has noted, the campaign to get Darling banned from the nation's pubs is gathering pace.

There is now a Facebook Group and, as Jim points out, a Tory MSP, Alex Johnstone, has even issued a press release.
Johnstone Urges Pub Ban For Darling

Following an Edinburgh landlord's decision to ban the Chancellor of the Exchequer from his premises after a budget that was punitive for drinkers, North East Tory MSP Alex Johnstone is urging pubs across the North East to follow suit and demonstrate their condemnation of the tax hikes on alcohol.

Mr Johnstone said "The Chancellor has raised the duty on alcohol under the pretext that it is in a bid to combat binge drinking. But by even the simplest calculations, his tax hike will do nothing more than raise money for the treasury. For example, if an individual went out and drank ten pints of cider in an evening, then Mr Darling's efforts in beating the booze culture will in fact have cost the drinker just thirty pence more. That’s hardly going to make someone think twice is it?"

"As for the extra fifty nine pence that was slapped on a bottle of whisky, it has since been revealed that this might not even raise any extra cash at all. I'm sure this will give cold comfort to the many people employed in the whisky industry, especially across the North East, whose jobs were put at risk by this extra duty."

"No-one underestimates the need for action in tackling Scotland's booze culture, it is something that needs urgent attention and a holistic attitute. This budget does nothing to address this and I'm not alone in being disappointed that the government has come up with such a simplistic response."

Mr Johnstone concluded "Barring Mr Darling from licensed premises will send a clear message, that ordinary, responsible drinkers should not be seen as a soft touch for raising money to pay for previous fiscal incompetence."

Not only would it send a clear message, but it would also be absolutely hilarious.

One wonders, of course, whether Darling would lower himself to going into a pub—after all, it might be full of horrible members of the disgusting electorate, and that would never do—but wouldn't you love to be a fly on the wall as Darling walks into a bar, with a group of his hangers-on, and is promptly turned away by the manager?

And in my fantasy the hangers-on turn to him and say, "sorry, Alastair; but we really need a pint. See you tomorrow, aye?" And Alastair leaves, quietly, but, still desirous of a drink, moves to the next pub. "Oh, well," thinks he, "I can have a quiet pint and do some of my work."

Alas, as Alastair comes to the next bar, there—prominently displayed in the window—is the poster (above). And in the next pub, and the next. Wee Alastair starts to realise that he will never get a drink in a decent pub again.

Finally, he comes to a down-at-heel dive that does not display the now infamous poster and pushes his way through the sticky door—and stops, in horror. Obviously, this is the local underage bar.

In front of him is a seething mass of scantily-clad, jailbait lassies and lanky, baseball-becapped youths, the latter proudly stroking the beginnnings of their bum-fluff pimp moustaches.

A sea of trousers worn too low and skirts worn far too high stretches out before him; the floor is awash with discarded plastic pint-pots and "Alcopop's Half Price" posters adorn the walls.

Wearily and warily, the Chancellor of the Exchequer makes his way through the crowd—which has fallen silent at his entry (he half-expects a banjo to start up at any moment)—and orders a John Smith's. The pint costs him £3.60 and he fumbles in his pocket for some change before realising that he is going to have to break a tenner.

Alastair Darling perches himself awkwardly at the bar, his elbows sticking to the tacky Bacardi Breezer-slicked surface, sipping at his pint. It is repulsive: it appears that this bar does not believe in cleaning its beer lines to often. He takes another sip. Actually, the beer tastes as though the manager clears the line with his own rancid urine. Alastair shudders.

Suddenly, he feels a hand cup his left buttock and, shocked, he turns to find a girl of fourteen, maybe, smiling at him with a sly smile on her face. She is a bottle blonde, and at first glance, her face actually quite pretty; but even the bar's low light cannot conceal the concealer slathered onto the pimpled skin, and the smile reveals all too clearly the crooked and nicotine-stained teeth.

"Fancy coming outside wi' me?" asks the child, leering like a fifty year old street-whore. "Ah've got some weed. You can have a blow while I blow ye." She giggles, in what she might imagine is a coquettish manner, at her clever wordplay.

"Don't be ridiculous, I'm old enough to be your father." Alastair looks at the girl again. "Er, grandfather," he amends.

"That's nae bother," replies the girl, "I like older men. C'mon," she wheedles, "You can treat me really rough. I like it really hard," she assures him. Her hand moves to his crotch and starts stroking.

Darling looks around at the creatures that his government have created and he suddenly feels sick: he must get out. Leaving his drink, Alastair Darling pushes his way past her and threads his way, slightly desperately, to the door.

As he emerges into the dark, a light drizzle has started falling. He starts to walk, depression padding ever closer, the Black Shuck of legend. As he reaches the bridge, Alastair Darling wonders what it would be like to jump, feel the dark waters close over him, flooding his lungs as he sinks down into the crushing depths...

Ah well, it's only a fantasy but nevertheless, as Mr E says,
As someone once said in almost the exact opposite context: let's do some good...

Come on, you have to admit: it would be hilarious.


Not a sheep said...

That's what I call having an imagination. A short story that kept me gripped from beginning to end...

cornsihgiant said...

Hnag on....

Isn't "For example, if an individual went out and drank ten pints of cider in an evening, then Mr Darling's efforts in beating the booze culture will in fact have cost the drinker just thirty pence more."

exactly the same argument but opposite as

"As for the extra fifty nine pence that was slapped on a bottle of whisky......especially across the North East, whose jobs were put at risk by this extra duty."


Can't have it both ways. It either will stop people drinking, or i won't.

And we all know of course it won't.

Will Longmore said...

And you made the Times the other day too - ok, it was only the city diary, but it had your web address above the pic of the poster and a sweary quote!

Devil's Kitchen said...

Really? Anyone got a link? Or a scan?


Anonymous said...

I was expecting a fruitier ending...

Rumbold said...

Brilliant story.

hughev said...

more effective to ban him from all the bars in the Houses of Parliament

Anonymous said...

It'd be your money he'd be putting on expenses anyway.