Thursday, February 17, 2005

New Labour - Tough On Anti-Social Behaviour

Picture by Stephen Mansfield for the Scotsman

Labour MSP and Scottish Justice Minister Cathy Jamieson is given a traditional Ayrshire welcome (registration required) on a visit to the village of Auchinleck in her constituency.

"Ms Jamieson arrived at the village’s Co-operative store to unveil the Standing Up to Antisocial Behaviour awards in partnership with the Scottish Co-operative movement. The scheme aims to reward individuals and groups who benefit their communities. She was also there to applaud the store’s decision not to sell Buckfast to anyone under 21 and limit sales to two bottles per customer."

The news that the sacred brew of Buckfast is under threat from the same people who want the pubs open 24/7 will cause consternation at Beelzebub Mansions, where a Buckie and Vimto mix is all that sustains Barry and his trusty man Whittaker.

(Auchinleck is not some giant Glasgow estate, but a small village in Burns country, once a thriving mining area. The deep mines are long gone and the towns and villages, Cumnock, Dalmellington, Burnfoothill, while not unattractive and set in pleasant scenery, all have an air of dereliction. The area's wonderful if you're an industrial archaeologist. But it's not physical poverty that is the blight. None of those kids have cardboard in their shoes as they would have done in the 1930s. And in even poorer Victorian times, "at one typical miners village, Skares, the Cumnock Chronicle tells us there were three friendly societies (Gardeners, Rechabites, Good Templars), a quoiting club, an ambulance corps, a juvenile football club, a brass band, a dramatic society, and a phonetics class".)

UPDATE - in the interests of balance, the Guardian view.

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